28 September, 2020

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Revisiting Tamil Self Determination Part V: Sleepwalking Into An Inferno

By Rajan Hoole

Dr. Rajan Hoole

Dr. Rajan Hoole

The 1970s saw progressive alienation for the Tamils under the Left coalition led by Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike. Media-wise standardisation that restricted university places for Tamils was followed by the humiliating 1972 Constitution.

Seeing no way forward in Parliament, the Federal Party fanned the youthful mood articulating Tamil pride, defiance and heroism, which were gaining ground among school, university and technical college students, where even girls came out forcefully. The young, moved by speeches of political leaders to take matters into their own hands began to lean on the leaders’ fragile shoulders. The leaders were left with little choice but to try and manage them. The Sinhalese who have not forgotten the 1980s JVP insurgency would understand this.

Events like the birth of Bangladesh gave Tamil leaders a cover for their bankruptcy. They charged the youth with hatred for ‘traitors’ from Tamil ranks and to anticipate dramatic developments. Blood pottus – drawing blood on one’s finger and smearing it on the foreheads of Federal Party leaders – became a ritual at public gatherings. Hartals – stoppages enforced by fear of reprisal – became pretexts for rowdyism. The Federal Party’s irresponsible attempts to make political capital out of the 1974 International Association of Tamil Research (IATR) Conference in Jaffna, the Government’s ill-conceived use of force, the Duraiappah killing, and the lying and deceit around these, found the country sleepwalking into an inferno.

The 1974 Tamil Research Conference

Under pressure from Tamil nationalists the organisers of the 1974 IATR conference, broke the precedent of inviting the prime minister of the hosting country to open the event, as did Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahuman the 1966 Kuala Lumpur conference. The failure to invite Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike to open the Jaffna conference, made the Government nervous about its political fall-out.

The reconstruction of the events around the 1974 IATR conference in my book Arrogance of Power relied on the reports of the Citizens’ Commission of Inquiry and the Sansoni Commission. The former was headed by Justice O. L. de Kretzer with Justice V. Manickavasagar and Bishop Kulendran. The Sansoni Commission drew from the Magistrate’s inquest for its conclusions. The evidence suggests that the Government was initially very careful to avoid any untoward incident.

The Police had sought and received assurances from the organisers that the Tamil Nadu politician Janarthanan, then in Jaffna, would not be given a platform. The Police were otherwise extremely cooperative. The conference in Veerasingam Hall from 3rd to 9th January went off well. Owing to the huge interest, the conference was extended to the 10th for the public to hear the renowned guests. In order to accommodate the crowd the venue was shifted to the open air theatre opposite Veerasingam Hall. Permission was granted by Mayor Alfred Duraiappah and the Police, on their part, extended permission to use loudspeakers. However owing to heavy rains on the 9th, the venue was shifted back to Veerasingam Hall

de Kretzer notes that on the 10th, ‘people pressed their way into [Veerasingam] hall already filled to capacity’. Unable to go back to the open air theatre because both the Mayor and the Municipal Commissioner could not be located at short notice, the organisers improvised a platform in front of Veerasingam Hall to enable the crowd to sit on the wide esplanade. The Police cooperated and redirected the traffic to free the road in front of the hall. The meeting began at 8.00 PM.

The Citizens’ Commission report observes that “When the meeting was about to commence, Janarthanan with a number of admirers came amidst applause and was hoisted on to the platform and was garlanded by Mr. Amirthalingam, [ex-MP and FP’s leader in waiting]. Sansoni states that Janarthanan threatened trouble when Dr. Vidyananthan and Thurairajah asked him to get down while Amirthalingam stood by evasively. Dr. Mahadeva, one of the organisers, went to phone ASP Chandrasekera to avoid misunderstanding, but failed. This suggests the likelihood that the authorities did get some report of Janarthanan’s initial intransigence. By the time Mahadeva returned Janarthanan had got down without speaking.

Subsequently “Headquarters Inspector Nanayakkara handed Janarthanan a document …; Nanayakkara then left the place and was not seen thereafter (de Kretzer).” It was clear to HQI Nanayakkara that the organisers had Janarthanan under control and the Police had access to him.

What happened next is inexplicable. ASP Chandrasekera with armed policemen in a truck, tried to mow their way through the crowd to arrest Janarthanan, causing a stampede and the electrocution of seven civilians when police firing into the air brought down an overhead power line. A small force of armed Sinhalese policemen amidst a panicking crowd of Tamils, unless very well trained, could easily perceive themselves in hostile surroundings. They went berserk around the city joined by colleagues over two days; without any justification whatsoever.

Police Superintendent Mitra Ariyasinghe, when contacted on the phone by Kathiravetpillai MP to stop the assault, had replied that Janarthanan had spoken at the meeting, although in fact he was only garlanded.

The de Kretzer report concluded, “The irresistible conclusion we come to is that the police on this night was guilty of a violent and quite an unnecessary attack on unarmed citizens. We are gravely concerned that they lacked the judgment which we expect of policemen in a civilian police force whose duties call for tactful handling even in the most difficult situation.”

New norms under the 1972 Constitution, may throw some light on the event. Previously ministers issued ‘general directions of policy’ to independent services governed by professional ethics. The 1972 Constitution turned ‘general directions’ into ‘directions’. Had the police command in Jaffna been under ‘general directions’ to maintain order during the Conference, they had no reason to play rough to arrest Janarthanan and create disorder. As de Kretzer said, the wise course was quieta non movere – leave well alone.

The Government was already reacting to the exclusion of the Prime Minister by blacking out the conference in the state media. Relations between the Government and the Federal Party were at a nadir. A minister who thought it his place to give ‘directions’, if told of Amirthalingam leading Janarthanan to the stage, was bound to think differently from a police officer on the spot whose priority was to keep the peace. That is a more fruitful line of inquiry than the assertion by V.T. Pasupati and V. Yogeswaran in the Foreword to the de Kretzer Report, of a ‘cowardly but well-planned assault’, for which the commissioners found no evidence. But after forty years, Chief Minister Justice Wigneswaran in his Genocide Resolution (10 Feb.2015) has listed the same unfounded charge (‘wanton’) under ‘Historical Genocide’.

The death of seven persons is bad enough, but the way the truth was twisted and used was a catastrophe for the Tamils. Quoting Sivakumaran’s contemporaries, T. Sabaratnam records that Sivakumaran swore revenge against ASP Chandrasekara and Alfred Duraiappah for the deaths at the Conference. SP Ariyasinghe told the Sansoni Commission that speaking to a crowd at Muniappar Kovil on 9th February 1974, the day of the hartal called by the Federal Party to protest against the Conference deaths, Mrs. Amirthalingam accused ASP Chandrasekera of causing the deaths and branded Alfred Duraiappah, the ‘traitor’ behind the incident – the same two touted about as Sivakumaran’s targets. Instances of instigation by FP leaders were not isolated and they need to answer for instigating the youth to take the law into their own hands.

