Sri Lanka, Tamils, Genocide, Ethnic Cleansing?

There have been a few comments with accusations of Genocide, Ethnic Cleansing of Tamils by the Sri Lankan Govt.

First the numbers which are thrown around.

Lankan Tamils Living among Sinhalese
65% of the Sri Lankan Tamils live in Sinhalese majority areas.  After adding up, I was shocked as I was expecting somewhere around 30%.
The numbers are from the 2012 census.  The third column (in Sinhala) are the Indian/Upcountry Tamils.  In comparison less than 1% Sinhalese live in Tamil majority regions.

Diaspora Sri Lankan Tamils
A number that has been thrown is 30% of Sri Lankan Tamils live outside the country.   The numbers say that it is 22%.
Not all of the Diaspora are refugees
a) Some migrate for economic and education reasons
b) The LTTE one child policy.  The LTTE required one child per family to become cannon fodder.   If the family had money, the LTTE would arrange to smuggle the child out to a Western country as a refugee. Thereafter the refugee would have to make monthly donations too.

             

Religious War
The SL Army or the Budhists would never intentionally destroy a Hindu Temple.  The Buddhist, specially those in the Army make vows and pray to Hindu gods for their protection.  Buddha cannot provide protection (like a God), he is a teacher in the Theravada Tradition.  No question Hindu temples were shelled in the North and East when the LTTE used them as shields.  During the last couple of years the Army has been engaged in rebuilding and repairing Hindu Temples

ex LTTE leaders as Govt Ministers
Chief Minister of Sri Lanka’s Eastern Province Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan, popularly known as Pillayan and Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan, also known as ‘Colonel’ Karuna was a deputy minister in the Rajapakse govt.  Karuna was responsible for killing of 600 Sinhalese and Muslim police officers who surrendered to the LTTE.   Ahh the vagaries of power politics.

Some Links, all by Tamil authors.

Mass expulsion of Muslims from Batticoloa, Mannar and Jaffna
http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/26412

Rajini Rajasingham Thiranagama: Unforgettable Symbol of Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tragedy
http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/33112

The Broken Palmyra, the Tamil Crisis in Sri Lanka, An Inside Account 1992by Rajan Hoole (Author), Daya Soma sundaram (Author), K. A. Sritharan (Author), Rajani Thiranagama (Author)
https://www.amazon.com/Broken-Palmyra-Crisis-Inside-Account/dp/B000OGS3MW/

Sinhalization of the North and the Tamilzation of the South
http://www.srilankaguardian.org/2011/06/sinhalization-of-north-and-tamilzation.html

Other articles by Sebastian Rasalingam
https://www.slguardian.org/category/clms/columnists/sebastian-rasalingam/page/2/

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55 Replies to “Sri Lanka, Tamils, Genocide, Ethnic Cleansing?”

  1. As a non tamil , (In the part you talk about religious war) i dont think the civil war was seen in the rest of India as a religious war (hindu vs buddhist). Thats the reason you didnt hear much rhetoric of the hindu right on it. Buddhism is anyways seen in a more conciliatory light to Semitic faith by hindu right. Additionally after Periyar’s revolution/Dravidian movement the hindu right has had a difficult relationship with tamils.

    But its interesting that you wrote about the religious element of the war. You also commented on the whole majority-minority complex of Sinhalese, specifically on the whole 1 billion hindu pops across the strait. Is that anxiety really that prevalent, considering through out the war the religious element wasn’t played up so much?

