Anointed Federalists and Anandasangaree
28 June 2007
also Sanmugam Sabesan -
11 July 2007]
I write this commentary to rebuke the recent self-serving opportunistic
pronouncements and bloated promotional gigs of Mr.Veerasingham Anandasangaree
which had appeared in the Colombo and Chennai newsmedia projecting himself as
the sane voice of Federalism.
Should one care about the sophomoric antics of an
over-the-hill politico, who never shed some sweat and blood for the cause of
Federalism in Sri Lanka and Eelam during his active political career spanning
from 1960 to 2004?
I, for one, do care since it is not fair to the real
Tamil Federalists, who stood for election on the federal platform and got
elected as peoples representatives among the Tamil-speaking people including
Muslims of Eastern Province between 1952 and 1970 in six general elections.
Quite a number of these Tamil federalists (elected MPs and foot-soldiers)
suffered political harassment, hooligan attack, detention, house arrest and
property loss for their political conviction on federalism. Thus it is insulting
to the memories of these activists to allow an impostor like Anandasangaree, to
blabber banalities as a die hard federalist.
Bare Facts on Federalism in Ceylon
Here are some bare facts on the emergence, popularity and denouement of
federalism in the blessed island.
First, the founding father of federalism, who actively promoted this concept in
the island for 25 years (from 1950 to 1974) was
who launched the Tamil Federal Party aka Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi, on
December 18, 1949. It is on record that S.W.R.D.Bandaranaike at the beginning
phase of his political career in the 1920s had proposed federalism in the
island. But as one would expect, for politically expedient reasons, he gave up
on federalism following Donoughmore Constitution reforms installed in 1930.
Secondly, federalism as a viable option to save the multi-ethnic,
multi-religious, newly independent Ceylonese state was first put forward among
the Eelam Tamil voters in the 1952 general election by Chelvanayakam.
Thirdly, federalism was supported by the majority of the Eelam Tamils who voted
in the general elections of 1956, March 1960, July 1960, 1965 and 1970.
Fourthly, Anandasangaree never subscribed to the federalist ideals of
Chelvanayakam, and in the four general elections (namely March 1960, July 1960,
1965 and 1970), he stood among the voters among the Kilinochchi constituency
opposing federalism. In the general elections of 1960 and 1965, he was soundly
defeated, when he stood as a candidate of the Trotskyist Lanka Sama Samaja
Party, led by Sinhalese Leftist politicians. In the 1970 election,
Anandasangaree switched his allegiance to the All Ceylon Tamil Congress (ACTC)
and sneaked to the first place and got elected to the Ceylonese parliament for
the first time.
Fifthly, neither Sinhalese nor Muslims ever warmed to the federalism concept
since 1956, though quite a handful of Muslims were elected in the Eastern
Province on Federal Party ticket in 1956, July 1960 and 1962 by-election. Two
notable political pacts signed by Chelvanayakam on the basis of federalism
concept, namely the
Bandaranaike-Chelvanayakam Pact of July 27, 1957 and the
Dudley Senanayake-Chelvanayakam Pact of March 24, 1965 were annulled by the two
Sinhalese prime ministers who wanted to save their faces and political grip
among their Sinhalese constituencies. Muslim politicians of yore also undermined
the federalism concept for selfish community interests by pampering the ruling
Sixthly, after 25 years of active campaigning, non-violent demonstrations
(including satyagraha), house arrests, insults,
major anti-Tamil riots of 1958,
and state-aided Sinhalese colonization in traditional Tamil homelands, in utter
disappointment even Chelvanayakam – the founding father of federalism in Eelam –
gave up federalism (as a lost cause for Eelam Tamils to protect their identity)
in favor of separate state for Tamils
in February 1975.
