23 July, 2024

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The Bleak Future For Sri Lanka : 75 Years After Independence

By Lionel Bopage

Dr. Lionel Bopage

Introduction

Since being granted independence in 1948, Sri Lanka has been run by three family dynasties whose unaccountable, corrupt and incompetent regimes have led the country into various crises: economic, political and social – including in the form of constitutional riots, two insurrections and a thirty-year long civil war. Currently the country is bankrupt and under the whims of international financiers. These families have successfully hidden their venality and incompetency, by demanding and being granted extra powers like the ones enjoyed under the executive presidency, and other special legalisation. Thus, they have made their decisions and extra judicial actions opaque and without being accountable.

Any hope that the economic meltdown and the popular protest movement (Aragalaya) might usher change are fading by the day. The political elite, if the Rajapaksa clan is an indication, are busy finding scapegoats, be they foreign elements or local, for their incompetence and greed. Instead of making their actions open to scrutiny and thus accountable, they are back to their same old diversionary trickery. For example, take the proposed counterterrorism law which gives even wider powers to supress dissent and hide their extra judicial actions. Also, sadly, the discriminatory policies and exclusion of minorities persist, further fanning the flames of communal disharmony. Meanwhile the structural, political, economic, and constitutional changes needed to ensure that there will be no further economic and political meltdowns are ignored. What follows is an assessment of these issues.

The current socio-economic situation

Sri Lanka’s economy collapsed in 2022, and it was the worst economic crisis in the country’s history. Economic crises have been a recurring feature of the country since the 1950s.  In May 2022, Sri Lanka defaulted on its sovereign debt for the first time due to a series of adverse events: a loss in fiscal revenue in 2019 due to terror attacks that impaired tourism; and the global Covid-19 pandemic in 2020-2021. Compounding it were the bad economic policies adopted in 2021, notably a ban on imported chemical fertilizers – an attempt to halt an ongoing decline in foreign exchange (FX) reserves. This led to a rise in agricultural prices and dramatically low harvests. FX reserves had fallen to less than USD2bn in early 2022. Without access to international financial markets since sovereign credit rating downgrades in 2020, the government had no choice but to call for a debt restructuring. In March 2023, the IMF approved a 48-month USD2.9bn Extended Fund Facility to help the country get back on track.

The government’s response to economic challenges in compliance with conditions set by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has come under intense scrutiny. The response has embarked on a policy of undermining human rights and exacerbating the plight of the people rather than alleviating their hardship. This is reflected in the shocking revelation that more than 17 percent of the population are food insecure, requiring urgent assistance. According to the United Nations, an alarming 31 percent of children under the age of 5 are malnourished, highlighting the severity of the crisis. Nothing is being done to alleviate their hardship.

With ongoing issues of corruption, wastage, and mismanagement being conveniently ignored, the economic burden that has been caused by the incompetence and greed of the ruling elite has been shifted to those who can ill afford it and played no role in the country’s economic collapse.  Introduced are regressive policies such as increased Value Added Tax (VAT). From the beginning of 2024, VAT will be increased from 15 to 18 percent and will be applied to 97 essential goods, including essentials like fuel, cooking gas and fertilizer. An 18% VAT has been introduced even for basic necessities  such as food and textbooks. Measures of social protection are not only inadequate but also politicized, leaving vulnerable communities in dire straits. Meanwhile the profitability of companies has been sacrosanct with more than half a million jobs being lost.

The indebtedness of ordinary people is on the rise: 31 percent of Sri Lankan households depend on loans to make ends meet; 24 percent are dependent on money lenders and 23 percent on bank loans. As of June 2023, the country’s staggering household debt reached more than 7 percent of the GDP. At the same time the top one percent of Sri Lankans own 31 percent of the total personal wealth, while the bottom 50 percent only owns less than 4 percent of the overall wealth in the country.

The Sri Lankan military continues to occupy land in the North and the East that formerly belonged to Tamil and Muslim communities. In trying to circumvent international pressure on the regime concerning human rights violations during the days of the armed conflict, a National Unity and Reconciliation Commission has been established, but its potential to enact meaningful change remains doubtful.

