25 August, 2019

Blog

Recognition Of Sinhalese, Tamils And Muslims As Equal Cultural Nations Might Be A Solution

By Laksiri Fernando

Dr. Laksiri Fernando

Dr. Laksiri Fernando

I didn’t see anything particularly disagreeable when the NPC Chief Minister, C. V. Wigneswaran, interpreted the national question in Sri Lanka as the ‘question of non-recognition of nations’ on an equal basis, I might add, in the country in his Bernard Soysa memorial lecture recently. If there was any major weakness that was in respect of the binary manner that it was raised in respect of the Sinhalese and the Tamils which can raise and has raised some eyebrows. After all the selection of the topic was not of his own but apparently given by ‘brother Tissa’ as he remarked. His actual topic that day was “Brother Bernard and the National Question.”

Rajan Philips expressed the feeling that it would have been better if ‘Justice Wigneswaran’ avoided the ‘national question’ and focused more on reconciliation and the plight of the war affected ordinary Tamils in the North. It may be the case, but I don’t see anything wrong in addressing the question forthright, and after all the topic was given to him following the Marxist or the leftist tradition of the organizers of the event. Perhaps these are the last vestiges of ‘Marxism’ in what Kumar David usually characterize as the ‘dead left.’

By the way, I don’t address Wigneswaran as ‘Justice’ any longer as he has now become a politician. To me ‘Justice-Chief Minister’ is an anarchronism. This would be the same if I were to address Ven. Sobitha as ‘Ven. President Sobitha’ in the future. I do value the separation between the ‘judiciary and the executive’ and also the ‘state and religion.’

Be as it may, Dayan Jayatilleka, has taken a major umbrage at Wigneswaran’s presentation particularly on what Dayan has called the ‘two nations theory.’ In his opinion, this is “a basic political claim which escalates the political conflict and places or retains Sri Lankan Tamil politics on a road to a dead end.” This may be the case, sounding patronizing a bit, if the nations are to be defined necessarily as entities evolving into separate states or the Tami national politics is understood solely moving in that direction for separation. I do see a difference particularly between the former LTTE politics and the present TNA although there are on and off parallels or similarities. They may or must have emerged from the same socio-political contexts. After all are we not going to utilize the contradictions within Tamil politics or any politics for that matter for the purposes of dialectical development? As revealed by the credible attempts to revive the LTTE again, there is as a major need to win over the moderate Tamils for a rational solution.

To the credit of Dayan, it should be mentioned that he prefaced his critique highlighting two alleged blunders, on the part of the government and tried to strike a balance between the two sides in his criticism. Perhaps I would have done differently, keeping quiet on the unknown security matter and being milder on Wigneswaran. His criticism or questioning of Wigneswaran, however, was mentioned as the ‘flip side’ and also admitted that he himself advocated “much the same” in late 1970s.

The central question which arose however as a result of Dayan’s criticism is: how do we identify or define a nation in Sri Lanka or in any other country for that matter? His main argument was, unfortunately based on an erroneous population percentage, to refute or question Wigneswaran’s main proposition that the “Tamil speaking peoples of Sri Lanka constitute a nation from an objective standpoint and consider themselves to constitute a nation.”

It may be the case that certain components or propositions within that statement or other statements could be considered inconsistent or even counterfactual but that is not a reason to refute or reject Tamils in Sri Lanka as a nation. These inconsistencies are common in identifying any ‘nation’ in the world today including the Sinhalese. It should be understood that what was published was a manuscript of a political speech and not a manifesto or a political discourse. It is important that Wigneswaran identified the language as the main objective criteria recognizing what we normally called ‘ethnicity.’ However, when ‘religion’ is taken into account the picture or the political chemistry differs.

Dayan does not have any objection to identify Tamils as an ethnicity or ethnic community but his difficulty is about according the status of a ‘nation,’ yet based on a population criteria. In my opinion and according to studies what converts an ethnicity into a ‘nation’ is not primarily the size or the percentage of population but politics. The size or the percentage might become at issue when the recognition is concerned, national or international. In this respect, the percentage might be more inaccurate than the size of the population. Take the example of the Tibetans in China. They constitute only around 0.5 percent of the total population but if we disregard their national claims based on that percentage it might be a gross injustice. At the same time it is true that without a sizable population the conversion also might not be possible whatever the claims, historical or political. The Tibetans are around 6.5 million.

