26 September, 2018

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Countering The Eelam Project 1 & 2; Is The Indian Model The Answer?

By Rajeewa Jayaweera

Rajeewa Jayaweera

Rajeewa Jayaweera

The two-part article by retired diplomat and former Ambassador Izeth Hussain (IH) published recently in the Colombo Telegraph makes very interesting reading and is thought provoking. (Read part one and two).There is much merit in his analysis and proposals. IH is spot on when he states “even though the LTTE is militarily no more, Eelam project is still on”. It’s propagation by some segments of the Tamil community, especially amongst Tamil diaspora groups overseas, its network of overseas offices utilizing front organizations and financial reserves is becoming exceedingly visible. Social media used by nameless and faceless contributors is one avenue to gauge aspirations / dreams of Eelamists and Eelam supporters. As stated by IH, it is not in the interest of the LTTE rump to permit a political solution short of a separate Eelam state or a de facto Eelam in the form of a confederal arrangement. The moderates in the TNA walk a tight rope. They need to retain the upper hand against Tamil extremists within the community while negotiating a meaningful and equitable deal for themselves, not an easy task in view of Sinhala extremists.

IH is also spot on in his assertion, Tamils after the military defeat of LTTE by government forces amounts to a defeated minority community, but for the external dimension of India. Besides the many occasions since early 1980s, events since 09 January 2015 is clear proof of IH’s theory. Prime Minister Nadendra Modi’s lecture on ‘cooperative federalism’ during his speech in the Sri Lankan Parliament, visiting Jaffna and addressing a public rally and meetings with TNA leaders are some such instances. A meeting was even held with a delegation of Upcountry Tamils from Democratic People’s Front and an invitation extended for a delegation to visit Delhi. Suffice to state, India would never permit the Prime Minister of Pakistan to visit India on a state visit, proceed to Kashmir and address a public gathering or permit meetings with Kashmiri leaders on its soil. Even the mention of Hurriyat Conference leaders meeting the Pakistan High Commissioner in Delhi results in India calling off scheduled bi-lateral discussions with Pakistan stating ‘talk to them or talk to us’.

On the issue of an Indian intervention in Sri Lanka, IH is indeed correct in stating it could result from acts by GoSL having serious security implications to India or else, an incident similar to 1983 pogroms which could result in a backlash in Tamil Nadu (even though India will never accept a similar involvement by Pakistan in Kashmir on behalf of their Muslim brethren). However, India would indeed think deep and hard in implementing such an arrangement perhaps similar to the arrangement in Cyprus, divided into Cyprus aligned to Greece and Turkish Cyprus loyal to Turkey. Ramifications of such a project are many, the most critical being, it could eventually transform into a project for a greater Eelam nation, encompassing Sri Lanka’s Northern and part of Eastern Provinces and Tamil Nadu.

In the concluding paragraph, IH opines “in India, over a hundred and seventy-five million Muslims have been living for the most part in peace, amity and cooperation with the Hindus since 1947 without any devolution for the Muslims”, attributing it mainly to India’s fully functioning democracy. He therefore recommends Sri Lanka emulate the model proven successful in India since 1947.

To begin with, the only state with a Muslim majority is Jammu & Kashmir which has been in turmoil since independence. It is the 20th largest state in India. It has a population of 12.5 million, roughly four times the size of the Tamil population in Sri Lanka. 68% are Muslims and 28% Hindus. Kashmiri is the most widely spoken language besides Dogri and Hindi. With half a million Indian security forces based in Jammu & Kashmir and laws much more restrictive than Sri Lanka’s Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) in force, if J&K would qualify as a part of a fully functioning democracy is debatable. Lakshadweep, an archipelago of thirty-six islands and a population less than 75,000 inhabitants has a Muslim majority. It is a Union Territory administered directly from Delhi and the language spoken is exclusively Malayalam.

India consists of a landmass of 3.2 million sq.kms with a population of 1.2 billion persons. It comprises of 30 states and 6 Union Territories. Indian states are divided on linguistic lines. As a result, each state recognizes the most commonly used national language (that of the majority community) in the state to conduct its business. For example, Tamil is the predominant language in Tamil Nadu. Tamils, non-Tamils, Hindus, Muslims and all others living in Tamil Nadu have to accept the Tamil language for state business, in courts, in schools etc. (English is used in superior courts and universities). For example, Telugu and Kannadi (majority languages in border states) as well as Urdu speaking Muslims living in Tamil Nadu have to adopt Tamil language. Their children will attend schools with Tamil language as the medium of instruction or private schools. They may use their mother tongue at home. In Tamil Nadu, the mother tongue of Sunni Muslims in Tamil and of Shia Muslims is Urdu. The mother tongue of Muslims in West Bengal is Bengali and in Jammu & Kashmir, it is Kashmiri. They may also have a knowledge of Urdu in view of religious scripts. On the other hand, a Tamil living outside Tamil Nadu even in border states such as Kerala has to adopt the language of the majority of that state (Malayalam).

Language wise, Hindi in 10 states, Bengali in 7 states and Gujarati in 3 states are the major languages. However, the 19 other national languages are state and secondary languages in different states depending on geographical locations.

Hinduism is the religion of 79.8% of India’s 1.2 billion population. Hindus are most numerous in 27 states/Union Territories. Religious minorities are spread across India as per below chart (refer chart 1). Figures indicated are percentages in terms of each state’s population.religious-minorities-are-spread-across-india

India has been devoid of massive concentrations of a particular religious minority group in any one state or part of the country with the exception of Muslims in Jammu & Kashmir.