Seventhly, I have compiled a list of 29 ‘real’ federalists anointed by the Eelam
Tamils between 1952 and 1970 in the general and by-elections. These 29
legislators include four Muslims (M.C.Ahamed, M.S.Kariapper, M.E.H.Mohamed Ali
and M.M.Mustapha, who were elected on Federal ticket, but subsequently all four
deserted the Federal Party). In alphabetical order of names, they are presented
below. The constituencies they represented and the year of elections are given
T.Ahamparam (Mutur – 1960 March, 1960 July)
M.C.Ahamed (Kalmunai – 1960 July)
V.A.Alegacone (Mannar – 1956, 1960 March, 1960 July, 1965, 1970)
A.Amirthalingam (Vaddukoddai – 1956, 1960 March, 1960 July, 1965)
M.Balasundaram (Kopay - 1960 March, 1960 July)
S.J.V.Chelvanayakam (Kankesanthurai – 1956, 1960 March, 1960 July, 1965, 1970)
V.Dharmalingam (Uduvil – 1960 March, 1960 July, 1965, 1970)
K.Jeyakody (Udupiddy – 1970)
V.A.Kandiah (Kayts - 1960 March, 1960 July)
M.S.Kariapper (Kalmunai – 1956)
S.Kathiravelupillai (Kopay – 1965, 1970)
S.M.Manickarajah (Trincomalee – 1963 by-election, 1965)
P.Manickavasagam (Kalkudah – 1960 March, 1960 July)
C.X.Martyn (Jaffna – 1970)
M.E.H.Mohamed Ali (Mutur – 1962 by-election, 1965)
M.M.Mustapha (Pottuvil – 1956)
E.M.V.Naganathan (Nallur – 1960 March, 1960 July, 1965)
V.Navaratnam (Kayts - 1963 by-election, 1965)
V.N.Navaratnam (Chavakachcheri – 1956, 1960 March, 1960 July, 1965, 1970)
B.Neminathan (Trincomalee – 1970)
C.Rajadurai (Batticaloa – 1956, 1960 March, 1960 July, 1965, 1970)
N.R.Rajavarothayam (Trincomalee – 1952, 1956, 1960 March, 1960 July)
S.M.Rasamanickam (Paddiruppu – 1960 March, 1960 July, 1965)
K.P.Ratnam (Kilinochchi - 1965; Kayts - 1970)
X.M.Sellathambu (Vavuniya – 1970)
A.Sivasunderam (Kilinochchi – 1960 March, 1960 July)
A.Thangathurai (Mutur – 1970)
K.Thurairatnam (Point Pedro – 1960 March, 1960 July, 1965, 1970)
C.Vanniasingham (Kopay – 1952, 1956)
The 1970 Election Manifesto of the Federal Party
As Anandasangaree was first elected to the Sri Lankan parliament in May 1970,
under the All Ceylon Tamil Congress label, he never subscribed to the Federal
Party’s election manifesto in 1970, the last time Federal Party issued its
manifesto. When 1977 general elections came around, quite a number of ranking
Tamil federalists had passed away. These included, Chelvanayakam, Naganathan,
Rasamanickam and Alegacone; and the Federal Party itself had
morphed into Tamil
United Liberation Front (TULF),
advocating a separate state for Eelam Tamils.
Now like a donkey braying while cloaked in a horse’s garb, Anandasangaree is
aching for federalism while carrying a phony TULF label. To expose
Anandasangaree’s baloney of newly-found admiration for federalism, for the record, I
provide the details of 1970 Federal Party manifesto, under the 17 items which
were its focal themes. To quote [subheadings in bold-fonted big case letters are
as in the original],
Since in 1960 the Sri Lanka Freedom Party broke its promises to us and there was
a widespread feeling among the Tamil-speaking people that the United National
Party should be offered an opportunity. As a result, in the first place, we had
talks with the United National Party and
an understanding was reached between
its leader, Mr.Dudley Senanayake, and our leader, Mr.Chelvanayakam. On this
basis, we formed a National Government with the United National Party.
Though the Government had failed to keep all the pledges it made to us, we have
however won back at least some of the rights we lost. Our understanding with the
United National Party has not been totally fruitless as claimed by our political
The Sinhala Only Act of 1956 was the only language law of Ceylon that was in
force till 1966. The Tamil Language (Special Provisions) Act
though passed by
the legislature in 1958 remained a dead letter till 1966. On the basis of the
understanding reached between us and the United National Party, regulations with
regard to the use of the Tamil language were presented in Parliament on 8
The legal position of our language today in the Northern Province and Eastern
Province is that, in the transaction of any government business or in government
records, Tamil also should be used. Equal status to Tamil and Sinhala has been
accepted in law in these two provinces.
