How reconciliation happens in Sri Lanka

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2 Responses to How reconciliation happens in Sri Lanka

  1. JC Ahangama says:

    No doubt development was done in a way unprecedented anywhere else in the world. Why then is it that the Tamils are not impressed? Two reasons:

    They are still terrorized by the leaders and side with them out of fear of reprisal. ‘What if the army is withdrawn’, is a justifiable question of distrust.
    They know only one set of reason why they fought.

    Here are some of those reasons:

    1. Memory of the brutal rioting in 1958 where Singhalese and Tamils committed atrocities this tenth year after Independence.
    2. Tamil are the original settlers in the island. South India is swimming distance and that is the closest land for original people to come from
    3. Invaders that came with Vijaya pushed Tamils to the North.
    4. Singhala is a motley mix of Tamil and and Pali
    5. There is genetic evidence found that some Veddas have genetic markers traced back to Tamils
    6. Tamil is a 5000 year old civilization
    7. The films like ‘viira paanda katta booman’ and ‘kanavanam kayiya padam paakam’ depict true history.

    Rebuttals:

    1. It was the result of SWRD’s sudden unprepared policy simply to pander to the Singhala majority. The idea ‘official’ language is incongruent with free country of a muiti-lingual society. Language of the ‘majority’ might be more appropriate.
    2. Two British authors, Robert Knox 1680s and James Cordiner 1805 both of whom wrote very credible detailed catalogs of their experiences categorically state that the Singhalese they saw and interacted with looked very different to the South Indians
    3. It is not possible to cleanly herd people and move them. Only thing possible is full assimilation. But 2 above rules that out. A careful reading of Robert Knox reveals that the Tamils in Jaffna descend from mercenaries brought by king Rajasingha as a result of a military pact with Panyans also corroborated by mahaavamshaya.
    4. The idea that Singhala is based on Tamil comes from the observation that Singhala has Sanskrit words. Tamil as well as all Indian languages mix in Sanskrit. In the case of Tamil, at its formation, Rshi Agasti added a lot of Sanskrit. Due to limitation of phonemes, the borrowed words have taken a rather Tamil format. This makes some to think that they are Tamil words. Seeing (false) cognates in Singhala, they come to the conclusion that Singhala comes from Tamil
    5. James Cordiner says that Tamil Veddas were arriving and occupying North of the Singhala Veddas and spoke Tamil. He also reports that when Portuguese came there was only one language spoken in the island, Singhala, by both civil and jungle dwelling groups.
    6. Actually, Tamil was established by Rshi Agasti during the time of king Kulasekara, that mahaavamsaya places around 12th century. That was 500 years (not 5000) before Tamil Plutarch was written (Chitty – 1859). The word Tamil itself is the Tamilzed Singhala word ðemala (-> þamal). ðemala is the Singhala word for Dravida. The name used for Tamils by Europeans is Malabars, derived from Malaivar — hailing from the mountains, Malaya Nad, present Kerala being part of it. Before Population Explosion, people did not live in harsh environments. Those who prefer jungle to village lived in jungle. The current Tamil Nadu was thorn Bush Deccan (dakSina), hot, and dry, populated by mlecca people. Just like Veddas. This is the reason Lanka did not have influx of people from Mannar. Those who came, came by ship to Trincomalee. (We had close relations with Malaya Rata, where the Malayalam script shows the influence of Singhala)
    7. They are epics that illiterate masses took as true and even elected actors to make their dreams real.

    Integration needs interaction of the two peoples. That means cross settlement. The hill country Tamils also should be allowed to assimilate if they so with. This could be facilitated by re-instating vaasagama naming practice by recording the name of place born or residence as a major key in the census database and encouraging people to use them.

    Sri Lanka should practice what other countries that have minorities such as USA do. They teach in schools in the language medium of the majority. Full immersion from the kindergarten is no problem in the US as my personal experience with my child. In Lanka, the government should also teach Tamil, its literature and history in parts where Tamils live as majority. Learning in Singhala develops a bond by the common language. In America people speak English and their native language. English is acquired in school by those who do not speak English.

    I know that that imposing Singhala as the medium of instruction in schools will be resisted by the Tamil leaders and elites in Colombo. Both these groups care only about their own well-being. Doing the right thing even when it is difficult proves statesmanship.

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