Thanks mainly to enlightened leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Nehru who eschewed religious divide by promoting a constitution based on secularism, India after the horrors of 1947 partition, has largely managed to contain the Hindu Muslim divide with occasional upheavals. Freedom movements have erupted from time to time, such as for Khalistan and in Nagaland but have been managed with relative ease.

Sri Lanka consists of a landmass of 65,516 sq. kms with a population of 20.2 million persons. The origins of the initial three provinces in 1820s, increasing to five in 1833 and gradually to nine by 1889 was to suit the needs of a colonial administration rather than local needs. The five provinces which came into effect in 1833 would appear to be based on ethnic lines taking Low Country Sinhalese, Kandyan Sinhalese and Tamils into consideration.

According to 2012 population census, the ethnic breakdown of Sri Lanka’s 20.2 million population is as follows (refer chart 2).ethnic-breakdown-of-sri-lanka

In the event Tamils of Sri Lankan and Indian origin were to be merged, they would account for 15.4% of the population.

The distribution of different ethnic groups in the Northern, Eastern and remaining seven provinces are as follows (refer chart 3).distribution-of-different-ethnic-groups

Of the Sri Lankan Muslim community, a further 24% live in the Western and 13.9% in the North Western Provinces. Of the Tamils of Indian origin community, 57.2% live in the Central, 18.3% in North Central and 12.3% in Sabaragamuwa provinces.

The Eastern province need special mention. From a population of 1.5 million, 23% are Sinhalese (2.3% of total Sinhalese), 39% Sri Lankan Tamils (26.8% of total SL Tamils) and 36.6% Muslims (30.4% of total Muslims).

Sri Lanka in size is smaller than the 17th largest state in India (Assam) and in population, amounts to 1.68% of India’s population. Sri Lanka’s total population of 20.2 million is numerically less than Hindus (966 mil), Muslims (172 mil), Christians (27.8 mil) and Sikhs 20.8mil) in India.

In the Indian format, the all-important subject of language has been satisfactorily addressed and is not a contentious issue. In Sri Lanka, the subject of language has been mishandled and is one of the most contentious issues.

In today’s context, it is not conceivable, 2.58% of Sinhalese population living in the Northern and Easter provinces would accept Tamil as their language. Neither will 29.6% Sri Lankan Tamils living in seven provinces accept Sinhala language as theirs.

Needless to say, had a division of provinces on linguistic lines and a language system similar to that of India been implemented within a decade of independence, implementation would have been possible. However, at this juncture, 68 years after independence, numerous race riots including 1983 pogroms, sense of injustices felt by the Tamil community, some justified and some unjustified, rise in Tamil nationalism and after a 30-year civil war, the suitability and possibility of adopting the Indian model in Sri Lanka, in this writer’s opinion is a virtual impossibility.

The ideal solution to the current impasse is a ‘One Country One People’ concept, sans any divide, ethnic, religious, caste or otherwise. Unfortunately, the mentality and attitudes of both Sinhalese and Tamils are not conducive for such a project. Two primary reasons contribute, one being the ‘foremost place for Buddhism’ enshrined in the constitution and the theory of a ‘traditional Tamil Home Land’. In a ‘One Country One People’ concept espousing secularism, no one ethnic or religious group can be superior or inferior to another. The Dhammapada, Bhagawath Gita, Bible and Quran need all be subordinate to the country’s constitution which need be secular and the instrument through which, peaceful coexistence of all communities need be facilitated. Similarly, no one community should claim any part of the country as their ‘traditional home land’. The claim by the Tamil community has no validity. 56% of the community lives outside the Northern Province. 26.4% live in the Eastern province and 29.6% live in seven other provinces. Based on the traditional Tamil Home Land concept, it can also be argued that 29.6% Sri Lankan Tamils are living in somebody else’s Traditional Home Land.

The whole nation including the Northern and Eastern provinces must essentially be shared by the Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and other minorities.

Attempting to clone the Indian model at this juncture, rather than solving our problems would probably aggravate our problems.

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Latest comments

  • 1
    0

    The solution is language-blind administrative units beginning with the lowest civil admin unit, GNS (grama seva niladhari)units. Demarcate them using ecological-geographical criteria. Using river basin approach as in New Zealand go upwards ending with seven large river basins for the island.

    Ref further the links:

    http://www.island.lk/2009/02/25/midweek1.html

  • 1
    4

    “The ideal solution to the current impasse is a ‘One Country One People’ concept, sans any divide, ethnic, religious, caste or otherwise.”

    yes,this is the way to go for srilanka.

    “Unfortunately, the mentality and attitudes of both Sinhalese and Tamils are not conducive for such a project.”

    that is the current population.Srilanka is going to be there for the next 500 years,but the current population with this mentality won’t be.so this project of one country one people should be started now as a 500 year project,not a ten year one.All the asses who don’t want to modernize their views will be dead little by little.That is why god created death for all of us.

    ” Two primary reasons contribute, one being the ‘foremost place for Buddhism’ enshrined in the constitution and the theory of a ‘traditional Tamil Home Land’”

    start the project by getting rid of both.let sirisena tell sampanthan publicly that he will get rid of the bhuddhism in the constitution if sampanthan drops the traditional homeland concept.sampu will be in a fix indeed because when you drop the traditional homeland concept,you drop the floor on the eelam project.so this is a good way to find out if sam is playing a double game.siri does not need to really take off the enshrined status of bhuddhism,he has to only watch sam running around like a chicken that has lost its feathers.so though there will be a uproar from the monks,siri should stand firm because sam will never drop the traditional homeland concept.

