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50th Anniversary of 1961 Tamil “Satyagraha” campaign

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By D.B.S.JEYARAJ

“Thus the violence of the oppressor silenced the non-violence of the oppressed; the armed might of Sinhala chauvinism crushed the ahimsa of the Tamils. This historical event marked the beginning of a political experience that was crucial to the Tamil national struggle, an experience that taught the Tamils that the moral power of non-violence could not consume the military power of a violent oppressor whose racial hatred transcends all ethical norms of humanness and civilized behaviour.

To the oppressor this event encouraged the view that military terrorism is the only answer to the Tamil demand and that the non-violent foundation of the Tamil political agitation is a weak and impotent structure against the barrel of the gun.” – Anton Balasingham in LTTE booklet “Liberation Tigers and Tamil Eelam Freedom Struggle”

February 20th 1961 is a very important date in the history of the Sri Lankan Tamil political struggle to regain lost rights.

S.J.V. Chelvanayakam

It was on this day, fifty years ago that the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK) known in English as the Federal Party (FP) led by SJV Chelvanayakam commenced a non – violent direct action campaign against the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Government headed by the world’s first woman Prime minister Sirima Bandaranaike.

Years and years of witnessing a brutal armed struggle by Tamil militants has created an impression in the minds of many that the nature of Tamil politics in this country has been intrinsically violent. This violence has even served vested interests to dismiss the justice of the Tamil cause and portray the “problem” as being an issue concerning law and order only.

What is forgotten, ignored or conveniently overlooked is the fact that for over three decades in post – Independence Sri Lanka the Tamil political struggle was basically non – violent and adhered to the noble doctrine of “Ahimsa” (avoidance of injury/violence) enunciated by that great apostle of non – violence Mahatma Gandhi.

It has been argued by many that it was the failure of the non –violent Tamil struggle to remedy prevailing political maladies that paved the way for an emerging, frustrated generation of Tamil youth to take to the gun.

Whatever the merits or otherwise of this argument there is no denying that the third quarter of the twentieth century is replete with instances of non – violent political dissent and protest conducted by the Sri Lankan Tamils. Hartals, Satyagrahas, black flag demonstrations, marches, processions, mass demonstrations, protest fasts, days of mourning, civil disobedience, civil resistance, boycotts, etc were a regular feature of Tamil politics in those days.

The high watermark of this politics of non – violent protest was the great “Satyagraha” campaign launched on February 20th in 1961.

It is an event that the Tamils of Sri Lanka can be proud of as an achievement where a small, unarmed, defenceless people through united effort and dedication paralysed the administrative m machinery of the Colombo government for nearly two months in the Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka until military repression was unleashed.

HARBINGER

The deployment of the armed forces was in a way a harbinger of the future of the Tamil dominated Northern Province and Tamil majority Eastern Province where increased radicalisation was met by increased militarisation.

Today there is a pervasive presence of the armed forces in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. Representative politics is in a state of decline and decay in those provinces.

The 1961 Satyagraha despite its fundamental non – violent nature also displayed signs of the future course of Tamil politics. The impatience displayed by some youths who engaged in acts of defiance indicated the possible rise of militancy.

Also the acts of civil disobedience like running a parallel postal service during the campaign were straws in the wind pointing towards flourishing separatism of the future.

What is sadly noteworthy about the entire exercise is the fact that the FP was an electoral ally of the SLFP in the 1960 July elections that propelled Mrs. Bandaranaike to power.

Despite this positive feature, events took a turn for the worse and within a year the chief political parties of the Sinhala and Tamil people were at loggerheads with each other. This political breakdown resulted in the politics of confrontation and culminated in the 1961 Satyagraha.

SIGNIFICANT

In order to understand this state of affairs it is necessary to delve deep into the two general elections of March and July 1960 where the FP played a significant role in unmaking and making the governments of Dudley Senanayake and Sirima Bandaranaike.

What led the FP to throw in its lot with the SLFP against the UNP and what caused the rupture in this SLFP – FP relationship are developments worthy of detailed scrutiny in this respect.

An analysis of those by – gone events are necessary at this juncture to appreciate fully the backdrop against which the 1961 Satyagraha was staged.

Intricate political negotiations were on between the March and July elections of 1960. The FP played a prominent role in these behind the scene moves. These matters need to be examined more closely in order to comprehend the political environment which paved the way for the 1961 Satyagraha.

The vehemence and determination shown by the SLFP govt and opposition FP during the Satyagraha turmoil can be contextually understood only if the political foreplay between March–July 1960 is scrutinised.

The assassination of SWRD Bandaranaike in September 1959 saw the maverick W. Dahanayake becoming Prime minister. His tenure however was short lived and fresh elections were conducted in March 1960. For the first time polling in all parts of the country from Paruthithurai to Devinuwara were held on a single day.

The number of seats in Parliament increased from 101 to 157. Six of these were appointed MP’s while 151 were elected from 145 electorates. The constituencies of Colombo South, Akurana, Batticaloa and Mutur had two Members each while Colombo Central had three.

CAMPAIGN

Dudley Senanayake who had gone into voluntary retirement in 1953 had re-entered politics in 1957. He led the United National Party (UNP) in the 1960 Polls. The SLFP was led by CP de Silva.

SWRD’s widow Sirima did not take the centre stage when the election campaign got underway but got involved in canvassing at a later stage

Other Prime ministerial aspirants were Philip Gunewardene of the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP)Dr. NM Perera of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) and of course the outgoing caretaker PM Wijayananda Dahanayake of the Lanka Prajathanthrawadi Peramuna (LPP).

When results were announced it was a hung Parliament. The UNP had 50 and the SLFP 46. The LSSP and MEP had 10 each. The third largest party was the FP with 15 seats. It appeared that the FP held the balance of power in the new Parliament

The party had won the seats of Kankesanthurai(KKS), Vaddukkoddai, Nallur, Chavakachcheri, Point Pedro,Uduvil, Kayts,Kopay,Kilinochchi and Mannar in the Northern Province and the electorates of Batticaloa, Paddiruppu, Kalkudah, Trincomalee and Mutur in the Eastern Province.

Governor – General Sir Oliver Goonetillleke regarded as partisan towards the UNP called upon Dudley Senanayake to form a new government as the party had the most number of seats in Parliament.It was however doubtful whether Dudley could cobble together the majority required to form a stable government.

Even with the aid of the six appointed MP’s nominated by the new Premier and the support of a few Independent MP’s and crossers over from the LPP , Dudley had only 60-61 out of 157. But if he could get the 15 seat support from the FP the UNP leader was optimistic of garnering further support from more Independent MP’s and by weaning away some breakaways from smaller parties.

CHELVANAYAKAM

Thus the support of Chelvanayakam was crucial for Senanayake to form a viable government.Likewise the Support of the FP was equally important for the SLFP if it was requested to form an alternative govt

So when the victorious FP leader Chelvanayakam flew from Palaly to Ratmalana he was a much desired person politically.

Eminent persons such as ex –Prime minister Sir John Kotelawela, former state councillor Sir Arunachalam Mahadeva, retd chief justice Sir Edward Jayatilleka and former Justice minister and Senate leader Sir Lalitha Rajapaksa wooed Chelvanayakam ardently on behalf of the UNP and set up meetings with Dudley Senanayake.

But the SLFP had an ace up its sleeve which the UNP could not compete against.

That was the agreement signed by SWRD Bandaranaike and SJV Chelvanayakam in June 1957 known as the Banda – Chelva or B-C pact.

This pact agreed to set up one regional council for the North and two for the east with provision to amalgamate. It also agreed for positive measures on the use of Tamil in administration and in courts and set out guidelines on colonisation.

Opposition to the BC pact by the UNP and sections of the Buddhist clergy had compelled Bandaranaike to abrogate the pact unilaterally.

Chelvanayakam had a surprise visitor when he landed at Ratmalana. This was none other than former Up Country Tamil MP D.Ramanujan.

He was there representing Saumiyamoorthy Thondaman the president of the Ceylon Workers Congress. With Dudley Senanayake being close towards Plantation Tamil leader SP Vaithilingam, the resourceful Thondaman was moving closer to the SLFP at that time.

The CWC had reached a general understanding with the FP that the Sri Lankan Tamil party should also espouse the cause of Up Country Tamils in negotiations with any government in power. As such there was political affinity between both parties.

Ramanujam persuaded Chelvanayakam to drop in at Thondaman’s CWC office to meet with a surprise guest. Chelvanayakam obliged. Waiting for him with Thondaman was Dr. Badi – ud- din Mahmood the educationist.

Dr. Mahmood who later became Education minister in Mrs.Bandaranaike’s govt was very close to the Bandaranaike family and was one of those who played a role in bringing her to active politics.

BANDA –CHELVA PACT

Dr. Mahmood told Chelvanayakam that the SLFP was prepared to resurrect the Banda –Chelva pact and set up Regional Councils with even more powers over lands and colonisation if the FP refrained from supporting the UNP .

He also promised progressive concessionary measures for the use of Tamil in the administrative and legal spheres. The shrewd Mahmood pointed out that the UNP could not grant the B-C pact to the FP.

Thus Chelvanayakam was fortified with the knowledge that the B-C pact was in the pipeline when he engaged in talks with Dudley Senanayake.

Besides the FP was also miffed at pre-mature media reports that Dudley Senanayake had informed the Governor –General of the FP’s support even before negotiations had commenced.

At discussions with Dudley Senanayake the FP leader placed four broad demands orally. One was that Regional Councils as envisaged by the BC pact be set up with powers over land alienation and development.

The second was parity of status for Tamil as a language of administration and courts.

The third was for amendments to the Ceylon citizenship act no 18 of 1948 enabling speedier, enhanced registration of de- citizenised and disenfranchised Up Country Tamils.

The fourth demand was that four of the six Appointed MP slots be given to Up Country Tamil representatives

Chelvanayakam informed Senanayake that the FP was prepared to compromise slightly on the demands if necessary. The party would support the UNP if Senanayake would make a genuine effort in alleviating the travails experienced by Tamils.

The meeting ended without Senanayake inquiring about demands Chelvanayakam was willing to whittle down. The next meeting was scheduled for March 26th.

Again the SLFP moved fast and outsmarted Dudley.

FELIX.R.D.BANDARANAIKE

Chelvanayakam had a young visitor on March 23rd. This was Felix R Dias Bandaranaike – the nephew of SWRD Bandaranaike -elected from Dompe.

The brilliant young lawyer was the rising star in the SLFP. Felix’s father the Supreme court Judge was a close friend of Chelvanayakam

Felix assured Chelvanayakam that the SLFP would follow the measures agreed between SWRD Bandaranaike and SJV Chelvanayakam in 1957. The B-C pact would be implemented in full and regional councils set up. Felix also told Chelva that the SLFP would make a policy declaration on this in presenting the throne speech.

When Senanayake met Chelvanayakam on March 26th, the UNP leader outlined his difficulties in acceding to FP demands. He requested Chelvanayakam to tone down the demands if possible.

SJV then told Dudley that the FP would drop its demand for parity of status between the Sinhala and Tamil languages. The FP would be satisfied with provisions for use of Tamil as an official language in the North and East and for reasonable usage in the administrative and legal spheres.

The FP was also ready to accept one Plantation Tamil representative to be appointed MP instead of four as demanded.

The party however was not ready to compromise on the other two demands pertaining to the regional councils and citizenship act. Senanayake then asked the FP to submit the final demands in writing. This was done on the same day.

On March 27th morning, Senanayake contacted Chelvanayakam and asked for his support in electing a UNP candidate as Speaker. Chelvanayakam declined saying the party had pledged support to the opposition candidate.

Subsequently the opposition nominee TB Subasinghe defeated the govt nominee Sir Albert Peiris.

Senanayake met with Chelvanayakam again on March 27th evening.

SEPARATION

On that occasion Senanayake candidly informed Chelvanayakam that he could not help set up regional councils as envisaged by the B- C pact as the UNP had opposed it vehemently as a stepping stone for separation.

Instead he asked the FP to trust him and promised that he would not act detrimentally towards Tamils. He also offered ministerial portfolios to the FP.

Chelvanayakam declined the portfolios and withdrew from discussions. It was apparent that the talks had collapsed.

Nevertheless there was constant pressure by prominent Colombo Tamils on the FP in general and Chelvanayakam in particular that Dudley Senanayake as a “gentleman in politics” should be unconditionally supported.

The FP remained firm in resisting these pressures

An important reason for the FP stance was because the party had already arrived at an “understanding” with the SLFP on matters concerned.

Apart from the preliminary “talks” between Chelva and Felix an official SLFP delegation comprising CP de Silva, Maithripala Senanayake, AP Jayasuriya and Felix Dias Bandaranaike also met with a FP team led by Chelvanayakam.

Chelvanayakam placed the same four demands submitted to the UNP to the SLFP also. The SLFP at the outset declared that the party would not enter into a formal agreement with the FP.

Given the history of Sinhala opposition to the B-C pact it was not practical to forge another official pact again. But the SLFP proposed to make an explicit policy statement on issues raised by the FP when it presented its own throne speech if and when asked to form a government after the anticipated fall of the UNP govt.

DISTRICT COUNCILS

On the four demands raised the SLFP delegation led by CP de Silva deviated slightly from the position articulated by Felix Bandaranaike.

The SLFP was transparently frank in saying that it too was opposed to the setting up of regional councils for the North and East. Notwithstanding SWRD’s readiness to set up regional councils, subsequent events had eroded that concept.

The SLFP said it was not possible to make special arrangements for the Tamil majority North and East alone. That would lead to a Sinhala backlash

What the SLFP proposed instead was the setting up of District Councils for each administrative or revenue district. There were 22 then. Each district council would in essence have the powers and functions as envisaged for the Regional council.

The Jaffna,Mannar, Vavuniya, Trincomalee and Batticaloa councils would have Tamil dominated administrations. The SLFP re-iterated that the basic powers of the Regional council would be available under the District council also.

On the question of Language the SLFP was not prepared for parity of status. It was however ready to introduce and implement measures enabling Tamil to be used for administrative purposes and in courts in the North and East. Provision for reasonable use of Tamil outside the north and east would also be made.

The Tamil Language (Special Provisions) Act presented by SWRD Bandaranaike and approved by Parliament in August 1958 would set out the guidelines in this.

The SLFP however rejected any amendment to the citizenship act. It was inflexible on that count but agreed to nominate two Plantation Tamils as appointed MP/s.

The SLFP also said that the CWC’s Thondaman would be nominated as appointed MP and that issues concerning Up Country Tamils would be ironed out with him

THRONE SPEECH

The SLFP stated that all assurances and pledges on these issues would be given concrete form as a statement of policy in the throne speech. There would however be no pact or agreement in written form.

After laying out its cards openly the SLFP told the FP that if the Sinhala party defaulted on its assurances the Tamil party always had the option of voting against it after the throne speech debate.

Without FP support the SLFP govt would fall. As such the party cannot afford to dishonour its promises it was pointed out.

Despite the SLFP position being non – conciliatory on certain aspects, the FP decided then to extend support towards it and vote against the UNP.

The proposed implementation of the essential aspects of the agreement reached with SWRD Bandaranaike proved irresistible.

