In Eelam (named Ceylon by the British), the British joined the Tamils Kingdom and the Sinhala Kingdom into one unitary polity in 1833 for their own administrative convenience. Eelam Tamil’s struggle for self-determination evolved through multiple stages during the last 100 years. 99 years back the need for liberation was understood by Sir. Ponnampalam Ramanathan in 1922. This blog provides an initial set of references. All related documents can be found in the following
A list of references where Tamils demanded Tamil Eelam in the modern era.
- 1922 – The Life of Sir Ponnampalam Ramanathan by M Vythilingham, Volume II – page 540
In his prefatory address to the Tamil League, he said, ‘The League was brought into existence by a political necessity. But politics is not the , raison d’etre of its existence. Its aim is much higher. The Committee and those responsible for the League consider that our aims should be to keep alive and propagate the Tamil ideals which have through the ages past made the Tamils what they are. We should keep alive and propagate those ideals throughout Ceylon and promote the union and solidarity of what we have been proud to call Tamil Eelam. We desire to preserve our individuality as a people, to make ourselves worthy of our inheritance. We are not enamoured of the cosmopolitanism which would make of us ‘ neither fish, flesh, fowl nor red-herring’.
2. 1926 – A Federal Government for Ceylon Speech in July 1926 in Jaffna by S.W.R. D. Bandaranaike
“Under the auspices of the Students’ Congress Mr S. W. R. Dias Bandaranaike, B. A. (Oxon), Barrister-at-law, delivered a very interesting lecture on “Federation as the only Solution to our Political Problems.” Dr Isaac Thambyah presided.”
3. 1928 and 1948 – Kandyan Sinhalese Called for Three Federal states in 1928 and 1948
“After years of colonial rule, when Sri Lanka was on the way to constitutional reform, the Donoughmore Commission was set up by the British Government in 1928 and several representations were made to the Donoughmore Commission. The most liberal and far-sighted memorandum was sent to the Commissioners by the Kandyan leaders at that time.”
4. 1944 – Ceylon Communist Party’s Resolutions & Memoranda on Federalism and Self-Determination October 1944
“b) Recognition that the nationalities should have the unqualified right to self determination, including the right, if ever they so desire, to form their own independent state.”
5. CEYLON CITIZENSHIP ACT NO 18 OF 1948
Immediately after the Independence from the British on 4th February 1948, the above Act was passed by the Sinhalese Majoritarian Government to deprive over a million Tamils of Indian Origin to disfranchise and take away their right to vote. This Act reduced the number of Tamil Members in the Parliament, and the Indian Origin Tamils were treated as third class citizens aas they lost their right to vote and could not send a representative to the Parliament.
6. SINHALA ONLY ACT OF 1956’ Act No 33 of 1956
This Act was passed in the Parliament against the unanimous opposition of entire Tamil people who wanted a place of honor for their own language. Thereby the Government has struck a grievous blow at the unity of Sri Lanka, which stands divided today.
Two peace agreements in 1957 and 1965 based on two nations principle even though it doesn’t explicitly mentioned the right to self-determination.
7. BANDARANAYAKE -CHELVANAYAGAM PACT OF 1957
Following Tamil peaceful agitation over a million Tamils being stripped of citizenship and Sinhala being made the official language, the Sinhala Prime Minister S.W.R.D Bandaranayake entered a Pact with Tamil leader S.J.V. Chelvanayagam. The Tamil leaders compromised for the pace But the Pact was unilaterally abrogated by the PM due to the opposition by the Buddhist Monks and racist Sinhalese leaders.
DUDLEY SENANAYAKE – CHELVANAYAKAM PACT 0F 1965- On March 24 1965 Another Tamil Leader S.J.Chelvanayagam, promised to redress Tamil grievances, in return for Tamil support for, the PM’s party to form the government. After four years on April 9, 1969, the Tamil leadership withdrew support for the government due to the government’s inaction to solve the problems of the Tamils.
8. 1973 – Kathiravelupillai’s Eelam Statement, 1973
“Pancha Sila or Co-existence is thus the only solution to the problem of the two nations in Ceylon. It recognises not merely the facts of two thousand five hundred years of Sinhalese and Tamil history; but also the fundamental right of the Tamil people to self determination; of Tamil Eelam to separate statehood. It unshackles the two nations and sets them both free.”
