20 October, 2020

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A Compatible Governing System & Mutual Trust Needed To Unify The Divided Island Nation

By S. Narapalasingam

Dr. S. Narapalasingam

Dr. S. Narapalasingam

In my previous article, ‘Conundrum: Sinhala Nationalists Against Federalism But Pushing for Separatism’, I explained how the demand for a separate Tamil State in Sri Lanka emerged and emphasised the need to unite the divided nation for the welfare of all ethnic communities in the island. A suitably reformed governing system fostering national unity must be deemed fair by all the communities in the country. Equally important is the change in the attitude from mistrust to confidence in co-existing as equal partners in the multi-ethnic island with regionally diverse dwelling pattern. The governing system must not ignore the inherent demographic features of the country’s 9 provinces.

The fact that the Sinhalese are not the major ethnic community in the Northern and Eastern provinces should not be a cause for concern to the Sinhala patriots. There is no real basis to think empowered Sri Lankan Tamils residing in these two provinces will be a threat to the ethnic majority residing largely in other provinces. In the modern world, there is also no basis for an ethnic majority in a sovereign country to feel unsafe because their language is exclusive to them unlike Tamil language which is also the mother tongue of the people in Tamil Nadu , south India. The real attachment of Sri Lankan Tamils is to their motherland and not India. Alienation of Sri Lankan Tamils is not the way to safeguard the future of the Sinhalese residing in Sri Lanka. In my earlier article, I have emphasised the fact that Sri Lankan Tamils do not consider Tamil Nadu in South India as their homeland. The Tamil Nadu factor is imaginative. It has no basis in the modern world. In fact, the future of Sinhalese will be safe in a united Sri Lanka with the unity arising from the real feeling of sons and daughters of the same motherland. The present governing system ignores the regional difference in the traditional way the two major ethnic communities reside in different parts of the island.

The fact, the Sinhalese and Tamil communities have their roots in the different States in the island that existed before the British captured the entire island is well known. For administrative convenience, British government introduced the unified system, respecting the traditional dwelling pattern of the Sinhalese and Tamils. Kandy was the last territory that came under the British rule. The Kandyan kingdom was different from others not only because of its location in the hill country but several Kandyan kings were Tamils. Even the wife of the last Sinhalese king of Kandy, Narendrasinghe was a Tamil from a royal family in South India. In ancient Kandy, the language of the court was Tamil. Even the high ranking Sinhalese officials in Kandy were fluent in Tamil. It is the social and cultural differences between the Kandyan and low country Sinhalese that prompted S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike in 1925 to suggest a federal system for Ceylon.

Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan

During the Sinhalese-Muslim riots in colonial Ceylon (28 May1915 – 5 June 1915), the British Governor declared Martial Law and ordered the Police and the Army to arrest and imprison prominent Sinhalese leaders. Among those imprisoned were D.S. Senanayake, D.R. Wijewardena, Dr. Cassius Pereira, E.T. De Silva, F.R. Dias Bandaranaike, H. Amarasuriya and A.H. Molamure. Some other leaders were shot without trial. On the request of Anagarika Dharmapala , Ponnambalam Ramanathan came to the rescue of the Sinhalese community.

He traveled by ship to England risking his life (as World War I was on) and argued the case there of the imprisoned Sinhalese. He succeeded in having the governor transferred and the head of Military recalled from Ceylon. He eventually managed to get all the leaders released from prison. When he returned to Ceylon, there were thousands to welcome him. The general feeling of the Sinhalese then was they owe Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan a debt that could never be repaid. Some Sinhalese who went to welcome him, insisted that his horse carriage be drawn by them. Accordingly, he was driven through the streets of Colombo to his residence at Ward Place by the admirers. According to reports on this remarkable event, some members of the Sinhalese aristocratic families had no qualms about drawing his carriage through the streets of Colombo. Sinhala leaders took turns to pull the carriage.

As a member of the Legislative Council, he ‘supported the Sinhalese interests and every other interest and treated every subject with the same sympathy and desire to do the best for all communities’(His own words). D. S. Senanayake is reported to have said, Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan, ‘the greatest Ceylonese of all times’. A. Ratnayake, President of the Senate, is reported to have described him as ‘the father of Ceylonese Renaissance’.