It is not only one ethnicity that can create a nation. A nation can be composed of several ethnicities or ‘sub-nations’ if there is necessary threshold of political consensus. A shared heritage or common history, as in the case of Sri Lanka, also can be an added ingredient for different ethnicities to come together. Here we are talking about the term nation in two meanings. First is a ‘political or civic nation’ defined primarily by political criteria and second an ‘ethnic or cultural nation,’ defined primarily by sociological criteria. We sometimes get confused about the two. There are over 7,000 distinct ethnic communities in the world today but there are only 193 recognized political nations or nation states under the UN system.

The states or political nations that are primarily based on one ethnicity do not number more than a dozen. Even within them there are small minorities. Multi-ethnic or multi-national (in the ethnic sense) living is the reality. As a former Secretary General of the UN, Boutros Boutros-Ghali once emphasized (Agenda for Peace, 1992), if all the distinct cultural communities ask for separate states, the world would be unmanageable in terms of global security and peace. Since then, of course there have been new breakaways, even sanctioned by the UN, but those have not resolved the problems of ethnicity or ethnic conflicts in any tangible manner. The creation of separate states is not feasible in some cases, and quite unnecessary in most of the others.

People obviously differ in identifying the ‘national question’ in Sri Lanka or elsewhere. That depends on one’s ideology or approach and also the context within which that identification or definition is explored. Talking about the ‘national question,’ the way that we have been discussing the problem in Sri Lanka, has been largely determined by the Marxian or more correctly Leninist lexicon. That is however not the only way to do so although it is very much better than the pure nationalist approaches on the question.

As stated before, Wigneswaran defined the national question as the “question that has arisen on account of the non-recognition of nations in Sri Lanka.” That is obviously one way of defining it and there is nothing much to contradict it. When I was writing on the “Two Dimensions of the National Question” in June 2012, I characterized the second or the internal dimension of the national question as the “Tamil national question or the national question of the minorities particularly of the Tamils and the Muslims” and also stated that “as ethnic nations or national groups in society, they rightfully aspire for national equality in many spheres and denial of them has led, on the part of the Tamils, to demand ‘autonomy,’ ‘federalism’ (internal self-determination) and ‘separation’ (external self-determination).” There is nothing much difference between his definition and my definition, even if we take his argument about the ‘two nations’ also into consideration.

But previously, I have interpreted the (internal) national question in Sri Lanka (see “Sri Lanka’s Predicament: Ethno Nationalism versus Civic Nationalism,” 2007) differently as the “failure of Sri Lanka to build a consensual political or a civic nation going beyond, while recognizing, the ethnic or cultural nations.” This definition may be more overarching and more acceptable than we define the problem narrowly in highlighting the negative aspects. In this broader definition, the responsibilities are highlighted both on the part of the majority as well as the minorities in resolving Sri Lanka’s national question.

I do owe a reply, belatedly though, to Dayan to his more specific questioning of the feasibility of the recognition of ‘Tamils as a nation’ in Sri Lanka and also conceptualizing, in his opinion, how to resolve the national or the ethnic question. Let me first consider the most crucial question/s that he has posed.

Can any democratic political party in the island’s South, ranging from the UNP to the JVP, be convinced into recognizing the Sri Lankan Tamils of the North and East as a nation? If not, isn’t the Chief Minister’s very definition of the problem such that it precludes a solution?

Although I cannot read the mind of the Chief Minister, as far as I can understand, he raises a valid question of equality between the ethnic communities, however falling far short of recognizing the same equality for the Muslim community. One merit of Leninist approach to the national question at the beginning of the 20th century had been to take the ‘equality and the language’ question as central whatever the other rigidities in terms of linking a nation necessarily to a claim for a separate state or self-determination in that sense.

I think we should take the national question in Sri Lanka in the same spirit, minus the rigidity or mechanical connection between the ‘nation and secession.’ Whatever the good norms that the UN has developed on minority rights, while I do appreciate and advocate them, they have not reached the ‘Leninist heights’ in terms of the political aspects of the minority question or the national question in general. By the way, Lenin was basing himself on ‘bourgeoisie’ experiences and particularly of Switzerland. We can do the same today.

One way of resolving the national question and ending the confrontation is to recognize the Sinhalese, the Tamils and the Muslims as equal ‘cultural nations’ constituting the democratic ‘political nation’ of Sri Lanka. There is no question that the formulations in the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord are useful principles in bridging the understanding between the communities if they are properly acted upon. However, they are not enough. The notion of ‘cultural nations’ is not my own but I am borrowing from Hugh Seton-Watson (Nations and States) although I am not in a position to quote him at present.

