5 December, 2023


Gotabaya And I Were Right

By Rajiva Wijesinha –

Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha MP

Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha MP

A Presidency Under Threat – Promoting Alienation

I was privileged, a couple of weeks back, to attend the release of the Northern Education Sector Review Report at a ceremony held at Vembadi Girls School. I had last been at Vembadi in 2008, when the then Commander of the Special Forces in Jaffna, General Chandrasiri, arranged what was termed a Future Minds Exhibition. It was at the height of the war, but the General had already begun to plan for the future, and sensibly so for he stressed the need for the development of human resources.

I was struck by the irony now, with the controversy over his continuation as Governor. I will look at that issue elsewhere, but here I will dwell on the fact that the Provincial administration had invited him as Chief Guest, to be given the first copy of the report, and all the speeches made were in a spirit of cooperation. In particular the chair of the committee that had prepared the report, the distinguished athlete Nagalingam Ethirveerasingam, still described as the Olympian, emphasized that the recommendations of the Review were all within the framework of National Policy.

That having been said, the Review is masterly, in clearly identifying many of the problems we face, and suggesting simple remedies. But obvious though many of the pronouncements are, I fear that such an essentially sensible work could not have been produced in any other Province.

There are many reasons for this. I do not think there is any essential intellectual difference between those in the North and others in the country, but I do believe that the urgency of the problem with regard to education is better understood in the North. After all it was simplistic tampering with the education system that first roused deep resentments in the younger generation in the North (Prabhakaran’s batch were the first victims of standardization), and the incapacity or unwillingness of successive governments since then to provide remedies has entrenched bitterness. And whereas Chandrasiri way back in 2008 understood the importance of action in this field, and entitled his Exhibition accordingly, he has since had to serve a political dispensation that cares nothing for the mind.

Secondly, the administration in the North realizes that it cannot expect change from Colombo. Unfortunately other provincial administrations, even though they might understand the inadequacy of current provisions, will not dare to take on a role that the centre has thus far zealously guarded for itself. Thankfully though, I should note here, Dayasiri Jayasekera in Wayamba, perhaps because of his youth and because he does have a future, which will depend on the young, has embarked on some initiatives that are laudable, and which I hope will be replicated elsewhere. Indeed, I suspect the best hope for education now is for him to get together with the Chief Minister of the North and suggest reforms which I have no doubt the other Chief Ministers also will support. If that is done, what seems the built in opposition of the Ministry of Education to productive reform will be the more easily overcome – and the President, who does understand the mess education is in, will I suspect actively promote such changes.

But, that having been said, I gathered that in this instance the Ministry of Education had been nothing but supportive, and indeed it sent officials up for the Review Release. And I was told that it had not tried to block what is another reason for the impressive nature of the Review, namely the participation of personnel from other countries. Unfortunately this had been blocked by decision makers, whether the Ministry of Defence or the Ministry of External Affairs I do not know. Perhaps the distinction is irrelevant given that the latter has totally abdicated judgment in this as apparently everything else to the latter.

But understanding of what goes on elsewhere had also thankfully been able to play a part in the process, as evinced by the seminal role played by Mr Ethirveerasingam. And the Ministry had also involved a wide range of expertise as exemplified by a doctor I met who said he had had the honour to help – whereas clearly he too had been able to contribute conceptually from a practical standpoint. Talking to both of them, I was reminded of the difficulties Tara de Mel and I had had at meetings of the National Education Commission a decade ago, when the Chairman understood nothing about education in general, and our attempts at reform were set back because of the intervention of a conservative monk who had not attended any meetings previously but was trotted out to insist on making history compulsory – a contrast I should stress to General Chandrasiri who had shown himself concerned with the future.

Listening to Mr Ethirveerasingham’s introduction to the Review, I was reminded again by how sadly we have failed to make use of the diaspora following the conflict. The LLRC has recommended the development of a policy in this regard, but nothing has been done about this, and nothing will continue to be done so long as G L Pieris remains Minister of External Affairs and takes his cue from the security establishment.

Why the President permits all this is beyond me. Way back in 2009 he was keen on working with the diaspora and indeed there were many meetings organized for the purpose, as for instance the Business for Peace Alliance conference in Jaffna in January 2010. But all that was totally forgotten soon afterward and, instead of mechanisms to encourage investment, government put in place a Board of Investment that seemed keen to block any initiative. I still recall, during my visit to Australia and New Zealand in 2011, the last occasion when government made active use of my services, the anguish of the businessmen to whom I was introduced by our energetic Consul in New Zealand, about the difficulties of doing business.

But by then the doors were shutting, perhaps because of the siege mentality that overtook government after the Presidential election. I was told by the President that only Gotabaya and I had advised against having it then, but this was in the tone he uses to suggest that I know nothing about politics. This is true, compared with himself, but obviously Gotabaya and I were right (as we were in our view that the Northern Provincial Council elections should be held early), and it is those who pride themselves on their skills on political manipulation who won the battles but are leading us now to losing the war.

