Perpetuating social amity and
millennia-long wisdom so evocatively and cogently proclaims, 'It
is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.' This
timeless saying, we hope, will be treasured in the hearts and
minds of our citizenry as we take on and seek to contain the
numerous issues confronting us as a country and as a
collectivity. Needless to say, one such troubling development is
what has come to be known as the 'Dambulla crisis' which has
obvious implications for social stability and domestic law and
Right now, a task that needs to be urgently fulfilled is
sustained bridge-building among local communities. Admittedly,
we do not possess many organizations and persons who are
ardently committed to this task. If we did, the conflict in the
North-East, for instance, would not have dragged on so
tragically for 30 long years.
Be that as it may, the need to sustain peace and harmony
among our communities is of the first importance and tensions
such as those which erupted in Dambulla recently only serve to
emphatically underscore this national requirement.
Fortunately, there are a few persons and organizations which
are willing to 'light a candle rather than curse the darkness.'
Some of these entities are dedicated to the task of building
bonds of understanding and fostering intelligent discourse
between the Buddhist and Hindu communities, for example. It is
gladdening to note they are making some progress in meeting the
needs of the more deprived sections of local society, regardless
of religion, communal and class differences.
An essential precondition for solidifying religious, cultural
and communal amity in Sri Lanka is the emergence to the
forefront of the affairs in this country of moderate and
sensible opinion. This, we have repeatedly stressed in this
It could not be emphasized enough that the loudest and most
raucous 'noises' are currently being made about Dambulla and
kindred issues by hard line or extremist opinion who are in the
It is not so much a case of a microscopic minority wielding
tyrannical influence over the majority in our respective
communities but of the majority preferring to remain silent or
of the majority not minding the minority riding rough shod over
them and voicing their opinion over their own.
This is a most unsatisfactory state of affairs because it is
very often the opinion of the minority hard liners which comes
to be projected as the opinion of the majority, whereas the
latter is the more sensible and perceptive of the two groups.
Therefore, it is hoped that the 'moral majority' would not only
increasingly voice its views on national questions but be more
proactively involved in the affairs of this country.
Accordingly, we would like to have in our midst more of those
who would take the initiative to light that 'candle' of
understanding which will drive away the darkness of bigotry and
prejudice. They will be bridge-builders who would reach out to
the 'Other' and work together with the latter to make Sri Lanka
a haven of communal, religious and cultural harmony.
These reflections should help to put the UNHRC resolution
against Sri Lanka in the correct perspective.
The objective onlooker would not for a moment believe that
the West which sponsored the resolution would have not been
aware of the divisive impact it could have on Sri Lanka's
body-politic. For instance, it is all too evident that this
resolution has enabled ethnic ill-feeling to stir once again.
'Old wounds' are risking being reopened on the ethnic relations
front although the state is having everything under control.
It seems that the sponsors of the resolution are not for the
establishment of durable peace in this country. In outlook, they
and hard line opinion in this country are on the same side
because they are seeking to establish and aggravate divisions
within our land. Still, such destructively-oriented opinion is
in the minority and it is up to the sober majority to raise
their voices of sanity and to work proactively for the good of