There was also the antipathy towards the UNP for its role in opposing and scuttling the B-C pact.The UNP fate was sealed.

Parliament ceremonially opened on April 19th. The Throne speech debate commenced on April 20th. On the third and final day Chelvanayakam addressed the house and attacked the UNP harshly.

“The real enemy of the Tamil speaking people is not the SLFP but the UNP.It was the UNP Bhikkus who pressured Mr. Bandaranaike to tear up the B-C pact” charged Chelvanayakam.

When the vote was taken on April 22nd the Federal Party voted along with the opposition against the UNP govt. The Throne speech was defeated by 25 votes. The Govt had 61 and opposition 86 with 08 abstentions.

After an emergency meeting of cabinet Dudley Senanayake recommended to the Governor –General that Parliament be dissolved and fresh polls held.

Sir Oliver however summoned the heads of all opposition political parties and told them that he was exploring prospects of forming an alternative government instead of holding elections. It was now the turn of the SLFP with 46 seats to have a go at govt formation.

CP de SILVA

The SLFP leader CP de Silva then called upon the Governor –General and urged that he be given an opportunity to form a government. He said he had the required numbers and was confident of securing FP support.

Thereafter Sir Oliver asked SJV Chelvanayakam to call over at Queens House to ascertain whether the FP was indeed extending support to the SLFP.

On his way to Fort from his Alfred House Gardens residence in Kollupitiya, Chelvanayakam dropped in at Felix’s house in Mahanuge Gardens. Waiting there were CP de Silva and AP Jayasuriya.

Once again Chelvanayakam queried whether the assurances given by the SLFP were valid still. The answer was in the affirmative. Then Chelva asked whether the essence of the B-C pact would be implemented as promised. Again the answer was positive.

At this stage Chelvanayakam looked at fellow old Thomian and potential premier CP de Silva and asked him point blank “what guarantee is there that you would honour these assurances”? To which CP de Silva gave a characteristic response. “I drive a hard bargain and when I’ve made it,I keep it”, CP replied.

A satisfied Chelva left for Queen’s House while CP de Silva awaited his tryst with destiny. Alas! Fate decreed otherwise!

Sir Oliver Goonetilleke received Chelvanayakam and told him that he was trying to ascertain whether CP de Silva could form an alternative government. If the SLFP did not have the required numbers he was going to dissolve Parliament.

“UNQUALIFIED” SUPPORT

Stating that the support of the FP was crucial in this respect the Governor – General asked the FP leader categorically whether the FP would provide “unqualified” support to the SLFP led alternative government for a minimum period of two years.

Sir Oliver had stressed on “unqualified” support because he felt that the FP could be forced to withdraw support quickly if the SLFP reneged on its pledges to the party. Therefore he wanted to satisfy himself of it’s stability by eliciting a firm guarantee from Chelvanayakam.

But the lawyer in Chelvanayakam balked at the prospect of pledging “unqualified” support as requested by the G-G.

Being an honourable politician ,Chelvanayakam realised that he and the FP would be firmly bound for two years if he stated so to Sir Oliver. At the same time he could not take the political risk of extending unqualified support for 24 months if the SLFP dishonoured its assurances.

In a bid to extricate himself from this tricky situation, Chelvanayakam gave what could be termed a “smart” answer.

Chelvanayakam replied that the FP had arrived at an understanding with the SLFP and that his party would support the SLFP led govt not merely for two years but for its full term.

By this answer Chelvanayakam had avoided giving a categorical assurance about extending “unqualified support”. But the politically sagacious Sir Oliver cited this perceived reluctance on the part of the FP leader to explicitly guarantee unqualified support as proof of the proposed government’s “fragility”.

Stating that he was dissatisfied by Chelvanayakam’s answer the Governor – General went ahead and dissolved Parliament.

GOVERNOR –GENERAL

It is widely believed that Sir Oliver’s bias towards the UNP was the cause for this and that the Governor – General had made Chelvanayakam the “scapegoat” for this.

But there is also a less charitable explanation for Sir Oliver’s conduct.

According to Chelvanayakam’s son in law and political scientist AJ Wilson the real reason was “caste”. CP de Silva belonged to the “Salagama” caste. Wilson quotes Dr.N.M Perera as having been told by Sir Oliver “How can I appoint a Salagama man”?

Although the concept of caste is frowned upon in polite Sri Lankan society and is tabooed as being politically incorrect, a harsh reality of politics and arranged marriages is the role of the caste factor in both spheres.

It is an incontrovertible fact of contemporary history that all the Governor – Generals, Prime Ministers and Presidents of Sri Lanka have been from the Govigama caste with the singular exception/aberration of Ranasinghe Premadasa.

Whatever the reason governing the Governor – General’s action the immediate consequence was dissolution and the staging of fresh elections.

All the opposition parties including the FP protested against Sir Oliver’s action and wrote a letter criticising the move.Nevertheless new elections were held in July 1960.

As the election campaign began it soon became clear that a re-furbished SLFP would do better than it did at the March elections.

WEEPING WIDOW

The main reason for this was the campaigning by Sirima Bandaranaike. Dubbed as the “weeping widow” by sections of the media Mrs. Bandaranaike drew unprecedented crowds at meetings.

Many of the leaders and influential segments of the SLFP who had broken away after SWRD’s death now returned to party folds. Supporters who voted for the MEP and LPP in March were also returning to the SLFP.

The SLFP also entered into a no contest pact with the Samasamajists and Communists. Thus fragmentation of the left vote was prevented.

Apart from these factors the unwritten understanding with the FP created a situation where the leading Tamil party was an “indirect” electoral ally of the SLFP.

Given the fractured verdict of March 1960 it was assumed that July 1960 too would result in a hung Parliament with the SLFP having the most amount of seats. The support of the FP was seen as crucial for govt formation.

The FP expected the SLFP to implement the promises made earlier after victory at the July elections.

Chelvanayakam met Mrs. Bandaranaike in a brief, unpublicised meeting along with Felix Bandaranaike where she assured the FP leader that she would abide by the assurances given to the FP by the delegation led by CP de Silva.

Strengthened by that assurance the FP hitched its wagon to the SLFP star.

While Chelvanayakam elicited an assurance from the SLFP over implementation the party failed to obtain guarantees in a vital respect.

BINDING

Professor Wilson the biographer of Chelvanayakam points out that the FP did not obtain assurances from the SLFP as to whether the pledges would be binding on the party even if it won the polls with a comfortable majority and did not have to depend on FP support.

Apparently Chelvanayakam interpreted the assurances as being of a binding nature on the SLFP even if it had an absolute majority and did not need FP support. But this was only Chelvanayakam’s interpretation says his son in law.

No explicit guarantee on this had been sought or obtained. This lapse by the FP indicated that the party was politically naive to say the least.

Despite the absence of such a concrete guarantee the FP took a leap of faith and backed the SLFP. It appealed to Tamil voters in electorates not contested by the party to vote for the SLFP.

The FP also told crowds at political meetings that the party had arrived at an understanding with the SLFP and that the BC pact would be implemented.

This in turn resulted in the UNP launching a vicious campaign against the SLFP – FP alignment. The UNP accused the SLFP of conspiring with the FP to divide the country.

A highlight of this campaign was the widespread display of a colourful poster portraying the Island of Ceylon as a gigantic cake.

The poster showed Mrs. Bandaranaike slicing up the North and east of the cake with CP de Silva looking on.Chelvanayakam waits with an outstretched tray for his slice with his deputy EMV Naganathan standing behind.

SECRET DEAL

The UNP allegation that a secret deal had been worked out between the SLFP and FP put the former on the defensive. Felix Dias Bandaranaike urged the FP to deny publicly that there was a SLFP- FP agreement.

Chelvanayakam obliged reluctantly by issuing a statement where he said the FP had supported the SLFP without obtaining any agreement. He re-iterated this position in media interviews.

This in turn had the FP’s chief rival the All Ceylon Tamil Congress led by GG Ponnambalam criticising the party for missing a golden opportunity in not supporting the UNP and instead supporting the SLFP without any guarantees.

It was in this atmosphere that the SLFP and FP faced the hustings in July 1960.

Despite the alignment of convenience the SLFP could not admit to it publicly due to fear of alienating the Sinhala constituency.

The FP was in an unenviable position of being unable to acknowledge the unwritten understanding in deference to SLFP wishes

In spite of these difficulties the FP once again romped home the winner in Tamil majority electorates. It retained all 15 electorates won by the party in March. In addition the FP also won the Muslim majority electorate of Kalmunai where MC Ahamed was returned on the House symbol.

The FP had 16 seats in a Parliament of 157 and was once again the third largest political party. The UNP came second with 30 seats. The SLFP was first with 75 seats.

MAJORITY

Together with the six appointed MP’s and support from a few Independents the party now had a slender yet stable majority. More importantly it was not dependent on FP support.

History was made when Mrs. Bandaranaike became Prime minister.

But the FP was in for a shock. Its naive expectation that the unwritten understanding with the SLFP was binding even in a situation where the government did not require FP support was rudely shattered.

The SLFP went ahead with government formation without resorting to any dialogue with the FP. The party did not regard the arrangements made before elections as binding on it. Efforts made by FP leaders to communicate with SLFP leaders failed.

When the Throne speech of the new government was presented on August 12th the FP was initially pleased. For the first time the throne speech was presented in Tamil also. This initial happiness evaporated rapidly as the content was revealed.

There were no references to the pre-poll promises made to the FP about district councils or Tamil language provisions.

Instead the govt announced full implementation of Sinhala as the sole official language from January 1st 1961. The govt also said Sinhala would be the sole language of courts.

A thoroughly disillusioned FP was now the laughing stock among its Tamil detractors.

The party was seen as being deceived and let down by the SLFP for the second time. The FP was accused of having blundered badly in not supporting Dudley Senanayake

On the other hand the SLFP govt went ahead at full speed with total “Sinhalaisation” of the administration.

CONFRONTATION

This rendered the Tamil people increasingly vulnerable and made them insecure. In that climate there was tremendous pressure on the FP to resist these moves.

The stage was being set for an inevitable political confrontation. The course of events between the March and July elections had laid the groundwork for such a clash.

Events gathered momentum and reached a logical conclusion on February 20th 1961 in the form of a “Satyagraha” campaign. The nature, scope and consequences of the 1961 Satyagraha would be related and examined in forthcoming articles

DBS Jeyaraj can be reached at djeyaraj2005@yahoo.com

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142 Comments

  1. Excellent work Mr.Jeyaraj

    You have revived memories about those events happening half a century ago

    As you correctly state the 1960 election era was the foundation for the 1961 Satyagraha

    I eagerly await further articles by you on that significant event

  2. I participated in 1961 Satyagraha as 22 year old young man

    DBS is right in telling Tamils can be proud of paralysing govt administration for weeks by their Ahimsa non – violent protest

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  4. When I look at TV about mass protest in Egypt I am reminded of Jaffna Satyagraha in 1961. It was a time when the Tamil people involved in mass protest and action

    I wish DBS well in trying to write about that great experience in Tamil political struggle

  5. It is so sad to see the list of missed opportunities in this story. The leaders of this era bears a huge responsibility for what happened later.

    I hope our people have learned the lesson of not playing with ethnic fires for political gain.

  6. I think this is a fantastic article. It gave a great insight into what went on in politics at that time. Though i knew just the outline of what happenned this is the first time i had been able to see a step by step process of how it went, thanks to DBSJ. If something had been done at that time properly all this calamity could have been avoided and future generations need not have suffered terribly like this.This is a good eyeopener for current negotiations , not to make such blunders and quickly grasp as opportunities arise for compromise, before they slip away.

    Gentleman Chelva made a big mistake when he fell into the trap laid by sir oliver, when he asked about the unqualified support of the FP for two years for CP. Desilva. He should have just said no problem, not only for 2 years for the rest of his life too. Then he should have told CP don’t take my statement to the GG seriously.If i don’t see progress on your promises from the first month i will pull the rug from under your feet without informing you after review at the end of the month. CP will be wondering every month whether he is going to continue as the primeminister.CP also must have tried a fast one because he was not willing to sign any agreement.

    The best option i feel for chelva was instead of getting into the sewage like this, was to at the beginning itself after putting out his demands to the two parties,tell them whoever signs an agreement with him with the best deal he will support including for the speaker.You can’t get everything at one election, but must try to get as much as possible. This will depend not on you,but on how much the other parties want the job of primeminister and government. Your job as FP leader is to organise the auction and pit the two parties to outbid each other and accept the final bid. These kind of 50 to 46 seats are a opportunity in a life time not to be missed. Chelva missed the bus.

    Chelva’s harsh attack on the UNP also was also stupid at this juncture. If you are tring to make two parties compete with each other doesn’t make sense to attack one harshly and also to support the other one’s candidate for speaker. You are only showing where your heart lies at the inception itself.

  7. Anton Balasingham is exactly point out the problem.
    Now Tamils back to the track. But Srilankan democracy still in question?

    UNP was ready to negotiate ‘Regional autonomy ‘ for long standing Tamil question(When Ranil Wikramasinga having peace dialog with LTTE)

    UPFA also promised twice, Mahinda ready to go beyond the 13th Amendment and “home made solution” while dialog with TNA.

    JVP recently express their support for Federal Solution without separation. (Based on internal self determination)

    Then why wasting the time to find permanent solution for Country’s No 1 priority. Thanks DBSJ for Timely article.

    Bright future? Or Dark past? Sinhala, Tamil speaking Island nations, Current rulers and King makers need to think and action now.

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  9. I have heard about this great Satyakiraham from my parents. My grandparents were part of this

    Thank you so much Jeyaraj Annan for writing about it

  10. My brother was in the army in 1961 and was involved in the operation to crush the Satyagraha by the FP.

    He was not proud of what he did then but had to obey orders

  11. My daughter showed me your article and so I would like to add two comments.

    1. May be C. P. de Silva did not make it because of his caste – or may be Oliver G wanted to give another chance to his friends – the Senanayakes. However, there is no doubt what so ever that Tamil Poltics was even more caste based. No low-caste Tamil could have come as far as C. P. de Silva, or long before him George E. de Silva had come up in Sinhala Politics. That was at a time when Ramanathan wanted to include the caste system in the constitution! Even today Tamil politics is where Sinhala politics was in the 1940s, when it comes to caste.

    2. In the otherwise valuable account given by Jeyaraj, he has forgotten one very important things that stands out in my memory very clearly from those days. Neither the SLFP, not the UNP trusted the Federal party. In particular, the Buddhist monks didn’t, because THEY KNEW that the manifestos of the Federal Party written in Tamil and in English said very different things. I myself, listening to the election meetings already in 1952 felt that the ITAK, talking about the Kingdom of the AryaChakravarthis of yore etc, was NOT talking of federalism. I knew already, in the early 1950, that if the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) were to beat the Tamil Congress, then we Tamils would be pushed inexorably in a direction of no return. So, although I strongly dislike Ponnambalam, I supported TC for many years.

    Now, in Malabar and in Jaffna we have this Thesavalam law, which says that even if you (a Vellalar) want to sell a piece of land to a low caste man, you cannot do it unless all your neighbours (all vellalars) would agree – that too is only the first hurdle.
    It is the same thing with Arasu. You cannot have it unless all your neighbours (i.e., Sinhala south, India, Pakistan, the western interests, even China) agree to it.

