Insight into South Asia

Burma, China and Sri Lanka – The lessons

If you are wondering whats so common between these three Asian nations – well firstly, the religion Buddhism binds the heritage of these three nations. Secondly -all the three nations have been facing internal resistance and have used force to contain them for the past fifty plus years.  Its an irony that the religion of peace, has not imparted peace in the minds of its followers in these nations. While Dalai Lama – in the name of Buddhism, is fighting for the freedom of Tibet from China through peaceful methods, Burma has been using violence to quell internal disturbances and Sri Lanka is using excessive violence to quell the Tamil resistance. 


Burma’s Junta recently extended the house arrest of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, 61 for another year, defying overwhelming international appeals. Suu Kyi, has spent more than 11 of the past 17 years of life in detention.

Aung San Suu Kyi

The Junta took power in 1988 after crushing pro-democracy demonstrations in Burma. It refused to hand over power when, on May 27, 1990, Suu Kyi’s Burma’s National League for Democracy party won a general election by a landslide.

Suu Kyi won the Rafto Prize and the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 1990 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. In 1992 she was awarded the Jawaharlal Nehru peace prize by the Government of India for her peaceful and non-violent struggle against the military dictatorship. According to the results of the 1990 general election, Suu Kyi as leader of the winning National League for Democracy party earned the right to be the Prime Minister, but her detention by the military Junta prevented just that.The United Nations, the European Union and the U.S. government have been repeatedly calling for the release of Suu Kyi and other political prisoners, as well as for moves toward democracy in Burma.

China – Tibet:

Chinese soldiers and Paramilitary encircled cities and villages in Tibet early this year, on the tip-off about possible unrest on the 50th anniversary of the failed uprising against Chinese rule.

Half a century ago Dalai Lama – the Tibetan spiritual leader fled Tibet after a failed uprising against the Chinese and has been living in Dharamsala, India – the Himalayan hill town that is the seat of the so called Tibetan government-in-exile. Tibetans outside of China and their supporters held rallies around the world recently to mark the 50th anniversary of a failed Tibetan uprising.

Dalai Lama

Meanwhile Dalai Lama acknowledged the “failure” of his policy of talks with Beijing which yielded no results. “Our approach never affects the inside situation. Things are not going well.” he told reporters.

Dalai Lama – The spiritual and political leader for the people of Tibet has been talking about the “cultural genocide” by the Chinese, has been warning that Tibet’s “ancient culture and ancient civilization are now dying.” and painfully confesses that “for the short term, the Tibet issue is hopeless.”

There is a suspicion among foreign analysts of Chinese policy toward Tibet that Beijing has no intention of seriously seeking a solution to the problem and is planning simply to wait for the death of Dalai Lama. His successor, after all, would enjoy none of the international kudos, domestic devotion, or diplomatic experience that gives Dalai Lama his political strength.

Since the last round of talks between top Chinese officials and delegates of Dalai Lama that took place through the year 2002 there appears an impasse. The Chinese side has repeatedly refused the Tibetans’ demands to discuss the outlines of  Tibetan autonomy,calling it a “covert independence” and a violation of Chinese sovereignty.

Sri Lanka – Tamil Eelam:

Tamils – the speakers of an ancient classical language, who have a heritage of rich literature dating back as much as 5000 years old are the native inhabitants of Southern India and North East of Sri Lanka in the present day boundaries of this region. Their struggle for self determination and the establishment of a free state “Tamil Eelam” has been countered by successive heads of the Sri Lankan state. Both peace-full resistance under the leadership of S.J.V.Chelvanayagam and armed resistance under the leadership of V. Pirabakaran have met violent opposition by the Sri Lankan government. 

The plight of the high civilian causalities during the recent offensive and the regular disappearances of internally displaced people from the Intermittent camps remind us of the Nazi days. The “Never Again” slogan seem to have been lost in the rumbles of the “war on terror”. Leaked UN figures state that more than 20,000 Tamil civilians were killed and several thousand injured by the Sri Lankan Army just in the last few days of the war. Several International analysts who have focused on past genocides of the world have warned that the Tamils of Sri Lanka are facing “slow genocide” at the hands of Sri Lankan armed forces and the Sri Lankan government. While the human cost of the Sri Lankan civil war has been extremely high, world leaders were still of the opinion that the Tamils struggle was legitimate, but their use of violence is unacceptable. The casualties of this war has largely been ignored or hidden by world bodies such as UN to avoid the embarrassment of the exposure of the “uncivilized” world. 

