9 December, 2019

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Ideological Cancers Within The Sinhala Universe

By Michael Roberts

Dr. Michael Roberts

Dr. Michael Roberts

Ideological Cancers within the Sinhala Universe: Roadblocks in the Path of Reconciliation

Way back in the 1970s the manner in which Anagārika Dharmapāla conflated the concepts of “Ceylonese” and “Sinhalese” in one of his public exhortations (Guruge 1965) led me to argue that this was a powerful tendency in Sinhalese nationalist thinking and that this unexamined tendency was a major problem in securing political accommodation that would assuage the growing dissent among the Sri Lankan Tamils (Roberts 1978). The problem remains and has been marked in the theme motif for my thuppahi site, viz., “the Sinhala Mindset” (2009a).

It was highlighted once again in my article “Pillars for the Future” in Frontline on 22 May 2009 immediately after the Government of Sri Lanka, marshalled by the Rajapaksas and UPFA, defeated the LTTE military machine (Roberts 2009b). I argued here for a multi-faceted approach directed towards dismantling the practices which encouraged the majoritarian Sinhala part to elide itself as the whole of Lanka in ways that naturalized domination.

This issue, to be sure, is a secondary aspect of the political structures and processes that have placed the Sinhala forces, spearheaded now by the Rajapaksas, in the commanding heights of the island’s political economy. Today, the Rajapaksa brothers oversee a vast conglomerate that dominates the island.

Mahinda RThere are, it is said, internal currents and counter-currents within this cabal.[1] The more benign — seemingly benign — ideological currents have at times been embodied in President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s pontifical public addresses, sermons from the mount. There are analysts who would take a transactionalist position and dismiss these expressions as typical political camouflage that attempts to appease both critics and masses. There are friends of mine, analysts too, who see the Rajapaksas as the epitome of evil power-mongers who are beyond the pale. As such, these friends become one part of the Sri Lankan dispensation whose readings and actions are guided by visceral Rajapaksa hatred. Many of these personnel are Sinhalese — Sinhalese, mind you, who hated Pirahākaran (Prabākaran) and the LTTE too. Such a fact makes for a political scenario that is as complex as cavernous. Such reactions also, arguably, complicate the process of reconciliation and exacerbate the developing problems.

Is there no hope then? Is Sinhala domination entrenched in the Rajapaksa cabal? I prefer to align with Jehan Perera and see some glimmers of reconciliatory possibility in President Rajapaksa’s gestures and pronouncements at symbolic moments. Let me delineate some examples.

  1. At the Independence Day Speech at Trincomalee on 4th February 2013 President Mahinda Rajapaksa affirmed that “as much as racism, religious differences too can be a cause for the destruction of a country. If anyone is trying to build religious rivalry in Sri Lanka again, they do not serve their religion, but serve the interests of separatism in the country. We cannot leave room for what could not be achieved through terrorism to be gained by this.”
  2. … and followed this up by stating that “when the people live together in unity there are no racial or religious [disputes].[2] Therefore, it is not practical for this country to be divided based on ethnicity. The solution is to live together in this country with equal rights for all communities.”

Significantly, he presented both these pronouncements in Tamil as well as Sinhalese. Likewise, more recently at the gathering to launch the launch the National Unity Convention at the BMICH in Colombo on 7th April 2014, he spoke in Tamil at some moments and attracted a spontaneous round of clapping when he first did so[3] — a response that is surely a hopeful sign of some import.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa has a penchant for selective excursions into the island’s history in order to bolster his homilies. In 2013 at Trincomalee he alluded to the Dutch fort in Trincomalee as one aspect of their colonial domination and the fact that Trincomalee was the entry-point for Siamese monks tasked with restoring higher ordination in the Kingdom of Kandy (i.e. Sīhalē) during the mid-18th century. Likewise, at the gathering at the BMICH he referred (a) to the manner in which the kings of Sīhalē at Mahānuvara (Kandy) provided refuge to Muslims subject to Portuguese persecution and (b), how, subsequently in Dutch times, they enabled Catholics fleeing Dutch persecution to settle at Wahacotte. In this manner he marked the importance of religious tolerance of diversity.

The latter examples are acts of cherry-picking from a more complex history of the Kingdom of Sīhalē (as the Kingdom of Kandy should be more properly called) that includes parallel and significant instances of intolerance.[4] But it is the contemporary purpose, the advocacy of tolerance and accommodation by President Rajapaksa, embodied within these selections that one must heed … and possibly applaud.

Possibly applaud? There are cynics who will dismiss such excursions as pious platitudes from on high that have no solid practical groundings or policy pursuits. When my Frontline article asked whether President Rajapaksa’s “sweet words [would] be matched substantial reforms in the political dispensation,” a similar scepticism was signalled (2009). Today, four years later, the government’s failure to curtail the chauvinism, religious intolerance and political thuggery of the Bodu Bala Sena indicates a failure to align practice with homily. The government’s particular failure to curb hate speech or act is not an isolated instance. Civil rights advocates will be able to present many instances where the rule of law has not been administered.

Today’s sceptics may go further and deeper: they may even adopt my characterisation of Mahinda Rajapaksa as an Asokan Persona and cakravarti figure who is not only sustained by cohorts pirivarāgena, but one who dispenses largesse in ways that encourage him to take away with the left hand what the right hand has dispensed.

In this form of political order, therefore, benefits, if any, are delivered from above. Thus, beneficial actions are not rights established on political principle in the vocabulary of the French Enlightenment. The political culture has a different grounding that is deeply hierarchical and capricious in its implications and applications.

This foundation within Sri Lankan politics, therefore, is a debilitating force, a hidden tumour. This tumour, I suggest, sits alongside, and is further aggravated by, another cancer: one that I have alluded to within another article (in Groundviews no less) entitled “Mixed Messages” (Roberts 2011a). This cancerous problem is nothing less than the replication of one pillar in Dharmapala’s thinking, namely, the conflation of “Sinhalese” with “Ceylonese;” or “Sinhala” with Sri Lankan.”

“Mixed Messages” focused on the (a) oversimplifications within President Rajapaksa’s Independence Day Speech at Trincomalee in 2013 and (b) his inattention to this particular cancer lying concealed within his presentation. For one, take his assertion then in 2013: “jātheen samīdānayen ekata jeevathwena kota, jāthī āgam bēdha äthi wenne nä” — rendered as “when nations/racial groups/peoples[5] live together in unity, racial and religious schisms/disputes will not arise.” President Rajapaksa may have thought it meaningful and profound. However, it is nothing but a tautology; well-intentioned no doubt and a plea for religious tolerance; but hardly a practical step towards religious amity.

