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Why I Call Mahavamsa A Fiction? – C.V.Vigneswaran

December 25, 2019

Courtesy: Colombo Telegraph / Justice C.V.Vigneswaran
Justice C.V. Wigneswaran

This week I am answering several questions posed by a person who was annoyed that I called Mahāvaṃsa a fiction in my earlier Question for the Week series.

Question: You have stated that Mahāvaṃsa is only a fabrication written in Pali. On what facts and basis do you state so?

Answer: I did not say fabrication. It was a fiction written in Pali for the glorification of Buddhism. Mahanama at the end of every stanza says so. A historian will not say at the end of every stanza I do this for the glorification of a particular Religion or philosophy. His purpose was religious not writing history.

Question: Information and details provided in history and inscriptions found at many places of archaeological value and books on history and ancient events in Sri Lanka including India as well as other countries too, confirm contents in Mahāvaṃsa are exactly true and genuine. Then how do you call Mahāvaṃsa is only a fabrication in Pali.

Answer: Fabrication is a wrong word used by your good self. We sometimes write fiction with certain known information. Suppose I write a fictional short story that Mr. X was walking down Galle Road, Colpetty on a particular day, the latter information that there is a Galle Road in Colpetty might be true while Mr. X walking down Galle Road on that particular day would be fiction. Some information of historical value may have been included by Mahanama taking such information from traditional stories available at that time. Lots of journalists even today take existing facts and join them with their fancy stories and write articles giving the impression that their entire articles are genuine and true. I can identify such journalists if needed. In any event what contents of Mahāvaṃsa do you say are true and genuine? Once you tell me that, then I could answer your question more in detail.

Question: It was according to information and details given in Mahāvaṃsa that late King Ashoka the Emperor of India was recognized correctly and his period of reign decided upon. By these facts too, it is crystal clear that Mahāvaṃsa has an international recognition.

Answer: This is not true. The recognition of King Ashoka never came to pass only due to the existence of Mahāvaṃsa. You are insulting the Indians! The Ashokan Edicts were well known.

Question: There are many books written by foreigners about our country. Among those are many about our history. One book contains a report by Fa Hien as a keen observer of this country. But none of the books state about a Tamil Eelam.

Answer: There is no need to prove Thamil Eelam. It exists even now. Eelam is another name for Lanka, Ceylon, Serendip and so on. Since Sri Lanka exists Eelam also exists. Thamil Eelam is that part of Sri Lanka which has from pre Buddhistic  times been Tamil speaking. That’s all. Eelam contains Tamil speaking Eelam and Sinhala speaking Eelam. The Sinhalese masses have been misinformed so far.

Question: Yalpaanam Vypawamalai is considered the oldest book written about the history of original Tamils. Information provided at the very beginning of that book tallies with information given in Mahawamsa to a great extent. At the beginning it states about King Wijaya just as mentioned in Mahawamsa too. What are your views on this issue.

Answer: Yalpaana Vypavamalai was not a book written by a Historian. He would have thought Mahāvaṃsa to have been true and referred to its contents. But within the last ten years or so, lots of evidence has come to light to show the existence of Tamils from pre Buddhistic times.

Professor Indrapala wrote his thesis for his Doctorate in the 1960s. They would not give him his Doctorate at the Ceylon University if he told the truth of the existence of Tamils prior to Chola occupation. So he said real cogent evidence of permanent settlements of Tamils was found only during the Chola occupation. My friend Lawyer S.L. Gunasekera went to town with Dr. Indrapala’s thesis Book. But what happened? Professor Indrapala wrote his subsequent Book in 2005 from Australia giving full details of Tamil occupation of Sri Lanka from pre Buddhistic times. Even our Sinhala Professors and respected Buddhist monks had been stultifying research to further their chauvinistic ends.

Question: Even in Tamil history book Yalpana Vypavamalai at the very beginning it states about the periods of reigns from King Wijaya to other kings who reigned in Sri Lanka exactly as stated in Mahāvaṃsa. This too clearly confirms Tamil history books have been written on facts and guidelines given in Mahāvaṃsa.

