17 August, 2022


Healing The Nation – A Question Of Leadership 

By Nihal Jayawickrama

Dr. Nihal Jayawickrama

Dr. Nihal Jayawickrama

I am deeply honoured by the invitation of the Lanka-Japan Friendship Society to deliver the Deshamanya Dr P.R. Anthonisz Memorial Lecture this evening. I was intrigued by the subject that was assigned to me, since a surgeon’s approach to healing a patient is usually to cut and remove a part of his or her anatomy. I wondered whether I was expected to advocate the same approach to healing the nation. Coming, as I do, from a family of lawyers, with only one doctor of medicine produced in several generations, it was my brother who knew and worked with Dr Anthonisz over many years. He mentioned to me that Dr Anthonisz, when 90 years old, had arrived late for a meeting of the Diabetes Association to which he had been invited, and explained that the delay was because he had to remove a patient’s gall bladder. He had said that he proposed to break the world record held by a Russian surgeon by removing another gall bladder after he reaches the age of 92. I do not know whether he achieved that distinction. Dr Anthonisz was one of a small group of brilliant surgeons of the 20th century that included Dr Noel Bartholomeusz and Dr M.V.P. Peries. I have had the good fortune never to have been subjected to Dr Anthonisz’s scalpel, but I have had the privilege of meeting him socially, often in the home of Felix and Lakshmi Dias Bandaranaike, and also elsewhere, and he always treated me with the utmost kindness. To the memory of that remarkable surgeon, I dedicate my own thoughts on the subject I propose to address, with respect and affection.

‘Healing the Nation – A question of leadership’ immediately raises the question: what is expected of a political leader in a democratic society? Should the leader reflect the views, the fears and the prejudices of the electorate to which he has to return for re-election; or should he determine a path according to his own vision, his own values and his own judgment, and endeavour to lead his electorate along that path? President Jayewardene ruminated on this issue some years after he had left office, and wondered how long one could go along with the wishes of the electorate. A military leader or a dictator does not have to worry about that, but a democratic leader has to because the electors are his main and only support. He recognized that it was very difficult to win an election again unless the leader continued to enjoy the continued support of those who had placed him in that position. However, he was willing to make an exception in regard to economic matters where external factors often determined what could or could not be done, however much that might displease the electorate. Incidentally, he had some sound advice for those aspiring to be leaders. Politics, he said, was a “stayers race”; a race where a man or woman who does not try to kick his neighbour or jump over him, but stays on till all the others disappear, wins the race. Therefore, he advised aspirants for political leadership that good health was vital: “look after your kidney, nurse your heart, eat little, don’t exercise too much, and in the end you win the stayer’s race and you become the leader”.

Not being a politician, and not intending to be one at this stage of my life, I am free to disagree with President Jayewardene. I believe that a leader must possess a vision that he pursues with wisdom and integrity, and it is his responsibility to convince his electorate that he is on the right path. At the height of the American civil war, when things were not going well for the North, members of his political party advised Abraham Lincoln that he might need to compromise on slavery. Lincoln held firm on the issue of the abolition of slavery and turned away from that advice. More recently, Nelson Mandela’s decision to be magnanimous in victory must have enraged tens of thousands of black Africans who had been subjected to oppression and brutality at the hands of the previous white apartheid regime. Yet, both Lincoln and Mandela achieved peace in their respective countries, and the North was able to co-exist with the South in one, and the Blacks were able to begin to co-exist with the Whites in the other. That, in my view, was the result of leadership. President Obama’s success in re-establishing relations with Iran and Cuba, after over half a century of acrimony, and despite vehement opposition from Congress and Cuban immigrants, is another very recent example of leadership.

To establish the parameters for my presentation, I need to define the expression “healing the nation”. To heal is to mend, to reconcile, to rectify, or to restore. It presupposes that the nation is wounded, hurt or broken. In this context, “the nation” must mean Ceylon or Sri Lanka. However, about a hundred years ago, Anagarika Dharmapala began writing aggressively of the “Sinhala nation”, and in course of time “Sinhala” became the equivalent of “jathiya” or “Lankika”. In 1944, the Communist Party made the first reference to the “Tamil nation”, a term that was finally affirmed in the Vaddukoddai Resolution of 1976. In the contemporary world, this is not a matter for any real concern. For example, over several centuries “English” was considered to be synonymous with “British”, but today, the nation known as “Great Britain” comprises at least three nations: the English nation, the Scottish nation and the Welsh nation. Each has a distinct language, religion and a proud culture. Scotland and Wales have their own legislative assemblies and their own chief ministers, and are represented in Westminster in both the Parliament and the Cabinet. Together with Northern Ireland, these three nations constitute the United Kingdom. In fact, the former Prime Minister Gordon Brown was a Scot, representing a constituency in Scotland. Similarly, the nation of Sri Lanka includes the Sinhala nation and the Tamil nation and several other communities, and it is to the break-up of that nation that I now turn.

The Break-Up Of The Nation 

When did the break-up of the Sri Lankan nation occur? I would submit that it was not a single event, but a series of events that led to the nation being wounded, hurt or broken. In the first quarter of the twentieth century, all the different ethnic communities stood together as Ceylonese in agitating for constitutional reform. In 1931, universal adult franchise was introduced, together with a State Council and a Board of Ministers. With impending self-government, it was natural that minority communities would become apprehensive of majority rule. There was cause for this. The Sinhala Maha Sabha, established by S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike in 1937, was already engaged in creating a national consciousness among the Sinhalese. The Kandyan National Association was agitating for a federal political structure in which the former Kandyan kingdom would be the component unit. Meanwhile, following the election of the second State Council in 1936, the Low-Country and the Up-Country Sinhalese members, together with the European members (whose support was secured through promises that were made but not honoured: they were promised two ministries, but that promise was not kept once the objective had been achieved) succeeded in electing a Board of Ministers that was exclusively Sinhalese – the so-called “Pan-Sinhalese Board”.

The 1946 Constitution

The fears of the minority communities were set at rest by the Soulbury Commission which recommended the inclusion in the constitution of a package of safeguards. These were:

a) Multi-member constituencies in those areas in which a substantial racial or religious minority lived.
b) Six nominated members of the House of Representatives to represent any inadequately represented interests.
c) The Senate, which would serve the minorities as an instrument for impeding precipitate legislation, as well as a forum for handling inflammatory issues in a cooler atmosphere.
d) An independent Public Service Commission which would guarantee strict impartiality in public appointments.
e) A prohibition on Parliament from enacting any law which seeks to make persons of any community or religion liable to disabilities or restrictions to which persons of other communities or religions were not made liable, or to confer on persons of any community or religion any privilege or advantage which was not conferred on persons of other communities or religions: the future section 29.

The 1946 Constitution, containing as it did, these safeguards, was described by one commentator as having “entrenched in it all the protective provisions for minorities that the wit of man could devise.” The Privy Council later observed that these safeguards represented “the solemn balance of rights between the citizens of Sri Lanka, the fundamental conditions on which they accepted the Constitution; and these are therefore unalterable”. Earlier, in May 1944, the State Council had resolved that Sinhala and Tamil would be declared the official languages of Ceylon within a reasonable number of years.

The 1947 General Election and Independence

At the conclusion of the first general election of October 1947, D.S. Senanayake, the leader of the newly formed United National Party which secured 42 of the 95 seats, formed a 14-member Cabinet in which he included two independent Tamils elected from the northern province: C.Sittampalam, a former civil servant, from Mannar, and C.Suntheralingam, the professor mathematics, from Vavuniya, and one Muslim, T.B. Jayah, from Colombo. Suntheralingam had reportedly assisted Senanayake in 1936 to configure how to establish a Pan-Sinhalese Board of Ministers. Apparently his objective and that of Senanayake at that time was to demonstrate to the British Government that the Executive Committee system established under the Donoughmore Constitution afforded no protection to minority communities, and should therefore be replaced with cabinet government.

Was the formation of this multi-ethnic Cabinet an act of leadership on the part of D.S. Senanayake, designed to consolidate the multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-linguistic nation of Ceylon? Or, was it an act of political expediency which he considered necessary to convince the British Government that the fear that the minorities entertained of majority rule no longer existed, and that Ceylon was ready and equipped for independence? I am inclined to the view that Senanayake, during whose tenure our national flag was designed and adopted, and who steered clear of language and religious issues, truly desired to maintain the equilibrium of a multi-ethnic state. On Independence Day, 4 February 1948, Sir Oliver Goonetilleke, presenting an Address of Thanks on behalf of the Senate to the Duke of Gloucester who had opened the first Parliament of Independent Ceylon, exclaimed: “We are of many races – Europeans, Indians, Burghers, Malays, Moors, Tamils and Sinhalese. We are of different religions – Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists. We have majorities and minorities. We have, however, been in the past, and we shall be in the future, one nation”.

If I may digress for a moment, I was present and saw and heard Sir Oliver express that optimistic hope, although I may not have understood much of what he said. When I entered Royal College in January 1948, having been a wolf-cub at Royal Primary School, I was immediately inducted into the scout troop. That had its privileges. On 4th February of that year, I was among the scouts “on duty” at the specially constructed Assembly Hall, where the Independence Hall now stands, and where the Duke of Gloucester opened Parliament. On every Independence Day thereafter, whether at Independence Square or at Galle Face, where the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice and the Minister of Home Affairs were usually decked in top hat and tail coat, I was among those scouts “on duty”. At every Opening of Parliament, and also when Elizabeth II was proclaimed Queen of Ceylon, I stood on the steps of the parliament building in the blazing Galle Face sun, compensated only by the fact that on the other side of the steps were the girl guides. I was even “on duty” at the funeral of Mr. D.S. Senanayake. Like “Forrest Gump”, that Alabama native, portrayed by Tom Hanks in that riveting 1990’s comedy, who happened to witness some of the defining moment of the latter half of the 20th century, I too was there until I could no longer wear blue shorts and stockings, and had to graduate into longs. On that particular February day, I returned home and did two things. I made a replica of the Assembly Hall using cardboard strips and colourful chocolate paper as a substitute for the ralipallan. I also began maintaining scrap books in which I pasted the newspaper reports of that event, and thereafter of all the significant events in the country, including the regular Miss Ceylon contests.

To return to the new nation, the critical events that followed Independence were often determined by political expediency. This was in sharp contrast to the policies of Lee Kuan Yew who created one of Asia’s most peaceful and prosperous nations out of what he described as “a polyglot collection of migrants from China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia and several other parts of Asia”. In barely 30 years, Sri Lanka’s political leaders caused the disintegration of a nation which at Independence had the highest per capita income in Asia, one of the smallest military budgets, and one of the most extensive social welfare programmes. With a long familiarity with constitutionalism, experience of political and social organization and agitation, as well as of the conduct of government, a remarkably high standard of literacy, a vibrant middle class, a national press, and a spiritual commitment to the dignity and worth of the human person, the new independent nation of Ceylon had solid foundations of freedom, perhaps more than any other British colony.

Citizenship and Franchise

The new nation’s first target were 211, 915 registered Indian Tamil voters. As British subjects who had been continuously resident in Ceylon for at least five years, they were eligible to vote. At the 1947 general election, apart from electing seven candidates of the Ceylon Indian Congress, they had helped to secure the victory of 15 1eft-wing opposition candidates as well. It became a matter of priority for the Government to disenfranchise the Indian Tamil population. In this venture, the Government also had the tacit support of the leader of the Ceylon Tamil Congress, G.G. Ponnambalam. Accordingly, Parliament enacted a package of laws which had a profoundly debilitating effect on that community. The Citizenship Act 1948, the Indian and Pakistani Residents (Citizenship) Act 1949, and the Ceylon Parliamentary Elections (Amendment) Act 1949 ensured that by the time of the next general election of 1952, the number of Indian Tamil voters in the seven plantation area constituencies was reduced from 162,212 to a mere 3191, thereby making it impossible for that community to secure even a single seat in the legislature. The first piece of legislation established the principle of citizenship by descent, and not by birth, by requiring proof of birth in Ceylon of one’s father, or paternal grandfather and great-grandfather. It thereby deprived the plantation Tamils, 12 per cent or an eighth of the country’s population, of their citizenship. The second made it virtually impossible for them to obtain citizenship by registration since it required proof of uninterrupted residence in Ceylon in the previous 13 years. The third deprived those who were not citizens of their right to vote.

Did the Citizenship Act discriminate against the Indian Tamil community? In my view it did. However, when section 29 of the Constitution was invoked, both the Supreme Court and the Privy Council retreated. In what bore the stamp of a classic political judgment, they upheld the action of Parliament on the ground that it was “a perfectly natural and legitimate function of the legislature to determine the composition of its nationals.” While that may well be so, both these courts overlooked the fact that our Constitution provided that in performing that function, Parliament must not discriminate against a particular community already resident in the country. A million people were thereby rendered stateless.

The problems created by the presence of the Indian Tamils were sensitive and emotional. Even almost 30 years later, Hector Kobbekaduwa would exclaim, with reference to the 1947 general election:

With universal franchise, the constitution makers thought that the inarticulate peasantry should have their own representatives. But unfortunately in the hill country, the change was from clay to fire. The Peri Sunderams, the Vythialingams, Natesa Iyers and Fellows-Gordons, and later the Thondamans and Jesudasans and other political adventurers, were swept into power in our areas through the Indian votes. It was a hopeless situation for us. We screamed for justice.

