Self-determination for Sri Lanka’s Tamils: Solution professed by Tamil Diaspora and its local appendage
Posted on February 20th, 2012

Asada M Erpini

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA), buttressed by the Global Tamil Form (GTM) and the anti-Sri Lanka human rights crusaders in the affluent countries, continues to insist on self-determination and the granting of land and Police powers to the North-East. In January the GTF demanded irreversible autonomy to Tamil speaking people in the areas of historic habitation.

 Two aspects that warrant attention are the elaboration of “Tamil speaking people” and correction as regards areas of historic habitation. These are two catch phrases that keep on surfacing whenever those who wish to see peace dawning in Sri Lanka discuss the problems that the country faces.

 The categorisation Tamil speaking people lumps the Moors of Sri Lanka and the Tamils living in the Up country plantations with those from India who landed on the shores of Sri Lanka in the 12th and13th centuries AD. It is only a section of the last group that now claims a pristine right for a mono-ethnic area of habitation in the North and the East of Sri Lanka for themselves. The latter’s vociferous, globe-trotting representatives present self-determination for them as the panacea for all the ills of Sri Lanka. A point that they conveniently brush under the carpet is the number whom they can claim to represent reportedly constitutes less than 4% of the population of the country at present.

 The propagandists of a Tamil enclave in the North-East ignore the fact that prior to their arrival there were numerous Sinhala settlements in the “ƒ”¹…”areas of historic habitation’ of Tamils in the Northern and Eastern Provinces.

 The ruins of a stupa at the point of landing of Theri Sangamiththa in Sri Lanka in 288 BC, soon after Mahinda Thera had arrived in 247 BC, is found in Delft.  The Vallipuram gold leaf from the period of the reign of King Vasabha (65 “”…” 109 AD) states in Brahmi script that “in the reign of Vasabha, his minister Isigirya administering Nagadipa built a vihara bearing the name Piyangukatissa at a place called Bandakaraatana.” Nagadipa, over time, had got transformed into the present day Nainativu. Sixty Buddhist stupas were discovered in Kantarodai (Katurugoda in the past) in 1919 and a pillar in the same region had Sinhalese inscriptions of the 9th century.

 One of the best sources of information that nullifies the “ƒ”¹…”traditional homeland’ myth that has been propagated by the Eelamists is the PhD thesis that Kathirgesu Indrapala, a Tamil himself, had submitted to University of London in 1965, long before the “ƒ”¹…”ethnic conflict’ and the highly publicised “ƒ”¹…”deprivations and persecution of the Tamils by the Sinhala people’ stole the limelight in the Western media. Indrapala clearly states that there was no evidence of Tamil settlements in the North prior to the 9th century and that the Southwards movement of Tamils started in the 11th century. He mentions numerous stone artefacts bearing inscriptions about the rule of Sinhala kings that had then being turned into, and even turned around to become, stepping stones in Hindu temples in today’s Jaffna. Incidentally, the dissertation was supervised by the Head of South Asian Studies of University of London at the time, a Briton who had no special connection to Ceylon. Later on in the history of Sri Lanka, it was the Kandyan Kings, Senerat (1604-1635) and Rajasimha II (1635-1687), who gave land and allowed the Moors to settle in the East when they were being persecuted by the Dutch. In 1659 when Robert Knox was stranded in Trincomalee, it was the soldiers of the Kandyan King, Rajasinghe II who captured him.

 The above references, which constitute only a fraction of the historical evidence, are not to press for a claim for Sinhala Buddhist enclaves in the North or the East. It is merely to highlight that the world has changed over the past centuries, and people in Sri Lanka, including the TNA and its supporters, should be ready to accept the changes. Just as the Tamils originating in Jaffna have come Southwards and settled in Kandy or Colombo, and are living in harmony with and facing no opposition from the other ethnic groups, the Sinhalese and the Moors, and any others, should be in a position to settle down in any part of the country including the North and the East, if they so wish.

 If the structure of governance of Sri Lanka is ever to be changed, it is the Sri Lankan nationals, especially those living in the country at present, who should decide the need for such an amendment and the format it should take. The Diaspora Tamils who had left Sri Lanka for good in search of greener pastures and had obtained citizenship in the affluent countries should enjoy the manna from heaven that they have now received and, if they have time and energies to spare, should deal with issues in the countries that adopted them. Additionally, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), which in effect constitutes the Sri Lanka-arm of the GTF and is an offspring of the LTTE, should stop harping on the hackneyed theme of a settlement of the “ƒ”¹…”ethnic problem’ based on the 13th Amendment. TNA represents a minuscule proportion of the electorate in Sri Lanka and the noise that they make demanding the moon and the stars is far beyond that to which they are morally or legally entitled.

 Forty one per cent of the population in the Colombo city is Tamils. There is absolutely no evidence that they are being deprived of any of their basic rights. On the contrary, there would be tens of thousands of Sinhala people who will be glad to change places with the Tamils in Colombo, who own real estate of exceptionally high value in Wellawatta and Bambalapitya, or occupy enviable posts in banks and other commercial establishments.

 After coming out of a period of devastation that spanned nearly three decades, what the average Sri Lankan wants today is to live in peace and harmony with those of the other ethnic and religious affiliations, in any region of the island as he chooses. Those who demand special treatment to the Northern and Eastern Provinces will drag the country back to mayhem and turmoil, while all that Sri Lanka needs is to be given a chance to rebuild.

 The Sri Lanka government could offer the Northern and the Eastern Provinces devolution. But it should be of the format that would be given to any of the other seven provinces in the country. Land and Police powers or a re-merger of the North and East cannot simply be on the table.

 

 

4 Responses to “Self-determination for Sri Lanka’s Tamils: Solution professed by Tamil Diaspora and its local appendage”

  1. Dilrook Says:

    Factual article except a few inaccuracies.

    [Quote] The categorisation Tamil speaking people lumps the Moors of Sri Lanka and the Tamils living in the Up country plantations with those from India who landed on the shores of Sri Lanka in the 12th and13th centuries AD. It is only a section of the last group that now claims a pristine right for a mono-ethnic area of habitation in the North and the East of Sri Lanka for themselves. [Unquote]

    There is no proof those from India who landed on the shores of Sri Lanka in the 12th and13th centuries AD are Tamil speaking today.

    With no Tamil seperate existence in the island until the 17th century there is no way South Indian immigrants could have maintained their uniqueness. All those who came to the country before the 17th century ended up becoming Sinhalese over the years.

    Tamil speaking people today are those arrived in the island after the 16th century.

    [Quote] The Sri Lanka government could offer the Northern and the Eastern Provinces devolution. But it should be of the format that would be given to any of the other seven provinces in the country. [Unquote]

    Absolutely no devolution. Power sharing is acceptable at ministry level but no devolution. If 18% of the population is Tamil, it makes sense to have 17% ministers to be Tamil. That is suffcient. No need for regionalisation or devolution. And no need to follow colonial provincial boundaries either. Devolution creates and strengthens ethnic enclaves which is the problem.

  2. Christie Says:

    There were French in British isles in the 13th century and French was the language of Administration for a while. These Frenchies were absorbed in to English.

    The Tamils Came to the island but wrer never allowed to establish themselves.

    These Indian colonial parasites came as sepoys and coolies under the cover of British guns.

  3. lingamAndy Says:

    Asada M Erpini
    Ref:it should be of the format that would be given to any of the other seven provinces in the country-Agreed”
    All Nine provinces should have same format !
    this will unit our motherlanka for ever !
    Full implemendation of 13A will stop outsider to intefier our intenal problm for ever !

  4. LankaLover Says:

    What self-determination for 4% of the population??

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