19 November, 2018

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Our Current Crisis – Transformation Of Politics From Civil To Evil

By Vishwamithra

“No enterprise is more likely to succeed than one concealed from the enemy until it is ripe for execution.” ~ Niccolo Machiavelli

Siddhartha Gautama was one of the most pioneering thinkers who revolutionized the very manner in which man used to think, act and operate at mundane levels. Long before Magna Carta or the American Constitution came into being, Buddha told us that no man is unequal to the other; long before these modern-day social-scientists castaway the discriminatory caste system in the Asian world, Buddha showed us by example that man is not born a Brahmin or a coolie, but his action alone defines the lines of such divisions among man and women; that alone would shape and explain whether he is one or the other. Such sophisticated and erudite thinking has endured its own corruption specifically by the order, Buddhist clergy, and still guiding us in trying times telling us right from wrong, good from bad and reasonable and unreasonable, all of which qualities that set the human being apart from all other species. Siddhartha’s attainment of a supreme state of mind- Buddhahood- set him apart from all his contemporaneous thinkers and philosophers until this day.   

Although we, mostly Sinhalese Buddhists, believe in the philosophy taught and preached by Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, we cannot or should not disregard another school of erudite thought, a very classical group of doctrines and social theories that attempted to analyze and dissect human behavior at a fundamental level and present quite a sophisticated macro philosophy. Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, the ancient Greek thinkers were amongst the initiators of this thinking which formed the foundation of western philosophy. Plato writes in his ‘Republic’, “until philosophers rule as kings or those who are now called kings and leading men genuinely and adequately philosophize, that is, until political power and philosophy entirely coincide, while the many natures who at present pursue either one exclusively are forcibly prevented from doing so, cities will have no rest from evils,… nor, I think, will the human race.” (Republic). 

Socrates, who was a contemporary or a one who roamed the cities of Greece with his exquisite dialogue and immensely wise discourses in the aftermath of Buddha’s ‘Maha Parinibbana’, prescribed a set of dialectical and logical thinking for the ordinary man to understand and attain. Yet it did not happen. Majority in Greece, as in other parts of the world, was more ready to accept an easily marketable religious merchandize- the concept of ‘God’. Clouded by the avaricious orders of organized religions, the clergy, wisdom and intellectual curiosity of a few could not withstand the onslaught of politically sweetened storms; nor did they create novel ways and mechanisms of how to take a sophisticated thought and teaching into the next level of mass-comprehension. 

History bears testimony to the fact there only a handful of religious leaders who dared the prevalent thought and practices and became successful to create a ‘religion’ that would later add to itself the essential meat and bone in order to endure and embrace mass participation at the multiple rituals that ultimately was mistaken for the essence of the central gospel of the teacher. This has happened to all religions and Buddhism too was not spared of this debasement of the core teaching.

Politicians identifying the magic of man’s vigorous faith and unbending allegiance to the religious order began cultivating these various orders and sectorial leaders. Amongst many allurements offered by politicians to cultivate and sustain this relationship between politics and ‘religious order’ are money and tangible offers of rebuilding of temples and provision of material assistances.

In a real and perceptible sense, the context of political thought and action has changed beyond recognition. Sri Lanka is no exception in this contextual transformation; her ancient history as well as the recent post-Independence timespan, politician’s dependence on Buddhist Temple has grown exponentially. While our monarchical-rule in the ancient past was more or less equal to a theocracy, introduction of democratic elements such as universal suffrage and Westminster rules of Parliamentary affairs has embellished the mind of average Sri Lankan..

What transpired last Friday, October 26, was the swearing in of an ordinary parliamentarian who also happens to the former President and the chief antagonist of the governing coalition which was elected on a platform of anti-corruption, anti-nepotism and anti-dictatorial rule by the very man who opposed him. The country was in a profound shock; it may have taken one half day for almost everyone, whether one favored or hated the news, to gather from the ensnaring limbo of a collapsing value system. The system that sustained a civil service that was apolitical in every sense of the word and resisted its own corruption by selecting the best of the best students who passed out of the Universities at the time now has become the victim of an extremely corrosive political intervention at every level of governance. 

