LankaDissent Hot Topic : Kusal Perera

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Tragedy of the Sinhala Buddhist Citizen

If one talks of this country – which in reality is the areas under government control – the question is, who rules the country now ? After a slow but gradual shift in the past, this responsibility of ruling the country has taken a phenomenal shift towards the judiciary during the past year or two. Now the Sinhala Buddhist citizen has to seek the support of the judiciary to sort out his/her daily issues. During the previous week (starting from 15th September) alone, the Supreme Court took up quite a number of Fundamental Rights petitions on social issues. From the use of loud speakers to admission of children to grade one, marking of answer scripts, residing in Colombo, privatising of public enterprises, deciding on retirement age of public employees, price hikes in LP gas, fuel prices, environmental taxes are all issues the Supreme Court is now required to sort out.

Unfortunately, what is being taken for discussion on this, is the role of the Chief Justice, which is irrelevant. What needs to be discussed is this new trend of going to the Supreme Court with FR petitions. Why has the Sinhala Buddhist citizen got to petition the Supreme Court on his/her daily social issues that the government should decide and the State should implement ? Isn’t it a serious political concern that more and more have to seek redress for their issues in daily life from the judiciary ?

This clearly highlights the treatment meted out to the Sinhala Buddhist citizen from his/her own Sinhala State. This citizen, unfortunately, is not accomodated by the State, any more. This Sinhala State does not function any more as a system that serves the needs of the Sinhala society. This in fact is a State safeguarded in Unitary form at a heavy cost, but has degenrated to an extent that it can not even serve its own Sinhala Buddhist citizen. In plain language what it all means is, the Sinhala Buddhist citizen has been totally left out of his/her own Unitary State as a result of his/her own Sinhala Buddhist politics.

Today, this government in charge of this Unitary State has no answers for the problems that burden the Sinhala society. This government does not have the capacity or the will to solve those problems. It does not have a semblance of an idea as to what direction the national development of this country should take. This government that is under public oath to defeat Tamil separatism in the name of a Sinhala Unitary State, does not know how it could kindle any growth in rural and backward districts like Moneragala, Hambantota, Polonnaruwa, Nuwara Eliya, Puttlam or Badulla. Of the total 440,000 plus pupils who sit G.C.E O/L exam each year, even the innocent Sinhala rural pupils that roughly accounts for about 68 – 70 per cent or 300,000 have absolutely no future within their rural econommy. The rural econmy they live in, can not absorb them into any economically viable livelihood.

Day to day living is also not that easy any more. What ever the Central Bank boss who qualified himself politically to hold that high office may say on national development, there is a defnite crunch on the cashflow in rural and semi urban societies. Despite the numbers and figures doled out by the Central Bank, retailing in the rural society indicates a drop in consumption. That sector had hit upon a thinning of cash flow. Most consumer products distributors would say their sales have dropped by about 30 per cent in those areas.

It is the war that generates employment for this government. If those young soldiers sent to war after a brief training, do not bring their salaries to the rural economy and if the memebers of the civil defense force that’s heavily financed, do not bring their incomes to the rural economy, the rural economy would freeze hard. It’s the war money that keeps the cash flowing even at a minimum in those rural areas.

It’s a weird growth on which no citizen could live on. Thus the Sinhala Buddhist citizen is being driven with the hope that this war, which was never winnable for 25 years, will certainly be won under the Rajapaksa regime. The war had been hyped to make the Sinhala Buddhist citizen live on an ethnically fueled patriotism. Yet, if that patriotism is not used to mute the Sinhala society, any noisy revolt asking for a better social life could turn out to challenge the Rajapaksa regime.

This nevertheless does not stop at merely doping the Sinhala Buddhist citizen. That Sinhala ideology for war also requires a war psychology instilled in society. The Rajapaksa regime has been at it in many ways and brutally so. All dissenting voices in society were systematically compromised with or silenced. So was the media, as it is not only the non-Sinhalese and the non-Buddhist who would venture to question the social cost and the viability of the war. The Sinhala State was thus turned into a new and brutal mechanism that serves the war and the sustenance of the Rajapaksa regime, instead of the Sinhala Buddhist citizen.

Such a State teethed to keep all anti government protests at bay, takes a heavy toll on human rights, with its militarisation of society. Abductions, involuntary disappearances, extra judicial killings, long and arbitrary arrests, all become part of the life of the society, with which the Sinhala Buddhist citizen has to compromise. Evolving of this new State, though still dressed in the familiar Sinhala Buddhist garb, accomodates other appendages that intially has no real link or shape within the State machinery, but gradually becomes an accepted part. Complaints about “white vans” frequesnting at will and para military forces operating with tacit support from State security forces are all part of this new change over. What this Sinhala Buddhist citizen did not realise when compromising with such a brutality is that, he/she also looses the right to question the government, the Rajapaksa regime, even on his/her own socio-economic issues that relates to day to day life.

