20 October, 2017

Sri Lanka Has A 2600 Year-Old Culture?

By Sharmini Serasinghe

Sharmini Serasinghe

Sharmini Serasinghe

If what has become of Sri Lanka today is the legacy of a “2600-year old culture”, might we have been better off without any culture at all?

Ever so often we hear the famous cliché ‘dropped’ by our politicians- “………Sri Lanka’s 2600-year old culture……….” It is a sine qua non statement repeated ad nauseam at many a public and political forum (the most recent being CHOGM) to add ‘weight’ or to perhaps impress otherwise empty utterances. This is obviously done solely to awe the audience, especially a foreign one.

I recall, as an impressionable young girl, when Sri Lanka’s first Executive President J.R. Jayewardene made his State Visit to the USA during Ronald Reagan’s tenure as US President. In his televised address on the South Lawn of the White House, JRJ casting aside his noblesse oblige referred to the United States as “a country with only a 200-year old history, while Sri Lanka’s was over 2500 years old”!

This ‘casual’ or ‘calculated’ remark (with JRJ one never knew) has remained with me to date. To me even then, this ipse dixit remark reeked of an acute inferiority complex and I felt utterly embarrassed on his behalf.

For us Sri Lankans, we have heard this old-hat too often and, therefore it has no effect. But to an outsider hearing these words “Sri Lanka’s 2600-year old culture” and seeing for themselves how this “Buddhist culture” has shaped this country’s fortunes/misfortunes, it must be truly mindboggling!

Within such a context they must also see that the citizenry of this “Buddhist Country” are not all Sinhalese or Buddhists. There are Tamils, Muslims, Burghers, Hindus, Christians, Moslems and others, who also call this country their motherland. They too are a significant part of the rich cultural and historical fabric of this country. But yet, they are regarded and treated as the ‘other’, ‘occupants’ or ‘guests’ of this “Buddhist Country”.

Dubious claims 

According to dubious claims by those, perhaps, with an overactive imagination, this is a “Buddhist Country”, because it was chosen by the Buddha himself, over and above all others, to foster and perpetuate his wisdom through the Dhamma. There is no proof of this claim but yet, it is claimed!

To those outsiders who know and understand the Theravada teachings of the Buddha, it must indeed be strange to see how this “Buddhist Country” with a “2600-year old culture” actually practices those teachings. It must appear to them, that there is little understanding of the noble teachings of the Buddha!

They see Buddhist monks or Bhikkus– the living symbols of this so called “culture and history of 2600 years” not quite abiding by the rules of the Vinaya. The caste system, denounced by the Buddha himself, thrives amongst the prominent Buddhist clergy in this “Buddhist Country” through different Nikayas. They travel and live in luxury. They have also crowned themselves as guardians of this unique brand of Buddhism practiced only in Sri Lanka.

At this point, I recall a virtual life-changing incident for me as a child of a single-digit age. My grand-mother in Kandy held an alms-giving on a grand scale at our ancestral home. All the ‘bigwig’ Buddhist prelates from all the Nikayas arrived. Suddenly there irrupted a commotion; the bigwigs from the ‘bigwig’ Nikayas refused to partake of alms together with the prelates of the ‘lower’ Nikayas. The entire household was thrown into a quandary, but peace was restored when ‘special arrangements’ were made to accommodate the ‘lower Nikayas’ separately. This is how I learnt of the repugnant caste system in Sri Lanka- courtesy Buddhist monks!

Also in this “Buddhist Country” which holds such rich claims to the Buddha and his teachings, one would expect to notice tolerance and compassion reign supreme. Alas, one sees the exact opposite.

There can be found, saffron-clad persons masquerading as Buddhist monks, running amok with impunity causing chaos, spewing venom at the ‘other’. Then there are also political leaders of this “Buddhist country” using the human dignity of its citizenry, as door-mats to wipe their feet on.

Perhaps all this would not stand out like a sore thumb, if the trumpets of “Sri Lanka’s 2600-year old culture” were not blown so loud!

Symbols of Culture 

Of course if one were to go by some of the fantasy stories contained in the Mahavamsa, and if data relating to archeological findings are accurate, then we have an ancient culture of a great many historical symbols- massive feats of engineering and construction genius, artistically carved stone etc.

