How many nations are there in this country?
Posted on November 9th, 2011

Dr. Sudath Gunasekara:ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  President Senior Citizens movement Mahanuwara. 9.11.2011.

This has been a very big puzzle for me for quite some time. I have no doubt that majority of you who read this note might have had the same problem.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  This is mainly because vey often people who mater in society, when they speak at public forum use to say ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”me rate Siyaluma jatintaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ meaning all nations in this country. What baffle and confuse me is the question as to how many nations are there in this country. Because I always thought there is only one Nation in this country. You would have heard and noticed this lose utterance over the TV, Radio the press, at public meetings and even at private conversations. I have seen this happening very often. Our politicians starting from the President, Prime Minister downwards, academia in universities including even some professors of Sinhala and History, few religious dignitaries, some so-called intellectuals who have got disoriented or brain washed in the course of their political and ideological transformations and many more go on uttering these lose words repeatedly like parrots most probably without knowing the seriousness of the damage they to the Nation that is Sri Lankan. In my opinion politicians who woo for minority votes to come to power, people who do not have that spiritual sentiment that infuse the sense of nationality andƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  those who do not have a proper Jatakaya (birth) are the people who indulge in such nonsense. Of course those who really do not know the actual meaning also may use it. But they could be corrected where as the other categories cannot.

When all these big shots either driven by their personal agendas or in their ignorance of the real long term implications go on repeating it like parrots, minorities also begin to think they are separate nations. The most dangerous thing about this trend is the psychological transformation of the perception and attitude of the people that would settle down permanently in their minds and become irreversible. In this instance I would like to draw a parallel between the division of the Sinhala people living in the hills and the lowlands in to two rival groups as Kandyans and low country Sinhalese by the British. Until then they were one nation. But since then these artificially created two groups behaved as if they were two different nations and at the early stages of agitation for constitutional reforms in the 19th century they even asked for two separate federal states. Thanks to the fact they all belong to one race, speak the same language, professed the same religion and have common roots the differences were patched up and went back to square one. As such why canƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t this band of ignoramus understand that this country, like most other countries in the world has only ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-One NationƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢? The funniest thing is at the same time these very people talk, of one nation, some times in the course of the same speech. ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ They say jati bhedayak neti ekama jatiyak. So it is no wonder that the ordinary people get confused and also begin to think that this country has more than one nation. The situation is made even worse when top Politicians from high flat forms describe this country as a multinational society. Minority communal elements meanwhile make the maximum use of his confusion. It is like the famous panina rilawunta iniman bendeema.

As for me from my small days I thought we have only one nation in this country. That was how the teachers of our day have taught us in school. According to them we are called the Sinahala nation and the country Sinhale, meaning the land of the Sinhala people. They also told us that that could be either because we descend from Vijaya (a man from the Sinha race whose father Sinhabahu is said to have killed the lion father) ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ who is supposed to have found this nation or because we descend from the Sivhela namely, yaksha, Raksha, Deva and Naga who had been living in this Island long before Vijaya arrived in the 6th century BC. Since this Islandhad been known as Lanka or Lankadeepa or Lanka dvipa (the resplendent Isle) even from the time of legendary Ravana we were also called Lankan or Lankika Jatiya, meaning those who were born in Lanka. They also taught us that meanwhile there had been South Indian Tamil invaders, starting from 2nd century BC, who had been trying to capture this country from time to time. But every time they attempted to do so they were defeated and the Sinhala Kings ruled this country continuously until 1815 when the British conquered it by deceit.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Those invaders who were left behind from very early times got absorbed and integrated to the main stream and became Lankans or Sinhala people while some of them retained their religion and culture. Also in between there were others especially the Arab traders who came from time to time in small numbers, not as invaders but as traders who were later known as Muslims going by their religion. Most of them got married to local Sinhala women and even took Sinhala ge names and lived among the Sinhala people. But all these men got absorbed in to the main stream while retaining their religious identity only. In addition to the language of the country, that is Sinhala, they also spoke Tamil. This may be due to the fact that most of them came from southIndia and also they did business with both local and Indian Tamils across the sea.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  But the important thing to note here is that almost all these people, both Tamils and Muslims knew the language of the Land. So, even today nearly 95 % of the population in this country is conversant in Sinhala. The estate Tamils who were brought by the British after 1840s, even though they were deliberately kept separated from the local as a community also learnt Sinhala as they came in contact with the neighbouring Sinhala villages. ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ So if you take the language as the dominant factor that unifies a nation, in this case Sinhala, what is the other name by which you should name this country? See our immediate neighbour India, then countries like Thailand, Japan, China, Korea, Russia, Germany, France, Italy, Greece, Spain and England to name only a few. All these countries are named after the dominant language spoken in those countries.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ It is only at the Donoghmore reforms the Tamil politicians tried to establish a separate identity. With the growth of Tamil communal politics they assumed a ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Tamil NationalƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ attitude and Tamil nationalism emerged which in later years tried to assert as a separate nation within this country. No wonder these minions behave like goliaths when there are no statesmen of stature to draw the line and tell everybody that this country has only one nation and those who talk of many nations will be charged for treason or deported to their original places.

Although the idea of nationality is difficult to define the term nation in modern society is generally used to describe a community of race and language, geographic unity, community of religion, common political aspiration and, above all,ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  historical development over a long time. This is of course not universal. But however it is essentially a sentiment of unity, spiritual in character and the will of a people to live together as Laski put it. The unity is the outcome of a common history. The Sinhala people even in this context had been a nation at least from the 6th century BC in this country. Even the four groups who lived here previously got identified as one nation as Sivhela or Sinhala. That is why the land was called Sinhale meaning the land of the Sivhela or Sinhala. With the introduction of Buddhism in 307 BC they became Buddhists and ever remained as ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”The Sinhala Buddhist NationƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ in this country. With all the vicissitudes of history even in 1815 more than 90 % of the people in this country came within this category.

