23 July, 2024


‘Ahimsa’ & ‘Hinsa’ – How ‘Rana Viru’ Ripened In To An Extreme Expression Of Ethnicity 

By Sarath de Alwis –

Sarath De Alwis

Mahathma Gandhi stood for ‘Ahimsa’. His assassin Nathuram Godse inflicted ‘Hinsa’ on the saintly freedom fighter. Liberal America discovered ‘Ahimsa’ of Mahathma Gandh and equality before the law in the sixties of the last century through Dr.vMartin Luther King Jr.

The principle of Ahimsa and its fragility in State sponsored ‘Hinsa’ resonates in American jurisprudence. Justice Stephen Breyer of the US Supreme Court in a recent Book ‘US Courts and the World’ points out to a uniquely American way of looking at liberty and power. 

“They think we have something uniquely American. Well, that is not a surprising thought. One can go back and see how Madison described our Constitution and our federal government. “The Constitution is a charter of power granted by liberty,” not, as in Europe, “a charter of liberty…granted by power.” 

State sanctioned ‘Hinsa” is the aggregate or summation of the plaint filed by Ahimsa Wickrematunge in the US Federal District Court of California. She is suing former Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa naturalized citizen of the United States and patriotic citizen of Sri Lanka born in the southern village and now the town of Weeraketiya.  

Gotabaya Rajapaksa was the prime motivator behind the ‘Api Wenuwen Api’ campaign that dynamized the Sinhala Buddhist psyche to a new high of patriotic militarism. The soul stirring, evocative melody ‘Apen Ekeki Ey Minisa’- ‘He is one of us’, was the fulcrum on which the popular Sinhala psyche tilted firmly to a  determined onslaught to end the war. 

It would be the height of ingratitude and a churlish distortion to deny the role of Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s directorial competence and supervisory charisma, ( if there is such a thing)  in ending the war. 

That said, he cannot accuse Lasantha’s daughter for disparaging his achievements as Defence Secretary by seeking closure in the brutal murder of her father.

As Historian and Anthropologist Michael Roberts would later acknowledge “Api Wenuwen Api” (We for Us) was a far cry from the wooden and prosaic campaigns associated with usual government advocacy efforts. “It was slick, catchy and motivating.” 

The campaign was launched in both Sinhala and Tamil. But the idea was aimed at the Sinhala Buddhist head and heart already cocooned in the Mahawamsa legend of Sri Lanka – the protected repository of Theravada Buddhism.

Mahinda Rajapaksa did not just defeat the tigers. It was no ordinary triumph. It was ‘Dhigvijaya’- a supreme triumph. The “Rana Viru” myth was born. The preposterous idea that a war can be a humanitarian venture became accepted wisdom and a consecrated ideology.    

Api Wenuwen Api was a simple idea. Simple ideas most often turn in to explosive ideas. What makes simple ideas deadly ideas is the way they are delivered. 

The lyrics of patriotic songs written by militant monk Elle Gunawansa thero offer a fine example. He called them “බල සෙනඟට රණ ගී” – “Bala Senagata Rana Gee”- War hymns for heroic troops. “Upanna Mawubima Rakinna Yana Magey Soora Veera Vu Sebala Puthey, Nivan Dakinnata Ey Pinkama Athi Mathu Bawayedi Rathhran Puthey ( උපන්න මවුබිම රකින්න යන මගෙ සූර වීර වූ සෙබළ පුතේ, නිවන් දකින්නට පිංකම ඇති මතු භවයෙදි රත්තරං පුතෙ)

My precious soldier son striding forward in gallant defense of the motherland, your worthy offering is enough  to make you see nirvana in your next birth.

අසිපත කොපුවෙන් එළියට ගන්නේ, ලේ නොම තැවරී නැත එහි ලන්නේ – Asipatha Kopuwen Eliyata Ganne. Le Noma Thawerie Natha Ehi Lanne – The drawn sword will not go in to the   scabbard if not daubed in blood. 

Interestingly, the patriotic poet priest allegedly received a dollar disbursement from China Harbour Engineering Company as reported in the New York Times expose and later repeated in  local media.  

Let us not fool ourselves. It is not only Gotabaya Rajapaksa who is facing inquiry in a California courtroom and by inference universal scrutiny. He is one of us – Apen Ekeki Ey Minisa. 

