“There was information the Arabian language too, was being used in Muslim-majority areas in the eastern province, […] roads and lanes are being displayed only in the Tamil and Arabian languages there. Extremist forces are trying to promote the use of the Arabian language among the Muslims,” Colombo media reports cited Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) central committee member, Ven. Passaramulla Dayawansa Thera saying earlier this month. The very Sinhala language itself evolved in a similar process of Buddhism introducing a religious language, Pali, to overlap with the proto-Dravidian and Austro-Asiatic tongues prevailing in the island. Later, a myth was created that the Sinhalese came with their language from North India to get ‘polluted’ by ‘South Indian invaders’, responded an academic in the island.
The government has a responsibility to stop Muslims using Arabic before the country’s unity is adversely affected, the Sinhala Buddhist monk was further cited in Colombo media.
If the Tamil-speaking Muslims in the island have started adding Arabic in their public usages and if there are claims that the Muslims are descendants of Arabs, there must be valid political, social and cultural anthropological pressures and reasons for it, the academic commented, adding that the larger and fundamental issues have to be understood rather than further extremism coming from a misplaced State formation of colonial legacy in the island.
Unlike classical Tamil and modern Tamil that have accommodated all the major religions of the world and have come out with original literature on them, the Sinhala language unfortunately is linked to only Buddhism and with much reluctance to Christianity. The Sinhalese have to understand the lacuna in their linguistic heritage, the academic said.
There is a popular tendency in the Sinhalese today to look at any Tamil or Dravidian element in their language and cultural heritage as ‘later arrivals’ that have come with ‘South Indian invaders’.
In recent times, this pronouncement is repeatedly stressed like a maniacal campaign, whenever any Sinhala writer explains the presence of anything that is Tamil or Dravidian in the island.
The Sinhalese have to question seriously why can’t it be the other way round, the academic said.
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Meanwhile, the JHU monk has also accused the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) for sending official letters to Colombo only in Tamil.
The NPC should have either translated it into Sinahala, or sent it in the English language, he said, adding that the NPC was on purpose avoids doing so in order to challenge and ridicule the national language policy, Srilankamirror.com cited the monk.
“He said a complaint will be lodged with the National Languages Ministry of Vasudeva Nanayakkara to rectify this situation, adding that they could understand the sorry plight of the minority Sinhalese in the north,” the media report said.
The Colombo government claims that it has conceded ‘national language’ status to Tamil too, but what happens in practice and with what intention of linguistic genocide the claim is made are well known. How Tamil is mutilated and Sinhalicised when Colombo uses that language is also well known, Tamil political observers in the island said.
While the fledgling NPC is working virtually with no resources and power, with all the resources of the State and international backers of the State mainly the USA and India, the Colombo government’s excuse for not implementing Tamil language in administration and communication with Tamils, is that it doesn’t have enough staff to work in that language.
Sri Lanka Mirror: