SRI LANKA MADE MYTHS PREVENT TAMIL EELAM’S ACCESSION TO INDIA/TAMIL NADU
To perpetuate the myth that the Sri Lanka (SL) island was inhabited solely by the SInhalese denies the historical truth of Tamil Eelam as part of Tamil Nadu constantly waging wars on Sinhala SL from time immemorial. The Sinhala Buddhist chronicle, the Mahavamsa is a narrative of the valorous battles Sinhala SL waged against Tamils before and after the Pandyan and Cholan eras. SL Tamil Eelam was the part of Tamil Nadu/India then and ruled from TN.
In fact Ceylon (SL) as an entity was an accidental colonial creation dating back to only 1833. The British brought these two distinct entities together for pure administrative convenience although the essential ingredients of SL nationhood were missing. Debunking this one state myth will end the misery of the decades long Sinhala SL -Tamil Eelam conflict. The systemic enmity between the two would not have occurred had the British acted on the reality of the two entities inhabiting the island in drafting the constitution of independent SL. This historical reality is categorically and independently vouched clearly by Sir Hugh Leghorn, British Colonial Secretary, as early as June 1799 who asserted; “Two different nations, from a very ancient period, have divided between them the possession of the Island: the Sinhalese inhabiting the interior in its Southern and western parts from the river Wallouwe to Chilaw, and the Malabars (Tamils) who possess the Northern and Eastern Districts. These two nations differ entirely in their religion, language and manners. ” A map attached was captioned ‘Three Sovereign Regions In The Island of Ceylon 18th Century Map’.
The Tamils inhabited the Island of Ceylon (now SL) for ages independent of Sinhala SL . The Portuguese, Dutch and the British occupied Tamil Eelam under separate treaties. The British that occupied Sinhala SL separately under separate treaties in 1786 attached it to the Madras Presidency for administrative purposes. No merger treaties brought Sinhala SL and Tamil Eelam together for other than administrative convenience. Likewise Sinhala SL did not lose its entity status when it was administratively part of the larger Madras Presidency initially. The Madras Presidency itself a colonial creation on independence became several linguistic states within a stronger united federal India. That was not separatism or the breakup of India as a nation. The 1833 British creation did not end with SL independence in 1948 resulting in the tragic post British SL history.
The British trusted the Sinhala leaders with a Westminster-style parliamentary system and a minority section 29 component in the unitary constitution for Ceylon. The minorities especially the Tamils raised Sinhalisation concerns but the British trusted that all Tamils (including the estate Tamils) constituting a substantial 30 per cent minority had a matching parliamentary strength to safeguard their rights. Within a year Sinhala SL introduced a Citizenship Act (1948) depriving the franchise of the entire estate Tamils on citizenship grounds sharply reducing the political strength of the Tamils from 30 to 18 percent and treating Section 29 as a toothless safeguard of minority rights. In effect by this the British unwittingly left the Tamils in the foster care of Sinhala SL unprotected against minority abuse. This is the beginning of the Sinhala genocide to erase traces of Tamil habitation in the island. Underlying the Sinhala SL thinking was the absence of any goodwill for the minorities especially the Tamils.
Before the colonials arrived Sinhala-Tamil contacts were bitter, at most times in battle. Tamil conquests (during the long Pandyan and Chola occupations) and rule and Sinhala SL resistance to it retreating South to survive as a race is narrated in the Mahavamsa the Sinhala Buddhist chronicle. Tamil Eelam was then a part of Tamil Nadu/India polity.
In the initial years of British rule the newly-conquered (parts of) Ceylon became part of the Madras Presidency. The Colebrook reforms and present roads from Colombo to Kandy extended to Matale, Dambulla and Trincomalee through jungle infested territory between 1825 and 1833 brought Sinhala SL and SL Tamil Eelam together only geographically and administratively. People to people contact only began in the 20 century. On the contrary Tamil Eelam’s contact with the Tamils in TN was deep and comprehensive; covering trade, cultural and religious spheres. The cherished dream of most Eelam Tamils is the December Thiruvembavai pilgrimages to Chidambaram in TN. Eelam Tamils also went to TN for education.
For nearly 3 decades of the post British 6 decades of SL, Tamil Eelam existed as a de facto political and administrative entity and contacts with Sinhala SL was fighting a civil war. The conflict left deep scars on the people more so on the Eelam Tamils the victims of state terror. All the professions of apologists and politicians of reconciliation from the Sinhala SL side failed to evoke any response except distrust and fear. Even before the conflict, the Sinhala-Tamil people to people contact was limited to the elites in the public service and commercial sectors. Successful Eelam Tamils in Colombo assuming Sinhala goodwill bought and owned houses, shops and other assets in the South. They watched these being torched to ashes or destroyed by state instigated mobs. Tamils have deep memories of verbal abuse, being chased down roads and alleys by mobs to injure or kill them and the police/armed merely standing by. These experiences left indelible scars in their ethos.
