Independence (liberation, freedom) for Tamilnadu

AN EXCHANGE OF VIEWS:

Can Tamil Nadu be freed from Indian Rule?

NO: R. Damodaran

YES: Thanjai Nalankilli

TAMIL TRIBUNE, July 1998 (ID. 1998-07-01)
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ABBREVIATIONS

DMK - Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam

DEFINITION

Hindians: People whose mother tongue is Hindi (similar to Tamil speakers are sometimes referred as Tamilans or Tamilians).


(EDITORS NOTE: In his two-part article "Karnataka Massacres" (TAMIL TRIBUNE, February and March 1998), Thanjai Nalankilli expressed the view that Tamil Nadu should free itself from Indian rule and become an independent nation. The editor received an e-mail from Mr. R. Damodaran expressing his view that it may be impossible to obtain freedom for Tamil Nadu. We sent this e-mail to the author Thanjai Nalankilli and received a response. We publish here both Damodaran's e-mail and Nalankilli's response.)

R. Damodaran's e-mail:

First, I should tell you that I am a Tamil. The article "Karnataka Massacres" and especially its conclusion are very controversial. The author wants the Tamil population of Tamil Nadu to fight for independence from India!

There are a lot of impediments in the way. How many Tamil people WANT Tamil Nadu to separate from India?

Let us suppose that the people want to get freedom from India, Tamil Nadu does NOT have the resources to fight an independence war. 

I understand your arguments in favor of getting independence, but is it really possible?

Thanjai Nalankilli's Response:

First, let me thank Mr. Damodaran for agreeing with me in principle the need for independence (He writes: "I understand your arguments in favor of getting independence".) Once that bridge is crossed, that is, once the need for independence is accepted, the next logical step is to explore how independence may be achieved. Obviously, Mr. Damodaran has thought in those directions and, in that process, had some doubts as to whether independence is possible at all. The questions he raises are reasonable and I will do my best to address them in a logical manner.

Mr. Damodaran has two questions: (1) How many Tamils want independence for Tamil Nadu? (2) Is it possible to achieve independence? Let me address these questions one by one.

1. How many Tamils want independence for Tamil Nadu?

How many people want independence for Tamil Nadu from Indian rule? I do not know. No one knows! Only way to know is to conduct a plebiscite (a vote) in Tamil Nadu with two choices: (a) I want Tamil Nadu to continue as a state of the Indian Union. (b) I want Tamil Nadu to be an independent country.

The Indian government would never allow such a plebiscite (a vote) voluntarily because they suspect that the outcome would be for an independent Tamil Nadu. Otherwise, they would have conducted such a vote and shut the few "loud voices of independence" once and for all. Given the choice between statehood within India and independence from India, and the future benefits to Tamil Nadu under statehood and independence explained by the pro-statehood and pro-independence leaders in public meetings, newspaper articles and radio-television debates, I believe that the people of Tamil Nadu would vote overwhelmingly for independence. I can never be sure but the only way to know for sure is through a plebiscite

I have spoken in scores of meetings in Tamil Nadu about the need for independence for Tamil Nadu. It was always received enthusiastically not only by the younger generation but also by men and women in their fifties and sixties. Is this proof that a majority of the people of Tamil Nadu are for independence? I am not sure but the only way to ascertain it is through a plebiscite (a vote) and the Indian government refuses to conduct such a plebiscite. 

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) is undoubtedly a dominant political party in Tamil Nadu. DMK's original political platform was the establishment of an independent Tamil Nadu. It ran on this "freedom platform" (or, as the Indian Government would call it, the "separatist platform") in the 1962 general election and emerged as the second largest party winning 50 seats in the Tamil Nadu legislative assembly. In 1962, Congress was a powerful united party in Tamil Nadu under the leadership of the very popular and totally un-corrupt Kamaraj. DMK won fifty seats even against this powerful Congress Party on the "freedom platform". This scared the Indian government. What if DMK were to win a majority in the next election under the "freedom platform"? Within a year, the Indian government (under the pretense of national security against foreign threats) enacted a law prohibiting any party or person contesting elections on a "separatist platform". That is, no individual or no party can contest an election in Tamil Nadu (or, any other part of India) on a "freedom for Tamil Nadu" platform. Thus the Tamil people now have no way of expressing their view about whether they want Tamil Nadu to be a state in the Indian Union or want Tamil Nadu to be an independent country. Let the people of Tamil Nadu decide their future. Who gave that decision-making power to the Indian government controlled by Hindi speaking politicians? 

