25 March, 2019

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Strangling A Democracy – Collectively

By Suren Rāghavan

Dr. Suren Rāghavan

Dr. Suren Rāghavan

All states have nations. However, all nations may not have a state. A bitter political reality the Tamil separatists should get into their political psyche and come to live with. This is not to deny the Rowlinian justice to a ‘minority’ nation that has lived and struggled for their political freedom with huge historical human and cultural cost: but to negotiate with the global, regional and contemporary national strategic/security realities within the Lankan context. In the same breath one must reiterate to the extreme Sinhala nationalists and their often violent ethnoreligious politics- that oppressing and continuing to deny the fundamental political freedom and the inalienable rights of a nation within their majoritarian ethnic state with such historicized centripetal interpretation and mobilization of ‘superiority’ political power, will not only work as a barrier to the stability of their own ‘Dhammadīpa’ but in fact will be a self-constructed destroyer within a postwar context even with the new found limited opportunities for the recovery of a working democracy.

There are two popular, often asked questions aiming to analyze the bi-polar positions that leads to the structural crisis within the state of Lanka. 1) Why is the nation of Sinhalas, which claims to be the bearers of the pristine Buddhist doctrine cannot construct harmony but take violent paths in their political conflict resolution? 2) Why are the ‘moderate’ Tamil intellectuals silent and disengaged in the face and history of the separatist discourse? The answers vary based on who is asked of, because the questions are raised on false or lopsided conceptual notions of important terms here.

One needs to ask which ‘Buddhism’ are you comparing to conclude that Sinhalas live in contrary and does your ‘moderate intellectuals’ mean those who deny the rights of the Tamils for their self-determination even leading to a separation if such is possible (non-violently)? Because searching for a historical pure Buddhism and come to conclude that it is ‘betrayed’ in Lanka is a ‘Tambiahian’ paradigm constructed and propagated well within a Western/ Protestant understanding of Buddhism. Sinhala Buddhism had never been what is termed as Pāli Buddhism. Instead it arrived, established and continues as a political process of redefining the past, present and future of the Sinhala ethnic nation and their structural power aspirations. For this reason Buddhism is the means not the end within the Sinhala political hegemony against the ‘Asinhalas’ sharing the island. Similarly if a Tamil is considered a moderate because s/he openly stand to oppose the idea of an independent sovereign state for the Tamils carved from the territorial boundaries of present Lanka, then you are not only dismissing the fundamental aspects of modern democracy but also contemporary understanding of collective Human Rights guaranteed by the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights. This makes an a paradigmatic approach to the intellectual discourse of the ethnoreligious and ethnolinguistic nationalisms of Sinhalas and the Tamils respectively – a sociopolitical funambulism. Yet one cannot be silent far too long in the face of the abysmally decomposing democratic nuances even under a so called ‘Rule of Good Governance’

Southern Leadership – a Near Failure – Again?

My support for a regime change and to defeat the Rajapaksas in January 2015 was open, public and a conscience act of political engagement. Like millions of other ordinary Lankans, I joined that process realizing it is our present collective responsibilities that will unavoidably reshape our individual future. Therefore, there was no desire of power or profit except to live in a society governed by democratic justice for all. May be I took more than necessary risks given to my background and the vulnerability of arrest, torture or death – to which in fact I came very close, thanks to racist journalists such as Keerthi Warnakulasooriya. After the elections, the Hansard has recorded how the Opposition elect TNA offered to work with the JVP and included Anura Kumara Dissanayaka as the chief opposition whip. My friend Sumanthiran may remember my humble contribution and coordination between these otherwise distant parties to make such thing happen. Because of my firm belief in a participatory democracy that is only possible with an accommodative and active opposition. Looking back, I don’t regret for I did but certainly a deep disappointment is anchoring to observe the way Sirisena-Ranil had failed to uphold some of the basic aspirations on which the civil mobilization that occurred. In no means it was any form of revolution as some had tagged but certainly a rare display of the strength and belief in democracy especially by the same people often marginalized by the state mechanism on the basis of ethnic or religious identities.

Nevertheless in post-election rule, Ranil on his part appointed the most unfitting cabinet portfolios. Most of his ‘Royal’ colleagues are either totally ignorant of the subject matter like the Minister of Education or arrogant like the minister for Higher Education. I don’t see many except for the Foreign Affairs Minister, Mangala Samaraweera who has delivered his duties beyond the expected levels. I don’t say so because Mangala is a friend. But what Lanka has achieved in a year to turn around the international relations and the opinion, cooperation and positive support of key players is a huge score and a political reality that even harsh critiques cannot deny or hide. Even here Ranil, due to his self-centered approaches, has diminished a person like Mangala. It is no secret Mangala failed as the district leader to secure the victory of Matara district at the August general election. In fact the only constituency that Mangala managed to make win was his own that is with a paper thin margin of 2,468 votes – a seat he won with a landslide victory of over 100,000 votes in 2000. Why Mangala performed so badly in his own district needs a separate analysis by his political advisors. One can only think that if Mangala alienates himself from his grass root support base, winning the international community will means nothing at the next general election and he may be forced to seek an international job than to represent Matara in the next parliament. Ranil seems to be well designing such natural outcome by making sure that Mangala has no local powers or possibility to foster his individual career.

Then Ranil’s method of appointing and justification of key position like the Governor of the Central Bank to a point that needs contestant defending of corruption of mega deals is far from the process of transparency that was expected of him. His approach to the media has only increased in hatred and disproportional reaction. True, majority of Lankan journalism is ethnically biased and controlled by a Sinhala- Buddhist chauvinism. Yet winning the media is a democratic process even in limited ways. Ranil has not apologized for his belief in the brutal police regimes in the way it handles the student protests and growing police led crimes such as the murder of the young father at a private party in Ambilipitiya. It took longer and softer than necessary to inquire MP Hirunika Premachandra for her abduction politics. The long list of journalists including the best security analysist Lanka every produced Taraki – Sivaram who were murdered, made to disappear or flee the country remains the same with no substantial progress of justice. His justification to administer ‘bitter medicines’ to the economy and the society at large only displays with top down elitist method that made him lose more than 20 elections. One more of his -Royalist and rainbow friends- national-list MP Malik Samarawickrama has yet failed to give reasons why he is die hard pushing the 65,000 houses project in the war destroyed Jaffna. Elected MPs and professionals of the region and very importantly the recipients of these aluminum prefabricated structures imported at a higher cost have rejected it. A participatory approach to democracy for better shareholder involvement is very alien to Ranil. There is only line of political credit in his defense. He is not given into the popular Sinhala nationalism to hold his political popularity.

President Sirisena has lost most of his earned charisma so soon. He may have come closer to Gandhian values by pardoning the Tiger suicide bomber – his would have been assassin. Yet his inability to think as a 21st century leader of a state where the majority population falls within the 15-45 demographic bracket was on display by his outburst at the Enrique fan behavior. That was a single signal of his deeply pre-modern views on life, entertainment and more importantly on the freedom of women. His nominations to the cabinet from the SLFP are even more disappointing and dangerous. Many like S. B. Dissanayake who are clearly rejected by the voters for their unruly and mindless political views and behaviors are back with handsome rewards. His campaign mate and Health Minister is entangled in numerous corruptions charges and goes to Singapore for his own medical treatments. Sirisena’s struggle with strong man Mahinda for the control of the party has made him a symbol of shameless compromise when he approves the political return of people like Lansa and Sajin Vass. They are not only die hard Mahinda loyalists but also have undoubted corruption /criminal charges against. President’s fear of losing the party control shows his inability to imagine out of the box and lack of confidence to lead a new generation of young democratic process if needed with a totally new political ideology.

When both key actors of a ruling consensus government fails so soon in the eyes of the civic society then the ability of such government to achieve significant transformations will be a day dream. It appears that the only positivity that goes for constructive democracy in south Lanka is the active participation of a young politically aware population that dreams for democracy.

