| by A.R.Arudpragasam
Anchoring Sri Lanka on Her True Historical Foundation
( October 19, 2014, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) The mistakes of the Sinhalese leaders, since independence, originate from one basic false assumption that Sinhalese hold the historical title of ownership over all of Sri Lanka and Tamils are invaders and aliens. The historical falsification and misrepresentation that started with the dubious mandate of King Bhuvanegabahu VII of Kotte given to the Portuguese in 1543 taken further by the Siamese sect monks who were brought to Sri Lanka in 1753 to write the history of Sinhala Buddhists and subsequently by the British who invented the Aryan Sinhala race who brought civilisation to Sri Lanka from North India.
These monks using old writings that were available in Sri Lanka refabricated the Mahavamsa substantiating their scheme to turn Sri Lanka into a Buddhist country when that religion has remained virtually dead for five centuries. The reason these monks have to be brought from Thailand was there were no monks in Sri Lanka who could read Pali in which language many historical works were written in Middle Ages. These works were based on Tamil writings of earlier period and were still available in the Kandyan Kingdom.
It is the Dutch who first took interest in ancient history of various communities of Sri Lanka and wanted all communities to write their histories. Tamil history Yalapana Vaipavamaalai too was written during this period on the request of Dutch. The rehashing of Mahavamsa was completed by the Siamese sect monks between 1753 the year the Siamese monks were brought to Sri Lanka and 1761, which is where the copy handed to the British ends, claiming it be a continuing tradition of chronicle writing ancient times as found in European courts of royalties which it was not. These monks who came from Siam (Thailand) were not aware of any history of Sri Lanka but used the ancient chronicles and stories to rewrite and distort the history. The monks were not writing a history of Sri Lanka but the history of ‘Maha Vamsa, (the great lineage)’.
The Aryan Twist
Two things which the monk say in the first stanza went unnoticed. These are, one they are writing for their ‘serene joy’ and the other they are modernizing the text by which they meant they are changing the text from beginning to the end the way they wanted it. In the process, the history of Tamil kings became Sinhalese kings, Tamil Buddhism became Sinhala Buddhism and Tamil civilisation became Sinhalese civilisation.
British gave additional twist by claiming that civilisation to Sri Lanka was brought by the Aryan Sinhala race coming from North India and portrayed all the Tamils as invaders from South India seeking a barbaric kinship with the Sinhalese. The document was translated from Pali into English and became the authentic ancient history of Sri Lanka during the British period. The word Aryan appears twice in the Geiger’s translation of Mahavamsa.in both instances as footnote to the text.
In reality it was the Tamil Hindu Kingdom of Jaffna in the North, historically, that titled itself Aryan due to the Kalinga origin of its royalty and the southern kingdoms that came to be called Sinhalese kingdoms were resisting the Aryan influence upholding the Dravidian values originating from the Pandyan connection of the Southern sovereignty.
The Siamese Twist and conflict with Tamils
When the tradition of Mahavamsa was started in the 5th century, there was no Pali or Sinhalese in Anuradhapura. It was originally written in Tamil and in Manipiravalar style where only the root letters are written without the dots and other markings is evident from the fact many of the names are transliterated fromTamil. For example take the name Velusumana. The word Velu is the spear of Lord Muruga. Putting the dot on the last letter na, the name becomes Velusumanan which is a Tamil name not found among Sinhalese but a Tamil name found among Tamils even today (Even Prabakaran was Velu for Many) .
This proves the original document was written in Tamil and in Manipiravalar style as this style of writing could not have got into Mahavamsa which is the history of lineage Kings of Anuradhapura who were all Tamils. Subsequently it was translated into Pali in Polanaruwa which was used by the monks from Siam to rewrite it in the 18th century who were totally ignorant of history of ancient Buddhism in Sri Lanka. The Sinhalese translation of Mahavamsa appeared for the first time during early 20th century. It was unknown to the Portuguese and the Dutch who ruled the county for three hundred years before the British.
The monks who rewrote Mahavamsa in the 18th centuary, were totally unaware of the history of Kingdom of Jaffna that ruled the whole of Sri Lanka for nearly four centuries from mid-13th century to the beginning of 17th century defending her from foreign aggression and caring for her people. The monks were brought to Sri Lanka from Siam by the Dutch only in the mid 18th centuary, 130 years after the fall of Kingdom of Jaffna.
