27 November, 2020

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A Kindly Response To Dayan Jayatilleka On The National Question

By Laksiri Fernando

Dr. Laksiri Fernando

Dr. Laksiri Fernando

I had a difficulty in understanding why Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka lumped Kumar David and me together and called ‘Trotskyists’ in his tortuous reply (“Minority Report: Sri Lanka’s Tamil Question,” Colombo Telegraph, 13 April 2014) because we were never in one political party although the respective organizations we belonged were called ‘Trotskyists.’ On my part it was before 1982 as Dayan fully well know. It is not a good academic practice to label people to create prejudices.

I also couldn’t understand what was this ‘Minority Report’ in Dayan’s title of the article, while he is quite free to call it the ‘Tamil Question’ instead of the ‘national question.’ But it can give the wrong impression.

Dayan has quoted Gramsci to show his antipathy against secession quite legitimately, but it also reveals his ‘hegemonic nationalism.’ It is also no wonder that Dayan has expressed his preference to Gramsci over Lenin who had a particular leaning towards hegemonic nationalism in Italy and Europe. I am quite sure that Dayan quoted both Gramsci and Hobsbawm from the same second source of Ephraim Nimni (Marxism and Nationalism, p. 96 and 110). The following however was what Nimni said about Gramsci (p. 112) on ‘national and linguistic minorities.’

Despite his first-hand experience of the perils of national oppression in his native Sardinia, an oppression adequately documented in the writings on the Southern question, Gramsci then praises the Jacobins for their energy and action in consolidating the French nation and state, choosing to ignore that this consolidation also took the form of ruthless suppression of national and linguistic minorities.” (My emphasis)

There are of course so many good points of Gramsci but those are not on the national question and beside the point here.

Dayan has continued to analyze the national question in Sri Lanka in a binary manner, calling the communities at times ‘tribes’ (both Sinhalese and Tamils). The main thrust of his arguments have been to deny the equality between communities with an obsession on numbers even without knowing the correct population figures in the country. This is called political realism or ‘science.’

Two of his important or rather farcical statements in replying to me are the following.

“The communities that inhabit the island are not equal in size. One of them amount to almost three fourths of the population. The other by definition, doesn’t come anywhere close. That is a reality. The one that is much smaller has a huge community of co-ethnics across a narrow strip of water. That is also a reality.”

“While all citizens of Sri Lanka must be equal (which they are not, while the constitution embeds hierarchy) and all citizens and communities must be free from discrimination as individuals and collectives, it is neither desirable nor possible to render majorities and minorities equal, in conceptual or legal terms.”

Dayan says that “the communities that inhabit the island are not equal in size” as if he is from the outer space. Does anyone need a special theory to understand the numerical ‘inequality’ between Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims? It is this ‘inequality’ which is glorified as reality that he has utilized to deny equality in dignity and rights. That is his ‘scientific’ diagnosis. Then comes his ‘scientific’ prescription which is pathetically contradictory.

He says “all citizens of Sri Lanka must be equal” and admits that it is not the case. Here he has accepted the principle of ‘equality’ at the level of citizens which he has denied in inter-ethnic relations calling ‘vulgar and petty bourgeoisie’ quoting Engels (out of context) because the numbers are not equal! I wonder whether he holds the same view in respect of the country’s religions.

By doing so he takes us back in the memory lane to 1956 and 1972. The logic behind the Sinhala Only act in 1956 or the denial of Parity (equality) was that the numbers were not equal between the Sinhala speakers and the Tamil speakers. The country has now changed the position at least in principle. It was the same logic that enshrined the foremost place to Buddhism in the 1972 constitution.

He says “all citizens and communities must be free from discrimination as individuals and collective.” Here he has accepted the ‘collective’ in respect of ‘free from discrimination.’ But he has not accepted the ‘collective’ in terms of ‘rights.’ But the fact of the matter is without equal recognition of rights, non-discrimination does not work, particularly at the level of the collective.

The so-called ‘acceptance’ of individual rights of minority national communities has been common from KMP Rajarathna or LH Mettananda to the present JHU to deny in fact ‘equal rights’ and ‘equal dignity’ to the non-Sinhala communities as communities. However, without the acceptance of equality at the collective level, equality at the individual level cannot be realized. What needs to be accepted (obviously) is not the equality in numbers but the equality in ‘rights and dignity.’ In this respect, not only individuals but also groups are ‘rights holders.’

Dayan may not deny that non-Sinhala or non-Buddhist communities or their members unfortunately are denied of rights directly and structurally, at least in some measure in Sri Lanka, to put it mildly. What he denies is the underlying reasoning behind this discrimination; overwhelming ‘majoritarian’ thinking and practice in the country. He himself is party to this thinking when he says “it is neither desirable nor possible to render majorities and minorities equal, in the conceptual or legal terms.”

It is not correct to say that rendering ‘majorities and minorities’ equal is not possible, in conceptual or legal terms. It is not exactly a question of rendering; it is a question of recognizing, as I have indicated in the very title of the article in question. One example is the Preamble of the UN Charter which reaffirms (in paragraph two) the “faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small.” Of course the ‘large and small nations’ here means the people of the member countries. But if the equal recognition is possible among countries irrespective of numbers, it should be possible within countries as well, again irrespective of numbers.

Let me quote again what I have proposed as quoted by Dayan himself.

“Although I cannot read the mind of the Chief Minister, as far as I can understand, he raises a valid question of equality between the ethnic communities…One way of resolving the national question and ending the confrontation is to recognize the Sinhalese, the Tamils and the Muslims as equal ‘cultural nations’ constituting the democratic ‘political nation’ of Sri Lanka. There is no question that the formulations in the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord are useful principles in bridging the understanding between the communities if they are properly acted upon. However, they are not enough…Equality here does not mean quantitative equality but qualitative equality.”

