A NEW CONSTITUTION FOR THE ISLAND NATION OF SINHALE – A submission to the Experts Committee to draft a new Constitution
Posted on November 13th, 2020

THAWALAMA DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION

Puselahena Estate, Kindelpitiya, Millewa.

1st November 2020.

The Secretary,
Experts Committee to draft a new constitution,
Room 32 (Block 02) BMICH,
Bauddhaloka Mawatha,
Colombo 7,

Dear Sir,

A NEW CONSTITUTION FOR THE ISLAND NATION OF SINHALE

Heeding to a request that has been made to the Public by the Experts Committee appointed by the government to draft a new Constitution for our country, the Thawalama Development Foundation wishes to present the information submitted below in this regard for your kind consideration and necessary action.

History is a methodical record of past events while traditional stories and myth coming down for generations is legend. Two thousand five hundred years of history from the advent of Prince Vijaya is recorded as written history in the great chronicle of Mahavamsa. Myth and traditional stories take us beyond this written history in the Mahavamsa to a Ravana civilization approximately five thousand years ago, a Mahabali civilization approximately ten thousand years ago, a Tharaka civilization approximately twenty thousand years ago and a Manu civilization approximately thirty thousand years ago. Though this is a mythical belief there is ample evidence through recent archaeological findings in places such as Balangoda and Buttala to prove that men had lived in this island for well over thirty thousand years.

The recorded history in the great chronicle Mahavamsa attributes Prince Vijaya’s arrival in this island to around 483 BC. There were four tribes living in this country then known as Heladiva. The four tribes were the Nagas, the Devas, the Rakshas and the Yakkhas. Since the country was inhabited by four tribes the country was also known as Sivuhela(Sivu meaning four). Prince Vijaya was crowned as King of Heladiva and was the ruler of this island for thirty eight years (483 to 445 BC). He married a Yakkhini Princess named Kuvanna who became his queen. However there was no immediate integration between the Yakkha tribe and the immigrant Sinha tribe that arrived in this island with Prince Vijaya from North India. Therefore with the demise of King Vijaya his queen Kuvanna or their son did not become the ruler of this island.  It was Panduvasudeva a relation of King Vijaya from the Sinha tribe summoned from North India that became the next ruler of this island.

It is possible that the integration of Sinha tribe with the indigenous people namely the Nagas, Devas, Rakshas and Yakkhas may have taken many more decades and would have been completed probably during the reign of Pandukabhaya (377 to 307 BC) who was the fourth King of the island after Vijaya’s arrival. King Pandukabhaya had many indigenous people joining his army to defeat his uncles and to become the ruler of the island probably because his paternal grandmother was an indigenous lady from a Hela tribe and not an immigrant from the Sinha tribe. It was during the reign of King Pandukabhaya that this island known as Heladiva or Sivuhela was identified as Sinhale after a complete integration of the immigrant Sinha tribe from North India with the four indigenous Hela tribes of this island.

The island which was henceforth known as Sinhale was divided into Ruhunu Rata, Pehiti Rata and Maya Rata for possibly administrative expediency and after this division the island was referred to as Thunsinhale. The supreme king or the emperor ruled the country from the capital city that was situated in the Pehiti Rata during ancient times and therefore was better known as the Raja Rata. Due to invasions initially from South India and subsequently from European countries the capital city was later relocated either in Maya or Ruhunu Rata. When the supreme king or emperor resident in the capital city that was located in one of these subdivisions the other two subdivisions were sometimes ruled by a sub king or a regent who was a close relation of the king but he was always subordinate to the supreme king or emperor residing in the capital city. During the advent of the first European power the Portuguese to this country in 1505 A.D the capital city was Sri Jayawardenapura in Kotte that was situated in the Maya Rata. The Portuguese gradually established control over the Maritime Provinces of the island.

