13 November, 2018

Blog

British Monarchy Must Apologize On 70th Year Of Independence For Colonizing Sri Lanka

By Pitasanna Shanmugathas and Chamindra Weerawardhana

A nation which colonizes, a civilization which justifies colonisation, and therefore force, is already a sick civilization, a civilization that is morally diseased, that irresistibly, progressing from one consequence to another, one repudiation to another, calls for its Hitler, I mean its punishment.” ~ Aimé Césaire, Discourse on Colonialism, 1955

In Sri Lanka, unlike the Portuguese and Dutch who were, respectively, the first and second Western colonial occupiers, the British succeeded in conquering the entire island, and for the longest period than any other power, from 1796 to 1948. Unlike India, Sri Lanka gained Dominion Status within the Commonwealth [which is largely interpreted as ‘independence’] in a relatively peaceful manner. However, this peaceful transition, in many ways, soon turned out to be the calm before the storm. It is not only the successive Sinhalese nationalist governments who are to be blamed for the ethnic conflict. Most significantly, the British were largely responsible for sowing the seeds of lasting ethno-national contention.

The necessity of an Apology

The politics of reparations for past atrocities form a priority area in managing relations between oppressors and the oppressed. Colonisation is a phenomenon based on a logic of exploitation, of looting, of claiming other people’s lands, bodies, waterways and natural resources as one’s own. To reiterate a universal truth, there is nothing positive or constructive in any form of coercive colonisation, or, for that matter, on-going neo-colonial domination.

In the sphere of global governance, what Stephanie Wolf describes as a ‘redress and reparation movement’ is fast becoming an essential element of national as well as international policy formulation. Reparation politics are on the forefront of discussions on large-scale atrocities in the West, such as the Holocaust. In the territory of Turtle Island that we know as Canada, a much-needed discourse on reparations, apologies and redress is taking shape, albeit at a relatively slow pace. The Indigenous communities of these territories faced [and in many aspects, continue to face] high levels of violence, torture, murder, deprivation and systemic discrimination. Apologies, compensation and reparations for atrocities such as the system of ‘Indian Residential Schools’, to give but one example, are very much an ongoing process.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of Sri Lanka securing Dominion Status within the Commonwealth. Ceylon was the first Crown Colony outside the ‘Old Commonwealth’ [white settler-colonial places such as Canada, Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand] to obtain Dominion Status. The paradoxes and contradictions inherent in the socio-political life of post-1948 Sri Lanka are such that we refer to the day on which we were given Dominion Status [with the British monarch continuing to be our head of state] as our ‘Independence Day’. In terms of national sovereignty, it would be more justifiable to consider the 22nd of May, the day on which the Constitution of the First Republic was promulgated in 1972, as Sri Lanka’s ‘Independence Day’, if not ‘National Day’. The 1972 Constitution marked the most poignant expression of ethnic outbidding that came to being as the primary consequence of the British-induced constitution-making and institution-building experiment in Sri Lanka. It was a truly majoritarian constitution that shamelessly shunned minority rights. Not even the namesake minority safeguard in the Soulbury Constitution, namely its Section 29, was spared. In this sense, 22 May 1972 marks the ultimate entrenchment of ‘divide and rule’ tactics on our colonised soil and mindsets. Having that day as National Day would give us more food for thought annually, on the importance of national unity, reconciliation and building solidarities across the diverse mosaic that is the Sri Lankan people.

Most importantly, discussions on ‘independence’, ‘national sovereignty’, and ‘self-government’ in Sri Lanka are totally devoid of any focus whatsoever on the adverse effects of colonialism. We seldom collectively reflect upon the fact that the impact of colonial rule is continuously felt to the present-day and beyond. The consequences of three centuries of Western colonisation, especially the 150 years of British colonisation, are very much of ‘contemporary’ relevance. Colonial mindsets, colonial hangovers, colonially induced stereotypes wield an extremely powerful influence in all aspects of public life as well as in the personal spheres of many of our fellow citizens.

In this article, we contend that the British government and the British monarchy must apologize for its colonisation of Sri Lanka, for their decisive role in raising ethnic tensions that eventually led to a long civil war, and continuing politics of ethno-national antagonism. The apology should be made, preferably, by the British monarch or by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister or the monarch, in their apology to the people of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, must explicitly mention the role that they played as colonisers in provoking ethnic tensions in Sri Lanka.

Most notably, Britain must apologize for its disregard towards minority leaders of Sri Lanka, whose repeated pleas for adequate minority safeguards were largely ignored in British constitutional experiments.

If the British, in their apology, take responsibility for their role in aggravating ethnic tensions, it can provide a much-needed starting point towards inter-ethnic reconciliation in Sri Lanka. It will be helpful in publicly coming to terms with the fact that Britain’s colonial policies were significantly responsible for setting up the institutions which paved the way for ethnic outbidding in the post-independence era. By way of reparations, Britain could, for example, provide funding directed towards building new homes for Sri Lankans at the lower echelons of the social ladder [especially of ethnic minority communities] displaced by the thirty-year war, while providing assistance to the Government of Sri Lanka in restoring infrastructure in the war affected North and East. However, the reality is that no financial payment is sufficient as reparations for the misery and bloodshed caused by the persistent effects of Britain’s colonial policies in Sri Lanka.

The fact that colonisation in any shape or form is deeply problematic, that it is a process of control and repression, does not require any reiteration here. As we shall highlight below, the evolution of constitutionalism and governance in Sri Lanka is directly intertwined with the oppressive legacy of British colonisation. We cannot talk about constitution-making, law making, or even the ‘mace’ in the Parliament of Sri Lanka without referring to Britain and British rule of the island. Over the years, Sri Lankans as a people have somewhat failed to adequately take stock of the destructive legacy of colonisation, and what it did to the socio-political fabric of the land. Instead, Sri Lankans of all ethnicities and faith traditions, especially those of the socioeconomic and political elite, have been perpetuating colonial structures of oppression that the British introduced, in some cases overtly and in many others covertly, in the guise of conforming to practices of democratic governance.