    • 4
      0

      shankar

      So you agree with Rajeewa Jayaweera that he proposes the ideal solution to the current impasse is a “One Country One People” concept, sans any divide, ethnic, religious, caste or otherwise.

      It reminds me of a romantic idea of “Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer (‘One People, One Nation, One Leader’).

      The problem is not about the concept but who is going to be the “ein Führer”, is it going to be Rajeewa Jayaweera, Gnanasara, Gota, Wimal Sangili Karruppan Weerawansa, …… …. Black and Decker or you.

      Tell me whats wrong with

      Unity in diversity,
      Multiple Nations in One United Country,
      Secularism

      How do you propose to guarantee the democratic rights of all people, habitat, livelihood, dignity, safety, security, and equitable distribution of power and resources given the past history and the size of the decision making/implementing/enforcing majority?

      Heil Jayaweera
      Heil shanker
      Heil Black and Decker
      Heil Sangili Karruppan
      Heil Gnanasara
      Heil Gota

      In the meantime let me practice Hitlergruß (Hitler Greeting) and goose stepping.

      Judgement may go wrong which is understandable while intentions can be dangerous, if left unquestioned.

      • 0
        2

        Dear Ms Native

        “So you agree with Rajeewa Jayaweera that he proposes the ideal solution to the current impasse is a “One Country One People” “

        I would go one step further and say one planet,one people.Unless the future generations follow this principle,they will destroy this one and only planet with a nuclear war.Such a war between two countries will send such a haze of smoke that there would not be sunlight in the whole planet for months and even for years.

        even with no nuclear war,water wars will be there in the future due to scarcity of this precious resource.If future generations don’t have the one planet,one people concept then one country will not bother to help another ones people dying of lack of water by diverting some of theirs from their rivers to the other country.Even within states in india they have gone to courts over this issue.So one planet,one people is the solution to humankinds future problems that are going to be aced by our grandchildren,great grand children etc.

        There is too much of hate in this world.We have to reduce that and substitute it with love instead for our very own survival in the future.

        As Lord Bhuddha said fire can be extinguished only with water,so can hate be rid only through love of our fellow human beings,not more hate.

  • 8
    0

    One country one people concept was killed and buried soon after independence when Tamils of recent Indian origin who had lived for more than 100 years and shed their sweat and tears for the benefit of the country were thanklessly stripped off of their citizenship and subsequently one million of them were deported in an inhuman manner. If you are honest bring back their descendants and settle them in Srilanka especially in the eastern province where there is ample land which will also bring back the Tamil majority in that province which had been taken away by force by both Sinhalese and Muslims resorting to murder and ethnic cleansing of indigenous Tamils.

    Secondly passing of racially discriminatory laws and carrying out of racially discriminatory practices against Tamils and subsequently unleashing state sponsored violence on Tamils driving them out of the country had also laid to rest this concept. Pay compensation to all affected Tamils and let them settle down in their original lands after evicting Sinhala and Muslim usurpers, rename the Sinhalised towns and villages to original Tamil names, demolish viharas and mosques built over demolished Hindu temples and rebuild them if you are genuinely concerned about forging a one country concept. Otherwise it is only an empty rhetoric from a insincere person.

    • 0
      4

      mistakes were made by the sinhalese.We can’t go after our pound of flesh.

      Even if we can’t forget,we must forgive.This is what murali also said.

    • 0
      0

      They were not citizens of this country even under the Britsh They were migratory labourers. If we are to accept everything that the British did under colonialism for the sake of ‘one country’ then all the privileges granted to the Tamils, including education, will have to be continued with the Sinhalese consigned to be just nothings.
      No wonder the Tamils wanted it that way

      • 2
        0

        Palitha Senanayake

        Here we go again.

        “They were not citizens of this country even under the Britsh They were migratory labourers.”

        How come the Tamils/Sinhalese illegal immigrants demand their right to citizenship the next day they land on foreign shores? Tell us who allow you to live in my ancestral land though you arrived from India on Kallathonies over a period?

        “If we are to accept everything that the British did under colonialism for the sake of ‘one country’ then all the privileges granted to the Tamils, including education, will have to be continued with the Sinhalese consigned to be just nothings.”

        Tell us what sort of privileges that were granted to Tamils that the Sinhalese were denied? Give us some evidence/comprehensive study to support your lies.

        The Sinhalese are being consigned to be just nothing not by any other factors but by the Sinhala/Buddhists.

        Your lies, ignorance, racism, bigotry, …. know no bounds.

  • 0
    5

    First of all my thanks to Rajeewa J for his positive comments on my article and for all the detailed information he has provided. Re Kashmir I have pointed out earlier that the Kashmir problem is very special as it has arisen out of historical circumstances that don’t apply to the Muslims in India.Further points to be borne in mind are that Kashmir is on the border of India, it has a common border with Pakistan, and has a huge concentration of Muslims.Those are factors that make integration with India very difficult or even impossible. Please see the article by M.L.Wickremasinghe in the Island of October 9 to which I referred at the conclusion of my article.
    Those factors that are special to Kashmir don’t apply to the Muslims in the rest of India.It is a fact that they have for the most part lived in peace, amity, and co-operation with the Hindus since 1947.It is also a fact that they have done so without any devolution for the Muslims at all.So have the Tamil diasporas in the West and elsewhere.I believe that the common factor explaining those success stories is a fully functioning democracy.
    What more could a minority want legitimately than fair and equal treatment plus the benefits of economic development? That has been demonstrably possible elsewhere without any devolution on an ethnic basis – even in India where Muslims and Hindus used to be in lethal conflict. – IH

  • 3
    0

    “It is also a fact that they have done so without any devolution for the Muslims at all.”

    devolution may not be specific to the muslims,but they are with the hindus and christians enjoying devolution.so comparing the muslim situation in india with the tamils in srilanka is like trying to compare apples with oranges.