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    1. The SL Buddhist establishment was the most vocal in whipping up ethnic fears and mobilizing public opinion against any political understandings with the Tamils and tying the hands of the political parties and the government. . Ceylon PM Bandaranaika who made a political pact (Bandaranaika-Selvanaygam Pact) with the Tamils -in the 1950s – was assassinated by a Buddhist monk. The civil war of 1990-2009 had a history of 50 years coming to the boil. All moderate Tamil leaders were made to look like fools in the eyes of Tamil youth by the SL government since any non-violent, Gandhi type protests had no effect . The Tamils had genuine grievance . While the Tamils had no easy solution, the emergence of LTTE was the worst alternative possible. LTTE had two non-negotiable conditions 1.They will have independent Eelam 2. They are the sole representatives of the Tamils . In pursuit of 2, they bumped off all other Tamil groups, moderate or extremist. In pursuit of 1 they waged a no-holds-barred war with little regard for human lives – their own or Sinhalese. They failed to see that India will never allow the break-up of SL and they were totally isolated militarily and diplomatically. After LTTE waged a war with IPKF , India washed it’s hands off the SL Tamils – which is precisely what the Sinhalese hardliners wanted. LTTE played into the hands of Sinhalese hardliners .
      Indo-Srilanka Agreement was the only solid agreement which granted a measure of autonomy to Tamils while keeping the SL government satisfied . Instead of taking that and building up their political evolution from the Indo-Srilanka Agreement , they fought it tooth and nail (with some help from sections of the SL Government) since the Agreement did not acknowledge them as the sole representatives of Tamils and gave importance to other Tamil moderate and armed groups.

      While the LTTE methods were wrong at every level, we should not forget that the noose has been tightening around Tamils by the ethnic nationalism of Sinhala Buddhist establishment which viewed the whole island as ‘theirs’ with Tamils as interlopers and guests .

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      1. +1. I always thought the difficult part in SL was that large sections of both communities constantly pushed for maximalist outcomes (Tamils wanted eelam, sinhalese wanted unitary state without devolution). Between these the moderate voices easily get lost.

        Yes, the Tamils best chance was the Indo SriLanka agreement- why ltte rejected it is a different story altogether (India was seen as insincere after handing over ltte cadres to SL army, wherein they committed suicide. The group included prabhakaran’s brother).

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        1. India did not hand over any LTTE cadres to the SL govt. SL Govt caught some LTTE men and LTTE wanted them released . When the SL Govt wanted to take them for questioning in Colombo , they committed suicide. India had no role in any of this
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1987_Suicide_of_Tamil_Tigers

          LTTE wanted all it’s cadres arrested by the SL Govt so far to be released ; and they made the demand to the Indian government . The Indian govt can only deal with SL govt and made sure the Indo-Srilanka agreement to be implemented; they can’t take orders from LTTE .

          Basically LTTE was peeved that other Tamil groups were given as much importance as themselves. That was their main reason of their enmity the Agreement. In typical LTTE style, they exterminated all other Tamil groups who co-operated with IPKF. LTTE was given help from elements of SL govt to harass the Indian Army and later to kill other Tamils.

          The Indian Army lost 1200 men in their operations in SL, mainly due to LTTE. To cap it all ,LTTE assasinated Rajiv Gandhi , which made the Indian govt an implacable foe to LTTE .

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          1. Dear VC,
            The group of 12 were arrested by a joint force of IPKF and SL Army, that was patrolling northern areas after Indo SL statement was signed. They were then placed under joint custody. When SL army wanted to take them to Colombo, LTTE expected IPKF to be the neutral arbiter, which they did not become, since they agreed to handover these folks to the SL army, post which they committed suicide. Many ppl underestimate the impact this had on Tamils/ltte’s minds. For an organisation that was told to lay down it’s arms, it appeared that the IPKF would privilege SL army’s interests.

            http://blog.juggernaut.in/sushant-operation-pawan/

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          2. Secular Indian
            The Tamil sources close to LTTE say , they were captured in mid sea by the SL Navy and taken to SL Army base at Palaly. India’s role in any of this is not clear and even Tamil sources don’t mention Indian army in this connection.

            http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=16019

            Suicide by cyanide pill is psychologically counter-productive. The dead men would have been under instructions to follow cyanide if no orders to the contrary is coming.

