Tamil Homeland

Myth: Northern and Eastern Provinces are the Traditional Tamil Homeland

Relity: There is no Tamil Homeland in any part of this island.

Northern and Eastern Provinces were administrative divisions initially created by the British. The criteria for demarcating these provinces were

1. Easy access from the coast.
2. Administrative convenience
3. Cartographic convenience (Southwestern border of Eastern Province)

Thus we have several long and parallel-to-the-sea provinces. Subsequently, the borders of these provinces were changed several times by the post-Independence Sri Lankan governments for various administrative reasons. There is no record by anyone anywhere to claim that the British were demarcating a Tamil Homeland when drawing the boundaries of Northern and Eastern Provinces.

Thus it is extremely insensible and unthoughtful for the Tamil ethnonationlists, this include even known Tamil academics (e.g. S.J. Tambiah, A.J. Wilson and S. Arasartnam) and lesser known academics (e.g. C. Manogaran) and self-appointed "academics" (e.g. Satchi Ponnambalam), not to mention all the Tamil politicians and of course LTTE to accept the administrative boundaries as that of Tamil homeland. The Tamils ethnonationalists must be eternally grateful to the British colonial masters for their visionary favour!

For a geographical area to be a defined as a homeland of a particular group of people certain prerequisites must be met.

1. A distinct civilization must have emerged from that region.
2. The existence of a politically autonomous entity over a significant length of time.
3. A long continued habitation by the same people
4. The concept of a homeland must have historically evolved in the minds of the people.
5 The cultural landscape must reflect the culture of the people All these should have objectively acceptable credible evidence.

The areas of Northern and Eastern Provinces do not satisfy any of these prerequisites and Jaffna peninsula which is predominantly inhabited by the Tamils are most numerous satisfies only the last of the above conditions. (Tamilnadu of course satisfy all these conditions). Thus it is not only factually incorrect but also a disgrace for the Tamils to consider a piece of earth that does not satisfy the above requirements as Tamil homeland. On this basis anyplace with a sizable Tamil population can become a Tamil homeland!

Myth: Sinhala Buddhist civilization did not extend to Northern and Eastern Provinces where a Tamil civilization existed.

Reality: No distinctive Tamil civilization existed in any part of the island but the Sinhala Buddhist civilization spread all over the island.

First of all, the present distribution of Tamils (the maximum spatial spread of Tamils in the history in the island) in the Northern and Eastern Provinces is limited to a few definite areas. This includes Jaffna Peninsula and the adjacent lands in the mainland, Batticaloa and the vicinity and a few littoral areas in Trincomallee. Thus to say that the entire Northern and Eastern Provinces came under a Tamil civilization is nothing but a blatant lie.

Second, the toponymy (place names) in the Tamil areas indicate that most of the current place names are Tamil translations of the original Sinhalese names. Third, there are over 600 ancient Buddhist shrines big and small distributed all over the Northern and Eastern Provinces. Archaeology Department has identified them on the ground and mapped them. However the civiliztion-cleansing and cultural-cleansing programs which TULF started and perfected by the LTTE have almost totally destroyed the evidences of most of these ancient shrines.

Fourth, in spite of these sacrilegious activities of the Tamil extremists, a large number of scared Buddhist places of worship (e.g. Nagadipa, Seruwila, Dighawapi) remain in these two provinces. Fifth, many a evidences of Sinhalese-Buddhist hydraulic civilization is abound in these two provinces. There are numerous stone inscriptions of Sinhalese-Buddhist kings are found in these two provinces. Sixth, the official records and communications of Portuguese, Dutch and English amply prove that these two provinces remained under the suzerainty of the Sinhalese Kings.

It is only in the 12th century that permanent Tamil settlements emerged in Jaffna and thereafter Hindu Tamil culture has spread outward. But it did not create a distinctive and a unique Tamil-Hindu civilization distinctly different from that of Tamil Nadu as the Sinhalese did.

