Jehan (Pacha) Perera has done it again

May 16th, 2014

H. L. D. Mahindapala

 The callous way the NGOs twist history, both local and global, to push their political agenda, is one main reason why the state should curtail their anti-national propaganda campaigns because it is the innocent people who will have to pay with their lives for their lies. Sri Lanka has paid enough for 33 bloody years because the NGOs had concocted histories, propagated political myths and deliberately pursued misinformation campaigns, with absolute disregard to the consequences of their venomous campaigns against the state which went all out to woo the Tamil Tigers and put an end to the futile war. It was the ideological and political justifications fabricated by the NGOs to white-wash Prabhakaran’s war crimes and crimes against humanity that prolonged the futile Vadukoddai War for 33 years. If they had  campaigned against Prabhakaran the way they campaigned against the Sri Lankan Government the war would not have dragged on for so long. If the NGOs were truthful to the realities faced by the Tamil people under Prabhakaran’s fascist rule they could have saved the lives that were sacrificed in vain to keep Prabhakaran firing at his own people.

  Jehan Perera, the man who claims to be a national peace-maker, is leading example of distorting reality to promote his political fictions. I’ve said this before and I am repeating this again to expose this humbug. He used to refer to Anton Balasingham, the LTTE ideologue, as “Dr Anton Balasingham” even though the LTTE Goebbels had not earned a doctorate from any university. When I met Jehan in Geneva I asked him why he keeps on boosting Balasingham’s image with a doctorate which he has not received from any university. He admitted that Balasingham is not qualified to be titled with a “Dr” but he did so because others did it. When I pressed him he admitted his sins and assured me that he would not do so in future. But like all other charlatans he reneged the moment he set foot in Sri Lanka.   The moment he returned to his National Peace Council and resumed his anti-Sri Lankan propaganda he marketed Anton as “Dr. Balasingham”. I don’t mind him breaking his promise to me. I expect nothing less from him. But he has a moral duty to be truthful to himself. How could he lie to himself and to the public who know that he is lying  through his teeth?

 That was then. Now he is back again lying, hoping that he won’t be caught. Consider this statement made by Jehan (Pacha) Perera (May 12, 2014) on the victory parade to be held in Matara: No wise country celebrates war victory after a civil war. The American Civil War is not celebrated as the victory of the North versus the South where 600,000 Americans died.  After the battle of Gettysburg President Abraham Lincoln made his famous Gettysburg address.  He went out of the way to show that it was a common victory.  Unfortunately in Sri Lanka, the political leadership indulged and continues to indulge in triumphalism celebrating the victory over the LTTE.”

 Now this is an out and out lie. Either Jehan does not know his history which is unlikely because he was at Harvard and he should know at least a basic historical fact like the triumphant jubilation that swept America when the Civil War ended with the surrender of Lee. Or he is lying as usual. He is old enough to know that he demeans himself in the eyes of the public when he lies without batting an eyelid. Besides, common sense should inform him that it is the natural instinct of any community/state to celebrate a historic even like the defeat of an enemy. He would have seen how the nation celebrated the World T20 victory in  Bangladesh. If that is the spontaneous reaction to a cricket victory how much more would it be if a 33-year-old war is brought to an end with a comprehensive victory over the enemies of the state?

 When the American Civil War ended it was celebrated at all levels ” from the humble housewives  to state officials. He says that President Abraham Lincoln considered it as “a common victory.” The attached picture gives the lie to it. The victory parade was held on May 23 -24, 1865. On April 1 he was assassinated. I have picked the following picture of the state celebration and the account of an average citizen who was a witness to the triumph of the North over the South.

 Small Town’s Reaction, 1865

 “The news of Lee’s surrender at Appomattox on April 9 spread quickly through the North. The impact of the announcement on a small town in upstate New York was typical – a mixture of unbridled joy and sorrow for those who lost their lives in the conflict

Caroline Cowles Richards was a young woman of twenty-three living in Canandaigua, New York, a farming village in the state’s Finger Lakes region. Caroline kept a diary of her daily experiences and reveals the sacrifices the community made as the war progressed. Many of its young men joined the Union Army and the villagers closely monitored the news from the war front. Sadly, a number of those who went off to war did not return, losing their lives on the battlefields of Gettysburg, the Wilderness, Spotssylvania, Petersburg and others. Caroline’s diary was published in 1913.

“..all the people seem crazy”
Caroline describes the scene as she awoke the day after Lee’s surrender and is alerted to major news by the ringing of the church bells:

“Monday Morning, April 10

‘Whether I am in the body, or out of the body, I know not, but one thing I know,’ Lee has surrendered! and all the people seem crazy in

The Grand Review of the Union Army
celebrating the end of the Civil War
Washington, D.C. May 23-24 1865

consequence. The bells are ringing, boys and girls, men and women are running through the streets wild with excitement; the flags are all flying, one from the top of our church, and such a ‘hurrah boys’ generally, I never dreamed of.

We were quietly eating our breakfast this morning about 7 o’clock, when our church bell commenced to ring, then the Methodist bell, and now all the bells in town are ringing. Mr. Noah T. Clarke [Principal of the local boys’ school] ran by, all excitement, and I don’t believe he knows where he is. No school to-day. I saw Capt. Aldrich passing, so I rushed to the window and he waved his hat. I raised the window and asked him what was the matter? He came to the front door where I met him and he almost shook my hand off and said, ‘The war is over. We have Lee’s surrender, with his own name signed.’ I am going down town now, to see for myself, what is going on.

Later – I have returned and I never saw such performances in my life. Every man has a bell or a horn, and every girl a flag and a little bell, and every one is tied with red, white and blue ribbons. I am going down town again now, with my flag in one hand and bell in the other and make all the noise I can. Mr. Noah T. Clarke and other leading citizens are riding around on a dray cart with great bells in their hands ringing them as hard as they can. Dr. Cook beat upon an old gong.

The latest musical instrument invented is called the ‘Jerusalem fiddle.’ Some boys put a dry goods box upon a cart, put some rosin on the edge of the box and pulled a piece of timber back and forth across it, making most unearthly sounds. They drove through all the streets, Ed Lampman riding on the horse and driving it” (Wikipedia).

 Obviously there is an  incurable proclivity for lying in the mental make-up of Jehan Perera. He is also striving hard to live up to his name of Jehan (PACHA) Perera. Can anyone respect this man who has turned out  to be a professional liar spinning yarns to maintain his high-living and low thinking?

What do we do with Bodu Bala Sena

May 16th, 2014

 Donald.Chandraratna, Perth, W.A

There is plenty of talk in the media about racism, racial vilification and incitement to violence against minority groups in the country, allegedly orchestrated by various organisations, religious as well as civil. Hence there is an appeal to the ruling party by a number of lobbyists to bring in legislation and other punitive measures to silence groups such as Bodu Bala Sena and others. These commentators in your columns argue from the premise that if such measures are not put in place there could be a pent up tide of bigots on the rampage soon.

My argument, borne out of past experience is that these spasmodic social movements are best handled by open debate because history demonstrates that such movements attract very little public support and are short lived. Banning or legislating against will only give them prominence. If they have a valid point to prove the best answer is not to drive them underground but to confront them in the market place of ideas, as long as they are not transgressing the law of the land, particularly those that safeguard the public. If the groups are allowed to air them publicly they need to be refuted by those who want them driven underground. The public will soon judge and adjudicate that wilful falsehoods of race mongers have no place. The public will come to the sane conclusion that they are not prepared to fall in line with identity-based politics. A sensible conversation is a better way to down the pernicious elements than outright legal blocks demanded by the lobbyists. While charging the government for veering towards totalitarianism the same lobbyists are paradoxically demanding another kind of velvet totalitarianism to curb free speech and freedom to demonstrate. Answering the charges than censoring will educate the public for the future. We all know that freedom of speech and protest are costly but that is the price of liberty that peace-loving people in democracy are willing to pay.


The reluctance on the part of the government to come too heavily on these movements is proving post ”facto, time and time again, that it is the correct stance in the long run. The insidious argument on the part of some columnists that lack of hasty action banning or curbing free speech is tantamount to ruling party backing is a red herring. The hypocrisy of the argument is that restricting free speech by one section of the society protects the weaker minority group, which is untrue because free speech in a democratic society is the right of all groups. Free speech is for everyone. It is all legal until it is made specifically illegal. Restrictions should be placed only when that right transgresses other rights. Rather than restricting free speech, the forum should be enlarged so that accountability and responsibility increases with the correlating larger audience. In fact the freedom to express one’s views on any subject increases the powers of the minority against the majority and vested interests. Moreover speaking freely increases the capacity of the person to stand up against unjust irrational prejudice.


In countries like ours it has to be accepted that the rich and powerful have a way to express themselves to get their message out and giving voice to the powerless is the role of the state. Censorship assists the powerful for they are able to use the court system to silence their opponents. Court systems are generous towards the rich and hence minority opinions also need space. Culturally ingrained prejudices have to be dealt with in the open through public debate. Many who rant against Sri Lanka in the international arena are reluctant to engage in open debate and dialogue. Without substantiating the allegations of discrimination and abuses they run to international forums at the drop of a hat. Open forums encouraging free speech will force these miscreants to argue their case before running to a blissfully ignorant audience. The international watch dogs will bark at any tree these days if the tree is a powerless twiggy but they shy away from the giant tress who are normally their paymaster. Disparaging a government usually from Asia or Africa and blindly going along with the dissident allegations has eroded the credibility of many international bodies, which are adept at issuing demarches gratuitously to the third world governments who refuse to toe the line of hegemonic powers. We are aware that the new kind of imperialism is cloaked in human rights garb. The time that credible international bodies took responsibility for the accuracy and impartiality for their products appears to be long since gone.




May 16th, 2014

Dr.Tilak Fernando

(Continuation of Nicky Karunarathna exposures ” continued from Pt.78)

“During that era while the JVP (Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna) was living underground, every single political entity was in total disarray, being in an ‘anesthetised’ condition, due to the existed regime being so lethal”.

In such a backdrop the JRJ Government never expected in their wildest dream that any element or group would have the capability or guts to come up against the State to disrupt their rulership. ‘They were over confident thinking everything was under their thumb’. Nevertheless, in the process of putting the jigsaw together with a Sangha Sabha, it had become somewhat riotous and gone out of control due to young ‘rogue monks’ behaviour with some attempting to self-immolate demanding that Nicky handed over the organisation to them!

Nicky Karunarathna had to explain at length the gravity of their intended purpose and tried to put some sense into the young rebellious minds that hundreds of monks who had arrived from all four corners of the island were accommodated in two premises, as such, if any harebrained act was to take place, then all the food, medicine and the entire purpose of such an organisation would go haywire. He appealed to them to join the Protest March on the day after, which had been arranged from Maligakanda to Pettah. Miraculously some sense had prevailed and the situation was brought under control to the satisfaction of the entire crowd including the Maha Nayaka theras.

Historical event

Finally, the heroic Sangha Sabha concluded with a huge success by going down in Sri Lankan history as an extraordinary event where Asgiriya Maha Nayaka thera presided over the Sangha Sabha with some of the leading monks in the land in attendance, in an open-air meeting.

On the following day, as scheduled, a huge rally commenced from Maligakanda Mahabodhi Centre with 20,000 monks on the march in an orderly fashion to Pettah with Mrs. Bandaranaike and SLFP entourage also joining in a Pajero jeep. However, all hell broke loose under the Bodhi tree when the young monks and some outraged people, who were against the Indo-Lanka Pact, started setting fire to everything in the vicinity – the entire Pettah and Fort area was engulfed with fire.

JRJ and the regime were shocked at the commotion followed by destruction and the Police having to fire at people and baton charge the crowd. Almost immediately the country was brought to a standstill and in the night JR Jayewardene regime clamped down a 24 hour curfew.

While the city of Colombo was burning and a curfew was in force, the ‘infamous’ JRJ/RAJIV Indo Lanka Pact was signed between J.R. Jayewardene and Rajiv Gandhi in a disastrous atmosphere, followed by a parade of guards of honour. It marked a historic moment where true patriotism was demonstrated by a Sri Lankan Naval rating, during the ceremonial parade, who ran the risk of imprisonment by approaching Rajiv Gandhi from behind and landing a thundering blow on the Indian Prime Minister’s head with rifle butt. Rajiv Gandhi’s sixth sense helped him to look back instantaneously and ducked when the delivered gun blow fortunately landed on his shoulders. Had it landed on his head the repercussions would have been precarious! The hot news was immediately carried by all news agencies and wire services throughout the world as headlines at the time. Was it the Sangha Sabha that sparked off all such an action in a cataclysmic manner… ?

Marooned and injured

Following the hullaballoo, more than ten thousand monks were stranded in the two places, at Maligakanda and Vidyalankara Pirivena, Kelaniya. Naturally, as part of their responsibility in organising the Sangha Sabha both Nicky Karunarathna and Leelananda had to take the responsibility of looking after the monks’ welfare, feeding them and nursing round the clock of all the injured monks suffered by Police baton charging. Both of them managed this task effectively with the assistance of the GMOA (Government Medical Officers’ Association).

Nicky fortunately had some friends in the Police at high places who not only issued two curfew passes but delivered them to his residence every now and then. This helped them to use their cars and act like mobile ambulance services throughout the night in performing ‘emergency runs’ – even in the dead of night during the curfew.

Some monks were obviously desperate to return to their villages after the incident. Nicky remembers how some of the priests pleaded with him saying: Budu mahattayo podda vitharai pansale inne, mama kohoma hari heta yanne one. (Oh! please sir, only the young monk is in the temple, I must go tomorrow somehow). Many monks who were desperate in that manner were sent to their respective temples in faraway places by public transport from the Pettah central bus stand. To this end Nicky and Leelananda had to make constant trips, to and fro, from the two places to the central bus stand while the rest of the monks who remained became Nicky’s responsibility.

Vital question

Now looking back at that incident, while exposing such facts to this column, Nicky Karunarathna poses a vital question in the following manner:

It was one of the rarest events in the history of Sri Lanka where for the first time a Sangha Sabha was convened with the intervention of the Asgiriya Maha Nayaka thera’s intervention denouncing the Country’s President and Prime Minister and proclaiming them as ‘traitors’, in the presence of Ven. Madihe Pannaseeha Maha Nayake thera and other leading monks such as Vidyalankara Perivenadhipathi Welimetiya Kusala Damma thera, at a leading seat of learning in the country which bears some historical value. The twenty million dollar question that needs answers is ‘why has it not been recorded in the Mahavamsa as the most historical event in our modern times? Will this ever be put into perspective in the future..?

This most legendary Sangha Sabha, had been inducted for the sole purpose of conveying a strong message to the world that the Sinhala/ Buddhists will never take a back step or surrender to any outside international pressures be it India, US, UK or Europe. It is evident in our past glorious history in the chapter of British Colonies only two countries were not defeated by the British army – namely, Sri Lanka and New Zealand.

In New Zealand, indigenous Polynesian Maoris are also fearless warriors like Sri Lankans. These two countries were taken over by the British by singing Conventions and by Wars while both these countries fought for their motherlands against the brutal Christian armies of British as well as their cohorts.

The two famous treaties (Sinhala and Maori) that were signed by the British in a ‘debauched manner’ ” are called Waitangi Convention by Maori people and Kandyan Convention by the Sinhalese – the result being both countries were badly bamboozled by the British. This aspect of the world history has to be told and retold and written down with the most indelible ink, says Nicky Karunarathna.

What arises from his main gist or his declarations is to bring to the attention of all the ‘Nayakas’ as well as the leaders of Organisations such as ACBC, YMBA and other affiliated societies that the Sinhala inhabitants were never in a slumber mood when the Nation or the Race was in danger, but have always shed blood and fought valiantly for a worthy cause! By stating so, he sends a message loud and clear to all concerned that “if we do not do anything about the most frightening moments of our times gone by, it will go down in our history as if we were the most scum bug generation ever to trespass this ancient brave men’s land which is named as Sri Lanka or Thun Sinhale!

With the signing of the Indo-Lanka Pact it had become the birth of the most dangerous anarchist period of Sri Lankan history associated with merciless killings by the regime with a vengeance; finally the JVP hijacking Nicky Karunarathna’s organization and effort.

Indian Elections and Sri Lanka: fresh start or more of the same?

May 14th, 2014

By Susantha Goonatilake

The Indian elections are now on. And they might have repercussions on Sri Lanka. India is the only country that after Independence has interfered directly in Sri Lanka. This was with a Congress government training and arming around one dozen Tamil groups.

Since 1989 that is for nearly 25 years India has not had a single party ruling the country, coalitions dominating. These included regional chauvinist parties like the various off-shoots of the DMK or some that catered for particular castes like the Dalit-oriented Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) of Mayawati.

How Sri Lanka understands these changes will be vital for our foreign relations. The Congress formed nearly 130 years ago and which ushered in Indian Independence has been dominated in recent decades by the relatives of the Nehru family. The BJP based on a “Hindu” ideology has been traditionally upper caste but is at the present polling well across castes. Modi, the BJP leader however, comes from a backward caste.

The polls claim that the BJP would get the largest number of seats. Its leader Modi says that his emphasis is on development taking as an example, his State of Gujarat (which had grown around 10 percent every year for the last few years. His detractors say that under him, anti-Muslim riots killed thousands resulting in the U.S. denying a visa to Modi.

The BJP manifesto declares that “the Congress… has failed to establish enduring friendly and cooperative relations with India’s neighbours”. It adds, “India has long failed to duly appreciate the full extent and gamut of its soft power potential”. “Soft power”means the use of cultural factors like belief systems. Both India and China have been using Buddhism, the common underlay for the whole of Asia for soft power politics. (Sri Lanka, the longest continuous Buddhist culture in the world had not even thought of this as a foreign policy instrument).

Modi has been campaigning with a picture of Rama behind him. The BJP shot to notoriety when in 1992 a mob they instigated demolished the Babri Mosque built in the 16th century by Muslim rulers on; The BJP alleged it was the site of an earlier temple to Rama, the hero of the Ramayana. The Ramayana however, has no historical basis and is actually derived from the Dasaratha Jataka story and is therefore post-Buddhist. Archaeological excavations in 2003 discovered Buddhist ruins below the Babri site with some signs of an intermediate “Hindu” level.

The BJP manifesto states that it will facilitate “the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya”. And nearer our shores, the BJP manifesto assumes as a real bridge, so-called Adams Bridge – the Ram Setu. Indian scientists have dismissed this as only a natural formation between India and Sri Lanka.

The Ramayana is found in Southeast Asian countries including Theravada countries because Hinduism first penetrated them before the coming of Buddhism. In Sri Lanka, the Ramayana carried no importance till the Kotte period. But even during this period, there was Vidagama Thero ridiculing Rama, the hero of Ramayana, as being unable to cross the stretch of sea between Sri Lanka and India but had to build a bridge and having no godlike powers.  Vidagama also attacked Brahmins calling them deceivers of the world with false magic and “invented Vedas”.

“Hinduism” unlike other belief systems like Buddhism, Confucianism or the “Western” religions of Christianity and Islam, does not have a single founder. It has multiple sets of beliefs, the word Hinduism itself derives from what the Persians called the land beyond the Indus River.And in fact, modern “Hinduism” is largely an invention during the late British period.

The Indian Constitution defines Hindus to include Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists with founders and with defined philosophies. The BJP manifesto mentions positively both the Buddha and the Jain founder Mahaviraas part of the Indian heritage. Hinduism in practice has a strict caste system with a significant section of the population Dalits, considered untouchable. It was because of this that Ambedkar, a Dalit co-author of the Constitution said that he “was born a Hindu but will not die a Hindu”. He converted to Buddhism together with hundreds of thousands of Dalits. Upon conversion, Ambedkarites smashed Hindu images.

The return of Buddhism to India was actually started earlier in the successful attempt by AnagarikaDharmapala through his Maha Bodhi Society to wrest control from Hindus of the Maha Bodhi, the place of Enlightenment of the Buddha.

The BJP takes its “Hinduism” seriously, and probably would not invite the Pope as a state guest.The destruction of temples in Goa by instructions of Popes like in then Sri Lanka is still fresh in their minds. During the last visit of the previous Pope in 1999, ideologues of the BJP, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Vishwa Hindu ParishadVHP demonstrated against the visit. They were incensed when that Pope called for the conversion of Asia. Modi is a member of the RSS. Ashok Singhal once the International President of the VHP termed the LTTE “the armed wing of the Christians”.

The BJP and Modi have been going to the different borders of India and saying that the BJP would be firm to Bangladesh Muslim migrants, and to Sri Lankan fishermen. One of its Tamil executive members, Ganesan had been blaming the Congress government for abstaining from the anti-Sri Lanka Geneva resolution this year.

Ganesan has also charged that Pakistan-backed extremists in Tamil Nadu are being trained in Sri Lanka. Modi has got Vaiko the most virulent supporter of the LTTE as part of his BJP alliance. On the other hand Subramanium Swamy, a BJP stalwart has been consistently anti-LTTE.

Other contradictions abound.

The DMK itself arose from a late 19thcentury impact by AnagarikaDharmapala to form a Dravidian Buddhist Society for South Indian dalits. Over the decades, this metamorphosed into the Tamil Nadu racist movement. In the process, the DMK invented Ravana the villain of the Ramayana, as a Dravidian hero who was resisting the North Indian Rama.  (In Sri Lanka, half-baked commentators have recently distorted history including a lorry driver “expert” who painted over inscriptions to give a non-existing Ravana presence in the country). And today’s Maha Bodhi Society in Colombo seems to have embraced this Rama/Ravana fiction. AnagarikaDharmapala its founder, who fought to regain Bodh Gaya from Hindus, would have been horrified.

Chouhan, the BJP Chief Minister of Madhya PradeshState had a foundation laying ceremony for a Sanchi University of Buddhist-Indic Studies. The Sri Lankan President was there and its governing board has both Sri Lankan Buddhists and Indian Hindus.  It is falsely labelled as a first-ever Buddhist university. The first Buddhist University is the Nava Nalanda University in Bihar State (named after the many viharas that once dotted Bihar) started in the early 1950’s with a Sri Lanka-educated monk Kashyapa. And the biggest Buddhist inspired university is the large Gautam Buddha University established in Uttar Pradesh State by its then Chief Minister, Mayawati the Ambedkar following Dalit.

But there is other cross postings between the BJP and the Mahabodhi Society of India. In 1949 Dr. Syama Prasad Mukherjee, today with the BJP, was the Mahabodhi President receiving the relics of Sariputta and Moggalana, the key disciples of the Buddha. More recently, another VHP stalwart was for some time head of the Indian Mahabodhi Society. And while Chouhan was laying the foundation for his Buddhist/Hindu University in the presence of Mahinda Rajapaksa, the LTTE supporter Vaiko and his gang were arrested for demonstrating against Rajapaksa’s presence. Vaiko is today supporting the BJP.

There are other facets. Vijaya, the legendary first prince of Sri Lanka is claimed as their own by both Gujarat and Bengal (the latter even having a “Yatra” play on him). And Ezhavas, the second largest caste group in Kerala claims that they are displaced Sinhalese.

Regional and ideological tensions will become a factor in any future Indian government.These would loom large as India dissolves into competing factions and held together by a central government. Sri Lanka’s foreign policy hasn’t pressed these many buttons within the Indian polity and society. The USA with nearly a million deaths on its hands in Iraq and Afghanistan is targeting both Modi and Sri Lanka. Maybe if Sri Lanka plays our cards correctly, in both changing India and rising Asia, the two countries could come together. In the Non-Aligned days, decades ago, they did.


May 14th, 2014

Mahinda Weerasinghe

The work “The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution” by Biologist Richard Dawkins, has received a positive review by, Anjana Ahuja in ‘The Times‘. She describes Dawkins’s account of the evidence for evolution as “fine, lucid and convincing”. It may perhaps be so to Anjana Ahuja, but then she is not informed and ignorant of an alternative to such a hollow, mechanistic Theory of ‘survival’! Indeed, it is such short comings of Darwinian deterministic theories, and slipshod logic of guys such as Dawkins, which has strengthened the Judeo-Christian sects’ beliefs in a “God” and “creation”.

If they are so convinced that the Darwinian Theory is a ‘scientific and factual’, then, they should lobby to get it accepted as a universal principle that covers the affairs of men and the universe. In other words, they should insist that UN should stop interfering and meddling in the tribal wars of annihilation and genocide. Surely the ‘fittest’ after such elimination processes will produce the victors who should go on to procreate and send their types further in time and space.

