Nationalism in Lanka

This the latter part of the book on the national question published in 1983 by
Dr Vickramabahu

 1. Between 6th and 3rd century B. C

At the time of the supposed arrival of Aryan people from North India to this island between 6th and 3rd century B. C., those who lived here belong to the South Indian Megalithic culture. It was a commune society based on small tank-villages. “This was an intrusive culture thought to have originated, on the basis of recent discoveries, in the Nubian region which came into South India sometime after 500 B. C. It was metal using, with implements chiefly of Iron. A settlement had four distinct areas; a habitation area, a cemetery, a tank and fields.” Dravidian who build the fabulous cities of Mohenjaro --- Harappa and taught the Nomadic Aryan invaders how to irrigate with dams and canals, had shifted to the South; and the South Indian Megalithic culture may have had descended from them. At the same time there might have been other more primitive people, some may be practicing even cannibalism. With the advent of Aryan people there were in the Island two or three distinct racial elements, with the more primitive people dark, short and stocky with kinky or curly hair; probably the ancestors of Veddahs.

Before 250 B. C., e.g. before Maurya Dynasty, Aryans could not have come in great numbers nor did they add much to the indigenous civilization. They also knew agriculture and may have started their traditional subsistence village societies based more on animal husbandry. They did not have proper kingship and their village communes were led by ’Gaminis’. Within a collection of villages one of the Gaminis may have had a superior position and be considered as the king. Aryans unlike the indigenous islanders at the time of intrusions were war like people and were better equipped with military technology. Theirs was a patriarchic society as opposed to the mother god culture of Dravidian people.

By the 3rd century B. C., Aryans, though they may have been a small clan in numbers, were able to dominate all others, probably because of their superior military knowledge. Village agricultural societies were united together by them, with hunting tribes thrown in at the periphery to form a loose kingdom, with Sinhala people as the elite. Sinhala elite were a product of Aryan element mixed with the leading families of the indigenous tribes. Perhaps the story of Pandukabhaya in Mahawansa is the legendary version of this unification. In any case it is clear that at the beginning of the third century B.C., an Asiatic society with a division of labour, had started to develop.

However real dawn of civilization, came with the introduction of Buddhism. Recorded history started with the elite acquiring a literate culture. Spread of Buddhism among the Sinhala Kshasthriya and other elite castes had a social significance. It means the development of the society from, both small- tank village and dam- river valley culture to an organized large- tank culture. Large tank irrigation systems necessitated a centralized society with a finer organizing of labour. This could be achieved only by abandoning the strict semi racial caste divisions of the old Brahaministic society, in place of a social division based more on the services of an irrigation system. Asoka’s version of Theravada Buddhism provided the ideology for this change. Thus Buddhism became the religion of the elite of the centralized agricultural society, where water management and maintenance of dams and canals was done by the state.

By studying early cave inscriptions, it is claimed that the language of the people at the time of Devanarnpiyathissa was a variation of Magadha prakrutha. It is useful to compare this with the relationship between the Latin language of Romans and the language of the British people at the time of the Roman Empire. Obviously at this early stage the language of culture will be very different from the common spoken language understood by both the elite and the lower masses. In addition there will be several languages confined to the subjugated different tribes. Hence it is reasonable to assume that the common spoken language at that time (250 BC.), from which Sinhala language developed later, at least to be a simple language highly influenced by Dravidian languages of the South Indian Megalithic people, if not a language with a Dravidian origin. It is most probable that the Sinhala language developed, from this spoken language of the common folk, along the Pali Sanskrit line and departed from the rest of Dravidian languages due to the continuous influence of Buddhism. This can be seen by following the next stages of development. Clearly before Buddhism got rooted here, there was no difference between Lankan and Pandian kingdoms. Both were ruled by Aryan kshasthriya elites though people belonged to Dravidian race. There was close kinship between the two royal houses.