The government is trying hard to get the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), passed which is presented as a new and improved version of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). The Bill gives the president, police, and the military broad powers with no accountability, to detain people without evidence, criminalize speech without clearly defined parameters, and arbitrarily ban mass gatherings. The regime got its Online Safety Bill through the Parliament that will see the curtailing of free speech online. These developments clearly show that kicking out Sri Lanka’s political old guard has not necessarily translated into long-term reforms when it comes to governance and human rights.

No need to remind that the country’s armoury of draconian legislation and unaccountable powers of the executive president was astutely and repetitively used to suppress the nonviolent ‘Aragalaya’ movement.

The future

The IMF-dictated program for the sale (i.e., privatization) or closure of 430 public sector institutions will result in the loss of half a million jobs. Corporate taxes are being kept low while exorbitant taxes are levied on working people, the primary ones being higher income tax, value added tax (VAT) and various import duties.

The IMF staff report warned that the social unrest could re-emerge, fuelled by falling real incomes. Causes for unrest are the very policies the government is implementing such as, a regressive tax rate hike and cost-recovery pricing in the energy sector, insufficient anti-corruption efforts, and delayed local elections. The report also pointed to the impact of the worsening global situation. External risks arise in part from intensified regional conflicts, including Russia’s prolonged war in Ukraine and the conflict in the Middle East, resulting in commodity price volatility, and a sharp global slowdown, which could reduce capital flows and lead to a sharp exchange rate depreciation.

Despite this forecast, the IMF stubbornly insists that its austerity program which includes many of the above policies must be implemented to the letter. Its concern is not with the wellbeing of Sri Lankans but to ensure the repayment of Sri Lanka’s foreign debts and the boosting of the profits of investors. President Wickremesinghe is in complete agreement: “There is no alternative other than implementing IMF policies.” Meanwhile those who can pay and are the cause of the crisis get off scot-free, once again.

The domestic debt-restructuring plan passed by Parliament mostly cuts the retirement savings of private sector workers, which critics claimed to have spared the banking sector, international creditors, and individual domestic creditors from bearing their share of the economic burden. Moreover, wages have not kept up with rising costs, contributing to heightened poverty and food insecurity. Combined with the government’s efforts to raise revenue through increasing electricity bills and income taxes, Sri Lanka’s economic recovery has been felt unevenly by different segments of its population, eliciting protests and even union strikes.

Sri Lanka’s external finances are fragile, as reflected in continued annual current account deficits and a high level of external debt (estimated at around 80% of GDP). FX reserves as of mid-2023 covered less than one third of the external debt repayments due in the next 12 months (well below the adequate ratio of 100%) and less than two months of imports (well below the favourable ratio of four months).

To tackle these structural imbalances, no viable alternative economic development program has been developed. Production necessary to satisfy the basic needs of the people of Sri Lanka and an export diversification that moves away from the high dependence on the traditional sectors such as tea, rubber and coconut, textile, clothing, and tourism sectors remains essential for long term economic viability. Yet again those items are not on the agenda. The main opposition parties parrot the same mantra and talks about renegotiating the IMF deal, but the austerity agenda will not be subject to any negotiations.

Conclusion

As can be seen, the government has not taken the necessary steps for tackling the fundamental governance issues arising from rampant incompetence, wastage  and corruption among the political and bureaucratic circles. Despite a change in government, there has been no structural, political and constitutional reform. It’s depressing human rights record remains just the same and is worsening. Humanitarian assistance and diplomatic efforts are essential to address the country’s pressing issues and ensure that the government adopts policies that will benefit all citizens of Sri Lanka.

Despite the previous year’s mass struggle protests having kicked out the previous government, many of that regime’s economic and political realities remain the same. After coming to power through a parliamentary coup d’etat, President Ranil Wickremesinghe is primarily concerned with retaining power at any cost, with the expectation that the socio-economic woes will be lessened. In the process proving his legitimacy ahead of the ‘would-be’ presidential elections in 2024. To ensure his success at the next Presidential election, he cynically and unscrupulously postponed local elections that were scheduled for early March 2024 indefinitely, citing a lack of funds. Yet, the expenditure of the government on many other fronts did not indicate such a lack of funds.

