By Mohamed Harees –
The myth of independence is the sole idea that resonates with all Sri Lankans, regardless of their age, gender and ethnicity; one national narrative that binds them together. The strong sense of independence has even historically served to legitimise many discriminatory policies initiated and adopted by many Post-Independence governments. In this context, if there is one lesson Sri Lankans should learn from the past, it is that the inclusion of the myth of independence in their national narrative has to be done with great care. For 72 years after Independence and 10+ years after cessation of the ethnic war, have the people of Sri Lanka let their political leaders lead them along a blind garden path by making themselves the ‘boiling frogs’ over time, thereby ‘the hopes of yesterday…have become fast evaporating fantasies’, as author S.J. Thambiah once wrote. The boiling frog story incidentally is often used as a metaphor for the inability or unwillingness of people to react to or be aware of challenges that arise gradually rather than suddenly. Asia’s oldest democracy most certainly deserves better.
Sri Lanka was colonized for almost 450 years, first by the Portuguese, and then the Dutch and British. When Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) achieved Independence in 1948, it appeared to be one of Asia’s most promising new nations. However, this rosy picture was somewhat deceptive too. For instance, author O.H. Oliver noted: Ceylon reacquired its independence only in 1948, after being under European rule for nearly five centuries. Its civilization is old and probably more resistant to change than would be a younger and less integrated culture’. Thus, even after 7 decades, this Island nation has not progressed in qualitative terms, worse off than many of its’ neighbours; thanks to a political leadership corrupt to the core, maintained by a slavish electorate. A Paradise Isle renowned for its beauty, thus became equally defined by its hate; a place far more compact than the Balkans yet cleaved by more divisions: ethnic, religious and class. Can Sri Lanka Heal Its Divisions and move forward? Yes; provided there is a paradigm shift in our collective thinking as a nation!
Peter Kloos in ‘Democracy, Civil War and the Demise of the Trias Politica in Sri Lanka’, queries ‘So how does one explain the transformation from a promising democracy in the 1940s to the state of the present?’ and continues, “the introduction of the majoritarian model of democracy rule in Sri Lanka chosen already during the late-colonial period paved the way for political forms that were undemocratic in the moral sense of the term. Far-reaching decisions regarding the political process are based on political expediency rather than on fundamental discussions of democratic rule”.
Author Neil DeVotta in an article in Journal of Commonwealth & Comparative Politics (2014) stressed this further thus, ‘Among states that gained independence following World War II, Sri Lanka was widely considered to have a good chance of succeeding democratically. This promise was sundered when successive leaders embraced ethnocentric policies, …which contributed to civil war and adversely affected the country’s institutions – including the island’s political parties. The attendant political decay has not only led to mal-governance and democratic regression, it has pushed the country in an authoritarian direction. Sri Lanka thus represents a classic case of how ethnocentrism can undermine democratic institutions and of the long-term negative consequences’.
Inter-ethnic and intra-ethnic dynamics in multi-ethnic and multi-religious societies are complicated too, and Sri Lanka is no different. It is a fact of history that much of Sri Lanka’s Post-Independent history has been marred by sectarian tensions. Political elites play a leading role in determining a country’s political development and the belief that Senanayake (DSS)could be trusted to treat minorities fairly influenced both the Tamils and British in how they approached independence. British short sightedness, misplaced and displaced trust among elites, the ethnocentric policies adopted after DSS rooted in linguistic nationalism, political opportunism, and the hardening of attitudes on both sides of the political and ethnic divide, as ethnic tensions transmogrified into terrorism and war crimes ensured pluralism did not become a reality in Post- Independence Ceylon or Sri Lanka.