This is first to dismiss his accusation that I have not dealt with devolution. Anyone who is familiar with my writings would know how I have labored to convince all communities that commitment to devolution is of paramount importance for ethnic reconciliation. It is in the same spirit that I made the proposal or rather appeal “to recognize the Sinhalese, the Tamils and the Muslims as equal ‘cultural nations’ constituting the democratic ‘political nation’ of Sri Lanka.” By accepting Tamils and Muslims as equal ‘cultural nations’ Sinhalese are not going to lose anything. I proposed it as “one way of resolving the national question and ending the confrontation.” I never said this is the only way.

I never discussed or even mentioned ‘self-determination’ although he has lumped me into that category. My purpose was different. I was merely proposing one political formula for a possible social contract between the three main communities in possible political negotiations in the future, emphasizing the need to forge a healthy democratic political nation. The proposal is not counter to Devolution, the formulations in the Indo-Lanka Accord or the UN Declaration on Minority Rights (1992). He should know however that what we have at the UN is still a Declaration and not a Convention. It is difficult to consider it is conclusive irrespective of its overwhelming merits.

Dayan has shown a particular penchant for the ‘minority’ label emphasizing and reemphasizing the proportions as if to cut particularly the Tamils into size. Any reasonable Sinhalese let alone a political scientist would not do that. It is true that the Tamils and the Muslims are relatively small communities in numbers within the country. But they are not so outside the country. Therefore, if we were not to exacerbate the situation, we should behave more responsibly without jumping to pick on whatever any Tamil leader says in the public domain.

The saddest or the hilarious was the following:

By insisting on the equal status of that which cannot be equalised, Profs Kumar David and Laksiri Fernando transpose to the realm of inter-ethnic relations, the error denounced by Engels as “vulgar, petty bourgeois egalitarianism.

From where did he get the four word quotation from Engels? This is a juvenile tactic to vilify an opponent. I doubt that it was taken from any of Engels’ discussions on the national question. It is possible that it is from AD (Anti-Duhring), where Engels criticized the liberal concept of ‘equality’ like Marx criticized ‘rights.’ In my opinion, both were substantially wrong on both counts.

Poor Marx and Engels, Dayan as a self-proclaimed ‘political scientist’ has gone to their wrong side. They were the same on the national question, and particularly Engels had a particular antipathy for ‘small nations’ sometimes calling them ‘refuse of history.’ He was supporting the assimilation of small nations and national groups by the big ones. He also had a notion of ‘great and lesser nations’ the way Dayan considers ‘majority-minority’ duality. If I reckon correctly, Engels called Albanians, a ‘goat fucking nation.’ Therefore, I wouldn’t take Engels seriously either on the question of ‘equality’ or the ‘national question.’ My respect for Lenin on the national question is entirely different as I have state in my initial article. Therefore, I am more amused than angered by Dayan’s gimmicks.

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Latest comments

  • 22
    2

    Well argued Laksiri Fernando,

    Your arguments make Dayan a Sinhala hegemonic nationalist and a distorter of facts.

    He is akin to Mahanama thero in distortion of facts and propagation of lies.

    • 4
      0

      Thiru ,

      “He is akin to Mahanama thero in distortion of facts and propagation of lies. “

      no no , he is not akin to Mahanama thero , Mahanama thero never tried to gain any thing personally beneficial to him ! rather, he manipulated every thing for the benefit of his version of “Sinhalese Buddhism ” whereas DJ does every thing to personally benefit him , in other words he wants to align with his master’s doctrine…

    • 2
      0

      Thiru,

      Looks like both the Emperor and ths Doorman Dayan has no clothes.

      May be an Audaya, loin cloth, would be of help.

      Dr. Laksiri Fernando is pointing this out.

      • 0
        0

        Typo Correction,

        “May be an Audaya, loin cloth, would be of help.”

        May be an AMUDAYA, loin cloth, would be of help to cover their nakedness, that of the Emperor and the Doorman.

  • 21
    2

    Poor Dayan, striped naked by Laksiri….

    • 3
      0

      “Poor Dayan, striped naked by Laksiri…” the rest is, explicit content I suppose….?

    • 5
      0

      He was used to be naked – remember the way he ran naked in late 80ties.
      It was at the end of the Premadasa regime :)

      • 2
        0

        Dayan Jayatilake is the Gobbels of SL.
        Dr.Laksiri Fernando has illustrated that point by exposing the racist stance that the former has dishonestly taken refuge in population numbers to justify the denial of equal rights for the Tamil and Muslim community in SL in disregard of the UN charter Preamble para 2 which sets out the principle of equal right of all peoples irrespective their majority or minority status in the country they have lived in for centuries.

  • 3
    23

    Well, its simple really. The nation concept was outlined in TULF “Vodookkodai resolution”. The TULF asked for a mandate over this issue at 1977 general elections. Only 48% of combined North East provinces voted for TULF.

    There has never been a mandate from the Northern and Eastern provinces for Tamil nation or homeland. Its a fraudulent claim and there is no legitimate cause here.

    There was never a policy called ‘Sinhala Only’. It was the language act of 1956 which aimed to replace English with a suitable language for the civil service. There is no question about any prejudice when its the native language of 70% of the people including many minorities who are fluent.

    1972 Constitution was drawn up in the absence of TULF representation. It was just like now. Invitation went to TULF to participate. They wanted the Tamil ‘homeland’ assurance before entering negotiations. They never turned up for the discussions and never have since. If there is something they want from the constitution then its not anyone else’s fault.

    • 5
      1

      Vibushna you Sinkalam:

      Get your facts right. In the 1977 elections TULF got an average of 65 %
      of the votes. Don’t distort facts you idiot.

      Parliamentary General Election

      In the first general election contested by the TULF, the 21 July 1977 election in which the UNP won by a landslide, the TULF won 6.40% of the popular vote and 18 out of 168 seats in the Sri Lankan parliament, including all 14 seats in the Northern Province.

