13 November 2018
When Constitution becomes a Commodity
As per Hindu elders the Hindu Bible – Bhagawath Geetha is a garland of experiences – Anupava Thaara. One with experience confirms ownership. But when one sells the experience – one sells ownership and therefore no longer confirms ownership. It is for this reason that free exchange of money is banned in families.
Sri Lankan president - Mr Sirisena confirmed recently that MPs were sold themselves:
[Giving other reasons for the dissolution of parliament, President Sirisena said prices had been placed on MPs following the appointment of Mahinda Rajapaksa as the PM. The President said amounts ranging from Rs. 100 mn to Rs 500 mn had been offered to MPs.] The Island report – ‘MPs offered Rs 100-500 mn; Fear of violence expressed by some MPs – President’
This confirms that the Members of Parliament became a ‘commodity’. Like some grandparents who activate such trading in families – Mr Sirisena also activated the trading by dismissing the existing occupant and appointing another of his ‘choice’. Choice and confidence based sharing are not the same. Former is about the body and the latter is about the soul. In family one shares. In business one trades and therefore ‘chooses’ to sell or buy.
I learnt about this trading practice in Tamil community also – especially with my sisters in law who claimed that they had mothered my brother in law who passed away in 2010. The claim was made at the time they ‘saw’ his wealth. The position of mother in that family fell vacant when the mother of 8 passed away when my husband was 2 years old. My husband revealed that he did not identify with any suffering that the sisters had gone through but that one of them was more orderly and ‘inclusive’ than the other. So I concluded that this was false claim of occupation as Mr Piyadasa claimed in relation to our Colombo land.
Thesawalamai law facilitated us to establish this through the Testamentary case filed in Northern Province. The sisters first tried to ‘takeover’ and then when that failed they claimed equal share – which was ‘granted’ by Mallakam district court and upheld by Judge Illancheliyan after we appealed to the Jaffna High Court. The petitioners claimed there was no requirement for Administration and applied for Certificates of Heirship only. We are yet to receive our Certificate but the Petitioners’ lawyers are assisting the Registrar of Mallakam District Court to ‘collect’ the monies from the bank. This to my Accounting mind is Administration. But in a land where the Governance and Administration are used as interchangeable commodities – what better can one expect of lower level Public institutions? Our inquiries as to progress were blocked by the claim that we needed to come through our lawyer – Mr V Manivannan who is actively involved in politics. Mr Manivannan is also closely associated with Mr Wigneswaran who carries his former Judicial position status as a commodity. Hence he did not share his judicial wisdom with the People. An elected person has to carry high level of Governance value and therefore natural sharing.
I however went through the pain of being treated as a retired foreign woman who did not know about the local customs of Northern Province. By not fighting against their prejudices I had the experience as a nobody – very similar to the poor widows and mothers who have to fend for themselves. The moment I sell that experience I lose the ability to cure their weaknesses. To my mind the reason why Mr Manivannan is now being challenged in Colombo courts – in relation to his position as leader of the opposition in Jaffna local government is his failure to complete his experience with me – an owner of Jaffna – seeking to contribute to post-war development through better Public Administration. Mr Manivannan is a ‘foreigner’ to Jaffna just as Mr Wigneswaran is due to this lack of Governance Energy. Their claim that they are with the victims of war is false due to them living off their past – both through the legal community – to ‘show’ and not to ‘share’. Successful politics is in that sharing. Belief takes us directly to the root cause – where one does not need to calculate or justify. Other owners would naturally identify with what we do.
The president Mr Sirisena failed to become the position of President and traded the provisions of the Constitution as if they were commodities. He did not become the President as it is structured today – but is living in it as per his imagination – just as Mr Wigneswaran did as Chief Minister and Mr Reginald Cooray is continuing to do as Administrator – albeit under the name of Governor.
A Governor needs to be still minded so the People could see themselves through the governor. I am such a governor to the groups I am with in Northern Sri Lanka. One needs to have the experience as lay litigant to become the people and the curing happens from within, through shared life. When one seeks to ‘trade’ one ceases to be a governor to that extent. Mr Sirisena – to the extent he enjoyed the benefits of the position of President but did not share in the difficulties and weaknesses of his immediate family - the Parliament, became a welfare president. Hence he became the puppet of Mr Rajapaksa who is a smart trader in an unregulated environment.
It took the opposition – including TNA - a long time to act against this. The reason is lack of ownership due to being driven by benefits, with little service value shared with their people – quietly away from public eye – as we do in families. Without such sharing one is not elected representative with natural powers to cure weaknesses. Only the structural values of such sharing needs to be brought out for others to read and benefit and not the costs for which we ‘take’ benefits especially more benefits.
We may not find such persons in Sri Lankan politics. Gandhi was such a person in Indian politics. It’s Gandhi’s ownership with those of minority status that continues to sustain Indian democracy. Each one – to the extent we sacrifice earned benefits and live within the balance – become shared owners of the common group that benefited from the sacrifice.
The confidence of the elected leader – in this instance the President - is demonstrated by such sharing. When he finds fault with MPs for trading, he confirms that he did not have the confidence of the Parliament. In the system of Belief – one does not need to prove to the other. One who believes becomes the other side instantaneously. If the president has confidence then the Parliament also has confidence in the President. If so there is no need to rush and justify.
If the President lost confidence in Mr Wickremesinghe - and believed that the Parliament also did not have confidence in Mr Wickremesinghe then he had the duty to become the caretaker Prime Minister until the laws of Parliament established otherwise. By appointing Mr Rajapaksa, Mr Sirisena confirmed trading his position as if it was a collection of benefits. This takes value away from Mr Rajapaksa also.
The Constitution needs to be based on the Truth we know about ourselves. The Courts may or may not uphold that Truth. But one who self-governs would not stagnate by a negative but would continue to serve to cure that weakness which reflects the ownership deficiency of the Courts in the Public.
Now that we know that Sri Lankans are capable of protesting non-violently – we could move on – away from that part of the government that has made a commodity of itself. That separation is also part of self-governance. They become ‘foreigners’ to citizens who practice the law with respect.