22 September, 2019


The Politics Of Denigrating Sinhala-Buddhists

By H. L. D. Mahindapala

H. L. D. Mahindapala

H. L. D. Mahindapala

Educating Serasinghe: the politics of denigrating Sinhala-Buddhists – Part III

The controversy with Ms. Sharmini Serasinghe began when she initially challenged the Sinhala-Buddhists to show what they had achieved which the others haven’t. In reply it was pointed out that the Sinhala-Buddhists had made three great contributions: 1. a new language; 2. a new culture and 3, a new civilization. Obviously, this revelation stunned her because she was educated just enough to know / believe that the Sinhalese were a bunch of gamaralas in loin cloth who had not achieved anything noteworthy in their history. Her ignorance of the monumental contributions of the Sinhala-Buddhists was exposed when she dismissed the Sinhala-Buddhists as having marched through 2500 years of history to produce only some “archaeological ruins and edifices”. According to her 2500 years of history has produced nothing else but bricks, sticks and a heap of rubble.

This obviously must be the basis of her challenge because if she knew about the historic achievements she would never have asked the Sinhala-Buddhists to show what they had achieved, would she? The intent of her question was to downgrade the Sinhala-Buddhists as worthless failures. Even in this respect she was not making an original statement. She was merely repeating what G. G. Ponnambalam, the arch communalist, and Prof. C. Suntheralingam, the Vellahala caste fanatic, used to say long before she slipped into her mother’s womb as a slimy bit of jelly.

The denigration of the Sinhala-Buddhists has been a calculated ploy by the Tamil leaders and their bandwagon to gain political mileage for their racist agenda. It was adopted and pursued relentlessly as a deliberate political tactic by the Tamil leaders (1) to divide the Sinhalese and the Tamil communities; (2) to maintain the myth that the Tamils were superior to all other communities; (3) to get a lion’s share of jobs, power and privileges in the public service and, most of all, (4) to grab Tamil votes in the Jaffna electorate by blaming the Sinhala-Buddhists for the politico-cultural failures of the Vellahla leadership – the only political force in Jaffna – to reform and redeem the oppressed dalits, exploited day and night as slaves under the Vellahla fascist caste system. Stuck in the feudal caste system they refused to change and take the peninsula progressively into the 20th century with the rest of the nation. They were bent on retaining Jaffna as a separate entity protected by the ubiquitous cadjan curtain.

The English-educated Saivite Vellahla leadership resisted any changes to prevailing socio-economic structures / institutions of Jaffna because changes were a serious threat to their caste dominance. Prof. Bryan Pfaffenberger argued that the Vellahla leadership hated S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike more for passing the Prevention of Social Disabilities Act aimed at dismantling the oppressive caste system in Jaffna than for the Sinhala Only Act. To cover up their sins/failures as leaders of Jaffna they projected the Sinhala-Buddhists as the bogey man creeping in to swallow Tamil babies. The most expedient means available to the Vellahlas was to divert attention away from their crimes against their own people by playing the racist card. Blaming the Sinhala-Buddhist made them look like the saviours of the Tamils. In reality, the Vellahla leadership played the racist card to the hilt in order to save their caste supremacy and never had any serious agenda for the liberation of the oppressed Tamils. In fact, in the thirties, Ponnambalam Ramanathan went specifically to London on the holy mission of saving the caste system. He presented his case to the Colonial Office urging the British not to meddle with the caste system but to retain it as part of Jaffna traditions. This was not surprising because he was a leading disciple of Arumuka Navalar – the ideological high priest who restructured and anointed the Vellahlas as the highest caste in the hierarchy of the ruthless and vicious caste system of Jaffna. In the absence of the Brahmins in Jaffna he filled the vacuum in the caste hierarchy with the Vellahlas. It was this caste/class that ruled Jaffna with an iron fist. And the Vellahlas were ready to fight tenaciously to save the privileges, perks, position and their power to rule as subalterns – a power that gave them a sense of superiority as the chosen ones born to rule.

In the dying days of the British Raj the Vellahlas felt the serious impact of modernity making inroads into their sacred casteist society protected by the ubiquitous cadjan curtains. They knew that the end of the British Raj meant the loss of political patronage they derived from being His Majesty’s obedient servants. The alternative available was to grab more power before the British left through the incremental constitutional changes. It was then that Ponnambalam launched his 50 – 50 campaign in the thirties when the sun was setting over the British empire. Demanding 50% for 12% of the Tamils was “outrageous”. Ponnambalam’s ruse was to claim that 50% was for all minorities to make it look mathematically reasonable. But even then the total of minorities did not add up to 25%. Nor did the Muslims and Indian Tamils agree to this 50 – 50 demand. This was a demand of the Jaffna Tamils, by the Jaffna Tamils, for the Jaffna Tamils. This extreme demand was to replace the loss of political patronage which gave them the upper hand in colonial times. A mere 12% Jaffna Tamils were in a commanding position both in the administration and the legislature. And getting 50% of the share of power was the only way to compensate for the loss of British patronage.

But the historical imbalances left behind by all colonial regimes were destined to change under the new dispensations. The sole aim of Tamil politics was to resist changes to their feudal/colonial privileges. As a minority they were well-off with the historical imbalances that disadvantaged the majority and the others, including the low-caste dalits of Jaffna. On the eve of independence the English-educated, Saivite Jaffna Vellahlas constituted the most powerful priviligentsia who held commanding positions in the public and private sectors. This caste/class, which depended on British patronage, feared the departure of the colonial masters. As the sun of the British empire began to set the Tamils of the north began react aggressively. They perceived the Sinhala-Buddhist majority as the biggest threat to their commanding status in which they enjoyed a disproportionate share of positions, power and privileges which left the others way behind.

The rising aspirations and the political thrust of the post-independent period was to adjust the historical imbalances left behind by the colonial masters. It was a phenomenon common to all ex-colonies coming up as new nations. It was inevitable that the pendulum would swing back to reclaim the lost historical role of the people who lost most under colonialism. When the inevitable changes came the privileged Tamils cried foul and accused the majority of committing acts of “discrimination”. Ponnambalam was the pioneering Tamil leader who raised the cry of discrimination. When he took his complaints of “discrimination” before the Donoughmore Commissioners he could not prove his case. In the main, this cry was for the Tamils not only retain but also, if possible, go for a bigger share of jobs in the government service – the only growth industry in colonial times where the plantation economy thrived without any industrial expansion. The English-educated Saivite Jaffna Vellahlas who held a disproportionate share of jobs in the public service were naturally inclined to accept this slogan of “discrimination” because their dominance of the public service was threatened by the new entrants who would be more representative of the demography.

It was in this phase, when the Jaffna Tamils felt that their privileged position was threatened, that Ponnambalam launched the campaign to demonise the Sinhala-Buddhists. It was a vicious and provocative Tamil campaign that poisoned the prevailing communal harmony. For instance, the first race riots took place in 1939 in Nawalapitiya and the neighbouring towns of Maskeliya and Passara because Ponnambalam deliberately roused racist passions by attacking the Mahavamsa and ran down the Sinhalese as pariahs and hybrids, etc. Prof. Suntheralingam’s recurring theme in Parliament and in public was to condemn the Sinhalese repeating: “Sinhalaya modaya / Kavun kanda yodaya”.

So when Ms. Serasinghe and her mob attack the Sinhala-Buddhist culture in the same vein she is going down the same vicious path of demonising the Sinhala-Buddhists – a process that exacerbated the inter-ethnic relations in the post-independent period. Besides, parroting slavishly the racist politics of Ponnambalam and Suntheraligam has only led to hate politics and not to peaceful coexistence. The denigration of the Sinhala-Buddhists did irreparable damage to communal harmony, misleading the Tamils to believe that their problems were caused exclusively by the Sinhala-Buddhists, who were projected as their bitter enemies. It was also a calculated ploy of the Tamil leadership to divert attention from the Vellahla fascism of peninsular politics that systematically and ruthlessly oppressed dalits of Jaffna during the feudal and colonial times. Raising the Sinhala-Buddhists as the bogeyman helped the Tamil leadership to shift the blame to the demonised “other”. It divided the two communities into two hostile camps which prepared the ground for race riots to explode at the first drop of a kotta kelangu. Demonising takes away any inhibitions about attacking the “other”. After decades of demonising the Sinhala-Buddhists the Tamil leadership encountered no objections in declaring war against them in Vadukoddai Resolution. Eliminating the “enemy” through a military solution was quite reasonable in the eyes of the Tamils who believed in the anti-Sinhala-Buddhist propaganda manufactured by the Tamil leadership.

However, with all the bitter memories of the post-Vadukoddai violence that brought only misery to the Tamils in particular, the urgent need is for a fresh start to shed the fear-mongering politics of Ponnambalams and Suntheralingams. The Tamils have everything to gain – and they have gained in the past – when they worked together with the other communities. The first task for reconciliation is to debunk the anti-Sinhala-Buddhist myths. Prof. Rajan Hoole, Dr. Narendra Rajasingham and Dr. Noel Nadesan, author of the beautiful novelettte, Butterfly Lake, are a few of the rare individuals who have shown a willingness to challenge some of the Tamil myths and the fascist racism that ran all the way to Nandikadal. There is at this stage a need to go further and demolish the anti-Sinhala-Buddhist myths for both communities to come together in a spirit of genuine reconciliation because perpetuating the Ponnambalam-Suntheralingam racism, honed by Chelvanayakam and his Vadukoddai Resolution, is no longer the way forward for co-existence.

When the Tamil leaders at the highest level – unlike the lower-level ethnic leadership of the Sinhalese – ran amok raising racist slogans to downgrade Sinhalese as inferior beings, the moral humbugs, particularly those with painted faces in the South, agreed heartily. Tamil racist attacks were never condemned as vile venom spewed by racists, extremists, chauvinists etc., even though they poisoned the nation with bigoted politics of hate. Of course, every community has its share of virulent communalism. But the other communities did not take it to the extremes of the Tamil communalists. The Tamils were the first to establish a communal party – the Tamil Mahajana Sabahi in 1921. S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike established the Sinhala Maha Jana Sabhai in 1936, as a counter to Ponnambalam’s “outrageous” racism.Second, in every move to change the Legislative Council under British rule the Tamils insisted on communal representation. Fortunately, the British constitutional reformers and other national leaders were opposed to it. Third, of all the communities, the Tamils were the only community to declare their racist war and commit the crime against peace with the passing of the Vadukoddai Resolution. Post-independent history has been one continuous saga of combating virulent Tamil racism, growing incrementally on S. J. V. Chelvanayakam’s dictum : “little now and more later.” Stunned mullets with glazed eyes are not educated enough to grasp or see these realities.

Once again Ms. Serasinghe has come out like a blind bat out of hell screaming at the Sinhala-Buddhists in her latest outburst. In it she shows signs of being a totally disoriented Bunkum Bimbo who can’t sustain her arguments. In her very first outburst she questioned the achievements of the Sinhala-Buddhists in the past. In my reply I pointed out that the Sinhala-Buddhists contributed (1) a new language, (2) a new culture and (3) a new civilisation. Unable to meet the incontrovertible evidence that speaks eloquently for the great achievements of the Sinhala-Buddhists she tries a fast one in her latest outburst : she attempts to dismiss those achievements as “archaeological ruins and edifices”.

