22 March, 2019

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Two Or Three Things I Know About My Country

By Pradeep Jeganathan

Prof. Pradeep Jeganathan

Prof. Pradeep Jeganathan

We’ve never really had a father. We like to think we did, of course, be it D.S. Senanayake, S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike or S.J.V. Chelvanayagam. But they never had a vision for Lanka that made sense, in the end. Unlike a Mahathir, Nehru or a Mandela, their vision was partisan, and the results plain to see. Senanayake’s great contribution was to disenfranchise the up country Tamils, and ignore the vernacular language question. Bandaranaike and Chelvanayagam were his children, fighting for the house that he never finished building.

We’ve gone along since, fatherless children that we are. So many have been killed, and so many have killed. Maimed. Seen the essence of inhumanity, lived with it, so it has become ordinary. Many of us like to think Rajapakse is our father, since it is said he rescued us from all this, took us over the mountains to the valley of peace. Certainly, he’s proclaimed himself father and king, and his sons princes. And he’s had his moments.

MaithripalaBut Rajapaksa fell short by a long way; one example is enough for me. Right at the edge of the water, in the northern most tip of our country lies a stone plaque. It was placed there well after May 2009, and marks the spot as Dambakola Patuna, the place where Ven. Sanghamitta landed with a sapling of the sacred Bo tree. And yet, this beautiful place is desecrated by a Rajapaksa plaque, which, here of all places, calls him “Tri-Sinhaladesvara.” Perhaps he never had it, perhaps he lost it on the way, but this is no way to mark our common patrimony.

This brings me to the second thing I know about my country; I’ve learned it firsthand, like all of us, the hard, bitter, sad way. With separatism, like with the tango, it takes two. If this is a Sinhala country, then the Tamils will want one too. If you are going to get all the kids together for cricket, and then say, ‘it’s my bat, so you only get fielding,’ someone else will get a bat. If you want to play dolls, give everyone a room in the doll’s house. Otherwise, cut our house in two, and be done with it, and fight hard forever more, at the jagged edges that will never heal.

Sirisena isn’t our father, but he’d done a lot more that I thought he would; I dare say than most of us thought he could. I get the sense that he isn’t all good or all bad, all authentic or all sincere, but he is one of us, and grew up, and I mean came to age among us, in times of great trouble. He resolved, in his moment in the glare of the headlights, not to panic, not to be arrogant, but rather, to be astute and careful. And so far, he’s walked a tight rope like no other, ever, stumbling yet not falling, playing his small hand with draconian authority. Yet, at the same time, being so very circumspect about when he plays that hand and letting freedom reign, far more than ever before. Yet, we have not like he, grown up all that very well, and he, like us, does not have a full fledged ethos of ethics. But with daring audacity he has allowed us to see, if we look with clear eyes, the glimmering fingers of dawn that must surely follow the darkest hour of the night.

We’ve always had our mother. She is Lanka. That is the third thing I know about my country, and when I say, our mother is Lanka, or Ilankai or Eelam (for that too is a name for Lanka), I do not mean it in the sense of an inanimate goddess that is to be adored, appropriated and used as a cover for racism, violence and inequality. No, I mean it in the sense of Lanka’s lament, in the great songstress’ lyric, “Deddahas Pansiya Vasarak. (For 2,500 years).” In this beautiful song, Nanda Malini sings Lanka’s lament, her almost helpless sadness and deep grief, at the robbers and killers she has given birth to, who have then become big men and women, clinging to power by selling her name.

We’ve never had a father, and we never will. Our mother is old, and her breasts are dry. She is sad and grieving. It is time to grow up and come to terms with ourselves as orphans. And on this election day, resolve to keep doing the little ethical things that will make our country a little better, and perhaps one of us will one day be the child that our mother always wanted, and never had.

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Latest comments

  • 30
    5

    The picture tells a lot.

    Compare that to one portraying MR comforting babies. What a contrast.