Responsible leaders of a vulnerable minority should not indulge in provocations that could only make matters worse, like Amirthalingam’s antics with Janarthanan. But that has been the nature of Tamil nationalism from the fifty-fifty days. Provocations that calculatedly placed civilians at risk from retaliation were in time systematically incorporated into strategy that governed the Tigers’ dizzying rise and precipitous fall.

Jaffna Mayor Alfred Duraiappah’s assassination by the incipient LTTE was a turning point in the Tamil struggle. There were no standards left to give the Tamils a moral defence. The massive electoral mandate the Federal Party (TULF) received in 1977 was an empty victory as seen by the Tamils’ helplessness when followed immediately by communal violence unleashed with the new Jayewardene government’s instigation and complicity (Arrogance of Power). Jayewardene was prepared to abandon all standards to face the Tamil challenge and, in 1987, a second JVP insurgency confronted him in the same moral environment that he had fashioned.

Bradman Weerakoon, who was Secretary to Prime Minister Bandaranaike, told me that when he related poignant scenes from the 1958 communal violence to Bandaranaike, the latter suddenly gestured him to stop. Bandaranaike could take no more. He then stood back and allowed Governor General Sir Oliver Goonetilleke to take command of the armed forces and bring a speedy end to the violence. For a man who founded the Sinhala Maha Sabha and seized the premiership through communal rhetoric and saffron power, the guilt for the communal violence appears to have weighed heavily upon him. That was a time the Tamil leadership occupied the moral high ground, from which it retreated in the 1970s.

Liberation that failed its victims

A man from the oppressed castes with whom I had occasionally exchanged greetings, stopped me recently. An accomplished playwright, he told me that along about a 500 yards stretch of the same road, twenty-three youths had joined the LTTE and perished, among whom were two sisters. He felt for them deeply. In 1996, he arranged refreshments for some of the girls who visited their area. They received urgent summons by radio and left without refreshment. They are now dead. This was when President Chandrika Kumaratunge was trying hard to push forward a quasi-federal settlement on the lines of the Bandaranaike-Chelvanayakam Pact of 1957. The LTTE was deeply worried and my interlocutor’s brief was to attack the Bandaranaikes from its platforms as the villains who did immeasurable damage to the Tamil people. Others wrote the speeches for him.

About 2007, the Army arrested him upon recovery from a house in Potpathy Rd. of a tape with his speech. After interrogation the army officer told him, “I can understand you as you feel for your people as intensely as I do for mine.” He released him and advised him to leave Jaffna, for were he taken in again, he might not be so lucky.

In relation to the final agony in the No-Fire-Zone, he observed plaintively, ‘They (the LTTE) did not let the people go’. For him, holding out for political self-determination is futile and unrealistic. To start modestly, rebuild what we have lost and arrest the hopeless drift, he observed, is the way forward. That brings us to the question of quality education and timely access to justice, in both of which our politics has failed abysmally.

*To read previous parts click here

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  • 4
    13

    The 1970s saw progressive alienation for the Tamils under the Left coalition led by Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike. Media-wise standardisation that restricted university places for Tamils was followed by the humiliating 1972 Constitution.

    Well, the tax payers invests in education so that those who benefit will serve the country itself.

    Millions of Tamils presently in Singapore and Malaya have received a majority Sinhala tax payer funded education but serve another country.

    Even up to 1970s the system was working to benefit the plantation system the British left behind. It was churning out Tamils at cost to majority Sinhala tax payer but serving other nations.

    “Humiliation” is being an untouchable caste living a hand-to-mouth existence in Tamil nadu under Hindu domination then becoming a slave for the European.
    .
    If a Tamil can read this comment he/she can do so only because Sinhala generosity shown to untouchable Tamils. The kind of generosity in education that should have washed away and savage and the ghetto but did not..

    • 12
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      Vibushana the LIAR

      ” the tax payers invests in education so that those who benefit will serve the country itself”
      It was, in fact, the hard labour of the Tamil plantation workers that made a large welfare state possible in the first place. For example, according to official statistical records, the tea production rose to an average 120,000 metric tons in the war years and had peaked in 1948 at137,000 metric tons. ‘….about 40 per cent of gross national income of Ceylon in 1950 was derived from exports and about 30 per cent of gross national expenditure was on imported consumption goods. Nearly 95 per cent of export earnings were from tea, rubber and coconut products’4 while tea remained as the major export crop. The Sri Lankan state generously spent the revenues to launch massive peasant colonisation schemes while providing free education, free health care, free milk feeding, free meals for school children and subsidies on essential goods, whereas the people who generated the revenues were left out as aliens who were denied even the

      fundamental democratic right of voting. Instead, they were presented as ‘parasites’ intending to oust the ‘Sinhalese out of their traditional areas’ by way of expansion.

      Shocked by the openly racist character of the citizenship bills, one of the leading Tamil politicians at the time, S.J.V.Chelvanayagam, said in the State Council, in 1948: “You are now hitting at the weakest section of the Tamils. You are hitting at the innocent and the meek that are labouring in the chill and the cold of the hill-country plantation regions producing your wealth. We will know where we stand when our turn comes next, we will know when the next piece of legislation in this series comes, the one dealing with our language.

      • 6
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        Anpu Man

        An Open Letter to the Kandyan Chiefs

        By Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, 1905

        Available on facebook.com

        • 5
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          Thanks Native.
          I searched and failed to find it. Will try again later.

          • 6
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            Anpu man

            “I searched and failed to find it. Will try again later.”

            Type

            facebook An Open Letter to the Kandyan Chiefs

            in google you should be able to access it.

            Here is the link and too long.

            https://www.facebook.com/
            media/set/?set=a.250686214971754.
            63747.239521429421566&type=3

            I had the book downloaded a few years ago. Now I can’t find the link.

            The reason I wanted you to access it is that a Tamil/English took the initiative to advise Kandyans to preserve their medieval landmark building which were let to rot whilst Anagarika Dharmapala (homeless one)was on a bigoted mission.

      • 2
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        They were NOT Sri Lankan Tamils but serf or indentured labour brought in by The British . They displaced thousands of Kandyan Sinhala peasants. Don’t engage in selective memory retrieval. Again these estate tamils are oppressed hapless low caste Indian tamils brought in as serfs without permission from sinhalese people. They completely altered the demographic pattern and displaced sinhalese. Facts are facts. It helped the British completely change the nation.

        • 7
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          pachoris

          “Again these estate tamils are oppressed hapless low caste Indian tamils brought in as serfs without permission from sinhalese people.”

          Did your people get permission from us to land, occupy and exploit this island for over 2500 years?

          Did the western colonizers get permission from anyone to land, occupy and exploit this island?

          By the way whose land are we discussing here?

    • 11
      3

      Vibushana,

      Stop twisting and lying.

