THE DOUBLE STANDARDS
Present case for a Sinhaladeepa Homeland: Time world hears the Sinhalese version
The Sinhalese need to wake up to some realities. For 30 years false propaganda won the day. Lies have been promoted over the years and paid adverts have pushed a plethora of falsehoods. There is little point in Sinhalese grumbling and laying claim to its land without letting the world know why it has a bigger right to lay claim. Sinhalese must now join the propaganda bandwagon – this time armed with the truth. The Sinhalese are still unaware of the advantage they have. Every lie has to be supported by another lie. But every truth is elevated by another truth. This is how Sinhalese can turn the tables around. Sinhalese have scores of archaeological, historical, foreign accounts etc to claim the island as its own and can showcase that the Sinhalese race, the Sinhalese language, culture and traditions are all indigenous to Sri Lanka while all others who presently lay claim to areas have their roots elsewhere in other countries. This is a golden opportunity for the Sinhalese to put a case to the world on why the Sinhalese have a bigger right to the island but are more than happy to share it with the other ethnic groups so long as they do not demand mono-ethnic enclaves while securing rights to live in other parts as well. The Sinhala academics, historians, Buddhist associations/organizations, expat groups & other movements need to rally around this major project and build their case to secure their country. The truth ultimately triumphs in the end.
For years the LTTE Tamil Diaspora hand in glove with separatist elements, the Church and other factors that use terror groups to advance their own agendas were busy relaying a load of lies to the world. People of course believed them. The stories were sensational, the scripts were well-written, there was plenty of backing through well-known organizations & individuals who were part of the plot and so Sinhalese became the monsters and people thought no Tamil could even walk on the streets without getting attacked or killed. There was no one to showcase the statistics. Tamils were in fact living with the Sinhalese working with them, schooling and had none of the problems that the world was shown they had. But it was a good story to sell that enabled a lot of people to get refugee status and live abroad and look after their families. The best example is the Chief Minister of the Northern Provincial Council who has lived virtually all of his 70 plus years in Colombo, schooled and worked in Colombo and went to live in the North only after 2012 and ever since he’s declaring that no Sinhalese can live in the North, all military have to move out, no Tamil can marry Sinhalese when his own two sons are married to Sinhalese!
But when lies and lies and bigger lies are being used to carve out a separate state it is time we said enough is enough. No more lies. The Sinhalese have been ridiculed and humiliated enough. The Sinhalese in particular the Sinhala Buddhists have become a battering ram for everyone. Obviously we cannot rely on the politicians (whatever party they belong to) so it is left to the next tier of those that love the country to begin to present a case as to why no one else can stake claim to self-determination or homeland better than the Sinhalese. It is time the academics, the historians, the patriots, expat groups and all others rally around this project and present to the world that they have no right to accept bogus homeland notions and use the new constitution to carve out a piece of the island to create a mono-ethnic enclave while allowing the same ethnic group to live and buy land in the rest of the island. How ridiculous to create a mono-ethnic separate autonomous area while the majority Sinhalese have no area to call their own and have to share common area with those that are getting a separate mono-ethnic area. Where has anyone heard of such a ridiculous solution to a problem that has no basis?
It is also time that people begin to wake up to the games being played pushing a new constitution. These ‘liberals’ know to only dish out liberalism to what is not theirs. They have no business to decide how a country should be governed totally ignoring the historical roots to it and instead try to land cultures and vultures from elsewhere.
The most important message for those that love the country irrespective of which ethnic group they belong to is to realize that in taking internal affairs to people who live elsewhere the entire nation is going to land in trouble.
Tamils in particular must seriously ponder what ‘independence’ they will actually have when Indian dalits arrive from Tamil Nadu and take over the country even their lives.
Muslims also need to realize that the West have found the perfect ingredient in Wahhabi Islam to promote Islamic terrorism giving the West the right not only to land claiming to destroy terrorists but destroy people claiming they are terrorists. See what misery prevails across the Middle East.
Therefore, the minorities must seriously wonder at the outcome when pushing lies too far.
As for the Sinhalese claim to the nation. It is time to bring all these salient features together and it is no better time than now.
An article by Kamalika Pieris titled ‘Sinhala’ & ‘Sinhaladvipa’ should be read by all. Salient points from her article are given below
§ ‘Sihala’ used to describe the island, the people and the language.
§ ‘Simhala’ used by Indians to describe the island. That island was also the name of the people & the language (Historian G C Mendis)
§ Sinhala name given first to a dynasty, to a kingdom and to the people (R A L H Gunawardena)
§ Island of Lanka known as Sihala (Dipawamsa)
§ Sinhala, Sinhaladipa, rulers of Sinhalavipa, Sihala troops were all referred to in Culavamsa
§ Islam was referred to as Sihaladvipa & Tambapannidipa, and stories Sihala vatthu prakarana from time of King Saddhatissa (137-119BC)
§ Valahassa Jataka (5-4c BC) refers to 2 merchants who came from Sihaladipa
§ Brahatsahita of Varamihira (5c BC) refers to pearls from Sri Lanka as Simhalaka
§ Sinhala work ‘Sarasvati nigandu’ says cinnamon was referred to as ‘sinhalam’ (belonging to country of Sinhala – Lankage 2013)
§ Island called ‘Ratnadipa’ island of precious stones & Tambapanni due to its red earth.
