“Inability to understand the language spoken by each other is the main reason for creating distance” says Minister Alahapperuma
Posted on September 15th, 2011

By Janaka Alahapperuma

 Dallas Alahapperuma, Minister of Youth Affairs and Skills Development said that inability to understand the language spoken by each other is the main reason for creating distance between different communities in Sri Lanka. It is an obstacle for peace among Sinhalese and Tamils as well. Minister Alahapperuma made these remarks when he met rehabilitated Tamil Tiger combatants at Sanath Jayasuriya Grounds in Matara, Southern Province of Sri Lanka yesterday evening. While taking part in the meeting of the friendship tour titled as “ƒ”¹…”Talruppawen Polruppawata- Palmyra Garden to Coconut Garden’ held in Matara, Minister said the time has come to re-attach the broken hearts of the people of North and South. Minister also had cordial discussions and dinner with the ex-combatants.
Minister Alahapperuma further stated that President Rajapaksa’s concept of rehabilitation instead of attack and as well as friendship instead of hatred helped to bring much needed peace and end to the brutal terrorism that prevailed for more than three decades. Five hundred (500) ex-LTTE cadres who were rehabilitated in rehabilitation centres of North and East participated the event. More than three hundred youths from the South also joined with ex-combatants to help and assist them while they were in the South. This programme also guided the youths came from the North to build up the friendship and brotherhood with their counterparts in the South. A special musical show has been organized for them to enjoy at the Sanath Jayasuriya Grounds in Matara.
Eleven thousand (11,000) of ex Tamil Tiger terrorist combatants, those who were captured, surrendered or identified as to be rehabilitated, kept in the rehabilitation centres. Only 2,700 LTTE members are to be rehabilitated and they are still remaining in the centres. Rest of them has been released to the society to live peacefully after undergone successful rehabilitation. The tour “ƒ”¹…”Talruppawen- Polruppawata’ has been organised on a request made by the remaining youth in the rehabilitation centre. A group of 500 former LTTE cadres left Omanthai railway station, Vavuniya on a weeklong trip after multi-religious observances to embark on the friendship journey to the South in the Rajarata Regina train. It was organized as part of the final phase of their rehabilitation programme at the Vavuniya rehabilitation camp.
A special ceremony was organized to welcome them at the Fort Railway station. Speaking at the occasion Minister of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms, Chandrasiri Gajadeera said the group of rehabilitated Tamil youths received a warm welcome at every city of south. It helps to create foundation for the ethnic harmony. The Minister also pointed out the tour helped to enlighten them on how friendly are the people in south and also intended to make them aware of living in a united country. Parliamentarian A.H.M. Azwar, Army and government officials were present at the Colombo Fort Railway Station to greet them.
Most of those in the rehabilitation camps have not been to other parts of the country or even stepped on a train. Many of them have not spoken to a Sinhalese apart from Army officials in the camps. The youth who participated in the tour reiterated that they are enjoying the prevailing peace in the country. They also thanked President Rajapaksa for giving this opportunity and a brighter future for their lives.
The tour is jointly organized by the Ministry of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms and the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Skills Development. Sri Lanka Army, National Youth Centre and several institutions also have contributed for the success of the tour.

6 Responses to ““Inability to understand the language spoken by each other is the main reason for creating distance” says Minister Alahapperuma”

  1. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    It has been the proud privilege of the Sri Lankans to live in harmony with one another. That has been the basis of Sri Lanka’s culture from the days of Asoka, 2300 years ago. This has been repeatedly declared and practised.

    Impermanence is the basis of Buddha’s teachings and because of this Buddhists cannot ill-treat or discriminate against a fellow human being. A Buddhist is expected to do no harm even to an ant. Buddhist culture does not support discrimination and violence. The Tamils and the Sinhala speaking Sri Lankans are very closely united culturally. Language will not become a subject of racist division in few years if all Sri Lankan children learn Sinhala and Tamil. Let us endeavour to rebuild the brotherhood that once existed between the Sinhala and Tamil speaking Sri Lankans. It is the only way forward to usher in peace and prosperity once more to this beautiful country of ours that has been torn apart by war and strife.

