Sri_Lanka

Date:  2013-05-28  Author: admin    Source:Wikipedia

Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
 
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an island country in the northern Indian Ocean off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent in South Asia. Known until 1972 as Ceylon, Sri Lanka has maritime borders with India to the northwest and the Maldives to the southwest.
Sri Lanka's documented history spans three thousand years. Its geographic location and deep harbours made it of great strategic importance from the time of the ancient Silk Road through to World War II. Sri Lanka is a diverse country home to many religions, ethnicities and languages.[13] The Sinhalese are the majority, although there are many ethnic minorities, including Sri Lankan TamilsMoorsIndian TamilsBurghersMalaysKaffirs and the aboriginal Vedda. Sri Lanka has a rich Buddhist heritage, and the first known Buddhist writings were composed on the island. The country's recent history has been marred by a thirty-year civil war which decisively but controversially ended in a military victory in 2009.
Sri Lanka is a republic and a unitary state governed by a presidential system. The capitalSri Jayawardenapura-Kotte, is a suburb of the largest city, Colombo. An important producer of tea, coffee, gemstonescoconuts, rubber and the native cinnamon, Sri Lanka has been called The tear drop of India because of its shape and location and is known as "The Pearl of the Indian Ocean" because of its natural beauty. It is also known as "The nation of smiling people".The island contains tropical forests, and diverse landscapes with high biodiversity.
The country has had a long history of international engagement, being a founding member of SAARCand a member of the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations, the G77 and the Non-Aligned Movement. It is also the only country in South Asia that is currently rated 'high' on the Human Development Index.
Sri Lanka lies on the Indian tectonic plate, a minor plate within the Indo-Australian Plate. It is in the Indian Ocean southwest of the Bay of Bengal, between latitudes  and 10°N, and longitudes 79° and 82°E. Sri Lanka is separated from the Indian subcontinent by the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait. According to the Hindu mythology, aland bridge existed between the Indian mainland and Sri Lanka. It now amounts to only a chain of limestone shoals remaining above sea level. It was reportedly passable on foot up to 1480 AD, until cyclones deepened the channel.
The island consists mostly of flat-to-rolling coastal plains, with mountains rising only in the south-central part. The highest point Pidurutalagala, reaching 2,524 metres (8,281 ft) above sea level. The climate is tropical and warm, due to the moderating effects of ocean winds. Mean temperature ranges from 17 °C (62.6 °F) in the central highlands, where frost may occur for several days in the winter, to a maximum of 33 °C (91.4 °F) in other low-altitude areas. Average yearly temperature ranges from 28 °C (82.4 °F) to nearly 31 °C (87.8 °F). Day and night temperatures may vary by 14 °C (57.2 °F) to 18 °C (64.4 °F).
Rainfall pattern is influenced by monsoon winds from the Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal. The "wet zone" and some of the windward slopes of the central highlands receive up to 2,500 millimetres (98.4 in) of rain each month, but the leeward slopes in the east and northeast receive little rain. Most of the east, southeast, and northern parts of the country comprise the "dry zone", which receives between 1,200 mm (47 in) and 1,900 mm (75 in) of rain annually. The arid northwest and southeast coasts receive the least amount of rain at 800 mm (31 in) to 1,200 mm (47 in) per year. Periodic squalls occur and sometimestropical cyclones bring overcast skies and rains to the southwest, northeast, and eastern parts of the island. Humidity is typically higher in the southwest and mountainous areas and depends on the seasonal patterns of rainfall.
The longest of the 103 rivers in the country is Mahaweli River, covering 335 kilometres (208 mi). These waterways give rise to 51 natural waterfalls of 10 meters or more. The highest is Bambarakanda Falls, with a height of 263 metres (863 ft). Sri Lanka's coastline is 1,585 km long. It claims an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) extending 200 nautical miles, approximately 6.7 times the country's land area. The coastline and adjacent waters support highly productive marine ecosystems such as fringing coral reefs, shallow beds of coastal and estuarine seagrasses. Sri Lanka inherits 45 estuaries and 40 lagoons too. Country's mangrove ecosystem which spans over 7,000hectares, played a vital role in buffering the force in the waves of 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. The island is rich with minerals such asIlmeniteFeldsparGraphiteSilicaKaolinMica and Thorium. Existence of Petroleum in the Gulf of Mannar has also been confirmed and extraction attempts are underway.
