The solution (Part IV) - Sri Lanka Guardian


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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The solution (Part IV)

"This story is full of contradictions and just like the fairy tales with contradictions which are not understood by the babies is good only for one thing."

By Nalin de Silva

(July 01, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) It is unfortunate that a series of weekly articles each confined to about 1300 words on a single theme cannot be written as invariably there would be distracting snippets by "distinguished" and respected" "scholars" and others that need immediate responses. This series on the solution has to give some space this week to respond to Dr. H. L. Seneviratne who is respected by Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka. In fact Dr. Seneviratne refers to an article by Dr. Jayatilleka on his late father Mr. Mervyn de Silva where according to the former "the best answer" to the "bevy of writers" who have asked what the problem of the Tamils that demands a "political solution".

The recognition of "scholars" worldwide is generally on a reciprocal basis and I have no grudge against "respected scholars" as these descriptions are relative. In any event Dr. Jayatilleka does not quote his father but merely states "At the same time Mervyn would stress that the issue of the alienation of the Tamil people and the complex challenge of accommodating Tamil ethnic identity within the Sinhala fears and ancient memories emphatically do not lend themselves to a military solution". In spite of Dr. Jayatilleka’s reference to "Sinhala Bushiness", Dr. H. L. Seneviratne fails to identify the injustices that are caused to the Tamils merely because they are Tamils. The closest he comes is a statement that late Mr. Mervyn de Silva would have made according to Dr. Jayatilleka on the so called alienation of the Tamils. I wish the sociologist Seneviratne elaborated or developed on this theme and was more specific on it for the benefit of others who are trying to identify the illusive Tamil grievances.

The statement that the Tamils are alienated cannot be attributed to either late Mr. Mervyn de Silva or Dr. Jayatilleka as the latter is only stating that the former would have stressed this point within a complex of ideas. However, since Dr. Seneviratne quotes it with approval we have to request him to provide us with the necessary explanations. Could he identify these Tamil persons who are "alienated" in Sri Lanka? Is it a recent phenomenon or does it have a history? Incidentally are the Sri Lankan professors in USA an alienated lot? What recognition they have in the American Christian culture, which is a variety of Anglo Saxon Christian culture, which is the dominant culture in that country? Do the Sri Lankan professors in USA belong to the dominant culture in that country? In any event did the non English speaking Tamil people feel alienated at the beginning of the twentieth century? If so from what were they alienated? Did the non English speaking Sinhalas, especially the non English speaking Sinhala Buddhists feel that they were alienated from the government in the early part of the twentieth century? If at the beginning of the twentieth century the English speaking Tamils did not feel themselves alienated from the British Raj (when I say the English speaking Tamils I mean the majority, obviously not including the few who opposed the British Raj) how did they become or feel alienated in the fifties? If Dr. Seneviratne is prepared at answer these questions together with some other questions I had asked him as well as Shanie on supremacy we would be able to engage in some dialogue. Incidentally Shanie who has written on pluralism should clearly define what is meant by the term. Is it pluralism that is found in all the other countries where people of different cultures could live but under the hegemony of a dominant culture such as a variant of the Anglo Saxon Christian culture or something else, and has to be defined unambiguously. Just by repeating catch words such as pluralism supremacy Shanies are not going to achieve anything by trying to fool the Sinhala people. They may be able to carry on their" project" with few Sinhalas such as Dr. H. L. Seneviratne but definitely not with the non English speaking Sinhalas who cannot be fooled.

We were discussing the two paradigms on which the stories of Tamil racism or the Tamil problem have been woven and had begun to describe the first story based on the Judaic Christian Culture and the Greek Judaic Christian Chinthanaya. The story takes the following form. "Tamils had been living in this country from time immemorial until Arhant Mahinda came to Sri Lanka and "converted". (The Arhant Thero did not come here as a missionary and was not interested in so called conversions unlike the various evangelical organisations that are all out to convert people to various Christian Churches all over the country.) After that the section of the Tamils that became Buddhists created a new "race" speaking a language called Sinhala with the help of Pali and most probably pushed those Tamils already living in the country to the North and the East.

