18 November, 2018

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Informed People Want Traditional Politicians Of The Past Age

By P. Soma Palan – 

P. Soma Palan

I refer to Mr. Kelum Bandara’s Interview with Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa (GR), which appeared in the Daily Mirror of 10th April, prominently under large bold heading “People want Non-Traditional Politicians”. Although it covered diverse matters of interest, I was amused by his response to the question, “How would you fit into the shoes of a politician”. He answered by saying that “people want non- traditional Politicians”. His statement is reflective of his super ego to be the new Messiah to rescue the Nation; a self-claim to an uncommon, extraordinary, innovative and super-technocratic politician.

Traditional and Non-Traditional Politicians

GR’s reference to Non- traditional politicians obviously means that, there is a class of Traditional Politicians. But he has not stated or explained his concept of Non- Traditional or Traditional Politicians. This Classification of politicians into two types, in my view, is one based on historical and chronological sense. Those politicians of the pre-independence time of the State Council and early post-independence time of Parliamentary form of Government, can be classed as Traditional Politicians. A majority of the politicians from 1956 onwards, excluding the spillover of a limited number of traditional politicians from the former period, could be classified as Neo-Traditional politicians. But in my view, MR’s concept of the Non- Traditional politicians is of a different construction. I surmise, what is in MR’s mind is, that a person entering into politics from outside the established political system, is a non-Traditional Politician. In other words, a person from the Bureaucratic Administrative Service, becoming a Political Leader, is a non-traditional politician. GR states that the people want such non-Traditional Politicians to rule the country. On what evidential basis of a Gallop poll of the voters, GR ascertained the will of the people wanting such non-traditional politicians, is not made clear. If the people want non-traditional political leaders from the Bureaucratic Administration, we will soon not have an Administrative Service and Political Parties will be superfluous.

Peoples’ will, Wishes and wants

Democracy is a queer form of Government. It is religiously believed that Democracy is a Government of the People, by the People and for the People. Embedded in this definition is the concept of the supremacy of the Sovereignty of the people. In reality, is this true? In practical reality it is not true. The only power people have is to elect a Government. Once a Government is elected, it is the Government that rules the country and not the people. If the elected Government misrule the country, could the people remove that Government before its mandated period ends? People cannot do so. People could only overthrow the Government by a violent revolution. That is also a remote possibility, under the military might of the modern State. In the circumstances, people’s power, is a hoax, a sham. The truth is all decisions/ actions of a Government, is super-imposed on the people, as the expression of their wishes, wants and will. The politicians,parrot-like repeat ad-nauseam for everything, it is the wishes of the people. GR cannot help but accede to the cry that “people want non-traditional politicians”, is just the same recurring chant of the politicians. The actual truth is that all politicians mould and condition the people to accept their decisions, views and wants, and thereafter, project them as the wants, wishes and will of the people, which per force, they have to carry out. It is plainly political hypocrisy.

Classification of Politicians

My understanding of the category of Traditional Politicians and Non-Traditional Politicians is on the basis, whether one comes to power by long years of political apprenticeship through graduated levels of local, Municipal, Provincial and finally Parliamentary means, as in the former case, or one comes to power from completely outside the political process as mentioned above, but from bureaucratic or administrative institutions, which GR classify as the Non-Traditional Politicians. There are hardly any politicians or political leaders of non- Traditional variety in a Democracy anywhere in the world. Only examples that come into my mind, is Indira Ghandi of India and Mrs. Srimavo Bandaranaike of Sri Lanka. Both became Prime Ministers after the demise of the father, Jawarlal Nehru in the former case, and after the demise of the husband, in the latter case. They can be treated as non-traditional Politicians as per GR’s perception. But these are just aberrations rather than being the regular norm.

