27 September, 2020

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The Bodu Bala Sena And The Sinhala Psychosis

By Charles Sarvan

Charles Sarvan

Of course, when I say “Sinhala psychosis”, I don’t mean all Sinhalese: it’s merely an imprecise, but convenient, shorthand. Several Sinhalese individuals and groups, recognizing the Sinhala psychosis, its irrationality, hatred and what they lead to,  stand up against it, at great cost to themselves and their families. They do so on grounds of principle and ethics; on the conviction that all human beings are essentially equal and, therefore, entitled to equal treatment. Their stance compels respect. As for the other term, ‘psychosis’, it can be defined as a mental condition in which contact with reality, the real state of affairs, is lost.

The Bodu Bala Sena, or Buddhist Strength Force, sounds the alarm of imminent and mortal peril to the Sinhalese “race” and Buddhism. (On “race”, see note at the end.) “The house is on fire!” “The enemy is battering down the gates!” “The ship is sinking!”  What constitutes the menace at present turns out, primarily, to be the Muslims – they make up only about 8% of the population. Since what obtains in Sri Lanka is the majoritarian system of government (as distinct from real democracy), Sinhalese Buddhists are firmly and totally in power. Therefore, the panic is absurd in the extreme: it’s not a fear but a phobia. Yet the notion of grave and imminent danger to “race” and religion is given credence, taken seriously. (As Voltaire said, those who are led to believe absurdity can also be led to commit atrocity.) The elephant trumpets to fellow elephants that he is about to be run over by two or three small foxes. Imagine a political party in Pakistan whose political platform is the cry that Islam is about to be overwhelmed by another religion. Do the leaders of the Bodu Bala Sena really believe their own cry, or is it an excuse to appoint themselves the defenders of “race” and religion and, on those grounds, stake a claim to power? Or are religion and “race” being used to dismantle, and take over, Muslim commercial ventures? (See, attitudes towards the Jews during Nazi times, a very small minority accused of wielding too much influence and power.)

It would be easy to dismiss the Bodu Bala Sena as belonging to the lunatic fringe, but history has shown that those ridiculed, underestimated and dismissed have gone on, if not to seize power, then to significantly influence events. An attempt must be made to rationally understand the irrational. As several writers, both indigenous and foreign, have noted, in Sri Lanka an overwhelming majority has a minority complex – and with the sense of insecurity and fear the latter breeds.

The life instinct is fundamental to the species, and goes to explain why the fear of not surviving is such a strong, basic and primitive (“primitive” not in a negative sense) emotion. The drive to survive leads to the fear of diminution or elimination. In turn, fear can take possession, making us react irrationally; be willing to be cruel and destructive. Scientists have studied how the introduction of fear can change, radically and negatively, behavior patterns in animals and humans. Politicians have realized, and made use of the fact that fear is a very potent force, stampeding us to atavism. Instill survival-fear, and the human herd will lash out, violently and cruelly. In politics, sadly, fear energizes and mobilizes far more effectively than appeals to compassion and unselfishness. Fear is a much more effective weapon than love; far more powerful than the appeal to reason or to concepts of justice, decency and equality. Insecurity and fear make a group seek power, domination, control and, through them, safety and survival. Frustration with the present state of affairs can also be a factor, leading to the hunt for (group self-exculpating) scapegoats. Further, attacking scapegoats diverts attention from real causes and failure.

In my opinion, the Bodu Bala Sena excites and exacerbates a psychosis lying latent in the collective rather than creating it. Since significance often lies not in the major and the dramatic but in the casual, the humorous, the seemingly trivial, I cite an instance. Many, many years ago, my mother wrote from Dehiwela where she lived to a friend of mine, warmly thanking him for his care and visits, even though I, the original connecting-link, had emigrated, and was no longer there. In turn, my friend wrote to me in London saying that he was going to frame mother’s letter so that if, one day, the Tamil Tigers were to come to his house, he could win their indulgence by showing it to them. The point is that my friend (now deceased) did not live, say, in Wellawatte which has a large Tamil concentration but in a small village in Balapitiya where few had ever inter-acted with a Tamil. My friend’s joke pointed to the phobia that then prevailed: the Tamil Tigers (who perhaps numbered 20,000 at their height) were going to take over the whole island. (That both my friend’s sons were in the army, and their lives endangered, may help towards understanding.)