Non-violence and Armed struggle

I am wondering, if the world leaders and world bodies seek an end to all armed struggles across the world, do they think that the world is ready to heed to peaceful protests. If so why has there not been any progress or hope for the freedom of Tibetans. Why has there not been any success with the Aung San Suu Kyi’s strugle to bring democracy to Burma?.

Even after 50 years and 17years of struggle Dalai Lama and Aung San Suu Kyi are yet to see any meaningful progress, leave alone a permanent solution. The International Community have been occasionally releasing statements in favor of these two rebel leaders, but carry on their diplomatic missions and trade agreements with China and Burma. The UN has always remained the extended arm of the Security Council members and has done nothing for these two peaceful struggles. 

It makes me conclude that the International Community and the UN are nothing more than empty words. Until they are able to bring a positive outcome to the peaceful struggles in these Asian nations or across the globe, they will not earn the respect of anybody and cannot gain any legitimacy in dictating the means and ways of somebodies struggles towards equality and dignity. Until then, the power to end the miseries of Burma, Tibet & Tamil Eelam rests in the hands of it own people.

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14 Responses

  1. Arun says:

    Dear Author,

    This article is a concise compilation of the undermined history of Asia. These problems have been there for so long, and peaceful protests have been going on for decades, yet nothing happened. In Eelam, when peaceful efforts did not yield results, they took arms, but then all the countries of the world, especially those countries mentioned above joined hands and crushed their rights for freedom.

    Until the battle was raging, every day you heard news. But now, what happened? Everyone forgot about them.

    Your conclusion is absolutely right. It is up to the people of these countries to work together to achieve their freedom.

    As always “Might is Right”.

    Thanks to you for bringing this article. Keep writing. I wish you to continue writing until the world is filled with PEACE.


  2. Nithyananthan says:

    Well narrated comparative scrutiny on three prolonging rebellious situations in three triangular locations in Asia. It narrows-down to show futilities and failures of peaceful non-violent campaigns against tyrannical undemocratic regimes plagued by newly invented doctrines in the name of religion that is contrary to the self-denial philosophy of Buddhism and principles of Democracy. We wish if those who preach non-violence, by their lips and keyboard, read and say some alternatives.
    Mr. Kandhan draws appreciation and thankfulness for his devotion of time in preparing this Analysis. It deserves heartfelt ovation and praise. May God bless you, Kandhan!

  3. Prakash says:

    Wonderfully written article, clarifying governments don’t notice when the struggle is peaceful. Early part of 20th century was spent on wars & everyone wanted peace. There was change all over the air throughout the world.

  4. […] Burma, China and Sri Lanka – The lessons […]

  5. malarthamil says:

    As a tool for struggle, both Violence and Non Violence may fail or win depending on the enemy. The prospects for Ealem is better than Tibet since the enemy is weaker and depends on others for support.

  6. Kevin says:

    So you are trying to ignite racial tension and start wars? look at what the stupids US and EU did in the Balkans, that is what you want to achieve? Blood for blood, you better be ready!

  7. Ronin says:


    Excellent article..You have summed up world realities..

  8. malarthamil says:

    Kindly read this news item. And imagine whether our MPs will sign in hundreds for recognition and establishment of Tamil homeland within the united SriLanka and human rights for Tamils? Who will take initiative. Kanimozhi? Thirumavalavan?

    What is happening in Burma and SrLanka, should be considered as internal matters?


    MPs move Manmohan on Suu Kyi

    NEW DELHI: More than 100 parliamentarians have urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to ask Myanmar to release pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and to hold elections with the widest possible representation. The MPs, in a memorandum to Dr. Singh felt that elections due next year there would lack legitimacy, if Ms. Suu Kyi is barred from contesting.

    The signatories to the appeal include Brinda Karat (CPI-M), Amar Singh (Samajwadi Party), Prakash Javadekar (BJP), Sharad Yadav JD(U), Supriya Sule (NCP), B.S. Gnanadesikan of the Congress and Abani Roy of the RSP.

    Co-convenor of the Indian Parliamentarians’ Forum for Democracy in Burma Sharad Joshi, who initiated the move, wanted India to change its policy towards Myanmar and establish contacts with the people there too.

    • Nithyananthan says:

      Having read currently on-going parliamentary proceedings and secretary’s briefings, I have come to realize that ‘Even if God permits the Pu’saree (Priest) won’t allow’; On the same day 10th inst., the PM was saying something and the FS was saying something opposite to the former.

