19 November, 2018

Blog

Sinhala Only: Our Nation’s Curse?

By Jagath Asoka

Dr. Jagath Asoka

Dr. Jagath Asoka

If you are a Sri Lankan—in the deepest sense—what is your identity? I think most Sri Lankans, first, would use their ethnicity or religion to identify themselves, not their country. Will Sinhala ever be the language that unites us, not the language that belongs only to the ethnic Sinhalese? What would happen to the Sinhala language if it is also spoken by the majority of our minorities?

What is the significance of knowing the Sinhala language in our day-to-day living in Sri Lanka? Is Sinhala a vehicle for expressing our thoughts, perceptions, sentiments, and values characteristic of a particular ethnic group? Is it a representation of a fundamental expression of our social identity? Does Sinhala help us maintain the feelings of cultural and ethnic kinship? Can the Sinhala language unite various ethnic and religious groups in Sri Lanka?

I do not think that the Sri Lankan Sinhalese would make an attempt to learn Tamil because they can survive without it; they have nothing to gain by expressing their grievances, political or otherwise, in Tamil. On the other hand, the minorities in Sri Lanka have to survive among this majority. If you are a Tamil or a Muslim, what is the impetus to learn Sinhala?

For all practical purposes, we must have two, or even three, official languages—Sinhala, Tamil, and English—in Sri Lanka, but can we form a single national identity without a common language? Can we blame the ravaging imperialist monsters for creating two bleeding halves of this edenic paradise? We know that English is not going to be our common language of the masses, because English is somewhat inaccessible and belong to the realm of the intellectual elite. English, spoken competently by about 10% of the population, is referred to as the link language in the constitution. I do not know the percentage of Tamils who are fluent in Sinhala, but I know one thing: When Tamil or Muslim politicians articulate their thoughts fluently in Sinhala, they get the attention of the majority Sinhalese. Try it if you do not believe me!

Cartoon Sinhala OnlyWe—Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims, and other minorities—have been living together; from its earliest recorded history to now, Sri Lanka continues to be a multiethnic society, yet we have not found a way to communicate effectively and sincerely with each other. When people speak a common language, it is easier to communicate; our inability to find a common language has been a curse with disasters reaching biblical proportions. We have been told that during the early centuries of Sri Lankan history there was considerable harmony between the Sinhalese and Tamils. What happened to that harmony? How did it turn into hegemony?

In Sri Lanka, most Tamils, including Tamil politicians, are not very fluent in Sinhala. Is it because they refuse to learn Sinhala as a vehement protest against Sinhala-Buddhist hegemony? Is it not pragmatic to learn Sinhala in a country where around 72% use mostly Sinhala as their day-to-day language? The problem with Sinhala language is that its ownership by the ethnic group that identifies themselves as Sinhalese; in the USA, people who speak English do not identify themselves with a particular ethnic group. English is the de facto—not de jure—national language of the United States, and some 95% claim to speak it “well” or “very well”; however, no official national language exists at the federal level. English has acquired official status in 28 of the 50 states; Hawaiian is an official language in the state of Hawaii. What can we learn from this de facto American experience?

It seems like our national politics has evolved around influential personalities whose vision and agenda were too myopic, based on their personal political gains focused on communal grounds, not on national unity and harmony. As a result, among the Sinhalese—organizing on communal grounds—nationalism manifested as a movement to restore Buddhism to its former glory, and others followed suit; e.g., the Burgher Political Association in 1938, the Ceylon Indian Congress in 1939, and the All Ceylon Tamil Congress in 1944. It seems like our focus has never been on what it means to be a Sri Lankan; if “Sri Lankans “ is not our sincere deepest identity, the dream of shared values and national unity will never be fulfilled, especially among those who fuel bigotry and disharmony for their personal political gains.

The discussions and need to change Sri Lankan language policy started way before Bandaranaike era. There was a consensus to declare both Sinhala and Tamil as official languages; however, in 1956, the Sinhala Only Act replaced English as the official language of Sri Lanka, but failed to give official recognition to Tamil, which is the mother tongue of three largest minority ethnic groups—Sri Lankan Tamils, Indian Tamils, and Moors—who together account for around 28% of the country’s population.

If you are a supporter of this Sinhala Only Act, you would say that this was our best way to show our independence from our colonial masters; but if you are an opponent, you would say it was an attempt by the Sinhalese to oppress and affirm dominance on minorities. The Act justified a demand for a separate nation state by Tamils, which resulted in decades of civil war.

