Peaceful coexistence is the most important project of our era

April 24th, 2016

Samantha Ranatunga

Peaceful coexistence is the most important project of our era which we cannot do in isolation, but together.

The huge challenge faced by the country today at the end of the staggering war lasting for 30 long years is to bring national amity among people belonging to different races, religions and communities and it’s a given that we cannot afford to leave this gigantic task purely in the hand of our politicians. As responsible citizens it is important to recognize that it’s our bounded duty to rise to the occasion and pioneer this effort to bring amity, setting an example for others to emulate and especially for the younger generations to follow. Sri Lanka, a post war country recovering from thirty years of internal conflict, though it has been achieved a sustainable development, the greatest challenge Sri Lanka faces presently is to maintain the peace and stability it has achieved.

At a crucial juncture when ethnic harmony is the most needed, Sri Lanka can glean from the life of V.T.S. Sivagurunathan a stalwart at Ananda College during its critical, formative years. Starting his services at Ananda as an assistant teacher in 1916 and rising quickly to spend the bulk of his time as Headmaster until he retired in 1942, his association with Ananda continued for a further 30 years or so even though he lived in Jaffna after retirement.

It’s in this context that for the past 5 years, the Jaffna and Colombo communities have been tied in a ceremonial bond through a celebrated cricket tournament between Ananda College Colombo and Jaffna Hindu College under the rubric “Sivagurunathan Memorial Challenge.” A unique encounter between the two beacons of Hindu and Buddhist educational institutions in Sri Lanka, this union between the two schools can be dubbed as a most futuristic attempt towards positive change. What Ananda means for the Sinhalese-Buddhists, JHC means for the Tamil-Hindus.

This tournament is to create a schools cricket cum debate festival that went beyond the boundaries in a harmonious bond. It is looked at as a way to create a tournament which combined Sports and English with community involvement thereby tightening the communal bond and building bridges on age old traditions, to provide opportunities for students, staff, and parents to transcend the physical and mental barriers that have built up over the last few decades.

This tournament to be held on Sunday 1st May at Nalanda College Grounds at 9.30am gives reason for the Colombo residents to visit Jaffna and for the Jaffna residents to visit Colombo. To this effect, the Sivagurunathan Memorial Challenge has proven to be fruitful.

This year too an associated event, the English Debate for the “Panikkar–Thanabalasingham Challenge” in memory of two senior teachers who excelled in teaching science and encouraging English at Ananda, will be held in connection with the tournament along with the celebratory banquet where the presentation of awards is held. The debate is scheduled to be held on Saturday 30th April at the Lakshman Kadiragamar Institute at 5.00pm. The celebratory Banquet dinner is scheduled to be held on 1st May at The Kingsbury at 7.00pm.

What is new in the banquet this year will be its latest addition: this year, the banquet will take the novel form of a Business Forum in which eminent champions of industry from both schools will make their presence under the patronage of the Chief Guest, the Hon. Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka, K. Sripavan who himself is an alumnus of JHC.

The debate is scheduled to be held on Saturday 30th April at the Lakshman Kadiragamar Institute at 5.00pm. The celebratory Banquet dinner is scheduled to be held on 1st May at The Kingsbury at 7.00pm.

These activities by these two leading schools from the opposite ends of the country will no doubt make a larger impact to building harmony amongst the youth of this great nation.

Samantha Ranatunga

Bigger containers, lesser contents.

April 24th, 2016

Dr. Mareena Thaha Reffai,Dehiwela

Have you noticed  how we consumers are all duped into believing that we are getting our money’s worth?

The other day I bought a baby cream of a famous repetitive name, and when I opened the sealed tube and squeezed …. and squeezed and squeezed ….. well it took half the tube to be squeezed to get the cream to come out. Yes it is filled with  half the capacity but the price is even more than what it was for a full tube. Same with some anti septic creams too.

The boxes of the milk packets look large. So do the packs of nuts, chips and other bites. When you shake them half of the packet is empty. See the yoghurt cups? The top looks same as those old days but the bottom part  which actually consist of the yoghurt is so small!

My favorite mosquito coil said to last 12 hours – which it did sometime back – hardly lasts 8 hours. Calling them and complaining fell on deaf ears. I remember those days when I called about the coil being  stuck together the marketing manager promptly sent an officer who  apologized for the defunct pack and replaced too. Nowadays they have no explanation for the short changing so they pretend deaf.

Some products have stayed the same and the prices have gone up. That is understandable. But when the company  tries to hood wink people to make them think they are getting more for the price they are paying,   it leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

I avoid such cheats.

Yahapalanaya the  Greatest Hoax played on the people of Sri Lanka.

April 23rd, 2016

By Charles.S.Perera

One does not know where Sri Lanka is or which way it is going.  Since 1968 we had as national leaders, D.S.Senananayake, S.W.R.D.Bandaranaike, Sirimavo Bandaranayaike J.R.Jayawardhana, R.Premadasa, Chandrika Kumaratunga and Mahinda Rajapakse. What ever defects some of them had they proved to be national leaders of distinction.

S.W.R.D.Bandaranayake, Sirmavo Bandaranaike  were exceptionally great leaders and the last Mahinda Rajapakse greatest of all comparatively amoung the ancient Kings like King Dutugamunu. Mahinda Rajapakse was the great leader of the Nation who  eliminated terrorism, brought peace to Sri Lanka and  united it under one flag.

 The Maithripala Sirisena is the worst we ever had as a President and the  most disastrous at that, who cannot even be called a National Leader.

There are some who will disagree specially the  sympathisers  of the UNP, the political party which failed from the inception to take Sri Lanka along the correct path to progress,   give the culture of Sri Lanka its rightful place, assure communal unity and  recognise the universal value of Buddhism. Today with Maithripala Sirisena  at the helm UNP  has begun its ruinous activities against  the Sovereign state of Sri Lanka.

Maithripala Sirisena the President by accident has no ambition of his own for the the development of Sri Lanka . Maithripala Sirisena is only helping UNP to allow Ranil Wickramasinghe another  political leader  of doubtful patriotism to launch his old political plans for Sri Lanka which he prepared in 2002 to make Sri lanka a sub-state of America.

Ranil Wickramasinghe with Chandrika as the Agents of the West are under obligation to the West to revive LTTE to fulfil its  terrorists creators ambition of a separate State in the  North and East, which the former President Mahinda Rajapakse so painfully prevented with the sacrifice of  thousands of  Sinhala Buddhist Youth.

That great victory over  terrorism and the Western plan to break up Sri Lanka by the former President Mahinda Rajapakse , have now been converted to  a victory for the  LTTE rump the TNA and the Tamil Diaspora to  make the dream of  the terrorist Prabhakaran a reality by  setting up a Tamil Eelam in the North and East for which the Tamil racist Wigneswaran is going all out.   No wise government would have at the present chaotic state dreamt of writing a new Constitution to Sri Lanka. But Yahaplanaya has undertaken it to fool the people and satisfy the West.

Maithripala Sirisena incapable of taking any decision,  depending on Ranil Wickramasinghe and a SLFP on the verge of  collapse, has taken to trumpet blowing due to  his mental emptiness of an intelligent progressive plan for Sri Lanka.  He is gone completely paranoic and stands neither with the UNP or the collapsing SLFP and still barks about vengeance against the former President Mahinda Rajapakse.

Maithripala Sirisena like Kumba Karna is in a long sleep and in that sleep  he dreams, unaware of what is going on in Sri Lanka.

When Sirisena finally wakes up from his long sleep, Ranil and  his UNP goons with the help of the SLFP self minding “bath gottas” would have signed the ECTA with India , the Hanuman Bridge would have been built  with a railway line from Talaimannar to Tricomalee connecting Dhanuskodi in India to Trincomalee in Sri Lanka, a new Sri Lanka Constitution supporting Federalism would have been passed, and the North and East of Sri Lanka merged in to a Federal State.

Maithripla Sirisena will wakeup to a Sri Lanka which may be the  37th State of India. Sirisena without enough intelligence to understand  political manoeuvrings of India with the help of Ranil Wickramasinge and his UNP gang still unaware of what has taken place will want Rajapakses hunted.  What a President the people of Sri Lanka elected for a change.

Maithripala Sirisena has really changed Sri Lanka to a subordinate State of India ?   It is all happening without his knowledge.  He wakes up from time to time and says that he does not know the decisions taken by the government. What does he do  at the Cabinet Meetings  ? Is he  day dreaming about how to make Mahinda Rajapakse unpopular ?

He recently said that he left the previous government because the President Mahinda Rajapakse had opposed his suggestion to sack a suspected killer from the SLFP.  This Kumbha Karna  dreams all the time  and is unaware of the reality of Ranil Wickramasinghe and his UNP coteries selling Sri Lanka to the West.

Sirisena’s real reason to leave the previous government was his greed for power, to become the President of Sri Lanka if possible, which he would never been under normal circumstances. He denies that he did not leave  President Mahinda Rajapakse’s government because he was denied the office of Prime Minister.

He brags and blows his own trumpet to show that he is capable of taking decisions on his own without having to depend on Ranil Wickramasoingke, Chandrika and Champika. Mangala who is running to USA to meet John Kerry for instructions does not seem to much care consulting  Maithripala Sirisena about important matters.  That is how he sponsored the American resolution against Sri Lanka itself at the Geneva Human Rights Council.

Maithripala Sirisena brags that he created a government together with the UNP to defeat the system which was not suitable to the country. His lopsided political philosophy is  laughable.  He does not even realise the foolishness of his statement which he makes at the 60th anniversary of the peoples’ victory of 1956.

SWRD Bandaranaike who was the “father” of SLFP left UNP in 1951 because he found the  existing system unsuitable to Sri Lanka and what Maithripala Sirisena does not seem to understand is that he did the exact opposite of what SWRD did taking SLFP back to UNP.

One of the mistakes of the former President of the SLFP Mahinda Rajapakse was to give the Presidency of SLFP to Sirisena, who has no idea of different political systems. Mahinda Rajapakse may of course have had his reasons for that.

Maithripala Sirisena says, “ Though some people are accusing me stating that I created a government together with the UNP by defeating the SLFP, what I did was to defeat the system which is not suitable to the country by bring in a new system ”

This man Maithripla Sirisena  in reality  created nothing. Even he was “created” President by Chandrika,Ranil , and Madoluwawe Sobhitha thero.

Maithripala Sirisena created only chaos in Sri Lanka, by electing Sampanthan as the Opposition Leader, removing the military camps in the North, distributing land that had been occupied by the Army to the Tamils, taking vengeance from Mahinda Rajapakse and his family.

Maithripala Sirisena  has done absolutely nothing for the Country or our Buddhist Culture ever since his election as the President of Sri Lanka, other than executing his sinister  plans to keep Mahinda Rajapakse out of politics.

Sirisena makes another false statement at the same 60th Anniversary of the people’s victory of 1956. He says that;  “ It was the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa who came to agreements with the UNP, much before I established a unity government together with the UNP”. Then he goes on to say, “….. when the agreement between the former president and the UNP was not successful, Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa built a government by taking 27 UNP leaders to the government, giving them ministries ”.

This is a lie ,  with the  aim to discredit the President Mahinda Rajapakse. The 27 members of the UNP led by Karu Jayasuriya during the height of the military operations against the terrorists,  joined the  President Mahinda Rajapakse to support him in his war effort. The UNP leaders at the time along with  Ranil Wickramasinghe himself, Laksman Kiriella, Ravi Karunanayake etc., were ridiculing the Sri Lanka Army Commander and the Armed Forces taking for granted that the Armed Forces were fighting an unwinnable battle against the “invincible” terrorists.

President Mahinda Rajapakse never spoke critically of the UNP or its leader. He was  in fact in very good terms with Ranil Wickramasinghe.  That speaks a lot about  President Mahinda Rajapakse’s tolerance of even his opponents, and his ability to have cordial relations with them. That is what separates Mahinda Rajapakse from the likes of Ranil, Chandrika and Maithripala Sirisena. They cannot hold a candle to Mahinda Rajapakse.

Maithripala Sirisena  talks , and that is all he had been doing since 9th January,2015, while Ranil, Chandrika and Mangala Samaraweera have together taken Sri Lanka as a pawn on to the Western political checker board.

Sirisena shamelessly says, that “As the politicians belong to the 1956 era, we give the prominence to the country and the people. I will be committed to protect the SLFP by strengthening it according to the philosophy of Sir S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike”.

But in reality Sirisena has thrown the political philosophy of S.W.R.D Bandaranaike into a political cesspit becoming  a party to the new political plan designed by  Ranil Wickramasinghe, Chandrika and John Kerry.

They say that a man could be measured from the friends he has.  So is a country.  Sri Lanka the independent sovereign State that it was has become today a failed state  desperately attached to USA, India, and the European Union for its existence.  Having failed to get a dime  from the West it was depending on for the development of Sri Lanka without China, has now turned to China.

China which the Yahapalanaya condemned  for its alignment with Sri Lanka under President Mahinda Rajapakse, and spoke slanderously of  China breeding Chinese children in Sri Lanka is now  being invited to come to its help.  Ranil Wickramasinghe and  the UNP Ministers now sing hosannas for China.

Maithripala Sirisena with those who  “created of him” a President,  is today putting the blame on the former President Mahinda Rajapakse for all mistakes they made since 9 January,2015. A country which was peacefully  and progressively marching as an independent Sovereign State towards development, has been turned into a failed State by the Yahapalanaya Government led by President Maithripala Sirisena. The Yahapalanaya houx has been accomplished, but it assures  its existence on the extent to which they could continue to blame the former President Mahinda Rajapakse.

Paradoxically, the former President Mahinda Rajapakse has become the saviour of  these Yahaplanaya fraudsters.

Moddely Tamby – the Father of Vellahlas 

April 23rd, 2016

H. L. D. Mahindapala

It is hindsight that throws insights to create and illuminate foresight. That is the beauty  and value of history. It gives meaning. It also throws up warning signs for  those with 20-20 vision to read the road map that points the way to destinations. Those who refuse to look back and gain the advantages of hindsight are like drivers on the road speeding  without a rear vision mirror : they would never know what would come  from behind and whack  them off course.

A critical look at the past would  also provide ample signs of the shape of  things to come. If, as they say, coming events cast their shadows then one  has to go no further than Moddeley Tamby to get a glimpse of the explosive events that came down from the north in the 20th century. Moddeley Tamby, hitherto unknown Tamil Vellahla Cannecapul (a writer / clerk) attached to the Commander of Jaffnapatnam, is a name that was buried in the archives of the Dutch. He figures prominently in the Memoirs of the Commander of Jaffna, Hendri  Zwaardecroon, who sacked him. All hell broke loose after  that. Zwaardecroon had committed the big crime of sacking a Vellahla Cannecapul and appointed another from the rival Madapally caste. In typical Vellahla fashion Moddeley Tamby rounded up the powerful Vellahlas and with some extra help from the Vanni he led the first Vellahla revolt against the Dutch. This is the first time that the Vellahlas flexed their political muscle. This was also the first of the many Vellahla encounters that were to follow and end in the violence endorsed in the Vadukoddai Resolution. There is no doubt that Moddeley Tamby’s revolt shook the Dutch administration.

The Vellahla struggle for power in the administration was worrisome to the Dutch. They knew that Vellahlaism was the root cause of the problem. They kept a sharp eye on it. Zwaardecroon’s report on  Tamby’s riot is an accurate characterisation of Vellahlaism that  is valid even to this day. He presents a clear descriptive view of the prevailing caste politics, particularly the power of the Vellahlas and how well entrenched they were in the system even during the time of the Dutch. In his Memoirs Zwaardecroon says that the Vellahlas had the virtual monopoly of the jobs in the Dutch administration. The tax collectors, Majoraals, (minor village officials), Cannecapuls, Arachchies etc., came from the Vellahla caste. For instance, Don Philip Sangerapulle, “from Cannengray, a native of evil repute”, had “obtained during the years 1689 and 1690 all the advantages he desired for  his caste and  for his followers. This went so far as to the appointment of even schoolboys as Majoraals and Cayals from the time they left school.” The Vellahla monopoly was not welcome by Zwaardecroon. He brought it to the notice of Governor Thomas van Rhee who authorized him “to make the necessary changes, that so many thousands of  people should no longer suffer by the oppression of the Bellales, who are very proud and despise all other castes, and who had become  so powerful that they were able not  only to worry and harass the poor people, but also prevent them from submitting their complaints to the authorities.”

He adds that “it has always been a rule here not to restrict the appointment to these offices to the Bellales, but to employ the Madapallys and other castes as well, to serve as a counteracting influence; because this means the  inhabitants were  kept  in peace and through the jealousy of the various  castes the ruler  was always in a position to know  what was going  on in the country.”

Zwaardecroon now comes  to the the riot of Moddeley Tamby. He says: “ All these reasons induced  His Excellency Thomas van Rhee to give me  leave to bring about the necessary changes which have not been introduced. I appointed the Collector  of Waddemoraatje as my Cannecapul  in place of of Moddeley Tamby, whose place  I filled with the new Collector of Madapally caste, while also a new Collector was appointed for Timmoraatsche in place of Don Juan Mandala Nayaga, whom the late Mr. Blom  had discharged from office in one place. ….I have further transferred two  Collectors in the large Province  of Wallegamo, so as to gradually bring about the desired change in the interest of the Company and that of the other castes; but I heard that this small change created so much disturbance and canvassing that haad to leave the matter alone. The Bellales, seeing that they would be shut out from these profitable  office and that they would lose influence they possessed so far, and being the largest in number and the wealthiest of the people, moved heaven and earth to put a stop to the carrying into effect of this  plan  so prejudicial to their interests. With this view they also joined the Wannias Don Philip Nellampane and Don Gaspar Illengenarene Mudliyar in their conspiracies, The latter two, also Bellales, well aware that they owe many elephants to the Company, as stated at the beginning of tis Memoir, and  known  that their turn would also come, organized the riots in which the said Moddely Tamby was the principal  instrument. … They also probably understood  that it was my intention to diminish the influence of the Bellala caste, and were thus induced to take its course to promote the welfare of their caste.”

In many respects Moddeley Tamby represents the Vellahla political culture that dominated the colonial and post-colonial landscape. Understanding Moddeley Tambi is the key to understanding colonial and post-colonial history that flowed from Jaffna. It is the clear that he was fighting for one cause only : vellahlaism. He was fighting with the Dutch not because the job of Cannecapul went to a fellow-Tamil. No. He was fighting to grab a key post in the Dutch administration because the loss of  it would  “diminish the influence  of  the Bellala caste.” He was fighting to retain  the  power of the Vellahlas for the Vellahlas. Profit, power, position and prestige depended on holding key administrative positions. The Vellahlas were craving for power and getting a firm foothold in the administration  was another way of sharing  power with the rulers. Vellahla politics  from the time of Moddeley Tamby was focused  on grabbing a lion share of power in the administration. This is the factor that rose to monstrous proportions in the post-colonial  period and dominated the national agenda.

The Dutch colonial setting in which Moddeley Tamby and the Vellahlas came into prominence is also important to understand the rise and flow of Vellahla politics from the 17th century to the present. The Dutch period is, indeed, a watershed for the Vellahlas because they consolidated their power and position during this period. The rise of Vellahlas as a political force in the Dutch period is highlighted by R. F. Young and Bishop S. Jebanesan in their scholarly study of Jaffna society, The Bible Trembled, The  Hindu-Christian Controversies of Nineteenth-Century Ceylon, Vienna, 1995. They wrote: “The peninsula became a Vellahla domain only in the Dutch era  when the coastal Karaiyar caste, the bulk  of  which had become  Catholic in the sixteenth century, was dispossessed from positions of administrative power by Vellahlas (Protestants (nominally at least) and Hindus) of untainted loyalty. In gratitude the Dutch granted concession to Vellahla landowners, especially those who cultivated tobacco, the region’s most lucrative plantation product. A steady supply of labour had been guaranteed by bonding the Nalava (the regional term for Tirunelveli toddy-tappers) and other subordinate castes to them as “soil slaves”. The Vellahlas were, therefore, advantageously positioned to affiliate remuneratively with the British when the Dutch were overthrown.” (p. 104).

Moddeley Tamby’s riot  is the first political act of the Vellahalas to assert their right to be in commanding positions to exert power, even if it was as subordinate agents of the colonial masters. They emerged as a political force with the riot of Moddeley Tambi demanding that the privileged position of the Vellahlas as the ruling elite in the caste hierarchy should be preserved at any cost. Besides, the land grants given to them by the Dutch, the lucrative trade of tobacco, the mass importation of slaves by the Vellahlas to work their tobacco  plantations, their privileged position  in the Dutch administrative service and the Vellahla violence, their unofficial political tool, to maintain their supremacy were some of the factors that strengthened their power as a political force. It was also in 1707 that the Dutch enthroned the Tesawalamai, the laws and customs  of  the Jaffna Tamils, endorsed by the 12 Vellahla Mudliyars, as the guide to their rule. This legalised and enhanced the power of the Vellahlas to impose  their law on the slaves and  the other low-castes. Of course, the Dutch too was keen on learning the laws and customs of the natives. That would also help them to  pursue  their policy of divide and rule among the competing castes more effectively. In 1697, Zwaardecroon “had suggested the need for a a “concise digest” of those customs which might serve for  the instruction of  the members of the Court of  Justice as well as for new rulers arriving here.” (p.11, The Administration of Justice in Ceylon under the Dutch Government 1656 – 1796, Prof. T. Nadaraja, Journal of he Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, New Series, Vol XII, 1968.)

The Dutch were the first to face the wrath  of the Vellahlas. They found it necessary to study the pervasive and pernicious caste system for them to govern Vellahla-dominated Jaffnapatnam.  They also felt the need to balance the caste rivalries if they were to maintain law and order. Governor Thomas Van Rhee drew up the first list of castes in Jaffna. He identified 40 caste groups. He  listed the Vellahlas as the “most numerous  of all castes”.  (p.7 – Memoirs). They were also the most  influential and rich. Zwaardecroon who had a rather cynical view of  the Vellahlas wrote : “It is a well-known fact that the more  influential natives always try to oppress the  poorer  classes, and it will be impossible to prevent their doing this  if they allowed  to become stronger than they already are.” (p.28 – Memoirs).

The oppression, cruelty and the injustices of the Vellahlas were exasperating to the Dutch rulers. Anthony Mooyart, a successor to Zwaardecroon, wrote : “It is extremely difficult, although quite necessary, to administer even justice in this (Jaffna) Commandment, so as to maintain the reputation held  by the Netherlanders for  wise and  just government, and at the same time win the hearts of the natives and secure their loyalty. I found it  most difficult  to  protect the  poor  when they had the right on their side  from the  peculation of their  own (Vellahla) countrymen. Those who have the power and held in estimation by the authorities (i.e., the Vellahlas) are like birds of  prey, who strip their victims to the bone of everything they have and leave them hardly their lives. When a poor man brings a charge against  an influential Malabaar (i.e., there were no Tamils those days), or  had been injured by him, the latter uses his  influence  in such a way that if steps be not taken to bring the offender to justice, the offence remain undetected, or if detected, the facts are so perverted that the  poor man does not receive the justice  which he is entitled to; while again, many others are accused who are  perfectly innocent. Powerful or rich Malabaars, and even ordinary Lascoreen, often bring charges against innocent people toward  whom they have a  grudge, or when they fail to extort from them as much as they wish it.” (p.6 – Dutch Memoirs, Mooyart.)

The Vellahla riot led by Moddeley Tamby should be placed against  this political background. The moment I stumbled into this incident whole new vistas opened up before my eyes. A Vellahla leading a riot to get back a job in the government service rang a bell. I saw Moddeley Tambi in a different light. I saw the the primary source of all the cries of grievances and discrimination that  plagued the colonial and post-colonial periods  written large in neon lights in the VellahaIa face of Moddeley Tambi. I saw the seeds of violence he sowed in his riot exploding with greater devastating force in the 20th and 21st centuries.  I also saw the rise of Sir Kanthiah Vaithianathan as Permanent Secretary to the Prime Minister D. S. Senanayake. I saw the globe-trotting Raju Coomaraswamy, the father of Radhika Cooomarswamy, sitting pretty as the  king of the Treasury, very much like S. Paskaralingam in Ranil Wickremesinghe Treasury today. I saw Dr. S. Chellapah, the Director of Health, Lt. Col. Anton Muttukumara. the first Sri Lankan Army Commander, Rajan Kadiragamar, the Navy Commander, M. Tiruchelvam, Neelan Tiruchelvam’s father, the Solicitor-general, K. C. Nithiyananda, the head of the powerful Government Clerical Service Union etc., etc.,—all marching  behind  Moddely Tamby,  following  his footsteps.  In hindsight, I saw Moddeley Tamby as the father of the Vellahla Tamils who dominated the public  service. I saw him as the first Vellahla activist setting the example for grabbing power with violence, if  necessary.

The Moddeley Tamby mentality of the Vellahlas has been to capture the second  tier of power in the administration because that is the next best option available  to those who can’t capture legislative power at the peak political  tier. And  they guarded this  privileged  position in the administration with their lives. Moddeley Tambi  rebelled against the Dutch because the Vellahla supremacy was threatened and the Vellahlas never tolerated any threat to their  status. He began as a betel carrier to Sangarepulle “from Cannengray, a native of evil repute.” (p. 24 – Dutch Memoirs, Hendri  Zwaardecroon, the Commandeur of Jaffna.). That, however, is irrelevant. What comes to fore is that he was first and foremost a Vellahla – “the  most  numerous” and powerful of the 40 castes enumerated by the Dutch. Moddeley Tamby raised the banner of ONLY Vellahlaism and not any cause of the Tamils. Nor did he raise an anti-colonial, pro-nationalist cry. His  main objective was to retain the  public  service  job for the Vellahlas. His resistance was to prevent it going to a rival caste, who was also a Tamil, by the way. Keeping government jobs in Vellahla hands is their way of power sharing with the rulers. Power sharing at any level  is an  obsession with the Vellahlas.  They would  not hesitate  to walk over the dead bodies of  their fellow-Tamils to get there.

This is why the Dutch had to face a riot. Giving an important post like a Cannecapul to the Commander of Jaffnapatnam to a non-Vellahla was an affront to Vellahla status and supremacy.  It  is Moddeley Tamby’s role as a Vellahla political activist, defending Vellahla supremacy, that makes him standout from the rest of his contemporaries. Historically too, he should have come into the limelight because he stands out as the first representative of political Vellahlaism which became a dominant political factor in the colonial and post-colonial  history of Sri Lanka. He  is the archetypal figure that represents the essence of Vellahla-centric politics that streamed down from the Dutch period to contemporary times. The main strands of casteist politics that dominated Jaffna had hardly changed since he set the pattern in his riot against the Dutch.

In the Dutch records,  Moddely Tamby emerges as the first Vellahla political man who gave the lead to casteist politics. In time Vellahla casteism spread like cancer  eating into the body politic  of Jaffna and from there to  the rest of the nation.  Vellahlaism was injected into every move and counter-move that came  out  of Jaffna. The irony is that the Vellahla  riot led by Moddeley Tambi was so insignificant it  never even reached the footnotes of mainstream  history, either in the north or the south. It remained buried in the records of the Dutch. As far as I know this is the first time that it has been taken out from its obscurity and examined for what it is worth. At first I was startled by the fact that the “obedient and obsequious” Vellahla Tamils had revolted against the Dutch. And the more I looked into it the more I was fascinated by Moddeley Tamby’s  role. It struck a  note in me.  I realised that Moddeley Tamby represent more  than a Vellahla man fighting for his  job in the Dutch public service. It dawned on me that he was the first of the many Jaffna Tamils who would fight tooth and nail for jobs in the public service. Looking back with all the advantages of  hindsight, I could not help note that he was the precursor of cataclysmic events to come.

Moddeley Tamby was driven by the internal casteist dynamics that were to determine the course of events which ended eventually in Nandikadal. He was the first to demonstrate the “craze for clerkship” in public service – a phrase coined by the Tamil Bishop of the Church  of South India in Jaffna, Sabapathy Kulendra, quoted in S. J. V. Chelvanayakam and the Crisis of Sri Lankan Tamil Nationalism, 1947 – 1977, A Political Biography, A. J. Wilson,  (p. 72). This “craze for clerkship” has been the bane of Jaffna  politics  When G. G. Ponnambalam went before the Soulbury Commission and delivered his nine-hour lecture his main complaint was about discrimination in public service jobs – the only growth industry under colonialism. After examining the evidence the Commissioners dismissed it as stuff and  nonsense. In fact, they found the Jaffna Tamils, mainly the English-educated Vellahlas, were occupying a disproportionate share of jobs in the public service.

Government service has been a second religion to the Vellahlas, next to Saivism. To the Jaffna Tamils acquiring jobs in the public service was like power-sharing in the administration  of the day.  Being in the commanding heights of the ruling administration gave them an advantage in  policy-making and decision-making at the highest level. They were able to monitor and influence in devious ways politics to serve their interests. It was the next best thing to running a state of  their own. I remember K. C. Nythiananda, the firebrand head of the Government Clerical Service Union, telling me: “You (meaning Sinhalese) govern. We (meaning Tamils) rule!”. Moddely Tambi was the first Vellahla Tamil who  had the identical ambitions of Nythiananda: others may govern but the Vellahlas always wanted to rule. In short, Jaffna, as a discrete political force, cannot be understood without taking into account the internal casteist dynamics that caused Moddeley Tambi to riot against the Dutch for a job in government service. It is the vaulting  ambitions of  the Vellahla supremacists  to rule that came out of the colonial  period  and dominated the post-colonial period as a destructive political force.

Vellahlaism was a politically sophisticated  force. They gravitated towards power and  would  go to great lengths to go to bed  with anyone to share power under the cover of dirty, stained sheets.The casteist mentality of Moddeley Tambi, focused particularly on capturing seats in the government, was an obsession with the Vellahla Tamils. Prof. A. J. Wilson confirmed this when he wrote :  “On the whole. the Tamil vellalas have dominated government  service and the professions, with the occasional member from the minority caste.” ( p.140 – Ibid). To the Vellahla Tamils it was more than dowry-earning, permanent, pensionable job, with railway warrants for free travel. It was, most of all, a political power base where they had the ear of the rulers of the day. Public service became a leading power base of the English-educated, Saivitie, Jaffna, Vellahla Tamils. So when Chelvanayakam decided  to make the biggest  proclamation of  his career, the  decision  to establish a separate state for Tamils, he did not make it in Jaffna, the so-called heartland of the Tamils. He made it at the Government Clerical Service Union, (GCSU) Headquarters in Maradana. On December 14, 1949 he and his lieutenants trooped into a room, upstairs  and announced his ambition to be the Jinnah of Sri Lanka. He had calculated quite  correctly that for him  to win Jaffna he had to win the English-educated, Saivite, Vellahlas public servants. On this day Chelvanyakam manifested himself as a reincarnation of Moddeley Tamby blown up into monstrous proportions. Christian Chelvanayakam is the Tamil genie that came out of the Saivite-Vellahla bottle and took Jaffna  for a ride all the way to Nandikadal.

The “craze for clerkship” in the public service began with Moddeley Tamby.  His caste-driven riot against the Dutch contains the quintessence of Jaffna politics which informed and determined the politics of Jaffna since then. He was, in short, trying to assert the divine right of the Vellahlas to rule. The unbroken continuity in the forces of Jaffna politics that determined  its character throughout the colonial and post-colonial period, stemmed from the casteist factors raised and pursued by Moddeley Tamby ruthlessly. He is the  primordial source and  force of Vellahlaism, with “a craze for clerkship”.

