By C. Wijeyawickrema –
The editors of Colombo Telegraph asked me to respond to the “comments” made by its readers to my essay titled, “Sinhala women without Sinhalization power.” I consider it my public duty to do this even though most comments are nonsense (noise) by anonymous people who think CT is another website like the Tamilnet (located in Canada?). I think I am the only person writing to CT about the discrimination faced by the Sinhala Buddhists in Sri Lanka both before and after 1948, and so far my essays are the only evidence CT has to erase the perception that it is not an anti-Sinhala Buddhist website. It can be an anti-MahindaR website as reveals from Tisaranee Gunasekera’s writings, but it should not be a forum for those who want to divide the island and create another South Sudan for the benefit of white global corporate powers. The readership of CT, going by the comments on my essay, is mostly like mad dogs barking at the moon as the caravan passes. This discourages spending time to respond to comments. But there is some hope as two or three readers understood what I wrote and asked others to read it slowly and carefully. The different readership tastes are clear when I consider the response given to the same essay by the Lankaweb readers. I hope CT readers visit Lankaweb also to understand the other side of the coin on Sri Lankan ethnic/separatist politics.
The naked adjective
At the outset I must accept that the only word in my essay that I regret using was the naked in the “naked body of the bride.” Yes, the adjective was unnecessarily provocative and gave the appearance that it was meant to disgrace a religious custom. Some got so agitated to elevate the incident mentioned as a religious rite! For example, I can understand the gravity of my mistake if I say “at Polonnaruwa there is an ancient Siva Temple, which has a naked Siva lingum, and Sinhala women and even Tamil women from South India come to worship it thinking they can become mothers with a gift of a child.” Only recently I came to know that the base on which the Siva lingum rests symbolizes a woman’s yoni. Unlike the Khajuraho stone-carved Tantric love scenes, the sacred nature of the Siva Lingum worship could be polluted by someone using the adjective Naked before the words Siva Lingum. As a Buddhist I could never approve white soldiers urinating on the Koran or disrespecting any religious symbols or customs. So I apologize for hurting the feelings of those genuine and reasonable commenters of my essay. But this is a good example to point out that when Buddha’s images are used on slippers, T-shirts and skirts by white female tourists, no non-Buddhists say a word against it!
But the story I said about what was done to the bride is based on the wedding pictures that I saw at her house, may be 25 years after the wedding. I never write untruth or half-truths in my internet communications which I began in 1987 or so in Canada. Since one Dr. Rajasingham Narendran disputes the custom, could it be a kind of removing pollution by giving the non-Hindu woman a bath? The groom was a son of a Tamil civil servant. Was it similar to the Math Prof. Sundaralingum, trying to prevent caste pollution of a Jaffna Hindu Kovil or the purification rites done at that famous Sri Krishna Hindu Kovil in Kerala when Kovil trustees think that its premises was polluted by an accidental visit by say a Christian? For example, Sonia Gandhi cannot enter that temple (kovil). I do not know if Manmohan Singh is not allowed because he is a Sikh.
When I was in Sri Lanka for seven months recently, I had an opportunity to visit the State Agriculture School in Vavuniya. Waiting in the van outside while others were in the office, I saw a woman near an entrance gate and went to talk with her expecting she would know some English. She looked to me a typical older Tamil woman. When I tried to communicate with her in English asking if she can talk in Sinhala, she replied to me in Sinhala. To make a long story short, long time ago she eloped with an estate Indian Tamil and finally ended up in Vavuniya. She said her sons had a hard time during Prabakaran days. Her Sinhala family severed all connections with her and in fact asked me if I can go and meet with them and tell about her.
This shows that it is not possible to convert a Sinhalaya to a Tamil or vice versa, unless a person has a willingness to do so. If a person has a healthy opinion about his or her own culture that person cannot be “converted” to another culture. We heard that the Karawa caste and other similar castes in the western coastal areas were recent migrants from South India. They became assimilated and later played a big role in rejuvenating Buddhism in Sri Lanka. It is said that even SWRDB was a descendent of recent Tamil migrants. The only evidence that I could think of was the present custom of a man marrying his sister’s daughter found in Karnanataka even today, because SWRD’s mother was his father’s sister’s daughter.
