Gajalakshmi Paramasivam – 15 July 2015
Equal Minorities or Separation?
Yesterday, in High Court of Jaffna, I listened with appreciation to the advice shared by a Judge with some young men who I understood were collecting money from the Public under false pretenses. The Judge was able to recognize such collections to be for political purposes and hence the disciplinary advice. Sri Lanka is now in election mode and such ‘internal’ corrections are needed for us to enjoy the full value of our Parliamentary system.
According to news reports – former President Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa has chosen Kurunegala as his electorate. My association with Kurunegala happened through a young Muslim medical student a couple of months back. This young lady to whom Kurunegala is home said that until the Buddhist-Muslim conflict she did not realize that there was conflict between the two ethnicities.
In 2014 as President – Mr. Rajapaksa said ‘There are no minorities, we all are Sri Lankans, this is the truth’. Back then I accepted that as being genuine. The world may not have seen us as such but we are entitled to believe that to be the case. Whether good or bad, where a group is driven more strongly by cultural values than common secular values – majority and minority status happens automatically through such groupings. A person strongly driven by common values – would not recognize such cultural groupings except to appreciate social diversity.
However, when I read the news that Mr. Rajapaksa was heading a ‘Sinhala-Only’ team – I had to restructure my mind about how I thought Mr. Rajapaksa would act in a ‘common’ position. Affirmative Action required Mr. Rajapaksa to include Muslims and Tamils in any group he led. This is because where there is strong attachment to ‘culture’ – one needs a different culture – to have subjective balance of power. Hence Equal status for minority cultures is recommended. Where by law – a particular group has been allocated priority status – during any period that the current generation can actively remember – it is mandatory that other cultures take up Equal status each and every time cultural decisions are made. Sinhala-Only and Buddhism first – are remembered as Constitutional issues. These are through hierarchical pathways in addition to Sinhalese having majority power to form National Government. The additional advantage ‘taken’ confirms lack of confidence that the leaders would be heard by grassroots believers. Hence the ‘show’ of importance with its hidden promise of favoritism.
As per Natural Justice – this renders all other cultural groups minority status. In Democracy minority groups have the authority to take Equal position at Community level. In other words – Sinhala-only would equal Tamil-only or Muslim-only or Burghers/English-only. Towards this they must clearly be of culture particular to that group and be identified as such at the Public level.
When reading the news about Sinhala-only team – I recalled my experience during my travel from Colombo to Jaffna by train. At Kurunegala – the seat next to me was taken by a young Sinhalese male – who looked very much an army personality. This person had booked the window seat and I had the aisle seat. The guy however, failed to limit himself to his seat. I had to move my hand away to accommodate his placement of half his hand into my area. If he needed more space he ought to have booked the aisle seat. I thought of the fellow passenger on Malaysian Airways who not only offered to place my hand-luggage in the overhead compartment but was very neat and tidy in limiting himself to his space. I blessed him/wished him well.
The guy on the train kept talking to the other guy and I learnt by listening that he was in the armed forces. I had to bring down two pieces of my baggage from the rack above and I asked the young guy to help me. He nodded but said there was time. When we came two stations away from Jaffna he did bring the two pieces down but did nothing to help me take them close to the exit. When the train stopped at Jaffna I got off with one piece and then had to get back in for the rest. This guy was nowhere to be seen! In his shoes I would have at least moved the baggage on wheels close to the exit door! By failing to take that opportunity to share in my need – this guy missed out on my wisdom in Administration and Common Sri Lankan ownership. He was a good example of the short-sightedness of armed forces lacking in common social experiences. Mr. Rajapaksa who empowered the army much more than other heads of State – came to mind.
When I read the news of Mr. Rajapaksa going it alone in Kurunegala I could make the connection to the ‘attitude’ of this armed officer. Like Mr. Rajapaksa did – this guy also responded to me in elementary Tamil –when I spoke to him in social Sinhalese. I took it as him saying to me that he was a clever Sri Lankan because he could speak the ‘other’ Sri Lankan language Tamil also. But in action he failed to demonstrate Sri Lankan commonness by moving the bags close to the exit – so I would not need to re-board the train and run the risk of not getting out on time. To serve me – he would have needed to bring me into himself and then the service would have been to Common Sri Lankan. Mr. Rajapaksa who was promoted by me through my mind structure when he spoke in Tamil has also demonstrated similar ‘attitude’ of separation.
This requires minorities – especially Tamils and Muslims to vote as per issues rather than personalities. Today, while eating breakfast – my eyes went to section in the newspaper covering my breakfast – page 21 of Valampuri dated 11 July. It was strangely a presentation of this very diversity amongst Hindus. The analysis was presented as a discussion in the world of gods above – including Saint Narathar who initiated the mango competition through which Murugan with minority power set up His own kingdom. To me – Murugan is the Lord of Minorities. The above discussion was about Indian influence in Jaffna – especially the setting up of the huge Hanuman Statue in the suburb of Maruthanamadam. In Jaffna Shiva devotees are in the majority – relative to Vishnu devotees. Hence the protest against prominence to Lord Hanuman. According to Hindu scriptures – Shiva is one aspect of the Holy Trinity and Vishnu is another. Shiva is the parallel of the Holy Spirit in Christianity and Vishnu is the parallel of the Son. Hence like Jesus – being the human form of God on earth – Rama and Krishna are also believed to be God on earth as Avathars.
Is Son minority power to the Father? As per Time Order – it would seem ‘yes’. But if the Son believes he is part of the Father – they are One. When seen as separate entities for functional reasons – they are vertically arranged – junior after senior. In Democracy – minorities by number are juniors. Where either party/relation does not believe in the other – they must be seen as separate entities – Once Separated – they are Equal and Diverse. That is the law of Nature.
Recognizing this necessitates the changeover to lateral system of Democracy and Equal Opportunity from a level playing field. Where any cultural group declares itself to be independent – they are to be taken as Equal and Opposite of the part left behind.
Minority groups that feel greater level of independence than majority who are often pampered by their leaders – carry Sovereign powers which would invoke themselves whenever there is a need to uphold the belief of a minority who is not able to express through political leadership at the National level. Truth is Universal and hence true belief would facilitate such support whenever a true Believer is in need of support to demonstrate her/his Sovereignty at structural level.
Tamils and Muslims must therefore invest in this sovereignty through Issues rather than discussing personalities. That approach would give us membership with global communities – including Diasporas who would connect to us naturally whenever we are in need of global support.
The Presidential election did not present minorities with such representation of global values. Parliamentary elections now do present such an opportunity – to nominate one from within our cultural community. This is also the 50:50 policy recommended by Mr. G.G.Ponnambalam – a highly intelligent politician of our times. Given that there was no agreement for such representation in Parliament – we need to go global and confirm our membership with global community by investing in issues than subjects. Mr. Rajapaksa by leaving out Tamils and Muslims has voted for Separation. It’s up to us minorities to show our greater investment in Global Commonness and confirm our leadership claim in globalizing Sri Lanka. Every genuine vote towards this would naturally go against Separatism.