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Towards a peaceful, equitable and sustainable Sri Lanka (Part 2 )

Part One

The Contours of Sovereign Process

By Arular Arudpragasam

Buddha’s experience with Sri Lankan sovereignty:

"I will banish this your fear and your distress, O Yakkas , give ye hear to me with one accord a place where I may sit down".
- The Mahavamsa, Trans .W. Geiger, Chapter I, page 4.


(July 20, Geneva, Sri Lanka Guardian) The chauvinist agenda of Sinhala only Buddhist country has seriously jeopardised the transformation of colonial idea of settlement of Ceylon into a stable prosperous peaceful nation of Sri Lanka. In an era of secular democracy, the insecurity of majoritarian democracy and the threat of Marxist revolutions gave rise to fascist ideologies of unification and that led to the usurpation of power in democracies. These totalitarian ideologies served the purpose of counter revolution of defeating revolutions, created enemies who became victims of gruesome intolerance and violence.

Societies are bound by customs and civilisational norms and authority structures which not only distinguish peoples but also provide the parameters of space and security for human existence. Though the colonial experience of alien rulership often struggles to comprehend these traditional structures and formations, they often recognised and accommodated these structures. In Sri Lanka, the introduction of alien value systems with the purpose of creating alternate power structures, often undermining the traditional value system, forced society the into serious conflicts. The structures of civilisations are so intensely linked to the economic life of people and they are not so easily debased.

Under colonial oppression and neglect, instead of their disappearance, these traditional structures become strengthened and consolidated as the foundation of national being. Wooing those at the apex of these structures was a programme of SWRD as well as the Federal Party. Though barbaric origins of democracy does not recognise these structures, it was inevitable democracy in Sri Lanka became dependent on them.

Under the constitution of the Kandyan kingdom and the Kingdom of Jaffna, the customary rights were the laws of the land that governed and ruled the country.

The peculiar problem of Sri Lanka is that the urge towards the regeneration of the age old norms, along with their perception of rights, has placed considerable strain on the constitutional process.

The theory congruence and stable constitutions

Where there are serious anomalies between the constitution and the base social order, Eckstein's Theoretical precepts provide a useful guide for coming out of the conflict. This type of problem, where serious anomalies have arisen, when constitutional governments have been imposed on traditional societies, is common in developing countries.

This is not found in the Western Societies where constitutional evolution has taken place hand in hand with the evolution of the basic structures of society and the nation itself. This may explain why Eckstein’s propositions of congruence did not get the attention of political scientists in the West. The incongruence in the constitution and the society very rarely reaches a crisis proportion in the West. Another cause for this is the existence of a vibrant democratic political culture receptive to deal with any situation, and not constrained by subservient limitations.

The three propositions of Theory which Eckstein5 has suggested in his article are:

1. A government will tend to be stable if its authority pattern is congruent with the authority patterns of the society of which it is a part.

2. Government will be stable (a) if social authority patterns are identical with the governmental pattern or (b) if they constitute a graduated pattern in proper segmentation of society or (c) if a high degree of resemblance exists in patterns adjacent to government and one finds throughout the more distant segments (or if there is a) marked departure of functionally appropriate pattern for the sake of imitating the governmental pattern or extensive imitation of the governmental pattern in ritual practices.

3. Governments will be unstable (and the authority patterns of the society incongruent) if the governmental authority pattern is isolated (that is substantially different ) from those of other social segments, or if a very abrupt change in authority pattern occurs in any adjacent segments of society, or if several authority patterns exist in social strata furnishing a large proportion of the political elite in the sense of active political participants .


This article under the title "A Theory of Stable Democracy" first appeared as a research monograph No. 10 by the Centre of International Studies, Princeton University in 1961 and subsequently included as Appendix B in the book, "Division and Cohesion in Democracy, A study of Norway", Princeton, 1966 - Harry Eckstein.

What is normally termed as political realities confronting the issue of constitutional restructuring lies in the identification of the nature of uniformity of binding customs of power structures and aspirations within the contours of the identity realms which determine the existing and emerging authority patterns that make up the nation state.

What has now been called the Tamil aspirations is the desire of the Tamil people, under a common threat to undermine their rights and existence, to establish a governmental arrangement that would enable them to pursue a secure life within their homeland and direct their pursuit of prosperity without being a burden on any other community or victim of their intolerance or designs of usurpation. This desire is an expression of their collective will.

The territoriality, language, culture and religion are important foundations of authority patterns of social collectivities whose uniformity within the contours of demarcation makes possible their integration and optimisation which facilitate the rational and effective articulation their will. When evolving a constitution, these contours of demarcation provide the boundaries of a unit that require separate articulation and handling so as to achieve a stable, effective and good democratic government. Providing for this in constitutional arrangement leads to a stable and sustainable and vibrant nation.

The Tamil demand for the recognition of the demarcation of a political unit as a homeland composing the North-East province is essential for the evolution of a peaceful and effective governance based on the recognition of traditional and democratic rights. This invariably limits the territory where the Sinhala nation ideal could dominate to the seven provinces of the Sinhala Ratta (Country) as a homeland of the Sinhalese.