Majoritarianism has been the bane of Sri Lanka and was the basis for a nearly three decade long Civil War. Well known historian K. M. De Silva (1998. Reaping the Whirlwind: Ethnic Conflict, Ethnic Politics in Sri Lanka ) wrote that the island’s Civil War could be considered a conflict between “a [Sinhalese] majority with a minority complex, and a [Tamil] minority with a … majority complex”. This self-imposed isolation, when coupled with Mahawamsa notions, led to viewing pluralism pejoratively and framing majoritarianism as an entitlement. Politicians and other ethnic entrepreneurs have deftly manipulated such fears.. As DeVotta says, ‘while political parties and leaders have alternated in power in post-independence Sri Lanka, Sinhalese Buddhist nationalism has consistently triumphed, and this at the expense of pluralism and democracy. Instituting pluralism, and thereby trying to regain the island’s democratic promise, necessitates accepting and learning from the mistakes committed. Yet, the communal trajectory that post-independence Sri Lanka adopted has emboldened Sinhalese Buddhist nationalists. Sri Lanka did have many opportunities to change the island’s “hardware” and thereby control the manner in which ethno-religious and cultural sentiments were fanned’.
With these fears fully embedded in the majority’s psyche, and State policies supporting it fully institutionalized, trying to alter this will be counterproductive and may only further complicate minorities’ position in the island. With the Sinhalese and Buddhists being a clear majority, it was imperative for politicians to pay heed to the majority community’s preferences. Moreover, today, there is an elected government built upon the triumph of Sinhalese Buddhist nationalism, blessed by a fair section of the Maha Sangha, and to be fair, the equation has moved more towards further institutionalization of majoritarian attitudes in state craft. Thus, a paradigm shift in the way people think and act is needed and a realization on all sides is imperative that governments can only promote policies supporting pluralism, in ways that do not threaten the majoritarianism now in place.
At the moment, several countries around the world are witnessing the phenomenon of the majority community feeling irrationally threatened by minorities. But in South Asia, this phenomenon has existed for decades and culminated in violence against minorities, threatening the diversity in these countries (India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka). To understand why this trend has persisted in South Asia, Arjun Appadurai’s seminal book The Fear of Small Numbers: An Essay on the Geography of Anger provides valuable insight. Appadurai states that hatred of minorities is a process that takes decades to materialize. The idea of a majority and a minority emerges through national censuses, “in the process of developing ideas of numbers, representation, and electoral franchise” in a modern nation state. This creates space for the formation of an “us vs. them” narrative.
He says ‘As identities solidify, the gradual construction of stereotypes about communities takes place, with efforts to clearly define and contrast between each other. In some cases, and under certain conditions, tensions emerge between these identities and the national identity, with the majority aiming to exclusively juxtapose its own identity with the national identity. Numerical majorities become predatory and ethnocidal with regard to small numbers precisely when minorities (and their small numbers) remind these majorities of the small gap which lies between their condition as majorities and the horizon of an unsullied national whole, a pure and untainted national ethnos”. Appadurai. calls this the “anxiety of incompleteness,” whereby the majority sees the minority as the only obstacle to achieving its aim of a “pure and untainted national ethnos.” This leads the majority to perpetuate violence against minorities in order to eliminate them.
In the modern day, especially in South Asia, such narratives about minority communities tend to escalate during election season, often including the exaggeration of minority numbers, growth rates, and/or influence, to highlight a proclivity of these communities to gain control over the majority population. With social media usage in the modern era, these narratives can reach even wider audiences, often with negative results. WhatsApp and Facebook recently played a role in instigating riots and mob violence against minorities in Sri Lanka and India. Given citizens’ inability to discern the truth from falsehood online, the fear of small numbers is magnified through messaging that seeks to expose the allegedly “sinister agenda” of these minorities.
The drive to promote pluralism in Post- election Sri Lanka(2019) thus need to be put within a majoritarian milieu, and trying to alter this is counterproductive and may only further complicate minorities’ position in the island. The reality is that Sinhalese Buddhist nationalism has triumphed and the challenge for the Sri Lankan government is how to promote ethno-religious tolerance and pluralism in the island amidst such triumphalism, even as it balances its pivotal role in safeguarding the fundamental rights of its citizens across the racial and religious divides. The State should be held accountable for its actions, impunity and failures vis-à-vis its constitutional obligations. Religious harmony for one, is not only a legal/constitutional principle, but has also become internalized as a social norm. Its regulating function extends to inter group relations and further grounds group demands on the state, thus imposing state obligations.
