Reply to M.Sooriasegarm about 50:50 Demand by Tamil Congress

By Dhammika Herath

(February 25, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) M. Sooriasegarm in his article of “So what went wrong with Tamil Struggle” Feb 24th in Sri Lanka Guardian claimed that 25 percent of Tamils asked for 50 percent share of the representative body for the governance. This 25 percent of Tamil is a myth. During the time of agitation for Sinhala 50: Tamil 50 representation by the Jaffna Tamil elite’s, population of Ceylon Tamil (those who are originally from North and East) was only 13 percent not 25 percent.

This 13 percent was asking for 50 percent seats in the representative legislature! The myth of 25 percent asking 50 percent representation, even though this still is ridiculous, must be busted. The true figure is that 13 percent asking for 50 percent representation. I have seen this erroneous figure of 25 percent of Tamils has been quoted by otherwise sensible people. In 1920s and 1930s when the Tamil elite agitation took place (read De Silva, K.M (1998). Reaping the Whirlwind), a reasonable estimate of the Sri Lankan Tamils in the North and Eastern provinces could be gleaned from Census of 1911 (see below).

Of the total population 4105582 of Ceylon, North and Eastern Tamils were only 449981 or 11 percent. If you include all the Ceylon Tamils in all the other parts of the country, the figure would be 529075 or 13 percent of the total Ceylon population. This 13 percent wanted to capture 50 percent of representation and wanted to relegate a greater number of Indian Tamils (530286) to oblivion by depriving them of citizenship rights. Tamil Congress led by G.G. Ponnambalm voted against for the offer of granting citizenship to Indian Tamils. Do not be mistaken, the unreasonableness of the 13 percent Tamil elites who were power greedy and inward-looking sown the seeds of hatred by misleading many otherwise reasonable Tamil people.

-Sri Lanka Guardian
Reply to M.Sooriasegarm about 50:50 Demand by Tamil Congress Reply to  M.Sooriasegarm about 50:50 Demand by Tamil Congress Reviewed by Sri Lanka Guardian on 01:55 Rating: 5


sriskanda said...

You are also wrong. Tamils did not ask 50% for them alone. What GG proposed was balanced representation. 50% for the Sinhalese and 50% for all the minorities together. If the Tamils are 11% [as per your figures] the rest of 39% includes Muslims, Burghers, Malays etc etc.

Nanda said...

Like an average politician, the author has afforded to ignore
Labourer tamils of the Hill districts. Every other civilised country accepts and recognises people who are born on their soil as their citizens, except for Sri Lanka, where third generation people who trace their parentage from migrated Indian/Tamil Labourers are denied voting rights.
Why deny their existence? If you include their percentage, actual tamil speaker percentage on the island stands at 25%.

nadesan said...

The 50:50 approach was rejected by Soulbury as an example of an "attempt to turn democracy upside down". When that failed, the more extreme Tamil leaders concluded that separation is the only solution. Thus came the idea of "The traditional homelands" and that the sinhalese and molsems are invaders who have to be driven out. This was the basic idology of the Ilankai Thamil Arasu kadchchci, inunciated in 1949, although in english it talked of Federalism and was knwon as the "Federal party". Federalism may actually have succeeded in Sri lanka if its early backers were honest about it, and if they had worked to promote the idea, instead of holding civil disobedience in the North and east to get people to separate from the cental government. So sooriasegarm's main discussion is good and valid. Today we are reaping the terrible toll of Chelvanayagam's program of false federalism which became Eelamism.

Shawn said...

The comment made by Sriskanda makes no sense. If the Sinhala population was 75% then how could 50% of the legislature be fair. If we take the Tamil figure at 11% and the rest of the minorities at 39% and the Sinhalese at 75%, then we have 125%.
This is the same convoluted logic that the Tamils keep harping about just like the "homeland" theory.
Also, don't forget that the Jaffna Tamils never gave a damn about the Indian Tamils until now.

IB said...

Sriskanda is another classic example of the deception and false propaganda carried out by the handful of tamil brothers and sisters in the last 30 agonizing years. From a rough estimate of the current sensus (which excludes N&E due to innability conduct the sensus), Muslims are 8%, Malays 0.4% and the Burghers 0.2% which does not even add up to a mere 10%. The combinations would not have been that different in the early 1900. So if Tamils were 13%, Muslims, Malays and Burghers put together were (being generous lets say 12%), then as per this deceptinve and illogical Sriskanda, if Sihnhalese were 50%, wonder who the rest of 25% would be (some aliens Mr Skanda?). Dear Skanda, you exposed your nakedness by making that stupid comment and this is exactly what has been happening in the past with the false propaganda of the Tamil diaspora.

sriskanda said...

Shawn, I did not say that GG's proposal was correct. I stated what was proposed then. I tried to correct the record and it was not my view.
Again on the statistics, one good thing before independence was that not each and every donkey on the streets did not have a voting right. Only the so called 'educated' had voting rights. Arithmatically, when they counted the voters the Sinhalese did not come up to 75% of the voters eventhough numerically the population was around 75%. So on the number of voters. GG [agin not Sriskanda] proposed equal representation then.

Subsequently the politicians [Tamil + Sinhalese] merely to capture power gave voting rights to every donkey on the streets and the result of which we see now on Galle Road!

There is quote: something like this:
Beauty of democracy is that every person has an opportunity to do something stupid in their life: that is called voting

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