Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Acquiescence To Oppression: Caste, The Sangha & Government Office

Professor Ratnajeevan Hoole

By S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole 
(First Published in Colombo

We are supposedly living in a secular country, notwithstanding Buddhism being the foremost religion sponsored by the state.

And yet, when my friend and senior schoolmate, Mr. K.C. Nithiananthan was to come as Governor of the Northern Province, effective 6 April, it did not seem to happen and his old posting as Governor of the Western Province is still on the relevant website.

On inquiry I am told that our former Governor, Reginald Cooray, who had been posted to Kandy, had been rejected by the Mahanayakes there, saying a fishing caste Christian is unacceptable but they would allow a Christian if he is of the agricultural caste. Unbelievably, negotiations happened. Cooray and Nithiananthan had a meeting in Colombo with the authorities. The government apparently bought this line by the Mahasangha and, as I gather, Cooray will go to Kurunagala and a woman of the right caste will go to the Central Province!

This is against all the laws and principles we profess and a part of the fraud that Sri Lanka is – preaching high principles and doing the opposite. Welcome to Sri Lanka, perhaps the most racist and communalist country in the world. Worse, our non-agriculturists have acquiesced by accepting their slavery – there are so many powerful fishing caste people in government from whom we have not had a whimper. People are people, cut from the same rags I think. Wondering about this, I asked my driver who worships Arumuga Navalar and is not an agriculturist, whether he knows Arumuga Navalar’s teaching to agriculturist school children in his Paalar Paadam that if a low caste person or a dog sees his earthen cooking vessels, he ought to destroy them and buy new ones? My driver was aghast and said no one taught him that.

Why just today (Sunday 8th) I drove from Jaffna to Batticaloa to attend the fiftieth ordination celebration of my good friend The Rev. Fr. Joe Mary tomorrow Monday. I settled down in my car to read my Sunday newspapers. A prominent English language Sunday newspaper had its top, page 1 story with the headline emblazoned: New Year Gift to the North: Army to free 650 acres. They take our private lands and think they are giving us a gift by vacating it? The Editor, presumably the best of the Sinhalese intelligentsia, let that headline pass thinking he is really giving us a gift of what is ours. All the way from Vavuniya through Trinco and Moothur to Batticaloa, I saw all these encroached and forcibly settled lands, wondering what our future in this country is as Tamils.

I also recalled with bitterness my brother-in-law’s land which he had purchased in Keerimalai for a resort home, which has been taken over for the presidential palace. A government that promotes free trade cannot afford to violate people’s ownership rights over their property.

As we reached Batticaloa, I wondered if the people of Batticaloa who worship Pattini/Kannaki and at the same time had Navalar statues erected by their MP Yogeswaran, know that Navalar decried Pattini as a low caste Jaina Chetty goddess and demanded “What temples for that Chettichi?” The people of Batticaloa also have acquiesced to their slavery. We are all willing slaves to those who oppress us. It is the culture of oppression.

The root of this master-servant relationship can be traced to the Mahavamsa where in the Second Century BC (if the Mahavamsa is to be believed) King Duttugemenu’s son, the Prince Salya, marries a low caste woman, Asokamala. For this, he is banished. The only difference now is that we are doing the same horrible low-class thinking in the twenty-first century. Lord Krishna said in the Gita that he created the castes according to their moral qualities – the higher the qualities, the higher the caste. In Sri Lanka we have those claiming to be high castes exhibiting very low qualities in disrespecting the rights of those who are not agriculturist.

Until the worldly powers of clergy are removed we will always be a third rate country. In Jaffna, we have in Neduntivu (or Nainativu) a monk who has the Navy in his service. According to a reliable professional from there, he has fathered some 10 children through Tamil women. These ladies, like the fisher caste people who accept that they cannot be governors of the Central Province, are willing concubines while he claims to be the Mahanayake of the North. These ladies have acquiesced to their oppression.

I do not regard Nainativu as a part of my heritage because of how the Navy behaves and foisted criminals as our representative. I visited there for the first time only recently when a relation, on the occasion of my daughter’s marriage, gave us all a picnic-tour of Jaffna. The bus she hired took us at some point by ferry to Neduntivu. We walked about and a monk without asking any permission, came and sat on the front seat that I had been occupying. I politely told him it is a private bus, but he glared at me. I am a slave in Jaffna and knew I could not throw him out without the Navy coming to his protection. I too had acquiesced to my oppression.

Should we not rethink the foremost position for a religion that brings out the worst in man – acquiescence to our own oppression. All jobs should be open to everyone based only on qualifications. Does the government have a new policy on caste as a qualification?


  1. Read the article very carefully. /perhaps the most racist and communalist country in the world/ The statement is very serious. Apart from that, in Buddhism 'නචච්චා වසලෝ හොති. නචච්චා හොති බ්‍රාහ්මණෝ' etc. etc. are categorically mentioned as the first and foremost principles. How can the so called personalities supposed to be the religious leaders, act in a manner against the teachings of Lord Buddha?

    1. Mr. Daya,

      /perhaps the most racist and communalist country in the world/

      වෙරි බෑඩ් කියන්නත් සෑඩ් but I have to somewhat agree with the good professor here. racism has reached unprecedented heights even among Sri Lankan diaspora in many countries as I have heard.

      I can vouch the situation here is critical.As I have observed here the level of racism is directly proportional to the level of education. I am totally at a loss to understand or explain how that happens.

      Regarding Buddhist monks absolutely no purpose in even discussing their behavior. Only you get your blood pressure up. They are simply similar to rabid dogs.

