Fire-Storm Images, I: The Sinhala Tamil Gulf Emerges

SWRD Bandaranaike woos a crowd on Sinhala language enthusiasts 

Bandaranaike was an eloquent speaker in both English and Sinhala. This image captures his rhetorical vigour while on the stage…

FR Jayasuriya fasts unto death in support of the Sinhala Only Bill, 24 May 1956 … Jayasuriya was a Professor at Peradeniya University and a prominent figure in the SLFP. This is but one example of the powerful wave of public pressure in favour of Sinhala Only –with lower middle class and petit-bourgeois elements providing key driving forces that brought the MEP coalition into power in 1956 and activated Tamil protests [see below] . Note that Jayasuriya did not die … presumably calling off his fast once the Sinhala Only bill was accepted.


The Federal Party aka ITAK mounted a satyagraha campaign at Galle Face Green  in opposition to the Sinhala Only programme

Sinhala language activists (and thugs?) intervened and carried some of the satygrahis away… …..It is said that assault s also occurred. This was after MH Mettananda from the SFLP had lectured the Tamil leaders [see picture in Victor Ivan, Paradise in Tears)

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Filed under accountability, communal relations, constitutional amendments, governance, historical interpretation, political demonstrations, politIcal discourse, power politics, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society

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