Most of the citizens in Sri Lanka now have begun to speak of an alternative option for a new political adventure, which is quite a timely need as we come across so much of political calamities. Sri Lanka has been looking forward to a “common figure” for a long period, however, it failed several occasions due to lack of experience and good decision making. People have turned toward Anura Kumara Dissanayake, party leader of Janata Vimukthi Peramuna. Thus, people have their primary right to elect a suitable leader for better governance. The issue is whether they have opted for a better choice as we see Anura is on stage. Does this cheerful current lead people toward true liberation or for another bondage? It could be even a worse exile.
Unscientific method of NPP
National Peoples’ Power (NPP) has now widely covered a considerable space in approaching people with the title ‘nation-building.’ However, as a man who supported the initial work of NPP, I don’t promote and will never join any project toward nation-building agendas. This is where NPP has shown an unscientific methodology. Sri Lankans generally seem to be so unscientific that they often look for mythical resolutions. The idea of ‘nation building’ is a process in which nationalism has been spoken out superfluously. Sociologically speaking, it is nothing but ethnocentrism. What it brought was nothing but warfare. Now, NPP has joined in the same promotion though party members don’t promote it intentionally. NPP has particularly failed to cultivate “collective consciousness” among people.
The building of society is a conscientization. It is a huge cultural and structural dimension. The original face of nationalism that was promoted by Anagarika Dharmapala and later Bandaranaike has left a lot of negative consequences. If it is put in accordance with Paulo Freire, it is a hypocritical moralism or misconduct of true ethics. Nationalism, therefore, is against universal human ethics.
Since many citizens look for an alternative party, NPP has become a determined target I guess but JVP has not still received the taste of the society-building process, instead, they are still worried about superfluous thinking patterns with nation-building. I think it is a struggle between pure optimism and false optimism. If NPP, especially Anura’s faction leads toward false optimism, then once again we would experience another type of ‘Rajapaksa regime.’ NPP began a good mode of political management but now it has also turned into the usual political governing process. This is the sad part of the whole scene.
Can Anura be a ghost of Mahinda?
Mahinda Rajapaksa as a man who promotes mythical formulas in his political carrier is also famous for his killing regime, especially the genocide that took place in 2009. Mahinda’s forceful deposit of political cultures now has become a guiding force for all thugs and uneducated men and women who represent the public in the parliament. It clearly shows the moral decadence of the Rajapaksa family. Though Sri Lanka had good cultured leaders like D S Senanayake, Dudley Senanayake, N M Perera, and so on, there appeared a professional-political disorder with the arrival of Mahinda Rajapaksa. In other words, he is a virus that came to demolish Sri Lankan cultured political carrier. He is mentally sick with his hate speech and nationalism.
Unfortunately, Mahinda’s slave brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa is on stage now after the presidential election of 2019. He precisely repeats his brother’s regime forwarding Buddhism as his way of life. Falling in line with him, some Buddhist monks who have no proper education background support this current regime blindly.
Generally, as a matter of political victory and eternal establishment, the Rajapaksa family came to power creating a public conflict. Behind the screen of the public conflict they create, they also justify their false mechanism in such a way that ordinary men and women would cheer them. April 21 Easter Attack is a classic example of that idea. The security of the public is now on sale.
Amidst these subcultures, Anura, as he steps into an alternation expectation of this country and his immediate representation of the NPP movement has a massive challenge. His role in the public should encompass all subcultures of Mahinda such as organizing huge rallies, appearing as a king of people, unnecessary propaganda, large posters, promotion of nation-building for a political campaign, and so forth. However, according to my reading of the current issues, Anura, though a matured political figure now has turned to show another face of Mahinda. I think it will begin another wrong turn which misleads the public. People are tired of Ranil’s good governance policy and the Rajapaksa family’s hypocrisy. For almost two decades, people have been looking forward to a mature leader who can manage this country. If Anura falls in line with Mahinda’s subcultures, then Anura will be the first ghost of Mahinda who directly or indirectly establishes another false optimism.
Being practical more than being analytical
Anura is quite popular among people for social analysis. As a JVP member and an experienced personality in the parliament, he is quite thorough about the issues in the country. However, over the years, Anura has been only arguing and giving social analysis both in the parliament and media but he hasn’t been a radical part of building the society. I suppose it is a huge gap to be filled Not only by Anura but also by other JVP members.
