வியாழன், 7 ஏப்ரல், 2016

New Delhi approach to apartheid South Africa should open eyes of global Tamils

New Delhi approach to apartheid South Africa should open eyes of global Tamils

[TamilNet, Thursday, 07 April 2016, 00:05 GMT]
A secret document of 1949, recently unearthed from South African diplomatic archives, shows that contrary to India’s outward show of opposition to apartheid, the actual thinking in New Delhi diplomacy was prepared to make secret elitist deals with apartheid South Africa, scapegoating its own people who had gone as victims of colonial labour as ‘not of the best type’ of Indians. A large part of such labour migrants from Guyana to Fiji were Tamils. It was such outlook of New Delhi that made it to go for ‘elite to elite’ deal with Sinhala-Buddhist Colombo in endorsing the disenfranchisement of the upcountry Tamils in Ceylon. Later the attitude was extended for New Delhi to become a crucial partner in the genocide cum continued genocide of Eezham Tamils having their own historical country in the island. Now there is the ‘military to military’ relationship for corporate elite pally-pally.

Whether it is the Nehruvian genre plus the so-called Marxists, or the ‘Hindutva’ mobilisation, the subconscious or simulated historical construct behind the debate currently highlighted by the New Delhi centric elite of India is basically imperialism of the Indus-Ganges Plain – whether to have the Mauryan Empire or the Gupta Empire, commented Tamil activists for alternative politics in the island.

Romila Thapar recently tried to generalise that the earliest religious (in other words philosophical and cultural) conflict in the entire region was between Brahmanism and Shramanism (Buddhists, Jains and Ajivikas). Perhaps it is with the idea of finding a new Devanampiya Tissa in ‘Sri Lanka’ the Asokan specialist went to Colombo immediately after the Vanni genocide to preach Buddhism. The results could now be seen in places like Nayinaa-theevu in Jaffna.

The added dimension to the New Delhi centric debate involving the entire region is the legacy of the Mughal Empire coming from the same river plains.

In what way falling in line with these imperial models are relevant to peoples in the South, who don’t have the glacier-fed river plains, but significantly have a maritime legacy and face related geopolitical issues, when justice is denied by the paradigm-setters to the extent of committing genocide?

The Indian elite, from civil service to media to universities to military top brass, is conditioned by the legacies of the Empires, including the British Raj, in their entire educational curriculum and competitive examinations. What is the point in talking of textbooks, curriculum and education as remedy to conflicts in the region, when the preceptors themselves set wrong models in practice?

The Indian elite and media would have responded differently to their government-partnered genocide of Eezham Tamils, had they been really in the right track of the current debate in India and had thought beyond elite imperialism of all shades.

* * *

On Monday this week, Dr. Vineet Thakur, a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa has brought out a private and secret memo in the South African diplomatic archives, which reveals an astonishing proposal India had made to apartheid South Africa in 1949.

The document shows that the New Delhi diplomat and civil servant, B. N. Rau of the Nehru regime, who also played a key role in drafting the republican constitution of Independent India, was proposing to South Africa to grant citizenship to select elite Indians, confessing that the “Indians who went to South Africa did not belong to the best type” and the way South Africa was treating them “might be fully justified and that in fact India would not mind discrimination against our [South African] local Indian community if only it was not based on racial lines.”

Rau had a word about Burma also that Indians had exploited the local population and had given India a bad name. Along with the few exploiters the vast majority who were later expelled were the ‘not of the best type’ Tamils. Now the ‘Hindutva’ regime is thinking of taking the ‘best type’ of genocidal Sinhala Buddhist monks to approach Burma and rest of mainland Southeast Asia.

Rau also confessed, according to the document recorded by a South African diplomat that ‘the feverish attempts in his country to destroy all caste inequalities were resulting in what in actual practice amounted to discrimination against the erstwhile ruling castes such as the Brahmins, to which he belongs’.

What he meant by elite and what he meant by ‘not of the best type’ are obvious.

The great artist M.S. Subbalakshmi born in Tamil Devadasi family, had to marry Sadasiva Aiyar, shed all her real artistic talents which would have been recognised in different light today, but devote to singing Sanskrit Bhajans for the recognition of being the ‘best type’ to sing at the United Nations General Assembly.

Such thinking is inherent even in the so-called Indian national media operating from Tamil Nadu. The ‘Sri Lanka Ratnas’ envisaged deals with genocidal Sinhala Buddhist elite because of sheer contempt for the Eezham Tamil nation as ‘not of the best type’ to their scale.

Tamil Nadu had a healthy Dravidian movement to go beyond the religio-caste paradigm and to set a new vision for the entire region. But denouncing all Gods, unfortunately they became worshippers of the Mammon God. That’s why not only the genocide could not be stopped, but even their place in civilisation could not be saved.

Bringing justice to the nation of Eezham Tamils is of top priority to all shades of polity in southern South Asia in setting the order in healthy lines to all concerned in the region, rather than becoming victims to imperialist designs.

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External Links:
THE WIRE: When India Proposed a Casteist Solution to South Africa’s Racist Problem