In the section that follows, we shall engage in a very brief discussion of some aspects of the constitutional and political decision-making-related errors made by the British in the early decades of the last century, which have had a lasting adverse impact on ethno-national politics in Sri Lanka. This discussion is by no means extensive, nor does it encompass a fully comprehensive discussion of constitutionalism, which would be beyond the remit of this article. This article also does not touch upon the multitude of socio-economic, culturally genocidal and highly exploitative aspects of colonisation that imperatively call for an apology. Instead, the objective here is to provide an überblick of the deeply problematic nature of Eurocentric constitutional experimentation on a non-Western socio-political and cultural context. This salient reality alone warrants an abject and unambiguous apology from the colonising power.

Constitutional blunders: a continuing quagmire

After the Cameron-Colebrook reforms of 1833, the British transferred political power to Sri Lanka [then Ceylon] in two main stages: in 1931 via the Donoughmore Commission, and in 1948 via the Soulbury Commission. These two stages of Western constitutional reform were central to setting up the framework for ethno-nationally motivated discrimination against minority communities by successive Sinhala-Buddhist-dominated governments.

A system of ‘communal representation’ was in place from 1915 to 1931, with a certain number of seats assigned to English-speaking elite Sinhalese, Tamils, Moors, Burghers, etc. In 1931, Donoughmore reforms abolished communal representation. This strengthened the hands of the political class of the majority Sinhalese community. The Donoughmore Commission created Executive Committees, where the local population had a considerable role in administration (except in reserved prerogatives such as finance and defence). It extended the franchise and allowed elections based on universal suffrage. Upon abolishing communal representation in executive councils, the Donoughmore Commission turned out to be a failure with respect to the fact that it did not suggest any alternative such as a workable form of federalism to contain communalism and ensure adequate political representation of the minority communities.

To recapitulate a well-known fact, prior to 1931, the Tamil minority were overrepresented in the civil service commensurate to population statistics. Under British rule, Professor Neil DeVotta reports that “the Tamil population held 33% of civil service jobs, 40% of judicial service jobs and 31% of university students, figures that are much higher than their representative share.” The post-Donoughmore constitutional landscape was conducive to what came to be known as ‘Sinhalisation’, which involved more opportunities in the state sector to Sinhalese people. Under British rule, the Tamil minority had a significant economic advantage over the Sinhalese majority, significantly due to educational opportunities in the northern part of the country, where the first Christian mission schools – a core element of physical, social, linguistic, cultural and psychological colonisation – were established. Tamils who had undergone missionary education had more access to “clientelistic networks” set up by the British than the average Sinhalese person. The abolition of communal representation by the British marked the beginning of a gradual process that would significantly threaten to reverse the economic and societal privilege held by Tamils.

Ensuring more opportunities for Tamils in the Civil Service under British rule was not intended at empowering Tamil people. It is also naive to assume the oft-repeated claim that Tamils, especially those from northern Sri Lanka, were better workers than the Sinhalese [or Tamils elsewhere]. The bottom line of this policy was none other than the usual ‘divide and rule’ tactics upon which the entire monstrosity known as the British Empire was built. This is why it is perfectly justifiable to claim that British policies of favouritism towards one group of people over another [in this case one ethno-national group over others] were instrumental in sowing the seeds of long-lasting ethnonational tension and antagonism.

The Donoughmore Saga

The Donoughmore Report was, by and large, exemplary of the way in which the British acted throughout all of its colonies. They imposed policies with a blatant disregard to genuinely incorporate the views of local stakeholders. The report’s condemnation of communal representation on the one hand, and avoidance of adequately addressing the concerns of minority groups on the other, happened to be crucial in bringing repressed ethno-national tensions to the surface.

The Donoughmore dispensation created a situation in which divisive and toxic ethnonational concerns became the primary preoccupation of local leaders. Many Sinhalese politicians, for example, were upset that franchise had been extended to Indian plantation workers [who were force-migrated to Sri Lanka as indentured labourers under British rule] almost on the same terms as the indigenous population. Sinhalese politicians were concerned that an extension of franchise to Indian plantation workers would increase the influence of the European planters, the employers and profiteers of indentured Indian labour. Furthermore, Sinhalese politicians feared that the Indians would henceforth undermine Sinhalese interests in plantation districts where the Indians were by then dominant in terms of demographics. In post-1948 Sri Lanka, Sinhalese politicians took action based on these fears and prejudices, by enacting the Ceylon Citizenship Act of 1948 which made Indian plantation workers stateless. In sum, this Act created two types of citizenship: citizenship by descent and citizenship by registration. In both cases, substantive documentary evidence was required from applicants. However, most Indian Tamil workers were illiterate and very few actually had documentary proof. This requirement of documentary evidence, such as registration of birth, is indicative of how the anglicised Sri Lankan elite had come to consider features of European social organisation as the status quo. Over 700,000 Indian Tamils were thus rejected citizenship, making them stateless.

Minority leaders such as Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan, on behalf of Tamils, and T.B. Jayah, on behalf of Muslims, made pleas to the British that the Donoughmore Commission is unacceptable to the interests of their respective communities. The implementation of the Donoughmore reforms effectively removed the “weightage for the minorities to compensate for the numerical superiority of the Sinhalese” and left the nation devoid of any adequate checks and balances to prevent discriminatory majoritarian policies from being enacted by Sinhalese-majority governments. Although the Donoughmore constitution did introduce welfare provisions, a rarity for an exploitative British colony, these provisions are unimpressive considering a backdrop in which adequate political representation among the pluralistic communities was not established in any reasonable measure.

