22 June, 2024


2020 & Beyond; Politics Of “Pie In The Sky”

By W. Vishnu Gupta

W. Vishnu Gupta

On the day of independence in 1948, Hon DS Senanayake, the father of our nation said “No longer can we lay the blame for defects and errors in our administration on others. It is, therefore, the duty of every citizen of Lanka to grasp this opportunity and to strive and toil willingly for advancing the happiness and prosperity of the country.” What do we have after seventy years? Isn’t it prosperity for a chosen few and misery for the majority? Insecurity in economic and social life is the norm of the day for many. One group of leaders blames the other everyday for the suffering of masses. Educated and liberated minds have been conditioned to accept avariciousness and they have been systematically desensitized to injustices and criminal activities by corrupt politicians. Power struggle between the members of oligarchy groups since 1948, has left little time or space to advance happiness and prosperity of the people. How it is possible, especially, when we were lead to believe that there is Democracy in Sri Lanka by every government since 1948.

Democracy or Oligarchy

Democracy, (from Greek: “δημοκρατία”) or “rule of the commoners”, according to Plato the first theoretician to make a system out of the distinctions between what he regarded as the main forms of the city-state three categories were identified: (1) Monarchy, the rule of one good man, and Tyranny was defined as the imprecise version of Monarchy; (2) Aristocracy, the rule of a few good men, and Oligarchy, its imprecise version; (3) Democracy, the rule of the many, and it did not have two versions. Judging by what has taken place in the post colonial period of Sri Lanka, Oligarchy structure appears to fit very well, because the country has been ruled by few selected men /women (or families). Interestingly, many Oligarchy run states have devised a formula using the basic parameters (elements) of democracy.

Also the political scientists are of the view that, democracy is built on four key elements: (a) A political system for choosing and replacing the government through free and fair elections; (b) The active participation of the people, as citizens, in politics and civic life; (c) Protection of the human rights of all citizens, and (d) A rule of law, in which the laws and procedures apply equally to all citizens.

There cannot be any argument about the existence of the above four elements in Sri Lanka’s  distorted version of democracy, it appears they are perfectly in place, then why are we (majority) in misery all the time. Sir Karl Popper has explained this anomaly with the difference between theory of “Democracy” and theory of “Rule by the people”. In that sense, what successive governments since 1948 have attempted is to showcase the theory of “Democracy” but not “Rule by the people?” It conforms to the requirements of the fourth element of theory of “Democracy”, by proving the hypothesis, that the rule of law makes the bloodless dismissal of the government by majority vote is true.  It explains how all failed governments of dominant political parties have survived many calamities, insurrections, large scale corruption scandals and ultimately leaving the rabble in misery. Replacing one corrupt political leadership with equally corrupt another political leadership is not democracy. It seems Sri Lankan voters have misunderstood democracy for Oligarchy run governments. It is known Oligarchy to be exclusionary; also this system of government is the breeding ground of tyrants or puppet leaders. It relies on either oppression or tightly controlled judiciary. It is a structure where the minority or a selected few, not the majority, is able to rule.

Masters of Making “Pie in the Sky”

Also, following the first principle of democracy, Sri Lankans have placed their trust on elected members of the parliament. Theoretically, parliament is one of the institutions that should pull our island nation out of misery, ethnic conflicts, instability, poverty and uncertainty. It is wishful thinking; this central national institution has been a hostage in the hands of oligarchic political groups. Its autonomy or sovereignty depends primarily in the autonomy and independence of its members, which is compromised by absence of democracy within the political parties. As the ruling oligarchy runs the parties as feudal cliques or political ‘business corporations’, the ‘parliamentarians’ prefer to align with the prospective winners, and stay with them to benefit through the political patronage with next elections in mind. A sensible interest in staying loyal to the one (leader of Oligarchy) in power keeps them quiet.

For the majority members of the parliament in Diyawanna, loyalty to the leader of their oligarchy has to be more important, as it pays off, than the truth or the conscience. “It is the other party’s fault” remains the old mantra of all corrupt political leaders and their paid defenders inside and outside of parliament. Politics of patronage and hiring minions with abusive tongues against the opponents has proved to be the best arsenal of politicians in Sri Lanka. Therefore the credibility of the parliament members is highly questionable.

