Blowback: Linguistic Nationalism, Institutional Decay, and Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka
In the mid-1950s, Sri Lanka s majority Sinhalese politicians began outbidding one another on who could provide the greatest advantages for their community, using the Sinhala language as their instrument. The appeal to Sinhalese linguistic nationalism precipitated a situation in which the movement to replace English as the country s official language with Sinhala and Tamil (the language of Sri Lanka s principal minority) was abandoned and Sinhala alone became the official language in 1956. The Tamils subsequent protests led to anti-Tamil riots and institutional decay, which meant that supposedly representative agencies of government catered to Sinhalese preferences and blatantly disregarded minority interests. This in turn led to the Tamils mobilizing, first politically then militarily, and by the mid-1970s Tamil youth were bent on creating a separate state.
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anti-Tamil riots B-C Pact Bandaranaike bhikkhus British Buddhist campaign Ceylon Chelvanayakam claimed Colombo colonization constitution Council country's culture Debates demands Dudley Senanayake Dutthagamani Eastern Provinces election elites English ensure especially ethnic conflict ethnic outbidding ethnocentric ethnocracy extremists Federal Party forces FP's G. G. Ponnambalam guage House of Representatives Ibid Indian Tamils institutional decay ISGA island J. R. Jayewardene Jaffna Jayewardene Kotelawala Kumaratunga language issue leaders linguistic nationalism linguistic parity LTTE LTTE's majority marginalized Mettananda minority mobility northeast Northern and Eastern Official Language Act opposed parliament parliamentary peace percent polyethnic Ponnambalam Prabhakaran prime minister rebels religion rhetoric S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike satyagraha Senanayake Sinhala language Sinhala-only movement Sinhala-only policy Sinhalese and Tamils Sinhalese Buddhist Sinhalese nationalists Sinhalese politicians Sinhalese-Tamil SLFP Soulbury Sri Lanka Suntharalingam swabasha Tamil Eelam Tamil language Tamil Nation Tamil politicians Tamil youth Tamil-speaking Tigers tion violence