The Ministry of Economic Development (along with the Presidential Task Force which, despite the skills of Mr Divaratne, also turned into a blocking mechanism for independent initiatives) became the sole arbiter of socially and economically productive activity in the North. So little was done to ensure the training and investment that would ensure sustainable development. Instead rent seeking became the order of the day, while the military, the only institution that could function without going through the bureaucratic procedures enjoined by the PTF and the BOI and other institutions with Permit Raj mentality, forged ahead with a range of businesses.

I could understand the need for the military to move, when no one else was doing so, but I still cannot understand why they did not do this through partnerships with the people of the North. Just this week an ambassador of a country strongly supportive of Sri Lanka remarked how absurd it was that the staff in the hotel she had stayed at, owned by the airforce (the army and navy also had such hotels she said), were servicemen. Employing locals instead, she said, would have ensured local support for such establishments – a point that seems self-evident, but is clearly beyond the ken, or the planning capacities, of those who make decisions without thinking of the people they are supposed to serve.

Partnerships should also have been set up with the diaspora. But for this to have been done successfully, there was need of cooperation rather than a command mentality. Had the government been serious about reconciliation – or had what I believe to have been the President’s early liberal attitudes not been overcome by the polarizations caused by the elections, and the failure of the security establishment to realize that it had to be subtle rather than fall headlong into whatever traps it thought had been set – we would have appointed distinguished thinkers such as Mr Ethirveerasingam as consultants and given them a role in both conceptualization as well as decision making.

It is no wonder the Tamils are upset. They have so much to offer this country, but instead of making use of their services in a context in which the government might have got credit for achievements, we wasted four years. And though it seems that both General Chandrasiri and the Ministry of Education have cooperated actively in the Review, I fear that the dogs in the manger in government will not allow the recommendations in the Review to benefit students all over the country, but will instead continue to bark without any productive sense of purpose.

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  • 19

    This man is talking bull shit, Northern province had the best of education system left by the British and it flourished for nearly 2 decades when the North produced better results than even Colombo district.

    Successive Sinhala dominated governments, under nationalization of schools, and later standardization to smother the Northern Tamils’ superior educational performance brought a downtrend in Tamils’ education.

    Why can’t the Northern Tamils, who have produced thousands of superb educated elite now working overseas, be allowed to shape their education to suit their aspirations rater than bring Sinhala overlords to do it for them?

    Isn’t it the 13th amendment is about?

    Is it to demonstrate Sinhalese hegemony?

    • 6

      Pl don’t go back too far.

      ”we were in our view that the Northern Provincial Council elections should be held early”:
      They were held 4yrs and 4months late and thus the elected body remains powerless with the Governor and Basil running the province.

      The Professor is full of logic!

      • 9

        Gotabaya And I Were Right,

        Yes both were right on one point yes: Mass killing of 147,000 or more innocent Tamils in no fire zones, and then telling lies in Geneva in 2009.

        Are these the people interested in the education of Northern Tamils?

        It must be the biggest joke of the 21st century!

        • 2

          The discussion is about education and, not about the deaths in the No Fire Zone. You ought to be glad there there are people like Prof Wijesinghe and Chandrasiri engaged in the development of a system to educate the masses in the North. Nobody is stopping educated diaspora Tamils (thousands as you say) from contributing to that process, but their interests seem limited to restarting the conflict and the supply of lethal weapons.
          Perhaps, you should send out a few invitations to diaspora Tamils who are interested in helping out their disadvantage bretheren in the North and tell us about the response you shall receive. As for the 147,000 (your numbers) “innocent Tamils” killed in the No Fire Zones, the responsibility lies with LTTE and the “thousands of educated Tamils” in the diaspora.
          There is a process in place now to educate the younger citizens of the North. Every concerned person should take an interest in this process and extend that process to disadvantaged areas in Uva and North West.

    • 7

      Until Gamini Dissanayeke burned the Jaffna library

      • 6


        “Until Gamini Dissanayeke burned the Jaffna library”

        It was S J V Chelva who set fire to the library.

        Carlos Fonseka, Banda, Navin, Ella Kolla, Mechanic, OTC,Nimal, Lorenzo, ….. will vouch for it.

        • 2

          “Until Gamini Dissanayake burned the Jaffna library”
          Gamini Dissanayaka only carried the petrol can, singing Suranganeeta Maalu Genawaa.; Cyril Matthew held the torch to light the fire. That is what SJV Chelva told me.

        • 2

          This idiotic Tamil separatist wearing a Veddha mask got caught trying to distort history when he/she wrote “The stupid Tamils suffered last time when IPKF arrived because the Sri Lankan armed forces who were supposed to defend this island were found hiding behind their women folks and VP’s fat bottom”

          The idiot propagandist was unaware that the IPKF was the result of the Indo Lanka peace accord and that the same accord CONFINED the SL Forces to Barracks. The idiot made a fool of him/herself by writing that rubbish.

          Only Idiots like you will try to distort known History and try to fish in troubled waters Mr/Ms Separatist Tamil behind a Veddha mask.

