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Govt must realize that Jaffna electors are sensitive, intelligent and wont give in to force

by Prof Rajiva Wijesinha

I was not entirely surprised by the results of Saturday’s local government election. I had said I thought the government should be happy if it got 30% of the vote in the North. It got less in most places, but it managed at least 20% almost everywhere, which it should see as a good base on which to build. It also managed to do comparatively well in Kilinochchi, which is where it had concentrated its development efforts.

Interestingly, the TNA had allowed the TULF to context two of the three Pradeshiya Sabhas in Kilinochchi that voted last Saturday, and in both those the government got over 40% of the vote. In fact it did almost as well as the TULF in Poonakary, and had the SLMC contested together with the government, it might well have won. In Karachi on the other hand, where there were the greatest number of allegations of strong arm tactics, it did much worse. Whether or not elements in or close to government were responsible for whatever prompted the allegations, I hope this will serve to convince government that any trace of strong arm tactics can only be counter-productive.

In this context I reiterate what I told the TNA after the allegations that members of the forces had disrupted one of their meetings. They were obviously so pleased by the incident that, on the legal pcincipal of ‘Cui bono?’, it seemed that they must have been responsible. Equally obviously, though they understood how beneficial the incident had been – and indeed noted that, whereas that meeting had been poorly attended, their next meeting saw a much larger crowd – they were not behind what had happened, and I hoped that whoever had been responsible realized that the only possible beneficiaries were the TNA.

For government must realize that the electors of Jaffna are both sensitive and intelligent, and will not give in to force. They have always asserted their independence, and in that regard government should actually be pleased that they did much better in these elections than national parties have done for many decades. Except for Alfred Duraiyappa, who was killed by the LTTE as a consequence, national parties have not been in control of any local body for over half a century. Indeed we need to remember how badly the UNP did in the District Development Council elections after the burning of the Jaffna Public Library in 1981. Whereas previously it had hoped to give the TULF a good run for its money, it created such animosity by its attempt at intimidation, that if memory serves me right, it failed to win a single seat.

Government should then be satisfied that, where it concentrated on its record of service and development, it did comparatively well. It should realize therefore that this is what it should concentrate on, and that intimidation will not work. In particular it should remember what happened when the UNP got angry with the Tamil people for failing to support it in the 1981 DDC election, in the 1982 Presidential election, and most markedly in the 1982 referendum when only they resisted the intimidation that had taken place in the rest of the country. Influenced then by the nasties in his party, in particular Cyril Mathew, J R Jayewardene allowed open season on Tamils, first in the attacks on Tamils outside Colombo in August 1981 and then – even though the elite Tamils had supported him in 1982 – in the even more appalling attacks on July 1983.

Those actions have since governed perceptions of Sri Lanka internationally. This government, by its close relations with Tamil parties that resisted the LTTE, by its expeditous resettlement of those who had been displaced, by its fantastic programme of infrastructural development in which the East and the North have benefited most, have shown that the racism of the Jayewardene era has been put behind. It will be unfortunate if efforts to create disappointment with last Saturday’s result contributes to advancement of Jayewardene style reactions.

I would not indeed have thought such a reaction possible, but I noticed an extraordinary assessment by a journalist who is generally more sensible. The conclusion there was that peace and development have no bearing on the minds of Tamil voters. Apart from the fact that this is a misreading of the results insofar as Kilinochchi is concerned, for it is there that peace and development have been brought after a lapse of decades, it ignores the real progress made by government as compared with the performance of national parties previously in the North. Unfortunately people believe the rhetoric of those who cannot understand that winning an election is not the only mark of success, and who therefore engage in ridiculous predictions that are based on wishful thinking rather than observation or study of historical trends.

Government therefore should see the results of the election in the North as reasonably satisfactory and an indication of how best to move forward. It should also recognize that for Jaffna infrastructural development alone is not enough, and unless greater attention is paid to human resources development, and mechanisms to channel the energies of a sophisticated population into productive independent employment, the opportunities presented by enhanced opportunities and connectivity will be wasted.

Where government has enormous reason for satisfaction is the results in the South, which have made it crystal clear that the people have no inclination whatsoever for the United National Party. I had thought that government would do well to get 60% of the vote given recent difficulties, but the people have shown that they still repose massive confidence in the government. This in turn makes it more difficult for those who are keen on regime change to pursue that agenda. I was horrified recently when a senior official who deals with this country from a position of authority suggested that perhaps Sri Lanka needed a different leader for peacetime, even though he acknowledged the distinctive contribution of President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the victory over terrorism.

I asked him then whether he remembered his Tolstoy, not sure now, so sadly has Western education declined in recent years, whether he would be familiar with what should have be basic knowledge for any learned professional. I was talking about the second epilogue to ‘War and Peace’, which it turned out he did know. There, Tolstoy explores the difference between the General who had defeated Napoleon, and Czar Alexander who then took the country forward, so that it was established as a European power.