Obviously, she is flummoxed. Having asked the question she does not know how to deal with the answer that has floored her. So she skips the past and jumps to the present. She says: “To excite these gullible, fantastic tales contained in the Mahavamsa, and the superiority of a 2500 year-old culture, the remnants of which today, stand as archaeological ruins and edifices, (much like the morals of the heirs to this ‘culture’), are upheld as the iconic achievements of the ultimate human race- the Sinhala-Buddhists. How this supreme race has failed in recent times, to live up to this lofty ‘culture’ is never spoken of.” The structure of this garbled sentence alone is sufficient to convey to the reader the confused state of mind of a nit-wit thrown off balance by an incontrovertible answer. And then she adds: “Whenever a Sinhalese with an inferiority complex coupled with a racist mindset finds himself stumped, this much hackneyed theme of a 2500-year old culture, and what our great kings of yore achieved, are brought to play. But, no reference is made to what the Sinhalese have achieved and contributed, to perpetuate this grandiose culture since independence.” To sum up, what she says is that the Sinhala-Buddhists have only some “archaeological ruins and edifices” and no culture.

Whom is she trying to kid? First she asks the Sinhala-Buddhists to show what they have achieved in the past and when that is shown she turns back and says that they are mere “archaeological ruins and edifices.” Then she blames the Sinhalese for not making reference to what the Sinhalese have achieved since independence. But this issue was never raised by her initially. It is when she was whacked for a six by the achievements of the past that she switched over to question the achievements of the post-independent phase. Had she asked the question earlier the answer would have been given. But first let me deal with Ms. Serasinghe’s idea of “culture”

The best she can come up with is to ask : “..(D)oes ‘culture’ mean mere, archaeological ruins and edifices only?” Now this kind of question can come only from a dumbo or a bimbo. Or both. Once again she confirms that she is capable of only asking asking stupid questions. For instance, does she think that a “new language” means “archaeological ruins and edifices”? Does the Chinese culture mean the bricks that went to build the Great Wall of China? Does the Christian culture mean Pope Alexander VI who organised bacchanalian orgies ending in incestuous relationship with his daughter, Lucrecia Borgia, or producing illegitimate children with his mistresses? And again, do we judge Christian civilisation by the acts of the President of America who says “God Bless America” after he had bombed the hell out of Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Or better still, is the Christian culture contained concisely in the words of President Obama’s pastor, Rev. Wright, who told his congregation in Chicago : “God damn America!”? If she has the slightest inkling of what culture and civilisation means she would not ask her stupid questions. I must also confess that it is bloody irritating to engage with dumb Bimbos because I have to start educating them from A, B,C….

For instance, it takes time to educate Ms. Serasinghe that archaeological ruins, edifices and other achievements of the past enhance the value of the majestic heritage of the past of any nation. All nations take great pride in the achievements of their ancestors. Enlightened scholars spend a life time studying these edifices and ruins which are some of the greatest treasures left behind by our ancestors for posterity. It is the ruins of the glorious past that inspire the present and the living in any culture. The living take off from the place left off by their ancestors, paying homage to the enlightened creators of their culture and civilisation. It is because the glorious ruins are inspirational guiding forces with the power to bond people that the Tamil leaders and their mouthpieces like Ms. Serasinghe continue to attack the Mahavamsa and the heritage of our kings. The Sinhala-Buddhists like any other nation with a heritage have a right to claim their past. Though it is irritating I am prepared to spend some time teaching Ms. Serasinghe the values of the past which have continued to guide the present to achieve remarkable “miracles” of the post-independent period. Just keep on reading Missie, and you will find yourself coming out at the end of it as a better educated woman than when you started asking stupid questions.

Lesson 1. The “Sinhala Governments”, as branded by the anti-Sinhala-Buddhist lobby, faced uprisings of Sinhala fascists in the JVP and the Tamil fascists of the north and crushed them both. These are great victories of the post-independent period because it preserved the democratic foundations laid by the Sinhala-Buddhist founding-fathers at Independence. These victories have protected and preserved the fundamental freedoms of all communities. Stabilising society and eliminating brutal violence were two moral and positive steps achieved to restore normalcy, peace and, to some measure, serene joy and emotional piety.

Lesson 2. The “Sinhala Governments” crushed the Right-wing coup of the Westernised, anti-Sinhala-Buddhist officers and once again snuffed out a dictatorship of military officers, reinforcing democracy and safeguarding the rights of all individuals. This too was a moral and positive step taken to promote serene joy and emotional piety. Mark you, in the current global agenda stabilising societies, overthrowing Pol Pots, and restoring and democracy are listed as the highest achievements. Restoring and reinforcing democracy throughout the nation by eliminating the Tamil Pol Pot have been hailed as great achievements by the world plagued by terrorism of the fascist dictators.

Lesson 3: The vilified “Sinhala Governments” fought all violent uprisings and coups within the democratic framework without resorting to the excessive powers to suppress the fundamental rights of the people. Other developing countries faced with similar threats crumbled like a pack of cards and were taken over by authoritarian rulers.

Lesson 4: The “Sinhala Governments” have maintained a welfare state under the most trying circumstances arising out of wars, coups, labour and student unrest, tsunamis, floods, droughts etc. Mark you, these were achieved despite the fact that all post-independent governments were hampered by limited resources and with an income below the poverty line until recently.

Lesson 5 : The “Sinhala Governments” changed hands non-violently, introducing radical changes to bring the nation in line with the needs of the 21st century, even though with tardiness and infirmities that need refinements.

Lesson 6: The “Sinhala Governments” defeated the deadliest terrorist of the world who boasted that they were the invincible force that defeated the Fourth largest of the Army of the world, India.

Lesson 7: The “Sinhala Governments” liberated roughly 300,000 Tamils who were held hostage as a human shield by the fascist Pol Pot of Asia, Velupillai Prabhakaran. Which Tamil leader dared to save the Tamils from their Tamil despot?

Lesson 8: After defeating the fascist Pol Pot of Vanni the “Sinhala Governments” democratised the entire nation – the highest ideal of the greatest power on earth, America, though they have failed in Iraq after ten years and wasting over $60 billion.

Lesson 9 : The “ Sinhala Governments” gave Tamils their first elected regional body to govern their region with their chosen representatives. This is the first time in the history of the Tamils that they were given the opportunity to elect their own rulers by exercising their own free will. Which other Tamil ruler, who had ruthlessly oppressed and suppressed the Tamils through feudal and colonial times, ever gave them that right? Which other Tamil ruler gave them the respect and the dignity to stand up as liberated individuals in the eyes of the free world? Which other Tamil leader / ruler liberated the Tamils from the tyranny of Asia’s most cruel Pol Pot? Did not 27,000 Sinhalese soldiers sacrifice their lives to liberate the Tamils and give them their due dignity to live as free men and women?

Lesson 10. For the first time in the history of the Tamils the Tamil language was written into the statue books as the official language of the state when the “Sinhala Government” of S. W. R.D. Bandaranaike passed the Special Language Provisions Act.

Lesson 11: The biggest boast of John Kerry and Samantha Power in international fora is the great triumph of democracy in Sri Lanka and our local Missie wants to know what we have achieved in the post –independent era.

Lesson 12 : The “Sinhala Governments” set a record, recognised even by the UN, for delivering food, medicine and other existential essential to a rebel-held territory.

Lesson 13 : The IDP camps (example Manik Farm) set up by the “Sinhala governments” had two hospitals – one by the Indians and the other by Sri Lankan doctors. It had schools, shops, clean water from the Malvatu Oya, training centres, special teachers flown from Colombo schools for Tamil students sitting for A Level exams. Of the 26 million IDPs scattered in various parts of the globe these camps were the best. The facilities made available to the IDPs were not provided by the Tamil state of Eelam which held them as hostages.

And last but not the least (14) wasn’t it “the saffron robed brigade” led by Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha, that “saved democracy” on January 8th, 2015, according to NGOs, and Ms. Serasinghe? Wasn’t he vilified and even demonised on the cover page of a book of a Tamil propagandist, going by the name of S. J. Tambiah? Wasn’t he condemned like the way the other political active monks are condemned today? Didn’t the demonised Sinhala-Buddhism all of a sudden became a lauded moral force the moment “the saffron robed brigade” aligned itself with the American embassy? Didn’t the West, NGOs, pseudo-intellectuals, hired academics, et al, enthusiastically hailed the role of the “saffron robed brigade” which they said “saved the nation” from Ms. Serasinghe’s “dictator”? If, for instance, the BBS join Ms. Serasinghe’s mob today won’t they be elevated to sainthood tomorrow?

In a last minute desperate move didn’t all those who vilify Sinhala-Buddhism rally round the Sinhala-Buddhist icon of Ven. Sobitha because the Westernised elite like Ranil Wickremesinghe and his side-kick, Chandrika Kumaranatunga were not acceptable to the people? Was it possible for Ms. Serasinghe’s “aapa government” to come into power without the active politics of “saffron robed” Sobitha? Where would the “aapa government” be today if, as demanded by Ms. Serasinghe, Ven. Sobitha walked into the forest and meditated instead of supporting the change of government, eh Missie? Wasn’t it the kind of active Buddhism that she vilifies that “saved the nation”, eh Missie? This makes me wonder whether our Sera Missie can hold two thoughts together in her pin-head and think straight on any given issue! Is the “saffron brigade” great to Ms. Serasinghe only when it marches with America and not with Norway? Her cheap chicanery indicates that she may be able to argue more coherently if she keeps her knickers between her legs instead of twisting it round her head! Though she is tearing her hair moaning about the low levels to which the moral have sunk has she bothered to consider her own morals? (See PS below)

The list of Sinhala-Buddhist achievements in the post-independent period can be detailed further. But I will stop at this to emphasize that the democratic institutions and traditions succeeded, against all odds outlined above, because the Buddhist culture has been a dynamic, protective and positive force. Prof. A. J. Wilson in his early work argued that democracy put it roots down in Sri Lanka soil because it was fertilized by the Buddhist culture. One can be always certain that the democratic traditions and institutions reinforced by Buddhism will live long after the paint on Ms. Serasinghe face has vanished.

Like the way she challenged the Sinhala-Buddhists to show their greatness, either before or after independence, I too wish to challenge her to show the achievements of the others, particularly those who denigrate the Sinhala-Buddhists. How have the others shown their greatness in pursuing universal principles, surpassing narrow communalism, to co-exist peacefully? If the ultimate aim is to create a diverse universe for multi-cultural entities to co-exist peacefully can it be achieved with only Sinhala-Buddhists clapping with one hand while the “others” are doing their damnedest to chop off even that hand? Using her own criteria, can she tell us what the “others” have achieved to beat the achievements of the Sinhala-Buddhists, either before or after independence? After all, the Tamils also ran a state with their police, courts and the other paraphernalia of a state, and with foreign diplomats parading in Vanni. Besides, she too should be able to tell us because she too had to deal with her ideal state when she was at the Peace Secretariat, no Missie?

In the meantime, Aney, Missie, can you tell us how this non-Sinhala-Buddhist state, like the non-Buddhist school you praised after leaving Vishaka, performed to raise human values, dignity and freedom to your ideal levels? Or is it that only the Sinhala-Buddhists who had preserved democratic traditions for the well-being of all (as stated above) should be held accountable while the others are allowed to run amok violating and destroying all known principles and norms for decent and peaceful co-existence, eh Missie?

PS: Taking the high moral ground she asks: “What are those today, crowing about this glorious and ancient culture trying to prove, when the very heirs to this ‘culture’ stand, as beacons of miserable failure, in upholding the morals and ideals of such?

