16 January, 2022

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It Is High Time For The British To Recognize Tamil’s Self-Determination

By Kumarathasan Rasingam – 

Kumarathasan Rasingam

It is high time for the United Kingdom to recognize its failure and realize that the sufferings of the Tamils started immediately after the British left Sri Lanka in 1948 and find justice and freedom to the oppressed Tamils who are now at a great loss of lives, land, resources, human rights etc.

United Kingdom knows well that Sri Lanka is an Island that once [before the British conquest of Jaffna Kingdom consisted of different Kingdoms – Sinhala and Tamil inhabited from time immemorial by two peoples who spoke different languages, belonged to different faiths, with different historical antecedents and living in exclusive and traditional areas of habitation. North and East of Sri Lanka] The British joined the Tamils Kingdom [Jaffna Kingdom] and the Sinhala Kingdom into one unitary polity in 1833 for their own administrative convenience. As long as British rule lasted, the two communities had reason to believe they were equals. But once the common ruler departed, the sheer disparity in numbers enabled the Sinhalese to grab the political power into their hands.

It should and must be noted that if the British rulers had devised a constitutional mechanism that provided for TAMILS to share at the centre as a matter of rights the Tamils at least the traditional and historical homelands of the Tamils would have been protected. The state sponsored colonization schemes in the North and East were purposefully implemented to change the demography of Tamils homeland. The Soulbury Commission failed to prove in their Constitution any fool-proof protection for the Tamils’ hope. Instead, they included a section “Section 29” which stated, ‘No law shall make persons of any community or religion liable to disabilities or restriction to which persons of other communities or religions are made liable or confer on person of any community or religion, any privilege or advantage which is not confined on persons or other communities or religion”. But this Section 29 was removed in the Constitution of 1972 by the majoritarian Sinhala/Buddhist regime.

Because the British left Sri Lanka after giving the entire powers to the majoritarian Sinhala/Buddhist rulers without any safeguard for the Tamil people the Tamils were treated as second-class citizens. This gave way for the Sinhala/Buddhist rulers to enact laws affecting the existence of the Tamils in Sri Lanka. Even several Pacts, pledges, undertakings by the Sinhalese leaders to share power were torn away due to the opposition by the Buddhist Clergy, Maha Sanga and the racist Sinhalese leaders.

Ceylon Citizenship Act No 18 Of 1948

Immediately after the Independence from the British on 4th February 1948, the above Act was passed by the Sinhalese Majoritarian Government to deprive over a million Tamils of Indian Origin to disfranchise and take away their right to vote. This Act reduced the number of Tamil Members in the Parliament, and the Indian Origin Tamils were treated as third class citizens as they lost their right to vote and could not send a representative to the Parliament.

Sinhala Only Act Of 1956’ Act No 33 Of 1956

This Act was passed in the Parliament against the unanimous opposition of entire Tamil people who wanted a place of honor for their own language. Thereby the Government has struck a grievous blow at the unity of Sri Lanka, which stands divided today.

Bandaranaike-Chelvanayakam Pact Of 1957

Following Tamil peaceful agitation over a million Tamils being stripped of citizenship and Sinhala being made the official language, the Sinhala Prime Minister S.W.R.D Bandaranaike entered a Pact with Tamil leader S.J.V. Chelvanayakam. The Tamil leaders compromised for the pace But the Pact was unilaterally abrogated by the PM due to the opposition by the Buddhist Monks and racist Sinhalese leaders.

Dudley Senanayake-Chelvanayakam Pact Of 1965

On March 24 1965 Another Tamil Leader S.J. Chelvanayakam, promising to redress Tamil grievances, in return for Tamil support for, the PM’s party to form the government. After four years on April 9, 1969, the Tamil leadership withdrew support for the government due to the government’s inaction to solve the problems of the Tamils.

Tamil United Front Plea To Commonwealth Nations 1974

Having failed to stem the tide of discriminatory policies and acts of by the successive Sinhala dominated governments, the Tamil representatives appealed to the British Commonwealth Nations for help. Unfortunately, the Commonwealth did not respond.

The Vaddukoddai Resolution Of 1976

The peaceful non-violent struggle and pleas went unheard. Finally the Tamil United Front representing all Tamils adopted a Resolution on May 14, 1976, to secede from the state of Sri Lanka. This Convention directs Action Committee of the Tamil United Liberation Front to formulate a plan of action and launch without undue delay the struggle for winning the sovereignty and freedom of the Tamil Nation [TAMIL EELAM]

The Tamil United Liberation Front Election Manifesto 1977

All Tamil political parties contested the general Elections of 1977, under the common banner of the Tamil United Liberation Front [TULF won an overwhelming majority of votes from the Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka (Tamil Homeland)] – considered as a mandate for secession from Sri Lanka and to form the independent sovereign state of TAMIL EELAM.

The Thimpu Declaration Of 1985

A joint statement made by the Tamil delegation at the Indian brokered peace negotiation on 13th July 1985 in Bhutan capital.