People assumed finally, they got the chance to liberate themselves from the clutches of poverty, insecurity, social injustice, despair and the grip of possible tyrants in 2015. Unfortunately once again citizens were wrong. Under the rule of co-habitation government, the country seems to have lost stability, order and a sense of direction. The outcome of provincial election held in February 2018 has confirmed what the prevailing mood of the rabble is. – “Known devil is better than unknown angel”-

The members of the present co-habitation manage to borrow the concept of “good governance” from the words and actions of The Most Venerable Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero. This noble monk expected to establish a clean government based on the principle of “Rule by the People” not by an Oligarchy that flouts fundamental principles of democracy through deceits, tightly controlled judiciary and mastery of derogatory language. People listened to the advice of Sobhitha thero but as a result ended up installing a corrupt government of co-habitation. Was it a big blunder made by the voters or a devious move made by one branch of oligarchy to defeat another branch of oligarchy? Either way, this  noble monk would have ended-up as a victim of political trickery used by the present regime.

2020 “Kiribath” and Misery

A funny story among those who live in the border region of Russia and Poland explains the naïveté of Sri Lankan voters aptly;

“There was a small town located along the frontier between Russia and Poland; no one was ever quite sure which side it belonged to. One day an official treaty was signed and not long after that surveyors arrived to draw the border. Some villagers approached them (surveyors) where they had set up their equipment on a nearby hill.“So where are we, Russia or Poland?” villagers queried, Surveyors replied, “according to our calculations, your village now begins exactly thirty-seven meters inside Poland.”

The villagers immediately began dancing and singing for joy.

“Why?” What difference does it make? It is only 30 meters” the surveyors asked. “Don’t you know what this means?” villagers replied. “It means we’ll never have to endure another one of those terrible Russian winters!”

It looks like majority of Sri Lankans love misery or they don’t understand what misery is. For seventy years we have been under oligarchies camouflaged as true democratic systems.   When a new government is installed replacing the old, voters celebrate the event by lighting fire crackers and enjoy kiribath (milk rice), kavun (oil cakes) and dance on the streets just like those people live in the border region of Russia and Poland. The misery is still with them. More than one million Sri Lankans have gone to work in other countries to escape from misery, mostly as slaves under the slave trade sanctioned by the government; Most of them are employed in the Middle Eastern countries under bondage. Nearly, two third of the population live in rural areas without proper education facilities, health facilities or job opportunities, a large percentage of citizens depends on government hand-outs, even parents are unable to buy school uniforms or shoes for the kids, malnutrition is reported in certain areas, alcoholism and drug addiction is rampant, suicide rate (world’ highest) and murders have gone sky high. What a sorry state.

Despots and Wimpy vying for power

It appears former president Mahinda Rajapaksa and his family strongly believes that they should be the rulers of Sri Lanka. The people must be thankful for his services rendered to defeat LTTE as the Commander in Chief. His brother Gotabaya helped his brother as the Defense Secretary and they complimented each other. Job! Well done MARA and GOTA thank you guys and move away and let the citizen figure out what did go wrong since 1953 but it will not be the case.

The second despot is Ranil Wickremesinghe he too believe that his family must be the rulers of Sri Lanka as a part of their inheritance. A Christian by birth but portrays himself as a Buddhist following the footsteps of SWRD and JRJ with the blessings of couple of Buddhist monks. This Machiavellian had audacity to sign an agreement to stay in power and save his hide. After more than forty years in politics he has nothing to show his achievements or contribution to the well being of citizen of Sri Lanka. He should have bid farewell many years ago without polarizing the people of Sri Lanka further. This is als an unlikely scenario.

Third one is current President Maithripala Sirisena. This wimpy politician is making feeble attempts to survive from political manoeuvring of Despot Mara and Despot RW. Daily Mirror of 8th September 2018 reported how MS expressed his views about the two despots. 

the President further said that if SLPP and UNP overestimate their political power that is mistake and said that whatever value given by themselves to their parties no one could form a government without the support of the SLFP”.