In these censorious statements she poses as the defender of pure morals and pure Buddhism. But shouldn’t she at least occasionally pause to examine her own moral culture? Isn’t she like the mother who abandons her only child and then starts preaching about the glories of motherhood? To what kind of a culture does she belong if as a mother she abandons her only child? The way she attacks Buddhism is like a mother attacking her child – the most loved thing in the world. But then her Buddhism is tainted with hate – hate as bitter as that of a mother who would not even grace her son’s wedding. If this doesn’t prick her conscience this should at least ring a bell, no Missie?

*To be continued..

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 8

    [Edited out]Time to stop scratching your backsides and come out to shriek against the Mahavamsa, Sangha and the Sinhala Buddhists. Your boss is watching you. Do your best.

    • 18

      Looks like Pala has completely missed or misunderstood Ms. Sharmini Serasinghe.

      His response to her article is a good example of the Sinhala saying ‘yanne koheda malle pol!’ (a clear case of where are you going, coconut in my bag).

      When one is talking about Apples this idiot is responding about Pineapples. Talking about our 2500 years of rich past to hide our miserable present is one thing and the Tamil-Hindu caste system is another thing. Instead of any counter arguments to her article, he is talking about something totally different (Tamil-Hindu caste system) and expecting her to respond to his heap of crap.
      Apples and Pineapples are two totally different things Pala. LOL!

      Pala’s response to Ms. Sharmini Serasinghe’s article reminds me of the story of the Cow and Coconut tree. ‘Some primary school students were asked to prepare essays on subjects such a ‘coconut tree’ and ‘cow.’ They were lazy students and they wanted to know which among the two would show up on the exam. They heard from reliable resources that they would ask to write ten sentences about a coconut tree. All of them thoroughly learnt ten sentences to be written about the coconut tree. But as they sat in the exam, to their great dismay the only question that appeared was about a cow. Some of the students found it difficult even to start and they left the examination hall. Some other students wrote ‘in Sri Lanka cows are usually tied up to the coconut trees and then wrote 9 more sentences on ‘coconut tree’ and completed the subject’. LOL

      Calling Pala a [Edited out]

    • 30

      Mr H. L. D. Mahindapala,

      No personal disrespect to you but,

      If you are the product of 2500 years of Sinhala-Buddhists history, Ms. Sharmini Serasinghe wins this argument hands down.

      I am sure your long years on this earth has given you enough acumen to realize that.

      • 12

        Haha, good one

      • 8

        LMAO. your comment make my day

      • 8

        Pala comprehensively bowled by Nimal Fernando by a simple straiht delivery!

      • 5

        Ha, ha !! Nimal Fernando, my good sir, you made my day !!!

    • 21

      Oh Please Mr. Mahinda-Pala there is no such thing as a brand new of PURE culture! You need to EDUCATE YOURSELF on CULTURAL STUDIES and ANTHROPOLOGY and MULTICULTURALISM and CULTURAL HYBRIDITY.

      Sinhala Culture is HYBRID and MIX of many other cultures, particularly, Tamil and Malayalee and Dravidian South Indian culture.

      Look at the food – Appam, Indiappam etc came to Lanka from Kerala – so too the so-called Kandyian architecture.

      The Buddha came to Lanka from India/ Nepal.

      In fact, the Sinhala Buddhists Thugs in Robes who you defend as defenders of a non-existent “new Culture” in Lanka, are an insult to what the Buddha taught!

      • 12


        Really, did Buddha come to Sri Lanka? Where is the proof?

        • 3

          Someone told me too that he came to Sri Lanka but I did not believe it since it is not mentioned with any authenticated proof. Yes I do agree the way some of these monks are behaving is absolutely an insult to his noble teachings. By the way this dashing coconut (horapol included) can be treated as Sinhala culture or part of Lord Buddha’s preaching? It was a real mockery to see these politicians dashing these coconuts on the rock! So, now what is the result came out of it except criminal waste. Distribute those coconuts to poor people you will earn ‘ping’ but what did these guys earn other than ‘dong’!

          • 4

            Wise Donkey:-

            I have heard innocent people say even today, that the ‘The Buddha is Coming to visit us’ when a Well Known Foreign Bhikkhu is expected.

            Maybe this is the way in which the Myth of the Buddha’s three visits to Lanka, originated. The story may have been inspired by visits of Nepalese or Indian Monks, in days of yore!

          • 2

            Wise Donk and others,

            It was such a shame to see that we had such backward thinking, backward looking, non-progressive, definitely 100 years out of date, men representing us in parliament.

            These fellows should be ashamed to call themselves today’s parliamentarians. They should NEVER be consulted or given a hearing concerning the future of this country as they are still wrapped up in the stone age and its practices.

            There is not one among them, who deserves to be called ‘progressive’. Not one.

      • 16

        Sinhalese culture is nothing but a mix of South Indian Tamil, Malayalee, and Kalinga/Telugu culture. A very large number of Sri Lankan people (Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims/Moors) are actually South Indians who either migrated from time to time or were brought down for many different purpose by the kings and later by the colonial rulers.

        If you want to have the original Kavum, aapa, idiappa, pittu, pol rotti, pol sambol, etc. go to Kerela in South India. The dress worn by the remote village women in Kerala, it is retha & hetta what the Sinhalese women wear. It is surprising to hear that the Osariya (sari that the Sinhalese women wear) also came from Kerela, the style of wearing saree by the early Kerala women was exactly what the Sinhalese women wear now (Osariya).

        Religious practices such as the Pattini deity worship (as well as the worship of Natha, Vishnu, Kataragama, Saman and Vibhishana) were also introduced to Sri Lanka from Kerala. Sinhala classical poems such as the ‘Perakumba Sinha’ and ‘Kokila Sandesaya’ also bear the Kerala stamp.

        Ayurveda medicine (the Sinhalese call it Sinhala medicine) was brought to Sri Lanka from Kerela. Even today the Ayurvedic doctors (Wickramarachi, etc) in Sri Lanka used to go to Kerela for further higher studies.

        • 12

          Why, Buddhism that the Sinhalese follow came from North India. Sinhala language is nothing but Sanskrit, Pali and Tamil.

          The so called Kandiyan traditional dress is not exactly the traditional cultural dress of Sinhalese but a borrowed, altered version of medieval Portuguese dress. Most part of the Kandiyan Costume has the Portuguese influence, the Sinhalese men and women were topless until the arrival of Portuguese. The so called Sinhala Baila music is borrowed from the Portuguese music and African Kaffiringa.

          It seems the Sinhalese are very good at either importing or borrowing everything from others and made a few modifications and called them as their own. A serious lack of originality in the so called Sinhala culture.

        • 1

          Christians and Tamil christians [Edited out]

          It is christians who made Muslims bad and now making buddhists in Sri lanka, Hindus in India are bad.

          On the other hand, Sri Lankan christian – church use money to get released Prisoner – buddhists who can not pay their fines. Then ask them to step on Dhaamapada book or Pirith Potha before the conversion.

          Only good news, buddhism is for Intelligent people and it is spreading past among scientists like people among European westerners.

          Christianity started to go down before 1700 and that will come back to Asia too.

        • 2

          You are correct however 99% of this migration and culture was borrowed from India’s two southern states. Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The Andhra/Kalinga influence in minimal.
          You should also realise that Kerala was Tamil until a few centuries ago. The present day Tulu based script of the Namboothiris and their Grantha form of highly Sanskritised Malayalam was forcibly imposed upon the sate by the British in the 1820. Until that time Malayanma or Malayalam Tamil was the native Dravidian language of Kerala. A form of Kodunthamil(Vey colloquial Tamil not proper literary Tamil). Malayanma used little or no Sanskrit and used Tamil prosody and was written in the Tamil script was the language of Kerala. This is the reason the Portuguese and the Dutch mistook the Jaffna Tamils for Malabar, as both people looked similar, eat the same sort of food, largely Hindu and spoke variations of the Tamil language, that to them would have sounded the same.
          So essentially and basically the Sinhalese culture, cuisine, dress, music dance forms are worship are all borrowed from the ancient Tamils. Modern day Malayali is the descendant of the ancient Chera Tamils. The people of Kerala and the people of the island have always had very close connection from prehistoric times. This is the reason not only the culture of the Sinhalese but even the food and culture of the Eelam Tamils is far more closer the modern day Kerala than to Tamil Nadu.
          Cheralam> Keralam. Serendib is derived from the ancient Tamil word Cheran Theevu which means the island of the ancient Tamil Cheras. Ceylon from the ancient Tamil word Eelam/Eezham which means the land of toddy or metal. Even today a community called the Eezhavas closely associated with toddy tapping make up 28% of the present day Kerala’s population. These are only now consists of the Hindu Eezhavas many converted to Christianity and Islam and are not counted under the Eezhava identity. They are supposed to have migrated from then Tamil Eelam/Chingkalam island to then Tamil Cheralam/Keralam. Even the word Sinhala has nothing to do with a lion it is a corrupted Pali version of another ancient Tamil word for the island Chingkalam meaning the land or red or red soil or copper. Most of the island’s soil is red or reddish brown and the semi Tamil Elu speaking population were either called Eelavar/Eezhava or Chingkalavar. Elu and Eelam/Eezham became Hela in Pali Chingkalam became Sinhala. The two ancient Tamil names to describe the island is now separately used to describe the two major ethnic groups that later evolved due to the arrival of Buddhism and the large scale conversion to this religion in the south of the island 2500 years ago, resulting in the native Tamil dialect gradually being corrupted with the Pali and Sanskrit of Buddhism to form a new identity and language in the south of the island by the 12Th century and this identity and people took the old Tamil name Chingkalam and corrupted it to its Pali/Sanskrit version Sinhala whilst the remaining population that largely remained in the north east and northwest coasts until recently and retained their ancient Tamil language and Hindu religion were identified with the other ancient Tamil name for the island. Eelam/Eezham and were called Eelam Tamils and their land Tamil Eelam/Eezham.
          As even as late as the 6th century A.D., there was no Sinhala language, the Great Chronicles were written in the Pali language. Monk Maha Nama hatched the Vijaya myth to dub the Buddhist converts as Aryans, projecting them as descendants of Bengalis.
          Maha Nama did not know that the Bengalis were Mongoloid Dravidians. The average Sinhala man will decline to believe that prince Siddhartha, as a Nepalese, was not an Aryan. No ancient king of Lanka, claimed that he was of an Aryan Dynasty.
          How then can the populace claim that they are Aryans? With the mixture of Tamil, Pali and Sanskrit languages, evolved that Sinhala language during 8 A.D. It was not Pali or Sanskrit, but the Tamil language that helped in the formation of the Sinhala alphabets. The alphabets of the Sinhala language are round in shape like the alphabets of the other Dravidian languages. Telugue, Malayalam, Kannada and proto-Tamil. In the 10th century. Tamils changed the shape of their alphabets to the square shape.
          According to Dr. C.E. Godakmubara, the Sinhala Grammar Sidathsangarawa was based on the Tamil Grammar Virasolium in the 11th A.D. The term ‘Sihala (Lion in Pali) is seen for the first time in Sri Lankan sources in the Dipa Vamsa (4-5 A.D.) and in that chronicle, that term occurs only once, and in that cryptic verse it is stated that the Island was known as ‘Sinhala’ on account of the Lion – “Lanka Dipo Ayam ahu sihena sihalaitu”. In the Maha Vamsa the term ‘Sihala’ – occurs only twice. In the epic Ramayana 420 B.C., this island was known as Lanka much earlier.
          Rev. S. Gnanapiragasam – “There are more than 4.000 Tamil words in the Sinhala vocabulary. If the Sinhala vocabulary is stripped of all the Tamil words there will be no Sinhala language.”
          There were no Sinhalese in Lanka or in any part of the world until the Dipa Vamsa for the first time, referred to the descendants of Tamil (Hindus) who embraced Buddhism in 246 B.C. as Sihala on account of the Lion (no relevance). There is no culture called Sinhala culture. It is the Tamil culture that is projected as Sinhala culture. The 14th day of April is observed as New Year, day only by the Tamils and Sinhala people throughout the world.
          This fact is strong evidence that the Sinhala people inherited this practice from their Tamil ancestors who embraced Buddhism in 246 B.C. It is stupid to deny that fact. When there was no Sinhala language in Lanka or in any part of the world before 8th A.D., it is thuggery to claim that there were Sinhala people in Lanka prior to the 8th century A.D. Just as the descendants of Tamils who embraced Buddhism in 246 B.C. claim they are Arya Sinhalese; Tamils of the Western Coast, from Ragama to Kalpitiya, after adopting Sinhala as their mother tongue, (after the introduction of free education) claim thy are Arya Sinhalese. In Sri Lanka any person who adopts Sinhala as mother tongue ipso facto is an Aryan.
          The eminent Sinhala civilian and historian, the late Dr. Paul E. Peiris, following his excavations of a part of the site of Kantharodai, the earliest capital of the kings of Jaffna, notes, “It stands to reason that a country which is only about 20 miles from South India, would have been seen by Indian fishermen every morning as they sailed out to catch fish.
          I believe North Ceylon was a flourishing settlement long before Vijaya was born”. In similar vein, are his remarks on the ancestral Hindu kovils of Ceylon, “Long before the arrival of Vijaya, there were in Lanka five recognized Iswerams of Siva, which claimed adoration and veneration of all India.
          These were Thirukketheseeweram near Mantai (Mannar), Munneswram dominating Salawata (Chilaw), Thirukonesweram near the great bay of Kottiyar (Trincomalee). Nakulesweram, in close proximity to the Kankesanturai harbour and Chandresweram close to Hambantota harbour. The last mentioned kovil is unfortunately no more. It has gone to ruins due to lack of patronage and neglect. The situation of these temples close to ports, cannot be the result of accident or caprice but was probably determined by the concourse of a wealthy mercantile population whose religious wants called for attention”.
          Apart from the above-mentioned kovils, there are, in the deep South, a shrire for Lord Murukan at Kathirkamam and a shrine for Lord Vishnu at Devi Nuwara from ancient days. Buddhists and Hindus visit these kovils daily for worship.
          There are kovils from ancient days in Kandy, testifying to a high concentration of Hindus in the Central part of Lanka. The temple for Nath (Siva), according to H.W. Codrington, is over 600 years old. The other temples, being for Murukan, Vishnu and Goddess Pattini, Robert Knox was of the view that Maha Fsala Perahera in Kandy was celebrated from ancient times exclusively in honour of the Hindu deities. The Tooth Relic was taken in the Perahera for the first time during the reign of King Kirthi Sri Raja Singha at the request of the Siamese Monk Upali, to give a Buddhist touch to the festival. That practice was later stopped. These days only the empty casket is mounted on the elephant.
          It may not be incorrect to assume that in the hoary past, Lanka was, from North to South, East to West and the Central highlands the homeland of Tamils of the Hindu faith. With the arrival of Arahat Mahinda, thousands of Tamils of the Hindu faith embraced Buddhism. Though 80 generations have rolled by, these converts have not given up their Tamil Hindu culture and practices. They still indulge in prayers and rituals.