1. Recognition of the Tamils of Sri Lanka as a nation.

2. Recognition of the existence of an identified homeland for the Tamils in Sri Lanka.

3. Recognition of the right of self determination of the Tamil nation.

4. Recognition of the right of citizenship and the fundamental rights of all Tamils who look upon the island as their country.

The Indo-Sri Lanka Accord Of 1987

While this Accord appears to be a permanent and durable solution to re-establish the traditional relations between India and Sri Lanka, India refuses to recognize the political reality of Tamil nationalism and remains unwilling to lend its powerful support to secure a constitutional structure in Sri Lanka which recognises the political forces of Tamil nationalism and Tamil interests.

It should be noted that the Tamil leaders like Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan and Sir Ponnambalem Arunachalem were in the forefront and argued for independence of Ceylon {Sri Lanka] If the Tamil leaders demanded back their Jaffna Kingdom which existed until 1833 the Tamils would not be in this miserable situation living like third class citizen under a majoritarian racist Sinhala/Buddhist regime. The British amalgamated the Sinhala Kingdoms and Tamil Kingdom as one unit for their easy administration but failed to hand over the Tamil Kingdom to the Tamils to rule.

A federal solution within proper limits, and subject to proper safeguards, far from dividing a country which is already divided, is one of the best-known methods of bringing about unity in a divided country.

*Kumarathasan Rasingam – Secretary, Tamil Canadian Elders for Human Rights Org.

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Latest comments

  • 2
    6

    Not only Tamils but also of others too.

    Britain must accept Sinhala, Muslim and Tamil right of self determination within the island of Sri Lanka.
    Each deserve their own exclusive nation within the island.

    • 2
      6

      GATAM,
      “Each deserve their own exclusive nation within the island.”
      —-
      Camels in the tent of indigenous Sinhalayo and Vedda Eththo.

    • 4
      2

      British and the others only spoke of and recognized a Chingkalla and Thamizh nation within the island. Pakistan was created for the Muslims of British India and the Sri Lankan Muslims are ethnic South Indian origin Thamizh Muslims. As such can migrate to Islamic Pakistan. A nation awaits them.

  • 2
    5

    It is high time that Sinhalese should recognise that Tamils are entitled to a SEPARATE Homeland and Tamils should recognise that not a single Tamil member of has the right to live in the rest of the country.
    It is the responsibility of the British to ensure a process of peaceful relocation.

    Soma

  • 3
    5

    Sinhalese should agree to the demand of this writer to go back to the pre colonial set up and the British should agree to clear the mess they created by planting millions of Tamils in the upcountry and allowing other Tamils to settle anywhere.
    LET US GO BACK TO THE PRE COLONIAL SET UP AS THIS WRITER SUGGESTS.

    Soma

  • 2
    5

    India and Britain should consider granting dual citizenship to Tamils in Sri Lanka so that these unhappy Tamils can have a CHOICE.

    Soma

    • 2
      7

      I mean a CHOICE of living in a unitary country with the Sinhalese, a SEPARATE Homeland, Tamil Nadu or UK.
      What more I can wish for my Tamil brothers and sisters?
      I beg of them to choose the option of living with us in a unitary country with the right to live anywhere.

      Soma

      • 1
        4

        Some racist Sinhalese have put the thumb down , unable to hide their jealousy over Tamils having a CHOICE.

        Soma

  • 2
    6

    Realising that Sri Lanka is dire straits with the begging bowl Tamil political heynas are fishing in troubled waters. One can see hyper activity all arround – going to US, appealing to the British, writing to Modi , blasting the Chinese etc. etc.
    Good luck.

    Soma

    • 5
      2

      soman

      “Realising that Sri Lanka is dire straits with the begging bowl Tamil political heynas are fishing in troubled waters.”

      Are you sure?
      1.Hyenas can’t fish in muddy fish-less ponds.
      2. It appears only your rulers the brave highly patriotic Sinhala/Buddhists are are carrying their own begging bowl.
      3. Hyenas are seen licking their own genitals. Please find out from Wimal, Champika, Kamala, Elle, …… whether they are accustomed to such behaviour.
      4. Maybe you should ask Gota too.

  • 4
    7

    Dream on. Don’t you think the British have enough problems of their own without having to bother about some ugly fellows in a small island in the middle of nowhere? It’s my party and I’ll lie if I want to.

  • 3
    8

    “…Sinhala and Tamil inhabited from time immemorial…”
    —–
    Does it make sense to call ‘FROM TIME IMMEMORIAL’ for something that came into existence from 13th Century?

  • 4
    7

    Kumarathasan Rasingam,
    Have you got any idea where the Sinhala Kingdoms Anuradhapura (377 BC to 1017 AD) and Polonnaruwa (1056–1232 AD) that were destroyed by Dravida invaders from Hindusthan existed and who were the inhabitants in those Kingdoms?

