| by Gajalakshmi Paramasivam
( November 10, 2012, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) I write in response to the Sri Lanka Guardian article ‘The myth of separation of powers’by Mr. Nalin de Silva.
In the opening statements of his article Mr. Nalin de Silva states ‘The government has to be commended for handing over the impeachment motion against the Chief Justice to the Speaker before the commencement of the Universal Periodic Review of the Human Rights Council (UPR) on Sri Lanka. This does not reflect the merits or otherwise of the impeachment, but all I am saying is that the government was not intimidated by the UPR.’
One who loves the country would take the humble position when s/he does not hold an official position and therefore does not have official duties. Those who seek to express their personal Truths as individuals automatically lose their position credits – if they do so before retiring from those official positions and/or if they use old position status to make current judgments.
I read this as follows: Mr. Nalin de Silva thought / feared that the Government might have done otherwise. Without such a structure – there could be no credits or debits. In other words – the above is not a belief based expression – but merit based as per subjective powers Mr. Nalin de Silva thinks he has.
Mr. Nalin de Silva continues to state ‘The Sri Lankan government now either probably understands that these councils and assemblies are mere glorified meeting places or that it has not violated the human rights of Dr. Shirani Bnadaranayake by moving an impeachment motion against her.’
At the global level – it matters not what an individual government thinks in these matters. Once we are part of a family – our individual thinking must take second place to our thoughts followed by actions based on such thoughts as per our positions in the family. That is when the family is responsible to provide the returns to the person. Likewise an institution – including the UN. At the UN level what matters is the value the Common International Citizen would derive from this – each one deriving real value as per their genuine investment in the issue through global principles and values. It’s that value that empowers from within.
It is my understanding that the Judiciary of Sri Lanka continue to judge on the basis of Roman Dutch Law , the English Law as well as our Customary Laws, in addition to the laws made by Sri Lankans after independence from the British. By doing so they are honoring our legal ancestry. Those who deny this ancestry have lost touch with their global roots. It ought to therefore not be difficult for educated Sri Lankans who continue to feel connected to our global roots, to express themselves through the language of the law common to other western cultures.
Healthy Politics is based on belief as opposed to merit on the basis of common principles. Like with religion, the forms in which we express our beliefs differ as per our history (time based vertical change) as well as our current physical environments (space based lateral change). Mr. Nalin de Silva’s parenting is likely to ‘look’ different to that of his father’s due to time difference. If they do not change – Mr. Nalin de Silva must either have lived close to his father – fully believing in him or did not do anything original as a son to include the changed approach in his own parenting. Each generation needs to consolidate and include the consolidated value of its work to help the younger generation remain connected to the roots – at value level. When we invest deeply in the values of our ancestors/tradition – we comfortably convert that investment into true global values. If instead, we invest/spend excessively in form – that would be like accumulating dead bodies and/or hoarding towards such accumulation by the next generation.
Mr. Nalin de Silva states ‘The separation of powers is another myth propagated by the creators of knowledge in the Judaic Christian culture in western Christian modernity that commenced towards the end of the fifteenth century’
So long as we are ‘independent’ we have the right to express our beliefs. Until we are independent – we have the duty to express ourselves as part of the group we officially belong to – staying within the boundaries of our respective official positions. The first such group/institution is our biological family. Then comes our mental families – especially through marriage and workplace and finally our Universal family – through our Public life. At the tertiary level – we do whatever we do for ourselves as part of the group we feel we belong to. At that level we empower or weaken that group without being conscious of doing so.
Where there is time or space difference there is natural separation. Where there is difference – there is change in form. Each separated section has its own special strengths and weaknesses. Within families – Creation/ the Creator has made separations as male and female – and young and old. Power is naturally exercised as per the specialty of each group. Mother bears and gives birth to children and father takes responsibility to earn and provide for the child to meet the challenges of the world outside. That is separation of responsibilities as per their natural powers. It would be a myth to someone who has failed to respect these natural separations.
Then there is our palm. We have one base with five different looking fingers. This base is the common foundation for all these five fingers – each looking different to the other and usually used for different purposes – in parallel to family unit – Mother and Father above to whom the child is the common connection.
Nature is the best Guru we learn from – especially as children and in old age. Healthy laws and best practices are close to Nature. So long as the British ruled Ceylon we did not have major ethnic problems during our times. They were the common link /palm/child and the various communities lived and functioned within their areas – respecting each other. This may have suited the British but it seems to have suited majority Ceylonese also. When the British vacated – neither side had the seniority to lead the whole of Sri Lanka with towards external relationships and neither side had the deeper motherly feeling to stay at home and add its energy quietly to the other – as traditional mothers did – and thus connected to the Universal energies intuitively. Both sides wanted to lead – one more through Politics and the other more through Administration. The former is local power and the latter is power with wider world. To the extent one side or the other is attached to Politics – it would lose the opportunity to invest in wider world. As Lord Krishna said ‘whatever happened was meant to happen’.
