18 September, 2021

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The Obsession With Colonialism

By Sumith Ariyasinghe

A conspicuous Sinhala right wing preoccupation, both in an outside the government, is to attribute all ills that beset Sri Lanka as being rooted in colonialism and its “exploitation”. Among most of these groups the condemnation of colonialism is harsh and expresses a deep-lying hatred and lust for revenge. The public expression of these strong negative emotions poison the receptive audiences, who most often are the under-privileged rural youth, who do not have the benefit of a proper education that would give them the ability to critically evaluate this onslaught. Those rural youth who somehow manage to further their education bring along the prejudices they thus acquire to their undergraduate lives and beyond. The universities themselves have declined precipitously as reflected in widespread local opinion as well international ratings. We thus have a vicious circle of economic and intellectual poverty, and we have a growing number of those who believe that our problems are the direct result of “colonial exploitation”. Part of the anti-colonial rhetoric is a condemnation of the west and its culture labelled “Judeo-Christian”. Never mind that the positions of power and influence the leaders of these groups enjoy are owed to their “Judeo-Christian” education. By denying the same education to the youth of the rural poor, these leaders are ensuring the dominance and security of their class, and their offspring who were or are being educated abroad in these same Judeo-Christian western countries.

The insistent resort to reminding the gullible that all our problems are the result of colonial exploitation is however an excellent opiate to keep the masses of the people enslaved, and denied of means to improve their state. It is an effective device to stand in the way of the ordinary people achieving their goals of advancement for themselves and their children. The obverse of attacking colonialism is the harking back to a golden past now lost, along with an alleged uniqueness of being Sinhala, called “Sinhalatva” by the leadership of these groups, and apeykama or “our-ness” by their cheap journalist minions. These terms in essence depict a tribal identity, now enhanced by the arrogance of “winning the war” and “eradicating terrorism”. “Sinhalatva” is clearly a plagiarization of “Hindutva”, the Hindu fundamentalist label for latter’s alleged uniqueness that has led to violence in India, including the tearing down of the Babri Masjid in 1992, on the excuse that the location of the historic mosque is the Hindu god Rama’s birthplace. It expresses the power fantasy of the Sinhalatva leadership, and their lack of hesitation to resort to violence to achieve their goal.

The obsession with colonialism also functions in providing these groups with a ready-made enemy indispensable for the perpetration of their untruths. Originally carried by the Sinhala extremists, the anti-colonial obsession has, in the aftermath of the war, successfully extended itself beyond this core to include a broad spectrum of people embracing a “patriotism” and a Motherlandism identified with blind loyalty to the ruling clique: if you are pro-regime you are a patriot and a lover of the Motherland, if you are anti-regime you are a traitor. Post war Motherlandism has conferred on the bogeyman of colonialism a new concreteness and stature. It is the new opiate that the regime in power has preeminently appropriated for itself, in particular in its definition of patriotism as loyalty to itself. Motherlandism, like the national anthem, expresses a fixation on the mother that constitutes part and parcel of the deeper-lying maladies of the culture. We have a parallel in the fixation on the Father and the Fatherland in the dictatorships of Russia and Nazi Germany. The inability to pragmatically accept the historical and sociological fact of colonialism must have deep psychological roots in the aberrations of the ideologues of these groups. But having come into being and spread on to occupy the minds of specific social strata, this inability has assumed a sociological form that has now engulfed the state, with its propaganda machinery turning it into a red herring on the one hand and opiate on the other.

No one in his or her proper senses would accept, far less defend, colonialism. However, a healthy understanding of colonialism requires that we adopt an objective and rational perspective on it. First, like good Buddhists, we must take a “cause and effect” view of colonialism. The “cause” of colonialism is not one but many. It is true the colonizers had superior arms, which was one reason for their success. But the main factor that contributed to colonial dominance was our “culture”, our particular culture of politics based on intrigue. The Sinhala extremist glorification of Sri Lanka as a “unitary” (ekeeya) state notwithstanding, there was never any lasting unitary state in Sri Lanka until the British occupation. We were unable to contain and defeat the onslaught of the colonizers because we were factionalized and fragmented into different “kingdoms”, and we curried favour with the foreigners, plotting against each other, sometimes brother against brother, and father against son and vice versa.

The bottom line is, if we find ourselves colonized for whatever reason, it is childish to be grumbling about it. Instead, the healthy response is to be vigilant and try and put the colonialist regime to our best advantage. We have excellent examples of this. I will mention two. First, in the last decades of colonial rule, the Buddhist monks of the Vidyodaya monastic college in Colombo got for themselves the attention of the British colonial government by means of their positive contributions to society, both in education and their movement for rural development. The approach of these monks was so civil and diplomatic that the colonial government ended up supporting the college, and the colonial Governor considered it an honour and his official duty to preside over its annual graduation ceremonial.

