Don’t try to federalize Sri Lanka’s history!
Posted on October 9th, 2018

(An internet post as translated by Rohana R. Wasala)

Professor Raj Somadeva is the head of the Postgraduate Institute of Archaeology of the University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka. He is a scholar who is engaged in archaeological excavation and exploration, devoting himself to efforts that even go beyond the demands of his profession, in order to divulge Sri Lanka’s ancient history. He has made many findings based on his own absolutely independent excavations and studies using his expert knowledge. Particularly, as a result of his research into a history that goes back beyond two thousand five hundred years, the Ravana legend is being revealed to be fact, and no longer  mere fiction.

The Yahapalanaya regime has imposed a ban on Professor Somadeva who is looking for Sri Lanka’s true history. It is learned that Professor Somadeva’s license for archaeological excavations has been cancelled. Professor Somadeva who found the Sinhala antiquity of Sri Lanka has proved with evidence that the country was known as Sinhaladveepa in the past and that Tamils and other races arrived there for trade. The Northern Provincial Council Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran has stated that there had existed a historical Tamil state in the north; he has also stated that the Sinhalese language originated in the sixth or seventh century CE. That is, his opinion is the Sinhalese language came into existence only after the birth of Christ.

This is how Professor Somadeva has responded to Wigneswaran, drawing upon his archaeological  explorations: Firstly, it must be said that his statement is a completely erroneous construct. I say so based on my academic background. According to the oldest available literary sources with which we can interact, the language known as Sinhala or Sihala was in circulation in Sri Lanka even at the time of the arrival of Mahinda Thera. It is recorded in the sources that Mahinda Thera preached the Dhamma in the language of the ‘dipe danan’ (people of the island). We can understand what this language was from taking into account the fact that erudite monks compiled a series of books or atthakatas (commentaries) to elucidate abstruse points in the Dhamma. These commentaries were called ‘Sihalatthakata’s. In some instances, the Sihalatthakata tradition has been referred to as ‘porana atthakatas’ (ancient commentaries). These commentaries were called Sihalatthakata because they were written in Sinhala. It is easy to understand that books written to explain difficult matters in the Dhamma to the male and female lay Buddhists (upasaka upasikas) were composed in Sinhala, because it was the language of the islanders.

Wigneswaran has stated that Tamils have lived in this country from pre-Buddhist times. Here we must be clear about what is meant by the term ‘Dravida’. It is the same as what is meant by the term ‘Dravidian’ in English. It denotes a language family, not any racial identity. The Dravidian language family is an extensive one. It includes many languages. Tamil is only one of them. Professor Somadeva describes a gold foil document found in the Jaffna peninsula: What is shown here is the oldest metal foil with writing (found in Sri Lanka). It is a gold foil. It was discovered at Vallipuram in the Jaffna peninsula. This gold sheet record in Brahmi script was written during the reign of king Vasabha (69-111 CE). It was made to record (for posterity) that the minister Irshigiri who was in charge of Nagadeepa built a vihara named Piyagunkatissa there.  Professor Somadeva is authoritatively establishing with archaeological evidence that the history of ancient Sinhalese goes back to the era of Ravana. A social media comment about him runs as follows: Many who fought for Kuragala were inspired by a sense of nationalism. But it may be stated confidently that the most crucial attacker in the Kuragala controversy was Professor Somadeva. His Kuragala report is an academic contribution that no person or group could reject. It is not a figment of his imagination. It is a document written after deep study.  Savants of our time like Professor Raj Somadeva provide proper guidance for  the Sinhalese who strive to protect the country and the nation out of mere emotional impulse to launch into an intelligent and comprehensive struggle.”

Isn’t it the Sinhalese, the real indigenes of Sri Lanka who get persecuted due to many courses of action taken by this government in the name of a misconceived reconciliation?

Let’s now read a remark that Professor Somadeva made about the ‘federal’ idea: Although any other matter may be changed or interpreted to suit (the whims of) an individual or group, subjecting history to the influence (of such distortions ) could generate unexpected long-term complications. Very recently, I read in a newspaper a statement made by a certain politician. I understand that the statements relevant to your questions to me are parts of the same agenda. Everyone has a right to hold and defend personal opinions. This applies in respect of the federal idea, as well. However, it is my view that intelligent politicians must understand that  history cannot be federalized”.


One Response to “Don’t try to federalize Sri Lanka’s history!”

  1. Dilrook Says:

    Ruhunu, Maya and Pihiti were not federal units. They were governed by relatives. A close equal would be each of the Rajapaksa brothers governing those 3 counties. That is not federalism!

    There is no evidence of any Jaffna Kingdom in independent Sri Lanka. The only time there was a separate kingdom in the Jaffna peninsula (only) was when the rest of the maritime areas were subjugated by the Portuguese. That was hardly the norm in ancient Sri Lanka. Jaffna peninsular was part of the Karnataka Vijayanagar kingdom from 14th century to 15th century. That was not a Tamil kindgdom! There were no Tamil speaking Muslims in the east until King Senerath resettled them in the east to save them from genocide by the Portuguese.

    Inferiority complex syndrome affecting Tamil Nadu language speakers (who unfortunately have no nation of their own) is the reason for this.

    “No country without Tamils but no country of Tamils”.

    Their desperation to have a nation (and a history for it) is understandable. But they cannot take it from Sri Lanka unless another May 2009 is desired.

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