Jathika Hela Urumaya and the Anti-Mahavamsa Movement in Sri Lanka
Posted on July 22nd, 2017

C. Wijeyawickrema, LL.B, Ph.D.

(This essay was written 13 years ago, in support of the JHU when it was formed. Because of the failure of JHU to deliver what the late Ven. Soma envisaged, BBS came to agitate on behalf of disillusioned masses. After the Asgiriya Declaration on June 20, 2017 and the notice given on July 4th to the government, whether one likes it or not, a new era of conflict between the temple and the black-whites of Sri Lanka has arisen. This essay contains lots of facts that could help in understanding the path Asgiriya-led Buddhist revolt needs to take. The original long essay is divided into two parts).

Part-I

The Buddhists wish—and quite rightly—that in this country where they form 70 percent of the population, Buddhism should be recognized as the predominant religion of the people. In the rest of the world, Ceylon is regarded as essentially a Buddhist country, and they want this claim established here as well…They will not be content to remain in the position of inferiority to which they have been reduced by 450 years of foreign occupation… They have no desire to make Buddhism the State religion—in spite of the cry raised by self-seeking politicians— but they want the State to help them rehabilitate themselves and undo some, at least, of the injustices perpetrated against them during the days of their subjection.”

(quoted from a speech by Professor Gunapala Malalasekera, President of ACBC reproduced in Times of Ceylon, January 15, 1956, and referenced on page 196 of the book, Ceylon: Dilemmas of a New Nation,”  by W. H. Wriggins, Princeton Univ. Press,1960)

Give me 20 good ministers and 1000 honest officers and I will develop this country”

President of Sri Lanka (January 2004)

Introduction

I agree with Dr. Nath Amarakoon that the JHU is the beginning of a liberation struggle (Divaina, March 10, 2004). I think it is an inevitable reaction to the anti-Mahavamsa movement and the need to have a Buddhist voice” (beachhead?) in a parliament of a country which has a constitution which states that it will give Buddhism a (the?) foremost place! JHU is a ray of hope against economic and social mismanagement of a beautiful island by a black white Christian-dominated ruling class which allowed NGOs to unethically convert the poor, who were kept poor by the ruling class itself. I also agree with the several advance warnings given to JHU by Malinda Seneviratne (Island, March 10). One does not have to agree 100% with the JSS declaration to support JHU. I think JHU decision to contest on April, 2nd, was a gift from the God Vishnu to Sri Lanka. I believe in the Mahavamsa story of the Lord Buddha requesting God Vishnu to take care” of Sri Lanka. No other country could have survived the betrayals by the UNP, SLFP, GLP, RanilW, RPrema, JRJ, CBK, AnuraB, MangalaS, Tilak Mara, and Milinda Mora or the stupid loss of the Elephant Pass, airport disaster, army not allowed to take tactical decision by political uncles, the killing of Denzil Kobbekaduwa or the Millennium safety house raid coup without divine intervention.

But first let me cut the cheese or pierce the veil of hypocrisy of at least some lay Buddhists. We must avoid politically correct words and say a spade a spade— No vahen horos. One cannot take medicine hiding it from the throat. Instead of asking the same old questions of vinaya we must ask new questions. Why is JHU contesting elections? Because, no layman or a woman or a team of laity, for that matter, could provide a voice for the Sinhala Buddhists. We thought either Dinesh Gunawardena or Mahinda Rajapakse or both of them together could or would do it. The JRJ electoral system, perhaps was too much for these two to handle or they have lot of past bad political baggage, the former from his father and the latter from his party. The fear of knock on the door in the middle of the night (Richard Zoysa syndrome) or black cats on the road in daylight (Ranjan Wijeratne syndrome) could be another reason for non-leadership. The rumor that some Colombo companies maintain a file on some politicians to blackmail them if they wonder beyond the perimeter permitted could be another reason. Some others think that they are safe because they changed their fence into a brick wall or raise the height of the existing wall. Those who have earned some status and comforts give the excuse that the country is beyond salvage. Ven. Soma did social work for 30 years, but he gradually evolved into a potential presidential candidate because he had to fill a vacuum. He told my friend before his death that he has nothing to fear as he has nothing to lose, no children, no wife to cry. JHU took this responsibility after his sudden departure. I challenge anybody to disprove facts in this paragraph. Perhaps the lay and monk hypocrites could learn an ethics lesson from the rationale behind decision of the Amarapura Sangha Sabha for its neutrality on the subject (Divaina, March 12).

