By Harishchandra Lokumanna –
“Wisdom is finding out that a cobra is deadly; without first having to lose one’s life.” ― Mokokoma Mokhonoana, The Confessions of a Misfit
The events of 6 December 1992, which led to the demolition of the Babri Mosque rewrote the history of modern India on communal lines. It was apparent that top BJP leaders like L K Advani and the then UP chief minister Kalyan Singh, as well the former Congress PM, P V Narasimha Rao, were aware of the planned demolition, according to a sting operation by the Cobrapost , an Indian news website and television production house, known for its investigative journalism. Well! Reference to BJP and the Cobra in this paragraph takes my memories to our Dharmadweepa, the tiny Paradise Isle in the India Ocean where the shamed racist outfit The BBS too has chosen BJP and the Cobra symbol to charter their future political direction. Thus their much despised hate campaign has now been given a political platform where they are attempting to enter parliament even by poisoning the soul of the country.
Cobras are typically opportunistic hunters, chowing down on whatever prey comes their way. They slither through the wilderness silently, following their prey until they are ready to attack. Most cobras hunt at dawn or dusk. Cobra bites are mostly fatal. Metaphorically too, BJP too are vicious spitting Cobras and is bound to be fatal to the well-being of this nation if they are not dealt with even at this stage. They follow the law of the jungle where they truly belong. BBS in BJP Cobra skin and other hate groups which profess racist, sectarian and majoritarian ideology are extremely fatal if not identified and consigned to where they belong. Sooner the better! The Sri Lankan voters did catch the Cobra alive and ‘caged it’, by voting out the dictatorial MR and rejecting communalism and racism on January 8th. Now they have an ideal opportunity to take it away from, without releasing it into, human habitation on August 17th.
BBSEver since the Tigers were militarily defeated in 2009, BBS allegedly with hidden funding from foreign sources and began to emerge as the ‘Buddhist Face of Terror in Sri Lanka , spreading poisonous ideas and ghost stories about Muslims being the next bogeymen inflicting damage to our ‘Sinhala Buddhist culture and heritage. This well-orchestrated hate campaign fell exactly in line with the global Islamaphobia which casted many suspicions about their sources of funding and their strategic plans devised with Wirathu – ‘the Buddhist Face of Terror in Myanmar. ’ Both of these saffron brigades had similar colours and interests, and with their main target becoming Muslims, Sri Lanka once again began to be on the limelight on the international arena, again for the wrong reasons. Sri Lanka thus continued to suffer from social and religious disharmony despite the end to the bloody war and mayhem.
It is really scary to note that the Cobra candidates are leaving no stones unturned in spreading hate through disgusting speeches. At least UPFA candidates are hiding their hate for fear of losing minority votes, although in one of the MR rallies, they were bold enough to display some distorted national flags (Sinhaley flags). The nation will not forget how some UPFA stalwarts such as Gammampila and Dullas carried such flags at one of their protest rallies and claimed that they did not know what they were carrying. Aren’t these hate speeches and displaying of distorted national flags punishable crimes even under the existing penal codes; never mind still hate speech not being banned?.
In fact, I was listening to the obnoxious hate speech by BJP’s Anuradhapura candidate Susantha Ranmuthu Kumaranasinghe on social networking sites and I felt ashamed as a Sinhala Buddhist, to say the least. In this video, this racist in a Cobra T-shirt addresses the voters as Sinhala Deshayey Sinhalyani! And disparagingly refers to Tamils and Muslims as Demalun and Marakkalayin. He quotes distorted statistics on population growth and relates naked lies about the sacred book of the Muslims and defames their Women’s dress code. Worst of all, he incites Sinhala people to violence by telling them that time has come to take up ‘arms’. Isn’t this against the law actionable under the Penal Code and the Election Laws as well? Apparently this incident has been brought to the attention of the Police and the EC and hope that quick action will be taken to prevent more of such ‘cardboard Sandos (heroes)’ cropping up in the guise of addressing people on election platforms. Today, social networking sites have become hotbeds of racism and hatred against the ‘other’ and therefore quick action is warranted to arrest this virus.. There are other racist posters too asking the Sinhala people to vote only for Sinhala candidates.
These are instances of culture of meanness and political opportunism. Racism and prejudice against the ‘other’ being naturally and historically high on their agenda, BJP cannot be expected to be champions of national reconciliation and amity in any case. Knowing how the Sri Lankan voters acted on 8th January, the general fate of the BJP is known. However, it should be ensured that none of the Cobras enter the portals of the parliament. Our people should use their votes to consign these Cobras to the jungles/ dustbins of history and stand up decisively against Racism.
It is interesting to study the racist behaviour of the BJP politicians in India too to realize the true colours of these political opportunists who fish in troubled waters. We saw an Indian BJP minister Niranjan Jyoti, who told an election rally in New Delhi that they had to make a choice between “a government of the followers of Ram [Hindus] and a government of bastards, (referring to non-Hindus”. She was allowed by PM Modi to keep her job after the election. Another Minister Union minister of state Giriraj Singh also sparked a major controversy by targeting Congress president Sonia Gandhi in racist remarks, questioning whether the party would have accepted her as its chief if the colour of her skin hadn’t been white. He embarrassed the BJP during last year’s Lok Sabha polls too by saying that those who opposed Narendra Modi should go to Pakistan as there was no place for them in India. In 2013, A BJP MLA of Himachal Pradesh also kicked up a controversy by suggesting that Naga and Gorkha regiments should be deployed in the state to check the growing menace of monkeys and pigs.
This the Sri Lankan electorate should decisively weed /vote out these viruses from the national politics and vigilant as President Obama, responding to the wave of protests and racial tensions across the country in 2014, said “When you’re dealing with something as deeply rooted as racism or bias in any society, you got to have vigilance, but you have to recognize that it’s going to take some time,” “You just have to be steady so you don’t give up when we don’t get all the way there,” he said.
In my view, Tamils and Muslims too should stand up against racist politicians who are seeking their vote in the name of communal politics; SLMC asking for a separate district for Muslims and TNA once again opting for narrow racist politics for political expediency. It is heartening to see Muslim intellectuals and even religious leaders appealing to the Muslim voter to vote on national interest and to shun sectarian politics. It is up-to us as Sri Lankans to keep up the pressure and not give in to narrow racism and cheap tactics to arouse communal feelings in people and disrupt harmony prevalent for centuries. Having learnt bitter lessons in history, we, from the majority Sinhala Buddhist community should give the lead and be extra vigilant not to allow Gnanasara/ BJP type viruses to spread the incurable diseases of creating hatred against the other communities for personal gains and vested interests. As a nation , we can go forward only if we stick together as one nation without any racial or religious differences. If we pamper these social viruses – BJP or other hate groups, and allow them even by implication or silence to devour the conscience of our nation and divide us into ‘us’ and ‘them’, then time is not too far where more Cobras will proliferate at the gross-root level and the future of our nation will be doomed for ever.