Following is my answer for the question “Show of hands those willing to drop racial labels and wiling to go as ‘Sri Lankan’ instead of Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim, Burgher etc?” raised by Crystal on Twitter.
This is something that has been done before. However, it is not something that can ever be redone ever again. For example, the English people of today are a mix of Brythons (Celtic); Angles, Saxons, Jutes, and Frisians (Germanic); Danes; and Normans. Today, they are seamlessly “English”. If you are to believe in pre-Manhawamsa sources, Sinhalese is a mix of the Yakka, Naga, Raksa, Deva tribes added with the Indian immigrants*. Today, they are seamlessly “Sinhalese”. You can add to this the later assimilation of a certain mercenary group from India during Kotte(?) ear to both Sinhala and Tamil populaces if you are daring. [Nope. I am not opening that can of worms without a good reason]. There was one major point in all these assimilation processes; forgetfulness. The glass through which we look at the past is both rose coloured and opaque at places.
This was same reason Paula Wolff thought her brother will be forgiven and be painted a hero by history as it did with Napoleon. But that was not to be so. For he lived on the doorstep of persistent information. Nothing shall be forgotten by the populace ever again.
The mechanics of forgetfulness that was essential in assimilation or coexistence is no longer there. All slights, mistakes, and attacks be it imagined or real will forever be remembered. Also, the facts and intricacies of distinctive identities will be now remembered..distinctly. There is no possibility of building a synergistic culture now because now everyone will know what is “ours” and what “theirs”. As such each individual would fiercely protect what is “ours” in their own perspective. They see any change as losing of identity. While technology helped us exchange information and be knowledgeable of others, it took from us the ability (or rather the opportunity) to amalgamate. For the simple reason that we will now forever know and remember the differences.
* Invaders. (If that is what floats your boat. Pun intended)