17 October, 2018

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What Inflamed Bigotry?

By P. Soma Palan

P. Soma Palan

I refer to the above titled article in the Daily Mirror of 1stJune, by Uditha Devapriya (UD) and respond to some of the views expressed therein.

The main thrust of this article is that, racial/religious bigotry is the result of the mundane economic reason than the racial/religious feelings of a community. This is an over-simplification of a deep-seated emotional element, which is the fundamental reason for arousing religious/racial bigotry. The economic element is a peripheral, marginal and an enhancing contributory factor only, if at all, and not the core reason.

This emphasis on the economic reason for the racial riots, in my view, is wittingly or unwittingly, to exonerate the Sinhala community of any trace of racism.

Economic Reasons Adduced

The economic reasons given are, specifically related to the recent violence unleashed on the Muslim community by the Sinhala mobs and extremists elements, in Aluthgama and Kandy regions. Mr. UD states that “racism begins with the economic as opposed to the religious or communal”. However, he cites the recent violence against the Muslims, which is localized, sporadic and limited, and leaves aside the generalized, organized, pre-meditated, and large scale communal riots against the Tamil community, in 1958 and 1983. Accordingly, the economic issues he refers to are:

  • Multiplication of Muslim population
  • Hallal Certification
  • Economic hardships

Other than (c ) above, (a) & (b) are social and communal related, and has nothing to do with economics. Mr. UD argues that economic adversity of rising cost of living, taxes, economic hardships, give rise to social tensions, disunity, and disharmony with other communities and breeds hatred. Economic issues and hardships do not affect only one community, but common to all communities. If so, how could it be the reason for hatred and disharmony between different communities. This is a question of “haves” and the “have- nots”, irrespective of communities. This economic disparity does not correspond exactly to a communal divide. Even within each community, there exist a disparity between the “haves” and “have- nots”. Does this manifest in hatred, violence and riots within communities? No. Therefore, the truth is that, it is not economic but emotional disapproval and antipathy that inflames bigotry, based on religion and race. No amount of economic rationalization can deny the racial and religious element that incites bigotry and violence.

Communal Riots against the Tamil Minority

Mr. UD, either by intent or inadvertence, does not mention the communal riots against the Tamil minorities. This is understandable, because he will not find the said economic reason, which inflamed bigotry for communal riots by the majority Sinhala community against the Tamils. What inflamed riots against the Tamils was, pure and simple, bigotry of race and religion and not economics, in 1958 and 1983. Communal riots of 1958 and 1983, is not one between two communities, Sinhala and Tamil, where there is mutual attack and violence between two communities. It was one –sided, the Sinhalese rioting and attacking the Tamils, who were the passive, helpless victims.

What inflamed racial/religious bigotry

Two factors inflamed racial/religious bigotry of the Sinhala Buddhists:

  • The remote, Historical factor, and
  • The post independence, Political factor.

Historical Factor

From 2ndcentury B.C. two Chola invaders from S. India, invaded and ruled Lanka for 22 years, followed by Ellalan for another 44 years. Dutugemunu defeated the latter and wrested rule. This symbolized the beginning of Sinhala nationalism. A lurking distrust and enmity against the Tamils continued to linger and haunt the Sinhalese even to the present day, creating a religious/racial hatred amongst the Sinhala majority community.

Political Factor

With the gain of Independence from the last colonial rulers, the British in 1948, Political power passed into the hands of the majority Sinhalese, marginalizing the substantive Tamil minority. Sinhala nationalism was on the ascendency, leading to discrimination and antipathy against The Tamils.

