26 January, 2020

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Can The Nation Move Forward Without Resolving The Ethnic Divisions?

By Harsha Gunasena

Harsha Gunasena

Democracy is the rule of the majority. If the majority tries to suppress the needs of the minority the Democracy would deteriorate to the level of dictatorship of the majority. Sri Lanka was in this situation for long time and sometime back it tried to march towards pure dictatorship. It was foiled and thereafter democratic freedom was established. However, it did not come back to the status of pure democracy.

Results of the recently held presidential election s were highly polarized based on the ethnicity. It is important to note that minorities did not vote for the extremist candidates of their ethnicities. They voted for a Sinhala-Buddhist overwhelmingly. This was the situation in the last presidential election as well. This time the trend continued with the sharpening of the polarization. This election was canvassed mainly on the grounds of national security and ethnicity. Ironically, if Sri Lanka needs national security at this point in history, it needs to harmonize the different ethnicities and  religions, rather than dividing them. Therefore, the country is in the wrong mindset now.  

The President said that he is the President of all Sri Lankans including the people who did not vote for him. Also he stated that he would not address the political aspirations of the Tamils, but he would certainly address their economic aspirations since Sinhalese would not oppose to the development of the areas where Tamils are. He thinks that by this way their political aspirations would fade away. In other words, the assumption is that the root cause of the problem is an economic one.

It is not. Now the people of Hong Kong launched massive protest campaigns against Chinese rule. Hong Kong is economically sound, but they selected to protest against Chinese backed extradition law by compromising their economic growth. Scotland is enjoying asymmetrical power sharing in Great Britain. They can decide whether to leave Great Britain or not, but they have decided to stay at the last referendum. Catalonia is a wealthy region in Spain, having a separate parliament and contributing to 19% of GDP of Spain. There is a widespread belief among the Catalans that the central government takes much more from them in taxes than it gives back. 

Therefore, low economic conditions may not be the reason. On the other hand, when the economy grows it may be more difficult to suppress the political aspirations of Tamils, contrary to the belief of the President. What the President is not saying is that the political movement he represents worked intentionally to uphold Sinhalese chauvinism and got political advantages out of that. From SWRD Bandaranaike, the opposition political parties worked like this. Only Chandrika Kumaratunga and Ranil Wikremesinghe did not fall into this flow. They have their own shortcomings and deficiencies, but they did not try to take political advantage out of this national question.

Mahinda Rajapaksa, a former President got the best opportunity to solve this question as the leader who ended the war. Unfortunately, he avoided that. Yitzhak Rabin was the Commander-in-Chief of the Israel defence forces during the six-day war in 1967. When he was the Prime Minister in 1994, he signed Oslo backed Israel-Palestinian peace agreement which paved the way to get him awarded Nobel Peace Prize. However, he was assassinated subsequently by a person who opposed the peace treaty. Mahatma Gandhi who was the key figure of Indian independence and who initiated to end the ethnic, religious and caste-based discrimination in India was also assassinated as a result of his stand in ethnic riots in 1947. The former president may have thought that it was better to stay alive rather than getting the Nobel Prize. 

It was not the case. History teaches us a different lesson. For millennia in this country we did not have ethnic conflicts until 1915. Conflicts and wars were among the kings and princes. They were concerned about the power as of now, and not the ethnicity. There were many Sinhalese in the army of Elara. Mahavamsa praised Elara that he ruled  ‘with even justice toward friend and foe, on occasions of disputes at law’. Magha who ruined our civilization and paved way to shift the kingdom to the south in the 13th century was not a Tamil. Sinhalese kings sought the support of the Pandyans against the Chola invasions. 

Sinhalese and Muslims lived in this country in harmony over a millennium. During the regimes of Sinhala kings Muslims served in Royal Courts and advised kings in international affairs and trade. They also served in Buddhist monasteries and they were allowed to build their mosques in temple premises. Sinhala kings allowed them to settle in Kandyan districts to save them from the influences they got from the Western invaders.

This situation was changed in the late 19th century together the Buddhist revival programme. During that time Sinhala Buddhists were downtrodden and the hegemonic domination of the society was with the Christians and the trade was with the non-Sinhalese. Unfortunately the Buddhist revival programme which was initially directed against the Christians subsequently directed against the other ethnicities as well. This is the beginning to the ethnic conflicts in this country. Contrary to this situation India managed to direct its independence struggle against the British uniting all the religions and ethnicities of the country.

Therefore, this is a political movement. This was used by the opposition leaders from Bandaranaike to get into power. Chandrika Kumaratunga changed this. The Sudu Nelum movement was able to change the contaminated Sinhala folk mind to a great extent. Therefore, Mahinda Rajapaksa had the opportunity to have a paradigm shift of the politics of the country. Failure was a misfortune of him as well as the country. 

Gotabaya Rajapaksa is also having a similar opportunity now. However, it is not great as the opportunity got by his brother. The reason is that the arousing of Sinhalese chauvinistic feelings also contributed to the victory of the last election to a great extent. Bandaranaike after the victory in 1956 tried to do justice to the Tamils but he could not face the pressure of the people led by Buddhist Bhikkus. He was a liberal democrat. Gotabaya Rajapaksa is not a liberal democrat. He is an authoritarian leader as requested by the Bhikkus themselves.

The only constitutional concession the Tamils got were granted as a result of Indo Lanka pact which was signed on the intention of one person with the opposition of his Prime Minister and the senior ministers and  of all the political parties other than of Tamils and with the imposition of  curfew and finally with a physical attack to the Indian Prime Minister.  