In the  21st century modern state,  we are all responsible for the insanity of extreme expressions of ethnoreligious identity.

As Ward Churchill activist and ethnic studies academic says “It is the collective responsibility of the citizens in a modern state to ensure by all means necessary that its government adheres to the rule of law, not just domestically, but internationally. There are no bystanders. No one is entitled to an ‘apolitical’ exemption from such obligation. Where default occurs, either by citizens endorsement of official criminality or by the failure of citizens to effectively oppose it, liability is incurred by all.” 

When group identity is used to frame policy and frame voter expectations the voters will always prefer the party identified with the numerically dominant group. 

When that happens, the leadership qualities of giants of the type of Colvin, N.M, Pieter Keuneman, M.D. Banda, T.B. Ilangarathne, Peter Kandaiha become irrelevant. Such attributes of competence, probity, or what we call decent quality will not matter. The threshold for wining is demagoguery and cunning.  

It has been established that ethnic politics go hand in hand with corruption. It explains the ethnic stress on the media outlets owned by oligarchs identified with Gotabaya’s presidential candidacy.  

Ahimsa is a Sanskrit term and a pivotal principle in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. It stands for nonviolence. The opposite is Hinsa which means harm or violence. It is not a contrivance of American imperialism or a western neoliberal thingamajig. 

Lasantha Wickrematunge was murdered in a high security zone in a ruthlessly efficient surveillance state. It was a quasi-theocratic state in which state violence was approved as a necessary means serving the higher purpose of defending the faith and destiny of an ancient people.

The investigation in to his murder got mired in manipulated mayhem. 

In 2015 the people demanded ‘good governance’ in place of a palpably tyrannical ‘securocracy’. We elected a new president and installed a new administration. They promised to restore the rule of law, end impunity and lock-on accountability. 

In 2016 the freshly appointed Director General of the Commission on Bribery and Corruption, Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe produced the former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and a few top Army and Naval officers before a magistrate on bribery and corruption charges. The new President who promised to ensure the rule of law placed whom he called war heroes beyond the ordinary law.

As the report in the New Indian express stated “President Sirisena was incensed when the Bribery Commission hauled up three former Navy chiefs and a former Defence Secretary, who happens to be the war-winning Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Sirisena felt that this would do his government great political harm as the personalities hauled up are heroes of Eelam War IV. “  

In the ensuing brouhaha, an anti-corruption activist and an insider in the Sirisena coterie became an expert on the bribery law. (In 2019 he has been rewarded for his pains with a plum assignment.)

In a newspaper article he wrote about what he thought was the predicament of the Director General of CIABOC.

“The first critical allegation levelled against her was that by filing a lawsuit (on Avant Garde) under ‘Attempted Corruption’ instead of filing it under the Firearms Ordinance as it should have been, she had created an opportunity for suspects to go free. This, politicians used to their advantage.” 

Now that was a load of BS. The President was furious that he was not on the loop when the war heroes were produced before the magistrate. 

The man we elected to ensure the rule of law had his own rules on the subject of equality before the law. That it is the great big idea of the 21st Century has escaped him. Rule of Law is a principle. It is not a rule. Rules can be broken. Principles are either respected or raped. 

In the past four years ‘good governance promise ‘has been more honoured in the breach than in its observance. Retired Admirals, Generals and Air Marshals hold press briefings to urge investigators to disregard the complicity of colleagues in murder and abductions. Devout prelates find it inconceivable that heroic soldiers are accused of murder, abductions and extortion.  

What the current government has done in the cases of Lasantha’s murder, Keith Noyahr’s abduction and torture and Ekneligoda’s disappearance is profoundly sinister and competes with the original crimes in measuring up to the levels of the original evil. It has mutilated the idea of truth over an agonizing four years in power. Ahimsa Wickrematunge has had enough. 

In a concise comprehensible book meant for the average citizen entitled “The Rule of Law”, published just before his untimely death, the crusading British judge Lord Bingham has traced the sources and the genesis of the phrase and the conception of the Rule of Law. The book published by Penguin won the Orwell prize for the best political book in 2011. It is heartily recommended to my fellow countrymen wishing to unravel the gibberish of Professor G.L. Peiris Distinguished Visiting Fellow of Christ College, University of Cambridge. 

