Achieving peace and harmony by ending the territorial pursuit and abuse of state process by Sinhala race.
Towards a Peaceful, Equitable and Sustainable Sri Lanka - Part 6
By Arular Arudpragasam
(October 09, Geneva, Sri Lanka Guardian) The Sinhalese insistence on holding on to the chauvinist scheme of domination has consistently obstructed the emergence of a new Sri Lanka based on common identity of her people as Sri Lankans that could be shared by all. Since independence peace and stability became an impossible dream that could not be realised within the frame work of united Sri Lanka.
The principle of divided sovereignty was sought as a basis of solution of ethnic conflict. This called for the national citizenry to develop a capacity to act on two planes of loyalty, the region and the nation. For a Tamil from the North East, the Tamil Homeland was to be his region and Sri Lanka was his nation. This concept is not something new as this phenomena exists in all federally structured countries including neighbouring India.
It is precisely the hope that Tamil and Sinhalese people can still share a nation as one people, makes the Tamil people seek a solution within the framework of a united framework willing to forget all the harm that the Sinhalese inflicted upon them in the name of unity and integrity. The dishonest relationship of the Sinhalese to the idea of united Sri Lanka and their success in undermining the national rights of people has led to the present impasse where they are still arrogantly refusing to address to the Tamil demands and accommodate the Tamil aspirations within the framework of a united Sri Lanka.
‘Appe Ratta’ and National Security
The term ‘Appe Ratta’ which in Sinhalese means ‘our country’ reverberates in every Sinhalese mind, has been the 'mantra' that the Sinhalese have recited in denying the inalienable rights of Tamil people and advance the agenda of exclusion and realisation of the Chauvinist ideal. While the term ‘Jathiya’ signified the Sinhala nation, the term ‘Appe Ratta’ signified the territorial claim of Sinhalese over the island.
‘Appe Ratta’ became the ideological slogan of the Sinhala occupation army, which sought to subvert the concept of national security to serve the realisation of the chauvinist ideal. The two chauvinist political parties in government, the UNP and the SLFP have continuously claimed the war is waged for the unity and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka, though no unity and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka can exist out side the will of the Tamil people. The Tamil people from the North East reject the illegal claims of the Sinhalese over their homeland.
The Appe Ratta concept of the Sinhalese, has been fostered through the educational system, the media and the Sri Lankan state by the misrepresentation of historical facts that portrays the Tamils as invaders from India and the utmost patriotic mission of the Sinhala race lies in the banishment of Tamils from the island.
When the armed forces lost their national character transforming itself into a chauvinist instrument, the Sinhalese spirit that was suppressed until independence found fullest expression by its total dedication to the realisation of the ‘Appe Ratta chauvinist ideal as a consequence of Sinhala Buddhist renaissance. The Tamil terrorism that appeared in the early seventies came as a blessing for the chauvinist schemers and a pretext to consolidate the hold over the armed forces and fully utilise it to realise the chauvinist agenda.
The Relentless Territorial Pursuit of the Sinhalese
There can be little doubt that the core of the ethnic conflict today is the historical conflict that has lasted from time immemorial for the possession of the island between the Tamil people and the Sinhalese people. The present conflict is the end phase of 450 year scheme of the Sinhalese by which they have attempted to throw out the vassalage of the Tamils by inviting foreign powers and offering the Tamil areas and often all of the island without the knowledge of the Tamil people under whose control the island was when the Portuguese arrived on the island in 1515.
The territory of the North East hardly represents the area over which the Tamils have wield power in Sri Lanka historically. The three hundred years before the arrival of the Portuguese, the Kingdom of Jaffna was the most powerful kingdom and dominated the territory of island while taking on the formidable responsibility of defence of Sri Lanka. The claim that the erstwhile territories of Kingdom of Jaffna was limited to a part of Northern Province, though is true, does not reflect the political realities of that period. The Kingdom of Kandy and Kotte too were limited to much smaller areas that has been claimed to be the territory of the kingdoms in subsequent times. The traditional homeland of the Tamils is the territory of the Kingdom of Jaffna which extended up to Katpity and other semi independent Tamil principalities that have extended and covered considerable areas of Sri Lanka.
The present territorial demarcation of the North East province and its thin stripping has come about by two major events of history in which the traditional Tamil rights were sacrificed leading to the misrepresentation in subsequent times. One is the agreement between Kandyan King Rajasingha and the Dutch and second is the success of the Kandyan conspiracy and the misrepresentation that enabled the interpretation of Kandyan Kingdom as Sinhalese Kingdom which were rooted in the terms and agreement between the British and the Kandyan conspirators.
The Dutch who were invited by the Kandyan kings were asked to occupy the maritime areas that were under the Portuguese. Though these areas were never part of the Kandyan Kingdom, this offer which was the basis of subsequent relationship between the Kandyans and the Dutch enabled the Kandyan Kingdom to make claims to vast territories that were once the territories of Kingdom of Jaffna, the aligned Tamil principalities of the East and central plains.
However the Dutch soon reclaimed some of the territories which were annexed through false claims after recognising the true nature of the Kandyan claims. The division between the Dutch and the Kandyan Kingdom was not based on the division of territory between Tamil and Sinhalese. Nevertheless it had serious bearing on the subsequent division and demarcations. In the agreement between the Kandyan King and the Dutch in what became known as the Treaty of Peace between the Dutch and the Sinhalese dated 14th February 1766, the Dutch secured the territory around the island limiting the Dutch territories to a thin strip about ten miles from the cost ‘ more or less as the situation of rivers and hills will permit’
The agreement between the Dutch and Kandyan Kingdom and the demarcations that followed were instrumental for the thin stripping of the North East and its subsequent emergence as the only territory over which the Tamils held historical rights. The Dutch substantially increased their territory in the North by claiming the territories of the Kingdom of Jaffna and the territories of principalities of Trincomalee and Batticaloa which became the Eastern province. This was achieved by asserting the traditional rights of the people of this areas that survived the occupation of these territories by the Portuguese and the Dutch.
Soon the Sinhalese extended their claim over the whole island by the projection of historical rights with the help of their new partners, the British. All good things of Sri Lanka came to be of Sinhalese origin including its culture, art and religion. The subsequent misrepresentation greatly clouded the decisions of the colonial rulers with their weakness towards their Aryan cousins now helped by Siamese Sects wanting to turn the island into a Sinhala Buddhist country and eager to forge the revival of the past projected on a concocted historical framework. The Tamils gradually emerged as minorities to be classed along other minority communities with no claim for any historical title to territory or self rule.