We find it was the Buddha who was first to broadcast to the world at large, over 2600 years ago that, there is no status quo to be found in individuals and their associated species, though it has fallen on deaf ears.

In fact when ‘The Island'(In Sri Lanka) published the two features ‘The arrival of Prof. Richard Dawkins’ & ‘intelligent design and Richard Dawkins’ on the 25th October 2011, I responded to it with: THE BUDDHA’S SENSORY BECOMING PRINCIPLE (03.11.2011)

There I quoted from bona fide professors working with ‘Darwinian concept’ and some of them are Nobel laureates, and informed that;

“Surely Darwinists are not nursing a ridiculous notion that the human species is a ‘special creation’ by some sadistic ‘God’ and should be made the exception to that ‘tooth and claw’ rule of the ‘survival of the fittest’…

‘…In fact Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg, present honest opinion, when, basing himself on the (Darwinian dictates) claims that, “more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless”. Darwinism teaches “that our lives are brief and inconsequential in the cosmic scheme of things” and that life has no ultimate purpose because there is no heaven, hell, or afterlife and “nothing we know about life requires the existence of a disembodied vital force or immaterial spirits, or a special creation of species”. Raymo, Chet. 1998. Skeptics and True Believers. New York, NY: Walker (Page 110)

That eminent evolutionary, Harvard paleontologist George Gaylord Simpson, is in total agreement with this opinion, for it seems that, “Man is the result of a purposeless and natural process that did not have him in mind. Indeed, since Darwinism has demolished the belief that the universe and human beings have an ultimate purpose, our educational system must inculcate young people in “cold and clammy truths like descent from reptilian or amoebic ancestors”.  Simpson, George Gaylord. 1970. The Meaning of Evolution. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. (Page 345)…

Indeed ‘Dawkins’ is totally in agreement and I quoted his notions;

‘…Dawkins the ‘bull dog’ of Darwinism insist that evolution “has shown higher purpose to be an illusion” and that the Universe consists of “selfish genes;” consequently, “some people are going to get hurt, others are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason for it”.  “A Scientist’s Case against God,”

In fact I had dispatched such findings of mine to Scientific American, Discovery and the other so called reputable and renowned scientific magazines! I implored them to publish my findings and offer all and sundry the opportunity to mull over whether it is ‘God, Darwin or The Buddha’ that got this ‘becoming’ process in its proper prospective!

One can view this information in the Internet as:


(In two parts)

Part I;


Part II


It was a vain exercise on my part I must admit. Yet, the truth like oil will take its own time to surface but eventually it will!

In fact, such journals and News papers have been promoting ‘mechanistic’ hokum based on the Darwinian “dogma”. For if truth be told, these mechanists will be unable to sell their magazines, or sell their books; in short sell, and rake in the money by hoodwinking and misinforming the public.

Sadly I find these ‘mechanistic’ Darwinist theories are no better than, the Judeo-Christian ‘God loves me and I love God’ hallucinations.

‘The Buddha’ was the bona fide discoverer of the most vital law of science 2600 years ago: Buddhist calls it “the law of Impermanence.”

The Darwinists’ had not grasped the subtle implication of this basic fundamental law. Indeed this Law applies to all compounds. In the quote below, the Buddha connects the ‘sensory becoming principle’ of species while at the same time linking it to a ‘pleasure and pain principle’ while rejecting a “soul” essence to a “being”. It simply mind-bogging considering the historical moment of this proclamation.

This view of Buddha went on to challenge, every creed known to man, then and ever since. No wonder Buddhists through history was hounded as anti-God, anti-creation, and anti-Soul, heathens by believers of a “fictional” God. Indeed if earlier there were hundred percent Buddhists along the Silk Road now there were none. For an example at 300 BC Afghanistan was a Buddhist center where tolerance and good living was the rule, today since it’s murderous occupation by this Judeo Christians sect, it has converged into a hell hole.

I challenge Darwinist to question any professor on Buddhism of what I quoted below, and satisfy them whether it is an “invention” of mine.

In the following passage from the Alagadapama Sutta of the Majjhima Nikaya (No 22) (I: 138-139) (MLS) (I: 177-178) the Buddha implicitly touches the subtle points under discussion. And such discussions are not unique but are spread all over the Pali scripts.

“What do you think about this, monks: Is material shape permanent or impermanent?”

(Here material shape should be taken as individual sensory mechanisms and their collectives, being species, indeed any and all compounds)

“Impermanent, Lord:”

“But is what is impermanent painful or pleasant?” “Painful, Lord:”

“But is it fitting to regard that which is impermanent, painful, liable to change, (change here means becoming and not evolution as its direction is conditional and tied to sensory opportunity) as “This is mine, this am I, this is myself?”

“No, Lord”

“What do you think about this, monks: Is feeling … perception …are the habitual tendencies permanent or impermanent?”

“Impermanent, Lord.”

“What do you think about this, monks: Is consciousness permanent or impermanent?”

“Impermanent, Lord:’

“Is that which is impermanent painful or pleasant?” “Painful, Lord.”

“But is it fitting to regard that which is impermanent, painful, and liable to change as, `This is mine, this am I, this is myself? ”

“No Lord”

“Wherefore, monks, whatever is of material shape, past, future, present, subjective or objective, gross or subtle, mean or excellent, whether it is far or near-all material shape should be seen thus by perfect intuitive wisdom as it really is: This is not mine, this am I not, this is not myself. Whatever is feeling whatever is perception … whatever are the habitual tendencies (through conditioning) whatever is consciousness, past, future, present, subjective or objective, gross or subtle, mean or excellent, whether it is far or near-all consciousness should be seen thus by perfect intuitive wisdom as it really is: This is not mine, this am I not, this is not myself.”

In fact when Darwinists’ invoke such mechanistic hyperbole they have lost sight of the broader picture. As they have hitched their wagon to the Darwinian ‘natural selection’ they are bound to arrive at this ‘rational analysis of'; aimlessness and meaninglessness’ of existence, is but a logical one!

If I were to own such an outlook of life i.e., being aimless, hopeless, purposeless; then I would naturally consider whether it’s worth to keep breathing on. In fact I would terminate my existence forthwith. For in spite of all ones efforts, one will receive the same ignorable end, and what’s the point of striving struggling and suffering!

But these pundits who are predicting such nihilistic ends have not given up on life themselves. On the contrary, they are enjoying life and clinging to their dear life at all cost. Under the circumstance promotion of emptiness, by such great thinkers, is bizarre to say the least.

On the contrary if we are to go by a natural selection and survival of the fittest principle then the Darwin’s version for this transmutation (evolution) of species would and should remain a “theory” for it being purely a mechanistically deterministic explanation of the process and does not explain nature realistically.

Transmutation of species is a fact of life if we go by ‘The Law of Impermanence’. Indeed Buddha’s four truths are underpinned by this very law and the sensory becoming process of creatures becomes an observable and undeniable fact of life. And hence logically not a theory.

Buddha’s explanation is so subtle so complex and at the same time, more than modern, that it was way over Darwinians’ head. But Darwin may be excused for the time and place that he was living in, but not reviewers owning Internet the possibility of investigating for alternatives today!

In fact, forget ‘Survival of the fittest’; forget ‘natural selection’ but what is the very core of Darwin’s dogma: Individuals of a species should adapt and become fit. Fit for what? Fit to ‘survive’ the competition ‘within the species and between the species. Then we get to hear of the most vital and the central issue of his doctrine. What is the necessity for this over-whelming motivation for ‘survival at all? And we grasp the crux of his arguments! Survive, in order to procreate and send their types further in time and space. So what is the whole point sending their proto types in time and space simply beats me?

So going by this ‘hollow’ theory, sex is nothing but an instrument of procreation.

For heaven’s sake, in which case is; how that is the human female animal is capable of having intercourse 365 days a year, but conceive only a few days after each menstruation. Where is the procreation in that?

Indeed what is the whole point of homosexuality of the human animal, when no procreation is taking place with such meaningless efforts?

Or that meaningless but very profitable occupation called prostitution by females? So much money and time is wasted in vain, with men are humping away incidental women of the street. These were purely futile and wasted effort, as no resulting procreation.

The above goes to show that Darwinian version of life does not explain real life events at all. No wonder it will remain a theory and an absurd one at that.

Why is that human male organ the biggest one among the primates, as a rule much bigger than a gorilla’s?

The questions posted above were the simple ones but such basic questions have been unanswered since ‘evolution of species’ was published 150 years ago.

What comes across if going by Buddha’s explanation is humans are the ultimate hedonistic machines. Buddha’s ‘sensory becoming’ explanation is so subtle, comprehensive, intricate, and inclusive of real life elements, that Darwin’s theory sounds as if a tall tale to put kids to sleep.

Throughout history, the idol-worshiping Buddhist was at the receiving end of this God-loving people’s wrath. For these ideal worshippers did not believe in a God, a Soul, a heaven or hell, or a magical creation indeed, and care ‘two pence’ to live ‘unto eternity’ with a loving God, hence needed to be dispatched to where they belong; ‘into hell’. And that’s what they have being doing all along!

Sadly if going by the two deterministic versions of life, (One fatalistic such as Judeo Christian sects’ creation myths, and other fatalistic such as Darwinian ones) we have to assume that we are like machines, pre-programmed, encoded, preordained and fated by external forces? In other words; we are like pieces of corks bobbing along a swiftly flowing river, and at the mercy of chance currents and tides, which are nudging us towards an ignorable exit? That’s what these two schools of thought ask us to put our faith in.

The future looks bleak. Thanks to such illogical, intolerant and locked in, dogmas. Surely The Times would not wish to be part of that!

By Mahinda Weerasinghe ((08.05.2014)

Author of: “Origin of Species According to the Buddha”

PS: – Dear Editor, It would be great if ideas as presented herein are relayed to the world by you. And I fervently hope that such a marvel will happen.

Anyhow I would wait three day for you to respond prior to placing this report on the web so The Buddhists around the world will be aware, that the above information has been relayed to you. But ‘The Times’ found it without merit to publish it!

Best regards

Mahinda Weerasinghe (9th of May 2014)



Ban Mosque Loudspeakers harassing devotees at Buddhagaya’s Mahabodhi Temple

May 14th, 2014

Shenali D. Waduge

The continuous daily disturbance of the solemn proceedings at the Mahabodhi Temple at Buddhagaya and the harassment of the Buddhist devotees gathered there through the screeching sound of the call to prayer (Azan) by loudspeakers at a newly established Mosque close to the Mahabodhi Temple, the holiest Buddhist shrine in the world, is the most striking example of the abuse of religious freedom. To compound this daily humiliation of Buddhists at the most venerated site of Buddhism, is the deafening silence of the civic authorities meant to keep the peace at Buddhagaya and sense of utter helplessness pervading Governments of predominantly Buddhist countries in the face of increasing incursions into the heartlands of Buddhism by adherents of abrahamic faiths striving for world domination.

Meditation, recitation of Buddhist ‘gathas’ and religious conduct like silent contemplation at Buddhagaya are disturbed by the amplified noise emanating from the mosque. This is highly uncalled for especially when it is morally incorrect and unethical to disturb the place of worship of another religion. Mosques did not exist around Buddha Gaya until very recently which goes to show that surrounding non-Muslim religious sites has been done on a planned and deliberate basis.

India which takes pride in claiming quite correctly that the enlightenment of the Buddha took place on Indian soil i.e. Buddhagaya, and reaped re-sounding benefits globally by claiming the Buddha to be a son of India (Bhumiputra) risks losing its standing in the Buddhist world if it takes no effective steps to re-locate this Mosque and shut its loudspeakers.

Lack of reciprocity on freedom of religion

No Muslim country would allow a place of worship of another religion to be established anywhere close to a Mosque let alone the holy sites of Islam. Buddhism and Hinduism despite being global religions are not recognized as religions by most of the middle eastern countries for the simple reason that they are not ‘religions of the book’. The   Quran which is the central religious text of Islam recognizes only the Abrahamic religions i.e. Christianity and Judaism, and consequently the followers of religions not mentioned in the book are denied basic rights of freedom of worship in the vast majority of Muslim countries including Maldives. A sense of reciprocity is lacking when it comes to recognizing the rights to freedom of worship of Buddhists and Hindus.

While Muslim countries grant exclusivity to the establishment of Mosques and practice of Islam on home territories, and adopt an uncompromising stand on such issues, pre-dominantly Buddhist countries and predominantly Hindu India are unable to claim exclusivity even in respect to their religious citadels. They have become the victims of ideologies manufactured in the West to meet the demand of Europeans wanting to escape the rigid hold of the Vatican and other Christian churches but have no real relevance outside Europe. Ideas like ‘Secularism’, ‘Pluralism’, ‘Multi ” culturalism’ and the like are now being freely and manipulatively used by the Human Rights industry which has the unstinted backing of Christian Churches and Western Christian countries to restrict or eliminate altogether state patronage being extended to Buddhism.

Ranavirus in danger of being marginalized in history text books

These ideas garbed in the language of human rights are meant to have calamitous effect on both the state and indigenous peoples in Buddhist countries. Human Rights crusaders want the erasure of the past, re-writing of history and white washing of all European crimes against humanity committed in non ” European lands. They in a subtle way indoctrinate students in Schools and Universities to be angry about their national identity and discard pre-colonial history. The ancestral culture of the nation as retold in historical chronicles like Mahavamsa is rejected. It does not exist or it does not matter is the attitude promoted. National heroes who fought for ‘rata, jathiya, agama’ like King Dutugemunu, King Wijayabahu, Mayadunne, Sithawaka Rajasinghe and the like are reviled and mariginalised in history text books for school children on the ground that they are divisive icons.

If this trend is allowed to continue and NGOs are permitted to interfere with the content of the school text books on history then it is only a matter of time before our contemporary heroes like the gallant Ranavirus who won the war against terrorism to be excluded from history texts for school children on similar grounds.

In Sri Lanka historical Buddhist places of pilgrimage like Sri Pada, Kataragama (Hindu ” Buddhist), Dambulla, Kandy and even Anuradhapura (citadel of Buddhism in Sri Lanka) are now being turned into religious centres of all faithsunder the much abused euphemism ‘ multi ”culturalism’. To draw attention to the rapidly eroding Buddhist cultural landscape of the country is to risk being ‘lynched by the media mob’ that serves the agenda of alien interests and performs the role of a fifth column.

In Sri Lanka the issue of loudspeaker usage by mosques has generated public debate and outrage. Despite a Supreme Court interim order restricting use of loudspeakers, loudspeakers from mosques still continue to provoke and disturb non ” Muslims particularly Buddhists even on poya days. The regular worship in Kandy the site of the Dalada Maligava (Temple of the Tooth) is disturbed by the loudspeakers of the mosques showing a flagrant example of lack of respect for the predominant religion of Sri Lanka.
India – Public interest litigation verdicts

“No religion prescribes performing prayers through amplifiers and the use of microphones and loudspeakers by religious denominations are to be within the limits prescribed under the Environmental Laws and Police Acts,” a division bench comprising Chief Justice Manjula Chelloor and Justice K. Vinod Chandran said in their decision on a public interest litigation (PIL) appeal.

The Delhi High Court directed all mosques and temples in Ekta Vihar and Sunder Nagri in east Delhi to restrict the decibel level of loudspeakers. It said the loudspeakers should be positioned at a restricted height of only eight feet from the ground. The court also directed them to change the direction of the loudspeakers and make them face the wall of buildings, and not outside, to reduce the noise level.

Sri Lanka ” Supreme Court ruling on Noise Pollution

In Sri Lanka, the Supreme Court made a ruling on 9 November 2007 pertaining to loudspeakers. It viewed the freedom of one party to use loudspeakers against the annoyance, disturbance and harm caused to other parties who were compelled against their will to listen to the amplified sounds from the loudspeakers.

The Court considered the unqualified use of freedom of worship by Mosques to force public i.e. non ” Muslims, to become captive listeners ” violating their right to silence and quiet enjoyment of their property. Even if the police had issued a license for the use of loudspeakers under Section 90 of the Police Ordinance of 1865, the Court held that nobody can claim the fundamental right to create noise using loudspeakers. If people have the right of speech others have the right to listen or decline to listen. Nobody has the right to trespass into the ears and minds of others on the grounds of religious freedom. The Court also held that no religious body is entitled by reason of claimed religious practice to commit a public nuisance. The police permit is not a protection against the creation of public nuisance under Section 261 of the Penal Code.

The Supreme Court also held that there was no requirement in the teachings of any religion to use loudspeakers as rituals. Loudspeakers are a new electrical phenomena ” they did not exist during the times the religions were founded.  The Court also held that harm is done to school children whose studies are being disturbed as well as sick people recovering from illness.  Court held that the noise from loudspeakers produced serious physical and psychological stress.

It is well established that noise pollution leads to hearing loss, high blood pressure, mental stress and heart disease, among others.

Last December in areas of Dehiwala and Wellawatte the mosques have continued to use loudspeakers causing the noise to reach far and wide and thereby committing an act of provocation and disturbing the O/L students preparing to face their exams.

In the light of the Supreme Court interim order in 2007, President Mahinda Rajapakse made a huge concession allowing Azan to be broadcast over national radio 5 times a day. This was based on the assumption that Mosques would comply with the Supreme Court decision and stop using loudspeakers directed outward at the public. Since Mosques by and large are not complying with the Supreme Court decision it is worthwhile to review the broadcasting of Azan on national radio. In the alternative use the dedicated Radio Channel meant exclusively for Muslim religious programmes and broadcast Azan over such Radio channel without forcing non ” Muslims to listen to Azan over national radio channels.

Why do Muslims need to listen to azan to get ready for prayers? The world is not a desert. It is a modern world. It is 21st century, not 600 something AD. People know the time ” everyone has watches, mobile phones, phones, alarm clocks and in Sri Lanka there is a dedicated radio channel for Muslims. Therefore, we question the need for loudspeakers in mosque when there are enough channels to inform Muslims to come to prayer.

Finally, We the Buddhists of this world appeal to Mr. Narendra Modi, the prospective Prime Minister of India and the incoming BJB Government to remedy the serious injustice caused to the Buddhists of both India and overseas, who are prevented from conducting traditional Buddhist rites and rituals in a peaceful and conducive atmosphere at Buddhagaya, because of the severe disturbance emanating from the loudspeakers installed at a newly established Mosque close to the Mahabodhi Temple at Buddhagaya.

Shenali D. Waduge

Wakey, Wakey Ms Pillay There is chaos in your own backyard

May 14th, 2014

Dr D.Chandraratna, Perth, W.A

 Some highly paid UN spokesperson has said that the ban on commemorating the tiger outfit by the Sri Lankan military in the North will be investigated. The whole organisation seems to be preoccupied with micro managing Sri Lanka when human rights are trampled upon in so many places in the world. Do not know whether Ms Pillay has only the map of Sri Lanka hanging behind her big desk. Shame on this organisation when right in her native backyard innocent girls are held captive, waiting to be auctioned off, by another terrorist group. Ms Pillay is deep in slumber. I wonder whether Boko Haram is listed as a liberation front in the classification manual of the UNHRC.

 The violence practiced by this rebel makes Al Qaeda look like a bunch of schoolgirls, a researcher at the Atlantic Council in Washington has said. She may be right but we are dismayed at the silence of these scholars when the LTTE was marching on the rampage. Under Abubaker Shekau the violence perpetrated by Boko Haram is casual and broader than many jihardists and is inconsistent with the current policy of Al Qaeda, which is avoiding mass murder for fear of alienating the support base. The current leader of Boko Haram claims to be messianic in his ability to communicate with God directly, resembling the Lord’s Resistance Army of Uganda.

 The Islamic insurgents have killed hundreds in a town in Nigeria’s northeast firing indiscriminately and burning houses. The death count in Abuja now stands at 338. The guns and vehicles that the rebels use have been traded out of Libya after the fall of Qaddafi. When the fanatics attacked the boarding School the news media of the world was indifferent; The American government and the United Nations did not seem interested, perhaps their time being taken up in micro managing Sri Lanka. The # BringBack OurGirls hashtag started by a Nigerian Lawyer has been shared so far by a million viewers. The women’s movement and other grass root activists have managed to bring the plight of these poor victims (two have already died of snake bites) to the world when this billion dollar UNHRC is deaf, dumb and mute.

 Miss Pillay sees anti Muslim agent provocateurs in every corner in Sri Lanka but is unable to read the anti Christian thrust of Boko Haram which is written all over it. The name itself in the language of Hausa is ‘Western education is sin’. Being a neighbourly human rights activist Ms Pillay out to know better why Boko Haram under the previous chief Mohamed Yusuf, which was an ultra conservative Islamic group, engages in violence in the north of Nigeria. It has the capacity to attract affiliates from many other countries projecting a threat to international peace. But to our utter dismay the responsibility of the UNHRC has been abrogated with gay abandon. Sri Lanka is their favourite turf and is not a bad place for a junket any day if only Mahinda Rajapaksa is willing to throw the red carpet.


Canada’s relations with Sri Lanka is ‘Frosty’ Canada says.

May 14th, 2014

Asoka Weerasinghe  Kings Grove Crescent . Gloucester . Ontario . Canada

14 May 2014

The Editor 

Dear Editor:

I was absolutely stymied to read the comment about ‘Taking the temperature of Canada’s diplomatic relations’ as being ‘FROSTY’ when it comes to Sri Lanka.

You said, ‘Tensions have built between Canada and Sri Lanka as reports of the abuse of the country’s Tamil minority by government forces continue to pop up…”   But I don’t think the Canadian Government has any moral right to complain about the alleged “…abuse of the country’s Tamil minority”, when Canada still hasn’t acknowledged the classic text book example of human rights of liberation of lives, when the Sri Lankan Government soldiers liberated 295,873 of the minority Tamils from the clutches of the Tamil Tigers by 19 May 2014 who were used as a human shield for 30 months, being herded like unwashed cattle from the west coast to the east coast. With that deliberate omission of Sri Lanka’s efforts to give back to these 295,873 Tamils their right to freedom, Canada has abdicated its rights to be judge and jurist on Sri Lanka’s human rights record.

Furthermore, Canada has deliberately omitted the text book example of a classic class act of human rights ‘magic’, performed by the Sri Lankan government when they prepared a million meals a day to feed a hearty breakfast, lunch and dinner every day for months and years for these 295,873 Tamils who were rescued from the clutches of the Tamil Tiger terrorists, and not let them starve to death.

Where is your voice, Canada?  Where is your honesty, Canada? I don’t trust you being an honest judge and jurist on Sri Lanka’s human rights record anymore. You get an ‘F’ from me for failing the litmus test of honesty when it comes to dealing with Sri Lanka, who is doing extremely well in the department of reconciliation among communities.   After all 54% of the Tamil population live in the South, happily ever after among the Sinhalese. And, of course, 41% of the population of the capital Colombo are of Tamils and living among the majority Sinhalese.  No fisty-cuffs there! That is the ground reality for you, Canada. Go, figure out!

Asoka Weerasinghe

NZ refusal to Co Sponsor US Motion Against SL at UNHRC

May 14th, 2014

Dr. Chula N A Rajapakse MNZM Spokesperson, Unite Sri Lanka Assn. Wellington NZ

The Editor,

Dear Editor,

I was delighted to hear at a public meeting   addressed by Sri Lanka’s foreign minister Prof. G.L Peiris now on an official visit to New Zealand, that New Zealand had refused to co-sponsor an US, UK, EU & Canada motion at UNHRC in Geneva in March, calling for an international investigation into highly contentious allegations of human rights violations by Sri Lankan forces during their war of liberation from three decades of Tamil Tiger terrorism, allegations initiated by the diaspora of the Tigers themselves.

Despite lacking   credibility, these allegations are in reality being supported by the US based on their geopolitical considerations and by UK & Canada based on their internal political considerations.

By not cosponsoring the motion, New Zealand has demonstrated it’s capability of making an independent decision on issues based on evidence despite breaking ranks with their traditional western allies . This would be seen as a monumental demonstration of New Zealand’s suitability to beelected to the UNSC that it now seeks, in the eyes of the many small nations like Sri Lanka, that form the bulk of the UN membership.  

We congratulate the Prime Minister and his government for so enhancing New Zealand’s international stature.


Dr. Chula N A Rajapakse MNZM


Unite Sri Lanka Assn.


