An open letter to Prime Minister Modi; An invitation to make history in Indo/Lanka relations
Posted on May 10th, 2017

Dr Sudath Gunasekara (SLAS) Ex Perm Sec to Mrs Sirirmavo Bandaranayaka and Ex President Sri Lanka Administrative Service Association 2017.5.10

Hon Prime Minister.

You are most welcome to this blessed Island of ours for the noble Vesak celebration as a special guest. Among all Heads of States invited undoubtedly you have a special place for two reasons. First you are our immediate neighbour. Second, you are the Head of State of the Buddha’s birth place, whose three notable events, that is the birth, attaining Buddhahood and Parinibbana are commemorated on this full moon day of Vesak. And third you are the ‘Present day Emperor’ of India, the land of Emperor Asoka the Great (The Greatest Emperor in the world as H.G. Wells said), who was responsible for the most precious gift India ever gave us by sending his own Son Manhinda Mahathera with the Buddha’s message and daughter Sanghamitta as noble religious emissary, with the Sacred Bo sapling,.

Though Buddha was born in your country, today you are stepping on to the Land of the Buddha which had been offered to him thrice and thenceforth had come to be known as the ‘Buddha’s Land’, the only country in the world to be offered to the Great Teacher and the only land on earth that has earned that noble epithet and thrice blessed by the Lord, where his Doctrine was predicted to last for 5000 years.

On the eve of this historic visit of yours let future historians write a memorable epithet in the annals of history in both countries, of cause if you do the right thing on this visit without getting involved in covert Indian politics by ‘mixing milk with cow dung’ as the Sinhala saying goes.

*Modi makes history in Indo-Sri Lanka relations after Asoka the Great. Will he go down in history as a second Asoka?

*Modi ends ugly and strained Indo-Lanka relations created by Gandhi dynasty, on this holey Vesak Fulmoon Day in the year 2561 of Buddhist era.

*Modi resolves the Tamil problem in Sri Lanka forever and rewrites Sri Lankan history by paving the way for Sinhala –Tamil integration leading to sustained peaceful co-existence and reconciliation between the two historically antagonistic ethnic groups

* Modi tells Tamils in Sri Lanka that they are Sri Lankan citizens and as Prime Minister he has no authority over them therefore they have to sort out their problems with the Sri Lankan Government

As you know it was Lord Buddha’s noble teachings that gave life and form to the unique Sinhala Buddhist civilization in this country.  It was that indelible cultural imprint that spans the length and breadth of the whole Island from Kankasanture in the North to Devundara in the south and Batticaloa in the East to Puttalama in the West that gives its distinctive cultural identity.  Every grain of sand on this Island’s entire 25,000 square mile area is soaked with the warm blood of Sinhala Buddhist men and women of chivalry who fought for centuries against  invaders from your own country from the second century BC  to the 12th century  AD and then from 1983 to 2009 against the LTTE of Tamil terrorists trained and largely financed by Indira and Rajiv  and from 1505 to 1948 by the Western colonial invaders, the Portuguese (1505-1640), Dutch (1640-1797) and English 1797-1948).

In spite of untold destructions and devastation done by these invaders what is visible on the surface of the landscape in the form of ruins and some renovated Stupas like Ruwanweli seya, Abhya giriya (the fourth highest brick structure in the world 400 ft h) and Jetavanaramaya in Anuradhapura, Great irrigation tanks like Parakrama samudra (P’Naruwava), Tisa Weva,Nuwara Weva (in A’pura and  Padaviya or Yoda Weva in Mannar District and temples, Buddhist sculpture on stone like Galviharaya in polonnaruwa and Avukana, Samadhi Pilimaya and Toluvila in Anuradhapura and Yapahuwa in Kurunegala and Sigiriiya the aesthetic Wonder of Sri Lanka and the hydraulic wonder of Asia comprising thousands of miles on the surface and what is found below buried under the surface that  form the solid and veritable palimpsest of the Sinhala Buddhist  heritage evince the true story of this Great Nation.

