Boduhela and Jesuhela
To Victor Gunasekara
I am responding to the comments by Karunita Wimalasuriya (given below)
on my 'Cursory Comments 8' on divisions in the Hela movement. I am
not surprised that some Helas seem to be rewriting history. I have
not seen the books by Jayamaha and Ahubudu mentioned. The attachment
'hela.pdf' appeared as gibberish in my mail reader while that entitled
'Hidandseek' seem to be dealing with a subject not connected with
my original essay. Since some of Karunita's comments seem to show
a misunderstanding of my argument I will take this opportunity to
say something more on this subject. As such I will circulate this
to whom the original comments were sent.
In my view neo-Sinhala (retrospectively Hela) arose out of an uncritical acceptance of Euro-Portuguese values and was not due to any Phoenician influence as is now alleged. At its inception it was exclusively a Jesuhela phenomenon propagated under the Royal patronage of Don Juan Dharmapala in the low country and Don Juan of Austria (Konappu Bandara) in the the udarata. Modern Helas are busy commemorating them as heroes but I consider them as prime traitors to Lanka.
It did not take long for the hela ideology to spread to the Boduhelas. This jump was greatly facilitated by the Boduhela vulgarization of the teaching of Gotama and their attempt to reduce its difference from Christianity. Whatever were the vicissitudes of hela during the colonial period it only came of age in the post-independence period. Perhaps the single most important event in this triumph was the 'Sinhala Only' policy of Solomon Bandaranaike, a Jesuhela who converted to Boduhela, and the educational reforms he put in place. Since then the rise of Hela was paralleled by the decline of Sri Lanka until today not only has SL reached the bottom rank of the countries which emerged from decolonisation but is also facing the prospect of disintegration into (at least) two parts, Eelaam and Helaland. Whether this is called Federalism, Confederalism or any other term it amounts to the final disintegration of a country which had managed to preserve its unity for most of its 2500-year history while most countries of the world went though far-reaching convulsions.
While the Helas are busy rewriting history they seem to ignore the grave plight which the country has fallen into. They seem to forget that the LTTE has the support of the 'International (Christian) Community' (ICC). Without ICC 'aid', investment and markets Sri Lanka will have to rely for its external needs mainly on the earnings of the women it is sending to serve Muslims under conditions of virtual slavery. This is the ultimate humiliation of the Helas as well as of Lanka.
Today CBK, the daughter of Solomon, is apologizing for the way JR tackled the '83 riots. The JHU, the most extreme of the Helas, point to this with undisguised glee blissfully ignoring that they have no credible policy for fighting the LTTE and the ICC that backs them. They are hoping for external saviors like Karuna or the Norwegian "peace monitors" but these will be of no help to them. What they can do is simply make speeches in Parliament lamenting what everyone by now must know has gone wrong. The recent LTTE suicide bombing in Kollupitiya Police Station and the massacre of Karuna supporters in a "safe house" not far from the capital shows that the LTTE is as powerful in Colombo as they are in the Wanni. These killings are as much a reminder to the peaceniks to expedite the surrender as to other Tamils who dare to oppose the LTTE supremo. All I have seen from the JHU is wishing the dead police officers rapid entry into Nibbana!
But even after the Separation all will not be well in Helaland. The current conflict is between the Jesuhela and the Boduhela, and it would appear that the Boduhela are in retreat from the Jesuhela as they have been in retreat from the LTTE. (They only seem to have a capacity to fight with other Sinhalas and Buddhists.)
The Portuguese who spawned the Hela movement were succeeded by Protestant powers. The Dutch were openly hostile to the Catholics while the British too did not embrace them too closely. It was during this period that the Boduhela was able to assert themselves and gain dominance in the hela movement. But after independence the predominantly Catholic Jesuhela saw their opportunity and seized it. Their well organized Catholic Action infiltrated the Government machinery, and they gradually seized all the symbols of the Boduhela and converted them to their (Christian) use. Today the Conversion Controversy is providing a new frontline for the conflict. The Catholic church seems to be spearheading the opposition to the Anti-Conversion movement, in keeping with the Pope's opposition to the Tamilnadu anti-Conversion law and his public proclamation that the 21st century would be the era for the conversion of Asia. I would not be surprised if the Helas act in their treacherous way here also.
I certainly would welcome a study of the helanization of the Sinhalas as a correct analysis of this phenomenon may suggest ways by which Lanka can regain its classical values.
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