After Asgiriya: Orange is the new blue
Posted on June 22nd, 2017

By DR. DAYAN JAYATILLEKA Courtesy The Island

The day before yesterday’s impassioned, strongly worded statement issued by the Asgiriya Chapter meant that the writing is on the wall. But there is more than one thing written on the wall, and there is also something written between the lines.

What the writing on the wall clearly says is that we have reached a point similar to that of 1955 when the Buddhist Commission issued its report. Already the government (effectively) of Prime Minister Wickremesinghe looks like that of Sir John Kotelawela in the famous Mara Yuddha cartoon, except that this leadership clique as well as its lifestyle isn’t seen as symbolized by the macho Sir John in the cartoon but more by Zou Zou Mohammed!

How do we understand the Asgiriya Chapter’s statement—because the crucial challenge is to comprehend it, whether or not one agrees with it in whole or in part (and I for one, do not). The statement is a throwback to the 1940s and 1950s, and is a nationalist cultural backlash against a perceived erosion of the national by the alien. I am greatly helped by the writings of my late father Mervyn de Silva in understanding it:

“Already, by the forties, the sensitive ear could pick up the first rumblings: the free education agitation, the Swabhasha movement, the Buddhist Commission. The challenger, the ‘new class’ which was to lead the assault was sounding the alarm, choosing the battleground and shrewdly creating the casus belli which would best rally the masses behind it. This was the necessary prelude to 1956…

Meanwhile the masses lay dormant; watching, waiting, resentful. By 1956 the equation was complete, the issues, the new class, the leader, the political alignments, the socioeconomic forces which would jet-propel the masses into action. In 1956 they moved: they moved with such a terrific momentum that it shattered the Right…

Language was not only an issue in 1956 but its banner, and it was more than a contest between parties: it was a far more fundamental clash of the “two nations”… It was more than party politics; it was social ferment…

… How do a people assert their national identity, especially a people who believe that their own way of life has been willfully neglected, disrupted or partially destroyed? How does a man do it? He searches for marks of distinction and (because his emotional need is so compulsive) stresses and overstresses them. So do a people. They find these “marks” in religion, language, customs and ceremony. This is the traditionalist impulse; it looks back.”(Mervyn de Silva, “1956: The Cultural Revolution That Shook the Left”,Ceylon Observer Magazine Edition, May 16th & 23rd, 1967)

The dominant ideology of the newly formed SLPP and perhaps increasingly the dominant ideological line of the JO seems to be the same as that of SWRD Bandaranaike after he shifted to accommodate the Sinhala Only slogan. All that’s missing from the pre-1956 scenario is the Hartal of 1953 but that too will come, though it may assume or be diverted into the grotesquely distorted ethno-religious form of 1915 unless the Left trade unions, the student unions and the JVP and FSP unions are able to dominate it.

This present government is doomed. The only question is does it happen the easy way or the hard way; does it go head first or feet first? If it (A) goes for a new Constitution any time soon or within the rest of this term, with a referendum inevitably in train, or (B) if it strives to implement the Geneva resolutions, the Asgiriya chapter’s recent move will prove only the tip of the iceberg and there will be a unified Sangha-led nationalist social avalanche which will bury the Government.

This Government can go home at a referendum or an election. But it can survive or reduce the margin of defeat (avoiding a landslide) if and only if the Ranil-Mangala-CBK crew is dumped not only by President Sirisena but by the UNP as a party, and substituted by a new “Macronist” centrist-moderate alliance consisting of the patriotic UNP, SLFP and moderate progressives of the JO.

In the alternative, the ethno-religious radical Right that has mobilized can be counterbalanced somewhat and the ratio of the gathering forces modified, only if the official SLFP cuts the tie with the Ranil-CBK Govt and goes into Opposition, taking with it dissident UNPers and drawing a moderate JO faction, thereby constituting a moderate progressive center within the opposition space.

If neither of these outcomes materialize, then we are indubitably looking at a 1956 and 1970 scenario, perhaps closer the latter than the former, given the probability of a violent post-election backlash against the UNP and collaborationist SLFP.