The other thing is Tamils have a motherland in southIndiaand Muslims a motherland in Arabia where as the Sinhalese have only thisIslandas heir motherland. This was indeed their only motherland from the dawn of history. Thousands of archaeological, epigraphical and literary evidence often running even to prehistoric times spread over the entire length and breadth of this country bear enough evidence to this conclusion that has been proved beyond all doubts. Therefore it is irreputable.

In this historical backdrop Tamils, Muslims and any other minor ethnic group in this country that forms a part of the Sri Lanka nation or the Sinhala nation is only an integral part of the ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”Nation Lankan or SinhalaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ as this country had been known as the land of the Sinhala people right through out in history. No man or woman can contradict it unless he or she is an incurable lunatic. Therefore at least now these minority ethnic groups should understand their limitations andƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  due role within the Lankan nation, and concede to this historical reality and learn to live with the major community without running to America, India and other countries asking to tame the Sinhala nation and thereby creating unwanted problems for us as well as for themselves. I am positive that the big majority, who are sensible, are prepared to do so. For those who are not prepared to concede to this irrefutable reality, I think, it is high time that they should renounce their craving for this day dream and go back to their own motherlands without trying to dream of a motherland on somebody elseƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s country and claiming illegal ownership of someone elseƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s soil by going round the world just denigrating our country.

On the part of our politicians I think it is high time that first they should rise above petty party politics and assert and behave as statesmen and write this provision in to the Constitution of this country and declare that anyone agitating, behaving or instigating, aiding and abetting others to talk, act or behave as separate nations or agitate for separation, contravening the law of the land, shall be charged for high treason.

33 Responses to “How many nations are there in this country?”

  1. nayomi Says:

    Good article. Intelligent analysis. Excellent.

  2. dhane Says:

    Its very long time over due provision to add into our Constitution Sri Lanka anyone agitating, behaving, instigating, aiding and abetting others to talk, act, behave as separate nations, agitate for separation, contravening the law of the land, shall be charged for high treason. Hope MR will intriduced this amemdment very soon before to late.

  3. geoff Says:

    Its very long time over due provision to add into our Constitution Sri Lanka anyone agitating, behaving, instigating, aiding and abetting others to talk, act, behave as separate nations, agitate for separation, contravening the law of the land, shall be charged for high treason.

    Wow! Good one.

    No need to change this. Have it as law as it is.

  4. Rohan8 Says:

    Good article and analysis.

  5. nilwala Says:

    It is imperative that the Constitution carries a clear statement to reject separatism and the fostering of territorially divisive politics as being unlawful.

    Much of this problem has stemmed from the use of the Sinhala word “Jathiya” that can mean “types” or “sorts” in common usage, but assumes complexity and nuance when used to include country, race, caste, creed, etc., both separately or collectively, Yet, it specifically means country when used in the sense of the English term “nation”and its adjectival form “national”. It is these semantic differences in the use of the Sinhala v. English terminology that have brought confusion.

  6. hela puwath Says:

    Dr. Glunasekera,
    Excellent article. Wish you and others would write more often, clearly explaining the conflict in the use of “jathiya” and “nation” in Sinhela and English. As you say the name of our country is “Sinhale`” (Sinhalay) as was stated in the Kandyan convention – even by the British. Well after independance from the British our leaders made a grave mistake of mis-naming our country “Sri Lanka”. This is a grave injustice done to the Sinhela people, no different from declairing them “stateless”.

    You correctly state:
    “So if you take the language as the dominant factor that unifies a nation, in this case Sinhala, what is the other name by which you should name this country? … Thailand, Japan, China, Korea, Russia, Germany, France, Italy, Greece, Spain and England to name only a few.
    All these countries are named after the dominant language spoken in those countries.”

    We clearly have no “statesman of stature”

  7. Voice123 Says:

    @Ahmed, good point however you are also accepting the Sinhalese self-delusion of Indian origin. This is a dangerous and outdated myth that we would all do well to accept as merely an interesting myth. This myth may have had some original truth, eg a migrant called Vijaya and his friends came in one boatload from India. One boatload does not make a nation. The myth would have been adopted by certain groups to align themselves with powerful interests in the ancient world, for self preservation. The risk to us today is that if we continue to perpetuate these myths, the Hindis and Indians will use this to enslave us all as one of their “low castes” and tell the rest of the word that we are part of their business and nobody else can have direct dealings with us. (I know Hindis and Indians better than most Sri Lankans as I spent most of my life growing up with them, studying their various complexes). Total independence under a united identity – very good but under a “Sinhala” identity – very foolish. The author quotes countries like Spain, Thailand etc. Why do we want to make the same mistakes they did? Spain has a bloody history of ethno-religious nationalism. Just ask the Spanish Jews/Muslims/Basques etc. Portugal broke away from Spain because they were not tolerated. Today Portugal is recognised as a different language and culture. Thailand has minorities, the hill people the Malays of the south, Mon Khmyer speaking people etc, none of whom speak Thai as their first language. There are ethnic tensions in parts of Thailand too. Sinhala is a language that has evolved over centuries and bears some similarities to some Indian dialects. Not all countries are like Thailand or Spain. (Countries like Nepal, Switzerland, Indonesia etc have more more plural identities within one national identity). Sinhala does not signify an ethnic group or a nation. The original people of the island known as Sri Lanka were indigenous tribes of Veddhas, Yakkhas, Nagas, etc. One may ask where are the descendents of these people today? Some would say they are extinct or a handful living in a forest. If you shed your blinkers, the reality is that the descendents of these people are in 90 percent of all Sri Lankans, especially through the maternal lineage, whether they are today labelled as Sinhalese, Tamils, Moors, Burghers etc or however we name or label ourselves. Lets shed ourselves of the bondage to Indians and see myth as myth and unify as Sri Lankans first, free of chauvanism or unjust sectarian divisions. We should set up an institute to revive ancient pre-Sinhala languages of Sri Lankan like Veddha, Yakka etc, which are uniquely Sri Lankan and adopt these as symbolically the national languages, along with the imported languages of Tamil and English and the heavily Indian-influenced Sinhala language.
    @ Sarath asks why Sri Lankans left north and east? History tells us that South Indians kingdoms invaded and set up vassal states that ethnically cleansed some Sri Lankans, forced the remaining ones to adopt Tamil language under duress (descendants known as “Ceylon Tamils”), and enslaved others. Others fled to the south (today known as “Sinhala”).