Professor Nalin de Silva doubts whether one could accept the claim by JHU that the downfall of the sun god (Prabakaran) was influenced by JHU’s decision to contest at the general election. I have no doubt that it was one of the reasons and definitely the only reason for its timing. It was predicted by an Island news item as back as on May 3, 2002. (Island, March 8, 2004). Who knows if the Indian RAW or the American CIA or the Israel Mossad were behind it?  But one thing is clear. The CBK- RanilW-GLP crowds are puppets and prisoners in the hands of the king makers of the west (KMW). These local black whites go to KMWs with a begging bowl. The KMWs in turn are using the local black white agents to continue economic colonization via globalization, free market trade, privatization, World Bank, IMF, ADB and the EC of Chris Patten. The binding thread in all of this is the goal of the Pope enunciated during his visit to India (converting Asia to Christianity in the new millennium). His propaganda minister in charge of this project lives in Ratnapura who sits on top of Vatican millions.  Apparently, God Saman is sleeping! The intellectual backing for Pope’s declaration came form the book, The clash of civilizations and the remaking of world order,” by S. P. Huntington, 1997.

The war mudalalis who became the latest somebodies (read Vishaka Kumari  Jayawardena, Nobodies to Somebodies: The rise of the colonial bourgeoisie in Sri Lanka, 2000 ) by the war supply industry and the peace mudalalis who get money and trips from NGOs for writing essays, booklets and organizing seminars against the Sinhala Buddhist chauvinists (Paul Harris was a white-skin chauvinist who was deported from Sri Lanka by Anton Balasinham) are against JHU on vinaya” grounds. The two mahanayakes in Kandy also opposed the JHU path. In the 1860s-1880s, it was the southern and western coastal monks who protected Buddhists and Buddhism. The Kotte mahanayaka who has a Catholic as his chief dayaka (may be he changed a Catholic politicians into a Catholic Buddhist) is also against the JHU.

World History and Sri Lanka History

Some say the history of the humans is the history of water or energy use. Others say that the most significant human invention is the wheel or the screw (nail). Some others say that the idea of a corporate person is the invention that revolutionalized the world (How the west grew rich: the economic transformation of the industrial world, N.Rosenberg and L. E. Birdzell, 1986, p. 167). The physical equivalent of this is the human cloning in vogue in 2004. Enron and other corporate criminals prove to the world the power of this idea. Human concepts help us understand how the world works. We have to be able to see the forest as well as the trees. This is the holistic approach. Humans are different from animals because they have libraries. Human progress was possible because they tried to understand phenomena by classification and simplification: maintain order (entropy) from the tendency toward randomness (chaos).

The history of the world is a history of about 5% controlling the rest, 95-99%. This is true with regard to a village, town, province, country, continent or the world. When this class wanted spices and silk, and when the road was blocked by the Arabs, Columbus went looking for another route to India. Today when we think of globalization—when two ships cross the pacific, one taking wood from Minnesota to Japan, the other bringing tooth picks made out of that wood to USA— ( The case against the global economy: and for a turn toward the local, J. Mander and E. Goldsmith (eds.) 1996) it is nothing but the rich and the powerful getting what they want at the expense of anything, Sinharaja Forest, Basumati rice plants in India, herbal medicinal plants in Sri Lanka, Eppawala deposits, innocense of village girls lost for tourism or the moral responsibility of taking care of old parents. The new exploitation system has a dimension which is not new but aggressive and all encompassing. During the Korean War General Mc Arthur welcomed shiploads of Bibles to Japan and Korea, and after the collapse of the Berlin Wall USA groups shipped planeloads of Bibles and evangelical dollars. With a declaration by the Pope, that the goal for the 21st century is to convert Asia in to Christianity free trade NGOs came with paid Korean workers for conversions. History repeats. Vasco da Gama came with a sword (now dollars) in one hand and a Bible (now Korean Jehova’s witnesses) in the other!

The vehicle used to introduce and perpetuate this local-global control system operated by the ruling classes is the law. Laws passed by the rich and the powerful. It is illegal to do this or that means people are not allowed to obstruct or object to the norms and life styles of the rich in the West or the black whites in India or Sri Lanka. Very rarely the court system, as the legal police deviate from the task assigned to them to interpret the law.

A relative of mine who began his public service as a founding member of the rural (development) credit unit of the new People’s Bank who retired after 40 years of rural credit work with farmers in the country told me recently that the ruling class and local MPs work together in a system which is designed to keep the farmers just at the bare subsistence level so that the farmers are neither happy nor unhappy! A farmer who is inventive and industrious becomes a miss fit. Farmers learn quickly to follow the system and become dependents of the government dole. So, the rural credit given to them becomes a taxpayer liability for which governments will beg foreign aid. Remarkably, the local MP becomes the new feudal lord in the village because he can control the government dole.