          • 3


            You must be a shameless person to copy and paste the same thing over and over in every thread. Not a single person in this forum is interested in reading a large chunk of crap that you have dumped here. You are simply wasting the cyber space by repeating the same old and obsolete junk over and over.

            Write something that people can read, learn from others here, look how simple and sweet their arguments are, hardly they copy and paste huge chunks of rubbish here. At least have you ever read what you have pasted here?

            • 1

              You are copying and pasting the same reply every time I post. It is you who is shameless and lying

      • 1

        When all you will learn that Buddha never visited below nagarjuna hills in AP which is authenticated hsitory in India, fools come out of the cuckoo land please. Dont spoil one of our native finest philosophy budhdhism to suit your bigoted history.

    • 1

      Dont attacked good educated former president son. He has no means abusive. Give us any examples CBK offsprings were ever abusive ? You guys have nothing to bring as proofs. Please go and smash POL coconut then even Deviyo would see it right and make his decisions rather looking at the fair side. Jayawewa. Good day for you all – Bsaranai to our mother lanka

  • 13

    H. L. D. Mahindapala

    RE: The Politics Of Denigrating Sinhala-Buddhists

    In the Land of Native Veddah Aethho?

    “The controversy with Ms. Sharmini Serasinghe began when she initially challenged the Sinhala-Buddhists to show what they had achieved which the others haven’t. In reply it was pointed out that the Sinhala-Buddhists had made three great contributions: 1. a new language; 2. a new culture and 3, a new civilization.”

    Why did you drop Buddhism?

    Mahindapala, do not worry. Sinhala Buddhist shave company with the Satan following Wahhabies and their Clones.

    “So when Ms. Serasinghe and her mob attack the Sinhala-Buddhist culture in the same vein she is going down the same vicious path of demonising the Sinhala-Buddhists – a process that exacerbated the inter-ethnic relations in the post-independent period. Besides, parroting slavishly the racist politics of Ponnambalam and Suntheraligam has only led to hate politics and not to peaceful coexistence”

    They abhor Reason. They depend on Revelation and the Chronicles, of Abdul Wahab and Monk Mahanama.

    *To be continued.. for how long… These days it is the Earth that d going around he Sun. During Monk Mahanama time and Buddhas “Three” Visits, it was the Sun going around the Earth.

    • 8

      I don’t know about ‘Sinhala Buddhism’. This is an interesting titbit I found in Wikipedia, following a ‘Dhamma Desana’ on the subject, by a Senior Monk.:-

      “By the mid-18th century, upasampada (higher ordination, as distinct from samanera or novice ordination) had become extinct in Sri Lanka again. The Buddhist order had become extinct thrice during the preceding five hundred years and was re-established in the reigns of Vimala Dharma Suriya I (1591–1604) and Vimala Dharma Suriya II (1687–1707) as well. These re-establishments were short lived. On the initiative of Weliwita Sri Saranankara Thero (1698–1778) the Thai monk Upali Thera visited Kandy during the reign of king Kirti Sri Rajasinghe (1747–1782) and once again reestablished the Buddhist order in Sri Lanka in 1753. It was called the Siyam Nikaya after the “Kingdom of Siam”.”

      You can read more about the other Nikayas on the same Wikipedia subject.

      So what has HLDM got to say now about His version of an Unbroken ‘Sinhala- Buddhist’ tradition?

      • 8

        Hamlet, I agree,

        How can anyone talk about a Pure Sinhala Buddhism, which was given by the Buddha to the Sinhalas, to safeguard; when Buddhism had to be reinstated Three times by Siamese Buddhist Monks of (Now Thailand,) and the Burmese Buddhist Monks of (Now Myanmar).

        They resulted in the Siyam Nikaya and Rammana Nikaya, which have now become heavily riddled by the Caste System, a concept that the Buddha would have abhorred!

        Which Kind of Buddhism is Mahindapala Supporting?

        • 5

          Rationalist and Hamlet,

          “How can anyone talk about a Pure Sinhala Buddhism, which was given by the Buddha to the Sinhalas, to safeguard; when Buddhism had to be reinstated Three times by Siamese Buddhist Monks of (Now Thailand,) and the Burmese Buddhist Monks of (Now Myanmar).”

          What does it tell you?

          1. Buddhism does not requite, Sinhala Buddhism.

          2. Sinhala Buddhism Requires, Buddhism, to jump start now and then.

          3. Sinhala Civilization can continue with or without Buddhism.

          So, is Shamini Serasinghe Denigrating Sinhala-“Buddhists”, that had to be jump started?

          • 2


            “3. Sinhala ‘Civilization’ can continue with or without ‘Buddhism'”

            Unfortunately Mahindapala cannot understand that they are two different Concepts!

            Buddhist Monks continue to act as though ‘Buddhism’ cannot Progress without ‘Sinhala’ Rituals

    • 0

      [Edited out]

  • 15

    Dearie me, {edited out] pala is so thick-skinned he cannot take a hint.

    [Edited out]

    He persists. His execrable writing underlines his inability to understand the questions that the good lady raises; those questions that all decent Buddhists in Sri Lanka anguish over in the light of the antics of the evil men masquerading as Buddhist clergy.

    Pala, as we used to say down in the playground, ‘talk to the hand cos’ the face ain’t listening’

    • 4

      Spring Koha

      Would you mind if I use this space for other purposes? Hoping that you are agreeable, now I will attempt to solve Fermat’s Last Theorem.


      “Cubum autem in duos cubos, aut quadrato-quadratum in duos quadrato-quadratos, et generaliter nullam in infinitum ultra quadratum potestatem in duos eiusdem nominis fas est dividere cuius rei demonstrationem mirabilem sane detexi. Hanc marginis exiguitas non caperet”

      The proposition that the Diophantine equation


      where x, y, z, and n are integers, has no nonzero solutions for n>2 has come to be known as Fermat’s Last Theorem.

      Spring Koha

      I am sorry these all sound Greek to me. I will come back to you later with the solution

      Lets move on to the next one

    • 3

      Absolutely right Spring K the face ant listening.

      However it is a highly entertaining pastime reading the comments this Galah attracts!

  • 14

    [Edited out], may I correct you please -denegrating high profile abusive politicians (no way real sinhala buddhists). If you think Rajapakshes were real buddhists, President MR could have made aware his own sons adequately. The law and order was not valid for those young chaps. Their father himself destroyed the future of Yoshita and Namal and Rocket baby.
    Like or not, you the ilk will have to see it right

  • 6

    I think if Mrs. [Edited out] Sera or [Edited out] only qualification is English language, and experience as a journalist, If she [Edited out], she has enough animosity to get revenge from sinhala buddhists and also as a journalist she can not do much in order to find her bread and pol sambol in her colonial master’s territory.

    The easiest way is to lip sing for LTTE rump and ridicule Sinhala buddhists.

    Probably, Mrs CBK’s Son and this journalist live in the same est London street and they are the people who hate and ashamed of their sinhala buddhist origin. who knows may have some Tamil blood mixed too. In that case, that bond is always stronger.

    • 8

      “Probably, Mrs CBK’s Son and this journalist live in the same est London street and they are the people who hate and ashamed of their sinhala buddhist origin”.

      At least aren’t they honest in being frank and say they are ashamed of starving and bombing children and babies; looting, burning and destroying businesses and worshiping places of minorities; starting anti-ethnic riots periodically in the name of Buddhism.

      What is shameful is people like Mahindapala, some Rajapakse brothers and others boast and preach about Sinhala-Buddhism but enjoy the western materialism in the west.

    • 1

      Dont attacked good educated former president son. He has no means abusive. Give us any examples CBK offsprings were ever abusive ? You guys have nothing to bring as proofs. Please go and smash POL coconut then even Deviyo would see it right and make his decisions rather looking at the fair side. Jayawewa. Good day for you all – Bsaranai to our mother lanka

  • 18

    To all CT readers After a quick scan of the article, this is not about bashing Ms. Sharmini Serasinghe, but using her as a stick to do a same old same old Tamil bashing. So not worth reading.

    • 0


      This is wrong.

      You read it and was able to make your opinion.

      Let others too read and make their opinions.

      Why are you advising others.