My second example is the American occupation of Japan at the end of the World War II. Japan, a proud and powerful nation with a historic culture and civilization, was humiliated, but the people of Japan adopted a realistic attitude and made use of the reforms introduced by their American rulers to turn their country into the world’s greatest economic power. They achieved such success that, in the last decades of the 20th century, they were able to bring America to its knees economically. Their success was due entirely to their realistic and intelligent acceptance of the American occupation as an opportunity to build democratic institutions, good governance, an efficient system of education, a strong, vibrant economy, and in general remake their nation into a culturally unique yet modern nation. They were able to modernize without westernizing because they had a goal higher than personal aggrandizement, namely, the welfare of the nation as a whole, symbolized by the Emperor, who graciously played his part by accepting the role of the constitutional monarch, one of the reforms carried out by the American Occupation. In modernizing without westernizing, they didn’t let themselves be distracted by trivialities like wearing a “national” dress. They didn’t change their country’s international name to the indigenous Nippon, as our leaders did when they, for narrow political gain, replaced our country’s fine and pragmatic international name Ceylon with “Sri Lanka”. This in effect was to name the country after their party, the SLFP. The people never called their country “Sri Lanka”. They called Lanka in Sinhala and Ilangai in Tamil. We do come across “Sri Lanka”, but rarely, and only in the bombastic proclamations of tyrants. As with the other decisions the people of Japan took, the retention of the international name “Japan” was a pragmatic step that helped them in their heroic and astonishing regeneration. The people of Japan achieved all this without grumbling, without whining, and without melodramatic fasts unto death that turn into farts unto the living.

The chauvinist critics (as differentiated from reasoned critics) of colonialism also fail to realize an important factor, that there was no blanket “colonialism” that covered the entire period of colonial rule. While atrocities were committed in the early period of colonial rule, when we get to the late colonial period, we find the system of gradual representation reaching its peak with responsible government, and universal suffrage introduced in 1931. The imperial countries were themselves going through change and in the case of Britain there were strong movements toward liberalism as manifested, for example, in the gradual grant of self-government to the colonies. While economic activity benefited the colonial rulers, it was also beneficial to the country. Increasing numbers were employed in the emerging modern economy including its infra structure projects. These projects and the more direct economic activities were having social consequences that included the breakdown of traditional social, economic and geographical barriers. These developments contributed generally to the country’s welfare and progress.

The most important and the most radical contribution of British rule was the liberation of the individual from the shackles of feudalistic domination. This was enabled by the introduction of the rule of law in place of the will of a single ruler that by definition was arbitrary. Any traditional constraints on arbitrary rule were ritualistic and subject to ritual manipulation in favour of authority. The basis of the pre-colonial society was ascriptive status, which meant that caste, kinship and family mattered more than laws, and unequal treatment was the accepted principle, the large majority toiling for the minority that enjoyed the fruits of that toil. Besides, by the introduction of a modern rational bureaucracy, legal system, political system and modern commerce the British administration brought about an ethos of modernity and a modern cosmopolitan civility that the country was unable to generate within itself, despite such civility being present in Buddhism, the country’s professed religion, in both its ethics and the vinaya texts that formed the basis of monastic organization. That ethical and noble Buddhism was never practiced except perhaps by a few recluses. It was never generalized to the social and cultural order. What was generalized was a ritualism that propped up tyrannical rule, legitimized caste and other inequalities, and functioned as the opium of the people. We were never a society of Buddhists. We have always been a society of ritualists. At no period in our history did the urbane civility of Buddhism ever touch the culture.

The reforms brought about by British rule took a long time to become fully effective, and ascriptive status and privilege lingered on well into the time of independence. These have made a come back starting with the “People’s Government” of 1956 and have reached great heights at present, such great heights that a politician can get away scot free after having arbitrarily meted out on an officer of the state the feudal punishment of tying the latter to a tree. The numerous instances of impunity after the ascent of the present regime are well known.

It is here in fact that we can find the meaning and sociological significance of 1956, touted by nationalists and naively concluded by scholars as a liberation of the people led by its indigenous leadership. The reality is exactly the opposite. The indigenous leadership, sloganised in the 1956 election campaign as “Sanga Veda, Guru” (Buddhist monks, native physicians, vernacular teachers) but not limited to these, localized in the villages were in fact the immediately present and effective oppressors of the people consisting of the farming population and the “lower” castes. The rule of law introduced by the colonial administration dislodged the hold this elite had on the people. When these elites talk about colonial oppression, what they mean is this dislodgement and the resulting loss of their position of privilege. The vast majority of the people had nothing to loose but their chains. For the people, oppressed by the feudalistic indigenous elites, colonialism was not domination but liberation. This was so not just in Ceylon but wherever a modern liberal colonial power dislodged the hold the feudal overlords had on their peoples. It is no wonder that the Dalits (“untouchables”) of India consider the British rule to be the best thing that ever happened to them in all of history. Among other positive results of colonialism is the access we have to world knowledge through the English language.

We are not the only people to be colonized. In the long-term historical perspective, colonialism was part of the vast unravelling of a global movement at a certain point of time. Colonialism’s wars brought wealth and glory to some and caused damage, targeted and collateral, to others. That’s what all wars do, including our tragic civil war that ended in 2009. According to some allegations it caused the collateral damage of 40,000 deaths of Tamil citizens. Even if this figure is incorrect as the government claims, thousands were killed, and our hands are as tainted as those of the colonialist warmongers. If we are fated to be colonized, the rational, healthy and realistic approach is to accept it and use it to our best advantage as indeed the Vidyodaya monks and the Japanese people did.

Our nationalist extremists also forget that the imperialist societies themselves have gone through radical change and they have become liberal democracies that disapprove of colonialism as much as we do. Our former colonial masters, now liberal democracies, have only been too willing to support us, and we could have made better use of that than we have done so far. It is our un-Buddhist hatred and delusion that has prevented us from using our colonizers to our advantage. We must learn a lesson from the statesmanship of Mandela and Gandhi, and extend the hand of friendship to our former colonial masters. Whatever former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s faults are he was right to propose the celebration of the first European colonial contact five centuries ago. Pouncing on him for having said that only reveals our want of realism on the one hand, and the state of our mental health on the other. Colonialism is a part of our history and the intelligent choice is to make use of it.