Northern Actors and their Flames of Federalism  

Tamils of Lanka have struggled for their political equality like no other community in the South Asian region. Irrespective of the multi-faceted interpretations an abysmally violent war funded and led by the Tamils, it only stands as an indication to their failed hopes, dismissed aspirations and then an unextinguished political anger with the state of Lanka. Now there is enough academic literature available to confirm how the Tamils self-designed and funded such a text book separatist war with strategic military precisions and supreme operational discipline only led by an elusive school dropout until he was defeated and killed at the Nandikadal lagoon by the determined Sri Lankan Army – which was backed by some 15 other states directly and indirectly. Such paradigm shifting non-state militarism is only a mirror reflection of the historicized intransigent nature of the Sinhala hegemon to refuse political accommodation of Tamils as equal and qualified partners in constructing and governing the state of Lanka.

Until the centralized tight fist majoritarian control was directly and politically challenged by separatist ideologies of the Vaddukoddai Declaration, majority of Tamil politics gravitated around various forms of federal arrangements as a means of winning political equality. Of course the history of federal discourse did not start with the Tamils but the Sinhalas, first by the Kandy National Assembly and then SWRD Bandaranaike who went far as suggesting Ceylon to be a partner of greater confederation with India for security and Indian Ocean strategic reasons (I have elsewhere written and argued this aspect in length including in my new book).

Federalism has many forms and shapes. Unlike in the popular Sri Lanka discourse where Buddhist monks like Bengamuwe Nalaka and former singer Madu Madhawa Aranvida tries to become experts on theatrical and implicational aspect of federalism, accordingly Danial Elazar – a world authority on federalism- it is conceptually a ‘covenant’ between two or more partners to respect individuality while working together for common achievements. Such covenant may have had its root in how the Jews arranged their governance in line with Abrahamic tradition and later amongst the 12 tribes. Such may have accorded around the 2000 BCE according to the Biblical records[1]. It may be for this reason that out of the 27 federal countries only India where the dominant religious culture is non Abrahamic. Federalism come for various reason and as a result of various influences. It may be a colonial arrangement to govern a large country like Australia or Canada. It also can be a totally indigenous political development of a very small country like Switzerland. It may be adopted as an idea of independent states trying to work together like in the modern EU or imposed as a way to stop a country like India breaking on the basis of different languages or ethnicities[2]. Whether it is holding together federalism or coming together federalism, the fundamental factor is that partners willing to treat each other as political equals and the social and cultural capital of that country can support such political worldview. For this reason as I have argued[3] achieving a full federals governing mechanism is not possible in Lanka as long as the Sinhala Buddhist hegemonic ideology dictates the structural mindset. In theory some Pāli text may support equal human existence but Sinhala Buddhist political formation firmly rejects such equality especially with its Tamil ‘other’.

Such process of othering is a result of the historicization of Sinhalas who are a majority on the island but in fact an unsecured minority for actual and perceived reasons. The cornerstone narrative of the Mahāvaṃsa is the textualized evidence of such ontological insecurity that travels through the history.

It is sad that Chief Minister and former justice Wigneswaran does not know this or does not wish to acknowledge such reality but reconstruct the same federal mind set and willfully ignites a political flame that can only burn down any hope of winning democracy and equality. I argued with my friend Sumanthiran about the wisdom in including such federalist terminology in the 2015 TNA election manifesto. While I did not get a clear answer I could understand that was a strategic compromise for a minimum accommodation of the highly vocal diaspora which still argues for separation. I am neither supportive nor in opposition to federalism. As a political theory and mechanism federalism is ideal for a state that embroiled itself on powersharing. But after reading a PhD in comparative politics, taking Lanka as my case study, I argue federalist discourse only will further deeply divide this island on the line of ethnicity due to the misunderstanding of federalism from both sides of the divide. For the Sinhalas, federalism is the beginning of a separate state while for the Tamils it is the minimum achievement instead of separate state. Such diagonal contradictions cannot core exist, even if it is super imposed by an outside super power as what is happening in former Yugoslavia.

Wignesawaran (un)knowingly may become the ‘perfect other’ of all Sinhala nationalists from Nalin de Silva at theoretical and Mahinda Rajapaksa at political level. Notwithstanding, such political bi-polarization cannot produce a working democracy. The International Community may pressure Lanka to adhere to basic form of western democracy. For a country at a time when its total GDP is not sufficient to service the total foreign debts and its major exports are based in the key western markets and only surviving relief is a newly announced 2.0 billion IMF loan , there is not much leverage to negotiate its nationalist pride and prejudices. Lanka needs to very urgently come out of the Rajapaksa mania of this genre of rather a self-defeating dualistic nationalism. It needs to offer a political alternative to the separatist and regionalist Tamil extremists.

There seems only a few positive options – envisioning and delivering a pluri national working democracy is one such viable alternatives. Loggerhead ultra-thick nationalism of Wimal Weeransa and Sivaji Lingam can collectively produce one thing. Continue to be divided and suffer both as the oppressed and oppressor. In reality the majority of the responsibility lay with the Sinhalas not merely because they are majority but also because contrary to the popular myths propagated by ill-informed Saṅgha community who in turn codify an eternal fear, the Sinhalas have grown in numbers. They were 4.6 million or 69% of a population of 6.6 million in 1947 just prior to the independence. Thanks to all the welfare regimes they are 15.3 million and very importantly 75% of a 20.3 million population in 2012. Comparatively the Lankan Tamils were 730,000 or 24% in 1947 and 2.2 million but only 11% of the total population in 2012. A clear indicator there is no issue of expansionism or pan- Tamil approach in Lanka. On the other hand for the Tamils – a 30 years of destructive war has only brought misery and diminishing.

The language of the right to self-determination can always be a high sounding and neatly fitting to an INGO theoretical discourse but it does more harm than benefit at ground level. Because the normative issue here – at the heart of Lanka’s power sharing paradoxical paradigm is a ethical one and political morality – one that could be achieved only by the political art of compromise and bargaining. A further reality is that such bargaining happens only within the framework where the established ‘state’ has a leverage not the non-state actors even at the UNHCR. Ethnic, linguistic or religious nationalism is a zero sum game compared to a liberal civic, collective and liberal versions of nationalism. As we know today and thanks to the aggressive on slaughter of the neoliberal globalization, some form of nationalism is a reality in every state or nation. Whether it is primordial, instrumental or structural, dealing with competing nationalist claims has few options – that is a creatively reimagine their state and invite all those who feels as part of it to participate equally to enrich the life of that state. What federalism can offer is that fundamental spirit of such partnership and equality not the word or label that either satisfy the Tamils or inflame the Sinhalas. There are enough and more modern examples of such constitutional arrangements and achievement to accommodate and recognize competing interests- such are called a Multination Democracy with different levels of a shared sovereignty. We do not have to look into an Abrahamic framework like federalism if that does not make us feel safe. Within the texts of Buddhism there is abundant support for equality and sharing. It will be a role model if Lanka can find, adopt and be an example of such principles based on Buddhism. My unshaken belief is that the Saṅgha community and its learned members should lead such wider political imaginations if they are to be the real Buddha putras as well as Sinhala Bhumi putras. The active civil society ought to seek and empower such Saṅgha members who by way of default are enshrined with the responsibility of guarding Lanka, Sinhalas and Buddhism.

*Dr. Suren Rāghavan is a Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies – University of Oxford. His research book – Buddhist Monks and the Politics of Lanka’s Civil War: Ethnoreligious Nationalism of the Sinhala Saṅgha and Peacemaking in Sri Lanka 1995-2010. Equinox 2015 is now on Amazon. raghavansuren@gmail.com


[1] Elazar. Daniel J., The Political Theory of Covenant: Biblical Origins and Modern Developments, Publius Vol. 10, No. 4, Covenant, Polity, and Constitutionalism (Autumn, 1980), pp. 3-30

[2] See: Watts, Ronald L. “Federalism, federal political systems, and federations.” Annual Review of Political Science 1, no. 1 (1998): pp 117-137.

