23 February, 2024


Ven. Galkande Dhammananda Thero Highlights Importance Of Understanding Complexities That Led To Jaffna Clash

Lecturer of the Department of History of the University of Kelaniya, Ven. Galkande Dhammananda Thero has said that in any university due prominence is always given to that respective university’s cultural background.

“Even at the University of Kelaniya or the University of Peradeniya, when there are major events, the cultural activities at these functions are based on the locality, hence one cannot find fault that even at the Jaffna University preference was for cultural activities from that area,” he said.

Speaker further on the recent clash at the Science Faculty of the University of Jaffna, the Thero noted that there is a general fear psychosis created because some are saying that the ‘Tamils are attacking the Sinhalese.’

“But university clashes are nothing new although there has been a lot of attention to this clash in particular. There are university clashes from time to time and in all universities, and in some instances students have even been killed, but this clash in particular has been discussed at length,” he added.

Watch the full speech here:

Editor’s Note: The original headline ‘One Cannot Blame Jaffna Students For Wanting To Give Prominence To Their Culture: Ven. Galkande Dhammananda Thero’ has been changed to accommodate the Ven. Dhammananda Thero’s request who in a letter informed the Colombo Telegraph that the original headline was misleading.

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  • 26

    Ven Sobitha Reborn!

    President and Prime Minster please Heed this Good Advice!

    • 17

      Please translate what the Ven Thero says into English and post it here – that’s your part of RECONCILIATION

      • 27

        Yes I think It is a must. I can summarise and enumerate his speech for non -Sinhala speakers.

        1)He denounces any kind of violence.
        2)Mention about the widespread opinion that Sinhala students were attacked by Tamil students.
        3)He questions Why ,when there have been numerous clashes between other uni students before; resulting even student deaths.
        4)He believes there have been two extreme views to the incident

        The first view is Sinhalese students were attacked by Tamil students. The second is Sinhala students backed by armed forces started this conflict and attacked tamils.
        5)he suggests to get rid of both extreme views and analyse the situation carefully.
        He wishes to adopt a more moderate and balanced view and following facts have been highlighted.
        6)Geography of the area will determine the culture of the Uni. Its traditions blend with the local culture.

        7)If some one trys to introduce a different culture and tradition ,that can lead to a conflict invariably.
        8)There are established political parties and forces in unis.If they perceived as threatened due to new introductions there can be clashes as well.
        9)Universities have established sub-cultures. Some time when one trys to introdue different traditions this sub culture get affected and it can lead to student unrest also.
        10)Jaffna Uni differs from others due to following special circumstances.
        11)After 30 years of the war, most of the students in the Uni are affected and connected to the brutality of by someway. They may have lost their loved ones, houses. Their land may have taken over by the armed forces etc.

        11) Feeling of insecurity and feeling of being defeated by the war makes them extra sensitive for any acts which can be perceived as acts of intimidation.
        12) They live day to day seeing armed forces who they may consider as enemies responsible for their defeat during the war.
        13)These factors are unique to Tamil students and Sinhala students are spared of them.
        14)Sinhala students are ignorant of these factors.
        !5)They are isolated in Jaffna. They can only communicate with armed forces and therefore inevitably a relationship will be built between the two fractions.
        16)Tamils students may perceive this as a threat as there is no programme to interact two cultures within the university.
        17)Large scale indroduction of Sinhala cluture to North by erecting Buddha statues,celebrating wesak and Pososn festivals may be considered as a cultural invasion by these students.
        18)These issues and circumstances are unique to Jaffna and probably Sinhala society hasn’t got much clue about them.
        19)The ignorant Sinhala students coming from that kind of back ground may act provocatively without being sensitive to the pain and suffering Jaffna students went through.
        20) Hence this problem should be viewed with it background complexities and just seeing it from a superficial racial point of view is not going take us anywhere.
        21)Vast majority of people may not be able to come to terms with these ground realities. The silence of the fair minded educated who can grasp these complexities has paved the way to the hands of extremists unfortunately.
        22)He concludes his speech by appealing to everyone who can see through these events to speak up and intervene from both races to avoid further problems.
        Thank you and apologies for any errors.

        • 15

          Thank you, Priya

        • 6

          Thanks Priya, you have done your share of lifting. Listening to the video clip, I thought why CT could not provide a full translation of his speech, whereas we have been bombarded with some not so worth or helpful articles that help unify a divided nation. And, then looking at the foot note, where a note about the original heading of this article has been added, I thought what was the intention to come up with such a heading.

