26 November, 2020

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Revolutionizing Sovereignty To Secure Permanent Peace In Sri Lanka

By Athulasiri Kumara Samarakoon

Athulasiri Kumara Samarakoon

Athulasiri Kumara Samarakoon

The state thought we were terrorists, the LTTE thought we were traitors.”- A middle-aged single mother near Batticaloa (Eastern Sri Lanka)[i]

By militarily defeating the LTTE, Sri Lanka eliminated a violent advocate for separate Tamil state in the North. Yet, that elimination of the most violent element expression of Tamils’ struggle for autonomy and self-determination has not in any way led to a permanent solution for the issue. Today, with the emerging space of democracy created through a hard fought change of an ultra-nationalist regime, we need to give serious thoughts to this pressing issue for if we fail, another generation of people will be forced to fight in vain again, defending an abstract sovereignty. In our understanding, the continuing issue of Tamils’ quest for autonomy in the North is closely linked to ‘state sovereignty’ and ‘integrity of the territory’. This is defined so by the elitist nationalist leadership in the Southern region. However, unless a revolution occurs in the way Sri Lanka perceives sovereignty, the process of nation building will never be complete and an inclusive nation, with all ethnicities will integrated, would remain a pipe dream.

We need to perhaps rethink the meaning of ‘sovereignty’ for small states like Sri Lanka in the context of increasing deterioration of the effectiveness of territorial state globally. In Sri Lanka, the existing borders have not been invincible to international interventions (think IPKF) in the face of the issue of Tamils’ struggle for autonomy. Therefore die-hard elitist Sinhalese perceptions towards Tamils’ way of perceiving state sovereignty has amply demonstrated the hollowness of ‘Sri Lankan’s idea of sovereignty’ without material power to guard it from external interventions. Today, the future of the survival of Sri Lankan state needs to be re-strategized with a mechanism for peaceful co-existence with Tamils and that kind of thinking requires a revolution in the way historically Sri Lanka has perceived sovereignty by excluding Tamils’ ideas on sovereignty. The supposedly contradictory Sri Lankan and Tamil ideas on sovereignty need to be pooled together and a prerequisite for this would be a fundamental change in the idea of sovereignty and the openness to accept the historical reality that Tamils had a sovereignty of their own in this country.

All Sri Lankan leaders, from JR Jayewardene to Mahinda Rajapaksa saw the belligerent Tamils’ struggle as the major obstacle for a possible solution for the ethnic conflict and they strove to defeat the Tamil militants by means of arms and blood-shed. But, it is clear today that Tamils’ struggle for a genuine power sharing agreement within existing borders continues despite the absence of militancy. The fact that Tamil speaking people in the North and the East require a credible amount of autonomy for conducting their own ways of life and existence needs to be humanely realized and their place in the central government too needs to be assured with equal political rights. It is thus necessary to go beyond the traditional concept of ‘unitary sovereignty’ and perhaps create a ‘united sovereignty’. The writer is aware that the issue is not a simple one as we are burdened with painful historical emotions, some true, some incentivized by politicians.

Modi Wigneswaran 2015 March JaffnaYet, it is time to move beyond our painful history while learning lessons from it. One major premise of peace that we all need to realize is the ability to coexist while sharing the same geography and respecting each other’s ways of life. Yet, our two communities need to take serious care of each other’s autonomy and right to self-determination. The Tamils perceive their history, like the Sinhalese, through their own narratives. It is true that there was autonomous existence of a Tamil region; however much the mainstream Sinhalese historical narratives attempt to counter them. The historical animosity between the two communities was buttressed during the colonial administration through its policy of ‘divide and rule’ and the post-independent leadership too failed to envisage the need for coexistence with Tamils by assuring them through constitutional means the guaranteed political rights.

The Sinhala-Buddhist elite ignored Tamils’ perception of the nature of the Sri Lankan State who continued to be dissatisfied with the state structure and the perceivable imbalance against them. The centralized state structure did not encourage the governments occupying the corridors of power with regular shifts in tenures to restructure the State in order that the Tamils in the North and East would get a certain amount of regional autonomy. We need to accept that the Constitutions of 1972 and 1978 could be easily interpreted as sign of the rise of Sinhala-Buddhist supremacy to its pinnacle. The contradictions among the ethnic communities regarding the status of religions and languages etc., reveal how much these Constitutions, imposed on the State by ultra-nationalist elites, paved way for prejudiced interpretations from all sides on the understanding of statehood, sovereignty and freedom by ignoring the people.

The Problem of Devolution

While the issue of sovereignty exists in the realm of theory and perception, the practical solutions to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka, namely the Provincial Councils, (PC) have not quite achieved their objectives. Recently, the Chief Minister of the Northern region, Mr. Wigneswaran stated in the wake of Indian Prime Minister’s visit to Sri Lanka that the 13th Amendment has not satisfied the aspirations of Tamils and has just become a mechanism subject to the final arbitration of a centralized state under an omnipotent Presidency. Where does Wigneswaran’s dissatisfaction with devolution arise from? Simply, it is from the ethno-nationalist basis through which all ethnic communities approach such an issue. Therefore, it is not possible to ignore Tamils’ claims for more autonomy as long as the South continues to perceive sovereignty as the sole right of the Sinhalese, for that means that the minority cannot contribute to expand the meaning of sovereignty as a united and practical expression of all people of this island.