Sri Lanka needs a leader who can place himself or herself among ordinary people. Mistakenly, the persons who come forward to represent the public do not know the art of working with people. So, what is on stage in the popular political field are crooked characters like Johnston Fernando, Rohitha Abeygunawardhana, Sanath Nishantha, and cunning foxes like Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Basil Rajapaksa, and G L Peiris. Mahinda became a popular character through his promotion of nationalism as a racist. Being a man of down South in this country, Mahinda played a double game; on one hand, he misled all communities making divisions among them, on the other hand, he took the upper hand through the mere promotion of warfare, in which he labeled himself as a hero.
How can Anura overcome the above-mentioned subcultures? So far, he is still failed to recognize and realize the quality of a leader people expect though Anura has received a bit of attention through NPP. I am particularly tired of seeing social analyses which are being daily discussed in the media by Anura. It has been a matter of powerful words but not deeds. Sri Lanka requires practical deeds but not analytical words.
If Anura is a good learner, there here is a sociological paradigm that is to be taken into an account. It is known as symbolic interactionism. It is quite different from structural functionalism and conflict theory. Symbolic interactionism focuses on one-to-one interaction or communication. It is more of a micro-sociological approach. It is a better paradigm for society building. Anura, as a man of social analysis with his good education background, could easily get back to this way of the path rather than arguing with uneducated fools in the parliament. Our villages are empty, people have no proper education system, children are tired, unrest of youths, ideological crisis and so on are the burning issues. Anura has to find a solution for these problematic cases rather than opting for mere arguments and sessions conducted by dirty media.
Anura is dreaming of a superstructure without practical working for good infrastructure. It is a joke if he does not pay due attention to making a strong infrastructure. NPP will have to learn first before making any solid decision.
NPP will be a powerful alternation option to eliminate the prevailing political agenda. We must not experience any more April 21attack and be cheated by any Rajapaksa mechanism. However, NPP has not understood the real rhythm or current which is to be used for society-building. This is not a time and space for mere words but the present situation implies heavy types of works toward community building. Our ordinary people even don’t know to make the right decision. Education of our men and women has gone down in every field.
If Anura does not realize and change his agenda, Anura will create Mahinda’s mechanism in another long track. Anura will win the upcoming presidential election not like a liberated leader but like Mahinda Rajapaksa who has already become a murderer or a blasphemy of the nation. I wish Anura would never become such a slave. However, he should not also be a ghost of Mahinda.
 Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of Freedom: Ethics, Democracy, and Civic Courage (New York: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2001), p. 23.
*Rehan Fernando is a Ph.D. student, doing his research on inter-religious dialogue with a case study of Dr. Michael Rodrigo OMI. He is also the author of 4 Sinhala books and 3 English books. He is also the editor of a journal called “Paadhai”.
Jack / March 10, 2022
Very logical article. I still think JVP has better record of being not corrupt compare to other political parties. Charisma and oratory is very good asset to be a leader and Anura has developed both over the years.
But to be part of national importance they have to suppress JVP element and move forward with NPP with power. It should be the executive of NPP not JVP making the main political decision. People with recognition by the society such as other right minded politicians, journalist, economist and educated people should be seen on NPP stage.
The should publish simple proposals what the will do for next five years after taking the government. This should be repeated again and again till it gone in to voters mind.
Also remember any freedom fighter can easily become a dictator when they have power like Robert Mugabe.
NPP should prove that it want be a one man show.
Nathan / March 12, 2022
‘… to be part of national importance’.
This phrase deserves scrutiny, attention, answer.
What should our Nation be … .
Is our country only for ONE ethnic group.
How do we make everyone contribute to Nation building.
Has NPP/JVP any desire to use the best talent available to manage and develop the nation.
Forget the position of the President and the Prime minister. How about Ministers. Is a Tamil not fit to a Minister of an important portfolio.
Until there is an open mind and honest answers about such questions no party will fare better than the present powers!
kp92 / March 10, 2022
I’m someone that supports the NPP. I appreciate a good critique of the NPP- Bharatha on YouTube had a great video that looked at the realistic electoral landscape of the NPP, laying aside the fantasies of some fellow NPP supporters who seem to believe the NPP will form the next government. I appreciated that video- much needed realism in the midst of too much wishful thinking.
