IS UNP Responsible for 1 Not Re-naming this country as SINHALE in 1948? 2 Introducing the concept of Many Nations to this Country? and 3 Introducing the idea of minority to Sri Lankan Society?
Posted on August 6th, 2015

Dr Sudath Gunasekara President Senior Citizens Movement Mahanuwara

6.7. 2015

I have been wondering from my University days as to why this country, that was known as Sinhale from the beginning of history and continued up to the time of signing the Kandyan Convention on 2nd of March 1815, was not renamed as Sinhale in 1948 when we were declared an Independent Nation. It was also the name by which the country was known at the time of handing over to the British.  Throughout the Kandyan Convention (in the Sinhala version) Sinhale was the name they have used to refer to this country. It is a historic tragedy none of the legislators or national leaders appears to have referred to this discrepancy at the time of signing the Convention or before or even after up to date. In the English version of the Kandyan Convention this is how it reads like.

‘At a Convention held on the second day of March in the year of Christ 1815 or Ceylonese year 1730 at the Palace of the city of Kandy between….. General Robert Brownrigg Governor and Commander in chief over the British settlements and territories  in the Island of Ceylon….on the one hand and the Adikarams, Dissavas and other Principal Chiefs of the Kandyan Provinces’

Thus the British used the word Ceylon to refer to the country. But the Sinhala translation right throughout used the word Sinhale to denote the country and it has proved that the name by which this country was known at that time was Sinhale. The word ‘Ceylon’ as everyone knows is nothing but only the anglicized corrupted version of the word Sinhale, that has changed from Ceilo, Ceylan to Ceylon.  That may be the reason as to why the native leaders had not objected to the word Ceylon being used to refer to their country. As such Sinhale was the de facto as well as de jure name of this country at the time of annexation in 1815.  Therefore the legislators of that time should have insisted for giving the correct name to this country. Had that being done on that day even today this country would have been known as Sinhale and many problems we face today would not have arisen. Instead Sinhale, the Government adopted the word Lankava, of course used as a synonym throughout history to call this country.  That also may have prevented and prompted them from raising any objections.

It was the leader of the newly formed United National Party (UNP) D.S. Senanayaka who signed it as the Prime Minister of this country. Isn’t it a tragedy that no one has pointed out the historical and political need to restore the true name of the country that was ceded in 1815 in to the Constitution in 1948?  May be the leaders at that time of signing the Independence declaration were more concerned in declaring Freedom, a much cherished prize,  and may have not taken it seriously for the need to restore the name of the country. They may also not have visualized the problems that will crop up in future. Had the fathers of Independence had the fore sight to do so most of the problems we face today would not have arisen? Whatever it is the UNP as a political Party should take the full responsibility for making this historic blunder.

Introducing the concept of Many Nations to this Country?

This is the second issue that needs our attention. The term ‘United National Party” obviously implies the presence of many nations in the country and also connotes the need to unite them. Therefore the Political Party formed to unify the various nations in the country was called UNP. What better magic wand the then diffused politicians invented to consolidate power at that time?

The UNP was formed in 1946 by the merger of the Ceylon National Congress and the Sinhala Mahasabha and the adhesion of other political elements willing to support its policy.  The selection of the word UNP appears to have emerged from the need to have an Island wide appeal to the party. The fact this resolution was moved and seconded by S. Natesan and T.B.Jaya with D.S in the Chair shows the mindset of the gathering. Nevertheless apparently they have forgotten their priority should have been to bring together and unify all communities as one nation in view of the long term needs of the country rather than giving recognition to each minor ethnic group to satisfy them and gain short term political power. The very word United National Party implies that there are more than one nation in this country. This is the historic mistake they made. It gave wings to Tamils and Muslims perhaps to assert that they were also separate nations. It is like giving ladders to monkeys. Had the leaders been sharp enough to understand the vicious communal elements brewing in the country from around 1910, for eg  the formation of the Ceylon Tamil Congress in 1910 by Arunashalam Ramanadan and his breaking away from Ceylon National Congress in 1921 to be the President, submissions made to the Donoughmore Commission by Tamil leaders including 50, 50 by G.G. Ponnambalan and starting the Ilankai Tamil Arusukachchi movement 1947 by S.J.V. Chelvanayagam, they should have avoided names that generate communal separation. Instead they should have seriously thought of some name that leads to integration of different ethnic groups. The very word Ceylon National Congress would have been ideal from an integration point of view. I cannot understand why it was dropped and the term UNP was adopted. Had they insisted on national political parties and banned the formation of political parties on ethnic or religious grounds, most of the present day communal problems would not have arisen. Had they banned the Ilankai Tamil Arasukachchi and asked them to join national political parties, the issue would have got nipped in the bud and there would not have been a federal idea born. What we are undergoing today is the price we are compelled to pay for lack of far sighted political vision on the part of our politicians and civil leaders at that time. Today, we pay the heavy toll for the mistake they did

