24 October, 2017

Neville Jayaweera’s Writing Of Prime Worth

By S. Sivathasan

S. Sivathasan

S. Sivathasan

Engaging his incisive powers of intellect with deadly effect, Jayaweera has brought forth a work to make a lasting impression on readers. The clarity with which his discernments are crafted, the passion with which his convictions are canvassed and the limpid style in which they are presented are strikingly remarkable. In ethnic relations, reaching back to millennia past and telescoping his mind to ages hence, the real as he sees it is painted with rare honesty. In not compromising with truth little quarter is shown to ruffling feathers, be it personalities or be it groups. In this overarching frame his book ‘Jaffna Exorcising The Past And Holding The Vision’ is set. In the months to follow when responses flood in, Jayaweera like Nehru will share the latter’s thought “Out of place everywhere at home nowhere”. While knowing it full well, he has not recoiled at writing the plain truth the explicit way.

It was to Jaffna that three of us, CAS recruits were sent for our cadetship in August 1965. It was our privilege to have had Mr. Jayaweera as our Mentor. The first encounter of 60 minutes with the GA was memorable. He took up 50 minutes for a lecture on ‘Values’. It was an article of faith with him even then. He wanted us to have it as a sheet anchor in our career. It is vividly seen that this principle permeates his work like a honeycomb. It appears that a benevolent destiny had brought him to Jaffna and the latter continues to hold him in her benign clasp. If the author’s thoughts on Jaffna are acted upon, her people can have a vision of hope.

Six Powerful Motors

The author saw six powerful motors as having driven the ethnic conflict. Primary among them was “the intransigence of the Sinhala leadership, its lack of a vision and its inability to make the compromises required for achieving an integrated Sri Lankan nation”. The country being unalterably multi ethnic and multi religious, it was incumbent on the part of the majority to integrate Sri Lanka’s diversity into an organic unity it is asserted. A frank avowal, which can please neither the Sinhala leadership nor the multitude.

Neville Jayaweera

Neville Jayaweera

The author makes an even more powerful statement. “What exalts any majority community, and endows it with a true greatness and moral authority, is its willingness to accord to all those other communities who lack the advantage of numbers, a status and a dignity equal to its own”.  He proceeds to emphasise further “unless and until Sri Lanka can produce leaders who can realise that truth, and are willing to act on it, it will continue to be mired in conflict”. It appears that the country is sinking further into the mire. It is yet speculated when the bedrock will be reached to commence upward movement.

Rubbing in the above truths may be grating to the majority community. Tamils too are told a truth the plain way. It is highlighted by the author when he says “The second motor was the self- alienation of Tamil parties from the mainstream of national politics”. What was the logical next step? “They (Tamils) painted themselves into a corner and announced to the world that they did not “belong” within the larger Sri Lankan Family”. The steady slide which took irretrievable steps is well described by the author. It is incontestable to him though unpalatable to Tamils. Let nobody think this is tinted observation.

Writing in the same vein I myself have noted that parties apart, Tamils to a man harboured and nourished this infirmity. In an article of Feb 2010, titled ‘Culture of Self Exclusion’ I wrote “To a segment of Tamils in Sri Lanka, alienation from mainstream life has become a habit of thought. …Painting themselves into a corner and then complaining that they are cornered?” Not unfairly Jayaweera passes a harsh stricture on the Tamil leadership. “By vacating the arena of national politics and becoming an introverted ethnic caucus, the Tamil parties ceded the parties of the Sinhala South almost an exclusive claim.” Let us heed the advice of the Sangam poet, “Theethum nantrum pirar thara vaaraa”. “The bad and the good are not of the others’ making”.

As the author perceives the third motor is class stratification which had ossified into a rigid caste system. He faults the upper strata of Tamils for not having been sensitive to gross injustice widely prevalent across 50% of the population or more. Its long life of 1500 years was a further point of condemnation. What was surprising to him was that the upper crust, well endowed and advantageously placed had not been alive to what all that default would bring about. More notably it had not seen the simmer in the cauldron. Hyperbolically put, did not have its ears to the coming eruption or even have an inkling.

How is an author distinguished from the generality? He or she sees what others don’t see. The difference is as between the acute and the obtuse, of delving deep and busying with the surface. History shows that they compose the very avant garde of change and forward movement. The author with his heightened sense of justice plunged into a scholarly examination of the system and presents a fine treatment of the subject. It’s a mine for students. When Sinhala intransigence pollinated Tamil myopia, the virulent product was LTTE which threw up Prabhakaran – (words are mine. Jayaweera is known for refinement). Castigating the myopia of the upper class among Tamils, Jayaweera traces the fuel for ethnic eruption to underclass discontent.

The fourth was the upsurge of the underclass of non-persons, who perhaps were seeking a persona. The author says “the upsurge added a new dimension and character to the ethnic conflict, post-1983. What both sides Sinhala and Tamil needed was a vision and an awareness of the hidden social reality of Jaffna”.

The aforesaid on caste is the briefest on the author’s sojourn. To sensitively appreciate how hard the caste shoe pinches I never wore one. However I have always been soft enough to get a feel of it. I therefore wish to express my reservation by suggesting that no revolt was seen as in France, Russia or China even in microscopic form. Secondly, ethnic suppression submerged the caste undertones of the upsurge and even deflected it. If I never took much interest in an in depth study of caste it was for the reason – no social transformation without exponential economic growth. If Sri Lanka replicates Singapore, the rigours of caste will erode in one century and vanish in the next is my understanding.

