Federal Fun of Tamils: A Very Good Lesson for Federalists in Sri Lanka
Posted on December 6th, 2011

Dilrook Kannangara

Mullaperiyar damn is making news in South India as Tamil Nadu and Kerala states fight over its uses and control. Tamil Nadu has deployed a strike force near the border to prevent violence spilling out over the issue.


 Clashes have already erupted at the border resulting in attacks on vehicles, places of business and houses. Kerala Chief Minister has pleaded for calm among his citizenry while the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister has called upon the Indian government to look into the building of a new dam to replace the 115 years old aging dam.


 This is a classic case of federalism failing and resulting in violence. India has a huge advantage that the number of Tamils outside Tamil Nadu is very little. Therefore these clashes and resultant antagonism would not spread elsewhere. Unfortunately this is not the case in Sri Lanka. Therefore a similar fire-up may spread right throughout the country resulting in wide spread violence and retaliation. Meanwhile the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister has appealed to the Indian Prime Minister for special security for the damn


 She claims that around 200 people had damaged the property of Tamil Nadu electricity Board and certain disruptive elements have gone to the dam with an excavator. This is the very type of events that await a federal Sri Lanka. Matters will be even worse given the fact that the entire north and the east is within the dry zone! Chances are that any problem faced by the northern or the eastern province with another province or with the Sri Lankan government will attract interference from Tamil Nadu as well which will turn it into a major escalation.

 Readers from both sides of the conflict have aired their frustrations some even threatening to oust Keralites from Tamil Nadu and vice versa. This is a definite threat to Sri Lanka if power is decentralized.

 Another reader has rightly commented that it is imperative all natural assets such as land, dams and reservoirs are nationalized if India is to remain as a single nation. This is a very good lesson for Sri Lanka. Sharing land, police or irrigation power with provinces will result in violent clashes over water and land rights. It is a definite no-no if Sri Lanka is to remain peaceful and in unity. The current unitary model has worked well for most Sri Lankans and it should be protected for sake of peace. We don’t need further bloodshed to learn that substantial devolution of power to the northern and eastern provinces has more bad than good.

27 Responses to “Federal Fun of Tamils: A Very Good Lesson for Federalists in Sri Lanka”

  1. Bodhi Says:

    If the North & East Provincial Minsters become powerful, they can make a fuss that they are not getting enough water from the Hillcountry where all the rivers start. DSo they can fund up-risings among the Hill country tamils to help them.
    Mavil Ara sluice gate was the same thing with a different twist – The Tiger administration (instead of the provincial adminsitration) showing its muscle. If Ranil had been in power we would have give mavil Ara to the Tigers for promoting “good will” with the Tamils.

  2. thurai Says:

    Tamilnadu politicians of DMK ADMK have no chance to accuse each other and cheat the poor people.
    Leaders and Families of both parties are accused for misuse their power for easy money. To depend them
    from propaganda against them they started Mullaperiyar damn problem.

    What about cast against Jeyalalitha in Bangalore?
    What about Telecom scandal of Maren Brothers and Kannimozli?

    Tamil politicians in Tamilnadu incite Tamils against Kerala to safegurd their Power.
    TNA Politicians In Sri Lanka incite Tamils agaisnt Sri Lanka Government to keep their political monply.

    They never considered the life of Poor Tamil people.

  3. Christie Says:

    India was never a one country before the British made it. (Ceylon was a one countri from the tome even before the Rmayana.

    The island nation should not become a federation with separate state for the so called Tamils. As far back as 197- i have seen a map of Ceylon circulating among the Indians (including Tamils) in Singapore that showed the only Sinhala areas were the South West and parts of the middle.

    Just have the racial demographics of today and you will see what I mean.Indians “congres” where ever thay are and cause problems for the rest of the community.

    The Government of the Islan nation should support Sinhalese to settle in the so called Tamil areas.