    So, it was a foregone conclusion that the Arasu talk of the
    ITAK in Tamil could not occur without force — and Anton Balasinghams’s quote given at the top of your article is basically irrelevant. I am sure that those who wrote the 1949 Maradana declaration of exclusive homelands etc., did not believe that their objectives could be got using mere Ahimsa.

    The schizophrenia of the ITAK was its Federal-Party- B-C -pact Personality displayed in Colombo (hoping to catch the pro-UNP Karavakaddu Tamils). The Sinhalese politicians surely READ AND KNEW what the Federal Party was saying. Even Thondaman knew of this and he is believed to have admonished E.M.V.Naganathan for his excessive enthusiasm for the Chola Empire and its glories. But then, Naganathan had only contempt for Thondaman.

    Also, while the ITAK was telling one thing in Jaffna, and another thing in Colombo, it totally ignored any conversations with the Leftists who were GENUINELY FOR PARITY OF STATUS FOR TAMIL AND SINHALA.

    In any case, when the 1960 electoral campaign was on, the Federal Party did NOT attempt to explain its position to the Sinhala voters in the south, or to the estate Tamils in the center, or even to the Tamils in Batticaloe. THERE WAS NO ATTEMPT TO BUILD BRIDGES OF HONEST TALK BETEEN THE NORTH ANTHE SOUTH.
    In fact, the ITAK lied to most people including the Colombo Tamils. Its true position was Arasu, and in this it spoke with romantic and glorious nationalism to the Tamils of the North, harking back to a grand “Jaffna Kingdom” based on “exclusive Tamil homelands” as stated in the Maradana declaration of 1949.

    It was a dangerous dream that no minority can afford to lock itself into — as there is not escape route except via victory or defeat. And defeat was a certainty, just as any attempt to sell a piece of land to a low-caste man without the sanction of his Vellala neighbors is impossible.

  12. Imagine South African Caucasians engaging in Satyagraha demanding apartheid. Imagine also a majority Negro government crushing the action. Should the Negro govt be blamed for using violence? Of course. Should the Caucasian minority feel victimised? I guess they FIRST need to understand reasons for launching the Satyagraha was just plain wrong. Secondly it is quite justified thinking they shouldn’t have been beaten up.

    The underlying reason for Satyagraha, Arasu Kachi etc was the Jaffna Vellahla need for making the Tamils a majority player despite numerically being a minority. The only other people with similar aspiration I can think of are the South African Caucasians.

    Finding who is the blame is subjective in nature. If one feels South African Caucasians were wrong demanding apartheid then I guess they will also think its wrong Tamil Vellahla aspiration of making Tamils some kind of artificial majority politically.

  13. What ever the merits of the article may be. the account you have given is history. the problems of the tamils, if there is any as they claim, they are their own creations. The majority sinhalese has nothing to do with it. Most the time when tamils have a problem, sinhalese bailed them out, not India. If tamils think that India will help them, they are in a dream world.

    Whatever Chelava or GG wanted in those days were wrong and they are still wrong. The tamil home land is in India. It was not here and never will be. After all the sacrefices we made, it will never be. Sinhalese will not allow mono ethnic communities from now on. Its wrong. tamils must think as sri lankan not as tamils as a separate nation. Muslims should do the same. In fact, separate schools for tamils and sinhalese should be abolished. its not right. let everybody mix and learn each others language. A lot of problems can be sorted then. Besides, whats point of hurting old wounds now. we have got a good chance to reconcile., so why not take the opportunity.

  14. S. Rasalingam #15,

    Thank you for your views. I am not convinced that ITAK in those early years was fully or even mostly committed to separatism, despite its unfortunate tendency to say different things in Tamil and English.

    V. Navaratnam’s book “Fall and Rise of the Tamil Nation” presents a different picture of ITAK divided among various personalities. Navaratnam himself was an extremist, but on the other hand there were those like M. Thiruchelvam who advocated compromise. It was difficult to get a sense of Chelvanayagam himself- if he was an extremist, then why did he elevate Thiruchelvam and allow him to participate in Dudley’s government in the late 1960s.

    As you pointed out, perhaps ITAK made a mistake in not making common cause with the left parties in those early years (before they too embraced communalism). On the other hand, the left was divided from independence onward despite its early popularity, making it next to impossible to compete with UNP or SLFP. History may have turned out very differently had the left had its act together.

  15. One thing is clear..since “White Masters” left the country, Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim politicians have been taking ordinary people for ride. If you look back, what did those pacts, agreements, discussion,sathyagrah, uprising, civil war bring to ordinary people? Nothing…but they helped politicians to stay in power.

    All the politicos mentioned in the article were close servants of White masters. When white master left the country, these people grabbed the power and continued Suuda’s strategy- devide and control, for mere political advantage. I always believe that our bloody history ( 2 JVP up-rises and LTTE) was the result of these so called leaders.

    Even today Politicians are doing the same thing. There is fundamental problems with our administration system. Even though people elect the government, people have no control over it. We Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim have to be united and change this system for a better future. At least that would let our next generation to live in harmony.

  16. Mr. jeyaraj….article very good for new political party and the new lineage people but some thing error at the time I was 13 year’s school boy. article has to be seen your perseverance for the read’s , thank’s

  17. Anton Balasingham is exactly point out the problem.
    Now Tamils back to the track. But Srilankan democracy still in question?

    UNP was ready to negotiate ‘Regional autonomy ‘ for long standing Tamil question(When Ranil Wikramasinga having peace dialog with LTTE)

    UPFA also promised twice, Mahinda ready to go beyond the 13th Amendment and “home made solution” while dialog with TNA.

    JVP recently express their support for Federal Solution without separation. (Based on internal self determination)

    Then why wasting the time to find permanent solution for the Country’s No 1 priority. Thanks DBSJ for Timely article.

    Bright future? Or Dark past? Sinhala, Tamil speaking Island nations, Current rulers and King makers need to think and action now

  18. It is not a case of TRUSTING a Sinhala POLITICAL party and getting flatly deceived. Matured Tamils must realise that they are representatives of the Sinhalese and they cannot when they come to power implement what they promise secretly to Tamil POLITICAL parties BEFORE elections. Try to exploit their power hunger/political greed and you end up worse off. You cannot achieve FUNDAMENTAL requirements in this fashion.

    Again getting the signature of a Sinhala head of state by arms twisting ( threats of military intervention by India or economic boycotts by the West) will also be utterly futile. Sinhala mases are not yet ready for Tamil Federalism let alone separatism.

    Tamil political leaders have tried extreme forms of non-violence as well as violence. There is a third alternative. That is live peacefully with the Sinhalese and prosper economically. Eventually when the suspicion is paled Sinhalese will accommodate the political requirements of Tamils as a natural consequence of brotherly feeling.

    A solution has to EVOLVE – cannot be cheated out or forcefully extracted.

  19. Politicians promises what thy can;t deliver. same story 50 year ago. That will happen gain if we are not careful.

    Giving up, bargaining power too soon, will end in more tears.

  20. Brilliant articel DBS…. I have to agree with Sira, ask the majority of tamils living in other areas other than the North,
    As long as Jaffna is isolated and kept as a reservation for tamils they can expect step brotherly treatment..
    But if ´they open teir arms and welcome their country brothers and sisters to develop Jaffna and the North things will go well for them and for the whole country

  21. 18. Sira | February 18th, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    The tamil home land is in India. It was not here and never will be. After all the sacrefices we made, it will never be. Sinhalese will not allow mono ethnic communities from now on. Its wrong. tamils must think as sri lankan not as tamils as a separate nation. Muslims should do the ……….

    Sira how about Sinhalese have you forgotten your journey from India with 600 rascals

  22. Well said Carlos, now how about an article from DBS for the solution or how to go about unifying the people of Sri Lanka, I am sure his articles are read by those people in this act who can be given some tips or corrections to their way of thinking thats pulling the country down once again into the black past

  23. I was fully involved with the Federal Party, Chelva was a genuine aspirant of the well being of SL as a country.

    If a federal system was accepted Sri Lanka would have prospered immensely. Both the Sinhalese and the Tamils could have lived happily as one nation!

    The start of the LTTE was the result of continual State Terrorism the Tamils had to put up with.

    One personal example was, when I was at the University, I organised a full day ‘Satyagraha’ at the Wellawatte Hindu Temple verandah. Within an hour, the Sinhala mob surrounded us. We had to organise some devotional songs and dispersed before trouble could start, we went out in small numbers and met at another location for the full day as originally planned.

  24. So the problems of Sri Lanka on 20th century has been, not only racist Tamils. Even the class and castes has been part of our past problems.

    Now the wider world too has found multiculturalism as a “sure fire” failure; lets move on and make this a “one country, one people” in the 21st century.

  25. 7. shankar

    Gentleman Chelva made a big mistake when he fell into the trap laid by sir oliver, when he asked about the unqualified support of the FP for two years for CP. Desilva. He should have just said no problem, not only for 2 years for the rest of his life too. Then he should have told CP don’t take my statement to the GG seriously.If i don’t see progress on your promises from the first month i will pull the rug from under your feet without informing you after review at the end of the month. CP will be wondering every month whether he is going to continue as the primeminister.CP also must have tried a fast one because he was not willing to sign any agreement.

    ————————————————–

    I agree with you in this.

    ——————————————–

    Chelva’s harsh attack on the UNP also was also stupid at this juncture.

    ——————————-

    The UNP had asked for a confidence vote in the floor and he had to talk against it there. You cannot find fault with that. Again in politics who remembers everything that you spoke yesterday.

    ——————————–

    Again some are telling the FP didn’t take any guarantee from the two main Sinhala parties. What is the point in getting a guarantee from a person who will not honor his words.

    It is futile. While I also believe that there should have been a better understanding and practice of the art of politics, you cannot trust both these Sinhala parties. Both of them go back on their words. Added to this is the group of boisterous monkey monks who will put pressure to do their their bidding.

    The non violent or the gentleman politics has still not taken roots in the island nation.

    Tell me what guarantee he could have obtained for his demands.

    They are the persons who have thrown the bc and dc pacts.

    Even now you can see that there is no movement towards the political settlement even after the end of the war for nearly two years, now.

  26. Dear DBSJ! I have only read the Anton’s comments and didn’t feel the need to go further, since I was described about all these events, piece by piece & time and again, by my grand-mother and my father, since I was a child, though now, I don’t remember even a thing about what happened then, and I even care little about it. OK now , explain to me please, in what way, remembering all these things, will help us Tamils? HISTORY, OR HISTORIANS DO NOT HELP US, ONLY TH E HISTORY MAKERS WILL HELP US?

    Like the history made at Mullivaaikkaal?……….DBSJ

  27. 15. Sebastian Rasalingam  

    You are full of distortions. Dsitortion of facts,history,events and even your true name.

  28. DBS,
    Sebastian Rasalingam in hist comment #15 raises a point that has bothered me many times in the past. He has said that the Tamil parties always talked one way in Jaffna and would say something opposite when they are in Colombo. Now I had heard this many times but I always discounted that as a myth perpetuated by Sinhalese hard-liners. Now I hear the same story from a Tamil! Was this a fact or this is just another urban legend that has been used to whip up anti-Tamil hysteria among Sinhalese masses?

    As for your story about Sir Oliver and CPDeS, I am sure the caste was factor there. But what if Sir O wanted the government formed by his buddies from the UNP so he used CP’s caste as an excuse? That is a total “ass-backward” situation where caste system was used to cover up nepotism that would be unimaginable in current Sinhala politics. That was totally possible in the 50s and 60s caste affiliations were still very strong ans the Singhalese of Radala and Govi castes had a sense of entitlement on governing the country.

  29. Late Mr.V.Navaratnam, one of the architects of the satyagraha and non violence campaign, later started the Suyatchi Kalagam campaigning for self rule or separation.

    He used to say Gandhi succeeded in non violence campaign because Britishers were ruling India then.
    If Britishers were ruling Ceylon in 1961, the outcome would have been different.

    Howeve things have changed with Satellites, International Medias, Face books and the likes as we are witnessing in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain & even Libya.

  30. There should be a correction to the date of commencement of the non-violent struggle. It commenced immediately following the introduction of the Sinhala Only Act in 1957 or 1958 with the FP launching demonstration outside the old Parliament building. They were attacked by Sinhala thungs and some demonstrators were thrown into the Beira Lake. This was followed by attacks on Tamil people, their residences and business places in and around Colombo. Emergency was declared and curfew imposed. (Please refer Tarzie Vitachie’s “Emergency 1958”). Protest Demonstrations were held in Jaffna and Batticaloa. The army was deployed there and arrests were made. So the commencement of the struggle should be dated back accordingly. However, DBSJ’s article is well written. It needs wide publicity so that the new Sinhala generation is enlightened of the true reasons and other events connected to the conflict in Sri Lanka.

    DBSJ RESPONDS:

    This refers to the Satyagraha in 1961 not the Galle Face Satyagraha on June 5th 1956 protesting Sinhala being made the sole official language

  31. Canaga #29

    I was fully involved with the Federal Party, Chelva was a genuine aspirant of the well being of SL as a country.

    I believe you. But why was Chelva’s party called “Federal Party” in English and “ITAK” in Tamil?

  32. #35-palan

    He used to say Gandhi succeeded in non violence campaign because Britishers were ruling India then.
    If Britishers were ruling Ceylon in 1961, the outcome would have been different
    ——————————————
    Interesting comment you made. I have always wondered about the viabilty of these types of non violent satyagraha campaigns. In my opinion it will only work when a majority uses it against a minority, not vise versa.In the case of ghandhi the indians outnumbered the british by god knows how much. Britain had so many countries to rule and they did it with a few british officials and a small army of whites while the natives composed the rest of the army and police. So they ruled by cooperation with selected natives whom they cultivated and nurtured. Mass agitations like what ghandhi did would have threatened this status quo and inevitably cracks would have appeared and before the dam burst the brits left. They were also pushed and prodded on the way out by president roosevelt who frowned on this whole empire business and did not want the US to be dragged again into a world war created by the europeans.

    For the tamils living in srilanka to blindly copy ghandhi without studyiing the full picture there shows though they had a lot of paper qualifications by cramming probably, they were not practical fellows.Tamils were outnumbered by 3 to 1 at that time which included the tamils living in the upcountry too, and yet they thought that nonviolent satyagraha will work. The sinhalese because of their numbers and also because they knew that the tamils were a heavily divided community based on caste, class and geographical locations, coundn’t care a fart for these satyagrahis and gave them a good beating.

    If the tamil leaders wanted satyagrahas to work they would have had to do it simultaneously for all the tamils in the country regardless of where they live and all the tamils in tamilnadu and other countries in the world must join in. Then the numbers turn dramatically and becomes closer to what ghandhi did. Then it might work in creating problems for the sinhalese. Just some fellows from jaffna doing a satyagraha without unifying the tamils first will end up in them getting hammered and thrown into the beira lake minus verti and all. How can these fellows unite the tamils when they woudn’t even at that time let fellow tamils to pray with them. Compare and contrast to ghandhi who loved the untouchables and fought for all the downtrodden and was a truly unifying force in india.