The historical insensitivity of the South towards North’s struggle has remained the major obstacle for any genuine power sharing arrangement with the Tamils. A culture of distrust between the two communities has contributed to this. Sinhalese fear a separate Tamil state and its possible consequence of perpetual border wars etc. Theoretically, this highlights the fundamental error of understanding and constructing the unity of a state through only the maxims of ‘political realism’. Realism itself is not the problem, but how the theoreticians, mainly nationalist Realists, have applied a mistaken idea of Realism that state sovereignty is something which should remain static for ages and not negotiable even for humane reasons. In fact a modern realist interpretation would simply disregard the idea, particularly for small states and argue that traditional conception of sovereignty is just ‘hypocrisy’ that serves only powerful states’ right to pursue their national interests over that of weak states. On the other hand, it is better if small states like Sri Lanka realize their potential by creating unity through diversity; and they should seriously rethink what sovereignty for them in an increasingly globalised world today where their own budgets are imposed on them by global financial institutions etc.

Sinhalese leaders like President Jayewardene, even under enormous pressure from Mrs. Gandhi and later Mr. Rajiv Gandhi, attempted to project Tamils’ struggle only as a problem of terrorism or an international conspiracy to divide Sri Lanka. It was just an issue of protecting the borders of the state. All elitist nationalist leaders, including Jayewardene, regarded borders to be sacrosanct and gave second place to human beings trapped within them. Therefore, it was always only external pressure which could force the nationalist elites to think of political solutions for the issue. And till date, in no way the thinking of ultra-nationalist elites has undergone any paradigmatic shift and still for them the problem lies with Tamils and not with the inability of the state to accommodate the cultural and linguistic diversity of the country.

The 13th Amendment was a result of sustained diplomatic efforts of India and Sinhala nationalists in all political parties in the South had opposed it. It was no secret that President Jayewardene had to implement the 13th Amendment under enormous pressure from his domestic political constituency and the members of his own party. President Jayewardene agreed to implement the Provincial Councils with the assertion that it would not affect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country. Also India convinced Sri Lanka that despites its interventions after 1983, it is bound to respect the territorial integrity of its small neighbor. The Southern constituency, except for some leftist elements like Vijaya Kumaratunga etc who supported devolution, interpreted the 13th Amendment as a foundation for creating a separate state within Sri Lanka. However, such emotional interpretations of the early stages of devolution have proven incorrect and utterly stupid. Today, more than the North, the South has embraced the system of Provincial Councils, though the state has to incur a huge expenditure to maintain them.

As Northern Chief Minister Wigneswaran has suggested, today, we can rethink of the Provincial Councils and the effectiveness of that system in a centrally governed political system with an omnipotent Executive President. We also feel that the utility of the existence of Provincial Councils in the Southern areas has been only to serve the major political parties to train their next generation of political leadership. This might not be very bad because one can argue that they have just helped broaden the idea of representative democracy and provided opportunity for many sections to enjoy the experience of government at local a level even without real authority.

However, the real impact of provincial councils is yet to be scientifically studied, but hypothetically we feel in the South that the Central Government and its administrative system is quite sufficient for the purpose of distribution of Government resources and to handle administrative functions. Because, we have several layers of administration, politically and administratively controlled – Provincial Councils, Local Governments, and administrative services directly under the central Government etc., we may not feel the existence of Provincial Councils, perhaps except during the election of office-bearers to them. In some subjects like, education or health where Provinces have some power over them we may experience the PCs, but still the central Government seems to overpower all mechanisms of governance in Sri Lanka.

Therefore, more than in the South we need to give priority to the North and East where there had been a distinctively different historical system of power relations and a way of autonomous life. The idea of Tamil’s homeland signifies that they are used to experience a different system of government for centuries, but at present we need to find ways and means to democratically award the North its historical autonomy within a truly federal Sri Lankan state. Quebec model in Canada is one example of a successful implementation of such a system. By allowing their region to function as a somewhat autonomous system within the Tamil dominated areas, we do not necessarily accept their claims for a separate state within Sri Lanka. Quebec is no separate state. It should be realized that even India is not advocating for a separate state for Tamil because it complicates regional security in South Asia and also might fuel separatism in South India. That is why India helped us to defeat the LTTE. However, as was clear from recent statements from the Indian PM, India is not opposed to devolution of powers to the North. However, continuing the problematic status quo, this has to be said, makes it almost certain that LTTE like or even worse groups will emerge in the North sooner or later. Only genuine devolution can make us secure the peace after a hard fought war.

Today, it is clear that our system of nine Provinces adds not much meaning to the existing centralized system of governance; mainly, the problem exists not for the Sinhalese but for the Tamil speaking community. Sri Lanka has taken thirty years to defeat the separatist Tamil militants, but had it seriously given thoughts on moderate Tamil claims for homeland and autonomy, it could have perhaps designed a system of devolution which would have satisfied the vast majority of moderate Tamils.

Sri Lanka thus needs to sincerely look at granting as much autonomy possible for Tamils with a novel system of devolution, which in fact would address the weaknesses of the PCs and other administrative apparatuses. It is obvious to any neutral, dispassionate observer that our present system has not worked, no one would consider decades of Civil war and ethnic conflicts as a success story. It is time we accepted that worked for a positive change by marginalizing ultra-nationalist forces among both Tamils and Sinhalese. The idea of state sovereignty has historically survived many revolutions as Daniel Philpott would call it a ‘revolutions of ideas’, particularly; and therefore Sri Lanka as an old and mature democracy needs to face the next stage of the evolution of its state structure by designing a system that allows more autonomy for the indigenous Tamil community and all Tamil speaking people in the country.