At this point, it should be stressed that all States have and work on their own ideology. A State is no dry machinery. The ideolgy of the Sri Lankan State was a Sinhala ideology that entrenched all work of the State with a bias towards the Sinhala society. That was the only reason why the SL State was termed a Sinhala State and not only becasue it was governed by the majority Sinhala political leaderships. That provides the logic which underlines the change in ideology in the now evolving State. The new ideology now goes beyond that of the Sinhala Buddhist ideology and over the past few years, has shifted in taking over an autocratic responsibility of servicing the Rajapaksa regime. It thus becomes an idoeology that looks Sinhala Buddhist in appearance for now, but talks in a different brutal autocratic language, alienated from the Sinhala society.

That alienation is yet to be understood by the Sinhala Buddhist citizen, who still takes this State to be the old Sinhala State that was his/hers. This State only works on Sinhala patriotism for its own brutal autocratic existence now. Although this is new and not as yet understood by the Sinhala Buddhist citizen, the Tamil citizen was faced with alienation from the Sinhala State long before. The Tamil citizen therefore wanted a restructuring of the State to accommodate him/her self with a share in political power. This request for sharing of power with restructuring of the State, was totally rejected by the Sinhala Buddhist citizen, who thought he/she had a right to live within a Unitary Sinhala State. The then moderate Tamil citizen knew that total alienation one day would leave Tamil politics with the only option of working towards a separate State. Such apprehensions are now voiced by the Muslim moderates too, but not taken seriously as at now. Leaving all and sundry in peril, the stubborn choice of the Sinhala Buddhist citizen in rejecting all efforts in sharing power in a restructured State and insisting in keeping a Unitary State, has finally left him/her outside the very State that once was thought to be his/hers.

There in lies the confusion within the UNP leadership. They live in the myth of generalising this Sinhala patriotism to be that of the Sinhala people and thus keep a blind eye on all other savage and autocratic changes in the Sinhala State. The UNP therefore is trying to restrict itself to other issues that are only extensions and outgrowths of the hyped war. They are afraid to take on the actual cause, the war, to all this brutal change. If they ever want to learn a lesson at least now, it’s the JVP’s mistake they would have to turn to. If there is no opposition to the war, then there is no alternative to the Rajapaksa regime. When the JVP chose not to oppose the war, they became a secondary force that tagged behind the Rajapaksa regime. War is truly a Rajapaksa project and no one could at this point compete for its ownership or a share in it. The JVP proved that clearly at the recently concluded PC elections, if the UNP wants to learn anything from it.

If the main opposition does not want to accept that the Sinhala Buddhist citizen who strove to safe guard this Sinhala State and was eventually thrown out of it, has little reason now to rally round prices and corruption, fraud and inefficiency, then those Sinhala Buddhists who would be less disciplined and more hasty than those who seek judicial interventions may revolt and rebel against the State. Who could then blame whom for the tragedy of a whole nation ?

– Kusal Perera


2 Responses

  1. […] Tragedy of the Sinhala Buddhist Citizen : Read on as PDF […]

  2. To halt this dangerous trend serious thought can be given to the following suggestions.

    Respected Sir,

    Please accept my Salutations, Greetings and best wishes for the dawn of a bright future to everyone.

    In my humble opinion, Peace is neither elusive nor evading us, but on the contrary we are evading Peace by not viewing the problems sincerely in the correct perspective and with the correct attitude that will automatically take us on the correct track to reach Peace.

    Please consider the view, attitude and the track pointed out in the extract given below – not thought earlier by any of us as being available – for its ability to lead us on to the correct track to peace. I am sure we will be able to meet peace in double-quick time since no sooner we get on the correct track towards Peace; Peace too would automatically start traveling towards us on this track.

    * * * * * * *

    Sharing Power is essential
    for Peace and Democracy in our Country

    It is not the impossible which gives cause for despair
    but the failure to achieve the possible

    The conflict arose, in my humble opinion, due to the turmoil in the country. This conflict is often portrayed as a bi-polar conflict between the Sinhalese majority and the Tamil minority by-passing the substantial minorities like the Muslims and Upcountry Tamils. This sad state of affairs has to be changed. All efforts must be taken to change the mindset of ‘dividing’ the people as “majorities” and “minorities” not by words but by deeds. It is a well-known fact that these “majorities” and “minorities” are living together in many parts of the country as kith and kin, helping each other in times of need. So it is the duty of all rationale minded people of this country to converge this idea to integrate the nation if we are to end the turmoil in this country and forge ahead as a nation.
    Everyone agrees that power should be shared as a means to end the present national crisis. But the stumbling block is in the way the power has to be shared. The various suggestions proposed centre on a system with a central government and other governments under it, with the central government holding wide powers.

