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Re: Boduhela and Jesuhela

Victor Gunasekara

I am commenting on the second message from Karunita Wimalasuriya (given below). As it is a critique of my original comments on "Boduhela and Jesuhela" (CC8) I am circulating this to all those to whom the original message was sent. I must thank Karunita for making his views known when many others who claim to be knowledgeable on this subject, and have many titles like Professors and Phds, remain silent. Karunita in fact presents an alternative theory of Hela and this certainly has to be considered. My view is that this alternative theory is simply wishful thinking on the part of Helas and has no historical basis.


The Alternative Hela Theory
According to this theory the Helas were the original inhabitants of Helabima (presumably the Island of Lanka). They are supposed to be a pure race originally uncontaminated by alien influences. Perhaps they descended from the monkeys of Helabima while the rest of Humanity evolved from Apes in East Africa.

A section of the original Helas left the Helabima and came to be known as Phoenicians. The real Phoenicians were a Semitic people inhabiting the present territory of Israel and Labanon about 3000 years ago. They were famous seafarers and traded across the whole of the Mediterranean. The Helas who, it is claimed, were the prototype Phoenicians must have sailed around Africa (in the opposite direction to Vasco da Gama many centuries later). Why they undertook this journey is not known.

The remaining Helas in Helabima did not show any expertise in sea-faring. In fact they remained dependent on others to provide their sea communication, a fatal weakness as it turned out to be. It is claimed that these Heals were "weakened" by admixture with later migrants losing their original strength and racial purity as well as their capacity to innovate. How far, with whom, and when this miscegenation took place is not recorded. In fact there is absolutely no evidence produced to support this theory.

Hela Racism and Chauvinism
There is only one characteristic in this Hela story which squares with the facts. This is the intense racism and chauvinism of the Helas. They seem think that their Hela language, customs and the vulgarization of the religions they adopted are the best in the world. In fact it is this racial arrogance that has been their undoing. It was also the most important aspect in which they differed the classical Sinhalas. The classical Sinhalas were an admixture of immigrant Aryan people from India with the aboriginal people of Lanka (later called the Veddahs). Since the Aryan culture was the superior it was this that came to dominate. In fact the culture of the classical Sinhalas was exclusively of Aryan derivation and did not have the aberrations of the later neo-Sinhalas and Helas.

The real Hela movement starts with the arrival of the Portuguese and the readiness of many Sinhalas, who were demoralized after many centuries of decline due to Dravidian invasions, to accept some aspects of Euro-Portuguese values, especially their racism and religionism. The term Hela is of very recent origin, not going much before the twentieth century. However we can apply this term retrospectively to designate those neo-Sinhalas who readily accepted aspects of Euro-Portuguese values after the European invasion.

Sinhala Names
Mr Wimalasuriya accuses people of not adopting Sinhala names. He seems to forget that almost all the names currently used by Sinhalas (including Helas) are of foreign origin. The most common sources are the Indian languages (Sanskrit, Pali, etc.) but there have also been other foreign names used. His own name is an example of the adoption of Indian names. I am not blaming him for this because all languages, especially Sinhala are derived from other languages. In fact Sinhala is generally classed as belonging to the Indo-Aryan family of languages which includes many European languages including Latin and Greek.

He cites the example of the name 'Victor". In the Indo-Aryan this denotes someone who is a winner. Its equivalents in the Indian languages are Vikrame and Vijaya to which it has a close similarity in sound and meaning. Thus this name cannot be considered alien, otherwise we will have to consider all those Sinhala names derived from the Into-Aryan as alien. It will leave very few Sinhalas with authentic local names.

Current Implications
The tendency to fantasize on myths and even fabricate a non-existent history is typical of a decadent people. This is in fact what has overtaken the Helas. They are now staring down the barrel of the LTTE gun and they do not know what to do except to wave the peace flag desperately. Even though the International Christian Community (ICC) is fully supportive of the LTTE terrorists the Helas have no option but do the bidding of the ICC. Without doing so they will be deprived of their regular "fix" of aid money without which the country cannot survive.

What the modern day Helas have done in this circumstances is to turn inwardly on each other. Thus the JHU Helas are attacking the SLFP Helas who in turn are attacking the UNP Helas who in their turn are attacking the JVP Helas. To complete the circle the JVP Helas are attacking the JHU Helas!

Recently another party has joined this fratricidal struggle. The Jesuhelas are now making a bid to capture the leadership of the entire Hela movement. During the British period the Boduhelas managed to out stage the Jesuhelas and the latter are determined to reverse this state of affairs. Who will ultimately prevail among the Helas is not clear, but what can be said is that at the rate they are going they will all become the slaves of the Tamil terrorists and the ICC. They will go down still consumed by their mutual hatred of each other.

Victor Gunasekara

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