Constitutional imbroglio

December 10, 2016

Why is a strong and healthy constitution vital for the well-being and stability of a nation, as much as for an individual? It is because a sound constitution the foundation on which a durable and a reliable nation could be established, no less than it is the bedrock of a well-balanced personality.

If the constitution of a nation does not reflect the aspirations of all its people, the result will be the spread of ill feeling and chaos; and ultimately every vital component will fall apart. This is true in the case of humans too. When the main faculties of an individual do not fit in harmoniously, due to ill health or any other reason, the co-ordination abilities of the human constitution go haywire. As it is, that particular personality can be categorised as a patient with an undiagnosed mystery disease.

As the history of mankind had revealed, significantly, in most countries when the need arises for a new constitution, the selfish objectives of power-hungry leaders, whose bodily constitutions are suspect, come to the fore. They are adamant in staying in power, and for their class to lead the country at all times. Several Asian and African countries, including Sri Lanka, are cases in point.

As a nation with a long and illustrious history and heritage, we must at all times respect our age-old traditions, religions and, most of all, satisfy the wishes and needs of every human being, irrespective of their caste, creed and colour, when setting up a new constitution.

Firstly, we must question the undue rush for a new constitution. Just because one or two mentally retarded maniacal criminals created chaos, do we have to rush into a new constitution? Before the occurrences of these chaotic situations, didn’t we live in harmony?

If people of different nationalities try to understand and respect each others’ sentiments and traditions, the need for a new constitution does not arise.

But their mad rush for a new constitution seems suspiciously like an endeavour in regaining Sri Lanka for themselves and their lackeys. In this context, a quote by Abraham Lincoln, the US President, who proclaimed the idea of a government of the people, by the people and for the people, is most relevant:

“We the people are rightful masters of both Congress and the Courts, not to overthrow the constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the constitution.”

Although his quote was meant for America it should be taken as a warning for the “pervert” perpetrators of new constitutions in any of the Third World countries.

Hence, priority should be granted to the particular country and the people and not to the selfish whims and fancies of individuals with personal agendas, when setting up new constitutions  


By Vijaya Ariyarathne

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