 2. First wave of Dravidian invasions.

In the Buddhist society everybody was equal before the state and all property, in particular the land belong to the state. Caste based on ethnic and racial differences was done away with. However in place of that, there developed the caste separation based on crafts and professions, associated with the agricultural society rooted in a centralized irrigation system. Cultured elites were paid officers of the state while the peasantry gave a share to the state coffers and also gave free labour for constructions and services of the state, during off season. Peasantry and the other lower masses were predominantly of none Aryan origin. Hence most words used in paddy cultivation and other work in village life entered the common spoken language from the Dravidian dialect used by them. Their religion, the religion of the lower masses, even if claimed to be Buddhism, must have incorporated the rituals and the demonology of their ancestors.

The first and second Dravidian invasions came in 3rd century B. C. Sinhala elite were displaced and majority of them were forced to take refuge in the South. In partial hiding they fell back to the old form of communal villages. They lost in touch with their culture and Magadha Prakrit literacy decayed. This Ruhunu society, which consisted of kshasthriya villages and few tribal groups, was more or less a subsistent society without a surplus to sustain a culture. In this situation, social and ethnic mixing created an almost homogeneous group of people identified by the Sinhala language and the remnants of Buddhist ideology and culture.

In the meantime, the Dravidian elite at Anuradhapura attempted to organize the society in the form that existed in South India at that time. With their irrigation know how, small tanks and darns were improved at the expense of the centralized irrigation system. This would have made them popular among the lower classes while the surplus depreciated. Buddhism was left out as it went against the structure of the society. Whatever the surplus that was created was not used to create a culture here. It may have been taken to South India by the Tamil ruling clans.

Prince Gamini was a prominent village leader of the Sinhalese people that eked out an existence in Ruhunu.

He mobilized, this defeated and driven out people to win back the control of the irrigated land that their fore-fathers helped to develop around Anuradhapura. His victory created for the first time a Sinhala speaking elite and it was after this victory that a fully developed centralized irrigation based agricultural society was formed with Buddhism as its ideology. The Buddhist monk Mahanama who wrote Mahavanse, devotes most of it to this epic story of how Sinhala elite brought all people inhabited this island under its domination and established itself at the apex of an Asiatic state structure. The language of the literate was ’Sinhala’ Prakrit, a derivation of the Magadha Prakrit that was in use before the fall of the Sinhala regime. However the spoken language common to all was a further development of Sinhala. There might have been use of other languages including those still used by the tribes who lived at the periphery of the regime. Nevertheless there cannot be any doubt that even the spoken language Sinhala, understood by all lower classes was very different from the ’Sinhala’ Prakrit of the educated.

 3. Root cause of the Aryan myth

What separated the Sinhala Kingdom from the rest of the regimes in the Southern India were not racial or ethnic differences. Even in the immediate post Gamini period there could not have been any ethnic difference between the people of lower status including the peasantry in the Southern Indian Kingdoms and in the Sinhala Kingdom. They were mostly, the descendents of the people of South Indian Megalithic culture. Even if one assumes that people of Ruhuna led by Gamini had a strong Aryan component it is very unlikely they were any different from the Kshasthriya elites that dominated the Southern Indian Kingdoms. Thus overall ethnic composition could not have been very different and in any case over the years, differences would have dissolved away.

But there was a social difference between the Sinhala Kingdom and the South Indian Kingdoms. Sinhala Kingdom was based on large tank and centralized irrigation culture. It needed the Buddhist ideology for its survival. State ownership of property and division of the society along state services necessitated a religion which rationalized the social composition of such a society. It has to be an organized religion with a common direction to all citizens where as the South Indian states were based on small tank villages with Brahmanism as the religion of the elite.

Buddhist ideology was responsible for the separate development of the Sinhala elite, the distinct culture and the language. Sinhala remained, or rather developed as a language close to Pali — Sanskrit due to the influence of Theravada Buddhism, which constantly waged a struggle against the resurgence of Pre Brahaministic South Indian religious traditions based on ancestral worship and polytheism. Latter raised its head under the guise of Mahayana and the worship of Bodhisattva, and remained popular among the lower creeds. Thus whenever the centralized state was weak, worship of gods, goddesses and Bodhisattva became popular, so much so, many rulers tried to accommodate this trend instead of fighting it.

