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Tamil People have Rejected Tamil Self-Determination in Favour of Ethic Integration

“The Tamil Elam struggle failed to achieve anything politically; even what they called “Ghandian” ways failed. Peace talks also failed and the war is also failing them. By going to war and supporting it, Tamil separatists essentially accepted the outcome of the war, victory or defeat. It is not possible to back down from it now when things don’t go in their favour. They may still try it, but, the war will seal the fate of Tamil Elam, the state that was never to be.”

by Thomas Johnpulle

(December 24, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) The recent article about Tamil people’s right to self-determination by Deirdre McConnell of Cambridge Review of International Affairs amply displays complete ignorance of the whole truth and home truths. When Giordano Bruno revealed that astral beings don’t orbit the earth but the earth orbits the sun, he was executed. Due to the widespread lies propagated by Tamil Elam separatist elements around the world, telling the truth has become revolutionary indeed. Only a handful of Tamils seem courageous enough to stand against lies that are supposed to 'liberate' them.

The cruel war in Sri Lanka caused a flow of economic refugees to developed countries; most of them Tamils. LTTE and other separatists manipulated them for their war and propaganda work. According to Jane’s Defence Weekly, LTTE collects US$200-300 million a year from the rich Diaspora. In comparison, the capital defence budget of Sri Lanka is just US$177 million! The propaganda war is no different.


In Sri Lanka, Sinhala and Tamil people don’t kill each other. They live side-by-side peacefully as they have done for over 2,500 years. By today, most Tamils (over 50%) live outside the north-east. In other words, over 50% Tamils live outside what the LTTE calls “Tamil traditional homelands”. Compared to the area coming under what the LTTE calls “Tamil traditional homelands”, other areas offer more comfortable living due to the wet weather, better water resources, better development, benefits of the multiethnic nature and other attractions. There is no way millions of Tamils leaving their homes and going to settle down in “Tamil traditional homelands”. Also it is not possible to dislocate millions of Sinhalas and Muslims living in “Tamil traditional homelands” who have borne the brunt of Tamil separatism and genocide for over three decades. In this context it is not feasible to consider Tamil self-determination in Sri Lanka.
Correcting a misconception in the above mentioned article, it is worthwhile to note that Muslims of Sri Lanka, as in the world, is a separate community and they have outright rejected Tamil separatism. Due to this, thousands of Muslims were massacred by Tamil separatists, even inside mosques! Moreover a complete Muslim genocide was carried out in parts of the country by Tamil separatists in the early 1990s.

Distorting history must stop

Distorting history is the pastime of some. Unfortunately for them, their project won’t work in Sri Lanka where there is a written history spanning over 2,500 years corroborated by remnants and scientific evidence. According to the written history, Tamils and Sinhalas in Sri Lanka have lived in one common community for over 2,500 years. Sporadic invasions from Tamil Nadu (by definition the invaders were Tamils!) resulted in Tamil kings ruling parts of the country. Until the thirteenth century, by which time the people of this island had a history of over 1,800 years, the total number of years invading Tamil Nadu kings ruled parts of the north amounts to less than 175 years. This is negligible for a span of 1,800 years. Cholas from Tamil Nadu ruled the northern parts of Sri Lanka for 77 years which is the longest continuous reign by Tamils before the thirteenth century.

These invaders were very ferociously handled by the Sri Lankans. Obviously majority Sri Lankans were Sinhalas but notable Tamil and Kerala commanders were also in Sinhala kings’ armies. They even went to Tamil Nadu with the intent causing destruction. Had there been a separate Tamil state in Sri Lanka, it would not have stood a chance! Present day is no different, either.

After the fall of the Polonnaruwa kingdom in the thirteenth century due to the cruel rule by Kalinga Magha (Magha is the modern day Orissa state of India) and Malaria, people moved southwards to the wet zone from the North and East. This allowed space for people from Tamil Nadu to freely settle down in the north and east which are closest to Tamil Nadu. Due to lack of interest from the rulers of the island, they formed their own little kingdom but dared not claim it from the rulers in the south. However, as this kingdom grew in prosperity southern kings started paying attention. The Jaffna Kingdom that lasted merely a fraction of the 2,500 years of Sri Lankan history from the thirteenth century to the early seventeenth century fell permanently in 1619 to the Portuguese.