The historical distortions and misrepresentation and the patronage of political expediency and opportunism of the British period came handy for the Sinhalese schemers to advance their chauvinist agenda substantially during the British period and surge at full throttle after independence to unleash a genocidal scheme for the total usurpation of the island.
The political system of unitary form of government facilitated by the majoriteran democracy yoked the Tamil people to face the full fury of the state power that was fully subordinated to the advancement of the chauvinist cause. The subsequent events not only shattered the dream that was carefully projected before independence as nation of many smiling faces and serendipity, but also as one that would collapse under the weight of strife and discord in the future. Every attempt was made using state patronage and resources to justify and promote the agenda of the Sinhala race for the total domination of the island. The official versions of culture, history , archaeology, census were projected so as to legitimise the agenda. The nation idea of Sri Lanka became absolutely corrupted and a source of misrepresentation with little hope of it emerging as a just nation.
Since the beginning of the British period, the Sinhalese history of territorial annexation of Tamil areas as Sinhalese areas has four distinct phases.
1. The territorial assimilation of up country as Sinhalese area after the successful dethronement of the Kandyan Tamil royalty and banishment of Tamils from the Kandyan kingdom as per treaty of 1815 between the Kandyan chiefs and the British. The establishment of the five Provinces in 1833 legitimised the demarcation of the Central Province as the Kandyan Sinhalese territory.
2. The establishment of the seven provinces as Sinhalese Provinces carving out substantial areas of the North and Eastern Provinces to create three new provinces of Uva, North Central and North Western provinces in which it was assumed that all Kandyan territories were Sinhalese. This expansion of Sinhalese territories through the transformation of Tamil and Vedda territories into Sinhalese territories lasted through the next seventy years till the final establishment of the present nine provinces which was completed by 1910.
(3) The territorial annexation through land settlement programmes by the development of irrigation projects and reclaiming the Buddhist ruins as basis for Sinhalese settlements within the North East Tamil Provinces after naming the ancient civilisation of Sri Lanka as Sinhala Buddhist civilisation which was a fabrication. This started in the thirties and pursued with full ferocity in the independent Ceylon and continued up to early seventies.
(4) The last phase was to complete the agenda of total territorial possession of the island by the Sinhalese through the military occupation of the Tamil homeland that was to use the pretext of war against Tamil resistance and terrorism and annex the whole territory in the name of unity and integrity of Sri Lanka. The scheme is to create Sinhalese villages throughout the North East and settling Sinhalese in the now deserted villages of the North East. This process which started with military oppression in early seventies continues to the present day, though this was hampered temporarily by the emergence of armed struggle for the liberation of the Tamil homeland and now accelerated after the defeat of the LTTE.
The Cleghorn minutes
The entanglement of the Siamese sects in the conspiracy and the consolidation of Kandyan areas as Sinhalese areas is further revealed in the now famous and most battered quote on the Sri Lankan history after its reference to it by the TULF in its manifesto seeking mandate for separation. This is the Cleghorn minutes that defines the North East Territory as Tamil area;
Two different nations, from a very ancient period have divided between them the possession of the island. First the Cingalese, inhabiting the interior of the country, in its southern and western parts, from the river Wallouve to that of Chilow , and secondly the Malabars, who possess the northern and eastern districts. These two nations differ entirely in their religion, language and manners. The former who are allowed to be the earlier settlers, drive their origin from Siam, professing the ancient religion of that country.
The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (Ceylon Branch) vol. 3 1954. p131
However with the creation of the first five cardinal provinces any sovereign claims of the Tamils over the up country provinces came to an end. The plantation Tamils enjoyed equal citizenship rights until the independence when these rights were abolished and it took another fifty years before they could have equal rights in the Kandyan territory. The Sinhalese continue to hold the view that the Kandyan territory has been a Sinhalese territory and claim that the Kandyan kingdom never had any Tamil principalities while the actual story of the settlement of Kandyan provinces before the British takeover has been carefully hidden by the Sinhalese historians.
The contention of the conspirators that the Tamils have no territorial rights over the Kandyan Kingdom gained added meaning in the independent Ceylon through the denial of basic rights to the plantation Tamils. Tamils of the upcountry have faced serious threat to life and property from Sinhalese mobs since the advent of communal politics and from the riots directed against the Tamils in the independent Sri Lanka.
Nearly half a million Tamils of Indian origin were banished from the plantation areas after their exploitation and have been expelled to India and significant number left due to the fear of communal violence. Their situation slightly improved after the advent of the militant movement in the north which sought to link with the plantations and the plantation leaders successfully exploited the spectre of militancy to demand equal rights for the Tamils. The Tamil population of the hill country now totals around 1,5 million. And those who wound like to return to their homes who now live under various government assisted programmes in India totals around 1.2 million. The population of the Plantation Tamils was once 15.4% of the total population in 1931 reached its present level of 5.5 in 1981 as a result of their repatriation to India since 1971.
Map 1. The Tamil territory ceded to the Sinhalese from 1837 to 1910 which largely remains under utilised due to lack of funds for development while the agenda of annexing the remaining Tamil homeland as Sinhala Buddhist territory and the consequences of Sinhalese misrule has cost the country $500 billion.
The creation of British owned plantations gave new impetus to Sinhalese territorial claims and the presence of the plantations labourers in the hill country was made pretext of further territorial annexation of Tamil areas that made the British administrators to appropriate extensive territory of Tamil Homeland as Sinhalese areas. The presence of plantation Tamils and Tamils in Colombo was made pretext for further territorial annexation and has not ceased to the present day as seen from the following justification for further the territorial annexations as compensation to the presence of the plantation Tamils whose life has hardly improved from its state of squalor for hundred and fifty years,.
Tamil politicians and publicists who protest against alleged Sinhalese encroachments into the traditional homelands of the Tamils have seldom shown any sensitivity to the grievances of the Kandyan Sinhalese over the massive presence of Indian - almost entirely Tamil -plantation workers , a process of demographic transformation which is historically of recent origin, and one which converted parts of the core area of the old Kandyan Kingdom into a polyethnic community; in some areas, for example in the Nuwara Eliya district, the Indian Tamils now very nearly out number the local population.’
REAPING THE WHIRLWIND. Ethnic Conflict,
Ethnic Politics in Sri Lanka K.M.de Silva.