The eminent jurist describes the purpose of his elegant analysis of the concept known as the rule of law. “Although written by a former judge it is not addressed to lawyers. It is not a legal text book. It is addressed to those who have heard references to the rule of law, who are inclined to think that it is a good thing rather than a bad thing , who wonder if it may not be rather important, but who are not quite sure what it is all about and would like to make up their  minds.”     

The rule of law is the overarching rule of the polity. It is not simply parroting a principle or claiming to own a body of rules ignored at one’s convenience. 

In the slim volume Lord Bingham anticipates the charlatanry of Professor Peiris type political academics. He explains that these conceptions are held in a political framework and not in a narrow party-political framework.

In post 2015 period, the UNP of Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and the SLFP of President Sirisena took turns in insidious cover-ups of investigations in to shocking, nauseating  atrocities by the state security apparatus .  

Two aspects of the Rule of Law are foundational – the independence of the judiciary and the independence of the legal profession both private and state. It is not an abstract principle. It is not a political polemic. It is intended to create a real lawful civil society in which individuals and society are protected by a framework and an approach based on the application of principle and rules adhered to by all that does not privilege the politically powerful.

Ahimsa’s plea made in a California court is a chilling admonition that the surveillance state – the Securocracy of Gotabaya, Hendavitharna et al is far from dismantled. She makes only a single demand – Freedom from deception. 

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  • 4

    ‘Gotabaya Rajapaksa was the prime motivator behind the ‘Api Wenuwen Api’ campaign that dynamized the Sinhala Buddhist psyche to a new high of patriotic militarism. The soul stirring, evocative melody ‘Apen Ekeki Ey Minisa’- ‘He is one of us’, was the fulcrum on which the popular Sinhala psyche tilted firmly to a determined onslaught to end the war.’

    This has been the motive of all Governments that ruled this country since its Independence. And this has been our cherished values enshrined in Sri Lankan Made Democratic, Socialist Republican and Executive Presidential Constitutions.

    ‘We are a Special People and the world is ours only.’ !
    What a feeling to get off our bed in the Mornings ?

    I wish Gotta Our War Hero as the Next President of Sri Lanka. We can be Dead Sure of a Lasting Peace to our Souls.

    • 8

      The danger of reviving the Rajapkses are felt already. The same Sinhala racist groups with the backing of undercover Military gangs have set up bomb explosions to pit the blame against someone else. I think, they are trying to fix these FALSE FLAG OPERATIONS to blame the Muslims. Because, the Pro Israeli Rajapakse operation is to somehow take the big step in branding the Muslims as Terrorists to implement the SECOND OPTION: Plan B to explode bombs and create a chaos. Already the Police racist dept., have drawn the plan to victimize some group of the Muslims by fakely findings of an impending attack. Sri Lankan political leadership is purely responsible for this outcome as they all know what they are doing. Already, there is reports of bombs being exploded in the city against Christians and by this they trying to create a clash Christians against the Muslims and through which the SPP/JHU gangs will join them in a massive pogrom, lookalike. People beware.

  • 6

    The author hit the head of the nail when he talks of the “Securocracy of Gotabaya, Hendavitharna et al”. Yes! that was the outfit at the ministerial level. At different levels there were others yet sporting the “Ranaviru” label. But none of them were apprehended by the Sri Lankan authorities. Why? Why? Why? There are others and they have clung to the seats of power in the “Yahapalana” government. SHAME! As I have told before all these unaccounted incidents just pops out and sink again in the debris of information and attention. It is interesting to note that RW, the premier once accused another chap of this Securocracy of murder of Lasantha. But yet he finds it fit to canvass again and yet again for a ministerial post. Even after the accusation it is THIS GOVERNMENT that made him a five star general or a Field Marshal. Like in the Cardinal George Pell’s case must it take a few decades for the truth to come out when all these fellows are doddering at an advanced age if and whenever they are in the dock? In the so called civilised world there is a thing called sex offenders register. When will ever be a register for this kind of crimes? MY3 now has distanced himself from the Field Marshall amidst allegations of involvement in the attempted hired assassination. But that is not enough. HE must have the grits and the guts to close this sad episode to an end by serving indictments against the culprits, in the same spirit that HE is supposed to be keen to execute some of the drug traffickers.

  • 8

    Beautifully put, in a nutshell.
    Rule of Law – where is it – in this Dharmadwipa?
    But nothing may happen – except that, Gota may become President !!!