The JVP also has certain failings that deserve criticism. Their lack of solid moves to deal with the immediate economic crisis, for instance.
But this article… I read this from end to end, and I can’t understand what point is being made. It’s like someone was given a thesaurus and told “just attack Anura”, and they just typed out an article.
SJ / March 10, 2022
He makes some important observations without malice towards Anura.
“The JVP also has certain failings that deserve criticism. Their lack of solid moves to deal with the immediate economic crisis, for instance.”
Is it not among things that come out of the article?
The JVP has a past which it has to come to terms with in public. Until then that will haunt the memories of too many.
Sinhala_Man / March 11, 2022
I’ve read not just this article, but taken a look at earlier articles by Rehan Fernando. and I agree, kp92.
I’m an old man, living in Bandarawela, not abroad, who is a steady supporter of the NPP. As such I’m not going to help detractors of the Grouping by voicing criticisms.
After the last Parliamentary Elections, it was a non-JVP person who was on the National List who was appointed to Parliament.
I read this article only a few hours ago; I find that I have responded to Rehan’s earlier articles. He has indeed got back to me on those occasions, but saying a few things that make no sense. He persists with this negativism.
Blame those who failed to vote for the NPP, but I know that I mustn’t needlessly antagonise them; I appeal to them to pledge support without attaching conditions. Some seem to think it clever and sophisticated to express reservations. I will say more in the next three days.
Panini Edirisinhe (NIC 483111444V)
Simon / March 11, 2022
Sinhala_Man: Please read my comment below. This writer is a “P.H D Student” and I expected him to give a fair and unbiased write-up. I have raised “FEW” issues but many more remain that need to be raised. To say the least, I wonder if he had even studied the “Policy & Action Plan” published by the NPP. On the other hand, he says: “Sri Lanka needs a leader who can place himself/herself among ordinary people”. How does he see AKD in terms of that definition? No reasoning on that aspect. No doubt of him obtaining a “P.H D”.
Nathan / March 10, 2022
I stand vindicated!
… appeared a professional-political disorder with the arrival of Mahinda Rajapaksa. You can say it again!
Being blunt is the best way to be sharp!!
SJ / March 10, 2022
“Being blunt is the best way to be sharp”
ramona therese fernando / March 10, 2022
Right now, Anura can only work with words, not deeds, as he has not the authorization for disbursement of money via the public coffers And symbolic interaction requires a great amount of money, such that only a PM or president can dispense. But guess that he has already set up a collective fund for micro village projects.
Ajith / March 10, 2022
A very good article.As the author highlights community building is the fundamental and he should tell how he is going to do that in practice and so far what progress made in the grounds,
chiv / March 10, 2022
RDF , thanks for writing this excellent eye opening article, but are the leaders of NPP/JVP , more so the public who supposedly elect, ready for this ??? Unfortunately for many the conclusion will be an exercise of dissecting, your very own name, Rehan, sounds a bit Muslim, who hates us, Derrick sure a foreigner/post colonial / conspiracy to tarnish…., Fernando may be Sinhalese but not SB, end of story.
Thilre@777 / March 13, 2022
Your comment doesn’t make sense with the logic of my article.
chiv / March 14, 2022
Thilre@777, that is exactly what I mean. Do you think our majority voters are either sensible or logical ??? They can only think as far as my comment above.
Buddhist1 / March 10, 2022
For Sri Lanka, a small country with a small population with a small buying power can never survive in a global market without the help of the international community. Sinhala Buddhist Politicians for their political gain over the years, since independence, have poisoned the minds of the citizens about foreign investments. Today they have become victims of their own doing.
In this context, Anura can never rule the country successfully unless and until he openly states and acts in such a manner to invite foreign investments into the country. Without foreign investments, SL can never be a progressive and successful country, unless we go back to a lifestyle we lived during 1977 and prior years under Sirimavo. I do not think SL citizens of today would want to live in that era. Hence, Anura should stop talking against foreign investments, and above all, he should understand if a foreign company invests in an infrastructure project in SL, the asset that backs that investment (port, airport, power station), etc do not leave the country only the profits that leave the country. “Rata Vikunana Katha” is a fake illiterate idiotic slogan.
