21 October, 2021


The New Constitution & The Same Old Underwear

By V. Kanthaiya

“It is the policy of (Name of the Company) not to discriminate against any applicant for employment, or any employee because of age, colour, gender, disability, national origin, race, religion, caste or veteran status…” ~ An extract from the annual report of a company listed in Colombo Stock Exchange

“The Constitution shall accord the foremost place to Buddhism. The Existing Article 9 shall be maintained just as it is without any amendment… ” ~ Page 29, Interim Report of the Steering Committee, The Constitutional Assembly of Sri Lanka.

Several times in my life, I have been met by people carrying pamphlets and trying to inform me that the religion they follow and the God they worship are the correct way to heaven. They would fervently preach that Gold loves me and is doing all his best to help to come over all my troubles. Once I had severe financial difficulty (I always have but this time it was severe) and I thought time has come for me to let the God into my life. I attended a group worship. I prayed with them. They prayed for me. They were really nice people. And finally the preacher started to preach us. Then he asked the devotees to donate some money to the particular institution.

This was the same pattern with all the other religions. The men of God will preach us and pray for us and finally ask us for financial contribution saying it is for the God. All the religions portray the God as the almighty creator of this universe who has the power to change anything and everything. But in contrast to this, my subconscious mind started to believe that God is someone like me, a person plagued with financial difficulties.

What is surprising to my rational mind is that how religion is able to dominate one’s life? After all it’s just a choice of a way to reach the God. We accept the fact that there are numerous ways to prepare a cup of tea. We accept that people have different choices and it is their fundamental right to choose something they like unless it harms the others. But why this rationalism instantly vanishes when it comes to religion?

Many of those who identify themselves as ardent Buddhists, Catholics, Hindus or Muslims will find difficult to understand that religion is just a collective belief. Something which exists only in the mindset of those who believe it. This is exactly what Kanye West and Jay-z tell in their song ‘No Church in the Wild’.

“Human beings in a mob.

What is a mob to a king? What’s a king to a god?

What’s a god to a non-believer…?”

Now I want to ask a question.

How much Buddhism amounts to a Christian Sinhalese, to a Tamil, to a Muslim, to an atheist, and to an agnostic? The Constitution says it places Buddhism in the foremost place. Then what about the Christian Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims? They too are the citizens of this country. Won’t their fundamental rights being violated by placing Buddhism in the foremost place?

Another question is, what this state is trying to achieve by giving prominence to Buddhism through the constitution itself? Who is benefiting from it? Is it the common man of this country? Or at least the common Sinhala Buddhist of this country? This will benefit only the members of Maha Sangha and the Buddhist monks to have a place in the society and assist them to get financial resources.

Some will say that I am deliberately avoiding the latter part of the phrase in the constitution and misleading the readers. All right!  The constitution says “ The Republic of Sri Lanka shall give to Buddhism the foremost place and accordingly it shall be the duty of the state to protect and foster the Buddha Sasana, while assuring to all religions the rights granted by Articles 10 and 14 (1) (e)”.

I always get an odd feeling that this phrase was copied from (and slightly modified) George Orwell’s book Animal Farm, in which the pigs who rule the farm create a rule “All animals are equal, but some are more equal”.

Giving Buddhism the foremost place justifies the call by Tamils for power devolution and the autonomy since the constitution of the state fails to protect the minorities and discriminate them. In reality, Sri Lanka has never been a Buddhist country prior to the independence ( and post ) from the British. The north and Eastern part of the country was ruled by Tamils and hinduism was the predominant religion there.  The British conquered all the kingdoms on the country and united them for their administration and when they left the Island in 1948, they left all the kingdoms as one single country. The Tamils in the North and eastern parts have distinct culture and language. Giving prominence to Buddhism and forcing all the other ethnic minorities to do the same have alienated them from the concept of unitary state. This is the key reason Tamils now demand a framework which recognizes their distinct language and culture and give autonomy in governing themselves.

Most of the smart patriots and other Sinhala Buddhists may question why and how giving prominence to a  particular religion creates division among the various ethnic groups. Well, one’s religion may be of enormous value to the particular person or group, but for others, it’s of nothing. A metaphor mostly used by the rationalists to describe the religion is the underwear. People seek both mostly for inner peace/ inner comfort. They are supposed to be intimate. The best part of this analogy is that they both are of choice. You can select your underwear based on colour, quality, price,  brand and your waist size. And telling people from other religions that Buddhism is of higher value to the country is like telling others that your underwear is the best underwear and expecting all others to accept it and respect it, while forgetting that fact one person’s underwear will not be suitable for all the other people. Remember Everybody has different waist size. Sadly, what Maha Sangha and the Mahanayake’s think is that the underwear which fits them well, should fit all others in the country (and all others should wear the same).