He represents  the most  dominant political strand that ran through the colonial and post-colonial history : vellahlaism. This has been the most  neglected aspect in the multitudinous volumes written on Sri Lankan history. Moddeley Tamby deserves a special place in the history of Jaffna because he  is the first pioneering political activist to the raise the Vellahla banner and fight for the Vellahlas. The rest who followed him were mere imitators who ran, carrying his violent Vellahla banner, all the way to Nandikadal. It is Moddeley Tamby’s Vellahla spirit and essence that was infused into the laws and customs  written down in Tesawalamai confirming the supremacy of the Vellahlas. In fact, the Dutch drafted and instituted the Tesawalamai because they felt the need understand the violent Vellahlaism unleashed by Moddeley Tamby. It is the revised version of Moddeley Tamby’s casteist ideology, seeking supremacy and legitimacy in every realm, that subsequently led to the anointment of the Vellahlas as the divinely ordained elite over all other castes by Arumuka Navalar – the caste fanatic. It was to retain the supremacy of the Moddeley Tamby’s casteism that Sir. Ponnambalam Ramanathan went all the way to London to pressure the Colonial Office to legalise it. It was Moddeley Tamby who reincarnated as Prof. C. Suntheralingam and  stood flailing  his walking stick to keep the low-castes out of the inner  courts of Maviddipuram Temple. It was Moddeley Tamby who came  out of the casteist bottle at the GCSU Hall in Maradana and  spoke through Chelvanayakam whose ambition  was to rule as the leader  of the Vellahlas.

None of these leaders ever stood genuinely for the  oppressed Tamils who were kicked around as subhuman pariahs during the feudal and  colonial centuries. They were all cut-outs of Moddeley Tamby imitating him, sometimes in  refined ways and sometimes in crude violence. In the end, it was Moddeley Tamby’s Vellahla violence  that was honed and unleashed by Velupillai Prabhakaran – the Vellahla proxy who became the unwitting tool of the Vellahla politics wrapped crudely in the distorted  history outlined in the Vadukoddai Resolution.

It is the Moddley Tamby mentality that created Jaffna jingoism and its latest avatar, C. V. Wigneswaran.

On the available historical evidence it is fair to conclude  this essay by saying  that all violent and  non-violent Tamil leaders who had fought only for the Vellahlas and  their divisive  politics are nothing but perverted doppelgangers of Moddeley Tamby – the Father of Vellahlas.

Sri Lanka’s ‘historical error’ in choosing new IGP: activists

April 23rd, 2016

Courtesy The Island


The Constitutional Council’s selection of a new IGP through a secret ballot carried out in the absence of two of the three civil society representatives was slammed Saturday as a “historic blunder.”

An activist group known as Decent Lanka 2015 which includes journalist Kusal Perera and lawyer Srinath Perera accused the CC chaired by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya of “bluffing” the people.

Jayasuriya did not vote when the Council met on Monday (April 18) in parliament to decide a nominee to be the new IGP from among three candidates — S. M. Wickramasinghe, Pujith Jayasundara and Chandana Wickramaratne.

Jayasundara, 56, was chosen through a secret ballot in sharp contrast to the procedure adopted in choosing the Attorney General in February by the same Council.

Objections by JVP representative Vijitha Herath that the Council’s  procedure was seriously flawed and against the constitution were overruled and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe reportedly initiated the secret ballot following a meeting that lasted less than an hour.

“What the people need from the Council is not a majority decision in appointing a person to a high position, but the appointment of the right person through a credible, open procedure,” the activists said while expressing their “disgust.”

They were also critical of two out of the three civil society representatives in the Council — Mohamed Shibly Aziz, 70, eminent President’s Counsel and Radhika Coomaraswamy, 63, a former under secretary general of the UN.

Both were absent while while only  A. T. Ariyaratne, 84, was the sole civil society voice.

“It is… disturbing how the three members who are included in the Council to represent the ‘People’ compromise their responsibility.

“Though numerically outnumbered, they have to represent the people and stand for a transparent procedure in selecting persons to high positions in the state.

“This particular decision (of appointing IGP) carries with it, lot more heavy blunders that make it a historical error. An error that should never again be allowed over selections and recommendations in the future and this corrected IF possible through public demand.

“All publicity about requesting CV’s (curriculum vitaes) for scrutiny from the three nominees sent in by the President and inviting them for a viva voce that never happened was nothing but sheer political bluffing.”

The activists demanded that the Council publish the CV’s it received from the three candidates and explain why they the three officers were not allowed to make a case for themselves before the Council.

They also wanted the council to declare the criteria for choosing Jayasundara over the other three and spell out the procedure adopted in deciding he was better than the other two.

At least one member of the council objected to their having to choose one out of three candidates nominated by President Sirisena in contrast to the practice adopted in appointing the Attorney General in February.

“The Prime Minister tried to explain that this was an exceptional situation where the President had to choose a candidate out of three that included the head of his own security and village-mate,” a source said.

He was referring to Senior Deputy Inspector-General Wickramasinghe who had aligned himself with President Sirisena after serving over a decade as head of security of his arch-enemy, Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Double Standards

In the case of nominating an Attorney General, the council returned the three names suggested for consideration by the President and asked him to make only one nomination which he later did and which was ratified by the panel.

Following a brief but intense debate on double standards, the council through a majority decided to go in for a vote at the Speaker’s chamber in parliament where only eight out of the 10 Council members were present.

The results were not officially released to the public, but sources close to the process, which was also watched by two senior members of parliamentary staff, said there were five votes in favour of Jayasundara.

Senior DIG Wickramasinghe got one vote while another vote was “spoilt.” Speaker Karu Jayasuriya who is the chairman of the council did not cast his vote.

Both Senior DIGs Wickramasinghe and Jayasundara had launched intense media campaigns to lobby for the top post while third placed Senior DIG Chandana Wickramaratne remained a dark horse.

Wickramaratne was seriously handicapped as politicians feared giving the top job to a younger man who could have held the post for seven years, longer than the term of the current government.

“He (Wickramaratne) was never really in contention because the two main parties feared that his tenure could guarantee that he could remain independent if he so desired,” the source said shortly after Monday’s vote.

Jayasundara and Wickramasinghe have the same seniority while Wickramaratne is seven months junior to them in service while being four years younger.

All three officers were invited to parliament on Monday, but they were not asked a single question nor invited to make any presentation, although it appeared that all three were prepared to make a case for themselves.

The Speaker invited them to have a cup of tea before thanking them for their presence.


April 23rd, 2016


The newly appointed Inspector General of Police  Mr Pujitha Jayasundera  must receive the greatest accolade now  that  he holds the sword to bring back the glory of Police force in Sri Lanka.

PJ  has gone through the Mill.  He is well known as a robust speaker and a honest, hardworking, illustrious, devoted fighter with plenty of vigour.

Thus far PJ’s name is unblemished. His skills of public speaking is an asset, once again clearly demonstrated during the  first media conference.  However sadly , some of the words he used in his Sinhala speech, I could not understand. “අකර්මන‍ය තැන් ප‍රති විහියුගතනය කිරීම” I said at once to my wife, “දෙයියෝ සාක්කි”.

However, his Sinhala vocabulary during the media conference  gave the impression that  PJ might turn Sri Lankan Police Force to the standards of Icelandic Police, to be on top of the world.

PJ did send some strong messages to the media during his media conference, as reported by Derana News on 22 April 2016.    There is no doubt that the entire media personalities were shell shocked by his comments.  He said, in future there will be no comments from the Police Officers to the media on pending cases.  He went on merrily to stamp his authority that in future the media spokesperson will outline the outcome of pending cases.

Has PJ  frightened the Press?  Has he bulldozed the Press?  Will  he excavate the graves to bury the media freedom of Sri Lanka?

Did Ranil, Chandrika and Maithree get the right man to harm their political enemies?  Or did Ranil, Chandrika and Maithree get the wrong man ( just like President Mahinda Rajapakse appointing  Sarath Fonseka as Army Commander) with a sword and a boomerang?

Dharma Voices for Animals (Colombo,Sri Lanka Chapter)

April 23rd, 2016

Senaka Weeraratna 

Aims and Objectives

The Animal Rights movement is destined to usher in the next great social revolution in the world. It is no longer a fringe movement. There is a gradual progression throughout history towards recognizing the rights of others. It started with the emancipation of slaves, women, children in that order. It is an unstoppable march.

Dharma Voices for Animals (DVA) is an international movement of Buddhist practitioners and like-minded people who have come together to engage in advocacy to uphold the rights of animals to live in freedom. It is a non-profit organization for spreading the Buddha’s teachings of Ahimsa (non – violence) to all sentient beings. Animals cannot speak our language and tell us about the suffering they endure when they are ill treated and harassed, forced to breed in inhumane conditions inside farms for our profit, slaughtered for our consumption, imprisoned for our amusement and experimented on for our vanity. We shall be the voice for the voiceless and call for an end to suffering of all animals through unrelenting advocacy and practice.

Aims and Objectives

The Aims and Objectives of DVA (Colombo, SL Chapter) which was officially launched on October 25, 2015 are as follows:

  1. To become a voice for animals.
  2. To establish a compassionate society which obliges every resident in the country to show kindness and compassion to all living beings.
  3. To campaign for the introduction of serious, rational consideration of animal welfare into politics. For example, election manifestos and policy making.
  4. To recognize Ahimsa as a guiding principle in all activities of the State.
  5. To reform education at all levels, i.e. primary, secondary, tertiary aimed at providing a humanitarian education that would raise awareness and develop consciousness on animal welfare and                   animal protection in school children and undergraduates.
  6. To introduce the subject of Animal Law into legal studies at high school and legal education at tertiary level.
  7. To build an animal friendly cultural heritage and re-connect to our former heritage based on our traditional religious and cultural values.

In addition, DVA (Colombo, SL Chapter) also intends to engage in public campaigns as follows:

  1. Lobby for the enactment of the Animal Welfare Bill.
  2. To call for greater sensitivity towards the rights of Vegetarians and Vegans in food production and food catering at public places.
  3. Slaughter of animals must be subject to Government Regulation and monitored to prevent cruelty and torture of animals prior to and at time of slaughter.
  4. Phase out Zoos – Bhutan model.
  5. Ban the export of live animals for slaughter and export of flesh foods from Sri Lanka.
  6. Promote plant based alternatives to meat consumption.
  7. End the use of animals in entertainment and sport.
  8. Phase out animal experimentation with binding targets for reduction combined with proper funding and support for alternatives.
  9. Clear labeling of all products with information which allows consumers to make informed choices in line with their own principles on the environment, health, animal welfare and the social                       circumstances in which a product is produced.
  10. Strive to establish a Compassionate Society in Sri Lanka embracing all sentient beings.

Please join our page for updates on our work here as well as to find out how you can contribute towards ending the suffering of non – human sentient beings around the world.


Right of Reply: Reply to Navamani – Tamil Daily

April 23rd, 2016

By A. Abdul Aziz, Press Secretary, AHMADIYYA  MUSLIM  JAMA’AT – SRI LANKA

On 17th January 2016, a Public Meeting was held, organized by All Ceylon Jammiyathul Ulema (ACJU) at Negombo Jumma Mosque at 4 p.m.

The main speaker was Rizvi Mufthi, President, All Ceylon Jammiyathul Ulema.

The news of this meeting was published in a Tamil Daily ‘Nawamani’ on 19th January 2016, quoting speeches by President, All Ceylon Jammiyathul Ulema (ACJU).

As a newspaper, it cannot publish such a matter harming   certain section of the people. We complained to Press Complaints Commission of Sri Lanka (PCCSL).

We prepared a response and sent to the Editor, Nawamani on 15 February 2016. In our reply we informed to the President, ACJU that no man has the right to decide who is Muslim, who is not; similarly this right is not given to any country or any organization, whereas God only has such power to decide, our reply says.

Our response further quoted a saying of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)  which reads: Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) said, “Whoever prays like us and faces our Qibla and eats our slaughtered animals is a Muslim and is under Allah’s and His Apostle’s protection. So do not betray Allah by betraying those who are in His protection.” (Sahih-al-Bukhari)

Our response also quoted writings of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Founder of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, in which he says: “We admonish our Jama’at (community)  that they must adhere tenaciously to the fundamental article of Islamic faith, ‘There is no God but Allah, Muhammad is His Messenger’ as long as they live and they should die holding fast to the same belief. Also they must have firm faith in all the Messengers of Allah and revealed books which have been authenticated by the Holy Quran. They should abide strictly observe Prayers and Fast, pay Zakat and perform the Hajj (pilgrimage). They should observe Islam by fully complying with all the injunctions, obligations and prohibitions pronounced by God and his Messenger. In short, all such matters, be they beliefs or deeds, on which there was consensus of opinion among our righteous predecessors and as are understood to be Islam by the general consensus of opinion of those who follow the traditions of the Holy Prophet of Islam, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, should be complied with as being obligatory. We call to witness the Heaven and the Earth, that exactly is our Faith” (Ayyamus Sulh 1st Edition: Roohani Khazain Vol.14; p; 323.)

As the reply was not published we took this issue to Press Complaints Commission of Sri Lanka (PCCSL). In our letter to PCCSL, we said:  “…………Respected Sir, in this particular newspaper another news published as the gist of address by Honorable Minister Rishad Badudin on that particular event in which ACJU addressed against our Community (Page 8 – copy attached). Furthermore, the said newspaper published another feature article on 29 January 2016 (page13) in which ACJU President’s address on that particular event is seen. Sir, this is not the first time this NAVAMANI newspaper published news and views against our Community. Let me attach another full page article published on 3 September 2015, at page 06, in which they insulted our Community so much by providing wrong information (copy attached). If a newspaper publish any news and views against any community or person in such a manner – insulting or giving wrong opinion – or being a source of misguiding readers – it is the responsibility of the affected to complain to Press Complaint Commission of Sri Lanka. Based on this, we once again to draw your valuable attention towards this matter and request you to ask NAVAMANI to publish our response,  sent to them dated 15/02/2016 by Registered Post (the copy attached). Respected Sir, we are a world-wide community under one leadership – spreading in 207 countries with a population of 220 million around the globe. In the end, we hope PCCSL will not allow anyone to publish anything via printing media – news and comments of insulting others – such hurting the feelings of others. Really the publications of news and views of NAVAMANI (attached) against our Community – Ahmadiyya Muslim Community being a source of hurting the feelings of us – the Community which celebrated its Centenary of establishment in Sri Lanka last year (2015)……………….”

PCCSL  gave the Editor, Navamani 31 March 2016 as deadline. The said newspaper did not comply the instructions of PCCSL till the end of March 2016.       


April 23rd, 2016

Sarath Wijesinghe – former Ambassador to UAE and Israel

English as a life skill

English as a life skill is a straight and simple tool of communication striped of its historical baggage, a skill for employment and a vehicle for reaching the outside world of knowledge. It has been a property owned by few elite in the Sri Lankan society as a prized possession of a privileged class, as an instrument of social repression and not acceptable to its utility value. It is now necessary to transform this to common property, for the benefit of all and the country for development and prosperity. English is the language of Information Technology, International Trade and Commerce Sri Lanka is expected and bound to take forward. Sri Lankan Standard of Education is of highest level with efficient and intelligent labour force won the confidence of the local and international employers in Sri Lanka and outside.

Time to nationalize this precious property to the people

It is time we transfer and nationalize this precious property jealously guarded with few into common property resource owned by all to be utilized by everybody. We must encourage the leaners to speak English the Sri Lankan way as the case in India, where the standard of English and English Education developed to attract even foreigners to India to learn English. A Linguist – in England once said that even if English disappears in England it will still continue in India as India is so interwoven and embraced English in Education. India has emerged today as the world’s centre of excellence for the teaching of English for non-English people. Thousands of people come to India from former Soviet Republic, or CIS countries, South East Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe, Russia, Chine and many other countries in the Globe. Sri Lanka has the capacity and competence to be an excellent “Centre of Excellence” on English and Education including Medicine, Agriculture and related subjects.  India used English as a utility value and a tool of communication and education not as a tool for social climbing.

In India and Sri Lanka Cricket and English has become a way of life

In India Sri Lanka Cricket and English has become a way of life and played and spoken as well as or better than where it was originated. Children from Tamil and Sinhala speaking homes find it much easier to learn to speak Japanese, Koran, Russian, Chinese, French, and German than to speak English. In the Middle East- especially in the UAE where over 300,000 are employed with sound working knowledge and competency to speak foreign languages fluent, with reluctance or refusal to learn to speak English which has direct relevance to physiological backwardness due to deep rooted social implications back in the country on fear of speaking proper grammatical English with Accent. We must encourage the leaner to make mistakes in pronunciation and grammar when speaking and the teacher should quietly and gently guide the leaner to progressively make less and less mistakes giving confidence that it is as easy and more easily as any other language. In the United Kingdom not everybody speaks Good English. London is an immigrant city full of migrants speaking “Broken English” or their won languages.

Confidence Building

It is confidence building and getting them to know the basic vocabulary of few hundred worlds with which leaner can build on. If two basic building blocks English and IT, were put in place in all hooks and corners of the country, we will be able to get unexpected results in the employment sector which is full of unemployed and under employed, expecting at least a labourer job in the government with pension by joining 10% of the population in public service, lot of leave and other perks with very light work irrespective of the qualifications. There are mushroom international schools of inferior slandered and quality spread teaching mainly for the children unable to find a good school or parents capable and eager to give them English Education. When arts graduates from Universities going in processions on the road for employment in the public sector, they find employment as sales assistants, industrial and  private sector and other establishments. If we provide this powerful tool scientifically and with ease to those in Information Technology Sector, Journalists, Artists, mature students, and those in employment in the public and private sector and those seeking employment and planning to SME’s medium Entrepreneurs, it will be a boom and a foundation for a new life and era for the development in the spheres of economics, politics and general outlook in education and employment sectors.

Entrance Free workshop on 26th April at the OPA Auditorium

We are planning to give a gentile push and encouragement solely on voluntary basis getting the services of renewed intellection and experts in English and Education. First workshop scheduled to be held at the Organization of Professionals Auditorium on 26th of April from 6.00 to 8t   P.M. with the participation of the British Council and with an open invitation to all interested parties at no cost, is the initial stage to be continued in various parts of the country with the participation of the English Departments of Universities in Sri Lanka and Indian Universities at later stages.


English is a West German Language that was first spoken in medieval England, and now a global language. It is Official language to 60 sovereign countries including Sri Lanka. It is the third most commonly used language developed over 1400 years and the language of Information Technology, Medicine Trade and Commence mainly in the Commonwealth of Nations and the West. Now that we are entangled with English due to colonization by the British, we are bound to carry on with it as in cricket and system of administration and trade. Our workforce and the future generation needs only a little bit of push and confidence to learn spoken and Basic English which will enhance their IT skills and personality. If on is in a position to command few hundred words with confidence and ease with directions from competent dedicated  advisors and teachers it is possible to master the skill to improve other skills and personality with confidence for the success of any discipline.

Technology of Communication

English at one level is a technology of communication. You need to realise that every technology- and this includes English- is an ideological system as well. In our country English was a communication that was crafted by our westernized elites as an ideology that provided a gateway to the West which required perfect grammar and pronunciation. Now we no longer need to continue this difficult route which was utilized as a social oppression by the privileged class and instrument of social repression and not as a tool of communication. Internet and mobile phone will be a main route to be utilized.

Way Forward

Sri Lanka 2050  which is a group of non-political and non-profitable organisation of intellectuals and professionals have  organized the workshop/seminar on 26th April at the Auditorium of the Organization of Professionals, with the assistance of dedicated case workers, volunteers and experts in the field as a service to the community without expecting any remuneration or a payment. Entrance is free and future programs too will be open to public in the follow up work. We thank the British Council, for having agreed to partner the event and invite those interested and competent to join the group. The target groups are the Information Technology Sector, Professionals, Tanning Schemes in various fields, Journalists, Artistes, Mature Students, and those who are interested to learn and practice this important and powerful yet easily acquirable tool. Media in all forms have major role to play in encouraging and promoting this skill which will give a boom to the people in this competitive world. It is time for the English Newspapers, Websites, Electronic media, professional associations, Educational Institutions, and Social networks and groups to take an active part in the process.

0777880166/0779529797/0113100064/0112421752- 83  Mihindu Mawatha Colombo 12.

What did Einstein say about God, science and religion?

April 22nd, 2016

Chandre Dharmawardana Ottawa, Canada

April 20, 2016, 8:46 pm (A shortened version of this article was published in The Island)

In a midweek review article in The Island (April 20) Dr. V. J. M. de Silva attributes the quote “Science without religion is blind; religion without science is lame” to Einstein. Einstein quotes like “God does not play Dice with the Universe”, or “The scientists’ religious feeling takes the form of a rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection” are well known.

Hence it is not surprising that many people have hastened to conclude that Einstein “believed in religion”. VJM de S has also used the quote to suggest that Einstein was a believer in God. However, Einstein cannot be pinned down to such a simplistic formula. In regard to Judaism, he wrote: “For me the Jewish religion like all others is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions. And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality I have a deep affinity have no different quality for me than all other people. As far as my experience goes, they are no better than other human groups, although they are protected from the worst cancers by a lack of power. Otherwise I cannot see anything “chosen” about them”.

Another Einstein quote is: “The word god for me is nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this”. So the “God” that Einstein talks of, when he says that “God does not play dice with the Universe” cannot be the “god”of the religious books. In fact Einstein explains that “I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings”.

He clarifies further: “It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this, but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it”.

Einstein discusses the nature of a future “cosmic religion”

“The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. The religion which is based on experience, which refuses the dogmatic. If there’s any religion that would cope the scientific needs it will be Buddhism….
If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed. The further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge.
Immortality? There are two kinds. The first lives in the imagination of the people, and is thus an illusion. There is a relative immortality which may conserve the memory of an individual for some generations. But there is only one true immortality, on a cosmic scale, and that is the immortality of the cosmos itself. There is no other”.

Dr.V.J. M. de Silva quotes C. S Lewis who says: “Men became scientific because they expected law in nature, and they expected law in nature because they believed in a law giver”. The”founding fathers” of the various branches of science (17-19th centuries), were believers in God – Newton, Faraday, Maxwell, Kelvin, Boyle, Dalton, Linnaeus, Mendel, Pasteur, Cuvier,Copernicus, Kepler, Pascal, Leibnitz and several others”. But this “lawgiver” could not have been the Creator God of Hinduism or Judeo-Christian religion, because that God is a capricious law unto himself, sending plagues and earthquakes on sinners, and listening to prayers of individuals, and even creating Hitler,Stalin, Pol Pot and others. The tradition of looking for “law and order” in nature was borrowed into Judeo-Christian theology from Plato and Aristotle. Some historians have even suggested that the Greek epoch of free inquiry (during the time of Pericles) may have been stimulated by the preceding epoch of free inquiry that existed in North India during the time of the Buddha.

The Greeks believed in a world of Platonic forms based on geometric harmony, based on  ideal spheres and cyclic processes. A modern reader of Isaac Newton’s works will find that the laws of mechanics and physics are presented as geometric proofs. An orderly universe following such geometric harmony was an alien concept to a God-fearing medieval world where miracles, casting out devils, curing lepers by divine intervention, burning witches etc., were part of the world order.

Thus the scientific method of inquiry, which initially assumed a world is governed by harmonically acting platonic forms is a legacy of the Hellenic tradition, and NOT a part of the Judeo-Christian tradition.The “law giver” in theistic traditions was a dictator as temperamental as a Roman emperor.  So, when C. S. Lewis says that ” Newton, Faraday, Maxwell, Kelvin,Boyle, Dalton, Linnaeus, Mendel, Pasteur, Cuvier, Copernicus, Kepler, Pascal, Leibnitz and several others” believed in “God”, he is equivocating on what “God” may have signified to them. Tycho Brahe observed a supernova star and concluded that the heavens are not immutable – a heresy. Cuvier who discovered the extinction of “God created” species feared that his views were heretical. Newton spent a lot of time applying mathematics to theology. However, unsatisfied with the outcomes, Newton kept his theology to himself. Newton was a revolutionary in science, but he was a pillar of social orthodoxy in a society intolerant of heretics. I have discussed some of these issues in my book “A Physicist’s view of Matter and Mind published by World-Scientific (2013)”.

All the names that Dr. VJM de Silva has quoted (via C. S. Lewis) were nonconformists born to a Christian world. They had to fight against Judeo-Christian  belief system to make progress. Even today, many of our scientist friends “go to church” for “social reasons’, or to listen to “organ and choral music”. An informal poll conducted at an annual meeting of the American Physical Society (APS) is said to have revealed more than 96% of the physicists as atheists or agnostics. The 4% believers, is higher than in an earlier poll, and partly due to the increased Muslim membership in the APS. Non-believers with a Muslim background rarely express their lack of belief. Such restraint existed in Christian societies of an earlier age.

VJM de Silva mentions Dr. Polkinghorne, the Cambridge physicist who became an Anglican priest. I was a Ph. D student working on a topic in quantum mechanics, and  remember attending some of his lectures on dispersion relations and elementary particles by Polkinghorne. Here was a man very rational in one sphere, who became a complete mystic and ordained as a priest in 1979. This may have alleviated some deep emotional anguish that he had. It also rocketed him up in the social order. Anglican Christianity, faced with rapidly diminishing adherents regarded Dr. Polkinghorn as a veritable “god-send”. The very Reverend Dr. Polkinghorn was knighted in 1997 and won the Templeton prize which stood at 1.5 million dollars. It is awarded to those who write to “reconcile Science with God”. Most religious systems have Heaven and Hell as part and parcel of their ethical formula, and Polkinghorne’s total acceptance of Anglican theology, complete with original sin, hell and heaven is certainly not a rational act. We can say with Einstein that “A man’s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death”.

Dr. VJM de Silva refers refers to the “big bang” and seems to imply that it gives some meaning to the act of creation. The Vatican theologians were opposed to relativity because it demoted “time” to be  something dependent on a persons state of motion. When the big bang picture came, they  jumped on board claiming that finally cosmology has “justified”  the idea of creation.  Before the bigbang, there was a period of “inflation” that may have involved “dark matter” whose nature is unknown. There are many such “big bangs” (or “white holes that blow out”) going on all the time in various places in the multiverse, just as there are many black holes which suck up matter (energy).  Such inconvenient facts are ignored by the creationists.  Furthermore, modern cosmology has other pictures in terms of collisions of  “branes” ( a type of hyper-surface) within alternative cosmological models, and these are rarely discussed by those who are emotionally attached to a single act of creation. These alternative pictures arise within string theory in attempts to account for “dark matter”, and “dark energy”,  whose nature is not understood at all. Furthermore, normal matter that we understand is only a small fraction of the totality that is yet to be fathomed. We have a very long way to go.

Chandre Dharmawardana
Ottawa, Canada.

(A shortened version of this article was published in The Island)


April 22nd, 2016

Kanthar. P. Balanathan DipEE (UK), GradCert (RelEng-Monash), DipBusAdm (Finance-Massey), C.Eng. MIEE (Ret), MIE (Aus.) CPEng, (Ret) Retired Director & Specialist Power Systems Engineer

23rd April 2016

Mr. Jeremy Corbyn MP

Leader of the Labour Party

House of Commons,

London, SW1A 0AALondon

Dear Mr. Jeremy Corbyn,



Well, born a Tamil SriLankan, and a patriotic Australian, I have some uncertainties, doubts, and questions on your speech, about right to achieve self-expression and self-determination to the Tamils in SriLanka. I quote reference to the video presentation:

First of all, I would like to discuss on the concept of self-determination: International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights details out as follows in articles 1-53; Ref:

The right to self-determination is contained in article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and in article 1 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.


Article 1

  1. All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.
  2. All peoples may, for their own ends, freely dispose of their natural wealth and resources without prejudice to any obligations arising out of international economic co-operation, based upon the principle of mutual benefit, and international law. In no case may a people be deprived of its own means of subsistence.
  3. The States Parties to the present Covenant, including those having responsibility for the administration of Non-Self-Governing and Trust Territories, shall promote the realization of the right of self-determination, and shall respect that right, in conformity with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations.


In the case of Australian HR: A right of peoples rather than individuals

The right to self-determination is a right of ‘peoples’ rather than of individuals. The Human Rights Committee has declined to consider individual complaints about the right under the First Optional Protocol to the ICCPR. It is, however, possible that in an appropriate case an organisation or an individual might be able to bring a complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission regarding respect for or protection of this right.

When we talk of “All peoples”, do we categorise them to belong to one religion, one race, with no difference in ethnicity at all?

I quote reference from a paper: “Published by the Stockton Centre for the Study of International Law” on, Law, Rhetoric, and Strategy: Russia and Self-Determination Before and After Crimea by Christopher J. Borgen, 91 INT’L L. STUD. 216 (2015), Volume 91 2015.

[At various points in international legal history, the term “people” has been used to signify citizens of a nation-State, the inhabitants in a specific territory being decolonized by a foreign power or an ethnic group. But defining “people” based on ethnicity could be destabilizing to multi-ethnic States].

Nation State: a sovereign state of which most of the citizens or subjects are united also by factors which define a nation, such as language or common descent. The political philosophy and the theories conflict.

II, B, 2 of the article states as follows: “The consensus view is that there is no right to secession under international law. “Secession,” legally speaking, is not a synonym for “selfdetermination.”

The terminology / principle of self-determination was applied to the then USSR which consisted of Nation-States and the Union was formed on agreement with right to self-determination. You are aware of the Ukraine collapse.

In the case of SriLanka, historically the “All People” principle is that all people are from one common parentage / DNA segment. However, forced religious change drove people to change their religion. The language also changed over period, which is a natural phenomenon.

The term, “Tamils” you refer to was not a race that existed in SriLanka. The North, East and most part of SL was occupied by “Malabar”, who are nothing other than the Keralite. More than 80% of the N&E was occupied / overrun and swamped by the Malabar. Some parts of the N&E was occupied by Tamil Nadu (TN) assimilated Tamils. TN being closer to the Jaffna peninsula, and the dominance because of the population strength, Tamil was spoken, and all Malabar started using Tamil. The Tamil population consists of Sinhalese people who have changed their name and religion. Such Tamil names are not used in Tamil Nadu. Gunaratna/Gunaratnam, Kulasingha/Kulasingham etc. Food habits of the Tamils in SL is different to that of Tamil Nadu, but same as Malabar (Kerala). I would like to draw your attention to a paper. Ref:

The British were responsible to Colonise SL with Indian labour force in the 19th century. [Ref: Vol 6(6), pp 184-191, June 2014, DOI: 10.5897/IJSA12.061, Article Number: 88F84BA45633, Estate Tamils of SriLanka–a socio economic review by IIyas Ahmed H; International Journal of Sociology and Anthropology]. These Tamils are concentrated in the highlands. 49% of the so called new Tamil population is domiciled outside the North & East. Therefore coming to the question of Self-Expression and self-determination.

  1. Self-Expression. Merriam Webster defines self-expression as; the expression of your thoughts or feelings especially through artistic activities (such as painting, writing, dancing, etc.)

