25 September, 2020

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“Sikkim What The What?”

By Mano Ratwatte

Mano Ratwatte

Mano Ratwatte

Sikkim was an independent Buddhist Kingdom before the glorious days of the British Empire. You know the same British empire which permanently altered Sri Lanka’s demographic patterns permanently by importing serfs/indentured labor and displacing Kandyan peasants in the hills to create the amazing tea plantations? Sikkim was an independent ancient kingdom similar to Bhutan; it is located between Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan and Paschim Bangla.

Sikkim was a monarchy since the 1600s. It is landlocked and borders Nepal and Tibet. No need to go into its long history but the British made it a protectorate when they ruled India. Sikkim allied itself with Britain because of its traditional enemies the Hindu Nepal and the Kingdom of Bhutan. Later on, due to taxation issues (well the British tried to screw the Americans on taxes too) there was a falling out(of course our Anglican masters are well known for reneging on treaties now aren’t they? the Kandyan Sinhalese eager to overthrow a tyrant king, realized much to their chagrin in 1815 that those Anglos didn’t like to honor treaties) Britain annexed parts of the large kingdom of Sikkim into its Indian territories.  Darjeeling, of the famous tea estates was historically part of Sikkim  until the mid 1800s when the Empire carved it out. If the Kandyans weren’t that foolish, the radical demographic alterations of the hill country populations would possibly have been averted and millions of serfs from S.India would not have been imported. Of course what is done is done and that is mere conjecture.

1947 to 1960s

In 1947, the Sikkimese voted overwhelmingly to reject joining India. They had an independent ethno-religious identity and were a monarchy. They were suspicious of the new Hindu regime in India. However, being a helpless rather poor landlocked nation it agreed to a peace treaty with Jawaharlal Nehru(JN) in 1950(very much an unequal treaty signed under duress; you all remember 1987 and that  arrogant Viceroy Dixit days( Paul Bremer in Iraq) and the agreement shoved down Sri Lanka’s gullet don’t you?) giving where India controlled its external affairs, defence, diplomacy and communications. Sikkim retained administrative autonomy. Remember that some in India wanted to absorb Sri Lanka into it too.

maithipalaSikkim’s  king was called the Chyogal. As time went by slowly but surely the expanding Indian and Nepali Hindu populations started encroaching on Sikkimese lands.  This started changing the demographic balance of  Kingdom of Sikkim. Yet, India in the 1960s whilst officially claiming Sikkim was an independent nation starts sending  in its army and the Central Reserve Police(CPRF); it built strategic highways as a bulwark against Chinese intervention from Tibet. It also promoted the penetration of Indian merchant and money into the tiny Sikkimese economy.

Rigged elections

Fast forward to the days of Indira Gandhi and Congress I rule(mostly under emergency). Suddenly there is “popular unrest” in 1974, (of the kind initiated by the US in Libya and Ukraine in more modern times for different reasons). By then the population balance had changed. Nepali Hindus and Indian Hindus dominate the landscape. There is a referendum(perhaps JR learnt from them about this concept?) and a majority vote to overthrow the unpopular Chyogal. In early 1974, a rigged election is held – an election supervised by four battalions of the notorious CPRF and marked by blatant irregularities perpetuated by the candidates of the pro Indian Sikkim National Congress and a man named – Kazi Lhendup Dorji, a feudal overlord , is manoeuvred into power(Do you see the parallels with the election of Vartharaja Perumal under Indian auspices?).Was  Dorji India’s PuYi, the boy emperor the genocidal Japanese monsters installed in Manchuria?

In 1975, under the auspices of  Mrs. Gandhi, daughter of the father of modern India( JN who imposed an unequal treatise on Sikkim), absorbs it as the 22nd state of India. The world didn’t see or hear the outcry back then. By then 75% of Sikkim’s population were of Nepali origin and even they saw this blatant grab of a once independent Shangrila for what it was; a power grab by the regional super power afraid of China. Protests in Nepal were ignored.