Ranil Wickremesinghe presidency continues to resort to familiar authoritarian and anti-democratic practices to quell dissent, not only against the minority communities, but also against all political dissent, in toto. With presidential elections set to take place in 2024, Sri Lanka is at an important crossroad regarding its economic and political future. There is a necessity to choose between implementing politically convenient band-aid solutions or resolving the structural problems that predate the crisis.

If not, Sri Lanka’s outlook will remain grim with political stagnation and periodic economic crisis being the norm as in the past; making 2024 a critical year for Sri Lanka. As the government and the opposition gear up for elections, there is a danger that government in power, like those in the past will squander acquired loan moneys for election gimmicks, leading to further bailouts from the IMF in the future, and being forced yet again, to enact unpopular structural reforms which will unfairly burden the citizenry of the country.

As the economic catastrophe of 2022, and the periodic early ones, the long civil war, two insurrections, numerous riots and an increasing authoritarian tendency have amply shown, if the system of governance is not fixed, Sri Lanka will be forced to relive its past tragedies. As compatriots, it is incumbent upon us to ensure that this does not happen again. We need to support those political parties and currents that look at changing our system of governance and constitution, to make it less opaque and more accountable, where the rule of law prevails and where the rights of all citizens are respected. In tandem, there must also be an insistence on a more viable and fairer economic system.

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Latest comments

  • 19
    3

    The people have very few choices from the traditional parasitic political parties still doing politics at huge expense to the population of Sri Lanka. The people must educate themselves and completely, radically change how things are done in that blighted country. The only suitable entity seems to be the NPP as their stance is one of sincerity and transparency, together with great vision and foresight, unlike the dastardly, opportunistic rascals who have ruined the country taking turns every five years or so.

    • 8
      0

      Didn’t watch independence day celebrations ……. Native watched and is over the moon ……… little does he know how all these end …….. chronicles of deaths foretold …….

      Ranil’s sickness ……. worshipping Royalty …… and wanting to be a Royal himself …….

      Pomp and ceremony: glorification of himself ……. before food and medicines ……..

      Starts like Bokassa …….. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtkVWGjz07M …….. and ends like fellow Fascist ol’ Benito …….. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsY-Oa1elCQ

      Will people ever listen …….. while they are at it ……. eh, Gamini? …….. Native?

      How insecure can leaders be?

      Has Mahinda learned, now ……. or does he want one last go? ………. When does lust for “glory” end? ……… Perhaps, only fellow septuagenarian Sinhala_Man can come up with a honest answer …….

      • 8
        0

        nimal fernando

        “Native watched and is over the moon”

        Please watch this very educational clip for upper class twits.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBwE8x6HNNc

        Will it educate them?

        • 8
          0

          Native,

          Thanks. I meet these all the time when I’m back home. I have to think of my grandmother’s funeral to keep a straight face ……. you have your grandmother; I have mine ……..

          I don’t think we were any wiser when we were their age …….. but the trick is to recognize stupidity, especially one’s own and rectify/adjust …….

          I cringe when I think of some stupid things we did ………. that’s life ……..

  • 24
    0

    75 years IN -DEPENDENCE. Years ago when I mentioned family kleptocracy, Democrazy, bankruptcy, dysfunctionality many disagreed. When I addressed voters as “retards” some got offended. Since then many authors have used those terms and our own politicians and people are calling each other having ZERO intelligence ( worse than retards).

    • 24
      0

      Bleak is optimistic, I say there is NO FUTURE at all.

      • 11
        1

        Chiv
        I dont think the devil is darker than appeared to be.
        .
        What I am saying is that the mainstream media of the country should build the situation so that people can have a close and serious discussion about the fate of this country.
        Today, there is no clear line between social media (news that cannot be verified by its nature) and mainstream media (news that is highly respected and must be verified).

        Executive
        the Constitution
        Judiciary
        and
        Media (Media is like mafia in this country). All these 4 pillars should take the job very seriously, at this point in time, if not today when ???????

        Experts should be heartily involved in that revelation.

        Unfortunately, anyone with a smartphone today spreads “hate speech” like they know it better than educated experts; They are free to change the perception through truths as wellas untruths.
        University professors have been put into their cages without being allowed to come out of their long silence.

      • 8
        1

        Anyone still remember Sanath Nishantha? ……. Not even 2 weeks!

        Independence was 76 years ago! …….. It’s all In-dependence …….. since then.