For another, in “Mixed Messages” I raised the issue of the Sinhala part-being-equal-to-the Lanka-whole in President Rajapaksa’s Victory Day speech of 22 May 2009 when he alluded to jātika kodiya, sinha kodiya. My interpretation on this point has since been challenged by Gerald Peiris who contended/contends[6] that the reference is to the flag of Sri Lanka and that its usage in recent times is similar to American references to the Stars and Stripes and British references to the Union Jack.[7]

Peiris was/is scathing and unequivocal on this point; and remains adamant (see Appendix I). However, it would seem that we are in contested terrain on this issue. Other educated Sinhalese interpreted the terminology, taken in association with the lion emblem, to mark the conjunction of land/state with the Sinhala people. Let me begin with two examples.

Example A is the reading presented by Nishan de Mel, a professional researcher in his early 40s: “when someone says Sinha Kodiya, I tend to, and other Sinhalese might too, think of the term “Sinha” as a reference to the LION and not the Sinhalese. But the Sinha Flag as an entity tends to evoke a sense of representing the Sinhalese (not because of the term ‘sinha’).”

Example B is a young Sinhalese female researcher in her ‘twenties whose proficiency is weighted towards Sinhala literacy. She said

“I haven’t [thought] about this before. When I heard someone speaks Sinha kodiya, what suddenly come in to my mind is, it is our Jathika kodiya. When I heard it, I’ll make a picture of a lion in my mind, but it is about Jathika kodiya. Jathika kodiya is “our” flag. I now only started thinking of what I meant by “our”. I think it probably will be the Sinhala!

But I asked about this from five people, three of them said that when they hear this, first thing come in to their mind is lion. Others said that IT IS THE JATHIKA KODIYA. I think if we questioned them further, they will probably talk about Sinhala. Therefore I think if someone hear Sinha kodiya, he or she connects it to Sinhala, not just for a lion. Because everyone knows the relationship of the lion to Sinhala.”

Example C: A third person, a female Sinhalese academic in her early 30s who has been studying abroad for quite a while but spent time recently on fieldwork in the island, presented a more complex reading by dissecting contexts of usage. Because her exercise is lengthy, it is presented as Appendix II. It leans towards the idea that in specific situations the association of the lion with the Sinhalese people is strong and concluded with her hunch that “a more distinct connotation between its iconography and the ethnic category is getting more hardened.”

In summary, therefore, we see that a fundamental iconographic symbol appears to encourage differing and controversial interpretations. In this background one must obviously attend to the considerations that guided the original inauguration of this flag.[8]

As “Ceylon” was on the verge of securing Independence from Britain, on January 16th, 1948 the MP for Batticaloa, A. Sinnalebbe, tabled a motion in the State Council advocating the adoption of the lion flag seized from the last King of Kandy (that is of Sīhalē) by the British — an emblem held as trophy at Chelsea in London. It appears that some version of this flag was deployed on the 4th February 1948 when the island’s independence was symbolically celebrated.

D. S. Senanayake appointed a Committee to finalize an appropriate flag. The composition was multi-ethnic and erudite: S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike (Chairman), Sir John Kotalawela, Mr. J.R. Jayewardene, Mr. T.B. Jayah, Dr. L.A. Rajapakse, Mr. G.G. Ponnambalam and Senator S. Nadesan, with Dr. Senarath Paranavithana as Secretary. They developed the design that prevails now and this emblematic flag was hoisted for the first time on the 3rd March 1950.

There is a suite of meanings encoded in the flag. These remain hidden and unknown. So the official clarification is an eye-opener.[9]

“The design approved by the committee in February 1950 retained the symbol of the lion with the sword and the bo-leaves from the civil standard of the last king of Sri Lanka, with the inclusion of two vertical stripes green and orange in colour. The significance of each symbol of the national flag is as follows:

  • The lion in the flag represents the Sinhala race.
  • The sword of the lion represents the sovereignty of the country.
  • The noble eight fold path of Buddhism is signified by the lion’s tail.
  • Curly hair on the lion’s head indicates religious observance, wisdom and meditation.
  • The beard denotes purity of words.
  • The handle of the sword highlights the elements of water, fire, air and earth.
  • The nose indicates intelligence.
  • The two front paws purport to purity in handling wealth.
  • The vertical stripe of orange represent the minority Tamil race and the green vertical stripe the minority Muslim race.
  • The four virtues of kindness: KINDNESS, FRIENDLINESS, HAPPINESS, EQUANIMITY are also represented in the flag.
  • The border round the flag, which is yellow in colour, represents other minor races.
  • The bo-leaves at the four corners of the flag represent Buddhism and its influence on the nation. They also stand for the four virtues – Kindness, Friendliness, Happiness and Equanimity.
  • The maroon coloured portion of the flag manifests the other minor religions.”

It is unlikely that many Sri Lankans are familiar with most of the symbolic meanings encoded within the intricate details in the flag. But the meanings attached to the prominent green and orange stripes — recognising the Muslim (Moor) and Tamil peoples’ place in the island firmament — are widely known; and in their turn underline the original conception of the lion as an iconic marker for the Sinhalese.

Indeed, for this reason Senator Nadesan appears to have voiced strong protests within the Committee couched in the spirit and language of Tamil nationalism in search of equal status. Ethirveerasingham’s subsequent web essay (n. d) in the same spirit of legalistic equality reveals that Nadesan objected to the design as one that rendered the Tamils and Muslims into “appendages outside the Sinhala Buddhist unit.”

Clearly, the debate that occurred then calls for careful scrutiny. This survey must extend to the discussions leading to the constitution of 1972 because it seems that “the flag was modified once more, with four stylized leaves of the Bo (Pipul) tree, a Buddhist symbol, [being] added to the four corners to replace the four pinnacles” (Funday Times 2010).[10]

The issue remains for us TODAY: does the term sinha kodiya, taken in conjunction with its iconic emblem, make jātika kodiya into a Sinhalese space in the thinking of some Sinhalese? … or among many Sinhalese? There is a research topic here. Gerald Peiris’s obiter dictum must be scrutinised and challenged.

Perhaps we should consider Indi Samarajiva’s iconoclastic thoughts after the TNA leader Sampanthan was criticised by his (constipated?) fellows for carrying the national flag at a political function in May 2012. Indi’s response is as follows: “The Sri Lankan flag is not an aesthetic triumph, but neither am I. I like it anyways. In [a] (random) graded review of flags Sri Lanka got 41/100 with demerits for weapons, bad colours, graven images and being too busy. Which I think is fair, but again, I like it anyways. It’s a flag, it’s our flag. I have one in the house in case there’s a big cricket match or something. What’s news is that a Tamil leader made news by simply holding the flag at all.”

