Ilankai Tamil Sangam

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Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

Sri Lanka: A Land of Deception

by Nathan, October 20, 2008

Now the biggest deception is that the Sinhalese claim that, if not for the  LTTE, all would have lived happily together and there would be milk and honey in “Dhamma Deepa”.

Sri Lanka, popularly referred to as “Dhamma Dheepa” [island of justice or balance], is built on deception.  The very origin of the Sinhala race itself is shrouded in confusion and based on deception. While some argue that the Sinhalese are Aryans who moved in a southerly direction and finally reached Sri Lanka during pre-historic times, others claim that they are pure natives who were born and evolved in Sri Lanka from the beginning and subsequently embraced Buddhism with its arrival from India during the period of Mauryan Emperor Asoka. Rajiva Wijesinghe, the current Chairman of the Sri Lanka Peace Secretariat, had this to say about the origin of the Sinhala race in his book entitled “Current Crisis in Sri Lanka” published in 1986 by Navarang, New Delhi:

“Legend has it that the Sinhalese, the majority race in Sri Lanka now, are descended from a lion. Sinha stands for the lion that abducted a princess by whom he had two children. The son, Sinhabahu, found life in a lion’s cave irksome, and stole away with his mother and his sister to the ancestral kingdoms. The enraged lion began to ravage the area and it was only his son who was able to kill him. Then the boy married his sister, who might have made for a happy ending, had not their son Vijaya proved dissolute. He was sent with his followers into exile on a boat, which grounded in Sri Lanka. The ruling monarch there at the time was queen Kuveni, who fell in love with Vijaya and made him her consort. It did not take him long to get rid of her and send for reinforcement from India, through whom the race proliferated and filled the land”.

“Bestiality, parricide, incest, wantonness and betrayal may not seem an auspicious beginning for a race. These are all part of legend, and legends do not require to be taken seriously”.

Looking back into the last six decades since independence clearly shows the series of deceptions that the country had gone through, especially in reference to ethnic relations. The Tamils fully supported the Sinhalese at the time of the independence and agreed with the Westminster-type parliament, trusting the Sinhalese promises without any reservation. They were betrayed in a matter of years and the Sinhalese went back 100% on their promises. It was a total deception to which Tamils fell victim.

In 1799, Sir Hugh Cleghorn, the first British Colonial Secretary wrote to the British Government as follows,

“Two different nations from a very ancient period have divided between them the possession of the Island. First the Sinhalese, inhabiting the interior of the country in its Southern and Western parts, and secondly the Malabars (Tamils) who possess the Northern and Eastern Districts. These two nations differ entirely in their religion, language and manners”.

Portuguese and Dutch ruled the Tamil and Sinhala Kingdoms separately, but the British artificially joined them for their administrative convenience only in 1833. On Feb. 4, 1948, British left the Island, leaving it as one country, CEYLON, and put political power in the hands of the ‘majority’ Sinhalese. It was the Sinhala deception to which the Tamil leaders clearly fell victim and today, 60 years after, the Tamils are struggling to survive in this country in the midst of ruthless racism, hatred and violence. Rajiva Wijesinghe is very true when he said in his book “bestiality, parricide, incest, wantonness and betrayal may not seem an auspicious start for a race”! The virtually continuous blood bath in this “Chosen Land of Buddha” fully endorses what Rajiva had said: “not an auspicious start for a race”!

D.S. Senanayake’s speech in 1945 to solicit support from the minorities to accept the Westminister type parliament went like this, 

" ... through out this period the Ministers had in view one objective only, the attainment of maximum freedom. Accusations of Sinhalese domination have been bandied about. We can afford to ignore them for it must be plain to every one that what we sought was not Sinhalese domination, but Ceylonese domination. We devised a scheme that gave heavy weightage to the minorities; we deliberately protected them against discriminatory legislation. We vested important powers in the Governor-General. We decided upon an Independent Public Service Commission so as to give assurance that there should be no communalism in the Public Srvice.(sic) I do not normally speak as a Sinhalese, and I do not think that the Leader of this Council ought to think of himself as a Sinhalese representative, but for once I should like to speak as a Sinhalese and assert with all the force at my command that the interests of one community are the interests of all. We are one of another, what ever race or creed." 

Despite all those noble words, I enumerate here some of the events that soon followed. All those promises by the Sinhalese were in fact total and outright deceptions:

·        1948 – 1 million Tamils declared as non-citizens

·        1949 – Sinhalese colonization in traditional Tamil homeland

·        1956 – Sinhala made sole official language of the country

·        1970 – “Ethnic standardization” slashes university admission to Tamils

                  –same entrance exam, but Tamils need to score 30% more

·        1972 – New constitution without Tamils participation

·        Unilateral name change from Ceylon to Sri Lanka

·        Declaration of Sri Lanka as a republic

·        Buddhism made state religion

·        1977 - Prevention of Terrorism Act

·        State-sponsored anti-Tamil violence in 1956, 1958, 1977, 1983 and from there on continues to date

SJV Chelvanayagam
Tamil leader SJV Chelvanayagam seated at a satyagraha. Referred to as the Gandhi of Eelam, his ahimsa methods were only returned with beatings, rapes and murders

Sri Lankan political history is built on total deception right from the beginning. Every time Tamils protested democratically in front of the parliament or sat in satyagraha [nonviolent protest], wrongly believing that ahimsa would work in Sri Lanka especially with the Sinhalese, they learned a bitter lesson. But yet it took the traditional Tamil politicians a long time to finally accept the reality after having learned from repeated bashings, betrayals and broken promises. They finally realized that the so-called democracy is not going to work, certainly not in Sri Lanka and certainly not with the Sinhalese. It was a total deception when the Tamil politicians believed that they could achieve an honorable, fair and workable solution from the Sinhalese through the democratic process.

