27 December 2018
Chanakyan & Machiavelli
Our genes / heritages are the least visible influences on the manifestations that happen through us. They could be positive or negative in the current environment. Yesterday, I wrote about Chanakyan – the political guru whose blessings are invoked in our culture through many avenues. I believe I did not need to know about Chanakyan in detail or even understand the logic of his messages, any more than I understand the mantras that we chant. I needed to believe in the issue I am sharing with others and the appropriate heritage / gene invokes itself. Yesterday it was about LTTE leadership and how that was abused by Sri Lankan Government. The message shared was:
[Whoever imposes severe punishment becomes repulsive to the people; while he who awards mild punishment becomes contemptible. But whoever imposes punishment as deserved becomes respectable. For punishment when awarded with due consideration, makes the people devoted to righteousness and to works productive of wealth and enjoyment; while punishment, when ill-awarded under the influence of greed and anger or owing to ignorance, excites fury even among hermits and ascetics dwelling in forests, not to speak of householders.]
Independent of me, Dr Laksiri Fernando wrote the article ‘Circles of Political Vengeance and Demise of Yahapalanaya!’. I came across the article when I paid my usual respects to Sri Lanka Guardian which has from time to time demonstrated value for my work. Interestingly Dr Laksiri Fernando confirms that ‘Machiavelli’ is his guru in this regard and quotes as follows:
“Men ought either to be indulged or utterly destroyed, for if you merely offend them, they take vengeance.”
In addition to the above, I identified with 'Tilak Fernando' and 'Sunanda Deshapriya' being adversely affected by that particular article. They wrote to me with copies to rest in the ‘media group’. The request / requirement was to remove them from my email list. By copying others they confirmed that they liked the publicity. By asking me to do what they can themselves do – they confirmed that they wanted that publicity as return for their ‘welfare’ work. I concluded that unless they in their mind, are able to ‘tell’ someone – they would not be motivated to do the ‘welfare’ work.
I cannot recall exact details of why I included them in the first instance. But my common rule is if one’s work is public – then I was entitled to include them. If such is unlawful - then they are free to sue me. If not they have the option of blocking my emails or if they sought to be selective – then they had the option of pressing the delete button on particular emails that they were unhappy with. If they do not know how to manage their public communications, that is their problem and not mine.
To my mind, the deeper reason is Chanakyan’s message itself. Arthasashastra by Chanakyan is considered the chronicle of ancient Indian politics.
Mahavamsa , likewise is the chronicle of Sinhalese politics. Its political influence on Tamils is presented by Wikipedia as follows:
[The Mahavamsa has, especially in modern Sri Lanka, acquired a significance as a document with a political message. The Sinhalese majority often use Manavamsa as a proof of their claim that Sri Lanka is a Buddhist nation from historical time. The British historian Jane Russell has recounted how a process of "Mahavamsa bashing" began in the 1930s, especially from within the Tamil Nationalist movement. The Mahavamsa, being a history of the Sinhala Buddhists, presented itself to the Tamil Nationalists and the Sinhala Nationalists as the hegemonic epic of the Sinhala people. This view was attacked by G. G. Ponnambalam, the leader of the Nationalist Tamils in the 1930s. He claimed that most of the Sinhala kings, including Vijaya, Kasyapa, and Parakramabahu, were Tamils. Ponnambalam's 1939 speech in Nawalapitiya, attacking the claim that Sri Lanka is a Sinhalese, Buddhist nation was seen as an act against the notion of creating a Buddhist only nation. The Sinhala majority responded with a mob riot, which engulfed Nawalapitiya, Passara, Maskeliya, and even Jaffna . The riots were rapidly put down by the British colonial government, but later this turned through various movements into the civil war in Sri Lanka which ended in 2009.]
The Hon GG Ponnambalam is considered by the Tamil community of Sri Lanka as a self-governing politician.
In terms of Politics – Tamil genes would flow from Arthasashastra whereas Sinhalese genes would be from Mahavamsa. It is part of the sovereign structure that we are born with – if we are born in areas where Tamils were self-governing. But be it Arthasashastra or Mahavamsa they would be dormant if the politician is not of the respective culture in her/his current thinking. According to Chanakyan for example – ‘The purpose of law is to guide people from the wrong path to the right path. It is the duty of the ruler to do so. Hence politics is called the ruler’s law’.
The Constitution of Sri Lanka is the current chronicle of Sri Lankans which is not technically Mahavamsa or Arthasashastra but includes both origins as well as other values including from the West. It includes other origins as per the contributions made by the respective self-governing communities of all cultures which had a home in the land called Sri Lanka now. Every self-governing individual and/or group adds her/his/its own heritage to that community and that place. That is the way of Truth.
By using Machiavelli – Dr Laksiri Fernando is confirming that he lacks belief in Mahavamsa even though it would be the more appropriate measure to identify with the values of Mr Sirisena – described by Dr Fernando as “ – ‘gamarala’ from Polonnaruwa’ –“
Mr Wickremesighe’s values could be identified with through Machiavelli principles and values. That is how Sinhalese Buddhists are no longer One community. Mr Sirisena mentioned that Mr Wickremesinghe was being infected by ‘Foreign influence’ . Is that not the case with Dr Fernando also?
The heritage invoked by a believer naturally produces its other side. Mere intellectual and/or physical power is not enough to negate belief based force. Chanakyan is a much stronger force in Sri Lanka than Machiavelli