  4. Fran Diaz Says:

    The line “it is imperative all natural assets such as land, dams and reservoirs are nationalized if India is to remain as a single nation”, says it all for Lanka too. We are surprised that India had not made this move earlier … and it is time for Lanka GoSL to do the same and Nationalize our Natural Assets before it is too late. What needs to be done for the good of the county seems to be done too slowly …
    Thanks, Dilrook, for this vital piece of information. We have to carefully watch what is going on in Tamil Nadu.

  5. Fran Diaz Says:

    sarath: was there ever a rebellion in Tamil Nadu against, say, caste discrimination, whilst there have been three rebellions in Lanka. Most of the rebellions were due to some 500 yrs of Colonial rule with resultant neglect of the rural sectors.

    Equal opportunity for all is always there in a practising Democracy. It is confidence to move in a Globalised world (language skills) and see issues clearly, personality and real leadership ability that is needed. People recognise true leaders in any field of human endeavor – political, the sciences or arts, irrespective of whether they are rich or poor.

  6. thurai Says:

    //Don’t blame the colonial rule for the mistakes of the politicians of this nation who enjoy the benefits of the colonial rule.//sarath

    Above is the main reason for the Tamil Sinhala conflict in Sri Lanka. The persons from Tamil and Sinhalese who enjoyed benefits from colonial rule wanted to capture the power. There was no chance for patriotic.
    The reason for the conflict nly the politicians are responsible not innocent poor people.

  7. jimmy Says:

    Fran Diaz is correct to say there is a bloody caste issue among tamils. It is true whether we lik e it or not
    It is wrong to discriminate due to low caste.
    God loves every one . It is ashame people were discriminated . Low caste people were not allowed into temples and so on

    Do sinhalese have caste issues similar to Tamils.
    I do not know the answer because I am not a sinhalese
    Budhisim says Truth is within you .
    If Fran says there is no discrimination among sinhalese then I will take his word

  8. Fran Diaz Says:

    Jimmy: Thank you for your response. Among Sinhala people there are some divisions too, but Caste issues are minimal as far as I know. Sinhala people had Caste issues in the earlier times (17th&18th and early 19th centuries) when entering the Buddhist priesthood was only for certain castes, and inter-marriage was discouraged between castes, but those problems are minimal compared to earlier times.
    As for entering Buddhist Temples, there never were any problems for any Sinhala person.
    However, presently there are some Class divides (Sinhala/English speaking, westernised, wealthy, as opposed to others) but, anyone is free to be English speaking & wealthy, so no one need to have any revolutions or grouse about those issues.

    Sarath: #1: Whatever goes on in Tamil Nadu affects Sri Lanka. For Tamil people, until the Caste Issues are sorted out in Tamil Nadu, Tamils all over the world, including neighbor Sri Lanka’s Tamils, will have similar issues. The ltte rebellion started as a anti-caste protest in the North and took on wider dimensions with time.

    #2 : Also, the ‘following’ the British colonists in earnest started after young William Pedris from a leading Sinhala family in Colombo at the time of British Governor Chalmers (1915) was wrongly court martialed and shot by a firing squad. Young Pedris was wrongly accused of being a part of the Muslim/Sinhala riots then. All the male family heads of the leading Sinhala families were arrested and incarcerated by Gov.Chalmers, including D.S. Senanayake. For the leading Sinhala families, it was a case of ‘follow the Brits or perish’. Therefore, during colonial times, it was not good for the Sinhala leading families or for the rural poorer people.
    Do you know Sri Lanka’s near history ? Read ‘Revolt in the Temple’ by Viktor Ivan. The original book by C.R.Wijewardene is not available now, but Mr Ivan’s synopsis serves the purpose.

    We wish we had magic wands to take away all pain of mind, whoever is suffering. I am not a psychiatrist, but to gain greater knowledge of oneself and others

  9. Fran Diaz Says:

    contd. : I am not a psychiatrist, but to gain greater knowledge of oneself and others, please look into webcasts on http://www.wopg.org.

  10. Lorenzo Says:


    The JVP trouble had nothing to do with the unitary status.

    In fact the unitary status lessened the problem! Imagine what would have happened if SL was not a unitary country when the JVP struck!

    The closest to DMK AIAMK are TNA and TULF.

