In Grade 3, my Social Studies textbook described Sri Lanka as being a multicultural country, where people of all ethnicities lived together in harmony. What is ironic, and what my eight-year-old self didn’t realise, is that this was what I was being taught while the country was in an ethnic civil war.
Fast-forward seven years to Grade 10, when I was learning about the history of the country for O/Levels. In the first chapter, we learn that all the information about the country we have is from the Mahavamsa, inscriptions, tablets and ruins. All found in the different historical capitals of the country.
The Ordinary Level history syllabus taught to students in Grade 10 and 11 is mostly based on the Mahavamsa, which chronicles the history from 4 Century BC, with the information gathered by Buddhist monks. While this source provides us with a wealth of information, which must be taken in to account, relying heavily on it does not show the accurate picture of the country and its people as a whole.