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Mainstream, VOL LX No 17, New Delhi, April 16, 2022

Agitated Lankans Could Learn From Their Calm Indian Counterparts | Badri Raina

Friday 15 April 2022, by Badri Raina


Sri Lankan people are mostly sedate and peace-loving by temperament.

But, now, they are agitated about the grave conditions in their pretty Island home.

Things, they say, have been mismanaged to the worst they could.

So, their agitation is understandable, but, as custodians of order tell us, , agitations are not good.

Agitations bring bad name to duly elected governments.

And, duly elected governments are never wrong. Only those agitations are kosher which help the government of the day consolidate more clout.

Every electoral victory, however small, proves that the criticisms or correctives suggested by the majority who did not support them are worthless meddling merely, without sanction from the people who are loyal to the nation.

After all, opponents whose campaigns have been merely rational, honest, caring have only themselves to blame if the hoi polloi, looking for a thrilling stridency of tone and menace in the message, however vacuous, distrust their decency and go for the loud mouth.

They have only themselves to blame, not realizing that these are the days of declamation, not conversation.

And, as the good scriptures admonish, we must be “content with our lot” when a strong government, having come to power, even if on a minority percentage of votes cast, makes regular announcements of great things to come.

It is a disloyal citizen who asks, when.

Small-minded governments provide food for the tummy; world-historical ones provide food for devotion.

They remind us that “man does not live by bread alone.”

Sri Lanka is blessed with a strong government; strong government is calculated to make the nation proud, not demanding.

The taking of pride in the nation must indeed be the primary objective, however living conditions and governmental ineptness may whisper “what are you proud about”

To such voices we say “et thee gone, Satan.”.

Know that if anyone lends ear to such carping, you have just crossed path with a foreign agent and a potential terrorist.

At which you must forth with report the matter to the strong security apparatus that all strong governments put in place before they worry about such niggling things as education, health, nutrition, clean water, breathable air, hygienic housing, or steady incomes for hard-working citizens.

Therefore, let good Sri Lankans be proud rather than infuriated.

After all, they must think how their revolt must hurt strong leader’s patriotic sentiments.


Agitating Sri Lankans may know that there is a great deal of discontent among common Indians today.

Prices of fuels and food, and all other commodities are sky-high, beyond the reach of some eighty percent citizen.

Then there are no jobs either, only job losses as public sector undertakings and small and medium enterprises have been crunched by progressive economic policies which seek to transfer wealth to benevolent private corporate for strengthening nationalism.

Indian farmers can no longer afford to buy the farm inputs they need, since fertilizers, pesticides, power costs, have all gone beyond their reach, with no assurance that what they produce will be bought by assigned agencies at prices that may even meet their cost of production

Indeed most Indians who had received the bounty of gas cylinders are today going back to firewood for cooking what little they can still buy.

Cooking gas prices have been keeping a leaping pace with the astronomical rise in the price of petrol and diesel.

Yet, Indians are setting an example for others in similar jeopardy.

They are not agitating barring some foolishly exuberant aspirants to unfilled jobs in schools, colleges, railways, armed services etc; but Indian media have the good sense, with one cussed exception perhaps, not to cover these disloyal and irritating pin-pricks for the strongest of states and its stronger still leader.

Mostly, our media channels drive home the point about national pride, even if some eighty percent Indians were recently thought destitute enough to be given “free” rations, namely some grain and cooking oil. Sorry, also salt and sugar.

In return, they demonstrated their allegiance to strong government and strong leader by voting the ruling party back to power in the strongest of states.

Many of these in the spiritual Hindi- belt of the country do not mind the soaring prices; they know we have a strong leader who is always saying something or the other to them for their forthcoming glory.

They have learnt to take words for deeds, and pronouncements for accomplishments.

In the patriotic media, what is not happening is indeed happening, and what is happening is not happening.

Few people in the world are as digital proud as the least Indian, even if their stocks are empty, and recharging their phones is an ordeal beyong their pockets.

It is this sort of devotion that helps distressed people to bear with their lot smilingly.

Agitations are disloyal acts that not only bring strong leaders into distracting disrepute, but much of the time yield little.

Think that India’s recent year-long agitation by farmers may have turned back a law, but it also ending up seeing the same sarkar return to power with gusto,—perhaps because many who were agitating felt how wrong it would be to dethrone a strong government that was so full of piety to boot, venerating a god that they themselves also venerated above petty considerations of Minimum Support Prices and so forth.

And, when they know that the nation is the same as the leader, they have the wisdom to desist from agitating at the anti-national call of opposition elements who may also be elected people but, not being in power, fail to appreciate the greatness of the nation-on-march.

The people of India are deeply moved by the leader’s immersion in spirituality and Dharma.

Knowing this, they feel guilty in disturbing the leader’s great efforts on behalf of a high moral purpose that transcends mere democracy.

Having provided to the majority of Indians the invaluable solace of faith and commitment to their identity, interchangeably, the nation’s true identity, he has made available to the people a source of comfort in their troubles that no mere economic well-being can provide.

Strong leaders being always law-abiding leaders, also set examples for the peace-loving citizen by letting the hounds of office relentlessly snap at the heels of those who agitate or carp with mere evil purpose.

And when anti-strong leader people float factual data about depressing performance and distressing living conditions, these are promptly rearranged to spread assurance , and the message that no loyal citizen need worry her pretty head about such conspiratorial attempts to subvert the strong government.

It is here perhaps that the Sri Lankan government has failed.

But, it is never too late.

If only Shri Rajapaksa had diverted greater attention to refurbishing Sri Lanka’s monasteries and churches, if not temples, and provided new shining facilities to them to make pilgrimages, so much of the discontent they now feel could have been averted, and they would not have felt driven to agitate on issues that are of secondary importance to religious piety and national pride.

India, being Vishwa Guru, has, thus, much to teach her troubled neighbour and her strong but un-clever government.

As to the constitutional principle of secularism; it was tried in India for long years, and look what it got us, lack of pride in our nationhood and disloyalty to both the governments and to Dharma.

Just as so many of our difficulties have been sorted out by our devotion to our Dharmic talsman, “Jai Shri Ram,” so Lankan disaffections could be dramatically dissipated if “Buddham Sharanam Gacchami” was made mandatory in schools, offices, on the street, in the mind and the national heart.

And if minority Christians and Hindus and Muslims complained about that national project, devoted vigilantes could be pressed into service to bring such dissenters into the national mainstream.

Lankan agitators could send delegations to meet Indian citizen groups who have so learnt to absorb all sorts of travails without feeling the urge to agitate for their redress.

Only such interchanges after all can constitute good neighbourly relations between peoples and peoples, governments and governments.

After all, it is the Ramayana, more than anything else that binds us together, while hunger, and sundry forms of misery remain mere ephemeral events that come and go.

Only Dharma, propelled by strong leaders, remains the best guarantee of stability and compliance.

Then there is the obvious lesson Rajapaka could have learnt from his counterpart leader in India: that the many problems that confront the people—economic, social, political, institutional—are all the legacy of previous governments who strayed away from strong nationalism in favour of just everyday governance.

Thus what is happening in Sri Lanka has little to do with the doings or undoings of the Rajapaksa regime, all with the Bandaranaikes, Wikramasinghes , jayawardanese and so forth.

Rajapaksa, the strong nationalist, has only been rectifying their goofs; and if, in doing so, the citizens of Sri Lanka find themselves without pretty much anything that sustains a dignified life, it is a sacrifice they are making in the larger cause of Lankan glory.

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