    D = Dravida
    T = Tamil

    Both RACIST political groups and Tamil IS A Dravidian sect!! In addition DMK, AIADMK clowns speak in the SAME Tamil language.

  11. Lorenzo Says:

    Dam is spelt DAM not DAMN. :)

    “Mullaperiyar damn” is wrong English but DAMN Tamil Nadu is good English.

  12. jimmy Says:

    I believe in unity sir
    I have met wonderful sinhalese . I do not see any difference. I notice they are very very patriotic . County come first for them
    Tamils were not patriotic to the country they were born in . It is wrong It must change now

    In the other hand also I know Tamils were discriminated by the Majority for many many years. Tamils were not respected or were bullied . IT MUST STOP NOW

    Inorder for both to happen the country need Psychiatric clinics and councelling sessions for many many years
    60 years of hatred and divisions will not go easily
    We have to admit we have a big problem and resolve it as a Family
    The life is too short and it does not make sense to live with hatred any more

  13. Lorenzo Says:

    “Tamils had many social problems including caste, dowry. These problems were less when there was LTTE. Even LTTE leader was from a low caste as well.”

    Tamil Tiger Sarath is correct again.

    Yes. It was less important when the LTTE was around but no LTTE now!

    That helps GOSL to divide and rule Tamils along caste/province which is good.

    But wrong about JVP. It was SL’s share of global communist-democratic war.

    Jaffna library was burnt by low caste Tamils and Tamil policemen! Don’t blame others for it.


    For killing policemen in most barbaric style by TULF thugs earlier that day.

    It was a Tamil-Tamil issue.
    There were 2 top UNP ministers in Jaffna that day on official business. They never played any part in the affair. Their visits had nothing to do with the burning.

    BUT they didn’t bother controlling the situation. It was a Tamil-Tamil riot. By engaging in it, the government would have got an even worse bad name from Tamils. Police and army were losing control of Jaffna during that time. So even if they had tried to control it, they would not have succeeded. That is why it went uncontrolled not because they did it.

    Government tried to punish the criminals but the Jaffna community protected them.

    The same thing happened when 1983 riot affected refugees were transported in ships from Colombo to Jaffna. Some Tamils robbed other Tamils’ jewellery. Navy stopped the ship in mid sea and arrested the robbers. Then all the women started to wail crying that Navy is trying to push people overboard and that is why they stopped the ship in mid sea! When the ships arrived in Jaffna Amirthalingam and other TULF politicians forced the navy to release Tamil thieves who robbed other Tamils’ jewellery. Navy had to do it for good PR. But after that they spread the rumour Navy robbed the jewellery of Tamils and didn’t arrest anyone for it!!


    The same would have happened if army had tried to arrest Tamils who burnt their library.

    Don’t forget Jaffna library had Sinhala books too. Now Tamil books have been mostly replaced but not Sinhala books.

  14. oldfarm39 Says:

    I believe the author has raised two fundamental questions. Is federal state an obstacle for natural resource sharing, is unitary state is a solution for sharing resources. Water is a precious resource, some believe water sharing will be the main cause for middle east conflict in some parts of middle east,although none of them are federal states.
    Sri Lanka is not a large country,it has always been a unitary state and will continue to be so. India on the other hand is a large country with several languages,it is the federal structure that keeps the unity of India and gives its strength.
    There is no legal restriction for people of India to work and settle wherever they like.

    There are more Keralites living in Tamil Nadu than vice versa.It might surprise you to know that Jayalalitha is of Kearala origin. Water resource management is a major issue in India,due to severe shortage partly man made. The pressure for water resource is growing with increasing population and industrialisation. This problem is not unique to India.

    The Mullaperiyar dam is old and needs rebuilding. Understandably the Kerala government believes that the new dam will be bigger and therefore might affect Kerala. It is each side trying to score a political point. Unlike other parts of India these two states are very much inter dependent and have lot common shared history.

