Effects Of The Sri Lankan Civil War Sociology Essay
|✅ Paper Type: Free Essay||✅ Subject: Sociology|
|✅ Wordcount: 1755 words||✅ Published: 1st Jan 2015|
The two major ethnic groups of Sri Lanka, the Sinhalese and the Tamils, both had very different viewpoints on how the country should be run. Fears of a stereotypical government and the ideas of inequality occurred during passings of discriminatory state policies (Sri Lanka, Relations with.) A policy that was most looked down upon was the deprivation of Indian Tamils from having citizenship and representation. Another reason the Tamils believed that the Sinhalese were in more control was due to the difference in representation, the Sinhalese were more obligated to express their own culture and religion; which mainly consisted of Buddhism. Lastly, in 1956 it was declared by the Sinhalese that Sri Lanka’s only official language should be Sinhala, the language of the Sinhalese people. The Sinhala Act Only of 1956 is one of the most notable policies, it is directly stated, “Sinhala language shall be the one official language of Ceylon.”(The Sinhala Only Act) These policies made Tamil people infuriated, and made them have a greater need for independence. Militant Tamil youth groups were formed in order to fight for a separate Tamil state, thus starting the Sri Lankan Civil War(Sri Lanka, Relations with.).
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The main point made was that the Sinhalese people were always use to being the supreme force and majority of Sri Lanka, while the Tamil people also felt like they should be recognized and acknowledged as a part of Sri Lanka. The main reason the Tamil people weren’t given much recognition and independence was due to them not being natives of Sri Lanka; they were all of Indian descent. It is also important to note the differences between the Sinhalese and Tamil people, most of the Sinhalese people practiced Buddhism, while most of the Tamil people were either Muslim or Hindu. Both the Sinhalese and Tamil had their own language. Lastly, a majority of Sri Lanka was composed of Sinhalese, while only about 18% of the population was Tamil (Sri Lanka, Relations with.) It is important to note these differences because it only makes it much more harder for the Tamil and Sinhalese people to agree upon certain standards.
The Tamil people were originally descendants of india, thus making them not Sri Lankan natives. The Tamil people felt that the Sinhalese decision of passing the Sinhala Only Act was only to estate a sense of dominance and prejudice. One of the biggest issues caused by making Sinhala the official language of Sri Lanka was that Tamil people had less of a chance to uphold a government position. Dr Colvin R de Silva, a former member of the parliament famously said, “Do we… want a single nation or do we want two nations?”(Colvin R De Silva) Silva’s quote shows that the Tamil people felt like the nation was starting to be divided up into two different regions. The quote also shows that the Tamil people were willing to negotiate, just so that Sri Lanka may remain as one nation. The Tamils eventually responded to these policies by protesting against the Sinhalese, these protests ended up becoming violent. These protests were encouragement for the Sinhalese to pass more discriminatory policies against the Tamils. The policies passed were looked at as discriminatory against the education and employment of the Tamil people (Ethnic Prejudice.) The Tamils constantly being blocked off from chances at employment and receiving education lead to a need for separation. The Tamil people were willing to fight for their independence in Sri Lanka, and the suppression being put down by the Sinhalese(policies) weren’t going to discourage them.
The passing of the Sinhala Only Act ended up encouraging the Tamil people to riot against the Sinhalese Government. The formation of Tamil Youth Groups gave India a much bigger role during the Civil War. After many failures at establishing a multicultural government, The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) were formed in 1975. The purpose of the LTTE was to fight with as much force necessary to establish equal rights, and to potentially make a separate state called Tamil Eelam (The History of the Tamil Tigers.) The violence that the Sri Lankan army (Sinhalese) initiated on the Tamil youth groups with caused many Tamils to leave Sri Lanka, and seek refuge in Tamil Nadu; a southern part of India. The people and press of Tamil Nadu emphasized sympathy for the Tamils in Sri Lanka. The main action Tamil Nadu did to help was demand that the Indian government(in New Delhi) take action against the Sinhalese (Sri Lanka, Relations with.) India became much more involved in the situation with Sri Lanka, India helped train and fund the Tamil youth groups to aid in creating a stronger force. Another way India helped was by helping set up negotiations and compromises between the Tamils and Sinhalese (Sri Lanka, Relations with.) India’s attempts at trying to estate positive relations between the Tamils and Sinhalese had little success.