However there were Tamil-Sinhala elites who interacted closely enough nurturing genuine and enduring relations an important ingredient in creating a true Sri Lankan national identity. However successive Sinhala regimes by words and actions strangled this incipient identity culture and widened the deep Sinhala-Tamil divide. The worst was the record of the brutal Rajapakse genocide, terrorising Eelam Tamils to submissively accept the total Sinhalisation of SL. Readers will readily sense the insecurity felt by Eelam Tamils living in any part of SL not just the North, East or Colombo suburbs. Most Eelam Tamils treat the slogans Sinhala SL offers (‘equality’,’ village level devolution of power’, ‘equitable sharing of the benefits of development’ etc) as empty rhetoric more so with vivid painful memories of the brutal genocide they experienced still haunting. Unlike in the past the level of Sinhala SL atrocities accordingly to the international community qualify as war crimes comprehensive evidence of which are in the records of UNHR offices and other human rights organisations.
The insults sink deeper into the Eelam Tamil ethos when key Sinhala SL leaders including intellectuals instead of expressing remorse for the pain inflicted mouthed a mono-ethnic Sinhala only mindset , the driving force for Sinhalisation that required all Eelam Tamils are evicted out of SL. The following belligerent words of the first Ceylon Prime Minister 1947 immediately after independence are ominous and prophetic enough;
“Today you are brought here and given a plot of land..The final battle for the Sinhala people will be fought on the plains of Padaviya.. .one day very soon (The country) will look up to you as the bastion of the Sinhala”.
Padaviya in the vicinity of Puthukudiyiruppu is the heart of the de facto Tamil Eelam in the re-occupation (prophetic ‘final battle’) of which Eelam Tamil civilians and fighters in tens of thousands were massacred in the Rajapakse offensives.
“They are bringing an army from India. It will take 14 hours to come from India. In 14 minutes the blood of every Tamil in the country can be sacrificed to the land by us”. Oxford educated Senior Minister Gamini Dissanayake soon after the 1983 riots.
A Sinhala SL leader calling for ‘the blood of every Tamil’ as ‘sacrifice(d)’ even before LTTE emerged as a fighting force reveals the instigated blood thirsty character of the 1983 pogrom/genocide endured by the Eelam Tamils. Between 1958 and 1983, there were seven major anti-Tamil riots.
“I am not worried about the opinion of the Jaffna people..now we cannot think of them, not about their lives or their opinion..the more you put pressure in the north, the happier the Sinhala people will be here..Really if I starve the Tamils out, the Sinhala people will be happy.” (President Jayawardene, Daily Telegraph July 1983).
This iconic threat to ‘starve the Tamils out ..(for) the Sinhala people ..(to) be happy’ invited the Indian food drops before the 1983 pogrom produced the massive killings, displacements and refugee exodus from SL. These words speak volumes about the hollowness of the goodwill towards minorities that Sinhala SL proclaims considering the viciousness of the state violence in the 1983 pogrom/SL genocide.
“only way to root out terrorism was to remove the concept of ‘traditional homelands’”. Lalith Athulathmudali National Security minister.
This bombshell for SL Sinhala – Tamil amity and peace explains the first phase of the SL genocide to cause massive internal displacements both from Tamil homelands and elsewhere and expulsion of Tamils overseas as refugees the pain of which was soothed only by the international community accepting and rebuilding the lives of Eelam Tamils, the victims. Gothabhaya, a Lalith pro-type earned the crown for his remarkable success in ruthlessly emptying the North , building more military bases, the massacres and driving the displaced South to live under a reign of terror in hovels.
“Minorities are like creepers clinging to the Sinhala tree.” D B Wijetunge, another President in 1993.
The graphic ‘creepers’ metaphor sums up the objective of the SL genocide. Exorcising the Eelam Tamils is equated to pruning off the parasitic ‘creepers …for the Sinhala tree’ (SL) to flourish. This type of Sinhala SL prejudice took successive SL regimes down the road to rid SL of the Tamil parasites though the de facto Tamil Eelam state slowed their progress for three decades. The Rajapakses with Narayanan-Delhi’s nod have now almost achieved this key SL genocide objective. Most Tamils in SL as a displaced people are unlikely to be allowed to live in their traditional habitation. Hence the next quote confirms that there are no minorities as there are no none in their original homes.
Eelam Tamils were dismayed over this statement but Sinhala SL rejoiced. Rajapakse had rid Athulath Mudali’s ‘traditional homelands’ of the Wijetunge ‘creepers’; graphic enough compared to Basil Rajapakse calling even his Tamil colleague Sivalingam a ‘para demala’ in 2008.
Does the world still believe that Sinhala-Tamil reconciliation in SL with or without substantial autonomy is realistic under these conditions? Tamil Eelam’s accession to India via Tamil Nadu offers the most historically logical solution to the Tamil trauma, TN, India and the region. The case for Eelam’s accession to India is fully discussed in “Tamil trauma-Eelam’s accession to India- the only viable and dharmic solution” in these web pages dated 20 February 2010.