From the signing of the
Bandaranaike-Chelvanayakam Pact in 1957, planned
colonization of our lands with the Sinhalese people from other provinces has
been stopped. The colonization schemes of Gal Oya, Kantalai and Allai were not
carried out after 1957. But illicit colonization by the Sinhalese continued in
districts like Trincomalee.
Through legal action and through getting watchers appointed to illicit
colonization areas, we took action to control, to some extent such Sinhalese
colonization. Also we took steps to ensure to the Tamil-speaking people, in law,
lands colonized by these people in places like Mutur, Poonakari and in certain
parts of Trincomalee.
We stated in our manifesto of 1965 that no public servant who has been in
service should be made to lose his appointment, increment, promotion,
allowances, etc., on account of the Sinhala Only Act. With regard to the old
entrants who joined the service before 1956, we have fully carried out our
pledge through Treasury Circular No.700.
Our demands were not completely successful with regard to new entrants who
joined the service after 1956. They were given a further extension of three
years to gain proficiency in the Official Language. Also, the standard of
proficiency was reduced to Junior School Certificate level from the Senior
School Certificate level.
We made the government to accept the right of the new entrant Tamil-medium
officers to sit for their promotional examinations through the Tamil medium. The
rule under the earlier government was that new entrant officers should sit their
promotional exams through Sinhala.
We paved the way for the new entrant Tamil clerical servants to gain their
increments if they secured a pass in Tamil typing. The rule under the earlier
government was that such officers should secure a pass in Sinhala typing.
Complete exemption from proficiency in Sinhala has been granted to Tamil
teachers, typists, stenographers, radio announcers, and several categories of
members of the minor staff, who do not need a knowledge of Sinhala for their
duties along with members of the minor staff that were recruited without
Also we were successful during the period of our association with the National
Government in getting deleted, from some important pieces of legislation,
sections that were adverse to the interests of the Tamil-speaking people.
By way of examples could be mentioned the Indo-Ceylon (Implementation) Act,
Registration of Persons Act, and White Paper on Education.
On the basis of our principle that the Tamil-speaking people should be provided
a set-up by which they could enabled to rule themselves. Mr.Dudley Senanayake in
the agreement he reached with us, accepted the principle of decentralization of
power through the setting up of District Councils.
A Bill to set up District Councils was prepared after months of deliberations by
several political parties.
A White Paper embodying this Bill was presented in
Parliament and debated.
In the face of opposition both in the country and even within the Government
party, the Prime Minister,
Mr.Dudley Senanayake abandoned the District Councils
Though we failed to achieve our important demand of District Councils, we
continued to extend our support in the idea of realizing some other rights, the
Prime Minister agreed on. We remained in the Government Parliamentary Group on
the basis of the assurances that a full-fledged university would be set up in
Trincomalee, that the Tamil language regulations would be implemented and that
special attention would be paid towards the long neglected economic development
of the Northern and Eastern Provinces through the development of the
Kankesanthurai harbour, industrial estates in Jaffna, a ferry at Poonakari,
development of transport and the Eastern Province, etc.
Though we continued our support to the Prime Minister, the government failed to
take steps either to set up a University at Trincomalee or to develop the Tamil
areas. But at the same time, the Government was found to engage itself in
several measures that were detrimental to the interests of the Tamil-speaking
The political situation in South Ceylon is not dissimilar to the situations that
prevailed before the general elections of 1965. Of the two political parties
operating in the midst of the Tamil speaking people it is the Ilankai Thamil
Arasu Kadchi alone that stands apart from these lines of combatants.
The political experience of our past five years has emphasized to the utmost the
need for the representatives of the Tamil-speaking people to function as members
of one disciplined political party. Even our political opponents own that the
representations of the Tamil-speaking people must speak in one voice in
The Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi alone, was the only political movement that was
able for the last 20 years to unite the Tamil-speaking people eliminating any
differences of caste or religion or even of geography among the Tamil-speaking
people of the Northern Province, the Eastern Province and the Upcountry areas.