    • 24
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      Prof. Pradeep Jeganathan

      “We’ve never really had a father. We like to think we did, of course, be it D.S. Senanayake, S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike or S.J.V. Chelvanayagam. But they never had a vision for Lanka that made sense, in the end. Unlike a Mahathir, Nehru or a Mandela, their vision was partisan, and the results plain to see. Senanayake’s great contribution was to disenfranchise the up country Tamils, and ignore the vernacular language question. Bandaranaike and Chelvanayagam were his children, fighting for the house that he never finished building.”

      Thanks. Well put.

      Yes, Orphans without guidance, after the caretaker, the British left, to fend for themselves and go after each other’s throats themselves, in the land of Native Veddah Aethho.

      Orphans, Para-Orphans, time to grow up in the Land of Native Veddah Aethho!

  • 18
    2

    Prof Pradeep Jeganathan,

    You have written a beautiful essay on the absence of a father to our countrymen. And tears rolled down my checks when I read your poetry.

    Professor, We had our own fathers, not one but two- both Sinhalese and Tamils as usual not agreed to have one father- but two separate fathers- one is named Prabaharan and the other Rajapakse.

    Yes! we had our own fathers, but they were failures. That is why we are still in a mystery still searching for a father.

    Just because our fathers failed, Could we disown our own fathers.ungrateful children!

    Why not accept the reality and moves on!

    But our mistake was to go after fathers or father figures having no faith in ourselves!

    You and I and thousands of others in Sri Lanka are ordinary people.

    We have a weapon called democracy.If we join as one we could do wonders!

    Why could not we, the vast majority of ordinary people build up a new modern country without waiting for a hero or a Ramraj

    Waiting for a Mahathma!

    God will become an avathar at the correct time!

  • 25
    5

    A well timed and well thought lament!

    Dr.RN

  • 18
    2

    beautiful!

  • 17
    3

    That picture says it all. He really is the father we never had.

    • 1
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      Prof. PJ,

      During Legislative and State Council days we did have fathers. Many do not know that history. I am older than the Baby Boomers- pre WW II. Now I am giving you one example. Please read the State Council of Ceylon -Hansard -June 1, 1944, Vol. I- Pages 901-907, VOTE OF CONDOLENCE: Sir D.B.Jayatilaka,B.A.(Oxon)Jesus College,M.A.(Oxon),LL.D(Ceylon)Barrister-at-law (Lincoln Inn),KT, K.B.E.

      When he contested Council seats 3 times, he was elected uncontested.That is the respect he commanded. Some say that he was the last STATESMAN that Ceylon had; he was a blend of Vidyalankara Pirivena, Wesley College and Oxford University education- proficient in Pali, Sinhalese, Sanskrit, Latin, Greek and English, and a student until his death(Feb 1968- May 1944.) While requesting the readers to read the addresses of MR GAH Wille,Major Oldfield,Mr DBIX Pereira,Mr T.B.Jayah, Mr A.Ratnayake (later UNP, a clean politician),Mr S.Natesan (Kankesanturai), I wish to quote a part of Mr G.G.Ponnambalam’s(Point Pedro) speech:
      “…in the remarkable combination of qualities of scholarship, of statemanship and erudition, I think Baron Jayatilaka will be difficult to be surpassed in the near future.He was a happy blend of Eastern culture and Western poise.”

  • 11
    22

    Just because there is a minority a country cannot be halved to please them. Going by the author’s logic then all the minorities living all over the world would have to be given separate areas.

    The question is basically a historical question.

    Unlike what we are made to believe this is not a conflict that started post independence, but started pre independence.

    Research into history would show this started in 1922. And SL got universal suffrage in 1922. First Tamil-Sinhala riot took place in 1939.

    Therefore the notion sinhala-tamil issue started after 1956 and even 1948 is wrong.

    What caused this issue? It is a question of history and the answer should have to be found in history too.

    • 17
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      sachoooooooooooooo

      You are very very very very stupid indeed.

