| by Gajalakshmi Paramasivam
( April 09, 2012, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) The disappearance of Mr. Premakumar Gunaratnam and the efforts by the Australian High Commission in Colombo have raised the question of dual citizenships for Sri Lankans. To me, it is also the parallel of the ethnic problem in Sri Lanka.
Dual citizenship works well for those who are truly global minded and/or where the two countries concerned have similar Administrative systems and standards. As per my observations, dual citizens of Sri Lankan origin usually tend to be driven by the benefits of such status. Effectively, to the mind that accepts this ‘equal status’, dual citizenship reduces the merit based status of the higher citizenship of the two to the level of the one with lower status. Between Australia and Sri Lanka, in the minds of these citizens, unless they consciously lift their ‘Sri Lankan status to equal level, through their own assessment of their work relative to that of their Australian parallel – especially at professional level, their Australian status would automatically be lowered to the level of Sri Lanka’s status as assessed by them prior to taking up Australian citizenship. When actually expressed, that is also racial discrimination as per the Australian Racial Discrimination Act 1975.
Dual citizenship for benefits is like marrying for looks – including money looks. There is nothing wrong with this so long as there is a firm structure in place about status allocation and protocols based on such status. When we are not able to achieve the benefits of high positions – for example that of head of family, from zero base, it is better to have faith in someone who already holds/held that position. This person may or may not have directly or indirectly earned that status. But to the extent we genuinely relate to ourselves through that position, we are investing in that position and would feel that we are the head of the family. Feelings help us enjoy the whole as a part of the whole. That is the system of God.
Yesterday, I listened to a sharing of Sai experience by Mr. Vinay Kumar. As the speaker shared experiences relating to his Chartered Accounting training and attributed his achievement to Swami Sai Baba, I recalled my own claims here in Australia that my Sri Lankan Chartered Accounting qualifications were my highest professional qualifications and that my knowledge and wisdom from the training in Sri Lanka supported me in achieving the highest status possible in the cultural circles of strongest natural faith. I was the one with control over my status as a Chartered Accountant. If I had ‘converted’, the standards of my work would have been attributed to the Australian educational system rather than that of the Sri Lankan education system. If my standards had been lower, the reason for that would have been attributed to me being Sri Lankan. Most migrants of Sri Lankan origin, known to me, as per my knowledge – converted and hence actually ‘lost’ their Sri Lankan educational status to Australia. Many of them apparently hold dual citizenship.
During the above mentioned sharing, Mr. Vinay Kumar talked about Bhava / feelings in music. To me, as a lay person – Thaalam, Ragam and Bhavam (beat; melody and feelings) are the science, art and soul of music. Likewise in terms of citizenship. Those who feel Sri Lankan would naturally merge with any other national at the highest level.
It is reported in the Sri Lanka Guardian that the Sri Lankan Defence Secretary who is reported to hold American citizenship in addition to his Sri Lankan citizenship – had said ‘An Australian citizen cannot do politics here’, when he was responding to the Australian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka, in relation to the disappearance of Mr. Premakumar Gunaratnam. Given that Mr. Premakumar Gunaratnam is also reported to be a dual citizen, one would conclude that legally he, an Australian, is not banned from doing politics in Sri Lanka. Hence one needs to conclude that this is a ‘Management Statement’ on the basis of their ground-reality. To my mind, both – the Defence Secretary as well as Mr. Premakumar Gunaratnam are dual citizens largely for looks – money and/or status looks. Neither had deeper commitment to use the higher status to elevate the parallel Sri Lankan positions they held/hold. Eventually the real contribution of the citizens of a country would work the Natural system of energies. That is true politics connected naturally through our feelings. When used openly they confirm the merged path which is also the confirmation of reconciliation in the minds of global travelers. Others using the narrower paths would feel global when they quietly submit their work to merge with the trunk route. That’s how politics / citizenship anywhere becomes politics/citizenship everywhere.