His younger brother, Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam recognized as the father of the Ceylon University Movement, and the first Ceylonese to agitate for the elective principle helped to merge all the then principal political organizations under one banner and formed the Ceylon National Congress. This collective approach was to make the British to agree to their program of reforms.

Clearly, the situation then under British rule was conducive for national unity under one banner but divisive after independence in 1948. This degrading shift arose from narrow party and communal politics focussed on grabbing power for some short-term gains. The political culture that evolved soon after independence in 1948 is divisive and obstructive for the steady social and economic advancement of all communities. Majoritarianism also surfaced after independence, which is undemocratic in a multi-ethnic country. This did not surface earlier because the supreme power was with the British and it would have been unhelpful to gain self-rule from them.

The centralised governing system for sovereign Sri Lanka replacing the British rule by Sinhala rule is not only ungrateful to the Tamils but also harming national unity and instigating communal riots that emerged after independence. Clearly, the Sinhala Only Official Language Act was enacted not in the national interest benefitting all communities in Sri Lanka but for narrow political advantage. This was done contravening the Section 29 of the then Constitution of Ceylon.

Another significant feature in the way problems of the Tamil minority are tackled is the direct intervention of India. Sri Lankan Governments because of internal party politics did not act voluntarily as expected from the standpoint of sovereign democratic nation committed to safeguarding national unity. Enacting Tamil also as an official language and the Provincial Council system (despite the limitations) were possible because of India’s intervention. Tamil leaders like Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan and Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam would not have dreamt the divisive way the sovereign nation has been governed after independence.

Some Sinhalese think the Tamils had an advantage in the past from the fact many of them were medical doctors, civil engineers, accountants, lawyers, university professors and lecturers, secondary school teachers, railway station masters etc. The fact that they were serving the entire nation and they acquired their qualifications through hard work and not through any preferential method like media-wise standardisation of examination marks has been ignored. In the Tamil culture, education is of high priority and even incomes of poor families are dispensed accordingly. Because of the limited land and water resources for large-scale farming in their traditional homeland, the Tamil youth sought white-collar jobs elsewhere. The point is many Tamils served the entire nation and members of all communities. They deserve equal rights and not less because of their ethnic minority status.

Sensible Advices on Uniting the Divided Nation

Jayampathy Wickramaratne, head of a committee providing technical assistance to the Constitutional Assembly to draft Sri Lanka’s new constitution is reported to have recently told a gathering in London: “It is important to make the most of the opportunity, as it is the first time that Sri Lanka’s two main political parties had come together to form a government …. “It is impossible and is unrealistic to expect all aspirations and demands of everyone are met. There have to be compromises. This is a great opportunity that may not come again, certainly not in the foreseeable future”. The word ‘federal’ is abhorrent to many Sinhalese, although it unifies several diverse states under one central government. Depending on the nature of the federal state, some governing powers are shared and devolved in varying degrees to the constituent states/regions in the entire nation. The compromise needed from the ethnic minority Tamils is not to stick with federalism and from the ethnic majority Sinhalese to give up their adherence to unitary system. The new constitution should be based on a structure that will jointly ensure the unity of the multi-ethnic nation and not unitary that has failed terribly causing huge losses to all communities. From the standpoint of good governance, there are several other changes needed and these do not need any compromise. Politicians must realise constitutions are prepared not for facilitating any narrow needs but to serve the entire nation now and foreseeable future.

Dr. Nihal Jayawickrama in his ‘Deshamanya Dr P.R. Anthonisz Memorial Oration’ on 11th May 2016 (Posted by Colombo Telegraph on 13 May with the heading ‘Healing The Nation – A Question Of Leadership’ has very effectively dealt with the need and the way to mend the broken nation. First, the leaders must have the will to seek this much needed remedy that has been ignored for decades. Civil society leaders can convince the people of the imperative need to seek unity under a real democratic system, which guarantees equal rights of all citizens, regardless of ethnic, religious, caste and other innate differences including the traditional regions of abode of different ethnic communities intrinsic to the multi-ethnic island. The freedom for citizen to live in any region is also a legitimate right but not the government sponsored colonisation schemes designed to change the ethnic composition of regions.