      Votes and seats won by TULF by electoral district

      Electoral District

      Votes %

      Seats

      Turnout

      TULF MP

      Batticaloa 26,648 24.70% 1 71.15% Chelliah Rajadurai
      Chavakachcheri 20,028 63.27% 1 85.65% V. N. Navaratnam
      Jaffna 16,251 56.62% 1 82.32% V. Yogeswaran
      Kalkudah 12,595 43.07% 0 86.02%
      Kalmunai 7,093 27.38% 0 89.86%
      Kankesanthurai 31,155 85.41% 1 83.08% A. Amirthalingam
      Kayts 17,640 64.05% 1 75.72% K. P. Ratnam
      Kilinochchi 15,607 73.42% 1 79.71% V. Anandasangaree
      Kopay 25,840 77.20% 1 80.03% S. Kathiravelupillai
      Manipay 27,550 83.99% 1 79.28% V. Dharmalingam
      Mannar 15,141 51.58% 1 92.40% P. S. Soosaithasan
      Mullaitivu 10,261 52.36% 1 79.34% X. M. Sellathambu
      Mutur 7,520 27.00% 0 91.65%
      Nallur 29,858 89.42% 1 83.05% M. Sivasithamparam
      Paddirippu 15,877 49.17% 1 89.92% P. Ganeshalingam
      Point Pedro 12,989 55.91% 1 81.66% K. Thurairatnam
      Pottuvil 23,990 26.97% 1 179.02% M. Kanagaratnam
      Puttalam 3,268 10.52% 0 83.58%
      Sammanthurai 8,615 34.65% 0 91.04%
      Trincomalee 15,144 51.76% 1 81.78% R. Sampanthan
      Udupiddy 18,768 63.44% 1 80.05% T. Rasalingam
      Vaddukoddai 23,384 70.18% 1 81.90% T. Thirunavukarasu
      Vavuniya 13,821 59.02% 1 82.31% T. Sivasithamparam
      Total 399,043 6.40% 18
      Source:[1]

      The TULF became the official opposition as result of the rout of the SLFP. The TULF’s success would lead to riots in which hundreds of Tamils were murdered by Sinhala mobs.

      • 2
        4

        You mean ‘Cinkalam’ right? :) I don’t think you can afford the ‘Sa’.

        TULF won seats based on first-past-the-post system and became the opposition.

        As for ‘Tamil Eelam’ 53% of the people voted against. The analysis is here for your perusal.

        Following this resolution, the TULF went further and contested the 1977 election for the very specific purpose of obtaining a mandate from the electorates in the Northern and Eastern Provinces to establishment a separate state. The TULF did not get the mandate they sought, because only 47% of the combined electorate voted for them. Although the TULF received a mandate from the electorate in the Northern Province, ONLY 27% of the electorate in the Eastern Province supported them. Of the 12 members of Parliament representing the Eastern province, ONLY 2 were from the TULF. None of this has deterred their unlawful and undemocratic claim for the Eastern Province. However, the TULF must surely have been surprised and disappointed by the fact that ONLY 32.5% of the electorate in the Batticaloa district, with its 71% Tamil majority, voted for the TULF agenda at this election.

        http://www.island.lk/2003/04/11/featur01.html

        • 5
          0

          Vibushna you Sinkalam:

          I now know where weak man Peris got his ideas from. After UNHCR vote he gave a lecture came up with his theory that Sinhala Lanka won and this is how he worked it out

          Against Sinhala Lanka 22

          For Sinhala Lanka 12

          Abstained 12

          So he worked out those who voted against UNHCR Resolution was 24 and this is democracy Sinhala Lanka style.

          Well done mate.

          • 0
            3

            Dear Kali,

            That doesn’t answer Vibushana’s question.

            What GL does or does not do in 2014 has no relevance to the 1977 Elections that took place 37 years ago!

            You were admonishing Vibushana “Get your facts right. In the 1977 elections …..”

            Should you not heed your own advice?

            Can we have a factual rebuttal please?

            Kind Regards,
            OTC

    • 2
      4

      Vibhushana:

      You have clearly shown how ignorant and how dishonest Laksiri Fernando has been in this article.

      Even when Tamil people did not give a mandate, politicians are calling for Tamil nations. When there was no such “Sinhala Only” acts an academic teaching in the University is using the word “sinhala Only act” non sense.

      Laksiri Fernando is saying that non-sinhala and non-buddhists are discriminated. but, he does not admit how colonials favoured non-sinhala and non-buddhists.

      Particularly, he does not want to understand the Sinhala buddhist mentality. He thinks they should allow foreign cultures to destroy sinhala buddhist culture.

      It is stupid to say that there is a NAtional question. but, you can say that selected communities both Tamil and sinhala have a question.

  • 14
    1

    We got this long ago, this has lot to do with his ideosyncratic nature (perhaps genetics can clarrify this)

    Dr. Fernando, I wish you a great sinhala new year !

  • 14
    1

    Bravo Dr Fernando, bravo and bravo!

    What a fantastic rebuttal of Dayan J’s juvenile but dangerous tactics. Now that a large strip has been brilliantly excised with surgical precision, I wonder whether the pseudo and manifestly dishonest political scientist will simply curl up and give up his puerile antics or start speaking up for what he surely must see as right!!! Shame on him and for the shame he has indirectly brought upon his Ph.D. and the institution he obtained it from.

    • 1
      0

      Dayan Jayatilleke and Mervyn Silva obtained their Ph.D. from the same institution.

    • 3
      0

      Particular analyst, Mr. Selfproclaimed would nt dare raise the question why GR supports BBS Ghanasara (conspicuous personality of the day) even if he keeps on analysing many of the grave issues in the country. For him, it seems to be a non-issue even if the minority folks (in this case Muslims) are met with increasing numbers of problems. I wonder, how would he have felt, if Dayan was one of the muslim brothers gathered to the Hotel Nippon on the 9th April.
      First thing, he should learn to be honest to him, before going to talk about others. That is what I feel when going through DJ´s analyses present to past.

