When the West was in the stoneage, a civilization was flourishing in India and a Buddhist university prevailed in Nalanda, India. Just two examples of life before Christian colonials and Islamic invaders arrived to take over nations following a common goal of domination and conversion. Vast stretches of land, ancient history, artifacts, monuments were razed to the ground and people forcibly converted or beheaded. That history is rarely given the international publicity it deserves or spoken enough for people to realize that the ‘white man’s burden’ was just a sham. Before land was forcibly taken over, people lived in amity where there was no requirement for human rights declarations, resolutions, charters or police. Yet the invaders brought their own rule of law after dividing the people in multitude of ways and creating multitude of reasons for them to remain divided. People’s minds were poisoned and centuries later the invaded nations were handed ‘independence’ to people they knew would continue white rule under brown hands. “Accountability” and “Reconciliation” are two words given hype but appear inapplicable to the sins committed by these invaders who stole land and dehumanized and denationalized people. The post-independent governments handed the mantle of leadership provided cosmetic changes without reversing and empowering the natives that were disempowered by force. There lies the mistake. Where should we go from hither?
Do we need a white man to tell us to value our nation?
“I have travelled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief, such wealth I have seen in this country” – so said Lord Macaulay addressing the British Parliament on 2nd February 1835.
Lord Macaulay identified what keeps India together and identified what should be done to break it “…such high moral values, people of such caliber, that I would not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is here spiritual and cultural heritage”.
The British were not content in what they saw. They wanted to take away what India proudly stood for. Thus, Lord Macaulay’s proposal to the British Parliament was “I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation”. Britain succeeded with that plan.
179 years later India has elected a national leader who has brought back use of Hindi while previously India has shown leadership in renaming cities of India – Bombay is now Mumbai, Calcatta is now Kolkata, Bangalore is now Bengaluru, Trivandrum to Thiruvananthapuram, Cochin to Kochi, Madras is now Chennai. Sri Lanka lacks any such drive despite countless requests.
If that was India, John Fire Lame Deer shows what Native America was like “Before our white brothers arrived to make us civilized men, we didn’t have any kind of prison. Because of this we had no delinquents. Without a prison, there can be no delinquents. We had no locks nor keys therefore among us there were no thieves. When someone was so poor that he couldn’t afford a horse, a tent or a blanket, he would, in that case, receive it all as a gift. We were too uncivilized to give great importance to private property. We didn’t know any kind of money and consequently, the value of a human being was not determined by his wealth. We had no written laws laid down, no lawyers, no politicians, therefore we were not able to cheat and swindle one another. We were really in bad shape before the white man arrived and I don’t know how to explain how we were able to manage without these fundamental things that (so they tell us) are so necessary for a civilized society”.
Another example of a stolen nation.
There are many natives amongst us who continue to believe Indians and the Sinhale Nation were living in the stoneage and it was the British that ‘civilized’ us, unfortunately even academics and western inclined commentators take pains to promote this notion too.
In reality both Hindus and Buddhists are yet to get a hold on why it is important for them to realize how relevant the stolen past of both nations are to create a future that would be prepared for and challenge similar incursions that are taking place before us. It is only nations that know that they need to defend what is theirs that would come forward to defend their nation. All others would be ready to hand over the nation to foes for they have no inclination of the history behind the nation and the reasons why they are beholden to defend it.
Nevertheless, there is a very visible sense of nationalism pervading across India and Sri Lanka in the backdrop of the realization of the same conquests taking shape subtly camaflaged by political correctness, economic and development goals and Human Rights slogans.
If Hindu India wishes to maintain the Hindu ethos, Buddhist ethos of the Sinhale Nation likewise need to be maintained and it is nothing that can be objected to. Hindus are the majority in India while Sinhale Buddhists are the majority in Sri Lanka.
If Gandhi is faulted in not applying the logic that Pakistan divided for Muslims must equate to India for Hindus and not declared secular, this mistake looms and becomes relevant to the issues India today faces.
It is no different in Sri Lanka. History cannot shy from acknowledging that the Agreement between the British signed in 1815 was with the Sinhale Nation and not Ceylon. Article 5 promised to maintain Buddhism as State religion. These 2 single factors were ignored by the leaders handed independence and successive governments have ignored these two features which remains unaddressed. If in 1815 the British signed an agreement with the Sinhale Nation, independence should have been given to the Sinhale nation and Buddhism should have remained the State religion. These two grievances need to now be immediately addressed. Independence should not have shunned these two rights.
