28 May 2019
Equal Opportunity Dharma for Religious Schools
Sri Lanka Guardian reported as follows under the heading ‘Sri Lanka: PM appreciates Muslims support in hunting the extremists’:
[Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe met with representatives of the Civil Society and the Trade Union Collective at his official residence on Saturday 25th May.
The meeting took place on the invitation of the Prime Minister, those in attendance were; Ven. Dambara Amila Nayaka Thera, Dr. Wickremabahu Karunaratne, Dr. Paikaisothy Saravanamuttu, Dr. Jehan Perera, Prof. Chandraguptha Thenuwara, Saman Rathnapriya and Raja Uswetakeyiyawa.
The Prime Minister thanked the various groups for the unyielding corporation during this period of turmoil in ensuring peace was regained.
“We've been able to observe Ramadan, we've been able to have the Friday prayers, we've been able to have the Sunday mass and we were able to peacefully observe Vesak very successfully” the Prime Minister stated at the meeting.
The meeting was informed that the Muslim community was assisting in ensuring that no further radicalisation would take place amongst the youth. He explained the measures being taken including the newly proposed Madrasa Education Bill and the amendments to the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act.
The Premier explained that a Parliamentary Select Committee was appointed by the Speaker of Parliament to inquire into the Easter Sunday terror attacks. He further added that he had requested a preliminary report on the allegations levelled against Minister Rishard Bathiudeen. ]
The structure of the above group if factual – confirms that non-Muslim groups have ganged up against Muslims to ‘tell Muslims’ what to do. The Muslim leaders may promise ‘no more radicalisation’. But what would the Lord of Democracy do to those leaders who are demonstrating serious breach of the basis on which Democracy is self-regulating? One of the founding principles of Democracy is Equal Opportunity. In Democracy – if Muslim schools are be brought under the Common Secular system of Administration – so should Buddhist, Hindu and Christian schools. The words ‘We've been able to observe Ramadan’ is deceptive. The Prime Minister is Buddhist and the entitlement to ‘manage’ the Muslim mind seems to be taken by saying ‘WE’ observed Ramadan. If the Sri Lankan constitution is to be an instrument of Truth – it separates Buddhists from non-Buddhists through article 9. To be effectively democratic – a Buddhist must not look from the non-Buddhist side. If s/he does know the other side – s/he must remain silent in that regard in a political forum. In an Administrative forum such expressions on behalf of the opposition – amount either to blocking the development of the other side and batting all the time.
This morning I was directed by SBS to the interview of our former Prime Minister Paul Keating by Gilbert Kaplan in September 2009. Mr Keating quotes Gustav Mahler as follows in that interview:
[Paul Keating: ……And something Mahler himself said, he said -- I got a quote here which I should use -- he said , “I hope I’ve expressed myself sufficiently clearly in my works, and that you can absorb the emotion and experience I embody without verbal explanations if you approach them with your inner eyes and ears open.” Now, I always have, and why I was interested in him was the solace and the exaltation, but above everything else, the poetic structure and the tonal imagination. Another quotation of his which I found very revealing, he said, “Creative activity and the genesis of a work are mystical from start to finish.” Get the word “mystical from start to finish, since one acts unconsciously as if prompted from outside and then one can hardly conceive how the result is coming into being. In fact, I often feel like the blind hen who finds a grain of corn.” In other words, he’s searching around, but of course, as we know, he’s touched because he finds the things unconsciously and mystically.]
Whether it is Music, Religion or Law the genesis of our true work are mystical from start to finish. If the proposed laws to change Muslim religious education and marriage are to make Muslims more democratic – then the makers of new laws who are non-Muslims have the duty to go into their own investment in democracy – the proposed alternate system –and see with their inner eyes and listen with their inner ears to the democratic outcomes that that investment is showing. Likewise such law-makers have the duty to go into their own religious schools and marriage laws to identify with parallels that are damaging to their community.
Community laws help regulate ourselves as diverse groups. The hijab ban and these proposed changes to marriage laws relate directly to women. If they are mentally taken away from their base – they are more likely to rebel through new-found ‘freedom’ without the balance of responsibility. That is how militants are often born. The Buddhist parallel of Madrasa schools are the Pirivena monastic colleges. While in theory they do come under the Ministry of Education – in true democracy non-Buddhist religious institutions must have their own Common Ministry until the Sri Lankan government is certified by Seniors in Democracy that they are no longer abusing democracy while practicing autocracy – as if non-Buddhists are juniors. The Prime Minister has demonstrated that through the above forum. Each and every member of that forum has the duty to apologize to their Muslim parallel and also recommend that their own religious institutions also be brought under the ministry of Education. Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu for example needs to argue against Aranery (Schools of righteousness) which promote Hindu values and come under the administration of Ministry of Hindu Religious and Cultural Affairs. A good proportion of University of Jaffna students consider that University to be Hindu University. Rural folks in North prefer their children to attend this University for cultural reasons. Back then this University happened to appease the Tamil leaders who strongly protested against the quota system for entry to University – introduced in 1972. In reality it remains largely a Hindu University where the risk of militancy is high. The reason is enforced commonness to ‘show’ wider world.
Even the law school of that University has demonstrated lack of courage to practice the law against politically influential members of the Governing Council. Courage is one form of Truth. Hence Thairiya Lakshmi (Courage Lakshmi) in Hinduism. Militants committed to Independence would naturally access this power. If Muslims have their own parallels at mosques – the form shifts from schools to places of worship. The root cause – the natural cause remains with the Autocratic Government that enjoys the fruits of democracy.