Bigotry of religion and race

Mr. UD ask, ”what inflames Bigotry”, rather than asking “whoinflames bigotry” of race and religion, which is most crucial. In my view, it is inflamed by following segments of the Sinhalese, such as:

  • Although, a Majority of the Sinhalese masses are not given to racism, but being ignorant and uninformed, they become a prey to the machinations of:
  • The, Political class and the Buddhist Clergy, who inflames (a) above, by conditioning and indoctrinating by racist/religious rhetoric, particularly the Politicians ,who rouse racial/religious sentiments of the masses, which is the easy road to gain political power. Rival Sinhala Political Parties compete against each other to be more nationalistic than the other.
  • The educated Sinhala urban middle class, non-secular Business class and the Intellectuals and professional class, who propagate racist/religious sentiments for racial and political hegemony.
  • The liberal and secular-minded educated and informed Sinhala people, who are mindful of the extremism of the Sinhala/Buddhists elements, are a voice-less, powerless and a helpless class.
  • The Constitution of the Country itself inflames racial and religious bigotry, by legitimizing it, by entrenching a clause for “foremost place for Buddhism”.

In short, this racial/religious bigotry of the Sinhala Buddhist majority is nourished by a false notion of the ancient history of Lanka and a false notion of superiority of race and religion (similar to Hitler’s “Harren Volk” doctrine) and a false presumption that Tamils are outsiders and aliens who were brought into Lanka by the later colonial rulers to serve on their plantations in the 18thand 19thcentury A.D. The Sinhalese feign ignorance of the truth that, Tamils and other Dravidians existed from pre-Vijayan and pre-Buddhistic times, millennia before the evolution of a Sinhala identity.

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Latest comments

  • 5
    16

    Somapala,
    What a stupid article!!!!!
    /
    Minority Muslims and Tamils have started all the riots and native Sinhalese have finished them. Ethnic minorities start fire, and native Sinhalese put out the fire that minorities ignite. Tamils stated the 83 riot by killing Sinhalese. Muslims started the Kandy riot by killing Sinhalese and they also stated the Aluthgama riot by assaulting a monk.
    /
    British did the right thing by handing over Sinhala-Buddhist Sri Lanka to Sinhala Buddhists.
    /
    Tamil Nadu is the only homeland of Tamils. Tamils in Sinhala-Buddhist Sri Lanka are outsiders and aliens who were brought into Sinhala-Buddhist Sri Lanka by the later colonial rulers to serve on their plantations in the 18thand 19thcentury.
    /
    Sinhala-Buddhist populations is growing. So, soon, they will be needing Yapa-patuna (mistakenly called Jaffna).
    /
    Also, minorities’ demands that are based on lies and myths inflame bigotry.

    • 13
      1

      Johnny Baby Doc

      “Also, minorities’ demands that are based on lies and myths inflame bigotry.”

      You mean minorities’ demands that are based on 100 years of your lies and myths which inflamed bigotry.

    • 1
      3

      What’s this man driveling about ? Bullshit, ignore this fellow people.

      • 3
        2

        I was referring to John’s stupid comments and it’s appeared elsewhere inadvertently.

  • 12
    3

    This is a very accurate analysis which brings forth the most important issues that the “The educated Sinhala urban middle class, non-secular Business class and the Intellectuals and professional class, who propagate racist/religious sentiments for racial and political hegemony.” need to understand.
    Also it is the basis for the “The liberal and secular-minded educated and informed Sinhala people, who are mindful of the extremism of the Sinhala/Buddhists elements” to articulate in nation building.
    Well done Mr. Soma Palan.

  • 8
    2

    Good article

  • 6
    4

    Muslims are just like phoenix…whoever did what we muslims come back and rebuild because we’re phoenix..the history says the same

    1915 racial attack on muslims on the ground of economy and so on…Aluthgama…Gintota…Ampara…Digana…Kandy

    by these attacks …did you (Sinhalese) became Rich….Don’t be fool always

    • 2
      0

      “Muslims are like phoenix”. Of course they are pee-nicks.

  • 6
    1

    Dear Soma Palan.
    Thank you for the well evaluated article .
    The main issue is not Buddhism in the constitution , Constitution is the culprit itself that provides the politicians with plenty of loopholes to get away even with murder.

    Because there is no third power in the house to question , the opposition are in no position to question because most of them have the sane accusations against them .

