By Kalyananda Tiranagama
Lawyers for Human Rights and Development
(Part I of this article appeared yesterday)
On a comparison of the provisions in JR’s 1978 Constitution and Ranasinghe Premadasa’s 16th Amendment one can clearly see how the Official Language Policy of Sri Lanka has been turned upside down through this Amendment. Let us take Article by Article and compare them:
Art. 18(1). The Official Language of Sri Lanka shall be Sinhala.
16th Amendment did not touch this Article. If this was amended it would have been too conspicuous. Leaving it untouched helped them to hoodwink the unsuspecting people with the false belief that Sinhala still remains the official language of the whole country.
Art. 18 (2). Tamil shall also be an official language.
18 (3). English shall be the link language.
Art. 19. The National Languages of Sri Lanka shall be Sinhala and Tamil.
These three Articles were also left untouched as there was no necessity to repeal or amend them to achieve their objective of replacing Sinhala as the official language. Leaving them untouched helped them to use the provisions in these Articles for achieving their objective.
Language of administration
Articles 22 (1), 22 (2) and 22 (3) in the 1978 Constitution dealing with the language of administration in the country were repealed and new Articles substituted by the 16th Amendment.
Under the 1978 Constitution, while Sinhala, The Official Language, was the language of administration throughout Sri Lanka, Tamil was also used as the language of administration in the Northern and Eastern Provinces.
After the 16th Amendment, (i) Sinhala is no longer The Official Language of Sri Lanka and Sinhala is no longer the language of administration throughout Sri Lanka. Under the 16th Amendment, (ii) Sinhala and Tamil both are languages of administration throughout Sri Lanka; (iii) Use of Sinhala as the language of administration is confined to seven provinces of Sri Lanka other than the Northern and Eastern Provinces; (iv)There is no similar limitation imposed on the use of Tamil language as the language of administration in the rest of the country, though practically Tamil is used as the language of administration in the Northern and Eastern Provinces; (v) Under the Proviso to Article 22 (1), President has power to create minority linguistic ethnic units at the Divisional Secretariat level using a language different from the language of administration in the province and direct that the language used by the linguistic minority in the District be used as the language of administration for such area.
This proviso is a very dangerous one that can be used by racist politicians of ethnic and religious minority political parties as a bargaining tool in their dealings with power-hungry political leaders in the South during election times.
As reported in the national press, during the 2005 Presidential Election, Muslim Congress of Rauff Hakeem decided to support Ranil Wickremesinghe after the latter had agreed to a 67-point list of demands including autonomy for a Muslim Region in the East. A political group working in the plantation areas extended its support to him after he had accepted 19 demands presented by them including the appointment of Tamil Grama Niladharis for estate areas and the creation of separate Divisional Secretariats for areas with a concentration of plantation workers in the South.
This is a step by step process. First, they get local government areas with a linguistic or religious majority created by removing people belonging to other communities. That is how they got four new Pradesiya Sabhas exclusively with Tamil representation in the Nuwara Eliya District at the last local government elections. Their next step is to get these Pradesiya Sabha areas declared Divisional Secretariats. After that they can take the third step of converting them into administrative units using Tamil as the language of administration of such area.
Already there have been disputes between the Tamil and Muslim communities in Kalmunai each community demanding a separate Divisional Secretariat for themselves. A few months back it was reported that Saindamaruthu had been declared a separate Municipal Council area. Under this provision there is a possibility of using even Arabic as the language of administration for some of such areas like Kattankudy/Saindamaruthu or Wilpattu.
Under Article 22 (2) the 1978 Constitution, any citizen residing anywhere in the country was entitled – (a) to receive communications from and to communicate and transact business with any official … or (b) to obtain a copy of … any official … document or a translation thereof – in either of the National Languages;
Under the 16th Amendment, (i) In any area where Sinhala is used as the language of administration a person is entitled – (a) to receive communications from and to communicate and transact business with any official …. or (b) to obtain a copy of … any official … document or a translation thereof – in either Tamil or English;
(ii) In any area where Tamil is used as the language of administration a
person is entitled – a) to exercise the rights and obtain the services referred to above in Sinhala or English ;
Under Article 22 (3) of the 1978 Constitution, a local authority in the Northern and Eastern Provinces conducting its business in either of the National Languages … is entitled to receive communications from and to communicate and transact business with any official … in such National Language.
