PHYSIOGNOMY OF THE STATE DELINEATED | Daily News

PHYSIOGNOMY OF THE STATE DELINEATED

The physiognomy, the clear profile and the significant features of the Sri Lankan state could be delineated in a manner that best suits the people and decided on by them. When good understanding and trust among the people are reflected in their leaders, many things could easily be done and a lot more achieved.

It is a great misfortune that some who call themselves Sinhala Buddhists and pose as the sole guardians of the country (muradevathavo) think that all others should accept them as such without question. Those who are not Sinhala Buddhists have also descended from their common forebears who lived in Sri Lanka for as many centuries as these Sinhala Buddhists in this country.

Many Christians of today would have had Buddhist and Hindu great great grand parents a few centuries ago. Their sons and daughters have defended this country and sacrificed their lives for her. They have a right to live here; they also have a loyalty to the country not second to anyone’s and no one has a right to displace them. They are not out to divide the country. They are mindful of developing it. Today prejudices are abating. And it is also unjust on the part of anyone who calls himself a Sinhala Buddhist to accuse anyone else of trying to destroy Buddhism and sow anarchy and misunderstanding on that score among the people.

The people of the North and East have been asking for understanding towards a devolution of political power due to persistent discrimination that has been pronounced especially after 1956 under Sinhala dominated governments. The governments violated human rights; denied Language rights of the people. The sense of freedom and the equality of all were undermined by those wielding State authority. Some of them in spite of professing to have inherited a bimillennial civilization conducted themselves in the most uncivilized ways. At the end of thirty years of civil disturbances, guerilla war and unheard of bloodshed, we saw, the unacceptable family relations and arrangements in our island home, as we see the messy neglect of an old room in a flash of lightening.

Politicians’ lack of goodwill and their intellectual incapacity to comprehend the circumstances and attitudes and an inability to see matters realistically due to a moral morass and blindness have led the country down a political precipice. Evidently the political leaders’ failure has been very great; they have been incapable of maintaining and building up good relations in their inability of coming to terms with the peoples’ yearning for human norms of fraternity, national solidarity, unity and peace.

And in this situation, the diehard elements of some political parties devise again a reconstructed hegemonic Sinhala Buddhist image as a rallying point to capture political power. If the all-embracing compassion and loving kindness in Buddhism was there in politics and politicians, they would not have adopted ways quite antithetical to the teachings of the noble Buddha. Sri Lanka would not have fallen into a messy state.

MEDIOCRITIES CAUSE DISASTER

At least now, all sane and mature political leaders should realize that they are together at a crucial juncture in the history of Sri Lanka.

They have to transcend themselves, transcend the narrow political perspectives and ego absorbed notions of power and social manipulation and focus on the well-being and common good of all the people of Sri Lanka whose equal dignity and honour is undoubtedly acknowledged and recognized by the current Constitution and should continue to be so in any new Constitution. No Constitution of the people frames discrimination, injustice and any kind of evil on them.

When we investigate Sri Lanka’s socio-economic, religio-cultural and political developments since 1956 we perceive an atmosphere of social disharmony; almost everything lacked vigour and health. Many citizens of the Burgher community leave the country. Mutual understanding and trust get eroded. Communities get estranged. Developments in education become skewed and lop-sided. The brain drain commences. Many begin to give up hope and seek greener pastures abroad.

The cause of it all were the chauvinists, the uneducated, the bigots and the biased wearing a wolfish nationalist garb who entered the political field and dominated it for several decades. They were engulfed in a romanticized past. They were unable to accept the evolving world of the 20th century.

There were no visionaries; prophets were not listened to. ‘Without a vision people perish'. Though it all the mediocrities had their day and caused much disaster resulting in blood-spattered terror; all sorts of corruption also unfolded and human beings deteriorated to very low levels of conduct.

CONSTITUTION, A MODE OF LIVING TOGETHER

There is hardly a State whose people are uniform in every way; Human beings do not live isolated as individuals, but live in community with others. States have people of diverse communities with diverse identities and cultures. Therefore a State to endure and subsist stably should adopt a mode of living together.

A State should have a character that the Germans call staatlichkeit, a state-likeness, what the state is. If the political parties think of Sri Lanka and its people and prioritize national ideals and objectives and together focus on upholding on a basis of democracy human dignity, equality, autonomy, freedom and the rule of law, a solid and sound base for statehood could be laid.

A New Constitution could be a much esteemed instrument delineating the challenging task of national progress in stability and the broad, clear, enduring and firm national objectives and the main concerns of all the people.

When a Constitution recognizes and establishes the firm bases of human dignity, equality, autonomy, freedom and the rule of law, a solid and sound base is put in place with an acceptable mode of living together so that national solidarity and unity will hold and subsist in fraternity. Of course for this national endeavour, goodwill, honesty and sincerity are absolutely necessary. Narrow political scheming and intrigue have to be set aside.

ONLY WISE HONEST PEOPLE

Today a central government coordinates with nine provincial councils, several district councils, municipalities, urban and village councils. Along with corrupt elements in almost all the ministries there are nine white elephants and centres of corruption in the provinces. Just and fair administration of the provinces need not come under corrupt politicians. Provincial Councils came into being due to our inability to do justice to the people of the North and the East and the consequent Indian intervention. A North and East with appropriate and adequate powers devolved within well defined parameters could be very well integrated in a unitary Sri Lankan State the physiognomy of which is up to us, the people, to outline.

Biased and corrupt politicians are responsible for the confusion in political thinking, the hurt feelings, the mangled relationships and the resultant unacceptable state of affairs that exist today. There should be a firm and sincere will to set things right. Only honest men and women could do that. Do we have enough of these men and women in our country today?

Once, the broad Constitutional bases have been agreed on, political parties headed by intelligent, foresighted and wise leaders who could mobilize good collaborators should together focus on outlining the whole range of national policies for the development of Sri Lanka and the socio-economic, cultural and moral advancement of its people. The political force that comes to power may prioritize any sectors they choose but progress in any sector will not be hampered by changes of government. Political parties could then contest on the ways of administering the country efficiently.

It is saddening that those wanting to come to power or those holding power are not keen on planning and working out national projects in unity. It can therefore be questioned as to how they could unify the different communities and people of this country.

The shallow minded, the short-sighted, the cunning, the corrupt and the roguish will have their peculiar answers. People who challenge the politicians about all these matters should be wise enough not to be outwitted by the nitwitted. 


 

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