Entwined within this field is the cultural minefield enveloping the translation of European concepts in the English language into everyday Sinhalese vocabulary within mundane conversations and news reportage. Where muladharmavādaya has recently confirmed its firm meaning as the translation of “fundamentalism,” there is simply no standardisation in the everyday understandings of the terms “race” and “nation” and the related concepts “racialism” and “nationalism.”[11]

Taking up four basic concepts that have taken root in the Western political discourse in the English language since the Enlightenment and the French Revolution, the corpus was presented to six political activists (including three journalists) in 2013.[12] The answers varied, while yet displaying some commonality:

nation = vargaya/deshaya; jātiya (3); rate janathāva; rata/dheshaya

race = pelapatha/jātiya; vargaya (2); jaatiya/kula vargaya; jātiya;  janavargaya;

racialism = vargavaadaya/jātivadaya; vargavādaya (3); jaativādaya (2)

nationalism = jātiālaya/jātivādaya; jātikathvavādaya; jātikavādaya (3); jātivādaya

Within this body of disagreement and commonality it appears that in some minds the word jātiya can be used interchangeably and refer to both race and nation. So, too, can vargaya (which also refers to “kind”).

These overlaps and conflations are of considerable import. They are reminders of the considerable confusion of terminology in England during the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries before political and intellectual developments separated the concept of “nation” from its equivalences with “kind” and “tribe” (Roberts 2011).

I speculate that in the Sinhala-speaking world today these conflations encourage the reading of the past into the present and the present into the past. It is likely, therefore, that they encourage the entrenchment of primordialist notions of Sinhalaness amongst a significant segment of the Sinhalese populace.

By “primordialism” I refer here to thinking that understands the meaning of a collective label to be the same from its inception, its ursprüngliche moment, so that the interpretive stress is on constancy, durability and linear persistence. Ur in German refers to “original” or “ancient” as well as “primitive” and “prime.” It connects with the idea of Ursprung and Urprunglichkeit, viz, “origin” and “original.” It therefore conveys notions of essence of being or naturalness. It also connects with such political concepts as Herkunft (stock, descent) and Entstehung (emergence) and with a range of other German words with positive connotations. In brief, it cross-hatches German speech-forms in a manner that instils and grounds a powerful constellation of thought (Roberts 2001: 26-27).

My speculative suggestion is that a similar body of cross-hatching ideas has existed for centuries in Sinhala thinking supported further by a segmentary inside/outside language pattern that is integral to interpersonal factional relations generating hostility to those “ūn” or “gamen bähara” (beyond our village) or “pita” (outside) or those “un” in the sense alien (Roberts 2001: 26; 2004: 17, 30-33, 136ff).

As a populist politician who is prone to present his homilies through excursions into the Sinhala past, it is likely that Mahinda Rajapaksa bears this baggage. It is not surprising, therefore, that he has resisted the long-term project that seeks to re-educate Sinhala generations into an appreciation of their Tamil neighbours by learning to sing the national anthem, “Sri Lankā Māthā,” in Tamil and Sinhala at momentous occasions. The LLRC’s recommendation on this score lies on the shelves.

My argument for this symbolic step is not only an effort to seduce the resistant Tamil nationalists. I see it as a process that will encourage emerging Sinhalese generations to appreciate the Tamil language and its worth.  Consider the potential. Imagine the moment when the Sri Lankan cricketers face the Aussies or Indians at Premadasa Stadium in Colombo or Rajapaksa Stadium at Sooriyawewa ………….. and everybody stands at the pre-match ceremony ………….. and all belt out the NAMO NAMO anthem first in Sinhala and then in Tamil.  Ponder, ponder: what chords of amity can be generated!

But then ponder: why has the idea been rejected. The Asokan man of homily is not willing to listen to the ecumenical messages of any sandēsa bird (messenger bird) or the calm admonitions of a lapwing seeking a bi-lingual expression of Sri Lankā Māthā. The lapwing returns home dejected. Reconciliation remains shredded. Even the thought of reconciliation evaporates.

End

APPENDIX I: Comment from Gerald Peiris, 24 April 2014

Both translations of jāthī āgam bēdha äthi wenne nä you have cited are definitely wrong, and one of them is misleading. The phrases jāthi bēda and āgam bēda in common Sinhala usage (even in Sinhala poetry and lyrics) mean, respectively, racial (or ethnic) disputes, and religious disputes.

Considered in the context of his speech, what MR has actually said in that passage is, in simple terms is: “(look), today in Colombo and the South, and in the East, the Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims are living together in peace. (So), when people live in peace, there are no racial (ethnic) or religious disputes.

Note: The official translator has made a mistake here, The term samīdānayen (the correct word is samādānayen) should be translated as ‘in peace’ (not ‘in unity’)

How can you or anyone else find anything “disturbing” or Prabhakaran-like in that statement? How on earth could you say that MR’s statement is tantamount to his saying that there are no racial and religious differences in Sri Lanka?

There could, of course, be no denial that MR and many others in this country (including me – though I am no Sinhala Prabhakaran) are against devolution (i.e. transfer of a wide range of critically important powers of government from the Center to regions demarcated ostensibly on the basis of ethnicity,** as distinct from power-sharing among all ethnic groups) as provided for by the 13th Amendment or as envisaged by those demanding a federation or a confederacy in SL, because we have no doubt that it would be disastrous for all the inhabitants of the island. I do not see anything hegemonic in that belief.

** Note also that there is no correspondence whatever between provincial demarcations and ‘ethnic regions’ in Sri Lanka.

The trouble with these Eelam fans (not you) is that any Tamil who has ventured into sharing powers of government at the Center is, for them, a ‘stooge’ of MR or a ‘lackey’ of the Sinhalese. I think they should just be ignored.

SL’s national flag has always been referred to as the ‘Sinha Kodiya’ a term just like ‘Union Jack’ or ‘Stars and Stripes’. The term Sinha refers to ‘lion’ and not the ‘Sinhala people’ The traditional Sinhalese flags (those that are displayed even today in the Kandy perahæra) have stylised depictions of various other animals as well.

APPENDIX II: Comment from a female Sinhalese postgraduate student[13]

Dear Michael,

…. I’m still not too sure about what “jathi/n” would mean – again context specific – and whether it means more than ethnicity (as was the case during pre-Dutch times when it was used as a broader umbrella term)…

B= going back to the etymology of the term ‘Seeha-la’ the symbolic link would be fairly strong (though we now looking at two entirely different contexts though, Seeha-la = not used as a racial category during antiquity as it was during colonialism and now). So the contexts are rather slippery.