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    If no European colonialism, no Buddism in SL
    Just like the subcontinent & southeast Asia it was a matter of time before we too were Muslim or a last bastion of Hinduism.

    It is also naive to imagine that the natives were so willing to give up their mother tounge Elu and the religion of their forefathers for a new one and that too without ever being forced, evicted, threatened or killed.

    Those with ‘colonized excuse’ are also with doubble-standards.

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      Professor Courtnay in his ‘History of Ceylon’, (pp. 13-14) says that had not the Portuguese come to Sri Lanka the entire Island would have come under the control of the ‘Moors’.

      “The affairs of Sri Lanka were at that time in a most critical condition. All the trade in the Island was in the hands of the Moors. The wealth which this had brought them rendered them powerful and gave them a great ascendancy over the native rulers. The arrival of the Portuguese saved the Sinhalese from the Moors becoming the rulers.”

      When the Portuguese arrived in Sri Lanka it was the ‘Moors’ who first organized resistance against them to safeguard the trade of the Moors along the Western sea-board. They encouraged and urged Bhuvanaike Bahu, the King of Kotte, and also Mayadunne and Vijayabahu (the brothers of Bhuvanaike Bahu), in turn, to oppose the Portuguese. During the Portuguese rule the Moors suffered widespread persecution, and many fled to the up-country and the Eastern-Coast. Both the Portuguese and the Dutch treated them harshly because (1) they refused to become converts to Christianity (2) they were their rivals in trade.

      If not for the Portuguese, Sri Lanka would have become another Muslim country like Bangaladesh (Bangaladesh was Buddhist once upon a time).

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        are u a racist or do u have any personal hatred towards the muslims who are born n bred just like you in Sri lanka..

        cos i don’t simply understand why so much of hype..

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          Nishad

          Sorry if you have misunderstood my comment. What I was trying to interpret was the writings of one of our colonial historian Professor Courtnay’s ‘History of Ceylon’. I did not mean to hurt anyone’s feelings. I am neither a racist nor have any personal hatred towards the Muslims. Everyone in Sri Lanka other than the Veddas is outsiders (immigrants) who settled in the island at different times. Even the four major religions that we practice in Sri Lanka were brought from outside. There is no doubt that the Muslims in Sri Lanka also have the same rights as the Sinhalese and the Tamils.

          The majority Sinhala-Buddhists was attacking the Tamils yesterday, Muslims today and I am sure it will be the Christians tomorrow and for the politicians the minorities in Sri Lanka (Muslims, Tamils and even the Sinhala Christians) have become a marketing commodity in Sri Lankan politics; who ever speak against them can win the elections and be in power.

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            Janaka Fernando says:

            “Everyone in Sri Lanka other than the Veddas is outsiders (immigrants) who settled in the island at different times.”

            Yet, the constitution of this country does not recognise my people as such while according unnecessary importance to Buddha Sasana which you say was imported (duty free of course) from India.

            When are we going to get our recognition as the true sons/daughters of my ancestral island.

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        I do solely agree with Janaka Fernando, in his analysis and what is said in the past history of Sri Lanka. Many of this young generation have not been taught about the past history of the coming of the Sinhalese race, the Moors, the Portuguese, Dutch,and the British. Sri Lanka was a Island that the inhabitants being the Vaddas. The ancient Sinhalese did not know why the Vaddas were so different. They believed that the first people who came to Sri Lanka(Ceylon) were Vijaya and his followers, and that the Sinhalese came from their families they believed that Vijaya had married a yakshini called Kuveni, and they thought that the Vaddas were descended from their children. This is the written history going back up to 1500 years. The Sinhalese people in this day and age have deprived the Vaddas their human rights, and now to the Tamil people who have lived in these Islands for over five hundred years, it wont be long before the Muslims and other Ethnic group will be faced alienation by the die hard Sinhalese Nationalist if they do not change their thinking and attitude and unite all people of Sri Lanka as one people one nation no matter what race or religion. People should be free to follow whatever religion and respect given to all in their choice of worship.

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          Merrill Fernando,

          Thanks for mentioning my people.

          When can we have our ancestral island back?

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      I would not call it as Double standards – but as lack of proper knowledge or understanding. Most of the time, these demonstrators are far from the facts – there should be proper manners get them to better informed about all the facts around burning issues can solve all these problems easily. But so long biased – misinterpreting news articles and video programs by state media are existing, no progress in the areas can be the case.

      Let alone, Wimal Weerawansa – who is said to be adapated eldest son of the ruling president has ZERO idea about the substances of the articles, video information that are in English language. Each times his over reactions to the media have further made clear this to lanken and international communities. Not only Weeraswansa, there do exist several dozens of current parliaments that are far from understanding of the facts of particular issues. So then they come with their – OWN WAY of interpretations (absolutely misinterpretations) to the nation through state media – poorest masses who are captured by these dragon are vulnerable in Sl and any similar country to this kind of stupidities.

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        Colonialism is in the past We have to move on .Now it is the international community , the UN who are the new enemies. Wmal Weerawansa is against the latter. As far as I know he is against the interference in the internal affairs in SL by these elements.

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          Kumudini, Weerawansa has no policies, understanding or the ability to think nationally.He is a greedy, cunning, selfish skunk who will sell his m…..,w…,d……. for a the price of a sprat no for one cent

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          This is a doubble standard.
          We willingly joined UN
          Now colaborating & getting paid for Haiti troops

          If enemy, leave UN, no one is forcing.
          This is piggish nationalism & the new phantom colonialism.