      Mr. Malarthamil’s quiz puts the ‘Sincerity, Integrity and Credibility’ on test.
      One has already lost the confidence.
      The other wins confidence but though energetic still is young and new to the field; yet depends on how well the one would muster support for such sensitive motion.
      Across the party-lines, I read many senior national figures like Susma Swaraj, Venghaiah Naidu, Rajah, Illangovan and so on, raised voices.
      It’s an opportune time.
      But who is going to highlight the issue and draw attention!
      Thank you! May God bless you!

  9. […] Kalugu This entry was posted on Thursday, June 11th, 2009 and is filed under Opinions. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. « Sri Lanka’s Tamil party seeks demilitarisation of northern parts […]

  10. Excellent article, Kandhan!

    While Buddhism is an integral part of these three rogue states, there is one essential difference. China is a totalitarian communist dictatorship that till some time ago, persecuted all religions, including Buddhists. Burma is run by a barbaric military junta and even the Buddhist monks who protested against the junta were severely persecuted recently.

    Only Sinhala Lanka has the dubious distinction, even among these three rogue states, as the place in which racism, fascism, violence, intolerance, genocide and barbarism receive the whole-hearted backing and support of the Sinhala fascist, pseudo-Buddhist “monks”. Even the Sinhalese Christians are beginning to face intolerance from these “monks” and the goons that they have control over.

    The enlightened soul Gautama Buddha would be shedding tears of blood from his heavenly abode, looking at the shocking depths to which the pseudo-Buddhist “monks” of Sinhala Lanka have descended.

  11. Thev says:

    Well composed article Mr. Kandhan. As you have summed up in this article, these three countries have neither “law and order” nor humanitarian values; an important characteristic of uncivilized nations. As a matter of fact, these countries are not even considered to be “developing” countries since there are only negative development and china may be an exception here. One thing to remember about china is, “it is not a nation but a population” (it rhymes well too, doesn’t it?).

    About china:
    I am just quoting what I have read recently about their economic growth. It reads:
    “…the Chinese economy is a hostage of the foreign international system, but primarily of the American economy. China is incapable of domestic consumption on the order of production. So, when the United States catches cold, China gets pneumonia and that really is an important thing to understand – that China does not have an economy as we understand it in the sense of substantial domestic consumption. The Chinese economy is overwhelmingly export-oriented and therefore China is a hostage to its consumers.”
    Couldn’t be well captured about their unhealthy growth. Too much intervention of the government in its economy IS THE recipe for disaster.

    Sri/Sori State terrorist Lanka:
    This is a country which is about to beat Zimbabwe in every way you can think of. A failed government, outrageous inflation, no prospect for future and heinous mentality of the majority Singhla and the politicians in power. Had these politicians been good statesmen, the ethnic problem would have been solved by now and the country would’ve been in the path to prosperity. Winston Churchill have said it once:
    “A politician thinks about the next elections – the statesman thinks about the next generations”
    Well said! The power greedy, corrupted politicians in the failed state of Sri Lanka did not have any vision to shape up the future.
    The non-violent protests and demonstrations would have come to a halt had these politician willing to share the power or even recognized the Tamils’ grievance. The arms struggle only emerged when all these approaches failed. No one can deny that we are back to non-violent approach once again.

    Let’s not forget that Rev. Martin Luther King has rised against the white supremacy in the United States, and Mahathma Gandhi has rised against the British and succeeded in their cause. However, one thing that we need to be reminded is, these two greats have fought against Gentlement whereas the Tamils in Sri Lanka are fighting against the most ruthless, terrorist, uneducated and uncivilized thugs of this century. Budhism and what they practice in Sri Lanka are two different things. ‘In the name of Buddha…” they carryout all the nasty things.
    If the world is a better place and if there is any justice left on this world, we shall see the light at the end of this tunnel. For that, all the Tamil diaspora has to voice unanimously and loud enough to wake up these deafened western nations. That is the only hope for the Tamils in Ceylon now.

    Kevin, A word of wisdom for you: Get a life and grow up you moron. If you can’t register any productive comments here, don’t even bother exposing your “under-developed” brain.

  12. Selvam says:

    கண்ணகி மண்ணில் இருந்து ஒரு கருஞ்சாபம்!