Who benefited from this Act, the subaltern Sinhalese and the Tamils Sri Lankans: those Sri Lankans who were fluent in English? The subaltern elite of the Sinhalese and Tamils held civil service jobs, which required fluency in English. It is interesting to notice that among the subaltern elite, the Sinhalese subaltern elite held the view that the Tamils had enjoyed a privileged position under the British, than their share of the island’s Tamil population. Can you blame the Tamils for that?

The SLFP decided to campaign on the slogan “Sinhala Only”—one of their key election promises in the 1956 parliamentary elections—and they won. The Sinhala Only bill was passed with the SLFP and the UNP supporting it, but the LSSP, Communist Party, and the Tamil nationalist parties opposed it.

How are we going to solve a problem that is almost unsolvable? For Sri Lanka to remain as a unitary system, undivided, all Sri Lankans must feel that they belong in it; all Sri Lankans must feel that the society serves them. What gives that sense of belonging without division? We ask for a separate piece when we fell that we do not own the entire thing, when we feel that we do not belong in it, and when we feel that we are being discriminated against. But is there a solution that is not based on emotion, but on survival, realism, and pragmatism?

If I were a Tamil or a Muslim, living in Sri Lanka, I would definitely be very fluent in Sinhala, just like I would encourage everyone to learn English if they choose to live here in the US. Promoting Sinhala as our common language is a very controversial and incendiary issue in Sri Lanka. If you are fluent in Sinhala, would you lose your ethnic identity as a Tamil or a Muslim?

If you are a Sri Lankan Tamil or a Muslim—and if you are very fluent in Sinhala—I am pretty sure that the bigoted ethnic Sinhalese politicians cannot play the language card against you. If fact, you should know Sinhala better than any Sinhalese person living in Sri Lanka so that Sinhala language would not be an impediment to maximize your potential and god given talents.

I have seen on TV, extremists proclaim: This country belongs to Sinhala-Buddhists. My question is: What about the rest? As Sri Lankans, we have the same rights and responsibilities. What can we do to make us feel that Sri Lanka belongs to all Sri Lankans? Is this idea—we all are Sri Lankans with equal rights and equal responsibilities—a political miracle? Can we ever achieve it?

When are we going to move beyond communal and tribal politics and think as one nation: As Sri Lankans? Is it possible to have this single identity, Sri Lankans, without a common language? As long as the majority identify themselves as Sinhala-Buddhists, first, we can never solve this problem.

I think, with our recent political changes—I sincerely doubt that these changes will survive unless we get rid of the crooks, bigots, thugs, and asinine pseudo-intellectuals; pish! It seems like the entire Sri Lanka—all of us now have a genuine opportunity to participate in our Herculean task of building a single identity and consciousness: I am a Sri Lankan. Can we ever detach ourselves from the ethnic identity of the Sinhalese Language? We can talk about Sirisena’s tree-worship, which is innocuous, or talk about our burning national problems that continue to plague us: a country without a single national identity and what can we do about it?

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Latest comments

  • 4
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    Dr. Jagath Asoka (It is not clear whether he is a medical doctor or a phD in a specialty which again is unknown.) has penned an article, which is food for thought. I would like to view this from a point of view of good governance.

    He states that as long as the majority identify themselves as Sinhalese-Buddhists, first, we can never solve this problem. Is it? I am sure that if I were say a Christian Tamil, I would so identify my self. Even among say Muslims in this country, there are issues of identification. In China, although from outside is seen as one Chinese, it has many an ethnicity. So the individual identifying himself with his ethnicity, religion, cultural group and even associations which he belongs is a reality one has to face.

    Clearly in a cohesive society one must communicate and that has to be understood by the listener. It is interesting to note that the so called minority politicians make their case in the so called majority language in television talk shows and quite a number of people in the so called majority now inclined to think that there is a case for them and they must be recognized. So what is the secret of this victory? It is the expression of ideas in the language of the listener.

    The reality of the SWRDB language act is that it was culmination of the feeling that the language of the so called majority was not recognized and in doing so it created a Frankenstein monster in whipping up feelings of the so called minorities. The years of war costed the entire Sri Lankan population of all ethnic descriptions resulting in no governance leave alone it being good.

    We can introduce constitutional provisions giving a feeling of equality of languages or equality of many other factors but has it united a divided society? The secret is there should be communication and it should be intelligible to the listener.