The rehashed Mahavamsa completely obliterated the history of Tamil Buddhist heritage and Sinhala Hindu heritage from the history of Sri Lanka paving way for foisting the story of 2500 year history of Sinhala Buddhism that never existed in Sri Lanka. There is no connection between the present day Buddhism, whose beginning is traced to the coming of the Siamese sects, and the Tamil Buddhism of Anuradhapura and Polanaruwa which ended in the 13th century when there was no Sinhala language or Sinhala Buddhism in Sri Lanka.
Buddhism, when it was a vibrant religion on the Indian sub-continent was divided as southern tradition of Buddhism and northern tradition of Buddhism. The Buddhism that effectively ended in Polanaruwa belonged to Southern tradition of Buddhism. The Buddhism that came to be revived under the British was northern tradition of Buddhism coming from Siam and Burma.
Some of these Siamese sect monks were beheaded by the Kandyan monarch for their conspiracy to kill the king, who was a Tamil Nayaker and a Hindu, attempting put in place a Thai prince as the king, who has come to Sri Lanka robed as a Buddhist monk along with other monks. The conspiracy was uncovered and led to the beheading of some of these monks which is the root cause of their anti-Tamil orientation and subsequent collaboration with the British in destroying the Kandyan kingdom The concessions given to them by the British in return, enabled them to burden the country with the revival of a dead religion, and occupy the seat of the sovereign of the Kandyan kingdom.
The Sinhala Hindu Dimension
What these monks have done since their arrival from Siam is, through falsification and misrepresentation, and through collaboration with foreign rulers, have thrown a blanket over all the Sinhala people who are Sinhala Hindus and are claiming all Sinhala Hindus as Sinhala Buddhists. Claiming there was Buddhism throughout Sri Lanka in ancient times, they have become the sole proprietors of historical rights of Sri Lanka.
If the identity of Sinhala Hindus is reinstated by identifying the people whose primary deity are Deval Hindu gods like Katragama Deiyo, Natha, Pathni and Saman and other Sinhala Hindu deities, their percentage could be as high as seventy present of the so called Sinhala Buddhists. Of the five deities taken in procession in the Kandyan Perehara first four are Sinhala Hindu Deities. Only the last one is Sacred Tooth which was added in the later period.
The collusion of the Monks with the British and subsequent falsification of history also created the situation that no Sinhalese can call himself a Hindu and no Tamil can call himself a Buddhist creating a permanent divide between Sinhala Buddhists and Tamil Hindus. British who love the principle of divide and rule helped the obliteration of the identity of Sinhala Hindus, as Sinhala Hinduism is non Brahaminical and follows the ancient Dravidian traditions of ritualism that continues even today.
The Sacred tooth
By holding on to the Sacred Tooth supposed to be that of Buddha in Kandy, these foreign Buddhist sects violate the practice followed from time immemorial, that of keeping the sacred tooth in the capitol of Sri Lanka where the sovereign was located. By retaining the Sacred Tooth outside the seat of power, these sects remain outside sovereignty of Sri Lanka and they will continue to act like sovereign themselves and eventually their number will increase exponentially becoming a challenge to the government bringing chaos and downfall of governments which will beset the nation.
The original Sacred Tooth was in Jaffna as that is where the sovereign was located when the Portuguese came to the island. The Portuguese removed it from Jaffna during the war in 1560 to India and destroyed it by putting it in a cannon, pounding it and blasting it in front of everyone. The one in Kandy subsequently appeared after the arrival of Siamese monks. But whether it is fake or real is not the issue. By tradition it should be placed in a place like Kotte Naga Vihara and not Kandy and that is the issue.
Challenges of Buddhism
The historical falsification and misrepresentation initiated by the Siamese monks came to be politicized in the democratic process of independent Sri Lanka subordinating it to the chauvinistic agenda of realizing the dream of a Sinhala Buddhist state over all of Sri Lanka. This led to competition among Sinhalese politicians as to who is the better champion of the fascist ideal and the cancerous growth of the ‘Okkam Appe’ (everything is ours) mindset originating from falsified history. The disabilities and duplicities of the Sinhala leaders and their attempt to resolve the ethnic problem while refusing to recognize the territorial and self-rule rights of Tamil people originates from this historical falsehood.
Unless this perpetuated historical mindset based on exaggerated claims and historical misconceptions to which the entire Sinhala race is hooked to, is dismantled, a settlement and permanent peace within a united Sri Lanka will remain a pipe dream. The other alternative is to banish the wrong footed Buddhist sects from the shores of Sri Lanka and ship them back to Thailand and Burma as it happened in the 12th century and revive the real Sri Lankan traditions of Buddhism that existed in Sri Lanka.