Brahmanism of South India, on the other hand, was very accommodating. It incorporated all gods and rituals of the earlier era within it, to become a supple complex system suitable to the complex and varied agricultural society. Thus instead of liquidating the religious — cultural traditions of the South Indian Megalithic society, these were developed and taken forward with a sprinkling of Sanskrit-— Brahaministic traditions. “The Hinduization of the South was, however, of a different order from that of the North, and the culture imported by the Brahmins remained no more than a thin veneer over the traditional patterns of society. The mass of people retained its animistic cults and polyandry; and matriarchy, unknown in the North, still survived. The caste system was only accepted in a modified form —with the Brahmin, naturally, and Sudra, and also the Parayan (or out caste), which was the Old South Indian stock. Kshasthriya and Vaisya practically did not exist.”

This then is a classic example of how a people with a common racial background are separated into two distinct groups and over the years educated by the ruling creeds, as needed by social interests, to believe that they are the descendents of entirely different races.

 4. Fall of Anuradhapura

Height of prosperity for Anuradhapura kingdom came during the first few centuries of the Christian era. In this period even the language of the common man produced a certain amount of literary work. In particular there were number of popular poets. None of these works are available today. However, one can get a rough idea on the language used by studying the Sigiri writings of the 8th century A.D. Unlike Sinhala Prakrit; the language of the cultured elite, Sinhala that emerges from these writings has a closer affinity, even in grammar, to South Indian languages. Some of the writings give us useful information about contemporary Tamil language.

Collapse of Anuradhapura kingdom began with increase pressure from South India, around the 7th century A. D. Shift to Polonnaruwa was accompanied by the emergence of Sinhala as the language of the elite clans too, and the demise of Sinhala Prakrit. Also, both Hindu and Mahayana religious trends became significant. These were the result of the collapse of the centralized society connected with Anuradhapura irrigation complex and the decay of the ruling clans. In 9th and 10th century instability and insecurity continued and the Sinhala ruling clans were incapable of any construction or building work of grandeur. They neglected the Pali - Sanskrit literature associated mostly with Theravada Buddhism to pursue literary work in Sinhala, the language of the popular culture. Deterioration of the centralized irrigation — agricultural society broke the hold of Theravada Buddhism and reduced the influence of Aryan myths and legends. Sri Lanka was almost absorbed back to the South Indian civilization, which has now advanced under Dravidian elite clans.

In 1017 Sinhala elite was completely thrown out from its position of power. Some of them retreated to the South where they fell back to the agricultural commune system with only a caricature of kingship. Buddhism survived as a collection of rituals and practices while Sinhala language continued to improve at the expense of Pall - Sanskrit and ’Sinhala’ Prakrit. With the collapse of culture went down the language of the cultured: Sinhala Prakrit. The struggle of Vijayabahu was the struggle of the Sinhala clan to take back the kingdom. After the victory they proceeded to reorganize and reestablish the centralized state. They had to depend on friendly Dravidian elites to improve their knowledge in irrigation and state craft. Thus several elite groups from South India were invited here.

It was Parakramabahu- I who completely revitalized the centralized state with large scale irrigation system. Theravada Buddhism was given the prime of place and the influence of Mahayana and other ritualistic trends were weeded out. However these trends must have continued among the ordinary people. Mahayana and other trends which incorporated deities and symbols always represented the ideological needs; in particular of the peasantry and other lower masses out side the centralized system. In South India, Hinduism represented the compromise between the ruling elite and the peasant masses; where as Theravada Buddhism revived only with the uncompromised supremacy of Sinhala elites of the centralized state. Similarly, though at this time both South India and Sri Lanka were under the influence of Sanskrit scholars, there was no structural change in the Dravidian languages and the influence remained superficial. Where as, a complete change took place in written Sinhala; resulting almost an entirely new language "Mixed Sinhala.’
While Buddhism and Sanskrit oriented Sinhala gave a clear identity to the people within the Sinhala Kingdom, which separated them from the people within Dravidian Kingdoms, there was continuous social and cultural intercourse between the Sinhala and Dravidian elites. There were inter marriages, and in disputes they were seeking each others help. Parakramabahu- I was really a Pandian prince with a weak connection to Vijayabahu — I. Thus while there was intermixing among the elite clans, who may have had real ethnic differences, the ordinary people of lower status who were of the same racial stock were made to develop as different nationalities.