What is a cultural nation? In essence it is what we understand as Jati. Don’t we call Sinhalese, Tamils and also Muslims as Jati? We do. A cultural nation is a group of people based on language, tradition, culture or religion who consider themselves to be distinct and equal in dignity and rights to other cultural nations in a political nation. Equality here does not mean quantitative equality but qualitative equality. The recognition of cultural nations in Sri Lanka does not also negate the history of the country but instead it reinforces the healthy traditions of the past.

The recognition of cultural nations resonate the traditions of South Asia. The Indo-Lanka Accord in fact went a long way in resurrecting that tradition but today it may require certain additions. It was Prithvi Narayan Shah, who united Nepal in the mid-19th century that characterized Nepal as a “flower garden of thirty two Jatis and four Varnas.” It is a similar harmonious ‘flower garden’ that Sri Lanka needs to grow with equal rights to each and every cultural nation.

Whether this kind of a recognition of Tamils and Muslims along with the Sinhalese as ‘equal cultural nations’ will be acceptable by the democratic political parties in the South (SLFP, UNP and JVP) and whether this recognition is suffice to satisfy the aspirations of particularly the Tamils are yet to be seen. Recognition of equality is however a major task of democracy or democratization in Sri Lanka.

Related posts to this debate;

Related posts;

Brother Bernard And The National Question by C.V. Wigneswaran

Wigneswaran’s ‘Two Nations’ & The State’s Two Blunders by Dayan Jayatilleka

Reading Against The Grain: Notes On Wigneswaran’s Speech On The National Question by Mahendran Thiruvarangan

Response To Mahendran Thiruvarangan On The CM’s Chinthana by Dayan Jayatilleka

Should Minorities Remain Minority Forever? A Response To Dayan Jayatilleka’s Response by Mahendran Thiruvarangan

Minority As Nation: The Politics Of Collective Delusion – Rejoinder To Mahendran Thiruvarangan by Dayan Jayatilleka

Bernard, Doric, MD Banda Centenaries And Wigneswaran’s Commemoration Speech By Rajan Philips

Tamil Perspective: Dangerous And Genocidal Dayange Chinthanaya By Usha S Sri-Skanda-Rajah 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 7
    1

    The presentation of the Sinhala and Tamil New Year rituals time table known as ‘Nekath Seettuwa’ to the President took place at Carlton House, Tangalle on Thursday morning (10 April). The event took place under the guidance of the Cultural Affairs Ministry.but the question is do you really deserve to talk about cultures? Do you have a credibility talk about cultures? You would not have been fighting since the independence, if you do really admire and love cultures. Look at India; it has got 1.2 billion people, plus many languages and religions. But you have only two languages and three religions, with 20 million people, but fighting like animals. Don’t you think you are the least evolved people in Asia? During the final phase of the war thousands of people have been killed. No remorse whatsoever, there wasn’t any mourning day for the people who have died during the war. But the people were dancing and celebrating. It shows your hatred towards your fellow countrymen. How can you call yourselves Buddhists while supporting the regime who killed thousands of innocent people? It takes two to tango; I say this to Tamils and Sinhalese. Do not act as you are perfect while fighting since 1948. Since the conclusion of the civil war the Rajapaksa regime had enough ample time to recruit intellectual to strengthen its brain force to deal with many issues, but it didn’t. Cooperating with India, dealing with resettlements, and collaborating with Tamil diaspora to develop the North and East are few aspects of many issues, but most of the issues are unaddressed or handled poorly. I don’t want the West to intrude into the Indian Ocean under Tamils’ issues, but we need someone within our region to sort out the Sri Lanka’s internal problem which can’t be fixed by the Rajapaksas.

    The BBS must be banned; it is becoming more and more radical organisation. I have not seen or heard any Buddha’s teaching in its actions. Gnanasara verbally abused the monk at the press conference venue and when the Muslim Cleric attempted to intervene he was also verbally abused. The BBS said that a Buddhist has no right to speak on behalf of Muslims and threatened to disrobe the Venerable Watarekke Vijitha Thero in front of the media. “Shut up,” the Venerable Galaboda Aththe Gnanasara thero kept shouting at the Muslim cleric and others when they attempted to express their views. The incident took place in the presence of police officers who stood there but did not intervene. Once the BBS members and supporters left the venue the police escorted the Venerable Watarekke Vijitha Thero out of the venue – Colombo Gazette. “Ten former PSD personnel in prison for harassing Rukantha and Chandralekha were released from prison following a Presidential pardon” – AD. “In 2008 there were 914 rape cases of victims under the age of 18 reported while in 2012 it had risen to 1,808 cases says Child Development and Women’s Affairs Minister, Tissa Karaliyadda. Responding to a question in Parliament the Minister said the total number of rape cases of victims under 18 reported from the year 2008 to 2012 was 6,195. It was also stated in parliament that there is a delay in conviction procedure regarding rape cases and young victims only hear of their cases in Court after they are married. It was stated the victims are already married by the time the conviction process is taking up.” – Lanka Truth. The criminals don’t get punished under the Rajapaksa regime. This is a wonder of Asia under the Rajapaksa criminals. They are deliberately delaying the conviction procedures to save the Rajapaksa supporters. Whatever goes around comes around. Eventually everything will come and haunt the Rajapaksa brothers.