      At the dawn of twentieth century, it was the Tamil political leaders who became the most outspoken and vigorous advocates of the use of indigenous languages and fought for vernacular education. Long before anyone from the Sinhala elite stressed the need to use the Sinhala language, the Tamil political leadership championed the cause and appealed to the Sinhala masses, to use their mother tongue instead of feeling inferior to the English

      language. In a speech delivered on the 3rd of September, 1903 at a ceremony held in one of the foremost Sinhala Buddhist schools in Colombo, Ponnambalam Ramanathan, the famous Tamil politician said: “First and foremost, (the cause of the denationalisation of the Sinhalese) is the utter neglect of the use of the Sinhalese language amongst those who have learned to speak English….I have asked these denationalised Sinhalese gentlemen, “Will you tell me what constitutes a Sinhalese man?’ Not knowing the answer, they have remained silent. I then asked them, ‘Do you take delight in speaking the beautiful Sinhalese language at your homes, and among your friends when you meet in railway carriages and other places, and on public platforms’ They feebly smiled…..Am me! If Sinhalese lips will not speak the Sinhalese language, who else is there to speak it?”

      And he went on to say: “The man who speaks Sinhalese….without any admixture of foreign language, who can roll out sentence after sentence in pure Sinhalese, charged with sober sense, inspiring and grand to hear is a Sinhalese man indeed….If you cannot or will not speak your native language on public platforms, in railway carriages and in drawing-rooms, and will not stand up for your national institutions, then I say none of you deserve to be called Sinhalese, 1,800,000 Sinhalese will soon dwindle to nothing. The nation will be ruined, and we must await with trembling knees the early destruction of the Sinhalese language.”

      Ramanathan was not alone in adopting a broader approach towards promoting Sinhala language. Since the outset of Jaffna Youth Congress (JYC) in 1920s, the teachers associations in predominantly Tamil north worked in close liaison with the JYC and supported their campaign for a broad Ceylonese nationalism. As Jane Russell points out, during the 1931 election boycott campaign, teachers were at the forefront of the JYC agitations, demanding complete independence to the island instead of colonial ‘reforms.’ The members of the associations were known to be quite outspoken about building the north south unity. In 1930, for example, the President of the Jaffna Town Teachers Association urged:

      “The best results could be obtained by using the mother tongue as the medium of instruction. The education of the country must be built behind some national aims. It must create a nation of young Ceylonese, proud of their country.”

      Ironically, it was a Tamil member from the eastern province who moved a resolution in the State Council calling that ‘teaching of Sinhala in Tamil schools and the Tamil in Sinhala schools be made compulsory’. TheTamils overwhelmingly endorsed the idea, which was well reflected in an editorial published in the ‘Hindu Organ’ in Jaffna:

      “We can hardly disguise our joy at the passage of this motion. There is not that atmosphere of complete trust and confidence between the Sinhalese and Tamil communities witch there should be. The State should see that each child is taught in the religion of its parents and the languages of the country. We put it to the Tamils that the Sinhalese may not feel the need for Tamil, but for us a good working knowledge of Sinhalese is of the utmost importance.”

      Jane Russell vividly describes the collective mood of enthusiasm prevailed in the Tamil areas: “In 1938, Sinhalese classes were started at the Classical School, Jaffna and Sinhala classes were conducted for Tamil teachers In Hindu schools by the Hindu Board of Education. It became the policy of the Hindu Board in 1940,….that all Hindu schools and colleges in Jaffna teach Sinhala as a compulsory subject. On December 22, 1938, the Northern Province Teachers Association had passed a unanimous resolution that the teaching of Sinhala and Tamil be made compulsory in all schools in Ceylon, a resolution which the Jaffna Youth Congress endorsed in 1939.”

      But there was no widespread excitement in the south of the island to match the raging nationalist fervour in the north to promote both Sinhala and Tamil languages, just as it had been the case during JYC’s election boycott campaign10 in 1931. Instead of reaching out to the Tamil people, the Sinhala elitist leadership demonstrated their arrogant determination to become the master race of the country. In May 1944, an emerging leader of the Ceylon National Congress, J.R.Jayawardane (who declared an all out war against the Tamils after being elected to become the first Executive President in 1977), moved another resolution in the state council proposing that ‘Sinhalese should be made the medium of instructions in all schools’ and that ‘Sinhalese should be made a compulsory subject in all public examinations.’ Tamils, who were taken by surprise by the resolution after all their effort to promote both languages against the dominance of the English language, condemned the idea as a show of supremacist attitudes. Congress stalwart Jayawardane responded by reawakening the British invented mindset of a ‘sub-continental minority’ who are destined to be absorbed by a ‘hostile India’:

      “…The great fear I had was that Sinhalese, being a language spoken by only three million people in the whole world, would suffer if Tamil is also placed on an equal footing with Sinhalese. The Influence of Tamil literature, a literature used in India by forty million, and the influence of Tamil films and Tamil culture in this country I thought might be detrimental to the future of the Sinhalese language.”

      The Tamil hopes for a broader Ceylonese nationalism against the colonial dominance was ignored and betrayed again. What next to come was obvious. In 1955, ten years after Jayawardane expressed his fears about ‘forty million Tamils in India’, the new Sinhala crusader, S.W.R.D. Bandaranayake repeated the same ‘fears’ while speaking in favour of a ‘Sinhala Only’ policy:

      “With their books and culture and will and strength characteristic of their race, the Tamils (if parity were given) would soon rise to exert their dominant power over us.”

      • 11
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        Dear Anpu,

        Although I saw this article about 12 hours ago, I haven’t had time to think all this out. This guy Hoole obviously eats lots of fish and has developed a super-high IQ, but he cannot understand that we ordinary mortals are incapable of assimilating so much so soon.

        Plus two guys have taken off half the roof of my house saying that the are going to repair my sixty year old abode. That non-sequitur is just to remind ourselves that mundane life must go on while debating these issues.

        However, just wanted to tell you that Maithripala Sirisena (never mind his brother’s lapses) is able to speak Sinhala without an admixture of English words. Listen, O Tamils: if we don’t drive on to a proper settlement NOW, we never will!

        • 6
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          Dear Sinhala_Man,

          Thank you.

          ” if we don’t drive on to a proper settlement NOW, we never will! “
          AGREE.

        • 2
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          Rajan Hoole is vegan.

          • 4
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            Thanks, sekara, for “correcting” me on that! A very pertinent and relevant comment that is.

            What follows from me is balderdash and may be safely ignored by those who are in a hurry!

            There is this common belief (superstition even!), that eating fish makes people more intelligent. These are ideas that get in to our heads without our being conscious of them. I must have cottoned on to this particular fallacy from reading those hilarious novels of P. G. Wodehouse.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P._G._Wodehouse

            Wonderful reading that was, but a quick Wikipedia glance tells me that he was absolutely devoid of political sense. It created all sorts of problems for him during the Second World War.

            Googling for information on “fishy information” to defend myself brought me ten million blogs; this was the first:

            http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/11/10/the_odd_body_fish_brain_function/

            It’s not too long and ends with a droll tongue-in-cheek joke. A sense of humour is important to get on with this business of living, but there is also a time for seriousness!

            And, of course, Dr Rajan Hoole is a frighteningly serious man, and a very good one!

            What is a vegan?

            https://www.vegansociety.com/go-vegan/definition-veganism

            Well, never mind. What he writes is wonderful because he has emptied himself of all personal importance. His insights in to Tamil society are obviously most acute, but he is now neither Tamil nor Sinhalese. He is a wonderful human being. What he writes is so balanced.