    Without unity and majority in numbers satyagrahas and other peaceful protest will not work. If you want to achieve somthing for your people you have to learn the art of politics. Today in western universities i have met people doing degrees in politics. I was surprised and asked was it political science, and they say no it is just politics.

    As for your your contention that if the british ruled ceylon in 1961 the outcome would have been different, i presume you mean that the british would have given into the demands of the satyagrahis and not beaten them up like the sinhalese did. You may be right, but that is again because of the numbers.The tamils would have outnumbered the brits in srilanka by many times. However if the sinhalese joined the brits against the satyagrahis anything could have happenned. Then the numbers change and the brits would have told the satyagrahis to go to hell with their demands, but however they would not have beaten them up if they are peacefully doing it without becoming a nuisance to the general public.The brits had a reputation for justice and fairness in their administration of their colonies, and you can’t expect the same standards from our local descendents of yakshas nagas.

  33. DBSJ, the article describes fine details of negotiation with SLFP, which most people may not know including myself, however based on the comments posted by Sinhalese, it seems it did not achive the desired result. Sebastian Rasalingam, are you really Tamil?

  34. So this was the past. How is it any different now in terms of language and politics.
    We do not have Singhala as the only official language now. which means legally any document in English Sinhalese or Tamil is accepted.
    The no of seats in the parliament is sorted by the Proportional Representation system. No one party can come in through the first past the post system.
    Upcountry Tamils are well represented in Any Government through this.
    Land alienation and development powers.

    This has always been the thorny issue always. Also mixed up in jealousy, greed and for personal gains. I know many Tamil people who have received land through Swarnabhoomi Deeds and are now selling them. Specially along the coast.

    Would appreciate if people who know of these matters respond please.

    Thanks

  35. “February 20th 1961 is a very important date in the history of the Sri Lankan Tamil political struggle to regain lost rights.”

    DBSJ, can you please elaborate as to what rights Tamils lost by 1961.

    Please dont waste my time………..DBSJ

  36. 18. Sira – WHAT YOU ARE TALKING IS NOT RECONCILATION. ANOTHER DISCRIMINATION. BEFORE INDEPENDENT WHEN YOUR POLITICAL LEADERS STARTED THIS ON TAMIL MUSLIMS IN1920’S THEY WENT INTO JAIL. WHO BAILED THEM OUT ? SIR PON RAMANATHAN (TAMIL)

    AGAIN AFTER THE INDEPENDENT YOUR POLITICAL LEADERS WHO REPERESENT THE SINHALA MASS DID THE SAME TO TAMILS OVER 60 YEARS. THATS WHY OUR COUNTRY WENT IN TO THE DARK ERA. STILL DO YOU WANT TO CONTINUE THIS?

    24. Soma “There is a third alternative. That is live peacefully with the Sinhalese and prosper economically. Eventually when the suspicion is paled Sinhalese will accommodate the political requirements of Tamils as a natural consequence of brotherly feeling.”

    TAMILS DID THAT OVER 2500 YEARS. EVEN THEY HAD A SEPRATE KINGDOM IN NORTH(SANKILI) AND ACT AS JOINT RULERS IN SOUTH (KANDY- SRI VIKRAMA RAJASINGAN – KANNUSAMI,KOTTE- PUVENEKAPAKU 5-SENPAKA PERUMAL)

    POST-COLONIAL SINHALA LEADERS MANIPULATE THE SINHALA MASS AND THIS FACTS. IT IS EASY FOR THEM
    TO GET IN THE POWER AND STAY IN POWER BY PLAYING SINHALA AND TAMIL SPEAKING DIFERENTIOL.

    THIS MUST BE STOPED. EVOLUTION WON’T HAPPENED WITHOUT POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT CHANGE. WHEN
    SINHALESE MASS UNDERSTAND THE FACT THAT ECONOMICALY AND INTERNATIONALY SRILANKA CAN ONLY SHINE BY RECOGNITION OF TAMILS ASPIRATION, THEY WILL CHANGE THEIR ‘OLD MINDSET’ GRADUALY.

    BETER THEY ACCOMMODATE DEMOCRATICALY ELECTED TAMILPOLITICAL AUTHORITY TO LEAD ALL TAMILS AND BETER RULE THEIR HOMELAND , WHOLE TAMILS WILL BE CONTRIBUTE TO THE ISLAND FUTURE WITH FULL HEARTED.EVEN THEY WILL SAVE THE GLOBAL MINORITY SINHALESE .

    WITHOUT ANY SUSPICIOS OR CHEATING.

    IT IS VERY TRUE!

  37. 38. shankar

    Nice analysis.
    Without going into the possible next week’s continuation topics,
    if we study Gandhi’s strategies in ahimsa, he adopted a two prong method in Satyagraha.
    Against the British, he encouraged non co-operation, disobedience campaign, peaceful demonstrations & boycotting of imports (thus throwing many British factory workers out of job) but in order to handle local opposition or when his ahimsa method was jeopardized by infightings, he undertook fast unto death campaigns.
    He did not fast against the British, probably knowing they would have let him die without taking responsibility, in the hope of eliminating the trouble spot.

    He did have challenges from many local fronts: Followers of Thilagar & Subash promoting a hard-line approach, about 18 main and over 700 tribal languages, Samasthanams & Jaminthars, Pondicherry & Goa, Untouchables and the Hindu-Muslim division are some. He managed them well except perhaps the handling of Jinna at the latter stage. The important lesson in ahimsa is, ‘an eye for eye makes everyone blind’.

    Compared to that Ceylon was a peanut. Why didn’t our leaders take upon such campaigns when the British rulers were here-before 1948. (or hypothetically if we did not get the independence in 1961)The outcome, though academic only now, would have been different. When the British came there were different kingdoms and they were well aware of it and that’s why they recommended Section 29 and the Privy Council.

    The problem with our leaders, like Pon Ramanathan, C.Suntharalingam, GG, SJV, S.Thondaman etc are, they were British citizens first and Ceylonese second and probably Tamils third. Unlike the Sinhalese leaders (who took the right decision at the right time), they procrastinated too long, and then took the right decision at the wrong time. (this does not admonish VP who took the wrong decision at the wrong time after taking over the sole representative role from other youths(who took the wrong decision at the right time).

  38. Please permit to share my personal experience with all the readers of this column.

    As I was reading the article, I see that issue of language was one of the components of the aborted pact.

    I had visited a small village in the Anuradhapura region. There was a little church of Saint Antony of Padua. Bishop Oswald Gomis ( who retired as the Archbishop of Colombo in the recent past) was the Bishop of Anuradhapura and the chief guest for the celebration of the feast.

    Interestingly the parish priest of that church was Fr. Andrew, OMI who happens to be from Jaffna.

    I participated in the festivities in honor of Saint Anthony. The chief guest was welcomed ceremonially by the parishioners with all cultural solemnities. It was so great and nice how the people incarnated their cultural dimensions into the religious celebration.

    Fortunately I had the chance to have breakfast with the Bishop after the celebration of the Holy Mass that was well participated with great devotion. Only two of us were at the table.

    At the breakfast table, I congratulated the Bishop for keeping the beautiful Sinhala culture alive at the service.

    Bishop knew that I was a layman from Jaffna.

    I tried to make a connection to the ethnic issue in the country. So I began a friendly conversation with the Bishop respectfully.

    As you (Sinhala) like to keep your cultural values alive, the Tamils in this country too would like to do the same. There should not be any hindrance. Is there anything wrong to ask for this cultural right?

    The Bishop answered in the negative!

    But the Bishop attempted to distract me with the killing of the police officers in the North by he Tamil militants

    Culture is something very close to each person of every land. It can be described simply a ‘Way of Life’.

    Every culture is supported by various pillars.
    They are: 1. Land, 2. Language, 3. Economy 4. Education 5. Religion.

    In another school of thought, they have 4Ls: They are:
    1.Land, 2. Leadership, 3. Language 4. Life Styles.

    If you want to destroy a culture, knock down one of the pillars, you will see your culture collapsing.

    If the British had forbidden the Sinhala people not to speak Sinhala, their culture would have been indented.

    If the Portuguese had restricted the practice of the Buddhism, it would have made a difference in their lives.

    Why should the government impose restriction on the use of language? It is a part of one’s culture. As Sinhala language is sacred to the Sinhala people, so too Tamil is to the Tamil people.

    Unless the politicians stand to gain, there should have been no issue with regard to the mother tongue, a birth right, of any citizen.

    Let us say that the Government had not made an issue on language, the Tamils would have learned Sinhala or English to communicate with his fellow country men and Sinhala people would have learned to speak or English to communicate with the Tamils.

    Mr. Bandaranayake wanting to come to power, whipped up Sinhala nationalism. He succeeded, although, it is told that he himself did not know to write Sinhala language.

    Just for a test, let us do away with the current political system and have a referendum among the people of the country, Sinhala people will not have any problem with the language of the Tamils.

    Good governance is one thing and political power is another.

    Let not our politicians mix them and confuse the people.

    Thanks

    Dr. Kathir

  39. against you have proofed your art of writing by bringing this facts to the current generation and to the world who failed to see the past beyone the armed struggele.

  40. Sebastian Rasalingam is an Anti-Tamil hardliner. Even at this age (late 80s) he is taking revenge against the Jaffna Tamils because he was very badly discriminated by high caste Jaffna Tamils which made him settle down in upcountry and marry an Indian/estate Tamil.

    He hates all those Vellala Tamil leaders and obviously supports the Sinhalese. His anger against the Vellala Tamil leaders of Jaffna is reasonable, but what ever he writes should be taken with a pinch of salt.

    It is insane if someone believes what he says as truth, but I have seen many Sinhala writers (hardliners) quoting Sebastian Rasalingam’s comments as absolute truth.

  41. Good article DBSJ what went wrong and why.
    it is as interesting to read 38.Shankar’s & 43.palan’s comments.

    can we learn from the mistakes we made and find new beginings for a humane society in this tiny nation.

    one thing is for sure all sinhala leaders SLFP / UNP were very sure to nip the bub of seperatism. I’m sure even today’s leaders too are very aware of these developments.

    However I’m realy interested in the districts counsil concept discussed by Felix dias bandaranaiyake.

    Can we at present evolve something practicle as ‘distric councils’ which will be acceptable to all communities without any suspecion or bargains.

    one advice to all tamil political leaders please don’t ever give a hint of seperatism to sinhala polity ever. The majority in SL wants one country except for a minority tamil nationalists.

    I’m very alarmed at the reponse of tamil politicians to the woes of tamil fishermaen in the North. Who are they siding with TN or thier people?

  42. Wijayapala # 37
    Questions the Tamil name of the Federal Party – what does a name matter – it is the principles and the manifesto of the party that matters. At the time it was formed, there was no equivalent name for federalism in Tamil.

    The party believed in one country, but federally constituted. Any one can live anywhere independent of one’s race – this is the importance of federalism. Anyone can buy a land in Jaffna to Hambantota, if he is a citizen of the country. This was misinterpreted by the racist governments of the day – for political gains only.

    The two parties competing with each other at election used the race division as a means of power. Is this not true?

    After sixty years of communal violence – where are we today?

    But please answer me – would’nt a federal system of government well constituted – have been the best for SL?

    Lee Kuwan at time of separation from Malaysia, in his inaugural speech stated that if he can bring Singapore to the rich and educated level of Ceylon, he will be happy. That is what Ceylon was then – and what are we today?

    The SL politicians will also have to learn from Nelson Mandella. Let the SL politicians go on collecting money to go into their Swiss banks and the people continue to suffer for ever.

  43. dear jey,
    yet another informative piece about tamil fight for their rights and it happens to be 50th year of the satyagraha.i discuss tamil politics with my colleagues here i am referring to tamilnadu politics.if i am right murasoli maran wrote a book about the rights and aspirations of tamils in tamilnadu.though tamil nationalism died a slow natural death with the advent of dmk coming to power in 1967 and my colleagues say that though tamil nationalism is dead still the reason why murasoli maran wrote the book still remains.history has shown many instances where the struggles,agitations of the past will continue to be relevant becoz the reason for those struggles continue to remain here in case of tamils quest for equal rights it is even more relevant.in this context #18 siri’s comment that tamils homeland is in tamilnadu there fore better go there is rather unfortunate and mischievious.if we use the same yardstick i guess mr.naveen patnaik is ready to welcome you sinhalese with open arms to settle you down in naxalite infested malkangiri forests.world has moved on since 1983 riots which has left a permanent scar on tamil psyche cold war is over,globalisation has brought world even more closer,technology is playing a very crucial role in everyday life of people.it is high time that sinhalese move on rather than join the group with shrill rhetoric this advice applies equally to tamil fringe groups.but it needs a genuine response from sinhalese side one hopes this happens.

  44. DBSJ, whom are you supporting in the canada srilanka match?Whom do you think chelva would have supported if he was still living?Is this the beginning of hambantota becoming the capital of srilanka one day?
    Namal should have captained the side, only for this match don’t you think, because anyway srilanka will win against canada even if 2 or three parliamentarians play?

    DBSJ RESPONDS:

    What do you think of Nehru Gunaratnam captaining and David Poopalapillai vice-captaining the Canadian team?

  45. Its good informative but its not surprissing at all.as its not Mahabharat at all where you keep up your promisses.its utterly dirty politics where you find your survival.other than nothing.

    Was the LTTE product of SJV then.mistakes by mistakes was the history of Tamils Fate.rather blame for some one else all these leaders took any alternate measuures to rectify but instead they worsen the back home Tamils.

    We all fooled by the others that is the reality.few may dont agrre but that what the reality is,then we all thoght we got savier and bring miracle.what the savier did is what we are having now.with big price.

    Now its all depends on this disporas to make good for the Tamils in Sri Lanka.if not soon there wont be enough Teachers to teach in Tamil as we are seeing lot of Doctors are short and they have to bring it from the south.as we are our Doctors are busy in western countrues to serve and see few with comments on this blog.sorry you gentlemen that is how as a ordinary Tamil living under scrutiny thinks.everyone thinks only by sending money is the altration.

    When i read all these comments its shock me how our articulate people are there and how they can make the differnces,and to see the product of our mother Lanka.

    I ll urge Gota to take over the higher education dept and imposs tution fee for the uni in Lanka should be £100 000 regrdless of clour and greed.if the individual cant pay they can study free but give the proffession back home untill the age of 60.seize the paasport.if they wants to leave pay £100 000 back then go and serve the foreigners.as they pride,these westernres loves you all as they dont need to invest you all as ready product on the table.

    What a sad a state of our affairs.

  46. Dr. Kathir,

    You ask “Why should the government impose restriction on the use of language?” Can you lease elaborate on what these restrictions are.

    When Tamil kids have their entire education in the Tamil language at public expense, When they are not even required to learn Sinhala as a second language, When all government publications and documents such as Passports, currency notes, coins, hansard, street signs, signs on public transport etc.. etc.. are printed in the Tamil language where do you see restrictions in the use of Tamil?.

    I would encourage you to compare the status of Tamil in Sri Lanka with the status of Tamil in India or Welsh in the UK for example.