Marginalizing the Tamil community

The substantial disintegration of the nation, however, occurred with a series of politically expedient measures taken by successive governments which were directed at, or had the effect of, marginalizing the Tamil community. These were political decisions that were thought to appeal to the majority of the Sinhalese electorate who believed, as the Mahawamsa claims, that the passing away of the Buddha synchronized with the founding of the Sinhala race; that Sri Lanka was a “Dhamma-dweepa”, a nation brought into being for the specific purpose of keeping alive the message of the Buddha; and had for centuries harboured a historical, yet often dormant, grievance against the Tamils for having settled in a part of this “Dhamma-dweepa”.

One of the earliest of such measures were the government initiated and funded colonization schemes, which at the time appeared to be both timely and desirable. However, they resulted in Sinhalese families from the south being settled in the sparsely populated dry zone in the eastern, north-central and northern provinces. This was viewed by the Tamil community as a diabolical attempt to dilute the Tamil presence and seriously alter the ethnic composition in those provinces. It was argued by Tamil politicians that the government should have first invited the people of the provinces where lands were being distributed to come forward as recipients. Thereafter, people from the other areas would have had their share if there was sufficient land to distribute. This policy, which appeared to have a secondary objective of altering the demographical pattern that existed at the time of Independence, was to lead to violent ethnic conflicts in the colonized areas in later years.

The division of the Sinhalese from the Tamils, commencing at a very young age, began with the implementation of the policy to replace English with Sinhala and Tamil as the medium of instruction in schools. I was fortunate to have entered the primary school before this policy was introduced, and to have had the opportunity to go through school life in the company of fellow students from all the communities and to understand and appreciate their cultures, their strengths, their weaknesses, and their idiosyncrasies. To segregate children from a very young age on the basis of their language was to ensure a permanent division between the two communities through life, with little or no opportunity to interact and understand each other.

That division was compounded when the SLFP and the UNP changed their language policies to that of Sinhala Only as the official language, repudiating one important element of the 1946 constitutional settlement on the basis of which the minorities had agreed to subject themselves to majority rule. For generations, the government clerical service had been a popular outlet for the educated Tamil youth who did not aspire to a university education, but sought a habitation and a source of income away from the arid soil of his northern home. He or she was now required to qualify in Sinhala in order to enter, and thereafter to progress in, the public service. Between 1977 and 1981, Tamils secured only 4.9 per cent of the vacancies in the government clerical service as against 93.6 per cent for the Sinhalese. The plight they now faced became evident from the case of Kodeeswaran, a Tamil who had been appointed to the General Clerical Service in 1952. He had successfully moved up the salary scale from Rs.1600 to Rs.3780 per annum by regularly passing proficiency tests in Tamil. In 1962, he was denied his increment because he did not present himself for the proficiency test which was now conducted in Sinhala. Many hundreds of Tamil public servants almost certainly found themselves in the same predicament as Kodeeswaran.

Kodeeswaran challenged the Official Language Act in the District Court of Colombo. Mr O.L.de Kretser, District Judge, in a carefully considered judgment observed that:

If the members of each community were able to speak, read and write the language of each of the other communities, then it is obvious that the selection of the language of one community as the Official Language could not cause any handicap to the members of the communities whose language was not chosen, however much they resented the fact that their own language was not given pride of place. But every community in Ceylon in not literate in the language of the other communities, and the selection of the language of one community must cause at least inconvenience, if not disability, to the communities who are not literate in that language.

He concluded that the purpose of an Act must be found in its natural operation and effect. While it was a legitimate function for Parliament to decide in what language official business should be carried on, and in making that decision the language spoken by the largest number of people would ordinarily be the choice, the Act nevertheless gave advantage to one community which the other did not have. Accordingly, he held the Official Language Act to be an infringement of section 29 of the Constitution, and therefore void.

Once more, the Supreme Court retreated. Chief Justice H.N.G. Fernando avoided the substantive issue and held instead that a public servant in Ceylon had no right to sue the Crown for the recovery of his wages. On appeal to the Privy Council, the Chief Justice’s judgment was declared to be wrong, and the case was returned to the Supreme Court to address the substantive issue. For some inexplicable reason, the appeal was not listed for hearing until the Official Language Act was incorporated in the 1972 Constitution. Kodeeswaran was compensated by the new Republic, whereupon he discontinued his litigation against the state.

The 1972 Constitution marked the crucial decisive stage in the disintegration of the nation. The 1946 constitutional settlement was unilaterally abrogated. The Senate, the nominated members in the House of Representatives, the Public Service Commission, and the section 29 prohibition of discriminatory legislation were all omitted in the new Constitution, along with the judicial review of legislation. Sinhala was granted constitutional status, and Tamil was described as the language of translation. The tragedy of the 1972 Constitution was that it heard and responded only to the voices of those who celebrated its creation. The issue of federalism was not even allowed to be raised. The Federal Party withdrew from the Constituent Assembly because they believed that they were unable to influence in any effective manner the course of its proceedings. In fact, federalism itself had now ceased to be an expression in vogue in the political terminology of the Northern Province. Indeed, by postulating a separate Tamil nationalism and by assiduously developing it, the federal Party had raised Tamil aspirations to a level that was beyond its reach and no longer capable of being fulfilled through regional autonomy within a federal union of Sri Lanka.

The most untimely introduction in 1970 of a policy of standardization in respect of university admission was perhaps the final straw. It was introduced in the hope that it would thereby secure a more equitable distribution, language and district-wise, of the limited number of places available in universities. It resulted in a large number of Tamil students being denied admission to the universities. The effect of this policy, and the enormity of the injustice it caused to the Tamil community, raised this issue to the level of a major human rights problem. For instance, in 1975, the admissions on a district basis into the medical faculty were 29 from Galle and 29 from Jaffna, whereas on the basis of merit only 18 had qualified from Galle as against 61 from Jaffna. Similarly, on a district basis, Galle and Jaffna each secured 20 places in the science and engineering faculties, while on the basis of merit, 24 should have entered from Galle and 56 from Jaffna. Nothing could have been more frustrating to the educated Tamil youth than his inability to enter the stream of higher education owing to standardization, and be diverted away from the mainstream of life in the country. This feeling of despair and non-fulfilment contributed immensely to the emergence of a militant youth movement. The drift to separation was now both rapid and intense, and accompanied by increasing violence. On 27 July 1975, masked gunmen shot and killed 48-year old Alfred Duraiyappah, the SLFT Mayor of Jaffna.

The Vaddukkodai Declaration

One year later, at Vaddukkodai, on 14th May 1976, the Tamil United Front, together with the Muslim United Front, declared that:

The Tamils of Ceylon, by virtue of their great language, their religion, their separate culture and heritage, their history of independent existence as a separate state over a distinct territory for several centuries until they were conquered by the armed might of the European invaders, and above all, by their will to exist as a separate entity ruling themselves in their own territory, are a nation distinct and apart from the Sinhalese.

It was indeed ironic that Dr Colvin R. de Silva, the architect of the Constitution that abrogated the 1947 constitutional settlement, should have actually anticipated that this would happen. Addressing Parliament twenty years earlier this is what he predicted:

Do we, does this House, do our people want two nations? Do we want a single State or do we want two? Do we want one Ceylon or do we want two? And above all, do we want an independent Ceylon which must necessarily be a united and single Ceylon, or two bleeding halves of Ceylon which can be gobbled up by every ravaging imperialist monster that may happen to range the Indian Ocean? If we come to the stage where, instead of parity, we, through needless insularity, get into the position of suppressing the Tamil people from the federal demand which seems to be popular amongst them at present – if we are to judge by electoral results – there may emerge separatism.

Healing The Nation 

If the health of the nation has been seriously compromised, it is principally due to the failure of its political leadership, all of whom represent, or have represented predominantly Sinhalese electorates. For them, the constituency is essentially Sinhalese in race, Buddhist in religion, and Mahawamsa in mindset. Under pressure from the Tamil political leadership, or faced with the threat of satyagraha or civil disobedience campaigns, or occasionally when driven to seek the support of the Tamil members of parliament in order to form an administration, successive Sinhalese political parties have entered into formal or informal agreements with representatives of the Tamil people. These were rarely honoured. The responses were determined purely by political expediency.

For example, in 1957, S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike signed a pact with the Tamil political leadership under which he promised to establish Regional Council and provide for the use of Tamil in the northern and eastern provinces. Nine months later, under pressure from the Eksath Bhikku Peramuna and from the UNP led by J.R. Jayewardene which organized a 72-mile march from Colombo to the Temple of the Tooth “to save the Sinhala race”, he announced that the pact which bore his signature as Prime Minister was incapable of being implemented. In fact, a UNP publication revealed the move behind the march, which was the need for “a demonstration that would seize the imagination of the people on a national scale”. In 1958, Mr Bandaranaike enacted the Tamil Language (Special Provisions) Act, but failed in his lifetime to make the regulations which would have made that law operative. When in 1966, Dudley Senanayake attempted to make these regulations, Opposition parties led by Mrs Bandaranaike demonstrated against that move on Vihahamahadevi Park and on the streets of Colombo, and took an oath at the statue of Vihara Maha Devi to oppose the division of the country. Dudley Senanayake, fortified by a state of emergency, proceeded to make the regulations, but did not implement them in the remaining four years of his government. In 1965, Dudley Senenayake signed an agreement with Chelvanayakam in which he promised to establish District Councils. A Bill for this purpose was prepared, but was never introduced in Parliament. Meanwhile, a White Paper on the subject, promising less than what Mr Bandaranaike had offered in 1957, was publicly and ceremonially burnt on the steps of parliament building by members of the SLFP and other Opposition parties.

In 1970, Mrs Bandaranaike invited the Federal Party members to the Constituent Assembly to help draft a new constitution which would “serve to build a nation ever more strongly consciousness of its oneness amidst the diversity imposed upon it by history”. When they responded positively and suggested that that goal be reached through federalism, they were ruled out of order and left with no alternative but to withdraw from the exercise. In 1977, the UNP manifesto promised to summon an All-Party Conference to consider the problems of non-Sinhala speaking people, but conveniently forgot that promise once the general election was won, and it took several years of terrorist activity and military reprisals, hundreds of deaths, the burning of the Jaffna public library, and the events of July 1983, to convince the government that hat promise ought to be kept. When that All-Party Conference eventually met (but without the SLFP leader on whom civil disabilities had been imposed and expelled from parliament), the much maligned Annexure C, which the Tamil political leadership claimed contained the agenda they had been invited to discuss, continued to lie on the table in the manner of an illegitimate child abandoned by its mother. Meanwhile, the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution, which required all members of parliament to take a loyalty oath to an indivisible Sri Lanka, which the TULF refused to do, resulted in the moderate political wing of the Tamil community losing their political influence and becoming irrelevant in any negotiations. That, in brief and in outline, is a case study of the failure of political leadership.

Transitional justice

The problem of healing the nation today is two-fold. On the one hand, there is the issue of governance which our political leaders have failed to resolve for nearly sixty years. On the other hand, there is the issue of justice, reparation and reconciliation, which has been brought to the fore through the actions of a succession of Presidents who set out to resolve a political and human rights problem, conveniently dubbed “the terrorist problem”, through the application of military firepower. It was President Jayewardene who, in October 1979, directed the Army Commander to proceed to the north with absolute authority to eliminate by any means whatsoever all forms of terrorism he may encounter; the final solution was to be achieved by Christmas of that year. For decades thereafter, a daily sacrificial offering was made of thousands of idealistic young Sinhalese men in the prime of their lives who journeyed to the north and the east in the confident hope that before they laid down their own lives, they would be able to kill a few equally idealistic young Tamil men and women, and thereby make this thrice blessed isle a safer, happier and more righteous place for all of us to live in.

In this regard, it is necessary to remind ourselves that, in the words of the poet John Donne,

‘No man is an island, entire of itself;

Every man is piece of the continent, a part of the main’.

How a nation treats its nationals is no longer a matter exclusively within its own concern. There are now norms and standards which form part of a growing body of international law. Therefore, a government’s behaviour towards its own nationals is now regulated by international treaties. In 1981, the Government of Sri Lanka voluntarily declared to the international community that, in the matter of the treatment of its nationals, it would honour, respect and abide by these norms and standards. In other words, the Government of Sri Lanka brought itself within the jurisdiction of international human rights law when it subscribed to, and ratified, the two international human rights covenants. It is in accordance with its international obligations that the Government has accepted the report of the Human Rights Council containing the findings of the investigation on Sri Lanka conducted by three distinguished legal experts, the former President of Finland, the former Governor-General of New Zealand and the former President of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. That commission has gathered information of unlawful killings of civilians by security forces and paramilitary groups; extrajudicial execution of identified LTTE cadres and unidentified individuals at the very end of the fighting, including those who were known to have surrendered to the Sri Lankan military; arbitrary arrests and abductions; enforced disappearances; torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment; sexual and gender-based violence; forced recruitment of children for use in hostilities; denial of humanitarian assistance; and the deprivation of liberty of internally displaced persons.