            It would be marvellous if ALL Sri Lankans could read and digest what he says; for which purpose the six articles published this week [one to come, I understand], ought to be translated in to Sinhala and Tamil.

            Thanks for the correction, “sekara”.

          • 3
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            Thanks for being so courteous.

    • 6
      4

      Vibhushana,

      The early Tamil pioneers who went to Malaya and Singapore were educated in missionary schools and sent back their money to Ceylon. They in large part retuned as retirees to Ceylon and their pensions were paid from Malaysia and Singapore. Many were educated in Singapore and Malaya, and stayed on to serve those countries well. Their descendants do so yet. The Ceylonese Tamil descendants in these countries have preserved their culture better than we have here. Many factors operative in this country since independence have made the Tamils hereb lose the best aspects of their long evolved culture.

      We have done enough and paid/pay enough of our share of taxes to have our share of whatever services the State offers. The plantation workers deserve the eternal gratitude of all of us and reparations for how we have collectively treated them.

      We are not social parasites in this country. Thoughtless and shameless politics has brought us Tamils from the north and east to our knees, but rest assured that we will soon , despite your and our politicians. What you are paying now is blood money for the harm successive governments did to us, in combination with how we reacted to it.

      Donot try scavenge when we as a community are engaged in a soul searching exercise, to understand when, where and why we went wrong. We are quite well aware of the harm the Sinhla political establishment did to us.

      Engage in a soul searching exercise yourself.

      Dr.RN

    • 4
      4

      Vibhushana,

      The early Tamil pioneers who went to Malaya and Singapore were educated in missionary schools and sent back their money to Ceylon. They in large part retuned as retirees to Ceylon and their pensions were paid from Malaysia and Singapore. Many were educated in Singapore and Malaya, and stayed on to serve those countries well. Their descendants do so yet. The Ceylonese Tamil descendants in these countries have preserved their culture better than we have here. Many factors operative in this country since independence have made the Tamils hereb lose the best aspects of their long evolved culture.

      We have done enough and paid/pay enough of our share of taxes to have our share of whatever services the State offers. The plantation workers deserve the eternal gratitude of all of us and reparations for how we have collectively treated them.

      We are not social parasites in this country. Thoughtless and shameless politics has brought us Tamils from the north and east to our knees, but rest assured that we will soon , despite your and our politicians. What you are paying now is blood money for the harm successive governments did to us, in combination with how we reacted to it. Ask the government how much money it receives from expatriate Tamils yet by way of remittances and investments. Ask the government how much money they spend here, when they visit.

      Donot try scavenge when we as a community are engaged in a soul searching exercise, to understand when, where and why we went wrong. We are quite well aware of the harm the Sinhla political establishment did to us.

      Engage in a soul searching exercise yourself.

      Dr.RN

      • 4
        1

        Dr,Rajasingham Narendran

        “The early Tamil pioneers who went to Malaya and Singapore were educated in missionary schools and sent back their money to Ceylon. They in large part retuned as retirees to Ceylon and their pensions were paid from Malaysia and Singapore. “

        Here is a link to 10 Documentary about history of Singapore Tamils:

        Flashback.

        SINGAPORE CEYLON TAMILS’ ASSOCIATION
        100 YEARS CELEBRATION

        https://www.youtube.com/
        watch?v=75xh-yZea8o

        • 1
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          NV,

          Thank you. I saw a set of these videos in the Salasalppu website yesterday. a valuable record to be preserved.

          Dr.RN

    • 10
      1

      Well, the tax payers invests in education so that those who benefit will serve the country itself.

      Vibhushana has received a Sri Lankan tax payer funded education but serves the white man as a slave another country.

      If Vibhushana can read this comment he/she can do so only because his untouchable (low caste) South Indian great grandparents who came to Sri Lanka as coolies for toddy tapping and cinnamon peeling got converted to Sinhala Buddhists and took advantage of the Sri Lankan tax payer funded education.

    • 5
      2

      Vibhushana the Imbecile,

      You endeavoured to concoct false history to say that Jaffna was 100% populated by the Sinhala pre-Portuguese period. You miserably failed and humiliated!

      You try anything and everything to belittle the Tamils, and every time you have put right! You are basically an anti-Tamil bigot and you have no shame!

  • 3
    5

    Once again a necessary retelling of events of the past and of the Sinhala and Tamil unwise political actions and reactions.

    In1976, I was on my way back from Canada after completing my post-graduate studies and spent one week in London. I was invited to a dinner at which Janarthanan was the Chief Guest. During dinner he was projecting himself as the saviour of the Sri Lankan Tamils. I was annoyed to the point that I interjected and said Sri Lankan Tamils were capable of finding their own leaders. He did not expect this and closed up like a clam. Unfortunately, we failed to bring forth good leaders and yet permit the likes of Nedumaran, Vaiko, Jayalalitha and Seeman to stir the witch’s brew and our politicians to lead us to nowhere, and if history is to repeat, oblivion.

    The words you quote, ” — to start modestly, rebuild what we have lost and arrest the hopeless drift, he observed, was the way forward”, are not only wise, but also the only course open to us. The unidentified person who told you this, has indeed expressed the gut feeling among a wide swathe of Tamils in the north and east.

    Incidentally, the Sirimavo Bandaranaije government also went out of its way to prevent western delegates attending the IATR conference and instructed our diplomats to do whatever they can to achieve that objective. We politicized a research conference and the government in turn transformed it into a national disaster.

    I was a victim of the 1977 riots while teaching at Peradeniya and know how it was engineered to teach the Tamils a lesson. In the weeks preceding this riot there was widespread retaliation against SLFP supporters, to teach them a lesson too. Houses were looted and damaged in that instance as well.

    We have made politics as ugly as it could be. It has assumed a life of its own and seeds Sinhala-Tamil- Muslim-Buddist-Christian conflicts to divide us, rule us and fatten itself at our expense. We, are victims of this monster, we have helped create and fatten. The story of the monkey that volunteered to divide a piece of bread between two feuding cats, comes to mind, when I contemplate our politics and politicians!

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

  • 4
    2

    Rajan Hoole

    Thanks for a well-researched series of articles!

    You commenced your first article under this series with the citation from Handy Perinpanayagam 1947

    “The communal solution to the communal problem is a fatal remedy“

    Yes it is true!

    More true in the case of Tamil problem in the Sri Lankan context.
    .
    Rajal Hoole

    You had started your article with Jaffna Youth Congress
    You should have gone further back to mid 18th century When the British started to nominate legislative members on communal basis.

    Every Tamil leader since mid-19th Century are the culprits including Handy Perinpanayagam for demanding boycott of state council elections in Jaffna alone in 1931 and for prematurely requesting Sir John to declare parity of status to Tamil and Sinhala.

    In fact Mr Perinpanayagam was the catalyst for the process that culminated with the Sinhala only Act of 1956. However it should not be taken against Mr Handy Perinpanayagam because he was a nationalist and not a communalist.

    The call for a Tamil Nation is a cry in the wilderness.

    No one in the entire world is willing to buy this notion

    The Tamil in Sri Lanka is a national minority.