Unless otherwise, the majority citizens of this country stand up and say to the clergies that there is no one best single underwear which suits everyone in this country and there is no one religion which suits every one in this world. Everyone has their own choices.

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  • 15

    9. The Republic of Sri Lanka shall give to Buddhism the foremost place and accordingly it shall
    be the duty of the State to protect and foster the Buddha Sasana, while assuring to all religions
    the rights granted by Articles 10 and 14(1)(e). “

    This crap should be removed from the constitution. State should not foster one religion or other, that is the responsibility of the followers.

    Buddhism given the foremost place is interpreted by some as being above the law. It is not and irrespective of religion should face the music if they break the law. We have seen many uneducated fat pigs (men in yellow) break into places of worship, govt offices, abuse law enforcement and abuse the judiciary but to date no one has been charged let alone convicted of these crimes.

    “duty of the State to protect and foster the Buddha Sasana”
    What happened in the last two days is a disgrace to the “Buddha Sasana” and if the state had voluntarily take the responsibility to protect and foster then real Buddhists should sue the state. Not only did they not prevent this from happening, they have not taken any action to prevent this from happening other than victimizing the victims by moving them from a house to a camp.

    • 1

      BURT THE CARTOON CHARACTER: What you are saying is fair because your father was a pastor in Yapanaya and that helps your daily bread. Do you know that buddhists practice “Live and let live” but not you people ?

      • 9

        ““Live and let live”” Yes. Not Sinhalese Buddhists.
        They murder, rape, loot,…

        NOT all of them of course.

      • 8

        “Do you know that buddhists practice “Live and let live” but not you people ?”

        Buddhists may be but not the little Bas***ds dropped at temples by mothers to cover their own shame. These Bas***ds are abused from childhood and then come into adult hood and they abuse society using the yellow cloth.

  • 14

    The idea that one religion should have a “foremost place” in a democratic (as imperfect as it maybe) multi-ethnic, multi-religious country is sacrilegious. The fact that this idea that caused 70 years of majoritarian tyranny for the minorities and conflict for the whole country cannot be dropped by the ruling Sinhala elite is a sad sign for the future of the country. No lessons have been learnt, only winning power and staying in power is the ultimate aim.

  • 4

    Granted it is all silly, illogical and unfair. How did this creep into our Constitution? It is because
    1) Most other countries have it (ask a Muslim friend) In UK Queen represents the Church and in America ‘In God they trust -officially.
    2} World as whole Buddhists are a minority
    3) In Sri Lanka others are scheming to destroy 2500 years of Buddhist heritage(at least Buddhists are made to feel so. Tamils tried to destroy the Sacred Tooth Relic and Sri Maha Bodhi, for example)
    4) There are all powerful Brahmans, Gods and Allahs to protect others and foaster their respective faiths but Buddhists have nobody to turn to for help.

    • 6

      “In UK Queen represents the Church and in America ‘In God they trust -officially.”
      This is so in UK because King Henrey the VIII could not get the Pope to authorize his Divorce. Within Christianity he was equal to every other. So he formed the Church of England and proclaimed himself the head. “In God We Trust” means different entity to different people and does not affect anyone life.

      “World as whole Buddhists are a minority”
      Because its not a religion but a way of life. Lord Buddha never said he was God. He gave a choice and if its the minority then the majority is not buying it

      Take a look at the majority Buddhists countries and ask yourself do you really want the world to have a Buddhist majority.

    • 3

      somass Ji

      ” Most other countries have it (ask a Muslim friend) In UK Queen represents the Church and in America ‘In God they trust -officially.”

      World Happiness Report stated Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, Finland, …. the first most happiest countries in the world. Why don’t you try for the first happy country rather than hanging on to the parochial sentiments? American are leading in research and developments. Why don’t you take American as good example and follow them in Science and Technology?

      “World as whole Buddhists are a minority”

      It should not worry true followers of the Awakened one. However those Sinhala/Buddhist fascists may want to expand their empire. Sorry somass you are too parochial and stupid to build an religious empire.