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        “We thus have a vicious circle of economic and intellectual poverty, and we have a growing number of those who believe that our problems are the direct result of “colonial exploitation”. (quote from Sumith Ariyasinghe)

        These problems are not due to Colonialism or to Nationalism. They are due to some great post-colonial leaders giving back to people whatever the surplus we had free of charge. The producers of rice were not encouraged to add value to their products and there was no recognition of SME sector. Inventors lose their Intellectual Property Rights to foreigners because not knowing that SL registration is not valid outside Sri Lanka, they publish the inventions in the internet expecting someone to buy it.

        As regards intellectual poverty, lack of public outreach in local languages by the Scientific and Professional bodies is the real cause. Even when it is attempted it is either stopped by rulers or not promoted by the media. Media conferences organized by those institutions are total failures. Media conferences are now controlled by a mafia which charges very high prices for ensuring good attendance. The price does not include the expenses on refreshments and cocktails. Even when the attendance is good the follow up promotion is very poor due to marketing guys in the media institutions demanding sole rights for promoting an event or to follow up on the outcome.

        The other reason is that there are no well informed subject specialists in almost all media institutions. In this regard I wish to thank parliamentarian Dr. JJ for his weekly program on health matters on TNL and Samantha Hettiarachchi for his weekly program “Doramandalawa” on ITN.

        The culture of competition at examination starting from year-5 scholarship examination is another reason for intellectual poverty. The schools produce bright students with good results but not intellectually strong good citizens. Achievements sans morals do not lead to overcoming the problem of intellectual poverty.

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      These UNP English speaking Colombians love to have a go at the Buddhist monks until the Jihadists hiding in Kathankudy and elsewhere in Sinhale, show up. The same thing happened in the recent past when they were supporting the Colombo PEACE TRADERS who prolonged the LTTE terror for 30 long years until the JHU Buddhist monks fearlessly marched to Mavil Aru insisting (that they will NOT budge until) this spineless government (not to mention all the other previous spineless & gutless regimes ruling Sinhale)starts the war. Only one UNP MP will tell the truth and give credit where credit is due to the fearless JHU bhikkus that the Western ass licking Colombians love to hate.

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        S Mahinda

        So Colombians are from Mars and JHU Buddhist monks are from Venus. How gratifying to hear your post modernist revisionist history.

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        S.Mahinda

        What do you say about Somarama who assassinated SWRD. What is the conspiracy behind……..Yes VP’s down fall was Mavil Aru and Buddhist Monks protested like before they did on many other occassions

        But don’t you think that it was pure Gen. Sarath Fonseks who led the final battle front by giving the needed troop morale. Just check how many soldiers deserted armed forces before Gen. SF took over. It say over 200,000 and it was Gen. Fonseka who stopped it and won the war…..but now these fake monks trying to get credit with ever fake Maha Raja.

        Also I read the history which say it was India that Portuguese were looking for…… but landed in Sri Lanka. Just imagine Galle Ramparts built in 1500’s by Portuguese still looking robust and unbelievable.

        Can Rajapakse built quarter of it…..even after borrowing 2 Billion Dollars from world Bank…….

        GOATS PRETENDING TO BE LOINS 65 YEARS AFTER INDEPENDENCE.

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    Many thanks for this excellent piece! Sri Lankan universities and thought is trapped in the “prison house” of post-colonial nationalism- a regressive and backward mode of thinking!
    Under the guise of ‘hip’ and ‘cool’ post-colonial critical studies, paranoid and perverse Sinhala and Tamil nationalisms (and increasingly Muslim fundamentalism) have flourished in and bled Lanka: Post-colonial nationalism/s have been used by Sinhala majoritatrian politicians playing the “ethnic” card to whip up linguistic nationalism and create vote banks; by Buddhist religious leaders to cultivate dayaka-banks, and Jathika Chinthanaya intellectuals and the likes of Susantha Gunatilleka (a crippled mind par excellence), as well as, murderous Prabakaran used it, Rajapaksa uses it as does the JVP.. Nationalism is indeed national CURSE!
    Finally, let’s not forget that it was the Sinhalaya modayas that colonized the indigenous Vanni-atto peoples of Lanka.. and that the island belongs to them!

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      Agreed, and yes indeed many thanks Prof.
      We desperately need and hope we can have an enlightened discussion on colonialism/s in Lanka British colonialism and Sinhala colonialism.

      One small point of disagreement is with the notion that Ranil Wickramasinghe who is a dictator and has ruined the UNP, the opposition and the country by tacitly supporting the Rajapakse power grab, rather than protecting democracy as evident in the UNP’s performance over the impeachment of CJ, is no different from the feudalistic political rulers of Lanka, past and present. Ranil just has a veneer of westernization and modernity – but is as backward as Rajapassa.. infact, he is worse than Rajapassa since he is living off the bribes offered by Rajapakse and paid for by the Lankan Tax payers, and the sweat and blood of housemaids in the middle east, under paid women tea pluckers, and exploited garment factory workers..

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        I would like to thank for the comments of Kumudini and Safa for telling the truth as it really is. Sumith Ariyasinghe’s anti Sinhala rhetoric is nothing new and I hear these daily from our English speaking UNP voting elite of Sinhale (the real name of Sri Lanka when the British signed the 1815 Kandyan Convention). Thanks to that great UNP stalwart JRJ we have gone back to the fuedalist system of yesteryear but anti Sinhala Sumith would like to blame the 1956 regime and NOT his dear UNP leader JRJ who was the culprit of the dictatorial and fuedalist constitution we have today which allows the President to be above the law of the land. Are these anti Sinhala Western ass lickers living on the same planet when they wax lyrical about Britain and other Western countries being so called liberal democracies when they have been supporting fascist Israel and all types of toture cells in their allied countries and USA openly having Guentanamo, Abu garib, etc. Ask Occupy Wall Street movement how their basic human rights have been systematically eroded on a daily basis to the extent of being spyed on by FBI agents without their knowledge. 99% of ordinary people in the West is controlled by the 1% Corporate elite plus banks with the collusion of Western governments.USA has a military might equivalent to the rest of the world put together with over 800 military bases around the world. So much for LIBERAL DEMOCRACY?? BIG JOKE.