Simon / March 10, 2022
Rehan Derrick Fernando: I read through your presentation. Can you tell me what you mean by stating: ” I don’t promote and will never join any project towards nation-building agenda”. What is “Nation Building” as per your interpretation and analysis. Please read through the “Mission Statement” published by the NPP wherein it says: ” Society Build On Security” bearing in mind that AKD is the Chairman of NPP.
You also say: ” Sri Lanka needs a leader who can place himself or herself among ordinary people” and continues to mention very many names of present leaders from MR and so on. I question you to say in what way AKD is similar to all those mentioned names and in what respects AKD is not similar to them.
You continue to say: ” If Anura does not realize and change his agenda, Anura will create Mahinda’s mechanism in another long track”. So in your words, Anura is not a change from Mahinda. This statement of you is in my opinion the “DUMMAST” opinion I have so far herd of Anura.
Fernando20 / March 14, 2022
I think what he means is that there has been a lot of talk but no action. They don’t have to be in power to be seen working for the people. So far all we have seen are strikes. The other comparison is NATIONALISM. They are for SB over everyone else. Same as MR. The UK is decades ahead of us in everything but their next PM could be second generation indian, and a Hindu. NATIONALISM has been the bane of this country. It tells other communities that they are not stakeholders in this country. So we lose good people to other countries and are left with the thrash we have in government now
Human Touch / March 12, 2022
Rehan Derrick Fernando
This is a brilliant write-up. You are spot-on in every respect about the actual overview and attitude of the NPP.
I had arrived at your conclusion too for a while now.
You have correctly analyzed the psyche of Mara and also that of NPP.
They are both obsolete in every respect. Hence they substitute a myopic agenda to coverup.
Most people are trying to jump on the JVP/NPP bandwagon hoping for a quick fix as we often do.
This is the start of the next blunder.
I wonder when Sri Lankans will wise up and look at the pitfalls before voting rather than repeating the same old same old over and over and shamelessly lamenting “had we known” every time.
Your article proves that, still, there are people with correct perspective and aptitude to dissect complex political situations clinically, and pinpoint the errors and proffer correct solutions.
This is a win for us rational sri. Lankans, who seek a better future through competence, professionalism and truth.
Thank you very much for this eye-opener.
Hope you will continue to use your wisdom to enlighten the majority of the dull and mystical thick-skulled unscientific population.
Simon / March 12, 2022
HT: What is your ALTERNATIVE if not NPP that you want the people to CONSIDER? Please answer this question. Thank you.
Thilre@777 / March 13, 2022
Alternative is nothing but YOU
Thilre@777 / March 13, 2022
Hope we all could use our wisdom and right decisions.
nimal fernando / March 12, 2022
Listen to this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-YSY24XoX0
Is the JVP/NNP’s real intention is to unify the opposition to chase away the Rajapakses and save the country/people ………. or to grab power for themselves?
I hope the people themselves chase away the Rajapakses ……… the credit for getting rid of the Rajapakses shouldn’t fall on one group/entity ………
The credit for vanquishing Prabakaran/LTTE was given in total to the Rajapakses ………… and the country/people have paid a terrible price for it ……… the country/people/society has been destroyed in ways that Prabakaran couldn’t have imagined even his wildest dreams!
JVP/NNP has already started playing the same acting-games Mahinda played to grab all the credit ………. Mahinda did nothing for the war; his son in the navy hasn’t even stepped on a boat, let alone go anywhere near the fighting ……
It’s about time people saw through all the acting bullshit of the pols ………
I’m not a fan but she is the only one ready to speak about the corruption of the Rajapakses https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIzy3-jueJY ……….. not a hum from Ranil or Sajith!
nimal fernando / March 12, 2022
This guy is asking why Sajith didn’t send his wife with Hirunika https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7YHQcQvx_c ……… these buggers only want others to do the fighting for them …… while they are sitting pretty …….
Let the people themselves chase away the Rajapakses and all the rest of the crooks ……. and some new faces take over …………..
Sorry for the disjointed comment …….. didn’t have time to structure it properly …………