    Can a Tamil in New Delhi educate his kids entirely in Tamil without having to learn a word of Hindi to get into university?

    Is there a single sign, publication, document printed in the Welsh language outside Wales?

    Its easy to single out some obscure inequality that doesnt even affect your life and forget about all the rights and priviledges you do enjoy.

  47. Born in 1960. My father was a regular Suthanthithiran reader. I used to read it regularly in late 70s and 80s. But now only I am reading these details first time.
    Very informative article. Thanks DBSJ

  48. #51-

    DBSJ RESPONDS:

    What do you think of Nehru Gunaratnam captaining and David Poopalapillai vice-captaining the Canadian team?
    ——————————————-
    At least they would have got more than 121 runs.Canadians must have been misinformed that this was a twenty-twenty tournament.

    DBSJ, seriously due you think there is discrimination?Tamils living in srilanka number more than 300000 but not a single guy playing for canada.If so they need another chelva here and if satyagrahas do not work a prabha so that the canadians remove this discriminatory policies for their own good and not get humiliated like this in prestigious international tournaments. If this kind of thing continues i foresee a war between the LTTE and Alqaeda in the future,this time on foreign soil.

  49. “…the real enemy of the Tamil people is not the SLFP but the UNP. It was the UNP Bhikkus who pressured Mr Bandaranaike to taer up the BC Pact” charged SJVC…”

    I don’t hold a brief for the UNP. But it was the SLFP under SWRD that decided to let out the genie from the bottle in the first place. Communal politics began to be institutionalized since then. The UNP followed and since then in the mid-60s the LSSP joined the bandwagon to be followed by the JVP in a more strident form in the 1970/1980s. So just about every major player in the political spectrum did their bit in
    stirring up the communal pot. By no means is the FP/TULF without blame- though, perhaps arguably, far less culpable. As Samuel Huntington took so much of effort to impress in his “Clash of Civilisations” symbols and images are necessary to win elections. So the Tamil bogey was invited – and stays there. And the country gropes in the dark having lost direction and soul.

    ISS

  50. Lovely article Jeyaraj.I learnt a lot about the 1960 period from this aney. Write the next part immediately will you?

    DBSJ RESPONDS:

    Thank you Nelum. Cant write in a hurry no kella. Just wait a week will you aney?

  51. How many times these fedarislts to be told the reason for anti federalism? Sinhalese fear that it is the stepping stone to separatism which they think is the end of their race. So the real debate should be whether fedaralism will lead to separatism or not? I myself fall into the category of people who believe that yes it will in no time. Wicramasinghe concessions – the unequivocal support Prabakaran/Balasingham received – proved that to me in no uncertain terms.

  52. Nice article DBSJ,
    Everybody calls Selva the great. Even VP was fan of him. After reading this article, I feel what an idiot he was! Didn’t VP made the same mistake and lost all out? Why these people are called great leaders when they miss all the golden opportunities and lose big time? You can’t call your self a leader when you lose(fail) every time!
    Keep up the great work DBSJ. Waiting for the next installment.

  53. Dear Canaga #49

    Questions the Tamil name of the Federal Party – what does a name matter – it is the principles and the manifesto of the party that matters.

    The name matters because the Sinhalese never had a clear idea what exactly FP/ITAK was trying to achieve. The common perception was that separatism was the ultimate objective and that federalism was one step towards this objective. Which was the priority- federalism or “Tamil arasu?”

    This was misinterpreted by the racist governments of the day – for political gains only.

    What did ITAK do to correct this misinterpretation?

    The two parties competing with each other at election used the race division as a means of power. Is this not true?

    How did the UNP use race division to with the 1965 election?

    would’nt a federal system of government well constituted – have been the best for SL?

    How? What would the non-Tamils have to gain?

  54. #60-soma

    So the real debate should be whether fedaralism will lead to separatism or not
    ————————————————
    What is there to debate?Just look across the palk strait and see whether tamilnadu has been restless and asking for seperation like here. And mind you that is not federalism in india, it is quasi federalism, unlike malaysia, switzerland, austria and germany, and yet it works well for them. We don’t need to talk about federalism for srilanka. A quasi federal model like in india is more than enough.The central government can dismiss a chief minister of any state, dissolve the state parliament and call for elections, and until elections are held the state will be under central government rule. So if a chief minister talking about seperatism,that is what will happen. If that model is adopted here mahinda can dismiss the chief ministers of the north and east if he feels they are undermining the unity of the country.

  55. Hi Soma
    Sinhalese fear that it is the stepping stone to separatism which they think is the end of their race

    As I am a Tamil ,myself fall into same as you , Yes it will lead to separatism ( we both may be wrong ).
    but I do not agree with end of Sihalese race !
    Please explaim me …

  56. Many people write here about some resolution done prior to the 1948 about the Tamil homeland.

    For your information, the Sikhs also had some such resolution and they represented to the British raj about their need for a separate country in the lines of Pakistan.

    That is for the official purpose only.

    Had you treated the Tamils well later that resolution would have been forgotten and thrown into the dustbin.

    Because of the Sinhala only and many other such things the tamils had to take the Vadukkodai route in late 70’s.

    Okay they are suffering because of that. But even otherwise also they had been suffering there.

  57. and soma,i forgot to tell that under the indian model even talking about seperatism is illegal and you can be thrown into prison.So if we had that model here the whole amirthalingam mob, instead of being the opposition leader, would have been in prison.Fair enough, because the sinhalese would have treated the tamils well and if it was not appreciated, then prison is the place for them.

  58. # 64. Andy lingam

    Dear Andy

    I just gave a piece of Sinhala psyche – not that I myself fear that Tamils will push us into the sea down Hambantota. I only agree with them for the first part, that is federalism will lead to separatism. They further think that a grater Elam will be formed immediately with Tamilnadu and that is the ultimate Tamil ambition as they do not have a separate country of their own so far. I have a suspicion that India also thinks so.

  59. 62. wijayapala

    would’nt a federal system of government well constituted – have been the best for SL?”

    How? What would the non-Tamils have to gain?

    ————————————–

    Unitary nature is not in your constitution. By constitution I mean it is not in your National spirit.. It is there only in letter. What is not in the spirit you want to give life by putting into your written constitution.

    Tamils were living there for aeons. If you have any doubt then please refer to archeologists. Tamils and the Sinhalese are two different races. They have different languages and cultures.

    Mahavamsa mindset says for you that this island belongs to you and the Tamils are invaders.

    If you see with the Mahavamsa mindset you will see unitary constitution only.

    Mahavamsa is a distorted facts of history. It is being dealt with JLD, in a very professional manner.

    If you look into the history of the Sri Lanka objectively then you will understand that your island consists of two races or nations come together.

    India is also a multicultural multi linguistic country.

    We have adopted the model of quasi federalism and we are living in peace.

    This kind of putting some thing which is not in your inherent nature is the root cause for all the sufferings in your island nation.

    This Mahavamsa mind set has prevented you from coming to any reasonable understanding with the Tamils.

  60. Shankar,

    Just look across the palk strait and see whether tamilnadu has been restless and asking for seperation like here.

    If India had no army, how do you think that would have affected Tamil separatism in India?

  61. 66. shankar

    and soma,i forgot to tell that under the indian model even talking about seperatism is illegal and you can be thrown into prison.

    ———————————————-

    I don’t think talking about separatism is illegal in India. Then there are Tamilar Desiya Katchi by Nedumaran. There was also the Thani Tamizhnadu iyakkam.

    Adaindhal Dravida Nadu illiyel sudukadu, like that.

    Dravidian parties have talked a lot about the separate Tamil Nadu. The general public here have not given their support for that.

    Then came a law which prohibited the parties from contesting elections if they talked about separatism and these political parties dropped their Tamil Nation demand.

    I don’t know much about those times. May be DBSJ knows well about them.

    Even now road side meetings are conducted by some fringe groups with police protection.

    Only if your speech leads to violence then you may be liable to prosecution.

    Otherwise it is infringement into your right to speech.

    I believe what I have said is right, though I am not hundred percent sure about it.

    I have read about like that from some magazine.

    India is now organized into linguistic states.

    Mizo people wanted a separate state for them out side the Indian Union.

    What did the govt do. They gave them a separate state called Mizoram within the Indian Union.

    Likewise we have to find solution within some broad parameters.

  62. dear jey,
    there is a healthy debate going on about federalism what is it and how it can be applied in a country like srilanka.dingiri has raised certain valid points to prove that srilanka is not discriminating tamils and their language when compared to other countries.while in india it is not possible to learn tamil in newdelhi i doubt tamils will be interested but there are delhi tamil education schools where you can learn tamil.more than learning tamils have this security that they have got a state where tamil is the state language that sort of reassurement is needed in a country like srilanka.in srilanka one on the one hand you have to deal with sinhalese schizophrenia that they will be outnumbered or if tamils are provided a federal setup it will eventually pave way for separation on the other hand we have tamils who feel that tamil culture can be safeguarded only by an integrated north east which is considered as traditional homeland of theirs.as i have pointed out before in srilanka or any other country we can have all the traits of democracy press,elections,parliamentarians,constitutions but the moot question is whether it is being practised which is hardly.when you have the sense of fear that even if we open our mouth some one will overhear and police or paramilitary will come home it is not a democracy it is a repressive society srilanka is in that stage.it has to be pointed out here middle eastern and north african countries which are facing upheavels also practiced what srilanka is practising.hence the genuine democracy where freedom of speech is guaranteed and judiciary is alive and kicking is necessary if that happen srilanka will become much vibrant a country.it has to be pointed out here about the federal set up in india though it is not a perfect example of federal set up it seems to be somewhere in the middle.most of the states have limited power but central government also pitches in by giving a share of direct taxes which it collects to states so that states can manage its finances.states have full control over police though its officers are recruited through all india service examinations and technically they are deputed to states if they want to submit their resignations they need to address the head of the state here president.politically india has seen many upheavels where congress which has been ruling party for long used to dismiss non congress parties if it did not like them .but here came the judiciary in its landmark case bommai vs central government held central government dismissal illegal and since then central government has been hesitant to dismiss state governments.unfortunately due to lack of confidence in executive judiciary is considered to be a saviour in india which can be found in the 2g spectrum case which you are following very keenly i believe jey .peoples belief in judiciary rather than executive does not bode well for a democracy it means people have lost trust in elected representatives i hope i have contributed mine to this meaningful discussion.jey just want to know am i boring you or others by writing lengthy comments i want an answer ?

    DBSJ RESPONDS:

    No not at all. Your comments provide a lot of illuminating details from a different perspective.Carry on commenting!

  63. 49. Canaga

    The name in Tamil and in English was important because of the very strong perception held by Sinhalese, correctly or incorrectly, that Tamil political leaders were saying one thing in English in Colombo and the opposite to that in Tamil in Jaffna.

    It is rather unfortunate that Tamil politicians, for whatever reason, elected to negotiate in secret with the Sinhala politicians instead of talking and explain their position to the general public.

    Now it is so fashionable for most Tamils to complain about how influential the Buddhist priests are as opinion makers of the Sinhalese. If that is what they really believed, why didn’t the Tamil parties approach Buddhist religious leaders to discuss these matters and see if the Tamil politicians and the Buddhist clergy could find common ground? Now I don’t know if that would have made any difference, but you would not know if you did not try it.

  64. தக்கார் தகவிலர் என்பது, அவரவர் எச்சத்தாற் காணப்படும். ..- குறள்

    One is judged ( Yard stick to measure ) , wheather he is worthy or not, by what, he has left for the history / progeny / country, humanity etc. ( Transilation )

    It applies to all the players / actors, on the platforms of Sri Lanka ,for the last one hundred years , irrespective of any mental or physical or psycological barriers / divisions.

  65. 72. Ranjan, Toronto

    Politicians should do the talking and not the priests. Why should a political party have to talk to Budhist clergy.

    This is mixing up of religion with politics which has caused all the violence to your island nation. May be Sinhala Budhism is violent because Budha an apostle of Non-violence killed Yakkas and drove them away using some Fire or so, when he came over there.

    This suggestion of talking to the clergy is insulting.

    —————————————-

    Now I don’t know if that would have made any difference, but you would not know if you did not try it.

    ————————————-

    I don’t think it would have made any difference because the boisterous and the vocal clergy are more behaving like goondas. If you want an example then you have Somarama and also Budhariktha.

    Certainly there are many such people even now.

    ——————————-

  66. Dear Soma !
    Please do not worry too much about ultimate Tamil ambition of Tamil Nadu (Indians)
    We our One Nation ! that is Srilankan our cour is United States of Sri Lanka !
    Only solution for us to divide ourself to unite together .
    Eg:
    State of Sihalanka
    State of Tamil Eelam
    State of Islam
    Sate of Estate Tamil.
    etc…….

    This is my dream for our Motherland !

  67. 69. wijayapala

    If India had no army, how do you think that would have affected Tamil separatism in India?

    ————————————–

    A Nation is not kept together only by its Army. It is kept together by fair play.

    If the Tamils had disliked the Indian State and wanted a separate state they would have fought against the Army like what happened in your island state.

    Here no trace of any such fight. In fact some fringe groups who advocated a separate Tamil State didn’t get the support of the people and they dropped their agenda for the same.

    Almost all of them have married and settled down. They have said that the people are not for a separate Tamil state now.

    The concept of India has given some thing for everybody. A Kannadiga can feel the same pride of the Indian state as a Bengali, Rajastani and likewise a Tamilian can also feel the same way.

    India is accommodating in spirit.

    We don’t try to solve things through muscle power only. We use the muscle power where it needs to be used but we want to settle the problems once and for all using the negotiation as a tool …. through political solution.

    Don’t talk about India being kept as a single unit by the might of the Army.

    You are insulting our people and our country.

  68. DBS,

    Good informative article once again.
    I would like to see your opinionated conclusions at your articles that could suggest the next action. Bringing the memories make our people to live in the past as they have been doing for 1000s of years.
    Will you try to give your opinions?

    Thanks,
    Je

  69. 68. Mahesh – well said!
    “This Mahavamsa mind set has prevented you from coming to any reasonable understanding with the Tamils.”

    Without changing this mind set they cannot coming to reasonable solution for Tamils which benefit Sinhalese and the whole Island. ‘Racist’ Sinhala Buddhism and ‘Megalomoniac ‘ Sinhala Politicians motivate this
    for their own benefit and leading the country again into dark era.Actualy they don’t care about the country rater Power hungry. Still they haven’t learnt any lesson!

    Poor people what they can do? Like here they can only debate Federalism lead to Separetism? or Not?

    By Nature solution is already there in place!
    2/3 Sinhalese Home Land 1/3 Tamil Home Land .
    Who ever have less land got more sea , who ever have more land got less sea (No discrimination at all)

    Only we have small problem which is recognising each others (home land) and democratic values. If we do we will have United Island of Lanka. (Call Federalism,Socialism, Powersharing,Thamilarasu , Province of Tamileelam whetever -Names not a matter)

  70. For those who wanted to know more about non-violent struggles by the tamil leaders, you may read V.Navartrnam’s “Fall and Rise of Tamil nation”.

  71. Dear Mahesh #68

    Tamils and the Sinhalese are two different races.