Answer: Yalpana Vypavamalai was not written by a Historian. He took for granted that Mahāvaṃsa contents were authentic history and must have written his book. That does not take away the fact that Mahāvaṃsa in fact was a fictional writing written for the glorification of Buddhism. Like S.L. Gunasekera taking Professor Indrapala’s first book to prove his Sinhala story you are taking Yalpana Vypawamalai, which is not a historical work, to prove your case. But the last ten years have brought ample proof of the antiquity of the Tamils in Sri Lanka. A very senior Professor of History said so recently at a public meeting.

Question: Although Yalpana Vypavamalai covers a long period of over 2400 years it contains details of 20 kings only. What are your views about this?

Answer: I do not have to comment any further about Yalpana Vypawamalai. If the author of Yalpana Vypawamalai lived today he would write a Book like Professor Indrapala disassociating himself with the contents of his earlier Book. You cannot keep truth hidden for a long time.

Question: It is stated in Yalpana Vypawamalai that the soil in the North was known as Weligoda (mound of sand) in the past. During this period a blind poet named Weeraruwan from India visited Sri Lanka. King Rajasinghe who was highly satisfied with the performance of his violin play, gifted him with a nindagam. Later their area was called Yalpanam which means violin player’s village. This proves clearly that Sinhalese people lived in North.

Answer: Utter rubbish! Sinhala words were coined for Tamil names and words within the past 100 years or so only. Now these coined words are used to say the coined Sinhala name existed centuries earlier. Manal Aru is a good example. Manal Aru was the name given in all official documents both before Independence and after until about 40 years ago. Then the Sinhala translation of Manal Aru viz. Weli Oya was inserted into Official documents.  Now it is said Weli Oya was the Original name of the area and the Tamils took over and named it Manal Aru! You can check the Official documents during the British times and the early years after Independence. Lots of fraudulent acts of this nature had been taking place simply to portray that this Country was originally Sinhala and Buddhist. Even Mootha Sivan’s son Thevanai Nampiya Theesan has been changed to Devanampiya Tissa! There was no Sinhala Language at that time when Theesan was living.

Question: According to page 51 of the Yalpana Vypawamalai Sinhalese translation, it states all who professed Buddhism were Sinhalese people. Many Buddhists lived in the Kingdom of Jaffna. If it was so how do you say Tamil Buddhists lived in Jaffna in the past?

Answer: All Sinhalese may have been Buddhists. But all Buddhists were certainly not Sinhalese. Professor Sunil Ariaratne refers to Demala Bauddhayo in his Book under the same title. Please do not harp on Yalpana Vypawamalai again and again like my friend S.L. Gunasekera used to quote Professor Indrapala’s first book as his sole proof for his distorted view of History. I speak on the basis of the latest discoveries.

A discovery is where you are able to bring out something covered by removing the cover. The recent evidence regarding the Tamils have uncovered the wrong ideas propagated so far by some pseudo Sinhala Historians.

Question: Yalpana Vypawamalai states about the Aryachakrawarthy dynasty. Indian inscriptions state that. That dynasty was not Tamil. If it was so, how do you say original residents in Jaffna were Tamils and there was a Tamil Kingdom in Jaffna?

Answer: Aryachakrawarthis were Telugu Dravidians. They spoke Tamil when they were ruling here because Tamil was the language of communication at that time at the Royal Level. The Kandyan King signed in Tamil in 1815. He was an Aryachakrawarthi. Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and Sinhalese were all Languages that came out of Tamil. Tamil and Pali helped to form Sinhala language. Surely I don’t have to prove to you that Sangiliyan the last King of Jaffna was a Tamil? Are you trying to say Jaffna Patnam was Sinhalese? How foolish of you! Sinhala language came into existence only 1300-1400 years ago. Before that there were no Sinhala language nor Sinhalese as a community. Mahāvaṃsa was in Pali. There was no Sinhalese when Mahāvaṃsa was written in the 5th Century AD. Sinhala came in the 6th or 7th Century AD. Further the recent DNA tests have confirmed Tamils and Sinhalese are from the same common origin.

I would therefore ask all my Sinhalese Brothers and Sisters to take cognizance of their common ancestry with us the Sri Lankan Tamils, grant us merger of North and East and include federalism in our constitution with a special unit within the North and East for the Tamil speaking Muslims so that the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim brethren could hold hands together and move forward!

*Justice C.V. Wigneswaran – Former Chief Minister, Northern Province and Secretary General, Tamizh Makkal Kootanii