Distortion of our History
Posted on March 9th, 2020

Chanaka Bandarage

Prabhakaran was hell-bent on distorting Sri Lanka’s history. He launched a campaign with Anton Balasingham in the helm to attack Mahavansa. The LTTE discounted Vijaya’s arrival (more than 2500 years ago) and stressed that Tamils are Sri Lanka’s indigenous people.  According to them, Buddhism existed in Sri Lanka prior to Mahindagamanaya and that a Tamil Buddhist civilization existed in the ancient North and East of Sri Lanka.  Though it is very well accepted that Ravana is mythology, the separatists stressed that Ravana did rule Sri Lanka (more than 4000 years ago) and that he was a Tamil King. Now, Wigenswaran et al propagate similar lies. The separatists have been successful in stressing their points of view; as a result, prominent websites worldwide have recorded the wrong Sri Lankan history that is favorable to Tamils.

Sadly, since recently some Sinhalese scholars seem directly or indirectly endorse what Prabhakaran and his cohorts were saying.  They include prominent Archeologists, Historians, Buddhist monks, Journalists, and Politicians.  Some academics receive financial grants/donations from NGOs and assistance even from the Sri Lankan governments to continue with their distortions, at great detriment to the motherland.

The patriotic Sinhalese’ complacency has greatly helped the separatists and history distorters to carry on with their ulterior motives.

It is universally accepted that Mahavansa depicts the correct Sri Lankan history. It is acknowledged that no other nation has a so well recorded history as Sri Lanka. Sri Lankans have been proud of the chronicle, Mahavansa. The colonial rulers acknowledged Mahavansa as the ‘gospel truth’ and translated it from the original Pali to such languages as Sinhalese, English, and German. 

Closer to 2500 years we Sri Lankans have devotedly believed that we are descendants of Vijaya, the Prince from North India. The Sinhalese have been proud that they have a blood lineage to Lord Buddha (upon Vijaya’s death, his nephew Panduvasudeva became the king, and his wife was Princes Buddha Kachchayana of Shakya Wansha, who was a close blood relative of Lord Buddha).

Since recently, Vijaya’s arrival has been removed from our school history books.  Instead, these books say that Sri Lanka was inhabited by ‘homo-sapiens’ who migrated to the land from Africa more than 125,000 years ago.

It is hard to believe that any country in the world would allow such a blatant distortion of their history, but Sri Lanka has allowed it.  Darwin’s theory of evaluation, which has absolutely nothing to do with Vijaya, has been used to remove the true Sri Lankan history from school history books. It is Vijaya’s arrival that led to the beginning of the Great Sinhala Civilization that boasts Sri Lanka’s peaceful Buddhist way of life (upon Ven Mahinda’s arrival) and the advanced hydraulic irrigation system. But, our children have been denied the right to learn about them.

The fact that the world’s first human being was a homo-sapien should not be used as a reason to claim that therefore Sri Lanka’s foundation was laid by homo-sapiens.

But, this is exactly what the history distorters have successfully done in Sri Lanka.

Americans, Indians, British, Japanese, Chinese would never teach their student such a thing. It is a stupid argument. These nations would always teach their correct history to children – how those nations and their people ‘came about to be’. –

When we were history students we learned through books that Vijaya landed in Thambapanni.  Today, this is fully eliminated from school textbooks/curriculums.

Today, schoolchildren learn that homo-sapiens landed in a place closer to Yala more than 125000 years ago (see Year 6 and  10 history books).  This is a deliberate attempt to hoodwink the correct history of children –  our future generation.

The distorters depict to our students that the unknown, unnamed homo-sapiens are the heroes, not Vijaya, Ven Mahinda, Ven Sangamitta, Pandukabhaya, Devanampiyatissa, Anuladevi, etc. Through advanced training methods,  the country’s history teachers have been indoctrinated to follow and teach students with this false concept of history.

Those who distort our history stress/imply that:

  1. There is no archeological evidence that an Indian Prince named Vijayaya arrived in Sri Lanka;
  2. Even prior to Vijaya’s arrival, Sri Lanka was known as Sihaladeepa (සිහලදීප) (then how and when did the homo-sapiens become Sinhalese?);
  3. Prior to the arrival of Vijaya/Mihindu, there existed a highly developed civilization in Sri Lanka:

 (it is universally accepted that Kuweni’s people were primitive hunter-gatherers and they did not lead an advanced/ sophisticated lifestyle. During the Ice Age where Africa, Asia, and Australia were one continent, some Sri Lankan Aborigines walked eastwards, including Australia (thus, the Australian Aborigines). 