(The story is not at all clear on this). In any event there was a Tamil kingdom in the northern province (though Tamil ethnicity had not been created by then!) when the Portuguese came to Sri Lanka. The Portuguese captured the Tamil kingdom which was then won over by the Dutch and finally by the British. However, when the British went back (did they?) they did not give back the original Tamil state to the Tamils but to the Sinhala imperialists. The Sinhala imperialists discriminated against the Tamils after 1956 by first making Sinhala the official language then by standardising marks at the G. C. E. A/L examination, by distributing land in the eastern province to the Sinhalas and there by altering the demographic pattern in the eastern province (who established the demographic pattern? Was it a "natural pattern" or an externally imposed pattern? In any event why worry about demographic patterns in provinces created by the British artificially?). S.J. V. Chelvanayakam who had formed the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi (Lanka Tamil State Party) way back in 1949 to establish a separate state as a solution to the discrimination of Tamils by the Sinhalas after 1956 (how did Chelvanayakam know in 1949 of the impending discriminations after 1956?) staged non violent protests (that incited the people to be violent) which were put down violently by the Sinhala state. As a result the innocent Tamil people were forced to take up arms (thus justifying Prabhakaran, the other violent leaders and all the murders committed by these terrorist groups including the LTTE) and for thirty years fought with the Sinhala army to be free from the yoke of Sinhala imperialism. According to some Tamil racists Prabhakaran wanted peace and was prepared to negotiate with the Sinhala government but the latter was not sincere in its attempts. Some so called moderates take a different line from this point. According to them people had to be won over from Prabhakaran who wanted an Eelam and for this purpose an alternative to Eelam had to be proposed that could attract the people and also would be a solution to the discriminations against the Tamils by the Sinhala government. The solution that has been proposed is devolution of power to enable the Tamils to look after their affairs in their homeland in the northern and eastern provinces which the Sinhala extremists have opposed from the very beginning."

This story is full of contradictions and just like the fairy tales with contradictions which are not understood by the babies is good only for one thing. That is to put some English educated Sinhala "scholars" into sleep while the Tamil terrorists prepared for action with the help of the western powers. From an interview given by K Pathmanathan the international rogue and arms supplier to the LTTE it is clear that Solheim (he had given a separate interview to India Today) and some so called international leaders had been in touch with the terrorist leaders including Prabhakaran until the last moment. Pathmanathan is not prepared to divulge the names of the "international leaders" as at present and for this reason alone the west will give all the protection to this terrorist rogue as they would not want a captured Pathmanathan to spill the beans. We will deal with the contradictions of the first story on "Tamil problem" next week.
-Sri Lanka Guardian


Bagawan said...

If Nalin De Silva explains what he means by alienation it may be helpful in understanding him and also to understanding questions he raised to others. In the dictionary to alienate means several different things- Karl Marx used it for example, to mean separation of the producer from the product. In that sense all human beings are alienated beings Surely he is not saying that Tamils are an exception to this. All citizens are alienated from the political processes and there need to be attempts all the time to address that problem. Constant alienation and constant attempt to overcome that, are part of a healthy political life Alienation is a fundamental existential problem.

All history is about dealing with the problems of alienation- Individual Vs. state, political system Vs. those who are living under the system, producers Vs. products, community organizations against the community and the like. All these things exist every where and call for solution all the time. Only a stagnant society can claim that all its problems are finally solved. All social issues, including majority and minority issue need to be reviewed and re-solved all the time.

Tissa said...

What is the big fuss about conversion???????

None of the four major religions presently practiced by us originated from Sri Lanka. Right from the beginning, both Sinhalese and Tamils were worshipping the Hindu Gods as we see even today, until emperor Ashoka sent his Buddhist missionaries and converted the Hindus into Buddhists.