Traditional Politicians

Traditional Politicians belong historically to an earlier chronological period. In Sri Lanka it covered the colonial period and the early post-colonial period up to about 1960’s. That is, Politicians during the State Council era and post- Independent, Soulbury Constitutional era. One can even describe this period as the classical period of Politicians. Traditional Politicians were an exceptional breed. They were gentlemen Politicians, men of education, moral integrity, non-corrupt and incorruptible. They were politicians of principles, wedded to secular ideals, cultured and refined, not only by western standards but also by oriental standards. It was the halcyon days of Parliament, with high standard of debates, scrupulous adherence to parliamentary conventions, procedures and practices and decorum and decency, within and without Parliament. The dignity and sanctity of the Parliament was maintained. Bribery and corruption of Politicians was unheard of. These traditional Politicians came to serve the people and the country, and not the country to serve them. They even used their private wealth for the public weal. They divested their wealth than enriched themselves by plundering the State coffers and public resources of the country. They were not given to criminal activity such as drug pedaling, murders and abductions, rape, which are common occurrences today, and use of violence and foul language in the floor of the Parliament. They were exemplary models to the people. Compared to the salaries, multiple allowances, perks, luxury vehicles, security detail, foreign travels at the drop of hat,  enjoyed by the neo- Traditional Politicians from the post-1956 onwards, it would not be an over-statement to say that the Traditional politicians were economically an enfeebled lot.

The conservative traditional politicians were of unblemished character, worthy of respect and admiration. Their eloquent and analytical speeches on economics, Finance other important subjects were a class of a high order and source of knowledge for us as students and under-graduates, who read and digested them from the published Hanzards. I refer at random a few men of the caliber of D.S. Senanyake, D.B. Jayatilleke, Dudle Senanayake, Dr. N.M. Perera, Dr. Colvin R de Silva Pieter Keneumen, Philip Gunawardena, Leslie Gunawardena, J.R. Jayewardena, Stanley Tillekeratne, S.W.R.D. Badaranaike, W. Dahanayake, Bernard Soysa, Felix Dias Bandaranaike, Ponnambalam Ramanathan, Ponnambalam Arunachalam, S.J.V. Chelvanayakam, Dr. E.M.V. Naganathan, G.G.Ponnambalam, Amirthalingam, Sivasithamparam, from the inexhaustible list. They were Goliaths of stature, compared to the neo-traditional political dwarfs. 

What the Informed People want

What the informed, intelligent and right thinking people want is not, either Neo-Traditional or non-Traditional politicians from the ex-military and/or from the bureaucratic, civil Administrative Service, but a reformed return and resurrection to the historic Traditional Politicians, with qualities and characteristics adverted to herein before. A cleansing and purification of the Politicians, who would rule to serve the people and the country than plunder it, and where the Rule of Law, Justice, Equality, non-discrimination  non-violence against communal minorities will prevail and where State inspired abductions and murders of those inconvenient to the Politicians, Bribery, Corruption and Thieving of Country’s resources, will cease. Men with military proclivity are dangerous. Recent CID investigations are unraveling the connections between the former Secretary of Defence, MR  and the murder of Journalist Lasantha Wikrematunge, disappearance of Prakeeth Ekneligoda, assault on Upali Tennekoon and Poddala Jayantha and abduction and torture of Keith Noyahr by the Military Intelligent Services. Further, political militarism was evidenced in the mooted and failed scheme to give military training to School Principals. Giving the opportunity and power to non-traditional politicians with a militaristic streak, in the garb of a civilian, could lead to militarization of the State and Government. One cannot rule out the possibility of Sri Lanka going the way of Pakistan to Military rule, as under Ayub Khan and Zia Ul  Haque with military credentials.

