Social scientists and the commentariat have either failed, or deliberately ignored, to take note of the changes in the surface and subterranean foundations of the political landscape in the post-Nandikadal period. Our pundits are still cackling as if we are in the post-1956 period in which the mono-causal theme of blaming the Sinhala-Buddhists was touted cockily as a sign of being intellectually superior in public, media and academic discourses. To be anti-Sinhala-Buddhist was – and still is — the fashion of the day. Digging up every adverse comment from the dustbin of history was a common technique to demonise the Sinhala-Buddhists as enemies of the minorities. Every shred of historical, political, social or economic evidence was corralled and distorted to argue that the minorities were discriminated by the majority, though the inhuman role of the Tamil Vellala elite of marginalising their own people as pariahs was either brushed aside or hidden under the label of Tamil nationalism.
Down grading the Sinhala-Buddhist culture, language and religion at the highest academic levels became a powerful propaganda tool in the privatised research centres run by pro-Tamil agents (example: International Centre for Ethnic Studies, headed by Neelan Tiruchelvam and Radhika Coomarasawamy) whose bank accounts were stacked with foreign funds to hire the academics/intellectuals to manufacture the anti-Sinhala-Buddhist ideology. Only like-minded ideologues were invited to participate in their seminars, publications, research etc., to produce anti-Sinhala-Buddhist consensus. The focus was essentially on the South. They craftily avoided turning the searchlight deeply into the North because they knew that exposing the horrendous history of the North, where the ruling caste of Vellalas who oppressed, suppressed, persecuted their own people, and even ostracised them as pariahs, would undermine their claim to be victims of the South. History was a volatile force which had to be managed carefully to serve their politics. They were determined to sanitize their narrative by diverting the focus away from the North to make the South look like the evillest force that bedevilled inter-ethnic relations.
The latest to raise the racist ghost of the past is Dayan Jayatilleka, who is raving and ranting against the armed Dharmapalas” (i.e., the Rajapakases) accusing them of dismantling the existing order to establish a militarised authoritarian regime. He is not saying anything new. He is parroting what the Saravanamuttus, Savitris and Ismails have been voicing in the post-Nandikadal period and even before. As a self-professed political scientist, he is expected to rise above cheap propaganda and analyse of the current situation either as a Marxist diagnostician….
H. L. D. Mahindapala