Penguin Books (India). 1998 p211
The presence of the Tamil population within the so called Sinhalese provinces has become a pretext for the territorial annexation of the Sinhalese. In reality these Tamils not only are the inheritors of the territorial rights of Tamils over the Kandyan kingdom. Other Tamils living in the so called Sinhalese Provinces such as the North Central and North Western provinces are the ones who hold the historical rights over substantial areas of these provinces while the Sinhalese are settlers of recent origin.
The presence of these Tamils in these newly appropriated Sinhalese provinces which were created by giving away substantial arrears became the pretext for further territorial annexation of Tamil areas. The agenda here is to use the presence of Tamils in the south for which substantial areas has already been ceded to use it as a pretext until all territories of the Tamil people is swallowed up. It was highly improper and immoral on the part of the Sinhalese to have acquired substantial areas of Tamil territory as compensations for the plantation Tamils and then disenfranchising them and send them back to India.
The Consolidation of Seven Provinces as Sinhalese territory.
After successfully consolidating the three provinces as Sinhalese provinces the Sinhalese attention turned to annexation of the two Tamil provinces. The Siamese sects have now successfully sold cooked up versions of Mahavamsa as the ancient chronicle of Sri Lanka in which endeavour they failed with the Tamil rulers of Kandyan Kingdom. The Mahavamsa portrayed the Sinhalese to be the sole claimants of the historical rights of the entire island. The document soon came to be translated from the Pali language in which the Siamese sects rewrote the chronicles into Sinhalese and it provided an all new opportunity for the Sinhalese to pursue their territorial claims with new vigour.
The territorial demarcation that existed between the Kandyan Kingdom and the Dutch and the historical claims as provided by the Mahavamsa provided the basis for the new thrust of the Sinhalese. The re-demarcations and annexations continued conceding all the dubious claims of the Sinhalese leading the creation of the nine provinces allocating nearly more than half the territory of the North and Eastern provinces to the Tamil people. Such was the push of the Sinhalese for territory what was left as Tamil territory is only the dry costal strip which in shape looks more like a staving beggar over looking the well fed south to be classed as Tamil areas. Added to this was the continuing depopulation of the north east as the British development efforts came to be entirely concentrated in the south. The Tamil Provinces remained underdeveloped if not for the occasional repair of tanks that provided settlement opportunity for the few.
The Annexation of Tamil Homeland through Land Settlements
Once the Sinhalese have succeeded in consolidating the territory of the seven provinces as the Sinhalese territory, the attention of the Sinhalese governments turned to the annexation of the remaining two Tamil provinces. The process started when Ceylon was still under the British rule. As more and more of fertile wet zone which entirely rests within the four southern Sinhalese provinces has traditionally supported large population due to its resourcefulness, came under the plantation schemes during the British period, and the landlessness among the Sinhalese provinces became an issue.
The Sinhalese peasants shunned the coolie labour in the plantations and this vacuum was being filled by the Tamil labour directly brought from India. The attention turned to the dry zones and there was only a slow movement of Low Country Sinhalese from the beginning of the century towards the newly created North Central and North Western provinces much of which still remained empty. The opportunities soon caught the attention of the Sinhalese schemers who were slowly gaining political importance under the surge of the Ceylonese nation idea and the liberal attitude of the British rulers.
The new opportunity for opening of the dry zone became entangled with the chauvinist vision of the new leader of the Sinhala race, D.S.Senanayake who himself came from a peasant background. The whole idea of land settlement emerged as a new tool for realising the claim for territory within the Tamil homeland. This was to be achieved through the development of the irrigation potential of the Tamil North East through state sponsorship.
The scheme was to develop irrigation schemes within the Tamil provinces and settle the Sinhalese in large numbers and drive out the Tamils from their historical villages within the North East. The programme gained added urgency after independence to emerge as the most explosive issue in the Tamil Sinhalese relationship in the independent Ceylon ending in the demand for separation. The fierce opposition to the land settlements which was made an issue by the federal party and became a major negotiation issue with the government of S.W.R. D Bandaranayeke in 1956 in which an agreement was reached to halt the Sinhalese land settlement within the Tamil provinces but the agreement never came to be implemented as it was soon abrogated leading to the catastrophic slide that followed.
The fierce opposition of the Tamils for land settlements emanates from many reasons. Firstly, the land settlements seriously violates the historical rights of people. These historical rights have continued to be exercised by the Tamil people of the North East from the times of Tamil rule right through the colonial period as customary rights of villages and these have been adhered to by the villages as well as enforced by the village leaders though never had a legal codification except in the case of Thesavalamai Laws of Jaffna which came to be codified and enforced from the Dutch period.
The demarcation of the Northern and Eastern Provinces were carried out as Tamil provinces. The historical rights of Tamil people over the North East territory was recognised in the first constitution and the concept of territorial constituency was incorporated into the First constitution of Sri Lanka so that these constituencies will provide representation to the Tamil people.
The mere argument that the land settlements are carried out for new development or by clearing jungles is borne out of sheer ignorance that prevails over the rights of people among the proponents and champions of land settlements from among the Sinhalese. Not only much of the forest area within the north east has been part of the economic life of the people, substantial areas of the east were recognised Veddha Territory which was part of the eastern social and economic life. The Veddhas lived off the forest resources as well as traded them as a means of existence.
As animal husbandry was the main stay of the economy of the eastern farmers, the so called crown lands have been the gracing land of the eastern farmers much which came to be absorbed in the land settlements leading to fierce opposition form the local farmers.
Not all the land settlement were established out of abandoned tanks or new inundation. Many of settlement projects like Kanthalai in the Trincomalee district were improvement to existing systems that were cultivated by the Tamil farmers throughout the colonial times and before. The attitude of the Sinhalese rulers challenged the traditional norms throughout the peaceful life of the people in the north east. When development was effected in these ancient Tamil villages, it was made a pretext for bringing Sinhalese and settling them in the midst of these villages. The agenda here was definitely something else and the arrogance and the total disregard the Sinhalese showed to the Tamil sentiments have continued to this day.
Though attempts were made to place the local farmers in the new settlement schemes, this arrangement was to cause more strife among communities than find a solution to the problem. Very often settlers are a cultural misfits and the numerocity card the Sinhalese have played cannot justify any dominant role of settlers over the natives. The settlers were misfits with the local norms as well as within themselves. Often settlers are chosen from different location with different social and cast background leading to the generation of strife within themselves and live with a perpetual sense of insecurity. The settlers have remind loyal to their villages back home and attached to them culturally.