The Tamils responded violently to the policies passed by the Sinhalese. After many failed attempts at negotiating, the Tamil rebels took it upon themselves to form the Tamil Tigers. The Tamil Tigers were one of the most pressuring Tamil Forces against the Sri Lankan government. The LITE was most well known for their elite guerilla warfare tactics, this played a key role when the Tamil people rebelled. The Tamil people’s protest grew substantially bigger as the Sinhalese tried to suppress them, this only encouraged the Sinhalese to use more force. In 1981, Sinhalese forces burned a Tamil library in Jaffna, and terrorized the Tamil people with violent acts, including bombing raids on Tamil villages. The Tamils reacted to this with more violence and rioting, which only made the Sinhalese make more violent decisions. The Sinhalese retaliated to the rioting by burning the remaining Tamil homes and Businesses in Sri Lanka. At this point India sent 80,000 troops to step in so that this violence may come to a short halt, though these troops were asked to leave shortly after the violence; which they did obey. The Tamil Tiger’s key role was that the violent acts by the Sinhalese only ended up giving LITE more encouragement to obtain their goals. More force had to be used by the Liberation Tigers to achieve their goal of Tamil Eelam, suicide bombing began to occur. On July 5, 1987, Tamil rebels rammed a truck with explosives into a building containing Sri Lankan soldiers; this was the first act by Tamil rebels regarding suicide bombing (The History of the Tamil Tigers.) Another instance of suicide bombing was when Sri Lankan Defence Minister, Ranjan Wijeratne, was killed in a car bomb explosion; this was considered to be the biggest suicide act to have been performed by Tamil rebels. A year before his death , Mr Wijeratne informed the press: “I am going all out for the LTTE. I never do anything in half measures.”(Sri Lankan hardliner among 19 killed in blast.) This quote shows that the Tamil Tigers are pressuring the Sri Lankan government in a much more brutal way. The Tamil Tigers started to target government officials as ways of taking out individuals that are higher in command. The Tamil Tigers main method of fear was to cause chaos in Sri Lanka.
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The Sinhalese government responded to most of the Tamil rebel’s violence with violence. The thought that the Sri Lankan government had was that they had to fight fire with fire in order for the Tamil Rebel to back down. In 1987, Sri Lankan President J.R. Jayewardene and prime minister Rajiv Ganhdi tried to resolve this conflict by making the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord. The Indo-Sri Lanka Accord declared that Sri Lanka is “a multi-ethnic and multi-lingual plural society.”(Sri Lanka, relations with.) Tamil and English were added on to be the official languages of Sri Lanka. The accord was soon challenged by Colombo’s Ruling Party, which was lead by Prime Minister Premadasa. The accord wasn’t support by many militant tamil groups, including the Tamil Tigers.(Sri Lanka, relations with.) The introduction of the Tamil Tiger didn’t seem as much of a threat at first, but suicide bombers quickly changed the perspectives that the Sinhalese had. Suicide bombing was one of the most brutal tactics the Tamil Tigers had used for violence, and the targets of these were mainly Sri Lankan government officials and law enforcement. Eventually Sri Lanka wasn’t the only nation to view the Tamil Tigers as a threat, India banned LTTE as a terrorist organization in 1993(Sri Lanka, Relations with.) Talks between Tamil and Sinhalese leadership emerged in the late 1990’s, but were quickly ended and war was resumed. The Sinhalese were making an attempt at finally making peace with the Tamils, but the new policies weren’t satisfactory to most Tamil rebel groups. The Sinhalese groups are still persistent over trying to stop the Tamil rebel groups from causing so much disruption in their society.
The Sinhalese and Tamil are two very dominant cultures that have been fighting for many years. The whole Civil War seemed to be an argument of whether or not the Sinhalese people should get all the glory for being there first. The thought was that Tamil people weren’t descents of the Sri Lankan region, thus they shouldn’t too many rights. The Tamil people disagreed with that idea and rioted for changed. The changes made weren’t satisfactory enough for the Tamil people, thus having them riot and engage in even more violence. The Sinhalese people fought fire with fire, and engaged in violence with the Tamil people. The Tamil people technologically advanced their ways or retaliating by introducing suicide bombing as a tactic, this completely shocked the Sinhalese people. It’s seen that the Tamil people weren’t going to back down, and kept on pressuring the Sri Lankan government to change. It is also seen that the Sinhalese people did whatever they could to suppress the Tamils from causing too much disruption, which only made them even more encouraged. The Sri Lankan Civil War was a huge changing point in history, it showed that both nations with very different perspectives each wanted something for themselves. It almost seems as if the Tamils were trying to express nationalism by trying to make their cultures a bigger part of Sri Lanka, and having the Sinhalese people take part in it.
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