It is the present constitution of Ceylon that paved the way for the
Tamil-speaking people to be pushed down to the level of second class citizens
and thereby destroying their individuality and identity irrespective of whether
their representatives were with their government group or the Opposition group
The Tamil-speaking people of Ceylon also believe that a Federal type of
Constitution that would enable them to look after their own affairs alone, would
safeguard them from total extinction. Only under such a constitution could the
Tamil-speaking people of this country live in dignity and with our birth-right
to independence as equals with our Sinhalese brethren.
It is our firm conviction that division of the country in any form would be
beneficial neither to the country nor to the Tamil-speaking people. Hence we
appeal to the Tamil-speaking people not to lend their support to any political
movement that advocates the bifurcation of our country.
As a prelude to a federal constitution we sought regional autonomy. What we
sought to achieve through the
Bandaranaike-Chelvanayakam Pact and the
Councils, was a decentralization of power to provide for regional autonomy.
However, nothing short of a federal constitution could be an adequate remedy to
the political ills of Tamil-speaking people. We pledge hereby that we will carry
on our struggle for freedom and lead our people towards the goal whatever misery
or misfortune may befall us.
One of the greatest dangers we faced under the unitary constitution was the
erosion and final extinction of our traditional homelands through the deliberate
Sinhalese colonization of our areas, planned by the State. Whatever, we might
boast about equal status to our people all over the country the only safeguard
we have is our traditional areas.
It was because of this that the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi from its inception
had been demanding that state-aided Sinhalese colonization of our areas must be
The Tamil Arasu Kadchi fought against the imposition of
Sinhala Only from 1956,
from both within the Parliament and without. Through the agreement we reached
with the Government, we have achieved, in law, in the Northern and Eastern
Provinces equality of status for Tamil with Sinhala. In the other provinces, we
have achieved for the Tamil-speaking people the legal right to have, in Tamil,
all government publications, notices, gazettes, etc., and also to correspond
with the government in Tamil and to receive replies in Tamil.
We have to continue our struggle to get these rights in law, to be fully
implemented in practice and also to gain for our language the same status in
other provinces as it enjoys in the Northern and Eastern provinces.
By the citizenship laws enacted some
were rendered stateless and by the 1949
amendments to the election laws, their right to vote and hence the
representation they had in Parliament were taken away from them.
We were opposed to these points in the Sirima-Shastri Pact. They were (1)
compulsory repatriation, (2) separate electoral lists for those gaining Ceylon
citizenship, and (3) the granting of Ceylon citizenship in proportion to the
number of persons REPATRIATED. The Indo-Ceylon (Implementation) Act to which we
lent our support in Parliament is bereft of these provisions.
The Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi will work towards the expeditious registration
of Ceylon citizenship and also towards the obtaining of citizenship by those
left out. This registration of citizenship will not only remove the rigours of
statelessness but also will help us regain a part of our strength in the
politics of this country. We cannot accept a position in which the persons thus
registered will be made second class citizens through a place in a separate
We pledged in our manifesto of 1965 that ‘the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi will
fight for the rights of the Tamil-speaking children, throughout the island, to
receive their education from the kindergarten to the University in Tamil’. On
the basis of this pledge, we made the Prime Minister and the Government we
supported, to accept in a Bill presented to Parliament on the 20 November 1967,
after a White Paper on Education that the mother tongue should be the medium of
The Ministry of Education is keen on encouraging the Tamil parents who are
willing to make Sinhala the medium of instruction of their children in the fond
hope of realizing the mirage of government service for their children. School
buildings costing thousands of rupees are hastily put up for the convenience of
even a few Sinhalese children or a handful of Tamil children willing to study in
Sinhala even in places where hundreds of Tamil children suffer for want of
If we give in on the question of medium of instruction of our children, the
Tamil-speaking people will become extinct in this country in one generation. Far
more dangerous than the Official Languages Act is the genocide attempt of the
Ministry of Education through the change in the medium of instruction of the
The Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi considers no struggle too numerous nor any
sacrifice too great to put an end to this genocide attempt and to ensure that
the medium of instruction of a Tamil-speaking child shall be Tamil. We shall
take action to establish institutions like a full-fledged College of Fine Arts
Technical College and a full-fledged University for the Tamil-speaking people.
We will oppose the down-grading of the schools in the Tamil-speaking areas and
also the imposition of Sinhala.