Lower Hutt,



Export Orientated Manufacturing Industry In Sri Lanka

May 14th, 2014

Chula Rajapakse MNZM Lower Hutt.NZ 

Dear Editor,
The demise of manufacturing opportunities elsewhere, like the imminent loss of car manufacturing industry in Australia, opens opportunities to new players
With a harbor barely a mile off the busiest see rout in the world, bridging europe, africa, asia & far east, international air access to the largest planes flying, workforce with 95% literacy & computer literacy approaching 70% , all year round summer weather, what better export orientated industrial manufacturer’s dream than SL & Hambantota.
The first key to success in this regard is ” marketing”,  the second  key to success in this regard is ” marketing” & the third key to success in this regard is marketing, these opportunities to would be manufacturers.
Marketing  is how, Las Vegas stuck away in the middle of the nevada dessert & Dysney world stuck away in the marshes of orlando florida over a few decades became the world’s most visited places, from places  where no body ever went to.
The first key to failure of such a venture is internal destructive disunity, the second key to  failure of such a venture is internal destructive disunity, the third key  failure of such a venture is internal destructive disunity .
I pray and hope that SL will be fortunate enough to have a lot of the former and not the latter.
Chula Rajapakse MNZM
Lower Hutt.

Vesak Celebration and Almsgiving at the Sri Lanka High Commission in the UK

May 14th, 2014

The High Commission of Sri Lanka London

The High Commission of Sri Lanka in the United Kingdom organized an almsgiving for twenty Venerable members of the Maha Sanga representing the Buddhist temples in the UK, on Wednesday 14th May, with the participation of the Sri Lankan community, as part of its Vesak Celebrations, and also to invoke blessings on H.E. President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Government and the people of Sri Lanka. The High Commission premises were colourfully adorned with Vesak lanterns, Buddhist flags and decorations.


Chief Sanganayaka of Great Britain & Head of the London Buddhist Vihara Ven. Bogoda Seelawimala Nayaka Thero; Chief Incumbent of the Kingsbury Saddhatissa International Buddhist Vihara, Ven. Galayaye Piyadassi Nayaka Thero;  Chief Incumbent of the Birmingham Jetavana Buddhist Temple Ven. Keppetiyagoda Gunawansa Nayaka Thero; and Ven. Maha Sanga from the following Buddhist Viharas also participated at the  Almsgiving:- Athula Dassana International Buddhist Temple, Hounslow;  East London Buddhist Cultural Centre, Plaistow; Upton Temple, Plaistow; Thames Buddhist Vihara, Croydon; Mahamevnawa Asapuwa, Billericay; Scotland Buddhist Vihara, Scotland; and Redbridge Buddhist Cultural Centre, Ilford.


Ven. Bogoda Seelawimala Nayaka Thero, Ven Dr Handupalpola Mahinda Nayaka Thero, and Ven Dedunupitiye Upananda Thero, in their Anusasanas outlined the meaning of the Triple Festival of Vesak commemorating the Birth, Enlightenment and Parinirvana of the Buddha; the universality of Buddhism; and the imperative of unity of all Sri Lankans.

In his concluding remarks, Ven Bogoda Seelawimala Nayaka Thero commended the service rendered by the High Commissioner and staff and for their active participation in many Temple events throughout the UK, and that this was reflected in the participation of the Ven Maha Sanga from so many Temples in the UK in the High Commission’s Vesak celebration and almsgiving today.



Sinhala Buddhist activist Karuna Basnayake felicitated

May 14th, 2014

Press Release by British Sri Lankan Forum

Mr Karuna Basnayake (86) was recently honoured by British Sri Lankan Forum (BSLF) for his long term commitment towards the Sinhala and Buddhist community by awarding a special commemorative plaque in presence of a large gathering in London. Mr Wimal Edirweera, President of Sinhala Centre was invited to present the award to Mr Basnayake.
Mr Basnayake, a patriotic senior citizen in our community has been involved in community work almost from his arrival in the UK well over 40 years. He was the 1st to open up a Sri Lankan shop in Hampstead, London. His clients at the time were people like former London Mayour Ken Livingston, distinguished Labour Party members like Venessa Redgrave and many more.
Mr Basnayake has been outspoken fearless critic of terrorist atrocities committed against Sinhala Buddhists and continued his patriotic work for number of years for the benefit of the nation.  He was deeply touched when the Anuradhapura massacre occurred in 1985 and gunned down monks, nuns and 146 innocent civilians as they were worshipping inside the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi sacred Buddhist shrine and the Aranthalawa Massacre in June, 1987 killing 33 Buddhist monks and innocent villagers by Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Mr Basnayake took the initiative to organise a remembrance pinkama in 1998, in memory of those who have died from terrorist attacks just after LTTE attacked most venerated Buddhist shrine, Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy killing 23 innocent worshippers including two infants and injuring large number of peaceful innocent civilians, who were on their way to the holy temple that morning. Since then his remembrance pinkama still continues to date in every January and two years ago BSLF members came forward in support of Mr Basnayake to continue this noble annual event and held its 16th commemoration last January.
He has been actively involved in welfare of poor and needy Sri Lankans and more recently resettlement and rehabilitation of war victims in rural areas of Sri Lanka. He has been a great asset to the Sinhala community in the UK and most of his work has been done without any publicity and keep in line with his Buddhist principles. He has been involved in London Buddhist Vihara from its inception and has also been an active member of Amarawathi Buddhist Monastery at Hamel Hampstead.
Mr Basnayake has a special affinity for art and sculpture. He made his debut in sculpturing at the Mary Ward Centre in Bloomsbury where he sculptured the life size bust of one of the most revered Buddhists in the 20th century ‘Anagarika’ Dharmapala. In 2004, a Buddhist statue (Samadhi Buddha – Anuradhadura era, Sri Lanka, about 3-4 AD) sculptured by Karuna Basnayaka won the People’s Prize award and the winning Buddha statue was exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. A large gathering of both British and Sri Lankan friends were there on the opening day to see his works and amongst them was Professor Lakshman Perera.
On behalf of all the members of British Sri Lankan Forum, its President Janaka Alahapperuma said that this is a small token of gratitude for Mr Basnayake’s invaluable services to the community over a number of years. He also expressed his sincere appreciation to Mrs Prema Basnayake for all her assistance throughout this period. He further said BSLF would like to take this opportunity to wish Mr and Mrs Karuna Basnayake, good health and happiness for many more years to come. Large number of BSLF members, including its patrons Dr M.B.Ranatunga and Dr R.N.De.S. Amarasekera, supporters and well wishes were present at the occasion.
Pix by: Tissa Madawala

Bodu Bala Sena

May 14th, 2014

By Charles.S.Perera

 Buddhism was introduced to Sri Lanka in the 3rd century  BCE.  Thereafter  Sri Lanka became an exclusive Buddhist country.  Later  Sri Lanka was subject to attacks first by the South Indian Tamil marauders, who may have plundered and ransacked Buddhist Temples and monasteries.  Later in 205 BCE a Chola Prince  Elara  set up a Kingdom in Anuradhapura.  During which period   Hindu  Kovils were built in once exclusive Buddhist land.  King Dutugamunu defeated King Elara in battle and re-established the Sinhala Kingdom in Rajarata in 261BCE. 

 It marked a great revival of Buddhism bringing it back to the glory it was before  the foreign invaders. The Buddhists  monks are said to have accompanied the armies of King Dutugemunu, while at least one is said to have disrobed to take part in the battle against Elara.  The monks were of course there to provide protection to the King and the army chanting prayers and giving them moral strength to fight the enemy and bring back the lost  prestige of Buddhism under the Hindu ruler

 After that Buddhism flourished in Sri Lanka until the arrival of the Portuguese in 1505. Royal seat of power was then in Sitawaka, with a separate Kingdom in Kandy, and the power struggle within the Royal family helped the Portuguese to entrench them-selves in Sri Lanka.  After the death of Mayadunne his son Rajasinghe I became the King of Sitawake and fought against the Portuguese and defeated them in many battles. Though Rajasingha was acclaimed as a brave  King for his victories over the Portuguese armies, he later became an enemy of Buddhism. 

 His reign was a sad period in the history of Buddhism in Sri Lanka.  The King Rajasinghe was converted to Hinduism and appointed a Hindu as his Chief adviser.  Many Buddhist Monasteries were raised to ground and land handed over to Hindu Kovils.  The Buddhist monks were put to death, and the Buddhist Sacred books were kept hidden in the hill country.  Buddhism was entrusted to lay people dressed in white called “ganninanse”.  They played the role of the Buddhist monks.

 It was King Kithsiri Rajasinghe who revived Buddhism from scratch.  Advised  by the  great Buddhist monk Venerable Welvitiye Saranamkara maha thero , the king  invited 18 monks from Siam-now Thailand to re-introducing higher ordination of Buddhist Monks in the Thailand tradition. This was the beginning of the Siam Nikaya.  

 The Portuguese came to Sri Lanka with two objectives,  one was  to guarantee its spice trade and the other the conversion of heathens to Catholicism.  The Portuguese and then the Dutch that followed them, and the British that came last, all had the intension of luring the  natives away from their precious heritage of  Buddhism, introducing them  to their faith of an invisible god, explaining  his invisibility  in stories of miracles he had performed such as making the blind see, the paralyzed walk or even the dead rise from the tomb. They assured them the  love of the god that will  come to them  in ” believing without  seeing or asking questions.”

 The God of the Bible had no love for others, but only for his chosen people the Israelites.  Therefore the West (initiated by the Greek writers)  burrowed the God of Israel providing him with a son. The most convincing story to help the conquerors to convert the non-believers was the narration of  the myth of a immaculate conception that gave the God a son to take on himself  the sins of the people.  Of course they also tempted the natives to accept their religion with “education in Missionary schools” and providing them jobs in their colonial administrations, as they are doing now for the conversion of  poor villagers in some parts of Sri Lanka, offering them money and gifts.

 The Portuguese had weakened the Sitawaka Kings, making it easy for them to convert the members of Royal families to Catholicism.  Don Joao was a Sinhala Prince, who later fled to Portugal and  became a Priest. 

 The Portuguese wanted King Karalliadde Bandara’s daughter Princess Kusumadevi  baptised as Dona Catarina  to be placed on the throne of Kandy. But Konappu Bandara defeated the Portuguese, married Dona Catarina and was crowned as King Vimaladharmasooriya I of  Kandy.

 This period saw the utter brutality of the Portuguese who set fire to the city and killed cows in Buddhist temples.  Many Catholic Churches were built and there was none to protect Buddhism and the Buddhists. 

 The Buddhist monks who made an effort to make the people aware of the threat to Buddhism and rouse them to rebel against the Portuguese were hunted down and thirty of the them were hanged, thus discouraging any future uprising of the people against the Portuguese.  King of the Kingdom of Kandy Vimaladharmasuriya despite the bitter lessons learnt during the Portuguese occupation seemed  to have had no alternative other than invite the Dutch in 1638 to help him defeat the Portuguese.

 But the Dutch making use of the kindly relations with the King, established Missionary Schools and spread Christianity.  It was during this period that Christianity built a strong hold of the country.

 The rule of Sri Lanka by the British beginning from 1815 was a disaster for Buddhism, equal to what it was under the Portuguese.  It was again the Buddhists monks who took the fore front to rebel against the British rule. Venerable Wariyapola Srisumangala Anunayaka Thero of the  Asgiriya Chapter pulled down the English flag and re-hoisted the lion flag of Sinhala in defiance of the British. 

 He later hid the  Sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha lest it would fall into the hands of the British.   The British caught him, and convicted him for high treason.  The rebellions against the British by the Sinhala leaders were carried out with the blessings of the Buddhist monks.  The Tamils and the Muslims were insignificant in numbers, but  the British feared  opposition by the Majority Sinhala Buddhists, and therefore appointed Tamils and Muslims to  official positions in their colonial administration. 

 In Wellassa the British  appointed  a Muslim as a Muhandiram, and treated the Sinhala using the motto ” famine, sword and fire”, which caused the rebellion in 1817.  It  was quelled  by the British shooting the leaders on the spot and burning villages, and killing males over 18 years to discourage future Sinhala uprisings.  A Buddhist monk Venerable Kudahapola Therunnanse was shot dead at Bogambara in his robes to insult Buddhism, and end further rebellions.

 At each of these periods when Buddhism  or the country was under threat, there were those great Buddhist leaders  who came forward advised by the Buddhist monks to protect Buddhism and bring it back to the fore front of the lives of the Sinhala people. 

 Buddhism is a far greater  “religion”  than the monotheistic religions. It had been then the  bªte noir  of the conquerors, as it is  today for those monotheistic faiths  such as Islam , and Christianity in Sri Lanka.  Buddhism did not teach to pray to an invisible god to get favours done for them.  Buddhism is a pragmatic “religion”  which emphasised  that it is within oneself that one should  find solutions to problems, and not through prayers to a creator God.

 Violation of Human Rights with which the West is trying to charge Sri Lanka is an artificial arm of the  West to destabilise and subjugate developing Nations.  The Buddhists of Sri Lanka respect not only human life,  but also that of all forms of living beings, hence the Sinhala people of Sri Lanka  is the last to  violate human rights, in real life or in war.

 There is unfortunately an increase of violence and criminality in Sri Lanka today which cannot in any way be related to the Buddhist teachings they follow, but it is largely due to the Western influence which has distorted their life style with excessive interest in wealth,  drug dealings, sex, and intoxication. 

 The British got down different Christian Missionaries  to Sri Lanka.  They built Schools for Boys,   Convents for Girls, and commenced  Christianization of  Sri Lanka. They   sent Christian Priests out into villages to  distribute books and pamphlets that criticised and ridiculed Buddhism, and praised Christianity. 

 In that situation when the Buddha Sasana was in peril a young novice Buddhist Priest Venerable Mohottiwatte Gunananda Thero  challenged the Christian Missionaries for an open debate, which resulted in  three debates in 1873,  the last of which was held in Panadura.

“The Panadura controversy, which lasted for a week, was the most important of them all. It was the culmination of his efforts and it led to a Buddhist reawakening. The controversy was to take place in the presence of leading Sinhalese Christians and Buddhists. Rules were laid down so that the meeting could be held in a fair manner. The leading English newspaper of the time, The Ceylon Times, sent a special representative to report the proceedings. A complete report of all the speeches corrected by the speakers themselves was published in English day by day.

The controversy ended with victory for the Buddhists. The Buddhist orator not only replied effectively to the fallacies of the Christian speakers, but also enlightened them on the principles and tenets of the Buddhist doctrine. When the Christians retired from the debate defeated, the Buddhists were overjoyed. Festivities were held in every temple to mark their triumph and the effigy of Gunaananda Thera was carried in procession in every village.” (

It is therefore very clearly seen that right along in the history of Sri Lanka when ever there was a threat to the Buddha Sasana, it was the Buddhist Monk who took the leading role as  the protector of the Buddha Sasana and the Buddhist people.   Therefore, one should not be surprised when the Buddhist monks raise their voice while the Buddhist laymen lie in lethargy to speak out  against those who are a threat to the existence of  Buddhism in Sri Lanka.

 The first time the Muslims came against the Sinhala Buddhists was in  1915, when they opposed a Buddhist procession going past their Mosque which they claimed  disturbed their prayer sessions.  The Muslims  were in fact provoking even at that time the  Sinhala Buddhist sentiments relying on the special treatment they received from the British Colonial rulers, by haphazard  construction of Mosques in  Kandy and Gampola areas. 

 Sir Robert Charmers was the Governor at the time and  he took the opportunity to send the British forces to come hard on the Sinhala Buddhists, which came under criticism to the extent that  the British government was forced to recall the Governor and replace him with Sir John Anderson, who settled the issue  ordering that the Buddhist Procession ” Esala Perahera” should not be interfered with restrictions.

 Thereafter, the Sinhala- Muslims relations existed peacefully more due to the patience of the Sinhala Buddhists.  The Muslims continued building their mosques every where without restrictions, or even without permission from neighbours or the government, and started using loudspeakers for  Muslim call to prayers-the Adhan by the Muezzin five times a day beginning from early in the morning without any concern for the followers of other religions. 

 Nonetheless, the good relations between the Communities continued  to a certain  extent until after the end of Terrorism.  The old Muslim leaders have given place to  a new set of Muslims  who influenced by the Saudi Arabian Muslim extremism, have become vociferously active going beyond all respectful norms establishing an Islamic influence in the country and society introducing halal, Sharia Law, breaking the peace and  goodwill that existed  between the Communities. 

 Added to this is the Muslim Minsters of the Government such as Rishad Badiudeen, and Rauf Hakeem who are aggravating the rift between the Sinhala and Muslim people. Rishad Bathiudeen  has taken the law into his  own hands to establish unauthorised Muslim settlements claiming the lands to be their ancestral homes.  If this is not stopped now Sri Lanka would face  another , political and a social upheaval as it had been before with the Tamil terrorism.

 After the end of the thirty year of terrorism in which Sri Lanka saw many Buddhist monks killed, temples and  ancient Buddhist ruins destroyed, and the most Sacred Buddhist Temple of the Tooth bombed, it appears that  the path has been  cleared for the Muslims in Sri Lanka to establish themselves as a political force and  attack Buddhism, its places of worship, land grab under the theme of “ancestral homes”, reminiscent of the Tamil terrorists’ call for a Home Land. 

 In this new threat to Buddhism and the Buddhist People it is no  Surprise that the Buddhist Clergy has this time formed the Bodu Bala Sena,  as political leadership is unfortunately caught in an International call for reconciliation of Communities, which has restricted the Government to be  lenient towards the Muslims in their most provocative activities, not second to another form of terrorism against  Sri Lanka and its people. 

 Rishad Bathiudeen is taking the mean advantage of his position as a Minister and the Government’s embarrassment in its  promise to the International Community for reconciliation of Communities, to get maximum of advantages to the Muslim Community, at the expense of  Buddhism and the Buddhist people.  It is right that the Bodu Bala Sena has challenged him, though the way it was done may not be considered  conventional.

 The Bodu Bala Sena is an essential evolution for the protection of Buddhism which is again under threat by a  new  Islamic terrorism.  But to face this threat the Buddhists and the Buddhist monks should not be divided.  This should be  made an occasion for yet another Buddhist revival.

 But the Bodu Bala Sena commencing from  Venerable Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara thero should not let themselves be  carried away from the vastness of the Challenge they have before them.  They should keep their comportment within  their professed vocation as Buddhist Monks, as they are called upon today to meet another threat to Buddha Sasana,  as it had been through out its history, beginning from the South Indian incursions. 

 For the  Buddhists people the Buddhist Monks are  one of the Sacred Gems worthy of worship. They should always keep in  mind  this  respectful place they have  amoung the followers of Buddhist teachings. Therefore, they should  never act in a way that degrade the Buddhist Monkhood.  Their behaviour should not be like that of the laypersons.  They should be compassionate, speak gently, without using harsh language.  If they behave like the ordinary laymen, there is the fear that they  will be treated like them, and not taken seriously.

 We have seen Venerable Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero and others behaving like thugs , angry and aggressive attacking another monk.  This is not in keeping with the behaviour expected of them.  The police  respected  the yellow robe they were wearing, otherwise they would have been arrested handcuffed and taken away by the police.  The monks have no right to take the law into their own hands.  The Buddha never spoke harshly to ordinary lay people, though he did not hesitate to reprimand  his disciples using strong words.

 Lot of things could be done without resorting to aggressivity .  People could be made to listen if they are  spoken to appropriately. 

 In a way the Buddhist Monks have been compelled to be aggressive in order to stop the provocative behaviour of the Muslim politicians.  Therefore the Muslims should change their present behaviour, which is mostly influenced by the fundamentalist and Muslim terrorism of the Middle East.  

 The Muslims have not become a nuisance only in Sri Lanka, but also in Muslim countries.  An  Egyptian court recently sentenced to death 683 Muslim Brotherhood supporters.  Sri Lanka should therefore be vigilant, and Bodu Bala Sena should nort  be blamed for the action they are taking, though the way they are doing it is not conventional. It is Bodu Bala Sena that highlighted the Wilpattu Muslim settlements.

 The Government seems unable to stop Minister Rishad Bathiudeen who has become a law unto himself. Minister Bathiudeen is  abusing his power as a Minister to settle Muslims in large numbers clearing forests, and building roads into forest reservations, while the displaced Sinhala Buddhists  are still waiting to be resettled.  What is wrong if Bodu Bala Sena steps in to point out irregularities of which  the government seems to be unaware ?

 Bodu Bala Sena is not an organisation that should be condemned, it is an important solution  to face the  latest threat to Buddhism coming from a determined Islamic revolution that is threatening the civilised world today. 

But to be effective and accepted by the Buddhist people, Bodu Bala Sena should adopt a  different method  to solve the problems, keeping their behaviour pattern in terms of the  teachings of the Buddha.  The whole world is watching the Bodu Bala Sena, therefore they should adopt a more acceptable manner of speech,  and action in dealing with their adversaries who are becoming a threat to Buddha Sasana and the Buddhist society in Sri Lanka.

 It would be more effective if  Bodu Bala Sena, Sinhala Ravaya and Rawana Balaya  could come under one flag, and plan intervention where their presence becomes necessary to defend  Buddhism and the Buddhist people, and to give early warning to those concerned of any form of “terrorism” be it from the Tamils or from the Muslims.

A Sect in Islam flees from its own country ” why?

May 14th, 2014

by A. Abdul Aziz.

 Pakistan made history in 1974 by becoming the first country in the world to amend its constitution to declare Ahmadi Muslims as non-Muslim. Thirty years ago, in 1984, Ordinance XX was enacted making it a criminal offence for Ahmadis to call themselves Muslims, a ‘crime’ punishable by 3 years imprisonment. Under Pakistan’s notorious anti-Ahmadi laws and blasphemy laws extremist violence has flourished with Ahmadi Muslims, Shia Muslims, Christians, Hindus and others massacred on simply grounds of faith.

 The laws have resulted in:

Hundreds of Ahmadi Muslims being killed on grounds of faith: In May 2010, a deadly attack on two Ahmadiyya mosques inLahore left 86 people dead.

 Mosques destroyed: Ahmadi mosques have been attacked, defaced and closed by the authorities.

 Voting rights denied: Laws prevent Ahmadi Muslims from voting unless they declare themselves as non-Muslims.

 No dignity after death: Mobs and police have destroyed and defaced Ahmadi graves.

 Millions live in fear and tens of thousands have been forced to flee the country to escape persecution.

 Hundreds have been murdered in cold blood by extremists. Homes, businesses, mosques and graveyards are routinely attacked and thousands ” including children ” have been charged under Pakistan’s infamous laws. No one has ever been prosecuted for attacking Ahmadi Muslims.

 The only difference is that extremists actually kill and persecute members of the Ahmedi community, and the rest of the people make sure that members of this community are socially excluded in every possible manner

 As a result of the laws and persecution, the worldwide head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community was forced to leave Pakistan. The current worldwide head, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, is based in London and he has consistently called for peace in Pakistan.

 Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, said:

 “The Holy Qur’an teaches us that those in position of authority must discharge their responsibility with justice and that they will be held accountable for their actions by God.  In the sphere of religious freedom the Holy Quran is very clear that ‘There should be no compulsion in religion” so it is incumbent on countries such as Pakistan that claim to follow Islam to implement its noble teachings.

 “The progress of a nation lies in the establishment of justice and the complete regard for every person’s human rights. Without this there can be no peace. We therefore call upon Pakistan to uphold the rights of all its citizens and for the world to uphold its obligations in promoting international peace.”

 30 years ago the Government of Pakistan enacted a series of anti-Ahmadi laws (Ordinance XX) that made it a criminal offence for Ahmadis to call themselves Muslims.

 The law (Ordinance XX) states that Ahmadi Muslims cannot:

 Call themselves Muslims

Refer to their faith as Islam

Call their place of worship a ‘Mosque';

Make the call for prayers (Adhan)

Say the Islamic greeting ‘Assalamo alaikum’ (Peace be on you)

Preach or propagate their faith

 Any of the above will be punishable by three years imprisonment and a fine. If the offence is regarded as blasphemy then an Ahmadi could be sentenced to death.


 In 1974 Prime Minister Bhutto amended the Pakistan Constitution to declare Ahmadis as non-Muslim for the purposes of law. This emboldened extremists (primarily Jamaat-e-Islami and Khatme Nabuwwat) that used this as a pre-text to harass, attack and kill Ahmadis in Pakistan.

 The situation worsened when General Zia introduced Ordinance XX as part of his ‘Islamisation’ programme. This amended the Penal Code and made it a criminal offence for Ahmadis to call themselves or ‘pose’ as Muslims. Any such crime would face 3 years imprisonment or if dealt with under the blasphemy laws it could result in death.