[3] Rāghavan, Suren. ” Ethnoreligious nationalism and the rejected federalism of Sri Lanka.” In Politics of Religion and Nationalism: Federalism, Consociationalism and Secession. Requejo, Ferran, and Klaus-Jürgen Nagel. (Eds) London: Routledge   (2014): pp 121-136

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Latest comments

  • 4
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    Dr.Suren Raghavan,

    A very sensible and timely essay. Thank you.

    I hope the ‘Hot heads’, ‘Empty heads’,’ Thoughtless’, ‘Unwise’ ,’ Noise makers’ and ‘Opportunities’ amongst the Sinhalse and Tamils will understand your message. You have named some of them quite accurately. There are many more. They are a minority within both communities, but are boxing above their weight and have to be urgently marginalized by the silent majority. The How is the most important question we have to ponder! We cannot have one more missed opportunity as a country and peoples! We should say enough is enough, to being manipulated like puppets in a show, that has always been disastrous to us.

    Your essay will receive many brickbats along with comments that have no grasp of the current realities and possibilities, and the plight of the Tamils. Cardboard Caessars are leading us to a hell once again, where they will survive and thrive, but the majority of us will pay the price! They prefer cliches to substance. They are ever ready to sacrifice a people in the altar of their cliches. The TNA prefers to hear them and their noise over the feelings of the vast majority. It seems to me that the TNA multiplies and perpetuates itself like an amoeba. If not, how could Sambanthan have brought a man like Wigneswaran into that political formation, imposed him on us through image making and made him the Chief Minister of the North? How can Samnbanthan have done this to us!

    In the competition to score points with the local and Diasporean noise makers, even men like Sumanthiran are also beginning to sound like Wigneswaran, Sivajlingam, Ananthi Sasitharan and Sritharan! Sambanthan of course has lost the opportunity to end his life as a leader and not a cheap politicians. The Tamil people do not deserve the leadership they have. This is a perversion of democracy, through calculated and cynical manipulations by a political formation. The Tamil vote has ceased to reflect majority Tamil sentiment and needs. This process has slowly advanced over the decades and has brought us to a point that it is an absolute curse!

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    • 6
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      DR RN,

      “even men like Sumanthiran are also beginning to sound like Wigneswaran, Sivajlingam, “

      What do you mean?????

      Mr Sumanthiran modern day Sir Arunachalam perhaps. You know what I mean. You know how the Sinhalese leaders cheated Arunachalam and others many years ago.
      The current Sinhalese leaders are doing the same. They do not keep their promises given to local leaders and international community.

      • 6
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        Dr RN,

        Mr Hussein’s visit came as victims in the North-East saw both the Sri Lankan president and prime minister backtrack on pledges to deliver on accountability, made to them and the international community. Mr Sirisena in particular has been explicit in his rejection of international judges, a reversal of position on a key element of the UN resolution that Sri Lanka co-sponsored. This is despite it being firmly acknowledged that to address the systematic crimes described in the OISL report, a specialised level of expertise that is not typically available in Sri Lanka is required. Indeed, as the High Commissioner noted, given Sri Lanka’s history is “littered with judicial failures”, international participation is vital to ensure impartial proceedings, and has been resolutely advocated for by the victims themselves. Instead, Colombo appears to move towards obscuring justice, rather than delivering it.

        As calls for justice become more intense, a rising climate of Sinhala nationalism has been fermenting; exemplified by the veracity of protests against the human rights chief and the insidious ‘Sinha Le’ campaign. Against this backdrop, Mr Sirisena’s remarks are unwise – but not unexpected. Whilst raising the spectre of the Rajapaksa regime’s resurgence, his actions reinforce the toxic Sinhala Buddhist chauvinism on which Rajapaksa thrives, rather than challenging it. He has chosen to indulge nationalist sentiment and thus fuel its revival, instead of focusing on regaining the trust of the Tamils and building the reconciled, liberal, inclusive, multi-ethnic state that his government promised.

        Mr Wickremesinghe too has been guilty of pandering to nationalist rhetoric, reassuring parliamentarians that any foreign judges would have to seek Supreme Court approval. Attempts to balance this with nods towards allowing international participation, inspires little confidence amongst many Tamils who have been repeatedly failed by duplicit Sinhala leaders and a flawed justice system. Mr Wickremesinghe’s toing and froing is disingenuous and indicates a policy of obfuscation. The international community must be clear that the prime minister can no longer carry on this balancing act. If the island is to move towards a lasting peace for all, his claimed commitment to liberal peace must be put into practise, and he must heed the victims demands.

        Alongside this, his declaration that the tens of thousands of missing people across the North-East were “probably dead” caused deep distress to those who continue their desperate search in the hope that their loved ones return. It provided no further information on the missing or comfort to their relatives, and was delivered in a manner that runs contrary to the spirit of reconciliation his government claims to extend. If the missing are dead, then as the High Commissioner noted, the prime minister must take responsibility to properly account for their deaths and provide redress.

        The High Commissioner also highlighted two key measures that must be swiftly taken. The removal of the military presence in the North-East, would be a step in the direction towards security sector reform and give civic life in the region much needed breathing space. This goes hand in hand with the release of military occupied land, a move that the High Commissioner noted will ensure a “lingering sore will have been cured once and for all”. However, as Sri Lankan army bases become evermore permanent, Colombo has chosen to let these sores fester and deepen.

        Having been pivotal in bringing this government into power last year, the Tamil people were asked to keep their faith in the promise of reform. Despite having repeatedly outlined avenues for action, through the forming of new political bodies, the passing of resolutions and proposals and constant demonstrations, pledges of long-lasting change remain unfilled. Sri Lanka though, seemingly emboldened by a perceived alleviation in international pressure, wavers on its commitments to the victims. The parliamentary appointment of General Sarath Fonseka, the commander who oversaw the massacres of 2009, was yet another chagrin to the victims and their hopes of justice.

        In the coming weeks, as the state begins a consultation process to outline an accountability mechanism, the international community must ensure that no such faltering occurs. International pressure, which has relentlessly driven reform on the island so far, must persist if a justice process where the victims voices take centre place is to be forged. Indeed that was the defining message left by ambassadors who visited the North-East – including the High Commissioner. Mr Hussein’s words in Jaffna encapsulated the victims hopes and brought to the fore the expectations of justice that belie the international community. Having assured them that change will come, the international community cannot fail them again. After years of waiting, justice that is long overdue must finally be served.

      • 2
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        Did the Sinhalese leaders cheat Arunachalam? I also had read that until I read
        a different account by Sebastian Rasalingam. Some historian should set the record straight.
        Here is what Rasalingams says:
        (http://www.srilankaguardian.org/2008/03/regarding-some-basic-beliefs-of-tamil.html)

        The litany of sins began with the famous claim of “deception” of Ponnambalam Arunachalam (AP), by the Sinhalese leaders, in the early 1920s, in regard to the “Colombo seat”. At that time, all politicians, be they Sinhala or Tamil, were beholden to the Governor for their political positions. If the Governor had given even the slightest indication that he wanted AP appointed to the Colombo seat, the Sinhala leaders would have rushed to execute the Governor’s wish. AP himself realized that the Governor needs to be wooed, and that is why he invited the Governor to Jaffna, received him lavishly and presented a secret proposal asking that he be appointed. Unfortunately for AP, the Lake House press managed get a copy and to splash the “secret memorandum”, ensuring that the Governor turned against a highly embarrassed AP. Not surprisingly, it heralded the end of AP’s political career. AP claimed that two Sinhalese leaders who had promised to support him had deceived him, and left politics claiming to be “disgusted with such “deception”. And yet, this incident which reflect the vanity and political incompetence of Arunachalam Ponnamblam has become the primordial “original sin” cited by Tamil Nationalism.

        In any case, secret agreements with Sinhalese Leaders should not be the bais for Arunachalam to be elected to the Colombo seat.

        • 1
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          M
          You may be a little harsh on Arunchalam.

          There are things to Arunachalam’s credit. He was more secular than most politicians of his time. He cared more for the oppressed than most of his contemporaries.

          Arunchalam, before quitting, claimed that he was let down by two colleagues who pledged support.
          Was he challenged on that at that the time?

