BUILDING THE NATIONAL INTEGRATION IN SRI LANKA (Part 1)
Posted on January 3rd, 2019

BY EDWARD THEOPHILUS

Building the national integration in Sri Lanka has been a significant issue since independence in 1948 as the Donoughmore reforms initiated in 1928 and the State Council was established by the reforms disguisedly attempted to make communal divisions by British rulers. A similar strategy used in India encouraging communalism between Hindus and Muslims as the communal divisions believed to be easier for the British rulers to control the country. The national integration has not achieved so far in Sri Lanka and political crisis and reconciliation issues remain in the country, which are motivated by the lack of national integration and unnecessary influences of outsiders to the reconciliation process in the country.

What is the meaning of national integration? Shona Khurana (2010) defines as National Integration is the awareness of a common identity amongst the citizens of a country.  This means that though we belong castes, religions, regions and speaks different languages we recognized the fact that we are all one nation.  This kind of integration is very important in the building of a strong and prosperous nation.”  The building national integration in India where has a more circuitous environment was a quite difficult task. We see day to day in international news reports that many communal conflicts are in India based on variety of reasons.   Sri Lanka has a less complex environment than in India and limited diversity with tiny differences. After 2009, there has been no report of communal conflicts except politically motivated commotions such as in Beruwala and Kandy. However, the politics in Sri Lanka shows that building the national integration has become a hard task as the strategies of political parties are contrary to the national integration and based on short-term gains for a specific political party or a front.

The political leadership considered to be primarily essential condition for the national integration. Historically, the national integration was established by the leaderships of Kings and religious institutions of the country such as Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim strongly supported to the national integration. Before Western invasions, Sri Lanka was consisting of only two communities and there were not serious barriers to maintain the national integration.  Anthropological fact is that Sinhala and Tamil people have biologically same origin and may have mixed with different communities, they became Sinhala or Tamil resulting they speak two different languages.   According to historical information of Sri Lanka, Kings gave the leadership for the national integration and never discriminated citizens of the country based on religions or regions or speaking different languages.

It is believed that King Parakramabahu the great was a Sinhala person, who was a believer of Hinduism. During the time of king, Dhatusena, there was an Assyrian Sect Christian Church in Anuradhapura and King Kashyapa and Mugalan has closed association with the Christian Church.  Kings in the Kandyan Kingdom allowed Muslim religion and Kings in Kotte allowed the Catholics. Kings in the history gave leadership for the national integration within a multicultural system. The history gives clear evidence that Buddhism and Hinduism worked together and the best example for this unity is that in each Buddhist temple, there are Hindu devoting places.

The national integration was obviously challenged by the Donoughmore Reform Commission in 1928, which established the State Council. The representatives to the State Council were based on criterion that disguisedly promoting communal differences and the democracy they introduced to the country, was a capitalism based which discriminated to poor. If it analyses more critically the elections to the State Council motivated to create divisions within the Sinhala community based on Castes and provinces. The representation to the State Council was also based on the election which was sowing seeds for promoting communalism in the country and the power of voting was given to rich disregarding poor and ignored the national integration, which had been existed under the leadership of kings. As Shona Khurana (2010) explained the British had encouraged communalism because of division between Hindus and Muslim made easier for them to control the country. it is a result of narrow mindedness, prejudice and lack of knowledge of other religions.”  The British rulers promoted communalism in Sri Lanka with a view to dividing the people as Sinhala and Tamil and destroying the national integration.

Why the British rulers wanted to promote communalism in the country disregarding the moral responsibility of governing a colony to maintain the law and order and the unity among the nationals in the colony? The ruling policy of the British rulers was not democratic and currently it can be seen that many Western democratic advocates are attempting to point figure to Sri Lanka in the reconciliation process, but it was really against the democratic principles.

As the census of 1881 revealed that the majority community of the population in Sri Lanka was Sinhala, the British rulers attempted to divide the majority community as Up Country Sinhala and Lower Country Sinhala, the strategy was   utter failure.  As Sinhala people had no external difference in relation to the language used or the religions they believed and Sinhala people whether they are from up country or lower country, they were similar. The division of Sinhala people as Sinhala Christian and Sinhala Buddhist was riskier to imperialist and Sinhala Buddhist and Sinhala Christian worked together at grassroot level and the divisive policy could not be applied and successful in the Sinhala community.  There were few differences within the Sinhala community based on caste dictions which were rapidly eliminating as a result of the wide expanding of education from grade one to university level.

The caste dictions originated in Sri Lanka in the history based on the professions of people, which were not subject to discrimination and the services of any caste wanted to citizens of the country including the kings, who really respected to services of people, who belong to different caste. At present we can see that the services of different castes have become profitable business, for example fashion, security services etc.  The Indian caste dictions primarily considers discrimination of people from the origin and people of high class have authority over the lower castes even sometimes to kill them. There have been legal changes in India since independence, it seems that legal changes are not implemented successfully due the attitudes of people.

No one can deny the fact that the State Council, implemented several progressive policies in the country in which free education policy, agricultural development programs and industrial development initiatives could be considered that they were vital to the building the national integration.  However, the divisive attitudes rooted to the Tamil community and such attitudes were vicious to building the national integration.  The British rulers were directly responsible for the origination and the complicating of the national integration issues.  Before the British rulers, there were Indian, Portuguese and Dutch rules in the country, neither rules promoted divisive attitudes a with view to encouraging communalism in the country.

One Response to “BUILDING THE NATIONAL INTEGRATION IN SRI LANKA (Part 1)”

  1. Christie Says:

    Look Edward what are you talking about?

    Our problem is Indian Colonial Parasites who came under the cover of the British fire power.

    There was no India before the British made the Indian Union.

    These Indian Colonial Parasites are a problem in lots of otherer countries.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

 

 


Copyright © 2019 LankaWeb.com. All Rights Reserved. Powered by Wordpress