In the long term, the repercussions of politicians and majority communities tolerating and encouraging such divisive narratives for political gain will likely be disastrous. Reversing this trend, therefore, requires powerful political will and a strong civil society invested in moving forward together, and not at the expense of any one community. If minorities in Sri Lanka are imperative to political change, then that change must reflect their needs and aspirations too. Civil society has a role to play by engaging various social and religious groups to dispel negative notions, while academics and journalists should take it upon themselves to report on other communities responsibly. This must be aided by the police and judiciary instituting and enforcing measures to penalize and prevent such acts of violence. Overcoming insecurities towards minorities, thus, requires a collective societal approach over just a political one. Institutional approaches to reconciliation try to work from the top down, using formalized institutions, laws, and policies to build vertical relationships between the state and citizens in a way that encourages more peaceful relations. Without creating an all-inclusive national identity, realising national security will be quite far-fetched.
The claim that a minority population possesses rights that shield it from assimilative tendencies of a majority population fits uncomfortably with a conception of international human rights law as a field devoted to protecting essential features of what it means to be human. The civil and political freedom of minority members is more likely to be interfered with than those of the majority, and, therefore, the field is attentive to the various forms of discrimination and marginalization that minorities may experience. However, for pluralism to bear fruit in Sri Lanka, there is a decisive role for the minorities too. National minorities, as all other citizens, had to respect the national legislation and rights of others, including persons belonging to the majority, or to other minorities. The ethical failure of Tamil nationalism, as writer Qadri Ismail (2000 223-24; 2005) has argued, is that it demands majoritarian status in response to its marginalisation rather than ethically re-configuring the discourse to re-imagine the nation as a more inclusive site based on principles of justice and equality for all communities. Muslims too need to re-align themselves where needed to think and become equal partners – Muslims of Sri Lanka rather than Muslims in Sri Lanka. Qadri Ismail in a paper (2014) titled on ‘(Not) Knowing One’s Place’ refers ‘Once upon a time, my mother told me this was not my country. Keep in mind a mother, a figure of authority, speaks to a child –iterates (repeats with a difference)-a cardinal assertion of Sinhala nationalism: Sri Lanka belongs not to all its citizens equally, but essentially to the Sinhalese, the majority.. In so doing, she effectively spoke for Sinhala nationalism’. Future generations of all nationalities should grow up thinking and acting as ‘sons of the Sri Lankan soil’ and not as guests.
The real question now boils down to the political will of the present administration to build an inclusive Sri Lanka and to promote pluralism amidst its compulsions to appeal to its majoritarian vote base. Sri Lanka should not slip back into chauvinistic politics which will threaten to destabilise the country. History shows that reconciliation is quite possible even in the most challenging situations. However, each society must find its own path, with successful reconciliation processes bringing together alienated communities and reestablish the confidence of citizens. Post- independence Sri Lanka cannot wait any longer to reap the benefits of peace and prosperity.
hatharabirikatharina / February 3, 2020
Can we at all celebrate THE INDEPENDENCE ?
Rajapakshe racists/sinhala extremists, will make this event an issue for them to cover their nudity, not having fulfilled a single pledge as promised on their election campaign, but keeping the LOCAL media like a balloon being kept under the water, they maintain the media today….. ironically, these media men are born to lanka matha….. I hate DERANA TV and Hiru Kudu TV. These two TV channels constantly mislead this nation.
I think if we were under Britain at least few more decades, things would have become much better for us.
That was the reality of Hongkong and other countries. Our leaders have achieved nothing if anyone would look back and see it being unbiased to any parties.
Amarasiri / February 4, 2020
72 years after independence, the monks who took over Buddhism, and who installed themselves as the 3rd Gem of the Triple Gem, transporting that hegemony to the land of Native Veddah Aethho have taken center stage, and dictated to the politicians that they want to maintain their Monk hegemony.
The imbeciles , mean IQ 79, who have been fooled in the illusion of Nibbana, extinction, have been fooled by the politicians using the monks, promising them hegemony, and have come to power.
So far, over the past 2,300 years, not a single Para has achieved Nibbana or attained extinction. Their low mean IQ of 79 is not conducive to sorting This deception. So , they prostrate to the monks, not knowing that they are pissing in the wind.