The government has announced its intention to establish a Truth Commission, which is a healing process that offers victims and perpetrators an opportunity to outline details of past crimes. It is a mechanism that has been attempted, with some degree of success, in South Africa and in several Latin American countries such as Argentina, Chile, El Salvador and Guatemala. I once witnessed the proceedings of a truth commission in Nigeria. It is based on the Christian concept of confession. Whether it would be appropriate for Sri Lanka is an open question. The government is reportedly taking steps to provide restitution, compensation and rehabilitation. However, a pre-condition for reconciliation is accountability. Without accountability, there can be no reconciliation in any society. The hybrid court, which the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights recommended for Sri Lanka, is a unique element in the human rights based approach to transitional justice in a post-conflict situation. Comprising international judges, prosecutors, lawyers and investigators, a hybrid court is designed to deal with those who bear the greatest responsibility for serious crimes arising from or during the conflict, such as war crimes or crimes against humanity, including sexual crimes and crimes against children. President Sirisena has repeatedly asserted that, under no circumstances, will he agree to the participation of foreigners in the accountability process in Sri Lanka. He has claimed that Sri Lanka has an independent judiciary which is quite capable of addressing the issues of accountability without any foreign assistance. It is perhaps time that his advisers briefed him on the real position.

In many significant respects, the Sri Lankan legal and judicial system has, in the past few decades, failed its multi-ethnic and multi-religious population, and has demonstrated that it lacks the will and the capacity to address such serious crimes. War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity, as well as Enforced Disappearances, have not been criminalized in Sri Lanka. Neither the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (which the Jayewardene Government acceded to) and its Optional Protocol (which the Kumaratunge Government ratified), nor the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, have yet been incorporated in our law. No effective mechanism has yet been established for the protection of witnesses and victims of crime. In 2006, Chief Justice Sarath Silva suspended the application to Sri Lanka of international human rights treaties, holding that their ratification was an infringement of the Constitution. His judgment was described by a world renowned jurist as “an example of judicial waywardness” or “judicial eccentricity”. Another referred to it as “Alice in Wonderland reasoning”. Therefore, we lack the legal framework within which accountability can be established for such crimes. The process of remedying that deficiency may benefit from expertise, whether international or otherwise.

Sri Lanka is believed to have one of the highest rates of reported cases of enforced disappearances in the world, and yet no tangible steps have been taken for several years even in respect of the much publicised Ekneligoda disappearance. Over 300 political killings in 2005, and over 700 extra-judicial executions in the next two years have been recorded, with no action being taken to investigate them. The high profile killings of Lakshman Kadirgamar in August 2005 in circumstances that are still classified and shrouded in mystery; of Joseph Pararajasingham at a Christmas Eve church service in Batticaloa in 2005; of five Tamil university students in Trincomalee in January 2006; of 17 ACF workers in Mutur in August 2006; and of Lasantha Wickrematunge within a high security zone in January 2009; have all remained uninvestigated or not effectively investigated. Some military personnel have been charged with the killing of Nadarajah Raviraja in Colombo in November 2006, but has it been ascertained why they committed that crime. The Rajapakse Government clearly demonstrated that it lacked the will or the desire to hold persons who have perpetrated such serious crimes accountable for their actions. Even if the present Government wishes to reverse this culture of impunity, does it have at its disposal the expertise to successfully investigate several thousand cases of enforced disappearance and extra-judicial execution ?

It is a notorious fact that one of the sources through which the LTTE secured the recruitment of children into its cadre was the group led by Karuna Amman. These children, who were under the age of 15, were used to participate actively in hostilities. That was a war crime as well as a violation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child which Sri Lanka has ratified. The UN claims that there are reasonable grounds to believe that, even after Karuna Amman defected to the government in 2007, the government security forces were aware that the recruitment of children continued in areas under their control. While the Rajapakse Government elevated Karuna Amman and his deputy Pillayan to ministerial rank, the present government too has ignored the fact that the recruitment of children and their use in hostilities was criminalized as far back as 2006.

The Attorney-General’s Department, which remained embedded in the Presidential Secretariat from 2011 to 2015, did not possess the capacity or the inclination to view, with independence and impartiality, the crimes allegedly committed with the knowledge or connivance of those at the highest levels of the then government. Instead, its senior officers travelled annually to Geneva to deny before the international community that any such crimes had ever been committed. An Attorney General himself uttered what was later proved to be a lie in regard to a disappeared journalist. Is it being seriously suggested that these same officers should now be entrusted with the task of presenting the evidence which the OHCHR claims it has, and which they have so strenuously repudiated for decades ? The apparent indifference with which investigations that commenced after the change of government are being handled by those in the commanding heights of that department suggests that the culture in that department remains the same.

Sri Lanka’s inability to conduct credible investigations through quasi-judicial bodies has also been demonstrated by the performance of a succession of commissions of inquiry headed by retired judicial officers. The Udalagama Commission lost its credibility very early in its proceedings. The Paranagama Commission keeps rolling along, from month to month, year to year, signifying the urgency it attaches to Enforced Disappearances. The performance of the previous Human Rights Commission, which had the duty to investigate infringements of fundamental rights, was so abysmal that the United Nations downgraded its status for lack of balance and objectivity.

President Sirisens as well as several ministers of the present government have declared that, following the appointment of a new Chief Justice, “our judiciary is now independent”. This simplistic assertion appears not to recognize that the judicial culture of the Supreme Court, especially evident in the past decade, has been one of extreme deference to the presidential executive. Whenever fundamental rights were invoked, the court, composed as it was of judges appointed by President Rajapaksa, often from among his contemporaries at Law College, would, more often than not, capitulate to executive assertions of state security. Political opponents of the previous government and members of ethnic minorities, and indeed civil society, have rarely, if ever, obtained any relief. The judgments of the Supreme Court, especially in matters affecting individual rights, reveal an astounding ignorance or unfamiliarity with contemporary developments in the law in other jurisdictions. The failure of the present government to resort to a “vetting” process, which was successfully applied under the Constitution of Kenya, will only strengthen the belief among the international community that our judiciary lacks the competence or the integrity to address war crimes and crimes against humanity

The question which the government will need to address is whether it has, with the resources available to it, the capacity to effectively investigate, prosecute and try the serious allegations referred to in the report of the OHCHR investigation on Sri Lanka, including war crimes and crimes against humanity. To admit that we cannot undertake these tasks alone is not an admission of weakness. On the contrary, it will be a sincere and genuine commitment to achieving the objective of accountability on behalf of those who laid down their lives and the families who continue to live in grief. In respect of war crimes and crimes against humanity, the expertise of lawyers skilled in dealing with such crimes, military analysts, crime scene investigators, trauma experts, psychological counsellors, and a host of others who are competent to address issues of victim needs and rights, witness preparation and protection, are essential, and international assistance in that regard ought to be welcomed.

Power sharing at the centre

One inescapable fact that emerges from the post-Independence history of Sri Lanka is that the Sinhalese political leadership is unwilling to share political power with the Tamil political leadership. For the past fifty years, since the emergence of the Federal Party, negotiations between Sinhalese and Tamil political leaders have focused on the unit of devolution. Should it be district, provincial or regional? Fear has been created in Sinhalese minds that any such form of devolution would eventually lead to a separate state. In this connection, I wish to refer to two principles of international human rights law which now regulate the relationship between the government and the different ethnic groups living in Sri Lanka. These are the principles of non-discrimination and self-determination. The principle of non-discrimination means that as between the citizens of Sri Lanka, neither law nor executive action may discriminate on the basis of race, religion, language, sex, political or other opinion, national or social origin, birth or other status.

The principle of self-determination is contained in both human rights covenants to which the Government of Sri Lanka has committed itself. It means that cohesive ethnic groups have the right to choose for themselves a form of political organization, and through such organization to freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development. That choice may take one of several forms. It could be independence as a separate state; or association with other ethnic groups in a federal state; or autonomy or assimilation in a unitary state. However, if the ethnic group concerned already has a home within territorial boundaries of a sovereign and independent state, as the Tamil community has; and if that state has a government which is representative of all the people irrespective of race, which the Sri Lankan government is not; and if that government respects the twin principles of non-discrimination and self-determination, which the Sri Lankan has not; the choice of that ethic group does not extend to the creation of a separate state.

Therefore, it seems to me that, whatever agreement may be reached in regard to governance at the periphery, it is vital and fundamental that there should be power-sharing at the centre. This is not a matter that should be left for negotiation at the conclusion of a general election. That has led in the past to the inclusion of Colombo-based token Tamils in the Cabinet, such as C. Kumarasuriar and Lakshman Kadirgamar, who represented none but themselves. Power sharing at the centre is a requirement that should be incorporated in the Constitution. Whichever political party forms the government, it should be mandatory for the different ethnic groups to be represented in the Cabinet, at least in proportion to the number of such members elected to Parliament. Thereby, the minority communities will be constitutionally guaranteed not of token but of genuine representation, both in the legislature and in the government. Policy formation will thereafter be by consensus of the different ethnic groups, which is how it should be in a multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-linguistic country as Sri Lanka.

Entering the global community

After almost sixty years of isolationist policies, it is time that we entered the global community. We cannot do that if we are unable to communicate with others outside our island home. Lee Kuan Yew had the foresight to retain the use of the English language in Singapore, as did many of Africa’s national leaders. At a meeting in Thailand last year, the Thai Foreign Secretary informed me that his country had begun using English as the medium of instruction in schools. When I expressed some surprise, he explained that Thailand did not want to send its citizens out as menial workers. By retaining, or adopting, English – now the acknowledged international language, these countries have ensured that their peoples can communicate with the world beyond their geographical boundaries, and acquire the new knowledge that now emerges as rapidly as the old is debunked, and equip themselves to serve the global community in capacities other than as domestic helpers and semi-skilled workers. I think it would be a reality check for our politicians if they were to ask the youth of this country which language they wish to be educated in.

It is time that the use of the language which the Constitution describes as “the link language” is strengthened, perhaps with assistance from other Commonwealth countries. Language is not only a mode of communication; it is also the medium through which knowledge is acquired. It is unfortunate, but true, that Sinhala does not serve either purpose adequately. If our citizens are provided the facilities to equip themselves in the English language, they will soon learn that Sri Lanka has ratified numerous human rights treaties intended for their protection, but have not implemented them. They will learn that the United Nations adopted the Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct in 2006, and requested the Government of Sri Lanka to invite the Sri Lankan judiciary to formulate its own code to regulate the conduct of its own judges based on the UN document, but that that has not been done. They will learn that the Government of Sri Lanka was one of the first countries to ratify the UN Convention Against Corruption, but that many of its crucial provisions have yet to be implemented in this country, and that meanwhile corruption rages at all levels of the public and private sectors.


I do not wish to conclude my presentation by leaving the impression that Sri Lanka has been devoid of any manifestation of leadership. Of course, not. In the 1920s, A.E. Goonesinghe provided the leadership for the working people to organize themselves, and for the youth to agitate for the immediate relief of social problems. In the 1930s, a group of young Ceylonese intellectuals on their return from universities abroad, influenced deeply by the ideas of Karl Marx – Dr S.A. Wickremasinghe, Dr N.M. Perera, Dr Colvin R de Silva, Leslie Goonewardene and Philip Gunewardene – provided the leadership to the formation of the left movement in Ceylon. In the 1940s, D.S. Senanayake and Sir Oliver Goonetilleke provided the leadership to the negotiations with the British Government that secured self-government for Ceylon without shedding a single drop of blood. On the long night of 27th January 1962, Felix Dias Bandaranaike, almost singlehandedly, saved not only a great many lives, but also the social and political fabric of our society by aborting the first ever attempt to overthrow the lawfully established government of this country. In April 1971, barely two weeks into the JVP insurgency, with the military ready to launch an offensive, Mrs Bandaranaike called upon combatants to surrender at check points manned by public servants, guaranteeing them safe conduct, an appeal to which nearly 10,000 young persons responded. In 1978, J.R. Jayewardene gave a whole new direction to our economy, lifting it out of the shackles of outmoded socialism. In 2002, Ranil Wickremasinghe had the courage and the vision to enter into a ceasefire agreement with the LTTE to bring an end to the hostilities as a means to establishing a positive atmosphere in which steps towards negotiations on a lasting solution could be taken. These were all examples of leadership.

In conclusion, may I adopt and adapt the words of the present Chief Justice of Kenya in reminding ourselves that we must fully discharge our obligations to each other as individuals who are part of a common polity.

These obligations start from the basic requirements: respect for each other as individuals, as well as respect for communities and other identity groups. It is socially obnoxious, politically reckless, and economically ignorant to cheapen the presence of any community in this country. It is only the weak-minded people incapable of comprehending the origins of the modern state, its philosophy, its instruments, and its edicts, that resort to such approaches in managing the expression of disagreement. Just as a fish that grows in a pond may consider itself the king of the sea until it is introduced into the ocean, we too must also awaken to the reality that our ethnic and sectarian interests may only matter if we are disconnected from the rest of the world. Unless we all recognize that we are a confederation of cultures, languages and interests, we shall never be able to cultivate the sensitivity and respect for one another that is necessary to hold us together. We might never live up to true greatness as a member of the community of nations because we overstayed our welcome in the pond when the ocean beckoned. The things that are seen to divide us – ethnicity, religion, race, class, clan, region, occupation, sexual identity, generation, disability – are also the raw materials needed to create the mosaic of one nation.

*Deshamanya Dr P.R. Anthonisz Memorial Oration -Lanka – Japan Friendship Society, Sasakawa Hall Auditorium, Colombo 3, Wednesday 11th May 2016.

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  • 5

    Mr.Nihal J.

    A fine delivery; you have done Justice to Dr.P.R.Anthonisz.