Even though Buddhism has nothing to do with the Hindu Gods, most of the Sinhala Buddhists follow Hinduism along with Buddhism without admitting it in public, as we see at Katharagama, Muneshwaram, and at almost all the Buddhist temples. You find Hindu Gods even at the Dalada Maligawa.

We cannot expect them to give up their original ancient faith which existed before the arrival of Arahat Mahinda, the son of Ashoka who first converted the King and then the subjects.

It is a fact that Sinhala Hindus and Tamil Buddhists lived during the early period.
Due to ignorance, most Sri Lankans believe that a Buddhist should always be a Sinhalese and a Hindu should always be a Tamil.

Later, when the Arab traders came in, they introduced Islam and our colonial masters introduced Christianity.

The religious conversions are not new to Sri Lanka; it was taking place in our country throughout history starting from the arrival of Arahat Mahinda.


The religious priests should be confined to the place of worship and should not be involved in any type of politics. Today they are only selling the religion to become prosperous members of parliament.

Tissa said...

Thevanambiya Theesan on Sinhala-Buddhist Pseudo-Historians

My advice to those who read articles on history written by people such as Dr. Nalin De Silva and believe what he says as the gospel truth.

Let me first say a few words about Dr. Nalin De Silva. He is a Math/Physics Professor who has FAILED to excel in his chosen fields, but succeeded in CHEAP polemics. After obtaining the PhD what matters is not only the brains but peer recognition which is more important when you are at that level but unfortunately he NEVER had it. Being a Math Professor at the Kelaniya University, not only the academics but even the students do not like this rude/arrogant old man. In university circle, he is known as `Prof. Nalin the Pissa`.

As one of the founding members of Vasudeva`s and Wickramabahu`s Trotskyite NSSP, Nalin De Silva was one of the first Sinhala-Buddhist to endorse the right of Tamils for self determination in early 1980. Later he has taken a hundred and eighty degree turn by joining hands with Gunadasa Amerasekara and started writing utter rubbish about something he calls `Jathika Chintahnaya`. This has made him very FAMOUS among Sinhala-Buddhist RACISTS, the recognition he always wanted but never got from university circle.

I read one of his articles in the Island (utter nonsense) where he claims that western truth in particular is not relevant to us (and fogs it up with irrelevant allusions to quantum science and relativity), and claims that the only point of view applicable in SriLanka is the Sinhala-Buddhsit point of view.

Since he is good at speculating and creating his-stories (pseudo-history) from thin air and is able to write glamorized articles, he managed to convince a few confused and misguided individuals (mostly Sinhala-Buddhist youth) and made them his faithful followers who believe that he is an expert analyst/scholar.

Dr. Nalin De Silva’s arguments are mostly based on the findings/writings of old (obsolete) historians. Most of those theories are not valid any more due to the latest scientific discoveries in the fields of archaeological, epigraphical and anthropological research made till now. He never comes up with any solid evidence to prove what he says but simply quotes another author whose credibility is in question (either a racist like him without any *verifiable data* or some biased researchers with hypothetical assumptions/interpretations or un-authoritative/officially un-published, half baked historical work of some researchers completely neglecting the controversial nature of their research.). The ancient stone inscriptions and even the Mahavamsa do not support his views.

For example, Dr. Nalin De Silva still comments on the thesis that the PhD student Mr. K. Indrapala wrote in 1965. After 30 years of research as a senior Archeologist/Historian Prof. K. Indrapala say he does not even have a copy of his dissertation (1965) which is completely out of date.

Continued below………..

Tissa said...

If people want to know the history of Sri Lanka after all the scientific discoveries in the fields of archaeological, epigraphical and anthropological research made till now, they have to read what is written by those who are qualified in the field of history/archeology and not Math/physics.