We do not require commentators to modify history to align to secular goals and meet the needs of the white-Christian British masters.
If India is the Hindu’s jammabhumiya, the Sinhale nation is the same for Buddhists. No minority can deny that under Hindus or Buddhists they have ever faced discrimination as Hindus and Buddhists would be treated if they ever would become in the minority. We have living examples of how Buddhists are treated in Sri Lanka wherever towns or cities find them in the minority, the same can be said of Hindus in India as well.
However, nationalist revival by Hindus or Buddhists is quickly branded as radicalism, fundamentalism by extremists and bigots. Abrahamic religion owned media are quick to do the rest by using every medium of media to denigrate both Hindus and Buddhists. Stories are quickly built up to tarnish the image globally.
If Anti-Hindu polity constitutes the greatest threat to Hindus and the Hindu nation it is not far from the truth for Sri Lanka. If Hindu India needs to be fired with strategic intent preserving the Hindu heritage the same has to be said of Sri Lanka’s Buddhist heritage.
The leadership handed to natives was after much moulding. Natives were taught to dress, think and behave as their colonial masters. Independence in reality was handed over to ‘one of their own’ and those that the colonials knew would pose a challenge were quickly deposed. That became the fate of Aung San of Burma and Patrice Lumumba of Congo. Thus, post-independence Constitutions of both India and Sri Lanka completely ignored the rights to return to the civilizational ethos and heritage that was stolen and return power to the people from whom the land and power were usurped. Much discussion goes to the rights and grievances of minorities but completely ignores the ground reality that it was the majority rights of the indigenous natives that were usurped and never returned.
Leaders of post-independence in both India and Sri Lanka have spent little time to counter anti-Hindu or anti-Buddhist forces. There are countless Hindu and Buddhist organizations but the political nature with which they function has diminished their credibility. Very little effort has been made to realize the need for concerted efforts to provide a systematic approach to native culture and heritage, instead a very cosmetic approach has been adopted. Those that argue against religion-based nationalism must realize that neither Hindus nor Buddhists have used the sword of religion against others. In fact minorities are the safest under the leadership of Buddhist leaders who have allowed minorities to continue their way of life. The same cannot be said of minorities and their treatment of the Buddhists.
That sets both Hindus and Buddhist religions apart from the Abrahamic religious-political framework of nations that invaded and took over the world and are continuing that ideology whilst attempting to subtly remove Hinduism and Buddhism from the people.
It is time for both India and Sri Lanka to ponder at who the greater enemy is. Of course the distrust factor pervades. Sri Lanka has every right to doubt India. India cannot escape the reality of training and aiding terrorism on Sri Lankan soil. That mistake cannot and should not be repeated. In believing Sri Lanka a threat or not desiring Sri Lanka to develop and by India creating the monster it did, India only ended up inviting the enemy to its shores. The NGOs that are funded by Western governments to undermine and make inroads to destabilize the 2 nations have succeeded far beyond what we care to acknowledge. Money has bought pitiful souls in both sides of the Palk Strait and created lascoreens and sepoys out of natives no different to the same lascoreens and sepoys that fought with the enemy against their own. History is repeating itself. India should not entrust its strategic thinking to non-Hindus and Sri Lanka should not entrust Sri Lanka’s strategic thinking to non-Buddhists. India in the hands of Hindus and Sri Lanka in the hands of Buddhists have the ingredients for peaceful co-existence than India or Sri Lanka being ruled by non-Hindus or non-Buddhists.
The question India needs to ask itself is should it continue to follow the strategy of subjugating Sri Lanka and treating Sri Lanka with disdain or should Hindus and Buddhists realize that they are not the enemy and that they have a greater enemy at large ideologically out to strangulate both nations and their majority?
It is the importance of understanding this at both strategic and political levels that can save Hindus and Buddhists from being vanquished. Hindus and Buddhists should not be allowed to be manipulated into hating and destroying each other because the lobby that does so have greater designs for both nations. Hindus and Buddhists now must think about protecting not only their own turf, their own heritage and history but refuse to turn Dharmic partners into their enemy because the common enemy is not each other.
– by Shenali D Waduge