  8. jimmy Says:

    what a great article for the minority thugs in the country
    It is not a good article for Patriot Srilankans who want to live as Srilankans not as sinhalese or Muslims or tamils or bergers or malays
    Why I see racist articles written mostly by Doctors and Professors ?

    If you want to write please write something good which will unite the country not to divide

    write about unemployment, housing , Economic issues facing the country
    Instead of that people are writing things which does not benefit the country but divide the country

    Government should pass Law (a) for every one to respect Srilankan national anthem flag respect Budhisim a great religion
    (b) Government should create Psychiatric clinics and councelling for every one in the island from North to South every where. It should be mandatory for every one. 60 years of hatred will never ever go easily
    Unity, respect other race and faith should be taught to every one regardless educated PHDs like this author or not

    (c) Government should create LAW like western nations when ANy one write or speak againt another race cultcure , religion or against the country they should be sued . Take these monsters to cleaners

    I know silent majority in Srilanka does not represent views of Dr Sudath

    Dr may be a wonderful humanbeing with a very wrong ideology

  9. Dilrook Says:

    Dr. Sudath Gunasekara

    Thank you for an enlightening article.

    The name of this island was Sinhale. Fa hein (considered the first Chinese envoy to the island) states that in 1AD and even the British use that in 1815. So there is absolutely no doubt the name of this country and its people was Sinhale. This is consistent with other countries.

    e.g. Thailand’s people are Thai, England’s people are English, Japan’s people are Japanese, China’s people are Chinese, Spain’s people are Spanish, Russia’s people are Russian, etc.

    Why this stupid exception in Sri Lanka?

    It has something to do with the Vijaya story as well. Sinhalese did not come from Vijaya and his crowd. They were only 701 and there were possibly hundreds of thousands if not millions of people already living in the country. The 701 Bengali crowd had 701 South Indian (Tamil?) wives so the south Indian (Tamil?) population percentage remained unchanged by Vijaya’s arrival!

    Vijaya arrived in 543BC but Mahabharata talks about Sinhalas as natives and rulers of the island of Lanka way back in 1100BC. Mahabharata events and exaggerations are not scientific but the fact that Sinhals were natives and rulers of the island of Lanka cannot have been created out of nothing. It can only be so because it was a well known fact.

    Lanka is the name North Indians gave this island. Similarly the Greek, Romans, Persians, Arabs, etc. called it by other names. It does not matter. What matters is the name it was known politically (Sinhale).

    Even words like Serendib derived from Silan Div = Sinhala island. The only names that has no mention of the Sinhalas are Taprobane and Lanka. Why on earth did the leaders in 1948 adopted such an irrelevant name? Were they thinking of tourism industry ahead of national interest? Probably there was Indian influence.

    Nothing of that is bad for minorities. Minorities (and the majority) should live in a country as part of the nation not as a part of alien nations (Tamil Nadu, Arabia, Malaysia, Holland, England, Portugal).

    No one should be allowed to create mini Tamil Nadus, mini Arabias, mini Malaysias or mini Europes here.

  10. Dilrook Says:

    However, the following statements are wrong.

    Quote: Those invaders who were left behind from very early times got absorbed and integrated to the main stream and became Lankans or Sinhala people while some of them retained their religion and culture. Unquote

    There were “Lankans” at that time! So they became Sinhala. And they didn’t retain their religion and culutre. There is no evidence to support that. They accepted the Sinhala culture and became Buddhists while bringing their rich cultural and religious practices into Sinhala Buddhism. This was normal those days and that’s how it was everywhere in the world. Faced with constant threats from Tamil south India, it was essential to differentiate friend from foe. After battles, only a very few invaders survived. They didn’t have the numbers to retain the culture/religion until the 14th century. Europeans invaded in the early 16th century.

    Quote: Also in between there were others especially the Arab traders who came from time to time in small numbers, not as invaders but as traders who were later known as Muslims going by their religion. Most of them got married to local Sinhala women and even took Sinhala ge names and lived among the Sinhala people. But all these men got absorbed in to the main stream while retaining their religious identity only. Unquote.

    There were 3 main types. Arab traders were very few in number and infrequent and married Sinhala women and they all became Sinhala Buddhists. They didn’t have the numbers to retain their seperate Arabic or Muslim identity.

    Malays arrived mostly with their families and as a result retained their identity.

    Other Muslims of this country are south Indian Muslims. They arrived after the 14th century in large numbers along with other south Indians and married (south Indian) Tamil women. That’s how Muslims became fluent in Tamil. Numbers were high allowing them to retain their identity.