    However,there are two matters that could have been highlighted.
    One Dudley Senanayakes Leadership in forming the National Govt:of 1965.
    It was the first time ever that the Federal Party was part of Govt!
    Then there was Philip Gunawardena who right along was a Marxist a part of the National Govt!
    Last but not the least,KMP Rajaratne-an Unrepentant Racist also played in that National Govt:
    For Dudley to bring together such diverse political personalities is a great achievement!

    The other matter of course is not including the name of Prof:Milroy Paul among the list of able Surgeons.

    I know it is not intentional,for you are made of better stuff; Just a thought.

    • 3

      National reconciliation is a myth and a show in Sri Lanka where Tamils are totally NOT represented in Chandrika Bandaranaiyaks’s so-called Office of National Reconciliation (ONUR). What a joke this outfit and Mano Thitawallas outfit is. There is not a single Tamil professional in sight!

      ONUR seems to be a show for UN and foreign consumption without Tamil voices or perspectives. Tamil professionals, experts and perspectives are totally ignored except for some of CBK’s favorite stooges who operate behind the scene.
      The Head or Deputy at ONUR should be a qualified Tamil and the post should be advertised properly. Hope Japan Govt will take up this,

      For reconciliation to work the ONUR should be inclusive and have senior Tamil professionals!
      None of the posts in public institutions are properly advertised, and Tamils who are not politically connected but have qualifications are marginalized and absent and this must change for national reconciliation. This is how discrimination works.

  • 7

    Excellent piece!

    The words of Poet John Donne! to remind ourselves that:
    ” No man is an island , entire itself
    Every man is piece of the continent , a part of the nation”

    How a nation treats its nationals is no longer a matter within its own concern.
    There are norms and standards and international law.
    SL is believed to be one of the highest rates of reported enforced disappearances.

    This speaks volumes that how the Sinhala nationalism created a bottleneck situation to massacre the minority.
    This was allowed by the international community to annihilate the minority from the face of the earth.

    How hurtful can these be for those who suffered in the brutal thuggery of Sinhala Nationalism.
    The international community allowed this to continue this State sponsored brutality since the independence 70 years ago.
    Need to be addressed ASAP.

  • 8

    It’s payback time to the Tamils and Muslims of the North and East and say sorry for the atrocities of 70 plus years.

    There’s an age old saying that ” One who knocks on ones head and the one gets knocked is also an idiot or brainless.

  • 6

    Dr.Nihal Jayawickrema,

    An objective and unbiased account of the story that evolved in your life time and mine, which I hope will become the contours of our history, when recalled decades into the future. Political expediency and lack of quality leadership have been our curse. Pearl Buck, the Nobel laureate, in her profound essay on Leadership contrasts Mahatma Gandhi , with his contemporary Adolf Hitler. Both were leaders, but one led the Indians towards the sublime and an enobeling vision, while the led his people towards a bestial vision to utter destruction, degradation and disgrace!

    Your speach also complements the observations of Dr.Rajan Hoole on the incendiary responses that were emerging and were to later to take hold among particularly the Jaffna Tamils- reluctant and largely dragooned partners in a political hara-kiri.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    • 4

      Dr.Rajasingham Narendran,

      Are you the same one who wrote on, May 13, 2016 at 8:13 am that

      The Vattukottai Resolution has been rendered by history to stand crippled, battered, bruised and stripped stalk naked of any meaning, in its grosteque emptiness and ugliness!

      under, Vaddukkoddai Resolution May Become Startlingly Relevant Again!

      Make up your mind. Which of the two do you want to disown!

      • 1




        • 1

          Dr.RN, What is ?? to you? Are you playing ‘dumb’ to save your skin.

          This is not the first time you have been caught red-faced!

          • 1




  • 0

    Bring on all good words and phrases to put Good Governance on the pdestal.

    Don’t forget what Prof Joh Richardson appealed for it in different words and phrases:
    ”…… ……..It could bring to its development process lessons that success stories like Singapore have to offer. But the context in which those lessons are applied could be uniquely Sri Lankan; uniquely Buddhist. It could be a context that is humane, inclusive, forgiving and affirming; freed from anger and recrimination. These are themes that appear, again and again, throughout the Lord Buddha’s teachings. Exactly how such a context might take shape is not for me to say. This must be a task for Sri Lankans, not a foreigner. But I believe a very useful starting point could be the precepts and example of Asoka the Righteous.”
    – Prospects For Post Conflict Reconciliation And Development In Sri Lanka: Can Singapore Be Used As A Model? Prof John Richardson(who has studied Sri Lankan History for more than 20yrs), [Edited out]
    Parliamentarians, please discuss the whole article by Prof Richardson in townhall meetings. Time is running out.

  • 5

    No saner voice has been heard in this Forum.

  • 4

    This is how patriots who have no vested interest perform. Unfortunately this society does not want such people but prefer twofaced politico cheats.

    What this gentleman says about the Justice system in this this country is absolutely true. In my view Sri Lanka is a pseudo democracy. The head of the executive enjoy absolute control over other two organs.

    It is sad that the people who are subjected to endless exploitation denied at least a symbol of hope.

  • 0

    This speech was delivered in a different context, still I may remind my comments on Dr.Nihal Jeyawickrma’s essay of “The Hybrid Court” in CT. “The Hybrid Court” is the bread and butter for Tamils.

    New King complained during the election that LTTE attempted on him for times. Pillaiyan under arrest for Pararajasingham, M.P murder. It is very little political benefit for Pillaiyan to shoot a TNA MP. It is believed he got involved in that for benefit of the UPFA. But, it is reported that had said he supplied the hitman to murder New King at the request of the Old King. That is how he has turned himself as the one of the most important witness against the old government. The New King who had appealed to the public that he was attempted by LTTE four times, now, has not taken any action to investigate of what Pillaiyan said. Tamilini and other Rebels death has raised suspicion of how the rebels treated imprison. The book printed on Tamilini’s name is not accepted Tamils as her book. Tamilini was forced to stand on NPC election. She had not accepted. But that was not the case of Pillaiyan. He accepted and become the CM of EPC. When the New Royal government has manipulated the Tamilini’s books for their need, it does not take a lot for them to use Pillaiyan for much more unethical and illegal purpose. So now Pillaiyan is kept in the prison under PTA with new acquisition that is instead of for TNA’s M.P’s murder, he is accused of reviving LTTE. Fore more than 10 years he had quit LTTE. It was a militant organization. It just can accept or simple walk let to walk out is members. So there is practically impossible for Pillaiyan to to re-join LTTE. So reviving LTTE is not something Pillaiyan do.

    Pilliyan has been accused of reviving the LTTE. He is held on PTA. Pillaiyan has confessed his hitman attempted on New King. New King had won the election climbing LTTE had attempted on him four times. But there is not action to put Pillaiyan in court.

    “Jenivan was arrested in 2006, but was only convicted – and given a 10-year prison sentence – last year.” A line form a BBC’s news report. There was pressure from outside to release or investigate the Tamil Prisoners kept under PTA for up to 25 years without investigation. The going line of BBC describes how it was handled. Sivaraja Jeniven was made as scapegoat on that. But the Drama did not stop there. “Mr Sirisena set free Sivaraja Jenivan at a ceremony to mark his first year in power. The men shook hands on stage.” BBC reported. If Jeniven was released from the Prison with in Six months for trying to kill the New King, then why Pillaiyan is kept inside more than an year. Further the released Jeniven had asked the New King, in another meeting, that all detained under PTA should be released. But he did not answer. Further Fonseka has requested to release the one attempted on him. No answer?

    One way of treatment of Jeniven and other ways of treating Pillaiyan & others is clearly indicating that the government is not ready if any body accuse the governments in any involvement of the killings. This is what happened to the OIC Champika perera. This what happened to Sajin Vas. Then how the government is claiming it has the will to investigate without IC. Everybody knows what happened to Tangalle murderer of the British tourist. It did not move with out foreign involvement. Gunaratnam was not released after white van kidnapping until Australia got involved. International Commision of Jurist has accused Lankawe passing draconian laws against Tamils. International Bar association has accused Lankawe. The verdict Baffoon de Silva gave out Nallaratnam Singarasa case is a good example of how Lankawe’s jurisdiction discriminates Tamils defying International Standards. Nimalaruban was beaten to death inside prison, refusing medical attention. CJ Mokan Peiris dismissed his fundamental right case saying that he was accused(not convicted) terrorist, so he had no right. Yahapalanaya Goverment dismissed two CJ’s with out procedures, has not repudiated that kind of verdicts.

    Now the government is cheating with a new constitution to dodge the investigation. Who will believe this government and how will reconciliation take place?

  • 1

    Dr Dr.Nihal Jayawickrema,

    Despite your notorious past as Secretary to Ministry of Justice to Felix Dias Bandaranaike during 1970-1977 and as the unfortunate victims of losing your civic rights along with Srimavo and FDB during the subsequent JR Regime, you have matured as a statesman(even if you are not a politician?) with wisdom at hindsight.

    I appreciate your excellent article. But your statement below needs clarification.

    “However, if the ethnic group concerned already has a home within territorial boundaries of a sovereign and independent state, as the Tamil community has; and if that state has a government which is representative of all the people irrespective of race, which the Sri Lankan government is not; and if that government respects the twin principles of non-discrimination and self-determination, which the Sri Lankan has not; the choice of that ethic group does not extend to the creation of a separate state”.

    Why not?

    Then Sri Lanka needs your quotation of Chief Justice of Kenya repeated thousands of times until the nuance is indigenized and digested within the Sri Lankan psycho!

    The Tamils call it the “frog in the well”? whereas, the Chief Justice of Kenya uses the term King of the pond.

    “Just as a fish that grows in a pond may consider itself the king of the sea until it is introduced into the ocean”

    Nevertheless the tragedy is that even ,after drifting into the ocean, the king of the Pond still continues to believe and behave as if he is the king of the Ocean!

    This reference is applicable both to the racist Sinhalese as well as not merely to racist Jaffna Tamils but to the entire racist Sri Lankan Tamil community as well

    • 2

      In August 1998, the Canadian Supreme Court mentioned as follows: “A state whose government represents the whole of the people or peoples resident within its territory, on a basis of equality and without discrimination, and respects the principles of self-determination in its internal arrangements, is entitled to maintain its territorial integrity under international law and to have that territorial integrity recognized by other states.” The above decision is consistent with the UN Declaration on Friendly Relations 1970 adopted by the General assembly that upholds the right to self-determination. Para 7 of the Declaration states: – “Nothing in the foregoing paragraphs shall be construed as authorising or encouraging any action which would dismember or impair, totally or in part, the territorial integrity or political unity of sovereign states conducting themselves in compliance with the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples as described above and thus possessed of a government representing the whole people belonging to the territory without distinction as to race, creed or color.” Therefore, Sri Lanka has an obligation under international law to respect the principle of self-determination in its internal arrangements for the Tamils and also to have a representative government on the basis of equality and without discrimination.

  • 2

    “President Obama’s success in re-establishing relations with Iran and Cuba, after over half a century of acrimony, and despite vehement opposition from Congress and Cuban immigrants, is another very recent example of leadership.”

    Dr. NJ,

    Actually Obama was not able to accomplish these things in his first term, partly because he was preoccupied with the economic crisis–the great recession, but because he was worried about re-election as well. It was after he had won his second term that he accelerated his efforts and was successful.

    Even though Obama wanted to close the Guantanamo base from the beginning, he has faced resistance–even insubordination– from military generals, some of whom had lost their own sons in Afghanistan while fighting Al Qaeda and consider everyone held at Guantanamo as a hard core terrorist; they are still in no mood to support the closure; Obama had to change his Defense Secretary because the Secretary, himself a Vietnam veteran, was too deferential to those generals.

    So political compulsions are understandable to some extent in that certain delays may be unavoidable, but Obama didn’t lose sight of his election promises, nor did he over-compromise with his political opponents; even more than his efforts with Iran and Cuba, he showed iron will in pushing through health care legislation known as Obamacare in the face of huge outcry from Republicans and some Democrats.

    Good leaders should take the initiative to go around the country and be relentless in shaping public opinion for certain principles/solutions to which they are committed. That is where Sri Lanka has not yet produced the right leaders capable of doing it. But that could be a deep-seated problem with the society itself, in which case only new generations may produce such leaders, and the country will unfortunately muddle through years of stagnation and strife.

  • 0

    Dr. RN,

    What did Mohanadhas Ghandhi fight against? How do you compare Hitler to forces that apparently dropped banned chemical bombs and cluster bombs? Hitler is still demonized and Ghandhi is praised. There are still forces more vicious than those Ghandhi fought against and as vicious as Hitler. These forces are never brought to light Anglicized Tamils.

    • 0

      Guess Who,

      Here is the link to what Pearl Buck had to say about Gandhi-the leader and in comparison, Hitler-the leader. Pearl Buck lived in their times and was an eloquent witness to the history Gandhi and Hitler moulded.


  • 1

    “Therefore, it seems to me that, whatever agreement may be reached in regard to governance at the periphery, it is vital and fundamental that there should be power-sharing at the centre. “

    Sri lanka needs consociational democracy. Four key characteristics of consociational democracies according to political scientist Lijphart are as follows:
    1. Grand Coalition – Coalition government at the centre
    2. Minority Veto – Minority representation in the upper house generally higher than that of their proportion.
    3. Proportionality – PR system election
    4. Segmental autonomy

    Two smaller countries Switzerland and Belgium are classic examples of this democracy.

  • 0

    [Edited out]

  • 1

    Can you all be able to do at Mullivaakaal for rememberance in the same manner they do in Gallipoli.

