17 October, 2021

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Did The Sinhala Buddhist Ethnocentrism Select Its Waterloo 

By Harsha Gunasena

Harsha Gunasena

Sinhala Buddhists in this country guided by the Buddhist way of life, had big hearts over the centuries in ethnic relationships. Although at present the ethnicity, religion and caste are considered as a prerequisite for national leadership, in the history we had kings with different ethnicities with the concurrence of the people in several instances. They were not invaders who grabbed the power by force although we had number of such kings. For example, Nissanka Malla who ruled the country for nine years (1187-1196) in Polonnaruwa era was not of Sri Lankan origin. This practice maintained by us over millennia was closer to that of current democracies.  Examine the status of India in this respect. Practicing Buddhism was mixed with Hinduism from the Polonnaruwa era onwards. Even in today there is no difference. Muslims of Sri Lanka had very good relationship with the Kings and the people about a millennium until 1915 riots. There were instances that the mosques were built in temple land and they were fulfilling their rajakariya at temples including Dalada Maligawa. It was the Sinhala Buddhists and their kings who protected Roman Catholics from Protestants during the Dutch rule in coastal areas.

Ananda College where Gotabaya Rajapaksa (GR) was educated was started as an English Buddhist school emphasizing on the religion and not the ethnicity to counter the maltreatment received by the Buddhists from the State. The movement was against the oppressor and the oppression. There were number of Tamil and Muslim teachers at Ananda. The vision of the forefathers of Ananda and the legendary principal P. De S. Kularatne was not against other religions but against the undue oppression of Buddhism by the State. Kularatne encouraged T.B. Jayah, who was a teacher at Ananda, to take over the leadership of  Zahira College and also sent several teachers from Ananda to Zahira. That was perfectly in line of his vision and the vision of Ananda. Ethnicity came into Ananda College during the time of L. H. Mettananda and by the time GR was educated there it was transformed to a mere Sinhala Buddhist school undermining the spirit of the great struggle spearheaded by Ananda College against the oppression. 

This new trend of ethnocentrism emerged as a result of social conditioning of the Buddhist revival movement started in the late 19th century. The Buddhist revival movement was started to regain the due status of Buddhism in the affairs of state, but in the process, antagonism was created against the other ethnicities and religions among the masses. Persons like Kularatne carefully managed this situation in Ananda College and our national leaders failed to do that. That social conditioning was capitalized by subsequent political leaders to capture power. As a response to this Tamils and Muslims have also undergone a social conditioning against the Sinhalese.

The election campaign of GR was designed aiming at the votes of majority Sinhala Buddhists. It was the ideology of Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR) camp as well in 2015 Presidential Election where they failed. In this instance GR succeeded. He acknowledged that in his inaugural speech as well. However, unlike to the previous Heads of State, GR seems to be ignoring the interests of the minorities altogether. This dirty game of bringing ethnicity and religion to politics was introduced by S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike but he knew what was just and fair and that was why he entered into Bandaranaike-Chelvanayakam pact. He did not have a back borne to defend it. GR seems to be honest compared to his predecessors including his brother and for him it was not just an election rhetoric. What is most probable is that he wants to hold on to the so-called winning formula in the light of deteriorating popularity, but it is fast becoming the loosing formula.

Ethnocentrism, the guiding star of GR presidency started to play havoc. For instance, we can take the issue of the cremation of the dead bodies affected by Covid-19. It was reported that neither the Cabinet nor the Foreign Ministry was aware of the request by Sri Lanka to bury the bodies of Sri Lankan Muslims affected by Covid-19 in Maldives. It was the President who requested that. When I heard about the request, I felt ashamed since he was our President. What a mentality to have that type of request from a foreign country. If we compare our President with the Prime Minister of New Zealand what a gap we see in relation to empathy.

There is enough evidence put forward by the specialist medical professionals of the relevant field supporting the burial. There are WHO guidelines supporting the burial. There are human right guidelines supporting the burial. I do not believe that my body should be buried and not cremated when I am dead but if someone believes that his or her body should be buried, I wholeheartedly support that.  This democratic principle of respecting the views of the others especially who represent views of small groups or of minority ethnic and religious groups is alien in the ethnocentric ideology. It is more dangerous when this ethnocentrism is mixed with militarism. All of them are more concerned of the spread of the virus from dead bodies and blind to the ineffective control of spreading of the virus from live bodies. Hence, they are not really concerned of the spread of virus but want to counter the belief that the dead bodies should not be cremated. If the science says that the bodies affected by the disease should be cremated those should be cremated and if the science says that the bodies affected by the disease should be buried those should be buried irrespective of their beliefs. 

The people of this country should understand that nationalism or patriotism is not ethnocentrism. We all, including Ranil Wickremesinghe, Chandrika Kumaratunga, Mahinda and Gotabaya Rajapaksa are patriots. The only issue is that sometimes self- interest overshadows patriotism. People should have their ethnic identities, but nationalism is much broader. Humanity is the broadest. In the present day certain political leaders look beyond nationalism. GR and his counterpart in India are with ethnocentric ideals.

Narendra Modi is destroying the secular ideals carefully built up by Mahatma Gandhi and trying to uplift the values of Vinayak Savarkar, the forerunner of Hindutva movement. Jinnah’s Pakistan was religionized by subsequent military leaders and they are feeling the consequences now. Similarly, Modi can do it in the short run and the repercussions will be felt by the new generation. He can do it since his party is stronger and the country is stronger.  Donald Trump did a similar thing in US against the liberal ideals evolved over centuries and he had to get his term limited by the people. Sri Lanka cannot do it since the country is weaker.

The economy of the country is in doldrums due to bad financial management and corruption of successive governments and of cause with Covid-19. Fiscal consolidation is the key to stabilization of a country in the situation of Sri Lanka which was initiated by Ranil Wickremesinghe government with much criticism of the private sector which is concerned of their pockets only like all the stakeholders in Sri Lanka. This government has abandoned it. They were so keen to throw it away altogether and, in the run, they have abolished the PAYE as well which was not a tax but a mode of collecting a tax in advance. The private sector did not utter a word. Downgrading by Rating Agencies causing higher interest rate for sovereign borrowings amid the pandemic could have been countered if the country were progressing towards fiscal consolidation.

We would be able to see the fireworks with the introduction of the new constitution minus the provincial councils which will provoke the minorities as well as India which is firmly aligned with USA. The incoming Biden administration will closely work with its allies including the EU and Britain where our export market is. The myopic thinkers of GR camp will push the country towards China, of which the autocratic and unaccountable governing system is the desire of that camp.

Internal as well as the external factors are interconnected, and the policies of the government seems to be driving the country to the bottom of the spiral. The performance of the government and especially the President is disastrous. Most of the time what the government says in defense of its actions are ridiculous. Rapiyel Tennakoon, a leader of Hela Havula of Munidasa Kumaratunga once said that two leaders of Sri Lanka who were excessively dependent of Bhikkus in governance had to sacrifice their lives. One was Sirisangabo and the other was Bandaranaike. Present vociferous political Bhikkus are empty persons (Mogha Purisā) who know neither politics nor Dhamma so that the President does not have to depend on them.  Former President J.R.Jayewardene once refused to negotiate with one of them, the president of the nurses’ union.

At the Presidential Election of 2005 MR had a narrow victory over Ranil Wickremesinghe with a majority of 180,000 votes. Ranil Wickremesinghe who spearheaded the peace talks had the support of the moderate Tamil people. Prabhakaran ordered Tamil people not to vote at the Presidential Election. Hence the victory of MR was secured.  MR did not have initial plans to end the conflict by war, but the circumstances led him to take that route. It was Prabhakaran who blocked the Mavil Aru dam and created the conditions for the war.  MR has given the political leadership to the war and he had a good team to perform that task. Hence Prabhakaran selected his Waterloo.   

The Sinhala Buddhist ethnocentrism was the creator of the conditions of the ethnic conflict and thereby the thirty-year long war. Ethnocentrism of Sri Lanka has come to its peak with the Presidency of GR. Ethnocentric actors in the government are bringing that ideology in to the level that they antagonize the right-thinking locals as well as the international community. As all the previous 2/3rd majority governments thought and acted, they think they can do whatever they want. We can see in future whether the Sinhala Buddhist ethnocentrism has selected its Waterloo by appointing GR as the president and giving him 2/3rd majority in the Parliament. The sad part is that all the citizens of Sri Lanka will have to face the consequences. 

The country needs a course correction at this point. The country was governed by dishonest leaders over a period. Rebellions were launched against them unsuccessfully and the society did not learn lessons out of that. It is going in the same track. After 72 years of independence, we do not have a constitution acceptable to all. Having centralized the power vertically, the new constitution which is going to be introduced would be the most disastrous one with centralization of power horizontally as well. There is a need of restructuring the current systems of governance, judiciary, and public service. Therefore, we should start the preparation of a constitution which would be the forerunner of a people’s movement aimed at changing the direction of the country. This would be an alternative to the short-term objectives of the politicians of grabbing the power next time.

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Latest comments

  • 49
    7

    As long as Sri Lankan Government does not bring about an all encompassing equal status to all religions and races, SL will not be able to move forward and become a developed country. Since independence we are one country which has gone backward while the countries which were behind SL have progressed ahead.