But can culture be measured only by these impressive material symbols? Alas in Sri Lanka it is so, and continues to be so. The term “culture” in the broader sense – in relation to the quality of life afforded equally to all the people of this land cannot be found. It may never be found!

Perhaps this wonderful country might have been better off, had it been blessed instead of a “2600-year old culture with “cultured” political leaders, endowed with wisdom and a selfless vision for the greater good of the land, and all its people. For, as things stand and as they are, what use have we for this “2600-year old culture”? What has it given us in tangible terms and in ways that matter to us the most?

Perhaps it is time, for the public faces of our country- our political leaders in particular- to stop trumpeting the highly questionable claim of “Sri Lanka’s 2600-year old culture”. But as things are and the way they stand, this is but a dream!

Alas, ours is today but a land sodden by blood and tears of its people, as hypocrisy reigns supreme!

*Sharmini Serasinghe was Director Communications of the former Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP) under Secretary Generals Dr. John Gooneratne and Jayantha Dhanapala. She counts over thirty years in journalism in both the print and electronic media.

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  • 2
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    SHARMINI’s [Edited out]

    SHARMINI should talk how in former YUGOSLAVIA how Christians and muslims massacred each other. Sharmini Should remember how some where in Africa some two tribes of the Same country Rwanda- Hutu and Tutsis massacred each other.

    I read else where, That LTTE was responsible for ONE THIRD OF ALL THE SUICIDE BOMBINGS HAPPENED in Sri Lanka. LTTE attacked so many Buddhist temples. Yet, Buddhists did not think of killing tamils the way how Christians and MUSLIMS KILLED EACH OTHER IN FORMER YUGOSLAVIA or how Hutus killed their neighbour Tutsis Rwanda.

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      You are frightened of your own shadow while

      the shadow carries the author and is the only friend.

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      ADDENDUM to what I wrote:

      If we were Christians or Muslims as they were in Bosnia -Herzegovina or in Rwanda we could have massacred every Tamil. It is our 2600 old discipline that we escaped that and saved ourselves and not the Tamils. If we did that there would not be any Tamils left to continue NPC or the number of Tamils would not be sufficient for the International community to install another country in Sri Lanka.

      So, Sharmini think. English knowledge alone is not sufficient to be smart.

    • 4
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      Softy,

      Don’t go off the rails.

      This article is about Sri Lanka ONLY!

    • 1
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      Softy,

      Don’t go off the rails.

      This article is about Sri Lanka ONLY!

  • 5
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    168 responses to your essay within a matter of 48 hrs,including that of Fathima Fukushima,though not relevant.This proves that you have ruffled the feathers and rocked the boat.Only those with a liberal education and pedigree are capable of this stuff.Great Sharmini.

  • 3
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    CULTURE: the difference between our overshadowing neighbour India.
    ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬

    “Do thou wander alone, like the rhinoceros!”- Gautama▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬

    The Wondering Monk Narendra a student of all religions at Chicago:▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬

    The Parliament of the World’s Religions opened on 11 September 1893 at the Art Institute of Chicago as part of the World’s Columbian Exposition.[113][114][115] On this day, Vivekananda gave a brief speech representing India and Hinduism.[116] He was initially nervous, bowed to Saraswati (the Hindu goddess of learning) and began his speech with “Sisters and brothers of America!”.[117][115] At these words, Vivekananda received a two-minute standing ovation from the crowd of seven thousand.[118] When silence was restored he began his address, greeting the youngest of the nations on behalf of “the most ancient order of monks in the world, the Vedic order of sannyasins, a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance”.[119] Vivekananda quoted two illustrative passages from the “Shiva mahimna stotram”: “As the different streams having their sources in different places all mingle their water in the sea, so, O Lord, the different paths which men take, through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to Thee!” and “Whosoever comes to Me, through whatsoever form, I reach him; all men are struggling through paths that in the end lead to Me.”[119] Despite the brevity of his speech, it voiced the spirit and sense of universality of the parliament.[119][120]▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬
    ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬

