Land Bridge Over Palk Straits: Impact On Bio-Diversity & Ethnic Identity

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By Chandre Dharmawardana

Prof. Chandre Dharmawardana

Prof. Chandre Dharmawardana

In a previous comment I discussed economic issues and some questions about sovereignty that arise if the Indians revive a 2002 proposal for a land bridge over the Palk straits. Surprisingly, many Northern Nationalists think that the opposition to the land bridge is a matter of “Sinhala Chauvinism”. In fact the entity most threatened by the bridge is the “Illankai-Thamil” culture . The distinctive flora and fauna of the island, evolved since the last glaciation are equally threatened. The robustness of ecosystems and communities is strengthened by their bio-diversity and complexity. Hence all tendencies to mono-cultures and bio-uniformity should be resisted. The whole issue of whether to build a land bridge to India or not can be discussed in objective, non-emotional terms within such a point of view.

Bio-diversity

Legend holds that the Island was connected to India by “Rama’s bridge”. Geological evidence and temperature records validate such beliefs, and even delineate the periods when the sea was low enough to link the mainland to the Island. However, the sea level rose with the end of the cold spells. This provided a sanctuary for biological and cultural evolution distinct from those in the mainland. An impressive bio-diversity is seen in the Sri Lankan ecosystem. Any ethno-botanical list of Lankan plants (e.g, the author’s dh-web.org/ place.names/bot2sinhala.html) indicate Lankan species by name-ending like Ceylanica, or Zeylanica (though not always excluive to Lanka). The richness of the rain forests of Sri Lanka is well-known. We only wake up to it if foreign entrepreneurs attempt to exploit the native plants. Holiday bungalows in nature reserves are more important to the elites, while their henchmen engage in illicit logging and staking out forest reserves, with bio-diversity going up in smoke.

India Sri LankaThe early work of Philips (1935) on Lankan mammals has been handsomely updated by Asoka Yapa and Ratnavira in their monumental “The mammals of Sri Lanka” (2013). The 50 km separation of India has given the Island 126 species of mammals, and no other island of comparable size is as diverse, with 1/5 of this diversity endemic to Lanka! Since local politicians cross easily from side to side, we have over 15 species of bats. According to folklore, the bat has joined with the beasts r the birds, depending on what is more advantageous.

The bio-diversity of the Lankan mammals is not the only surprise. A stunning 2002 report in the journal Science, by Meegaskumbura et al was noted by the science writer Elizabeth Pennisi. She wrote “ While other herpetologists have been scrambling to understand why amphibians are declining worldwide, one research team has been cataloging more than 100 new species, all from one postage stamp of a rain forest in Sri Lanka. The discovery of this biodiversity hot spot … increases the number of known frog species on the island fivefold”!

Given a land bridge, the unique heritage of insects, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and mammal will decline against competing species, just as where international barriers have been opened up for free-markets, refugee movements or military campaigns. Ireland is an island without snakes, thanks to its separation from other land masses. If a bridge were to be built, connecting it to the rest of the British Isles, the arrival of snakes in Ireland may be predicted, leading to a rapid change in the predator-prey relationships of small creatures on the island.

The un-quarantined arrival of the IPKF with its cooks, goats, dogs, soldiers and military vehicles brought invasive species that have become permanent pests in the North. It is not often appreciated that the success of “barbarian hoards” against the Roman Empire, or the victories of Alexander’s or Atilla’s forces against medieval cities and villages may have been caused not just by military might, but by the malignant microbes that the invaders brought into villages that has not developed immunity to these species of micro-organisms.

The large humanitarian problems of UN refugee camps could not have existed in ancient times, even if there had been a world body like the UN, as such camps would be ravaged by epidemics eliminating the refugees. Today, modern medical know-how enforces the minimal sanitation needed to keep such communities alive.

Ethnic and cultural diversity

The Sinhala language is a unique evolution from the mid-Prakrit of ancient India. However, in spite of James de Alwis, Geiger, Paranavithana and others, some (like Pandith W. F. Gunawardena) claimed a Dravidian origin for Sinhala. Modern like James Gair and literary men like Dharmadasa had to convince the skeptics that Sinhala had evolved from its Prakrit beginnings within the protective shores of the island. The rise of “sinhala consciouness” is distinct from that of the language it self. The “Sinhala consciouness” may well have begun around the time of the military confrontations between Dutugemunu and Elara. In any case, the Mahawasma should be regarded as an epic poem in Pali establishing a high point where tribal sentiments may have acquired a national dimension justified by the destiny of “preserving Theravada Buddhism”. These developments in the Island coincided with the Sangam period in South India, where Tamil, a small regional tribal language overtook the other Dravidian languages and developed into a full-fledged language and culture . It had abandoned the more rationalist Jainism and Buddhism in favour of a politically more strong Hindu mysticism and ritual.

The Tamil Prakrit forms probably arrived in the Island via Tamil Buddhists and Jains in ancient times, even prior to the Sangam period. The historical evidence (e.g., no many stone inscriptions or monuments, but there are coins) that are available suggest that there were small Tamil communities associated with maritime trading centers since early times. One may speculate that the early dialects morphed with later invasive Tamil forms, and the more recent importations of labour from the Malabar coast. These developed into its own “Illankai-Thamil” characteristics that Tamil scholars have tried to document. The Late Prof. Kailasapathy was the President of the Jaffna campus in the mid seventies when I was the President of Vidyodya campus. He gave me an impressive amount of reading material well beyond easy assimilation. Professor Sivathamby was the head of the Tamil department at the Vidyodaya University at the time, and he claimed that even the Eastern Tamils, linked with from a “Mukkuva” tradition, had their own distinct characteristics that are “threatened” by local forces. In my view the biggest threat to any Lankan Tamil culture is Bollywood. Today the social media and the internet add a new dimension. A road bridge will make them more potent as described below.

The ratio of Tamil speakers to Sinhala speakers in the Island is of the order of 1: 4 ( including Muslims and estate Tamils). The ratio of Lankan Tamils to South-Indian Tamils is of the order of 1:300. This strong quasi-monoculture of Tamil Nadu will be unleashed on the Northern peninsula, given a land bridge. Wealthy Indian businessmen will control the peninsular financial, religious, and media operations. The cinemas will be run by Bollywood bigwigs. The Lankan Tamils, controlled for over a century and even today by the “Colombo-7 Tamils”, will be controlled by the tycoons of Chennai or Kochin. The LTTE learnt this at first hand and turned against India.

Tamil and Sinhala have co-existed for many centuries, with medieval Sinhala the major beneficiary. This has been enough to mislead Mudliar W. F. Gunawardena or historians like Leslie Gunawardena who also looked for a Marxist “class interpretation” of the evolution of ethnic identities (for a more careful discussion, see K. N. O Dharmadasa ). Most Sinhalese or Tamils tracing their genealogies would find total inter-mixing and that only cultural differences distinguish them. G. G. Ponnambalam declared at a meeting in Nawalapitya in 1939 that the “Sinahalese are a mongrel race” etc., while maintaining the racial purity of the Tamils, and triggered the first Sinhala-Tamil “race riot” (see Jane Russell’s book on “Communal Politics in the Donoughmore Constitution 1931-1947”, page 256 ). The riot was rapidly put down by the British government, in contrast to those that happened after independence. However, both “races” are equally “mongrel” within all biological criteria. Even the cultural distinctions are often reversed when probed deep. Common “Tamil” names like “Balasingham” have Sinhala origins, while many “Sinhala” names (be it Banadaranaike or Tennakoon) are etymologically Tamil. The Sinhala origin of many “Tamil” place-names in Ceylon is treated in a 1965 Ph. D thesis by Karthigesu Indrapala (see also my compilation in: dh-web.org/place.names/). Nevertheless, today we have a particular linguistic and cultural configuration in the Island resulting from a long co-existence.