    The only hope for justice is an American court of law.

  • 2

    Dr Alwis seems to be getting Cold Feet, listening to, or watching Eliya in Colombo.

    Eliya by the way is Light
    In the context of the new “Eliya ” , I guess it is the Light at the End of the Yahapalana Tunnel .
    which has stuffed up ( I don’t want to use un parliamentary language here, although it is now common in the Yahapalana Parliament) every thing from Jobs for the Poor , their Environment. their Living Standards and even their Power Supply, although none of them have Air Conditioners .

    Can this Ahimsa & Sampanthnaban Law Suit in California extend the Yahapalan Tunnel ?..

    13 LTTE Financiers who were acquitted by the Swiss Judges have been re summoned by the Swiss AG for ” Criminal Activities”.
    Will that affect the USD 4 Billion which Dr Ranil’s Yahapalanay boasted, being the financial foundation to develop our Mahavamsa Land and Give Milk & Honey to the inhabitants.

    Although Dr Alwis seems to be betting on Gota being stopped in Califoria, the UNP Heavies are “killing” each other trying to take positions already to place themselves for the Prez Gig.

    The latest to throw the Hat into the Ring is Uncle Karu, who mentored one of the other candidates the UNP Deputy Leader Keslwatta Kid.

    Interesting Stuff.
    Uncle Karu by the way didn’t get blessing from Tirupathy Poosaris unlike Dr Ranil..
    Where is Dr Ranil?

    If Gota is stopped in California by Ahimsa and Sambanthnaman , I thought it would be a Cake Walk for Dr Ranil, to fulfill his long time ambition before he carks it..

  • 3

    In the Parliament, Ranil told SF is responsible for the murder of LW. It is in the Gazette. Also we understand that LW’s son wrote to Navi Pillai that SF is responsible for his father’s death. So what the heck this Ahimsa is doing instead of taking the Gazette and file a case against SF.

  • 1

    The Karma of the Farmers and cheating the people and taking them.for a ride on the abolishimg Executive Presidency, patch work of mafia constitution and moving another patchwork of the Executive Presidency.by The Jvp “ralle” via 20th amendment , wholesale plumdering of world bank and other grants by denying it to the rightful citizens of all communities , job offers to the imcapabe privileged lot,letting in foreign fake crooks by granting residence ,financial grants to rob our resources ,and supporting it with free bank loans and allowing illegal tender proceedures to crooks as to syphon the money out thorough powerful unqestionable money launderers with full
    Impunity will have a severe impact in the next election and even if the next president whom.we are all.100% sure to.win, will.have no.choice even if he sincerely deeply down his heart don’t want to implement it ,He will have zero.choice but to.change the constitution to autocracy , there will.be no other way he can restore the country .

    We may once again see the return of racism and religous intollerenceand and not even the most powerful President candidate even with full
    Power of autocracy will be able to stop.it it’s not a fear monger but the blunders of the present government and tye next government.will.have severe issues that may never be solved for the next forty years.

  • 10

    The bottom line is that the Rajapaksas are a bunch of greedy bastards who play with the emotions of a set of unintelligent people with the aim of stealing money. Their means of achieving this was by clinging on to power.
    In actual perspective they have played every dirty trick in the book to achieve that goal by lying, deceiving, misleading, stiring racism and prejudice against minorities, conniving with foreign powers, selling our country to them and murdering those that stood in their way or saw them for who they were.
    They are the biggest set of traitors you can imagine, not only have they stolen, killed in cold blood, polarised the society, they have muslead the public and they have perverted the essense of Buddhism to be a militant cult. They have systamatically turned the majority if our citizens into selfcentered, narrominded, corrupt, thieving, and mindless idiots.
    Thanks to Mara and co. our people have been sent back by a thousand years. We don’t even know it yet.

  • 0

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  • 2

    Thank you Mr.Sarath de Alwis. . Your virtue is that you don’t mince words. Great! Aside, I have a doubt. Is n’t the opposite of “ahimsa” is “himsa” (NOT ‘hinsa’). Can someone set it right? Thanks..

    • 0

      Yes. Himsa is the sanskrit. Hinsa is the common usage.

