| by Gajalakshmi Paramasivam
( September 4, 2014, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) There is much talk about the term of the Sri Lankan Presidency – the opportunity to hold which has become unlimited as per the 18th Amendment to the Constitution. This then leaves it to majority voters to elect a single individual their Head of State. It’s a single consolidated form of Discretionary Powers when making judgments. This is also raising speculations as to whether Madam Kumaratunge – former President of Sri Lanka – would be a candidate for the position at the next Presidential elections.
Keeping this in mind, I conclude that the parliamentary structure that Sri Lanka had until 1978, had the effect of working through family units. The structure with President as the head of State – directly elected by the People – meant that individuals counted more than institutional structures – starting with family units. Would this suit Sri Lanka whose leaders tend to be driven by time based traditions? Is it not an alternative to the Monarchical system? The effects in Sri Lanka confirm such an outcome through both the Bandaranaike family as well as the Rajapakse family. Likewise on the side of Tamils – it’s the Prabhakaran family – albeit at the military level. All other forms of Administration would be pushed down to the lower Administrative level under such a leader. There is nothing wrong with this – so long as we do not claim benefits in the name of Democracy.
The best Lesson known to me to distinguish between the two systems – is the Hindu legend about the Divine Mango. Recently I received through our email system a message that directed me to the speech by the current President of Sri Lanka, his Excellency Mahinda Rajapakse speaking in Tamil about the glories of Nallur Murugan – the same Deity in the mango story who established His own Kingdom independent of His elder Brother Ganesh. To me this legend is the mind of persons of Hindu Tamil culture who were able to foresee the need for democratic assessments and judgments. Hence the Hindu part of Tamil culture – which as majority face of Sri Lankan Tamils – is as old as Muruga – the Deity with six faces depicting 360 degree view / assessment. That is also the electoral system forming parliament and voting on top governance issues on the basis of belief – beyond Administrative decisions. This is the additional powers of parliament that the Judiciary does not have. The Judiciary does not have the belief based authority to make new laws. Belief of voters must culminate in belief of elected members/President to bring about necessary changes to the system. This must happen beyond their Administrative positions – for them to have the moral authority to give birth to new laws or repeal or amend existing laws. Such changes would naturally drive voters through this belief based connection – the belief being that the elected person is their government. In democracy without President – this ceases with sending members to the Parliament. In systems with President – it was extended beyond the Administrative system.
The Vice Chancellor of University of NSW who had me arrested for peaceful assembly – was trained under the American system and hence went back to students directly as President. This resulted in conflict with the Governing Council who were continuing to use the parallel of parliamentary system of governance. This is also the case with Sri Lankan Government and this ‘habit’ was given form to through the 1978 Constitution.
Under the parliamentary system therefore – the elected leaders must vote as if there is no one above them in position. That is a requirement to uphold Sovereignty. At that level - the elected leader is the basis of belief/god. Each Minister is responsible for the issues under her/his portfolio and needs to believe in the issue as if s/he were the issue – in order to use discretionary powers beyond Administration. The elected member on the other hand needs to only identify with the issue to the extent s/he believes that her/his electorate needs it. The rest is not her/his business. It’s like many religions and one god.
The 360 degree view is needed in the system of democracy because of lateral global movements which result in multiculturalism. If I need to know my merit based value to my current environment – I need to assess myself through the values recognized by various parts of my environment over a period when I have been active with that part of the environment. That is my active current value. Likewise I have the right to assess each and every one of them on the same basis.
If the above is lower than the total value as per my past valuations – it is better to keep the old credits confidential to be used as ‘Reserves/Character’ to help someone else surface their credits in their current systems which are closely connected to my old system through which I accumulated the Reserves. For example Sri Lanka for me. Many retired migrants go into governance discussions of their countries of origin for this reason. Many share their Reserves with those who need to surface their credits during current times. The requirement in doing this is that we should not be actively Administering those juniors but be there for them as governors – so they would share through common belief.