On a par with regional and global developments of the day, Sri Lankan leaders involved in campaigns for self-government began calling for enhanced constitutional provisions by the early/mid 1940s. Subsequently, the British concocted the Soulbury Commission in 1945. The Soulbury Commission Report introduced a model of Westminster-style bicameral government. Once again, the minority protections it offered were far from adequate.

Soulbury Sequence: deeper into the abyss of ethnic outbidding

The Soulbury Report contained a clause which later became Section 29 (2) in the 1946 Constitution, prohibiting any legislation “infringing on religious freedom or discrimination against persons of any community or religion.” It also stipulated that a two-thirds majority was required for any changes in the constitution or any piece of legislation aimed at discriminating against a racial or religious minority. Nevertheless, these minority safeguards were inadequate, in that they did not, in any reasonable measure, correspond to the demands put forth by the Ceylon Tamil and Ceylon Indian leadership. In February of 1944, for example, GG Ponnambalam of the All Ceylon Tamil Congress, voiced a proposal before the Soulbury commissioners that called for balanced representation known as “fifty-fifty” which advocated for an equal proportion of seats between the majority and minority communities.

Despite such pleas, the British ruled that minority communities already constituted “a large and powerful enough block” to counter any extremist legislation. The Soulbury Report ensured that the Governor-General would exercise his discretion on any bill that evoked serious opposition by any racial or religious community and that, in his opinion, was likely to involve oppression or serious injustice to any such community.

Campaigns for self-rule in Sri Lanka, if not anticolonial struggles, were very different from such struggles across the Palk Straits. Unlike India, Sri Lanka lacked a cohesive mass-based national movement. Instead, mobilization for self-rule took place in the form of what has been described as “fragmentary associations”. Subsequently, ‘most political parties [like the United National Party] were formed in anticipation of the 1947 elections.’ In fact, as asserted by constitutionalist Sir Ivor Jennings himself, “the constitution which Sri Lanka had until 1947 was designed to suit a legislature without parties and therefore actively discouraged them.” The British were confident that a political system drafted to conform to Western interests, a system that, according to them, “worked well for centuries in Britain” can be applied to Sri Lanka’s pluralistic society, and that loyal, anglicized Sinhala elites can be trusted to protect minority rights. Speaking of the Soulbury Constitution, SWRD Bandaranaike (who eventually deployed ethnonational politics to make his way to Premiership in 1956), echoed these sentiments, asserting:

“There was no fight for that freedom which involved a fight for principles, policies and programmes which could not be carried out unless that freedom was obtained. No. It just came overnight. We just woke up one day and were told, you are a dominion now.”

Persistent blunders: the reason for the call for a formal apology

In 1948, Sri Lanka gained Dominion status, which was hitherto the exclusive reserve of Old Commonwealth possessions such as Canada and Australia. The Dominion State had to bear the brunt of problematic British policies implemented prior to 1948. The model in place was one that was easily conducive to triggering ethno-national tensions. Very soon, politicians from all ethno-national backgrounds came to terms with a reality that applies to Sri Lankan politics to this very day – that arousing ethno-national antagonisms among the masses is a sure strategy to access and reinforce political power. The entire political saga of the Dominion State, of the Republic of Sri Lanka and of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, has been marked by this inclination to steer, rather than contain, ethnonational tensions. The roots of this political culture of spewing division among the masses lie in the constitutional experiments and fatal political miscalculations of the British. The consequences and ramifications of these problematic policies continue to be felt to this very day, and they will shape the political landscape of Sri Lanka for many more decades to come.

Hence the present call for a formal apology from the British Crown and the British Government, to the Government and the people of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. It is a first step in developing a discourse on reparations, and in recognising the sheer magnitude of colonial atrocities and their present-day ramifications, both of which are some seven decades overdue.

Late, is indeed better than never.

*Pitasanna Shanmugathas is a human rights activist and Director/Lead Curator of the social media group, Stop Human Rights Violations in Sri Lanka and Chamindra Weerawardhana PhD (@fremancourt) is a gender justice activist and political analyst.

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Latest comments

  • 3
    2

    It is in the long past recoded history that British whites or decedents were involved in humiliating & torturing natives and Blacks in Australia, Canada, America…….. But was never known in the 21st century they maintain Human Flesh eating sharks in the home aquariums.
    He is blaming of Britain having carried out genocide in Lankawe. He did not care to be specific of, if that was on Sinhalese, Tamils, or Muslims and the incidents took places. But he is conveniently hiding Britain authorizing British merchants buying Thermobaric bombs, which are banned in Britain, from Russia and sending to Chandrika to carry out Genocide. He is banging on the “Divide and Rule of Britain” having wedged between the communities. He has nothing to say about Anagarika Dharmapala or Mahanama, they both extremely highly venerated by Sinhala Buddhist for at least one and a half Millennium.
    Tamils completely rejected 1972 constitution and declared that it will not bind them. 1976 Vattukottai convention is the result of it. But Pitasanna technical buttering is, Tamils have to reject 1948 and accept 1972 as their freedom day. But he has no explanation of the differences to Tamils in them both. For Tamils, 1972 is rejected and Vattukkotai convention stands, confirmed by the 1977 election results. Further, other than the occupying forces and their leaders, the Governors, Reginald Corey and Rohitha Bogollagama, Tamils do not celebrate anything in North- East on Feb 4th. Because he is a Communist, he has no knowledge of what is going in the North East.