Repeated beatings of Tamils in response to their legitimate, democratic demands never hurt the feelings of the Sinhalese, who fervently claimed that they safeguard the noble teachings of Lord Buddha. Again, what Rajiva said in his book comes to my mind. Murdering unarmed innocent civilians did not in any way hurt their feelings. For them, possibly, it was OK and many justified that such abuse was well within the teachings of Buddha. These are some examples that force many of us to believe in the Mahavamsa legend, and the story of the first origin of the Sinhala race from a marauding lion. 

Tamil children killed by bombing in Sri Lanka
Innocent Tamil children murdered by indiscriminate bombing by the Sinhala air force. Then they add a tag that they are all terrorists!
The former president JR Jayawardena, who was popularly referred to as a “cunning old fox”, told the beaten up Tamils in 1977 and 1983 that it was the fury of the Sinhala masses against the Tamils which led to the anti-Tamil pogroms of those years, and he even went on to challenge “if you want war let us have war”! This was the word of consolation from the President of Sri Lanka to one section of the community who had been beaten, raped and murdered at the hands of the other community only a few days before and were hiding in refugee camps. These were the guiding principles of his famous “Dharmista Aanduwa”.  It was another big deception, typical JR style.
An unarmed innocent ethnic Tamil stripped naked and beaten up by Sinhala Buddhsits in Colombo, shame on you.

Let me remind here again what D.S. Senanayake said at the time of independence “…..but for once I should like to speak as a Sinhalese and assert with all the force at my command that the interests of one community are the interests of all. We are one of another, what ever race or creed." What a great deception after all, whether 1944 or 1983, did not make any difference.

 

When Rajiv Gandhi was beaten up by a naval rating in 1987 at a Guard of Honour in Colombo, JR Jayawardena claimed that the navy guy had suffered a heat stroke and hence turned his gun and dealt a blow with the butt of the gun on Rajiv Gandhi’s head. Gandhi would have certainly died if not for his quick reflexes. The event itself was a terrible shame, but worst still for the head of state to declare that the assailant had suffered a heat stroke. JRJ re-defined “heat stroke” and gave a new clinical dimension to this acute medical emergency. Now, in all medical textbooks, this important clinical manifestation is described which was earlier unknown to medical science, thanks to the great deception of JRJ!

Jaffna Public Library after destruction in 1980
One time the proud Jaffna Public Library – Burnt down by armed forces in 1980. Three great Sinhala politicians namely JRJ, Gamini Dissanayake and Cyril Mathew were behind this horrible crime against humanity

Now comes the cry “our Tamil brothers and sisters” from the Rajapakse brothers, which is a truly outstanding deception. Are they referrring to the lakhs and lakhs of innocent Tamils who are displaced from their homes and lands and sleeping under trees without food and water with the ever-present threat of inhuman, indisciminate bombing and shelling, or to the few so-called Tamils who are hanging onto the brothers, having mortgaged their self-respect, race and roots for the sake of power and monetary gains? Are they weeping for Douglas, Sangary, Karuna and Pillaiyan who were born “Tamils” and are prepared to sacrifice their very race for the sake of favours? These are the “Tamils” who are representing the Tamils of Sri Lanka, according to Rajapakse and brothers! Not one of them had been legitimately elected by the Tamil people of Sri Lanka in any election. Oh, what a great deception!

Tamil militancy is only a response to a cause that failed to receive attention. Until 1983 there was no LTTE and yet Tamils were beaten up, raped and murdered. Until then there was no LTTE and yet the Tamil democratic politicians could not achieve anything from the Sinhalese. Whatever that was promised was simply torn away in a matter of days by the Sinhalese.

Now the biggest deception is that the Sinhalese claim that, if not for the  LTTE, all would have lived happily together and there would be milk and honey in “Dhamma Deepa”.

The Rajapakse group, having got worried by the stirrings in Tamil Nadu, croons that once the LTTE menace is controlled they would promptly solve the Tamil problem as we are their brothers and sisters. Does anyone know of any proper solution that was genuinely presented by the Sinhalese with the sincere intension of solving this ethnic problem?

Suddenly Rajapakse is calling the APC to resolve the ethnic problem when there is beating of drums in Tamil Nadu and, more importantly, he is crying for his Tamil brothers and sisters. In a land where the history started with bestiality, parricide, incest, wantonness and betrayal, nothing can be taken seriously. Oh God, this is a country of total and absolute deception.