By Hema Senanayake –
After Mangala Samaraweera recently retorted bluntly that Sri Lanka is not a Sinhala-Buddhist Country, it created a public discourse. Many blamed him and a few praised him for his boldness. I opted to disagree with him, not because I want to go with the tide but because his position does not lead to any meaningful conclusive determination of the issue.
Any community living in Sri Lanka must have the right to identify with their particular ethno-religious identity. If someone like Venerable Mawarelle Bhaddiya says that he is a Sinhala-Buddhist monk, what does it mean? It means that he is proud to identify in that way. He is proud because with that identity he upholds certain virtues which would be respected by even non Sinhala-Buddhist around the world. He accepts the well-being of other non-Sinhala-Buddhist communities living in Sri Lanka. He has utmost passion for those communities.
So it is great that if certain group of lay individuals who have similar virtues, identify as Sinhala-Buddhists and if they are the majority then they can rightly say that this country is a Sinhala-Buddhist country. It brings reputation for this country. Around the world Sri Lanka will be considered as the best livable place in earth. Will such image good for the county? Of course it is. This is not what is happening today.
Also there are a small group of people and politicians who say that they are Sinhala-Buddhists. When they say that how do they feel? Do they feel animosity towards other communities? If they do, they are not Sinhala-Buddhists. They bring shame to our beloved country. They bring disrepute to our country. Their actions make our respectable Sinhala-Buddhist youths to hate living in this country and go abroad. We must change this mindset right now.
Yes. This country is a Sinhala-Buddhist country. Similarly, this is the country of Sinhala-Christians too. This is the country of Sri Lankan Tamils too. This is the country of Sri Lankan Muslims too. But this is not the country for terrorists and separatists.
All communities must have the right to be proud about their ethno-religious identity if they wish to do so. If we deny that right to Sinhala-Buddhists, then how we can accept the rights of other communities.
If any minority can proudly identify with their ethno-religious identity in Sri Lanka that intimates the social virtuousness of Sinhala-Buddhists being the majority community. Nothing else. What is important is, there are no second class citizens in Sri Lanka and there is one common law for everybody.
Mathematically, Sri Lanka is a well-defined set of elements; under any circumstances element will never become the set. Certain things can be well understood by mathematics.