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The fate of the SLFP

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Can this Nimal Siripala faction be considered as the opposition? Can this Nimal Siripala faction be considered as the opposition?

The conspiratorial powers–the CIA, the RAW, the British,  MI 6 and their agents, the NGO bandwagon and the Tamil racist leaders had a fourfold agenda to achieve.

They were firstly to oust Mahinda Rajapaksa, secondly to install a leader of their choice, thirdly to destroy the SLFP and fourthly to grant the desired Eelam.

The first three objectives have been achieved. The third objective of destroying the SLFP is being worked out at the moment.

By now a sizeable section of nearly forty SLFP MPs has joined the cabinet led by Ranil Wickremesinghe. President Maithripala does not head that Cabinet. It is wrong to designate them as SLFP members any longer. They have to act in accordance with the wishes of the all powerful Prime Minister Wickremesinghe.

The section of the SLFP under Nimal Siripala de Silva is an impotent appendage of the UNP. They dare not take up any issues that would contravene Wickremesinghe’s agenda. They no longer perform the nationalist agenda for which the SLFP has stood for over the years. When Modi had the gumption to tell this government that it should go beyond the 13th Amendment, Nimal Siripala de Silva was not only silent, but sang in praise of Modi reciting panegyrics in Hindi.

When Vigneswaran forwarded the genocide charge to the UNO, there was not a whimper on the part of the SLFP leader. When Sirisena, CBK and Wickremesinghe distributed the land round the High Security zone, Nimal Siripala could not point out that nearly 90% of that land had been given over by the previous government. When the issue of the National anthem surfaced he could not point out that it was a violation of the Constitution. (This is the third time Sirisena has violated the Constitution.)

Can this Nimal Siripala faction be considered as the opposition? This Cabinet consists of ministers who sit in Wickremesinghe’s Cabinet in the morning maintaining collective responsibility and then, come evening, sit with the leader of the opposition deliberating on how to oppose what they endorsed in the morning! Can anything be more farcical? They are worse than the proverbial two robbers who fought at least during the day, while they robbed together at night. President Sirisena appoints a UNP government and vouches to look after the SLFP- not different to the conduct of the robbers.

http://www.nation.lk/edition/images/2015/04/05/Main/political.jpgSo we have a section of the SLFP which is virtually a part of the UNP, and another faction which aids and abets the UNP covertly.

The provincial and the pradeshiya (PS) members belonging to the lower ranks of the SLFP–which is the backbone of the SLFP–are revolting against these despicable deals, and are now flocking around Mahinda Rajapaksa. Obviously the SLFP, at grassroots level, is entirely with Mahinda Rajapaksa. The vast crowds at the rallies make this evident.

Thus the SLFP has broken into three factions and is no longer the monolithic party it had been over the years.

A pertinent question that needs to be asked is ‘what is being desired by those conspiratorial powers who have brought about this situation?’

They have obviously realized that ousting Mahinda Rajapaksa is inadequate to realize their aim.

The SLFP stands for the vast majority of Sinhala Buddhists. It is an anti-imperialist party which has deep roots in a long history. It has a heritage going beyond 1956. It has the potential to throw up a Mahinda Rajapaksa sooner or later if it is allowed to remain intact.

At the moment with the SLFP having become an appendage of the UNP it could also serve another purpose. When Eelam is handed over by the Ranil Wickremesinghe government, the SLFP will have to participate at that ceremony. The SLFPers will have to place their hands when the offering is made and the sacrificial lamb is placed at the feet of Modi!

There is a fundamental question that needs to be asked by anyone who opts to restore the SLFP from its present predicament and prevent its final dissolution.

How is it that a party like the SLFP which has its origins in the soil of this country, which represents the identity of the nation and which has a long standing anti-imperialist tradition has come to this pass? How can one explain this present plight?
About 25 years ago when I delivered the Annual Bandaranaike Memorial oration, I made the following observation; “I see the present SLFP as a headless body (kawandaya). The leaders of that party have not been able to provide the head needed by that vast body. Instead of creating the required head, what has been attempted so far is to graft Marxist horse heads, or liberal donkey heads. If this servile mentality is not given up soon it will not take long for this headless body to
disintegrate.”

Isn’t this what has happened today?

Bandaranaike who founded the SLFP had a clear idea of its origins. He knew that it was the seeds sewn by Anagaraika Dharmapala that prepared the ground for a party like the SLFP to take root. It was this realization that went into the formation of the Sinhala Maha Sabha by him. He knew that if his nationalist movement is to succeed he should firstly bring the Sinhalese together and that it is around that unity that the  other ethnic groups could be brought together. His assumption is absolutely right.
But what Bandaranaike failed to realize is how that unity could be forged, how the Sinhalese as well as the other ethnic groups could be brought together. (It had to go beyond rhetoric, slogans, and brandishing worthless symbols) That bond had to be a firm soul-binding bond, such a soul-binding bond has to be garnered from the civilizational foundation shared by all ethnic groups. The major component of that civilizational foundation would invariably be Sinhala Buddhist as it is the Sinhala Buddhists who have contributed the major share to this civilization over the centuries.