      [Edited out]

  • 0

    HLDM[Edited out]

  • 18

    You are not the first Sinhala fanatic i have heard trying to justify communal riots on offense taken at ‘insults’ or ‘political demands’
    I once knew a Sinhalese who thought the 1950s riots were justifiable because ‘Tamils were making too many political demands for a minority’
    So the appropriate response was to kill people, loot and destroy their homes and businesses.
    And you are doing the same here. Apparently the Sinhalese felt denigrated by the words of some Tamils, so it justified riots.
    If anything, this mentality clearly shows the mental condition of Sinhala fanatics.
    You also conveniently seem to forget that it was the British who HANDED OVER the north and east of Sri Lanka to Sinhala rulers. It was a Tamil kingdom before that. And i dont care about all this talk of ‘Chola invaders in ancient times’, since according to your own historic narrative, you descended from Vijaya and his violent colonialists from India. So its pure hypocrisy.
    And i can expose another side of your hypocrisy. While its true that Tamils have been cursed with the caste system. The same applies to Sinhalese too. Almost all of Sinhala ruling elite are from the Govigama caste and take measures to prevent lower caste Sinhalese from getting powerful. I have even heard from an Indian researcher that the modern day Sinhala rulers are infact modern day Sinhala converts who descend from upper caste South Indians. And are not Sinhalese who go back many centuries.

    • 3

      what Caste system ?

      Bandaranaikes are Tamil mixed.

      Pemadasa, Mahinda Rajapakse are all high castes ?

      It is Tamils who cannot govern if the leader is not from malayali – tobacco Farmer caste.

      • 6

        Jim softy

        “what Caste system ?”

        Read Michael Roberts’ review of caste system within the Sinhala polity of this island going back several hundred years. Actually these articles are presented here not for the purpose of educating you (a challenge all of us have miserably failed- I must confess)

        Does Marcus Fernando ring a bell?

        When Premadasa was president he had to look over his shoulders to see who was wielding the knife. In fact there was an impeachment move against him. VP was ready to support him while two important ring leaders Athulath and Dutta Gamini were actively plotting to oust him. VP was Keen to support him. I was told that Dutta Gamini’s priority and focus was on getting rid of Premadasa at any cost.


        You don’t need to read this article (a) you won’t grasp it (b) You are going type whatever comes to your mind anyway.

        Caste in modern Sri Lankan politicsby
        Michael Roberts

        In a recent intervention in the http://www.transcurrents.com (10 Feb. 2010), Lakruwan de Silva has conjectured that caste rivalry between the Govigama and Karava contributed in a secondary manner towards the rift between the Rajapakse clan and General Fonseka.1 In his broad survey of caste undercurrents in the history of the Sinhalese, he also refers to the Kara-Govi rivalry that surfaced during the contest for the “Educated Ceylonese Seat” in the Legislative Council in British times in December 1911. In serendipitous coincidence a gentleman named Nadesan recently alluded to this famous occasion when the Govigama elite of that day is said to have backed Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan’s candidature and helped him defeat Dr. Marcus Fernando for this coveted post.2

        Let me begin by clarifying the background to this contest. A coalition of Ceylonese activists from the Burgher, SL Tamil and Sinhalese communities had begun to exert pressure on the British rulers from circa 1906 seeking devolution of power. The British authorities responded in miserly fashion in 1910 with the Crewe-Macullum reforms conceding a modicum of expansion in the advisory Legislative Council and introducing the electoral principle for the “Burgher Seat” and the newly-created “Educated Ceylonese Seat;” while still maintaining the existing nominated seats.

        Voting rights for both these new seats were determined by property and educational qualifications so that the electorates were tiny. Within the body of 2938 who exercised their votes for the Educated Ceylonese seat, the “Ceylon Tamils” made up 36.4 per cent of the voters and Sinhalese 56.4 percent.3 The Karava elite made up a significant proportion of the Sinhalese voters because of their success in both the educational and entrepreneurial paths of mobility.4 Therefore, they were able to field Marcus Fernando from a brilliant scholastic family that had secured twin-marriages with C. H. de Soysa’s daughters, thereby rendering the Fernandos part of the Warusahännadig? clan that commanded fabulous wealth. In this situation those Govigama activists who were Govigama-minded “did not consider themselves strong enough [to field a candidate] and took the pragmatic course of supporting … Ramanathan’s candidature.”5 This emphasis needs a caveat. As Kumari Jaywardena has shown, not all the Govigama rich supported Ramanathan; he was so much a conservative that they preferred the mildly liberal Fernando.6

        This caste alignment did not emerge out of the blue. There had been a long history of Kara-Govi rivalry in diverse quarters and at various social levels from the 1860s if not earlier. Let me detail some facets without claiming that this brief review is comprehensive.

        Those with the closest affiliations with the British ruling class in Ceylon in the mid-nineteenth century were the educated Burgher elite and Govigama aristocrats from the mudaliyar class in the Low-Country, especially the Obeyesekere-Bandaranaike clans. But the Warusahännadig? de Soysas had amassed such wealth and prestige by the 1860s that they snaffled the right to feast the Duke of Edinburgh when he visited the island in 1870. The first-class Govigama were so miffed that they attempted to boycott this function.7

        However, these Govigama families enjoyed other eminences: the British invariably appointed one of their educated sons to represent the Sinhalese as Nominated Member in the Legislative Council – a post that was re-designated “Nominated Low-Country Sinhalese Member” after the Kandyan aristocracy were given a nominated seat in the 1890s.

        This monopoly was quickly challenged by the ambitious Kar?va. In 1894/95 they mounted a series of public meetings at the little towns of the south west quarter which presented the British with petitions supplicating the selection of James Peiris for this nomination. 8

        At the same time one witnessed electoral competition for seats in the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) between Govigama and Kar?va gentlemen cultivating electorates defined by restricted property/educational qualifications. Among those who entered the CMC in the 1890s were the Jayewardene brothers, Hector and Justus on the one hand, and, on the other, C. M Fernando, younger brother of Marcus Fernando. Subject to correction I believe that one will find that Hector Jayewardene and C. M. Fernando contested each other for the post of President of the Law Students Union in the 1890s. It was Hector Jayewardene in fact – more than the Senanayakes, correcting Lakruwan de Silva – who is said to have marshalled Govigama votes in favour of Ramanathan in 1911.

        All this, of course, was elite-level politics that might seem rarified folly to those attached to grass-roots advocacy. They should pause awhile. Caste jostling for status had deep roots. From the mid-nineteenth century Karava and Sal?gama personnel challenged the conventional claims to superior ritual status attached to the Govigama. These challenges were mostly in the Sinhala medium and generated a pamphlet ‘war’ at different moments in the period 1868-1911. While several were written under pseudonyms, it is known that Itihasa (1876) was the work of the Karava monk, Weligam? Sri Sumangala thera and that the Govigama reply in 1877 was composed by a collective that included Hikkaduv? Sri Sumangala thera and some lawyers.

        The respectability of the authors did not constrain them from the use of vituperative, and even filthy, language. The vernacular-educated intelligentsia, among them the journalist, G. D. Pälis Appuh?my, were at the centre of these writings in pamphlet and newspaper. 9

        Such contestation was not a product of the British period. Malalgoda has revealed that the questioning of Govigama hegemony and exclusiveness began in the eighteenth century in response to a royal decree in 1765 that restricted higher ordination to the city of Kandy and its chapters. Non-Govigama laity and monks combined to effect upasampad? ceremonies in the lowlands in 1772 and 1795. Then, between 1799 and 1813 five caste-specific parties went to Burma and returned with ordained monks of unquestionably authenticity. Three of the groups were Sal?gama, one Dur?va and the other Kar?va.10 The preponderance of Sal?gama is no accident. Their clout in the cinnamon trade in this era meant that they had both the economic means and political networks to initiate such moves.

        These examples of caste rivalry – within an incomplete survey on my part – would seemingly give weight to Nadesan’s scathing criticism of one of my recent short essays on the ground that “CASTE was more important than RACE and religion” in the British period (see fn. 2). Not so. Nadesan’s bizarre misreading of my essay on “The Sinhala Mind-Set” is guilty of oversimplification11 and subsumed by a form of either/or reasoning. The political arena is a complex one, involving many strands and many alliances that could shift according to context. Jostling, competition and hostility between the different religious collectives on the one hand and, on the other, between ethnic communities (usually known then as “communities”) co-existed with caste competition within the Tamil and Sinhalese communities.

        Within such a situation at any point of time particular sets of actors in a specific context may be directed strongly by Factor or Identity X, say the caste factor. This does not mean that Factors and/or Identities Y and Z are weak or non-existent; rather they are on hold – a metaphor from the world of air-traffic control – because deemed irrelevant to that specific context. Indeed, for a good part of the twentieth century (and the centuries before) one became Sinhala by being Govigama, Dur?va or whatever, just as one became “Thamil” by being Vell?lar, Kar?iyar, Koviyar etc (though Pallar and Nalavar were occasionally deemed “not Thamil” in the pure sense12). For a good part of the twentieth century it would have been rare for a Govigama family to seek a Vell?lar spouse, so that cross-caste marriages of this type – or any type – arose as exceptions among the highly Westernised ‘decaste-ified’ elements of society, or in the urban slums and shanties or in the malaria-ridden backwoods.

        The interlacing complications can be seen in the manner in which the mobilisation of caste fraternities within the Sinhala Buddhist world energised the resistance of Buddhists to the evangelical imperialism of the Christian orders in the British period. Their ‘training’ in caste polemics during the late Dutch and early British periods stood them in good stead when they had to face up to the missionary challenge on platform as well as print. Indeed, to follow Malalgoda, the presence of energetic Buddhist chapters organised on caste lines provided a multifaceted basis for Buddhist revitalisation.

        Thus, in the late nineteenth century one sees Buddhist monks who had espoused the superiority of their caste working together with monks from other castes in movements directed against Christian privileges. Likewise, in the 1890s and 1900s the jostling for political position between the Fernandos and the Jayewardenes did not prevent their cooperation in the polite agitations of the Ceylon National Association – an elite political grouping that challenged notions of white superiority and the racial bar by pressing for the Ceylonisation of the Ceylon Civil Service.

        In opposition to Nadesan, I note that the movement of Buddhist revival did not derive inspiration from Arumugar Navalar’s sturdy programme of Hindu revitalisation. Young & Jebanesan are firm on this point: “There is … no evidence at all of a pan-Lankan, Ceylonese … reaction to Chritianity at any time in the history of the island’s encounter with that religion.”13 Both movements of religious revitalisation were reactions to the denigration heaped on native “idolatry” by Christian missionaries, disparagement that was sharpened by the general circumstances of political subordination and White racism.14

        Many people today are aware of the movement of Buddhist revival that developed from the mid-nineteenth century and are familiar with the ardent attempts of Anagarika Dharmapala (1864-1933) on this front. It is also known that what were called the “riots of 1915” – involving assaults on the Muslims in the south western regions – erupted as a result of disputes surrounding religious processions.15 Similar disputes had generated a clash between Catholics and Buddhists at Kotahena in 1883.16

        Such incidents have enticed some scholars to downplay the significance of Sinhala-Tamil competition and the collective identities which sustain such rivalry in the decades before universal franchise (1931) and/or independence (1948).17 The historians’ overwhelming focus on the activities of English-speaking Ceylonese elites who pressed for constitutional devolution in the vocabulary of liberalism has compounded this leaning.18 As a result, the force of Sinhala nationalist thinking in the six decades 1870 to 1931 has not received adequate weight in many writings.