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    Whilst we must maintain our sovereignity as a nation there is no need to attack all things foreign. While we have been sitting like frogs in a well the world around has progressed and we need to catch up by learning and practicing what is good and by all means rejecting what is bad.

    Going into the past history even the sinhalese kings maintained good relations with other countries and even sent emmisaries abroad. There was the exchange of commerce. Even buddhism was the result of a cultural exchange with king asoka of india. Similiarly we have the other religons developing due to ties with those countries and travellers.

    Today we are global citizens and through the internet and by travelling abroad we are exposed to the culture, thinking and habits of many nations and religons. Looking objectively there is no difference between people, black, white, brown or yellow. They are all the same. They have similiar hopes and dreams. Our blood is all red. So this talk of colonialism and attacking other religons is old hat used by our third rate politicians to deceive the masses.

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    NATIONALISM IS THE CURSE PREDICTED BY OUR ANCESTOR, “KUVENI”

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    If not for colonialism will not be wearing shirt & pants and eating bread & butter, speak English, go to School, travel in cars, and go abroad. We will be wearing amude, chewing bulath, speaking in colloquial Sinhala, going to piriwena, whack Kassippu and will be travelling in bullock carts.

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      This just shows how well colonialism has brainwashed you. How do the Japanese & Chinese and Koreans manage without English? Millions of them now learn the language because it is now a World language but were they languishing in poverty and ignorance before? Learn your history man. Even the Dutch and French are ashamed of their colonial past.

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        Fuji,

        All three above countries are product of the Western influence. Also over 150 other countries including USA,CANADA,Australia, India, Sinagpore, Phillipines,Malaysia, South Africa, South America, all Caribbean ountries……They are doing much better than us.

        Even Communist China and Russia progressed rapidly only after US and western influenced open market system, but they still managed their economic, social and administration well…….and not like our Biggest uneducated Alibabas. Go and ask Chinese people how they go about in their business with over 300 Billioneers. Now 80% of Chinese products are western copied immitations with fake copyrights piracy products…….Whose Brains…..

        You could have been doing your father’s King designated work if you would have been under the King’s rule….which is father to son.

        Learn to appreciate what West taught, brought and gave us free when they left….than talking big while doing nothing. Export more women to Middle East as slave labor for foreign exchange while King importing Lambos and Rolls Royce from West for his status and fun.

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          ‘All three above countries are product of the Western influence.’

          Nonsense! China, Japan & Korea had no great civilizations before the European invaders arrived? Here is a list of Chinese inventions for you http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Chinese_inventions
          Asian women were dressed in silks at the time Europeans were running around naked painted in blue dye.

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      It is the colonials who provided us with education,.The kings, the pariah buddust priests provided education to the king’s family and to the paraiah buddust priests illegitimate children. If not for the white man we may be still washing their back sides.

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        It looks like you still are.

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    In conclusion, the Lankans will be in loin cloth if not for colonialism.

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      But, they had foods.

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      Hussain Fahmy

      “In conclusion, the Lankans will be in loin cloth if not for colonialism.”

      What’s wrong with loin clothe?

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        @Native Vedda – It only matters Psychologically

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      Wearing loin cloth is better than wearing top jears and and having babarious conduct. U value “wear well and behave uncivilize. Loin cloth people were not so much hippocrat compared to ur people. Think not about cloth but how u conduct urselves.

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        nimanta,

        Why don’t you go to Zwaziland and join the king for a Reed dance…..

        One of the poorest nations in Africa where the main income is growing Marijuana…..and exporting valuable timber.

        Even Veddas have rules to follow. They can’t steal other people’s Banana or Mango or other Plantains or their wives……..where our huththareethera parliament should take not of.

        It is not the matter of what dress you where……but what you did to get that dress.

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      Hussain Fahmy, you are % correct.

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    The post-colonial excuse and the majoritarian racism, nationalism, violence, war and double standards it legitimizes mirror and mimic the double standards of the western human rights discourse and industry.. They cancel each other out, and the rest is silence.

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    “We were never a society of Buddhists. We have always been a society of ritualists. At no period in our history did the urbane civility of Buddhism ever touch the culture”. How absolutely true!

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    This has lot to do with the manner those lunatic Hamuduruwos (BUDDHIST MONKS) and other religious adherents how to interpret all these. If the UK, EU or UNO would criticise any internal matters that nevertheless to everyone eye should not have to deviate from international norms and standards -like the one we lately face in the country – Illegal impeachment process against CJ Dr. SB – these kind of people try to interpret according to them – but fully forgetting the facts and standards that should have to have so long we are connected internationally. Be it with sinhala urumaya or any other religious elements, this has been common sofar. How can a country like of ours be existing without the assistance of IC is not their core attention. I would say, this is just because lack of proper information or knowledge. State media machineries should give their uttermost attention to build up the society so that the average man can get them accurately and factfully, then the nation and the country could easily be improved.

    In simple words, they can not digest any criticisms, after all the ones who are sunk in their unique sorta of idealogies feel as mentioned above. But others then are trying to follow them. Majorities of this country have proved many times that they are easily manipulative by predominant religious movements of the country- which is not normal buddhists, but the ones that are budhist fundamentalists.

