Ethnic Problem was the making
of the British Colonial Rulers, and the Tamil Politicians.
A.J.N.Selladurai's article, " Devolution of power is all that
is required", which appeared in the Sri Lanka Guardian on 6 August,2008,
need no reply as it is only a reflection of his mental hatred and bias
against the Sinhala Buddhists majority. But Sinhala being accused for
all ills in Sri Lanka, it would be interesting to examine why the Sinhala,
because they are the majority is blamed for what they were not responsible.
Any country has a majority, in France there is a French majority, in
England there is an English majority and so forth. In France they speak
French and in England
they speak English but that causes no problems, and it is not considered
dividing a country according to an ethnic line.
The difference in Sri Lank arose due to the fact that it had been a
Colony of many foreign Nations. The Sinhala had always been the majority
in Sri Lanka, and the Sinhala had always been Buddhists, after the coming
of Venerable Mahinda, until Sri Lanka was first conquered and colonised
by the Portuguese in the 16 Century, then the Dutch, in the 17 century,
and last of all the British in the 19th Century.
Due to Sri Lankas geographical situation , there had been incursions
in to Sri Lanka from time immemorial by the Cholas, Pandavas, Pallavas
and Kalingas. A South Indian invader established him self in Anuradhapura
and ruled for a long time. He was disposed of by King Dutugamunu. Subsequent
intrusions were repelled by Valagambahu. Thereafter, it was King Vijayabahu
who chased away later invaders from India, and brought the whole Island
under his rule establishing Polonnaruwa as the Capital.
All that is history. You may accept it as history or reject it. It
is immaterial. It is best leave history in the past without making it
a barrier for progress now. There had been Tamil invaders, and Tamil
settlers who came along with them. However, the Tamils were never the
majority in Sri Lanka. The Sinhala had been the majority all the time.
The minority settlers never even challenged the Sinhala majority, and
lived in peace with each other quite unconcerned who is the majority,
and who is the minority.
The British rule was not a happy period for Sri Lanka. They created
the ethnic difference, by placing the minority Tamils, and the people
from Moor Communities in dominant official positions over the Sinhala.
They did that because they feared an uprising by the majority Sinhala
against the Colonial Rulers, and secondly they could not bring down
large numbers of their own citizens as soldiers, and officers, and therefore
made use of the minorities, and the Moors for the purpose.
The British colonialists prepared themselves for a possible uprising
against them by all communities lead by the Sinhala majority, by taking
the minority ethnic groups into their confidence offering them official
Mr. SWRD Bandaranaike, was preparing to re-establish pre-colonial situation
of Sinhala majority living in peace with their Tamil and Muslim compatriots
as a nation.
removing the ethnic, religious, and the class differences created by
It was in this effort, that interested parties accentuated the ethnic
difference. The Tamil Politicians, like Ponnambalam, Chelvanayagam ,Sundaralingam,
developed a certain Tamil supremacism, which exploded into Tamil racism
against the Sinhala. This Tamil supremacism manifested in their claim
of equal rights for the Tamils. That was the beginning of the ethnic
It is easy to accuse the Sinhala of being supremacists as they are
the majority, but they were neither supremacists, nor racists. The Sinhala
only as the official language claimed by SWRD Bandaranaike was not an
election gimmick. It was his aim to re-establish an independent Sri
Lankan Nation, by giving back to the Sinhala people, who were humiliated
neglected, and stripped of their rights, that which had been taken away
The intention of introducing Sinhala Only was never to " hit"
the Tamils as Mr.Selladurai says. It was interpreted that way by the
ambitious Tamil politicians, who dreamt of separation, contrary to the
unity that the Sinhala wanted.
SWRDBandaranayake may be seen as a nationalist by those who do not
try to understand to what extent our country had been damaged by the
Colonial Rulers, by dividing its people, robbing its treasures, forcing
a foreign culture, a foreign religion, and bringing coolies from India
to work in the plantations. The Colonialists were bent on destroying
the culture and pride of the indigenous people, turning them into a
slavish people under the command of their Colonial masters.
D.S.Senanayake and the rest of the National leaders who fought for
independence, were in a state of mental bondage to the Colonial Rulers,
and did not break away from the culture and the political system they
inherited. SWRD Bandaranayake observing this lethargic state into which
they had fallen, wanted to make the newly won Independence meaningful,
and broke away from the UNP.
SWRD Bandaranaike gave back to the people a national pride, a pride
of being on their own, independent from Colonialism, and their culture.
SWRD Bandaranaike did not pave the way for the ethnic divide. It was
the British colonialists who laid the foundation of the ethnic divide.
It was then fortified and put on a pedestal by the Tamil politicians
who had other agendas.
The Dry Zone of Sri Lanka was once the granary of Sri Lanka. Jaffna
had good schools. They had access to South. If the Tamil Politicians
had, instead of seeking a political break away, worked to develop the
North and the Dry Zone, things would have been different. The successive
governments restricted development to certain areas. In the South too
, areas beyond Galle, such as Tangalla, Matara, Hambantota remain neglected.
It is only now that the Present President has moved to develop the South
of the South.
Devolution of Political power is not the panacea that will solve all
problems. There should be a change of attitudes. The Sinhala Buddhists
do not claim superiority over the Tamils and the Muslims. The Sinhala
people want to live with other communities sharing the common motherland
and its riches, without interfering into each others lives. What would
end the ethnic wide is, not the devolution of power, but the sincere,
and genuine acceptance of being a part of a Nation, without having any
prejudice against each other's ethnic difference.
The Sinhala people live in the South along with the Tamils and Muslims.
The Imbalance of development was not a measure taken purposely to harm
the Tamil or the Muslim people. The successive governments of Sri Lanka
had neglected planned development projects, due to various reasons .
The whole country, is affected by such neglect. It should not be hoisted
to perpetuate an anti Sinhala-Tamil sentiment. In China there are 56
different ethnics, and they live harmoniously, despite foreign interferes
to discredit China, creating dissension within.
The Tamils should stop untiringly throwing insults at the Sinhala,
siting "Mahavamsa mythology" and Mahavamsa mindset. One should
think of the Soldiers dying in numbers, to free Sri Lanka of terrorism,
and bring peace to Sri Lanka for the good of the Sinhala, the Tamils
and the Muslims. They are mostly Sinhala and they are not thinking of
the Mahavamsa Mythology while they are risking their lives for the cause
of the motherland.
Therefore, let us forget all this rantings about the Sinhala Buddhists,
sadness of the black July, the Heroes' Day Speeches, and the homeland
concepts, to grow into being a Great Nation, where we are all brothers
and sisters. We should not forget that those Western Nations who show
concern to us are in reality, moving to benefit from our differences
In Mahinda Rajapakse we have the correct leadership to build our Nation.
Let us stop parading our little differences and join hands forgetting
the past, to build a better future, for ourselves and our children,
for that cannot be done alone as Sinhala, Tamil or Muslim, but as a
one Great Nation Nation of Sri Lankans.