    I have lived in four continents; I have visited more than ten Asians countries. But when I was visited Sri Lanka in 2012 I felt I was among the lowest in this earth. How can I blame the public? The people are trained by the politicians to hate others and cast their votes to foolish politicians. President Rajapaksa has been in politics since 1970; he knows very well how to fool the majority. He can pitch far better than others when it comes to an election. This is a downside of the democracy; if the people are not smart then the politician will be laughing forever. President Rajapaksa won’t have the majority votes if we take 1000 political intellectuals to cast their votes. The West has developed its knowledge for the last 700 years; therefore the people in the West have some idea about what is going on. But in Sri Lanka the majority have no idea; in this case the democracy can damage the country than doing good to the people and the country. This is one of the reasons the West is so keen to implement democracy in the developing countries. For me, revolution wouldn’t work without a genuine evolution. The true evolution comes from good education, learning new languages and cultures, traveling around the country, region and the world, general knowledge etc.

    The government presented a supplementary estimate to Parliament for Rs.5 billion that includes buying high security vehicles for the security of VVIPs. According to sources the high security vehicles for the security of VVIPs are for the use of the President, Parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa, Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Minister Basil Rajapaksa and several close associates of the President – Source LT. The terrorism is over, why do they need high security vehicles? It is clear that the Rajapaksa regime is losing votes; enemies are increasing; therefore, they need more protection. They are preparing to take the path of North Korea. It will get ugly; if the regime initiates its own domestic enquiry or international mechanism to investigate charges of war crimes and human rights violations in Sri Lanka. Therefore, the regime will not investigate the war crimes at all, but will take the North Korea’s path. The regime didn’t plan wisely to addresses the issues during and after the war. Inability to deal with the Tamils’ issues and India were the main reasons for the war, yet the regime has not addressed those main issues since the end of war in 2009. Therefore, the worse is yet to come for Sri Lankans and Indians. I have written a detail letter to the Indian government why the Rajapaksa regime must be removed sooner than later. I will forward the letter to the newly elected government after the India’s election.

    • 7
      1

      You talk about their plans in the post war periods, today, as no other devleoping countries would do, srilanken president abuse people funds. I have read somewhere, even to handle his drug trafficking men being away from police custody, MR himself used the helicopter to reach the place. It was just few months back – drug trafficker but a politician of his UPFA coalition was caught by police for his illegal businesses, but country 1st citizen risk it betraying entire nation.
      Nevertheless, people were however made fools to grab their votes in order to win his men in lately held provincial council elections. Latter, the westerners would never grasp – though srilankens in general feel that now they belong to a mid income earning country, some would quickly get hurt if you would call them a poor nation :(

  • 4
    9

    “To recognize the Sinhalese, the Tamils and the Muslims as equal ‘cultural nations’ constituting the democratic ‘political nation’ of Sri Lanka…”? Hello Dr Fernando, hello… it is already morning, please wake up…! Are you dreaming again…? Oh no…

    • 7
      1

      To recoginize every citizen of the island as equal, they the authorities could do very easily, if their hearts are genuine with the issue. Not two days ago, Muslim fellow citizens were publicly attacked by all derogotory terms like (you marrakal, thambi, animal killing muslims etc) not respecting them clearly. This cant be just one person´s act. There should be powerful men behind Ghanasara- the pseudo monk with thuggish nature who were about to physically assault the buddhist monk, who behave very gentle, even if accusations are there him to have been tamed by funds offered by muslims to stand on the side of them.

  • 6
    3

    Socialist nations such as Yugoslavia by recognizing nations within the territory contributed to the unity of the country: When socialism fell the cement holding the nations also gave way; the result is the history of now independent nations.

    Enlightened leaders should implement the good features of socialism for the unity and peace of Sri Lanka: If the leaders believe in the supremacy of the majority result may be similar to now defunct Yugoslavia or other countries that fell apart.

    • 0
      0

      Thiru: What are good features of socialism you have in mind?

