By C.V. Wigneswaran –

Justice C.V. Wigneswaran MP

Someone is Colombo asked me; What are you trying to tell the Sinhala-Buddhists? Do you realize you are hurting their feelings?

My response was; I was born among the Sinhalese and Muslims. I consider them my brothers and sisters. But when we stumble upon the truth it is no use covering it and hiding it. If someone were to tell me I was not born to my parents but was adopted by them, how will I feel? It is the same feeling the Sinhala Buddhists undergo when truth dawns upon them. But the truth has to be told. Of course persons of learning, historians, archaeologists and others can verify what I say and prove me wrong. After all I am not infallible. I base my assertions on what I have read and discussed with responsible historians. Some of them are still living. 

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This is why I have asked that a Presidential Commission on History be set up with local Sinhalese, Tamil, and Muslim historians well versed in our ancient history together with internationally recognized Historians and others who are experts in the ancient history of the South East Asian Region to properly bring out the ancient history of the people of this Island.

What I have so far mentioned about our history are; 

1. The original inhabitants of this Island were Tamil speaking. The Tamil language has existed in this Island for over 3000 years continuously.

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 2. The Sinhalese language is quite recent. It was formed around the 6th and 7th Centuries AD. Its first Grammar Sidat Sangarawa was written in the Thirteenth Century, just 700 years ago. 

3. There were no Sinhalese before the birth of the Sinhala language which is a mixture of Tamil and Pali. 

4. If so, how did the Sinhalese become the majority community in this Island is a logical question to ask. The answer is simple. There were only Tamil speaking people in this Island before the birth of the Sinhala language. They were Saivaites until Buddhism was introduced. For quite a few Centuries there were Demala Baudhayos in this Country (Tamil Buddhists). (Vide Book by Professor Sunil Ariaratne named the title Demala Baudhayo). Dushta Kamini (Dutugemunu) was a Buddhist Tamil. Ellalan was a Saivaite Tamil. The Buddhist remains in the North and East and elsewhere too, are from the era in which a large section of Tamils were Buddhists. While the Tamils of the North and East reverted to Saivaism due to the impact that the Bakthi Movement in South India had on them, the Tamils elsewhere continued to be Buddhists until the Sinhala language was born. It was thereafter that the term Sinhala Buddhists came into currency.

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 5. Present day Buddhists have held on to a fictional story written by a Buddhist Priest for the glorification of Buddhism as he says so after every stanza in the Mahavamsa, and based their history on fiction and fantasies. There is no reference to the Vijaya story, that he and 700 followers were chased out by his father and they left by boat by sea, anywhere in the North Indian States’ History. 700 would have been a huge amount 2000 years ago. If the story was true, history or literature of these Northern States like Bengal or Orissa should have had a corresponding story. There aren’t any, unless recently concocted! 

6. The Mahavamsa itself does not refer to the Sinhala language or Community anywhere in its text since it was written in Pali and the Sinhala language was yet to be born in the 5th Century AD when Mahavamsa was written. But it refers to 27 Tamil Chieftains whom Dushta Kamini had to win over to get to the Palace of Ellalan in Anuradhapura.

7. Thus the identification of Tamil Kings from Deva Nampiya Theesan downwards until the Sinhala language was born, as Sinhalese Kings, was not correct.

8. It were the Tamil speaking people who became Sinhalese after the birth of the mixed language Sinhala, mixing Tamil with Pali words. A similar phenomenon is taking place in Chennai today. Lots of literate Tamils in Chennai are speaking Tamil mixed with a lot of English words and the expectation is that a new language called Tamlish would soon be born. The DNA tests have shown Sinhalese to be Dravidians. Therefore my theory about Tamils becoming Sinhalese is backed by science.

9. Tamils of Sri Lanka are not immigrants during the time of the Chola occupation in the 10th Century AD as many Sinhalese believe. The original Tamils were probably those whose forefathers lived in the Kumari Kandam now under the Indian Ocean, in the Province called Ealu (seven). Ealu gave way to the words Hela in Sinhala and Eelam in Tamil. It probably was the seventh province of Kumari Kandam which extended from South India to Mauritius in the West and to Western Australia in the East.

There had been three Sangam Periods among the Tamils. The First Sangam spanned a period of 4000 odd years. The Second a period of 3000 odd years and the third a period of around 1800 years. Tamil Literature that came out during those periods are identified by later literature. The First and Second Sangams belonged to the time of the existence of the Kumari Kandam which was later engulfed by sea. The Russian Expeditions in the Indian Ocean which started some years ago was suddenly stopped. Now with the finding of the Keeladi Civilisation in Madurai, it is high time the expeditions in the Indian Ocean started again to confirm the existence of the Kumari Kandam Civilisation. 

So while the Early Tamils who were serpent worshippers (Nagas) continued for centuries in this Island they were joined later inter alia by Pandyas, Cheras, Pallavas, Cholas and Ariya Chakravarthies and so on who left their people back here. Some of them spoke Tamil while in later periods others spoke Sinhalese. It is no wonder that the Rajapaksas trace their family connections to Telugu speaking people. Mahinda was much respected by the Thirupathi Telugu speaking priesthood. The Bandaranaikes came from the Pandaram people who were Treasurers of Tamil Kings.

So the Tamils and Sinhalese today are mixtures of various South Indian communities apart from being the descendants of the original inhabitants who lived in the Ealu area of Kumari Kandam still to be scientifically investigated.

Coming to your question what I am trying to tell my Sinhalese brethren is that we are not racially different – the Sinhalese and Tamils. Some diehard politicians and pseudo intellectuals have presented a false notion of history and conditioned our Sinhalese brethren to believe a lop-sided false view of history. In fact just sixty or seventy years ago a Committee sat to collect all Tamil names of villages, temples and place names in the North and East. Thereafter the Committee gave Sinhala names to those Tamil place names. Now they identify the Sinhala place names as the original names and insist that Tamil names were given during the time of the Cholas implying before that the place names were Sinhala and the areas were Sinhala Buddhist areas. Best instance is the name Weli Oya given to the original Tamil place name Manal Aru. Before 100 years nowhere does the name Weli Oya appear anywhere for Manal Aru.

It is not that I am hurting the Sinhalese but the Sinhalese politicians and others including Buddhist Priests have hurt us tremendously. When I come out with the truth you say I am hurting the Sinhala Buddhists.