There was quite a panel - Jayanti Natarajan (Congress - She escaped by the proverbial skin of the teeth when Rajiv Gandhi was assasinated); AIADMK leader (didn't get his name); L Ganesan (DMK - recently switched back from MDMK); Dr. Subramanian Swamy; Catholic Priest who sympathizes with LTTE; N Ram, Editor - The Hindu; a pro-LTTE mid-30s student leader; Anti-LTTE journalist.
Before analyzing these folks' comments on the show, let me salute to the 2 brave girls & one guy who dressed down the pro-LTTE student leader for his comment that Prabhakaran should be compared to Bhagat Singh & Bose. The 2 girls, in particular, shook down, a vehemently patronizing comment from the stupid LTTE student leader and landed quite a few punches. The power of Youth at it's best & also the reason, why India 20 years down the line will be in much safer hands. Kudos to all 3 of you.
My thoughts on each of the leaders & their party/party position:
1. Jayanthi Natarajan: Had such thin-skin that it was incorrect to get her to come to the show. She had the opportunity to get leverage to Congress in the opening remarks & missed it completly. She couldn't send a strong message that the UPA govt saw the difference between LTTE (for which it has no sympathies) and the Sri Lankan Tamils. However, kudos to her, for slapping down the LTTE student leader when he displayed patronizing behaviour towards the 2 girls.
2. AIADMK Leader: Whatever you drank before the show, from your performance, never drink it again. You cannot call the nation's NSA advisor, a "chaprasi". Shoes might be the rage of the season, but never again call anyone chaprasi if you don't want a mob to beat you up. Moreover, you cannot ask that a secular nation be forced to bifurcate with the demand for "Eelam". Why is Pakistan wrong when asking for seperation of Kashmir while India is correct when calling for Eelam seperation?
3. L Ganesan: You look drunk! Period. And remember that this is 2009 & not 1989. The rights of Sri Lankan Tamils is different that LTTE.
4. Catholic Priest: You got too worked up by SL President and called the current situation a "genocide" & "humanitarian crisis" by the evil Rajapaksa. Never mind that you don't know the definition of genocide (def. not 40 civilian losses a day) and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar called that the relief camps in Sri Lanka were much better than the relief camps in Tamil Nadu for Sri Lankan Tamils or the Kashmiri Pundit relief camps. How can you not comment on the recent photos showing LTTE holding civilians hostage at gun point? You were yet another disaster in the show.
5. Subramanian Swamy: Nice opportunity for you to mention the February lawyer attacks as well as showcase your legal expertise. I don't like you a lot, but am impressed by your knowledge.
6. N Ram: Dignified, calm response in volatile environment. Just what we expect from him everytime
7. Pro-LTTE student leader: Counldn't defend a thing! Uttered rubbish statements like "Prabhakaran is equivalent to Bhagat Singh & Bose". To you - Bhagat Singh & Bose were ready to sacrifice their lives for the needs of their fellow citizens; Prabhakaran has murdered many a Tamil & non-Tamil leaders for his cause; Prabhakaran has abused the political process to get out of tough situation; Prabhakaran has a death sentence warrant against him & never against compare him to great people.
8. Anti-LTTE Journalist: Great summary of LTTE's war crimes against fellow Tamilians.
Vikram Chandra did a great job. He called out people when they uttered non-sense but i felt that he could have been more decisive and pressed the leaders for depth in the topic.
What's my take:
- I won't feel sorry when the LTTE is decimated. They don't belong to the present times. They hurt too many Tamilians to generate the sympathy that they have today.
- Rajapaksa has the golden opportunity of correcting 60 years of mistakes and prove that he is a World leader rather than a narrow-minded state patriarch. Announce the repeal of "Sinhala Only" Act completely; provide for affirmative action for Tamilians in educational & government for a period of 20 years; provide a federal structure within which the Tamils get enough autonomy to rule the Northern & Eastern states where they dominate; repeal the military constitution and replace with a civilian constitution.
- Indian Government: Pressure SL by recalling our ambassador & contemplating firing their envoy if Tamilians don't get political benefit
- Indian political parties: Avoid making stupid statements against a soverign nation. You could be booked under NSA.