I recently came across a remarkably insightful observation by a Thai intellect. (I can’t recall his name.) He was a prominent member of the group headed by Buddhadasa mahathera and Sivaraksha who were engaged in creating a Buddhist socialist ideology in Thailand.)

According to that Thai intellectual there were three countries (that had overcome foreign domination) in South Asia which had the potential to go back to their heritage and civilizational foundations to evolve a new State in keeping with modern times. They were Burma, Cambodia and Sri Lanka. U Nu of Burma was partially successful and headed such a State for a decade or so till he was deposed by an army coup. Prince Sihanouk had no opportunity. Sinhala Buddhists of Sri Lanka put Bandaranaike in power to accomplish this task. But Bandaranaike whose head was full of liberalism imbibed from the West failed to see this.
I think this observation is valid to a great extent. But what is regrettable is Bandaranaike’s failure to realize that the cultural foundation on which he could build had already been unearthed by
Anagarika Dharmapala.
I think there is a misconception that needs to be cleared at least at this late stage. Bandaranaike too may have been under that misconception. Even today, Anagarika’s movement is looked upon as only a Buddhist revivalist movement devoid of any political aim. It was a powerful National liberation movement that lasted nearly two decades till 1915 when Anagarika had to leave this country and be under house arrest in India for seven years. Anagarika drove fear into the hearts of the White rulers, so much so that a daily newspaper warned that one morning  Angarika would come with his army and surround Colombo. Once Anagarika had  left for India the IGP noted that he had not left for religious purposes, but to meet the Bolshevik leader M.N.Roy. (I have dealt with this aspect in my book– Anagarika Dharmapala Marxwadeeda?)

The liberation struggle initiated by Anagarika Dharmapala was anathema to the pro Western group dominating the Ceylon National Congress. Not only did they do everything possible to keep Dharmapala away from the political arena, but went on to replace his image as a political leader with that of a  Buddhisatva destined to become the next  Buddha!

It is time that our present day revolutionists realize the place Anagarika occupies when they go into the archaeology of national liberation movement in this country.

Those leaders who came after Bandaranaike’s death did not have an iota of the insight or intuition that Bandaranaike had. All they wanted was to portray Bandaranaike as the sole creator of the ’56 revolution and obtain the proprietary rights for their own survival. It was no different from the claim made by Bandaranaike’s opponents who claimed that he came to power by promising to make Sinhala the official language in 24 hours and thereby hoodwinking the nation. (Both of these belong to the category of historical evaluations). Going further, some leaders who led the party were keen to disown that civilizational foundation treating it as racism and chauvinism. Prominent among them was Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga. She was supposed to ‘modernize’ the SLFP. In this she was aided by Western forces and the NGO bandwagon, who were out to destroy the SLFP. Chandrika Kumaratunga has to bear much of the responsibility for the present predicament of the SLFP.

Though all the leaders failed to provide the head required by the SLFP, there were two leaders who were capable of keeping the headless body intact without letting it disintegrate. They were Sirima Bandaranaike and Mahinda  Rajapaksa, both powerful personalities  well rooted in the culture of the country, and well aware of the anti imperialist nationalist  basis of the SLFP. Their failure was the inability   to articulate a political ideology in   keeping with what they intuitively felt. The advisers they sought after were deracinated cosmopolitan liberals coming from the generation bequeathed by Macaulay.

The end result of this aimless, bewildered journey was to reduce the SLFP to one other party that was out to grab power at any cost. Power seeking was the name of the game. If the Sinhala Buddhist label was of any use in that game, they were all out to use it. If that label was disadvantageous, it was dropped. The latest example of this is the statement made by President Sirisena that, ‘the SLFP cannot come to power by presenting itself as a Sinhala only party’.

It is by no means an easy task to evolve a political ideology, encompassing an economic and social policy based on the civilizational foundation of a nation. It can’t be achieved by grafting some concepts borrowed from Marxism or Liberalism. Nor is it an exercise like formulating a constitution to be left to self-proclaimed legal luminaries and international experts. It should come out of an intellectual dialogue initiated by the national intelligentsia of the country. The SLFP in its long existence has never entertained such an idea. Their mentors have been those self-proclaimed legal luminaries and international experts. The bane of this country has been that this class has been allowed to arrogate to itself the role of advisors and purohithas (Counselors) for any regime that comes to power.

I wish to present some information which is relevant to this discussion. At the moment intellectuals and political scientists are deliberating as to the political ideology that would suit nations with a long history and a virile  civilizational foundation. Samuel Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations, is an attempt to draw our attention to the civilizational forces  in today’s politics. The author of When China rules the World  has come out with a new concept, in dealing with the Chinese state.  According to him, China is neither a Marxist state nor a liberal state. It is a civilizational state.

Dayan Jayatilleke  has drawn our attention to the  sub title–the national character–in  Henry Kissinger’s  latest book; New World Order. These should open our eyes that have been so far been  glued to Marxism and liberalism as the only ideologies  capable of bringing about our emancipation.

Can the SLFP avert this tragic end? Can the headless cadaver be prevented from facing dissolution? We shall know the answer in the near future.

PS I am writing this article in English as I was unable to get the Sinhala original published in any of the week-end Sinhala papers. So much for the freedom of the press-madya nihadasa.

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