Origins of Tamil political violence – Part I
Posted on May 27th, 2020

H. L. D. Mahindapala

May 14, 1976 is one of the most underreported, underestimated, underexamined dates in the political calendar of independent Sri Lanka. It was the date on which the Tamil leadership which had gathered in Vadukoddai passed a resolution declaring war against the democratically elected state demanding a separate state. Stitching bits and pieces of selected events from here and there, they painted their version of history which consisted of highly controversial accusations to demonise the Sinhala-state” – their terminology to stigmatise the democratically elected state as a racist entity with no space for the minorities, particularly the Tamils. So shedding copious tears for the Tamils, the Vadukoddai Declaration of War urged the Tamil youth to take up arms and never rest until they had achieved Tamil Eelam – a political haven of the Tamils, by the Tamils for the Tamils.

The call to take up arms was declared in the last two paragraphs of the Vadukoddai Resolution. It said: This Convention directs the Action Committee of the TAMIL UNITED LIBERATION FRONT to formulate a plan of action and launch without undue delay the struggle for winning the sovereignty and freedom of the Tamil Nation;

And this Convention calls upon the Tamil Nation in general and the Tamil youth in particular to come forward to throw themselves fully into the sacred fight for freedom and to flinch not till the goal of a sovereign state of TAMIL EELAM is reached.”

In these two concluding paragraphs the Tamil leadership assembled at Vadukoddai called upon the Action Committee  to formulate a plan of action” for the Tamil youth in particular to take up arms, abandoning their pretensions of being a non-violent movement. And from 1976 onwards both the Tamil elders and the Tamils youth followed the declared objective of winning the sovereignty and freedom of the Tamil Nation” through violence. It was a clear and decisive declaration to pursue a military course of action to achieve political goals This was the primary message delivered by the Tamil leadership to the Tamil people. It was the fateful day on which the Tamil leadership made their biggest political gamble by deciding to abandon the non-violent, democratic mainstream and go down the path of violence. They decided to change the course of history – and their destiny — with violence. They invested everything they had in pursuing violence and failed. Failed miserably!

Throughout the post-independent decades, the ageing Tamil leadership had pushed Tamil communalism to the extreme end and by May 14, 1976 the force of events generated by them had cornered them. They discovered rather late that the consistent, unrelenting and massive political campaigns they had whipped up, blaming everything on the Sinhala state” in the post-independent phase, had not gone in the direction they had wanted. Their aim was to divide Sri Lanka into two states – a task which they set out achieve with the typical Tamil arrogance boosted by historical distortions, political fictions, and anti-Sinhala-Buddhist venom. They had raised the hopes of the Jaffnaites overestimating their peninsular power and underestimating the consolidated historical forces that had created, built and sustained the nation over the ages.

By 1976 the false expectations they generated had risen to fever pitch and the internal forces – mainly, the Tamil youth — that rose with the high expectations had gone as far as they could and reached the end of their political tether. The Tamil youth were impatient and rebelling against the conservative and failed Tamil leadership demanding a change of course. The internal dynamics within the peninsula had gathered a momentum which demanded instant solutions. Eelam remained in the Never-Never land, elusive as ever. The hate politics of mono-ethnic Tamil extremism, targeting the Sinhala-Buddhists of the South, had gone too far to a point of no return, leaving no room for peaceful co-existence. Any moves for compromises were decried by one or the other Tamil party as surrender to the Sinhalese. Following Jinnah’s partioning of India the Tamil leadership declared that the marriage of partnership was over. They were determined to go for divorce which in their desperate circumstances seems to be the only way out.

In the Vadukoddai Resolution the Tamil leadership was throwing not a challenge but an ultimatum to the Sinhala state”. Pumped up by their mono-ethnic rhetoric, wrapped in mythologies, they were hoping to force their way into Eelam. The plan of the Tamil elders was to make use of the Tamil youth to pull their political chestnuts out.  In the process, they had painted themselves into a mono-ethnic extremity from which they could not get out except through violence. They were determined to dissolve the marriage made by the gods of geography and history. All what they needed was a public declaration justifying the hate politics of the North for them to declare war. The Vadukoddai Resolution was introduced to spell out the reasons why they refused to coexist. Demanding disproportionate shares of positions (particularly in the government service), power in the legislatures, privileges enshrined in the various constitutions and, most of all, territories as ethnic enclaves they had pushed themselves into a self-destructive political extremity. It led them to mono-ethnic politics, excluding the other”.  With this agenda they had nowhere else to go except to embrace violence.  This confirms the proposition that separatism and violence are inseparable.