          Very little was left to the imagination after Ana Seneviratne was made IGP while his own actions were under investigation. One of the achievements of the Police during his tenure as IGP was the burning of the Jaffna Public Library. (UTHRJ)

          JAFFNA, Sri Lanka – The Sri Lankan government postponed the reopening of the library in the northern city of Jaffna on Friday and posted armed troops to guard it after a controversy erupted between local councilors and Tamil rebels. All 23 members of the town council in Tamil-dominated city resigned Thursday, alleging they had been threatened by rebel supporters who sought the postponement. The rebel supporters argue that reopening the library, whose cherished Tamil texts were destroyed in an arson attack 22 years ago by an anti-Tamil mob, should wait until more books are collected and until after an additional wing is built with material explaining the building’s history and the effects of its destruction. The arson in 1981 disillusioned many young Tamils, prompting them to join militants fighting against the Sinhalese-dominated government. Council members, who are mostly moderate Tamils, alleged that supporters of the Liberation Tigers of Tamileelam had pressured them to block the opening due Friday, but did not elaborate on the threats. On Friday, nearly 40 Sri Lankan soldiers and policemen guarded the library. The library was renovated at a cost of 120 million rupees (US$1.26 million). It lost its entire collection of 97,000 books and about 150 centuries-old Tamil scripts on herbal medicine when the original two story building was destroyed in the 1981 attack. (http://www.museum-security.org)

          The following is from an interview by Frederica Jansz with Posts and Telecommunications Minister Mangala Samaraweera

          Q: Could you elaborate on the proposed “brick or a book” campaign to gather support for the the rebuilding of the Jaffna Library?

          A: Eighteen months ago, the President appointed a small task force within the Sudu Nelum Movement to report on the possibilities of re-building the Jaffna Library which was burnt 16 years ago. Plans were drawn up and the State Engineering Corporation has estimated that it would cost Rs 700 million. The master plan includes an additional floor, but it retains the design of the old library. If everything goes according to plan this will be the first significant event in Jaffna in the 21st century. While these practicalities are being addressed we have thought it prudent to use the burning of the Jaffna Library as the central theme. We must give all citizens of this country an opportunity to do some soul searching as to how such a crime could have taken place in this country where we value books and education.

          Q: How are you going to fund the project?

          A: Some money has been released from the Presidential Fund and other foreign sources. The President has already in her capacity as a citizen of this country and as leader of a party has made her contribution. We will request ministers, MPs and members of all political parties to do the same. Through this campaign, we want to remind the people of the history of the ethnic crisis in Sri Lanka. We wanted to launch the campaign on June 1 the day the Jaffna library was burnt.. However, due to some practical problems, the start of the campaign has been postponed. We hope to collect a brick from every Grama Seveka Division with its name inscribed and also a book with signatures of people in that division who have participated in this campaign . It is also hoped that one wall of the Library will be built with a stone from every Grama Sevaka Division in this country as a symbolic participation in re-building the Jaffna Library, which would further lend a sense of community.

          Q: How else would the Sudu Nelum Movement feature prominently in promoting participation towards re-building the Jaffna Library?

          A: We will be selling a specially designed book-mark again as a form of participation, which price will range from Rs. 5 to Rs 500. This will be done primarily in schools and 25% of the earnings will be returned to each respective school towards a library fund in each school. Every school in the country will in turn get a donation from Sudu Nelum towards enhancing their own library. So while participating in the Jaffna Library process every school in the island will also benefit. Further four mobile exhibitions which would go to all electorates, will depict the ethnic crisis.

          Kind Regards,

      • 2

        The TULF leaders, A.Amirthalingam, M.Sivasithamparam, V.Yogeswaran, Kumar Ponnampalam and even the late Motilal Nehru had said Gamini Dissanayake had no hand at all in the burning of the Jaffna library. Prof.Carlo Fonseka too had written an article about the burning of the Jaffna library and he too endorsed Gamini Dissanayake had no hand in it. But there were leaflets on the Colombo streets which stated that a prominent Colombo Tamil politicians took those two bus loads of JSS Union thugs and quietly slipped away from Jaffna to Colombo. One day this mystery will unveiled. Actually Gamini Dissanayake was made a scape goat. He did not known the secret plans of Cyril Mathew & his company.

        • 3


          “Actually Gamini Dissanayake was made a scape goat. He did not known the secret plans of Cyril Mathew & his company.”

          Then who did set fire to the books and Ola manuscripts?

          Gamini was in Jaffna on that fatal day. Wasn’t he? As a minister he should have persisted on an inquiry that would have discovered the men and organisation behind this unspeakable act. Carlo took a u turn after reading DIG Edward Gunawardena’s Memoir. Carlos didn’t carry out his own investigation. Edward Gunawardena wrote with certainty that it was LTTE’s handy work to discredit the state.

          Here is an excerpts from Carlo Fonseka’s review of retired DIG’s book:

          “LTTE masterminded
          [But] let me come to the burning question in this book. My friend, author Dr Gunadasa Amarasekara really exhausted this subject and I have very little to add in way of providing details about it. Who burnt the Jaffna library? Edward has demonstrated beyond any matter of doubt that it was the LTTE that masterminded this crime against civilization. Why did he do that? Dr Amarasekara explained the doer’s motive but principally I think it was to prove to the world that the Sinhalese Buddhists are [bad] people. And the world believed the LTTE propaganda.