Tamil People

Myth: All Tamils supports Eelam

Reality: All Tamils do not support Eelam

Yes, all LTTE supporters and sympathizers here and abroad support Eelam. Some of the Tamil people who have been treated brutally by the LTTE and other Tamil terrorist organizations that have supposedly entered into democratic politics oppose Eelam. Some of the former terrorist organizations now with representatives in the Parliament and support the government openly opposing Eelam.

Another group of Tamils specially the middle class and wealthy also oppose Eelam as their livelihood is totally dependent on the country at large and among the Sinhalese and not on an exclusively Tamil Eelam. Further they fear that if Eelam is ever realized that they would be the first to loose as it might compel them to leave their present jobs and status and settle inside Eelam. More than anything else they fear to live under LTTE which is authoritarian, undemocratic, brutal, unpredictable and intolerant of traditions of Hindu culture and society. The number of Tamils killed by the LTTE (a rough estimate is around 4000) is far greater than those who died as a result of the war. Those Tamils whose children were forcibly conscripted or abducted by the LTTE to fight for Eelam. A large number of Tamils in the East also opposes Eelam.

Unfortunately, those Tamils who have left for greener pastures, including academics, who live comfortable lives in Western Capitals extend unreserved support to Eelam and thus LTTE. Obviously, they may be trying to pay in dollars for the guilt of enjoying western standard of living while their brethrens are suffering under brutality of LTTE. A large number of Tamils have refugees as a result of LTTE attacks and strategy.

One of the sorry ironies in this saga is the support extended by Tamil political parties to Eelam and LTTE. What this means in real terms is nothing but endorsing and legitimizing terrorism, assassinations, destruction, and all the miseries directed against not only the Sinhalese but also the Tamils themselves. The Tamil political parties in Sri Lanka thus become unique in the world as representatives who assures not the welfare of their people but their destruction.

Myth: All Tamil speaking people supports Eelam
Reality: Tamil speaking Muslims oppose Eelam

The concept of a "Tamil speaking people" was devised as a strategy by the early Tamil political parties e.g. Illankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (Lanka Tamil State Party erroneously translated as Federal Party) to co-opt Muslims into Tamil political strategy of separation. However, Muslims realizing the covert intention of the Tamil political parties and subsequently the Tamil terrorist movements, disassociated with this concept and rejected Eelam altogether. Muslims have openly declared that they do not want to become a minority within a minority. The fate of the Muslims at the hands of the LTTE has galvanized the Muslims to openly oppose Eelam and LTTE. The Muslims fearing the extremist Tamil claim of homeland, have resorted to demand the southern Eastern Proavince as a Muslim region pausing a direct challenge to Tamil homeland.

Myth: Tamils are one of the two majority communities in Sri Lanka.
Reality: Tamils are a minority in Sri Lanka.

Tamils in Sri Lanka considered them to be one of the two majority communities (other being the Sinhalese) under British dominance. The British themselves nurtured this position for their own reasons during the colonial rule. Thus the Tamils elites were reluctant to accept that they were a minority in Sri Lanka. They then cultivated this mentality among the ordinary Tamils as well. They tried all tricks in the bag to artificially remain a majority. First by opposing universal adult franchise and second by demanding 50% of the seats in the Parliament for the minorities they tried to cling on to the artificial majority status they enjoyed under British. The British at the time, however, rejected this by arguing that any artificial measure to reduce a majority to a minority and eleveate a minority to majority is bound to fail. The pathological inability of the Tamils to accept the fact that they are a minority was expressed by the dictum proposed by S.J. Tambiah -a Tamil academic living in the West, as a "minority with a parity claim".

Tamils are and will be a minority under the democratic system in Sri Lanka. This is not the fault or a conspiracy of the Sinhalese. It is the plain fact. In fact current fate of the ordinary Tamils in this country at large and in Jaffna and the East in particular is a result of the continuing inability of their extremist political leaders to accept the fact and the reality that they are a minority. When the parity cannot be achieved through democracy, the Tamil leaders have resorted to violence and terrorism. What a leadership!


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