Path to democracy and governance
Coming from Ananda Collage, the epicenter of Sinhala Buddhism, when I entered Engineering Faculty what impressed me most at that stage was the fact the so many Tamils and others, mixed freely with the Sinhalese, both within the lecture rooms and outside. In those days, in spite of some racist elements here and there, all students and staff of the entire university worked together without squinter or suspicion. I do not think that any Sinhala student felt uneasy learning under Mailvaganam, Mahalingam, Sivaprakasapillai and Thurairaja. 
Not only non racism and non communalism but also spirit of honesty and fair play was given to all of us by their example. University teachers of all nationalities trained us to accept differences and eccentricities among humans that should be tolerated and at every opportunity these varieties to be made use for better result. Every member of intelligentsia should be tolerant and innovative; obstacle should be an opportunity for innovation not failure and jealousy. I believe such standards are kept still, by all universities in Lanka whether these exit in the North, East or South. Presently many university dons of all nationalities contribute to the democratic movement making many sacrifices.
 
One learned Sinhala panditha has said that the ethnic and cultural identity of the Tamils living outside the North, and the identities of Sinhala and Muslims living in the North could be ensured not through the provincial council system, but by giving the necessary powers to the local government bodies. Similar view was expressed by the commissioner of LLRC, though he wanted provincial councils with more powers. Some believe that the country would end up in anarchy if the executive presidency was abolished without introducing a stable parliamentary system. Such opinions have come from speakers during the Constitutional Assembly sessions on the proposals to draft a new Constitution. It is true yahapalana government had acted to curb the extreme powers of the executive presidency by enacting the 19th Amendment; made it more democratic.  However it is incorrect to say "Every sector in the country including the provincial council system would be thrown into chaos, if the executive presidency was abolished. What is best for our country is to make the post more democratic”.
 
Those who want to retain executive presidency argue that the clauses with regard to the unitary state in the Constitution should remain intact in all three languages, Sinhala, Tamil and English. "The unitary character of the State is vital for economic and political stability, and to protect environmental sustainability and ensure social harmony. The problems faced by the Tamil people would not be resolved by devolving more powers to the Northern Provincial Council. It could be done only by the political parties representing Tamil people in the North working in conjunction with the central government to ensure success for their people.” These  are mere majoritist arguments rejected by rational minds.
 
There is a disputed statement that claims the two Maha Nayaka of the Malwatta and the Asgiri Chapters issued a special announcement saying Sri Lanka did not need a new constitution or amendments to the present Constitution of the country. It further states that, the Anunayake of the Malwatta Chapter, Ven. Dimbulkumbure Wimaladharma Thera told the media that the proposed Constitution is detrimental as it will devolve such power to provinces so much, not even the parliament will have power to control the Provincial Councils and Pradeshiya Sabhas! Apparently Thera has emphasized that the Maha Nayaka of the other two Buddhist chapters, Romagna and Amarapura Nikaya, as well agree to this statement. Hence the entire Maha Sanga, will be enlightened on the reforms and their strong opposition to a new constitution will be expressed. However there were disagreement and contradictions. Most certainly many other Nayaka Theros disagree with these statements.
 
“Buddhists in Lanka talk highly of their rich past of 2500 years and believe they have a great treasure to give to the whole world. This makes Lanka a country of boasts – very proud of a vast and rich culture spanning over 2500 years. Through this rich past, Buddhist Lankans are hell-bent on recreating  identity as missionaries  of  future mankind ; taking the message of meththa, karuna, muditha and upekka, sticking to it, practicing and ever moving forward, never aspiring to be more than what  Ananda and Oldcot  did in the past! But unfortunately they have nothing to do now, except spreading greed, hate and misunderstanding among other nationalities. They talk about a past that is gone with nothing valuable to do in the present. Strangely, they yearn for a future of sacrifice and sacred commitments. They continuously assert the whole world will be Buddhist and that is the end of civilization. However, all what they do to day is speak of the history of this country without truly attempting to add a treasure to this history. Sinhala Buddhist have gone stagnant and rooted.” said one intellectual in a discussion recently.
 
 It is correct to say that considering the state some countries have achieved only in the last 400 to 500 years, Lanka is nowhere near that rate of development. Lanka could have developed with the rest of the world if, instead of wrongly analyzing the past and wasting time dreaming about the past, lived in the present. There is simply no point taking pride in all historical artifacts and stupas if people do not also make use of them to develop as a nation uniting all communities in the country. One devout Buddhist said, “I would like to mention that Lord Buddha never preached to mix his damma with political policy and governing. He did not attempt to advice the country’s leaders on how to lead. As time went on, Kings and Maha Rajas made way for monks to be a part of governance, and today, we have mistaken this, and allowed religion to govern the lands. We are told to give priority to Buddhism, but how are we to do that when there are multiple chapters in this country alone? Lord Buddha preached equality and unity. How then, were these Chapters formed? What foundations are these chapters based on? It is indeed ironic that many of these Chapters are based on Caste basis, and Lord Buddha has always rejected the caste system. This issue is not just something we can avoid or ignore. It is a truly heartbreaking fact that we have held on to our 2500 year old past so much that it has now become cause for that very same pride inducing past to destroy a potential future for the country. It has annihilated the entire system of this country.
 
We need to create a generation that is willing to think new and to think deep. The path that this current government is taking is appropriate.”
 
dailynews.lk
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