    Sinhala was the only culture this island had until the european invasion and Sinhala is a mix of local, North Indian, Arabic, South Indian, Chinese, Malay, Greek, etc, cultures.

    e.g. Sinhala new year Sinhala sweets include Aluwa = Halva (Arabic food), Kokis = cookies (european food), Mung Kavum = kolukatta (south Indian food)

    So in the past every foreign (EMPHASISED – foreign) cultural elements in the island (south Indian, Arabic, Malay, European, Chinese, etc.) stayed within the Sinhala overraching culture. Attempts to create mini Tamil nadus, mini Arabias, mini Malaysias were not tolerated. That is the way ahead.

    That’s how in the past there were no many nationalities/nations.

    We should not end up like India, Yugoslavia, Soviet Union, Quebec which were never nations before 1917/1947/1900. We should be like anyother nation that was in existence before European conquest because that’s the category we belong to. That is the success of very peaceful countries (than India, Yugoslavia, Soviet Union) like Australia, England, Japan, etc.

  11. Dilrook Says:

    People of all ethnicities are equal Sri Lankans as long as they accept Sri Lankan values and Sri Lankan constitution. More the ethnicities, the better.


    You are entitled to your own opinion. Here is mine. You don’t have to buy it. Ultimately the majority view or the views of the military victors prevails and things get done according to that view. It is a historical fact.

    e.g. Mulaitivu 2009 victory was very heavily inspired by what majority Sri Lankans believed in history – a military solution based on the historical version they believed in (historically Sinhala majority armies wiped out the enemies of the nation) and therefore it is doable even today. Most Tamils disagreed. They are entitled to their respectable views. But they are not (emphasised) entitled to execute their views. I hope you understand the difference. You only have the right to hold or express your views. You have no right to put those views into action unless the law and most others agree.

    1. What was the language of the original inhabitants Yaksha, Raksha, Deva and Naga in this island.

    Elu = Sinhale

    It is the same thing for other nations that existed then. China = Chinese, Egypt = Egyptian, Greece = Greek, Persia = Persian, Rome = Roman, Arabia = Arabic

    This country was no exception.

    2. Since which year Sinhala speaking people lives in this island.

    Since pre-historical times.

    3. Since which year Tamil speaking people (Tamils and Muslims) lives in this island.

    The Muslim religion was invested only in the 6 century AD. So there is absolutely no way there were any Muslims before that. Based on historical evidence Muslim culture in Sri Lanka started a few hundred years ago.

    Dravidian speaking people lived in the island since pre-historic times. However, they took up the Sinhala language which is normal.

    e.g. Tamils who are born in UK, Australia, Canada, etc. speak in English in addition to whatever other languages they use.

    Same thing in ancient Sri Lanka.

    4. Was there any period Sinhala speaking people lived in the Northern and Eastern regions in majority. If so, when and why they moved from the North east?

    Yes. They were the majority in the north and the east until the mid 17th century. At the time Portuguese captured Jaffna from a Tamil king who was appointed by the Portuguese, the jaffna kingdom had a Sinhala only cabinet (not appointed by the Portuguese) and a Sinhala army commander (Athapaththu?). Nallur convetion was written in Sinhalese and Portuguese languages (Spiritual and Temporal Conquest of Ceylon).

    The name “Jaffna” came from the Sinhala word Yapane.

    y = j (local to Portuguese and vise versa)
    p = f (local to Portuguese and vise versa)

    yapane = japane = jafane = jaffna

    In that book written during that time, the writer (a Catholic priest) uses some of these names interchangeably.

    It was never known as Yarlpanam by those who lived there. If it was the name then, Portuguese would have turned it into Jalfnam with an additional “L” and a “M”.

    Portuguese and especially the Dutch followed a divide and rule concept. They subjugated the Sinhalese by bringing people they called and treated as “slaves” from South India.

    Once again this happened in many other countries too.

    e.g. South Africa, Fiji, Malaysia, Murutius, West Indies

    Flourishing tobacco industry in Jaffna needed tens of thousands of workers. Locals refused to work in these plantations as they saw no use of tobacco, tea, cocoa. So more and more south Indians were brought into the island. It also helped their divide and rule concept. Sinhalese were outnumbered. Some left the area. Some became Tamil.

    Today upcountry Tamils and Muslims are taking up the Sinhala culture which is very promising. They should be given special privileges for doing so. Colombo Tamils are also taking up Sinhala. Eastern Tamils are slowly getting accustomed to Sinhala. They have to given the fact that they must interact with Sinhalese daily. Northern Tamils are also begining to slowly uptake the Sinhala culture. Sinhala television program are (relatively) getting extremely popular among Jaffna people, I hear. They say it is “adictive”. I cannot understand why the government took so long to reinstall the Kokavil transmission station. Fools.

    Once again this is normal. A Tamil woman by the name Rukmani Devi became a landmark icon of the most powerful Sinhala cultural revival media following independance. Similarly a Muslim by the name Mohideen Beig became the symbol of Buddhist popular cultural revival in post indepedence era.

    Had they tried to create a mini Tamil Nadu or a mini Arabia here, they may not have survived to act or sing!

  12. Dilrook Says:

    The oldest mosque in the island is the Kachchimalai Mosque in Beruwala. A beautiful place.

    There is no evidence of it before the 13th century. That too is not based on concrete evidence unlike older places of worship.

    It was not built by Arabs. It is a wrong belief. It was built by South Indians, mostly Tamil Muslims. There is absolutely no chance of a place by the name Kachchimalai in Beruwala! It is a Tamil name. There were no Tamils in Beruwala at that time. The only way it got a Tamil name was by Tamils, not Arabs who arrived at the place naming it as such.

