With the total decimation of the LTTE the most abused phrases of Sri Lanka's history: "Tamil homeland and the grievances against Tamils" are being shouted from roof tops with a renewed vigor. These total illusions, products of Elite Tamil politicians from Jaffna (most of them are Singaporeans and Malaysians by birth) have been a Trojan horse to make an attempt to carve out a mono-ethnic entity in a large part of Sri Lanka
This article that appears in today's island (08.06.09') sheds more lights to this monumental myth "the Tamil Homeland". It quotes some works by the Tamil and non-Tamil historians. It basically proves that the Tamils in the North and East were the most recent immigrants from India and the areas were primarily inhabited by Sinhalese.
Some of the extracts from the article are quoted below for your easy reference:
"Even Tamil writers have contributed to the view that the Jaffna Peninsula was originally inhabited by the Sinhalese people from the 6th Century BC up to the Portuguese Period. Rev. S. Gnana Praksar, O.M.I., has said: "Mr. Horsburgh's article on Sinhalese Place Names in the Jaffna Peninsula [C.A. Vol. 11 Part 1, pp54-58] places beyond doubt the fact of "a Sinhalese occupation of the Jaffna Peninsula antecedent to the Tamil period". Mudaliyar C. Rasnayagam says "That Jaffna was occupied by the Sinhalese earlier than by the Tamils is seen not only in the place names of Jaffna but also in the habits and customs of the people. The system of branding cattle with the communal brand by which not only the caste but also the position and family of the owner could be traced, was peculiarly Sinhalese. The very ancient way of wearing the hair in the form of a konde behind the head, was very common among the people of Jaffna till very recent times" (Ancient Jaffna, p. 384).
Even the Wanni District did not seem to have a sizable Tamil population at that time: "If the deserted fields and solitudes of the Wanni are ever again to be re-peopled and re-tilled, I am inclined to believe that the movement for that purpose will come from the Tamils of Jaffna" (p.98.8). The population of North Central and Eastern Provinces was so depleted that there had been also a proposal to effect "colonisation from the coast of India... but the suggestion is uncongenial of attempting the revival of agriculture through the instrumentality of Tamils, the very race to whose malignant influence it owes its decay; and any project, to be satisfactory as well as successful, should contemplate the benefit of the natives, and not strangers in Ceylon" (p.903). Therefore even as late as 1859, this British scholar considered Tamils from India as strangers to Sri Lanka.
The inhabitants consisted of two distinct races of people. The savage Bedas [Beddhas, the Jungle Folk or Veddahs] then, as now, occupied the large forests, particularly in the northern parts; the rest of the island was in possession of the Cingalese" (p. 05). He repeats this remarkable statement again in chapter VIII of his book. "When the Portuguese first arrived on the island, the whole of it, with the exception of the woods inhabited by the wild Bedas, was possessed by one race" (p. 122).
Although Sankili was a Tamil on his mother's side, he did not make Tamil the official language of Jaffna. For all purposes, Sinhala was considered to be the official language throughout the island, including the Jaffna Peninsula. When Sankili's conduct became intolerable, the people of Jaffna (mostly Sinhalese) petitioned the Portuguese Viceroy in Goa, asking him to replace Sankili with a Sinhalese Prince 'because Jaffna belonged to the Kingdom of Kotte'. This led to the genocide of the Sinhalese inhabitants of Jaffna by Sankili. "After the massacre of the Christians, Sankili's, insane fury longed for more victims and he fell upon the Buddhists of Jaffna who were all Sinhalese. He expelled them beyond the limits of the country and destroyed their numerous places of worship," says Rasanayagam, quoting Yalpana Vaipava Malai."
Rebel of kandy will deal with the other monumental myth: "the grievances of Tamil" in a future post.