    There is no short term solution for this. Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore says he took 40 years to educate Singaporeans in English so that it is the language of communication. It is interesting to note that if one starts learning a language say from the age of 5 it sticks into his mind for ever and it need not be one language. I understand that in so called Catholic schools in Sri Lanka all three languages are taught from the very beginning. In my mind this kind of program could be extended island-wide. For Ordinary level we make the mother language compulsory. Have a single paper to test all three languages which is compulsory.

    Sri Lankans should be conversant in all languages enabling them to communicate each other by speaking the language of the Listner.

    • 1
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      Everyone would utter all these theories. But it is not practical that everyone of the country be learnt all the langagues. Besides, learning langauges of a country- is a long process. That should come for a longer period. Germany#s turkish and other migrant communties are neglected not giving them good access to learn German from the days they brought those guest workers to the country. So what has been consquence is – main migrant community-the turkish is compelled to live in ghetto life styles. That has affected on their second generation being isolated … from one generation to other. Even today, nothing like demography is clearly depicting the significant numbers of Turks in varied areas of the country. Not significant numbers of offsprings of the guestworkers are accessed to university or higher education.

      So if we the srilanken would start learning the langagues from now on, harvest we would see after a decade or so. So, then only we would be able to see that people would feel SRILANKEN. Just telling and doing nothign to materialize can bring no effect actually.

      • 0
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        Yes Sir! It is one of the long term solutions which takes considerable time. As I said in my comment the education authorities in this country must emulate the lesson of the so called Catholic schools with respect to languages and the compulsory subject for O-levels should be changed to Languages where in one paper you test the all three languages in one go instead of the mother tongue. This paper can have translations, precis of paras written in one language be given in another language, grammar etc. The literature part and the essay writing part is left for the individual subjects of the language.

        • 4
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          Chameleon babies do not need permission or parental help to come off their shells they just blend to the environment.,

          When the catholic schools were to be taken over by directive of the prevailing- uduran kanna pakshya . The boat people who were catholic converts (some even for the square meal and a pair of shorts like the ones who landed at harbour colmbo from Yendia)
          These pricks were quick to admonish the church and priests- survival of the fittest animal instinct.
          It was just the fee paying non converts parents who had studied in a similar environment who played straight bat lobbying for the Almamater and funding it till the exchange controls came in and dashed it all.
          As in the bible the same pricks making suggestions using a school.
          Dr Jyckle Mr Hyde / Lucifer/St Michael.

          Cant you see how the oldest Catholic University in the world works with 4 languages of Europe.- It is better than Oxbridge/Cambridge.

          The days of VOC- even before during the crusades and wine making.

          The minority of 40,000 skin heads freaks of civilization whose feet are anointed with the saliva of new borns that has crucified the island. The are pure beggars who are rulers of a Buruva inhabitants. Therefore the majority listen to the speeches in Sinhala but when it comes to niceties accuracy etc there has to be reference from the English Language because economically you are still the Colony bugger upstart while you are Fuc*ing your great neighbor because you see your image in their moda mess with Gandhi- the naked fakir Indira’s hubby (for a shilling the Iranian became Indian like gujarati)Pedophiles `Saffron colored One`

  • 2
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    Hyenas think it is their time to party.

    Wow, Sinhala should be ashamed to talked in Sinhala.

    Instead use, Tamil for Tamils and Arabic for muslims.

    english for all other kalusuddhas.,

    • 11
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      Jimba Gembo, Cheeky Charlie,

      Looks like you’ve eaten a Chinese dog.

      “Hyenas think it is their time to party.”

      That is exactly what you are doing- Crocuta – the `orange colored one` as in your flag.

  • 4
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    Finally an article on this site for whose comments are not full of racist vitriol and irrelevant meanderings.

    My mother who went to the University of Peradeniya in the late 50s, had to write her A/Ls (called SSC’s then) in Sinhala using the English script because she had been an English medium student at the time of the language policy change!

    I, on the other hand, went to school in the 80’s and studied in the Sinhala medium, but was from an English-speaking family. I also was lucky to have had Tamil friends and a servant who taught me to read and write Tamil. Most of my Tamil friends from Sri Lanka are trilingual and I think that is a positive thing for them and for all Sri Lankans.

    Despite that sentiment, in reality, people from the majority group are not going to learn a minority language unless it’s imposed upon them and has an economic advantage – isn’t that why our ancestors learnt English, after all?

