A noted historian has warned that it would be catastrophic for Sri Lanka to take a triumphant position on its victory over LTTE and it is time the country gave democracy and pluralism a chance.
"In the aftermath of defeat of Tamil Tigers, it would be catastrophic if the Sri Lankan Government were to take a triumphant position. I am told there is a proposal to build statues of a Sri Lankan King who died 2,000 years ago to commemorate the victory," Ramachandra Guha, the Bangalore-based historian and biographer said while delivering the fifth Nehru memorial Lecture 2009 on Democracy and Violence in South Asia and Beyond at the Nehru Centre in London last night.
Patrick French, a noted writer presided over the function, which was attended by the Indian High Commissioner to the UK, Shiv Shankar Mukherjee.
Drawing a parallel between the violence in Jammu and Kashmir and Northern Sri Lanka, Guha who has previously taught at the Universities of Yale and Stanford, said: "Just as Kashmir is a big blot on India's democracy, the treatment of Tamils is a signal failure of Sri Lankan democracy.
"As in Kashmir, the problem arose because of denial of democracy's software and hardware - elections were rigged both in Kashmir and Northern Sri Lanka," he said, adding "cultural pluralism in terms of language, in terms of dress, in terms of faith is a serious part of democracy."