The biggest question now is; are you saying that Tamils do not have that self-expression freedom? It sounds like that you are blowing something like, “Storm in a tea cup”. Tamils in SL enjoy all the freedom as equal to all people in SL. SriLanka has several Tamil Newspapers locally and the Tamil Diaspora publish several newspapers and web sites all around the west, east and India.

It is possible that the current government of Maithripala Sirisena and Ranil Wickramasinghe, may have under the table restrictions in publishing articles locally that may disintegrate their popularity, and unravel fraudulent practices.

As far as Tamils are concerned, we have, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of movement, all defined under “Democracy”.

  1. Self-Determination (SD), Business Dictionary defines SD as; Fundamental rightof all people to freely decide own political status and to freely pursue own cultural, economic, and social development. The concept of self-determination was embodied first in the American Declaration of Independence (1776) and then in the France’s Declaration of the Rights of Man (1789). It is embodied also in the UN charter.

The philosophy of self-determination was agreed in the then formed, “Union of Soviet Socialist Republics”. Several republics joined to form the Union, with the right to self-determination. SriLanka is one Nation State, and, NOT a Union of several republics. Therefore, Self-Determination is rightfully not applicable to SL. Some Tamils who are half baked in political science and philosophy, go on advocating self-determination without basic knowledge of what it means. They just want popularity.

Further, I would like to refer you to an article on the population composition in the following media. Ref: Including the Colonised Tamils in the highlands, approximately 49% of Tamils dwell outside the N&E. With 51% Tamils dwelling in the N&E, only approximately 1.1 million dwell in the North. Further, there is no law that prevents Vigneswaran or Sambanthan contesting an election in any part of SriLanka. In fact Sivajilingham contested the Presidential election on the 8th January 2015 in the Kurunagala district which is the mid-South of SL.

However, the great GOSL devolved power sharing to the Tamils via 13th amendment to run their own affairs through a governing body: Northern Provincial Council (NPC). Tamils in the NPC have not exercised their rights, but returned 80% of the budget allocation back to Colombo. What is the motive for the return? It can be construed as nothing, but Tamils, as slaves, and beggars of the West, run to the West frequently to complain like that of secondary school students.

Are the Tamils satisfied? No they want absolute power to that of the President of the USA. It’s a disgrace for the Tamils to run to UK, Canada, US, India to complain on false claims.

Therefore your claim of self-expression and self-determination to the Tamils is meaningless, inconsequential and miserable. It cannot be related or referenced to any socio-economic-politico inspiration of the Tamils. It can only be judged as the British Government having ulterior motive to destabilise the SriLankan republic, to enable the west to crawl into siphon the natural wealth in the region, and install their base.

Plundering Asian wealth is not new to the British. It’s historical. The British only talk Justice, don’t practice.

The British destroyed, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kurdistan, Yugoslavia, Kosovo, Albania and the European sub-continent, and now destroying Syria. May I ask, what right have you got to destroy Syria? You went in during Labour government into Iraq in the pretext of WMD, to plunder the oil fields. Now what happened? Have the Iraqians solved their issues? Have the Afghanistan’s solved their issues?

Mr. Jeremy Corbyn: British secret policy is to divide and rule, and wherever British ruled, they left a dormant problem that will snow ball in years to come, so that they can crawl in subsequently.

  1. Are the Americans (US) prepared to grant self-determination to the Greeks, Italians, Mexicans, Spanish, and Germans and may be more ethnic groups in the US?
  2. The Tamils and the Muslims in another 5-10 years may demand self-determination/secession in the UK. Is the British government prepared to grant self-determination/secession to the Tamils in the UK? It’s not a joke Mr. Corbyn.
  3. Same goes to Canada.
  4. Brussels is one example.

You stated as follows:

  1. This is the seventh anniversary of the end of the conflict, or is it the end of the conflict?
  2. Have to go into the question of the HR abuses.
  3. Go into the question of those camps that were set up.
  4. Go into the missing people.
  5. Go into the question of the lack of access to journalists and independent observers.


  1. Within six years of the conflict 2009-2015, the then president, the living legend, Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa, had elections for the NPC and handed over powers, allocated millions of Rupees to NPC. The CM and the NPC have four ministers, who are clueless of what they are doing except their demand for Tamil Eelam. It is a strong opinion by the people, that these five minsters are a clueless bunch of Bogans who have been indoctrinated and intoxicated by the West to fight for more powers. Development in SL has been on the ascent during these six years. What makes people think that SL has not achieved an end to the conflict? SL has achieved an end to the conflict, however, the xenophobic, megalomaniac, Tamil Diaspora and the dormant LTTE who have dumped LTTE sleeping cells with the help of foreign countries have not given up their arrogance. They are still on a campaign against SL. Mr. Jeremy Corbyn, think of the atrocities committed by your military and the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan and the prisoners who are suffering in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp even now. As far as the world is concerned the conflict has ended on the 19th May 2009.
  2. HR abuses. What makes you think that there is HR abuses in SL after the conflict? Since the conspiracy to bring Sirisena as the President and RW as PM against democracy, the punitive acts started against the previous regime. Is this democracy Mr. Jeremy Corbyn? The current government is on a path to eliminate all of the opposition members in the pretext of some bogus uttered offence. If there are HR abuses, then how come Mr. Vigneswaran and others are on the path of making bogus complains against SL? Vigneswaran and others have the full freedom of the press and speech, to make utterances in public, rather concentrating on development. Further, it is only the Tamils practice HR violation by the caste oppression and discrimination among the Tamils and is devastating and could blow up one day.
  3. The only camps set up were for the refugees, and the military was helping the refugees who were held captive by the LTTE. It was LTTE who set up camps for their captives in Mullivaykal.
  4. Missing people. Do we know how many people were drowned in the Indian and Atlantic Oceans? It is a strong view that most of the missing people are hiding in Latin America, Europe and not registered with the UN Refugees Commission. Valid reason is that the family of those missing people are living with “Viber”, “WhatsApp” mobile facility, and funds received from their husbands/children. Tamil Diaspora have only one intent, and that is to destroy SL.

You further stated: “So those issues have to be dealt with. We will continue to demand that issues are dealt with. Because, unless you solve the issue about the rights of people, their cultural identity, their language, the lives, their freedom, the ability to organise themselves as a community, then the war is not over and the conflict is not over. The situation will re-irritate again,” Corbyn said”.

You are mingling the act of “war” with cultural identity, language etc. I am surprised that a politician of your stand expressing such meaningless words. What makes you think that Tamils have no freedom to practice their culture and talk in Tamil?

You talk about “Trade Treaties”. Do you know that currently the worst HR violator, is the UK? What rights have you got to bomb Syria? How many children and people are being killed due to the bombing? HR violation is practiced in India. Mr. Jeremy Corbyn, please visit India and see for yourself.

If at all, our feeling is that the rest of the world should cut ties with the UK and abandon Trade Treaty with the UK. It is also true that because of your Commonwealth and the colonies, the sterling pound is stronger than the rest of the currencies.

Mr. Jeremy Corbyn, please confirm that there are no HR violations practiced in the UK. I was educated in the UK in the 60s. When I visited UK in 2002, the passport officer after checking, threw the pp and it fell on the floor. He did not apologize or helped to take it for me. I took the pp and walked out. I faced with color discrimination, racial discrimination etc. Well, the current practice: Does UK employers give appropriate jobs for the qualified people or make them to work as laborers, clerks, and security guards like that in Canada.


It is of the view that Tamil people in the UK, form association called; Tamils for Labor, Tamils for Conservative etc. What is their ulterior motive? What are those Tamils contribution to the UK? Are they Assets or Liability? If they are wasting time on Tamils for Labor, trying to brain wash the UK politicians, then how can you justify that they are as asset to the country? Approximately more than 15 labor MPs expressed their support to establish truth, justice, accountability and genuine reconciliation in Sri Lanka. It is of strong view that whatever you are stating have happened within six years from the end of the conflict. It is the megalomaniac attitude of the Tamils that is not allowing them to live in harmony.

Rather sowing ethnic hatred, Mr Jeremy Corbyn, why don’t you throw some advice to Vigneswaran & Co, and the Tamil Diaspora who are hanging onto Labour? The Tamils for Labour can invest in the North and South for the country to flourish, rather sowing hatred among the good citizens of SL. Why would not Vigneswaran run to Sirisena and talk, rather running to UN, UK, and India?

The Labour lot of fifteen, either they have been misled, or ignorant, or pretending to be ignorant of the brainwashing attempts by the Tamils.

Or, is the Labour after votes or funding by the Tamils? Making cheap talks, is not ideal democracy, but like Indian politics. UK taught democracy to the world. So, let the Labour MPs maintain that educative superiority, of Sir, Winston Churchill’s stand. Let the fifteen lot Labour MPs not exhibit ignorance or pretend ignorance, that they have been indoctrinated by the Tamils for Labour, because they were able to indoctrinate poor Tamil mass in SL. Mr. Jeremy Corbyn: A positive approach, with positive thoughts is quite substantial and productive, rather negative thoughts.


Thank you,

Yours Faithfully


Kanthar Balanathan

Kanthar. P. Balanathan

DipEE (UK), GradCert (RelEng-Monash), DipBusAdm (Finance-Massey), C.Eng. MIEE (Ret), MIE (Aus.) CPEng, (Ret)

Retired Director & Specialist Power Systems Engineer


හරවත් සංවාදය කාලීන අවශ්‍යතාවයයි 

April 22nd, 2016

තේජා ගොඩකන්දෙආරච්චි

සෑම දිනකම ප්‍රවෘත්ති විකාශනයන් හෝ විවිධ වැඩසටහන් ඔස්සේ අපට දේශපාලකයින්ගේ කතාවන් අසන්නට ලැබේ. ඒ කතාවල හරය ගත්විට පැහැදිලි වන්නේ එකම එක දෙයකි. එනම් තම කතාවලට සවන් දෙන ජනතාවගේ බුද්ධිය පිලිබඳව කථිකයාගේ අවතක්සේරුවයි. නමුත් මෙය හරියට කැඩපතක් ඉදිරියට ගොස් තම ප්‍රතිබිම්බය දෙස බලනවා වැනි දෙයකි. මන්ද මේ කතා තුලින් පිලිබිඹු වන්නේ කථිකයාගේ දැනුමේ දිග පලල ද වන බැවිනි.

මෑතකදී මෙවැනි කතාවක නිමිත්ත වූයේ ‘පාරක් කාපට් කිරීම උදෙසා මුල්ගල තැබීම’යි. මෙය ඉතාම සාමාන්‍ය සංවර්ධන කටයුත්තකි. මෙය ඇමතිවරයකුගේ කාලය යොදා ගන්නට තරම් විශේෂ කටයුත්තක් නොවේ.

අද වන විට ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ සෑම දෙයක්ම දේශපාලනීකරණය වී ඇත. දහම් පාසලේ, ළදරු පාසලේ ත්‍යාග ප්‍රධානෝත්සව, විවාහයක සාක්ෂියට අත්සන් කිරීම, ජනතාවට යම් වියලි ආහාර මල්ලක් බෙදා දීම ආදී මෙකී නොකී සෑම සියලු දේටම තම තමන්ගේ මතයට අනුව දේශපාලකයින්ට ආරාධනා කරනු ලැබේ. මෙහිදී එතැනට රැස්වන ජනතාවට තමන් කැමති වුනත් නැතත් ඒ පුද්ගලයාගේ දේශපාලන මති මතාන්තරවලට සවන් දෙන්නට සිදුවේ. මේ කතාවල අන්තර්ගත වන්නේ තැනට අදාල යමක් නොව ඒ කලට කතිකාවට ලක්ව ඇති යම් විෂයයක් තමන්ගේ මතයට අනුකූලව සවන්දෙන්නාගේ මොලයට කැවීමේ වෑයමයි.

මහජනතාව අතර දේශපාලන කතිකාවක් ගොඩ නැගීම ඉතාම අත්‍යවශ්‍යය. නමුත් ඒ මෙවන් අර්ථ ශුන්‍ය බහුභූත වලින් ඔවුන්ගේ හිස පිරවීමෙන් නොවේ. ජනතාව අතර හරවත් දේශපාලන සංවාදයක් ගොඩ නැගිය හැක්කේ දේශපාලනය යන විෂය පුලුල්ව විශ්ලේෂණය කිරීමෙන් මිස මෙවන් පක්ෂ දේශපාලන මතවාද ඔස්සේ නොවන බව පැහැදිලිය.

දේශපාලනයෙන් තොරව කෙනෙකුට ජීවත් විය නොහැක. ඒ තමන් කන බත් පිඬේ, ඇඟේ ගාන සබන් කෑල්ලේ, ඇවිදින විට පයට පෑගෙන තාර පාරේ, ගොඩවන බස්රියට ගෙවන ගාස්තුවේ සිට සියලු දෙයටම ගෙවන බදු මුදල් තුලින් අප රටේ ආර්ථිකය කඩා නොවැටී තබා ගැන්මට වීදියේ ජීවත්වන යාචකයාගේ පටන් සෑම මට්ටමකම පුරවැසියන් සහභාගි වන බැවිනි. එබැවින් මේ සියල්ලන්ටම වෙනත් අයගේ අභිමතයට මොල සේදීමක් නොව ස්වාධීන දේශපාලන අවබෝධයක් ලබා ගැන්මට අයිතියක් තිබේ. නමුත් එය සිදුවිය යුත්තේ දැන් දැන් ගෙදර හදන වැසිකිලිය විවෘත කිරීමටත් නැතිවම බැරි මෝස්තරයක් වී තිබෙන දේශපාලකයින්ට ආරාධනා කිරීමේ ක්‍රමය තුල ඔවුන් තම බුද්ධි පරාසය අනුව පවත්වන හිස් ප්‍රලාප අසා සිටීම මගින් නොවේ.

උදාහරණයක් ලෙස මේ රජයේ නිවාස ඇමති සජිත් ප්‍රේමදාසගේ කතාවන් ගනිමු. ඔහු තම බල ප්‍රදේශයේ නිවසක් කේන්ද්‍ර කරගෙන, මිදුලේ පුටු කිහිපයක් තබාගෙන පවත්වන පුංචි රැස්වීම්වලදී මොන මොන දේ කියනවාද? පසුගිය රජය කෝටි ප්‍රකෝටි ගනන් සොරකම්කල හැටි, තම රජය බටහිර රටවල් සමග ගොඩනගා ගත් අතිශය වටිනා ජාත්‍යන්තර සබඳතා ! සැබෑව නම් ඒ සබඳතාවලින් කුස නොපිරෙන බව වටහාගත් මේ රජයට, පසුගිය රජය නැවතුන තැන සිට පටන්ගන්නට සිදුවූයේ යලි ආධාර පතා චීනය දෙසට හැරීමෙනි. ඊලඟට සජිත් කීවේ පසුගිය රජය වැරදියට කල නිරර්ථක සංවර්ධන කටයුතු නිවැරදි කිරීම සඳහා චීන රජය තමන්ට ආධාර දෙන බවයි. සජිත්ගේ අපේක්ෂාව වනු ඇත්තේ තම ‘තලගොයි – කබරගොයි ‘ දේශපාලන න්‍යාය ජනතාව හිස මුදුනින් පිලිගනී කියාද? ඔවුන් විපක්ෂයේ සිටින විට මේ ආධාර සහ ව්‍යාපෘතීන් හි හානිකර පැත්ත දකින අතර, ඒ ආධාර දෙන රටවල් සමග තමන්ගේ ගණුදෙනු ඇරඹුන විගස ජනතාව සීනිබෝල කතාවලින් රවටමින් තමන් මුලින් ප්‍රකාශකල කරුණු යට ගසන්නට තැත් කරති.

’77 ආණ්ඩු පෙරලියෙන් පසු මේ වන විට ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ ජනයාගෙන් වැඩි කොටසක් පුරදු පුහුණු කර තිබෙන්නේ ඉතා ආත්මාර්ථකාමී ලෙස තමන්ගේ වාසිය පිනිස පමණක් වැඩ කිරීමටය. මේ තත්වය තුල ඔවුන් තමන්ට යම් වාසියක් ඇති සේ පෙනෙයි නම් මේ කතා වෙත ඇදෙති. නැතිනම් ප්‍රතිවිරුද්ධ දේශපාලන කතාවලට ඇදීයති. මෙම දේශපාලකයින්ගේ කතා සහ පෙනෙන්නට ඇති ක්‍රියාමාර්ග ඔස්සේ මෙහෙයවනු ලැබූ ජනතාවකගෙන් මීට වඩා යමක් අපේක්ෂා කල නොහැක.

1994 දී එජාප ය පරදා බලයට ඒම සඳහා චන්ද්‍රිකා කුමාරතුංග ඇඹිලිපිටියේ, මාතලේ මිනීවලවල් හෑරුවේ භීෂණ සමයේ ඔවුන් කල අපරාධ ලොවට හෙලි කිරීමටය. එදා එජප පාලනයෙන් තැලී පොඩිවී සිටි ජනතාවට ඈව පෙනෙන්නනට ඇත්තේ තම ගැලවුම්කාර දෙවඟන මෙනි. නමුත් අද වන විට චන්ද්‍රිකාට එවන් භීෂණ සමයක් තිබුනාද කියාවත් මතකදැ යි සැක සිතේ. අද ඈ එවන් එජාපය සමග එකට සිටගෙන ජනතාවටද එයම කරන්නට කියයි. අනිකුත් දේශපාලකයන් බහුතරයක්ද අඩු වැඩි වශයෙන් මේ ආකාරයටම හැසිරෙන නිසා බොහෝවිට අප රටේ පොදු ජනතාව අතර ගොඩනැගෙන දේශපාලන කතිකාව මෙයට සමානය.

මැතිවරණයකදී තීරණාත්මක සාධකයක් වන පාවෙන ඡන්ද භාවිතා කරන ජනකොටස් මේ විවිධ කතාබහ ඔස්සේ ඒ මේ අතට දෝලනය වීම තුල ඇතිවන තට්ටු මාරු ක්‍රමය පවතින තුරු අප රටට හරවත් දේශපාලනයක අරුණැල්ලක් වැටීම සැක සහිතය.

පාරක් කාපට් කිරීම වැනි අත්‍යවශ්‍ය මූලික සංවර්ධන කටයුත්තකට ඇමතිවරයෙකුට ආරාධනාකර, උත්සවයක් පැවැත්වීමට මුදල් වැය කිරීම කෙතරම් නිරර්ථක වැඩක්ද? මෙතැනට එන ඇමතිවරයා මේ අවස්ථාවට අදාල කිසිවක් කතා නොකරයි. රටේ දියුණු මාර්ග පද්ධතියක් තිබීමේ වැදගත්කම, මේ මාර්ග රැක ගැනීමේදී ජනතාව සතු වගකීම – ඇයි මේවාට යොදවන මුදල් ජනතාවගේ මුදල්ම නේද? ඔය මැති ඇමතිවරු තම විමධ්‍යගත අරමුදලින් වැය කලායැයි කිව්වත්, ඒ ඔවුන්ගේ පුද්ගලික බැංකු ගිණුමෙන් ලබා ගන්නා මුදල් නොව්. ඊලඟට මේ කොන්ත්‍රාත්කරුවන් කවුද, ඔවුන් ලවා මේ කාර්යය නිසි ප්‍රමිතියකට සිදුකර ගැන්මට, මේ මාර්ගය භාවිතා කරන්නට සිදුවන ජනතාවට යම් ඉඩ ප්‍රස්ථා තිබේද – ජනතාවට මෙතැනදී වැදගත් වන්නේ මේ කරුණුය. එසේ නැතිව තම බල ආරවුල් ගැන පවසමින් දෙකයි පනහේ විහිලු කතා කියමින්, තම කාලය වැයකර එතැනට පැමිනෙන මිනිසුන් නොමග යැවීම නොවේ.අනිත් සියලුම උත්සවවල පාහේ සිදුවන්නේ ද මෙම ක්‍රියාවලියමය. ළදරු පාසැලේ තෑගි බෙදන්නට විත් ජිනීවා යෝජනා ගැන පවසයි. නව වැට් බද්ද මැයි 1 දා සිට ක්‍රියාත්මක වන බව රජය නිවේදනය කර තිබියදීත්, ඒ මත බඩු මිල වැඩි වීමක් සිදු වන බව අදාල ඇමතිවරු පවසද්දීත්, ජනාධිපති මහා සිංහ ඝර්ජනාවක් කරමින්, ජනතාවගේ අමාරුකම් නොතේරෙන, ආණ්ඩුවේ සිටින ආර්ථික විශේෂඥයින්ට ජනතාව මත බදු බර පටවන්නට තමා ඉඩ නොදෙමැයි පාරම්බායි. අසා සිටින ජනතාව ඔහේ අත්පුඩි තලන්නේ මේ කියන දේහි තේරුම දැනගෙනද, සිදුව ඇති දේහි සැබෑ තත්වය දැනගෙනද, තම රාජ්‍ය නායකයා මේ පවසන දෙය ඉටුකර පෙන්වාවි ය සිතාද? එය දන්නේ අත්පොලසන් දෙන අය පමනි.සමහර විට කථිකයාගේ හඬේ උස් පහත් වීම අනුව අචේතනිකවම සිදුවන අත්පොලසන් දීමක්ද විය හැක.

කෙසේ වුවද ශ්‍රී ලාංකික අපට යලි දෙපයින් නැගී සිටීමට නම් ජනතාවට මෙයට වඩා පුලුල් දේශපාලන අවබෝධයක් අවශ්‍යය. මෙම අවබෝධය ඔවුන්ට ලබා දිය යුත්තේ එක එක රාමු වලට කොටු වූ දේශපාලන මතධාරීන් නොව, දේශපාලනය යන විෂය නිවැරදිව දන්නා, අපක්ෂපාතී වූත්, දුර දක්නා නුවණක් ඇත්තා වූත්, විචක්ෂණ බුද්ධියක් ඇත්තා වූත් උගත් පිරිසක් හරහාය. එමෙන්ම මෙය ලොකු ලොකු සම්මන්ත්‍රණ තුලින් නොව ප්‍රජා මූලික වැඩ පිලිවෙලක් ඔස්සේ සිදුවිය යුතුය. ඇත්තෙන්ම සාමකාමී නාගරික හෝ අර්ධ නාගරික පරිසරයකත්, අලි මිනිස් ගැටුම් හෝ වෙනත් විවිධ සමාජ ආර්ථික හා පාරිසරික ප්‍රශ්ණ වලට ලක්ව දුක් විඳින මිනිසුන් සිටින පරිසරයකත් වෙනස ඔබේ මනසට කා වදින්නේ නම් එතැනින් මෙය ඇරඹිය හැකිය. මන්ද මෙවන් ජීවිත දකිනා විට, ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ සාක්ෂරතා ප්‍රතිශතය, දල ජාතික ආදායම ආදිය ගැන මොනවා කීවත් සමාජය තුල ඇති නැති පරතරය විහිද ගොස් තිබෙන හැටි, ප්‍රජාව අතර සම්පත් බෙදී යන හැටි පිලිබඳව අපට පසක් වෙයි. කවුරු කොයි විදියට අපේ රට දෙස බැලුවත්, අදටත් අපේ මිනිසුන්ට කෙනෙකුගේ දුකකදී උණුවන හදවත් ඇති බව යම් විශේෂිත අවස්ථාවන්හිදී පිහිටට එන අයුරු දුටු විට පැහැදිලි වේ. නමුත් අප ජන සමාජය තුල ඇතිකල යුත්තේ අනුකම්පාව නොව සහානුකම්පාවයි.

මේ යතාර්ථයට ජාති ආගම් භේදයක් නොමැත. නිදහස ලැබූදා පටන් ජනතා විශ්වාසය දිනාගෙන පාර්ලිමේන්තුවට පත්වූ දේශපාලකයන් සියලු දෙනාම තමන්ගෙන් ජනතාව අපේක්ෂා කල දේ ඉටු කිරීමට අවංකව කැපවී නම් මෙවන් ප්‍රශ්ණ ඇති නොවිය යුතුව තිබිනි. එසේ ජනතා අභිවෘද්ධියට කටයුතු කල අවස්ථා ඇත්තේ, එනම් ජනතාවගේ මූලික අවශ්‍යතා පමනක් නොව ක්‍රමෝපායි අවශ්‍යතාවන් ද ඉටු කරන්නට කටයුුතු කල අවස්ථා ඇත්තේ කීයෙන් කීයද?

අවාසනාවකට වත්මන් පරපුරට මේ ගැන නිසි අවබෝධයක් නැත. උදාහරණයන් ලෙස සේවක අර්ථ සාධක අරමුදල හෝ නිදහස් අධ්‍යාපනය ගත හැක. ඒවායේ ඵල භුක්ති වින්දත් ඒවායේ නිර්මාතෘවරුන් ගැන බහුතරයකට වැටහීමක් තිබේද? එවැන්නක් තිබුනි නම් පොදුජන හිතැති සැබෑ දේශපාලකයා කල යුතු කාර්යභාරය පිලිබඳ තක්සේරුවක් මිනිසුන්ගේ සිත් තුල ඇති වනු ඇත.

මේ ඉලක්කය සපුරා ගන්නට නම් අවශ්‍ය වනුයේ, ජනතාව කොල, නිල් හෝ රතු සායම් බාල්දිවල දමා වෙන්කර තමන් කැමති අයට පමනක් සලකන ආකාරයේ පටු, ආත්මාර්ථකාමී දේශපාලන අරමණු පිටු දකින්නට සමත් සැබෑ දේශපාලකයින්ය.

එය එසේ නොවේ නම් ජනතාව තව දුරටත්, එක්තරා පන්තියකට, මිල මුදල්, සුඛෝපභෝගී වාහන ආදිය ඇතිව යෙහෙන් වැජඹීම පිනිස දර දිය අදිමින් තමා අයත් පන්තියේ උන් සමගම කා කොටා ගනු ඇත. ඒ කවදා හෝ තමන්ටද ඔය ඉනිමගේ අඩක්වත් නැග ගත හැකි වේය යන ආත්මාර්ථකාමී අපේක්ෂා සිත් දරාගෙනයි.

අප හමුවේ ඇති අභියෝගය වන්නේ ඔද්දල් වී ඇති මේ සමාජය නිසි මෙහෙයුමකින් සුවපත් කිරීමය.

President Killary – Would The World Survive President Hillary?

April 22nd, 2016

By Paul Craig Roberts Courtesy Information Clearing House

This is an English translation of an article that I wrote for the German magazine, Compact. I was encouraged by the high level of intelligent discourse that Compact brings to its readers. If only the US had more people capable of reaching beyond entertainment to comprehending the forces that affect them, there might be some hope for America.

Compact brings hope to Germany. The German people are beginning to understand that their country is not sovereign but a vassal of Washington and that their chancellor serves Washington’s hegemony and American financial interests, and not the German people.

April 18, 2016 “Information Clearing House” – ” Hillary Clinton is proving to be the “teflon candidate.” In her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, she has escaped damage from major scandals, any one of which would destroy a politician. Hillary has accepted massive bribes in the form of speaking fees from financial organizations and corporations. She is under investigation for misuse of classified data, an offense for which a number of whistleblowers are in prison. Hillary has survived the bombing of Libya, her creation of a failed Libyan state that is today a major source of terrorist jihadists, and the Benghazi controversy. She has survived charges that as Secretary of State she arranged favors for foreign interests in exchange for donations to the Clintons’ foundation. And, of course, there is a long list of previous scandals: Whitewater, Travelgate, Filegate. Diana Johnstone’s book, Queen of Chaos, describes Hillary Clinton as “the top salesperson for the ruling oligarchy.”

Hillary Clinton is a bought-and-paid-for representative of the big banks, the military-security complex, and the Israel Lobby. She will represent these interests, not those of the American people or America’s European allies.

The Clintons’ purchase by interest groups is public knowledge. For example, CNN reports that between February 2001 and May 2015 Bill and Hillary Clinton were paid $153 million in speaking fees for 729 speeches, an average price of $210,000.

As it became evident that Hillary Clinton would emerge as the likely Democratic presidential candidate, she was paid more. Deutsche Bank paid her $485,000 for one speech, and Goldman Sachs paid her $675,000 for three speeches. Bank of American Morgan Stanley, UBS, and Fidelity Investments each paid $225,000.

Despite Hillary’s blatent willingness to be bribed in public, her opponent, Bernie Sanders, has not succeeded in making an issue of Hillary’s shamelessness. Both of the main establishment newspapers, the Washington Post and the New York Times have come to Hillary’s defense.

Hillary is a war-monger. She pushed the Obama regime into the destruction of a stable and largely cooperative government in Libya where the “Arab Spring” was a CIA-backed group of jihadists who were used to dislodge China from its oil investments in eastern Libya. She urged her husband to bomb Yugoslavia. She pushed for “regime change” in Syria. She oversaw the coup that overthrew the democratically elected president of Honduras. She brought neoconservative Victoria Nuland, who arranged the coup that overthrew the democratically elected president of Ukraine, into the State Department. Hillary has called President Vladimir Putin of Russia the “new Hitler.” Hillary as president guarantees war and more war.

In the United States government has been privatized. Office holders use their positions in order to make themselves wealthy, not in order to serve the public interest. Bill and Hillary Clinton epitomize the use of public office in behalf of the office holder’s interest. For the Clintons government means using public office to be rewarded for doing favors for private interests. The Wall Street Journal reported that “at least 60 companies that lobbied the State Department during her [Hillary Clinton’s] tenure as Secretary of State donated a total of more than $26 million to the Clinton Foundation.”

According to, “All told, the Clinton Foundation and its affiliates have collected donations and pledges from all souces of more than $1.6 billion, accoring to their tax returns.”

According to, multi-million dollar donars to the Clinton Foundation include Saudi Arabia, Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk, Kuwait, ExxonMobil, Friends of Saudi Arabia, James Murdoch, Qatar, Boeing, Dow, Goldman Sachs, Walmart, and the United Arab Emirates.

According to the International Business Times, “Under Hillary Clinton, the State Department approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales to 20 nations whose governments had given millions to the Clinton Foundation.”

Hillary Clinton has escaped unharmed from so many crimes and scandals that she would likely be the most reckless president in American history. With the arms race renewed, with Russia declared “an existential threat to the United States,” and with Hillary’s declaration of President Putin as the new Hitler, Hillary’s arrogant self-confidence is likely to result in over-reach that ends in conflict between NATO and Russia. Considering the extraordinary destructive force of nuclear weapons, Hillary as president could mean the end of life on earth.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts’ latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West, How America Was Lost, and The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.


April 21st, 2016


Kanthar Balanathan, Australia

Parochial Political Panorama

As a third world country, we are superficial, and, lack in lateral thoughts and strategic vision. Most of the politicians are focused in selfish and self-centered matters only. Number of our politicians who are patriotic, and shoulder loyalty to the citizens of SriLanka, is questionable? We lost our great patriotic leaders such as, DS Senanayaka, Dudley Senanayaka and Madam Srimavo Bandaranaike. They were focused on Structural Transformation. Micro and macroeconomics were their strong focus. Even with SJV Chelvanayagam’s swag of anti-governmental activities these great leaders were able to transform SriLankan economy and make people to grow food in their backyards.

