15 August, 2022


From A Fantasy To A Nightmare

By Basil Fernando

Basil Fernando

After long years of being a politician in various capacities, JR Jayewardene had come to the conclusion that if he could rule all by himself without any restraints, he could do a better job than what others had done in the past. An opportunity for this came to him when in the 1977 Election, people gave his Party an overwhelming majority in the Parliament. Within a short time thereafter, Prime Minister Jayewardene proceeded to create a kind of power arrangement within which he could realize his great dream. That scheme was included into a document called a ‘Constitution’ which was in fact the opposite of what is usually known as a Constitution within a legal democratic framework. The idea of this document was to place himself as a person in charge of everything and to remove any obstacles to his exercise of power. With this, he fantasized that he could do miracles. On the one hand, he could do miracles in terms of the economy, and he could also do another miracle of overcoming the impact of periodic elections, thus becoming an absolute ruler for as long as he lived.

Every other person who came to his position thereafter became the bearers of this fantasy and the belief that absolute power is a necessary condition for ruling Sri Lanka. This became entrenched, and the practices based on that fantasy still operate. However, during the whole period within which this fantasy was the ruling ideology of Sri Lankan Governments, what the country experienced was one crisis after another. It was also a period within which the absolute ruler decided all the borrowings that had to be done on behalf of the country without being restrained by the normal rules of prudence. The absolute ruler also had the power among other things to create an ever increasing indebtedness as a major characteristic of the country’s economy. Thus, it is the pursuit of this fantasy that has now placed Sri Lanka in a situation where the country has to do everything possible to avoid being declared bankrupt. Today, the primary economic ambition in the country is to remain as long as possible without falling into that final abyss of being treated as a bankrupt State internationally. It is ironical that the very political arrangement that Jayewardene made, which led, step by step, into this economical nightmare has also been burdened with the same political arrangement in trying to resolve this abysmal problem. Handing power to a single individual created the problem in the first place and now that same arrangement of placing all power on a single individual has become the major obstacle for finding any kind of rational way out of the problem, the same political arrangement has created.

Meanwhile, every other problem has got accumulated and the people as a whole are suffering from the economic crisis that was created by the adoption of this ridiculous political arrangement as the ruling governing structure of the country. The problem that affects the people the most is the ever increasing prices of essential goods. Every declared attempt to deal with the economic crisis in fact contributes to the increasing of the same crisis for the people.

It was amidst all this that the Covid-19 pandemic added to the existing insolvable problems. This unprecedented global crisis required collective efforts which would have generated very high level of cooperation between the Government and the people including the most professionally capable persons who are able to handle this crisis which requires expert knowledge. However, within a political arrangement that has allowed every exercise of power in the hands of a single person, such cooperation is impossible to achieve.

The result now is that the daily rate of deaths and infections have increased so much that the entire nation is now experiencing the kind of fear that the nation has not experienced in its recent history.

The manifestation of this fear is that people have begun to take their own security so seriously into their own hands that entire cities have virtually closed not by an order of the Government but by the wish of the people. This level of social initiative to protect itself without placing any trust that the State might come to their assistance is itself an experience that should be studied in depth in order to understand what has internally changed in the perceptions and convictions of the people of Sri Lanka.

Almost everyone has spoken out, demanding that the Government take measures for a lockdown but the Government left in the hands of a single person has been adamant in not taking such steps. Even the two Mahanayakas (Chief Prelates) of the Malwathu and Asgiri Chapters of the Siam Sect had demanded a lockout. All the major professional bodies in the country including those of the medical profession had demanded the same. Trade unions have even threatened to go on strike in order to force the Government to impose such a lockout. The parties which are part of the Governing coalition itself had demanded an immediate lockout for at least three weeks. It is perhaps the first time that such a massive consensus has emerged demanding a particular action from any Government. However, the Government in the hands of a single individual refused to act. Only once things went out of his reach that he agreed to impose a curfew for 10 days.

His speech to the nation announcing the lockdown was not graceful. He only promised about the sacrifices that the people would have to make for this lockout and the things to come thereafter. Perhaps, he may have begun to realize that this fantasy of one man controlling everything cannot hold under these vastly changing circumstances.

Both in the area of the economy and also in the area of protection of the people in the face of the worst epidemic that has been experienced that the people are going through, the major obstacle to a solution remains the political arrangement made by JR Jayewardene who thought that placing power on a single individual would better solve the problems of a country than by other arrangements practiced in the country till then. Thus, a fantasy has now turned into a nightmare. However, there is yet no serious discussion on displacing the political arrangements created in 1978 in order to place all power in a single individual. Thus, while acute problems accumulate, Sri Lanka has not yet found a way that will lead the nation out of it.

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Latest comments

  • 2

    This unprecedented global crisis required collective efforts which would have generated very high level of cooperation
    Yes and this fake pandemic proved the ‘conspiracy theorists’ right that the so called illuminati (freemasons or satanists) are controlling all nations world wide. The co-ordination of how things were done reveals that.

    • 6


      Our greatest patriot Chana Jayasumana was in the process of building and running a pharma processing plant within 3 months, that was 6 months ago. He wanted to manufacture A to Z.
      What is happening to the plant and to him?
      Is he still fighting the evil Muslim doctor Shegu Shihabdeen Mohamed Shafi?

      He should take up fighting the Muslims on a full time basis which he does best and leave the running of Ministry of Production, Supply and Regulation of Pharmaceuticals to the best person, who is fit for the job.

