ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From 50 Years Ago: Tamils on War-Path.

Weekly Notes from Volume XII, No. 52, December 24, 1960.

On the eve of Mrs Bandaranaike’s departure for India, the political situation in Ceylon, bad-ly disturbed by the unrest over the take-over of denominational schools, was unfortunately further upset by the Federal Party’s call for agi-tation against the Government’s language policy. The Government’s decision to introduce Sinhalese as the official language in the island from the new year has roused the ire of the Ceylon Tamils who feel that they have been badly let down by a party which they had helped to achieve power. Threats of a hartal and of collective resignation from Parliament have emanated from the Federal Party, representing the Tamils of Ceylonese origin, who live mostly in the northern and eastern regions. By extending whole-hearted support to Mrs Bandaranaike’s party in the last elections, the Ceylon Tamils must have been hoping for a change of attitude to their demand which however has proved to be in vain, though without surprise. The hard, uncompromisingly nationalistic, Sinhalese-loving core of Ceylon, the Buddhist popula-tion, which contributed very largely to the success of Smt. Bandaranaike in the elections, could not be expected suddenly to overcome its distaste for Tamil. This is a stark reality which the Ceylon Tamils cannot ignore or even hope to conquer by call-ing for a hartal or threatening to resign en masse from Parliament or worse still, by asking the Tamil speaking civil servants not to learn Sinhalese. ...Persuasion and not compulsion or force can solve the problem ultimately, and that calls for patience rather than rashness...

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