The distinguished orator has also raised questions about the real role of leadership in the noble task of mending the broken nation. “What is expected of a political leader in a democratic society? Should the leader reflect the views, the fears and the prejudices of the electorate to which he has to return for re-election; or should he determine a path according to his own vision, his own values and his own judgment, and endeavour to lead his electorate along that path? President Jayewardene ruminated on this issue some years after he had left office, and wondered how long one could go along with the wishes of the electorate. A military leader or a dictator does not have to worry about that, but a democratic leader has to because the electors are his main and only support. He recognized that it was very difficult to win an election again unless the leader continued to enjoy the continued support of those who had placed him in that position. However, he was willing to make an exception in regard to economic matters where external factors often determined what could or could not be done, however much that might displease the electorate”. This is precisely the case with regard to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. The enactment of Tamil also as an official language and the limited devolution of powers would not have happened without India’s intervention. The latter did not intervene in the implementation of the 13th Constitutional Amendment to avoid being viewed as intruding excessively into the domestic affairs of a neighbouring sovereign country.

The current situation

The need for the leaders in the civil society to persuade the fellow members to compromise on the national issue for the well-being of present and future generations is indeed great under the prevailing situation. The post-war reconciliation process is strikingly slow, particularly the long delay in handing over private land taken by the army to the legitimate owners in the North and the release of political prisoners kept in jail for years without trial. The self-seeking politicians will continue to capitalize the uncompromising divisive situation as has been the case since the emergence of the ethnic conflict

The findings of Sri Lanka’s Public Representation Committee (PRC) published in ‘The New Indian Express’ of 9 May 2016 under the heading – ‘Lankan Panel on Constitutional Reform Found Sharp Differences on Ethnic Lines’ (reported by P. K. Balachandran, Express News Service) also point to the need to convince the people that compromise is needed for seeking a peaceful settlement of the conflict through constitutional reforms.

According to this Indian Express report, “the Sinhalese, Lankan Tamils, Muslims and Plantation Tamils of Indian origin held different and conflicting views on the Nature of the State, Devolution of Power and the Unit of Devolution”…. “While the Tamils of the Northern and Eastern Provinces want a federal constitution as opposed to the current unitary one, the majority Sinhalese living in South, Central and Western Lanka want the unitary structure to be retained”. At least 20 percent of southerners advocated devolution beyond the existing 13th Constitutional Amendment, though they were opposed to a federal system. A strong federal system was the wish of the Tamils in Jaffna. Residents in the Jaffna district “espoused an extreme form of federalism, while those in the Kandy district were demanding a rigid unitary structure. The Muslims want devolution as they feel that those of them living in the Eastern Province will benefit by it. But they are opposed to the Lankan Tamils’ demand for a merger of the Northern and Eastern Provinces because that will make them a small minority, dominated by Tamils”.

According to this report, the plantation Tamils of Indian origin want “a constitution which enjoins affirmative action on the part of the State. They also want to be liberated from the clutches of the plantation companies and integrated with the Lankan state structure. But the educated among the Indian Origin Tamils want, in addition, an autonomous unit comprising areas where plantation workers are a substantial part of the population.”

A feasible approach

Dr. Laksiri Fernando fully aware of these diverse views of Sri Lankans on the governing system for their motherland stuck with the 13th Constitutional Amendment, which as mentioned earlier was possible because of India’s direct involvement. He has suggested the following changes to 13th Amendment in his unusual but effective Q & A article titled ‘Going beyond the 13th A & Towards Cooperative Devolution’ posted by Colombo Telegraph on 8 May 2016:

Going beyond the 13th Amendment means: (1) Reducing the concurrent list (2) Eliminating the ambiguities between the national list and the provincial list (3) Reducing the powers of the Governor and (4) Creating a framework for making sufficient fiscal and administrative resources available to the provinces.

On federalism as against devolution, he said: “Devolution is part of federalism. There is no one form of federalism but different forms. As Shakespeare said, ‘a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.’ It is more appropriate to call the present or future system devolution, given its history and the form. We are evolving from a unitary state towards a more federal structure. Our evolution is devolution”. He also stressed the need to move from “coercive or unilateral devolution to cooperative devolution”.