  2. “My people are going to learn the principles of democracy the dictates of truth and the teachings of science. Superstition must go. Let them worship as they will, every man can follow his own conscience provided it does not interfere with sane reason or bid him act against the liberty of his fellow men.”
    ― Mustafa Kemal Atatürk

    “If I were a dictator, religion and state would be separate. I swear by my religion. I will die for it. But it is my personal affair. The state has nothing to do with it. The state would look after your secular welfare, health, communications, foreign relations, currency and so on, but not your or my religion. That is everybody's personal concern!”
    ― Mahatma Gandhi

    1. Secularism is categorically not saying that the religious may not speak out publicly or have a say in public life. It is about saying that religion alone should not confer a privileged say in public life, or greater influence on it. It really is as simple as that.

      -Richard Dawkins

      මහ නාහිමිවරුන්ගේ ඉල්ලීම කිසිසේත් නොතැකේ..!

      “අපි ව්‍යවස්ථාව කෙටුම්පත් කරනවා” – ව්‍යවස්ථා කොමිටිය

      නව ආණ්ඩුක්‍රම ව්‍යවස්ථා කෙටුම්පත සකස් කිරීමේ කටයුතු මේ දිනවල සිදුකෙරෙමින් පවතින බව ආණ්ඩුක්‍රම ව්‍යවස්ථා සම්පාදක කමිටුව පවසයි.

      කොළඹදී මාධ්‍ය හමුවක් කැදවමින් එහි සභාපති ලාල් විජේනායක මහතා සදහන් කළේ මහජන මතයට අනුව අදාළ ව්‍යවස්ථාව කෙටුම්පත් කෙරෙන බවයි.

      ව්‍යවස්ථා කමිටු අතුරු වාර්තාව පිටවීමත් සමග ව්‍යවස්ථා සම්පාදන ක්‍රියාවලිය සම්බන්ධයෙන් මහා නාහිමිවරුන් ප්‍රමුඛ විවිධ පාර්ශව වලින් නැගුණු දැඩි විරෝධයත් සමග එම ක්‍රියාවලිය තරමක් කල් දමන ලෙස අග්‍රාමාත්‍යවරයා උපදෙස් දී ඇතැයි මාධ්‍ය වාර්තා පලවී තිබිණි.

      කෙසේ වෙතත් පළාත් පාලන මැතිවරණ උණුසුමත් සමග ව්‍යවස්ථා සම්පාදන ක්‍රියාවලිය පිළිබද දේශපාලන කරළියේ සහ සමාජ අවධානය තරමක් ගිලීහී පැවතුණත් මහා නාහිමිවරුන්ගේ පවා ඉල්ලීම ඉවත දමමින් අගමැතිවරයා ප්‍රමුඛ රජය නව ව්‍යවස්ථාව ගෙන ඒමේ ක්‍රියාවලිය සුපුරුදු පරිදි ඉරියට ගෙනයමින් පවතී.

  3. ඉන්ගිරිස් ඉගෙන ගත්තෙ රෑ ඉස්කෝලෙ නිසා මේක කියවන්න වෙන්නේ රෑට

    1. හීනෙන් නාත දෙය්යො හරහා කමන්ට් කලෑකි

    2. ඉයන්,

      ඒ රෑට විතරක් ඉංගිරිසි කතාකරන කතාව ඇත්තක් වෙන්න පුලුවන්. පුරුද්දක් අතැර ගන්න එක ඒ තරම් ලේසි නෑ.

      අවුරුදු පහළවක් මහ මූදෙ නැවක රස්සාව කරපු නැවියගෙ කතාව අහල ඇති නේද?

      ඔවුන්ට මුහුදෙදි අවශ්‍ය වෙලාවට පාවිච්චියට ගන්ට අංග සම්පූර්ණ රූමත් ලයිෆ් සයිස් රබර් ගැහැණු දීල තිබ්බ. ඉතිං දන්නවනෙ මුහුදෙ ගමන් කරන නැවක් කියන්නෙ කොයිවෙලෙත් එහාට මෙහාට පැද්දෙනවනෙ තොටිල්ල වගෙ.

      මේ අපේ නාවිකය අවුරුදු පහළවක්ට පස්සෙ ගෙදර ඇවිල්ල කසාද බැන්ද.ඊට පස්සෙ භාර්යාව එක්ක අදාල කාර්යය කරනකොට අනිවාර්යයෙන් ගෙදර ඉන්න කවුරු හරි දෙන්නෙකුට (සමහරවිට අම්මට හෝ තාත්තටත් මේ රාජකාරිය සෙට් වෙච්ච වෙලාවල් තිබ්බ) දෙපැත්තෙ ඉඳල බූරු ඇඳ හොල්ලන්න සිද්ද වුනා.

    3. ඒක නම් මැවිල පෙනුනා.

  4. මේක විජාතික කුමන්ත්‍රණයක ප්‍රතිපලයක්.
    - ප්‍රියන්ත -

    1. බහුජාතික Praසන්னව ඒකාදිපති ප්‍රියන්තකරණය හෙලා දකිමු.

    2. ඉස්සෙල්ල පෝස්ට් එකේ කොමෙන්ටු ආපසු බලනු.

  5. මේක කියවන්න අමාරුයි is @ ශබ්දකෝෂයක් සොයමින්.

    අන්න විදානෙට තවත් කුඩා විදානෙක් ඉන්නවලු.

  6. If there is no underskirt, let them not stand against a beam of light.!

  7. Wow, absolutely fantastic blog. I am very glad to have such useful information

  8. I'm appreciate your writing skill.Please keep on working hard


මගේ සිතුවිලි ගැන ඔබේ සිතුවිලි


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