The Vitharana proposal and the separatist paradigm (1918-2007) Part 2
Posted on January 6th, 2021

C. Wijeyawickrema USA

After two atapirikara-presenting meetings with the Asgiriya and Malwatta Mahanayakas minister Vitharana, Chairman of APRC, says the words federal and unitary have lost their meaning over the passage of time” (Daily News, 3/30/2007).

He gives two safeguards to prevent a secessionist move in Sri Lanka: (1) the president can deploy the army and (2) if that is inadequate president can dissolve the Province and take over administration.

Just like his uncles of LSSP preached parity of status” from 1935-1964, blindly following international Marxist dogmas of Trotsky and Stalin, the nephew, minister Vitharana, who is an appointed politician (not elected by people) is now trying to placate the IC, American ambassador and Tony Blair, thinking only of the next ten years or so of his political life. Colvin in 1972 prepared a constitution to please the Colombo crowd symbolized by Felix Dias, and JRJ in 1978 got A. J. Wilson to prepare a bahubootha vyawastawa.” Minister V, who is presently on a crusade has put the cart before the horse, thus endangering the 2500-year-old Sinhala-Buddhist heritage of Sri Lanka.

The following are a set of questions for minister V, based on his interview with the Daily News reporter.

1.Does he (minister V) reject the concept of a traditional Tamil homeland in the Eastern Province? If he rejects it then will he make that rejection the foundation stone of his proposals? Erection of a Vitharana constitution scheme, leaving the re-merger of N and P Provinces to a future date is placing the cart before the horse or closing the stable after the horses gotten out. Because, you cannot unscramble a scrambled egg. Once you take the path toward F”, there is no point of no return!

2.Does he know that the separatist paradigm in Sri Lanka began in 1918 (in Tamil Nad in 1917) and has continued in different faces and shapes to 2007?

3.Why is that there is a deadening silence by APRC with regard to the separatist movement in Tamil Nad which began in 1917, had a lull after 1963 Indian Constitutional Amendment prohibiting secession talks, revived again with official support in the 1980s, died down after the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi in 1991 and back again in full force with the era of coalition governments in Delhi? Does he know that the world Tamil federation has the goal of a Tamil state not possible in either the Fiji Islands or Malaysia? Does he know that in the Fiji Islands, the army removed the Indian-backed government just a month or so ago?

4.Why did he not think the PC system based on the 13th Amendment is a white elephant which has created a second tier of corrupt politicians? Was it a scientific way of applying science to administrative affairs? Was not the only purpose behind it to give support to the myth of Tamil homeland in the E Province?

5.Could you elaborate your statement that there are 27 states veered away from unitary status to F” states to prevent separation?” Do you not think Sri Lanka’s situation is unique because (1) Tamil politicians wanted a second homeland next to their Tamil homeland in Tamil Nad (2) Since 1917 the idea had been to united Ravana land with Tamil Nad (3) the border between the two areas is porous and difficult to monitor (Jaffna Tamils go by boat in the evening to see movies in Tamil Nad and return home in the night!) (4) in Tamil Nad itself the separatist agenda is a hot cake (the easy solution to economic and social problems is talk about separatism) (5) If F” is the way to stop separation then what about Indian Tamil and Muslim demands?

6.Why do you not think that the Prabakaran episode is no different from the 1971 and 1988 Wijeweera rebellions? The IC must be told that other than the ethnic twist given the problem in Sri Lanka is a problem of mismanagement by a group of Colombo families. Just like the Sinhala politicians tried to exploit the Sinhala youth during 1965-70, Colombo-living Tamil politicians (plus Indira Gandhi) tried to use the Tamil boys.” Why should you try to punish the country with your hurried V proposals because of the blunders of your Colombo class?