    The Tamils are a minority of 12%.With manipulation of demography, you increase to 18% or 24 %including Tamil speaking upcountry Tamils and Tamil speaking Muslims under the label Tamil speaking people. But both refused to swallow this bait.

    The result is 12% of Sri Lankan Tamils fighting all alone against nearly 80%Sinhalese.
    Whether under democracy or under any other system, this is tall order.
    If you unite the Tamils, the Sinhalese will get automatically united.

    The call for Tamil unity results in Sinhala unity causing tragic consequences.

    Rajal Hoole You should have gone further back to mid-18th century When the British started to nominate legislative members on communal basis.

    The real strategy for the Tamils is to strive hard for a winning coalition with the Sinhala and Muslim communities and avoiding appealing to international actors to be arbiters.

    Have faith in the ordinary Tamils, Sinhalese and Muslims!. The way out of this mess is only through empathy with Sinhalease, Upcountry Tamils and Muslims.

    • 2
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      Sri-Krish,

      Sumanthiran on behalf of the TNA defined the Muslims also as a nation, as a nation, today. A very wise move, I suppose. Hakeem has reciprocated by calling for a common front of the Tamils and Muslims! The stupid games our poiticians play. Now Sinhala groups will vociferously claim they are the only nation in Sri Lanks! There is no end to this stupid but vicious game played by our polticians.

      Why should we name ourselves nations, when the word has already caused enough mischief? Aren’t the words ‘distinct peoples’ sufficient to demarcate us, within a Sri Lankan nation? Why the political acrobatics? To awe whom? Definitely not the sinhala, Tamil and Muslim masses.

      Dr.RN

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        I just gave you a “thumbs up”. I wonder why so many others had DISliked your comment?

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          Sinhala_Man,

          Thanks. The voting in most instances is rigged in pursuit of a predetermined agenda! Many donot vote and many vote without reading. The voting numbers do not reflect the merit of a comments of many commentators here. I do not take the thumbs up or down, and many comments, seriously. With time I have learned.

          Dr.RN

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      Sri-Krish

      “The call for a Tamil Nation is a cry in the wilderness. “

      Why?

      “No one in the entire world is willing to buy this notion “

      Why?

      “The Tamil in Sri Lanka is a national minority”

      What is the difference between nation and national minority?

      “More true in the case of Tamil problem in the Sri Lankan context.”

      When did the Sinhala/Buddhist problem become a Tamil problem?

      “Rajal Hoole You should have gone further back to mid-18th century When the British started to nominate legislative members on communal basis.”

      Are you suggesting the colonial power should have appointed only Sinhala/Buddhists members to Legislative Councils?

      “The real strategy for the Tamils is to strive hard for a winning coalition with the Sinhala and Muslim communities and avoiding appealing to international actors to be arbiters.”

      What a selected and short memory. Sambandan supported one war criminal against another in the 2010 presidential elections. That was a coalition.

      In Jan 2015 Sambandan supported a coalition candidate in the presidential elections. What more would you like them to to do? Dayan the war monger wrote minority votes were not really votes, therefore Maithiri’s election victory was a hollow one.

      What do you want the Tamils do? Would you like them to disfranchise themselves and become a stateless people?

      Do you know you have a serious problem? Its you.

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    Dear dr RN

    In the process of digesting this invaluable presentation by Dr Hoole on history of race relations one of my curiosities came to the fore again.

    Why is that Tamils always, yes ALWAYS, vote for the UNP not withstanding disenfranchisement, 1983, Jafna library, Chandrika’s package and innumerable backstabbings. Don’t they have a share of even Sinhala only?

    They even voted for Sarath Fonseka!

    Another related question is in the cutthroat, venomous rivalry among the Sinhala parties is it wise for a minority to take one side?

    Could backroom horse trading with one party or the other(with one set of crooks or the other) yield any lasting solution to a question of fundamental importance? Where is age old Tamil wisdom? Tamils bemoan they have been deceived at every turn for the last 60 years. Any wonder?

    Time permiting, any helpful clues?

    Soma

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      somasss

      “Why is that Tamils always, yes ALWAYS, vote for the UNP not withstanding disenfranchisement, 1983, Jafna library, Chandrika’s package and innumerable backstabbings. Don’t they have a share of even Sinhala only?”

      1982 presidential election results in the Northern province

      Kumar Ponnambalam 87,263 40.03%

      Hector Kobbekaduwa 77,300 35.46%

      J. R. Jayewardene 44,780 20.54%

      Total vote polled 218,003 100.00%

      By the way Hector Kobbekaduwa was the SLFP candidate in case if you chose not to know.

      “They even voted for Sarath Fonseka!”

      They vote for the least worst candidate in the National interest. They mostly vote for the local candidates in the regions.

      Why didn’t the Sinhalaese vote for the presidential candidate Kumar Ponnambalam who never championed separate state and was a diehard opponent of separatism?

      Please take your own time to think about your own bigoted views and the type here.

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      SOMA:

      Tamils talk something and they do something.

      Then comes the Caste issue. Tamils can not think as a united force without getting into the Caste issue. In the history, even at LTTE times, and even now, Tamil VVIPS were and are every ready if Sinhala VVIPS also recognize Caste discrimination and treat them as high casts and squeeze low castes.

      Just see how Vellala Wigi is working against Reconciliation and is asking two states.

      They want a Tamil enclave where the high caste is controlling the low castes.

      that is their untold demand.

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        Dear “jim softy”,

        Soma seemed to ask a genuine question; I’m afraid that you seem to think very little before you write.

        YOU are obsessed with caste; Dr Rajan Hoole is conscious of its existence as a major problem, and is fighting it as hard as he can. Shame on you, Jim, for doing nothing to support him.

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        jim softy

        “They want a Tamil enclave where the high caste is controlling the low castes.”

        Caste issues are not new and it is not going to vanish tomorrow. It will stop only when the Sinhala/Buddhists stop advertising for Govi/Buddhist partners for their sons and daughters in matrimonial columns.

        About the Tamil enclave, hopefully it will stop this island from becoming a Sinhala/Buddhist ghetto. It could also be a secular/liberal enclave where Sinhalese, Buddhists, Christians, Muslims, … could seek refuge from Sinhala/Buddhists, Jihadhists, born again Christians, Tamil/Saivaites, …..

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          NV
          Any views on Rajan Hoole’s comments on the “massacre” of 1974?

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            SJ/sekere

            ‘Any views on Rajan Hoole’s comments on the “massacre” of 1974?”

            Some years ago when LTTE was virtually controlling thoughts, words and actions of Tamils (through exercising monopoly over death) Rajan Hoole was at the receiving end of severe criticism, from people (keyboard nationalistic worriers) who challenged him to disclose the details of his sources who risked their life compiling and supplying information on all atrocities committed by both parties to the conflict. Therefore Rajan Hoole is not new to criticism.

            I was not an eye witness to the killing of innocent civilian on that fatal day. However I had met few old people who were actually there witnessed what actually happened.

            The fact of the matter is police used force and killed 7 or more people and many were injured in the mayhem. What was the reason to send a heavily armed police force to disperse a peaceful gathering?