I would then perhaps look at the wider context in which this quotation is embedded, and what it stands to mean today. However (going by popular culture, media representation), the iconography makes that clear link (rather as a connotation), between the metaphor and the ‘race.’ The question then would be whether there do exist exceptions (between the signifier and the signified), in which the lion is disembedded from any ethnic/racial context.

It’s been a question I’ve mulled over, particularly in 2009 when it was most pervasive in popular mainstream media (Sinhala), and it would be interesting to trace the different meanings and contexts (if at all), in which the icon stands to symbolize. Off my head, I’ve listed down a few contexts I see it appearing here:

Context A: Clips of the national anthem appearing on Youtube in 2009, with an image superimposed with the camouflaged face of a solder which rapidly flips back and forth between a human and what seems like a lion’s face

Context B: symbols in the national cricket area / if you look at the costumes of fans e.g. lion-mane wigs etc. this seems much more disengaged from any ethnic connotations – the slippage is rather stark in this context as it would be look upon as a national symbol. It would be interesting to validate this by asking Muslim and Tamil fans how they place it in context;

Context C: Civic/media discourse over Ceylon Breweries’ award-winning Lion Lager advertisement that used Chitralal Somapala’s 80s’ classic (I believe), as its theme song – the debates were clearly framed around narratives of ethnic in/exclusion,

Context D: again civic debates over meanings of hoisting a national flag during the last Independence Day (having a flag = patriotism = support of present regime); again its framing was rooted in embattled notions of nationalism and ethno-majoritarian politics. I recall people relatively more critical this time around and clearly distinguished between those who had flags, not having a flag was often seen as sending a clear signal. Now take this at face value, because it’s been a while since I’ve stayed Sri Lankan during Independence Day, but a few remarked on the ease of commercially finding flags (of course the manufacture of flags themselves) were perhaps at its peak this year.

Context E: In the late 90s, I recall one of the Gajabaha Regiments (cannot recall which one, I could find out), in Mirigama having had a captive male lion in its camp – I was told for the sake of “uplifting troop morale.” We had a small coconut estate a mile or two from the camp, and I’d heard it from first-hand sources…

All in all, slippages do exist, and I think context of course would matter first of all. That being said, my hunch is that a more distinct connotation between its iconography and the ethnic category is getting more hardened.   

REFERENCES

Ethirveerasingham, N. n. d. “The Sri Lankan National Flag: Symbol of Inequality and separation,” http://www.sangam.org/ANALYSIS/Ethir_02_23_01.htm

Daily Mirror 2012 “mixed reactions over hoisting National Flag,” http://www.dailymirror.lk/news/18429-mixed-reactions-over-hoisting-national-flag.html

Funday Times 2010 “The Sri Lankan National Flag,” http://www.sundaytimes.lk/100131/FunDay/fut_02.html.

Guruge, Ananda (ed)  1965 Return to Righteousness, Colombo: Ministry of Cultural Affairs, 1965: 501-44.

Roberts, Michael 1978 “Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka and Sinhalese Perspectives: Barriers to Accommodation,” Modern Asian Studies, 12, 353-376.

Roberts, Michael 1994.Exploring Confrontation, Reading: Harwood Academic Press.

Roberts, Michael 2001 Primordialist strands in contemporary Sinhala nationalism in Sri Lanka: Urumaya as Ur (Vol. 20). Colombo: Marga Institute.

Roberts, Michael 2004. Sinhala Consciousness in the Kandyan Period, 1590s-1818, Colombo: Yapa Publications.

Roberts, Michael 2009b “Some Pillars for Lanka’s Future,” Frontline, 19 June 2009, 26: 24-27 …. http://www.frontline.in/static/html/fl2612/stories/20090619261202400.htm

Roberts, Michael 2009a “Sinhala Mindset,” 9 Dec. 2009, http://thuppahi.wordpress.com/the-sinhala-mind-set/.

Roberts, Michael 2010 “Challenges Today: Weevils in the Mind,” 22 May 2010, http://groundviews.org/2010/05/22/challenges-today-weevils-in-the-mind/

Roberts, Michael 2011 “The Vocabulary of ‘nation’ in English in the Early Modern Period,” 10 July 2011, http://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2011/07/10/the-vocabulary-of-nation-in-english-in-the-early-modern-period/

Roberts, Michael 2011 “Mixed Messages and Bland Oversimplification in President Rajapaksa’s Independence Day Speech,” 11 February 2013, http://groundviews.org/2013/02/11/mixed-messages-and-bland-oversimplification-in-president-rajapaksas-independence-day-speech/

Roberts, Michael 2012 “Mahinda Rajapaksa: Cakravarti Imagery and Populist Processes,” 28 January 2012 http://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2012/01/28/mahinda-rajapaksa-cakravarti-imagery-and-populist-processes/

Samarajiva, Indi 2012 “the Flag Debate,” http://indi.ca/2012/05/the-flag-debate/

Wickremasinghe, Nira 2009 “After the War: A New Patriotism n Sri Lanka?” Journal of Asian Studies, 2009, 6: 1045-54.

Young, Richard & GSB Senanayake 1998 The Carpenter-Prētayā. A Collection of Buddhist Texts about Christianity from Sri Lanka, Colombo: Karunaratne and Sons.

FOOTNOTES



[1] From various circuits of gossip in Colombo.

[2] Unfortunately the Sinhala word “bēdha” was translated into English as “differences” in the official version of the President’s Speech, when it should have been rendered as “disputes” or “schisms.”

[3] Information from Jehan Perera.

[4] Amidst the several examples and strands of religious tolerance in the Kingdom of Kandy in the period 1591-1815 and the evidence of hybridity and pluralism, one has to (A) carefully attend to the spatial and class locations of such instances and (B) note contrasting instances of intolerance and animosity. For instance in the 1740s the Catholics around Mahanuvara were called “parangi” and evicted; while palm-leaf texts from this period expressed sharp hostility to both Saivism and Christianity. See Young and Senanayake 1998 and Roberts 2004:  17, 132-36; 139-40.

[5] The word jāti in Sinhala can be translated as follows: ”kind,” “caste,” ‘race,” “ethnic group” or “nation.” In this particular context the last three meanings apply in overlapping ways. As far as I am aware, the concept “ethnic” is not commonly deployed in Sri Lanka; but it is not insignificant that the official translation chose “racial” rather than “nation’ (or its equivalent, “nationality”) as its rendering.

[6] Email from Gerald Peiris, February 2013. Professor Peiris is a pal and an academic from my generation; aged in his mid-70s and a geographer, he is one of the best social scientists that Sri Lanka has produced.