Under Article 22 (4) of the 16th Amendment, a Provincial Council or a local authority conducting its business in Sinhala … entitled to … transact business with any official … in Sinhala and Provincial Council or a local authority conducting its business in Tamil … entitled to… transact business with any official … in Tamil.
However, a Provincial Council or a local authority, ….. transacting business with any other Provincial Council or a local authority,……functioning in an area in which a different language is used as the language of administration …. entitled to …. to communicate and transact business in English.
By the 16th Amendment, English has been raised to the level of the Official Language of Sri Lanka, or at least to the level of a national language of Sri Lanka.
Language of Legislation:
Articles 23 of the 1978 Constitution dealing with the language of legislation was repealed and a new Article substituted by the 16th Amendment.
Art. 23 (1) of the 1978 Constitution required all laws and subordinate legislation to be enacted and published in both National Languages together with a translation in English Language.
In the event of any inconsistency between any two texts, the text in Sinhala, the Official Language prevailed.
Under Art. 23 (1) of the 16th Amendment all laws and subordinate legislation required to be enacted and published in Sinhala and Tamil together with a translation thereof in English.
Proviso – Parliament to determine at the time of enacting legislation which text to prevail in the event of any inconsistency between texts.
There is no difference in the substantive provision. Both are the same.
However there is a fundamental change in the law, as to the text that should prevail in the event of any inconsistency between any two texts.
Under the 1978 Constitution, it was the text in the Official Language that should prevail. Now there is no Official Language in the country.
Under the 16th Amendment, at the time of enacting legislation, Parliament to determine which text to prevail in the event of any inconsistency between texts.
This provision may lead to dangerous consequences if the Parliament decides the English text to prevail in the event of any inconsistency between Sinhala and English texts in the case of a vital Bill enacted by a government heavily dependent for its survival on the support of racist parties like the TNA and the SLMC.
Sometime back the whole country saw how Sumanthiran threatened and stopped Lakshma Kiriella, the Leader of the House of UNP government from continuing his speech in Parliament.
Article 22 (4) of the 1978 Constitution required all Orders, Proclamations, Rules, By-laws, Regulations and Notifications made or issued under any written law … and all other official documents including circulars and forms issued or used by any public institution or local authority, to be published in both National Languages.
There was no requirement to publish the said documents with a translation in English. Only laws and subsidiary legislation enacted by Parliament published with a translation in English.
Until 1987, there had been no Provincial Councils. Only local authorities were there. Local authorities were also required to publish by-laws, regulations, notifications … circulars and forms issued or used by them in both National Languages.
Article 23 (2) of the 16th Amendment requires all Orders, Proclamations, rules, by-laws, regulations and notifications made or issued under any written law, other than by a Provincial Council or a local authority, and the Gazette to be published in Sinhala and Tamil together with a translation thereof in English.
Under Article 23 (3) of the 16th Amendment, all Orders, Proclamations, rules, by-laws, regulations and notifications made or issued under any written law by any Provincial Council or a local authority, and all other official documents including circulars and forms issued or used by such body or any public institution or local authority, required to be published in the language used in the administration in the respective areas in which they function, together with a with a translation thereof in English.
All the documents mentioned above made or issued by any public institution, other than a Provincial Council or a local authority, need to be published in both national languages – Sinhala and Tamil, together with a translation in English.
Under the 1978 Constitution, there was no such requirement for publishing the said documents together with a translation in English.
Under the 1978 Constitution, all by-laws, regulations, notifications … circulars and forms issued or used by Local authorities were required to be published in both National Languages.
Under the 16th Amendment there is no requirement for publishing any Orders, Proclamations, rules, by-laws, regulations, notifications made or issued by any Provincial Council or a local authority, and all other official documents including circulars and forms issued or used by such body in both National Languages.
They need to be published only in the language of administration in the area in which they function, together with a with a translation thereof in English.
The language of administration in the Northern and Eastern Provinces is Tamil and when all the above mentioned official documents published only in Tamil language it will result in a grave injustice to the Sinhala people resident in the North and the East. They are being totally deprived of their language rights.
Language of Courts
Article 24 (1) of the 1978 Constitution dealing with the language of courts in the country has been repealed and a new Article substituted by the 16th Amendment.