Since the Tamil and Muslim minorities haven’t had the prudence to hedge their bets by being shareholders of both the Government and the Opposition, backing both the UNP and the Rajapaksas, the inevitable replay of 1956-1970 will bring into office a majoritarian administration.

This in turn will benefit neither the Sinhalese nor the Sinhala Buddhists, nor the country as a whole. Just as the minorities will realize that this isn’t the country it was in 2015 still less in 1947-1956, the majority will learn that this isn’t the world and the region, of 1956, 1970, 2005 or 2009/10.

13 Responses to “After Asgiriya: Orange is the new blue”

  1. Ananda-USA Says:

    I agree with Dayan Jayatilleke that the Yamapalanaya is DOOMED and that a BASTILLE DAY is coming for it!

    The Yamapalsnaya was DOOMED the day it decided to EMPOWER MINORITIES at the EXPENSE of the Sinhala Buddhist majority community, and THREATENED to UNDERMINE the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Sri Lanka in COLLUSION with DEFEATED SEPARATISTS and FOREIGN POWERS!

    It ACCELERATED that PROCESS of a HEADLONG DIVE into DISASTER by TRAMPLING on the PATRIOTISM of the people by PROPOSING to ALIENATE to foreign countries Sri Lanka’s National Assets, our PRIDE & JOY and the repository of our HOPE for a brighter future as a independent self-reliant sovereign nation.

    The AMAZING INSULT of the Yamapalanaya to the COMMON SENSE of the citizenry, in padding their own pockets from the nation’s treasury, BARE-FACED LOOTING of the nation’s resources, while they pleaded national poverty to raise TAXES, CUT subsidies and benefits to farmers asking us to eat CROTON and JAK Leaves while they gorged themselves at government expense, SEALED their FATE.

    What remains is the MEANS BY WHICH this UNHOLY PATA-GATHI Yamapalanaya can be EXPEDITIOUSLY SENT HOME!

    The BEST, LEAST PAINFUL, WAY it can be done now, is for Sirisena to FIRE the PM and his Cabinet of Ministers and APPOINT Mahinda Rajapaksa as PM to form a PATRIOTIC Government with the aid of the JO, the SLPP and the SLFP.

    Any thing less than this EASY & CLEAN WAY OUT of this DILEMMA will ONLY LENGTHEN Sri Lanka’s PAIN & SUFFERING and create the conditions for a MUCH MORE PAINFUL CATACLYSYM in the near future.

    Let us WAIT & SEE whether our PANA-NATHI JANA-PATHI Aiyooooo Sirisena has an OUNCE of PATRIOTISM & BACKBONE left in his body, or whether he will CONTINUE TO FIDDLE like Nero while Rome burned to the ground!

  2. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    ANANDA !! AGREE WITH ALL WHAT YOU SAY, BUT ONE. SIRAA SAID THAT HE WILL NEVER GIVE THE PRIME MINISTERSHIP TO MAHINDA. HIS VANITY WILL REMAIN, THEREBY AVOIDING BITING HIS OWN TONGUE. SIRAA IS A VERY REVENGEFUL MAN. HE HATE THE RAJAPAKSES. NO WAY YOUR STRATEGY WILL WORK. NEVERTHELESS, GOOD LUCK.

  3. Fran Diaz Says:

    If the Prime Minister’s post “cannot be given” to MR, then bring back the 18-A and give MR the Presidency !

    We need PATRIOTIC LEADERS or go belly up. Human Beings function only when there is HOPE.
    Do RW/CBK duo inspire such Hope, or do they make People feel HOPELESS, given their past track record as politicos ?

  4. Lorenzo Says:

    AGREE with DJ.

    However, DJ forgot about the HYBRID COURTS madness and the WITCH HUNT against war heroes. Where does all this lead to?????

    A MILITARY-SANGHA takeover.

    “unified Sangha-led nationalist social avalanche which will bury the Government”

    SANGHA has already made it clear their intention to CRITICIZE this DOOMED REGIME.

