Helping rebuild LTTE by fictional archaeology
Organisation of Professional Associations (OPA) with its total
membership of approximately 50,000 professionals issued a unanimous
statement rejecting the 13th Amendment imposed on Sri Lanka with Indian
arms first smuggled into Jaffna in 1973.
The over 30 years LTTE war began, like Hitler, with fictional history
making false territorial claims of a self-declared fictional Tamil
homeland in the North and East. Such untenable ideological claims are
still being advocated by academics in the North and constitute the
ideological preparation for the next separatist war. They are a very
different breed of professionals who create racist fiction.
Around 1982/83, the Archaeological Department excavations in the
North were abandoned under LTTE threats. A new fictional archaeology was
now created under the LTTE, different from recorded history – by
inscription, artefact and accepted written documents. Some examples are
In 1917, a Royal Asiatic Society (RASSL) team led by Paul Pieris and
Rasanayagam (author of Ancient Jaffna) found extensive Buddhist remains
in Kandarodai (ancient Kadurugoda), similar to remains elsewhere in Sri
Lanka. Some of the artefacts had Sinhalese script. This was consonant
with the list of Northern places of Buddhist worship given in the 16/17
century Nam Potha, a Sinhala text which also gave other places of
Peninsula Viharas Hunugama (Chunnakam); Weligama (Welikamam). Paul
Peiris discovered a Stupa in Chunnakam remains of which was still
visible in the late 1960s when I worked as an engineer at the KKS cement
factory. And Kandarodai (Kadurugoda) was later subjected to preliminary
excavation in the 60s. And when the Jaffna rains came in September to
December, I would go there with my friend Ponnambalam, an art teacher
and buy from the small children there ancient Sinhalese coins which had
surfaced. Most significantly, a KKS factory worker brought me a pot of
100 unused Sahasmalla/Leelavati 12th century coins he had dug up in
Sinhala Buddhist heritage
The initial Kandarodai (Kadurugoda) finds of the RASSL became the
core of the Jaffna Archaeology Museum. But during the LTTE period,
Jaffna academics changed these museum objects of the 1917 RASSL
expedition as "Tamil Buddhist” unconnected with the rest of Sri Lanka
pushing their separatist agenda into the past.
Some of the LTTE changes to the museum exhibit labels were laughable
if not for their sinister motives. Thus under the caption “Headless
Buddha (2nd century)” the LTTE inspired changes stated “This (Headless
Buddha) statue found at Kantharodai is another example of Tamil
Buddhism”. And another exhibit titled “Feet of Buddha” was explained as
“Some state these (are) footprints of Vishnu. The Buddha along with
Jesus Christ is sometimes considered an incarnation of Vishnu”. This was
an attempt to bring the Christian led separatist movement in line with
the Hindus and rally them against the Sinhala Buddhist heritage.
Geobbels, Hitler’s propaganda chief would have been proud.
But these the Buddha footprints were similar to hundreds found all
over the country. And this is the first time we hear Jesus Christ
considered an incarnation of Vishnu! A true contribution of Jaffna
University to Christian studies! Amen! And Praise be to the Lord.
But the LTTE site TamilNet gives evidence of a still continuing
manufacture of false LTTE archaeology. It asserts: “Ancient remains of
Buddhism in Tamil land are not a cultural property of today’s genocidal
Sinhala-Buddhism… The signboards in the archaeological site give a
Sinhala name Kadurugoda for the site. … The Archaeology Department has
also translated the name Chu'n'naakam of the nearby town, from Tamil
into Sinhala Hu’nugama, even though the latter was never in usage”. The
ideologues who wrote this were completely unaware of the Sinhalese names
in the 16th/17th century text. Or of the Portuguese records that
although Jaffna Peninsula was ruled by a Tamil gain the bulk of the
population till the Dutch brought in tobacco plantation workers from
South India were probably Sinhalese.
And when after the war, real archaeology was resumed, Jaffna
“academics” were aghast. Their resentment at both local and
international professional archaeology in the areas once held by the
LTTE was obvious. More importantly, there was a gross ignorance by our
national archaeologists of these machinations (till I pointed out the
misinformation put out in the LTTE publications).
Thus TamilNet opposed archaeology saying “N/E archaeology should be
less ‘a priority than restoring sovereignty of Eezham Tamils’. … Unless
Tamils … are vested with sovereignty heritage studies are meaningless
and dangerous to the people concerned a Jaffna academic said”. TamilNet
adds “Why should Archaeology Department conduct excavation, it is (not)
the utmost priority now, asked a senior academic in Jaffna.” The Jaffna
academics quoted are not identified – but more of that later.
in the manner of Hitler building up fictitious racial ideology and
objecting to real research, TamilNet opposes objective archaeology. It
stated “Sri Lanka conceives archaeology as a weapon of structural
genocide in the island”. TamilNet even opposes the restoration of the
Dutch Fort in Jaffna saying there is “much resentment in Jaffna over
priority given to archaeology and renovation of Fort”. In the same
Hitler doublespeak, it adds: “Heritage studies … are a prerogative of
free people of that land. Otherwise it will continue to be ‘colonial’…
academic circles in Jaffna commented”…"The North and East of the island
of Sri Lanka should first be subjected to ‘archaeological’ investigation
… before its ‘resettlement’, is a demand ….. For the cultural genocide
of Eezham Tamils … Eezham Tamil nationalism is a necessary reality".
Geobbels would indeed be happy.
TamilNet goes further in its ignorance: “The Theravada Buddhist
Sanghas of Sri Lanka are now claiming that the Mahayana remains at
Kuchchave’li and at Thiriyaay were exclusive to the Sinhalese". Now, it
has been very well known for several decades that there was a lively
Mahayana tradition in Sri Lanka (my wife wrote her Ph.D. at London
University on it). In fact Amoghavajra, the renowned monk on whom the
Chinese wrote 10 biographies took 500 tantric texts in the eighth
century from Abayagiri to the Tang Dynasty capital.