If we study each group impartially we would be able to identify with the root cause of their action and therefore the opportunity to cure any problems from those actions. This needs to be done ‘internally’ as part of the group – where the problem is more than one generation old and where majority concerned are not open to the wider world. In other words – we need separation to cure ourselves in confidence. Those who do not feel part of us at root level – do not have this power to cure. In the context of the Judiciary – they have to cure their ‘internal’ problems confidentially and it is the duty of the Common part of the Government with the President as its head – to facilitate this. As my spiritual Guru says – unless we are conscious of God everyday – we would not invoke His name/power at the time of our death / need. Likewise, a government that Administers everyday would naturally draw on those powers in times of crisis. That would naturally elevate the status of such a government with all healthy administrators. A Government that uses majority rule and therefore Politics regularly to make decisions – would be able to invoke Politics – which is for ‘internal’ purposes only. Once the problem is made public – we need to consciously use the Administrative path – however painful that might be. It is to prevent such ‘failures’ that Devolution and Separation are needed in a multicultural society – a society that gives different forms to belief in the same/One value. If the ethnic problem is not resolved – it would convert into internal problems – with the Judiciary taking the place of Tamils in the case of the Sri Lankan Government.
Impeachment of the Chief Justice ought to have happened from within the Judiciary – the same way the Government claimed the right to use ‘sovereign powers’ to shut the doors of Vanni to outsiders to get rid of the LTTE. If that was genuine – the government would have facilitated that for the Judiciary also. Since the Government has not – one is entitled to conclude that the 2009 ‘closure’ was not based on genuine belief of ‘sovereign powers’. Hence the current manifestation of that return karma – where the Judiciary and the Executive have locked horns. A real closure of the ethnic problem – would have prevented such external manifestation of an internal problem in Sri Lanka.
Where we have a hierarchical structure – benefits would flow from the senior position to the junior position. Such structure is based on our belief as well as current merit. In multicultural society – there needs to be more merit based arrangement than belief – due to different forms of the belief. Marriage is a good example of multicultural partnership. Where individuals recruit / select their own partners – there needs to be Equal status at the individual level. Where families recruit – there needs to be Equal status between the two families. The latter accommodates variations in status between the two individuals and therefore helps even distribution of the pleasures of marriage.
In Democratic structures of Public Service – individual level operations are facilitated through ‘Business Approach’. This helps promote ‘equality of status. When leaders fail to follow the official structures and take benefits y abusing their higher powers – they bring themselves down to the level of lower person as equals and opposites. If for example, voters are favored where Administration is required – then the Government Administrator comes down to the level of the voter. Thus s/he automatically loses the true and natural powers of the higher position. The Divineguma Bill has confirmed this karma with the Government.
To my mind, it was due to the above ‘drop down’ – that the unreasonableness of the ‘Sinhala only’ imposition returned to Sri Lanka in the form of Sinhalese males / fathers losing to Sinhalese females / mothers. A clever government would have separated the two to facilitate Equal Distribution of pleasures when the two met in common areas.
If we observe without thoughts of personal benefits – we would see the beauty of the workings of karma. When Tamils took up equal position to Sinhalese – through the 1976 Vaddukoddai Resolution, the Tamil politicians became not the rulers of a separate country but the opposition that replaced Mrs. Banadaranayake’s leadership. One minority replaced another. A woman would naturally invoke greater ‘home-powers’ than a man due to her unexpressed beliefs and pain before pleasure attitude through childbirth. Such a leader would strengthen the internal workings of the family / institution/nation. We must always take our earned positions to deserve the Natural support of the whole where at least one of us believes in the other. Where we lack belief in majority of our activities we need to think that the other is Equal and act accordingly – and not junior or senior. This is exactly what I did here in Australia – at the workplace when I knew the Truth – that to the White Australian Administrator – I was just another migrant number.
It is interesting that the picture published by Sri Lanka Guardian in this article – is the that of the President praying at a Hindu temple – (looks like Nallur Murugan temple). This does not make the President a Hindu. It confirms that the President is seeking to be seen to be open to diversity. In terms of religion I believe usually through Hindu forms. Even yesterday, I was sharing with fellow believers – my experience at Kathirgamam – in 2005. After presenting my Tsunami Reconstruction Proposal to the President – I left by public transport to Kathirgamam. I had not booked accommodation but after some difficulty I managed to get accommodation at one of the guest houses. I took a wash and went straight to the temple. By the time the evening poojah/mass started I was very hungry. But because I went early I was able to secure a place right in front of the altar. One of the priests was talking to a lady and her daughter in Sinhala and I concluded that he knew them. After the poojah, people were moving around and in the rush – that priest pushed into my hands a parcel of sweet rice and said ‘I’ll see you outside’. I knew he was mistaking me for the other lady but was myself getting pushed by others to move out. I went outside and waited for the priest to come out. After some time, I felt that Lord Murugan Himself had sent me that sweet-rice and went to the Ganesh Temple (Tamil style as opposed to the Sinhala style at the Murugan shrine) – sat there and ate the sweet rice. That was my dinner. It was yet another confirmation that true believers are always supported by Divinity. Hence if the President did believe in Tamil form of Lord Muruga at Nallur as he did in the Sinhala form at Kathirgamam – he would also be supported by Divine powers of Nallur Tamils. Not so if he tries to show the unity that he does not feel within. One must not make business out of belief.
