Tiger tales from TN

In a land ruled successively by actors, actresses, poets, script-writers and the like there would naturally be no shortage of stories. While many tales, from fast-paced thrillers to family tear-jerkers get played out here with official patronage, the Tiger Tales would rank as an evergreen chart buster. One such plot has unfolded again.

Synopsis of the story thus far: Once upon a time there lived a Congress leader called Rajiv Gandhi in India. He was killed in 1991 by an alien terrorist outfit, LTTE, whose leader Prabakaran now stands convicted by the Indian courts for ordering the assassination. Cut to 2007. The said Prabakaran’s closest co-militant Tamilselvam is killed last week by the Sri Lankan army. TN’s Chief Minister writes a poetic requiem as homage to him in his official capacity. Incidentally, the CM is also the closest ally of the ruling Congress, headed by Sonia Gandhi, widow of the same Rajiv Gandhi, who was killed …

While blood-letting on TN soil by the LTTE stopped with Rajiv’s death, a lot of murky political waters has flowed instead during these sixteen years. The alliances and political postures of today are an utter perversion of not just the ‘stated’ convictions of the various players over the years, but also of national security and honour. Indeed, it is a sheer coincidence, albeit shameful, that the SC has on Nov 6, ie, within a few days of Tamilselvan’s killing, pulled up the CBI for not completing its probe into the assassination of the former PM. While a few hands that actually felled Rajiv have been convicted, the real masterminds and facilitators remain free, some in power too. And the truth about the conspiracy seems to have joined Rajiv in the grave. Really, K’s poem and the politics over it are a mockery of Rajiv’s tragic tale.

But what else can one expect of the Kalaingar? Not just tigers but tiger-riders too never change their stripes. The Jain Commission in its interim report said this of K and his DMK regime of 1989-91: ‘..the conclusion is irresistible that there was tacit support to the LTTE by Shri M.Karunanidhi and his Government and law encorcement agencies. The charge is that such anti-national elements were allowed to grow tacitly unchecked and unabated undermining the national security, with such roots in the soil of Tamil Nadu, so that they may be able to execute any plan of assassination…’. The CM’s poetic excess only proves that such ‘tacit support’ has not waned over the years but is intact. And we all know what a slot in the CM’s heart can achieve. Indeed, the time looks ripe for the LTTE to resume its bloody services in TN. In fact, the Sri Lankan regime has already complained that our coastlines are swarming with Tigers. But K wouldn’t care a trifle, wiser as he is by experience, courtesy, the Rajiv case. He knows none can touch him for extending ‘moral support’ to fellow Tamils even if it leads to real-time terror! In any case, a sympathetic mind does not leave behind fingerprints for the law to track and trace! The cross-border poetic exchanges can go on without a break.

However, to K, Rajiv was a nobody; in any case, not as important as Sonia is today. But to Congmen he was their beloved leader, the son of Indira and grandson of Chachcha. And to Sonia, he was more than all that. Yet, the Congmen of today and Sonia herself have made bold to shelve all such political and personal affections and affinities, just to remain in power. The burden of Justice Jain’s report is that K and the DMK created a situation that was conducive for the LTTE to assassinate Rajiv. Jain never said K was a conspirator. But the Congmen did. They made such and more serious accusations in public, in Parliament and even before Inquiry Commissions. They pulled down the UF government in 1997 only because the DMK stood ‘indicted’ by Jain’s interim report. And when the NDA government in 1998 formed the Multi-Disciplinary Monitoring Agency to follow up on Jain’s findings, a high-level Cong delegation met Home Minister Advani just to insist that K must be thoroughly investigated and proceeded against, if necessary. The memo submitted by that delegation also argued that the then DMK government should not be trusted at any cost! Is the DMK trustworthy now on that count?

With K cocking a poetic snook at the Congress vis-a-vis LTTE, should not Sonia’s party revive itself from the self-imposed amnesia? All the more because the Congress is now a ruling party too vested with the job of guarding national security? The LTTE still remains a banned organisation here. And it is no fan of India either. The slain Tamilselvan was no peacenik but a hardcore militant and a close confidant of Prabakaran, Rajiv’s killer according to Indian law. The Indian government should logically be moving every stone to secure as many of the leaders of that outfit as possible. Instead its own constituents are singing paeans to it. And the lead party is powerless to even raise a whimper of protest let alone act decisively. May be, the silent sphinx and her spineless crowd think they owe a greater debt to K than to the late but unlamented R? Or is it that the Saint and Sacrificer par excellence has, besides forgetting Rajiv, forgiven the LTTE too, along with K? Looks so b’cos K and LTTE are inseparable emotional twins joined at the heart, two lines of the same verse! If K is in the clear, so should the LTTE be. Surprising why Sonia’s Cong has not sent a wreath to match the poem!

No Tiger Tale would be complete without mention of the most prolific tiger-rider, Vaiko. He is back in jail busy trying to figure out why poems are fine but propoganda and protests are a sin. He may be a sheep in tiger skin but he has vowed not to let the cover slip. Now, that should put his present political partner J in a fix. Having earned a reputation as a tiger-hunter, rearing a semi-tiger in her own backyard does not jell. But can she pretend that she did not know of Vaiko’s proclivities? After all she was the one who put him in jail under POTA for over 18 months for identical reasons. To argue that K’s crime is bigger than V’s because the latter does not hold any constitutional office is pure political jugglery. Really, every politico is a potential power wielder. If V were to be in K’s position, he may not be writing poems, but shuttling across the Palk Straits.

Indeed, playing tiger politics is a passionate pastime in this once-bitten-never-shy nation. So why not formalise the whole thing by making, say, Nedumaran India’s envoy in Prabakaran’s court in the thickets of Jaffna? Those clandestine boat-rides are getting a bit too dangerous with choppy waters and stray bullets all around! He can surely do with some official escort! And that would be poetic justice, too!

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Jawahar T R