Matters that should be considered by the Muslim leadership
By Niraj David
Point of View
The Daily Mirror
Wednesday, October 22, 2003
Presently, there is widespread expressions and sentiments
regarding the distressing situations of the Muslims
driven out of Jaffna, and the imperative need for their
re-settlement in their traditional habitat. Discussions
have now become a matter of routine in a political sense.
The mid-nineties saw a wide cleavage in Tamil – Muslim
relationships resulting in the driving out of the Muslims
from the north; there can be no doubt about their re-
settlement. But, at the same time, during the same
period, the Eastern Province too witnessed similar
events; the Tamils living in their traditional regions
too were driven out of their homes by Muslims:
displacement to other areas etc. In that context, there
is the necessity to take into consideration the plight of
such displaced Tamils too to be re-settled in their areas
earlier occupied by them.
Eelam War II set in motion a calculated series of
aggressive attacks by the Shri Lankan Security Forces
against the Tamils of the Eastern province. The process
of genocide of the Tamils’ or the ‘De-reliction of the
Tamils’ by the Security forces received the active
support from both the Muslim militancy as well as the
Muslim politicians. In particular, Ampara District which
had a permanent and long-standing Tamil population of
thousands of families, were subjected to all forms of
violence by both the Muslim hooligans and Muslim Home
When I refer to the word ‘Muslims’, it undoubtedly refers
specifically attributed to the destructive activities by
Muslim Home Guards, Muslim Hooligans and the Muslim
politicians. By this process, they ensured the compulsory
displacement of the Tamils from their traditional habitat
and to strengthen their own positions with ulterior
motives. The fact that the security forces went on the
rampage in Tamil regions in the Ampara District paved the
way for the Muslim forces to plan and carry out
calculated activities to achieve their objectives.
In the process of destruction directed against the
Tamils, the community lost a number of the educated Tamil
intelligentsia. Several Hindu Temples were set on fire
and destroyed. The Tamils lost all their belongings
including houses, agricultural lands, movable and
immovable properties. They were compelled to vacate their
traditional villages and move out to safer areas.
The Muslims who acquired both political as well as
economic strengths utilized the terrific war situation to
establish and seize by force a political platform to suit
their needs. Result: Ampara District, portions of which
were once under Tamil regimes over a period of
traditional occupation with a proud heritage overnight
became alien property. Hindu Temples with centuries-old
heritage, which contributed to their moral and religious
ways of life, were destroyed completely leaving no
traces. Tamil villages in the District such as Palamunai,
Panama, Meem Odai Kaddu, Oluvil, Nintawr, Samnlanthurai,
Karavalupattu, Deegavapi, Maanthoddam, Kondavedduva,
Poorani, Chemmanilwlam, Thangavelauthaplram,
Udumpankulam, are strange lands to the Tamil community
having been converted to Muslim areas. Moreover, other
Tamil villages with a preponderant Tamil population,
namely, Addapallam, Chavalakadai, Thiraaikemi,
Sorrikalmunai, Veeracholai are nay facing eminent dangers
of being engulfed by Muslims using their political and
economic machinations. All forms of destructive
activities directed by the security forces against the
Tamil community as well as their economic targets, paved
the way for the Muslims to reap the harvest and
strengthen their position. Tamils were murdered
systematically on a planned basis. The remaining Tamils
were strangled economically with no prospects of carrying
out farming activities, marketing their produce or even
moving freely without fear. The sole objective was to
drive out the remaining Tamils from their villages. For
that purpose, it was calculated to erase out their
heritage which came under the umbrella of ‘Hindu
Worship’. Destructive activities were directed against
the Hindu Temples in all the villages. Here are a few
Sammanthurai – Kali Amman Temple destroyed by the Muslism
Karaitivu – Kannaki Amman Temple damaged by the Muslism
who accompanied the forces.
Addaipallam – Meenachchi Amman Temple damaged by the
Muslims during the same period.
Karavalu – A village in close proximity to Kalmunai – An
ancient Kali Kovil completely destroyed by Muslims. At
present, a Mosque stands at that – place.
Meen Odai Kaddu – Pillaiyar Temple completely destroyed
by Muslims. Muslim community settled at that site.