    • 5
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      Books written in the end of 20th century say that “not a single British soldier had a single scratch serving in Ceylon”… why .. why why.. ??
      Did we , our fathers , really ask or demand British to leave the country in 1930s and 40s??? No… We didn’t.. why why why Are we very different to rest of colonized countries??
      Read the book “Ceylon in 1889″ (or second edition Ceylon in 1903”)
      90~95% of roads , Bridges we use today are build by British (properly utilizing us, local resources.
      What about our admin procedures, structures, ex-office filing systems .. our common-civil laws… we still use what British done in early 1920~30s..
      But on the other had, we tried to change the vehicle registration numbering system after “Sudda” left… in year 2018, SL ended up with ugly, messy 10 different types car number plates. (this led to ethnic unrest too). Never seen this messy car plates in any other country in the world… .. list goes on on on..
      Why SL married women only get නඩත්තු ( නඩු) ?? This was what British had in 1910s@!!! Why SL land deeds has no quality and that led to many land cases in courts? 1920s British deed format is still in use…

  • 2
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    Pitasanna just want to show his anti-West Communism; other than that nothing material or enlightening in the entire essay.

    Pitasanna Shanmugathas is not Tamils’ representative; neither head of Tamil movement. There is no point in his pretentious representation of Tamils. Tamils are not standing in the middle of ocean demanding apology from British Royal for having colonized Tamil Kingdoms. It was 300 years old occasions. Their accusation is Britain took Tamils sovereignty from them and handed over to Sinhalese, only because hoping of getting Trincomalee harbor.
    Tamils appreciate the still fresh and alive PM David Cameron’s visit to Jaffna. TNA was thankful for him for that. Tamils, now look forward, instead of gesture visits only, more constructive action from Britain and from their Monarch, in the immediate feature.
    The Tamils’ request to Britain is apologizing to them having participated in Chandrika and Old Kings genocide by helping those governments. Further their demand is Britain has to carry a leading role in pushing the UNHRC’s initiation and from there a self-rule to Tamil. That is because Tamils know that Britain, by its 150 years of connection with Ceylon, understand the Sinhala Chauvinism better than others.

    • 1
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      Tamils must demand for justice and British intervention through UK Courts as colonial rulers should have separated Eelam like prior to Colonialism. Tamils sufferings, loss of life and properties as a result of colonial mockery and British rulers are responsible and accountable for it.

  • 1
    9

    Who created the Tamil diaspora? Answer to this is that the Tamils wanted a better life and misused the asylum system to move to western countries. So please do not twist this into something else. Also note, rightly speaking the Tamils in this island are a diaspora of Tamil Nadu, so the ones who left Sri Lanka are a secondary diaspora, and must ultimately be connected to their true place of origin, namely Tamil Nadu. Curiously the Tamils from Sri Lanka who say they are fighting for the rights of the Tamils and the future of the Tamil language etc, etc didn’t go back to Tamilnadu, where they could have lived their Tamil lives speaking and cultivating the Tamil language and culture, but took the opportunity to move to the western world.

    • 5
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      Sinhalese racist like you and the discrimination genocide and large scale ethnic cleansing of Tamils at the hands of all Sinhalese led governments created the Tamil diaspora. Short and sweet. Repeating the same lie again and again will not make it the truth Percy. You are and out and out die hard Sinhalese racist.

  • 2
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    Worth to support a Chinese communist, a trend in Lanakwe after China became the new colonial master after capturing Colombo Pong Cing and Hangbangtota, rather than promoting a human flesh eating shark aquarium owner to presidency, which neither Pitasanna nor Chaminda has done so far.

    Mountain is not coming; Thero has to move his heavy back to Chaminda and Pitasanna.

  • 6
    1

    It just struck me that if you want the british to apologise for colonizing sri lanka then they should doubly apologize to the tamils for colonizing the jaffna kingdom and leaving it and the tamil people at the mercy of the sinhalese and muslims.I am bitter that the british did that and the tamils had to suffer riot after riot and humiliation after humiliation,when they could easily have been a proud and hardworking people like the singaporeans having their own destiny under their own control as they had done for 400 years of the jaffna kingdom before the portugeuse,dutch and british arrived and took the kingdom away piece by little piece.

    If the sinhalese also apologize for colonizing the jaffna kingdom that would make it even better.

    I think with those apologies under their belt and their history thus recognized the tamils can move on with a federal system letting bygones be bygones and not crying over spilt milk any more.

    If the bandaranayake-chelvanayagam pact was not torn up by SWRD due to pressure from the unofficial rulers of srilanka,the bhuddhist monks,then we would have been a country now with the standard of living of somewhere between singapore and malaysia.Now we are much lesser than even thailand whereas when the british left we were known as the pearl of the indian ocean.

    • 0
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      Shankar ,

      Invention of razor blade was , for shaving ! Imagine monkey
      snatched it from you or you gave it to him ? The result is same !
      Democracy is such a blade given to us by the Donor . The
      ignoramus having failed with the device is still juggling with it
      and in the process inflict upon himself bad injuries all over .
      Now the blade is for everything but shaving ! I remember former
      prime minister of GB David Cameron visited a primary in the UK
      and a little black girl demanded an apology either for colonizing
      black countries or of enslaving them ! And the PM quipped ” He
      doesn’t have to apologize for his ancestors.” PM did it with due
      respect to the girl ! These authors in my opinion , are just another
      set of dummies left behind by British legacy .

      • 0
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        why why

        australia has recently said sorry to the aborogines.Better late than never.Japan will one day regret their stubborness in not acknowledging their war crimes.