  • 2
    1

    The fundamental problem in resolving the National question is the concept of Majority. When we talk Sri Lanka as a Nation or State we don’t talk about majority of Sri lankan, we talk about about Sinhalese as majority in Sri Lanka. There is a significant difference between majority of Sri lankan and majority of Sinhalese in Sri lanka. The characteristic of state should be equal rights to all Sri Lankans. There is a common law, common justice and there should not be any race or religion or language. When it comes to race, religion and language then it comes to grouping or clustering. Grouping or clustering is a useful scientific method to identify the needs of each group and allocate resources to maximize the benefits.

  • 2
    9

    Tamils are a minority in Sri Lanka, FACT. Their rights are guaranteed by the constitution, as equal to those of ALL OTHERS, FACT. Some Tamils are unable to accept this fact, as they want MORE, more than is rightfully theirs. They are trying to rewrite history in order to justify their demands, and the politician Wigneswaran is not against the idea. In the comments section below another article appearing today, we see Muttiah Muralitharan, a Sri Lankan adored by the masses, reviled as a hill country Dalit by his false cousins in the North, who found it convenient to use them when playing the numbers game in the past. How pathetic.

    • 6
      2

      In Sri Lanka, the history is already twisted many centuries ago and sealed. What we have is not history but his-story (Ven. Mahanama’s story). Today the myth has become the truth/fact and if anybody tries to undo the twist (after enormous amount of new discoveries) he/she will be considered an unpatriotic traitor or even a terrorist supporter. Some of the new archaeological discoveries (artefacts) which are not in favour of the Mahavamsa mythology are either hidden (not allowed to reveal the facts) or they are made to disappear by none other than the governing authorities in order to keep the majority community happy.

      • 0
        0

        History as written by the Buddhist monks, may not be palatable to some, but they were the only men of letters at the time. They wrote the history as they saw it. The attempt to replace written history with fantasy is to be deprecated. Modifying a name here and changing a name there in order to give it some validity does not wash.

  • 1
    4

    I agree too. Its not a bad idea.

  • 2
    0

    “Socialist nations such as Yugoslavia by recognizing nations within the territory…the result is the history of now independent nations”. And then he says, “If the leaders believe in the supremacy of the majority result may be similar to now defunct Yugoslavia or other countries that fell apart.” – Totally contradictory.

    Typical hymie prescription! This is how they try to spoil the unity and integrity of countries the world over, to divide them and get tribal control under the mythical belief that the tribe is “God chosen” to lead humanity.

    We will make sure that the Forum will fail in Sri Lanka!

  • 1
    0

    Here are two links how GAG behaved some times back

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AB-b0a6Fug0

    http://www.adaderana.lk/news/video-gnanasara-and-vijitha-theros-need-psychological-help-dilan

    I agree with Dilan Perera here though I don t like the his person as one powerful voice of UPFA, but he is right that the message is rayed to UNHRC day before yesterday, that muslims are even more attacked today than in the past.

  • 2
    0

    GAG´s behaviour (Galabodaaththe Ghanasara) is very unique to him, I believe his frustration is very similar to the incident in which two men were hurt by cutting off own genitals
    —-

    Published on Friday, 11 April 2014 18:59 A man found on the road at Wanguwa on Dambulla-Kurunegala main road with his genitals cut off has died in hospital.

    Police had gone to the scene on a tip off to emergency no. 119 in the early hours of today (11) and discovered the man with wounds caused by a sharp instrument.

    Aged between 45 and 50 years of age, he died after admission to Dambulla Hospital, said police spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana.

    Meanwhile, a 24-year-old married man has been hospitalized due to injuries caused after he cut his own genitals.

    The man’s wife has told police that he was a mentally-ill person.

  • 0
    3

    I am afraid that Laksiri Fernando’s rationality and erudition has failed to capture the imagination of the masses. All the responses so far are out of focus.

  • 1
    0

    The mere mention of the word nations will evoke negative reactions from many people. So it is a non-starter. We can learn from the Malaysian model and the present slogan ‘One Malaysia, One People’.

    A publication by Shamsul AB of UKM https://www.academia.edu/1113674/Many_ethnicities_many_cultures_one_nation_the_Malaysian_experience is titled

    Many ethnicities, many cultures, one nation: the Malaysian experience

    “It was some 39 years ago, on May 13 of 1969, that anopen and bloody ethnic conflict broke out in KualaLumpur, the capital of Malaysia. Ethnic violence also occurred in a few other locations but away from Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia at that the time was a plural society created by British colonial economic policies, with a population of 56 percent Malay Muslims, 35 percent Chinese Malaysians, 8 percent Indian Malaysians and one percent Others. These percentages are not much different from the population’s ethnic composition today. The ethnic diversity is significantly complicated by other form of diversities, namely, cultural, religious,regional, political orientation and economic activity.