The author writes quite rightly that after 1966, the caste issue has ceased to be an important factor. He attributes four factors for erosion of caste. Free education together with caste blind Missionary education; modernising power of the media; process of Sanskritisation  ie a way by which people of “low caste” move upward and their social origins are not known. Collective trauma being the other. To these must be added the levelling influence of public transport both bus and train, which blasted through caste. The metamorphosis of land and asset ownership is the most revolutionary visible change in the last three decades. Cash nexus the great leveler has brought about this change quietly, peacefully and most unobtrusively.

The fifth motor that compounded the conflict was the LTTE’s and the leader’s lack of understanding of geopolitical immutables as outlined with severe frankness by the author. With razor sharp arguments he establishes how India’s unity and separatism in Sri Lanka cannot co-exist. While conceding that Prabhakaran may be a brilliant guerilla leader, he was not described as a military strategist or commander. The arguments are hard to rebut.

The sixth motor for the protracted war is seen as India’s involvement which in 1987 turned into intervention. The author puts it cryptically. “Having fanned the flame of discontent into a horrendous conflagration, it was outrageously hypocritical for India to send a Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) to put out the fire.

India on the Horizon

The author has made a long foray into the six motors. To him they are the central affirmation of the memoirs. Four of them were well primed. To me two hummed in reluctant mode. In the post conflict phase they require to be stilled and new ones installed. Jayaweera thinks President Rajapakse has the ability to find the ways to open a new era. However a vision both idealistic and long range is  indispensable for a leader. What is more, the prime mover having a higher vision must transform the peoples’ consciousness. Whatever the author’s wish and hope, he is not given to the ethereal. His last para in the book is soaked in realism. I fast forward it for the reader to perceive midway that the author possessed of a higher vision is not merely attached to it staunchly but has a firm grip on reality. Without mincing words he states clearly,

“However, I must also confess, that given the elements that comprise Mahinda Rajapaksa’s consciousness, such a transformation in the southern consciousness is not likely to happen. What is more likely is that Rajapakse will stoke the southern supremacist consciousness and lead the country in a downward spiral into a deeper and wider conflict. Rather than promote a transformation of consciousness leading to reconciliation and a new beginning, he might generate circumstances that will suck India into the conflict again. If that happens, we might witness an outcome which successive governments in Colombo had fought a horrific thirty years war to avoid – namely, the eventual partition of Sri Lanka.”

The above reading is essential for a good glimpse of Jayaweera’s writing and  to appreciate his discernments and his judgment.

Assuming Office as GA Jaffna

Following on the trauma of ’56 and ’58 came the much publicized timeline of January 1961, for the full implementation of ‘Sinhala Only’. With one intemperate command from the SP, “hammer them out and clear the way” and action that followed, North East was galvanized into revolt. In April 1961, the continuing sathyagraha was stamped out in blood. Nissanka Wijeyaratne who was GA then was comfortable on the path of belligerence. January 1964 became the final timeline for Sinhala implementation. Came August 1963 and talk was around in Jaffna that one Jayaweera was the new GA Jaffna.

Why he? Speculation was that he was a stern administrator. Rumour had it that he was handpicked by Srimavo, Prime Minister and her Permanent Secretary NQ Dias. What for? To ram Sinhala down the Tamil throat. It was in this charged atmosphere that the new GA assumed office, unruffled and confident. From August 1963, times were challenging for the new incumbent. Contrary to expectations and forecasts, Jaffna and the country saw no explosion but a situation defused. Wherein lies the clue? In the book authored by Jayaweera.

First Challenge

Early in his book he recounts major experiences where his idealism triumphed as he had eschewed  humdrum approaches and hackneyed paths. They are a lesson as much for a student of politics as for a student of public administration. His strategy was not to do as told but to canvass mighty powers that be for society’s good. In this thinking, he was very much at variance with Dias whose idea was that the GA and Jayaweera at that will be a pliant tool to implement state policy without demur. He even wanted the GA to be unrelenting towards Tamil demands. Such ideas seemed untenable to the GA to whom Dias was an archetypal ultranationalist.

The first non-executable instruction he encountered was from NQ Dias who wanted the GA to show aggression towards the Tamil parties and to visit confrontation upon them. This was to be the approach to “establish government’s absolute ascendancy”. Jayaweera’s conviction was “ascendancy of understanding”. What he had decided upon were: “Continuous Consultation”, “Compromise” and “Conciliation”.

With a mind predisposed towards the above approaches, he arranged for the first District Coordinating Committee (DCC) meeting in August 1963, the apex quarterly conference in a district. At this meeting all MPPs, all heads of departments and of institutions are present. In Jaffna, parliamentarians included such heavy weights as GG Ponnambalam, SJV Chelvanayakam, EMV Naganathan and A Amirthalingam among 7 others. In the pages is a vivid account of confrontation coming from politicians and how it was met through a show of accommodation. Yet much more was needed for a good transition. I saw it at the first Special District Agricultural Committee meeting I attended  in July 1965. The occasion was the visit of CP de Silva, MD Banda and M. Tiruchelvam, all with important portfolios. This conference conducted in the most exemplary manner was chaired by GA Mr. Jayaweera. Stormy years in the district were superseded by peaceful times and he had a hand in this transformation.