    Furthermore the muslims in india are enjoying a secular constitution.The tamils are not.So to compare the muslims in india with the tamils in srilanka you have to do the following in srilanka,exactly as it happenned in india

    1.partition the country and give the north,batticaloa and coastal areas of trincomalee to the tamils.Call it eelam and allow it to be recognised by the UN as a new country.

    2.ask the tamils who are living in the srilankan part to move to eelam if they prefer to become citizens there and vise versa for the sinhalese in eelam.

    3. those who are undecided to move or not,give them a kick in their butt to make up their minds quickly.

    4.After some years go by the muslims in eelam are not happy about this arrangement and tamils and muslims clash.Srilankan army invades eelam and defeats the eelam army and creates another nation for the muslims in the east.

    5.Now the demography is like this.In eelam the sinhalese are 3.6% of the total population(the same percentage of hindus and christians in pakistan).In srilanka the tamils are 14% of the total population of srilanka(same percentage as in india of muslims)

    now izzeth hussein’s argument is that the tamils who are 14% of the population of srilanka,while their brethren are 97% of the population of eelam are quite contented with their lot in life even without any specific devolution for them.Naturally they will be because they have taken a good chunk of the country from the sinhalese and also having 14% of the population in the land left for the sinhalese,while only 3% of sinhalese are in the land they lost.

  • 0
    6

    Dr Sankaralingam

    I am not aware if you are a Tamil of Sri Lankan or Indian origin.

    In case you happen to be a Tamil of Sri Lankan origin, do take into consideration, the ACTC led by GG Ponnambalam endorsed the Ceylon Citizenship Act of 1948 passed by Parliament on 20 August 1948 and became law on 15 November 1948. Ponnambalam joined Prime Minister DS Senanayake’s cabinet on 03 September 1948. If the ACTC opposed the act, he should not have joined the government and cabinet. Would you agree, high caste Hindus had not empathy for low caste estate workers?

    In case you happen to be a Tamil of Indian origin, your leader Savumiamurthy Thondaman, who became a power broker and political king maker in Sri Lankan politics was born on 30 August 1913 in Muna Pudur, in the Ramanthapuram District in Tamil Nadu. He saw his father, Karuppiah, a Kangkani in a tea estate, for the first time when aged 7. His father worked in Ceylon and went home periodically every couple of years. Savumiamurthy attended school in Munna Pudur till 1924 when he joined his father in Ceylon and attended St.Andrew’s in Gampola till 1932. He became an MP in 1960, cabinet minister in 1977 and remained a minister till he died in 1999.

    It is best one looks inward and understand how a son of an unskilled migrant worker, born in India and arrived in Ceylon in 1924 aged 11, obtained citizenship, contested an electorate, entered Parliament in 1960, became a cabinet minister in 1978 for the rest of his life in a country which disenfranchised his community in 1947.
    You are being disingenuous when you write of evicting Sinhala and Muslim usurpers without mentioning what should be done with the 29.6% ‘usurpers’ living elsewhere.

    As long as we Sri Lankans, irrespective of community keep fashioning our future based on the past, the divide can never be overcome. The way forward is best fashioned by jettisoning the past and moving forward together, towards ‘One Nation One People’.

    • 1
      0

      You must be a standardised professor of history Mr. Jayaweera.

      Ponnambalam and the ACTC voted against the Ceylon Citizenship Bill which he described as racist.

      Thondaman was first elected MP in 1947 from Nuwara Eliya. He didn’t become a cabinet minister until 1978. He was out of the cabinet from 1994 to 1995.

      I haven’t bothered to check your article to see if the facts you quote are correct but going by the above I would say it was littered with (deliberate) errors.

    • 3
      0

      Dear Rajeewa,
      I am a Srilankan Tamil and my father is a second cousin of Mr. GG Ponnambalam. After independence, DS Senanayake arm twisted GGP with a threat of legal action for non-payment of taxes if he did anything against his government. There were two bills passed regarding citizenship. The first one was to dis-enfranchise Tamils of recent Indian origin and the second was to grant citizenship to non-plantation worker Indians and Pakistanis, who also lost their citizenship due to the first act. The first bill was brought in to satisfy Kandyan Sinhalese who had complained that there are large number of these Indians occupying their area and preventing them being elected to parliament. For your information in the election held in 1947 before independence conducted by British, Indian Tamils returned seven members from Kandyan areas – Nawalapitiya, Kotagala, Talawakele, Nuwara-eliya, Haputale,Bandarawela and second member for Badulla. So that bill was purely to get rid of them and give representation to Kandyan Sinhalese. Unfortunately some rich businessmen from North India and Pakistan like Sindhis and Borahs also lost their citizenship. The second bill was to give citizenship to them and some Tamil businessmen also benefited from it. The bill was carefully worded so that poor Tamil plantation workers will never be able to prove their residence for two generations though in fact they lived in those areas for over 100 years. When the first bill was presented DSS got an undertaking that only GGP and SJV Chelvanayagam will be present in the chamber and vote against the bill. Accordingly at the voting time GGP sent other Tamil Congress men away. So your statement that GGP and TC voted for first bill is wrong. However when the second bill was presented, GGP had joined the cabinet and voted for the bill. Only SJVC and Mr. Rajavarothayam (Mr. Sambandan’s Father)broke ranks and voted against the bill. That was the beginning of split in TC and birth of Federal Party. This act to first strip off citizenship and then to deport them are the worst ethnic cleansing in the post second world war history. In Uganda, Idi Amin deported Gujeratis who were holding onto British passports and fleecing the country. Though Idi Amin was called a racist none of the Sinhala leaders who were responsible for the plight of Indian Tamils who opted for Srilanka citizenship at independence and toiled for the country were called racists. Even after plantation Tamils lost their voting rights, their heads were counted for demarcation of electorates to help Kandyan Sinhalese to have more members in Parliament out of proportion to the actual number of voters. It is only in 1977, plantation Tamils were able to get one of them elected to parliament, that too as a third member of a multi-member constituency.