Arthashastra, the Eastern counterpart to Plato’s Republic, authored by Kautilya, also known in history as Vishnugupta and Chanakya, the teacher and guardian of Emperor Chandragupta Maurya, went to the same or even greater extent to define and term the ideals of a just polity. Chanakya also prescribed a very workable and practical blend of socio-economic-political strategies and tactics with a sublime purpose of attaining a perfect union between the ruler and the ruled and also with total and dynamic equilibrium between the two parties.

However, when one comes down to earth and sees what’s occurring in Sri Lanka today, all these teachings of the Buddha, Confucius and Chanakya of the East and Socrates, Plato and Aristotle of the West seem meaningless. Especially in the context of the developing culture of corruption, nepotism and resort to means of ‘Stalinist’ approach to power, erudite political philosophies flow out the window in a hurry.

Transformation of politics from civil to evil has already begun. A civil transformation of power within the constraints of our Constitution is not only a necessary element of good governance; it is also a political probability. That is why negotiations between the aggrieved parties in this confrontation, President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremasinghe, should have been towards a more amenable and acceptable candidate for the position of Premiership within the coalition that brought Sirisena into power. That is where the fundamental misjudgment and error were committed. Whether it was willful or as a matter of oversight due to the rush of problems that confront a President as the arbiter-in-chief of governance machinery is of no less significant than otherwise. Both paradigms are as problematic in the larger scheme of things.

What is even more severe is the total collapse of the governing machinery at all levels. The total focus of the new Cabinet and parliamentarians seems to be on whom to persuade to leave their current affiliations to the United National Party (UNP) and join the emerging political reality of another Rajapaksa-led ‘Joint Opposition’. The confusing realities of non-democratic alliances and political machinations have produced a new reality of parliamentarians being treated as cheap merchandize for buying and selling in the open marketplace. Such devaluation of those who have been elected to high office is a direct affront to the supreme teachings of Chanakya in the East and Socrates and his fellow philosophers in the West. Both, Chanakya’s ‘Arthashastra’ and Plato’s ‘Republic’ have been thrown into the dustbin of contemporary back-channel lobbying. Trading of politicos for the convenience of coming into or staying in power has come to occupy supreme significance.

This disgraceful practice of buying and selling of politicos for attainment of power is not new in the history of man. Nor would it come to a sudden halt in the future. But the clever and intelligent ones who still possess some modicum of civility, grace and self-respect would reckon that what must be denied and rejected for the sake of civility and inner progress of society must take control of the situation and demand that justice prevails. ‘Justice’, as defined in terms of Socrates’s teachings is that ‘it is to your advantage to be just and disadvantage to be unjust’.                  

In such a confused context, the UNP has the following options:

1. Accept the grossly unjust current political maneuvering and sit on the Opposition benches

2. Negotiate with both Ranil Wickremesinghe and Maithripala Sirisena and find a third person to be the Prime Minister and continue with the same Cabinet and government party as it existed prior to October 26.

3. Fight the new reality of seemingly unconstitutional act and persist with the demand that Ranil Wickremasinghe’s position as Prime Minister be restored before any other resolutions are considered. Then resolve the matter of Wickremesinghe’s future as head of the Government with an acceptable and third candidate who is capable to mustering the support of the coalition that brought the current President into power.

The reality of transformation of politics from civil to evil has dawned!

The writer can be contacted at vishwamithra1984@gmail.com 

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Latest comments

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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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    VishavaMithra: Sri lanka was a victim of western politics to make Sri lanka one of their destinations fpr the anti-Asian work inthe Region. The west wanted both India and china Subjugated for their purposes. Modi, the Indian PM doe snot have a university graduate. Yet he will be becoming a PM for the second time. Indians like him. There was some sabotage from Indian central govt politicians. So, he failed with the Money exchange program. With that West wanted to introduce bit coins,a good way to exploit India. Some how he overcame those. Sri lanka is not the same. Every one 225 politicians are worshippers of the west who fulfill the western agenda of Neo-Liberlism under which Sri lankan Sinhala buddhist culture, artc, Economics, the financial system and what ever ours will be desteoyed and their system of everything will be established. In that Ranil Was ultra liberaland right wing. None of the developed countries got developed by importing and they had their won manufacturing industry.

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    4. Agree to hold a general election.

    Soma

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      somass

      Listen to what your Colonial Master’s considered opinion, legal, moral, ethical, ………… ,
      “As far as I can see there is nothing unconstitutional. Every country has its constitution, what has happened in Sri Lanka is unusual but not unconstitutional. But we have had unusual things in the UK. We were supposed to have a fixed term Parliament. Five years fixed but we never got that far, it was cut short, so these things happen.”

