Colonialism behind Sri Lanka's Conflicts

Paul Flewers hatchet.job at
Fri May 12 11:07:10 MDT 2000

Jay Moore cited the following: < Sinhalese outnumbered Tamils about 4 to 1, and
by the time Sri Lanka gained independence from Britain in 1948, there was
widespread resentment among them toward the minority they felt were running the
country. Over the next decade, this developed into a powerful Sinhalese identity
movement that
succeeded in replacing English with Sinhala as the official language. In 1972,
the government replaced the country's English name, Ceylon, with Sri Lanka,
which is Sinhala. The Tamils, who had had an independent kingdom in the north of
the country until the late 18th century, argued for creating a federation like
Switzerland... That proposal would have created Tamil-speaking states in the
north and east, while the remaining states of the federation would have spoken
Sinhala. But the Sinhalese political leadership rejected the proposal, and
tensions rose as the Tamils were pressured to comply with the Sinhalese-only
policy -- a social dynamic like the French-English tensions in Quebec. >
List members can find out how the Lanka Sama Samaja Party, the Ceylonese section
of the Fourth International, dealt with the language question when it first
arose, in Blows Against the Empire: Trotskyism in Ceylon, the Lanka Sama Samaja
Party, 1935-64, a special issue of Revolutionary History. Check our site, or order from Barry Buitekant at   Paul

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