The Dutch took over the rule of the Maritime Provinces from the Portuguese in 1656 A.D and in 1796 A.D the British took over the Maritime Provinces of the island from the Dutch. When the European powers commenced to establish their rule over the Maritime Provinces of the island the kingdom of Sinhale gradually moved to the interior central hills and the capital city was finally established at Maha Nuwara in the Ruhunu Rata. Invading British forces found it very difficult to approach the strategically situated Maha Nuwara that was in the central hills as it was virtually surrounded by the Mahawali River and thick jungle. A British expeditionary force that tried to capture the king of Sinhale in 1802 A.D was virtually annihilated during that attempt. The kingdom in the hills from where the king reigned was also known as Kanda Uda Pasrata which the British later called Kanda and subsequently Kandy.

The kingdom of Sinhale was ceded to the British by the Sinhalese Chieftains through the Kandyan Convention signed on the 2nd of March 1815 and was never conquered by the British. The name of the ceded country mentioned throughout the Sinhala and English text of this International Treaty is called Sinhale, the name by which the island was known through the centuries. The letter and spirit of the Convention was never observed by the British Colonial administration. This resulted in two rebellions. One was in 1818 and the other was in 1848. British were able to crush both these rebellions in the most ruthless manner and continue with their British colonial rule until the granting of independence to Ceylon on 4th February 1948.

 Independence was however granted by the British to a country called Ceylon and not to the country called Sinhale that was ceded to them by the Sinhala Chieftains, through the Kandyan Convention. The implication of this intentional or unintentional omission was overlooked by our national leaders at that point of time. Had independence been granted to the nation of Sinhale that was ceded to the British, then there would never have been any ambiguity with regard to the rightful ownership of this island. Just as much as the world accepts that France is the land of its indigenous people the French, Germany is the land of its indigenous people the Germans, China is the land of its indigenous people the Chinese, Japan is the land of its indigenous people the Japanese and so on and so forth, Sinhale would have been the land of its indigenous people the Sinhalese. There would never have been any room for a mythical Tamil homeland known as Eelam in this country. 

The word ILAM (Eelam), today, comes into much prominence. It is, apparently, being used to connote the impression of a land of the Tamils”. Indeed, the Tamil word ILAM was never before used in that sense. On the contrary, this Tamil word ILAM did not refer to Tamil land but to the Landof the Sinhala people”. None other establishes this than the Tamil lexicon published under the authority of the highest seat of Tamil learning, namely the University of Madras. Page 328 of this Tamil lexicon has the following entry: ILAM, n< Pali, Sinhala, 1. Ceylon.What it says is that ILAM means the land of the Sinhala people. The Tamil word given as the meaning of ILAM reads SINHALUM”. The term ILA in Tamil means SINHALA”, having its origin in the word HELA, by which term the ancient people of LANKA were known. Thus ILAKKACHU in Tamil means Sinhala Coins”- ILA means Sinhala, Kachchu means Coins. Similarly, since NADU means LAND, ILANADU means Sinhala land. According to the said lexicon the word ILANADU was derived from ILAM. The foregoing establishes the fact that the word ILAM (Eelam) never referred to any Tamil land but always signified the Sinhala land. Therefore if one were to ask for ILAM (Eelam), what is being asked for is the traditional homeland of the Sinhala people.

Tamil culture evolved for centuries in Tamil Nadu situated in South India and not in this island which is the traditional homeland of the Sinhala people. Therefore Tamil Nadu the traditional homeland of the Tamils is where they can practice self-determination and not in the northern and eastern parts of this island that is an integral part of the nation of Sinhale now better known as Sri Lanka. It was to establish a separate homeland for the Tamils in the northern and eastern parts of this island that the LTTE fought a war for three decades with the government of Sri Lanka. Though the LTTE was convincingly defeated in 2009 some Tamil political leaders who are supported by the LTTE rump in the Tamil Diaspora still continue to speak about Tamil aspirations for self-determination and also with regard to the need to establish a traditional homeland for the Tamils in this country. These Tamil political leaders also aspire to have the Security Forces that protected and preserved the unity and territorial integrity of the nation by defeating LTTE terrorism removed from the Northern Province. Such aspirations are unrealistic and would never be acceded to by the Sinhalese majority in this country even if undue international pressure is applied upon the government of Sri Lanka. Therefore these Tamil politicians instead of following a path that would drag the Tamil minority once again to a dark age of war and destruction should instead join hands with the government of Sri Lanka to rapidly develop the area affected by the war to usher in peace and prosperity for the Tamil people living in the northern and eastern parts of the country.  

