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Farsighted thoughts of Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

by Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

(October 29, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) We, Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims, Malays, Burghers, Kafirs and Veddahs ( I also realized there is a community of Telungu -speaking people in Trincomalee) , who are living in Sri Lanka now, should be the subject of our discussion. Who came first and who did what to whom, do not matter much at the present point in time.

Politics is ultimately the art of the possible and is aimed at improving the lives of the people. How could we do this in the present juncture of our history? We are yet living with the bloody and gruesome results of a war of stupidity . We yet think that exercising power is an end in itself. The power that politics provides is only an instrument to achieve its objective. Power should be a means to an end. If we can achieve the end- better lives for a people or peoples- through working with those exercising power, it will be prudent and wise.

This war and the events leading to it were a demonstration that we are yet barbarians under our skins. The Tamils as a people, are diminished in every way, as a result of this war. They are also bruised and battered. The Sinhalese and Muslims have also paid a price, though not as high as the Tamils. Let us learn our lessons from this experience and try to find directions to a more civilized future.

What should we do on the political front- constitutions, laws and managing our affairs in a civilized and humane manner- to ensure that we treat all the people in Sri Lanka as equals and provide them the best our land can offer in terms of her resources and capabilities? Sinhala-Buddhists will be a majority and Sri Lanka will primarily reflect this identity. However, the Tamil, Hindu and Muslim identities can (should) exist as a sub-set of the overall Sri Lankan identity. i am sure no one- especially the Sinhala-Buddhists object to this.

The Tamils and Muslims have to accept this reality and plan their life accordingly.

Let us think straight with the future in our focus. Let us discuss the future on the understanding that Sri Lanka is our home and to those in Sri lanka the only home. Let us also understand that to most Sri Lankan Diaspora, Sri Lanka is yet the home they miss.

Let us leave speculation about our history to the historians, archeologists, anthropologists and linguists, to ponder and unravel. Let us be aware of what is unfolding on this front and be proud of the achievements of our ancestors and aware of their failures. Let us also learn each others history, language, religion and culture. We will become a better people as a result. We are at present like the proverbial frog in the well, quite myopic, arguing about issues that are limited by the view from the different wells we are in .

Let us also bear in mind our basic identity is as humans. We were born naked and helpless, with no identity, except as humans. All what we claim now and fight over is acquired, except our genes.

I am proud being a Tamil Sri Lankan and have struggled through my adult life to retain that identity. I have reared my children mostly in Sri Lanka, at great personal sacrifice, to retain this identity through at least the next generation. I have to admit I have failed. My grand children when they come, may not be 100 % Tamils or Sri Lankans in terms of their genes or their identity. My children, who have seen the world, identify themselves beyond the confines I tried hard to define. They see themselves as world citizens, although Sri Lanka yet remains the land that connects them to this world. I am disappointed no doubt, but have to admit rather reluctantly that they may be right.

The gobalized world of the 21st century is moving in a different direction and humans are groping their way towards evolving a civilization that is universal, more humane, more nature friendly, more spiritual ( rather than religious in the present sense) and more rational.

Let us move with the times. We cannot resist the tide of time. Evolution, biologically and culturally, cannot be stopped. It is a relentless force. Unless we move with it, we will be left behind to drown in a largely irrelevant past.

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