            Srilankan tamils (and LTTE’s) most strategic strength was their relationship to the Govt of India . They just frittered it away due to some suicides of their cadres. After all LTTE has sent thousands to their suicides , why not put strategic considerations above emotional , even if justified , reactions ? That, LTTE was incapable was doing. It’s suicide and vendetta policy derailed their strategic sense. After all SL tamils or LTTE were not a superpower ; they were representing at most 2 million people. Their autonomy – which has much justification – should have been a multi-generation effort instead of within a lifetime project of a group relying on suicide bombing and cyanide pills .

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          1. The name in English ‘Elam’ is just coincidence. In Tamil it is pronounced as ‘zh’ , and long E in the beginning , the transcription being ‘Ezam’
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eelam
            http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=98&artid=30919

            Actually Elam in Tamil refers to the whole of Srilanka island from old Tamil literature on wards. That is why Tamil Elam was used to refer to only the portions where Tamils used to live.

            There are linguistic theories which connect Dravidian and Elamite language families and Kamil Zvelebil’s speculation was that Dravidian languages came from the north west of the subcontinent.

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          2. About Elamo-Dravidian hypothesis.
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elamo-Dravidian_languages
            Genetics cognoscenti reading this may comment on that

            “According to genetic studies, the Brahui population has high prevalence (55%) of western Eurasian mtDNAs and the lowest frequency in the region (21%) of haplogroup M*, which is common (∼60%) among the Dravidian-speaking Indians. So the possibility of the Dravidian presence in Baluchistan originating from recent entry of Dravidians of India should be excluded. It also shows their maternal gene pool is similar to Indo-Iranian speakers. The present Brahui population may have originated from ancient Indian Dravidian-speakers who may have relocated to Baluchistan and admixed with locals; however, no historical record supports this. So it is suggested that they are the last northern survivors of a larger Dravidian-speaking region before Indo-Iranian arrived. This would, if true, reinforce the proto-Elamo-Dravidian hypothesis.[24]”

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          3. The name in English ‘Elam’ is just coincidence. In Tamil it is pronounced as ‘zh’ , and long E in the beginning , the transcription being ‘Ezam’
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eelam
            http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=98&artid=30919

            Actually Elam in Tamil refers to the whole of Srilanka island from old Tamil literature on wards. That is why Tamil Elam was used to refer to only the portions where Tamils used to live.

            There are linguistic theories which connect Dravidian and Elamite language families and Kamil Zvelebil’s speculation was that Dravidian languages came from the north west of the subcontinent.

            (PS : I sent this msg before the otehr msg on Elamo-draavidian, somehow this was still stuck in ‘moderation’ . Hence , this msg)

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  2. Actually one person in India who was sympathetic to SL Tamil cause – apart from Tamilnadu politicians – was late Bal Thackeray. He used to ring the Govt of India on the need to help Hindus in Srilanka , obviously his requests fell on deaf ears in MFA in New Delhi

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    1. I always felt that was due to his fascination with the black tiger suicide squads – he felt excited that ‘hindus’ could do it, too(something he said publicly).

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    2. Little off topic but didn’t the thackeray’s and even the akali’s learn their anti congress politics of soft sub-nationalism from the tamil leadership of the 50’s and 60’s. It’s interesting how politicians who pander to soft sub-nationalism then move towards soft and even hard hindutva when a larger national party shows that playing the hindu card also gets votes, though it’s also not hard to believe that many leaders on a personal level, including the thackeray’s and others do have genuine pro hindu/dharmic leanings. It perhaps cements the need for a genuine hindu right in indian politics though that too comes with a caveat that pushing hard hindutva down the masses throat might produce more sub nationalism.