[i] See, Meera Srinivasan, “Running from pillar to post, looking for their loved ones”, http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/south-asia/running-from-pillar-to-post-looking-for-their-loved-ones/article6979158.ece?ref=sliderNews

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Latest comments

  • 21
    5

    Athulasiri Kumara Samarakoon,

    Would any of the Sinhala ruling elite of all shades agree with you?

    Or, are you a lone Sinhala soul advocating autonomy for Tamils, which they lost with the British annexation of their homeland with that of the Sinhalese and left it in the hands of the Sinhalese politicians at independence?

    • 3
      40

      What homeland? The whole of the Eastern province was part of the Kandyan Kingdom. Your constant posting of outright lies does you no good.

      • 19
        1

        Taraki

        “he whole of the Eastern province was part of the Kandyan Kingdom.”

        Kandyan kingdom was not fully formed before 1470.

        • 4
          34

          So what? I am pointing to the fact that the Eastern Tamil ‘homeland’ was a Sinhalese populated area for centuries.

          “…The country between the Waluwe (Walawe River in the modern Southern province) and Trinquemale (Trincomalee) mostly
          stretches east and east north east as as Jale (Yala) turns to the north and north west upto Trinquenemale I have been unable to visit this district as it is entirely inhabited by the King’s (Rajasinghe II) people..” Dutch Governor Ryckloff van Goens in December 1663.

          The Dutch and British imported Tamil slave labour from S India to ‘develop’ these areas for themselves. It also served to weaken the Kandyan kingdom.

          “…One of the saddest features in the history of the district is the decay of the Sinhalese population in the west and south. At one time there were flourishing and populous Sinhalese villagers here as is evidenced by the ruins and Sinhalese remains dotted about in this part of the country ‐ Now (in 1918) most of the villages that are left are little better than names” R. A. G. Feasting C.C.S., the GA for the Eastern Province 1918

          “…the gradual spread of the Tamils down the coasts, especially the
          eastern, and the fact that no where except in the northern province and Tamankaduwa, do they form more than coast settlements, are both striking. Where ever the Tamil or the Mahommedan comes to settle, the Sinhalese is driven back to the forest, where he earns a precarious existence by chena cultivation and by hunting…” Forest Administration of Ceylon F.D’A Vincent
          in 1882.

          So much for ‘traditional Tamil homelands’

          • 19
            3

            Taraki

            “The Dutch and British imported Tamil slave labour from S India to ‘develop’ these areas for themselves.”

            Those slaves have become Sinhalese and converted to Buddhism and call themselves Sinhala/Buddhists, the most ardent advocates of racism.

            I see you have done a marvelous copy and paste job from another public racist Gamini Iriyagolle, probably via ravings of a strange woman.

            “So what?”

            You should be worrying about your banality.

            Prior to the establishment of Kandyan kingdom the entire region was populated by my Veddah people. Check Kadayim poth (boundary book) for further information. Hope Kadayim books will put some perspective into your bigoted brain.

            Only the Sinhala/Buddhists can say things that they don’t know anything about it and still get away Scot-free.

          • 2
            35

            Dear Taraki,

            Thanks for that info.

          • 17
            4

            Taraki

            “So much for ‘traditional Tamil homelands’”

            The word Homeland came into English language usage about 1660, remember then Sri Lanka was a colony.

            • 1
              35

              It was not a colony until 1815. From 1505 to 1815 various parts of the country were occupied by western invaders. I see you can change race from Tamil to Veddah and back when it suits you. Very useful.

              • 19
                1

                Taraki another Sinhala speaking Demela

                “I see you can change race from Tamil to Veddah and back when it suits you. Very useful.”

                It would be useful if you could reverse back to your South Indian heritage, would make you less inferior and need not to fit in with rest of the Sinhala/Buddhists.

                You too think like George Bush “You are either with us or you are against us”.

                There is something called middle path. Does it ring a bell?

          • 1
            31

            Contemporary historical records? We Thamizh would rather stick with what’s on random blogs and Tamilnet, thank you very much :D

            • 19
              2

              Wee Thamihz Senior Journalist D: Siva Sankaran Sarma Menon

              Here is something that you would have read (if you haven’t go read now) but you never shared it with us:

              Excerpt from Our Moment of Destiny

              I feel ashamed right now; ashamed of my government; ashamed of my friends; ashamed of my country. More than anything, I am ashamed of myself. I have never felt this way about my country, and I never thought I would, but I feel it now. And I hate feeling this way. In the worst of the war, I told myself that it wasn’t my fault; that I hadn’t chosen this war to fight. But this is now. This is me. This is us. This is our country and our moment of destiny is here. Why are we doing nothing?

              April 2, 2013 Posted by David Blacker

              https://blacklightarrow.wordpress.com/

              Could you answer David Blacker’s philosophical question.

              More you read his article more you come to know about the man;
              From a soldier, street thug to a saint?

              You should interview him now, and let us know his world view so that our forum sharers can attain Nibbana soon.

              Wee Thamihz don’t need history lesson.

      • 23
        3

        Taraki:

        What rubbish are you talking about. You need to learn History. For your information the Kadyan Kingdom was confined to the Mountainous and forested interior with only intermittent access to the port of Batticalo.

        The east belongs to us as you can see from below. We will Reunite North & East and no force in the World is going to stop us. Big brother has already spoken/.

        Much of the kingdom’s territory was located in Sri Lanka’s mountainous and thickly forested interior, with mountain passes to the capital providing plenty of opportunities for defenders to stage ambushes. Routes to the city were kept secret, and spreading information concerning them could often result in death. Many routes into the hill country became impassable during the annual monsoon, and malaria was rife. Throughout its existence Kandyan forces used the land to their advantage, engaging in guerrilla warfare against invading forces,[10] and evacuating major urban centres when enemy forces drew near – a tactic used with particular effect during the Kandyan Wars.