        If you can’t apologise for yourself because it is your ancestors that did the crime then you should apologise on behalf of your race because you are a member of that race that did the wrong to someone else.The victims and their descendents feel that you have acknowledged the wrong done by your ancestors and now they can move on witout holding that grudge against you for what they have done.

        • 0
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          I think that apology is owing on many fronts within the country.
          All nationalists operate on the denial mode.

        • 0
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          Shankar ,
          Agree with you .There would be a day countries demand an
          apology for wrong doing but like the independence we got ,
          it will come to Srilanka on platter on that day ! Still good
          for humanity when it happens ! However,my point was just a
          reminder that the idea published here was already directed
          at a leader by a kid . I don’t know whether it was her own make
          or she was trained for it ! An apology without demand would be
          a great lead to the standard of civilization .

  • 1
    4

    AGREED on the article’s headline, but the body of the article is full of lies, misinformation and bullsh1t. Not a single mention of what those barbaric imperialist did to native Sinhala-Buddhists. Brits dumped millions of their ex-Tamil slaves on native Sinhalese.

    Since independence, all ethnic minorities have been doing is ‘being dog sh1t on the way’ of native Sinhala Buddhists.

    Although there were some Tamil speakers before the arrival of British, certainly there were no ethnic Tamils in Sinhala-Buddhist-Sri Lanka. Even today, the so called Tamils are actually ethnic Malabaris. Ponnambalam and Chelvanagam who fathered eternal problems with the help of their British masters were also ethnic Malabaris. 95% of so called Tamils are actually recent migrant Kallathonis.

    Brits were behind the several attempts of assassination and the actual assassination of SWRD_B. Also Brits were behind the several attempts of assassination of Sirimawo, coups of Sirimawo’s government and eventually the removal of the civic rights of Sirimawo. NOTICE, how then British government freed the culprits of the coup of Sirimawo’s government and after causing all those mayhem with the help of colonial masters’ boot licking ‘kalu suddahs’ -as ‘thanks giving’ Elizabeth and Margaret visited the island.

    REMEMBER and BE GRATEFUL, it was Sirimawo who freed Tamils from slavery and let them reunite with their loved ones back in Tamils’ mother land Tamil Nadu (those Tamils came back).

    • 2
      1

      John,
      Ceylon Tamils do not speak TN Tamil. Ceylon Tamils do not speak a languages based Malayalam, which many times confused to Tamils Malabaris. Notice here, I mentioned only “speaking”. In the first Tamil grammar book, Tholkappiyam, was written in third century BC, it is recognized already that there are two Tamils exist, written and spoken. Tamil Brahmi used to writing has born only a few centuries ago. So it’s very narrow corridor when the written language and spoken took the different paths. But there is no confusion when Malayalam took different path (about 800 Years ago). Interestingly there are words common to Malayalam and Ceylon Tamil, but those words lost the usage in TN Tamil. Malayalam separated from Tamil by highly distorted spoken version and mix of Sanskrit. Ceylon Tamil is the one has the least Sanskrit mixing and very closely matching to grammatical language. This is telling Ceylon Tamil did not come from Malayalam, Further happening like that is unusual phenomena that a language evolved into another one and returning back to original. Then one has to explain why Ceylon Tamil and Malayalam have few common words, but they are rested in TN Tamil. That is where we have to return to the “narrow period” where a grammatical Tamil and spoken Tamil separated. Actually it is telling when the Ceylon Tamil was born. The connection existed between Ceylon Tamil and Malayalam was before Tholkapiyar. As Ceylon Tamil is closest language to the written Tamil than any other Tamil, it is the oldest Tamil. Let me not to overstate, that Ceylon Tamil migrated even before “Tamil split into Grammatical and Colloquial,” and after it came to Ceylon, it gave birth to its own spoken language. Yet that denial still has to come from highly experienced linguistic experts.

    • 1
      1

      But our simple reunification is, though Ceylon Tamil is the most closely resembling Tamil to grammatical Tamil, but its colloquial part has its relationship with TN colloquial Tamil. Now we are clear that the Ceylon Tamil was in connection with TN at the narrow time interval of the starting of splitting the grammatical Tamil and the colloquial Tamil and the period of Tholkappiyam. This is suggesting, basically Ceylon Tamils had their full connection with TN Tamils when the Tamil started to split into Grammatical and colloquial, but could not maintain that connection when Tholkappiryar officially split those Tamil into two separate Tamil.
      This is explain why the Kings names at the start of Mahavamsa is in Tamil, but different from TN. Muttu Shivan is not a common name in TN, but still a very common name for Ceylon Tamils. When Senan went to Charan’s celebration of Kannagi, he was seen as one in Chera, Chola ,Pandya, Sinhala kingdoms, not treated with Andhra or Carnatic, though they were connected by land but Ceylon was not. Then, Kannagi became as the goddess of the Sinhala Kingdom and Chera Kingdom, but apparently other two picked it for short while and dropped eventually. As Tamil speaking Sinhala kingdom (one like the Chera , Cola Pandya), has lost connection with TN, so it did not follow TN to drop Kannagi.
      Remember this, Ceylon Tamil is a Tamil born even before Tholkappiyar, a time at when it need not to have the two languages as spoken and written. In Ceylon Tamil, they both are very close. I know you and many of your Sinhalese colleagues write without knowing what Ceylon Tamil is. But we Ceylon Tamils precisely guard this unique difference to establish our ID.

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      John

      Don’t forget that Chandrika’s daughter made all our Sinhalese into honorary Suddha’s by the simple act of marrying a Brit. Why oh why!

    • 0
      2

      Wow, shall we ask our Tamil brothers/friends whether they like to go back home; with something in their pockets too.

      The problem is; Will India accept them.