The pre-history of Sri Lanka dates back over 125 thousand years Before Present (BP) and possibly even as early as 500,000 BP. The era spans the PalaeolithicMesolithic and early Iron ages. Among thePaleolithic (Homo erectus) human settlements discovered in Sri Lanka, Pahiyangala (named after the Chinesetraveller monk Fa-Hsien), which dates back to 37,000 BP, Batadombalena (28,500 BP) and Belilena(12,000 BP) are the most important. The remains of Balangoda Man, an anatomically modern human, found inside these caves, suggests that they may have engaged in agriculture and kept domestic dogs for driving game.
One of the first written references to the island is found in the Indian epic Ramayana, which provides details of a kingdom named Lanka that had been created by the divine sculptor Vishwakarma, for Kubera, the lord of wealth. It is said that Kubera was overthrown by his demon stepbrother Ravana, the powerful Emperor who built a mythical flying machine named Dandu Monara. The modern city of Wariyapola is described as Ravana's airport.
Early inhabitants of Sri Lanka were probably the ancestors of the Vedda people, an indigenous community living in modern-day Sri Lanka, which numbers approximately 2,500. Irish historian James Emerson Tennenttheorised Galle, a southern city in Sri Lanka, was the ancient seaport of Tarshish, from which King Solomon is said to have drawn ivorypeacocks and other valuables.
According to the Mahāvamsa, a chronicle written in Pāli language, the ancient period of Sri Lanka begins in 543 BC with the landing of Vijaya, a semi-legendary king who sailed 860 nautical miles on eight ships to Sri Lanka with 700 followers from the southwest coast of what is now the Rarh region of West Bengal. He established the Kingdom of Tambapanni, near modern day Mannar. Vijaya is the first of the approximately 189 nativemonarchs of Sri Lanka that the chronicles like Dipavamsa, Mahāvamsa, Chulavamsa, and Rājāvaliya describe. Sri Lankan dynastic history spanned a period of 2359 years, from 543 BC to AD 1815, until the land became part of the British Empire.
The Kingdom of Sri Lanka moved to Anuradhapura in 380 BC, during the reign of Pandukabhaya. Thereafter, Anuradhapura served as the capital of the country for nearly 1400 years. Ancient Sri Lankans excelled in various constructions such astanksdagobas and palaces. The society underwent a major transformation during the reign of Devanampiya Tissa, with the arrival of Buddhism from India. In 250 BC, bhikkhu Mahinda, the son of the MauryanEmperor Ashoka arrived in Mihintale, carrying the message of Buddhism. His mission won over the monarch, who embraced the faith and propagated it throughout the Sinhalese population. The succeeding kingdoms of Sri Lanka would maintain a large number of Buddhist schools and monasteries, and support the propagation of Buddhism into other countries in Southeast Asia as well. Sri Lankan Bikkhus studied in India's famous ancient Buddhist University of Nalanda which was destroyed by Mohammed Kilji. It is probable that many of the scriptures from Nalanda are preserved in Sri Lanka's many monasteries. In 245 BC, bhikkhuni Sangamitta arrived with the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi tree, which is considered to be a sapling from the historical Bodhi tree under which Gautama Buddha became enlightened. It is considered the oldest human-planted tree (with a continuous historical record) in the world. (Bodhivamsa)
Sri Lanka experienced the first foreign invasion during the reign of Suratissa, who was defeated by two horse traders named Sena and Guttika fromSouth India. The next invasion came immediately in 205 BC by a Chola king named Elara, who overthrew Asela and ruled the country for 44 years.Dutugemunu, the eldest son of the southern regional sub-king, Kavan Tissa, defeated Elara in the Battle of Vijithapura. He built Ruwanwelisaya, the second stupa in ancient Sri Lanka, and the Lovamahapaya. During its two and a half millennia of existence, the Kingdom of Sri Lanka was invaded at least eight times by neighbouring South Asian dynasties such as the CholaPandyaChera, and Pallava. These invaders were all subsequently driven back. There also were incursions by the kingdoms of Kalinga (modern Odisha) and from the Malay Peninsula as well. Kala Wewa and theAvukana Buddha statue were built during the reign of Dhatusena.