Periodic incursions from outside which give time for each configuration to evolve and “absorb” the external perturbation, and such inputs have a positive evolutionary effect. In contrast, experience shows that a land bridge usually produces a continuous uncontrolled “immigration” of people and prejudices that are not easily assimilable. It is usually the “less desirable” who try clandestine immigration. The British who remained independent of the invasions since 1066 are today subject to such uncontrolled immigration via the Channel tunnel. Today the tunnel provides a hard-to-control conduit for impoverished whites from Eastern Europe, non-whites, Jihadists etc., from Africa and the Middle East to creep into England while the French prefer to see these “misérables” out of France.

The Hinduism of Jaffna relates to the early monistic form of the “Saiva Siddhanatha” due to saint Thirumular. In contrast, Tamil-Nadu Saivism is pluralistic and follows Aghorasiva who rejected the “monism” of Thirumular. Given a land bridge, the more profitable northern Kovils will pass into Indian hands. The Saivism offered will become the Saiva Siddhanatha of Aghorasiva. The caste system is linked to the Manu Dharma of orthodox Hinduism. The intensity of the caste system in South India has grown in recent times under “free-market economics, while that of the Northern Sri Lanka has diminished to some extent with the Eelam wars. This trend will be revered if a land bridge were to be opened. Thus, there are social characteristics that we do not wish to perpetuate, and these are often a part of religious orthodoxies. While outdated social entities have to be rejected, other aspects of social conventions and religion have to be recognize for their cultural and ethnic significance, allowing them to survive as part of the varied heritages that enriche and invigorate our social fabric. Such optimally envisaged social re-orientation is not possible when the controlling factors pass to the mainland via a land bridge.

To conclude, while Sinhala and Tamil cultures have co-existed within Lanka, any free access to a direct connection to Tamil Nadu will erode the identity of Lankan-Tamil culture, and to a lesser extent, the Sinhalese Culture. The latter, used to centuries of such interactions may survive the challenge of a land bridge, while Lankan Tamil culture will be stifled and homogenized by a direct embrace with Tamil Nadu. In effect, while we must have vigorous links with India, our dealings need to be “at arms length”.

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83 Responses to Land Bridge Over Palk Straits: Impact On Bio-Diversity & Ethnic Identity

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    From Bandu de Silva Thanks Chandare. This piece is very encouraging for it moves the debate from earlier emotion/sentimentality-based arguments I read in Sri Lankan printed media. The favourable stance displayed by the Jaffna Tamils you speak of, I think is also an emotional one and can be overlooked. I think the pros and cons of other arguments like overall economic benefits like increasing connectivity to Central European/Central Asian markets for our products which is the main plank in the arguments in favour of the bridge-land link, need to be discussed as well.One thing I noticed during my stay as Ambassador, was the brisk cross-border trade in products that went along between Iran and its neighbours. Good part out tea went to Iran from neighbourhood countries and that is how the Iranian market was supplied during the embargo in recent years, I recall how consignments of tea were placed along Pakistan’s border awaiting transfer to Iran. in this case , once the price negotiations succeeded, there was no physical movement of tea. Only the border moved to show that the tea chests were on Iran’s side! Fiction like , but true. The security factor itself needs examination. After all, didn’t Hitler develop the Auto-bahns throughout Germany linking with neighbouring countries with the object of territorial expansion? The Chinese have done it Tibet and Ladak to reach Indian and Pakistan borders. The Indians too are now trying to build road links to these areas to move troops. substantial We have our own example of the British building roads to linking the Kandyan areas and also to Trincomalee with a military objective. . That is what we learned in history. There is also the other factor- the opposition of the Jayalalitha government based again on security considerations for Tamil Nadu – reverse flow of terrorism based on Sri Lanka, – a reverse flow so to say. Based on Sri Lanka’s thirty year experience of cross-border terrorism using south Indian bases is an argument worth building up. In any event it desirable to keep politics and disparaging anyone for the “authorship” of the idea out of the discussion as some one did through the printed media. Bandu

    Bandu de Silva
    August 8, 2015 at 12:42 pm
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      I think Sri Lanka should have second thoughts about a Land Bridge. Having visited India several times, I would imagine that Indians would only be too happy to Walk Over and Take Over our beautiful Motherland!

      Hamlet
      August 8, 2015 at 1:40 pm
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        Hamlet “I would imagine that Indians would only be too happy to Walk Over and Take Over our beautiful Motherland!” Because they are becoming too wealthy and obese they take long walk in the mornings and evenings. Don’t worry they will return to their homeland in the same evening. Some come here to taste those who practice the oldest profession.

        Native Vedda
        August 8, 2015 at 5:41 pm
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          I would say it is the most appropriate thing to build a bridge or a tunnel from India to Sri Lanka. Just like Britain is connected to the European continent by a tunnel the Indian sub-continent needs be connected to Sri Lanka so that a South Asian Union (similar to EU) can be formed for the democratic betterment of the peoples in the sub-continent. The Sri Lankan ethnic problem will also be solved logically with autonomy for the North-East of Sri Lanka as a member of the union, and the Sinhalese then need not worry about any separatist call by Tamils. As we see the progress in the EU in the last few decades, both in democratic norms and economic progress, South Asia will also benefit from such a bridge from Sri Lanka to the mainland.

          Thiru
          August 8, 2015 at 7:25 pm
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            Thiru, take the blindfold off from over your eyes. “The Sri Lankan ethnic problem will also be solved logically with autonomy for the North-East of Sri Lanka as a member of the union, and the Sinhalese then need not worry about any separatist call by Tamils.” It will then be a Separatist Call by the Sinhalese, from the ‘Union of North East Sri Lanka and TamilNadu’ I Wonder if Thiru has asked himself, whether Sri Lankan Tamils would like being part of TamilNadu!

            Hamlet
            August 8, 2015 at 7:44 pm
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              Hamlet, Sri Lankan Tamils are constantly worried about another wave of possible genocidal onslaught let loose on them, like one happened/happening since independence from Britain. Anything that prevents genocide of our race in the island is acceptable to Tamils everywhere.

              Thiru
              August 9, 2015 at 6:58 am
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              Hamlet “I Wonder if Thiru has asked himself, whether Sri Lankan Tamils would like being part of TamilNadu!” I don’t mind Sinhalese and Tamils being part of India. It is not a matter for Sinhalese and Tamils to decide. Hindians believe Sri Lanka is the Sinhala state of Hindia. Do you want to pick up fight with Hindians. Go ahead, make our day Ham.

              Native Vedda
              August 9, 2015 at 9:44 pm
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            O good Thiru, you are back after hiding from OTC unable to answer him. Don’t think we have forgotten!

            taraki
            August 8, 2015 at 7:52 pm
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              Thiru, taraki says you were hiding from the liar OTC. Were you? What a shame?

              Native Vedda
              August 9, 2015 at 9:49 pm
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            We Do not Want to see North of sri lanka Becoming a Toilet for Tamil naduans. Do You want Fertiliser for Farming??????????. Dont’ you see North, West and east Coastal Fishing Commiunities are Strugling to Chase away the South Indian Tamil and Kerlite Thieves, Who rob their Fishing grounds.????????, You Sitting on the barin, Just think of our poor people. We are not part of India. And Will not be.

            JULAMPITIYE AMARAYA
            August 9, 2015 at 11:54 am
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              JULAMPITIYE AMARAYA “We Do not Want to see North of sri lanka Becoming a Toilet for Tamil naduans.” How and why do you think only North becoming a toilet for Tamil Naduans? “Dont’ you see North, West and east Coastal Fishing Commiunities are Strugling to Chase away the South Indian Tamil and Kerlite Thieves,” They are your long lost cousins, aren’t they? “We are not part of India.” That’s what you like to think. “And Will not be.” You are being brave.