    13th century is consistent with the spread of Islam in most parts of India and more importantly Maldives. The Kuruhinna Buddhist Temple is over 1,000 years older than the mosques in the Maldives.

  13. Christie Says:

    Almost all the Tamils and other Indians came to Ceylon on the back of the British. In fact British Empire is Indian-British Empire. You can find these Indian colonial parasites in other British-Indian colonies like Fiji, Malasia, mauritius, South Africa etc.

    For the record Yasmin Sooka (UNSG’s Report writer) Navanatham Pillai are Indians from South Africa.

    Parabakaran is Malayali from Kerala.

  14. Christie Says:

    Before the Steam boats it is mainly men who went over the sea. They took women where ever thay landed. But with the Sream boats they could take women with them.

  15. jimmy Says:

    How about Keralite sinhalese
    when did they come from Kerala?

    can any one explain please?

    Regardless who came first and who came last
    What needs to be done is People should respect each other race and get along

    Only in Srilanka we are still discussing this nonsense when we have too many issues to be resolved
    unemployment/ homelessness/ enviornment/economic issues

    The government may pass the Law that the senior citizens are not allowed to write or speak politics or anything which hurt others feelings
    We got into the mess because of these young men with many many years of experience

    Let the younger generation lead the country . Leave them alone please
    You pappas made the mess. You divided us
    Leave the younger generation alone

  16. jimmy Says:

    Say it boldly
    Srilanka is the Motherland for Sinhalese,Tamils,Muslims,Bergers and Plantation Tamils
    No division any more


  17. Fran Diaz Says:

    Generally speaking, to me the word ‘Jathiya’ loosely means a Group of People (referring mostly to ethnicity, I presume). So there is Sinhala Jathiya, Demala (Tamil) Jathiya, Marrakkala (Muslim) Jathiya (even though Muslim refers to a religious group), Lansi Jathiya (Burghers), Malayali Jathiya and so on. They all groups composing Sri Lanka. Therefore, the future is in the Sri Lankan identity, and cannot be confined to any group as such. The main majority Sinhala Buddhist people feel exposed and vulnerable right now, attention being drawn to the (self) Defence of the country being construed as a violation on human rights of minority Tamil people. This must be remedied and our Sri Lankan image abroad restored. How do we do this ?

    * Do not allow Illegal Migration (IM). It is IM that gives hopes to Tamil Nadu low caste Tamil people to form a state of their own within Lanka, sans Caste. The numbers will come from Tamil Nadu as there are 5 Million plus people of Tamil Dalit origin who want to leave Tamil Nadu for better prospects. Lanka is the favored place being close to Tamil Nadu. To stop this invasion, formulate proper Laws re Citizenship of Lanka preferably under the Ministry of Defence, and deport all IMs already in Lanka. Earlier Dilrook Kannangara stated that Chelvanayagam (Vaddukoddai Resolution) etc. are all IMs. So was Prabhakaran’s father. Lately, it was disclosed in the Island of 10th Nov 2011, that the attack on the Maldvian Parliament was led by PLOTE, a Tamil organisation in Lanka, through Abdulla Luthufee, a Maldivian who had ‘landed in Colombo after travelling for 3 days by boat from the Maldives’. Therefore, it can be clearly seen that Lanka is made vulnerable through separatism & terrorism by IMs. IMs must be stopped. The west coast, Mannar and downwards has been the main landing points for IMs. A strong Navy & Coast Guards and ordinary citizens here must be alert to this fact.

    * Ltte terrorism: Acts of terrorism by the ltte and follow up activities (after defeat in May 2009), with lies, cheat & deceit by rump ltte & sympathisers EXPOSED through all media, here and abroad.

    * Understand that the name of the country is Sri Lanka and sometimes Ceylon (through earlier trade in Tea, spices, gemstones, etc) : The new name Sri Lanka seems to be here to stay, and cannot be again altered to Hela as some suggest. ”Sri Lanka” is well established through tourism mainly, and unfortunately, separatism through terrorism by the ltte. As such, both names, Sri Lanka & Ceylon (for trade purposes), must be used.

    * Understand the Genetic composition & Identity : Take the case of the Britain Isles. The ethnic composition and gene pool of Britain is highly varied. There are the Celts (the Irish, Scots & Welsh). The genetic connection of Celts, it has been lately proved, is to Spain’s Basque region. Then there was the Roman era, bringing in Italian genes. The Anglo-Saxon era brought in the Germanic blood. The Viking & Normans who invaded British Isles brought in Scandinavian & European genes. Lastly the European religious wars added more genetic variations. After the British Empire was removed, various Asians migrated to Britain. It goes to show that all the invasions & wars brought in a vastly mixed gene pool to Britain. The main identity of the mixed bag of British People TODAY is defined by the English Language and the Christian religion.

    Similarly, Sri Lanka has a varied gene pool through various migrants over the eons. Those who took up the well established Sinhala language & the Buddhist religion here formed the main group (Jathiya), and remains the main identity of Sri Lanka TO THIS DAY. May it last so, with dignity for all, and with wise governance, always !

  18. jimmy Says:

    Dr Diaz
    I am not sure where you get the data TamilNadu low castes are coming to Srilanka. I doubt it very much
    I respect many of your views and your love for the motherland but I can not imagine you are creating a false statment here to make Tamils a low caste people and sinhala high caste
    I may be wrong I am not sure

    Why in the earth only in Srilanka we are talking the past and try to live in the past try to divide the countryt
    Why in the world Tamils and sinhalese are hating each other like this




  19. Fran Diaz Says:

    Jimmy: Thank you for your response.
    I am not creating any dissent among Sinhala & Tamils. Have I stated anywhere that the Sinhala people are high caste as opposed to Tamil people ? No. However, it is a fact of life that in Tamil Nadu, Caste is a big issue. That is why there are specific political parties to represent the low caste Tamil people, such as the political party Dalit Panthers, etc. It has always been the low caste or Dalit people of Tamil Nadu who flee TN. While I sympathise with their plight, Sri Lanka should not pay the heavy price of Separatism to resolve this problem.