    • 0
      0

      The erudite scholar from Puttalam, Mudaliyar Simon Cassie Chitty (1807- 1860) has written numerous articles at the Royal Asiatic Society of Ceylon. In one article, he wrote the origins of the Sinhalese and, quoting from Lord Valentia’s Travels and from an article of Joinville which was published by the Royal Asiatic Society of Ceylon, he penned, “The Singhalese, though forming a distinct nation, and differing in their religion, language and manners from Tamuls, had no kings of their own race, but of the latter, and according to Lord Valentia and Joinville ‘a Singhalese cannot be a king of Ceylon; that is every person born of a Singhalese father or mother is excluded from the throne’.”
      It took only 73 years for the Sinhalese to prove beyond any doubt that they are not capable of ruling a country. May be the main reason why Tamils (kings) had been ruling the country from time to time in the past.
      They say that even if you give the country to some uneducated British men, they will run the country extremely well whereas, if you give the country even to some highly educated Sinhalese holding doctorates (eg. Viathmaga fellows), they will ruin the country in no time.

  • 2
    7

    One should wait for Scotland’s demand for its right to secession, when the day comes.
    Can Britain afford to take a risk with SL Tamils?
    BTW, what is the take of Tamil nationalists on similar rights of the Muslims and Hill Country Tamils?

    • 2
      5

      SJ
      No one knows what TNA means when they use various permutations and combinations of Tamils, Tamil Nation, Tamil Speaking People, Ealam Tamils etc.etc.
      My persistent struggle on Colombo Telegraph is to clarify this definition in an unambiguous way.
      Not a single Tamil on CT is prepared to face the simple ,clear question,:
      is it Hindu/Christian community in Jaffna
      OR
      All Tamil speaking people scattered across the country irrespective of their religion or the date of arrival ( some are as ancient as the Sinhalese , some arrived during the Dutch, others during the British, some practise Hinduism, some practise Islam and others Christianity).
      .
      Tell me SJ why no one , yes NO ONE, wants to answer this question.?
      I never thought Tamils can be hypocritical to this extent.

      Soma

      • 2
        2

        S
        It is not hypocrisy.
        There is total confusion. Amid politics of emotion, no Tamil nationalist has adequately thought through the issues.
        Before the FP, the Tamil Congress was a Jaffna based party with minimal interest in the Tamils of the west coast and without a voice south of Trincomalee. It was a Tamil Saivaite outfit I would say. Vellala Christians were accommodated but not to lead.
        The FP broke that jinx with SJVC as leader. It succeeded because it warned Tamils in 1948 that what happened to the Hill Country Tamils will soon happen to them. The Sinhala Only Act made SJVC a ‘prophet’.
        The FP claimed that it was the voice of the Tamil speaking people of the country. Perhaps the leaders intended it that way, but realty was otherwise.
        The FP had no clue about addressing the concerns of the Muslims most of whom lived outside N&E.
        It did not see the absurdity of claiming the Hill Country Tamils as its ‘electorate’ but asking for a federal state that included only the N&E.
        The electoral success in 1956 was based on the language issue (a horse that it flogged until dead). After joining the UNP in the hath havula, its credibility as a fighter for Tamil speaking people’s rights was virtually gone. It fared a little weakly in 1970, compared with 1956, 60 (twice) and even 65.

        • 0
          2

          SJ
          I do appreciate your effort to sum up the issue in a nutshell.
          Above all your frank acknowledgement that:
          “There is total confusion. Amid politics of emotion, no Tamil nationalist has adequately thought through the issues.”
          It is these issues I am trying to patiently, logically discuss on CT.
          But you must have noticed that everyone is trying to evade the discussion by calling me a racist.
          But does that help me or them?
          Wouldn’t you agree that the foremost requirement before discussing the problem in order to find a solution is to clearly state to whom the problem is applicable. Why no one wants to do that , for heaven’s sake? Haven’t we seen enough bloodshed wading through this muddy waters? Let us clarify the issues before we blindfold the youth another round.
          .
          Let us have a discussion , a series of exchanges, and I invite the Tamil side to clearly state the category of people the problem is applicable.
          Thanks.

          Soma

      • 3
        0

        soman

        “I never thought Tamils can be hypocritical to this extent.”

        Tamils share the same genes with Sinhalese, imported from South India.

        • 0
          2

          NV
          When you have some free time try your luck with the puzzle:
          A ‘political solution’ is sought for
          Hindu/Christian community in Jaffna
          OR
          All Tamil speaking people scattered across the country irrespective of their religion or the date of arrival ( some are as ancient as the Sinhalese , some arrived during the Dutch, others during the British, some practise Hinduism, some practise Islam and others Christianity).?
          .
          How many times you had to go to the loo?

          Soma

  • 3
    0

    The Brits are preoccupied with other things, what!
    Their leader doesn’t know if he attended a party in his home or not.

  • 1
    3

    The LTTE is still using innocent children for their war.
    https://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-tamil-child-sign-image8953119

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