Although some may claim a Tamil history in the north-east starting from the thirteenth century AD, Sri Lankans (Sinhalas and Tamils) have a well documented history spanning over 2,500 years from the sixth century BC for the same strip of land! Dozens of Buddhist shrines are scattered in this area signifying their presence of Sinhala Buddhists. Similarly many Hindu temples are found in the south. There were no demarcations. Therefore the Tamil traditional homelands concept falls.

Communal representation and the rise of racism

Communal representation was merely a gimmick of British colonial masters to reign over the country. However, they realised the need to establish democracy. Just like in virtually all democratic countries where there is no communal representation, territorial representation was established. If anyone has a problem with territorial representation, he should take it up with ‘democracy’ not with anything else.

However, thanks to decades of communal representation and the threat of democracy sent shockwaves in certain Tamil entities. In 1918 ‘The Jaffna Association’ demanded from the British rulers to continue with communal representation. Although this demand was rejected, it was taken up by the All Ceylon Tamil Congress, a premier political party. Since then race, racism and racial representation dominated northern politics and parts of east as well. All major political parties from this area were race based until this date. Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi, Tamil United Liberation Front and Tamil National Alliance are the other major political parties that emerged from the north-east. In wide contrast voters in other areas had an array of political parties with various ideologies. They rejected race-based parties and multi-racial parties always won. Tamils had no problem voting for Sinhala candidates where they were free to vote. The 2005 Presidential Election was a classic example. All the candidates of this election were Sinhalas, but Tamils voted in millions for them. Colombo-West (66%), Colombo-North (70%), Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia (73%), the Nuwara Eliya district (a staggering 80%!) where Tamils are the majority recorded more than 65% voters’ turnout. LTTE controlled Vanni had a sad story although amidst LTTE threats, close to 70,000 people, mostly Tamils, voted for Sinhala candidates. A voter who had voted (obviously to a Sinhala candidate as there were only Sinhala candidates) was tortured by the LTTE by severing his hand! That’s not all. The 1982 Presidential Election, which occurred after the much boasted 19777 TULF election victory, is another landmark election where Tamils voted in their millions to Sinhala politicians of multiethnic parties. While the voters’ turnout in the north-east was over 55% (whole island turnout was 80%) over 75% of their votes went for Sinhala candidates!

Racism mongers are baffled beyond belief by this reality!

Similarly Tamil politicians were immensely respected and supported by the Sinhala voters. Jeyaraj Fernandopulle was a leading Tamil politician who commanded respect from Sinhala people who came to power from the same district SWRD Bandaranaike contested! Lakshman Kadirgamar, another contemporary Tamil politician who was a former Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka was another enormously respected Tamil politician. No wonder Tamil separatists killed them both! It is also worth the while to note that the first victim of the LTTE was a Tamil politician by the name Alfred Duraiappa who was the Mayor of Jaffna. Dozens of Tamil politicians who eventually rejected separatism were killed by Tamil separatists. By killing and silencing pragmatic Tamil politicians, LTTE replaced its henchmen in their place.

Most people of Sri Lanka irrespective of race, have, when allowed the opportunity, rejected racism and race-based politics. Any successful political solution to the problem must be within this.

The nonsense about colonisation

Sachithanandan (1980, 10) wrote, 'within 162 years, the Sinhalese had plundered 50 per cent of the Tamil ancestral homeland and are still attempting to colonise more and more lands'. The absurdity and racism of the above statement is crystal clear. May be the maker of the statement didn’t know that 130 years of that 162 years fell during the British rule from 1818 to 1948! Therefore, it was not ‘Sinhala governments’ as some allege did this. It was people freely moving about this one country that caused it. As a democratic country with legally enforceable equal rights to all citizens, Sri Lanka always recognised the right of all individuals irrespective of race to live in any part of the country; so did the British. Therefore, as a matter of right Sinhalese can live in the north-east as well.

The absurdity of alleged colonisation of Tamil lands becomes even more apparent when considering the conduct of Tamils themselves. Over the years Tamils have gone to live outside the ‘Tamil ancestral homeland’. Today more than 50% Tamils live in ‘Sinhala majority’ areas and the country has no problem with that. Colombo City, which is the capital of Sri Lanka, has more Tamils than Sinhalas! Who is complaining?

This is in spite of the very unfortunate events of July 1983 when politically motivated uncivilised mobs attacked Tamils and their property in Colombo and other areas in the ‘south’. It is even more unfortunate that no attempt was made to identify them and punish them. However, people have effectively put it at the back of their minds and moved on peacefully since then.