    Parliament President John Henry Barrows said, “India, the Mother of religions was represented by Swami Vivekananda, the Orange-monk who exercised the most wonderful influence over his auditors”.[117] Vivekananda attracted widespread attention in the press, which called him the “cyclonic monk from India”. The New York Critique wrote, “He is an orator by divine right, and his strong, intelligent face in its picturesque setting of yellow and orange was hardly less interesting than those earnest words, and the rich, rhythmical utterance he gave them”. The New York Herald noted, “Vivekananda is undoubtedly the greatest figure in the Parliament of Religions. After hearing him we feel how foolish it is to send missionaries to this learned nation”.[121] American newspapers reported Vivekananda as “the greatest figure in the parliament of religions” and “the most popular and influential man in the parliament”.[122] The Boston Evening Transcript reported that Vivekananda was “a great favourite at the parliament… if he merely crosses the platform, he is applauded”.[123] He spoke several more times at the Parliament on topics related to Hinduism, Buddhism and harmony among religions until the parliament ended on 27 September 1893. Vivekananda’s speeches at the Parliament had the common theme of universality, emphasising religious tolerance.[124] He soon became known as a “handsome oriental” and made a huge impression as an orator.[

  • 0
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    2,600 yearsw of civilisation. my foot. [Edited out]

    • 3
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      Dr.Scholl’s Odor-X® Spray keeps your smelly foot smooth as Jasmine.

      Dr.Scholl, a naughty way to walk with smells in dignity.

      • 1
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        chingala civilisation stinks.

  • 2
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    Articles such as these illustrate the psyche of mankind through the comment threads.

    The new voting system introduced by CT is very helpful in this regard.

    Well done CT.

  • 2
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    Muchas Gracias. Boasting of a 2600 year old culture of slinging Balls and drooping Udders, a nonsensical stoop with our hereditary civics.

    Me.Jayawardane should be equally appreciated of his far-sightedness that he named our Society rightfully as a “Just” [nikam] society.

  • 4
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    We have a 2600 year old culture…..But it will take another 2600 years to get cultured, properly.

  • 1
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    “|”But it will take another 2600 years to get cultured,”|”
    ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬

    Vulture coming sweet!
    ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬

    To take away all the polio-tics statutes starting with 1948, Manu does not stop short of a clean slate.

    ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬
    Hanuman ki Jai
    0:3

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      Javi,

      Which asylum did you escape from?

      • 0
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        Brute, pin cushion…… the dead one!

    • 0
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      “Rebellions of the belly.”!
      ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ (`|`)
      If the SA judge UNHCR said it then she meant it for the glory of paradise where the SA `butter colour fly` traverses pleasing and pleasing for spring time, to Lanka.
      ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬
      Freedom is to say what you wouldn’t like to hear. The fortune which nobody sees makes a person happy and unenvied.▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ ^|^

      Sculpture is the art of intelligence. I wouldn’t spit on an idol of worship or my parents but on politicos from the naked fakir on wards??
      ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ ^|^
      All you need is ` Aerial Performance Bungee` like the Vsnake and a ten ton loader toad to drag those politico statues off into obscurity. Then we have the fragrance to say born free in paradise where we walked and flew in humble delight. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COQPSoRFdwg |father and daughter.

      ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬

      ~゜k・_・k゜~ (o|o)|(o|o) ) ☆彡^5

  • 4
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    Too bad Tamils have no history and no nation of their own!

    Stateless parasites.

    • 1
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      Jitterbug, Mossad says Tamil Nadu is a federal state!

      Stop playing Croak-et.

      0:3

    • 0
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      [Edited out]

  • 3
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    You rave of your ‘Balangoda-man’ of 30,000 years, and call it Sinhala leave alone ‘2500 years culture’, are you aware that there was no sea between Tuticorin and Lanka in ‘previous days’, says the Dipawansa. It proves that Lanka was part and parcel of present Tamil Nadu,as proved by present day scientists. Ipso facto, your ‘Balandoda-Man’, is a Tamil!

    • 2
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      You are right Gilchrist Rajasuriar, but you don’t have to go back to the Dipavansa, modern Scientific investigation tells us that Sri Lanka, India, Australia, were all part of Gondwanaland, which broke up in the distant past. So it is the Australian Aborigines and the Veddhas or Aborigines of Sri lanka and India, who would be Indigenous to the present divisions into Countries.
      On the other hand, why stop there? All Humans came out of Africa in the first instance! So we are all one Big family, and that is what the Buddha Taught!

