Sinhala Nation, refusing to share national
Virakesari, 21 November 2004
English Translation of Tamil
Man competes with fellow men to have access to world’s finite
resources. This competition is the root cause of political struggles
and major wars. Societal discord and conflicts are caused by this
super fight for resources. Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict can also be
viewed in this framework.
The first national budget of the United Peoples Freedom Alliance
(UPFA) was submitted in parliament last Thursday (18 November 2004).
Tamil members of Parliament denounced the budget as providing little
benefit to Tamils. What is a budget? A budget determines how the
accumulated national wealth is to be spent.
Section 148 of Sri Lanka Constitution bestows full authority for
disbursing or allocating national wealth collected through taxes,
duties or other levies on Sri Lanka’s parliament. Irrespective of
what political party is in power, parliamentary majority will always
be in the hands of Sinhala parliamentarians.
What do we infer from this? Parliament will strive to expend the
national wealth to benefit Sinhala people. Although Tamils generate
a share of national wealth they are denied the right to determine
how it can be spent to benefit their community. From the time of
British rule this has been the root cause of problems plaguing the
When the British established a unitary system of government they
expected the Sinhala and Tamil ruling class to co-operate in the
governance of the nation and to manage the national wealth without
any racial bias. Since some Tamil leaders too shared this ideology,
they failed to oppose the supreme monopoly power afforded to the
parliament over nation’s wealth. A few lonely voices of Tamil law
makers and intellecutals who raised their concerns that in a Sinhala
majoritarian polity, Sinhalese will control the Parliament, and
therefore would have monopoly over the national wealth, went
World political history has taught us that those who enjoy monopoly
power over national wealth will be reluctant to also surrender their
political powers. Some analysts opined that if Britain had made
constitutional provisions to ensure equitable distribution of
accumulated wealth, and had organized administrative structures for
expending national wealth, the ethnic discord would not have reached
the current alarming proportions. There is little benefit now in
analyzing the past.
Past calamities faced by Tamils and conflicts between Muslims and
Tamils can be explained on the basis of Sinhala nation’s monopoly of
Sri Lanka’s resources. Since significant portion of national wealth
was being used to develop Sinhala nation and large tracts of lands
belonging to Tamils and Muslims were being annexed by the State to
build irrigation schemes to assist colonized Sinhala peasentry,
rivalry and regional discords within the Tamil homeland began to
During the past 15 years Sri Lankan Government allocated no
financial resources to any of the districts of the NorthEast
province except to Amparai and Trincomalee districts where
significant fraction of the population is Sinhalese. The Government
Agent of Jaffna recently made a pertinent remark that ‘the Sri
Lankan Government has not allocated even a single cent for the
development of Jaffna district.’ In most of the districts of
NorthEast, the Urban Development Councils, Water distribution and
Drainage Boards did not receive any budgetary allocations and
remained dormant existing only in name.
Even after three years of peace no funds have been allocated to
promote small and medium scale businesses nor do these businesses
have access to loans in the NorthEast. Foreign capital investment
for large industries is non-existant in NorthEast. Rampant poverty
and unemployment plague Tamil homeland. Rs.50 lakhs is earmarked in
diversified budgetary allocations for each Tamil parliamentarian by
Sinhala rulers to buy our parliamentarians silence on budgetary
Tamil politicians spend time pondering effective ways to expend
their allocations for use in temples and sports clubs to retain
electoral support. Habit of saving money is imbibed in Tamil culture
and Director of National Savings banks once said even during
difficult periods during war Tamils have saved substantial sums in
Bank savings help to finance loans for development and assist small
businesses in the South. Government depends on these savings to
borrow money to finance the budget deficits Indeed, it is a sad
irony that the very savings of Tamils and the tax rupees were used
to finance Government’s war on Tamils. Realization has not sunk in
many Tamils mind how we have been fooled and continuing to be fooled
by the Sinhala ruling class.
Cognizant of the destruction and misery caused by 56 years of
Sinhala Nation’s monopoly on National wealth, Liberation Tigers
demanded an independent administrative arrangement and funds to
rehabilitate and rebuild the infrastructure of the Tamil homeland.
Tigers demand an administrative framework where Tamils can determine
for themselves how to spend atleast part of the fraction of the
National wealth that is rightfully theirs.
Sinhala politicians rejected this demand as unconstitutional since
section 148 of the Sri Lankan Constitution, empowers the parliament
to control the national resources. This firmly established that
Sinhala rulers were not prepared to consider giving away even an
inch to Tamils right to expend the wealth generated by the Tamils.
Sinhala rulers posed similar opposition when Varatharaja Perumal
headed the Provincial Council. Thirteenth amendment to the
Constitution required a Financial Commission to be setup to
distribute National wealth to Provincial Councils. Perumal expected
to obtain a fair share of funds due to Tamils through this
provision. He soon found that it was not possible. Finally he fled
to India after unilaterally declaring an independent TamilEelam.
Sixteen years have passed since the setting up of Provincial
Councils and Sinhala rulers are yet to discuss forming Financial
Commissions. A proper Provincial-based Federalism should contain
administrative structures for equitably distributing National
In countries affected by civil war, often disagreements on
distribution of national wealth are a root cause of the conflict.
Equitable sharing the revenue from oil and Arabic gum in Sudan was a
key aspect of the negotiations that have been taking place to bring
an end to the conflict that started in 1983.
Nigeria has rich resource of oil. When the republic was formed in
1963 uniting several tribes, Federal Constitution was architected to
include key provisions that detailed on how to share the National
Sinhala Nation which earned several millions of dollars exporting
ilmenite, an important natural resource of Tamil Homeland, waves the
articles of constitution when rejecting Tamils demand a small
portion of the revenue.
A Financial Commission functions under the Indian Constitution to
ensure equitable distribution of National wealth to different
states. The South Indian States have long accused the Central
Government of unfairly favoring Hindi speaking Northern states in
distributing national wealth. Absence of a fully federal arrangement
in India is the cause of this problem. However, India has accepted
that as a national policy nation’s wealth should be equitably
distributed among the states.
Sinhala nation refuses to open any discussion on this matter.
Further, the Sinhala Nation is resolute in its stand that it has the
monopoly power on the island’s national resources and the generated
national wealth. Do not dream that this position can be changed.