    தமிழ் சினிமாவில் நல்ல தமிழில் பாட்டெழுத முடியாது என்கிற எழுதப்படாத விதியை உடைத்தெறிந்தவர், கவிஞரும் பாடலாசிரியருமான தாமரை. ‘கண்கள் இரண்டால்’ என்று காதல் பேசி இவரது பாடல் ஒலிக்காத இடமே இல்லை. ஆனால் அவர் எழுதிய இந்தக் கவிதையை பிரசுரிக்க பலரும் தயங்கி நின்றார்கள். இந்த வாரம் குமுதம் வார இதழில் இந்தக் கவிதையின் ஒரு பகுதி பிரசுரமாகியிருக்கிறது. இப்படியொரு அறம் பாடும் தைரியம் கவிஞருக்கு இருந்த போதும் அதை வெளியிடும் தைரியம் நம் பத்திரிகைகளுக்கு இல்லை என்பதை வெட்கத்துடன் ஒப்புக்கொள்ள வேண்டிருக்கிறது. குமுதம் டாட் காமிலும் கவிஞர் தாமரை இந்தக் கவிதையை வாசிக்கும் வீடியோ வெளியிடப்பட்டிருக்கிறது. விரையில் அந்த வீடியோவையும் இதில் இணைக்கிறேன்.

    இந்தியத் தேர்தல் நேரத்தில் எழுதப்பட்ட இந்தக் கவிதை அப்போதே பிரசுரமாயிருக்க வேண்டியது. ஆனால் இப்போதுதான் வெளிவந்திருக்கிறது. பாப்புலர் மீடியாக்களில் வெளிவரட்டும் என்றுதான் நானும் இதை பதிவிடாமல் காத்திருந்தேன். தமிழினத்திற்கு நேர்ந்த கொடுமை கண்டு கொதிக்கும¢ ஒவ்வொவரின் இதயமும் பேசுவதாகவே இந்தக் கவிதையை நான் பார்க்கிறேன். அறம் பாடினால் பாடப்பெற்றவர்கள் என்ன ஆவார்கள் என்பதை நாடறியும். நானும் அறிவேன்.

    ‘உப்பிட்ட தமிழ் மண்ணை மறக்க மாட்டேன்’ என்று வசனம் பேசிவிட்டு தமிழன் தலையில் குண்டுவிழுவதை கண்டும் காணாமல் இருக்கும் திரைப்படத் துறையினருக்கு மத்தியில் இப்படியொருவர் இருக்கிறார் என்பதை உண்மையான தமிழர்கள் என்றென்றைக்கும் நினைத்துப்பார்க்க வேண்டியது அவசியம். சரி பீடிகை போதும் கவிதையை வாசியுங்கள்..

    தாமரை: கண்ணகி மண்ணில் இருந்து ஒரு கருஞ்சாபம்!

    ஏ இந்தியாவே…!எத்தனை கொடுமைகள்
    எங்கள் தமிழினத்திற்கு…

    வழிகளில்கெஞ்சியும் கூத்தாடியும்
    காலில் விழுந்தும் கதறியும்
    கொளுத்திக் கொண்டு செத்தும்

    எதுவுமே காதில் விழாத உங்களுக்கு
    இன்னும் தராத ஒன்றுமிச்சம் உண்டு என்னிடம்…

    பட்டினியால் சுருண்டு மடிந்த
    பிஞ்சிக் குழந்தைகளின் படத்தைப் பார்த்து
    அழுது வீங்கிய கண்களோடும்
    அரற்றிய துக்கத்தோடும்
    களைந்த கூந்தலோடும்
    வயிரெரிந்து இதோ விடுகிறேன்..

    கண்ணகி மண்ணில் இருந்து
    ஒரு கருஞ்சாபம்!

    குறள் நெறியில் வளர்ந்து
    அறநெறியில் வாழ்ந்தவள்
    அறம் பாடுகிறேன்!

    தாயே என்றழைத்த வாயால்
    பேயே என்றழைக்க வைத்துவிட்டாய்
    இனி நீ வேறு, நான் வேறு!

    ஏ இந்தியாவே!
    ஆயுதம் கொடுத்து வேவு விமானம் அனுப்பி
    குண்டுகளைக் குறிபார்த்துத்
    தலையில் போடவைத்த உன்தலை
    சுக்குநூறாய் சிதறட்டும்!