          • 8
            1

            LM,

            Thanks …….. very interesting viewing.

            As owners of coconut estates ……. we (like many other Lankans who own land) know the problems with robbers this gent is talking about.

            Some history on coconut estates for anyone interested. The highest coconut yielding area is not the Kurunagala-Triangle but Mudukatuwa/Keenakele Estate: especially the sea-side. 50 acres there will yield what 150 – 200 acres would yield in Puttalam area. And 50 acre boundaries are easier to protect/guard than 150 – 200 acre boundaries.

            JR had a coconut estate in Puttalum ( or Mundallam) which was taken over by Sirima’s government and distributed among the local farmers. Part of the Mudukatuwa Estate was also taken over but kept intact – the land-side. When JR came to power he gave 25 acres each to his grandchildren from the Mudukatuwa Estate vested in the government …… in lieu of his land taken over in Puttlam. There is no comparison between coconut estates in Mudukattuwa and Puttalam! …… JR was a talented crook in more ways than one …….

            The land prices have skyrocketed especially along the roadside ……… it’s crazy to dabble in coconuts ……. people just keeping things going for sentimental reasons …….. and it’s not easy to split up big estates without greasing palms ………

            • 11
              1

              nimal fernando

              Have you had time to watch yesterdays Independence Celebration parade at Galle Face where Dinesh Gunawardena was forced to sit in the front row facing the sea. At the end of the event School Children sang National Anthem in Tamil. The TV cameras (deliberately) missed him, avoided to show him. Was he in some sort of pain?

              Were Mahinda, Gota, Maithree, ….. invited to the event? Their absence was welcome however I was unable to count the number of uniformed ….. Do you think IMF would have counted them …. maybe this could be the last independence day celebration where they had prominent places in the tent.

              Mahinda’s all weather friend Ranil did not look happy.

              • 2
                1

                “We (Royal Bastady Rowdies) will be present in shows where Briani and Arrack are donated. Then only we sing “Appe Siri Siri Lanka Namo Namo Matha” and dance. on the stage. Nothing else will cover our super star rate/hour to climb to those petty podiums. (We heard the liquor shops were closed yesterday. Then what is the point of getting out of the comfort of the home?). We didn’t get to write the celebration check direct to Central Bank. Then, how can we the Guardian Angels of Namo Namo Matha’s sovereignty protectors could go there? Still, we are proud of ourselves, because we wrote billions of dollars checks for millions of celebration parties. But don’t feel jealous, we were the one in the front row of the Freedom Day party in Kenya, yesterday. In Kenya’s Langkang Embassy, only we will be writing the checks for years to come. “

                Mallaiyuran thinks that, unless, like the Evil Emperor President went to Parliament with a National MP seat, the Slap Party assign the only National MP seat they get to Playboy Minister, Playboy Minister will be left to run the race cars in front of Ayatollah’s Palace in Kandy.

                The only loony brought ” shame to education “ by pretending to study Law is this Playboy Modaya. All others got into that brought fame for them and to the education alike.

            • 4
              1

              NF,
              You seem to know a lot about coconuts and Mudukatuwa. Are you sure that’s not your real name?😉

              • 4
                1

                OC,

                No. it’s not my name ……. but I know what you are thinking. :))

                Like most Lankan families we inherited a lot from ancestors …… not just coconut. ……. It’s a place people go for some peace and tranquillity during exam time to study. I was destined to fail OL and enter parliament ……. but fate intervened by what happened at the estate ………… and Native was spared all the heartache. …….. It’s a long yarn …… shall write later when I’m free.

                Money keeps coming in ……. bought a house near your idol’s and behind Ladies’ ……. with about 1/2 acre of land, a swimming pool and a coconut and a මැයි tree in the yard. Last thing we need is another house but the opportunity was too good to let go. …….. When you get tired of watching ladies on the 153 bus …… you are welcome to come with your binoculars to watch birds …….

                • 3
                  1

                  NF,
                  .
                  Our SINHALA_Man will find you sooner rather than later. His guardian will attend the fact finding mission. Or it is assigned only to his “guardian”.
                  .
                  Doing so is his hobby, so you will no doubt have many sleepless nights ahead. I am no longer just a victim of SM….