[7] In April this year (2014) I sought permission from Gerald Peiris to present his Memo. He sent me a shorter, sharper version for public view (Appendix I) via email 24 April 2014.

[8] There is clearly a requirement for dispassionate studies of the parliamentary debates and media commentary when the Lion Flag was adopted in the period 1948-50.

[10] This item also adds that “in 1978, the leaves were made more natural.”

[11] In his typical forthright manner a senior journalist of Leftist orientation, Lakshman Gunasekara ,conveyed a pithy note on the reasons why muladharmavādaya had secured standardization: “Ever since the Sinhala media began reporting (and deliberately highlighting what was initially a campaign by a small group) the Sinhala ultra-nationalist campaign against Muslims/Islam, they used the term ‘mooladharmavaadi’ which is constantly used by that group and it is now fairly widespread in use at least by the media attentive public …. In fact thanks to the Sinhala media and the BBS, ‘mooladharmavaadaya’ is a far more popularly known term than ‘vargaavaadaya’ or ‘jaathivaadaya’ – which, of course, these forces will NOT use because they full well know that it is self-descriptive!”

[12] Two of the journalists were tapped indirectly: by Dilky Wijeyekoon to whom I had sent the question.

[13] Email dated 13 February 2013.

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Latest comments

  • 11
    6

    Dr. Michael Roberts,

    Why all this verbosity and aggrandizement of the Sinhala race?

    The simple fact is that Rajapakse is a blatant liar: His thinking is a reflection of Mahanama theros’s Mahavamsa racist ideology.

    What matters is his actions stupid, not his words.

    This is the cancer that pervades the Sinhalese society, especially the elite.

    Sinhalese hubris has reached its peak: As the saying goes, pride comes before the fall!

    All these Sinhalese writers must learn a lesson from what is happening in Crimea and East Ukraine.

    Tamils must now request India to accept them as a state of India to stop the annihilation taking place under Sinhala rule for 66 years.

    • 3
      2

      “verbosity and aggrandizement of the Sinhala race?”

      WTF does this mean please? It sounds like something Hitler would say.

    • 2
      2

      For your info. Sri Lanka never been a part of India as Crimea was a part of Russia . so your dream will never come true

      • 4
        0

        sudashan

        “For your info. Sri Lanka never been a part of India as Crimea was a part of Russia . so your dream will never come true”

        May be not in the past 500 years.

        However, at times India (never been a single country before the advent of western colonialism) used its hard power and other times its soft power to keep this island in its orbit.

    • 2
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      Wrong answer… Sri Lanka was never been a part of India as Cremea was a part of Russia .. so please stop dreaming

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    An altogether interesting read; and appreciated. Thank You, Dr Roberts.

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    What is interesting is what MR did not say in his independence speech in Trincomalle.

    He did not say a word about the ancient Koneswaram Temple, the temple that looking down at him from the top of the historic rock nor about Trincomalee’s significant place in secular history as an emporium and meeting place for many cultures and religions.

    http://groundviews.org/2014/05/13/erasing-identities-tracing-sri-lankas-post-war-journey-through-the-changing-realities-of-trincomalee/

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      Erasing identitites is what Dr. Michael Roberts is trying hard to do here as well.

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    Well there you go. There are 101 basics of history even you never knew!

    Anagārika Dharmapāla conflated the concepts of “Ceylonese” and “Sinhalese”

    Portugese said Ceilao, the Dutch Zeilan and British said Ceylon. A problem should not emerge when Dharmapāla says Sinhalay. They are all referring to the same thing.

    Sinhale is a geographic as well as a cultural identity. Just like England is to English. “Sri Lankan” identity is a recent introduction.

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      Vibushana “Sinhale is a geographic as well as a cultural identity. Just like England is to English”

      just as Tamil Eelam is to Tamils.

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        Rajesh,

        I see 2 problems here. The first is your inability to acknowledge authentic history. No one can force you of course. I suppose the problem occurs when you begin to act on wrong information and make mistakes.

        Before the name ‘Sinhalay’ or Ceylon emerged, in Claudius Ptolemy reffed to the island as ‘Taprobana’. Taprobana is a corruption of the word ‘Thambapanni’. Thambapanni is the port Vijaya landed. Ptolemy drew his world map over 2500 years ago. The lion heritage of the island is clear as day.

        The second problem is because of your inability to acknowledge, you remain stuck unable to move forward to better things.

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          Vibhushana

          Make up your mind. Are you for the Vijaya myth or with Claudius Ptolemy’s Taprobana’?

          “The second problem is because of your inability to acknowledge, you remain stuck unable to move forward to better things.”

          Such as accepting what is clearly a mythical Vijaya and his descendants, domination of Kallthonies and the destruction of our ancestral land.

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          Vibushan “you remain stuck unable to move forward to better things. “

          Accepting Sinhala racist version of twisted history is not moving forward from any ones perspective

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        I agree 100% : Just as Tamil Eelam is to Tamils.
        In Tamil Nadu.

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          Nirmalan

          “I agree 100% : Just as Tamil Eelam is to Tamils. In Tamil Nadu.”

          Just as Tamil and Sinhala Eelam are in Akand Barath. One in the South and the other in the North.

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    Dear Dr. Michael Roberts

    RE: Ideological Cancers within the Sinhala Universe: Roadblocks in the Path of Reconciliation.

    “Way back in the 1970s the manner in which Anagārika Dharmapāla conflated the concepts of “Ceylonese” and “Sinhalese” in one of his public exhortations (Guruge 1965) led me to argue that this was a powerful tendency in Sinhalese nationalist thinking and that this unexamined tendency was a major problem in securing political accommodation that would assuage the growing dissent among the Sri Lankan Tamils (Roberts 1978). The problem remains and has been marked in the theme motif for my thuppahi site, viz., “the Sinhala Mindset” (2009a).:

    Yes. Well and succinctly summarized.

    The Sinhala imaginations, mostly based on Monk Mahanama lies and Imaginations need to be exposed, just like the Geocentric Model was exposed by Copernicus, Galileo and Kepler 400 odd years ago.

    The Sinhala and Tamils need to be exposed for what they are, Para-deshis, Para-Sinhala and Para-Tamils along with the other Paras in the land of Native Vedda. Geological, Biological, DNA and anthropological evidence conclusively show that the Sinhala and Tamil originated from South India and India.

    The Sinhala Masses and Tamil Masses need to be educated, asked to leave for their Native Land, India.

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      The way stupid Amaraya imagine, Vedda walked an empty sea from India 25,000 years back to become the native. As for me, even Adam and Eve story is a better yarn.

