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Ezhuga Tamil is ‘expression of frustration at Sinhala hegemony’

The Ezhuga Tamil rally which drew thousands of Tamils in Jaffna last week, is “the expression of Tamil frustration witnessing the bases of their political power being compromised in favour of perpetuating Sinhala hegemony,” said exiled journalist J S Tissainayagam in the Asian Correspondent this week.

“In its list of demands, the ‘Eluga Thamil’ (Tamils Arise!) rally in Jaffna, Sri Lanka, on Sept 24 included phrases that form the bedrock of Tamil nationalism – ‘Tamil nation,’ ‘sovereignty’ and the ‘right to self-determination’,” he wrote, adding that the present Sri Lankan government’s pledges of ‘good governance’ “has not delivered much to Tamils, either in protecting their rights or ensuring security”.

“In the minds of the organisers of the rally and their followers, the only way to keep their political power base intact is by resorting to a mass movement based on Tamil nationalist sentiment.”
“The Eluga Thamil rally is the expression of Tamil frustration witnessing the bases of their political power being compromised in favour of perpetuating Sinhala hegemony, as TNA members in the committees of the constitutional assembly appear to pussyfoot on pushing for a meaningful federal constitution,” he added.

Noting that despite the differences in case, religion and patriarchy, Tamils are “bound by ties of language, culture and shared history,” he continued, stating that “faced with attacks on social coherence… Tamils have turned to nationalism as a bulwark”.

“This is because the Sri Lanka government and Tamil politicians supporting the regime are deemed ineffective in preventing the Tamils’ political power base from eroding, and supporters of the rally believe that nationalism is the bulwark against such attrition.”

“The question is whether the organisers of Eluga Thamil have the vision, determination and stamina to continue to press their demands through a mass movement in the event the government and the TNA fail them, or if this spark is destined to only sputter and die.”

See his full piece here.