    There is a simple solution. It may be difficult to bring about a mind change in most of the racist adults as over the years since Bandaraniake brought about Sinhala Only policy every government that followed did more and more to win the votes of the Sinhalese. However, there is a simple solution to this and the positive results could be seen within a period of 5 to 10 years.

    What the Government has to do is to:

    1. Teach all three languages to all the students all over the country in schools from Grade 3 to Grade 10 as separate three subjects.

    2. Teach one subject which includes all the religious curriculum. There should be no separate religious subjects in schools. This too should be done from grade 3 to Grade 10. Separate religious teachings could easily be done during the weekend outside the school curriculum.

    3. A major program should be carried out all over SL to identify the citizens as Sri Lankans and not as Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims, Burgher, Malay etc.. This should be strictly implemented.

    • 28
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      Credit to Harsha for his explicitly writing the above.
      Yes, Buddhist 1, you are spot on. Unless and until there is a level playing field for all stake holders there will be no growth in anything except in bribery and corruption full stop; in the land of Dharma. Divide and rule have to stop forth with, otherwise we will be another failed state for sure, degraded by all agencies and the rupee would not be worth anything.
      . Personally, I will leave out religion in the scheme of things. As history has shown that religion has been used as a tool to carry out worst atrocities all over the globe.

      Having got the mandate, why and what on earth is keeping them from doing the right thing by the people, for the people and with the people. Is this too much to ask. ? I don’t think so
      Yes, Harsha, the country has all but by name been sold to the cheapest bidder. Can’t the citizens see this. Are they that dumb not to notice the man-made Island in the name of “Port City? in the heart of the capital. Where are the employment opportunities for the common people? Am I missing anything?
      Wake up before it’s too late. Desperate times demands desperate measures
      Time is not on our side

      • 13
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        R Nadarajah,
        The reason a combined religious teaching as a single subject is important because it will show the children that all religions spread love, compassion, and tolerance. In the present system of teaching only one religion per child there is no way for the children to learn the common teachings in their own religions and of other religions.

        This understanding of the common teachings of all religions will bring all children closer to each other.

        • 4
          15

          Buddhist 1
          “The reason a combined religious teaching as a single subject is important because it will show the children that all religions spread love, compassion, and tolerance. “
          I don’t want to teach this lie to my children.
          My own comparative study tells me that one of the major religions does not spread love, compassion and tolerance.
          And even those religions that preach love, compassion and tolerance have failed to inculcate those values in their followers.
          .
          Political correctness is one thing, truth is quite another..

          Soma

          • 7
            0

            Soma, if you can show me the quote you are referring to that states that love, compassion and tolerance should not be spread, I and other readers who have my same view as me will be able to comment.

            I think you are referring to various selfish interpretations of the teachings of religions by individuals who have done it for their own benefit but not to show the actual truth of the original teaching.

          • 8
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            Soma appu, you are one to talk about compassion? If there is something that you have not learnt from Buddhism is love!!! Also how did a philosophy become a religion. This is the only religion that is based on philosophy in the world and there is no supreme being aka God. Stop being such a laughing stock of the world.

          • 5
            3

            soman

            “I don’t want to teach this lie to my children.”

            Does it matter if you don’t want to teach a small lie to your children while living a lie your entire life?

            “My own comparative study tells me that one of the major religions does not spread love, compassion and tolerance.”

            Does the minor religion spread love, compassion and tolerance given that Japanese were part of that religion between first and second world war? Kampuchea was a country which professed to follow Buddhism don’t you know what happened there between 1973 and 1978? More than 90% of Myanmar’s population is said to follow Theravada Buddhism and we know what Wirathu is up to.

            “Political correctness is one thing, truth is quite another..”

            Sure both don’t mean much to the Sinhala/Buddhists while Intellectual Honesty is the last thing they want to know about.

            Happy holidays.

            • 8
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              Native,
              Go easy on Soma. He’s still learning. Very slowly.

            • 4
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              Hey Native Vedda:

              Stop bullshitting about the things you do not even have a reasonable knowledge of.

              Does the minor religion spread love, compassion and tolerance given that the Japanese were part of that religion between first and second world war?

              What does the action of the Shinto regime have to do with Buddhists? Did you ever hear about the Meiji Restoration & how Buddhism and all the other foreign religions were prosecuted under imperial Japan?

              The same goes with Kampuchea where murderous communist atheists destroyed Buddhist temples and carried out a genocide.

              Myanmar’s issues are large ethnic in nature, Unfortualtey in South and Southeast Asia ethnicity is largely defined by religion and language. So ethnic conflicts give an illusion of a religious conflict.

              Ethnicity is largely a symbolic cultural identity and has no biological basis. In Sri Lanka, a population that was an admixture of Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, and Vedda branched out as Sinhalese and Sri Lankan Tamils after the collapsing of the Rajarata. Both are genetically the same but developed two different identities. People left behind in the Northern part that was under south Indian rules became Tamil speaking Hindus and people who migrated to the south retain Buddism and Sinhalese language. North Central, East, and Northwest regions were abandoned and only had jungles till into the 1950s.

            • 0
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              NV
              You are slightly mad.
              You quote sentence by sentence of my comment except
              “And even those religions that preach love, compassion and tolerance have failed to inculcate those values in their followers.”
              so that you can write some gibberish.

              Soma

              • 1
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                soman

                “You are slightly mad.”

                Nopes, my Elders tell me I am completely mad for commenting on your bigoted typing. I am beginning understand them.

        • 6
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          Religions have not been successful in teaching love, affection and togetherness. Religion is the cause of most of the negative problems in the world, Instead of creating calmness amongst the people it has created hatred. If you take a statistics of murder and mayhem the basic cause is religion to ascertain which religion is great or which god is greater.

          • 8
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            Dear KV.
            So glad to endorse your comment. Basically similar to my sentiments in my comment below. Not only religion but all man-made boundaries of ethnicity class colour, all are divisions – so being that, it divides all of us.
            Is anyone of these “bounded entities”, morally greater or more noble or of more benefit to humankind.

      • 17
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        Dear RN, Hello.
        While not disagreeing with your comments, I am very happy at your saying : I will leave out religion in the scheme of things.
        Actually identification by Religion Race Colour, all lend themselves to bigotry.
        All are accidents of birth but put into the young child’s head in the formative years. Cognitive thinking takes over and by identifying “ the I “ as the basis, dissent follows.
        If one can empathise, put yourself in the others shoes, there is hope.
        Identifying SL ONLY in this for to religious/race/colour conflicts. is somewhat debateable as Europe mainly France, has its own share of incidents of violence due race/religion differences. USA is a prime example of colour bias ending in much dissension. Fortunately SL is rid of colour bias. Spain has its Catalina conflict. India has conflict of Hindu/Muslim. Same in China which has already detained about a million Uighurs at internment camps, punishing and indoctrinating them. Officials say the camps are aimed at countering extremism.
        …..contd…….

        • 11
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          ……contd….
          South Africa had colour problems but now sorted to some extent only but the problems linger.
          Even in UK, there are incidents but generally not out in the open.
          https://www.bbc.com/news/av/uk-55424308
          https://www.bbc.com/news/av/uk-50841544
          So it is a fact of existence currently worldwide.
          Initially Man formed tribes to better meet the challenges of nature but then it led to inter-rivalry for territory. Then religion came in and race came in and finally colour, to divide us all.
          The original concept to protect by union has now been corrupted to bring disunity.
          So unless we turn inwards, and we do not persist in trading personal views, the outlook is bleak.

          • 3
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            MV
            “USA is a prime example of colour bias ending in much dissension.”
            Sorry. You have got it wrong. The USA was built on genocide and slavery. The remaining victims of the former are a minority struggling to assert their rights. The latter have got some far but nowhere near equality, as events early last year demonstrated. Have you thought of the Latino population?
            *
            “Fortunately SL is rid of colour bias.”
            When was colour bias there except under colonial rule?
            Have caste and ethno-religious biases gone yet?
            *
            “Spain has its Catalina conflict.”
            You mean Catalan nationalism?
            It is an issue that was aggravated during the Spanish Civil war and has returned to stay.
            *
            Your complaint about China is slightly dated.
            It is terrorism if minorities use arms here but an altogether different matter elsewhere.
            *
            Why don’t you look at countries that have addressed ethnic and other identity issues harmoniously? Cuba for instance.
            Also check on who stirs the communal pot in the Third World.
            Secessionists are encouraged in many contexts where the West disapproves of the state , but it harsh on it as in the case of Scotland and Catalonia where an overwhelming majority prefer to part company.
            *
            I agree with your last sentence though.

            • 5
              0

              Dear SJ.
              Firstly, Happy New Year 2021.
              My comment on USA was short and just to include one salient point – colour, but thanks, you have enlarged on it to bring in racial grievances also with latinos. So USA has many problems but colour is a major one, and a “minority struggling to assert their rights” is the point I brought out.
              “The USA was built on genocide and slavery.” Yes, it is but no relevance to my comment.
              “When was colour bias there except under colonial rule?” Yes so my statement is correct that with the exit of the colonials from SL, we are rid of it.
              “Have caste and ethno-religious biases gone yet?” No that is why there is dissension even at CT. But again not in my comment.
              ‘You mean Catalan nationalism?” Yes and you agree it is still there to stay.
              What was the Cuban “problem”. Anyway being one party state, “solving” anything is easy. Their population was 65% European and Spanish is still the language of choice of the state. After Spain conquered the island in the 16 hundreds, they dominated everything and the population comprises 65% European and another 25% of mixed blood – European and African – the latter from the slaves brought over and mixed marriages, over 3 centuries.
              . …. contd….