9, TAMIL UNITED FRONT PLEA TO COMMONWEALTH NATIONS 1974
Having failed to stem the tide of discriminatory policies and acts of by the successive Sinhala dominated governments, the Tamil representatives appealed to the British Commonwealth Nations for help. Unfortunately, the Commonwealth did not respond.
10. THE VADDUKODDAI RESOLUTION OF 1976
The peaceful non-violent struggle and pleas went unheard. Finally the Tamil United Front representing all Tamils adopted a Resolution on May 14, 1976, to secede from the state of Sri Lanka. This Convention directs Action Committee of the Tamil United Liberation Front to formulate a plan of action and launch without undue delay the struggle for winning the sovereignty and freedom of the Tamil Nation [TAMIL EELAM]
11. THE TAMIL UNITED LIBERATION FRONT ELECTION MANIFESTO 1977
All Tamil political parties contested the General Elections of 1977, under the common banner of the Tamil United Liberation Front [TULF won an overwhelming majority of votes from the Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka [Tamil Homeland] – considered as a mandate for secession from Sri Lanka and to form the independent sovereign state of TAMIL EELAM.
12. Pirapaharan’s statements between 1984 and 1993 reproduced in book form in Europe
13. THE THIMPU DECLARATION OF 1985
A joint statement made by the Tamil delegation at the Indian brokered peace negotiation on 13th July 1985 in Bhutan capital.
- Recognition of the Tamils of Sri Lanka as a nation
- Recognition of the existence of an identified homeland for the Tamils in Sri Lanka
- Recognition of the right of self determination of the Tamil nation.
- Recognition of the right of citizenship and the fundamental rights of all Tamils who look upon the island as their country/
- THE INDO-SRI LANKA ACCORD OF 1987
- While this Accord appears to be a permanent and durable solution to re-establish the traditional relations between India and Sri Lanka, India refuses to recognize the political reality of Tamil nationalism and remains unwilling to lend its powerful support to secure a constitutional structure in Sri Lanka which recognises the political forces of Tamil nationalism and Tamil interests.
14. Memorandum Submitted by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to the Eighth Summit Meeting of Non-Aligned Nations held in Harare, Zimbabwe, 24th August – 8th September 1986
20. Maaveerar Naal Speaches – By Tamil National Leader Hon. Prabhakaran
21. 27 November 1989:
““Today is an important day in our struggle. Today we have started the Hero’s Day in order to pay homage to the 1307 fighters who had sacrificed their lives to attain our sacred objective of Tamil Eelam. We have started this for the first time. You know that many countries in the world honour their freedom fighters by remembering them. We too have decided to proclaim a day of remembrance. We have done so today, the death anniversary of the first hero who attained martyrdom.”
22. 90s – Tamil Eelam Economic Development
23. Building the Tamil Eelam State: emerging state institutions and forms of governance in LTTE-ontrolled areas in Sri Lanka. Kristian Stokke, University of Oslo.
The TRO was formed in 1985 primarily as a self-help organisation for Tamil refugees in South India. Since then it has grown to become the major local NGO working in northeast Sri Lanka. Its overall aim is to provide shortterm relief and long-term rehabilitation to war affected people in the northeast. TRO has a head office in Kilinochchi, branch offices throughout the northeast, and national organisations in a number of countries with a sizeable Tamil diaspora. The background to the establishment of TRO has
been made up of the devastating human and social impacts of protracted war. With large numbers of internally displaced people and massive destruction of lives and livelihoods, large groups depend on relief and rehabilitation measures by NGOs. At the same time the conflict has produced a large and relatively resourceful Tamil diaspora in many countries, especially in Western Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand.28 TRO’s mode of operation has typically been to mobilise resources within this diaspora for a wide range of welfare-oriented programmes in northeast Sri Lanka. Following the 2004 tsunami disaster, TRO has also been working in partnership with donor countries and international NGOs to channel aid to
tsunami-affected areas and people.29
16. Statement by the Co-Chairs of the Tokyo Donor Conference on Sri Lanka Brussels 12 September 2006 1. The Co-Chairs of the Tokyo Donor Conference, Norway, the European Union, the USA and Japan met in Brussels on September 12. 2. The Co-Chairs welcome the expression of willingness of the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE to come to talks unconditionally as conveyed to the Facilitator.
17. SLMM final report