          – See more at: http://www.nation.lk/edition/news-features/item/15104-%E2%80%98i-crucified-gamini-dissanayake%E2%80%99-carlo-fonseka.html#sthash.LMVRIMZM.dpuf

          Here is another review of the same book by Maj. Gen. (retd) Lalin Fernando:

          Absurd and ridiculous tales -The burning of the Jaffna Library
          February 9, 2013, 5:43 pm

          by Maj. Gen. (retd) Lalin Fernando

          “The moving finger writes and having writ moves on, none of all thy piety or wit shall lure it back or cancel half a line. Nor all thy tears wash out a word of it “(Omar Khayyam)

          Retired DIG Edward Gunewardene’s (EG) book ‘Memorable tidbits and the burning of the Jaffna library’, launched recently marks a chronic trend in autobiographies. It is a shock and awe WMD type attack on the sensibilities of the readers. It has speculative assertions unsupported by verifiable facts. It appears to be based on personal agendas, festering prejudice and conjecture. The author’s rank service in the SL Police acts as an impressive spring board from which to pounce on the credulity of readers. The result? His police colleagues especially and most citizens believe silence is golden – which is also a telling response.

          People in SL from June 1981 believed with very good reason that the Jaffna library was burnt down either by the then UNP government supporters from Kurunegala in retribution for the killing of Tamil UNP candidates for the DDC elections or state security personnel for the killing of three policemen on 31 May 81. Significant parts of Jaffna town were torched but brought under control by the Army and the SL Navy. No one had said anything different ever since. Until EG did.

          Former President Premadasa in 1991 famously accused two of his own ministers of the wanton act. He said “During the DDC elections (1981) some of our own party members took many people from other parts of the country North and created havoc and disrupted the elections in the North. It is the same group of people who are causing trouble now also. If you wish to find out… you have only to look at the faces opposing us” The Jaffna District Minister UB Wijekoon stated unambiguously that “the library was set on fire spontaneously and not pre- planned after several UNP candidates were shot and killed” (Sunday Times) . The Hartley College and Valvettithurai libraries were later burnt in 1984. (BBC report 2010). Minister Champika Ranawaka when visiting Jaffna (24 June 2010) said it was the work of ‘goondas’. He said ‘I have to apologize and beg pardon of the Tamil community’. President Rajapaksa is quoted as having said “The UNP is responsible for large scale riots and massacres against the Tamils in 1983, vote rigging at the DC elections and the burning of the Jaffna library”.

          Despite above EG has 31 years after remarkably concluded that it was a ‘diabolic perpetration’ of the LTTE. This must be based on pure speculation and no less diabolically.

          According to EG (page 349) “The tactics the LTTE adopted to confront the police reached a crescendo on the night of June 1 (1981) … to give them the maximum propaganda. There was nothing else for the LTTE to destroy in Jaffna than the public library. To the world the Jaffna library was symbolic of Tamil Hindu culture…and the Vellala aristocracy. But the world knew little of the rigid caste structure that dominated the social fabric of Jaffna. It was certainly not an institution to be admired or venerated by non Vellala Tamils. What better target for destruction”. Was he so advised by the non Vellala Tamils or is this purely vintage EG? Certainly none of his colleagues present there told him that.

          EG now rivals Channel 4 for damaging reports on SL. Nothing could have been more appropriate to harm communal relationships, energize the GTF and convince the international community than this blatantly untrue story by a senior police officer who also had a stint in Police Intelligence. It kicks the eminence granted to the LLRC report in the teeth.

          He had apparently sat on his theories for 31 years while SL was left to rot being called ‘barbarians’ for this and other apparently dastardly acts. Yet EG kept mum. Was this then a confession of professional negligence or culpability that he had hidden? What compelled him to maintain silence for so long and then shatter it with what has to be the somersault of the century?

          Did he then report his ‘findings’ to the IGP? No. He knew personally at least one DIG who had gone directly to President JRJ bypassing his IGP before. That however turned out with the EQD’s help to be something more revealing or was it embarrassing? So why did he not do the same with this? It was surely information of great import that would have taken SL more quickly off the international pariah list.

          EG did not even inform any of the later IGPs he served under about this ‘revelation’ either. Neither did he tell his buddy the next President, Premadasa, who gave him chairmanship of the Lotteries Board in retirement. Presidents DB Wijetunge, Chandrika BK or even the present President was not taken into his confidence. This alleged war crimes exploit of the LTTE was all stored for his ‘tidbits’.

          Had EG died before he wrote his piece, this wondrous tale would never have surfaced. SL would have been deprived of his life’s most profound work, if it was not found reckless. His ‘exposure’ may if it is believed bring the police specially its special branches which had thought otherwise for the same length of time, contempt and ridicule as never ever before. It surely has not. Is it because it reflects only on the former DIG? His naivety is beyond belief. His credibility is questionable. He has like many politicians, mistakenly taken the people of SL to be unrivalled country bumpkins.