    IF you carefully read what DJ says he is NOT blaming SIRA. He is CORRECTLY blaming UNP. He equates the 1955 cartoon’s JOHN to RUN-NIL not SIRA.

    So BASTILLE DAY USA should stop jumping up and down.

    This YAMAPALANAYA UriNePee regime is DOOMED.

  5. Ananda-USA Says:

    Susantha,

    Yes indeed, Sirisena’s animosity towards MR, and fear of RETRIBUTION for his own backstabbing, is really what stands in the way of the EASY and LEAST PAINFUL solution.

    The CBK, RW and others like Avamangala Samaraweera and the minorities will DO THEIR UTMOST to prevent it too.

    This is where the JOINING TOGETHER of the Three Buddhist Nikayas to PERSUADE Sirisena and MEDIATE between Sirisena and Mahinda can be the salvation of our country.

    That would be similar to how the Buddhist Clergy mediated to reconcile the two warring princes Dutugamunu and Tissa enabling easing the eay to the reunification of Sri Lanka in our nation’s history.

    They have an IMPORTANT ROLE to play, if they have the VISION and WISDOM to join together themselves and SEIZE the OPPORTUNITY in the nation’s interest!

    Carpe’ Diem!

  6. Ananda-USA Says:

    Katussa (Lorenzo),

    NO ONE ELSE BUT YOU is jumping up and down the aisles at LankaWeb … just like the Katussa that you are ….. NOW YELLING that the UNPATRIOTIC party is DOOMED!

    But it is you unrepentant EELAMIST Katussa (Lorenzo), who helped to INFLICT this UNPATRIOTIC party and their Yamapalanaya upon Sri Lanka! That is an INCONTROVERTIBLE FACT all of us KNOW at LankaWeb!

    Have you NO SENSE OF SHAME in spouting this HYPOCRITICAL DOUBLE TALK? ANY AT ALL?

  7. Lorenzo Says:

    USA,

    I NEVER supported UNP come to power!! Get your facts rights.

    My3 is NOT UNP. He is the SLFP leader.

    IF you read DJ’s article you will UNDERSTAND he is NOT saying we should THROW OFF My3. Have you no shame to carry the most CURSED and DOOMED country in the world in your name?

  8. Ananda-USA Says:

    Katussa (Lorenzo),

    MORE Double Talk from the dancing JACKASS!

    When you supported Sirisena AGAINST MR, you knew he was the COMMON CANDIDATE of the OPPOSITION to MR.

    What was the MAIN PARTY behind that COMMON CANDIDACY: the UNPatriotic Party.

    ERGO, YOU WERE SUPPORTING the UNPatriotic Party in their Strategy ti OUST MR!

    You are for MR one day, opposed to MR the next day with Sira and the UNP
    Then against “Maru Sira” (a Name you Coined for him at this time) in your EAGERNESS to join the PATRIOTS for UNDERCOVER ACTIVITY from within again, and

    HERE YOU ARE AGAIN: For your Maru Sira again TODAY

    and “apparently” against the UNPatriotic Party today REJOICING in its impending DOOM when you begin to SENSE that the BASTILLE DAY I predicted is LOOMING!

    As usual with you, its “VASI PATTHATA HOYIA” NOW, eh?

    WHO CAN TELL on WHOSE SIDE YOU ARE at ANY GIVEN TIME?

    But, I can TELL EVERYONE what is INVARIANT in your BEHAVIOR: You are ALWAYS SERVING your EELAMIST paymasters!

    ALSO, do you think I CARE what Dayan Jayatilleka says TODAY?

    He too is INCONSISTENT POLITICIAN whose sypmathies fluctuate like a weather vane depending on WHICH WAY the WIND is blowing!

    The BASTILLE DAY I have been PREDICTING is NEAR, hopefully it will NOT BE VIOLENT.

    And UNLIKE YOU, I don’t ADVOCATE a VIOLENT MILITARY COUP DE ETAT that would INEVITABLY PIT the PATRIOTIC MILITARY against the wishes of the people!

