06 December 2020
ENGLISH LANGUAGE: ‘WHERE DO I BELONG?’
Proficiency in English language is a status indicator in Northern Sri Lanka. It means that we are continuing to value the times when British were the ruling class in Sri Lanka. Many of the high achieving Sri Lankans who have emigrated to Western countries are proficient in Tamil or Sinhalese in addition to the language of the new nation. To my mind, the language is the outer body through which we communicate our cultural values. One who seeks to ‘show’
In Democracy, attachment to the physical often leads to rebellion when one thinks one is ‘free’ and that one is better than the individual in the officially senior position .
When one acts as per that ‘freedom’ and in harmony with one’s conscience – and without relating to any official senior, that is that person’s personal law. So long as that person operates within the boundaries of that personal law, without enforcing it on any other – and limiting oneself to the benefits earned through that law’s pathway, that person is self-governing.
That self-governing Energy naturally merges with Universal / Prapancha Energy. Voting process in Democracy is an avenue through which we identify with a political leader who is the best fit to represent our self-governing Energy. Then our personal law merges with the nation’s through that leader.
In their Proposal headed ‘A proposal for a new chapter on fundamental rights and freedoms in the Constitution’ , academics Dr. Asanga Welikala (University of Edinburgh), Dr. Dinesha Samararatne (University of Melbourne, University of Colombo), Dr. Kalana Senaratne (University of Peradeniya), Dr. Kumaravadivel Guruparan (University of Oxford), and Dr. Gehan Gunatilleke (Harvard University), state:
[This proposal for a new Chapter on Fundamental Rights and Freedoms in a future constitution was prepared in response to the public invitation to submit proposals to the Ministry of Justice Experts Committee to Draft a New Constitution for Sri Lanka. This proposal is made on the following assumptions
1. That the new Constitution will guarantee irreversible, meaningful, and extensive devolution of power within a united State, and, accordingly, all references to the ‘State’ in our proposals are references to public authorities and organs of the State at all levels, including devolved units and local government……..
There is no room for ‘assumptions’ in law-making. One who makes the law makes it as per her/his/group’s belief in the institution – as if s/he/it and the institution were One. In democracy such a maker needs to be connected to grassroots where belief dominates over external knowledge. These Academics, as per my knowledge represent the following :
Dr. Asanga Welikala (University of Edinburgh), - United Kingdom
Dr. Dinesha Samararatne (University of Melbourne) – Australian law academics
Dr. Kalana Senaratne (University of Peradeniya) – Sri Lankan law academics
Dr. Kumaravadivel Guruparan (University of Oxford) – Eelam Tamil elites
Dr. Gehan Gunatilleke (Harvard University)- American law academics
If their proposals were accepted as they are – that would be the parallel Buddha Sasana in Sri Lankan Parliament. Academics often plagiarize to get the grades. They often fail when it comes to actual practice.
In Democracy each group that feels that its belief is not represented in the fundamental rights section of the constitution and/or that the existing law in the fundamental rights section facilitates breach of the group’s belief based expressions and actions - needs to be facilitated to make its proposals similar to project proposals – showing the quantifiable outcomes due to the change.
In effect that is the parallel of political elections through votes. That would confirm existence of rights that are ‘irreversible, meaningful, self-devolution of power by the believer.
The group proposes:
3. That in addition to the substantive fundamental right with respect to language in the proposed chapter, there will be a separate chapter on ‘Language’, which includes the substantive principles reflected in the current chapter on ‘Language’ in the 1978 Constitution
As per article 18 of the current Constitution:
18. (1) The Official Language of Sri Lanka shall be Sinhala.
(2) Tamil shall also be an official language.
(3) English shall be the link language.
As per common understanding, an individual is made up of:
Belief resides in the soul. Mind is a combination of that belief and the body that shapes the visible aspect of the individual. Language of law is the parallel body of the belief based on which an action is shown / a law is made.
As per my experiences in Jaffna & Colombo – the higher courts use English as the primary law of communication and rightly so, given our law-heritage. Where a community seeks to go back to pre-colonial times, it would have been appropriate to leave out English from the official language list. But to use the brains of the English in Tamil or Sinhalese confirms plagiarism. Plagiarism has the effect of stealing knowledge.
The law is the regulated pathway that connects cause and effect. The believer in the law makes this connection more quickly than a non-believer. The latter would be able to make the connection through her/his own belief, but to show wider world – s/he needs the law as well as evidence. Those who use the same law and/or practice, develop commonness of mind. That common mind leads to common belief and therefore harmonious living.
Article 18 needs to be amended to include English as a National Language. In fact it is the common-most language in Sri Lanka and that which is Common should be assured the highest position of all. Given that those to whom English is mother language are the smallest minority group – this would raise them to the National level due to their heritage. That would then make the contributions by the above academics officially more common than they are now. Officially they are like Dual-Citizens unless they had their law education in Sinhala only or Tamil only.