          EG wants readers to believe that it was the LTTE that burnt down the 93,000 book Jaffna library. The same LTTE that the world was told was venerated as saviours by all but a few of the over 30 million Tamils of SL and India, that had fought with tremendous courage that drew admiration even from its foes and which finally died fighting to the last man. Would separatist insurgents anywhere and not just this ‘most formidable terrorist organization in the world’ (CIA) that fought even the Indian army to a standstill, burn down the very symbol and pride of their people on ‘caste’ grounds and still retain its support and image as a savior? EG must think it could.

          EG turned up in Jaffna just a few days before both the fatal DDC elections and the ‘burning’ took place. What took EG there when the DIG Jaffna, the enormous and jovial ‘Brute’ Mahendran, a Tamil, had been in situ from 1980. A formidable UNP civilian strike force was also sent to Jaffna at the same time. Two or three cabinet Ministers too arrived. Their names are known. Were these arrivals a mere coincidence after the fact?

          Could it have been because EG or someone else had a premonition of what the likely course of events in Jaffna would turn out to be? And is it an amazing coincidence that many of the police witnesses like Mahendran are dead? Not all of them though. The writer contacted some. What they said could make readers if not EG blush.

          Of course there are Tamils who have their pet theories too .They say that the pogroms of 1977 and 1983 were led by the Sinhala elite! Does this ring a bell for EG when he recounts what happened in Jaffna in 1981? It was only after 1983 that the ranks of the LTTE swelled, when over 100,000 Tamils displaced from Colombo went to Jaffna and more to India. The taunts of Lokubandara MP later Speaker of the house ‘why don’t you go back to India”? were apparently echoed shamelessly by Neville Fernando MP and Chandrapala MP (all UNP). They may have made many people, and not only Tamils, squirm.

          EG recklessly gambled with his professional background when he based his deductions merely on caste. There is just one small step from caste to the giant step of race.

          What has EG to say of the Tamils whether Vellala or otherwise or even those opposed to the LTTE who up to now have never blamed anyone but the Sinhalese for the ‘burnings’ not only of the library? Could it be that while Sinhala mobs rampaged without let or hindrance from the security, an incipient insurgent movement aided them?

          Sadly he did not tell his (Peradeniya?) University batch mates Prof. Carlo Fonseka and Prof Gunadasa Amarasekera who were his honoured guests about it either for the same 31 years. Instead he called them for the book launch and kept mum until he sprang like a tiger. Or so we are led to believe. What was their response?

          With possibly a shout of ‘eureka’ Carlo announced his mea culpa! Carlo admitted he had for 31 years been spreading nasty canards about Gamini Dissanayake‘s involvement in the burning. What was Carlo’s job that made him employ himself so diligently for nearly a half a life time to spread what he now admits were false rumours? O tempora! O mores!

          Interestingly an assembly line of memoirs of retired SL service officers appears to be rolling out. Since dead men tell no tales, facts have been scattered with rare abandon to the winds. O Sri Lanka I weep for thee.

          If this trend in memoirs continues, SL will very soon take an unsurpassable lead in the world in fairy tales of conflict resolution.

          ‘What in the name of God is this fellow doing with Napoleon’s b…s” (‘Wellington’ in ‘Black Adder’)


          • 2

            Agreed. This is a mysterious issue. It is a dispute between Cyril Mathew Vs. Gamini Dissnayake which had eventually taken gigantic shape secretly. Cyril Mathew’s close associates should examined. One thing is certain – a faction within the UNP is responsible.

    • 3

      @ Thiru
      “This man is talking bull shit”
      He always does.

    • 0

      This shameless worm -RW seems to be promoting Gotabaya while DJ is doing the job for Sajith and MR. These are the real academic morons that do nothing but live on the tax payers money let ruining culprits the country. That is what I feel having read all these. This man RW has never called a spade a spade.

  • 5

    dear proffesor why have you not included dayan j and tamara k from your famous cliche’ which is dayan ,tamara and I’ ;-)

    • 1

      The councillors of the other provinces are allowed to work as they please without the interference of their Governors.

      Jaffna Tamils are trying all sorts of ways to put things aright.

      But the Review will remain a review for long.

      Prof will have to keep talking ”Presidency under threat” to be a National List MP next time. Tamils can be easily fooled.

    • 3

      the education system in rest of the country in downhill. schools getting closed. more and children failing maths and dropping out from school.

      instead of blaming North, Prof. Rajiv, why dont you use your brilliant brain with Gota to do something to education in the rest of the country?

  • 5


    Sorry to burst your bubble…

    The reason the North has spectacular results was because the examiners who worked in the Examinations dept during the week, went home to Jaffna on the weekends and ran tuition classes for all comers and leaked the papers..

    There were more bicycles outside these classes than on the streets!!

    So lets put the academic successes of the North to rest once and for all.

    That said, most students were extremely hard-working and at the time academic success meant a higher education (still free)and a gateway to a more comfortable life.

    • 3

      Yes Upul, you should be sorry to shaw false perceptions your elders have implanted in your brain… Some of things you said are true like Tamils were hardworking, but talking about Tamils teachers leaking exam questions was Cyril Mathew venom…
      My University batch was one of the last batches where 50% were Tamils… but final results showed that more than 75% classes were obtained by Tamils… again Cyril Mathew snake said Tamil professors were cheating.. Check with somebody about the calibre Prof Mahalingam and Thurairaja type teachers and also quality of Sinhalese Profs like Gunda, Jayathilake…, these Sinhalese guys were not even good teachers…

      • 2

        Dear AVB,

        The answer scripts of undergraduates were not supposed to have any identifying mark other than the Index number.