      “Research into history would show this started in 1922.”

      You mean Sinhala/Buddhist racism started in 1922.

      Actually Sinhala/Buddhist started the first riot in 1883 against Catholic, in Kotehena.

      In the second riot in 1915 the Muslims were targeted.

      Your Demela brethren Ramanathan had to sail all the way to UK and fight for his Sinhala brethren. He did it successfully and got the Sinhala/Buddhist rioters released, including D S Senanayake.

      • 4
        8

        Tamil tribal racism started in SL…there is nothing called sinhala buddhist racism, simply reactiion to tamil tribalism

        I am talking about Sinhala -tamil idiot, not about riots among sinhalese. The first riot was among Tamils based on castes in Jaffna…

        Sinhalese had already done what they can do for Ramanathan, he is a politician he did for his electorate.

        Dont talk about things you dont know.

        • 6
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          sachooooooooooo the very very stupid

          stupid is as stupid does.

          • 2
            5

            Tamil racists will find any criticism against them stupid

            • 1
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              sachooooooooooo the very very stupid

              Stupid is as stupid does.

    • 16
      5

      Sach, you are sick.

      Get treatment.

      • 13
        4

        Sach is a Sad Case.
        He needs treatment very badly, but only a witch doctor can provide that.

        • 8
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          Uthungan

          sachoooooooooo the stupid is a she devil and not a he man.

          • 4
            13

            Native Vedda et al,

            It is the Tamil who caused all these problems not the Sinhalese.
            They are root cause of the problem because they started it about 2200 years ago by attacking the city of Anuradhapura built by the very hard working Sinhalese. (mongrel race)

            Just ask your self who built Anuradhapura and who destroyed it.
            Hard working Sinhalese built it and Tamils attacked it for about 1200 years and finally destroyed (Raja Raja) it about 1000 AD.

            And when hard working Sinhalese built Pollonnaruwa Tamils attacked (under Kalinga Maaga)it and destroyed it as well.

            Now playing the minority card internationally and trying to blame the Sinhalese.

            Tamils are just pathetic.

            Get your full facts buddy.

            • 9
              1

              Historian

              “Tamils are just pathetic.”

              So are the Sinhala/Buddhists.

              “Get your full facts buddy.”

              Although I am not your buddy, let me have some facts with credible reference.

            • 1
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              Thank the Indians from the subcontinent for they gave the people comprising the Sinhala race atleast some grey. But for that we’ll be a motley group of morons.

            • 5
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              Hsitorian,

              “It is the Tamil who caused all these problems not the Sinhalese.”

              Come again please! DO you mean to say that Tamils should put up and shut up then no one would have died? I think you talk nonsense and you know nothing about history. The history that you consumed is what has been fed to you by the Sinhala Buddhist Chauvinists. You need crawl out of the chauvinistic box and explore the real world :)

              • 2
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                Tamils need not shut up, but they should shut up their racist vitriol

                • 3
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                  sachooooooooooo the very very stupid

                  Stupid is as stupid does.

        • 1
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          Disapprove what I claim with FACTS, I l correct it.

          The point that every debate in CT ends with a debate on history proves my point further

          • 5
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            sachooooooooooo the very very stupid

            Stupid is as stupid does.

            • 2
              4

              Tamil racists will find any criticism stupid

              • 0
                1

                sachoooooooooo the very very very stupid

                “Tamil racists will find any criticism stupid”

                If that is the case, why do I being a Veddah find your typing stupid?

    • 7
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      Dear Sach: I don’t think those facts are right.

      • 3
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        These questions are for Pradeep Jeganathan, (and please uneducated vaddhas dont come)

        1. Didnt the issues between sinhala and tamil politicians start in 1920, particularly after universal suffrage to SL?

        2. Didnt ethnic riots between Sinhala and Tamils occur in 1939 after GG Ponnambalam’s speech in navalapitiya?

        3. As far as I know Sinhala Maha Sabha started as a reaction to tamil politicians like GG?

        4.Didnt GG ponnambalam call himself is only a dravidian and not a Ceylonese in 1945 in Parliament?