The same can be said about the Wahhabi-Salafis and those Wahhabi Ulama, who are fooling the Muslim masses. Per prescient Hadith of Najd, the Wahhabis follow Satan .In fact, the Wahhabi graduates of Saudi Arabia scored the lowest GMAT scores in the world, 330, whereas the Sufi Turkey, got 54o and Shia Iran got 520. This is data, not Hadith.
Amarasiri / February 4, 2020
70 years after independence.,..
The National Anthem in Para-Sinhala.. and not in Para-Tamil..
The Para-Sinhala Para-“Buddhist” tribe elected The Para-President Gotabbaya Rajapaksa. The Para-Sinhala want the independence to reflect the independence of the Para-Sinhala from the other Paras. Unfortunately they are neglecting the true Natives and owners of the Land-Native Veddah Aethho,
The first 6 Para Kong’s did prostrate to the Para-monks. The kings and the populace were free of Monk hegemony,
The Monks hijacked Buddhism and installed the monks as the 3rd Gem of the Triple Gem, which the imbeciles who prostrate to the Monks cannot figure out. Gotabaya exploited it and promised the monks hegemony.
Sri Lankan President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa after his swearing-in ceremony in November thanked the powerful Buddhist clergy for backing his presidential bid and vowed to protect all communities, while giving foremost priority to Buddhism. He also thanked the Sinhala-majority people for electing him.
While the Tamils in 2016 appreciated the symbolic gesture of recognizing them by adding the Tamil version at the Independence Day celebrations, the opposition, then led by the Rajapaksas and a majority Sinhala community member, filed a fundamental rights petition against the move.
Amarasiri / February 4, 2020
Mohamed Lankan Harees
“Religion is the opium of the masses “, said Karl Marx.
With religion, there is no pluralism, only all following the same brainwashed myths and beliefs.
So, some prostrate to monks, some to priests, done to Ulama and still others to other quacks. The politicians exploit this to come to power.
For example, the Wahhabi Salafies and their clones, Al -Queda, ISIS etc follow the Satan, per prescient Hadith of Najd. However, many fall fir them, many with low IQs who cannot think straight.
See one such brainwashed Sri Lankan idiot had done in London by stabbing. Will he get 72 virgins?
In December 2018 Amman, then an 18-year-old student at North West London College, living in Harrow, had pleaded guilty to 13 counts of possessing and distributing terrorist documents via Skype and was jailed for three years and four months. He had been arrested in May 2018 by armed police.
The Old Bailey heard that he had tried to radicalise his own family, by sharing Al-Qaeda propaganda in a family WhatsApp group, and sharing bomb-making manuals on Skype, exposing his five younger brothers aged 11 to 15, and extended family in Sri Lanka to jihadist material.
After his arrest, police found bomb-making and knife-fighting manuals on his digital devices, as well as ISIS videos depicting graphic violence.
In online messages, he pledged allegiance to Islamic State, said “the Islamic State is here to stay”, and said he considered ISIS to “be the best thing to happen to Islam”.
JD / February 3, 2020
No where in the world, promoting Pluralism worked for that country. Even the Europe promoted Pluralism in the way of Multiculturalism. The result was rat -like proliferation of Wahabism and islamization of the European countries. Now, they openly go against that. I saw in one country, they would not allow even to buy a bankrupt church by muslims. Instead, they demolish it. In Sri Lanka, the density of Mosques is higher than that of USA. We have a culture to protect, a way of life to protect. We can not allow International Geo-politics, super powers needs in the Indian Ocean to eliminate our culture even though it is highly destroyed and disintegrated now.
soma / February 3, 2020
EVERY Sinhalese is a Majoritarian, EVERY Tamil is a Separatist and EVERY Muslim is a Fundamentalist.
If that is too watertight for you tell me what percentage of Sinhalese are non Majoritarian, what percentage of Tamils are non Separatist and what percentage of Muslims are non Fundamentalist.
Sam Fernando / February 3, 2020
SOMA, you see only black and white right ? Dont you know even regenbogen consists of various other colours ?
If europeans would see the way you do, there would have been more skin heads bred in UK… there would have been lot more AFD sympathisers in Germany. Please try to educate yourself at least form your young ones inthe family. In Japan, house wives start going to the University at their age of 70, since they believe the knnowledge is power.
