Wigneswaran's statement is food for
When President Mahinda Rajapaksa
first took office in November 2005, Sri Lanka's economy was in a near
state of collapse as terrorism was at its peak. Over 20 million Sri
Lankans lived in mortal fear due to the ruthless terror unleashed by the
At the time over half a million Tamils in the North and the East were
forcibly held as a human shield by Tiger terrorists. Although there are
a myriad of godfathers and human rights champions today who are weeping
buckets of crocodile tears, there was barely anybody to speak a word of
comfort for those Tamil civilians.
With the dawn of peace after the humanitarian operation to liberate
those hapless civilians from the jaws of death, people in the North and
the East received a new lease of life.
However, the majority of the Tamil Diaspora in the West is still
living in a world of fantasy of Velupillai Prabhakaran's separate state.
Their aspirations and those of the liberated Tamils in the North and the
East are poles apart.
The Chief Minister of the Northern Province C.V. Wigneswaran's
forthright statement is an eye-opener to one and all, especially some
Western politicians who have failed to comprehend the true ground
realities as far as Sri Lanka's success story is concerned.
Wigneswaran, who heads the administration of the Tamil National
Alliance (TNA)-led Northern Provincial Council (NPC), bemoaned that the
money sent by Tamil Diaspora has had a devastating impact on the
lifestyles of Tamils in Sri Lanka.
The retired Supreme Court judge turned politician stressed that
foreign funds had caused irreparable damage to society, especially the
Tamil student community. He told a gathering at the annual prize-giving
and 60th anniversary celebrations of Varani Central College that those
who had received political asylum overseas during the height of
terrorism sent money to their relatives here.
Wigneswaran said that in days gone by, people strove for a good life
but money coming from abroad today made things easier for them to spend
lavishly on expensive mobile phones, computers and other luxuries.
He stressed the need to address social issues due to the
unprecedented flow of Diaspora money. The Chief Minister said regular
funding by the Diaspora's close kith and kin in the West and the
peaceful environment prevailing in the country had not been productively
used by the youth in the North and the East. Rather than paying more
attention to studies, the Tamil youth prefer to watch movies,
particularly those with sexual connotations and violence and, moreover,
exchange romantic messages via mobile phones.
Wigneswaran lashed out at those who had abandoned traditional values
and imbibed a new culture where the youth smoked, consumed alcohol,
narcotics and even engaged in street fights. Those who received easy
money from abroad felt they could achieve anything with money.
Hailing the age-old customs nurtured by the Sinhalese youth who
worship their parents and elders on auspicious days, Wigneswaran
deplored that some Tamil youth even went to the extent of abusing their
parents and teachers.
It is no secret how the Tamils toiled during those trying days,
depending heavily on education to secure a better life.
Even during LTTE terror, the Jaffna youth were no second or even
stole a march over their Southern counterparts at the GCE (Advanced
Level) examination. Traditional Tamils always gave top priority to
education and produced brilliant academics from the North.
Regrettably, it seems that the Tamil Diaspora had spoilt the Northern
youth as with dollars flowing in they are driven away from education or
don't bother to work hard for their future. The NPC Chief Minister said
that the vast majority of Tamils today were of the view that Diaspora
money would help them achieve their hearts' desires. Commenting on the
welfare measures implemented by successive governments, Wigneswaran said
that people should bear in mind that free books, uniforms and meals may
not be available in the future. The student community should be told in
no uncertain terms what the country expected from them and recalled the
days when such facilities were not available.
The Chief Minister also cautioned Tamils that they should realise
that one's bad deeds would result in punishment in one's lifetime and
one would benefit from good deeds. He said that no one could escape
Karma and recollected the fate of some former world leaders who had paid
the supreme price for their misconduct.
The Chief Minister said that despite many difficulties, the NPC does
its utmost to improve the economy through self-employment projects and
there was no purpose in the NPC working if the younger generation was
only keen on migrating abroad or surviving on Diaspora money.
Wigneswaran's bold statement is an eye-opener to one and all,
especially the Tamil Diaspora which has a one-track mind. If the Tamil
Diaspora is sincerely interested in the well-being and development of
its own community, it should desist from advocating a separatist
ideology among Tamil youth.
On the other hand, the Tamils in the West should encourage the Tamil
youth here to work hard for their future by enhancing their knowledge.
In bygone years, there were many outstanding Tamils who had excelled
in their chosen fields as professionals.
Tamils made a significant contribution by producing eminent scholars,
academics, lawyers, medical specialists and public servants.
Ethnicity and religious affiliations were never a barrier for anyone
to reach the pinnacle in their careers. Although the LTTE projected a
dismal picture on the so-called discrimination against the Tamils, there
are concrete examples to prove that these allegations are baseless.
These attempts had been made only to woo international sympathy.
If one were to peruse the history of Sri Lanka's administrative
service, politics or any other sphere for that matter, there are
numerous examples of Tamils holding the topmost positions - such as
former Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, former Chief Justice S.
Sharvananda and former IGP Rudra Rajasingham. Moreover, there had been
many eminent Tamil doctors who excelled in the medical profession.
However, the performance of Tamil youth today as academics has been on a
steady decline. What Wigneswaran had pointed out could well be the main
reason for this scenario. If this is the case, the Tamil Diaspora should
be held responsible for ruining the future of Tamil youth.
The country has also lost the opportunity of securing the valuable
services of home-grown Tamil youth. While the Tamil Diaspora youth in
the West have ready access to the world's top universities, their
counterparts in Sri Lanka have often messed up their lives mainly due to
the unlimited funding that came their way.
As Wigneswaran had highlighted, the Northern youth would have
definitely shone as brilliant academics had they been shown the hard
way. Tamils have always been industrious, intelligent and enterprising.
This was their recipe for success in the past.
The LTTE's separatist ideology and the lavish Diapora funding have
relegated Tamil youth in the North and the East to the wilderness. When
Prabhakaran's terror outfit held sway, Tamil youth were forcibly taken
away for weapons training, brainwashed and deployed as LTTE cadres, thus
depriving them of their right to education. This was the main reason for
The NPC Chief Minister's statement sends a strong message to the
international community on the irreparable damage the Tamil Diaspora had
inflicted on the Tamils in Sri Lanka. The international community, even
at this late stage, should realise that the aspirations of the Tamils
here and those of the Tamil Diaspora are as chalk is to cheese.
If the Tamils in Sri Lanka are keen on protecting their rich customs,
values and age-old traditions to protect their future generations, they
should seriously heed Wigneswaran's call. This would also help foster
amity and national harmony as the peaceful Tamils had always contributed
their mite for the country's betterment.