  • 0

    Dr. RN

    You have not commented on issues I raised.

    • 0

      Guess who,

      My comment was focused on what leadership means. Unfortunately, the link to Pearl Buck has not appeared, although I reposted it.

      The world has always had its ugly wars and blood baths. Modern technology and weaponary have made the carnage worse. It will continue to worsen with time and not diminish. Our civilization is only skin deep and the brute is waiting to spring out at a moments notice! As individuals we have morals, but as collectives like nations and groups of various labels , we become amoral. This is the human tragedy.


  • 0

    Dr. RN,

    You have said “as collectives like nations and groups of various labels , we become amoral”. Which group is wrong to what extent, where? Shouldn’t all be more concerned about this and establish universal principles?

    I do not subscribe to the view all groups or nations are equally amoral in all conflicts and wars.

    Some groups or nations have taken their man-made rules and military might for granted and they are hell-bent on doing gross injustice.

    Some nations with a very short history are hyper-sensitive about their borders and rights.

    Many realities in the world are determined by “rules and force or threat of use of force for defiance”.

    It would not make sense to demonize only Hitler and praise only Ghandhi. The world should look at recent examples.

    • 1

      Man is not liberated from the “pecking order -social hierachy as individuals, communities or nations. The strong, powerful and the monied dominate and dictate terms. We are yet animals. No number of treaties or universal principles will eliminate those propensity, though some semblance of cotrol can be established.

      Hitler was a monster of his times. There have been several that followed him, like Pol Pot. Nations, big and small, rich and poor, and developed and undeveloped have commited crimes against humanity. There are very few exceptions and there is no scale to grade them objectively.


      • 1

        Guess Who,

        Reverting once again to the theme of leadership, I quote Pearl Buck, “There was a strange relationship , an instinctive one, between leaders and people. The people need him and they find him and shape him to their demands. He responds and shapes them to his demands. Once found, the people follow their leader blindly like sheep and sometimes to their mutual destruction, as in the case of Hitler,

        or they follow to their success as in the case of Gandhi. What makes the Hitler leading his people to destruction? What makes the Gandhi leading his people to triumph?”

        Pearl Buck answers her questions in a very thoughtful, analytical and profound manner.


        The subject Buck deals with is quite applicable to Sri Lanka. Where do our national leaders fit? Where do the Tamil leaders of old fit? Where does Prabaharan fit? Do persons elected by popular mandate to become leaders capable of taking the people towards triumph, instead of destruction? Do persons like VP who impose themselves as leaders and coerce / convince people to follow them, any different? What makes a Mahinda Rajapakse and a Prabaharan tick, tock and explode?



    • 0

      Thanks for the fair picture of the nature of national conflicts.

      All identities are victims of circumstances. You have wisely not named countries or groups of people in the your text.

      Hitler has to be seen as a product of post-WW1 Germany. He could have been defeated earlier, but that did not happen. Yet fascism as a political force preceded Hitler– its German face. It was bound to surface strongly somewhere in Europe unless there was a just social alternative.

      Gandhi was no angel. Ambedkar had strong words on his stand on caste oppression. Periyar (EV Ramasamy) denounced him on caste domination and other issues. Both started their political lives with faith in Gandhi.
      On the partition of India, he has to share the blame with Jinnah for the bloody outcome.

      • 0


        Please read the link I have provided in my last comment.


  • 1

    This is a comprehensive survey by the erudite Dr. Jayewickrema regarding the post-independence political history of the ethnic conflict. However, he has sadly compromised his intellectual integrity by voicing the Tamil Grievances sans the context in which the events took place, thus permitting what appears to be personal bias distort the presented narrative; a narrative that could be construed as being completely factual, coming from one of his acclaimed stature.

    A few examples of missing contextual info that serve to put the record straight, although in a nutshell, are:

    1. Claim of Disenfranchisement: The ~200,000 Indian ‘Estate Tamils’ then resident in SL, when asked to apply for citizenship several months prior to the 1947 elections, were dissuaded to do so by Tamil political leaders. They were suddenly asked to do so 2 months before the election, making it impossible for the govt. to handle the application rush. Only a few thousand could be processed in time for the election. This was interpreted to be a deliberate ploy of the newly independent govt to disenfranchise the Indian Tamils (see A.J. Wilson’s book on SJV Chelvanayakam).

    2 The claim of “Tamil homelands” in the North and East had been dismissed through the scholarly work of historians Prof. Indrapala (a Tamil), and Prof. K.M. de Silva. But this myth had been resurrected post-Vaddukoddai and the Eelam wars and generations of young Tamils were brainwashed into believing a revisionist history.

    3. Standardization: Up until the late 1960s, students qualifying to enter the University of Ceylon in the Med/Sci/Rng group had been in a regular ratio of ~40% Tamil to ~60% Sinhala. This exceeded the ethnic ratio of Tamils in the demographics, but there was no ethnic resentment on this score. However, upon the switch to examinations in Swabasha the ratio suddenly changed to >75% Tamil to <25% Sinhala. This led to inquiries which revealed marking discrepancies by Tamil examiners, and the situation had to be remedied. Thus, the introduction of Standardization through a correction factor.

    The Vaddukoddai Resolution, failure of Thimphu talks etc led to the
    political leaderships of successive governments resorting to appeasement as the method for resolution of an unhappy Tamil community. But to no avail. Terrorism emerged and after the 1983 July events gave cause to increasing cycles of Eelam wars. The overt
    international involvement by India, Norway and the West led to prolongation and a hardening of the polarization. With fewer and fewer chances for resolution, plus the ever growing assassinations of political leaders on both Tamil and Sinhala sides, as well as the greater and immeasurable costs to the country in terms of youthful lives and to its Treasury in terms of military hardware, prospects for peace receded. Violence shattered the social fabric of Sri Lanka.
    Realization of the receding prospects for any resolution short of repeated cycles of war leading to eventual secession of Eelam was perceived by all interested parties. Events peaked at Nandikadal and
    the rest, as they say, is history.
    During the 30yr of war, migration of Tamils and Muslims from the North and East led to demographic transformations such that the Tamil population in the South today exceeds their population in the North and East. In fact in Colombo, previously a largely Sinhala-populated city, the Sinhala population has been slowly pushed into suburbs and beyond so they are now a dwindling minority.

    In that background, any solution involving ethnically-based regions or territories would only lead to a continuation/re-emergence of conflict. Perhaps a common-sense Central power-sharing model with the District as administrative unit (i.e., neither too small nor too large), with some degree of independent management in the way Municipalities are, would provide the needed compromise of justice, stability and ethnic satisfaction.
    It is the responsibility of the political leadership to seek satisfactory solutions that could be a Win-Win for all groups. Such a model might provide the answer.

    • 2


      “This was interpreted to be a deliberate ploy of the newly independent govt to disenfranchise the Indian Tamils (see A.J. Wilson’s book on SJV Chelvanayakam).”

      Could you cite the chapter and page.

      “The Vaddukoddai Resolution, failure of Thimphu talks etc led to the political leaderships of successive governments resorting to appeasement as the method for resolution of an unhappy Tamil community.”

      The Vaddukoddai Resolution was dead minutes after its arrival. You must the only person who chose not to know about its death. How well informed you are.

      “failure of Thimphu talks etc”

      Thimbu talk was held under the guidance of Hindians. What else could you expect from a Hindian control agenda which is all about bringing
      JR to his senses also meant South Asian solution to South Asian problems, not American threat on South Asian people. As a little politician from a little island JR believed only on his ability to deceive, as you do now. However the Hinians caught him by his balls, his heart and mind reluctantly followed and ended up signing the Indo Lanka accord, which gave birth to 13th Amendments followed by JVP’s second pace of terrorism.

      ” The claim of “Tamil homelands” in the North and East had been dismissed through the scholarly work of historians Prof. Indrapala (a Tamil), and Prof. K.M. de Silva.”

      Could you cite your reference to what Indrapala has to say about Tamil Homelands.

      Prof. K.M. de Silva still believes in origin of Sinhala people and the evidence he provides is from Mahawamsa. It says a lot about the Prof than Mahawamsa. There is a huge gap between what K M de Silva’s conclusion about state manipulated standardization to university entrance and the one conducted by Prof C. R. de Silva. Both are available on net, access both, read both, find out the difference between the two and decide for yourself who is intellectually honest and who is not.

      “In that background, any solution involving ethnically-based regions or territories would only lead to a continuation/re-emergence of conflict. “

      First the noisy minority (you) should honestly believe that they are for peace, resolution of conflict, reconciliation, development and progress. You are not for any amicable settlement of the conflict. You are not for peace. You are not for reconciliation, you are not for progress. You are not only not contributing to progress but also thrive on keeping the conflict alive.

      Well keep singing the Sinhalla National Anthem with gusto, the conflict will disappear in no time as you have witnessed in the past 68 years.


      • 1


        This iswhat Sambanthan had said while in India a few days back to attend the Kumbamela as,reported in The Hindu dated 16th Nay’2016:

        ” Pointing out that a majority of the parties had agreed to work within the framework of a “united, undivided Sri Lanka,” Mr. Sampanthan, now heading a coalition of parties called the Tamil National Alliance, said the present process of constitutional reforms would “bring about finality” to the Tamil question. The Tamil people needed “greater power sharing, greater autonomy,” he said.”

        Is the TNA running with the fix and hunting with the hounds, going by the diametrically opposite statements being made by the various individuals within the group? Why?


  • 2

    “1. Claim of Disenfranchisement: The ~200,000 Indian ‘Estate Tamils’ then resident in SL, when asked to apply for citizenship several months prior to the 1947 elections, were dissuaded to do so by Tamil political leaders….This was interpreted to be a deliberate ploy of the newly independent govt to disenfranchise the Indian Tamils (see A.J. Wilson’s book on SJV Chelvanayakam).”

    They were disenfranchised in 1949 and not before the 1947 elections.
    The point is that the 1949 Act was craftily drafted knowing the inability of a virtually illiterate population to provide documents to establish its ancestry.

    “2….“Tamil homelands” in the North and East had been dismissed through the scholarly work of historians Prof. Indrapala (a Tamil), and Prof. K.M. de Silva.”

    Prof. Indrapala did not quite reject “Tamil homelands” and even KM de Silva, for all his political bias, would not dare deny that the N&E were predominantly Tamil speaking for centuries before independence.
    Prof. Indrapala’s research in the 1990’s and after not only accepts Tamil homelands but also explains how they came into being.

    “3. Standardization:…However, upon the switch to examinations in Swabasha the ratio suddenly changed to >75% Tamil to <25% Sinhala. This led to inquiries which revealed marking discrepancies by Tamil examiners, and the situation had to be remedied."

    This is false.
    The switch to Swabasha exams occurred well before the 1970 GCE(AL) exams with freak results. The cause of the distortion was the surge of private tuition in Jaffna in the late 1960's.
    Suspicions were undersandable.
    But contrary to the claim by Country-First, the report cleared the examiners of foul play.
    Standardization was implemented before the conclusion of the inquiry.
    Having realized the unfairness and its implications, the government switched to the District Quota scheme which hurt not only Jaffna but also Colombo.

    The writer should also care to look at systematic discrimination since the 1950s in various sectors of employment.

    What we see as the national question is mostly a class of middle class rivals.
    State sponsored communal violence since 1977 and the war have hurt the poorest of the people. Nobody seems to care about the worst victims of war. They are at best a piece of statistics.

    Devolution of power in some form is necessary for any community to feel secure. But it takes integrity and sincerity on the part of those who offer solutions to find solutions that last.

    • 0

      To: Sekera

      Please read my response to NV, above …you might find several of your issues answered therein.
      Some additional comments are presented below.

      1. Re Dr. Indrapala backing off on his original treatise, we cannot disregard the heavy post-1983/Eelamist pressures that possibly exerted more than a natural push for him to change his stance. Why was he silent for so long before doing so?

      2. Re Standardization you say: “….contrary to the claim by Country-First, the report cleared the examiners of foul play. Standardization was implemented before the conclusion of the inquiry. Having realized the unfairness and its implications, the government switched to the District Quota scheme which hurt not only Jaffna but also Colombo.”
      The “clearing of examiners” was a political decision, as had the results of the investigation been made public a public uproar and further ethnic conflict was inevitable. So the report was pushed under the carpet, and a solution quickly presented in order to preempt the Report having to be published. Everything was being done to curtail further ethnic unrest, and towards appeasement.
      Remember that the political decisions were always made with a mind to appease the Tamil community, but it was all to no avail.
      There was “democracy” with people power of the Sinhalas on the one hand, and the pressure of a powerful Tamil minority supported by extremely powerful external elements on the other.
      Appeasement was also the “cultural” choice of the Sinhala-led govts. It has today resulted in the Tamil language (of the 70%), a recognition not accorded even to Tamil Nadu with its 72Millon Tamils by India. Only when contradictions arise would the Sinhala version be given priority for purposes of record.
      Even with these realities and concessions the Tamil community’s political leaderships remain dissatisfied.

      Is there not some fundamental injustices to the Sinhala people also, who are now being thrust aside to make way for the endorsement of Tamil “aspirations” via Federalism, designed to follow the ” little now, more later” path charted by Tamil leaders towards their final independent state via self – determination?
      Do not the Sinhala people have any rights in the self-determination of the island that was once recognized by even colonial historians as the land/civilisation of the Sinhala people?

