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Maheswaran

The Forgotten Hero

by Arvalan, January 9, 2008

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

Martin Luther King Jr.

2008 dawned with the news that another Tamil Member of Parliament (MP) has been assassinated at a Hindu temple in broad day light, ostensibly by the Sri Lankan government sponsored paramilitary group. 

That was Late Hon T. Maheswaran.

  • The man who represented the interests of the Tamil people in and outside the Sri lankan parliament
  • The man who was not afraid to vote against many anti Tamil bills and acts, defying his party orders, whilst the Tamil Nationalistic MP’s  were “absent”.
  • The man who was capable of articulating the plight of the Tamils in Sinhala, both inside and outside the parliament
  • The man who was prepared to fight for the rights of the innocent Tamils detained by the defence authorities, in front of the detention centres and even prepared to march towards the presidential palace.
  • The man who voted against the government in the recent budget debate, despite being threatened not to do so, unlike some of the Tamil Nationalistic MP’s who were “absent during the vote.
  • The man who was elected to parliament twice, once from the Tamil heartland of Jaffna and then from the capital Colombo. A unique achieve in Tamil political history.
T Maheswaran Jan 19 2003 Thondamanaru Sellasannithi Murugan Temple Jaffna
Thondamanaru Sellasannithi Murugan Temple , Jaffna, January 19, 2003. picture courtesy TamilNet

 

To my astonishment the expatriate Tamil community, failed to publicly mourn and remember the life of Maheswaran in the same way they mourned and remembered Hon. Joseph Pararajasingham and Hon. Raviraj.

There was

• No memorial meetings held,
• No eulogies written,
• No special programs in radio or TV
• No petitions prepared
• No appeals made to the international community
• No Tamil MP’s rioting inside the parliament

Is that because

  • Maheswaran was elected from the Sinhalese nationalist UNP not from the Tamil nationalist TNA?
  • It takes a brave heart to be elected from a UNP platform and be the voice of the long suffering Tamil people.  How many former Tamil MP’s elected from UNP has been able to raise the voice for the Tamil people?
  • Tigers didn’t bestow him with a marmanithar award and thaialvar didn’t write a eulogy?
    Tigers have their own protocol in determining the awards.  That shouldn’t stop the expatriate community from remembering an MP who served for the Tamil people.
  • He was a wealthy businessman and not an “educated” professional?
    Tamil community undervalues entrepreneurship. It is this attitude which is hampering our lobbying effort in the western world, as we do not have any significant financial muscle to financially support political campaigns.
  • He didn’t take part in the Pongu Thamizh rallies?
    At least he is not a Chandrasekaran who took the tigers and tamil nationalism for a ride.

Hon T. Maheswaran is a true Tamil nationalist as he is a

• Supreme human, who stood up for the oppressed and sacrificed his comfortable life to serve the Tamil community
• Brave patriot who risked his life to give voice for the people of his occupied nation

Maheswaran’s life is a testimony that

  • Tamil nationalism need to embrace all activists who have served its cause.
  • The “problem of the other” (Barak Obama quote) in Sri Lanka is not just between the Tamils and Sinhalese, but between Tamils and Tamils as well.

May your soul rest in peace