      • 0
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        Real Indian origin Revolutionist,
        Tamil brothers/friends like to go back home only if their Sinhala brothers/friends go back their home. I know your pocket already filled with robbed money from Tamil brothers/friends.

    • 4
      2

      It is a proven fact the ancestors of most of the present day Sinhalese , may be even your ancestors , are descended from largely low caste Indian Tamil immigrants who were dumped into the island by the Portuguese and then the Dutch. They now make up 50% 0f the present day so called Sinhalese. Even many of the remnants of various South Indian invasions and migrations eventually took on a Sinhalese identity.Very few got assimilated into the Sri Lankan Tamil identity. This is why the Sinhalese share a 70% DNA with Indian Tamils and Sri Lankan Tamils only 17% DNA with Indian Tamils, despite speaking variations of the same language and more or less following the same religion. The original Sinhalese ( not the present day ones who are largely Sinhalised South Indians or assimilated South Indian immigrants) and the Sri Lankan Tamils share a 55% DNA proving that both people are descended from one original people , the Dravidian semi Tamil Elu speaking Naga and Yakka. The original Sinhalese largely from the Yakka ( as it was the Yakka who largely converted to Buddhism) and the Sri Lankan Tamils largely from the Naga. It was the arrival of Buddhism and not immigration from North India that triggered the formation of the Sinhalese language and ethnicity, as the Sri Lankan Tamils have a marginally higher percentage of Bengali DNA than the Sinhalese 28% compared to the Sinhalese 25%. The spoken dialects of the Sri Lankan Tamils is far more closer to classical Tamil/old Tamil/Proto Dravdian than the Tamil spoken in Tamil Nadu, proving that they have been isolated for thousands of years from mainstream Tamil culture in India and have retained many of the archaic forms of Tamil, that is also found in Malayalam , that branched off from middle Tamil a few centuries ago. Good try. You can lies but DNA will never lie

      • 0
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        Real Siva Sankaran Sharma

        It seems the ancestors of most of the present day Sinhalese and Tamils are the descendants of Sivapithecus and Ramapithecus.

    • 1
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      Johnny Baby

      I know its fun to have fantasies however there is a time you come back to earth and face the reality. I have check almost all “The Comics Journal” I do not find any planet that contains Sinhala-Buddhist-Sri Lanka.

      If you could kindly give us the location of your “Sinhala-Buddhist-Sri Lanka” in “Beyond the Hubble Volume”, “Dark Flow”, “Infinite Bubbles”, “Black Hole”, and “Parallel Universes” we too can enjoy your experience.

      Is it in one of the faint dwarf stars or already been sucked into black hole?

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      Dear John,

      I haven’t read either the article or the rest of the comments.

      I got here by looking at the “Latest Comments”.

      I find this a lot of racist claptrap. A few North Indians may have come with the Vijaya-gang”. They, too, were invaders. If the island must belong only to its earliest inhabitants, let us leave it to the descendants of Kuveni.

      Look at yourself in the mirror. When I look, it is clear that most of my genes come from South India. I’m not a fake scholar. I don’t know all that happened in our History. Nobody does.

      Colonialism was a nasty phase of History. “Sinhalese colonist” Vijaya was no better. And the State-Sponsored colonisiation that I see in the North-East is worse. Yes, I’ve been to Thiriyaya. There probably were Tamil Buddhists there 2,000 years ago. These things cannot be proved.

      The Sinhala Language: can you make head or tail of “the Sigiriya kurutu gee” without an exegesis? With the exegesis I understand what cultured and refined ancestors we had. Yes, THAT is Olde Sinhala.

      Fault the Brits – I have no problem with that. But remember also that they hauled us in to the 20th Century. Now in the 21st Century, people like you cannot do without technology. We are now poisoning OUR WORLD. It is time we began to think of one WORLD. People like you should befriend Donald Trump!

      John, I’m sorry that this has become rather a tirade. I’m tired, and I haven’t got the time to phrase this comment more acceptably.

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    We are all the time asking the British to apologize!! Thats all we do. The fact that they, and prior to that the Portuguese and the Dutch were colonizing us is of no consequence.

    India, Singapore, malaya were all under the British. The Indonesians were colonized by the Dutch. Have you heard them asking for “apologies!!??” No, they just carries on and are now way ahead of us in every respect. Britain is NEVER going to apologize for anything. What about the schools, railways, hospitals, cricket, etc etc ? Do you want them to apolgize for those?!

    Instead of looking for others to bail us out, we should just determinedly address our own shortcomings.

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      “Schools, railways, hospitals” argument does not work.
      Technology always finds its way into countries sooner or later.
      Hindu Number System which makes many technological advancements possible and easier spread from India into the West. they dropped the Roman system and picked this up after much resistance. there are many examples.
      another case in point is Thailand which was not colonized by any Western powers. and now it is much developed in the above infrastructures than Sri Lanka. Technology found its way.
      will any Srilankan say their(Thai) culture is older and finer than ours to be an exception?

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        Rajeeva, the point I am making is, lets not loose our way. Dont ask and wait for “apologies” that will never come. The nation need to determinedly pursue realism and work out our own salvation. Yes, technology will always find a way, but I am glad the Brits didnt wait for technology to “find its way” to Sri Lanka!! If that would apply to us, then the base system that was in place would have been greatly improved with faster and double and treble tracked rails, extended and vastly improved train and bus services, best schools and hospitals etc!!! Hindu Numbers, Roman numbers and Thai independence is NOT relevant. What is relevant is what we can do for our own nation.