  • 5
    0

    The take away from all this is that Laksiri and Kumar David should not be lumped together and called “Trotskyites”. Shame on Dayan on doing such a horrible thing. Always lumping those, that ought not to be lumped together. Now that Laksisri’s theoretical postion is defined and the rest of us have been comprehensively breifed and have all heaved a sigh of relief….. Can we get on with latest Galaboda Gnassara escapade?? Definetly the rock star of the momment!

    • 0
      0

      Bedrock Barney,

      You say…….”Can we get on with latest Galaboda Gnassara escapade?? Definetly the rock star of the momment!”

      Yes good topic to discuss. The self Proclaimed Buddhist Peoples “Messiah” backed by the ever powerful DS, now fighting a battle against Muslims, Christians, Dilan, Mervin, DM J., Wimal W., Azath Sali, Rauff H., SB, Basil Rajapakse, Rev.Watareka Thero, Cardinal Malcom R., Rishad B., Rajitha S.,…….who else….I forgot.

      Looks like going to another One Man show against all Big Fish.

      Yes, It’s going to be a very interesting drama in coming weeks, when TRAC classify them as a Terrorist organization.

    • 0
      0

      Hello Beddy Barnacle
      Lots of readers mayn’t have got it, but t feel that your sarcasm is a bit hash and unfair. Dr Fernando has taken pains to clarify his position and conclusively show that Dr DJ has been less than honest with the CT readership (and others which publish his material). It would be a huge strategic mistake to let DJ’s views (and prescriptions) this important national/ethnic issue be taken as correct or indeed mainstream. Dr LF is therefore to be hugely complimented on his courage to have rebutted DJ’s crap, albeit ever so gently.

      Having said that, I agree that the antics of that fake and overfed monk Galaboda Gandhasaara needs also to be debated vigorously and more importantly resolved by taking him out of the scene of action (not violently, but by recourse to the law of the land).

      • 0
        0

        When I was a chld I spoke as a child – Corinthians.

        When Dr DJ was JVPer he spoke as a JVPer. When He was a diplomat his articles were consistent with someone working for GOSL. When he is on TV he he does the biding of Kili Rajamahendran. No one believes he is impartial. That being said, all Dayan has to do write an article and people fall over themselves trying to prove his postion as incorrect or inconsistent or Dayan will comment on an article and people start commenting on his comment rather than on the content of the article. (malinda senviratne is giving a good fight for dayan’s place though…)

        Laksiri lives overseas, good for him, he has the luxuary of being completelty impartial and theoretical correct. Yet he does not have the wade through the kaka, which is what the daily political hustle and bustle is, in Colombo.

        If you don’t like what someone has to say in an website which is read mostly by people who live overseas, then ignore the article. the less comments the less attention. You feel me Ivan?

    • 2
      0

      Bedrock@,
      how would Dayan have felt, if Dayan and Wimal Werrawansa would be lumped together and called just “opportunists of number one” ? This is where the spin doc went fully wrong. He keeps on talking as if he could be the only
      person to leave analyses/predications about the future of the country.

  • 0
    0

    Dr. Laksiri Fernando, What a fair minded human you are!

    Your argument, ‘the fact of the matter is without equal recognition of rights, non-discrimination does not work, particularly at the level of the collective’, sums it up.

    However, I have some questions over the following affirmative.

    You say that, the logic behind the Sinhala Only act in 1956 or the denial of Parity (equality) was that the numbers were not equal between the Sinhala speakers and the Tamil speakers. It was the same logic that enshrined the foremost place to Buddhism in the 1972 constitution.

    Did I hear you correct. Was Sinhala Only act in 1956, just a simple affirmation of numbers? Was foremost place to Buddhism in the 1972 constitution, only a number game?

    The logic sounds too hollow for an inquiring mind, specially after all the bloodshed.

  • 2
    0

    Thank you Dr. Laksiri for having the patience and brilliance to expose the naked Racism behind Our own Expert Grey Monkey Mr. Lalputin D. Jayatileku..

    Once and for all someone has been patient enough to go through the convoluted logic of ghte grey monkey full of Marxist hype and terminology to hide the gross racism…

    Thank yoou Sir….

  • 0
    0

    DJ is a master at the balancing act moving in the direction that he thinks will be favorable to him. Like the self professed terrorist expert Gunartane DJ also considers himself some sort of special political expert to impress the uneducated and illiterate masses that constitute 90% of the Sri Lankan population. His meaningless ramblings and laughable pontifications certainly help in regular flushings of my toilet which is the most appropriate place for deposing the crap that emanates from this jokers comments

  • 3
    0

    Dayan is a Habitual Liar and he lied that there was no Genocide when he was at UNHCR. But he will soon be a thing of the past a distant memory.

    Mr.Modi has already put Sri Lanka on notice and he didn’t mince his words. Miss.Jeyaram will make sure that he honours his words. We live to fight another day.

  • 1
    1

    Dr Fernando,

    Dr. Dayan’s opportunistic approach to become as a national level is now completely thrashed and he is hanging on the tails of Mahinda Family at least to get some powerless posts within the regime similar to that of Karuna Amman.

  • 1
    3

    may not deny that non-Sinhala or non-Buddhist communities or their members unfortunately are denied of rights directly and structurally, at least in some measure in Sri Lanka, to put it mildly. What he denies is the underlying reasoning behind this discrimination; overwhelming ‘majoritarian’ thinking and practice in the country.

    I say, Laksiri Fernando should have had more strength and should have explained what he is talking in the above sentence.

  • 0
    0

    Kudos to you Dr. Laksiri Fernando.
    Very good rejoinder to a lame article of DJ.

