Sri Lanka is a republic and a unitary state governed by a presidential system. It’s the pearl of Indian Ocean. This country is the home for many religions, ethnicities and languages. Firstly, the Buddhist which was thrown out of India was shipped to Sri Lanka. These are the first generation of people who stepped in to this Island. While the time goes on the population of Sinhalese increased and this resulted the world recognizes the existence of this Island. This led the other nations to come on trading goods and services.
The nations from India, Indonesia, Arab and Chinese came for trading and they settled in Sri Lanka. As a result of these many other ethnic minorities, which includes Tamils, Muslim Moors, Burghers and Malays lived in Sri Lanka. This land was concurred by many countries. Especially Portugal, Dutch and lastly the British were the three main countries who captured Sri Lanka. But in year 1948, the country was independent from British.
The country’s recent history has been spoiled by a 3 decade inter-ethnic conflict which eventually stepped in to a war. When Sri Lanka became independent in 1948, as the Sri Lankan government passed the Ceylon Citizenship Act and the ‘Sinhala Only’ Official Language Act, making life increasingly difficult for the Tamils. ” (National Library Singapore, 2012). Soon after the independence, the minority ethnic people, especially the Tamils, thought its racism by making Sinhala as the official language. During this time of period, Sinhalese thought that they are the most valued and esteemed people among the society, which affected the minorities in all aspects, such as in communicating with others, judgment for justice and many more.
Meanwhile the minority, specially the Tamils were discriminated among others, which made the Tamils to stand against the government for not taking any favorable decisions towards them. Importance of the topic. In this report we are describing about a conflict between two groups within a society. We related two cultural groups in Sri Lanka. The war between Sinhalese and Tamils were the best example that we can use to describe the topic effectively, since we got our personal experience regarding this matter.
When we look at the past 3 decades, over a 100,000 of people died, millions of people became infants, some left the country and some stayed remain and a generation or two losses there birth, the children brainwashed and also the country was deeply divided. This is all due to the conflict between 2 groups. So by considering the result of the conflict, we would like to aware the readers about the seriousness of being separated and fighting each other. Conflict of groups and Literature review
As we look in deep into issue, we found that prioritizing the Sinhala language as soon as the country becomes independent was not a good move by the government where all ethnics were working as one to fight back to get the independence to the country. These politicians were not mindful enough, where they eventually created new categories in language system among the citizens. The minority protested the decision which was made by the government. But it wasn’t good enough to the government to change the decision or to go for alternative decisions. The rebels, based in northern and eastern Sri Lanka, have been waging a violent offensive against the central government on and off for more than 20 years. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was one of the many groups that came into existence to fight for Tamil rights”. (Kate, P. 2009). On the other hand we found out that the Tamils took this issue in a serious manner. It’s fair enough to decide Sinhala as the first language because 70% of the population was known as Sinhalese and Tamils as 7%.
The challenge of communicating with others should have been taken by the Tamils. At Some given day, in a particular time they have to accept and respect the decisions that the government decides. Currently Sri Lankan Tamils are facing problems by communicating with others. Since the act brought up by the government, Tamils were encouraged to be together and live together. As a result of this they shifted to the north east of the country. Meanwhile the people who was still in the capital city and around was facing the above language barrier.
Apart from this the Tamils could not get a proper decision from the police or the justice since the decision takers were racist for Tamils. Most of them were trapped and was victims for crimes, murders and rapes. Even when the war was commencing, there was unofficial reports mentioned the North East Tamil civilians were murdered with no reason. As A. Roy, a writer for ‘The Guardian’ says that “What we are witnessing, or should we say what is happening, in Sri Lanka – and what is being so effectively hidden from ublic scrutiny – is a brazen, openly racist war. ” (Roy, A. 2009). Furthermore, the writer says that as the Tamil native country, India could interfere more to solve matters also she told that she is ashamed of India for not doing one of the responsibilities for its mankind. Conflicts are unavoidable and they happen all around the world at many different levels. On a society level which we are currently facing is more or less than a political conflict which eventually discriminates one by another.
As per my personal experience since I am a Muslim, I lived between two ethnics, Sinhalese and Tamils; I think that I were one of the victims of discrimination by both parties. I lived in a society where Tamils were surrounded and I worked in a background where the Sinhalese were more engaged to me. Since I was working in an organization, I was discriminated by Sinhalese because I lived with Tamils in the village. While I was in the village, I was discriminated by the Tamils, my neighbors talked bad about me and my family.