            The question you should be asking is why did the police used heavy handed tactics when the public was unarmed and broadly peaceful.

            What was the need for Siri Mao to participate in the proceedings? Why did she insist the International cultural event was being hosted in Colombo?

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              NV dear,
              Instead of making miserable extrapolations, read the text carefully. It outlines clearly how the tragedy was precipitated.
              I was in the country then and met many eye witnesses. What they told me implicated Amirthalingam more than anyone else.

              When did Mrs B participate in the Proceedings?
              Hearsay as history has been the curse of Tamil historiography since the dawn of Tamil nationalism.

              Time to jog and chant.

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                SJ/sekere

                “When did Mrs B participate in the Proceedings? “

                Your Siri Mao wanted to declare open the event and take credit for some else’s work. She wanted to show the world everything was hunky dory for the Tamils in this island.

                “I was in the country then and met many eye witnesses. What they told me implicated Amirthalingam more than anyone else.”

                I was in different part of the country. Did Amirthalingam throw Molotov cocktail at the police force or did he instigate riots, or carried an A K 47?

                I also have met a few eye witnesses and I trust their version.

                Your eye witnesses probably needed to check their vision.

                Maoists have a shewed world view, probably they too are/were your fellow intellectual gymnasts.

                In the name of Mao lets have a revisionist history, bury truth praise little Polpots, VP, Siri Mao, MR, … .

                • 0
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                  Little NV
                  You made a false statement and now are going at a tangent.
                  I cannot teach you history. In fact no one.

                  Go and play with your mental age group.

    • 0
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      Soma
      In 1982 Kumar Ponnambalan contested on the Tamil Eelam card, to rub it into the TULF that they had dumped the cause on which the won their seats.
      Hector Kobbekaduwa got more Tamil votes than JR very only in the Jaffna District. (The TULF was secretly supporting the UNP.)
      The reason why HC scored was that the farmers did well under the SLFP led regime owing to curb on import of onion and chili. Under JRJ’s open economy they suffered.

      In 1988 Sirima led in Jafffna followed by SLMP’s Oswin Abeygunasekara, pushing UNP’s Premadasa to third place. Voting was affected by LTTE threats although thee was no forced boycott as in 2005.

      People can be forgiving and remember good deeds. But taking a people for granted leads to bitterness and conflict.

      NV
      Your silence on Rajan Hoole’s comments on the “massacre” of 1974 is almost deafening.
      Is it because it is a fuller account of events? Or its coming from a different source?

      Dr RN
      “Sumanthiran on behalf of the TNA defined the Muslims also as a nation, as a nation, today.”
      The CP-Left (now NDMLP) declared that Muslims (as well as Hill Country Tamils) were a distinct nationality on par with Sinhalese and Tamils more than 20 years ago, even before Muslim leaders dared.
      No Tamil nationalist party would accept that position. They kept talking of “Tamil Muslims”. Sumanthiran’s declaration would have been ‘nationality’ rather than ‘nation’ I think. Either way, it is a bold move and should be commended.

    • 2
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      Dear Soma,

      Thanks for your query. Native Veddah and SJ have clarified some matters.

      I think there are a cocktail of reasons for the voting patterns. It is not a single factor that has driven them. The most significant factor was the Sinhala Only Act, the consequences that followed, the 1958 riots and the standardization schemes. The disenfranchisement of the plantation workers did not affect on the Tamils directly and had no consequences to their mundane lives. Whereas the events described above shook the very foundations of Tamil society. The economic boom in the north during the last Sirimavo government also worked in favour of Kobbekaduwa. However, the resentment against the JR government was the overwhelming factor that tilted the scales.

      The two other factors that determined internal dynamics, was the lack of tangible political alternatives in terms of local political parties in Jaffna. The TC and FP were rotten fruits from the sad pod and represented the same class interests. The choice was between GGP- perceived to be devious and cunning and SJV- marketed as another Gandhi. The latters frail appearence, low voice and impassive speach strengthened the myth.

      The prevailing circumstances in Sri Lanka, engineered by majoritarian governments and the FP, TULF and now TNA rhetoric, found confluence and reflected in the voting patterns. The MR government efforts to foist the likes of Douglas Devananada, his EPDP and Angajan Ramanathan, as political alternatives did not spark a response from the Tamils.
      MR missed the bus in winning the hearts and minds of the Tamils, through his attempt to fashion a political leadership for the Tamils that was to his taste. The ones who were to his taste were perceceved as corrupt brutes by the Tamils.

      The stories that emerged from the war zone and the post-war Vanni also created anti-MR sentiment in the north. He became an ogre in the minds of the Tamils and his laudable efforts at infrastructure building, though appreciated, did not mitigate the former. The Tamil Diaspra and the TNA succeed in their propaganda effort to portray MR as the man who worked to destroy the Tamils. The LTTE in effect were portrayed as martyrs. Fortunately, the latter effort failed, as the Tamils had experienced the depredations and perversity of the LTTE in a manner their political leadership had not.The MR government’s resistance to inquiring into war-crimes, manipulating provincial council affairs in the east and not holding provincial council elections in the north, worked against him. The land issue and the military occupation of civilian lands also touched a raw nerve.

      The Tamil political alternatives that have emerged and were largely identified with the LTTE have also not resonated with the Tamils.

      The Tamils are struck with the TNA for a lack of alternatives. The Tamils are a people to be pitied, rather than blamed for the follies of their leadership. The Tamils are also the unwitting victims of a double jeopardy – their leadership and the government’s of Sri Lanka.

      Dr.RN

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        Thank you doctor, thank you very much for your considered response.

        “MR government efforts to foist the likes of Douglas Devananada, his EPDP and Angajan Ramanathan, as political alternatives did not spark a response from the Tamils. MR missed the bus in winning the hearts and minds of the Tamils, through his attempt to fashion a political leadership for the Tamils that was to his taste. The ones who were to his taste were perceceved as corrupt brutes by the Tamils.”

        You are absolutely right. I believe if he fielded some Sinhala candidates they would have earned at least one vote more.

        MR was poor in management. He didn’t know the subtle art of shaking off undesirables. Who on earth would accomodate a character like Mervin Silva?

        Soma

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          somaass

          “Who on earth would accomodate a character like Mervin Silva?”

          Interesting question.

          Go back to 1956 and since then how on earth did the party leaders accommodate all those racists, goons, thugs, … arsonists, rioters, thieves, … human rights violators, war criminals, murderers, …. ?

    • 0
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      In 1994 elections 90% of the Tamil people voted for Chandrika Bandaranayaka. Is she from UNP?

      • 2
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        KOW,

        You are right. She represented a fresh face and new hope for the Tamils. In fact during the campaign she was portrayed in posters as dressed and adorned like a Tamil! The Sinhalese too voted for her in massive numbers. As usual everyone, the UNP, the TULF and the LTTE conspired to consign her visionary proposals to the dustbin. It was history repeating.

        Dr.RN

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          Dear Dr.Rajasingham Narendran,

          That’s the point: Chandrika had some vision, where few others seem to have any!