  • 1
    3

    Izeth H

    While noting the main thrust of your narrative is the need for a fully functioning democracy as in India, my narrative is based on the fact, India’s success lies in the absence a national minority in the form of a state majority in any one state (administrative unit in India) other than in Kashmir which is in turmoil but you exclude in view of being ‘very special due to historical reasons’.

    In my opinion, India managed to avoid a religious divide due to two reasons. Firstly, as a result of the partition, predominantly Muslim populated areas opted to become Pakistan followed by a two way exodus of Muslims and Hindus from independent India and Pakistan respectively. Essentially, the separate state objective of the LTTE had already been achieved by Muslims in August 1947. Secondly, the Muslims of the sub-continent even prior to partition had several different mother tongues i.e. Bengali in Bengal (East and West), Tamil in Tamil Nadu, Telugu in Andhra Pradesh, Kannada in Karnataka, Dogri in Kashmir. Therefore, division of states on linguistic lines caused no contentious issues as both Hindus, Muslims and other minorities in these states had no language barriers. No national minority community can claim any one part of independent India as a ‘traditional home land’ based on a particular language. The data in chart 1 in my article further reinforce my point.

    Had Ceylon too separated provinces (administrative unit till 1987 was a district and not province) on linguistic lines, it would have been better placed in implementing a more pragmatic and equitable arrangement with its due place granted to Tamil language in the provinces with a predominantly Tamil population. Sinhalese living in such areas would have had to accept Tamil language as theirs. Similarly, Tamils living in provinces with a predominantly Sinhalese population would have had to accept Sinhala language as theirs. This is the format currently prevailing in India and it has worked well.

    It is my contention India is not a fully functioning democracy. It has various structures of a democracy i.e. an independent judiciary but not the culture of democracy (Sri Lanka has neither democratic structures nor a culture of democracy). India’s is a secular constitution which takes care of religious minorities. But does the Indian constitution take care of those considered low caste? Even in this day and age, we still hear of such words as Dalit, Harijan etc.

    • 4
      0

      Rajeewa Jayaweera

      “India’s success lies in the absence a national minority in the form of a state majority in any one state (administrative unit in India) other than in Kashmir which is in turmoil but you exclude in view of being ‘very special due to historical reasons’.”

      You got it wrong.

      Jawaharlal Vallabh and Pattabhi (JVP Committee) dismissed the idea of linguistic states in 1948.

      After much agitation in Andhra Pradesh the first linguistic Andhra Pradesh state was born in the early 1950’s (1953?).

      Almost all states are formed along linguistic lines.

      I suggest you do bit of research before start typing.

    • 1
      0

      Once again another Sri Lankan who conveniently forgets that the north and east of Sri Lanka was a Tamil kingdom which the British HANDED OVER to the Sinhalese on a plate. Its funny how that fact seems to fly over the heads of the Sinhalese when they want to keep parroting the ‘British favoured the Tamils’ line all the time. The idea of the LTTE wanting their land back is not some outrageous terrorist agenda. That land never belonged to Sinhalese. If you want to drag ancient historic speculation and claim they are descendants of Chola invaders then the same can be said of Sinhala people, that they are descendants of Vijayas invaders.
      Izeth Hussain is a hypocrite playing all kinds of semantic games. If the LTTE was a muslim rebel group he would be in full support of them

  • 5
    0

    In India as well as in the rest of the world being a Muslims Hindu Christian Buddhist or a member of another religion is strictly and correctly considered a religious identity and never an ethnic identity. Ethnic identity is being a Tamil Telugu, Bengali, Guajarati, Punjabi, Hindian ETC. Members belonging to these ethnic identity or groups can be Hindu, Muslim Christian or to other minor Indian religions like being a Jain, Sikh, Buddhist ETC.

    Only ethno religions like Judaism Sikhism ETC that are strictly associated only a specific ethnic groups like the Jews and the Punjabis are considered as ethnic group. Then again not all Punjabis are Sikhs. Most are Muslim or Hindu but almost 99.99% of the Sikh are Punjabi and their religion is closely associated with the Punjabi language and culture.

    Only in Sri Lankan due to dirty power politics first by the British and then by the Sinhalese establishment and the southern Muslims elite, being a Muslims has become an ethnic and not a religious identity like in the rest of the world. This was deliberately done to divide and rule the island’s Tamils on the basis of religion caste and region on premise united we stand divided we perish. Therefore divide the island’s Tamils make them weak and destroy each weakened divided group individually. First the Indian origin estate Tamils, then the indigenous Eelam Tamils and now it is the turn of the Tamil Muslims incorrectly classified as Sri Lankan Moors.

    To justify this ethnic classification, the Muslims elite created a fake Arab/Moorish origin for the island’s Muslims population, when in reality only less than 5% of them, predominantly Tamil with a distant male Arab ancestor with the rest 100% Tamil.

