If one reads two articles in the Colombo Telegraph completely, and also analyze the comments and look at which have clicks on the red and greens, one can come to a few conclusions, that will not go away until there is some coming together of minds in order to solve these basics and misunderstandings, if we are not to explode into another self-destructive war that will last another 30 years, until it is resolved one way or the other. It will pauperize the nation in the self-destructive way wars have of destroying countries. See Syria if you want a recent examples of self-destruction and complete ruination. RIGHT!
The links to the articles referred to above are:
While these articles are likely written by a Sri Lankan Muslim and Tamil who have emigrated out of the Country due to their inability to live in the way they would like to live in Sri Lanka, they are nevertheless expressing a dispassionate fear amongst Sinhala people, which may not be true, but the feeling is real.
So when some say they feel that within a few years the Sinhala Race will disappear, it is a true feeling amongst people, particularly Sinhala (speaking only Sinhala) Rural population, who are not exposed to the internationalization of the world. This is further exacerbated by the local clergy who come from similar backgrounds of poor families who have sent their children to be monks.
While I know wealthier communities also have people who subscribe to these views, it is the broad base of rural and poor person, and hence their families who have taken on this fear of being overwhelmed by foreigners that is at the heart of the problem. These people are easily led astray by their leaders.
It was beyond the pale when full page Advertisements of the SLPP referred to the wholesale takeover of everything in Sri Lanka by foreigners, encouraged by the present Government as a reason to vote for them. Who is kidding who when it is a clear dig at the non-Sinhala part of society, that is taking over all the economic power bases of the Country. It touches a raw nerve in docile and poor people who feel powerless to do anything to change what they see happening before their own eyes. It is clear that instead of understanding that everyone has a chance to improve oneself, with favors to provinces it is simply cast aside.
It is important that we have proper teaching methods of history to show people that no one is pure and of a pure race, so that the Sinhala ness of anyone living in Sri Lanka is not that old, and we can trace our ancestry to people from all over the world in just the past 500 years due to intermarriage and what we are today is merely a product of a mix which gene testing will prove conclusively.
That therefore is the myth of the pure Sinhala Race, which uneducated people are led to believe because the more educated clergy say so, as they must respect what they say. It is easy to disprove this myth, but the hold that the clergy have on the people is not one they wish to give up, and so perpetuate the myth.
Don’t mix this with the language itself that has evolved into the wonderful Sinhala language, which due to insular reach of scholars, has not spread the word that it is a truly unimaginably great language, that can be spoken in verse if necessary to encourage scholars to learn this language, in order to truly compare and contrast and inform the world how much it should be preserved.
No one to my knowledge is doing this and to do this one needs to be able to communicate fluently in international languages and go to international forums to publicize this, so we have Muslims and Tamils and English and Japanese studying Sinhala Language and Literature as Academics, instead of just the Chinese who are studying it to gain a foot hold in Sri Lanka to take us over.
So for the moment let me summarize the conclusions here.
I have debunked the pure race stigma of the Sinhala, and we should understand that there is NO race called Sinhala from the past, just a bunch of people who subscribe to the fantasy of being Sinhala for some sort of feeling of power or insecurity, pick whatever you want for your own pleasure. They are dominant.
Similarly there is no Tamil race, nor is there a Muslim race, they are all myths and if you look at the English race and the speed with which it is being blended with Asiatic, African, Europeans, you are merely left with the English language and not an English Race at all.
Then you are left with just the Sinhala language. If you want to say that Sinhala people are those who speak Sinhala as their mother tongue, defining them as Sinhala is acceptable as a term of definition and a Muslim person who speaks Sinhala as the mother tongue should also be considered Sinhala.
The primacy of the Sinhala language SHOULD NOT BE confused with Religion be it Buddhism or any other religion. That belief system must be separate, it should be personal and so you debunk the Sinhala Buddhist Myth.
Now you come to the all-important task of unifying disparate racial groupings of dubious origins, and debunk various religions of various ages, all into the Nation Hood which is the whole purpose of the moniker of being Sri Lankan.
