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

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(Non)Reporting on Sri Lanka

Your editorial “The Pyrrhic Victory” (EPW, 24 January 2009) could not have been more timely, particularly in the context of three sorts of reporting on Sri Lanka in India, particularly in Tamil Nadu – the first kind comprises reports and articles, which appear in certain Tamil magazines. These are generally supportive of the Tamil cause in Sri Lanka and most of them specifically endorse the struggle for a separate Eelam being waged by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). This sort of writing derives from a long tradition of Tamil nationalism and reflects a set of persistent political and cultural concerns: the idea of a common Tamil identity that owes nothing to a HinduBrahmin civilisation but which possesses its own cultural and social coordinates and which therefore deserves its own political expression.

Much of this writing is more expressive and symbolic than concretely political and enjoys a consistent and sizeable constituency, which is blissfully ignorant of the fact that the LTTE think tanks in the Tamil diaspora are now seriously admitting that the LTTE have committed the blunder of getting embroiled with the political undercurrents of Tamil Nadu, especially with the anti-Brahmin strands, thus alienating the influential brahminical elites of the country. This partly explains the sudden enthusiasm the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has found for the Tamil cause and the utmost importance given to it by certain proHindutva editors and journalists.

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