 5. End of Rajarata Civilization

Kalinga Magha who invaded the Island in 1215 realized that a long as there exists a Sinhala elite capable of resurrecting the complex centralized irrigation system, subjugation will not be complete. He must have arrived at this conclusion by studying the struggle between the last few Kalinga kings and the Sinhala elite clans. He was quite successful in decimating the Sinhala elite. After this invasion the centralized agrarian society never recovered and the village agricultural system became the dominant factor in Rajarata areas including that of the Jaffna peninsular. However, this invasion could not liquidate Theravada Buddhist clergy equipped with “Mixed Sinhala” literary tradition; they remained to continue the Sinhala identity.

Already, during the last part of the Polonnaruwa period there was a new development that was significant. Re -colonization of the south west of the island opened up a new branch of economic activity. It coincided with the coming of Arab and Chinese traders. Trade of ivory, elephants, spices, and gems which brought items essential to good life, competed with the peasant agriculture. In the wet zone agriculture was organized on a different basis. Here a kind of semi feudalism, where landlordism coexisted with communal villages; replaced the centralized agriculture. Again, the agrarian unit “Gama” or the village replaced the organized colony or “Jana Padaya.” Availability of rain throughout the year made, highly complicated water management both difficult and unnecessary. Also, the tradable crops and gems created the condition for private ownership. Peculiarity of the Asiatic centralized system was that it was exploitative without creating a significant concentration of private property.

During the days of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa centralized agriculture created the culture suitable to the prevailing system. There was an enormous surplus labour at off season which had to be directed for some useful purpose. Public work was one way out and decisions for such work had to be taken at the centre. No individual lord could privately patronize any art of grandeur and enormity. Also Theravada Buddhism created a strong sect which did not allow variations or art for pleasure. The monuments and stone works of that period were dictated by these constraints. It was not a promising climate for literary work of any sort except of religious and philosophical value. However the new society in the humid southern areas created very much the opposite conditions. No large scale monumental work could be undertaken when throughout the year people had work to do and the society was not so organized. On the other hand there were individual land owners or plutocrats who could patronize art. They were much interested in literary work where their names also could be mentioned with a word of praise. The degeneration of Theravada Buddhism created wondering monks who would succor any lord who could provide him with comforts.

 6. Period of separate development

Thus, this new society created an entirely new kind of elite that claimed to be the Sinhala. They supported the growth of prose and verse writing in a language highly influenced by the spoken Sinhala. “Sadharmalankaraya” tradition which went against Sanskritized Sinhala of Parakramabahu era, by following a language close to the people, was a part of this new Sinhala culture. This new Sinhala elite had very little direct connection to the elite of the previous era and they had no claim to the so called Aryan high birth. In fact prose writings of this period show clearly their contempt for those who still claimed to such superior birth. This continued to be the society in Sinhala areas, when the European invaders arrived in the 16th century. By then the North and the East of the island had become a part of the lands of Tamil elites though not all this area belonged to the kingdom of Jaffna. Vanni Lords, probably mostly Tamil, changed their allegiance between Jaffna and Sinhala Kingdoms depending on which is more powerful.

Rulers of Jaffna Kingdom, which began after Magha invasion, always struggled to gain supremacy over the Sinhala Kings in the Southern regions. This means, since 13th century Sinhala and Tamil elites continuously fought each other to decide as to who should dominate, subjugate and exploit the people of this island. Latter in this entire period, whether in the North or in the South, lived, mostly in more or less independent communal villages that produced very little surplus. They had to support administrations and elite classes which in return could not bring much prosperity. Except during brief interludes there was very little culture created by any of the regimes of this period.