To that vision, every person living in Sri Lanka MUST subscribe to, if we want to grow this Country to the potential that the creator has bequeathed us. Then we must all keep our religion, practices and beliefs aside for personal practice and build a Sri Lankan identity that creates a unique brand of Sri Lankan ness.
In truth, the Sri Lankan national dress may have to be re-designed as there is NO real Sri Lankan National Dress. If we consider the dress that SWRD adopted it was to define him as a Sinhala and Buddhist leader and NOT as a Sri Lankan. Don’t forget he was baptized a Christian and changed his religion more for political gain and not for understanding the true greatness of the philosophy of Theravada Buddhism, in the way it should be practiced as a practitioner.
So if we adopt a dress code that is comfortable for men and another that is comfortable for women and can be worn (cloth and jacket) without suffering heat or impracticality, then this dress of being Sri Lankan can be adopted by all religions and races for a special purposes, or all the time, like the Burmese Sarongs! Here even Muslim people must adopt that over the use of Arab dress which is alien to Sri Lankan Muslims anyway, but which has been wrongly adopted by many in Sri Lanka as being some sort of Religious Statement.
I believe this kind of thinking will go a long way to allay the fears of the Majority community who feel they will be overwhelmed by Arabs, speaking in Arabic, when all Muslims can live quite easily according to the teachings of Islam without adopting any dress or language that is not Sri Lankan. Their route to the afterlife will not be made more difficult, I will argue it will make it easier as Islam is a religion of compassion and what is more compassionate than living in harmony with thy neighbor.
I don’t honestly see a problem of integration, while keeping one’s own religious beliefs private, and procreation is merely a fact of ability education and need, and that should not be guided by religion. After all 90% of Muslims only have one wife, and those who have more than one in reality are defying Islam if they don’t treat all their wives exactly equally in ALL respects, so no one should get into a huff about that religious right, as most polygyny Muslims go against their own religion anyway.
So let us all rejoice in the path I have made for a Nation that is United, with no particular group asking for their own areas, power bases, or language rights over others, and instead be able to put on our passports and National Identities just the fact that we are Sri Lankan and nothing else. Citizen of Sri Lanka.
I will ideally like the abolition of all Political Parties based on religion, or race as that only creates DIVISION and not unity.
I will also like the abolition of religion based schools, as that isolates one group from the other. Just look at how integrated International Schools are with all races and religions learning under one roof, with all aspiring to reach Harvard, and many do, while the current state system is still vying to get into a state university where a degree does not even assure oneself of a job. Quotas for regions from where the students come from, creates division.
The latter simply perpetuates mediocrity, and sustains poverty, and does not promote knowledge and globalization, so one can truly be comfortable with one’s place as a citizen of Sri Lanka when compared with the rest of the world and come to one’s own conclusion that there is NO other place other than Sri Lanka that one wishes to live. That should be the whole vision for a united Sri Lanka.
It is simple, and so self-evident, why can’t all these so called divisionists, racists and island mentality bigots, see this in plain sight?
This is not so clear to people who have not been able to shed this noose of Divisive Politics that has entrenched this society in their grip of interest groups with their own agenda that differs from the other person’s agenda and so they are simply engaged in fighting tooth and nail for their own quarter in our society to take the larger slice of the cake. Let’s simply turn this mindset on its head.
When you have a Sri Lankan identity you don’t have to worry about any particular group taking the larger slice, as all are equal. In this state who loses power? The Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim clergy all lose out, as people will forsake their commands in favor of the greater good called Sri Lankan ness FIRST. They will inevitably come around and change their regressive stand.
It is a challenge that is as hard for a Muslim as it is for a Buddhist to adopt, but ADOPT they must in order to become united. UNLESS we collectively look inward and accept each other’s faults we cannot correct what is wrong in our thinking and progress so that we will all benefit from this Diamond Mine of a Country that is simply throwing diamonds by the ton into the sea, on a daily basis, just to spite ourselves and feel good in doing so and remain hungry!
So let us PUT ASIDE OUR BOGUS DIFFERENCES and UNITE FOR A COMMON CAUSE of being the world’s most fortunate people, living in a land that needs nothing from anyone to enjoy its BOUNTY and BEAUTY.