        I delineate this period because of the availability of printed material in Sinhala in newspapers, pamphlets and books; and on the foundations provided by my research work on this type of material in the period before 1915. There was a recurrent discourse among the vernacular intelligentsia that was alarmed by the degree to which Westernised lifeways were threatening Sinhala culture. The dangers were regarded as both cultural and economic. The reliance on Western imports was adversely remarked upon. The widespread adoption of a Westernised life style and the diffusion of Christianity among the Sinhala people were seen as marks of their degeneration as well as instruments which furthered this process—undermining their gunadharma (religious virtues), kulacaritra (traditional customs) and bhashava (language).19

        The tone of the articles, pamphlets, novels and plays which exhorted the Sinhalese varied from the didactic to the biting satire of the zealot. An index of the convictions that drove these ideologues is provided by the consistency with which they birched the Sinhalese themselves—indeed to such a degree that one can speak of self-flagellation. Perhaps the sharpest diatribes were directed against those Sinhalese who were aping the Westerner. In Piyad?sa Sirisena’s writings such Sinhalese are even rendered into a distinct ethnic category: the samkara (mixed) and/or the tuppahi (low and mixed).20

        Indeed, the titles of Sirisena’s early novels, Apata Vecca De [1909] and Maha Viyavula [1916], capture this anxiety in capsule form. The Api here, in his thinking, are the truly indigenist Sinhalese of the hinterland, the people of the rata as distinct from the people of the thota. Numba ratay da? thotay da? asked the hero Jayatissa from Rosalin21 when he fell in love at first sight [first novel in 1906]. That is, the Sinhalese of the littoral, significantly Westernised and/or Christian, are not authentic natives of the soil. They are potentially para and tuppahi. Therefore, we see here the early makings of J?tika Hela Urumaya thinking.

        Diatribes were not confined to the inauthentic Sinhalese. Abuse was also heaped on the ultimate source of threat, the paradesakkara (low and vile foreigners). These foreigners included the British, the kocci (Malay?lis), the hamba (Indian Moors), the marakkala (all Moors), the hetti (Chettiyars), the javo (Malays), the bhai (Borahs), and the para demala (low and vile Tamils).22 In one of Anagarika Dharmapala’s essays in 1911 there is even a polemic directed against the kocci demal?.23

        Nor should one forget that at the same time as Dharmapala’s campaign there was a strand of Sinhala patriotism that concentrated on the purification of the Sinhala language, identified specifically as the Hela language. Munid?sa Kumar?tunga (1887-1944) may have been its modern-day flag-bearer, but this emphasis had several forerunners as well as others (e.g. Jayantha Weerasekera) who bore the torch into the post-1948 era.24

        1The initial representation by De Silva is as conjecture but he subsequently adds this note: “Reports suggest that [the government] deftly and subtly played the caste card within the military to deny Fonseka the military vote. The President succeeded. In the ensuing post-poll purge of the military, the Karave have disproportionately been targeted. Other Karave generals have been sacked from the armed forces. Karave Buddhist monks had been arrested. Much to my chagrin, caste may still be alive in Sinhala Buddhist society, albeit as an undercurrent.”

        2 See “comment” in http://www.thuppahi.wordpress.com.

        3 See Table 3 in Roberts in History of Ceylon, 1973, p. 283. Also see Jaywardena 2001: 335.

        4 See Roberts 1973 and Kar?va, 1982 for illustrations of these processed of social and economic advancement

        5 Roberts, Kar?va, 1982: 116.

        6Jayawardena 2001: 336 referring to the Hewavitarnes and EG Jayawardene as examples.

        7Some members of the Govigama aristocracy pursued this course, but those holding official position could not do so. For details, see Roberts et al, People Inbetween, 1989: 93.

        8Roberts 1974: 561-64.

        9 For details, see Roberts, Kar?va, 1982: 159-65; and for a list of pamphlets, pp. 336-40.

        10 Malalgoda 1976. Also Malalgoda 1973, Roberts 1982: 133-40, and Young & Somaratna 1996.

        11 My article was a brief Memo that did not attempt to survey the 19th and 20th centuries.

        12″In the early 1970s some Vellalars expressly denied thatNalavrs and Pallars were Tamils” (Pfaffenberger 1994: 149).

        13 Young & Jebanesan 1995: 33.

        14 On Navalar, see Young & Jebanesan 1995 and Hellmann-Rajanayagam 1992.

        15 On the issues that provoked such clashes, see my “The Imperialism of Silence,” in Roberts 1994: chap. X and the details on the 1915 in chap. 5 [which latter is reprinted as chap 00 in my Confrontations, Colombo, 2009].

        16Somaratna 1991.

        17 One instance being the article by Nissan & Stirrat 1990.

        18For the constitutional agitation see K. M. De silva 1973 and 1981. Also note Jayawardena 2001.

        19 Roberts et al, People Inbetween, 1989: 10-21, 80-81.

        20 Sirisena, Apate Vecca D?, 1954 [1909]: 9ff and Sucaric?darsaya, 1958: 126, 130.

        21 Jayatissa saha Rosalin was Sirisena’s first novel published in the year 1906. See Amunugama 1979 and Roberts et al, 1989 for fuller analysis.

        22 See “Rat? tibena ävul, apatama ve tävul” in Sinhala J?tiya, 1 June 1913. Sinhala J?tiya 30 March 1915: Sinhala Bauddhay?, 2 Jan 1915: translation of article by WDA Gunatilaka in the Sinhala J?tiya, March 1915 in Dowbiggin 1915b and Roberts et al, People Inbetween, 1989: 10-21.

        23 Kocci Demal? (Malay?lam Tamil) is the title of his piece too (Sinhala Bauddhay?),14 Jan. 1910.

        24See Dharmadasa 1992: 261-86.

        (To be continued tomorrow)

        Caste in modern Sri Lankan politics-II
        by Michael Roberts
        Continued from yesterday

        Sinhala nationalism, in other words, had many strands and was not confined to a Sinhala Buddhist revivalist thread. Sinhala Christians participated in some currents of the nationalist awakening such as the Sinhalese National Day campaign of the 1910s. Nor were all the Westernised Ceylonese who pressed for constitutional reform by knocking at British doors, such men as D. B. Jayatilaka and D. S. Senanayake, wholly removed from nativist ideals and their associated prejudices. Though it has yet to be documented in thorough ways, there are suspicions that threads of communalist thinking resided within the Senanayake clan.

        However, when Buddhist activists approached Senanayake as Prime Minister in the early 1950s to complain about undue Christian influence in high politics and the decline of Buddhism, he is said to have dismissed this contention in his pragmatic style. Such a response laid DS and his successors open to the charge of being “brown sahibs” catering to the Westernised Ceylonese. The epithet “tuppahi” (pronounced thuppahi) was part of the effective weaponry wielded against these elements of society.25

        This line of nativist ideology coalesced in the mid-1950s with the vociferous hostility to the brown bourgeoisie presented by Leftist parties and those underprivileged. Thus, as we know full well, in 1955-56 one saw the upsurge of the underprivileged marshalled within the coalition headed by SWRD Bandaranaike’s SLFP under the umbrella MEP. The targets were the privileged English-speaking community, Christians and the UNP.26

        This combination drew its energies from a fusion of nativist thinking and radical socialist currents. In the result it attracted the vernacular speaking petit-bourgeoisie and even Tamils disposed towards the vernacular and/or the underclass. However, the cry of Sinhala-only privileged the Sinhala language over the Tamil and had economic implications. Therefore the political transformation by ballot in 1956 was seen by many Tamils as disadvantageous to their interests – as indeed it was. In this manner, Sinhala nativism and Sinhala linguistic nationalism moved to the front reaches of power on the basis of a democratic process and numerical weight compounded by a first-past-the-post electoral scheme.

        Significantly, many motifs paraded by the Sinhala activists in the 1950s echoed themes that had been raised since the late nineteenth century. There was a considerable measure of continuity both in content of political expression and the type of personnel in the intermediary layers of society who were in the forefront of agitation.27

        I do not need to dwell upon the consequences of this moment in Sri Lanka’s history, the “revolution of 1956” as it is sometimes referred to. The processes unleashed then, as we know full well, contributed substantially to the sharpening of the ethnic divide and the outbreak of a series of wars.

        As vitally, the currents of Sinhala nationalism were sustained in subsequent decades by those generational cohorts associated with the upsurge in the 1950s and 60s as well as new generational forces. Two examples suffice. The JVP youth of 1967-71 who launched an insurrection in April 1971 were a new generation that was a product of the changes in the educational order that began in the 1940s; but in ideological terms they were both children of the “Old Left” and children of “1956.” Thus, as a “New Left”they shared ‘kinship’ with the Leftists who were part of the alliance that brought the MEP-led-by-the-SLFP to power in 1956.

        The anti-Tamil strains of thinking that resided within the JVP of Stage One were muted in the second stage of this party’s history from 1977-1983 when it attempted to entice Tamil radicals to their cause through political activity directed by Lionel Bopage and others. But, after the Presidential election of 1983, Wijeweera’s nativist and chauvinist leanings surfaced in full measure so that the period 1987-90 revealed this Sinhala ideological virulence in a powerful manner.

        At the same time, the 1980s and 1990s witnessed the flowering of a strand of political rhetoric identified as Jatika Chinthanaya (Nationalist Thought). Two individuals linked to this stream of consciousness were middle class professionals who had been associated with Leftist circles in the 1950s and 1960s and can thereby be placed directly within the 1956 generations. One was Gunadasa Amerasekera, a dentist and frontline Sinhala novelist. The other was Nalin de Silva, a mathematician and university lecturer. Both were competent in Sinhala as well as English.

        Serviced by such forces, these currents of Sinhala nativist thinking – ideologies that shaded both imperceptibly and in glaring fashion into chauvinism — emerged strongly under the aegis of the new SLFP during the presidential election of 2005. The manifesto known as Mahinda Chintanaya presented itself explicitly as the heir to the political triumph of 1956 at a moment when the strength of the LTTE was deemed a severe threat to the existence of state and people.

        In one swoop, Mahinda Rajapaksa and his team stole the clothes of the JVP at the same time as they allied with the latter to win the Presidency stakes.28 They also had the Jatika Hela Urumaya as one of their allies. Thus a revamped SLFP, JVP and JHU in 2005 represented a powerful fusion of Sinhala bhumiputra thinking.

        Having vested themselves with some of the JVP garments, once in power the Rajapaksa family and their SLFP were able to entice some members of the JVP into the fold — together with umpteen others from all parties snared by pork-barrel patronage. Today, the core JVP is alienated from the Rajapaksas and outside this combination, but has been severely weakened by the process. The presence of Champaka Ranawake and Upali Gammanpila in the corridors of power, however, implies that the engine room and masthead are both Sinhala populist and nativist – in short, that the governing SLFP regime is hardline bhumiputra. The horses of 1956 are riding the summits of the rata again.