With objective archaeology now emerging, Jaffna academics became
hysterical. "Ever heard of ‘archaeology’ being first priority in a
conquered territory… writes an academic from Jaffna on Colombo’s
heritage genocide. Colombo’s use of archaeology against Tamils is not
new…. “TamilNet wrote.“What is the point now in engaging in one-sided
‘archaeology’ rather than coming out with political formulas to resolve
the national question, if the intention is not genocide? This is a
heritage genocide”. But the new excavations were done by the archaeology
Department with Jaffna academics and their students by the side.
But the hidden Jaffna academic cat seems to come out in further
TamilNet outbursts. “Dr. S.K. Sitrampalam, the Vice President of Ilankai
Thamizh Arasuk Katchi (ITAK), the main constituent of the Tamil National
Alliance (TNA)…[is] the retired Senior Professor of Archaeology of the
University of Jaffna …said that the Mullivaaykkaal (LTTE) war was like
Kurukshetra (the war of the Mahabharata epic) and Tamils should never
TNA are the once LTTE surrogates contesting the new Northern Province
Council elections and they are clearly preparing for the next war. This
Prof Sitrampalam, Professor of Archaeology ominously adds bearing his
Tiger claw: “What was refused to Pirapaharan cannot be given to others
is the position of Mahinda Rajapaksa."
There are other side stories present as in the Kanniya hot wells of
Trincomallee which was once under the LTTE who issued tickets to people
wanting to bathe there. The pro-LTTE elements in the Pradeshiya Sabha,
TamilNet reported had put a board claiming that the hot wells were built
by Ravana the Dravidian hero of the Ramayana. Ravana was invented
incidentally in the last century as a hero in South India in its
anti-North Indian separatist phase for a Dravidistan.
This was to be parallel to the Muslim demand for Pakistan. After
coming under central government control, the Government Agent (GA) of
Trincomalee TamilNet reported had “stopped the Trincomalee Pradeshiya
Sabha PS from maintaining the Kanniya Hot Wells” and handed it to the
Department of Archaeology. “The GA also directed his men to remove the
name board by stating that the ancient King Raava'nan (Ravana) founded
the hot wells”.
TamilNet said that “The GA told that the name board put by the PS had
given 'wrong historical information' … and directed the Trincomalee PS
to stop collecting money from the public for maintaining the hot wells …
as the PS has no legal status except the Department of Archaeology…..".
TamilNet added that “some Buddhist priests, claimed that the bricks
found at the site belonged to the Anuradhapura period”.
Kanniya hot wells,Trincomallee
Although objecting to excavation of very ancient sites, Jaffna
academics regret the removal of more recent LTTE landmarks.
TamilNet asks: “Why should monuments built by Tamils … remembering
their (LTTE) struggle be destroyed, asks an academic in Jaffna,
responding to the destruction of the memorial for Thileepan (LTTE) who
fasted unto death …” . The Jaffna academic and TamilNet position on
archaeology is simple. It makes the political statement: "If the
intention is the preservation of cultural heritage the best way to do it
is recognising the territoriality of Eezham Tamils in their homeland”.
Ideologues of Hitler’s lebensraum would of course have seen their mirror
But to the LTTE academics, it is not only the objective archaeology
of Sri Lanka that is at fault but seemingly the whole world who are
interested in real facts. It makes the ominous statement the "Sri Lankan
state is not the only culprit to this cultural genocide… All countries
that have been giving funds, training and scholarships to Sri Lanka and
the UN agencies have to be equally indicted”. These LTTE remnants call
upon stopping archaeology by stating: “These Western countries and the
UN agencies should refrain from aiding the cultural genocide of Colombo,
by stopping all funding to cultural institutions in the island.”
TamilNet mentions that “Western donors are funding Colombo’s cultural
monster … Until the national question of Eezham Tamils in the North and
East is politically resolved, no funding should be given to Colombo’s
cultural agenda in Tamil homeland, …Western academic and cultural
institutions have a responsible role to play in influencing their
governments against abetting cultural genocide.”
Within the last few months, professionals of the Archaeology
Department led by Drs Siran Deraniyagala and Nimal Perera and with
Jaffna academics at hand have made scientific excavations at Kandarodai.
They have shown that Kandarodai history is no different from that of
Anuradapura or other sites around the country. And in the Trincomalee
hot wells site, new excavations have now revealed Buddhist remains at
the site indistinguishable from other sites in the country. (And no
ghost of Ravana). The extensive coin collection of art teacher
Ponnambalam, the most comprehensive for the whole of Jaffna Peninsula
was donated by him decades ago to Kelaniya University for a paltry Rs
5,000 (my wife then a Kelaniya University teacher facilitating). And my
collection of 100 mint condition Sahasmalla/Leelavati coins was donated
to my alma mater in memory of that excellent Royal Primary teacher HP
Jayawardana. Both collections, very expensive if sold in the open
market, cannot now be traced. Rats of course exist not only in Northern
educational establishments but also in the South.
And in Jaffna University? When the IPKF forces landed by helicopter
in its premises in the 1987 period, they found an excavated skeleton
named by local archaeologists "Jaffna man". The IPKF, as moronic as
TamilNet archaeologists today desecrated it to pieces. And today? There
is today a plaque in Jaffna University stating that everybody in its
premises should subscribe to the traditional homelands fiction (or words
to that effect). The war according to Jaffna University is not yet over.
And FLICT, a German NGO is busy funding a "history" project to continue
the LTTE narrative.