here a sinhala friend accusing PRABAHARAN for this conflict , it shows lack of his understanding in the conflict. here is post a short history of liberation struggle and todays article in south asia study centre.
Sri Lankan civil war at another turning point
[ South Asia Study Centre ][ Apr 23 12:01 GMT ]
The most obvious result of the latest military offensive against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam and Tamil people by the Colombo government is that a deeply political question of national self determination of the Tamils in Sri Lanka has been temporarily converted into a humanitarian one. No doubt there are serious humanitarian angles involved in the present offensive but it will be short sighted if anyone reduces it to those angles alone. The Tamil question in Sri Lanka was and very much remains a serious political issue in South Asia and its implications are by no means limited to the geo- political boundaries of the island nation but can have wide ranging ramifications in the subcontinent.
A Short History Of The Tamil Eelam Liberation Struggle
Sri Lanka formerly called Ceylon in English and known in Tamil as ILANKAI or EELAM is an island situated at the southern extremity of the Indian subcontinent, separated from it at its narrowest point by only 22 miles of sea called Palk Strait. It lies between six and ten degrees north of the Equator, and on the longitude of 79 to 81 degrees east. Its area is 25,332 square miles comprising Sri Lanka 18,042 and Tamil Eelam 7,290 sq miles. The total population is 17,103,000, according to latest population statistics (1991), consisting of 12,656,000 Sinhalese, 3,113,000 Tamils, Muslims (mostly Tamil speaking) 1,214,000 and others 120,000.
The Early Tamils
The Tamils are an ancient people with a history dating back to atleast 2,500 years. The Tamil language, the lingua franco of the Tamils, is one of the five oldest living languages of the world. The Tamil classical literature, popularly called the Sangam (Academy) literature (1st -4th Century AD) is a collection of poems of lasting quality and artistic merit. They reflect faithfully the high level of civilization and literary attainments of the ancient Tamils.
The Early Sinhalese
The Sinhala people trace their origins in the island to the arrival of Prince Vijaya from Bengal in India, about 2500 years ago. The Mahavamsa, a Sinhala chronicle written by a Buddhist Bhikku by the name of Mahanama, (6th Century AD) records that Prince Vijaya arrived on the island on the same day that the Buddha attained enlightenment.
Who Came First
Although attempts are made to trace the history of Ceylon before the arrival of Vijaya (about 500 BC), who is credited as the founder of the present Sinhalese race, there is sufficient historical and archaeological evidence to prove the existence of a high level of civilization before him. The proto history of Ceylon could be traced back to atleast 5000 years to the period of Raman of the epic Ramayanam. Raman (the same Raman about whose temple there is violent dispute between the Hindus and Muslims in Uttar Pradesh India at present) who was an Aryan king from north India fought against the Tamil Yaksha king of Ilankai (Ceylon) Ravanan who had abducted Rama`s wife Seethai. Jawaharlal Nehru in his book Glimpses of World History describes the war between Raman and Ravanan as a war between the Aryans and Dravidians. Therefore, the oft-repeated question as to who came first, the Tamils or the Sinhalese, is a controversial subject emotively debated by both the parties, but the following observation by the eminent Sinhala historian and Cambridge scholar, Paul Peiris represent an influential and common sese point of view:
` ... it stands to reason that a country which was only thirty miles from India and which would have been seen by Indian fisherman every morning as they sailed out to catch their fish, would have been occupied as soon as the continent was peopled by men who understood how to sail ..... Long before the arrival of Prince Vijaya, there were in Sri Lanka five recognised isvarams of Siva which claimed and received adoration of all India. These were Tiruketeeswaram near Mahatitha Munneeswaram dominating Salawatta and the pearl fishery Tondeswaram near Mantota Tirkoneswaram near the great bay of Kottiyar and Nakuleswaram near Kankesanthurai. Their situation close to these ports cannot be the result of accident or caprice and was probably determined by the concourse of a wealthy mercantile population whose religious wants called for attention ....` (Paul E. Pieris: Nagadipa and Buddhist Remains in Jaffna: Journal of Royal Asiatic Society, Ceylon Branch Vol.28)
Early Political History
The early political history of the people of South India and Sri Lanka, before the advent of the European powers, is largely a chronicle of the rise and fall of individdual kingdoms. South India was ruled mostly by the three great Kings Cholas, Seras an Pandiyas. Sometimes they faught against the invaders and some times they warred against each other. In addition to these three great kings there were also petty kings who ruled over large tracts of land, nominally independant, but paying tribute to one or more of the three Kings. Among the three kings the Cholas were easily the most powereful and the only naval power in India. The army of Raja Raja the Great (984-1014) invaded Ceylon, made Rajarata a part of the Chola empire, and founded Polonnaruwa as the capital city.