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      1. I don’t know how Hindutva the Dravidian leaders/politics can turn. Late Jeyalalitha was a redoubtable dravidian political leader . That did not prevent her from sending a contingent of her party volunteers to accompany kar sevaks to Masjd/RJBhumi in 1992. After LTTE was found to be responsible for Rajiv’s assassination (and a number of others too) by the enquiry commission, she passed a resolution in the Tamilnadu assembly asking for the extradition of Prabhakaran to Madras to stand the assassination trial. Both she and party members, starting from MGR where unabashed devotees of some temple or other , notwithstanding their lips service to EVR and his brand of atheism and Hindu hatred. MGR was so pliable during Elam crisis – pliable for the GoI, that he was awarded Bharat Ratna posthmously. Jeyalalitha continued MGR’s policies with respect to Srilanka and that is why Govt of India was able to manage the ground swell of pro-Elam feelings and demonstrations. Had MGR/Jeyalalitha been more independent or ‘activist’ with respect to SL Tamils , India would had had a real crisis on it’s hands.

        When Karunanidhi came to power – when the final stages of the civil war took place – he was too deeply compromised in different corruption scandals involving his family and party members and central ministry posts for his relatives to take a bold stand against the Central govt

        The moral is that charismatic leaders can do anything, turn anyway in Indian politics , they can turn sub-nationalist, hard or soft Hindutva, leftist, rightist, whatever

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        1. Thanks for sharing all this information about the Sri Lankan civil war and also about Jeyalalitha. She truly was a brave daughter of India.

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          1. Jeyalalitha was a complex character ; it will need the skills of Freud and Shakespeare to tell her biography. She managed the contradictions and ambivalence of the Tamil people extremely well.

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  3. For the moment (I am drunk since a day ago) Samuel James V Chelvanayagam (SJV) the Thanthai (Tamil:Father) of federalism gained legitimacy becos he married the Jaffna Mudaliyars daughter, my fathers first cousin.

    Born in Malaysia, educated in Colombo, classmate of SWRD Bandaranaykes, SJV was trying to keep the Vellala hegemony and power over the non Vellals.

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  4. The LTTE or SJV never represented a pan Tamil polity, the Indian/Hill country Tamils or the Eastern Tamils and the Vanni Tamils.

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  5. Vijay says
    All moderate Tamil leaders were made to look like fools in the eyes of Tamil youth by the SL government since any non-violent, Gandhi type protests had no effect

    Isnt that revisionist.
    The moderate Tamils were all assassinated by the LTTE eg. Lakshman Kadirgama, Neelan Thiruchelvam.

    SJV Chelvanayagam unleashed the dogs of war

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    1. Too that list, I’ll add K Pathmanabhan, who’s actually closely related to the family I’ll soon be marrying into. A very interesting life story, a sad case of a moderate who was committed to a non-violent solution (supported by the Indian state), but snuffed out by the LTTE. Some point to Karunanidhi’s connivance in this.

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/K._Pathmanabha

      On the whole, your comments make it sound as if the LTTE struggle was primarily one to do with maintaining caste hierarchy and nothing to do with resistance to Sinhalese majoritariamism. I’m sorry, I don’t buy it, and nor will most international observers who are even superficially familiar with the actual events. You risk sounding like an apologist for the Sinhalese chauvinists and the atrocities committed by them.

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      1. A very interesting life story, a sad case of a moderate (Pathmanabha) who was committed to a non-violent solution (supported by the Indian state)

        Pathmanabha was a member of the “Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF), a separatist Tamil militant organisation” Thats from the Wiki link you have made. So how was Pathmanabha committed to a non violent solution.

        Let me re word what you have said
        a sad case of a moderate (Oosama Bin Laden) who was committed to a non-violent solution (supported by the Saudi Arabia and United Sates)

        u risk sounding like an apologist for the Sinhalese chauvinists and the atrocities committed by them.

        Siddarth, I suppose you are referring to those bad non Hindu Sinhalese, probably of African origin. Those people who have committed the dastardly sin of being different from Hindu India.

        Replace all words you say with Pakistan (Sri lanka) and Muslims (Buddhists) and maybe you will see what I mean.

        The only difference is that Hindus aspire to look like light skinned Mughal Pakistanis. Or they will be claiming that iota of Persian/Aryan ancestry. Fuck the Dalits/Shudras in every sense of the word.