7.Are you telling us that your V proposals will solve Sri Lanka’s present mess? Why don’t you take a holistic approach to this mess rather than giving and F” proposal? This means the recognition of the following mismanagement topics which made the average Tamil, Sinhala and Muslim man (woman) to suffer.

a.Colombo ruling families of UNP, SLFP, PA, UNF, LSSP, CP, FP and TULF destroyed structural democracy of Sri Lanka introduced in 1931. The destruction of the separation of powers doctrine (independence of the judiciary/rule of law) that began in 1802 when North was the governor was the worst.

b.JRJ destroyed the territorial democracy in Sri Lanka introduced by the British in 1931. With his electoral systems and removal of VC, TC local governments the janayas lost what we call the representative democracy. The voter has no representative to go to.

c.In the 1980s civil administration was ruined or politicalized by increasing the number of GSNs from 4,000 to mind-boggling number of 14,000. Each GSN unit has a GSN, a samurdhi niladharee and a midwife!

d.Each AGA units (there are 319 of them) has 100-150 government servants excluding teachers. A corruption trinity of AGA-local politician-NGO agent (evangelists/peace mudalalis/professors) has an iron control over the janayas. 

Do you think your proposal of Jana Sabha unit of 100 families workable? What could happen with your Jana Sabha-based pyramid is that at the top those politicians who want F” will get it at the expense of the average Sinhala and Tamil janayas just like the 2002 CFA helped the terrorist leaders and not the average Tamil. Did you know that your plan is so similar to what Ayub Khan enacted for Pakistan in

Why is that you do not want to consider the New Zealand method?  That small country follows a river basin-based administrative system of regions. This method is race and language blind and empowers the janayas, ecologically sound and solves lot of man-made environmental hazards such as floods, droughts and land slides.

Would you postpone the IC-driven deadline date of within 60 days” and study the 800 or so proposals sent by the janayas if you are really concerned with empowering people?

Would obtain the help of geographers, historians and ecologists in the country to study how the trinity of gama-wewa-dagaba (kovil/mosque/church) functioned in Sri Lanka for thousands of years which is so similar to the Panchayathi Raj Institutions in India or the New Zealand approach? Rather than the unworkable Jana Sabha idea, is it not a simple step to get the Village Council system which the British governors resurrected in the 1860s, given its due place to empower the janayas and to let them achieve their aspirations that way?  The 14,006 GSN units could be rearraged to fit in with the VC boundaries. Read Abeyawardena report

The two maps are not aimed at creating fear against devolution. Devolution is different from the merchandize called Indian federal formula of NGO and INGO agents. Real, as opposed to fake devolution from the concentration of power in the Colombo crowd of politicians (and officers) is what people are waiting for. The political and economic power must be decentralized and given to the people. The PC system and the new election law did not create devolution. It created a new layer of corrupt politicians. After 1980 Colombo rulers destroyed the VC, TC, UC-based local government system. Rather than fostering a healthy local government system, each UNP and SLFP local govt. minister abused his powers and weakened local democracy and self-governance. The Abhayewardhana Report on Local Government Reforms (1999) provided in detail why the country needed to go back to the pre-1980 system to overcome the mess we are now in, especially the white elephant called PCs.

A. T. Ariyaratne of Sarvodaya proposed a system of national governance structure based on local building blocks in 1988 in his booklet, The Power Pyramid and the Dharmic Cycle.” From time to time Arjuna Hulugalle presents his CIMOGG proposal of devolution at the district level with a base which is similar to the Sarvodaya proposal (Island, July 31, 2006). Actually all these are so similar to what was presented by president of Pakistan Ayub Khan on October 26, 1959 as Pakistan’s new constitution. Under it the whole country was divided into very small constituencies of between 800 and 1000 people. This novel type of constituency was called the basic democracy.”  There were 80,000 such elected units as the first tier of the constitutional structure (Pakistan: old country/new nation by Ian Stephens (1964, page 315).