              Native Vedda
              August 9, 2015 at 10:02 pm
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                NV, Many of us do not want to be part of India. We rather be fewer medium fish living with some bigger fish in a medium pond that has enough food for all of us, than a fingerling in a much bigger pond crowded with sharks, fighting for food ! Our’s is a pond we are familiar with and know every cranny. The bigger fish know us and we know them. We know how to deal with each other and survive despite the occasional frenzy of blood letting. We do not want the sharks to come into our pond either. We will be devoured in no time. Dr.RN

                Dr.Rajasingham Narendran
                August 11, 2015 at 9:57 am
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      Prof. Chandre Dharmawardana RE: Land Bridge Over Palk Straits: Impact On Bio-Diversity & Ethnic Identity “Legend holds that the Island was connected to India by “Rama’s bridge”. Geological evidence and temperature records validate such beliefs, and even delineate the periods when the sea was low enough to link the mainland to the Island. : 8.000 to 30,000 years ago, the sea levels were 100 meters lower than it is today. and the Native Veddah Aethho walked to claim their land. About 2 to 3000 years ago, and later the Paradeshis from India, the Para-Sinhala, the Para-Tamils and other Pars came by illegal boats, Hora-Oru and Kall -Thonis, to the Land of native Veddah Aethho. This bridge if constructed, will allow for the Indian Para to Miux with the Lankan Paras. and will be the next disaster of Lanka, the Land of native Veddah Aethho, after the Ariival of the Paras 2 to 3 million ago. This shoulkd be rsisted by All in the land of Native Beddah aethho, The the Paras come, by Illegal boats, Hora-Oru and Kalla-Thoinis, the way they were doing for the past 3,000 years. “The bio-diversity of the Lankan mammals is not the only surprise. A stunning 2002 report in the journal Science, by Meegaskumbura et al was noted by the science writer Elizabeth Pennisi. She wrote “ While other herpetologists have been scrambling to understand why amphibians are declining worldwide, one research team has been cataloging more than 100 new species, all from one postage stamp of a rain forest in Sri Lanka. The discovery of this biodiversity hot spot … increases the number of known frog species on the island fivefold”!” Lanka, the Land of Native Veddah Aethho does NOT want any more Paras, of the two-legged, four legged, 6-legged, 8-legged or the crawling species. Lanka, the Land of Native Veddah aethho, have had enough Paras, especially the Para-Sinhala and Para-Tamil Variety.

      Amarasiri
      August 8, 2015 at 4:46 pm
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        Correction: This bridge if constructed, will allow for the Indian Para to Miux with the Lankan Paras. and will be the next disaster of Lanka, the Land of native Veddah Aethho, after the Ariival of the Paras 2 to 3 million ago. CORRECTED: This bridge if constructed, will allow for the Indian Para to Mix with the Lankan Paras. and will be the next disaster of Lanka, the Land of native Veddah Aethho, after the Arrival of the Paras 2 to 3 Millenia ago.

        Amarasiri
        August 9, 2015 at 10:49 pm
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      Let us give the job of building the trade between Sri Lanka and India to Sivajilingam and his band of sailors from Valvettithurai (VVT)! They will be able to do something they have done for centuries legally and now do illegally. They will no doubt do a good job cheaply, effectively and will prosper. The North will prosper as a result and consequently this country will prosper. The biggest gain will of course be, they will not ask for Tamil Eelam anymore and will not bring forth resolutions on genocide! A brilliant idea isn’t it? Dr.RN

      Dr.Rajasingham Narendran
      August 9, 2015 at 10:14 am
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      Chandre Dharmawardana This should be called the Para-Bridge. Some like to call it a Monkey Bridge, Humans Bridge, {edited out]

      Amarasiri
      August 10, 2015 at 1:28 am
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      Dear Bandu Silva, The decision to construct a bridge/tunnel across palk straits will be solely that of India. Srilanka government, Sinhala racists or their Tamil apologists cannot do anything about it. Sadly your racist mind is clouding your thoughts, because as a past diplomat you should have known how geopolitics operate. If constructing it is in India’s security interests, it will act positively to safeguard it, giving too hoots to Srilankan protests.

      Dr. Gnana Sankaralingam
      August 10, 2015 at 4:34 am
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    Dear Professor, In todays world the borders are being opened up and people are beginning to integrate with each other. The European Union is one good example. Your article is to preserve the identities of Tamils and Singhalese of Sri Lanka. LTTE was created to preserve the culture of Sri Lankan Tamils by creating Eelam! Do you support this ?? In the global scene, we all (Singhalese, Tamils, Gujarati’s,Punjabi’s etc;) are Indians. The sooner we integrate with India the better! Let us build the bridge and make a start.

    Britlankan
    August 8, 2015 at 12:59 pm
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      Thousands of illegal immigrants from north Africa are trying to enter the UK through the Channel tunnel that joins Britain to France. There is chaos in Callais and calls for the military to intervene. Is this what we want? Immigrants from India coming by land and sea? The Government that builds a land bridge will not stay in power very long.

      taraki
      August 8, 2015 at 5:16 pm
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        taraki “Thousands of illegal immigrants from north Africa are trying to enter the UK through the Channel tunnel that joins Britain to France” Let me remind you when your ancestors came to this island by kallathonies from South India there was no border control. There are more than 10 million people consisting of Afghani, Nepali, Bangladeshi, Burmese, Tibetian, ………….. immigrants have crossed into India in the past 30 or so years and living there with less problems. According to government sources there are 16,000 Maldivians living illegally in this island. Pakistani illegal immigrant are thought to be in thousands. However according to last population census there are 21 Million descendants of kallthonies living in this island and it is ironic that they are complaining about potential immigration into this country.It is too rich for a descendant of Kallathoni to complain about future swarming.

        Native Vedda
        August 8, 2015 at 7:47 pm
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          When Britain sent her criminals to Australia there was no border control. Your aboriginal cousins are still paying for it. When millions of Europeans emigrated to the US there was no border control. The Native Americans are still paying for it. Canada – Britain and France. Brazil – Portugal. All other S. American countries – Spain. That’s what happens when there is no border control.

          taraki
          August 9, 2015 at 1:42 pm
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            Great comment Taraki. And, add the your list the one that happened more than 2500 years ago!

            Above the Rest
            August 9, 2015 at 2:37 pm
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            taraki “When Britain sent her criminals to Australia there was no border control. Your aboriginal cousins are still paying for it.” Once you are right. I don’t need history lessons from Australia as we have our own in this land. As usual you are depending on your own selective amnesia, wishing away those nasty things that really happened in this island. White man’s crimes do not absolve what you did to my people nor wipe clean this islands brutal history. The actual genocide started when outsiders started arriving on the shores of this island about 2500 years ago.

            Native Vedda
            August 9, 2015 at 2:40 pm
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      Britlankan “In the global scene, we all (Singhalese, Tamils, Gujarati’s,Punjabi’s etc;) are Indians. The sooner we integrate with India the better!” Are Paras, Para-deshis, outsiders in the land of Native Veddah Aethho. Why can’tall the Paras stay in India and Leave the Land of Native Veddah Aethoo alone?

      Amarasiri
      August 8, 2015 at 6:49 pm
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        Amarasiri, Remember Your native Veddah is a Dravidian from India!! And your Theravadha Buddhism is Dravidian Buddhism from India!

        Britlankan
        August 8, 2015 at 8:00 pm
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          Britlankan 1. “Remember Your native Veddah is a Dravidian from India!!” Incorrect: The Native Veddah DNA is different fro the Para-Dravidians, the Para-Tamils and Para- Sinhala. 2. “And your Theravadha Buddhism is Dravidian Buddhism from India! ” The Trerveda Buddhism etc belongs to the Para-Dravidians, the Para-Sinhala and Para-Tamils. The Native Veddah Aethho are not concerned with the Myths and to to whom it belongs to, Para-Dravidians, Para-Sinhala or Para-Tamils. Only concern is that it all belongs to the Paras from India, and would like the Paras to get back to their Native Para Land with their Para-Myths.

          Amarasiri
          August 10, 2015 at 2:14 am
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            Dear Amarasiri, You are wrong to say that native veddhas did not come from South India. Certainly their genetic pool is different from South Indian Tamils. But the genetic pool of Adivasis of Tamil Nadu, Aboriginese of Andaman, Orang Asli of peninsular Malaysia and the Veddhas of Srilanka are similar. At one stage all these lands were connected and later separated by being submerged by rise of sea level.Naturally they were inhabited by people of similar race.

