Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Cultural trip to Sri Lanka is a Political Master Stroke

India Under the able Leadership of Shri. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is sowing the seeds of love to her neighbors. As China rewards Pakistan with a bounty of funds with a vested mind to conquer Indian Ocean, India is vigilant in tackling its bondage with Sri Lanka and other neighboring countries.

The recent visit of Prime Minister Modi to Sri Lanka had created a new vistas in relationship. Undoubtedly a bunch of love seeds were sown to keep them on board, but this was a master Chanakya move. “It was to note that out of PM Modi’s 43 Nation tours, this was the first trip where MOUs were not signed, since the PM himself called this trip as Cultural One.”
Three decades long internal turmoil in Sri Lanka had a greater impact in Tamil Nadu. Even though the war ended in 2009, many fringe political groups in Tamil Nadu still to gain political mileage from the issue of Sri Lankan Tamils. On his very first visit in 2015, PM Modi who became the second international leader to visit Jaffna, after David Cameron in 2013, handed over 27,000 new homes to Tamils who became homeless during the civil war.

As far as this Visit is concerned, PM Modi gave equal importance to both the Sri Lankan Government as well as Tamils, who were geographically separated in two regions viz, North Eastern Province and Central Province.

China’s footprint has been growing in Lanka, especially in Central province where they are ready to invest in oil fields. The Lankan IOC, a subsidiary of an Indian oil corporation, got 15 of 97 wells and last year India and Sri Lanka signed an MOU to boost Oil and Hydro carbon in this region.

Clearly PM Modi’s balancing act of giving importance to both the Sri Lankan Government and Tamils made a lot of sense. Apart from this, there are few important factors which had to be considered regarding this visit:-

Value to Hard work:
PM Visit was mainly made to mark the International Vesak Day, a special concentration of Tamils in Central province. This added a flavor that India is always with Tamils and he even stressed in his series of the Tweet that India will help Sri Lanka create harmony among Buddhist and Hindus.

Those who keenly noted the speech of our PM, he started with a note of appreciation towards the part of the land where Tamil people stayed and its people. Likewise, he recalls the effort of the people who sweat to make Sril Lankan Tea as one of the worlds famous Tea.

He even went up to to dignify the honest labor by comparing these people with his favorite “Chai pe Charcha“. Better to quote his words here “A mark of deep respect for the dignity and integrity of honest labor “

Indian Origin:
In the past, there lies a big gap in India’s relationship with its origin spread over the globe. A customary celebration was made to mark the Days of Roma, Sinti, gypsies and Kale. Now he made a new vistas in connecting him to the Tamils who were of Indian origin who fled to Lanka as captives to Tea Estates of Britishers in late 1850’s. 

Most these Tamils were belongs to Scheduled Castes and till now they don’t own a single house. They are living in line houses built by their management, now PM has promised to build 4000 houses. As fringe groups in Tamil Nadu, who speaks of Sri Lankan Tamils, but they never mention these underprivileged tea plantation workers. They only speak of People in North East Province, where there the ground was once favored of LTTE.

It is best to quote what he said:- “Today, we remember your forefathers. Those men and women of strong will and courage, who undertook the journey of their life from India to then Ceylon. Their journey may have been uphill and their struggles hard, but they never gave up. Today, we remember and salute that spirit.”

For the past 70 years, none of the previous government valued the efforts of people who migrated from India. PM Modi recalled the efforts of Sri Sathiiyamurthy Thondaman, who worked hard to uplift the Indian-Tamil origin plantation workers. His work towards getting citizenship to these people is tremendous. It requires a charismatic leader to recall the great leaders who devoted themselves towards the society. We could able to see the charm and joy among those 30,000 odd people when PM recalled their leader. It is matter to note when PM Stressed that their problems are still not solved, shows how much he is dedicated to resolve.

Unity and Harmony:

Many fringe groups in Tamil Nadu have been trying to brand PM Modi as Anti-Tamil, but all these leaders maintained silence when PM Modi praised Tamizh as a classical Language. As a Tamizhan, I feel proud that he quoted the words of First Century Poet Kaniyan Pongundranar “Yaathum oore yaavarum kelir” is nothing but similar to “Vasudeiva Kudumbakkam” or “Every town is hometown and all people are our kin”

It is a matter of pride when he praised the people as children of Tamil Thai (Mother Tamil). This anecdote not only blossomed true affection from a leader to the people of his origin, gave a silent message to those who is playing dirty politics with Tamil in Tamil Nadu.

We are well aware in 2012, Manmohan Singh canceled his Lankan Trip because of internal tensions in Tamil Nadu. To a greater extent TN State assembly passed a resolution in favor of economic sanctions against Sri Lanka. But things are entirely contrast this time, not even single roadblock happened in Tamil Nadu. From this we can infer that speaking of Tamil issues is no longer a sensitive Issue in Tamil Nadu, as people see progress in their lively-hood.

We could able to sense the feel of unity and harmony in his speech, no doubt it was on the lines of Paramapujanya Guruji Golwarkar. His speech bridges the gap between Tamil speaking Indian Origin and Main land Sinhalese people by taking language as a tool of harmony rather than communication. Moreover, he signaled the Sri Lanka Government for progress in the living conditions of the Tamils. He strongly emphasized that his government is committed to the development of Tamils. His words marked a beacon against those who played politics in the name of the Tamils in Tamil Nadu.
Progressive Measures

Investments in the fields of health, education and community development were earlier made by India, now India is keen on increasing its bilateral relationship more in trade and commerce with cultural bond than mounting diplomatic pressure may create more aroma in the upcoming years.

The Ceylon Estate Workers Education Trust (CEWET) was set up way back in 1947 in order to encourage promising students to continue their studies, vocational training centers, computer and science lab in plantation schools. Newly equipped hospitals were promised and one were inaugurated in during this visit along with the commitment to build additional 10000 houses.

I am sure these progressive measures may create a diplomatic success in India compared to aggressive China who eagerly awaiting to dominate the Indian Ocean.

Tail Piece

In this new world, arms and ammunition won’t win the battle rather love and affection does. India has to keep its step so careful when it comes to foreign relations as the dragon is fast approaching. PM Modi’s visit made a clear note that Culture is the key to success in diplomatic relations with Sri Lanka. He sowed the seed of friendship, hope it will prosper well like Banyan.