In Ceylon, the 5% ruling minority was even less than 1%. About 200 families became translators and spies to the Dutch and the English and became mudaliyars. They were the ancestors of JRJ and CBK. Then after 1830, a new group of mudaliyars came with the money collected from arrack rent, starting with the Soysas of Moratuwa. Other new economic opportunities, construction work, government supply contracts, graphite, coffee, tea, rubber, coconut, Tobacco (Jaffna) added some more new families. Their children went to London and came as the educated” class. Poor people got drunk, arrack often adulterated, and the crown lands laws took villagers traditional chena lands so that the new class can buy them for criminally low prices. How can a villager in Kandyan village prove that he has the title as required by the new laws passed by whites and black whites in Colombo?

The so-called independence movement was a begging process to the white man to give the brown man a share in the government and in the CCS or a clerks’ job. This class always objected to giving any concessions to the masses whether it was free education, Vesak as a public holiday or the universal suffrage. It is amazing that the defenders of the masses were some white men such as the American, Olcott, the Burgher, Alfred Edward Buultjens (1865-1916), the Indian, Dr. P. M. Lisboa Pinto (1857-98), the Englishman former GA, W H. Freeman or the Donoughmore commissioner Dr. Drummond Shiels. The white government agents were the guardians of villagers. Local black whites joined with the colonial masters in the exploitation of labor, Indian coolies in the tea estates in semi-slavery condition or workers in the graphite mines. The proposal to import Irish labor was abandoned due to high shipping cost. It was amazing that no London newspaper spoke of Indian labor exploitation until the plantation were nationalized in the 1970s. A higher wage rate for workers was always resisted. Today these same rulers use the money remitted by housemaids and janitors working under semi-slavery conditions in Arab hot climates covering one-third of the budget revenue and to import luxury cars or to send children aboard. This kind of derogation of human dignity of the Sinhala Buddhist men and women from rural areas is no concern for the rich class.

As long as the masses were not involved in the picture the fight from time to time was between Christianity and Buddhism. But after 1924 when territorial, as opposed to ethnicity based nominations, became the new trend, especially after 1931, the ruling class became Buddhists” and created a new clash between the Sinhala and the Tamil. The aim of the ruling class was to stay in power copying the divide and rule policy the colonial masters applied to them previously. Today the Sinhala Buddhists are blamed as chauvinists by the very people who in the first place created an ethnic problem and planted this seed in the body politic. Sheer inefficiency, stupidity, deliberate sabotage, selfish family interests are the adjectives one can use to describe the behavior of the leaders of the UNP, SLFP, LSSP, CP, FP, TULF. Because of the corruption of the ruling class, rural and urban masses are in abject poverty and Christian NGOs are trying light cigarettes from their burning beards. Instead of catching fish one by one Korean-run Evangelists paid workers want to show more statistics for more bonus money, and they tried to empty the pond and take all the fish! The local MP was happy and kept a blind eye, as long as his voters got some money, bread and toys. But the entire system blew up.  It was not Ven. Soma’s death, but his funeral which rattled the system. A volcano has erupted after 25, 40 years of build up. As Marx so rightly said, everything solid melts in to thin air.” Just like cycles of production becomes desolate and ghost” towns or damaged polluted environment is the physical evidence of the inevitable melting process, the black white-based, Colombo-based system is melting (the Colombo paradigm).

And the JHU is the fire. When a politician came to Ven. Soma’s funeral wearing red blue or green color, people forced him to wear a white cloth. This is people power. Not a single pair of slippers lost or stolen. Volunteers gave food and drinks to thousands all wearing white cloth, a sea of peace and tranquility. This is people energy. A recent Christian convert distributed an ugly pamphlet, yet he could not disturb the peace. This is discipline and wisdom of the ordinary people. Compare this with covering the body of Mrs. B with a blue saari? One of the Kandy Mahanayakes said, this was a sign of end of Buddhism in SLFP, because Buddhists never cover a dead body of a woman with any color other than white. In the other world there are no political parties! The only other time people power or the power of youth was recorded was when Anuruddha Ratwatte told an agitated Prins Gunasekera, don’t worry, boys will take care of it.” The big rally and the meeting was to be held the next day but Prins G did not see any preparations even at the eleventh hour. The boys here were the JVP supporters who had the ability to distribute posters all over the island in one night. No government will succeed without this spirit and dedication of the ordinary people.