How did this change come about? GA knew that Tamils were already battered and their psyche bruised. Fraying their raw nerve was impending replacement of Tamil by Sinhala. GA had his eye on the pragmatic. But practical difficulties apart, was the grave moral issue assailing him. How will a citizen not knowing a language other than his feel when it is thrust on him? Seeking to resolve the issues that lay behind the impasse that was blown up at the first DCC meeting, he marshalled all arguments, made bold to meet the Prime Minister, to have a language policy particular to Jaffna District and to implement it. What was it? In Jaffna District, while Sinhala Only remained on paper, what is implemented will be Reasonable Use of Tamil. PM endorsed it and wished that no fanfare be made of it. The pages have to be read to know how deftly the issue was navigated.

A Glimpse

At Temple Trees, the important yet informal meeting took place among the three – Prime Minister, NQ Dias and GA Jaffna. Jayaweera outlined the three problems. Impracticality of implementation in October 1963. The wisdom and morality of implementation in Jaffna. How to handle people’s protest. GA’s presentation was for 30 minutes at the end of which a converted PM ruled “As a trial and limiting the experiment to Jaffna District and not publicizing it, she will go along with GA’s proposal.” She emphasized there will be no official change in government policy. No written confirmation of the discussion. Turning to NQ Dias PM said “Why don’t we let him handle it his way?”

A Kural comes to mind. “Cogent presentation wins the day”. Prime Minister convinced about the correctness of the stance authorized the GA to change course. The endorsement meant that in Jaffna District he could handle the implementation of Sinhala only and Reasonable use of Tamil as he deemed fit.

What NQ Dias Foresaw

Jayaweera devotes quite some space to Dias on account of his pivotal position in the politico-administrative set up in the period 1960 – 65. Dias an architect of SWRD victory in 1956 was drawn into the citadel of power in 1960. He had commendable insight into how events would unfold. In the early sixties he said that within 25 years Tamil protest will become an armed rebellion. The upper crust will lose its control over the Tamil people. Dias wanted the GA to prevent future unrest.

He foresaw India stoking an uprising while Tamil Nadu will be an illicit arms supplier. Dias developed a forward policy. Ceylon to veer from India and forge new alliances. Seek out China as a countervailing power against India. Changes in naval strategy were necessary in this context. A chain of military camps stretching from Mannar in the west to Karainagar and Pt. Pedro in the North, Mullaitivu and Trincomalee in the east was planned as a grand strategy and built. Not to arouse suspicion and to ward off protests they were purported to check illicit immigration and smuggling. In the wars that followed they proved their use.

The author points out that within two decades, events began to unfold exactly as he had foreseen. He adds, had it not been for the chain of garrisons, the SL army would not have had the platforms from which to launch counter strikes. The outcome of the war might even have been different. Having said that he does not fail to make a candid statement.

Dias would have been truly great had he aborted the Tamil uprising by removing the factors that were fueling it, than assume it to be inevitable and prepare militarily to combat it, which was what he did.

What Neville Jayaweera Foresees

A change in the power structure of the Tamil entity and of Jaffna society, with the underclass becoming more assertive.

The two classes in the Tamil Diaspora, upper and under which are fused now may in the long term , coupled with geo-politics involving Tamil Nadu constitute a threat to Colombo, no less formidable than the threat the LTTE posed.

Dr. Navaneetham Pillay’s report will further isolate Sri Lanka internationally and drive the Rajapaksa government to cosy up to countries with an abysmal Human Rights record in the hope of finding company in distress.

Given the indestructibility of majoritarian politics in Sri Lanka, it is more likely that discrimination will be entrenched against the Tamils, even when constitution making is undertaken.

To build a nation, raising of national consciousness alone works. The problem of nation building is reduced to a constitutional issue. Unitary or federal does not build a nation as he sees it.

Harold Laski as I have read has faith, not in the exact mechanism of the laws but in the inner spirit of government.

Final Remarks

The core of Nevillle Jayaweera’s book, was written fifty years ago. The scholarly Appendix is very much a part of the book. A product of much reflection, it is complemented by the Prologue and Epilogue 1&2 reaching down to end 2013. A masterly Preface by Susil Sirivardana and a scholarly Foreword by Michael Roberts introduce the work of 263 pages appropriately. The work provides an enlightening experience even as it makes delectable reading.

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Latest comments

  • 2
    1

    that rascal N Q Dias’s grandson is Udaya Gammanpila if JHU

    roumour has it that while N Q Dias was propagating all things sinhala and national was a regular at the clud with Gin and tonic being his favorite!

    • 0
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      How come Udaya Gananpila is Late NQ Dias’s grandson? N.Q.Dias was not a rascal but a true Buddhist even though he enjoyed a little Gin and Tonic. His son the famous Advocate may sue you for this. Go to Panadura and see how they donated their mansion to run a Health clinic.

  • 6
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    Nevil Jayaweera is a legendary figure in politics of Jaffna. Its his untiring efforts that saw Tamil low-castes freed from virtual slavery.

    He was undoubtedly instrumental in bringing out the Social Disabilities act of 1958 which saw caste discrimination abolished. Then in 1966 it was because of his insistence low caste Tamils were finally able to worship in Jaffna Kovils.

    I agree with all “motors” except the first mentioned here.

    • 0
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      We should not forget Mr. Lionel Fernando. When his mother died, while he was GA, Jaffna mourned with him.

      Dr.RN

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        Dr RN

        “Pitt is to Addington what London is to Paddington” goes a saying.

    • 5
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      “Then in 1966 it was because of his insistence low caste Tamils were finally able to worship in Jaffna Kovils.”