Phobia, as distinct from fear, though unfounded and irrational, is very real to those infected (one would say, “possessed”) by it. Indeed, a phobia, being generalized and vague, rather than factual and logical, can become more real than fear grounded in reality. This is the danger of the Bodu Bala Sena and why to dismiss them with disregard as not deserving of attention is a mistake.

How this psychosis took root over the years; came to exist and flourish, is a complex phenomenon that historians and sociologists have attempted to explain. But their findings have not reached the popular mind and imagination (partly because most of the discourse has been in English).  Group self-understanding, rationality and sanity will extirpate phobia, and dispel present obsessions. Real issues and problems will, hopefully, then come to preoccupy the people.

Note. I place the word “race” within marks because it has long been established that there is no scientific basis for race. Studies of the human genome leave no doubt that the genetic endowment of humanity is a single continuum. Race is a fiction. We are all cut from the same genetic cloth.  For example, there is no known Jewish gene: Richard Lewontin, ‘Is there a Jewish Gene?’, NYRB, 6-19 December, 2012.  As for the Aryan race, even during the period of the Buddha, in the sixth century BCE, the term Aryan ceased to have any racial connotation. It was simply a descriptive term meaning ‘noble’: Gananath Obeyesekere , quoted by S. J. Thambiah in ‘Sri Lanka: Ethnic Fratricide and the Dismantling of Democracy’, London, 1986. The dynasty of Tamil kings who ruled the Tamil kingdom of Jaffna in the 13th and 14th centuries boasted the name Ariyacakkaravarti (Aryan universal monarchs) and their capital was called Cinkainakar (Lion City).  See also the 1882 publication of the Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, reprinted by Asian Educational Services, India, 1996, under the title Ibn Batuta in the Maldives and Ceylon: “All the Kings of Jaffna seem to have been called Ariya or Ariyan – an old title in India” (note at the end of page 37)

Read the Sinhala translation here. Translated by Yahapalanaya Lanka

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Latest comments

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    Dear Proff,

    I agree with you some of your analysis but disagree with some:

    Agreed:

    Of course, when I say “Sinhala psychosis”, I don’t mean all Sinhalese: it’s merely an imprecise, but convenient, shorthand. Several Sinhalese individuals and groups, recognizing the Sinhala psychosis, its irrationality, hatred and what they lead to, stand up against it, at great cost to themselves and their families. They do so on grounds of principle and ethics; on the conviction that all human beings are essentially equal and, therefore, entitled to equal treatment. Their stance compels respect.
    But sadly the vast majority of the Sinhalse are inherently racist which many of them would not readily admit. If you want proof here it is in black and white. Any politician who stands up and says ( there arent any) that he will grant Tamils equal rights will stay in the wilderness for ever . On the other hand a politician who says that I will bring Sinhala over night like SWRD and the others will be elected for life.

    Disagree:

    The Bodu Bala Sena, or Buddhist Strength Force, sounds the alarm of imminent and mortal peril to the Sinhalese “race” and Buddhism.
    The Sinhalse race or Buddhism is not in danger of peril. But this is symptomatic of the Sinhala race for reasons above and people like the Bodu Bala Sena repesent the majority and they have fluorished under MR and you say it is fear but phobia.
    A phobiaa is, when used in the context of clinical psychology, a type of anxiety disorder, usually defined as a persistent fear of an object or situation in which they find themselves.
    But the Bodu Bala Sena are simply carrying out MRs agenda which is cleanse Sri Lanka of all the minorities using brutal force.
    I am soory to say this but it is sadly true because I am a living proof.