      Other than 1,500 year old Mahawamsa writings, written on older ‘attakata’, however, there is nothing else found anywhere to trace the Vedda history even 1500 years. Stupid Amaraya has discounted Mahawamsa described Yaksha, Naga, Raksha and Deva like hela tribes as had not being existed in this island.

      1,500 year old Mahawamsa mostly written on the basis of much older ‘attakata’ clearly says; Wijaya’s grandson had assimilated his own with hela tribes to make up the SinHela race. It is obvious then, SinHela had a well-developed culture long before Mahawamsa writings. Sigiriya ‘kurutu gee’ written in Sinhala on the mirror wall translated by scholars is a good example to prove this point.

      So, Sinhalas do not claim that they are a pure race. Like many races the world over, Sinhala is also a mixed race that may well have borrowed whatever in the vogue at times to develop it. What matters however is, there is a unique Sinhala race and a culture at hand. And it is found only in Sri Lanka and nowhere else. It is evident that Sinhalas by far are determined to protect their culture.

      Amazingly, so-called original Vedda’s limited vocabulary consist of mostly SinHela words. So, who is paraya?

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        Banda,

        The so called Hela tribes Yaksha, Naga, Raksha and Deva were copied (cut & paste) by the Mahavamsa author from the ancient Indian Sanskrit text Mahabaratha.

        If you read the Mahabaratha, the so called Hela tribes Yaksha, Naga, Raksha and Deva are described as follows:
        Yaksha: In Mahabaratha, Yakshas are chthonic semi-divine beings, half god and half demon. They live under the earth in the Himalayas where they guard the wealth of the earth (gems, gold, silver, etc.). They are led by Kubera, the god of wealth. Like their leader, they have all fat bellies and plump legs. They have no special characteristics, are not violent, and are therefore called punyajana (‘good beings’). Kubera’s epithet is Punyajaneshvara.

        Naga: In Mahabaratha, Nagas are a primeval race of divine serpent-people that play an important part in religion. They are half human and half snake, and are still worshipped as the bringers of fertility, especially in southern India. Nagas are believed to live in palaces (Patala) in the underground city Bhogavati. They are considered the protectors of springs, wells and rivers. They bring rain, and thus fertility, but are also thought to bring disasters such as floods and drought. Their ruler is Sesha. Some of the nagas are: Ananta (symbol of eternity), Vasuki, Manasa (fertility goddess and protector against snake-bites), and Mucilinda.

        Raksha: The Rakshas are led by Ravana, their king, and are the eternal enemies of Vishnu, one of the foremost divinities of the Hindu pantheon. They usually appear in the shape of a dog or a bird with a fat body, or as a skeleton.

        Deva: Devas, in Hinduism and Buddhism, are exalted beings of various types. The term ‘deva’ in Sanskrit means ‘shining one.’ Hinduism recognizes three types of devas: mortals living on a higher realm than other mortals, enlightened people who have realized God, and Brahman in the form of a personal God. In Buddhism, devas are gods who live in the various realms of heaven as rewards for their previous good deeds, but they are still subject to rebirth.

        These so called Hela tribes never existed in Sri Lanka. The Buddhist monk Mahanama was a plagiarist.

        You also say, “1,500 year old 1,500 year old Mahawamsa mostly written on the basis of much older ‘attakata’ clearly says; Wijaya’s grandson had assimilated his own with hela tribes to make up the SinHela race. mostly written on the basis of much older ‘attakata’ clearly says; Wijaya’s grandson had assimilated his own with hela tribes to make up the SinHela race”.

        This is a blatant lie, what you said above is NOT mentioned anywhere in the Mahawamsa. Could you please tell us where (which chapter) in the Mahawamsa you found the above? Why are you lying? Do you think the members on CT are fools to believe your lies?

        The Sigiriya ‘kurutu gee’ written in Sinhala on the mirror wall does not say anything about the so called Hela tribes Yaksha, Naga, Raksha and Deva. Neither does it say anything about Wijaya’s grandson assimilating with Hela tribes to make up the SinHela race. You are one of the TOP CLASS liar on CT.

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          Prasad

          STILL WAITING MODERATION AT LANKAWEB…

          Amarasiri Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation.

          May 10th, 2014 at 11:18 am
          “When news media control what we see, hear, think, learn and know – it is a dangerous situation.”

          YES, BUT if media is not given an opportunity to correct the situation it is still worse.

          The fact remains that Lanka is the Land of Native Vedda. The Vedda walked when the sea levels were low. as low as 120 meters 25,000 years ago. Everybody else is a Paradeshi, a foreigner.

          The DNA In them proves that.

          They all should be sent to South India and India.

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          Prasad,
          I wanted to highlight the stupidity of Amaraya’s imagine. Since you hadn’t countered that, I take you have accepted my rationale.

          You say Monk Mahanama plagiarized from Mahabaratha. I am no historian but an engineer. So, I only know what I read in the writings by great scholars. Mahabharata and Ramayanaya, the great Hindu epics of ancient India deals with Indian Yakshas, Nagas and etc. So, India’s Yakshas and Nagas and etc cannot be the same as our Yakshas, Nagas and etc.

          I must emphasize that there is no Sri Lanka chronicle in Tamil until ‘Yalpana Vaipava Malai’ was written in 1736 and that also with a Dutch governor’s request, whereas the Sinhala chronicle ‘Mahawamsa’ was acknowledged to be written in the fifth century based on earlier writings and atta katha.

          Chapter 1 of Mahawamsa, indicates Yakshas were confined to the centre while Nagas had dominated the northern and western parts of the Island before and at the time Wijaya. Now, Nagas of Sri Lanka are not serpents as you portrayed in your response here, but serpent-worshippers. Likewise the Yakshas were demon worshippers. I am not sure where, but I have read many Tamil writers insisting that Tamils were Nagas. So much so, Madakalapuwa MP Ariyananthan once said, Tamils are a 5,000 year old race in Sri Lanka thinking Tamils today are the descendants of the said Nagas. Any stupid can see that couldn’t have been so.

          It’s no surprise then, modern day Tamils have totally different claims on ancient Sri Lanka races to that of Sinhalas. In that, Yakkas of Tamils is different to Yakshas of the Sinhalas. Mr.Kanagasabai, author of “Tamils 1800 Years Ago’, mentioned that Yakkas were the ancient ‘Yuh chi’, a yellow race that immigrated from central of Asia to India and eventually spread over the whole of Bengal and ultimately move to Ceylon. But, Archaeologist conjectured that the name ‘Yaksha’ was derived from the fact that their head covering was in the shape of the hood of a hydra-headed cobra.