    What is needed is a neutral peoples power block ,represented by all communities .

    It will never happen I know , it will be another election , new government with same old faces from one of the two major parties .

    And then life does not go on ,but most of us ‘except the small favoured’ will battle &Struggle on till death ,as our convictions will not let us follow any other .

    ,

  • 1
    4

    ibadun

    i dont approve the attacks but they sent a warning signel.

    if not for the attacks muslims would have taken over i dont know?

    you tell me

    • 0
      0

      Taken over what ? for Christ sake, there’s nothing to take, everything is looted and country is virtually bankrupt. I don’t think anyone sane enough would want this God forsaken country excepting of course the two main political parties and their cahoots who want to cling onto and loot whatever more possible.

  • 6
    1

    From independence in 1948, pogroms against Tamils were hatched and delivered. The 2014Aluthgama through to the recent Kandy incidents were pogroms directed against Lankan Muslims.
    Those attempting to downplay these are educated bigots – more dangerous than the run-of-the-mill dumb variety.

  • 4
    9

    The real truth is that Sinhalese are the indigenous people. They are the owners of this land and everyone must acknowledge this. They must respect and honour the Sinhalese and their culture 1st

    • 7
      3

      Chuti Duwa you will only know the real truth when you become a Loku Duwa, until then live with your innocent thoughts.

    • 6
      1

      Your so called name itself proves the Sinhalese are not indigenous. Chuti( small/little) is derived from Choota ( small/little even in Hindustani)) little from Tamil/Dravidian Chotu( சொட்டு)meaning little or small. Duwa ( daughter) is derived from the Sanskrit word Duhitr (दुहितृ). This is the story of Sinhalese a mixture of Pali/Sanskrit and the native Tamil language Tamil or it native dialect Elu. Out of these three only Tamil( Elu) belongs to the island and region, the other two from the plains of North India or even further. So how can a language that evolved as a mixture of all three be indigenous. Out of these three Tamil contributes most to Sinhalese 35-40% in vocabulary . 100% in grammar syntax/lexicon and alphabet. The local Tamil dialect Elu+ Prakrit= Hela or old Sinhalese which is close to its Tamil mother in pronunciation that modern Sinhalese That the language gradually evolved in the southern parts of the island due to the gradual corruption of the local Tamil dialect with Pali and Sanskrit that arrived with Buddhism, is true but to call it only indigenous and the older Tamil language or it local dialect Elu that was spoken throughout the island at one time as alien is a joke, just because of South Indian invasions. Most of these South Indian invaders and immigrants became Sinhalese and were not absorbed into the Sri Lankan Tamil identity. Now for the Sinhalese people they are largely descended from Dravidian peasant Elu(Tamil) speaking Yakka tribes who converted to Buddhism, mixed with ancient to fairly recent immigrants from the Indian mainland. The vast majority of them from the Tamil country and some from NE India. Around 50% of the present day Sinhalese are purely descended from recently migrated Indian Tamil immigrants. most of them low caste , largely imported by the Portuguese and Dutch from the Tamil country to do menial and slave labour in the huge southern spice estates. Truly indigenous people my foot.

  • 4
    1

    Of course most people would instinctively deny the charge.

    The truth is that sectarian bigotry is on every junction where three-wheeler’s gather in our island paradise. All it needs is a spark to set it off.

    • 8
      0

      Spring Koha

      “The truth is that sectarian bigotry is on every junction where three-wheeler’s gather in our island paradise. All it needs is a spark to set it off.”

      The three wheeler arrived in this island after 1977.
      I think I am right in saying that bigotry existed before 1977 and grew strength to strength after the advent of Aryan Anagarika Homeless Dharmapala and was being well structured just after SWRD Banda’s Pancha Maha Balavegaya came together to enforce whatever they believed in, Sinhala/Buddhist fascism.

      • 1
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        NV,

        Based on writing styles, I have always suspected that UD posts as Ben Hurling. on CT. I still think so even though BH might sound more liberal than UD.