But historical investigations reveal that the Tamil demand for a North-East Province as their homeland is very reasonable one and if the Sinhalese settle for the territory of the seven provinces as their homeland abandoning the sinister idea swallowing the homeland of the Tamil people and be satisfied with measures for their self-preservation and security within the territory of the Sinhala Ratta, they shall have in their possession such a vast territory never as before in the history of this island.

Sovereignty, Governance and Territoriality of Lanka in Retrospect

Fundamental to the present constitutional conflict is the territorial dispute between the Tamils and the Sinhalese. As opposed to a claim of the Sinhalese for the whole island over which the Sinhala Buddhist ideal has to be realised, the Tamils claim the North-East as their homeland.

Governance of Sri Lanka has always been a governance of her principalities and other territorial divisions. Every principality exercised her sovereignty over her territory. These divisions have been so sacrosanct when larger kingdoms arose, these principalities remained intact. They only paid a tribute to the larger kingdom. This was so during the last sovereign kingdoms, the Kingdom of Jaffna and the Kandyan kingdom.

Writing on the political formation that marked the nature of government that existed in Sri Lanka throughout history G.C.Mendis wrote :-

"The system of government during this period cannot be understood unless it is realised that there was very little central control, partly owing to the lack of proper communications. The sub-kings and the chiefs, like the village communities, were rarely interfered with, as long as they remained loyal and paid the King’s dues.

The King’s chief duty was to maintain order within and to defend the country from enemies without. His other activities included the endowment temples, the erection of religious buildings and hospitals (which he performed as religious acts) and the building of tanks, which not only helped the people but also increased his revenue .

Therefore when Kings were slain or the succession broken, the people still carried on their daily activities without hindrance, unless a rebellion was prolonged, or the country was invaded by foreign Kings.

The Early History of Ceylon, G.C.Mendis, page 38 .

The principalities and sovereignty of principalities have been the foundation of Sri Lankan sovereignty and the governance of principalities were core of governing traditions of Sri Lanka. These boundaries still exist in the divisions of provinces and districts as provincial and district divisions under the British rule came about by the merger of principalities.

This is revealed in what should be called the Birth Certificate of Sri Lanka, the Proclamation issued in the name of the King of England that brought the one country of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) into existence.

In the Name of His Majesty WILLIAM THE FOURTH,
of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland,
King, Defender of the Faith.

PROCLAMATION


By His Excellency the Right HON. SIR ROBERT WILMOT HORTON,Knight
Grand Cross of the Royal Guelphic Order, Governor andCommander-
in-Chief in and over the British Settlements and Territories in
the Island of Ceylon, with the Dependencies thereof.
R.W. HORTON

Wheras it has been determined by His Majesty's Government that the several Provinces or Districts into which the Island of Ceylon and its dependencies have heretofore been divided shall as regards the collection of the revenue and the extent of authority to be exercised by the respective Government Agents, be incorporated; and that, as regards those objects, the said Island and its dependencies shall, for the future, be divided into and comprised within five Provinces to be denominated respectively the Northern, Southern, Eastern, Western, and Central Provincess ; and whereas it is necessary to define the limits of each of these Provinces : It is therefore hereby proclaimed and ordained that the five Provinces aforesaid shall respectively consist of the incorporated Provincess or Districts which follow ; that is to say :-

The Northern Province shall consist of the country hitherto known as the Districts of Jaffna, Mannar, and the Wanny; as the Dessavony of Nuwerekalawiye; and as the Island of Delft,

The Eastern Province shall consist of the country hitherto known as the Districts of Trincomalee and Batticaloa; and as the Provinces of Tamankadewe and Bintenne.

The Western Province shall consist of the country hitherto known as the Districts of Colombo, Chilaw, and Putlam; as the Dessavonies of Seven Korles, Four Korles, and Three Korles ; and as the Province of Lower Bulatgamme.

The Central Province shall consist of the country hitherto known as the Districts of Kandy, Yatinuwera, Udunuwera, Harasiapattoo, Tumpane, Dumbere, Hewahette, Kotmale, Upper Bulatgamme, and Weyeloowa ; and as the Dessavonies of Uwa, Matelle, Udapalata, and Wallapana.

( This is continued with the boundaries of the Judicial districts constituted in the same manner.)

When larger kingdoms such as the Kingdom of Jaffna or the Kandyan Kingdom arose, they arose through the alliances and vassalage of principalities resulting from agreements and wars with the principalities. The boundaries of principalities have remained intact.

The Portuguese went about converting the Mudaliyars and Vanniyahs and other Headman into Catholicism and maintained the power structure of the Principalities. However the interpretation of this move of the Portuguese was seen by the King of Jaffna as undermining the traditional authority structures which greatly depended on the religious traditions that reinforced and sustained the fundamental authority structures. All the Muthaliyars of the Jaffna were given the title Don. These titles continued into the Dutch period as seen in the names of signatories of the Thesavalami laws and customs of Jaffna which was codified under the Dutch.

