Sri Lanka: The price of South's reluctance to accept reality

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Tue May 16 14:38:19 UTC 2006


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The price of Souths reluctance to accept reality
Source: Daily Mirror - May 15, 2006
By: G.Mahen .P. Siriwardena

The book The Revolt in the Temple was printed and published by the Sinha
publications with its first edition in April 1953, to commemorate the 2500
year (Buddha Jayanti) in 1956. This monumental work has been compiled by
D.C.Wijewardana. He says, The purpose of this work is to commemorate a
great and unique event of modern times, namely, the completion of 2500
years, of a three fold history. This history is that of the Buddhist
faith, of the Sinhalese race, and of the Land of Ceylon. Thus the Mahavansa
synchronizes the death of the Buddha with the founding of the Sinhalese
race; and therefore, in 1956 will occur the unique three-fold event- the
completion of 2500 years of Buddhism, of the life of the Sinhalese race,
and of Ceylon history.

In Para four in the introduction he says- Another tradition that is
current amongst the Sinhalese is that when Buddhism shall have completed
2500 years, a prince named Diyasena will establish a Buddhist Kingdom in
Ceylon. Then, it is said, the faith will shine forth in glory and be a
beacon to the whole world, and Lanka itself will be prosperous and joyous.
This prediction, which originated from a verse in a poetic work, written
during the reign of Parakrama Bahu V1 of Kotte- the last period of
brilliant achievement of the Sinhalese- has been a source of hope and
consolidation for the Sinhalese during the vicissitudes of the past 500

Coincidentally another significant event was to take place in 1956.-three
years after the first publication of the Revolt in the Temple of the year
of the Jayanthi S.W.R.D Bandaranaike assumed power as the champion of the
Buddhists and proclaimed the Sinhala only language policy and decreed that
Buddhism would be the state religion. Was he the Diyasena described in the
poetic works during the reign of Parakrama Bahu V1.? Nevertheless, the
events since that day fifty years ago have been a nightmare for the
Nation. For it is in peril not only to survive as one nation but as a
progressive race. The blood let has been continuous and the Nation is at
the crossroads to total disintegration.-

Is the prophesied Diyasena yet to come? Dharma- Vijay a (Triumph of
Righteousness) The Revolt in the Temple is considered a trilogy. Namely,
Nidana Katha- Visuddhi Magga and the Rajjan ca Paja ca. I would quote the
first and third of the trilogy for it seems appropriate-The Introductory
story, contains the story of the Sinhalese race, felicitously written with
touches of unmistakable realism. In it a forgotten world is brought back
to life. One is astounded to find how much of the past is yet hidden from
us, and how much more we know but vaguely. Yesterdays heroes and their
doings, changing great nation- to read these things is to see, passing
before ones eyes, the cavalcade of Lankas history.

The third of the trilogy namely the Rajjan ca Paja ca, the book refers to
the Man and State, in which it states thus; - It is here that the author
translates the Buddhas doctrine from its common interpretation of pie in
the sky after you die to happiness here and now in this actual human
world. This has not happened in the last fifty years and, therefore lies
the tragedy- Has Buddhism failed the state or that the State failed
Buddhism? Interestingly the readers may ask or wonder, whither wisdom? Or
better still Where is Vishnu?- In Para two the author says thus- On
receiving the Buddhas command, Sakra summoned Vishnu;  Do thou, O
lotus-hued one, protect with zeal Prince Vijaya and his followers, and the
doctrine that is to endure in Lanka for full five thousand years. The
endurance in the past fifty years after 2500 years needs to be examined by
scholars and the erudite as to its failure.

In page 7 Para two the author says-The world is faced to-day with the
rapid advance of a new doctrine-Marxian communism. Christianity, for
nearly four decades, has been fighting a losing battle against it. But now
Buddhism also faces the same issue. How will the Buddhist world meet this
challenge? China, a Buddhist country, will soon have to decide this
problem. Will she, like the Christian countries, submit to this new
doctrine? Or will she, keeping to her tradition of absorbing her
conquerors, absorb Marxism into her system and give to the world a new way
of life? I believe this is the reality to day in modern Sri-Lanka. Not
only is there confusion in which way to go but also for the leaders of
political parties, whether it be UNP-SLFP or other to a balancing act
between Buddhist ( the clergy) and the pseudo Marxists viz the JVP, JHU
and some others of the left movement to accept the realities in the North
and East.

The hard line of thinking that the LTTE must be crushed militarily, is a
pipe dream. Two decades of war has proven that point. The strength of the
LTTE lies not in their strong- holds in the Wanni but in all world
capitals. They not only have influence but also the lavish cash donations
contributed willingly or unwillingly by the Tamil Diaspora. The clergy,
the JHU and the JVP in particular are living in their own time motions
that, either India, Pakistan or China would give us enough aircraft to
carpet bomb the NE and get rid of the LTTE, once and for all. Even if it
was remotely dreamed by MR, then he would know now, that it is just not
possible. There was condemnation even for the limited air raids in Mutur,
post- assassination attempt on the army commander.

The LTTEs think tanks have been consistent in their demand for a separate
homeland or Ealam. It knows full well the confused minds of the Sinhalese
and the inability of the southern politicians to gather around to agree to
such a demand.  Understandably, it is political suicide. And there lies
both the problem and the enigma. To offer at least limited autonomy. We
want to talk peace. They say, which means in other words for the security
forces to Get into barracks in the North and East as the first step. Then
we talk to give us our piece of land and then we negotiate a peaceful
co-existence- One country two identities.  Or something a little better.
It must be said of them, that they have carried out every threat, and made
good their promises, right or wrong- the conflict drags on and on, with no
end in sight?

Unfortunately, the south has been far too preoccupied to seriously
consider the determination of the Tamil People. Claymore mines, hand
grenades and a series of civil disobedience acts in the NE daily, are only
reading matter. After all it does not seriously affect the southerners or
they wouldn't bother. What bothers them more is the train to catch and the
price of fish in the market place! However the gravity of the current
situation has to be addressed seriously by the government and civil
societies now, or the nation would be lost for ever; in ashes.

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