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        Rationally, are you contained with thick lips & protruded humps to trace your lineage to Africa. Some Gargoyles are but nitwits bemused in the damned lies of scientific myths?

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          Jingo, What a Racist you are! Africans are Human Beings just like you.

  • 2
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    What a piece of shit!

    • 2
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      Just like your brain!

  • 0
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    Sharmini,

    You pause the following Question and it tells the Nature of Sinhala Race.

    “If what has become of Sri Lanka today is the legacy of a “2600-year old culture”, might we have been better off without any culture at all?

    1)Culture is the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society.

    2) Legcy is anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor.

    Sadly the answer is simple and that is the Racist Nature of the Sinhala Race which one might cause Culture is the Leagcy of the last 2600 years. That gives you an idea of the herculean task that we Tamils face to overcome the Prejudice which is inherent in the Sinhala Race and MR is a master at playing to the Gallery to bring out this Racist Culture which is in the Gene.
    The only way you are going to get rid of this Culture is by Gene Mutation.

    • 3
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      Kali, You sound like the ‘Pot calling the Kettle Black’!
      ‘We Tamils’ are just as Bad! Don’t ‘We Tamils’ go to Canada and Australia and form ourselves into tight Ghettoes, and complain about Racial Discrimination in those countries too!

  • 1
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    You got to be joking Kali.There is nothing left to mutate,the chromosomes all gone haywire

  • 1
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    Dear Sharmini Serasinghe,

    I wish to remind you that the ‘patriots’ of Sri Lanka claim Sri Lanka as the “Sinhala Theravada Buddhist” country!

    • 0
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      There have been many Budha’s just one Gautama. ili/ila married Buda -`Manu`

  • 3
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    Excellent piece, Sharmini.

    Hypocrisy of the present day egoists is very well portrayed in your article.
    To add a little bit of history for those interested, when exiled prince Vijaya came to Thammbapanni 2600 or so years ago, the Queen of the country was spinning cotton. Later Vijaya’s gang killed all the brothers of the Queen – Kuweni in a festival with alcohol etc. (Madupana Uthsawaya). Imagine the society culture etc of the natives at that time, the type of government – with a queen, type of culture – spinning cotton, type of society – with royal festivals. These clearly illustrate that there was a such a culture in this land much before 2600 years ago. Only those who do not know or those who want to ignore these talk of this so called 2600 year history and a great culture. But alas, this so called 2600 years has resulted in today’s sick society.

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      King Gandhi was also spinning cotton in his haydays.

  • 2
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    Thank you so much Sharmini for this courageous and wonderful eye opening article. Every community and people had thousands of year old traditions and history with them but who cares about that. The people care only about how well they behave in a society or conduct themselves. Nagas, Yakkas, Veddahs, red indians, Mayas, Chinese, Arabs, Africans, Aborigins of Australia, Canada, USA, and other nations, Eskimos,Indians of all tribes, Lankans..all had history,tradition of some sort, be it sober, civilized or barbaric including some great civilization. Look at what they are all doing now and that only matters or counts. Not the 2600 year or 26,000 year old “Kumari Kandam” and Sumerian cultures and traditions which were perished in the sea many moons ago.
    Look at what’s happening today and see how people are behaving, or treating other human beings. Just give consideration to be humane, live and let live, discard discrimination just because you are in power or in the majority. Stop talking BS about religions, stop using Buddhism or religion to cheat people. Nothing is real or permanent. 2600 year old tradition only brought misery to our nation and people. Behave like human, respect humanity and everything will be fine. There is nothing or no one is superior to any damn thing. We are all people of this world and have the right to live in peace with dignity and self respect. No one is inferior to any one ! We are the only people feeling inferiority complex and talking about our thousands of year old history and behaving so brutally and badly. Just be civilised and stop talking about your rotten old civilization of the glorious past, which has no value in the face of what you are doing today.

    • 1
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      Bruz,

      You are spot on!

      2600 years of civilisation has ultimately resulted in near barbarism.

  • 1
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    You are so right Bruz. It is the absolute poverty of Sri Lanka’s present ‘Culture’, that makes the Politicians to go on harping about their 2,600 year Culture. What is ‘Culture’ Anyway? Is it a few broken down Edifices and a Religion and Code of Ethics, that is practised by very few, least of all the Monks and Politicians.!