It is a disgrace to this country that the children of Tamil estate workers, who
produce a major portion of the wealth of this country, are denied facilities for
a fair education. Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi will fight for the take-over of
all estate schools by the Government and to upgrade them as in other parts of
the country to the level of junior schools with Tamil as the medium of
instruction, and also to provide for the higher education of these children who
pass out from these junior schools in the Tamil Maha Vidyalayas of the
Steps are being taken in support of the absorption of the Tamil-speaking people
by the Sinhalese through a change in the medium of instruction of the
Tamil-speaking children. The severance of the cultural links of the
Tamil-speaking people of Ceylon with Tamil Nadu is a further step in this
process of absorption and destruction.
We are pledged to preserve the purity of our language and our cultural contacts.
We cannot permit the attempts being made to cow us down and finally to destroy
our identity by fanning the flames of Sinhalese fanaticism through such bogeys
like the ‘We Tamil Movement’ and the DMK.
The Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi will always throw its weight behind a socialist
economic set-up that would put an end to this injustice and provide full
employment and equal opportunities for all in the fields of education and
employment without any discrimination on the basis of caste, religion, race or
The Tamil-speaking people who demand justice from the Sinhalese people are in
duty bound to mete out that very same justice to a section of their own people
who are being treated as under-privileged. It is on this realization that the
Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi has, from its inception, declared as its fundamental
principles ‘the unification and rejuvenation of the Tamil-speaking people
through the eradication of social inequalities, particularly the practice of
untouchability prevalent among a section of our people’.
With this end in view, our party took steps in 1957 to provide representation to
these less-privileged people in the Senate. Though a similar attempt we made
again last year has failed for want of sufficient votes in our party, yet we
shall continue our efforts to secure them representation.
Our party will persist in its continued efforts to deny opportunities to these
forces that exploit the curse of untouchability to create ill-will and bloodshed
in our midst, and we will take all steps to eradicate this curse through the
Gandhian methods of kindness and love.
CAUSE FOR CONCERN
The political position of the Tamil living to the south of Batticaloa that has
been created as the Amparai district by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party Government
gives cause for deep concern. The Tamil people scattered in the four
constituencies of Kalmunai, Nintavur, Pottuvil and Amparai are undergoing
hardship because of non-representation in Parliament. Our party will take strong
steps to prepare a scheme that will ensure their representation in Parliament
when the next delimitation of constituencies take place."
The 1970 Election Manifesto of the Tamil Congress
For comparison, the 1970 election manifesto of the Tamil Congress party also
deserves equal attention. This manifesto contained a segment in which federalism
was pronounced as “whilst federalism is bad for Ceylon, it would be worse for
the Tamil-speaking people.”
And Anandasangaree stood as a Tamil Congress candidate for the first time in
1970 and won against the Federal Party candidate M.Alalasundaram on a plurality
of 657 votes in Kilinochchi constituency. Now, that Tamil Congress manifesto of
1970 has been conveniently forgotten by Anandasangaree, for record, I provide
the details of this Tamil Congress Manifesto and its 7 focal themes, among which
federalism was the first one. To quote [subheadings in bold-font big case
letters are as in the original],
‘We solemnly pledge to work for the recognition of Tamils as an official and a
national language of Ceylon – Tamil shall be to Tamils, wherever they may be
resident, what Sinhala is to the Sinhalas. We advocate the continued use of the
English language in those spheres of public activity (e.g., the courts of law),
in which, and for such time, as the national language cannot be used with equal
We are firmly convinced that if the Tamil language is to survive in this country
it must have its place in every part of the country and not be cribbed and
confined to two provinces. We are equally convinced that if the Tamil language
does not have its place in every part of the country, it will end up by having
no place in any part of the country.
It is a matter of deep regret that the united voice of the Tamils has been
disrupted by the dissidence of a section of the originally elected members of
the Congress for personal reasons, and because of disappointment at not being
able to secure ministerial office. A new party under a name and an appellation
which has been both misleading and deceitful was formed and this Party has been
able, by its claim that Thamil Arasu (Independent Tamil Raj) will be achieved by
them, to attract the support of the Tamil community in such numbers since 1956
that it has resulted in a very large section of eminently reasonable Sinhala
people believing that the Tamils are wedded to the objective of dividing the
country. The result has been unimaginable humiliation, frustration and
degradation to the Tamils. This party stands today at the cross-roads of history
utterly barren of any achievement in the last fifteen years and with no
programme or policy which can inspire the Tamils with any kind of hope in the
years to come.