Bikku Nagasena and Sasanka Perera of the ICES

Of all kinds of crocodile tears shed (Wikremabahu- Sri Lanka will be a country of Idi Amin or pol pot [Island, March 5]; Tisaranee Gunasekera- The Saffron Slate will help Prabakaran to get his country soon [Lanka Academic, March 7]) the most unfortunate was by professor Sasanka who also works for the NGO-funded international center for ethnic studies. Sasanka objects to JHU based on what Bikku Nagasena told the King Milinda as recorded in an ancient Indian Buddhist text, the Milinda Panna.” He says that a Buddhist theocracy would come out of the path taken by JHU. He does not cite Ven. Rerukane Chandawimala or ven. Balangoda Ananda Maitriya, but goes to the heart” of ancient Buddhist texts, a kind of cutting pork on the body of the pig.”  This I consider as one approach used by the anti-Mahavansa intellectuals and it is time that we take this bull by the horns.” Fortunately, he did not quote from the Visuddi Magga!

Two years ago I obtained a copy of the Milinda Panna from the 75-year old chief priest of Walane Siri Siddhartharamaya, Panadura (established by Ven. Walane Siddhartha [1811-1868], who started Ratmalane Parama Dhamma Chetiya Pirivena, whose students later established the Vidyodaya [1873] and Vidyanlakara [1875] Pirivenas), and asked him to help me with several questions. The text states, that King Vessantara knew before-hand that his two children he donated to the beggar would soon be rescued by his father (children’s grandfather), and that he only created temporary pain” for his children! To me this was cheating at the highest spiritual level.”  The reply from the chief priest was, that the book (text) (written much later than the time Sasanka has assigned to it) had Mahayana influence and the aim of the text was to somehow win the debate (with the Greek-Bactrian king) and that logic is different from truth.” So many arguments used by Ven. Gunanada at the Panadura Waadaya (August 1873) were just arguments and was neither truth nor philosophy. For example, when the question of the forbidden tree” was raised, Ven. Gunananda retorted, so we heard when we were teenagers, …you can see it in between your legs if you bend down and look up.” New York City newspapers did not report this humor or rumor or logic. Even those American senatorial and presidential debates between Lincoln and Douglas started in 1858 had lot of logic (and not truth). Was it not logic which made it possible for Bahu and Vasu to sit with Ranil on stage?

Thus, when a Milinda asked a Nagasena, How come a Bodhisatva could create intentional pain to others?”—to his two children— the logical (politically correct) reply was that he knew it was going to be a purely temporary affair; it was logic and not truth or morals. The point is that Sasanka, (and Bahu also wrote about Buddhism and Marxism, Sunday Observer, December 28, 1997) if he read the text with a critical eye would have noticed the flaws in the text, and refrained from using this text as the Bible for his very unfortunate opinion. Is this a case of little learning is dangerous or something else? In my assessment either king Milinda was a fool to accept this answer or the writer who later penned this text somewhere in India was eyeing for professors like Sasanka.

When the academician Sasanka (as opposed to the politician Bahu) states that a Buddhist theocracy will be the result of the monk’s movement, he equates Ven. Ellawala Medahnanda with the Ayatolla Komenis of Iran or Iraq, Gadafi or Mullahs of Pakistan who issued edicts on Salman Rushdy’s head. This is fodder for Prbakaran’s propaganda machine!

Those who see Buddhism through a Buddharakkitha-Wimala glass or the two chief priests of Kandy or the Kotte priest who has a Catholic as his chief dayakaya, and those who are ignorant of the concepts of impermanence, Dukkha and the approach of Ehi Passiko in Buddhism could accuse monks of heresy or theocracy. Even Ven. Soma was an example of Anichcha.  In 2003 when a recent convert from Buddhism tells a Buddhist monk that he cannot enter the former’s office and pollute” God’s kingdom that is theocracy. In the 1950s-60s when we were not allowed to study Buddhism as a subject in Catholic public schools, but Catholic students went and kissed the ring of the Archbishop at prize-giving ceremonies, we did not realize that we were in a theocracy. When NGO-paid Christian workers get new converts to demolish and then urinate on broken pieces of Buddha statutes that is theocracy. Such acts are legal and receive police protection.