As you know our earliest ancestor Prince Vijaya came from your Motherland. The rich legacy of our whole civilization, though transformed in to a unique Sinhala Buddhist mould of our own owes its origin to ancient Bharata Desh. Though we are also of Indian origin we Sinhalese don’t have any interest in India. We don’t call ourselves PIO. We proudly call ourselves Sinhala people descending from the Sinha clan.  Besides the vast wealth of archaeological and religious monuments mentioned above, the fabulous wealth of religious and literary writings like the Tripitaka, Mahavamsa and the classical literary creations such as Amavatura, Dharma pradeepikava and Pujawaliya in Sinhala. Pali and Sanskrit bare  irrefutable testimony to the Great mono Sinhala Buddhist civilization that was there from 6th Century BC to 1815 AD.

Sri Lanka is our Motherland. Like the Tamils living here we don’t bother you saying we are also people of Indian origin and give us this and that etc. Our ancestors found and perfected the civilization on this Island. Therefore we claim it as ours.

All those Indians who came from different parts like Kerala Malabar Orissa etc in large numbers  during the medieval times learned the language of the land, took Sinhala names and embraced Buddhism and became Sinhala Buddhists and got integrated in to the  main Sinhala society, just as our ancestors did in 543 BC. Subsequently they in fact became better Sinhalese Buddhists than even the original settlers.  At that time we had Sinhala Kings and any foreigner who wanted to be a citizen of this country had to learn the language of the land and embrace Buddhism and that was a must. Those who did not, were never accepted as Sri Lankan citizens. They had to leave. There were no room for agitation and no international communities unlike today to threaten us or impose so-called international rules on human rights or reconciliation. We had enough freedom as a free and sovereign nation at that time. Therefore it was the best example of such social integration and reconciliation model never seen anywhere in the world.

Most of the Sinhala Buddhist community living in the stretch south of Colombo going up to Matara in the South comprise of this community. There is hardly any difference between them and the original Sinhalese Buddhists living here or in any other parts of the country. They are strongly bound together by blood, tradition and religion to that inseparable extent, no one can make any distinction among them. Today I must say these people are the best Buddhist in this country even though they too have undergone certain minor changes like their names due to Western colonial invasions that started in 1505 and continued up to 1948. But even that they have being changing. For example Don David became Anagarika Dharmapala and George George Pieris became  Gunapala Piyasena Malalasekara. Of cause in medieval times (14th 15th 16th and 17th Cs) the law of the land was that any immigrant to qualify to be a citizen of Sinhale (the name of this country up to 1948 was Sinhale as it was given in the 1815 Kandyan Convention) had to learn the language of the land, take local names and embrace Buddhism.

Even at that time this country was much sought after by south Indians for obvious reasons like its salubrious and pleasant climate and bounty. The famous saying among Malayalam people those days ‘ IIlam Kandavar illam kanukka illei’ (Those who saw the land  of the Sinhalese or Lanka will never come home) proves the high attraction this country had even at time.

But see how things have changed since then. The new generation of South Indians was brought here by the colonial powers as slaves to work on their farms and roads etc, like in the case of Africans to America. Today even illicit immigrants use force through India and western countries and often by themselves by various devices like local Tamil politicians to get citizenship. They even encroach on state land and they now want a claim self-rule and separate state too in certain parts of this country.

As you know Mr Prime Minister we have the northern Tamils and those in the central hills. Northerners, though they too have similar origin don’t regard Estate Tamils as equals. The Estate Tamils were brought here after 1835 by the British to work on their Coffee and later tea plantations after 1865 as the proud Sinhalese refused to work as labourers for the whites. The Indian labourers were herded in to large line rooms as in concentration camps. They were allowed to visit their homes in South India with their earnings once a year and finally in 1948 they were left behind destitute high and dry as the British left, without repatriating them to either India, their homeland, or to UK as British citizens, leaving behind an ugly bone of contentions for India and Sri Lanka to quarrel forever.