Next, the living legends: Mahinda Rajapaksa and Gotabaya Rajapaksa spent their time in shaping SL into a sustainable economy, under heavy western and Indian opposition. The two living legends were able to liquidate 39 years of terrorism, and rehabilitate thousands and thousands of LTTE cadre. They were able to transform SL into a technologically competing country, stepping foot onto a progressive inclining ladder. However, people who like short term benefits did not understand to appreciate their patriotic, nationalistic, and strategic vision.

However, the current self-declared good governance is pragmatic to be focused in one aspect of political activity, which is punitive, retributive charge. It is clear that they want to eliminate popular intellectual patriotic, nationalistic opposition. Although it is clearly seen as a punitive act, one could clearly see that the government is portraying as if they are maintaining justice, law and order, where the act by the government is clearly seen as partial. Can any of the current governing politicians who claim others are corrupt, declare that they are honest?

Strategy of the Powers (Superpowers)

How could a power make a smaller country become submissive and slave to them?

  1. Historical technique of invasion and conquer.
  2. Mid-modern technique of neo-colonialism.
  3. Modern techniques of drive a country to self-destruction, political chaos and economic collapse.

The first two path have become known in the late 20th and 21st century.

SriLanka may have been chosen for the third method by instigating JVP in 1971, because SL was to become a republic in 1972, and also LTTE to self-destruct SriLankan economy. The initiation of both activities reflect the intent of the power. It may also be possible that SJVC may have been indoctrinated and intoxicated in 1948, after independence to initiate the federalism agenda. All of these may have been strategies for economic self-destruction over ‘ ’ number of years. SJVC Federalism demand in 1949, JVP insurrection in 1971, Vaddukoddai Resolution, and LTTE transformation in 1976 are clear indication of western influence over SL for self-destruction. What was the reason for disfranchising Madam Srimavo Bandaranaike? Was it because madam was aligned to the East? Patriotic SriLankans and politicians should dig deep, and do an analysis to unravel the truths of events in SL.

Just select countries that were colonies of the British. E.g. Nigeria-British favoured the minority Ibos and gave them all the facilities. Motive: Iboland had oil reserves. Subsequently Ibos fought a war against the majority and were defeated. When Obasanjo supported the British, the British gave weapons to the government to defeat the Ibos. The Ibos and the Nigerians were cleaver enough to understand the turmoil onto which they were driven. They settled their differences. Take for instance Zimbabwe: The British favoured the minorities Ndebele. Shona were the majority. Everywhere the British ruled, they favoured the minority and left the countries leaving a dormant chaotic problem. This goes to SL also where Tamils were favoured. The rest is self-explanatory. If any of the British colony wants to become a republic now, then a war will self-inflict the country to economic collapse. Need say no more.

Every one of us is aware that superpowers were involved during the war on terror in SL. The SL military should know that these western powers were directing them during the war and some countries were in direct contact with the GOSL.

  1. The first strategy is to nurse, and eradicate LTTE and eliminate all leaders.
  2. Implicate SL military on war crimes and create a chaotic political and social situation.
  3. Prepare strategy to remove the then president, and plant one of their own puppet as the powerful head.
  4. Continue to promote Tamil’s secession and some banana theories.
  5. Drive SriLanka to self-destruct on economy.
  6. Make SL to bargain a collateral for an American base.
  7. Once in, the US will reinforce the base and demarcate the area, and slowly encroach into other areas.
  8. Tamil’s cry on cultural and other mushroom identity will collapse. Same goes to the Sinhalese. Finally the SriLankan government ends up mortgaging the country to the US for a collateral, which definitely will be for a naval base.
  9. Trincomalee or any other area, which will be mortgaged will become the US Naval Base Club for their (US Navy staff) pleasure, and their defense strategy against other major powers. We become the mushroom.
  10. Every country US was involved in over the past ‘ years, had their base established.

It is only some patriotic politicians, who had the perception and the intelligence to live within a self-governing republic, understood the conspiracy theories and the strategy of the west. They planned their activities, however, the current GOSL does not live up to that standard. Most of current governing politicians pretend to be dumb enough to mortgage SL to the west. Can these politicians live and sleep in peace?


SriLankans, let us get up from sleep and tell GOSL of their risk to our sovereignty.





April 21st, 2016



English Translation by Dr. Tilak S. Fernando

The late Dr. Buddhadasa Bodhinayake, was attached to Lady Ridgeway Hospital for Children in Colombo as a senior Paediatrician and worked for many years in the UK for the National Health Service as a Consultant and achieved the highest honour of being elected to Emeritus status.

In 1975 he published a book in Sinhala, which can be identified as a ‘twin’ publication to the American Paediatrician Benjamin McLane Spock’s Baby and Child Care, published in 1946.

Dr. Spock’s message to mothers was: “You know more than you think you do”. Dr. Bodhinayake said “How to bring up your child from the date of conception up to one year“.

Dr. Buddhadasa Bodhinayake’s book deals with many a problem young parents come across in bringing up babies and acts as a guide on how not to run to a doctor every time the mother thinks something is wrong with the baby, thus saving time and money while making parenting less stressful.


The book deals in twelve chapters with instructions to ‘would be mothers’ during their pregnancy, on the condition of the new born and feeding during the first few days, about breast feeding, feeding babies other than breast milk, constipation, running temperature, epilepsy, treatment of dysentery and diarrhea, bathing techniques, colour of skin and importance of keeping the umbilical free of germs, reasons for puking, underdeveloped and over developed babies, weaning techniques, milk in preference to other baby food, how to gauge the constant growth, and the inoculations a baby should have. All in all, Dr. Bodhinayake has dealt with the vital subject of ‘How to bring up a child from date of conception until one year old’.


Professor Silva, attached to the University of Ceylon, wrote the preface to the book. In his summary he said, an embryo develops from the time it is conceived in a mother’s womb and once the child is born the first year is regarded as the most vital period as the child proceeds to grow so rapidly. Then the growth pattern takes place increasingly during youth and goes through a process of development until the baby grows into adolescence and finally to adulthood. Therefore, it is the duty of the society to nurture and protect this growing process and look at how it could be done effectively.

45% of the population of ‘Ceylon’ is under the age of 18. Those who are under 30 years of age make up to 63.5%, which means that out of the whole population in Ceylon a major portion consists of the younger generation. Therefore it is vital to ensure that the young generation is kept healthy not only physically but mentally as well in order to achieve the best results for their own progress as much as the development of the country.

One has to remember that the ‘growing up generation’ is entirely dependent on the senior citizens of this country. This new generation depends on their parents for food, lodging, clothing, and medical expenses when sick, as well as for their education. These factors related to growing up will affect the adult community who are working hard to meet such expenses.

Take a small baby who is falling sick often, and the parents having to rush the child every time to a doctor or a hospital. The mother will not have anything else to do other than giving her full concentration and attention to the sick child. She simply becomes a mental wreck.

Quite often it is not only the mother who has to take the child to a hospital or a doctor. Child’s father too has to accompany them, which boil down to the fact that he will not be able to go to work on a regular basis. He will have to take days off frequently, at times with ‘no-pay’. Even if he were to go to work his concentration will be somewhere else because he becomes completely stressed out.

This will not only affect a single family unit, but such situations are going to affect the production lines of factories and work in offices which will push everyone in the whole country towards destitution. When such a situation is viewed in a dimensional perspective the whole family of that child can be classified as being sick.

Let’s concentrate on how important health would be in the ‘growing up’ generation and take a child who falls ill regularly as an example. First and foremost the child’s inability to attend school will affect his studies. Even if he goes to school he will not be fit to attend to his schoolwork properly. So there will be no future for that child who cannot receive a good education because interruptions become a wedge between his life and his school career. His opportunities to get ahead in life will be stunted under such conditions. This situation essentially affects our country today [1975].

In the circumstances, it is important to realise how parents in our society should look after their children’s health from the day of conception. It is imperative to mention, that we all should be ashamed of the mortality rate of newborn babies in ‘ Ceylon’ [1975 statistics].

Considering all these facts, one of our best students, Dr. Buddhadasa Bodhinayake’s book on how to look after your child within the first year will be extremely helpful to parents, medical colleagues as well as to anyone in the society. This is my honest feeling – Professor C.C de Silva, M.D., FRCP


කම්කරු මිරිඟුව

April 21st, 2016

 ධර්ම සිරි සෙනෙවිරත්න

කම්කරුවන් යය කියන්නේ  වැඩකරන අ යට නම්  ජීවත්වීම සඳහා  වැඩකරන අපි කවුරුත්  කම්කරුවෝවෙමු .ධන හිමියා මෙන්ම ධන හීනයාද වැඩ කරය්. එහෙත් මාක්ස් වාදීන්ට  අනුව  කම්කරුවන් ලෙ සසැ ලකෙන්නේ ධනපතියා යටතේ වැඩකරන අ යය් .මාක්ස් වාදී න්යයාචාර්යයෝ  තමන්ගේ රජයක් පිහිටුවාගැනීම සඳහා  මෙසේ විග්‍රහ කරන කම්කරුවන් යොදවා ගැනීමට උ  ත්සාහ කළහ .පතල් කම්කරුවන් වැනිඅ  ය   බොහෝ  දුක් විඳි අයවෙති  ඔවුන් දුකින් මුදවන්නේමය්  කියමින් න්‍යායාචාර්යයෝ ඔවුන් ලවා ධනපතියන් යය කියන වුන් විනාශ කර තමන් අතට බලය ලබා ගත්හ . ඉන් පසු ඒ කම්කරුවන්ගේ තත්වය තරමක් යහපත් විය .එහෙත් කලක් යනවිට  න්‍යායාචාර්යයෝ අලුත් නිලධාරී පැලැන්තියක් බවට පත්වුයේ  තමන් ට බලය ලබා දුන් කම්කරුවනට  අතය් ත මන් විසින් කියූ  කම්කරු  විඥා නයකක්  ඔවුන්ට නැති බව ඔවුන් දන සිටි හෙයිනි .දේශයක් පාලනය කිරීමේ  පුළුල් දර්ශනයක් නැති  කම්කරුවෝ  ඉන් පසු යොදවනු ලැබුවේ න්යයවාදීන්ගේ  බලය තරකර ගනීමේ ප්‍රදර්ශනවලට  සැරසිල්ලක් වශයෙනි . තමන් සිටි දුක්ඛිත තත්ව වයෙන් සෑහෙන දුරට මුදනු ලැබූ නිසා  මේ කම් කරුවෝ තම රාජ්‍ය පාලකයින්  ට කලක් යන තුරු ගරු කළහ .ඒ ඔවුන් කෙලෙහි ගුනා දන්නා නිසාය  එහෙත් නිලධාරි බලය වැඩිවී තමන්ගේ නිදහස පවා අවුරන විට  සමහරු තමන්  මිරිගුවක් පසුපස යන්නේදය්  සැ ක කරන්නටද පටන් ගත්හ . කම්කරු රජයක් යය කියුවත් දැනුත් ත මන් සිටින්නේ වෙනත් රජුන් යටතේ බව ඔවුහු දන ගත හ. එනිසාම  ඔවුහු ටිකෙන් ටික මාක්ස් වාදයෙන් ඈත වන්නට පටන් ගත්හ සැප ටිකක් ලැබුන පසුව තව තව සැප පැතීම මිනිස් සිරිත නිසා දෝ වියහැක . …. කම්කරු පන්ති රාජ්‍යයක් කිසි තැනක ඇති නොවීය ..සමහරු  ””දෙවියන්වහන්සේ ළඟදීම නැවත පහල වෙයය්  ””” කියමි තම ආගමිකයන්ට බලාපොරොත්තු දෙමින් ඔවුන් තමන් වෙත රඳවා ගන්නවා මෙන්  න්යයාචාර්යයෝද  ”’ඊළඟ අද්යරෙදී”’ කම්කරු රාජ්‍යය බිහිවේ ”’කියමින් කම්කරුවන්ට බලාපොරොත්තු දුන්හ
                                                                            ලංකාවේ නම් වෙන රටවල මෙන්””’ කම්කරුවන් ”’   සිටියේ නැත . එහෙත් පිටරටින් ඉගෙන ගත  සාමහරු ලංකාවේද කම්කරු රාජ්‍යයක් ඇතිකරන්නට ව්‍යාපාරයක් පටන්ගත්හ .. අධිරාජ්‍ය විරෝධය ඉදිරියට දැමීම නිසා  ලංකාවේ සාමාන්‍ය ජනතාව ඔවුන් වටා රොක්වුහ ඒ පරගතියන්ට විරුධ්ධව   මිස මාක්ස්වාදයට ලෙන්ගතුනිසා නොවේ  .දැන් බලනවිට අධිරාජ්‍ය ගති  ධනවාදී  මෙන්ම ජාතික වාදයට විරුද්ධ  එජාපයටද  ”කම්කරුවෝ ”” ත . එජාපයද   කම්කරුවන් සමග  මය රැලි පවත්වය් ..  ලංකාවේ හැම පක්ෂයක්ම  කම්කෙරුවන් යය කියමින්   ගොවියන් ලිපිකරුවන්  මෙන්ම දොස්තර කොන්දොස්තර  හා වඩු මේසන්   ආදී මෙකී නොකී බොහෝ ය සමග ප්‍රදර්ශන පවත්වති . රැකියාවලි  සේවකයන් ලක්ෂ ගණනින් නෙරපූ එජාය්පය සමග    .කම්කරුවෝ  පෙලපාලියති …       අනේ කම්කරුවා      තමන්ගේ  මාරයින් සමග  එකතුවී මාර සේනාව  ශක්තිමත් කරන හැටි  ඉතා දුක් බරය  ද ඇත්තේ නොයෙක් දේශපාලන පක්ෂවල බලය පෙන්වීමට කම්කරුවන් යය කියන වුන්  බලෙන් යොදවා ගැනීමකි නැත්නම් මුදලට ගැනීමකි                                                        කම්කරු මිරිඟුව
 ධර්ම සිරි සෙනෙවිරත්න

මෛත්‍රීගේ කතාවෙන් පසු බන්දුල විසින් කළ ආර්ථික විග්‍රහය

April 21st, 2016

ජනපතිවරයා පසුගියදා පොළොන්නරුවේදී කළ ප්‍රකාශය අනුව ජනතාවට පීඩනයක් ගෙන දෙන බදු ප්‍රතිපත්ති හදන ආර්ථික විශේෂඥයන් ගෙදර යවා ලබන 2 වැනිදායින් පසු ජනතාව පිට පැටවෙන බදු බර අඩුකරන හැටි රටම බලා සිටින බව පාර්ලිමේන්තු මන්ත්‍රී බන්දුල ගුණවර්ධන මහතා පවසයි.

ඔහු මේ බව පැවසූවේ ඊයේ (20) බොරැල්ලේ පැවැති ඒකාබද්ධ විපක්ෂයේ මාධ්‍ය හමුවකදී ය.

රජයේ සුරැකුම්පත් හා රාජ්‍ය ණය උපකරණවල ආයෝජනය කළ විදේශ මුදල් රැසක් විදේශිකයන් ආපසු රැගෙන ගොස් ඇති බවත් එය අමෙරිකා ඩොලර් මිලියන 2.8ක් පමණ වන බවත් කී මන්ත්‍රීවරයා රුපියලේ අගය එන්න එන්නම කඩා වැටෙන බවත් සඳහන් කළේ ය.

Unnerving warnings

April 21st, 2016

Editorial Courtesy The Island

President Maithripala Sirisena has recently said something that media rights activists should take notice of. He is reported to have stressed, at a meeting with the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission top brass and media heads that some of the electronic media outfits breach the terms of their licences.

This is not the first time a government leader has referred to the licences of electronic media by way of a warning. There is little that the government can do to prevent such statements being seen as an attempt to use its authority to cancel the licences at issue as the sword of Damocles.

Successive governments have had issues with licences of privately owned, independent electronic media organisations. That they have had problems with the print media as well goes without saying. Until 1994, privately owned radio and TV stations had been barred from broadcasting/telecasting local news. The credit for removing that draconian restriction should go to Chandrika Kumaratunga, who upon being elected President in that year freed the media from such shackles. But, The Sunday Leaderpress was attacked and journalists were assaulted and even killed under her government. Electronic media have also been attacked for refusing to give in to politicians in power; goons carried out arson attacks on Sirasa and Siyatha TV stations under the Rajapaksa government which also stood accused of killing journalists including Lasantha Wickrematunga.

No such unfortunate incidents have so far happened under the new dispensation. But, politicians know more than one way to shoe a horse. Some of them seem to think they can frighten the media into submission by issuing warnings without resorting to violence which causes them to incur public opprobrium and international condemnation.

In the worst case scenario, the licence of an electronic media organisation which refuses to fall in line may be cancelled. But, does anyone with an iota of common sense think such action will help overcome dissent? Nobody is equal to the task of controlling or suppressing information in the modern world. (Scientists now tell us that not even black holes can eliminate ‘information’!) Any effort to control the mainstream media will result in the public becoming more dependent on social media guided by Rafferty’s rules or no rules at all, for obtaining information. That will be disadvantageous to the government which is already smarting from ruthless attacks by various websites. Having effectively used the social media against the previous regime the present administration must be aware what it is like to be a target of cyber piranhas.

The current administration owes the success of its political campaign which helped dislodge the Rajapaksa government to its propaganda drive fuelled by information and misinformation alike. Its leaders now pontificating about the virtues of ethical reporting used both mainstream and alternative media to expose and in most cases vilify their predecessors. Today, in spite of having the entire state machinery at their disposal they cannot prove the serious allegations they levelled against the leaders of the previous government. Needless to say, they would have had to face many law suits if their attempt to oust the Rajapaksa government had come a cropper; perhaps they would have been sued out of existence as they say.

Most of the present-day government grandees have either throttled the media or been part of the regimes which not only suppressed the freedom of expression but also were responsible for attacking media institutions and killing messengers. Circumstances may have compelled them to behave, but old habits die hard. Like the proverbial cat which, despite being trained to hold a lamp on a dining table, got excited on seeing a rat, they tend to lose self-control when they get an opportunity to revile the media.

Legal remedies are available for victims of slander or libel. Politicians and others can make use of them in dealing with media outfits responsible for violating the law. Besides, there are regulatory bodies that one can turn to in case of ethical issues concerning the media. Issuing warnings calculated to unnerve journalists is not the way.


Appointment of IGP

April 21st, 2016

Retired Police Officer Courtesy The Island

The recent decision to appoint an officer of the Police Force to fill the vacancy created by Mr. N.K.Illangakoon when he retired on April 11th has drawn much flak from various quarters.

The selection of Senior Deputy Inspector General, Mr. Pujitha Jayasundera, to be the next Inspector General of Police is being criticized by some whilst others seem to support it.

My endeavour is not to counter their arguments nor to support a particular line of thinking, but to correct a mistake in a TV programme yesterday morning. On several occasions, the male telecaster reading the headlines, referring to the previously adopted procedures in appointing the IGP as erratic, claimed that only now, under the 19th Amendment, the Head of State was prevented from appointing a person of his or her choice, disregarding seniority etc.,


Insofar as we are aware, the system introduced and that prevailed till the late S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike took over as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka (then Ceylon), was to have the next most Senior Officer appointed as the Inspector General of Police, when a vacancy occurred.

During that time, late Osmund de Silva was Inspector General of Police. He had been requested by Mr. Bandaranaike to perform a duty which the former believed was not lawful. According to Sec. 56 of the Police Ordinance, a Police Officer is duty bound to carry out only lawful orders issued by a competent authority. Mr. de Silva had refused to accede to the request. As a result, he had been asked to step down and Mr. M.W.F.Abeykoon was brought in from outside the Force and installed as Inspector General of Police. What happened? When Mr. Abeykoon was playing bridge at the Orient Club, his subordinates were planning a coup d’état!

Once again, the procedure that existed was restored and continued until Mrs. Chandrika Kumaratunga became the Executive President of Sri Lanka. Instead of appointing the next most senior Officer as the Inspector General of Police, she preferred to appoint late B.L.V. de S. Kodituwakku, who was a confidante of her mother’s, the late Sirima Bandaranaike, as the Inspector General of Police. Unlike the earlier occasion, disaster did not strike because he was from within the Force.

Coming back to the erratic situation the telecaster chose to repeatedly announce, what he thought was correct, it would have given a wrong impression to the public who watched the program.

Further, may I also remind the television channel concerned that in this instance, which he repeatedly said was correct; it is not the most senior who had been selected but the second most senior!

Retired Police Officer


A challenge for new IGP

April 21st, 2016

Editorial Courtesy The Island

The police super star contest, as it were, is thankfully over. It was preceded by weeks of intense lobbying and campaigning. Pujith Jayasundara has emerged the winner. Beaming from ear to ear he received his letter of appointment from President Maithripala Sirisena on Wednesday. It was no mean achievement for a cop. Why he is so tickled pink is understandable; the Constitutional Council has considered him better suited for the post than even his senior colleague cum contender who has been handpicked by two successive presidents including the incumbent one to ensure their security!

The new IGP will now spend a few weeks paying courtesy calls and attending ceremonies in keeping with tradition. The sobering reality will begin to kick in thereafter. Uneasy lies the head that wears the IGP’s cap!

We know there are people who, troubled by the ever increasing crime rate, want the new IGP, from the get-go, to take on the netherworld of crime. Sexual violence against women and children, armed robberies and murder have come to plague the country. However, it is not fair for anyone to expect the new police chief to bring down the high incidence of crime forthwith. Rome wasn’t built in a day, was it?

One should be reasonable! The bar must not be raised unreasonably high for the new IGP at this juncture. Instead, let him be called upon to perform a simple task and prove his mettle in his new capacity. No, we are not asking him to investigate and find out how all CCTV cameras in Rajagiriya mysteriously failed to record a hit-and-run accident allegedly involving a minster in that area a few weeks ago. It is not fair for us to ask the new IGP to probe that incident thoroughly and jeopardise, in the process, the interests of the minister cum Constitutional Council member concerned who is said to have voted for him. The challenge we have in mind for him is much easier than that.

The new IGP must be aware that in the Gampaha District there is a place called Wattala. A few weeks ago, someone destroyed a jogging track in that area by using backhoes. The incident took place only a stone’s throw from a police station.

The present government is all out to punish those who have caused losses to the state coffers. But, unfortunately, those who destroyed the walkway which was a public asset under the nose of the police have gone scot free.

Will IGP Jayasundara prove his mettle by arresting the destroyer/s of that walking track and hauling them up before courts? That is no Herculean task, we reckon. Will he act fast? Tick-tock, tick-tock …

Curiouser, curiouser!

An LTTE cadre arrested a few weeks ago for keeping a suicide jacket, mines, TNT explosives and ammunition in Chavakachcheri is being held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), the government has said, as we reported yesterday. In answer to a query posed by this newspaper, at a media briefing attended by Defence Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi, Senior DIG Nandana Munasinghe confirmed on Wednesday that the suspect concerned was being detained under the PTA.

One is intrigued! No sooner had the Chava explosive cache been detected than the government claimed it posed no threat to national security. Defence Secretary Hettiarachchi himself sought to downplay the gravity of the situation. Pro-government defence experts claimed the LTTE no longer posed any threat to the lives of VVIPs. If so, the question is why the suspect is being held under the PTA which government allies, both local and foreign, have condemned as draconian?

India-Sri Lanka agreement was proposed by Ranil says envoy

April 20th, 2016

Courtesy Tamil Guardian 23 March 2016

India’s High Commissioner Y K Sinha told reporters that a proposed economic agreement between India and Sri Lanka was proposed by Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, as Sinhala opposition to the move continues.

Mr Sinha told reporters that the Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) proposal was put forward last year and defended the move.

“The ETCA was proposed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe when he went to India September last year,” Mr Sinha said. “Since then our officials have met and now just a few days ago, we have got a draft of the framework, which is the outline of the agreement from the government of Sri Lanka.”

The proposal came after Sri Lanka repeatedly rejected moves to sign a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with India, which Mr Sinha said “is [now] a dirty word here”.

He went on to assure that the agreement would benefit “the people of both countries” amidst sustained opposition to the proposal.

Amongst those opposed is Sri Lanka’s former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Joint Opposition, who slammed the agreement earlier this month. Mr Sinha however, responded by saying his comments were “amusing”.

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe meanwhile told reporters previously that those opposed to the ECTA are “traitors”. The prime minister has faced strong opposition to signing a bi-lateral trade agreement with India and enhancing further trade ties with the neighbouring nation.


April 20th, 2016

Pathfinder Foundation: Centre for Indo – Lanka Initiatives

In the recent past several articles have been published in the local press with regard to the objections by Bangladesh to Sri Lanka’s claim of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles from its coast baseline made to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS). The Dhaka Tribune dated April 15 quoting a senior official of the Foreign Ministry has pointed out that as Sri Lanka’s claim overlaps the continental shelf of India and Bangladesh, Colombo should complete negotiations with India first.

An essential function of the State is to establish and protect its territorial boundaries.  On becoming a Party to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), Sri Lanka, as an island State, was required to establish its maritime boundaries:  the limits of its territorial jurisdiction, in accordance with the rules prescribed by that Convention.

During the negotiations leading up to adoption of the Convention, Sri Lanka had already established the limits of the basic maritime areas over which it would have the right to make laws and regulations, and to enforce them:  the Territorial Sea (12 miles from the “baseline”, (essentially the coast) over which it would have rights similar to those exercised over its land territory; the Contiguous Zone, 12 miles beyond the Territorial Sea in which it would have certain rights to prevent breach of its customs, fiscal, immigration and sanitary laws); the Exclusive Economic Zone, 200 miles from the baseline, in which it would have sovereign rights and jurisdiction for the purpose of exploring and exploiting natural resources both living (fish, seaweeds) and non-living (minerals, energy), while allowing other States to exercise the freedoms given by the Convention to use the area; the Continental Shelf comprising the sea-bed and sub-soil of the submarine areas that extend beyond the territorial sea throughout the natural prolongation of the land territory up to the outer edge of the continental margin, subject to constraints provided for in the Convention, up to a maximum distance of 350 miles from the baseline.

A proclamation was issued by Sri Lanka in January 1977 demarcating the extent of Sri Lanka’s Territorial sea, Contiguous Zone, and Exclusive Economic Zone, details of which were published and subjected to the laws of Sri Lanka when Prime Minister Sirima Bandaranaike was in office. Issues connected with boundaries with close neighbours India and the Maldives, as well as with the politically sensitive matter of Sri Lanka’s sovereignty over the island of Kachchativu, were all settled by agreement under her leadership.

 Extent of Sri Lanka’s Continental Shelf

What remained to be established was the extent of Sri Lanka’s Continental Shelf under the provisions of the U.N. Convention to which Sri Lanka became a Party in 1995.  All States are entitled to declare the limits of their Continental Shelves, but must now do so by first submitting specified technical data to the CLCS established by the Convention.  If the Commission decides that Sri Lanka’s submission is in accordance with the rules of the Convention, that decision will be accepted by all other States and Sri Lanka’s maritime limits will be recognized by all States.

The Convention sets limits to the extent of the “Continental Shelf” that a State may legally claim, together with its natural resources, e.g. an outer limit of 350 miles from the baseline.  Because of the peculiar configuration of Sri Lanka’s Continental Shelf, application of the Convention’s ordinary depth and distance limits to the Continental Shelf would have unjustifiably deprived Sri Lanka of the full extent of its right to adjacent submarine areas and their natural resources in comparison with the extent permitted to other coastal States under the Convention.  In 1978/9, during the final stages of the U.N. Conference on the Law of the Sea, when the Sri Lankan delegation was able to obtain the relevant technical information and advice, they were able to convince all the negotiating countries of the inequity that could result to Sri Lanka, the Conference decided on a remedy for the “Sri Lanka problem”:  the Conference would prepare a document to be attached to the Convention and binding on all countries, allowing Sri Lanka a special regime applicable to its adjacent submarine areas and resources, that would not be governed by the Convention’s ordinary limits and conditions, but only by the limits and conditions contained in that document.  That document, negotiated by Sri Lanka with the interested states, was adopted by all the States at the Conference, and now forms Annex II to the Final Act of the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea, and bears the title “Statement of Understanding” (SOU). Conditions in that document were, at India’s request, extended to India as a “neighbouring State”, where the configuration of its Continental Shelf resembled that of Sri Lanka.  The Conference agreed that the SOU should extend to India as a “neighbouring State” in the southern part of the Bay of Bengal.

In 2012, the Cabinet of Ministers created an inter-departmental Committee entitled the National Ocean Affairs Committee (NOAC) consisting of scientific and legal experts.  As its first task, NOAC began preparation of Sri Lanka’s submission to CLCS on the limits of its Continental Shelf.  Working with world-renowned technical and legal experts (e.g. from the United States, Russia, Norway, New Zealand) as well as Sri Lankan experts, approved and appointed by the Cabinet, NOAC prepared Sri Lanka’s submission to CLCS on the extent of its Continental Shelf.  That submission, consisting of considerable volume of documents and maps, was deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, on May 8, 2009 within the prescribed time schedule.  Over forty maritime countries had submitted their claims before us.  Consequently, Sri Lanka, has been on the list of countries awaiting an invitation to make a presentation of its submission to the Commission (CLCS) for the last seven years.. Taking in to consideration the large number of maritime countries, who are ahead of Sri Lanka, it is estimated that our claim will not be taken up for consideration before 2025.

Overlapping Entitlements and Delimitation

The U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea makes provision for delimitation of the continental shelf between States with opposite or adjacent coasts (Article 83), requiring the States concerned to effect delimitation “by agreement on the basis of international law…. in order to achieve an equitable solution”.

Pending such agreement, “the States concerned, in a spirit of understanding and co-operation, shall make every effort to enter into provisional arrangements of a practical nature and, during this transitional period, not to jeopardize or hamper the reaching of the final agreement”.

Delimitation of the Continental Shelf between States with opposite or adjacent coasts would arise, where their entitlements under the Convention appear to overlap.  Where, as with some States in the Bay of Bengal, entitlements have not been agreed or declared by CLCS, any questions of “overlap” and delimitation remain matters for conjecture, while subject to eventual resolution under the provisions of Article 83.

Recommended Action

As there are other countries ahead of Sri Lanka in the “queue” awaiting invitations to present their submissions to CLCS intend to claim that they are entitled to rights under the SOU, it is urgently necessary that Sri Lanka have consultations with India as joint beneficiary under the SOU, that would safeguard our (and India’s) interests.  After consultation with India, Sri Lanka should also discuss with Bangladesh and Myanmar their claims, if any, to be entitled to the dispensation provided to Sri Lanka (and India) by the SOU.

It needs to be highlighted that negotiations with the interested countries will have to be carried out by competent technical and legal experts, who had gained a thorough knowledge having participated in the negotiations leading to finalization of UNCLOS in 1982.  Given the fact that those who were involved in such negotiations were senior officials representing Sri Lanka’s interests at that time, and considering the fact that there would be a gap of approximately 10 years before Sri Lanka’s case would be taken up by CLCS, it is essential for the authorities concerned to take urgent steps to transfer the knowledge and skills of those experts to a new generation of technical and legal experts, who would represent Sri Lanka’s interests before CLCS in a decade’s time.

It has been reported that Kenya’s submission is soon to come before CLCS, and that the Sub-Commission appointed by CLCS to deal with the Kenyan submission has been instructed to “consider the submission made by Kenya on a scientific and technical basis under the provisions of Article 76 of the Convention and the Statement of Understanding”.