Sasanka also continues a new fashion discernible amongst a new generation of writers in Sri Lanka, that of citing retired Ceylon Civil Service men as the repository of wisdom and knowledge of Sri Lanka, a kind of old wine in old bottles. Premadasa’s Wijedasa was perhaps the only CCS man who wrote something useful in the tradition of Leonard Woolf, titled The Homeland Myth,” (1999) (Divaina, August 10, 2003). In a previous essay, the Christian writer C. A. Chandraprema, on the advice of Amara Hewa Madduma, a retired CCS, used Gurulugomi (In the foot-steps of Gurulugomi [Island, Jan 29, 2001]; Gurulugomi to the rescue [Island, April 13, 2001], as an authority to justify the re-enthronement of the English language in Sri Lanka led by Tara de Mel, who was an admirer of Fidel Castro’s educational system. The Forbes magazine reports that Castro has an estimated $ 150 million in assets. The not so young Milinda Moragoda’s book, written for him by the retired CCS M. D. D. Peiris is a classic example of what villagers call a pussa binda vage”, noise by two empty vessels. Bradman Weerakoon has become an expert on ancient Sri Lankan flags.

The Anti-Mahavamsa Movement

I consider Sasanka as the latest manifestation of the now-you-see-now-you-don’t, anti-Mahavamsa movement which started with the Portuguese looting and burning the Buddhist temples and pirivenas in Sri Lanka. Because there was an institution called the Buddhist temple protected the religion and the nation, the Portuguese, Dutch or the English could not do to Sri Lanka what Columbus and Cortez did to the Incas of Central America. The famous Banagala monk smuggled” books under the belly of an elephant to protect them from king Rajasinghe, gone mad because the monks refused to kiss his ring. This was not possible in the Philippine Islands when Bibles and evangelists came by shiploads in the 1940s because there were no monks or temples.  Even when Sri Lankan monks faced such decadence where they were called ganinnanse,” they kept the Buddhist texts preserved despite having concubines and children next to them. When authors write about the Irish or the Jews as preservers of civilization, Sri Lanka is a tiny island in the world where Theravada Buddhism is preserved in its pristine state. As Arthur C. Clark predicts Buddhism may be the only religion that would survive in an age of human cloning, and libraries will have Buddhist philosophy in bookshelves or on CD ROMs, but if Buddhism is wiped out from Sri Lanka like in India or Korea, then we will lose a 2500-year heritage.

In the 1960s a group of Marxist-bent Sri Lankan intellectuals removed history and geography (history is past geography) from the school curricula. A Marga (Mara) publication in 1998 suggested the removal of teaching about the king Dutugemunu from Buddhist pirivenas for young monks (Some Marxists called king Dutugemunu a fool of bricks” [for erecting the Ruwanweli Maha saaya]). These English language publications are mainly read by foreign embassies in Colombo, finance ministers and aid agencies in the West, and they have become fodder for the Tamil terrorists in their propagahttp://nation.lk/online/2017/07/22/lankans-unite-in-uk.htmlnda war. Most former FP MPs and Prabakaran are Christians. In 1979-80 Prbakakaran’s cousin was with me in Canada, and he once told me we do not want monks in yellow robes roaming in Jaffna and we do not want Wesak as a public holiday.”  When the Legislative Council debated the motion presented by a Hindu Tamil (P. Ramanathan) to make Wesak a public holiday in the colonial Ceylon, with the backing of an American Olcott, the Sinhala representative A. L. de Alwis, a Christian, opposed it. The Governor Gordon who was for the motion said he was embarrassed by de Alwis’ behavior. When the World Wesak Day was declared by the UN, the Sri Lankan representative de Saram, (a descendent of de Alwis?) gave a speech with wrong estimates of the number of Buddhists in the world.

Blame the Sinhala Buddhist paradigm of anthropology professors

In a landmark book, the electrical engineer turned sociologist Susantha Goonatilake opened our eyes to the nature and the level of anti-Mahavamsa activities taking place in the world scene operated by a group of professors scratching each others backs in the process (Anthropologizing Sri Lanka: A Eurocentric Misadventure, 2001). These professors developed a paradigm that could be called the Blame the Sinhala Buddhist” paradigm.  Sasanka takes this paradigm to its zenith. He becomes an agent of a Boston-Colombo axis. This group living in and around Boston once tricked the Massachusetts Legislature to pass a resolution: Massachusetts House Journal for 1979, page 977 reads: … Resolution memorializing the President and the Congress to protest and utilize the powers of their offices to rectify the gross injustices which have been inhumanely inflicted on the Tamils of Sri Lanka.” This was when Amirthalingam was the Leader of the Opposition. The son-in-law of SJV Chelvanayagam, A. J. Wilson (Christian) was a leader of this group and S. J Tambiah (Christian) of the Buddhism Betrayed fame must be still active. Heraliyawala Liyanage Seneviratne (HLS), dedicated his masterpiece, the Work of Kings, to Tambiah and Gananath Obeysekera (son of an ayurvedic physician from Galle).

