An open letter to all Sinhala politicians, particularly those representing the CP. Uva and Sabaragamuva PROVINCES.
Posted on April 15th, 2023

Dr Sudath Gunasekara(SLAS) Former Secretary to Prime Minister Mrs Sirimavao Bandaranayaka

Originally Posted on December 30th, 2022

Gentlemen what have you done to the Kandyan Sinhala people, for 75 years since 1948, who protected this country for you and all of us, for 443 years from foreign enemies (1815-1948), other than closing down the only organization they had at least ‘to seek protection from an unexpected rain’ as the famous Sinhala adage goes The Department of Kandyan Peasantry Rehabilitation” on 1st Jan 2014. by the then Podu Jana Peramuna government by Basil Rajapaksha, the then Minister in charge of the subject.?

I pause this question to you in the backdrop of a news item that the present government has already taken action to improve upcountry plantation workers lives amid Indian push” under the directions of the President, unilaterally taken, based on wrong information and Indian lobbying.

I hold it as a Buddhist that improving the lives of any one in this country, from a humanitarian point of view is indeed commendable and definitely gracious. But if it is done at the expense of the native Sinhala people, the founders of civilization on this land, then such traitorous action should be condemned outright and fourth with, without any regard as to who has taken it. Improving the lives of people means many things. Basically, it can be land, shelter, food, water supply, clothing, medicine, education and employment.

In this essay I would like to confine to the two basic needs of land and shelter which usually go together. This land now being   handed over to Indian Tamils who were brought here by the British after 1839 and on which houses are built with Indian funds was owned by either the crown of the Sinhale Kingdom or by our ancestors. Therefore, this land was ours and even today it is our life. Therefore, we vehemently protest and strongly oppose any steps taken by any government giving it to any foreigner. When it comes to these Tamils one can say, no!no! they are also citizens of this country. Yes, they are. But they are not the sons of this soil. I maintain that they are only political citizens. As they have been given citizenship by one politician at his own will (JR in under JR/Rajiv Accord of 29 July 1987)) due to pressure from India and due to political compulsion created by the greed for their vote.  This land, the land of the Sinhala nation from the beginning of history must be first made available to their pre-emptive native owners. It should not be given to any foreign country as it was once done on 2nd March 1815.But at present this land once supposed to have been given back to the natives in 1948 is again given to Indian Estate labour only, thereby creating mono Tamil settlements all over the hill country. When the pole cat is thrown out of the door the skunk crawls in through the window, as Americans say. This process will create a ring of mono Tamil settlements right round the central hills extending to all areas where Tamil people live such as Kegalla, Ratnapura, Galla, interior Matara, Monaragala, Bibila, Passara Badulla, Kandy, Matale and even Kurunegala.

The resulting demographic changes will definitely lead to far reaching geopolitical changes followed by unpredictable consequences to the Sinhala nation in the near future. The district representation and the preferential voting system will make it worse as minority ethnic groups always vote for their candidates only. If this trend continues without taking precautionary measures immediately, the day this country becoming the 29th State of India is not that far. Once the 29th State is created the new Lankanadu and Thamilnadu will join hands and declare the Eelam which Pirapaaharan failed to realize for 30 years. With that the 1963, Jawaharlal Nehru, declaration on secessionism in India will also come to an end

The next step is declaring whole of India as the EELAM as forecasted by the EELAM theorists. It is this Eelaamist strategy every politician in India including Jayaprakash Naraayan has to realize at least now, before they try to exert their policeman influence and interfere with the internal politics of this country.

Once this is done the curtain will fall on the 2500-year-old Lanka and the Sinhala Buddhist civilization on this planet. This in short is what I predict will happen one day, if this ongoing Tamil settlement programme in the hill country is not arrested in time.

The only way to avoid this disaster

It was the native Sivhela (who later became Sinhala) people who defended this country against South Indian invasions from Ram-Ravana’s times in the yore and more recently from three ruthless colonial invaders namely Portuguese, Dutch and the English for 443 years. But attempting to solve the problems of the Indian labour with no concern for the plight of the Bhumiputhras is like trying to improve the lives of a neighbor’s family, without first have a look at his own kitchen and see that his own wife and children are not starving. I cannot think of a better advice than this I could give to the governments messing up with these short-sighted political agendas with utter disregard to one’s own country and the nation.