    ஒரு சொட்டு தண்ணீருக்காய் விக்கி மடிந்த
    எங்கள் குழந்தைகளின் ஆத்மா சாந்தியடைய
    இனி ஒரு நூற்றாண்டுக்கு

    உன் ஆறுகள் எல்லாம் வற்றிப் போகட்டும்!
    மழைமேகங்கள் மாற்றுப் பாதைகண்டு
    மளமளவென்று கலையட்டும்!

    ஒரு பிடி சோற்றுக்கு எங்களை ஓடவைத்தாய்
    இனி உன் காடு கழனியெல்லாம் கருகிப்போகட்டும்!
    தானியங்கள் எல்லாம் தவிட்டுக்குப்பைகளாய்

    மந்தைகளைப் போல் எம்மக்களை துரத்தினீர்கள்
    உங்கள் மலைகள் எல்லாம்
    எரிமலைக் குழம்புகளைக்
    கக்கி சாம்பல் மேடாகட்டும்!

    இரக்கமின்றி ரசாயனக் குண்டுவீசிய அரக்கர்களே…
    உங்கள் ரத்தம் எல்லாம் சுண்டட்டும்!
    உங்கள் சுவாசம் பட்டு சுற்றமெலலாம் கருகட்டும்!
    எதிரிகள் சூழ்ந்து
    உங்கள் தூக்கத்தைப் பறிக்கட்டும்!

    தெருக்கள் எல்லாம் குண்டுவெடித்து
    சிதறிய உடல்களோடு
    சுடுகாடு மேடாகட்டும்!

    போர் நிறுத்தம் கோரியிருக்கிறோம் என்று
    கூசாமல் பொய் சொன்ன வாய்களில்

    வாய் திறந்தாலே ரத்தவாந்திக் கொட்டட்டும்!
    எங்கள் எலும்புக் கூடுகள் மீது
    ஏறியமர்ந்து அரசாட்சி செய்தீர்களே…

    உங்கள் சிம்மாசனம் வெடித்துத்

    உங்கள் வீட்டு ஆண்கள் ஆண்மையிழக்கட்டும்…….
    பெண்களின் கருப்பைகள் கிழியட்டும்!

    நிர்வாணமாக எங்களை அலையவீட்டீர்களே…
    உங்கள் தாய் தந்தையர் பைத்தியம் பிடித்து
    ஆடையைக் கிழித்துத் தெருக்களில் அலையட்டும்!

    எங்கள் இளைஞர்களை மின்சாரம் செலுத்தி
    சித்திரவதையில் சாகடித்தீர்களே…
    உங்கள் தலையில் பெருமின்னல் பேரிடி இறங்கட்டும்!

    எங்கள் சகோதரிகளைக் கதறக்கதற சீரழித்த
    சிங்களவன் மாளிகையில்விருந்து கும்மாளமிட்டவர்களே…
    உங்கள் வீட்டு உணவெல்லாம் நஞ்சாகட்டும்!

    உங்கள் பெண்களெல்லாம்
    படுக்கையைப் பக்கத்து வீட்டில் போடட்டும்!

    நரமாமிசம் புசித்தவர்களே…
    உங்கள் நாடி நரம்பெல்லாம்
    நசுங்கி வெளிவரட்டும்!

    இன்னும் ஓர் ஆயிரம் ஆண்டுகளுக்கு
    புல் பூண்டு முளைக்காமல் போகட்டும்…

    அத்தனையும் கடல் கொண்டுபோகட்டும்!

    நீ இருந்த இடமே இல்லாமல் போகட்டும்!
    நாசமாகப் போகட்டும்! நாசமாகப் போகட்டும்!
    நிர்மூலமாகப் போகட்டும்! நிரந்தரமாகப் போகட்டும்!

    உங்கள் குழந்தைகளை சபிக்கமாட்டேன்!
    குழந்தைகள் எங்கிருந்தாலும் குழந்தைகளே…
    அவர்கள் நீடுழி வாழட்டும்!

    எம் குழந்தைகள் அழுதாலும்
    உன் குழந்தைகள் சிரிக்கட்டும்! உன் குழந்தைகள் சிரிக்கட்டும்!

    • Nithyananthan says:

      Mr. Selvam!

      One of our friends sent this poem ‘Curse of Eelam’ to me.
      It draws all praise by all!
      Still, I thankfully appreciate and honour your sentimental thoughtfulness driven by emotions to have posted in ‘Kalugu’ – without distorting its beauty in Tamil. May God bless you!

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Faces of South Asia


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