      Can you proof the above statement of yours? The bigotry that you exhibit on these forums most certainly contributes to your selective amnesia! Jaffna youth during 50s, 60s and 70s rebelled against the caste issues. Do not forget, LSSP enjoyed good following from the Jaffna youth; if there had been proportional representation during that period, undoubtedly, there would have been a sizable LSSP representation from Jaffna!

      Your insipid incessant attempts to belittle the Tamils have been well documented on these forums; no matter how eloquent your presentations are, your insidious motives cannot be hidden!

      By the way, I have not attempted downplay Nevil Jayaweera’s achievements in any shape or form.

      • 3
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        Incessant attempts to belittle the Tamils?? Will you shut up for once if I showed you “proof” ?

        Read from “Denial of temple entry” .

        Into the cauldron of Jaffna

        • 5
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          Imbecile,

          I asked you to proof that it was MR Jayaweera who helped to open the temple doors for the low caste Tamils to enter into the temples. Can you do that?
          Caste problems are not unique to the Jaffna Tamils; the Sinhala society is riddled with similar issues too. Please refer to the SB DesanayKe’s book called Understanding the Sinhala! I will only shut up when you cease to belittle the Tamils at every opportunity with no foundation. Your attempt to place the Sinhala Buddhists at elevated position is ridiculous and laughable. You really need to pull your socks up and argue your case honestly and sincerely; if you cannot do that, you will need bury your head in sand!

          • 2
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            Just click on the link I provided there called “Into the cauldron of Jaffna” above you pillock.

            Here is an excerpt.

            The Prevention of Social Disabilities Act of 1957 had made the denial of entry into places of worship on grounds of caste, an offence. However, as late as 1964 the practice of denying the non-Vellalas entry to temples in Jaffna continued, as if the Act had never been passed.

            My research bore fruit sooner than I expected. Two years after I had left Jaffna, in June 1968, having armed themselves with the scriptural facts that I had uncovered, the non-Vellalas had finally organised themselves effectively into a mass movement, and stormed the great Maviddapuram Temple, the bastion of Brahmanism in Jaffna.

            – Neville.

            • 3
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              Imbecile,

              Neville might have arrogated the incidents, but make no mistake, the Jaffna youth primarily Left by nature. Animal slaughtering was challenged by the youth along with caste alienation from certain temples during the 60s. Can you explain as to why then there are two Buddhist Sanghas split along the caste lines? Why didn’t The Prevention of Social Disabilities Act prevent that from happening?

              You endeavour to devoid the Tamils of any introspection and reform; you make it appear that, the Tamils are incapable of dealing with such reforms! On the same token, you forgot to mention the role the LTTE played dismantling the caste barrier at every aspect of social interactions including matrimonies! By contract the Sinhala Buddhists fill the national dailies with matrimonial adverts seeking brides and bridegrooms within their castes!

              As I said, you need to be intellectually honest on public forums. I will join hands with you to reform such social decays but I will not seek to score cheap points by denigrating another community by downplaying the shortcomings of my ethnic group! This is exactly what you have been doing on these forums incessantly.

              • 2
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                Every time I show you how bad you treat your own people, you have a habit of countering it by pointing at shortcoming of other people isn’t it?

                The Sinhala or Moslem people did not run amok terrorizing people, being banned in 52 countries over alleged “discrimination”. Its only the oily Jaffna muck like you that did isn’t it?

                Now, the point I am trying to make is you treat your own people like trash then run around the world complaining how bad your “human rights” are being violated isn’t it? Do you smell the stench?

                I thought I deserved an praise for pointing out these Tamil shortcomings. Apparently not!

                • 1
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                  You may live down under but when you think you are from southern lanka- where your bollocks are usually eaten by the pig.

                  No entry from the start was to do with B.O. its the same as having a dress code in the west.

                  Class/Caste is seen from the eyes and observed how one lives- neither rich nor gaudy.

                • 1
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                  “Every time I show you how bad you treat your own people, you have a habit of countering it by pointing at shortcoming of other people isn’t it?”

                  Free education moron.

                  Arty farty,now in westerners garments, every time you meet your own kind; oya sarang karoyo! that is your neo bourgeois class.

                  BS= Bullshit ; MS= Moreshit
                  PhD= Pakistani healing Dancer.

  • 9
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    Mr. Neville Jayaweera, the very best Sinhala GA Jaffna has ever had. He was liked and respected by every one including all the Northern politicians. It was sad that his tenure was not extended, probably due to partisan or some political interference. Wish the Northen Province had a Jayaweera now, instead of Mr. Chandrasiri, to work along with the CM and develop the battered province. It’s sad that we don’t have any more Jayaweeras in Lanka today and if we had, Lanka could have easily overtaken even Singapore and really blossomed as the Miracle of Asia !

  • 3
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    I have had the terrible misfortune of been a Cadet when Jayaweera was GA Jaffna..The problem with him was that he was too full of himself and this bread a terrible sense of arrogance.He used to constantly recount that his best years in the CCS were those as GA Jaffna., the reason been that even in the 60s it was an relatively isolated post, and by that very reason conferred a huge degree of independence from Colombo’s supervision.

    Thus he would see himself as the spitting image of some of most arrogant white men who were his predecessors in Jaffna such as William Twynam and P A Dyke , the self styled Rajah Of the North,who were actually despots.Jayaweera would often refer to them with glee whenever recalling his own days in Jaffna .