Sri Lanka was the first Asian country to have a female ruler; Queen Anula who reigned during 47–42 BC. Sri Lankan monarchs completed some remarkable constructions like Sigiriya, the so-called "Fortress in the Sky". It was built during the reign of Kashyapa I. Sigiriya is a rock fortress surrounded by an extensive network of gardens, reservoirs, and other structures. The 5th century palace is also renowned for frescos on the rock the surface. It has been declared by UNESCO as one of the seven World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka. Among the other constructions, large reservoirs, important for conserving water in a climate that alternates rainy seasons with dry times, and elaborate aqueducts, some with a slope as finely calibrated as one inch to the mile, are most notable. Biso Kotuwa, a peculiar construction inside a dam, is a technological marvel based on precisemathematics, allowing water to flow outside the dam keeping the pressure to a minimum. Ancient Sri Lanka was the first country in the world to have established a dedicated hospital, in Mihintale in the 4th century. It was also the leading exporter of cinnamon in the ancient world, and has maintained close ties with European civilisations including the Roman Empire. For example, King Bhatikabhaya (22 BC—AD 7) had sent an envoy to Rome who brought back red coral which was used to make an elaborate netlike adornment for the Ruwanwelisaya. In addition Sri Lankan male dancers witnessed the assassination of Caligula. When Queen Cleopatra sent her son Cesarian into hiding he was headed to Sri Lanka. Bhikkhuni Devasāra and ten other fully ordained bhikkhunis from Sri Lanka went to China and established the bhikkhuni sāsana there in AD 429.
The medieval period of Sri Lanka begins with the fall of Anuradhapura Kingdom. In AD 993, the invasion of Chola emperorRajaraja I forced the then Sri Lankan ruler Mahinda V to flee to the southern part of the country. Taking advantage of this situation, Rajendra I, son of Rajaraja I, launched a large invasion in AD 1017. Mahinda V was captured and taken to India, and the Cholas sacked the city of Anuradhapura. Subsequently, they moved the capital to Polonnaruwa. This marked the end of the two great houses of dynasties of ancient Sri Lanka, the Moriya and the Lambakanna. Following a seventeen-year long campaign, Vijayabahu I successfully drove the Chola out of Sri Lanka in 1070, reuniting the country for the first time in over a century. Upon his request, ordained monks were sent from Burma to Sri Lanka to re-establish Buddhism, which had almost disappeared from the country during the Chola reign. During the medieval period, Sri Lanka was divided to three sub-territories, namely Ruhunu, Pihiti and Maya.
Sri Lanka's irrigation system was extensively expanded during the reign of Parākramabāhu the Great (AD 1153–1186). This period is considered as a time when Sri Lanka was at the height of its power. He built 1470 reservoirs – the highest number by any ruler in the history, repaired 165 dams, 3910 canals, 163 major reservoirs, and 2376 mini reservoirs. His most famous construction is the Parakrama Samudra, the largest irrigation project of medieval Sri Lanka. Parākramabāhu's reign is memorable for two major campaigns – in the south of India as part of a Pandyan war of succession, and a punitive strike against the kings of Ramanna (Myanmar) for various perceived insults to Sri Lanka.
After his demise, Sri Lanka gradually decayed in power. In AD 1215, Kalinga Magha, a South Indian with uncertain origins, identified as the founder of the Jaffna kingdom, invaded and captured the Kingdom of Polonnaruwa with a 24,000 strong army sailed 690 nautical miles on 100 large ships from Kalinga. Unlike the previous invaders, he looted, ransacked, and destroyed everything in the ancient Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa Kingdoms beyond recovery. His priorities in ruling were to extract as much as possible from the land and overturn as many of the traditions of Rajarata as possible. His reign saw the massive migration of native Sinhalese people to the south and west of Sri Lanka, and into the mountainous interior, in a bid to escape his power. Sri Lanka never really recovered from the impact of Kalinga Magha's invasion. King Vijayabâhu III, who led the resistance, brought the kingdom to Dambadeniya. The north, in the meanwhile, eventually evolved into theJaffna kingdom. The Jaffna kingdom never came under the rule of any kingdom of the south except on one occasion; in 1450, following the conquest led by king Parâkramabâhu VI's adopted son, Prince Sapumal. He ruled the North from AD 1450 to 1467. The next three centuries stating from 1215 were marked by kaleidoscopically shifting collections of kingdoms in south and central Sri Lanka, including Dambadeniya, Yapahuwa,GampolaRaigamaKotteSitawaka, and finally, Kandy.