                • 2
                  0

                  NF
                  I spend time in that area. Very tranquil place. I have no coconut estate , but friends do.🙂🙂

                  • 0
                    0

                    OC,

                    Next time you are there try Tao Restaurant Marawila ……….. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g612379-d2589075-Reviews-Tao_Restaurant_Marawila-Marawila_North_Western_Province.html

                    Amazing sea food …… the best Chinese food in Lanka bar none.

                    The crazy thing is, there is not a Chinese in sight ……. the owner and chef Namal is a local. :))

                    The other great out of this world Chinese food we found is in Peru …… Chinese/Peruvian fusion food: just mind blowing ……. KION Peruvian Chinese restaurant, Cusco

                  • 1
                    0

                    OC, NF,
                    .
                    me too I love to go there next, but I have to do it secretly. Sinhala Man should not be aware of my travel to that area. There are lot more barbarians that will persecute me.

                    All the past few years, I was in Soutern and central province.
                    .
                    I love to travel there and Jaffna next time (very likely2024).

          • 10
            1

            leelagemalli

            So people still believe, like in the 1960s Weeping Widows can change the fortunes of party.

            Did you hear Hindians have invited AKD and one or two of his old guards to Sultanate of New Delhi for ……. Please fill in the blank.

          • 4
            0

            L M ,

            More than 99 % of every Srilankan is , a liar , a thief , a rogue or
            a beggar or crook . You don’t necessarily need any proof for this .
            You don’t need acres of coconuts lands for thieves . A coconut
            plucker going house to house of few perches , turns at night to
            steal the nuts . People who live with it knows best .If I am right ,
            about 70% of lands in the country belongs to the state . Almost
            every single authority of any department , especially police and
            army , robs lands from the govt , in exchange for favours .
            Stories like these are endless in the paradise . The irony is , many
            people know of many such land robberies , they don’t care mainly
            because IT IS NOT THEIRS . That is why I keep maintaining that
            the people don’t believe they have a country as such and as long as
            such is the case , nothing will change and thieves will be flying
            high and more thieves will be out of the eggs .

            • 2
              0

              WW, you said once you lived in Europe or maybe somewhere else. Or have traveled to Europe often. Your thoughts may be in common with mine because of your travels. You would not believe, I have some friends in europe they are super honest.
              I can trust some of my european colleagues like brothers and sisters. Many of them are super honest. However, I cant trust my own brother or big sister today. Nor can I trust many of them in srilanka today.
              I see what you said above about Sri Lankans. Most of them are dishonest, liars, cheats and and and.. however they act like they could be good friends. May be it is because of 3 decades of civil war.Now I am glad that i am not the only person who bears that truth on this forum.
              I truly appreciate your thoughts on this regard WW. with this being our thoughts about srilanknens, how can we rely on their correct VOTING ? elections are false for srilankens. This may the reason why the colonial masters are said to have been reluctant to relinquish their power. They never trusted that srilankens woudl ever be possible to govern with transparencies

              • 4
                0

                L M ,

                Honestly appreciate your understanding and admiration of
                my views . Yes , there are few more on this forum who agree
                with our stand over our fellow country men . Unfortunate but
                that is the truth . Yes , you are right , I do have wide travel
                and residence experience in Europe and also in Asia and Africa .
                Oh yes , majority of Srilankans living in Europe are law abiding
                thanks to the legal systems in place in those countries . People
                are being looked after by the state and in return people look after
                the system . It looks so simple from outside but is the result of
                hard work and sacrifices . As far as the Trust among Srilankans
                is concerned , you are dead right , it is only a thing of the past if
                there was any , It is a whole family that get together for a crime
                in the modern paradise ! Look at the Raja family !

                • 0
                  0

                  whywhy, I agree with your above comments 100%

  • 2
    18

    Succinct but well written piece, compared to most of the others that have been addressing the same issues and topics. Indicates that yesteryear’s JVP had members with insight, intellect, percept and capacity, not just armed rebels driven by thirst for blood of the ruling class. It’s a pity the fate such individuals of the former generations had to undergo at the hands of a few ruling elites whose primary goal had been self preservation. This unrealized and untapped potential of the former generations explains the current crisis we are in. There is no development without development of the human individual. The time has come to bring an end to this perverted system and start a fresh, not matter how inexperienced the youth who seek a mandate for a new begining are, they deserve the opportunity to correct the trajectory to a better one. One could always learn on the job. This could be the one and only opportunity we may get, ignorance of which may lead to succumbing to a future reigned by a rogue few at the expense of the true citizenry of the nation.

