17 October 2019
ACADEMICS AND PARLIAMENTARIANS
“It is well-known that intellectuals such as Albert Einstein criticized the ‘Nazi power’, ‘Jewish Problem’ and the devastation of nuclear power during the World War two. He did engage with the public domain and provided his views and critiques towards highly politically relevant discussions at the time. Similar to this example, one may argue that there are ad hock struggles in the public domain currently fuelled by academics and opinion makers. This may further appear to the public that University academics and public intellectuals are highly engaged with the current political issues. However, it should be noted that they more or less consciously contribute to the establishment of another hegemonic system or ruling elite where the counter hegemonic forces could be reinforced to suppress the movements. In doing so, these academics and activists subjugate themselves to the power and popularism where they lose the most vital part of their careers – intellectual freedom and academic integrity. Professor Saumya Liyanage – in his article ‘Intellectual Hypnotism & The Future Of Academic Freedom In Sri Lanka’
The way I would have said the above is as follows:
[The mind of the academic who has made true discoveries through Research naturally crosses the borders of particular disciplines. Albert Einstein’s mind is that of a metaphysician. The deeper we go, the higher the mind structure. But most academics of this generation are academics largely for status and money. Hence they tend to go into high end politics and / or into business. This automatically diminishes the purity of the academic mind which is expected to operate close to the Absolute and less to the relative]
To my mind, the above article has been written to the reader / customer in the mind of Professor Saumya Liyanage. Mine is to the reader / customer in my mind. The higher our mind, the less conscious we are of the dividing line/border. We then become the supplier as well as the customer with a thin time based border in the middle. The question is whether the persons / characters through whom the mind of Professor Saumya Liyanage is presented - fit the picture in reality?
Professor presents the Jaffna picture as follows:
[Public attention has been drawn towards Sri Lankan academia and the State University sector when two prominent Vice Chancellors were sacked by the executive president of Sri Lanka. After Prof. , the former VC of the Jaffna University was dismissed a handful of current and retired academics issued a statement condemning the situation and discussed the consequences that the academic community in the country would face]
Having been an ‘owner-customer’ of the University of Jaffna, I would not classify any of the immediate past Vice Chancellors of that University ‘prominent’. Dr Vigneswaran is no exception. Dr Vigneswaran fits more the following in Professor Liyanage’s article:
[Given the discussion about the current role of the academics, Edward Said argues:
Today’s intellectual is … a … professor, with a secure income, and not interested in dealing with the world outside the classroom.… All that we have now … is a missing generation which has been replaced by buttoned-up, impossible to understand classroom technician, hired by committee, anxious to please various patrons and agencies, bristling with academic credentials and a social authority that does not promote debate but establishes reputations and intimidates non-experts (Nieto-Galan, 2011, p. 458).]
The next few lines confirm the purpose of the inclusion:
[The latest dismissal of Prof. , VC of the University of Visual and Performing Arts (UVPA) also raised a question of academic administration and political power by a group of internationally well-known academics in the South Asian region and elsewhere.]
Professor Saumya Liyanage is also from the UVPA and hence has the moral authority to express his own true feelings. He did not need the certification of ‘well-known academics in the South Asian region and elsewhere’ to confirm that he is right about his own institution. The true owner would be right for her / himself.
I got to know the commitment to law and order by Dr Vigneswaran through the dismissal hearing of one of the Academic staff who was terminated by Dr Vigneswaran’s predecessor. The documents and the evidence that surfaced during the inquiry confirmed that it was for political purposes – meaning politics of the University of Jaffna. Neither Dr Vigneswaran who was the Vice Chancellor during the period of the inquiry, nor Dr Kumaravadivel Guruparan – the head of law at University of Jaffna was seen to participate in the processes. The University hired external lawyers to represent it. This happened to me at the University of NSW. I ended up paying the costs of those lawyers – after the court ruled in favour of the University which could afford expensive lawyers. But the truth was that they were afraid of losing to me – a self-represented litigant. Likewise, the Administrators and Councillors of the University of Jaffna.
Dr Vigneswaran may have thought that it was the problem of the previous Vice Chancellor Dr Vasanthi Arasaratnam who was known to be Politician Mr Douglas Devananda’s choice over Dr Ratnajeevan Hoole. If that knowledge was within Dr Vigneswaran – then it was a political decision on his part to not participate in the process. University of Jaffna was born as part of a political settlement and hence one needs to expect such political outcomes.
The parallel of Dr Vigneswaran’s disconnection with the past - was stated by Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa during the recent press conference when he stated that he would not recognize the commitments by the current government – to the UN. This effectively means that we would wipe out the investments made by Sri Lankans, in global mind structures. The way Dr Vigneswaran failed to participate in the management of the inquiry concerning members of the University as if he were the accused and he were the alleged victim - Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa also failed to participate in the inquiry of the war processes as if he was the perpetrator and he was the victim. The intellectuals in the media - visible as well as invisible – extracted that truth about Mr Gotabaya’s Governance powers which are confirmed to be similar to that of the current President’s. Those who fail to pay their dues to their past tend to be bipolar.
In terms of Universities – this weakness is known as plagiarism. Plagiarism is to ‘steal’ someone else’s intellectual work. That someone could be visible or invisible ; known or unknown. When the Rajapaksa government used global resources – especially global intelligence that listed the LTTE as a Terrorist organisation – that commitment to global community relationships was established. This included facilitating global minded observers to ensure that the global resources were not wasted. Those who considered such global monitors as ‘foreigners’ were cheating the global community – which is largely invisible – except through common bodies such as the UN. They cheated also the ‘intelligence’ in the global community through global laws – that the LTTE were terrorists. That intelligence was preserved in the mind structured as per global relationships on the basis of common laws. When that relationship is not recognized – or worse disrespected – the government loses its own capacity to connect and pick the intelligence of the global community. This is one of the crucial failures that cleared the way for Easter Bombers. It happened after the picture that India’s RAW was planning to kill the President and Mr Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, was planted in the minds of the Defence Forces in 2018.
But truth being eternal – would confirm itself through a true Opposition when we block that truth in our own mind. That is the role of Opposition in parliament. According to Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s statement – his government would be Opposition to the UN in relation to minority issues. If such opposition is based on his own truth as Defence Secretary – then UN is effectively cheating the global community and Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa has deeper insight into the UN than its current officials. The parallel Sri Lankan picture would be - Tamil Parliamentarians not recognizing a resolution by the Sri Lankan Parliament. Then they would no longer be Sri Lankans.
Those who have invested deeply in Sri Lankan politics would naturally connect to Universities at the deep level. Parliament is the palace of believers and a University is the palace of Truth. Within the Sri Lankan Parliament there is such a room – however small it may seem on the outside. Likewise, within the Common Sri Lankan University. The challenge is to identify with that Area of Truth – by eliminating the distracting lies.
When we do not merge through Truth – one is a senior and the other is a junior. That is the world of reality. The mind of a politician subdued by ‘failures’ would become junior to that of an academic who shows more ‘wins’ at that time. Right now the intellectuals in media – especially global media are leading the Sri Lankan political mind. That is our reality and it confirms the blessings from departed media souls raised to the power of Truth by Sri Lankans.