              • 3
                0

                contd………..
                Thank you for the penultimate para, which is an observation of yours, and thank you for joining me on my pessimism at the end. ….

                My comment to RN was to commend his leaving out religion but also missing the point that there is dissension world wide (with very short references to them) – and not here alone, and suggested the last sentence.
                Frankly, dear SJ, I am indeed perplexed as you are generally “spot on the ball” and here there are some digressions and so lost the context of my comments.
                Cheers

    • 13
      0

      “As long as Sri Lankan Government does not bring about an all encompassing equal status to all religions and races, SL will not be able to move forward and become a developed country”
      what else to say.
      There are people with a beautiful mind across all the ethnic divide. this article is an example. in fact most people are so until their irrational fear of “others” is kindled by others with selfish interests. but the strong ones don’t succumb to it. but elections times most do.
      if Singapore can do it, why can’t a country which was explicitly marked on the first world maps of the ancient times????
      as someone said sometime ago, too much history is our problem may be. we live too much in the past. hence the suspicions and the hatred and the misery that stems from it. all these layers of hate and mistrust that settled over the past centuries can’t be peeled ‘overnight’.
      starting of a seed movement of like minded people across all the ethnic divide might be the necessity of the times which might ( will) bear fruit over time. otherwise any ‘solution’ will leave a part of the people feeling bitter.

    • 13
      9

      Harsha Gunasena

      “Sinhala Buddhists in this country guided by the Buddhist way of life, had big hearts over the centuries in ethnic relationships. “

      Do you have to start introduction of your article with another myth or big lie?

      • 1
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        NV
        At least you have to assume so.

        Soma

        • 4
          5

          Soma appu, NV may have to assume here, but your whole life is based on assumptions. Dumb twat!!!

          • 0
            1

            Hello Tamil from the north, your good self from which north, Jaffna – north of Sri Lanka or Canada – north of globe?
            Why didn’t you bite the Cyanide capsule your Thalaivar gave you?

            Soma

      • 7
        3

        Native Vedda
        I have given enough evidence to prove that statement. If you are chllanging that statement you have to refute the evidence as well.

        • 5
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          HG
          What you have provided is not quite evidence of “Sinhala Buddhists in this country [being] guided by the Buddhist way of life”.
          The religion and ethnicity of the ruler has not had much impact on the way of life, as no ruler impose his faith, language or culture on the public. (There was bitter rivalry for royal favour between competing Buddhist chapters, but little mention of rivalry between Buddhism and Hinduism.)
          *
          The way of life here upheld ethical values that were by and large common to South Asia, not just specific to Buddhism.
          Buddhist values have given way to the caste system, to superstition and witchcraft, belief in Hindu Astrology and worship of Hindu deities, and diverse caste-based customs external to Buddhism.
          Yet there was a strong undercurrent of Buddhist values, and that cannot be denied. Whether it was adequately strong to support the claim that the people were “guided by the Buddhist way of life”, for ‘the Buddhist way of life’ is not something constant. (The Buddha himself emphasized “impermanence”.)
          Things called Buddhist, Hindu, Christian and Islamic way of life are woolly as the human being adapts to a changing environment. Individual behaviour is least guided by religious/ethical values when self-interest comes to the fore.

        • 3
          1

          Harsha Gunasena . I agree with native Veda.Your conclusion is also disappointing.changes in constitution alone is not going to address the issues of astronomical scale In the country

          perhaps your opening sentence tweekedvas follows is more appropriate as a concluding statement.

          “Sinhala Buddhists in this country need to be guided by the Buddhist way of life, and show big hearts To weed out the racist elements and build a multi racial country that will bring about prosperity .constitutional changes will only follow if this is achieved first

          • 2
            1

            SJ and Rajash
            Your problem is Buddhist way of life. You think that it was South Asian. As you said Buddhist values were not constant and they were based on ‘impermanence”. Hence they were tolerant, I suppose. They were the largest ethnic and religious group. As they have not resisted to all the aspects you have mentioned including Hindu astrology, deities etc, they have not resisted to different persons or groups with different ethnicities and religions. In Kandyan era, as Dr. Lorna Dewaraja said it was with the cooperation with the state, the sangha and the people that the Muslims preserved their separate identity.
            Present day Buddhists are different as explained in my article. That change has taken place in resistance to the suppression during colonial era.

            • 1
              1

              HG
              Can you define the “Buddhist way of life” and identify salient features that are distinct from what are considered broadly ethical in the South Asian way of life?
              Would you consider the religious and social practices of Buddhists in Sri Lanka to constitute the ‘Buddhist way of life’? I would say that much of it is a Hindu way of life.

              • 1
                0

                SJ
                Can you site examples of any other south Asian culture similar to the examples I have given in the first paragraph of my article?

            • 1
              1

              Thanks Harsha.
              The Rajapaksa are accelerating the militarisation of the country in parallel to saffronisation , to coin a new word,
              How is your civil society going to stop it. You need to educate the rural masses at grass root level.these people are mesmerised and hypnotised by the Rajapaksa clan who have an iron grip saffron clad monks are despatched to denounce the findings of expert committee on tv.
              The country is going deeper and deeper in to dangerous snake pit

      • 1
        0

        Native,
        If the Sri Lankan Governments over the years believed and followed the teachings of Buddha… “
        We would be extinct by now.
        –Soma

    • 3
      11

      Dear B

      Very cool suggestions.

      A tase force setup to find ways to promote how we all grew up together village after village…………..serious of adverts/events showing the positive nature of diversity for “One SriLanka” just as they have done in Malaysia….Sathu Malaysia….infact we should ask Malaysian Government to helps with this work that will also promote good relations with Malays as well.

      The feeling of Sri Lankan also need to be expected from the Naturalised Indians too be it in upcountry and the huge number now reside in Vanni area as well…….SL is not a passing place but all need to have Patriotism.

      Think we have discussed Tamils/Sinhalese and Muslims too much and payed very little attention to the Naturalised Indians who are Sri Lankans and how well they are assimilated into the Nationhood too..is a huge challenge no-one touching at the moment??

      • 7
        12

        TV,

        Do not forget the Bumiputhera Law which gives “native” Malay language speakers special rights over Tamils and Chinese people. The native languages of SL are Sinhala and Vedda.

        • 2
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          Dear Gatam

          I fully appreciate the difficulties faced by the other communities in Malaysia. The point here is about how we navigate through a path that land is in our destinations.

          Should the Malaysian government had decided they will not give some advantages then (call to what we want) the Malay would have taken matters down a similar path as what we did in SL….the great tolerance/hardship faced by the communities some of them had advantages in Colonial times too snow being rewarded with a Nationhood and Citizenry they can alb proud of is the point….the credit also goes to the leadership qualities and a consistent governance to implement (you may callout unfair preferences) their policy through iron fist was critical. Malaysia survived all these issues/riots to get here overcoming the colonial handicaps that was imposed on her then in 1958.

          • 1
            6

            Compare to Malaysia we were on a much more better situation and we inherited Independence 10 years prior to that too.

            In my eyes it was the Sinhalese who were in a dire strait (hence the Clergy/religious involvement for community support) who needed to celebrate Independence too by having a stake all that is freedom?

            The Citizens act issue was the biggest fraud/blunder by the FP formed then just to start the destructive path for us all……….a blatantly obvious scenario “some” foreign workers needed to be let go as part of the needs of the locals in thrown home turf??

            • 1
              5

              This needed moral/legal support from all communities who claimed equal stake in the Citizenry on SL? it did not as the few elitist Tamils and Sinhalese were happy to maintain the status quo not paying any attention to “Majority” needs that should lay foundation to the Nation Building scope. Majority is defined – Oppressed Tamils/Rural Sinhalese/Tea estate Indian workers who were to inherit SL as their home/SLMuslims (not the migrated Indian Muslims some who had different ideas about life in Sinhala heart land).

              Very many things EE say still applies in SL with regard to equality even after the post colonial/miserable war due to geopolitics and FP/TULF politics but due to the ghetto Nature this creating more ghetto responses an unavoidable situation we need to redress.

              • 1
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                In fact any issues need planning/policies/vision to address. One need to make the best out of a situation together to the next level….same journey focus all around the world full of terrible prejudices to date we approach one way and be success and then offer a different solution when we are faced with the same at home?? a bit absurd scenario/thinking process by the few.

                This few have demonstrated they are incapable of anything as MP’s and nor did they ever had (including the Indian workers the last 10year arrival then in 1948) anyone human rights interest. Bunch made comfortable living by using our own children to kill decent that went unchallenged by the GOSL for a long time……an event never could’ve happened in Malaysia because of the National Security Act. With regard to “changing the causes and effect” – 1977 elections were the biggest worse disaster that ever took place in our Nation and 1981 Development Council Elections were the only window of opportunity that was terribly missed by us all…..you may agree.

                • 1
                  4

                  With regard to prejudices…….where we are as Diaspora most of us literally went through million compromises to survive…accepted systemic/structural projudices of Nature..been through and still going through I do not have to write about….may be some material things make us happier perhaps……..

