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After The Fall Sri Lanka and War

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Item Code: HAM951
Author: Mohan K. Tikku
Publisher: Oxford University Press, New Delhi
Language: English
Edition: 2016
ISBN: 9780199463503
Pages: 328
Other Details 8.5x5.5 inch
Weight 530 gm
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Book Description
About the Author

Mohan K. Tikku, author and journalist, is a former leader writer and foreign correspondent of the Hindustan Times, New Delhi. He also heads the India Node of the Millennium Project. He covered the war in Sri Lanka (1987-90), the Gulf War I (1991), Afghanistan (1992), and has written extensively on the developments in Kashmir. He has been a Fellow of the Journalists in Europe Fellowship Programme, Paris, and a Senior Fellow of the Indian Council of Social Science Research, New Delhi. His earlier book, Sri Lanka: A Land in Search of Itself, was published in 2007.


February 2002 had the feel of an early spring. The F Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was signed on 22 February. At that time, it looked like the rise of a new hope for the Tamils and the Sinhalese alike. It reflected their common yearning for peace, which, at last, was beginning to look real. The sense of relief that the six-year war (1995-2001) had been finally brought to a close had taken over the national mood. It was in the air. It was all over the people's faces. It was in the new spring in their step.

With the end of the fighting, the body bags had stopped arriving in Colombo from the north. The pervasive sense of fear among people, even in the relatively better guarded environs of the Capital-the fear of not knowing when the next roadside bomb might go off-appeared to have passed from their minds. Groups of Sinhalese from the south were getting into public transport buses for the long journey to Jaffna in the north to see for themselves what that part of the country looked like. For many of them, it was the first time that they were visiting that piece of territory. For some Sinhalese youth, it was the first time that they were travelling that far within their own country.

The thaw had started with a unilateral ceasefire announcement made by the Tamil Tigers a few weeks after the results of the 5 December 2001 parliamentary elections were out.


While Buddhists all over the world were celebrating W 2500 years of Gautama Buddha's passing or Mahaparinirvana in 1956, Ceylon (as Sri Lanka used to be called at the time) was sowing the seeds of an ethnic conflict that would pin it down for another half a century and more-overshadowing life in the island for all that time, and with consequences that would reach even beyond. To begin with, it was the issue of language that became the source of conflict between the Sinhalese majority and the minority Tamils. That was until violence itself became the language of discourse between the two ethnic groups.

In that year, S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, Ceylon's newly elected Prime Minister, set out to fulfil a pledge he had made to his predominantly Sinhalese constituency. He had promised to have a law enacted that would privilege Sinhala, the language of the majority community, as the exclusive medium of discourse at all levels of government. During his election campaign, the promise to make Sinhala the sole official language had a mesmerizing effect on the Sinhalese people, who voted his party, the newly formed Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), with a majority that far exceeded his expectations. And now, he was all set to deliver on his promise.

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