    So is the answer to use English as the main language for education, like I believe it is in Singapore? I am not sure how successful such a change in policy would be, given the lack of teachers proficient in English and the inability of the country to import such, say from India?

    Perhaps the more practical temporary solution might to mandate all students to learn both native languages, in addition to English, IF residents of that province constitute a relatively high percentage of both Tamil and Sinhala speakers. So in the East, a province where both languages are spoken in large enough percentages, all students should learn both Tamil and Sinhala, in addition to English; while in a province like the South, they could learn only Sinhala and English? And in the North only Tamil and English?

    As for the name we give our country, what does it matter? A name is a name is a name – if calling it Ceylon makes the idea of belonging easier for more of us than it is currently, then let’s call it Ceylon; or better yet come up with a whole new name that appeals us all!

    • 2
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      “My mother who went to the University of Peradeniya in the late 50s, had to write her A/Ls (called SSC’s then) in Sinhala using the English script because she had been an English medium student at the time of the language policy change!”

      What a load of nonsense, really?

  • 2
    2

    There are couple of issues beyond Sinhala Only act.
    1. Already there was suspicion amoung the communities. Even though mass scale violence like 1958, 1977 & 1983 did not take place before the Sinhala only act, there was violence against Muslims.
    2. The leading politicians had spoken already about “Sinhala Buddhist country”. Sinhala Only act is looked as just another stepping stone to achieve their goal of making Ceylon a mono lingual mono religious country. Already citizenship acts were passed to chase many minorities out of the country.
    3. The country was called as Ceylon in English for many centuries even before the British came to this place. In Tamil it is Ilangai and in Sinhala it is Sri Lanka. Why in English also it should be called as Sri Lanka?
    4. I can refer the flag the anthem and many other embalms used by the government, they all predominantly refer to Sinhalese and Buddhists. This trend started so long before the Sinhala Only act.

    If there was no problem like this, we all would have united long ago.

  • 6
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    Long ago when I was in Anuradhapura I remember border villages beyond Horowpothana Tamil people spoke some Sinhala not because they had studied in school but because they had picked up in economic and social relations with the Sinhalese.We should leave it to the individuals to decided whether they want to learn Sinhalese or not. My daughter who is a doctor is from the younger generation after 1956 and when I once suggested to her to learn conversational Tamil to help her to treat Tamil patients she ignored it. But later she had learnt Tamil to converse and comprehend because it was necessary. It is because the Sinhalese extremist politicians made this an issue that the Tamil people who naturally have their self respect and regard for their Tamil identity as valuable resented attempts to force or induce them to learn Sinhala. Let the people order their individual behavior as they like without the State or Sinhala politicians seeking to direct them. But they can ease the situation by allowing parents to decide on the medium of instruction for their children As for a common identity it cannot arise by force. Nor is it necessary for the world consists of different ethnic and religious identities in plural societies and many countries with the possible exception of Japan ( there too there are Koreans) have a common identity without disowning their ethnic and religious identity.

    • 1
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      Well said, it is shoving down throat that has misfired.

      It is natural to resist when someone is forced to do something.

    • 10
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      and Mouse Tes tung destroyed all art, and 42 languages plus ethinics from the farmers rule by `knuckle duster`.
      If you had been to Hong kong before the return and spoke a smattering of Cantonese and travel again today dont be suprised the younger generation don’t comprehend Cantonese but speak fluent Mandarin(language of mainland)
      Why are the Tibetans fighting for their language?? Because they have seen the destruction of other ethnics and culture in mainland china.

      Taiwanese are still rich and cultured than the new rich mainland Chinese.

      (^O^)

  • 3
    0

    Taraki and Raviraj were fluent in Tamil, Singhales and English. Why were they killed?

  • 2
    0

    Tamils should study Singhala and Hindi to their advantage. However Chinese had been the main trading people in Sri Lanka. So interested people can study Chinese too. Hindi is a recent Language does not have scientific or commercial strength. Chinese is an Older Language. Had seen many powerful empires for thousand of years. It will emerge again as a powerful language. English is a recent phenomenon. Can it prolongs it power for a greater period. I do not believe so. Like Latin, Pali and Sanskrit, it will die out soon because of its grave for the destructive weapons.