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Latest comments

  • 1
    4

    What you are saying A chelvanayagam who says ” now little and as Later more” TNA and wigneswaran politicians who get almost all the benefits, salaries, perks from the Sinhala south and promote MAaveerars, Suicide bombers who di dblow up and Black tigers who were scared to bite the Cyanide Capsule. On the other hand, TGTE, ADel, Rudrakumarn are living posh lifes style. You also have a good life but you cannot say Tamilnadu is your homeland that doe snot fits your life inthe west. so, it has to be Sri Lanka at the epense of Poor Tamil Dalits and Sinhala buddhists. Actually, Sri lankan People should be rpoud of Srilankan military amidst so many haressments to them, they continue good work in contributng to sri lankan economy be repairing Tanks and by establishing a separte division for overseas work. We should invite those war criminals who are willing to come back and help in cleaning the parliament.

  • 1
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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

    • 3
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      Jim you getting a name for getting your comments removed. Would you consider a new handle for your self ” Jim no Comment” what do you think.

      • 0
        1

        Leonard: If you talk anything beyond the point, that won’t be deleted. they like out of topic discussions and gossip.

  • 9
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    People can live with “Traditional or Non-Traditional” politicians.
    What people are fed-up with is people holding public office without accountability. Bye the way no one wants a serial killer in public office and unlimited power.

  • 8
    2

    If Gota R. is conferred Political Power at a future date, in addition to the Military Power that he wielded when he was Secy/ Defense-prior to Jan:2015, rest assured, Srilanka would no longer be on the World Map!

    • 6
      2

      Plato

      Spot on Bro!
      There will be an excess of Butcher shops around the country.
      Bengamuwe. Gnanasara, Sumangala Ulapanaya, all will disrobe and take up positions in the military.

    • 6
      1

      Who wants to bring back the White Van Executioner Goat Rajapakshe to power? He was the one who massacred the prisoners at Welikada, the one who murdered the journalists, the one who butchered the people at Rathupaswala for asking drinking water. He is a killing machine. He will continue to kill all those who protest even for minor issues and his victims will end up as tiffin for his pet Sharks.

  • 5
    1

    Where did I hear this term before ??? Mr .Trump used this term as a candidate for president. Now we all understand the true meaning of it. You just have to watch the news where the former FBI chief as compared Trump to a Mafia Boss. Gota of course have already shown enough to us as secretary of defence. Do any one need more of this ????. Of course it is NON TRADITIONAL.

  • 9
    2

    Gotabaya is a murderer.

    To become a leader is a day dream.
    Bainless and foolish Sinhalaya might caste vote for him but others never select or elect that perpetrator.

    Still he roams and wonders in our society because of spineless Ranil and sirisena.

  • 7
    2

    On what basis GR’s interview could be considered of value? He is alleged to be a criminal, murderer, fraud, liar, (even to the judiciary), plunderer, etc. etc. Why waste time analyzing his utterances.

  • 7
    0

    We Sri Lankans do not need political Messiahs ,be they traditional or non ,because they will come in the name of Messiah and advocate the devil.
    Our Messiah has done his Sacrifice and left and he will come on a day appointed.
    —–;;;;-
    What we need now is the Constitution that will give us the people true powers ,where we can say yes and No to decisions in Parliament ,we do not want to be milking cows to feed politicians ,their extended families & ,friends in crime .
    Politicians. Should be willing to take orders from the ordinary man and not expect our poor to fall on their feet and worship them .
    Whatever little service any politician may have done was his or her duty ,people do not owe them anything and the People of Sri Lanka are not Tribal fools like other Asian nations to be continued to be fooled by Prasads &Ajiths (Thank God). The people are all aware how much every politician and all their staff pocketed too .
    It is only wise to bring in a new constitution for people to control the government at least in future and let them forgive everyone’s past sins ,let Karma take care of it instead.
    I am Yet waiting to see some honest,caring ,Educated ,& well informed citizens to come on stage and demand a new Constitution with 100% Peoples power before next election ,then no more agitation among the people. will be there You want to build a religious place let the people decide if your community need homes or religious place first, you want to control over population let the people decide ,all can be done through votes.
    Like a thread sent through a niddle hole ,everything must be approved by the people in future.
    We must protect whatever is left.
    Enough of appiwe gona te anduwa
    Enough of making us cattle heads