        Siddarth. I am sorry to say Hindus, Indians are the chauvinists. The Hindus and Indians want a little minority country to toe the line of the Indian Hindu majority.

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        1. His moderation was in comparison to the LTTE. No doubt he took up arms to defend his people, but he wanted to bring about change within the democratic framework through elections. Not through demands for separation.

          The second part of your comment is pure gold. Non-hindu sinhalese of African origin? Hindus aspiring to be like light skinned Pakistanis? Can’t argue with the rigour of the points being made. Please keep em coming mate 😉

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          1. Siddarth
            Hindus aspiring to be like light skinned Pakistanis?

            Dont Caste Hindus define themselves based on their Indo Aryan looks/heritage
            Does not Indo-Aryan looks looks/heritage increase towards North West India and Pakistan.
            So Caste Hindus subconsciously aspire to North West Indian/Pakistan looks.

            Non-hindu sinhalese of African origin?
            Dont caste hindus (in the privacy of drawing rooms) refer to Shudra/Dalits as Madarasis/Black Monkeys (Onge/Africans)
            Isnt the Black Monkey look due to increasing Onge (ASI) component as one moves South.
            Hence, Non-hindu sinhalese of African/Onge origin.

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          2. I agree with sbarrkum on the whole White skin fascination part of not just caste hindus but India as a whole (looks at the number of punjabi heroines in South indian movies). But the whole south/black/shudra thing is more nuanced than you make it out.

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  6. I would like to concur with sbarrkum that Sinhalese tried to avoid destroying their ancient heritage and Hindu temples. Keep in mind that India backed the Sinhalese to the hilt in the civil war (except for some stupidity by Indira at the very beginning).

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  7. Please Vijay re Elamo-Dravidian hypothesis

    The Sinhalese is a term like (US) Americans, sans the First/Native Americans. We (and I) are mixed breed with a huge substrate of the original peoples of South India.

    The Max Mueller types made claims of Indo Aryan Sinhalese based on language. The older (my and older) generation eagerly accepted thay hypothesis. Did not all want to claim affinity to Europeans/Aryans. Even to this day there are many who proclaim the Sinhalese are low Caste/Shudra/Dalit South Indians.

    Example to pick two Prime Ministers/Presidents , Bandaranaike, JR Jayawardene are descendants of Tamils (see family links below).

    Bandaranaikes (Nila Perumal is a South Indian Name)
    Nilaperumal aka Kalukapuge, b: circa 1590, High Priest (Kapurala) of Nawagomuwe Dewale
    http://www.worldgenweb.org/lkawgw/gen1001.html

    JR Jayewardene and Current PM Ranil Wickremasinghe’s ancestor was Chetty (traders/money lenders) from South India. To compound it that ancestor Thombi Mudali (a guide to English) lead the English to last bastion of the Sinhalese/Lankans. Just to compound the whole issue, the last four Kings of the Kandy/Hill Country were completely non Native. Telugu/Madurai Waduga Nayaks. The second or third Kirti Sri Rajasinghe was the one to revive Buddhism in Lanka. Most Sri Lankans think he was a Sinhalese. My opinion is that Kirti Sri Rajasinghe was a Sinhalese (or Lankan), no different from being an (US) American.
    http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2016/03/29/j-r-jayawardena-was-a-colombo-chetty/

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_M%C3%BCller
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirti_Sri_Rajasinha_of_Kandy

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      1. Classical/Grammatical Sinhalese is derived from Pali.

        Spoken Sinhalese (and even) written is a bastard language, no different from English.

        In 10th Century England, the Priests wrote and preached in Latin. The upper class spoke in French. The bastard language of the English became the “lingua franca” of the world.

        “Bastard Language” , one just has to think of the term “lingua franca”

        Vijay, when the Sinhalese figure out their rallying cry should be “we are Shudra/Dalits” I think the Tamil Nadu populace (not the one who write on blogs) will be more accommodating of the Sinhalese.

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        1. You can wait for that day.