    So he found it very irritating when some young buck of a cadet like me refused to succumb to his antics.Try as he did to flash his gillitering,squinted eye in a “Wait I will fix you sort of way” I deliberately seemed impervious to that gillireing eye.This imperviousness irritated him no end.He had absolutely no heart and his harshness was incredible.How ever non communal he may try to be in his writings, his repulsively communal thinking was evident in private.In this he shared a common trait with his brother Neville, in their deep love and admiration for that incurably communal blackguard N Q Dias, the father of Gomin Dayasiri.

    These traits of Jayaweera brought his otherwise glorious CCS career to an inglorious and premature end when he was hounded out by Felix Dias in the 70s and chose exile in the woodlands of Kent where he turned into a born again Christian and a king of the pulpit.But before he went he also had to face a mob of Radio Ceylon agitators who nearly burned his Nugegoda home down.This left a terrible scar on his gracious wife ,the ever polite and pleasant Trixie, so much so that she never came back to Ceylon after they left for England.To this day I always think how such a gracious lady like Trixe was burdened all life long with some one like Neville J.

    No doubt Jayaweera was a brilliant man.But the problem was that he was deeply conscious of this brilliance and this bred in him a horrifying air of superiority and condescension and arrogance .Ultimately Ceylon was lost for him and he was lost for Ceylon.

    Now in his twilight and as he takes the walk in the woods of Kent, he could still learn from the manner of his gentle,yet brilliant CCS friend and fellow Thomian , the great Bradman Weerakoon, who still stands tall in the admiration of Sri Lankans, as he lives out his life not in bitter exile but in his native Kalutara, with that ever present smile and sincerity in his face.

    Hamilton Shirley Amarasinghe

    • 2
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      Well said HS. Have you read his article on ‘saving’ Dudley from disgrace? Utter nonsense.

      • 1
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        @Nimal
        Yes, I did read Neville J’s piece on Dudley. I. think you have been extremely polite to describe it as “nonsense” !!
        HSA

        • 3
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          @ Amerasinghe aka HSA
          Yes, I did read your crap above. Nimal is extremely polite for calling you a scum.

    • 9
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      Didn’t Hamilton Shirley Amerasinghe pass away in 1980? Who are you?

      • 4
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        agent provocateur bikini down under!!

        Well done you have belled the hora pusa.

      • 2
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        Relax Vibhushana; this is NOT THE Hamilton Shirley Amerasinghe. This is a masquerading upstart parvenu whose cover has been blown by his execrable grammar in the very first paragraph.

        • 0
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          @ Spring Koha

          Why are u worried about what Hamilton Shirley Amerasinghe has to say about Neville Jayaweera? Or is it your way of thanking Neville Jayaweera for an obviously pleasurable insertion that NJ made into you so many moons ago?

          • 1
            0

            Rum Rum,

            Whiskey roll Aha,

            Just 2nd day after the biggest Po_yaaa_ Luna.

            Give him a break on this one as we are still enjoying today Thailand_Buddhist.I give so that you may give

      • 6
        1

        This fellow who is posing as the highly respected Diplomat and late Civil Servant Shirley Amarasinghe is a disgusting fraud.Shirley was much senior to Neville Jayaweera and would never have been a cadet under him. Shirley was the councilor Working at the Embassy of Ceylon under the Ambassadorship of the Late Sir Senerat Gunewardene. in 1954 and later replaced Sir Senerat as the Permanent Rep to the United Nations. Shirley was a sauve polished Cambridge educated diplomat He contested the post of Secretary General and Later became head of the “Law of the Seas” conference of the United nations. The Embassy in Washington under Sir Senerat had close contact with the White House and State Department. President Eisenhower and vice President Nixon and John Foster Dulles were Good friends. In fact when Sir Senrats daughter Irangani got married in Washington among the attesting Witnesses were Richard Nixon, The Chief Justice of the United States,Earl Warren, Sir Claude Corea The Burmese Ambassador performed the Buddhist ceremony.and Sir Velupillai Coomarasswamy H.C. in Canada.The Embassy never hired P.R.firms to write Speeches for our diplomats our Diplomatic service was one of the best in Asia in fact Gl Peiris father Glannie Peiris was also a first secretary at that time working with Shirley.It is a crying shame to see our Embassies being headed by political stooges, relatives and all sorts of uneducated people who have no idea of diplomacy lack social and language skills, nor communicate with fellow diplomats and foreign governments in a meaningful way.The latest Ambassador the Presidents relative Wickremasooriya was an utter disgrace with his crude manners and shady financial dealings.Mr. Gl. Peiris should hang his head in shame for tolerating and being a party to appoint such people to a once respected foreign service. P.S. Shirley Amarasinghe Passed away of a stroke in New York in the nineteen eighties.

    • 3
      1

      “ellow Thomian , the great Bradman Weerakoon,”

      Why did this great man who preme trusted so much withdraw the honest statement he made about who killed Peme?

      This story of his was taken away after his daughter (an ambassador) was asked by passa??

      As if we did not know at Chanakyapuri.((^‿◕)

      ad verecundiam [Appeal to modesty in an argument]

    • 4
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      Is this some kind of a morbid joke. The illustrious Hamilton Shirley Amerasinghe of UN fame died somewhere around 1980. What is your point, man using his name?

      R. Varathan

    • 4
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      H S Amerasinghe –
      You are having a misfortune all your life because you are so worthless. Neville Jayaweera sensed that when you were cadet. Who the hell are you?

      • 0
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        @ Citi

        Why are u so worried on HS Amerasinghe’s superb critique on Neville Jayaweera’s time in Jaffna?