For example, people such as Prof. Leslie Gunawardane, (professor in history and a former Vice Chancellor of University of Peradeniya), Dr. K Indrapala (former professor in history, University of Jaffna) and many other qualified historians have written articles and books on the history of Sri Lanka based on the latest findings.

What credibility does bogus pseudo-historians like Dr. Nalin De Silva who still rely on articles written by early (obsolete) historians have in commenting on the history of Sri Lanka? These pseudo-historians can only come up with hypotheses, assumptions and analogies and not the facts/truth. Twisting, turning, manipulating, and coming up with big fat conspiracy theories have become their hallmark.

Dr. Nalin De Silva says there were no Tamils in Sri Lanka before the 12th Century AD. The Mahavamsa very clearly says that there were Tamils (Damilas) in Sri Lanka during the early historic period not as traders but the rulers. Even Dutugemunu had to conquer not just one Tamil king but 32 Tamil Chieftains around the Anuradhapura principality alone. How could there be 32 Tamil chieftains in the area of Anuradhapura alone, if there were no Tamils or Tamil settlements? Even the very early Brami stone inscriptions found mentions the term Damilas (Tamils) during the ancient period.

On the other hand, what evidence does he have to prove that Devanampiya Tissa or even DutuGemunu was a Sinhala? None of the stone inscriptions or Pali chronicles says they were Sinhalese. DevanampiyaTissa and DutuGemunu were from the Tissa dynasty which is a combination of Pandu (Pandyans) and Naga (they freely assimilated by marriage). Both Pandus and Nagas are migrants from India. The Nagas have a separate history in India.

When the Buddhist missionary monks led by Mahinda came to Sri Lanka via Tamil Nadu (latest research by Dr. Shu Hikosake) they spoke to the prince Tissa and his people in Deepa Basa (language of the Island) as per Mahavamsa. If the language of the island was Sihala/Hela then why didn’t the author of Mahavamsa say so? The term Sihala/Hela appeared for the first time only in the 5th Century AD Pali chronicles. During that period there was a serious threat to Buddhism in India (under attack) due to significant increase in Brahmanical influence (Vaishnavism and Saivism posed a serious challenge to Buddhism). In order to protect Buddhism in Sri Lanka the Mahavihara monks assimilated all the Buddhists from different tribes/races into one group and called them Sihala and created a Lion history for them. The prakrit language in which the Brami inscriptions were written (what Wilhelm Geiger labeled as Sinhala-prakrit) is Pali plus the combination of all the languages spoken by the tribes. It was later known as Elu/Hela/Sihala.

Continued below………..

Tissa said...

The beginning chapters of the Mahavamsa/Deepavamsa (believed to be adopted from some mystery story Sihalattha katha), the Sihala race (sustainers of Buddhism for 5000 years), Dhamma deepa (Island blessed by the Buddha), etc were all created by the Mahavihara monks to protect Buddhism from those Brahmanical/Hindus.

Dr. Nalin De Silva speaks as if he had witnessed the Dutch bringing Vellalar to Jaffna. Vellalar is a caste of agricultural land owners. If the Dutch brought the Vellalar and created a new caste then I am sure the Dutch must have kept a record. What historical evidence does he have to prove his claim?

It is true that the Dutch brought slaves from South India and sold them to the Vellalar as laborers to grow Tobacco in their fields but those people lived in Jaffna until recently as low castes.
At the same time the Dutch also brought tens of thousands of slaves from South India to the South of Ceylon (Colombo, Galle and the entire South West). One of the main sources of income the Dutch had at that time was Cinnamon.

According to the Dutch writer Markus Vink, Let me quote straight from his report:
Quote: In 1694, the city of Colombo alone had a slave population of 1,761. See Knaap, `Europeans, Mestizos and Slaves,` p. 88. In 1661, 10,000 slaves had been put to work by the company and by private individuals on the lands in southwestern Ceylon, including 2,000 company slaves. Unquote.

