21 August 2020
One Buddhist Law for Sri Lanka?
One of my Vaddukoddai fans expressed appreciation after reading my yesterday’s article showing the connection between manifestation of a disease and belief. The reader said that this connection was observed in relation to the Armed forces in Northern Sri Lanka who walked into Ponnalai Varatharaja Perumal Temple with their shoes on and that they were subsequently diagnosed with chickenpox. When local folks make that connection they feel satisfied that the Judgment has happened as per their belief. Such folks are not likely to take revenge. When I learnt about it – my mind went to the assassination of Politician Alfred Duraiappah in 1975 at the temple by masked men. Later the LTTE was reported to have claimed responsibility.
Given that Mr Duraiappah was part of the governing SLFP who were - the architects of ‘Sinhala Only’ law and Buddhism foremost article in the Constitution - he must have known that there would be opposition in Tamil Hindu areas to his affiliation with SLFP. That was a risk that he undertook. Being an educated man he would not have seen anything wrong with it. But he acquired also the heritage of political assassination karma that SLFP carried after the assassination of SWRD Bandaranaike by a Buddhist monk – confirming serious disrespect for Lord Buddha. What was worse was that the widow of SWRD Bandaranaike, actually promoted Buddhist clergy – the custodians of Buddhist power – in the new Constitution – the 1972 Constitution, through Buddhism Foremost article. As in the case of Army officers getting chickenpox, Tamil and English speaking Sri Lankans would have identified with the assassination of SWRD, by a Buddhist monk as the manifestation of karma invoked by the pain caused to their belief. Thereafter they would not have carried over feelings of revenge. But when the glorification of Sinhalese through Buddhism Foremost clause happened in 1972, the ledgers of Tamils were thrown out of balance again.
In 1975 Mr Duraiappah as a lawyer ought to have known that by law, the SLFP was overriding Democracy which requires each believing group to be equal to the other until known otherwise. The imbalance does not seem to have bothered him even when he became a politician representing Jaffna folks with a party that by belief in religion did not represent majority Jaffna Tamils. Also, when young Tamil Martyr Sivakumaran tried to kill him in 1971, Mr Duraiappah would have had knowledge of the risks involved. He was not protected by belief in that area nor by the Armed forces of the government. Hence that Assassination happened due to his own lack of belief in politics and / or law. In contrast Mr Douglas Devananda protects himself through both – religion as well as his own armed men.
I believe in Lord Vishnu and experienced the glory of that temple when a Thunaivi Hindu took me there. One of the ladies in charge said to me that I had to tie my hair up. I was hurt but waited quietly until the end of the Poojah. Then I went up to the lady and said that that condition was not in the fundamentals of Hinduism and pointed out that Holy Mother was often personified with loose hair. I said if my hair had disturbed the view of another devotee – that would have been wrong. But not in this instance. That lady then apologized and took me into the altar of the temple. That was how my belief protected and upheld my true position. When my reader responded as above, I thought of all this in relation to that temple. I thought also of the young Police officer who came over to our training school in Vaddukoddai to learn English – trying to teach Buddhism foremost by claiming that Vishnu was only a demigod. Since I believe as per my Hindu heritage, that Vishnu is part of the Holy Trinity – I got upset. I confidentially disciplined the officer to not reverse the roles of teacher-student in a structure developed by me. He continued to attend the classes within my structure.
This morning when I read the Economy Next report ‘Sri Lanka President promises a Constitution with “One country, one law for all people” – I started wondering as to how this would happen – especially in terms of the Constitution which requires the government to foster Buddha Sasana while assuring to all religions the rights granted by Articles 10 and 14(1)(e).
Articles 10 and 14 are protected as Fundamental Rights Articles. All belief based expressions are covered by Fundamental Rights. Article 9 is not so protected.
This then requires the Armed forces to NOT act against non-Buddhist citizens subjectively. All actions against non-Buddhists need to be objective and require independent evidence based assessment using secular law. They have the full right to use Buddha Sasana and/or subjective power over Buddhists. But not over non-Buddhists. Subjective powers are valid only on the basis of Common form of belief. Buddhist clergy in Parliament for example have no right to vote on secular laws.
As per the Economy Next article:
[The President emphasized that his party had asked the people for a two-thirds majority to change the Constitution and that mandate has been given to his government.]
This confirms that there is a fundamental lack of understanding of the Separation between the President’s position and that of the Prime Minister heading the parliament through an independent process. The above is in breach of the spirit of Article 91(1) (c ) which states:
[No person shall be qualified to be elected as a Member of Parliament or to sit and vote in Parliament - if he is the President of the Republic ]
The president demonstrated his inability to work with those outside his party when he decided to appoint his brother Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Prime Minister as soon as he became President. He lacks that independence to govern through Opposition. The most obvious reason is his training in military where subjective power has to dominate at all times. The mind that has the comfort of majority approval weakens its intellectual independence. This often leads to failing minorities even if the leader intends otherwise.
The above statement by the President confirms takeover of the results of the Prime Minister’s work to enter parliament in his own rights. The immediate past government failed due to that President’s inability to work with the UNP. The underpinning root cause is that Mr Sirisena burnt his bridges with the SLFP through whom he came to power. Back then it was a coup against Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa but once achieved there was not enough common belief to work the system. The President and the PM were like two independent planets – both remote from common reality.
Now this president is effectively doing likewise by effectively claiming that he the president led the party that got the two thirds majority. The way it happened – it was Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa who as the nuclear force of the party fought against all odds to come back.
Whether he becomes President again or not as per the constitutional structure – he is the real Prime Minister who won the people over. It was NOT Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa who got the two thirds approval.
Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa needs to pay his respects to his brother Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa without whom the former would not have proceeded beyond his military position. In public he needs to act as the quiet governor and take the respects including from the PM as being due to the position. In this instance, Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa is respecting himself in that position of President. He is the spirit in that position won by SLPP. The earnings are his. Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa is only a temporary cover. With this truth in his mind he would not make statements as if he won majority. Without this truth as the root – he would be as bad and unstable as Mr Maithripala Sirisena was in that position.
Out of the two – Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa is better in civil administration than Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa who excels in military administration. So long as the latter pays his respects to the architect of this structure – he would effectively join forces to lead the country. Any takeover thoughts – albeit unintentionally – would be disastrous to the Parliament and the nation. It could also be due to quiet pressure from powers that we cannot see.
If the President is expressing out of belief – he would have the courage to repeal Buddhism Foremost article which would then confirm that we are covered by One law. Then he would not need Executive power and would truly be the senior of all politicians – including his brother who would bless him.