General Kutuzov, it should be noted, was an accomplished soldier, but he always acknowledged the superiority of the Czar, and he understood when he was no longer the right person to make decisions. I had explored this question previously, in thinking of Sarath Fonseka’s ambitions, and the irony – if not the absurdity, or utter cynicism – of at least a few Westerners thinking he was the right person to lead Sri Lanka in peacetime.

I was intrigued then to find that the question of Sri Lanka needing a different leader was raised again, albeit in a less dramatic form than when the European Union Representative asserted that military men could make very good leaders. I was told afterwards that I was not the first person who had been addressed thus, which crystallized my view that those who resent President Rajapaksa’s refusal to follow the agendas of other countries are on the warpath again.

The votes case by the Sri Lankan people however make it crystal clear that any alternative to the current government would be totally unacceptable. Whether this will be considered relevant by those who do not take seriously the democratic will of people in countries they would like to control is another question. But I suspect even they will realize that trying to enforce a change through strong arm tactics will be more trouble than it is worth, and therefore they would do better to use persuasion rather than intimidation.

It is of course possible that they may decide to resort once more to encouraging terrorism. I hope therefore that the most recent example of how appalling terrorism can be will dissuade them. But it is also important for the Sri Lankan government to refrain from anything that might help those who want to resort to violence again. An objective reading of the election results, with attention to the past as well as the present, indicates the way forward for all of us together.


  1. Velu Balendran says:

    Sweet talk to the NE
    No talks with Tamils!
    Hard talk to the West
    Dare regime change!
    Go read your Tolstoy
    In declining Cambridge!
    Fony not the answere
    What’s point in ranting?

  2. silva says:

    When the army is breathing on them, a certain percentage will not be able to stand their ground.

  3. aratai says:

    Still, you mindset is wrong.

    Don’t do stuff just to win elections.

    Do what is good for the people.

    The ‘election victory’ will follow.


  4. lion says:

    Your article is full of contradictions some of which are debatable. But there is no possibility in a small space such as this Besides ” YOUR KNOWLEDGE ”

    The recently concluded elections have been referred to as the first ever elections held in the North that can be called free & fair. Everyone know that the stage was set by the Army and the game that was planned..not executed by the Compassionate President for the fear of further persecution by the West… just look at the results of KAYTS & DELFT..IT WAS THE COHORT OF THE UPFA…THE EPDP

    But you have very eloquently used the results of the recent LG elections to clear the Govt of their many violations in the North. One interesting point is the TNA who bagged 18 LG bodies of staging their own act of setting fire and attacking their own Political meeting for their benefit.

    It is more interesting to understand your claim of the recent loss of the LG polls of the UPFA to the intelligence of the Tamil people in asserting their independence.

    If so why then the JHU along with the Buddhist monks recently issued a statement to the Tamils in the North after the elections ” we cleared the areas that was destroyed by the LTTE for you to get elected ..Now…Now develop the North. Do not take the Country backwards and keep in mind the mandate given by the people to the Govt…you have got only 34% but we got 58,000 ” it is nothing but a DECREE warning the people in the North about possible repercussions in case of disobedience. It is not a statement in COMPASSION with the Buddhist priests present but of a group burning with hatred and RACISM…….

    These statement are naturally issued while one is licking the wounds and cannot justify the loss of a battle…….the underlying statement is nothing but a serious threat to the Tamil People that at any time the Govt could dissolve the LG bodies under the Constitution….a judiciary…..

    ” the election commissioner has decided to reduce the number of electors to the north by 3 and award same to the electorates in the South.The reason being the reduction of the voters in the North by 300,000 “”….can anyone answer the REASON for this at a time like this.?….. who knows the exact number of people in the North….where are the census….would he Govt resorted to this had they won the recent LG elections…? where is the much spoken transparency & democracy in the Country.

    What the election commissioner has stated is the intention of the PRESIDENT WHO IS OVERFLOWING WITH COMPASSION……..the sinister aim of grabbing the Provincial Government that is to be installed in the near future is already stated…… who is the Racists.


    As for the burning of the Jaffna Libruary has many dimensions but all the conclusions are subjective… Can a Govt knowing very well of the repercussions they would have had to deal with both locally and Internationally commit such an atrocity??? It is insane to think…. But it was the manthram recited by the SLFP and the TULF and other Tamil parties for POLITICAL GAINS that it was carried out by the UNP for losing the DDC elections in 1981-1982 without any factual evidence…and 1983 Riots…

    It is a very puerile and pathetic comparison of issues by an Academic to justify the actions and the loss of his master’s Party the UPFA..

    In the light of the affirmation by the Professor that the TNA set fire to their own political rallies to assert the win in the 18 LG bodies recently …..the burning of the Jaffna Libruary was carried out by the UNP racists Govt that paved the way for the LTTE and the Tamil community to fight for 30 years…It is interesting to do a research about the actual beneficiary… it opened not one but several avenues to move their cause forward with a mass exodus of Tamil people to the West. The armed struggle of the LTTE was justified….