  • 6
    1

    In a democracy any citizen has the right to be elected to the highest office by the people, whether that person is a traditional or non-traditional politician. What Sri Lanka needs is a Leader and not a mere politician, who can unite the country of different races and religions and ensure prosperity for future generations in a safe and secure environment. Look at Singapore where the President is nominated for a period and takes turns between the Chinese, Malays and Tamils. The People in Sri Lanka have the Vote in their hands to decide on their destiny. Use it wisely otherwise the whole nation will regret for the rest of their lives and the future generations.

  • 1
    0

    Mr Soma Palan

    You have forgotten late Edmond Samarakody, one and only politician greatly adored and respected by all communities in Srilanka. There is no one else like him in the history of Srilanka, such a wonderful person; people’s politician and a true revolutionary.

  • 2
    0

    We Sri Lankans do not need political Messiahs ,be they traditional or non ,because they will come in the name of Messiah and advocate the devil.

    Our Messiah has done his Sacrifice and left and he will come on a day appointed.
    —–;;;;-
    What we need now is the Constitution that will give us the people true powers ,where we can say yes and No to decisions in Parliament ,we do not want to be milking cows to feed politicians ,their extended families & ,friends in crime .

    Politicians. Should be willing to take orders from the ordinary man and not expect our poor to fall on their feet and worship them .

    Whatever little service any politician may have done was his or her duty ,people do not owe them anything and the People of Sri Lanka are not Tribal fools like other Asian nations to be continued to be fooled by Prasads &Ajiths (Thank God). The people are all aware how much every politician and all their staff pocketed too .

    It is only wise to bring in a new constitution for people to control the government at least in future and let them forgive everyone’s past sins ,let Karma take care of it instead.

    I am Yet waiting to see some honest,caring ,Educated ,& well informed citizens to come on stage and demand a new Constitution with 100% Peoples power before next election ,then no more agitation among the people. will be there You want to build a religious place let the people decide if your community need homes or religious place first, you want to control over population let the people decide ,all can be done through votes.
    Like a thread sent through a niddle hole ,everything must be approved by the people in future.

  • 3
    0

    Again and again ,All I see is people talking about leadership , whomwill the leader come and lead ?

    A bunch of already spoiled politicians and their staff with the same old Constitution that has plenty of options to amend to protect them .

    Even the best of best who is elected,
    He /She may have the best and sincere thoughts, but if your system itself is a failed system with loopholes to protect the dishonest. ,even the most honest will only be forced to join the Wagon,it will be like the saying of Wj,Bush Jr either you are with us (We the devils). Or the them (The innocent people)

    Get the right system and then sit and watch how many are honest enough to lead with it.

  • 2
    0

    MR.
    Comrade Edmund Samarakody was indeed a True Revolutionary.!
    Thanks for remembering him!

  • 2
    0

    Do not worry P Soma Palan. What GR meant by non-traditional is one who holds US passport. GR and Basil satisfy this requirement and both excelled in the MR-tradition. Let us wait till Basil returns to his island retreat!

  • 2
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    Mr P Soma Palan

    It’s really nice to know you are there. I trust you can remember us I Mrs Jeyaluxmi Muthuthamby and my husband Gopalan Pathnamaban (a Tamilnadu gentleman now deceased). We were there in the same boat from Tamilnadu to Thalaimannar. This was way back in 1981! Trust you can remember us. Then, we all took Mannar to Colombo train! Were you also known as Ponnaih Sivapalan those days?

  • 1
    1

    Most of the NGO crowd wants Gota out of Sri Lankan politics as they fear the bold and straight decisions he takes for the benefit of the majority of the people in Sri Lanka. I kindly request the NGO people to mind your business and not to meddle with the wishes of the Sri Lankans.