        • 1
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          Agnos

          Uditha Devapriya (UD) is still a child writer whereas Ben Hurling sounds bit matured in his comments though sometimes he is also caught in his Sinhala/Buddhist nationalism, but not a bad person.
          I do not mind breaking bread with him/her.

      • 2
        0

        Native Vedda

        You are correct. Bigotry existed long before the coming of the three-wheeler. I am old enough to have personally witnessed the awful manifestations from the fifties onward. A permanent indelible blot on our national history.

        My reference to three-wheeler’s stems from talking with many who will freely tell you their views, confirming that nothing has changed after all these years.

        When will they ever learn?

        • 2
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          Spring Koha

          “When will they ever learn?”

          Do they have to?
          What is in it for them to learn or change?
          Any benefit for them?

  • 6
    2

    Native.
    It is a marathon relay.
    First came the monk Mahanama.After quite awhile came the Homeless one.Quick on his heels came SWRD and so on…
    The marathon is on and the baton is changing hands……

    • 1
      0

      Plato

      It is not only marathon relay but also competitive racism.

  • 2
    0

    1919 – Ceylon National Congress
    1936 – LSSP demanded replacement of the English with Tamil and Sinhala. They continue to fight for this till 1960’s (LSSP was formed in 1935)
    1944 – J. R. Jayewardene moved a motion in the State Council that Sinhala should replace English as the official language.
    1944 – All Ceylon Tamil Congress was formed.
    1946 – UNP was formed in 1946
    1948 – Independence.
    1949 – Federal Party was formed by SJV after the Indian Tamil disenfranchised.
    1951 – SLFP was formed by SWRD a spilit from the UNP with the Sinhala only Act
    1956 – Sinhala only Act was passed under SLFP government.
    1956 – Several race riots targeting Tamil civilians took place at various centres in Ceylon (Colombo, Upcountry, Eastern province)
    1958 – Sinhala Only Tamil also act where tamils are the majority was passed.
    1959 – Hon. SWRD was assassinated.
    1972 – We become republic of Sri Lanka & Sate religion Buddhism & Educational district quotas introduced to address tertiary educational disparity.
    1970 – Militancy in the South almost toppled the government.
    1972 – Militancy starts in the North
    1977 – UNP landslid victory and TULF as the opposition party for separation of the Country.
    1977 – A riot started as UNP activist attacking the SLFP and then turned on Tamil civilians.
    1978 – Hon.JRJ passes Sinhala and Tamil as the official language in SL + illegal to demand separation of the land.
    1981 – Development Council election for the entire country took place + violence in Jaffna.
    1983 – Race riots followed after killing of Soldiers in Jaffna where the Tamil civilians were targeted through out the country.
    From the time line above

    • 6
      2

      Riots all these were state sponsored anti Tamil pogroms where the Tamil people were the victims and only their homes businesses and lives honour and chastity were the targets at the hands of Sinhalese and some Muslim thugs criminals hooligans , the Sinhalese armed forces and police. This was supported by all Sinhalese politicians the Buddhist clergy and some Sinhalese Christian clergy too. The Sinhalese controlled state and private media and most important of all a largely racist bigoted brainwashed anti Tamil Sinhalese public( Buddhist and Christian ) who were giving their silent and passive support to all this and gleefully watching without a whimper of protest of what was happening. True some Sinhalese safe guarded their Tamil neighbours ,friends and relatives., These were only some and not many and this was also because these Tamils were known to them personally or part of their family , so had some empathy towards their suffering but cared too hoots for the rest of the Tamils and thought they all deserved this. If the majority of the Sinhalese people were against this, none of this would have happened. They were not. They are happy that it happened to the Tamils and now to the Muslims. They only used the Muslims as a tool to subdue the Tamils but have no intention of giving them anything. The Sinhalese also know that the Sri Lankan Muslims are not of Arab or Moor descent but are descended from Tamil Dravidian immigrants from South India. Riots is when two groups of people attack each other and there is loss for both parties. The Sri Lankan governments and Sinhalese deliberately call these riots to downplay their state sponsored pogroms against the Tamils and now the Tamil Muslim.