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    PleaseAney. Will someone show us a picture of DS Senanayake kneeling before the Duke Of Gloucester in 1948. Now Sira will do the same in front of William or whoever is here. Disgusting is not the word. Wonder what Shayman will do? He will kneel before Ranil we all know that, but after that Ranil will be standing erect, butShaymon will be on his knees doing something quite shameful,you shameful Shayman

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    Is the visit of the Edward Royal couple really innocent?
    .
    I mean, this talk about Edward Royal couple’s visit to Sri Lanka came after the election was announced. So an influential Britisher came to Sri Lanka prior to Sri Lanka’s elections AGAIN.
    Isn’t this familiar?
    .
    5 days before the general elections in August 2015, Tony Blair visited Sri Lanka out of the blue. There was speculation about him coming in support of Ranil with billions of money. UNP was in an extremely weak position at the time, but after the election was held, they had won 100 odd seats shocking everybody, obviously through vote rigging. February 4 here could only be a coincidence to avoid arousing suspicion. The most important factor is the visit of an influential Britisher AGAIN, a week prior to another election in Sri Lanka. Something is cooking.
    .
    The MES is the easiest way to make a false majority, a false victory, a false mandate as it allows free seats under PR at district level had the Party received a certain percentage of votes at national level though failed at district/electorate level. UNP can easily manipulate this system in their favour. There was no way for them to win 100 odd seats at the last general election if not for vote rigging. This time they have replaced the old vote rigging method with a more sophisticated technique. Our people are no where close to understanding Ranil’s tricks.

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    No. We, Sri Lankans must thank the Britishers for helping us build a civilised modern nation. For developing our country – particularly the infra structure – and introducing a better system of government. It would have been much better if the country was still under the British rule. They did not plunder the country like our `patriotic` Sinhala- Bauddha leaders. Independence!Bloody Freedom! Today we are a beggarly nation enjoying the Freedom! Bloody arse!

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      What do you mean ‘they did not plunder the country’? Why do you think they conquered it in the first place? So that they could enjoy sun bathing on its beaches?

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        What do you mean ‘particularly the infrastructure’? Why do you think the British built roads, railways, harbours? They never dreamed that they would have to leave. They were improving the country that they stole, for themselves alone. Hence the estates, the imported slave labour from India etc. As for schools and colleges, it was always their policy to create a class of educated natives who would be British in values and education. British in all but colour. These natives would then administer the colony for them. This policy was carried out in India and Africa as well.

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        What do you mean ‘the country would have been better off under British rule’? It would then still be a colonial dictatorship wouldn’t it? You wouldn’t have a vote at all.
        Remember how the British quietly handed thousands of Chinese in Hong Kong back to the the communist dictators? Who do you think they would have handed Ceylon to if it became too much of a burden?

        What do you mean ‘bloody arse”? I’m sorry to hear about your piles. Try Kohilla, its supposed to help.

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      How dumb… The British destroyed the native economy. Land where food was grown and animals grazed were turned into tea plantations, peoples’s homes were destroyed and roads were built using forced labour. The British made Sri Lanka into a British property where all the profits were taken by them. The British didn’t come here to develop our country, they came here to rob and plunder. Today the plantations are causing alot of environmental problems such as the land slides and floods we are experiencing, because millions of trees were cut down. Please note how the British governors and colonial officers were planters! In addition to this, they created the ethnic conflict. The British brought millions of Tamils and Muslims and changed the demography of this island. The central highlands which was more or less a homogeneous Sinhalese area has become almost a Tamil majourity area and some districts eg. Nuwara Eliya is majourity Tamil today. Anyways both Tamils and Sinhalese are much more civilized people who had achieved high level of civilization long before the English nation was even born. What the English did here was they laid the ground work for the vulture capitalism which was to come. And Sri Lanka together with all the third world countries is in the grip of this vulture capitalism. And this man wants us to be thankful to the English! How brainwashed!!

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    This topic has nothing to do with Tamils, Sinhalese, Muslims, Burghers, Malay or any other race. The article is a backward look at the history. It is easy to find fault or support what happened in the past, but most importantly when one is in the same time and space (i.e when these acts happened) the thinking and strategy required and adopted were different. If Sri Lanka has done better since 1948 independence then its some what fair to find fault with the history, but we are worst off than what we were in 1948. Excellent example is the standing of Singapore when we gained independence and what it is now. So lets stop blaming others for our failures, its time we look inward and correct the errors and move forward.

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    Messrs Shanmugadas and Weerawardhena

    With so many other matters demanding our attention, what causes you to waste time on this vacuous exercise that has really only resulted in a few raised hackles.

    Why now? After all these years, why jump on the band wagon of lost causes. Is it because our Indian cousins are trying to screw a few paisa from the old white mastah?

    Better we let bygones be bygones and keep our dignity intact.

    Happy Feb 4th. (Be careful, if you are invited to Galle Face. I watched the boys erecting the stands, and they took a few short cuts).

    God Bless Sri Lanka and all who sail in her.

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      Not only the British but all the recent colonial powers (as long as they remain as the original country) have to be made to acknowledge and apologize so as to prevent these events taking place in the future again. without a closure, it will remain open and could surface again.
      it could be good for the past colonial powers as well. Tide always changes. over time colonized could become a colonizer( China, India?)

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        rajjeeva70

        “Not only the British but all the recent colonial powers (as long as they remain as the original country) have to be made to acknowledge and apologize so as to prevent these events taking place in the future again. without a closure, it will remain open and could surface again.”

        Alright all the invaders/occupiers had long gone except the Kallathonie Sinhalese and Kallathonie Tamils. What should we do to get rid of them from our ancestral island?

        By the way there are many things still remain open and needed resolutions. The numerous riots and the long wars require closure too, ending with justice to all, apology, adequate compensation and fool proof mechanism preventing future carnage and restructuring the state with a view to democratizing it without a shot being fired.

