Sinhala King Vasabha Ruled Jaffna Before 2nd Century BC  - Part II

Before delving into the question of whether Eelam is a myth or not, I would like to pose the under mentioned questions to Messrs. Sampanthan, Wigneswaran or any other high ranking officials in the TNA, TULF; Any other learned member of the Tamil diaspora, or even directly to Jayalalithaa Jayaram or Muthuvel Karunanidhi, to justify their Tamil Eelam Theory:

 (1)    If Tamils had their own kingdoms in the North and the East, please explain as to why Robert Knox, who was arrested in Kottiyar (near Trincomalee), was handed over to the Kandyan King, instead of being taken to Jaffna, the so called Capital of Eelam?

(2)   What explanations have you on the Vallipuram Gold Plate, which categorically confirms that the Sinhala King named Vasabha, was ruling Jaffna too, even before the 2nd century BC?

(3)   Do you have any explanations for the existence of three Buddhist Pagodas in the Delft Island and Buddha Foot Prints and caskets found in the Jaffna Peninsula, which were exhibited at the Jaffna Museum?

 (4)   How about the Kantharodai Buddhist Temple at Chunnakam, which is described as Kaduruboda Temple at Hunugama in the Mahavamsa?

 (5)   Historical records in British Museums confirm that most of the Tamils in North and the East were brought to Sri Lanka by the Dutch and British for the purpose of cultivating Tobacco. At first the Dutch brought Tamil workers from India for Tobacco cultivation. These are facts what the Sri Lankan Government should publish and make public even at this late stage.

 (6)   Do you know anything about King Gajabahu's wars in South India, which are illustrated in detail in the Mahavamsa as well as in South Indian Stone Inscriptions?

 (7)   Do you have any answers to the question of the Dutch visiting the Kandyan King to obtain a legal title, and subsequently entering into a Treaty called Tennekumbura Treaty in 1766?

 (8)   Are you aware of the antediluvian nature of the Sinhala language compared with the Tamil language, which is said to be of "recent origin" as stated by Professor Neelakanta Sastri? 

9)   What have you got to say about the non-selection of Tamil language by Americans    as an ancient language and the selection of Sinhala Language as one of the oldest languages? It is appropriate to mention here that Sinhala Language was chosen by them after critical examination as one of the few oldest languages in this world and was displayed on the moon.

10) Do you disregard the contents in the 'Mahavamsa,' which is recognized by eminent historians the world over as the only book that describes a continuous history of a country for a period of well over 2000 years? One has to bear in mind that Mahavamsa stories are corroborated by Stone Inscriptions not only in Sri Lanka but in South India too.

(11) Have you read Professor Neelakanta Sastri's book on 'South Indian History' in which he describes the history of South India with no reference whatsoever to a Tamil Homeland in Sri Lanka?

Origins

The origin of the Sinhala language dates back to the Anglo Saxon age. Unlike Tamil, Sinhala is an Indo-Aryan Language. The History of Sinhala Language is divided into several eras, such as present day Sinhala, Mediaeval Sinhala and Ancient Sinhala. From there it goes to Prakrit, Sanskrit and to Indo-Aryan, and finally to the Anglo Saxon family. German Professor Wilhelm Geiger found similarities in Sinhala and the German language. Therefore, Sinhalese have an inborn right to seek assistance from the UK and Germany to protect and save their brethren (Sinhalese) from the grip of Eelamist Tamils, who have become a nuisance and annoyance.

Eelamist claim for an independent state or province, based on a non-existent Eelam State! The so-called "Eelam State" does not contain any historical or archaeological evidence either in Sri Lanka or in India. It is only the Tamil politicians who propagate this myth. Stone Inscriptions found in the North and East bear crystal clear evidence to prove it was Singhalese kings who ruled North and East areas in our history.

The Portuguese came to Sri Lanka in the 15th century. Prior to Portuguese occupation in Jaffna, the representatives of Kotte Kings ruled Jaffna; Prince Sapumal was the last in line, in 1412 AD, to become the last Sinhalese ruler in Jaffna.

Had there been Tamil kingdoms in the North and East in Sri Lanka, as claimed by R. Sampanthan, surely there should be some evidence of Tamil stone inscriptions to that effect along with archaeological evidence! But the sad part is that there isn't a single piece of an archaeological evidence about the so called 'Tamil Kingdoms' in the North and the East, but the existence of three 'Dagabas' (dome-shaped buildings erected as a Buddhist shrines) in the Delft Island is clear proof to confirm the existed Sinhala Kingdoms from time immemorial.

The most unreasonable claim in this 'Eelam' theory for a separate homeland for Tamils is merely because the inhabitants in these areas at present are majority Tamils. By the same token Tamils do have the sacred right to live in any part of Sri Lanka; regrettably the Sinhalese, being the majority in Sri Lanka, are denied that right to live in densely populated Tamil areas in the North and the East, except in the South along with both Tamils as well as the Muslim community. The other obnoxious factor in this Eelamist theory is their reticence and refusal to mention anything about a homeland for Sinhalese who are the original inhabitants in this Island. The fact that Sinhalese have a well established and continued history for a period of well over Two Thousand Five Hundred (2500) years has been completely ignored by the founders of this so called Eelamist theory.

