Monday 5 August 2019

Gajalakshmi Paramasivam

05 August  2019

Sri Lankan Constitution or Buddhist Constitution?

Yesterday, a Tamil youth leader  approached me about a Tamil constitution that was workable by the common Tamil. I mentioned some pointers in terms of the input pathways. In essence I was saying that I could help with the shape but that the essence needed to be the truth of those who want a new one. As per my observation – Tamils and indeed most Sri Lankans known to me – are driven by their own constitution. Some of this could be identified with in the National constitution. The rest is in abstract form.
This morning I received a communication from a Sri Lankan leader of Sinhalese origin about ‘Mr Naganandas Game Plan’. The following paragraph paints the basics of this:
[Mr Nagananda will issue a comprehensive election manifesto which will outline his game plan. Attached to his manifesto will be a draft of a New Constitution to Sri Lanka. This will be sent to every voter
Taking a cue from Late Dr Colvin R de Silva the manifesto will have a preamble which will state that if he is elected he seeks an irrevocable mandate from the people to amend the existing constitution and replace it with the one sent to each voter It was explained to us that in a radio Ceylon discussion Dr Colvin R de Silva stated that even if Mrs Bandaranayake did not receive a two third majority the constitution will be amended in view of the preamble to the manifesto and the mandate received from  the people ]

Victor Ivan has already taken an opposing position to the above – about which I learnt through his article ‘The reality of Nagananda’s Constitution’ – published by Financial Times at

I learnt through the above article the following lesson:
[The UK is one of the five countries which does not have a written constitution. Canada, New Zealand, Israel and Saudi Arabia are the other four countries which do not have written constitutions. Though these countries do not have formally-written constitutions, they of course have numerous laws and regulations pertaining to their system of governance. 
The United Kingdom has a written as well as unwritten section of its constitution. The written section consists of covenants, petitions, fundamental acts of a Legislature, court cases, treaties and judgments and also an excellent set of books written on governance, etc. The unwritten section consists of traditions and common law. ]

The closest to the constitution to an ordinary citizen is her/his religious bible. The unwritten section is not only the traditions and common law but our common belief by living in that particular environment.  Expressions of this belief include our respects to ancestors of a particular area . Buddhism foremost article  in  the current constitution for example  excludes the valuable discoveries by  pre-Buddhist elders as well as non-Buddhist elders in a particular area. But they would be more powerful than Buddha Sasana if the heirs of those elders genuinely paid their respects and invoked those powers. This usually is possible by those to whom that area is home by belief. They do not need a constitution to tell them what to do in that area.
Victor Ivan informs us as follows:

[Aristotle can be considered the first person to point out that general law and constitutional law are not the same and constitutional law is supreme. The state power of kings under the feudal system of monarchies was considered to have been bestowed by God. Thomas Hobbes (1511-1769) was the philosopher who founded this principle.

On the other hand, John Locke (1632-1704) was the first philosopher to introduce the principle that the state derives its power not from god, but from the people. According to him, the sovereignty of the state rests on the people. The constitution should be considered only as an agreement entered into between the ruler and the ruled. These two factors can be described as the two main principles which had a significant impact on the spheres of democratic politics, governance and constitution making

To my mind, taking the above as accurate - Aristotle and Thomas Hobbes gave form to the fundamentals of Autocracy while John Locke gave form to the fundamentals of Democracy. Mixing the two systems indiscriminately invokes negative energies from those very ancestors whose work we are claiming to  have inherited.
Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa is an extreme  example of one who ruled like a king after being elected by the People. The Natural and true authority of one who is elected is no more than the consolidated  value of all the self-governing citizens – including the leader herself/himself. This is the democratic parallel of the powers bestowed by God – that Aristotle identified with. The recognizes that the soul in each being has the same power as God/Holy Spirit. The parallel in the science I know is – ‘that various parts of  mass / solid would look different in form. But the nuclear energy in every atom is the same.’
To my mind – the entry of Mr Nagananda into the Presidential game is to not win but to induce voters to identify with the wrongs that he himself identified with in the current players. Most need others to handover the ‘finished’ product for them to buy or reject / vote for or against.
Mrs Banadaranaike is reported to have taken this approach before the 1972 constitution. The corrected picture is presented as follows:

[Mrs Bandaranaike received a two thirds majority and the question of amending the constitution  unilaterally did not arise. However Colvin did not present the new constitution to Parliament.  A constituent Assembly was formed and they met outside Parliament i.e. in the Independence Square. After one year’s deliberations a new constitution was approved by the Constitution Assembly BUT IT WAS ULTIMATELY THE PARLIAMENT WHICH APPROVED THE NEW CONSTITUTION]
I therefore interpret the moves by Mr Nagananda to be for the purpose of identifying with a group that pools its belief together without handouts from major political players. This way – without expectations from politicians – citizens would be better able to identify with their soul-power and govern themselves. To the extent their belief is the nuclear force of their actions – they would never be wrong for others if that belief. To the extent their actions invoke conflict with others in that area – they would naturally keep their distance from such groups – including the government. They would coexist to that extent.

It was for this reason that I strongly suggested that a Tamil ought to become a Presidential candidate. If one is not service oriented one demotes the status of the whole Community when one so contests. Mr Sivajilingam who is a militant leader seeking Separate Tamil Eelam – did contest in 2010. But that was invalid because he did not believe he was Sri Lankan. Likewise if Mr Nagananda is Sinhalese foremost  – he has no moral authority to contest in these Sri Lankan elections without the partnership of other members of minorities who are seeking self-governance due to failure by the government that represents majority – to identify with the value of their self-governance to the whole of Sri Lanka.

As per my observations – the 1972 Constitution of Sri Lanka -  confirms the fears of Buddhists. Fear is the equal and opposite twin of Desire. Articles 10 and 14(1)(e ) of the Constitution confirm that every Sri Lankan was free to practice her/his religion. But specific reference to Sri Lanka being a Buddhist country (article 9) is to state the obvious – that where all citizens have Equal power – majority would naturally go first / be  most apparent. It is one who does not believe that all voters are equal – who would need power positions to ‘tell’ and invade the minds of those less visible. Militants used arms to do this. They are empowered by the Constitution which creates such leading position for politicians and therefore attracts religious opposers – for example communists or secularists. To my mind communism does not suit Sri Lanka because most leaders seek to lead. Secularism is the common area for common law but this space is in the minority in terms of everyday life.
When one goes deep into secularism – one is able to override  this gap / disadvantage – by finding the absolute value through secularism. Such a person’s / group’s milestones become the Common part of the Constitution and would be most powerful due to its absolute value. Buddhists are the most disadvantaged group to achieve this because they took early advantage when they ‘saw’ ruling power as if it were a substance to be possessed.

This was the reason by Tamil militants failed – not when Mr Rajapaksa defeated them but when Democratic Sri Lankans of  Tamil origin, empowered by elders particular to North and East -  demoted them. Even one true Sri Lankan is enough to do this to any government even after it comes to power. Mrs Bandaranaike was thus defeated by the People as was Mr Rajapaksa. The political formations as well as the Constitution are for  election purposes and are mere entrances. The nuclear power is in in the Truth that each one of us identifies with within ourselves. Those who take the particular religious or language pathway would still need to experience the common secular pathway at the level of Government structures to identify with the common leader with the big position but identical soul power. The formation for 2015 elections was successful in defeating Mr Rajapaksa. But the President openly stunted that formation by claiming that Sri Lanka was a Buddhist country. The effects of his recent actions in pardoning the Buddhist monk who was punished through secular part of the system – confirm that he is a Buddhist leader and not a common leader. This was why he could not work the constitution. If he had truly believed in Sri Lanka he would have not needed to consult with the Judiciary. He would have played god and accepted any punishment at the polls and/or through the judicial process. That is why Presidents have the immunity from prosecution protection. But our actions must be for pure service to qualify for real immunity.

If the destination is Buddha - then it is a Buddhist constitution. 

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