 The Section 298C of the Penal Code states:

 “Any person of the group …‘Ahmadis‘ … who, directly or indirectly, poses himself as Muslim, or calls, or refers to, his faith as Islam, or preaches or propagates his faith, or invites others to accept his faith, by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representations, or in any manner whatsoever outrages the religious feelings of Muslims, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.”

 The laws conflict with the constitutional right assuring Pakistani citizens of freedom of religion and conflict with the vision of the founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah stated in no uncertain terms that the country had no right to interfere in the religious beliefs of its citizens.

 Pakistani passports state the religion of Ahmadis as ‘Ahmadi’ rather than Muslim ” this means that no Pakistani Ahmadi citizen can go to Makkah to perform the Hajj ” one of the 5 sacred pillars of Islam.

 Pakistani Ahmedis are ignored during each successive elections. In a country where Hindus are being compelled to become Momin (true) Muslims, the Ahmedis are denied the right to label themselves according to their faith. As citizens of Pakistan, they cannot proceed to perform Hajj. They are considered a religious minority. Labelling or even starting a whispering campaign about someone being an Ahmedi is a sure shot way of denying him/her social and economic mobility, whether in government or the private sector. This was not always the case, a close aide of Muhammad Ali Jinnah (Founder of Pakistan) , Muhammad Zafrullah Khan, was an Ahmedi by faith, a prominent jurist by profession and the one who incidentally drafted the Pakistan Resolution. He later went on to become the first foreign minister of Pakistan. Today he would not be able to become even a babu (officer) in the foreign ministry. He also served as a judge in the International Court of Justice, The Hague. Things changed, as we learn from history. The man who declared that he drinks alcohol but not the blood of the poor, for political reasons, declared them to be non-Muslims. This year in September it will be 40 years since the passing of the Second Amendment, which pronounced Ahmedis as non-Muslims. Given this context and that officially everything Islamic is kosher; it is no surprise that the only Pakistani Nobel Prize winner, Dr Abdus Salam, is not recognised. In the heart of Islamabad, there is a ‘shaheed’ (martyr) Osama bin Laden library but ask even a 30-year-old who Dr Abdus Salam was and he/she will struggle to answer.

 Death brings no respite either. In 2012, the tombstones of more than 100 graves were razed by 12 to 15 armed men. The graveyard belonged to the Ahmedi community and the verdict given by the terrorists was that the use of verses of the Quran on tombstones by Ahmedis, who are considered heretics and even entitled to be murdered by extremist groups in the country, is forbidden.

 Thus, Pakistan is a country where being part of the Ahmedi community means you are not allowed to rest in peace even after you are dead. It is not just extremists but also a large majority of Muslims in the country that believes in a similar ideology. The only difference is that extremists actually kill and persecute members of the Ahmedi community, and the rest of the people make sure that members of this community are socially excluded in every possible manner.

 2014 Annual Report from US Commission on International Religions Freedom

 “…Ahmadis contin­ued to be murdered in religiously-motivated attacks. In addition, local police repeatedly forced Ahmadis to remove Qur’anic scripture from mosques and minarets. There also were desecrations of Ahmadi graves…”

 “During the reporting period, Ahmadis were effectively dis­enfranchised from voting in the parliamentary elections due to discriminatory laws targeting their faith.”

 “Ahmadis are subject to severe legal restrictions, both in the constitution and criminal code, and suffer from officially-sanctioned discrimination. The constitution declares members of the Ahmadi religious commu­nity to be “non-Muslims,” and the penal code makes basic acts of Ahmadi worship and interaction criminal offenses. They also are prevented from voting. During the reporting period, USCIRF continued to receive reports of Ahmadis being charged under the criminal code for their “illegal” religious activities.”

 Report found here:

India wants Sri Lankan state jobs ” are we witnessing another sell out?

May 14th, 2014

Shenali D Waduge

We were under the impression that Sri Lanka’s unemployment was hovering at 4.4% and then we are informed by a Sunday newspaper that the Minister of Labour and Labour Relations says there are ‘enough vacancies in Sri Lanka’ ” not for Sri Lankans, only for Indians and that too in Sri Lanka’s public sector, the engine that steers the Government. The report claims that discussions have already commenced with the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka and his Ministry as well as relevant institutions such as the BOI/Labor Department/EPF and ETF. The Sri Lankan state is also considering raising the salary of foreigners employed in the Sri Lankan state sector and providing compulsory insurance as well. If all these can be made possible for foreigners and an untrustworthy country like India, what is stopping the Ministry from providing the 4.4% unemployed with jobs in Sri Lanka and raising their salaries? Moreover, the most important question is, if Sri Lanka is considering enabling Indians to work in Sri Lanka simply because India has requested, what will Sri Lanka’s politicians do if India requests Sri Lanka to allow Delhi to rule Sri Lanka sans all the parliamentarians at Diyawanna Oya? Would Sri Lanka agree to that request too? The stepping stones are leading in that direction and it is rather baffling that our politicians are making repetitive blunders that would bring them down as well as the entire country. With 1.2million public sector Sri Lankans do we have enough room for more?

The article also comments on the Minister of Labour and Labour Relations giving approvals to bring down laborers from overseas for tasks that cannot be filled by local labourers? What are these tasks that local labor cannot be found? Who in the Sri Lankan state sector is monitoring the arrival of these Indian laborers who may be doing the same job that the local laborers can do but cannot do because it has been filled by an Indian? Long term what would this mean for Sri Lankan laborers? Will they end up somehow going abroad and falling victim to the Middle East battered cadres and perhaps never to return and if so in creating a dearth how will this impact on the rural vote base that always brings politicians and governments to power?

That the state apparatus is clueless on how to handle illegal’s is evident from the fact that 3000 foreigners are legally employed while 10,000 tourists are working in Sri Lanka and this is in addition to the defence authorities packing off illegal’s. To this total we must also add the 300,000 or more Maldivians arriving in Sri Lanka as if Sri Lanka is an extension of Maldives and taking over entire towns while renting out their homes back in Maldives because it is cheaper for them to rent homes in Sri Lanka while making profits from renting their home in Maldives.

While Sri Lankans are complaining of being unemployed the Agricultural Minister was quoted by another newspaper that Sri Lanka was facing a shortage of labourers and was planning to offer work visas to Indians to harvest paddy in the country’s north and east, In fact the public came to know only after that Indians were ALREADY working in the paddy fields of North and East. When Sri Lanka has farmers why are we bringing Indian farmers? Surely the State should financially support our farmers instead of forcing them into debt. Why are we treating our own people so shabbily? Whatever ethnicity it is our citizens who must be given priority at all times.

At the same time it is important that Sri Lanka’s citizenry realize that they cannot expect free lunches nor expect any Government to look after their interests, therefore the laziness and incompetency of Sri Lanka’s labor needs to see an immediate sea change. If the public complain about the incompetence of Sri Lankan public sector employees this feature will be enough reason to send them home and invite foreigners or Indians to take over.

Anyone who has been to a public sector office in India would return with one thought alone. Even with Sri Lanka’s public sector overflowing with staff more than required most of whom are reading the newspaper even during office hours while the public await in queue to be called by them, still for all they are far better than the Indian public sector! Now imagine if this lot comes to work in Sri Lanka’s public sector! Productivity would be amazing!

It is said that more than 140 state own institutions are running at losses & have to be supported by the Treasury. State workers take home over 53% of tax revenues (Rs.319.9b as salaries & wages) while Rs.10.6b was lost in tax concessions given to state workers to import cars. The World Bank is increasing pressure on Sri Lanka to reduce its existing 1.2million state employees to 400,000. Which means World Bank is suggesting reducing 800,000 state employees. If so how can the Minister say there are enough jobs in the State sector?

Confusing matters further was another article with the heading ‘Govrt curbs jobs for Indian skilled workers’. This article says that the Government is about to reduce Indian skilled workers in Sri Lanka with particular reference to Colombo Dockyard where 800 Indian skilled workers are employed. In the steel manufacturing industry some 1500 Indians are said to be employed. It appears that the public is totally clueless as to how many Indians or other foreigners are actually working in Sri Lanka as skilled, laborer or even tourist and the far more dangerous notion is how many of these Ministries with untrustworthy Ministers have compromised their ministry to allow further mischief and what else is in store for Sri Lanka’s future.

Any Government must realize that if the public make deliberations on issues with facts and establish areas that decision makers need to look with far-sight and greater wisdom beyond political survival, it is not only for the nation’s protection but mostly for their own. When we are dealing with India however many times does the Government needs to be told that India is NOT our friend and every decision India takes is ONLY taken based on what fulfills India’s interests. Why are we humbling ourselves and diminishing our integrity when as we speak RAW is operating throughout Sri Lanka to destabalize the country.

Unpaid media employees of India

May 14th, 2014

By NJ Thakuria

India’s highest court on April 9 ruled that journalists and non-journalists of newspapers and news agencies are entitled to a pay hike under the recommendations of  the Majithia Wage Board. Dismissing pleas by various owners seeking a review of its earlier judgment, the Supreme Court directed publishers to implement the recommendations of the latest wage board from this month on.

The bench comprising Chief Justice P Sathasivam, Justice Ranjan Gogoiand Justice Shiva Kirti Singh ruled that the wages as revised ‘would be payable from 11 November 2011′, when the Indian Union government notified the recommendations of the Majithia Board.

“All the arrears up to March 2014 shall be paid to all eligible employees in four equal installments within a period of one year and continue to pay the revised wages from April 2014 onwards,” the verdict noted.

The latest report of national wage board for working journalists and other newspaper employees under the leadership of Justice GR Majithia was presented to the Union government in New Delhi on 31 December 2010.
“A fine, fair and judicious balance has been achieved between the expectations and aspirations of the employees and the capacity and willingness of the employers to pay,” said Justice Majithia in an interview.

He added that the report made suggestions for the consideration of the government on issues like post-retirement benefits, a forward looking promotion policy, measures to improve enforcement of the wage board etc. As far as social security measures are concerned possibility of granting paternity leave to male employees, extension of retirement age up to 65 years, exploring pension scheme possibilities were suggested going beyond the mandated wage structure revision, he added.

The wage boards for newspaper & news agency employees including journalists, constituted under the working journalists and other newspaper employees (conditions of service) and miscellaneous provisions act 1955, are statutory. The prime responsibility for implementing the recommendations of the wage board rests with the concerned province governments and Union territories of India.

“Journalists are paid a lump sum without any welfare benefits and they can be dismissed at will. Except for some newspapers the mainstream publications had, ever since the wage board’s award came out in 2010,conducted only diatribes against the award,” said an editorial of Economic & Political Weekly, a credible publication of India in its 29March 2014 issue.

It also added, “The burden of opinion pieces by either the owners or top executives (usually in their own publications) was that small newspapers would be forced to close down while the bigger ones would be crippled. While five journalists’ trade unions and federations fought the challenges in court, there was nary a word from journalists or any form of public protest. The entire scenario illustrates well the working conditions of journalists in the country today.”

Even the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), a regional non-governmental organization  that monitors human rights in Asia and advocates for justice and institutional reform to ensure the protection and promotion of the rights, expressed concerns over the salary and working conditions of media persons in India.

“In the last few years there has been a major change in the profile of media houses, with an increasing number of high profile businesspersons/organizations making an entry. Yet, working conditions for media personnel remain close to the same,” said the AHRC statement issued on 14 April from its headquarters in Hong Kong, adding that the salary of newspaper employees is ‘minimal with no chance of raise no matter how many years one has been on the job’.
Referring to India’s apex court’s decision to uphold the recommendations of Majithia Wage Board for journalists and non-journalists on their pay structure, the AHRC urged media houses to honor and implement the recommendations of the latest wage board as a matter of priority. It also called upon the State governments to ensure a safe working atmosphere for journalists and make provisions for social benefits like health and life insurance for the media employees.

The Assam Tribune group of newspapers based in Guwahati was the first media house in India to implement the recommendations of the latest wage board since January 2012. The 70 years old media house did not wait for the apex court verdict, as done by many big newspaper groups of the country while challenging the constitutionality of the Majithia Wage Board in the Supreme Court.

The editor of The Assam Tribune, PG Baruah, also the managing director of the media house that publishes an Assamese daily, an Assamese weekly and an Assamese literary magazine besides the English daily, was candid when he spoke about the wage board implementation, “We have given the employees their due. It is our duty and also the gesture.”

All Assam Media Employees Federation (AAMEF), while addressing the matter of livelihood for media workers in northeast India has urged the newspaper house managements to show their respect to the Supreme Court by implementing the new wage board from this month. Appreciating the Assam Tribune group for implementing the latest wage board recommendations for the first time in the country, the AAMEF declared, “It is now time for other media groups to show gesture to their employees.”

“We have a model media house (Assam Tribune) that has successfully survived for two years with the new wage board facilities to the employees. Now we do not accept any logic that the Majithia recommendations are not implementable. You have to have the minimum commitment to the medium,” said Hiten Mahanta, president of AAMEF.

Speaking to this writer, Mahanta, also a veteran journalist of Assam, expressed dismay that most  media groups in the country have made it a habit to show a loss-making balance sheet every year with an aim to avoid paying proper salaries to the employees.

“But except few, it’s a common practice for all the media barons to divert funds from the collected amount of money from the advertisers to other non-media enterprises owned by their families,” he asserted adding that ‘the newspaper owners continue siphoning away the essential resource of the media groups for their selfish interest only to establish the media business as an unprofitable endeavor’.

Meanwhile, Journalists’ Forum Assam (JFA) has urged the Union government to facilitate the media persons engaged with the privately-owned satellite news channels with systematic pay hike as like their counterparts in the print media. The Assam-based scribes’

body pointed out that nearly 70 per cent television journalists were still performing their duties with pitiable salaries (read monthly financial package), unlimited working hours and without any facilities recommended by the country’s labour laws.

“More over, we demand for a social media audit where the esteemed readers & viewers can find a transparent picture of the financial dealings involved with their favorite newspapers & news channels,”said Rupam Barua, president of JFA adding that the exercise would ultimately help the media employees including the working journalists in getting their due benefits under the law of the land.

NJ Thakuria is a journalist based in Guwahati of northeast India

C.A. Chandraprema in 2001

May 14th, 2014

C. Wijeyawickrema

Mr. C. A. Chandraprema, a Christian-Marxist, who became famous after writing a book, Gota’s War, has become the leader wanting to purify Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka. He has the support of the owners of the Island newspaper, and he must be the sub-editor preventing any pro-Buddhist replies printed in the Island newspaper.

BBS has become a threat to all kinds of entities in Sri Lanka because it exposed the game played by prime ministers and presidents of Sri Lanka since 1948 in treating Sinhala Buddhists as if they are the proverbial kind-hearted woman. One Pani Wewala was able to get the Divaina to print a reply to Chandraprema’s attack on BBS but even Pani did not know that Chandraprema was not a Buddhist. It was like people thought Jayantha Danapala was a Buddhist or Ananda Tisaa deAlwis was a Buddhist!

The present government is full of people who opposed MahindaR in 2005 or 2010. It is actually a government of ex-UNP and Marxists. MahindaR has become a prisoner to his own method of buying opponents, because now there is no Mahinda Chinthanaya but an ex- UNP-Marxist control of Sri Lanka.

I hope the essay that I wrote in April 2001 relating to views of C. A . Chandraprema then, could help readers to get a better idea of Chandraprema’s background. This kind of person must be so angry that BBS is so popular and powerful.

Features (2001/04/13)
Gurulugomi to the Rescue: the re-Enthronement of the English Language“…Who could deny that a single shelf of a good European library was worth the whole literature of India and Arabia.” Macaulay (1835)

Macaulay:The Shaping of the Historian by John Clive, Random House, 1973, p.372
By C. Wijeyawickrema
Mr. Chandraprema’s (CAC) paper titled “In the footsteps of Gurulugomi..” (The Island, January 29), is an example of the sixteen dreams that puzzled the king Pasenadi Kosol. In order to understand the genesis of CAC’s paper I asked myself a question, “Why was CAC picked up by an NGO to speak on this topic?” Several subsequent writings of CAC throw some helpful light in this regard. CAC was in the past an active socialist and had also served on the Chamber of Commerce (N.M., Leslie and Colvin did the same thing). He maintains that the Sinhalayas are lazy (the Robert Knox complex). He thinks that Sri Lanka should copy the “hire and fire” labour laws from the U.S. (he should ask Ralph Nader, the third-party candidate at the last U.S. presidential election on this matter). He implies that the JVP was a murderous clan because its members do not speak English, although he now accepts that Richard de Zoysa was behind the JVP killings of bus drivers. Apparently, the NGO did good homework.

The retired education professor Ranjith Ruberu, recently had an article on this topic titled “Hasty changeover [is] unwarranted.” (The Island, January 19) How did the professor reconcile this with his previous article in the Island, “The need to make English compulsory for university admissions?” Because those who routinely promote English ignore two important concepts- proficiency in a second language and barriers to learning English in public schools- it is useful to ask a further question of who is promoting English and why? If English teachers trade union is promoting English, one can understand it, as long as they do not neglect their classroom duty before giving private tuition. But if globalization, McDonalds coming to Colombo, the mushrooming business of international schools, an ethnic war with a terrorist group, unemployment, youth suicide, corruption, bomb culture and enrichment of some via military supply contracts are some how connected with lack of English knowledge, then those promoters are simply dishonest. If ability to speak English is the path to Nirvana, then those countries where English is the mother tongue should not have poverty, unemployment or high school kids taking guns to schools!

Pali and Gujarati as Foreign Languages

Sinhala villagers have enough problems already and they do not need a new Pali problem created by an NGO seminar. They had a Mysore dhal/Bombay onion problem during Lalith’s time. But imagine the eerie feeling a Buddhist could go through by differentiating Pali as a foreign language? Recently, when my mother-in-law was dying, my wife and her brother were at the hospital bedside chanting pirith. I do not know whether any one of the three was thinking at that time that pirith was foreign object like Kentucky Fried Chicken or a McDonald’s hamburger. In the good old days people used to chant pirith when chased by a ferocious dog or walking past a cemetery in the night. Do we consider the Buddha, or the children of King Dharmashoka, Arhants Mahinda and Sangamitta, as foreigners? The Tooth Relic was from a Pali and not from a Sanskrit mouth. For centuries Pali was the language of Buddhism just like math has been the language of modern science. It was a dead language required for those who wanted to become Buddhist priests.

The Diaries of Anagarika Dharmapala

If we look at languages from a utilitarian, proficiency perspective, instead of who is not a fool viewpoint, then we do not have to cite Anagarika Dharmapala’s diaries as evidence. The concept of proficiency strips English of its Kaduwa aspect from the Sinhala politics (Youth Commission Report, page xvii). It becomes just a language, a tool like a typewriter, fax machine, computer software or German. Did Anagarika Dharmapala (1864-1933) use English to show that he was an “educated” person in the tradition of Gurulugomi or the senior civil servant Amara Hewa Madduma? May be Mrs. Annie Besant, with whom the young David was pleading for a chance to go to the Himalayas to meet with secret adepts, asked him to do so, before she found the future Krisnamurthy in the beaches of south India. Or was there a police order for him to keep a record of his daily activities? The point is, we just cannot speculate on such things. For example, I prefer to write this essay in Sinhala and send it to “Divaina, the Sinhala daily” but it is not practicable for me to do so. I did it once and did not know what happened. Does this mean that my intention is to join the “educated” class? Does this diary-business put him in the category of a present day politician? Didn’t he play an honest game? Just like Simon Bolivar (1783-1830), the liberator of South America finally left his country of birth, Venezuela in frustration, Dharmapala, the peaceful fighter also left the then Ceylon in disgust, vowing never to come back.

This diary business reminds a previous debate by one Mr. Amaradasa Fernando, who commented on the inability of the late Professor F. R. Jayasooriya to speak Sinhala (The Island, June/July 1999). Why is that a group of NGO-sponsored people are not writing about politician such as R. G. Senanayake or K. M. P. Rajaratne, but target persons like Professor F. R. Jayasooriya, Dharmapala, Munidasa Cumaratunga or the Christian-born James D’Alwis (1823-78)? One in this group calculated the percentage of Mahavamsa kings who killed a father or a brother to get to the throne! Could we expect that one day this group will cite that Dr. Ananda Coomaraswamy was married four times, each time to a white woman? Or after done with the first list of targets, would they then go to G. P. Malalasekara, P. de. S. Kularatne and S. A. Wickremasinghe, all three married to English women?

Who is an educated person?

There was a famous case in which lawyers of an American newspaper tried to prove that Henry Ford was an “uneducated” man. But Henry Ford changed the modern world. During the Premadasa regime some professors were talking about the clique of seven, seven ministers who had seventh grade education. When an apple fell on Newton’s head, fortunately he did not ask the wrong question, “Why did this apple fall on my head?” in which case some say he would have written a long novel. Instead, he asked, “Why do apples fall?” Because promoters of English do not ask the proficiency and barrier-related questions, they have to write about Pali, diaries and Gurulugomi. The fifth verse in the Subhasitaya lists as stupid those who did not know Pali, Sanskrit plus TAMIL. Stupidity is also covered in the last verse of the Lokopakaraya.

But the question is whether one becomes an “educated” person simply because he or she is bilingual. During the days of Sir John, there were many taxi drivers and Colombo seven Aayas (maids) who were bi-lingual. I knew people who spoke English at home but spell “court of law” as “coat of law.” Despite the story of Amawatura or Subhasitaya in the past, the pre-independence Ceylon treated those who knew Sinhala and English as stupid. Only a handful of white men did not agree with what Macaulay had to say about the Asian heritage. Rhys Davids (1881-1922) of the Ceylon Civil Service, son of a Christian minister, was one of them and was fired from his job because of his “strange” views. Sir William Jones (1783), the first president of the Asiatic Society of Bengal was another. Sir D. B. Jayatilaka was an Abittaya (temple servant) to Marxists because he had his early education in a Buddhist temple. Colonial rulers deported him to Delhi so that the seventh grade English speaking people who did not know Sinhala or Pali or Gujarati could rule the country. Cumaratunga Munidasa (1887-1944) was not qualified to entrust with the task of preparing the Sinhalese Encyclopedia. Ruskin Fernando who contested the Moratuwa seat was bi-lingual and he tried to say that he loved his urine-land meaning his motherland!

Until Colonel Olcott and the Buddhist Theosophical Society came to the forefront in the1880s, it was not Gurulugomi but Macaulay and the likes of Sir Ivor Jenings, trusted advisor to prime ministers, who influenced the education policy in Ceylon. In 1804, just two years after the coastal Ceylon became a crown colony, the London Mission Society started schools to convert children. Two other examples would be sufficient to show the “Sir John-kicking-M.S. Themis-on the steps of the parliament building” (compare with the Ratnatunge attack on the Asoka Vidyalaya cricket players) mentality of Ceylon. If a person was sick for more than fourteen days a medical certificate from an Ayurvedic physician was not accepted. It must be from a western doctor or from a hospital [written in English?]. Those who came out of the English teacher-training college were paid a higher salary than those who came from the Sinhala medium training colleges. Sinhala became “Bible Sinhala,” and a kitchen language, the same way that Buddhism became a kitchen religion. Among the many survival strategies, some Sinhala people had two first names, one Sinhala-Buddhist (Aryan?) and one western-English (Christian?). They were Christians in the office and Buddhists in the kitchen! The great religious debate at Panadura (April, 1873) took place under such circumstances.

The International Irrigation Management Institute is located in Sri Lanka because Sri Lanka had a sophisticated irrigation water supply system in the ancient world. Who were these ancient irrigation workers? Were they bi-lingual? Some Marxists branded king Dutugemunu as a “fool of bricks” for building the Ruwanvali Maha Saya. Yet these same Marxists make trips to Egypt to see the great pyramids! I think a person who knows that he does not know is an educated person. An educated person knows the art of living in an impermanent world. Martin Wickremasinghe had so vividly described in his Apegama that the guru-gedara and the village temple were the centers of education and educated people in Sri Lanka, before, during and towards the end of the colonial period. Contrary to what the new NGO-oriented writers think British governors took full advantage of such native institutions like the caste system, village council, village headman, village tanks and the temple-based village education, all in the name of peace and good governance of the colony.

