Thursday 3 January 2019

Gajalakshmi Paramasivam
03 January 2019

Sri Lanka – Two Nations as per the Constitution

My husband was eagerly listening to the commentary on today’s game of cricket between Australia and India. When he stood up I realised they were going to sing the National Anthems. As I listened to the Indian National Anthem I was naturally moved. Likewise for the Australian National Anthem and also for the attribution to Indigenous Australians. Indian anthem moves me because of the common belief I have and hold with Indians – mostly Hindus.

As Sri Lankan Tamils become  more and more accepting of the reality of minority status, religion may be made more of a political issue in Sri Lanka. Given that majority Sinhalese are Buddhists and majority Tamils are Hindus, religion is likely to be the form given to the ethnic conflict during cold-war period. Uthayan newspaper carries an article that strongly condemns TNA leader MA Sumanthiran for being two-faced  on this issue. As per my interpretation of the Uthayan article – Mr Sumanthiran had presented the view to those outside Sri Lanka - that there was no question of any religion being rendered foremost place but that recently he had stated to Sri Lankan media that TNA has no objections to Buddhism being the foremost religion in Sri Lanka.  Mr Sampanthan would not have said it without risking disconnection with majority Tamil voters.

Genuine Election of  a representative is belief based. It works naturally and the two continuously share their strengths and weaknesses to show One picture at the higher level.  In Sri Lanka, majority do not have belief in law but majority do believe in the religious pathway. Hence voting is driven by religion based belief. It need not be conscious identification with the elected leader being one  of the same religion. It is more about the values that the belief leads us to. We may get there through religion but the sharing could be in any form.

Once  we believe, more through religion than through the secular pathway, we influence and are influenced also by others of our religion living beyond our ‘home land-space’. Thus Hindu Sri Lankans would naturally be influenced by Hindu Indians and Buddhist Sri Lankans would naturally be influenced by Buddhist Chinese and Christian Sri Lankans by Christians in the Western world who believe in their religion. This is more likely to happen when our belief through land is weak.
To count as per First Past the Post or simple majority would be misleading in deeper sense, due to belief which is largely invisible. Hence various methods of preferential voting systems and supermajority such as two thirds majority system are used to tap into the belief based commonness and use it as an intellectual tool.

On the basis of Land, China has only a small influence over Sri Lanka. But in terms of Human Resources There are 2.4 billion Buddhist Chinese naturally influencing Sri Lankan Buddhists.  This is 1,716% influence.

Likewise, there are one billion Indian Hindus naturally influencing Sri Lankan Hindus. This is 38,937% influence. Hence Hindu India’s influence over Hindu Sri Lanka could be said to be 22 times that of Buddhist China over Buddhist Sri Lanka. Given that Sri Lanka targets to be a Democratic nation – one would conclude that India’s influence over Sri Lanka would promote greater Democracy in Sri Lanka, 22 times that of Communism from China.

The Constitution of Sri Lanka – in terms of religion, is not balanced. Standing as is, the articles in terms of religions  make Sri Lanka two nations – not as Tamils & Sinhalese but as Buddhists and Non-Buddhists. The Hon GG Ponnambalam’s 50:50 was effectively on the same basis. Whether we recognize it or not – that is our reality. It is also our strength if we identify with this Truth and not interfere with each other – until religion based discrimination ceases – starting with the Constitution.

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