But the fact remains that all these people (in the North as well as on the hills) are outsiders and they are not original settlers who founded the civilization or contributed to the wellbeing of the country. They only devastated what was built by the Sinhalese both in the past and even in the present context where LTTE played havocs for 30 years killing tens of thousands both Sinhalese and Tamils and vandalizing Buddhist sacred places, including Sri Dalada Maligawa Kandy, and government properties including buildings, Airports and aero planes, trains, bridges and roads worth billions many prominent Sinhala and Tamil leaders including our President Premadasa and your own Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Tamils are not conquerors either like in the case of white men conquering North and South America, Australia and New Zealand. As such they have to either leave for their Motherlands or get integrated to native society if they want to be equal citizens in the host country and live amicably with the native Sinhalese. There is absolutely no other way.

So why can’t these people do as former immigrant generations did without asking for separate states, this right and that for which they have absolutely no claim either historically, morally or ethically.

Though they are Sri Lankan citizens for all intent and purposes (how most of them have become citizenship is a different question) none of these Tamils think this is their mother land. They all think India as their motherland. Their allegiance is to India. For them this is the land of the Sinhalese (their EELAM robbed by them as they think). The attitude of the Indian Government and particularly the Tamilnadu State that wants to annex this country has heavily contributed to this notion and behavioral pattern.  So, my question is,

1 As to why India and you as PM cannot tell them that India and Sri Lanka are two separate, independent, sovereign, free countries

2 That you are only the Prime Minister of India and as such you have no legal authority over the Tamils in Sri Lanka who are not Indian citizens or no power to interfere or intervene with the policies of the Sri Lankan Government.

3 And there is a Prime Minister and above him a President who is head of government here

4 Therefore as citizens of Sri Lanka they are governed by the Laws of the Land and therefore get their things done from the government of Sri Lanka and not India.

Having said so I suggest that you cancel your trips to Dickoya on the central hills and Jaffna

5 Ask the Tamils of Sri Lanka to be loyal to the Government of the country and resolve to live with the Native Sinhalese, the sons of the soil, amicably without picking bones of contention with them unnecessarily for every imaginary minute issue  without creating unnecessary problems for Sri Lanka as well as India and stop all agitations for this ism and that ism like Federalism separatism etc. Stop trying to behave as a Tamil nation within this country. Tamil is only a language in this country not a nation. Even in India where 79 million Tamils live and where the traditional Homeland of Tamils was found in the South Tamils are not a Nation. What is more is Tamil is not even an Official language either. Then how come they try to be a nation here and you are trying to give them the impression that they are a nation here. Ask them to forget about India and Tamil diaspora as their saviors.

The so-called Tamil Diaspora, who are citizens of other countries, are only trying to create a ‘Home land ‘for Tamils in Sri Lanka as they have lost it in India and as there is no any hope of creating one there either as India has legally banned it.  Long ago. Today they constitute only a terrorist group like ISIS creating problems all over the world. They are people who have left Sri Lanka, India and other Tamil colonies created by the colonial powers and migrated to Industrial West and perhaps Australia and New Zealand in search of greener pastures. These fellows have no love either to India or Sri Lanka. They in fact hate both countries. They are trying to do it in Sri Lanka thinking Sri Lanka is a weak country and could be captured by the gun the same way as Prabha dreamt.

Reg the Tamils on the central Hill country estates the best solution id Nehru/Kotalawal Pact of 1954

Let them learn the language of the natives, Sinhala, as agreed in above Accord within 10 years (Already they know it), though mad fellows like Muthhu sivalingam have now started to call for parity like the Tamils in the North. These people by now would have become 100 percent Sri Lankans if not for the old Thonda who never spoke a single Sinhala word and kept all estate labour under his boots to collect the money to build up his Malaya Nadu in Sri Lanka. Thonda, a 11 year old boy from Munapudur who came here with this father to work as a labourer and later shrewdly got in to the higher echelons of Plantation world and became the owner of large tea estates like Weveldon and conspired against the Sinhalese.

