Chapter Eleven

Winning Peace

The containment of the drift towards division and preserving the unity of Sri Lanka as a nation is possible only through the restructuring of Sri Lanka as a union of distinct ethnic regions where the regional and national aspirations of each ethnic community is met at regional and national level.

The sharing of the sovereignty by the people at the regional and national levels will enable the achievement of stable government. Appropriating the sovereignty that rests with them, so as to exercise the legislative, executive, and judicial powers at national and regional levels enables the achievement of effective governance by the accommodation of regional peculiarities and perceptions.

The State of belligerence has risen as a result of the imposition of idea of unitary state and its system of government on the Tamil people against their will. The Tamil people are not looking for Sinhalese Government to rule them however reasonable that may be. The Sinhalese desire to rule themselves is Imderstandable. The governmental system of Sri Lanka has to be structured so as to reflect the democratic principle of people ruling themselves is validated throughout the governmental process.

The main obstacle to such a change and transformation is the minds of the Sinhalese people which under the grip of the renegade Volk is distinguished by a greed to dominate, grab and control everything useful in Sri Lanka.

Except for its attempt to stabilise the British Governmental experiment of unitary state, the Sinhalese ruling class has failed to demonstrate a capacity to provide a stable and good government which respects the rights and aspirations of all the people of this land. At every instance when the national emergency called for statesmanship, honesty, acumen and courage, the Sinhalese leadership could only muster dishonesty, feebleness, and cowardice, and the Tamil people who have become so sick of their pretensions, have come to distrust every thing they offer.

Without the the broader perspective of the nature of the conflict and evolving a programme for ending the state of belligerence based on the recognition of political realities and and accommodating them constitutionaly the achievement of peace will remain a distant dream.

There is direct relationship between the degree of belligerence and the degree of incongruence that exists between the constitution and political realities exemplified by the existence of base social order not reflected in the constitution.

The explicit recognition of the merged North East as a Traditional Homeland of the Tamil people and the recognition of the inalienable historical right to self rule is essential to assure the Tamil people that the Sinhalese do not harbour any ill designs in their minds and are not seeking the ideal of a united country to advance dubious Volkist schemes.

The non recognition or even an implicit recognition will only lead to the resurfacing of the earlier experience that the Volk is interested in a united country for the continuation and perpetuation of its designs. The failure of the Tamil people to assert their historical right has made them victims of the schemes of the Volk.

As long as there exists the opportunity that permits the usurpation of the centre, the Volk will bring ruin to any idea of united Sri Lanka weather unitary, federal or confederation. The exclusive arguments of the Sinhalese that they are in favour of retaining more power with the Centre is indicative that the Centre shall be retained at the disposal of the Volk. The foremost positions afforded to sectarian interests symbolises and legitimses the subordination of the constitution of the Volk.

The absence of a platform to articulate the will of the Sinhala nation, that should have emerged by the merger of the seven provinces, has been rendered irrelevant only by the retention of the Centre as an instrument of the Volk. This wanton hold over the Centre will continue to generate and provide the cause for division.

As long as there is no attempt to provide a neutral Centre by providing for the deterrent clauses and elimination of all expressions and symbols with which only one community could identify itself with, and not avail the new opportunity of retaining them as regional symbol, is indicative of the difficulty there exists in understanding the basis of a new nation.

The constitution should reflect the willing union of the regions based on mutual respect and mutual benefit of all.

Centre should be so projected with its commitment to serve all which will enable all the regions appreciate equally the idea of strengthening the Centre. If at all negative clauses are introduced casting Tamils as villains, this should be matched by negative clauses introduced to prevent the usurpation of the Centre by the Volk.

The transcendence which is necessary to strengthen the centre as a unifying force and the opportunity afforded to the regions to avail themselves the advantage of economy of scale that could only be provided by the Centre, has to be achieved not by providing for running parallel programmed but possibly by introducing the idea of Structured Subjects where these subjects which will be the responsibility of the Centre but the Centre will be under statutory obligation to provide separate regional structures to each Region if requested. This will enable a harmonious interaction between the Region and the Centre and also facilitate the necessary inter linking now being attempted by providing for overriding powers and parallel subjects which will be a source continued friction. The regional Chief Minister could be consulted in the appointment of the Chief Executive of the Regional Department thus established.