                  Even worse is all the Asian countries have million problems none of them would accept “foreign interventions and arming and training of their children” to solve their internal problems (cardinal sin and a punishable Crime) was the main cause of undermining all our tireless work (reasonably developed status in 1970’s) on the ground that would have made the Ghetto makers irrelevant eventually….but it was not to be….for the same reasons other get political masters have penned in SL a long time ago for their geo political interests to challenge any other developing Nations such as China and made us the scape goat for their needs that no one speaks of today….infact the efforts are to undermine any elected GOSL continues….unabated.

                  • 1
                    4

                    In fact a great opportunity exists for India to work with China to deliver justice to all the poor and developing Nations where India can play pivtol roll but that was also not to be……because Indias foreign policy is based on a different development plan other than China and is going fix our Nations future accordingly.

                    So any infighting and abuse we do amongst ourselves even in the CT is so pathetic unless otherwise we are willing to unit as One Nation and stand tall. There is no other way as Majority of the SL citizens do not fall under any mans categorisation as Tamil/Sinhala/Muslim/Hindu…etc…but a loving people who want to be freed so they can lead dignified life delivered by their elected to enjoy all that Mother Lanka can offer them.

                    Other Asians countries have played a duplicity game too in SL that is to “pinch the child to cry and then pretend to swing the cradle to stop the child crying too” ….I know personally how this was done systematically when we were killing each other.

                • 4
                  3

                  Thisyagarajah,
                  you may agree.
                  What is your point? Are you sitting in a corner of your father’s bungalow and dreaming Sinhala Buddhists are on your feet? Come on man, be realistic. If you want do the municipal carting for Royals, do and bugger off. That’s it. As one of a common pariah Demelo within all other Demelos, you are not entitled for anything in Lankawe. For the time being enjoy the sins you took to Britain. Don’t illusion as your father is innocent Kovalan & you are the Pathini Teivam Kanagi. If you don’t disturb, Tamils will get transitional justice for all.
                  You shed crocodile tears for Up Country Tamils. When questioned, you said FP & Amirthalingam did it. Then you twisted that your father are/were not concerned about it. Now you are coming forward honestly that up country Tamils should have been deported for the betterment of Sinhala Buddhist, though you and your father ate free rice exporting rubber and tea. Ple spent some of the sin you have in reserve and take medical counseling because you have serious amnesia of what are you talking of. Please explain me your earlier answer, that in what way you are not concerned when TC was voting for Citizenship act but you feel now the deportation was serious balancing act. We can combine that too for the future discussion.

                  • 4
                    0

                    Anyone calling Estate Tamils as foreigners are displaying their “stupidity”. The reason being they are called foreigners by those who do not realize that foreigner or local in Sri Lanka is based on a time factor. Why I say that is all of those who are today calling themselves Sri Lankans are at some point of time in the past were immigrants or mixed blood of the immigrants. Only the Vaddas are natives. In such a situation which community has the right to decide on the time from which we count ourselves Sri Lankans – no one has this right. If you were in Sri Lanka when the British left, until which time we were all British Citizens should be Sri Lankans. That would include those Indian Origin Estate Labourers who were in Sri Lanka on Feb 4th 1948. There is no other alternative as no one can decide on a fixed time line as SL has been under various rules and various ethnicities have called them selves Sri Lankans or by the names used then for Sri Lanka.

        • 3
          0

          Do you know that Sinhala and Tamil co-existed 2500 years ago?
          Sinhla lacked a script at the time and Tamil (written in Southern Brahmi script) has been identified in various artifacts.
          *
          What existed in Malaya was blatant racism and it lingers on in Malaysia.

          • 1
            2

            S.J,
            “Tamil (written in Southern Brahmi script) has been identified in various artifacts.”
            Are you trying to start a debate with Eagle and Punchi?

          • 2
            3

            SJ,
            The findings of Prof.Raj Somadeva who has done extensive research on this is different from what you say. If you want to hear what he says go to ‘Unlimited History’ in YouTube.

            “Sinhla lacked a script at the time and Tamil (written in Southern Brahmi script) has been identified in various artifacts.”

            • 2
              1

              EE
              Extensive research is not necessarily credible research.
              Can you cite a more credible archaeologist who will affirm the ‘findings’ of Prof. RS.
              *
              ps.
              Sinhala not having a script is not a slur on Sinhala. Alphabetic writing came to the Indian subcontinent from West Asia.
              Prior to that Sanskrit had a wealth of literature based on a mighty oral tradition.
              The Incas built a most impressive pyramid in Peru, without an alphabetic system.

              • 0
                0

                SJ,
                Can you please tell me how do I determine someone is a ‘More Credible’ archeologist than Prof. Raj Somadeva?
                To my knowledge no other archeologist has refuted Prof. Somadeva’s research findings on the issue you mentioned. If you know someone please let me know. I have an open mind.

            • 1
              0

              Eagle Brain Dead Blind Eye

              Prof.Raj Somadeva is worried/concerned about his fellow progressive archaeologist doing well than about his own work.

              He is the only one who can cover up Gota’s mass graves all over the island, example Matale, Mannar, …………………..

              Where are you keeping your head these days, HLD M’s ………?

              • 0
                0

                Native Vedda (who does not know who are Sinhalayo)
                —-
                Did Prof. Somadeva called you and tell that he is worried/concerned about his fellow progressive archaeologist doing well than about his own work?
                Who are these progressive archaeologist? Archeologists funded by Tamil Diaspora?

        • 9
          1

          There is no Vedda language it is a dialect. Sinhalese may have evolved in the island but to call it native and indigenous , just because it is only spoken largely in the south, west and central parts of the island is laughable. It evolved from the native Dravidian dialect Elu which is semi Tamil , only after the arrival of Buddhism. It is a mixture of Tamil and its native local dialect Elu , with the Pali/Prakrit and Sanskrit that came with Buddhism and only evolved as a proper language around 7AD.
          “The Vedda dialect as probably did the old Sinhala approaches far closer to Tamil than modern Sinhala in its pronunciation”. (Hugh Neville. p.88.) The Vedda dialect, their spoken language is identical with Elu which was the spoken language of ancient Sri Lanka, which is semi-Tamil; as to the grammatical structure it is essentially Dravidian and simple (Emaneau, M.B 1961).
          You really do come up with some strange and silly comments . Sinhalese only native and a Muslim ethnicity( A religious identity) . Tamil has more right to be called indigenous than Sinhalese

          • 0
            3

            Dialect of what?
            A people who had an independent existence would have had a language and the Attho had a language which came under the influence of dominant alien languages, as did even Sinhala and Tamil undergo alien influence.This is the finding of a serious study by R.A.D.P. Weerasekara, of the Sabaragamuwa University:
            “Finally…the Vedda speech is not a dialect of Sinhala in the traditional sense, nor…meet the criteria to be classified as
            a Creole and, the present generation of the Veddas are neither conversant with their cultural practices nor are they fluent in their language, hence, making them rapidly Sinhalised just as the Vedda in the other parts of the country that they are makes them rapidly Tamilized.”
            Similar conclusions have been arrived at by other recent studies.

            • 5
              0

              A language is written and codified and a dialect is not written . There no such thing called a Vedda language as there was no written language.. If it was a language there should be written evidence of it, Please provide any written evidence of Veddah language?
              it was a dialect which had a lot of similarity with the local Dravidian semi Tamil Elu dialect ( again a dialect not a language and proper Tamil)

              Vedda dialect – meanings in Elu & Tamil
              Muruwn in Elu dialect denotes ananku the ancient Indian god Muru. is a form of ananku in Elu and Tamil
              Moriga arrow in Elu
              Muru is a form of ananku, in Elu and Tamil.
              Kanta boda hill side.
              Kur spike; same as in Tamil
              Iyaka, Iya arrow. kanu, vellu in Tamil
              Ira sun ray
              Ira pojja sun. iravi in Tamil.
              Neya Yakūn kindred spirit, neya is friendly in Tamil
              Taraka star, taraki in Tamil
              Kanta elephant.(mount of Murukan)
              Yakas includes both benevolent and malevolent deities
              Appa father same as in Tamil
              Elam young, same as in Tamil
              The above similarities and other evidences are far too numerous to be consideredNames of Veddas
              The names Kanta, Vēlan, Valli, were common among the Veddas while the names of other gods in Hindu Pantheon were unknown to them. Whence came these names designating the deity Murukan and his Vedda consort? Not from contact with or contiguity of the surrounding the Non-Vedda people of Ceylon in whose neighborhood they have lived for centuries. as coincidences.

              • 5
                0

                Ira pojja sun. iravi in Tamil.
                Neya Yakūn kindred spirit, neya is friendly in Tamil
                Taraka star, taraki in Tamil
                Kanta elephant.(mount of Murukan)
                Yakas includes both benevolent and malevolent deities
                Appa father same as in Tamil
                Elam young, same as in Tamil
                The above similarities and other evidences are far too numerous to be consideredNames of Veddas
                The names Kanta, Vēlan, Valli, were common among the Veddas while the names of other gods in Hindu Pantheon were unknown to them. Whence came these names designating the deity Murukan and his Vedda consort? Not from contact with or contiguity of the surrounding the Non-Vedda people of Ceylon in whose neighborhood they have lived for centuries. as coincidences.

              • 0
                3

                If it was a language there should be written evidence of it, Please provide any written evidence of Vedda language?

                Not all languages have scripts. More than half of the world’s languages have no written form. Maybe you should learn to use Google search once in a while. Indigenous hunter-gatherers of the Indian subcontinent were not Dravidian. Dravidians are an admixture of Iranian farmers with Indigenous hunter-gatherers.