The Sinhala population from Colombo to Galle along the entire South West increased when these people assimilated with the Sinhalese? Ten thousand in 1694 must have multiplied into many hundred thousand. Today they are Sinhala Buddhists/Catholics who are claiming the ancient Sri Lankan civilization as their own heritage. These Sinhalised Tamils pretend as if they are more Sinhala than the Sinhalese. Not only people such as Dr. Nalin De Silva and Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka but even people like Don Niculas Gunawardhana AKA Hikkaduwa Sri Sumangala and Don David Hewavitarana AKA Anagarika Dharmapala belongs to this group of Sinhalese.

Let me also mention that, based on the writings of Markus Vink, Prof.Sinnappah Arasaratnam has written an article about the slaves settled in Jaffna to work in the Tobacco fields owned by the Vellalars.

Dr. Nalin De Silva also says that even AriyaChakravartis have used Sinhala as their official language because they have used Sinhala to sign an agreement with Portuguese.

First of all who can prove that the AriyaChakravartis used Sinhala to sign an agreement with Portuguese? Is this document preserved anywhere or has any 17th centaury Portuguese writer mentioned it anywhere?

Continued below………..

Tissa said...

Suppose we say, yes the AriyaChakravartis used Sinhala to sign an agreement. Is that an evidence to say AriyaChakravartis have used Sinhala as their official language?

In the 1815 Kandyan Convention, the leading Kandyan Lords or Dissawas who are believed to be the top Sinhala aristocrats (Pilimatalawe Senior, Pilimatalawe Junior, Ehelepola, Ratwatte, and a few others) signed their names in the Tamil Language.
There is no reason why these Kandyan Lords should learn to speak and write Tamil or rather sign an important treaty concerning the country and religion in the Tamil Language?

If we argue in similar manner like Dr. Nalin De Silva, we can also say that the mother tongue of these Kandyan Lords was Tamil or we can say that the Tamil Language was also an official Language of the Kandyan Kingdom.

Dr. Nalin De Silva says the Languages in Tamil Nadu and Jaffna are very similar and therefore the Tamils have come very recently.

The Tamil literature (Music/dance/drama) is very closely linked to the rich Tamil culture and due to the close proximity between Jaffna and Tamil Nadu there is no reason why the Tamils of Jaffna have to create another language or culture when everything is freely available. The neighboring states of Tamil Nadu adopted a slightly different language/culture because they also had influence from other neighbor states. Similarly, the Sri Lankan Tamil has a few words that the Tamils across the Palk Strait cannot understand.

Dr. Nalin De Silva is not an etymologist or a linguist and neither is he a Tamil scholar who has done research to find the similarities and differences between the Tamil language in Tamil Nadu and Jaffna. What credibility does he have to comment about the Tamil language?

There are enough of well qualified and renowned Historians/Archeologists/Anthropologists/ Etymologists out there but have any of them come up with any issues/comments or written any controversial articles on history like Dr. Nalin De Silva?

We know why nobody likes to interfere or comment about Dr. Mervyn De Silva. Similarly, the controversial articles on history written by bogus Pseudo-historians such as Math/Physics Prof. Nalin De Silva can be dissected and nullified but mostly it goes unchallenged because nobody likes to lose their dignity by engaging in CHEAP polemics especially with nasty, arrogant and sarcastic people like Dr. Nalin De Silva.

The danger with people like Prof. Nalin de Silva is what he speaks/writes is very dangerous to the society. He is brainwashing younger generation and creating racists very similar to what the educated Tamils did in the fifties (created the LTTE). The young Sinhala-Buddhist Ultra-Nationalists/Racists like Champika Ranawaka and Wimal Weerawansa are the by-products of Prof. Nalin de Silva’s CHEAP polemics. He has already created a young Sinhala-Buddhist Racist society. His course of action is detrimental to the future of the country and should be STOPPED at any cost.