          Governors do not always act independently of the wishes of community leaders. Governing any colony has been a two-way process, however unbalanced it may have been.

    • 5
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      “I hope the ‘Hot heads’, ‘Empty heads’,’ Thoughtless’, ‘Unwise’ ,’ Noise makers’ and ‘Opportunities’ amongst the Sinhalse and Tamils will understand your message.”

      I don’t think none of these “heads” will understand this message. These heads are very thoughtful, very wise, very organised and fully understand what they do, what consequences and outcomes to the people. Thousands of people were killed unlawfully, billions worth of properties were destroyed and billions worth were pocketed by these heads since 1948.They are not bothered about people and the welfare of the people. Who are these people. They are the leaders of the political, religious, educational and cultural institutions. Still they are powerful and they have heard the same message again and again several time.

      “They are a minority within both communities, but are boxing above their weight and have to be urgently marginalized by the silent majority.”

      They are not minority.They have the backing of the majority people. They have the power to change this majority into their majority. For example, think about five years, you were one of them whole hearted backed former President even though you fully aware that thousands of innocent civilians were unlawfully massacred in Mullivaygal. Today you are backing Maithiri and Ranil and you may go back to Mahinda again. Who knows!

    • 2
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      Dr RN,

      Not sure if you have read this article by Dr Brian Senewiratne https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/what-the-majority-sinhalese-must-know/

      I have not seen any comment by you. It does not mean that you have not read it.

      I would like to see your comment for that article.

      • 1
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        Anpu,

        I read what Prof.Brian Seneviratne writes. But I do not comment, because it is an old story that he dwells on and repeats. History is a two or multi- sided story and is told according to individual, group, victim and perpetrator perceptions, especially in this country. It is rarely objective. It is also generally about the elite in society. It ignores the masses who face the daily grind.

        I believe we have to move beyond perpetual retelling of history towards talking of possible solutions, in the prevailing circumstances. History is our burden now and it’s time we unloaded it from our overburdened backs. It is crippling our backs!

        Let us discuss, debate, argue and even abuse each other, about a wide range of solutions on the basis of current realities , which are quite sad for most people who lead mundane lived. I see them every day. These are issues that many who live abroad or in cities and towns here, are unaware. The political solutions we seek should help solve these problems. I have come to the conclusion that those in the front lines of our politics are blissfully unaware of or insensitive to these realities.

        Unfortunately, Prof.Brian Seneviratne belongs to the above category, despite being a very sensitive and decent human.

        Further, I do not comment on many of your comments, because I find you are very capable of ferreting out information, unlike many others. I do not question your interest in Tamils and their welfare. It is obvious that you are emotionally very concerned about them. However, it is very important that you visit Sri Lanka frequently to see and understand realities. If you have, I have to assume that you have failed to see what is hidden behind the facade.

        I also find it sad that we as English educated Tamils are failing to use the opportunity provided by CT to conduct an intelligent and civilized debate on a multitude of issues of concern to us. CT is a website read by many who matter and it should be used to project our views in an enlightened manner.

        Dr.RN

        • 1
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          Thanks DR RN.

          Have you heard of an organisation called PEARL?

          I have received a mail from them copied below.
          Are they lying?
          “Withering Hopes” – New Report Raises Concern Sri Lanka’s Window for Reconciliation is Closing

          (Washington, DC; April 20, 2016) A new report by People for Equality and Relief in Lanka (PEARL) provides details of ongoing militarization and harassment amongst the Tamil population of the North-East of Sri Lanka, over one year after the change in presidency and seven months after the election of the United National Party-led national government.

          Despite positive statements and overtures towards reconciliation by President Maithripala Sirisena’s government, prospects for a sustainable peace on the island are diminishing. The report explores why Sri Lanka’s elusive peace remains out of reach, detailing ongoing human rights violations, the militarization of the North-East, and obfuscation from the government on key issues such as accountability.

          Continuing human rights violations in the North-East include violence and harassment by members of the security forces, occupation of traditional Tamil lands acquired illegally, torture and sexual violence of Tamils, absence of answers for families of the “disappeared,” and the continued detention of Tamil political prisoners without charge. The military remains heavily involved in civilian activities, such as running shops, farms, hotels and even pre-schools.

          “Sri Lanka’s continuing lack of progress on key issues such as accountability and demilitarization throws into question the government’s sincerity and political will to implement the pledges it has made,” PEARL’s Advocacy Director Mario Arulthas said. “The government could have taken strong, concrete measures to build confidence amongst Tamils over the last 15 months, but instead has continued policies in place under the Rajapaksa regime. This is not conducive for accountability and for an end to decades of state-impunity for crimes, both of which are integral to a lasting peace on the island.”

          For Sri Lanka to experience lasting reconciliation between all communities on the island, the grievances of the Tamil people must be addressed. This requires justice for the mass atrocities committed throughout the armed conflict, and significant changes to the Sinhala Buddhist nationalist nature of the state. Sustainable peace and reconciliation will require the government to act meaningfully, expeditiously, and in good faith when addressing Tamils’ legitimate misgivings and distrust, while also educating the Sinhala polity on the need for credible accountability and an inclusive, pluralistic society.

          Sri Lanka must implement a comprehensive transitional justice program in line with international best practices, which includes criminal prosecutions, reparations, institutional reform and truth commissions. But before justice and a political solution can take root, the Government must immediately take steps to de-militarize and stop all ongoing human rights violations against Tamil communities in the North-East.

          The full report is available http://pearlaction.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/PEARL-Withering-Hopes.pdf

          • 0
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            Anpu,

            Thanks. I do not agree with ‘Withering Hopes’. There is much bias, distortion and paucity of real facts in this essay. The Tamils in the north and east are breathing much more freely and are at ease now, than since the 1970s. This is the fact. Yes, they have problems relating to the prolonged turmoil of the past three decades, the repeated wars and how the last war ended. Most of these problems should have been addressed by the TNA dominated NPC in the past three years.

            Dr.RN

            • 1
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              Dr RN,

              Thanks

              Do you agree with HRW report on Sri Lanka? https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2016/country-chapters/sri-lanka

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                Anpu,

                Most issues relate to the past and are in the process of correction. On the individual subheadings that matter:

                1. Constututional Reforms: A work in progress. We have to see the substance that evolves after what is shaping upto being an challenging and acrimonious process.

                2. Accountability to past abuses: Little visible action. The September’2016 UNHRC sessions will be the barometer.

                3. Police torture and ill treatment : Colonial police methods yet continue regardless of ethnicity. The police force has to be reformed re-trained to work within norms of the 21st century.

                4. Prevention of Terrorism Act and politically motivated torture: The PTA is about to be changed to meet modern norms demanded by the international community and local activists. How it shapes, remains to be seen.

                5. Migrant workers: Very little can be done by the Sri Lankan government considering the demand and supply situarion in the Middle East. There are hordes willing to brave the adverse situation prevailing in that region, because the pay is yet attractive.

                6. Sexual orientation and gender equality: Archaic colonial laws govern the issue of sexual orientation. Sri Lanka is ahead of her neibours in the region on the issue of gender equality. Barriers are being breached by females to the extent that the men are losing their bearing.

                Further, military activities in the north and east are very much subdued now. Uniformed soldiers are rarely seen on the streets and the army does not get involved in civilian affairs. The army is oriented towards intelligence gathering and are apparently assisted in this task by ex-Tiger cadres. This from the security point of view the best to gather information. Many of these ex-tigers misuse their present role.

                There is much gang violence and sexual violence in Jaffna in particular. Alcoholism and narcotics use are rampant. If you follow the pronouncements of District Judge Illanchelian, you will understand the gravity of the situation. The police stations have to cover large areas and do not have the resources to be effective. Further, a large number of Tamils have been recruited into the police service in the north and east. Statements are also recorded in Tamil at police stations in the north and east.

                I think this is substantial progress.

                Dr.RN

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              Dr RN,

              Thanks.