Colonial Education Policy

As children we studied the colonial education policy from Horace Perera’s history textbook, “Ceylon Under the Western Rule.” For a detailed history the best source is chapter 12 “Indian Education: The Minute” of Clive’s book on Macaulay. There were two opposing views. “Engrafting” Western knowledge upon Indian cultural traditions by means of Sanskrit and Arabic and “downward filtration,” the creation of an educated elite who would themselves become teachers to other great mass of poor Indian people. The latter policy had an evangelical and utilitarian bias. So Macaulay said, “we must at present do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern; a class of persons, Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals, and in intellect.” Who could deny that NM, Leslie, Colvin, Lalith, Gamini, JRJ, Dudley, Ranil, Neelan-GL and Chandrika did not qualify as grand children of Macaulay?

Since its top priority was making profits the colonial government left education in the hands of religious and private organizations. As summed up by Nehru, colonial masters supported a policy of “education for clerks.” In 1851, Radha Kanta Dev, a progressive Calcutta merchant warned against a system, whereby, “..with a smattering knowledge of English, youths are weaned from the plough, the axe and the loom, to render them ambitious only for the clerkships for which hosts would besiege the government and mercantile offices…” Dev favored agricultural and industrial schools, where skills could be taught. For him the prerequisite for these was a solid vernacular education. Lord Curzon who divided Bengal into two in 1905, made the same point half a century later (Clive, p. 416). We need to look at Sri Lanka’s economic problems today from Dev’s and Lord Curzon’s wisdom and not from CAC’s opinion of a vernacular disaster. In the USA alone, in each major city, dozens of vernacular educated Sri Lankans-engineers, doctors, chemists, physicists, professors and arts graduates- have successfully competed with those whose mother tongue is English in the latter’s own turf by acquiring a simple working knowledge in English. English did not give Sri Lankan Americans the brain, intelligence, creativity or the power of analytical thinking. English was only a vehicle, and they do not carry this raft on their shoulders after crossing the river. Here then is a proven simple model that Sri Lanka should follow.

As Gandhi once said, “it was nothing less than scandalous that people should devote the best years of their lives to mastering a foreign tongue.” Buddha said twenty five hundred years ago that one’s mother tongue was the most appropriate medium of education. Those who think Sinhala is a poor language should try to translate into English the following line of a verse in the Subahsitaya, “pin mada putun siyayak laduwat nisaru.” Sir D. B. Jayatilaka, who opposed the introduction of universal suffrage, was convinced that originality of thought was inextricably bound with one’s own mother tongue. He asked, “we have had English education in this country over a century…but has any one left a single book in English verse or prose which will survive a generation?” (Legislative Council Debates, 1928:368). As cited in Professor K. N. O. Dharmadasa’s book, Language, Religion and Ethnic Assertiveness (1992, p. 215), Ananda Coomaraswamy, who was fluent in ten languages, went even further to endorse strongly the link between one’s creative and intellectual development and his/her mother tongue. Martin Wickremasinghe, who learned his Sinhala at Koggala showed so much creativity. What did the Peradeniya honours graduates who studied Sinhala language in English language produce? Some of them became civil servants such as Charles Abeysekera (English, Sanskrit and Latin?) who sat on top of all the state industrial corporations for decades.

Sri Lanka has no resources

This brings us to CAC’s next theory that Sri Lanka has no resources. He should tell this to a Japanese or a Korean and ask them to buy the island! “Resources are not, they become.” A geography professor could perhaps enlighten CAC on this topic. But after living in this resource rich USA for 21 years, I think Sri Lanka has more than enough resources to be a healthy-happy nation.

The problem has been the UNP-SLFP leaders and the Colombo class. For example, when you think of the money paid to baby-sitters and to psychiatrists for mental stress in America, the extended family net and the Buddhist way of life in Sri Lanka are two very important resources. Agriculture and industry are the two legs of a country helping each other, and a garment industry based on shiploads of cloth or yarn converted to tons of exported shirts and pants cannot change this basic truth. About 30 years ago E. F. Schumacher, opened our eyes to the path we should have followed in his book Small Is Beautiful: Economics As If People Mattered. But politicians and their catchers and officers cannot get commissions unless they invite big projects.

Sri Lanka is poor and the university educated are unemployed not because they do not know English, but the country is lacking leaders with wisdom and dedication. What the UNP and SLFP did to the country is candidly summarized by the Sri Lankan prime minister in the presence of the president “.. All parties utter lies in their election manifestos and the party which utter better and more effective lies is the side that wins the election..” (Daily News, February 14, 2001). While the old Cinnamon Garden class is decaying, new types of classes are emerging in the Kotte-Nawala-Madivela area. Now people make money via politics, war supply contracts, NGOs and commissions from foreign aid contracts. Their children could go at least to an Indian university and when they come back foreign companies prefer to hire them instead of the local graduates. The presumption is that those with an overseas education represent a higher class and are less radical and nationalistic. It is an irony that poor Sri Lankans go to the Middle East as maids, some get pregnant, and remit hard foreign exchange to Sri Lanka and rich peoples children who cannot enter a Sri Lankan university use that money under the World Bank orders of a free-liberal economy to go to foreign universities.

Vernacular Disaster and the American Civil War

In Kent, Ohio I met a Physics student who got an assistantship to come for higher studies because he had a physics degree in the Sinhala medium. If his English was tested he had no chance of coming here. But he was blaming SWRD for removing English from the university. A group of dedicated Sri Lankans fought to open the doors of the university to the common people of Sri Lanka. When the plug was removed, big-fat-rich kids from Colombo and other big cities had no chance. In the early days university admission decisions were made after a personal interview. And at the interview, as reported by Felix Dias B, Sir Ivor asked him, “Since your father is a judge of the supreme court are you also planning to be a judge of the supreme court?” to which FDB replied, “No, I want to be the vice chancellor of the university so that I could select students.” They were just scratching each other’s backs! While Royal, St. Thomas and St Joseph’s dropped out of the scene, village students with 8 distinctions at O.L. flooded the university. With so many qualified students the government added a second arts section in Colombo in 1962, nicknamed “the Gopallawa faculty.” In 1962, those who were losing their post-independence privileges staged a military coup, allegedly with Sir Oliver’s knowledge. P. de. S. Kularatne’s son-in-law, Stanley Senanayaike saved the country.

What happened to the Philippine Islands, Africa or to some South American cultures did not happen in Sri Lanka, because of life-sacrificing acts of Walane (Panadura) Siddharta (1811-68), whose wisdom resulted in the establishment of Vidyodaya (1873) and Vidyalankara (1875) Pirivenas, Migettuwatte Gunananda (1823-90) Hikkaduwe Sumangala (1827-1911), Colonel Olcott and many others. It is true that a postal peon’s son could become a famous Sinhala Civil Servant or a poor school clerk’s son from Panadura could become a Peradeniya professor (I. D. S. Weerawardena), and some children of school principals, postmasters and village landowners had an opportunities to enter the University of Ceylon. But the Kannangara Free Education Reforms did not reach the masses until the people’s revolution in 1956 and the decision to teach in Sinhala and Tamil in the university. In the 1960s, to supplement the university bursary system, Dr. N. M. Perera, added a university students’ bank loan scheme through the People’s Bank.

But it was not an easy victory. We all know what Sir Nicholas, the dean of medical faculty told F. R. Jayasooriya when the former was approached to teach medicine in Sinhala, “first go and teach your Sinhala in Sinhala and then come to me.” In this effort FR had the backing of I. D. S. W, who pioneered teaching political science in Sinhala, with the support of his English wife, until his untimely death by a misdiagnosis of chicken-pox. But professor F. R. Jayasooriya, once told me that at a much later stage, when the movement had reached the point of no return, a person non other than R.G. Senanayake asked him, “Is it really possible to teach science (medicine) in Sinhala?” FR should have cited the king Buddhadasa, the Russian doctors or the Jews medical researchers in Israel. Which is the language of medicine, English, Russian or Hebrew? The language of medicine in Ceylon was class privilege and money. Private medical schools and private universities are not bad ideas per se, if we tell the real reason behind them. People who get rich by just means taking risks must be allowed to enjoy their wealth. Is this against Buddhism? But one should not say that the French enjoy justice and fairness under the French law because “both the rich and the poor are allowed to sleep under the bridges in Paris.” “One law for the lion and the ox is oppression.” Equality also did not come when minister Hamid sent trade representatives to the Sri Lankan embassy in Washington, D.C., who knew no other language except Sinhala. We did not know who was stupid, the minister or the ambassador?

There is a remarkable similarity between the period of Southern Reconstruction after the American Civil War (1861-1865) and what CAC brands as the Vernacular Disaster (1956-78). In the final analysis, the American Civil war was a war against slavery. Abraham Lincoln gave his life to save the Union. But after half a million deaths, the terms of surrender were so generous and gentle because that was what Lincoln wished. Slaves became free and in the South for a brief period former slaves enjoyed freedom and tasted little bit of political power. This was like what happened in Ceylon after 1956. But soon African Americans in the South succumbed to a reign of white supremacy, “separate but equal laws,” and the Ku Klux Klan. Blacks had to wait until Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior led the civil rights movement in the 1960s. Legally and religiously backed racial discrimination was so rampant that when the Lincoln Memorial was dedicated on May 31, 1922, blacks were restricted to a section across the road from the white audience. Twenty-one black guests left the dedication in protest (Lies Across America, James W. Loewen, 1999, p. 334). In Sri Lanka, those who came to universities from remote villages had to think of buying at least a postage-stamp size plot of land somewhere near Colombo to send their children to Colombo schools. Sri Lanka needs to discard the Colombo paradigm and go towards Anuradhapura for a new capital city (The Island, April 21, 1998 and Feb 7, 2001). The victimization on the basis of English began with an English language provision in the JRJ constitution and now the department of education is issuing circulars to commence English medium public schools.

A Large Dose of English Therapy

According to Dr. (Mrs.) Kariyawasam, during minister Lokubandara’s time, “English … was restored to its pride of place” (The Island, May 4, 2000). Among other things, with World Bank funds, a target was set to produce 1000 graduate teachers with English as a subject by the year 2000. Was this not an example of CAC’s therapy dose? What has happened in 2001? Sri Lankan president says over 40% of developmental funds in the state sector end in waste (Daily News, Feb 14, 2001). Despite talk about regional planning and the development of villages in remote areas for the past 60 years, Colombo is bursting with dust, filth and corruption. The housing minister reports that half of Colombo’s population live in slum conditions. The problem is second only to San Salvador (Lacnet, March 7). That is why talk must be matched by walk. Otherwise talk ends up with Guinness Book records of youth suicide and international schools.

Macualay never played cricket, which most Americans brand as a “lazy persons’ game.” We were taught that it symbolizes the British cabinet form of government. When the Royal-Thomian match was reported in the Ceylon Daily News, in villages we played cricket with coconut bats and Kaduru balls. Our Elle is America’s most popular game, the baseball. But to talk “… make English so widespread that there is no status attached to it like cricket…” is misleading and cheating. According to this theory English-speaking countries have no ruling (Colombo) class and no injustice. If we take the predominance of African American in American sports, then if CAC is right, African Americans must also be presidents, CEOs and senators by the dozen. In Sri Lanka nobody laughs at you if you cannot play cricket, but if you make a mistake in English, a language full of exceptions and few rules, you are ridiculed and condemned. Here we come to the question of denied access and opportunity, the class power of those who climbed up the English language ladder kicking down the Sinhala and Tamil-speaking majority. I often wonder why we do not consider learning English the same way we try to learn how to ride a bicycle. When the time comes, we do not give up it until we get the balance and able to take that first magic ride to freedom.

Colonialism and English

I think Ceylon was fortunate to come under the British in 1798, instead of any other colonial master. When the Portuguese finally abandoned Angola, there were no native stationmasters to man the few railway stations it had! In the streets of London, English workingmen and women fought for a fair deal for the colonies. This was why Gandhi said that except India he would prefer to live in London. When the stone heads of Lenin and Marx came tumbling down, starting with Lech Walesa’s Polish shipyard strike, Karl Marx’s was peacefully sleeping in his tomb in England without a single sentry to protect him. The old lion Prins Gunasekara, who could not return to Sri Lanka because of death threats live safely in London in exile along with the JVP leader who is also in the same boat. The story was that a certain viceroy of India was actually behind the formation of the Indian National Congress.

Our admiration of the West and the English language need not become an obsession. Blind faith in everything western and American could become a mental sickness. For example, why is that Colombo people embrace things coming from America, which even the Americans here are rejecting and protesting. A good example is the McDonald hamburgers notorious as an unhealthy fast food (The McDonaldization of Society, George Ritzer, 1993). It is widely believed for good reasons that the Buddhist India and the Greece of Socrates and Plato had exchanges of ideas. In Buddhist societies, both amongst layman and monks, one could find the existence of a number of modern democratic principles. The Buddhist temple with its own chief incumbent functions as one of the most decentralized and independent religious and civic institution in the modern world, at least before the ministry of Buddhism and its officers of the party in power started allocating government money to their favorite temples. In America, native American (e.g., Iroquois nations in the 1740s) ideas of liberty, fraternity, and equality found their way to Europe to influence social philosophers such as Thomas More, Locke, Montaigne, Montesquieu and Rousseau. These European thinkers in turn influenced American such as Franklin, Jefferson, and Madison, the authors of the U.S. constitution (Lies My Teacher Told Me, James W. Loewen, 1995, p. 111).

The value of such knowledge is that it helps one to appreciate the lesson in a Buddhist Jataka story telling us not take the raft on to our shoulders after we used it to cross the river. English is only a raft and it need not be a Kaduwa. English is a very economical language. Because it is so widespread proficiency in English is a passport to see the world. It has a rich vocabulary, flexible and has relatively simple spelling and pronunciation. If a standard western typewriter keyboard were to expand to take in every Chinese ideagraph it would have to be about 15 feet long and 5 feet wide (The Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way, Bill Bryson, 1990, p. 118). There is no reason to love English, and there is no reason to hate it. Politicians and their henchmen-officers are playing the same old game when they tell that Sri Lanka is in a mess because English was ignored.

Barriers to English Proficiency

All what a Sri Lankan child needs is one class period of quality English every school day from grades 2-10. As Dr. Kariyawasam reported, of the 40,000 English teachers, nearly 19,000 recruited in 1972, came with a credit pass in English at the G.C.E. (O.L.). Three decades later are we doing a better job in solving this problem of quantity and quality of English language teachers? How many schools even within a 25- mile radius from Colombo could claim that they have sufficient number of qualified English teachers? Those officers in the education department who plan English medium schools must first complete the simple task of providing teachers who can teach English as a second language. Teaching English as a foreign language is not the same as speaking English. Sri Lanka had a reasonably good textbook translation service in the 1960s and who killed it? There is no one path to make children proficient in English. But it can be done without killing their mother tongue.

The education department has failed miserably to develop an educational policy that helps the country. Instead it became a service department to politician ministers giving jobs to party supporters. No wonder education has gone to the dogs. How can it develop English medium schools when it could not solve the English language teachers’ shortage for the past twenty to thirty years? Is it planning to import teachers from India to teach the other subjects in English?

Those days there were night schools attached to Temples where English was taught free. Who killed that concept? Why cannot this method be revived? This is a low cost, village level approach suitable for those genuinely concerned with helping the masses. We commemorate with gratitude what the American Olcott did for us in the 1880s. He helped to establish schools for the Buddhists at a time the government was not willing to help. Ironically, those who had the responsibility of continuing Olcott’s mission neglected teaching English to Buddhist monks attending the pirivenas. It is much harder to learn Sanskrit but student-priests learned Sanskrit and Pali and not English. Buddhist priests had to rely on the English knowledge of the lay Buddhist leaders. Same thing happened with the Marxists. The leaders spoke English but the ordinary members, the laborers and clerks did not know it

Providing a working knowledge of English to those who study in their mother tongue should not be a matter of Anto-Jata-Bahi-Jata. There are low cost, more effective, user-friendly, community-based solutions people can do without getting under the iron heel of the education department or party politics. For example, two years ago a village temple at Walana, Panadura started an evening school to teach English to children who cannot go to English tuition classes. The school (Sri Siddhartha English School) is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:00-6:30 p.m. and now has over 150 students. It is mainly for those who come to the temple’s Sunday-school, but no one is excluded because of his/her religion. The children are provided with basic learning materials and strict discipline is maintained with regard to attendance. The chief priest of the temple is surprised and moved by the dedication of the retired and other voluntary teachers who made this a success. They are also planning to start a night school for the working adults. In this case everybody is a winner. Teachers do something meritorious. Parents feel they are recognized. Children receive free English tuition to supplement their regular school English class. This is self-reliance and this is what we call access and opportunity. This is also an example of the Global Paradox mentioned by John Naisbitt, – the bigger the world economy, the more powerful its smallest players (1994). A small fraction of the World Bank money, used by Colombo officers for big projects, if diverted to night schools, evening and weekend schools, retired teachers and other dedicated citizens at village-level are in a position to propagate English like cricket. I sincerely wish that Mr. Chandraprema and professor Ruberu would take a leadership role in organizing an evening or night English school in their hometowns. It will not be difficult to find a thousand sponsors from the U.S.A. alone if they could find thousand temples to offer free English classes.
C. Wijeyawickrema was an assistant professor at Kent State University, Ohio

Sri Lanka’s Media racist towards Buddhists

May 10th, 2014

Shenali D Waduge

Mass media have a power far more than Governments to tilt public opinion to their line of thinking using a plethora of modes at both international and local levels with a dangerous ability to make mountains out of molehills. The scope of their manipulation is phenomenal and profit driven. Humans are sensitive to emotional blackmail and fall victim to either mind conditioning or the human weakness of money and power. Media stands guilty of portraying situations in worse scenarios for its own gains and is largely accountable for creating tense situations in a country. Sri Lanka is currently facing a combination of these onslaughts. Media can create “victims” and then engage in efforts to slander the target, a combined effort with external forces. Balanced content is nil. Sanity is what is required to sieve the lies from the truth. The current issue is the projection of Sinhalese Buddhists or Buddhist Sinhalese as “racists” ” let us see how fair or truthful this is.

 When news media control what we see, hear, think, learn and know ” it is a dangerous situation.  When lascoreens become decision makers in governance they end up compromising the country’s heritage and history. A good look at Sri Lanka’s education system placed under lascoreens has resulted in diluted the true history of Sri Lanka. A group of patriots need to take all the school textbooks and highlight the lies and request the President to correct the status quo before education creates a generation of lascoreens.

 The situation in Sri Lanka

 There is a proud history that the Sinhela race should not feel shy about which secularism and liberals cannot simply write off, undermine, laugh at or legislatively remove simply because it does not conform to their ideology. Nevertheless, the growing tension is that an increasing lobby is galvanizing the theory that the majority is discriminating the minorities. A lot of effort is been given to shape this theory into acceptance.

 Historical evidence cannot be ignored. The prehistoric settlement in Sri Lanka is proved in the discovery of the oldest human found in Pathirajawela in deep South of Sri Lanka who had lived 20,000 years before the Neanderthal inhabited earth. Pathirajawela also exposed a flake and stone tool industry belonging to 125,000 to 75,000 BCE. The 2nd oldest human was found in Bundala again in the deep South. The 3rd oldest Lankan human was found in Fa-Hien the largest natural cave in South Asia known as Pahiyangala which can accommodate over 3000 humans. From 123,000 BCE it was in 546 BC that the Sivu-Hela (Simhala which became Sinhela) tribes of Yaksha, Naga, Deva and Raksha tribes lived. This was the origins of the civilization of the hela people (Sinhela) far before the arrival of King Vijaya in 543BC.

 Sri Lanka’s history is chronicled from 5th century BC led by Sinhalese Buddhist kings. There were invasions and incursions of Cholas and Pandyas but these were defeated. Elara (235 BC ” 161 BC) ruled in Anuradhapura more or less as a Sinhalese kingdom. There is no Tamil archeological evidence to prove that a long standing Tamil civilization existed in Sri Lanka.

 The Muslims in Sri Lanka have different origins. A vast majority of them have their origins in South India which explains why they spoke and still speak Tamil. Muslims that settled in Sri Lanka never had a linguistic connection to Arabs and began settling in Sri Lanka only after the 10th century.

 The Dutch brought the Vellalas from South India for tobacco cultivation in the 1700s while the British brought the Indian Tamils as plantation workers in 1800s because the Sinhalese refused to work as coolies in tea plantations that were originally land belonging to the Kandyan peasantry but grabbed from them under the draconian Waste Land Ordinance which was enacted in 1840. Under this law all lands for which there was no proof of ownership or possession were regarded as waste land or Crown land. Vast acreage was thus grabbed by the British Colonial Govt. without taking into consideration the customary ownership rights of the Kandyan people. This bred dissatisfaction among the Kandyan people which was the major cause for the 1848 rebellion.

 Of late, the media has become a platform to denigrate the Sinhalese and ridicule Buddhism. As an example a pro-Christian website run by exiled local journalists paid from foreign funds publishes everything that serves this objective. Its article headings clearly show their bias: “Bhikku brigade”, “Buddhist Taliban”, “Attack on Muslims”, “Extremists BBS Majoritarian virus”, “Hamuruduwane Booruwane”, “Sinhala-Buddhist nationalism”, “bigotry of SinhalaBuddhism”, “haunted by the Mahawansa”, … the labels that Sinhalese Buddhists have been tagged with that media enthusiastically promotes are many. It is a gross violation of ethics of Journalism.

 Before writing off the Sinhalese Buddhists and believing every word that transpires over the media it is necessary to engage in a content analysis of all the English language newspapers in this country. It is evident that the main feature writers are more or less the same in all the newspapers and saying the same things over and over again and media gives only space for them and it is their views that monopolize what people are made to read and form their opinion upon. There is no room or opportunity extended for alternate views.

 The objective is always to make the readers believe that the Sinhalese Buddhists are the cause of all the ills, the source of all the trouble and disharmony between races and religions, and that their numbers in the country (70%) prevent adequate space to minorities from exercising their rights. This is realistically far from the truth.

 Who are the real minorities?

 On a broadsheet the minorities statistically in religious terms are Hindus, Islam, Christians while ethnically the minorities will be the Tamils, Muslims and Burghers. Yet, in reality when we take the capital Colombo it is these minority ethnic groups and the minority religions that rule ” they control much of the commercial sector, they have a monopoly over the wholesale trade, they hold prime immovable property in greater Colombo and form the greater composition of elite in terms of the monetary power they hold. It is for these primary reasons that politicians end up gravitating towards them, for power and money are fatal attractions. It is through these influences that a lot of unwarranted and irregularities have taken place often bypassing customary laws.

 What have the minorities not been given in Sri Lanka? Do Buddhists have these privileges in other nations as minorities themselves? Do Muslims not have 3 public holidays, do Christians not have 2 public holidays plus 52 Sundays for Sabbath? While Hindus have 3 public holidays. Places of worship for all religions abound in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka issues stamps in honor of all the faiths every year ” which is unique and sets Sri Lanka apart from all the countries in the world. Not a single Muslim or Christian country has issued a stamp in honor of Buddha.

 Are the minorities not given recognition in the national flag? Is it not on account of the unmonitored freedoms that we are faced with a situation of conversions to the Abrahamic religions and unnumbered groups of faith healers all over the island spreading the “Word” or promoting ‘Born Again’?

 Let’s be candid. The ever vociferous Christian promoters of “freedom of religion” slogans cry “freedom” so long as they can inflict their religious beliefs on others. Sri Lanka has not forgotten the work of Catholic Action and the secret societies that continue to prevail.

The truth is that the role of Sinhalese Buddhists are confined to only bringing politicians to power and these politicians end up deserting the voters that voted them to power. That is the sad reality.

 Buddhists have reacted to these rapidly developing scenarios that they have identified as similar to those brewing in other parts of the world. These potential threats to Buddhists and Buddhism in Sri Lanka have been clearly articulated but media has purposely blocked giving publicity to the fears and warnings of future trouble expressed by the Buddhists.

 In a population of under 50,000 why should 42 mosques emerge in Kattankudy alone? Is this fair and justifiable? The visible rise in the proliferation of mosques is said to be 5000 throughout the island where the Muslim population is just 1.6million.

 Should there not be a moratorium on establishing any more mosques?

 Is it wrong for people to object to use of loudspeakers at Mosques that purposely project outward causing noise pollution beginning early in the morning at 4.30 a.m. disturbing the sleep of non ” Muslims in the neighbourhood who are forced to listen to the sounds of Islam against their will? Especially when the Government has given a radio channel for people to listen to azan ” no media gives space to opinion calling for the enforcement of the Supreme Court interim order given in 2007 which clearly hold that use of loudspeakers is not a fundamental right but the right to silence is! Instead anyone bringing this argument is labeled an anti-Muslim. How correct is this?