    The conflict is created by short sighted politicians on both sides, arousing mass hysteria without real understanding of each sides concern and addressing the problem.
    Even in Sri Lanka we need to protect what we have and not destroying forests in the name of development. Already some forests have been destroyed,and there is shortage of water in some parts of hill country during dry season. Before we start preaching to other countries,we should look at how we mange our god given resources for the future generations.

  15. Lorenzo Says:


    As you can see it’s all POLITICAL BS and nothing else. They always blame each other.

    None of them identified the REAL criminals because it was not politically favourable.

    If you rely on politicians’ speeches for information, you will end up going mad.

    Now it is too late to identify or punish the criminals who did it. It is more important to PUNISH LTTE terrorists in custody without further delay.

    But the ETERNAL CONFLICT between low caste Tamils and other Tamils, and between northern and eastern Tamils and between “Sri Lankan” Tamils and Indian Tamils will continue. How to make use of it to destroy Tamil nationalists (as opposed to Sri Lankan nationalists who are Tamils) from within is what we should be focusing on. Divide and rule.

  16. Fran Diaz Says:

    There is a fundamental need in every country to protect vital resources such as water. Even the Himalayas are melting due to Climate Change (Global Warming). It is predicted that at first there will be floods due to snow melting too fast off the mountains followed by lack of water. How is India going to handle this problem without the co-operation of all the states there ? Water conservation is of vital important even now.
    Sri Lanka too must de-silt her Tanks as proposed by the JVP earlier, and collect more rain water. Dr Gavin Karunaratne has written a number of articles about the importance of maintaining our hundreds of ancient tanks all over Lanka. Needless to say, conservation and clean water is of vital importance to all in Lanka too.

    Re Security issues for Tamil people, it is up to the Tamil leaders to remove the Vaddukoddai Resolution (VR), May 1976 (separatism through violence). What do Tamil leaders expect the Sinhala people to do if their only homeland, Sri Lanka, is threatened by Tamil terrorism ?. One of the best Security measures for Tamil people in general is for the TNA to publicly retract the VR. There is no other way.

  17. jimmy Says:

    Amen Fran
    Not only TNA give up Vaddukotai Resolution but also should hoist SriLankan flag each and every where in North, East of Srilanka
    happy to see Douglas is doing it eventhough he may not be as educated as Kadhirgamar or Neelan Thiruchelvam
    I will be very happy if TNA does it . Show to majority they are for UNITY

    I assume you are a sinhalese ( from your name)
    If you are a sinhalese you are too kind to be nice to Tamils

    If you are a Tamil I respect you because you are also for unity like me
    ALso I want you to know there are too many many sinhala souls who are gentle kind and never like to hurt a fly
    DO not be a fool to form a bad opinion about Sinhala race due to comments you see in this Newspaper site
    Every one is entitled to their opinion

    Do you know Minority should get along with the Majority in any countries and also Majority should protect the Minority at all cost in any countries. THAT IS A NORM
    Sadly both did not happen in Srilanka
    I was a very little kid in 80s and remember Tamil folks who were close to UNP were killed . It will be in Jaffna newspapers every time someone get killed who is friendly with the Govt
    How could it happen . They are labelled as traitors by LTTE
    I hear any time Governmenyt ministers come to North or east for development work instead of Garlanding and appreciating their visit the tamil politicians were protesting their visit
    WHAT BS it is . It was wrong terribly wrong
    Too many mistalkes were made in the past

    I also feel very sadly the tamils were not protected enough . My sinhala friends feel the same way that Tamils were not protected enough by the Majority Governments . Riots in 83 was a example . It was a disaster. JRJ did not do anything while Tamils were killed and their houses were burnt . IT is beyond imagination

    We can talk of the past and live in Past or live in Present and think about the Bright Future for all of us

    (a) Governmant should and must pass very strict law against hatred
    If any one talk or write against Any race or cultcure Religion or sexual orientation take these Bloody monsters to Cleaners, NO exception/ Let them give every penny they have for this crime
    Grapvine is a term in Behavioural science one bad apple can lead thousands of innocent people in a wrong way
    Thats why these bad folks who speak or write should be dealt by Strict LAW