                I don’t know what group of half-educated idiotic racists commenting here are worst: Dravidian racist or Sinhalese racists!

                Here are some recently published primary literature related to the topic.

                WadeApr. 18, Lizzie, 2018, and 3:00 Pm. “South Asians Are Descended from a Mix of Farmers, Herders, and Hunter-Gatherers, Ancient DNA Reveals.” Science | AAAS, April 18, 2018. https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/04/south-asians-are-descended-mix-farmers-herders-and-hunter-gatherers-ancient-dna-reveals.

                Trinity News and Events. “Ancient Farmers Had Two Distinct Roots,” July 13, 2016. https://www.tcd.ie/news_events/articles/ancient-farmers-had-two-distinct-roots/.

                • 3
                  0

                  LIpiwee or wee wee or SJ posting under another identity it is you who is ignorant . Go and google and read the difference between a language and a dialect and then come back and argue or debate with me instead coming and posting stupid comments . Arguing and trying to be important for the sake of arguing . For your information was I ever debating here about the origins of South Asians . Please stop deliberately trying to muddy the waters with unrelated arguments.

                  • 3
                    1

                    A language has a proper grammar structure, is written and codified . Within a language there can be various spoken dialects but a certain dialect of this language is considered the standard form of the language. Usually speech begins as a dialect and then certain dialects or group of dialects that are very similar develop further and evolve into a common language , with one dominant form of these group of closely related dialects considered to be the standard form of this evolving language. Others just remain as dialects or become a dialect of a certain language. The Vedda speech remained as a dialect and did not become a la,lnguage, as it was not written or codified or had proper grammar. Speech can also be called language but when we speak of a language it about written and codifies languages like English, French, Chinese , Tamil , Sinhalese and not dialects that are not written or codified. You are just angry as I successfully refuted the argument that only the Vedda dialect and the Sinhalese language are indigenous to the island but the Tamil language or its local dialect Elu , that gave birth to the Sinhalese language is not. Daughter is indigenous and native but the mother is not.

              • 0
                1

                Check in any textbook of linguistics for the meaning of dialect rather than blabber for pages at length.
                *
                Cambridge English Dictionary has this:
                A dialect is a form of the language that is spoken in a particular part of the country or by a particular group of people. There are many different dialects of English and they have different words and grammar.
                Note: “Form of the language” not a “form of language”.

          • 2
            5

            Siva Sankaran Sharma,
            The way a descendant of a Dravidian brought to this country by colonial rulers trying to distort the history of Sinhale is also laughable!

            “just because it is only spoken largely in the south, west and central parts of the island is laughable. “

        • 3
          0

          Gatam the Thoppy

          The native language of Srilanka is Thamil and nothing else. Sinhalam ( Pali is from Bangaladesh , Veddas are ausroloid /Dravidians ).

    • 6
      17

      Buddhist1,
      You are talking about equal status.
      Can you please tell us:
      • What is it that the Sinhalayo are enjoying that the other communities are not enjoying because they are not Sinhala?
      • What is it that the minorities do not enjoy because they are the minority which the majority enjoys because they are the majority?
      • What is legally, constitutionally and legislatively given to the majority that is not given to the minorities?
      • What is it that the Sinhala Buddhists are enjoying that the other communities are not enjoying because they are not Sinhala Buddhists?

      As a matter of fact, there are certain things that only Tamils and Muslims enjoy.
      Vellala Tamils have been allowed to retain a Malabar customary law called ‘Thesawalamei’ that they brought from Malabar when they came to Sinhale and obtained citizenship from Sinhalayo.
      Muslims have been allowed to enjoy few privileges such as special marriage and divorce laws, Kadhi courts, freedom to marry several women and underage women and special leave for Muslim women.
      Muslims are allowed to marry Sinhala Buddhist women and convert to Islam. But if a Sinhala Buddhist marry a Muslim woman, she gets death threats from Muslims.
      —-
      “As long as Sri Lankan Government does not bring about an all encompassing equal status to all religions and races, SL will not be able to move forward and become a developed country.”

      • 6
        1

        Eagle Eye,

        To answer your first question – look at the Judges appointed to the Supreme Court and other courts, it does not reflect the ethnic composition of the country, its full of Sinhalese. Are you to tell me that the other communities do not have educated smart people to take these jobs? Similarly the Senior Govt appointed positions. This also answers your second question.

        Third question – In the constitution there is special place given to Buddhism. Why should this be, it does not make sense as the Buddhists in this country are majority, automatically this is available in daily practice. By bringing about this clause it causes issues to show that Buddhism is superior to other religions, which is not so in practice. I won’t be surprised when the next constitution comes we may see in place of “Janarajaya” the words “Sinhala Baudha Rata”.

        Fourth question – University selections. Govt documents – even in the Parliament when documents are published for the MPs at times its only in Sinhala and the other two languages comes late or never.

        Your last point, Buddhist monks have their own laws, similarly Kandyans have their own laws. Other religious orders do not have. There should be “One Law One Country”, not just “nidos kota nidahas” justice when one is a Government supporter.

        • 1
          1

          Buddhist1,
          You have picked few isolated incidences. For what you talk Sinhalayo say ‘yanne koheda malle pol’.
          ====
          “I won’t be surprised when the next constitution comes we may see in place of “Janarajaya” the words “Sinhala Baudha Rata”.
          —-
          Before Europeans came with Bible in one hand and gun in the other and converted few Sinhalayo and many Demalu to Christianity and colonial rulers brought millions of Hindu Dravidians from Hindusthan and dumped here Sinhale was identified as a Sinhala Buddhist country because perhaps 98% of people in this country were Sinhala Buddhists. This country was called ‘Sinhale’ until British changed the name to ‘Ceylon’ to erase Sinhala identity to please Malabar Vellala Tamils.
          Colonial rulers did everything possible to destroy Sinhala Buddhist identity. So Sinhala Buddhists have every right to restore what they lost during colonial rule. Descendants of Dravidians brought by colonial rulers should not expect Sinhalayo who are the Native people in this country to dance according to their whims and fancies because they enjoyed a privileged position during British rule and oppressed Sinhalayo.

      • 0
        2

        Dear EE
        “Can you please tell us:
        • What is it that the Sinhalayo are enjoying that the other communities are not enjoying because they are not Sinhala?
        • What is it that the minorities do not enjoy because they are the minority which the majority enjoys because they are the majority?
        • What is legally, constitutionally and legislatively given to the majority that is not given to the minorities?
        • What is it that the Sinhala Buddhists are enjoying that the other communities are not enjoying because they are not Sinhala Buddhists?

        As a matter of fact, there are certain things that only Tamils and Muslims enjoy.”

        It is a mystery none of know?? Is called foreign sponsored love your Neighbours. No nation can survive if anyone allowed to go around armed and brainwash another nations children?? That is why under International Law is Prohibited.

        Ask some of the FP./TULF to take some of the unemployed children from Sri Lanka by boat and land in a village in Tamil Nadu and find jobs/live and do whatever and wherever and see what happens??

      • 0
        0

        GR should ask the Chief Minster of North to give back all the Mulim”s land and assets that was forcibly taken by Tamils when LTTE ordered the Muslims out of North in 24hrs.
        The GOSL should resettle all Muslims (or their descendants) back to their rightful land + property and built the mosques in the North which were destroyed.
        We need the payment for the property taken by force and what’s rightfully ours..

    • 7
      20

      Buddhist1,
      Item 1 in your list is already there. Sinhalayo who are the Native people are been forced to learn a language brought by immigrants to Sinhale. However in the Northern Province Sinhala is not taught because racist politicians in NPC refused to recruit teachers to teach Sinhala. This is the problem with devolution.
      Sinhala only is not the problem. Problem was caused by racist separatist SJV Chelvanayakam and GG Ponnambalam who told Tamils not to learn Sinhala dreaming of their Tamil Elam. Immigrants to a country have to learn the language of the Native people if they decided to live as citizens in the host country. In Sri Lanka the immigrants tell Native people to learn their language. What do Sinhala students gain by devoting their time to learn Tamil? If Tamils learn Sinhala communication problem is solved. Those who think they should not learn the language of the host country are free to return to their ancestral homeland across Palk Strait without grumbling.
      Sri Lanka could not move forward after Independence because racist separatist Malabar Vellala Tamils did not want to become Sri Lankans and played hell using the democratic freedom given to them. It is Tamils who have to change their minds that have been corrupted by racist separatist Vellala politicians for their survival.

      • 3
        0

        Eagle Eye,

        When you say Sinhala is not taught in the Northern Province I agree, but it also shows that you are agreeing with my suggestion that all three languages should be taught in all schools to all students.

        Have you noticed that Tamil Politicians, especially those who are representing North are very fluent in Sinhala and when they speak most of the times one does not even notice an accent. Even when Mano Ganeshan who lived opposite my house in Kandy, when speaking in Sinhala one can notice he has an accent. But tell me which Sinhala Politician can speak Tamil fluently? You may say these Northern Politicians studied in Colombo or Kandy, yes but only because their parents supported they would have learnt Sinhala that too outside the school system. When they went to school the classes were already divided according to ethnicity.