I consider this group as naked professors” because they follow a strategy of not responding to the e-mails sent to them. For example, I asked Tambiah why he did not mention the 1958 JRJ march against concessions to Tamils or the 1962 Coup in his book while he mentioned the 1966 false coup attributed to a Buddhist monk. Similarly, I did not hear from Steven Kemper of Bates University (near Boston) who gave a certificate of exoneration to Tambiah’s Buddhism Betrayed because HLS, a Sinhala Buddhist, in his book the Work of Kings” had endorsed Tambiah’s thesis. Silence has become golden for them after the emperors heard that they have no clothe!

In the work of kings” (1999), HLS alleges that problems of Sri Lanka today, especially Tamil terrorism, was a result of the bad work” done by two monks, Ven. Yakkaduwe and Ven. Rahula. I asked HLS by e-mail, whether he gave an opportunity to Ven. Rahula to explain or answer his allegation because in his book HLS thanked Ven. Rahula for helping him with documents and ideas! I never heard from him. I asked this question especially because, I heard a story that Ven. Rahula told both Mrs. B and JRJ at a public meeting that the UNP and the SLFP ruined the country.

The history of this paradigm shows a cruel pattern of evolution based on back scratching and the kissing … For example, in step 4, step 1 is given side-support. In my view this book could be called the work of queens, because its aim is worse than the aim of the work of kings. In step 5, all the previous steps culminated with Ven. Walpola Rahula and Ven. Yakkaduwe Pragnarama as the fall guys:

1940s- King Dutugemunu a fool of bricks (some Marxists)

1960s- Tambiah, a Tamil Christian went to Thailand to study Theravada  Buddhism

1970- Obeyesekere’s Protestant Buddhism” idea   (step 1) Marga Inst of Godfrey G formed

1979- Fooling Massachusetts Legislature (Boston Cell)

1980- AJ Wilson – The Gaulist system in Asia

1985- Vishaka Kumari J – Ethnic and Class Conflicts in SL

1986- Tambiah – Sri Lanka Ethnic Fracticide

1988- Hellman-Rasanayagam..  Obeyesekere & Gombrich – Buddhism Transformed

(Buddhist Fundamentalism)       (step 2)

1992- Tambiah – Buddhism Betrayed         (step 3)

1997- D. Nesiah – (Tambiah’s student) – Discrimination

1998- Tessa B and CRde Silva – Buddhist Fundamentalism    (step 4)

Marga Booklet

1999- HL Seneviratna – the Work of Kings              (step 5)

2001- Steven Kemper –Book review of the work of kings

2002- G Obeysekera –Sri Lankan history belongs primarily

To Vadda

  • HLS Seminar on the topic Nationalist thought and identity politics: the Jatika Chintanaya movement of Sri Lanka and its antecedents,” given at The University of Texas, Austin (September 26)

2004- Sasanka Perera – Buddhist Theocracy                    (step 6)

2004- Wikremabahu and Idi Amin

2004- J Uyangoda, an elitist group of monks                   (step 6B)

(Daily Mirror, Feb 26)

In Sri Lanka, very few people escape from being accused as CIA agents. Sarvodaya and Marga Inst had this label. A Boston professor was once accused of being on the CIA payroll. For suggesting a change of SU’s name I was accused, of all the people, working as a RanilW agent. Fortunately for me the accuser later sent me a glowing praise. The evolving stages of the above paradigm were in line with the description of Sri Lanka’s ethnic issue by the western press as a Hindu-Buddhist religious war. Westerners who suffered from religious wars hate religious wars. While western reporters could be excused as biased or ignorant, that is not the case with farmers’ and ayurvedic physicians’ sons who are now anthropology professors. One-third of a Buddhist temple space is devoted to Hindi gods and goddesses. Anthropology professors and their white students who come to defend them (example: Caitrin Lynch (Bates University) who came to defend Tambiah’s Lie in June 22, 2002) should do field work on this interface.

The Black white paradigm (Mano-Malik discussions)

The alternative to this anthropology-history paradigm developed by the Boston-Colombo axis is the Black White paradigm—about 200 political families mismanaged and ruined Sri Lanka. This English-educated, western-trained-mostly Christian, Colombo-living Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim class of the rich and the powerful has lived within a radius of 2 miles of Colombo 7. The evidence for this paradigm comes from 3 books by Kumari Jayawardena [The Rise of the labour Movement in Ceylon, 1972; Ethnic and Class Conflicts in Sri Lanka, 1985; Nobodies to Somebodies: The rise of colonial bourgeoisie in Sri Lanka, 2000] and the marathon book on JRJ (1988) co-authored by K. M. de Silva, the head of ICES. In short, the British-worshiping political families first acted against Buddhist interests as they were all Christians. But after 1924, the former Christians began to get Buddhist” labels and concocted a new rift between Sinhalese and Tamils masses. For example, in 1958 UNP leader opposed giving reasonable use to the Tamil language; in 1968 SLFP-LSSP-CP leaders opposed it. I cannot understand how some remnants of LSSP now cite Colvin’s formula one language two countries, two languages one country” as gospel truth when Colvin himself opposed it as a mature politician in 1968? Ronnie de Mel is the best example of this black white paradigm, how the dowry rich and the powerful used the political system to thrive by deceiving people pretending that they are saviors of democracy.

