4th February 2001
Sports| Mirror Magazine
By Lt. Col. A.S. AmarasekeraThere was a lot of controversy with regard to when the last millennium ended and the new millennium commenced.
Whether the new millennium commenced on January 1, 2001 or not, an important event did take place for the survival of the Sinhela nation on January 2001. This was the inauguration of a new Association by the name of Sinhala Jatika Sangamaya.
The objectives of the Association are to engage in all lawful activities in order to:-
- Safeguard and protect the unitary character and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka and advocate constitutional and other measures necessary to prevent the disintegration of the country.
- Preserve and promote the rights of the Sinhela people and in particular counter anti-Sri Lanka and anti-Sinhala propaganda and render assistance to Sinhalese who are displaced, oppressed and subjected to discrimination, while ensuring the rights of the minority groups.
- Oppose terrorism in all its forms and work towards its eradication.
- Ensure that the democratic rights of the people are safeguarded through institutional and other measures and by establishing a new political culture.
- Restore and preserve the national heritage and culture and help strengthen and develop the national economy.
- Ensure that the environment and the national assets are safeguarded and developed.
- Ensure good government through an impartial, responsive and accountable administration, the integrity and honesty where of is unimpeachable.
- Clean the body politic of Sri Lanka and particularly the public sector of corruption, waste and sycophancy.
Very lofty ideals indeed and the sooner they are implemented, the better for this nation now gasping for breath to survive. The builders of a civilization in a country could lose their right to nationhood through an open or hidden invasion. While an open invasion is executed through a declaration of war, a hidden invasion could be executed over a length of time through intrigue.
The white settlers who migrated to Australia took over that country and the Aborigines lost the claim to nationhood in a land that was once their very own. The Red Indians of America suffered a similar fate at the hands of the white settler. There is an old English saying, "A nation has no right to a country if they cannot defend it." The Aborigines and the Red Indians using bows and arrows could not fight the white settlers who were using guns and cannons and therefore they lost their right to nationhood.
Here in Sri Lanka, there was a different situation. Arunachalam has written that "The Sinhalese voluntarily surrendered their island to the British Sovereign with full reservation of their rights and liberties. They may thus claim to be one of the few ancient races of the world who have not been conquered."
The first white settlers namely the Portuguese were only able to rule the Maritime Provinces from 1500 to 1658. The Dutch who defeated the Portuguese ruled these provinces from 1658 to 1796. In 1796, the Dutch handed these provinces to the British. Though colonialists ruled these Maritime Provinces, Sinhela as a nation existed in the interior of the country until the 2nd of March 1815. Senkadagala in Kandau-dapasrata was the last capital of the Kingdom of Sinhela.
The British never captured the Kingdom of Sinhela in March 1815 as the Kandyan Convention proves. The Sinhalese leaders due to the disunity that existed among them nevertheless ceded it to the British on a platter becoming victims of British intrigue. The 1818 and 1848 rebellions are testimony to how valiantly the Sinhalese fought to regain their country taken over by the British through intrigue.
"The story of British rule in the Kandyan country during 1817 and 1818 cannot be related without shame. In 1819, hardly a member of the leading families, the heads of the people, remained alive; those whom the sword and the gun had spared, cholera and small pox and privation had slain by hundreds," writes Sir Archibald Lawrie, one time Acting Chief Justice. Then there is Dr. John Davy who writes "When a district rose in rebellion, one or more military posts were established in it; the dwellings of the residing inhabitants were burnt; their fruit trees were often cut down and the country was scoured in all directions by small detachments, who were authorized to put to death all who made opposition, or were found with arms in their hands... when one considers this rebellion and its consequences, one almost regrets, that we ever entered the Kandyan country."
The British who became the colonial rulers of the whole country after the Sinhalese leaders voluntarily surrendered their island to them, found it difficult to pronounce the word Kandaudapasrata and therefore first referred to this area as Kanda and later as Kandy. Similarly they found it difficult to pronounce the word Sinhela and therefore changed the name of the country from Sinhela to Ceylon during their rule. It was therefore to Ceylon that the British granted independence on the 4th of February 1948 and not to Sinhela the nation that was ceded to them. This error whether intentional or not was to lay a foundation to the gradual loss of the Sinhela national identity.
Instead of changing the name Ceylon to Sinhela, our own Post-Independent national leaders complicated matters further by naming Sinhela as Sri Lanka. The majority race of this country, the Sinhalese, have thus been deprived of nationhood but sadly remain unaware of this very reality. Just as much as France is the land of the French people, Germany is the land of the German people, England is the land of the English people, Sinhale is the land of the Sinhalese people. Today's treacherous political leaders under the influence of western countries are now striving to establish a Sri Lankan nation that would ultimately result not only in the destruction of the Sinhela nation but also in the extinction of a 2500-year-old Sinhalese race. These leaders brand those who speak on behalf of the Sinhalese as chauvinists.
In 1931, a great Sinhalese patriot Anagarika Dharmapala predicted the events that are now taking place and cautioned the Sinhalese in this regard. He is no more, yet it is heartening to note that his efforts at trying to prevent the destruction of the Sinhalese identity have even at this very late stage, become one of the objectives of the newly inaugurated Sinhala Jatika Sangamaya. As to whether this organization will succeed in its efforts or not only time will tell. It is however, better for this organization to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all.
The Sinhela nation is fast losing its national identity partly due to the folly of its own people and partly due to a hidden invasion, be it the result of former British intrigue or the hidden Tamil separatist agenda. The Sinhalese political leadership remains too complacent to realize the reality, being more interested in fighting each other for political power to rule the country. The disunity among our Sinhalese leaders resulted in the Kingdom of Sinhela falling into the hands of the British. Is history repeating itself?
It is the responsibility of each and every one of us to prevent such a catastrophe. Therefore those who love the country and its people should either join hands with or give support to the work that the Sinhala Jatika Sangamaya hopes to implement in the future. Relations and friends here and abroad should be woken from their slumber and motivated this New Year to build a firm resolve to preserve the Sinhela heritage and the unity and territorial integrity of our motherland for posterity.
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