Nations : historical and contemporary - imagined communities and a bloody conflict
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Kasun UbayasiriKasun Ubayasiri
Sri Lanka is the theatre of a three decade long bloody ‘terrorist’ conflict, where terrorist strategies and conventional battlefield tactics of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam continue to take a military and political toll on the Sri Lankan government. The politico-military conflict waged by the Tigers in pursuit of a separate Tamil state is deeply rooted in the nationalist mindset of the Tamils and fuelled by their perception of racial oppression by a similarly nationalistic Sinhalese opponent. These nationalist mindsets have been fostered through a two millennia long lingua-cultural drift, and in the case of the Eelamist Tamils, into a separatist consciousness which has manifested into the source for a bloody conflict. This paper attempts to outline the nature of nationalist sentiment, in an attempt to decipher the nature of the deeper consciousness which drives Sinhala and Tamil speakers to war and ultimately to death. It attempts the to better understand the role played by the so called ‘Maháwansa mindset’ and its counterpart the Sangam ideology in shaping contemporary nationalist sentiments within the Sri Lankan theatre of conflict.