              What about Sri Lanka’s lack of progress on key issues such as accountability and demilitarization.
              It throws into question the government’s sincerity and political will to implement the pledges it has made.

              despite promises to reintroduce a free press –journalists who speak out are being silenced. Three days ago Subramaniyam Sivakaran, a Tamil activist and journalist from the North-East criticised the PTA and the detention of Tamils under the act. he was arrested by the Terrorism Investigation Department.

              • 0
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                Anpu,

                What is the minimum number in terms of soldiers that you would consider to be adequate almost seven years after a very vicious and difficult war, bearing in mind there are army camps and other ancillary camps all over the island ( a consequence of the JVP insurrections) ? I feel there are fewer soldiers in the north and east now, although the government is not reporting numbers. There appears to be a slow draw down. There will never be a total demilitarization anywhere in the island.

                Sivaharan, from what I read, has also been suspended by the TNA, If what I read is right, why? The PTA is yet unfortunately the law. The Chavakachcheri suicide kit and weapons discovery has triggered many arrests. What is unfolding as a result is not clear. Was Sivaharan arrested for his journalistic activity or involvement in someway with the Chavakachcheri incident? He has been, I think, subsequently released.

                There are wheels within wheels in this country and it is difficult to discern the truth. Local political considerations and senseless political party rivalry are serious constraints on how the government functions. This has been the bane of Sri Lanka. What is right rarely happens , whereas expediency rules the roost most times.

                Dr.RN

                Every police station yet has a Terrorism Investigation Unit. They have to use the PTA Act to function.

                Dr.RN

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      Dr RN,

      “The TNA prefers to hear them and their noise over the feelings of the vast majority. It seems to me that the TNA multiplies and perpetuates itself like an amoeba. If not, how could Sambanthan have brought a man like Wigneswaran into that political formation, imposed him on us through image making and made him the Chief Minister of the North? How can Samnbanthan have done this to us! “

      These are your words.

      “A man who appreciates music and in fact has Music within him, understands harmony. I think this attribute qualifies Justice Wigneswaran most to be the CM of The north at this juncture of our history. His measured words and clearly stated sentiments point to the harmony within him. I hope the other candidates nominated by the TNA for the NPC elections, can play their parts well in the orchestra. Dr.Rajasingham Narendran “

      Dr.Rajasingham Narendran July 22, 2013 at 7:15 am https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/c-v-wigneswaran-from-musician-to-politician/

      • 0
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        Anpu,

        True. From what I was told about him, this is what I expected him to be. I have mentioned several times that he has turned out to be an utter disappointment. You have yourself contested me on my present opinion about him. Unfortunately, most of the time, the proof of the pudding is in eating and enjoying it. The recipe does not guarantee, the pudding will turn out good!

        I now see he does not understand harmony, nor are his words/ sentiments measured and truthful. He is not the man of action I expected him to be.

        I was also taken in by the propaganda and the appearances, as many did. He has turned out to be the worst person for the position of CM. He has become what I expected Mavai Senathirajah, the other contender,to be.

        I am not a cynical person and do not want to be one, in the years left of my life. I have to fight hard to not become so, in the face of the utter disappointment CVW has been.

        Dr. RN

        • 0
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          Anpu,

          I came across an interview with CVW titled ‘ An in depth interview with former Supreme Court judge C.V.Wigneswaran’ by Ayesha Zuhair ( http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/3248)

          Please read what he said and the many comments I made in response to an invitation to comment by one Mahesh. CVW has no doubt been consistent with what he said on the Tamil question, as a former judge. Even, then I contested his position.

          However, his role as the first Chief Minister of the first NPC should have been to prove that any degree of devolution was welcome to achieve something for the Tamils and on the basis of that to ask more. However, he mistook his role as Chief Minister for that of the TNA political formation and has been trying to play a role that was not his. In the process he lost sight of what he was expected to do as CM.

          This is what disappoints me. He deliberately and mischievously, messed up an opportunity to make a case for more devolution, despite pointing out in his interview that the Indo-Sri Lanka agreement ( in effect the 13th amendment) was a good starting point. He forgot that wise judgement once enconsed in power!

          Dr.RN

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            Anpu,

            Thanks. I do not agree with ‘Withering Hopes’. There is much bias, distortion and paucity of real facts in this essay. The Tamils in the north and east are breathing much more freely and are at ease now, than since the 1970s. This is the fact. Yes, they have problems relating to the prolonged turmoil of the past three decades, the repeated wars and how the last war ended. Most of these problems should have been addressed by the TNA dominated NPC in the past three years.

            Dr.RN

          • 0
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            I copy below two comments from the dbsjeyraj link that sheds light on our origins. I hope the editor will permit them to appear be use of their educational value. If we want to know more about the murky depths of the past we came from and sheer futility of the current identities we fight over.

            TRN
            December 29, 2011 at 9:28 pm
            My interest on pre historic times in Lanka made me search and find some interesting articles. Hope many will be enlightened by the evidence already at our door steps.

            I’m copying from some of these. It is easy to search in google wealth of information to absorb.

            http://www.scenicsrilanka.com/history-of-sri-lanka.html
            ——————————-

            Some of the highlights and evidence of the inhabited by humans in Sri Lanka are;

            123,000 BC – Oldest human found in Lanka – Pathirajawela in the deep South. A student from Bundala Central school recovered the oldest Lankan human’s remains and his stone tools in Pathirajawela in Deep south, near Ambalantota. This Lankan had lived 20,000 years before the Niandathal inhabited the earth. It has been estimated, at an international average, that the population density for Lanka, at the time was 0.8-1.5 per SqKm in dry zone and 0.1 in wet zone. They had lived in groups of 1-2 families, not in large groups due to scarcity of food. With this proof of pre-historic settlement in Lanka, Patirajawela also exposed a flake and stone tool industry belonging to 125,000 to 75,000 BC. This meant that the Lankans had already started their long journey towards civilisation.

            80000 BC – 2nd oldest human found in Lanka – Bundala in the deep South These people made tools of quartz (and a few on chert). Apart from such tools, no other remains had survived the ravages of time and tropical weathering.

            30500 BC Fa-Hien cave – 3rd oldest Lankan human found in the Largest natural cave in South Asia Over 150 feet in height, 282 feet long, Pahiyangala can accommodate over 3000 humans. It was home to a large community. 3rd oldest Lankan human proves world’s oldest proof of consumption of rice, Kurahan, salt Female body-remains found near BulathSinhala, proved the consumption of rice, kurahan, and salt. The Archaeologists named her Kalu-Menika. It was proof that 20,000 years before the world, Lankans have gone agricultural. It was also the first anatomically modern human found in whole of South Asia

            TRN
            December 30, 2011 at 7:43 am
            DBSJ, hope you won’t get annoyed with me for posting from other web sites. However your article has inspired to search on pre historic times in SL.

            I’m coming across many interesting facts. Do you mind if I post them here?

            http://www.lankalibrary.com/geo/cave.htm

            Dr. Deraniyagala, Consultant to the Sri Lankan government on Archaeology says;

            Sri Lanka is lucky in that we have a series of human remains from caves from 37,000 years ago. A major assemblage has been dated to 18,000 years ago, another to 16,000 years B.P., yet another to 6,500, and one between 4,000 and 3,000 years ago. These remains have been intensely studied at Cornell University, U.S., and reports published. The initial indications are that the 19th century Vadda Adivasis of Sri Lanka bear a strong genetic resemblance to these early historic humans, at least from 18,000 years ago onwards. This research was taken further by Dr. D.T. Hawkey of Arizona State University, where she used dental morphological traits to establish the genetic distance between populations. It is comparative work of the greatest value, and what she says is that these dental traits are genetically determined, and have nothing to do with environment. She has done comparative work not only on the Sri Lankan population but various Indian groups and further afield into West Asia and South-east Asia on the one hand, and Australia and Melanesia on the other. She has come up with important results on the genetic affinities of our prehistoric humans. This has confirmed the results of the earlier work done by Cornell University.