    • 1
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      Rationalist ………. “What is ‘Culture’ Anyway?”…………………..

      The culture includes ….Sunday sil Monday kill…….. Kill the Vedda..Rob the Buddha… and Blame the Sudda.. It is as simple as that……

  • 1
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    @Goofy & Rationalist:
    Thank you for the appreciation and understanding of the rational behind the matter. It’s pathetic that we all in this part of the world waste our time talking about things that doesn’t give a damn. Romans, Greeks, Chinese, British,Germans, Russians, Egyptians, Arabs, Iranians and each and every nation and people would have had great cultures. My mother, my language and my culture is the most precious thing to myself and it’s so for every one. Just look at the Americans and see they don’t talk about their 200 year old culture or revolution. The Canadian aboriginal people don’t talk too much about their long lost culture, or even the great Mayans. It’s all things of the past and not worth wasting time on talking about it. We should forget the glorious past, whatever it may be and do things good for us now, for the country and the mankind. We are in the 21st century and must behave accordingly, give respect to others, other religions, other people, their feelings. We should know why USA and the west is developing so rapidly. Forget about yesterday, work today and prosper tomorrow. Stop complaining or getting jealous about others, stop hating others, their religion, other racial minorities. Try to live amicably and that will be always good for everyone. Believe in yourself, or something or in any god if possible. Avoid the cancerous Racism, Fanaticism, live and let live. Then only this world will be a wonderful place for human habitation and a decent respectful civilization. It’s never too late !

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      Nelson Mandela would be a good example for our Politicians to Emulate!

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        That would be too inconvenient for them.

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        So, your imagine them of languishing 27 years in the ghettos?

  • 2
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    Dear Ms Sharmini Serasinghe,

    Yours is a well written article though there are some grave errors within.

    During a debate on GroundViews a commentator stated “Before you run away with your Tamil bashing let me give you an extract of an article written by Sharmini Serasinghe in the Colombo Telegraph under the title, Sri Lanka Has A 2600 Year-Old Culture?.” He was using your experience with cast conscious men clad in saffron robes who attended the Alms giving at your ancestral home to counter the Hindu Tamil cast system that oppressed about 75% of the Tamil population in the North. My reply to that commentator can be found here (http://groundviews.org/2013/12/15/chief-minister-wigneswaran-alleges-genocide-calls-for-plebiscite/#comment-1171187825)

    One would not blame a car for running over and killing a living being. At the same time one cannot deny the existence of the car itself. The existence of the 2600 year old culture cannot be denied. That culture is not exclusively Buddhist. It has elements of Hindu, Christian, Islam etc within. We had Non Buddhist Non Sinhalese rulers. Some ruled by invitation and others by force. The culture has predominant Buddhist elements but it is a mixture of many cultures. The biggest Cultural Pageant is the Kandy Perahera. It is a mix of Sinhala, Tamil, Hindu cultures. The biggest Sri Lankan Festival is the Sinhala and Tamil New Year which is synchronously celebrated on the same day and the same time (to the minute) in April. Blaming that culture for Lanka’s present ills is like blaming the car for the accident.

    Your essay begins with “If what has become of Sri Lanka today is the legacy of a “2600-year old culture”,….” and then goes on to blame the Culture for the present ills without proving the “IF”. Hence though your essay is well written it’s premise has no substance. When the input is rubbish the output becomes nothing but rubbish.

    Then again you make the following statement “According to dubious claims by those, perhaps, with an overactive imagination, this is a “Buddhist Country”, because it was chosen by the Buddha himself,……”

    You are absolutely correct, that statement is dubious to say the least.

    Then you go on to say that “…There is no proof of this claim but yet, it is claimed!”
    That is why the claim is dubious. If there was proof it would not be.

    I cannot understand your reasoning to reject that this country is Buddhist. Surely doing so based on a dubious claim while refusing to recognise the reality is not logical is it? Why is UK known as a Christian Country? Is it based on a mythological connection to God or Jesus or Abraham or is it because the Majority population is Christian? Why is Indonesia, Malaysia etc referred to as Muslim countries? Not because they have a mythological connection to Allah or Mohamad but because the Majority population is Muslim. Likewise Sri Lanka is a Buddhist country because the Majority population is Buddhist not because of some silly Mythological beliefs about his visits or anything else.