    When challenge to provide evidence of Arab origin, the so called Moors council were only able to produce a distant Arab male ancestor for a few hundred families. How pathetic a distant male Arab ancestor for a few hundred families numbering around 40000 the most if I am generous and the rest of the 1.8 million are all descended from largely low caste Dravidian Hindu Indian Tamil immigrant converts from what is now Kerala and Tamil Nadu in South India. DNA evidence has clearly proved that the Muslims of Sri Lanka are genetically the same as the island’s Sinhalese and Tamils and they all closely cluster with the population of South India, including the South Indian Muslims. You can lie but DNA will never lie.

    This is like a the few thousand part European Christian Burgher population in the island, taking power over the island’s entire Christian population and then classifying and claiming the more than 2 million Sinhalese and Tamil Christians as also Burghers with European origin, and not allowing them to acknowledge their real Sinhalese and Tamil heritage, which itself is a form of genocide, just for their own selfish power politics and economic gain.

    This is what has happened amongst the island’s Muslims. A few thousand powerful southern Muslims elite who are predominantly Tamil but have a small amount of Arab ancestry have hijacked the agenda for their selfish own economic and political power, and have created this hate and distrust amongst the island Muslim and non Muslims Tamils, so that they and their families can benefit immensely at the expense of the rest of the island’s Tamils. You can see what is now happening in the east. They will never want the Island’s Muslim masses to acknowledge their real Tamil Hindu Dravidian origin but fill their head with Arabian night fairy tales, to perpetuate this hatred, so that they can remain powerful and rich at their expense. Just like the Sinhalese elite do with the Sinhalese masses fill their head with Mahavamse fairy tales and of a fake Aryan origin. Now some Sinhalese extremists have started to state they are descended from Naga Yakka etc and are truly indigenous, but these clowns do no realise if you are descended from a Naga or Yakka you are then a Dravidian who would have spoken a dialect that was semi Tamil.

    Muslims in the island should be correctly classified as not Moors but Tamils by ethnicity and Muslim by religion. A little bit of Arab amongst a few hundred families does not make these families or the rest of the island’s Muslims Arab. Pathetically trying to cling to the incorrect classification that the Portuguese gave all South Asian Muslims Moors will not work, as they are neither of Moorish or for that matter Arab origin. All other South Asian Muslims other than the opportunistic Sri Lankan Muslims discarded this incorrect classification long ago. The Portuguese incorrectly called the Sinhalese as Siamese as they were Buddhist like them and the island’s Tamils as Malabar, as they were similar to the population of Kerala and then spoke variations of the same language and more or less followed the same religion too. The Sinhalese and Tamils discarded these classification very soon as they were not Siamese or Malabar. Only the Indian origin Tamil Sri Lankan Muslim elite pounced on this incorrect name and kept it as it suited their agenda. They cunningly used this later to claim an Arab/Moorish origin for the entire community and denounce their real Tamil Hindu origin.

    Tamils stating the obvious truth that the island’s Muslims were not Arabs or Moors but Tamils who converted to Islam were very aggressively denounced as anti Muslims and racists by the powerful Muslim elite and were aided and abetted first by the British and now by the Sinhalese establishment to do so, as this suited their divided and rule policy. They amply rewarded this Muslim elite for their over and covert support for the anti Tamil policy of all ruling Sinhalese governments.

    Muslims like Izzat who benefited from this policy are desperate to keep this so constantly come here and post these anti Tamil articles. They only remain powerful as long the island’s Muslims remain like some pathetic clones of the Gulf Arabs and never acknowledge their real Dravidian Tamil origin. If they do they loose their power base. As these predominantly Tamil part Arab ancestry Muslims in the island number only around 40000 the most but are the powerful rich elite amongst the island’s Muslims. However they are small in number and cannot do anything by themselves, just like the Christian Burghers. To retain their power they need the support of the Tamil Muslims masses, without them they are nothing. This is why they have created this Arab origin myth and a common Muslim ethnic identity, that does exist anywhere in the world and are desperate to brainwash the Tamil Muslim masses that they are not Tamils but Arabs/Moors and to hate and discard anything Tamil and become some pathetic carbon clones of the gulf Arabs as this is how they can keep their greedy claws on them for their own benefit. This is why they want to steal the east from the non Muslim indigenous Tamils and not allow the North and East to merge, as they fear they will loose their hold on the eastern Tamil Muslims who will gradually then start to identify with the rest of the Tamils, as they really should and this fake Arab origin and common Muslim identity will be broken and the powerful southern Muslim elite will have no hold to blackmail the Sinhalese to gain favours and political positions.

    This is the reason starting from Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan to present they will aggressively abuse anyone who states the truth, the Muslims of Sri Lanka are not Moors or Arabs but a Tamil Hindus from India who converted to Islam and migrated to the island a few centuries ago. They will call you a racist, casteist, and anti Islam. How can you be anti Islam just because you state the Muslims in the island are Tamils? You can be a Tamil and be a good Muslims. They just associate Islan with Arabism and the Arab culture only and think that you have to be some pathetic clone of the Gulf Arab to be Muslim, when most of the Muslims in the world are not. Even the parent population from whom the Muslims of Sri Lanka originated, the Muslims of Tamil Nadu are proudly Tamil by ethnicity and Muslim by religion. You can be both and not a pathetic Arab clone and a laughing stock

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    The Tamils were a clear cut majority in the North & East region until post-independent governments colonized Sinhalese in the region. Even though most of the Eastern Province came under the umbrella of the Kandyan Kingdom (even the Kandyan rule of East does not deny the Tamil presence in those areas), the census of Ceylon conducted in 1881 indicates that the two Tamil provinces (North & East) were inhabited almost exclusively by Tamils in the late nineteenth century (Census of Ceylon, 1881). The Sinhalese population constituted only 1.8% of the total population of the two Tamil provinces in 1881; Sinhalese accounted for only 0.51% of the total population of the Northern Province, and 4.2% of the Eastern Province.