When Wigneswaran used words such as Tamil genocide along with Sinhalaization, others like me have a right to ask him about how his sons’ marriages were performed, because I saw a photograph of such a Sinhala-Tamil wedding with the bride given a bath. This is doubly important as W has (or had) a habit of saying some Sanskrit stanza at public meetings which I think, no one understands other than he himself, because he does not provide a translation. Therefore, if he wants he can say like the Muslim Congress MP, M. T. Hasen Ali (ref. his speech reported on CT) that there is a land issue or a land grabbing, but not Sinhalization. He says that the matter should be handled on a humanitarian basis. This is what Wigneswaran should also copy. What had happened to the historic Muhudu Maha Viharaya reduced from 269 acres in 1951 to 0.25 acre in 2013 is due to land grab and not a Muslimization. The land in NP or EP does not belong exclusively to one ethnic group in Sri Lanka. Each time W utters genocide and Sinhalaization he loses either sympathy or support from Sinhalayas who fear a future Tamil Nad invasion to capture Sri Lanka.
Seven River Basins
This is the most scientific, ecological method to empower Tamil, Muslim and Sinhala village people which will also erase fears of the majority Sinhala. Under such method there is no room for a separatist Tamil dream in Sri Lanka while it empowers Tamils to protect and promote their own Tamil nationalism at village level or at a river basin-level (like the present NP area). For those who want to know more, CT archive has it all saved under my name. The river basin units can be seven or more depending on how people at village level decides as each river basin is a collection of ecologically demarcated GSN units. The current number of 14,000 GSN units, after they are re-demarcated according to hydrological-ecological basis would be much closer to the number of GSNs (4,000) when Rpremadas decided to increase it. There will be so many ecologically demarcated GSN units with 100% Tamil population (or Muslim) that they can have all kinds of their collective aspirations promoted, except separatism.
Buddhism and human body
Since comments by readers were all about the bride and bath, I thought of writing what I know about religion and human body. Buddhism is perhaps the only religion which does not mess up with human body or animal sacrifice. From the time Abraham wanted to sacrifice his son to God circumcision has become a religious thing with Judaism and Islam. Human sacrifice was among the Inca and Mayan people in South America. Humans eating humans was part of human evolution and now when it happens it is considered a severe mental sickness. For example, in USA a white man named Jeffry Dahmer dismembered 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991 and he kept human brains in his freezer so that he can enjoy eating it whenever he wanted.
Even piercing ears is not approved in Buddhism. But even now some women in Africa suffer by the practice of the removal of female clitoris. Buddhists consider human body consists of 32 decaying components and this attitude is behind the reason why Sri Lanka has been donating “eyes” to the world. What we see at Kali Amma temples where Animal are slaughtered or what I see at Katagama or Wellawatta where human skin is pierced with hooks and pulled with ropes, I think how as a Buddhist I am free of such cruelty in the name of religion. Think of all those Islam processions in Iraq where men torture their bodies by hitting so hard repetitively with blood oozing out from the skin. In India Jainism has a branch where they go naked. Once when Indira Gandhi wanted to meet such Jain leader, IG had to stay outside a screen where the naked Jain leader was sitting. These are extreme situations due to extreme religious beliefs.
The most important thing is that in Buddhism we are expected to follow the Middle Path. This is compromise in democracy or reasonableness in western jurisprudence. Buddhism is very simple, it is like an Einstein formula: 4NT+8NP (four noble truths and the eight noble path). When two ex-Indian presidents, both non-Buddhists, repeat that the solution to world’s problems lies in Buddhism, they are asking people like Wigneswaran and MahindaR to be reasonable and genuine. When W says that there is Tamil genocide in Sri Lanka he becomes a liar.
When Ravi Karunanayake became the chief of the Dayaka Sabha of the Kotte Rajamaha Vihara who was the fool; the Buddhists or the monk who allowed it or the Catholic Ravi who accepted it? Like that those who write nasty or useless comments on CT essays they dislike are people without the help of critical thinking. Those who believe in a God or gods hand over there power of critical thinking to a God or gods relying on God or gods to rescue them, help them. In Buddhism this is not so: we are expected to come and examine, not come and believe. This is what the two ex-Indian presidents expect when they talked about the power of Buddhism. Sri Lankan Tamil separatism can be and must be handled by the Buddhist approach. This what the Bodu Bala Sena is telling the world.