    The last paragraph of your article has insulted the very intelligence of the Tamil Community praised by the Prof…Please tell your stupid Govt to not to use thuggery and blame later….you have preempted a possible encouragement of another armed struggle by the Tamil People…….

  5. Rationalman says:

    Rajiva,You say…”I was talking about the second epilogue to ‘War and Peace’, which it turned out he did know. There, Tolstoy explores the difference between the General who had defeated Napoleon, and Czar Alexander who then took the country forward, so that it was established as a European power.”

    As an expert of the English language as your degrees attest, you really should be able to tell the difference between the positions occupied by Czar Alexander and Mahinda Rajapakse. The Czar was an hereditary monarch accountable to no one but himself where as Mahinda Rajapakse was and is elected by the people of the south of Ceylon (I will not go in to the legitimacy of the election as it is not relevant).

    So Gen Fonseka has all the right to challenge Mr. Rajapakse (or as I am sure you call him, “King Mahinda”) in a democratic election.

    A village Idiot or his modern equivalent like your colleague, Dr. Mervyn De Silva or the Town crier or his modern equivalent, Dr. Rajiva Wijesinge as much right to challenge, King Mahinda as much as Gen. Sarath Fonseka.

    I hope now you can understand the difference between a hereditary monarch and an elected politician.

    As for the rest of your post, other people have responded to it better than I could.

  6. SriLankan says:

    Sour grapes sprinkled with a little bit of sugar to taste. Govt need not be proud, it needs to be ashamed the way they misuse state resources and tax payers money to win election. This time they resorted to military tactics as well. Shame.
    In the South thanks to Ranil W and his Old Boys. By the way where is he? Not abroad again?

  7. a velayutham says:

    What would the good Tolstoy reader advocate regarding the latest news from Channel four as we all know thanks to the poor quality of western education that he was a lover of peace?
    It looks like Dayan has a permenent companion in our friend Rajiva. Are they being paid the same? or does Dayan get a foreign service allowance?

  8. R Jayadevan says:

    The 20% is largely ‘hora votes’ achieved with the help of paramilitary leader Douglas Devananda.

  9. Rajakaruna says:

    ah??? is this an internal memo? aren’t you a member of this governmnet that used force in the north

  10. Ilaya Seran Senguttuvan says:

    While conceding it is difficult for officials like Professor Rajiva Wijesinghe to defend the untenable i.e. the State as we know it – now under attack from many sources for its numerous irrationalists, I might comment on his observationIt “is of course possible that they may decide to resort once more to encouraging terrorism”
    I expect the TNA entertains such a fear about the State as well because a balanced study of our conflict will reveal the LTTE and other armed militants – that took the extra-parliamentary path 30 years after 1956 – only did so to protect the Tamil people who were subject to untold harrassment from State terrorism. Wijesinghe and Company can continue to fool the majority here about LTTE terrorists – and now the imagined fear of Diaspora terroris – but the region and the world know it better and in context. The world also knows the LTTE fighting machine, confirmed to have been totally eliminated by the State during 5/09, figures in only on the few days the Emergency Regulations are discussed in Parliament – for its weak legitimacy. That excuse to scare the country and the world that a workable solution cannot be provided because of the LTTE – and “its rump” (why not the other parts of its anatomy?)is a flimsy excuse that has run out its course.


  11. Radish.S says:

    There seems to be a spring of change in the minds and/or (to be more exact) in the approach of Dayan, Rajiva et al after the Jaffna local government Elections though many of the conclusions drawn by the latter may not be correct.Can not there be civilian leaders(?) with military mindset.Well there are many examples in the past and in the recent past within many big powers.Spring of Changes are taking place in many countries, why not in Sri Lanka.Professor should try to bring about changes by teaching the good natured common people in the South. Unfortunately his first language is English and not Sinhalese.Dr.Saravanamuthu, his foe too has the same problem as English and not Thamil is his first language.As such both can not reach a wider target group with their ‘words of wisdom’ as per their own perception and lesser mortals score over them with their mastery over the native languages.We know of persons in Sri Lanka who learned Russian Language to read Leo Tolstoy and Anton Chekov in their original versions. So why not learn your mother tongues.Good luck.P.S: Radhika too can join them.

  12. Radish.S says:

    Professor incidentally it is ‘legal Principle’ and not ‘legal PrincipAl’

  13. Suresh M says:

    It is not only Jaffna electors, but all Eelam Tamil electors are sensitive, intelligent and wont give in to force. The thugs that are running the country should realize now.

  14. Veerappan says:

    Well, your interpretation of the LG election is identical to the interpretation you gave for “IN” and “ON” on the BBC hard talk. From your point “IN” means intentional and “ON” means unintentional. I wonder whether the Oxford and Cambridge dictionaries have added your interpretations into their vocabulary.

    Shavindra Silva does better.

  15. J.Muthu says:

    Yes not like your brainless idiot like your brothers and sisters, tamils never going to kneel down to evil sinhala barabrians. Tamils lost their genuine struggle becos of mad man Praba. Now whole world in our and your gang soon end up in gettos of hell. You are an educated man but your sinhala brain never going to change. Hope we tamils get what we want soon..