It was amidst these overwhelming pressures that the Tamil leadership met in Vadukoddai and gave the official nod for the Tamil youth to take up arms against the elected state of Sri Lanka, hoping to ride on their backs to the seats of power in Eelam. The old Tamil leadership did not realise at this stage that they were handing over their traditional power, which they had wielded from feudal times, into the hands of the untried, untested and inexperienced Tamil youth. The immature Tamil youth who took over were armed with the Vadukoddai Resolution that legitimised their violence. Fired up by the Vadukoddai ideology they came out of their cells like bulls in a china shop. They literally went berserk believing that they had the Vadukoddai license to kill everything that crossed their path, including their political fathers.

In the meantime, the ageing Tamil leaders and the Tamil youth continued to maintain their two-pronged attack on the South. Needling the lower-level ethnic leadership of the South was a deliberate and chosen tactic of the Northern provocative politics, wrote Prof. A. J. Wilson, son-in-law of S. J. V. Chelvanayakam, father of Tamil separatism. The joint front of the Tamil elders and the youth were heading towards violence. Clearly, 1976” was segueing, slowly but surely, into 1983”. The explosion of 1983 did not come out of a misguided government turning a blind eye. It was the cumulative reaction to the collective violence unleashed in the Vadukoddai Resolution. No doubt, the aggressive reaction of the lunatic fringe in the South, provoked by the hate politics of Jaffna jingoism, too had aggravated the worsening inter-ethnic relations with reactive mob-violence breaking out sporadically. But the ultimatum issued in the Vadukoddai Resolution, and the provocative violence targeting the Sinhala state” that followed, were heating up communal tensions. Sinhala CTB bus drivers were returning to Colombo from Jaffna complaining that the Tamil shops were refusing to serve even a glass of water. By 1983 the two communities had drawn as far apart as they could. The last straw that broke the back of the Sinhala camel was the killing of the 13 soldiers.

Looking back, it is obvious that 1983” was the Southern reply to the arrogant politics of 1976” and the subsequent increase of violence of the Tamil youth threatening the sovereignty of the nation – the only place available to the Sinhalese in this lonely planet. At least nominally, the Tamil and Muslim communities had other historical havens to which they could withdraw in case the worst came to the worst. The Sinhalese had only Sri Lanka. It was the only base they built exclusively for themselves. Generations of Sinhalese sacrificed their lives to make it their safe haven. They had a historical right to claim it their own. It was not narrow racism / chauvinism. It was their legitimate, historical and natural right. The Vadukoddai Resolution posed a threat to their security and history and their defensive reaction was predictable.

The debate on the whys and the wherefores of 1983”, of course, is not going to end in a hurry. Taken out of its context and viewed as an anti-Tamil outburst of a society gone mad, the Tamils made 1983” the ultimate proof of their need for a divorce. But if it is placed in the context of consequences flowing from the ideological and political violence unleashed in the politics of 1976” and after, it is logical to conclude that 1983” was an inevitable outcome of the preceding Tamil aggressive and provocative politics. They asked for and they got it, was the general reaction of the Sinhalese. The sequence of events that flowed from 1976” ran incrementally, step by step, one leading to another, until escalating violence reached its explosive peak in 1983”.

Provocative rhetoric and actions of the North unravelled slowly but surely into 1983”. The explosion of 1983 was the counter-violence to end Tamil expansionism and aggressive power grab threatening the territorial integrity and the historical heritage left behind by the Founding Fathers of the nation. The ideological and emotional ambience for an ethnic explosion was prepared and fertilized by the Tamil leadership. The Tamil have always been quite clever in digging their own grave. The other two minorities escaped the horrors of a 33-year-old war because their leadership was wise enough not to hand over their grip on power to the misguided youth. It is the restoration of power to the non-violent stream of Tamil politics by the Rajapakse brothers that has introduced a new normalcy which, hopefully, will grow into a new nation.

Sinhala violence has invariably been reactive, responding to provocative political violence of the minorities. And 1983” is no exception. Besides, no responsible Sinhala leader, no respected or established Sinhala community organisation, nor the Sinhala state” had officially declared war against another community, despite the provocative violence they had faced. Like any other state it had reacted defensively to restore peace, and protect territorial integrity and sovereignty. It has never declared a war to impose its supremacy over the other communities.