Oddamavadi – Batticaloa District – Pillaiyar Temple taken
over forcibly by Muslim. A Beef Stall stands there now.
The Tamils of Ampara are deeply grieved over the several
instances of the destructions caused to their places of
worship as well as other horrendous acts of violence
caused to their kith and kin. Here is an unforgettable
incident: In 1990, Nintavur village was rounded up by the
security forces and Muslim Home Guards; 64 youths males
and females were taken to the Nintavur Murugan Temple.
They were slain and shot. Those killed and the groaning
lot were set on fire along with the temple. The strro1ge
thing is that there is no trace of the existence of a
temple at that site which was once a recognised place of
worship. This area, is now one where no Tamils can go
into it and it is now a Muslim region.
Tiraikerui – An incident of aggression by Muslim
hooligans in 1990. Muslim Hooligans armed with swords and
knives entered the village and terrified the villagere.
They sough t refuge in their village Pillaiyar Temple.
The hooligans after damaging the temple entrance door
attacked the helpless victims using their destructive
weapons and after they were killed set the temple on
Veeramunai – During the same time, refugees who were
accomodated in the Pillaiyar Temple; they were rounded up
by the Security forces and the Muslim Home Guards.
They selected the educated and the well-built youths
numbering 85, took them inside the temple premises; they
were slain and Shot by the Muslim Home Guards.
This particular incident took place in the presence of
the relatives of those killed – When the security forces
were simply watching While the Muslim Home Guards
performed these horrible murders. Ampara Tamils often
tell such similar stories through their experiences.
The Tamils of these regions did not have the courage and
the strength to fight the politically strong Muslim
leadership who gave all the help and assistance to the
Muslim, Home Guards and the hooligans to carry out their
plans to destroy the Tamils, the reason being that the
remaining Tamils were economically bad as they were
victims in every sense; and more so because their
children were drawn into the liberation struggle which
compelled them to remain silent spectators. The fact is,
the prevailing situation at that time made them a
complete helpless lot unable to voice their sentiments.
There is yet another situation. There were cries for
‘separate Muslim region’and ‘Maritime Muslim District’
from the strong Muslim political Leadership. They were
not only participant in a Government; but also held
positions to make or unmake governments. With that
strength, they were able to voice their sentiments and
make loud their slogans to receive the active support of
the government of the day. The Tamils of the region were
politically bankrupt with no representation; hence their
grievances could not be spotlighted. The Rights of the
Tamils were not only denied nut also prevented for the
very same reasons.
It was the usual practice of the local politicos to
release some reports for the sake of doing it; while
waiting for the next opportunity to receive their favours
from the government of the day. There seems to be no
efforts on their part to launch a struggle with peoples’
support or to expose the atrocities to the outside world;
their hands were tied and also tight-lipped.
There is also no record of any effort by anyone to
spotlight the destructions caused to Hindu Temples by the
Muslims to the notice of organisations like the Indian
‘Vishva Hindu Parishad’, and cause embarrassment to those
concerned as well is the Shri Lankan Govt.
They simply remained silent knowing fully well that their
voices will not be heard; they were concerned only for
their own survival. The only philosophy preached by them
was’ God will root out’.
We hear of various slogans like: ‘ Muslims of the North
should be re-settled traditional, lands taken by force to
be handed over to the owners ‘ – are often heard from
both Muslim leadership and reasonable Tamil leaderships.
In that context, it becomes imperative that the cause of
the Ampara District Tamils too should be spotlighted on a
similar footing. With the on-going war situation over a
length of time, the Ampara Tamils who were subjected to
all sorts of inhumane and atrocious activities have
suffered immense hardships. Their traditional lands too
were secured either by force or malicious means by
Muslims. Such lands too should be handed over to these
who occupied them.
Summarising the siutation of the Ampara Tamils, the
under-mentioned matters should be considered:
1. Traditional lands of those occupied by them prior to
the war and subsequently taken by force by the Muslims
should be handed over back to the owners.
2. Hindu Temples destroyed should be re-constructed.
3. Those areas which housed the Hindu Temples and
presently colonised by Muslims should be freed.
4. Those involved in violent activities directed against
the Tamils should be identified and brought before Courts
for meeting justice.
5. Affected victims should be adequately compensated
taking into account their losses and their extent.