        I hope Mr. Jeganathan can answer me.

    • 7
      5

      Sach – ithananthamoorthy, oh boy, you are dumber than a cricket bat, aren’t you? Tamils never asked for a separate state until your dirty Buddhist racist rascals started murdering them in all kinds of riots. If you have treated the Tamils and all other minorities equally, this would have never happened. It is a question of history? hahahaha, bloody joker. No history will justify murdering innocent children and women.

    • 4
      2

      I have done a lot of research on the Origin of the Tamils and here is a summary which I earnestly hope you should read:

      Historically, there is ample evidence that a thriving civilization existed in South India and Sri Lanka as far back as 29,000 years ago. Archeologists who have made recent discoveries (as well as Caldwell a one time Civil Servant when the British invaded Ceylon) mention that the Indian sub-continent extended far southwards (beyond where Sri Lanka is at present) to what was called as Lemoria or Kumarikandam. By about 8,000 BC, as the Ice cap melted the sea level rose from about 100 to 400 feet and devoured much of Kuamrikandam.
      Ancient Tamil Literatures mention the existence of the North-South Mountain range in Kumarikandam. Recent issue of National Geographic which made a study of the ocean floor makes mention of the sunken mountain range. Ancient Tamil Pandyan Nadu had Its first capital ‘Then Madurai’ in the Pahudroli aru in Kumarikandam. As the sea level rose it was moved to Kapadipuram in Kumari aru and subsequently Thirunelvely for some time and later to present day Madurai. It has been provenn that Sri Lanka was the remnant of the Kumarikandam. Archiologist have cited the disappearances of Then Madurai in 4500 BC, Dwaraka in 4000 BC, Kabadapuram in 1000 BC and Poompuhar in 500 BC. And Sri Lanka separated out as an island around 1500BC.
      Cave writings and old coins discovered in Sri Lanka show that people of Sri Lanka are of Dravidian origin. This was before the advent of Buddhism in Sri lanka.

      The Sinhalese base their history on the Mahavansa which embodies both facts and fiction and was written by a Buddhist Monk Mahanama around the 5th Century AD in Pali. According to the Mahavansa, in 543 AD, an outlawed son of the King of Orrisa by the name of Vijaya was put in a ship with 700 people and was deported. Vijaya reached Nagathevu where he married Kuvaini and their descendants are the present day Sinhalese. When Vijaya arrived in Sri Lanka there were already people living there and they were Yakkas, Nagas, and vedars who were Dravidians and they spoke ancient Tamil. In 1956 Sri Lanka issued a commemorative stamp to mark the 2500 years in honor of the arrival of Vijaya, but soon withdrew it from circulation because they realized this piece of evidence might show to the world that they were migrants in the land of the Dravidians.

