By Sasanka De Silva - Sultanate of Oman
It is the common and general misconception that the Tamils in Sri Lanka
took arms against the Sinhalese because of the discriminatory practices
by the latter against the minority Tamils.
There are two types of Tamils in Sri Lanka. One is the Sri Lankan
Tamils and the others the Indian Tamils. The latter were brought to the
island by the British to work in Tea plantations. They comprise 5.6% of
the population. On the other hand, the Sri Lankan Tamils whom the LTTE
terrorists claim that they are duty bound to liberate and are calling
for the Eelam are 12.6%. Out of which, 6.5% live in the Northern part
of Sri Lanka, 2.7% in the East and the rest, 3.4% live in the other
parts of the country.
If the discriminations against the minority were so prevalent then the
numbers would have drastically been different. Almost half of the Sri
Lankan Tamils are living side by side with the majority and other
ethnic groups in Sri Lanka in other parts of Sri Lanka. It is a fact
none can deny.
The Tamils in Sri Lanka or for that matter any minority is free and
entitled to live any where in the country, free to own properties or
run business, practice their religion & customs, to have Education in
his own choice of language, obtained Employments, Medical and Health
benefits, like the majority Sinhalese. Perhaps there may have been
isolated cases of Tamils being denied employment opportunity in one of
the key sensitive areas of employment such as National Security for
that matter. Given the prevailing War scenario in the country, can
anyone be blamed for such actions and it may have been done only
because of the sensitivity of the issue and not because of the minority
state of that person.
Furthermore, there are special Public holidays declared by the majority
Sinhalese government on important Hindu religious and festival days to
enable the minority to celebrate and partake in their own religious
and cultural festivals.
Every Government document is printed in all three national languages
and Tamils are free to submit them in their own mother tongue, may it
be the Birth registration, School Admission, Marriage Certificate to
All the road maps are printed in all three languages and every public
transport services routes are displayed in all three National languages
and not to mention the road signs. Even if you go to any part of the
furthest south of the island, one would find everything is available
even in Tamil as well.
I think that this is a very unique situation, although some Tamils who
have other vested interests in this so-called minority (or read
Terrorist) issue do not wish to accept it. Otherwise, how could they be
able to reap the benefits from the developed western counties, while
staying there as political refugees in those countries? No war means No
more staying there in comfort.
I believe that no Tamil living (I think except the ones living in Tamil Nadu) in any other part of the world, let it be in India, Singapore, Malaysia, Fiji etc etc or the ones that
are barking from those places like United Kingdom, Canada, Australia
and other developed countries have such privileges and benefits, like
the ones that are enjoyed by the minority Sri Lankan Tamils, while
living in as a minority as well in those places. If that is what, one
calls the discriminatory practices of the majority Sinhalese against
the minority Sri Lankan Tamils, then either the person does not know
the meaning of the word Discrimination or he is a hypocrite.
Thai Pongal is a declared public holiday in Sri Lanka but it is not in India today.
Ask yourself why and then you will realized that Sri Lanka is the best place for any minority to live.
This was written and appeared in Daily New newspaper in Sri Lanka in Mid 2000.
I am reposting this not to engage in any debate or arguments again but simply for the benefit of few who have shown sign of " Selective Amnesia " after the recent Presidential election in 2015.