It must be accepted that Sinhalas and Muslims have the same right to live in the north as Tamils have the right to live in Colombo. Any other theorem only justifies racism which has been rejected by the people by their very conduct. Actions speak louder than words, they say.

Large extents of land in the north-east must be colonised by the people of all races as in Colombo. Only then can the Sri Lankan multiculturalism, which is an untold success story, will prevail ushering in an era of peace, harmony, development, prosperity, a sense of community and unity.

Discriminatory legislation

There were discriminatory legislation but all have been reversed by now. The 1956 Sinhala Only legislation caused so much hardship to Tamils. However, Tamils learning Sinhala is not a crime; it causes a problem only for those who want to keep the two communities separate. Most Tamils in Sri Lanka today can speak Sinhala even better than English! Today both languages have been recognised as national languages, yet, Tamil separatists want a Tamil only mono-ethnic state where, obviously, Sinhala would not be a ‘national language’. Who is right and accommodative and who is wrong, now?

Many misconceptions exist about the standardisation of university entrance. Totally taxpayer funded university education must be equitable for all. Standardisation attempted to provide equal chances for children of all 25 administration districts. As a result Tamil students from Jaffna lost while Tamil students from Batticaloa, Mannar, Mulaitivu, Nuwara eliya, etc. gained enormously in numbers. Similarly Sinhala students in Colombo, Matara, Galle, etc. lost opportunities. Even after standardisation, today there are more Tamils in taxpayer funded universities than their population percentage. In 1982, ten years after standardisation, there were a very higher number of Tamils as a percentage were enrolled into Sri Lankan taxpayer funded universities totally collapsing the ‘standardisation myth’. While the total Tamil percentage of the country in 1981 was 18.2%, university enrolment of Tamils in 1982 into the faculties of dentistry, physical science, commerce, engineering, bio science, agriculture, medicine, architecture and veterinary sciences were respectively, 40%, 38%, 34%, 31%, 29%, 27%, 25%, 24% and 23%. (Sources: Department of Census and Statistics; University Grants Commission, Department of Higher Education).

It is very interesting to note that the LTTE supremo was a school dropout and his wife who is also involved in the outfit studied in a taxpayer funded university!

Racism and tribal violence

Tribal violence in modern day Sri Lanka dates back to 1871, 44 years before 1915, when violent riots broke out in Jaffna between Tamil people of different castes. Caste violence although less intense than Tamil Nadu has been there in the northern Tamil community. A famous Tamil educationist by the name Arumuka Navalar resigned from the school where he taught because a low caste Tamil boy was admitted to the school.

The Tamil Elam concept was inaugurated by Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam in 1922. It only gathered justifications thereafter. Demanding racial representation, violence was unleashed in 1931 by the youth in Jaffna who also boycotted peaceful, democratic elections. However, British rulers didn’t entertain any of their racist demands which ought to have been taken as a good precedent of governance by post-Independent rulers.

However, following Independence, non-violent separatist activities resurged. Those were non-violent not by choice but due to the inability to launch violence! Had they used violence, equal or more violence would have quelled it effortlessly.

“Ghandian” principles were wrongfully cited by them to advance separatism. It all went for a six when the so called “Ghandians” failed to criticise the killing of Alfred Duriappa in 1976 by another self-proclaimed Ghandian follower. It also does not explain why “Ghandians” suddenly gave up Ghandian principles in favour of violence, if they were genuine in the first place! Does suicide bombing for which Tamil separatists are world-famous for, evolve from Ghandianism? Not likely.


Just like the words “peace” and “non-violence”, the term genocide has been used to justify real genocide! It’s a shame that scant little has been said about the double genocide that actually happened in northern Sri Lanka. Instead, incidents that in no way amount to genocide have been cited to hoodwink the international community and to cover real genocide.

Today there are no Sinhala and Muslim people living in at least three districts of Sri Lanka, namely, Jaffna, Mulaitivu and Kilinochchi. However, thankfully, Tamils are living in their thousands in all 25 administrative districts.