Jaffna elite was in a particularly bad situation It was- not possible to develop an advanced irrigation system in this arid land. In addition dependence on underground water compelled continues hard work through out the year. Unlike for the Sinhala Rulers in the wet zone, there was no other wealth which they could exchange with foreign traders. Though for brief periods the Dravidian elite controlled large parts of the island, for most of its existence the Jaffna Kingdom was confined to the arid Northern part of the island. This was the reason for not being able to build vast monuments or to create any other form of significant separate culture which differed from south Indian Tamil culture. There was no separate literature, music or drama. However Jaffna elite preserved early Tamil literature and dance forms; and produced chronicles and few other writings.

It was during this period of commerce and growth of private property that the Muslim enclaves and principalities were established along the coastal areas. Some of these were powerful enough to influence the politics of both Sinhala and Tamil Kingdoms. As lords or mayors of towns Muslim chiefs had positions in many royal courts. Muslim community was spread out through out the island. Though some were involved in agriculture and other professions they were essentially town people with strong commitment to trade & commerce. Thus they became Tamil speaking; the language of trade in south Asia.

Mass of peasants and other lower classes, who lived through out the island during 13th to 19th century, though divided into religious and linguistic groups according to the elite that ruled them, were of the same ethnic mixture with similar racial characteristics. Those who lived for generations in areas ruled mostly by Sinhala elite followed there masters while those in Tamil areas followed Tamil elites and spoke Tamil, followed Hindu rituals and customs. Same is true of Muslim areas. Even if there were some ethnic or racial differences among the ruling classes during the dawn of civilization, there could hardly be any difference today among the ordinary people who are a mixture of Dravidians, Aborigines, Hasamites and Aryans. Then, even among the latter day ruling classes there could not be racial differences; particularly after the Maga invasion. Sinhala elite of the last few hundred years had very little of Aryan ancestry to go by!

 7. Struggle against the Western Invaders

In 1505 when Portuguese first came here the island was divided among number of kingdoms, principalities and cities. These states were divided according to the ruling elites; Sinhala, Tamil or Muslim. The language and culture was decided by the ruling elite and any new comer to the state, either through emigration or due to expansion of the state itself, were assimilated within a generation or two. As lower, classes were backward with very little culture this was not very difficult. For example in the western coast of the island there were number of groups who were of recent arrivals from South India. They were mostly absorbed by the Sinhala and towards this process; the struggle against Europeans must have acted as a catalyst. Also, by l8l5, Kandyan and low country Sinhala speaking people considered themselves to be two separate and distinct people. At that stage ’Sinhale" was only the Kandyan areas. That means during the period of struggle, Kandyan ruling classes were the Sinhala, while lords of law country were busy trying to integrate with the foreign ruling elites, as it happened in Mexico and Peru.

However European invasions and the resultant endless series of vicious battles added an important factor to the development of identities within the Lankan society. Hitherto the change of ruling elites did not alter the everyday life of the ordinary people. At least, not so after the fall of Rajarata civilization. Now completely alien and foreign rule with strange ways of life was imposed on people. Assimilation and integration was slow, while cruelties of discrimination and humiliations were blatant. Under these circumstances masses identified closely with their local elites.

Gradually racial and ethnic identities got a new meaning. ’Sinhala’ or ’Tamil’ did not mean primarily and exclusively an identity of an elite any longer. These became popular identities placed within mass consciousness. The converse was true of Portuguese or Dutch or British. They were the aliens, including their local converts. Also, among the Lankan masses the derogatory sense attached to ’Parangiya’ ’Kerapoththa’ was never associated with ’Sinhalaya’ ’Demala’ or ’Marakkalaya’. How could they, when they sleeked each others help, in resisting the domination of European invaders? This new factor must have acted as a catalyst in the integration of the Dravidian groups in the western coast with Sinhalese and the Sinhala Vanni lords with the Jaffna Kingdom.

