Peace Talk - Tamils should not forget the lesson from history

Topic started by ET (@ on Thu Jun 20 00:42:38 .
All times in EST +10:30 for IST.

It might be informative at this stage to recapitulate the history of the National conflict between the Thamils and the Sinhalese.
Sri Lanka, then Ceylon, would not have gained independence from Britain without the support and consent of the Thamil people.

In fact it was the Thamil leaders like Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan (1851-1930) and Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam (1853-1924) who fearlessly spearheaded the struggle for constitutional reforms that led to independence from colonial yoke

D.S.Senanayake, the first Prime Minister of independent Ceylon, gave the following solemn promise to the Thamil and other minority communities

"no harm need you (non-Sinhalese) fear at our hands (Sinhalese) in a free Lanka."

He was speaking in the State Council in October 1945 when all the Thamil members had unanimously voted for the acceptance of the Soulbury constitution in a White Paper.

"Do you want to be governed from London or do you want, as Ceylon, to help govern Ceylon? On behalf of the (Ceylon National) Congress (founded by Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam in 1919) and on my behalf, I give the minority communities the sincere assurance that no harm need you fear at our hands in a free Lanka."

But in 1948, the very year of Independence, D.S.Senanayake blatantly went back on the promise and bared his true colours as a champion of Sinhala chauvinism by depriving one million Thamils of their citizenship.

The Citizenship Act No.18 was unique in that it denied citizenship to a person born in the country before or after 1948 unless, at least, his father was born in or was a citizen of Sri Lanka.

The following year, the same Thamils were deprived of their franchise rights which induced the Thamils representation in Parliament to fall from 33% in 1948 to a mere 20% in 1952.

The Citizenship Act #18 of 1948 opened the floodgates to further legislative and administrative acts, which robbed Thamils of their language, educational, and employment rights.

However, the Ponnambalam brothers in their evening of life realised that the Sinhalese politicians have made use of them and TAKEN THEM FOR A RIDE to advance the interests of the majority community at the expense of the Thamil people.

Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan foresaw that the democratic principle of one-person one vote in a heterogeneous society would ultimately lead to tyranny by the majority.

In a speech to the Legislative Council during the debate on the Donoughmore Reforms,
Sir. Ramanathan appears the precursor of the Thamils demand for a sovereign state of Thamil Eelam.

"Why did the (Donoughmore) Commissioners not study Ireland, which is next door to them? They (Irish) said that we are one lot and you are another. We cannot work together. We must have separate governments. Then I ask what happened in the Dominion of Canada? The officials concerned said, it is an impossible situation.... Let us give these French descendants one form of government and let us give the other people another form of government - forms of government suitable to the interests of each of these great big communities. Why did the Commissioners think of that?"

It was Sir Arunachalam Ponnambalam who first (1923) exhorted the Thamils that -

"they should work towards promoting the union and solidarity of what we have been proud to call THAMIL EELAM. We desire to preserve our individuality as a people, to make ourselves worthy of inheritance. We are not enamoured about the cosmopolitanism which would make us neither fish, fowl nor red-herring."


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