Northern Provincial Council Chief Minister Justice C.V. Wigneswaran has put out a call to commission an Expert Panel with the help of the Tamil Diaspora to study several evidences that have surfaced so far and bring out the history of Tamil people in the Island of Sri Lanka supported by evidence.
Justice Wigneswaran, who announced his request while delivering his address at the Hindu Research Conference held in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the All Ceylon Hindu Congress, where he participated as the Chief Guest, and all throughout his address he insisted the righteous duty of the Tamil people to bring out ancient truths about the Tamil people of the Islad of Sri Lanka and make them known to the world.
“Today we are cheating ourselves as a fallen nation. Likewise the Majority people are showing to the world that there are the living nation. I have put forward my idea that the Historical outputs should come soon, so as to demonstrate that we are not a fallen nation, although un-necessary persons may get elected in the election. If we lead a blind, deaf and dumb life, without bringing out the truth, our future generations will be drastically affected”, he said.
Following is the full text of his speech:
This is a time when the All Ceylon Hindu Congress is celebrating its 60th anniversary. It should have been the reason that they have made this occasion into a Hindu Research Conference. Officials of our Hindu Congress will say that the human life goes through four phases, in accordance with the Hindu Civilization. They are called “Ashiramams”. They are Celibaterian Ashiramam, Homely Ashiramam, Penancial Ashiramam and Ascetic Ashiramam.
In a time when the life expectancy of humans had increased, Celibaterian life may be taken as the period from birth to about 20 years. We can assume the matrimonial life with its enjoyment and relishing will extend to around fortieth year. The panicle period for balancing the worldly accounts, handing over what are to be handed over and making one ready for the retirement may be said to extend up to sixty years. Even the Government had made laws for the employees to go towards home at sixty. The age of sixty is the period when we enter the fourth stage, the Ascetic Ashiramam. Let us consider what happens then. We, who had enjoyed, and relished, met the ups and downs up to that time had remained without no time to think about us. We start thinking about, who are we? Why had we born? Towards which we are going? and What is our long term objective? The time we start analyse about us is the Ascetic period. Our All Ceylon Hindu Congress had made this into a Hindu Research Conference, identifying that it had reached the Ascetic period it seems. They have indirectly indicated to us that, the time is ripped to analyse ourselves.
Even politically we should say that, the time has come to analyse about ourselves. Upto this day the history of our country had been distorted and falsified by the governments which came to power one after the other for private political reasons and erroneous historical information were fed into our student society. The time has come now to research into what is the truth and tell it to the world. If we say it ourselves we will be brand us as Tigers and extremists. A compulsion had arisen now for an international team of historical experts should research about the Tamil people of Sri Lanka and the Hindu religion and evidence based out put soon. The local historian are either afraid to tell the truth or tend to deliberately try to distort it. As of today several types of excavations and stone inscriptions are clamouring to make the truth known to the world. My respected history professor is here. He knew about them.
If an international team of historical experts bring out a evidence supported output regarding, Who were the people who were living here before Buddhism came here? What was the language they were speaking? and What are their traditions?, all erroneous conclusions that are prevailing here now will have to be thrown away. The Tamil-Hindu brethren of the Diaspora, should come forward to commission such a research team. I am sure that they will come forward for this. There are people in this country today, who is saying that Ravanan is a Sinhalese. The oppression of the majority is being activated beyond limits because our remaining without studying things like, how and when the Sinhala language originated, and that they got the name after beginning to use that language. We should not hesitate to be aware of the truth and say it. Hence such research is needed very much importantly in this stage of the period. We thank all those souls who had understood this and transformed this conference into a research conference.
I noticed that the 3rd session tomorrow will review about the History of Hindu Religion and Archaeology. I expect that thy will study in that session about, Who were the ancient tribes of Sri Lanka, where did they live, and What was the connection between them and the South Indian clans. If we do not reveal the truth and live like blind, deaf and dumb, our future generation will be affected. Many of us have the notion that we came with the invading Cholas in 10th century. A woman graduate of the Peradeniya University asked me like that. She asked me whether we came in 10th century. We should research into this and say that they are wrong, on basis of evidences to the country and world. We should make aware the world that we also came in the 10th century and we have lived here thousands of years prior to that also.
