Ilankai Tamil Sangam

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Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

A Response to Mr. Rasalingam's Island Article

by Wakeley Paul, Esq., March 4, 2008

Under Universal Franchise, the ethnic groups voted primarily on ethnic lines. The national unity that Mr. Rasalingam hallucinates about was restricted to a minute percent of the population consisting of the English speaking upper classes.

Mr. Rasalingam’s arrogant assumption that age has blessed him with a superior understanding of Sri Lankan politics should make him an appropriate candidate for a Sinhalese knighthood. He ignores the fact that Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan fought the British to release Sinhalese leaders who were incarcerated for allegedly generating the riots of that time. It was the same Sir Ponnambalam who urged the Sinhalese to develop fluency in their own language, as did my own grandfather, the leading surgeon Dr. S.C.Paul.

What then caused the conflict between the Tamil and Sinhalese leaders?

 It was when the Sinhalese realized that with Universal franchise they could ignore their promise to create a seat for a Colombo Tamil that Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam realized that the Tamils had better fight for their own rights against Sinhalese political domination by creating the Tamil Congress.

Mr. Rasalingam actually has the audacity to justify the Citizenship Act and the Voting Rights Acts which disenfranchised over a million hardworking plantation workers who voted 8 out of 96 candidates in the first election. This insidious scheme by Senanayake [Rasalingam’s hero] to increase Sinhalese representation in the central province seems to be lost on Mr. Rasalingam. The fact that the Privy Council, which is as vulnerable as any other institution, upheld it, does not give it God given sanctity.

Under Universal Franchise, the ethnic groups voted primarily on ethnic lines. The national unity that Mr. Rasalingam hallucinates about was restricted to a minute percent of the population consisting of the English speaking upper classes.

Mr. Rasalingam who regards Mr. Senanayake as the great national leader forgets his crafty system of nationalizing land in the east in the national interest and populating these national ventures with armed Sinhalese thugs to own and make these Sinhalese agricultural havens, while the Tamils and Muslims were pushed away to more confined areas in the region. Does he justify this because it was the creation of Mr. Senanayake who he regards as the national hero who unified the nation? 

He ignores the harsh reality that despite the commitment of every party prior to independence that Tamil and Sinhalese would be national languages, and despite strong leftist opposition to the Sinhala Only Act, it was passed with a vicious racial riot that shamed every decent Sinhalese. Does he also commend the tearing up of the BC PACT at the instance of Buddhist monks supported by a woman cabinet Minister whose lover was a prominent Buddhist monk?

His absurd assertion that the LTTE was the creation of Colombo 7 Tamils reveals an ignorance that is staggering. The LTTE was the product of Tamils mainly from the VVT. The Vaddukottai resolution was spearheaded by Tamil students in the North and East who were denied their right to equal access to the Universities. It was not the inner spark of Mr. Chelvanayakam, who unlike Mr. Rasalingam, donated most of his wealth and time despite an extensive private practice to uphold Tamil rights.

He concludes his diatribe with the question “What is there to negotiate”? Has he read the Tamil propositions which the Sinhalese government which ousted the UNP rejected under Mr. Banadaranaike's daughter?

Mr. Rasalingam should use his age to keep up with the times and recognize the realities that continue to cripple this nation both politically and economically. He should read Lee Kwan Yews brilliant analysis of Sri Lanka’s being drowned by ethnic disregard of all communities other than themselves by the Sinhalese. For his information, Lee Kwan Yew was one of the most brilliant products of Cambridge University who as Prime Minister, made Singapore a rich multi racial society, which the Sinhalese leaders lacked from the day they were freed by the British, to dominate everyone by the creation of the Unitary Constitution.  Does he understand the inequity of the Unitary Constitution when he asks the arcane question “What is there to negotiate”?

[Wakeley Paul, B.A (Cantab). Law Cambridge University, England. L.L.M. Standord Law School, California, Barrister at Law, Middle Temple, London, Attorney at Law, New Jersey, USA, Former Crown Counsel, Ceylon]

URL: http://www.island.lk/2008/03/05/midweek8.html

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