    • 0

      CORRECTION to above response (to ‘sekera’) :-

      Should read “. It has today resulted in the Tamil language (of the 70%, ~20million), in Sri Lanka; a recognition not accorded even to Tamil Nadu with its 72millon Tamils, by India.

      • 0

        The above is NOT the correction sen. The publishing error keeps being repeated. What is going on?

        Correction sent is as follows:

        Should read “. It has today resulted in the Tamil language (of the 70%, ~20million), in Sri Lanka; a recognition not accorded even to Tamil Nadu with its 72millon Tamils, by India.

      • 0

        The above is NOT the correction sent. The publishing error keeps being repeated. What is going on?

        Correction sent is as follows:

        Should read “. It has today resulted in the Tamil language (of the 70%, ~20million), in Sri Lanka; a recognition not accorded even to Tamil Nadu with its 72millon Tamils, by India.

        • 1

          To the Editor/Moderator – Colombo Telegraph
          Your website has a “printer’s devil” who keeps changing what I write into a transformed statement that is different to what I submitted! The recurrence of the moderator’s inserted statistic is NOT what I stated….

          So let’s try clarifying. The sentence should read:
          ” It has today resulted in the Tamil language of <30% of Sri Lanka's population being given recognition as a national language, a status not accorded by the Indian govt. to Tamil Nadu's 72millon Tamils".
          But Tamil leaders in SL remain dissatisfied.

          • 1

            To Editor/moderator:
            Finally, it is uploaded the way I wrote it!

    • 1

      Indrapala’s neither the earlier nor subsequent work of Indrapala was politically driven.
      It was a scholoarly work that explains the presence of Tamil settlements from ancient times and proceeds to explain how the regions acquired predominantly ethnic identities. I doubt if you have bothered to read it.
      You are plain speculating when you talk of “Eelamist pressures that possibly exerted more than a natural push for him to change his stance”. Anything is possible. But one has to be rational in coming o conclusions. Indrapala is among reputed Tamil historians who never yielded to political pressure.

      This theory which reads “So the report was pushed under the carpet, and a solution quickly presented in order to preempt the Report having to be published.” is bogus.
      The government undertook the inquiry well after standardization was announced. The charges levelled and findings of investigation of statistically valid samples in each of the subjects concerned were in the public domain.
      The whole thing was done in an open fashion. Evn the few Sinhala communal academics who were out to stir trouble were subdued by the findings because everything was above board.

      I have heard enough and more fairy tales in my life from both Tamil and Sinhalese racists who are united in one mission, namely destroying the unity of Sri Lanka.

      You may have read the fable of Aesop about the wolf and the lamb:
      A wolf drinking water in a stream accused a lamb of muddying the water that the wolf was consuming. The lamb responded that it was impossible since he was downstream. You know the rest of the story I guess.
      Moral: It is of no use to reason with those who have made up their mind.

      • 0

        Agree that Dr. Indrapala is a respected historian…I have acknowledged that. But while he is said to have referred to scattered seasonal coastal fishing settlements in the East, which of course must have grown to be more populous with time, he hadd not claimed the region to be a ‘Tamil homeland’ in his original Ph.D thesis. Did he publish it?
        There are rumours about it including a story that it had been spirited away from the British Library’s archives.

        • 2


          “But while he is said to have referred to scattered seasonal coastal fishing settlements in the East, which of course must have grown to be more populous with time, he hadd not claimed the region to be a ‘Tamil homeland’ in his original Ph.D thesis”

          What are you talking about?

          Have you ever written a dissertation in your entire life? If you haven’t please stop typing things you do not know or understand. The thesis available online.

          Why would a historian/archaeologist write which is beyond the scope of his research? Is it just for the sake of writing it or
          that he would have to satisfy a dimwit who might raise a very stupid question?

          Let us have the chapter and verse of what you claimed to have read.

          “There are rumours about it including a story that it had been spirited away from the British Library’s archives.”

          His thesis “Dravidian Settlements in Ceylon and the Beginnings of the Kingdom of Jaffna by Karthigesu Indrapala Complete Phd Thesis University of London 1965” is still available from University of London archive and a copy can be bought online.

          You are a dimwit who does not understand how higher studies are conducted outside Sri lanka.

          This is the 10th time I have given the details of the thesis and where to access it. This the 99th time one more dimwit has stated that “There are rumours about it including a story that it had been spirited away from the British Library’s archives.”

          You must be the same dimwit repeating (98 times earlier) the same rumor over and again hoping people in this forum might buy your lies.

          I will let you know your previous pseudonyms, date and the name of the web where you have said the same lies in the fullness of time.

          It could be Noel Jones and probably in 2014.

          ““This was interpreted to be a deliberate ploy of the newly independent govt to disenfranchise the Indian Tamils (see A.J. Wilson’s book on SJV Chelvanayakam).”

          Could you cite the chapter and page of whatever you want to quote in A.J. Wilson’s book on SJV Chelvanayakam.

          Please note I have access to Indrapala’s thesis, a number of his published papers and A.J. Wilson’s book on SJV Chelvanayakam.

          We can discuss it citing references and state what we mean and hopefully the same thing.

          • 0

            Envious NV (Native Vedda) says:
            “I will let you know your previous pseudonyms, date and the name of the web where you have said the same lies in the fullness of time. It could be Noel Jones and probably in 2014.”

            Is that a threat? And who the heck is Noel Jones????

            Be my guest and go ahead with whatever you wish to rant about…You obviously have never written a thesis nor done any research in order to look at a topic objectively and question it.

      • 1

        Research does not stop with a PhD in any field. A PhD is the start of a process of independent search for knowledge. Indrapala was an active researcher throughout his academic career.
        Much archaeological evidence emerged in the 1970s and after.

        Kindly advise your rumor monger that it is hard to spirit away anything from the University of London Library where a copy of the thesis would have been lodged.
        Searching in the wrong place can lead to wrong conclusions, especially for warped minds.
        There should also be a copy in the SOAS Library where I guess he did his PhD.
        Also try Peradeniya, but I promise nothing.
        Not everybody publishes his/her thesis. It was an expensive venture then. (Kailasapathy’s thesis on “Tamil Heroic Poetry” was among the few published at the time, thanks to his supervisor’s initiative.)

        There could be a few papers and articles based on Indrapala’s PhD thesis.

        • 1


          The PhD, is the point at which one learns how much he/she does not know and sets the person to learn more about what he does not know. This pursuit is research. The PhD trains one to scientifically and objectively pursue research with the modern tools available to him/her, analyze the data and draw the correct conclusions. It is the beginning of a journey and not its end.

          indrapala as a trained historian, went on this search and repudiated his own thesis.

          Thanks for making a point few understand.


        • 0

          It is certainly not easy to spirit away copies of archived theses from the Univ. of London or the British Library where most archived theses are stored. But there have been instances of people stealing important documents from even the Library of Congress in Washington DC where very stringent security prevails…and I would certainly not put it past some interested party to carry out such an act themselves or hire someone to do so in order to satisfy a passionately pursued political cause.
          That said, if someone wishes to peruse Dr. Indrapala’s thesis NOW, it should be available in microfiche or perhaps as a digital version from either of these cited Libraries, but generally the Library seeks the permission of the author in order to do so.

          I am not obliged to go delving into libraries to satisfy you.
          What I do know is that this is stuff that has been discussed years ago, and that Dr. Indrapala’s position that the ‘scattered fishing settlements were only seasonal on the eastern coast’ has been cited during early debates on the “homelands” issue. Also, that he refuted his earlier conclusions after many years of silence, and the possibility that coercion was behind that act cannot be ruled out, knowing the careful revisionist reconstructions that are going on.

          We are debating a topic on which Dr. Indrapala did make his honest observations at different times – observations that can however lead to some speculation. Without speculation and interpretation history would never be written, would it? None of us have survived long enough from those periods centuries ago to do so with complete accuracy!
          You guys ought to do the research yourselves!

          • 1

            Country Farce

            “That said, if someone wishes to peruse Dr. Indrapala’s thesis NOW, it should be available in microfiche or perhaps as a digital version from either of these cited Libraries, but generally the Library seeks the permission of the author in order to do so.”

            His thesis “Dravidian Settlements in Ceylon and the Beginnings of the Kingdom of Jaffna by Karthigesu Indrapala Complete Phd Thesis University of London 1965″ is still available from University of London archive, and a copy can be bought online.

            The digital version was made available more than three years ago. If you were really interested in perusing the thesis you would have accessed it long before you started your rant. Had you asked our fellow forum sharer they would have provided you with enough information, probably they would have forwarded you a copy through CT. It is possible that your 80% arrogance would only allow you to remain ignorant as you have proved it in your stupid comments.

            Here is the link which contains 562 pages:


            Please enlighten us on:

            What is a Nation

            What is Homeland

            Did Prof Indrapala mention about the homeland of Demela in this island?

            Why do you expect him to write another thesis to satisfy you after 55 years?

        • 0

          I do not want you to do anything to satisfy anyone.
          But when you make spurious claims, people are bound to question.

          It will do all of us a lot of good if we bother to verify our stories before we narrate them.

          • 0


            Of course, and that is where this whole debate commenced..because Dr. NJ in his speech claimed justification for the “Tamil Grievances” without the contextual background in which all of those claims were being made.
            There are 2 sides to every narrative. History goes back to the educational advantages provided to the north by the American missionaries while the majority people in the South of the then Ceylon were sadly neglected; a neglect perceived by Col Olcott who catalyzed the Southern educational impetus. The injustices were further endorsed by Lord Soulbury around the time of independence to Tamil complaints, explaining that the Govt.’s per capita expenditure was higher in the North than in the South.
            The narrative had to be set straight. No accountability process now can “HEAL” the damage done. Both sides should apologize to each other and move forward without creating more situations for conflict to continue. That’s all.

  • 1

    To “Envious NV” (Native Veddah)-
    1. Kindly do your own research by obtaining Dr. Wilson’s book, and read the full story of all that took place re the Indian Tamils, who were called on to apply for citizenship prior to the Election. It was the Tamil political leadership of the time who were responsible for giving the “poor illiterate” estate workers short shrift.

    2. The Vaddukoddai Resolution is alive and well per the TNA leader Mr. Sampanthan who has repeated it many times in post-Eelam war years, reminds us of its continued existence.

    3. Dr. Indrapala stated in his doctoral thesis (Univ. of London) that the Tamil population in the Eastern province grew during colonial times from scattered seasonal settlements of Tamil fisherfolk along the Eastern coast. i.e., it was NOT a ‘homeland’, although the Jaffna peninsula may be argued to be such.

    4. “State manipulated standardization” was a necessity due to the inequities of the existing system that had generated unjust results at the post-Swabasha Univ. Entrance exams, through “tuition” or otherwise. A replacement marking system was quickly put in place, and even those Northern Tamil students who through no fault of the own suffered through standardization were accommodated by intakes at Moratuwa Univ., Ragama Med Fac. etc.
    Reports on “investigations” into the problems were carefully withheld in order to avoid stirring further ethnic unrest.
    However. Tamil engineers/medics from the East say they would have never had a chance to enter the Universities if not for the new District-based standardized system for Univ. Entrance.

    You fling a plethora of accusations at me as being against “peace, resolution of conflict, reconciliation, development and progress.”

    My position is that any resolution should be fair to ALL the peoples of this island — Sinhalese (and yes, Buddhists who remain the most populous and yet economically the most handicapped), Tamils, Muslims and others. This has to be a shared solution with no territorial ethnic boundaries, and what would leave people free to live wherever they choose.
    The imposition of systems in copycat style Federalism and Partition that have neglected history and left only more conflict and territorial inequities in countries that were divided in order to rule by drawing lines in the sand, are proving NOT to be the intelligent way to approach the problem in so many countries that came under colonial rule.

    Federalism has worked in countries that “got together” for mutual advantage (Switzerland, USA). Sri Lanka is a “whole” being encouraged for a “split” pressured by interested external parties. Any solution will work ONLY if the background of the island’s history and its current demographics are taken into account. Federalism/Separation has only lead to continuance of conflict. This is the REALITY. Hopefully those committed to finding solutions would look for a unique solution that fits this island vis-a-vis its peoples and its location in the Indian Ocean’s crossroads.

  • 0

    Dr. RN

    That analysis completely ignores the dreaded external factor which determines things now irrespective of the legitimacy of any cause. It’s no longer vs the oppressed vs the oppressor but the powwerful third party that determines things. This does NOT mean the cause of the oppressed is invalid or the third parties are always right. When educated people write in English to the IC they should expose the hypocrisy of the third party and not demonize the aggrieved party. It may not be long before there are new forces in the world with superior technology to ‘assert hierarchy and control’.

    • 1

      Guess Who,

      Those who choose to write in any language, should be objective and maintain their equanimity.


  • 2

    Country First.

    Your line…..
    The Vaddukotai Resolution is alive and well…..

    If there is one Resolution that reduced the population of the Srilankan Tamils that was the Vaddukotai Resolution.

    I was told that M.Tiruchelvam Q.C.who was present was not too happy;
    As for SJV,he was short of hearing.
    This resolution was essentially,a spring-board for Amirthalingam who was nursing ambitions to take over the Leadership!
    Country First,Pl.remember it was due to Amir that the East began to drift away from the North!

    • 1


      Thanks I for your comment. Amirthalingam was the root cause of many a mischief from the Tamil side. His wife ably supported him with her blood curdling words. Those who surrounded him, were as shallow and shortsighted as him. They were a gang of sorts. Kathiravetpillai was an intelligent man, but he had to on many matters be part of the crowd. The stupidity of Yogeswaran, in inviting the LTTE operatives into their safe house led to his and Amirthalingam’s deaths.