            What is more important is that Dr. Hawkey suggests that the Sri Lankan evidence indicates that modern human beings evolved in South Asia, South-east Asia, and perhaps in south China. This challenges the widely held view that they originated in Africa.
            ————————————-

            So isn’t it obvious that Native Vedda’s claims are justified?”

            TRN does not comment anymore. I hope he is In good health. We need more persons like him to join the current debate on consitution making and it’s nuts and bolts .

            Dr.RN

            t

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    Look here Modaya,

    Take away the gibberish about “Mahavamsa mindset” and “Majoritism” etc – what are you left with?

    You are left with a territorial claim called “Tamil Homeland” and more importantly – only 45% of its inhabitants supporting it!

    That translates to a thing called a Hung Parliament. A Hung Parliament only gives instability. So the Tamil state will have a permanently unstable Hung Parliament.

    The Tamil state will need at least 2/3 majority support in order to achieve a stable Tamil state.

    When the Voddokodai resolution came out it had the message I am giving to you now. Only 48% people in NE wanted a Tamil Eelam.

    So it wasn’t fault of Vellupillai Prabarkaran that resulted in its failure. It is because of dimwits like you who gave him a flawed concept in the first place.

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      Vibushana the liar twister.

      “It is because of dimwits like you”

      There are many DIMWITS like YOU.

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      Name calling and personal insults are typical responses one resorts to when they are unable to rationally counter one’s point of view.

      It is a common trait of those Sinhalese who are ardent believers of the the fictitious tale called Mahavamsa. This fellow Vibhushana is a very good example of that.

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      The Vadukoddai Resolution was put forward for an Independent State of Tamil Eelam as being the solution to the problems of the Tamils. In the 1977 general election, the people of Tamil speaking North & East voted overwhelmingly for the Independent State of Tamil Eelam. What everybody should know is that the people of North & East of Sri Lanka (Tamil Homeland) has already given the mandate for an Independent Tamil State in Sri Lanka in the year 1977.

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        Celeo

        But majority of Tamil speaking people, by continuing to live outside North and East have expressed their continued support for a unitary Sri Lanka.

        Soma

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    “Nevertheless in post-election rule, Ranil on his part appointed the most unfitting cabinet portfolios. Most of his ‘Royal’ colleagues are either totally ignorant of the subject matter like the Minister of Education or arrogant like the minister for Higher Education.”
    I Agree 100%.
    And they will continue to ruin everything achieved in the name of Good Governance.

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    Excellent writing.Timely writing. TQ Co for publishing such dissective analysis. Open, direct and to the point. Yes I strongly agree that the religious leaders have to educate the ordinary people and lead them.Then there will be less conflicts along race, language and religion fault lines.

    For me there is a major short coming in the above analysis. It is to do with corruption, nepotism, tax evasion and taking money out of the country and putting in banks in other countries,bringing in illicit narcotics,
    Rape & Murder and so on. I think venerable religious priests from all the major religions and come together and lead so that politicians have no choice but to implement the laws of the country.
    It is sad the religious leaders together with the opportunistic politicians

  • 1
    7

    I remember in one of his comments Raghavan stated that the sinhala ethno nationalism is much like israeli nationalism that is built on false history. But what he forgets or fails to admit is that it is more relevant to tamil nationalism in SL.

    Any solution to so called ethnic conflict should be arrived at after looking at BOTH side’s concerns and researching into the real ’cause’. tamil politicians should remember if they are trying to force their own solution with the support of IC and India would not work.

    Hence threatening hey IC will give us a separate country if you dont give us federal is just empty rheotic.

    • 3
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      “tamil politicians should remember if they are trying to force their own solution with the support of IC and India would not work.”

      It has worked for ‘Kosovo’, ‘East Timor’, ‘Montenegro’ and ‘South Sudan’ in the recent past. It can very well work for Sri Lanka if the Tamils really mobilize themselves for a non-violent campaign with Direct Action involving all the Tamils in Sri Lanka and abroad.

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        Suresh

        “…involving all the Tamils in Sri Lanka and abroad…”

        Do ‘all the Tamils’ include those who practise Islam as their religion and those working in the plantations?

        Soma

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          In a federal form of government the Tamil-speaking northern and eastern provinces would constitute a Tamil linguistic state. The legislative power of the federal states would be vested with the parliament and its membership would be reflected according to the ethnic percentage of the state. Special provisions has to be included to ensure the representation of Tamil speaking Muslims and the plantation Tamils of Indian origin.

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      The UN and the International community/courts did not consider Nationalism or what ever when they sponsored the referendum to establish a separate state in ‘Kosovo’, ‘East Timor’, ‘Montenegro’ and ‘South Sudan’ which were very similar to the situation in Sri Lanka. The principle and fundamental right of self-determination is firmly established under international law and during the past several years, the Tamils’ right to self-determination has received recognition at sessions of the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva. The imminence of (Sinhala) violence is referred to as ‘impunity’ by the international community.

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        Suresh

        The International community is more likely to decide that Tamil Ealam must must originate in Tamilnadu and those in Sri Lanka are an insignificant few.

        Soma

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          soma,

          The motherland of Tamils is Tamil Eelam and not Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu was created by the British in the 19th century whereas Tamil Eelam was created by Raja Raja Chola in the 10th century. If the World Tamils want a country, then the one and only place in the world to create a Tamil country is in Tamil Eelam and not Tamil Nadu.

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          soma,

          If you take the entire world, only Sri Lanka and South India had a separate Tamil kingdom and a separate Tamil speaking territory where the Tamils are the majority. South India has already established a Tamil speaking federal state known as Tamil Nadu for the Tamils of India. Sri Lanka has not yet established a Tamil speaking federal state for the Tamils of Sri Lanka because the Sinhalese are unable to understand the meaning of federalism.

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    No matter whether Sinhalese profess pristine buddhism or not they are a community with political rights and they have a homeland. Just because they are buddhists, Sinhalese do not have to divide and distribute their homeland to everyone who claim a part of it.

    This is in other words, hey you are a buddhist so stick to it and dont fight for your political rights for survival

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    It is Malabar Tamils brought by British wanted to have their own country because, British gave dominenv=ce to Tamils over Sinhala buddhists.

    Now, it is the Christian writers who studies buddhism now preaches ask Sinhala buddhists to be True buddhists.

    • 1
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      Jim,

      It is fair to say that you no clue about the history; you just write to feed your bigotry. You are simply a complete racist. You do not like the Muslims nor do you like the Tamils.

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        burning Issue:

        Only the tamils know.

        Sinhala buddhists were fighting this fight millinia.

        Do you think it is different now because the west introduced their version of democracy, and the church wants to democratize to help their agenda while Vellala – Dalits in NPC want their version of democracy which is confederation.

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      jambola,

      The island is still our colony- like Diego Garcia you will have to jump in the sea soon.
      do you remember Cameron going upto the north while USA was not allowed.

  • 0
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    If Tamils don’t want to talk this is how Tamils Self Determination began.

    Malabar Colonization of Sri Lanka:

    Viscount Torrington arrived in Colombo in May 1847 and immediately increased taxes that resulted in mass protests. To quell this he brought in Malabar troops from Madras and martial law was introduced for 6 weeks. His tyranny was such that he was known as the British hyena which subjected him to an ignominious recall from Ceylon which almost led to the Whigs losing office in 1850. Did these Malabars’s return to India? Maybe not!

    Let us also not forget the Butcher of Uva-Wellassa – Robert Brownrigg. The British are fine gentlemen they say but Brownrigg was to declare to Maj. Gen. Hay MacDowell in 1818 “ Slaughter every man, woman, and child (including babes suckling at the breast)”. This led to Uva-Wellassa the granary of the Kingdom of Kandy in a state of famine and starvation. Herbert White, a British Government Agent in the (Compendium of Uva) Journal reads as follows “there is no record of the population of Uva after the rebellion. No record is left about Uva before the rebellion. If thousands died in the battle field they were all brave fighters. If 4/5 of the remaining population after the rebellion is considered as children and the old, the damage done is unlimited’. Just 3 years after the signing of the Kandyan Convention the British went on a murderous rampage using Malabar Tamils brought in from India – did these Malabars return. Maybe not!.