The Tamil people, quite understandably and excusably believing in the cry of
Thamil Arasu and that the Federal Party alone could achieve parity of status for
the Tamil language, decided to return almost in its entire representative
strength federal candidates in 1956, 1960 and 1965, but, in fact, in these
fifteen years or more, the Federal Party has abandoned in express terms the
claim for parity of status for Tamil.
The All-Ceylon Tamil Congress is sincerely and honestly convinced that whilst
federalism is bad for Ceylon, it would be worse for the Tamil-speaking people.
We would earnestly ask the Tamil-speaking people not to harbour the delusion
that because federalism is unitedly opposed by every Sinhalese party in the
South, it is therefore a prize worth winning. We are honestly convinced that
this opposition stems from a fear complex due to the proximity of the Northern
and Eastern Provinces to South India, and we feel sure that if the Tamils
inhabited a clearly defined territory in the South, federalism would have been
granted by the Sinhalese for the mere asking.
The puerile notion that is sought to be propagated that a change in the
mechanics and structure of the constitution is the remedy for all the ills of
the Tamil-speaking people should be abandoned before the lesson has to be learnt
at a repeatedly bitter cost. If the major community is intent on discrimination,
the constitutional structure, be it federal or unitary, cannot prevent such
discrimination. Moreover, if any federal or regional set-up, it is the unit
which is economically weak and undeveloped that will suffer most. The Tamil unit
under a federal constitution will have neither the resources to maintain even
its present standard of living and the level of social and public utility
services now available to it nor the capacity for capital formation essential
for investment and economic development and for providing avenues of employment
for our youth. A federal constitution therefore will neither prevent
discrimination nor ensure the restoration of our rights or economic development
and progress of our areas.
The Tamil-speaking people must be clear in their own minds as to the ultimate
objectives for which their efforts and energies should be directed. Is it the
objective of the Tamil people that they should live as friends and equals with
the Sinhalese and enjoy rights in all the nine provinces of their motherland, or
is it their objective that they should contain themselves within the narrow
confines of the Northern and Eastern provinces? The Congress refuses to believe
that the Tamil people will surrender their rights which they have so far enjoyed
in seven of the provinces. A federal constitution at its best will inevitably
result in the Tamil people being segregated in the Northern and Eastern
provinces and in losing all their rights in the rest of the country.
Under a federal set up, Tamil can only be an administrative language in the
Tamil provinces whilst Sinhalese will be the Official Language in all the nine
provinces. Hence the demand for a federal constitution signifies a retreat from
the Tamil people’s demand for parity of status for the Tamil language throughout
the Island. Under a federal set up avenues of employment in the administrative
services and in the private sector for Tamil educated persons will be restricted
to two provinces.
As the Tamil unit will be financially deficit, Tamil areas will fail to be
developed and economic emasculation would inevitably ensue. As the upcountry
Tamils will come within the jurisdiction of the Sinhala unit of the federation,
they will be compelled to study Sinhala and in course of time get absorbed by
the Sinhalese just as the Tamils in the Negombo district and adjoining areas
have been so absorbed.
The All-Ceylon Tamil Congress demands –
(a) That every Tamil-speaking child is assured by the State of a sound education
from the Kindergarten to the University in whatever part of the Island its
parents may choose to live.
(b) That the Tamil-speaking students shall enjoy equal rights in all the
Universities in Ceylon as the Sinhalese students do.
If Ceylon is not to become an isolated backwash of the Indian Ocean, English
which has now assumed the status of an international language should be made a
compulsory, second language in all schools, and in the Universities those
students who choose to pursue their studies through the medium of the English
language should be provided with all necessary facilities.
MEDIUM OF INSTRUCTION
As far as Tamil children are concerned, the medium of instruction should be the
mother tongue right up to the secondary stage with no option given to the
parents in this regard. English should be a compulsory subject from the third
standard, and at the G.C.E.(Ordinary Level) Examination, English should be a
compulsory subject and till such times as the national languages are
sufficiently developed, there should be a paper in English at all University
examinations dealing with the sciences, medicine, engineering and technology, or
in some other foreign language, which would enable the students to keep abreast
of advanced trends in their particular field of study.