        Though the kingdom had intermittent access to the port of Batticaloa it had no naval forces and could not prevent the Portuguese and Dutch maintaining a strong presence in lowland areas.

        • 8
          9

          kali-stani

          “The east belongs to us as you can see from below.”

          Please cite your evidence.

          • 21
            5

            Grandad: Foreign Vedda

            Here is the proof beyond doubt:

            Koneswaram temple of Trincomalee (Tamil: திருக் கோணேச்சரம் கோயில்) or Thirukonamalai Konesar Temple – The Temple of the Thousand Pillars and Dakshina-Then Kailasam is a classical-medieval Hindu temple complex in Trincomalee, a Hindu religious pilgrimage centre in Eastern Province, Sri Lanka. Built significantly during the reign of the early Cholas and the Five Dravidians of the Early Pandyan Kingdom atop Konesar Malai, a promontory overlooking Trincomalee District, Gokarna bay and the Indian Ocean, its Pallava, Chola, Pandyan and Jaffna design reflect a continual Tamil Saivite influence in the Vannimai region from the classical period. The monument contains its main shrine to Shiva in the form Kona-Eiswara, shortened to Konesar and is a major place for Hindu pilgrimage, labelled the “Rome of the Gentiles/Pagans of the Orient”. Connected at the mouth of the Mahavilli Ganga River to the footprint of Shiva at Sivan Oli Padam Malai at the river’s source, the temple symbolically crowns the flow of the Ganges River from Shiva’s head of Mount Kailash to his feet.

            Developed from 205 BC, the original kovil combined key features to form its basic Dravidian temple plan, such as its thousand pillared hall – “Aayiram Kaal Mandapam” – and the Jagati expanded by King Elara Manu Needhi Cholan. Regarded as the greatest building of its age for its architecture, elaborate sculptural bas-relief ornamentation adorned a black granite megalith while its multiple gold plated gopuram towers were expanded in the medieval period. One of three major Hindu shrines on the promontory with a colossal gopuram tower, it stood distinctly on the cape’s highest eminence. The journey for pilgrims in the town begins at the opening of Konesar Road and follows a path through courtyard shrines of the compound to the deities Bhadrakali, Ganesh, Vishnu Thirumal, Surya, Raavana, Ambal-Shakti, Murukan and Shiva who presides at the promontory’s height. The annual Koneswaram Temple Ther Thiruvilah festival involves the Bhadrakali temple of Trincomalee, the Pavanasam Theertham at the preserved Papanasuchunai holy well and the proximal Back Bay Sea (Theertham Karatkarai) surrounding Konesar Malai.

            The complex was destroyed in colonial religious attacks between 1622 and 1624 and a fort was built at the site from its debris. A 1632 built temple located away from the city houses some of its original idols. Worldwide interest was renewed following the discovery of its underwater and land ruins, sculptures and Chola bronzes by archaeologists and Arthur C. Clarke. It has been preserved through restorations, most recently in the 1950s. Granted ownership of villages in its floruit to form the Trincomalee District, Trincomalee village is located on the cape isthmus within the compounds. The modern temple has been a source of conflict between the majority Sinhalese and minority Tamils due to its position in a geostrategically important area. Revenue from the temple provides services and food to local residents.

            Koneswaram has many strong historical associations. The shrine is described in the Vayu Purana, the Konesar Kalvettu and Tevaram hymns by Sambandhar and Sundarar as a Paadal Petra Sthalam along with its west coast counterpart Ketheeswaram temple, Mannar, it is the birthplace of Patanjali, the compiler of the Yoga Sutras and was praised for its tradition by Arunagirinathar upon his visit. The Dakshina Kailasa Puranam and Manmiam works note it as Dakshina/Then Kailasam (Mount Kailash of the South) for its longitudinal position and pre-eminence, it lies directly east of Kudiramalai west coast Hindu port town, while it is the easternmost shrine of the five ancient Iswarams of Shiva on the island. Mentioned as a widely popular bay temple of the island in the Mahabharata, Ramayana and Yalpana Vaipava Malai, the Mattakallappu Manmiam confirms its sacred status for all Hindus. Kachiyappa Sivachariar’s Kanda Puranam compares the temple to Thillai Chidambaram Temple and Mount Kailash in Saivite esteem. Konesar Malai may have been the site where Yoga originated; some scholars have suggested that the worship of the almighty god Eiswara on the promontory is the most ancient form of worship existing.

        • 1
          31

          Dear Kali,

          Re “The east belongs to us as you can see from below. We will Reunite North & East and no force in the World is going to stop us. Big brother has already spoken”

          That is the exact attitude which precipitated a 30 year war.

          The Dutch National Archive gives the following description of a Fort built by them at Elephant Pass and the reason for building it.
          .
          (http://www.atlasofmutualheritage.nl/en/location/?id=813)
          .
          Elephant Pass

          During the 17th century the Company was engaged in a war of attrition with the king of Kandy, who had close ties with Ceylon’s Buddhist population. There was a narrow tongue of land at Elephant Pass a fort was built to guard the border with the king’s territory. Elephants captured on Ceylon were herded past here to Jaffna to be sold in India, hence the name Elephant Pass.

          Kind Regards,
          OTC

          • 27
            2

            Off the Cuff

            For your information the 30 years is behind us and the best is yet to come.
            The New Colonial master has already spoken in no uncertain terms.
            Colombo Port City Stopped
            North & East to be united under an Indian model

            It is a bitter pill to take for you lot.