Maithripala Sirisena and Ranil Wikremesinghe did not give the political leadership to the process of making a new constitution. The process has gone to a considerable level with the support of all the members of the Parliament. 

Sinhalese fear a political solution without any valid grounds. They think that if some autonomy is given to Tamils, they will ask for a separate state. It is not correct. India provides an example to negate that belief. 

By the time of becoming an independent country, India had demarcated the borders of Southern Indian states based on the areas acquired from Maharajas and hitherto followed borders by the British. There were requests for a separate Tamil state in particular, and separate state for all the people who have spoken Dravidian languages in general. India started re-demarcation of the borders of Southern states in 1953 and it continued to 1956. Hyderabad state and Andra state were combined and Telugu speaking Andra Pradesh was created. Travancore-Cochin state and Malabar provinces of Madras Presidency were combined and Malayalam speaking Kerala state was created. Tamil speaking Southern provinces were amalgamated with Madras Presidency which was renamed as Tamil Nadu in 1968. Kannada speaking provinces of Hyderabad state and western Bombay state were combined with Mysore state. This was renamed as Karnataka in 1973.

With these changes and with the constitutional prohibitions for separation, the demand of the separate Tamil state was faded away. What they wanted was separate identities for the respective ethnicities and not separate states. Therefore, it was proved in India that demarcating of provinces based on the language and ethnicity would run down the demands for separate states. This is quite contrary to the popular belief in the south of Sri Lanka.

It is the task of concerned civilians and civil society of this country to convince the majority Sinhalese that if the Tamils are allowed to fulfill their political aspirations there will not be any danger to the territorial integrity of the country. They have to convince the President that without doing this, country cannot go forward with the economic prosperity alone and this is not betrayal of the Sinhalese community. This is swimming against the stream and this is the way forward. 

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Latest comments

  • 8
    21

    Sri Lanka can very well go ahead without those with limited acumen trying to resolve so called ethnic divisions in SL. These ppl are naive pawns at the hand of external elements with agenda

    • 15
      5

      sachooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

      “Sri Lanka can very well go ahead without those with limited acumen trying to resolve so called ethnic divisions in SL.”

      Not really, it can only speeds up to crash to the bottom.
      Sri Lanka does not know when to stop digging.

    • 22
      3

      Sri Lanka tried to go ahead without resolving this during the times of Bandaranaikes, Senanayakes and Jayewardenes but eventually the country had to face 30 year long war. If this is continued, next time it may come out in a different form.

      • 5
        5

        There are huge differences between Bandahaike/ senanayaka period and now. You cant really compare the two

        • 8
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          Sachoooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

          “There are huge differences between Bandahaike/ senanayaka period and now. You cant really compare the two”

          However there are similarities between Bandaranaike and Senanayake , both were descendants of Kallathonie South Indian Nayakkas.

        • 4
          1

          Yes. Now the “Tamils” are militarily defeated, and the government will not allow for another uprise.
          That is the present scenario you mean. A group of people cannot be eternally suppressed. They have to be won over.

          • 3
            1

            Harsha Gunasena

            “They have to be won over.”

            Not by militarily of course.
            However, those who man the heavily militarised state believe and behave as if they have military solution for every socio economic political problem.

            The Single handed general Kamal said in his first statement after being appointed as the Defense Secretary that “Regardless of title or position, stringent legal action will be taken against any individual who attempts to disturb national peace, newly-appointed Defence Secretary Major General (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne said yesterday. “

            This one dimensional General believes threat alone could keep national peace. However, he hasn’t answered the question raised by ordinary citizens what did he do to the civilians during the war or what does he know about missing people.

            National Peace is an euphemism for buying more security assets which also comes with large commissions.

          • 1
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            Are you this stupid? Tamils have killed india’s leader, there is already an autonomous province where power is devolved . LTTE terrorism has changed the scenario, only sinhala idiots who cannot read these make such stupid claims

            • 1
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              Tamils have killed India’s leader? Idiot Sachi, it was the LTTE that killed Rajiv Gandhi on the orders of RAW.

              I know you have very short and narrow memory. Do you remember the Navy fellow who was part of the honor guard hitting Gandhi on the back of his neck with the butt of his gun? Gandhi ducked and got away with very minor injuries. If the hit landed the way it was intended to land, he would have died that night. Does that mean the Sinhalese tried to kill him or was it a criminal element among the Sinhalese who tried to kill him?

              I know for the lowlife racists everything is race based. Nothing intelligent comes of you and idiots like you.

              • 0
                0

                Tamil from the north,
                And from idiots like you!!

            • 1
              0

              Sach

              Are you this stupid? Tamils have killed india’s leader,

              The Sinhala/Buddhist Naval rating Wijemuni Vijitha Rohana de Silva started it well VP finished it.

      • 12
        6

        Gota has started on the wrong foot by trying to stifle Tamil desire for sharing territory and power in a just and effective manner with his development plan. Here we have a head of state who is arrogant and ignorant. He can be compared to Premadasa who was hell bent on sabotaging devolution to Tamils guaranteed in 13th amendment. Despite Modi telling him to implement 13th amendment in full he is refusing saying that Sinhala people are not willing. He says Sinhalese are only willing for development and providing jobs. When the government has no money how can it embark on major development for Tamil areas. Slip shod works like roads and houses are the only ones the country could afford. He will market his plan of developing Tamil areas to other countries to get money, but most of it will be spent for the benefit of Sinhalese including settlement of Sinhalese in Tamil areas to change demographic pattern. Modi has also told him to settle Tamils in their original places, which are occupied by security forces, taken over by government agencies and appropriated by Sinhalese and Muslims. How can Tamils get their lands back if they do not have police and land powers to eject these illegal occupants. Whatever tricks Gota and his bunch would try to play, limited time will be given for granting equality, justice, peace and dignity to Tamils as per Modi’s instruction.