    Then why do we look the same?

    They have different languages and cultures.

    Different languages yes. Different cultures no.

    Mahavamsa mindset says for you that this island belongs to you and the Tamils are invaders.

    I don’t believe that the island belongs to “me,” nor that Tamils are invaders. So whatever you think does not apply to me.

    Mahavamsa is a distorted facts of history. It is being dealt with JLD, in a very professional manner

    What is JLD? If you have another version of history, I would like to see it.

    If the Tamils had disliked the Indian State and wanted a separate state they would have fought against the Army like what happened in your island state.

    But if there were no army, like there was virtually no army in Sri Lanka when the war started, then you wouldn’t have had to fight to get a separate state. As I recall, it was the threat of force that led the DMK to back down in the 1960s.

    Don’t talk about India being kept as a single unit by the might of the Army.
    “You are insulting our people and our country.

    I am not afraid when you make critical remarks about Sri Lanka, so you shouldn’t be afraid either when I or anyone else makes observations about India.

    Unlike Sri Lanka, India had a large army at independence because the army was needed to keep the country together. The army was needed to conquer Hyderabad state and Goa. It was needed to hold onto the northeast, Punjab, and Kashmir.

  72. Hi Andy Lingam

    State of Sihalanka
    State of Tamil Eelam
    State of Islam

    Could you tell us exactly where “State of Islam” is? Won’t that cut into “state of Tamil Eelam?”

  73. [The main reason for this was the campaigning by Sirima Bandaranaike. Dubbed as the “weeping widow” by sections of the media Mrs. Bandaranaike drew unprecedented crowds at meetings]
    —————————————————

    By the time she got kicked out in 1977, the whole country was weeping. Just imagine what a clever man like CP De Silva would have done for this country if he was given the job based on merit, without all this caste bullshit. It is a good lesson for srilankans. Please follow the merit path in future. That is what singapore did and they reaped the benefit.

    In fact we had the JVP and LTTE insurrections because we gave precedence to caste over merit.

    Caste is a cancer in our society and i hope the next generation get rid of it completely. One day when they are asked what their caste is they should tell,”i don’t know, only thing i know is i’am a sinhalese or a tamil.

    I believe when the governor general mentioned that “how can i appoint a salagama man as primeminister”, the real reason is the numbers involved. Among the sinhalese more than 50 percent must be govigama, including himself. If you have this mentality that the highest percentage can only rule, then we are gonna have problems.If we can’t conquer that mentality because it is too entrenched in our psyche, then the next best thing is to devolve powers as much as possible with power sharing arrangements, in order to have a harmonious society. The majority of ethnicity, religion and caste can certainly have overall control, but they should share their power with others, otherwise have continous headaches and disunity.

  74. 74. Mahesh

    Politicians should do the talking and not the priests. Why should a political party have to talk to Budhist clergy.
    ——————————

    As usual, you either do not understand what I was trying to say or you are pretending not to understand.

    If the Tamils think that Sinhalese are dominated by the Buddhist clergy and that they are the opinion leaders of the Singhalese, wouldn’t it make sense for the Tamil leaders to go and talk with those Sinhalese leaders who matter?

    If the house dog is trying to bite you, it does not help if you go and try to pacify the cat.

    In #76 you said:
    A Nation is not kept together only by its Army. It is kept together by fair play.

    ——————–

    In that case what is the Indian Army doing in Kashmir? Shouldn’t you withdraw the army and try fair play in Kashmir?

    Why did India deploy Army in Punjab in 1984-84? Did you try fair play or just went in and put down the Punjab separatist movement in one of the most brutal campaigns that Asia had seen? Where was your fair play then?

  75. What if I say; Sinhala polity suspected this so-called non–violent campaigns as a means to divide this country. What if I say, Sinhala polity may have felt the chill of the winds that were blowing from Tamil Nadu at the time.

    In India, people like EVR Periyar had been demanding ‘Dravida Nadu for Dravidian’ since 1930s. When Dravidains other than Tamils showed less and less interest, Periyar and his followers refined that ‘Dravida Nadu for Dravidian’ slogan to ‘Tamil Nadu for Tamils.’ Now, who says that is not a racist slogan?

    So, it was when Tamils of India pursuing aggressively for a separate country that our Tamil brethren of the North started pursuing their own ‘non-violent’ campaigns. True, the “Satyagraha” on February 20th in 1961 had been the high watermark of ‘non–violent’ Tamil politics.

    We wish followers of Chelva continue such campaigns than resorting to terrorism. But, the question is; whether or not Mrs.Bandaranaike duty bound to use force to protect the unity of the country as Prime Minister? After all, many people had been killed by police brutality during Periyar’s ‘non-violent’ campaigns in India as well.

  76. At last. We are in the first 10 of something at least.Colombo has been nominated as the 10th most unlivable city in the world by the economist intelligence unit. The first is harare in zimbabwe.No problem,we will beat it next year. Colombo is unlivable probably because when you are strolling after a nice kothurotti feed you are bundled into a white van and you don’t live anymore.

    vancouver is the most livable city in the world.It has beaten toronto because srilankans preferred toronto while hongkongers preferred vancouver.Second comes melbourne and third vienna.

  77. My uncle was working in excise dept in Jaffna in 1961 – 64

    We went as children to Jaffna for April 1961 holidays. my uncle had rented out house on Swartz lane Chundkuli. We stayed there

    The satygraha time was like a grand festival

    I recall seeing many scenes of the Satyagraha in Jaffna. We also bought stamps &post cards at Satyagraha

    We also saw and heard the army brutality on the ordinary people

  78. I take this oppurtunity to thank DBSJ for bringing important topics from our history to our attention and discussion. I hope what he has put together so well, will make us understand the past in terms of events and guide us to decisions about our future.

    Satyagraha is a term at the centre of Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence. Gandhi himself explained the term as follows:

    “I coined the word Satyagraha in South Africa in order to give a name to the power with which the Indians there fought for a full 8 years (1906 – 1914). I spoke of Satyagraha in order to force a wedge between this power and the movement which was referred to in Great Britain and South Africa as passive resistance.

    Satyagraha is as far away from passive resistance as the North Pole is from the South Pole. Passive resistance is the weapon of the weak and, therefore, the application of physical pressure or violence are not ruled out in the efforts to reach its aims. In contrast, Satyagraha is the weapon of the strongest. The use of force of any kind is ruled out. (…) This law of love is nothing other than the love of truth. Without truth there is no love. (…)

    Satyagraha is also referred to as the power of the soul, because the certainty of an inherent soul is necessary, if the Satyagraha is to believe that death does not mean the end but the summit of the fight. (…) And in the knowledge that the soul outlives the body, does he not wait impatiently to experience the victory of truth within his present body. (…) And despite this, it has been said that the Satyagraha – as we understand it – could only be practiced by a chosen minority. In my experience, the opposite is true. When its basic principles are understood – hold on to the truth and stand up for it through one’s own suffering – then everyone can practice Satyagraha. (…)

    At a political level, however, battle in the name of the people is primarily aimed at taking action against unjust laws. When petitions and all other attempts at persuading a legislator to recognize the injustice of a law have failed, then the only means left open to those protesters, not prepared to obey the law, is to force the legislator to abolish the law. This is done by breaking the law and bringing punishment and suffering upon oneself. Therefore, Satyagraha still appears to the public as civil disobedience or civil resistance. “Civil” should be taken as non-criminal action”.

    [Taken from: Günther Gugel, Wir werden nicht weichen. Erfahrungen mit Gewaltfreiheit. Eine praxisorientierte Einführung, Verein für Friedenspädagogik e.V., Tübingen 1996, 34f.]

    Did we understand the true dimensions of Satyagraha when we resorted to it as a political tool? Were our satyagrahas manifestations of our attempt to resist the opponent or win them over to our cause? Did we submit to the violence unleashed by the state and abandon our efforts? Did we court arrest in our thousands? How long were we prepared to suffer the consequences of our satyagraha? Did we mobilize soul-power on a mass scale or were our efforts a manifestation of tokenism? Were our efforts free of duplicity and based on adherence to absolute truth (Satyam)? Did we persist in our efforts or did we abandon them prematurely? Were we prepared to pursue satyagraha as a political tool for long years by our leaders?

    These are questions that we have to seek answers for, before we declare that Satyagraha was a failure in the political context of Sri Lanka.

    -Dr.Rajasingham Narendran-

  79. 80. wijayapala

    “Tamils and the Sinhalese are two different races.”

    Then why do we look the same?

    ————————————-

    When you are looking the same then why kill each other?

    —————————————

    “Mahavamsa mindset says for you that this island belongs to you and the Tamils are invaders.”

    I don’t believe that the island belongs to “me,” nor that Tamils are invaders. So whatever you think does not apply to me.

    ——————————————–

    I never meant you personally. It is Sinhalese in general.

    —————————————

    “Mahavamsa is a distorted facts of history. It is being dealt with JLD, in a very professional manner”

    What is JLD? If you have another version of history, I would like to see it.

    ——————————————–

    Go and see the articles posted by the JL Devananda. I think you have posted comments in that part also.

    ———————————————-

    “If the Tamils had disliked the Indian State and wanted a separate state they would have fought against the Army like what happened in your island state.”

    But if there were no army, like there was virtually no army in Sri Lanka when the war started, then you wouldn’t have had to fight to get a separate state. As I recall, it was the threat of force that led the DMK to back down in the 1960s.

    ——————————————–

    The people were happy in India. The common man liked the State. Threat doesn’t keep away a person from any thing.

    Bhagat Singh, Raj Guru, Sukh dev knew that they would be hanged if they fought against the British Govt. Yet they fought.

    ————————————————-

    “Don’t talk about India being kept as a single unit by the might of the Army.
    “You are insulting our people and our country.”

    I am not afraid when you make critical remarks about Sri Lanka, so you shouldn’t be afraid either when I or anyone else makes observations about India.

    —————————————-

    I am afraid of any body making criticism against my country or my people.

    I only expect them to do that in a fair manner after putting things in perspective.

    ——————————————–

    83. Ranjan, Toronto

    As usual, you either do not understand what I was trying to say or you are pretending not to understand.

    If the Tamils think that Sinhalese are dominated by the Buddhist clergy and that they are the opinion leaders of the Singhalese, wouldn’t it make sense for the Tamil leaders to go and talk with those Sinhalese leaders who matter?

    ———————————————-

    Then what are the MP’s and MLA’s are elected for.

    The Budhist clergy wields power without responsibility.

    This stinks. You cannot have meaningful discussion with them. They can always say that they do not have powers to implement any thing and they since enjoy power without responsibility will prevent any body coming in to terms, just as it happened post the BC pact.

    ————————————————————

    A Nation is not kept together only by its Army. It is kept together by fair play.

    ——————–

    In that case what is the Indian Army doing in Kashmir? Shouldn’t you withdraw the army and try fair play in Kashmir?

    —————————————

    Why have you not quoted some other sentence I had written.

    I had written

    ‘We don’t try to solve things through muscle power only. We use the muscle power where it needs to be used but we want to settle the problems once and for all using the negotiation as a tool …. through political solution.’

    ————————————————-

    Try to read fully and then post.

  80. Sorry, it should have been

    I am NOT afraid of any body making criticism against my country or my people.

    I only expect them to do that in a fair manner after putting things in perspective.

  81. 85. shankar

    This is very surprising to say the least. I have been in both Colombo and New delhi in the recent past, and with no disrespect to India, if I was given the choice of living in Colombo or in New delhi, it will be no contest as to which city I would chose.

  82. 84. Leela

    Leela you very conveniently forget that in India there was no Sinhala only like act. Nehru gave an assurance in the Parliament to the effect that Hindi will not be imposed on the non-hindis and that assurance is still being honored.

    No going back on accords. No barbaric and blood thirsty bhikkus or sanyasis here.

    Even if some sadhu indulged in politics he will be shunned and the lay man will not then give him any respect as a sanyasi. Exceptions for this could be very very very very very very very less.

    Just because the Dravidian parties campaigned for a separate tamil nadu they were not treated with suspicion in India.

    The general people were against a separate tamil state.

    I believe the same state of things would have been in your island also.

    Excepting LTTE all other militant groups laid down their arms.

    The general public also will be happy to live as equal citizens with honor in your island.

    They would not want a separate nation. They would not have taken to arms had your political leaders and the corrupt monkey monks honored their sentiments and let them live a dignified life without breaking any of the accords all these things would not have happened there.

    You Sinhala budhists conveniently forget your own short comings and blame others.

  83. To whoever said the following:
    //“Don’t talk about India being kept as a single unit by the might of the Army.
    “You are insulting our people and our country.”//

    Can India be bold to introduce a bill that could let the states decide whether they want to be part of India?

  84. 93. Je

    To whoever said the following:
    //“Don’t talk about India being kept as a single unit by the might of the Army.
    “You are insulting our people and our country.”//

    Can India be bold to introduce a bill that could let the states decide whether they want to be part of India?

    ————————————-

    This is out of context.

    I never said that Sri Lanka or any other country should introduce a bill to that effect.

  85. 90. Ranjan,Toronto
    if I was given the choice of living in Colombo or in New delhi, it will be no contest as to which city I would chose.

    ———–

    oh !
    That explains the reasson why colombo has become 10th most unlivable in the world : -)

  86. 90. Ranjan,Toronto | February 23rd, 2011 at 8:37 am
    85. shankar

    This is very surprising to say the least
    ———————————————
    Not to worry. I think some bias has crept up.Good cities are all loaded with australian and canadian and mostly all are western. I think living in a city is always a personal choice. Taste differs and anytime give me an asian city over a western one. I love the noise the crowds and the informality of everything. Strolling through ho chi minh or bangkok is great for me and i would be yawning if it was vancouver,but many others would prefer neat and tidy and very formal western cities.It all depends on the individual, and mass surveys like these do not take into consideration individual preferences. They only go by a general guideline. For example i know that healthcare can be a important factor in the survey.In colombo the private hospitals charge exorbitant fees which ordinary folk can never dream of affording. With relatives sending money from foreign countries only people can afford. many people who go in with a heart attack have a second one and die when they see the bill.

    Any way karachi has beaten us by coming 7th.So we have company in the region.
    —————————————————–

    92. Perera | February 23rd, 2011 at 10:42 am
    #85. shankar

    That is because of the high concentration of minorities.
    —————————————
    I agree with you. Those having the vijaya mob genes should be sent back to bihar.Then colombo might even beat vancouver.

  87. #92-perera

    This might be the reason why srilanka is unlivable. Even a mentally handicapped disabled girl in wheelchair cannot escape being raped by her neighbour in her own house.Adding salt to the wound the police accept bribes and protect the rapist. Now these things don’t happen in bihar. They got rid of their problem 2500 years ago and transferred it to our poor little island.

    http://www.srilankaguardian.org/2011/02/police-man-forced-disabled-rape-victim.html

  88. 87. Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    -‘Satyagraha is also referred to as the power of the soul, because the certainty of an inherent soul is necessary, if the Satyagraha is to believe that death does not mean the end but the summit of the fight.’

    -‘The use of force of any kind is ruled out. (…) This law of love is nothing other than the love of truth. Without truth there is no love. (…)

    -‘When its basic principles are understood – hold on to the truth and stand up for it through one’s own suffering – then everyone can practice Satyagraha.’