We, the patriotic Sinhala people of the Kanda Udarata lodge our strongest protest against this decision of giving special treatment to Tamils of Indian origin purely for petty political consideration, for which they will never be grateful as amply proved by all past experience, without paying any attention to first, rectifying the historical injustices done  to the natives by colonial invaders by forcibly grabbing their ancestral land  and forcing them to flee to the eastern jungles  to save their lives followed by brutal and horrendous crimes against them for decades. The 1818 historic Uva uprising and the 1848 Matale rebellion by the Kandyan populous against the British rule were the best evidence where the native Sinhalese displayed their burning patriotism and gallantry against the repressor to save the motherland.   Torrington in 1848 got down a large number of sepoys to quell the native freedom fighters in the Matale rebellion.

In fact, coming on to the present-day Tamil problem on the hills, actually speaking all these South Indian laborers should have been repatriated to India or taken to England at the time of British leaving this country in 1948. as all of them were legally British citizens at that time. As such this is another crime committed by the colonial British against Sri Lanka and the Sinhala nation for which they alone are directly responsible. Therefore, the government of this country should demand the British government first to repatriate these Indian labourers or take them to UK.

It is a big tragedy that our politicians of the day have not realized that danger at that time, whereas, all other countries like Burma, Mauritius, Tanganyika and Malaysia issued an ultimatum to all Indians to leave those counties.  But Sri Lanka never did it and they are the people to whom the Government is now planning to hand over the ‘Geographical Heartland of Sri Lanka” THE HADABIMA (as I have named it) making a free pathway for India to walkover and to convert this Island to be the 29th State of India with no effort and replace British colonialism with Indian expansionism. Indian imperialism will definitely be worse than the British because they will do everything to compensate for their failures starting from the Ramaayana days.

It is in this backdrop I declare shame on those politicians who betray the Motherland and millions of sons of the soil who descend from the patriotic Brave Kandyan Sinhala freedom fighters”,  who fought against three colonial invaders, Portuguese, Dutch and the English for 443 years and died in tens of thousands and sacrificed everything they had including their own mother earth and the right to live, to protected this Island for us to live today. 

Not all present-day Indian Labour in Sri Lanka have a 200-year-old domicile history in this country as the Cabinet paper says.

The first batch of Indian laborers comprising 2,719 persons from what is now known as Tamil Nadu, came in 1839. By 1910, this number had ballooned to 409, 914 to work on Coffee and Tea plantations opened up by the British on lands that belong to the native Sinhalese forcibly acquired by the British invaders through draconian laws. As such to say these estate labourers have a 200-year history is wrong.  I wonder who gave this wrong information to the cabinet, that by February 2023, it will be 200 years since the arrival of the first generations of the Up-Country Tamil community to Sri Lanka. In fact not all the present day Tamils living in these areas are descendants of the early immigrants as most of them have left the country from time to time.

To say that they have enormously contributed to the economy of this country is also absolute false.

 The South Indian brought as indentured labour worked for their British masters right through out as slave coolies for very low wages and helped them to enrich the British coffers. Whatever these coolies had saved they transferred all that to South India annually in the form of Sterling Pounds and gold every year in their routine annual trips to their mother land. (For details see Tennakon Wimalananda (Dravida Munnethra Kasagam Vyaparaya haa Sinhahalayagei Anagathaya) So, it is very clear that it was Briton and India who had benefitted and not Sri Lanka from their labour. Therefore, to say that they have been contributing to the national economy of this country for 200 years is a blatant lie.

Their biggest contribution they made was to the British economy to enrich their coffers and to build their Empire and the rest was sent to India. As such they have contributed only to British and Indian economy.  On the other hand, as far as this country is concerned, they were a big liability to the country’s economy right from the beginning as all their food requirements were also imported using money generated in this country. They were also heavily subsidized by the government on food, medicine, and all other facilities at the expense of the country’s economy. This also had a negative effect on the country’s economy. Importing wheat flour and rice in large scale to feed these laborers in a big way was a sad legacy we have inherited from that time. This again badly affected the domestic paddy production and local economy.  Besides, Sinhala people also became accustomed to and became dependent on cheap imported rice and flour for the first time in history of this country. In this context I would like to ask the question from any one as to what positive contribution these people have done to this country’s economy or development.