It is considered that, in issuing this instruction to its Sub-Commission, CLCS may have exceeded its authority by presuming that the SOU is applicable to Kenya, which could not be regarded as a neighbouring State of Sri Lanka, and cannot possibly be considered to be anywhere near the Bay of Bengal.

Considering the foregoing it is recommended that Sri Lanka take urgent action to discuss the situation first with India and thereafter with other countries aspiring to take advantage of the SOU, as well as take urgent steps to train and equip a new generation of negotiators, who would successfully argue Sri Lanka’s case before the CLCS, when Sri Lanka is invited to present its case.

This is issued by Pathfinder Foundation: Centre for Indo – Lanka Initiatives, Comments are welcome at

British Labor Party Leader should be told Self-determination for Tamils started in Tamil Nadu and should end in Tamil Nadu

April 20th, 2016

 Shenali D Waduge

It is no surprise when Britain the root cause of majority-minority conflicts, transporters of indentured laborers causing demographic issues now come forward to support self-determination claims by Tamils during local elections to muster minority votes. Some facts need to be made clear. Bids for self-determination began in Tamil Nadu far before it became imported to Sri Lanka. Sri Lankan Tamils descend from India’s South evident from their genes, physical characteristics, language, culture etc and historical evidence is available to showcase that until 1911 Tamils living in Sri Lanka were known as Malabars coming from India. It was only after 1911 that they became known as Ceylon & later Sri Lankan Tamils. Indian Malabars cannot seek self-determination in Sri Lanka and neither can Indian Malabars who later became known as Ceylon/Sri Lankan Tamils. Yet, with 76million Tamils the world over, psychologically Tamils are angered because they do not have a land to call their own. If external self-determination, autonomy and the like are to be considered at all it should be in Tamil Nadu that a homeland is created and nowhere else. India prefers Tamil Homeland calls in Sri Lanka because no sooner Tamil Nadu is separated from the Indian centre, other states will also call for separation leading to the disintegration of the nation India that the British created and the end of its empire expansion. The West has more to benefit by an independent Tamil Nadu & a disintegrated India rather than a small area in Sri Lanka.

It was for strategic and tactical objectives that the eelam quest was passed on to Sri Lanka with India initially starting a militant struggle and thereafter pumping Sri Lankan Tamil politicians to call for separatist eelam in Sri Lanka.

Desiring a separate homeland is one thing but there are realities that cannot be overlooked. It is probably for these reasons and more that it has become convenient to pass the pillow of separatism to Sri Lanka.

  • Tamil Nadu is a dry region and dependent on Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh for water. Separating means Tamil Nadu will face a serious water crisis.
  • Tamil Nadu would have to create its own army
  • Reality of a cold-war between rest of India & Tamil Nadu and will eventually have to also depend on better relations with Sri Lanka.
  • Tamil Nadu would face the music with India determining to destabalize it
  • Tamil Nadu will need to find newer ways to generate electricity – Indian Centre would cease all funds.
  • Tamil Nadu lacks critical resources and is not self-sufficient in food (food is imported from other states)
  • India of course would lose critical ports like Chennai & Tuticorin which will affect international trade and capabilities of the Indian Navy while India’s literacy, tourism, job market will also get affected if Tamil Nadu did separate.

However, we cannot erase the fact that self-determination in Sri Lanka is linked to the initial bids from India first for a separate Tamil Nadu and only thereafter for a Dravida Tadu. In a nutshell separatism for Tamils has passed pillows – first calls for Tamil self-determination in Tamil Nadu, then self-determination for Dravida Nadu, then back again to Tamil Nadu and now self-determination in Sri Lanka. The theatrics goes on.

T M Parthasarathy declared “Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh should each separately become independent countries and then the four should join to form a ‘Dravidian Federation’”.

Both DK (Dravidar Kazhagam) and DMK (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) demanded a Dravida Nadu because the people in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka & Andhra Pradesh were of Dravidian origin. They were Kannadigas, Malayalis, Telugus and Tamils speaking Dravidian languages.


  • 1938 – T P Vedachalam of the Justice Party (founder of Tamil Nation Liberation Association) began the first call.
  • 1938 – Thereafter Periyar E R Ramaswamy (head of Self-Respect Movement) and C N Annadurai called for Tamil Nadu independence also in 1938 “the best way to preserve the liberty of Tamils is to agitate for separation from the rest of India and the proposed All-India Federation”.
  • 1938 December – Periyar was elected President of Justice Party declared that the key objective of his party would be the quest to separate Tamil Nadu from the rest of the Indian subcontinent. In 1944 the Justice Party became DK (Dravidar Kazhagam)
  • 1939 December C N Annadurai calls for “Tamil Nadu for Tamils”
  • 1939 December 17, Periyar calls for “Dravida Nadu for Dravidians” changing earlier ‘Tamil Nadu for Tamil slogan’ probably from the influence of Telugu leaders in the Justice Party. People of Kerala, Andhra Pradesh or Karnataka were not in favour of separating.
  • 1940 August 24, Tamil Nadu Independence Movement changed to Dravida Nadu Independent Movement at the Justice Party State Conference passing a resolution to protect Dravidian culture, arts, economy, Dravidian homeland of Madras Province to be separated from rest of India and ruled separately until British left
  • 1944 August Periyar created a new party called Dravidar Kazhagam out of the Justice Party
  • 1947 July 1 separatist Tamil leaders celebrated the “Dravida Nadu Secession Day”.
  • 1947 July 13 passed a resolution in Tiruchirapalli demanding an independent Dravida Nadu. Both Jinnah and Gandhi disagreed with this.
  • 1949 C N Annadurai inaugurates Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)
  • 1960 September 17 “Dravida Nadu Separation Day” was observed. Annadurai was arrested
  • 1962 DMK went from village to village, town to town, city to city, house to house throughout Tamil Nadu calling for separate Tamil homeland
  • 1963 DMK abandoned ‘independence for Tamil Nadu” following the passing of 16th amendment by the Indian Parliament prohibiting separatism.
  • 1980s militant organization Tamil Nadu Liberation Army formed reviving demand for Dravida Nadu.

So why does Tamil Nadu want to separate from India?

  • Main reason is the argument that there was never a country called India until the British cobbled up territories and princely kingdoms to set up an administrative unit called India.
  • Tamils opposed post-independent Hindi rule and Hindi domination
  • Tamils against ban by India against calls for Tamil Nadu independence from India. (DMK winning 50 state legislature seats in 1962 general election similar to TULF becoming Opposition in Sri Lanka)
  • Tamils against India using state resources to project a false ancient culture/heritage because India was never a country until British cobbled independent territories/states to make a single administrative unit called India.
  • Tamils against loss of their cultural identity and being Hindianized under India.
  • Tamils claim that under an independent Tamil Homeland they can look after their own people better.

Why does Tamil Nadu call for a plebiscite?

  • Tamil Nadu has been demanding for a referendum to ascertain if the people want to be independent from India. They give East Timor, Indonesia, Quebec in Canada as examples. Quebec actually voted 60% to remain as a province of Canada.
  • If the Indian Government is so certain that there is not much support for independence in Tamil Nadu, why is it afraid to hold a plebiscite? Has Indian intelligence agencies warned Indian government that there is support for independence in Tamil Nadu beneath the surface and a plebiscite may opt for independence?”………. “We ask the Indian parliament to remove the 1963 constitutional amendment and allow pro-independence parties to contest elections. Then pro-independence groups would have the opportunity to demonstrate their support among voters. Why is Indian Government afraid to do so? This contradicts the government argument that there is very little support for independence in Tamil Nadu.” (Thanjai Nalankilli 2008)

C N Annadurai comments….

 We have opposed British rule from 1939 onwards. It has been our wish for years that foreign rule should end. But Congress Party wishes to replace British rule with Aryan rule. That is why we oppose the Congress Party. Just because we oppose the Congress, we should not be considered opponents of independence [from British rule]. We had condemned that British rule helped the Aryans and that the British are paving the way for Congress Party to succeed them as rulers. ….”

“People have not realized, as much as we do, that the new government [post-British Congress Government] is in the hands of northerners. The new rule [of northerners] could be ended in the same way the British rule was ended if we enlighten the people that northerners would rob the wealth of the south by dominating the Indian Government.”

“It took the Congress Party sixty years to achieve their goal [of independence for India]. It took only six years for Jinnah to achieve his goal [of a separate, independent Pakistan]. This shows that if a race is determined to get its rights, no one can stop it from achieving it. So we may consider August 15th [the day of independence for both India and Pakistan] as a day of hope that achieving independent Dravida Nadu may not take sixty years but just six years.

“Independent Dravida Nadu is our life principle. … We have organized public meetings on July 1, 1947 to explain to the public the need for Dravida Nadu independence. So there is no need to organize meetings again on August 15, 1947 to explain the need for Dravida Nadu independence while others are celebrating independence from British rule. 

Periyar and clan wanted a separate state that was multi-linguistic because they wanted to include Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada areas which basically covered Madras Presidency under colonial rule. A map of the propose Dravida Nadu was released in June 1940 at Kanchipuram which Jinnah also supported. In turn Periyar supported Muslim Leagues claim for a separate Pakistan. Jinnah infact went on to say that India should be divided into 4 regions – Hindustan, Bengalistan, Pakistan & Dravidistan. Unfortunately for the Dravidians all 3 have realized their dreams except them.

Having a free Tamil Eelam without Tamil Nadu is like saying

you have a free Kosovo with an occupied Albania or a

free Northern Ireland with an occupied Ireland (a web comment from a Tamil)

Britain invaded and occupied many countries. Britain built its nation by stealing from every territory/colony it occupied. All that the Queen & the Royal Family enjoys are stolen wealth. Britain was not satisfied in occupying and plundering they wanted to divide people, distort history, re-write history, infuse new cultures and norms, created new titles who would pose as local lackeys subserviently serving the whites and doing their bidding and it is the same Britain that is now creating new issues and conflicts because that is what they know best. Britain will not ceded any of its own territory but is more than willing to help carve out territory that doesn’t belong to Britain. The British Labor Party should be ashamed of its ungentlemanly election googlys just to win a handful of minority votes or just to fulfill election funds to campaign.

That Tamils in Tamil Nadu and Malabars of Sri Lanka both seek the same separate homeland is because it benefitted the British and later the post-independent Hindian Government not to give it. It is now time the issue is brought before the British and India to solve and leave out Sri Lanka from the menace of handling alien matters.

Shenali D Waduge

Tamils in Sri Lanka are Recent Arrivals from Malabar Coast and Coromandel Coast of South India (Thesawalamai Law)

April 20th, 2016

Dilrook Kannangara

Tamils are certainly recent arrivals from the area that is part of today’s Kerala and Tamil Nadu. According to the regulation No. 18 of 1806, the law applicable to “The Malabar inhabitants of the Province of Jaffna” is the law of Thesawalamai. This very clearly proves Jaffna Tamils are people that came to Sri Lanka from Malabar coast of Kerala. Apart from a very few changes, Thesawalamai  law found in Sri Lanka is a carbon copy of Marumakattayam law of Malabar Coast, Kerala. In detail, Jaffna Tamils came from the west coast of South India – states of Travencore (tobacco plantations capital in the 17th century) and Cochin and the Districts of Malabar and South Canara.

Another wave of Tamils came to Sri Lanka from Coromandel Coast of Tamil Nadu. They too followed Thesawalamai law in Sri Lanka brought by Malabars with a slight change. They too came to be known as Malabar inhabitants of the Province of Jaffna.

In addition to Malabars (Jaffna Tamils), other Tamils in Sri Lanka’s coastal areas were known as Mukkuwas. Mostly fishermen, they too came from Malabar coast of Kerala and inherited the Mukkuwa law which is very similar to Thesawalamai.

Further readings on Thesawalamai law – Influence of Hindu Law and Marumakattayam Law on the Laws and Customs of the Tamils of Jaffna by J.M. SWAMINATHAN.

Calling this law Thesawalamai  is deceptive as it means “the law of the land” whereas it has absolutely nothing to do with the law of the land in Sri Lanka. Even today, Tamil accent of Jaffna Tamils is very close to Kerala than Tamil Nadu.

Given repeated south Indian (mostly Tamil) invasions since the introduction of Buddhism to the island (all Tamil invasions took place after Buddhism was introduced), it is extremely unlikely that Sinhalas allowed Malabar and Coromandel Coast people to land in the island and continue to live in the island. Their attempts to settle in Lankan territory would certainly have resulted in massacre. However, when the Portuguese, Dutch and British invaders neutralised Sinhala military power, South Indians could have safely landed in the island. Even today, all Tamils in Sri Lanka totally rely on Tamil Nadu made songs, films, artwork and everything that can be called part of Tamil culture.

The artificial “Ceylon Tamil” or “Eelam Tamil” ethnicity was created only in 1911 by a Tamil who was in charge of the census. As such, Eelam Tamils have a history of only 105 years in Sri Lanka and half of it is soaked in blood of Sinhalas, Muslims and Indians in their racist quest for a mythical nation called “Tamil Eelam” (interestingly another artificial concept created in 1922 by the very same person who created the Eelam Tamil ethnicity in 1911).

Given these facts, it is utterly absurd for Tamils to claim they lived in Sri Lanka for over 500 years in a Tamil homeland within the island. If at all Tamils had a homeland, it was in Kerala and Tamil Nadu of South India.

Tamils are entitled to equal individual rights in Sri Lanka but are not entitled to a province, Tamil official or national language and a homeland in the island. Any attempt to carve out a separate nation, federal state or province for Tamils must result in war and the neutralisation  of separatists. Ideally the Sri Lankan constitution must clearly specify this defence.

ETCA- is it worth it and why the hurry?

April 20th, 2016

If we cant handle the errant Indian fishermen stealing our fish, poaching on our waters, ruining our marine bed….

do you seriously think our policy makers can handle a country with 1.3billion people?

This is an agreement that will affect all Sri Lankans – Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim, Burghers…UNP, SLFP, JVP, JHU,TNA, SLMC etc etc……

It is one thing to do business with another country.

It is a totally different thing if a country allows open visa to a country that has a population of 1.3billion and 80% of its population are illeterate and millions and millions are jobless.

With the road and rail bridge also opening up and 76million Tamil Nadu Tamils free to arrive when earlier they had been arriving as illegal immigrants, just imagine the status quo when the GOSL officially agrees to allow Indians to start up business, bring in their families to live and work in Sri Lanka, bring laborers from India….how will this affect Sri Lanka long term?

Will Sri Lankans get jobs?

Will Sri Lankans have land or will that too be purchased by Indians now that the GOSL has removed the restrictions on land purchase to foreigners?

Will Sri Lanka have enough resources to meet electricity, water and other requirements?

Will Sri Lanka have its sovereignty when Indians politicians will exert power over and influence Sri Lanka’s politicians because a growing number of Indians will be living in Sri Lanka?

These are issues that Sri Lankans need to seriously think about.

If we cant handle errant Indian fishermen stealing our fish, poaching on our waters, ruining our marine bed….do you seriously think our policy makers can handle a country with 1.3billion people?

Your job, your business, your children’s future, your future will all get affected.

We all must have a nation to call our own ETCA will deny us this right.

Prof Sumanasiri Liyanage –

Dr. T. Lalithasiri Gunaruwan –

Archt. Nalaka C. Jayaweera –

Mr. Lasantha Wickremasinghe –

Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya –

Please pass on to educate others, except the idiots who think they are pundits.

There are three issues concurrently on the boil



2) Bridge

3) Devolution via Const change






April 20th, 2016

Sarath Wijesinghe – former Ambassador to UAE and Israel

English as a life skill

English as a life skill is a straight and simple tool of communication striped of its historical baggage, a skill for employment and a vehicle for reaching the outside world of knowledge. It has been a property owned by few elite in the Sri Lankan society as a prized possession of a privileged class, as an instrument of social repression and not acceptable to its utility value. It is now necessary to transform this to common property, for the benefit of all and the country for development and prosperity. English is the language of Information Technology, International Trade and Commerce Sri Lanka is expected and bound to take forward. Sri Lankan Standard of Education is of highest level with efficient and intelligent labour force won the confidence of the local and international employers in Sri Lanka and outside.

Time to nationalize this precious property to the people

It is time we transfer and nationalize this precious property jealously guarded with few into common property resource owned by all to be utilized by everybody. We must encourage the leaners to speak English the Sri Lankan way as the case in India, where the standard of English and English Education developed to attract even foreigners to India to learn English. A Linguist – in England once said that even if English disappears in England it will still continue in India as India is so interwoven and embraced English in Education. India has emerged today as the world’s centre of excellence for the teaching of English for non-English people. Thousands of people come to India from former Soviet Republic, or CIS countries, South East Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe, Russia, Chine and many other countries in the Globe. Sri Lanka has the capacity and competence to be an excellent “Centre of Excellence” on English and Education including Medicine, Agriculture and related subjects.  India used English as a utility value and a tool of communication and education not as a tool for social climbing.

In India and Sri Lanka Cricket and English has become a way of life

In India Sri Lanka Cricket and English has become a way of life and played and spoken as well as or better than where it was originated. Children from Tamil and Sinhala speaking homes find it much easier to learn to speak Japanese, Koran, Russian, Chinese, French, and German than to speak English. In the Middle East- especially in the UAE where over 300,000 are employed with sound working knowledge and competency to speak foreign languages fluent, with reluctance or refusal to learn to speak English which has direct relevance to physiological backwardness due to deep rooted social implications back in the country on fear of speaking proper grammatical English with Accent. We must encourage the leaner to make mistakes in pronunciation and grammar when speaking and the teacher should quietly and gently guide the leaner to progressively make less and less mistakes giving confidence that it is as easy and more easily as any other language. In the United Kingdom not everybody speaks Good English. London is an immigrant city full of migrants speaking “Broken English” or their won languages.

Confidence Building

It is confidence building and getting them to know the basic vocabulary of few hundred worlds with which leaner can build on. If two basic building blocks English and IT, were put in place in all hooks and corners of the country, we will be able to get unexpected results in the employment sector which is full of unemployed and under employed, expecting at least a labourer job in the government with pension by joining 10% of the population in public service, lot of leave and other perks with very light work irrespective of the qualifications. There are mushroom international schools of inferior slandered and quality spread teaching mainly for the children unable to find a good school or parents capable and eager to give them English Education. When arts graduates from Universities going in processions on the road for employment in the public sector, they find employment as sales assistants, industrial and  private sector and other establishments. If we provide this powerful tool scientifically and with ease to those in Information Technology Sector, Journalists, Artists, mature students, and those in employment in the public and private sector and those seeking employment and planning to SME’s medium Entrepreneurs, it will be a boom and a foundation for a new life and era for the development in the spheres of economics, politics and general outlook in education and employment sectors.

Entrance Free workshop on 26th April at the OPA Auditorium

We are planning to give a gentile push and encouragement solely on voluntary basis getting the services of renewed intellection and experts in English and Education. First workshop scheduled to be held at the Organization of Professionals Auditorium on 26th of April from 6.00 to 8t   P.M. with the participation of the British Council and with an open invitation to all interested parties at no cost, is the initial stage to be continued in various parts of the country with the participation of the English Departments of Universities in Sri Lanka and Indian Universities at later stages.


English is a West German Language that was first spoken in medieval England, and now a global language. It is Official language to 60 sovereign countries including Sri Lanka. It is the third most commonly used language developed over 1400 years and the language of Information Technology, Medicine Trade and Commence mainly in the Commonwealth of Nations and the West. Now that we are entangled with English due to colonization by the British, we are bound to carry on with it as in cricket and system of administration and trade. Our workforce and the future generation needs only a little bit of push and confidence to learn spoken and Basic English which will enhance their IT skills and personality. If on is in a position to command few hundred words with confidence and ease with directions from competent dedicated  advisors and teachers it is possible to master the skill to improve other skills and personality with confidence for the success of any discipline.

Technology of Communication

English at one level is a technology of communication. You need to realise that every technology- and this includes English- is an ideological system as well. In our country English was a communication that was crafted by our westernized elites as an ideology that provided a gateway to the West which required perfect grammar and pronunciation. Now we no longer need to continue this difficult route which was utilized as a social oppression by the privileged class and instrument of social repression and not as a tool of communication. Internet and mobile phone will be a main route to be utilized.

Way Forward

Sri Lanka 2050  which is a group of non-political and non-profitable organisation of intellectuals and professionals have  organized the workshop/seminar on 26th April at the Auditorium of the Organization of Professionals, with the assistance of dedicated case workers, volunteers and experts in the field as a service to the community without expecting any remuneration or a payment. Entrance is free and future programs too will be open to public in the follow up work. We thank the British Council, for having agreed to partner the event and invite those interested and competent to join the group. The target groups are the Information Technology Sector, Professionals, Tanning Schemes in various fields, Journalists, Artistes, Mature Students, and those who are interested to learn and practice this important and powerful yet easily acquirable tool. Media in all forms have major role to play in encouraging and promoting this skill which will give a boom to the people in this competitive world. It is time for the English Newspapers, Websites, Electronic media, professional associations, Educational Institutions, and Social networks and groups to take an active part in the process.

0777880166/0779529797/0113100064/0112421752- 83  Mihindu Mawatha Colombo 12.

War Trauma in the military, their families and Communities

April 20th, 2016

Dr Ruwan M Jayatunge  M.D.  

Combatants Affected by the Prolonged War

The 30 year armed conflict in Sri Lanka has produced a new generation of veterans at risk for the chronic mental health problems that resulted following prolonged exposure to the war. Over 200,000 members of the Sri Lanka armed forces and police had been directly or indirectly exposed to combat situations during these years. There had been nearly 20 major military operations conducted by the Armed Forces from 1987 to 2009. A large number of combatants from the Sri Lanka armed forces were exposed to hostile battle conditions and many soldiers underwent traumatic battle events outside the range of usual human experience. These experiences include seeing fellow soldiers being killed or wounded and sight of unburied decomposing bodies, of hearing screams for help from the wounded, and of helplessly watching the wounded die without the possibility of being rescued. Following the combat trauma in Sri Lanka, a significant number of combatants were diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

The combat operations in the North and East had involved military personnel in major ground combat and hazardous security duty. A significant number of combatants had posttraumatic reactions soon after the traumatic combat events. Majority of these reactions were undetected and untreated.

The deaths include 27,639 LTTE carders, 23,327 Sri Lankan soldiers and police officers, 1,155 Indian soldiers, and tens of thousands of civilians. The last phase of the war resulted 280,000 internally displaced persons.

Combat Trauma Experienced by the Soldiers

War is particularly traumatic for soldiers because it often involves close violence, including witnessing death through direct combat, viewing the enemy before or after killing them, and watching friends and comrades die (Hendin & Haas, 1984). After exposing to combat trauma soldiers are more likely to have psychological ailments predominantly stress related symptoms, problems with social relationships and various other problems.

The wounds that they received from war are not confined to the battlefield it frequently transformed to their domestic environment as well. Although studies are needed to systematically assess the mental health of members of the armed services, a very few studies were conducted during the last 30 years.

The most common mental health issue for soldiers is post-traumatic stress disorder and related symptoms of depression, anxiety, inattention, sleeping difficulties, nightmares, and survival guilt.

The dedication and the courage of the armed forces cannot be underestimated and the Sri Lankan combatants fought one of the longest and deadliest armed conflicts in the world and they were able to gain a clear victory. Sri Lanka paid an immense price for the victory. As a result of the three-decade war, many soldiers became physical and psychological casualties. Unfortunately the society is gradually forgetting the scarifies made by these people.

Although many see war as a heroic effort, there are thousands of untold traumatic stories in the Eelam War.  Some soldiers shared their traumatic stories with us and these stories reveal the magnitude of their suffering. These stories represent the true nature of combat trauma in Sri Lanka.

The psychological casualty of the operation liberation

The Operation Liberation or Wadamarachi Operation was conducted in 1987. It was the first major military operation in Sri Lanka. Nearly 8,000 soldiers participated in this campaign.  The most popular and the famous officer of the Sri Lanka Army the late Gen Denzyl Kobekaduwa commanded this military offensive against the LTTE.

Corporal Ax36 is one of the psychological casualties of Operation Liberation. During this battle, he faced many battle stresses. He was physically and mentally exhausted. After serving, a number of years in the Army Cpl Ax36 witnessed many traumatic events.  He suffered nightmares, intrusions, hyperarousal, and flashbacks. He was avoiding people and places related to his traumatic experiences and became emotionally numbed. In 2003, Cpl Ax36 was diagnosed with PTSD.

Corporal Ax36 describes his present emotional and physical ailments as follows.

I was one of the soldiers who took part in the Wadamarachi Operation in 1987. Our main aim was to liberate Jaffna Peninsula and destroy the LTTE positions. When we came near the Thondamanaru Bridge, the LTTE destroyed the bridge using explosives. We had to advance slowly. One of our soldiers died in front of my eyes as a result of a booby trap. I can still recall his face filled with blood. It was a horrific incident.

Needless to say that I was terrified by this event. Because I am a human although I wore a military uniform. I was shaken by the death and demolition. Even after many years, I still see these events in my dreams. To evade the nightmares I used to take alcohol and go to sleep. I cannot stand any loud noises, I become frightened and my heart started pounding. Often I try not to think about past events. When I see the TV if I see any combat related story or a pictures I disconnect myself with it. I hate to talk about past events especially those related to the war.

I have no strength in my body now. My joints are aching. I cannot even walk a mile.  Prematurely I have grown old. My mind is full of melancholic feelings. I am unable to feel happiness. For many years, I never experienced cheerfulness.

I am unable to concentrate and I am very forgetful. I have forgotten the names of my fellow soldiers who served with me in the same unit. Sometimes I feel that I have no reason to live. My family members avoid me because of my hot temper. Unlike early days, I cannot control my anger. I have been turned in to an irritable cold person. Several times, I thought of disappearing from this world. But according to my religion it is a sin. Therefore, I have resisted the idea of committing suicide.

Private K and Survival Guilt

There is a higher incidence of depression in veterans who had been in combat and lost a friend. Survival guilt is an especially guilt invoking symptom.

“Survivor guilt” is the term used to describe the feelings of those who, fortunately, emerge from a disaster, which mortally engulfs others. On an irrational level, these individuals wince at their privileged escape from death’s clutches(Harvery, 2007).

Private K is a soldier who was severely troubled by the survival guilt. He joined the Army in 1992 and served in the North. While serving in the combat his buddy was shot in front of his eyes near the Punani station. He fell down and lost his consciousness. Although Private K wanted to help his friend, he could not reach the friend due to heavy fire. Along with the other soldiers, he attacked the enemy and eventually went near his friend. But he was dead. This incident made him so upset. He felt guilty that he could not help the buddy.

By 1997, he often experienced headaches, intrusions about his dead friend and showed a marked depression. He became irritable and gave a startling reaction to any slightest sound. Private K felt uneasy with the military duties and wanted to avoid military situations. In 2003, he was referred to the Military Hospital Colombo and diagnosed as having PTSD.   Private K’s condition improved following drug therapy (SSRI) and psychotherapy (CBT and EMDR). By 2005, he was free of most of the PTSD symptoms. After cognitive restructuring, he got the insight and now Private K knows that he was not responsible for the death of his friend.

Did I bury him alive?

Private Lx26 became pitiful when he witnessed the death of his fellow soldier who got killed by a sniper shot. The troops had no means to bring the body back. After confirmation of death, Private Lx26 was ordered to bury the body. When he touched his friend’s body, he could feel the body warmth may be due to the hot Northern climate. Private Lx26 dug a pit and buried his friend’s body in the mist of sorrow. Then they advanced towards Omanthai. After a several days, Private Lx26 had an irrational and guilty feeling that he had buried his friend alive. He suppressed this painful feeling for a long time. Gradually it became a distressing thought, which he could not bear anymore. In 2003, he experienced a severe depressive reaction following survival guilt. He had full-blown symptoms of clinical depression. He was treated with Rational Emotive Therapy in which his irrational and illogical ideas were confronted via a friendly and therapeutic mediation. After the therapeutic intervention, Private Lx26 was free from devastating psychological burden that he had carried for long years.

My Sergeant died in my arms: says Private RS

I was born in a small village in Pollonarwa and often our village became the LTTE target. Several times the LTTE attacked our village slaughtering men women and little children. We had mass funerals after these attacks and most of the villagers felt utterly sad and insecure.  As a child, I saw these horrendous things around me. At night, we did not sleep in houses, for security we slept in the jungle. I did not see a way out for these tremendous problems except joining the military. So I was determined to join the Army.

Our family had to face many financial hardships and that affected my education. I could not study further and I joined the Army. After my basic training, I served in Welioya and Vavunia.

In 1997, I participated in Jayasikuru (Victory Assured) operation and we were given a task to capture the Mankulam highway. We fought the enemy face to face. The gunfire lasted for nearly 3 hours. A commando unit came for our support and we were able to advance further. Sergeant L who was my senor NCO and my mentor was behind me. He taught me many combat skills. We always fought the enemy together. He used to cover me and I used to cover him. Both were lucky for many years. However in Mankulam he was hit by a bullet. Sergeant L was bleeding profusely. I helped to evacuate him. I carried him while praying for his life. His breathing became shallow. I could not reach the medics, half way he died in my arms.

After his death, my conscience blamed me for not saving him. I felt guilty. I wish I could have taken him to the Medical Point on time. If I had done that, it could have saved his life. But I was late and Sergeant L died. I was troubled by this guilty feeling and combat related nightmares and various intrusions. My life became to a standstill. I was filled with sorrow and repulsion of combat events. I was disgusted with all these issues and once I wanted to shoot myself and end the suffering. Somebody or some power saved me from self-harm and showed the way towards life. Again, I saw light.

(Private RS was found with PTSD comorbid with depression.  Following intensive treatment, he was able to recover. He became free of survival guilt that had troubled him for a long time. Now he is serving in his unit without firearms and doing light duty. )

Rifleman Sn34 and Baptism of Fire

I became a psychological casualty at the Yal Devi operation says Rifleman Sn34 revealing his story thus.

Operation Yal Devi was my first combat experience. We faced the enemy with courage. I witnessed a lot of traumatic incidents there. Our fellow soldiers died in front of my eyes leaving us in sorrow. On one occasion, the enemy gave us a surprised attack and we were scattered. I jumped in to a pit and waited all night long. It was a dark night. I saw the enemy collecting weapons from our bunkers. I was alone and feared for my life because I knew, the enemy had no mercy. I had seen dead bodies mutilated by the enemy. I thought they would do the same thing to me if they could capture me. It was an awful idea. I had vivid mental pictures of my funeral and I saw my parents were crying. I did not want to be captured by the enemy and let them mutilate my body.

The entire night I was praying for my life and by dawn the reinforcements came and they rescued me. I was taken to the hospital. Although I had no physical injuries, my mind was deeply wounded. Nevertheless, doctors said I was ok. I felt something was wrong with me. I was sent to the battlefield again. I had fear feelings and every night I saw the same horrible dream. I saw myself trapped in a pit and the enemies were all over. Despite the fear and resentment, I did the duty that was requested from a soldier. My mental health was deteriorating and I had no salvage. Finally, I decided to become AWOL.

I went home as a completely changed person. The innocence of youth and affection towards the family members had gone away. They saw me as a frightened cold soul. My parents thought that some evil spirit had got in to my body and they did Thovilaya, the ancient ritual to chase dark spirits to heal me. But it did not help. My memory was fading and I couldn’t sleep. Nightmares ruined me to the end.

