19 MAY 1961, Page 14


SIR,—As a Sinhalese I fully endorse the ideas expressed by Christopher Hollis on the Tamil ques- tion in Ceylon. How could Mrs. Bandaranaika con- demn South Africa when she and her government arc carrying out—albeit on a smaller scale—an equally discriminatory campaign against another race? I am ashamed of my fellow Sinhalese.

In the East, language is bound up with religious and race differences. The only solution to the language problem in Ceylon is to use a neutral language, i.e., to readopt English for official pur- poses. It is far easier to learn than Sinhalese or Tamil; and as for native culture being damaged by such a policy, I fail to see what culture there is in Ceylon at the present day, or has been in the recent past among either Sinhalese or Tamil. This curse of the 'mother tongue' is a half-baked idea picked up from the jargon of pseudo-psychologists and turned into a policy; and it has split my peaceful country into two bitterly warring factions.. During our 'evil' colonial days Ceylon was a peaceful, united country. Now . . .?

The United Nations should send a commission to inquire into this racial discrimination and seek a workable solution. And if the Commonwealth is to exist as a democratic unit, its Prime Ministers cannot now shut their eyes. Why are the African members. who are always strong against discrimination, silent?

They should come out in an effort to show their erring sister Prime Minister the error of her ways.

What is being done in Ceylon now is simply bringing into ill-repute one of the world's great religions the teachings of the gentle, tolerant Buddha. Yours faithfully.