    • 2
      0

      continued…Only think I could say it was wrong to kill any innocent by the other does not matter who and under what circumstances with regards to riots/armed struggle itself responsible for more killings of the innocence than all the riots put together and all else then and now too. The language issues were not managed very well in the interest of the Sinhala nor for the Tamil speaking people nor in the interest of the countries future need. I think district/language quota system was fair to the Sinhalese and the Tamils alike who were not from Jaffna and Colombo and needed some advantage before we could go back to the “best always goto Universities” status and is inline with the Nation building mindset too. State religious issues is a mockery and our Hon Late PM SWRD paid the price for the same should tell us something. Our responses/solutions to all this issues were the worst blunder we could have ever have done to ourself bringing in the International players into a very National problem. None of us did the “give and take” for sure and led ourselves to the situations described in the above article and the referenced article too. The discussions in the future should be pre/post 1977 and no longer the pre/post colonial as is where the entire nations future was ditched by both the north and the south voting public. Population was 6-7 million then and now is 21 million and the land mass is getting ever so smaller due to erosion should lead to reevaluate laws of cohabitation/problem solving in an entirely different path…a very strong united future. A sustainable future remembering all those who have died since Independence should lead to a common memorial as a starter where every visiting head of state will pay the first respect before entering into any discussions for their business interests.

      • 1
        1

        I do not agree the events since 1948 to pre 1977 elections as a one generalised organised hatred by anyone. Some government policies meant more for the majority Sinhala speaking as the others who had the upper hands under the colonial masters cause felt discriminated because the impact on the minorities were not even proportion to their population share in civil service after the language blunder. This meant untold misery for those who had to leave their work or work under the new environment charged with certain prejudices perhaps. Loosing the nations talent in this way when they are the ones who should be training the Sinhala population into many job functions as fellow citizens were lost too? In addition the language decisions also meant the trained Sinhala population needed to translate all the English education material to Sinhala then were not there to do this effectively either? Even now I understand lots of issues attached to tranlating some of the subject matters into Sinhala and Tamil where the content is lost for certain subject matters? Then we all go to Universities and study in English??
        Deminished chances for the ordinary Sinhala man or a woman to show riotousness towards the fellow Tamil speaking countrymen requires a lots of Sympathy and Mindfulness since our politicians were under sever stress to do the opposite due to the religious pressure the entire community was under too. All these were compouded by the equaly bad practices existed in the form of cast within all the communities institutinalised discrimination/blatant human right abuse in the 21st century from North to South and East to West. No one would dare touch these taboo subject to date except the late Hon PM Mrs.SWRD did bring about laws to redress the cast issues.

        • 3
          1

          You are an apologist for Sinhalese racism and post a lot of garbage under a Tamil name. Continuing the same myth that the British favoured the Tamils. If the British favoured the Tamils , they will not be in this mess. The British used the Tamils for their hard work but always favoured the Sinhalese. The British also had to compensate the Tamils , as they merged their lands with the Sinhalese lands down south , making the Tamil nation that was a 100% majority in their own land a minority. Unlike the northern Tamils the Sinhalese never took up to western education that much or were interested in government jobs, only the largely Catholic population along the western seaboard and the upper classes and aristocracy took up to western education. There were far more feudal than the Tamils. Their Buddhist priest who have strong influence on their rural population also discouraged western education , in fear of conversion. Tamils did not have these fears and economic necessities also made them take up western education as a way out. The British recruited the best irrespective of ethnicity and it was largely the Tamils. Sinhalese will keep on blaming everyone for their inadequacies but not themselves even 70 years after independence. The British , The Indians the Tamils , the Tamil Muslims, the LTTE but never themselves or their bigoted racism.