When the History Professors are here I am hesitant to speak about the History of Hindu Religion or Archaeology. But the books they have written are the roots to our conclusions. They are the treasury of our ideas. But we had to pose a question at the Professors. My question is that, what is wrong in speaking firmly the words we have been speaking hesitatively. When Professor Indrakumar said that there are evidences to show that there were permanent Tamil settlements in 10th century, it made some politicians to scream that Tamil came and settle here in 10th century. It is true that, we had a period when we did not have remains or evidences to write about our history. But various stone inscriptions and evidences acquired now should be immediately made public and the world should be made aware about what they say. If any barriers are put in this path, it should also be made known to the world. This is a period when the foreign intellectuals are well aware of our fate. Hence we will be benefitted by telling these.
When I recently went to countries like America and England, I understood two things. Over brethren had not excluded Tamil. They had not excluded Tamil Traditions. They have not forgotten Hindu Religion. Neither had they forgotten the Hindu Religious traditions. On the contrary they are toiling hard to introduce and instil Tamil consciousness, Hindu Religious consciousness Mastery in Tamil, interest in Hindu Religion into their descendants. Next, they are eager to research into Tamil Traditions or Hindu traditions and make them known to the world and for them to be of assistance to that. They are making the foreign intellectuals aware of our traditions. That is why I say that an international panel of historical experts with the help of our Diaspora brethren should be commissioned to research into whatever evidences of ours that have surfaced and bring out publications of our history supported by the evidences.
As I told you earlier, the foreign people are well aware of our situation. They have good knowledge of what is happening here. If Historians with reputation undertake research and bring out research works about our history, in an appropriate way, then, the truths and lies of the history that had been presented in altered and distorted forms may be revealed. Once I went to Dacca to attend the Law Conference of the SAARC countries. Then a senior Sinhalese attorney at law said that all in Bangladesh looked like our Sinhalese and said we are all Arians. But I immediately said that, they actually are looking like Dravidians, jokingly. But that was the actual truth.
The power base of our country will not change itself without the help of the foreign countries and the pressure of the international community. Hence it will not be useful if our researches come out in only Tamil. They must come out in foreign languages at least after translating them into foreign languages. We have no glory in telling about old stories within ourselves. If the wisdom is good foreigners shall respect it, said Bharathy. But if we create anything by ourselves, Tiger label is put on them. In this period we had to toil to create good wisdom with the help of foreigners.
You may remember that a group of Buddhist monks preventing the publication of the 2nd edition of Professor Sunil Ariyaratne’s book, “Themala Bowthayo” or “Tamil Buddhists”. They prevented the publication because they feared that, if Tamils had been Buddhists for some times, the arguments that, whatever remains that are available, came to exist because the Sinhalese had left them would not have held any water.
I happened to see a book in the house of one person. Some months back, Sri Lankan Tourist Board published several publications so as to attract Indian Tourist. These published matters showed that Ramayana Characters and events were connected to locations and places and other things here .This was done in order to bring the Ramayanam period in level with the period of today’s Sri Lanka. I happened to see one of these at this house. I saw that the book had been published with more than thirty places being identified and linked to the Ramayana period. I am aware of the conflicting ideas, whether the Lankapuri mentioned in Ramayana is actually our Sri Lanka. I am also aware of questions being asked whether Ramayanam is a fiction or it had actually happened. What I am trying to say is something else. The author of Mahavamsa had gone to say a factious story to develop Buddhism, but the present day majority people are spreading ideas not conforming the history with the factious story as the basis. They are expressing ideas to mean that Ramayana is a record of events that had actually happened. In that case, I request our respected Historical Teachers to analyse through a view of what kind of conclusions could the research into Ramayanam could give us.