The following statement of the leader of Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the opposition leader in Sri Lanka’s parliament, R. Sampanthan during his recent visit to India also indicates the willingness to settle the vicious national problem within undivided Sri Lanka. According to the ‘Hindu’ newspaper, the moderate Sri Lankan Tamil leader visiting India during the 40th anniversary of the Vaddukoddai Resolution demanding a separate Tamil Eelam state announced, “Tamils have moved away from the 1976 Vadddukkoddai Resolution for Tamil  Eelam after the 1987 Indo – Lanka Accord”. India’s support for settling the conflict via devolution of powers is likely provided the pattern is no more than prevailing there. As mentioned earlier, the 13th Amendment would not have been possible, without this vital Indo-Lanka Agreement.

A political system designed to respect fundamental human rights including minority rights in a multi-ethnic nation is also likely to get the support of many other powerful countries. I have discussed this in my article titled ‘Fundamental Human Rights In The New Constitution’ posted by Colombo Telegraph on April 8, 2016. The following remark is also apt for concluding this article:

“A nationally useful Constitution from the standpoint of safeguarding fundamental human rights of all citizens, regardless of their ethnicity, religion, social status or residing area needs a farsighted impartial approach. The exercise must be viewed as a noble one that will ensure the emergence of a new nation advancing swiftly like Singapore. A united and politically stable country is no threat to any community in the modern world.”

The title, “If Sri Lanka Doesn’t Kill Corruption, It Will Kill Sri Lanka” of the article by ‘Vishwamithra1984’in Colombo Telegraph of May 18, 2016 is relevant here. If the next constitution of the Republic of Democratic Socialist Sri Lanka also ignores the essential need to promote amicable co-existence of all ethnic communities, lasting peace and fundamental human rights of all citizens, including minority rights in the conflict-ridden nation, it will deny the prospect for shunning the tragic past and look to the future with high hope.

* The writer: Retd. Addl. Deputy Secretary to the Treasury; UN Advisor – Development Economics/ Planning

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Latest comments

  • 3
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    Thank you Dr Narapalasingham.

    Sri Lanka’s window for reform is shrinking said Brussels based Think Tank the International Crisis Group in a new report released today. http://www.crisisgroup.org/~/media/Files/asia/south-asia/sri-lanka/278-sri-lanka-jumpstarting-the-reform-process.pdf

    In an executive summary the ICG said, http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/asia/south-asia/sri-lanka/278-sri-lanka-jumpstarting-the-reform-process.aspx

    “Seven years after the end of the civil war in May 2009, issues of reconciliation and accountability remain largely unaddressed. The government appears to be backtracking on transitional justice plans, particularly the role of foreign judges and experts. The enormity of the crimes, especially in the final weeks of the war, makes them impossible to ignore but hard for the military and most Sinhalese to acknowledge or accept responsibility for. Mechanisms promised to the UNHRC feed Sinhala nationalist suspicions, while attempts to reassure Sinhalese and the military encourage doubts among Tamils about government willingness to pursue justice for wartime atrocities or back constitutional changes that satisfy legitimate Tamil aspirations for meaningful autonomy.”

    Noting that the new government still had to rebuild confidence among the Tamil communities in the north and east and address Sinhala majoritarian nationalism, the summary warned that,

    “As longstanding dysfunctional political dynamics reassert themselves, the government’s ability to distinguish itself from the Rajapaksa era, which is essential to its political survival, has begun to fade.”

    Noting that Sri Lanka’s military budget had increased under the new government, ICG called on Sri Lanka’s government to take immediate steps to “end remaining military involvement in civil administration; remove military from all shops, farms hotels and other commercial businesses; and immediately suspend construction or expansion of military camps in the north and east.”

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      International Crisis Group.

      I think, it is a George Zorro and church – funded CIA project.