      “In Sri Lanka others are scheming to destroy 2500 years of Buddhist heritage(at least Buddhists are made to feel so. Tamils tried to destroy the Sacred Tooth Relic and Sri Maha Bodhi, for example)”

      There is no cure for paranoid Sinhala/Buddhist fascists. The Dalada Maligawa
      was first attacked by JVP in 1989 and followed by LTTE in 1998. The weeping widow first introduced religion into constitution in 1972. Therefore you have lost sense of time, rationality, commonsense, proportion, …………………………… all because of your paranoia.

      “Buddhists have nobody to turn to for help”.

      True Buddhist followers don’t rely on gods. Its only the Sinhala/Buddhist fascists who break coconuts demand favours from as many gods as they know, mostly the Hindu ones. Some times the Christian one at Madu.

      I am looking forward to put forward your name to the the committee which selects the winner of “life Time Achievement for being a Stupid Ass” if ever there is an award.

  • 9

    Excellent analysis with good examples and explanation. Sti Lanka is now ruled by the Maha Sanga/Military: President/PM just for namesake and to make fast money to promote their party and their family. Poor voters vote every time for good and honest governance and justice. But we see Bond Scam, Highway Scam and so many scams so far and may be more to come soon.
    The country is in the UN/World radar for Human rights violations and have to fulfill its promises to implement the UNHRC relolution 30/1 in full and in good faith. So far nothing is moving on this important matter.
    EU is watching the progress and the promise to repeal the DRACONIAN PTA.
    If not Sri Lanka will be losing the GSP+ concession in future.

  • 7

    Bravo , Naked Truth Kanthaiya Aiyah.
    I’m sure Late Wijeyananda Dhanayake (WD) will be thanking you from heaven.
    At least the whole of SL knew what colour Ammude WD wore. Fellow parliamentarians knew the scent and the quality of the reddha ammude was made of.
    Late General Sir John Kottalawela has a place in the post 1948 SL history in many ways. So is Late SWRD Bandaranayake. At least 2 important institutes are named after them.

    For the benefit of the younger generation I would like ask the following questions :
    1. Did both wear same brand, same colour, same size underwear ?
    2. Why Maha Sangha & Mahanaykaes made Sir John lose and SWRD win ?
    3. Why members of Maha Sangha made a plot and killed SWRD ?
    4. Why Ven Somarama did not wear a bullet proof underwear ?

  • 6

    Sri Lanka is one Island Two Nations: Since independence Tamils in the North and East are discriminated in every field: employment, development, basic human rights and freedom.
    Sri Lanka is now under UN radar for all the crimes committed against the Tamils in Tamil Nation. If Sri Lanka fails to implement its own LLRC recommendations and the UNHRC Resolution of 30/1 in good faith – UN will be forced to hold an UN sponsored referendum in the North and East for the people in the North & East to decide their future.
    Sri Lanka’s Crumbling Credibility

    • 2

      Give it a chance Kumarathansan Rasigam@

      Both parties have made their own mistakes. Not just majority sinahalese but minority tamils have sowed racism in the country and that was the reason we fought a war against TAMIL terrorists groups by mid of 2009.

      Today, most among us feel – had both parties been that wise, nothing like that woudl have taken the human lives for a period of 3 decades.

      Having got to know tamil minorities in Europe, I felt, we dont have much differences.

      If you guys even today are on promotion of hartreds that could jeopardise the peace and reconciliation processes being underway, our future generations would curse on us forever.
      Besides, if as you say, we should have 2 nations for 20 millions, then India or any other countries with varied communities should also have it.
      Is that the case in India ?
      Is that the case in America?
      Is that the case in some european countries ?
      We can have one nation under one umbrella basta.
      Extremists may bring this upside down for their short thinkings but that would never work out.

      • 6

        Check How many STATES are in USA, India and European countries. They have federalism. All these countries are able to stay as one nation purely because they they devolved the power to the regions and embraced the differences. Just imagine, most of the Americans are white. Still they have various state governments and those states have greater autonomy.

        Please update your knowledge on governance before commenting.