His assessment is correct; citizenry is highly polarized along the lines of religion, language spoken and ethnicity. Underlying message is this wimpy president will be the kingmaker and consolidate his power base without leaving political arena.

In this background of misery and judging by current political events and contenders jockeying to be the next President, the people must not expect a government based on “Rule by the people” in 2020. Most likely, depending on which “Pie in the Sky” is more attractive, majority will elect a Despot or a Puppet President. However, irrespective of Despot or Puppet, what is clear is that the convergence of political views of leading Oligarchies that has marked recent months will continue, leaving the masses in misery for many years to come. 

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Latest comments

  • 0

    I think political sciemtists write CRAP. they should be treated as KAmbodia treated it’s educated. Your article is very good. Sri lanka doe snot have DEMOCRACY. that is BS. What the foreign embassies asy, it doe snot you can plunder the country but just help us. It is because we are adjacent to your country or in the past we have helped you (That is now we are bankrupt but we hav hlped youi so let us continue the exploitation). None of these three major contenders new3ver allow any one capable come off the cartel. All who understand the syste, rob their ministry or take loans from State bankls and have got ready for the nexxt fight. The mos timportant thing is so many henchmen, mostly media and journalsits are writing for them. I think CT is full of journalists who write for these plunderers.

  • 5

    Mr Gupta, You have missed the most important factor in politics in this country.
    It is called ‘corruption’.
    It is the desire to make millions for themselves and their extended families, which ‘drives’ those who can afford it, towards politics – any shade of it is OK as long as they can ‘earn’ enough.
    This will not change, in the foreseeable future, for most of the present & would-be politicians.
    Very few, have other goals in politics.

    • 2

      Dear Mr. Justice;

      You are absolutely correct “corruption” is an important factor introduced by politicians in Sri Lanka. Corruption breeds Corruption, Oligarchies thrive and love corruption

  • 5

    Something that should be read by those truly interested in the way this country is evolving.

  • 2

    a very good analysis but what s the solution
    the parlimentary democratic system we have inherited just does not work
    a new face for president does not help as sanga realised because he has to work with a cabinet of uneducated greedy politicians and secure a parliamentary majority for any good things he wants to do
    a possible way out is to scrap the whole system and replace it with dictatorial rule either by the army like myanmar ,thailand and egypt or as a monk said by a hitler
    premadasa tried to adapt it by giving perks to the ministers but ruling with the secretaries of ministries something like the american system where the cabinet is drawn from out side parliament but those who followed went back to the old system
    the country has a buruecracy which can run the country without politicians as it did with the local govt bodies for a long time. .they did not crash without them
    under the present system there is no hope for a solution and the country will continue on the gadarene slope it started on

    • 1

      Mr. Nalmen

      “Rule of the commoners” or “Rule by the People” is the indisputable solutions for Sri Lanka. Destiny of people is not in the hand of a despot, dictator or wimpy. A true leader of people based on the true democratic principle of “for the happiness of the many, for the welfare of the many”. It is inevitable that oligarchies running the governments of Sri Lanka since 1953 will eventually join hands to oppose such a leader therefore it will be very difficult task but NOT impossible.

  • 0

    One group of leaders blames the other everyday for the suffering of masses.

    What you do yesterday can improve all your today
    when there was war the Vision of One group said that the economic will be good after the war see now .people are suffering, see the dollar rate of Bangladeshi and sri lanka Bangladesh is always under floods,

    A target is a vision with a deadline/target

    The other group is aiming the vision for 2020, most of the people will be living

  • 2

    MS, MR , RW , SF, GR, all these morons, are tyrants, despots , fraudsters, serial killers , rapists what more.
    Bring in some new young blood in 2020.
    Dont elect anyone above 60 years of age.
    enough is enough.

  • 2

    A very good analysis of our country since 1948. Our people cannot understand or realise the distinction between religion and politics though both should focus on the welfare of the people. Democracy is rule of majority (many) people government but it does not mean it refers to Buddhists or Sinhala. It refers to all citizens. The constitution should be equal to all. This country has a population of more than 20 million but we only elect our only from 3 or 4 families. Why?