            Dr. Gnana Sankaralingam
            August 10, 2015 at 4:18 am
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      Not Indians but Lemurians, who occupied a vastly larger continent that included Lanka. We are living in the remnants of this lost Lemuria (Kumari Kandam). Our roots are in our corner of what is left of Lemuria and the Indians have their roots in the larger remnant of Lemuria where they live. We have also intermingled with time. They have come here,but we have not gone there before the 1983 riot/pogrom. We have been the hosts, beneficiaries and victims 99% of the time! Dr.RN

      Dr.Rajasingham Narendran
      August 11, 2015 at 10:27 am
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    England is connected to France. This is fair enough! They have income parity and cultural parity. Europe is also 1 click away from Northern Africa. You will not find them building a channel Tunnel to Africa! There is enough trade flowing through seas to the south to tap into. Exploit that trade fully before looking at adding to existing problems please.

    Vibhushana
    August 8, 2015 at 1:37 pm
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      Vibhushana Aren’t you hearing voices in your head again? You are million years backward and away from what has been happening through out the world today. The information is freely available only a click away from where you are, may be in your own mindset. Read the information below: “Europe is also 1 click away from Northern Africa. You will not find them building a channel Tunnel to Africa!” New railway tunnel via the Strait of Gibraltar Published: Wed, 2013-08-21 New connection by 2016 A new railway tunnel, which will connect Europe-Africa via the Strait of Gibraltar, will soon be built by a consortium of international companies during the next several years. The project is expected to be implemented by the European and African Economic Commissions. The concept of the project is similar to the concept of a tunnel under the English Channel. It will link the rail networks of Spain and Morocco. The standard length of the structures will be 42 kilometers between the terminals, 37.7 kilometers of the tunnel itself, as well as 27.7 kilometers in the tunnel under the sea. As part of preparations for the start of construction, deepwater offshore drilling have already been completed It is planned that the new tunnel will be commissioned by 2016. http://www.railwaybulletin.com/2013/ 08/new-railway-tunnel-via-the- strait-of-gibraltar Vibhushana Search before you start typing.

      Native Vedda
      August 8, 2015 at 4:48 pm
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    No landbridge… SL Tamils and Indian Tamils are so different, with all due respect to Indian Tamils. We are not Sinhalese, we are not Indian Tamils, we are SL Tamils.. why is this so hard to understand. The Sinhalese still believe that Tamils are a homogeneous lot.. Far from it.. Even in TN, the Kongu Nadu Tamils (3/3 Kongu Parties) are trying to create their own state citing cultural differences, and the relative economic prosperity of the Kongu region. I may write a long article later this year explaining how SL Tamils are a composite of TN Tamils, and Sinhalese.. I have spent approximately 2 years learning about this topic.. Anyways.. no landbridge.. Indians (save Kerala, and Goa, and a few other places) are different from SLs.

    Vetri Vel
    August 8, 2015 at 3:25 pm
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      Vetri Vel ” SL Tamils and Indian Tamils are so different, with all due respect to Indian Tamils.” Please tell us the difference between Indian Tamils and Sri Lankan Tamils. I find more commonality among Sinhalese, Tamils of this island and Tamil nadu. For example, they share common gene pool and stupidity. I can also give you another million similarities. Not now I let you work it out for yourself. What are you on about?

      Native Vedda
      August 8, 2015 at 5:37 pm
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      Vetri vel thanks but no thanks. Your pseudonym should be pronounced vettivel in sri lankan tamil instead vetrivel. ken

      ken Robert
      August 8, 2015 at 6:08 pm
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    “given a land bridge. Wealthy Indian businessmen will control the peninsular financial, religious, and media operations. The cinemas will be run by Bollywood bigwigs. The Lankan Tamils, controlled for over a century and even today by the “Colombo-7 Tamils”, will be controlled by the tycoons of Chennai or Kochin. The LTTE learnt this at first hand and turned against India.” This supposedly educated professor does not know that Kochi is in Kerala and not Tamilnadu. There are no “Tamil Tycoons” in Kochi. The prof is suffering from an irrational fear of everything Indian, insects, goats,culture, whatever. Maybe he should add Buddhism to the list. If our bigwigs can’t run cinemas efficiently, let someone else show us how to do it. Does anyone remember the state of Ceypetco filling stations before IOC gave them a kick up the backside??

    old codger
    August 8, 2015 at 3:33 pm
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    There are enough problems now with Tamils within in Sri Lanka, a hostile Tamil Nadu across the palk straight and hordes of Tamil Nadu fishermen violating our Maritime Boundry. Whoever thinks the bridge is a good idea must have rocks in their head. What Sri Lanka needs is a Maritime Boundry (with that squalid state TN) lined with explosive devices to keep unwanted hordes crossing over to the Sri Lankan side of the boundry. No bridge! No Bridge Now, Never!

    lal
    August 8, 2015 at 4:05 pm
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      lal loo Alternatively let us build an undersea tunnel all the way to Bihar whence your ancestors came. “What Sri Lanka needs is a Maritime Boundry ” Of course my people should have thought about it 2500 years ago. It was a mistake for which we continue to pay dearly. “No bridge! No Bridge Now, Never!” Never say never again. According to your myth monkey engineers built a bridge across the palk strait in no time burnt down parts of the island. In case if you have forgotten how Hindia is run from Delhi let me remind you. Hindia can walk over this island in no time. They have enough pontoon bridges to establish bridgehead through which they can roll their tanks and soldiers. Of course they have had their own historical experience, learnt from their southern monkey army engineers.

      Native Vedda
      August 8, 2015 at 5:03 pm
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        Dear NV. We should start building bridges between communities, within Sri Lanka first! It will also be less costly, more durable and a better country. It will be best investment we can make. Dr.RN

        Dr.Rajasingham Narendran
        August 9, 2015 at 9:51 am
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    Hi Vibushana Don”t display your ignorance in CT. The kingdom of Spain and the Kingdom of Morocco also have a chunnel tunnel project which was mooted out a number of years ago which may get off the ground in the future. all we are going to do in India Srilanka land bridge is we are going to renovate the already existing land bridge the monkey built a number of years ago to it’s former glory.

    pirana
    August 8, 2015 at 4:55 pm
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    A rabidly racist rabble rouser who is best ignored. OTC :)

    Robert.R
    August 8, 2015 at 5:17 pm
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    The FIRST race riots were in fact in 1915 when innocent Muslims were attacked mercilessly by Buddhists.

    Robert.R
    August 8, 2015 at 5:22 pm
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      But it is an innocent Sinhalese who died in the procession. Eventually Sir P.Ramanathan came to the rescue of Sinhalese.

      Citizen
      August 8, 2015 at 9:51 pm
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    FROM THE birth, i am against this bridge bussiness, We do not want that connection. Without any connections those indians tried to devide our country and still trying to do that. And we are against the proposed Coal power plant at Sampoor in trincomalee also. our sri lankan tamizar breterans are totaly defferent from the indian tamils and the languguage also, the indian tamils do not have any respect for our people either, and call us Ceylonkaaran, like they call wealakaaran. earlier they wanted come here as Kalla thoniees [ Katmaran boat people]. India Is not govern by politicos but by high cast beurocrats with RAWs help. They have done masive damages to Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh,maldives , Burma, and Afganistan in economicaly to depend on indian economy. TO FIND AND GIVE EMPLOYMENTS TO INDIANS WE DO NOT WANT THAT HAPPENED TO SRI LANKA. wE WILL NOT GET ANY BENIFITS FROM THIS BRIDGES. IF RANIL IS GOING TO PROMOTE THE CONSTRUCTION OF BRIDGE. HE IS TRAITOR LIKE JARAPASSA. WE ARE TOTALY AGINST THIS BRIDGE .