The national leaders should have pointed out that prior to 1815 all countrymen in this country formed one nation and they were called Sinhalese as a nation. They all were citizens of the Sinhale as they had been from the dawn of history, though there were different minor ethnic groups like Tamils and Muslims living all over the country. As such there wasn’t a problem of majority and minority in pre-1815 Sri Lanka, though there were Chola invaders, who held sway temporarily from time to time in the northern part of the Island before 13th the century. Even at such times the natives who were Sinhalese ruled the rest of the country and after defeating and chasing them out again the whole country came under the Sinhala Kings.

Introducing the idea of minority to Sri Lankan Society?

The third issue was the establishment of the minority concept in Sri Lankan politics with the introduction of the section 29th (2) to the Soulbury Constitution in 1947 that imposed restrictions on the legislative power of the Parliament of this country. This they called a minority safeguard which in other words identified, particularly the Tamils, including nearly 1.1 m Indian population of the plantations sector who were not even citizens of this country at that time.

The failure on the part of our legislators to avoid these three flaws in the 1947 Constitution, I note as a historic and tragic blunder on their part for which we are paying the toll today, perhaps that will be carried over to posterity too eternally, for no fault of theirs. Isn’t it high time at least now for the UNP to rectify this blunder their political forefathers committed against this Island nation and firstly, by exonerating them from this mistake (may be inadvertently done) and secondly by doing justice to the Sri Lankan Nation.

Isn’t it a national tragedy that not only the UNP ers but all most all politicians and even some academics often inadvertently or otherwise, I do not Know, perpetuate this concept of many nations while none of the countries in the world has more than one nation Mainda Rajapaksa is the only Head of State who said there is only one nation in this country and therefore no more minorities hereafter.

8 Responses to “IS UNP Responsible for 1 Not Re-naming this country as SINHALE in 1948? 2 Introducing the concept of Many Nations to this Country? and 3 Introducing the idea of minority to Sri Lankan Society?”

  1. Christie Says:

    අපි අද ලෝකය දිහා බලන්න ඕනි අද ආලෝකයෙන්. අද බටහිර කියන කොටස අපිහිතන තරම්බලවත් නැහැ. බටහිරට බොහොම ප්‍රස්න තියෙනව. එක අතකින් ඒ අයගේ වෙලඳාම, විරැකියා, ආගමන, වැනි ප්‍රස්න ගොඩයි. නැගෙනහිර රටවල් ඒ අතින් බටහිරට වඩා ඉස්සරහින් ඉන්නව. ඒ නිසා අපි බටහිර ගැන ඕනෑවට වඩා හිතන්න ඕනි නැහැ. අපිට අද තියෙන ප්‍රස්නය ඉන්දියාව කියන අදිරද ජඩයනුත් ඒ ගොඩින් ආ ඉන්දියානු පරපෝසිතයනුත්ය. උන් තමයි අපිව හූරාගෙන කන ගමන්ම අපිට කෙලින්නෙ. වට පිට බලන්න ඔය කියන බටහිරයො කී දෙනෙක් ඉන්නවද කියල. නමුත් අපි කන්නෙත් ඉන්දියානු ජරාව, යන්නෙත් ඉන්දියානු යකඩ ගොඩවල් උඩ අඳින්නෙත් ඉන්දියානු වේට්ටියයි සාරියයි. මේවයින් අපි හැකිතරම් ඈත්වෙන්න ඕනි අපේ නැතිවූ නිදහස ලබාගන්නනම්.

  2. Christie Says:

    look mate Ceylon, Celio, Sela, or Sinhale is the correct and real name of my country. Lanka or Sri Lanka was the name given to us by Indians of all sorts. I have no objection to calling Sinhale.
    The problems the Indian colonial parasites, it is a problem for a lot of countries like Kenya, Uganda, Fiji, West Indies, Malaya, Burma. The parasites that went on the back of the British.

  3. Jag Says:

    Dr. Gunasekara, thank you so much for this eye opener. We are so unfortunate that we did not have a leader like Mahinda Rajapakse in 1948 or Anagarika Dharmapala at the time of independence.

    European invaders systematically promoted minorities against the majority and that trend only has got strengthened due to people like Chandrika and Ranil. The way things are, it seems nearly impossible to correct those mistakes.

    However, it is a blessing that our true patriots educating the masses of those past mistakes so our future generations will not allow such blunders repeat again.

  4. Ananda-USA Says:

    MAKE NO MISTAKE … If the UNP wins, the ABOVE SCENARIO of DIVISION of Sri Lanka into a PATCHWORK of Ethno-Religious Bantustans will be INEVITABLE within the FIRST TERM of government by the UNPatriotic Party!