    ‘Were our efforts free of duplicity and based on adherence to absolute truth (Satyam)?’-
    ———————————————————————————

    As Always your comments enlightens and focus on the truth and reality.

    I would say the truth/sathyam is that the minority tamil language speaking population lost a basic human right.

    Where the duplicity came in was the claim for traditional homelands for tamils. this devated the sthyagragha to a violent seperatist struggle influenced by descrete tamilnadu tamil nationalism.

    This untruth distanced the other ethnic tamil speaking minorities( muslims/moors & upcountry tamils) away from jaffna tamils.

    this is the greatest mistake the tamil political leaders did and justified the militancy. So at the end of 5 decades tamils are left with nothing. Now they are even isolated from TN to a greater extent.

    Tamil politics and tamil aspirations should correct its course/path to win the lost rights not the mythical ‘traditional homeland concept’.

    Tamil language speaking minority will never come together to win language rights/lost rights unless the ehtnic tamils of Jaffna drop the demand for a seperate state or only ethnic tamils should rule north & east

    This is the truth nothing but the truth.

  89. 96. sjoseph

    Also probably why both New York Times and National Geographic both rated Sri Lanka as one of the top tourist destinations in the world last year.

  90. 95. Mahesh:

    This is out of context.

    ———

    Whenever you find yourself in a tight spot, it is either out of context or it doesn’t apply. Now aren’t that smart.

    That why I always say it is those Sinhalese who waste their time responding to you who are the real morons.

    ———-

    I never said that Sri Lanka or any other country should introduce a bill to that effect.

    ——–

    ah… if been a hypocrite doesn’t work, one can always lie and hope others have short memory.

  91. When you criticize others you pretend to have (continently) forgotten from where you come from, a syndrome known as selective amnesia.

    When you get down from Katunayaka Airport and as you enter Colombo (Paliyagoda Bridge) that area is full of stinking shanties. Is not this place the one and only one metropolitan city in Sri Lanka known as Colombo?

    If you go to places like Orugodawattha, Dematagoda, Grandpass, Thotalanga, Wanathamulla, Maradana, Slave Island, Panchikawatte, Pamankade, and so many other places in this one and only one metropolitan city in Sri Lanka known as Colombo you find plenty of shanties with stinking canals and piles of garbage.

    This one and only one metropolitan city in Sri Lanka known as Colombo is full of dirty stinking places, polluted canals, shanties, and full of beggars, pickpockets, prostitutes, pimps, drug addicts, and what not.

    Colombo is FULL of beggars and there is hardly any public toilet in the city? Most of these beggars live and sleep and poop in Colombo public bus stands and under flyovers.

    The way India and specially its metropolitan cities like Tamil Nadu is developing and turning into an economic boom, I am sure very soon India/Tamil Nadu will start recruiting Sri Lankan women as House maids and cleaners and pay a better monthly salary than U$ 100 what they get from Arab countries. Don’t you think it is better for our women to work as cleaners in Buddha’s land for a better wage than in Arab land?

    The top ten most livable cities

    1. Vancouver-Canada
    2. Vienna-Austria
    3. Melbourne-Australia
    4. Toronto-Canada
    5. Calgary-Canada
    6. Helsinki-Finland
    7. Sydney-Australia
    8. Perth-Australia
    9. Adelaide-Australia
    10. Auckland-New Zealand

    The bottom 10 cities

    1. Harare, Zimbabwe
    2. Dhaka , Bangladesh
    3. Algiers , Algeria
    4. Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
    5. Lagos, Nigeria
    6. Karachi, Pakistan
    7. Douala, Cameroon
    8. Kathmandu, Nepal
    9. Colombo, Sri Lanka
    10. Dakar, Senegal & shares its rank with Tehran (Iran)

  92. # 16 Panhinda
    In your best efforts to safe guard the maritime boundaries of Srilanka with the help of China and Norway you might have enough sea power to say that Maldivians are numerically being a minority. The Big brother is (UN) watching you
    An Eelam citizen

  93. #98 Shankar,
    I don’t know why they call New Delhi as “Rape Capital”

    “Among the worst countries in crime, India has an abhorrent track record in all forms of sexual exploitation. In homes, on streets, in public transports, at offices, even on vacations. No place is safe. And the most terrible fall out of this is the lack of self worth and feeling of degradation following the emotional and physical trauma that constant harassment creates. Such is the recurrence of these incidents that Delhi has earned the ignoble nickname of the ‘Rape Capital’. While most cases go unreported as it is considered an act that puts one to shame, only 20% of the registered cases for sexual harassment reach actual conviction.”

  94. 85. shankar, It is a shame that you post very intelligent comments and then lose control and suddenly post an irrelevant comment deviating the essence of the dialog based on this article.

    Now this comment on colombo one of the worst cities is deviating the dialog of this article as many has felt insulted.

    Please DBSJ don’t let the comments deviate from your article. When this happens the core issue of your article is diluted.

    Please keep a check on them. We look for a plafrom to build a constructive dialog to reach a common goal.

    these comments should appear in that relevant article which I too read but did not comment here as it is irrelavant.

  95. 103. TikiriBanda Appuhamy

    The way India and specially its metropolitan cities like Tamil Nadu is developing and turning into an economic boom, I am sure very soon India/Tamil Nadu will start recruiting Sri Lankan women as House maids and cleaners and pay a better monthly salary than U$ 100 what they get from Arab countries. Don’t you think it is better for our women to work as cleaners in Buddha’s land for a better wage than in Arab land?
    —————————————————

    That is good news because it probably will take pretty much everysingle housemaid and cleaner in Sri Lanka to clean up the garbage and filth in the Indian cities.

  96. 101. Navin

    This is out of context.

    ———

    Whenever you find yourself in a tight spot, it is either out of context or it doesn’t apply. Now aren’t that smart.

    That why I always say it is those Sinhalese who waste their time responding to you who are the real morons.

    —————————————————-

    Navin agree with u fully now i completely ignore Mahesh’s comments as I ‘m quite bored with his bigotory.

    Dear friends also I want to correct myself regarding one of my previous comments – 47. TRN | February 20th, 2011 at 1:22 am,
    ‘However I’m realy interested in the districts counsil concept discussed by Felix dias bandaranaiyake.’

    The concept was not FDB’s but SLFP’s.

    I feel there is much more hope to start with on this DC concept than federalism.

  97. 101. Navin

    Can you quote me where I have said I support separation of a part of a country through introduction of some bill or so.

    You are trying to put words into my mouth.

  98. My father took his whole family to the 1961 satyagraha campaign. I was eight, siiting with the crowd and wondering why I was there. Now I thanked my father for taking me to the campaign ….freedom is our birth rights.

  99. Thank you DBSJ for opening this restoring session.
    If one abandons the principles in favor of privileges he has to loose the both.
    Ghandi said be the Change what you want to see in the world. He had clear vision so He knew what he had to do and should not do.
    Gandhi also got upset with the partisan of India. he explained it as” what I feared about is happened” so we pray god to be brave Eelam citizens.
    Thank you
    An Eelam citizen

  100. #108-TRN

    I feel there is much more hope to start with on this DC concept
    ————————————————
    Too little, too late. Quasi federalism is the answer.Much water has flown under the bridge since felix dias bandaranayaka.

  101. Navin, your comments show you are a good thinker. your comment about mahesh is correct. sadly the fellow is a waste of time. but DBSJ has given all people the right to express their openions in this blog

  102. 109. Mahesh:

    101. Navin

    Can you quote me where I have said I support separation of a part of a country through introduction of some bill or so.

    You are trying to put words into my mouth.

    ————

    Sorry my mistake. You have championed the unity and territorial integrity of this country.

  103. [It is an incontrovertible fact of contemporary history that all the Governor – Generals, Prime Ministers and Presidents of Sri Lanka have been from the Govigama caste with the singular exception/aberration of Ranasinghe Premadasa.]
    —————————————————-

    This is i believe the root cause of our disunity.Why can’t a non sinhala bhudhist and non govigama become the president?It is because people are choosing their leaders on tribal patterns here. And they also don’t want to devolve powers and let the other non govigama non sinhala bhuddhists run their own affairs. They want to have the cake and eat it too.If the tribal mentality is too ingrained in their psyche then they have to let go of some of their power too so that others not of their tribe can do a better job than them for their people.

    As for premedasa it was a fluke shot. He was loyal hardworking deputy for so long, but when it came to his turn to take over, there was a big fuss. Gamini and lalith were putting pressure on JR to give the job to them, because they knew they had the caste factor in their favour. Premadasa had to go every day to ward place residence and fight with JR, so much so that MRS. Jayawardena had to ask him to leave because she was concerned about her husband’s health.All credit should be given to JR that he withstood all the pressure around him by the govigama caste and made way for his loyal deputy.

    When i used to drive in rural areas on pretty good roads people used to tell me it was done by premedasa for the gamudawa.If you look at his career no politician would have done so much for the poor people. This was by a so called low caste.

  104. 113. shankar | February 25th, 2011 at 2:47 am
    #108-TRN

    I feel there is much more hope to start with on this DC concept
    ————————————————
    Too little, too late. Quasi federalism is the answer.Much water has flown under the bridge since felix dias bandaranayaka.

    ____________________________________________
    Shankar now u are taking !!

    I’ll quote from the above article about DC & B-C packt.

    ‘What the SLFP proposed instead was the setting up of District Councils for each administrative or revenue district. There were 22 then. Each district council would in essence have the powers and functions as envisaged for the Regional council.

    The Jaffna,Mannar, Vavuniya, Trincomalee and Batticaloa councils would have Tamil dominated administrations. The SLFP re-iterated that the basic powers of the Regional council would be available under the District council also. ‘

    ‘That was the agreement signed by SWRD Bandaranaike and SJV Chelvanayakam in June 1957 known as the Banda – Chelva or B-C pact.

    This pact agreed to set up one regional council for the North and two for the east with provision to amalgamate. It also agreed for positive measures on the use of Tamil in administration and in courts and set out guidelines on colonisation.

    ———–

    since 1957 there had been severe resistance for federalism. the water that flown under the bridge had been blood stained. We should not go back to that era again. should not repeat the same mistakes again.

    2 imporatant facts that the sinhala nationalists will not tolerate are:
    1. the amalgamation /even provision for amalgamtion of the north & east provinces.

    2. giving 2/3 of the island to be ruled by a minority ethnic group.

    DC are smaller regions. all districs should have provision to protect the rights of its citizens and all disticts should have equal allocation of money for education, health, transport, ect.

    If the sinhalese see that tamils are only asking for basic human rights there will be more ground for the moderates to stand from both ethnicites.

    I am a moderate hoping for a sustainable and a peaceful solution to this bloody conflict.

    Wisdom and pragmatism is needed to learn & relearn from our past mistakes.

  105. 117. shankar | February 26th, 2011 at 1:46 am

    This is i believe the root cause of our disunity.Why can’t a non sinhala bhudhist and non govigama become the president?It is because people are choosing their leaders on tribal patterns here. And they also don’t want to devolve powers and let the other non govigama non sinhala bhuddhists run their own affairs.
    ———————————————-

    Now// shankar, your accusations are against the people , the voters that mean the common man for choosing the leader in a tribal mindset??…. No/// get it right my dear, it is the party & the party seniors that choose the candidate for presidency or leadership. It was the governor general who declined the power sharing of FP & SLFP then led by CP De Silva not the voters.

    Since Premadasa was nominated from UNP he became a mayor of colombo and the priminister and also the president of Sri Lanka. The people were with him only the political power horses were against him. Mr Premedasa was a very popular leader among the common man.

    What happened to Vijaya Kumaranathunga? He was a very popupar politician among the common people but how did he loose by a single vote the mahara electorate in 1980s? Who was responsible?

    Even today what’s happening in UNP? Any party for that matter in SL the class system prevails, except may be the leftists parties & LTTE.

    please don’t blame the ills of the ruling class on the common man be it sinhala , tamil or moor.

  106. #118-TRN

    [The SLFP re-iterated that the basic powers of the Regional council would be available under the District council also. ]‘
    ———————————————
    See the words basic powers. It does not say all the powers. Commonsense says it will not be costeffective if you have 25 completely autonomous units.The only way you can make it viable is to reduce the powers and thus reduce the costs. That is what they would have had in mind and therefore mention basic powers.Even now 9 provincial councils is too much.The maximum should have been 5 for a small country such as ours.
    ————————————————-

    [since 1957 there had been severe resistance for federalism]
    ———————————-
    That is because they can’t understand what it is. They think it is seperatism.The tamil leaders also made it worse by bringing in seperatism in their agenda. Then when you switch back to federalism the ordinary sinhalese masses cannot understand.They think it is a stepping stone or another word for seperatism. As someone pointed out in this blog why did the federal party called itself arasu in tamil.
    ————————————————
    [2 imporatant facts that the sinhala nationalists will not tolerate are:
    1. the amalgamation /even provision for amalgamtion of the north & east provinces.

    2. giving 2/3 of the island to be ruled by a minority ethnic group]
    ————————————————-

    That is not a problem at all. The extent of devolution is more important than the unit. You can always give substantial devolution keeping the north and east as seperate provinces. If someone is insisting on amalgamation the sinhalese can ask them are they really interested in devolution or something else.

    As for ruling the north and east i don’t think that is the correct word.Administering and running their own affairs will be more like it. In a quasi federal system the ruler will be the president and he can dismiss anybody he wants to if it is in the national interest.He may have devolved his powers, but he has not abdicated them.

    Also i don’t know what the fuss is all about because we are not giving any special powers to the north and east. They will get exactly what the other provinces get.So their is no special status for them as a seperate linguistic or ethnic regions.

  107. Re. Shankar (#117)

    Gamini and Lalith opposed Premadasa as successor to JRJ not on the caste factor. By then Lankan society evolved during that period – both Sinhala and Tamil- caste factor was receding into the background in our public life- as it must. . I believe they opposed him from the angle that the President of the country ideally should have an established background of learning. The yardstick, even in the 1980s – was a sound English-knowledge, which Premadasa lacked. Lalith was a Royalist; alumni of Oxford University and Law Lecturer. . Gamini – Trinity, Lawyer and (later) Cambridge. Whether one likes it or not today, those were features by which leadership qualities were judged. They still carry weight as today”s “Nobody’s who want to be somebody’s” are packing their chooti poothas and ratharang duwas to the better known Colombo schools, wich, after all is a universal trait. . That was one essential prerequisite to be accepted as a leader of the country who would enhance the country’s image both here and overseas. Premadasa’s claim he was a product of St. Joseph’s College, Darley Road to this date remains obscure and challenged. His own pronunciation of simple words like “LTTE” and “SSC” gave him away. If he was a product of St. Lawrence School, Panchikawatta – as generally known – there is absolutely nothing wrong with this. Some of our more respected leaders came from Central and small schools. That they came from lower strata of society adds to our political culture and pluralism.