        Agree with you GG Ponnambalam by voting with the Govt took away the rights of the Indian Origin Tamils becoming a Sri Lankan. So he also hurt Tamils and in fact in my opinion he supported Sinhalese. I see the same action is being followed by his son who split TNA. In my opinion he is indirectly supporting Rajapakses by his actions.

      • 3
        0

        Eagle,
        “Immigrants to a country have to learn the language of the Native people if they decided to live as citizens in the host country.”
        Would you care to explain why you aren’t allowed to enter the Malwatta Nikaya? Is it because you are an immigrant?

        • 1
          0

          Or not fluent in Pali?

      • 4
        2

        Eagle Eye ,

        Honestly E E , you occasionally sound a man of reason with some
        arguable stuff but I find you run away after saying what you want
        to say , due to lack of resource possibly ! Sign of hired job I wonder !
        Even after having extracted the answers to your questions , you
        keep repeating the same thing like parrot. Let’s come to the point
        now . Balangoda Man , believed to have lived about 125,000 years
        ago , is said to be Vanniala aththo , they are the recorded inhabitants
        of the Island before the IMMIGRATION of Sinhalese , Tamils ,
        Muslims and other ethnics . Just explain to me kindly whether you
        belong to this Vanniala Aththo , to call Tamils and Muslims
        Immigrants and Sinhalese the only origins of the Island ?Very simple
        question and I hope you have the ready answer !

        • 1
          0

          whywhy,
          Your knowledge on the history of Sinhale is out of date. On several occasions I have written on latest findings on pre-history of Sinhale discovered by imminent archeologists in this forum. They have concluded with scientific evidences that both Vedda Eththo and Sinhalayo evolved in this country. Also, there is no other place in this world where you find people who speak Sinhala language. Homosapien have lived about 125,000 years ago, Balangoda man about 30,000 years ago.
          If you want to know the latest findings on pre-history on Sinhale please visit ‘Unlimited History’ in YouTube.

          • 0
            0

            Eagle Eye ,

            Balangoda Man in Wikipedia has more information on the
            subject . So , that is my answer to you EE . Anyway thank
            you for the Exchange. And one more good news to you !
            Muslims are waiting for the Gazette notification for
            Burial of their loved ones , reports indicate !

    • 1
      1

      Dear Buddhist 1,
      .
      PART A
      .
      Yours is a sound response to an excellent article. I have read many articles by Harsha Gunasena, but haven’t got to know him, or you, dear Buddhist. Harsha is utterly consistent, and absolutely sincere. I happen to have had proof that he praised a person to the skies without that person knowing who Harsha was. Harsha has not, subsequently, approached that person even for recognition – although almost a year has elapsed.
      .
      Harsha is indeed a rara-avis!

      .
      By and large, I agree with what you suggest, Buddhist. However, it is not easy going beyond the First Language – which is naturally acquired. For Sri Lankans, the goal should be three languages. In practice, if the “proper use” of one language is taught, I will be happy.
      .
      I’ve been a language teacher; I have children and grandchildren. If conditions are right, it may be possible to arrange for children to acquire four or even five languages by the age of five. I’ve read up on that. This must be done very early in the life of a child.

    • 1
      1

      PART B
      .
      After that, it is a painful process for a child (and even more so for an adult) to cognitively learn a language. Is it worth it? The background of the child will determine the feasibility. Some children will be more fortunate than others in having parents (and schools) which furnish the possibilities to stimulate such environments.
      .
      To prevent repetition, could you please look at what I have said here:
      .
      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/pandemics-bats-mythology-spiritualists-charlatans-politicians-and-media-rats/comment-page-1/#comment-2373428
      .
      I think that you will be able to add comments there for a full day after you see this. That comment was stimulated by one from MyView, and he has commented here already.
      .
      With regard to religion, there may be those extreme liberals who advocate teaching only ethics and values. However, what you advocate as your second point is more realistic. Whether we like it or not, religions will be taught to a majority at home, and in some respects, it’s inseparable from culture. Responses to this pandemic have surely brought home to us the fact that all but a handful of persons resort to various superstitious practices when things come to a crunch.

      • 2
        0

        Sinhala Man,
        As a child I learnt three languages and won awards for my speeches in all three languages. My father took us children to all religious public meetings and my parents even allowed me to fast with my next door friend who was a Muslim, although I was not. Its the mind set of the parents that’s more important for the growth and forming of a child.
        A child is like a sponge will absorb if taught all languages and religions from a very young age. I do not care what the name we give for the subject where all three religions are taught to all children. If it is done by one teacher with special training or by three different teachers too does not matter.
        In a country where free education and free health care is provided by the Govt. For one section of the children to have better education and health care than a child from another region is a “Human Rights Violation”.
        When the Govt has so much of money to allocate in the budget for armed forces, promote hundreds of them to higher positions and provide them with higher salaries and benefits, it would be better for them to spend the money on providing similar education and health care to all the children all over the country.

    • 2
      1

      PART C
      .
      It will, therefore, be desirable that children be taught something like comparative religion, up to Grade 10. Thereafter, it may be that some Logic and Scientific Method should be taught.
      .
      Who should teach religion? If possible, in Sri Lanka, four separate teachers, each being a committed practitioner of a religion, should teach the students with full conviction, but with tolerance of other views. In practice, this will be expecting too much. I think that there are as many religions as there are people on this planet – but even that isn’t the problem. We will have to teach about minority World Religions in a theoretical way. Jainism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Sikhism, Mormonism, Shia Islam, Zen Buddhism – you see it’s endless.
      .
      The real problem will arise elsewhere. Soma, the Buddhist, has already objected to his children being taught Islam with so much conviction that those children will embrace Islam, and vice-versa.
      .
      I’d be happy to settle for curricula drawn up with such breadth that respect for other beliefs is included. Not being particularly “religious”, I don’t ask for miracles to be performed.
      .
      You ask for miracles in a land full of rival hatreds!

      • 0
        0

        Dear Buddhist01,
        .
        I’m with you in wanting more money spent on Education rather than on armed forces, but money can’t ensure the sort of upbringing that you had. You owe much to the wonderful outlook of your parents.
        .
        Sticking to Languages, it may be that some children only have aptitudes for languages. We can strive to provide equal opportunities, but unless we hold some kids back, what the individual child gets will vary. Your moral superiority is so obvious!
        .
        The Second Swabasha should never be forced on anybody. It will be felt to be a burden, and may backfire.
        .
        Sound powers of reasoning are much more important.

  • 31
    3

    Every time Religion and Politics have mixed throughout history its been akin to a Molotov cocktail. Our politicians have only on goal, enslave everybody and Live Happily. Even during the heights of war from 1983-2001 this level of racial tensions weren’t present. This doctrine was created by MR and Co… to hang on to power.

    • 4
      13

      Not true. Look at India, Japan, Turkey, Russia, etc. They are doing very well with majoritarianism.

    • 7
      13

      Oma Yang,
      Racism was introduced to Sinhale by Brits. Malabar Vellala Tamils mastered it and used for their political survival and played hell after Brits left. That is what Brits wanted to happen in their former colony.

      “This doctrine was created by MR and Co… to hang on to power.”

  • 22
    2

    Through political manipulation over several decades, Sri Lankans have become progressively tribal in their social and therefore political behaviour. They tend to become emotional about their favourite scoundrel and stand by them in spite of evidence that should demotivate them. They are largely disinterested in economic realities, basic national finances and even in this high-tech era, ignorant about what happens in mature societies. These conditions are ideal for scoundrels to prosper. They are most notably, politically powerful groups and their crony business owners. Time and time again, the gullible masses floundering in apathy, ignorance and poverty, expects miracles from these parasitic opportunists who reappear periodically under new branding and slogans. This status quo needs to be dismantled if the country is to prosper.

  • 13
    6

    Well said, Harsha Gunasena

  • 16
    2

    “Present vociferous political Bhikkus are empty persons (Mogha Purisā) who know neither politics nor Dhamma ………”
    Haha! There are other profound observations too in this article.

  • 17
    14

    Very good views of the Author.
    At present I see five endorsements appreciative of the article.
    …”WE should start the preparation of a constitution”….
    And ‘WE’ here means the civil society and the idea is good.
    But who will be leading us to battle. In the context of the society now divided, fractured, and crumbling, – Sinhala/Tamil and Buddhist/Muslim/Christian – is there any likelihood of any unanimity to even properly start this most laudable venture. Let us try.
    While we at CT and may be some others endorse this, there is no huge enthusiasm in the public domain and this needs to be addressed. With Covid problems, the people are more interested in survival.

    • 8
      2

      Yes. WE means the people led by the Civil Society. Let us start small and eventually this WE will be comprising of members of all the communities and religions without any discrimination. No need to think of a leader now.

      • 1
        6

        Who will finance them Harsha?

        Remember SL is a poor country. Nothing takes place without honey (money). Many attempted and all failed!

        SL people have nothing in common. Nothing that unifies them. Best thing is amicable separation of the 3 tribes into 3 nations. Imagine if India, Pakistan and Bangladesh remained one nation? It would be hell on earth! Thank god it was divided.

        Please consider division too without outright brushing it aside. It is the only viable solution for the islanders.