We , Don Philip Villaivarasa Mutaliyar, Don Anthony Narayanan, Don Frnscisco Arulampala Mutaliyar, Don Juan Chantirasekara Mana Muthaliyar, Don Martino Manappuli Mutaliyar, Don Franscisco Vanniyarasa Mutaliyar, Don Juan Chayampunata Mutaliyar, Don Juan Chutukavala Chenathiraya Mutaliyar, Don Louwys Putar, And Don Francisco Rasarathina Mutaliyar, are the persons who have pursued and revised the translation of Malabar Lawas and Customs.

The Contours of Principalities

One of the finest maps of early period giving details of the boundaries of principalities is this map of the Dutch period.

In earlier times the present cry for unitary state was the aspirations of Monarchs to achieve the title, The Overloads of all of Sri Lanka or achive the title King of Ceylon. When the Portuguese arrived in Sri Lanka in 1515, the title of Overload of Lanka was held by the King of Jaffna and the minor Kingdom of Kotte was limited to the three principalities of Kotte, Raigam and Sithawaka.

Today the establishment of historical right of Tamil people over North East has become difficult as the Tamil principalities were not limited to the boundaries of the North East and the Tamil rule was prevailing over all of Sri Lanka.

The entire country was under the Overloadship of the Kingdom of Jaffna (The term Overloadship instead of Sovereign or King is preferred to signify the highly decentralised nature of the title). When the Portuguese came, the boundary of Sinhalese principalities began with the boundary of Kinglet of Kurunagala,

After this there was no king in Ceylon. But the minister called Alageswara remained in Raigam Nuwara, and the son-in-law of Parakrama Bahu remained in Sempala Nuwara and the king called Arya Chakrawarthi Raja (King of Ceylonese Malabars ) remained at Jaffna Patnam. Of these three the power of Malabar Arya Chakrawarthi Raja was the greatest both in point of men and money and therefore he collected tribute from both the high and the low countries and like wise from the nine ports.

Raja Valiya. Trans. Turnor. Ed. Edward Upham. p.264.

The southward thrust of the Kingdom of Jaffna began in 1284 with the sack of the Yapahu. Ibn Batuta visited the Kingdom of Jaffna in 1344 when he was received by the King of Jaffna Arya Chakarawarti, Marthanda Pararajasekaran (1325-1348) and toured Southern Sri Lanka with the help of guides and security provided by the Arya Chakravarti. Ibn Batuta described in detail his appreciation of the treatment he received from the King of Jaffna.

The king of Ceylon Ayari Shakarti, by name, has considerable forces by sea . When I was first admitted to his presence, he rose and received me honourably and said : you are my guest for three days, security shall be forwarded to the people of the ship, because of your relation, the King of Marbar, is my friend. After thanking him I remained with him and was treated with increasing respect.

One day when I was admitted to his presence, he had with him a great number of pearls which had been brought from the pearl-fishery, and these his companions were sorting. He asked me whether I had ever seen pearl diving, in any country I had visited. I said yes, I had, in the island of Finas. He said: Do not be shy; ask for what you wish. I answered: My only desire in coming to this island was to visit the blessed foot of our forefather Adam; whom these people call Baba while they style Eve Mama. This replied he, is easy enough. We will send someone with you who shall conduct you thither.

The ship (said I) which brought me here, shall return to the Malabar and when I return, you shall send me there in one of your ships. He answered, "It shall be so". When I told this to the commander of the ship, he refused to accede to it; and said, 'I will wait for you, should you be absent a whole year'. This I told to the King who said, ‘He may stay at my charge until you return’. He then gave me a palanquin, which his servants carried upon their shoulders. He also sent with me four Jogees, who were in the habit of visiting the foot-mark every year; with these went four Brahmins, and ten of the King’s companions, with fifteen men carrying provisions. As to water, there is plenty of it to be found on the road. We then proceeded on our journey; and on the first day crossed a river in a boat made of reeds, and entered the city of Manar Mandali, which is handsome, and situated at the extremity of the territory of the infidel king, who had entertained and sent us out.

The Travels of Ibn Batuta. Trans. Rev Samuel Lee.p184

Though the Kingdom of Jaffna was limited to the territory of Jaffna and the present Kilinochi area, it was the most powerful principality and other principalities were even smaller and vassals of Kingdom of Jaffna and by the 13th century the Kingdom of Jaffna has managed to subdue all the rest to raise as a kingdom and Overload over all of Sri Lanka. As has been the earlier Tamil rule, the rule of Kingdom of Jaffna too was just rule.

The Kingdom of Kotte came into existence when a Malayalee usurper by the name Alagakonar, from a trading family in Raigama that was engaged in cinnamon trade with Arabs, in 1344 refused to pay taxes to the King of Jaffna and raised his own flag. In subsequent times the Kingdom of Kotte became a vassal to the Kingdom of Jaffna and when the Portuguese arrived in 1515 and thereafter the King of Kotte, Vra Prakrama Bahu was on his Knees stretching his throne to the Portuguese inviting the 450 years of colonialism and subjugation of Sri Lanka.