In Sri Lanka both Tamils and Muslims are very ungrateful people. You know how Rajiv helped the LTTE Military with training, weapons, money logistics and Intelligence and finally the bullet proof jacket worn by him was given to Prabha karan to wage war against Sri Lanka. Finally what happened; Prabha got Rajiv assassinated by a suicide bomber woman  In fact about three months before he was assassinated I got the Mahanayaka Thero of Asgiriya chapter to send a letter asking Rajive not to help the LTTE and if continues I warned him he will be assassinated even before our leaders . Had he taken that advice sometimes he would have been alive even today.

Then about the communal politicians in the north why don’t you tell them to give up allegiance to India and behave like Sri Lankan citizens. It will put an end to this headache for us as well as you.

Mr Prime Minister this is the only way out for this vexed Indo-Lanka problem. There is no other way. As long as Tamils in Sri Lanka pursue the policy they are following now the country will ever remain in turmoil and poor. The Sinhalese will one day unite once they fully understand the western trick and the dangers ahead of them. Then they will fight back like how they did it against Indian invaders in the past and Colonial powers in the medieval times and against the LTTE in 2009. This is nothing new to them.’ They have done it from the 2nd Century BC against Indian invasions. Indian invaders could never capture the whole Island thou they have been holding sway for short time in parts of the North.

If you adopt the correct policy respecting our freedom and sovereignty the problem will come to an end in no time.  This is what Nehru dynasty failed to do. If you have the courage to depart from their arrogant India-Italian policy I have no doubt you will succeed and create history as Modern Asoka of India. Please don’t make it your problem. Leave it to us .Then we will handle it the way we have been doing it for 2500 years.

Asoka won the world through Dharmavijaya and not through Dikvijaya (war) or Kautillya tactics. Even Asoka rejected Kautilya and adopted the Buddhist approach That is why finally he won the major part of the contemporary world.

Then to complete perfect reconciliation

Official records show that South Indian labour was brought firstly, as local labour was not available; second Indians were cheaper; third strategically and politically  they could be used to fulfill their divide and rule policy by disintegrating the Island on ethnic basis and destroy the Sinhala Buddhist society.

The present Indo-Sri Lanka Tamil problem was created mainly by the British, though Portuguese and Dutch were also partly responsible. You know what they did to India. They robbed it, its technology and even people by packing them out to all countries around the Indian Ocean and Pacific. And finally divided it in to two as India and Pakistan and made Pakistan you arc adversary. They robbed the whole world boasting that they have the empire where the sun never set. While doing that they destabilized and destroyed almost all countries they captured with their guns. So Mr Prime Minister we have to identify our common enemy.

In Sri Lanka they laid the foundation strategically from 1832 onwards. But though they could leave behind colonial legacies their language, administrative and legal systems, education, religion and parts of their culture and values  conspiracies like separate laws to Tamils and Muslims like Thesavalamei and Muslim law, nearly 1 million Indian labour force in the central hill country as a political, social and economic cancer and even dividing the Native Sinhala  people artificially as Kandyans and Low country to create dissention, they could not destroy this country fully. What they are trying now to do is to complete what they could not do before they left in 1948 by empowering and assisting the Tami community, not because they like Tamils more but they want to destroy the Sinhala Buddhist imprint from this country by converting this country in to a fighting ground where different communities will eternally fight and all will lose at the end making room for the west to come again to this strategic hub in the Indian Ocean.

I know you are an ardent Hindu. At the same time I know you are a devout Buddhist too. That is why I like you been invited for this celebration. Your role in the RSS is known all over the world. I admire your leadership qualities and chivalry in defeating the feudalist Congress and your commitment to India and its People. But I see you are still caught in the crafty trap of the Indian bureaucracy and communal politicians like those in Tamilnadu.

