Milestones of Good Governance | Daily News

Milestones of Good Governance

The national unity government should spare no effort to keep the marauding racists and pseudo-patriots at bay. The post-January 8 Presidency, followed by the August 17 General Election, heralded the formation of the unprecedented National Unity (NU) Government comprising the age-old rivals: the UNP and the SLFP. The good governance has been the stated trajectory of the NU Government.

First of all, the efforts to tighten the noose around the neck of the sharks involved in rampant corruption, bribery and embezzlement should be tightened. On the other hand, those very corrupt elements are working overtime to strengthen their hands in their desperate bid to dim and douse the investigations being carried out by the FCID, PRECIFAC and the Bribery Commission.

The aim of the recent five-day-long Kandy-Colmbo Paada Yatra and campaigns they contemplate is to incite naked racism, hoping to achieve their sinister objectives, much to the detriment of the short and long term interests of the country at large.

Sabotaging the process of enacting a new constitution is foremost in their agenda.

Some self-styled Sinhala intellectuals in their English articles to the media are fanning the flames of discord. For instance, let me quote Dr Dayan Jayatilleka.

“If Ranil, CBK and their foreign patrons thought that they had abolished the two-party system in Sri Lanka and created a bi-partisan consensus which can give the Tamil Diaspora punitive accountability and the TNA’s federalisation demands. The Joint Opposition (led by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa - my addition) has demonstrated that it possesses the social kinetic energy needed, even if the leaders are incarcerated, to fight against and defeat at a Referendum next year, the North-East re-merger and quasi/proto-federal Constitution which will turn the Island’s North - East into a second Tamil Nadu.” (South Indian Regional State - my addition) At least the intellectual dishonesty apparent in the foregoing quotation, because it goes without saying that Tamil Nadu is not separate and apart from India, but very much an integral part of that country.

“Sinhala Only” Act

It needs hardly be stressed that racism is a mutually reinforcing phenomenon, and it cannot be gainsaid that Sinhala Buddhist hegemonic positions which have bedevilled inter-racial relations, can be traced back to the early 20th century, with 1915 Sinhala-Muslim disturbances as the first dark chapter. And it traveresed all the way (through the split in the Ceylon National Congress, trailed by the pan-Sinhala Cabinet of the 1930s) to the 1950s with S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike's “Sinhala Only” Act introduced in 1956, jettisoning his own founding manifesto of the SLFP in 1951 providing for making both Sinhala and Tamil official languages. Principled Left leaders at that time sternly prophesied that the Sinhala Only Act would ignite a future separatist struggle by the Tamils (two languages, one Nation; one language two Nations (or bleeding halves) as graphically warned by the late lamented Colvin R de Silva). Of course, Bandaranaike would have none of it.

At present, there is an ongoing project concerning, in particular, the building up of reconciliation, and this obviously cannot be established in a vacuum, since at least resettlement of thousands of war-displaced persons will have to be satisfactorily completed. And the Sinhala-Buddhist supremacist agenda especially in the North-East has also to be dispensed with, for the greater good of the whole country.

Sinhalese Buddhist hegemony

For six years after the comprehensive defeat of the LTTE, the Mahinda Rajapaksa Government insensitively indulged in a spate of triumphalism. There was no serious attempt by that Government at a solution to such a vexed question, and what is more, even full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution was spurned by former Government.

Quite refreshingly however, President Maihripala Sirisena made a remarkable Independence Day speech close on the heels of assuming the Presidency on January 8, 2015, firmly stressing the paramount need to establish a North-South link which he lamented had been sadly lacking for decades. And, in a very statesmanlike turn, the air of triumphalism that had pervaded the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime was brought to an end.

Unfortunately, however, overwhelming military presence of the north and east is still in place, not only impeding full resettlement of the war-displaced thousands but also maintaining Sinhalese Buddhist hegemony with the establishment of Buddhist shrines and statues in a number of places in the north-east sans a Sinhala Buddhist population.

Two recent examples are the construction of a 60-foot Buddha statue at Nainativu and the construction of a Buddhist temple, and that too, on an encroached portion of a Hindu temple land at Iranmadu in the Kilinochchi area, reportedly with the full participation of the Armed Forces.

Moreover, it is no secret that the military is also involved in activities such as cultivation on war-displaced people’s lands, dairy farming and running hotels which impact adversely on the economic life of the local population.

Such a scenario undoubtedly has a negative impact on the processes of ushering in genuine reconciliation, peace and harmony.

The majority of the people of all races and religions, after January 8, 2015, bid good-bye to racism that had pervaded the country for decades. It is the absolute responsibility of the incumbent NU Government to steer clear of all the pitfalls that the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime was replete with. Keep the marauding racists and pseudo patriots at bay. 


 

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