The live-and-let-live policy of the Sinhala majority did not go beyond sporadic violence of the fringe freaks against the provocative acts of the minorities. Without condoning any kind of violence, it is clear that those explosions were like the fizz of the soda bottle. Sinhala violence has always gone down almost instantly, soon after its explosion, returning the nation to peaceful co-existence. Only the Tamil leadership decided to declare war against the Sinhala state” at Vadukoddai, creating the longest period of brutal violence. Their politics of hate leaves no room for peaceful co-existence. Vadukoddai Resolution was a recipe for separatist violence and chaos. But it was a wave of tsunamic violence that came from the volcanic sifting of the territorial plates in Vadukoddai and nowhere else.

I repeat, separatism and violence are inseparable. It is the kind of politics that can breed only hatred and not reconciliation.

To be continued

One Response to “Origins of Tamil political violence – Part I”

  1. Ancient Sinhalaya Says:

    Keep them on our soil, get eliminated or ask them to leave for their beloved tn and saudi where they came
    from? The traitors don’t want Sinhalese to be on the Island, and they don’t want to co-exist, plus their hearts,
    minds and loyalties are with tn and saudi. Do we need these sort of cancers on our soil who are after our blood
    and making our lives hell and making us prisoners in our country? We should be prepared to sacrifice millions of Sinhalese lives for their looming drealam and mussisthan wars? Do we want that? Ask all the Sinhalese on the Island! These traitors have abused and abused our hospitality and have been after our blood and our land.

    Drealam war halal bombs, last presidential elections (drealam map), not any good thing done by them during the last 500 years, all showing Sinhalese are in eternal danger from these cancers! Nightmare tenants and it is time
    to evict them and reclaim our country! It will save millions of Sinhalese lives and will be the most practical and bloodless solution to their lust for Sinhalese blood and our land in the long run. We are simply fed up with these greedy, ungrateful, selfish (all coming from religions of conveniences they all follow which don’t regard sins as
    sins) traitors’ demands, claims day in day out. Do we want to/have to put up with these? Why, why, why we go through these and still keeping these undesirables on our soil?

    HLD should write an article about the above topic. Even if the two traitor lots get their drealam and mussisthan,
    after killing millions of Sinhalese of course, is it going to end there? Of course not! The traitors will be then
    continuously fighting to expand their territories and Sinhalese going to be refuguees in their own land. Do we
    want that? These articles/comments are like beeri aliyanta veena gayana. It won’t do anything as long as there
    are people on terras/mussies payrolls and corrupt dehapaluwas who lick the traitors backsides for few thousand
    votes. Mr Modi has opened the door for tamils where they came from. Mussies turned old Buddhist
    countries to mussies by multiplying and there a lot of other mussies only countries where they can lead the
    lives to their hearts’ content. Why stay on our soil and try to eliminate us at every opportunity, leave for
    everyone’s sake. This is the only way forward without creating eternal bloodbaths! Our archaeological sites are
    in danger, we can’t even keep a Buddha statue, we need permission from the traitors put up a name board,
    we can’t sing our national anthem, and we can’t have any peace of mind; we have to dance to their tune and
    in the end have to be prepared to die in millions surrender our land. Do we need that? Do any Sinhalese in Sri
    Lanka need that? Unless you have no children of course like the samanala gang!

    One day it will be sooka yaka, next day it will be reeri yaka, then maha sona, bahiravaya, navichcha pillai, david milibanda, michael farting, monkey boon (previously), then thambi from UNHRC etc. etc. etc. bleeding hearts
    order Sri Lanka to look after the special people in the Island tamils and mussies. Sinhalese, in their own country
    not supposed to live or go to universities there while they can live, do whatever they want to say, do whatever
    they want to do. Special people and demand special treatment knowing Sinhalese are divided thanks GooandPee murderous (Sinahese Buddhists only of course) thieves. Even our wild life sanctuaries are prey. Traitor bada
    udin imported more breeders and settled then down as if we don’t have enough of the menace already.