The early modern period of Sri Lanka begins with the arrival of Portuguese soldier and explorer Lourenço de Almeida, the son of Francisco de Almeida, in 1505. The Portuguese founded a fort at the port city of Colomboin 1517 and gradually extended their control over the coastal areas. In 1592 Vimaladharmasuriya I moved the kingdom to the inland city of Kandy, a location more secure against an attack from western invaders. Intermittent warfare continued through the 16th century. In 1619, due to the attacks of Portuguese, the independent existence of Jaffna kingdom came to an end.
During the reign of the Rajasinghe IIDutch explorers arrived in the island. In 1638, the king signed a treaty with the Dutch East India Company to get rid of Portuguese who ruled most of the coastal areas. The following Dutch–Portuguese War resulted in Dutch victory, with Colombo falling into Dutch hands by 1656. The Dutch remained in the areas they captured, violating the treaty. An ethnic group named Burgher people integrated into the Sri Lankan society as a result of Dutch rule. The Kingdom of Kandy was the last independent monarchy of Sri Lanka. In 1595, Vimaladharmasurya brought the sacred Tooth Relic – the traditional symbol of royal and religious authority amongst the Sinhalese – to Kandy, and built the Temple of the Tooth. Even with intermittent warfare with Europeans, the kingdom was able to survive. A succession crisis emerged in Kandy, upon king Vira Narendrasinha's death in 1739. He was married to a Telugu-speaking Nayakkar princess from South India and was childless by her. Eventually, with the support of bhikku Weliwita Sarankara, the crown passed to the brother of one of Narendrasinha's princess, overlooking the right of "Unambuwe Bandara", Narendrasinha's own son by a Sinhalese concubine. The new king was crowned Sri Vijaya Rajasinha later that year. Kings of Nayakkar dynasty, launched several attacks on Dutch controlled areas, which proved to be unsuccessful.
During the Napoleonic Wars, fearing that French control of the Netherlands might deliver Sri Lanka to the French, Great Britain occupied the coastal areas of the island (which they called Ceylon) with little difficulty in 1796. Two years later, in 1798, Rajadhi Rajasinha, 3rd of the four Nayakkar kings of Sri Lanka died of a fever. Following the death, a nephew of Rajadhi Rajasinha, 18-year-old Konnasami was crowned.The new king, Sri Vikrama Rajasinha faced a British invasion in 1803, but was able to retaliate successfully. By then, the entire coastal area was under theBritish East India Company, as a result of the Treaty of Amiens. But on 14 February 1815, Kandy was occupied by the British, in the second Kandyan War, finally ending Sri Lanka's independence. Sri Vikrama Rajasinha, the last native monarch of Sri Lanka was exiled to India. The Kandyan Convention formally ceded the entire country to the British Empire. Attempts of Sri Lankan noblemen to undermine the British power in 1818 during the Uva Rebellion were thwarted by Governor Robert Brownrigg.
The beginning of the modern period of Sri Lanka is marked by the Colebrooke-Cameron reforms of 1833. They introduced a utilitarian and liberal political culture to the country based on the rule of law and amalgamated the Kandyan and maritime provinces as a single unit of government. An Executive Council and a Legislative Council were established, later becoming the foundation of representative legislature in the country. By this time, experiments with coffee plantation were largely successful. Soon it grew to become the primary commodity export of the country. The falling coffee prices as a result of the depression of 1847 stalled economic development and prompted the governor to introduce a series of taxes on firearms, dogs, shops, boats, etc., and reintroduce a form of rajakariya, requiring six days free labour on roads or payment of a cash equivalent. These harsh measures antagonised the locals, and another rebellion broke out in 1848. A devastating leaf disease, Hemileia vastatrix, struck the coffee plantations in 1869, destroying the entire industry within 15 years. The British quickly found a replacement; abandoning coffee, they began cultivating tea plantations in its stead. Tea production in Sri Lanka thrived within the decades to come. Large scale rubber plantations began in the early 20th century.