6. Regions which have majority Muslim population with a
minority, Tamil population should be adequately provided
with a trusted security system so as to afford protection
to the life and the households of the minority Tamils.
7. We are the sole representatives of the Muslims. – if
the Shri Lanka Muslim Congress is sincere about this
slogan, and, as they are partners of the Government, they
should come forward and strive to give effect to the
above – mentioned matters.
Panchaang for 29 Ashvin 5104, Friday, October 24, 2003:
Shubhanu Nama Samvatsare Dakshinaya Jeevan Ritau
Tula Mase Krishna Pakshe Shukr Vasara Yuktayam
Chitra Nakshatr Vishakumbh Yog
Shakuni-Naag Karan Chaturdashi-Amavasya Yam Tithau
Hindu Holocaust Museum
The truth about Islam and Muslims
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original Hindi here
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Political life of Jayalalitha’s ups and downs, her death and funeral on the late night of December 5 have redefined the political and social life of the state. If the cinema had engraved a part of Jayalalitha’s multi-faceted personality, then the Dravidian movement was based on her political philosophy, whose objective was totally opposed to Hindu-Hindi-North Indians. The bottom line of this movement was that Tamil Nadu’s main identity is not Hindu but Dravid and Brahminism symbolizes slavery. According to this philosophy, it is necessary for any Tamil person to establish his identity, not only to distance from Hindu homogeneity, but also to hush against hate and hostility towards him. Jayalalitha’s political and social life was the result of this poisonous fruit, But his life and attitude were exactly opposite to the ideological philosophy of the Dravid movement. It is fine that Jayalalitha’s cremation was buried instead of Vedic customs. It may be remembered that the body of the other Dravid leaders including the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and M.G.R. MGR was buried, but the difference in the case of Jayalalitha was that before the burial of his dead body a Brahmin priest was performing rituals with the entire legislation. .
In fact the Dravidian movement was established as a part of the East India Company’s imperialist agenda. Either the British Empire started its roots in India after winning the Battle of Plassey in 1757, But in 1647, the arrival of the European Christian missionary was done with the arrival of St. George’s Fort, located in Madras (Chennai) of English Chaplain. A paragraph was added in the charter of East India Company in 1698 that Chaplain learn the local language of India so that he can understand ‘Pagan’ Indians as a Christian doctrine. Under the pressure of the Church in 1813, the disputed section was added to the charter of the East India Company, which led to the promotion of Christianity in India by the British priests and missionaries. In the Revolution of 1857, India’s newly interchangeed Christian society was completely opposed to independence and stood with the British. Initially Christian missionaries tried to convert the Brahmin and the educated classes into the Hindu community, but they did not get success in it. After this, in the 19th century, they were neglected, exploited and disadvantaged sections of Hindus who today are called Dalits, Focused on During this period, the sense of independence in the whole country including South India had reinforced. In the preservation of British rulers in the year 1917, the South Indian Liberal Federation and Justice Party were formed with the aim of uniting non-Brahmins.
Justice Party, which later became known as Dravid Kadgam, had fully supported the massacre by the British in the Jallianwala Bagh Kand on April 13, 1919. In the same background, EVR Nayakar started the self-respecting movement (Dravid movement) in 1925, whose original purpose was to oppose Hindu-Hindi and North Indians in the name of inequality. By the time the Nayakar came to power in 1940, the Muslim Muslim League demanded a separate nation called Dravida Nadu, demanding Pakistan’s demand. In the political philosophy of the Dravidian movement, there was a sense of hatred and animosity towards Brahminism, Hindi and North Indians, But the opposite of the philosophy of Jayalalitha’s birth in the same ideology and the powerful leader of AIADMK and the birth of Jayalalithaa born in the Brahmin family and the movement of life movement. He was a complete Hindu follower and believed in all the methods related to rituals and rituals. They used to worship Rahu-Ketu in the Shrikalahasti temple in Andhra Pradesh. Lord Venkateswara Swamy used to visit regularly in the Tirumala Temple and Padmavati temple. Even after the roots of the Dravidian movement were strong, ‘Hindu’ Jayalalithaa won the assembly elections of Tamil Nadu four times in three decades of political life and became Chief Minister of the state six times.