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    The cosmos is a single process with intertwining and interacting, complementary and contradicting sub processes. This process is – as part of its cyclical existence through becoming, being, unbecoming and non being – becoming a material universe within which planets and living organisms of which the Genus Homo is one have emerged. Homo sapiens is the species of this genus that genocidaly wiped out all its other species to emerge as the sole survivor.

    This species has generated a civilization based on the organizational principle of the pyramid that draws all resources generated by planetary processes to its apex and destroys all resistance that it meets. One of the resources that it currently requires with increasing urgency is the realization of this islands potential to function as an entrepôt to the IOR-ARC, SAARC, BIMSTEC and ANTARCTICA in order to facilitate the movement of capital and technologies into and goods, services and resources out of these regions to meet the survival requirements of a population of 7.3 billion that is still growing.

    The empire is the highest developmental stage that the pyramid has been able to attain. It may not be the best one because the emergence of its concomitant growth model of development with its resultant Rapid Resource Depletion, Pollution and Global Climate Change and Global Monetary Collapse is leading to increasing suffering and destruction. The required response is not to seek apologies from past empires in order to pacify current egos but to generate a new perceptual paradigm that will enable the transformation of global civilization of the human species on the basis of the organizational principle of the network into a more sustainable and resilient one.

    Any other will only lead to further conflict.

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    Apparently Ranil has a Grand Plan to handover Sri Lanka to the British. The visit of Andrew is just a feeler to test the water. If everything is OK he will go for a referendum and give the island to the Brits. He has told at a public meeting two days ago that “ me chandaya kaata giyath kamak nehe, Namuth Mahinda mahaththayata thenne nehe” He has told Sirisena that when the country is given back Sira can be the Gov General Ranil PM and the Queen willprovide all the funds to help Sri Lanka!! Howzaat!! This should make all the monarchists, the Royalists, and all those dumb bastards who worship all foreign things, Very Happy.

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    Yes Nirmalan Good thinking on your part. You have missed one important universal activity that is creating an over arching problem for humanity. That is the dastardly thing called fornication. There is a suggestion, a very worthy one I think that all horizontal activity should cease. You see the heavy breathing creates pressures on the outer atmosphere, which in turn has led to unprecedented production of ozone.What do we do now? All worldly suffering has to be ended.Now how do we get about doing that.? My suggestion is that we go on a crash course which involves all 5.6 billion people on the planet. Get them to lie down and do the unthinkable. Who can think of the unthinkable. Ranil sir of course.

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      Percy ~ “There is this dastardly thing called fornication”.
      Evolutionist say the fornication is necessary for ‘better’ off springs!

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    A new constitution hurriedly replaced the Soulbury Constitution purely to abolish the Section 29 of the former which safeguarded the minorities.
    Thus the rot commenced.
    The British need not to be blamed.

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    NO need for apology, Britain has a bounden duty to put things right for leaving a unitary constitution with only a clause on a piece of paper to protect Tamils who had a separate national identity and homeland – that which was unconscionably broken.. What we need is a political solution as well as justice for the genocidal acts perpetrated by the Sri Lankan state on Tamils since independence which forced them to fight back. We are not minorities, we are a nation. We had our own kingdom when the colonisers came. Sadly Tamils moved from one colonial master who appreciated them to another who started to oppress, discriminate, marginalise, discriminate – and persecute them. The nightmare for Tamils began 70 years ago and is still ongoing.
    Here are two of my articles on CT I suggest you read:
    1. Acts Of Betrayal That Broke The Letter And Spirit of Independnece
    2.The Face Of Despair And The Black Day That’s Sri Lankan Independence Day
    Tamils need more from Britain, not just ceremonial visits.
    Thank you
    Usha S Sri-Skanda-Rajah

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      Yes in 1815 the Kandyan kingdom stretched as far north as Polonnaruwa and as far east as Trincomalee. Perhaps the Sinhalese should have their own nation too i.e. everything except that part of the northern province that the Tamils occupied.

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    What really was in Sec 29 of the Soulbury Constitution? I thought the new constitution Hasan entrenched clause safeguarding the rights of the minorities.That is eminently desirable. Problem is that our Dravidian pals want more.,although they dare not ask it in India. They have humbly accepted the position there of Tamil as a non national language. In SL it is a different ball game a case of the tail wagging the dog. It is a vain forlorn hope and could be the cause of unnecessary conflict and tragedy on all sides. Well.if it has to be, it will be.
    Que sera sera !

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    The British Monarchy must apologize to the Sinhalese for virtually making 3 new ethnic groups in the Sinhalese island, namely the Plantation Tamils, Non-Plantation Tamils [i.e the socalled Ceylon Tamils or North East Tamils or Eelam Tamils, Eelam which ofcourse means Sinhala country and the name itself is appropriated) ] and the Muslims and creating the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. The Ceylon Tamils, are the ones who are the most vociferous and have created most trouble for the Sinhalese, resorting terrorism and destroying property and the country. These Tamils should know that this island has always been the island of the Sinhalese, and no amount of mourning and fake history and sob stories you people manufacture is going to change that. All Tamils are from Tamilnadu, the British should help re-locating the Tamils who are unhappy in Sri Lanka back to where they truly belong, namely Tamil Nadu. It is a win-win situation for everyone.

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      Are you a Sinhala modaya and racist who refused to accept the truth that the last Kandy King was a Tamil and signed documents with the British in Tamil?

      Tamils have kingdoms in Eelam and never part of Sinhala regime. Tamils history is rich, and its cultures and values are still practiced in many nations in South East Asia including God Pillayar is in Indonesian currency notes although it is a Muslim country. Sinhalese only know to destroy, ruin whereas Eelam Tamils are recognized as architects in the successful Singapore.

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