      Further, Amirthalingam politics of promoting Kasi Ananthan over Rajadurai seeded the process of alienating the east. You are right.


    • 0


      That is your interpretation. I stand by my strong belief that it will continue to be iterated as and when necessary as a rallying call.

      If the Vaddukoddai Resolution is NOT alive and well, why does it get repeated by Mr. Sampanthan and others, off and on, with the purpose of a reminder to both Tamils and the Sinhalese?

    • 2

      Plato, Dr RN
      Plato’s data are valid and useful. Even GGP kept a distance but avoided confrontation. But M Sivasithamparam played ball as he was keen to regain his seat in parliament. Amirthalingam was also keen to sideline Chandrahasan and Kumar Ponnambalam, which he successfully did, and on the last and the most effective occasion using Neelan Thiruchelvam.

      Rivalry between Amirthalingam and Rajadurai go a long way. While SJVC was alive, despite his Parkinson’s disease and hearing problems, he kept the party together as best as he could. But Balasundaram and Sivasundaram quit after 1961. (A had no role in it.)
      A was groomed to succeed SJV. Among elected leaders he was most popular until after 1965. The defeat in 1970 could have been a major factor in his behavioral disorder.
      I would not fault Yogesvaran for being accommodating towards the LTTE or any militant group at the time. The TULF had a moral responsibility in that matter. Y was very much liked by the Jaffna public and was reputedly sincere.

  • 1

    Dr. RN

    What is important in objectivity is “appropriate weights”. This is where the duo in UTHR (J) fail miserably and as they themselves have acknowledged other Tamil intellectuals do not share their views. They are like German Jews who wanted to point an accusing finger at Jews for the tragedies that befell them. Will this ever make sense? Did Pearl Buck miss this angle in his analysis? Why? When there are forces as vicious as Hitler even now, conveniently blaming victims will never make academic sense. What would have happened if Hitler had had his way with impunity? His supporters and media would have written their version as the history. Some powers are enjoying that impunity now for all their heinous crimes. The cause of oppressed and victims of state terrorism remains valid. In academic analyses look at the causes of wars, issues in a civil conflict, universal principles and new ideas that make sense. This is what differentiates the UTHR (J) duo from most other Tamil intellectuals. Demonising the aggrieved party without appropriate weights would be intolerable intellectual treachery.

    • 0

      Guess who,

      I have to disagree. Evil cannot be weighted. Evil is absolute as much as truth is. Truth cannot be relative and evil cannot be relative. Can evil become less when one party unjustifiably kills a thousand and the other a ten thousand? A cause can be noble.a war can be a necessity. However, if it exceeds certain bounds, it becomes evil. The cause does not justify an evil. If not, there are no need for rules governing wars. If you have the LTTE in mind, I with what I know can say they were evil, despite the cause they advocated. This does not excuse the evil the armed forces did.

      Dr.Rajan Hoole and others like him are in pursuit of the truth. We have to know the truth to understand the true dimensions of what transpired.

      Incidentally, Pearl Buck was a female.


      • 1

        Dr RN
        Has any human being access to the absolute truth?
        Is there an absolute good or absolute evil?
        Even God as presented to us by any religion is not absolutely good.

        True and false depend on our (always incomplete) understanding of reality. Good and bad are often contextual.
        Yet we use our judgment, and the best we can do is to be intellectually honest in the process.

        When British imperialism fought Nazi Germany, Gandhi preferred the former and Nethaji the latter. Despite my greater admiration for Nethaji as an Indian freedom fighter, I think that he was wrong.
        Trotskyites refused to see any difference between the two. History proved them wrong.

        • 1


          The concept of God exists because we are in search of absolute truth. We are in eternal search for this truth. One person’s truth is not everyone’s truth. This is a fact even in science. We keep discovering facets that either enhance our knowledge and debunk what we thought was right. My point was that we are in eternal search of the absolute truth. The more we search, the more we find. Everything is relative in life and are influenced by perceptions, availalable facts, predilections and experiences.

          God, for me is what is beyond my understanding. It is the unknown and the ununderstood. It is also the panorama of nature that we see, understand and continue discovering. The understanding I have of my religion, is rooted in these concepts.

          The question of whether the chicken or the egg came first, is an eternal dilemma in many matters that affect of our lives- especially in societal matters. We have to however, make logical deductions from what we know and make decisions to move forward- a relentless human need.


  • 0

    Dr. RN

    I too totally disagree with you. The duo in UTHR (J) are not the only people who want to pursue truths. The vast majority of Tamil intellectuals who disagree with those two also want to objectively pursue truths. I do not endorse the excesses of the LTTE but I cannot consider that in isolation and ignore the tremendous support they had among Tamils. As far as I am concerned without appropriate weights for all different factors there can be compete distortion of truths. In fact universities in the world should set standards on this. The failure of universities is one reason why mankind’s inhumanity to mankind remains rampant.

    • 1

      Guess Who,

      There are many facets to this truth! Many are trying to identify these facets including Drs. Hoole and Sri Tharan. It is not an easy task considering the sophisticated propaganda campaign orchestrated by the government, LTTE and other players.

      My family was also a victim of the IPKF-LTTE war in Jaffna in 1987 and I had to be there, at the point when the LTTE had been pushed out beyond Kaithady. The incident that involved my family, followed a land mine planted by the LTTE targeting an IPKF jeep in the vicinity of our family home on the A9. The IPKF went berserk killing many innocents in the vicinity. I cremated four rotting and rotted bodies in the scrub within an hour! The PLOTE and EPRLF cadres were with the IPKF and having day long parties amidst death and mayhem. They had pinpointed houses that had been forced to supply food parcels and provide sleeping space to the LTTE. Who is to be blamed, the LTTE that planted the land mine in a civilian area, the IPKF that lost its discipline and went berserk or the other Tamil militant groups who were acting as the catspaw of the IPKF? Was the LTTE creating the circumstances for the IPKF to react with blind fury against the civilians for its cynical propaganda purposes?

      All what I have described above are different facets of the truth! This is true of all aspects of the ugly war. The only undeniable fact- the truth- is that thousands of innocent civilians became victims of cruel and cynical wars. One player’s story is not the truth. It was mostly propaganda. In my story, the Indian government took pains to prove the LTTE was the villain, while the LTTE chose to shed crocodile tears!


  • 1

    Dr. RN

    Further to my above comment please note a minority of Tamils describe only the LTTE as “evil”, “fascist”, etc. They do NOT use such words to describe the Indian officialdom, for example. I was in Jaffna during the time of IPKF Rule. From first hand experience I know the hatred Tamils had against the IPKF and the feelings they had for LTTE. I am referring to the majority of Tamils. If LTTE was evil, WHO WAS BETTER, of all armed groups in Tamil areas, for Tamils? It’s the Tamil perspective that should matter in Tamil areas. When feelings and wishes of Tamils are disregarded by UTHR(J), and when there is misrepresentation of truths and realities, UTHR (J) will have no credibility among Tamils even when they are propped up by establishments. There have also been allegations that it’s India that supplied chemical bombs and cluster bombs to GoSL. The duo in UTHR (J) have not said anything like what all learned judges of Rome based Permanenet People’s Tribunal have unanimously said. A lot more can be written. Tamils already know all these things well.

  • 1


    I see that you are passionate about your beliefs.Fine.
    My take on this issue is that Mr.Sambanthan and others,off and on,refer to the Vaddukottai Resolution only as a rallying call.[I am borrowing your terminology].This is to keep the Flock together!
    Rhetorical extravaganza is a tool employed by Politicians to keep afloat!

    • 1


      The Vattukottai Resolution was dead minutes after its arrival.

      Hindians made sure its last rites were properly performed in various stages through Thimbu Principles, Bangalore Talks, Parrippu drop, Indo-Lanka accord, IPKF, 13th Amendment ……. 1finally at Mullivaaikkal.

      Country Farce and his fellow bigots will continue to keep non-issues that are no longer valid, which they use as an excuse to cover up their past, present, and future crimes. You assured you will hear the same stupid concerns expressed with gusto even in 2076 AD.

      • 2

        Plato and NV,

        The following is what Sambanthan told the ‘ Hindu’ during his recent visit to India to participate in the Kumbamela:

        “The TULF, then an umbrella organisation of Tamil parties such as S.J. Chelvanayakam’s Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi, G.G. Ponnambalam’s All Ceylon Tamil Congress and S. Thondaman’s Ceylon Workers Congress, had adopted the resolution. “We stopped talking about the content of the resolution ever since the India-Sri Lanka Agreement was signed in 1987 and the 13th Constitutional Amendment [which envisaged the establishment of elected provincial councils], was adopted. We have moved away from that position,” Mr. Sampanthan told The Hindu.

        Pointing out that a majority of the parties had agreed to work within the framework of a “united, undivided Sri Lanka,” Mr. Sampanthan, now heading a coalition of parties called the Tamil National Alliance, said the present process of constitutional reforms would “bring about finality” to the Tamil question. The Tamil people needed “greater power sharing, greater autonomy,” he said.”( Hindu, 16th May’ 2016)

        The Vattukottai has been long dead for all intents and purposes for a very long time.


    • 0

      Remember that my comments on this thread to the Vaddukoddai Resolution being still relevant and the references to it by Mr. Sampanthan were the result of a statement by “Native Vedda” that the Vadd.Res. was “dead minutes after arrival”, dismissing it was a dead duck not to be taken further into account.
      However, you must admit that Mr. Sampanthan uses it not only as a ‘rallying call for his flock’ but also as a “reminder” to the Sinhalese of the continued existence of the VR!

  • 1

    The Sinhalese migrated mostly from North and Middle India originally, estimated to be about 2600 years ago. The Portuguese came to trade but invaded Lanka, starting 1505. They were very destructive and destroyed a large number of the Buddhist temples, places of learning and burnt valuable ola leaf books many centuries old. They converted many to Catholicism at the point of the sword.
    Then the Dutch came in 1638 and threw out the Portuguese and started planting Tobacco in the North and Cinnamon in the West. For this purpose they brought in South Indian Tamil labor. These were the first Tamils who came in large numbers to Sri Lanka,around half a million.

    The British removed Dutch colonists. British tried very hard but could not penetrate to the interior Kingdom of Kandy because of the hills. They then resorted to subterfuge and sent whisky to the King who became addicted to liquor. In his drunken bouts the King started killing some of his chieftains in the most gruesome manner. The disgusted Chieftains turned to the British who agreed to remove the King (whom they suspected to a usurper or a pretender), and a Treaty was signed which gave promises to preserve Buddhism and the Sinhala language etc. As they have done in other parts of the world, they broke the Treaty and decimated the Sinhalese who protested in the Uva-Wellassa area. They killed all the men, women and children in the area and laid waste to the land. They took over the land from the farmers by force and planted tea and brought the largest numbers of South Indian Tamil labor, over a million, to work on the Tea plantations.

    As you can see, three different colonists culminating with the worst who were the British, have persecuted the Sinhalese for almost 500 years. They changed forever the ethnic balance in the country by importing South Indian Tamils as indentured labor. They then educated the Tamils using Missionary schools in the North. Tamil people became the second layer of Administrators in Sri Lanka (next to the British), with only a few Sinhalese. Net result was that when Sri Lanka gained Independence, the Tamils were the educated class to take advantage of top administrative positions once again.

    Can you blame Sinhalese for wanting their rights restored after 500 years? That was the intent in bringing Sinhala Language Act. Unfortunately SWRD then caved in and made Tamil also a National language. These steps were very necessary to give the Sinhalese their rights back.

    The Sinhalese have an unbroken written history in the form of the Mahavamsa and the Chulavamsa going back 2600 years and have a unique version of Buddhism (Theravada) which is considered the purest form of Buddhism in the World. The correct version is long, about 80 chapters. Buddhist priests were mainly the guardians of the Buddhist religion and Sinhala language. They have maintained the books for a period of over 2,600 years. The majority of the people in the country are Sinhalese who have a unique spoken and written language, which is available only in Sri Lanka.

    The Tamils comprise only about 9% of the 21 million people in the country. They speak Tamil, and are aligned to the culture of Tamil Nadu in India. Tamil Nadu is their real homeland. There are also Muslims who are Tamils, Christians and a few other minority groups. The Sinhalese comprise about 75% of the population.

    Sinhalese speak and write a unique language, which is there only in Sri Lanka and nowhere else. The type of food they eat and the customs are unique to the Sinhala culture. Furthermore it was the Sinhalese who preserved Theravada Buddhism which is a great Philosophy now benefitting the whole world. Many as you may know are turning to Buddhism in the West. Western Psychotherapy borrows from Theravada Buddhism. The Sinhalese have no other place to go other than Sri Lanka. Tamil People have Tamil Nadu in India and some other places established in the world.

    Therefore if we are to speak in terms of Nationhood, there is one Nation, which is Sinhala Nation in Sri Lanka, which has existed for 2600 years, and the other one is in Tamil Nadu, the Tamil Nation. It is imperative that the Tamils of Sri Lanka integrate into the local Lanka culture, which accommodates them so well, instead of asking for a separate state. Otherwise as Prime Minister Modi has stated, they are welcome to return to India. This fact has to be made very clear to the whole world. We should not be embarrassed to speak out.

