21500 or more Sinhala Buddhist soldiers gave their lives, some their limbs, and others risked their lives , to save their Tamil Compatriots.
Words are inadequate to express the great joy and happiness that rise within us on the news of the victories of our valiant Armed Forces against an enemy many thought they will not be able to vanquish. The victory has its price, and as we rejoice the victory we also weep for those who paid for it with their lives and others with their limbs.
It is said nearly 21500 soldiers made their supreme sacrifice to wrench the much awaited victory from an enemy who with a misconceived idea was determined to set up a separate State for a part of the Tamil population mostly of the Tamil diaspora.
The claim to belong to a motherland is acquired through birth in the land or living in it with the determination to protect it as ones own, sharing it with others who claim the same devoted ownership, ready to lay down one’s own life to defend it against its enemies or those who want to break and mutilate it.
The terrorists who came from the Tamil Community, seeking separation from the main body of the Nation, played to the sentiments of the Tamil Community promising them a separate Tamil Homeland.
However, the people of the Tamil community, who are a part of the people of the motherland along with the Tamil, Muslim and other communities, do not seek to be separated from the motherland, though they wish not to be subordinated to the majority Sinhala Community. Therefore, to maintain their parity of status the political leaders among the Tamil Community ask for a “devolution” of political power.
Whether that claim is justifiable or whether such “devolution” would create a scission of the “Sri Lankan Nation body” is debatable. The Sinhala people greater by numbers, had never attempted to impose their majority status on the minority communities.
But those Tamils who had left Sri Lanka and live a different life in foreign countries- the Tamil diaspora, hailed the idea of a separate Homeland claimed by the terrorists. It is these Tamils of the diaspora, who had left the motherland to live abroad, who support the separatist war of the terrorists, to help them to fight against the government to wrench away a part of the territory of Sri Lanka to set up a Tamil Homeland .
In doing that they gave a “licence” to the terrorists to recruit young girls and boys of tender age for their fighting carder, to kill or maim even their own people if necessary for the ultimate success of their effort to set up the Eelam State-the Tamil Homeland.
The Sinhala Community did not agree with the terrorists and the Tamil Diaspora. Therefore, they challenged the project of the terrorist to set up a separate Homeland. They were against any one giving a “licence” to a terrorist group to use the Tamil people, kill and maim them, as much as they do not want the Sinhala people, or the Muslim people to be killed and maimed by the terrorists.
Therefore, the Sri Lanka Armed Forces composed mainly of the Sinhala Buddhists, were ready to fight any enemy of the nation to keep the territorial integrity of the motherland, and protect the compatriots made up of the Tamil, Muslim and other Communities.
Historically, the Sinhala Buddhists kept the country Territorially Integral and the People United.
Sri Lanka is what it is today- a territorially integral motherland of the Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim and other communities, because of the heroism of the Sinhala Buddhists. It had been so not only now, but also many times before when ever Sri Lanka was invaded by the conquerors in the past or colonised by them.
Though Tamils of the diaspora such as Narapalasingham are attempting to write a history of Sri Lanka giving historical evidence of Tamil Kingdoms in Sri Lanka even before the advent of the Sinhala, the fact remains that the Tamils even in the historical past, neither contribute for the unity of the different communities of people living at any time in Sri Lanka, nor defend its territorial integrity.
There was the more known period when a Chola invader Elara, set up a kingdom in Anuradhapura, defeating the reigning King Asela. King Elara was supposed to have been a just King. But, other than being a just king, he did not contribute to social, or cultural development of the country. He did not seek to have any diplomatic relations with the Kings of the South. Therefore it could be said that even the Chola King Elara was not a uniting force in Sri Lanka.
The pro terrorist Tamil diaspora had been using lot of time studying the history of the Tamil presence in Sri Lanka, but they have not found much evidence to show the contribution of the Tamils to the development of ancient Lanka.
Had they built tanks, or irrigation systems as the Sinhala Kings had done ? In what way had they contributed to the cultural and social development of ancient Lanka ? How had they approached the question of inter communal relation of the different habitants of Lanka ?