          • 1
            2

            Dear RSSS
            “You are an apologist for Sinhalese racism and post a lot of garbage under a Tamil name” apart from this personal attack you made the case for all what I said which is about reasoning with peoples circumstances is what is all about. I have reasoned with people who claimed to speak for Tamils (like yourself) and we need to move forward away from your narratives/ill thoughts is the point. The question to you would you “shut me up” if the circumstances allow you is what you need to answer since you do not understand or agree with what my thoughts are on what created the current circumstances for the entire nation. Please make your point and avoid any name calling is all what we ask of you. I am glad you are reading the “garbage” while you hint of If I am a Tamil etc wow……you are right I am Tamil speaking Sri Lankan man and will remain so until I die. I confirm I have thought your writing is garbage but made my counter argument respectfully. Some reason I have lost my place on earth in the middle of a discussion because you have detected something? Not only you have a different view point you seem to now move on to an entirely different platform altogether which I am very familiar that is to say what happened to all those brave Tamil people who made their case to their electorates who disagreed with the “Federal/Separatism” were called all kind of names and killed. So mind your language please when you practice your democratic right to express your thoughts we collectively ensure you have. Thank you.

            • 1
              1

              Dear RSSS
              correction to my writing where I wanted to say was “I have “never” thought your writings are garbage”……….and I missed the “never” in my sentence. Thank you

              • 2
                1

                I am sorry your highness.I will be more humble in future and try my best not to offend you and agree with everything you state. Support for standardisation of university marks for university entrance and regional basis ,so that Sinhalese and Muslim students with lower marks , even from rich backgrounds and developed areas , were able to enter university ahead of far better qualified Tamil students from poorer schools and backgrounds , instead of merit. Support for race based public sector recruitment. The disempowerment of Indian origin estate workers and their statelessness, that you once stated was also to some extent justifiable( Justifiable my foot under what grounds) . Please accept my humble apologies and in future I will try not ruffle your puffed out feathers. If you consider what I post is garbage , you can freely tell me so, as many do here and it will not bother me. Again a thousand apologies and I hope you can now have a good night’s sleep.

                • 0
                  0

                  Dear RSSS, Staying focused on the discussion – you have read what I have written seem to be incorrect. Then you have gone on to write something else about Indian workers completely out of context and incorrectly quoting me too. If I do not understand of whatever you write I will ask for clarity from you with all due respect. For me is as simple as that because I respect everyones opinion and exchange of thoughts is what community building/nation building is all about.

                  However I do respect you have rewritten/put in words the way you see/read what I write and does give me an opportunity to be more clearer next time.

                  One other think I never see what anyone else write as a Garbage except just is different or misunderstood by me. If I want to point out something or seek clarity I will do so with all the coutesy. If I can not even do that then my journey with my fellow men stops here to my loss. Thank you.

    • 0
      1

      Everything the Tamils write is anti-Sinhalese. Here we have a list of events all distorted to give a picture of Sinhalese doing injustice to Tamils. But what was the Tamil input in all this? Were the Tamil demands fair to the other ethnic groups in the island? Can the Tamils ever achieve what they want, namely parity with the Sinhalese?
       
      Tamils conveniently forget that they are just a diaspora of Tamilnadu and even this list of events proves that the Tamils are trying to claim undue rights and parity with the indigenous population of the island, which they can never achieve. Everything which defines a Tamil was produced in TamilNadu and then brought here by Tamil immigrants. You can’t achieve parity with the Sinhalese by legislation or mass producing false history and levelling all sorts of fabricated accusations. The status you wish for the Tamils in this island can never be achieved, since that status is already given to the Tamils in Tamilnadu – in other words, the Tamils cannot achieve indigenous status anywhere outside Tamilnadu. Please understand that is not the fault of the innocent Sinhalese people.

    • 0
      1

      You forgot to mention many things in your list. Examples:
      1. the 1968 Temple entry riots and killings in Maviddapuram Jaffna, where high caste Tamils killed many low caste Tamils for trying to enter a temple. The government trying to stop this was accused of interfering with Tamil culture and being anti-Tamil.
       