The geographer Madduma Bandara proposed a river basin-based Provincial Division of seven units in 1987 (Chapter 4 in Fifty years of Sri Lanka’s Independence: a socio economic review, edited by A.V. de S. Indraratna (1998, p.83). Actually this is the best scientific approach for a united” Sri Lanka where the term united really means unity. The AGA divisions and even the Grama Sevaka divisions should ideally be based on River-Oya-Ela basins. This way we will not have a mind-boggling number of 14,000 GS divisions in the island.

The Vitharana proposal and the separatist paradigm (1918-2007)

After two atapirikara-carrying trips to Malwatta and Asgiriya, minister Vitharana, Chairman, APRC, has given an outline of his power sharing mechanism” to a Daily News reporter (Daily News, 3/30/2007).

Lawyers and Janayas”

APRC center of gravity has now moved from, husband and wife lawyers, to a microbiology Marxist who is an appointed (not elected by people) politician. Just like his parity of status” Marxist uncles of the 1935-1964 era, who blindly followed the international dogmas of Trotsky and Stalin, minister Vitharana is on a hurried mission to placate the IC, American Ambassador, and Tony Blair. Colombo politicians gave us the 1987 Indo-SL agreement, 13th Amendment and the 2002 CFA. The Vitharana outline will give us an egg scrambled. Unlike the two previous blunders which resulted in loss of thousands of lives, the Vitharana path, if entered, will have no point of return. This was what G.L. Peiris, the legal eagle, said then. It is a one-way street to separatism. Janayas” (of the Jana Sabhas) could achieve their aspirations without APRC erecting, intentionally or unintentionally, a separatism ladder.

Upatissa Damanaya

Why did APRC ignore 800 or so people’s proposals? What is the reason for a hurried solution? Where is the home-grown solution? Does minister V believe in Buddhist economics discussed in Schumacher’s Small Is Beautiful (1973) or in Buddhist politics? One example was Buddha’s advice to Ajathashatru, the king of Magadha, when the latter had a war plan to capture the Lichchavi kingdom of Koshala. It was Buddhist democracy in 500 B.C. After all, the reasonableness doctrine, compromise in modern democracy, is the Middle Path in Buddhism.  Why cannot V use either the Nalagiri or Angulimala damanaya in dealing with Tony Blair, TNA or Prabakaran? 

The Mahinda Chintanaya is nothing but an application of our 2500-year-old traditions of living in harmony with other human beings (be they Helanic or Roman or Muslim traders, Tamil invaders or plantation coolies, Malay soldiers or Portuguese who came with Bible and sword, Burghers and NGO evangelists), which got twisted in the hands of Colombo black whites (since 1833) and Marxist preachers (since 1935).

Those who studied Shakespeare or Chaucer, and never heard of the Ummagga Jathakaya, could call this letter is from a Sinhala Buddhist Chauvinist or from a Sinhala extremist. But that mud ball cannot hide from any objective standard the fact that minister V is taking a suicidal path putting the cart before the horse. He has a duty to explain to his Janaya” why the following questions/statements are incorrect.

White man’s burden theory (1905)

1.Why is minister V in a hurry? Is it because more and more time means less and less time for the Prabakaran episode? The IC does not want a total removal of the cancer of terrorism. They want a second Vadamarachchi in 2007. They want him in a three-piece suit flanked by his western-educated children. Why? Is there any connection to the theory of the White man’s burden of 1905? Is there any influence from White evangelism of Blair or Bush as outlined by the Polish Pope John Paul II when he visited India in 1999 (evangelization of Asia)? Pope’s propaganda cabinet minister with a giant budget has his office located in Ratnapura. Or was it the clash of civilization” thesis of the Harvard professor Huntington (1993)? Balkanization of Sri Lanka is a short cut to India. The world federation of Tamils wants a separate state and Tamil Nad opposes Hindia’s intrusions. In the Trincomalee harbor even the submarines could be hidden in deep under sea troughs. Thus, there is great temptation that minister V probably cannot see.