The pattern of land settlements were foreign to the soil having been initiated by the British colonial rulers. Such land settlements were never practised in Ceylon in earlier times where creation of cast structured villages was the norm.
The thrust of development in the newly independent Ceylon was the colonisation of the Tamil North East by Sinhalese leading to the massive influx of Sinhalese into the Tamil areas while the opportunities for the Tamils in the south was being threatened and shrinking where a grand scheme to oust them from the government jobs was being hatched. The overall pattern was in line with the chauvinist scheme for total usurpation and the denial of territorial rights of the Tamil people and very often the innocent Sinhalese framers were pawns in the hands of the schemers. Soon the settlement schemes were followed by carving out new Sinhalese electorates based on the numerocity of the settler Sinhalese and the Tamils were being marginalized in their own homeland.
The special treatment to settlers and massive investment on these settlement schemes left indigenous population with a sense of neglect and often resources that are meant to the local people were directed to the settlers as the government held a special responsibility to the settlers. The destruction of forest cover and the natural habitat and its ecological consequences was never an issue in these settlements projects. All what was needed was the engineering possibility of water inundation and the Sinhalese governments rushed to capitalise on them. There was little consideration to the consequences of undermining customary rights. The removal of forest cover in the North East was not an issue.
The implementation of the chauvinist agenda of territorial annexation of which land settlement was only one aspect greatly contributed to the alienation of the Sri Lankan state within the Tamil homeland and its subsequent collapse leading to massive influx of Tamil youth into the militant movement. The undemocratic orientation of the Sinhala governments within the Tamil homeland and misrule that accompanied programme created a situation in the Tamil provinces that normalcy can be established only through the dismantlement of these illegal land settlements.
Throughout this conflict over the land settlements, the Tamil position was that Tamils are not opposed to Sinhalese coming and living in the North East and what they oppose is the abuse of state power to violate their historical territorial rights through state aided colonisation and appropriation of vast tracts of land within the Tamil provinces radically upsetting the demographic balance. The non appreciation of this position and the Sinhalese posture of arrogance made even those Sinhalese who have lived in the North East victims of the Tamil reaction and retaliation .
The Government has attempted to justify the presence of the armed forces in terms of security of these earlier Sinhalese settlers though many have now left. The destruction of forest cover and the natural habitat and its environmental consequences was never an issue in these settlements projects. All what was needed was the engineering possibility of water inundation and the Sinhalese governments rushed to capitalise on them. There was little consideration to the consequences of removal of forest cover in the north east not to the introduction of farming methods that could have long term ill effects.
Numerous new Sinhalese villages have come up in the North East now protected by the armed forces and the Sinhalese politicians have opted to make every effort to annex these territories as part of the Sinhalese provinces in the pretext that the security of the Sinhalese people cannot be entrusted to a Tamil dominated government in the North East. Ever since the establishment of the North East Provincial Council in 1988 every effort has been made to integrate these Sinhalese villages as part of the North East Province while the central government has made every effort to administer these areas directly through its Government Agents and the security forces making any constitutional integration impossible. The true motivation here is the eventual annexation of these Tamil areas as part of the adjoining Sinhalese provinces.
In discussions and proposals for resolving the crisis by granting self rule to the Tamil province the Sinhalese have adopted the position the land settlements under the so called national rivers should be left to the Sinhalese government at the centre. As almost all the rivers flowing into the North East will be classed as national rivers, this will leave control of substantial agricultural lands in the hands of the Sinhalese but also leaves any future development in the hands of the centre. The Gal Oya project has now been over taken by the Mahaweli project and the new settlements will end any claim of the Tamils to the East as their homeland. The military settlements are the new dimension in the Tamil homeland, which was a new phase in the territorial annexation under which a strategic military plan came to be implemented with the objective of obliterating any homeland claim by the Tamils from 1978 onwards, inviting an appropriate response from the Tamil people in the form of armed struggle for the liberation of their homeland.
The population of the Eastern Province:
The Eastern province of the now de-merged North East Province consisted of two districts these are the Batticaloa and Trincomalee districts. The Batticaloa was divided into Batticaloa district and Amparai District in 1964. Though the Tamils became a minority in the new division, this area consisted of the most fertile lands of the Tamil Homeland and some of its important cultural and religious centres like Karaithivu and Thirukovil.
The population Batticaloa District:
However since the emergence of the militant movement and security of the Tamil areas going into the hands of the militants and the occupation of the North East by the IPKF since 1987, many of the settlements have lost their attraction to the Sinhalese.
The total population of Batticoloa and Amparai District after the creation of Amparai District in 1963.
YEAR ALL RACES SINHALESE % TAMIL % MOOR %
1963 470910 68740 16.9 192070 47.1 143190 35.1
1971 529326 93828 17.7 243817 46.1 188643 35.6
1981 719685 157017 21.8 315941 43.9 243798 33.5
The Assault on Batticaloa
The first land settlement programme was started in Gal Oya through a scheme established by D.S. Senanayeke, the first Prime Minister of Ceylon when he was the irrigation minister in the colonial government. The two other major irrigation schemes in the East were Allai and Kantalai in the Trincomalee district. Though the political arguments that justified these settlements were that as people of Sri Lanka every one had the right to settle anywhere, and the poor peasants needed land to cultivate, while the real agenda was something else i.e. to deny the historical Tamil territorial claims and bring about their annexation as Sinhalese territories.
What was originally a peaceful Tamil village in the Batticaloa in the name of Amparai became the centre of new land annexation programme of the Sinhalese. It soon became a Sinhalese Town in the East and the administer centre of new district to be caved out of Batticaloa district and Tamils making only 20% of the newly created Amparai District. 70% of the agricultural settlers are Sinhalese from the South. Further, a sugar cane plantations and factory was established which became an exclusively Sinhalese affair. Gal Oya where the true disposition of the Sinhalese became exposed in the post independence days, soon developed into a territory of serious tension between the Tamils who held the traditional rights and the Sinhalese backed by the government who had all the benefits of massive infrastructure facilities that were developed as part of the scheme.