    Although the conflict was localized and successfully contained, the aftermath was felt throughout the country. It was the severest test of ethnic relations in post- Merdeka (post-Independence)Malaysia. It became a watershed event in the political and sociological analyses of Malaysian society, and inthe consciousness of individual Malaysians, because itwas so traumatic. It conscientized people and mostimportantly, it redefined the perceptions of our ethnic relations in our country and changed their dynamics.”

    Today a OneMalysia vision is being implemented under PM Najib Razaq.

    I came across a paper titled ‘ONE NATION, ONE PEOPLE
    From 1Malaysia to 1Sri Lanka ‘ To the peoples of Malaysia and Sri Lanka, united in a quest for national unity by Salma Yusuf a Human Rights lawyer based in Sri Lanka under the auspicies of 1Malysia Foundation.

    http://site.yayasan1malaysia.org/Clients/yayasan1malaysia/one%20nation,%20one%20people%20-from%201malaysia%20to%201sri%20lanka_%20salma%20yusuf.pdf

    It is time that our leaders take note of the problems besotting the nation and come up with solutions based on such broad concepts. No longer can we keep shouting for our pound of flesh. When there are success stories such as Malaysia there is no need to keep stirring the pot to see if a home made broth will emerge.

    May I take this opportunity to wish all our Sinhala and Tamil readers and comentators, CT and its contributors a Happy Sinhala and Tamil New Year.

  • 0
    1

    D.S.A. Gunaratne,

    Successive governments and extreme elements in our country, have provided us a blurred/ distorted vision. A very decent people with a very acute sense of what is right, have been made to see things wrongly. The people believe what they see, hear and read. They are obviously not taught to think and question. The comments you refer are a ascribable to this unfortunate national phenomenon.

    Prof. Laksiri is spot on in defining the problem and the solution. Some politicians in the UPFA have also articulated this concept recently. They have advised the government to act in term of the nation and an all encompassing nationalism. I understand this to mean that they want the government to act on behalf of all citizens and communities that are components of the Sri Lankan nation and ont on the basis of a majoritarian Sinhala- Buddhist sectarian nationalism.

    Dr.Rajajsingham Narendran

    • 1
      0

      Laksiri’s vision doesn’t win elections, unfortunately !

      • 0
        0

        Dev,

        Because we have not been led by those with vision, we are where we are. We need leaders to take us towards a vision, not politicians who are bent on winning elections hook or by crook. Hitler, the rabble rouser, led the Germans to national self destruction, while Mohandas Gandhi led India into not only independence, but a journey of self discovery and spiritual awakening while forging an overarching national identity. India is continuing that forward journey of self discovery to this day, whereas we are sinking in a deepening quagmire.

        Dr. RN

  • 3
    1

    D. S. A. Gunaratne

    Are you alright!!!

    What is your meaningless gibberish???

    Have you gone out of focus???

  • 0
    0

    Let me begin by announcing that I only wish to join the conversation, not debate Dr. Laksiri Fernando.

    My intention is to bring order to the discussion.

    Let me look at addressing Wigneswaran. ‘Justice-Chief Minister’ may be an anachronism, but not Chief Minister, Justice Wigneswaran.

    Justice Wigneswaran chose to discuss the ‘national question’. Yes, it was Tamil national question that CVW chose to address. This Question will always have meaning in the lives of LF, RP, DJ, and the rest of us.

    Tamils take offence at the argument that SL being defined as a Unit of two nations escalates the political conflict in the direction of separatism. This claim is a subterfuge to undermine Tamil rights.

    Tamils are a nation within SL, to the extent that Sinhalese are. There is nothing hidden in this claim of Tamils to bring separatism into the discussion.

    Dayan may not object to identifying Tamils as an ethnic community, but, Tamils have. Defining Tamils as an ethnic community of SL is total misrepresentation of our history and our status.

    Unintentionally perhaps, by moving in the direction of ‘the national question of the minorities particularly of the Tamils and the Muslims’, you Dr. Laksiri Fernando add fuel into the fire. This is not healthy.

    From where arises the notion that Tamil national question could be placed beside any claim of the Muslims. That makes the rest of the writing lose relevance.

  • 0
    0

    If the President can get the Constitutional Amendment 18 through the Parliament within a very short period, it will be much easier for him to get a new amendment to the Constitution for the following changes:

    1. All religions have equal right in Sri Lanka – not a single religion has any special mention or place above the other religions.