    We have to always keep in mind the historical context of these issues. Instead of looking at Sri Lanka in isolation we need to take into account the fact that there are about 77 million Tamils just 12 miles away in Tamil Nadu. This makes the Sinhalese feel that they are a minority and they react like a minority in their own country. Since independence the British have sought to divide the country and rule it as they once did. They seem to have aspirations of Colonisation all over again. Now with the help of the Tamil Diaspora they are working with India to divide the country up and hand over the North and East to the Tamils. If the GoSL wants to do that why did 27,000 young men die to preserve the unity of the country? We should know by now that no amount of appeasement will work with the Tamils.

    In most of the Colonized countries of the British, when they left with the fall of the British Empire, the locals shipped back all the indentured labor the British had brought from South India. Look at Malaysia, Fiji, Africa, etc. Do the Tamils in these countries agitate for separate states? In Malaysia at time of independence the Malays declared the “Bhumiputra” law which protected the indigenous Malays. In Fiji they have banned Indians (Tamils) from coming there.

    The solution for Sri Lanka is to have one language as the Official language and English as a link language along with reasonable use of Tamil in the North only. If the Tamils who have migrated from Sri Lanka to Norway, France, etc., can learn very difficult languages such as Norwegian and French why cannot they learn Sinhalese and integrate with the people instead of having their loyalty to Tamil Nadu. Otherwise they can cross the 12 miles and go back to their homeland.

    The main reason why Tamils have fled Tamil Nadu over many thousands of years is because of the Caste problems. Since Caste is designated on their birth certificates in Tamil Nadu, they cannot escape discrimination and want to form Eelam for Tamils only in Sri Lanka. If such an Eelam is formed in Sri Lanka, the rest of the people in Sri Lanka can only receive more trouble as Eelam expands to take over the whole island nation. There are over 15 million Tamil Dalits in Tamil Nadu who want to leave Tamil Nadu, and Eelam is the place they will end up in. Ranil’s sea tunnel to Tamil Nadu will expedite matters for them !

    • 3

      What makes the Sinhala language unique? Is it its origins, script, grammar, the words, purity or the idiom?


  • 2

    The first part of the Mahavansa was written in Pali in the 6th century AD and is only 1500 (not 2600) years old.
    It deliberately suppressed many good things about Mahayana Buddhism and Mahayana Buddhist rulers.

    Tamils did not disperse because because of caste discrimination. Like West Africans they were forced to migrate.

    The oppressed folk across India took to Buddhism up to 6th Century AD. But Buddhism got corrupted by royal patronage.
    Tamil Buddhism survived well into the 10th Century and Tamil alongside Pali and Sanskrit was a language in which Buddhism was propagated so that Tamil has the only extant Buddhist epics of India.
    Buddhist structures in the north of Sri Lanka are akin to what are discovered in Tamil (not so much Telugu or Kannada) South India.

    Interestingly the religion most practiced by a majority of Sinhalese is polytheistic Hinuduism without the Brahmin but with all of its superstitions. The Buddha has a mere token presence in their lives. I dearly wish that they return to Buddhism and Buddhist values

    Most of the coastal Sinhalese of this country are descendants of South Indians who arrive during colonial times. I do not want to name the castes as you should know better.
    Much of the Sinhla majority Govigama like the Tamil majority Vellala comprise people of other castes who acquired their new caste identity through wealth and position acquired by various means.
    There has besides been mixing with Arabs, Europeans and oriental races. (This applies to all the coastal folk.)
    Racially there is little different between Tamils and Sinhalese.

    Sinhala is not the only unique language under the sun. Very nearly every language is.
    We can do with some respect for the identity of other people and their right to it wherever they live. That is what the UN Charter of Human Rights is about.

    • 0

      To Sekera: Oh, No! Not the same old stuff again!?

      1.You say “The first part of the Mahavansa was written in Pali in the 6th century AD and is only 1500 (not 2600) years old. It deliberately suppressed many good things about Mahayana Buddhism….”

      First off, Pali did not have a written script. The Mahawamsa was written in the Sinhala script.
      If “good things about Mahayana Buddhism” were suppressed, one has only to publish the corresponding documentary evidence in support. Besides, the Buddhist values that you wish the people return to are the “Hinayana values”, as the Mahayana values are more materialistic, with more chantings and displays of wealth. Do you think it preferable to adopt the Mahayanistic traditions/values?

      2. You say “Tamils did not disperse on account of caste discrimination”
      Really??? Could Brahmins, Kshatriyas, and even Shudras from India have been persuaded to migrate as laborers to the colonies for work on the plantations?

      3. You say “The oppressed folk across India took to Buddhism up to 6th Century AD. But Buddhism got corrupted by royal patronage. “
      Why were they oppressed if not for the pernicious caste system that had been well integrated into the Hindu religion?
      And did not the “royals” who were Hindus and Brahmins impose the caste-based strata (considered God-decreed and Karma-based and therefore unchangeable), with the oppressed ‘low castes’ being relegated to the Dalit castes or the “untouchables”?

      4. You say “Most of the coastal Sinhalese of this country are descendants of South Indians who arrive during colonial times.
      Your contention then is that there was no migration before the 15th century. Your evidence in support, please!?

      5. You say “Much of the Sinhla majority Govigama like the Tamil majority Vellala comprise people of other castes who acquired their new caste identity through wealth and position acquired by various means………(This applies to all the coastal folk.) Racially there is little different between Tamils and Sinhalese.
      You then mean that there was NO AGRICULTURE in the South and/or coastal regions despite the river deltas providing the best and most fertile soils?? Again, evidence, please!

      • 0

        Remember the Aesop’s fable that I referred to?

  • 1

    Sekera: to answer some of your misstatements here are my comments.

    1. If you read the Mahavamsa, it starts with the arrival of the Lord Buddha in Sri Lanka. Therefore it refers to things that happened 2600 years ago.

    2. No one forced Tamil Dalits to migrate to Lanka. Because their caste is on their birth certificate in India they try to get out of South India whenever they can. They were brought willingly as indentured labor by Dutch and British and then to do menial labor in Colombo. They were then called Sakkilis. All I said about Tamils in Malaysia and Fiji etc is correct. They also came as the army of Prabahakaran who said that 35% of his army was from Tamil Nadu. The reason why they leave Tamil Nadu is depicted in this article which shows the violence against Tamil Dalits in Tamil Nadu, even today.

    3. I do not know how you can compare Tamil language to Pali and Sanskrit since Tamil is not an Aryan language like Sanskrit, while Hindi is like Sinhala language and is an Aryan language.

    4. I agree that most Temples have a small kovil on the side for Lord Vishnu and Lord Kataragama etc., who are worshipped by Sinhalese. The reason is that in Buddhism there is really no judgemental ‘God’ to worship and most people are not strong enough to stand on their own in times of dire troubles. They like to have some belief in a deity and feel comfortable when they worship Lord Vishnu and Lord Kataragama etc. Budddha said he is not ‘God’ and therefore when we offer flowers etc to the Buddha it is to remind ourselves of his words that “like these flowers we too shall fade away and all things are impermanent”.

    5. There is no real Caste discrimination issues now among the Sinhalese. I agree that Genetically Sinhalese are very mixed with many races and that they are mostly from the Indian gene pool. However, what is important is not the Genetic get up but the Sinhala/Buddhist culture which is usually kind, tolerant and allowed many peoples to make Sri Lanka their home. In return, some of those who were helped have turned round and bitten the hand that fed them.

    6. Sinhala is a unique language and is not found anywhere else other than in Sri Lanka. Tamil on the other hand is found wherever the Tamil Dalits migrated to and is available in Tamil Nadu the homeland of the Tamils who are spread round the world. Their home land is not in Sri Lanka – it is in Tamil Nadu.The British have not forgotten that the Tamils were the first to join them and form an army to fight against India. That is why Cameron is so keen to help the Tamils to create a separate state in Sri Lanka.

    • 0

      1. The Mahavansa was written many centuries after 500 BC.

      2. The British used various methods to pull them out of the poor districts of South India. They were cheated.
      BTW, there were no birth certificaes at the time.

      3. I do not compare languages except in linguistic exercises which is not the case here.
      I said “Tamil alongside Pali and Sanskrit was a language in which Buddhism was propagated”. Kindly read what I wrote and then comment on it.

      4. Please check the wrists of many Sinhalese for colour threads and the display of Hindu deities in their homes and even in buses.
      The late Gangodawila Soma Thero was openly resentful of the utter corruption of Buddhism in the country and sought a return to true Buddhist values.

      5. I said nothing of caste oppression among Sinhalese. But I drew attention to change of caste identity.

      6. People have their right to all aspects of their identity. If you cannot appreciate it, so be it.

    • 1


      When did our island become a distinct entity separated from the Indian subcontinent? Was it much bigger than it is now and cover a a larger area in the Indian sucontinent? When was the last time that people were able to walk back and forth across the Palk Stait? Did the human also evolve in South Asia in addition to East Africa? How old was the oldest human remains discovered in Lanka? What to the current mRNA studies reveal about the genetic affiliations of the Sinhalese, Tamils and Veddas in Lanka? Are our Veddas bear any relationship to the Vedar of South I dis, the Andamanese and the Australian aboriginals? Are there Tamil-speaking Veddas in Lanka?

      I expect your answers to be interesting.


    • 2


      Prof. M.Dharmadasa, retired professor of Sinhala and the Editir of the Sinhala encyclopedia says, ” to borrow a term from linguistics, the deep structure of Sri Lankan culture is Indian”


      Please read more of his scholarly writings on Sinhala and Sri Lankan Buddhism.


    • 3

      Zeus the Zombie

      Are you a walking dead or renowned scholar?

      Even the stupid has limitation on stupidity.

      “They also came as the army of Prabahakaran who said that 35% of his army was from Tamil Nadu.”

      Prabaharan also said many things or his spin doctors said many things about him. He claimed to have fought for the rights of Tamils, all he did was to work for Hindians, Sri Lankan petty dictators, and the west. You show me in one incident he fought for the Tamils.

      This is what VP had to say about J.R.Jayawardena “if he was a true Buddhist I would not be carrying a gun!”

      And you believe VP.

      ” I do not know how you can compare Tamil language to Pali and Sanskrit since Tamil is not an Aryan language like Sanskrit, while Hindi is like Sinhala language and is an Aryan language.”

      According to Sanskrit scholars, (Can’t remember his name) origin of 10 to 20% of Sanskrit words have been traced to Tamil/Dravidian language. Similarly about 20% of Tamil words are traced to Sanskrit.

      Why the hell do you think Sinhala language is unique? In Africa and other continents people speak their own languages among few hundred of people in limited geographical area. Does it make unique in any sense of the word?

      Sinhala language is an admixture of various languages. What does make it unique?

      I am sure you chose not to read the works of

      Prof Sunil Ariaratne
      Prof RALH Gunawardana
      Prof Gananath Obeysekere
      Darmratana Hissalle Thero
      CE Godakumbura
      D E Hettiaratchi
      D B Jayatilaka
      S ParanaVitana (1983)
      D M de Z Wickremasinghe

      There is a whole wide world up there beyond your nose.

  • 1


    Logic and emotion are two different things!

    Relationships are based on emotion and not on Logic; Thank God!
    My take on this issue is that we need to traverse a more appropriate trajectory to resolve our relationships not only among ourselves but also with others.

    • 0

      I can agree with you on the Emotion v. Logic issue, with some reservations that logic and rationale are what lead to reasonableness of any resolution, especially regarding relationships that are resolved with a view to endurance as an integral value in that resolution, together with other reasoned supporting elements

    • 0


      The Middle Path would be the most effective trajectory.
      Involve both heart and mind; compassion and reason.
      Share power at the Center without ethnic territorial boundaries.
      This is what will be both successful and durable.

  • 2

    I have read the Comments with interest.

    My take is that whatever the Genes in a person or a group of people, it is the VALUE SYSTEM IN LIFE that matters.

    I have some Questions to ask re VALUES, India & Sri Lanka :

    (1) Why did India ditch Buddhism as the main religion there (after King Asoka) and embrace Hinduism as the main religion ?

    (2) Why does India continue to do their Census taking on CASTE bases (as in te 2011 Census of India). All people who are Catholics, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, etc are categorised under Scheduled Castes – low ranking socially.

    (3) As asked by others, why does India put CASTE on the birth certificates issued there – as done in Tamil Nadu too ?

    (4) Why did India train the LTTE in Tamil Nadu ?

    (5) What is the VALUE SYSTEM shown by the leading Tamil politicians since the so called Independence from Britain in 1948 ? We think it is a very Negative Value System with the Vadukoddai Resolution (1976) which led the Tamil youth to violence and ended in 2009. The loss of life is tremendous to both Sinhala & Tamil people and the costs of war very high, with loss of reputation abroad too.

    (5-A) How many Sinhala and Tamil leaders did the LTTE kill (UNP leaders especially) ?

    (6) Why do Tamil people try to form Eelam in Sri Lanka and try to get out of Tamil Nadu, if the Tamil Nadu VALUE SYSTEM IN LIFE is really good there ?
    Elaborate plans have been laid to acquire Parts of Lanka as Eelam from the 1920s. Why ?

    Can someone can answer these questions ?

    • 2


      “Elaborate plans have been laid to acquire Parts of Lanka as Eelam from the 1920s.”

      Could you cite evidence.

      “Why ? Can someone can answer these questions ?”

      No we can’t.

      Only a medical practitioner who specialises in treating paranoid personality disorder can help you.

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