Sunday, January 6, 2008


LTTE Destroys Tamil Culture
- Ven. Dr. Walpola Piyananda Nayaka Thero

In Sri Lanka, the Sinhalese and Tamils lived in harmony for many centuries. They shared customs, cultures and traditions which helped to maintain a harmonious lifestyle in our country.
In Buddhist temples there was always a place of worship for Hindu devotees. The Buddhists even believe that the God Vishnu is the protector of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. God Subramanium or Skandha who is upposed to have resided in Kataragama is respected by most Sri Lankan Buddhists.
In fact all Sri Lankan Buddhists, when they perform any religious service, transfer merit to these deities.
During King Mahanama's reign in Anuradhapura some monks who belonged to the Abhayagiri Vihara were exiled as they accepted the Vaitulya Vada tradition. The monks who lived in Danakataka Vihara in Southern India were supported by Tamil Buddhists. It is also stated that during the Anuradhapura period, Sinhalese monks have lived in Danakataka Vihara. Ven. Buddhagosa the well known Buddhist commentator who composed, The Path of Purification/ (Visuddhimagga) may have been a Tamil from South India.
Ven. Anuruddha, another Buddhist scholar who wrote "Manual of Abhidhamma" was a Tamil monk too.
In recent years Professor Ananda Coomaraswamy, a distinguished Sri Lankan Buddhist Tamil scholar, taught Buddhism at Harvard University. He can be introduced as one of the pioneer Buddhist propagators in the U.S.A. It must be mentioned, that a few of the Sinhala Buddhist monks, who turned out to be world renown scholars learned English in Colombo and Jaffna from Tamil scholars.
Some notable facts that I wish to state here, are my own. Before 1983 the majority of students in the Colombo and Peradeniye Medical College and the Engineering Faculty were Tamil. In Sri Lanka, there were numerous Tamil doctors, engineers, and civil servants. We had a beautiful rapport with everyone, Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim and Burghers.
So why is it different now?
It is obvious the root cause is due to the ruthless, terrorist organization led by Velupillai Prabhakaran. The LTTE cadre forced the educated professional Tamils to flee the country. The terrorists did not leave the families of the immigrants alone. They were harassed, ransoms demanded, jewelry and property taken by force. The children were kidnapped, forced into army training camps. It did not end there; the Tamils who remained were tortured by the LTTE. As a result, anyone who could afford migrated to Europe, Canada , U.S.A., Australia, New Zealand, etc. We are sad that over three million innocent people, left their motherland reluctantly due to the atrocities of the LTTE.
The LTTE killed not only the Sinhala politicians such as President Premadasa, Gamini Dissanayaka, Lalith Athulathmudali, but also killed Amirthalingum, Kadiragama, Tiruchellum and many other distinguished, educated politicians. The LTTE killed the Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Ghandi, an international figure in May 1991. This resulted in a no faith attitude towards the Sri Lankan Tamils by the Indians. Moreover due to the LTTE terrorist activities the world has begun to shun not only Sri Lankan Tamils, but all Tamils.
Even though the Tamils are a religious and non-violent group of people who try to preserve their ancient traditions, yet the world has come to view them in a different light. Today, some Tamils who fear the LTTE have come to Colombo, the capital to live with the Sinhalese. In fact, now in Colombo the majority are Tamils.

The Tamils who live in the North and East of Sri Lanka are in an unfortunate situation. They cannot escape from the North to go anywhere. They are controlled by the LTTE, during the past 25 years most of the Tamil children were not allowed to study. They were trained to kill non-believers of the LTTE. They instilled anger, hatred and ill will in the children. The Tamils, were mostly Hindus and vegetarian, they were a non-violent group. Unfortunately the LTTE destroyed their culture. However, Prabakaran's children are studying in the U.K. along with the children of the leading LTTE cadres.
For human beings, the most valuable period in life is their childhood. At this time they should be nourished, have parental care and love, be allowed to play and think freely without fear, and be given a good education. None of the above was given to the children in the LTTE controlled areas.
As teenagers, they should have the freedom to socialize, in maturity they should be allowed to marry. The youth in these areas had none of these opportunities.
Why aren't the Human Rights Organizations condemning the LTTE's activities? Why do they blame those who try to liberate the innocent people?
In world history, we cannot find a single organization that has destroyed a great Sri Lankan Tamil culture and civilization. Yet because of fear, the average Tamil is turning a deaf ear to the happenings.
In the past there would have been instances of wrong doings due to lack of spiritual understanding, due to the greediness of politicians and a lack of vision. However in Sri Lanka the situation is different now. This generation has mutual respect, problems can be solved by discussion and negotiations. Lives have been lost needlessly on both sides, due to a lack of communication and a lack of commitment to peaceably solve our problems. This is the time to close the chapters of the past and open new avenues. We must respect each other and strive to live in peace as one nation.