Fires of Communalism were Fanned by Anti-Sinhala Buddhist Ideologies

The abuse of history has been one of the major contributory factors that led to the exacerbation of the North-South relations. If our political/social scientists had balanced the mono-ethnic extremism of the North with the Southern forces rising against the provocative politics  of the peninsula (Example: 12% Jaffna Tamils demanding 50% of power at the centre) and given both the due weightage, the communal conflagration that kept the nation burning for 33 years could have been avoided. Instead the anti-Sinhala-Buddhist ideologues in academia and NGOs played foul by manufacturing and reinforcing the mono-causal perspective that pointed the finger only at the Sinhala-Buddhists. This  ideological thrust deflected the attention  away from the demonic  juggernaut that came rolling down from the North and destroyed everything in its wake.

Prof. S. J. Tambiah’s Buddhism Betrayed?: Religion, Politics  and Violence in Sri Lanka is a typical example of blaming only the Sinhala-Buddhists. This mono-causal theory does not fit into a universe consisting of multi-factorial causes. Tambiah’s attempt to brush aside the complexities and reduce the North-South conflict to a  single cause is a cheap exercise that appealed to the partisan ideologues committed to separatism. Tambiah went overboard to convince the world that all the evils originated only from Buddhism.

Woven into this was the other theory that claimed majoritarianism is the worst evil under the Sri Lankan sun. They refused to accept that minoritarianism can be – and has been – an evil worse than majoritarianism. In fact, the current global stability has been threatened by minoritarianism targeting majoritarianism and vice versa. It has replaced the Cold War rivalry that plagued the post-World War II period. Tambiah ignores the rise of minoritarianism as a destabilising force driven by mono-ethnic tyranny and focuses only on majoritarianism which fought the longest war within a democratic framework. The one-eyed view of Tambiah questions his claim to be multi-dimensional analyst. His book is such a juvenile exercise that any academic mug could have written a similar book titled Christianity Betrayed?, or Judaism  Betrayed?, or Gandhism Betrayed?, or even Marxism  Betrayed?……..

H. L. D. Mahindapala

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