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    parasatu mal:

    “Finally, let’s not forget that it was the Sinhalaya modayas that colonized the indigenous Vanni-atto peoples of Lanka.. and that the island belongs to them!”

    Thanks a lot for reminding the Sinhala/Tamil axis of evil which colonised my ancestral land since asylum seeking Vijaya and his thugs (according to Mahawamsa) stepped foot.

    We need people like you to remind the stupid Tamils and their stupid Sinhalese brethren that the land does not belonged to them but they have been granted a long lease, renewal depends on their good behaviour.

    Sinhalese and Tamils together ought to be reminded that my people’s too have the right to be angry at 2500 years colonisation.

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      NV,why are you wailing over a lost and now fully corrupt land?
      Live and let live like real stone age ancestors!What do you
      want to do on this huge paradise of yellow robes?They are angry
      with you lot for not taking them serious.Chances are that you may
      be the next target of BBS curse!There’s real danger as we want
      more and more sky scrapers and we only have less space!!!

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        To make the point BBS cannot put curse on others they are only digging holes for themselves for their present life and beyond. Good karma or bad karma it’s all to do with the good deeds or bad deeds we inherited from our own ancestors. Part of it to do with our own doings in our past lives. That’s my belief.

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        whywhy says:

        “NV,why are you wailing over a lost and now fully corrupt land?”

        why? why? why? why? why? why? why? why?

        Have a guess.

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    Most of the Buddhist Sangha in Sri Lanka are thugs/gundas. It is sad that Buddha has handed over his philosophy/religion to a group of yellow robed thugs to protect. These Buddhist Sangha/thugs have turned Buddhism into Barbarism. There are no Buddhists in Sri Lanka, only Barbarians preaching Barbaric Buddhism.

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    It is a shame to see in the picture the arrogence of a Buddhist Priest belonging to our much loved cultured religion the foundation of which rests on sublime compassion and unending tollerence

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      Unfortunately, the Buddhist monks that I saw in the country- 2 decades ago are diminishing today. Most of the ones similar to the illustrated picture are the reality in the country today. If these kind of monks love to practice violence they should better take off the saffron costume and join all others alike. In that way these so called monks can do a better service to the country and Buddhism.

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    THE PICTURE A VERY GOOD ADVERTISEMENT FOR TOURISM. WELL DONE SRILANKA AND CONGRATULATIONS FOR PRODUCING SONS LIKE THE ONE IN THE PICTURE. VERY UGLY YELLOW ROBED THUG .WONDER OF SRILANKAN THUGGERY IN THE NAME OF A SACRED RELIGION. 65TH YEAR OF INDEPENDENCE 65 TH YEAR OF YELLOW ROBED THUGGERY. GREAT.

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    What a great piece this is. And how timely. Today everything has become a foreign conspiracy. All our self made ills are blamed on Western Conspiracies, Indian Conspiracies, Capitalist Conspiracies etc. But these conspiracy theorists are so thin on the details when one askes how and why these conspiracies are being hatched. What do the British Colonialists hope to gain by undermining Sri Lanka? How are they undermining Sri Lanka when all their exhortations are to promote reconcilliateion, treat IDPs fairly, release detainiees, stop harrassing the media etc. In fact their inconvenient exhortations are all about treating Sri Lankans decently, not to undermine their rights and priviledges which make our leaders very uncomfortable and hence the need to vilyfy them as conspirators. If the intent was to undermine Sri Lanka why did they ever prop up the economy with trade concessions like GSP+? Why did they give us all that money after the Tsunami? So much so that the Sterling crashed from Rs.240 to Rs.160 within a matter of months. Why do they fund new roads, flyovers, Victori dam, Maduru Oya, Randenigala, Kotmale…?

    However when these same conspiracy theorists want to educate their children, or have medical treatment, or buy a car, it is the former colonialists that they rush to. Not their new “progressive” friends China, Burma, Libya or Iran. All they want from China is their silence about poor government. But catch them passing up a holiday in the west to visit China! Or the chance of a western education in favour of a Chinese education. Or asylum in the west in favour of asylum in China (for all those former JVP refugees)

    And catch a Buddhist priest passing up an appointment to one of the temples in London or New York to take up an incumbancy in India or Burema.. That will be the day!

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      All these because of lack of vision that are in the top leadership. They can come with – making the island a miracle of asia like rhetoric to further manipulate the rural masses of the country, but one who knows knows it where the wind is moving now.

      Putting the blame on the west, UNO or former colonial masters – they just try to draw a totally different picture. But one can NOT make others fool forever. This seems to be far from understanding to them.

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    The UK Campaginers to keep Tourist out of SL may use this provocative
    picture to their advantage, as that is the truth about Buddhuistic
    practices in SL now.

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    The picture of the muscular young man in a yellow robe, venting his emotions leaning out of a public bus says a lot about the role of some sections of the Buddhist clergy who have taken it upon themselves to hijack Buddhism for nefarious purposes…

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      We should throw some excreta into that yellow robed son [Edited out]

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    Sri lanka is an example of internal colonialism as far as the ethnic minorities are concerned:

    Fourth World Colonialism, Indigenous Minorities And Tamil Separatism In Sri Lanka, Bryan Pfaffenberger (Virginia University), Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars, Vol. 16, 1984: ”Despite the withdrawal of colonial power from Third World countries, forms of oppression that might well be termed “colonial” still persist in many of them — the oppression wrought by nationalist Third World governments whose regimes fail to respect the rights of indigenous minorities. The island nation Sri Lanka presents a case in point.”