    How did the colonials settle the Malabars that they brought?

    They did so by the enactment of waste land laws making Kandyan peasants landless so that colonials could grow coffee and tea.

    In 1840 the Crown Lands Ordinance Act (Waste Lands Ordinance) was passed taking all forest, waste, unoccupied or uncultivated land under the Crown. Kandyan resistances was crushed using methods that would constitute genocide and crimes against humanity. Road & rail facilities were created not to benefit the locals but for easy transport for the British. Land grants were given only to loyal native chiefs (in other words anyone who would betray their own people). Indian Tamil Malabars were brought in from India because they afforded cheap labor. ECTA is aspiring to do the same.

    In 1856 the Temple Lands Ordinance Act was brought surveying Temple lands. Temples had to omit claims to land tracts to avoid paying heavy survey charges. These unclaimed Temple lands were taken to the Crown. In 1897 Waste Lands Ordinance again declared vast tracts of land to the Crown. Grain Tax Ordinance was introduced in 1878 imposing tax on paddy land owners. The British have done much to destroy the flora and fauna of Sri Lanka. Between 1829 and 1855 alone, more than 6,000 elephants were captured and shot for sport

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      jim softy Dimwit

      Did you compile this rant yourself?

      I am sure it wasn’t you and have seen this trash somewhere else, probably in one of those Sinhala/Buddhist political porn website and typed by cult trash queen Shenali.

      Did you have a good time reading this rant and have pleasant self actualisation experience or some sort. At the climax/end did you let a scream, Jeyawewa?

      Even if it is a rant, learn to acknowledge its author.

      • 0
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        NATIVE Vedda:

        YOu look like another Dalit Tamil.

        • 3
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          jim softy

          “YOu look like another Dalit Tamil.”

          Did you find that out from your magic mirror?

          Please ask your Mirror, ” Mirror Mirror on the wall, who is the wisest of us all?”

          • 0
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            Mirror Mirror on the wall, who is the wisest of us all?”

            Instead ask who is the greediest of all.

            Tamils. They are bulling Sinhala people and rewrite history inorder to get a homeland because, if India, they can not ask those.

  • 0
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    Thank you Dr. Raghavan. Perhaps our buddhist monks can enlighten the masses about the Licchavi buddhist state in northern India, that is often highlighted as an early example of a nascent democracy, and one that the Buddha used as inspiration for organizing the Sangha.

    “Lichchavi system

    What is Lichchavi system? During the time of Buddha in 6th century BC, Ajasath the king of Magadha and a devotee of Buddha wanted to invade the Vajji territory. Buddha advised Vassakara, the Chief Minister of Ajasath, not to go ahead with war. The Buddha further said that the Lichchavis, rulers of Vajji, could not be suppressed and defeated until they adhered to the seven Dhammas which were not conducive to defeat (Sapta Aparihaniya Dhamma). Those seven points are given below:

    They held regular meetings to discuss matters pertaining to the day-to-day administration.
    They met, worked and dispersed as a team.
    They strictly followed the law of the country.
    They were submissive to the elders.
    They respected the women-folk and condemned the oppression of women.
    They followed the religious customs and protected them.
    They respected the clergy and held them in veneration.
    The values behind these seven points can be identified as follows:
    Consensus
    Maintain the rule of law
    Protect the weak
    Respect those who are respectable
    These democratic traditions followed by the Lichchavis were introduced to Bhikku order by Buddha.

    – See more at: http://www.ft.lk/article/387909/What-is-this-Lichchavi-system-the-PM-talks-about#sthash.ThI8ho6Z.dpuf

  • 0
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    “For the Sinhalas, federalism is the beginning of a separate state while for the Tamils it is the minimum achievement instead of separate state. Such diagonal contradictions cannot core exist, even if it is super imposed by an outside super power as what is happening in former Yugoslavia.”

    That is why I always say there is NO solution to the Tamil ethnic question.

    Tamils must further enhance their cultural, linguistic and religious associations with Tamilnadu people for not to be felt isolated, gloomy and unhappy.

    Soma

    • 3
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      soma,

      I told you before that there IS a solution to the Tamil question. You guys need to come to terms with it; it is better sooner than later. The Tamils in Sri Lanka have their heritage in N&E and that is where they want to have their base. You have no right to tell us that we need to go to Tamil Nadu! What right do you have to tell me to go to Tamil Nadu?

      You built a Sinhala Buddhist state thus there will always be a Tamil state! If you had built a nation of Ceylon, no one would have objected. You cannot have the cake and eat it at the same time.

  • 2
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    Dear Dr Raghavan

    There is no such thing as Sinhala Buddhism. It is a word concocted by those hateful Tamil racists. There are Sinhalese who consider themselves as a race and there is Buddhism which is recognised as a religion. Majority of Sinhalese claim that they are Buddhists while there is a minority who claim to be Christians. Unlike among the Tamils there are no Sinhalese who claim to be believers in Islam. Why they never say American Christians dropped atom bomb on Japan instead of saying Americans dropped atom bomb on Japan? It is the hatred of the racists that blinds them to this simple truth. The intention of non Hindu racists is to kill two birds with one stone.

    Do those Sinhalese who claim to be Buddhists actually follow Buddha’s word. Do those Westerners who claim to be Christians actually follow the word of Christ. Let us not be naive to this silly level.

    Now these Sinhala Buddhists over millennia have have built up an agrarian
    civilization with lot of Buddhist temples and huge artificial water reservoirs and seem to harboring a desire to continue this civilisation. This kind of desire is prevalent everywhere, not unique to Sinhalese. It is this they call Sinhala Buddhism for their vilification exercise. It is this they are determined to dismantle. Unavoidably there is conflict of interest.

    To make matters worse there is an old book Called Mahavansa which has become the modern day bible of Tamil diaspora which the new Sinhala generation has not read at all. This book is supposed to be glorifying the above mentioned Buddhism centric agrarian civilisation.

    To recap, thre are Sinhala Buddhists and Sinhala Christians but there is no Sinhala Buddhism or Sinhala Christianity. There are British Catholics but there is no British Catholicism.

    Religion is a crown groups wear on their heads, not any spiritual light they carry in their hearts.

    Why don’t these guys preach Christianity to the West?

    Soma

    • 1
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      “Now these Sinhala Buddhists over millennia have have built up an agrarian civilization … “

      Complete lie.

      http://noolaham.net/project/36/3524/3524.pdf

      “There is substantial evidence, based on historical, epigraphical, inscriptional and other sources, to indicate that the Dravidian-speaking people, who had migrated to the Island from the proto-historic period, introduced the Tamil language, the Hindu religion and irrigation –based agriculture technology to the Island. Even though, under the influence of Pali, the Prakrit language and Brahmi script had replaced the Tamil language and the Vatteluttu as the common language of the people, Tamil-Hindus maintained their separate identity throughout Sri-lanka.They also maintained peaceful and respectful relationship with the Buddhist clergy, long after Buddhism replace Hinduism as the dominated-religion of the people of the country. “

      • 1
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        Mahanama, a Buddhist monk, a nephew of King Dhathusena, observing two groups of people in the 5th century A.D. – Hindus, speaking Tamil and the converts (Buddhists) speaking the new language (Prakrit) – hatched the story of Sinhabahu’s grandson Vijaya and his 700 followers (Bengalis), about 1000 years after their alleged landing, with the motive of projecting the Buddhists as a separate ethnic group, the Sinhalese (who will protect the Buddhist dharma in the island).

      • 2
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        Tamil words used in irrigation –

        Kadavai, Karai, Munai, Thekkam, Kulama. These are all clearly Tamil words.