    (b) Human rights should never be violated for Srilankans either they are Muslims or Tamils or Sinhalese or Berger it does not matter
    If a crime is committed by Army or Politician or by a terrorist or even by a minister they should be held fully responsible and punished

    (c) Mandaory COUNCELLING sessions which talk about patritisim and Tolerence to ALL Srilankans no exceptions

    I am not going to write any more for a while


  18. jimmy Says:

    what I meant in (C ) Mandatory Counseling sessions which talk about Patriotisim and Tolerence , Respect to all Srilankans
    People should learn to repect each other

  19. Fran Diaz Says:

    sarath: I am sorry, but I don’t agree with your suggestions.
    We feel that it is a good idea to go back to the District as a development & administrative unit. Also, re language Sinhala should be the main language of the country, with English as a link language and Tamil an Official language. That is in keeping with the ethnic percentages in the country. There is no need for everyone to learn Tamil as no one goes to Tamil Nadu for jobs or to migrate there. English is a world language and anyone can travel any place in the world as a tourist or for jobs with some knowledge of English. Neither Sinhala nor Tamil are world languages.

    To unite Lanka :

    (1) Have different ethnic groups in every district, as equally distributed as possible according to national percentages.
    (2) Have an Oath of Allegiance to Lanka.
    (3) Focus on human needs when developing the country, not on different ethnicities.
    (4) Stop all illegal migration into Lanka, and deport all illegal migrants.
    (5) Focus on the higher teachings of the Hindu religion (the 4 Yogas).
    (6) Focus on saving the shoreline on encroaching seas due to global warming; preserve fresh water for drinking, agriculture, etc.
    (7) Maintain our armed forces even during peace times for emergency bad weather operations and other needs of the nation.
    (8) Improve our image abroad which has been destroyed by the rump ltte and the Tamil Diaspora.

    I am sure you can add to this list. In my book. suggestions must treat ALLl people of Lanka as valued citizens.

  20. Lorenzo Says:


    You are crazy! There is no need to kill anyone!

    What are you talking? Typical Tamil Tiger mentality.

  21. Lorenzo Says:


    That is the law of the country including the 6 amendment and the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

    Implementing the law is NOT murder!!

    It does not mean killing all Tamils.

    You said,

    “You have given your verdict to kill all tamils. Carry on with it.”

    Isn’t that crazy?

    Separatists and Tamil Elamsists are a very small proportion of Tamils and they MUST be put to death or otherwise eliminated from the society. That is less than 0.01% of Tamils.

  22. Dilrook Says:

    My apologies for the spelling mistake.

    Fran Diaz’s list is a good starting point for the nation.

  23. Fran Diaz Says:

    sarath: You have misunderstood me. I am aiming for the best arrangement for everyone, where we are all subject to the same laws here, with equal chances for ‘upward mobility’, and most of all, FREEDOM FROM FEAR. The so called majority community, the Sinhala people, off and on in our history, fear the others as much as they may fear Sinhalas. Sometimes, the fear comes from within the groups, and has nothing to do with ethnicity. e.g. Prabhakaran, as a dictator, caused fear among Tamil people too. In any Democracy, there are other minor factors which cause Fear. That would be too lengthy to address here.

    You say :”What you are behind is to make tamils and muslims as minorities in every district each should be administered by a Sinhala”.
    Definitely not ! If there are Tamils & Muslims who are good leaders, they stand the best chances at District level. Ts & Ms who prove to the people of that area (rather than to all of Lanka) that they are good leaders, they will be elected, as has proved in the past. In politics, we have to be able to communicate which means learning some Sinhala, English & Tamil, at least spoken, if not written. Also, an able leader from any community, who is guided by his/her Heart and is life supportive, will be welcome anywhere in Sri Lanka.

    As things are, Tamil Nadu desires of separation from the rest of India has permeated into Tamil leaders’ thinking in Lanka, and has brought in the “separation fever” here too. Those old ideas must be removed if we are survive under the environmental stresses we are now subjected to. Then we all have a good chance to progress in peace.