            • 2
              28

              Dear Kali,

              India got a beating they will not easily forget from the LTTE. It will be insignificant in comparison to what they will encounter if they try to put Indian forces on the ground again. Don’t be foolish to believe in pipe dreams.

              If you are in Lanka you know what that will mean. If you are overseas you wouldn’t care as to what happens to Lankans just like you did not care what happened to the Tamils when you deserted Prabahkaran’s fight and fled in search of money.

              Kind Regards,
              OTC

    • 15
      3

      Thiru,
      There are a lot who share these views. I am one of them, another “koon”.
      Alahakoon.

      • 5
        9

        Thank you.

        I am aware of many more Sinhalese who support the Tamil quest for self-determination. One of whom is Germany based Viraj Mendis. There are many others including some well regarded journalists.

        • 5
          5

          AKP

          I have a link to one of those liberal journalists but cannot remember his name:

          https://vimeo.com/121718885

          • 5
            6

            Native Vedda,

            That’s Bashana Abeywardane.
            There is a brief write u about him that you may find helpful.

            http://www.pen-deutschland.de/en/themen/writers-in-exile/ehemalige-stipendiaten/rohitha-bashana-abeywardane/

            • 5
              6

              AKP

              Thanks a lot

              • 13
                4

                NV,

                So they in Germany are planning a big hit to keep up with their business which is at risk. Preme did the same with his Hulfsdrop Mohamed (private secretary not paskara) and VP to get at Rajive (as per raw Chanakyapuri sp his body guard). Jaffna Hindus are smart this time over and would stick with the Indian Empire (and wiggie) of the Deccan plateau than that Punjabi/muslim/sihala coup and lose themselves for ever as terrorist.Stay to self hindu tamil and the world is yours.

      • 1
        34

        Dear Alahakoon, Muthubanda, Punchnilama,

        Respect your wishes.

        How do you propose to alleviate the suffering of the million landless Kandyan Sinhala peasants, who became landless, in their own land, due to the actions of the British?

        Kind Regards,
        OTC

        • 6
          4

          A Kandyan Peasantry Commission was appointed and it was functioning for several years. Didn’t they achieve much? Whose fault is that?

          Sengodan. M

          • 1
            31

            The TULF and Tamil politico’s.

            The fraudulent and racist exclusive Tamil Homeland that they claimed

          • 17
            3

            Sengodan. M

            The state and its rulers should have redistributed the land to Sinhala people.

            Why haven’t successive governments taken any meaningful actions to get rid of colonial legacies, destroy the plantation and replace it with rice production.

            Even Land Reform Law of 1972 and Land Reform
            (Amendment) Law of 1975 didn’t tackle the issue of landless Sinhala peasant in up country.

            Why?

            Remember United Front (UF) government had more than 2/3 majority in the parliament.

            The so called nationalist SLFP had been in power between 1992 and 2015. So why didn’t they think about the landless Kandyan peasantry?

            Does the state and its rulers really want to redistribute land owned by plantation sector to the peasantry? Didn’t they have 67 years of absolute power to make a man into woman and woman into man (not wise)?

            I don’t understand many things this is one of them.

            • 2
              29

              Dear Veddha IMPERSONATING Tamil,

              Re “Why haven’t successive governments taken any meaningful actions to get rid of colonial legacies, destroy the plantation and replace it with rice production”

              Fortunately for Lanka those who governed us had the sense to recognise what is reversible and what is irreversible, though you obviously cannot.

              Kind Regards,
              OTC

              • 18
                3

                Off the Cuff

                “Fortunately for Lanka those who governed us had the sense to recognise what is reversible and what is irreversible, though you obviously cannot”

                Unfortunately here we have in this forum a deranged and fiction writing plagiarist continues to chant

                “How do you propose to alleviate the suffering of the million landless Kandyan Sinhala peasants, who became landless, in their own land, due to the actions of the British?”

                If the state couldn’t then shut up and move on.

                Sengodan commented:

                A Kandyan Peasantry Commission was appointed and it was functioning for several years. Didn’t they achieve much? Whose fault is that?

                Off the Cuff growled :

                “The TULF and Tamil politico’s. The fraudulent and racist exclusive Tamil Homeland that they claimed”

                As usual OTC the deranged writes new history. If you thought it was a joke, sad to say I couldn’t laugh. If it was fact I couldn’t verify.

                Why don’t the racist old codgers retire gracefully?

                • 2
                  30

                  Dear Tamil Pretender in a Veddha Mask,

                  The swollen headed, wise cracking, Tamil is delusional and the effort he makes to put up a pretense proves it.

                  The “Omniscient” Tamil pretender asks, “Why haven’t successive governments taken any meaningful actions to get rid of colonial legacies, destroy the plantation and replace it with rice production”

                  The joker thought that was a smart question.
                  Little did he realise how dumb it really was.

                  An agricultural economy replaced with an extensive cash crop economy is irreversible.

                  Although this Imbecile pretending to be omniscient, did not know that, we were fortunate that those who governed Lanka had a better sense of economics than this delusional self important Tamil imbecile.

                  Sengodan asked “A Kandyan Peasantry Commission was appointed and it was functioning for several years. Didn’t they achieve much? Whose fault is that?”

                  I replied “The TULF and Tamil politico’s. The fraudulent and racist exclusive Tamil Homeland that they claimed”

                  Sengodan didn’t respond as probably he understood I wrote the TRUTH but the Foolish and Delusional “Omniscient” Tamil Pretender retorted,

                  “As usual OTC the deranged writes new history. If you thought it was a joke, sad to say I couldn’t laugh. If it was fact I couldn’t verify”

                  This time the “Omniscient” Pretender has put his foot in his big mouth. Ha ha haa.