Troubled pasts in both nations

People who have a view of India as being really rosy and peaceful co-existence fail to realize facts; India’s post WW II history is as  troubled as Sri Lanka’s, with the exception that whatever happens in India including ethnic massacres, do not make international headlines because it is a regional super power. The west will never raise issue if India commits excesses in the Muslim state of Kashmir or deal with rebellion in the 7-sister states with an iron hand. So while for the most part, all ethnic and religious groups live side by side in both nations, we should realize that it was not always the case.

Partition horrors

During the partition, between 200,000 to 500,000 people were massacred in gory bloodshed amidst scaremongering when India. So much for non violent Hindu Gandhian values being superior no?  Most of the suffering happened in Punjab province when it was split between Pakistan(Lahore was part of the amazing Sikh Kingdom during Maharajah Ranjit Singh’s rule before our mutual Colonial masters conquered India) and India. Retributive killings, wholesale rapes occurred on both sides as Sikhs and Punjabi Hindus fled Pakistan and millions of Muslims fled hordes of mostly Hindu or Sikh mobs.  To this date, it is estimated that the 14 million on forcible move of humans is the largest human migration in history.

1984 horrors

Rajiv Gandhi allowed Cong-I goon squads in New Delhi and Haryana to rape, burn and massacre innocent Sikhs in 1984 too. Over 5,000 Sikh innocents are feared to have lost their lives in that week of violence. Human Rights Watch in 2011 unequivocally challenged the State of India to prosecute those responsible for those violent acts against a religious minority.  Were those terrible events a failure of leadership or deliberate pogroms? Sri Lankans love Bollywood right? Did you know that legendary Amithabh Bachchan a Cong I politician back then was accused of raising the “Khooon Ka Badla Khoon” (blood for blood) slogan on October 31, 1984 and was summoned to US courts in 2014?

Gujarat horrors

Fast forward to 2002 and the Gujarat pogrom against innocent Muslims. Modi was Gujarat’s Chief minister back then. Between 1,000 and 2,000 innocent muslims were massacred by marauding Hindu rightwing mobs and Modi was blamed for his inaction at the least or inciting the riots. The US did not grant a visitor visa to PM Modi until he won the election. For a long time secular well meaning Indians have asked the question if Modi could have stopped the violence? Ironic isn’t it? Everyone is rushing to glad hand this guy after the secular corrupt Cong-I was routed but the same man was almost an untouchable to the US before the elections. Quite a queer twist in Realpolitik no? Writing about Cong-I  games in Punjab, operation Bluestar, Sikh uprisings, Khalistan are for another day.

Events leading to Khalistani uprising and the massacre of innocents and the repressive overwhelming Indian military presence in Kashmir, and the North Eastern states such as Nagaland, Assam, Mizoram, Manipur are a another chapter.  It is sufficient to say most Nagas(there are many tribes including those with head hunting traditions ) , and Mizos who are predominantly Christian, don’t like the repressive presence of Hindi speaking Indian military in their state.  Sikkimese Buddhists still do not consider themselves as Indian and desperately try to cling to their ancient heritage. Conversations over Old Monk rum and countless cups of chai , samosas and kachoris, during my years in Punjab are still etched in my memory. I yearn for those days, where we would sit under a tree at the students union and debate or discuss world events with an incredibly diverse group of students from across the world(Fijian Indians, Tongans, Malayali Indians, Sikhs, Hindus, Nigerians, Afghanis, Iranians, Kenyans, Malaysian Chinese and Indians including my great roommate a grandson of a Chinese woman and two generations of Ceylon Tamils, Singaporean Chinese and  Sikhs). It was hard for me to go back to Punjab after the disgraceful pogrom in 1983 because every Indian buddy of mine wanted to jump on my case. Roles was reversed in October-Nov of 1984 when I had to console some of my Sikh brothers who were from New Delhi as they feared for their lives when people were being dragged out of trains and being murdered on their way to Delhi. My North Indian friends stopped judging Sri Lanka harshly after that shameful chapter in their history.