By the end of the 19th century, a new educated social class transcending race and caste arose through British attempts to staff the Ceylon Civil Service and the legal, educational, and medical professions. New leaders represented the various ethnic groups of the population in the Ceylon Legislative Council on a communal basis. Buddhist and Hindu revivalism reacted against Christian missionary activities. The first two decades in the 20th century are noted by the unique harmony among Sinhalese and Tamil political leadership, which has since been lost. In 1919, major Sinhalese and Tamil political organisations united to form the Ceylon National Congress, under the leadership of Ponnambalam Arunachalam, pressing colonial masters for more constitutional reforms. But without massive popular support, and with the governor's encouragement for "communal representation" by creating a "Colombo seat" that dangled between Sinhalese and Tamils, the Congress lost momentum towards the mid-1920s. TheDonoughmore reforms of 1931 repudiated the communal representation and introduced universal adult franchise (the franchise stood at 4% before the reforms). This step was strongly criticised by the Tamil political leadership, who realised that they would be reduced to a minority in the newly created State Council of Ceylon, which succeeded the legislative council. In 1937, Tamil leader G. G. Ponnambalam demanded a 50–50 representation (50% for the Sinhalese and 50% for other ethnic groups) in the State Council. However, this demand was not met by the Soulbury reforms of 1944/45.
The Soulbury constitution ushered in Dominion status, with independence proclaimed on 4 February 1948. D. S. Senanayake became the first Prime Minister of Ceylon. Prominent Tamil leaders like Ponnambalam and Arunachalam Mahadeva joined his cabinet. The British Royal Navyremained stationed at Trincomalee until 1956. A countrywide popular demonstration against withdrawal of the rice ration, known as Hartal 1953, resulted in the resignation of prime minister Dudley SenanayakeS. W. R. D. Bandaranaike was elected prime minister in 1956. His three-year rule had a profound impact, through his self-proclaimed role of "defender of the besieged Sinhalese culture". He introduced the controversialSinhala Only Act, recognising Sinhala as the only official language of the government. Although partially reversed in 1958, the bill posed a grave concern for the Tamil community, which perceived in it a threat to their language and culture. The Federal Party (FP) launched a movement of non-violent resistance (satyagraha) against the bill, which prompted Bandaranaike to reach an agreement (Bandaranaike-Chelvanayakam Pact) with S. J. V. Chelvanayakam, leader of the FP, to resolve the looming ethnic conflict. However the pact proved ineffective in the face of ongoing protests by opposition and the Buddhist clergy. The bill, together with various government colonisation schemes, contributed much towards the political rancour between Sinhalese and Tamil political leaders. Bandaranaike was assassinated by an extremist Buddhist monk in 1959.
Sirimavo Bandaranaike, the widow of late S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike, took office as prime minister in 1960, and withstood an attempted coup d'état in 1962. During her second term as prime minister, the government instituted socialist economic polices, strengthening ties with the Soviet Union and China, while promoting a policy of non-alignment. In 1971, Ceylon experienced a Marxist insurrection, which was quickly suppressed. In 1972, the country became a republic named Sri Lanka, repudiating its dominion status. Prolonged minority grievances and the use of communal emotionalism as an election campaign weapon by both Sinhalese and Tamil leaders abetted a fledgling Tamil militancy in the north, during the 1970s. The policy of standardisation by the Sirimavo government to rectify disparities created in university enrolment, which was in essence an affirmative action to assist geographically disadvantaged students to obtain tertiary education, resulted in reducing the proportion of Tamil students at university level and acted as the immediate catalyst for the rise of militancy. The assassination of Jaffna Mayor Alfred Duraiyappah in 1975 marked a crisis point.
The Government of J. R. Jayawardene swept to power in 1977, defeating the largely unpopular United Front government. Jayawardene introduced a new constitution, together with a free market economy and a powerful executive presidency modelled after that of France. It made Sri Lanka the first South Asian country to liberalise its economy. From 1983, ethnic tensions were manifested in on-and-off insurgency against the government by theLiberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Following the riots in July 1983, more than 150,000 Tamil civilians fled the island, seeking asylum in other countries. Lapses in foreign policy resulted in neighbouring India strengthening the Tigers by providing arms and training. In 1987, the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord was signed and Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) was deployed in northern Sri Lanka to stabilise the region by neutralising the LTTE. The same year, the JVP launched its second insurrection in Southern Sri Lanka, necessitating redeployment of the IPKF in 1990. In 2002, the Sri Lankan government and LTTE signed a Norwegian-mediated ceasefire agreement.