    That is DEFINITELY, beyond a SHADOW OF DOUBT, what is AT STAKE in this General Election!

    EMBALA SINHALAYENI … AWADIWAWU!

    Mey DUSHTA DARUNU DROHI kriyakalapaya sampoornayenma uduradamawu!

    Apey maubimey ekiya bhawaya than randhee aththey obey atheyei!

    Maubimey sathuranta chandaya dunnoth, aniwareyen heta obta walapenna, kandulusalanna, wevi!

    EMBALA SINHALAYENI … EVANI ANDURU ANAGATHAK BIHIWENNA IDA NOTHABAU!

  5. Hiranthe Says:

    Jag Says:
    August 6th, 2015 at 10:35 am
    Dr. Gunasekara, thank you so much for this eye opener. We are so unfortunate that we did not have a leader like Mahinda Rajapakse in 1948 or Anagarika Dharmapala at the time of independence.

    I totally agree with Jag. Thank you Dr. Gunasekara for the thought of this. I am 100% sure they deliberately did this name change.

    Can we change back now:

    Endia change Bombay to Mumbai. Why should they bother if we change our name to the historical name before the European invaders screw this beautiful Island…

  6. Lorenzo Says:

    The NAME of the country was changed.
    The FLAG of the country was changed.
    Even the ETHNIC COMPOSITION was changed by giving CITIZENSHIP to hundreds of thousands of kallathoni.

    But let me point out the GREAT GOOD DSS did to SL.

    1. He DENIED citizenship to hundreds of thousands more kallathonis.
    2. He COLONIZED the north-east with Singhala people that saved the nation subsequently.
    3. He REBUILT the ancient Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa cities
    4. He REFUSED to be manipulated by Endia and Tamils.
    5. He DEFENDED Singhala people in the 1915 Jihadi riot.
    6. He built the LARGEST MAN MADE IRRIGATION TANK by ANY SL leader after 1200s.

    Leaders after 2009 have FAILED even to RESETTLE displaced Singhalese in the north. In my view, DSS was one of the BEST leaders SL had.

    UNP was a good party until ANTI-SL PUNKS to it over.

  7. Ananda-USA Says:

    Ado Facebook LORENZO, if you knew all these ANTI-SL PUNKS had taken over the UNPatriotic Party,

    WHY DID YOU VOCIFEROUSLY support them at LankaWeb and AGITATE to get MR/UPFA GoSL OUSTED???

    My God NOTHING you say MAKES SENSE …. EVERYTHING you SAY SMELLS bad in the Light of What you DID & SAID leading upto the Jan 8th Presidential Election?

    BLOODY Hypocrite & LTTE Operative trying to CAUSE Chaos!

    There can be ONLY ONE of TWO EXPLANATIONS:

    1. You are a NINCOMPOOP as you are PLEADING NOW and made a “MISTAKE” …. ALL THAT HELL, FIRE & BRIMSTONE railing against MR/UPFA charging “Corruption, Corruption and More Corruption: was a HUGE MISTAKE on your part!

    If that really a DUMB MUTT who got taken by the Yamapalaya song and dance, WHY THE HELL ARE YOU STILL NIKAN POOPING at LankaWeb? Who wants to LISTEN TO AN ABSOLUTE MUTT like you anymore who was DEAD WRONG THEN and is DEAD WRONG now?

    2. Your are still the SAME MACHIAVELLIAN BACKSTABBING SHAMELESS LTTE Operative who is STILL TRYING TO CONFUSE & UNDERMINE the PATRIOTS PRETENDING to get MR/UPFA restored to OFFICE.

    I PREFER to BELIEVE the second reason!

    In EITHER case, BUGGER OFF O SHAMELESS Facebook Lorenzo …. you were NEVER a Patriot of any kind!

  8. anura seneviratna Says:

    Salutations to Dr. Sudath for your revealing letter of the basic causes for the ever ongoing conflict situation in SL and why progress is hampered everytime the “Sinhele” attempts to go forward. Not reverting to the true name was done purposely and not an error.

    1) Name of a country must be the name of its indigenous nation to safeguard against fraudulent claims.

    2) Indeed, there is only ONE nation in one country and all settler communities too are INCLUSIVE national citizens of one country. This one nation of SL should uphold the inalienable Sinhela national sovereignty over the entire island country with the Sinhela language so all national citizens can communicate in ONE language and think and work together. The talk of NATIONS are relevant BETWEEN countries and not within one country like SL. Like in every other national country, the settler communities’ nationhood, language culture etc. which they already have in their original countries are now only their private baggage. These may be practised in private without threats to the host nation.

    Dr. Sudath please contact me if you wish: [email protected] so we can meet up. Thanks.

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