My family arranged a marriage for me thinking that it would help me to get away from alienation. After my marriage, again I went back for duty. But I was a lost soldier. I was anxious performing military duties. I had intense fear of enemy attacks. The noise of the gunfire made me startle.

I went home after several months serving in the North. I had no happy feelings that I got a vacation after so many months fighting in the jungle. My emotions became numbed and I was no longer interested in marital life. I became more and more hostile and physically abused my wife. Since I couldn’t have a sound sleep, I started indulging in alcohol.  Practically day and night, I was drinking secretly. But it made me worse. It made me a monster. My wife was afraid of me. When I came home, she was shivering in fear. When I was angry, I destroyed the house property. Nothing gave me relief.

Eventually I decided to talk to one of my senior officers whom we trusted. The officer listened to my grief and helped me to get psychological therapies. I was treated at the Psychotherapeutic unit at the Military Hospital Colombo for nearly 3 weeks as an inward patient. Then they got down me to the clinic and treated me. Counseling and medication helped me to get away from the trauma that I experienced for a long time. Today I am a new man who is not abusing alcohol and I love my family. I enjoy life and do not live in past memories.

The soldier who did not like to attend military funerals

I hate to participate in Military Funerals says Lance Corporal S who described his military life in the following account.

In 1987, I was posted to Kurumbasevadi camp near the Palali Base Camp. There I faced the baptism of fire. In that camp, I served nearly one and half years and was then sent to Welioya camp. I was at the forward defense line. At the Welioya camp, I witnessed many horrendous combat events. The enemy attacked us with heavy weapons killing my fellow soldiers. I saw how they were lying on the ground with bullet or shrapnel wounds. I collected the dead bodies and put them in to body bags. I was utterly devastated when collecting human remains.

In 1991, I served in a non-operational area but my official duty was to participate in funerals of our soldiers who died in action. When I was at these military funerals, I had various intrusions about the battlefield and my dead buddies. My heart was broken when I heard the mourning and wailing of the relatives. At one funeral, I saw a mother was crying for her dead son. He was a good soldier whom I knew. Her weeping reverberated in my ear. I recalled the dead soldiers at Welioya, how they were lying on the sand. Some with opened eyes.  Many weeks I could not sleep.

I hated to participate in these depressing military funerals. However, my duty required such participations. In each funeral, I had flashbacks and deep sensation of sadness.

By 1998, I got a transfer to Mannar District. There while I was traveling by bus I met with a land mine explosion. I was wounded and treated at the hospital. Although my physical wounds healed, the fear I experienced at that event was re-occurring. My mind was full of various battle events, military funerals and the land mine explosion, which I met in Mannar. I had nightmares and fear feelings. I became more irritable and sexually inactive.

My body became a source of pain. Every joint in my body started aching. When I experienced an unbearable headache, I could not stand noises.  After the land mine explosion, I was again posted to the former camp in the non-operational area to fulfill funeral duties, which I hated. Regrettably, the senior officers gave no ear to my grievances. I was there for another one and a half years. During that time my illness progressed rapidly and once I decided to commit suicide inside the camp. My unsuccessful   suicide attempt alarmed the platoon officer and I was sent to the hospital. At the hospital, I was treated and given medication and psychological support. After months of treatment, my condition improved. Today I am doing light military duty in a non-operational area. But still I cannot see the dead and war memorials.

(Lance Corporal S was diagnosed with PTSD treated with SSRI and EMDR. After intense therapy, his anxiety based symptoms were reduced to a significant level)

In my dreams I see the enemy is attacking my bunker says Private Rx68 (A known PTSD patient)

….My memories are still filled with the events that took place on the 24th of August 1993. Now for many years I still live with these horrendous memories. Practically every day I recall these events and it gives me pain and anguish.

On that doomsday at 12 o’clock midnight I was at the bunker. Two of my buddies who were with me had a rest while I was on guard. Suddenly I heard gunshots and one of our corporals shouted that the enemy is attacking the Janakapura North Camp. I awakened two of my buddies and asked them to be on alert. Within a few moments, a group of LTTE attacked our bunker.

I heard the scream at the adjacent bunker. The enemy attacked them with a hand grenade and I presumed that they had captured that bunker. So we were on our own and fighting the enemy. Three of us fired at the enemy from three different directions and we never wanted to surrender.

The enemy came towards us like an unceasing wave.  I attacked the enemy with my LMG killing a dozen of them. One of my buddies near me sustained a gun shot and fell down. Hence, two of us had to face them.

We fired at them without giving any break. Suddenly they attacked my bunker with a RPG and the bunker collapsed. A large Palmyra log fell on to my head and I was semi-conscious.  My ears became blocked and I felt bleeding from my head. I knew if we stayed there, we would be killed. Therefore, we came out from the wreck and crawled towards the center of the camp. While we were moving several LTTE carders came to capture us alive and I threw a grenade to escape.

When two of us went further, we met a group of our soldiers. We regrouped and attacked the enemy.  The assault went for a long time, by dawn the enemy withdrew from the camp leaving many casualties. Although I was injured and tired, I fought with my guys without dropping my weapon.  In the morning, I was sent to the hospital for treatment.

I still recall how my friend at the bunker fell like a log after being hit by a bullet to the head.  We fought while he was gasping and we had no time to pay attention to him. He must have died within a few minutes. These memories hound me at nights. When I am half a sleep I see shadows, and I become vigilant. I always get a feeling that the enemy is crawling towards me. I fear that the enemy would attack with a RPG. Then I open my eyes and my heart starts to beat like an accelerated machine. Afterward for several hours, I am unable to sleep. Awake at night I am thinking about my friends who died in the battle. Then I feel that it was so unfair that I am alive and they are no more.

Sometimes I see battle events in my dreams. Often when the enemy attacks I am unable to return fire, my gun is jammed. Since I am unable to shoot the enemies, they are approaching me little by little. I can hear their voices scolding us in Tamil Punde Army, Punde Army.  I become helpless. I hear someone throw a grenade. My fear increases and I shout. Then I realize that it was another nightmare.

My family members are now used to my screenings at night. My great fear is when I am sleeping I might harm someone who is near me. Therefore, I often tell my wife and children not to be near me when I am sleeping. My life has changed dramatically and I am not the same person anymore. My emotions are numbed and I cannot cry for my dead friends.

The Story of Private UG

Private UG met with a blast injury in 1997 near the Thaladi camp. He was wounded and psychologically shattered by the blast. After several months of the injury he complained of severe headache, insomnia and fear feelings. Gradually he developed PTSD symptoms. Private UG found it difficult to sleep and experienced nightmares related to the blast injury. He had fright feelings and always wanted to avoid the places and conversations related to the blast injury. Any slightest sound made him jumpy. He became irritated and could not control his anger. Often he experienced sexual dysfunctions and as a result of family turmoil, his wife left him. Following family problems and overwhelming anxiety, he tried to commit suicide.

When Private UG was referred for psychological therapies, he was treated with CBT and EMDR which minimized his PTSD symptoms. Today he is able to sleep without nightmares and intrusions hardly bother him. He does not get excessively angry as early. He has learnt to manage his anger without destructive behavior. The final follow up revealed that his wife had returned and Private UG is leading a productive life.

I was hiding in a hole in the ground: Rifleman Mx38

The night of the 27th of September 1998 was the most terrible hours of darkness of my life.  I was at the FDL in the Paranthan area. The LTTE attacked my bunker and they managed to come very close. My friends had thought that I was dead and the enemy had captured my bunker. Then they too attacked the bunker with their weapons. I was trapped facing enemy fire as well as friendly fire. Without many options, I decided to abandon the bunker. I crawled and moved away from the FDL.  Then I found a pit and I was hiding in there. I heard the enemy’s movements and lot of gunfire. I thought this would be the end. Within a few moments, they would discover me and they would not think twice to kill me. I saw child soldiers moving towards the FDL with heavy weapons, then the LTTE female carders with AK 47 in their hands. Luckily, no one saw me or not expected me to be in a hole in the ground.  I could hear heavy fighting and I decided to stay inside the pit. I was trapped there for several days. I had no food   and my water bottle finished by the second day.  On the third day, I was thirsty and I was compelled to dink my urine. By the fourth day, I had no alternative. I decided to move towards the FDL. I noticed the defeated enemy retreating group by group. I took cover and avoided them. It was a dark night and I made no noise. I was without food and water with severe exhaustion. I moved slowly.

When I came near the FDL I had to be vigilant not to attract friendly fire. I shouted at our soldiers. I told them my name, unit and my serial number. Then they recognized me with a surprise. They had thought that I was killed or captured by the enemy. I was taken to the C/O and he admired my courage. I evaded death like a miracle. I was lucky to come alive. But this happiness lasted for few days. Often the fear and isolation that I experienced inside the ditch bothered me. I could not rest, every time I had to be on guard anticipating an invisible enemy.   Days went by, I was still feeling fear. When I went to an ambush I became restless, I was looking at the front, then my inner feeling said the enemy is behind you, I looked back, and no one was there. I could not concentrate my mind. It was a terrible mess and became an obsessive ritual to watch every direction for the enemy.

My head started aching and often I forgot things. Several times, I was warned by senior NCOs and Officers for leaving my weapon elsewhere. I could not concentrate or remember things. At nights, I was practically awake. A slightest sound made my heart ooze with fear. My heart started pounding giving me aches and pains. I had terrible nightmares. In my dreams, I saw I was trapped in a hole in the ground and surrounded by the enemy. I hated to go to sleep.

(Rifleman Mx38 was diagnosed with PTSD treated with SSRI and Psychotherapy –CBT& EMDR. According to the 12th April 2005 follow up he experienced no major PTSD symptoms. His sleep became normal and the startle reactions became minimal. No intrusions or flashbacks troubled him)

The story of Lance Corporal AS – The soldier who was living in isolation

I was happily married but things changed when I became wounded. In 1990, I was at the Thaladi Camp, Mannar. There I saw fierce battles.  The LTTE attacked us with heavy weapons killing nearly 40 soldiers. With utmost difficulty, we were able to defeat the enemy. My heart cried when I saw the dead bodies of our fellow soldiers. We were like one large family. Prior to the attack we had meals together and made jokes about odd things. They have gone forever. When I put their bloodstained bodies in to the body bags, I cursed the enemy.

After this event I became more isolated and had intrusive memories. There was no one to speak about my anguish. I became alienated.  When I came home, my wife often asked what was wrong with me. However, I did not tell anything to her. Because it was a pointless effort to tell my sorrow to her and she would never understand what happened in the battlefield. Therefore, I silently lived with my grief. But I became more and more irritable.

In 1996 we went to Kodikamam and ambushed the enemy. There was no proper camp for us. We lived in abandon houses, which were ruined by the shellfire. It was a hostile ground. The enemy was everywhere. If you do a stupid mistake, you would sleep in a body bag. I was uncertain of my life. We lived day-by-day avoiding enemy fire and booby traps.

One day we accidentally walked to an ambush and the enemy fired at us in close range. Eight of our men died in this attack and they died in front of my eyes. We too attacked the enemy and eventually managed to escape. But we had to leave the bodies due to the advancing hostile forces. I still feel guilty for leaving their bodies. Indeed it was a terrible time. During these years, I saw many dead soldiers as well as the members of the LTTE. Some bodies were decomposed or mutilated. I saw large monsters eating dead bodies. The things I have seen confirmed me that there is no glory in death for sure.  Once I saw a dead body of a staff sergeant (he was known to me), the enemy had shot his eyes. It was a horrible image to see, a dead body without eyes and instead of the eyeballs, I could see the deep bullet wounds. For many years, that image was deposited in my mind. I even had bad dreams.

When I came home these battle events started roaming around my mind. I wanted to be left alone. But my wife wanted to know what’s wrong with me. I was not interested in sex life. I was avoiding my wife. She thought I was having an illegal affair. I could not stand her accusations. I became depressed and could not tolerate noise. When my children played and shouted I became extremely angry. I punished them severely. When my wife protested, I used to beat her too. One day I smashed the TV and chased everybody out of the house.

My family was suffering with me. When I came home, I used to physically abuse my wife for a slightest argument. She felt uneasy during my presence. Even the children feared me as if I am a monster. Little by little, I was losing my family. When the physical abuse escalated, my wife went to her parent’s house with the children.  I was all alone and I started abusing alcohol.

My nights became more and more disturbed. I experienced battle events in my dreams and relived painful moments. Sometimes I could hear gunshots, artillery fire and helicopter sounds. I was trapped in reality and illusion. I had a deep loathe when I saw military vehicles and uniforms. I was afraid of going back to the battlefield. I never knew what fear was but now my body shivers even for a slightest sound like a firecracker.

My wife refused to come back then I became more depressed. I wanted to end suffering by shooting myself. Once when I was on duty at the Army camp, I took a weapon to take my life. A senior NCO jumped and grabbed the weapon. Then I was produced before my Officer in Command. I thought I had to face charges violating military discipline. Instead of punishing me, they sent me to the Military Hospital. There I was treated and the doctors were kind enough to arrange an open interview with my family. The doctors convinced my wife to come back and finally she agreed.

With   treatment, I was able to control my anger. My intrusions and nightmares diminished and gradually I became a productive person. Now for over two years, I live with my family and I do not abuse them.

I lost my voice in the height of the battle – Lance Corporal W

Psychogenic dysphonia refers to loss of voice where there is insufficient structural or neurological pathology to account for the nature and severity of the dysphonia, and where loss of volitional control over phonation seems to be related to psychological processes such as anxiety, depression, or dissociative reaction. Psychogenic aphonia is a conversion symptom, which arises following an unconscious psychological conflict.  There were many soldiers who lost their voices without any organic factors in the Eelam War. These soldiers mainly had overwhelming combat stress factors, which led to their aphonic condition. Lance Corporal W who is a known PTSD patient described how he lost his voice in the midst of the war.

I joined the military in 1995 and faced many battle events. In 2000, I went to serve in the Pallai camp where the LTTE attacked us with mortars. I was shattered by the sound of this mortar fire. I felt a profound breakdown inside my body. Every time I took cover to incoming mortars. I could feel the shockwave.  I saw how our soldiers sustained injuries. I still recall one event in which a soldier succumbed to a mortar blast. His bowels came out and blood splashed  all over. It was a cruel and painful death. I was always on guard for incoming mortars. When that ‘zooooo’…..noise comes I always took cover. I knew what was going to happen in the next moment.  Mortar come with that sound and gives a terrible blast. If you don’t go down you would be hit by shrapnels. Although I was extra careful, I was not lucky. Once I sustained minor injuries as a result of a mortar attack. Shrapnel pierced my thigh.   I was hospitalized and treated for a few days.

Pallai experience was a horrendous experience for me. I was not sure of my life and often lived in uncertain situations. However, I was lucky to be alive and returned from Pallai. Then I served in a relatively favorable environment. In 2003, I re-experienced Pallai events and I frequently had nightmares. My fellow soldiers did not like me because I used to scream at midnight with fear. Some thought that I was smoking ganga. One night when I was sleeping, I saw an incoming mortar. I cried for help but there was no sound. I became speechless. . Ever since, I could not speak and I lost my voice.

(Lance Corporal W was aphonic for several weeks and underwent psychotherapy. He was treated with hypnotherapy and was able to regain his voice. His PTSD condition lasted for a long time. Medication and CBT helped him to minimize the condition)

I had walked to the enemy lines: Private SK

“I was confused and did not know what I was doing. I had walked to the enemy lines. Luckily, a team of Special Forces saved me. When they found me, I had dropped my weapon and was wondering towards the enemy lines. I don’t remember how I left my defense point or where I dropped my T56. I was taken to the camp and produced before Col ….. I was heavily questioned.  Later they blamed me for abandoning my post and losing the weapon. I was severely punished for that offence”.

(Private SK had gone into a psychogenic fugue state following overwhelming battle stress. He could not recall what really took place on that day. He served at Nedunkurni and witnessed the death of four soldiers as a result of an artillery fire. He saw how their bodies had been blown into pieces and instantly he was shocked. After this incident, he gradually became a victim of combat related PTSD which was undiagnosed and untreated. He had dissociative features as well. Several times, he went into fugue states and in the final event, he had walked to the enemy lines.   After he was rescued Private SK was referred to the Psychological Treatment Center at the Military Hospital, Colombo. At the center, he underwent a series of psychological assessments and cyber testing method to elicit autonomic arousal. He was diagnosed as having PTSD. Private SK was treated with SSRI and SPDT (Short Term Psychodynamic Therapy). With the treatment, his mental state improved)

POW s with PTSD

There are a number of POWs of the Eelam War who still carry the psychological scars. Most of them suffer from DDD Syndrome which was delineated by Farber Harlow in 1956. The DDD Syndrome consists of Debility, Dependency and Dread.  POWs often show depression, apathy, suspicion and fear. Some have large memory gaps and still feel guilty about their POW days.

Lance Corporal U has served 17 years in the Sri Lanka Army. During the Balawegaya operation, he sustained a gun short injury to his leg and became immobile. When the enemy advanced, he could not move and hence he became a prisoner. When he was captured, he was severely beaten and threatened with death. But one of the LTTE regional leaders stopped the beatings and sent him for medical treatment.

When the medical treatment was over, he had to undergo vigorous interrogations. He was tortured to get information about his Camp and its inner structure and guard points. He was handcuffed and kept in painful positions for long time. Frequently his guards physically assaulted and humiliated him. However, Lance Corporal U admits that there were some members who were kind to him and brought food sometimes.

From July 1991 to March 1995 L/Cpl U spent his life as a POW facing torture, humiliations and uncertainty. He was kept in a very small cell with forty other prisoners. They had no space to move. The prisoners were allowed to take a bath once in two weeks or sometimes longer than that. Many suffered skin infections. Their meals were not served regularly. Following the intolerable conditions, the prisoners launched a hunger strike and eventually he was released in March 1995 after the interference by the ICRC.

Although Lance Corporal U became a free man, he often suffered from an unexplainable fear. The POW days memories hounded him severely. Some nights he used to wake up with fear thinking that he is still in the LTTE prison cell. He was depressed and surrounded by guilty feelings. In order to avoid nightmares, he was indulging in alcohol. More he used alcohol more he became depressed. He often physically abused his spouse. Lance Corporal U began to avoid everything related to his traumatic experiences.

He was suspicious about the surroundings. He lost the ability to trust and feel intimate. He was affected by emotional anesthesia. He had flashbacks and sometimes he could not distinguish reality from fantasy. His physical strength was weakening and slightest exertion gave him an immense body pain. In 2003, he was diagnosed as having PTSD.

The Cook of the Poonari Camp

Mr. N -a civilian worked as a cook in the Poonareen Camp. When the LTTE attacked the Poonari camp in 1993, many lost their lives. To evade the enemy he was hiding inside the building complex and was later found by LTTE carders. He was beaten and threatened to be killed on the spot. He was mistakenly identified as an officer in disguise. He was subjected to numerous physical and mental tortures. Eventually the Red Cross intervened and established his correct identity.

For nearly nine and half years, he lived his life as a prisoner under the LTTE. He was homesick and practically every day prayed for his freedom. For long time he lived with uncertainty without knowing what his future would be. When the Air Force attacked the LTTE camps, their guards used to ill-treat them severely. His condition significantly improved when he met another POW – Capt Boyagoda from the Sri Lanka Navy. Captain Ajith Boyagoda became a POW when his naval ship   “Sagarawardene,” was attacked by the Sea Tigers in 1994. Capt Boyagoda gave him courage and strength to face the callous conditions. Along with the other POWs, he spent the time discussing their release and writing letters home via ICRC.

He was released on the 30th of September 2002. After his release, he gradually developed stress related physical symptoms like headaches, backaches which did not subside to painkillers. He was unable to sleep. At nights, he was awake and thinking of the past. He often felt melancholic feelings, and troubled by emotional anesthesia. He could not feel the happiness of becoming a free man. His emotions were dead. Mr. N was losing the will to live. Several times, he planned to commit suicide.

He was referred for psychological therapies and in the assessment, many somatoform features were found in him. Despite the traumatic symptoms, he positively responded to psychological and drug therapies. Gradually he was able to get away from his melancholic feelings, intrusions and psychosomatic troubles. He was lucky to receive a lot of psychosocial support, even a house donated by the Ceylinco Group. Today Mr. N is very much symptoms free and living a productive life.

Combatants with Partial PTSD

According to Kulka partial PTSD is a sub diagnostic constellation of symptoms that was associated with significant impairment. They have sufficient features of re-experiencing and hyperarousal with insufficient features of avoidance and numbing and comorbid alcohol abuse or dependence.

Cpl Tx3 was a member of the Army Special Forces engaged in a number of military operations. He often worked with the long-range reconnaissance patrols (LRPP). Cpl Tx3 met with numerous hostile enemy conditions, which affected him psychologically. On one occasion, they had deeply penetrated the enemy area. He was with a five-man team and they operated silently. Suddenly he met with two LTTE female carders face to face and none of them fired. Cpl Tx3 was in a dilemma situation, if he had fired at the two LTTE female carders his team would have been in a great danger. Unbelievably, the two women disppeared into the jungle. He was confused and dazed for a while but was able to return safely.

For many years, this incident stuck in his mind. He always questioned himself “why didn’t they shoot? With these intrusive thoughts, he re-experienced combat events that occurred in the North. He would have a startle reaction to any loud noise and became vigilant all the time. Despite the posttraumatic features, he was not avoiding combat situations. Therefore, the avoidance feature was not seen in Cpl Tx3.

Lance Corporal Ax4

Lance Corporal Ax4 who was diagnosed as having partial PTSD, expresses his combat experience thus.

“In 1992 I was posted to Kaytes Island. My own brother served with me in the same unit and I was not comfortable with it. Therefore I requested for a transfer and I was asked to serve in Kajuwatta, Mannar. While I was serving in Kajuwatta camp, one day I got a message saying that my brother was killed in action at Keerimalei. Although I was given leave to attend my brother’s funeral, when I went home the funeral was over. But I attended  the religious ceremonies after his funeral.

When my leave was over, I had to report back to the camp. My mother was devastated over my brother’s death. When I went to say goodbye to her she asked me to stay with her. But I had to report to duty. So I left home. While I was traveling to the camp, again I got a message near Puttalam stating that I should report home immediately. My inner mind told me that some bad thing had occurred. When I went home, I met with another disaster. My mother had committed suicide. I was relentlessly shattered. I lost my brother and now my mother. This time after her funeral, I did not report to work and became AWOL. After several months,   I decided to report for duty and this time I was posted to a rescue mission at Poonary. In this mission I sustained a mortar blast injury and was taken to the hospital.

“After I was discharged from the hospital I participated in Rivirasa operation. We walked up to Killinochchi facing hostile enemy attacks. A lot of buddies died in front of my eyes. At Killinochchi the enemy attacked us with mortars. I sustained injuries and I was bleeding. I asked others to help me. No one came to help me and I felt fear. Then I saw a sergeant passing near me and I asked him to help me. But he left me just giving a glance. I was helpless and in pain. I gathered my entire energy and strolled   towards Elephant Pass. Half way, a group of soldiers helped me. They put me in a cab and took me to the nearest Med Aid Point. There I lost my consciousness and when I opened my eyes, I was at Anuradapura hospital.”

“I was treated several weeks at the Anuradapura hospital and then discharged. I realized that I was experiencing some distressing past events and these intrusive memories troubled me. I could not tolerate sudden noises. My mind was full of traumatic events that I had experienced in the recent past. Some nights I could not sleep and I was having a severe headache. When I am with physical and emotional pain, I become restless. I am not afraid of the battle. As a soldier, I can go to the warfront at any time. The war does not scare me anymore”

My commanding officer was hit in front of my eyes: Private SN

Private SN who was shattered by war stress expresses his past experience in the following manner……

At Mallakam (1995) the LTTE attacked us with RPG. I stood near my commanding officer. I fired at the enemy with my T56, killing two of them, then a mortar exploded near us. I saw my commanding officer wounded and bleeding heavily. His uniform was soaked with blood. I expected help form our buddies. When I looked at the right flank, I saw no one. I shouted for help. Then another mortar exploded near me. I too sustained injuries. Blood came from my left ear.  I had no strength to help my commanding officer. While he was lying on the ground I crawled towards the rear side. I had severe guilty feelings for abandoning him on a hostile ground. But I had no option. When I was crawling,    I met some of our soldiers. Then I shouted at them “the CO is wounded get him soon” .

So they went to rescue him. I went further. I could not crawl anymore. I lost my energy. The world was trembling in front of my eyes. I could hear the gunfire, artillery explosions and the incoming mortar sounds. My eyes were covered with a dark strip. I lost consciousness. When I opened my eyes, I was at the Palali Hospital.

I was treated at the hospital for nearly one and half months. When I was discharged from the hospital, I went back to my unit. I realized that my personality was changing   little by little. I was a daring soldier. But the events at Mallakam changed my life. Day and night, my mind was full of these events. Gunfire, black smoke, incoming mortars, images of the enemies and the wounded commanding officer were vivid mental pictures that were ruminating inside my mind. I became more vigilant. I could not sleep at nights.  I used to wake up for a slightest sound. These sounds gave me fear. When I was disturbed by a slightest sound, I felt a burning sensation in my chest.  I used to get up in the middle of the night with fear and sweat. Gradually I became depressed and felt that my life was wasted. I wanted to commit suicide. One day when I was at the bunker alone, I tried to release the pin of a hand grenade. Then I saw the eyes of my wife. I put the grenade aside.

My world was upside down.  I did not like to stay in the operational areas. I felt uneasy when I saw military uniforms and vehicles. I disliked participating in ground operations. But I had no option. I was compelled to fulfill military duties. I went with my platoon secretly suppressing my fear and avoidance. My symptoms were aggravating.  I was about to explode.

Finally, I told my fears to one of my unit leaders. He listened to me for a long time and said “you need medical treatment”. So I went to the military hospital seeking salvage. I was referred to the psychiatric unit and treated for nearly three months. I received drug therapy and psychotherapy. My symptoms reduced little by little. Then I felt much easier. Today I am doing light duty. But I have not been completely freed from the Malakam events. Occasionally I see the face of my commanding officer.

The Johny Batta that changed a young life

Private Hx26 became a victim of an anti-personnel mine in the North and underwent B/K[1] amputation. He became shocked when his foot had blown off from the ankle and for a long period, he relived this traumatic incident. After he met with the injury, his life fell apart. The girl who promised to marry Private Hx26 left him.  He could not adjust to the life with a prosthetic foot. He became more and more alienated and stopped associating with people. His life was limited to a wheel chair.

Although he was recommended rehab therapy, Private Hx26 did not actively participate in the rehabilitation program. Once he made an unsuccessful attempt to jump into the pool at the rehab center with his wheel chair. After his attempted suicide, Private Hx26 was referred for psychological therapies and he was diagnosed with PTSD.

Private Hx26 ’s therapeutic schedule consisted of drug therapy as well as counseling. After 6 weeks of inward treatment, his suicidal ideation changed and he was gradually came to terms with his disabled condition. Private Hx26 underwent further psychotherapy and finally he gave his consent to undergo the rehabilitation program with the Psychiatrist’s supervision. He selected a handicraft profession- shoemaking and successfully completed it. Two year follow-up revealed that Private Hx26 is free of PTSD symptoms.

The EPS debacle was my worst experience

The Elephant Pass debacle that occurred in 2000 due to poor leadership and inefficient strategic evacuation plan led to loss of many lives. It was a tactical withdrawal of the Elephant Pass camp but it was carried out in the hot sunny afternoon. Many soldiers died of dehydration and heat stroke. During the EPS debacle, 359 military personnel were killed, 349 were listed as Missing in Action and some 2500 were injured. Corporal K described the events that took place between the 21st and 22nd of April 2000.

On the 21 of April 2000, I was at the FDL of the Elephant Pass Camp. We were told that the evacuation order would be given at any moment. The following day at about 10.30 am, the enemy attacked the Elephant Pass camp with heavy artillery. While the enemy was attacking, our soldiers withdrew towards Kilalli lagoon. There we met Brigadier Percy Fernando who was a brave officer. He tried to reorganize and launch an attack’ then to go for a safe withdrawal. We assaulted the enemy and moved toward Pallai. The LTTE attacked us with mortars and their snipers targeted our officers and signalmen. I saw Brigadier Percy Fernando sustain a gunshot injury. It was a disastrous moment. Brigadier Percy did not abandon us. Some cowardly senior officers saved their skin and got away leaving us to the enemy. But Brigadier Percy Fernando stayed with us and gave us leadership until the end. When he fell down, I knew that we were doomed.

We were tired and exhausted. Many of our soldiers could not walk. Hot sun and dry wind sapped our energy. I felt thirsty but my water bottle was empty. Many of us did not have sufficient water. We were walking like zombies in the hot sand. Some drank salty water from the lagoon. Some began to sing songs as they lost their minds.  Many fell down with exhaustion and never got up.

While we were moving enemy attacked us with mortars. Many soldiers were dying without water and facing enemy attacks. We had to walk fast to avoid the enemy fire. There was no air cover for us. Some fainted in front of my eyes. I knew they would never return home. One solder became insane. He was singing and dancing asking for a cup of tea. Wounded soldiers asked us to carry them. But we all were worn out and had no energy to carry a fellow soldier. We were on our own and every man for himself. It was an egoistic moment that I cannot forget until my last day.

My energy was ending. I could not carry the ammunition pack. I had to throw my belongings.  Finally, I threw my weapon which was my savior for a long time. I walked in the hot son with other soldiers. All I needed was water. My head was dizzy and I fell down. I saw the hot sun. There were no clouds in the sky.  Many soldiers passed me by but no one helped me. I knew if I stayed there, I would be dead soon.  I gathered my energy and again started to crawl avoiding enemy attacks. Panicked solders trampled me and ran towards Pallai. On my way, I saw many dead bodies.

One soldier grasped my boots. He was wounded and bleeding. He pleaded with me and those very words still echoes in my mind. He said I am dying and I don’t want you to carry me, then he gave his name and address and asked me to convey his death to his parents. I still cannot forget this incident. I didn’t know who he was and by the time I came to Pallai I was unconscious. I too suffered a heat stroke and later recovered. I have forgotten his name and the address. I could not convey the message to his relatives up-to-date. But I still remember his face filled with utter despair. “

The acute PTSD victim of 2005 ceasefire

Signalman Px54 met with a claymore mine explosion in Jaffna in December 2005. He sustained minor injuries to the left hand as a result of this explosion. But 13 other soldiers died in this incident. Signalman Px54 witnessed the terrible deaths of two privates and a sergeant. These events changed the psychological equilibrium in Signalman Px54 and he was diagnosed with acute PTSD. This is how he describes the event that drastically changed his psyche.

“That was a horrible event indeed. We went to Jaffna town by a truck.  I was in the middle holding my weapon. Suddenly I heard a large noise. The soldiers in front of me fell down. Then I realized that, it was an enemy attack. Despite the ceasefire agreement they attacked us with claymore mines and then with small arms. When the enemy attacked, our driver sustained injuries.  But he was able to keep the vehicle stable and we kept on going further. There was a large tyre inside the truck beside which I took cover. While I was lying down two wounded soldiers asked for water from me. But there was no water. We had to travel a few more kilometers to the nearest camp. Another wounded sergeant crawled near me and said something. His mouth was full of blood.  Within a minute or two, he became motionless. His eyes were open and he was dead. When the truck entered the nearest camp, I rushed to help the wounded men. Most of them were dead, including the two soldiers who had asked for water. I felt really sorry for them. I could not help these soldiers even to give a cup of water.

