23 June, 2017

Oh Dearly Beloved Motherland! Where Victoria’s Faithful Subjects Continue To…RULE!

By Chamindra Weerawardhana

Dr. Chamindra Weerawardhana

Another year. Another Independence Day. The term ‘Independence’, in this case, is a quintessential euphemism. That ‘Independence’ was ‘negotiated’ under very specific circumstances, in the backdrop of a shift in the Colonial Office’s policies towards neighbouring India. It was a ‘negotiation’ that took place between a political elite, all anglicised wealthy men, who looked up to Britain for almost everything. Theirs was a strategy of approaching the Colonial Office and playing a soft game, of using developments in the rest of the British Empire to obtain increased political autonomy – in other words – Dominion Status. Many of them had vehemently opposed progressive legislative developments of the previous decade, from universal suffrage to the Kannangara education reform. Their objective, let’s not forget, was to keep the Queen’s portrait on the wall, and get the photograph of one of them hung right below the Queen’s photo. Some Brits of the liberal ilk could then adumbrate that Ceylon was ready for democratic experimentation, a unique achievement in the non-white parts of the Empire, with a fine, perfectly anglicised political class, well-versed in democratic governance!

Come 1972, that political class succeeded in doing something they had anticipated for a good while, that of removing the Queen’s portrait from the wall, and instead, putting up the face of one of them in lieu of the Queen. The political class ensured that this ‘change’ would ensure that the ‘brown’ replacement will continue the colonizing queen’s ways (meaning, how a colonizer rules the colonized – a thesis on that in not required, right?) in ruling the land. Instead of a queen called Elizabeth, we then got a ‘king’ called William (and a queen, wielding real power under the tag ‘prime minister’, with the ‘right’ dynastic credentials, called Sirima who we called ‘Sirimavo’ out of respect of course).

Since then, the ride has been eventful, with a civil war – divide and rule being its root cause – plus the land resembling the stereotypical image of the so-called ‘third world’. The political leadership still carries itself like [British] royalty. The head of state still LOVES the former colonizers, and is simply ‘over the moon’ when his ex-Queen (or should I say his colonial-hangover-Queen of all times) removes her ceremonial gloves to shake hands with him.

Most importantly, the loyalty of the head of state to the British Crown is apparent in his unwavering devotion to Victorian values. A bra in public is scandalous. To the President, it is a matter of pride to admit in public that he personally ‘binned’ a proposal to repeal Victorian era sodomy laws (precisely Article 365 and 365A of the Penal Code) at no less a gathering than a cabinet meeting. This is how the head of state of the so-called ‘Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka continues to hold in high regard a law that criminalises non-heterosexual sexualities. A law forcibly imposed upon the ‘Ceylonese’ under British rule, with no regard whatsoever for the local populations, traditions and protocols. An effort to ensure the fundamental rights of citizens irrespective of gender identity and sexual orientation has become a monumentally challenging venture in this independent republic.

The national ceremony of the Sri Lankan Independence Day, as some writers and bloggers have noted, is one that requires change, especially because much of it is anything but Sri Lankan. It is a display of the political class sitting comfortably, while children of ordinary people stand in the scorching Colombo sun, where imported weaponry is paraded (a symbol that carry threatening connotations to ethnic minorities, especially to the Tamils of the North and East- something to think about if reconciliation is a ‘real’ priority). It is also a display of British military traditions and paraphernalia, which are direct impositions of British rule. It is a ceremony at which the political class shows the world how they contribute to automobile industries in the West by purchasing super luxury armoured cars from Western manufacturers. In short, there is nothing in the ceremony that an independent sovereign state can be proud of. It is a replica of British ceremonies, somewhat blindly and unquestioningly appropriated to Sri Lanka. It is a ceremony by the political class, and for the political class.

All this leaves us with an independence that is in fact a continuing dependence. If there is a semblance of independence, its beneficiaries are the political class, and the political class alone. A substantive rethinking in terms of policy, practice, protocol and symbolism are all highly advisable if dividends of an independence, even in parsimonious scale, are to be shared, and if a truly ‘shared future’ for all Sri Lankans is to be envisaged.

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    It was a ‘negotiation’ that took place between a political elite, all anglicised wealthy men, who looked up to Britain for almost everything.
    it thus also paved an eternal way by leaving the question of the minorities unresolved for those political elite to continue in power till now.

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    Thanks for the well written piece.

    where imported weaponry is paraded to remind Tamils that they are a defeated people and behave or else!

    We will also continue to hold in high regard a law that criminalises non-heterosexual sexualities to prove hat we are the real sons of the soil.

    Thanks again Dr Chamindra for a penetrating analysis!

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      Yes, non-heterosexual sexualities were always acceptable in the North and East. Typical Tamil hypocrite.

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        Taraki

        “Yes, non-heterosexual sexualities were always acceptable in the North and East.”

        What is your point if there is one?

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        Taraki,Homosexuality is commonly called ” PANSALE SELLAMA”

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    Chaminda,

    Before, arrival of British there wasn’t any homos.