 8. Sinhala and Tamil nations

Both Tamil and Sinhala capitalism developed as auxiliaries to the British capitalism. Initially local capital was only a commercial capital, which later went into plantations, mining etc. As market forces developed, different layers of petty producers and servicemen were drawn into the market. Thus a new layer of bourgeoisie, a new elite, developed, which came into conflict with the establishment, it was this development that really created modern nationalism both of Sinhalese and Tamils, and later that of Muslims. At first local bourgeoisie was essentially English speaking and cosmopolitan in outlook. Even if they were nominally Buddhists, Hindus, or Muslims, in actual practice they followed, the Anglican way of life.

As the conflict with the establishment intensified, the national bourgeoisie took pains to dig into the past and came out with a considerable historical and cultural superstructure with fair amount of myth thrown in, to be used as the means of unifying people around it.

Obviously, such national awaking of a developing nation has a strong progressive side “the awakening of the masses from feudal slumber, their struggle against all national oppression, for the sovereignty of the people, for the sovereignty of nations, is progressive.” It mobilizes the protest against imperialism. Migettuwatte Gunnananda, Arumuga Navalar, Siddi Lebbe were all anti - imperialist national democrats of a sort. At that stage there was no serious conflict among these nationalisms that challenged the common enemy, the British imperialism. Here the masses found at the beginning a new leadership which carried on a dialogue and educated them as no elite had done in the past.

Both Sinhala Buddhist and Hindu Tamil unifications took place with the rise of the national bourgeoisie. It was this class that hammered and forged the masses, particularly the peasantry, into two nations based on religion, language, history and a traditional territory . Technically, it was the failure of the comprador classes which paved way for nationalism. Comprador bourgeoisie, which spoke English and took after the British, was too week. Hence, it was cautious and undecided in assimilating the ordinary masses into an English speaking nation that looks towards the West for culture. In any cay case it was a formidable task to eradicate thousands of year’s traditions, feudalism and backwardness; and imperialism to which comprador classes were directly connected was not a progressive system. Still, the early idea of a Ceylonese nation was based on this class. From Dr. Christopher Elliot to Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan, all pre First World War urbane upper — class national leaders since 1848, stood for a nation led by the comprador bourgeoisie. They expected a development somewhat similar to that of Australia or Canada, where there was no fundamental conflict with the British Imperialism. In fact in Ceylon at that time the relative weight of this class was much higher than that of India. Hence the British were eager to transfer more powers to the Ceylonese bourgeoisie.

But they were too frightened to accept. In particular, they were scared of the lower class of their own making: the urban proletariat. Urban proletariat was truly cosmopolitan in outlook and all their early leaders came from highly westernized middle classes; and in fact many of them were Christians. Rise of proletarian activity frightened the comprador bourgeoisie and made them lean more on the rural middle class. With imperialist backing, they suddenly took much interest in the vernacular education, allowed the Buddhist and Hindu religious leaders to get organized and to debate with the Christians, and started research on national history. Most of the class conscious urban workers were Catholics from the suburbs of Colombo. No doubt comprador bourgeoisie thought it is expedient to let them get a bashing from the Buddhist zealots. In late 19th century they managed by this maneuver to frighten the city proletarians, but it opened the way for the rising national bourgeoisie. With the expansion of capitalism the emergence of nationalism based on local languages and traditions was in evitable.

If the English speaking comprador Bourgeoisie failed to unify the country, then the attempt of the national bourgeoisie was disastrous. Sinhala national bourgeoisie from the very beginning had in mind only a Sinhala state. At that stage, that is in early 20’s, with Tamil Nationalism at its incipient stage; Tamil bourgeoisie never thought in terms of a Tamil state. They were quite satisfied with an "independent’ united country if the unification was to be primarily on the basis of English and western culture with both nationalisms playing only a secondary role. In any case, they knew that the new arrangement was to be worked out in proper consultation with imperialism. However D.S. Senanayake and other bourgeoisie leaders knew that the sinhala nationalism was the only basis on which they can compete with the proletarian movement led by the Lanka Sama Smaja Party and other radicals. With that they could be at the helm of the national movement. G. G. Ponnambalam and other Tamil leaders were conscious more of what is good for their class than of the general welfare of the Tamil masses. Hence they went along with D. S. and others till it became simply unbearable. If Sinhala chauvinism was only a trick to be played whenever necessary against the proletariat, in particular in the bid for national leadership, then of course they could go along. But if it is going to be the very basis of the new nation state then they could not see the meaning of it.