  • 0

    Don’t worry Kanthaiya………… don’t know what Sira hugs these days with so many Elites , Anglicans, Vellalas and even Wahabis in his Camp….. But I can assure you Sira doesn’t hug Bo trees anymore…………He in fact told the Yahapalana suckers not to take anyone in a Yellow Robe as a Buddhist monk…….. In light of that, what Mangalan, Field Marshall and even Christian Ranjan said is ” Mild “…………..This Dr Ranil giving Buddhism the foremost place in his Batalanda Constitution is all Bull………Can poor Siinhala Rural inhabitants who are the great majority, in fact 70 percent of the total can get any where , when they are going to be relegated to the third class . by Dr Ranil’s Economics ?……..1000 Monks took Alms from Dr Ranil……. And it is the same Ranil who is F********Up the poor Sinhala Buddhists by creating a Haves and Have nots Society, where former will live in luxury while while the rest will have to go to the Temple to feel good…………

    • 4

      KASmaalam K A Sumanasekera

      “1000 Monks took Alms from Dr Ranil”

      Was the grant duke of Assgiria one of them?

      By the way did the duke demand a$10 millionRed Gold Dream as part of the fees package for protecting Sinhala/Buddhism in this island from good Buddhists?

      I am told 2011 SLR McLaren Mercedes Benz Red Gold Dream is about $10 million a piece.

      Was Dr Ranil going to gift the grant duke a SLR McLaren Mercedes Benz Red Gold Dream?
      Don’t you think Dr Ranil should gift the Merc to the Duke in order to show the noisy minority, being the guardian prime minister protecting Buddha Sasana it is worth every nickle buying the Merc for $10 million for the Duke?

  • 4

    Buddhism has survived and flourished for 2500 years but some people think that it cannot survive another 2500 years without government help. We are already facing an intractable problem as a result of mixing language and politics (this is unavoidable), so why should we add another layer of complexity by mixing religion also with politics?

    As so many have pointed out before, the best way to protect and foster Buddhism is to practice it.

  • 7

    Buddha renounced his own kingdom. Why is his religion made the state religion? Only so that the Mahanayake of Asgiriya can have Benz cars.

    As a Tamil Hindu I don’t mind Buddhism being the state religion. After all, all Sinhala Buddhists, (being Tamils), worship Hindu Gods and believe in karma and rebirth just like the Hindus, Buddha himself being born a Hindu and being a Hindu reformer.

    But for Muslims and Christians, this would be irksome. They are part of our society. Their religions exist in Sri Lanka. Since tolerance is the essence of Hinduism and Buddhism, these religions, which are exclusionary religions, must yet be accorded the same status as any other religion, not out of compassion, but as a matter of right. Secularism is the modern constitutional principle.

    This is a useless debate. Let us concentrate on providing a good life to all instead of braying and letting blood for religion.

  • 2

    Kanthaiya Anna

    Can you remember the incident in Batticaloa when Minister Devanayakam lost his temper and did a gentle kuddu on the head of a monk, with his umbrella.

    So please take an umbrella when you go out for a walk next time, but don’t use it because you are not a minister. It will help you to protect yourself.!!

  • 1

    Kanthaiya / Kumara thasan rasingham / Mam sinhalam / Anpu !!!

    It rains blood from the day the the jewel of the North, ” Vidya” was raped and murdered by our own people.
    We robbed the life of a beautiful youthful looking girl with loft dreams from a simple family. Why ???

    Will the Gods ever forgive the people of the North, us Tamils for this henious broad day light Crime??
    Why point the finger at others and senseless talk, when such a dastardly Rape/Murder took place in our own backyard and soaked our soil with blood spilt that of an innocent girl in school uniform.
    Why did we do it OR why did we permit it to happen?? S.J.Emmanuel’s my people.

    • 2

      Dear Thondamannay or someone; You are in deep sleep: you do not know what is happening in the south regarding rapes and sexual abuses. Even the Sri Lankan military on UN peace keeping mission in Haiti taped underaged girls and got kicked out from Haiti: The perpetrators not punished;
      Torture Camps & Commanders involved in Rape & Torture;

  • 1

    Mr. Kanthaiya: You look like a Evangelical christian and you never knew at least Hinduism. Apply your same rhetorics to UK where the queen is the head of the Church or to many other american and europena countries whose religion is Christianity and they have deep states which do not allow any other religeon to have a strong foothold. Why You christians should be favoured i Sri lanka when buddhists are just about 13 million while you christians are 2.4 billion.——————–You say that you believe that the Almighty is just one like you. That is exactly what buddhism says. We ourselves choose our destiny. buddhism forces no one. So, why do you want to give equal place and space to engage in their expansionist ways when there is a religion which says “YOU ARE THE ALMIGHTY WHEN YOU SELECT RIGHT WAY AS YOUR DESTINY”. SO, THINK., What harm you doing to innocent buddhists when your religion oppression and subjugation by the almighty. Why buddhists can not have their country the way they want ?