But BPs of your nature to stroll other way around is not a plus ot our nation rebuilding.
Separatists, extremists, fundementalists are found in every nation and ethnic group.. but what matters is the percentage of their distibution ? or not.. this you can learn from your grand children for sure. Give them a chance please.
Sinhala_Man / February 4, 2020
Dear Mohamed Lukman Harees,
I’ve become one of your great fans. Another fine, intelligent and sensitive article from you.
However, I’m a bit disappointed with the CT editors; they ought really to have censored Soma’s efforts to add to the dissension in this country. Readers, please see how, on the other hand, the moderators put Soma in her place there, and sided with me, because what I’m trying to promote is THE TRUTH, and bring about, ultimately harmony and Justice:
Soma is a racist bigot who puts forward specious arguments in an effort to serve some corrupt political master (or mistress, if she’s lesbian – I have no idea and I don’t want to know! ).
I’d like to proclaim it loud and clear: I’m a Sinhalese, who is not a Majoritarian, not a Separatist, and not a Fundamentalist! Please go across, through that link that I have given you, to see how I was standing up for CHILD RIGHTS and Teachers Rights, in a series of, admittedly off-topic comments, supported by moderators who obviously respected the efforts of a guy to fight against dishonesty, paedophilia, and worse as practised by Christian Anglican priests and bishops.
Wouldn’t many regular readers, so used to Soma’s honeyed nastiness, have expected that she would have added petrol to the fire there, where I was exposing a segment of an elite minority for palpable criminality? Instead she attacked me, and didn’t reappear on that page, despite my throwing down of the gauntlet. The cowardly woman sent “one Perera” to irritate me. I shall get deal with that miscreant if I have the time.
But tell me, Soma darling, why didn’t you respond to me there? It’s still not too late, you know!
Eagle Eye / February 3, 2020
“Majoritarianism has been the bane of Sri Lanka and was the basis for a nearly three decade long Civil War”.
BS. For these ‘Para’ minorities majority Sinhalayo are always ‘Villains’ and they are ‘Saints’. There was no civil war in this country. There was a three decade long terrorist campaign launched by ‘Para’ Demala LTTE barbarians led by Piripakaran bellige putha against Native Sinhalayo who accepted the Dravida slaves brought by colonial parasites and abandoned in this country as citizens of Sinhale.
Danfernando / February 3, 2020
We are also para right ?
We came from India and DNA research revealed it. So you can sing the song to the gallery but not anyone with even little brain would agree with you. Why not you-the like ilk – let alone today- now turn back – and work on pin collection? So called buddhagama followers of your nature, would even clean the backsides of the fake monks dreaming of pin collection right ? you are said to be not far from kicking the bucket btw ?’ when would you see it right ?
Yana thanata weda karaganna could help you more than being harboured to hatreds towards the minorities. Just imagine, you belong to the minority in DOWN UNDER but would NOT you feel that bad being CORNERED by the whites ? Or even your own family ones – and I also got to knnow your wife is a tamil and how you treat her from dawn to dusk or has she left you long ago ? or you were raped by her relatives to be that hateful towards tamils in general. I would not even harm to an ant but I do harm the racists of your nature. Get well soon.
Eagle Eye / February 3, 2020
“We came from India and DNA research revealed it.”
Give me a DNA research published in a refereed journal that provides conclusive evidences that Sinhalayo came to this country from India.
Research conducted by renowned archeologists P.E.P. Deraniyagala, S.U. Deraniyagala, Raj Somadeva and few Western archeologists have uncovered scientifically verified evidences to prove that Sinhalayo have evolved in this island from Homo Sapiens lived 125,000 years ago in the Southern coastal area.
Do not believe what Amanasiri says about DNA.
Amarasiri / February 4, 2020
Eagle Confused Eye, Eagle AMANA Eye,
“Give me a DNA research published in a refereed journal that provides conclusive evidences that Sinhalayo came to this country from India.”
To understand and comprehend, you need scientific training, training in the scientific method, molecular biology and modern genetics. Then you will be able to understand, just like the Greeks and the Catholic Church as well as Martin Luther’s Protestant Church did, many centuries later, the Heliocentric model of the Solar system.