Modi’s mode?

Will Modi govern as a pacifist or will he give way to his Hindu Raj tendencies from his Gujarat days? Will he try to foment trouble inside Sri Lanka using RAW so that he can justify a military presence in strategic locations inside Sri Lanka? Perhaps the Astrological forecast of the people was good and with the recent positive electoral change, it may not happen. But don’t rule out possible scenarios where the CM of the North might become the next Pu Yi if Sri Lanka falters in its search for a more equitable representative secular democracy. India will not hesitate to engineer incidents and claim Indian interests are at stake to intervene again if Sri Lanka fails to reconcile different concerns of the different ethno-linguistic or religious groups within its 25,332 sq.miles.

Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan have recently had issues related to water sharing with India. There wasa border skirmish between India and Bangladesh in 2001 over disputed border areas in the Indian state of Meghalaya. Bangladesh claims India overdraws water via the Farraka dam leaving rivers dry on their side of the border. India occasionally shoots illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. India is building the world’s longest border fence to stem illegal immigration from Bangladesh leading to further tension. India has similar water resource issues with its other neighbours. In all these cases, India has got away with bullying and intimidation because of its sheer size and military power.

Potentially with illegal immigrants from India settling down in parts of Sri Lanka, they will alter demographic patterns. India may potentially create issues and intervene militarily in the future. These may sound alarmist, but they are not beyond the realm are they? What if RAW and India set up some violent attacks against Indian interests/Investments? Japan did this in China before World War II. What will Modi’s mode be? Will he aggressively seek Hindu Raj domination or will he govern as a moderate mild genuinely Gandhian Indian?

Finally.

The fact remains that the Sinhalese be they Buddhists, Agnostics, Atheists or Christians is indeed one of the oldest recorded ethno linguistic civilizations of the world. Whether the Sinhalese are of Malayali or Ori or Bengali, or even Bihari mixed descent is besides the point; its recorded history shows that it is indeed the dominant ethno linguistic group in Sri Lanka and some respect for its fears and concerns must be shown and addressed in whatever political settlement sets its future. Dayan J is right on that point; it is not racist to point out that fact.

There are 80million Tamil speakers across the Palk Strait. The Tamil identity and language is not threatened by mingling or integration. That is indeed a racially divisive tactic used by those who want to protect the caste based segregationist identity of one group over another. Can one part of a nation exclude one ethno-linguistic group from living there based on irrational ethno-religiously based biases the way Tamil supremacists and Tiger supporters want? Shouldn’t any ethnic Sri Lanka have the right to own property, live, work and prosper in any corner of a densely populated Island nation? Will India try to make a Sikkim out of its island neighbour?

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Latest comments

  • 4
    2

    Mano,

    What were you smoking when writing this ramble. No matter my friend, ramble on and keep smoking.

    • 1
      0

      Yea man No better word for this [Edited out]
      ratwatte says: Sikkim allied itself with Britain because of its traditional enemies the Hindu Nepal and the Kingdom of Bhutan. “”
      Butan is the buddhist kingdom and Nepal is the Hindu Kingdom. He is a religious spin doctor smoking pot.

      He does not know the ancient history of Sikkim because he got one step in his ratter `popular art` grave.

      The Mughals, who resurfaced present north india in 1478 could never go as far as sikkim, nepal – they were the hindu warriors- The Gorka Army is highly respected by the Peoples Army of China.

      Most of his judgement is from atop his toilet seat not the Himalayas.

      Stinker!!

    • 3
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      Mano Ratwatte is a pure and simple Sinhala Buddhist chauvinist.