India is a myth” theory and the Indian National Congress (1885)

2.What does V know about the separatist paradigm in Tamil Nad and Sri Lanka? It began in Tamil Nad in 1917 and one year later in 1918 it came to Ceylon. In India the colonial master openly promoted separatism stating that India is a myth.” They promoted a Pakistan. In Tamil Nad separatism grew to the extent that even the Ramayanaya story was changed stating that Ravana was a Tamil king who fought against the evil doers of Rama and Seetha (Adam and Eve?)! Prabakaran is thus a Ravana prince more than a new Chola king with a cyanide pill. In the past it was Sivaji Ganeshan or MG Ramachandran (born in Kandy) who acted as Ravana in popular Tamil Nad movies. Jaffna Tamil boys would go to Tamil Nad to see the opening show by boat in the afternoon and return home in the night!

Despite the total silence of Colombo NGO peace mudalalis with western Ph.Ds, and the Marga Institute not producing papers” on the impact of the Tamil Nad separatist agenda on Sri Lanka, from 1917 to 2007, there had been a continuous flowing of two parallel streams of separatism poisoning each other. Thus in 1949 SJV Chelvanayagam benefited from Tamil Nad’s Dravidasthan movement.” In the late 1950s it was the anti-Hindi movement.” When separatism was proscribed by the 1963 constitutional amendment, it came to the Kandyan areas as DMK and a Kallathoni problem (Tennakoon Vimalananda, Dravida Munethra Kasagam Movement and the future of the Sinhalayas, Anula Press, Colombo, 1970).  In the 1980s separatism went back to India, officially, with MGR and Indira Gandhi sponsoring it. After the murder of Rajiv Gandhi in 1991 there was a set back but in the coalition government era of India, Tamil Nad voting block in Delhi has become more powerful than the power of Delhi, the power to use the presidential rule to discipline unruly regional states.

Tamil Nad is in such volatile state that Delhi is now surviving by capitalizing the rival demands of its present or former chief ministers to arrest or impose the presidential rule. At least two major caste groups are demanding two separate states within Tamil Nad. It is only a matter of time a future Prabakaran takes control of Tamil Nad politics which is driven by sex scandals and family affairs. The common criminal Veerappan incident (Saradeal or Robinson Crusoe) demonstrated how easily and quickly separatist sentiments could be utilized to overthrow the corrupt and inefficient political establishment in Tamil Nad. The Janatha Party leader Subramaniumswamy’s recent book (Sri Lanka in crisis: India’s options, 2006; (Island, 3/21/2007) should be an eye-opener to minister V.

Indian states as tiny parts before the Goliath Indian Goliath army

Does V provide an adequate mechanism to prevent secessionist attempts under the geopolitical conditions mentioned above? He says there are two safeguards: (1) the president can deploy the army and (2) he can dissolve the province and take over the administration. Minister V must be kidding. Even under the 13th amendment conditions chief minister declared UDI and fled to India. Where would be the IC if it happens again? Once V allowed the province to do everything it needed to take the separatist path, the province will appeal to IC for help or justice. It will say the president is not allocating sufficient volume of water from the Mahaveli River and the IC and UNO will intervene. Minister V would be no more there to answer. This is why, the next question is so important.

Myth of a traditional Tamil homeland in the Eastern Province

Does V reject the proposition that there is a traditional Tamil homeland in the Eastern Province? Is he willing to make that rejection the foundation stone of his proposal? V cannot first give his scheme and say that re-merger will be discussed later. Re-merger means acceptance of a homeland. Homeland theory is a colonial western idea. This was what the Neelan-GL package wanted. Neelan went even further and refused to accept the Pondicherry sub-model of the Indian F” model because the homeland would then look like a moth-eaten patch of land with Muslim and Sinhala Pondicherry units like in the Tamil Nad. V will be putting the cart before the horse if he does not clearly understand this issue. If V’s constitution is silent on homelands now and if later it comes up making a giant N-E unit, then the Trincomalee state will be as big as the Colombo state. With Malayanadu in between Colombo army will be no match to Trinco power. This is not a daydream. V should read what the retired geography professor G. H. Peiris and the Englishman Paul Harris has written on the subjects of Malayandu youth unrest and Oluvil Muslim radicals. If V accepts FP, TULF, TNA and Anandasangaree versions of a homeland then V cannot stop homelands for Muslims, Indian Tamils or even Christians in Negombo or Tmils in Wellawatta.

