Plea for rational thought | Daily News

Plea for rational thought

When one is angry or overcome with hatred one is unaware of what he does or says. Often we repent over what we have done in rage or fury. If so there is no need to exaggerate the ill-effects of harm done to others while you are enraged. When rage enters through the front door reason flies out of the back door, it could be said. Devoid of reason man loses his human characteristic. For rational thought or the power to distinguish between good and bad, between what is beneficial and what is harmful is an attribute only man is possessed of in the Universe.

All other species could only react to the natural or man-made environment. Only man has the ability to transform the environment through the faculty of reason and labor. It is the result of the Second system of signals found only in the human brain, as Russian scientist Pavlov discovered. That is why even the worst architect is better than the bee which weaves a delicate and intricate hive, according to Marx.

Post-independence history

Hence, in the absence of rational thought man descends into the status of a beast. Man becomes inhuman. Communalism or rabid chauvinism reduces man to this inhuman state, as we have witnessed over and over again in our post-independence history. Since the faculty of human rational thought is lacking, our society is unable to understand even the simple day-to-day events. That is why they are blown out of proportion to assume monstrous dimensions. Our attempt today is to explain by few examples how it happens.

Take for example the incident where a Provincial Minister refused to hoist the National Flag at a ceremony in a Vavuniya. This is an isolated incident. No similar incidents took place parallel to it or in the immediate time frame.

If we refresh our memory we would remember that in the immediate aftermath of Sri Lanka winning Dominion status, the then Left called it sham independence and did not take part in celebrations. It boycotted the functions and did not respect the National Flag. Nobody labelled them as traitors. It was accepted as a legitimate form of protest. Even as late as 1974 the JVP delegation at the 10th World Festival of Youth and Students held in Berlin, German Democratic republic did not get up when the Sri Lankan National Anthem was being played in the stadium.

The delegation comprised Rohana Wijeweera, Vaas Tilakaratne, Kelly Senanayake, Somawansa Amarasinghe and Sunila Abeysekera. It was also accepted as a legitimate protest. Customs and traditions vary from country to country. For example, in the United States burning the national flag as a form of protest is an accepted custom. In revolutionary Cuba the US National Flag is never burnt as a respect to the American people despite its resistance and hostility to US imperialism.

If the Provincial Minister has committed an offence it is a refusal to perform a duty after having pledged to defend the Constitution of the country. At best disciplinary action could have been taken against him, according to law. Anyway, breaching promises is a national pastime. Buddhists observe the five precepts at least once a month. Yet it is a pledge breached as soon as it is made. Hence, no need to mention about the breach of promises by politicians.

National Anthem in Tamil

A similar furor was made regarding the singing of the National Anthem in Tamil. That was despite it being sung for decades in Tamil following independence without any harm being done to the Sinhala language.

A huge hue and cry was made to mislead the people that war heroes were being brought before Courts of law. No such a thing has happened. Members of the Security Forces number over 100,000. Yet it is only a handful, purpose less than one percent that is being charged in Courts of law for crimes allegedly committed outside the context of the battlefield against unarmed civilians. This is nothing new. One could recall the Premawathie Manamperi trial, Krishanti Coomaraswamy trial etc. The accused could prove their innocence, if any, at the trial as everything is decided legally and not by a Kangaroo Court.

The same is true of the members of the Buddhist clergy that is being accused of violating the law of the land. Punishing those actually guilty is not a slur on the noble teachings of the religious savants. It rids the religious orders of miscreants and hence purifies them.

There is no convention of granting immunity to criminals among the civilized nations of the world. Even Joseph Stalin who almost single-handedly led the Soviet Armed forces against the fascist war machinery of world magnitude through the sacrifice of over 20 million citizens did not have the privilege of an amnesty for his wrong doings. Hence no need to talk about tin-pot dictators of a lesser calibre. There is no such thing as granting amnesty through gratitude, however great the personality may be or how historic his or her role in history was. We have also precedents in treating VIPs. Remember what happened to Ven. Buddharakkhita and Talduwe Somarama etc.

National question

For decades politicians with the able support of the media have been blowing up trivial incidents into speculative controversies and wasting time without engaging in the tasks of finding solutions to urgent and important problems facing the people. For example, they could for months debate about a non-existent clause in a Constitution yet to be drafted and leave the National question unresolved without even an attempt at solving it. They could haggle over the Office of Missing persons without instituting it properly, equipping it with physical and human resources wanted for its functioning.

People who have lost their sanity are confused and intoxicated with hatred or racial and religious prejudice that they are unable to understand what is happening. They keep on asking ‘What’s happening?’ from everybody with everybody repeating the same question in answering. That is why innocent people fall for cheap promises, for day dreams of politicians to bring in jobs and prosperity without a national plan or programme as if by the power of a magic lamp a la Aladdin.

The political culture that prevailed in the country for decades is such that even now law enforcement officials become paralyzed at moments, especially due to political pressure or force of habit. That is why e police looked on indifferently when the Rohingyan refugees were attacked in their presence in broad daylight and prison officials and members of security forces allegedly committed crimes during the so-called Welikada prison riot. It is due to the same factors that the police as well as the judiciary arrested and deported a British national illegally for bearing a tattoo of the Buddha in her body.

We urgently need a sane society. Reconciliation, peace, development and prosperity could be achieved only then. All of us – parents, teachers, elders, the clergy of all denominations – have failed miserably by the future generations, by the young. Reform should begin within us and amongst us, first of all. It should be top-down and not bottom-up.


There is 1 Comment

After 1956 or after independence we did lot of good things. However not everyone in society politics is likeable competent or smart intelligent diplomatic. Society will never will be uniform. Always remain diverse with attitudes opinions and everyday life practices.all politicians including the smartest brightest intelectual dumbest or whoever e she may be must direct their oratory speeches etc including our religious gurus must teach educate all citizens the concept compassion sharing discussing instead thuggery brutality eyc of disgraceful nature bringing not proud to the country but shame etc this role they must play internationally with fellow countries in the region


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