Tamil Buddhist literature still exist. But we have lost the ability to read them. They exist in various monasteries and foreign libraries and private collections. It is written in Sinhalese script and in Manipiravalar style. If a genuine attempt is made it can be recovered. This can be the first step towards the revival of Tamil Buddhism.
The True History
The metamorphosis of the Sinhalese language from Hela, Tamil. Sanskrit, Pail and Malayalam began in the 14th century in the territory of Kingdom of Kotte when the entire country was under the rule of Kingdom of Jaffna. It was not out of design a new language was created but by the natural process effected by the peculiar melting pot of ethnic composition of Kotte lasting over hundred years. It was a centre of spice trade with foreign countries where there was a preponderance of Malayalees, Arabs, Tamils and many other tribes and races giving raise to the new language.
The new language that evolved over a hundred year period between 13th and 14th centuries taking the script that was used to write all languages which has now become the Sinhalese script. This spread to parts of Kandyan kingdom known as Kantha Uda Pasratta in the fifteenth century. In the 14th century works were written in both Hela and Sinhalese. Subsequently Hela declines and dies.
In the rest of country including the Southern Province, Tamil was the dominant and official language. The Sinhalese language did not exist in Anuradhapura or Polanaruwa and there was no Sinhala Buddhism in either Anuradhapura or Polanaruwa. Tamil was the dominant developed vernacular language throughout Sri Lanka during this period, though it was written in the script which is now called Sinhalese script as well as other scripts.
No king of Sri Lanka can be called a Sinhalese king. They all spoke Tamil and were all crowned as kings according Hindu traditions and followed the Hindu religion . Parakramabhahu VI (1412-1467) would not have named his daughter Ulakudayadevi, a pure Tamil version of the name, keeping away the Sanskritised version Lokamahadevi. All Prakramabahus were aligned to the continuing Pandyan lineage of the Sri Lankan sovereignty.
There was neither Sinhala race nor Sinhala language during Dutthagamini’s period (161-137BC). Duttugamini is considered to be the hero of the Sinhala race because he defeated the Chola king Ellalan who ruled Anuradapura. Duttugamini’s father’s name was Kakka Vanna Theesan and chronicles add, ‘he so got the name as he was of the colour of the crow’, which was twisted as Kavantissa by falsifiers to hide his Tamil origins. Prabakaran was another Duttugamini fighting the Indian invasion. When did the Sinhalese ever fight the Indians? Duttugamini never fought the Sri Lankan Tamils.
The dominant language among the aboriginal people was Hela. There were many other dialects among aboriginal people. Sanskrit and Pali were unspoken scholarly languages. There was no Sinhala race without Sinhala language. So the story of the 2500 year history of Sinhala race and Sinhala Buddhist civilization is a superficial projection extending the 600 year history of the Sinhala language and race into antiquity appropriating all achievements of Tamil civilization as Sinhalese civilization. But the 600 year history of Sinhala race begins under the rule of the Kingdom of Jaffna that extended to another 200 years followed by 400 years of colonial rule before the new metamorphosis Sinhala Buddhist race finally grabbed power.in 1948 and lifted its ugly head.
The New Foundation of Sri Lanka
And it is clear there has to be a Tamil version of Sri Lankan history and a Sinhalese version of history. The current historical misrepresentation on which the Sinhala race is founded which is now the official version of Sri Lanka history that is taught in schools and universities has to be scraped and a new truthful history of Sri Lanka people written.. Both the Tamils and Sinhalese should sit together and rewrite the true history or agree to maintain the two versions, a Tamil version and a Sinhalese version as official version of history of Sri Lanka. The Tamil version can be taught in North East and Sinhalese version can be maintained in Sinhala Ratta. But what is objectionable is teaching of historical falsehood to Tamil children.
The historical falsehood on which the independent Sri Lanka came to be erected is the cause that forced Sri Lanka down the path of misrule and oppression. The British idea of unitary state is anchored on the historical falsehood which determines the right perception of Sinhalese people will nerve lead to a peaceful and stable Sri Lanka. The Sinhalese people are civilised people who have lived peacefully under the rule of the Kingdom of Jaffna respecting the customs and traditions of the land.
The Sinhalese civilisation is more pristine Dravidian civilisation than Sri Lankan Tamil civilisation. The Sinhalese are not a barbaric people. British historiographical traditions perpetuated an illusion that civilisation to the world was brought by barbarians. The Sri Lankan historiography too suffered from this illusion. The notion Sinhalese are Aryans which came to be foisted during the British period led to the barbaric reduction of Sinhalese as people and enabled the barbaric alignment through constructive engagement with global barbaric forces leading to the genocidal crimes in the North East.