The Tamil settlers who were originally displaced from the area by the project were given marginal lands down the scheme to expect what ever that will be left from the Sinhalese usage while the real agenda remind one of driving the Tamils from these areas which was to take place through increased militarisation of the conflict. The communal violence erupted first in Gal Oya in 1958. The massive movement of criminal elements as settles from the south led to serious violence against the Tamil people in the area who have faced the mobs only to be taken over by state sponsored terrorism. After 1990 these Tamil settler villages have remained deserted while the successive Sinhalese governments provided all the necessary resources and have made every effort to detach the territory from the Tamil homeland.
What has remained difficult for the Muslims and Sinhalese to realise is that their increase in percentage or number hardly makes the Tamil people give up what they perceive as their historical right over the territory. Making percentage as a basis of historical right only aggravates the situation and increases suspicion and effectively de-links the people from the state. The abuse of state power to undermine and show such disregard to rights perception of people of the region permanently alienated the Tamil people from the state. Government forcing itself over the people with such arrogance and ignorance makes people feel their very existence was being threatened and in this perception, the Tamil people were proved right through subsequent events when the actions of the government in the name of security of state, unity and integrity led to the displacement of hundreds and thousands and forced them to seek refuge in camps and flee the country and their lands grabbed.
Though the Amparai district was created through government action without any regard for the opinion of the Tamil people, in the minds of the people of the East, it is still part of Batticaloa district. There is serious opposition from people of Batticaloa to forgoing their traditional right. There has also existed tension between the Batticaloa Tamils and the Muslims over territorial rights. The problem is further compounded by the fact Muslims have no demarcation of any specific area as Muslim area within the East as historically they have lived as minorities in Tamil principalities.
The population of Amparai District since its division:
The illegal claims of the Sinhalese to the Eastern territories has cast such a shadow over the lives of the Tamil people in the East, it has effectively prevented the integration of peoples of the Eastern Province. The apprehension was equally shared by both the Muslim and the Tamil communities. The Sinhalese rulers out to exercise all their governmental powers to realise territorial claims could hardly recognise the folly and dangers of undermining the traditional rights and perceptions of the people of the East. The schemers little realised that these minuscule villages were the centres of power and are distinguished by customs and centuries of history behind them, the accommodation of which was essential for peaceful governance.
The gross violation of customary rights and the harsh and impartial treatment the Tamil people in the hands of government officials and settlers helped greatly the swelling of the ranks of the militant groups. The Tamil and Vedda youth have left their homes in hundreds and joined the militant groups and the substantial area of the Amparai district has been under the militant groups since 1983. It is unfortunate with the advent of Muslim Congress, the Muslims were carried away by the politics of opportunism and could not participate in the struggle for the Tamileelam statehood, though it is expected the Muslims will come forward to play a constructive role and become part of statehood process.
Danger Surrounds Trincomalee
Ever since independence, the Sinhalese assault on the East was directed with equal ferocity against the two districts of the Eastern Province. The land settlements sponsored by the successive Sinhala governments as well as settlements surrounding ruins and Sinhalese fisher settlements appeared in increasing frequency in the two districts. The Federal party opposed these settlement from its inception in 1949.
Map 2. The Tamil Buddhist inscription from Raja Raja Perum Palli dated 1025AD, the foremost Tamil Buddhist temple from the Chola period in Trincomalee district, later named Welagam Vihare in Sinhalese and made a base for Sinhalese settlements.
Source: Ceylon Tamil Inscriptions. Ed. A.Velupillai. Peradeniya 1971
The Sinhalese settlements and schemes of territorial annexation had to take place not only through agricultural land settlements but also through other industrial projects as well. These include the facilitation of migration of Sinhalese fisherman by providing assistance through the Fisheries Department and employment of Sinhalese in the Trincomalee Harbour and other industrial projects like mineral sands and plantations such as cashew and sugar cane. Buddhist ruins of Tamil origin were declared as sacred areas and large tracts of land were appropriated based on dubious historical evidence. New Buddhists Temples on these archaeological sites with government grants and Sinhalese were brought and settled around these areas.
The settings up military facilities in strategic locations both under the pretext of providing security to Sinhalese settlements and fighting terrorism drove the Tamils out from the area enabling the expansion of Sinhalese settlements.
The presence of the Sinhalese settlements have become the major impediment to recognition of the historical rights of the Tamil people over the area and brought about the need to impose a military rule further endangering the peaceful life of Tamil people. Settlers have become a pretext for carving out two electorates exclusively for Sinhalese and that has enabled the election of nearly six Sinhalese members of parliament form the North East. These are Seruvila in the Trincomalee district and Amparai in the Batticaloa district.
The territorial demarcation of the Seruvila clearly exhibits the true disposition of the chauvinist agenda in the Tamil homeland. It starts with the inclusion of territory under the Padavil Kulam in the North of effectively de-linking the contiguity of the Tamil homeland and surrounding the Trincomalee electorate the Sinhalese Seruvila electorate cuts off the Tamils of Trincomalee from rest of the North and East.
The Seruvila electorate was created by the linking of four land settlement schemes which were not connected to each other but all used to flood the Trincomalee district with Sinhalese from outside with the long term objective of driving the Tamils out of the Trincomalee district and annexing this sacred soil of the Tamil homeland with the Sinhalese North Central Province. These four schemes are Padavil Kulam, Moraweva, Kantalai and Allai schemes which were used to populate the Trincomalee district. In all nearly 15000 Sinhalese families were settled in these four schemes raising the Sinhalese population in Trincomalee from its 4% to 33% by 1981.
The demography of Trincomalee District has been considerably altered by the acts of Sinhalese governments since independence. The programme of realising the chauvinist agenda was not just limited to the state sponsored land settlements. It is a concerted affair pursued by the combination of politicians, government officials, Buddhist priests, NGOs whose dedication of the chauvinist scheme became the sacred duty and an expression of ultimate patriotism of the Sinhala race. The agenda was to be given its total expression in the Trincomalee district and the Tamil people of Trincomalee have been at the receiving end experiencing the full fury of its destructive influence.
The population of Trincomalee district since the beginning of British period:
Source: Department of Census and Statistics, Sri Lanka
The villages of Trincomalee have remained culturally linked from time immemorial to the Saivite shrine of Koneswaram which attracted pilgrims from all over India at one time. It came to be ravaged during the Portuguese times forcing many villages to be abandoned. The people who managed to live in some of the villages have continuously faced neglect during the British period and the Tamil population has remained stagnant for over a century around 17000. The sacred temple of Koneswaram remained closed for the Tamil people for considerable time as it became a fortress of occupation from Portuguese times and garrisoned by the present day foreign forces and came to be opened for worship only during the latter part of the British period. The Sinhalese forces now occupy the temple with limited access given to Tamil devotees on special occasions.