          He is spot on in his understanding and assessment of Tamil students’ state of mind; all of these kids having born during the horrific 30 years unrest, seen what had happened in front of them inflicted by both LTTE and SL forces; apart from loosing some kith and kin, feel they survived this period by chance. They believe the act of breaking Nanthi Statue and other structures is well planned and systematic and is the first step before replacing these monuments with some other statues, by someone, may not be by students, but the approach sits up with what was done to the Jaffna library. They felt the need to show some displeasure as being muted kept adding misery, of late was the demand to include the dance at short notice, but things have got out of control, may be some extremists cunning to capitalize on this opportunity and exploited the students and to make it a brawl. Not to mention that these students are the only hope of many families expecting that one day these students will be in good jobs because of their education, drawing a decent salary not only pay off the loans but help meet the ends. This is hard but real situation of many families that do a hand-to-mouth living looking forward at the future, maybe applicable to Sinhala students as well, but more telling to Tamils as their families left with nothing one way or other due to battle and then war at different times.

        • 4

          Thank you Priya for translating to those who doesn’t know Sinhala. Very thoughtful of you Priya.

          Ven. Galkande Dhammananda Thero should be appointed as the Head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission like Bishop Desmond Tutu in South Africa. Without Reconciliation Sri Lanka will never become Singapore. Once Singapore envy Sri Lanka and they reconciled their ethnic problems to become a successful country. MR didn’t want to do it; My3 & RW doesn’t have the courage to do it. Sri Lankans can only dream !!!

  • 8

    It does not matter Tamil or Sinhalese, Racism is ugly,
    Stop hiding behind different theories and agree that there are racist element among Tamils! Reconciliation is both way.

    Reconciliation is both ways!

    If this happened in a Southern University for a Tamil students, We could see the BBC and other human rights vultures making a killing!

    I am sick and tired that it is always Sinhalese fault and our Vellala brothers are puritans theory!

    • 6

      Bottom line is where the majority of people are they beahve this way, You Srinath or ther other migrants living in European countries do know this is the case for them too in Europe. Be it in England, Germany, France or anywhere where they are you will get to see this happening.

      Sad thing is politicians of various but devious sort make every efforts to paint an a picture in favour of them. They are making every effort to fish in muddy waters.

      Please be away not going to politicising the issue can be a plus to the real reconciliation.

    • 2

      Clear proof of what Rev Dhammananda Thero stated there are extreamists in both communities.As Rev Dhammananda thero states it is time to get up and raise the voice of majority.

    • 7

      1.The President told the visiting IFRC Chief 3 March that
      i.people of the North and the East are the victims and therefore ii.reconciliation should originate from the people of the South and that it must be inculcated in their mindset.
      But so far he has not taken any step towards it.

      2.Many Sinhalese civil servants, lawyers, professors, doctors and religious clergy went and told LLRC that successive governments(leaders were always Sinhalese) oppressed the ethnic minorities, politically and economically from the time of independence till today – for 7yrs after the war was over the oppression has been more::

    • 2


      “I am sick and tired that it is always Sinhalese fault and our Vellala brothers are puritans theory!”

      The Sinhala and Tamils are Paras. However, it appears that the Para-Sinhala does not seem to give some room for the Para-Tamil culture? Why?

      After all, both are Paras from India.

      Mitochondrial DNA history of Sri Lankan ethnic people: their relations within the island and with the Indian subcontinental populations

      Journal of Human Genetics (2014) 59, 28–36; doi:10.1038/jhg.2013.112; published online 7 November 2013

      Through a comparison with the mtDNA HVS-1 and part of HVS-2 of Indian database, both Tamils and Sinhalese clusters were affiliated with Indian subcontinent populations than Vedda people who are believed to be the native population of the island of Sri Lanka.


  • 18

    This educated and rational monk has taken words right out of my mind. It could not have been said better. I have already said in a blog that the confrontation of students is nothing but a typical event in universities, Sri Lanka in particular, where among our student population there are some hotheaded young thugs that resort to violence when they lose their arguments or cannot have their own way.

    Should the new intake of Sinhala students be welcomed to a University in a predominant Tamil populated area according to their culture? I would also say, yes of course, nothing wrong with it. If anything, the new arrivals should consider it a great honor to be treated that way, which have been reserved for special Tamil occasions. It was a friendly event after all, and in my opinion it is the uppitiness of senior Sinhala students that has generated this unnecessary clash. They may have perceived the occasion from a political viewpoint from the outset instead of taking it graciously as a social event.

