Those words say a great deal about how well Mr. S.J.V Chelvanayakam gauged the plight of his people. Samuel James Veluppillai Chelvanayakam (SJV) entered politics by joining the All Ceylon Tamil Congress (ACTC). In 1947 SJV got elected to represent Kankesanthurai (KKS) Electorate following the parliamentary elections. “Thanthai Chelva” as he was known, a beloved figure to Tamils and perhaps the most misunderstood politician of our time. He was sometimes compared to Mahatma Gandhi due to his reliance on nonviolence and, even at the end of his life, his commitment to use only peaceful means to achieve his political ends.
Past rulers of Sri Lanka had a golden opportunity to solve the ethnic problem when SJV as undisputed leader of the Tamil speaking minorities was holding olive branch. His proposal to devolve power to the Tamil speaking North East region of the country was scorned off by the state and painted him as a separatist. Lack of farsightedness of the Sinhala majority biased rulers and their actions caused an uprising that led to bloody civil war lasing thirty years which ruined the country.
From pre-independence days Sinhala legislators have failed to acknowledge the legitimate right of the minority Tamils for self-determination. After demise of SJV in 1977 successive rulers continued with the policy of discrimination against the economic and ethnic minorities in the country which led to three uprisings. State retaliated with force suppressing the two southern uprisings by economic minorities by massacring them with brutal force. The third uprising was ethnic biased and from north east that led the country to a civil war that dragged on for thirty years draining the resources of the country. The uprising which came about to counter the state terrorism unleashed on the Tamils was itself classified as terrorism by the state and finally halted in May 2009 with the assistance of many foreign governments with carnage never witnessed before in the history on the country. In 2013 a leading press in its editorial referred to SJV Chelvanayakam as “that original unadulterated Tamil racist” and “that arch original racist bigot.” A state-owned paper to carry such outburst reflected the mood of the then regime with its apathy to resolve the ethnic problem and honesty about winning the hearts and minds of the Tamils.
At present there is a National Government in power which with all its short comings is endeavoring to put the country on the right path by following the teachings of Lord Buddha.
Today not just the Tamils but the whole nation is living in hope with the visionary statement of “Thanthai Chelva” “Only God can save us”.