It is true that there are many examples of new countries being formed overnight. In our immediate neighborhood the division of India into India and Pakistan or the creation of Bangladesh serves as good examples. However the formation of nations does not happen overnight and in fact takes several centuries. A nation also has its own indigenous population and a language of its own. The nation of Sinhale had been in existence for over 2000 years and it had its own indigenous population the Sinhalese and a language namely Sinhala when it was ceded to the British on 2nd of March 1815. This nation of Sinhale was identified as a country called Ceylon by the British. The Sri Lanka Freedom Party that was governing the country in 1972 promulgated a new Constitution and Ceylon was renamed as the Republic of Sri Lanka without having used that opportunity to revert back to the Nation of Sinhale which was the ancient identity of the island. Unlike in Sri Lanka the national leaders of Myanmar were much more patriotic and valued their historical identity. Therefore British colonial Burma reverted back to its original name of Myanmar after independence.

What was the rationality behind our political leaders changing the name of the ancient island nation of Sinhale to that of a country called Sri Lanka? Did it not result in converting an ancient nation into just another country of recent origin? Was the name of the country changed to Sri Lanka because the governing party at that point of time was the Sri Lanka Freedom Party? What was the actual origin of this name Sri Lanka? The meaning of Sri is resplendent or very splendid. Admiring the very splendid beauty of this island people living in neighboring India called it the Alankar Dwipa.

The name Lanka was derived from the word Alankar by dropping the first letter A and the last letter r. Therefore Lanka was only a nick name used from ancient times for the splendidly beautiful island nation of Sinhale. When the new Constitution was promulgated in 1972 our political leaders only succeeded in changing the name of the island to its ancient nickname instead of the real ancient name of Sinhale. This only diluted the claim of the indigenous Sinhala people to this island nation and further encouraged the Tamil separatist demand.  

During the British colonial era Indian Tamil indentured labour was inducted to Burma too. However after independence the far thinking Burmese national leaders requested the Indian Tamils in that country to integrate into the majority Burmese society by changing their names to Burmese and those who were unwilling to do so were asked to return to India. This resulted in an increase in the majority Burmese population and a corresponding decrease in the minority Tamil population. Even though the Indian Tamil indentured labour spent much of their sweat and toil to develop the plantation industry in Ceylon had an integration exercise similar to that practiced in Burma been suggested for this country after independence that would never have been accepted by the Sinhalese people who believe that they belong to a pure race. Have they forgotten that their very race is a result of an integration of the indigenous Nagas, Devas, Rakshas and Yakkhas with a migrant Sinha tribe from India over 2000 years ago that resulted in the formation of the nation of Sinhale? It is also a fact that this island nation is strategically situated very close to the main shipping route in the Indian Ocean. Therefore much integration was inevitable between foreigners and the Sinhalese people for many centuries and to believe that a pure Sinhala race exists today is nothing but fallacy. DNA tests have proven that the Sinhala race is far from pure and is very much mixed. 

The first Constitution of independent Ceylon was the Saulsberry Constitution. This Constitution of Ceylon was repealed and a new Constitution for the Republic of Sri Lanka was adopted and enacted on or about 22nd of May 1972. This 1972 Constitution of the Republic of Sri Lanka was repealed in 1978 with enactment and adoption of a new Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. Therefore when constitutions were adopted for the country in 1948, 1972 and in 1978 the political leadership of our nation had three opportunities to reestablish the nation of Sinhale that was ceded to the British on 2nd of March 1815. These political leaders voted to govern the country by the people even after 72 years of independence from the British failed to adopt and enact a constitution for the nation of Sinhale making separatist claims irrelevant. The Thawalama Development Foundation would be thankful to the Experts Committee if it gives due consideration to enact a new Constitution for the nation of Sinhale.

Yours faithfully,

Anil Amarasekera/-Lt Col. A.S.Amarasekera (Retd.)                                                                                                                               Director of Operations

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