Rajapaksa drunk with triumphalism, to colonize Tamil homeland

“Karunanidhi’s acts of repeated deception, false patronage, and showmanship, cringing to the Centre, are both unnecessary and counter-productive to the justice and the integrity of the Sri Lankan Tamil cause. He has, during most of his political career, at the expense of the ignorance and poverty of the Tamil Nadu people, and through corruption, built up his own empire of almost a dynasty of enormous wealth and positions to his family members.”

By Satheesan Kumaaran

(October 23, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Sri Lankan President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, claimed victory as his armed forces defeated the LTTE militarily in May this year leading to the detention of nearly 280,000 Tamils within heavily guarded confines of razor wires. Those who remain alive at the end of the day would be broken both physically and in will. All the imminent signs are that he is on the way to recolonizing the villages of the Tamils primarily to change its demography and destroy the concept of the Tamil traditional homelands. The South Indian Tamil leader, Karunanidhi, too, fell victim to Rakapaksa’s machinations. After Indian MPs—comprising DMK, Congress, and Dalit Panthers of India--returned home, Karunanidhi announced that Mahinda had promised that 58,000 Tamils will be released from the camps, but it is very unlikely except them being transferred other internment camps–a new tactic as a substitute for release.

As a typical representative of the Sinhala polity, he wants to prove himself as the best transformer of Tamil demography so that Tamils will not have claims to their traditional homelands and any clamour for devolution or even federation would be out of the question. The same process is taking place in regard to Tamil and Muslim areas in the east. Sampur is a case in point. The Tamils, who are the owners of the lands, are now in the camps. Sri Lanka falls within the definition of a state in terms of international law, however organized, that possesses a defined territory with a recognised capacity to enter into relations with other states. Rajapaksa may be playing to Sinhala chauvinism in the short run, but he is making the greatest mistake that a Sinhala leader ever made in the long run.

Are we are to accept the myth that Vijaya was the prince from Eastern India who settled in Sri Lanka and founded the Sinhalese race? There is historical evidence that he and his compatriots married Tamil women and at least to that extent the Sinhalese have Tamil blood and vice versa as proven by recent DNA tests. As much as the Sinhalese, the Tamils having settled in the North and the East like to preserve their own identity in terms of the language they speak and subcultures. It is Sinhala chauvinism that has kept them divided. Now, the Tamils are homeless and defenseless. Their villages are vacant. The Sri Lankan government is trying to colonize their lands with Sinhalese and they later plan to settle these Tamils with the Sinhalese. The President’s strategy is to rename all the Tamil villages in Sinhala. Those lands are vacant now, and the Tamils will have no choice but to live alongside the Sinhalese in a Sinhala - dominated Tamil homeland, an indelible grudge that the Tamils will harbor for generations with the seeds sown by Rajapaksa.

Former colonizers failed to unite Tamil and Sinhala nations

By the time Britain took control of the island of Ceylon, Portuguese and Dutch rulers had occupied the island. They recognized the existence of two distinct nations on the island and administered the Tamil areas as separate districts, distinct from the rest of the island, in the 16th and 17th centuries. The British, on the other hand, established a unitary state, but the centralized system of government failed to unite the Tamil and Sinhalese communities. The distinct languages and the long historical experiences of the two nations continue to keep them apart.

According to experts who write on Sri Lanka’s history, Sri Lankan Tamils have been unfairly chastised for defending their ethnic and territorial rights on the island.

British travelers and administrators have attested to the existence of the two nations on the island as far back as the seventeenth century. Sinhalese and Tamil place-names were even used in a map of Ceylon prepared by the Arrowsmith of Britain to show the location of Sinhalese and Tamil villages on the island in the mid-nineteenth century.

They further argue that the areas occupied by Sinhalese and Tamils were distinct enough for the British government to have utilized the distribution of Sinhalese and Tamil place-names as the basis to demarcate the boundaries of the Tamil provinces in 1873. Also, in the 1881 Census of Ceylon, the Sinhalese population, which was confined to the borders of the Tamil provinces, accounted for only 1.8% of the total population of the combined Tamil provinces.

The Tamils did not contemplate the notion of a Tamil homeland until their very existence as a distinct nation was threatened by the passage of a Sinhala-only legislation in 1956. It was this discriminatory legislation and the State’s Sinhala colonization policy set in motion in 1948 that compelled the leader of the Federal Party, S. J. V. Chelvanayakam, now regarded as the first authentic post independent leader of the Tamils, to advance this concept of a Tamil traditional homeland as a legitimate demand of the Tamil people. He maintained in action and word that “a people without a territory are a Diaspora”. Further, he instilled the “concept of the traditional homeland of the Tamil people” in the minds of the people because their economic future, their cultural identity, and the territorial integrity of their ancestral homeland were threatened by the well-conceived plan of the government to settle large numbers of Sinhalese peasants as in the Gal Oya Development area (Amparai) in the east, the traditional Tamil speaking areas of the Tamils and Muslims. Many of the Sinhalese so settled in these areas were convicted criminals, who had to be moved out of their home villages so that they could be better policed, to the Tamil-dominated areas much to the inconvenience and insecurity to the Tamils in traditional areas.