          Meanwhile some Sinhalese are happy to identify as Kshatriyas
          http://karava.org/home/kshatriya_maha_sabha.

          About your Shudra/Dalit combination , it is a more complex story. Till hundred years back , by Tamils , the caste Hindus – apart from Brahmins – thought themselves are Tamils , but this did not include Dalits or Untouchables.

          Even Tamil Lexicon says:

          தமிழன் tamiḻaṉ
          , n. < id. 1. One whose mother-tongue is Tamil; தமிழைத் தாய்மொழி யாக உடையவன். 2. A Tamilian, as dist. fr. āriyaṉ; ஆரியனல்லாத தென்னாட்டான். ஆரியன் கண்டாய் தமிழன்கண்டாய் (தேவா. 744, 5). 3. Caste man, as dist. fr. paṟaiyaṉ; பறைய னொழிந்த தமிழ்ச்சாதியான். Madr.

          Note the last point Tamilan = casteman, as distinct from Paraiyan.

          The exclusion of Untouchables by Shudra castes in their local ethnic identification was common in Tamilnadu and other south Indian states , according to Rev Caldwell also.

          Nowadays, political alliances, slogans, passions, targets and non-targets are different, governed largely by economic interests ; and can change also in the future.

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      2. Phylogenetically there are other stronger candidates for a closest relative among Indo-Aryan languages, or so I’ve heard. The Magadha prakrit descended Oriya and Bengali, or possibly Marathi/Konkani. My understanding is that Gujarati forms a clade with Hindi, Punjabi and Sindhi (from Sauraseni Prakrit) and Sinhala is attested far before their divergence, so if there’s a genetic relationship its likely shared with the entire group.

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    1. Hi Sereno
      I was referring only to linguistic hypothesis. Indo-aryan or Dravidian or Elamite does not refer to people , but language families. Empirically, ‘People’ are different from ‘language families’ As ‘people’ , one is free to identify as you please. As long as this identification with a ‘people’ has some cultural and historical resonance , that will make it more credible and stable over a long period.

      “The Max Mueller types made claims of Indo Aryan Sinhalese based on language.” That is not just a claim; if you believe in modern linguistics and it’s taxonomies there is no escape from it. If you say the whole of modern linguistics is rubbish, I have nothing to say.

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      1. Vijay
        Meanwhile some Sinhalese are happy to identify as Kshatriyas
        http://karava.org/home/kshatriya_maha_sabha.

        There is a history of Karava/Karayair being mercenaries brought to fight wars. Our Pal Prabhakaran of the LTTE was from that caste. Sarath Fonseka the army commander who defeated is half Karava.

        The Kshatriya/Karava LTTE went rouge against there Brahmin/Indian masters.

        The Karava a mentioned obliquely as Aryans in the Mahavams and the enemy.

        You will be hard pressed to separate these castes/ethnicity in modern Sri Lanka. My sisters husband is Karava from Negombo. His parents (and grandparent) spoke only Tamil at home. My brother in Law is considered “Pure” Sinhalese with a name like Warnakulasooriya.

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  8. Saurav you say dont think the civil war was seen in the rest of India as a religious war (hindu vs buddhist).

    Saurav, the Western Media always portrays the Civil War as Sinhalese-Buddhist versus the Tamil-Hindus.

    A little known detail is that the “Sri Lankan Tamils” are not one and cohesive. The vocal “we Tamils” are upper caste.

    Saurav says whole majority-minority complex of Sinhalese, specifically on the whole 1 billion hindu pops across the strait. Is that anxiety really that prevalent, considering through out the war the religious element wasn’t played up so much

    Yes, no question there is a fear of India and South India in specific. The West is far and distant and a place almost all want to live/work.

    I dont think most Sinhalese have rationalized their antipathy to South India and India.