        • 0
          8

          Dr. Gnana Sankaralingam,
          I do not know when the descendants of slaves brought to Sinhale by colonial parasites stop grumbling and appreciate the kind gesture of Native Sinhalayo to give them citizenship in this country when colonial parasites abandoned them in Sinhale making them Stateless.

          These guys think they will get what they want if they keep on saying ‘Modi Saranam Gacchaami’.

        • 1
          0

          Tamils have changed demographic pattern in the Sinhalese areas. ie the majority of Tamils live in the Sinhalese areas. So what is wrong with changing the demographic pattern in the Tamil areas by settling Sinhalese in those areas.
          Its only fair and very reasonable.

      • 0
        0

        Harsha, hats off to you friend. You stated the truth and racists will insult you. Just read below. Unfortunately facts and truths become poison to racists as they are not intelligent.

  • 7
    17

    “It is the task of concerned civilians and civil society of this country to convince the majority Sinhalese that if the Tamils are allowed to fulfill their political aspirations there will not be any danger to the territorial integrity of the country.”
    What a ******* staement is this? Where does this idiot live?
    Their one and only, undying political aspiration IS break up of the teritorial integrity of Sri Lnka. This argument that Prabakaran would not have resoted to war IF he was given ALL he asked for is worth million Dollars!.
    The writer is asking Can The Nation Move Forward Without Resolving The Ethnic Divisions?
    I say YES. You can’t be eternally worried about a problem for which a solution does not exist.
    _
    Soma

    • 14
      3

      Soma!
      How can you convince someone who lives on Imaginary Fear?
      You say ‘yes’ that you can live- You are in a fool’s paradise.
      If you know, that you don’t know, then you know something, that is, you don’t know.
      But if you pretend to know, that you know, then you are cheating yourself.

    • 17
      3

      Soma
      Rather than insulting me you have to counter argue. I have given all the facts and arguments in favour of my statement. You all are cowards. Covering behind pseudo names and insulting the others.

      Can you give proof that Tamil politicians today are for breaking up of territorial integrity of Sri Lanka?

      Prabhakaran was a different one. He really wanted to have a separate state. That was the reason for breaking up of the last peace negotiations. But during JRJ’s time MP Dharmalingam told in Parliament that they would be happy even with District Development Councils if proper authority was given. At that election the Jaffna Public Library was burnt, and the goons interfered with the election. Thereby we ensured the birth of militancy.

      • 9
        2

        Malays know that they are lazy and lack the brains to develop a modern nation. So they let the indian and chinese minorities work hard and develop Malaysia. Then via a mildly racist bumiputra system, the malays take a nice big chunk of the cake for their benefit. They manage this system in such a way that it is not ‘too racist’ and cause serious communal conflict.
        The Sinhalese could have employed this tactic and Sri Lanka would be a thriving nation by now. But it seems the sinhalese iq is even lower than that of the malays. The malays had just about enough intelligence to know that trying to destroy minorities will result in the total ruin of malaysia. In this regard sinhalese are like black south africans. The latter inherited a fully developed nation from the white man in 1994. And in 25 years have nearly reduced it to nearly a 3rd world crime ridden dump, all the while blaming minorities and outside races (who developed the nation) for their problems.

        • 0
          9

          Southern Sri Lanka is more developed than Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu has a poverty rate of 11.28%, while Sri Lanka’s poverty rate is 4.1%. So Sri Lanka is more developed than Tamil Nadu, despite a 30 year civil war.

          • 4
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            There is more poverty across the whole of india than sri lanka. However india is also more developed than Sri Lanka. Believe me if Sri Lanka was the size of India it would be in far worse shape than India is.

            • 0
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              Only certain cities in India are more developed than Sri Lanka. India is wealthier than Sri Lanka because India has a higher GDP. This is due entirely to India’s population; larger population equals larger GDP. Wealth does not automatically equate to development. India is much more corrupt than Sri Lanka. If Sri Lanka was the size of India, Sri Lanka would be much wealthier and more developed than the casteist corrupt India we see today.

      • 1
        1

        Mr Harsha Gunasena
        Forgive me my impulsive reaction when I discovered that here is a man who hasn’t heard of Vadukkodai Resolution and taking the liberty to write about ethnic problem.
        .
        For the benefit of CT readers kindly spare some time to present a brief sketch of your ‘solution’ to resolve the problem of ethnic divisions.
        .
        In my comments I never leave any ambiguity in regard to a possible way out.
        First I begin by clearly defining who the Tamils in respect of a political solution are:
        ALL TAMIL LANGUAGE SPEAKING PEOPLE IRRESPECTIVE OF THEIR RELIGION, CASTE OR THE DATE OF ARRIVAL SCATTERED ACROSS THE ISLAND.
        Then I offer a choice, an option to the Tamils: A SEPARATE Homeland for ALL Tamils defined within North East region in proportion to their numbers
        ‘OR’ (definitely not AND) the right to live anywhere WHILE BEGGING THEM TO CHOOSE THE LATTER OPTION.(for which I am endlessly vilified on CT as a racist!)
        .
        Can anything be fairer than that?