    • 4
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      “Hindi is a recent Language does not have scientific or commercial strength”

      The same reason why people don’t waste their time and energy to study Sinhala!
      It would be useful to study French, German, or Chinese!! Hindi at least you can speak in India, but Sinhalese is useless once you leave the shores of Sri Lanka.
      Politicians in Sri Lanka speak in Sinhala only to whip up the Sinhala masses. But educate their children in English!

  • 7
    6

    Where do these people Sinhala to be official language? Burkina Faso?
    I worked in the Post and Telecom dept in the 60s and saw how the dept was dominated by English speaking Tamils. It was same in Railways Customs Income Tax Health Dept etc.

    English was the instrument of suppression of fellow Sinhalese and Tamils by the elite who spoke English.

    • 9
      2

      modaya they were into mercantile not rule by design.
      So anyone from Attu Patti Emmanuael to kankani got a promotion if they memorised poems and imitated the bosses accent. This is happening right now in the UK and Europe because most are white and claim that they belong to the ruling class.

      So there was nothing called suppression but pure trade by a multi national company and that too the first of its kind in the world. The principals are still followed as they are practical and rewarding.

      Any big bully, who feels confident that he can win the war, can start a war at any time.
      No matter what excuse politicians dream up for waging war, the underlying cause of all wars is economic in nature. Never Religion, ethnic etc.

      See how the VP crowd got rich. See how all the ambude Passas got rich.
      Terror is profitable and that is all they know- drop outs of society.
      Gratitude is expensive- you still cannot sneeze without EU support for exports and European AID not US which is military related.
      and the Suddha especially the Anglo Saxons pays the best price for your head/service in the worlds market place.

  • 6
    2

    I was educated in English, Sinhala was only a one period lesson in my college (1hour) I learnt most of my Sinhala from friends and employees who were Singhalese people. They in turn learnt their English in an hours study and possibly from other sources I now read, speak, and write the language well enough to be understood in my country of birth, Sri Lanka. The big mistake was making Sinhala the first language, I would have kept all three languages the way it was, without separating Languages, Thanks to Mr B, all my Alsalvasios ( neighbours) their children in SriLanka, are now having to take their children to separate private tuition classes, to speak and learn English, which is costly, their parents cannot afford the additional expense English is now compulsory for the children here in Sri Lanka to gain their a level.

  • 4
    1

    I was educated in English, Sinhala was only a one period lesson in my college (1hour) I learnt most of my Sinhala from friends and employees who were Singhalese people. They in turn learnt their English in an hours study and possibly from other sources, I now read, speak, and write the language well enough to be understood in my country of birth, Sri Lanka. The big mistake was making Sinhala the first language, I would have kept all three languages the way it was, without separating Languages, Thanks to Mr B, all my Alsalvasios ( neighbours) their children in SriLanka, are now having to take their children to separate private tuition classes, to speak and learn English, which is costly, their parents cannot afford the additional expense English is now compulsory for the children here in Sri Lanka to gain their a level.

  • 5
    1

    Dr. Jagath Asoka,

    Something you don’t know is this: All migrants to USA, UK, Canada and Australia have to do almost everything in English. You don’t have whatever the facilities you have in Sri Lanka for tamil speaking people in those countries with regard to tamil language. Despite these migrants are very happy in those countries. This clearly indicates that the language is not the problem. I don’t know what you are talking about…

    Mammal

    • 3
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      Indeed. And I’d love to see some Scots or Welsh refusing to learn English and screaming “andawane genociiite” when they discover they’re unemployable :D

    • 0
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      Who are the migrant tribe in Lanka, Tamils or Sinhalese ???

      • 9
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        AVB

        “Who are the migrant tribe in Lanka, Tamils or Sinhalese ???”

        Both are descendants of Kallathonies from South India and a few from Bihar.

    • 6
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      The reasons are obvious Mammal: These guys think the natives – like Sinhalese, Malays – as inferior while the white man and their language as superior. Another reason: they benefitted immensley under the colonial masters and this is the way they show their eternal gratitude.

    • 4
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      Mammal

      “This clearly indicates that the language is not the problem. I don’t know what you are talking about…”

      You are comparing apples and oranges.

      For a start its about

      habitat,

      livelihood,

      dignity,

      safety,

      security,

      language,

      preservation of one’s culture,

      the pursuit of happiness,

      attaining full potential,

      level playing field,

      equitable distribution of resources and political power,

      protection of environment,

      Justice

      Democracy

      ……… etc

      • 0
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        And english is a must for all that. Just look at japan or germany. Do they have have any of these princely qualities unlike in the usa and england.