          10th chapter of Mahawamsa explains Pandukhabhaya’s (437 BC – 367 BC) connection to Yaksha tribe. It is obvious that description there articulates Pandukhabhaya has been the start of the SinHela race. From where do you think otherwise, Sinhala race that has developed a unique language and a culture and come to be the dominant race in Sri Lanka by the time kurutu gees were written on the mirror wall of Sigiriya in 8th, 9th and 10th centuries? Dr Paranavitana, deciphered there are at least 685 Sinhala verses in the mirror wall. How come there weren’t any kurutu gee in Tamil?

          Do not comprehend word by word but try to get the basic idea of a simple and a short comment. Now, Read Chapter 1 to get a basic picture of other tribes and their kings and their conflicts before Wijaya. Think, if they were not assimilated to Sinhala race whatever had happened to them and how come Sinhalas had enlarged to be the dominant race today?

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        Dear Moda Banda,

        Look at the data and then look at yourself in the mirror. You will see a Modaya. Revisit Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler and the church.

        1 In 4 Americans Thinks The Sun Goes Around The Earth, Survey Says. How many modays in Lanka says that?

        http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/02/14/277058739/1-in-4-americans-think-the-sun-goes-around-the-earth-survey-says

        The Imagination of Monk Mahanamea and Buddha Flying to “Adams Peak”, not withstanding, they are illusions.

        Question: What does all this prove?

        This has to be considered along with other scientific, biological, geological and anthropological evidence.

        Let’s see. 1, The Native Veddah walked over 25,000 yeas ago, when the sea levels were low, as low as 120 meters.
        They did not use Prakrit or any other language.

        2. The others, the Foreigners, the Paradeshis, the Paras, the Para- Sinhala, the Para-Tamil, and all the other Paras came by Illegal Boats, by Hora-Oru, by Kalla-Thoni, to the land of Native Veddah.

        3. Analysis of the Para-Sinhala, Para-Tamils and Para-Muslims DNA will show that they all originated from South India and South-East India.

        4. So, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism are all imported foreign religions, called Para-Religions in the terminology of Native Veddah. Para-religion here refers to foreign, and makes no evaluation as to the pros and cons of the imported religion.

        However, the native Veddah culture and briefs are more egalitarian, and ancestor worship is not any inferior the the worship of idols of the Para-religions. At least the Veddha Ancestors gave them the DNA to continue life.

        5. So all the discussion about Prakerit, Old Sinhala, New-Sinhala etc. is secondary to the discussion as far as the Native Veddah are concerned.

        Both the Language and the Religion are Para as far as the native Veddh are concerned. Hoover, the paras, instead of behaving like honorary guests in the land of the Native Veddah, have behaved in a barbaric manner and started a Barbaric Para War, by killing each other.

        5. Therefore, the Native Veddah cordially requests that the Prakrit speaking and Dravidian speaking or derived Paras, get back to their native South India, East India and India, and leave the sacred land of Native Veddah. Prakrit and Dravidian Paras, please go back to your native land, India, Baharat

        Banda. Check you DNA and please go to South India,

        -Amarassiri

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          Amarasiri
          I think a bit of reading of basic western science has made you absolutely potty. Have you got to where your ancestors come from?

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          Amaraya’s writing is full of his own muck no depth.

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    Dr Michael Roberts.
    Did you ask any Tamil what comes to their mind about jātika kodiya, or sinha kodiya?

  • 1
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    The curse is Tamil people!

    Malaysia got rid of them. Singapore got rid of them. Nigeria got rid of them. Fiji got rid of them.

    Who is next?

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      Sri Lanka?

    • 1
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      Isn’t Fiji awash with them ? They are in fact a majority, and very nearly disempowered the Fijians.

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      Kasiviswanathan Shanmugam (Tamil: காசிவிஸ்வநாதன் சண்முகம்; born 1959), better known as K. Shanmugam, is a Singaporean politician and lawyer. A member of the governing People’s Action Party (PAP), he is the country’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Law, and a Member of Parliament (MP) representing Nee Soon Group Representation Constituency (Nee Soon GRC).

      “Malaysian Tamil politicians”

      D
      K. L. Devaser

      K
      Devaki Krishnan
      M. Kulasegaran

      M
      V. Manickavasagam
      M. Manogaran

      P
      G. Palanivel

      P cont.
      M. G. Pandithan
      K. Pathmanaban

      R
      Sivarasa Rasiah

      S
      Samy Vellu
      D. R. Seenivasagam
      K. Sivalingam

      There are a lot of Sinhalese like Sanath Jayasuriya anr in Nigeria

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    We Tamils think we have homelands everywhere – India, SL, Singapore, Malaysia, Kumari Kandam, Canada, etc.

    Nanthikadal -5.

    5 riots and 4 Elam wars still didn’t get through our dumb Tamil brains.

    AYYO KADAVILE!!

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    interesting title of this article.
    “Ideological Cancers Within The Sinhala Universe”
    More appropriate “Racist Cancers Within The Sinhala Universe”

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    How come the first citizen worshipping the Srimaha bodhi become a news. The media has to be informed of the value of news. Other wise are they coerced to show First citizen visiting religious place of his own religion.

    Before long there is risk of Buddhism becoming a symbol of the past. Perhaps Sri Lanka is the only place in the entire world where devotees are rquered topay to venerate.

    Foreign tourists visiting sacred Dalada Maligawa have to pay to venerate.
    What a pity is this.

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      Muhammad told you Muslims not to let Jews and Christians near Kaaba. Yet you Muslims say your religion is flourishing. So, Buddhists must be taking a leaf from you.

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    Dear Michael,

    The Sri Lankan flag has always bothered me. While India has chosen Asoka’s Dharmachakra as the dominant symbol in her national flag, predominantly Buddhist Sri Lanka (the Thrice Blessed land) has chosen the belligerent Lion holding the sword as the dominant symbol in her’s. Sri Lanka has also sought to give unacceptable interpretations to this symbol. No wonder the LTTE chose the equally belligerent, but comparatively very active Tiger, for its symbol.

    Further, Mahinda Rajapakse has proven over time that he does not mean what he says and does not say what he intends. This duplicity is the hallmark of his presidency.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

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      Narendran,
      Sri Lanka flag has only one sword. Saudi Arabian national emblem has two crossed swords. Do you know what those crossed swords represent?

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        I am no human

        “Sri Lanka flag has only one sword. Saudi Arabian national emblem has two crossed swords.”

        If you think two swords give Saudi more prestige as a country, lets have dozens of swords on Sri Lankan flag which hopefully will cure your inferiority complex.

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          Vedda, You have disappointed me, I expected you to propose an axe on a shoulder.

