Tamil Multicultural Leadership

| by Gaja Lakshmi Paramasivam

(October 15, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) Tamils of Lankan origin are struggling to come to terms with the current situation – the Present. Our decisions are driven by (1) Hearsay (2) Knowledge (3) Belief.
As per my research and discovery – If we are to live in harmony, Knowledge must control hearsay to allocate rights and wrongs – so that all investors beyond our physical / gross level connections would be included in our lives through our decisions and conduct based on those decisions. At this level there would be no likes and dislikes but rights and wrongs, in a harmonious family/community/country. The intellectually driven person would regulate her/his thinking and conduct through Common Laws so that s/he would like the rights and dislike the wrongs. This is essential when we become multicultural. At family level – when we get married and become multicultural. Until then likes and dislikes would generally work well to support harmony. But the way of Nature is for us to feel attracted to opposites when we mature into adults. When we do not know how to manage this physical attraction we start comparing the seen with the known and find the seen devil more attractive than the known angel. Hence mother in law – daughter in law conflicts due to the son’s choice. Likewise when the Sri Lankans including the Government see the more affluent West. Tamils are not immune to this. Hence, to my mind, the conflict over the leadership status that I attributed to Dr. Nadesan. Those who are strongly driven by their likes and dislikes would tend to go up and down by the seen and the heard. All those they do not like are ‘outsiders’ – even though they may be liked by another group. When one part of a group (say Tamils) like a person but another part dislikes that person and the majority alienate and call her/him an enemy/quisling rather than consciously calculate rights and wrongs anyway they can, and adjust the status in their own minds, the group shrinks. This is how the British entry into Ceylonese society must have shrunk our minds on the basis of their likes and dislikes.
To my mind, the core purpose of all anti discrimination laws is towards moving into the wider area of ‘rights and wrongs’ – to reduce the risk of unjust discrimination as per the likes and dislikes of custodians of power.
Knowledge needs to eventually submit itself to Belief through Thyagam – Renunciation of personal credits into the Common Pool / Governance / Fire of Truth , to become Belief. At that level there are no rights and wrongs. There is just Belief and Consciousness that those who are Right and those who are Wrong are part of us. Hence they oppose each other. They are not enemies – no more than the waste outlets of our body are to our mouth. One cannot exist without the other. We just need to keep within our boundaries giving form to our group – which is made up of all those who like us. In democracy, if our investment is stronger – we need to produce our own outcomes to match which the other side – minority side – must produce their own – independent of us and without interference from us. That to me is democracy.
Those driven by Hearsay would tend to work to increase their physical / majority power. Given that majority politicians of Sri Lanka – on both sides – are seen by outsiders to be driven by armed forces, Tamils of this category who speak against the Government, would be seen by the Global Community to belong to LTTE group – even though they may go under some other name . Their Guna in giving priority to physical forces, groups them together. Usually when majority force becomes strong – to the extent of excluding knowledge based decisions, people tend to use external weapons to increase their powers – as Police as well as criminals do.
Those driven by likes and dislikes, need to stay in their ‘local areas’ to be able to complete the cycle of their work and realize fulfillment. Hence we have the Opposition in Democracy.
Under the vertical hierarchical system of autocracy, One leader saw – remembered and then went to the other side and saw to complete the picture. When Objective evidence is being presented to a judge – unless the two sides of the same story is presented, the judge would not be able to come to a conclusion based on ‘facts’ alone. This is an important value to remember when dealing with Terrorism and War Crimes on the basis of ‘what happened’ alone. The same event would be rightly interpreted by different groups differently – each as per their belief and purpose. So long as the interpretation is based on belief alone – they would all be right interpretations and would not be in conflict with each other – even though they may give us different levels of knowledge. The stronger our belief the wider the area covered by our knowledge. The width of knowledge is directly proportional to the depth of belief. At that level we need least information/facts.
In his article ‘The Past, Present And Future : Relevance For Communal Relations In Sri Lanka’, published in Sri Lanka Guardian, Dr. Rajasingam Narendran asks ‘We have to reconcile with our past and come together to deal with the present pragmatically and practically, unburdened by it. The future will then be ours to enjoy. Can we make this happen?’
This conclusion was preceded by the story which ends with this question : ‘The elder monk looked surprised and said, “I had put down the lady at the river bank many hours ago, how come you are still carrying her along?” ‘
The young monk who is the parallel of the voter – did not believe enough in the elder monk nor was he independent enough to calculate rights and wrongs solely as per his knowledge. In Hindu tradition, the Guru is always right. When we think that the Guru is always right – we do not spend our energies on rights and wrongs. If we are driven by rights and wrongs of a person – then that person is not our Guru. It’s when we submit our knowledge / mind to the senior that they become our Guru and we are thus empowered by our Common Belief. This is the reason why we need leaders.
Given that Tamils are not able to take leadership from any particular leader, they need to consciously use ‘Rights and Wrongs’ in allocating status. This is the role of Administration. It’s Tigers’ weakness in Administration that has diminished their group’s size and they are ‘seen’ to be defeated. Had they believed in their elders in Public Administration, they would have successfully led the Tamil Community to govern themselves. The lesson we have learnt is – pay respect to your elders and believe in the whole. Majority LTTE supporters are yet to pay their dues to their political and/or administrative elders. Hence we need an opposition to make the picture complete. That opposition needs to be seen as being Equal until known otherwise. This is the value of Equal Opportunity principles. That way we become independent of the past without losing its values. We forget the details but carry the lessons learnt as wisdom – where we do not see right or wrong but love the Wisdom Itself. That to me is the best way to pay tribute to those who died for their Belief. When we carry them forward as Wisdom – they too would carry it in their current and future lives – because we have become One. All those who perform Thivasham/ Memorial ceremonies to their elders who have passed away are doing just that.
We do not need to wait for any Government to lead us in this. We could do it ourselves and start participating in Multicultural Democracy to suit our wider worlds. If we believe we have the capability of being a parent, we are already fit to be leaders and governors. When we move from particular disciplines such as Medicine, Engineering etc to General Management and Politics, we need to take only our belief from our old life into the new world and not all our material possessions and become Displaced Persons taking refuge in an apparently more secure environment.

Author: Sri Lanka Guardian

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