    Even in the census of 1920 only 4 percent of the population of the Eastern Province was Sinhalese. It is only in the past sixty odd years that there has been a substantial influx of Sinhalese settlements through state intervention.

    On the other hand, the Sri Lankan Tamils are not scattered all over Sri Lanka. There native homeland is North and East. Other than North and East, they choose to live in the metropolis (Colombo) due to many other reasons. Not only Tamils but everybody likes to live in Colombo because as a unitary state with a central government in Colombo (that the British established), for everything (work/economic, travel/visa/airport, etc.) one needs to come to Colombo.

    The state excluding investment and development in the Tamil North and East right from independence, the North & East had little prospect of economic life other than state employment which again is mostly outside the Tamil areas.

    If power is devolved and decentralization had taken place right from independence, the Tamils would not have come to Colombo.

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    Andy

    Firstly, my apologies for the errors. Yes, I missed out Thondaman’s stint as an MP from 1947 till 1952. He also joined President Jayawardena’s cabinet on 7 September 1978 and not Prime Minister Jayawardena’s cabinet in 1977. He was out of cabinet after the UNP defeat in 1994 till 1995 when he changed alliance from UNP to People’s Alliance government of the day.

    That said, none of these alter my point. In fact, your comment further reinforces my point. How did a person who arrived in Ceylon in 1932, aged 11, contest and win a seat in the first parliament of post independent Ceylon? Further how did he avoid disenfranchisement? Had the act been implemented to the letter, inability to prove continuous domicile of two generations was sufficient grounds for repatriation. Both Thondaman and his father were not born in Ceylon even though his father eventually became the proud owner the prosperous tea plantation, Wavendon estate, in Ramboda in the Nuwara Eliya district.

    To avoid the fact many Tamils of Indian origin managed to remain in Ceylon despite the 1948 Citizenship Act is to propagate a deliberate lie

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    Dr Sankaralingam

    Thank you for clarifying you belong to the Sri Lankan Tamil community and your response.

    May I clarify, I have not stated GGP and ACTC voted for the Citizenship Act which was passed after a vote on 20 August 1948. What I have stated is that it was ‘endorsed’ by GGP and ACTC when it became law on 15 November 1948 as ACTC had become a coalition partner of the UNP government and GGP a member of the DS Senanayake cabinet on 03 September 1948. It is a case of collective responsibility. If GGP genuinely opposed the CCA of 1948, he and his party should have remained in the opposition and agitated against the Act besides fighting his case of tax evasion in a court of law (you will agree the then Judiciary would have given him a fair trial).

    The fact of the matter is that the high class Vellalar members of the Sri Lankan Tamil community who were the leaders in those times did not have any empathy for the mostly low caste Tamils of Indian origin. Their attitude towards low caste Sri Lankan Tamils too need be mentioned. I am unable to understand many of those screaming of injustices but even now espouse differentiation of their own people due to an accident at birth (the caste divide) which has been going on for thousands of years. Sometime in 1963 during the time my uncle Neville Jayaweera was Government Agent in Jaffna, he endeavored to have all Kovils opened to all Tamils. Chellappa Suntheralingam, formerly of CCS, MP and Minister warned my uncle, he may implement Sinhala Only in Jaffna if he wished to but to leave the Vellalar Kovils alone or else it would cause an upheaval far worse than the 1958 sathyagraha. Should one not look at racism within one’s own community before looking at Idi Amin or Sinhalese leaders?

    On the subject of satisfying Upcountry Sinhalese, they did have a claim in view of confiscation of their lands for nearly hundred years by the colonials for plantation purposes. Estate Tamils were then brought over by the colonials to work in those plantations as many of the locals refused to cooperate and work for the colonials. Those who give credence to ‘traditional Tamil Home Land’ concept and eviction of Sinhalese from the Eastern Province must also concede the right of Kandyan Sinhalese for their own ‘traditional home land’ and eviction of estate workers brought from Ramnathapuram and their descendants.

    Personally, I totally oppose the concept of a traditional homeland for any community.

    If as you say, the first Plantation Tamil elected to parliament was in 1977, what was Savumiamoorthy Thondaman who was elected in 1947?

    To conclude, little if any purpose is served in going back in history. Fingers are pointed at race riots commencing with 1915 Sinhala Muslim riots and 1958 Sinhala Tamil riots. Also to be mentioned is the 50/50 representation demanded by GG Ponnambalam in the 1931 and 1934 State Councils. He was speaking on behalf of minorities who amounted to 34.2% (11.2% SL Tamil, 15.5% Plantation Tamil, 5.4% % SL Moors, 0.6% Indian 0.6% Burghers, Malays, 0.5% Moors, 0.3% Others and 0.1% Europeans as per 1931 census).

    It is time the Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims critically analyze each community’s own failings with a view to redeeming themselves from their divide. That is the only option towards finding a way forward to the goal of ‘One Nation, One People’.

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      Rajeewa Jayaweera

      “That is the only option towards finding a way forward to the goal of ‘One Nation, One People’.”

      Then it would be even better to have ‘one world one people’ concept and so we could enjoy the benefits travelling through the globe and seek our fortunes!