  16. Udurawana says:

    Hey kadu Rajiva,

    You seem to have come to realise and acknowledge this at the same time as your partner in crime and comrade Dayan Jayatilaka. Is this a concidence or has King Rajapaksa asked all his goons to soften up, with the whole civilised world now closing in on you modayas. With the next series of CH4 adults only movies being shown now on the atrocities of you guys at the end of the war, you need to polish up your sword for your next battle with Stephen Sakur on a hard talk interview. Enjoy your all expenses paid trip to London, the weather is supposed to be good and they intend laying out the red carpet for you this time. This is the outcome of all you s… modayas protesting outside the CH4 studios recently. Get the King to ask them to protest continuously as the adults only movies will then keep on coming.

  17. Vimukthi says:

    Dear J.Muthu,

    My dear friend you are nit reasonable when you say Sinhala Barbarians. Its’ true a sector or if I say majority at present are not reasonable and they have extremist ideas when they talk about the problem of Tamils in this Country. But, you must understand that there is a reasonable lot among Singhala People who genuinely realize that Tamils in this country were sis discriminated by Extremist Singhala Politicians. So,please do not call all Singhala people Barbarians and refer only to to that extremist sector only by what ever name you like.Don’t exhibit that you too are an eccentric extremist.

  18. Suresh M says:


    I am with you.

  19. Udurawana says:

    King Rajapaksa’s front line defenders like Kohana, Rajiva, Peris and Dayan out in the international arena think that they can hoodwink the world with their titles of ‘Dr’ in front of their names. Even in public blogs as this one they put their titles as ‘Dr’ to cover up their stupid utterances thinking that the reading public are fools and have no brains. These fools disguise their ignorance and stupidity with this title.

    In western countries, especially in the public sector, there is no special concession given to these Phd titles even in the fields of science and engineering when it comes to emploment. Phd’s in other fields have to try even harder to seek recognition. Even the salaries especially in the government sectors do not differentiate between simple degree holders and the Phd’s, as it is the experience that counts.

    While appreciating the effort and time put in to get a Phd its value is totally misused by the jokers mentioned above. They are nothing but hangers on whom King Rajapaksa thinks have better brains to hoodwink the well read, matured current world. Photographic evidence taken by a simple device like a mobile phone can bring governments down. Recent evidences from Srilanka and the corrupt North African countries are typical examples.

    Trophy hunters amongst the culprits who commit these crimes and capture the evidence can be easily bought over for with monetary compensations. This evidenced in the recent CH4 videos. The ones who have a compassionate heart amongst the culprits realise their mistakes and come forward in due course and give evidence like in the most recent CH4 videos.

    “The end game” towards the end of the war as shown in the most recent CH4 video orchestrated by the king, Gota , Shavendra and their goons is haunting them now and the modayas will soon have no place to hide other than in Srilanka.

  20. Expatriate says:

    Why don’t you reveal that you and “old Rasa uncle” are one and the same?

  21. Rana says:

    If the whole world is with you Muthu, please bring your kith and kin to the countries where you guys live. Why let them kneel down or suffer under Sinhala hegamony.

  22. G1 says:

    The reason being the reduction of the voters in the North by 300,000???
    Hm………..Just count the dead bodies, minus it from the total voters list(make sense?):-)

  23. Dr.Rajasingham Narendran says:

    Prof. Rajiva,

    What we need is a ‘Gandhi’ for the Tamils of Sri Lanka. A leader who was not elected by votes, but was backed to the hilt by his people. A leader who had a vision that reflected the needs of his people. A leader who could inspire his people with his vision and make them enthusiastically participate in the mission. A leader who can be trusted. A leader who had honesty, integrity and ability. A leader who will lay his life for his people. Tamils never had leaders of this calibre and have none now. There is no leader, to meet the challenges imposed by the times.

    The attempt by the government to create a leadership for the Tamils has miserably failed. Some of these characters may be acceptable to the government and the Sinhala masses, because of the role they played in ending the Tiger menace. However, this role, does not make them the leaders of the Tamils. They are perceived as a menace by the Tamils.

    The TNA is a politically bankrupt entity, that is mired in the past. It cannot be creative. It cannot provide the kind of leadership needed by the Tamils. Mr.Sumanthiran M.P is facing flak for uttering some home truths in London. Someone who is a bright spark in the TNA, will be now side lined or cast out, unless he becomes an archetypal TNA member. The TNA is the lesser of two evils for the Tamils.

    The Tamils are a sensible, intelligent and hard working people, who know what they want. Unfortunately, they have not found a way to express want they want. What is being peddled in the name of the Tamils is not what they want. The situation is similar to the past when the extreme acts and words of some Sinhalese were portrayed to be those of the Sinhala masses.