S.J.V. Chelvanayakam

Primarily, it was the late S.J.V Chelvanayakam who propagated this myth among the Tamils while ignoring the historical rights of Sinhalese to the North and East. He paid no heed whatsoever to archaeological evidence manifestly available in those two provinces. His only consideration was the majority number of Tamils living in those two provinces. Moderates like Duriappah, Mayor of Jaffna, were gunned down at the very beginning with the blessings of TULF leaders. Other leaders of Tamil Community such as Amirthalingam, Sivasubramaniam and Sampanthan followed Chelvanayakam with the full knowledge that their claim for an independent State in the North and the East has no justifiable historical basis.

They based their Eelamist theory mainly on the majority number of Tamils living in the North and the East. Current population was the only criteria that mattered to them. It is rather unfortunate that none of the Sinhala leaders have challenged these Tamil leaders over their unjustifiable claim. Instead, all leaders in successive governments have granted their demands, one by one while the JR Government went to the extent of accepting the North and the East as their traditional homelands, ignoring the rights of the Sinhalese communities who lived in those two provinces.

The following passage extracted out of an article written by M. Sivasithambaram, who was one time President of TULF shows as to how they justified Tamil Eelam State in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. His stand has been that by becoming the majority in an area could name such area as a homeland.

In the Sunday Observer on 26 September 1993, the late Sivasithambaram, President, TULF wrote: 'It is also significant to note people in Jaffna, Vavuniya, Mannar, Batticaloa and Trincomalee voted for the candidates of Tamil Parties, i.e. the Tamil Congress, the Federal Party and TULF. In the face of all these, a person with even the meanest intelligence will accept that North and East are the Traditional Homelands of the Tamils and Muslims".

The irony is that during his lifetime when Prabhakaran chased the Muslims out of the North, Sivasidambaram or Sampanthan or any other hierarchy in TULF had no guts to speak out, except to remain silent!

Needless to say that the so-called Eelamist theory is a draconian notion! It ignores the basic rights of other communities. For instance, under Eelamist theory, Muslims in Kashmir Province have the right to demand a separate homeland in that Province because they are the majority at present. Towards the latter part of this century the Tamils in the UK or Canada might claim their right to self-determination highlighting the areas they predominantly reside. At this rate in the future they are bound to assert their right to the towns like London or Birmingham in the UK and certain provinces in Canada as their homelands, once they become the majority living in those areas.

It is regrettable that both, the present as well as former government machinery, have failed to counter these bogus claims. Professor G.L. Peiris, the former Foreign Minister, is directly responsible for the present situation. He failed miserably to counter this false propaganda work of the Tamil Diaspora at that time. During his period he conducted only pedagogue discussions rather than countering false propaganda.

As a result of removing History, as a subject form the school syllabus in the seventies, by former Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike, on the advice of Minister of Education at that time Badiuddeen Mohamed, today the younger generation of Sinhalese and Tamils are denied learning the real and true history. It is a sad affair, indeed, that many Sri Lankans, irrespective of their communal backgrounds are ignorant of the factual history of this country as a result of such unforgivable policies.

The myth of an Eelam State, which never existed, propagated by the Tamil politicians, who live in the lap of luxury in Colombo, misled the youth in the North to join a war. The irony is that not a single child of these champion Tamil leaders joined the war and died in battle but it was only the ordinary Tamil youth who sacrificed his life at the instigation of these politicians.

Sinhala as well as Tamil politicians equally forced the poor to have their education in Sinhala or Tamil languages while they (politicians) sent their children to Sorbonne, Oxford and other universities abroad. History has begun to repeat again where politicians are adopting the same attitude of dragging the innocent youth from both sides to a new war, not for any other reason but for their own survival or existence. Readers of this article are advised to examine the Sansoni Commission report for better understanding as it explains the hypocrisy of several politicians who dragged the Tamil youth into the last war.

Dragging the Sri Lankan Security Forces into a long drawn out 30-year-old war was an unwise decision taken by the late R. Premadasa. The JR government handed over the war to the Indian Army, which was able to keep the Sri Lankan Army out of war; a blessings in disguise! However, during the occupation of Sri Lanka by the Indian Army to support the Sri Lankan efforts against the LTTE manoeuvres, not a single soldier was reported dead! However, when R. Premadasa came to power his ill-advised battalion of henchmen made the Indian Army to leave Sri Lanka making Premadasa believe that the conflict was an internal matter and the Sri Lanka Government should be able to resolve it without outside assistance.

Being convinced, R. Premadasa is alleged to have given assistance to the LTTE in various forms to fight against the Indian Army, which ultimately cost him his own life. If JR's policy was allowed to continue, experts say the Army would not have had to face such a number of casualties in the war.

The role played by the JVP in sending the Indian Army back is also questionable. The leaders of the JVP surely cannot escape from the responsibility of dragging the Sri Lankan Army into this war costing 30,000 (thirty thousand) deaths in all three forces unnecessarily. The JVP poster campaign to chase the Indian Army out, labelling them as 'a Monkey Army' too may have encouraged Premadasa to make such a stupid decision. The JVP, in addition to their poster campaign, as far as I could remember, got involved in killing one or two members of the Indian Army by sporadic attacks which were reported in the media those days. Needless to say it was an indirect support given to President R. Premadasa to hand over the war to Sri Lankan Army. During that time newspaper reports indicated that when dead bodies of Indian soldiers reached their homes, the Indian general public went against the LTTE and diminished their support greatly. If the Indian Army were to have continued with the war, surely people in Tamil Nadu would have openly opposed LTTE atrocities rather than supporting them.

The Writer is an Advocate, Labour Consultant, Ex-Judicial Officer.

Ex-President, Lanka Academic Association.

Vice President Seruwila Chaityawardena Samithiya

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