Monday, February 19, 2018 02:49:25 AM

Tamil Nationalism and the Coming Constitution

By Dr. Kalana Senaratne - Tue Apr 26, 8:46 am

Photo courtesy Tamil Guardian

Militarily demolished in May 2009, Tamil nationalism’s struggle has been a daunting one in post-war Sri Lanka. With the death of one of the most admired leaders within the Tamil community, Vellupillai Prabhakaran, the Tamil political representatives were pushed to shoulder the burden of promoting a different political agenda; of political autonomy within a united Sri Lanka, but in an essentially fragile political terrain. While the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has emerged, without question, the more dominant representative of Tamil nationalism, in an increasingly radicalizing context, theirs is not the only voice.

Political parties such as the Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF), as well as other groups such as the Tamil Civil Society Forum (TCSF) and the more recently established Tamil People’s Council (TPC) are among those which have come to articulate a strong and committed Tamil nationalist position. With the initiation of a constitution making process by the new Sirisena-Wickremasinghe regime which came to power in 2015, the latter groups – the TCSF[i] and the TPC[ii] – have made their positions clear before the Public Representations Committee on Constitutional Reform. Mistakenly regarded as ‘extremist’ voices within the Tamil community, the political project of such groups represents only a logical conclusion of the very same political goals and principles adopted by the TNA-leadership.

My claim, at the very outset, is that groups such as the TCSF and TPC are bound to be disappointed with the coming constitution (if it ever comes)….

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