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            I am no human

            “Vedda, You have disappointed me, I expected you to propose an axe on a shoulder.”

            All state affairs are determined by racially motivated stupid Sinhala/Buddhists. Do we have a choice?

            I would rather prefer a plain white flag, on second thought even a white flag would not guarantee peace and security in this island.

            “Hope is tomorrow’s veneer over today’s disappointment.”

            Evan Esar

            “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

            Martin Luther King, Jr.

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      The name Tiger was given to the “boys’ of the Maanavar peravai or those in the student body who had lost hope after standardization and bore the batons. That is what the Sinhalese named them because they would appear out of nowhere.

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    “Imagine the moment when the Sri Lankan cricketers face the Aussies or Indians at Premadasa Stadium in Colombo or Rajapaksa Stadium at Sooriyawewa ………….. and everybody stands at the pre-match ceremony ………….. and all belt out the NAMO NAMO anthem first in Sinhala and then in Tamil”>>>>>

    The Sri Lanka national anthem is a butt of light hearted discussion amongst commentators. It goes on and on and on …..while every one want the game to start.

    Any how you dont need two ntaional anthem. You can combine the two languages perhaps start with Sinhala and then a Tamil verse and then end in Sinhala.

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      Rajash

      “You can combine the two languages perhaps start with Sinhala and then a Tamil verse and then end in Sinhala.”

      So you would like to be sandwiched between both ends by Sinhala anthem.

      Its like some Tamil villages in the East and settlements in up country where Tamils are being surrounded by new Sinhala settlements.

      Cozying up to Sinhalese brethren.

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        Native – Perhpas you are right. There are lots of baila songs that moves from Sinhala to Tamil to English language in a seemless manner. Perhaps one such popular baila sing will fit perfectly for a national anthem.

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      Even India with hundreds of languages, National Anthem is sing in one language … dont be so s t u pi d man….. Sinhala is the language of 70% Sri Lanka, so just accept the fact and adjust for that…

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        India even with hundreds of talented leaders bow to a white lady of Italian origin.

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        SUDARSHAN

        “Even India with hundreds of languages, National Anthem is sing in one language”

        Indian national anthem is sung in Bengali language. Bengali speaking population in India is about 92 Million, 7.52% of the total population.

        If you want to follow India as the role model of country Sri Lankan anthem should be sung in Tamil.

        I would prefer to compose it in my language.

        I suppose Weerawamsa has his clones scattered everywhere including this forum.

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        The majority language in India is Hindi but its national anthem is sung in a minority language Bengali and not the majority language Hindi.

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    Who would disagree when the President says, “The solution is to live together in this country with equal rights for all communities?”

    I am sure many a listener did not know that Mosques of Muhammadans haul; ‘there is no God but Allah’ and few other vere to call them to prayers in Arabic five times a day through hooters fixed in thousands of mosques throughout Sri Lanka. And each time they repeat ‘there is no God but Allah’ about five times. Is it not an insult to say that there are no other Gods. But that’s exactly what Muhammadans say.

    All Muhammadans do understand the meaning of those Arabic words. I have no doubt Muslim mindset have become so confused, they have developed an absolute hate towards the Gods or deities that 90% others worship in this country. And that’s how ‘religious rivalry’ begin. Its about time Muslims examine why people world over hate them.

    Saudi trained Wahhabis and Salafis have forced most Muhammadans of today to become like Hambayas of 1915. That Hambaya not only opposed Buddhist procession openly they threw stones, bottles and etc at Wesak carol procession in Kandy on May 28th of 1915 to start Sinhala-Muslim riots.

    This time around, it is obvious that Muhammadans connive to elbow the majority through various projects. Does Government protect and foster Buddhism? I wonder. It is to fill that gap Bodu Bala Sena has come to being. Like it or not, the ‘cabal’ knows most voters agree with BBS stand. And that’s what matters because history shows us that minorities can never be satisfied. Sinhala politicians ought to take a cue from successful Malay politicians of Malaysia on how to maintain peace and harmony.

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      Banda

      “Is it not an insult to say that there are no other Gods.”

      If there are several gods do they cohabit together in one abode or do they have their own exclusive residence.

      Do they also favour different ethnicity and champion the causes of their chosen races?

      If they don’t agree among themselves on religious, political, humanitarian issues do they sort out their differences by going to war?

      Has there been any war crimes committed against ordinary people by these diverse gods?

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        Vedda, Don’t tell me you become a Muhammadan of late to ask me such silly questions.

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          Banda

          “Vedda, Don’t tell me you become a Muhammadan of late to ask me such silly questions.”

          Since you and your mate mechanic seem a couple of qualified Islamic scholars, I have no other teachers to turn to except you, when I am not sure about the idea of Islam.

          Please do continue treatise on Islam.

          My questions may be silly but scholars should be able to respond to them and make profound impact on students of Islam.

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    Racism and hatred towards Tamils is in the Sinhalese Gene and it is no use pretending otherwise. That is not going change unless we have a Gene Mutation. Thank God we are over the worst and freedom is in sight as even before the change India has finally decided to flex its muscle at last by sending three Warships to dock in Colombo Harbour. BJP has already stated that even if they get a working majority they would want an alliance with AIDMK and it is reasonable to assume that the Iron Lady will become Foreign Minister and MR will be ordered to go to Chennai. I cant wait to see MR being humiliated for his sins.

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      I have noticed that you have been dreaming many thing for a long time.

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        mechanic

        “I have noticed that you have been dreaming many thing for a long time.”

        He is a Tamil and your brethren, what else can he do?

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        Thug Mahintha dreamt of a Sinhala Lanka but his Castle has crumbled. His dream has gone up in flames.

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    Thanks for the expanded info on the flag. I thought it was copied from the old Iranian flag after dropping the rising sun symbolism and then the TULF picked up the rising sun part. We could still put them together!

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    Sri Lanka is the only country which has a dangerous carnivore on its flag.
    This supposed lion has been castrated – the vital appendage is missing.
    The right forefoot (and the left) ‘holding’ a sword has no thumb – the most essential digit in primates – without which nothing can be grasped, the most important function (apposition) of the fore/upper limb.
    Whoever invented this flag was an imbecile – and,so are those who venerate it.

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    Not sure why the author has gone to such lengths to explain ‘sinhala nationalism’. The conversation has moved way past understanding that it exists and that it is the main impediment to progress on the island. The conversation now is what to do about it? Any ideas Michael? There must be formulae out there for dealing with nationalist extremist regimes .. time to look at how do address rampant sinhala nationalism. I think an article on policy measures that do that would be more valuable than the above, which is a little behind the curve, to say the least.

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