        Soma

        • 2
          0

          Soma
          Take it easy. We have to argue and discuss. That is democracy.
          Vadukkodai Resolution was a reaction to the total disregard to Tamil requests re. 1972 constitution.
          There is no question of “homeland” Yes, there was such demand.
          What the Government will have to do is to minimise the people of provinces coming to Colombo to get things done. Sevaral SLFP Chief Ministers demanded more power to the provinces during the affiliated committee meetings of constitutional council during the past regime. All MPs supported this process. Go ahead this process of consultaion. This is also a question of more power to the provinces.
          All of us should be able to look at the question in the eyes of minorities as well.

  • 3
    12

    Harsha Gunasena……….. a good poser but need to give it time as there are many external meddling and under currents.
    Immediate need is a stable government.

    What is Democracy? My version is different to yours and even to the greater public.
    Its a different interpretation from person to person.
    What you persieve may not be anothers..

    What is to the South may not be applicable to the North or elsewhere or to the West or the East.

    • 7
      1

      You have to come out with your interpritation of democracy

  • 10
    5

    Harsha, Thank You for voicing real facts and concerns.(very few who do )Though the truth is known to most people including many writers including the ones who write here in CT, most of them seems to be either in Denial or avoiding. The rest are working actively towards more of Ethnic Divisions. Though Chandrika and RW did not exploit such division, they too did not make any genuine efforts in uniting , because of political reprisal. Now the religious heads too have joined the politicians in racially dividing our country. Today a very small island with 300 thousand people which was part of Papua New Guinea, have officially decided to separate and form their own country, after years of racial discrimination. The truth is always bitter and difficult to digest. Hence just a few people like you have the courage to say it. It has been more than 70 years and division is now much deeper and irreversible. Unless and until a sort of miracle takes place, I do not see of any reversal in coming seventy years. Such divisions are taking place throughout the world . The small island of 300 hundred thousand people would have never dreamed of a division from PNG. International opinion towards such divisions are changing too. So if our Lankans think it may never happen in our own country, they are in for a surprise. As a teenager I too did not thing of soviet empire collapse and war ravaged Germany would unite as a nation.But it happened. Same with Serbia, Catalonia, Quebec, Ireland and the rest. History repeats it self and rhymes too.

  • 11
    3

    How to explain Politics and Politicians to Lankans. Simple. Just see the Rohingya case now taking place in Gambia. Aung Suu Kyi, was protesting against the violent killings of her own people and was put under house arrest for years. For which she was later rewarded with many including Noble Prize for Peace . Then she became a true politician and got into power (looks like Junta killed two with one stone, got away from international pressure and made her the sacrificial lamp) in doing so she also decided to keep her one eye closed. Today she is defending Myanmar in world courts , against Genocide charges. Our Lankan politicians have been doing this for seventy years and still, the public keeps bringing them back , expecting more of it.

    • 15
      4

      Myanmar has been hauled up before ICC for genocide when less than 1000 Rohingyas were killed and less than 750,000 of them expelled, while no action has been taken against Sri Lanka where more than 150,000 Tamils were killed and more than one million of them expelled. If that is genocide then this is also genocide. Sinhlaese had the genocidal desire right form the time of independence. About 60 years ago were told by our Sinhala counterparts that entire Indian Tamils will be expelled and all Ceylon Tamils will be driven into Jaffna peninsula and kept suppressed under a ring of army camps, with rest of the island colonized by Sinhalese. This plan was articulated by late N.Q.Dias during the 1961 Satyagraha campaign. Unfortunately they were able to deport only 50% of Indian Tamils and 25% of Ceylon Tamils. If you analyse the demographic change in Sri Lanka from 1948 to the present, ethnic cleansing done in many areas by successive governments, will be clearly evident to prove the genocidal intent.

      • 0
        6

        Rubbish.

      • 0
        9

        Dr. Gnana Sankaralingam,

        Malabar Demalu started smuggling arms from India in 1930s. For what, shoot cockroaches in Yapanaya?

        ‘Para’ Dravidians have been killing Native Sinhalayo from 3rd Century BC. There was a lull during colonial rule because Dravidians were scared of the guns used by colonial parasites. After ‘Para’ British left, Demalu started their usual game to kill Sinhalayo. Genocide was carried out by ‘Para’ Dravidians, not by Sinhalayo.

      • 0
        5

        Dr. Gnana Sankaralingam,
        .
        “more than 150,000 Tamils were killed and more than one million of them expelled”
        .
        Those figures should have made Tamils the 3rd largest minority group?

        • 5
          1

          This means they were even in larger numbers and their percentage was even far higher than the 20% that the Sri Lankan government was stating. The deaths are a fact even the UN has admitted to 70000 which means it id far more than this, as their estimate is very conservative and it is a very well know fact that over a million indigenous ethic Sri Lankan Tamils fled the country , during the war , due to the activities of the Sri Lankan government and the armed forces. Please use your brains. The government has always been deliberately decreasing the percentage of Tamils and increasing the percentage of Sinhalese , in order to deny the Tamils their just rights.

  • 13
    3

    Great article. Some idots like some may not understand. I think author should take the responsibility to advice the President

  • 5
    1

    According to reports, 2019 Google search results in US is not good news for SL tourism.

    #1 search word for a dream vacation destination is……”Maldives”

    #1 search word for “where the hell is this country located” category is…..”Sri Lanka” (it’s not a joke folks).

    Not long time ago, Bangladesh waved and wished us good luck with our progress. And now MALDIVES!

  • 3
    13

    This is typical nonsense. Ethnic divisions are a fact. There is no resolving them. The only thing the govt can do is develop and allow them to develop all areas regardless of ethnicity.

    Every country I have lived in has ethnic divisions. But Unlike the Tamils, they don’t try to divide the country.

    And they don’t live in the Web world using pseudonyms trying to pretend what they are not as idiots are doing in CT.