      Sri Lanka has a recorded history of 2500 years. There is recorded evidence that Tamils occupied the North and East of the Island and the western coast up to Negombo. Both Singhalese and Tamil Kings ruled the island from Anuradhapura. In 250 BC it was the Tamil King Devanabiatissa, who embraced Buddhism when King Asoka’s Son and Daughter Mahindra and Sangamitra brought Buddhism to Sri Lanka. . Before the Singhalese language came into existence, the island was called by the Tamil name ‘Eelam’. Eelam was used in literature as early as 2000-2500 BC
      Eelam is derived from the athi dravida word Elu. Elu got mixed with the north Indian prakritham to form Hella. The Singhalese language was evolved by a combination of Hella+ Sanskrit+ Pali+ Tamil in about 800 BC We find today about 4000 Tamil words in the Singhalese language.
      Although the Sinhalese brag that Buddhism is something exclusive to their race early recorded history reveals that Buddhism prevailed amidst ancient Tamils. Archeological finds in Pollannaruwa and Anuradhapura establish this fact. By the turn of 992 AD the history of Sri Lanka recorded marked truthful changes when King Raja Raja Cholan from India, invaded SriLanka and landed with his army in Oorkavatturai, now known as Delft. From there he attacked and seized Anuradhapuura, and set up his capital in Pollanaruwa. The Sinhalese kings fled south and took refuge in Ruhuna from where they offered pockets of resistance. In 1017 AD, RajaRaja Cholan’s son Rajendra Cholan conquered the entire island. In the 70 year Chola reign in Sri Lanka, Buddhism faced a gradual decline and total annihilation in the midst of Tamils. Hinduism regained its pristine glory and took in its fold the salient features of Buddhism and established a National identity as a Tamil Kingdom in the country. With the demise of King Rajendra Cholan the Singhalese kings re grouped and offered resistance to the Chola reign. In 1070 AD King Vijabahu defeated the Cholas and set up his kingdom in Pollanaruwa.
      In later years the Singhalese kings moved the capital to Dumbadeniya. In 1300 AD the Singhalese rulers split up into two factions, and set up two kingdoms, one in Kandy, and the other in Kotte. Although they said they were the rulers of the country, in reality, the entire country was not under their regime. By the 13th Century however, there were 3 separate countries in the island, – namely one Singhala Kingdom in Kotte, another in Kandy and the third a Tamil Kingdom, in the North in Nallur. With the passage of time Singhalese/Tamil animosity reflected only as border skirmishes but this remained as a problem for the kings and were solved by them. In recent times however, racial antagonisms and problems between the Singhalese and Tamils have been promoted and encouraged by politicians merely to strengthen their vote banks.

      • 7
        2

        Sabapathy Ratnam

        Here we go again.

  • 14
    1

    Dear Sach,

    For me this is the most beautiful article I’ve read on the eve of our General Election.

    Pradeep (for me he is more closer to us {the so called Sinhalese})reminds us what to do in this crucial moment.

    It is extremely hard for anyone bone after, say 1945 (I add 11 years to famous 1956 because that is the age one could roughly remember the metamorphosis)not to admit themselves as Racists, this includes my spouse (for her, Mr. Rajapaksa is a demigod who salvaged us from Mr. Prabhakaran)who was born in 1955. For her, colossus damage Mr. Rajapaksa had done since winning the war or even before to our Mother Lanka { literally raping her over and over again} has no bearing what so ever to her Demigod’s achievement.

    In the backdrop of General Elections, currently going on in Sri Lanka, I want you, Sach, to shake hands with Pradeep and countless of his caliber, wishing to be borne again as an obedient child to Mother Lanka, in her journey to Health, Wealth and Prosperity; shinning beacon in the Indian Ocean.

    • 0
      5

      I have no issue with Pradeep, infact I read what he writes usually. My problem is the incorrect origins most tamil writers talk about.

      • 2
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        sachooooooooooo the very very stupid

        Stupid is as stupid does.

  • 7
    0

    YES, This Is the OUR BEAUTYFUL COUNTRY CALLED TEAR DROP Of ASIA.e

    The PARADISE ON EARTH.

    Given politikkas more chances, Dividing among ourseleves,
    are we going destroy it and perish with it??????

    or Getting Together ARE WE GOING To Flourish and Prosfer with it for the sake of our future generations ?????.

  • 4
    2

    Kumara

    “in her journey to Health, Wealth and Prosperity; shinning beacon in the Indian Ocean.”

    On the contrary sachooooooo the stupid supports and justifies the idea and process of Sinhala/Buddhist ghetto building in Indian Ocean.

    Since sachoooooooo is noted for her stupidity not many in this forum take her seriously nor do they care to respond to her usual typing. .

    As they say “Dog’s Tail can never be straightened” nor can we put some sense into her brain. Actually she is sitting on it.

  • 2
    0

    Well,…I mean it’s “awwww” and all that,……But Tamil Hindi film elegies for masses, won’t crack the heads of Vellala TNA. Will crack Sinhala Vellala, but not Tamil Vellala.