The 2004 Asian tsunami killed over 35,000 in Sri Lanka. From 1985 to 2006, Sri Lankan government and Tamil insurgents held four rounds of peace talks without success. Both LTTE and the government resumed fighting in 2006, and the government officially backed out of the ceasefire in 2008. In 2009, under the Presidency ofMahinda Rajapaksa the Sri Lanka Armed Forces defeated the LTTE, and re-established control of the entire country by the Sri Lankan Government. Overall, between 60,000 and 100,000 people were killed during the 26 years of conflict.
40,000 Tamil civilians may have been killed in the final phases of the Sri Lankan civil war, according to an Expert Panel convened by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. The exact number of Tamils killed is still a speculation that needs further study. Following the LTTE's defeat, the Tamil National Alliance, the largest political party in Sri Lanka, dropped its demand for a separate state in favour of a federal solution. The final stages of the war left some 294,000 people displaced. According to the Ministry of Resettlement, most of the displaced persons had been released or returned to their places of origin, leaving only 6,651 in the camps as of December 2011. In May 2010, President Rajapaksa appointed the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) to assess the conflict between the time of the ceasefire agreement in 2002 and the defeat of the LTTE in 2009. Sri Lanka has emerged from its 26-year war to become one of the fastest growing economies of the world.
 
Sri Lanka is the oldest democracy in South Asia. The Donoughmore Constitution, drafted by the Donoughmore Commission in 1931 enabled general elections with adult universal suffrage (universal adult franchise) in the country. It was the first time a non-white country within the empires of Western Europe was given one man, one vote and the power to control domestic affairs. The first election under the universal adult franchise, held in June 1931, was for the Ceylon State Council.] Sir D. B. Jayatilaka was elected as the Leader of the House. In 1944, the Soulbury Commission was appointed to draft a new constitution. During this time, struggle for Independence was fought on "constitutionalist" lines under the leadership of D. S. Senanayake. The draft constitution was enacted in the same year and Senanayake was appointed as the Prime Minister from theparliamentary election in 1947. The Soulbury constitution ushered in Dominion status and Independence to Sri Lanka in 1948.
Current politics in Sri Lanka is a contest between two rival coalitions led by the centre-leftist andprogressivist United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA), an offspring of Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), and the comparatively right-wing and pro-capitalist United National Party (UNP). Sri Lanka is essentially a multi-party democracy with many smaller Buddhist, socialist and Tamil nationalist political parties. As of July 2011, the number of registered political parties in the country is 67. Out of these, the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP), established in 1935 is the oldest. UNP, established by D. S. Senanayake in 1946, was considered to be the largest single political party until recently. It is the only political group which had a representation in all parliaments since the independence. SLFP was founded by S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike, who was the Cabinet minister of Local Administration, before he left the UNP in July 1951. SLFP registered its first victory in 1956, defeating the ruling UNP in 1956 Parliamentary election. Following the parliamentary election in July 1960Sirimavo Bandaranaike became the prime minister and the world's first elected female head of state.
G. G. Ponnambalam, the Tamil nationalist counterpart of S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike, founded the All Ceylon Tamil Congress (ACTC) in 1944. As an objection to Ponnambalam's cooperation with D. S. Senanayake, a dissident group led by S.J.V. Chelvanayakam broke away in 1949 and formed theIllankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi (ITAK) aka Federal Party. It was the main Tamil political party in Sri Lanka for next 2 decades. Federal party advocated a more aggressive stance vis-à-vis the Sinhalese. With the constitutional reforms of 1972, these parties created a common front, the Tamil United Front (later Tamil United Liberation Front). Tamil National Alliance, formed in October 2001 is the current successor of these Tamil political parties which had undergone much turbulences as Tamil militants' rise to power in late 1970s. Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, aMarxist-Leninist political party, founded by Rohana Wijeweera in 1965, serves as the 3rd force in the current political context. It endorses radical leftist policies, with respect to the traditionalist leftist politics of LSSP and Communist Party. Founded in 1981, Sri Lanka Muslim Congress is the largest Muslim political party in Sri Lanka.

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