Padaviya is a very good example. The bedlam that took part in the State sponsored pogroms of 1956 and 1958 were drawn from such areas. They felt that they had to fulfill their obligations to the State that gave them the lands.

Sinhala colonization schemes changing Tamil demography

The nature and extent of Sinhala colonization in Tamil provinces and their impact on the ethnic composition and political character of the Tamil homeland have been well documented in recent studies. It is estimated that almost a quarter of the island’s population was moved from the Wet Zone to the Dry Zone between 1946 and 1971, under peasant colonization schemes. These colonization schemes altered the ethnic composition of Tamil provinces. In particular, Sinhalese population in the Trincomalee District increased from 3.8% to 33.6% of the total population between 1911 and 1981. During the same period, the Tamil population decreased from 56.8% to 33.7% in the district. In the Amparai District, Sinhalese population increased from 7% to 38%, while the Tamil population declined from 37.0% to 20.0% between 1911 and 1981. This rapid increase in the number of Sinhalese settlers in the Eastern and Northern provinces led to the creation of several Sinhala electorates.

Since the late 1970s, Sinhalese colonies have been established in the Mullaitheevu and Batticaloa districts, which had hitherto been exclusively inhabited by Tamils. The Mullaitheevu District, Manal Aru, which was initially inhabited by Tamil farmers, was transformed into a Sinhala colony. Its name was changed to the Sinhalese name Weli-Oya (original Tamil name = Manal, meaning sand Aru meaning river), which is also involved and extends further South and North towards Trincomalee in the East. They have built a big hospital there, and now want to expand it, utilizing reconstruction funds. This is a 99% Sinhala colony with the balance being Muslims. Similarly, the Tamil-name Thannimurippu was changed to the Sinhalese name, Janakapura. These colonists have been armed and additional protection is provided by an establishment of army camps in their vicinity. Tamil leaders believe that the location of this colony was designed to deny Tamils the right to claim any district on their island as their traditional homeland, anytime in the future, or to demand the merger of the northern and eastern provinces by virtue of the linkage that has existed between the Tamil populations of the provinces in the past. Similar plans are afloat to colonize Sinhalese settlers in other parts of Eastern and Northern provinces, which are traditional Tamil territories.

Planned colonization of the Sri Lankan government not voluntary on the part of the Sinhala people is evident already in the Eastern Province in and around the Trincomalee port, in the Northern Province around the Kankesanthurai (KKS), in Point Pedro port, and Palaly airport. Along with free housing, they also hope to create new high security zones bringing in Sinhala convicts from the jails, providing them early release as long as they are prepared to live and cultivate some land provided by the government. They get free land, a house, and other support, such as financial assistance, so that they increase the Sinhala population in and around the Northern and Eastern Province. Buddhist temples and Sinhala schools will be established and they would also force Tamils living in the area to learn Sinhala.

Despite the Tamil protests, Sinhala politicians continue to justify the policy of settling Sinhalese in Tamil districts on grounds that Tamils and Sinhalese can live united and, in return, Tamils, too, can live in Sinhalese territories. However, cunning Sinhala politicians are very well aware that Tamils, as a minority, could not make up a majority anywhere. They could not colonize as the majority. With the power in Colombo, they can easily bring policies and change the democracies of the Tamil homeland, as the government has the power.

Reliable sources in Colombo say that the Sri Lankan President, Rajapaksa, has ordered his brothers, Gothabaya and Basil Rajapaksa, to make the way forward to settle many Sinhalese in the Tamil areas claimed as ‘no-safety zones,’ after capturing the areas from the LTTE in May this year. After the defeat of the LTTE, nearly 300,000 from Tamil villages are incarcerated in Vavuniya. The government does not permit even the UN agencies to enter the camps to help the displaced civilians. On the other hand, the government is busy deploying Sinhalese into the areas, even after the government gives the excuse that they could not resettle the Tamils from the camps. These areas are still not safe. In the villages, mines are being planted, and the government claims that it would take nearly three years to demine the villages. However, following international pressure, the government is planning to escort the displaced Tamils from the camps and isolate them across the North and Eastern provinces and consequently the camps in Vavuniya would be closed but the displaced Tamils will be put prison camps in other parts of the island so that that government could pretend to yield to international pressure. If the camps are scattered it would not be possible to trace them and monitor them.