        • 1
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          Dear Dr.R.N.,

          That’s the point: CBK had some vision; few others seem to have any!

      • 2
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        Chandrika had one vision before 1994 and another after 1994 on the economic policy.
        The contents of her ‘package’ for the national question got diluted by the day under pressure from extremists. She did not truly appreciate the gravity of the national question. If she did she would not have undermined the peace process for whatever it was worth.

        It was the typical UNP v. SLFP game played since 1957. “You say yes, I say no. I say yes, you say no.”– ad nauseum.

        Ranil was all smiles when his colleagues, led by Ravi K., celebrated burning Chandrika’s white paper in the House.
        Then it was her turn in 2003 to undermine RW and with him the peace process.

        Chandrika bought Douglas+7 (thanks to the LTTE) in 1994 to form government. Ashroff and others were bonus.
        Buying & selling senior politicians started with the UNP and MR honed it to a fine art.

        I fear that some people are more forgiving of her because she joined the RW-MS coup.
        Otherwise she would have been put on par with her parents by Tamil nationalists, or even worse MR, her nemesis.

        • 3
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          SJ/sekere

          Your admiration for VP should not cloud your memory. He did’t help CBK either, on 19th of April 1995 and afterwards.

          “It was the typical UNP v. SLFP game played since 1957.”

          So your hero Siri Mao was not part of the SLFP game.

          • 0
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            NV
            Stop hallucinating– It is dangerous while jogging.

            BTW, any further thoughts on the Massacre 1974?

        • 1
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          SJ

          “Buying & selling senior politicians started with the UNP and MR honed it to a fine art.”

          And Sirisena incorporated it into the Constitution!

          At the beginning everyone thought JR had sealed it – no one would ever be able to gather 2/3 after him. As it turned out MR and MS proved it to the easiest thing to do.

          Soma

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    Dr RN,
    I agree,

    Why should Tamils call themselves a Nation after the bitter experience of the past? and again Why should Muslims also call themselves a nation and thorough a similar past?- a vicarious pleasure?, if Tamils and Muslims unite as Hakeem suggests excluding the Sinhalease and will the bargaining power of these communities increase or decrease in the formulation of the new constitution. How will ordinary Sinhalese react?

    On the other hand if all three communities unite and try to formulate a new constitution for the entire country leaving any foreign intervention, the changes of having an all inclusive constitution will be greater and sustainability and acceptability of such constitution for a longer period or forever is a possibility we all should look forward.

    Further Soma also in her comment has a point, why should the Tamils support one Sinhala party at the expense of the rival Sinhala party and unnecessarily in their bad books. As a prudent community why not have the good will of the rivals always.
    Communalism may be a viable option for the majority and always a curse for the minorities.
    NV you have raised several interesting questions, shall be look at them seriously when- time permitting in a day or two

  • 2
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    Thank you Dr.Hoole for this illuminating article. I as someone born in 1973 in Colombo, had only heard bits and pieces about Mayor Duraiappah and other incidents in Jaffna growing up.

    It makes me sad to see the folly of our collective ways in those days that lead to atrocities in the 30 year war.

    Hope both the Sinhalese and Tamils learn from their and each other’s mistakes and unite to wage a campaign for peace and stability in our nation. None of the outside (and vested) parties such as the US, China, Tamil Nadu or India, can truly accomplish anything for the Tamils, unless and until moderate Tamils and Sinhalese work together to wage peace against ultra nationalists from all sides.

  • 2
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    NV,

    Thanks for your response; I suggest that you study this valuable article of Rajan Hoole. I t is not an article simply to read, post some comments and then forget about it.

    Please read, study, digest and think, then you could discover an alternate path.

    Let this new thinking be politicised.

    I am very impressed with the slogan attributed to Handy Perinpanayagam that

    “Communal solution to communal problem is fatal remedy”.

    Communalism in one camp begets communalism in the opposing camp.

    The communalists in both camps are the greatest friends, they reinforce each other
    .
    The Communalism of majority may lead the majority to power, but communalism of minority will lead the minority to disaster.

    Minority communalism is always counterproductive to the minorities

    Why use terms like “Tamil Nation”, or “minorities or Tamils unite” when it is not presently relevant. What happens when Tamils are united as happened in the 1977 elections or under LTTE.

    It only unnecessarily provoke majoritarian communalism with serious consequences to minorities.

    If Tamils use moderate language we are encouraging the moderate Sinhalese to take upper hand. Do not provoke even the reasonable Sinhalese to be defensive,

    Look how Mithiri and Ranil compromises when faced with majoritarian criticism as a result of Tamil hardliners behavior!

    Now let us look at the present political scenario, Mr Sampanthan and TNA is pursuing cautious approach to the National question.

    Mr Sampanthan may have a hidden or gentleman agreement with the present government.Our chief minister takes a hardline position initiating commencement of a vicious circle.

    To Counterbalance Chief Minister, Mr Sampanthan is compelled to take a hard-line position damaging his understanding with the present government leaders.

    Mr Wigneswaran ha sput TNA as well as the government into difficulties making compromises on the part of sampanthan and th Government leasers difficult.

    Mow NV, You may re read my comments and formulate another set of questions.

    • 2
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      Sri- Krish

      I am a regular reader of Rajan Hoole’s contribution, from UTHR time on wards.

      You have a one sided view of the Sri Lankan history.

      You should go back in time to view history of 1915, Anagarika Dharmapala, Ponnampalam Ramanathan, …. stateless Upcountry Tamils since 1948, Sinhala only Language policy of 1956, major riots in 1958, 1977, 1983, 1971 and between 1987 and 1991, 30 years of war, racism, war crimes, crime against humanity, nepotism, corruption, crony capitalism, rule of law, Premadasa/Mahinda buying favours from VP, ……

      If you thought these major fatal events happened because of C V Wigneshwaran and Sambandan then you must be living in planet Seth. Why don’t you visit this island for a change.

      Remember the minorities never held power to effect drastic changes to historical governance of this island since independence.

      What bull are you talking about?

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        NV

        Sorry for focusing on a minor area.

        When did the Tamils who came to work in the plantations during the British became “stateless” ? When were they strffed off their Indian citizenship?

        Soma

        • 0
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          Soma,

          D.S.Senanayake, introduced the Ceylon Citizenship Act of 1948, the Indian-Pakistani Citizenship Act of 1949 and amended the Parliamentary Elections Act and disfranchised the Indian Tamils along with many persons of Indian and Pakistani ancestry.

          Some of these workers were also of Telugu and Malayalee origin.

          It is important to note that these deeds commence soon after independence. In the first parliament the left and the plantation Tamils has representation second only to the UNP and the gap was small.

          Dr.N.M. Perera has said that this was done to break the left by denting their vote bank amongst plantation workers. The decline of the left coincided with these acts. NM was very probably right.

          Dr.RN

          • 0
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            Sorry, at what point in history they were striffed off their INDIAN citizenship?

            Soma

    • 2
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      Sri-Krish,

      Thank you. You have drawn the right conclusions in beautiful words from our rather tragic history. I would also emphasize:

      1. We, the Tamils have to win the confidence of the moderate Sinhalese and moderate Sinhala leaders, and also not undermine their efforts with our malevolent rhetoric.