The arrogance of this race, its criminal orientation and contemptuous and abusive behaviour within the Tamil homeland and the disdain in which it holds the rights of other people in Sri Lanka is best exposed nowhere but around the sacred precincts of the Koneswaram temple. Here a Sinhalese sits as the agent of the Sinhala state, a statue of Buddha erected by the military obstructing the landscape of what is a Hindu holy place, and the fort occupied by the Sinhala Army. The area surrounding the temple outside the fort, where devotees gather annually for their holy dip, has become the centre of activity for the Sinhalese fisherman and the stench from the rotten and drying fish keeps the devotees away. Apart from its sacred context, today this area occupies the same importance of Galle Face to the Sri Lanka government to Tamil homeland. How will the Sinhalese react to Tamil fisherman abuse the Galle face in similar fashion ?. It is an irony that a race that claims a 2500 year legacy of culture and Buddhist civilisation does not understand that the average Tamil impression of it and its culture is formed out of these day to day experiences they faces in their daily life.
The disposition of the Sinhalese within the Trincomalee district cast a shadow of insecurity and fear over the entire Tamil population of the Trincomalee district. The Trincomalee was no more considered to be a Tamil district but a multi ethnic district. The government agent who always has to be a Sinhalese would rush to resolve any difficulty the settlers would encounter and provide all necessary assistance and infrastructures such as schools, roads, health care while the adjoining Tamil villages that stood there for centuries will be denied these facilities. Much of the development funds for the North East is channelled to these settlements.
The chauvinist usurpation of state led to the entire police force and the armed forces becoming Sinhalese within the Trincomalee district like elsewhere within the Tamil homeland and the combination of settlers and the security forces made the Tamil people vulnerable to attacks form the combined might of the two. Since the time of first island wide communal riots in 1956 the Tamil traditional villages have been subjected to periodic violence by the settler elements. This forced many Tamil villages to be abandoned permanently and making the people seek refuge closer to the Trincomalee city or refugee camps or flee to India. With the end of war the entire Trincomalee district has come under control of the Sinhalese security forces.
The city, which had a predominantly Tamil population of nearly 80% and the balance being mainly Muslim too faced its share of chauvinist onslaught. Since the departure of the British forces from Trincomalee in 1957, the facilities left behind by the British came to be filled by the Sinhalese forces making Trincomalee the base for all three divisions of the armed forces namely the Navy, Army and the Air Force. Their number has expanded without any let up and today the Sri Lankan military camps are dotted in the entire Trincomalee district from where much of the Tamil population has fled from their villages. The military has occupied the government buildings built for schools, hospitals, agricultural research stations giving no room for return of the Tamil people to their traditional villages.
The other case for Sinhalese settlement is the fishing. The Sinhalese fisherman in Trincomalee has crept into strategic locations with the protection of military and has been a source of tension and threat to the security of local people. The fisherman who are in the heart of the town in the Clock Tower area and such settlements as Srima Pura, Mudcove, China Bay where there is a fishing harbour, which has been taken over by the Sinhalese fisherman. Very often these encroachers have joined the security forces committing acts of violence against innocent people. The have also come to control even other areas of services in the city such as transport and business and control the main Trincomalee market. A new market that was built recently could not be opened due to the protest of these fisherman backed by the government who control the present old market. Trincomalee is not a fishing harbour.
Numerous Buddhist temples have been put up by the occupying military in total disregard for the opinion of the local population. Once the Buddhist temple has been put up, it will be the responsibility of the Buddhist monk to go to villages in the south to bring in the settlers who will be given all the necessary facilities. The other source of Sinhalese settlement is the development projects such as the harbour, road building, the railways and other central government projects.
However, the Sinhalese illegal encroachments have considerably fallen after the advent of the militant movement. The coming of the Indian Peace Keeping forces in 1987, the IPKF and the establishment of the North East Provincial Council has had a very demoralising impact on these encroachers who otherwise were guilty of numerous murderous acts committed against the people of Trincomalee.
The other danger Trincomalee faces is that even after four hundred and fifty years of foreign occupation and subjugation resulting from their deceit, the Sinhalese have still not given up their clever idea of offering the territories of Tamil homeland to foreign interests without the knowledge of the Tamil people. Utilising their golden opportunity to wield power over the North East, Trincomalee with its natural harbour and located at the centre of Indian ocean has been traded to foreign powers in return for help and moral support in suppressing the Tamils. Trincomalee has always been an asset of irresistible attraction to any one opting to dominate the area or the world.
The objective of these illegal offers is intended to rope in these global predatory forces in support of the chauvinist scheme of total usurpation and its military agenda of subjugation of the Tamil people and deny them their inalienable right of statehood. This move is also intended to create tension with India by the initiation big power rivalry in the region thereby expecting to keep in check any Indian support to the Tamil cause. There can be little doubt that the Sri Lankan ethnic conflict would not have attained the present degree of strife and bloodshed if it has not been for its entanglement in the global strategic moves. These behind the scene manipulations have been a major cause for the Sinhalese intransigence and persistence which will eventually take Sri Lanka back to the days of colonialism.
The global predatory forces of today, demonstrate the same arrogance, deviousness, trickery tapping into the inbuilt aspirations and tensions and aggravating them to create perpetual dependency by offering all forms of assistance for which the Sinhala race with its criminal mission has always been ever eager to provide partnership. A mutual partnership that will respect the collective will of a people for an honest and dignified life in which the people will find the opportunity for their creativity and prosperity as a natural expression of their free will remains beyond the grasp of these predatory forces.
Apart from the desperation with which the Sinhalese have run around to hand over the oil farm, efforts were made to hand over substantial area of Trincomalee to a Western Power for the establishment of permanent military facilities. In 1984 an extent of 5150 acres of forest reserve was vested with the Port Authority. This area could not have any thing to do with development of port activities as it is situated about 8 miles from the Trincomalee Harbour. A plan for the location of a massive Air Force base, incommensurate with any requirement of the Sri Lankan Air Force, was undertaken in this area. The Forest Institute at Kapalthurai was used as a base for the programme. This was subsequently occupied by the Infantry Brigade of the Sri Lanka army after the sudden closure of the Forest Institute in 1987.