                  This Wise Cracking Idiot thinks he knows everything.
                  Just because he cannot find the claim made by the TULF he thinks it does not exist. He thinks he is INFALLIBLE like God and not subject to human failings.

                  The degenerate fool has a Very High Opinion of Himself. He posses as a WELL READ SAGE but actually he is a SWOLLEN HEADED WISE CRACKING IDIOT.

                  Any politically aware, well read Tamil, would have known that the TULF Manifesto of July 1977 speaks of “Exclusively the Homeland of the Tamils”

                  The Racist Delusional Imbecile has even ventured to state my age! Coming from a fool who believes in his godlike infalibility, that is not surprising.

                  Kind Regards,
                  OTC

  • 14
    2

    A K Samarakoon. This is an excellent analysis, all the more unusual coming from a Sinhalese. The urgent re examination of the concept of sovereignty, nationhood etc is essential if all stake holders are serious about resolving this simmering issue. We have had too many idiots like General Fonseka, who said before the end of the war, in words to the effect that the Tamils in the North should be grateful for the goodwill of the Sinhalese. He was immediately rebuked by Bishop de Chikera, who rightly pointed out that as Sri Lankan’s they did not need goodwill, but were entitled to the same rights and privileges we take for granted in the south. If the south does not appreciate the cultural and ethnic distinctness of the Tamils, and if the Sinhala Government of the day, be it blue or green, cannot come even close to understanding their aspirations, nor that meaningful devolution must take place soon, they should also bare responsibility for the next violent eruption, be it 1 year, 5 years or even later, but which will surely come.

    • 2
      32

      Dear Alahakoon, Muthubanda, Punchnilame,

      Respect your wishes.

      How do you propose to alleviate the suffering of the million landless Kandyan Sinhala peasants, who became landless, in their own land, due to the actions of the British?

      Kind Regards,
      OTC

      • 19
        1

        Whoopee,invertebrate moron!
        stuff them like canned cod-roe.-decade past 21st CE.
        5% of population work for the largest export item –
        The ship sails (conservation mode on) returns within day along with canned and palleted a variety of tuna, cod roe,
        and over to the Getty for export.
        That is Iceland the earliest know democracy-
        Lankan Hippocratic malice of the donkey Para_shinala speaking demela, , donkey para_tamil speaking,demela and camel islam all sarema- mookans nari, heynas at each throat- uncivilized donkeys that get pregnant- increase in population to wealth??? poverty begging bowl.

        How are you going to change that is important than your undefinable vermin-roll, to the ruling Empire across the straits yet closer than the rest of sarc/

  • 10
    4

    I too share the thoughts of this Writer – a way forward must begin, if the whole
    Island is to benefit in the long run. Narrow-minded politics should cease for once.
    We in the 21st Century should resolve this long-standing matter, before International
    intervention of any kind.

    • 2
      28

      Dear Alahakoon, Muthubanda, Punchnilama,

      Respect your wishes.

      How do you propose to alleviate the suffering of the million landless Kandyan Sinhala peasants, who became landless, in their own land, due to the actions of the British?

      Kind Regards,
      OTC

  • 2
    31

    Dear Mr Athulasiri Kumara Samarakoon,

    There is no denying the fact that a Tamil Kingdom existed in Lanka. It did and Cankili II reigned in the Jaffna Kingdom until he was defeated by the Portuguese.

    However the area under Tamil sovereignty is not the present Northern Province and it excludes totally the Eastern Province. Thus your argument ignores History and this is the reason a solution based on Pseudo History fails.

    The Provincial boundaries as we see them today, are British creations of a later date, hence you cannot concatenate Cankili II’s Jaffna Tamil Kingdom into the Northern and Eastern Provinces.

    Here is a quote from Dr Pradeep Jeganathan, a Tamil intellectual of repute.

    “Not every legitimate ruler of southern Lanka was a Buddhist in early modern times. Yet also it is not historically accurate to say that the Kings of Jaffna ruled the east, certainly even a cursory glance at Dutch records and the doings of Rajasinha the 2nd will tell you, that the Kings of the Kanda Uda Pas Rate, (the five countries on top of the mountains) were also the overlords of Batticoloa and Trincomalee”.

    The Southern Border of the Jaffna Tamil Kingdom was at Elephant Pass.

    The Dutch National Archive gives the following description of a Fort built by them at Elephant Pass and the reason for building it.
    .
    (http://www.atlasofmutualheritage.nl/en/location/?id=813)
    .
    Elephant Pass

    During the 17th century the Company was engaged in a war of attrition with the king of Kandy, who had close ties with Ceylon’s Buddhist population. There was a narrow tongue of land at Elephant Pass a fort was built to guard the border with the king’s territory. Elephants captured on Ceylon were herded past here to Jaffna to be sold in India, hence the name Elephant Pass.

    Land is the fount of Life and it is the Birthright of all Sri Lankans irrespective of cast, creed, religion or ethnicity. Any unreasonable and unfair claim to it by ANY group is sure to be opposed by the rest. It is not possible to ignore this and expect peace.

    As you have seen above, the South Eastern Seaboard from Elephant Pass is EXCLUDED from the historical Tamil Kingdom.

    There are other factors that show the improbability of the claim to the East.