    • 7
      2

      Ethnic divisions are common. When there is suppression ethnic conflicts arise. Tamils did not try to divide the country, Prabhakaran did.

      • 1
        2

        oh yes, they did. Prabakaran was ably supported by the Tamils.

      • 0
        2

        Harsha Gunasena,

        I challenge the Tamil commentators to say that “Yes, I didn’t support dividing the country or Prabakaran”

        Let’s see how many known names come forward to say that. This will tell if giving Federalism is just a closer step towards their ultimate goal.

        • 2
          0

          Governments of the Sinhalese tried to divide the country first. In 1956 when Sinhala only act was passed it was an exclusion of the Tamils by the State policy. Now Tamil is also a state language. What difference we have now compared to 1956 soon after the implementation of Sinhala only Act? We do not feel any difference. But for Tamils, it is a big difference since they can communicate with the State using their own language. Soon after defeating Chola invaders in 11th century Vijayabahu the Great established a rock script in Tamil for the benefit of his Tamil soldiers. Vijayabahu the Great after conquering Chola Invaders did not ask his Tamil soldiers to learn Sinhala. That is diplomacy to say the least.
          Present Sinhalese were taught distorted history. They do not know head or tail of the harmonious living we had in the past.

          • 0
            0

            That is the biggest gon statement you made. if harmony is repeated attempts to invade and subjugate yeah they did that for centuries. 1956 is not even anything important.

    • 3
      2

      Abhaya Premawardena

      “But Unlike the Tamils, they don’t try to divide the country.”

      Have you ever lived in former USSR, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Pakistan, currently Scotland, China, ………………. ?

  • 2
    11

    A federal system at this time will deepen the ethnic divide. Ask an Indian “Where are you from?” His immediate answer is, “from Tamil Nadu”, “from Kerala”, etc. How long will our nothern/eastern people take to forget the word, “Sri Lanka”?

    Dear India, you dumped us with your tuk-tuks that have magical powers to transform any driver an idiot on roads, ‘tagarang’ buses, Alto cars, Nano cars, Hero Hondas, movies with cardboard heroes fighting a city’s population, never ending TV serials for selling ads, substandard medicines…Oh..that’s enough

    • 7
      1

      I have given facts contrary to what you say. Federal system in India united the country.

      • 0
        3

        Harsha Gunasena,
        .
        Putting different people in one house is troublesome. But if you partition the house & divide them there is less headache, of course. But it is not going to unite all of the occupants of the house. Just go to TN and see how many can speak Hindi or another language than Tamil, and how one state hates other states’ languages. How can you say Indian federal system has united the people when at the basic language level they are divided?

        • 2
          0

          United means they consider themselves as one Indian nation. They do not want a separate country. TN people do not have to speak Hindi. Thay can get all their work in Tamil. Why should they speak Hindi? To become a united country all of them do not have to speak one language.
          Unfortunately you all are petty minded. Recently Telangana wanted to separate from Andra Pradesh for economic reasons but all of them are in one country, India. With all the divisions they are united at country level. Isn’t it we also want?

      • 3
        1

        These idiots know only about “Pada-ara”lism.

    • 5
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      ghk

      “A federal system at this time will deepen the ethnic divide.”

      Why?

      “His immediate answer is, “from Tamil Nadu”, “from Kerala”, etc.”

      Each state consists of one or more nation or proto-nation. What is your problem with people from a certain region identifying themselves with their respective state/Nation?

      “How long will our nothern/eastern people take to forget the word, “Sri Lanka”?”

      Why should anyone carry a burden wherever they go. Do you think being Sri Lankan brings a lots of prestige, respect, admiration, …… from the rest of the world? There is nothing admirable in calling oneself a Sri Lankan. You know it.
      A president who is accused of war crime is being elected to the office of president.
      A crook who engineered a coup is now being appointed Prime Minister.
      …..
      ….
      Ministers were free of burning library.
      Ministers were ….
      ……
      Famous for beech boys.
      ….
      When in foreign countries my friend tells me he identify himself as Bangladeshi when strangers approach him socially. Now you know the reason.

      • 0
        4

        NV
        The more you vilify the Sinhalese Buddhists the more I am convinced of the superiority of the Sinhala Buddhist society. In 1948 when you were given the option to resettle in your mother country you preferred to live among the Sinhala Buddhists. After the war not a single Tamil family moved from Sinhala majority areas to NE.

        Soma

        • 4
          1

          somass

          “The more you vilify the Sinhalese Buddhists the more I am convinced of the superiority of the Sinhala Buddhist society.”

          Yeah, truth hurts.
          We all know the superiority of the Sinhala/Buddhist society which has been racing to the bottom since the advent of the public racist Anagarika Homeless Dharmapala speeded up since 1948, taking or hurting every citizen along the way, including Sinhalese, Buddhists, Tamils, Hindus, Muslims, Christians, ………….. etc.

          The Sinhala/Buddhists do not need others to vilify them, they have been doing it splendidly well by their thoughts, words and actions.

          I am more and more convinced we need to liberate the Sinhalese and Buddhists from Sinhala/Buddhism, and Sinhala/Buddhists. It has been forcing its nasty ideology onto the ordinary people, converting them into an Sinhala/Buddhist Fascism, tapping into their paranoia, ……

          If you want to race to the bottom you are free to do so, however leave the innocent people alone. They do not deserve your toxic ideology.

          By the way have you perfected the art and stupidity of saluting “Heil, mein Führer!” (Hail, my leader! or Hail Gota my leader!)? Have your wife, children, grandchildren, siblings, …. noticed and tried to warn you how increasingly you are losing your sanity (not that you were sane anyway)?

