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Sunday 3 April 2011


There are some pundits who would refer to me as a “historian” when they want to criticize certain views I have expressed on the history of Tamils and Muslims in this country. They do not bring an iota of evidence against my views but try to sling mud at me by referring to me as a “historian” knowing that I do not have any formal qualifications in history. However, these pundits would not believe me when I say that there was no big bang as such and the so called big bang is a way of having a God without referring to a creator, in spite of the fact that I have formal qualifications in Mathematics and Relativistic Astrophysics from their so called recognized Universities. They will ridicule me for saying that the big bang is nothing but creation albeit without a so called creator and that it is a theory created in the Greek Judaic Christian Chinthanaya in Judaic Christian culture. They will forget my formal qualifications from their universities and would love to brand me as an extremist. It is clear that even among the pundits it is not the qualifications that matter but what one says. If they agree with what somebody says they will highlight his qualifications, if he has any qualifications at all. If the person concerned has no qualifications in the relevant field they will marvel at his knowledge, the analytical skills, intuition etc., in spite of him being a scholar in a different field, and praise his intellectual capacity to the hilt. The pundits recognize a person only if they agree with what that person has to say and not because of his qualifications. With pundits getting qualifications from the same sort of institutions very often they will agree with each other. Whether the pundits like it or not the Tamils in Jaffna are descendants of imported Vellalas by the Dutch, the Malayalam speaking people and the Sinhalas who were the majority in Jaffna when the Portuguese conquerors with priests and soldiers coming in the same ships set foot on this soil. The priests came to convert the people into Catholicism peacefully and the soldiers came to do the same forcefully while engaging in other activities as well.

In any given field whether history or physics theory “A” is preferred to theory “B” if the explanatory power of “A” is better than that of “B”. Could the pundits explain with their so called theories why the Hindu society in Jaffna is different from that in Tamil Nadu in particular and in India in general? Why is that the Vellala caste in Jaffna is the dominant caste and not the Brahmin caste? What happened to the Brahmins in Jaffna if there was a traditional Hindu society there, as in India, say from Elara days? Why is that the Tamil spoken in Jaffna in general is very much similar to that spoken in Tamil Nadu in general (It is futile to talk of differences in Tamil spoken by people in Tamil Nadu and evade the issue) and the difference between the two dialects in years is not more than three hundred and fifty? Could the pundits explain why the Tamil spoken in Jaffna has more Malayalam words than that is spoken in Tamil Nadu? Do the pundits know that the Vellalas were taken from Tamil Nadu to South Africa as well by the Dutch? In South Africa Vellala means agricultural labourer and in Sri Lanka today Vellalas are considered to constitute the highest cast in the hierarchical cast system of Tamils as a result of an evolution under colonialism. If the Tamils had been in Sri Lanka from ancient days it is natural that the Brahmin caste became the highest cast as in the Hindu societies in India. Even in Tamil Nadu there is no prominent cast by the name Vellala, and it is clear that Vellalism is a typical Sri Lankan phenomenon. The agricultural labourers imported from the present day Tamil Nadu have evolved to become farmers and become the dominant caste Tamilizing the descendents of the Sinhala people living in Jaffna at the time of the arrival of Dutch, and of course at the time when the Portuguese came, and pushing them downwards in the hierarchical Tamil society into so called low casts such as Nalavar and Koviar. Incidentally Koviar is derived from Sinhala Govia and the Koviars were the farmers in Jaffna when the Dutch decided to bring agricultural labour from Coramandel Coast for their tobacco cultivation.

It is not clear whether the Karaivars in Jaffna are the Tamilized descendents of Sinhala Karawas living in Jaffna but it is unlikely that the Dutch or the Portuguese brought these people from present day Tamil Nadu. It is clear that the Dutch had no intention of bringing Brahmins or priests from South India as there was no need for priests in Jaffna as far as the former were concerned. In the absence of Brahmins, as a result of evolution under colonialism which favoured Vellalas, the latter became the dominant and also the oppressive caste in Jaffna. The Vellalas became the favourite caste of the English as well, and the Jaffna Tamils came to be synonymous with Vellalas especially as far as Colombo was concerned. As a result the Vellalas were used by the English against the Sinhalas and especially the Sinhala Buddhists. The Vellalas were favoured by the English who wanted a certain Vellala family to become the “first family” of Sri Lanka. If one “researches” into this family one would realize that they were brought to Sri Lanka by the Dutch in the seventeenth century. As a result of English favouritism and American missionary work there were more English speaking Vellalas than English speaking Sinhalas in the country and the differential treatment by the English gave the impression to the Vellalas that they were the dominant people in the country. The English governors favoured the Vellalas, and the so called ethnic problem in Sri Lanka began when in the early part of the nineteenth century the English appointed one member each to represent the Sinhalas who had a history of more than two thousand years by that time and who constituted more than seventy five percent of the population, and the Tamils (to be read as Vellalas) who did not have a history more than hundred and fifty years at that time and did not constitute even ten percent of the population. Where was the democracy of the English? The English gave the Vellala leaders a sense of importance over the Sinhala leaders, and the family chosen by the colonialists thought of themselves as the leaders of the so called Ceylonese nation. The Tamil leaders from that time continued to agitate for more representation for the Tamils than for the Sinhalas in the legislature with connivance of the English governors and they had to give it up after universal franchise was firmly established in the country. It was after the elections to the first Parliament that SJV Chelvanayakam realized that a Tamil could not become the Prime Minister of the country and wanted to establish a separate state for the Tamils in the Northern and Eastern provinces demarcated by the English as late as 1889.

It took about thirty years for the venom poured against the Sinhalas by the English speaking Vellalas to go into the minds of the Tamils both Vellala and non Vellala who did not speak English, and when finally the generation of non Vellala Prabhakaran and Vellala Uma Maheswaran took the leadership there was a battle for supremacy among the Vellalas and the non Vellalas. The Tamil people in Jaffna not to speak those in Batticaloa and other places had been oppressed not by the Sinhalas but by the English and by the Vellalas and it was in order to cover up this oppression as well that the English governors and others including the so called intellectuals and the English speaking Vellalas spread the myth of oppression by the Sinhala Buddhists. The ordinary Tamils had to be brainwashed and implanted their minds with oppression by the Sinhalas, and it took Chelvanayakam and the Illankai Thamil Arasu Kadchchi (Lanka Tamil State Party) and its various avatars about thirty years to succeed in their treacherous attempt. However the English speaking Vellalas could not create a purely anti Sinhala movement among the ordinary Tamils and the struggle between Maheswaran and Prabhakaran ended up with a victory for the non Vellalas. Prabhakaran fought against not only the so called Sinhala Buddhist hegemony of the pundits but against the Vellala domination as well.

The killings of Tamil leaders by the LTTE which was not only an anti Sinhala Buddhist movement but an anti Vellala movement reflected the nature of the struggle of the non Vellalas. An accurate grasp of history as far as possible is essential in solving a “problem” and reconciliation between the Tamils and the Sinhalas is possible only if we understand what has happened in history. The Sinhalas never wanted a separate state nor wanted the Tamils to leave Sri Lanka and it was the Tamils influenced by the myths spread by the English speaking Vellalas who agitated for a separate state. Prabhakaran also took about thirty years to realize his folly of fighting against the Sinhalas, and it will take another thirty or so to reach reconciliation between the Tamils and the Sinhalas. Thirty years is roughly the period of one generation and the government should address the next generation of Tamils in order to achieve this most wanted reconciliation.

Published on "The Nation" newspaper 27th March 2011.
Copyright Prof. Nalin De Silva