    Sri Lanka has a land area of 65,000 km2 and a coastline of 1,562 km (probably more than 2,000 km if the coastlines of lagoons, bays, and inlets are added). The coast-line itself consists of a wide range of geomorphological features such as head-lands, bays, lagoons, peninsulas, spits, bars, and islets. It encompasses a variety of tropical habitats including wetlands (about 120,000 ha); lagoons and estuaries (45 estuaries and 40 lagoons totaling about 42,000 ha); mangroves, salt marshes, and seagrass beds (the total extent of mangrove coverage is between 6,000 and 10,000 ha); coral reefs (about 50 linear km of major reefs); and coastal sand dunes, barrier beaches, and spits (sand dunes occur along about 312 km of the coastline).

    When the British came here Lanka had 85% forest cover. Hence it was uninhabited except by the Aborigines the Veddha.

    Using census data the population growth can be estimated. Hence working backwards from known data we can arrive at a plausible estimate of the Tamil population before the arrival of the British.
    Thus in 1792 the Tamil population would be about 75,000 – 80,000.

    How this small population populated, 26,000 sq km (North + East provinces) and defended a POROUS boundary of nearly 2000 km, against a population more than 5 times their size, defies all reason.

    Obviously that claim to land is fraudulent.

    Let’s look at another issue.

    The British altered the Demographic Landscape of the Hill Country, the Sinhala Hinterland, by importing ALIEN Indian Tamils to work the Plantations and domiciling them in Land STOLEN from the Sinhala using Draconian Laws (Crown Land Enforcement Ordinance in 1840, Waste Land Ordinance Act of 1897, Land Settlement Ordinance of 1889 etc).

    In 1911 there were only 528,000 indigenous Lanka Tamils in the whole of Lanka. The number of Alien Indians occupying the Sinhala hinterland exceeded that and were 531,000.

    Crown Land Enforcement Ordinance in 1840 claimed the unoccupied and uncultivated land in the Kandyan kingdom (Farmer 1957:90- 91). As a result of this ordinance, 90% of the land in the Kandyan highlands was designated as land belonging to the British Crown (Herath et al, 1995:77).

    The Waste Land Ordinance Act of 1897 (and the Crown Land Encroachment Ordinance in 1840), annexed more lands as crown lands where villagers could no longer claim them according to the new British imposed rules (Roberts 1979:233, Obeysekara 1967: 98-100).

    The majority of the Sinhalese villages effectively lost the structural prerequisite of land tenure systems (Obeysekara 1967:101).

    The ‘Land Settlement Ordinance of 1889’ allowed the colonial authorities to sell these STOLEN lands at will. “Many villagers in the Kandyan area were deprived of their high lands formally used for chena cultivation or grazing the cattle” (Mendis 1951:85).

    Now let’s look at what it did to the Sinhalese.

    “According to the 1946 census on population in the agricultural sector of the island, 40% of the agricultural peasant families found in the former Kandyan Kingdom were landless while there were 26% landless agricultural families recorded in the wet zone” (Herath 1995: 79).

    There were a million Sinhala Landless Peasants in the Hill Country as a result of the Draconian British Laws even at independence.

    What are we going to do with them?

    We should have given their Lands back to them but that was not possible for two reasons.

    Lanka’s previous economy had food security. The British destroyed this and converted it to a cash crop economy. Thus it was not possible to give back the Land.

    Secondly there were the Indian Origin Tamils who were living there. It was inhumane to evict them.

    To solve the problem partially, the Govt started the Gal Oya scheme in 1949.

    The Gal Oya scheme opened up Forrest Land and 40 million acres of land became available for settlement of the Landless. The Landless resettled included the Veddhas, Moors, Tamils and some of the Sinhala people who were made destitute when the British STOLE their Lands and installed ALIEN INDIAN TAMILS in those Lands.

    Then came the racist cry of “this is Tamil Land” the Sinhala has no place in it. What started then evolved into a conflagration of unimagined proportions.

    Eighty percent of Lanka is PUBLIC land. It is the Birthright of ALL of us. No single entity has the right to deprive the others of that Birthright.

    What should be done is to excise unpopulated areas from the NP, EP and NCP to create a Territory governed by the Central Govt. There are such territories in India and the USA. There may be more in other countries.

    This central govt territory can then can be used for development and if that development involves a scheme like Gal Oya then the irrigated Land so opened up should be used to settle people as envisaged in the 13A.

    This will leave a NP with a Tamil majority and an EP with a Muslim Majority who will be in control of their own destinies. And the Rest of Lanka will not feel Cheated as is the case now.

    I hope you can share your views.

    Kind Regards,
    OTC

    • 15
      4

      “Since the 13th century the Tamil speaking people of the North-East were largely isolated from the Sinhala people of the south and separated by thick jungle. For centuries the two linguistic communities coexisted on the island peacefully without recourse to major conflict:

      “After the 13th century with the establishment of a Tamil kingdom in the north of the island, there was in fact a geographical separation of the Sinhalese from the Tamils. The buffer between them was the dry zone forests of the Vanni. The Sinhalese had by now, abandoned the north-central plains and migrated to the south-west quarter of the island. . . .Until the first quarter of the twentieth century a vast forest belt separated the Sinhalese from the Tamils of the north and the east.” (De Silva, Managing Ethnic Tensions, p. 14)1

      This is further corroborated by Indrapala:

      “A complete bifurcation of the island into Tamil-speaking and Sinhala-speaking areas would have taken place only after 1200, especially with the fall of Polonnaruva and the establishment of a new centre of Sinhalese power in the southwest…the retreat of the Sinhalese ensured the consolidation of Tamil habitation in the north, northwest and northeast as well as the assimilation of all non-Tamil elements within that region.