It was after Kind Dutugamunu recaptured Anuradhapura, that Lanka was united. He brought in prosperity to the country and built Dagabas and a Monastery, and renewed tanks, the land was put to the plough and rice fields were plenty. He even showed his respect to his enemy by cremating the King Elara and building a tomb over the ashes. He decreed that all going past the tomb to maintain silence.
Sinhala Buddhists rebelled against the Dutch, the Portuguese and the Britishs Colonialists, while the Tamils Collaborated with them.
The more significant rising of the Sinhala people against the British Rulers was, when they taxed the people and forced males over 18 years to work for the construction of roads, and were disrespectful to their religion and culture. In 1817 the Sinhala people revolted against the British Rulers for the enslavement of the people. The Buddhist priests who had always taken the fore front to defend the people and the religion became the object of hostility of the British Colonial Rulers.
They took revenge from the Buddhist Priests by changing the Clause five of the Kandyan Convention signed in 1815, which held Buddhism inviolable, requiring its temples and priests protected and maintained as before. The British changed it to read the " priests and the ceremonies of Buddhism shall receive the respect which in former times was shown to them."
The Rebellion of 1817 against the British colonial rule, began with the support of Keppetipola Maha Nilame, and led by Puran Appu, Gongalegoda Bandara, and Venerable Kudahapola Therunnanse, in Dambulla in the Matale.District.
The British Army was said to have gone on rampage to stop the rebellion killing masses of people, burning their houses and looting their property. The rebellion was quelled after executing Puran Appu, Gongale Bandara and eighteen others after a summery trial. The Venerable Kudahapola Therunnanse was shot dead in his yellow robe, symbolically insulting Buddhism the religion of the Sinhala people.
The British Colonial Rulers were the first terrorists, who terrorised the Sinhala Buddhists. The People in Matale and Kuranegala suffered the most. As an aftermath of the rebellion Marshall Law was declared in the Kandy District.
The British Governor who was responsible resigned after a Parliamentary inquiry held in the British Parliament, found him guilty of excessive harassment of the people during the rebellion.
It was only when Tamils joined with the Sinhala, that they contributed to develop Sri Lanka.
Even to-day the Tamil struggle is to divide the country and its people.
The Tamils in the diaspora do not call for unity of the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim Communities, they want the Tamil Community separated from the rest, with their own Homeland. Even liberal minded Anandasangaree does not call for unity, he too speaks of “ my people” meaning the Tamils, and never of “our people” meaning all communities.
The Independent struggle was a united effort of the Sinhala, Tamil, and Malay. We then had Ponnambalam Ramanathan, and Ponnambalam Arunachalam along side the Sinhala. Later on the Tamil politicians had their separatist Agenda with G.G.Ponnmbalam , Chelvanayagam, Sundaralingam and all the rest calling for a Federal Constitution.
Moment the Tamils joined with the Sinhala they contributed to the growth of Sri Lanka and became real patriots of the Country.
Lakshman Kadirgamar, stands a giant among us, a beacon of unity. He carried marvellously well his diplomatic “war” against terrorism. He held high the banner of Sri Lanka in the West. He was a fearless fighter for an independent Sri Lanka without being interfered into its affairs by the West.
The other Tamils who joined with the Sinhala in the Government of the President Rajapakse, Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, and Douglas Devananda remarkable people they were contributed to the unity of the people and understanding among communities. They contributed massively for the development of the country and above all for communal unity..
Most remarkable development in respect of “ Tamils joining with the Sinhala community” is undoubtedly the Minister of National Integration Mr.Vinayagamurthi Mulitharan or more popularly known Karuna Amman, and the Chief Minister of Eastern Province Mr. Chandrakanthan or Pillaiyan. Mulitharan went a step further becoming a member of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, making history of Tamils entering a political Party along with the Sinhala and Muslims.
The Tamil diaspora is not all together, anti-Sinhala , anti Unity and for a separate Tamil Homeland. There are remarkable people among those in the Tamil diaspora who want unity and development of Sri Lanka as a Nation. Some of the names that come to my mind among others are Noel Nadeson, and Thomas Johnpulle.