We cannot change some religious thoughts which have rooted deeply in the minds of the people. For example, our Buddhist people believe that Lord Buddha came to Sri Lanka thrice during his time and solve several conflicts. There are some stories that Lord Buddha had come to Sri Lanka even before Buddhism coming to Sri Lanka. Nobody had seem to raised questions on how the people identified the person who came here as Buddha if Buddhism had not come to Sri Lanka. If Lord Buddha had come here in the era of Buddhism, then, it will not be appropriate to say that his religion was brought by Mahindha Thero in a later period. Unacceptable ideas like these are prevailing among Sinhala people. Nobody can change them. But if the truths are made known to them on the basis of the available evidences through international experts, with the passage of time they will be compelled to accept them. It is likely that, the people understanding over the time, the gap between myths and meaningful historical stories.
When we recently adopted the Genocide resolution, My Sinhalese friends wondered “Was it Wigneswaran who adopted a resolution with such an aversion?”. “They cannot legally prove that genocide did occur…. Also, their accusations are spread over 67 years. Questions were raised as to who are accused by him? Which Government he is accusing? I replied them that I have brought this resolution to make them think. Only if you understand what had happened, reconciliation could be created among us. Only if the truth is known by us we could walk towards reconciliation I said. Viewing genocide through legal means is only one angle. Who perpetrated genocide? Is it genocide? Are there evidences? … These are legally asked questions. I am telling about social matters. What had happened to us? I am telling about how in my young days you had driven away the Tamil people who were living wide spreadly and claimed the whole of south for your society only, I told them.
People of other races had read our resolution and are well aware of what had happened in Sri Lanka. I was amazed by the amount of knowledge, the white people of countries like, America and Britain, had acquired regarding our situation. Apart from what had happened to us, they are also aware of our tradition. But they demand historically acceptable works. I was compelled to mention about the genocide resolution here so as to indicate to you that, it is your responsibility to provide that to them. Today we are cheating ourselves that we are a fallen nation. Likewise, the majority people are showing themselves as a living race. I suggested that the historical outputs should come soon to point out that we are not a fallen race, even if unwanted people get elected in the elections. Our sisters and brothers should not grieve that I am talking politics here. Our historical distortions and errors are the basis of the politics of this country.
Politics is the factor which integrated the Tamil people who were living as a majority in two provinces with the people of the other seven provinces and looked at them as a minority. When the British ruled us in 1919 they directed us race wise and did the needful to give them the necessities. The leaders of the Sinhala people said that government should not act race wise but, should act area wise. They said that, the country should be divided into areas and a situation should be created where the people of the areas could rule themselves. Although the people of the Northern Province had opposed it, Sir Ponnampalam Ramanathan, who is a relative of my mother, strongly insisted that that we should make way to area wise elections if we want to change Sri Lanka into a integrated and united country and the leader of Jaffna people, Hon Sabapathy, accepted his proposal. Our problems started from there. Sir Ponnampalam Arunasalam is a very good man. But, he could not comprehend the Sinhalese leaders around him.
In 1930s, Sinhalese leaders formed a “Sinhalese only” cabinet. They passed the “ Sinhala only” law in 1956.Hon Arunasalam acted without understanding the hidden agenda of the Sinhalese leaders to side-line the Tamils, knowing very well the calibre of the Tamils. Another person who made a mistake like him was Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru, a former Prime Minister of India. He was in position of being unable to climb down from peak he was on. Wisdom dawned on him only after China occupied some areas belonging to India. Hence, we are in a situation where we had to act with an awareness of the attitude of our rivals. The foundation of their efficiency is the myths they have contorted. If we prove historically that they are only myths, there foundations will be shaken in the world arena. That entails the report of the International research group. That is why I am requesting for a research team.
Next we will delve into the six decade long history of our Hindu Congress. Our Congress had engaged in spiritual services, essential social services, and above all in educational services. Our congress was successful in publishing several publications. The Congress had in the past been successful in publishing several publications like meaningful “Indu Oli” publications regarding deities, volumes with religious thoughts and handbooks for Hindu devotees.