      • 8
        2

        Dear Mr HG,
        Extremely grateful for your response.
        My statement : “there is no huge enthusiasm in the public domain and this needs to be addressed.” Is amply borne out by the current rating of 10 dislikes to only 7 in support of the idea to start the process,.
        Further I am in agreement with your idea but regarding a leader – you say “Let us start”. But then we need someone to start that process.
        Even in South Africa there was Mandela and in the USA Martin Luther King. But over here I cannot foresee any likely candidate at present free of bigotry.
        There are two concepts as above. To unite you need someone from the majority to convince others. To fight oppression you need some one from the oppressed.
        Cheers

        • 8
          3

          Dear Mr.HG,
          I must also add that Civil Society you speak of, (to me an amorphous entity),had a Friday Forum comprising the “like minded’ professionals :Professor Savitri Goonesekere, Mr. Javid Yusuf, Professor Gameela Samarasinghe, Dr. A. C. Visvalingam, Mr. Ahilan Kadirgamar, Professor Gananath Obeyesekere, Ms. Damaris Wickremesekera, Ms. Shanthi Dias, Mr. Faiz-ur.Rahman, Ms. Suriya Wickremasinghe, Professor Ranjini Obeyesekere, Ms. Manouri Muttetuwegama, Mr. Saliya Pieris, Rev. Dr. Jayasiri Peiris, Dr. Deepika Udagama, Mr. Danesh Casie Chetty, Mr. Tissa Jayatilaka, Professor Camena Gunaratne, Mr. Priyantha Gamage, Rt. Reverend Duleep de Chickera, Mr. Pulasthi Hewamanna, Professor Arjuna Aluwihare, Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy Mr. S. C. C . Elankovan, Dr. Selvy Thiruchandran, Mr. Suresh de Mel, Mr. J.C. Weliamuna, Mr. Chandra Jayaratne.
          Their views never materialised for the good of us all.
          Hardly hear of them now.

        • 1
          0

          F
          There was MLK in the US. The CIA got rid of him.
          There was Mandela in South Africa. He was bullied into compromise before release.

      • 6
        1

        Dear Mr.HG
        “will be comprising of members of all the communities and religions without any discrimination.”
        Very good but in a society when a comment as : (see later) :
        If “foolish” is lack of knowledge, it all started with each of us “crawling out at birth” like fools, and making a mess of it all by artificial divisions – and the worst part is, continuing to do so.
        – draws 5 dislikes and zero likes, within the HOUR, what chance of success of your great hope of “without any discrimination”.

      • 0
        0

        What is Civil Society?
        It has been hijacked by the NGOs to refer to themselves.

  • 30
    6

    Adaderana tv is telecasting a Buddhist monk violently discrediting profJennifer per era and WHO on their opinion that burial is safe.
    He claims he has better knowledge than all this highly qualified professionals

    • 17
      6

      Hi Rajash,
      .
      I fully agree. Let me just paste here a part of my previous comment on the importance of limiting the influence these racist extremists buddhists have on governance and society.
      .
      ‘We MUST immediataly institute a plan to limit these monks interfering in public matters. There MUST be a plan to disrobes much of the (80%) +2 million cattle monks to give them job training so they can start contributing to society instead of being a drain on public resources. The presidents’ in the past that have kept these rabid dog monks in their place in the past managed to institute positive change in the country. Change this country is desperately in need of.‘

    • 7
      22

      Rajash,
      Intelligent Sinhala Buddhists have accepted the decision taken by the Government based on advice from experts in this field although they have been denied the opportunity to perform giving ‘Pansukula’. Unfortunately, ‘Moda’ Muslims who still live in Stone Age have failed to understand the rationale behind the decision taken by the Government and making a big fuss although Holy Quran does not say that dead bodies of Muslims ‘SHOULD’ be buried.

      • 12
        6

        ee,
        .
        “intelligent sinhala buddhist” ?? Lol this should listed as a good example for what a oxymoron is. XD
        .
        extremist sinhala buddhist peasants, monks and politicians have absolutely ruined this country. This group of degenerates would not even mind if the economy contracts for years on end so long as they can roam the streets like as if they own it. Truly the extremists sinhala buddhists are a destitute hopeless people.

      • 3
        1

        Eagle Eye you meant “ Intelligent Sri Lanka Sinhala Buddhists .”
        ============
        but Intelligent and ”Sri Lanka Sinhala Buddhists “ are two contradictory terms

  • 5
    0

    Harsha Gunaratne: In my opinion, you should have dealt with the election campaign of the trio – L.H Mettananda, W.S.Karunaratne, and Phillip Gunwardane in 1960 under the political party MEP. Their main platform was on Religion and the Sinhalese community. They fielded a large number of well-educated candidates and the heat was so high in securing a large majority in the Parliament. But what happened? The “Trio” let MEP ‘LOST” and “LOST” very badly. That was the then “DECISION” of the, then “VOTER POPULATION” of the country. A very WISE and a very PATRIOTIC decision. What happened to that “WISE” and “PATRIOTIC” voter population of TODAY? All the self-seeking and corrupt politicians managed to “CHANGE” that environment and “DRIVE” and “COVERT” the voter to be a class of “SLAVES”. Don’t you see that as the “BASIC” factor of our country being dragged down the drain? If not how can a newly formed SLPP (Pohottuwa) succeed so “Brilliantly”? That is why it’s elected President GR was so “BOLD” to say: “I have got a mandate from the Sinhala Buddhist” and also demonstrate it taking his oath at Ruwanveli Seya. Now we have to live with three camps of such “Ethno/Religious” based “Slave Camps”: (1) SLPP/SLFP (2) SJB/UNP (3) TULF/TNA. It is all FINISH for Sri Lanka. Live with it.

    • 4
      0

      A minor correction:
      “In the March 1960 national elections, Karunaratne contested the Kandy electorate, running against E.L Senanayake of the United National Party (UNP). Karunaratne lost the election by a few hundred votes and returned to the University.” (Wikipedia)
      I am not sure if Mettananda was a candidate, although his party partnered Philip G. in the MEP.
      The MEP & LSSP won 10 seats each and the CP three, compared to 46 for the SLFP and 50 for the UNP, in a 151 seat Parliament.
      Where Philip G. stumbled was in going it alone again in 1960 July when the LSSP and CP made no-contest deals with the SLFP.
      *
      The UNP (led by Dudley S.) played the communal card strongly in 1960 July accusing the SLFP of selling out to the FP.
      *
      Cynical ethnic politics has roots that run deep.

  • 8
    5

    I may appear tangential but there is some need for it.
    .
    Harsha Gunasena in an as a matter of fact says, ‘Ananda College where Gotabaya Rajapaksa (GR) was educated … ‘. Where do you see education in GR?

    • 4
      0

      Do schools produce people in one mould?
      What HG says refers to is the shift in values of the institution.

    • 1
      0

      Correction GR went to school at Ananda College.

  • 2
    6

    The only way forward for the island – split the island equitably into 3 mono ethnic nations of Muslim Elam, Tamil Elam and Sinhala Only Elam. Relocate (only 15% of the population) peacefully into each from elsewhere and we will have perfect peace. No more discrimination, no riots, no war, no injustice, no war crimes, Tamils will not be ruled over by war criminals who killed Tamils, etc. Thereafter if they attack each other it will be an international problem with severe punishment.

    Sri Lankans have proven they cannot live as one nation. There is nothing that unifies Sri Lankans. Everything is divergent. Accept this fact and divide the island amicably for peace. Otherwise have racism and war forever!

    • 1
      14

      GATAM,
      It is the Sri Lankans who came as immigrants and settled down in Sinhale by obtaining citizenship by ‘Registration’ have proven that they cannot live as one nation with Sinhalayo who are the Native people. Instead of dividing the country into three mono-ethnic units and relocating which is unlikely to bring peace it is better to relocate the descendants of foreigners who settled down in Sinhale to their ancestral homeland across the Palk Strait.
      Based on past experiences Sinhalayo know that if Tamils and Muslims are allowed to live even in mono-ethnic units they will never allow Sinhalayo to live in peace. Both these communities have used terrorism to massacre Sinhalayo. Who can give a guarantee that Tamils and Muslims will not resort to terrorism again to grab land from Sinhalayo. You give one inch to Tamils or Muslims they try to take one yard.
      —-
      “Sri Lankans have proven they cannot live as one nation.”

    • 7
      3

      Sinhalese and Tamil only nations in the island can exist and thrive and have done so prior to European colonisation. There is no recorded history of any Islamic or Muslim nation in the island. They are immigrants from South India , who started to arrive into the island around 800 years ago but the vast majority of them only arrived from South India , within the past 200 years. By the way being a Muslim is not an ethnicity but a religious identity. The so called Sri Lankan Muslims are Tamil by ethnicity. Arabs never arrived in the island , they only arrived in South India and traded and took Tamil women there and it was not in the thousands but a few hundred within an span of a few centuries. The vast majority of the Sri Lankan Moors are Tamil Dravidian converts to Islam and with a few hundred families having some Arab in them. You are desperately trying to advocate them here and everywhere else as a separate ancient historic ethnicity, like the Sinhalese and Tamils . They are not . They can be separate but it is religious and not ethnic in nature nor have an ancient history in the island. What is your agenda?

      • 6
        3

        If there is ever going to be an Muslim nation based on religion like Pakistan , it will be along the coastal stretch of Amparai starting from Southern Kalmunai to Saithamaruthu or Pottuvil. Whey they are in a majority and in a contiguous block. Other places they live in ghettos , that are surrounded by Tamils or Sinhalese. This highly populated strip of land around 40 miles in length and 20 miles in width cannot do much economically and will prone to Arab/Pakistani aid and influence that comes with extremist radical influence, which will destabilize the entire region. Especially Indian’s southern states. As if Pakistan and Bangladesh are not enough. Now a so called Islamic state or rule , that had never been in existence in the island for converted Tamils of South Indian immigrant origin , now masquerading and falesely claiming to be Arab and even pathetically trying to act more Arab than the actual Arabs.