Under Art. 24 (1) of the 1978 Constitution, Sinhala, the Official Language, was the language of courts throughout Sri Lanka and accordingly court records were maintained and proceedings conducted in the Official Language;
Tamil was also used as the language of the courts exercising original jurisdiction in the Northern and Eastern Provinces and their records kept and proceedings conducted in Tamil.
Under Article 24 (1) of the 16th Amendment, Sinhala and Tamil are the languages of courts throughout Sri Lanka and Sinhala shall be used as the language of the courts situated in all the areas of Sri Lanka except those in any area where Tamil is the language of administration. The record and proceedings shall be in the language of the court.
As Sinhala is no longer The Official Language of Sri Lanka, there is no need to maintain records and conduct proceedings in Sinhala in areas where Tamil is the language of administration.
Language of Admission to Public Service
Article 22 (5) of the 1978 Constitution dealing with the language of admission to public service in the country has been repealed and a new Article substituted by the 16th Amendment.
Under Article 22 (5) of the 1978 Constitution, a person was entitled to be examined through the medium of either of the National Languages at any examination for the admission of persons to the Public Service, Judicial Service, Local Government Service, a public corporation or a statutory institution, subject to the condition that he may be required to acquire a sufficient knowledge of the official language within a reasonable time after admission to such service, etc., where such knowledge is reasonably necessary for the discharge of his duties.
Under Article 22 (5) the 16th Amendment, a person is entitled to be examined through the medium of either Sinhala or Tamil or a language of his choice at any examination for the admission of persons to the Public Service, Judicial Service, Provincial Public Service, Local Government Service or any public institution, subject to the condition that he may be required to acquire a sufficient knowledge of Tamil or Sinhala as the case may be, within a reasonable time after admission to such service, etc., where such knowledge is reasonably necessary for the discharge of his duties.
a. removed the requirement of persons seeking admission to the Public Service, Judicial Service, Provincial Public Service, Local Government Service or any public institution being examined through the medium of either of the National Languages – Sinhala or Tamil;
Now the applicant has the choice of deciding the language he is to be examined. It may be English or even Arabic.
In fact, this has been brought for the purpose of opening the public service to those students of International Schools who receive their education in English medium and who do not know either Sinhala or Tamil.
b. removed the requirement of persons joining the Public Service acquiring a sufficient knowledge of the official language within a reasonable time after admission to such service;
Now, there is no requirement of any public servant in the North and the East acquiring any knowledge of Sinhala language; He has only to acquire knowledge of the language as is reasonably necessary for the discharge of his duties – that is Tamil.
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‘Professor of English Language Teaching’
It is a pleasure to be here today, when the University resumes postgraduate work in English and Education which we first embarked on over 20 years ago. The presence of a Professor on English Language Teaching from Kelaniya makes clear that the concept has now been mainstreamed, which is a cause for great satisfaction.
Twenty years ago, this was not the case. Our initiative was looked at askance, as indeed was the initiative which Prof. Arjuna Aluwihare engaged in as UGC Chairman to make degrees in English more widely available. Those were the days in which the three established Departments of English in the University system, at Peradeniya and Kelaniya and Colombo, were unbelievably conservative. Their contempt for his efforts made him turn to Sri Jayewardenepura, which did not even have a Department of English then and only offered it as one amongst three subjects for a General Degree.
Ironically, the most dogmatic defence of this exclusivity came from Colombo, where the pioneer in English teaching had been Prof. Chitra Wickramasuriya, whose expertise was, in fact, in English teaching. But her successor, when I tried to suggest reforms, told me proudly that their graduates could go on to do postgraduate degrees at Cambridge. I suppose that, for generations brought up on idolization of E. F. C. Ludowyke, that was the acme of intellectual achievement.
I should note that the sort of idealization of Ludowyke, the then academic establishment engaged in was unfair to a very broadminded man. It was the Kelaniya establishment that claimed that he ‘maintained high standards, but was rarefied and Eurocentric and had an inhibiting effect on creative writing’. This was quite preposterous coming from someone who removed all Sri Lankan and other post-colonial writing from an Advanced Level English syllabus. That syllabus, I should mention, began with Jacobean poetry about the cherry-cheeked charms of Englishwomen. And such a characterization of Ludowyke totally ignored his roots in Sri Lanka, his work in drama which helped Sarachchandra so much, and his writing including ‘Those Long Afternoons’, which I am delighted that a former Sabaragamuwa student, C K Jayanetti, hopes to resurrect.