    • 2

      Jimsofty the Dimwit
      “Apply your same rhetorics to UK where the queen is the head of the Church or to many other american and europena countries whose religion is Christianity”

      Why should he you nutter? He was born in Sri Lanka, possibly lived all his life in this island, now lives in this country and does want to live here forever, and why the hell you want him to apply his analysis to foreign countries where his life and interest don’t lay.

      “We ourselves choose our destiny. buddhism forces no one. So, why do you want to give equal place and space to engage in their expansionist ways when there is a religion which says “

      What are you blabbering about?

      A word of advice when you get older retire gracefully. Say something sensible, logical, treat others with respect, keep both your hands on keyboard not one holding your willi, focus, ………………………

      • 1

        Dumb native Veddo: Ask your buddy Kanthaiaya to apply the same Philosophy to those christian countries including UK. What are you going to do in UK dissolve the royalty ?. does your buddy has any statistics to prove that Tamils were ruling the north and east. How come Tamils are Tamilizing the north now and look for Tamilnames for the sinhala names in the north and East. One funny example, one village called Samaraliyadda which had been abandoned by the villagers during the LTTE terrorism, near a forest monastry is occupied by some poor muslims. I heard Tamil officers have come and said, it is their ancient billage and they call it Samaraliyaddam. when he was asked how did you get the word Samaraliyaddam in Tamil, he had that is how his boss had said. How funny.

        • 0

          Dumb jimbo,
          When you went for interview as a toilet cleaner in some corner of USA, did they ask your religion first?
          Or they only allow Buddhist as toilet cleaners?

        • 0


          Please please please pull your head from HLD M’s bum when you start typing in this forum.

  • 3

    Mr.Sambanthan trio have given their nod to the smelly old underwear. What do the Tamil people say to it. Do they and CVW still want Mr.Sambanthan as the leader of the Tamil people.
    The Tamil people cannot trust the Sinhalese and they cannot trust their Tamil leaders any more. So what is the alternative? Even an ordinary illiterate Tamil citizen knew that the Tamils are not going to be benefited in anyway either from the new constitution or in any form. Yet the arrogant Sambanthan led the Tamils in harm’s way by his tongue twisting attitude.
    The Tamil community has to change because the war has ruined them and changed them into a devilish position. Hatred, robbery, rape and murder, drugs has become a norm in the Tamil community which was not there before.
    Wijeyakala Maheswaran is a typical example, who should be thrown out of the community. Being a woman, and having known that Swiss Kumar was a rapist and a murderer, used her position and freed him from the peoples’ custody. She would have known that Swiss kumar too was involved in the gang rape and murder of the 18 year old girl Vidya. Wijeyakala Maheswaran was elected to parliament by the people. She will escape punishment, which she should not, through the influence of the party she belongs. Why do the Tamil people want her as their representative. The people should kick her out. In the same way the TNA MPs too should be kicked out as they do not deserve their position they are holding now.
    Let the Tamil people learn lessons from the Catalonians.

  • 2

    “…………The Constitution shall accord the foremost place to Buddhism…….”.
    This safeguard came about because of a McCarthy type fear of “danger to Buddhism”. More and more evidence is accruing which clearly indicates that the “Danger to Buddhism” is from within. The recent action against Rohingya refugees has damaged the reputation of Buddhism.

  • 0

    [Edited out] We are sorry, the comment language is English – CT

  • 3

    The religion crap should be abolished from any constitution if we need unity & prosperity in the country.
    Look at the secular India & Singapore and their progression of prosperity. Religion is a ‘drug’ and addictive substance, which should not be mixed with politics. Politicians should leave it to the respective people to practice and look after it without interfering or giving one religion the foremost place in any constitution.
    This is the curse of our country and that resulted in death, destruction, war and calamity.
    Unity should be the theme and for that the country should become ‘secular’, if not things will only get worse and the whole nation and people will suffer with more chaos, death and destruction. No one can live in peace or prosperity, let alone hunger and destitution. The actions of each and every government of SL is continuing to divide the people and the country which is dragging the nation down the drains.
    Governments are always the worst enemies of their own citizen…!

  • 1

    Two LTTE agents running this country now and anything is possibleRanj

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