    Its a last bastion of Shudra/Dalit culture. The Sinhalese will call it Buddhist culture. Not much real Buddhist philosophy in SL

    The younger generation (non English speaking in general) are discarding the Aryan-Sinhala theory. Now yougsters are embracing the descendants of Ravana story.
    Ravana is never mentioned in the Mahavamsa and other historical texts. Ravana was never a part of popular culture either. There are plenty of references to the Yakshas and Nagas in the Mahavamsa. Never a mention of Ravana

    Expropriation of history/culture.

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    1. Now yougsters are embracing the descendants of Ravana story.

      Incredible that speakers of an indo aryan language are now embracing a maha brahmin devotee of shiva. So much for Expropriation of history/culture.

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      1. Incredible that speakers of an indo aryan language are now embracing a maha brahmin devotee of shiva. So much for Expropriation of history/culture.

        Its all about we are not Indian. Rejection/fear of the Indian polity (and I agree).

        To repeat Ravana has no written historical context in Sri Lanka. Was the Lanka (Lanka=beautiful) even Sri Lanka. The old words for this land/Sri Lanka was Tambarapanni (land of copper colored)

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        1. This is an interesting dimension, is the anti-India feeling due to a perception that India supported the LTTE? Or just a fear of the big brother next door? It’s unfortunate for India that this has meant that SL had walked into economic subservience to China. Is this due to perceived Buddhist links?

          I don’t quite buy that this has anything to do with fear of a Brahminical India. Surely Buddhism transcends all such caste related concerns?

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    2. sbarrkum

      Thanks that clears a lot of things. Its interesting how Sinhalese feel about the rest of India, people who see these as a exclusive tamil-sinhalese issue vs the sinhalese who see it of some sort of a pan indian phenomena. I dont understand these whole last bastion of shudra thing, i dont think the hindu right has made any statements to the effect of Sinhalese being outcastes and lower birth and so. Why do Sinhalese feel so? Is it a case of self identification of India/Hindu/Upper caste/Big Bully vs Sinahalese/ Not Indian/Buddhist/Shudra thing? If thats the case there is commonality between Dravidian movement and sinhalese movement.

      I read about the whole Aryan-Sinhala thing some years back. To be frank i never gave much credence to that because i knew it was just in opposition to the whole Tamil thing. (We are totally different from these folks). Once the civil war ended the theory died its natural death.

      “Now yougsters are embracing the descendants of Ravana story.”

      Yes thats in vogue in India too nowadays. Welcome to the party.

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  9. Vijay says “The Max Mueller types made claims of Indo Aryan Sinhalese based on language.” That is not just a claim; if you believe in modern linguistics and it’s taxonomies there is no escape from it. If you say the whole of modern linguistics is rubbish, I have nothing to say.

    To repeat, Indo Aryan Sinhalese based on Language.
    A couple of decades ago one could “prove” using language the Sinhalese were Indo Aryans. The Sinhalese embraced that concept as an against the “Dravidian Tamils”.

    The vociferous “we are Tamils” is not a united mono ethnic/linguistic group in Sri Lanka.. It is divided by geography and caste. The Sinhalese are more united in that sense.

    So I am going to make a prediction, there is going to be decent percentage (10%) of Tamils (n North and East) voting for a Rajapakse candidate in 2019/2020. I predicted a Trump win, with OK Latin, Black and Women vote.

    The Sri Lankan Tamils and Sinhalese are have much in common including a shared genetic heritage. Somewhere there is that deep inherent thinking that Sinhalese/Tamils/Muslims are one family.

    Rajiv Gandhi did an airdrop (1987?) of food and weapons to the LTTE (the Indian baby) when they were cornered in Vadamaarchi. When Rajiv Gandhi came to SL to force a compromise, a Sinhalese soldier (Vijitha Rohana*) of the honor guard attacked Rajiv Gandhi. The IPKF was then sent in to get the LTTE to settle for some power sharing. When the LTTE started fighting the IPKF, the SL govt under Premadasa (prema=love, dasa=servant) supplied arms to the LTTE. The LTTE later gave India a thank you note for training them and trying to control them. The LTTE killed Rajiv Gandhi.

