16 February 2017
Caste, Race & Australian Doctorate
Now that our Australian University has awarded the Honorary Doctorate to our Sri Lankan Prime Minister, including for Reconciliation efforts – it has become a Sri Lankan Responsibility to earn that credit through the academic pathway. It is also essential for Deakin University, our Australian University that assumed the Authority to award such an honor, to earn that Authority through Research and/or Teaching the subject matter underpinning the causes of ethnicity based divisions and conflicts.
The essential criterion for Reconciliation is independence confirmed by Equal status. By recognizing the need for Reconciliation, we are also recognizing the need for Independence which is confirmed by allocation of equal status, until known otherwise through a common measure.
Expressed in Common terms one could legitimately state that the Sri Lankan problem is about abuse of Subjective power. Hence one needs to keep digging deeper and deeper to know the structures that generate such powers. Subjective power is measured through the vertical line and democratic power is measured through the lateral line. Both cannot be measured effectively at the same time for the one person/group. If the answer through vertical measure is correct then when that answer is straightened to be flat – it would satisfy majority rule and v.v. This is highlighted through the following report by Viswamithra who goes into our past commonness as follows:
[As a matter of fact, caste dimensions were more protruding than those of race and faith. It was most unambiguously illustrated when the election of educated Ceylonese came about in 1911. According to the biography of J R Jayewardene of Sri Lanka, written by Professor K M de Silva, most of the prominent Sinhalese leaders at the time, such as D S Senanayake and Justice E W Jayewardene KC (J R Jayewardene’s father) persuaded Sir Ponnambalam who had retired from all public life to stand for election. The prime concern of the Ceylonese national leaders was caste and these so-called leaders of the Sinhalese masses were pressed to do this when Dr. Marcus Fernando, an eminent medical doctor who happened to be married to the daughter of Sir Charles de Soysa, the wealthiest Ceylonese of the second half of the nineteenth century, tendered his nomination. The disqualification in terms of the then Sinhalese leaders was caste. Sir Marcus belonged to Karava caste, considered to be lower than Govigama from which most of the Sinhalese leaders claimed to have hailed. Ponnambalam Ramanathan (later Sir) was elected with 1,645 votes with Dr. H Marcus Fernando, receiving 981 votes. The Sinhalese leaders at the time chose caste over race and a great number of Sinhalese voters too opted to vote for a Tamil rather than an established personality from amongst the Sinhalese elite.
One must realize one dominant element when negotiating with political, ethnic or whatever opponent. A personal relationship between the parties that negotiate would go a long way, a very long way indeed. The relationships between the Sinhalese and Tamil leaderships were not ideal or optimal at that time in the early years of the twentieth century, yet much stronger than now. Defection of Arunachalam, Ramanathan’s brother, scattered the seeds of disharmony and distrust, seeds of lack of genuine and sincere trust between the two ethnic groups at the highest level of respective leaderships. The Tamil leadership that assumed national recognition and power thereafter belonged to the other Ponnambalam, G G and the Chelvanayagams and Amirthalingams, now Sampanthan and Sumanthiran and Wignesvaran.] Colombo Telegraph article Wigneswaran Is Not Helping the Tamil Cause
Caste based system was imported by Tamils as well as Sinhalese of Sri Lanka, from India – especially from South India. The way it evolved in Sri Lanka varied as per the prevailing Sri Lankan forces. Indigenous Sri Lankans living close to the Land did not embrace the caste system which is more about Human Relationships as per the work performed by special groups. In the above report is included the following observation:
[The prime concern of the Ceylonese national leaders was caste and these so-called leaders of the Sinhalese masses were pressed to do this when Dr. Marcus Fernando, an eminent medical doctor who happened to be married to the daughter of Sir Charles de Soysa, the wealthiest Ceylonese of the second half of the nineteenth century, tendered his nomination. The disqualification in terms of the then Sinhalese leaders was caste. Sir Marcus belonged to Karava caste, considered to be lower than Govigama from which most of the Sinhalese leaders claimed to have hailed.]
As per my own discovery – our work produces outcomes / effects as follows:
(2) People – status plus goodwill
(3) Ownership which influences us to naturally connect to fellow owners.
In religious terms – the above are (1) Body (2) Mind & (3) Soul.
Those who operate at Soul level – make natural connections with others who operate/d close to their Souls.
Hence in the above example, if one takes Sir Charles de Soysa to have done equal level of work as say Justice E W Jayewardene KC – and both showed it through their respective pathways - Sir Charles de Soysa through lateral economic growth and Justice E W Jayewardene KC through vertical higher status, both would of necessity need to be measured separately / independently and NOT through a Unitary measure. The importance of each profession / trade is relative to the contribution by its members – including those whose body is no longer with the group. Within a University for example, the Toilet Cleaner (of Pariah caste) is of lower status than the Vice Chancellor (of Brahmin caste). This is due to the reason that the minds that developed that University structure would have made greater contribution to develop the Vice Chancellor’s position than to develop the Pariah position – the tasks of which could be performed by almost any person but not those of the Vice Chancellor position. The latter requires sacrifice of immediate benefits to develop higher structures – similar to savings. Such positions would function to facilitate the welfare of all investors and hence the holder would need to be capable of seeing the big picture in the mind’s eye. Hence the wise would approve of a professional above business person in such positions. In traditional families – money transactions were given lesser importance than time based interactions for this reason. Money comes with the promise to divide internally towards premature freedom. In fact – internal checks divide and allocate responsibilities for cash handling due to this reason. Both sides to the Sri Lankan war fitted this essential criterion to divide.
Sinhalese who had greater opportunity to form government moved away from the caste system than did Tamils who were/are minorities under a ‘free’ system. The fact that we have our own customary laws – confirms/confirmed our diversity. To the extent we respect and include those diverse systems we are entitled to Separation of Powers. If we are to come under Unitary structure – then we need to first set aside all customary laws from the Common Sri Lankan system.
A true Academic would recognize this purity in logic. Over to you Dr. Ranil Wickremesinghe or whoever fits that Doctorate certificate from our Australian institution. I myself had to forego my investment in positions strongly influenced by subjective powers of academics within the Australian Public Service and the University system, before successfully developing Democratic Resource Management systems. Had I been attached to my investment in those academics – I would have failed in my responsibility to develop democratic system. That was the sacrifice I had to make to develop laterally and take equal position as the Australian Prime Minister who relied on the old subjective system while enjoying the benefits of democracy. Nature supports the true seeker when there is a true need.