    More education in the Sc&Tech fields a must too as that type education removes false barriers much more than an Arts Faculty education.

    As I said earlier, I am not a psychiatrist. Addressing the FEAR FACTOR coming from past experiences must be done through professional help of qualified doctors, for that is the modern method of handling such problems. One way we can help ourselves immediately is through at least attempting some Meditation as God/Truth/Allah dwells within, in our Hearts (Life Force), and the only true way to actually know the Godhead within is through Meditation (Bhavana or Raj Yoga). This, in my view at least, is the true and deep healing. When we understand our true nature in Meditation, then we can look at all other human beings without fear or hate. We will then see others as co-travellers in this sansara, facing the same troubles, illnesses, death, hopes & dreams.

    I hope I don’t sound preachy, for that is not my intent. So, all I can say as an ordinary lay person is, please find a good teacher or guru, and learn some Meditation. Good guidance comes from God/Truth when we have the Right Intent (Chethana Utham). That is the way we are made, and no one can alter this.

  24. Fran Diaz Says:

    Dear Sarath:
    That you for your response. I am indeed sorry to have seen so much suffering in Lanka for over 30 yrs. We all knew of happier times in the old days.
    None of us have no control over past events – they have happened and finished. None of us have control over Security issues either. The State of Sri Lanka will take all the necessary measures to protect itself through its armed forces – that is reasonable as that is what happens in any country after a war, insurrection, rebellion, etc. I feel, with time, the situation will correct itself.
    May take a long time, say 10 yrs or so. It depends on situation in Tamil Nadu too.
    I am more interested in the welfare of the individual, whatever ethnicity. Therefore, the Meditation as an answer.

    Shall close this dialogue. We wish all Lankans peace in the future.

  25. Lorenzo Says:


    Tamil Elamist posed and still pose a threat to SL.

    SL law must be enforced FULLY against them. PTA should be fully enforced against them. These should be done before ANY political solution.

  26. Fran Diaz Says:

    I am re-sending what I wrote earlier as the earlier one had some typing errors.

    ” Dear Sarath:
    Thank you for your response. I am indeed sorry to have seen so much suffering in Lanka for over 30 yrs. We all knew of happier times in the old days.
    None of us have any control over past events – they have happened and finished. None of us have control over Security issues either. The State of Sri Lanka will take all the necessary measures to protect itself through its armed forces – that is reasonable as that is what happens in any country after a war, insurrection, rebellion, etc. I feel, with time, the situation will correct itself.
    May take a long time, say 10 yrs or so. It depends on situation in Tamil Nadu too.
    I am more interested in the welfare of the individual, whatever ethnicity. Therefore, the Meditation as an answer.

    Shall close this dialogue. We wish all Lankans peace in the future”.

  27. Lorenzo Says:


    Yes but some crimes are worse than others.

    e.g terrorism, separatism (crimes against the entire nation)

    Lets punish these WORSE crimes (crimes against the nation) first, FULLY, and then move to other crimes.

    There is no Sinhala or Tamil thing. There are traitors among both commnities and good people too.

    e.g. Sinhala terrorists include Jeyalath Jayawardena, Sunanda Desha-apriya, Jehan Perera, Ranil W, those who didn’t support the war.

    Tamil terrorists include.
    All TNA racists, LTTE sympathisers, those who cry war crimes.

    People like Karuna, KP, Douglas Devananda are many times better than these COWARDLY terrorists.

    The law should be implemented to benefit the UNITARY nation and its national security interests. If implementation of the law does not benefit the UNITARY nation and counter terrorist operations, it is better not to implement the law to that SPECIFIC CASE ONLY.

    e.g. The nation benefits by NOT punishing KP, Karuna, DD for the time being. So be it!

    Order of priority.

    2. law and order
    3. rights of SLs (economic, religious, social, cultural, political, etc.) who support the UNITARY state
    4. animal rights
    5. environment
    6. international relations
    7. rights of criminals other than separatists

    (Having fulfilled the above, if any resources and time left…)

    8. rigths of separatists
    9. rights of illegal immigrants
    10. terrorists.

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