ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Missing Periyar and the Curious Tamil Nationalism of Kabali

Rajinikanth’s Kabali was expected to be a pro-Dalit movie, but the universalist focus on Tamil unity makes it a product of alternate Tamil nationalism instead. Kabali’s radicalism could have been strengthened by the inclusion of Periyar.

Sri Lanka: An Interim Administration for the North-East

The peace process in Sri Lanka is at yet another crossroads. In mid-June the government forwarded through the Norwegians its latest proposal for an interim administration. This draft has not been rejected outright by the LTTE unlike earlier ones. But whereas the government sees the interim administration as a way of enabling the LTTE to participate primarily in the management of donor-financed reconstruction, the LTTE wants to get much more out of it - it is seeking legitimacy, without, critics say, having to face elections.

Repatriation of Sri Lankan Refugees

The success of the planned repatriation of Sri Lankan refugees from India depends on resolving several issues left over from the two earlier rounds of repatriation. The issue also brings to the fore the importance of having formal guidelines in India to deal with the problems of rehabilitation, repatriation and resettlement of refugees.

Economic Revival in North and East Sri Lanka

The government of Sri Lanka imposed an economic embargo on the N and E province in 1999 covering a range of consumer goods including fuel, food and medicine. The embargo created an informal market for these goods. More importantly it allowed the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam to play a dominant role in the management of the economy in the territory, leading to a dual economic system, a command economy in the north and east and a private sector-led liberal market economic model in the rest of the country. It is now a year since the economic embargo has been lifted. How has it affected the economy of N and E province? What are the factors inhibiting economic revival in this region?

Calcutta Diary

Had our policy-makers played their cards well and not allowed themselves to be led astray by notions of imperial grandeur, we, instead of insignificant Norway, could have played the decisive role to bring the Sinhalese and the Tamils together in Sri Lanka. There would have been a rich pay-off from that success. Dreams, idle dreams.

Peace in South Asia

The carving out of a communally defined state in 1949 from a formally secular India with a dominant Hindu leadership and the proposal to partition another such state in Sri Lanka whose secular democratic status has already been undermined by Sinhala Buddhist nationalism presents strikingly similar situations. Given these irreconcilable nationalisms what are the prospects for peace in the subcontinent?

Sri Lanka: Elections and After

Given that the People's Alliance's vote base had shrunk considerably, political analysts had reckoned that the party could only win if it resorted to massive rigging and violence on a large scale. Predictably, it was an election marred by systematic violence. However, the defeat of the PA will have many consequences for the country's political system even as the outcome has done much to restore faith in the democratic system and polity.

Sri Lanka : Political Stalemate

With the breakdown of the formal discussions between the United National Party (UNP) and the People’s Alliance (PA) earlier this week, the stage is set for a further period of violence and tension: parliament prorogued for two months since July is due to sit again on September 7; tensions among the numerous political formations are running high; old anxieties about security in the capital have been heightened since the LTTE’s spectacular attack on the airport; and the initiative for the formation of a ‘government of national unity’ before the elections, mooted by a desperate business community, has not found sufficient support. Even within the PA, Chandrika Kumaratunga’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party is facing discontent and dissension. It is possible that Kumaratunga may take the desperate step of coming to an arrangement with the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) which has 10 members in parliament. The JVP has already offered support to the government for a year, but with conditions: the government must abolish the executive presidency, reduce the size of the cabinet to 20, establish independent commissions to administer a number of government functions, including overseeing the press, the police and elections, and hold the next elections under a caretaker government. Kumaratunga has already said that she is prepared to agree to most of the JVP’s demands, except those on the size of the cabinet and the setting up of an independent commission for the media. However, this is not likely to satisfy the business community whose prime and immediate objective is an end to the ethnic conflict. The pro-Sinhala JVP has at no point accepted negotiations with the LTTE.


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