 When halal method of animal slaughter is banned in other nations and Muslims do not object why is it that in Sri Lanka media jumps to say that any opposition to the barbaric killing through slitting of throats and allowing an innocent and defenseless animal bleed to death slowly, is violation of religious cum human rights?

 Is the advocacy for rights of animals no longer accepted in a country that for over a period of two millennium protected animals from man’s inhumanity under the benign rule of Buddhist Kings? Why is the denial of animal slaughter practiced through centuries suddenly being changed in the past several decades and for whose benefit is this?

 Should people coming from Abrahamic religious backgrounds be allowed to have the last word on how this country should preserve and protect animals and see to their welfare through appropriate legislative reform?

 Is it wrong for Buddhists to object to animal sacrifice when the founder of the religion Gauthama the Buddha vehemently condemned it as an evil practice and Sinhalese Buddhist Kings prohibited Animal Sacrifice in their Kingdoms following Buddhist injunctions against such practice until the fall of the Kandyan Kingdom in 1815?

 Is it wrong for Buddhists of Sri Lanka to object to a takaran shed developing into a Muslim Shrine in Anurdhapura that Buddhists consider their most sacred city when it is right for the Pope and the Catholic Church to claim the Vatican as the Holy City for Catholics, and Mecca as the Holy Land for Muslims where non-Muslims are prohibited from entering? Has the media ever balanced this side of the argument?

 When it was clear that the halal certificate and logo on every consumer item being purchased was something illegal and extortion was taking place why has this aspect not got media attention except to convey the impression that the Sinhalese were objecting to Muslims and creating an anti-Muslim story to sell the world ?. Why did the media not speculate as to the sudden demand for halal labels when purchase of foods and items without halal certificates/logos had taken place for centuries ” moreover with GMOs which are legally not to be tested before release to market what is the guaranteed that foods we eat have not been crossed with pigs? So much of food-modification is taking place around us all to the profit of the food industry.

 When nations are banning burqa’s and niqabs and citing the reasons of unnecessary segregation disuniting people why is it when similar sentiments are expressed in Sri Lanka the media goes to town to again project the notion of anti-Muslim.

 When evidence is given of the disregard and disrespect for Buddhist cultural heritage why does that not get media attention? When Sinhalese object to Muslim encroachment of traditional Sinhala Buddhist temple land and demolition of historic sites and archeological remains why does the media project it as anti-Muslim and encourage articles that tow that line of thinking only?

 There are enough of sensible arguments and articles available by people who have handled both sides of the issue in order for people to realize the need to balance things and more importantly for people to realize that incursions of the present nature are that which is creating the divides. Should the media not be highlighting the incursions and encourage people to not overstep their boundaries?

 In a majority Buddhist country why has no English media dedicated an editorial to the plight of the Bangladeshi Buddhists, the anti-Buddhist happenings in Maldives, or Myanmar who are trying to protect their Buddhist nation from Islamic fundamentalists who have been smuggled via Bangladesh over the years?

 Do all these liberals and Human Rights proponents and the minorities simply want the Sinhalese Buddhists to silently watch the take over of a nation that they have defended over centuries? Can they not understand that it is the Abrahamic religious “take over” that the Buddhists fear?

 Are the Buddhists only good enough to be sacrificed by the LTTE so that all others can live safely? Was it not 99.9% of the Sinhalese Buddhist soldiers that died in defending the nation and is it not why the people do not want a similar instance where another lot of Sinhala Buddhists may end up in graves?

 Given that 74% Sinhalese Buddhists are difficult to annihilate we realize the foreign driven multipronged efforts to break up the foundations of Buddhist nationalism being the last line of defense. This is what Myanmar is currently facing in a fierce competition between the two major Abrahamic faiths for world domination through control of the world’s people and territories.

 Do people seriously think that the Sinhalese Buddhists would create situations where it is they who will end up dying?

 In reality is it not the Sinhalese Buddhists who are in real terms in the minority? As against 77million Tamils ” 72million Tamils who live in Tamil Nadu alone the world has only 14.8million Sinhalese (of which less than 300,000 are Sinhalese Christians). Efforts must be made to protect the Sinhalese Buddhists as an indigenous species on account of the language and the ethnicity of the Sinhalese being spoken only in Sri Lanka.

 Religious Freedoms worldwide

 Studies show that in a Muslim-majority nation there is a high level of government restrictions. Ironically, in these very Muslim nations Muslims themselves are often the victims of religious intolerance. It’s a battle over what type of Shariah law should be enacted, or who holds the reins of power in government ” as Islam and its practice rests on the leaders that call the shots.

 Afghanistan – an Islamic Republic….The sacred religion of Islam shall be the religion of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan….No law shall contravene the tenets and provisions of the holy religion of Islam in Afghanistan

 Argentina – Article 2 of the Constitution of Argentina reads: “The Federal Government supports the Roman Catholic Apostolic religion.” Article 14 guarantees all the inhabitants of the Nation the right “to profess freely their religion.”

 Canada – In most parts of Canada there is a Catholic education system alongside the secular “public” education system. They all run on Catholic principles and include religious activities and instruction as a matter of course. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which is entrenched in the Constitution, states in the preamble that Canada “is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law.”

 Denmark – Section 4 in the Constitution of Denmark: “The Evangelical Lutheran Church shall be the Established Church of Denmark, and, as such, it shall be supported by the State.”

 Finland – National churches of Finland, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland and the Finnish Orthodox Church have a status protected by law. The special legal position of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland is also codified in the constitution of Finland.

 Malaysia – Islam is the official state religion and the Constitution of Malaysia provides for limited freedom of religion, notably placing control upon the ‘propagation’ of religion other than Islam to Muslims

 Saudi Arabia – Islamic theocratic monarchy in which Islam is the official religion; the law requires that all Saudi citizens be Muslims

 Turkey – 99.0% of the Turkish population is Muslim of whom a majority belong to the Sunni branch of Islam. The constitution explicitly states that they cannot become involved in the political process (by forming a religious party. No party can claim that it represents a form of religious belief. Turkey, like France, prohibits by law the wearing of religious headcover and theo-political symbolic garments for both genders in government buildings, schools, and universities.

 United Kingdom (UK) – provisions of the Act of Settlement 1701 which ensures that no Catholic shall ever be the monarch of the United Kingdom, nor shall they be married to one. Religious education is mandated in state schools based on a syllabus reflecting the country’s Christian traditions. Britain is a predominantly Christian country with two established, the Church of England (COE), the mother church of the Anglican Communion and state church in England and the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. The Church of Scotland is Presbyterian while the Church of England is Anglican (Episcopalian). The former is a national church guaranteed by law to be separate from the state, while the latter is a state-established church and any major changes to doctrine, liturgy, or structure must have parliamentary approval.

 Maldives ” the supposed paradise for over 60,000 tourists annually are given arrival cards giving lists of prohibited items (materials contrary to Islam). Saudi Arabia and Maldives both 100% Muslim nations. The 2008 constitution adopted states “non-Muslim may not become a citizen of the Maldives”. In Maldives too the Wahhabi Islamic pattern is increasing. Women in the early 1990s did not wear the black burqa and men with long beards ” but that is now seen increasing. Many say that these attire changes come with an exchange of remunerations both cash and kind!

 Iran’s constitution recognizes 4 religions whose status is formally protected ” Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

 In Egypt, a 2006 judgement by the Supreme Administrative Council demarcated recognized religions (Islam, Christianity, Judaism) and other religious beliefs ” other religious affiliations were prohibited which means they including Bahai’s are denied rights of citizenship in their country ” they cannot obtain ID cards, birth certificates, death certificates, marriage or divorce certificates, passports, they cannot be employed, educated, treated in public hospitals or vote!!!

 As far as religious freedoms go when it is forbidden for Muslims to convert from Islam to another religion Islam encourages conversions of non-Muslims to Islam. When the Vatican speaks of freedom of religion, equality of faiths ” the Vatican will not consider ever putting a non-Catholic structure inside the Vatican City ” where is the logic?

 Let’s look at the laws in some of these countries.

 In France and Belgium students in state schools and government workers cannot wear “conspicuous religious symbols” ” forbids Islamic headscarf, Sikh turban, large Christian crosses, Jewish yarmulke. Both countries ban people from publicly wearing full-face veils. France also forbids people from wearing any headgear in official identity document photos. The body covering burqa and face-covering niqabs in public was banned unanimously in France in April 2011 claiming 6.5million Muslims were not integrating into French society ” the fine is €150 ($215). Those that force others to cover their faces will be subject to a fine of €30,000 ($43,000) and a year in jail. Human Rights Watch claims that the burqa and niqab do not constitute a religious practices sanctioned or prescribed by Islam but is only a cultural practice. The new law was introduced because French voters are becoming worried that the Muslim minority is building a parallel society in France which was why France claims multiculturalism is a failure.

 Switzerland, Netherlands and other EU states are debating similar prohibitions.

 In some Swiss and German states Islamic dress restrictions exist for teachers.

 The restrictions that are rising across the world and especially Europe are due to 2 main reasons : historical and demographic. Western Europe has a history of monolithic state religion and secularism was included as a mere monoculture. No one can deny that Norway treats their official churches as vestigial organs and they would not give that same place to any other religion whatever demands are made. The other factor that the world is now beginning to take serious note of is the rise in the Muslim population which go hand in hand with Islam and visible rise in their anti-secular behaviors and actions drawing rise in public sentiments forcing Western European parliamentarians to review the prevailing situation.

 What goes without saying and as the European Court of Human Rights has rightly declared is that religious freedom is a right but not an absolute one. Where an individual’s religious observance impinges on the rights of others some restrictions have to be made. In Sri Lanka our Media refuse to highlight this aspect.

 In summary, a very interesting comment on a website by a Tamil Christian (using the name Lorenzo) is being shared to convey the above in very simple terms.

 Being a Tamil Christian, I believe Sri Lanka is a SINHALA BUDDHIST country.

 Let’s play a game.

 1. Show me where is Tamil Hindu country?

 Tamil Nadu. Good.

 2. Show me a English Anglican country?

 England. Good.

 3. Show me a Hindi Hindu country?

 India. Good.

 4. Show me an Islamic Arabic country?

 Saudi. Good.

 5. Now show me the Sinhala Buddhist country?


 It is now called Sri Lanka. Correct name Sinhela.

 Did God Jesus Christ visit Sri Lanka? NO.

 Did Prophet Mohammad visit Sri Lanka? NO.

 Did Krishna visit Sri Lanka? NO. (Rama did visit Sri Lanka but to destroy it.)

 Did Buddha visit Sri Lanka? Oh! Yes!

 So it is a Buddhist country. Sri Lanka is the ONLY country Buddha visited BY CHOICE. He was in Nepal/India so he had no choice there. But the moment he got a choice, where did he visit? Sri Lanka

 So this is why Sri Lanka is the Sinhala Buddhist country.

 But some foolish Sinhala Buddhists have out of GENEROSITY given up their claims. So all the cats and dogs have started to claim it as theirs.

 If you still don’t believe it let me explain from the Bible – Wise King Solomon.

 Once upon a time there was a very wise king by the name Solomon

 He was the king, army commander, the judge and the jury and the parliament. Somewhat like MR.

 One day 2 women came to him claiming ONE baby as theirs. 2 mothers, 1 baby!

 King asked, “Yako, whose son is this?”

 MINE! Screamed both women.

 Then the king asked, whose son is this?”

 MINE! Screamed both women.

 hmmmm…thought the wise king. He ordered a soldier to cut the baby into half and give each half to each woman. Then ONE woman came to the baby’s rescue and stopped the king. She begged to spare the baby.

 So the king found the OWNER of the baby!

 And he hacked the other FAKE woman to death.

 When Norway, UK, India, USA, UNHRC, LTTE, PLOTE, IPKF, Tamil MODA-RATES, etc. tried to CUT SL into halves, who came forward to defend it?

 Muslims? NO.

 Tamils? NO.

 Europeans? NO.

 (Well VERY few of them DID come forward UNDER the leadership of real owners).

 Sinhalese. YES. Like the REAL mother of that baby, Sinhalese came forward to defend their baby ” Sri Lanka

 That establishes who the REAL OWNER of Sri Lanka is.

 (I know we are not as wise as King Solomon, but we are enough intelligent to get it, aren’t we?)

Conservatives and the Supreme Court Justice of Canada

May 9th, 2014

Asoka Weerasinghe Kings Grove Crescent . Gloucester . Ontario . Canada

8 May 2014

Hon. John Baird, MP, Minister of Foreign Affairs 
Hon. Deepak Obhrai, MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs
Hon. Lynne Yelich, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs
House of Commons, Ottawa, Ontario:

Dear John, and Deepak and Lynne:

“Ouch!” I know…I know Canada. I know how difficult and embarrassing it is when your governing parties act like a bunch of goody-two-shoes, brazenly going after puny Sri Lanka with hockey sticks and baseball bats, when little Sri Lanka deals with their internal affairs to correct what they think is their right according to their Constitution, but our Canadian government disagrees and pokes its nose in Sri Lanka’s internal affairs. And the Sri Lankan populace hollers out at you, Canada, saying, “Canada, who the hell do you think you are, poking your nose into our internal affairs. Go and mind your own bloody business!”

And then one finds out that Canada does the same thing which they went after the puny Sri Lanka with hockey sticks and baseball bats and try to harass and beat up its Government to pulp. I know it places you Canada as an arrogant and a politically-vulgar, senior Commonwealth high school bully, who has lost its credibility with its policy dealing with Sri Lanka and in turn isolated you among other sane nations. All this embarrassment for the want of a Tamil vote in the Greater Toronto Area at the next federal elections.   Shish….not kosher, is it?

John, Deepak and Lynne, what’s all this then that I read in The Ottawa Citizen and the Ottawa Sun.“PM used intimidation, Mulcair says (May 6)”.  

NDP leader criticizes attack on chief justice.   The Conservative government faced accusations Monday of trying to intimidate Canada’s top judges, as whether a Supreme Court chief justice can talk to the government about judicial appointments spilled into the House of Commons.

“The attorney general’s job is to defend the integrity of the court system in our country, not to help the prime minister attack the chief justice,” continued Tom Mulcair in parliament.

John and Deepak and Lynne, remember how you all went after the Sri Lankan Government for impeaching Sri Lanka’s Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Shirani Bandaranayake not long ago.    Hmmmm…… interesting isn’t it! What a hilarious song and dance it was!    

 On the same page of The Ottawa Citizen, columnist Andrew Coyne says, “Harper’s reckless smear of Canada’s top judge. Watching the Harper government stumble from one needless controversy to another ” picking fights, settling scores, demeaning institutions and individuals alike in a pursuit of no discernible principle or even political gain ” one has had the distinct impression of a government, and a prime minister, spinning out of control.

“But with the prime minister’s astonishing personal attack last week on the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Beverly McLachlin, the meltdown has reached Lindsy Lohanesque proportion.”

All this, John, Deepak and Lynne, reduces you all to a laughing stock among the Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his Ministers. I can well imagine all of them telling under their breath, “So these are the uppity Canadians who keep telling us how to run our country. And not to impeach our Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, when the Government had reason to do so according to the Constitution of what transpired with her while in office. What a bunch of bullies and we couldn’t care a tuppence as to what they say. We don’t even care if they crawl on their knees to their Tamil constituents seeking their votes. We will get on with our lives and try to do the best for our peoples having eliminated the ‘Made in India’ terrorist curse, the Tamil Tigers, to bring about normalcy to their lives after the debilitating 30 year Tamil Separatist War.”

So there you are John and Deepak and Lynne.   It’s time that John retires his Tamil ‘thunai-lakadi-thantha-lakadi’- jig dancing sandals which he uses at every international forum  to perform his song and dance act kicking Sri Lanka.   And you Deepak should invest $5 on a map of Sri Lanka to find out the thousands of neutral spots to lay wreaths for the minority Tamils who died in the Eelam war, other than Elephant Pass which you thought was a neutral spot where the Tamil Tigers attacked the government army camp thrice and killed hundreds of Sinhalese soldiers from the majority community. And you, Lynne, be careful not to let NDPs Rathika Sitsabaeisan make you look a fool dragging you into her “I will bury Sri Lanka by hook or by crook” campaign and agenda. She certainly got you all working for her cause during her visit to Jaffna visiting Tamil Tiger terrorist supporters. I only hope that her NDP leader Tom Mulcair reined her in and rapped her knuckles for embarrassing him, his party, as well as Canada.


Asoka Weerasinghe

Hon Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa visits Sri Lanka High Commission in London

May 9th, 2014

High Commission of Sri Lanka London

The Hon Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa was in the UK to attend a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA). The Hon Speaker is the immediate Past President of the CPA.


The Hon Speaker was welcomed by High Commissioner Dr. Chris Nonis, to the Sri Lanka High Commission, during his stay in London.  The Hon Speaker commended the work carried out by the staff of the Mission for the Sri Lankan community, as well as the several Commonwealth related events held at the High Commission in recognition of His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapaksa assuming the Chair-in-Office of the Commonwealth.




Dr Chris Nonis, High Commissioner for Sri Lanka to the UK, meets Prime Minister of Pakistan, HE Nawaz Sharif, in London

May 9th, 2014

Sri Lanka High Commission London

DrCN with Pakistan PM

Sri Lankan High Commissioner to the UK, Dr Chris Nonis, met the Prime Minister of Pakistan, HE Nawaz Sharif, during his visit to London. Dr Nonis articulated the strong and longstanding friendship and  cooperation that exists between the two countries, and the value of the comprehensive bilateral Free Trade Agreement. HE Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif reaffirming his strong bond of friendship, spoke about his meeting with HE President Mahinda Rajapaksa during his visit to Sri Lanka for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting  2013, chaired by  President Rajapaksa.



US’s Indian Ocean bases and “Strategic Rebalancing Plan toward Asia and Pacific”(SRPAP)

May 8th, 2014

By Bandu de Silva

In my last article entitled “America’s Indian Ocean bases, US Geneva Resolution ,……..” published in your website I did not discuss the significant impact that US’s Strategic Rebalancing Plan toward Asia-Pacific (SRPAP) might have on the US bases in other parts of the Indian Ocean. I mean particularly, on the prospects of continuation of the massive US military base in Diego Garcia after the present lease of the atoll to US expires in 2016, though I referred to indication of US activities elsewhere in the Asia ”Pacific region since 2012 pointing out briefly that such a shift might have some effect. Though the future of Diego Garcia as such, did not figure in the discussions on the SRPAP what the rebalancing contained in the new strategy for Asia and Pacific could be expected to have some effect on the present concentration on Diego Garcia deserves to be looked into in some depth.

I have received some very useful feedbacks on that article pointing to inadequately discussed areas and others requiring emphasis requesting me to write further in elaboration. In this article I propose to deal more extensively as space permits, about the SRPAP and its prospective impact on the future of Diego Garcia base. As the SRPAP plan itself is still in its formative phase and constitutes a developing process which is expected to be continued under several administrations and is expected to take better shape by 2022, with little coming out of the strategic discussion so far, and no clear relationship to the existing bases in Diego Garcia have been indicated, some speculation creeping in to the present discussion has to be expected.

If, in the past, development of bases at Diego Garcia received priority under previous US administrations from the time of the heightened cold war between Super Powers, with the base later serving its maxim use during the Presidency of George Bush in America’s offensives in Iraq and Afghanistan, and again, after the decisions taken against global terrorism following 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, the Obama administration which was reeling under the economic down-turn, the US could be looking for alternatives which would put American forces abroad at highest point of efficiency without additional investment. This is not so with regard to the US 7th Fleet which has been operating in Asia and Pacific, the continuation of which the sheet anchor of US naval defence, has been declared, will proceed without any reduction of its capacity whatever may the economic circumstances. The 7th Fleet will continue to be the bedrock on which the SRPAP would finally rest.  

SRPAP and LCS Programme  

The origin of SRPAP, though can be traced to 2010, it began to be activated only in 2012. As explained by the former Defence Secretary, Leon Panetta, stated at the US-Asia Security Summit held in June 2012. (Shangri-la Dialogue), it essentially lays emphasis on “modernization strengthening US’s alliances and partnerships in the Asia-Pacific region.” US would not only enhance its relationship with traditional allies such as Japan, South Korea, Australia, Philippines and Thailand, but also with its regional friends like India, Singapore, New Zealand, Indonesia and Vietnam.

The LCS (Littoral Combatant Ships or Advance Defence Battleships) of which 16 ships were earlier poised ready to speedily move into any crisis area for engagement, is now extended to Singapore under the present SRPAP programme. That moves the operation area from the Pacific and South China Sea to the Indian Ocean. In this context, recent attempts to engage Maldives in a security cooperation arrangement with the establishment of a military base in the atolls, as well the distant prospects of military cooperation with Sri Lanka once the US’s present issues with the island are settled, can be seen as prospects which the US has in mind to advance the SRPAP plan. The plan to rope in Maldives has met with a reverse presently and the prospects of bringing Sri Lanka into the vortex remains a long term idea subject to a number of ‘ifs’ but not lost altogether as Biswal’s remarks indicate. The biggest if is the Indian factor. It depends on whether or not, the present level of security cooperation between US and India which seems to be confined to a few areas, with more emphasis on naval cooperation, where India is seen operating beyond its territorial limits, could be raised to meet the US objectives under SRPAP.

India is presently named only as a ‘friendly country’ along with Singapore and New Zealand to include which the SRPAP programme could be expanded ” it is still an evolving plan ” and if present indications are a guide, when the SRPAP is fully developed, US could be seen aspiring to become a partner in supporting India’s own security plan in which US has been seeking a share but has not made full progress due to India’s mixed political responses. With the depletion of US armed forces, India with her young population, is even being viewed according to the current discussion as a potential manpower source for its armed/naval sources.    

From India’s point of view, Singapore is a friendly country and some understanding exists between them in naval cooperation with regard to the security of the Straits of Malacca.

Theoretically speaking, despite the expectations in Indo-US military cooperation from the time of the “Agreed Minute of Defence Relations of 1995 and the manifestations during President George Bush’s visit to India in 2001 when he spoke at the National Defence University of India on the National Missile Defence Programme, US-Indian military cooperation has not seen the rapid progress anticipated as far as public manifestations are concerned, but according to defence analysts significant new dimensions have arisen in the relationship.

Other security measures taking place under the projected SRPAP plan are the US marines rotational deployment to Darwin which commenced in 2012 and greater access to ports in that region, as I pointed out in my previous article.  

It would seem from the way the discussion is progressing that use of drones for reconnaissance as well as offensive purposes could be a major element as SRPAP programme matures and takes full shape in the next decade. The initial steps in this direction which emerged from the dialogue between the US and the former Labour government of Australaia were seen in cooperation with Australia as discussed in the last article.    

In the principle laying emphasis on “modernization strengthening US’s alliances and partnerships in the Asia-Pacific region” under SRPAP, one can recognise the idea of economy creeping in and of sharing the burden of security of the region with other participant countries. It is here one can also recognise the thought of advisability and cost of maintaining isolated high-cost bases like Diego Garcia coming up, though not specifically pronounced. .    

India’s Own Security Plan

        India’s security plan as the bottom of it concerns arising from the presence of two powers which she considers adversarial, both equipped with nuclear power. That is Pakistan with whom India has fought three wars across the border and mightier China with which she fought a single war with disastrous consequences. India’s relations with China have undergone substantial improvement at political and diplomatic level but the border issue still remains a source of concern to India.      

        Consequently, India is seen expanding her defence capacity, though avowedly not directed against any country. The defence budget of US $ 30 billion in fiscal year ending 31 March 2010, saw a 70 per cent increase from what it was five years earlier. This development can be seen in a parallel context to the growth of the defence budget in China in the new millennium which saw an increase from US $ 12.9 billion in 1999 to US $ 114.3 billion 1n 2013.    

        . If President Bush’s lecture at the National Defence University in India on US National Missile Defence Shield plan did not catch on in India, the county developed its own missile shield defence system and placed it over the Himalayas. (This type of missiles were later sold to Vietnam which aroused further controversy with China. This programme of missile shield has been progressing well so much so that I wrote my last article India was seen successfully test-firing its advanced ballistic missile which has placed India as the third country after US and Russia to possess missiles capable of intercepting missiles fired at Indian targets at higher atmospheric levels as well as at lower level.

