Deepavali is observed by Hindus that symbolizes victory of Light over Darkness, Hope over Despair, but today as the ruling class continue with its pre-colonial feudal system of rule of keeping a distance between the rulers and the ruled with ‘us and them’ feeling. Also today many Sri Lankans venerate Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero, the influential Buddhist monk who passed away this day three years ago on 6 November 2015, who aided the wind of change in 2015 to put the Unity Government to change the way country was ruled, yet there is no hope for the Sri Lankan ruled class that includes Hindus.. Regrettably, with the loss of this true nonviolent revolutionary monk respected by all communities, there was nobody to guide the ruling class to produce the desired results. Perhaps if the Monk had lived longer respecting the diversity of a multi-class, multi-ethnic and multi-religious society the change might have happened and certainly would have prevented the present constitutional crisis. Perhaps the country is not ready for a change yet, with the insistence of the Sri Lankan rulers to maintain the unitary status undermining fundamental rights of all the minorities. Not surprisingly the ruled class expressed their disappointment clearly at the 2018 Local Government polls to rock the foundation of the unity government and its ruling class leaders mindful of the concerns of the people, reacted separately. While the rejected regime interpreted the results as their victory and are attempting to take control of the government with the help of few turncoat legislators when parliament reconvene next week. The Tamil National Alliance (TNA), having expressed its willingness for a political solution within a united country should request the future government to resolve some of the basic issues of their people in exchange for their support, failing that should take a neutral stance and leave it to the ruling class resolve their crisis.
The Hindus the only community in the country to register a negative growth because of the civil war will not again this year celebrate Deepavali in the traditional way of buying new clothes for the family members and sweets or gifts to exchange with friends and relatives. Among the poor ruled class in the country are most Hindus, who are poor because they are denied proper livelihood be it the over exploited poor estate workers toiling in the hill country tea estates or those living in their own historical habitat in remote corners of north and east of the country still remembering painfully the civil war, as many in their families died or went missing or lingering in jails as political prisoners. True the unity government did remove their fears that existed in the negative years and have made life easy for all, but those toiling in the hill country and those in previous war regions with inflicted war wounds yet to heal, made worse with divisive mindset persisting in the state. Bitter Truth is the same issues have also made all communities fragmented into smaller groups and some of them are without representation in the legislature in this backdrop the present destabilise state of government is not helping matters.
After seventy years of independence, the island nation Sri Lanka is still struggling in the dark to devolve powers for all its citizens for which paid with more than thousand lives, heavy loss of assets and the nation development pushed back by several decades; all due to the failure of past rulers to unite the country made-up of multi-ethnic and multi-religious communities into one nation. This could happen if the rulers repair the damages and arrive at a home grown solution that the President is proposing to do with a new government. Only then these issues will go into history books and the country will be ready for development to benefit the people living in all corners of this tiny island.
Today, more than ever it is important for the majority community ruling the country and the ruled minority communities to come together to work as a nation. For only restoration of rights of all communities with the promised devolution implemented in full will salvage the country and perhaps thereafter will put all the Hindus in the right frame of mind to celebrate Deepavali the traditional way; until then dark clouds will prevail over their normal life, while they confine themselves to prayers with the hope that the lights of Deepavali will soon remove the darkness from the minds of the rulers and grant the ruled minority communities their due rights in the multi-ethnic and multi-religious country.
The ruling class with its fear driven anti minorities’ policies have already lost the paradise and the blame is not with the majority people, as it was the policies of the ruling class that should be blamed. This was most noticeable during the period of uprisings in the south where the southern youths defending the interests of its own ‘poor majority’ masses fought an armed battle against the southern ‘poor majority’ youths in state uniform and civil-war that began in the north and stretched beyond was a repetition, where mainly the northern youths replaced the southern youths to defend the interests of its own ‘poor majority’ masses fighting an armed battle against the southern ‘poor majority’ youths in state uniform. In all cases the ruling class without attempting to find the root causes for these uprisings, used the full state resources with much foreign assistance to crush all rebellions. To this day the rulers have failed to resolve the problems of these ‘poor majority’ and the country remains divided with the ‘us and them’ feelings prevailing across the island that is poorer due to loss of a generation of ‘poor majority’ youths of all communities.