    2. All languages spoken have equal right in Sri Lanka. There should be three official languages.

  • 0
    0

    Prof. LK your solution has been in place then and even today….
    What hampers it is that the Diasspora with Western interest, NGOs and the church are pursuing a hidden agenda at the expense of a non existence Tamil cause.

    Further, the diasspora are attempting equate the status of Tamils in Sri lanka and in the World to that of the JEWS.

    There is no such solution for acts that contain such malice.
    Diasspora has come to the conclusion the SL Tamils are expendable is there for them to ride on into a better future.

  • 1
    3

    Look like old age is bothering.

    ISlam is a religon, muslim is ARAB culture. Tamil Is a language. Both the Tamil and Malayali are very similar languages. Migrated malayalis talk Tamil.

    Fernando, wants foreign cultures to be naturalized.

    • 0
      0

      Haven’t you adopted a lot of western culture. sinhalese are the first one to adopt names from western culture like Solomon, William, Percy, Basil etc. etc. what about the dress and the food?

  • 1
    1

    Dear Laksiri Fernando –

    RE: Recognition Of Sinhalese, Tamils And Muslims As Equal Cultural Nations Might Be A Solution.

    What we see are the repercussions of of NOT separating Church, Temple and Mosque and State.

    That is the reason why USA, France and Turkey are ahead.

    Until religion is separated from the state, as Thomas Jefferson identified, there will be conflict, as one religion will try to impose their hegemony on others.

  • 0
    1

    The killing of Tamils who were allegedly trying to revive the LTTE completely destroys the GOSL’s argument that the NE has returned to. The shooting was done not by the policy but by members of the army, after a cordon and search operation that was also performed by the army. The NE is still clearly under martial law. The argument against international intervention on the grounds that Sri Lanka is now in a post conflict phase is now invalid. The conflict endures: the SLA is still killing insurgents in the NE.
     
    This takes on more significance since it is likely that the OHCHR will appoint the investigative body and make public the terms of reference early next week to coincide with the Sinhalese New Year. Just like they did with the Secretary General’s panel of experts, they will announce it when all the trouble makers have left the Capitol.

    • 1
      0

      Hick hick hick! “Patriot” seems to be under extreme distress after Gobi’s death. Now he argues, Gobi should have been killed by police instead of Army! Wow, that’s an interesting thought. Was Osama killed by NYPD? Don’t worry we may not have seen the last of him yet.

      • 2
        1

        “Gobi” is a block buster “film” produced and directed by the ruling elite!!! All the Sri Lankan people with a little intelligence knows this. Unortunately in this film the actors got killed. Since they are Tamils, the producers will not be prosecuted. No one has the couraage to open their mouth to express their feelings. About sixty odd people were arrested and tortured in the filming process. These people will languish in jail for a long time. The producers might win an “Oscar” for this production!!

      • 0
        1

        Narvin:
        Sometime when people think to himself their own baffles, it make lot of sense to them. When they put it out it look utter funny to others. Sri Lanka using army to kill its own people, on its own land. Osama is not an American. He was not living with in the city limit of New York City. Believe me, I guarantee you he did not even come New York. He was living in Pakistan. This is not a matter for NYPD. This a matter for Navy Seals. An enemy combatant is not entitled of the rights to obtain trials, or treatment an American citizen could be able to obtain. This is the American law. I do not think that you want to put the Tamils as enemy combatants and recognize the Tamils Eelam that they are asking for.

        King goverment playing hide and seek if somebody ask of what happened to LTTE leader.

        Rupavahini Showed remains of Pirapakaran. But, when Indian Internal Minister Chidambaram wanted the Death Certificate, Gotha showed all run around. Osama’s fourth wife was in the Compound, in the building. She tried to protect her lover, from the shoot out. She gave her own account to Pakistanis government. Pakistan blamed Navy Seals, for entering its territory without its permission, to kill Osama. Now, Al Qaeda accepts their leader was killed by America, in Pakistan.

        Please do not compare the Kings governments clownish action with any other Nation’s action in the world. If you did not understand what Patriot was trying say, you may read it again, now. I am sure it will be easy for you now.

  • 0
    0

    Dr. Laksiri Fernando:

    This is a good article.

    However, why do you only mention Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims? Why did you leave out the Burger community? Also what is the meaning of lumping together upcountry Tamils with Sri Lankan Tamils?