      We have tried ‘one country and one nation’ and which terribly failed. One country one people in Sri Lanka means One country and one Sinhala Buddhist Nation and ‘Sinhalalization’ of Tamil areas. This is what Tamils learn of it.

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        Shrikharan

        “We have tried ‘one country and one nation’ and which terribly failed. One country one people in Sri Lanka means One country and one Sinhala Buddhist Nation and ‘Sinhalalization’ of Tamil areas. This is what Tamils learn of it.”

        Your comments no conducive for reconciliation(?).

        You are rocking the boat unnecessarily and promoting LTTE ideology.

        You do not have the right to question his judgement as well as his intentions because as a patriot he thinks he has something to contribute to what he believes is one nation one people.

        What he doesn’t understand is every individual has multiple identities.

        Amrtya Sen argued that each individual is made up of multi identities, each bringing richness and warmth to the person, people and the country. Attributes as nationality, race, religion, region, community, class, profession, …. help individuals construct one’s identity.

        Now Rajeewa Jayaweera wants to manufacture standardised human beings similar to any other product made by machines, packaged morons in millions.

        This is what Hitler wanted, a homogenous Aryan race.

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      Upcountry Sinhalese did not build the tea estates in Sri Lanka. Its not because they were some kind of warrior who resisted the British. They were simply too lazy and inefficient to get anything done. This is why even today foreign contractors dont like to hire locals when building roads and buildings in Sri Lanka.
      It was the slave labour of the Indian origin tamils that created Sri Lankas most important economical asset. And the Sinhala governments simply stole that with the land reform acts and chasing hundreds of thousands of Indian origin Tamils back to India (even though they were born in Sri Lanka).
      So if Sinhalese are to reclaim the hill country, then the entire tea plantations should be totally wiped out and the area reforested the way it was prior to British rule.
      As for the caste system, dont think we dont know about what goes on within Sinhala society. We know how the Govigama and other upper caste Sinhalese rule Sri Lanka and make it nearly impossible for the lower caste Sinhalese like the Karawa to have any kind of power. It was a miracle that low caste Premadasa managed to become the ruler of the Island. Why do you think lower caste Sarath Fonseka was thrown in prison for attempting to become president? I have also read literature that talks about a Karawa caste Sinhalese who had to travel to Burma many generations ago to apply for monkhood as the upper caste Sinhalese would not allow him to do so in SL.

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        Siva you are correct, the Sinhalese are more caste conscious than the Tamils, yet they accuse the Tamils of practising caste discrimination. conveniently forgetting they practise caste discrimination too.

        They will never allow a non Govigamma or even a non Buddhist to be a leader of a political party or the country. Low caste Premadasa was a fluke and they bumped him off and as usual conveniently laid the blame on the LTTE. Even when they choose candidates for various electorates they choose a candidate representing the predominant caste of the electorate. In Kandyan Sinhalese areas the norm is only for a Kandyan candidate as most Kandyans will never vote for a low country Sinhalese whom they consider as someone below them.

        Tamils on the other hand are secular and less caste conscious and will elect/accept a Christian and some one from the lower caste as their leader. Like in the case of Chelvanayagam or Pirapakaran. This will be something unheard amongst the Sinhalese who like the Indians like upper caste political dynasties.

        As for temple entry. The Sinhalese were as casteist as the Tamils are century ago and the Govigamma upper castes barred the lower castes from entering their Buddhist temples or even ordaining them as monke. The lower casted had to travel to Burma or Thailand to obtain ordination as monks and create their own Buddhist sects and open temples for their castes. Even now certain Buddhist sects will not allow the lower castes to be ordained.

        Like the untouchables the Sinhalese treated their Rodiya and Berewa( Paraiyan) castes very badly and did not even allow their women folf to cover their tops. So that the upper caste men could ogle on their topless forms.

        Rjaiva should first learn the real history before attacking Tamils. May like most Sinhalese know what really happened and is happening but choose to ignore as they are the ruling ethnic group and attack the Tamils to further divide them. Already they have been very successful in dividing and alienating the Tamil Muslims from the rest of the Tamils with the help of the likes like Izzat

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          I am glad you see it too.
          My Sinhala friends are very dishonest about this issue and always deny or downplay it when I question them on it. They seem shocked that I would know about the caste system in their community. One guy claimed the coastal and souhern Sinhalese were labelled low caste by hill country Sinhalese because they fell to he British first. This is nonense.I know a Tamil historian from India who says upper caste Sinhalese are more recent migrants into SL and appropriated the Sinhala identity. He says they have more Aryan blood in them (hence their fairer skin). The older Sinhalese with darker skin (and more Tamil Dravidian blood) were relegated to low caste status. This falls in line with how caste was setup across south Asia. It was racially motivated. Light skin invaders stealing the region from the original dark people.

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    Rajeewa Jayaweera

    ” That is the only option towards finding a way forward to the goal of ‘One Nation, One People’.

    What is wrong with multiple nation, unity in diversity, pluralism, secularism, multiple identity of an individual, ….. ?

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      “What is wrong with multiple nation, unity in diversity, pluralism, secularism, multiple identity of an individual,”

      it is okay as long as it doesn’t go too far. Then it becomes toxic highlighting the differences in humanity and playing down the similarities.

      You also have a valid point ms veddha,maybe lord Bhuddha’ middle path is the best without going to any extremities. Diversity etc to be recognised and oneness as members of the human race and citizens of a country emphasized.

      You can have it like bread and butter,butter being the diversity etc.So they are both(oneness and diversity) not incompatible nor mutually exclusive.

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