Racial overtones from the North again?
Government should view the recent statements reported to have been made
by the TULF leadership at the TULF election manifesto launching ceremony
with extreme caution. While the TULF leader made the ‘Self Rule for
Tamils’ as the corner stone of his speech.
These pronouncements, attributed to a political party that has
pursued a racial line in politics for the past 61 years, tantamount to
high treason and therefore should warrant State attention. No community
or group of people living in this country are entitled to ‘self rule’ in
any part of this country and also no part in this country is the
‘traditional homeland’ of any one community.
This country belongs to all its citizens irrespective of their
communal and religious leanings and hence they should be free to travel
and reside in any part of this country without yielding to the
proprietorship of any particular group or community.
S. J. V. Chelvanayagam
It was just nine months ago that we witnessed the defeat of
separatist terrorism that engulfed this country for 30 long years
causing the loss of 100,000 lives and collateral worth a few billions in
The country is just trying to find its feet now after having
resettled 280,000 displaced persons, with sanguine thoughts of
development and national integration. The cause of that communal war
that pushed the country in to an abyss was the hubristically racial
stand taken by Tamil leaders from 1949.
Sansoni Commission, appointed in 1978 to ascertain the causes for
communal strife and tension, did not mince its words in identifying
Tamil separatism advocated by the TULF as the main reason for communal
disturbances in the country. Hence, had the TULF heeded that advice in
1978, July 83 and much of the subsequent carnage and devastation could
well have been avoided.
The tragedy however is that the sullen TULF leadership never viewed
those findings, even of the Sansoni Commission, as a prognosis of a
national malaise but rather as an opportunity to be seized to further
its separatist agenda.
They also have the uncanny knack to transform ‘effects’ in to
‘causes’ to justify their further patronage of violence and mayhem. For
instance it is the racial chauvinism of Chelvanayagam who openly refused
to submit to majority rule, with the ‘tar campaign’, that brought about
the 1958 riots, and then the violent separatism of Amirthalingam/
Prabhakaran from 1975 that resulted in July ‘83.
But all those events which were the effects have been turned in to
‘causes’ by Tamil propaganda, aided and abetted by their expatriates and
powerful anti majority vested interests in the country so that those
events could be used as launching pads to perpetrate a vicious cycle of
murder and mayhem.
The power of this propaganda and the disinformation campaign is so
powerful that it has been often proved in the past that by repeating a
lie, so stridently and so often, they are able to make it appear as the
‘truth’ not only to the international community but also to the local
population as well.
This claim about a ‘3000 year homeland of the Tamils’ is one such big
lie that Tamil propaganda has been articulating with neither historical
nor logical credence to support it.
Homeland of a community is the sole source from which that community
derives its language, culture, traditions, ethos and mores and hence a
particular community can have but only one place in this planet as its
homeland. This is because anything unique can originate only from a
It is an incontrovertible fact that Tamil Nadu is the home for the 80
million Tamils that live all over the globe with still 70 million
domiciled there and hence the Tamils in Ceylon will not prove this
‘homeland theory in Northern Sri Lanka’ without first disapproving the
existence of Tamil Nadu.
In addition there is a surfeit of epigraphs and other archaeological
monuments that has emerged over the years in more than 170 excavation
sites in the North and East to prove the existence of a thriving Sinhala
Buddhist civilization there since 343 BC. Even according to British
documents, the census carried out in 1818 before Cameroon reforms,
comments that the “Population census in Jaffna cannot be taken with any
degree of certainty since the population (mainly fisherman) in Jaffna is
As against all this the best piece of evidence the TULF has been able
to unearth in support their ‘homeland concept’ is the much-publicized
‘Cleghorn minutes’ made in administrative documents in 1878 by a British
officer. Cleghorn was only an administrative officer in the colonial
administration and hence his minutes could hardly be construed as an
authoritative statement on Sri Lankan history.
Hence at least this time, this ‘homeland hoax’ should be exposed in
its very tracks without allowing it to form a basis of another
separatist campaign among the Tamils.
The real danger in this racially flagrant campaign lie in its
potentiality to trigger communal blood baths as happened in the past. If
the North is the exclusive homeland of the Tamils it would be logical
for the Sinhalese to deduce the rest of the island to be their exclusive
Today there are more Tamils resident outside the North and East than
ever before. Indian Tamils, that forms nearly half the Tamils in the
country, also live in these so called ‘Sinhala areas’.
Hence it is not just historical grounds that the TULF require but
also humanitarian and moral grounds for this ‘fairy tale’ claim of
theirs. Land of a country belongs to either individuals, institutions or
finally to the State and hence there is no country in this world where
land has been owned by a particular community.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa in a recent interview with Strait Times
lamented that this ‘ealam madness’ is preventing him from upgrading the
Pallali Air Force base into an international airport.