  • 1
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    [Edited out] We are sorry, the comment language is English – CT

    • 6
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      Ananda-USA

      “[Edited out]”

      Sorry we are unable to decode your interlinear inscription.

      “We are sorry, the comment language is English – CT”

      Did he write his/her comment in

      Prakrit,
      Pali,
      Sanskrit,
      Elu,
      Old Sinhala,
      Elamite
      Ahom
      Aka-Bea
      Aka-Bo
      Aka-Cari
      Aka-Jeru
      Aka-Kede
      Aka-Kol
      Aka-Kora
      Akar-Bale
      Oko-Juwoi
      Arwi Lubanki Latin,
      Hadramautic
      Himyarite
      Minaean
      Nabatean
      Qatabanian
      Sabaean
      Azari
      …..
      …..

      • 4
        1

        Like Tony`Everyone can Fly` (even baggage boys are pilots) he wrote in Creole_Aka from made By USA former commissioners sun god son.

  • 4
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    If the Tamil speaking people from Sri Lanka can learn to speak German when they live in Germany, Swiss when they live in Switzerland, Nordic when they live in Nordic Countries, French when they live in France and English when they live in English speaking countries, why cannot they learn the language Sinhala, if they chose to live in Sri Lanka? They should remember that their origin is in Tamil Nadu, India and if they want to remain as Indian Tamils they should get back to Tamil Nadu. They cannot have the best of two worlds. This attitude of theirs is the cause for the present day problems. The other problem is that they try to project themselves as different breed called Sri Lanka Tamils, when there are no German Tamils, French Tamils, British Tamils, Swiss Tamils or Norway/Danish/Swedish Tamils. The day they decide to live along with Sinhalese, as Sri Lankans, while learning to speak in Sinhala, most of the existing problems will be over.

    • 7
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      Priya

      You sound very confused and ignorant. There is a HUGE difference between Sri Lankan Tamils (or South Indian Tamils) and Tamils living in other parts of the world. Singapore Tamils, Malaysian Tamils, South African Tamils, German Tamils, French Tamils, British Tamils, Swiss Tamils or Norway/Danish/Swedish Tamils, Canadian Tamils and all other Tamils around the world are migrants from either South India or Sri Lanka, the ONLY two places from where the Tamils originate.

      There was nothing called Tamil Nadu until the British created it. What existed was many Tamil countries (states) in South India and Sri Lanka, known as Chola/Sola Nadu, Pandya/Pandu Nadu, Chera/Sera Nadu and Eela Nadu/Eelam Mandalam.

      Right from ancient period, Tamils are from both India and Sri Lanka. What you should remember is, a separate Tamil kingdom (1215-1624 CE) existed in Jaffna. Unfortunately, the Jaffna kingdom came under Portuguese domination in 1624 after the last Tamil king of Jaffna Cankli Kumaran was defeated in the battle. This was how the Tamils lost their sovereignty, independence and their traditional homeland.

      The Sri Lankan Tamils had and still have a clearly defined (Tamil speaking) territory, their historic habitat in the North & East of Sri Lanka as their traditional homeland where they lived and defended for several centuries. The Tamils are the sole occupants of N&E Sri Lanka and South India (Tamil Nadu) when the colonials left. Tamil Nadu belongs (Homeland) to the Tamils of India and Tamil Eelam (N&E) belongs (Homeland) to the Tamils of Sri Lanka.

      Why do you expect the Tamils who live in their own traditional land (Tamil speaking N&E of Sri Lanka) to learn an alien language (Sinhala) that is not spoken in their land?

      • 7
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        Unlike the Nadu Tamils you are greedy orangutan.Terrorist LTTE and internecine wars.

        Your record is in the readers digest starting with Emil Soundranayagam, to recent Raj Rajararatnam that makes you the outcast suicide bombers-
        fuc**ing toddy tappers. Phew!!

      • 0
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        Well this explains a lot. I think we all agree that every ethnicity deserved to be accepted as it is and let it moderate as things change slowly towards whatever good or bad.Also we cant force them to follow a chosen alien medium and let communicate for bare necessities. But we have to marginalize it to a simple format so that we can tackle the needs of global and inland participation without disturbances for a greater Siri Lanka. When I say global that includes Tamil Nadu as well. Lets take the Tamil Nadu Fisherman invading SL seas and fishing in banned method incident. How does the Tamils address that issue? Well I’m still learning and please enlighten me.