    The data re Tamil illegal migrants is apparent in the demographics of the North. I have stated those numbers in these columns a number of times. Many academics were surprised that there were 300,000 Tamil people used as the Human Shield by the ltte. In fact, the army assessment was around circa 100,000.

    Dear Jimmy, we are writing about the present times and almost all the articles to these columns refer to the present times, i.e. the troubles created in Sri Lanka by Separatist Tamil leaders who through the Vaddukoddai Resolution brought an era of terrorism for about 30 yrs. The AFTERMATH OF TERRRORISM remains and has created feelings of insecurity and vulnerability among the Sinhala people, as the ltte rump has taken the cause of Separatism abroad. That is the reason why there are so many articles written on the subject.

    I am merely trying to resolve this problem as it affects us all in a negative way. No offence meant to anyone.

  20. jimmy Says:

    still not sure about it
    never heard Indians from South are in Srilanka illegally . do not want to argue anyway

    I know there are plantation tamils in South who work hard and very very kind loving people
    It is sad innocent Plantation tamils were killed during Riots in 83.They are very hard working and innocent people
    I still remember their accent
    I did not like the way they are treated in Srilanka by Majority sinhalese and Minority Srilankan Tamils .
    They are equal to every one of us .

  21. Voice123 Says:

    @Sarath said:
    “@Voice 123: You tell south Indian invaded and Srilankans left North East? When was that?

    This what confusing. You tell South Indians invaded and Sinhala people left? Dilrook says Portugese inavded and Sinkala people left. Whois right? Who is wrong?”

    Both could be correct. I am speaking of 11 – 13 century invasions by Cholas and other Tamil speaking South Indians. Have you heard of tyrants like Magha of Kalinga? He tortured and killed thousands of Buddhists, particularly Buddhist monks and destroyed their places of worship. I think Dilrook is referring to 16th century onwards when Portuguese came. Between that time, social conditions for different groups could have waxed and waned. India was bogged down with the Moghul invasion from their north. South Indian Cholas had seen their hey dey and were on the wane.

    @Dilrook, I am at pains to understand how ancient pre-Indian Sri Lankans could have spoken Sinhala! Sinhala is closely related to Sanskrit and Pali, both classical Indian languages. Sinhala is also heavily influenced by Tamil and Portuguese words. Modern historians and geneticists have traced the first wave of immigration out of Africa, over the Indian Ocean to Sri Lanka, Indian Ocean islands, Indonesia and Australia. These were the first Sri Lakans. They have nothing to do with India. A lot of us carry their genes. Pick 100 Sri Lankans at random and take them to New Delhi, or even Chennai and they obviously look different. Our original language is what would be considered an “Austroasiatic language” and not a “Indo-European” language or “Indo-Aryan” language. Indoaryan and Dravidian and typically Indian languages. They are not Sri Lankan. Sinhala is an Indian language evolved in Sri Lanka. Let us understand that. It is impractical to change that today after 2000 years plus of usage of Sinhala but let us recognise the truth and elevate, symbolically the native languages of Lanka to national language status. We will be completely free of Indian control and oppression and achieve true independence. Countries like New Zealand, where most people speak English as the first language, or even Ireland and Singapore (most speak Chinese dialects), recognise their ancient languages at the official level with Maori, Gaelic and Bahasa Meleyu at the symbolic level.

  22. Kit Athul Says:

    EELAM MAP must be included in to this law wich Sudat is proposing. Possession of the map, distributing the map, keeping it in electronically, and displaying it, even if it was done while in a forign country.

  23. jimmy Says:

    What the Sinhalese expect from Tamils is to be patriotic
    What the Tamils expect from Sinhalese is respect and equal opportunity

    The only way this can be accompilshed is to bring the best psychiatric doctors , councillors all over the country. Spend Millions of $$ on this . It is worth it . Trust me
    be very honest to accept we have a disease. 60 years of hatred can not go easily unless we accept this disease and try to find a cure
    I rest my case
    Good night folks

  24. Dilrook Says:

    King Pandukabhaya ruled about 1,000 years before the advent of Islam! Arabs in Sri Lanka were not Muslims for over 1,000 years. There is absolutely no way they retained their identity for 1,000 years and then professed Islam. If they became Sinhalese, they certainly became Buddhist.

    A similar thing happened with Jewish people. Jewish and Arabic travellers mention that there were many thousands of Jews in Sri Lanka way back in the 9th century. They too became Sinhalese and Buddhists.

    Claiming certain Sinhala Buddhist kings as Muslims is an insult to Sri Lankan history. Sri Lanka didn’t have any Muslim king and it is a fact.

    There were 2 criteria for anyone to become a king in Sri Lanka.

    1. Protect the Buddha Sasana and profess Buddhism (plus any other religion)
    2. Protect the “sasana” of public welfare.

    There is no evidence of Muslim Arabs in Sri Lanka in the 8th century.

    South Indian Muslims and Malayans are the Muslims today.

    Communal harmony can only come within the acceptance of the Hela identity. Trying to create mini Arabias, mini Malaysias and mini Tamil Nadus will end up in Mulativu 2009 style defeat.