    The media in Jaffna do not reflect the needs of the Tamils. They reflect the views and hidden agenda of their owners. The Thinakaran ( A Lake House paper) that has a Jaffna edition now, is constrained by the political need to pander to the interests of the EPDP and Douglas Devananda- and of course the government.

    The Tamils in Sri Lanka are political orphans today and are being used by everyone for their own selfish purposes. The turmoil of the past 30 years has broken their will and dislocated their spine. A cautious people, not prone to violence and emotional outbursts, are unable to make their voice heard. Tamils were a people, who placed self preservation above all else. They were a people who sought security above everything else. They were never a brave, adventurous or a violent people. Unfortunately, despite these, they have become victims of unimaginable violence. These unfortunate Tamils are being misrepresented by a cabal with their own pernicious agenda now. The Tamil soul is being brutalized and raped now.

    What is the solution? Please speak on behalf of these unfortunate Tamils in parliament and other forums you address. Please make their problems heard at the very top of our political system. The Tamil hearts and minds have to be won. For this their real needs have to be met and their concerns and fears addressed. This is a human problem and should be viewed as such. Prof. Rajiva, over to you.

    Dr. Rajasingham Narendran

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

  24. sri says:

    Rajiv Wijesinghe,

    Not only Jaffna in the year 2011but the entire North East had been consistently voting for Tamil Nationalism while voters in the South changed their mandates from one extreme to the other.

    The South had charismatic leaders like, DS Senanaike, Bandaranaike,Srimavo,JR, Premadasa Chandrika and Mahinda.

    But they are all great but seasonal leaders.

    Once they are out of power their charisma declined and the people shifted to the new emerging leaders, whereas the Tamils in the North East are consistant and backed only Tamil Nationalism.

    Those who betrayed the Tamil Nationalist causes became zeros overnight -the moment they betray the cause.

    We have recent examples-Karuna,KP and recent defected TNA members could not command any respect among Tamil voters.

    Even If Say Mr Sambandan is bought over the result will be the same.

    The govt may tempt to buy over newly elected chairmen of Local Authorities for short term gain similar to how they got two third majority in Parliament .

    But in the long term they will become zeros.

    Couldn’t you observe the fundamentally different way both communities react?

    Rajiv seems to be interested to continue with the development according to Mahinda Chinthanaya,but development to be meaningful has to be participatory and people centered and without any hidden agenda.

    Think out of the Box

  25. J.Muthu says:

    Sorry, I meant all extreamist sinhala budhist. We tamils suffered partly prabas madness.

  26. sam says:

    “Ghandhiyam” does not work with the Sinhala politicians, despite Budhism!!!This was proven by the reaction to “Ahimsa” protests done by Tamils in the beginning of the struggle!!Every single sinhala politicians came to power with a lot of “skeletons in their cupboards”. As such they would try to cling to power as much as possible and as long as possible. They have to keep doing the same unlawful acts to remain in power!!

    Honest politicians have no place in the South of Si Lanka. They are spreading the same “virus” in the Tamil areas too!!! Hope and pray that the Tamils will have the strength to withstand the virus!!

  27. silva says:

    Dear Professor
    The political and military power of the majority in Sri Lanka will see that intelligent minority will never raise its head:

    1.A compulsory programme for university entrants has been recently introduced at very short notice to make sure that young Sinhalese do not start learning about human rights and agitate as a result of learning that youth in many corners of the world are rising against oppressive regimes:
    Friday Forum deeply concerned about leadership training outside university system, 10 June 2011: ‘’…. The curriculum of the training programme obtained by the Friday Forum after some effort reveals extremely problematic aspects. No mention is made of the authority responsible for the curriculum but a prominent photograph of the Defence Secretary on the cover of the study guide suggests authorship by the Defence establishment. …. What is more problematic is the content of the module on history and national heritage. …. “National heritage” focuses exclusively on prominent cultural symbols of the majority Sinhala community with none from other communities. …. On the whole the curriculum seems to discourage tolerance for viewpoint difference, and sensitivities for the pluralism and diversity of our country. …. ‘’


    Why education matters for global security, Irina Bokova(Director General, UNESCO) 1 March 2011: ‘’ Education must rise on the agenda of peace building. We know the wrong type of education can fuel conflict. The use of education systems to foster hatred has contributed to the underlying causes of conflicts, from Rwanda to Sri Lanka, but also in Guatemala and Sudan.’’

    3. A school honouring ex-soldiers in Vesak(the most important Buddhist festival in Sri Lanka) with student dancers in combat dress depicting guns and Vesak cards with roses on guns:

    The Changing face of Wesak in Colombo and Militarizing Sri Lanka, 15 May 2009 –

    4. Respect for Diversity in Educational Publication – The Sri Lankan Experience, Ariya Wickrema, National Consultant Educational Publications Departmen and Peter Colenso, EducationSpecialist, World Bank, Colombo, 2003: ‘’…. The Government dominates the educational publications sector in Sri Lanka through its provision of free textbooks to all students from grade 1 to 11 …. distortion of history …. the textbooks encourage children to develop “apartheid attitudes” ….. Tamils are portrayed as “aggressors”; forces of the Tamil kings are “mercenaries’ , whereas forces of the Sinhala kings are “soldiers” …. War is shown as patriotic while peace is portrayed as cowardice.’’

