The pitiful plight of the Kandyan Peasants and the Bogawantalawa  foundation stone of the future Malayanadu in Central Sri Lanka.
Posted on February 10th, 2017

Dr Sudath Gunaekara 10.Feb.2017

Writing his forward to the booklet on the Proposals under the first 6 year Plan 1954/55-1959/60, this is how Mr A. Ratnayaka then Minister of Home Affairs scribed his great expectations on the outcome of the Kandyan Peasantry Commission Report of 1951.

At last justice is being meted out to two Provinces of Ceylon-Central and Uva which enshrine some of the most glorious chapters of our Island history. In the fight for liberation from British these two Provinces were in the vanguard, and inevitably they paid the toll of the two rebellions of 1818 and 1848. It was a happy augury that the dawn of Independence in 1948 saw in motion persistent efforts by Kandyan Members of Parliament in particular for adequate redress after decades of neglect.

It fell to my happy lot both as a Member of Parliament in a Kandyan area and as Minister of Home Affairs to spearhead the agitation.

May the coming years bring up to view a grand vista in these two Provinces redolent of the glories of the pristine past!”

As I turned over the pages of this slim document few days ago, which was given to me in 1966 by my friend Ekanayaka the Head Clerk of the Coordinators Office of the Kandyan Peasantry Rehabilitation as it was called then, (I was a cadet attached to Kandy Kachcheri at that time), I find that not even 5 % of its recommendations are completed up to date. For example the Mahaoya and Heenganga schemes in my own Village, Meemure, in Udadumbara that were expected to be completed by end of 1958 are still uncompleted to date. If you go through the other works in the report the situation want be better either.

What happened to the spirit of the persistent efforts by those great Kandyan  Members of Parliament. They would definitely turn in their graves if they could come to know this pathetic situation and the inexcusable betrayal and neglect by these post- independent politicians and their failure to redress their own people on whose shoulders they have gone to Parliament I have no doubts they will rise from their graves.  These sons of the soil who had been subjected to subjugation, destruction, vandalism and exploitation for one and half centuries of by the British colonial mongers are left high and dry by their own politicians even after 68 years of Independence. What the hell the present day spineless and ungrateful politicians are doing when their own people and a great nation is being left fall prey to vultures of Indian expansionism? Do these idiotic politicians realize that they are betraying their own relations and the motherland for an Indian Tamil vote and they will not get a single vote from these estate Tamils in future. Do they know that they will also have to get passports and visa to enter this region already called MALAYAHA ( Malayanadu) by the Wijenayaka committee on electoral reforms under the Yahapalanaya government.

What happened to the proposal made by the patriotic members of that 1951 Commission ‘to set up a Development Board nominated by the Governor General on the advice of the Prime Minister to prepare a comprehensive plan and action programme for the development of these areas? This Development Board was to have its own Secretariat, funds and staff. The finances were to be provided by Government contributions and Development Tax on plantations, firms or persons carrying on business within the plantation areas. This Development Board was never set up as the non-Kandyan members of the then Cabinet were against regional development and regional Taxation. Wasn’t it a tragedy that even at that time there wasn’t a single Kandyan Mp  who had the guts to stand up against this gross injustice against Kandyans by  these non–Kandyan politicians lead by MDH Jayawardhana the then Minister of finance.

Years after, in 1958, a C grade department under a Coordinating Officer for Kandyan peasantry rehabilitation was set up under the Home Ministry to coordinate the work of other Government Departments within the Central and Uva Provinces. But as it did not get any voted allocations for development a department sans wings or teeth, it was a first class cheating by the then Government. In the year 1964, this officer was re-designated as the Commissioner of Kandyan Peasantry Rehabilitation, and a separate c” Grade Department was established on 01.04.1968 to implement the development projects of the Upcountry Peasantry Rehabilitation: it was upgraded to class B” in 1990, and subsequently to class A” in 1994. A similar powerless Ministry of Upcountry Development (rather feeling shy or afraid to use the word Kandyan) was created without a Minister. Thereafter shifting from one to another at last it was brought under the M/Economic development.  Basil Rajapaksa who was the Minister and finally he put the last nail to the coffin of the subject of Kandyan Peasants on Jan 2014 by abolishing it and thereby closed the chapter on the subject of Kandyan Peasantry Rehabilitation for good.