Given below is a peer reviewed publication with data, published in Nature Genetics. Remember, Nature is a well respected and recognized scientific journal Ask any scientist of general knowledge. about Nature.
Mitochondrial DNA history of Sri Lankan ethnic people:
Lanka Ranaweera, Supannee Kaewsutthi, Aung Win Tun, Hathaichanoke Boonyarit, Samerchai Poolsuwan & Patcharee Lertrit
Journal of Human Genetics volume 59, pages28–36(2014)
This study, in which 271 individuals, representing the Sri Lankan ethnic populations mentioned, were typed for their mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) hypervariable segment 1 (HVS-1) and part of hypervariable segment 2 (HVS-2), provides implications for their settlement history on the island.
Through a comparison with the mtDNA HVS-1 and part of HVS-2 of Indian database, both Tamils and Sinhalese clusters were affiliated with Indian subcontinent populations than Vedda people who are believed to be the native population of the island of Sri Lanka.
Eagle Eye / February 5, 2020
Can tell the truth to the don key but cannot force the don key to accept the truth.
Jay Chambers / February 3, 2020
congratulate the Sinhalese of many parties, classes, religions and regions of Lanka for bringing the country under one rule NOT in 1948 BUT in 2009. The real win for Lanka was not its freedom from the British (that was a foregone conclusion in the British parliament for a long time before 1948, that autonomy would be granted to Ceylon slowly, the World War 2 just made it happen faster). It was the victory over the Dravidian Tamil Tigers, which was the ultimate win of the Aryan hordes who stormed through the Khyber Pass many millenniums ago, against the most traditional of the dark skinned Dravidian Tamils. Sinhalese were the proxy Aryans, who fought this battle, almost by destiny visited upon them by a megalomaniac called Prabhakaran, by means of which the Sinhalese finally had the country truly for themselves after maybe a 1000 years. My limited knowledge of Lankan history does not show a truly dominant, assertive, powerful one nation under one Sinhalese ruler paradigm unless one goes back to around 1000 AD.
Obviously such wins come with sacrifices in flesh and blood, thus many lives lost to Dravidian Tiger terrorism and in battles against Tigers. The writer of this article and many other Moslems like him are just spewing drivel and mumbo jumbo about nonsensical independence and inclusivity. Sinhalese should know this is ultimate Moslem Taqqia deception. Never be fooled. Keep your guns locked and loaded, the devil of Easter Sunday will ride again. And this time no quarter should be given to the murderers and those who support them silently and passively, for they are traitors. They should be punished with death and nothing less. Modi India will support and applaud these efforts, and the pusillanimous beggars in Pakistan, now without US dollars after Trump and Modi aligned, will scratch their heads and look the other side.
Eagle Eye / February 3, 2020
Gaining independence from ‘Para’ British rulers was a significant event for Native Sinhalayo who were oppressed by British with the support received from Malabar Wellala Demalu. It was Native Sinhalayo and Vedda Eththo who suffered under colonial rule and shed their blood and sacrificed their lives to liberate the country from colonial rulers. Malabar Wellala Demalu who were brought to Sinhale by Portuguese as slaves had a comfortable time during British rule because British used them to oppress Native Sinhalayo under their infamous ‘Divide and Rule’ policy.
For Daliths who were the majority in Yapanaya, independence from British rule did not make any difference because they were under Wellala rule who oppressed them.
‘Para’ Malabar Wellala Demalu would have preferred to live under British rule enjoying the privileged status they had rather than under the rule of Native Sinhalayo. That may be the reason why Wellala politicians look for some bloody excuse to boycott Independence Day celebrations.
Simon De Silva / February 3, 2020
A Knife can be used to save a life. They the surgeons do it in their surgeries saving the lives of hearts patients.
In the same time knives can hurt the people – if used for crimes.
Knowing these realities, buddhist clergy can heal the nation as done in the past few decades ago.
In the same time they can also ruin the nation and standing on the way of the poor people but looking only at their perks and previledges being offered to them if they would PLEASEs the bums of vicious politicians.