      He in effect says the coup is not unconstitutional therefore an election is unnecessary.
      This is coming from a man, who is a white British lord, whose forefathers came to this island to civilise you, gave you parliament, democracy, teach Anagarika Homeless Dharmapala to use toilet, introduce coat, suit and tie (note Dr Go wears it all the time) ……………..

      Why don’t you listen to as your father did?
      Let Champika clean his boots.
      It seems it is still white man’s burden.

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    Right now there is severe turmoil. right now is not the time to hold the election. Maithriapa and MAhinda Rajapakse should represent as one group.

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    people want to go to live in the West because their system is the best that we should have in the island.

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    Vishwa, The real crisis is around the corner. I believe Lankan debt at present stands at 1.9 to 2 trillion rupees. Which is expected to mature within this year. If we do not meet the dead line we will be declared as defaulters and our credit ratings will take further nose dive. The interest we pay will hit the roof.Government treasuries will be turned into worthless commodity in debt market (just like our constitution) After Pakistan it will be our turn to go around with begging bowl. Pakistan was bailed (trapped) out by The Animal Kingdom Saudi. Imran was so desperate he auctioned cars and bullocks to survive. What do we Lankans have to sell ????? So retards get ready for real fun.Soon we will be joining the elite club of defaulters.

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    Guys please pardon my ignorance. When I was writing my previous comment I was unaware of Mahinda Sir,s special (secrete) formula which can fix all our financial woes. He had mentioned it in a recent press conference.

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    Buddha!, Buddha! , Buddha! What is wrong with you Vishwamihra to start this note by glorifying Buddhism! What’s the use? What you need to do is to analyze the current quagmire objectively . This blind reverence to Buddhism which is built on some stupid and unscientific myths like rebirth, karma and nirvana has put the country miles back in rationale thinking.- Socrates

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    The following is the text of an open letter sent in by Dr. Devanesan Nesiah, a retired civil servant who has who has served the country since 1959. In 2017, he was awarded with the National Honours by President Sirisena.
    His Excellency Maithripala Sirisena,
    President,
    Sri Lanka.Your Excellency,I write as a loyal citizen of Sri Lanka and a proud recipient of the great titular honour of ‘Deshamanya’ that Your Excellency saw fit to confer on me in March of 2017. My children, grandchildren, other relatives and close friends gathered from three continents in celebrating the award and the Presidential recognition of my services to our great nation.
    I barely knew you earlier but my family, friends and I were greatly elated when you were elected President. That elation and hope, Your Excellency, has given way to disappointment over your very blatant flouting of our seventy-year-old democracy, in recent weeks.
    As a loyal and patriotic Sri Lankan but I see no alternative to regretfully return the ‘Deshamanya’ medal and certificate that you awarded me. I am currently overseas and will make arrangements to return the medal and certificate to your office, when I come back to Sri Lanka.
    Your Excellency, my decision isn’t one that I’ve taken lightly, or in haste. To always act in accordance with my principles is a burden that I’ve embraced with pride for nearly 60 years, since I first enrolled as a cadet in the Ceylon Civil Service. My long career in the civil service, was often stymied under both UNP and SLFP regimes for my refusal to compromise my values.
    Since I can no longer take pride in the title of ‘Deshamanya’ that you’ve conferred on me, I have no option but to return my treasured medal and certificate.

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    Vishwamithra: We, toddlers seventy years back unwittingly stepped from civil to evil. Our politicians did not lead us away from Evildom. Instead they became game-hunters and used us as baits. The big games got thinned and the hunters staged a ‘coup’ – bloodless though. By the way, it is not a crisis but is a ‘coup d’état’.
    .
    We are in Devildom now – known devil though. What next?

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    The writer is pupil of Western democracy while critic of Stalinist by against 1917 October Revolution led by CPSU under V.I Lenin. Socialist revolution was that continuation of socialist Revolution and construction of USSR by J.V. Stalin within short period of history since 1924 to 1953 that until death of Marxist- Stalin.
    The writer claim and blame for Comrade Stalin as dictator the voice of USA led Imperlsait version of politics. USSR has change world balance of power in first time in history that was led by CPSU leadership Comrade Stalin over 30 odd years since 1924 to 1953. .

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