12 MAY 1961, Page 13

Asian Discrimination S. Dharmavaratha and T. Thirunamachandran Christiansen and Beaverbrook

Tom Driberg, MP, Leonard Mosley. Daniel George Hospitals and Patients 'Another Consultant Surgeon,' Susan Coiling

Ipsos Custodes G. W. Kerr Caged Men Mark Bonham Carter Day of Dupes Philip Toynbee International Aid Gordon Evans Accepting Cheques Sidney R. Campion Painless Childbirth Mrs. F. Pirani

ASIAN DISCRIMINATION Gunawardene in his appraisal of Mr.

Hollis's article on 'Asian Discrimination' with particular reference to Ceylon has not presented a true picture of the position of the Tamils. We should be grateful if you would give us the courtesy of your columns to clear any confusion that may have been caused among your readers.

We repudiate Mr. Gunawardene's statement that there is no racial discrimination against the Tamils. Though the present and the past Governments may not have flagrantly preached a doctrine of dis- crimination, there is certainly prevalent in disguised

form a most sinister type of discrimination. We are told that Tamils can enter the Public Service in Ceylon through the medium of Tamil. But, in practice, a Tamil finds obstruction to enter the service; at selection his community is a distinct dis- advantage to him; if he still merits selection, before confirmation he has to acquire proficiency in a language completely foreign to him; at this stage he invariably stumbles. The scheme is even more ridiculous when a Tamil has to obtain proficiency in Sinhalese though his services to the public are in the north and the east of Ceylon which arc pre- dominantly Tamil-speaking. In spite of these obstacles a successful Civil Servant carries with him Oil 'stigma' of being a Tamil.

It is common knowledge that the late Mr. Bandaranaike was elected to power with the help of the Buddhist clergy. Perhaps as a good turn—perhaps nob--he palpably endeavoured to give Buddhism a higher status than any other religion in Ceylon. If this is not laying the foundation for the establish- ment of a theocratic State, what is? There are numerous instances in the Public Service where re- ligion has been a qualification. In a recent speech in the Ceylon Parliament. a Sinhalese Buddhist MP observed that to hold a key position in the Public Service one has to be a Sinhalese, a Buddhist, and also belong to the correct caste.

The Government has graciously allowed the Tamils to use their own language for general pur- poses. This has been done because it cannot be pre- vented. A Tamil can write to a Government Depart- ment in his language but, of course, the reply he receives is in Sinhalese which he does not speak and certainly cannot read.

As Mr. Gunawardene pointed out. 'Tamils can receive their education, through all stages and up to and within the University. in Tamil.' Is this helpful if they cannot obtain employment after graduation for lack of 'a working acquaintance of the official language'?

To an impartial observer, a close scrutiny of the conditions prevailing in Ceylon will reveal clearly

discrimination against the Tamils, however hard Mr. Gunawardene may try to cover it.—Yours faithfully,


25 Hoop Lane, NW II