SRI LANKA: Undayas and Andayas and 1978 Constitution 

Nothing can be worse for a country in the modern world than to have a bad constitution. Anybody with common sense would not find it difficult to understand that proposition. The constitution lays down the underlying organizing principles of a society. A bad constitution creates a badly organized society. To be badly organized, in a world of such commerce, trade and political complexities means to bring about disaster on the nation. To believe that such a disaster can be avoided and development can be achieved while having a constitution that contributes in every possible way to disorganize the society is nothing less than foolishness. This stupidity does not come from any inherently natural attribute of the Sri Lankan people but from the intellectual traditions of undayas and andayas.

Undaya is a colloquial term used for people who backstab, undercut and try to achieve their owns selfish ends while those of undermining everyone else. Of course, the architect of Sri Lanka’s 1978 Constitution, JR Jayewardene, is known as an embodiment of all the virtues of an undaya. He is the product of a historical tradition that has roots in the Brahmanical tradition. Brahmins of course are the world’s most competent undayas who undermine the whole culture of India and use the principles of their religion to achieve no other ends except their own survival. Their eternal contribution to history is the creation of the caste system of India, which even Jarwaharlal Nehru lamented as the greatest obstacle to India’s progress.

In his letters to his daughter from prison, he enviously stated that Chinese culture does not have anything comparable to India’s caste system. Sri Lankans like to say that they don’t have such a caste system, but everyone knows how deep this tradition is in the Sri Lankan culture. Even the organization of the sanga has been based on caste divisions and not on the vinaya pitaka of Gautuma Buddha. Self-sabotaging is very much a part of Sri Lanka’s social organization and the landlords of every area of the country were the biggest undayas, all of whose wealth and achievements have been based on the exploitation of the poorest peasants in the rural areas. The kurakang-coloured satakaya is not a symbol of identification with the peasants but the symbol of deception and exploitation of the poorest peasants. Of course this tradition of undayas is prevalent not only among the Sinahalese, and those who have dominated the Tamils over centuries have the same tradition. That, perhaps, was the root of the rebellions and the disasters that have visited the Tamil people.

The strange thing is that all Sri Lankans, be they Sinhalese or Tamil, are descendents of Shudras, the lowest in India’s caste ladder, but over the centuries a section of them have acquired the Brahmanical habits which found their way to dominate their own people through deception. Thus, JR Jayewardene bringing a constitution which removed all the basic elements of the tradition of constitutionalism and made the people believe that this is was a constitution worthy of a nation is no surprise. That others from the same traditions of exploitation of the rural poor want to continue with this same constitution is also no surprise. Meanwhile, that others who claim to have acquired doctorates and other qualifications from well-known universities and yet continue to support this constitution is also no surprise because the undaya tradition is more engraved in the Sri Lankan elites’ psyche and that cannot be erased through education of whatever kind. Like the proverb says, the kink in the dog’s tail cannot be removed.

Thus, the ordinary folk of Sri Lanka are being kept as prisoners within this undaya tradition.

Andayas are of a different kind. They are those who see through the deception and the terrible fate that has been imposed on them as part of the entire people, but want to live without recognizing what they see. They have seen the entire mess that has been created in Sri Lanka by the 1978 Constitution. For example, the problems relating to the ethnic crisis, including the success of groups like the LTTE in exploiting the minority problem, were made possible only because of the 1978 Constitution. Had there been no such constitution, the so-called Thirty Year War would also not have happened. This does not mean that there would not have been tensions between the majority and the minority, as there is in all countries. Solutions could have been found under different strategies had not the personal ambitions for power of JR Jayewardene become a more important factor than anything else.

Almost everybody has seen this tragic selfishness. However, almost everybody also has kept and are remaining to keep silent about the matter. They pretend not to see the most obvious things. The nation is still exploited, now by different persons, for the same ends and today such exploitation is called development. Many sing the praises of development while at the same time laughing inside their minds about the mockery that is going on. Even one-time leftists and the liberals are now singing the chorus for the nation-disorganizing constitution which they have themselves analyzed well in the past as a disaster.

With the blessings of undayas and andayas, the nation keeps embracing a constitution which disorganizes their society and prevents progress in every field. While the nation becomes a place of lawlessness and chaos, everybody celebrates the possible development.

Document Type : Article
Document ID : AHRC-ART-121-2010
Countries : Sri Lanka,
Issues : Rule of law,