  • 1
    0

    Dayan,

    The ball is in your court. Let us have your reply to Prof. Laksiri’ s brilliant and well articulated response.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    • 0
      2

      Dear Dr. Rajasingham Narendran,

      Yesterday the Tamils and Sinhalese commenced their New Year by Synchronously lighting the hearth, Cooking and partaking of their first meal and doing their first financial transaction for the new year. An event that is Unique between two different ethnic groups but with strong cultural bonds. First let me wish you and your family and friends a Peaceful and Prosperous 365 days of the Tamil and Sinhala new year that dawned on the 14 April.

      I am surprised that you find Dr. Laksiri Fernando’s article Brilliant and well articulated despite the factual errors and convoluted political ideologies contained within.

      His beef with Dayan J is one thing but distorting and misrepresenting even the UN Charter, amongst other things, that has far reaching implications, to try and score brownie points over DJ is another matter altogether.

      I am unequivocally pro Equal Rights as individual citizens. I am also pro Devolution as long as that devolution respects the right of every citizen to an equal share of benefits of Lanka’s resources.

      I have difficulty in understanding how different groups can have equal rights as groups, within a single country, in governing that country, as advanced by the learned Dr.Laksiri Fernando. Can you explain it please?

      GG Ponnambalam tried to equate a numerical majority and a numerical minority, with his 50/50, which the British rejected as a Mockery of Democracy.

      Kind Regards,
      OTC

      • 1
        0

        Dear OTC,

        Happy Sri Lankan New year to you and yours too.

        If all citizens have equal rights to safety, security, access to all levels of education, employment based on qualifications and ability and considerate treatment by the law enforcing and justice dispensing mechanisms, it will be a giant step forward.

        If all groups of citizens as concentrated or dispersed communities can speak, learn and work in the language of their choice; can design their own curriculae relating to their language, literature and history; can live without threats or intmidation in places of their choice; do nothave to fear that the the government is colonising areas where they have lived for centuries with malafde intentions; and are permitted to govern themselves within areas where they are concentrated within defined parameters, it will be a gigantic step forward.

        It is the individual citizen, his/her rights as a citizen and their collective rights as diverse communties, that should be the concern of the government. It should be blind to bias and favouritism in any form. This should be the constitutional norm, which when breached should be defended by the judicial system. The Sinhalese/ Sinhala Buddhists being the larger majority, would have the representation to pursue their interests, provided their interests do not infringe on the rights of the other communities. Beacuse they are a numerical minority, the minority community cannot sell their rights to be what they are and prosper, to a steam roller majority. This would be majaoritarianism and not democracy.The Tamils and other minorities did not get freedom from British rule to mortgage it to anew colonial power the Sinhala/Sinhala-Buddhist majority. Would the Sinhalese/Sinhala Buddhists been happy if they have beentreated unfairly and brutaly, if the Tamils by some quirk of fate been the overwhelming majority in this island?

        The land issue in the north and east will be difficult to resolve in what would be theoretically the right way, unless the Tamils and Muslims are satisfied that they are full fledged citizens of Sri Lanka, equal to the Sinhalese/Sinhala-Buddhists in every way, every where in the island. The sanctuary syndrome, will have no relevance, if this becomes the reality.

        We, the minorities and the majority, have to be components of the Sri Lankan nation state collectively, but the minorities cannot be expected or coerced to be willing components of a Sinhala/ Sinhala-Buddhist nation state.

        These are my reasons for considering Prof. Laksiri’s presentation both brilliant and well articulated.

        Dr.Dayan expects citizens to be equal, while being unequal as a communities. This sounds illogical and pure hog wash to me.

        Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

        • 0
          1

          Dear Dr RN,

          You said “If all citizens have equal rights to safety, security, access to all levels of education, employment based on qualifications and ability and considerate treatment by the law enforcing and justice dispensing mechanisms, it will be a giant step forward. If all groups of citizens as concentrated or dispersed communities can speak, learn and work in the language of their choice; can design their own curriculae relating to their language, literature and history; can live without threats or intmidation in places of their choice; “

          Agreed.
          Regarding Language, we have two National Languages. Both of them should be compulsory. In one they should be proficient in the other they should have a working knowledge. This will eliminate the language barrier for good.

          You say “do nothave to fear that the the government is colonising areas where they have lived for centuries with malafde intentions; “

          There are 842,323 Indian origin Tamils in Lanka today. The overwhelming majority of them reside in what was Sinhala areas for Millennia. That was State led colonisation in the real sense where Alien Indian Tamils were settled in Sinhala Land, Grabbed by the British colonial govt using draconian laws such as
          Crown Land Enforcement Ordinance in 1840
          Crown Land Encroachment Ordinance in 1840
          Land Settlement Ordinance of 1889
          Waste Land Ordinance Act of 1897
          There are about a million Sinhalese peasants who are Landless today due to the above Land Grab.

          What is the solution?

          The Kandyan Kingdom extended up to Elephant Pass in the East during 1600s. The Dutch National Archives have the proof.

          It was the defense strategy of the Kandyan King to maintain a dense Jungle within his Kingdom. No one could cut down a tree. Even during British times, which came much later, Lanka had 85% forest cover.

          The 1911 census reveals that there were 531,000 Alien Indian Tamils as against 528,000 Lankan Tamils

          In 1911 there were 2,715,500 Sinhalese and 528,000 Lanka Tamils. A ratio of 5.14 Sinhalese to each Tamil. 300 years earlier if the Sinhala population was a 100,000 the Tamil population would be about 20,000.

          What expanse of land can 20,000 people inhabit and defend from a combined non Tamil population of six times their size?

          Therefore the Area that can be TRUTHFULLY claimed as traditional, is not the Area that is claimed as such. It is far in excess of what can be Physically justified by an indigenous Tamil population of 20,000 at that time.

          The current Tamil claim to Land of nearly 40% of Lanka, is very deceptive and does not withstand critical examination. It cannot be justified either by historicity or physically.

          Hence by what logic can the Sinhalese or Muslims or any other ethnic group be excluded to govt Land?