    The irony of this is that fundamentalist Sinhala that scream about cultural purity conveniently forget that most likely mixed blood flows in their veins, or that a large proportion of people dancing Kavadi at Kataragama are Sinhalese Buddhists, lovingly embracing Tamil cultural behavior in their own backyard.

    It is time for us to leave the war behind where both sides equally suffered. Neither side benefited from LTTE, except may be those who were in VP’s inner circle and administrators that collected the taxes and peoples gold jewellery in exchange for some dusty morsels of dosa. Sinhala people lived in harmony with Tamil and Muslim for centuries and we all should make the effort to return to that previous situation. All parties should work together and not moan and groan that their plates are not full (i.e. message to politikkos that stir up hatred). Let people that live.

  • 15

    A line from a beautiful song of Chandralekha comes to my mind.
    වන සිව්පාවුන් වැනි මිනිසුන් මැද
    දෙවි දේවතාවුන් වැනි මිනිසුන් ඇත.
    (There are angels among beasts.)

    • 4

      Everybody human/animal is both and more.
      Then you never heard of the Christian Michael the arch angel and Lucifer. They are both the same. dr jekyll and mr hyde – – Freudian
      but the continent sees 3 faces as the “Trimūrti” Elephanta Island, or Gharapuri- before Islam. The portugese destroyed most of it but not the main.(close to Bombay.

  • 15

    To the Enlightened People: Please answer the call of this Buddhist Priest. Come forward and make your services available to heal the wounds. If not, the extremist elements such as Weerawansas and Gammanpilas will take matters to heir hands and set fire to another heap of straw. That is what those extremists want to happen. Please defuse it before it starts.

  • 5

    Then by the same logic only Sinhalese should have prominence in Sri Lanka and Tamils should only have prominence in Tamilnadu. A head in the ass kind of argument from a monk.

  • 6

    Ven Galgande Dhammananda Thero is a real patriot of SL and has reflected the real Buddhism well. He is also not afraid to speak the truth which is the highest Dhamma ( or Dharma ).( Sathya osas Dhammaya ).

    Jayanath Perera ,
    Thank you for expressing your real feelings by quoting an Asian country as an example.

    I understand that the Singapore founding leaders were determined to survive and grow when asked to leave Malaysia.
    They also learnt from SL’s Sinhala only and Buddhism as state religion policies, and Malaysia’s Basha Malaysia/ Boomi Puthra & Islam policies and drafted a strong constitution which consolidated the multi racial and multi religious citizens as one United people and proud Singapore citizens.

    I think that isthe reason many like Rohan and others who praised the SL armed forces as the best disciplined army fit for UN duties,
    became Singapore. Mahavamsa DJ couldn’t.

  • 6

    “”“But university clashes are nothing new although there has been a lot of attention to this clash in particular. There are university clashes from time to time and in all universities, and in some instances students have even been killed, but this clash in particular has been discussed at length,” he added.””

    When SWRD with the begging bowl said free education and compassion to the west they laughed because it was all about Trade Unionism not education.

    For a child at Lanka to enter a school the parents need a chit or pay kappan. The same with job and everyday life.
    Now with the increase in salaries to government servants will corruption decrease? No. But the borrowings will increase and who is going to give? Xi with 3.2 trillion refused 1 billion because they need a military base so the Americans Samanta P arranged it. Trump will do away with all that Then where you go?? Become Cannibals!

  • 3

    Correction to my comments :

    ….I think that is the reason many like Rohan and others who praised the SL armed forces as the best disciplined army fit for UN duties, yet renounced SL citizenship and became Singapore citizens. Mahavamsa proud DJ couldn’t even after working there for 2 years it seems.

  • 11

    Congratulations dear Thero. You have given a very good analysis. I am proud of you. Let all who think in this line make a common platform to bring a just solution to the ethnic problem.
    Fr. Sherard Jayawardane

    • 5

      Crusaders the curse of the world.
      Great Expectations!

      The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them.- Albert Einstein

  • 1

    Tremendously mature statesmanship shown by the venerable monk.we,need many statesmen from both sides at this time.A great human being having no resentment for his brother’s killing but shows the way for peace,is a lesson for those who disturbed peace in Jaffna university rumpus.