    The traditional Sri Lankan society was desexualised. The sodomy laws were purely therefore British administrators.

    Morally and culturally superior Asians(Sinhalese) always believe that financing the waste product outlet is bad for health and it is unscientific.

    • 1
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      Correction:

      Morally and culturally superior Asians(Sinhalese) always believe that ROMANCING the waste product outlet is bad for health and it is unscientific.

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      Johnny English

      “Before, arrival of British there wasn’t any homos.”

      Really, how many Sinhala/Buddhists monks did each Pansalas have before the arrival of foreigners?

      Just before the British left, the country did have the biggest hypocrite, public racist and who had homosexual tendencies. It was Anagarika Dharmapala. He covered his homosexual tendencies with his bigotry towards minorities.

      Now nobody knows how many Sinhala/Buddhist so called monks continue to abuse Novice Monks.

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        One must read the book of Robert Knox to understand the sexual freedom in Sri Lanka before the Victorian laws, It was quite liberal!
        Our monks/priests can rupture rectums of young ones and get away!
        But consenting adults have no basic human rights!

        Thailand is a Buddhist country and they have brothels, Lady boys and everything else you need!

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        Ungrateful vedda,

        Your stupid and ignorant comment shows that you don’t know anything about Anagarika Darmapala the great, Sinhala culture and Buddhism.

        One of the reasons that Anagarika Darmapala the great opted out the family life was, seeing his mother grieving over severely ill sibling, he had no desire for materialism and he was very spiritual. You must stop character assassination of Anagarika Darmapala the Greatest immediately!

        Non-native, you are the problem.

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          NOT so much ungrateful Vedda as Dumb John.

          The plain truth is that homosexuality is old as the first biological cell that formed.

          Laws were introduced by Kings, Queens, politicians and religious leaders to control those who gloriously practiced exotic acts, to stop them deriving whatever pleasure they derived.

          Here on our own little island in the sun, we were known for our laissez faire attitude and tolerance until about 1902 (about the time our beautiful ‘homeless’ one was in his ascendancy) when a distinguished Victorian soldier, Major General Sir Hector Archibald MacDonald, KCB, DSO, Commander of the troops in Ceylon, was sent home by Governor Ridgeway (godfather to SWRD Bandaranaike) after scandal was rife about his behaviour with young men. Governor Ridgeway ‘advised MacDonald to return to London, his main concern being to avoid a massive scandal: “Some, indeed most, of his victims … are the sons of the best-known men in the Colony, English and native” ‘ (according to Wikipedia). The irony was that homosexual acts were not illegal in Ceylon at the time (or before).

          Now, as for the article by Dr Weerawardhana itself, what it simply does is highlight the age-old truth that you can rely on your Brown Sahib to perpetuate the often ridiculous customs and practices left behind by those long, long gone colonial masters.

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          John,Homosexuality is very common in the male monastaries.The papers report many such instances involving the Catholic Church, but suppress those that involve the Buddhist temple. Few papers report them.One exJHU man was punished by the Courts.There is one case involving three at Matara.There was a photograph of a priest pummeling a young boys rectum taken across a frosted glass window.

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      John, You are wrong. Sodomy was a fact at the Buddhist temples.

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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/

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    The attempt by the LGBTQ lobby to attack Sri Lanka’s laws on Homosexuality as “Victorian era sodomy laws (precisely Article 365 and 365A of the Penal Code) will not work.

    Buddhism and our kings have long acted against homosexuality before the Portuguese, Dutch and British came to screw us. The reason why Article 365 and 365A was left intact was because it did not conflict with our legal system.

    Now the entire LGBTQ argument is that we should repeal the law because it was introduced by the British is ridiculous and deceptive.

    People doing what they want in their bedrooms does not bother us and they can screw each other as much as they like. But allowing homosexuality by law is not necessary because that will be the start of the ‘slippery slope’. Society needs some limits to operate in every one’s benefit and minority groups should not insist on having their way against the will of the majority. We are a democracy remember.

    THE MAJORITY IN THIS COUNTRY ARE AGAINST LEGALISING HOMOSEXUALITY.

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    Dear Dr Chamindra,

    You are a minority, I too am one. I being an only child always felt lonely and being from a minority community added to my woe, the only difference may be that i am much older than you!

    I cannot blame others for my misfortune, I am sure you too are in the same boat.

    Let all of us -minorities may be for different reasons swim together and arrive at our destination.

    I do not regret being a minority, really I enjoy the continuous defeats disappointments and the struggles.

    Life is unique and beautiful

    I am proud to be a minority. It will be boring to be a majority and having everything without struggling.

    But I will not bow down to the majority and I will not go behind them with a begging bowl.

    Let us lead a cheerful and productive life!

    • 1
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      Sri

      It is your mind that makes you a minority or a majority! One can always find ways to overcome hegemony and create your own free world.
      There is two things that anybody can steal,
      Your free will and your free mind.

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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/

  • 0
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    GOSL should recognise LGBT and Beastilality. They are both natural behaviours.

    • 0
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      Pedophilia and bestiality for the Muslims- thanks

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