Karunanidhi’s showmanship proved

The ten-member Indian MPs led by T. R. Baalu returned home on October 14, after a five-day tour to Sri Lanka. They visited camps in Vavuniya and they paid a visit to Jaffna, meeting with the anti-LTTE militant leaders-turned-politicians. Interestingly the frustrated Jaffna University students did not give any respect to these MPs. They were just visiting Tamil areas for photo opportunities. When the Indian armed forces returned home from Sri Lanka after three years of bitter war with the LTTE, Karunanidhi said he would not attend the function to welcome the Indian armed forces, saying that he would not meet the soldiers who killed his brothers and sisters in Eelam. But, when the ten-member delegation of Indian MPs returned home, Karunanidhi himself, despite his health conditions, received the MPs at the airport.

Karunanidhi and the returned delegation met the press. Karunanidhi said: “We have been given assurance that, in the first phase, more than 58,000 Tamilians would be sent to their respective villages within 15 days, starting October 15, and the rest would be gradually resettled in their native place.”

The cunning politician, Karunanidhi, first claimed that 58,000 of them would be released immediately as promised by Rajapaksa, but much to the surprise of the delegation such release had not taken place as of “yesterday” but was to happen “today”. As is the usual story, yesterday would be today, and today would be tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow.

Karunanidhi’s acts of repeated deception, false patronage, and showmanship, cringing to the Centre, are both unnecessary and counter-productive to the justice and the integrity of the Sri Lankan Tamil cause. He has, during most of his political career, at the expense of the ignorance and poverty of the Tamil Nadu people, and through corruption, built up his own empire of almost a dynasty of enormous wealth and positions to his family members.

Over the years, a substantial bulk of the poor people of Tamil Nadu, and other parts of South India, have been overwhelmingly influenced by the cinematic culture, as a means to escape from the harsh realities of their everyday life, to live in a make believe world manipulated by such scoundrels, to remain so to their own advantage.

South Indian politicians once again fall prey and they, along with the Eelam Tamil traitors, who first took up arms to fight for the right to self-determination of Tamils, but later on after Sri Lanka promised them with money and power, started as traitors of the Eelam struggle. Even when hundreds of thousands of Tamils are incarcerated in camps, these once so-called freedom fighters, and leaders of global Tamils, fail to be their voice. But instead, support Rajapaksa’s sinister agenda.

While keeping the inhabitants of the lands in the camps, the Sinhala colonization will go unabated. After colonizing the Tamil villages, the government will bring in the Tamils to live along with the Sinhalese, eventually making the Tamils a minority, even in their homeland. Later, the government plans to oppress the Tamils, denying their political aspirations for which they struggled for peacefully since 1948, and militarily after 1983, until as the government claimed in May this year that it won the LTTE, which was fighting since 1983, demanding separate Tamil Eelam.

As Eelam Tamils’ father, and great visionary, who sought to fight peacefully through democratic means for decades to obtain freedom for Eelam Tamils, S. J.V.Chelvanayakam once said, “only God can save the Tamils”. Whether we agree him or not, it is obviously true that no one can save Tamils other than God because, as usual, the desperate people will go nowhere if especially everyone maintains a deaf-ear. The once-flourishing civilized Tamil nation will be wiped out slowly, but surely.

(The author can be reached at e-mail: satheesan_kumaaran@yahoo.com)
-Sri Lanka Guardian
sigiri said...

Send all Tamils to Canada UK and Europe .They can have their Elam there.Quebec for the French. Toronto for the tamils thank God we will be rid of this cancer.

Saj said...

This is a really inflammatory article spewing out nothing but racist bile. All the non-tamils were driven out of the "traditional tamil homeland" by the tigers using this kind of propaganda.

There are many towns in the south of Sri Lanka that are predominantly Tamil or Muslim. Colombo is 40% minority, but nobody complains about traditional sinhala homelands do they?

ALl of Sri Lanka is for all Sri Lankans.

Unknown said...

There is no such concept as a ‘Tamil Homeland’ on Sri Lanka soil. What is there is a Homeland for 'ALL' Sri Lankans, without prejudice. Get used to it.

P.Riyad said...

There is a homeland for all Sri lankans in all of Sri lanka. So please stop talking nonsense of about rights and wrongs. If by birthright you are a Srilankan, just come and live here and get on with your life anywhere you want. Each and everyone here has a right to live wherever they fancy end enjoy its benefits. The past is over and is only of historical interest.

Unknown said...

Yes, go to some other country.This has become a cancer to SL and in due course to some other countries as well.These extremists might ask for a separate states in Scarborough and some parts of Dowmunder.But the majority are amicable people.
Then,everybody would understand the repercussions of discriminating against SL.

jean-pierre said...

Satheesan Kumaaran is always drunk with the ஆசவம் ācavam of the Eelam propaganda.

Ram Muni said...

Thankfully the cancer of racist Tamil terrorism has been extirpated from Sri Lanka. There seems to be a few minor racist secondaries elsewhere, and needs to be dealt with. The author is one such racist.