Law and Language Aspects of Language Conflict in Sri Lanka

Law and Language Aspects of Language Conflict in Sri Lanka

The Sri Lankan Civil War is one of the longest and bloodiest civil wars ever. It went on for more than 30 years and ended only after LTTE was defeated in 2009, after a full-on attack by Sri Lankan forces. The ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka has many root causes and consequences that are closely interlinked. But the main reason for this terribly prolonged war was the domination of the Sinhalese majority over the Tamil speaking minority. Sinhalese were pressing for such a dominant position for their language that the Tamils felt alienated and subordinated. The Sinhalese followed a systemic method of depriving the Tamils of their education, jobs etc. The Tamils saw a rapid deterioration in their living standards. This raised resentment among the Tamils and they started demanding parity of status for their own language.
Through the course of my Research Paper I will be mainly looking into the linguistic aspects of the Sri Lankan Civil War. I will also look into the role law plays in times of such conflict. For example the 1956 Sinhala Only Act increased the animosity between the communities. I also try dealing with many other questions such as - Why does multi-lingualism become a problem? Why does language become the object for social and political conflict? Can two or more languages co-exist in a society? The war may be over in Sri Lanka but it is imperative to look into the issues behind the conflict. Every country (especially India with its diverse population) should take a lesson from the Sri Lankan Civil War so as to avoid any such conflicts in their respective sovereigns in the future.
For better understanding I have divided my research into 3 time periods- i) Pre 1956 ii) 1956-1973 and iii) 1973- 2009. 
CHAPTER II: THE PRE- 1956 PERIOD
During the 19th century Christian missionaries had established many English educational institutions in the north and eastern parts of Sri Lanka. As these areas were mainly Tamil dominated they had access to education in English...

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