        Check with the University staff whether this was observed in your day and before. I have personal knowledge that it was not and marks identifying the ethnicity appeared on scripts.

        This was noticed by certain staff members of Pera Uni and as a counter measure they started to be very strict in correcting and awarding marks to such undergrads. That resulted in the mark vanishing as the undergrad had no control over the ethnicity of the marking examiner.

        This is not Cyril Mathew fiction but what actually took place at the Peradenyiya Engineering faculty. Without a doubt it would have happened at other faculties as well.

        Kind Regards,

    • 2


      To match what was allegedly committed in the North, the Sinhalese in the South made Gampaha their education hub in the vernacular, churning a mediocrity, leave alone producing learned for the world outside, a sub-standard mediocrity for the whole country. Of course Free indeed!

    • 2

      You are another one talking bull shit, in my time none of my class mates went for tuition classes, but a horde of students entered engineering.

      We worked hard of, course because, Tamil books, don’t talk about how great a race we are as does the Mahavamsa to Sinhalese:

      Tamils teach again and again the value of education, and to excel in it and live to reflect your education;

      “Katkai nantre, Katkai nantre, pitchai puhinum katkai nantre” is what is inculcated in primary schools.

      That means: Learning is good, Learning is good, even if become a beggar learning is good.

      These are virtues instilled in childhood.

      So, don’t talk bull crap, my friend.

      • 2


        You should be dead right, because even in TN, Tamils pay emphasis to education. Most families in TN even during poverty days used to motivate children with same “Aathichudi lines” written by Avvayyar

        However your meaning to those lines are not correct,
        the correct meaning

        Learn, learn even if needed, beg and learn.
        This is how since ancient times Tamils have laid emphasis for education.

      • 5

        Dear Thiru,

        You wrote “We worked hard of, course because, Tamil books, don’t talk about how great a race we are as does the Mahavamsa to Sinhalese:”

        Some Tamils work hard and some Tamils are plain lazy.
        Some Tamils are Slave Drivers and other Tamils are Slaves.

        Working hard is not your exclusive domain and that applies to laziness too.

        The Mahavamsa has been more important to Tamil propagandists such as you than it is to the Sinhalese. There is no need to read the Mahavamsa to observe the greatness of the Sinhalese.

        Reading the writings of Brohier, Parker and Sir Henry Ward Governor of SL (non of who are Sinhalese) will be sufficient for any one with an iota of brains to understand that greatness. A tour of the North Central part of the island will put that beyond doubt to anyone other than the Blind or those who refuse to see or those who are idiots.

        It is not the book that underlines the greatness but the edifices that the Sinhalese constructed which are still in existence and in use today that exhibits that greatness to the world. Just because you don’t have a history to talk or write about propagandists like you belittle the Mahavamsa.

        One of the intriguing features of the tank systems is their sheer density: There are about 30,000 tanks which have been built in the land area of about 40,000 sq.km of the dry zone, resulting in nearly a tank for every square kilometer (Mendis, 2003).

        Can you show anything that parallels what the Sinhalese civilization achieved in the fields of Irrigation and Construction, in the Tamil inhabited North?

        Sir Henry Ward the Colonial Governor of Lanka says

        It is possible, that in no other part of the world are there to be found within the same space, the remains of so many works of irrigation, which are, at the same time, of such great antiquity, and of such vast magnitude as Ceylon. Probably no other country can exhibit works so numerous, and at the same time so ancient and extensive, within the same limited area, as this Island. (wiki)

        Sir Henry Parker was a British engineer of the Irrigation Department from 1873 to 1904. He says

        “It may be assumed, that the formation of all reservoirs of a class with embankments much higher than those of simple village tasks was originally due to the constructive genius of the Sinhalese themselves. …. Since about the middle of last century, open wells, called ‘valve-towers’ when they stand clear of the embankment and ‘valve-pits’ when they are in it, have been built at numerous reservoirs in Europe. Their duty is to hold the valves, and the lifting –gear for working them, by means of which the outward flow of the water is regulated or totally stopped. Such also was the function of the bisokotuwa of the Sinhalese engineers; they were the first inventors of the valve-pit, more than 2100 years ago.(Parker, 1909)”

        Dr R. L. Brohier OBE was a surveyor in the Survey dept. His parents were French. He has written many books on SL (Seeing Ceylon (1965) Discovering Ceylon (1973) etc). He says,

        “The Jayaganga, indeed an ingenious memorial of ancient irrigation, which was undoubtedly designed to serve as a combined irrigation and water supply canal, was not entirely dependent on its feeder reservoir, Kalaweva, for the water it carried. The length of the bund between Kalaweva and Anuradhapura intercepted all the drainage from the high ground to the east which otherwise would have run to waste. Thus the Jayaganga adapted itself to a wide field of irrigation by feeding little village tanks in each subsidiary valley, which lay below its bund. Not infrequently it fed a chain of village tanks down these valleys – the tank lower down receiving the overflow from the tank higher up on each chain”

        The Jayaganga has only ONE embankment, which means that it had to follow the contour line from its origin in Polonnaruwa to its destination in Anuradhapura, a distance of 54 miles (87 Km). The gradient of the first 17 miles is 6 inches per mile (9cm/Km) and this was constructed between 455-473 AD.

