at this moment my thoughts and prayers are with Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka’s Karma: Imagine rendering homeless millions of Tamils, destroying their livelihood, killing entire family trees, dividing families, disabling/maiming the population, striking down their homes, systematically ethnic cleansing … how many thousands had to flee this tiny island country for safer havens. Here is an open secret: only Tamils will work, the lazy Sinhalese never can! You remove the Tamils, Sri Lankan economy collapse cannot be prevented. What an enterprising community is the Tamil population. Knowledge factory. Cultural ambassadors. Disciplined and hardworking. Balancing factor. Backbone of the Sri Lankan economy. An intelligent nation will capitalize the Tamil potential to full advantage. They are such a support system. A state of emergency has been declared in Sri Lanka. Humanity is suffering. My heart goes out to the aam aadmi in the elephant country. Prayers for the Tamil Sinhalese communities to stay united and come out of this crisis in better shape. With love from India.
Horrendous stories coming out of Sri Lanka. So near, yet so far. No I haven’t yet set foot in the island nation – i mean barring a dozen times I switched flights there whenever I flew Sri Lankan Airlines. So my foray into the country is limited to mere Colombo airport. No power, food prices soaring thousands of times higher, essential provisions and groceries no more affordable, school final examinations postponed for lack of stationary among other reasons, no oil and gas, no transport, no medical service, public utilities shut down, etc., etc. What about the Sri Lankan currency. Rajapakse – the one man to blame, sold Sri Lanka to China and even we in India are surprised, this doomsday has arrived a bit too early than expected. Common man is suffering. The issue is, when as a Thamizh I write on Sri Lanka, I could be suspected of not being neutral. I have no prejudice in the matter really. We in Tamil Nadu resented the thoughtless Rajiv Gandhi assassination, but except for handful of plotters, rest of the island Tamils had no connection with it all. The massive ethnic cleansing of Tamils that took place has shaken us totally because, we are right here separated by a strip of sea watching helplessly what is going on there. The remaining few Tamils are not happy. They are hit the hardest. To thwart India, Rajapakse played right into the hands of China. India is the big brother. May be bossy, but will NEVER HARM the SAARC countries, as simple as that. For this majority Hindu nation, Akaand Bharat comprised of the Saarc countries even if they have fallen apart from us over time. We still hold a moral responsibility toward these nations. Sri Lankan nightmare started with Hambantota port that is now entirely Chinese owned. Too late for the country to make amends. I have never and will never support extremist organizations. Still the way the slain Tamil leader’s young son was shot at point blank by the Sri Lankan army has a lot to say on human rights violation in the country. The boy was mere 7 years of age. To offset India, Sri Lanka joined hands with Pakistan and China. It is China that is most nefarious. The debt trap for Sri Lanka was so very carefully laid. It will be mammoth task to undo it. Can India step in: Where Chinese presence is there, India will move with caution and patience. Guess, India is already helping. Now in times of crises like these, the Sinhalese will realize how blood is thicker than water. With India, the Sri Lankans whether Sinhalese or the Tamils, have the historic umbilical cord connection that cannot be severed for eternity. We are culturally bonded, racially the same. What is Hindu Dharma without Ravana’s Sri Lanka. Where is China in all this.
Sri Lanka must be a warning to other SAARC countries such as Pakistan, Nepal, Maldives, Bangladesh and Bhutan on perils of getting entangled with China. Pakistan can forget Gwadar and the tract leading to the port city. Their own citizens must be personas-no-grata already in the region! Pakistan will see debt rising very soon and currency becoming worthless.
Nepal is the other jealous neighbour we have. The Himalayan kingdom landlocked with access only from India and China will learn a lesson like Sri Lanka in near future. Nepal still has the time to climb out of the debt trap. Bangladesh too. Bangladesh is not yet however that much committed to China, because Bangladesh trusts India basically and that could be a life saver for the Bengalis. Maldives is also courting China and will be facing consequences far sooner than we may expect. Bhutan is generally India-friendly. We will have to wait and watch.
The current Sri Lankan scenario must be ringing the alarm bells already in Saarc capitals.
As for Pakistan, Imran Khan is still a man I respect even if he has made a complete fool of himself over time. He is clearly unfit, incompetent, and is not cut out for politics. He did handle things bad perhaps. From India vantage point it suits us!!! But he has been verbal against India (in UN etc.,) (except for in very recent times). All that cannot negate what he did for his country as a gentleman cricketer: from founding their first ever cancer hospital. I understand it is a super. I was a great fan of his and my husband is still his huge fan. He recalls the day he watched Imran bowl in Chepauk cricket ground in good old Madras as a spectator in the crowd. The masses erupted and applauded for the wickets he took not for the India batting he says. Of course politics is a different ball game altogether. But the love we feel for Imran is still there. Politics is a sewer. It must be left to dogs. Imran must have realized this by now. Hopefully he comes to no damage once he leaves office. We in India fear for his life (i mean we middle class Indians!). The alternatives to Imran Khan do not appear attractive.
Around us is this chaos. India is still sailing smooth. You open social media: you see how the communists and leftists and liberals are commenting on our PM Modi ji. However even they know, we are okay so far because the captain who is steering this big vessel called India in rough waters is Shri Narendra Modi ji. He does what is best for the country. The quantum of loans he has paid back to the international lenders like IMF! The debts he has cleared for India. How he has overhauled as much as possible the Indian economy bringing everyone under tax net. You just cannot hide – or hide with success for long – in India now. He has streamlined processes, regularized everything and has made everyone accountable. GST! This is what I love about him most. There will always be a collateral, who is denying. I know Modi ji is a tough bargainer and he gets us Indians the best deal in every front. His life is devoted to India. Enormous respects for this selfless man who lives and breathes only for Bharat Matha. Even his critics have to give him that. As a citizen of India, I feel safest and securest when India is under the tutelage of Modi ji. As an NRI I realize how better we are treated and the added respect and recognition that have come our way. Diplomacy, thy other name is Modi. How he handled the gulf crises with UAE, Saudi and my second home – only we know. Never antagonized any arab country but got them do everything for us. In this moment, I have to think about Smt Sushma Swaraj, the lion lady who personally engaged in diplomacy with the oil states.
But India’s stability to a large extent relies on the equilibrium we have in our neighbouring/SAARC countries. Their economies have to flourish for them not to disturb us! India is a very strong and reliable ally. Unfortunately we are denied an engaging role to play in each of the SAARC countries for fear of our hegemony. India can play a constructive role as we did in Afghanistan. Our work speaks for us. After the US forces left, we are still remembered. Nothing goes to waste. I can never imagine India behave like the Merchant of Venice (aka China). Sri Lanka is now waking up to this hometruth. India is willing and waiting to invest in all SAARC countries. Let us grow and prosper together!