31 January 2021
DIGNITY OR TAMIL EFFICIENCY?
had a ‘double set’ of institutions – the dignified ones ‘impress the many’
while the efficient ones ‘govern the many’. The dignified or ‘theatrical’ parts
of the system played the essential role of winning and sustaining the loyalty
and confidence of the mass of ordinary people whose political capacities were
minimal or non-existent; they helped the state to gain authority and
legitimacy, which the efficient institutions could then use.” Walter
Bagehot in the book ‘The English Constitution’
In Hindu culture – dignity was recognised as
Goodness and efficiency as cleverness. In the epic Ramayanam – Lankan king
Ravana was recognized as being clever, while Divine incarnation Rama was good
In current Sri Lanka UNP was seen as Good
Government and the Rajapaksa government was ‘Clever Government’. Since they are
in different formations we continue to alternate between the two, more and more
Given that Ceylon / Sri Lanka was under British
rule, it would be natural for those who value the positives in British rule, to
identify with this. This is likely to be valuable to know which part of
government we identify with more – the dignified one or the efficient one. As per my experience, one who is disciplined
develops dignity, through which s/he identifies with the dignified part of official
As per Sunday Times report ‘Northern farmers unable to shed ‘tax’ imposed by separatists’:
farmers in the north, the virus pandemic made it worse in addition to a
decades-long practice introduced by the LTTE during wartime in markets where a
portion of their produce had to be discounted mandatorily, as a tax.
A northern farmer who wants to sell 100 kilos
of cabbage, would be paid for only 90 kilos by either a retailer, or broker.
The rest — 10 kilos — is considered as a mandatory discount.
Velayutham Kathirkamanathan, a farmer from
Atchuvely would go from Jaffna to the Kodikamam public market to sell bananas.
The banana bunch weighs over 60 kilos, but he
would be paid only for 50 kilos by the buyer, who he says, had been buying the
produce for a longtime and expects a discount.
“We cannot demand, or fix a good price,
without agreeing to the mandatory discount. If we raise the issue, there would
be no one left to buy,” Mr Kathirkamanathan said, noting this is the norm.
With the recent closure of public markets for
weeks following coronavirus infections, farmers could not get a fair price, he
This mandatory 10 percent ‘discount’ began
during wartime when the then Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam declared it as a
‘tax’ from trading at public markets. Today, nearly a decade after the defeat
of the separatist movement, the practice continues.
Over the years, northern farmer federations
took up the issue at every district coordinating committee meeting, but it
In the meantime, the
Efficient Tamil Diaspora is taking its work to wider world – largely by ‘finding
fault’ with the Sri Lankan government but without recognizing the need for good
governance by Tamils, of Tamils who were dominated by clever administration.
To my mind, this is
because Cleverness was way above goodness – as proven by the killing of Rajiv
Gandhi who was part of Indian Royalty.
The more cleverness we ‘show’ beyond the level
needed by us, the stronger the confirmation that we are lacking in Dignity
which usually happens when we fail to value our elders and ancestors. Hence the shift to past where only our side
seems to have ruled. Tamils shifted to Ellalan and Sinhalese to Duttugemunu.
In his FT
article ‘How sound is Sri Lanka’s collective consciousness?’ Mr Harsha
created a false patriotism by nationalising privately held assets and
businesses. This patriotism was reduced to providing employment in these
businesses to the political supporters of the successive political parties.
Eventually the government budget had to finance these loss-making institutions.
Still, this false patriotism is powerful enough to create a public opinion that
we should continue with the State ownership of those entities.
It is beneficial to the rulers, therefore they promote this false patriotism by misleading the collective consciousness of the people. Then the people request the continuation of the entities with state ownership although they themselves are at the receiving end of this whole game. No one is requesting the government or forcing it by demonstrations to run those institutions profitably.]
That which was worse was that Bandaranaike
promoted Buddhist Sangha whose role it was to uphold the Dignity of the Nation
through Buddhism. Instead it sought the executive role to show ‘Efficiency’ - greater cleverness than the Political
leader. In their eyes, the political leaders became ‘juniors’ in Buddhist
affairs and when they were disobedient – they had to be eliminated.
The LTTE likewise did this to Tamil elected
leaders. Hindu extremists did that to Mahatma Gandhi. All due to lack of
Dignity needed to govern.
When we are lacking in Dignity, we need the Equal
and Opposite manifestation. Hence Opposition in Parliament. Both sides then
compete to produce cleverness but within half the space. It’s like two sides in
sports – say cricket – so no single side bats all the time.
Currently, the Tamil side assisted by the Diaspora
is batting. The Sinhalese side might ‘declare’ as per the local victory where they
were the umpires. Even if the former wins through the International Criminal
Court –local Resident Tamils will have to find their own solutions – beginning with
becoming independent of the Diaspora. The northern farmers parallels are Tamil migrants who are influenced to pay ‘taxes’
so they would think they are included in the Global group. The LTTE legacy
continues in a softer form.
Thus far there has
been no indication from the UN that the inquiry would include the Tamil
perpetrators. Many seniors in the Tamil Diaspora ‘dream’/ ‘hallucinate’ so they
could ‘forget’ that their dignity was ‘lost. I felt that this was the case with
members of ‘Ontario Senior Tamils Benevolent Association’
to whom Dr. Senthuran Gunaratnam,
Psychiatrist, delivered a talk on seniors' mental health issues. - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_92tA2MsW8
The response was very poor and the questions
raised indicated to me that they were trying to show off their own new
knowledge – i.e. they were batting. The reason to my mind is Dr. Senthuran
Gunaratnam’s age. Dr. Senthuran Gunaratnam failed to bowl – like the
Rajapaksas, probably due to his sense of importance to Dignity in delivering
his medical services.