UNIVERSITY FOR THE NORTH
That there should be a university established called the Ramanathan University,
in the North, was accepted as long ago as 1956 by the late Mr.Bandaranaike.
Token provision for such a university was included in Mrs.Bandaranaike’s budget
in 1963 and 1964. This token provision has continued to be included in the
budgets of 1965 to 1969. This means that every single party, be it might, left
or centre, has accepted in principle the establishment of the Ramanathan
The Tamils would have been privileged to see the beginnings of a University in
Jaffna at least five years back, but for the perverse, partisan, questionable
and indefensible attitude of the Federal Party which utilized its Parliamentary
strength to obstruct the demand we made for the establishment of the University
in Jaffna as early as in 1965.
The manner in which the Souolbury Constitution has been worked by successive
governments has revealed the urgent necessity for the incorporation in the
Constitution of a Chapter of Fundamental Rights. We therefore undertake to work
for the incorporation in the Constitution of a Chapter of Fundamental Rights to
ensure, inter alia:
(a) Equality before the law, and equal protection of the law, to all citizens
of race, religion, caste or creed.
(b) Non-discrimination by the State against any citizen on grounds of race,
religion, caste or creed.
(c) Equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to employment
or appointment to any office under the State or in any State-sponsored
Corporation or under any local authority.
(d) The right to all citizens to freedom of conscience and worship to freedom of
speech and expression, to freedom of assembly and association.
(e) The right to all citizens to move freely, to secure employment, to acquire
property, to practice any profession, and to carry on any business or trade, in
any part of the Island.
(f) The right to any section of the people of Ceylon having a distinct language
and culture of its own to conserve the same.
(g) The right to any citizen to be admitted into any educational institution
maintained by the State, or receiving aid out of State funds without
discrimination based on grounds of race, religion, or language, caste or creed.
(h) The right to any citizen to be educated through the medium of his mother
tongue to communicate with, and to be communicated to by the State in his own
language and to transact any business with the State in his own language.
(i) The right to all religious and linguistic minorities to establish and
administer educational institutions of their choice.
(j) To ensure that in the life of the nation as a whole, particularly in the
sphere of administration, Tamil shall be to the Tamils what Sinhala is to the
(k) In the matter of Government-sponsored colonization schemes, precedence,
preference and priority should be given to the people of the area and the
immediate neighbourhood and every effort made not to change the nature of the
social fabric of the area.
(l) The right to any citizen to move the Supreme Court for the enforcement of
the rights enumerated above.
We accept the Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations, and shall work
for its adoption by the Government.
PUBLIC SERVANTS AND LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY
The All-Ceylon Tamil Congress records with pride and pleasure that it has been
able to secure from the National Government the implementation of the pledges
given by the late Mr.Bandaranaike to the President of the Congress on the floor
of the House of Representatives in regard to public servants recruited prior to
1956, and an extension of a period of three years for those new entrant officers
who had not obtained proficiency in Sinhala. The question of seniority of those
who have attained proficiency during the period of grace should be considered
favourably by the Government in the near future.
PERSONS OF INDIAN ORIGIN
Early steps should be taken to see that the running sore in the body politic of
lakhs of Tamils of Indian origin whose status is undermined and indeterminate is
terminated. They should become citizens of Ceylon, or at their option, citizens
of India. All those who irrevocably desire to make Ceylon their permanent home
must as a moral and legal obligation, be accepted by the Government as citizens
of this country.’"
The Verdict of Eelam Tamils in 1970 and Its Aftermath
On reading the English text of the Tamil Congress party’s 1970 manifesto, it
becomes apparent that the unsigned author was none other than its founder leader
G.G.Ponnambalam, who was performing his political swan song in front of Tamil
audience. The manifesto was springled with some alliterative flares of legendary
Ponnambalam prose. To quote a few,
“We are firmly convinced that if the Tamil language is to survive in this
country it must have its place in every part of the country and not be cribbed
and confined to two provinces.”