  • 2
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    It is true that a political solution is possible if both Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim political leaders act responsibly, give up their opportunistic behaviour and focus on people’s welfare, peace and long term economic benefits. the 13th amendment of constitution recognises the demographic diversity in terms of language based population distribution. However, 13th amendment was not brought into this nation with the voluantary agreement between two communities or political leadership. The 13th amendment lacks clarity and whatever changes introduced in this amendment can be withdrawn or blocked without the conscent of the people of the provinces. Any workable model should ensure that the devolved system and its powers should remain under the control of the provinces. In other words without two third majority of the province is needed to make any changes to the agreed system or powers. In all devolved provinces (Regions) all three languages should become compulsory and it should be a mandatory and each child should get satisfactory level of qualification to go into employment. Every citizen of this island should have the right to live any part of the island and work.

  • 1
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    Probably the author never reads Colombo Telegraph.

    Soma

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      Soma,

      It is you who do not read. Have you read what written in the links I have given in my previous comment? If you have not, read it.

  • 6
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    The Tamils are always asked to compromise and they have, considerably. Where is the compromise on the Sinhala side? The Sinhala ruling elite do not want to loosen the levers of power, or release their hegemony one iota.

  • 5
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    Dear Dr.Narapalasingam, This article again is great to read, even your other pieces were wonderfully written. Thank you for your advice and time.

    But do you really think any responsible person in our ruling regime will read this , understand or do anything about it ?! But never mind, We know that.

    This is just for our consumption which will not bring any change at all.
    Nevertheless, thank you for educating us.

    Nothing is going to work ! Let us be frank here. The regimes responsible people are just wasting time, buying time, doing what they intended to do from day 1. All the Lankan regimes want to destroy or chase the rest of the minority Tamils who are still alive (or still alive & not kicking). Then they can ‘concentrate’ on the other community and do the needful cleansing, who are ‘sitting pretty on the fence’ for aligning with the strongest. Many of them including those good for nothing but always lucky ministers conveniently helped every racist regime in ethnic cleansing of the other indigenous people of the country.

    Be realistic and do not entertain any kind of dreams of unity and blah blah.. No one is going to live in peace or prosperity in this triple cursed land. Always remember that we are ruled by beasts & living among the two legged, inhumane beasts, not human. But, there are some exceptionally good human among the beasts and because of them the rest of the soon to be destroyed lot are still surviving.

    Extreme flooding, landslides, unusual weather patterns, undersea movements of Indu-Australian plate, predictions of more landslides in hill country are warning for impending disasters and god’s warning for ruthless Dictators in disguise.

    Karma is a bitch. Even God can tolerate so much of man made misery to another human, revengeful, continued, never ending, racism, murders , mayhem & injustices, hiding behind democracy, good governance and a fake something called Buddhism.

    You can trust anyone but not a Sri Lankan politician. They are the worst rascals in the world.

    We are helpless, God is our last resort. He WILL do something good for sure.

  • 4
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    Why Tamilnadu is so much talk about Tamils when 90% are Tamils and 10% thelegus are neglected.

    While in Sri lanka, migrant Tamils are fighting for 50% of the country and looking for a governing system make 4% Tamils kings.

  • 7
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    jim sothy

    Tamils came to Sri Lanka by natural process of migration. But the Sinhalese, I mean Vijaya and the 700 thugs, were deported from India and made to drift in the Bay of Bengal and by chance landed here. Otherwise there would not have been all these problems. Now, Vijaya’s progeny wants to own the whole country.

  • 1
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    A good article.

    The most important words in your article is ‘MUTUAL TRUST’. The government should take steps to establish this mutual trust between the communities. Until then our problems will not be resolved. Passing bills in parliament for ‘federalism’ will not solve the problem.

    Like one of my earlier comments,, the starting point is for the government to set up mixed schools where Singhalese, Tamil, Muslim,Burgher children study together.

  • 1
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    Dear Narapalasingam, thanks for the clear Exposition of the Situation and showing a way Forward.
    Since Colombo University days, we have moved along different paths and you had served many governments in responsible manner. Continue to write and encourage our Sinhala brethren not to miss this golden opportunity to sincerely find a way of peaceful coexistence.

    • 4
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      “”Sinhala brethren not to miss this golden opportunity to sincerely find a way of peaceful coexistence. “”

      you yourself will need more than south african prayers to convince the Indian Government that you are sincere. The land belongs to them not Harry Truman or immigrant religions.you need their blessings and there is no way you will get it with a smile.