As governing traditions of Sri Lanka are rooted in civilizational values, the Sinhalese are unable to provide a just governance by comprehending and recognising the age old traditions and rights of Tamil people due to the disability resulting from the totalitarian historical mindset based on falsified history.
Historical Influences of the Tamil Leadership
Similar disability besieges the Tamil leadership as well. As it was the Kingdom of Jaffna that has last held sway over all of Sri Lanka before the rule changing hand to the foreign powers, the sovereign tradition continue to influence the Tamil politics. Since independence, Tamil politics has been controlled by the Colombo based legal elite who had very little in common with the people in the homeland. When the political culture of the Sinhalese came under democratic pressures leading to a commoners political culture, the Tamil elite leadership refused to allow such a transformation in Tamil leadership, instead resorted to emotional extremism and confrontational politics to retain the people under their spell.
The uncompromising stand arising from confrontational politics has characterised the Tamil politics in the politics of independent Sri Lanka. The only thing they are capable of engaging in after elections is to run to foreign embassies. The Tamil leadership to this day has demonstrated very little capacity to engage either with the Sinhala people or with their representatives in the parliament or Sinhala leadership but continued to stick to a legal platform as though Sri Lanka is under colonial rule, to overcome the problems faced by Tamil people caused by the surge of Sinhala nationalism.
The Tamil leadership could not differentiate between the Supreme Court and the parliament where more than half the members are classed as thugs. Political process is different from legal process. The Tamil leadership continued with its colonial traditions and could not work out a scheme to deal with the transition and the new surge.
British dumping the Tamils as minorities under a unitary constitution and usurpation of Sri Lanka by the Sinhala race through the abuse of parliamentary majority and the attempt to reduce the Tamils to second class status and the helplessness of Tamil leadership led to violent reaction from the Tamils. This resulted in a revolutionary shift in the content of the Tamil leadership. However, with global barbaric forces looking for ‘moderate’ leadership by which they look for amicable, empty headed, reactionary conservative elements who can easily be turned into dependent characters, there has been reversals and return to the old mode of confrontational politics exhibiting the same old weakness of the Tamil leadership.
The true and heroic history of Sri Lankan Tamils and Sinhalese together provides the nationalistic foundation of Sri Lanka. It is time Sinhalese and Tamils make an earnest effort to anchor Sri Lanka on her true historical foundation with its clear demarcation of . the two sovereign traditions. This will enable the building of a new nation based on the principle, Tamileelam belongs to Tamil people , Sinhala Ratta belongs to Sinhala people and Sri Lanka belongs to all Sri Lankans accommodating the sovereign experience both nations.
Note: For further reading on the historical aspects of this article please refer to my book, The Missing Pages of Sri Lankan History- The Traditional Homeland of the Tamils. By A.R.Arudpragasam
The author, who is forerunner of the Tamil armed struggle for liberation, has remained its guru and has led the struggle from behind from the beginning. He taught Prabakaran how to operate the AK and lectured him on the difference between terrorism and liberation struggle and wrote a novel Lanka Rani to explain that difference and brought forth a new generation of revolutionary leaders of Tamil people who have proved themselves in their service to the Tamil people. Though an engineer and scientist by training with an ideological underpinning anchored in Soviet democratic movement, the author is a founder member of the militant group EROS and the first freedom fighter to land in Sri Lanka in 1976 with a training with the PLO laying the foundation of the armed struggle for the liberation of Tamileelam. He became the coordinator of Committee for Eelam Liberation CEL in 1981 which brought together the six dominant groups of that period namely EROS, EPRLF, TELO,PLOTE,LTTE and NLFTE and has remained a common person to all the groups ever since. Orienting these groups towards democracy, it was in CEL that the decision to seek India’s help was made in 1982, which eventually led to India’s support to the armed struggle, Indian intervention in Sri Lanka in1987 and to the 13th Amendment and Provincial Council. A foremost scientist in the field of sustainable development, he served as the first head of the Research Division of the Chief Ministers Secretariat of the North East Provincial Council in Trincomalee and hold over two hundred inventions and runs a global NGO, Global Sustainability Initiative. Author of many scientific papers and theories and books among them, Constituted Democracy, Monetary Exploitation and the Missing Pages of Sri Lankan History – The Traditional Homeland of the Tamils, Theory of Global Rupture and Long term Projects for the Development of Northeast are some. He has three children among whom Maya Arulpragasam (MIA) is well known. He can be contacted by email:email@example.com