What is worse is none of them has a love for this country. Though they earn their daily bread here, they all ways worship mother India, their gods and their politicians. Thus, they were and are 100 % Indians for all intent and purposes. As a school going small boy (12-15), I have seen even the barber saloon in the small town was always decorated with massive photographs of Indian politicians like Gandhi, Nehru, Subhas Chandra Bose and Indian Gods like Saraswathi, Ganesh and Hanuman. Thus, not only those who lived on the plantation areas but even those who lived in the townlets and cities lived mentally in India, although physically they were here and also earned their bread on Sri Lankan soil.” Even though they have got Sri Lanka citizenship on paper, thanks to our unpatriotic and vote-centric politicians, they still continue to be Indians for all intents and purposes for generations. The fact that Fifty percent of the man days lost to strikes were from the plantation industry proves the love they have towards this country. My personal experience tells me that these Indian Tamils who live here are, metaphorically, a set of people who pray long life to the ocean after having drunk water from the well. (ලිඳෙන් වතුර බීලා මුහුදට ආවඩන මිනිසු කොටසක්)

My question to our crazy unpatriotic politicians who cry for the rights of the estate labour Tamils of Indian origin and approves urgent Cabinet papers based on false information is, what have you people done on earth to restore the birth rights of the Sons of the Kandyan Sinhalese whose ancestors have fought, died or got killed in tens of thousands  and sacrificed all their rights including their mother land and the right to live during 344 years, starting from 1505, other than closing down the only organization ”The Kandyan Peasantry Commissioners Department”(even though it was also teethless and powerless) they had at least to protect their heads against an unexpected  rain, on 1st Jan 2014. By Basil Rajapaksha of the Podu Jana Peramuna government. This is nothing but blatant betrayal of the motherland and the sons of the soil for which they will be never be forgiven. Shame on you who betray the motherland and the nation for a petty consideration of a vote, stained with blood of murdering a nation

I have no objection for improving the lives of upcountry plantation workers or any other segment of the society. Because that is one of the major social obligations of a state in any given country especially so in Sri Lanka being a Buddhist country. But why this Indian push’ on one particular group living in a specific geographical area in this country, as the news item says, unless they have some ulterior motive behind it. Is the hill country, where these Tamils of Indian live is already an area belonging to India, is a moot question.

The most important and the basic issue in opening up of large-scale settlements in the Hill country.

I would like to open this argument, for the need to protect the central hill country, and against its destruction caused by bad land utilization practices and by opening  up of large scale settlements, as it is going on now, haphazardly conceived,  on steep hilltops and slopes ( as shown by the following settlement recently opened up in Bogavanthalaava) that entail road construction and site clearings for community services like health centers, schools, temples, marketing centers and playgrounds etc (for narrow political expediency)    that cause further destruction, with the opening passage of my paper, I wrote some time back under the caption The Central Hill Country: The ‘Hadabima’ (Heartland) of Sri Lanka A New Geographical Interpretation”

(Posted on December 2nd, 2017 Lankaweb.)

 I pause the question to every man, woman and child in Sri Lanka as to what will happen to you, if your heart stops. Obviously, the answer is you will die. Similarly, one day, if the rivers that have their sources in the hill country, cease to flow, the curtain will fall on the survival of the entire life system in the Island together with its civilization due to lack of water, arising from deforestation, land degradation and bad land use practices on the central hills”

It is in this logical perspective that we should try to understand the critical importance of protecting the central hill country as the country’s geographical heartland” (HADABIMA) with the same care and caution that we take to protect our own hearts.)

The Central hill country of Sri Lanka provides the only source for all 103 rivers in the country. These rivers that flow down to the sea throughout the year in all directions keep the entire life system in the country alive.  If these rivers cease to flow due to deforestation and bad land utilization practices followed by soil erosion and land degradation in the upper water sheds, one day, the rivers will cease to flow. The day they cease to flow the entire life system and the civilization of the whole Island will also cease to exist. Thus, the physical stability of the central hill country determines and dictates the fate of the entire life system and the civilization of this country.

 The perennial flow of these rivers depends on the physical stability of the upper watersheds, even if it rains throughout the year. When it comes to settlements on the hill country lands, the most important and the basic issue is the need to protect the physical stability of the region as the survival of the entire life system and the civilization of this country wholly depend on its physical stability.  It is the major and perhaps the only source of the entire water needs of the country. Besides this basic issue, there are some other critical issues like its geo strategic importance in relation to the security of the State, as it has been aptly proved throughout history of this Island nation and also other broader geopolitical considerations as well, that has to be seriously taken in to account before we jump in to taking decisions regarding any large-scale settlement scheme or any other sporadic settlements on this hilly terrain.