    5.The Two Faces of Education in Ethnic Conflict: Towards a Peacebuilding Education for Children – Kenneth D Bush and Diana Saltarelli(2000) – published by Innocenti Research Centre, UNICEF:
    ”Ethnic intolerance makes it appearance in the classroom in many ways…… Textbooks have often been shown to contain negative ethnic stereotypes….. A review of the textbooks used in the segregated schools of Sri Lanka in the 1970s and 1980s, for example, found Sinhalese textbooks scattered with images of Tamils as the historical enemies of the Sinhalese, while celebrating ethnic heroes who had vanquished Tamils in ethnic wars. Ignoring historical fact, these textbooks tended to portray Sinhalese Buddhists as the only true Sri Lankans, with Tamils, Muslims and Christians as non- indigenous and extraneous to Sri Lankan history. This version of national history according to one commentator, has been deeply divisive in the context of the wider state.”

    6. Reggie Siriwardene, a well-respected Sinhalese writer, in a well-­documented analysis of the effects of school textbooks on ethnic relations in Sri Lanka(1984):

    “Millions of school children are taught, in the name of social studies, through text-books published by the state, the myths of divergent racial origins which will help to divide the Sinhalese and Tamils for more generations to come… What this lesson does is to evoke the child’s memories of being frightened by his parents with threats of the mysterious and fearful `billo’ to identify these bogeymen as Tamil agents, and thus to enlist the deep-seated irrational fears of early childhood for the purpose of creating apprehension and hatred of Tamils.”

    7. In the 1950s and 1960s Tamil and Sinhalese scholars vehemently protested this but the Education Department that produces the textbooks dismissed their concern.

  28. M FERN says:

    The learned Prof Rajiva Wijesinha went to a different school hence his logic of winning elections without providing what was asked by the people or doing good for the people or doing something that looks good on the surface but it is actually part of an agenda not to provide what the people really want.

  29. M FERN says:

    Dear Dr. Rajasingham Narendran,
    I agree with most of what you said.

    But if I have to press you for what are the real needs of Tamils you may list (as in the past) exactly what the govt was thinking as the Tamils need, DEVELOPMENT DEVELOPMENT DEVELOPMENT of NE (and not obviously equal rights).

    The NE Tamils have spoke again – They need equal treatment for Tamils in SL with the right to self govern. They have not voted for the lesser of two evils. They have voted for the best party out there amongnst all evils to get that fo them.

    If we need to prove this point, just ask your friends in the SL govt to conduct a referendum in the NE to see what is their priority equal rights or development.

    You will be surprised (really?) when the results are out.

  30. Samuel says:

    Tamils who voted for the TNA and TULF did so as a protest against the State Terrorism which pervades their everyday lives – fear of venturing out of home risking arbitary arrest, interfearance in family and religious events by the military,preventing visits to places of worship on grounds of “security”,desercration of temples and shooting of priests,army uniform clad military compelling priests to perform poojas for their benefit,suppression of the right to peaceful gatherings of tamils to discuss their own affairs,dead bodies appearing occasionally,some persons ‘disappearing’ without trace,released LTTE cadres again terrorised when they try to settle down in civilian life,IDPs ‘settled’ in their original habitats/villages again forcibly relocated on the pretext that the village is/was the site of ancient buddhist settlements, fishermen forced to hand over portions of their daily catch to the army, and prevented from fishing if they refuse, unnecessary imposition of “fishing hours” to prevent profitable fishing during hours of their choice,200,000 IDPs still existing (as reported by UNHcR)outside their original homes/villages/habitats,thousands even now not registerd as voters,resuming farming on their own lands prevented by army on pretext that they are earmarked for army housing,paramilitaries allowed to prey on tamils by extortion,abductions for ransom,rape,armed robberies and even killings of those who refuse to support them as they are unemployed/unemployable persons without any income,forcibly planting businessmen from the south in businesses originally owned by tamils,army preventing tamils from peaceful business and taking over same to make ‘extra bucks’,the Military Governer vetoing decisions of the provincial& town councils and pradeshiya sabas,not releasing political prisoners who have kith and kin in the north and keeping the incarcerated for years without indictment in courts, murders of jaffna journalists which are never properly investigated, harassment of journalists and attacks on newspaper offices,transferring public officers who refuse to “toe the line” with regard to unjust public policy,killing of an officer who objected to tamils being compelled to sing the national anthem in tamil,imposition of “security zones” without any rhime or reason,merely to harass the tamils who lived there for years,even alongside “minefields” which they learned to avoid,refusal of entry by local and international journalists to the site of the ‘last battle’for fear of discovery of mass graves,looting of homes of IDPs before they returned,presumably by the army and, most of all, continuing the Emergency & PTA only because tamils abroad are waving ‘tiger flags’.
    The learned professor purposely ignores these realities.