So as a Man who can understand other people and their values much better than many other Indian politicians do I have no doubt that you are aware that India has antagonized almost all your nieghbores. Last Feb I met a prominent Buddhist scholar a monk in Nepal when I visited Lumbini, I remember the harsh words he had for India as a neihgbour. I am no expert on foreign policies but most of your problems with countries are created by your foreign policy advisors who inherit the Kautilyan strategies of statecraft of matsya niyaya of ‘the big fish swallowing the small.’ I think it is high time India under you leadership keep out of Kautilan and Machaeavelian policies and adopt a more pragmatic and friendly policy towards your neighbours.

Perhaps Asokian policies would be the best for you to emerge as the leader in South and South East Asia. In my opinion You cannot protect Indian Interest by antagonizing your neighbours and by trying to keep them under Indian grip. By trying to do that you are only making more adversaries. After all they all are free and Independent and sovereign States. Antagonizing them and trying to impose Indian hegemony is definitely not the way to keep India out of Chinese threat. The same principle applies to Sri Lanka as well.

As a trial case you try with Sri Lanka on this noble day you will succeed. Don’t depend too much on what Ranil or President Sirisena say. Because unlike you in India both of them are utterly unpopular at present, back at home. I can assure you there will be a change of Government very soon if they have an election. Also I must tell you that majority in Sri Lanka hate India for what Rajiv and Indira did in helping the LTTE and what Raw did in regime change in 2015 and how your Government is handling Sri Lanka Tamil problem at the moment, there is not a single Sinhala man or women out of the 75% who likes the attitude of India towards this country.

Your proposed visit to Dickoya and Jaffna to meet Tamils and participate in any function will only aggravate the situation. So by going there you are only antagonizing the Sinhala people of Sri Lanka and you become the target of their anger and hate. Why should an ascetic like man like you and a religious man should get that bad name. So my advice is please return to your country after taking part in this most important religious ceremony as the leader of 1.3 billion Indian citizens. No one will be against your visit to the Sacred Temple of the Tooth in Kandy So you can get the blessing there as well.

Imagine a Sri Lankan Head of State visiting India and trying to instigate the Sri Lankan community living in Buddhagaya or Benarese to rise up as Sri Lankans and hatch conspiracies to disintegrate India. I am sure you will not like it or allow it. You might most probably ask the Head of state to pack up and return to his country immediately. Similarly why don’t you put yourself in that position and suspend these meeting our own people” programmes without spoiling a sacred visit as the Head of the country  that is the birth place of Lord Buddha, who is regarded as the Greatest human being India has given to the world.

Visiting these places and addressing public meetings to please Tamil people will give the wrong impression that you are their savior. That will also devalue the Sri Lankan PM and President. The Tamils will thereafter always look up to you and Indian Government as their mentors. This will further complicate the Tamil problem in this country. The Sinhalese will regard you as their enemy who is helping Tamil to separate and finally get aligned with India.  I don’t see any difference between your attitude and that of Rajiv in this matter,

Therefore I earnestly request you to

1 Cancel these two visits and all other meetings with Tamil people living heror Jaffna

2 Stop all direct assistance to Tamil areas in future and all such assistance should be sent to the Government of this country as assistance to all Sri Lankans on a bilateral basis.

3 Your Governments present practice of offering scholarships only to Tamils also should be discontinued it would tantamount to India’s selective treatment to Tamils Indian assistance must come to Sri Lankans and not to any particular community or area as it will make other communities. (I am compelled to ell you this as I have seen some paper advertisement by you Embassy in Colombo calling for applications for Indian Scholarships only from Estate Tamils)

These practices have lasted long enough. This is how the Indian Government has driven a wedge between native Sinhalese and immigrant Indian Tamils. As such India is more responsible for ethnic clashes and ethnic separatism here even than Britain. Aren’t both parties are contributing to create ethnic compartments and communal unrest and building Chinese walls to keep the communities separately for ever.