      His goal is to poison the minds of Sinhalese people against Tamils, Muslims, Christians, and in other words the “others”

  • 3
    6

    Shouldn’t any ethnic Sri Lanka have the right to own property, live, work and prosper in any corner of a densely populated Island nation? Will India try to make a Sikkim out of its island neighbour?

    I think the argument is that its NOT RIGHT unless non-Tamils move to Jaffna voluntarily.

    The counter argument should Tamils were colonised into the island by the British changing demographic patterns. In addition it introduced Tamil ethno terrorism that destroyed the country for ages.

    So it is in fact RIGHT to settle non-Sinhala into Jaffna to restore the demographic balance and to prevent the kind of ethno-terrorism of Tamils.

  • 0
    2

    The article does not make any sense. When it is India there are 2 Indias
    The Aryan India and The Dravidian India this is a fact but they will not accept it. In Sri Lanka there is a Dravidian Sri Lanka and I am not sure if we have an Aryan Sri Lanka given the fact Ravana the greatest of all rulers of Sri Lanka is Dravidian and the whole Ramayana which the Indians believe in is a fight between the Aryans and Dravidian.

  • 6
    2

    This man obviously is viewing things through tinted glasses. He writes about Sikkim and Bhutan. What about Tibet? He doesn’t seem to see anything foul in the annexation of Tibet by China!

    Illegal immigrants from India settling down in parts of Sri Lanka? Illegal immigrants from which part of India and settling down in which parts of Sri Lanka? Could this writer illuminate the readers of CT regarding this? Even the over 100,000 Sri Lankan refugees in Tamilnadu and elsewhere in India are showing much reluctance to return to Sri Lanka. Under such circumstances how would some imaginary ‘illegal immigrants’ from India will come over here?

    The best possible way of preventing Sikkimisation of Sri Lanka is amicably settling the issue with the Tamils, giving them a fair degree of autonomy and make them feel comfortable as proud citizens of Sri Lanka! As much as the Sinhalese, the Tamils of Sri Lanka do not desire to be overwhelmed by the Indians or any other community. They too wish to retain their special identity which in many ways are distinctly different from the identity of Tamils in Tamilnadu.

    Sengodan. M

  • 4
    2

    Ratwatte

    You are truly ‘mano’.

    Your racist rants do not bode well for you, your family, your race, or your country.

    Get admitted to the Angoda Mental Facility pronto.

    • 2
      2

      The [Edited out] Ratwattes know well of their Tamil lineage and here is this man flying a Sikkimese kite and beating around the bush apparently inspired by Pakistani ISI to stir up the Lankan behive to have some fun.
      Where was he fishing all these days before coming up with his astounding new theories in CT?

  • 4
    2

    I don’t really get anything from this article other than some form of stupid thinking. The writer easily forgets Sri Lankans import US$ 3 billion worth of foodstuff from India annually to feed them. Every rational thinking person other than this writer is well aware what’s going on in another kingdom of peace-loving Bhuddists called Myanmar(Burma).

  • 4
    2

    Pogroms in India was not state aided but in Sri Lanka it was always by the terrorist state machinery. So is the organized colonizations. Tamils or Muslims were not helped or plantrd by governments or move to other territories. But Sinhalese are taken by the state to places traditionally and exclusively occupied by Tamils and Muslims. These are called ‘State aided colonization’. No government helped Tamils or Muslims to go live anywhere but Sinhalese were given all the support and help with full military protection to go in the midst of other traditional territories of minority races in order to change the demography with sinister motives, from the days of D.S. Senanayake and still continues. The regimes doesn’t like concentration of a single minority group anywhere in Lanka. Tamils and Muslims moved to other places for a living and never intended to change demography or anything else. But the Sinhalese were and are planted in the middle of other races in their territories for political and racist reasons known to all.

    If Tamils and Muslims are living in Colombo, it’s because Colombo is not an exclusive town for one particular community. It’s for every one, since it’s the capital city, common to every one.But Jaffna or Trinco/Batticaloa are the traditional areas of Tamils and Muslims. Sinhalese can move to any place and live on their own, no complaints, but the state interfering is the problem.