This situation made my mentality drop in a dramatic way which I felt alone. A situation rised for me to decide, with whom I should live in future?. Eventually I decided to live in the city, with my colleagues, considering of my future life. In addition to the above during 70’s and 80’s Tamils were mainly discriminated such as in language, Justice, Physically and also were humiliated among other ethnics. As per the ‘The Terror Journal’ journalist states, “The role of standardization must not be forgotten; the Jaffna Tamils depended on education for economic advancement.
The introduction of standardization in 1973 meant that Jaffna Tamils would lose their niche position in the Civil Service and private sector. In 1969, the Northern Province, which was largely populated by Tamils and compromised 7% of the population of the country, provided 27. 5 percent of the entrants to science based courses in Sri Lankan universities. By 1974, this was reduced to 7% (through the ‘standardization handicap’ race). This is repeatedly cited as evidence of State discrimination against Tamils and hence contributed in undermining the Tamil’s confidence in the State”. Sie, K. 2009). Discrimination spread in to the education system in an effective way in Sri Lanka, which it resulted as being the beginning of Tamil revolution. Furthermore the Terror journal explains the issue which was arising in the parliament and how the politicians did react towards it. “If there is discrimination in this land which is not their (Tamil) homeland, then why try to stay here. Why not go back home (India) where there would be no discrimination. There are your kovils and Gods. There you have your culture, education, universities etc.
There you are masters of your own fate” The above statement of Mr. W. J. M. Lokubandara, M. P. in Sri Lanka’s Parliament, July 1981 clearly indicates the government opinion headed for Tamils. Personally we are ashamed about how the community leaders reflect on such conflicts and also speak badly about another as a whole. Prejudices are the negative feelings associated with a particular group, Tamil and Sinhalese people in Sri Lanka created prejudices against them by showing their behaviors towards other ethnics. This helped to create more clashes among them.
This situation was rising from the day of both ethnics migrated to this Island and when they started to live together. As Ms. Kumari Jayawardhana stated, “majority community, the Sinhala, which defined the Sri Lanka society as Sinhala-Buddhist, in each ethnic group today has a distinct identity with strongly held myths of origin; the Sinhala believe that they are Aryans from Bengal, the Tamils claim pure Dravidian origin” (Kumari,J. 1987). Even though both these ethnic groups are migrated from India, they had negative feelings among themselves. They used to believe on their casts.
They always thought that their cast is higher than others. Especially Tamils got the priority when they were living in India and they expected the same when they migrated here. However, it was opposite from what they expected, Sinhalese people got the priority for their casts since they are the majority in population and also the first who stepped in to Sri Lanka. They always argue with each other and they never accepted what others said. It gradually built further conflicts between these two ethnics. This created more racism between these ethnics and from that phase; they start to discriminate each other.
Lastly, it raised until a war ended with a disaster to the man kind. A conflict rises by struggling for power in society by a group occur when two or more groups oppose each other in social interaction, to attain scarce or incompatible goals and prevent the opponent from attaining them. In conclusion, we are all humans, having feelings with emotions. We do mistakes. It’s all about identifying what happened and giving solutions for it. It’s not ethical enough to punish them. We should learn to respect each other in order to gain the same respect from others.
Hopefully every conflict between groups and also in every individual may come to an end. Solutions for avoiding Conflicts Prejudice, discrimination and being racism are the outcomes of achieving incomplete goals. What can be done? There are many things that we could have followed through in order to stop what’s happening. * We have to get out from timeworn beliefs and get educated to interact with people in the society as we are brothers and sisters in a family. * Even we cannot communicate with another very precisely; we have to know to respect them. At least we should respect the freedom that they are enjoying with.
We have to gain success by learning from the mistakes that we had done. * Insulting others should not be done. In some cases, we tend to think and talk something as expecting to be a joke for everyone. But this joke can be an insult to another. These are the minor things that we should be careful and avoid from our self. * It’s better to be honest within yourself, rather than showing off. It is better to have a uniqueness of you. But it should not affect another in a bad way. Just a reminder for you, “We are all humans. We tend to do mistakes. Forgiving is a quality of the god”