§ Dipavamsa and Mahavamsa use Tambapanni and Tambrapanni.
§ Greeks referred to island as Taprobane derived by Tambrapanni. However Ratnadipa and Tambapanni are not proper names and are only descriptions to identify a location. Except these two names all other names derived from word ‘Sinhala’.
§ Names given to the island by foreign countries shows who visited the island. China had more than 30 names for Sir Lanka from Han dynasty (206BC) – Se cheng bugo and Si diao guo deriving from ‘Sinhadipa’. Jin Dynasty (265-429AD) called the island ‘Shi zi guo’ (Lion country) Buddhist kingdoms (Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia) used ‘Sihala’ and ‘Sihaladeepa’. Greeks called the island ‘Sieladiba’ & ‘Salike’ both names deriving from Simhala. Greeks also called the island Palesimoundou derived from Parasamudra. Ptolemy (2c) spoke of Taprobane.
§ Arab traders used ‘Siyalan’ ‘Singaldib’ ‘Serendib’ and ‘Saheelan’ (Persianized form of Sinhaladvipa)
§ Portuguese used ‘Ceilao’
§ Dutch used ‘Zeylan’
§ British called us ‘Ceylon’.
§ Eratosthenes (230-195BC) and Ptolemaus (2c) speak of Sinhaladipa
§ Roman literati referred to the island as Serendivi
§ Cosmos (6c AD) said the island was called Sielediba
§ Copper plates of Chalukya King Pulakesin 1 (89-90AD) refers to island as Sinhala
§ Nagarjunikonda inscriptions (2-3c AD) records foundation of monastery named Sinhala vihara
§ Incidentally the Tamil word for Sinhala was ‘Ila’ – two cave inscriptions at Tirappanguram and Kalugamalai refers to ‘Ila’.
§ Chola kings referred to Sri Lanka as Ilam or Singalam
§ Inscriptions of Raja Raja 1 (985-1014) speak of ‘Ila Mandalam’ & ‘land of the war-like Sinhalas’.
§ Sinhaladvipa name used from Anuradhapura period to Udarata period
§ ‘Kandyan kingdom’ known as Sinhala kingdom ‘Sinhale’
§ British officer Davy (1816-1820) wrote that the island’s ancient name was Sinhala ‘for which Lakka and Lanka is now substituted by the natives’.
§ Parts of the old udarata kingdom was known as ‘Sinhale’ under British rule.
§ Martin Wickremasinghe’s book ‘Gam Peraliya’ (1944) reference is made to Jinadasa going to ‘Sinhale’ in search of occupation.
§ Evidence indicates that by 1st /2nd century AD the term ‘Sinhala’ denoted the people.
§ India’s Mahabharata refers to the people of Sri Lanka as ‘Sinhala’ (Paranavitana)
§ Allahabad inscription of Samudragupta refers to Sinhala people as ‘Simhalaka’.
§ Robert Knox (1659-1679) speaks of ‘natural proper people of the island, which they call Chingulays’.
§ Sinhala was the unique language used. It was originally known as ‘Elu’ & ‘Hela’ then ‘Sihela’.
§ 1st history of the island titled ‘Sihala attakatha’
§ Buddhagosa (5c) said Buddhist commentaries were kept in Sinhala basa for benefit of inhabitants.
§ Buddhamitra in his Tamil grammar Virasoliam (11c) stated the language of Sinhalese is Sinhala.
What Kamalika Peiris says is that both local and foreign historical sources confirm that the island was called ‘Sinhaladvipa’ and that its inhabitants and language were known as ‘Sinhala’.
Reiterating the argument further Mr. Jayantha Liyanage of the Sinhala Jathika Peramuna in his proposals to the committee drafting the new constitution raises some poignant points the key area of which he stresses that Sri Lanka is not a nation because it is just 44 years old created after 1972 and therefore lacks the basic ingredients to constitute a nation.
§ The SJP is promoting the usage of the name Sinhaladeepa based on evidence
§ King Pandukabaya established the Sinhala nation state as Sinhaladeepa in 437BC becoming the officially recognized nation for over 2300 years until 1815
§ The British invaders introduced an alien governmental structure without consent separating the minorities from the Sinhala people and demoting the Sinhala people & renaming the country as Ceylon.
§ The SJP proposes that the nation returns to its original nation Sinhala nation and the country is re-named Sinhaladeepa.
§ The SJP proposes that historical injustices be rectified that denied the rights of the Sinhala people from 1505 onwards.
If the UN and its entities including foreign governments who are obviously not aware of the long history of the country and the role the Sinhalese played to build it, it is time the Sinhalese presented them the facts even in a book form. The world cannot only hear the minorities. The grievances of the majority also must be heard,
These will provide legal and valid arguments to counter the bogus propagandists and will enable a halt to the division of the nation.
Hope the Sinhalese inspire themselves to unite for this major endeavor which needs the combined efforts of historians, archaeologists, academics, researchers, writers, public servants, expat groups, intellectuals, Buddhist organizations/associations etc.
It will be an achievement for posterity.
Shenali D Waduge