Sunday 27 September 2020


Gajalakshmi Paramasivam

27 September  2020



Buddhist Colonialism in Lanka

Facts are manifestations and they have current life due to the experience of current causers of the manifestations. When we cannot directly connect the manifestation to a person and/or group we use the Objective path and look at causes instead of causers. We identify with the cause through belief and or intellectual logic. The latter requires a common measure which is usually recognized as the law. The could be locally developed as per the true experiences at that place or it could be foreign – copied without belief. The latter would show balance when clinically applied. The former requires belief in the original group that had the experience and/or belief in the heirs of those original persons / groups known as ancestors.

In essence – one needs to have had the experience that resulted in ‘facts’ as well as the experience of the measure/law used to uphold the truth. Usually, the latter is accumulated through respect for seniors and/or the original cause – which usually would have been to satisfy a common need.

Frequent changes to the Constitution by the ruling group has become habitual in Sri Lanka – especially when one side gets overwhelming majority votes at an election. The frequent change confirms lack of belief in the origin. Where belief is lacking, the manifestation becomes matter. This is the case with Buddhism foremost article in the Sri Lankan constitution.

My attention was drawn today to the Sri Lanka Brief article ‘THE 20TH AMENDMENT BILL – LEST WE FORGET’  - by Dr Nihal Jayawickrama who quotes as follows:


[In the National State Assembly, on 3 August 1978, the Leader of the SLFP, the late Sirimavo Bandaranaike, concluded her speech thus:

“I would like to state, on behalf of myself and of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, that the day on which the dictatorship of His Excellency Junius Richard Jayewardene is established by means of the so-called Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, will also be the day on which we begin our struggle outside this Assembly. We will go to the people, and together we will strive to set alight once more the lamps which you have extinguished. I know that there will be ranged against us not only the forces of local reaction to which you have given new life, but also those of neo-colonialism which have at long last been provided with a foothold here in Sri Lanka. I know that the full force of State power will be used against us, and we will probably be arrested under your new laws, and brought before your new courts, and locked up in your new jails. But no people fighting for their freedom have been deterred by such acts, threats, or fears. The Sri Lanka Freedom Party, which has been sanctified by the blood of its founder, will certainly not be deterred.”

In one of those inexplicable ironies of Sri Lankan politics, it was a UNP minority Government that, with the support of the majority SLFP, successfully disengaged from the 1978 Constitution, and it is the SLFP that is today lending its enthusiastic support to reinstate what its former leader described as “the dictatorship of His Excellency Junius Richard Jayewardene”.]

It was Mrs Bandaranaike who introduced Buddhism as foremost religion and Sinhala only as official language. When there is group seniority – it confirms autocracy. Sinhala Buddhist rule over every non-Sinhala, non-Buddhist to whom any part of  Sri Lanka is home is therefore colonial rule. Hence Mrs Bandaranaike’s accusations above were applicable to her and her husband whose intelligence Mrs Bandaranaike inherited. Her heir Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa completed the separatism.

04 February is celebrated as independence day in Sri Lanka.  The reason is presented as to ‘commemorate the country’s political independence from British rule in 1948’. What happens if we were actually celebrating separatism instead of independence? We would inherit separatism – generation after generation.

If we were truly National – we would have recognized all cultures including English who contributed to regulated pathways of enjoying common rights and its manifestation – commonwealth.

In his Daily FT article ‘Comprehending the puzzles of 19th and 20th Amendments’, Victor Ivan highlights this as follows:

[It is important to note that the misappropriation of public property served not only as a constraint on persons contesting parliamentary elections, but also was considered a disqualification in being elected as Members of Parliament. The legal provisions in regard to this disqualification were stipulated in the Article 13 (3) of Soulbury Constitution of 1948, which is quoted below. 

Quote “A Person shall be disqualified for being elected or appointed as a Senator or a Member of the House of Representatives or for sitting or voting in the Senate or in the House of Representatives if he, directly or indirectly, by himself or by any other person on his behalf or for his use or benefit, holds, or enjoys any right or benefit under any contract made by or on behalf of the Crown in respect of the Government of the Island for the furnishing or providing of money to be remitted abroad or of goods or services to be used or employed in the service of the Crown.” Unquote 

 Article 91(1) (g) of the Constitution provides as follows:

[No person shall be qualified to be elected as a Member of Parliament or to sit and vote in Parliament –

(g) if during the preceding seven years he has been adjudged by a competent court or by a Special Presidential Commission of Inquiry to have accepted a bribe or gratification offered with a view to influencing his judgment as a Member of Parliament or as a member of the legislature prior to the commencement of the Constitution.]

The current constitution was born in 1978. Anyone who is found as per the above structure to be guilty of the above offence, prior to 1978 is disqualified. Not those after 1978 which Bandaranaike monarchy was replaced by King Jayewardene who did not have any direct heirs to takeover after him.

We could consider the above article to be the heir of Article 13 (3) of Soulbury Constitution of 1948. Most secular laws of Sri Lanka that were included in the 1972 constitution, followed by the 1978 constitution have this colonial heritage as their base. Hence when we celebrate ‘independence’ we celebrate also this heritage from colonial rulers. By celebrating this on 04 February we are separating that heritage and are celebrating only the laws prior to and after colonial rule. Hence those who celebrate the departure of the British – do not inherit their independence values and pathways. Instead, they are limited to their own heritage – largely in the form of Kandyan Law.

This makes the Judiciary that carries the heritage, the natural Opposition of the government. Groups that did inherit those minds – would consider it to be of global value. Those who frequently change laws towards outcomes they desire, would not develop heritage nor heirs. They would leave money that would corrupt their heirs.

Relationship is essential in structures. Those who forego immediate benefits towards common good – become foremost / senior relations. When they are disrespected – the structure will not work for custodians of power who so disrespected. Associations work for particular outcomes and hence become lawless at the higher levels of society, as well as beyond their time as rulers. They make no heritage nor leave any heritage. That is the sad state of Tamil as well as Sinhalese leaders in current Sri Lanka.



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