The programme was cut short by the Indian decision to send the IPKF into the North East. To keep Indians happy and keep them on the side of Sinhala chauvinism, an area in the southern perimeters of Trincomalee bay has been offered to the Indians where they hope to build a coal power station and other facilities. The Tamil villages of this area have been banished and the people are lingering in the refugee camps.
As it has been the policy of the North East Provincial council not to allow any further dust emitting or polluting industries within the Trincomalee bay as the dust emitted by already existing facilities of flour mill and cement factory is a serious health hazard and cause of respiratory diseases of the people of surrounding areas. Trincomalee known for its natural beauty and tranquillity and an international tourist attraction, its landscape should remain pristine and free of polluting industries, it was decided to locate polluting industries in Pulmoddai and that still remains the ideal place to build a coal powered power station.
As land settlements have been temporally halted, another scheme took its place. That is to allocate valuable development lands in Trincomalee and other parts of East to developers from foreign countries and south so that these would provide jobs to the Sinhalese of the south within the North East. The game which started during Chandrika Kuamrathunga’s presidency pursued thorough corrupt dealings and abuse of presidential powers has led to substantial land being handed over to outsiders as well as appropriated in the name of Bandaranaike family. There is no doubt these dealings will be scrutinised and subjected to sustainability appraisal by any regional government and if these development programme do not bring benefit to the people of the region and fit into long term development programmes of the North East, the unfair and illegal dealings may have to come to an end. Even under 13th Amendment land has to be allocated within the North East on the advice of the chief minister and not thorough the arbitrary decision of the President.
Trincomalee as the capital of the Tamil homeland will emerge as an important centre linking the global Tamil economic interest with international interests. It will provide employment also for many Sinhalese who will not be seen as threat any more. The proposed Industrial Park will emerge as the important centre for research and development work providing employment to the scientific labour and generate employment for the people throughout Sri Lanak. A centre and township dedicated to global sustainability issues where international scientific effort to meet global sustainability concerns can be facilitated as North East will be on the frontline of climate change impacts.
From ancient times Trincomalee has been a centre for Saivite religion. It will also become a centre for cultural renaissance of the Tamils arising to meet the demands of modern world. All effort will be made to make Trincomalee the centre of new civilisation based on Tamil values which will be a source of stability and inner peace peculiar to the Tamil way of life in a new era of freedom and democracy.
The present day dispersion of the Tamil Diaspora, as a result of which they have been exposed to the an unique experience of internationalism, which, with their return will greatly facilitate the emergence of Trincomalee as a global village making it a truly an international city. But this cannot be achieved as long as the Trincomalee remains subject to chauvinist schemes of annexation and trade off.
Map 3:The Development Plan of Trincomalee. Land use Zones
Though the world still pursues the environmental appraisal of development projects, this will soon be replaced by sustainability appraisal and assurance programmes of long term projects where projects will be assessed not just for their environmental impacts but also for their financial and socio political impacts to provide for sustainable existence of humanity. Any violation of rights and rights perception of local people will halt a project and will not go forward without proper mitigation of the consequences. The powers of Sustainability Appraisal and Assurance should be enshrined in the constitution as a power devolved to the regions enabling the regional governments to meet the sustainability concerns and assure the long term peaceful and prosperous life of their people.
The Trojan Horse of Development
The Tamil people look with deep suspicion any pronouncement of policy and promise that is made by the Sinhalese leaders regarding development of the North East. This has come about as a result of the naked policies and development programmes initiated within the North East by the successive governments with an aim of exploiting its natural resources for the benefit of Sinhala settlers and realise their ideal of total possession. Now it has become clear that these settlements were initiated with the aim of carving out territories and placing the natural endowments of North East at the disposal of the Sinhala race. The Sinhalese leaders, other than as a pretext for the extension and realisation of the chauvinist ideal, could not comprehend the development of the North East.
The other reasons why the Sinhalese leaders are now showing interest in the development is to overcome the exigencies caused by the struggle and adverse international opinion and sell the argument that unitary state can be made to work as a result of the newly exhibited reasonableness. Added to these factors the opportunity provided for obtaining foreign exchange which could be used elsewhere for such purposes as purchase of arms and the possibility of diversion of the foreign funds for development in the south as well as their personal profit. The age old dictum that development will neutralise political upheavals, and resolve the problems arising out of assertion of self determination of a people is an illusion. The prevalence of this dictum at various levels is a cause for prolongation of conflicts and suffering in many parts of the world.
The untold sacrifice and suffering of the Tamil people over the years are for gaining their inalienable rights that will allow them to care for themselves and provide for their prosperity, peace and security within their own homeland. The pretensions of the Colombo officials who have been in recent times straining themselves to come out with these wonderful ideas for development of the North and East do not seem to excite the Tamils in anyway. These experts should instead spend their energies to develop the south, create opportunities for the Sinhalese in their homeland and bring back the half a million poor girls who have been sent to slave for the Arabs to earn money for Sri Lanka. The Tamil people can adequately take care of the development of their homeland once the satisfactory political arrangements are in place for the exercise of necessary powers of economic development.
Sri Lank is a nation which does not have a constitution that has the consent of all her people and as such it can not be considered a de facto sovereign nation. As it is, it is a nation of usurped sovereignty, a sovereignty that has been usurped by the majority race. It has to put in place a constitution that has the endorsement of all her people for it become a true sovereign nation. The Tamil people gave a conditional support to the first constitution of independent Sri Lanka or Ceylon as it was known then. At no time in history of independent Sri Lanka, the Sinhalese leaders upheld the plural values on the which the first constitution was erected. In subsequent times the successive constitutions were used to sacrifice the values of a plural Sri Lanka in pursuit of the Sinhala chauvinist state through the usurpation and subordination of Sri Lankan state process. This objective has led the country to be ravaged by war and bringing disrespect to the country among the community of nations.
Sinhalese have approached every affair of the state building in the independent Sri Lanka as if they own the entire island. Based on cooked up and concocted history and the culture of usurpation and abuse of state, the Sinhalese have demonstrated time and again that they can not engage in the state process of united Sri Lanka outside their agenda of realisation of the chauvinist ideal. This inability has brought immense suffering to all the people of Sri Lanka. Their difficulty in upholding the constitution and even implementing the 13th Amendment is an indication of the possessive hold of the chauvinist ideal over the Sinhala race.
