04 February 2018
Independence – as a Person
Today, Sri Lankans officially celebrate Independence from the British. But are we as a Nation truly independent of Foreign Rule? More to the point are we less dependent on others now to govern ourselves than we were under British rule which officially ended 70 years ago?
Here in Australia, I feel independent at most times due also to my feeling of Independence as a Sri Lankan. The direct pain and anxiety I felt during Communal riots in Sri Lanka – especially in 1977 were not as strong and repetitive as the pain I felt due to my Sri Lankan qualifications not being recognized in Australia, due to those above me in status - who were less global than I. But that pain was also my protection from becoming just another assimilating migrant in Australia. I believe I became Independent through the lateral Global pathway but by respecting tradition.
I am different to other independent Australians due to my pain in accepting the reality without losing my dignity. This was possible by foregoing benefits that would have come my way if I had sung the chorus of majority. I confirmed my Independence in Australia by knowing that I was Independent as a Sri Lankan. Part of that Independence came from respecting my British heritage – especially in education. My sense of Independence was developed through my investment as a professional which confirms Intellectual Independence.
Separation often confirms Independence at the physical level. That is an example of ‘out of sight; out of mind’. Such is needed by those seeking group power to become independent. But there were Independent Sri Lankans and Independent Australians before the British and during direct British rule. Likewise, even now, it is highly likely that there are dependent British even within the Royal family.
What Sri Lanka celebrates today is Political independence to self-govern. But the internal greed for unearned power starting with Sinhala-only language requirement which eventually produced the Tamil-only claim in North and East – took us further away from the claim that we as a country are ‘independent’. The moment we react – we confirm loss of independence.
In a community committed to Traditions, independence cannot be earned in one generation. One who disrespects elders and treats them as dependents when such elders are physically weak – but ‘shows’ ‘freedom’ has disconnected from tradition. Such a person has to live in isolation to enjoy that freedom to do as s/he pleased. This is NOT the way of the Tamil community taken as a whole. Those who are committed to physical-militancy belong in this group.
It is by absorbing the pain of militancy that the Tamil community has grown taller in terms of independence. Those who promote militancy confirm lack of Independence at Community level. The Tamil Community is Global. Part of that globalization happened due also to the denial of earned rights in Sri Lanka – through Sinhala only legislation, followed by Buddhism foremost status included in the Constitution. It is by fighting against such suppression by escalating the return to the higher level, without reacting at that same level – that Tamils have protected their sense of Independence. One has to transcend violence to escalate to the independent intellectual level.
Every person who is Independent adds that value to the group that s/he feels is her/his home group. Communities and Nations that already have them – need to preserve them to enjoy the value of Independence. When they hurt – the value of Independence hurts.
In Hindu philosophy – Ganesh the elder of the two divine brothers demonstrates the winning of Independent status by going around His parents as if they were His whole world. Muruga, the younger brother, on the other hand physically goes around the world and separates from His parents to establish His own kingdom. Like the ‘y axis’ and ‘x axis’ in a graph – both pathways cannot be directly used at the same time to measure outcomes. One is traditional and the other is global.
So – to assess the Truth of Independence claim – I list my feelings through the following:
1. Ceylon Today report headed ‘Tamils fully support Army – Commander’
Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake has stated that nearly all the Tamils maintain cordial relations with members of the armed forces stationed in the North.
According to him, this signifies a clear increase in the goodwill extended towards the Army from the time humanitarian operations commenced in or before May 2009.
My independent interpretation – the apparent acceptance of Armed Forces will last only as long as Tamils do not have their own alternate forces. Sinhalese armed forces are the parallels of British armed forces during British rule. At Community level – the average Tamil does not trust the armed forces that killed their sons and daughters.
2. Daily Mirror report headed - ‘TNA to avoid Independence Day Celebrations’
‘The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) yesterday said its members would not participate in the Independence Day National Celebration due to local government election campaign activities in the Trincomalee District.’
My independent interpretation – As per the Tamil Political Leadership – Tamils have to continue to practice non-violent, non-cooperation in terms of operationalizing Independence at national level.
3. Channel News Asia report headed – ‘Sri Lanka elephant kills top Buddhist monk’
‘A senior Buddhist monk died in hospital Saturday (Feb 3), a day after being attacked by an elephant at his own temple near the capital, police said.
Bellanwila Wimalarathana, 77, was violently pushed to the ground by the tusker, but the mahout managed to prevent the monk from being gored, police said.
The monk was rushed to hospital but died a day later. He was also a vice chancellor of a state-run university and becomes the first high profile monk to be killed by a tamed elephant in the country.’
My independent interpretation – A strong indicator during Independence celebrations - that Lord Ganesh – with elephant face and denoting Intellectual Leadership - is not happy with Buddhist leadership of Sri Jayawardanepura University at the Political Capital Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte.
Other examples of belief in such omens are confirmed through the following report by Economy Next which I happened to see under the article ‘Sri Lanka ranked among world's 10 worst countries for personal freedom’:
The Cinnamon Grand returned to Rajapaksa what he had thought was gone for good. A wedding guest told Economynext that they were quite unaware of what was happening until after a police officer came out with the story today.
The former president is fond of lucky charms and earned the reputation of being a lord of the rings after acquiring a large number, some with coloured stones and elephant hair.
During the election campaign at Akuressa, an over enthusiastic supporter grabbed the former president's hand triggering suspicion that the man was trying to yank off a ring or two.
Rajapaksa later told reporters that he was in so much pain when the man squeezed his hand, he (not the supporter) nearly peed. In great pain, he pulled his hand back but many accused him of trying to punch an ardent supporter.
The former leader has seen rings fly off his fingers before. In January 2012, three rings flew off when he tried to garland a bull at Temple Trees to mark the Mattu Pongal festival.
Mattu Pongal is a Hindu Festival celebrating
the Holy Cow for the Cow’s role in Farming