Tambiah in Buddhsim Betrayed never mentions JR Jayawardena’s 1958 march against the Reasonable Use of Tamil Law, when even JRJ later admitted his selfish/destructive act. T also failed to mention the 1968 march by NM-Colvin-Leslie, when JRJ tried to implement what he marched against in 1958. Colvin who said two languages one country-one language two countries was not a Marxist but one from the 100 or so ruling families. In 1958, UNP of JRJ had 40% of the vote and he, not the Sinhala extremists who spoilt the cake. T mentioned the 1966 bogus coup where Dodampe Mudalali was killed by JRJ, but he never mentioned the real coup of 1962 by the Christian police and navy officers. Several high ranking Christian Tamils took part in this and it was averted because of a Sinhala Buddhist police officer, Stanley Senanayake, who refused to remove a government by illegal means. Why anthropology or history professors did not see this basic fact is beyond my comprehension.

Starting with G. C. Mendis, the history department of the University of Ceylon was Christian-dominated, and these historians, including K. M. de Silva (Michael Roberts, Leslie Gunawardena, Ronnie de Mel are all first class history honors graduates), never wrote even a paragraph stating that Sri Lanka’s problems are problems created by the black white class. Ironically, the first historian to research on this topic was a former American Peace Corp student from America who was stationed at Matale. In 1973, he submitted a doctoral dissertation titled, The transformation of a colonial elite: the mudaliyars of nineteenth century Ceylon” (Professor Patrick Peebles).  In his co-authored marathon biography on JRJ, K. M. de Silva reveals everything, including Dudley’s lying about the Christian Tamil Military Police officer coup in 1962, but never presents the fact that those coming from the Attygalle inheritance were the real culprits of Sri Lanka’s present agony. Philip Gunawardena once said this to John Kotalawala in the State Council and John hit Philip on the head in a cowardly manner.

The black white black hole

The creation process of black whites is like a black hole. The system sucks in people and some are victims with no choice. A government officer who came from Hambantota to Colombo, somehow buy even a postage stamp-size plot of land near Colombo to send his children to a Colombo school. If he does not get into the system he will suffer.  Nobodies must become somebodies, by taking bribes, leaking information or copying files to NGOs. An inferiority complex sets in and the new village boys in Colombo becomes worse that the boys born in Colombo 7. Thus, RanilW may not be as bad as a Banda from Mahiyangana after all. Children from a person from the Poramadulla Central or a minister who was in the JVP could act with a mind set to outsmart the children of say a justice minister came from the Royal College. When the old guard dies new people come with NGO money, cuts from privatization deals, arms trade etc. Thus, when old solid things melt, new solid things are created. Just imagine what had happened to R Prema. As a young man, as told by AnruaB in the parliament, he sold lavaria on the street. But he used to give talks at Sunday schools that my close relative in Kotte told me that young listeners went home and removed their trousers and came back wearing a national dress (white saron and shirt), which the American Ambassador Ashley Wills wore when he was given a farewell dinner by the President (Island, June 16, 2003). But what happened to this RPrema as a ruler and ultimately as the President? What a marvelous achievement to come from the street and become the president of the country. But the black hole sucked him in, madness set in and he vanished in to thin air.

While new families are added the children of the old are engaged in a character certificate business. Thus, Wickrema Weerasooriya writes about the services of his father to the Kandyan Peasantry Commission. But the peasants are starving! T. D. S. A. Dissanayaka writes about the Buddhist” coup of 1962 of his father. No coup participant was allowed take weapons with them! Arjuna Hulugalla wants to serve with a grassroots level political system. Charlie Mahendra’s son is busy with blaming the change to mother tongues. Pinto Moragoda’s son is writing books. I wonder what all these people have told their children about the JHU?