  • 0
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    Very interesting reading. Both sections in the divide should pay serious heed to this, Bensen

  • 5
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    “”The fact that the Sinhalese are not the major ethnic community in the Northern and Eastern provinces should not be a cause for concern to the Sinhala patriots.””

    Pride comes before a fall- you have fallen and exposed north and east as vulnerable.

    the experiment in the west by nomads with refugees and immigrants has taught the west one lesson No to Ghettos- It is political dynamite and untold crime.

    See the way Merkel is moving her 1 million ++ right across the nation by law Obey the law or clear out of Germany. Its what UK has been doing too but have not strictly followed it like Singapore Bala.

    If Tamils have lived and are living in other parts of the country until your stupid Vaddkottai/Hydrocele, using an imported man from racist land malaysia brought your filthy ambudes to Colombo and finally brought in the planned July 83.

    you better learn to live like Merkel instructs in the north and east for peace in the island. Then all 3 will learn all 3 languages as at Belgium the heart of Europe. People still enjoy their own culture without living in ghettos- the first road mine was detonated in a northern ghetto.

  • 2
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    PM Modi had invited Sampanthar and New King. They were not at the same table. June is coming. They want to put pressure on Sampanthar to accept whatever Lankawe is offering as the solution to Tamils problem. That is why.

    So far the part of UNHRC resolution completed is nothing, but the completed one is the election promise of “No leader, no commander, no soldier will be prosecuted”.

    It almost time for June’s oral presentation at UNHRC. Nothing has been talked or said about it. What we have heard is Paranagama is preparing to answer the accusations thrown at him and the government. UNHRC had recommended his commission to be closed as its illegal activities have been harassing the witnesses.
    From the very beginning that corrupted, ugly fellow used CIDs to harass the witnesses come to him. The government and Paranagama had not cleaned their hands from re-arresting and torturing ones they have labelled as confessed to rebel and surrendered to them. These people have nothing to do with rebels. But the truth is these were picked up from Internment Camps put together after the war. Any armed rebels surrendered to them were wiped out in the white flag incidence. Even the status of one’s who surrendered at the camps like Ezhilan are not known. Anybody helped to surrender the rebels like Father Francis are not out yet. A shameless drama was acted by the country’s leaders in the case of Sivaraja Jenivan. Nobody believed it at all.

    Right after the war, Old King proposed a new theory to West that he was not going to sign any pact because in the past that always ended up in tearing them off by the pressure of those who opposed them. He further declared that there was no minorities in Lankawe. The diplomats from West like Robert Blake, who praised him at the start of the end of the war for his Zero Casualty, welcomed his proposal. The first time Robert Blake got enlightened anything out these talks were when he got a promise from Lankawe to a co-sponsored resolution and went UNHRC in March 2012. There is a problem with the Western diplomats as they serve in Lankawe only 4 years so they never can learn the history of 70 of Aappa Diplomacy cheating of the Sinhala Intellectual governments.

    It is hard to explain to the foreign diplomats why the Yahapalanaya New Royals are proposing a solution without name. And further telling them why the New Royals are tying this to UNHRC’s September 2015 resolution and making everybody to hush about the resolution.

    Naming the solution is extremely important to Tamils. In that past, the provinces attached together in the 13A were split. The Land, police rights given under it was repossessed. The act Dhevi Neguma overruled the 13A. North was run without a government for 30 years. If the 13A had any name or similarity to any country’s constitutional structure, Tamil would have been able to bring some action sighting the established cases in those countries. When the impeachment against Amirthalingam, the opposition leader, was brought to Parliament, the arguments put in the parliament was based on the procedures of other worldwide parliaments, none of them, unlike the clownish Lankawe’s one, had impeached an opposition leader. We need the name for the solution if there is any sincerity in the Yahapalanaya government’s action.

    In a real democratic system, they cannot silence the Sinhalese, but they can cheat them or educate them. None of the Sinhala Intellectuals like to educate their citizen, but like to cheat. Old King cheated them in all issues and sent out $18 billion out of the country, but never attempted to cheat them on the issue of Tamils problem. It is the same case with Yahapalanaya Government too. They cheated the Sinhala Buddhist when they signed off the Port City 99 years deal(if that was only 99 years lease), but not ready to give a solution to Tamils with a real name.