Like Kathirgama Murugan rewarding me after my Tsunami services to the descendants of Veddhas at Mangkerni in Batticaloa – Mr. Rajapakse would also be rewarded if he serves the disenfranchised people of Sri Lanka and then takes his duly earned official place – and waits for natural forces to work. This generates inner satisfaction and bliss. But this should not be indiscriminately mixed with his official duties – especially those that are mandatory and not because he believes in them. If we take credit through our official positions, we miss out on the higher returns topped by freedom of the individual without portfolios. They are the ascetics of our society and are above Clergy. Those with high official portfolios tend to have greater temptations and attachments and this blocks their path to being ‘free individuals’.
If Mr. Nalin de Silva holds any official position in Sri Lanka – he needs to analyze through his institution / profession and not indiscriminately mix politics (or his professional thinking) with judiciary, unless he is able to establish that it directly affects his work and / or his entitlements as an individual. If on the other hand Mr. Nalin de Silva is speaking as a citizen without portfolio – he does not have the power to judge and is entitled to be not judged – be it the Sri Lankan Judiciary or the UN. It is to preserve these protocols that separation of powers exists especially in a system where continuity of authority is not possible due to internal rivalry to achieve leadership. This division took place in the ancient kingdom of Hasthinapuram of India – as per Indian epic – Mahabharatham. Separation of Powers between Equals is healthy and prevents wars. When they are natural – we feel attracted to each other and thus make wholesome relationships.
The UN carries the powers of all those who invest in it genuinely. Often those holding high positions within the UN would invest in its structures through their own positions and internal processes. To that extent – they are our elders in global governance. In the olden days it was customary for juniors to get the blessings of seniors through acts of worship. This still prevails in the Sinhalese Buddhist culture and I always admire those who carry this forward. The value in that is that if the senior blesses genuinely and the junior worships genuinely there is a mutual sharing of each other’s true strengths. At the deeper level – the junior motivates the senior to keep working at least mentally – and the senior rewards the junior by communicating the Truth s/he has discovered through her/his experience in that higher position. This is why such protocols in their appropriate current forms are built into many hierarchical systems – including the Courts. If the junior worships believing that the senior was deserving – the junior gets the return values – even if the senior is lacking in such strength. This I learnt through my own experiences – including the one above at Kathirgamam. If I had not respected the priest as per his position – I would not have received that Divine message / blessing within the sweet-rice. My return would have happened anyway – but this was sweeter because I was able to make the connection between my need for food and the Divinity of that Shrine. With enmity in my mind, I could not have made the connection through a Sinhalese priest.
The more powerful tend to often get distracted with their own powers – and hence may tend to interfere with the belief based life of other cultures. This was happening at the University of New South Wales – between the Central Administration and the faculties, some of whom were ‘good business’ for the University. Hence my actions for which I was punished. But given that I was genuine – the blessings keep coming from other quarters. Recently for example – a senior in terms of my profession as well as age and with global work experience – wrote to me ‘What you are doing is great Gaja. Your depth of knowledge in a variety of disciplines and areas is amazing . God bless you’
When we are devolved – we are able to see each other as Equals and therefore feel attracted to each other. When we keep fighting for the one leadership position – without commitment to a common system – we would keep producing winning grades for ourselves to claim majority power. To the extent North and East are to be governed politically – we have earned our own space. To the extent Tamils as a community use Administrative path more than the Sinhalese – they would naturally connect to the outside world – bypassing Central Government.
One who loves the country would take the humble position when s/he does not hold an official position and therefore does not have official duties. Those who seek to express their personal Truths as individuals automatically lose their position credits – if they do so before retiring from those official positions and/or if they use old position status to make current judgments. We need to make them on zero base current work or add ourselves to a citizen without portfolio and speak through our People power. Those who hold official positions have to speak the Truth of the whole institution that position is a part of. Speaking as individuals but without the leadership position – brings the whole institution down to the lower level. This is why in the case of the Chief Justice – the President must speak as per his Truth or let the judiciary resolve its own internal problems.