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Friday 28 February 2014

Do not betray the Sinhala opinion

Democracy certainly does not mean that the majority opinion should be neglected. One may call it majoritarianism or anything else but no government should or could ignore the views of the majority. It also does not mean that the minority opinion should be neglected and it is up to the government to decide on the policy considering all the opinions. However, that does not mean that all opinions could be implemented as it would result only in chaos. In any event governments in so called democratic countries are elected by the majority and not by the minority, especially when the minority opinion is dictated by the foreigners. .

What is the majority opinion of the country on the 13th amendment and the LLRC report. The Sinhala majority may not agree with all that I have expressed on these matters, but I am aware that the vast majority of the Sinhala opinion is against the 13th amendment and do not want the LLRC report to be implemented in full. Even if the government has previously said that it would implement the thirteenth amendment plus and the LLRC report the government has the liberty to change its policy taking into consideration the majority opinion. After all there is no government or political party in the world that has maintained the same policy over a period of time and any political party is entitled to change its policy if those who vote for the party want it so.

The SLFP has changed its policy over the last sixty three years or so. It is true that the language policy of the SLFP was not Sinhala only at the inception of the party though the Sinhala Maha Sabha was the organization that Mr. Bandaranaike formed following the Hindu Mahajana Sabai of the Tamil leaders. It is also true that the SLFP and the LSSP won the same number of electorates at the 1952 general elections held soon after the formation of the SLFP. The so called political analysts think that the parity of the LSSP was accepted by the Sinhala people over the Sinhala only policy of the SLFP. What these pundits forget is that in 1952 the SLFP did not subscribe to the Sinhala only policy.

As we have maintained the Sinhala nationalism is bottom up and it is the people who determine the policies of the nationalist parties. In 1952 as far as nationalism was concerned the Sinhala people were under the impression that the UNP was nationalistic as in their opinion it was that party that won independence to the country. The LSSP and the CP were also considered as nationalistic by some Sinhala people including some Sanga Veda Guru, since the two parties were involved in anti colonialist struggle. Probably the people were not aware or not informed properly that as far back as 1943 the CP had declared that the Sinhalas and Tamils were two nationalities that had existed in the country for thousands of years. In 1952 the Sinhala people were “confused” regarding nationalism (not in the western sense. Western nationalism is associated with capitalism and nation states but Sinhala nationalism had been existence at least from the fifth century if not from the time of Pandukabhaya), and no nationalistic party had evolved to satisfy the needs of the inherent nationalistic policies of the people. The Sinhala nationalism was brewing outside the political parties and the leaders of the movement had been the ordinary men and women who were the inheritors of the nationalistic independence movement of Keppitipola Disawa and others in 1817-18. The  Ven. Bhikkus including those who were behind the Panadura Vadaya, Anagarika Dharmapla belonged to this movement and the names of the Bhasha Premis of the thirties, people such as L H Mettananda of Ananda Vidyalaya, though Colonel Olcott was of different category, come to the mind when one thinks of the nationalistic movement of the Sinhala people.

It is clear that the SLFP that had its ears to the ground listening to these ordinary people changed its policy and adopted Sinhala only policy. The result of this change was manifested at the Minneriya by-elections, which the SLFP won with a handsome majority an year or two before 1956. The SLFP has been going along this nationalistic path winning the 1956 general elections and then the 1960 July general elections under Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike. However the UNP credentials for nationalism (again not in the western sense) had not been lost under Dudley Senanayake, and even J R Jayawardhane subscribed to nationalism with his Dhrmishta Samajaya concept. The anti Sinhala nationalists tried to change the course of the SLFP by importing Chandrika Kumaratunge from her self exile in England, with the support of the west, and the leftists who by this time had become left out also joined the Chandrika bandwagon and some left out leftists including a few ministers in the present cabinet thought that the “ashcharya” had already begun. To cut a long story short all these dreams were short lived and the SLFP began a journey back to its nationalistic policies under Mahinda Rajapakse.

However, on various occasions the President Mahinda Rajapakse had been under pressure from the west and India, and though he stood up to them very bravely, including the case when the west wanted him to allow Prabhakaran to escape with their assistance, in certain instances probably not knowing the strength of Sinhala nationalism may have talked of thirteen plus and LLRC report.  As we have mentioned number of times LLRC is only a committee appointed by the government and its report is not a report of the government. The government is not compelled to implement the entire LLRC report, whatever some left out ministers of the cabinet and so called intellectuals in various fora may in their enthusiasm to satisfy their western masters and the associated thinking pattern, and the government has to listen to the Sinhala opinion before it listens to Navi Pillai and the rest in Geneva.

The Sinhala opinion is against the full implementation of a report compiled by people who need grass for their feet, and the government should not betray the opinion of the Sinhala people to satisfy few ministers and the west. If these ministers and others are not given nominations at the next general elections they would not be able to come near the vicinity of the Parliament either as elected MPs or nominated MPs from the so called national list. They do not have an opinion of their own even to consider as they only repeat ad nauseam what they had learnt from their moth eaten Marxist or Socialist books which never became outdated for the simple reason that they were not “dated” anytime in the history of the last two centuries. The thirteenth amendment too has outlived and its time that the government rethinks its position of it in the light of Wignesawarn’s satisfaction at the decision by the Tamil Nadu government to release the murderers of Rajiv Gandhi though he was the official architect of the thirteenth amendment.

Jayalalitha has different ideas and together with the TNA it is clear that now they are thinking of a greater Eelam with Tamil Nadu and the Northern province of Sri Lanka forming a mini Chola empire in South Asia with the assistance of the west. Some pundits may tell us of geopolitical realities (when there is no reality as such there cannot be geopolitical realities, except ambitions and expectations of political animals with political minds) and claim that in the presence of China the west would not support a divided India.  However, the Tamils are the last to go against the west and the west knows that they are in control of Tamil politics whose nationalism is from top to bottom.

The Rajapakse “regime” cannot ignore or betray Sinhala opinion and it is clear that at present the political parties other than the SLFP have no place in Sri Lankan politics as they are not nationalistic. The elections to the provincial councils in the absence of by-elections to the parliament serve as such and the opinion expressed at these elections is somewhat a resemblance of that expressed at the by-elections at Minneriya in the fifties.

Nalin De Silva