The Black Whites and Buddhism

Some time ago a Carlo (for villagers Karolis) asked two Dasas (Dharmadasa and Buddhadasa) to define who is a black white. Mexico provides an easy answer to this question. There some people are called coconuts, white inside and brown outside. When Macaulay described his idea of creating Brown Britains in India, in the 1830s, he was thinking exactly of Mexican coconuts. It was and is a frame of mind: A feeling of inferiority complex which made Bandaranayakes, Obeysekeras, Soysas, Jayawardenas, Muttu Kumaraswamys and Senenayakas to worship the white skin in 1848, 1915 or 1948 or Liam-Fox agreement, Norway worship or the myth of an international safety net of law book writer GLP in 2002. If colonialism was inevitable, I consider I was fortunate that my grand parents came under the British rather than the Portuguese, French or the Belgians. Gandhi once said that if not India he would live in London. Karl Marx’ tomb is safe in England without a single sentry to protect it. But if colonialism is continued right into 2004, it was not by actions of neither Lord Nelson nor the general Cecil Rhodes but because of the brain of Macaulay. He had such misunderstanding of Asian culture, because he asked, …who could deny that a single shelf of a good European library was worth the whole literature of India and Arabia.” (Macaulay: The Shaping of the Historian, John Clive, 1973, page 372).  But the Indian Penal Code that he developed (Ceylon Penal code was a copy of this) was evidence of his understanding with surgical precision the Indian and Sri Lankan mentality to convert them to a class of persons, Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals, and in intellect. (page 376).”  Is this not why we invite Prince Charles or Chris Patten? Macaulay planted the seed in 1834.

On the advice of Sir Ivor Jennings, DSS, the first prime minister, who had a Christian wife, once said that there was no Buddhist precept of I Take Refuge of the Government [Aanduwa Saranam Gachchami].” Jennings was a white-white, but to a black white like DSS, Gunapala Malalasekera’s statement above was nothing but Greek. The irony of this advice was that those political families who ran the governments from 1948-2004, took political mileage (Refuge) out of Buddhism projecting themselves as baby god Vishnu’s. In March1946 when DSS came forward as the protector (owner) of Buddhism, Ven. Yakkaduwe Pragnarama told him bluntly, …Sir, you protect your varige (clan), and the Mahanayakes will protect Buddhism and we will protect Vidyalankara” (The Work of Kings, H. L. Seneviratne, page 140). The most recent black white trick is to start their vyapare (campaign) either at the Dalada Maligawa or the Sri Maha Bodhi, and rush back to Colombo 7 in the night. Are they prepared to move the capital of Sri Lanka to the Raja Rata, so that a presidential palace could be built not in a swamp in Kotte but above the Kala Wewa?

Buddhists never discriminated against other religions. Buddhists never objected to other religions unless and until their goodness and tolerance was abused. The Panadura Waadaya was due to a demand made by the Sinhala Christian priests. Buddhist temples did in remote Ceylon in the past gone to the extent of giving food and lodging to Catholic priests who went on circuit looking for new recruits (just imagine the ehi passiko power of confidence in this act. In a temple no dinner is served usually). The center of ancient Buddhist civilization, Anuradhapura, voted in 1931 for a white man (W H Freeman) as their first elected representative? And he came uncontested in 1936. The second general secretary of SLFP after Nimal Karunatileke, was a Catholic, W. J. C. Munasighe, nominated by a Buddhist priest? How many know that Kelaniya, a place Lord Buddha was said to have visited elected repeatedly a Catholic, R. S. Perera as its MP? In a by-election for the Rambukkana seat, people voted for a Christian Siva Obeysekera, instead of a professor of Buddhist Philosophy W. S. Karunaratne. Buddhist monks did not approach Dr. Ambedkar in India asking him to consider converting Dalits to Buddhism. He became a Buddhist following ehi passiko. When math professor Sunderalingam was playing havoc with the hari janas in Jaffna (some think these people were originally Sinhala), Buddhist monks did not try to go and convert them to Buddhism.

Except for Premadasa, and an accidental one or two, all of Sri Lanka’s PMs and Presidents either came from Christian families, had a Christian in the bedroom or in the house. Buddhist never worried about this until after the 2000, when it became so blatantly clear that the Christians have invaded the cabinet. Sinhala Buddhists were under minority control for 500 yrs, and during 1956-59, there was a three-year break. But it ended with death to its midwife, and we do not know who killed him. This is just like the death of the American President JFK. The 1962 Coup however gives an indication of what could have happened. One of the coup officers gave as a reason for his frustration SWRD’s order to him, Let them come in.” The officer was trying to prevent people rushing to the parliament chamber after the ape anduwa” victory in 1956. Another officer disliked the villagers telling the officer that the army jeeps are people’s property and not of the army officers. Sir John did the best by kicking M. S. Themis on the butt on the steps of the parliament building.

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