The success of alliance of the Portuguese with the King of Kotte to undermine the Kingdom of Jaffna and its overloadship over all of Sri Lanka has taken a different form in the current alliances of Colombo to undermine Tamil aspiration of statehood, inviting perhaps, another 500 years of colonialism to Sri Lanka. The experience is such, neither the Tamil people can entrust the defence of sovereignty of Sri Lanka to Sinhalese nor they can entrust their sovereignty in the hands of the Sinhalese.

The content of this letter given by the King of Kotte to Portugal is the start of the current ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka.


"Rightful Lord of the world, fortunate descendent of the Kings of Anu-Raja-Pure, the greatest of all on earth, scion of the Gods in this island of Ceylon, Rightful Lord of the Empire of Cota and the realms of Jafanapatao and Candea, God of war in conquering Rebels who are more like women than men, Rightful heir of the Kings of Dambaden and of the great peak of Adam; preserver of the law of Buddus, vanquisher of the Kings styled Ariavanca , for they are traitors; descendent of the son of the Sun with the star on the head; true Master of all sciences, Legitimate descendent of Vigia-Bahu 1, the Emperor of Paracrame-Bahu, in the heart of my Empire 40 years called Segara, am content and it pleases me mightily to give to the Kings of Portugal each year as tribute 400 bahars of Cinnamon and 20 rings set with rubies that are found in my island of Ceylao, and 10 tusked elephants on condition that the present Governor and the Veceroys Governors who shall succeed Lopo Soarez de Albergaria in the state of India, shall be obliged to favour me and assist me against my enemies as the Vassal that I am to the Crown of Portugal"

The Temporal and Spiritual Conquest of Ceylon, Father Fernao De Queyroz, page 195.

Vira Prakrambhau was struggling to hold on to the three principalities of Kotte when he wrote this letter. He misrepresentation by deviously titling him with all the titles and indirectly making the Portuguese commit for his grand agenda of becoming the Overload of Sri Lanka and wrest this right from the King of Jaffna duping the Portuguese into a hundred year war with the kingdom of Jaffna and subsequently with the Kandyan Kingdom until their final exit in 1656. Portuguese realised trap though it was late. By promising vassalage the king of Kotte burdened the Portuguese with a war that lasted of another 150 years until their final expulsion from the island by the Dutch.

The Portuguese had different ideas.

They want to preserve themselves in order to not to be lost and that we should ruin ourselves, so that they might be the gainers.... The island is delightful and he alone is sad who has little in it.... How much better if the Portuguese had this place for themselves, now that they make so much capital of it.

The Temporal and Spiritual Conquest of Ceylon, Father Fernao de Queyroz, page 232.

The result of the clever game of the King of Kotte of setting the Portuguese, which was the world Power of the time, against the Kingdom of Jaffna was a hundred year war of the Portuguese with the Kingdom of Jaffna untill its eventual surrender in 1620.

The reaction of the King of Jaffna as the King of Ceylon to the sinister move of the Kingdom of Kotte is revealed in the explanation of the King of Jaffna to the Portuguese Governor of Goa, Martim Afanco de Sousa, while giving reasons for his stance when he first attempted an expedition against the Kingdom of Jaffna in 1546, which the King of Jaffna successfully thwarted by taking a Portuguese ship off Neduntheevu (Delft), and subsequently releasing it in exchange for peace with Portugal,

"In what concerns the friendship towards the Portuguese there will be no fault to find with me, unless they wish to up hold as their cause the defence of Buneca Bahu, with whom I am at war. And though it beginning be unjust, it must be settled by arms; and it is not a strange thing for one who is dissatisfied with the terms of vassalage to attempt to escape, for one highhandedness is excused by another, though what is alleged against me is not such, and it is natural for everyone to attempt to throw off the yoke which oppresses him”.

The Temporal and Spiritual Conquest of Ceylon, Father Fernando De Queyroz, page 251.

The chauvinist dream of Sinhala Buddhist country has replaced the dream of the Vira Parakama Bahu’s dream of becoming sovereign of Lanka. The Portuguese elements as well as the Southern Catholic Church can be seen often as defenders of Sinhala chauvinism, as their right to be in Sri Lanka is linked to them assisting and realising the chauvinist ideal. The Catholic Church will for ever carry the cross of retribution for the destruction of the Tamil sovereignty. Going after the LTTE has hardly helped in overcoming this problem. It will come to an end only when Tamil sovereignty is reinstated. Catholic faith has been a costly investment for the Tamil people with virtually no return whereas it delivered the Sinhalese the sovereignty over the whole of Sri Lanka.

The Portuguese historian Fr. Frenao De Queyroz details the Tamil Principalities of the coast line that now form the North East Tamil homeland in the following detail starting with Kingdom of Jaffna . These were autonomous principalities under the overloadship of the Kingdom of Jaffna.