Rarajah`s sone Rajendra (1014 - 1044) further extended the Chola empire, so that in the 11th century the mighty Cholas ruledd over Ceylon, Kampuchea, Malaya and greater part of Indonesia.
The society was fuedal in structure and alnd was the most dominat means of production. The Sangam literature provides evidence of the lucrative two-way trade these kingdoms had with far away Roman and Greek empires.
INDEPENANCE IN 1948
Sri Lanka attained its independence from British colonial rule in February 04,1948. The first parliamentary elections were held in 1947 under the Soulbury constitution. The total members of parliament was 96 with an additional 6 appointed members representing minority communities. Mr.D.S.Senanayake, the leader of the United National Party (formerly Ceylon National Congress), formed the government. He became the first Prime Minister of an independent Ceylon.
Ceylon had been ruled by both Tamil and Sinhalese kings, the Tamil Kingdom comprising the north and eastern parts and the Sinhalese Kingdom(s) the western & southern parts of Ceylon. There were brief periods when the whole of Ceylon came under a single ruler. Otherwise, there existed two or more Kingdoms and the Tamil Kingdom always one of them. The Tamil Kingdom, later came to be called the Jaffna Kingdom existed as a separate polity for centuries. The first war between a Tamil King who ruled Anuradhapura and a Sinhalese king from the south was fought in the 2nd century BC.
In 1505 when the Portuguese landed in Ceylon there was not one but three Kingdoms, the Jaffna Kingdom in the north & east, the Kotte Kingdom in the west and Kandyan Kingdom in the centre. The Jaffna Kingdom was captured by the Portuguese when the king of Jaffna was defeated in June,1619. He was captured and taken by the Portuguese to Goa where he was hanged. The Portuguese ruled Jaffna Kingdom from 1619 to 1658. The Dutch who captured the Kingdom from the Portuguese ruled till 1795 and the British till February 03,1948.
The Jaffna Kingdom was ruled as a separate polity both by the Portuguesepresentation. This demand came to be known as 50-50 envisaged allocating 50% of the parliamentary seats to the Sinhalese and the balance 50% to the Tamils, Muslims, Burgers and other minority groups. This was rejected by the Soulbury Commission, but they did incorporate Section 29 (2) (b) and (c) which curtailed the legislative power of Parliament to `make laws for the peace, order and good government of the island`. This Section provided that no such law shall impose any disabilities, or confer any advantages, on members of any one community only.
TAMILS LOSE CITIZENSHIP AND FRANCHISE
Before the ink could dry on the new constitution the Ceylon parliament passed the Ceylon Citizenship Act No.18 of 1948 which deprived a million Tamils of Indian origin their citizenship.
This was followed up with the Ceylon (Parliamentary Elections) Amendment Act No.48 of 1949 which deprived the Tamils of their franchise as well. This category of Tamils who had 7 seats in the Parliament and held balance of power in a further 20-30 electorates failed to elect even a single member in the elections to the parliament held in 1953.
THE RISE OF SINHALA-BUDDHIST NATIONALISM
The deprivation of citizenship of a million Tamils was the result of actions of a Sinhala -Buddhist majority which regarded the island as the exclusive home of Sinhala Buddism and the Tamils as invaders from Tamil Nadu in South India.
` The history of Sri Lanka is the history of the Sinhalese race ... The Sinhalese people were entrusted 2500 years ago, with a great and nobel charge, the preservation .... of Buddhism .. in 1956 will occur the unique three fold event - the completion of 2500 years of Ceylon`s history, of the tie of the Sinhalese and Buddhism ... The birth of the Sinhalese race would thus seem to gave been not a mere chance, not an accidental occurrence, but a predetermined event of high import and purpose. The nation semed designed, as it were, from its rise, primarily to carry aloft for fifty centuries the torch that was lit by the grear World-Mentor (the Buddha) twenty five centuries ago.. ` (The revolt in the Temple, by D.C VIjayawardena, 1953).
This is just one example of what has become the battle cry of the Sinhala-Buddhists sole and exclusive claim to the whole of Ceylon. Before him the great Buddhist revivalist Anagarika Dharmapala (186...