          I can understand the fear of Demographic Dilution and of losing political power through that. But the solution to that problem is re demarcation of Provincial boundaries by shedding excess unpopulated Land and creating either new provinces or Central Govt administered Areas. Not deceptive and fraudulent claims. There are such areas in India as well as the USA.

          Please also note that the 13A Mandates land distribution in new developments as per the National Ethnic Ratios irrespective of where it is located. Any Govt development work is funded by all citizens not by a section of them. Hence the benefits should accrue to all in the proportion of who pays what. As individuals the debt burden of development is independent of ethnicity. If taken as a Group then the Sinhalese pay almost 75% of the cost and the others according to their numbers in the respective groups.

          You cannot expect the Sinhalese to subsidise ethnically segregated development from which they are excluded.

          The problem has always been about Land.
          This idea of traditional areas of habitation that deceptively includes uninhabited and uninhabitable land should cease.

          You say “are permitted to govern themselves within areas where they are concentrated within defined parameters, it will be a gigantic step forward.”

          Agreed.

          You say “It is the individual citizen, his/her rights as a citizen and their collective rights as diverse communties, that should be the concern of the government. It should be blind to bias and favouritism in any form. This should be the constitutional norm, which when breached should be defended by the judicial system.”

          Agreed

          You say “The Sinhalese/ Sinhala Buddhists being the larger majority, would have the representation to pursue their interests, provided their interests do not infringe on the rights of the other communities “

          This does not arise once individual equality is established.

          You say “Beacuse they are a numerical minority, the minority community cannot sell their rights to be what they are and prosper, to a steam roller majority.”

          This does not arise once individual equality is established but you have missed that conflicting interests proviso.

          You say “This would be majaoritarianism and not democracy.The Tamils and other minorities did not get freedom from British rule to mortgage it to anew colonial power the Sinhala/Sinhala-Buddhist majority.”

          Please read what I have written about colonization and where it happened. The Sinhalese cannot colonise their own land.

          You say “Would the Sinhalese/Sinhala Buddhists been happy if they have beentreated unfairly and brutaly, if the Tamils by some quirk of fate been the overwhelming majority in this island?”

          The Sinhalese have been treated unfairly and brutally when Indian Alien Tamils were used to colonize Lands that they owned / farmed for ages. Yet there is no call from the Sinhalese who were robbed of their lands to return it to them by evicting the former Aliens and their progeny from that land. Is that majoritarianism?

          You sat “The land issue in the north and east will be difficult to resolve in what would be theoretically the right way, unless the Tamils and Muslims are satisfied that they are full fledged citizens of Sri Lanka, equal to the Sinhalese/Sinhala-Buddhists in every way, every where in the island. The sanctuary syndrome, will have no relevance, if this becomes the reality.”

          That can be interpreted by the Sinhalese as blackmail.
          A million Landless Sinhalese peasantry is denied land that they cultivated because the progeny of Alien Tamils occupy that land. They are denied Alternate Land in what was their Kingdom because Tamils and Muslims in the East lay claim to State Land that are uninhabited. But the Sinhalese are asked to pay 75% of any development cost of State Land anywhere in the Island!

          The right way is obstructed and that is fair!

          You forget the 13A to the Constitution which mandates the Ethnic Ratio for any Land development. Sinhalese are 75% of the population. If the mala fide intent that you have referred to is a demography change, the govt doesn’t have to do anything unconstitutional.. All they have to do is Develop the Land around Iranamadu Tank in the North and open it up for cultivation. They could do the same thing in the East.

          You say “We, the minorities and the majority, have to be components of the Sri Lankan nation state collectively,…

          Agreed

          You say “…. but the minorities cannot be expected or coerced to be willing components of a Sinhala/ Sinhala-Buddhist nation state”

          Would like to know the reasons for that statement.

          You say “These are my reasons for considering Prof. Laksiri’s presentation both brilliant and well articulated”

          Nothing that you have written in your comment makes Laksisri’s presentation brilliant or well articulated because

          1. He bases his argument primarily on an out of context reference to the UN Charter that is either silly or cunning.

          2. He says that Groups should have equal status disregarding numbers, without describing have that can be achieved. I have asked him to elaborate on his theory. Let’s see how he does it. A previous attempt at equating groups by disregarding numbers was dismissed by the British, as a Mockery of Democracy. I am referring to Mr G.G. Ponnambalam’s 50/50 theory.

          That sort of omissions and commissions are not expected of an University Professor. Hence his presentation is neither Brilliant nor well Articulated. It is fallacious at best.

          Even you have very wisely not ventured to explain Laksiri’s Theory, though I specifically requested for it.

          As stated before I am not defending Dayan but questioning irrational comparisons by Prof Laksiri and a rehash of a Tamil Nationalist theory, rejected by the British as a Mockery and presented again as a Theory without any explanation as to how it can be achieved.

          Kind Regards,
          OTC

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            Dear off the cuff,

            Thanks for your detailed response. We are agreement on many of the points I had highlighted.

            The development of the plantation economy was a. British colonial enterprise. They needed labour who could be treated as virtual slaves and brought them into Sri Lanka in their thousands, as they did in their many other .colonies. These workers were both victims of their times and circumstances. While most of the lands they were brought into. Work, were jungle, there were likely villagers in other places who were displaced. What transpired was colonialism at its best and its worst. The best was that they poinoneered plantation agriculture in Sri Lanka and created an economy that sustains us to this day. The worst was the damage done to our forests, precipitation areas. I do not think the workers brought in from a South India displaced thousands of Kandyan peasants. However, definitely the demography of the hill country was changed. Whether, this was detrimental to the Kandyans or this country, should be left for future judgement, as we are currently not in a rational state of mind to judge, beset as we are with various irrational prejudices, myths and phobias.