The soldier who became overwhelmed after killing the enemy

Sergeant Sx78 served nearly ten years in the operational areas exposed to heavy combat. He faced fierce battle events defending the Jaffna Fort. The Jaffna Fort was under siege and the enemy attacked them with heavy weapons. The operation “Midnight Express” was launched to rescue troops that were trapped inside the Fort. During the confrontation, he killed five of the enemy carders. After some years, he became preoccupied with the thoughts that were related to these killings. Although they came to kill us, they too human beings says Sergeant Sx78.

They were poor village boys like us who had no many options in lifeThey were indoctrinated, poisoned with hatred and directed to attack us. We had no alternative except firing at them. In a war things are intense, either you or the enemy. If you don’t kill him, he will kill you. Anyhow, these Tamil youths had parents like us, they too had expectations. All ended sadly. Someone, somewhere may be still missing them. I know killing is bad. It is a violation of the first Buddhist precept. I was compelled to do that act”.

Sergeant Sx78 feels that one day he has to face the Karmic repercussions. His conscience was shattered and he became more religious. Sergeant Sx78 wishes to be a monk after his retirement from the Army.

The final days of the War

Lt Col ……… is an experienced field officer who participated in many operations.  He shared his experiences on the final days of the Eelam War.

……….When we liberated Thoppigala I knew we were invincible. Others may have felt that. So we advanced further. The last days of Eelam War were hectic. The LTTE built a large sand walls and it was difficult to penetrate it following heavy fire. They were among the civilians creating a human shield. We had to be extra cautious not to harm civilians.

However, in a war civilian casualties are inevitable. For instance, how many civilians died in Iraq and in Afghanistan when the US forces retaliated? But I remember several events, when the enemy attacked, our soldiers did not attack back due to the civilian factor. The outside world would never know about these facts.

I remember when the enemy fired from a bunker, one of our soldiers tried to attack the bunker with a Tomba gun. Another soldier stopped him saying that there were civilians near the bunker. They had to find other means to destroy the bunker without causing civilian casualties.

In another event, I saw soldiers carrying little Tamil children when the civilians broke the sand wall and came towards us. These humane stories were never told and only negative points were highlighted.

I agree, in a war atrocities are often committed and in every army you see people like William Calley who did the My Lai Massacre. I personally think that the media should comment on atrocities as well as humane stories of the war. Otherwise, there will be no reconciliation at any point. After all, man is not pure evil.

I have been living with the war for many years. I have seen perished soldiers, and dead LTTE carders. All these people were the children of this land. The final days of the war were traumatic. I saw human suffering. I have seen enough blood. Those who cry for war and glorify the war from Colombo should have been there. Then they would know what the war is really like.

I felt sorry for the Tamil civilians who followed a mirage. When I first came to the North as a schoolboy at the age of 16, I was touched by the kindness of the Tamil people. The Jaffna people were cultured and educated. They had a great civilization that cherished non-violence. When the conflict erupted in early seventies, things changed drastically. Then I had to come to the North in a combat fatigue.

Tamil people in the North paid an immense price for the war. Their property were destroyed, children were forcibly recruited. They faced deaths and destruction. They lived under poverty. What happened to the millions of dollars that was pumped by the NGOs and by the Tamil Diaspora to the North? The people of Wanni had no infrastructure, people were malnourished. If this money was used to develop the North, they could have built a little Singapore.

I am glad that the war is over. We must rebuild the North and work for the ethnic harmony. We must forget our petty racial differences and work for peace with our Tamil brothers. Otherwise, within 20 years there will be another bloody war…………

Functional Impairment Following Combat Trauma

Warfare has placed great stress on combatants. Death, grief and social disorganization have been inevitable accompaniments of war. Violent conflict is part of social experience and memory (Davis, 1992).  Combat can produce distant reactions involving

Affective (anxiety, depression, irritability), Motivational (low productivity), Cognitive (confusions, poor attention and memory), Interpersonal (conflicts and withdrawal), and Biological (associated with somatic complaints) dimensions causing maladaptive behavior.

Difficulties in parenting

Many of the skills children acquire are fundamentally dependent on their interactions with their parents. Parent-child interactions are crucial in child development especially self-esteem, academic achievement, cognitive development and behavior.  PTSD patients find difficulties in parenting. Many PTSD patients are unable to express love since there are troubled by emotional anesthesia.

Sergeant KP8 a known PTSD patient described his inability to enjoy his role as a father in following manner…..

Since I became ill, my 8-year-old daughter is detached from me. She is highly frightened when I went in to tantrums and had quarrels with my wife.   Once I got very angry and dashed plates and cups, which were on the table. She started crying and hid under the bed. In the past years, she used to sleep with us, but I wake up for a slightest sound with terror and overwhelming reaction. I have fears that I might harm her when I experience flashbacks of the battlefield. I am unable to express my love for her and my feelings may be dead. I have become a cold father.

Domestic Violence

Family violence is a widespread problem that occurs among the combatants with PTSD. They use force to inflict injury, either emotional or physical, upon their spouses. Many combatants sublimate their rage. Domestic violence is a form of sublimation and transformation of anger. Based on our study, out of 56 Sri Lankan soldiers with PTSD, 13 of them frequently physically abused their spouses. Beatings and house property damage were common among them. Their anger and rage were focused towards their wives. They were irritable and hostile in family affairs.

There are many types of abuse that take place as part of domestic violence. These are emotional abuse, physical abuse and verbal abuse. They have gradual withdrawal from day to day activities. There are marked personality changes which affect their function as an active member in society as well as in family circles. Often they break family commitments, both major and minor. They become impulsive, numbed and inhibited. These features destroy a successful family life and positive parenting.

Men with PTSD commonly have sexual dysfunctions. This may be due to the anxiety and depression that they suffer. Long term use of antidepressants for their PTSD and Depression also can cause erectile dysfunctions. Some males become suspicious and have sexual jealousies. This factor too escalates family violence.

Many combatants with PTSD admit that when they go in to tantrums they over punish their children. Children often live in fear and despair. The physical abuse takes place inside the family system and rarely mothers admit that the beatings were done by their husbands. When the children are hospitalized for physical abuse, mothers always conceal the physical beatings in order to evade child protection laws.

Once a soldier with PTSD went in to flashbacks and strangulated his little daughter. The girl was choking and luckily neighbours came and rescued her. In another incident, a PTSD father became annoyed when his eight year old son could not solve mathematical sums and he beat his son with a cricket bat. Later the child was admitted to the hospital and treated for three weeks.

Lance Corporal P has served seven years in the combat zone. He sustained a gunshot injury to the right leg. After he came home he could not get a sound sleep. He had nightmares with startle reactions. To avoid his sleep difficulties and intrusions, he consumed alcohol practically every night. He became depressed and aggressive. Lance Corporal P used to physically abuse his children and the spouse. Several times he became AWOL. For nearly 3 years he went undiagnosed and untreated. Subsequently, he was referred to the Psychological Unit Military Hospital Colombo and diagnosed with combat related PTSD.  After 6 months of successful medication and psychotherapy program, Lance Corporal P was free of his PTSD symptoms. Today he is having a productive family life.

Occupational Problems

Soldiers who suffer from PTSD have occupational problems. Their productivity is weakened. They are detached from co-workers. Soldiers with combat stress have dysfunctional interactions at work places. Traumatized soldiers develop their own peculiar defenses to cope with intrusions and increased psychological arousal. One officer who was diagnosed with PTSD felt uneasy and often manifested startle reactions when soldiers come and halted with a salute. The noise made him frightened. Therefore, he used to stay away from others. Another soldier who had trepidation of uniforms felt uneasy when he comes to the camp. The irritability and spontaneous rage make them more socially isolated. They deliberately keep away from people in order to avoid confrontations. They easily get provoked. Some have homicidal tendencies.

Private WX6, who sustained a gun short injury to the face in  Operation Ranagosa in 1999, became more and more dysfunctional. He had intense rage, suspicion and homicidal ideas. He frequently had conflicts with the soldiers and officers in his unit. In 2002, following a work related dispute, Private WX6 planned to kill six of his platoon members including the platoon sergeant. His movements became suspicious and he was not issued firearms. Later, Private WX6 was referred for psychological counseling and work related disputes were resolved avoiding a major disaster.

Compulsive Exposure

Some traumatized individuals have a compulsive urge to expose to situations reminiscent of trauma. Professor Bessel Van der Kolk (1996) gives numerous examples. This is a common feature among the Sri Lankan combatants too. Many combatants believed to be suffering from combat trauma have joined the private security firms, working with politicians and engage in violence during election periods, or working with the mob. Repetition cause further suffering for the victim and for the people around them (Kolk, et al., 1996).

Cpl FC8 was psychologically devastated when he witnessed the deaths of three of his platoon members in Silavathura and later developed PTSD symptoms. He left the military prematurely and joined with a local politician. During the 1999 infamous Wayamba PC election, Cpl FC8 engaged in many election related violence that was instigated by his political master.

Private AX4 experienced numerous traumatic combat events from 1996 to 2001. He became AWOL and joined with an underground criminal gang that committed several bank robberies. For several years he was evading the police and the CCMP. In 2005 when the criminal gang attempt to rob a bank in Mathara district, they were arrested by the Police. Today Private AX4 is serving a prison term.

Capt KF9 lost his leg in the Northern territory as a result of an anti-personal land mine which was called Johnny Batta. He underwent below knee amputation and was transferred to a non-combat unit. After serving several years in a non-combat environment, he became distressed and wanted to go to the war front. He had marked posttraumatic features with intense rage. He was affected by severe hyper arousal and traumatic reminiscences. After leaving the Army, he joined a private security firm and worked for several years. His occupational difficulties were intensifying. Once he had a severe conflict with the Police and was arrested for assaulting a Police Officer.

Suicide and Deliberate Self-Harm

Studies estimate that patients suffering from PTSD have up to a seven-fold increased incidence of suicide, and four-fold increased risk of death from all external sources (Bullman & Kang, 1994). A significant number of soldiers have committed suicide in the battlefield during the Eelam War. In addition, considerable number of attempted suicides has been recorded. Suicide is a complex event. There are biological, psychological and sociological causes of suicide and suicidal behavior. Among the 824 combatants referred to the Psychiatric Unit, Military Hospital Colombo during 2002 Aug – 2005 March, 22 of them had suicidal attempts. These combatants had used various methods such as self-poisoning, shooting, hanging and in one case a planned road traffic accident.

Private HX67 was deployed in Kokkuthuduwai in the height of the Eelam war and he felt that his life was in danger. His platoon was in the jungle, they had minimal facilities and continuous heavy rain made things worse. Private HX67 shot his leg with his weapon and forced an evacuation. He was immediately taken to the hospital and treated. After his recovery Private HX67 had to face disciplinary charges.

Sergeant LX54 witnessed a number of traumatic events in the North. He witnessed the death of his platoon members and handled human remains. By 2002, Sergeant LX54 had no life interests. He had an intense death wish. Once he went to the armory, took a T-56, and placed it under his chin. The soldiers who were on duty grabbed the weapon. Subsequently he was referred for psychological therapies. Sergeant LX54 was treated with SSRI and CBT. After the treatment, he became free of suicidal ideas.

Alcohol and Substance Abuse

Alcohol and substance abuse is an observable condition among the combatants especially those who suffer from combat stress. These negative stress coping methods are often used to displace the intrusions and negative thoughts. Alcohol and other substances give a temporary sedation but in long term, it causes an enormous damage to the soldier both in physically and psychologically.

Alcohol abuse, as described in the DSM-IV, is a psychiatric diagnosis describing the recurring use of alcoholic beverages despite negative consequences. It is differentiated from alcohol dependence by the lack of symptoms such as tolerance and withdrawal. Traditionally alcohol has become a part of the military culture. Alcoholic beverages are offered in the Officers Mess and sometimes the officers are indirectly encouraged to have alcohol.

Rise in alcohol and Substance Abuse among the Sri Lankan combat veterans suffering from PTSD have been observed. The veterans consume alcohol and other substances to suppress traumatic war-related memories, escape flashbacks and to achieve a combat nightmareless sleep.

A number of reports indicate that individuals meeting diagnostic criteria for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are likely to also meet DSM-3 R criteria for alcoholism and /or drug abuse. Among Vietnam Veterans seeking treatment for PTSD 60-80% exhibit concurrent diagnoses of drug or alcohol abuse or dependence (Kofoed, Friedman, & Peck, 1993).

Alcohol dependence, as described in the DSM -4, is a psychiatric diagnosis describing an entity in which an individual uses alcohol despite significant areas of dysfunction, evidence of physical dependence, and/or related hardship. Chronic Alcoholism has serious consequences on a person’s health and personal life, on family and friends, and on society.

Combatants suffering from combat stress easily go into negative stress coping methods like alcohol abuse. Alcohol and substance abuse is evident among the combatants suffering from war trauma. Those veterans who experienced prolonged exposure to heavy combat are especially vulnerable. Soldiers abuse substances such as drugs, alcohol, and tobacco for varied and complicated reasons. When we interviewed 56 Sri Lankan combatants with full blown symptoms of PTSD we found 8.9% of them were severely addicted to alcohol. They were found to have alcohol related symptoms and their liver function were seriously affected following the misuse of alcohol. They consumed a large amount of alcohol in order to avoid sleep disturbances and eliminate scary nightmares. The heavy drinking may also seem to relieve anxiety and block out intrusive memories associated with combat events. But the truth is excessive drinking can disturb the natural sleep process, interrupting REM dream patterns; the veteran may become more vulnerable to the symptoms of PTSD.

Capt NX453 served in the Army for over 16 years and exposed to heavy combat situations. In an incident near Paranthan, his team was ambushed by the enemy. He saw the death of fellow soldiers and their final outcry. Another member was shot in the abdomen and his bowels came out. After they made an unsuccessful attempt to resuscitate him, the soldier died in Capt N’s arms. For number of years he blamed himself for taking his men to the enemy’s jaws.

He was disturbed over the incident and he increased his alcohol intake in order to get a better sleep and disassociate from the horrific combat event. Hence, he could not sleep without alcohol. Gradually Capt NX453 had   long periods of being drunk, he started drinking alone. He was neglecting his official duties and the senior officers could not trust his capabilities anymore. Several times, he was reprimanded for being drunk on working hours. In 2004, he was diagnosed with Harmful Use of Alcohol.

Tobacco addiction is another unseen factor, which has serious health related consequences.  Nicotine dependence is an addiction to tobacco products caused by the drug nicotine.  Nicotine can produces physical and mood-altering effects and frequent usage can increase risk of numerous health problems. The common symptoms of nicotine dependence are inability to stop smoking, experiencing strong withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, irritability, restlessness, difficulty concentrating and sometimes headaches.

Veld and  colleagues (2002)found that cigarette smoking was more prevalent in those with current PTSD. The researchers hypothesized that, in trauma survivors, current substance use is associated with peri-traumatic patterns of psychological tension–reduction modes.

Lance Cpl RXC143 met with traumatic combat events at Mandathivu. He was troubled by the war trauma that he experienced there. He became more and more isolated and took to smoking. He became a chain smoker and couldn’t be without a cigarette. According to his wife, Lance Cpl RXC143 smokes 30 -40 cigarettes per day.

Warrant Officer AXE86 joined the Military in 1973 and participated in all the combat operations until 1999. During these times, he witnessed numerous traumatic events especially in 1988 -89. He was diagnosed with Adjustment Disorder and Nicotine Addiction. Warrant Officer AXE86 smoked over 30 cigarettes per day which caused serious vascular obstruction in his lower extremities. In 2003, he underwent below knee amputation.

Substance abuse is another issue that has to be dealt effectively. Substance abuse refers to the overindulgence in and dependence on a stimulant, depressant, chemical substance, or herb leading to effects that are detrimental to the individual’s physical health or mental health, or the welfare of others.

Our 2005 study revealed that cannabis was the most frequent substance that was often used by the Sri Lankan combatants.

Cpl  WXC45 who was an experienced combatant diagnosed with Cannabis intoxication described how he became addicted to cannabis. The narration below is based on his testimonial.

I was first posted to Nadenkerni. Our team consisted of young fearless soldiers. We knew our days were numbered; death was several inches ahead of us. To evade the nostalgic feelings and homesickness we smoked ganga. When you take the puff inside, you feel that you are disconnected with the reality. No enemy, no bullets, no mortar attacks make you frightened. In an attack, you can advance like a wind. You don’t feel the heaviness of your backpack, you don’t  feel pain even when you sustain a gunshot injury.

The supply was a problem. We used to buy the stuff in Colombo. There were many joints where you could buy it. There were a number of places in Boralla, Maradana, Slave Island etc.  Only problem was to bring it to the Northern war front. If we travel by air through Ratmalana, the Air force guys used to search us. If you get caught you are in a real trouble. We used several methods to traffic it. The popular method was to put the stuff in to a condom and then insert it inside the anal cavity.

Although there were many restrictions, our guys used to bring it and we smoked it. When we did bunker duties ganga cigars kept us awake. Thus, we were on guard all night long.

We often used Madana Modaka (Aurvedic cannabinoid product) as well. It’s like a toffee. When some of our group mates went for the operations, they kept it in the wallet. Madana Modaka gave a sensational feeling. You can run, jump and move your body like a rubber when the effect comes. We feel no pain even we sustain injuries. Some said it prolongs your ejaculation and we used to take it home when we got duty leave.

After long usage of cannabis, Cpl WXC45 had low motivation, aimlessness, apathy and sluggishness in mental and physical responses. He presented with poor self-care and transient disorientation, as well as impaired memory. Today he knows the negative effects of cannabis.

Heroin usage was not in abundance among the Sri Lankan combatants according to our experience. From 2002 to 2005, we systematically interviewed 824 soldiers and we found only three heroin users. Heroin is a highly addictive opiate, which is processed from morphine. Although it’s illegal in Sri Lanka, the addicts know the places where it can be bought. Sri Lankan heroin addicts usually sniffed or smoke it and intravenous injection of heroin is not popular among them. Why we had very minimal number of heroin addicts among the soldiers that we interviewed? When strict rules and regulations are applied to the soldiers in the Army camps, heroin uses find it extremely difficult to obtain and use it. Often they become AWOL and continue their addiction with heroin.

The effective measures have to be taken to prevent alcohol and substance abuse among the combatants. In the post war era, there is a possible risk that is prevailing and we have to take urgent measures.There are many examples from other countries that indicate the excessive use of alcohol and other substances among the combatants. According to the 2000 and 2001 NHSDUH reports[2] on illicit drug use among the US Veterans, an estimated 6 percent of all veterans living in the United States used an illicit drug in the past year. Of the 256,000 veterans in need of treatment for illicit drug use in the past year, 20 % had received treatment during the past year. These studies show that we too are at risk.

Untreated and undiagnosed PTSD

As pointed out by Lipkin, Blank, Parson and Smith (1982) many cases of PTSD go underreported because many Psychiatrists and Psychologists fail to ask about military experience or what happened to the person while in the military. We have found a number of combatants who had manifested dissociative reactions; symptoms of acute PTSD in the height of the battle who were not treated or referred to psychological therapies. When the symptoms aggravated with malignant PTSD they were referred to the Psychiatric Unit, Military Hospital Colombo.

Hence we can give a case example. Corporal T had nightmares, intrusions and disorientation during the operation Jayasikuru or the Victory Assured in 1997. He became distressed and asked for medical attention. He was taken to the nearest MSD and treated with analgesics. With the difficulty that he experienced he was sent back to the battle front. After two weeks he lost his voice or in other words he had a dissociative reaction of psychogenic aphonia. Still he was not sent for any kind of treatment. After many months, he became depressed and threatened to commit suicide. Then he was posted to Anuradhapura where there was no active combat, but had to handle dead bodies and human remains. Only in 2002, he was referred to the Psychological therapies. By this time, Corporal T had developed chronic PTSD with severe functional impairments.

Kessler’s Phenomena

According to Kessler 16% of PTSD patients can have psychotic features. When the PTSD sufferers are affected by the psychosis, they seem to loose of contact with reality. They are affected by hallucinations, delusions and thought disorders.

Private SK67 was actively involved in combat and on one occasion, he and a small team of soldiers were trapped behind enemy lines for over 3 days. By 2003, his mental condition was failing and he experienced passivity feelings, ideas of reference, thought broadcasting, thought insertion and disorganized thinking pattern. He was diagnosed with Schizophrenia at the North Colombo Teaching Hospital, but on re-assessment he was found to have key symptoms of PTSD such as hypervigilance , avoidance,  nightmare etc in  Private SK67.

Recruit SD45 developed an abnormal reaction after being wounded by a MBI (Mortar Blast Injury) to the left shoulder. His flashbacks were wrongly interpreted as visual hallucinations and distress reaction was misinterpreted as manic features. After a detail assessment, this soldier was diagnosed as having PTSD.

Delayed Reactions of PTSD

Currently the definition of delayed-onset PTSD encompasses symptoms that surface only up to 6 months following an event. Sometimes PTSD can emerge many years after the original trauma. According to Robertson and colleagues (Ruzich, Looi, & Robertson, 2005), large numbers of older veterans are present with nightmares and intrusive memories of the war. Some are experiencing these features for the first time in their lives. For some World War II veterans, memories of the war can still be upsetting more than 50 years later.

Late onset trauma plagues war veterans in a devastating manner. Those who are in their old age are now troubled by disturbing war memories. The delayed reaction, could be triggered by a subsequent stressful event

In a study of 147 Dutch veterans who had fought in the Resistance against the Nazis in WW2, it was found that forty years after the end of the war over half of these people are still suffering from PTSD and  only 4% showed no symptoms at all (Hovens et al., 1992).

A new study (Boscarino & Adams, 2009) that assessed New Yorkers exposed to the events of September 11, 2001 provides additional evidence that posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can surface up to 2 years after the event in individuals with preexisting emotional or social problems.

Some of the Sri Lankan veterans too have shown delayed-onset PTSD reactions. They have manifested posttraumatic features many years after original trauma.  Combat trauma experienced by them may result in long-term sequelae.

Sergeant TH7 was an experienced combatant who participated in numerous combat operations in the North. During 1988 / 89 insurgency period, his platoon was deployed in the Southern part of Sri Lanka to fight the left wing Sinhala rebels who launched attacks against the Government. In the height of the conflict, the rebels attacked the Army killing several soldiers. This incident escalated to fathomless atrocities.

In 1989, Sergeant TX7 and his group arrested some of the suspects and eliminated them.  Sergeant TX7 tortured one of the suspects who was believed to have masterminded the attack on soldiers. He shot the suspect, poured petrol while the victim was alive. Then set fire. When the victim was on fire, he made an unsuccessful attempt to grab Sergeant TX7.  Sergeant TX7 narrowly escaped the fire and he became shocked and utterly frightened. Then he aimed his firearm towards the blazing man and fired several shots. Then the suspect died instantly. After a few weeks, he completely forgot the incident.

In 2002, thirteen years after this incident one night Sergeant TX7 s wife tried to light the Kerosene lamp while they were having dinner. Then she accidentally dropped it and the lamp exploded. His wife s clothes caught the fire. She was on flames. Immediately Sergeant TX7 poured water onto his wife and extinguished the fire. She went unharmed. But Sergeant TX7 was utterly devastated.

When his wife was on fire, the 1989 incident came into his mind immediately. Instead of his wife, he saw the JVP suspect who tried to grab him a moment before death. From that night, he had nightmares of the original incident and continuous intrusive memories. Sergeant TX7 startled easily and he was gradually turned in to different person. He became depressed and started abusing alcohol. He lost his life interests. Once he planned to commit suicide. He went to the railway station and walked along the railway tract. When the train was a few meters away, he changed his mind and jumped off.

Sergeant TX7 was diagnosed with PTSD in late 2002 and treated with medication and psychotherapy. (EMDR and CBT). By 2003, he was free of most of the PTSD symptoms.

Lt Col XXD participated in the Operation Balawegaya in 1991 and faced heavy fire by the enemy. In front of his eyes, several soldiers died following sniper fire. He took a key effort to prevent the enemy advance and sustained a gun short injury to the leg. He thought that he would be dead as his fallen soldiers. While lying on the battlefield his thoughts, were about his home, parents, wife and the children.

He was bleeding profusely and the other combatants took a great effort to evacuate him immediately. He was transferred to Palaly hospital and then air lifted to Colombo.

The doctors took massive effort to save his leg and eventually the operation became successful. He recovered his physical injuries soon and went back to his unit. His physical and mental health was stable.

In 2003, he suffered DVT or Deep Vein thrombosis and experienced unbearable pain. While he was in physical pain he had flashbacks of the 1991 Operation Balawegaya events, how he sustained a gunshot injury, how he was lying on the ground etc. he even saw the late General Denzel Kobbekaduwa in his flashbacks. He became restless and had a PTSD attack.

After he was treated for the Deep Vein Thrombosis his pain subsided, but he was hounded by the battle events. He experienced intrusive memories, flashbacks and startling reactions. His sleeping pattern changed and in order to avoid nightmares he started to work until late nights. Lt Col XXD adopted a workaholic attitude to evade disturbing ruminations. After sometime, he was physically and mentally exhausted. His system could not cope any more. Then he had a second attack, which manifested as an aggressive fearful reaction.  Lt Col XXD was treated with SSRI and relaxation therapies for a long time and gradually his posttraumatic symptoms subsided.

Eelam War and the War Widows

One harsh reality of the war is that the every soldier killed in war leaves behind grieving family and relatives. It has been a reality since the Trojan War.

The women who were left widows as a result of the Sri Lankan conflict are facing radically altered circumstances. There are estimated thousands of war widows and war-affected family members from the Tri Forces who still experience grief reactions. Many widows are in the 22 to 35 age group; and with the death of their husbands these women have become a psychologically and socially vulnerable group. Most of the women who underwent severe emotional pain still have not completely recovered. Many have become the victims of pathological grief. They are unable to work through their grief despite the passage of time. With the widowhood, they experience identity change, role adjustment and change in social status.

Many researches concur that the mental trauma of the war widows can last for long years. Depressive reactions are common among the Sri Lanka war widows. In 2005, 86 Sri Lankan war widows were clinically interviewed based on Beck’s depression scale and depression was diagnosed in 23 (27%). Ten war widows said that they had contemplated suicide after they lost their husbands (12%). (Jayatunge, 2005)

The war widows of the other conflictive areas in the globe are facing similar consequences. The conflict in Iraq had recorded high numbers of war widows.  According to Olga Ghazaryan, Oxfam’s regional director for the Middle East, the Iraqi war has made widows of an estimated 740,000 women and left many others fatherless (Rubin, 2009).  After 1991, many Iraqi war widows became sole wage earners, often going hungry to feed their children; possibly 60% suffered from psychological problems, with physical manifestations such as weight loss and difficulty breast-feeding (Hoskins, 1997 quoted in (Salvage, 2002).

In the conservative Asian societies, widows face social, economic and legal handicaps. Widow as its name denotes is associated with some form of socio-cultural stigma and humiliation. They are considered as bad omen in many Sri Lankan rural areas. They are marginalized by their own communities. These factors affect their self-esteem. In some events, the accusations were made by the in laws stating that the husband’s death occurred because of the unluckiness of the wife and they are partially answerable for the husband’s death. They experience lack of social support and loss of their social possession in their own family circles.

The war widows face a number of mental health problems. They have suffered bereavement as a result of the violent deaths of their husbands and these traumatic memories hound them for long years. They are often subjected to extreme forms of discrimination and physical, sexual, and mental abuse. Therefore, widowhood represents a form of “social death” for these women.  Their plight and vulnerability lead to numerous psychological ailments.

Many of the widows carry the memories of their late husbands. They are emotionally troubled by the loss and grief.  In the overall view the large percentage of women are having following psychological features.


Common symptoms included intrusive memories about their dead husbands, fear and uncertainty about the future, self-pity, low self-esteem, sleep disturbances, irritability, displacement of anger, emotional numbing, feelings of guilt, and psychosomatic complaints like persistent headaches and backaches which do not have any medical basis and do not respond to painkillers.

Many Sri Lankan widows have a tendency to experience and communicate psychological distress in the form of physical symptoms. Some have multiple unexplained somatic symptoms. Most often, the complaints involve chronic pain and problems with the digestive system, nervous system, and reproductive system. These young war widows, who have suppressed their biological needs following the cultural pressure and family honor, often manifest conversion reactions.

In a study by Gabriel Silverman and colleagues (2000), traumatic grief, PTSD, and major depressive episode were found to overlap with each other to similar degrees. Of those with traumatic grief, 47 percent also received a diagnosis of major depressive episode, 33 percent met criteria for PTSD, and 40 percent had traumatic grief.

Individuals who meet the diagnostic criteria for prolonged grief disorder have been shown to be at an increased risk of developing clinically distinct posttraumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder as well as suicidal ideation (Grey, Prigerson, & Litz, 2004). The violence of war does not end with the return to peace for those living closest to former combatants. Following is the experience of a war widow whose husband died in the operation Jayasikuru in 1997.

When I heard of the death of my husband, my entire world collapsed. He was a Lance Cpl in the Army and we were living in his house with his mother and two unmarried sisters. I still have a fragmented memory of the funeral. Some events I cannot remember. My three-year daughter who had no clue about father’s death asked various questions. I did not know what would happen to my daughter and me after my husband’s death.

After several months, my mother in law and husband’s two sisters started passing negative comments. They blamed me for his death. They implied that I was unlucky and since I came to their house, the things changed negatively. Even the neighbors avoided me.

I had to go to Panagoda Army pension branch to get my dead husbands’ pension. They said he was a volunteer and it would take some time and gave me papers to fill up. I had no idea how to do the paper work. I asked my cousin brother to help me. The day I went to his house with the daughter to get the paper work done my mother in law came up with false accusations and blamed me for seeing men soon after the husband’s death. She humiliated me and demanded the full pension of my husband saying that I have no financial rights.

I had no place to go and my parents died when I was small. My relative had no financial ability to look after me and my daughter. Therefore, I had no other option but to live with the husband’s relatives, facing humiliations every day. When I received my husband’s pension, my mother in law took it. We were given only food.

Every month I had to go to the Grama Niladari to confirm that I am still a widow and not remarried. When I went to get his signature on the document he used to pass inappropriate jokes and once tried to touch my hand. I scolded him and left the office. Ever since, he delayed signing my papers.

I became depressed and when my daughter goes to sleep, I cry alone. If not for her, I would have committed suicide, ending this suffering. My mind is preoccupied with the events of my husband’s funeral. I had the mental pictures of the coffin, his dead body, ceremonial uniform, and many more things. I had mental pictures of these miserable events. Constantly I had feelings of fear and uncertainty about the future. My memory started fading and I could not concentrate. Gradually I have become a living dead………….

Mrs AT87 had been married only for seven months when her husband became MIA (missing in action). This is her story.

……..When my husband went missing in action, I was 30 years old. We had been married for seven months. As a young wife, I had to face the challenges of life. I waited for him many years but he did not return. Every day was a painful anticipatory day for me. I went to many army camps, to the ICRC and even went to the North during the ceasefire era in search of my husband. There was no news about him. My relatives urged me to marry again but I refused.  I still cannot believe that he is dead. I hope one day he would come back…..