    JULAMPITIYE AMRAYA
    August 8, 2015 at 5:22 pm
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    Prof. Dharmawardene, I agree with you that there should not be abridge or tunnel between Sri Lanka and India for the reasons you have given. I had stated my objection for the same reasons in a comment to your previous article on the subject. I have however objections to some aspects in the above article. The concept of who is a Sri Lankan Tamil or a Sinhalese need to be defined, in terms of recent genetic studies (Ranawana et.al 2014). Parent stock of the Sri Lankan Tamils. appear to have been the same. There have been admi0xtures thereafter. Unless there are detailed cellular genetic studies within the Sinhala and Sri Lankan Tamil populations, dispersion and caste-wise, the present definitions are untenable. Does a Sinhalese become a Sinhalese genetically because he speaks Sinhala? Does a Tamil become a Tamil become a Tamil or a Sri Lankan Tamil, because he speaks Tamil. If a Sinhalese adopts Tamil as a language, does he become a Tamil or if a Tamil adopts Sinhala as his language, does he become a Sinhalese? What is the linguistic or communal status of their children? Further, there are sections of Tamils within the so called Sri Lankan Tamils who had migrated from South India. Sir. P. Ramanathan and his brother Sir.P. Arunachalam were second/ third generation of migrant Tamils. Certain areas in the Jaffna Peninsula have a larger proportion of such migrants and their descendants. Vadamarachchi and Thenmarachchi. Similarly, there are several castes among the Sinhalese who are of clear South Indian origin. What are the proportion of original Sinhalese and Tamils within our population, apart from the plantation Tamil population? An interesting finding of Ranawana et. al was that the ‘Sri Lankan’ Tamils had no South Indian gene markers, while the Sinhalese had these! Further, Prof. Dharmadasa has written about the syncretism between Hinduism and Buddhism (Particularly, the Theravda school). The languages also share 4000 + words, although a multitude of new Sanskrit words have been incorporated into the Sinhala language since 1956. Why do you say Balasingham is of Sinhala origin? It should be written Palasingham in Tamil, as the ‘B’ sound and equivalent alphabet are absent in Tamil. The Tamils here are now adopting the hard sounds like B and G from the degenerate Tamil being increasingly spoken in Tamil Nadu. When I write my name correctly in Tamil, it will be Irasasinham Narenthiran. There has been a deliberate attempt to Sinhalise, Tamil person and place names in the past few decades. This is unfortunate as our shared identity and evolution are being deliberately erased. There should be a commission appointed to study this issue and restore place names to what they were prior to 1956. As for the scripts, both the Tamil and Sinhala scripts to my knowledge have evolved from Brahmi and the Vateluthu form has evolved in both. The Sinhala script is not unique and resembles Telungu script closely. Why do we continue to make cases to divide us further, when all evidence points to an essential unity? Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran
    August 8, 2015 at 6:06 pm
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      You are correct around half of the so called present day Sinhalese are descended fairly recent immigrants from South India. Namely Tamil Nadu and what once was Tamil Kerala ( the ancient Tamil Chera Nadu). Ironically it is the dsocendants of these recently Sinhalised, South Indian immigrants both low and high born who are now the biggest Sinhalese Buddhist nationalists and anti Tamil racists. After the 12Th century, immigration from South India was only a trickle to the present Tamil parts of the island, however it continued unabated in to the Sinhalese parts of the island, especially along the western and southern littorals. The Portuguese and Dutch imported hundreds of thousands of low caste South Indians both from the Coramandel and Malabar coasts. Their descendants are the present day Sinhalese castes of Karawa, Salagma,Durawa Etc. Even during ancient times most of the immigration to the island was from the South of India namely the Tamil country and only a trickle from the north. They came as invaders immigrants traders and gradually became Sinhalese. Even now we can see this gradual Sinhalisation of Indian Tamil immigrants eg the Colombo Chetties and the Paravans( Bharathas) and along the once Tamil Negombo,Chilaw and Puttalam coasts. This is the reason the present day Sinhalese are more South Indian than the real ethnic Sri Lankan Tamils. The original Sri Lankan Tamils are the descendants of the indigenous tribes largely the Nagas. This is the reason many of their snake worshipping culture, food habits customs looks are far more similar to the then Tamil Kerala or Chera Nadu. Even the now many words used in the Sri Lankan Tamils dialects are still in use in modern day Malayalam but not used in the Tamil dialects spoken in Tamil Nadu. The word Ceylon is derived from Eelam and the word Serendib from the word Cherantivu ( The Island of the Cheras). In Kerala the Eezhavas or Eelavar make up around 30% of the population. It will be even more, as many of the Eezhavas who converted to Christianity or Islam now do not identify themselves with this community. Due to various invasions from South India the present day Sri Lankan Tamils are now a mixture of the original ancient Dravidian tribes and these 10th to 12Th century largely Chola invaders and immigrants. Still the South Indian markers and DNA amongst them is still minimum and not as high as the present day so called Sinhalese. The author is incorrect. The present day ratio of Tamil speakers and Sinhalese speakers in the island is 1:3 and not 1:4. As per latest statistics people who identified Tamil as their mother tongue were 24% and Sinhalese around 74%. Around 30% of the Tamil speakers, largely the Muslims were fluent or were reasonably fluent in Sinhalese but the rest were not. The author is again incorrect. The foundation of Sinhalese is Dravidian and the Sinhalese language as a very firm Dravidian/Tamil foundation on top of which an Indo Aryan superstructure has been built. The original population of the island the Nagas and the Yakkas spoke a Dravidian dialect say Elu that was semi Tamil. With the arrival of a few North Indian immigrants and Buddhism this Tamil dialect got highly corrupted with the Pali/Sanskrit of Buddhism to gradually develop and form the present day Sinhalese language. This was also encouraged by the Buddhist clergy. So that a separate identity can be formed for these Buddhists. Even now around 35% to 40% of the vocabulary of present day Sinhalese is Tamil. Its grammar syntax lexicon and even its alphabet is purely derived from Tamil. It was not Pali or Sanskrit, but the Tamil language that helped in the formation of the Sinhala alphabets. The alphabets of the Sinhala language are round in shape like the alphabets of the other Dravidian languages. Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and proto-Tamil. In the 10th century. Tamils changed the shape of their alphabets to the square shape. According to Dr. C.E. Godakmubara, the Sinhala Grammar Sidathsangarawa was based on the Tamil Grammar Virasolium in the 11th A.D. Rev. S. Gnanapiragasam – “There are more than 4.000 Tamil words in the Sinhala vocabulary. If the Sinhala vocabulary is stripped of all the Tamil words there will be no Sinhala language. There were no Sinhalese in Lanka or in any part of the world until the Dipa Vamsa for the first time, referred to the descendants of Tamil (Hindus) who embraced Buddhism in 246 B.C. as Sihala on account of the Lion (no relevance). There is no culture called Sinhala culture. It is the Tamil culture that is projected as Sinhala culture. The 14th day of April is observed as New Year, day only by the Tamils and Sinhala people throughout the world. This fact is strong evidence that the Sinhala people inherited this practice from their Tamil ancestors who embraced Buddhism in 246 B.C. It is stupid to deny that fact. When there was no Sinhala language in Lanka or in any part of the world before 8th A.D., it is thuggery to claim that there were Sinhala people in Lanka prior to the 8th century A.D. Just as the descendants of Tamils who embraced Buddhism in 246 B.C. claim they are Arya Sinhalese; Tamils of the Western Coast, from Ragama to Kalpitiya, after adopting Sinhala as their mother tongue, (after the introduction of free education) claim thy are Arya Sinhalese. In Sri Lanka any person who adopts Sinhala as mother tongue ipso facto is an Aryan

      Paul
      August 8, 2015 at 7:48 pm
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        Agreed. But according to Indian historical records Prince Vijaya & his followers have been drifted from Orissa on account of a storm. Can you verify it.