            What Prof. Laksiri is proposing and I endorse, are not akin in any way to the 50: 50 proposal of old. Every person will be entitled to one vote as citizens and individual communities will elect their representatives on the basis of their collective vote strength ( I hope the day will come when we will all be voting for the best and most qualified individuals regardless of their communal identity.). In this scheme of things the Sinhala community in theory would have yet a representation proportionate to their numerical strength and will have the majority in parliament. The other communities would be represented on a similar basis.

            What is required is that the different communities be treated equally as a collective of equal citizens and their collective identity/ cultural rights be respected and safeguarded, This would be a qualitative approach to governance. The minorities as communities cannot be treated as intruding alliens or welcome guests. They should be treated as groups of identifiable citizens, who though are different from the Sinhalese in some ways, have equal community rights as a collective of citizens.

            Further, the Vanni which extended even into the Kurunegala- Kuliyapitiya districts had both Sinhala and Tamil Chieftains. They were a tough, independent minded men, who sided with either the Jaffna Kingdom or the Kandyan Kingdom, based on their needs and self interest. The northern Vanni Chieftains, conspired with the Portuguese against King Sangiliyan of Jaffna. The Vanni was an autonomous territory of sorts, until subdued by the colonial powers. To claim the writ of the Kandyan Kingdom extended upto the Elephant Pass , as a permanent feature is untenable.

            On the issue of colonization of the empty lands in the north, I would recommend a solution that was suggested to me by Athureliye Rathane Thera, a JHU MP, a couple of years back. He suggested that the surplus Tamil population in the upcountry plantation sector should be encouraged to move into the cultivable lands in the northern Vanni and the East. He felt that the poorly performing tea and rubber plantations should be planted with forest trees that would enhance rainfall in the catchment areas, rather than converted into vegetable cultivation, which leads to extensive soil erosion. Rathane Thera however was doubtful, whether Arumugam Thondaman will permit an erosion of his vote bank!

            I consider the above suggestion eminently sensible. Tamil fears of Sinhala colonization with ulterior motives will be allayed and the grievances of the Kandyan peasantry will be addressed simultaneously.

            Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

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              Dr RN,

              I do not agree with OTCs version of 50:50 and might have given the reason for my disagreement with his comments in my earlier comments.

              After reading “However, they were careful not to disturb the existing power balance between the different racial groups. In the Legislative Council membership was based on communal representation and there was an agreed proportion between the Sinhalese and the Tamils. Over the times this was changed and during the days of the Legislative Council (1924 to 1931) the proportion between Sinhalese and Tamils was 2:1. There were 16 Sinhalese members to the 8 Tamils. Further, the representation in the Legislature was subject to the Devonshire formula that no single community should be in a position to out vote all the others combined.”
              http://tamilnation.co/selfdetermination/tamileelam/9202reversion.htm , I think there must be some link to Devonshire formula and GGs 50:50 speech.

              Then I searched the net and found this “The “fifty -fifty” campaign of the Tamils did not originate from G. G. Ponnambalam, although it has been attributed to him.” http://www.island.lk/2003/03/16/opinio02.html

              G.G. Ponnambalam’s 50-50 Speech to Sri Lanka’s State Council 1939
              http://new.sangam.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Ponnambalam-50-50-Speech1.pdf

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    Dear prof Laksiri Fernando,

    i’m glad that you managed to expose DJ in a very gentle but very convincing manner ,tell you the truth , many of us knew and understood who & what DJ was from the very beginning , Prof Laksiri, take my word , i for one , write factually correct data/statistics than taking any bodies side , be it Sinhalese, Tamils or any one , if he/she is wrong , he/she is wrong , simple as that , but in DJ’s case , he had tried his famous mambo jumbo to change the history as well as current political status quao , only well informed readers/observers will know what nonsense this “self proclaimed political scientist” uttering about , i’m sure CT readership is fully aware of the true intentions of this opportunistic stooge is up to , by now. well done prof laksiri & many thanks.

    PS: let me take this opportunity to wish you & your loved ones a very happy new year.

    Kind regards.

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    First of all it is important to accept that Tamil and Sinhalese are languages, Islam, Christianity and Hinduism are religions. But Buddhism is although not a religion but a way of life, since its accepted by many Buddhists as a religion is also considered a religion.

    So if we are dividing Sri Lankan population into groups we should decide whether we are going to use the Religion or Language as a base. If we use language then we will have only two groups, if we use religion as a base then we will have four groups or may even be five groups with those who do not believe in any religion.

    It is wrong for the Government, learned people and the population of Sri Lanka to mix and match religion with language based division.

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    @Bedrock Barney

    “Galaboda Gnassara”?
    I only know a Galaboda Gandhassara

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    just enjoy the new year without worrying too much about issues. you damn people!

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    Dear Dr. Laksiri Fernando,

    You wrote “It is not correct to say that rendering ‘majorities and minorities’ equal is not possible, in conceptual or legal terms. It is not exactly a question of rendering; it is a question of recognizing, …….. One example is the Preamble of the UN Charter ….. equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small.” ….. “Of course the ‘large and small nations’ here means the people of the member countries”

    Bad example since you are quoting the Preamble of the UN Charter out of context.

    The objective behind that preamble is to make each member of that body equal in principle and practice. It is supposed to make countries like the USA equal to countries like the Maldives or Sri Lanka. But are they Equal?

    What is the purpose of Veto holding member states within the highest Councils of the UN? To ensure equality?

    Then you ask “But if the equal recognition is possible among countries irrespective of numbers, it should be possible within countries as well, again irrespective of numbers”

    Are you not basing your arguments from a fallacious foundation?

    Not all members of the UN are equal.

    Though you are comparing apples to oranges, your first statement is false. Then the corollary is also false.

    The Rights of a citizen within a given country should be equal. It cannot be used to argue for the equality of all groups. A little in depth thinking about the multitude of such groups will make that clear. That is why GG Ponnambalam’s 50/50 was rejected by the British, as a mockery of Democracy.

    However I would like to understand how all groups within a country can be made equal disregarding numbers when deciding on the governance of a country. Could you please explain with examples?