Mrs. HK34 faced severe hardships with the death of her husband who was a full corporal in the Army. She was driven out from the husband’s family which accused her of being unlucky. She was living in a small house with her four years old son. Her neighbor – a middle-aged man tried to help her with different motives in his mind.  When his intentions were revealed, Mrs. HK34 did not speak to him and avoided him. Then he started spreading malicious rumors about her in the village. The villagers, especially the women, humiliated her publicly.  Some nights, stones were thrown to her house. As Mrs. HK34 believed, her neighbor was behind all these mock incidents. When the troubles intensified, she decided to leave the village but she had no place to go.

The conflict in Sri Lanka has generated a large number of war widows in the North and East.  Widows in the North and East province totaled some 89,000 in 2010 (Mohamed Hizbullah, 2010). Many women are living in abject poverty and despair.

Many women in war are faced with the main responsibility for care giving in the family, with the destiny of their husbands unknown and new and unfamiliar duties placed on them. If the household is facing hardships, this may overload women’s capacity to cope; as preoccupation with the needs of the family may lead to neglecting their own needs, especially if they become widows.

The late Air Chief Marshall Harry Goonetilleke conducted a valuable psychosocial assisting project for the war widows of Sri Lanka under the Ranaviru Family Counselling Association. This project helped the war widows to reconstruct their lives and gain confidence. He believed that there should be a permanent rehabilitation policy for the war widows at the national-level. Until his death in 2008, Air Chief Marshall Harry Goonetilleke actively engaged in the rehabilitation work of the Sri Lankan war widows.

Mrs. KL342 was able to face her destiny with courage and determination after her husband’s premature death that occurred in the Eelam war.

…………. When I heard the terrible news of my husband’s death in the war front, I was utterly devastated. For many months, I was in a denial stage and could not believe that he would never come back.  Somehow, I had to gather strength for the sake of my two little children. I knew that being a widow in a deeply conservative society is not easy. But I had no alternative and with courage I faced the consequences.

Ranaviru Family Counselling Association offered me strength and guidance. At the meetings, I saw women like me who were struggling to survive. I learned new skills and started to work in an income-generating project. While working and attending to my children’s needs, my emotional trauma was reduced. But the deep sorrow was always with me. I had to be the sole breadwinner of the family; I had to be responsible for my children.  I was determined to live a life with dignity.

During the cease-fire in 2002, a group of war widows from the North visited us. Their husbands were LTTE carders who died in the battle. When I saw them, I had angry feelings. I thought for a while probably one of the husbands of these women had killed my husband. My heart stated beating rapidly. I saw they were looking at us. Simultaneously I thought they would be having the same feelings about us. That moment I realized that anger and hatred offer nothing but destruction. My anger dropped to the zero level. We welcomed them, the women from the opposite side but who share the same grief as us. We all are victims of the war no matter the racial differences. After all our tears and suffering had no ethnic difference. We spoke with these women and exchanged ideas. Soon we became friends. We cried together for the memories of our dead husbands who left us so unexpectedly. At the end of the day, we parted like sisters. Some of these women still write to me and we are good friends…….

Mrs. GF54 lost her sense of purpose in life when she underwent a pathological grief reaction following her husband’s death in 2001 during the Operation ‘Agni Kheela’. She was extremely focused on the loss and reminders of her husband. She had problems accepting the death, preoccupied with sorrow, inability to enjoy and move on with life, trouble carrying out normal routines and was withdrawn from social activities. She was treated with medication and EMDR, which gave optimum results. Today Mrs. GF54 is rationally facing her life. She is self-employed and building a house for herself and her children.

Rachel Tribe and Padmal De Silva (1999) highlight the importance of integrating coping strategies, self-help principles changing perceptions, attitudes and stereotyped beliefs when improving mental health issues of the Sri Lankan women who were widowed following extreme traumatic events. As they recommend the cultural and socio-political issues should be taken in to consideration.

As a matter of fact, very few governments and non-government organizations view widows as a special category with individual problems and special status. Therefore, war widows are marginalized in many communities around the world. The higher levels of stress and mental illness among women, common in many post conflict societies, are even higher in Sri Lanka due to the prolonged war(Somasundaram, 1998). The war widows carry extra burden than the average women in the Sri Lankan society. Apart from their traumatic experience, daily stressors such as poverty, family conflict, health problems, unemployment, social isolation and harassments exert a significant effect on their stress levels. Some widows take care not only of their children but often of their extended family as well.

The mental health interventions of the war widows should be followed with the specific cultural contexts and not contradicting religious beliefs of the victims. The war widows need strength-based psychosocial interventions. Welfare and rehabilitation of widows are essential with teaching of coping strategies, facilitating education and job training for the socially shunned widows. The measures are needed to help women transform their new skills into financial independence and sustainability. At the same time as strengthening women’s existing skills, new skills should be introduced in traditional and non-traditional fields.

There must be a permanent rehabilitation policy for the war widows at the national-level that helps widows to build a new life, regain confidence and gently adjust to a new life. The children of these war widows should have a secure and dignified future as their fathers always expected.  It is the duty of the nation to repay their dues to these families who have become the invisible victims of the Eelam war.


Children Affected by the Eelam War

UNICEF recently estimated that over 90% of the victims of today’s warfare is women and children. Children who are a vulnerable group have suffered severe traumatic events during the Eelam War.

Worldwide studies indicate children of the war zones undergo severe psychological trauma. The research in Gaza, Rwanda, Mozambique and Cambodia reveal children who were exposed to war and atrocities are at a high risk of developing PTSD. Thabet (2000) did a study to estimate the rate of Posttraumatic stress reactions in Palestinian children who experienced war traumas. The sample consisted of 239 children of 6 to 11 years of age. 174 children (72.8%) reported PTSD reactions of at least mild intensity, while 98 (41%) reported moderate/severe PTSD reactions.

Organized and institutionalized violence like war can affect children in many ways. The effects of traumatic events on children are even greater when that trauma is due to modern warfare. In Sri Lanka a large number of children have been exposed to war trauma.

Little K was nine years old when she became a victim of a cross fire between the armed forces and Tamil militants in the North. She sustained a gunshot injury to her left arm. She underwent a traumatic amputation of the left hand. The doctors were compelled to perform this operation in order to save her life. After the operation she was taken to an orphanage in Mulangavil in the Killinochi district. She has feelings of fear, night terror, bed wetting, hyperarousal and alienation. Traumatized war- zone children like little K carry the psychological scars throughout their lives.

Children who have experienced or been exposed to war trauma often have anxieties and insecurities that can cause them to perceive every aspect of the world as being unsafe and frightening. They grow up with a generalized fear and hostility which affects their future lives. Trauma is often associated with intense feelings of humiliation, self-blame, shame and guilt, which result from the sense of powerlessness and may lead to a sense of alienation and avoidance. Therefore the initial trauma could become a vicious cycle.

The following case study gives the longitudinal effects of psychological trauma on children, which can affect their later lives.

Master S was 12 years old when the 1983 communal riots erupted. His family was hiding in a neighbour’s house to evade the mob attack. The attackers burnt their house while Master S and his kid sister were hiding under a bed in their Sinhalese neighbour’s house. He could hear the shouting of the mob and the screaming of the victims. Master S had feelings of fear and he thought that the mob would kill him. These fears lasted for many years as he grew older.

The following day, their kind neighbour with the help of the Police took them to the refugee camp at Bambalapitiya Kadirashan Kovil. Before going to the camp Master S had a quick glance at their house which was completely destroyed by the fire. He felt sorry for losing his books and toys.

After spending several months in the refugee camp, his father was managed to get asylum in West Germany. For many years S had nostalgic feelings for his lost books and toys and also feared that a group of people would come and attack him unexpectedly.

After coming to West Germany S underwent a prolonged cultural shock and frequently felt a misfit in Western society. He became more isolated and neglected his studies. As a teenager he became more and more hostile and frequently had conflicts with his parents. After spending 12 years in West Germany S moved to Canada and got married. But he always felt the empty space and became emotionally numbed. On some occasions, he could not control his temper and engaged in domestic violence. His violent outburst resulted in an injury to his wife and S was charged by the Canadian authorities. Today he is serving a prison term.

Children who had witnessed the war trauma and atrocities can have diminished cognitive abilities. They frequently have learning difficulties at school. Some have behavioral disorders. Most of them do not receive proper psychological therapies and rehabilitation. As Osofsky (1995) indicates the differential response to trauma depends, in part, on the child’s age and level of psychological maturity. Children vary in their reactions to traumatic events. Some suffer from fears and terrifying memories immediately after the event, which dissolve with time and emotional support. Other children are more severely affected by trauma and experience long-term problems. Children of the war zone may exhibit regressive behaviors such as bed-wetting, thumb-sucking or fear of the dark. They may have increased difficulties separating from their parents. Also they can have attention problems and learning difficulties at school. Many of these affected children can have somatic complaints, irrational fears, sleep problems, nightmares, irritability and angry outbursts. They may appear to be depressed and more withdrawn.

Adolescent (ages 12 to 18) responses are more similar to adults and they are at increased risk for problems with substance abuse, peer problems and depression.

Child soldiers have been exposed to events beyond the normal boundaries of human experiences. This is a story of a child solder whose pseudonym is SE .

SE was 11 years old when he was forcefully recruited as a child soldier by the LTTE. During the training period he was beaten and threatened to be killed if he did not obey the orders. Once he saw a killing of a rival member by the LTTE. Along with other children he had to take part in a number of attacks against the Sri Lankan Army. They were called the members of the Baby Brigade. The Baby Brigade was a support team for the adult fighters. They never had the opportunity of going to school after they became child soldiers. Instead of books they carried AK 47 and grenades. Their childhood had been stolen.

Little SE witnessed a number of horrific events which changed his psychological makeup drastically. He was forced to observe torture, then forced to induce it on victims. Today SE is in a rehabilitation center but his horrendous psychological scars have not left him completely. He has intense rage, suicidal urge and alienation. Once a bright and innocent student has now become a victim of the Eelam War.

Exposure to war situations cause children to lose predictability in their lives. They become withdrawn from daily routines and daily habits which provide security for them. It affects their psychosocial development negatively.

Master P was terrified when air attacks took place in Jaffna. During this attack his neighbor’s house was destroyed and some were critically injured. They were taken to the Jaffna hospital. Master P becomes anxious when he hears aircraft sounds. He has startle reactions, intrusive memories of the air attacks and sometimes nightmares.

Children’s well-being and development depend very much on the security of family relationships and a predictable environment. Miss L was 13 when the LTTE attacked their village in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka. The attackers shot the adults and killed the children and women with knives. She was lucky to be alive. When the village was attacked she managed to escape with her uncle. But her parents and the younger brother got killed. Miss L couldn’t continue her education after the tragedy. She became more depressed and had constant feelings of being threatened, nightmares of the attack, and psycho somatic ailments.

During the Eelam war some of the Sinhalese and Tamil children witnessed the deaths of their parents or other family members. They have experienced loss of loved ones and loss of property. These children have undergone severe grief and some have developed pathological grief reactions. These children carry the psychological scars of these past traumatic events. Obviously the majority of them have not received adequate treatment and rehabilitation; they will become adults with the unhealed trauma. Their anger will be sublimated to the society and this is going to be a vicious cycle.

Master D (10 Y) was a bright student who suddenly showed learning difficulties and behavioral problems when his father died in the Rivirasa operation. He became aggressive and started bed wetting. He lost interest in social activities and showed positive features of Paternal Deprivation Syndrome. He was not a happy child after his father’s death.

Living with a father who is affected by the combat trauma is another predicament faced by some children. Little B was an eight year old boy who was beaten by his PTSD father an ex-combatant with sudden rage. The boy was hospitalized and received treatment for his physical injuries.

Miss M (15Y) and master L (12Y) are sister and brother of the same family. Many days they had to spend the nights at neighbor’s house when their father became aggressive and went into tantrums. He is a combatant suffering from PTSD. When he experienced combat related flashbacks, he became extremely violent. Their mother left the house following continuous physical aggression by the father.

In recent years, since 1990, nearly 49 wars have been waged, and 46 have been fought with small weapons. Over 40 million men, women, and children have been forced into refugee status due to war violence. A situation of war, frequently experienced by refugees, has a disorganizing and traumatizing effect on the entire family. The Eelam war caused displacements of civilians at large. Many are still living in refugee camps.

Master M (9Y) and his family had to flee from his village with the other neighbors when the LTTE ordered the Muslim people to leave the North. Their family came to Puttalam and lived in a small hut without basic facilities in Alankuda, Kalpitiya. Master M became more isolated and showed positive features of anxiety and depression. He was nostalgic for his native village in Mannar. His education was disrupted and today M works as a three wheel driver in Puttalam town. M feels himself as an alien in Kalpitiya .He is addicted to cannabis and has no long term life plans.

During the Eelam War, the LTTE launched a number of suicide bombings sometimes targeting civilians. Master N (15Y) was a psychological victim of the dreaded Central Bank Bombing by the LTTE. When the blast occurred they were in a motor car. They sustained minor injuries, but master L was psychologically shattered. He had feelings of fear, startle reactions, intrusive memories and nightmares for nearly a year.

How to heal the wounds that occurred due to the armed conflict ? These children need medication, psychotherapy, psychosocial rehabilitation and long term monitoring. In Sri Lanka there is a big scarcity of experts in this area. Very often traumatized children grow up without psychosocial support. Unhealed traumas affect their cognitive and personality development.

Time does not heal the trauma. Therefore active measures are needed. Social support should be given to the children who were exposed to war trauma. Children’s resiliency to traumatic events is influenced by the degree of social support and positive community influences (Garbarino & Kostelny, 1996).

To minimize the psychological damage the children need effective care. Parental support is highly essential to heal the emotional scars experienced by the war-zone children. As the experts point out children with adequate family cohesion manifest less stress in reaction to trauma and are better able to recover from the initial impact of the trauma.

Cultural factors and traditional healing systems play a vital role. Community ideology, beliefs and value systems contribute to resiliency by giving meaning to traumatic events, allowing children to identify with cultural values, and enabling children and adults to function under extreme conditions (Melville and Lykes, 1992). In treating war zone children family therapy, group therapy, Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) , art therapy, music therapy, EMDR and school and community interventions have been used. Also they are helped with coping skills.

War trauma in Sri Lanka has created a critical situation. A large number of children have been affected by the prolonged armed conflict in Sri Lanka. This has become one of the crucial problems that would affect our future. Consider that a significant numbers of our next generation are traumatized and unhealed.


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April 20th, 2016

By Dr. Tilak S. Fernando

Once Susantha drove all the way from Kandy to Kohuwela with his family to attend a social function his mother-in-law had organized. On the following morning he left the family in Kohuwela and went back home. In Kandy he had dinner at the Lyon Café and went to his empty house alone. Once he parked the car under the hood, he locked the front gate and went to his bedroom to retire for the day..

For his own security, he locked the bedroom door and kept a battery powered torch and a hatchet close at hand, set the alarm clock to wake up in the morning and went to sleep after saying usual night prayers.

Dog’s Howl & Woman’s Bawling

Approximately around 1:00 a.m, his German shepherd dog started to howl in a shattering manner from the storeroom. Coinciding with its barking, he heard a woman weeping and sobbing immediately outside his bedroom window, which was closed and locked firmly.

Her bawling was akin to a woman in pain during childbirth. When the yowling became spookier and gaudier, he sat on the bed quite panicked and petrified. He prepared to confront with the unknown and sat on the bed, holding the battery-powered torch in one hand and the small axe in the other.

Next moment he heard as if someone was ransacking wardrobes and drawers and packing stuff into boxes inside the house and it gave the impression of cartons were being dragged from side to side and hitting the walls with force. For a moment he wondered whether any intruder, having noticed that the inmates of the house were out, trying to rob.

Prayers & Dead Silence

Susantha had no option but to wait inside the locked bedroom not knowing what to expect next! Despite his outwardly heroic appearance, he began to shiver within and started saying prayers non-stop! Suddenly a dead silence reigned and even the dog’s howl became deflated. Thoroughly confused by now, he lounged on the bed and tried to figure out what would have taken place. Seemingly, he fell asleep.

In the morning he opened the bedroom window cautiously to see whether anything unusual had taken place, then opened the main door with the hatchet in hand and jumped out to figure out whatever took place in the night. To his amazement everything seemed to be in order. He immediately took a walk round the house with the German Shephard but could not find any indication of an intruder or a robber stepping into the premises.

Continuation of Squealing

From that night onwards the weird squealing of the woman became a regular feature which frightened his family unduly to the extent they could not possibly live there any longer with the constant hollering of the woman and the dog’s wailing every night. Finally they made a decision to leave Kandy and moved to Nugegoda.

Piyadigama’s Experience

If I narrate another story, Piyadigama’s experience is completely a different one where a grandmother in Panadura, who had died in 1979, possessed a little girl. Apparently, the grandmother loved all her grandchildren but she was very fond of one particular girl whom she possessed after her death.

Whenever she ‘entered‘ the little girl’s body the child started to struggle as if she was getting strangled. During such moments she used to cry saying: “Aachchi leave me alone”! When medical doctors were consulted, they put it down to her “missing the grandmother” and advised parents she would be all right gradually, yet the poor girl’s life became a misery making her younger brothers and sisters getting petrified when she went into a stupor. When her parents’ endeavours to exorcise the grandmother’s soul from the girl’s body with the help of Catholic Priests, Buddhist Monks, Bodhi Pujas and Shanthikarmas and everything failed, they sought the assistance of a fearsome looking exorcist (Kattadiya) from Ambalangoda.

Overnight Thovile

During a full night, operation by the exorcist at the young girl’s house with a congregation of neighbours and relatives, the exorcist’s chanting progressed while the girl blabbered in an inconceivable language until she became exhausted and fell asleep.

Around 5 a.m. the next morning she woke up and let out a blood-curdling scream, which Piyadigama says, ‘still resonates in his ears even today whenever he thinks about it’. He described it as an extremely lurid and ear-piercing echo, which lingered in the air long after it had stopped and, thereafter she collapsed on to the ground semi-consciously.

Finally Kattadiya managed to command the spirit in an authoritative tone to enter the bottle he was holding while his mate played the drums non-stop. Once the exorcist managed to get the ‘grandmother’s spirit’ into the bottle, he sealed the lid properly ensuring the lid will never ever be released! Subsequently, the exorcist and his men went in a boat and dropped the bottle containing the spirit tied to a heavy stone and dropped it into the deep sea for the spirit to never return!

Kattadiya had told Piyadigama’s father (who had been in the boat with the exorcist and his mate) that if ever the trapped spirit were to escape from the bottle, would be his end! The little girl immediately recovered.

With the passage of time she qualified as a lecturer and is presently married and quite happy, says Piyadigama. She seems to believe that ‘her grandmother would never have hurt her and it was only a malefic period that had passed,” but the million dollar question is whether that trapped soul in a bottle in the deep sea will ever see light again even in a million years! People do such inhuman things without giving much thought as if they are born here to be permanent, but such a sin is irretrievable.

Piyadigama seems to believe in such occurrences even the science cannot explain! “It is quite easy to laugh at such incidences and dismiss them as stupid or imprudent until it happens to you,” he says.


Why does India breed so many traitors?

April 20th, 2016

Major General Mrinal Suman Source: World Hindu News (WHN)

While studying Indian history in school days, one was repeatedly told that the foreign invaders resorted to ‘divide and rule’ policy to gain control over India. They were painted as unscrupulous schemers who exploited the simple, trusting and gullible Indians.

It is only at a much later stage that one realised the hollowness of the above assertion. The truth is that we are adept at producing hordes of traitors who revel in India’s ruin. Every victory of the foreign invaders was facilitated by the local collaborators who betrayed their kings for some devious reward or to settle personal scores. No fort was ever conquered without the infidelity of a trusted minister/commander.

Unfortunately, centuries of slavery has taught us nothing. We carry on spawning throngs of people who can stoop down to any level (even imperil national security) for their petty gains. Our leaders, media and intellectuals appear to have a single point agenda: how to generate innovative issues to keep the nation divided and embroiled in petty bickering and internal dissentions; and thereby impede progress and bring a bad name to the country. They abhor India’s rise. Let me elucidate.

First, the leaders: they are the fountainhead of all fissiparous tendencies. For them, vote bank politics take precedence over everything else. One does not have to be a visionary to predict the danger of abetting illegal migration from Bangladesh for garnering votes. But unscrupulous political leaders carry on unconcerned.

One hangs one’s head in shame when political leaders extend their support to a delinquent student leader who seeks destruction of India. Comparing him with martyr Bhagat Singh is by far the most perfidious act.

Perhaps, India is the only country that has an ignominious track record of producing Home Ministers who revelled in shaming the country. One concocted theories of saffron terrorism to please his party bosses. In so doing, he presented a convenient propaganda tool to Pakistan. Another Home Minister did the unthinkable. He declared a terrorist to be innocent in an affidavit to the court. The aim was to ensnare the opposition leaders in a false case. Sadly, India’s intelligence gathering apparatus suffered immense damage in the process.

When a leader declares ‘it’s safer to be a cow than to be a Muslim in India today’, he puts the whole country to shame. The world media flashes such headlines with sinister pleasure. India’s image takes a terrible beating. Just to score a brownie point against the government, he presents a convenient propaganda handle to the hostile forces. How low can a leader stoop!

Recently, a renowned advocate and a former law minister told a TV channel that shouting slogans for the destruction of the country is not debarred in the constitution. According to him, freedom of expression was of paramount importance. Even demand for secession (azadi) was justified. As the interview progressed, one was not only amazed by his perverted reasoning but also shocked to see the brazenness with which he was arguing. Survival of India appeared to be of no concern to him. One wondered if one was watching an Indian or a Pakistani channel.

Secondly, the media personnel: the less said the better. From their conduct, it appears that many of them are foreign plants and India means little to them. When a leading media house invited a vicious and remorseless enemy like General Pervez Musharraf and groveled before him, it marked the lowest depths of shamelessness to which journalism could sink. Instead of castigating him for the Kargil war, he was treated as a peace loving guest.

Both the electronic and the print media never report ‘positives’ about the country. Ugly India sells (a la ‘Slumdog Millionaire’); and not progressive India. Remember how a TV reporter failed to digest the popularity of Modi in the US and tried to incite the crowd with provocative remarks. But then they get paid to demean India, and not to extol it.

Immense damage is also being inflicted on the unity of the country by the media through its Machiavellian and skewed reporting. Every news item is deliberately reported with a religious, caste or creed slant – ‘a dalit girl molested in a Delhi bus’ (as if other women are not molested in Delhi buses) or ‘church guard killed’ (in reality an argument between two security guards had turned violent) or ‘Muslim driver runs over a boy’ (as if his being a Muslim is of any relevance). Recently, in a case of cattle stealing, a leading newspaper could not resist the temptation to add that ‘one of the five thieves is learnt to have had connections with a cow protection group in the past’. How cunningly, a simply case of robbery was given a communal taint.

Petty vandals are given the coverage befitting a mass leader. It was obnoxious to see two TV channels airing their interviews with a student leader charged with sedition. The worst was the indulgent demeanour of the TV anchors; as if a national hero was being eulogized. The interviews were repeatedly telecast at prime time. Did these channels think of interviewing war heroes or martyrs’ families? Forget it; that would have been a pro-India act and that is an act of sacrilege for them.

Thirdly, the self-proclaimed secular intelligentsia: it has done the maximum damage to India’s prestige and standing. Some of them appear to be fifth columnists masquerading as progressive intellectuals. In which country of the world would the intelligentsia write to the US government not to receive their Prime Minister? Honestly, it is simply loathsome: duly elected representative of 1.25 billion Indians being subjected to indignities by a shameless bunch of foreign-educated and foreign-paid anti-national elements. Unfortunately, their protests get huge publicity abroad, thereby undermining all efforts to raise India’s standing in the world forum.

It can be said with certainty that the well-orchestrated campaign of intolerance was totally malicious in intent. The sole objective was to stall all progressive reforms by tarnishing the image of the government. How else can anti-nationalism be defined? As expected, having dented India’s reputation, sold-out media chose to ignore the true facts as they emerged.

Hundreds of Christians, led by the church leaders, marched in protest on the roads of Delhi against the alleged vandalism of churches and a theft in a Christian school. Routine cases of petty crimes were cited to suggest an anti-minority conspiracy. They ensured extensive coverage of their protests by the foreign and Indian media, thereby damaging India’s secular image. Foreign channels are only too eager to shame India. Unwisely, even Obama got carried away with his uncalled for advice, losing considerable goodwill in India. Reportedly, he said so on the prodding of an Indian leader.

Soldiers and the national symbols: the national flag, the national anthem and the national salutations are representative of a country’s national identity and pride. They symbolize ancient heritage, current challenges and future aspirations. For soldiers, their sanctity is incontestable.

Thousands of soldiers have sacrificed their lives to plant our tricolour on the enemy strongholds, thereby earning the ultimate honour of having their bodies draped in the national flag.

Notes of the national anthem make every soldier get goose pimples. The response is instantaneous and the effect is electrifying. Even in their homes, they stand up with their families when the national anthem is played on TV during Independence/Republic Day ceremonies.

Similarly, national salutations like ‘Hindustan Zindabad’, ‘Jai Hind’ and ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ make adrenalin surge through their bodies. The salutations act as a rallying call to inspire the soldiers for the ultimate sacrifice. All military functions conclude with full-throated renditions of ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’.

Therefore, the current controversy regarding national salutations is highly painful to the soldiers. They fail to understand as to how an Indian can have difficulty in hailing the country. How can ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ be assigned religious overtones.

Finally: history stands testimony to the fact that a nation infested with the virus of treachery, deceitfulness and perfidy has always been an easy prey for foreign subjugation. No one knows this bitter truth better than India. Yet, our leaders, media and intelligentsia keep dis-crediting and harming the country through their seditious utterances and activities. Under the garb of freedom of speech, they support those felonious speakers who vow not to rest till India is destroyed.

When Paris was hit by the terrorist attacks, the whole country gave a unified response. Compare it with our Batla House encounter against Indian Mujahdeen where two terrorists were killed and two arrested. A brave police officer lost his life. Yet, many seditious elements had the impudence to term the encounter to be ‘fake’.

Therefore, the mystery remains unsolved. Why does India continue to produce so many Jaichand and Mir Jafars? Is India a cursed nation or is treachery a part of our DNA? One wonders.

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Sri Lankan Intellectuals Research Exposes Years Of Portuguese Exploits

April 20th, 2016

Chandani Kirinde reports Courtesy Sunday Times


500 years after the arrival of the Portuguese, a group of Sri Lankans has come together to make right what went wrong during those years of colonial occupation.

It is the high point in more than two and half years of tedious and painstaking work for a group of local historians, archaeologists and intellectuals, the end result of which is an international conference on the Portuguese Encounter in Sri Lanka. The conference, to be held on December 10 and 11 will seek to create awareness on this much neglected period of history and make a case for an apology and compensation from the Portuguese for atrocities committed during their nearly 160-year stay in the island.

The 500th anniversary of the arrival of the Portuguese in Sri Lanka fell on November 15, but the day went by almost unnoticed with people too wrapped up in the political changes taking place in the country with a presidential election just two days away. Thus the historical significance of the week was swamped by the present-day political turmoil.

But for a small group of people who have made it their mission to make this particular time in Sri Lanka’s history not become a forgotten cause, the conference, to be held in Colombo next weekend will be only the beginning of a continuous process, which they hope will become an eye-opener to the relevant authorities both in Sri Lanka and Portugal for the need for an admission of, and an apology for the atrocities committed during the period of Portuguese rule in Ceylon.

The idea to put together the Portuguese Encounter Group was the brainchild of Dr. Susantha Goonatilake, who was spurred into initiating such a group after the former United National Front (UNF) government announced in 2002 that it hoped to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the arrival of the Portuguese.

“I have been studying colonial history for over 30 years but it was this announcement that made me take a special interest in the subject. How can we celebrate our own destruction? This is the slavish mentality of some of our leaders going on bended knees to the occupiers,” Dr. Goonatillake said.
And it is this same “slavish mentality” that he hopes the conference will help to banish as almost all other countries that were under foreign occupation have managed to do. “India, Malaysia and even the Philippines have moved ahead of us in this aspect. The fault (in Sri Lanka) lies with the supine products of this period. That is why we have never had a real ruling class in this country unlike in India,” he explained.

The Group has, over the past two years, been conducting extensive research and study into the Portuguese period in Ceylon. They have visited and documented over 50 sites destroyed by the Portuguese from Jaffna to Devundara, from Kotte to Kelaniya and Batticaloa.

“We have studied the historical documentation of these religious places of worship – Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim – that existed in the maritime provinces before the arrival of the Portuguese and compared them during and after the Portuguese left the country by gathering information from all available sources,” Dr. Goonatilake said. The unfortunate truth is that in their overzealous eagerness to convert people to Catholicism, these sites were razed to the ground and churches put up in place of many of them, he says.

Around 50 presentations will be made during the technical sessions of the conference covering various aspects of life in Ceylon before the Portuguese arrived and how things changed during their occupation. ”We want to try and answer several questions like what kind of society existed in Ceylon before 1505, how advanced they were in various fields such as warfare, how people interacted, their marriage customs and how these were influence by the arrival of the Portuguese,” Dr. Goonatilake said.

Another interesting presentation of the conference will be on the “Portuguese jewellery”, much of which now adorns museums across Europe in cities ranging from Lisbon to Vienna to Munich and London. Some of these items were gifted to the Portuguese by the Ceylonese Royalty of that time and others sold to them. It was a time when Ceylon jewellery became a fashion in Europe.

Writings by Portuguese authors clearly illustrate large amounts of valuable gems and jewellery that were taken to Portugal for the pleasure of Queen Catherine of Portugal. In 1551, in a letter to the Queen of Portugal, the Viceroy of Goa- who represented the King of Portugal – wrote, “The Viceroy sends to Your Highness ninety one points of gold and gems, which Doigo Vaz brought from Ceylon and likewise thousand more small rubies and five hundred emeralds and a piece of not having more of those, which your Highness ordered him to send for, and nine marked three ounces of amber and a collar and a bracelet of gold and stones, which the King of Ceylon has sent as a present.”

These were in turn gifted by the Portuguese royalty to other royal families in Europe and now occupy pride of place in museums across these European capitals. Given the controversial as well as sensitive nature of this subject, there are various opinions on how Sri Lanka can find “resolution” for the colonial hangover.

Senaka Weeraratna, another member of the Encounter Group will be presenting three papers at the conference including one on the Portuguese reign of terror against Buddhism, Don Juan Dharmapala – the donation of a kingdom and its legal validity and a claim for compensation from Portugal.

One of Mr. Weeraratna’s papers will examine the precedents set by Dharmapala in transferring his kingdom to a foreign sovereign and its implications in influencing the conduct of the ruling polity of post-independence Sri Lanka.

He will also discuss if Sri Lanka has a tenable claim for compensation based on the principle of international law and contemporary precedence such as the judgments of the Nuremberg war crimes tribunal.

“The compensation does not have to be in terms of money but by way of scholarships or assistance to rebuild what has been destroyed by them and other similar ways,” said Mr.Weeraratna, a lawyer by profession. He also proposes sending a Theravada Buddhist delegation to open a Buddhist Centre in Lisbon.

Courtesy:  Sunday Times 

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