    Like his educational and cultural background Lalith and Gamini noted Premadasa and his associates will take our political journey to a different and unacceptable path. That they appear to have done. Soththi

    Upali – who was used by CBK’s Coalition in 1993 for publicure censure and condemnation in her campaign – was a product of that time promoted by Maru Sira. Politics began to be criminalized by then. Criminal elements who remained in the background unseen were propelled forward with some sitting in the Chairs of PIC’s in Police Stations – with the once neutral policy forced to salute them. That culture has now pervaded into the higher echelons of our governance to the extent today the three most influential and powerful groups – with private armies behind them that they use handsomely at the behest of the polital leadershio – are all 3 men from the underworkd.

    JRJ was reasonable by Premadasa although the latter was an anti-JR and Dudley product until 1973.

    JR needed RP’s goons and infra-structure and kept him close. Premadasa, meanwhile, was a good worker and caught JRJ’s eyes in the 1965 Govt as Tiruchelvam’s deputy. His contribution to the UNP

    Campaign machinery in 1976-1977 in the populous Colombo

    ISS

  108. Re. Shankar (#117)
    Gamini and Lalith opposed Premadasa as successor to JRJ not on the caste factor. Lankan society sufficiently evolved during that period – both Sinhala and Tamil- to the extent it was receding into the background in our public discourse – as it must. I believe they opposed him from the angle that the President of the country,ideally, should have an established background of caliber and learning. The yardstick, even in the 1980s – was a sound English-knowledge, which Premadasa lacked. Lalith was a Royalist; alumni of Oxford University and Law Lecturer. Gamini – Trinity, Lawyer and (later) Cambridge. Whether one likes it or not today, those were features by which leadership qualities were judged. They still carry weight as today”s “Nobody’s who want to be somebody’s” are packing their chooti poothas and ratharang duwas to the better known Colombo schools. This, after all is a universal trait. . Those features were considered essential prerequisites for acceptance as a leader of the country who would enhance the country’s image both here and overseas. Premadasa’s claim he was a product of St. Joseph’s College, Darley Road to this date remains obscure and challenged. His own pronunciation of simple words like “LTTE” and “SSC” gave him away. If he was a product of St. Lawrence School, Panchikawatta – as generally known – there is absolutely nothing wrong with this. Some of our more respected leaders came from Central and small schools. That they came from lower strata of society adds to our political culture and pluralism.
    Lalith and Gamini noted in par with his wanting education and cultural background Premadasa and his associates will take our sublime political journey to a different and unacceptable path. Soththi Upali – a characteristic product of the time promoted by a Premadasa lieutenant one dubbed Maru Sira – was targeted for attack by the main platform speakers of CBK’s Coalition. Both were presented to the public as the kind of unholy product of the UNP’s 17 year rule in 1993. This touched a chord with the then post-1989 mood weary of the brutalities of both the JVP and the State apparatus. The predicted public censure and condemnation in her campaign was a rich harvest that gained for CBK the Presidential mantle. The Police were not bowing out of fear and in meek submission. The street-wise cops were lining their pockets with their now legitimised dregs in society marching hand in hand as partners in crime. Politics rapidly began to be criminalized by then. IRCs and gangsters – who remained in the background unseen – were propelled forward. Decent society was shocked to learn some rotten eggs were even sitting in the Chairs of OIC’s in Police Stations – with the once neutral Police forced to salute them. That virus since then has advanced to a contamination that has pervaded into the higher echelons of our governance to the extent today the three most influential and powerful groups – with private armies behind them that they use handsomely at the behest of the political leadership – are all 3 men from the underworld with a trail of Police records against them in killings, murder, kidnappings, abduction for big money, drug-trafficking, arson – and you name it they did it. We had a sample of that in the Borella Junction area on February 04 with paid thugs not even sparing some of the once most beautiful women in the world.

    JRJ was reasonable by Premadasa although the latter was an anti-JR and a Dudley product until 1973. JR needed RP’s goons, infra-structure and catchy rhetoric on the stage. So he kept him close in a win-win relationship from which both gained. Premadasa, meanwhile, was a good worker and caught JRJ’s eyes in the 1965 Govt as M. Tiruchelvam’s deputy. His contribution to the UNP campaign machinery in 1976-1977 in the populous Colombo District brought rich rewards in JRs books. He quickly moved to catch the populous eye with the million-houses, Gam Udawa, 200-Garment factories programmes in the interior etc that developed roads, towns and changed the face of the South are factors to which he must be given adequate credit. It is said if RP was alive he would have settled the Tamil issue and would have brought the Tamils into the fold. By then, VP was seduced by his own visions of grandeur and history changed course. Sajith, on the other hand obtained the right education – with a UK background included- and finds himself in a situation where the caste factor will hardly dilute his claim in an upward political journey.

    ISS

  109. 121. shankar

    Your answer is really good. But I do think your views or similar views will not be properly understood.

    ——————————–

  110. Thank you, DBS, for helping to internalize the great memories of 1961 where my late father was an active participant along with his close associate SJV whose name he gave to my elder brother. Wonderful piece. keep it up with such important documents lest our community will forget the glorious past.

  111. 125 Mahesh & 121. shankarYour answer is really good. But I do think your views or similar views will not be properly understood

    TRN will talking about ‘ Road Council’ in next 5 Years,
    They are the good talkers like their political leaders.
    Another fuss they say ‘oh we can’t setup a time frame for politicals solutions’

  112. Yes people like TRN still in the Reverse gear, they cannot think about country’s future federalism with Tamil Authority or Tamil Parliament in North East Province.

    Read his statement carefully you will clearly understand the TRUTH.
    “Tamil politics and tamil aspirations should correct its course/path to win the lost rights not the mythical ‘traditional homeland concept’.

    Tamil language speaking minority will never come together to win language rights/lost rights unless the ehtnic tamils of Jaffna drop the demand for a seperate state or only ethnic tamils should rule north & east

    This is the truth nothing but the truth

    THEN WHAT THE HELL ONLY ETHINIC SINHALESE TRYING TO RULE THE WHOLE ISLAND? IF YOU ARE MAJORITY IN YOUR HOMELAND ,WE ALSO MAJORITY IN OUR HOMELAND. SAME PRINCIPLE APPLY TO US AS WELL. YOU DONT WORRY ABOUT OUR LANGUAGE RIGHTS (WHO ACTED AGAINST US ON 1958?) WE KNOW HOW TO WIN THAT WITH MUSLIM TAMILS AND UPCOUNTRY TAMILS.

  113. DBSJ

    Just to light up things a bit a small joke that fits into my sense of humour. If you feel it will distract with further comments on it dont show it. Bloggers please don’t comment on this and get all hot under the collar. It is only a joke.joke.joke.

    ”Bush , Cheney and Rumsfeld went into a bar, they were discussing whether to attack Iraq. While sitting at the bar they asked two other patrons what they thought of the idea of killing 600,000 Iraqi people and a blonde with big breasts. The two guys both immediately responded ,”why a blonde with big breasts ?” Rummy and Cheney turned to Bush and said, “see, we told you no one would care if we killed 600,000 Iraqis “

  114. There is a news which says that the ashes Parvathi Velupillai were desecrated. Can it be true. Only Tamilnet and those people are talking about it. Now the Tamil twice weekly’s like Nakkeeran and Junior Vikatan have also come out with such stories.

    I don’t believe them to be true. But when so many people are talking like that I want to know the truth. Can someone tell about its authenticity.

  115. Hi DBS,
    This is another excellent piece analyses each historic event and gives the background as to how & why it happened, under sub heading ‘Binding’. As I was too young to understand anything, this helps to fill in some gaps and reconcile what I heard as 2nd hand info.

    Comment 15 adds colour to this topic. Specially Maradana declaration in 1949 reconciles with some of my grandfather’s writing in 1930’s where he stated SJV and the FP clan should be put behind bars, even I can’t comprehend what reasons
    he based upon at the time to take such a position, my guess is the similar action taken by Prime minister Nehru where some elements in Tamil Nadu spread separatist seeds to break away from Indian union. At the same token Ceylon also wanted to exist as one country.
    Anton’s quote is controversial when he minced words like Sathiyagra, Ahimsa military terrorism, like Jihadists claim they picked Ahimsa concept from Mahathama Ghandi to protest against injustices. Dispersing peaceful protest thru violent means is undemocratic and it is unfortunate to see violence has always been there to control protesters. According to some sources present regime even worse.

    SJV must have antagonised Sinhalese as well as Colombo Tamils whose wisest piece of advice was ignored i.e. to support Dudley’s gentleman politics whom were in vantage position to understand the psyche of both sides. If SJV resurrects today he will realise that he betrayed then UNP and supported a party who aligned with Idi Amin, Gadafi type of non democratic regimes the world witnesses today.
    It isn’t a secret whatever party came to power, gentleman politics disappeared from Ceylon since 1970 and that built distrust among Tamil community over the years. A fine Tamil gentleman, lawyer by profession lived in our neighbourhood came from Jaffna in 1947 said it was the politicians who messed this country, average citizen in the community aren’t racist. He passed away 3 month ago in a foreign land.

    We always wise in hindsight, however it appears to me SJV’s actions and poor explanation spread suspicion among Sinhalese and gave way to conspiracy theorists if any at the time that FP means separatism not federalism. On the other hand he gave a wrong signal to Tamil community that B-C pact will be implemented and raised their hopes as he knew it was a carrot.
    Hope present Tamil leadership has a mature mindset to understand political reality and address present issues rather than historic issues and resolve amicably.

    I can’t understand why Sir Oliver and SJV were whispering about caste issues who weren’t Hindus, as I believe Ceylon’s declaration of independence was free from caste and religious issues and leaders take an oath to stand above them similar to USA.

  116. dear jey,
    i read with concern a newsreport published in local magazine junion vikatan about parvathi ammal ,prabakarans mother final rites in velvettithurai.it said people were put into much convenience while they were paying homage to her.in fact srilankan army made it difficult for people to come near the place where her body was kept.after the ceremony according to yaypanam tradition body was cremated and next day when relatives went to collect the ashes they were shocked to find half burnt dogs along with it.there are two opinions when it comes to what prabakaran did for tamils in srilanka whether it was constructive or destructive attitude of sinhalese is really intriguing.they hate tamils but their hatred of tamils cant border on barbarism .iss (ilayan seran senguttavan)i am a great fan of your writing i never fail to read your comments which is borne out of erudition i wish you have a blog so that people like me can learn a lot from you.

  117. 121. shankar
    ‘Commonsense says it will not be costeffective if you have 25 completely autonomous units.’
    ———————————————–
    I never ment complete autonomous units.
    My observation here in SL that smaller units like local governments are more effective than the larger units of provinces.
    The larger the province the poor infrastucture development and more descrimination to the remote areas of the province. There is enough evidence & statistics to look for if one is interested.
    ===============================
    In a quasi federal system the ruler will be the president and he can dismiss anybody he wants to if it is in the national interest.He may have devolved his powers, but he has not abdicated them.
    ————————————————–

    So here u contradict your selve of complete autonomy…

    Any way let the debate continue and let there be a sustainable solution.

    Today news says TNA & UPFA are having discussions on devolution … lets wait & c what the out come will be and how the nationalistic elements respond to them.

  118. #135-puma

    When we become a singapore i wonder how to grow vegetables in kelaniya when there is no backgardens at all, only towering skyacrapers. Somebody should ask him that so that he can start planning for the future.

  119. Very interesting article. This first I have read, which gives real detail and not spin (perhaps). The tragedy of the years of loss and conflict is that a few prevailing political Sinhala (SLFP) individuals poorly executed policies, resulted in a pointless escalation of violence by a minority of Tamils. In the end the majority of the SriLankan people of all ethnic classes had to suffer for the actions of a few. The armed campaign could never be justified by the Tamils Tigers. Insecurity is born out of ignorance. Maybe both Sinhalese and Tamils can zero the clock and move on after learning from past actions.

  120. 138. shankar

    It actually looks like the Yakshas stonning Kweni to death 2497 years ago, for exposing the virgin territory to Vijaya.

  121. #62 Wijeyapala
    #72 Ranjan:
    Comments of FP and TAK is not right, in the sense the devolution of power and agreements are finally on the ruling party’s decision. The devolution of power was of prime importance.

    If that devolution had happened under acceptable conditions, the FP and the tamils would have agreed to it. Any change to the accepted agreement can not be arbitrarily done, except by agreement with the party in power – as it has happened to the Tamils! This was very unfortunate and the SriLankans are paying the price now and this will be for a very long time to come.

    As I had stated earlier, SWRD was in favour of a federal constitution, and has written in a number of articles, from memory I believe one in the Ramanathan College magazine ( I may be wrong). All this was prior to his coming to power. This was the biggest mistake the SL power politics has made.

    #87 & #99 Dr. Rajasingam Narendran has described Sathyagraha well. Does he not agree that SJV believed in this fully? I feel that SJV was a very great Tamil politician.

    Why are we all arguing on all this, without any courage to find an acceptable solution? The average Sinhalese are very kind non racial, the politicians had created all the racial feelings to come to power! I have worked for many years in the Sinhala populated areas and got on well with them. Thank god I left SL in 1971 – when it was Ceylon!

  122. (53. dingiri | February 20th, 2011 at 10:55 am

    I would encourage you to compare the status of Tamil in Sri Lanka with the status of Tamil in India or Welsh in the UK for example.
    Can a Tamil in New Delhi educate his kids entirely in Tamil without having to learn a word of Hindi to get into university?)

    Mr.Dangiri,

    Yes. A tamil or malayali in Delhi can choose to study in his or her own language. There is no compulsion to learn hindi. It is altogether different issue that many decide to study in Hindi alone and leave their mother tongue at home. But, this has evolved over the years in India and without any sort of coercion.

    This is the beauty of India. Tolerance ultimately brings in harmony and unity. Though there are some separate groups operating and terror attacks in India, the country has not faced a situation like srilanka (or present day pakistan), mainly due to the ethos instilled by great and tolerant leaders like Gandhi, Nehru etc. Srilanka do not have a leader who is revered across the country. You don’t have icons and you don’t have tolerance. This is the problem.

    You have asked about tamil language in currency notes etc. I see this comment by many sinhala hardliners. Please obtain a Indian currency note. You will find all national languages there, including tamil. India has had two tamil presidents in the past despite Tamils being far less in number as a percentage in the country.

    You had got a beautiful country from British and let it go waste. India got a poor country and was torn during its birth. But, it allowed a unified culture to emerge and it finally became a melting pot of cultures, races, religions and regions.

    Good example is the recently conducted world cup match. Wankhede stadium had rajini, gajini and Dhoni all together (Amitabh Bachan uttered this famous statement. rajini = a tamil actor, maharashtrian by birth married to a tamil and settled in tamilnadu, gajini= aamir khan, a muslim actor married to a hindu director, dhoni = cricketer from jharkhand). This is the achievement India could make after it got freedom from british.

    Racial hatred and clinging to past history doesn’t help build a nation. Good example of this bad nation building is Srilanka.

  123. (Yes. A tamil or malayali in Delhi can choose to study in his or her own language.)

    I should add here. Delhi has lot of schools run by Tamil associations, Malayali associations, Andhrites. These are funded by the Government of Delhi and some receive grants from the State governments too.

    People of Delhi enjoy going out and eating at tamil restaurants. The tamil restaurants charge more, but do brisk business there.

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