F” is a marriage contract

How can V say that F” and U” have lost their meaning?  Did V tell this to the Mahanayakes? F” is a political marriage. U” is Buddhist politics such as the King allowing persecuted coastal Catholics or Muslims to live in his kingdom or temple priest in remote areas giving food and lodging to Christian priests from Colombo or Galle who went on head hunting trips. Could V think of any example from anywhere in the world on the co-habitation of Sinhala, Tamil, Buddhist, Hindu, Christian and Muslim people living in harmony that took place in pre-colonial Ceylon? It was the Colombo ruling families who ruined this harmony after 1931. 

An F” marriage cannot work when one of the partners has a paramour. The IC solution to Sri Lanka is unique in that two parties living in one house is asked to go to two houses for the happiness of both. Unfortunately, a marriage cannot be saved that way. Therefore, even Lakshman Kadiragamar was wrong in proposing an F” solution. An F” solution based on language differences (as in India since 1956) is a slippery path with no end in sight. Indian F” model is the best example. Indian army is fighting against it all over India.

An F” creates two or more units which have some powers that cannot be taken back from them permanently for ever. The egg is scrambled. This is grade 9 civics lesson.

Discrimination against the majority (1505-1931)

V says there are about 27 other countries which have veered away from U status towards F states to prevent separation. Without a list of these countries, one cannot comment on this point. In the Fiji Islands or in Malaysia there were attempts of separation. In the Fiji case the army arrested the Indian-backed prime minister for anti-national work against the native Fijians. In Sri Lanka Tamils and Muslims enjoy more rights than any where else in the world. In Colombo, the richest are the Tamils and Muslims. Thus, when Karuna says in 2007 or when the JVP said in 1971 or 1988 give us what Colombo gets” (kolambata kiri apita kakiri Youth Commission Report, March,1990, p. xvii)) there is/was no ethnic discrimination. Instead, the truth is that the Colombo class has been controlling 95% of people, which became worse under the globalization game and the 1978 Dharmista samajaya.

Section 29(4) of the Soulbury Constitution did not allow the removal of five centuries discrimination against the majority community.

Colombo ruling families versus the Janayas

  1. V says if the minorities don’t get the power they need, the only solution is separation.” Can V say that the majority got power? Who got power after 1931 or after 1833? A group of Colombo white-kissing families who used Buddhist masks got power. A group of Colombo Tamils who used the language card to prevent the poor Tamil learn Sinhala but gave private tuition in Sinhala to their children got power. The question is will this Colombo control change under V’s proposal? Rather than re-inventing the Neelan-GL package V should ask a new set of questions. He has become a prisoner in trying to provide new answers to his old questions. Does he know that by sheer mismanagement the Colombo black whites ruined the country?
  • they destroyed the structural democracy of the island since the early 1960s after the 1962 Coup (the separation of powers doctrine started in 1802 when North was the governor and the rule of law);
    • JRJ killed territorial democracy after 1978 with a bahubootha Vyavastava,”  an electoral system that robbed people of their representative democracy, and by demolishing the VC-TC local government system;
    • In the 1980s village level civil administration was politicalized by increasing the number of GSN units from 4,000 to a mind-boggling 14,006 (each GSN unit has a GSN, Samurdhi Niladharee and a mid-wife);
    • A corruption trinity developed after 1978 with AGA-local MP-NGO agent (Colombo peace mudalalis or evangelists) in control. Each AGA unit (there are 319 of them) has between 100-150 officers excluding teachers;
    • the gap between Colombo and villages increased under globalization and free trade;
    • the divide between Colombo rich and village poor widened after 1978;
    • Vakarai IDP welfare money stolen by corrupt officers!