"This modest Kingdom is not confined to the little district of Jafanapatao, because to it are also added the neighbouring lands, and those of the Vani, which is said to be the name of the Lordship which they held before we obtained possession of them, separated from the proceeding by a salty river, and connected only in the extremity or isthmus of Pachalaipali, within which were the lands of Baligamo, Temerache, Bedemarache, and Pachalaipali forming that peninsula, and outside it there stretch the lands of Vani crosswise, from the side of Manar to that of Triquilemale, being separated also from the country of Mantota in the jurisdiction of Captain of Manar by the river Paragali; which lands end in the River of the Cross in the midst of the lands of the Vani and of others which stretch as far as Triquilemale, which according to the Map appears to be a large tract of country.

These lands are divided into Patus and the first near the River of the Cross is Tanamaravaddi, a very fine country, but almost uninhabited because of war, and because it was the route of our arrayals, the husbandmen who escaped from the war betaking themselves to the woods, leaving very few for cultivation. From thence to the side of Manar is the Province of Muliauali, which consists of three patus, Varcama, Valadadi and Melpatu. This Province is the principal one of all the lands of the Vani, and is fruitful, though badly peopled on account of war and because it is unhealthy.

Next comes Carnapatu and the province called Panagamo the name of the Vania who resided there. It consists of the Patu of Urugare and of Valavi which border on the lands of Mantota, and along the cost of the sea or gulf of Ceylon there are the villages Parangali, Uerauil, Punari, and others of lesser importance.

Temporal and Spiritual Conquest of Ceylon, Father Fernao De Queroz, Vol.1, page 51.

It remains to give a description of Triquilemale, which means the Mountain of the three Pagodas. It lies on the coast opposite Colombo, 35 leagues southward from Jafanapatao. Over that large harbour there juts out from the land into the sea a rock on which the King of Ceylon erected three Pagodas, two at the extremities of the hill overhanging the sea, and one in the middle and the highest point, which was the principal one and one of the most venerated in India, being worshipped by the idolatrous navigators who descry it from the sea, and much frequented by a concourse of pagans from the last Pagoda, which stands on the over the sea, they throw themselves down in sacrifice to their idols reaching the bottom in pieces being persuaded that by that leap into hell they are lifted up to Paradise.

The harbour of Triquilemale is the best in Ceylon and one of the best in the world, for opening between two head-lands and between two islands distant one league and a half one from the other, it has a width of three leagues and forms into a bay nearly square of three leagues in diameter, which leads to another on the north nearly of equal size, called Bra dos Arcos which, though in shape more irregular, is sheltered from all winds.

The lands of Triquilemale had a Prince who came by his end in the reign of D.Joao King of Candea owing to a remarkable and amatory event; and they were so abundant in rice, that in two fields alone which are three leagues from the fortilise called Tambalagama and Gantale they sowed in those days in each of them 10,000 amanoes of nele, which corresponds 4,000 moyaos, and that twice a year. They are dedicated to the service of the Pagoda and after the Portuguese garrisoned that port, they lived in each of them 15 to 20 farmers, for the rest left for Cutiar.

TheTemporal and Spiritual Conquest of Ceylon. Father Fernao de Queyroz,Vol.1 page 66,68.

Batecalou lies in the opposite cost of Ceylon, 18 leagues from Triquilemale to the South and 35 from Cande. The lands of this Principality are cool and the most abundant in victuals and cattle in all Ceylon, to such an extant, that a cow costs thirty reys and there is a like abundance of butter, fowls, and fish which is also due to the fact that its inhabitants, the Macuaz, do not eat meat. Its proper name is Mandacalopo which means Miry lake, because there is one of seven leagues in length, and in parts half a league broad; and the bottom on the north side is so muddy, that if one sticks therein he cannot come out unless he is pulled. Around it there are villages and palm groves very fresh, wherein lives three Vanes or Princes ...on separate territories .

This principality has 34 leagues in circuit, 24 of which are well peopled, those of Tricouvile very badly, because of its inhabitants went over to the other parts of Batecalou and very large fields became salters. There in this country better Xaya than in any other part of Ceylon, much wax, ivory, lemons and oranges and great fertility in rice where cultivated. Twelve leagues from the port of Batecalou, and to the south stood that famous Pagode of Tricouili, which in Ceylon had a great cult.

Paneua is the poorest Principality there is in Ceylon, because it is very dry land and the most lacking in food supplies in the whole island. They make up for the lack of water by some wells, but it is only of one that the water is good. It consists of 18 villages lying all on the sea cost.

The principality of Cutiar within a circuit of 40 leagues has 19 villages, more peopled and better provided than those of Paneua, whence the inhabitants get a great quantity of areca, honey, wax and ivory. and they cultivate rice, tana and nachiriz.

The Temporal and Spiritual Conquest of Ceylon . Father Fernao de Queyroz . Vol 1.P.64 & 65.

The Tears of St Francis Xavier and the Tears of Tamil people

Much credit for the subjugation of the Kingdom of Jaffna, apart from the deeds of rulers of Kotte, should go to the Catholic Church, as the Franciscans and the Jesuits were at the forefront of persuading the Portuguese in Goa to destroy the Kingdom of Jaffna for its anti Catholic policies.