        The only reason may be you owed a favor to NJ for that obviously pleasurable insertion he made into you some time back ha?

  • 4
    1

    MR. Neville Jayaweera was certainly an excellent administrator who was free of any communal bias and well respected by the people of the North.

    I fully agree with the six powerful “motors”, especially the very first one which showed his unbiased judgement.

    Tamils have to sink or rather wipe out their caste differences if they are to progress. They should integrate with or take into their fold the Tamils of recent Indian origin. Actually, it is a misnomer to these third and fourth generation Tamils as Indian Tamils. They are now as much Sri Lankan Tamils as the original ones! Now that the LTTE is no more, the Tamils should extend a hand of friendship to the Muslims with whom they have much in common, at least a common language and a common oppression from the majoritarians!

    Last but not least, Tamils should make clear their demands for Justice among the ordinary Sinhalese. A main reason why they had painted themselves into a corner may be the remoteness of their regions from the rest of the country. With modern travel and communication this could no longer be a factor!

    Sengodan. M

  • 2
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    Mr Sivathasan makes cogent comments on a work that is a veritable tour de force, and essential reading for all who would try to unravel the events of the last fifty years.

    Apropos ‘While conceding that Prabhakaran may be a brilliant guerilla leader, he was not described as a military strategist or commander. The arguments are hard to rebut.’ Sadly, we never quite got to understand what Prabhakaran thought of the inevitable consequences that would follow when political will raised the bar.

    • 0
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      The very readable ex-Administrative senior Mr. Sivathasan does all of us in the readership a favour by sharing with us the inside happenings in the complex early 1960s – under the hand of Mr. Neville Jayaweera.
      Mr. Sivathasan adds to the narrative with his elegant prose and diction.

      However, it is difficult for me to come to terms with what is described as the 2nd Motor. I do not think Tamils compartmentalised themselves foolishly in the manner presented. My take is the tenor the substance of the Sinhala Only and the Language of the Courts Bills were to gradually and systematically reduce and eventually eliminate English-speaking Tamil influence from governance and the influential Courts. That was successfully done. And what do we have in its place? A total collapse of the earlier sublime quality of governance and a judicial system that is a virtual joke – with 2 CJs simultaneously, for good measure.

      Look at the educational level of the present PM and those of the main contenders – Nimal Siripala and Maitripala Sirisena. One a fumbling lawyer who can hardly express himself and the other a former JVP street agitator. The least spoken about the PM the better.

      R. Varathan

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      @SPRING KOHA

      I thought you had vanished from CT after that devastating factual bashing you got in these columns for calling Sir John Kotalawela a “parvenu” not too long ago.But my belief is mistaken since you have reappeared ,obviously after a period of convalescence, since suffering that well calibrated attack.

      Now you seem after Hamilton Shirley Amerasinghe who has written an excellent piece based on his personal experience with N Jayaweera. Why does it pain you so much?The only reason probably is that you owe NJ a favor for having once sprung an obviously pleasurable surprise deep inside your now aged posterior.

      Do remember that CT is open to all types of folk to express their considered opinion.It is not your exclusive preserve.

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        Summer Koha

        “Do remember that CT is open to all types of folk to express their considered opinion.”

        Considered opinion, come on are you being serious?

        “It is not your exclusive preserve.”

        In the same way its not yours either.

        Here is a bedtime story, read, think about it and go to sleep, by the way I plagiarised it from a website:

        THE CLINTONS AND THE $50 HOOKER

        Bill Clinton is out jogging around in some of the seedier areas of Washington D.C. He notices a good looking prostitute. She sees him and calls out, “Fifty dollars!”

        He’s tempted, but the price is a little high so he calls back, “Five!”

        She’s disgusted and turns away while Bill continues his jog. A few days later, he finds himself jogging in the same area and as luck would have it, the prostitute is still there. But she won’t come down on her price. “Fifty!” she shouts.

        Bill answers her, “Five!” No sale.

        About a week later, Hillary has decided that she wants to get into shape so she demands to go jogging with Bill. They get to the seedy part of town and the same prostitute is still there. She eyes Bill and Hillary together and yells,

        “See what you get for five dollars!”

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      Spring Koha,

      Can’t u contribute something original man.? It’s always a case of your making a comment on a comment.You can always grow up despite your senility.

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    I agree with you Sengodan. I am too young to know of either of these gentlemen being discussed, but I do agree that Tamils need to unite under one non-violent umbrella if they are to succeed in asserting their rightful place in Sri Lanka.

    And it is imperative that they speak with the majority Sinhalese, especially middle and lower-middle class, and highlight the commonality of the plight of the less privileged in SL society. You’d be surprised how many Sinhalese speak the same language as Tamils when it comes to experiences under a classist ruling elite.

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      Thanks for your comments.

      Sengodan. M

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    You write your name as Amerasinghe and then Amarasinghe, so it shows you are neither Amerasinghe nor Amarasinghe.

    But let me look at this: “However non communal he may try to be in his writings, his repulsively communal thinking was evident in private.In this he shared a common trait with his brother Neville, in their deep love and admiration for that incurably communal blackguard N Q Dias, the father of Gomin Dayasiri.”

    Though I wasn’t born at that time, I have heard from a lot of people that N.Q. Dias was in fact a well-known racist. And even Dayan Jayatilleka has openly called Gomin Dayasiri an ‘ungrammatical chauvinist.’ So if Mr. Jayaweera had any “admiration” for N.Q.Dias, unless Dias had cleverly camouflaged his racism at that time, there is a valid question about Neville Jayaweera’s judgement. Anyway you are referring to “his brother Neville.” Clearly that must be wrong.