    Now let me discuss the following statement of yours which drew me to your article.
    You said “The caste system, denounced by the Buddha himself, thrives amongst the prominent Buddhist clergy in this “Buddhist Country” through different Nikayas”

    I fully agree with you and join you in denouncing the practice. It should be rejected by the Laity. Unfortunately your elders’ did not reject it. Instead of asking those who refused to partake the Dane to leave if they wished, “Special arrangements” were made for them (like Somarama who assassinated Prime Minister SWRDB they are not Buddhist priests but men clad in a Saffron robe). It is such special arrangements that allow this UnBuddhistic practice to live.

    However the cast system of the Nikayas is nowhere near the Cast system practised in the North. The Tamil system is endorsed by the Hindu religion and hence it’s power pervades Tamil Society. To get an idea of the Northern Cast system you should read writers such as Mr Sebastian Rasalingam, Ms Perle Thevanayagam, Mr Thomas Johnpulle, Mr Nagalingam Ethirweerasingham and former GA Jaffna Mr Neville Jayaweera.

    First a word about Mr Neville Jayaweera.

    He was the General Manager of the Gal Oya Development Board (1961/63) and was hand picked by the Prime Minister Mrs Bandaranaike and Mr N.Q. Dias to implement the Official Languages Act (OL act) in Jaffna. As the GA Jaffna (1963/66) he recognised the injustice of implementing the OL act in an overwhelmingly Tamil locality and convinced the PM to allow him to implement, the yet ungazetted, Reasonable Use of Tamil Act instead. He was told he could do so unofficially. Due to him, the Official Language Act (popularly known as the Sinhala Only Act) was never implemented in Jaffna. The precedent he set during 1963/66 made it easy for the GAs that followed. The Sinhala Only Act never saw the light of day in the North. Mr Jayaweera has waded through Tamil literature at the Jaffna Library with a Tamil Pandit over a period of two years. Hence his work has the stamp of authority.

    Here is what he has written about the Tamil Cast system and the implementation of The Prevention of Social Disabilities Act in the North.

    While in Jaffna Mr Jayaweera discovered the collusion between the Civil Administration of Jaffna and the Political leadership of Jaffna. This collusion was Total with ALL 11 Members of Parliament of Jaffna colluding with ALL 14 DROs of Jaffna in order to subvert the Prevention of Social Disabilities Act of 1957. ALL of them were High Cast Elites.

    “The central characteristic of Jaffna’s caste structure was the congruence of heredity with economic and social deprivation. That is to say, if someone was born into any of the non-Vellala castes, he was permanently locked into his prescribed role, and was also inextricably tied to his village. He had no opportunities for betterment, or for upward or territorial mobility, however clever or entrepreneurial he may be. This was in sharp contrast to the Sinhala caste system, where anyone outside the dominant Goigama caste could not only match, but often excel the Goigama in economic and social power. That was not possible within the Tamil caste system, within which no one outside the hallowed Vellala caste could aspire to heights that were the preserve of the Vellalas”

    Even in the mid 1960s, the following principles defined what it meant to be a non-Vellala.

    1. Regardless of natural endowments, anyone born a non-Vellala was frozen into his particular station for all of his life, be it fishing, tree climbing, road sweeping or whatever. Heredity was a cast iron frame from which there was no escape.
    2. They dared not marry anyone from the Vellala caste.
    3. They were not allowed into premises occupied by the Vellalas except for doing the tasks they was born into.
    4. They did not have access into temples owned or managed by Brahmins or Vellalas. In other words, they were non-persons.
    5. They did not have access into Hindu schools or to proceed for higher education. This barrier was breached effectively only when missionary schools began to proliferate, much to the consternation of Hindu leaders.
    6. They could not reside outside their villages.
    7. They could not drink at the village well nor use any other public amenity outside their own villages.
    8. They could not wear jewellery, nor ride in carriages nor use drums at any ceremony.
    9. When they died they could not be cremated or buried on land reserved for the Vellalas.

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      A good reply to the nonsense written by this journalist with minimum knowledge but lot of words ! She is trying to put this nation down which must be her NGO agenda. Comparing to the other countries and races our culture gave birth to better human beings . A few rotten apples with bad culture cannot tarnish the entire 2600 year culture. One is Sharmini !!

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