  • 2
    18

    In this time of grave economic crises, (breathe…. take that in)………..,it is astounding that Ranil is building up Western-type structures like American-styled educational institutions, and incorporating the American-payment methods via e.g. Lankan student loans, so the rich Lankan and foreign investors can generate money within themselves on bankrupted Lankan soil. These could have been experimented on, when the country showed some semblance of prosperity
    in e.g. the 2012’s. But doing so over a bankrupted and starving nation so as to uphold and develop the Western system of capital, where the Lankan masses have to continuously pay VAT on essential food items and TAX on essential services, is immoral and criminal in nature. On top of that, the same rich are allowed to place the money generated from the Lankan worker on foreign schemes to make money outside the country to secure the governing-base and their lifestyles, with nothing even dripping back to develop the Lankan worker-base.

    Ranil does not care or love the Lankan masses, especially the Sinhala ones, and is smug with great satisfaction at his control over them. Rajapaksas have no avenue but to comply with his local schemes, knowing Ranil is securing their overseas offshore ones.

    • 0
      13

      I mean, Ranil would have done very well with Mahinda in 2012, with all of his US-capitalistic style enterprises (or even Chinese style ones). To begin them now when Lankans are starving is the wrong time. We need Socialistic implementation at this time. When the country stabilizes in 4 to 8 years’ time, Ranil can come back again to implement his ideas.

      • 0
        0

        As an advisor, I mean.

  • 15
    1

    The “system change” promised by the NPP is the alternative. But, it still remains to be spelt out. At lease, we will get new personnel, not the three families that have stolen our wealth and kept us divided through the fog of Mahavamsa nationalism and what the Buddha never taught. The new leaders, to be credible, will have to spell out 1. an economic programme 2. how they propose to pay off the debts. 3. how they solve the ethnic issue without which there cannot be any progress. 4. how they will recover the stolen money from the corrupt leaders 5. how they will impose a culture of accountability for violation of human rights and corruption by punishing those responsible for the calamities. 6. restore secularism and not run to the mahanayakas as Anura recently did.

    • 2
      1

      Cicero,

      NPP’s economic plan (they have already said all of this):

      1.an economic programme : Investment into Small and Medium type Enterprise

      2. how they propose to pay off the debts :
      Tax the Monied Elite – both personal and major corporations.

      3. how they solve the ethnic issue without which there cannot be any progress : Tamil Masses will be happy to work with Sinhalese when greater Socialism is installed.

      4. how they will recover the stolen money from the corrupt leaders :
      They will have to deliver the money or go to jail. If that is not possible, work with foreign entities to recover country money. CID will receive a huge upgrade and will work with CID of other major centers.

      5. how they will impose a culture of accountability for violation of human rights and corruption by punishing those responsible for the calamities:
      Dismissal from office and/or jail time.

      6. restore secularism and not run to the mahanayakas as Anura recently did : Nothing wrong with Motherland bring a Buddhist nation as long as it is not Mahavamsa.

      • 9
        1

        Please do tell me Ramona
        How do you reconcile the Motherland being a Buddhist nation? How can the idea not be rooted in the Mahavamsa written in Pali?
        Greater socialism solving the ethnic crisis is a myth. The LSSP and CP also doled out this myth. What happened to NM, Colvin and Pieter Kueneman?

        • 0
          3

          Why, what happened to NM, Colvin and Pieter Kueneman? Were they tortured and killed by JRJ? If or if not, their ideas were practical and profound and the time is ripe for their implementation. Many Lankan Buddhist priests have gone to India and preached to the Dalits and converted them. So Mahavamsa is zero for most of them. NPP will take care of any allusions to Mahavamsa. It is an embarrassing book anyway, when considering the looks of the Sinhala Masses.

          • 3
            0

            Ramona,
            .
            “””Many Lankan Buddhist priests have gone to India and preached to the Dalits and converted them. So Mahavamsa is zero for most of them. NPP will take care of any allusions to Mahavamsa””””

            Really ?
            .
            How do they do that?
            Do they have magical powers? What is important for us at this critical time is how any future ruler will bring more ways for government revenue?