    The PATRIOTIC civilian citizens will RESTORE a PATRIOTIC government their OWN WAY, WITHOUT Military intervention on their behalf.

    BUGGER OFF Katussa(Lorenzo), we don’t need your DECEITFUL Machiavellian ANTICS here! SHOO!

  9. Dilrook Says:

    Dayan is way off the mark when he says, [quote] The dominant ideology of the newly formed SLPP and perhaps increasingly the dominant ideological line of the JO seems to be the same as that of SWRD Bandaranaike after he shifted to accommodate the Sinhala Only slogan [unquote]. This is the problem of the SLPP and JO and this is why they may not succeed in having their way.

    No matter how bad, a government will not be dislodged unless the opposition is strong. The opposition found this out the hard way from 1977 to 1994. JO MPs must all form into a registered political party. At the moment none of them is part of SLPP. JO has come taken up Sinhala grievances. That is why the Buddhist clergy had to intervene. This is very similar to the fractured opposition from 1977 to 1994.

    Bandaranaikes in 1956, 1970 and 1994 unified the worthy opposition and destroyed the unworthy opposition to defeat the UNP. I don’t see this happening today which is unfortunate. There are many important issues that are not taken up by the JO. These will be taken up by BBS, JHU or another dividing the opposition. The JO must take up these issues and disregard unwinnable and racist minorities. That is the only way to defeat the government and form an own government. SLFP and Sirisena must be defeated along with the UNP. A deal with them ruins the JO. It is far too late to forgive Sirisena now. He is very much part of this mess. Dayan must not attempt to bring a ceasefire between Sirisena and the JO. If Sirisena appoints Mahinda as the PM, the UNP will win the next presidential and parliamentary elections. In the interim UNP, TNA and JVP have enough seats to disrupt the government.

  10. Ananda-USA Says:

    Latest News Flash!

    The Ramanna Nikaya has issued a STATEMENT similar to that of the Asgiriya Chapter of the Sam Nikaya!

    I am STILL trying to find out the specific derails in the statement.

    Jayawewa!

    I hope that ALL Nikayas will take a UNIFIED STAND to protect Sri Lanka’s Sovereignty and its Buddhist Culture against ENCROACHMENT by the Pata-Gatgi UNPatriotic Yamapalanaya Govt!

  11. Ananda-USA Says:

    OOPS! I meant to write ” Siam Nikaya”!

  12. Ananda-USA Says:

    According to Derana TV’s 6.55PM News today (2017.06.23), the Ramanna Nikaya has completely ENDORSED the statement previously made by the Asgiri Chapter of the Siam Nikaya!

    The Ramanna Nikaya Theros further stated that a UNIFIED statement from ALL THREE Nikayas should be seriously considered as a warning to the Yamapalana government that cannot be ignored.

    Only the Amarapura Nikaya STILL remains to formally issue a similar statement, and we URGE the venerable clergy of the Amarapura Nikaya to do that without delay in the best interest of our Motherland and our threatened Sinhala Buddhist Community.

    They MUST HELP NOW to UNIFY the PATRIOTIC FORCES of our nation in this time of GREAT PERIL to our existence as a sovereign Buddhist nation!

    May the THRIVIDARATNAYA, the Buddha, the Dahmma and the Sangha, Bless and Protect our Motherland as they have done throughout the hallowed history of our Resplendent Island!

  13. Ananda-USA Says:

    As Patriots had requested, Derana TV 6.55 News today (2017.6.25) broadcast a video of the Amarapura Nikaya clergy adding their voice to support the statement’s issued previously by the Siam Nikaya and the Ramanna Nikaya against the Anti-Buddhist activities of the Yamapalanaya.

    As such, ALL THREE NIKAYAS have now united and joined forces to protect the Nation and our Buddhist faith.

    I hope they will CONTINUE TO BE ACTIVE in supporting the RESTORATION of a PATRIOTIC government to our Motherland.

    A SOLITARY statement is NOT ENOUGH; the Nikayas NEED TO BE CONTINUOUSLY INVOLVED to keep up the PRESSURE until that National Goal is ACHIEVED!

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