    National Liberation Movements in Global Context, Dr. Jeff Sluka, Massey University, New Zealanad, Proceedings of the Conference on ‘Tamils in New Zealand’, July 1996 – Wellington, New Zealand: ”This situation, where a state exploits and oppresses peoples and regions within their own boundaries much the way the European colonial powers used to exploit and oppress foreign colonies, has been described as “internal colonialism” (Hechter 1975). Sri Lanka is an example of this.”

    International Dimensions of the Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka, Prof John P. Neelsen(Tuebingen University, Germany), 20th European Conference on Modern South Asian Studies, 8-11 July 2008: ”A shortcoming in international law as to internal colonialism and the right to self-determination renders the current types of international intervention not just inadequate to contribute to a negotiated solution of ethnic conflicts, but tends to inflame them.”

    Power Sharing as Peace Structure: The Case of Sri Lanka, IICP Working Paper, No. 2, 2005, Johan Galtung, Professor of Peace Studies: ‘’External Colonialism: Democracy :: Internal Colonialism: Human Rights’’

    ”But that truth cannot excuse human rights violations that currently afflict the nation as a whole; or for that matter obscure the looming threat of the cultural and political colonisation of the north by the Sinhala Buddhist majority” – Biased and Prejudiced Collection on Sri Lanka, *Gananath Obeyesekere, Economic & Political Weekly, VOL 47 No. 04, 28 January-03 February 2012 (*a Sinhalese Buddhist)

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      eureka

      Can I point out colonisation didn’t start 500 years ago nor did it begin in 1948 it has been imposed on my people when the first Kallathonie set foot in my ancestral land.

      Remember we are the losers and your people are the looters.

      We are the indigenous people and we demand our island back. If you both Tamils and Sinhalese want to fight over land then the appropriate country is India.

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    Ladies and gentlemen, take a look, this is the real face of Sri Lankan buddhist monks. violently arrogant and racial.

    Did you notice his muscles, how stubborn and strong considering these monks, according to their buddhist principles have to beg for their dail bread.

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      That person in the photograph is no Theravada Buddhist Monk ! He should be disrobed and sent into civil life to continue his activities as a thug.

      The simple problem with Buddhism today is that persons of his ilk are dominating the ranks of the priests.

      I for one will not worship them or show them any from of respect. The popular concept is to show respect for the robe but even the robe they wear is not as the buddha wanted it and most often originates from designers and other misguided devotees.

      I am a former temple trustee elected by my peers who held office for the full stipulated term.

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    Don’t you think even the posting of one undisciplined Buddhist monk itself is some kind of religious discrimination or Hatred.

    That says a lot about the Editorial board of the Colombo Telegraph.

    Have they ever published an article about vulgar Bishops or priests or Vatican scandals ?

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    A bold and excellent re-appraisal of our socio-political past, the proper study of which can bring us both unity, reconciliation and,
    hopefully, a more prosperous future. The example of how traditional Japan took both indignity brought by defeat in WW2 and the intrusion of foreign culture into their own xenophobic closed system turning both to their advantage is a lesson to all of us. But then, as the writer comments wisely “they (Japanese leaders) had a goal higher than personal aggrandizement” For this reason alone, it will be a tough sell with our mendacious, venal leaders and their army of dishonest sycophants around.

    How many are ready today to honestly ask themselves if the change to Sri Lanka has brought any substantial benefit to us. The truth is it has brought us disunity. Colnsider our main export, in the eyes of most of the world, remains Ceylon Tea and the airline Air Lanka. We have, sadly, chosen to go down the ravine on “trivialities”

    And the coup-de-grace – for which the JHU and their visceral twins
    PNM/BBS, might chose to invoke the Buddhist Fatwa on the Writer is the honest declaration “we were never a society of Buddhists…At no point of history did the urbane civility of Buddhism ever touch the culture”
    is something some of us have been saying in different words. When I spoke of Sinhala Buddhism, the politicising of it and the absence of the earlier sublime features of selfless service I was scorned and abused. But here, presumably a honest Buddhist, asks for the searchlight to be turned inwards. Buddhism, practised to its tenets,
    will be one of the most welcome ways of living in peace and harmony in
    multi-religious and multi-racial societies.

    “Colonialism was not domination but liberation” from earlier societal chains is a thought that will engage much study among academic circles.

    If the majority can be freed from its “unbuddhistic hatred” even by half – and proceed to look at matters of the day in their proper perspective the country will enter a new phase of history that all its people deserve.

    Senguttuvan

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    Native Veddah,

    I read elsewhere that Mad-ananda Thero of the JHU, predictably, attacking Vasu for suggesting the National Anthem be also sung in the Tamils in the Tamil version, barks if this is allowed the Veddahs will want to sing it in the Mahauru tongue. What say, you?

    Senguttuvan

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      Senguttuvan

      This has been my long term demand.

      You would have read in Transcurrent when Weeravansa ridiculed the idea of bilingual national anthem I demanded it should be sung in our tongue as well or in fact if the stupid Sinhalese and stupid Tamils could not agree upon a format then as a compromise it should be sung in our tongue alone.

      Thanks for your support.

      Sri Lanka Guardian (February 2, 2013) published a article titled “Grateful To Be Singhalese” by JC Ahnagama. Have had chance to read his gibberish as history. He is making bizarre claims. You should read it.