        Anyone with an engineering or mathematical background will understand the technological and mathematical knowledge and skill required to achieve such a feat 1540 years ago. The Mahavamsa does not tell us that.

        The dagobas or stupas are distinctive for many reasons. They are probably the largest brick structures known to the pre-modern world. Demala Maha Seya, which was never completed, had a circumference of 2011 feet. Jetavanaramaya is the largest stupa constructed in any part of the world. It is over 120 meters in height and has a diameter of 367 feet. The foundation is 252 feet deep. The deepest known foundation of the ancient world. It needed bricks that could bear the load of 368 pounds. Jetavana was the third tallest building in the ancient world. Abhayagiri (370 feet) ranked fifth and Ruvanvelisaya (300 feet) came seventh. The first, fourth and sixth places were held by the pyramids. (wiki)

        No rational thinker will need the Mahavamsa to understand what can be seen with one’s own eyes. Claiming in parliament that one is a Proud Dravidian does not make Dravida civilization in Lanka great. No book is needed to show greatness when existing edifices can do that for you.

        You claimed to be a Rational Scientist capable of rational thought. But so far you have proved to be an imbecile disseminating racial hatred and nothing else.

        Kind Regards,

      • 2

        Tamils are hard working and therefore 10% of the population deserve to 75% of the higher education places, in the professions, in business and in the Civil Service is an utter myth perpetrated by your race. How come in India, Malaysia and in the West this brilliance of your superior race is not evident? In a Western country I am familiar with, (where Sinhalese and Tamil population is not insignificant) there is absolutely no difference in academic achievement between Sinhalese and Tamil students. Here both categories of students come from simillar socio-economic back grounds (i.e ordinary working class / technical and professional parents – not refugees children). The fact is that the the system worked in your favour at the time due to numerous factors.

        I can go on with hundreds of real life examples from Sri Lankas academic, professional and Civil service spheres when the class 9royal/ St Thomas’s, Religion (Catholics / Anglicans), race (Tamils) and caste (I will leave it to your imagination as to which caste dominated professions and business in the early periods) gave undue advantage to individuals in society in pre and post independence Sri lanka.

  • 1

    We were reading news an year ago about Gotabaya opposing elections for NPC.

    Dear Prof, was this President or his Defence Secretary going to let the Tamils breathe:

    Opportunity for Army High Command on a Saturday to show off to school students in the guise of showing technology to them:

  • 0

    Upul, idiots like you who could not better the northern boys at exams always had an excuse.

  • 4

    Why the President permits all this is beyond me.

    And you say you have a PhD?????? LOL

  • 1

    How old R U?. I bet you were inside your grand fathers knees those days, if you understand what I mean. Place respect and gratitude where they belong. My life was saved by a great surgeon called Dr. Mylawaganam in the 60’s.

    You are correct. This is one of the Dr.s’ Upul is on about. His thesis was a collection of web documents from the 60s’ and the internet was facility provided only universities for research and academic purposes.
    Don’t waste your time reading

  • 6

    “Tamil Diaspora has so much to offer to this country” says Professor Wijesinghe.

    Have they whispered this in his ears privately or publicly in Oslo?.

    Because all our inhabitants have heard so far from the Diaspora and their stooge the Vellala outfit TNA, are unsubstantiated allegations of child and widow rape, allegations of grease yakkas,genocide, land grabbing and threats to bring Cameron, Harper and Pillai to fix them up.

    Even before Vellalas took charge, kids in the North were going to school in their crispy whites , and even girls riding their bikes to and from home peacefully after Nanthikadal.

    But the undergrads in Jaffna Uni were of course trying hard to do the same naughty things like in the past with the help of some of their tutors.

    And it became more widespread after the Vellalas took charge.

    This Education miracle which Wijesinghe tries to flog to the rest of the country must be something real 24 Carat or at least Gold plated.

    But our inhabitants can’t see it unti[l Wijesinghe gives them the details and the pros and cons.

    Just saying that the UNP high jumper, who seems to have the potential to be Bruce Lee of SL , is ace when it comes to educating our inhabitant kids and asking the rest of the Chiefs to follow him ,is not good enough.

    This is the same Wijesinghe who said the naughty Diaspora are just a negligible
    7 %%.

    Then came the news that thousands of British Tamil Citizens converged on Glassgow from 40 different locations in the United Kingdom, to shout death to Srilanka and Death to Rjapaksas.

    And the mainstream Media of the Diaspora were full of pictures of the diaspora wearing Praba T Shirts and waving LTTE flags which appeared like a Sea of Tiger heads.

    The OSLO training probably has done a Gnanissara on Wijesinghe. But it is, “to be nice to the Diaspora”.

    Wonder whether it is the Kroners or the Norwegian Hospitality or a bit of both?..

