“Give Them Anything to Keep Sri Lanka in One Piece” Bankrupted the Nation and the Majority
Posted on August 2nd, 2023

Dilrook Kannangara

What is termed as the ethnic problem (started in 1911) was never about problems faced by an ethnic group. It was always about profiting from sympathy and bankrupting the nation and its majority. By holding hostage the majority’s desire for one-nation-in-the-island, shrewd tribal politicians skimmed them to the maximum until the national economy collapsed. Little that the majority realizes that their desire is costing them dearly and it is a cost they can’t afford anymore. However, there have been willing and unwilling fellow travelers of these tribal politicians both locally and internationally. They too are working with tribal politicians to advance their economic strategy against Sri Lanka.

Devolution of power under 13A and language rights under 13A, 14A, 15A and other subsequent Constitutional amendments and laws have benefitted only selected ethnic groups at the expense of the majority. As a result, the economic situation of the majority collapsed since these were introduced.

Today the majority is totally barred from economic activity in 6 districts (all districts in the northern province and Batticaloa district); mostly shut out from economic activity in 3 more districts (Trincomalee, Ampara and Nuwara Eliya) and significantly restricted in the economic hub of another district (Colombo district). All in all, only 15.5 out of 25 districts are open for the majority for their economic survival. This is just 62% of the island for the 75% of the people which is a factor of 0.83.

Muslims are barred from economic activity in all northern districts and restricted in Batticaloa and Nuwara Eliya district. In essence Muslims have only 19 out of 25 districts for their economic activity. As Muslims are 10% of the population, their economic access factor is 7.6 (19/25/0.1).

Tamils face no such restrictions and exploit economic resources and opportunities in all districts. Their economic access factor is 6.25 (25/25/0.16).

In summary, Muslims have the highest economic access factor of 7.6 followed by Tamils with 6.25 and Sinhalas have been restricted to a meagre 0.83.

This is the true state of economic opportunities in the island.

As the majority’s economy has been thus bankrupted, the nation is also bankrupted. When most people are well off, the nation is well off. When most people are poor the nation becomes poor.

Despite diversity and devolution of power, India has not fallen into this sorry state because India is demarcated by ethnicity. This ensures all major ethnic groups have their equitable economic opportunities protected. Tamils are approximately 6% of India’s population and are enjoying approximately 6% of India’s economic opportunities. That is an economic access factor of 1. All others are the same. Though there are differences between states, there is no such wide disparity as in Sri Lanka.

The majority must decide if they want to survive as a community (which requires equitable economic opportunities – a community dies when its economy is restricted) or they want to eternally sacrifice and share their economic opportunities to keep the nation in one piece. A very hard choice for some. Decades of appeasement and economic disregard painted them into this corner. Further economic restriction of the majority will surely split the nation so their sacrifices will be worthless anyway.

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