    • 5
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      Simple answer – Tamils are not migrants to Lanka. Tamils have every right to claim Lanka as their own just as much as the Sinhalese speakers do.
      The communal problems of Lanka are due to ignorance as Priya has just demonstrated

  • 3
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    Dr.Asoka

    Sinhala Only: Our Nation’s Curse

    1) Will Sinhala ever be the language that unites us, not the language that belongs only to the ethnic Sinhalese? What would happen to the Sinhala language if it is also spoken by the majority of our minorities.

    *** The only way majority of the minorities will speak Sinhala is if it is forced down their throats.
    Tamils will never learn another language by force. Just take Tamil Nadu as an example. It is the only State in India which has refused to accept Hindi.

    2) What is the significance of knowing the Sinhala language in our day-to-day living in Sri Lanka.

    *** Frankly for Tamils nothing.

    3) Is Sinhala a vehicle for expressing our thoughts, perceptions, sentiments, and values characteristic of a particular ethnic group.

    *** Surely it is a vehicle for Sinhalese.

    4) Is it a representation of a fundamental expression of our social identity? Does Sinhala help us maintain the feelings of cultural and ethnic kinship? Can the Sinhala language unite various ethnic and religious groups in Sri Lanka.

    *** Dr what kinship are you talking about. Sinhala is what divides us. If all Sri Lankans speak Sinhala it might help to hurl insults at each other freely.

    5) I do not think that the Sri Lankan Sinhalese would make an attempt to learn Tamil because they can survive without it; they have nothing to gain by expressing their grievances, political or otherwise, in Tamil.

    *** Who would the Sinhalese complain to about their Grievances. Only to Prabakaran but he is I am told dead and no longer on this planet.

    6) For all practical purposes, we must have two, or even three, official languages—Sinhala, Tamil, and English—in Sri Lanka, but can we form a single national identity without a common language.

    *** DR we can only form a Single National Identity if we add a Fourth Language and that’s is “LANGUAGE OF LOVE”.

    7) Can we blame the ravaging imperialist monsters for creating two bleeding halves of this edenic paradise.

    *** Why re you blaming the Imperialist. In fact English brought us together.

  • 6
    4

    @Priya

    Most sinhalese today probably have their origin in tamilnadu aswell. If I am correct Sinhalese are an amalgamation of indegenous groups,east indians and south indians, with the south indian component being the largest. So if you want to gripe about tamils not going back to tamilnadu, in that case much of the sinhaese will have to go there as well

  • 5
    1

    I believe , The best solution for us to have a unified identity is to make English as our main national language , all the curriculum in the schools must be changed to english , so our future generation will be united , mixed together in schools as there will no separation such as Sinhalese medium and Tamil medium . its a long term process and it should start from youngsters from a tender age .adopting to one of the top five languages , specially English will make our countrys future good

    Top five languages in the world are

    1 Chinese
    2 Hindi
    3 English
    4 Spanish
    5 Arabic

    • 5
      0

      shan sameer

      “Top five languages in the world are 1 Chinese 2 Hindi 3 English 4 Spanish 5 Arabic”

      What is your rationale for choosing the above 5?

      • 0
        0

        vedda , google it and see all the results will give the same languges as top 5 , order may differ . sinhala is useless language cos it spoken only in SL , if we go out you must know one of these languages to survive so better we train our future generations to face the world with confident and co exist without any differences . language is a root cause that divide us . in almost all other country’s language of the people are same irrespective of religion and ethnicity

  • 3
    2

    A non-Sinhalese could always argue that a foreign language must be re-recognised as the key language of the country in place of the language spoken by the majority who were dienfranchised by the foreign occupation for several hundred years.

  • 0
    2

    One should not be forced to study a language other than his mother-tongue.That should be honest policy.Other than that there is nothing else to say.

  • 0
    0

    It is foolhardy to dismiss English as foreign and just another language. In simple numbers of primary users, English is now only second to Chinese. Based on the number of countries in which a language is used significantly, English comes out comfortably ahead with a figure of 115 countries. Next come French (with 35), Arabic, Spanish and Russian. There are more than three times as many articles in English as in the next popular language which is German. Then come French, Japanese, Italian and Polish.

    TV

  • 1
    3

    I think it is about time Arabic is made a compulsory subject for all school going kids in this country!
    :)

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