This is how all post- Independent Governments have treated the Kandyan peasants who fought against the invaders and died to protect their native land for posterity for the past 68 years.

Furthermore,

  1. Not an inch of over nearly 1.4 million acres of their land robbed by the marauding British has been returned to them up to date.
  1. No Ministry, no Minister or a programme of development or even a C grade Department for 6 million Kandyan Peasants living in 16 Districts.
  1. Kandyan areas Development Authority proposed in 1951 to rehabilitate the natives who lost their ancestral land and all what they had, was never established.
  1. The toothless Kandyan Peasantry Commissioner’s Department that had been crawling on its fours for 40 years without any notable rehabilitation or development of these areas was also finally closed down on Jan 1, 2014.
  1. Meanwhile all those Sinhala people who parted their ancestral lands for the Kotmale and Victoria Projects, numbering thousands, were chased out to the downstream area like Mahweli system C in the Dry Zone and not a single family was given an inch of land from the hill country tea lands, while all those Tamil labourers who were victims of Koslanda landslide and Upper Kotmale project etc were given lands on the nearby tea estates which were lands denied for the sons of the soil in spite of Gamini Dissanayake was the First MP for MAskeliya –Nuwaraeliya and he was also the Minister in charge of Lands.
  1. Almost all natives who lost their land during the colonial times to the invaders, and who are still living in secluded valley bottoms in abject poverty without basic facilities like access roads, drinking water, water for their paddy fields, schools, health facilities, employment and minimum facilities to sell their paltry produce are completely forgotten.
  1. Why is that not a single Sinhala politician, supposed to represent them either in Parliament, Provincial Councils or Pradesiya Sabhas, highlights the plight of these hapless human beings whose ancestors have sacrificed so much to protect this country?
  1. Is there any other single country in the whole world where elected politicians betray their own country, their own people and their own heritage in this manner?
  1. Do these politicians know that their names will go down in history as shameless traitors who betrayed their own people and their motherland just for a vote?

Though I have sent a letter under registered cover to the President on 20th of Dec 2015, on behalf of all Kandyana Peasants, requesting an appointment from him to discuss this all important national issue. I note with much concern and regret to say that I haven’t got even an acknowledgement up to date.

This also clearly shows the duplicity of this Yahapalanaya Government and the open discrimination it displays against the Kandyan peasants.

On the other hand to collect the Estate Tamil Vote Bank

A separate Ministry for Hill Country Village and Infrastructure Development has been set up with a ten-year special development Project with UNDP funds obtained as loans exclusively to develop the Tamil settlements on the hills, that will finally lead to the establishment of the Malayanadu that could be one day a part of the EELAM or even a part of the Tamilnadu in South India, where as the loan also has to be settled by the Kandyan Peasants and their Sinhala relations in Sri Lanka.

This government has already started a programme of giving 10 perches per Tamil family in 2015 and collected the entire hill country vote bank at the last election. It is this factor that enabled Minister Kiriella to increase his votes to 1, 99, 603 in August 2015 as against 53,3o6 he got at the 2010 election.

In addition three separate Ministries have set up for estate sector Tamils. Besides, there will be a “Hill Country New Villages Development Authority, with “strong institutional mechanism” to carry out the functions of planning and coordination. A few days ago, the Cabinet gave its nod for a Bill in this regards. This Programme is scheduled to be completed in 2025.

Meanwhile it was only yesterday the President Sirisena declared the first Tamil only estate village project in Bogawantalawa that is the foundation stone for the future MIndian Tamil Malayanadu right at the centre and top of the country a Project initiated by Minister Kiriella and the Prime Minister as an election promise at the last election.  I still do not know whether the President is doing to this land of the Sinhalese and their heritage. Does he know the gravity of the treacherous betrayal he is doing to the Sinhala nation by this kind of short sighted displays just trying to show that HE IS MAGNANIMOUS. It is high time that this is only peacock dancing. I can assure you Mr President they will never, never vote you at any time in future. They are only playing their usual card. You have to learn from past experience. Look at what Saumyamurti Thondaman and his son did in the past. You people are only building castles in the air as far as politics is concerned. History will never forgive you people for the crime you are doing for vote collecting. Please remember what happened to the cunning fox that followed the Goat, expecting its hanging testicles to fall.