Such far-fetched and fanciful claims include:

  • More than 49000 years ago there existed very successive rice paddy cultivations closer to Kalutara;
  • more than 13000 years ago people grew Barley and Oates in Horton Plains
  • More than 4400 years ago people produced iron (first people in the world to produce iron)
  • There were lions roaming in Sri Lanka etc.
  • Kuweni’s Yaksha people may have had a Tamil mix (wrong; they were Hela people who mingled with Vijaya’s Sinha people and formed the Great Race – Sinhale (Sinha + Hela = Sinhale) ;
  • There were Tamil Buddhists in Sri Lanka (such a group as Tamil Buddhists never existed in Sri Lanka);
  • The homo sapiens who landed closer to Yala (wildlife park) were Balangoda Manawakaya people (wrong, Balangoda Manawakaya – a Helaya, existed only about 30000+ years ago);
  • Ravana may be a Tamil (there is absolutely no archeological evidence in Sri Lanka about Ravana, he is a mythical King only recorded in Indian Hindu texts such as Ramayanaya. Separatists stress on Ravana knowing well that the Sinhalese would then compete with them asserting that Ravana was instead a Sinhala King. By falling into their trap,  not only we  are acknowledging the separatists’ claim that Mahavansa is wrong; but also that Sri Lanka’s history is a confusion);
  • Sri Lanka physically separated from India only 7000 years ago (this is a recent claim by them,  without any archeological evidence);
  • Kerala people migrated to Sri Lanka (many Northern Tamils arrived in the country during the colonial periods, especially to work in the northern tobacco plantations. Chola, Magha, Elara who temporarily ruled the North were invaders, they were chased back by the Sinhalese Kings to where they came from – South India) and
  • Sigiriya may be a creation of Ravana (universally accepted that King Kashyapa built it).

The distortions are very serious. They are being propagated by very powerful and influential people who also enjoy state patronage. They hold high state offices.

For 2500+ years with the entire world, we have accepted that Sinhalese who is descendants of Vijaya are the original inhabitants of Sri Lanka.  The Great Sinhala civilization commenced after Vijaya’s arrival. But now, the proponents have successfully rebutted this.

Prior to Vijaya, like everywhere else, Sri Lankan people lived very primitive lifestyles (hunter-gatherer lives). This is the country’s correct history and it is so recorded in all historical texts like Mahavansa, Thupavansa, and Chulawansa.  Our Great National Heroes intellectuals such as Ven Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala, Ven Migettuwatte Gunananda, Anagarika Dharmapala, Walisinghe Harischandra, Piyadasa Sirisena, Ven S Mahinda, Gunapala Malalasekera, Professor Senarath Paranavithana, Professor Roland De Silva, Martin Wickramasighe, and Professor Ediriweera Sarathchandra fought very hard to preserve and uphold our history – the Mahavansa history. 

It is this history that has given us the identity as Sinhalese (note, today we are confined only to 7/9 provinces of our tiny nation, and we are a ‘dying’ race).

Now, our history is under great and severe threat; not just by the separatists but by some Sinhala ‘intellectuals’ as well. The latter has been very successful in making adverse changes to our history in the school curriculums.

It is the patriots’ duty to carry out tasks to preserve our history just as our national heroes had done in the past. Just because a few individuals mainly those with Archeology and History qualifications want to proclaim an entirely different, false history that is so detrimental to us, we should not allow them to further deceive us.

A country’s history is a still, static component.  It cannot be changed just per the whim and fancy of a few. If the history must be changed, it should be done only after very careful research/investigation and upon acceptance of the changes by the country’s intellectuals including the clergy and state instrumentalities. Extensive public consultation and discourse prior to acceptance is a must.

We must demand the authorities to urgently correct the history books where our children are learning incorrect history/where important aspects of our history have been omitted out.

Again, this is a very alarming situation.