    Whether name it or not, The Joint Comedians will spend some of their time to talking to Sinhala Modayas. So the cheating of naming it as something is not a real issue. I have never heard the the 13A was not implemented because it is named as something. Further it is not true because the Parliament named the earlier solutions as Regional Councils or District Council they were forced to be torn off.

  • 3
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    Kandyan kingdom had their share of Tamil influence, but those Tamils soon assimilated with Sinhala culture, religion and genes. Tamils like that are very welcome. The need for Tamil autonomy where race and heritage issues are concerned is understood – it was always understood, and the Tamils actually had it. But Tamils wanted Tamil nation for the whole of Sri Lanka, and were oblivious of the Sinhalese masses.

    • 5
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      It shows as a low country Karava Sinhalese, you know nothing whatsoever about the Kandyan Kingdom. It is still not too late, why don’t you read about it, at least online.

      It is common knowledge that about half the Sinhala aristocracy signed the Kandyan Convention in Tamil. Tamil was the court language when Kandiyan Kingdom was ruled by the Tamil speaking Nayaka Dynasty from Madurai and also the household language of the Kandyan Elites. The Sinhala chieftains signed in Tamil, because either they had Tamil connections or they didn’t know how to sign in other languages because for so long Tamil language had been the official language. And don’t forget some of the Chiefs had Tamil roots and they had come from South India just a few generations ago.

      The Kandy Esala Perehera was initially started for the celebration of those four Tamil Hindu Temples in Kandy and only the Hindu deities were brought in the procession, the tooth relic is the latest addition to the Kandy Esala Perehera.

      The Sinhala chieftains were bribed by White man, backstabbed the Tamil king. The Sinhala – Tamil division incited by the British coupled with racism made the chiefs turn against the king who fostered Buddhism and made a tremendous contribution to the art and architecture in his kingdom. They even evacuated every Tamil relative who still remained as Tamil from the kingdom. The Sinhalese backstabbed their king since he was a Tamil and gave the country to the White man. Now, the Sinhalese would rather give the country to Chinese and Indians rather than sharing power with the Tamils.

      • 0
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        As I have said before I am not low-country Karava Sinhalese.

        Half the Sinhala aristocracy, Elites and chieftains were still less than a 1,000 …..even if 20,000 came down, that a point percentage amongst the over 10 million udararas. History is history, and at most 20,000 Tamils amongst over 10 – million is nothing to speak of, and an uprising would of course been the natural consequence in any given society.

        • 4
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          There were NO 10 – million Sinhalese at that time. Most of the Kandyans were people who came with the Tamil kings.

          Not ONLY the last king of Kandy Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe but many Kandy kings before him were also Tamils and the queens were also Tamils. Although the King had an official Tamil wife (Queen) he could sleep with any woman he found attractive. That was his privilege. Those days there was no birth control and the illegitimate children of the king were called Bandaras. There are an awful lot of Bandaras in upcountry.

        • 0
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          ” low-country Karava Sinhalese”

          King, I don’t know why are you calling her a low-country Karava Sinhalese, She is a Fernando, a Negombo Tamil.

          • 0
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            Husband is Negombo Sinhalese (Suriya dynasty)…..hence the name Fernando.

            • 0
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              Suriya dynasty???

              Is he a relative of Suriya Devan?
              Suriya Devan aka V. Prabakaran is also from the same dynasty.

              • 0
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                Sometimes Tamils have Sinhala sounding names, which were either copied. Probably Prabakaran was Sinhala and forced to become Tamil. Suriya dynasty is of Kshatriya origin.

    • 4
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      ramona grandma therese fernando

      “But Tamils wanted Tamil nation for the whole of Sri Lanka, and were oblivious of the Sinhalese masses.”

      “Sinhala culture, religion and genes”

      What is Sinhala culture and Sinhala religion.

      The data on gene shows that Sinhala people are full of Tamil Nadu gene. Don’t you think(?) it is much easier to assimilate with Tamils than the other way round. Sinhala people would be much stronger by being part of the Tamils as their population number nearly 100 million.

