Tamils Need Self Governance

Tamils Need Self Governance

3 February 2019 06:14 am

Some hear about self-governance; some others think about self-governance and only a few realise self-governance. These few are the heritage of future generations.

Which of these does Mr Sumanthiran belong to? In his Ceylon Today article ‘Truth Slides Out’ - Shivanthi Ranasinghe reports:

[According to Sumanthiran, Tamils have not been able to agree to the current Constitution that was brought in by a UNP Government, in 1978. Even the previous Constitution brought in by an SLFP Government, in 1972, had not been acceptable to Tamils because their proposals were not included. As the Constitution is the social agreement of all as to how to live in one country, it is important for the Tamils to feel that they are also partners of the process.]

Mr Sumanthiran represents the Tamil minority community Opposition in National Parliament. In democracy, the duty of such Opposition is to present the outcomes produced by minorities – all minorities. Let us take for example ‘Buddhism Foremost’ article in the Constitution. Has Mr Sumanthiran educated Tamils about how such an article naturally divides Sri Lankans into two. The following in Shivanthi Ranasinghe’s report indicates otherwise:

[At a recent interview with the BBC Sinhala Service FB Live, TNA Spokesman M.A. Sumanthiran, fielding questions from Facebook followers, explained the reasons for the need of a new Constitution. He categorically assured that their proposals will further strengthen the President to keep the country indivisible.]

Does the above mean that the president has agreed to repeal article 9 of the Sri Lankan Constitution? As per article 9 – all non-Buddhists are juniors to Buddhists. What did the president do when the position of Leader of the Opposition was handed over to Mr Rajapaksa by a fellow Buddhist? Buddhism foremost clause makes Sri Lanka a Buddhist state using Buddhist Administration. In Parliament, one’s belief is the foundation on which issues are discussed without fear of being wrong. If Buddhist leaders need such an article – then they lack Buddhist belief. Hence an external law.

The common Sri Lankan is driven more by religious and cultural faith than by secular laws. The word ‘foremost’ makes the parties concerned relative and not  Independent Equals. Today I received an email about ‘Rise Up Sri Lanka in Kandy - 02 Feb 2018’ which included the following message:

[Few things we Rise Up for ...

  1. We demand actions on those who behaved violently in parliament and damaged public property.
  2. We demand MPs who switched sides ( and others) should declare assets and prove that they didn’t go at the going rate of Rs. 500million talked about by even the President.
  3. We demand that public interest investigation and litigations in to large scale corruptions both pre and post 2015 including the infamous Bond Scam should be expedited and taken forward without political interference.
  4. We demand that the long over due provincial council elections are held in line with the constitution.
  5. We demand that the practice of appointing one’s brothers, astrologers, etc to be heads of public institutions and other forms of nepotism should come to an end.

We continue to Rise Up as an independent group not affiliated to any political party demanding for a new political culture and better standards of public accountability !!!

The Rise Up gathering in Kandy is the 4th gathering we are organizing following similar gatherings in Colombo, Negombo, Batticaloa over the last few months.  

Our gatherings are for the people raise their voice and we do not invite any politicians. Instead invite citizens to talk at an open mic and share it via our live feed and social media. 

We hope you actively voice your self. 

Let’s not wait till the next crisis to act. 

Rise Up with us in Kandy and share your voice at our gathering tomorrow.

Kindly help spread the word within your networks as well. 

Rise Up Sri Lanka !!!]

The organizer is presented as follows by URI – United Religions Initiative:

[Mr. Abeyewickreme is practitioner of Theravada Buddhist teaching from Sri Lanka and has been engaged with URI since 2010. ]

URI presents itself as follows:

[URI is a global grassroots interfaith network that cultivates peace and justice by engaging people to bridge religious and cultural differences and work together for the good of their communities and the world.]

Based on Buddhism foremost article in the Constitution, would the following be right or wrong if in the following -  the person appointed is a strong practitioner of Buddhism and therefore confirms belief in Buddhism?

[5. We demand that the practice of appointing one’s brothers, astrologers, etc to be heads of public institutions and other forms of nepotism should come to an end.]

Belief makes it easy for us to work a relationship – including within an institution. The Sri Lankan Parliament is made up of majority Buddhists. By making Buddhism part of the law, a subject who demonstrates high level of performance in Buddhist form of any theory – automatically is entitled to a Sri Lankan Public position until proven otherwise through merit based measures.

Democracy is lateral and authority as per the system of democracy is outcome based. If all voters be it in Parliament or in general elections by citizens, based their vote within the boundaries of their belief – the outcomes would be harmonious and governance would be natural. It need not be intellectually high. Administration is vertical and an administrative outcome to be more valid than a vote based outcome – needs to be taller in value than the lateral line of democracy made vertical.