      2. The riots of 195X, 1977, 1983 didn’t just happen. For example before the riots of 1983 you should mention that the Tamil Tigers killed 13 Sinhalese soldiers, and mutilated the bodies cutting of body parts of the Sinhalese soldiers. They were threatening to attack the Sinhalese everywhere in the island with the help of India. And India was actively helping the Tamil terrorists. In all riots against the Tamils, Tamils were actively and deliberately provoking the Sinhalese by attacking the Sinhalese from all sides. In the 50’s Tamils were insulting and attacking everything which was Sinhalese and protesting holding very inflammatory speeches and shouting anti-Sinhalese slogans and blocking roads etc. In the 70’s there were several incidents of Tamils claiming that they had poisoned the waters. As late as 1996 people in Colombo and Kandy were threatened with poisoned water by the Tamil Tigers. Riots should not happen whatever the reason is, but to present these riots as Sinhalese attacking innocent Tamils is wrong. There’s nothing innocent about the provocative malicious behaviour of the Tamils+ insulting and attacking the Sinhalese as a people and all their history and culture. We see this even today, in this very site how the Tamils insult and attack the Sinhalese.
       
      3. You mention that a section of the Tamil community was disenfranchised in 1949, but you forgot to say when the these Tamils were enfranchised. Surely for somebody to be disenfranchised he/she should first be enfranchised, don’t you think so?

      • 1
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        Dear PP, I did not set out to be biased but wanted to have a bench marking of historical time line related to the Authors case so people read everything written with reference points. The point I made was very simple which is we did not work together to get our Nation building collectively and focused on retribution at each juncture when things went wrong for one or the other reason. This snow balled to where we are today. I personally time lined many things (most of them are not in the listing above) and looked at what has happened to our Nation and realised misinformation has been the norm and fact checking never existed except the few repeated the same as what transpired from our last action on a ” tit for tat” basis. That’s one of the reason I said our discussions should be pre 1977 and post 1977 (covered all what you said) so we move away from the bad past to a better future.
        The 1949 issue related to Hon SJV forming a party was in reference to what happened to Indian Tamils workers and their rights/discussions at that time. I have personally got a different take on the entire matter but wanted to state what I found in the Wikipedia for completeness and apologise for any misquote/misleading info. Good to exchange thoughts and learn from each other as we are living in a different era and most of the issues we make reference to look so dubious indeed so we keep talking until we make sense of it all if used for discussions today and planning for tomorrow. Feel free to correct me as I am on a journey to learn too and that’s why I participate in this forum. No point scoring exercise from my part be assured. Thank you.

  • 1
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    Punchi Point, Punchi Brain with Punchi Willi

    “You mention that a section of the Tamil community was disenfranchised in 1949, but you forgot to say when the these Tamils were enfranchised. “

    Aren’t you being clever or are you a clever dick?
    Read that part of the act that defines citizenship act 1948.
    For your dumb brain before 1948 all those lived in India and Sri Lanka were known as British subjects.
    Here is the
    Ceylon Citizenship Act No.18 of 1948
    (The law that deprived over a million Tamils of their citizenship)
    AN ACT TO MAKE PROVISION FOR CITIZENSHIP OF CEYLON AND FOR MATTERS CONNECTED THEREWITH.
    [15th November,1948.]

    1.This Act may be cited as the Citizenship Act.
    PART I CITIZENSHIP OF CEYLON
    2.(1) With effect from the appointed date, there shall be a status to be known as “the status of a citizen of Ceylon”.
    (2) A person shall be or become entitled to the status of a citizen of Ceylon in one of the following ways only:-
    (a) by right of descent as provided by this Act;
    (b) by virtue registration as provided by this Act or by any other Act authorising the grant of such status by registration in any special case of a specified description. .
    (3) Every person who is possessed of the aforesaid status is hereinafter referred to as a “citizen of Ceylon”. In any context in which a distinction is drawn according as that status is based or registration, a citizen of Ceylon is referred to as ” citizen by descent ” or ” citizen by registration “; and the status of such citizen is in the like context referred to as ” citizenship by descent ” or ” citizenship by registration “.
    3, A citizen of Ceylon may, for any purpose in Ceylon, describe his nationality by the use of the expression “Citizen of Ceylon”.