  • 9

    Every other person who came to his position thereafter became the bearers of this fantasy and the belief that absolute power is a necessary condition for ruling Sri Lanka
    There are various reasons for that. But hatred of tamils is one of the main ones.
    Many of the tribalists on the island want iron fisted rule over tamils.
    At least nandasena is giving the whole island a taste of it. So the hypocrites now complain.

  • 6

    There are several mistakes in governance that that precipitated the grave crisis today:

    Meritocracy was dumped as early as 1956 with the introduction of Sinhala only.
    Sinhala only lead to the fostering of the ethnic problem that exists even today.
    Ethnic problem lead to the cruel costly war that lead to empty coffers and borrowing.
    It also damaged the productive capacity of the North and East.
    Sri Lankans have an entitlement mentality: Many wealthy countries don’t give free university education; students are given loans to pay back the tuition fess in increments when they start working.
    Bloated security forces sapping a chunk of the national cake, and more.
    State corporations are mostly running at loss.
    Finally the country as a whole is not productive enough to meet its needs and have a surplus for export leading to accumulation of foreign exchange.
    Add to all the above one man, or woman rule where the president is above the law.
    Over the seven decades rule of law has deteriorated and reached a rock bottom.
    One Nobel price winning economist said that without rule of law masses cannot prosper in the society, only the rich and powerful will accumulate wealth.
    In my opinion all the above fit Sri Lanka as a failing state.

    • 1

      “Sinhala only lead to the fostering of the ethnic problem that exists even today.”
      Utter nonsense! What ethnic problem now. Tamils, Muslims and Sinhalayo live in harmony without any problem. The so called ‘ETHNIC PROBLEM’ is the ‘Beggar’s Wound’ of Tamil politicians who live in Colombo with their families amongst Sinhalayo.
      Sinhala only did not create the ethnic problem. The roots of the ethnic conflict goes back to 1930s when racist separatist Tamil politicians launched their anti-Sinhala Buddhist campaign.
      G.G. Ponnambalam started the anti-Sinhala Buddhist campaign in 1939 by delivering a racially charged speech at Nawalapitiya ridiculing Mahawamsa and denigrating the Sinhala-Buddhist culture, its history and the people igniting the first Tamil-Sinhala conflict. At that time there was no ‘Sinhala Only’.
      SJV Chelvanayakam who came to Sinhale from Malaya during British rule took it further by establishing the Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi (toned down as Federal Party in English) in 1949 which had as its hidden agenda the establishment of a separate state. In 1949, there was no ‘Sinhala Only’.
      Sinhala only had a negative effect only to a tiny minority of elite Tamils and Sinhala ‘Kalu Suddas’ who could not speak Sinhala. It benefitted a large majority, particularly Native Sinhalayo who were oppressed by colonial rulers.

  • 0

    ” From A Fantasy To A Nightmare “ Ntt really that. It is only natural growth of perceived Dutugemunu to, beyond real life Hitler
    The greed of Don Stephen, Solomon West, Junius Richard and other double faced Sinhala Racists for milling the Sihala Buddhists into Western Shakibs, concluded that the Tamils holding higher positions was the hurdle for this Utopia Sinhala Buddhism so wanted to clean the Lankawe from Tamils. So, they unitedly took the Buddha’s teaching as the weapon for their new revolution. The Westernized crooks had nothing to do with Buddhism but were dangerously talented to corrupt any society. So they turned a 2200 years Old Tamil-Hindu, a well-respected King, personally a great man, into the ancient Hitler of those days. These Hitlers portrayed them as Dutugemunu. Once the King Kaimugan concocted an image that was exploited down to skin, they willingly advertised them as the Hitlers. These Sinhala Buddhist Talibans have democratically fought and have established in 2019 “the Sinhala Buddhist Emirate”. The next label left for them for the election is that they can call them the Covid-19 germs and they can wipe out the Tamils more efficiently than Covid-19 did & doing in 2021, 2022,2023…..

  • 0

    Any constitution that comes out of Lankawe at this time has to be with many featherbedding clauses for Sinhala Buddhist than any other earlier ones had, or otherwise it cannot see the light outside of parliament; ratification by Sinhala Buddhist is another story. Sumanthiran, PC who drafted the 19A to crown Ranil as the Permanent PM of Ceylon is advertising in North that he is negotiating with Royal Hitlers for a new constitution, only after Royals realized that they had weakened themselves in UNHRC by Communist Dinesh. Royal Hitlers are finding, to reverse this situation, Sumanthiran and GLP are more dedicated to their servitude than Communist Dinesh.
    Basil should underhand himself, it is not the naive propaganda of dead communism, but that the best way to attack Junius Richard is calling him as the person saved Tamils in 1983 and let them behind him to be the inauspicious saitans for Sinhala Buddhists. Otherwise, Basil’s stand up as NM, Colvin and Siri Ma o made the best constitution, but JR damaged it, is only a worthless, naive, outdated propaganda.

    Basil can invite UOJ Sadampi to join his hand to campaign in South that JR as the cause of 1915 Sinhala Buddhist & Muslims rights, or he can fix his communism first and then educate & guide the Lankawe middle class to go for meaningful, progressive expectations in their lives.

    • 1

      “The greed of Don Stephen, Solomon West, Junius Richard and other double faced Sinhala Racists…”
      Man, you got it wrong. It was the greed of V Tamils who became the most privileged group in Sinhale by scratching the back of Brits that led to all the problems after Sinhalayo gained Independence from colonial rulers who oppressed them.
      “…wanted to clean the Lankawe from Tamils.”
      If Sinhala Buddhists wanted to clean Sinhale from Tamils they could have done that in 1948 after British left. Instead of doing that Sinhala Buddhists accommodated millions of Tamils brought to their country by colonial rulers to exploit this country.

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