    But the need of the day is a system of governance that will truly portray the sprit of democracy, while preserving the sovereignty and dignity of the people. These people should be empowered at gramasevaka area level so that even a small area will be able to project its needs without going through others. It is to this extent that we should go, if sustainable peace, solidarity and development with a pleasant living to all inhabitants, is our goal.

    Therefore, a suitable system of democratic governance that would be acceptable to all rationale minded people (or one that cannot be rejected by these rationale minded people), must replace the present system of governance.

    “My notion of democracy is that under it, the weakest should have the same opportunity as the strongest” so said Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela for his part said, “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others”

    Keeping the above views in mind, a democratic system of governance that is rationale and based on equality of all has been developed on the basis that all powers flow from the sovereignty of the people. The peculiar concept in this system is an unprecedented mode of sharing power –horizontal and not vertical – developed in the true sprit of democracy. This system would unite all the divided communities and resurrect the “Paradise Isle” that existed some time back.

    * * * * * * * *

    In the present system the people cannot elect their own representatives but have the option of electing one set of party representatives who are empowered by the party to participate in the governance of the country. But in the proposed system the people have the option to elect and empower different sets of their own representatives based on different extent of areas (villages and villages grouped) to perform defined, distinct and different functions of the same parliament through different segments of that parliament like the different organs of our body – brain, heart, lungs, kidneys, eyes, nose, ears etc – performing different functions and helping us to govern ourselves. To be more explicit the concept is as follows:

    1. Segment A – a group to enact laws for – good governance, defining policies, collection of revenue and other connected affairs – with the concurrence of all the groups in Segment C, but excluding implementation of any policy (at National level and consisting of 10 members elected from each district area, 100 members elected nationally on trade basis and 50 members elected nationally on ideological basis).

    2. Segment B – a group to coordinate the activities of all the groups in Segment C, manage the country fiscally including collection and disbursement of revenue, foreign affairs, national planning in consultation and with the concurrence of the concerned groups in Segment F and the like and complying with all policies laid down by Segment A and implementing its proposals through concerned groups in Segment D by directly providing them with the necessary funds (at National level and consisting of not more than15 members elected from each regional area).

    3. Segment C – Groups to administer different regions of the country based on the laws enacted and policies laid down by Segment A with the concurrence of all the groups, maintain law and order, approve project proposals submitted by concerned groups in Segment E and to obtain the necessary funds for expenditure from Segment B and allocate same to concerned groups in Segment D for implementation (at Regional area level and consisting of 04 members elected from each divisional area within that regional area).

    4. Segment D – Groups to implement all project proposals approved by Segment B or by concerned group in Segment C and with funds provided by them – Segment B & C (at District area level and consisting of 03 members elected from each sub-divisional area within that district area).

    5. Segment E – Groups to coordinate and confirm project proposals submitted by concerned groups in Segment F and forward them for approval to concerned group in Segment C (at Sub-divisional area level and consisting of 03 members elected from each gramasevaka area within that sub-divisional area).

    6. Segment F – Groups to prepare project proposals for their area and approving concerned proposals submitted by Segment B and submit all proposals to concerned Segment E for confirmation and overseeing all the proposals that are implemented by concerned Segment D (at gramasevaka level and consisting of 05 members elected from within that gramasevaka area).

    7. Segment G – Groups to monitor the functions of all the Segments for transparency, accountability, and take necessary action to curtail irregularities with an eye on the elimination of bribery and corruption (at Divisional level and consisting of 02 members elected from each gramasevaka area within that divisional area)

    In these proposals, gramasevaka (G.S.) area is the smallest unit and these gramasevaka (G.S.) areas are grouped to form sub-divisions, sub-divisions are grouped to form divisions, divisions are grouped to form districts, districts are grouped to form regions and the regions grouped to form the country.

    There would be only one institution – the Parliament with seven different segments with different functions that do not overlap –to satisfactorily govern the entire country. Presently we have the presidential secretariat, cenk

    Due to the fratricidal violence that we are now embroiled in, it is far too easy to lose sight of these matters, so much to rob us of the very ideas that can be our salvation.

    For further details and clarifications of this unprecedented concept for good governance, please contact: or

    * * * * * * * *

    If your good self is of opinion that this system merits consideration, please be good enough to render moral assistance by promoting the idea through the internet, print and electronic media and create awareness among all stake-holders that there is an easy way to solve the national crisis – by sharing power in a way that will satisfy the aspirations of all the people.

    In promoting and discussing these ideas, it is my humble opinion that we make use of the email in addition to the print and electronic media as it would save money, time, and the environment and reduce the workload of the postal department.

    Thanking your good self in advance in anticipation of an early response,

    Yours in Service,


    I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything but I can do something.
    And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something I can do.
    What I can do, I should do. And what I should do, by the Grace of God, I will do.

    – Edward Everett Hale (1822 – 1909)

    NB: The above proposal was published in the “Sunday Island” of 8th June 2008

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