    Try and understand what was meant by 1948 citizenship act 1948 and how those lived in Ceylon was known as.

  • 0
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    Dear PP

    The following wikipedia link gives more details of our feel citizens journey
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceylon_Citizenship_Act

    • 0
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      Dear Mr. Thiagarajah Vengopal, thank you for your replies. My point is that like in any conflict there are several sides to the Tamils vs Sinhalese conflict. In our case its very complex and has a long history. Therefore one cannot cherry pick a select section of events and present such a complex conflict. When one does that it is propaganda which is untruthful, biased and tendentious. In other words its bigotry, which is the theme of this article.
       
      IMO the cause of the ethnic conflict is because of the unfair and undue claims of the Tamils and not because of any racial predujices among the Sinhalese as Somapalan tries his best to prove without success. I have never met a Sinhalese who thinks that Tamils are of a different race than themselves. The undue claims of the Tamils came about as a result of the British colonial policies which made a marginal and insignificant minority, numbering less than 40,000 into a politically powerful group which could demand parity with a indigenous majourity who numbered ca. one million i.e a 25-30 times larger majourity at the onset of the British occupation of the island. At the end of the British occupation this 25-30 times larger indigenous majourity’s proportion had diminished to just 6 times that of the Tamils and the Tamils who have their roots in Tamilnadu and had always maintained that they had come from Tamilnadu and settled in this island at various times, had started even to claim that they are indigenous to the island by rejecting their true history and roots in Tamilnadu. They were manufacturing all sorts of =>
       
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      nonsensical race theories and fake history all of which conflict not only with the history of the island but also with the history of India and the whole region.
       
      As for the Plantation Tamils and citizenship – it is utterly wrong to present it as if the Sinhalese disenfranchised them after independence, because as you can see they were not enfranchized prior to independence either. The citizenship issue for the Plantation Tamils has been discussed between the British colonial administration in India and Ceylon, and also the leaders of Sinhalese, non-Plantation i.e Ceylon Tamils and Ceylon Muslims for over two decades, and all Indians (including Plantation Tamils) were given a choice for registration in 1931 for Indian or Ceylon citizenship. All who had registered for citizenship in Ceylon were given citizenship. As the act of 1948 shows all who could prove residency of 7 / 10 years were given citizenship. Please note that the plantation Tamils were indentured labourers brought in by the British on time based contracts. They didn’t come here as migrants to settle down, but to work and go back. Some of them stayed on, but the Plantation Tamils were not a resident group. When independence neared many wanted to stay but a lot of them wanted to go back to India, but India rejected them. Infact all Indian Tamils and other Indians who didn’t qualify for Ceylon citizenship should have automatically be given Indian citizenship. So, it was India which made the Indians (Tamils and others) stateless, not Ceylon or the Sinhalese.

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      If you look at the situation from a Sinhalese perspective their lands were appropriated by the British planters and the hill country which was a relatively homogeneous Sinhalese area which was the last area where the Sinhalese had settled for safety first from the Tamils and then from the Europeans was turned into one tragic circus of traders, coolies, soldiers, planters in their hundreds of thousands taking over the area. Thousands of Sinhalese peasants were made landless and made destitute. Prior to the plantations there was no poverty among the Sinhalese, but the whole economy of the Sinhalese society was distrupted and destroyed by the colonial plantation economy. Moreover the plantations destroyed the forests which protected the hill region against corrosion and the Sinhalese and the whole country suffer even today because of the ecological changes the mass transformation of our natural forests into plantations. Floods and landslides kill hundreds of people yearly, leaving many homeless and all this disrupt the whole economy of the country today. Plantations have been a curse for both the Sinhalese and the innocent Plantation Tamils who have suffered ever since they came here.

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