ABSTRACT

Sri Lanka is a multicultural island that survives on a dependent economy. Many attempts by the international community and the neighboring India failed to bring a sustainable peace. Post-colonial Sri Lanka produced an acrimonious ethnoreligious political conflict between the majority Sinhalas and the Tamil minority. Ethnoreligious nationalism is characteristically different from nationalism. Buddhist ethnoreligious nationalism fought and defeated federalism in Sri Lanka. The federalism debate in Lanka began as early as 1926, two decades before the centuries-old colonial rule came to end. Ironically, at that point the Sinhala elites, promoted federalism. The Federal Party refused to call for secession or armed struggle. In total opposition to the federal demand, in the 1972 Janaraja constitution officially renamed Ceylon as Sri Lanka and enshrined the unitary status. Furthermore, it pronounced the new republic, a state where the Sinhala language and Buddhism will hold the foremost place. Both the Sinhalas and the Tamils had taken polar positions in their ethno-national political formation.