Do we need a hurried devolution package, based on the same Neelan-GL formula? Or should we take a holistic approach to handle our antho-jata-bahi-jatas meta-problems? V proposal in its present form will deliver an F” to a group of Tamil politicians but will not solve the mismanagement problems of the average person Sinhala or Tamil. This is the aspiration issue that V should think of. Not the aspirations of IC or Tony Blair.

In India under the language-based state reorganization, a new tier of local/regional politician class developed who began to challenge the Delhi political class. That brought an end to Congress control and a sick Delhi center dependent on over 20 coalition partners. Indian poverty is still a major problem and politicians at all levels are thriving. Is this not happening in Sri Lanka after 1978?

Colebrook was not a bioscience graduate (1832)

  • V says Province is the devolution unit. Does he not accept that PC is a white elephant, and unwanted burden on people and the economy? Is there any scientific, ecological, social or economic justification for this unit other than Rajiv Gandhi and Dixit forcing it on JRJ, Sri Lanka’s kaputu bo tree? V is taking the path of least resistance to achieve his goal of paving way for a Tamil homeland.

Ayub Khan’s plan of October 26, 1959

  • V has proposed a 100-family Jana Sabha (JS) unit (ward) below Gam Sabha (GS). From GS comes Pradeshiya Sabha (PS). A GS will according to V cover about 2/3 of GSN unit. This is similar to what Ayub Khan proposed for Pakistan which was similar to the Soviet people’s councils (Pakistan: old country/new nation, Ian Stephens, Pelican, 1964, p. 314). Instead, if V reads the 600-page document of the Local Government Reforms Commission (Sessional Paper No. 1 of 1999, the Abhayewardhana report), it has covered all what Sri Lanka needs in this regard. A.T. Ariayaratne’s 1988 book, The Power Pyramid and the Dharmic Cycle” also gives a plan of action.

Trinity of gama-vawa –dagaba

  • V has a golden opportunity to link the Gama Naguma project under the Mahinda Chinthanaya with the mission of APRC if he comes out of his parity of status prison. Tamils have a homeland in Tamil Nad. Muslims have Mecca. Christians have Pope. Sinhala people and Sinhala Buddhist have this tiny island and the ocean. Trostsky or Vishaka Kumari Jayawardena did not know this. The 2500-year old civilization of Sri Lanka should really be a UNECO heritage site. Just think of the biso kotuwa or the Dambulla lamp?  Rather than running with ghosts of SJV Chelvanayagam or GG Ponnambalam minister V should think of using his Marxist energy to empower the Tamils, Sinhala and Muslim comrades at the trinity level. Because the dagaba was kovil, mosque or church at the grass roots level. Let aspirations grow at the family and village level and create language-blind developmental units. If in a given village the majority happens to be Tamil let them work on their aspirations. Do not impose Provincial level unit on them by a Colombo group to protect their aspirations. Because it never worked that way. Only a class of politicians exploited it to stay in power. Our trinity with upward representation will create a District level unit where Tamil identity will be protected without creating fear in the Sinhala mind.

Make a trip to New Zealand

  • Because our trinity is tank centered it fits very well with the modern concept of river basin-based administrative units. New Zealand, a tiny country like ours is using this concept. The geographer Maddumabandara has produced a river basin-based administrative system for Sri Lanka that V should get his APRC and the expert lawyers to read. Because, one cannot legislate against geography.

Move the capital city to Raja Rata

  • While developing the Southern Province get the APRC to think about moving the administrative capital to a location within the triangle of Anuradhapura-Vavuniya-Trincomalee on a 20 year plan. Let Tamil farmers in Jaffna meet with Sinhala farmers in Hambantota. Link that capital with Hambantota along the Mahaveli River with a railway line and a high way. Move the science and integration ministry to Raja Rata ASAP. This is the best way you can win the hearts and minds of the janayas.

C. Wijeyawickrema


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