    Since you mention that there has been a credible attempt to revive the LTTE, it is appropriate to highlight that until Gobi’s capture, Wigneswaran maintained the position that Gobi was a hoax cooked up by the defense establishment to suppress Tamils. They sold this line to UN and the West who readily accepted it. If Wigneswaran has any integrity, he must admit his mistake and resign. If not he is yet another cheap politician.

    • 1
      3

      Navin

      Gota had already sold you a non existent second hand car.

      Since you are driven by your paranoia and hatred for people Gota does not have even attempt to sell it to you. You are ever ready and willing to buy anything that you thing a best bargain if it comes from the state, ruling clan, and bigot like you.

      Get a life, let the people get a life, lets not Gota’s stupid tactics ruin this island.

  • 0
    1

    The highly educated Tamils had Anton to explain their cause and the Sinhalese need one too. Gladly Dayan is around to present thier cause with a cocktail of Gramincian,Marxist logic grounded on Sinhala paranoia and inability recognize that the world is made of nations that are plural and multicultural. But Tamils were smart not to go into the elaquant llogic of Anton. Mainly because he supported the cause. Surprise to see Laksiri squandering his mental energy on the critique of this well known and much loved gymnast.

  • 1
    0

    Navin

    You are right, I agree with you.

    Mr.Wigneswaran is no more a judge and he is a politician and I will afford him the proper title Mr.Wigneswaren and it is a misnomer to call him Justice.

    Mr.Wigneswaren was continuing to maintain Gopi was a hoax cooked up by the govt. to suppress the Tamil and now he should be ashamed to admit the truth.If he positions himself to be above the level of Sri Lankan cheap politician I am sure he will tender his apology and submit his resignation. If he does not he should stop his claims to super intellectual and extra ordinary qualities which qualities he was consciously or unconsciously presenting in his speeches throughout.

    igneswaran continued to maintain that Gopi

  • 1
    1

    Dr.Fernando:

    First of all and all be it belatedly may I wish you a speedy recovery if you have already had your surgery and this is something l learned by eavesdropping on Dayan.

    But to comment to on your article I wish to say that you are trying to defend the undefendable. Dayan is a prisoner of his own prejudice and it doenst matter how hard he tries he cannot rise above it. We have been over this question of Tamils and Sihalese living together for the last 64 years and it will never work. As a minority we would have accepted a Federal form Of Government but it was obvious that the Majority will nenver accede to that and I am sorry to say that this is an Inborn error of the Majority which I call Racism.
    You are a tiny minority and your voice will not be heard and we cannot have a change from within and change has to be forced from outside.
    Things are moving in the right direction and I am confident that the Tamil fortunes will change after the elctions in India.
    Whether the Sinhalese like it or not the only Nation that can make it happen is India.
    I look foraward a BJP Government with Miss.Jeyalalitha as King maker or the Queen herself.
    Once we have dealt with the question of Accountabilty we can talk about Nationhood and we can beigin the process of healing. We cannot move on until those who are guilty of the terrible crimes against Humanity have been punished.
    Just as a final point if proof was ever needed as to why MR is not Genuine about dealing the issue of Tamil rights we have seen it from the desperate attempt by GOSL to invent Gobi and LTTE revival which was a figment of their immagination. The so called terrorists are people who were working with the army but they were sacrificed to divert the impending inquiry by UNHCR. How pathetic.

  • 0
    0

    What rights are given to “cultural nations”, Is there guarantee of political rights. Are there rights to control their own business, education and police. I do not think wso. It will be a farce. Once again the rabid Sinhala-Buddhists will control and rule the minorities with iron fist.

  • 0
    0

    The attempt BY SINHALA BUDDHISTS – NOT TAMILS – to construct a Sinhala Buddhist State at the doorstep of a multi ethnic “secular” south asian subcontinent has not got us anywhere. It is time that these MODA SINHALAYAS ruling classes, political elites, religious leaders, ACADEMICS, corporate sector, the leaders of civil society and all morons who think that a Sinhala Buddhist State can be constructed on this island admitted that this is an unworkable proposition and APPOLOGISED to the minorities who have suffered as a result and THANKED them for having so stubbornly and rightly RESISTED this madness for over two generations. Once all the morons especially the two biggest morons CHANDRIKA and RANIL are ready to APPOLOGISE to the minorities and THANK them for resisting the madness THEN the path to the construction of a COSMOPOLITAN platform (on which Sinhalese can learn Tamil and Tamils can learn Sinhalese and both had better learn English if they with to benefit from the islands relationship to the rest of the world) that is the entrepot to south asis and much else that can THEN be spoken of, will be open.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 300 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically shut off on articles after 10 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.