            • 0
              1

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iyothee_Thass

              “In 1886, [Iyothee] Thass issued a revolutionary declaration that Scheduled caste people (Dalits) were not Hindus.[4] Following this declaration, he established the “Dravida Mahajana Sabha” in 1891. During the 1891 census, he urged the members of Scheduled castes to register themselves as “Casteless Dravidians” instead of identifying themselves as Hindus.[4] His activities served as an inspiration to Sri Lanka’s Buddhist revivalist Anagarika Dharmapala.[7]

              Conversion to Buddhism
              Thass met Colonel H. S. Olcott with his followers and expressed a sincere desire to convert to Buddhism.[4] According to Thass, the Paraiyars of Tamilakam were originally Buddhists and owned the land which had later been robbed from them by Aryan invaders.[1]: 9–10  With Olcott’s help, Thass was able to visit Ceylon and obtain diksha from the Sinhalese Buddhist monk Bikkhu Sumangala Nayake.[4] On returning, Thass established the Sakya Buddhist Society in Madras with branches all over South India. The Sakya Buddhist Society was also known as the Indian Buddhist Association[8] and was established in the year 1898.[9]

  • 5
    1

    “Independence” in a nutshell ………… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJIaT4XP5xM

  • 4
    1

    Why should a bankrupt nation’s President spend so much of the borrowed money to have such an expensive Independence day celebration? To satisfy his ego? The day the politicians give up the “walawwe hamu” mentality is the day this nation will prosper.

  • 6
    2

    Mr.Bopage ,What is the difference between an Australian ( European) personality and a Sri Lankan ?

    Will Australian youngsters attend 5 lectures in small backrooms ?

    Will Australia produce unwholesome personalities like so many Sri Lankans ?

  • 5
    1

    Am I late to read the article. No. I was waiting to see the reaction, – comments.
    I am disappointed.
    Look at, ‘the discriminatory policies and exclusion of minorities persist’, referred to in the article. Why has nobody commented on it. Why?
    The position that it is the discriminatory policies and exclusion of minorities that has contributed to the national predicament hasn’t still sunk into the national psyche!
    We are eons away from helping ourselves.

  • 7
    3

    RW tried one of his cheap tricks on that JVP lawyer at a PC party.

    He said for others to hear ” you will soon be with me ”

    Obviously he was attempting to sow doubts and suspicion among JVP ranks.

    That is the low quality of this high class gentleman !

    Why did the Colombo fools get fooled by him for 50 long years ?

  • 4
    1

    SL is losing its populace of all stripes to developed countries permanently and to middle east and far east countries temporarily to power their economic engines. Those countries know the value of the human resources and they and their corporate world consider diversity is in fact a strength whereas our nation and the leaders haven’t realized even after the bankruptcy that to build the economy back up, we will need every one to contribute to and to benefit from the wealth creation process.

    The unequal distribution of wealth is the cause of all the social ills. When you shut some sections of the population out based on race, caste, religious and political beliefs, it is the economy taking the toll and all hell breaks loose that results in “the long civil war, two insurrections, numerous riots” time and again.

  • 3
    0

    Excellent Article! But how many M.P.s, Ministers, and Senior Bureaucrats will be able to read it? Even if they read and understand it, will they reform and change the error of their ways?

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    The future was very promising in 1948. That future was not destroyed by families but buy too much democracy and the freedom of the wild ass to keep changing governments for the worse. Unbridled racism, religious supremacy leading to Racial hatred driven pogroms and riots leading to finally two JVP insurrections. Rather than focusing on the common good of the country its people were then and now too busy settling political scores with their opponents. The authors attempt at slandering families who came forward to serve the country most often with their own personal wealth in the past is just another example of the mentality of the Sinhalese and the Tamils to trash their own leaders for petty jealousy and no substance knowing full well the circumstances in which previous leaders acted to advance the country and ended up being undermined by their opponents for cheap political gamesmanship. In Conclusion, democracy has only caused the ruination of Sri Lanka. Elections are around the corner and look like the idiot voters are poised to repeat history and slaughter poor mother Lanka one more time. Because of that the future is indeed very bleak.

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