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      Both Bodu Bala Sena and MARA will get their Kiri Peni treat once the UNHRC is concluded.

      We will have enough Bufflos to make famous Hambanthota Kiri Peni in due course.

      What else buffalos are used for……..to plough land, which they have been doing for generations and make Kiri Peni……not to rule a country.

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    Nabil, Answer my questions and don’t write rubbish. I said in the East about 500 mosques which exceeding temples and churchs. This include prayer stations too. More than two third of these mosques erupted within last two decades. There is a proper way before you construct a religious place. There is a ministry and you must take approval from it. Did these mosques build with the approval of ministry of religious affairs? I doubt. During minister Asroff’s time, most of these mosques built. During that period he was the decision maker or the competent authority in the Eastern province under the patronage of CBK.

    The most of the muslim population living peacefully with Sinhalese. But few extremist muslims funded by international islamic organisations create these problems. They very rapidly spreading the extremist ideas especially to young muslims mind in Colombo and in the Eastern province.

    What happen to the income of ACJU for the last decade by issuing certificaes of standards or Halal permits. Did these millions of rupees spent on buying prime lands in SL? Did these money spent on building mosques all over the country? Did these money spent on buying lands to expand already existing muslim colonies around sinhala villages?

    Finally we don’t want to destroy businesses or mosques. But muslims must be genuine and must not use crooked methods.

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    Increasingly by the day, the evidence points funding to the undesirable elements are from Islamo’phobic sources. I read some where – a parallel between Zionism and Sinhellism. Zionist draw their power by practicing “satanic rituals” centred around the Semite/Babylonian deity known as Moloch. They meet at a location in North California called “Bohemian Grove” where they conduct what would be construed as “satanic rituals” at the foot of a 30 feet tall stone statue of the deity “Moloch” from
    which they draw their power through sacrifice. I know this sounds “unbelievable”, but there is genuine live video footage of
    these events actually taking place, filmed by someone with a concealed video camera in a holdall, and who managed to infiltrate Bohemian Grove before being discovered and thrown out. Suffice it to say, this is why the global banking cartel in all of its manifestations are owned and controlled by Zionists, most notably the Federal Reserve in the USA.

    Everything that people are fearful of is already part of us, so to be fearful of anything at all is no different to being frightened at the sight of our own shadow. We are the very experience that we would be fearful of. Are we “scared” of our-Self? Let me then state this emphatically: Nothing can possibly harm us except to the extent we believe it can or by the Divine degree.

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      Hussain Fahmy is spouting conspiracy nonsense spread by certain Islamic factions – the Bohemian Grove expose he talks of is done by a well known conspiracy theorist by the name of Alex Jones. I believe what he is trying to say is that Buddhists too are idol worshippers, something Muslims like to say about Buddhists. So don’t fall for that crap, Sri Lankan Buddhists and Muslims – we have lived in peace for centuries.

      As for the Bodu Bala Sena – they are no less extremist than their Islamic counterparts. They may seem to have reasoning behind what they say (like most extremists do) but try to remember that this is the 21st century and we should be wiser and know how many different faiths and peoples there are – we should embrace our common wishes and goals – on things like peace and harmony and use this to judge those who try to divide us, be they Buddhist, Islamic, Sinhala, Tamil or Hindu.

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      The Bohemian Grove to which the urchin ‘Lester’ belongs.

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    I don’t know Bodu Bala Sena, but i know Ven Kirama Wimalajothi from his years of service to the Buddhists of Malaysia. He is one of the kindest and most sincere monks I have met and I know he has the interests of Buddhists and Sri Lankans at heart.

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    Native Veddah:

    The Arab world too contributed to the development of science, trade and philosophy in different times of the world. The adventures and achievements of the Phoenicians have always fascinated me. Damascus, at over 9,000 years continuity remains the oldest capital in the world. We owe it to them for the invention of Perfume and even
    the process of distillation – both huge industries in the West. There are many more inventions from the Arab lands that benefits mankind to this day. In recent years Prof Edward Said (late) the Christian Arab created consciousness to the cultural wealth of the Middle East with his Orientalism and remains a favourite among the academic community
    in the world for his original and creative thoughts. Mystic Sufism coming from Persia/Iran, to this day, fascinates those in search of religious-intellectual peace throughout the world.