St Francis Xavier went to persuade the Portuguese Governor in Goa to be the Captain of war against the Kingdom of Jaffna after the death of 600 Catholic converts in the hands of King of Jaffna.

"What is our duty in India, Sir, but to preach the Faith? And wherefore did we seek it save for that? Where, or for what better purpose, can a fleet venture than for the defence of Christianity, for the spread of which are got up all the fleets of His Highness? The more so that in the present case, the risk does not consist in breaking with the tyrant of Jafanapatao, because his force is very poor and he is already a declared enemy; and an open enemy is ever a lesser danger. A greater danger it is that others will take occasion by our forbearance to go to excesses in a matter which has in its favour the zeal for the faith, the service of the King, the obligation of honour and the reputation of the State. What can we expect from God in other enterprises if we abandon him in his? No one knows better than your Lordship what the King our Lord would do, if he had been here; and on this score also I demand it from you for I know that you, Sir, have the Christians of Ceylon and Mannar under your protection.

Who in the Orient will put his trust in the friendship and name and good faith of the Portuguese, if he sees that we fail in our duty even to those who have not only not failed us in human (faith) but have also received the Divine (faith) through our instrumentality. Henceforth it will be necessary to preach Martyrdom along with Baptism if we do not defend those who are baptised, and we shall have to look for those who have such courage as to offer themselves to the Sacrament as well as the sacrifice. Who does not know how useful that natives of India will be to the Portuguese State in peace and war, if they contact true friendship with them; and such will never be the case so long as the Law and Religion are not the same. We all know that one of the reasons which the tyrant of Jaffnapatao alleged for killing the Christians so cruelly was that once they became such, he did not consider them as his lieges, but (as lieges) of the King of Portugal. If they were so, the others are so also to provoke him to do the same. Is it right that they should be so and not to be protected?"

At this point tears interrupted his words, for he knew that there were not wanting those who said guided by other maxims : "Let the Martyrs be satisfied with the glory Martyrdom which they obtained."

The Temporal and Spiritual Conquest of Ceylon, Father Fernando Queyroz, page 247.


The tears of St Francis Xavier which was intended to persuade a reluctant Portuguese General in Goa to go to war with the Kingdom of Jaffna led to the devastation and rampage of Kingdom of Jaffna as well as all of Sri Lanka which was under Tamil rule. The genocide of people of the North East that started with Portuguese wars has continued to this day leading to its present fate and state of affairs.

However, the decline of the Kingdom of Jaffna gave rise to the emergence of Kandyan Kingdom into which many people of the North East migrated. Portuguese had the added reason to subjugate the Kingdom of Jaffna to block the weapons going into Kandyan kingdom through Jaffna from India. Neither Bhuvanega Bahu or the Kingdom of Kotte ever emerged as the King of Ceylon or Overloads of Lanka. Instead Kotte Kingdom became part of Portugal and the King of Portugal proclaimed himself the king of Sri Lanka.

The Kandyan Kingdom

As the Sinhala language did not come into existence until 14th Century there was no race called Sinhala race in Anuradhapuram. Tamil was the dominant language of Anuradhapuram. Though Pali was a common language of Buddhism there were many other nationalities and languages. Robert Knox visited Anuradhapuram.


The people stood amazed as soon as they saw us, being originally Malabars, though subjects of Kandy.

Nor could they understand the Sinhalese language in which we spake to them.

And we stood looking one upon another until there came one that could speak the Sinhalese tongue: who asked us. from whence we came? We told, him from Kandy. But they believed us not, supposing that we came up from the Dutch from Mannar.

So they brought us before their Governor. He not speaking Sinhalese spake to us by an interpreter.

And to know the truth, whether we came from the place we pretended, he inquired about news at Court; demanded, who were Governors of such and such countries? and what was become of some certain noblemen, whom the king had lately cut off? and also what the common people were employed about at Court, for it is seldom that they are idle.

Robert Knox in the Kandyan Kingdom, Ed. E.F.C.Ludowyk, p 50.

It is apparent from Robert Knox’s observations that the principality of Anuradapura was peopled by Tamils at the time of his escape in 1679, and the Tamil principalities of the Kandyan Kingdom enjoyed substantial degree of autonomy. In terms of sovereign rights of the king over these principalities, there was little left and the Kandyan King himself was careful not to violate the norms which by custom the King upheld.

Though the Kandyan Kingdom while in existence included many Tamil principalities and ruled by Tamils, the chauvinist historians have now forged an impression as if Kandyan Kingdom was a Sinhala only kingdom, and the territory of the Kandyan kingdom should belong to Sinhalese. The boundary of present North East was very much determined by the notion the Kandyan kingdom was historically inhabited by the Sinhalese.