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    Oh where oh our country stand with Rajapaksa acolytes of low caliber attempting to do what is beyond their reach.

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    Spring Koha

    What has the comment made by H S Amerasinghe on N Jayaweera have to do with you?That is for Jayaweera to counter, if he so wishes.

    You ,though now living abroad ,have yet not got over the Sri Lankan habit of poking your finger in the pies of others.CT does not need the services of a policeman, certainly not a senile one.

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    Indeed the Tamils have a caste system as do the entire society from the Himalayan foot hills to Dondra head.But pray tell what this has to do with the oppression of the Tamils by the Sinhalese of all castes?
    When the Sri Lankan state bombs Tamil villages from the air or burn the Tamils on the streets of Colombo or deprive the Tamils jobs etc.etc all the Tamils suffer including the “lower castes”, don’t they?Surely it is not being claimed the Lankan states practices only cast specific discrimination!!Or is it being claimed that since the Vellala are oppressing the Tamil outcastes the Sinhalsese have a right to visit another oppression on them? That is,the should be subject to a double jeopardy!!
    Re Jayaweera’s claims to have undermined caste-oppression in Jaffna: This is another example of his arrogance and self-regard — and another instance of the Civil Servants of old seeking to cast themselves into heroic narratives.
    The caste system has been eroding in Jaffna since the early decades of the 20 century thanks to the increasing secularization of Jaffna society, the emergence of a market economy and the influence of the Christian schools. Indeed long before the outcastes were admitted to the temples they were admitted to schools- a much more consequential step,I should think than the token admission to temples.
    Re rest of Jayaweera’s thesis: It is not exactly an original one, though well expressed and cogently argued.One must nevertheless admire Mr Sivathasan’s loyalty to his former superior in his production of this fulsome praise–perhaps another feature of the servants of the government!

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      KS

      From the gibberish in the last para it is more than clear that you have moved only with the less than mediocre. You are not familiar with the thinking and ways of those above. Being that is not a fault. Displaying it at a forum is unnecessary.

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        “Less than mediocre” ? “those above” Chanakya?Now,Now let us not bring caste into this!!
        In any case I am sorry I put in the last sentence in my comment.I apologise.
        Should I sign off as Machiavelli to parrallel Chanakyan?

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      Dei Karl Erumai (aka karl singham),
      Read the book before commenting. If you don’t understand just say you are stupid.

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        Karl Erumai or Karl Nai?

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    I should have added that the work of the Communist Party and the LSSP too did a great deal to help in the erosion of some of the iniquities of the caste system — along with hundreds of teachers in the schools.

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      Yo Idiot karl singham,
      What nonsense are you you talking about LSSP and school teachers?

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        MEAL:
        Thanks for your comment,expressed with grat wit,clarity and decorum.

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          karl singham,
          You are still an idiot because you fail to understand the big picture and history.
          Cast system doesn’t exist anymore, so if you think you are a Paraya, please don’t get upset!

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            MEAL:
            “PARAYA”? Yes indeed.How did you know?

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    HSAmerasinghe, Rum Rum, Summer Koha, Owl, WiMAX …..avatars of the same tic-turd; as long as the editors of CT accept my comment, I will continue to comment on whatever is germane to what has been written. If you cannot take it – in whatever manifestation you reside – then, tough titties.

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    So now Tamils worship Singhalese?

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    I worked at Jaffna kachcheri when Mr. Nevil Jayweera was GA there was no CCS cadate as Amersinghe then

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    Mr. Sivathasan:

    I like to read your writing for the polished English diction you use to convey your thoughts, I presume you were a contemporary of Neville Jayaweera who, some suspect, was a Tamil in Sinhalese clothing? Similarly, your sane opinions sometimes make me wonder whether you are a Sinhalese in Tamil clothing.

    Curiosity beckons me to ask you whether you were on the Peradeniya campus during the period 1958 to 1962. You look so familiar to me but I cannot exactly place the location of that familiarity.

    I once met with Jayaweera in London when he was working for the World Association for Christian Communication. i gathered that despite his Oriental scholarship and Buddhist heritage (and thorough knowledge of Vedanta Brahminism), he had become a Christian convert who preferred to live in Europe.

    I do not trust the mental soundness of converts who do 180-degree turnarounds. Do you know the reason why Jayaweera tuned against Buddhist Sinhalese?

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      DSA Gunaratne

      Since you have expressed your appreciation of my style and diction for the third time, I cannot fail to acknowledge with thanks.

      Eight years separate me from Jayaweera. You seem to think that our ethnicity is transposed. Those who think and write with independence are hit alike.

      I was not at Peradeniya. I was in public service for quite some time with a little exposure.

      Jayaweera has not turned against any one religion or race. He has grown supra limitations.

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    Risen from the Dead after 33 years, thanks to a poison pen!!!

    Hamilton Shirley Amerasinghe, CCS (18 March 1913 – 4 December 1980) was a Sri Lankan diplomat and civil servant. He was the Ceylon’s High Commissioner to India and concurrently Ambassador to both Nepal and Afghanistan (1963–1967) and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance & Treasury and the Ministry of Health. Amerasinghe served as Ceylon’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations 1967 to 1980 and served as President of the United Nations General Assembly in 1976. He was also one of the leaders of the negotiations to draft the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. (wiki)


    “Rum Rum” aka “Citi Bee” aka “Summer Koha” aka “Owl” aka “WiMAX” and the IMPOSTER “H S Amerasinghe” are one and the same.