India’s security plan has also taken other directions too. Following the old Kautilyan principles, India has been developing a programme of security relationships with China’s other neighbours stressing attention on countries with which China has disturbed relationship. India’s Defence Agreement with Vietnam which was seen as a prelude to selling weapons to Hanoi, which included advance helicopters and providing spares to Hanoi’s aging Mig fighters – , while Vietnam offered training to India in jungle warfare and counter-insurgency operations, and coast guard cooperation in combatting piracy- stands out among them as going beyond India’s declared intention of safeguarding her maritime and economic interests in the South China Sea region, arising from India’s State Corporation’s participation with Vietnam in prospecting for oil in the disputed sea.

A further development seen in India’s own security plan associated with her Navy’s Look-East Policy, her role in guarding the Strait of Malacca, a project nicknamed ‘Malacca Dilemma’, a project which could cause severe problems to China’s oil supply lanes, a close military relationship is already in place with Singapore.

As briefly mentioned earlier, India economic interests have expanded to cooperation with Vietnam and has been fortified by a Defence Agreement. This Defence Agreement with Vietnam brings India into a direct confrontation with China with whom she has border disputes in the North-East. Though the economic interest is being emphasized, one cannot overlook this Indian intervention in South China Sea region so innocently without any ramifications on India’s other issues with China. That India is looking for pressure points to get China ease on the border conflict issue could also be seen from her developing military collaboration with Japan and Mongolia.

India’s military cooperation with Mongolia was formalized with the Agreement was signed in 2011 on defence cooperation between the two countries. Though the level of cooperation is presently confined to conducting joint exercises and exchanges of high level military officers, thje more important element is India’s plans to expand and upgrade ‘listening posts’ in Mongolia erected in 2004. The Cooperation Protocol between the Department of Space of Mongolia and military infrastructure of India under which India is believed to be considering the establishing Early warning Radar (EW) at undisclosed locations in Mongolia with capacity to monitoring Chinese missile tests in the vast surrounding desert region as well as Beijing’s expanding space programme.  

        India’s military cooperation Japan, with whom China has territorial issues over the Diyogu (Senkaku) island the administration of which US passed on to Japan when the Peace Agreement was signed, cannot be understood as a mere formality. Naval cooperation in the form of reciprocal visits by high ranking naval officers and joint exercises between the two navies have been a common feature. Looked at in the context of recent more confrontational presence by Japanese naval and air force in the disputed island of Diyogu (Senkaku) can be seen as a fallout of developments following SRPAP/LCS projects and the parallel political encouragement given to Japan during the visit of former Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, Indo-Japan cooperation in naval defence takes on an added dimension. Even at present a Japanese delegation of law makers led by former Japanese Foreign Minister Komura and deputy President of the ruling LDP is now visiting Beijing ostensibly to tone down the level of escalation of the conflict over Diyogu (Senkaku ) island which has assumed conflict proportions recently in view of Japanese retaliation with naval and air power.

        Here India in her growing relations with China’s Asian neighbours was seen going beyond declared purpose of protecting her maritime and economic interests, which was the reason quoted for her developing economic and military cooperation with Vietnam. India’s entry into the   South China Sea region as well as developing military relations with China’s other neighbours could be seen as India developing her own counter strategic policy toward China in military terms.

Biswal on Future Military cooperation with Sri Lanka

US Assistant Secretary Ms.Biswal’s very recent reference (Ceylon Today, 18/4/2014) at her address to the Harvard Forum need not be by-passed as one made to suit a critical audience. There has been some noises within Senate circles especially about the way the present administration is going about managing relations with Sri Lanka, a country with which US ought to develop a friendly and positive relationship in view of the islands’ strategic importance. Biswal was actually drawing from President Obama’s and Defence Secretary Kerry’s observations on new emphasis on relations with Asia -Pacific in which context her remark at the Harvard Forum about prospects of developing future military cooperation with Sri Lanka was made. It could be seen, as I observed in my last article, as falling into the pattern of thinking under the new development in shifting US strategic rebalancing policy toward Asia-Pacific even though the parametres of future military cooperation with the island state have not been made clear.

If one were to start from where things started and abruptly ended under President J.R.Jayewardene’s administration, one can be inclined to think that any resumption of military cooperation, besides resumption of military supplies, could centre more naval cooperation. Such naval cooperation also dominates US’s military cooperation with India. This is not because Sri Lankan navy has the infrastructure and any build up or capabilities comparable to what the Indian navy has, which is now seen engaging in any operations even beyond the territorial waters and providing escort services to commercial shipping from the Arabian Sea to Strait of Malacca during time of crisis, providing protection against Somali pirates in the East Indian Ocean and ready to intervene in the South China Sea region to protect India’s maritime and economic interests, but because, Sri Lanka, with its strategic harbor Trincomalee and her equally overall strategic position in the Indian Ocean through which world’s shipping routes carrying vital oil supplies to industrialised and other nations traverse, could provide an ideal strategic locality to monitor shipping on the sea lanes and even provide an ideal location for the future deployment of US’s Littoral Combatant Ships (LCS), like the one that US has now worked out with Singapore.

The prospect of US developing naval cooperation over the use of Trincomalee harbor by the US navy opened up during President J.R.Jayewardene’s administration when there was a reversal of policy followed by Mrs.Banadaranaike’s government over the use of Sri Lankan ports by foreign navies. It started with the Trincomalee harbor being opened for US marines for R & R purposes which India, under Mrs Indira Gandhi suspected might develop into a regular pattern and open up even greater military/naval cooperation between US and Sri Lanka. It was at this point that India intervened with her clandestine programme to support cross-border terrorism in Sri Lanka which finally led to the 30 year old internal war. But despite these intervening situations, Sri Lanka has never ceased to be in US radar. (It might be of interest to note that after September 11 terrorist attack in New York and declaration by US of war against international terrorism (Operation Enduring Freedom), India permitted US navy to use Indian port facilities for R & R purposes.) Up to that time, under Mrs.Bandaranaike’s avowed adherence to NAM and leadership in the IOPZ project, there was nothing for India to fear about Sri Lanka moving in any other direction which would cause concern to India. Mrs Bandaranaike’s position in the Sino-Indian border dispute was well understood though India would have liked Sri Lanka to support her position. President Jayewardene’s administration, with its western orientation and declared pro-US bias in foreign policy, made the difference for India to react.  

Since after the Rajiv-Jayewardene Accord of July 1987 and Letters Exchanged under it, India is now in virtual control of the situation over Trincomalee which is central to any security issue connected with Sri Lanka, I argued that any future US interest in Sri Lanka/ Trincomalle has to be worked out as a joint Indo-US security plan for the region. To this it could be added that India acquiring economic interests in the Tincomalee oil tanks and Sampur Coal Power Project, as reasons that could be adduced for Indian naval interest in Trincomalee to safeguard India’s economic interests. That is the argument that the Indian Naval Chief presented over the dispute with China over Indian state owned Oil and Gas Corporation(ONGC0) having stakes in Oil and gas exploration in the disputed South China Sea region.

Assistant Secretary Biswal’s expectation about future prospects of development of military cooperation between US and Sri Lanka then has to take these historical realities into consideration. However, in the combined US-India perception of China as adversary with military aggressiveness towards her neighbours and more precisely, in the so called “String of Pearls,” in building of which China is being accused of, which focuses on ‘encirclement’ of India, one could see prospects of working toward such a development that Biswal envisaged. Such a development calls for bringing Sri Lanka into the security vortex to be developed between US and India which the present LCS programme envisages. Such a proposition is not without its difficulties, however, both from a geo-political and security angle as well as complex political perceptions in Indian circles. Basically, it would centre around if India would be prepared to barter her hold on Sri Lanka, especially, the Trincomalee harbor even to her ally US to gain a foothold.    

Present political alignments in Sri Lanka in Sino-Sri Lankan relations may also not be conducive to such a pro- Indo-US future plan. China herself realises the forces at work and is doing her best to keep the present climate of good relations with Sri Lanka moving. In this context one could understand why so much pressure is being exerted on Sri Lanka at this time, which some see as an attempt to bring about a regime change to install a pro-Indo-US regime in the island. It is in this growing bi-lateral cooperation between China and Sri Lanka that US sees the prospects building up the ant-China front in India. The so called ‘String of Pearls’ concept in which the recently completed Hambantota harbor is the most recent ‘pearl,’ is presented as encircling India. The closer the Sino-Sri Lanka relations develop, it would provide grist to the mill working toward a US-India axis over China.

China’s Response

        China’s Response to SRPAP and LCS programme as well as to that of India’s East-ward policy on the one hand and the hostile attitudes by Japan and others over disputed territorial issues in East China Sea and South China Sea, cannot be missed, however. This response has taken two directions. One is China trying to develop its own diplomatic offensive and defence cooperation programaes with US’s traditional allies like Japan and Australia, and US- friendly countries like India and Singapore, Mongolia and even Vietnam through high level exchanges of military officials, training for Singapore army. Even with India, the defence dialogue continues as seen from high level exchanges of visits of military officials, participation in joint naval exercises. The level of the dialogue of cooperation between China and India is much higher than anything that has taken place between China and Sri lanka except for the supply of Chinese armaments to Sri Lanka.

China has endeavoured to present her defence expenditure programme as being not intended as a threat to her neighbours but to protect her sovereignty and territorial integrity as a country with a long land border and a long sea front to defend.

The other direction of Chinese response is the expansion of her defence budget after the announcement of the plan for Security rebalancing in Asia and Pacific region. Western analysts see the increase in China’s defence budget in 2013 by 11.3 percent over that of the previous as a direct response to US’s SRPAP and associated developments in the region. This is arguable, however, as percentage increases of this magnitude is not a novel feature in the Chines defence budget.    

In Conclusion

        To return to the main issue of concentration in this article, the future of US bases in Diego Garcia in the context of US strategic rebalancing toward Asia-Pacific, the subject has not figured precisely in the discussion so far. One could only imply from circumstantial factors like the disappearance of the competition from former Soviet Union which itself was making a bid to build up bases round the Indian Ocean, the declining importance of the Middle East where the military balance has been secured in favour of US and Western interests though leaving these countries like Iraq, Sudan, Libya in worst disarray internally, (only Syria where the situation has got complicated remains to be settled), and with US’s declared plan to withdraw troops from Afghanistan by this year, where the bases in Diego Garcia played their pivotal role, the maintenance of these bases at the cost of heavy expenditure and with prospects of international opinion once again rising against them, that the prospects of a shift of emphasis from the atolls in the southern part of the Indian Ocean to Asia-Pacific region cannot be ruled out. In geo-political terms, it could be understood as a ‘China-centred’ concentration of strategic balance that US is now working on, viewing China as a potential adversary who could rise to challenge US’s predominant military role in the world. What it means is that US wants to remain the sole super power exerting direct and hegemonic control of global power. There are many who disagree with the US perception which in the final analysis, is running opposite to her declared objective of creating conditions for global peace.        


Remaking Law through use of Buddhist Jurisprudence

May 8th, 2014

by Senaka Weeraratna

In the pre ” colonial era, Asia had a number of highly successful civilizations that are the subject even today of intense academic discussion. They were based in India (Chola, Pandya, Chera, Pallava), Sri Lanka (Sinhala Buddhist), China(Sui, Tang, Ming, Song, Mongol Empire also called Yuan, and Qing dynasty), Korea (Goryeo), Tibet (Vajirayana Buddhist), Japan (Kamakura, Edo), Vietnam (L½ and Trần Dynasties), South East Asia (Champa, Anghor Cambodia, Pagan Burma, and Dvaravati, Sukhothai, Ayutthaya Kingdoms of Thailand) and Sri Vijaya, Sailendra, Mataram and Majaphai Kingdoms of Indonesia, among others.

Civilizations display intricate cultures, including literature, professional art, architecture, organized religion, complex customs associated with the elite and effective legal systems. Without a supporting legal system it is not possible to achieve a successful civilization. Asian civilizations produced enviable systems of jurisprudence that lasted over millennia and were heavily influenced by either Hinduism (e.g. laws of Manu) or Buddhism (e.g. Vinaya Code) or a combination of both schools of thought and Confucian thinking.

With the entry of European influence beginning from the 15th century into Asia, the economies of Asian countries began to collapse under the weight of aggressive foreign colonial expansion leading to the marginalization of Eastern wisdom and jurisprudence and its gradual replacement by European influenced laws and legal systems ( Roman ”Dutch law, Anglo ” American laws, German Civil Code and the French Code Napol©on).

Darkness fell on Asian legal systems running for over a couple of centuries during colonial rule and modern day legal education in Asia being more or less exclusively in the hands of closed minds trained in Western capitals it was unfashionable to think outside the box or even to suggest that our forebears and ancestors were legally smart and astute people with highly developed forensic skills and judicial and philosophical temperament replete with compassion, decisiveness and equity.

Imitating Western legal traditions and getting accepted by the Occident paid far more dividend than trying to discover your local jurisprudential roots lying buried in the distant past. It needs brave souls to go against the grain of received wisdom and say enough is enough. There is also another important pragmatic reason from a western point of view. As Professor David Loysays:

“In an increasingly globalized world it is important that our ( i.e. Anglo ” American) jurisprudence be no longer tied exclusively to a European worldview that is somehow dated but should instead be informed by the best that other cultures have developed. Among the best are the sophisticated religious and philosophical traditions of South Asia and East Asia”

Conference on Buddhist Jurisprudence in Sri Lanka 2014

In such context it is heartening to note that a band of Sri Lankan lawyers led by Mr. Prasantha Lal de Alwis, PC and Mr. Manohara de Silva, PC have embarked upon a pioneering mission namely to discover our laws and ancient legal systems based on Buddhist Jurisprudence and then strive to influence and enrich both domestic and international law with Buddhist legal concepts.

They have proceeded to organize with the support of the Lakshman Kadiragamar Center for International Relations and Strategic Studies (LKCIRSS) a two day Conference entitled “UNIVERSALIZING BUDDHIST JURISPRUDENCE” which will be held at the Lakshman Kadiragamar Center on May 10 and 11th  2014.

The keynote speaker at the Conference will be the Chief Justice of Bhutan Lyonpo Sonam Tobgye.

The Programme which is attached covers a number of branches of the law ranging from Constitutional Law and Human Rights, Criminal Law, Family Law / Environmental Law, International Law / Theology and Commercial Law. Though much of the focus will be on remaking law to make the world a better place for humans, neither the environment nor its non ” human living creatures have been overlooked. The Buddhist moral community includes all living beings and they are all entitled to be protected by laws enacted and influenced by Buddhist jurisprudence.

In the Cakkavatti Sihanada Sutta (Digha Nikaya of the Sutta Pitaka) the Buddha in spelling out the duties of an ideal ruler i.e. Cakkavatti King (man of virtue and righteousness inspired by Buddhist vision and ethics e.g. Metta, Karuna, Muditha and Upekkha), declared:

“The Cakkavatti King (Righteous King) will give protection, shelter and ward both to the different classes of human beings, and also to birds and beasts”.

Senaka Weeraratna

Attorney ” at ” Law

LL.B. (University of Sri Lanka), and Master of Laws (Monash University, Australia).

Diploma (Buddhist Studies) and Master of Arts (Buddhist Studies) from the Post ” Graduate Institute of Pali and Buddhist Studies, University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka.

Protect Sinhala Buddhism from the educated”III

May 8th, 2014

By Nalin de Silva Courtesy Island

Varigapurnikava has not been published in its entirety or what is remaining of it, but only some extracts of it by Ven. Manewe Vimalarathana Thero. Also when I mentioned that Varigapurnikava believed in Abhidhamma what was intended to say was that Varigapurnikava believes that Abhidhamma was taught by Budunvahanse, as there are some schools of thought such as Sauthranthikas that do not believe in Abhidhamma as one of the pitakas (baskets). What is interesting is that according to Varigapurnikava Abhidhamma had been first (and probably last time as well, if considered as a Pitaka) taught to Arhant Rathnavali Therin in Sri Lanka. I do not want to go into details regarding Arhant Rathnavali Therin but according to Varigapurnikava she had been the mother of Mahapali apparently identified as Kuveni by the Mahavamsa, and Ruvanveliseya had been named after her. Interested readers may refer to the two books published by Ven. Vimalarathana Thero based on Varigapurnikava. However, Varigapurnikava does not mention how much of the Abhidhamma Pitaka as known at present was taught to Arhant Rathnavali Therin, but it could be another Sutta by Budunvahanse, later developed into a Pitaka on its own right by some Bhikkus, who were probably students of Arhant Sariyuth Thero. It should be mentioned that some Suttas contain briefly what is included in the Abhidhamma Pitaka and this whole narrative on Abhidhamma needs a careful study.


In any event what is clear is that as far as Buddha Sasana is concerned there are at least two narratives one given by Mahavamsa and the other as stated in Varigapurnikava. As mentioned in the last installment, Varigapurnikava gives the Hela Buddhism and Mahavamsa depicts the Sinhala Buddhism with Sinhala Buddhism taking the upper hand after King Mahasen. It is interesting to note that after Mahasen, Abhayagiriya or Jethavanaya had not enjoyed much Royal patronage.

When Physics is not objective, one cannot expect History to be objective, and what is clear is that Mahavamsa records the history of the winners. It appears that Hela Buddhism had been non violent, and though some Yakshas (Yagu Kauranas according to Varigapurnikava) did not become Buddhists, there was no hostility by them against Bududahama unlike in Bharat. It is also clear that in a hostile surrounding a strictly non violent culture cannot survive, and Ashokan Buddhism could not afford to be hundred percent non violent. Whether we like or not almost all cultures that have survived have been militant at least to some extent, though they may have preached loving thy neighbour in their texts and sermons. If one thinks that the English culture at present, forget its past since Hastings days of 1066 or round about, is non militant then one is in a deep slumber.

The English culture has trapped us with the help of not only weapons but also knowledge. The professional jealousies that make the western medical practitioners taking up “arms” against nurses being given a training in midwifery, the allied health service students in the universities getting a four year training, the Sinhala “praramparika” physicians being supplied with facilities to cure the kidney patients, are only a few examples in compartmentalizing knowledge and some people being issued with ‘certificates” to engage in certain work. I wonder had the “sisters” continued to work as nurses and had they wanted training in midwifery, whether the western “doctors” would have objected to it. This is finally a question of power where what has to be decided is who carries out the work as dictated by the western powers. This is not confined to western medicine but western engineering, teaching including university teaching etc., are also poisoned with compartmentalization of knowledge. The so-called professionals and not the politicians are powerful in many areas and very often the ministers become helpless though the public knows only to blame the politicians.

The educated Sinhala Buddhists who are products of western education are conditioned to think that Sinhala Buddhists are non militant pious people who should be confined to live according to the teachings of Budunvahanse. The Bhikkus according to these educated Buddhists should follow the “Vinaya Pitaka” strictly and should not engage in politics. Some so-called scholars would teach Bududahama to the Sinhala Buddhists and tell them that “war” is not for the Buddhists whether Sinhala or otherwise. In effect, the westerners and their henchmen and henchwomen want the Sinhala Buddhists to be non militant.

As non militant cultures cannot survive when almost all other cultures are militant in one way or the other what these Samaritans who preach Sinhala Buddhists is the extinction of Sinhala Buddhism. The Sinhala Buddhism was militant in the past and it could be that their first victory was over the Hela Buddhism around the fifth sixth centuries. It appears that Hela Buddhism was not as militant as Sinhala Buddhism, and probably it was the cause of its downfall. In any event when different sects of Hinayana had been wiped out from the surface of the earth, the survival of Sinhala Buddhism in Sri Lanka for so long could also be due to its militant nature introduced by the Sinhala Buddhists of yesteryears.

If not for that militancy Sinhala Buddhism would have been wiped out, too, especially in the face of conquerors from Chola and Kalinga. It cannot be said that the Bhikkus of Sinhala Buddhism were the most pious people who lived on this earth, and the educated who want to confine the Bhikkus to pansukula, pirith and dana want to see the downfall of Sinhala Buddhism on the instructions they have got from the English very often indirectly. Though I do not agree with Dhammvada and Kshanavada as they stem from Athmavada, it has to be stated that the other reason for survival of Sinhala Buddhism was the introduction of these two vadas or pravadas or theories as the educated even in the third fourth fifth centuries would have wanted some kind of Athmavada to project their images. However, Dhammavada and Kshanavada could not stand up to the criticism by Ven. Nagarjunapada and in Andra Pradesh the other forte of Theravada Buddhism in the fourth fifth centuries, and it was gradually driven out.

In Sri Lanka Sinhala Buddhism (Theravada Buddhism) survived due to militancy of Mahavira Bhikkus, who eradicated any challenges from Hela Buddhism or any other sect by translating the texts to Pali and destroying the Hela Atuvas and other books on Hela Bududahama, confining Bedudahama to Sinhala Bududahama. I am not particularly bothered by this incident as if this step was not taken no form of Bududahama or Buddhist culture would have survived in Sri Lanka. In Andra Pradesh and other areas in ancient Bharat no form of Buddhism including Mahayana versions could survive especially after the challenge of Sankaracharya in the sixth century. Sankaracharya was able to turn Ven. Nagarjunapada upside down by turning Sunyathava to a Nirgun Brahman through his Advaitha Vedantha. If the Mahvihara Bhikkus had not taken the militant step of having a totalitarian attitude towards Bududahama, and if the texts were not translated to Pali, various interpretations could have been given to them as anybody who could understand Sinhala would have tried to give his two cents (or kahavanu) worth opinion, and Sri Lanka could have ended up as a Hindu country under the influence of Sankaracharya.

(To be continued)


May 8th, 2014

Dr. Tilak Fernando

(Nicky Karunarathna exposures – continuation from 77)


Nicky Karunarathna had somehow persuaded Ven. Muruttetuwe Ananda thera and obtained permission to use his temple, Abayarama of Narahenpita, to convene a meeting and managed to get as many participants as possible to attend the gathering. Few monks, many Buddhists and prominent leaders in the society had attended the assembly on the following day at 11.00 am in the presence of Ven. Sobitha thera of Naga Vihara, Kotte.

“Dinesh Gunawardena was the only politico with some gusto out of all the political leaders who attended the meeting! At the time SLFP was totally against the setting up of Provincial Councils and signing of the Indo-Lanka Pact. They were somewhat disorganised at the time with Mrs. Bandaranaike’s civic rights being taken away”.


Initial meeting

Undaunted by perturbations and handicaps, Nicky Karunarathna had addressed the gathering emphasising on the fact that an establishment of a Sangha Sabha was vitally important to denounce the government’s move as well as to condemn its leadership for their attempt to divide the country with the help of the Indian leader! In his speech, Nicky had reiterated that the Sinhala race was renowned for fighting a worthy cause and had never allowed the nation to go down!

“The gathering accepted and endorsed my (Nicky) statement with one voice and gave their whole hearted support to me, but they were puzzled with the idea as to how we could find a Buddhist temple to convene the Sangha Sabha meeting”.

Unperturbed by various discouraging comments that surfaced during the initial summit to the effect that it would be an arduous task to find a Buddhist monk who would render his premises to this cause, the responsibility and the challenge to find a suitable venue had fallen upon Nicky’s shoulders! Therefore, when he walked out of the first ever meeting held at Abayarama in the morning, he had announced that a second meeting would be held in the evening at 18.00 hrs on the same day.

Old friend

In his next move he had approached an old friend, Nanda Amarasinghe, who hailed from an illustrious family and had been a wealthy businessman (Managing Director of Rupee Finance Company). He lived in a spacious residence at Gregory’s Road, Colombo7, with a massive garden space extending up to one acre!

Nanda Amarasinghe’s resolute Sinhala/Buddhist pedigree lineage had made him the Treasurer of the Maha Bodhi Sangamaya at Maligakanda Agrashravaka Mahaviharaya where Gamini Jayasuriya, a Cabinet Minister of JR Jayewardene Government, was the President at the time.

Nanda Amarasinghe’s advice to Nicky had been to obtain Gamini Jayasuiriya’s consent first to use the Maligakanda premises to convene a Sangha Sabha meeting. However, when they approached the Minister, they found even Gamini Jayasuriya was dead against the signing of the Indo-Lanka Pact and to their delight permission was granted to go ahead with Nicky’s program but with one condition – Nicky had to consult Ven. Madihe Pannasiha Maha thera prior to doing anything!

Nanda Amarasinghe and Nicky finally met up with Ven. Madihe Pannasiha thera at Maharagama, as instructed. To their glee, even the venerable was in full agreement with the issue and had promised to get many monks from rural areas too. Having said so, the venerable had immediately telephoned the Asgiriya Maha Nayaka thera and requested his holiness to preside over the Sangha Sabha.