        •Anai, is support.
        •Kaddu, is a construction.
        •Anaikaddu, is a supporting embankment (The English word ‘anicut’ is this simple Tamil word.)
        •Marichukaddu, is a dam thrown across a river and is slightly different from anaikaddu, which is presumably on a side of a river or constructed to strengthen an existing dam. The Tamil verb ‘mari’ means to prevent or hinder, its past participle is ‘mariththu’, colloquially ‘marichu’. Anai is also found as a suffix at the end of several words. E.g: Habarana.
        •Kadavai, is a word or a place where you cross over from one side to the other, as in Thammankadavai or Iluppaikkadavai. This word is derived from the Tamil verb ‘kada’ – to cross.
        •Karai, is the edge of a tank or river or canal and is found in Elahera (Eelakarai) or Kaddukara (Kaddukarai).
        •Munai or Mune, as the Sinhalese call it is a point, the end or beginning of anything as in Hattamune.
        •Thekkam, is a place where a large quantity of water is allowed to accumulate, something in the nature of a reservoir; literally it means being full or rising to the brim.
        •Kulam, or Kulama as the Sinhalese call it, means a tank or pond or lake.

        Now look at a further list of words that may superficially appear to be non-Tamil words;

        Ela, yodiela, kalingula, potawa, potawana, wakkada, bema, amuna, biskotuwa, sorowa.

        •Ela is the Tamil, Ali, which means a ridge or mound of earth dividing fields, or an aritificial embankment for confining water. The word Ela also means a ridge along which water flows.
        •Yodi-Ela, is a canal of higher elevation which serves as a feeder to a reservoir. It corresponds to the Tamil ‘Uyantha Ali’ (high).
        •Kalingula, is a contrivance built into the spill for raising the spill level of a tank. In Tamil, Kalingul, is the name for a sluice.
        •Potawa, is collection of water from a bank of an ela, retained by a bund for use after it has passed over the upper fields. The Tamil paravai, refers to a flat expanse of water.
        •Pitawana, is a channel by which surplus water is discharged from a tank. The meaning can be rendered by the Tamil words ‘piravali’, i becoming n, pira meaning outside and vali (verb), meaning overflow and vazhi (noun), a way.
        •Wakkada, is gap or cut made in the bund for letting water into the fields. This closely resembles the Tamil word vaikkal, a water-course.
        •Bemma, is a bund or earthen dam closing the outlet of the valley in which the water of a tank is retained. This is similar to the Tamil word, varambu, with the elision of the consonant r.
        •Amuna, is a temporary dam for stopping or diverting the water streams for purposes of irrigation. This may mean simply man, or colloquially mannu, earth heaped across a stream.
        •Biskotuwa, is a square shaft or well sunk through the bund of a tank to reach the bottom of a sluice. Though the sluice could be reached from the outside the construction of a Biskotuwa is intended to admit light to the sluice and also as an aid to put a supplementary gate to the sluice whenever the sluice gate needs repair. A Biskotuwa in Tamil would mean Pulai Kudaivu. Pulai, means a hollow tube or a sally port or a secret way and Kudaivu, is scooping out, as a well. (The consonant l, in Tamil sounds zh.
        •Sorowa, or Horowwa as it is sometimes spelt, is the sluice of a tank under an embankment to conduct the water to the channels. This is the Tamil ‘Sorivai’, an opening through which water is made to flow out; sorithal, is pouring forth or streaming forth or flowing out, and vay, is a mouth or an opening.
        http://www.sangam.org/2011/08/Aryan_Theory.php?uid=4446

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          Anpu and Walagamba

          That is the way to be happy. Teach all the Tamil school children these small phycogical tips to be happy , not to feel gloomy and misarabl like their fathers and forfathers have always been. Tell them how the valliant Tamil army routed the Sinhalese at Nandikadal and how they never surrendered but always took the cynide.

          Great.

          Soma

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            somaaaas

            Please tell the Sinhala/Buddhist children:

            How the Sinhala/Buddhist army hid behind VP’s fat bum when the Hindian army was occupying the North East.

            How the Sinhala/Buddhist army financed, armed, …. the boys in Bata slippers.

            How the Sinhala/Buddhist army fought the cowardice boys at Elephant Pass, Mullaithive, and was fighting a long war for 26 years.

            How the Sinhala/Buddhists treated the others in 1915, 1956, 1958, 1961, 1977, 1983 and over 30 years.

            How …… white Van found MR’s enemies and …..

            How VP helped a Sinhala/Buddhist member of crooked clan win elections.

            How the crooks made billions out of conning the treasury.

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            Soma,

            I am giving you FACTS and you are writing RUBBISH.

    • 1
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      Soma,

      “It is a word concocted by those hateful Tamil racists.”

      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/sinhala-buddhists-vs-buddhist-moderates/
      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/mahavamsa-an-insult-to-the-buddha/
      This is written by a Sinhalese not Tamil.

  • 4
    1

    Anpu

    Somasss is the representative sample of Sinhala/Buddhists. Facts do not matter to him nor his fellow bigots.

    • 1
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      NativeVedda

      “Facts do not matter to him nor his fellow bigots. “

      That is the problem.

  • 1
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    But Native I am among the handful of Sinhala Buddhists who support a Tamil Homeland which logicaĺly entails a Sinhala Homeland. I am burning mid night oil to formulate a stategy to achieve this in view of the +50% Tamils (Tamil speaking people) left in the Sinhala Homeland with no success so far. Please help me. Give me a list of reasons why Sinhala Homeland should accomodate majority of Tamils so that I can use those points to demonstrate that this discrimination stuff is unadultorated hypocrisy. It will help Sinhalese understand Tamil phyche. I am committed to enlighten the Sinhalese on this “holiday destination model” pushed on us and “North AND East for us and the rest is ALL of us” will lead to utter chaos.

    Soma

    • 0
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      The concept of homeland is not for the exclusive possession of a nationality.
      That will be a bloodbath as at the time of the partition of India.
      Federation or Regional Autonomy are not about such separation.

      The Russian Federation (from the time of the USSR) and the People’s Republic of China accommodated autonomous regions of varying sizes, each with an ethnic identity but not exclusive to any nationality.

      There are better examples for devolution of power and autonomy like Nicaragua, which has held despite a period of right wing take over.

      The trouble with Tamil nationalists has always been that they never addressed the Sinhalese public, even when there were good mediators among the Sinhalese. Tamil nationalist were always anti-left, irrespective of party.

    • 1
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      somaaasss

      The topic you are passionate about is dated. We have been there and I have given you serious proposals.

      You are trapped in the homeland and have nowhere to go.

      The starting point for any discussion should be habitats.

      Habitat

      – The place where a person lives or is most likely to be found.

      – The typical place of residence of a person or a group

      – the place in which a person, group, class, etc, is normally found

      – Abode, element, environment, home, home ground, locality, natural home, surroundings, terrain, territory

      Learn the definitions and synonyms first then you continue with your usual rant and I promise you I will read it with patience.

  • 0
    0

    Comment 1.
    “They were 4.6 million or 69% of a population of 6.6 million in 1947 just prior to the independence. Thanks to all the welfare regimes they are 15.3 million and very importantly 75% of a 20.3 million population in 2012. Comparatively the Lankan Tamils were 730,000 or 24% in 1947 and 2.2 million but only 11% of the total population in 2012.”

    1946 Census[e], Source: Wikipedia
    Sinhalese 4,620,500 (69.41%); Tamils 733,700 (11.02%); Ceylon Moors (373,600) (5.61%); Indian Tamils 780,600 (11.73%); Malays 22,500 (0.34%); Burghers 41,900 (0.63%); Indian Moors 35,600 (0.53%); Others 48,900 (0.73%).

    I think that the author should be cautious about comments like “Thanks to all the welfare regimes they are 15.3 million …” etc.
    There are reasons for the rise in the percentage of Sinhalese and stagnation of Tamil percentage. The ‘repatriation’ of Hill Country Tamils took the Hill country Tamil population below that of Muslims. A good fraction of a million Tamils have migrated.

    Comment 2
    “Tamils of Lanka have struggled for their political equality like no other community in the South Asian region.”

    Tamil nationalists of Lanka are also notorious for their blend of self pity and pride.
    Has any Tamil nationalist given any thought to Kashmir? There are several other nationalities in South Asia with longer histories of sustained national struggle than SL Tamils.

    A firly sober analysis can be damaged by careless utterances

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