They have lamented that they have not tasted success in level with which they have indulged in certain matters. We will go into this matter now. It had been told that, the Sivathondar teams (Saiva volunteers teams), had not transformed themselves well, in efficiently and their activities lagging behind. They have told that the youth society had not shown much interest in Saiva Vithahar Training. The officials of the Congress had also complained that, the tribunal created to solve the current problems in the temples had not seems to have induced much interest.
It is our duty to make them win in these matters also. As far as the Northern Province is concerned, several public services are seen awaiting people to carry them out. Our village people are waiting in the hope of young girls and boys will come and do some constructive way through shramadana. The Congress had find out from the Saiva Volunteers whether will not come and clean the environment of some villages. They could join hands with our Department of Agriculture and Department of Rural development in cleaning the environments of villages. They can plant trees. If it is necessary, a fund could be formed with contributions from the public to provide an allowance to meet daily needs of the volunteers. The Saiva Volunteer teams could do the needful to keep the environment of the Saiva temples clean. The hoe-service(Ulavara pani) of Thiunavukarasu Nayanar was just that. If resourceful controls and incomes are provided to the young boys and girls, I believe that, the will come forward to join themselves with these Village awakening schemes. There are many, who are waiting for permanent jobs. I believe that, if, village revival, beatification social service are linked to provide a chance to do some service and if we help to derive some income from it then, we could create a momentum in the Saiva Volunteers teams. This sort of services are becoming expanded scientifically and well organized. The service organization like Sarvodaya are providing seminars on this. Our Saiva Volunteers teams should get adequate Training. They must be convinced that the villages in the Northern Province could develop and prosper because of them. Our Congress should do the needful to open a small office for this purpose coordinate the services of the volunteers and monitor them. We could inquire from people who are currently being trained as Saiva Vithahars will volunteer it indulge in Saivaism Research. We should learn whether they, while studying Hinduism will indulge in research about our Hindu temples, their traditions and the impacts by war and tell the congress about their findings. As far as the Northern Province is concerned, we should provide the means for such people to do this.
Finally some words about the tribunals. When I was serving as the District Judge of Batticaloa, one thing I found out was how to legally rob the temples. Every day, several temple conflicts used to come before us. Even for very minor matters big Attorneys were engaged. When I try to find out what is happening, I was shocked to find out that the trustees of the temple were desirous to come to the courts. If a trustee has a case, then the temple properties had to provide sponsorship for the case. The Temple finances were obtained today Attorneys and then shared among the trustee and the attorney concerned. They engaged in legal robberies. This why the attorneys wanted to carry on with the case even there is a likelihood of compounding the disputes.
There is statute regarding religious assets for Buddhists. If a statute for administering Hindu temples is formulated the ways and means of solving the conflicts of the Hindu temples could be accommodated in it. The Hindu Congress should pay attention on this.
I see that the agenda of the next few days had not shown particularly anything about Temple administration. However, when some discussions arise regarding them or things closer to them, our learned people could study about formulating a new law inclusive of Hindu Temple administration and exchange their ideas. I know that, there are several complexities in the Temple administration. For example we should consider that as there are characteristics for each clan, there are temple traditions to each clan in Batticaloa. When we try to introduce the Temple administrations in force in other areas and Provinces to the people the area, we will have to consider unique traditions of the respective areas.
There are a variety of Professors and Lectures who have religious knowledge. We can take action to constitute a group of them to prepare a draft statute for Temple administration. Later we could try to make it into a law.
Don’t be confused about me saying earlier about panel to compound Temple conflicts and saying now about making changes in the law. Only If there is a law, panels could be implemented. When anybody can act according to their own desires, nobody could be compelled to come before the panels. That is why I am telling that, the changes should be made in the laws.
The All Ceylon Hindu Congress must take into consideration the experiences acquired on the way to this date and wish them all success in acting with maturity and prophetically in traversing the path of enhancement of the lives of Hindu people.
I am a person who has unwavering faith in our future being prosperous. My best wishes and blessings be with your Congress, who after completing sixty years, are about to undertake the voyage into the future, strengthened by more experience to be acquired on the way and victoriously travel the path to progress. I take my leave wishing all a prosperous life.