    • 3


      the word himsa, which in Sanskrit means “harm” or “violence”. Hope it helps

  • 2

    “Api wenuwen api”
    Sarath Alwis has suggested a very powerful catch phrase for Gota’s campaign.
    “Api wenuwen api
    Un wenuwen thopi”

    (Api wenuwen api)

  • 7

    Comrade Sarath De Alwis is an exception among our idiotic Sinhalese. It needs to be stated and drilled into our Sinhalese fools in the Sinhala language, if this will make any sense.
    “ඔය නරුමයායාට මිනි මරන්න නොමිලේ ලයිසන් එකක් දුන් නිසා, ගෝඨට ජංමෙට වඩා පුරැද්ද ලොකුයි. ඌරව නාවල ඇඳේ තිබ්බත් යන්නෙ මඩ වලටමයි. ගෝඨට චන්දෙ දෙන මෝඩයෝ හදවතක්නැති මුසල, මෝඩ, අවජාතක “සිංහ ලේ” එවුන්.” Translated this means that Goatabaya is a narcissist bastard, and whoever who gave him a free license to kill, gifted Goatabaya the free pass to kill. This has become more of of a hobby than being a pathological trait in him. A Pig will never appreciate the comforts of a bed if kept on one, and will always seek the mud hole that the pig is used to. This analogy applies to this Gotabaya PIG. Those fools who will vote for this pig are heartless, foolish and immoral SIN-Halei blokes.

  • 4

    In Anuradapura, the police refused to protect the worshippers, refused to arrests the violent thugs and even refused to record a complaint.
    No surprise that Buddhist thugs feel that they can get away with bombing churches on Easter.
    Police Commission- please sack these police bastards right away!

  • 4

    I read your Articles with interest and you cleverly hide your admiration for Gotha who in my view is a War Criminal not a hero. . You are no different to any other ordinary Sinhalese as you are all Anti Tamil.but you try to hide it well and let me analyse..
    1) She is suing former Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa naturalized citizen of the United States and patriotic citizen of Sri Lanka born in the southern village and now the town of Weeraketiya.
    *** Sounds normal doesnt it the qustion is if he was Patriotic why did he go US. No doubt as a Pauper to make money and he ran a Pertol Station . He didnt and couldnt make millions so returned to make millions under borther MR from the Mig Deal Lasantha tried to expose. .
    2) Gotabaya Rajapaksa was the prime motivator behind the ‘Api Wenuwen Api’ campaign that dynamized the Sinhala Buddhist psyche to a new high of patriotic militarism tilted firmly to a determined onslaught to end the war.
    *** The war that was started by your brutality since independance and won with Indias help. .
    3) It would be the height of ingratitude and a churlish distortion to deny the role of Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s directorial competence and supervisory charisma, ( if there is such a thing) in ending the war.
    That said, he cannot accuse Lasantha’s daughter for disparaging his achievements as Defence Secretary by seeking closure in the brutal murder of her father.
    *** As a Proff have you ever heard of the saying ” Magnanimous in victory” . Did it ever occur to you that after ending the so caled War that you lot forced on us ( three race riots in which I lost 3 members of my family and still grieving) he never thought of making sure History never repeats itself.

  • 4


    Gotabaya Rajapaksa was the prime motivator behind the ‘Api Wenuwen Api’ campaign that dynamized the Sinhala Buddhist psyche to a new high of patriotic militarism. The soul stirring, evocative melody ‘Apen Ekeki Ey Minisa’- ‘He is one of us’, was the fulcrum on which the popular Sinhala psyche tilted firmly to a determined onslaught to end the war.

    It would be the height of ingratitude and a churlish distortion to deny the role of Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s directorial competence and supervisory charisma, ( if there is such a thing) in ending the war.

    *** I am struggling to understand your admiration for Gotha the killing Machine despite evidence that the war was won with Indias help without which the LTTE would never have been beaten. When I saw the bodies of the LTTE fighters they had Halabja written all over them and supplier was India.

    As for Gothas Patriotism let me tell you he would have stayed put in Sri Lanka if he was Patriotic. He was a GREEDY CRIMINAL. To him killing comes naturally so please stop singing the songs of praise. There is now a claim that India passed inteligence to Sri Lanka of an imminent attack. It is alamost certain that there was foreign involvment as it was carried out with precision and the question is who. The only foreign agents on Sri Lankan soil are 2000 RAW agents and I leave it to you to figure out. Idian intelligence failed to pick up the Mubai Hotel Attack.

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