Buddhist monks are being abused today as DECORATIONS for the their politics. This can only be done so long people are made eternal fools. Latter is the case in my home country. People would not check it twice, but let it go,being ignorant to the danger before them. Criminals that deserve beheading become the leaders, and the good leaders get marginalized in this process. Media men are equally to be blamed since they drum to the tune of the criminals on and on. So long media men are pleased with huges sums coming from them, they dont care about the ground realities of the people.
Mahinda Rajakshe though got defeated in 2015, he spent much time in Temples misleading the BUDDHIST monks for this come back. Buddhist monks are placed above in the society for some reasons, that come from decades in this country. If the kind of place was given to Cathelic Church in Europe, they would not have achieved their goals in their life time.
However with the much less information, they wrote that MAHAWANSHA then and never revised it with the time. I have no idea how some monks be offered ” PhD titles, Prof. Titles” even if the buddhist literiture remain not having added any revisions.
JD / February 3, 2020
Lakmamn Harees: Today only I read, partly again, your article. Very fair I must say, an intellectual type article from an educated man. Sinhala Buddhists were fair throughout. But, they were oppressed, suppressed and subjugated throughout colonial times. South Indians and Sinhala people had good relations previously. But, Colonials bringing politics and VARGAVADAYA OR TRIBALIST OR ETHNOTRELIGIOUS POLITICS changed the equation. By 1940, British were ready to Leave. But, the american /missionary church was active in Sinhale and in South india. USA was very active in weaponization of Buddhism (and Islam too) to fight the communists. So, what you see now is the result. Buddhists are still the same. But, has to protest the elements that ask for demise of the Buddhist habits, culture, demolishing of Buddhist civilization. Muslims write articles denigrating Bhikkus and Buddhists. But, they were behind asking mercy from the King to muslims ( mostly business people) who were getting slaughtered by Portuguese. Now, it is Pivot to Asia program. Create shanty colonies who fight for various ethnonationalistic domains or rights. That provides very good playing ground for them to achieve their goals and objectives.
sach / February 4, 2020
majoritarianism my a$$, there is no other non Muslim nation that has given privileges to Muslims because of their religion. Get ready to reform or get rid of your draconian marriage laws that abuse women and children in this country! That would be a better step than talking about pluralism…
We practices pluralism and we got bombs in return. Rishard, Hakeem everyone were in bed with terrorists who blew up ppl.
Sri Lanka is the only non muslim country to give privileges like Sharia banking, shariah law, shariah courts, special holidays for muslim women, separate schools for all religions, …
K.A. Sumanasekera / February 4, 2020
Sinhala Buddhist Nationalism has Trumped says Mr Harees…. Amazing .
Wonder how that happened considering the poor Sinhala Buddhists and their monks were copping Jail Terms and severe Prison sentences , and daily abuse calling them Sinhala Buddhist Racists , War mongers , White Van drivers and so on.
I thought these Muslim intellectual’s Political leaders were all part of the Government for the last five years while that was coming from left , right and centre..
Even as late as last Christmas, Muslim Politicians gathered all their flocks to support the same mob again to give our Sinhala Buddhist majority the same treatment by the same Lot.
Although with a new UNP Leader from Keselwatta, but still Dr Rajitha, Mr Ranawaka, Dr Rani , Mr Mangala Samaraweera and the other UNP Heavies sitting in the same Engine Room at Srikotha. ,
Wonder whether Rauf Hakeem , Bathudeen , Assath Sally , Abdul Rahuman, Hesbolla , the big name Politikkas of the Muslim Community read these articles.
Talking about these leaders who are all now bonded together like blood brothers, wonder what they have done to promote this Pluralism?.
Muslims attacked and destroyed Buddha statutes in Kandy district, which reminded me of the Taliban Muslims destroying those 1700 year Bammiyan Buddha , the 56 Metre Sand Stone statutes in Afganistan.
Instead of handing over the culprits, those Muslim leaders put pressure on the Police not to investigate them.
UNP stalwart Dr Rajitha organized the Muslims in Kaluthara and Aluthgama to cause trouble and incited poor Sinhala Buddhist to attack a few shops as part of the Yahapalana Strategy to roll Rajapaksa and bring in the UNP /SLFP Yahapalana Government.