    • 4

      The active part of the diaspora was LTTE, overtly LTTE supporting or fellow travellers. They were certainly NOT willing to work with the government and were still carrying on the propaganda war. The rest of the diaspora were too slow to react if at all, and are still in ‘mute’ mode.

  • 0

    No the president was right

    ” I was told by the President that only Gotabaya and I had advised against having it then, but this was in the tone he uses to suggest that I know nothing about politics.”

    But then you know how to hang on….without shame. Not many can do that as well as you do.

  • 6

    Dear Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha MP,

    Could you please elaborate on the emphasized text of the following statement?

    “After all it was simplistic tampering with the education system that first roused deep resentments in the younger generation in the North (Prabhakaran’s batch were the first victims of standardization), and the incapacity or unwillingness of successive governments since then to provide remedies has entrenched bitterness”

    I agree with the simplistic tampering part and is at a loss to understand why the subsequent remedies and changes are unfair when it was welcomed by the majority of minorities (non Jaffna Tamils and Muslims).

    Policy on University Admission UNIVERSITY GRANTS COMMISSION http://www.ugc.ac.lk/downloads/admissions/local_students/Admission%20to%20Undergraduate%20Courses%20of%20the%20Universities%20in%20Sri%20Lanka%202012_2013.pdf Admission to all courses other than the courses stated in above will be made on a dual criteria, namely:

    All Island Merit
    Merit on District basis

    Under All Island Merit criteria:
    (i) Up to 40% of the available places will be filled in order of Z – Scores ranked on an all island basis, as per Section 3.2.1 of the above.

    Under District Merit Criteria:
    (i) Up to 55% of the available places in each course of study will be allocated to the 25 administrative districts in proportion to the total population, that is, on the ratio of the population of the district concerned to the total population of the country.

    (ii) A special allocation up to 5% of the available places in each course of study will be allocated to the under-mentioned 16 educationally disadvantaged districts in proportion to the population, that is, on the ratio of the population of each such district to the total population of the 16 districts;

    1. Nuwara Eliya
    2. Hambantota
    3. Jaffna
    4. Kilinochchi
    5. Mannar
    6. Mullaitivu
    7. Vavuniya
    8. Trincomalee
    9. Batticaloa
    10. Ampara
    11. Puttalam
    12. Anuradhapura
    13. Polonnaruwa
    14. Badulla
    15. Monaragala
    16. Ratnapura

    The number of places allocated on the district merit quota given in (i) and (ii) above will be filled in order of Z – Scores ranked on the district basis, as per Section 3.2.1 of the above

    Kind Regards,

    • 2

      OfftheCuff comes alive when a particular subject is discussed!

  • 2

    Writer says: “….It is no wonder the Tamils are upset….”.

    Why just now you found out?


  • 3

    dear Prof. You still have some mettle left in you. do not beliitle yourself by saying that Gotabhaya and you were right. it is an insult to human intelligence. Do not let it it be said: “Fools think alike and great minds seldom differ”. Bensen

  • 0

    ”Why the President permits all this is beyond me”:
    1.President’s lies challenged by a journalist: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzGj2hYoymo&feature=youtube_gdata

    2.‘’The umpteenth Indian delegation (Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, National Security Advisor Shiva Shankar Menon and Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar) went back empty handed: President Rajapakse handed them a flat ‘Nyet’ and for once in a lifetime he spoke the truth. “If I make any devolutionary concessions to the Tamils, 13A Plus, Minus, Divided or Subtracted, it will be curtains for me’’ – Sri Lanka: Indian Delegates go Home Empty Handed, Kumar David, 15 June 2011, http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/%5Cpapers46%5Cpaper4558.html

    3.Refusing to publish reports of almost all commissions (except LLRC – but then the recommendations remain unimplemented) appointed by him: http://f.cl.ly/items/2c0m2i0Y3V2A2D2X052C/A%20list%20of%20Commissions%20and%20Committees%20appointed%20by%20GoSL%20since%202005%20_December%202013.pdf

    • 2

      When the so-called epitome of democracy the Britain hadn’t published the report by Chilcott commission on Britain’s role in the invasion of Iraq in 2003 that killed hundreds of thousands of civilians to-date and after three years since the report had been concluded Sri Lanka not publishing a report or two is nothing.

  • 1

    Rajiva’s song.. .me me me meeeee and I I I Ieeeeeeeeeee and now Gotha and I as well.

  • 1

    It looks like english professor is canvassing for the national -list after the next election.

  • 2

    After all it was simplistic tampering with the education system that first roused deep resentments in the younger generation in the North (Prabhakaran’s batch were the first victims of standardization).

    For me a vague and a stupid statement.

  • 0

    Dear prof. when you say northern administration, it is elected administration or appointed administration. there is a difference. may be you did not say that because you understand the difference. if it is the appointed administration, its like chandrasiri inviting himself. it also says how pathetic the condition of the elected administration. thats exactly why you did not want to talk about it. lick, lick, lick and lick and we will see how far you and dayan will go for bones. the reference to dogs was a good one.

  • 0

    May be both are right. But remember always Gothbaya is more right than you. That is according to Mahinda Chindanaya

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