Nicky by then was exultant when his plans started to fall into place one by one, yet he still had to return to Kelaniya Pirivena to elaborate on the developments and future plans to Velamitiyawe Kusala Damma thera about the Asgiriya Mahanayake thera’s decision to preside over the meeting with Ven. Madihe Pannasiha in attendance.

Venerable Velamitiyawe Kusala Damma thera gave Nicky permission to use the premises with an added bonus of providing accommodations to monks who were to arrive from outstations to reside at Kelaniya Pirivena as long as Nicky looked after their welfare, Dana etc. It was an ‘ideal location’ as far as accommodation was concerned as many monks who arrived from all over the rural areas needed to be accommodated somewhere in Colombo.

Sole planner and implementer

Nicky drives a point loud and clear with pride by stating: “I was the sole planner, implementer and the Chief organiser of the event and others were mere travellers in this journey as each and every one was dead scared of the then JRJ/Premadasa regime”.

On the same evening at a second meeting at Abayarama at Narahenpita where most of the participants who attended the morning had flocked together, including Dinesh Gunawardena, Nicky Karunarathna had disclosed how he managed to get two most prominent and suitable venues, instead of one, to hold the Sangha Sabha meeting with the facility of accommodating more than ten thousand Buddhist monks arriving from all over the country. Finally it was agreed that ‘the Sangha Sabha would be held at the Kelaniya Vidyalankara Pirivena, presided over by Asgiriya Maha Nayaka thera, with Ven. Madihe Pannasiha thera in attendance’.

The final arrangement was to stage a protest rally on the following day starting from the Maligakanda Pirivena up to Pettah Bodhi tree and to stage a sit-in campaign there after the Sangha Sabha convention denounced the Indo Lanka Pact. In their next move all outstation temples were contacted and informed the monks that ‘everything was in order, including accommodation’ when they arrived in Colombo.

While all these were taking place in the ‘quiet’, JRJ regime wasn’t aware of an impending mammoth Sangha Sabha was being organised. Nicky’s next move had to been to seek assistance of a friend named Leelananda, a billionaire businessmen who had only a daughter residing at Norris Canal Road, Colombo in a large house.

Sangha Sabha

Leelananda’s father-in-law was one of the prosperous and largest rice traders in the country with rice mills in Anuradhapura. Leelananda’s philanthropy extended in supplying most of the rice required for two places, namely, Maligakanda and Kelaniya Pirivena. Likewise most of the mercantile companies provided soft drinks, biscuits, vegetables and other refreshments to feed a large crowd.

The greatest historical Sangha Sabha in the history of Sri Lanka to denounce a regime as ‘Traitors of the Nation’ against a Provincial Council Bill took place as scheduled with over 10,000 monks, and in excess of 15,000 general public gathering at Kelaniya Vidyalankara Pirivena, chock a blocking the place and spilling over to the main Kandy road.

Ven Asgiriya Maha Nayaka thera presided over the meeting while Ven. Madihe Pannasiha in attendance with Welimetiyawe Kusala Dhamma thera and many more distinguished monks from all over the country were in the audience. When the meeting was in progress and the crowd was spilling over to the Kandy Road, Douglas Peiris, (believed to be the Kelaniya Police HQI at the time) had arrived on the scene with a huge platoon and gone straight up to the monks to find out who the chief organiser was – needless to say the cat was let out of the bag! According to Nicky, “Douglas Peiris and he knew each other quite well. So, the HQI had taken a step back and allowed Nicky to carry on stating that he ( HQI) had to control the crowd as not to spill over to the Kandy Road! The only politician, Nicky Karunarathna says, in attendance had been Dinesh Gunawardena, but to his surprise Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike and Anura Bandaranaike too had visited with some of the SLFP hierarchy, quite unexpectedly to thank Nicky personally for being brave in taking such bold and responsible stand single handed. 

Signs of a disruption

Just prior to the conclusion of the Sangha Sabha, some of the young monks who had gathered there had started to agitate creating somewhat of a commotion. ‘Most of those young monks were JVP affiliated’, which Nicky subsequently learnt from Bengamuwe Nalaka thera. Their intention had been to start the rally, there and then, and march up to Colombo and disrupt the entire traffic flow to which Nicky vehemently had opposed. All the Nayake theras too had approved of what Nicky had planned for the following day as the only means to achieve results.

Ven Asgiriya Maha Nayaka thera made an appeal to the young monks and warned them against indulging in any haphazard activity, or to disrupt the plan right at that very moment and to take instructions only from Nicky. Unfortunately despite such soothing advice from the Maha Nayake theras persuasion of the rebel monks had been a problem in such a volatile environment. Nicky Karunarathna had smelt a rat and in his mind the young monks were going to highjack the event and but he knew exactly what to do.

Next week: (79) Pandemonium that followed the Indo Lanka Pact 

I am a Sri Lankan Muslim Pragmatist

May 7th, 2014

Bisthan Batcha

May 2014

Many articles and papers have been written over the past year or so by various Commentators attempting to offer an analysis of the sudden emergence of stridently anti-Muslim Groups in Sri Lanka. The conceptual framework which underlies most of these analyses is based on the postulate that the Cause of the ‘Muslim Problems’ is the emergence of these Groups. This amounts to a convenient externalization of the solution to the Muslim problem, which simply put would then be to ‘Ban the Racist Buddhist Groups’. But silencing the voice of Racist Groups through legal procedures does not mean that the various allegations made by such groups against the Muslim Community have been proved to be null and void. If these allegations are not addressed effectively, they will continue to fester, to grow in intensity and extent and will almost certainly surface again in a far more violent form some time in the future.

I am of the view that, far from being the Cause of the Muslim Problems, the emergence of anti-Muslim Groups is actually a Symptom (or Effect) of the Problem. To identify the possible Causes of the Muslim Problems, the minority Muslim Community must start looking within themselves, conduct an ‘Introspective Analysis’ of their Islamic Way-of-Living in the context of a Non-Muslim Majority Nation.
The big question then is : Did the Muslim Community, by their words & deeds, create the space necessary for the emergence of the various anti-Muslim Groups over the past few years ? For instance, it is alleged by the anti-Muslim Groups that Muslim Extremists are rapidly gaining a foot-hold in Sri Lanka. Who is responsible for the creation of this perception among the Non-Muslims ? Could the fact that, of the 4 major Religious Groups in Sri Lanka, intra-religious violence has erupted ONLY within the Muslim Community have contributed towards the shaping of this particular view-point ? Have there been any ‘Buddhist versus Buddhist’, ‘Christian versus Christian’ or ‘Hindu versus Hindu’ violence of a similar intensity during the past 30 ” 40 years ?  Some Muslims are disdainful of such perceptions, but one should bear in mind that Perceptions are more important than Reality in moulding public opinion.
We are Sri Lankan Muslims ” a unique ethnic group found only on this Island. Our lives and life-styles are inextricably linked to that of the other 90% of Sri Lankans. We cannot expect to live in harmony with other Communities if we choose to build ‘walls’ around our Community. Over the centuries we have evolved a somewhat liberal outlook, but have not strayed away from the basic tenets of Islam. Our life-styles have emerged as being compatible with the more secular lifestyles of Muslim Countries such as Turkey and Malaysia / Indonesia rather than that of the rigid, spiritual life-style of Saudi Arabia. Let us  try to keep it that way. Let us ensure that our way of living, while adhering broadly to the rules of Islam,  empowers our young men and especially our young women to face the future with confidence and courage. We owe them that much.
We should  therefore  perceive the recent upsurge in anti-Muslim rhetoric as a timely warning –  a wake-up call – that everything is not quite hunky-dory with regard to our standing among the other ethnic groups ” specifically the majority Buddhists. We have to ask ourselves as to what exactly it is about our way of living that is causing concern, apprehension, anger and even fear among our Buddhist brothers and sisters. We have to accept the fact that we may not like the answers to such questions, but should not shy away from asking such questions for this reason.
Some of the key issues that have emerged to date as causing great concern to the Non-Muslim Community are the Halal issue, the Black Abhaya issue, the External Loudspeaker issue, the Mosque-building issue and the Population issue. The only way to disperse effectively the heat generated by each of  these issues is to destroy the embers that kindle the fires that give such issues life. Simply dousing the flames will not ensure that the embers are extirpated.
In their approach towards the resolution of the Muslim Issues, the  Muslim Community has to adopt a strategy of ‘Proactive Empathy’ by taking the steps necessary to identify, negate and neutralize the concerns of the Buddhists before it becomes a serious issue like the Halaal problem. We need to voluntarily examine the issues critically and dispassionately and ask ourselves such questions as “Why are we continuing with a ritual that causes the Non-Muslims to curse our religion 5 times a day ?” (in the case of the External Loudspeaker issue). With regard to the Population issue, I have been able to allay the atavistic fears of many Buddhists that they will be reduced to a minority in Sri Lanka by the Muslims, using a simple non-mathematical explanation of census population data trends.
Addressing the above and other related issues voluntarily will only help our Community to be perceived as being sensitive to the concerns and apprehensions of the Majority Community and importantly, are willing to Walk-the-Talk. This will moreover empower the non-racist members of the Buddhist Community to speak-up on behalf of the Muslims if required.
The implementation of the proposed strategy of ‘Proactive Empathy’ requires persons with strong leadership skills and who are ready, willing  and able to think out-of-the-box. We need a Leadership,  consisting not of Politicians or of the Ulemas, but of respected Members of Muslim Civil Society who are capable of winning the trust of the Ummah because of their standing in the Community. We need a Leadership that can persuade the Ummah to look not just at the ‘dots’, but rather at the Big Picture obtained by connecting the dots.
Are the Muslims of Sri Lanka able to put aside their differences and to focus on the urgent need to introduce measures to ensure the physical and mental well-being of the members of their Community in the years ahead ?  Are the Muslims able to empathize with their Buddhist Brothers and Sisters to the extent that they of their own volition change patterns of their behavior which cause concern and apprehension to the Majority Community ? Or do the Muslims feel that they alone are entitled to the right of being angry and offended ? We should bear in mind at all times that the Tolerance of the Buddhists should not be misconstrued as Acquiescence on their part.

The Less-tolerant among us are going to resist any move on the part of the more secular Muslims to address the concerns of the Majority Community Buddhists. However, we should bear in mind that the future of our children and their children depends on what we do now to ensure that the members of our Community can continue to live in our Motherland with self-respect and dignity without fear of physical harm or mental trauma by virtue of being followers of Islam. And we must do it now.

The abstract truth- වියුක්ත දත

May 7th, 2014

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May 7th, 2014

Rasika Somarathna Courtesy The Daily News

An increase of US $5 b over 2013

Accent on skilled manpower, reason for the surge

Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B.Jayasundera predicted that considering the current growth trends, Sri Lanka migrant worker remittances will surge over US $12 billion by 2020, an increase of US $5 billion from the current US $7 billion.

Highlighting the importance of migrant worker remittances to the Sri Lankan economy, Dr.Jayasundera pointed out that remittances reached US $7 billion in 2013 when tourism brought in US $1.5 billion and Foreign Direct Investment US $1 billion for the same period.

Dr.Jayasundera said that Sri Lanka’s migrant worker contribution to the growth of the country’s economy has been increasing steadily over the years and the current figures show 800 workers leaving daily to work overseas.

He made these observations addressing the meeting of senior officials of the 11 nation organization “Colombo Process”, a dialogue platform for countries of origin of labour migrants in Asia, which concluded its two day sittings here yesterday.

Dr. Jayasundera attributed the surge in worker remittances to the thrust adopted by the Foriegn Employment Promotion and Welfare Ministry, to increase the migration of skilled manpower for better salaries and perks rather than focus on unskilled and female domestic workers.

He pointed out that while migration of females from Sri Lanka to work as domestic hands overseas dropped by 33 per cent during the last 10 years, the skilled and professional worker category had increased by 30 per cent in the same period. “The Ministry’s current focus on skilled workers will further improve this category of workers in the coming years with many initiatives in the pipeline to improve their capacity”, he predicted.

Also Dr.Jayasundera noted that returning migrant workers too play a crucial role in supplementing the economic growth of the country. “These workers bring in new skills, capital, technology and risk taking abilities which augur well for their future development” he added.

Dr.Jayasundera observed that an initiative mooted by the President in Budget – 2012 to grant assistance to returing workers to help start businesses were paying rich dividends today. The Treasury Secretary stressed that the country was not only looking at the monetary aspect when it came to its migrant workers but was paying equal attention to their personal development, safety, welfare, rights and wellbeing of workers’ families .

He pointed out that introducing a minimum age for female workers, preventing mothers with children below the age of 5 from migrating for employment, a comprehensive social security scheme and many such initiatives were correct steps in this direction. The ‘Colombo Process’ meeting is attended by representatives from 11 countries. In Sri Lanka, current figures show with over 1.7 million Sri Lankans working abroad, migrant workers constitute 17 percent of Sri Lanka’s working population.

A message for the World Youth Conference May 2014

May 6th, 2014

By Garvin Karunaratne

Bringing about World Peace is the motto of this year’s World  Youth Conference. While Peace is an ideal to be achieved, it is necessary to assess the most burning  problem faced by youths all over the World. Unemployment and low incomes is undoubtedly the burning problem of the day and deserves some thought- and a second place at this Conference.

In every country the unemployment rate is highest amongst the youth. The rate varies from 40% in countries like South Africa to below 10%. Countries where the youth unemployment rate is high are perching on top of a keg of gunpowder, that can erupt at any moment, given a small match stick. The writer was privy to the youth revolt in Sri Lanka in 1971 as the administrator of a major District, where three fourths of the District was in rebel control for some three weeks. The 1971 rebellion left at least 10,000 youths dead.  Again the youths rebelled in 1987-1988 and had to be put down with the gun. Then it is estimated that around 70 to 80 thousand died.

What were the causes? Regarding the  rebellion in April 1971, the youth were instrumental in getting Sirimavo to power in the June 1970 parliamentary election and  wanted jobs and the Government was drafting a special programme to bring about employment- the Divisional Development Councils Programme when the JVP struck, which effectively delayed the implementation of the Programme. It was established that North Korea had played a major role in brining about that uprising. The embassy was immediately closed down and the diplomats deported. I think it was an attempt to take over power by attacking all police stations in a day, like what Castro did in Cuba. I had the opportunity to interview many of the youths who handed themselves in and their main grouse was the lack of employment and incomes.

In 1987-1988 the revolt was not ordered from foreign countries. The UNP under President Jayawardena  had embraced the IMF’s teaching of the free economy, which took away the control of the foreign exchange earnings of the country from the country’s Central Bank  and allowed it to be pillaged and plundered by the rich in the country for their foreign jaunts, luxury imports, to educate their children in foreign universities and when the foreign exchange earnings were insufficient the IMF advice was to raise further loans. In order to entice the countries to follow this path, loans were given at low interest with long grace periods The Rupee was devalued by over a hundred percent in 1978.. The local interest rate was increased to 24% and industries closed down unable to face the competition from imports that were allowed to come in at zero tariffs. Sri Lanka became a haven for imports. The hall marks were poverty among the masses and unemployment among the youth

Unemployment and low incomes for the majority of the youth in almost every Third World country today is purely due to the countries following the IMF’s Structural Adjustment Programme where the countries were somehow enticed to take loans and enter a spending spree. These loans have ballooned into an unsustainable foreign debt, There will be additional causes like the fact that the high unemployment in South Africa is entirely due to the fact that to obtain the liberation of Nelson Mandela from prison, the blacks had to agree to the Whites remaining in full control of the economy.  The Mandelas and Mbekis talk big but they are ‘imprisoned’ by the Whites and have to follow all their dictates, this time not as apartheid but as black policies. In Zimbabwe things are different. At independence at the Lancaster House Agreement the Prime Minister of Britain agreed to provide compensation for the White Farmers when their land is taken over for distribution to the landless blacks after ten years. Come ten years when President Mugabe wanted to take over the estates of the Whites to be parceled among the blacks, Prime Minister Tony Blair reneged on the Lancaster House Agreement of providing compensation-  and instead ordered Mugabe to stop take over of the White Estates. the land that the Whites had plundered from the people some seventy years ago in the Rhodesian colonial days. Mugabe was undeterred and took over estates from the Whites and commenced parceling them among the unemployed blacks. Then Tony Blair ordered sanctions and the economy of Zimbabwe grounded to a halt, causing massive unemployment and poverty.

Thus the youth have to study the causes that have brought about unemployment in their own countries and thereafter find methods to combat that problem.

In this context  I can quote the achievement of the Youth Self Employment Programme of Bangladesh, not because I was  the expert who designed and established that programme but because this is the one and only development programme  the world has so far known, which  has successfully guided two million youths (by 2011) to establish commercially viable enterprises. This Programme was an appendage to work side by side with all vocational training programmes, where the youths in training were voluntarrily enlisted and guided to establish enterprises that would provide them with an income.

Let me provide some details of how it all began:

The Ministry of Youth Development was training 40,000 youths in a variety of vocations as done in every country. Though they were graduated with pomp and pageantry at the end of the training, most of them never found employment. After Bangladesh was taken over by the Military in1982 all youth develemnent programmes were closely assessed by the Minister for Labour and Manpower. In that process he questioned me, the only foreigner at the Conference as to what contribution I could make for Bangladesh. I submitted that there should be an employment creation programme to involve all youths who are being trained to be guided to become employed.  I was not aware  that in the earlier three years the ILO had tried to establish an employment creation programme in Tangail which was a miserable failure. I was told that it was a task that could not be done. and told that the Government did not have money to waste. I argued that I had established many employment projects and I could do it.  The Secretaries for Finance and a number of Ministries argued that it could not be done. The Hon Minister allowed me to argue out and after two hours of  intense debate stopped all of us. He questioned all the Ministry Secretaries if they had any programme that guided youths to become employed to which they said they had none. “Then why do you object to it being done. I approved the Employment Creation Programme.”

Let me illustrate what we did.

A group of girls were attending dress making  classes at the Vocational Training Centre in Jamalpur. None of them made anything for sale. The Deputy Director of Youth exhorted them to make dresses for sale. Only one had a sewing machine at home. The Deputy Director made arrangements for the sewing machines at the Training Centre to be used after  training. The girls made dresses working till ten in the night. They took their production to the training classes the next day and studied the defects and got instructions to make better dresses. In a few months they were making elegant dresses. The Deputy Director for Youth arranged for their dresses to be sold at shops.

The Progress:
“Currently the income of the two older members are over Taka 1000 a month The average income of the four older members were Tk. 712 in January and Tk. 870 in February 1983” This was achieved within  eight months. ( A Clerical Officer in the Public Sector earned only Tk. 800 a month)(From  The Interim Evaluation of the Self Employment Programme in Jamalpur District, March 1983)

Livestock and Dairy Farming
“The brother of one trainee, Yousuf Ali of  Bhavkee, Jamalpur, who had completed his training in livestock and dairy farming a few months earlier, had seen the negative  aspects of the training his brother had received. The training that Yousuf Ali had got made him assertive even amounting to harm the amicable relationship he had with his own family members.  He had become so disruptive at home in not knowing what to do with the skills and knowledge he had acquired that made his brother come to the office of the Deputy Director of Youth in Jamalpur to make a complaint about the training in that it had made his brother a total rebel at home and even threatened to burn the office down.  The Deputy Director  had gone and met Yousuf Ali and had motivated him to come  for the sessions that we were addressing to motivate youths on the Pilot Project.  Yousuf Ali was an immediate convert and his brother, the person that had threatened to burn the office down had also come to see what we were doing to his brother. After the session he very positively  responded by providing funds for his brother  to purchase a cow and a few dozen chicks.”

Later in August 1983, “on a surprise inspection, I found Yousuif Ali, with 190 layer ducks,  50 hens, 1 milk cow and 2 goats earning a net income of Tk. 1496 in December 1982, all achieved within eight months.. Furthermore he was also found providing  training at his farm to 20 younger boys in the 12-14 age range; the boys themselves were having mini farms of  about 20 ducklings each,  developing them under the tutelage of Yousuf Ali”(From, Garvin Karunaratne, ” “Success in Development” (Godages, Colombo, 2010)

These were the humble beginning of the Youth Self Employment Programme of Bangladesh, which by February 2011 had guided two million youths to be self employed. Many of the trainees developed their projects and their earnings in a few months surpassed the salary drawn by a Clerical Officer in the Public Sector. 

The Design of the program as developed in 1982-1983 took on the following form:
Teaching basic economics to all trainees. This included costing material and labour, calculating profits/losses, commercial viability and strategies for maximizing production,Studies in the economy, both local and national to ascertain areas of entrepreneurship where there was a high potential for employment creation,Following the concepts of (1) Import substitution, (2) Self ”sufficiency, (3) Assessing Consumer Demand and Production to cater to such demand and (4) Self Reliance,

All Training Institutes were altered to handle training as well as post training employment creation. The latter was to be done by providing technical assistance to the youths who commenced their projects,Training was limited to three months’ intensive. Additional training sessions were undertaken  as and when required.  In livestock and agriculture the training was residential.

The trainees were guided to make their own employment creation projects. All projects were to involve their family members. This ploy brought in resources as well as expanded the scope of employment creation projects to include family support and family members,
No subsidies were given. Intensive non-formal education guidance was provided to enable the youths to develop their projects to become commercially viable within six months. The aim was to reach the salary level of a clerical officer in  the Public Sector.
After my assignment the Programme was continued by Bangladeshi administrators who were trained by me.

The Program was expanded to 7,000 by 1987, to 16,000 by 1992 and to 160,000 per year from 1997. By March 2008, 2.9 million youth were trained of whom 56 % ” 1.6 million were self employed on a commercially viable basis. By February 2011, over two million had been guided to be self employed.(Report of the Govt. of Bangladesh to the IFAD(FAO) dated 19/2/2011)

The YSEP has stood the test of time for well over two decades. The Five Year Plan of 1997-2002  of the Planning Commission of Bangladesh devotes 8 pages to this Program. This is easily the premier employment creation program that one can find in the world today.  All other programs involve training and apprenticeship only and never include the tasks of motivating people, involving them in non-formal education endeavor to develop their abilities and capacities, through technical guidance and management advice, provided as they worked on their projects aimed at becoming commercially viable.

The creation of employment for the youths is today the main task of the Ministry of Youth. A Ministry that once attended to vocational training and social welfare for the youth has been transformed to be the major  institution that attends to economic development, creating employment and national production. It has led to a movement in self employment creation with many non governmental organizations following in its wake.
A full account of this Programme is documented in my books; ” How the IMF Ruined Sri Lanka & Alternative Programmes of Success”(2006) and  “Success in Development.

In a world riddled with unemployment and poverty, employment creation for the youth deserves immediate attention.

Garvin Karunaratne,
Ph. D. Michigan State University,
Former Government Agent, Matara Distrcit, Sri Lanka.
Commonwealth Fund Advisor to the Ministry of Labour and Manpower Bangladesh 1982-83
30 th April 2014

‘Hunuwataye Kathawa’ (Caucasian Chalk Circle) At the Lionel-Wendt, Colombo

May 6th, 2014

Directed by Parakrama Niriella,

‘Hunuwataye Kathawa’, Directed by Parakrama Niriella, depicting Bertolt Brecht’s epic drama style, was adjudged the ‘Best Drama’ at the State Drama Festival 2014 bagging 05 awards. The drama will be performed at the Lionel Wendt at 06.30 pm on Sunday the 11th March 2014. Produced by Janakaraliya Cultural Foundation, ‘Hunuwataye Kathawa’ was performed at the International Drama Festival in Kerala in January 2014.

hunuwataye Kathawa01

Performing Artists Sanjeewa Upendra, Selvaraj Leelawathy, Ronika Chamalee, Sathis Surendra Ekanayake, Nishantha Kularatne, Sumudu Mallawaarachchi, Rasaiah Lohanandan, Arosha Tharanganie, Devran Sri Livera,  Murugesu Ajanthan, Palitha Abelal, Inoka Lankapura, Sarath Banagala, Amil Dinesh Kumara, Vijitha Hettige, Kumareshan Mahendiran, Thilini Nimesha, Madeera Udishani, Samanlatha Dissanayake, Dinusha Alahakoon, Thiyagaraja Sivanesan, Alaguraj Yashoprasad, Duminda Mendis, Nipun Nirmal Bandara performs in the drama. Music composed by Sumudu Mallawarachchi. Ajanthan Shanthakumar provides stage lighting. Stage management is by Arosha Tharnagani while Ronika Chamalee contributes as choreographer and assistant director.

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