          Aren’t you happy Boris has been elected as the conservative party Prime Minister of UK.

        • 2
          0

          Mother country of all the citizens of Sri lanka is Sri Lanka.

          Tamils are living in this country for more than 2000 years. Muslims are living in this country for more than 1000 years.

          • 0
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            Even the supposedly reasonable Sinhalese are not ready to accept the truth that Tamils are as indigenous as Sinhalese if not more.

  • 3
    14

    There is NO ethnic problem in Sri Lanka.
    This is a tall tale propagated by enemies’ of the nation.

    There are ethnic problems in USA – black white, China – Wagayu persecution , Burma – Rohingya Saudi Arabia, India, Pakistan, UK but not in Sri Lanka.

    • 10
      2

      Citizen Silva

      “There is NO ethnic problem in Sri Lanka.”

      True, it is not an ethnic problem but a Sinhala/Buddhist problem which is being imposed on rest of the people.

      “This is a tall tale propagated by enemies’ of the nation.”

      So 1958, 1961, 1977, 1981, 1983, 2014, 2018, 2019, …………… Sinhala Only language policy, 30 years of war, ……………………….. didn’t occur at all in this island.

      Perhaps you ought to pull your head from where it is now to know what has been happening all around you, perhaps “hiding your head in the sand, like an ostrich” is not good for you, anything could hick you on your bum or on your b***s from your behind.

  • 14
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    Singapore, Malaysia and now in Europe and Canada are case in point, where Tamils have contributed immensely towards the uplift of the relevant country at all levels. Sri Lanka and Sri Lankans, mainly the Sinhalese need get out the fear mindset and reconcile. Concocted Buddhism is not the answer, but humility and humanity. This is what TRUE Buddhism is.

    • 1
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      How the hell does a Tamil know true Buddhism

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        What do you mean by True Buddhism? Is there a false Buddhism? I think that false Buddhism is practiced in Srilanka.
        There have been plenty of Tamil Buddhists commencing from ‘Manimekalai’ The daughter of Mathavi. Those Buddhists never destroyed Hindu temples to seat Buddha as he was a Hindu too.

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        Every Tamil will know what true Buddhism is because Buddhist teaching such as Karma, Rebirth, Panchaseela etc. are all derived from Hindu philosophy. Buddhism is nothing but Buddha’s version of Hindu doctrine, similar to Jainism.

        • 1
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          No. Buddhism is fundamentally different to Hinduism. According to Buddhism it is a false perception to believe that there is an entity called self. Things are happening as a result of causes and effects. Hinduism teaches that there is a soul which means it teaches that there is an entity called self. This is the fundamental difference and there are more.

        • 1
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          Dr. Gnana Sankaralingam:-
          The Buddha’s Dhamma of Non Violence and Mental Development, arose in a Background of The Hindu Teachings of Karma, Rebirth, Panchaseela etc. which have now been incorporated into Practical Buddhism!
          But the True Buddha’s Dhamma goes much beyond that! Learn the Buddha’s Teaching and you will Understand that it is a ‘Way of Life’, not just Beliefs and Worship!!

      • 3
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        What do you know about Buddhism? Do you practice?

      • 3
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        TRUE BUDDHISM?

        Is there any other? False Buddhism for example?

        I can recommend to anyone interested, don’t waste time with religions and fake philosophy’s. There are NO gods, and all these philosophising that has led to created gods just lead people up the garden path.

        Just be good, kind and honest with each other, and see how our lives will change.

      • 5
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        It was Tamil Buddhists who spread Buddhism to most of Asia, South East Asia and even to North East Asia. Not Sinhalese Buddhist. Ever heard of Bodhidharma? He was a Buddhist monk who lived during the 5th or 6th century. He is traditionally credited as the transmitter of Chan Buddhism to China, and regarded as its first Chinese patriarch. According to Chinese legend, he also began the physical training of the monks of Shaolin Monastery that led to the creation of Shaolin kungfu. In Japan, he is known as Daruma. He was a Tamil Pallava prince from the city of Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu. The Pallava were Tamils but were of Iranian Pahlavi origin . They had migrated from Iran and moved to North India and gradually came to the south and settled in the Tamil country. They had typical Iranian looks and features , that even many of their modern descendants the Tamil Vellalar of northern Tamil Nadu and the Telugu Rao of southern Andhra still display. This is why he was mistaken for a western Asian, as he has a fair skin, light eyes and brown or red hair. Sinhalese did not do anything and still do not understand any Buddhism. What they call Buddhism is a form of ethno centric Fascism , where Lord Budda is being used to promote Sinhalese racism in the name of Buddhism. He will weep , when he sees what is happening in his name in Sri Lanka and in Myanmar. Ethnic and racial hatred promoted and practised in the name of Buddhism During the Anuradhapura period , if you had to join as a monk in the Maha VIhara, it was compulsory that you have a good or through knowledge of Pali, Sanskrit and Tamil not Sinhalese , as it never existed then. These three languages were closely associated with Buddhism , as there were many Tamil Buddhists at that time. Manimekalai is a famous Tamil Buddhist classic.

        • 0
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          Pleased to hear all that.

          Soma

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          There were many Tamil Buddhists in India as well as in Sri Lanka. Ashoka’s edicts were in Southeren India as well.
          At Maha Vihara time, Sinhala was well established. It is a false perception that it was not.

      • 3
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        Abhaya Premawardena

        “How the hell does a Tamil know true Buddhism”

        How the hell does a Sinhala/Buddhist know true Buddhism?
        Sinhala/Buddhist is a political identity created only about 100 years ago and so is Sinhala/Buddhism.