“It is a matter of deep regret that the united voice of the Tamils has been
disrupted by the dissidence of a section…”
“…but for the perverse, partisan, questionable and indefensible attitude of the
Federal party which utilized its parliamentary strength…”
But one is not sure about who authored the English text of the Federal Party’s
1970 manifesto. It could have been a contribution of Federal Party pamphleteers,
E.M.V.Naganathan and S.Kathiravelupillai, with
Amirthalingam adding some deft
touches. By 1970, V.Navaratnam (one of the founder members and Federal Party’s
pamphleteers) had been evicted from the party and two sentences in the manifesto
make specific critical mention about Navaratnam’s newly advanced proposal of a
separate state. To quote,
“It is our firm conviction that division of the country in any form would be
beneficial neither to the country nor to the Tamil-speaking people. Hence we
appeal to the Tamil-speaking people not to lend their support to any political
movement that advocates the bifurcation of our country.”
In the general elections held on May 27, 1970, Federal Party contested 19
constituencies in the North and East of Ceylon and 13 of its candidates got
elected. Its main rival Tamil Congress contested 12 constituencies and only 3 of
its candidates got elected. Anandasangaree was one among these three. But he
himself was a late-comer to the Tamil Congress, having switched his allegiance
from the Trotskyist Lanka Sama Samaja Party in late 1960s. Thus even among the
Tamil Congress circles, he was not considered as a heavy weight.
The political paths taken by the three Tamil Congress neophytes who were elected
to the parliament for the first time in 1970 deserve little exposure here.
C.Arulampalam and A.Thiyagarajah deserted the Tamil Congress party and
prostituted themselves into the SLFP camp in 1971. [Arulampalam and Thiyagarajah
were thrashed by the Eelam Tamil voters in the 1977 general election for their
trust-busting perfidy. Subsequently Thiyagarajah attempted to resurrect his
political career as a UNP candidate in the District Development Council election
scheduled for June 1981, and before that he was assassinated by PLOTE cadres.]
Anandasangaree spent most of 1971 in the fence-sitting mode and wavered between
either joining the SLFP-LSSP-CP ruling alliance or committing himself to the new
formation of Tamil United Front (TUF), the nucleus of which was contributed by
the Federal Party and Tamil Congress.
He had personal reasons for wavering in
his commitment to the Tamil cause, since the Trotskyist LSSP party which he
embraced to begin his political career was in power and he stood to gain by
political patronage if he joined the government ranks as a Tamil LSSPer in
The proof of Anandasangaree’s hesitancy in committing himself
whole-heartedly to the TUF is available in the issues of Tamil news dailies
(Veerakesari and Eela Nadu), and Sutantiran weekly (the official organ of the
Federal Party) published in 1971. Either due to cajoling pressure from his then
patrons and constituents of Kilinochchi or due to some degree of common sense
mixed with selfish interests in investing in a long term career as a politician,
Anandasangaree planted his foot in the TUF camp hesitatingly in May 1972.
he now sheds crocodile tears for his fellow senior Federalist colleagues, until
Amirthalingam’s death in 1989, Anandasangaree was not taken seriously by his
colleagues for 17 years. This is partially confirmed by the lack of meaty
details in his own website (www.anandasangary.com), about his political
activities on behalf of TUF/TULF from 1972 to 1989.
For the record, I should add that Anandasangaree’s father Mr.Veerasingham was a
federalist in the Federal Party’s early years. From a Tamil memoir on
Dr.E.M.V.Naganathan (1901-1971, one of Chelvanayakam’s confidants, authored by
Karikalan [entitled, Candle (1977)], I gathered the information that
Mr.Veerasingham was once the principal of Puttur Sri Somaskantha College, and he
usually presided the Federal Party meetings held in the towns of Atchuveli,
Aavarankaal and Puttur in 1950s. But, Anandasangaree never inherited the
federalist torch from his father.
1.The 1970 manifestos of the Federal Party and All-Ceylon Tamil Congress, were
transcribed from the reference book, ‘The Parliament of Ceylon: The General
Election of 1970’, Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd., Colombo, pp.191-198.
2.For more information on the failure of federalism in Sri Lanka, the best source
is, ‘The Break-Up of Sri Lanka: The Sinhalese-Tamil Conflict’ by A.Jeyaratnam
Wilson, C.Hurst & Co, London, 1988.