This is the tragic saga of how our politicians have treated the Kandyan Peasants and are being continued to be treated with impunity.

Where are the great Kandyan Members of Parliament of the pre-Independence who fought for their people and got the KPC Commission Report. What are the nearly 80 odd so-called representatives who have robbed the votes of these poor people and enjoying the luxuries of office? What are the Nilames and Buddhist monks who subsist on these peasants are doing?

Instead of taking corrective measure to restore this national damage  the present government has now created  an all powerful ministry called the Upcountry (Malayaha=Malayanadu) Estate Tamil Development and Infrastructure Development) as Wijenayaka Report on Constitutional reforms has named it

Under these circumstances what is the future of the Sinhala people in this country, the sons of the soil called the Kandyan Peasants?

Who will liberate this great nation and when? is my million dollar question, I pose to you my dear Sinhala brothers and sisters.

The most fundamental problem as I see it is we don’t have a leader or leaders to liberate our people from this Augean mess. Tamils and Muslims have them in dozens. But we don’t have a single. Even the Me harakas (water buffaloes) have leaders. But alas! We have none.

None of the Sinhala politicians have a feeling for their country or the very people who have put them in power. I don’t think any one of them is patriotic. They want only to collect votes to come to power so that they could amaze wealth and power to enjoy the luxuries of political life.

3 Responses to “The pitiful plight of the Kandyan Peasants and the Bogawantalawa  foundation stone of the future Malayanadu in Central Sri Lanka.”

  1. Dilrook Says:

    No politician will take up Upcountry Sinhala grievances fearing losing CWC support.

    A new political party specifically for their interests must be formed.

  2. Sooriarachi Says:

    Unfortunately money is God to many of our present day politicians, journalists, lawyers, human rights activists etc in whose hands the welfare of the country resides. It seems they took over the country through questionable means and focussed on getting filthy rich at the expense of the nation’s economy.
    Today the country is in dire need of patriotic leaders like DS Senanayake, Sir John, Dudley, SWRD, Sirimavo, Mahinda Rajapakse and other leaders of that ilk. Amongst them, DS Senanayake and Mahinda Rajapakse stand out as those who also contributed significantly to the economic development of the nation. If there was corruption, than that comes a distant second to the more important economic development and safeguarding the sovereighnity of the nation.
    Today who do we have? A group of politicians with no competence or vision for development, selling off the nations assets, sabotaging major projects, inability to utilise infrastructure like Harbours and Airports already developed, ignoring the welfare of sinhalese displaced during the over 200 year Colonial rule, and and during the ethnic cleansing campaign of Tamil Tiger terrorists, many of whom were allowed in to the country by the Colonial powers.
    To make matters worse, today we have one of most unpatriotic Foreign Ministers Sri Lanka ever had and backed up by a backroom anti sinhala buddhist woman who is a shame on her illustrious parents, who were patriotic leaders of the nation.
    The silver lining is that Sri Lanka’s history shows that, other than its name being changed during different periods, the nation had been able to protect its sovereignity as an independent nation for several thousands of years. Even the colonial nations accepted this reality and ruled Sri Lanka as a separate nation, without absorbing into India, our big neighbour, conprising many states of different ethnic groups. So anyone trying to divide the nation, may succeed only for a short period with non-ending conflict like we see in the middle east.

  3. Christie Says:

    “….Kandyan Peasantry Commission Report of 1951.”‘

    Sudhath and Sooriyaaarachchi:

    1951 is the year Indian Imperialists and Indian colonial parasites got SWRD to form the SLFP.

    This Report is one of the major reasons for establishing a new party against the then UNP and dividing the Sinhala unity.

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