    Its pretty obvious no one sees the parallels to the US/Russia/Osama bin Laden. Osama bin Laden trained by the US to fight the Russians. Osama turns against the US and instigates a 9/11. ……and on

    *Vijitha Rohana
    From Rathgama/Boosa in the almost deep south of Sri Lanka. The origins of most in that area, south Indians brought in by the Dutch for the Cinnamon trade. The army commander who won the war against LTTE, Sarath Fonseka has the same ancestry.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vijitha_Rohana

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  10. “I don’t quite buy that this has anything to do with fear of a Brahminical India. Surely Buddhism transcends all such caste related concerns?”

    RSS crackpots dream of achieving Akhand Bharat. RSS’s idea of “Akhand Bharat” includes not only Pakistan and Bangladesh, but also Afghanistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Tibet.

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          1. They talk about “Akhand Bharat” as in destroying the sovereignty and independence of Pakistan. So they clearly haven’t gotten your memo about “open architecture ecosystem” (whatever that means).

            Partition is here to stay. Pakistan will never become part of Bharat. Bangladesh will never become part of Bharat. Sri Lanka wants to remain an independent country as does Nepal. Indians really need to get over themselves. Manage the land you have and leave the rest of us alone.

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      1. It is not reassuring to Sinhalese Buddhists worried about the survival of their religious and cultural traditions.

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  11. @sbarrkum
    LTTE (the Indian baby) when they were cornered in Vadamaarchi. ???

    LTTE or any other militant/moderate groups in Srilanka were never babies of India . They were born in SL due to the ethnic policies of successive SL governments, and their horizon was limited to Tamil Elam. India did indulge in all of them – not just LTTE- due to the groundswell of public demand from Tamilsnadu (pop then 50 million) . The Tamilnadu demonstrators and political parties were demanding repeat of Bangladesh in Srilanka i.e. Indian interventionin support of the oppressed . The Indian govt had to take on board the democratic wishes of the people . At no point Indian foreign policy was to dismember SL or see it’s unity compromised. If that were the case, India could have outright supported the emergence of Tamil Elam, which she did not.
    India allowed the injured in SL conflicts as well as any refugees from ethnic riots who were mainly Tamils easy access to India upto 1985. The Govt of India had to balance between Tamilnadu people’s wish to have Independent Elam and it’s foreign policy of good relation with SL govt. the GoI did this quite well . LTTE , had it’s own game plan , which was a spoiler for all concerned. Basically , LTTE considered it below it’s dignity to work alongside any other Tamil groups, moderate or militant, refused to take part in Thimphu talks or co-operate with IPKF. It did make a show of handing over arms to IPKF in the beginning, but hid 95% of it’s arms.
    The air-drop (Operation Poomalai) was to give needed supplies to the people of Jaffna who were besieged, not to the LTTE. I agree it was a power play by the Indian govt , but supporting LTTE was not it’s objective or result.

    India does not have the mind-set of a Great Power to force it’s way in it’s neighborhood.

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    1. . India did indulge in all of them – not just LTTE

      If
      indulge = train to be militants and supply arms
      Then indulge is an appropriate term.

      So I guess you are sympathetic to Indian Muslims who get trained as militants in whatever country and then unleashing mayhem in India.

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  12. sbarrkum, I thought Rajiv Gandhi backed the Sri Lankan government against the LTTE. Why do you think Rajiv Gandhi secretly backed them circa 1987?

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  13. My understanding is that modern Sri Lanka is not regarded as Ravana’s Sri Lanka in the scriptures for many reasons. One of which being that modern Sri Lanka is referred to as Sinhala and distinct from Lanka in the Mahabharata. Modern Sri Lanka has a different name in the Valmiki Ramayana too. In addition Ravana’s Sri Lanka was approximately 800 miles south of India in the Valmiki Ramayana. South and West of a large island very similar in description to modern Sri Lanka. Ravana’s Lanka was also much smaller than modern Sri Lanka.

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