If we take religion as a base of belief – and say 9 Buddhist monks voted ‘yes’ to the Opposition Leaders’ position going to Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa, an intellectual derivation using  secular measure needs to be taller than nine equal parts stacked one on top of the other – to entitle Mr Sampanthan to be the Opposition Leader. The closest to absolute value is intellectual merit based value.

Belief based politics is most reliable. But to not hurt / damage someone of a different belief – there needs to be separation of powers. In Parliament – belief is based on electorates. In Judiciary, belief is based on the laws already in existence. If the two forms are indiscriminately mixed – the results would be most unreliable. Hence the Doctrine of Separation of Powers between the Executive and the Judiciary in a truly democratic country.

Any group that is sovereign would function naturally with its own powers. That is like dancing to one’s own music from within. Often man passes off mere hearsay thought as belief.  Hence we have merit based assessment using One measure to maintain harmony.

In the above demand to end nepotism – is the claimant including the appointment of Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa as Defence Secretary during the war period? That is the strongest example that demonstrates the destructive force of nepotism. This applies to Tamil militants also – to the extent they appointed their own. But the positive side to it is that they did not have to fear internal conflict as much they would have to if there were outsiders in that core group. Yet the protestors are leaving this out – giving one the impression that their kith and kin were not killed indiscriminately as much as Tamils were.

Whether an appointment amounts to nepotism or good governance depends on the level of belief. Belief based appointment would meet the requirements of any reliable human law.

If we start from zero base, and use only religion as entitlement to claim sovereignty, (i.e. – no secular political parties) – then each religious community is entitled to the same separation of powers as the Judiciary does in the ‘Common’ system. Then the group that practices the higher level laws is the one that is entitled to ‘judge’ whether the others’ outcomes are right or wrong.  This higher group does not have the authority to enforce implementation but it has the authority to declare.

Tamil politicians did make such a declaration in 1976 through Vaddukoddai Resolution and in 1977 – they became leading Opposition in National Parliament. A believer in the path of Truth manifesting Itself – would appreciate that this happened due to mere hearsay being used as belief by the non-Tamils in  Parliament and that Tamils took on the challenge and intellectually produced taller outcomes than Sinhalese who were pampered by easy money and status. Due to lack of natural resources, Tamils had to dig deeper to grow taller. Truth confirmed this growth.

We had to do this in the testamentary case relating to our brother – a resident of Vaddukoddai. My husband said that the succession shares needed to be decided on the basis of Theswalamai Law but the other three siblings stated that they sought Equal share – using common law basis. All three of them had already received wealth from their father and as per Thesawalamai unmarried bother’s wealth is shared by brothers. The courts stated that Theswalamai was used but the judgment was to award Equal share. But  Truth helped us raise the matter according to which the UK part of the wealth – was to be covered by UK law – which required Administration. We submitted our claims as creditors – which eventually works out to confirm our claim through Theswalamai.

The parallel of the above is Tamils being supported by the UN, led by America,  in the war-crimes issue.

The President and the Leader of the Opposition being of the same political party is another form of ‘Buddhism foremost’ provision. If Parliament is made up of religion based groupings only – Buddhists would form government and Hindus as the next largest group would be entitled to lead the Opposition. But if a Buddhist is included in Hindu group – the whole group loses its sovereign power. That would be like Mr Rajapaksa’s son and bride going through 3 forms of  religious wedding ceremonies – Poruwa, Hindu and Catholic.

Every Sovereign group is entitled to its own space due to its diversity. Buddhism foremost provision in the Constitution denies this diversity to other groups. Buddhists who are easy-going are likely to practice nepotism due to reading ‘foremost’ as ‘better’. Those who are subjectively driven but lack the intellectual height to use common basis – are likely to use their position authority to override intellectual merit. This is the very reason why anti discrimination laws are practiced by those who have invested deeply in multiculturalism and democracy. Buddhism foremost in the constitution is anti-democratic and every Sri Lankan who uses the principle of Equality to vote – has the duty to reject it.  When this happens Tamil-Only will naturally be limited to rural Tamil areas to protect their diversity – including from urban Tamils. 

Every self-governing person would add exponential value to the person elected by her/him and therefore to the party that the elected person belongs to by belief. Whether such person/group  is in Government or Opposition – is immaterial for the purposes of  ownership. They will always lead. That was confirmed by many religious leaders – including Jesus - the son of a carpenter who is/was worshipped by kings and queens.

Gajalakshmi Paramasivam