    People can move anywhere they like on their own for valid reasons. But government, providing all the help and army protection for moving one group of people for their political reason is not acceptable. No government helped the minorities move anywhere. If they did, it was by their own effort.
    This kind of discriminatory practice with ulterior motives are suspicious and only create divisions and dis-pleasures among communities. These acts of discrimination make other races angry. Why are those people treated differently ? DJ and his racist thinking is absurd and never expected this kind of theory from a person who lived with so many people and races in India to come out and defend this idiocracy of SL governments and Dr DJ.

    • 1
      1

      It is interesting that China is today contesting the ownership of Arunchal Pradesh in the vicinity. It appears as part of China in their own maps and several times in the past clashes between the countries have occurred. British fingerprints are unmistakable.

    • 2
      1

      The Muslims were settled in the Mattakalapuwa area by King Senerath. The circumstances I am sure are well known to you, and that does NOT make it a traditional area of abode for Muslims. It is further poibnted out that the Dutch and the British found ‘Tamil-speaking’ people in the area. The reason does not need to be hidden or overlooked. Pointing out the truth does not make one a racist, BUT the opposite does.

  • 1
    1

    From what Modi did to MR,wishing him success in the election and stabbing him
    in the back,anything is possible.
    Ever since My3 came to power no Indian trawlers has crossed IMBL,can you believe it!,now they are getting ready to recieve 80 odd boats impounded,so that they can once again begin their plunder.
    This is the kind of puppets they’d like in control here and as long as they have their way necessity for drastic action does not arise.

  • 0
    0

    “Whether the Sinhalese are of Malayali or Ori or Bengali, or even Bihari mixed descent is besides the point”

    Now now that is not fair is it?So sinhalese can be migrants and somehow show “uniqueness” but the same cannot be said of Tamils?

    Australians,Americans and English all speak the same language but they are three different ethnicity.

    The ancient sinhalese accepted the Tamils in the island as distinct to their cousins in India despite sharing same language, its the modern sinhalese racist like the you who deny it and it is this what Tamils are against.

  • 2
    1

    Soon sinhala Buddhist will divided this country into pieces..that way JHU and southern racist Buddhist live in Colombo work hard to defeat mahinda..unfortunately muslim and Christian don’t understand sinhala Buddhist mind and their history.

  • 1
    1

    Mano Ratwatte:
    The first commentator might have hit the nail on the head in the matter of you smoking some “foreign substance.” However, I would suggest that, if the laws of the country in which you now reside provide for such, someone displaying as aberrant behaviour as you appear to should be confined in some place where he is not able to harm the rest of the citizenry.
    I was particularly interested to read the suggestion that those who dumped the last king of Kandy did so because they were innocent lambs. Would that include your illustrious Sinhala-Buddhist ancestor, bearing the same name as you do, who signed the Kandyan Convention with those awful imperialists IN TAMIL?

  • 0
    1

    I appeal all Tamils don’t respond Sinhala Buddhist stone age modayas …[Edited out]

  • 1
    1

    Mano Rat-what-the-what?

  • 2
    2

    What the Sikkim r u talking about? Man u need some serious help. That mountain thin air seems to have gotten to uer head. U and I need to sit down and smoke some ganja. Baba Booey 2 u.

  • 1
    1

    Mano,
    According to Sinhala hardline logic
    Buddhism existed in Sri Lanka before Hinduism
    Though Hinduism is far far older as everyone knows across the globe
    Somehow we are led to believe that it never reached the island which is only a stones throw away from India, but that it invaded Sri Lanka AFTER the buddhist religion reached it first all the way from Northern India

  • 0
    0

    The “ethno linguistic civilisation” has genes from the east and west.
    Have a look.

    http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~lkawgw/gen1001.html

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