        * * * *

        The caste factor may well have been relatively insignificant in the Presidential and parliamentary elections of the recent past. I have limited knowledge in this field, but I speculate that it has a bearing at the local level in the selection of parliamentary candidates and in sustaining some clusters of caste voting-blocs. I think that those who criticised Lakruwan have to attend, with provisos, to the blogger Rashan’s slashing note: “Cast [sic] is still a major factor in elections in Sri Lanka, go to Mathara Ambalangoda.”29

        Lakruwan’s main contention, however, is that Karava personnel figure disproportionately among the military officers who have been interjected by the government. DBS Jeyaraj’s marvellous work of investigative journalism has identified some of these men.30 We now need their ge names (the genitives) and locality of origin so that Lakruwan’s suggestion can be evaluated in empirical terms. On a priority grounds, however, one would think there is an operational logic in such a caste clustering. IF – note the stress on the “if” in the manner Jeyaraj — one mounts a subterranean revolutionary movement or coup plot, trust and loyalty are critical criteria in recruitment. This assemblage could be on a class basis as in the elite club-set involved in the failed officer/gentlemen coup of 1962.31

        But such clandestine groupings could be based upon kin networks or school friendships. Where there is localised caste clustering, as in the Jaffna Peninsula and in some parts of the south, kin-affiliations and schoolmates at peer generational level are often weighted towards a caste core. The JVP leadership of the years 1967-71 seems to have contained a strong Karava core and in such areas as Elpitiya and Kegalle clusters of youth from the more depressed Wahumpura, Batgam and Rajaka castes were prominent. However, we can probably follow KM de Silva in seeing the caste factor as “secondary to the class factor” and the centrality of a “revolutionary ideology” as motivational inspiration forthis failed uprising.32

        When a resistance mushroom known as the Tamil Liberation Organisation assembled in 1969 its key personnel seem to have been Karaiyar from the Valvettithurai locality, namely, Thangadurai, Kuttimani, Periya (Big) Sothi and Sinna (Small) Sothi, besides young 15-year-old Velupillai Pirapaharan. This cluster seems to have transmuted into the Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation (TELO) led initially by Thangadurai (aka Nadarajah Thangavelu), and Kuttimani (aka Selvarajah Yogachandran).

        From the outset, the LTTE seems to have been sustained by a Karaiyar caste and peer-group network while the disappearance (by death, eviction or withdrawal) of capable Vellalar seniors36 in the years 1984-87 sustained the Karaiyar weightage within the top rungs of the LTTE in subsequent decades.

        To my mind, however, Lakruwan’s article is more significant for the commentary it has attracted from various quarters. These blogs indicate that there are several people of various age ranges for whom caste is irrelevant if not abhorrent. However, a few swallows do not make a summer. One must be cautious about sociological generalisations relating to subterranean and interstitial currents of activity, namely caste networks which, for instance, operate in the organisation of Buddhist pilgrim groups heading from localities to hallowed sites.

        What remains on the surface and hardly subterranean, however, are the virulent thoughts expressed in response to Lakruwan. Many of the bloggers hostile to his article seem to be products of the 1956 ideology. Their hostility to the caste factor has been aroused because they read it as a threat to the unity of the Sinhalese. Sinhala patriotism impels their vituperative reaction, including bile directed at Fonseka. They seek to protect the unitary state. In speaking as Sri Lankans they subsume the whole within their Sinhala sentiments. The issue of the part/whole relationship that I have underlined in my essay on “The Sinhala MindSet” resides below the surface … as powerfully as dangerously.

        25 Roberts et al, People Inbetween, 1989.

        26 See Roberts, 1956 Generations, 1981 and “Political Antecedents,” 1989; and Mervyn de Silva 19

        27 See Roberts, 1956 Generations, 1981 and “Political Antecedents,” 1989.

        28 In effect they replicated the tactic of John Howard’s Liberal Party in the 200s when t it stole the platform of Pauline Hanson and her One Nation party.

        29 A blog comment within the Lakruwan article in transcurrents.

        30 Major-General Jammika Liyanage; Major General Jayanath Perera; Major General Samantha Sooriyabandara; Major-General Mahesh Senanayake; Brigadier Bimal Dias; Brigadier Duminda Keppetiwalana; Brigadier Janaka Mohotti; Brigadier Athula Hennedige; Brigadier Wasantha Kumarapperuma; Lt-Colonel L. J. M. C. P. Jayasundera; Captain R. M. R. Ranaweera; Captain B. Krishantha.

        31 See Horowitz 1980 & Roberts 1983.

        32 KM de Silva 1981: 342. Also Jiggins 1979: 127-36. My comments are also informed by diluted memories of conversations with Paul Caspersz, Victor Ivan and Gamini Keerawella.

        33 Sabaratnam 2009. Varatharaja Perumal [not Karaiyar] was also a key figure.

        34 It was probably this locality-cum-Karaiyar affiliation that enabled Pirapaharan to join TELO circa 1981 when he briefly split from the LTTE after a clash with Uma Maheswaran (who was Vellalar).

        35 Hellmann-Rajanayagam’s early review of the LTTE concluded that it was “a Karaiyar-led and dominated group” (1993: 274). Besides Pirapaharan, Baby Subramanium, Seelan, Victor, Mahattaya, Thilakar, Kittu and Kumarappa were Karaiyar.

        36 for e. g., Ragavan, Radha, Tileepan, Ponnamman, Curdles and Rahim,

        37For e. g. KP, Castro, Soosai, Nadesan. But note that Bhanu and probably Pottu Amman are Civiyar.

        38 Ironically, but not surprisingly, the early LTTE leaders, R?gavan and Pirap?haran, also expressed some distaste for caste divisions and stressed the need for cross-caste unity in the Tamil struggle (Ragavan 2009 and Narayan Swamy 1994: 69).



        • 4

          Native Veddah, am I right in thinking that you are Michael Roberts?

  • 3

    We deeply feel sorry for [Edited out]

    • 1

      [Edited out]

  • 1

    Ever where i the world civiklization began along the rivers. In Srilanka, they built tanks. by the side of the tank they built the temple, paddy fields and the villages. where else that civilization is found ?

    Sri Lanka has ancient places where water was taken upstream to higher altitudes. where else those things abundant ?

    Even the down stream water ways, the slope was negligible and prevent accumulation of sand and silt. dumb spice woman does not know it.

    • 12


      They also built an Airport in the nowhere land and a harbour with no purpose. All these and many other were built solely by Chinese manpower after 500 years history will say these were built by Kurrakkan Yodhayos.

      • 1

        USA did the same things. Their State highways and interstate highways were build in 1950s.

        Just wait and see in another 10 years things will change.

    • 5

      Jim softy

      The architecture of ancient Sri Lanka displays a rich variety of architectural forms and styles.

      Who built those ancient buildings, Tanks and reservoirs?

      The Cave Temples, Dagobas/Stupas, Irrigation Tanks, etc. may be built by the Sinhala kings but the Architects, Engineers, Craftsmen, and skilled labor were all brought down (imported) from South India.

      Repairs to the tanks and the maintenance of irrigation and cultivation could not be affected without the aid of specially trained men from the Tamil country of South India. Sir James Emerson Tennent, Colonial Secretary to the British Government of Ceylon (1845-1850) tells us even during his time, the expertise/services from Tamil country had to be obtained for repairing tanks in the North Central Province.

      We have seen that both the ruling and the usurping Sinhalese kings depended not only on Tamil Builders but also on Tamil Armies to secure the throne, and this continued until the beginning of the 16th Century.

      • 0

        //We have seen that both the ruling and the usurping Sinhalese kings depended not only on Tamil Builders but also on Tamil Armies to secure the throne, and this continued until the beginning of the 16th Century. //

        You can’t blame them! The forefathers of Sinhalese are all Tamils. The first, Vijaya, and the rest (his friends) brought a Pandya princess and other Pandya girls to create a new ‘ethnic group’ called Sinhalese.

        Then, we had Kerala (originated from Tamil Chera dynasty) and Telugu arrivals.

        Of course, Parakramabahu, who ordered not to let a drop of water away, had Kalinga connections.

        Look at Sigiriya rock painting and Ajanta rock paintings….

    • 3

      //In Srilanka, they built tanks. by the side of the tank they built the temple, paddy fields and the villages. where else that civilization is found ?//

      Look at Indian civilisation. Because, the ‘Sri Lankan’ kings were all Indians, or were in the Indian Royal Courts, they brought those learnings to the Island.

      //Sri Lanka has ancient places where water was taken upstream to higher altitudes. where else those things abundant ?//

      Can you provide a specific example? I thought Romans did this.

      But, that is NOT an issue here.

      • 5

        If you go to India even today, whether it is North or South, you will find plenty of extraordinarily wonderful ancient architecture. The best part is the decedents of those people who constructed those structures, reservoirs, etc are still doing the same job. If you go there as a tourist, you can see those people are still able to construct, carve or build exactly like their forefathers.

        If there were such skilled people in Sri Lanka during the ancient time then what happened to them later? Why there are no such people today in Sri Lanka but there are such people in South/North India doing the same thing even today?

        If you say the Sinhalese built all those Reservoirs what happened to them now?

        Why did todays Sinhalese bring foreign designers, architects, and Engineers to build Mahaweli, Kothmale, Randenigala and all other reservoirs?

        If you see in India, just like the ancient past, even today all their Reservoirs are built by Indian designers, architects, and Engineers.

        In Sri Lanka, just like today even in the ancient past, the rulers/kings got down designers, architects, and Engineers from India.

  • 9

    Melbourne Paaluwa is a DOLE BLUDGER. A good for nothing man. Why wont you do something useful to yourself. IDIOT.

  • 0

    [Edited out]

  • 7

    O dear, more and more exposure of a deeply troubled racist mindset. Acute attack of ethno-fascist racism. The deeper you go the worse it seems to get. [Edited out]

  • 2

    Ms S knows only what the Nuns told her before putting her to bed ,

    Ms S probably believes that our planet is only 2000 years old .

    Next to the great Aboriginal people in Austral Asia, Sinhala folks and the Greeks are the only people who have survived and thrived when several great peoples and cultures disappeared after very successful existence for hundreds of years.

    They have even seen the Bright and Shiny Star which appeared over Palestine and the Birth of Mahammed .

    The have lived through every War of the World up to Iraq,.

    They even survived Syphillis, which the UNP supporting Brits gave the ancient cultures to subjugate them.

    Since the Sinhala people finished off the Tamil Terrorists and liberated themselves to be able to walk with their heads high, and started to gain the lost ground of their Economic wellbeing, the Elite, Anglicans and the Vellaslas and their Political parties unleashed a sort of a Nuclear attack on the Sinhala Buddhists to destroy them.

    Ms S and a few others have been at the fore front of this relentless attack

    It finally worked because some of our own Sinhala Buddhists did a Judas .

    These attacks are not going to stop until Batalanada Ranil fulfil all his obligations which are in those numerous MOUs which he signed with all anti Sinhala Buddhist outfits which he could find in addition to the major agreement with the TNA, Diaspora and the West..

    After the War Crime Trials are completed and the the Vellalas get their Homeland , Ms S may back off ,

  • 8

    This article speaks volumes about the moral standards of CT.

  • 1

    [Edited out]

  • 0

    Seems that Sinhalese will have to settle for 0.1%-1% Sinhalese being pure Sinhalese (as per ancestry.com/Sinhalese on Sinhalese being Aryans). They’d be the elite rulers of the 2/3rd-1/2 part. And oh yes, America and the West will provide all the necessities and amenities in assurance that it will be an astounding success story.

    A new national anthem will be devised with American help. University of Berkeley will help to provide the music for the new anthem of the shiny new Southern partition. Irene-Josephine will be the anthem style, to incorporate the 95-99% masses who mixed with Yakkhas, Rakhshasas, Nagas, Portuguese, Dutch, British, Africans, and recent immigrants from India. (See YouTube – Celebrating Sri Lanka; Berklee College of Music)

    Southern 2/3-1/2 will liaison with elite Sinhalese in US. A brand new Americanized Lankan Southern culture will be born, starting with the impressionable youth. Buddha’s mystical realm of Siri Pada will move from Sri Lanka to Mount Rushmore (i.e. if the Christian Evangelists are not there already with their guns).