There is more need today to provide constitutional provisions as found in the Soulbury Constitution to prevent the sway of tyranny of the majority so that Centre shall reflect the interests of all as one nation upholding the principles of merit. The devolution and restructuring process enables the meeting of the Sinhalese aspirations at a regional level where Sinhalese are in a majority without giving room for complaints of discrimination.

Sri Lanka was never a Buddhist country in her history, in spite of the prevalence of ruins, and the concept of Buddhist country has no relevance to a society based on democratic principles which contradicts the feudal structures the Sangha wants to impose on the people of this country. Other than during the period of Western rule, the philosophy of government was Hindu in nature throughout the history of this country. This is confirmed by Fa Hsien as well. This is one of the reasons why the period of Tamil rule in Sri Lanka is attributed form the times of Ellala, with stability and justness. The experience of attempting to create a Dharmista society is well known to this country. From ancient times Hinduism and Buddhism were given equal prominence in Governmental affairs in Sri Lanka.

The state need not be burdened with the responsibility of reviving an ancient civilisation. A national pride and identity can be evolved in a vision looking to the future without having to depend on the revival of an old tradition whose real causes of demise are not clearly appreciated. Sri Lanka's greatness of her heritage lies in her unique experience where in her spiritual mosaic, she fostered for centuries, all the four major religions of the world to prosper side by side, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity, and it is this heritage that has to be accorded due recognition without turning the constitution into a vehicle for conspiracies and designs of domination of one over the other.

The anti Tamil orientation and content of the state machinery and its poisoning by the Volk, could be ended only by decriminalization and relegation of the Volk from its dominant position. The centre shall be relieved of the service of those who cannot comprehend and uphold the values of a new Sri Lanka based on the mutual recognition of rights of people without it being a vehicle for causes of strife and discord.

The incompetence and the failure to uphold the spirit of constitution and seeking protection under the emergency provisions will have to give way to the emergence of governmental structures that shall be capable of winning and retaining the trust of the people by enabling their identification of oneness with such structures.

The establishment of the optimal and rational constitutional structure by seeking congruence with the base social order and identity factors facilitating better and easier understanding of the constitution, will end the political alienation that marked the days of unitary state and would bring about active identification and participation of people with constitution and government.

The Parliament has been the villain legitimising the unconstitutionality and undemocratic governance including the undoing of the peace process initiated by India. By its pretensions and actions, it has prevented the emergence of a unifying constitutional platform where such matters as adherence to the constitution and ideas if its restructuring should have emerged.

The parliament is there to concern itself with ordinary laws. It is sectarian in its traditions and customs and are evolved so that it remains a source of contradictions and not consensus. The interest of the parliament in the conflict is to hold on to the power it inherited under the unitary constitution and resist any attempts of curtailment. Its disposition was well exhibited in the way it facilitated the implementation of the 1 3th Amendment especially in relation to the North East Provincial Council when parliament was not just the villain but the conspirator and destroyer.

The experience of the Select Committee of the UNP government is well known. The Parliament or its select Committee called upon to sit as ajudge where the Parliament is the accused makes a mockery of basic principles of equality in justice. The solution to the problem lies in Parliament coming forward and relinquishing its responsibilities and ending its pretensions on those matters where people would vest the powers in the Regional Councils. What is needed is a Constitutional Council reflecting the constitutional interests of the nation which could supervise the relinquishment of the parliamentary powers, and facilitate the peaceful emergence of the nation based on the constitutional percepts of federal restructuring and principles of divided sovereignty and exclusivity of respective domains.

The present state of armed contradictions and state of belligerence that has risen as a result of imposing the idea of unitary state and the Volk on the Tamil people, leading to a counter revolt aimed at separation, can be negotiated and integrated into a programme of symmetrical dismantling of belligerence by enabling the transference of state of belligerence into the constitutional manifestation of self rule of the region and preservation of integrity and unity of Sri Lanka. That responsibility of achievement of such a programme could only rest with the Presidency.

The peace swill not be achieved alone by establishing a congruent and rational constitutional order but it is the accommadation based on mutual respect and relationships based on kindness, love and understanding between all Sri Lankans which will eventually lead to the victory of peace and a new life of the nation.

The possibility of treading a new course for peace for which the both the Sinhalese people and Tamil people gave such an unstinted mandate does not lie in pursuing the old rejected and discredited path based on imposition and militarism with new people and new vigour, but steadfastly holding and breaking through the obstacles to seek and pursue a new path based on the recognition of the dictates of the will of the people. The international community should support such an endeavour of ending belligerence and bring peace to Sri Lanka.