        Citizen
        August 8, 2015 at 9:57 pm
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          May have. But their genetic contribution was negligible. they married Pandyan Tamils and the immediate progeny would have been half Bengali and half Tamil . The Bengali component would have been diluted over two millennia to be negligible, though yet traceable. Some studies have identified this Bengali component in Sri Lankan Tamils too. The Yarlpana Vaipava Mallai, refers to the Vijaya (Visayan) legend too. Dr.RN

          Dr.Rajasingham Narendran
          August 9, 2015 at 9:26 am
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        [Edited out]

        Anpu
        August 9, 2015 at 8:56 am
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        Is it feeding time for We Thamizh? ‘Paul’ has dumped a container load of punnakku here :D

        Siva Sankaran Sarma
        August 9, 2015 at 3:01 pm
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          Wee Thamihz Senior Journalist Siva Sankaran Sarma Menon How generous of him. Most probably he just wanted to feed the grazing cattle in this forum. He/She didn’t have you in mind when punnakku was dumped from the container. I suspect he/she knew the different food intake of cows and pigs.

          Native Vedda
          August 9, 2015 at 3:31 pm
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      “Similarly, there are several castes among the Sinhalese who are of clear South Indian origin. What are the proportion of original Sinhalese and Tamils within our population, apart from the plantation Tamil population? An interesting finding of Ranawana et. al was that the ‘Sri Lankan’ Tamils had no South Indian gene markers, while the Sinhalese had these! ” What is interesting is that the originator of this debate, former diplomat Bandu De Silva appears to be a member of one of these groups. Kallathoni vs. Kallathoni? We really need a serious debate on who IS a Sinhalese (if there is such a creature) and who needs to be protected by whom. The only thing that is clear is that there are Buddhists (of a sort) and Hindus , both indulging in animal sacrifices.

      old codger
      August 8, 2015 at 10:42 pm
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      “Parent stock of the Sri Lankan Tamils. appear to have been the same.” Should read, “Parent stock of the Sri Lankan Tamils and Sinhalese appear to have been the same.” Dr.RN

      Dr.Rajasingham Narendran
      August 9, 2015 at 9:13 am
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      correction: The name when Balasingham when written in Tamil will sound, Palasinham. Dr.RN

      Dr.Rajasingham Narendran
      August 9, 2015 at 9:17 am
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      Thanks Dr RN. “There has been a deliberate attempt to Sinhalise, Tamil person and place names in the past few decades” According to “Tamil Buddhism in Ancient South India and Sri Lanka” by J.L. Devananda http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/3031 “Today, the Buddhism in Sri Lanka is monopolized by the Sinhalese and they call it Sinhala-Buddhism. The fusion of Sinhala and Buddhism into Sinhala-Buddhism took place only in the early 20th century by revivalists such as Anagarika Dharmapala. Unfortunately today the Sri Lankan Tamils also believe that Buddhism is a Sinhala religion and is alien to them, but this was not the case in the early past. Unlike today, the Ancient Buddhist/Hindu civilization in Sri Lanka and the ancient Pali/Sanskrit place names has nothing to do with the ethnicity.In otherwords, the Ancient Buddhist/Hindu heritage and the ancient Pali/Sanskrit place names in the North and East of Sri Lanka has nothing to do with Sinhala.”

      Anpu
      August 9, 2015 at 9:32 am
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    During my school days I remember we had flights to India (Thirchi) from palaley and also we had train service connecting ships to Thanuskodey -Rameswarm (India) these services stopped by srilankan Goverments . Only reason I see is jealous!!

    Kailainathan
    August 8, 2015 at 6:26 pm
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      Kailainathan Those days there was a ferry, and the Train took you to the ferry. Such links, as well as the Yaldevi rail link to the south were destroyed and stopped by the LTTE which also believed in isolation from the South and from India.

      Edward
      August 8, 2015 at 9:05 pm
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    This theoretical physicist and glyphosate ‘promoter’ is worried that people and animals will invade in large numbers along a land/sea bridge across the Palk Strait. His imagination is running riot. His fantasy is stunning – like a science fiction movie. Actually, there will be customs and immigration check points like in an airport, and this will not happen – similar to the train tunnel underneath the English channel connecting England and France.

    justice
    August 8, 2015 at 7:42 pm
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      Justice thinks that customs and immigration at the proposed bridge will stop invasive types of snakes and bugs and other creatures from coming over! Great. Dr N. Rajasinham thinks that the racial mixture can be separated in to Tamil and Sinhala ethnic groups by some genetic hocus pocus! The number of differences within each such group is larger than between such groups, and that is why such classifications are nonsensical. But such efforts to divisive ethnic analysis by Dr. NR and others will go on, for ever, as long as people want to believe in their “races”, and that they came “first”. Originally it was caste, directly coming from the Brahma. Sir P. Ramanathan even wanted the caste system made into a part of the Ceylon constitution. Then caste became replaced by race in the 1930s. Finally, there is only class, with the rich class and the middle and poor class. Indeed, I agree with the Prof, and disagree with Dr. N. Rajasinham that a “born sinhalese” child who speaks Tamil and grows up in a Hindu background becomes a “Tamil”. I come from an Ismailii Muslim background; Most Muslims speak Tamil but we are distinct from the Tamils, ONLY because of our Muslim background. We are distinct from the sinhalese Buddhists on two counts (i) because we are Muslim and (ii) we are tamil speakers, while we also usually speak Sinhala, thus having a trading and political advantage over the tamils and the Sinhalese who are usually stuck in their own mother language

      Bodin
      August 8, 2015 at 9:02 pm
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        That is if our identity is only defined by the language we speak and the religion we practice. Unfortunately or fortunately, our differences are also underlined by genetics. Dr.RN

        Dr.Rajasingham Narendran
        August 11, 2015 at 10:34 am
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      Yes, the land bridge can be used to bring glyphosate to Sri Lanka from India, illegally. The Indians are not stupid to ban it, while the Srti Lankans have foolishly banned it, because Ven. Rathana and Nalin de Silva want it banned. In fact, the Indians manufacture Glyphosate, and it is cheaper to buy it from India than to buy it from Beyer in Germany of Monsanto in the US.

      Edward
      August 8, 2015 at 9:55 pm
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    That why need professors, not to deny everything but to find sustainable way to build what the modern civilization needs to build. Some yet not realize that world has changed and birding the nations as a fact. World has already built similar even more complex constructions in an environmentally sound manner.

    surasena
    August 8, 2015 at 8:34 pm
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    Right through history the bane of sri lanka has been India. The most recent one is the terrorism in the north and the 13th amendment and the arrogance and dictatorial behaviour of the indian govt. It will be stupid to have a bridge for what ever reason as no one in this country would want indians here in SL. It has been bad enough with no bridge.

    vass
    August 8, 2015 at 9:53 pm
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      That is why I sometimes wonder ‘how come the Andamans which lay more than two thousand odd miles away South East in the Bay of Bengal from the Indian mainland is an Indian Territory, and not Lanka which only about twenty odd miles as the crow flies South?

      Uthungan
      August 9, 2015 at 9:57 pm
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    Learn a lesson from the Euro Tunnell, thousands of African and Middle Eastern Refugees are attempting to walk into the UK. Over the last few days UK and France has spent Billions of Euros building security Fences. Does Sri Lanka need the same problem once the Bridge is completed. Politicians do not have brains, the voters should think wisely who they want to be the leaders of Sri Lanka after the Parliamentary Elections on the 17 August. For three decades we did not have a whole country, do we need to be in a position to lose the whole country permanently

    E N Gland
    August 8, 2015 at 10:10 pm
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    Most of so called educated people in Sri Lanka seems literatad may be that is the reason we always highlight our ninety odd literacy rate and so on. People don’t you see the world on the wheels and moving fast with economic and social goals. We are having a old economic engine not worthwhile for lubrication service even…as primary lubricants such as tea,rubber ,coconuts became just nuts and changed our engines from Morris minor,wauxvagon to Japanese one then to cheap Indian Bajaj and ashok layland etc may be in line with this trend search for much cheaper African Ethiopia,Our tea companion Kenya as they embark into a era of sound economic growth with highest rates in the world .So some Masai stuff soon will be seen in our lifetime for sure… we are living in a era where China connected with Taiwan,(Xiamen to Jinmen) Sweden connected to Denmark by öresund bridge. Where has the environment gone… Some body talk about cultural finger prints Swedish and Danish difference and Chinese Taiwanese ( even though Han) difference in political ideology are marked than of us. We are economic kids, poor learners of global trends and greatly suffered enough from our islander mentality. Grow up and open up kids . Control and regulate the events around us invest in law and order, Sri Lankan identity as a global icon and benchmark the areas cater the needs of middle class Indians and match our tourism industry to France and Spain not to Malaysia and Thailand. Catch the transhipment of inner India by railway freight from E class Dubai to Singapore liners. A lot of avenues will open on the sacrifice of few selfish narrow minded local business that will be reversed and massive business development will follow as we have more hidden advantages from India. Follow the path of succeeded ones not the failed ones. Think Think Think Business is a game like cricket we are not avoiding citing Indian abundance. We are equally holding our status right. Know the rules and play the game.