Today there are about two million Tamil people from North East who have been dispossessed and without a livelihood and living as refugees in their own homeland and abroad. Land is crucial to provide for resettlement and livelihood of these people. The ‘Okkama Appe’ (every thing is ours) mindset of the Sinhalese grippes them to the extent they are unable to devolve the powers over land to the North East. Their scheme of territorial annexation and the sinister designs they continue to harbour over the territory of Tamil homeland prevents them from engaging in settling the dispute in any honest manner.
The land ceded to Sinhalese which are now included in the North Western and North Central provinces still remains largely under utilised. Other than those that have been utilised for irrigation schemes, there has not been any significant progress in transferring Sinhalese from more congested south to these newly acquired land.
The heroes of Sinhala chauvinism should remember their adherence to this ideal brought untold misery to the people of Sri Lanka since independence. The military victory over the LTTE was achieved by the joint efforts of Sri Lankan forces, Tamil groups and India. There is no cause for its celebration as a triumph of Sinhala chauvinism or assume what lies ahead is the free run of the Sinhala chauvinist agenda within the Tamil homeland. This is not a victory of Sinhalese over the Tamils. The present victors carried the baton during the last leg of the relay. LTTE, during the last few years became a mafia like group deviating from its ideals, at great cost to the Tamil people with no end in sight. The ways of LTTE alienated the Tamil people from the struggle and with its inflexible stand became a major obstruction to the achievement of their aspiration of statehood within a united Sri Lanka or emerge as an independent sovereign nation. LTTE after years of despotic and doctorial rule and branded as a terrorist organisation by the international community, had to come to its logical end. The conclusion of the war paves the way for the Tamil people to realign and reunite themselves to achieve their goal in the near future.
The Sinhalese resistance to coming to terms with the history of Tamil people in Sri Lanka and their historical rights has no rational basis. Tamils have lived and established the Sri Lankan civilisation and ruled Sri Lanka long before the emergence of a Sinhala race on the island.
The chauvinist mission of the Sinhala race is untenable in a united Sri Lanka. Its pursuance by political parties and government can only bring further discredit to Sri Lanka, prevent a solution emerging within the frame work of a united Sri Lanka and force a division of the country. The Sinhala people if they wish can choose to pursue the agenda of reviving the Sinhala Buddhist civilisation, within the boundaries of their homeland of Sinhala Ratta which excludes North East Tamil homeland.
Tamil people of Sri Lanka are not a minority within Sri Lanka and are not seeking minority rights within Sri Lanka. The rights and rights perception of the two people is such, only the accommodation of the two equal statehoods within the frame work of united Sri Lanka will end the conflict.
Any political party, any politician or any Sinhalese for that matter who does not endorse the foundation of a new Sri Lanka, ‘Tamileelam belongs to Tamil people, Sinhala Ratta belongs to Sinhala people and Sri Lanka belongs to all Sri Lankans’ is necessarily a Sinhala chauvinist and traitor of a peaceful united Sri Lanka. These are the traitors who have brought ruin to Sri Lanka and are out to destroy her and divide the country. People should comprehend the opportunities that these three platforms of Tamileelam, Sinhala Ratta and Sri Lanka will provide for the people of Sri Lanka and decide how and where they are going to integrate into this new arrangement that will lead to peace and harmony in a new Sri Lanka.
The Sinhalese race had chosen to usurp the constitution and the state process to establish Sinhala Buddhist state as the first constitution of Sri Lanka failed to provide for the establishment of a Sinhala Buddhist state which was their aspiration. and their natural inclination. But they never had the right to extend this over the Tamil homeland. The illegality of state actions to establish a Buddhist state over all of Sri Lanka which was not provided for in the first constitution eventually led to the revolt of the Tamil people and struggle for statehood and bloodshed. By providing for the two statehoods to prosper within the framework of a united Sri Lanka the creative energies of the two people can be availed to develop the country together and usher peace and harmony in Sri Lanka. Only in that event Tamil people will be magnanimous enough to forgive and forget the acts of genocide, the commission of implementing barbaric agenda of assimilation of Tamil people into the Sinhala chauvinist state against their will and the denigration of their homeland in the name of fighting terrorism, unity and sovereignty of Sri Lanka.
Behind the current façade of demining as an impediment to normalising the situation in the North East, lies in the lack of will of the Sinhala race to come to terms with the rights of Tamil people and its intensions to persist with the implementation of the chauvinist agenda of annexation of Tamil homeland and subjugation of the Tamil people. The refusal of the Sinhala race to engage in any honesty with the process of settling the constitutional dispute demonstrates that its intensions are to defend the gains of Sinhala chauvinism in the past and take it to its final conclusion without dismantling the state of usurpation and abuse of national security for this purpose. If this is allowed, the demining of the North East for continue for ever. Tamil people should take the responsibility of demining their homeland themselves and they should carryout with the help of international community. Deming is linked to rehabilitation, reconstruction and development and is not linked to national security. The Tamil people are quiet capable of handling the risk of walking over the mines.
What is immediately needed for normalising the situation in the North East is an interim administrative council that should be established for the North East, which is possible under the present constitution, and be empowered to carry out rehabilitation, reconstruction and demining, and provide for the security of people and facilitate the return of refugees to their homes. The international community that has problems dealing with the government that is under criminal accusation and hell bent on using the international assistance to consolidate the chauvinist hold over Tamil homeland can help the people of the North East by dealing with such an interim council. The world is fast coming to the conclusion that the Sinhalese people, so weighed down by their commitment to the chauvinist agenda, do not have the inner capacity to comprehend the nature of the problem Sri Lanka faces and the ability to overcome it. The Sinhala nation should soon come up with the solution and emerge out of the current predicament and demonstrate to the Tamil people and the world that it has the capacity to redeem Sri Lanka from the imprisonment of chauvinist forces.
It is time, Sinhalese people should bring themselves to recognise the rights of Tamil people for statehood and come forward to hand over Tamil homeland for self rule in a dignified and honourable manner by restructuring Sri Lanka as a union of two equal statehoods of Tamileelam and Sinhala Ratta. Such arrangement will lead to a united Sri Lanka and provide for the self preservation and prosperity of the two nations with respect for the equal rights of everyone. This will secure and consolidate the united Sri Lanka we all yearn for and will be proud of. This will lead us into a prosperous and respectful nation in the eyes of the world.
The author is the Director General of the programme Global Sustainability Initiative and can reached through email: email@example.com -Sri Lanka Guardian