With the LTTE finally silencing its guns, the Sri Lankan Army has stormed what for long appeared an impregnable bastion of an armed rebellion. Every time they basked in vainglory of having wiped out the vestiges of LTTE’s armoury, there used to be another cavalcade of strikes, which used to catch the nation once again in the tentacles of fear and agony. LTTE proved as much a bete-noire as the Taliban in the N-E frontiers of Pakistan, in rising like the proverbial phoenix from an ashen wanderlust and mushrooming with such ferocious rapidity after every combat as though, just a grain had been picked from a landslide. This also was a culmination of a 3-decade chronology that has witnessed the final decimation of LTTE as a force, who, for long projected themselves as the sole benefactors of the 12% population of Sri Lankan Tamils.
More than a century ago, with the dominant Sinhalese’s ethnic control of the state system, a degree of suppression of the minority Tamil community began to take root, which further intensified due to the hardliner elements that infiltrated the national hierarchy. A fallout of the intransigent stance adopted by the majority Sinhalese towards the Tamil community was the eruption of civil and later armed conflicts. In gradual course, whether at war or during peace-talks, the Tamils espoused their cause for a community-based separate state while the Sinhalese argued for a unitary state that is multi-ethnic. Ethnicity, religion and language are important factors in the articulation of Sinhala & Tamil ideologies and one would imagine, the idealist state of Tamil Eelam was a natural offshoot of the conflict between two ideologically segregated ethnic communities.
What kind of scenario is likely to emerge now? Can LTTE’s requiem be sounded out? Not as yet, for there is a possibility that it would regroup in splinters and continue to remain an insurgency threat to the Sri Lankan Government. Whatever be it, the possibility of a structured Eelam movement by ethnic Tamils is now remote and regardless of the rights of the Tamil people for democratic self-determination, a separate Tamil state would be intangible as it would only bring about a diminution of social & economic circumstances in Sri Lanka.
The fact however, remains that the rights of all ethnic groups are to enjoy cultural, religious and linguistic rights in peace & harmony. In the current scenario, some form of ethnic reconciliation is the only means for peace to return in a strife-ridden country. Thus, a revamp of the country’s political system to ensure equitable representation of the people and making the minority Tamils more representative in all major organs of administration viz. the bureaucracy, the judiciary and the armed forces, would be the need of the hour.
The ‘Pearl In The East’ is bound to glisten again so long as the wellsprings of time & destiny do not reduce it once again to a teardrop.