  • 5
    0

    Dear Prof Pradeep

    Yes , Direct to the point ……
    Especially the last few lines ” doings those little ethical things that will …

    Really, have we grown up to realize this ?

    Appreciating your article, from a fellow EX- Royalist and contemporary.

    PKS.

    • 4
      0

      Pradeep J.
      Excellent article!
      Got to agree with PKS…”have we grown up to realize this?”

      History has come and gone, have we learnt anything from it?
      The time is nigh to scribe the new leaves of history!
      Wake up, stop bickering about the chicken or the egg, and start reinventing ourselves as SRI LANKANS, for a BETTER SRI LANKA a SRI LANKA FOR THE FUTURE

  • 0
    0

    It’s the children’s duty to take care of the mother abandoned by the father, but the children failed in their duty and lured the mother to the death bed by damaging her reputation. Let’s pray together so that a messiah could appear in the horizon to resuscitate the mother and do miracles to make her walk with the help of her children towards a promising brighter future

    • 2
      0

      Messiahs only do a lot of preaching and then get crucified for a global cause. Follow the Messiah of 33 AD and become one family in Sri Lanka at least. Let empowerment that leads to peace begin with each individual mind (Buddha’s word).

  • 5
    1

    Some time ago I read a nice article by Professor Chandrakanthan where he said that the Sinhalese- Tamil conflict goes back to more than two thousand years. They wee teh two founding races of teh island of Ceylon. This is a conflict between two civilizations. The Tamils who crossed 12 miles of Palk Strait and settled in the North and East and some parts of the central provinces and the Pali speaking Bengalis who were banished by Vijeya’s father came later to teh South as settlers.
    Sinhalese as a language emerged with its borrowed alphabets from Kannada, Telugu and Malayalam around the 9th or 10th century. Otherwise why should Mahanama write the Mahavamsa in Pali language and not Sinhala. After all he wrote about the Sinhalese. Minority and majority is just a head count and democracy is based on political majority not ethnic or religious head count.
    Minority is a despicable word introduced by the foreigners for their own purpose. This is called numerocracy. Here in England, English is not an official language neither are the English Anglosaxons a majority in the UK. Sinhala Buddhist must get rid of their medieval mindset and look at the world that is changing every minute. Did not Gautama Siddhartha became the Buddha because he recognized the inevitability of CHANGE. If the Sinhalese refuse to change they will drown the whole country in blood.
    Mithil Datta

    • 1
      2

      Sinhala Buddhists have got rid of their medievel mindset quite earlier. Actually even in mediavel times, Sinhala Buddhists have been extremely benevolent to other races, that is why they accepted non sinhala kings as their ruler. Have you heard anything close to that in a different part of the world at that time?

      And please learn history

      • 2
        0

        sachooooooooooo the very very stupid

        Stupid is as stupid does.

        “And please learn history”

        Let me have the titles of your history books.

  • 2
    0

    I love this article. Thanks Pradeep.More hopeful this year…..

  • 1
    0

    Excellent….

  • 0
    0

    Do not deceived by what you see in a photograph.
    Thyerein is a politician with 40+ years experience playing into people’s minds with his brand of politics.

    We have seen in him his many cut throatism and back stabs within the last 200 days and how undecisive he has been.

    It is left to us to maintain the peace.
    It begings with ME.

  • 0
    1

    Well written Pradeep, but Sinhala Mother Lanka (Duttegemus Mother) was racist to the core. We are a potty little racist pit. Grow up to accept it with the walloping that the Suddhas are willing to impart on our butts for being murderous racist burwas.

    So time to give up your anti Suddha line and well come some punishment that we truly deserve.

  • 0
    0

    A nice article! Yes this nation did’t have a Father! For examble,a man is crying for a father(the writer) other children (others who coments) fightig each other!! Can Mithree give that fatherhood?

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