Racism and Nationalism – Open dialogue

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“We as a nation are left with only a proud history. Our present is tragic and our uncertain future depends on the foundation we lay at present and on which our future generation will build on.”

Do we as academics who have been glorified by the light of free education have a part to play in this?

Joining us on the 11th May 2016, Marxist Theoreticians, Gevindu Kumaratunga, President of the National Guild of Thinking and Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri, lecturer at the University of Colombo; opened a dialogue on “Racism & Nationalism” at Jpura. This session was moderated by Chapa Bandara who also contributed to this conversation.

This timely topic which has become food for thought for most of us Sri Lankans was based on a paper published on this topic. Mr. Nirmal brought into discussion the line of thought wherein he suggested that Sri Lanka has no historical evidence to prove that it was ever a national state based on the race of Sinhalese. In order to prove this argument he brought about the example of King Parakramabahu whose reign had Sri Lanka divided into three national states.

Mr. Gevindu on the other hand spoke on the Sinhalese race infusing examples from the international sphere. He took as an example the state of France before its inception and said that French was used by 50% of the population or less during that time and it has however become the state language at present. He thereby questioned why Sri Lanka could not achieve such a status since Sinhalese is spoken a little over 70% in Sri Lanka. He therefore said that we should look into the theoretic aspect of this in order to find solutions.

This insightful conversation was organized by the Chinthana Sansadaya of the University.

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