Tens of thousands of Sinhalas and Muslims living in those three districts were successfully genocide by Tamil separatists who still hold Ghandi in high esteem. In 1981 there were 6,659 Sinhalas in Jaffna and by today it is zero! Muslims were 13,757 in Jaffna in 1981 which has fallen to zero by today. (Source: Department of Census and Statistics). This double genocide is one of the most successful and most secretive in the world. The northern Sinhala and Muslim communities were unique in the sense they had unique customs, etc. that are not found among other Sinhala and Muslim communities in the island nation. Along with these unique communities, their unique customs, traditions and culture vanished from the face of the earth forever. Most importantly it destroyed a vital skill these communities had that enabled them peaceful coexistence in Tamil majority areas. The total genocide of Sinhalas in the north was complete by 1987 and the total genocide of Muslims was completed in 1990. In contrast Tamils live in all 25 administrative districts of the country in thousands even after 18 years hence!

Many attempts were made by the LTTE in the east to “ethnically cleanse” it of Sinhalas and Muslims. But they have outlived these inhuman acts. Notably the present round of war commenced when LTTE separatists fighting for a mono ethnic Tamil only nation tried to evict tens of thousands of Sinhala farming families. Thankfully the government responded correctly despite the sham ‘ceasefire’ which was never respected by the LTTE.

What the LTTE did to the Tamil community in the name of liberation is equally horrific. According to its own admission, it has used over 350 men, women and children as suicide bombers. It has decimated villages, schools and the whole moderate Tamil political leadership. Despite all this cruelty, it has failed to create Tamil Elam, the mythical state.

Today LTTE leaders are forcibly keeping around 300,000 Tamils (a small fraction of the total Tamil population of Sri Lanka) for LTTE’s own safety, security, food and medicine supply and to be used as suicide bomber factories. Free food, free medicine, free hospital facilities and free education provided to them by the Colombo government are robbed all the time by self proclaimed ‘liberators’ of Tamils who feast upon poor Tamils who are trapped in Vanni. The international community must do it’s part to secure their release.

The problem and the solution

The problem is separatism in a society that actually shuns separatism. Whatever demands made by some Tamil political parties, it is an undeniable fact that most Tamils live outside the north and the east. Resources of the entire island are needed for the wellbeing of its entire population. Splitting the tiny island along racial lines will only aggravate the problem. The two (or more) entities will have to still battle it out fiercely when it comes to sharing water resources, fishing rights, displaced civilians, borders, international relations and even managing wildlife and natural disasters. The water flow of rivers indicates a very interesting outcome, sadly not a promising one, if two (or more) entities were created. Most waterways start outside the ‘Tamil homeland’ area and given the dry climate, water can be easily used as a weapon. How the LTTE used water as a weapon is clear from the Mavilaru incident.

Continued violence will be a daily recurrence in a divided island. It will be like Israel/Palestine, Iran/Iraq, Iraq/Kuwait, Thailand/Cambodia, India/Pakistan and North Korea/South Korea. Perpetual bloodshed will belittle the present war.

The solution should be based on ethnic integration. Ethnic integration has done wonders despite the war. If the north is as diverse in cultures as the south, there would be no conflict whatsoever. Tamil people have shown remarkable skills in integrating very well around the world, mastering a wide spectrum of languages in the process. It is ridiculous if anyone thinks Tamils cannot integrate with the Sinhalas with whom they lived for over 2,500 years!

LTTE is a terrorist organisation in most developed countries and India. Horrendous crimes it has committed over the years do not allow it any other place. Other connected ancillary crimes from drug trafficking to credit card frauds emerge from around the world committed by LTTE sympathisers. LTTE’s terror tactics are readily imitated by various terror groups including Somali pirates. It must be beaten militarily for the solution to take shape. It’s inability to solve problems peacefully, honour ceasefires, uphold basic moral obligations, tolerate alternative views and integrate with other ethnicities make it imperative that it must be militarily annihilated.

The Tamil Elam struggle failed to achieve anything politically; even what they called “Ghandian” ways failed. Peace talks also failed and the war is also failing them. By going to war and supporting it, Tamil separatists essentially accepted the outcome of the war, victory or defeat. It is not possible to back down from it now when things don’t go in their favour. They may still try it, but, the war will seal the fate of Tamil Elam, the state that was never to be.

However, that will not hinder Tamils. They have survived for thousands of years and they will survive and thrive in every society, integrating very well. Their survival skill is the ability to integrate and the weakness of a section of the community is the inability to integrate. Separatists must either choose to integrate and live or opt for tribal divisions and perish.
- Sri Lanka Guardian

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