    Tamils can write in tamil, get to any uni through the back door most of the times, receive FREE education and contribute to eelamists to murder Sinhalese and break up Sri Lanka. Not even the richest country in the world
    give FREE education and FREE health. Grateful? What? We are after Sinhalese blood. We don’t want Sinhalese in
    Sri Lanka, that is these traitor lots’ goal. War displaced tamils and mussies were quickly resettled by their deshapaluwas. Sinhalese? They are still langushing in camps since tamils and mussies vehemently oppose
    settling them down. We have become prisoners in our own country. It’s time to claim our country back. After
    all Mr Modi has opened the doors and waiting. Mussies can disappear to 80 mussie countries in the world of
    course with their baby machine wives (BMWs?). They can of course go to previously Buddhist
    countries iran, afganisthan, pakisthan, bangladesh, malaysia and indonesia which they converted to mussie
    countries within a few hundred years of their arrivals in those countries with their baby machine wives.

    Dutch brought tamils from tn to work in tobacco plantations. Then British brought more from tn to work in tea
    plantations. That’s not all. A lot of tamils crossed the 16 miles of sea in the 60s to save their lives from the
    severe famine in the 1960s (kallathonis). Remember, to save their lives. How grateful they have been? There is
    only 1 tamil, great Murali, who wants to co-exist with the Sinhalese. Can you believe the treachery, hatred, selfishness, greed? All down to the religions of conveniences they follow which don’t regard sins as sins.

    Today, all of them are natives with 1000s of years of history without an ancient tamil brick older than 400 years
    to substantiate their bogus claim. Oldest building in Jaffna is the 400 years old Dutch Fort. No Anuradhapuras, no Polonnaruwas, etc etc. yet the bogus mantra goes on knowing divided Sinhalese are easy prey. Anti Buddhist,
    anti Sri Lanka, anti Sinhalese, minority worshiping, Mother Lanka dismembering, murderous (Sinhalese Buddhists only of course) GooandPee aka UNPatriotic_rats divide the Sinhalese and make minorities kings and Sinhalese pariahs in our own land. Sinhalese are not supposed to live in the N&E while the foreigners can do, say, live anywhere in Sri Lanka.

    Traitor alugosuwa (to Sinhalese Buddhists only) thambi mudiyanselage [email protected] abolished Sirima-Shasthri Pact
    which was in operation to send 650,000+ estate tamils in the 60s. [email protected] gave citizenship to all of them to secure
    their votes. Today, they must be numbering 3-4 million or even more and they too aspire for a greater drealam. Then thambi mudiyanselage [email protected] created ever Mother Lanka hating, ever Mother Lanka dismembering
    diasporats (developed countries only of course) who fled Sri Lanka to escape barrel man hitler mala paharan’s
    forced conscription and claimed bogus asylums blaming Sri Lankan government (of course, of course for the
    sympathy) and we see the damage those ungrateful eelamist separatists doing from abroad. Thanks GooandPee traitor low lives. Now traitor alugosuwa [email protected]’s treacheries to destroy the Sinhalese race, Sri Lanka and Buddhism
    bearing fruit to the delight of tamils, mussies and catholics. Yet traitor [email protected] is a great president to some pea-
    brained Sinhala dhrohiyas.

    We didn’t bring any tamils or muslims to our country and both foreigner sets won’t settle down shorter than
    their own drealam and mussisthan. One traitor lot created a blood bath and 100,000+, mainly Sinhalese gave
    their lives to secure the country. Yet the traitors haven’t given up the drealam. Meanwhile other traitor lot
    multiplying like hell and getting ready for the next blood bath. Sri Lanka going to be an eternal blood bath
    without a shadow of doubt in the future. Since these traitors don’t want to co-exist with the Sinhalese and
    plotting the demise of the Sinhalese, Buddhism and territorial integrity of our country we should seriously
    consider asking them to depart for their beloved tn and saudi. Skip that and the survival of the Sinhalese race, Buddhism and Sri Lanka in one piece going to be in eternal danger. After all, Mr Modi has opened the doors
    and waiting. Do it now before it is too late. We don’t want to sacrifice our children, grandchildren as canon
    fodder for the traitors drealam or mussisthan campaigns looming before too long! After killing 100,000+, not a
    word to say sorry. Now bogus claim after after bogus claim to get more tamils abroad and make life difficult for
    Sri Lanka. Get rid of these undesirable traitors on our soil and claim our country back for the Sinhalese race,
    Buddhism and Sri Lanka to survive. Encourage them to leave for their beloved lands since they don’t want to co-exist without their separate kingdoms! When the dust settled all 3 parties going to realise it was the right thing
    avoiding eternal bloodbaths.

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