        Prof Sunil Ariaratna believes Buddhism was brought to this island from South India, a region mostly populated by Tamils while the Sinhala/Buddhism was concocted by the public racist Anagarika Homeless Dharmapala.

        You should learn Buddhism in its pristine form taught by the Awakened One not from saffron clad thugs.

    • 0
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      Jay,

      “Tamils have contributed immensely towards the uplift of the relevant country at all levels”

      Then you need to be careful. Maybe these countries want to see more & more Tamil refugees to uplift their countries, and not SL.

      • 3
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        ghk

        “Maybe these countries want to see more & more Tamil refugees to uplift their countries, and not SL.”

        On the other hand the Sinhala/Buddhist too can sneak into these countries posing as Tamils supported by a DNA certificate, rather than going to Medieval Middle East Kingdoms.

        Please tell me what is the point of typing such stupid sentences everytime you appear here in this forum? The purpose of every comment should further the knowledge of the forum sharers, by reason, inquiry, evidence and openness. Next time around when you get the itch to type something please remember the above.

        • 1
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          Native Vedda,

          If you expect me to contribute with what you can comfortably up-vote, neither you nor the other will see the other side of the coin. Why are you afraid of counter-arguments that are supposed to make this forum interactive & realistic??????

          “Maybe these countries want to see more & more Tamil refugees to uplift their countries, and not SL.” – What is stupidity in it? Look at it on a geopolitical angle.

  • 5
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    The Sinhala ruling elite on both sides of the political spectrum will move on without any attempt to “resolve” the ethnic divisions. GR’s election has proven the ethnic divisions do not have to be “resolved” to win elections and form government, in fact, the lessons from the election is that ethnic divisions have to be heightened to win elections as it has been the case since the 1950s, with the exception now is that Muslims should also be targeted for suppression.
    This is the new formula for authoritarians to win power in countries that practise some form of democracy. They are unable to deliver to the masses and are only interested in delivering to a select few. Personally when I travel outside of Colombo on my visits, it is almost like time has stood still since the 1970s. So, how do you get these people who’s lives haven’t improved for so long to vote for you election after election? Keep alive the ethnic divisions, keep alive the fear of the ‘other’ or ‘them”.

  • 2
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    Can the nation move forward without resolving the ethnic divisions ??????Answer is “previous governments tried it for more than seventy years and bought us to the current sorry state and if they continue with it for another seventy years ???????? . Yes , ethnic divisions are not new and it prevails in many other countries including the West but the ones who realized, accepted and tried dealing with it survived and few prospered.(South Africa), the rest who were ignorant and in denial perished. How simple is the answer yet it is very difficult for many to get into their empty heads.

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    Very soon people of Sri Lankawill have to face a situation similar to Venezuela, if the minority problems are not solved and cost relief benefits are not received.

    • 0
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      Stop threatening us, you losers. Nobody really cares what happens to the Tamils, they only care about how they can use you. And Venezuela does not have an ethnic conflict. What they have is a rich versus poor conflict, where the rich are the more whiter ones and have had all the power for decades and has been milking the country together with multi-national corporations supported by the neocons in the US. Starting from the late 80’s the poor started to get some power and fast forward to the present situation, where the US has EVERYTHING possible to sabotage and destroy Venezuela. Sri Lanka is not without facing the same threats and consequences, not because of the ethnic conflict, but because we don’t abide by the empire’s wishes and demands. So its best that we forget ethnic differences and work to develop and protect our country. But the Tamils cannot even begin understand this – you always cry and complain to the west and threaten the Sinhalese with dire consequences which can only come from the west or with the support from the west. Shameless useless people.
       
      (Search and watch “The revolution will not be televised” if you are interested, and see how the US which the Tamils keep appealing to really work. There is not a single place on this planet where the American vultures have had not done some sort of covert or clandestine operation, like instigated conflicts, assassinated democratically elected leaders etc. etc. ).

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    President Gotabaya’s scholarship and expertise in economics are limited. None of the Rajapaksa family went to the University. Two joined the army, one joined the police and one entered parliament and became a lawyer under fortuitous circumstances.

    Someone has given wrong advice to Gotabaya that development will solve the National Question. It will not.

    Not only Catalonia, just look at what is happening in Hong Kong? A very prosperous island fighting to remain as a separate entity despite Hong Kong population is only 1.289,500. Out of which 90% are Chinese like in mainland China.

    The island is only 78.59 km2 (30.34/sq mi) in area. Population density – 16,390 /km2 (42,450 /sq mi).

    Hong Kong has a capitalist mixed service economy, characterised by low taxation, minimal government market intervention and an established international financial market. It is the world’s 35th-largest economy, with a nominal GDP of approximately US$373 billion. $48,451 (nominal, 2018) $64,199 (PPP, 2018).

    The Hong Kong Stock Exchange is the seventh-largest in the world, with a market capitalisation of HK$30.4 trillion (US$3.87 trillion) as of December 2018.

    Despite its prosperity the islanders are fighting to stay independent of mainland China!

    On a different note, most Sinhalese nationalists harp on territorial integrity and unitary character of the island for the last 2500 years. This is a big hoax. For the greater part of its existence, it was a divided country. It was divided into Maya Rata, Raja Rate and Ruhuna Rate. When the Portuguese landed in Ceylon the country was divided into two Sinhalese (Kotte, Kandy) and one Tamil (Jaffna ) kingdoms! It was the British who amalgamated the Tamil provinces and the Sinhalese provinces for administrative convenience!