Was the agenda of EVR Nayakar and Dravid Kadgam inspired by atheistic philosophy or against Hindu opposition and India’s opposition? Their entire movement in the name of superstitious and prevalent society in the name of Hindu philosophy, He used to rattle his tradition and rituals. The question of the question is whether such distortions are limited to Hindu society only? Is Islam and Christian religion totally innocent? After all, why did the Dravidian movement not discuss the misdeeds of Islam and Christian religion? Perhaps late Jayalalitha understood this contradiction and separated her political and personal life from the philosophy of Dravid movement.
After the death of Jayalalitha, the leadership of Tamil Nadu o Panneerselvam are doing Conflicts have started between Chief Minister Ponnarselvam and Shashikala within the party. The kind of political emptiness that has come in AIADMK after the visit of Amma will have a profound effect in the future of the state and the politics of the state. In the 16th Lok Sabha, AIADMK is the third largest party with 37 seats, While there are 11 members in the Rajya Sabha. In the absence of Jayalalitha, GST, President and Vice Presidential election is the main challenge before the center of the sharing of Kaveri river and in addition to the Mullaperiyar dam, in which AIADMK’s role is important.
Today, opposing Hindu and national language Hindi in Tamil Nadu is negligible. The ordinary Tamil people of the state believe in God and rituals in the same way as they are kept in any other part of the country. The idea of Dravid Kadgam, in the DMK, which is from the womb, has no strong malice towards Hindu philosophy, Like it used to be before. If this change has come in this state of south India, then surely it will be Jayalalitha only. He has repeatedly proved by winning the election that continuous insult of the country’s eternal pluralistic culture is only a loss deal. It is expected that Tamil Nadu politics will remain free from the religious and divisive agenda of the British in the future.
Acute labour shortage is a common refrain heard from all sectors of the Tamil Nadu (TN) economy – from industrialists, construction companies, cultivators, retailers, restaurant owners – and the issue has taken such large proportions so as to affect fresh investments into the state. At the first brush, it stretches one’s belief to hear about a labour shortage in a state with a population of over 7.7 crore.
To put in perspective, TN would be among the top 20 populous countries in the world if it were a separate country. So where are all these people? And is this problem unique to TN? Are other industrialised states like Maharashtra, Gujarat and Karnataka also facing the same issue? An analysis of the composition of TN’s population, along with key reasons for the shortage at sectoral and policy levels, throw up some interesting insights.
Composition of the Population
As a first step, let us take a closer look at the composition of TN’s population. The total population of TN as on 2016 is estimated to be about 7.7 crore. Of this, about two crore are children below 15 years of age, and about 50 lakh are above 60 years of age, leaving them out of the labour market. That is about 32 per cent of the state’s population, which compares favourably with the national average of 34 per cent.
Of the remaining 5.2 crore (aged 15-59, comprising men and women equally split), about 1.75 crore are women who voluntarily do not enter the labour market.
This again compares slightly favourably with the national average, where over two-thirds of the female population do not enter the labour market. That leaves the size of the “worker” population in TN at about 3.45 crore or 45 per cent of the state’s population. The corresponding figure for all India is about 40 per cent, the difference arising on account of slower population growth in TN (and hence lower share of <15 years) and slightly higher women participation in the TN workforce.
So, in spite of having a larger share of the population as workforce, why does TN face an acute labour shortage, which is not very commonly observed in other states?
Before we hazard a guess on the reasons, a closer look at the composition of the workforce is necessary.
Composition of the Workforce
Of the 3.45 crore large workforce in TN, 40 lakh are cultivators (i.e., with own land) and one crore are agricultural labourers (including farm labour, fisheries and animal husbandry), together accounting for 40 per cent of the state’s labour force.
Of the remaining approximately two crore large workforce, the top three sectors are ‘Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises’ (MSMEs), construction sector and retailing, all three being almost entirely unorganised. As of date, about 65 lakh are employed in MSMEs, 40 lakh are employed as construction labourers and about 30 lakh are employed in the retailing sector. These numbers are based on TN government data for the first two, and industry estimates for the last.
As per Census data, about 15 lakh are employed in the public sector, and a minuscule 10 lakh are employed in the organised private sector. The all-India figures (two crore and 1.7 crore respectively in public and organised private sectors) compare well with the reported numbers in TN, based on its share of the population to that of the country.