  • 1
    0

    Sometime back I had written criticism on Superstition among all peoples of Sri Lanka in one of my comments.

    Lately I was informed some people were offended thinking I was attacking their beliefs ,Tradition and culture ,
    I would like to clear the misconception.
    What I meant superstition ,the best example was Mahinda Rajapakshe’s decision to call for elections earleir than he I was suppose to ,proved the superstitious advice was fake.

    Then there are people who refuse to accept realities ,if anything bad happens to then it is the fault of a person or community they hold deep hate & prejudice against, ,bad luck ,good luck ,black magic ,etc.

    My opinion of Superstition never – included The symbolic Festivals , Auspicious moments ,and cultural events .

    In fact, I love colorful traditions ,cultural events ,music dancing & poetry.

    I am sorry if people got the wrong end of my message .

    Wishing all Tamils & Sinhalese a Happy New Year

    • 1
      0

      Superstitions or not, I have seen the Corrupt Politicians wearing so many threads around their wrists and precious gem stoned rings on their fingers in order to protect themselves after committing too many crimes.They are often seen in Temples not only in Sri Lanka but also in India! It makes me believe that there is no GOD.

  • 0
    0

    Dear Mr Soma Palan,
    .
    It was nice reading your article, as it appeared, but I have waited till almost the last day to make a comment.
    .
    I myself am wondering how we can ensure that these unprincipled self-seeking Rajapaksas don’t take over State Power again. Because yes, it is power and dominance that they seek, and having got that they seek wealth and ostentation. The militarists I particularly abhor.
    .
    Towards the end of your article you have given us a list of 21 Goliaths. I wonder if it didn’t strike you that all those whom you have listed, except the first, had received the best of liberal Western Education, mostly in the Humanities? D.S. Senanayake came from a highly privileged background and what he didn’t have in terms of “qualifications” he made up for by aping the Colonialists.
    .
    In the comments, Edmund Samarakkody deservedly comes in for high praise. He never compromised. Fine. But the problem is that in the eyes of younger people now, all whom we have talked about had English Education. Haven’t today’s usurpers come in by exploiting this feeling that people have that all these were privileged people, many of whom had declassed themselves with the sincere intent of serving the majority? Yet they don’t belong with the poor.
    .
    http://pubdocs.worldbank.org/en/512301391205382785/wbg-archives-1772863.pdf
    .
    What I have given you a link to is a document relating to material on that period which is only now available. I wasn’t able to find something that I had seen earlier; a similar but more telling description prepared by the World Bank for Robert Mc Namara when he visited the country about 1972. Makes interesting reading.
    .
    I’m sorry that I have commented so late that there is no time for discussion.

  • 0
    0

    Mr Soma Palan,
    .
    I’ve posted my first comment without keeping a copy, then got back to that report which I saved on the Hard Disk.
    .
    I’ve looked at some of the History of the country that has been given. All the Mahawamsa myths! How do we get people to re-consider all that, and how do we teach all our children History that presents a more rational view than Bikkhu Mahanama gave in his Pali work? I’m thinking of the views of people like Prof. Gananath Obeysekera and Prof. K. Indrapala
    .
    http://tamilnation.co/books/Eelam/indrapala.htm
    .
    That earlier post-JVP insurrection report was really interesting reading. For instance, a classmate reminded me of that horrible politician Illangaratne, who had been sacked after being a co-operative inspector for embezzlement. I said yes, and there was that story of how there was a Hotel in Switzerland with a portrait of the owner, Illangaratne, which now turns out to be false. That then-secret World Bank report correctly states that TBI was sacked for leading a strike. And so it goes on. All the stories we gullibly swallowed.
    .
    Also interestingly described were Felix Dias Bandaranaike, Colvin, NM etc.
    .
    I respect all that you have said. I wonder if you could write yet another article taking account of all that? Why don’t I do it? No, I don’t feel up to it! I feel that your views will be valuable.

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