  • 6
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    Dear Harsha, The majority of the major community does not have an open mind to see your logical reasoning. I am at a loss for words to console you.

  • 2
    7

    Political aspirations of Tamils!
    Can somebody elaborate on this rather vague term with regard to Tamils in the North, South, upcountry (Thonda’s kingdom), and the East?

    • 5
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      Raj

      “Political aspirations of Tamils!”

      Tamils want to have the freedom of using the toilets when they want to, how they want to, how many times they want to, ……. where they want to , … without being told/ordered by Colombo. In other words they want devolved powers to decide when to s**t, where to s**t, how to s**t, how many times to s**t, ……

      • 1
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        Tamil racism?

    • 5
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      Modi has clearly articulated the political aspirations of Tamils : “Equality, justice, peace and dignity”. Tamils will have equality only when they will be able to carry out all what Sinhalese are able to do. Tamils will have justice only if they get back their land and power in its entirety. Tamils will have peace only when their safety is assured by their own law enforcement agencies. Tamils will have dignity only when they rule themselves and live as first class citizens. Modi has accepted this as fair and wants Sri Lanka to accommodate them within a united country. BJP two state solution is based on this.

      • 0
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        Gota has categorically rejected it. What is Hinda’s or in particular Modi’s response?

  • 2
    8

    “They think that if some autonomy is given to Tamils, they will ask for a separate state.”

    Man, you do not know Demalu! If one inch is given they will try to take one yard. If some autonomy is given, these ‘Para’ Demalu will definitely ask for a Separate State. After that they will try to grab the whole country of Native Sinhalayo. Do not forget that ‘Para’ Dravidian invaders tried their best to colonize Sinhale from 3rd Century BC but failed. What is the guarantee that they will not try to grab the whole country again?

  • 6
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    Harsha Gunasena , a very good and enlightening article. Congratulations. However this is like throwing pearls before swine. Most of these Sinhalese , even the ones now living the good life in the west , enjoying all the perks and opportunities , that is offered to even recent immigrants like them, will never understand this or do not want too. They have been brainwashed to the hilt, even the so called western educated elite. Just read their stupid biased and idiotic comments . Especially that Blind Eagle , constantly posting his lies and fake history. The biggest irony is , he is enjoying the good life in Australia , thanks to his Tamil wife’s relatives but still has a pathological hatred for Tamils. The other lives in London and is also enjoying the good life but again comes here like Goebbels, to post all sorts of fake twisted history and facts about the island’s Tamils and the people of Tamil Nadu. However it is heartening to know that there are enlightened Sinhalese like you , Sinhala Man and many others posting here too and reading their articles and comments. It is a start. I know a very uphill one . What has federalism and self rule got to do with separatism . Most Multi ethnic and multi religious nations have a federal system to overcome this and are thriving. The ones who supress the minorities in the name of the majority ethnic group or race or religion have ultimately perished. Especially a minority that as the same right to their land and is an indigenous as the majority. Like the Sri Lankan Tamils and the Sinhalese. Constantly repeating fake history and lies , to justify marginalisation discrimination , ethnic cleansing and structural genocide will not work.

    • 0
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      All along its a love hate relationship untill Vadukaoddai & Prabarakaran came along.

  • 0
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    “Indo Lanka pact which was signed on the intention of one person with the opposition of his Prime Minister and the senior ministers “

    rubbish.I did not hear gamini or lalith or ranjan or any other senior minister say anything against the accord.In fact the most intelligent of them,gamini,went to the extent of pushing for it.The dumb workaholic premedasa opposed it mainly i think for personal reasons for his future.

    The reason they did not oppose is because they were fighting on 2 fronts,in the north with the LTTE and in the south with the JVP.They felt that while india controlled the LTTE,they can wipe out JVP.

    • 1
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      Gamini supported and Lalith opposed. Gamini Jayasooriya resigned. Lot of ministers did not want to come out against JR.

  • 0
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    The writer forgets the fact that before the advent of mahinda and gota to the presidency,already the minorities had climbed the ethnic ladder by mounting ethnic based parties.From the name of the parties itself it is clear that they will only look after the interests of the 25% minorities only.So there was a vacuum to be filled by someone who looked after the interests of the majority 75% only.Mahinda and gota merely did this.However it is commendable that gota unlike mahinda has stated at the beginning itself that he will be the president for all.he should not make the mistake that president morsi made when he got 52% and tried to impose islamic constitution in a country where at least 48% did not want a islamic rule as egypt has historically been a secular state.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIlbZO2Gu9U

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIlbZO2Gu9U

    • 1
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      Yes. There were ethnic based parties of the minorities. Also Bandaranaike was the President of Sinhala maha Sabha. He eventually dissolved it to join UNP.

  • 1
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    Perhaps Gotabaya Rajapaksa is the only Head of State in the world to speak in terms of majority Sinhalese and minority Tamils. Yet he claims he is a technocrat and modernist. This is shame in this 21st century. I am translating Harsha Gunasena’s article into Tamil for the benefit of non-Sinhalese.

    • 1
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      Thank you. Appreciate if you can translate certain comments and responses as well

  • 0
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    Dr. Gnana Sankaralingam
    Would your solution work well in practice? What happened to the Muslims when the LTTE captured a part of the country? Weren’t they banished with 24hr notice? The new Govt. needs to work out modern reconciliation measures between communities without having ethnically based ‘political aspirations. Devolution can lead to more demands, first Police, then Army, then independence in foreign affairs and finally separate state. Most importantly can we risk starting another 30 yr. war? It is mostly the Tamils that will suffer.

  • 1
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    Thank you so much Harsha.
    Keep up the good work

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