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Majoritarianism in Sri Lanka


Sri Lanka became an independent country in 1948. Because of their majority, the leaders of the Sinhala community sought to secure dominance over the government. As a result, Sinhala supremacy was established by the democratically elected government by adopting a series of Majoritarian measures.


  • Disregarding Tamil, an act was passed in 1956, to recognise Sinhala as the only official language
  • University positions and government jobs, favoured Sinhala applicants.
  • A new constitution was stipulated to protect and spread Buddhism.
  • An increase in the feeling of alienation among the Sri Lankan Tamils developed as these government measures came gradually.
  • The Tamils felt that they were discriminated and were denied equal opportunities.
  • As a result, the relations between the Sinhala and Tamil communities strained over time.

Political Rally

Many parties and struggles were launched by the Sri Lankan Tamils for the recognition of Tamil as an official language and for regional autonomy and equality of opportunity in securing education and jobs. But their demand was denied repeatedly.

  • By 1980s many political organisations were formed demanding an independent Tamil Eelam (state) in northern and eastern parts of Sri Lanka.
  • The distrust between the two communities turned into widespread conflict and soon turned into a civil war.
  • As a result thousands of people of both the communities were killed. Many families were forced to leave the country as refugees and many more lost their livelihoods. This civil war has caused a terrible setback to the social, cultural and economic life of the country.

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