In the above Mango Legend, Muruga who went around the world to claim the prize - got upset with His parents for giving the prize to the elder brother. The elder brother Ganesh – went around the parents and claimed the prize/heritage. The parallel of Ganesh in the Sri Lankan Community are the practitioners of Customary laws including Thesawalamai customary laws which is the essence of Tamil Royal ancestry. The parallel of young brother Muruga are the global Tamils. In terms of Sri Lankans who practice local traditions - Ganesh is the example. That system is Monarchical and is time based. Hence SWRD Bandaranaike’s Sinhala Only mentality – evolved as President Only structure.
When the structure is not underpinned by belief / common faith – decisions become personal. One who has genuinely fulfilled the position responsibilities, automatically goes into the area of using discretionary powers. Such a person is effectively a governor – even if such a person were wearing citizen’s clothes/portfolio. Given that in a democracy – many citizens are likely to go past this goalpost more quickly than members of the government if the structures are low. Hence one needs the endorsement of many to provide 360 degree citizens’ governance through the lateral system of proportional representation.
If one were to have an ideal vertical structure that serves the root – and we bring it down to be flat (as in Y axis becoming X axis) – the assessment by the group at the farthest end also needs to be included for us to be wholesome in our contribution to our current time. In other words we freeze time to have lateral view. Hence the system of students appraising teachers and customers appraising suppliers and beyond that the Public appraising services provided. The further the assessor – the least visible needs to be the subject being assessed. Hence the objectively assessable outcomes needed in democracy through majority vote.
The system of Presidency is needed in addition to the Parliamentary system – where the Administrative system is not tall enough to cover wider area. This often happens when leaders become inactive by living off their past credits – without paying their Royalties to their elders. This is the case with us Australians who have the responsibility to say ‘thank you’ to first Australians – Aborigines first before going further. In Sri Lanka - it is worse. Veddas are the indigenous people of Sri Lanka and they speak Sinhala as well as Tamil. Hence those of us who do not pay our respects to the eldest citizens first – have the need to move on to the system of democracy in claiming ‘rights’ as per time based occupation of land. During my Tsunami Reconstruction work in Eastern Sri Lanka – I lived with descendants of Veddas and realized that they did not consider legal rights above natural rights. They governed themselves by isolating themselves – often going into forest areas when threatened by external elements. Hence in terms of law and order that is common to all – we need to take into account independent assessments of all groups – until we become global.
The President’s position is a residual value of the Monarchical system. It would work well when the individual has gone past the Administrative system ahead of the parliament. Then there is a direct connection between the top and the bottom through which Energies are shared as per the Vertical system. If those who are yet to pass the Administrative tests become presidents – then it is effectively going backwards towards a monarchical system. To the extent particular language and/or religion is given preferential place it further confirms this backward movement.
To prevent such backward slip – the ‘time’ of the president in a democracy needs to be limited. The individual then becomes an advisor – such as spiritual leaders. Removing that limit paves the way to slipping back to monarchical system. The President needs to be in position only until the facilities s/he represents – by performing beyond the existing Administrative system is included in the common structure.
A recent discussion around the speech by the President of Sri Lanka at -http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6aWNTiIubK8 led to the following translation:
My beloved Tamil People! Devotees of Lord Nallur Muruga!
Greetings to all of you – Arohara! Arohara!
You have come to pray to Nallur Murugan in peace; I also want to pray there as part of you
But that did not happen. I feel sad about that
All your prayers would be answered by the all Powerful Nallur Murugan
As president I have facilitated Harmony and Peace in this nation; You need to protect that
I have facilitated Education, Health, Farming Transport and other facilities ;
I will facilitate more and more
You must progress; your children must progress; Your Province must progress
A good future must develop
That is most important; There can be no conflict here
We are all children of One Mother We always have the Blessings of Lord Nallur Murugan
Thank you and greetings. Arohara; Arohara
The question was posed as to how Murugan would have taken this?
The purpose seems to be - to be friends with Tamils. But there is no democratic structure – and hence the speech ought to have been to Tamils around Kathirgamam not too far from the President’s home electorate of Hambantota. Nallur devotees have earned high class Democratic Administrative Service and only a person with wisdom in Democratic Public Administration would have the moral authority to bless on behalf of Nallur Murugan.