      As Anuradhapura and Polonnaruva were forever abandoned, a thick belt of jungle separated the Tamil north from the Sinhala south, and what is more, provided a buffer against any further political interruptions in the form of invasions from south Indian empires.” (Indrapala, The Evolution of an Ethnic Identity. 2005, P275-277) 2.”

      The jungle distribution that helped to separate the two linguistic regions-
      http://thamileelamdotorg.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/jungle.jpg

      More from http://www.sinhalisation.com/history/

      • 2
        29

        Dear Anpu,

        The MAIN issue that caused the Ethnic problem is the claim to LAND, grossly disproportionate to the Population.

        This LOPSIDED claim was made by Racist Tamil Politicians

        The main issue that I have raised is the Million + Landless peasants whose Lands were stolen and is now occupied by Indian Origin Tamils.

        You have AVOIDED addressing it.

        Copying from Eelam websites is useless unless you are prepared to argue the contents. I hope you are prepared to do so at least this time.

        Your references say that there was NO TAMIL KINGDOM IN LANKA before the 13 th Century. Hence the Tamil Kingdom when it existed lasted only 4 centuries. Hence History of Tamil Rule by Tamils is just a little over 400 years in a country having a history of several millennia.

        My reference (which is a PRIMARY reference) shows that when Cankili II was defeated the BORDER of the Tamil Kingdom and the Sinhala Kandyan Kingdom was at Elephant Pass.

        The ONLY “no man’s land” that could have existed is the sea and the Isthmus (narrow strip of land on which the A9 road stands today) between the Jaffna Peninsular and Mainland Lanka.

        This cannot be contested by bringing INTERPRETATIONS from anywhere.

        Kind Regards,
        OTC

        • 15
          2

          “The MAIN issue that caused the Ethnic problem is the claim to LAND, grossly disproportionate to the Population.”

          Nonsense! Since 1948, the Sinhala Buddhist dominated governments executed colonisation programmes without due processes of consultations with relevant parties and reaching consensus. They were/are consumed with majority arrogance. This is the root cause of the conflict. The Tamils of Ceylon were not party to any of such decisions. The Sinhala Buddhist nation building project ethos is well and truly saturated and embodied within the national institutions. This is based on the inculcated doctrine that the Tamils are aliens and thus are at the mercy of the Sinhala Buddhists.

          This is the reality; you and your ilk need to deal with this in oder to build any semblance of peace in the country. In another word, this situation is an illness that needs to be cured!

          • 2
            27

            Dear Burning Issue,

            Thank you for proving my point.

            Colonisation was done by the British who colonised the Sinhala Hinterland of the hill country with imported Tamil ALIENS in numbers exceeding the ENTIRE indigenous Tamil population of Lanka.

            They also drastically changed the DEMOGRAPHY of the Hill country permanently. Such a MASSIVE demographic change is UNPARALLELLED in the Entire History of Lanka reaching back to Millennia.

            Over a million Sinhala were made landless and destitute.

            The British did not solve the problem that they created.

            The elected govt could not ignore these people as the Brits did. They addressed the problem by developing UNINHABITED FOREST LAND in the Gal Oya Valley to resettle them.

            Now please explain how that becomes a problem for the Lanka Tamils.

            I have given references in my post of March 16, 2015 at 9:25 pm that you have avoided.

            Kind Regards,
            OTC

  • 8
    7

    Well, many of these are positive views on what the writer has to say. May be, there cannot be any disagreement over some of the historical facts in your comments too, yet the current scenario, at least after 1948, is well known and less obscure. It is my view, may be the writer’s too, that we need to deal with the present, not with the past; because the history is a jungle and full of misinterpretations; why cannot we just look at the current ethnic composition of the north and east and decide on what we can see and not that worry about what Sinhalese used to have etc?…Jeganathan, G.Obeyesekere etc have attempted to look at an anthropological history and their views are more moderate and objective….I guess, the writer should have definitely touched them.

  • 1
    4

    Very positive thoughts from a Sinhala intellectual. All patriots in the country, Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims should consider this viewpoint very seriously in the future interests of our beloved country.

    Sengodan. M

  • 3
    2

    In the Past there were internal migration of the (Tamil ) people inside the Tamil Land. they migrated between cities in Eelam and present day Tamil nadu and Kerala etc. people went to Ramanad were forced to go to the hill country and work in the plantation sector. the restriction by boundaries is a very recent phenomenon. Singhalese also would have migrated from place to place in the same manner. north is mixer people from various places all of them became a group as Tamils over the time. you may be able to observe even a small group would have their unique Tradition and customs.

  • 2
    16

    So many Sinhala sympathisers for Tamil, not a single Tamil sympathisers for Sinhala people

    • 14
      3

      Namal

      “So many Sinhala sympathisers for Tamil, not a single Tamil sympathisers for Sinhala people”

      We have lot of sympathy for Sinhala people because most of them are stupid. For stupid is as stupid does, electing the most undemocratic leaders in this island. On the other hand we want to deport all the descendants of Kallathonie Sinhala/Buddhists back to their ancestral homeland in Tamil Nadu and Bihar.

      Sinhalese should demand sympathy and support from their Sinhala/Buddhist state.

  • 12
    8

    This a country full of biased academics who serve only to perpetuate a racist state; devolution is anathema for them. Budding Sinhala intellectuals like the writer must be sympathized for their honesty, but still the voice they raise will echo in the future history, when this country will be divided by foreign powers; before that happens all communities must be united with ‘cooperative federalism’ or whatever an acceptable solution.

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