The writer is an International Lawyer

[email protected]

6 Responses to “Distortion of our History”

  1. Vaisrawana Says:

    This is adding insult to injury! The writer (an International Lawyer! mind you!) is chewing his own tail. Tamil separatists (and their more powerful keepers, i.e. imperialist powers of the West and India) are trying to distort our history. There’s no doubt about it. As far as existing scholarship about Sri Lanka’s history is concerned, Ravana remains only a mythical figure. Some You Tubers (obviously crooks with little learning) are claiming that a powerful king called Ravana – a sun worshiper – with astonishing engineering skills, scientific knowledge, and heroic military acumen ruled from an underground city in the Hill Country! and that he is the prehistoric ancestor of the Sinhalese. But there is not a shred of archaeological evidence to bear this out. Another similarly passionate group are claiming that Gautama Buddha was born, bred and attained Buddhahood in the Teldeniya and Kundasale area in today’s Central Province (which they conveniently identify with what is called Madya Mandala in Buddhist literature. Radical Christian evangelists like Bro. Charles and Deegoda Kumara are stealing Buddhist teachings and sacred symbols to pollute the perennial Theravada Buddhist stream with their religious superstitions (e.g., prayers to a non-existent god, faith healing). Apparently, the writer of this article, intentionally or unintentionally, is contributing to the evil projects above mentioned. He is also insulting patriotic local archaeologists like Raj Somadeva and Ven, E. Medananda, who have distanced themselves from these You Tuber gossips; they don’t subscribe to these fantastic claims. Where did you (writer) learn, hear, or read about Darwin’s theory ‘evaluation’? Don’t you know that all humans belong to the primate species known as Homo Sapiens (Wise Man)? I imagine you are chuckling when you imply that the Sinhalese are not homo sapiens!

  2. Chanaka B Says:

    Thanks.
    “is chewing his own tail.” I have no tail to chew; just reporting the truth.
    “Apparently, the writer of this article, intentionally or unintentionally, is contributing to the evil projects above mentioned.” – I have denounced those projects that you have mentioned. Read again.
    He is also insulting patriotic local archaeologists like Raj Somadeva and Ven, E. Medananda, who have distanced themselves from these You Tuber gossips; they don’t subscribe to these fantastic claims.” – I do not know the You Tuber gossips that you are referring about. My concern is the distortion of our 2500 years old history. Ven E Medananda (පුරා විද්‍යා චක්‍රවර්තී); a real patriot, accepts Mahavansa as the truth. To the best of my knowledge he is also against the removal of Vijaya history from our school history books. About replacing Vijaya with homo-sapiens – well if Prabhakaran lived, he would have been thrilled. This is exactly what the Eelamists wanted.
    “Where did you (writer) learn, hear, or read about Darwin’s theory ‘evaluation’?” ‘evaluation’, sorry, it’s a typo.
    “Don’t you know that all humans belong to the primate species known as Homo Sapiens (Wise Man)? I imagine you are chuckling when you imply that the Sinhalese are not homo sapiens!” Not only the Sinhalese, all human beings are homo-sapiens. That’s not a big thing. In the new history books, chapters dedicated to praise homo-sapiens. Why? To us Sinhalese, it is Vijaya history that is important; why were they removed? I’m sure many Sinhalese are angry about this history distortion.

  3. Vaisrawana Says:

    Thank you Chanaka for your patient reply. My tail chewing comment would have provoked a harsher response from a less self-restrained person. But I meant it to be taken rather as a joke, not as an insult. I very well understand that you do denounce the ‘projects’ I mentioned. I need not name the U-Tube gossips involved here. You can’t be unfamiliar with that kind. They of course cannot be concerned with the truth. You know what their concern is. That is their business. But it is a pity they have to spread fictions and superstitions among an already gullible public to earn a living. Of course, we must ensure that the Mahavamsa and the other ancient chronicles are preserved for ever as national treasures, though the Mahavamsa may be wrong about the history of the island before the alleged arrival of Vijaya. Archaeological evidence unearthed in the inner city (aetul nuwara) of Anuradhapura by Advisor to the Dept of Archaeology Dr Siran Deraniyagala in 2009 revealed a horse and cattle breeding, rice cultivating civilization that predated the arrival of the legendary Vijaya by at least three centuries. Pearl harvesting must have existed before Vijaya came, which suggests that the people (no doubt, our indigenous ancestors) traded with foreign nations. In all probability the Sinhalese’ history did begin with Vijaya. Dr Somadeva says he has excavated archaeological remains in other places that bear testimony to civilized humans who lived 4500+ years ago. They were our forefathers. The language Sinhalese evolved entirely in the island. Both (Deraniyagala and Somadeva) have drawn these conclusions by having specimens carbon-dated. There certainly is a more glorious history to us than what the Mahavamsa imperfectly records that is yet to be explored and uncovered by the young patriots of today, to which group you most probably belong. Good luck, Chanaka, if that is the case.

