Posted on March 27th, 2014

Dr. Tilak Fernando


As mentioned in my ‘Life Abroad Part 71’, another Sri Lankan from down under, Nicky Karunarathna from Australia, has come out forcefully with his personal experiences against the LSSP activities of the by- gone years, having read episode 70 under the caption ‘Vivian gave beans’.

It is not my wish to get too involved in politics or religion, as no one can win at the end of the day except those getting implicated get their adrenalin levels up due to individual beliefs and egos! However, in a democratic framework of mind, impartiality and objectivity should be entertained from all sides (in this particular case from a former LSSP member who wishes to vent out his own personal experiences)!  I am only able to bring such experiences and narratives out to the open as and when those reach me!

Tilakart1(Nicky Karunarathna with  PM Paul Keating)

Nicky Karunarathna, who lives and writes from Australia, had been a staunch LSSP member from the ‘word go’ in the bygone years. In fact, after Dr. N.M Perera’s demise, NM’s house at Borella was handed over to Nicky by NM’s nephew N.A.C Perera (Senior Executive, the Inland revenue at the time) to indulge in electoral activities. This goes to show to what extent Nicky Karunarathna’s allegiance had been to the LSSP (Lanka Sama Samaja Party).

Nicky says he was “the person who stacked the place with sugar, tea, and refreshments and served comrades a decent cup of tea when they attended meetings which was never a practice when NM was living“! He also has arranged chairs for the members to sit during meetings with the help of a friend who was a principal of a Colombo school; got all the broken chairs, which were stacked in a store room, repaired by a carpenter to help comrades sit. He bluntly puts it thus: “This was the house comrades did not have any chance of sitting during meetings until I provided seats.”

Anemic to Sinhala Buddhists

The irony of the LSSP was that anything coming as Sinhala/Buddhist made the LSSP stalwarts hot and bothered and to become absolutely irritated. V. Karalasingham was the theoretician of the party and he carried out this strategy with their main policy line. When NM became leader of the opposition in the Parliament after the UNP was reduced to eight parliamentary seats, the LSSP hierarchy thought they were very close to capturing power in Sri Lanka! They foresaw the rural masses, which consisted of the Sinhala/Buddhist majority, as a major obstacle which made them employ mostly Tamil Catholics and Sinhala Catholics as soon as the LSSP got three key ministries“.

Colvin R. de Silva
Paul Keating,
Australia’s one time PM

The LSSP also used the up- country Indian Tamil issue as a political tool with the firm belief that one day they (LSSP) would benefit out of those seats in Tamil dominated areas. With that in mind they objected and disrupted the repatriation of Indian Tamils – not for the love of Tamils, but their forte was to work against the Sinhala/Buddhists“. Nicky continues.

Final exit

Nicky Karunarathna visited the LSSP Headquarters once, when Colvin R. de Silva was delivering a speech in his inimical style attempting to convince all the top brass of the party including LSSP MPs and electoral organisers to support J.R. Jayewardene on the Provincial Council Bill to strengthen JRJ’s hand. In his lengthy political discourse, he was referring to the Sinhala Buddhist majority as ‘Mahajathiya’ (big headed) and the most powerful, whereas the rest as ‘Sulu Jathiya’  an unimportant minority, while harping on the pros and cons of the two measures of free rice given to people at the time.

After Colvin’s brouhaha speech, which took more than two hours, the LSSP’s main idea was to somehow give a separate state for Tamils and making North and East for Tamils with Provincial Councils, with the idea of capturing power in that part of the country with Tamil votes“!

The party comrades appeared to have treated the stalwarts as brave, strong, well read and educated, but Nicky says, “the LSSP hierarchy was a senseless set of fools who with all their intellectual capacity and education did not realise that Tamils had other ideas”. The result was that, after all his humbug and gobbledygook of more than two hours, question and answer session that followed his speech was dominated by an absolute silence!

At this stage Nicky had the courage to stand up and question (in ‘simple English’), whether there was any other term than Mahajatiya to call the 74 per cent of the Sinhala Buddhist community in the country. He says it was down to simple arithmetic that when two measures of rice were distributed among the people, naturally the majority received two rations each, which Colvin attempted to make a big issue out of it!

When Nicky Karunarathna vehemently opposed to the party’s attempt to support the Provincial Council issue, Colvin R De Silva had gone berserk with anger. He had taken Nick’s question personally and thought it was very disrespectful and it undermined his intellectual capacity! Colvin had never answered Nicky’s question as a result. Nicky says, “that had always been the case….. and it was how the party ran with a superiority complex all the time … thinking that no one was above them“.

“If anyone were  to question Colvin, his style was to ridicule the person who questioned him”. Following Nicky’s question, Colin R de Silva had turned to Nicky and blasted him in his penetrating tone and inimitable style thus:

We have given you Borella electorate, you don’t do any work, and now coming here and parking your Mercedes Benz in front of the Party office, after eating from five star hotels, and try to show your strength here (apita puppana enawa)! You do not have any knowledge of the Party policies”.

With such unfriendly remarks Colvin had ordered him to ‘get out from the party office“. It was the last time Nicky Karunarathna visited the party headquarters of the LSSP! Nicky admits that he always parked on the payment, in front of the entrance of the party office as it was impossible to find a parking spot in the evening at Union Place with heavy traffic conditions. It was also true that he had been patronising five star hotels and bars, yet he was surprised as to ‘how Colvin got such information’ about his whereabouts’!

Demi gods

Nicky Karunarathna says the main problem with the LSSP hierarchy was that they thought they were demi-gods. “One section of the bourgeois of the party kicked Marx, Das Capital and started following Sai Baba at one of the social middle class member’s house and were signing Bajans(Hindu Prayers) to Sai Baba; the party member’s wife who was a teacher at Ananda College at the time organised those Bajan sessions for comrades“!

In a somewhat sarcastic but an uproarious line of attack Nicky poses the question as to whether anyone could believe this LSSP lot kicking out the Fourth International, founded in 1938 by Leon Trotsky, and the Works of Carl Marx, Engels, and Lenin and singing Bajans to Sai Baba in the evening…..? “They probably had gone bonkers,” he exclaims!

“One section of the party, according to their own agenda, went on their Christian beliefs worshiping Jesus with their target to make Sri Lanka similar to Philippines or South Korea (both totally Buddhist countries before)! Marx taught them religion as opium of masses…… But this lot…..? I really do not know”! Exclaims Nick Karunarathna.

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NB: Hidden Past of LSSP bourgeois side – next episode 

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