I challenge the Indian government to conduct a poll in Tamil Nadu about independence for Tamil Nadu. Let both sides, those for independence and those against independence, go around Tamil Nadu and canvass for their position. Let there be debates on radio and television. Then let the people vote. If the majority of the people of Tamil Nadu vote to stay with India, the current status will continue. If the majority vote for independence, Indians should pack up and leave as the British did in 1947.

[While at it, I suggest that the Indian government conduct such plebiscites in Punjab, Assam, Kashmir, Nagaland, Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur and every nationality that seek independence from Indian rule also. Let the people decide whether they want to be part of India or want independence from India. Let the people decide instead of sending the Indian army to terrorize them. Let the people voice their opinion in a secret ballot instead of sending the army to brutalize the peace loving, freedom loving peoples of these nations.]

Now let us turn to Mr. Damodaran's second question.

2. Is it possible to achieve independence?

Yes, it is possible. None of the Tamil Nationalists, including myself, is under any illusion that the liberation of Tamil Nadu from Indian rule (Hindian rule, actually) will be easy or quick. Under certain geo-political situations it could be easy and quick but the development of such a situation is beyond anyone's control. Such geo-political situations emerge through unforeseen random events. Even for Tamil Nadu to get its freedom under such a fortune circumstance, there must be an "independence movement" ("freedom movement") alive and in place. Let me give an example.

Minority Slovak people in the former Czechoslovakia got such a fortunate geo-political situation in the early 1990s when the Berlin wall came down and Russian troops left Czechoslovakia and the rest of Eastern Europe. Seizing the opportunity, the Slovak Independence Movement was able to divide Czechoslovakia into Czech Republic and Slovak Republic. Had there been no Slovak Independence Movement alive and in place at the time the Russian troops left Czechoslovakia, Slovak people would still be a minority in Czechoslovakia without a country of their own. 

Look at Armenia. Armenians were an ancient people; they once had a great kingdom with mighty emperors. Then they were subjugated by Turks and Russians and were a people without a country for over a thousand years. But their desire for an Armenian nation never died. Flames of freedom were kept alive wherever Armenians lived. Then, seizing the occasion of a failed military coup in the Soviet Union and the ensuing "disorder" there in the early 1990s, Armenian Independence Movement declared an independent Armenian Republic and now they are a free people with their own country. Had there been no desire for independence in Armenian hearts, had there been no independence movement in Armenia, there would have been no independent Armenia today; it would have become a province of one of the other nations that emerged out of the Soviet Union. So an independence movement is necessary and the thirst for freedom should be kept alive in Tamil Nadu also.

Barring such fortunate geo-political circumstances, as it happened to the Slovak people and the Armenian people, can Tamil Nadu achieve independence from Indian (Hindian) rule? Yes, we need not wait for things to happen, we should make things happen. There is an old saying "The baby that cries gets the milk". It is for us to raise the independence slogans. It is for us to fight for independence. A small independence movement already exists in Tamil Nadu. I was fortunate enough to know some Tamil Nationalist in my younger years and they instilled in me a thirst for freedom for my country, Tamil Nadu. I know of Tamil Nationalists in the Indian Air Force and in the Indian Foreign Service. There are lawyers, movie actors/actresses, students, school teachers and professors; I would say that there are Tamils in virtually every walk of life who yearn for a free Tamil Nadu.

Once the Tamil Nadu independence struggle gathers momentum, we may get support and help from unexpected quarters. How did America get its freedom from Britain? It all started with a small army of dedicated volunteers. Who would have thought that it would soon send the mighty British army go home packing? Once the American independence struggle gained momentum, help came from an unexpected quarter; from across the ocean, thousands of miles away, from France. Soon American independence became a reality. Had they never started that independence struggle, there would never have been the French help and America would have been a British colony for many more decades at the least.