  31. silva says:

    ”The turmoil of the past 30 years” ??
    What about the previous three decades, Dr Narendran?

    Tamils are ”orphans” because we haven’t yet had a conscientious majority Sinhalese leader.
    Gandhi will not stand up to the Rajapakses who were refusing for 26 months the basic needs up to the last week before the elections and in the few days preceding the election the voters were given a lot of material things for personal use and a STADIUM and promised many more stadia !!!!!!

    This is giving the Tamils an upside down Maslow triangle:

    BOTTOM of the triangle:
    Building a new life after the war in Sri Lanka, 21 July 2011

    TIP of the triangle:
    Construction work of Kilinochchi international sport complex begins today. 20 July 2011

    Upside down triangle = obstruct/slash prosperity = ethnocide

  32. SASI says:


  33. luxmy says:

    Tamils, have an upside down Maslow triangle:

    BOTTOM of the triangle:
    Sri Lankan family pardons killer of housemaid, 20 July 2011:
    ”The family of a Sri Lankan maid murdered in Saudi Arabia has agreed to pardon her killer and accept SR50,000 in blood money, the Sri Lankan Embassy here announced on Tuesday.“We negotiated the blood money on behalf of Sinnaiyah’s family. The father of the killer agreed to a sum of SR50,000 as an out-of-court settlement,” an embassy official told Arab News on Tuesday.”

    TOP of the triangle:
    Construction work of Kilinochchi international sport complex begins today. 20 July 2011
    ”The President will lay the foundation stone for the construction of the Kilinochchi modern sport complex today. The project is estimated to cost 330 million rupees. In line with this project, ten other stadiums will also be constructed in ten schools in the north. The government will spend 500 million rupees for development of sports in Kilinochchi. The president is also scheduled to distribute cricket gear for 15 schools and sports kits for 95 sports associations in Kilinochchi. The president will also provide a cash donation of 500 thousand rupees to the best netball player in the world Tharjani Sivalingam who is hailing from the Kilinochchi district.”

  34. Ward says:
    Government official says people in Sri Lanka’s North facing many social issues, 29 July 2011:
    ”She has observed that the main reason for the youth to take up various lifestyles is the frustration they suffer as a result of being neglected by their parents.”

    Parents are under army administration and literally under their boots:
    ‘’A group of thugs brought from the South by the SL Military Intelligence dragged a reputed catholic priest in Jaffna Rev. Fr. Maria Xavier out of his institution and intimidated him to put his signature(for the protest against the UN report)’’ – SL Militarization demonstrates extracting 1 million signatures in 10 days, 26 May 2011,
    Army barges into Noolaham Foundation meeting in Jaffna, 29 May 2011
    Vicious attack by Army in Alaveddy on TNA meeting with MPs present, 16 June 2011
    Young religious visit their own suffering brothers and sisters in Northern Sri Lanka, Rev.Fr.Lasantha de Abrew, 25 October 2010:
    ”… The high military presence in these areas makes the resettled persons more tensed, uncomfortable and uneasy. The regular visits of the soldiers to their half built houses and temporary sheds, frequent arrests of the young males on various justified and unjustified charges, and inviting the children to the camps to watch films make them uneasy.
    ….Some teachers of the area noted, “They have lost interest in studies’’ … Easy availability of DVD shops, liquor, smoking even promoted by the soldiers could be the causes for such lack of interest. …”

    A psychiatrist from Colombo visiting Jaffna in 2009 reported that the Sri lankan army supplies drugs freely to the youth.

    A friend of mine(not a psychiatrist) visiting Jaffna in 2005 reported the same.

  35. Ward says:
    Joint holistic and long-sighted approach needed to make Sri Lanka the congenial home of all residents, Dr Narapalasingam, 6 November 2010:
    The Chief Minister(May 2008 -) of Eastern Province, S. Chandrakanthan ‘Pillayan’) told Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission on 20 October 2010: ”Government should allow the Councils to fully exercise the powers vested in the provincial councils’’. The problems currently encountered by the Provincial Council can be attributed directly to the overriding powers of the Provincial Governor appointed constitutionally by the Executive President. This is only one of many weaknesses in the Provincial Council system.

  36. Velayudan says:

    This “expatriate” is absurdly off the mark. Rasalingam is a writer There is no doubt that what he says was largely true at some time in history. But how true is it today? can someone who has first-hand experience of the conditions in the North after the war write about it? How many of the canditates were from the “upper castes”, and how many were from the “depressed casstes”? What are the voting patterns? All these government commentators like Rajiv Wijesinghe or Dayatilleke cannot get to the heart of the matter – they can only rant from far away.
    Rasalaingam is an old man who presumably knew what happened decades ago. However, we need a contemporary evaluation. An “expatriate” who can only make asinine remarks cannot do contribute much.

  37. Anonymous says:

    Govt must realize that Jaffna electors wont give in to force….

    You know why?