  25. Dilrook Says:


    Cholas ruled parts of the island for 77 years (993-1070). Not a long time given our history. Just 3% of the time of our 2554 written continuous history. An immaterial time frame. Nothing permanant changed in just 77 years. According to Chulavamsa, the entire Chola population was wiped out in 3 wars and subsequent riots by 1072. That means there was absolutely no threat to the Sinhala majority in the north and the east.

    Magha invaded and ruled a very limited part of the north central province of today for a very short time of 24 years. He was driven out and his invaders were wiped out by King Wijayabahu-3 (?).

    However, Europeans ruled the island for 443 years and the entire island for 133 years. That is a very long time even in our long history. For the first time invaders could rule the entire nation and without any major resistance. Like most countries that underwent the curse of colonialism we too suffered a change in the ethnic composition. However, compared to Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA and Latin America, we are much better. In those countries, invaders changed the ethnic composition by over 50%-80%. They could only change Sri Lanka’s ethnic composition by around 15%-20%. This is normal. Malaysia, later Singapore, Fiji, East Indies, etc. also suffered similar colonial infused changes to their ethnic composition.

    However, this doesn’t mean people who thus migrated are lesser Sri Lankans. Not at all! They are equal Sri Lankans.

    Human migration through the sea happened much later than human migration through land. Sinhala is about 80% Pali which is the premier Indo Aryan language and 20% Sanskrit, etc. Very ancient people were not known as Aryans but the languages they created came to be known as Indo Aryan languages, etc. That’s how all South Asian countries even today have an “Indo” Aryan linguistic majority.

    India -85%
    Sri Lanka – over 74%
    Bangladesh – over 85%
    Pakistan – over 95%
    Maldives – 100%
    Nepal – 100%
    Bhutan – 100%
    Afghanistan – 100% (outside SA)
    Iran – 100% (outside SA)

    There is no evidence of any language replace in any of these places. Languages evolved into these languages, not replaced.

    Dravidian languages on the other hand are restricted only to the South Indian part numbering 217 million population compared to around 1.5 billion Indo Aryan language speakers in the region. This was how it was ever since pre historic times in the region which was continuously habituated.

    Dravidian languages have very strong connection with East African cultures. This very interesting research has only started. I will share some of them in Lankaweb.

  26. Lorenzo Says:

    “Communal harmony can only come within the acceptance of the Hela identity. Trying to create mini Arabias, mini Malaysias and mini Tamil Nadus will end up in Mulativu 2009 style defeat.”


    This is exactly what the defence secretary said when the GREASE DEVIL nonsense was there. He told the religious leaders of the violent barbaric mob that killed a police officer to go and tell the criminals they will suffer the same fate as Prabha and the crowd unless they stopped violence.

    The effect was immediate! :)

    That was how the grease devil nonsense was stopped for good.

    BTW tell me where the “mini Arab”, “mini Tamil Nadu” are?? If any? Kfir, MiG27, JF-7.

  27. Fran Diaz Says:

    I refer to the statement “There is no evidence of illegal migration in this country”. Illegal migrants are there but the evidence has not been made visible ! We think that illegal migrants were coming into Lanka in large numbers during the time of the ltte rule of the N&E. There are plenty of people in Lanka trying to cover up for illegal migrants.

    Just yesterday’s LankaPage published an article that some 25 plus illegal migrants had been taken into custody by the authorities. These people had been carrying on a textile trade in the east. The lax visa system we have to facilitate tourism has given rise to a new breed of illegal migrant.

  28. Dilrook Says:


    ‘History clearly shows that human migration happened in all parts of world and Sinhala, Tamils and Muslims all are migrants from India or some neighbouring nations before invasion from Eurpeaons.’

    Not in the case of the Sinhalese. Nowhere in history it says Sinhalese migrated from anywhere. There are no Sinhalese anywhere in the world to migrate from!

    Humans migrated in prehistoric times (and later). In pre historic times humans were not Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim, etc. They were all same stock with very limited linguistic traits. Sinhalese originated in the island. Linguistic traits brought by pre histocial homo sapience sapience developed into the Sinhala language. That is the only (emphasised) way it could have happened because there are no Sinhalese anywhere else in the world.

    As explained earlier, by the time Vijaya landed Sinhalese were already there.

    ‘There is no evidence of illegal migration in this country.’

    There is damning evidence! Dutch particularly kept records of their slave trade. These details are shocking. I will write a detailed article on this with documented evidence. In some places, illegal immigrants from South India were more than the natives including the Colombo city as way back as the 17th century! These are clearly documented.

    It shows the shocking number of illegal immigrants to the island in the 17th century. We must be very thankful they couldn’t convert this country into another Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA or Latin America.

    Sinhala is the dominant language of Sri Lanka. Over 85%-90% of the people are conversant in Sinhala. Northern province will soon take up Sinhala as they essentially have to mingle with the armed forces, brothers from the south and businessmen. And it is the only (emphasised) language of Sri Lanka. All other languages are found elsewhere in larger numbers.

    Don’t look at provinces in isolation. These provinces are colonial creations. They were never there before. They did it to divide and rule people. We should start looking at Sri Lanka or Hela as one unit without British colonial divisions. Otherwise there will never be unity.

    The worst part is considering the northern and eastern provinces together. They are seperate. Tamils are a minority in the eastern province and hence it is totally different to the northern province. Anyway this provincial mentality should be done away with at least now.

  29. Dilrook Says:

    Fran Diaz

    Illegal immigration created so many problems.

    1. It changed the ethnic make-up of the country
    2. Introduced separatism
    3. Introduced terrorism

    #1 is obvious.