How did Afghanistan get rid of Soviet occupation? (Soviet Union was at that time a true superpower and was just next door to Afghanistan.) Once the Afghan freedom struggle intensified, help came in the form of sophisticated weapons and training from a far off land, the United States of America because the liberation of Afghanistan suited its geo-political interests. Had the Afghans never started their liberation struggle, thinking that they had no chance fighting the mighty Soviet Union, there would have been no American help and no liberation. 

So, let us not get into a defeatist mentality. Let our cry for independence be loud and clear, we may get outside help from sources we may not even think of today.

Also, people of Tamil Nadu could expect cooperation and collaboration from other nationalities in the Indian subcontinent itself. Sikhs, Assamese, Tripurans, Kashmiris, Nagas, Mizos- all have disgruntlement about India with respect to the siphoning off of their central government taxes to the benefit of Hindi heartland and imposing Hindian-Aryan culture on them. Cooperation with these groups and a coordinated action plan would be a mighty force against the Hindian dominated Indian Government. We, the people of Tamil Nadu, should not wait expecting their help. We should make our demand for freedom heard loud and clear, and intensify our struggle for independence now. In due course we will get cooperation and collaboration from the other nationalities seeking independence from India too. Once all the disgruntled nationalities cooperate and put forth a coordinated fight against Indian rule (instead of each waging their struggle on their own), the Indian Union will not last for long. Let us light the flames of freedom, now.

We, the people of Tamil Nadu, should let go the "can't do" mentality and get into the "can do" mentality. Yes, we can free Tamil Nadu from Indian rule. Where is the Soviet Union now? How long will the Indian union last if Tamils and other discriminated nationalities form a coordinated force and fight for our freedom? We cannot speak for others; let us speak for Tamil Nadu; let us speak for our freedom! Other discriminated nationalities in India may cooperate with us, may collaborate with us. Outside help may come from unexpected sources. I am NOT saying that we should sit idle quietly waiting for other nationalities within India and other countries to come and liberate Tamil Nadu. No, not at all. We should continue with our independence movement and help will come in due course. But it is for us to start and continue with the independence movement. If we do not start the struggle, if we do not carry on with the struggle, no outsider will come to help us. Road to freedom may neither be short nor straight. There will be turns and dips and rises. But it is worth the effort. Freedom is sweet, rewards are great.

I will end this response with an anecdote. Some years ago, circus was in town. I took the children to the area where circus animals are kept. There were the circus elephants. One leg of each elephant was tied by a piece of iron chain to a little wooden peg driven into ground. These were very small pegs; elephants could easily pull them off and walk away, but these elephants did not. I asked about it to one of the men tending the animals. He told us about the mental conditioning of these elephants. When an elephant is captured, it is tied securely to the trunk of a large tree by iron chain. The elephant will try its best to get away but will be unable to do so. It will try day after day for several days in vain. Finally it will give up trying. Once the elephant stops trying, from then on it is simply tied to a little wooden peg by a piece of iron chain. The elephant is already mentally conditioned to think that it cannot escape. It will not try to pull off the peg and walk away.

Many Tamils and other discriminated nationalities in India are also conditioned to think that we cannot liberate our nations (yes, Tamil Nadu is a nation by any objective criteria) from Indian rule. Let us shake off that "can't do" mentality.

A free independent Tamil Nadu is our birthright!

Let us ask for it!

Let us fight for it!

We will achieve it!!

RELATED ARTICLES

Why Independence (Freedom) for Tamil Nadu from Indian Rule? (by Thanjai Nalankilli), TAMIL TRIBUNE, April 1999

Hindi Imposition and Independence for Tamil Nadu (by Thanjai Nalankilli), TAMIL TRIBUNE, December 1999

More articles about Tamilnadu freedom

Who Rules India? (Part I) (by Thanjai Nalankilli), TAMIL TRIBUNE, November 2000

F----    1998-a1d

 

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