When in 2015 the power greedy and profit motivated ruling class that was divided for many decades was brought together as main partners with few smaller economic, ethnic and religious groupings from the ruled class joining in to form the unity government, denouncing the previous autocratic rule, promising good governance and better living conditions for all communities. But this ruling class led government came to power once again without a proper programme reflecting the needs of the ‘poor majority’, instead made only promises in the air at the time they were meeting voters prior to the polls. Once in power from the start the unity government never worked in harmony, as the two ruling class partners could not see eye to eye on many matters and soon one partner split up with one section moving to sit in opposition, while the other staying in government.
Then unity government began to come apart with mounting opposition and deepening financial crisis, with partners blaming each other for the huge losses at the local government polls held earlier in the year and the section in government split again with further movement to opposition benches. As the result the resistance to unity government got widespread linking across ethnic lines among different sections of the ruled class that included workers as well as farmers, fishermen and students. The final straw was the defeat of the no confidence motion against the Prime Minister that was enough for the remaining members of the split party in government to prepare for separation and finally moved to join the rest of their members in opposition who had earlier supported the no confidence motion. That made it impossible for the government to function, causing the present situation with both ruling class partners wanting to take control of the government with bitter infighting the two main ruling class divided there is a crisis.
The ruling class have been dictating terms to the ‘poor majority’ ruled class to suppress and exploit them to their advantage as they had always done in the past; therefore as part of the ruled class the minorities should keep out of the present battle for power between the two sections of the ruling class that got divided in the nineteen fifties. As in the past, the present representatives of the minorities will fail again by taking side in the present crisis to get any benefits to their people. The ruling class though divided has for decades were not concerned over the welfare of the majority poor ruled class, with one adopting extremist nationalist sentiments, while the other as in the past is hiding itself to swear that it is unable to openly support a pluralistic, free society to benefit the total population.
As the result today the other partners representing economic, ethnic and religious minorities in the unity government and those in opposition are left high and dry as always, to fight for their own interests to defend the rights of the people they represent no matter if they are urban rich or rural poor. For they know well that both factions of the ruling class fighting for power in parliament have over many decades only progressed with its class interests; without care about the basic democratic rights of their people, majority of whom are working class that got affected most in particular during the uprisings, civil-war and whenever there was an economic crisis or a natural disaster.
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA), is one leading political party of the minority communities that has always been the ruled class which kept a low profile during the dark days of the civil-war; who as the largest party in opposition and having expressed its willingness for a political solution within a united country in 2015, is wanting to retain their support to the unity government thus taking side on the current crisis. In spite of supporting those for three years without receiving responses to any of its election promises made to those who voted them. Though the present crisis has brought the TNA alliance to a breaking point, they should request the future government to resolve some of the basic issues of their people in exchange for their support, failing which should take a neutral stance, as indicated by the other important political party in opposition, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) that is expected be neutral in the current crisis, even though it has manoeuvred between the two main parties in government that are fighting for power.
With over three years of unity government rule there is general acceptance that the fault lies on the corrupt legislature. When the parliament reopens the crisis will come to end with many turncoats among the legislators who would have by then shifted their allegiance from being loyal to the unity government to the new government deserting their original causes as the goals that formerly motivated became no longer feasible. As all the political parties are pawns in the present crisis and as the struggle for power intensify there will be more turncoats propping up to enable the President’s party to take control of the government with former President as the Prime Minister.
Bitter Truth this crisis may end with new rulers, but not the problems of the ‘majority poor’ people being ruled; to them the past or the present government makes no difference as both are from the corrupt pool of legislators belonging to same ruling class. A proper weeding out that was stressed many times in Northern Breeze is the best option available to the ‘majority poor’ people at the General Election due in 2020 to clean up the poor administration at the center. Weeding out from the ruling class all dishonest common men turned politicians regardless of which political party they belong and replace them by voting in many new law makers to any political party of their choice to govern the country and get the country out of its present mess. This is a peaceful manner to empower the people to provide a governing arrangement to preserve the diversity of the small island that is multi-class, multi-ethnic and multi-religious nation to keep the country bonded with people based progressive polices to march forward as a united nation with the whole population in the challenging 21st century.