    Maya To
    August 8, 2015 at 10:52 pm
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      Not only now, world always moved fast. but, those who survived are those who were patient.

      Jim softy
      August 9, 2015 at 6:36 am
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    Such a well written article. It is amazing that UNP is actually considering a land bridge. More than ever do we need to completely cut off from India and survive with China ( though in moderation…….otherwise they will come after us yet again). One point that was not mentioned is the fact that so soon after a long deadly terrorist war, a bridge will be very intrusive and calmitous for our sovereignity at this point in time. The chunnel between England and France came only after many centuries of peace between the two countries. If ever a bridge is built, it will have to be several generations and centuries from now, and after the country is successfully united. It will not be a land bridge, then, but an underground one, or one long steel one over the Palk, so the fragile ecosystem will not be compromised.

    ramona therese fernando
    August 8, 2015 at 11:32 pm
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    I have already commented but I would just like to point out some observations I have seen off the top of my head. All SL have features that distinguishes them from Indians. For one thing, our faces are slimmer and longer than Indians (especially SI), we have slightly mongoloid eyes (in Indian it north east Indians and malayalees that have this features) SL Tamils have larger eyes (In India malayalees have this feature) Many Sinhalese and a large component of SL Tamils do not look South Indian at all (many Sinhalese and some SL Tamils have a visible mongloid and aryan thing going on).. SLs have a robust build, broad shoulders, and athletic. SL women are naturally busty (Only Malayalees and Bengali women compare from what I have seen). Many SL women have curly to kinky hair (in India Malayalees have this). SL (from what I have seen) are taller, here in the west, than South Indians and Central Indians. And finally SL, in my honest opinion have better features than South Indians and Central Indians. I think a lot of Tamils have not been to TN.. SL has only been reached by the strongest and brightest of the Indian stock. We are an Island people. We are not Indians..

    Vetri Vel (for now)
    August 9, 2015 at 12:45 am
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      Long years back when I was walking through downtown Victoria, British Columbia (Canada), I felt someone was following me. My destination was Achinese restaurant. He followed me into the restaurant and approached me asking whether I was a Keralite! When I travelled outside Sri Lanka for the first time and was transiting through Heathrow, London, I was already yearning to talk to a Sri Lankan. I saw one gentleman who appeared to be a Sri Lankan and asked him whether he was one. He said he was a West Indian, probably with distant connections to India! Appearences can be deceptive. A German anthropologist of old, described a negroid, but shapely Andamanian girl as Europoid! Only cellular genetic studies based on DNA and mRNA can tell us the story of our origins. The techniques to do so are being refined by the day. What we know today turn our myths and political stances, on their head! Dr.RN

      Dr.Rajasingham Narendran
      August 9, 2015 at 9:40 am
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        Yeah ur right.. Malayalees, Sinhalese, and SL Tamils do have a similar look. Sinhalese, some SL Tamils, and West Indians too have a VERY similar look and feel. If u were brought up here in Toronto you would know this to be common knowledge among these groups and even other SA groups. I have been reading athroscape and biodiversity forum posts for two years!!.. I have watched several Sri Lankan, TN, and Kerala, media (poltical rallies, movies, serials, etc). So I have been sensitized to spot the minute phenotype differences. yeah, SA as a whole are very similar.. yeah yeah, the current idea is that all SA have ANI and ASI in there genetic make up, I get it.. I am talking about the minute differences here. A British guy is not going to be able to tell the difference between these groups, and that is a given. Another a commonality shared amongst these groups is there non homogeneous makeup. I know this one SL Tamil realative that can pass as pseudo african, and at the same time know many SL Tamils that can pass off as a Pakistanis.. Ok, let me ask you this.. Have you been to Chennai?? That is a rhetorical question, you get what I am suggesting, yeah? TN Tamils are SEVERELY broken into their caste groups, they dub this as inam (race) So we SL Tamils too are a separate inam.. ethnic group, yeah? Only a small section of Indian Tamils (scehduled castes and some OBC) are vying for a pan world tamil identity. Everyone else is content with their caste setup.. Stop vying for a pan Tamil identity.. Indian Tamils are slowly being inducted to a pan Indian identity as of recent.. Indians Tamils are NOT going to be paying taxes that will benifit SL Tamil children, now or ever.. Why are u so keen on forming a unity between people based on language rather than proximity?! If you are pissed off at the crap we have been through in the last 50 years then direct that energy to something productive like building up our community, and punishing war criminals who killed off surunderees (spelling?) and shelled civilians. As per the SL soldiers who fought the LTTE in conventional manner, we can not blame them. That is what happens in a war. SLs and Indians are different! get over it. WE are very rooted to our cultures and at the same time posses a strong substratum of liberal and progressive values. Indians are either rooted (South Indians) or ape the west (North Indians). SL should have been situated somewhere in the Caribbeans and not next to India… Well at least that is what I feel. It annoys me every time people mistake me for an Indian..

        Vetri Vel (for now)
        August 9, 2015 at 9:23 pm
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          Vettivel (Vetrivel) This discussion is primarily about establishing a land route between srilanka and india. The main advantages as I see it are economic mobilisation of north and improvement in communication. The main disadvantages are erosion of identity of srilankans,threat to fauna and flora as eloquently put by prof CD. I feel that srilankans particularly srilankan tamils should benefit by this endeveour. I agree with Dr RN’s suggestion that improving relationship between ethnic communities should take precedence over the land bridge. Your arguement srilankan tamils will not benefit monetarily because indians will not pay taxes is flawed. 1.mannar port should flourish and retain its pasy glory. 2. Diaspora money will flow steadily if the threat by nationalism wanes and businesses start to grow. I do not want drag the ancestry of south asians in this topic. That topic entwines migational genetics, archeology, and many scholarly areas. Infact, prof CD is probably wrong on the influence of bollywood on tamils. Srilankan tamils in particular like kollywood of TN instead of bollywood probably due to lack of familiarity of hindi. I disagree with your views on srilankan tamil.

          Ken Robert
          August 10, 2015 at 4:45 am
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    If a bridge over the sea causes this many problems, how come Europe and asia which one big continent has so many different cultures ? I can believe the destruction of ecology. But, ecosystems has a very good ability revive and unless this bridge stops some movement of some fish or other animals. Only problems will be kallathonis don’t have to swim, they will walk to Sri lanka straight and strengthen the homeland demand.

    Jim softy
    August 9, 2015 at 1:15 am
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      Jim softy “Only problems will be kallathonis don’t have to swim, they will walk to Sri lanka straight and strengthen the homeland demand.” You should not worry too much about Kallathonies swimming the Palk strait because the trend is in the opposite direction since 1983, thanks to Sinhala/Buddhists. Don’t forget when JVP terrorism was receding then terror chief Somawansa Amarasinghe took boats to India with thousands of his fellow terrorists to Thamil Nadu, lived there for some time. They were received by Hindians with open arms. Then the Tamils and Sinhalese also took other means to leave the island. Once a kallathonie always a kallathonie, many still leaving by boats to reach down under, irrespective of their race, religion or region. Therefore I am happy that the trend is reversed and hoping that one day the entire island will be free of descendants of kallathonies.