The official data of unemployed labour is about eight lakh, and the remaining 30-35 lakh are spread across various sectors including self-employed (plumbers, carpenters,maids, drivers, masons, cooks), migrant labour and others.
Based on historical data, as well as peer states’ comparison, there is an active movement of the workforce from agricultural labour towards MSMEs, construction, retail and self-employment, as evidenced by share of agricultural labour to total workforce vis-à-vis the national average.
This is a positive development for the long-term growth of the state. However, certain extraneous factors that are unique to TN are impacting this transition, thereby resulting in labour shortage.
a) Alcoholism – About one crore people in TN are daily consumers of liquor as per independent studies. This is about 30 per cent of the total workforce of the state. Such daily consumption has a direct impact on the ability of the person to work effectively either in an organisation or being self-employed.
The widespread availability of liquor through TASMAC with its 6,800 retail outlets, which is the highest among comparable states like Andhra (4,000 outlets), Maharashtra (6,000 outlets for a 50 per cent higher population) and Karnataka (4,000 outlets) could be attributed to such high degree of alcoholism. Government’s dependence on this source of revenue has resulted in stiff growth targets for TASMAC, which in turn results in extended working hours, minimal holidays, shops in prime locations, etc. to meet these targets. The unintended consequences of this on labour availability could have a long-term adverse impact on the economy of the state.
b) Freebies – TN is among the pioneers to devise innovative freebie schemes for almost every section of the population (“from the cradle to the grave” to use a popular phrase used during elections). Ironically, these freebies are enabled by the healthy revenue collection from alcohol taxes (over Rs 30,000 crore is collected as taxes from alcohol every year by TN, by far the highest in the country). Such freebies, while intended to act as safety nets, also has the unintended consequence of reducing the motivation to seek regular employment. Top freebie schemes include canteens (that serves cooked food for approximately Rs 18 per day for all three meals), 20 kg free food grains, free home appliances, laptops, bicycles, free clothing for BPL families, etc.
c) MNREGA (Though this is not a freebie but, given the work expected for the wages paid, it resembles one.) This has resulted in labour shortage across several states. But given that already the share of agricultural labour is lower in TN than the national average, the impact of this has been severe in TN. Over 60 lakh beneficiaries availed MNREGA in TN against a total primary sector workforce of 140 lakh, a whopping 40 per cent share. Such a large share of workforce diverted from agricultural labour for at least 100 days in a year has a significant impact on the labour availability across rural TN.
The other (intended) consequence is that MNREGA has set the wage bar at much higher levels. As MNREGA assures Rs 200 per day in TN for minimal work, the expectations for farm work or other industrial casual labour is at least Rs 300 per day, and even goes up to Rs 450 per day or more during peak seasons. Cultivators and other employers who cannot afford these daily rates end up either mechanising the work or seek temporary migrant labour to get the work done.
d) High Urbanisation – TN is among the most urbanised large state in the country with over 48 per cent of the population living in urban areas (as against 31 per cent all-India average, 33 per cent in AP, 38 per cent in Karnataka, 42 per cent in Gujarat and 45 per cent in Maharashtra).
Such a high degree of urbanisation results in higher labour demand from labour-intensive sectors such as construction and retail, as well as more self-employment opportunities than their rural counterparts. However, the pace of transition from agriculture (which is entirely rural) to construction/retail/MSMEs (which are mostly urban) have not kept pace with the rate of urbanisation, leading to a shortage of labour in many urban centres across the state.
Besides the above, several other qualitative parameters such as micro-market demand-supply mismatch, the mismatch between education and job opportunities, the widespread presumption of low-esteem among youth for jobs in agri/construction sector, etc. also adds to the labour shortage.
To conclude, the labour situation in TN is very delicately poised with various segments of the economy competing for a limited pie. At the same time, extraneous (and eminently addressable) factors such as alcoholism, freebies and MNREGA are nibbling away at the availability of this workforce, resulting in large-scale inward migration of labour from far flung areas such as Bihar, UP, North East and even Nepal.
As most such migrant labours tend to be available for a short duration (18 months on an average), long-term investments cannot be made with the presumption of availability of migrant labour. There is an urgent need to do further research on this subject, and also take policy measures to address these extraneous factors.