    Not only Jaffna electors, majority of Tamils are already forced to create their own parallel society in Sri Lanka. Their decision makers or majority of Tamils don’t depend on the Sri Lankan system to finance their needs. In near future Tamils in Sri Lanka would have externally sponsored security firms to protect their interests.

    Good luck with your “mahinda chinthanaya”

  38. cyril says:

    Dr Rajiva, your ‘liberalism’ is dripping through your clothes!

  39. Roshan says:

    Well said Vimukthi. Not all tamils think like Muthu said here, however, unfortunately the majority of the good sinhalese are been silence for too long..

  40. aratai says:

    What need is a Gandhi for the Sinhalese.


  41. Dr.Rajasingham Narendran says:

    A correction: ‘Forums’ should read ‘Fora’.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

  42. Ton says:

    Dayan and Rajiva Please understand TNA’s electoral victory indicates Tamils’ resolve for self-determination. Indtead of bluffing .

  43. Waran says:

    Well said the Prof of English has to check his own intelligence, it is rusting after joining the Non intelligent clan of MR. The thinking of the ministers is just reproduced by this Don shame on him.

  44. Kamal Kotiraja says:

    Hi there Udurawana,

    Your pipedream of driving SL’s crowned leaders to electric chairs in the Hague has been shattered by the Big Neighbour India.

    Did you see Aunty Nirupama receiving good wishes from HE MR prior to he departure to Washington?

    The US Public Servants have now got a reliable source on Sri Lankan affairs when Aunty Nirupama arrives in Washington DC as the Indian Ambassador.

    See what she said to HE MR? The solution will be local which means 13- and if the people of the North choose Hon Sambanthan as the CM in the forthcomimg provincial government elections, so be it.

    Even Soth Sudan is hesitating to recognise Rudrakumar’s TGTE. Soon, Cameron and Miliband will disown the GTF.

    Back to square one mate, that’s where you belong.

  45. R Jayadevan says:


    I am physically present in London but metally, emotionally and informatively involved with Sri Lanka.

    I meet ans speak to all kinds of people and read a lot about SL.

    Are you disagreeing 20% largely ‘hora votes’and attempting justify Dougleas’s modus operandi?

    Even Sinhalese I meet in London say in the South ‘hora votes’ percentage very high compared to the north.

  46. Dr.Rajasingham Narendran says:


    Please read in depth on what you call “Gandhiyam’. You may have done so already. Unfortunately, what we did in the name of Satyagraha, lacked soul power. This is why it failed.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

  47. Dr.Rajasingham Narendran says:


    I know you will disagree with me. However, I will reply.

    The situation of the Tamils in the north and east ‘NOW’ is completely different from what it was soon after independence or even at the beginning of the miltancy. This difference is so huge, that it cannot be ignored. The past actions of the Sri Lankan governments and Sinhala politicians (it will be wrong to call them leaders!) definitely contributed in a big way to the present situation. However, what we did to ourselves over the past 30 years to hurt ourselves was also substantial. As I had stated earlier. Discussions and debates on who did what, will not help us now.

    In my judgement the Tamils in the north and east are at a very low ebb now. Not only in economic terms, but in terms of all social parameters. Surviving as humans has overtaken many political considerations. This is the priority. This phase has mostly economic dimensions. Thereafter, revival of our life as Tamils, in a cultural context, should receive priority. During the efforts to achieve these, a mechanism to guarantee the rights of Tamils to unfettered equal rights, within Sri Lanka has to be negotiated and instituted. During this phase the economies of the north and east would have recovered and most Tamils would have the prerequisites in terms of self reliance, an enlightened leadership and awareness of their political needs in the context of the ‘present’, to deal with the issue of managing their affairs in a political context, within a united Sri Lanka. The contours of what ‘managing their affairs’ would mean, will be clearer and probably different from what was demanded in the past. I also think the wounds and mutual suspicions would have ebbed to an extent then that the Sinhala polity , would be ready to concede much more to the Tamils and other minorities in terms of sharing political power.

    What I envisage is a step by step process, based on realities confronting the Tamils now. If we unrealistically, idealistically or even emotionally, push non-priority issues now, we may end up hurting the Tamils in the north and east. They cannot bear further hurt! Sometimes, it is wise to swim with the tide to survive.

    Let us fight for good governance and better economic development in the north and east. Let us discuss with the government specific issues that pertain to the north and east in terms of the day to day needs of the people, rehabilitation and rebuilding. This should be the first step in a long process ahead of us.

    If we deal with the Sinhala polity as enemies we would not go anywhere. We need their help now and in the foreseeable future. We have to become partners in the progress of Sri Lanka in the long term.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

  48. Dr.Rajasingham Narendran says:


    Have you met Pillaiyan? I have. The less said about him the better. Further, it was reported yesterday that Pillaiyan- was trying to get the suspect in the Batticaloa bank robbery released. The army had to stop the attempt.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

  49. Kamal says:

    High hopes,barabrians. You will meet your Nandikadal!

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