    Senguttuvan

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      Damascans were the pioneers of glass making.

    • 0
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      The infamous late Apple CEO was an arab descent.

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    Senguttuvan

    I agree all of what you have stated above.

    Navigation and cartography of the oceans were two important contributions by the Arabs.

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      and the Astrolabe by Astrulabi.
      In medicine and philosophy volumes of literatures in Arabic.

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    They are the biggest racists in this country. The whole world watch these issues from the right beginning, It’s pretty transparent who is “Right”and who is “Wrong”. There is only one thing which had prompted these monks to attack these Muslims is “Jealous”. Because Muslims are having a good wealthy life in this country although they are minority in this country. Why they want to take this Halal certification as an issue? Sinhalese they eat dead animals, Drink Arrack, Expired Rice & Curry, Lot of Rapes occurring in Sinhalese community, Lot of Suicides, Murders…..etc. So if they could do these kind of things, why they want to bother about halal? Only thing I can ask from my Sinhalese friends, Please try to study about “Islam”and the meaning of Halal! According to BBS’s statements, it clearly shows they are not only bothering about Halal and it talks about mainly ruining the Muslim Community in Sri Lanka. What harm the Muslims did to Sinhalese OR to any other communities in Sri Lanka. They are peace lovers and they have never made any trouble with Other Non-Muslim Communities. If I tell you this, some of the Sinhalese would say they are “Cunning’. I know that this word comes from their mouth since they can not prove that the Muslims are wrong. But Brothers please think positively before making comments on other religions, specifically on Muslims. Have you ever thought, why these BBS boycotting No-Limit and Fashion Bug? What harm they have done to Sinhalese Community? It’s simply because they are Muslims and they are No.1 clothing dealers in Sri lanka. Purely “Jealous” Nothing else.

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    Dear all brothers and sisters,
    I posed a question to one of my sinhala brother who was a monk earlier whether in the buddhist religious scriptures is there any reference of divinity claimed by Gautama Siddharta to make his sculptured image to be worshiped, venerated and to pay homage? The answer was a big no. In real life, what Gautama Buddha preached and practiced was humbleness, politeness, treating people, specially socially down trodden people kindly, eat what was offered to him, never demanded food which he liked, never made noise, never disturbed the peaceful environment with sound pollution, never attacked nor used vulgar languages against another human, never consumed alcohol, never indulged in indecencies to name a few. That was what I accept as buddhism and I loved that. But unfortunately what is happening in Buddhist majority countries like Thailand, Sri Lanka, Myanmar the preaching of Siddharta Ghautama no where to be seen in any form, instead killing of human beings unjustly, large scale prostitution, alcohol consumption, murder, fornication and adultery, abuses, Gambling, extortion, eating ill gotten wealth, worship human beings as deity, If Siddharta Gautama lived among us today to witness what buddhist is being propagated, he would surely disowned and felt betrayed. As Jesus Crist was betrayed.

  • 0
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    most Sinhalese suffer from Schizophrenia it is an illness in their genes and most of them sadly were not aware of it until recently, Sinhalese have the maximum number of suicides in Sri Lanka and mainly involved in brutal violence and consumption of Alcoholism and drugs this is due to the above illness ,one of the best doctors in Sri Lanka to deal with this is Prof.Hanwella if you know anyone with the illness you may consult him at Lanka Hospitals or Asiri through E Chaneling.

    It will be a highly compassionate and worthy cause to involve and help such people.

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      THank you, thank you agin! I know a person his name is Lester who is suffering from this sickness.

      • 0
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        The funny word “Lesterated” was coined by a CT punter sometime back in this forum. Was he an Odin club member?

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