    • 2

      Dear Mr. Ajith;

      Despots and their cohorts in the parliament were never interested in the welfare of the people but only themselves and their family members. Sovereignty of the nation belongs to the people but in Sri Lanka it has been hijacked by the Oligarchy members of two major political parties and a handful of chauvinist politicians leading various ethnic groups. Since 1953, the Oligarchies have built a first protective circle around them by promoting and feeding a selected bunch of bureaucrats (administrative, judiciary, security and finance) excessively. The second protective wall consists of filthy rich businessmen, land owners and professional bodies have been organized around the first protective wall easily with their ill gotten wealth. The final and third protective wall is the most visible one; they are the clergies of different faiths. The first two protective circles and the members of the Oligarchies decide who enters the Parliament of Sri Lanka. Out of nearly 25 Million nearly ninety three percent of people has no impact on how the country is governed they just “Rubber Stamp” the fake democracy in Sri Lanka time to time. The original architects of this crafty plan were SWRD and JRJ unfortunately, the citizens are inundated with their economic and financial woes hence the truth will never sink in to their heads.

      • 2

        Dear Vishnu Gupta,
        Thank you for the clear explanation. It is sad that our people do not realise these facts. It is sad there is not a single personality in this country who is capable of breaking these protective barriers and form a people power. Among the three protective barriers, I think the most difficult one is the third wall.Is it possible to remove these protective barriers and how?

        • 2

          Dear Mr.Ajith;

          A good question, I will be brief;

          Though the individuals and organizations forming three protective barriers are real their actions are somewhat nefarious and hidden from the commoners. “Greed is Good” is the driving principle of First and second circle members. Third circle members are driven by fear psychosis invented and introduced by Oligarchies and the chauvinist political leaders in the country. For example in order to gain the confidence and votes of majority innocent Sinhala Buddhists, SWRDB laid the foundation to make Tamils “The enemies” of our nation. Consequently, Tamil Chauvinist politicians saw a big opening for them to portray and project innocent Sinhala Buddhists as the oppressors of Tamils in the country in order to ensure their cosy existence. Thereafter other Oligarchy members and Tamil Chauvinist politicians kept on adding fuel to this “small fire” until it became an inferno that lasted from 1983 to 2009. Unlike the members of first two protective barriers, clergies have become the scapegoats. Liberating the minds of clergies from fear psychosis implanted by the members of oligarchy and chauvinist (Moslem, Tamil and Sinhala) politicians is the key to break or neutralise the third protective barrier.

  • 2

    All Sinkhala leaders are liars.
    Tamils and Muslims will be persecuted forever.

  • 1

    Thank you so much. I always believed and argued that Lanka has never been a true democratic country. Not a socialist country. It is a country of retarded public (fools paradise) who elect despot after despot . Just apathy and ignorance can not be the sole reason behind this lunacy.It may be true in few people but the majority are selfish, self centered, soaked in racism and jealous . They are like puppets well manipulated by the crooked politicians and so called religious heads. Regardless it is Senanayakas , Bandaranayakas, JR/RW, or Rajapaksas the agenda is to spread racism and there by grab power. The party manifestos are divide, discriminate, cause fear psychosis, corruption, nepotism and pseudo nationalism.

  • 4

    Sri Lanka’s national airline has found itself in trouble with the country’s president – over a few nuts.

    President Maithripala Sirisena has complained that, during a recent trip with Sri Lankan Airlines, he was treated to some cashews which were not fit for human consumption.

    In fact, the irate leader added, they were not even suitable for dogs.

    Rather than complaining about the nuts he should have thanked the Cabin crew and the captain for a safe flight back after encountering heavy turbulence.

  • 0

    the question is is he a nut or isnt he ?

    • 2

      Yes the gamarala sillysena is a nut.
      All his nuts and bolts are in the loose.

  • 0

    Does MS feed food gone bad to his dogs ? That is animal cruelty.

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