      2. We, the Tamils have to be moderate in our language and words we use, as high sounding words, as they have been always used by the Sinhala extreme to our detriment. Words that mean one thing in English, are made to mean something quite different and dangerous when converted to seemingly their Sinhala and Tamil equivalents( eg. Federal vs Thamil Arasu). Words have been to a large extent the bane of Tamil politics. It remains so yet.

      3. Tamil politicians have to be honest and level with the people they represent. They should not continue to treat the people as village idiots by transforming lies into truth.

      4. There should be objective and healthy debate within the Tamil community on various issues that effect them. The noIse of the Tamil extreme, an abbération, should not be portrayed by the Tamil media, as the voice of the people.they quality of the Tamil media has been always rotten and this has rendered the Tamils an uninformed lot to a very considerable extent. The Tamil media is like the stupid sheep that has been permitted to lead a flock of intelligent goats!

      5. The Tamils have to learn to question their politicians at every turn and demand they perform and produce results.

      Dr. RN

      • 0
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        Sri- Krish,

        I provide the link to a rather interesting editorial, with a note of caution to those engaged in the constitution making exercise on our behalf:

        http://www.ceylontoday.lk/columns20160321CT20170330.php?id=157

        What Ranil has in mind apparently is within the ambit of the 13th amendment and the intention to make it work. He is tail of substance, rather than terminology. The TNA and its cohorts are increasingly demanding extensive federalism. Will the twin meet! As the editorial asks, will the UNP end up shooting down the TNA proposal? Are we once again remain where we are, without any progress being made?

        Dr.RN

        • 0
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          Correction to last comment:

          .1. He is talking of substance—
          2. Will the twain meet?
          3. Are we to once again remain—

          Dr,RN

  • 0
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    Sri Krish

    How can I express my appreciation of your beautiful comment.

    Permit me to reproduce it whenever I need it.

    Soma

  • 0
    0

    Thanks Dr RN and SOMA for your kind words

  • 1
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    Thanks NV for your comments.

    In my last comments, I made a distinction between reading and studying, internalizing and acting.

    But, I admit that I failed in my mission.

    You reminded me of our history from the days of Anagarikadharmapala to the present time.
    During these times, outstanding Tamil leaders were also there- leaders like Sir Ponnampalam Ramanathan, Sir Ponambalam Arunachalem, G.G. Ponnambalam, SJV Chelanayagam, Mr Amirthalingam,Prabaharan, Sampanthan to name a few.

    I am not questioning their honesty and integrity.

    But were they effective?

    Were they able to mitigate our suffering?,

    Were their strategy effective?

    Should we go on blaming others for our misery.

    If all these tragic events happened despite these leaders why should we continue with them?

    One strategy common to all these leaders is to “blame” others for their failures.

    Our leaders are masters in this “blame” game.

    Leaders should perform and accept responsibility not excuses.

    Leaders should acknowledge ownership

    Again you state,” Remember the minorities never held power to effect drastic changes to historical governance of this island since independence”

    Why the Tamils never had power? Why GG Ponnambalm was a Cabinet Minister, Douglas Devananda was a cabinet Minister.

    But they were not one of us. they were power hungry and Traitors.

    The real Tamil is a follower of Mahatma Gandhi and never accept posts.

    But,Congress leaders in India other than Mahatma Gandhi were holding posts of Chief Ministers, Ministers etc even before independence.

    why it is taboo to us?

    If Tamils can hold the posts of Gramasevakas, Government Agents, Chief Ministrs, Provincial Ministers in spite of all these discrimination why not Cabinet Ministries?

    Other communities like Muslims and Upcountry Tamils are using these cabinet portfolios and do wonders for their communities and these communities relatively now flourish and only Tamils continue in this downward direction.

    Why not elected Tamil leaders from TNA also demand key cabinet portfolios redress at least some of the problems faced by Tamils.

    As Dr RN had pointed out in one of his comments, “The Tamils have to learn to question their politicians at every turn and demand they perform and produce results” and also send the non performing leaders home and elect new leaders with new strategies!

  • 0
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    Dr RN,

    Thanks for the link.The editorial has not accurately stated the related provision in the Constitution.

    The North East merger was dealt in the Provincial Council Act No 42 of 1987 where referendum is a requirement whereas the merger of two or three adjoining provinces is provided in Art 154A(3) of the 13A.

    The exact wording in the constitution is reproduced below:
    154A(3)

    “Notwithstanding anything in the preceding provisions of this article, Parliament may by, or under any law provide for two or three adjoining provinces to form one administrative unit with one elected Provincial Council, one Governor, one Chief Minister and one Board of Ministers and for the manner of determining whether such provinces should continue to be administered as one administrative unit or whether each such provinces should constitute a separate administrative unit with its own Provincial Council, and a separate Governor , Chief Minister and Board of Ministers.
    It is the parliament that decided on the merger, the provincial Councils have no role to pla”
    .
    The newspapers are confusing the constitutional provtsions with the Provincial Council act no 42 of 1987.

    As for me , I want the powers of Governors reduced, National policy provision in the Reserved list deleted, Provincial Council administration and Finance in terms of provincial Council Act No 42 of 1987 transferred from the Governor to the Chief Minister and several other provisions

    • 1
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      Shri-Krish,

      Thanks for confirming what I have been telling many over the years.

      I agree with everything you say. Greater taxation and fund raising raising powers should also be granted to the PCs. The GA/District Secretary system should be also eliminated, while central government agencies should be represented by their offices. The concurrent list, as constituted down has been used deviously to emasculate provincial governance and should be whittled down and better defined. I also think that what JRJ started doing in terms of police and land issues, which were dismantled by Premadasa, should be resumed.

      My biggest concern at this point in time is whether we have the human resources-politicians and public servants, to make the NPC and the EPC dynamic and efficient entities. The currently constituted NPC has been a devastating disappointment!

      Dr.RN

  • 0
    1

    Dear RN,

    I have had a very good exposure both to the theoretical and practical aspects oF 13 A and the provincial Council act No 42 of 1987.

    The 13A is almost a carbon copy of the provisions relating to states in the Indian Constitution whereas the Provincial Council Act No 42 of 1987 provides unnecessarily administrative and fiscal authorities to the Governor.
    The 13A is a badly drafted legislation. It could be refined with minor adjustments as suggested by you and with some additional inputs.

    There are ambiguities relating to 4Fs, namely, Funds, Functions, Functionaries and freedom in respect of Power Sharing in the present legislations,that should be rectified.

    I prefer the terminology Power Sharing to Devolution.

    In fact recently I had submitted a comprehensive draft constitution to the Lal Wijenayaike Committee.

    I am also disappointed with the Chief Minister and the caliber of the members of the Provincial Council.

    In the short run, we are helpless in this regard.

    But I am certain that human resources is really not a problem. There is an army of more than 30,000 public servants in both Provincial Councils including substantial No of graduates.

    Additionally a large number of retired Public Servants are willing to serve voluntarily in order to augment and to transform the governance

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