  4. Vaisrawana Says:

    Oops!

    “In all probability the Sinhalese’ history did begin with Vijaya”. This is not what I wanted to write. I wanted to write:

    In all probability the Sinhalese did NOT begin with Vijaya.

  5. Chanaka B Says:

    Thank you Vaisrawana (I note your pseudonym has ‘rawana’ at the end, but happy that you have denounced Ravana).

    In my article I have stated “Those who distort our history stress/imply that: …”. I provided a list of wrong history therein, which is thorough. Most of the distorts I picked from the Professor’s videos. I do not know him (I have a great respect to Ven Ellawala Medhananda Thero whom I know personally).

    The world’s oldest ancient civilization is the Indus Valley which existed about 4000 years ago. For the Professor to state that we had an advanced civilization even about 50000 years ago (note his claim that there was rice paddy cultivation 49,000 years ago in Kalutara (per Wikipedia, rice paddy cultivation originated from Neolithic farming cultures of the Yangtze River basin in southern China about 8000 – 13500 years ago), Barley and wheat may have been grown 13000 years ago in Horton Plains (per Wikipedia, wild Barley was first harvested (in Israel) about 10,000 years ago, before it was domesticated), and that iron was produced 4500 years ago (according to Wikipedia cast iron was first produced in China about 3500 years ago). To me, all this is farfetched and fanciful.

    No reputed international archeologist or archeological journal has acknowledged and accepted these findings. I am very concerned whether or not we are teaching the correct history to our children.

    This is not the right time for us to discredit our own Mahavansa. The separatists are vigorously working towards the creation of Tamil Eelam. More than anyone else. it is they who stress that Mahavansa is a lie.

    Again, I am very concerned about what we are teaching to our present generation – that Mahavansa is a myth, a Ravana Kingdom may have existed in our land, homo-sapiens arrived in Sri Lanka 125000 years ago and they ran an elaborate pre-Vijaya civilization in the country, landing of Vijaya in Thambapanni could be an entirely a myth etc.

    If the language of Sinhala evolved entirely in the island as you have stated, when did this happen and how? If homo-sapiens migrated from Africa to Sri Lanka some 125000 years ago, how did such a Sanskrit based language evolve in Sri Lanka? Then what about the Tamils. Where and when did they arrive in Sri Lanka? Are the North and East traditional Tamil homelands?

    To my knowledge, these changes were made in the school history books after the Yahapalanaya government came to power in 2015. The then ministry of integration, reconciliation and national languages may have had a part in them, but, I am not sure. The well accepted history is that Kuweni’ clan (Helayas) was living primitive lives, it was after Vijaya’s arrival, and especially after Ven Mahinda’s introductino of Buddhism in Sri Lanka that the Great Sinhala Buddhist civilization began to flourish in Sri Lanka. There was no other civilization in Sri Lanka before that.

    I say the Kuweni clan was hunters and gatherers. It is unlikely they were an agrarian society. It is a well accepted fact that a society cannot be both hunter-gatherers and agrarian at the same time. Hunter gatherers evolve into agrarian (Neolithic demographic transition). The first agrarian society arose in Mesopotamia and Egypt about 5000 years ago and later other societies developed in China and India. Kuweni’s society is not included in this list that has about 13 societies. We have to go by the internationally standards. Our Archeologists/Historians must convince the international community that we had an elaborate agrarian civilization well before the others of the world. In this regard, they must publish internationally and gain recognition, acceptance. Then no one would be able to criticise them. This is how Professor Paranawithana et al opertaed. Thanks again!

  6. Chanaka B Says:

    ‘The world’s oldest ancient civilization is the Indus Valley which existed about 4000 years ago’; sorry should read as 5000 – 5500 years ago.

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