  • 2


  • 2

    The key problem is Tamils consider Sinhalese as invading, occupying race. This draws similarities with the Russians in Eastern Ukraine, Crimea, Georgia or Jews in Palestine.
    If so, the very fact that North is conceived as a separate nation by the Tamils is a reality. If that is the case, the notion a federal solution endangers the territorial integrity of the country can well be true.
    This is a great revelation by Ven. Thero.

  • 1

    [Edited out] Please write instead of posting web links – CT

  • 2

    the govt. has to consider appointing the respected rev. as a cultural and reconciliation ambassador if you are seriously interested in reconciliation. identify similar personalities among tamils and muslims. only paying lip service won’t do. i thing he will have some better ideas about muslim public in SL who are unreasonably targeted by unscrupulous podu bala sena.rev.s’ views will be highly respected by all communities and he will have a good following.

  • 2

    For some time now I have not written any comments in reply to any articles or opinions appearing in Colombo Telegraph because the comments columns are being dominated by stupid fellows like Amarasiri. Sensible comments have no place in the midst of the non sense these guys write. I see him again writing some non sense in response to the venerable monk’s statement above. These guys seem to take Colombo Telegraph’s articles as jokes.

    I ventured to write today because I am elated to find a sensible and rationally thinking Buddhist monk giving a rational explanation why the Jaffna University Tamils students did what they did. He sees the other side of the story behind the Jaffna University incident and understands the thought processes of the Tamil University students in Jaffna. Since I understand Sinhala well I need no translation of the Venerable Monk’s video statement. Though Priya has given a gist of the Monk’s statement in points form, it would have been better if Colombo Telegraph had provided a full translation of his statement.

    The venerable Monk has rightly captured the frame of mind of the Tamil University students. According to his analysis, these Tamil students see themselves as a defeated people, they see their private land being still occupied by the Sri Lankan Army that defeated them, they see the Sri Lankan Army still stationed in their midst and controlling them, they see Buddhist temples being erected in their midst, in the University too they see Buddhist festivals being celebrated, they see their fellow Sinhala students aligning and moving along with the Sri Lankan soldiers stationed in their midst and now they see these very same fellow Sinhala students trying to foist on them their Sinhala cultural traditions such as Kandyan dancing.

    It is now more than seven years since the Tamil Tigers were defeated. I was one of the few Tamils who felt a shy of relief on seeing the defeat of LTTE and thought that the country could become normal again. That was not to be because none of the Sinhala politicians wanted to give anything to the Tamils. If the Sinhala politicians and their government really wanted a reconciliation they could have done it within the first two or three years.

    It is a shame that the sane message from this learned venerable monk will not reach the ears of those who are in power in today’s Sri Lanka.

  • 0


    Tamils are not imagining that Singhalese steal land from them, it is true for last many years. If you see the past events even after defeating LTTE, the Singhalese governments continue to do the same thing. How many Tamils killed and chased from their villages and the villages were given Singhalese names. Now RB joined with Singhalese as well. If the government doesn’t change the attitude, it is very difficult to change that mine set of Tamils and struggle will continue for centuries. Even an ant bite and die. The past Ceylon history is same , Singhalese kings win war and Tamil kings from India came back and win and so on which is still continuing. Living piece fully and develop the country and enjoy the life is not in our blood.

  • 0

    As long as you talk about territorial integrity you are a colonialist. The colonialist only brought the island under one rule and administration. It will not work. The colonialist will exploit you through their agents who will have a share of it. eventually the robbed fortune reach the master country the agent will enjoy. You can see former agent visiting the master country or visiting colonial country from master country. As long as the Singhalese think the island is theirs The colonial mechanism will continue. Which ruler of an Asian country did not do this?

  • 1

    Shame to Governor of Northern province Reginold Cooray. How educated is this Governor compared to Ven. Galkande Dhammananda Thero. How brutal oppressing the poor farmers and preventing their livelihood by taking over their properties and enjoying building Buddhist temples where Hindus live. From January 2015 the new Governance came into power supported by the poor people of the North and East of Sri Lanka with the hope of getting back their lands and properties. Instead the Governor is further antagonizing the people using his brutal power with the permission of the new Governance for the whole world to watch.

    • 1

      “How brutal, oppressing the poor farmers and preventing their livelihood by taking over their properties and enjoying building Buddhist temples where Hindus live”

      Building ‘Buddhist Temples’ where the Dhamma of the Buddha is seldom heard!

      Buddhist Temples have become places where the Monks give Blessings to People who mistakenly believe that they are Accumulating ‘Ping’ by feeding the Priests!

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