 9. Unification of India

However Sinhala Buddhist bourgeoisie, under neither the UNP nor the SLFP, was following even its own logic to the end. If it is so, then they should have followed a policy of conversion, assimilation and integration. There should have been incentives for conversion and total acceptance of the converted. For example, it would have been easy for them, with necessary material incentives, to provide Sinhala education to Kandyan Tamils and probably even convert them to Buddhism. Help, positions, land and security in Sinhala areas would have dispersed even the Northern and Eastern Tamils. However they were not interested in that; they were more interested in division, discrimination and oppression than in integration. Their whole ideology, though chimed to be Theravada Buddhism was filled with myth, chauvinism and petty minded rubbish. This was not an accident. It was the nature of a week bourgeoisie class without a sound financial or industrial base, and it was a contrast to the Indian Hindu bourgeoisie. Relatively more developed Hindu industrial bourgeoisie was better equipped to put forward an ideology for unification of India. On the other hand, Hinduism with wide spectrum of tendencies within could accommodate even Protestantism and hence provide an ideology for industrial capitalism. Where as strict Theravada Buddhism, though could promote an ever accommodating, egalitarian, statistic bureaucracy, it can never be the ideology of an enterprising disciplined capitalist class.

Thus in spite of the bloody division of the country, India bourgeoisie was able to achieve some degree of unity within what remained to be India, and on that basis a significant industrial development. This has influenced the Lankan Tamils and obviously, they are today willing to follow Indian bourgeoisie avoiding altogether the Sinhala bourgeoisie. But in the present world capitalist crisis even Indian bourgeoisie is a spent force. They have not completely solved any of the national democratic problems of the Indian society and now these are coming to the surface with greater thrust than ever before. With the present fermentation, before long the Indian society too will burst out like a Pandora’s Box.

In the entire Indian sub continent, neither the comprador nor the national capitalist classes could develop the essential factor for assimilation of different nationalities: a motivated homogeneous intelligentsia ready to serve them. Such an instrument, necessary for all kinds of inter course between nationalities within India, can emerge only within full democratic unity and unrestricted economic development. That did not happen in India. English educated intelligentsia of the early period was prepared to consider Britain as its mother country and respect British imperialism. However the British imperialist bourgeoisie was not prepared to take them seriously. Imperialists were interested in subjugation and not in democratic assimilation. This made the intelligentsia disillusioned and frustrated. . In Lanka they .expected to be treated in the same way as their counterparts from other parts of the empire such as Australia Canada. They were badly disappointed and every time, the system went into crisis intelligentsia was split with divided loyalty; a section even looking towards the working class. Sinhala bourgeoisie, on the other hand failed miserably in producing anything that could be called a motivated enlightened intelligentsia. What it did collect was pseudo nationalist intelligentsia which while secretly drawing inspiration from western thinking, demagogically denounced “Western imperialist culture.” They only managed successfully, to bring total confusion among the educated youth of recent generations.

Hence there can be no doubt that it is only the proletarian movement that will really integrate the people of the Indian subcontinent. In a backward country, the modern proletariat is the only social layer capable of separating themselves from chauvinism and religious sectarianism. Capitalist mode of production is collective and universal in spite of the narrow outlook of the national bourgeoisie. Same machinery with similar specifications are used everywhere. Goods are produced with the world market in view. This necessitated an educated working class with a universal outlook. Workers movement naturally grows beyond national and sectarian barriers. Thus, it is the working class movement that is capable of creating conditions for drawing together and sustaining an enlightened intelligentsia capable of moving beyond the present day philistine thinking and to arrive at unification. There is no doubt that the proletariat will create such conditions, based on right of secession and autonomy for all people in the subcontinent.

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