      • 2
        9

        Siva Sankaran Sharma
        There are no recorded or unrecorded historical evidences to prove that Demalu are Native people in Sinhale. So, from where did they come, Mars, Jupiter?
        Sinhale has been the Land of Sinhalayo and Vedda Eththo. It is the Land of Sinhalayo and Vedda Eththo and it will be the Land of Sinhalayo and Vedda Eththo. If those who came to Sinhale as illegal immigrants and settled down here thanks to Sinhalayo who gave them Citizenship do not want to live in a Unitary State governed by Sinhalayo they are free to return to their homelands. Sinhalayo did not invite these ‘Para’ (foreign) people to Sinhale.
        ===
        “There is no recorded history of any Islamic or Muslim nation in the island. They are immigrants from South India”

  • 9
    2

    There are possibility this cremation issue not solved will lead to exploring war crimes and crimes questioning upon learning the new trend & having the evident that the Rapporteurs to international human rights organizations, many have urged the Sri Lankan government to review the decision and respect the burial rights. The reflection to the world is that exponentially growing inequalities on today’s crisis

    • 10
      6

      Oh don’t worry the crippling sanctions are already on their way and that is in regards to the war crimes, when you add the human rights violating of forced cremation then there’s enough evidence to sink these foolish people onto the padifields they crawled out off.

      • 11
        8

        Dear sitrep 24,
        Greetings..
        …’the padifields they crawled out off.”….
        That is not far enough in history. Let us go back to “how we (all our ancesters) crawled off out of the sea.”
        If “foolish” is lack of knowledge, it all started with each of us “crawling out at birth” like fools, and making a mess of it all by artificial divisions – and the worst part is, continuing to do so.

        • 9
          1

          F
          You could have been more explicit in denouncing the phrase “the padifields (sic) they crawled out off.”
          *
          Such contempt towards the ordinary masses whose descendants a vast majority of us are!

          • 2
            0

            SJ,
            What are “padifields” anyway? Perhaps it’s a compliment.

            • 2
              0

              OC
              It could refer to the Irish countryside.

  • 4
    0

    If the Government wants to satisfy one community to attain power and thus steal and rob in the pretext of deshapremis, , sooner or later we would find Srilanka at the bottom. Few onks know everything i.e. politics, economy, medicine, law and what they don’t know is Lord Buddhas’s preaching. Where is the compassion Lord Buddga taught. Srilankan monks are enough to destroy Buddhism in Srilanka without any one else. Not a single country progressed on racism agenda. At least the youngsters should learn to move the country forward reliving these racism.

  • 4
    3

    Fixing the governance of Lankawe is a wrong target to begin with for Sinhalese. (Tamils are not in that). Remember, to cheat Tamils & UNHRC on Mannar mass murder site of Rapist Army, Lankawe Aanduwa even paid for the Florida lab and got a fake report. They cannot import rice for hungry people, but paid to PR firms in US to defeat Susan Rice from becoming Secretary of State. The criminal governance is only by product of Lankawe, the Wilf Life Sanctuary mills. The cesspool life of pigs is the main product of the process. The ingredients are:
    1). Buddhism the philosophy too advanced for commons (the ignorant & stealthy) to understand and voluntarily observe (Please note here terminology is not “Sinhala Buddhism”)
    2). Direct – We the People- representing Democracy (governing body need to elected by about 5,000-10,000 Electoral College like second tier elected, non-office holding, voters.)
    3). Highly competitive market economy(people has to be encouraged produce as in “Co-operatives” environment, the things they want and what they can- this will keep rapist army controlled Kerala Ganja businesses out.)
    Buddhism is the worst thing in Lankawe, not because it teaches something wrong, but because it is only quinine for common cold. It is an unadoptable obligation for average man’s life.

  • 1
    0

    Nathan, What H.G. meant to say was that Gotabaya Rajapaksa attended Ananda College.

    • 3
      0

      CM
      A little more than that: an Ananda College whose lofty spirit of a broad outlook had been weakened to become a “little parochial”.

  • 6
    0

    Liberal and interesting thoughts H.G.
    An encouraging and hopeful way to end the worst year in living memory 2020!
    The underlying message in this essay is that President GR is riding on the back of the Viyath Maga leading the Nation towards Waterloo.
    Waterloo is not the same as Nanthikadal!

    One has to only look at the composition of the committee appointed to draft a New Constitution to fathom what is in store for the foreseeable future .

    We do not see an alternative voice to counter Ethnocentric values that have permeated into the political culture at the same speed as the Covid-19.
    Sanesuma Kothanatha HG?

  • 10
    1

    Dear CT forum,
    It was good up to a point but then I found that CT virtually encouraged bigotry and vituperation, and had very little space for the debate of independent viewpoints. Promoting Unity was anathema to some readers.
    If this is the mindset of the majority and a cross-section of the CT forum, I take leave of you. So to this strata of persons, I leave CT to allow them to rail at their aversions, but not find solutions, nor exchange ideas civilly, and so find their fulfilment in the coming year.
    Adios, Arriverdici, Auf Wiedersehen and Good bye to all and ‘Bye ‘Bye 2020.
    In peace and and no hard feelings.

    • 4
      0

      Dear Ferryman,
      I entirely agree with you.
      CT forum is reduced to an anti-Sinhalese propaganda machine.
      No debate is possible – just personal insults.
      We were not invited to comment – Leave it for people who choose to delude themselves.

    • 1
      0

      Dear Ferryman,
      .
      I’ve looked for something (below this article) that you’ve written after this “Farewell”, but see nothing.
      .
      You appeared only recently (or were you commenting under some other name?) You’ve been balanced and reading you has been a pleasure.
      .
      I’ve spent hours herer, today, but this is the first bit I’m writing. Sunil Abeyratne makes a good point. Indulging in personal vituperation is not the best way to counter the military government. I will write only where I feel there is some purpose.
      .
      I hope that you will reconsider your decision . . . if not, thanks for all thay you’ve done.

  • 2
    0

    Mahavamsa clearly spells out those people who lived in Lanka before the arrival of the legendary Vijaya in 543 BC. According to Mahavamsa, the indigenous population of Lanka was Nagas, Yakkas, Rakshas, Devas and Pulindar (Veddas). There is no mention of Sinhalas.
    As I have mentioned many times, the Tamils who were brought from Tamil Nadu by the Portuguese and later by the Dutch became Sinhalised in course of time. The present-day Karawa, Salagama, Durawe, Hunu, Hali, Berawa and the Kandyan Radala are the descendants of Tamils. Portuguese brought Parathava caste Catholic converts from Tamil Nadu and settled them in Negombo and Chilaw .
    The people of Negombo and Chilaw were Catholic Tamils till the end of the 19th century. Today, though they speak colloquial Tamil they are Sinhalese by ethnicity thanks to Fr.Edmund Peiris who changed the medium of education from Tamil to Sinhalese. Likewise the Colombo Chetties who were Catholics were assimilated into Sinhalese.
    According to Dr Paul E. Perris when Vijaya landed in Ceylon there were five Eelworms – Thiruketheeswaram and Muneshwaram Temples in the West, Thondeshwaram in the South, Koneshwaram in the East and Naguleshwaram in the North. Thondeswaram is now a Vishnu temple If Vijaya is a Sinhalese then there should be Sinhalese in Bengal/Gujarati.

    • 0
      0

      Dear Thanga,
      .
      I wish we could stop discussing race and caste on this valuable site which is being destroyed by people turning aggressive, instead of seeking to promote understanding.
      .
      These sensitive subjects have to be discussed, I guess, but in a more disciplined (academic?) setting. Two genuine (perhaps trivial) questions:
      .
      In listing Sinhalese castes, isn’t there overlap? Aren’t Salagama and Hali the same? One the respectable name, the other the insulting one.
      .
      What are Eelworms? Was that a tired typo? Most of you writing seems precise.
      .
      Whatever you do, don’t cause new hatreds to spring up in this island home of ours!

  • 2
    0

    A glance at the history of the island shows that up to the 8th century Nagas/Tissas ruled Ceylon.

    So what happened to these Nagas? The Buddhist Nagas metamorphosed as Sinhalese. The Hindu Nagas were assimilated by the Hindu Tamils. There are many Tamil names where the prefix or the suffix begins or ends with Nagar. Nagarkoil, Nagatheevu, Naganathar, Nagamma etc. Thus it will be seen the Sinhalese are a hybrid/mixed race.

    The Salagama, Durawe, Karawa castes were one time Tamils assimilated by the mainstream Sinhalese. Not just these there are many other Sinhala castes even Govigama.

    History Professor K.M. de Silva very clearly says that many Sinhala castes are all South Indians who got converted to Buddhism and became Sinhalese. (Refer “History of Sri Lanka” by K.M.de Silva, page 81).

    Professor of Anthropology Gananath Obeyesekere (in his book “Buddhism, Ethnicity, and Identity,”) states that “viewed in long term historical perspective, Sinhalese have been for the most part South Indian migrants who have been Sasanized (converted to Buddhism)”.

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