Seeking peace with the Tamils

The totalitarian nature of Sinhala chauvinist ideology that is essential as a unifying mission of the Sinhala race and the illegal territorial claim over the whole island makes it impossible to enter into any reasonable dialogue with the Tamils. The majoritarian democracy which has been the great vehicle of Sinhala chauvinism ready to legitimise any of its moves in independent Sri Lanka has made seeking peace with the Tamils irrelevant. The experience of government of Tamil people in independent Sri Lanka has been a pariah rule of an alien race over them which has sought to abuse the sovereign process to annihilate them and grab their resources.

The sovereign process of Sri Lanka has been a transformation of the colonial sovereign process into a chauvinist Sinhala sovereign process where the governance became totally subordinated to realising the Sinhala Buddhist ideal and to do everything to banish the Tamils from Sri Lanka. The evolution of Sinhala sovereign process instead of unified sovereignty representing the people of Sri Lanka, weighed down by its chauvinist agenda, the inability of the Sinhala Race to rise to the demands of a unified sovereignty and the opportunity for continued abuse of the democratic process, has led to the appearance and need for reassertion of the Tamil sovereignty and claim its due place in Sri Lanka.

Peace in Sri Lanka depends greatly in providing for the space and free opportunity for the articulation of the free will of the Tamil people and its minorities within its territory. Minorities will be there in Sinhala Ratta and Tamileelam. It has never been the intention of Tamil people to keep anyone out who wants come live as peaceful citizens. Turning Tamils into a minority in their own homeland has been on the agenda of Sinhala chauvinism from its very inception.

The sovereign usurpation led to total control of the government by the Sinhalese. Its armed forces, police and a governmental process are committed to defending the gains of usurpation and furtherance of the chauvinist ideal in the Tamil homeland. One race has become the sole recipient of the benefits of the sovereign process and manages to pocket almost all the resources of the government.

The foundation of sovereignty is trust. The inability of Sinhalese to trust the Tamil people is reflected in all walks of life and all activities of Sri Lankan government. There are many reasons for this predicament. But no people should allow themselves to be governed by a government that cannot trust them. No government should try to govern a people whom it cannot trust. The inability of the Sri Lankan government to trust the Tamil people arises for the reality a Sinhalese cannot trust a Tamil and a Tamil cannot trust a Sinhalese. The pursuit of exclusivity and rejection of justice has brought about the mutual distrust of the two communities.

What is happening in the Tamil homeland is precisely the exhibition of the inability of the Sinhalese to trust the Tamil people. There was an LTTE that ended up as a fascist dictatorship that needed to be brought to an end. But its fascism developed as a counter fascism in the face of relentless onslaught of Sinhalese fascism. LTTE grew in the space created by Sinhala chauvinism. While the Sri Lankan sovereignty was usurped through the abuse of Parliamentary democracy, the Tamil sovereignty was usurped in the name of liberation and through the barrel of the gun.

However, the LTTE of which Sinhalese are speaking of is different from the LTTE Tamil people faced. The LTTE of the Sinhalese is a state of mind problem, a product of its paranoia. This state of mind frees them from the sense of guilt and sustains the march down the path of injustice. To shroud their injustice towards the Tamils and their inability the transform themselves to be able to share a united Sri Lank with the Tamils by recognising their rights, the Sinhalese facilitated the growth of LTTE.

Since 1990, when the Sinhalese army liberated Kayts, the army has remained committed to a policy of driving the people out of their villages and towns and systematically emptying the houses and taking the loot to the South. Even pots and pans are not left. People could not return to their houses for years. The toilets in North East villages are usually kept away from houses and sometimes they are thatched enclosures far from the house. Women have cried with me they could not go to toilets at night for years for the fear one of the Viraya Sooraya ( Sri Lankan soldier) will be waiting in the toilet. People have complained the Army men come to sleep in between husband and wife. This is the nature of the pariah rule Tamil people have faced in the united Sri Lanka for over 30 years.

One should ask if the Sri Lankan government would have adopted the same military strategy if the people concerned were Sinhalese. In the paranoid world of Sinhalese every proud Tamil is an LTTEer. Sri Lanka gave reward for killing LTTE. Innocent in their thousands have been shot at point blank rage to collect reward money forcing next of kin to declare the person shot belongs to LTTE. The genocide agenda against the Tamils was inbuilt into the military strategy from the very beginning and was more important than fighting the real LTTE. This is the reason why it has taken so long to defeat the LTTE. The military agenda of the Sinhalese has a different programme to defeating LTTE and LTTE was a needed pretext and it continues to be so.

The 13th amendment allowed for the creation of a North East police force. Successive Sinhalese governments could hardly bring themselves to create the North East police force. The 13th Amendment was created to solve the ethnic problem. They could implement this only in the Sinhalese areas. The Sinhalese could not bring themselves to implement it in the Tamil area. The lack of inner strength and inability to trust the Tamil people is the main reason.

One after the other, military personal are appointed as governors to the North East who hardly understand the meaning of devolution of powers. The main purpose of their appointment was to undermine the process of devolution of powers. This is not only an exhibition of disability of Sinhalese to trust the Tamil people but also an insult to the Tamil people. Many of these champions of Sinhala chauvinism act out of shear jealousy and inferiority complex bent on overrunning and destroying a civilisation and implementing the Sinhala chauvinist agenda over the Tamil homeland.