Then came the mother of all demolitions in Lankawe next to the CB, the destruction of the Catholic Churches with the total annihilation of 300 innocent lives including innocent Foreign Citizens who only came to Lankawe for a holiday.. .
Titus Rodrigo / February 4, 2020
Can agree with the writer if we don’t learn any lessons from the past.
Our trial of departing from the majoritarianism between 2015-2019 (inflicted on us by backbone-less Rani and his NGO mates) gave us the Easter Sunday atrocity, that is still continuing with deaths of innocent church goers. Who did this is the question.
We the majority of this country are a nation of Buddhists, Hindus and Christians that cut across ethnic divisions. We are quick learners who live by the principle ‘once bitten-twice shy’ and please take it from us Mr Harees, NEVER AGAIN.
rbh / February 4, 2020
With Label of Majorities the government aim to build the country it should the government must this the other way with the people of the country the country should develop the situation at china now the majoritarian will not work the , A 1,000-bed hospital has been built in just 10 days. Donations have exceeded tens of billions of yuan. More than 1 billion Chinese people have fully cooperated with the government. There have been no riots or disorder, which shows the strong power of positive attitudes in China. From this perspective, China remains the country with the most positive and least negative attitudes in the world.
rbh / February 5, 2020
Christian are Multiculturalism, co-existence of diverse cultures
sach / February 5, 2020
Harees demands Sinhalese to drop their ‘majoritarian’ tendencies and adopt pluralism. According to him, of course based on LTTE supporters in the west, the problem in SL is Sinhala people are not for pluralism but supporters of majoritarian policies. Lets check for a min. Shall we?
Two third of the Muslim population who are Tamil speakers have been living in Sinhala majority areas for decades. None have been forced to change their religion or language. Imagine a Hindi speaking Muslim population living in Tamil Nadu that too as 10% strong community. So how fair is to say Sinhalese do not support pluralism.
Can a Sinhalese open a shop in Kattankudy? or Akurana? Atulugama? or any Muslim majority town in SL? The answer is NO. What are the most cosmopolitan and ethnically diverse main towns in SL? Colombo, Galle, Kandy!! All in Sinhala dominated areas. Why is Mr.Harees reluctant to point at Jaffna or Batti to adopt pluralism? The Muslims living for decades among Sinhalese speaking an alien language has been represented in all cabinets in SL history. Have all privileges like shariah banking, shariah marriage laws, shariah courts…Why do not Muslims start practicing pluralism instead of creating ghettos and Muslim laws? The reality in SL is everyone is a racist. But Tamils and Muslims are more racist but are the first to advise Sinhalese on racism.
Thanga / February 7, 2020
Ceylon would not have gained independence if not for the support of Tamils who voted for the Constitution en masse. Sensing the Tamils reservation or apprehension of living under the rule of the majority Sinhalese in an independent Ceylon D.S.Senanayake, the first Prime Minister of independent Ceylon, gave the following solemn promise to the Tamil and other minority communities
“no harm need you (non-Sinhalese) fear at our hands (Sinhalese) in a free Lanka.” He was speaking in the State Council in October 1945 when all the Tamil members had unanimously voted for the acceptance of the Soulbury constitution in a White Paper.
“Do you want to be governed from London or do you want, as Ceylon, to help govern Ceylon? On behalf of the (Ceylon National) Congress (founded by Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam in 1919) and on my behalf, I give the minority communities the sincere assurance that no harm need you fear at our hands in a free Lanka.”
But DS Senanayake took the Thamils for a ride and he never meant to keep his word. In 1948, the very year of Independence, D.S.Senanayake blatantly went back on the promise and bared his true colours as an unrepentant champion of Sinhala chauvinism by depriving one million Tamils of their citizenship by giving false promises that no harm will befall the minority communities at the hands of the majority Sinhalese. But he deprived a million Tamils of Indian origin in the very same year of independence! That was treachery at the worst! Independence for the Tamils have meant slow liquidation of their identity as a nation that lived in the well-defined territory with their own language, arts, culture, customs and heritage. They have been living in the Northeast historically for several centuries…
Independence for the Tamils has meant slow liquidation of their identity as a Nation that lived in a well-defined territory with their own language, arts, culture, customs and heritage.