  2. Lorenzo Says:

    No. This is not the main reason.

    Tamil separatism is older than 1956.

    All the TNA MPs are fluent in Sinhala and Prabakaran was fluent in Sinhala too. Language was not the problem.

    As long as they benefit (free education, free entertainment) most Tamils remain cooperative. But on every election day they turn to hardcore racists. This is the problem. It has nothing to do with the language.

    Teach everyone English and they can communicate with each other but even that will not stop the problem because even then most Tamils in the north will still become hardcore racists on the election day.

  3. andylingam Says:

    Ref:All the TNA MPs are fluent in Sinhala and Prabakaran was fluent in Sinhala too
    Not agreed Lorenzo , example Last TNA meeting with president almost all TNA MP had ear phone , No, VP can not speak any word of sinhala.
    agreed Tamil separatism is older than 1956 but it can be sort by this language probml.
    I do not agree like Nalliah Thayabharan all shinhalese should learn Tamil ( half of then never meet a single Tamil in his life – so no point on learning ) ofcause if they learn that is advandage for jops.
    but All Tamil should learn Sinhala(m) & Bhuddisham ! it does not mean you forget Tamil or Saivam.

    Eample: if every person in jaffna know sinhala , they simple communicate with sinhala forces in polide way ( eg:Puththa abey yannda puluvan ) than you will see real Bhuddist army who liberaty Vani from LTTE lost atleast 7000 in last battle !

  4. nandimitra Says:

    There has been 3 uprisings in SL. 2 sinhalese and 1 tamil. The cause is poor governance and lack f accountability on the part of politicians. To blame the language is side stepping the issue. The disease is on going and there does not seam to be any solution in the near future

  5. Fran Diaz Says:

    No, it is not a language issue as such, though language does contribute to lack of proper communication. It was the Exodus of Tamil people to Sri Lanka during the Duth & British periods, a massive number of some one & a half Million people,(see Dilrook Kannangara’s article to this website recently on this subject), that contributed to Tamil people feeling as a separate group, and they have not been given sufficient time to integrate fully into society in Sri Lanka due to various reasons, mostly Caste issues among themselves, and partly due to language. Jaffna separatist politics have contributed largely to a feeling of separatism.

    Whilst Buddhism & Hinduism have much common ground, and culture in food, clothing, etc. have common ground, the separatist ideas have been fostered by Tamil leaders for a long time, since 1930s or even earlier. It THIS SEPARATIST IDEA THAT IS THE GREATEST DIVIDING FACTOR.

    The separation ‘disease’ started in Tamil Nadu, as did the Caste Issues. The separation ‘disease’ ended when Indian PM Nehru prohibited separation by Law. But, both negativities have been transferred to Sri Lanka, this time with foreign interference on the separatist issue. Till Tamil citizens of Sri Lanka think for themselves (as opposed to listening to separatist ideas from their Tamil leaders) become truly Sri Lankan, and realise that their home is indeed in Sri Lanka, nothing much will change.

    Tamil Nadu politics have a significant bearing on the Tamil leaders of Sri Lanka. In time, Tamil leaders too will realise that the food they eat, the shelter they live in, and the schools their children attend free of charge, and the hospitals they go to when sick – free of charge, all come from Sri Lanka and not from Tamil Nadu.
    We agree that English as the link language is the way to go.
    Time will heal all wounds.

  6. Fran Diaz Says:

    Nandimitra : Rather than saying that there were 2 Sinhala & 1 Tamil uprisings in Sri Lanka, it would be more accurate to say that there were 2 uprisings by the JVP and 1 by the LTTE.
    Re the JVP uprisings, please take into account that by the 1970s, we had a mere 20 plus years of Independence after 500 yrs of Colonial rule during which period the entire rural sector, both Sinhala & Tamil, were neglected. Also the transition into a Democracy, which form of government the people seem to be still getting used to. Consider too the westernisation of the politicians here which led to a new divide between the rulers and the rural people.

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