      Go on assimilate with the Tamils, you will enjoy more benefits, you may even get a chance to shake hands with Sundar Pitchai, take selfie standing next to A R Rahman, rub shoulders with Jayalalitha or Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, ……

      • 0
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        It’s not the genes per se, but Buddhism that needs to remain honorable. Also Sinhalese have some Sinti-Romani (Aryan?) genes floating about them. They are also of the original Hela people unique to Sri Lanka, who evolved from the soil of the ancient Lanka.

        • 4
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          ramona therese fernando

          The original Hela people unique to Sri Lanka were Tamils and Veddas. The Mahavamsa author picked up some names such as Naga, Yakksha, Deva, Sinhala, etc. from the Indian Sanskrit text Mahabaratha and named those local Tamils and Veddas.

          A group of scholarly Buddhist monks of the Mahavihara in Anuradapura lead by Ven. Mahanama thero (an uncle of King Dhathusena), observing two groups of people in the 5th century A.D. – Hindus, speaking Tamil and the converts (Buddhists) speaking the new language (Prakrit) – hatched the Lion story of Sinhabahu’s grandson Vijaya and his 700 followers (North Indians), about 1000 years after their alleged landing, with the motive of projecting the Buddhists as a separate ethnic group, the Sinhalese (who will protect the Buddhist dharma in the island) and the Tamils who did not convert to Buddhism were projected as invaders. That is how Sinhala originated and the non-Buddhist (Tamils) became invaders.

          Later, the so called ‘Sinhalese’ became a majority after the colonials arrived. The Portuguese and the Dutch colonized hundreds of thousands of South Indian Dalit in the Southern parts of Sri Lanka as menial labourers/coolies for growing/peeling cinnamon, coconut planting/plucking and toddy tapping. These South Indian Dalit converted to Buddhism and eventually got naturalized as Sinhalese. Otherwise, today either the Tamils or the Veddas would have been the majority in Sri Lanka.

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            King Wala Gemba,

            You can’t attempt deny a race their long standing history. Humans didn’t appear from just one source, but multiple sources, and there is good historical evidence to show that Sinhalese are unique to Sri Lanka.

            Some Tamils might have come down to Sri Lanka. Sinhalese too would have also gone to India. But the vast base of original inhabitants remained in their original areas.

            Besides, genetic tests show some percentage of Sinti-Romani genes for Sinhalese. We can’t envy and deny them for this. This is what they are about. Genetic tests are complex, and we can’t rely solely on this. But we can look at language, religion, and customs and see distinguishing differences. It’s like the difference between the Irish and the English; the French and the English.

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        Dumb NAtive Veddo:

        What ever the genes are, people develop different cultures and civilization.

        The genetic difference between humans and monkies are less than 0.1%. So, the difference between Tamils and Sinhala people not that big.

        Even underneath coolie Tamils, Sinhala people developed a grand civilization which doe snot exist any where else in the world.

        So, recognize it and don’t be jealous.

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          jim softy dimwit

          “What ever the genes are, people develop different cultures and civilization.”

          Please tell me all about your culture and civilisation and explain how your is different from others.

          “The genetic difference between humans and monkies are less than 0.1%. So, the difference between Tamils and Sinhala people not that big.”

          The difference between monkies and human are so huge I can see it in this forum. Humans write sensibly and you don’t that is where the difference lies.

          “Even underneath coolie Tamils, Sinhala people developed a grand civilization which doe snot exist any where else in the world.”

          Could you tell us about Sinhala people’s civilisation and tell us why Sinhala civilisation grand why it is different from other?

          “So, recognize it and don’t be jealous.”

          I don’t and I sympathise with you for your grand delusion.

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    the biggest stumbling block to achieve what is stated is S.J.Emmanuel.
    He has even destroyed the basis of the catholic faith & the Vatican acts dumb.

    Appears Emmanuel attempting to reachout to Narapalasingham who has distanced himself with such priests.

    How? With a dysfunctional diaspora led by Emmanuel making tongue in cheek statements and taking the church for a ride.
    You guys may be University buddies but Hon’ble Dr. Narapalasinghan continue to maintain the same distance from the man who said velu was like or equal to Jesus Christ.

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