    Thank you Vibushana for exposing this vile imposter with a poison pen and many aliases.

    It was Mr Neville Jayaweera, as the GA Jaffna, who implemented the Reasonable use of Tamil Act (even before it was Gazetted). Thanks to Mr NJ, the So called Sinhala only Act was NEVER implemented in the North.

    The author of this article, S. Sivathasan, an ethnic Tamil and a CAS Cadet under former GA Jaffna, Mr Neville Jayaweera has given a glowing accolade to Mr. Jayaweera that has irked this imposter with his multitude of “Names”.

    “It was to Jaffna that three of us, CAS recruits were sent for our cadetship in August 1965. It was our privilege to have had Mr. Jayaweera as our Mentor. The first encounter of 60 minutes with the GA was memorable. He took up 50 minutes for a lecture on ‘Values’. It was an article of faith with him even then. He wanted us to have it as a sheet anchor in our career. It is vividly seen that this principle permeates his work like a honeycomb. It appears that a benevolent destiny had brought him to Jaffna and the latter continues to hold him in her benign clasp. If the author’s thoughts on Jaffna are acted upon, her people can have a vision of hope”

    Mr Jayaweera also exposed how all 14 DROs working under him and all 11 elected Northern MP’s (all Vellalas) connived to filibuster the Prevention of Social Disabilities Act of 1957. A few years later Suntheralingam MP, was arrested, prosecuted and fined for preventing the Low Casts Tamils from entering the Mavidapuram Hindu Temple in 1968. The PSDA was subverted for 14 years and parliament brought an amendment in 1971 enhancing Police powers.

    Here is an excerpt from his writings.

    The Prevention of Social Disabilities Act of 1957 had made the denial of entry into places of worship on grounds of caste, an offence. However, as late as 1964 the practice of denying the non-Vellalas entry to temples in Jaffna continued, as if the Act had never been passed. Several delegations from these castes began to see me and protest the refusal of temple authorities to give them access to temples and said that if I did not take action to enforce the law they will take the law into their own hands. Significantly, there were no protests from any of the 11 MPs of my district over my failure to enforce the Social Disabilities Act, and of course they were all from the Vellala caste! Equally sinister was that all 14 DROs of my district seemed to pour cold water on any move by me to even look into the problem, and needless to say the DROs were also from the Vellala caste! I realized I had to do something, but I was hemmed in, without any space for manoeuvre. Therefore I decided that before resorting to law enforcement procedures, I should do some independent probing.

    The responses I got from every leading Hindu citizen of Jaffna whom I consulted was that the denial of entry into temples, and indeed the whole Tamil caste system, was deeply embedded in the Hindu religion, and that any attempt by me to enforce the law will not only be resisted, but will be interpreted as an act of sacrilege, and furthermore, that it will embroil me in a confrontation which will be far more problematic than the attempt to enforce the Sinhala Only policy. Needless to say, all those whom I had consulted were also Vellalas!!

    On the other hand the Christians whom I consulted were all of the opinion that the caste system was evil but they also conformed to it willingly and would not violate its boundaries.

    I realised that the issue that was now confronting me had potential for turmoil on a horrendous scale, especially because I was a Sinhala, and it was easy to allege that that a Sinhala GA was trying to divide Tamil society for political ends.

    End excerpt

    Amongst the Vellala, he made many enemies and a few friends.

    Kind Regards,
    OTC

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      Ostrich Treatment,

      Spawned to loose! B.O.

      Bathe yourself in `Brute` every time you try
      connecting to the outside world.

      OTC_ Quite a Phew!

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      You have said the same yourself on CT.
      ” and indeed the whole Tamil caste system, was deeply embedded in the Hindu religion, “

      Why dont you also say:
      HIT: UNICEF research that it is part of Hindu Religion
      to do Poo outside of Loo??
      The Sihala do the same outside of Loo because they link it too from buddhism.

      Is it the tainted milk of your class that your pedigree has had that you are unable to mention the greatest happiness??

      Common feature you are sarema& lungi (S-T) that you fear the dothi-
      passe poo kolo! Everyones greatest happiness whether you like it or not!

      Caste Class is there to stay worldwide whether any 3rd world idiot now in trousers plans to hijack.
      You are not born to advocate a winning “forgotten man.” its past tense.

      You still wash your butt with bare hands that’s is your problem- born shit Samsara- self immolation go for it if you got ba**s the chinese got tatta!

      You are the worst imbecile to manifest- lump of skunk just floating on CT thread,
      __
      Here is the same story from successful men in the world.Ask Bill Gates the man who runs the largest homeless charity in the world and its all the same.

      I started off believing all men were equal. I now know that’s the most unlikely thing ever to have been, because millions of years have passed over evolution, people have scattered across the face of this earth, been isolated from each other, developed independently, had different intermixtures between races, peoples, climates, soils… I didn’t start off with that knowledge. But by observation, reading, watching, arguing, asking, and then bullying my way to the top, that is the conclusion I’ve come to.
      Lee Kuan Yew, The Man & His Ideas, 1997

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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

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    ‘Rum Rum aka Citi Bee aka Summer Koha aka Owl aka WiMAX and the IMPOSTER H S Amerasinghe are one and the same.’

    Look at the gravatars (images),they are the same. Maybe he is suffering from Schizophrenia?

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    Saul,
    the slug with bat breath out of his shell!

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