      Native Vedda
      August 9, 2015 at 5:10 am
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        Native Veddah, When India pretends to be your friend whist organising the killings of ’83, massacre in anuradhapura they create the situation to get more refugees as in bangaladesh. This then is the excuse for further interference in the pretext of humanity. This is the price SL pays to have been born next to this devil.

        vas
        August 10, 2015 at 5:34 am
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          vas “When India pretends to be your friend” What exactly did you mean? “massacre in anuradhapura they create the situation to get more refugees as in bangaladesh.” By then many thousands of refugees have already reached India and the West. The Anuradhapura massacre triggered a serious of events that culminated in Indo-Lanka accord while the massacre of unsuspecting innocent civilian set in motion the beginning of demise of LTTE. “This is the price SL pays to have been born next to this devil.” Had Sri Lanka treated its citizens well devil would not have had the opportunity to grope this island. As a stupid Sri Lankan you do not understand the difference between India and Hindia. India has been a leading light on philosophical, cultural, intellectual, material …. development of this island. Be grateful to India. On the other hand Hindia also suffers like little islanders of this island from paranoia and lack of self confident. The Hindians at the heart of New Delhi do not give a damn about the ordinary people just as the Sinhala/Buddhists who gave no hoot about the masses. Therefore tell Sinhala/Buddhist rulers and state to treat its people well if you want to avoid devil.

          Native Vedda
          August 10, 2015 at 12:53 pm
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    Dear Prof. The statement that “ While other herpetologists have been scrambling to understand why amphibians are declining worldwide, one research team has been cataloging more than 100 new species, all from one postage stamp of a rain forest in Sri Lanka.” is indeed fascinating The world is embarking on its sixth mass extinction with animals disappearing about 100 times faster than they used to, said a study led by experts at Stanford University, Princeton University and the University of California, Berkeley. But Sri Lanka is different, here we are finding new species at a rate about 100 times faster than they used to and all this in a background of rapidly disappearing habitat throughout the island. Apart from the ability to attract the tourist market with claims of high biodiversity or the narcissist need to become a ‘discoverer’ what does this mean ? is Sri Lanka different to the rest of the planet ? Are we indeed a ‘Land like no other ? (The Sixth Mass Extinction June 24, 2015 | Colombo Telegraph,Opinion | Posted by: COLOMBO_TELEGRAPH By Ranil Senanayake) There are a plethora of reasons why this bridge proposal should not be considered, but impact on biodiversity will be confined to anthropogenic introduction of exotic invasives and by disturbance in construction and operation. The native species on both sides are very similar . However, we do need to look at the construction and its security implications. This passage will not be one continuous bridge , it will be a series of bridges connecting the islets that form the ‘Ram Sethu’ Every connecting point will provide a potential unauthorised entry into this nation. This is just one glaring example. Further what is the current volume of traffic (as in Singapore-Malaysia) that justifies such a plan. This plan reeks of a ‘Port City’ type of decision making.

    Ranil
    August 9, 2015 at 10:05 am
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      Ranil “There are a plethora of reasons why this bridge proposal should not be considered,” Could you list them all for the benefit of our fellow readers.

      Native Vedda
      August 9, 2015 at 9:53 pm
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    To Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe, the think tank of UNP and those who want this country and its people become better place to live, I appreciate your concerns for promoting the living standards of the people in this country, BUT the lesser will be comingled in the larger lesser being SL and larger being India. Being an island with natural protective waters kilometers long first we must make an inventory of the pros of being endowed with such a natural gift-not just a few items but a whole deeply and long deliberated detailed compilation. Then there must be the itemization of objectives we are hoping to achieve through building a bridge-all the possibilities that will ensue. Then the third list of unexpected cons that this bridge will bring in-the kallathonies, diseases, biological ethnic religious ideological linguistic fauna and flora etc. invasions, the effects on market, forest reserves, environment, natural resources, air and air pollution, the big Indian tycoons swallowing the swaths of lands, opportunities, resources etc. in this country, and the stress and demand this whole exercise exerts on this tiny island emanating from the big neighbor. Another list indicating the benefits and adverse effects India will accrue. This concept is tantamount to performing major surgery on centuries long geo-political, ethno-cultural, bio-fauna-flora-environmental, religio-socio-linguistic evolution and existence in this country. What happens when you breach the Dam of Victoria reservoir needs no explanation-the low lying areas though holds some amounts of water and are themselves small reservoirs would instantly be vanished and vanquished by the overpowering force of the larger entity. Distant past chronicles apart, in the witnessed past by us, India threw at us the LTTE bomb, undermined JR’s initiative in ’77 and prevented us from being a developed country by now, India completely had its marine ecosystem destroyed around Polk Strait by engaging in destructive fishing methods and they have been encroaching into Sri Lankan waters as if it is their own territory. And what is the foundation, socio-religio-ideological-consciousness where this bring from SL would land in India? Is it a place where decent, educated, well behaved and good mannered people live or a place where all kinds of conflicting, poverty-engrossed, revolting and socio-religio-economic pressure-tensed land and society exist? Within 200 years post Buddha’s demise Indian culture had Buddha’s beautiful doctrine buried into oblivion and Dharmashoka had to rediscover it. India is pervaded by superstition, racial and tribal beliefs, practices and rituals. I for me would like to contemplate heavily on what we have at present as we are now before even think of building such a bridge for once the dam is breached the fruits that come to stay would be almost always permanent the affected foremost of which being the already dying environment and natural resources. I recommend a slow and gradual development aimed at acquiring know now by the Sri Lankans and they building the country saving the wealth within the perimeters of SL and with minimum impact to the environment. One area where adverse effects of Indian acquisition and control is felt is tea cultivation where Indians are bent on exploiting the resources without maintaining the plantation and infrastructure. Foreign investment is an area where we must have strict monitoring, checks and balances and clearly felt benefits. Otherwise it is better resources are left as they are in the nature. I kindly request you that a public opinion gathering and poll and a public output document be made available prior to making any decisive moves on this bridge.

    Silva
    August 9, 2015 at 11:15 am
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      Just two examples of Indian business involvement in SL and the results: 1. The Tyre Corporation We are awash with rubber but were unable to produce tyres to meet market demand until CEAT took over. Now they export SL-made tyres to Africa. On the same subject, Samson Industries is still unable to produce a viable light vehicle tyre. What is the difference between these two companies? Management and technology. 2. Ceypetco. Until IOC was given the chance to compete, we had to be content with ramshackle filling stations and lackadaisical service. If we had sold the entire Petroleum corp to IOC at the time, by now we would have had a modern refinery,and cheaper petrol from Iran (The US could not have pressured IOC ) . Let us learn how to do business. Protectionism is not the answer.

      old codger
      August 9, 2015 at 1:28 pm
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    For the money spent on this project. They can deploy giant mighty jumbo flights every hour either from Ramanathauram to Mannar or from Trichy to Palaly for the next 50 yrs free of charge. Planes like An 225 or Boeing 747 lcf. It is not the Ravana Heli but you name it Rama Heli as you wish for the political reaso

    Pacs
    August 9, 2015 at 2:12 pm
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      Give the assignment to Sivajilingam and the VVT sailors. I promise they will do a very good job. If the Indians create problems he will also write letters to the UNHCR. The CM of NPC will pass resolutions supporting his complaints! Dr.RN

      Dr.Rajasingham Narendran
      August 9, 2015 at 4:54 pm
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    IF the professor and Bandu De Silva were in charge of Immigration 2500 years ago, Vijaya would not have been given a visa, and a little earlier one Siddharta Gautama would not have got one either. In fact he might have been arrested for loitering on Adam’s Peak and promotion of terrorism in Mahiyangana.

    old codger
    August 9, 2015 at 10:19 pm
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      old codger “and a little earlier one Siddharta Gautama would not have got one either. In fact he might have been arrested for loitering on Adam’s Peak and promotion of terrorism in Mahiyangana.” And you believe Buddha flew all the way to this island. If you believe this you will believe anything. I am willing to sell Taj Mahal for a nominal sum and looking for a buyer.

      Native Vedda
      August 10, 2015 at 1:25 am
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        Native Vedda Certainly I do not believe in that load of bullshit. I just used it as a convenient example, and particularly as the Professor seems to be a true believer .

        old codger
        August 10, 2015 at 10:45 am
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