The unity of permanently merged North East is the unity of Tamil sovereignty. It is a product of the desire of the Tamil people to together face the danger of annihilation. Tamils will lose the East if is separated as a result of sinister design of Sinhalese and foreign elements. Temporary gimmickry cannot overcome this basic long term danger. The Tamil homeland should remain united.

Having the two provinces together or separate is not a matter of administrative convenience. There is paradigm shift on the political basis of the two formations. A merged province meets the inalienable right of Tamil people over their homeland and self rule which recognition is important to their self preservation as a people, whereas two separate provinces denies this Tamil right and reduces the devolution process to a problem an administrative decentralisation without negating the illegal chauvinist claims over the Tamil homeland and their designs of annexation and assimilation. Accepting a temporary merger too shares this shortcoming and danger.

Language as a common identity factor has been the dominant factor in the demarcation of states in India though there are many other commonalities that underlay the foundation of linguistic statehood. 90% of the people of North East are Tamil speaking. The remaining 10% are mainly Sinhalese farmers settled through government aided colonisation.

Tamils will continue to live in the national capital Colombo in a united Sri Lanka. There is no need for them to leave Colombo in a united Sri Lanka. But Tamil people have moved to Colombo for refuge as conditions in the North Eat was made miserable. But they will return to the North East as normalcy returns. There will be substantial Sinhala minority population in the North East with all the rights they need. Tamils who have taken refuge in the Sinhalese arrears in earlier times, especially in the Kandyan Kingdom and who have now become Sinhalese, should have the right to return to the North East and if they wish helped to become Tamils again.

What the Tamil people of the North East are demanding is not equal rights within Sri Lanka as minorities but statehood within the framework of a united Sri Lanka in recognition of the historical title they hold over their homeland in terms of self rule and territoriality.

The minor differences are inevitable within the Tamil sovereign territory as each principality was distinct. These are internal peculiarities are best catered for by maintaining the eight administrative divisions and carrying out necessary administrative decentralisation within the Tamil region under a regional state government. Otherwise there is no difference between North and East.

United Sri Lanka can survive only if it is recast as a union of two sovereign nations of Tamileelam and Sinhala Ratta who have come together as Sri Lanka for their mutual benefit and through their consent. The illegal territorial claims based on cooked up historical concoction, expression of perverted patriotism and criminal designs over other peoples resources by one race shall not be the foundation of a new united Sri Lanka, sustainable and peaceful.

The author is the Director General of the programme Global Sustainability Initiative and he can reached through email by: globsustain@live.co.uk
-Sri Lanka Guardian

2 comments

MayilRavana මයිල් රාවන said...

There appears to be no end to the Eelamist dream. The author purposefully subverts the whole truth by quoting parts of historical records in order to hide the broader facts. This is all in the service of his thesis about a non-existent "Sinhala Buddhist Chauvinism" and "Tamil Kingdom".
The fact is that even his own "evidence" indicates that there was no reference to any identity called "Tamil" until the Brtish took over the island.
On the other hand the island has clearly been identified by Monk FaHien (in early 1st millennium)in his Chapter 37:

"After this he embarked in a large merchant-vessel, and went floating over the sea to the south-west. It was the beginning of winter, and the wind was favourable; and, after fourteen days, sailing day and night, they came to the country of Singhala."

There is a host of evidence which supports the evolution of an identity called Sinhala on this island for 2000 years. The island itself had been called sinhale which was corrupted to Ceialo, Seylan and Ceylon.

It was only in the 19th century that the name of the people of the island (Sinhale) was used to identify a separate ethnic group while a new ethnic group called "Tamul" came into being to counter that. This was in recognition of the difference in language. Just as the people of "Sinhale" called their "siyabasa" sinhala, the previously named "Malabar" now called "Tamul" continued to call their "mother tongue" (Taymoli) in the same way which probably then evolved into "Tamil" to identify it with the ancient sinhala epithet "Damila" (one without Damma).

Isn't it time that Tamil-Eelam dreamers (or is it now Thamiz Eezham?) gave it up and joined a Sri Lankan identity? I hear no Sri Lankans call themselves "Sinhala", "Muslim", "Tamil" or "Burgher", except for "Eezham Tamils". It is this desire to be unique and privileged which has landed them in the quandary.

While pointing at the mote in the eye of their fellow Sri Lankans, the Eezham Tamil appear to not notice the huge "fascist log" in their own.

SL boy said...

Ealam is a big FRAUD. Genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka, Tamil home land, now Sri Lanka ruled by Tamil kings of Tamil Kingdoms, cock and bull running riots. Ealamists buy media , politicians and now historians to carry out the big FRAUD. Next they will say Sri Lanka is a Tamil kingdom all along history. (Or are they saying it already?)Immidiately Sri LAnka must do a historic audit and document it before they come up with the next cock and bull.

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