By Gajalakshmi Paramasivam:
Ananthy Sasitharan was sworn in as the NPC Minister of Women’s Affairs, Rehabilitation, Social Services, Cooperatives, Food Supply and Distribution, Industry and Enterprise Promotion.
Mrs Sasitharan who is closely associated with the Militants needs to focus on developing a structure that the current Northern Women would be able to relate to and adopt at the family level. The first lesson needs to be to ‘internalize’ any shortfall in status allocated as per her past but at the same time be grateful for the contribution made by her family – especially her husband to the formation of Provincial Council that she is now part of.
Through my direct experience with the Female militants, during ceasefire, I learnt that they accepted the male dominated environment they were in but at the same time quietly went about completing their support work. As the wife of Elilan – the LTTE head at Trincomalee, one would expect Ananathi also to have played that role. Now Mrs Sasitharan is occupying the leadership role in Politics and needs to respect the Political structures and as Minister, Mrs Sasitharan needs to bow to the Administrative structures common to all folks in Northern Province. The value of Thamilini – the Women Leader within LTTE needs to be remembered and paid tribute to by Mrs. Sasitharan. The Title of Thamilini’s book – ‘Oru Koor Vaallin Nizhalil’ / ‘ In the shadow of a sharp sword’ confirms the essence of my assessment above – that the women were a support force.
There are women in Jaffna society who are led by their achievements in Higher Education. Mrs Sasitharan needs to learn from them or if they seem false – then Mrs. Sasitharan needs to renounce any benefits from that pathway that seem available to her. Otherwise, Mrs. Sasitharan is likely to submit to those who are pleasant and ‘show’ high profits from her position. The moment Mrs. Sasitharan takes for example her husband’s place or worse Velupillai Prabhakaran’s place – she would naturally disconnect from the root of the Provincial Council Act. Without that connection, Mrs. Sasitharan is likely to be influenced by the greater benefits in wider world.
Women leadership in the world based on LTTE structure, is not likely to be strong and high. The parallel has already been shown within the Sinhalese Community – through Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike, who was promoted by politicians to occupy her husband’s place. A woman leader must command respect – through belief or Intellectual Administration. Belief is Natural measure on Equal platform.
Intellectually, it needs to be developed by reducing the higher status that we start with through the side seeming to be our side and hence being entitled to share in our status. An intellectual measure would uphold Justice only when applied at the same level on both sides. Hence Equal Opportunity – on the claim of which we had the war. But by using arms we showed cleverness to defeat and did not sacrifice to own.
Women’s affairs covers the educated women also. Unless Mrs. Sasitharan becomes humble enough to learn from them – and becomes the passive medium through which they would be seen as leaders Mrs. Sasitharan would fail the Jaffna Tamil Woman. (SL Guardian)