Then again issues like where are you going to settle them and whom are you going to settle here also have to be decided very carefully. There is no difference whether they are Indians or Arabians. All  ways  it has to be Sri Lankans who love this land. These decisions should never be taken on narrow political considerations like vote collecting or any outside interference or advice. All such decisions have to be taken purely on solid scientific foundations. In this backdrop I strongly recommend that all settlement schemes presently been undertaken under Indian or any other aid schemes should be stopped immediately until a firm decision is taken to commence work only after a careful study on this issue. [S1] I suggest, until such time, the labourers are kept in the present places and any funding coming in either from India or any other doner be deposited in a separate fund in the Treasury until such time a permanent decision is taken as to where they are to be settled.

In this tricky political exercise.

1 The first consideration is maintaining the physical stability of the central hills. Any activity on these hills must never jeopardize and destroy the physical stability of the central hill country above 1000 ft msl The geographical Heartland” of this Island nation that determines and dictate the survival of the entire life system in the Island and its civilization as it provides the main source of water and the biggest natural reservoir for the water needs of the whole country. We also have to remember that it also constitutes the main and the only water shed that provides the source for all the 103 three rivers that supply water to the whole country.

2 Geostrategic considerations

Other than the crucial importance of this part on the Island in relation to the Islands physical sustainability there is another extremely critical issue related to its geostrategic value in the islands geopolitical map of this part of the Island as it had been proved throughout history  for which reason it must be kept completely free from any outside interference of any sort or any foreign settlements.

3 Geopolitical implications

A solid mono Tamil settlement right at the center of the Island with strong Indian control will have serious geopolitical implications ensuing due to major demographic changes. Therefore, such mono Tami settlements should never be allowed to exist as the degree of vulnerability of even a unilateral declaration of an independent state cannot be ruled out particularly in view of the current Tamil agitation for a separate Tamil state in the North and the east.

Now that all estate Tamils have been given Sri Lanka Citizenship the only way to circumvent this disaster is to establish mixed settlement in this part of the country to avoid such threats.

4. Harmonious ethnic reconciliation and total integration.

It is as a lasting solution to all these 3 issues in mind that I propose the following land use pattern to be adopted for the central highland of Sri Lanka in general, to overcome  any future calamity.

This programme will also entail removal of all settlements on land above 3500 ft

The resulting new mixed settlements are finally expected to be integrated socially and culturally. That will also put an end to Indian interference in the central hill country of Sri Lanka at least.

Under this programme it is proposed that,

1 Declare all land above 5000 strictly protected and conserved forest (thanchi kele as it was during the ancient times)

2 All lands between 3500-5000 be confined to largescale tea plantations.  Buildings within this area should be limited to only factories and allied staff quarters.

3 1000- 3500 mixed settlements of S&T on 2 ½ acre mixed farms of the HADABIMA model; Agriculture &livestock. This ring right around the hill country will provide the labour required for the tea plantations between 3500-5000as well.

In these settlements there will be complete social integration without any Indian interference, as it is done today. The integrated Tamils are not expected to be Indian Tamils any more, (if they want, they could be called Ceylon Tamils as an ethnic group, but not as a nation) where all will be equal and ultimately, they are expected to be another vibrant segment of the Sinhala society like the community inhabiting the SW coastal sector in the Island, who are said to be immigrants from South India during the early and mid-Kandyan Kingdom period.

Those who refuse to accept this settlement model should go back to their motherland South India. Either they should integrate with the native Sinhalese or go back to India. No one can live here as Indian or any other country’s citizen) They also have another option. That is, they can demand British citizenships as they were also British citizens when British left this Island in 1948.Because this had been the motherland of the Sinhala people at least for the past 2500 years.  It is only in this country that each ethnic group assumes to be identified as a separate nation. In all other nation states like UK, America Russia India or Australia for example or any other you have only one nation. It is only in this country one finds this human joke. I attribute this situation to none other than the country’s politicians who have been running this country since 1948. Without a vision or a mission.

A separate state

In the event we fail to adopt this system, the Indian estate Tamils will eventually claim a separate State and in all probability, they will form a federation with the Tamils in the East and North. In fact, there had been a plan to open up a highway from Nuwara Eliya to Batticaloa during the Thondaman’s time. (Senior). The way how things are going on ultimately the Central Hill Country captured by the British in 1815 will be re captured by the plantation Tamils of Indian origin in no time, India will declare this Island the 29th State of India as Jayaprakash Narayan recently opined. Finally, it will be worse than the British occupation. And eventually the Sinhala nation will disappear from the surface of this planet.

 It is in view of this imminent danger, that I propose all Sinhala politicians to support the above proposal unanimously to protect not only the Heartland of the Island but also the life system and the civilization of the whole country.

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