    My intention in posting this comment is to try to understand your mode of thinking and not as a defense of what Dr DJ wrote.

    Wishing a Prosperous and Peaceful Tamil and Sinhala New year to all.

    Kind Regards
    OTC

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    If this logic is used, there will be hundreds of nations in USA, Canada, UK, etc.

    India will have thousands of nations.

    This is wrong.

    Equal rights to every person. Not to communities.
    And equal rights to every NATION not to IMAGINARY NATIONS.

    Tamils are not a nation. They are a minority.
    Muslims are not a nation. They are a minority.
    Malays are not a nation. They are a minority.
    Veddas are not a nation. They are a minority.
    Bharatis are not a nation. They are a minority.
    Burghers are not a nation. They are a minority.
    Jews in SL are not a nation. They are a minority.

    Dayan is correct in this and Laksiri is wrong.

    If Laksiri recognizes Tamils as a nation in SL and deny nationhood to Jews in SL he is discriminating!

    Equal rights to persons not communities.
    Equal rights to real nations not imaginary ones.

    There is NO Tamil nation in the world which proves false logic!!

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      Sinhalese are not Humans. They are not entitled to be a Nation.

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      Fathima Fukushima, To your list I will add:-
      Sinhalese are not a nation. They are only a majority.

      I am not defending any one. All we require are equal individual rights. But do not forget the freedoms too. For that we need to have total compliance with the rule of law. Every one must feel confident in his own right. No one must be fearful or feel intimidated because he/she is from the ‘minority’, in fact what the minorities now feel must be banished. We must not be fearful of army personnel, the police, the grama seva niladhari, City Mayor, the local M.P., Minister, Chief Justice, or the President. I am not. But then I am only a majority. Make the ‘minorities’ fearless.

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    Dayan J need not quote ancient philosophers to explain the injustices in sri lanka.
    He stands exposed as a racist.

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    Sri Lanka power machinery will do anything for their complacency and hold power. In fact, they do not know others have common sense at all. In fact, Sri Lanka media writes as Tamil Terrorist or means to be terrorist.

    So do not worry about these guys and their stooge opinions. They are like cat close its eye and believe no one see their dirtiness.

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    Anyone who claims that people have no equal rights because their number is less is a fascist. Fascism is hostile to Marxism, liberalism, and conservatism, yet it borrows concepts and practices from all three. Dayan Jayatilleka exactly does this. He will selectively quote Marxists to justify his argument. This is what he does to defend Sinhala – Buddhist supremacy. I live in Canada. The majority are Anglo Saxons and next comes French. But no body speaks about majority-minority. Quebec French people have been recognized as a nation. They have their own autonomous state with separate parliament, judiciary, Immigration, Taxation etc. The majority of Prime Ministers came from Quebec province. This is why Quebec people in a referendum have twice rejected separation from Canada, though the Supreme Court of Canada in a landmark judgment has ruled that Quebec has the right to separate if at a referendum a clear majority vote yes for a clear question. In this country you will hardly see police or army presence on the streets. Nobody knows where the army is housed. Canada is proud of the diverse language and culture Legislation since the mid 20th century represents Canadians’ commitment to multilateralism and socioeconomic development. Today, Canada has a diverse makeup of nationalities and constitutional protection for policies that promote multiculturalism rather than cultural assimilation. It is true in Quebec, cultural identity is strong, and many French-speaking commentators speak of a Quebec culture as distinguished from English Canadian culture. However, as a whole, Canada is a cultural mosaic: a collection of several regional, aboriginal, and ethnic subcultures.

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    Hi all

    As a Tamil we all know Dayan J. We do not bother about or consider what he says or do (of course he can not do anything now as he was stripped by his masters long ago)and do not worry about illiterate like Fathima. We know what to do and we are doing it. Now a days,Dayan J may not have anything useful to do and sit and stroke his ego by writing these. I still remember in one of his articles he wrote about his qualifications and where he studied etc. He is such a small minded man, leave him alone to let him continue to stroke his ego.

    Dear Dr Laksiri Fernando, please do not waste your time by replying to this man. Things to change thinking has to change. As long as thinking is not going to change things are not going to change.

    I like to let my Sinhala brothers to think of one thing. In middle fifties rice was 25 cents a kilo. As per population ratio Say 75 % majority and 25% minority paid that price. Today, you all know what the prices of food for ordinary person (please do not argue about inflation, indexation etc. and think outside the circle). Who is paying this price same 75 % (Say 73% considering people like Dayan J living out side)of majority but only 10 to 15 % of minority. The other 10% is living in luxury (outside Sri Lanka) when compared to those ordinary people at home.

    My Sinhala brothers, please stop this intellectual point scoring. Ask yourself one simple question – What Sinhalese has gained by discriminating,bashing and killing (my father was burnt alive in the first riot in fifties)of Tamils for last 60 or so years.

    I am an ordinary person not read the writings of Marx ;Engels or Lenin. But you, the so called intellectuals and self proclaimed scientists of every field, when you all are going understand the reality and the plight of ordinary people and harness the energy among them to create better Sri Lanka for them. Once again things to change thinking has to change. In the meantime, will you please leave people like Dayan – he can’t change his thinking.

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      So sad. I apologize for the death of your father.

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    Laksiri
    If only you become the president of SriLanka we will be so advanced that we would beat the western nations. Stupid racialist like Dayan cannot comprehend it because his skull is too thick.

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    Laksiri
    What a fantastic reply to Dayan.Please keep writing. Tamils all over the world read you and hail you as a hero of the down trodden under privileged minorities. You remind me of Martin Luther King.

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    Yes Ajith,

    “Sinhalese are not Humans”.
    They’re two legged “LIE-ONS” born out of Human+Lion mix. Still, the science has yet to deconstruct the whole thing proving it by scientific facts about it.

    The guy who wrote the SINHABAHU story must been living under govt., that legalized MARIJUANA then. Great guy! Lucky Fella.

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