    Tamils in the meantime, will liaison with Mother Tamil-Nadu and sing their Tamil national anthem to glory (while smirking that their psychological plot on Sinhalese worked better than their bombs).

    America and the West will heave a sigh of relief.

  • 15

    Fooling of the Sinhala Buddhist Masses by a crook ….. who left the Sinhala Mother Land ….. Lives In Australia…. enjoying the Ausi Culture Boozz etc …… Sits there and preaches Buddhism to Sri Lankans…. If you are so keen in Buddhism and your Mother Land move back to Sri Lanka…….

    Mr. Mahindapala We Sri Lankans living here in Sri Lanka are more than capable of looking after our Buddhism….In our Land…. you enjoy the rest of your days there….

    ps. Try to get your friend Gnanasara ( He is not a thero in my openion ) to Ausi and try educate him if possible about Buddhism . You all are birds of a feather any way….

  • 9

    S. Serasinghe, Izath Hussain,Prabhakaran anyone else HDL ?

  • 7

    Pala’s source of personal information on the subject of his ongoing pathetic attempts at vilifying; Ms. Serasinghe,[Edited out]

  • 12

    Mahindapala is either too obtuse to comprehend Sharmini’s question on ‘Sinhala Buddhism’ or is too egotistical to pay attention to those who question his views.

    I will repeat my previous comment to him just in the unlikely event he missed it, although I won’t hold my breath for an intelligent response.

    Mahindapala’s entire premise in his diatribe against Sharmini is her quote: “Might I also ask, what in heaven’s name is so “supreme” about the Sinhalese people? What have we, the Sinhalese achieved, others have not, to entertain such “pride”? I challenge all those out there, who keep chanting, “I’m proud to call myself a Sinhala-Buddhist” to give me a valid answer to my questions, as so far, I have not.”

    However, he has failed to answer her question “… What have we, the Sinhalese achieved, others have not, to entertain such “pride”? So why not answer that?

    Most cultures and ancient ‘peoples’ have amazing accomplishments for their times in their respective countries, some of them not as ‘great’ as our Sinhalese forefathers, and some of them even ‘superior’ to them. This does not mean that her question was meant to denigrate the accomplishments of the ancient Sinhalese, but to indicate (according to my understanding) that they were by no means ‘supreme’ or ‘superior’ to other peoples’ or cultures’ achievements.

    As usual the master-twister-of-facts makes his own case after a bit of research in order to portray himself as a defender of the Sinhala Buddhists.

    It won’t work, Pala – not all of us are as dumb as you think!

    PS: Thanks be that our views on his puerile attempts at insulting Sharmini and her appearance made an impact so he hasn’t repeated himself ad nauseum!

  • 7

    Seriously concerned that Colombo Telegraph supports this kind of supremacist views? lets not even consider the nature of the author’s personalised attacks because there are people who have no ethical or moral capacities to judge their own actions and say things with no consideration. We can’t prevent them all from saying what they have to say, but why publish articles like this? why endorse such harmful views which are separatist and against Sri Lanka’s future stability?
    There is no such thing as a superior race! it’s 2016 for god’s sake! find something else to ground your worth as a human being besides thing nonsense!

    • 2

      Roshan D

      “Seriously concerned that Colombo Telegraph supports this kind of supremacist views?”

      Don’t be concerned Roshan, it has been the Means for opening up a Field for Intelligent Comments and Discussion!

  • 3

    well Done, HLDM….missie has shut her mouth up forever

    • 3

      Yeah yeah…

      There is a saying in Tamil, Howling dogs could never force the moon to drop”

    • 0

      [Edited out]

      • 0

        [edited out]

  • 7

    Shame on your Sinhala and Fake Buddhist leaders who have sent this country into toilet pit…..

    Stephen..Dudley…Julius…Percy all Buddhists ?????

    English educated Philippine nationals are working all over the world and bring foreign exchange to their mother land..

    But Sinhala only comedy has resulted in sending Sinhala mothers..wives..sisters to Arabs to work as sex slaves to Arabs and 40 dead bodies are arriving from Middle East every month…

    …Thanks for Ape Anduwa modayas…

    Yes Tamil is an official language in papers ..not in practice…

    You are also a product of Lion Mating the Princess he he he ….your writing prove this


    • 2

      Go to Tamilnadu if you want to practice Tamil. In Sri lanka talk in the majority language as you people talk in in majority language every where else.

      • 3

        Jim softy

        If TN Tamils did not come to Sri Lanka you won’t even be there today. According to the latest genetic study done by a team of Harvad geneologists, 67% of the Sinhalese genes are found to be Indian Tamil. Check your DNA, I am sure you are also one of them.

  • 0

    [Edited out]

  • 3

    [Edited out]pala!!!

    I have my problems with Ramanathan siblings and the family. Castetism and elitism were part and parcel of the mix at that time, but this guy is over-claiming.

    You see, this guy seems to think everyone reads his article is a damned idiot! He seems to think he could take everyone for a ride.

    He does not seem to have a sense of any shame.

    //In fact, in the thirties, Ponnambalam Ramanathan went specifically to London on the holy mission of saving the caste system. He presented his case to the Colonial Office urging the British not to meddle with the caste system but to retain it as part of Jaffna traditions. This was not surprising because he was a leading disciple of Arumuka Navalar //

    Mahindapala must have superficially referred to an Island article, which stated, “Ramanathan led two delegations during the 1930s demanding the Colonial Office in London that Caste be encoded into the legislative enactments of Ceylon. “

    Ramanathan was a sexist, casteist and conservative. But….

    According to Wiki (and of course other sources),
    Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan, KCMG, KC (15 April 1851 – 30 November 1930) was a Solicitor-General and Tamil political leader in Sri Lanka.

    Yeah, the man passed away in November 1930. Ramanthan’s ghost must have led those two delegations in the 1930s!!!

    By the way…

    Background 1:Sri Lankan Tamils after Sixty Years of Independence I

    This period is seen as the golden age of Sinhala – Tamil unity. A demonstration of the goodwill that existed then was the welcome afforded to Ramanathan as he arrived in Colombo from London. Sinhala stalwarts of the day seated Ramanathan in a chariot and pulled it along the streets of Colombo. This was in appreciation of his espousal of the Sinhala cause in the aftermath of the anti – Muslim violence of 1915.

    Background 2: Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan: “The greatest Ceylonese of all times”

    He fought against the tyranny of the British Government taking up the cause of the Sinhalese when arbitrary and oppressive measures were taken against them by the Government of Ceylon during the Martial Law period in 1915. Among the oppressive measures taken by the Government of Ceylon, listed by SPR, were:
    *The arrest and incarceration of influential and loyal Sinhalese gentlemen, without an iota of evidence against them.
    *The trial of civilian citizens by Courts Martial after the cessation of the riots, and while the ordinary courts of justice were uninterruptedly sitting.
    *The unjust dismissal and dishonour of loyal public servants.
    *The obtaining of an Order of Indemnity from the Privy Council, avoiding public discussion, in the Legislative Council, of the acts done, and proceedings held, under Martial Law.

    Failing to obtain justice from the government of Ceylon, he travelled to London risking arrest and imprisonment under Martial Law, and the German gunboats when WW 1 was raging, with a brief to the Secretary of State for Colonies. He succeeded in having the Governor who was the representative of the reigning Monarch of the mighty British Empire, and the head of military, recalled, and in obtaining other redresses. His brief to the Secretary of State was as a book titled “Riots and Martial Law in Ceylon, 1915.” The 314 page book was printed by St Martin’s Press in London.

    Background 3: Was Anagarika Dharmapala who held Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan in Great Esteem a “Racist” as Portrayed by Some?

    As the Anagarika Dharmapala was in India at that time, the Colonial rulers in Ceylon arrested his brother Edmund on a false pretext and sent him to Jaffna Jail. There he succumbed to the deadly decease of the tropics, enteric fever contracted in prison. The patient lay on a mat on the floor with no treatment when recovery was hopeless. Five days before his death the Colonial rulers permitted his younger brother Dr C. A. Hewavitarne to attend to his dying brother – but it was too late!

    Edmund Hewavitarne died in November 1915, five months after he was sentenced by an Army Officer to a life of “Rigorous Imprisonment”.

    A large gathering honoured Edmund Hewavitarne as a patriot not as a traitor at his funeral. A 13 page petition of appeal was sent to the British Authorities by his widow Sujatha Hewavitarne together with petitions and affidavits of leading monks and lay persons of different communities and by Mallika Hewavitarne (mother of Edmund and the Anagarika). The petition was carried to London by Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan, addressed to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Andrew Bonar Law asking that Edmund Hewavitarne’s name be cleared. The petitions were upheld.

  • 3

    So, how many non-Govigama people were chosen to run Ceylon/Sri Lanka?

    How many non-Govigama buddhsit prelates could anyone name?

    Mahindapala is so sure that CT will continue to provide him the platform to spew his trash. He says “To be continued”, right?

    • 5


      “Mahindapala is so sure that CT will continue to provide him the platform to spew his trash. He says “To be continued”, right?”

      The CT provides us with an opportunity to completely ignore HLD M’s typing and discuss other matters which we feel more important his trash.

      I have other concerns such as Nano Technology is being used in developing armaments, future water poverty in developing countries, whether Aryabhata originally developed various mathematical ideas or it was the Greeks, …… what makes Tamils and Sinhalese self-destructive stupids, can the earthlings evolve into Martians, would genetic editing help KAS, HLD M sachooo, Nuisance, Jimmy, ….. and others, is there a machine to pick bones from fish, if not why, … etc?

      • 2

        “The CT provides us with an opportunity to completely ignore HLD M’s typing and discuss other matters which we feel more important his trash.”

        I take your point, NV.

        But, when this merchant sells lies and bull, my natural urge to counter them blasts through me.

        Ramanathan died in November 1930, but this liar keeps making up stories, suggesting that the man took two delegations to UK in the 1930s.

  • 0

    To understand the plight of Sinhalese both and we have to understand about the the so called British Empire.

    In the tropical dominions of the British it was in fact British-Indian Empire.

    British the absentee land lords left after wounded by the Germans and the Japanese leaving the haul to the Indians.

    We are like the Creoles of Mauritius or Guyana.

    Arguing and fighting among ourselves while the Indians control us.

  • 2

    Mahindapala is actually a source of immense embarrassment to the Buddhists and Sinhala people in general for the uncouth presentation of his response to Ms Sharmini Serasinghe.

    It is the Sinhala Buddhists who should talk about their virtues; Not a Malay-Tuan to boot!

  • 1


    Thanks for the diversion from that pain Mahindapala.

    Re.The contest for the Educated Ceylonese seat,in the old State Council,between Sir.Ponnambalam Ramanathan and Dr.Marcus Fernando./
    C.R.de Silva-Historian par excellence has persuasively argued that though the contest was between a Tamil and Sinhala,there was no animosity on those lines since prominent Sinhala leaders were backing Sir.P.R. In fact Hector Jayewardena,J.Rs uncle went upto Jaffna campaigning on behalf of Sir.P.R.

    On the other hand,there was an argument to the effect that the Sinhala Govigama leaders were ganging up against the Karaves[Dr.M.F]. Apparently,at that point of time,the Karaves had made giant strides in the Ceylonese society and the had to be stopped at any cost.

    The Rise of The Karaves in Ceylon-Was it by Dr.Michael Roberts? cant remember Plato is aging!

    To digress,that LTTE type you mentioned-Victor. I was told that he was put in charge of the female brigades-Guess why? He had Oscar Wilde tendencies and as such the females were safe!

1 2 3

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 300 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically shut off on articles after 10 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.