Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Lions of Lanka

The tigers and leopards in Tamil Nadu are growling in anger four years after the annihilation of the LTTE in Sri Lanka. The belated outburst of manufactured rage has been further fanned by political hyenas hoping to checkmate the old foxes in the cynical game of one-upmanship. Buddhist monks are being mindlessly targeted. Friendly cricketers not spared. And Rajakapaksa’s republic has been hastily branded as an ‘enemy country’.

But there is still hope. The soldiers of this peaceful war against Lanka are students. So, to uncover the devious game of the politicians, all they need to do is to study a little history before demanding a slice of geography.

And history tells us that the Lankans are not aliens out to exterminate Tamils but descendants of our very own Indian blood. The first king of Ceylon, Vijaya Singha (the Singha that gave rise to Singhala or Sinhala), was widely believed to be from Simhapur, which happens to be the modern-day Sihor in Bhavnagar, Gujarat. The Karavas, the second most dominant Sinhalese group, draw their roots back to the Kauravas of Mahabharatha! Theravada Buddhism, the lead religion in Sri Lanka, was exported to the island nation by King Ashoka’s children Mahinda and Sanghamitra.

Even the names used by its people owe its origins largely to Sanskrit. I’ll demonstrate it by decoding some famous surnames. The Jayawardene in Mahela Jayawardene means ‘one who promotes victory’. Sangakkara aptly translates to ‘the group’s leader’. Ranatunga, the spearhead of the world cup victory, amazingly works out to ‘chief of war’. Herath (remember, Rangana Herath?) is synonymous with ‘Shivaratri’.

Samaraweera is ‘war hero’; Tillakaratne is ‘gem of the necklace’, Wettimuni is ‘sage who can perceive’, Jayasuriya is ‘victorious sun’, Mahanama is ‘holy name’, Kaluwitharana is ‘truly a gift’, Chandana is ‘sandalwood’, Taranga cues ‘sea waves’,  Kapugedera implies ‘protector from torrent’ and Kulasekara, ‘god of the commune’.

Let’s analyse surnames of leaders. Rajapakse connotes ‘loyal to the king’. Premadasa ironically suggests ‘servant of love’. Bandaranayake spells ‘storehouse captain’ while Kumaratunga alludes to ‘chief’s child’. Despite all these linguistic, historic and genetic linkages, if we continue to perceive the Lankans as adversaries, then we deserve to be consumed by the beast of hatred.