Also tell them to drop Indian identity if they want to be Sri Lankans and develop a Sri Lannkan identity learn the language of the natives Then they will be equal with native Sinhalese

Actually it is the Government of this country that should make these requests from you. But I am compelled to make these request from you as a responsible Citizen on behalf of the Sinhala Community who are sick Indian interference in our domestic affairs and secondly, as there is no patriotic  Government in this country to do so and stand for its own people.

Such action may bring short term political gain to you. But they are detrimental to both countries in the long run. You must not act like a third grade Tamilnadu politician when it comes to matters like this. You must act and behave like an exemplary Statesman representing the land of the Buddha whom we worship day and night.

This is how your visit to Norwood had been reported in daily papers.

*Prime Minister Modi on May 12 will inaugurate a well- equipped hospital in the central hill area of Dickoya built with the Indian assistance. He will later address a public rally at the Norwood grounds.

* Modi’s visit: Wasp nests in estate sector to be removed

Ahead of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the upcountry areas, action has been taken to remove hornets and wasps nests found in certain parts of the estates to avoid any possible attack on the visiting dignitary.

These two paras speak volumes on popular protest on your visit. The mention about the removal of ‘hornets and wasps nests found in certain parts of the estates to avoid any possible attack on the visiting dignitary’ looks as if even the hornets and wasps are against your visit.

Only an intelligent man like you Mr Prime Minister who can read between lines and grasp the hidden meaning can understand the scale of underlining public resentment that is latent under this huge dormant volcano.

Finally,   In the light of this background I would like to suggest that you Mr Prime Minister don’t spoil you sacred visit by engaging in utterly unsacred and undiplomatic political ventures by trying to behave like a Tamilnadu politician. We Sri Lankans particularly the Sinhala Buddhist would like you to take care of India and it’s 1.3 Billion for which god has given you a mandate.   We will take care of Sri Lanka and its people. Please leave it to us.

One Response to “An open letter to Prime Minister Modi; An invitation to make history in Indo/Lanka relations”

  1. Vaisrawana Says:

    Thank you, Dr Gunasekara. I like your “to hell with political correctness” attitude. Let’s remind Modi that the Land of the Sinhalese, by whichever of the many names it was celebrated over the ages – Tambapanni/Taprobane, Swarnaadipa (Serendib), Ojadipa, Varadipa, Sinhale, Seylan, Ceylon, Lanka – has an unbroken written history of over 2500 years as a sovereign state, whereas modern ‘India’ was created by the British in 1858, that is, hardly 160 years ago; that the Sinhalese Buddhists are the most tolerant host nation that any minority community can dream of living with; that CM Wigneshwaran is a mad old political misfit who is now most decisively opposed by Tamil youth of Jaffna, where the rehabilitated LTTE demanded recently that the farms and pre-schools run by the SL Defence Forces continue under the same management, instead of being subjected to mismanagement by corrupt TNA stooges; that unemployed Tamil graduates there started agitations when a estate Tamil minister was reported to have asked for 100 Tamil Nadu teachers to teach in Tamil schools in the plantation sector because allegedly there was a shortage of Tamil medium degree holders to teach in them, a proposal that SL trade union leaders vehemently denounced. The Tamil Nadu government was slated to pay the salaries of these teachers. Many more facts can be mentioned here that India need not worry about us. JUST LEAVE US ALONE! That’s enough.

    We used to have dazzling illuminations and other decorations all over the country for Vesak before, and hundreds of other activities. This year, we are seeing the dimmest and the most silent Vesak ever. It’s not because of your visit. You are most welcome as an honoured visitor. People have not been urged by any politician to make such a silent demonstration. It’s an impromptu, perhaps almost unconscious response to the conduct of the unpatriotic duo at the helm here. If they learn some patriotism from you Mr Modi, we will thank you for that. We admire you because you love and protect your own people. What we are requesting of you earnestly is that you don’t harm us your neighbours in the process.

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