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    Colonialism or Imperialism, anti-this or anti-that, were good slogans when our local politicians, both right and left, used to rally the people around them to boost their own (politician’s) image, popularity and then power. Then is power most of the politicians abused the trust the people kept on them and went on regardless to serve their own interests but not of the people. A few new brand of politicians who use the outdated slogans think they too could mislead the people with the same slogans, but the people are not going to be stupid as they were before and the change is taking place, now unseen.

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    If this is a Buddhist monk, may THE BLESSED ONE preserve me from meeting a real hired THUG!

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      Can anyone reveal the identity of this so called monk. is he for real or is he a layman with a robe Let us also have that information before we castigate the Buddhist monks and the Buddhist philosophy.

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        CT should have known the information related to the whereabouts of the monk and you could get it from them directly, I guess. I dont wonder that average monks DO behave in this in SL today. Gone are the days in which they behaved themselves exemplary.

        Please check the below video out and let me know why the older monk behaves in the manner it is being on the video. Apparently, he feels superior minded being a monk – he does know even how to speak with other folks.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNiCAsOvtis

        Hamudurowo (Buddhist Monk) has taken the justice to his hand.. as if the IRCs are not far different from the hamuduruwo.

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        Kumudini are you so stupid as JIMSOFTLY. He too asks stupid questions.Cant you see from the appearance any one can identify that he’s for real. Please do not pussyfoot. Are you trying to whitewash? You are in denial. This is the present day THERAVADA BUDDHISM of SRILANKA. These are the hamudruwoS preaching the stupid beLievers that buddhism is the best religion and in the name of lord buddha they are ruining the name of true buddhism. They have become so greedy for material and money. Killing has also become part of their lives. Celibacy should be observed by them. This is not lord buddha preached and expected from true buddhists. It has becomwe a HUMBUG.

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          TO CLEVER CLOCK OLYMPIAN .NAME AND SHAME HIM IF YOU KNOW THIS CHARACTER WITHOUT ASKING SILLY QUESTIONS TRYING TO BE A KNOW ALL.GET YOUR FACTS FIRST THEN FIGHT YOUR CASE. ACCEPT THE CHALLEGE NAME HIM AND WHERE THIS HAPPENED THINGS DONE BY HALVES ARE NEVER DONE ROGHT

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    Is Buddhism a Barbaric Religion? Is Buddhism a primitive religion preached for savages?

    Why does the Buddhists monks in Sri Lanka behave like Barbarians? Can anyone find a good Buddhist monk in Sri Lanka? They say Only a Dead Buddhist monk is a good Buddhist in Sri Lanka. The picture shown here is a good example but I have seen several such pictures where the Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka behave violently like thugs. I have never seen any other religious leaders around the world behaving so violently and behaving like uncivilized barbarians.

    Is there a law in Sri Lanka to punish the Buddhist monks who behave badly or act against the teachings of Buddha? Buddhists monks in Sri Lanka are into all kinds of violence including rapes and the authorities do not take any action against them. Is it because Buddhism is the foremost religion in Sri Lanka and therefore the monks are excused even if they commit crimes? Or does Buddhism forgive criminal acts if it is committed by the monks?

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    Doesn’t this monk look a bigotted idiot? SAVE THE SINHALA BUDDHISTS FROM PERSONS LIKE THESE!

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    This is an excellent article worthy of a wider readership and should perhaps be translated to Sinhala and given greater publicity. I have reservations, though, about the choice of the accompanying picture.

    I remember politicians in the immediate post independent era blaming the erstwhile colonial masters for the problems that then afflicted the island. Colonial rule had only recently ended and this sort of blame game was to some extent understandable at the time. But to find the same excuse being trotted out now – 65 years later – makes no sense. When are we going to grow up as a nation and take responsibility for our own destiny?

    There is no question about the adverse effects of colonial rule. But let us not exaggerate its ill effects or fail to appreciate the many benefits that it also brought.

    Constantly blaming colonial rule encourages anti Western feelings and, by extension, as it were, a hostile attitude towards people and things that are a tangible evidence of our colonial legacy – among them, Christians and their institutions and people descended from the migrant labour than came with the British and the Dutch. This is not the sort of thing that helps nation building.

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    An excellent read! Good on the author.

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    The minority Tamil speaking people (Tamils & Muslims) in Sri Lanka who have suffered in the hands of the majority Sinhala speaking people for the last 65 years should atleast now get together as one Tamil speaking nation of Sri Lanka. If the Tamil speaking Hindus, Muslims and Christains join hands as one Tamil speaking nation of Sri Lanka neither the Muslims, nor the Hindus or the Christains will get isolated for the Sinhala Buddhists to attack us.

    This is the right time that God has given us to join hands as one Tamil speaking nation. If we stand together, nobody can break our strength. This is the ideal period in the history of Sri Lanka for the Tamils and Muslims to join hands as one Sri Lankan Tamil speaking Nation. If the Tamil speaking people of Sri Lanka join together as a nation irrespective of religion, it will definetely benifit both the Tamils and the Muslims. I pray to God to help our leaders realize this and do not fall prey to the evil Sinhala-Buddhists.

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    I welcome reader Noordeen’s thoughts and wish it success. The Tamil-speaking people of the island were together until Ashraff and the SLMC
    came along. As former Minister ARM Mansoor told in the late 80s Ashraff’s adventurism will one day harm all Muslims in the country.
    The affable and gentle Mansoor is now proved right.

    A Tamil-Muslim alliance, now also advanced by political rejects like Azath Sally, will have meaning only if it is sincere. It will not go far if it is conspired only for the purpose of defence against majority chauvinistic now on the warpath against perceived fears of domination.

    Senguttuvan

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    Colonialism is a part of our history and the intelligent choice is to make use of it.

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