    #2 – Most people still don’t know that SJV Chelvanayagam was an illegal immigrant. He was born in Malaya to a family that migrated from Ceylon and was never awarded Sri Lankan/Ceylonese citizenship at birth. But since the British empire considered all its colonies as one, he could come to Sri Lanka, study, get a job and even engage in politics. Today this cannot happen, at least legally. The only reason why he could become what he was, because of illegal immigration that was unfortunately tolerated at that time as the country lost its soverignty to invaders.

    #3 – LTTE leader and many other Tamil terrorist group leaders are decendants of recent Kerala and Tamil Nadu illegal immigrants. This is a proven fact.

    If the navy was well equipped to stop illegal immigration from Tamil Nadu after the war started, LTTE could never have ended up with artillery, mortars, guns, bombs, planes, boats, ships, etc.

    Illegal immigration has many ills than what is obvious.

  30. Fran Diaz Says:

    Thank you agian. I totally agree with all of the points you have raised. Unfortunately, the facts you have raised have been swept under the carpets of time for many decades. By and large, Illegal Migrants have no loyalty to Lanka. They are more likely to be loyal to anyone or any group that covers up their illegal status and gives them some sort of assistance to get by. Therefore, they are likely to join up with existing dissidents & separatists, pad up their numbers, and help create further trouble here.

    Therefore, it is imperative that Illegal Migration to Lanka receive ZERO tolerance. It is also imperative that an Oath of Allegiance be taken by all MPs, armed forces, school children, govt. employees, etc.

    How is it that the number of Tamil (different Tamil groups) people in Lanka remains almost the same even though nearly a million Tamil people have migrated out to the west ? Is my assumption correct on this matter ? If so, if you can, please also give us the correct figures on the 2011 Census for Tamil people of Lanka.

  31. Dilrook Says:

    Fran Diaz

    That is true.

    1,000,000 Ceylon Tamils have left the country. Others are much less in number. Still 12.5% of the population is Ceylon Tamils!

    Although the 2011 census has been postponed, available data which is very comprehensive can reasonably estimate the correct number of the population.

    That is because close to 1,000,000 illegal Tamil immigrants from Tamil Nadu replenished their numbers in this country since 1981 (last complete census). Otherwise the Ceylon Tamil percentage would be down to 8.13% from 12.5%. 1 million for 30 years is very scary. That means 33,333 illegal immigrants from Tamil Nadu every year.

    This works in 2 ways.

    1. Direct illegal immigration into the Ceylon Tamil community every year.
    2. Illegal immigrants becoming Upcountry Tamils first then (they or their children) becoming Ceylon Tamils

    This is why the upcountry Tamil percentage drops while Ceylon Tamil percentage increases.

    Check the 1971 and 1981 census data for these groups. You can see this very clearly. Sirima Shastri pact was not implemented. What happened was a paper change. Ethnicity of illegal immigrants was changed from Upcountry Tamils to Ceylon Tamils. (However, this does not mean all upcountry Tamils today are illegal immigrants today. But there are many illegal immigrants. Anyone who arrived and stayed in this country without visa since 1975 S-S Pact is an illegal immigrant.)

    All illegal immigrants should be deported disregarding humanitarian concerns. Language is another big deterrent to illegal immigration. If a local language that is not found in Tamil Nadu is made compulsory for all Sri Lankans that will deter illegals.

  32. Lorenzo Says:


    ONLY citizens have equal rights. Illegal immigrants have NO rights. This is the truth.

    SL is a very small country. Resources are HIGHLY limited. All resources must be for citizens ONLY. Nothing for illegal immigrants. That’s the right way ahead.

    There is no room for all humanity in our little country. Get that right.

  33. Fran Diaz Says:

    Dilrook : Agree with you. A good cut off point to identify the Illegal Migrant is the Sirima/Shasthri Pact (1964), which was not allowed to go through as India abrogated it in 1982. We also propose that it is the Tamil Illegal Migrant who gives hopes for formation of Eelam much more than the local true born Lankan Tamils who have more or less integrated into mainstream life here.

    Strictly speaking, Illegal Migrants have broken the Law of the Land, and have to be treated as such. GoSL MUST treat this problem as a very serious one, or else we may as well say : “Lanka, ‘goodbye’ “.

    Some other points :
    Regarding dress codes, a VIP we know in the west, dressed as an ordinary person in shirt sleeves only and had his assistant dress as a VIP (tie & full suit), and they both went to an international airport. He said that he was treated as an ordinary person but his assistant was given VIP treatment ! So there is it. Dress matters in public places, as do manners. “Manners maketh the man” they say, and this is true. Also, the word “thamuse” comes from the word “thamunanse” which is a word used to respectfully address someone in the Sinhala language. As we all know, the word “sir” is something that came with the Colonists, but that is a term used often in the west for respectfully referring to even a customer in a store or the police referring to a civilian. It is not the word ‘sir’ that is offensive, but the fact that Colonists used this word, and the thought of going under Colonists offend us, whether we are rich or poor.

    As for wearing of rubber slippers with trousers, this is generally considered unsuitable. I do sympathise with poor people who cannot afford proper attire. However, in that case, any type of shoes may be more acceptable than rubber slippers. We get treated the way we dress. Some time ago, a person had written into these columns to say that a doctor was seen in rubber slippers while on duty at a Colombo hospital. That to me is an insult to his profession.

    I have personally known people who were very poor and even uneducated and could not afford proper clothing, but because of their high ethics and morality were treated with the greatest respect by us. Their manners too were highly acceptable in the local style.

    It is up to each one of us to make ourselves socially acceptable in Sri Lanka. Respect & Dignity have to be earned, anywhere in the world, not only in Sri Lanka.

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