I have gone at some length into the situation in the nineties because I notice that your syllabus includes in the very first semester study of ‘Paradigms in Sri Lankan English Education’. This is an excellent idea, something which we did not have in our long-ago syllabus. But that was perhaps understandable since there was little to study then except a history of increasing exclusivity, and a betrayal of the excuse for getting the additional funding those English Departments received. They claimed to be developing teachers of English for the nation; complete nonsense, since those who were knowledgeable about cherries ripening in a face were not likely to move to rural areas in Sri Lanka to teach English. It was left to the products of Aluwihare’s initiative to undertake that task.
Another absurdity of that period, which seems so far away now, was resistance to training for teaching within the university system. When I restarted English medium education in the state system in Sri Lanka, in 2001, and realized what an uphill struggle it was to find competent teachers, I wrote to all the universities asking that they introduce modules in teacher training. I met condign refusal from all except, I should note with continuing gratitude, from the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, where Paru Nagasunderam introduced it for the external degree. When I started that degree, I had taken a leaf out of Kelaniya’s book and, in addition to English Literature and English Language, taught as two separate subjects given the language development needs of students, made the third subject Classics. But in time I realized that was not at all useful. Thankfully, that left a hole which ELT filled admirably at the turn of the century.
The title of your keynote speaker today, Professor of English Language Teaching, is clear evidence of how far we have come from those distant days, and how thankful we should be that a new generation of practical academics such as her and Dinali Fernando at Kelaniya, Chitra Jayatilleke and Madhubhashini Ratnayake at USJP and the lively lot at the Postgraduate Institute of English at the Open University are now making the running. I hope Sabaragamuwa under its current team will once again take its former place at the forefront of innovation.
To get back to your curriculum, I have been asked to teach for the paper on Advanced Reading and Writing in English. I worried about this at first since it is a very long time since I have taught, and I feel the old energy and enthusiasm are rapidly fading. But having seen the care with which the syllabus has been designed, I thought I should try to revive my flagging capabilities.
However, I have suggested that the university prescribe a textbook for this course since I think it is essential, if the rounded reading prescribed is to be done, that students should have ready access to a range of material. One of the reasons I began while at the British Council an intensive programme of publications was that students did not read round their texts. If a novel was prescribed, they read that novel and nothing more. If particular poems were prescribed, they read those poems and nothing more. This was especially damaging in the latter case since the more one read of any poet the more one understood what he was expressing.
Though given the short notice I could not prepare anything, I remembered a series of school textbooks I had been asked to prepare about 15 years ago by International Book House for what were termed international schools offering the local syllabus in the English medium. Obviously, the appalling textbooks produced by the Ministry of Education in those days for the rather primitive English syllabus were unsuitable for students with more advanced English. So, I put together more sophisticated readers which proved popular. I was heartened too by a very positive review of these by Dinali Fernando, now at Kelaniya, whose approach to students has always been both sympathetic and practical.
I hope then that, in addition to the texts from the book that I will discuss, students will read other texts in the book. In addition to poetry and fiction the book has texts on politics and history and law and international relations, about which one would hope postgraduate students would want some basic understanding.
Similarly, I do hope whoever teaches about Paradigms in English Education will prescribe a textbook so that students will understand more about what has been going on. Unfortunately, there has been little published about this but at least some students will I think benefit from my book on English and Education: In Search of Equity and Excellence? which Godage & Bros brought out in 2016. And then there was Lakmahal Justified: Taking English to the People, which came out in 2018, though that covers other topics too and only particular chapters will be relevant.
The former book is bulky but I believe it is entertaining as well. So, to conclude I will quote from it, to show what should not be done in Education and English. For instance, it is heartening that you are concerned with ‘social integration, co-existence and intercultural harmony’ and that you want to encourage ‘sensitivity towards different cultural and linguistic identities’. But for heaven’s sake do not do it as the NIE did several years ago in exaggerating differences. In those dark days, they produced textbooks which declared that ‘Muslims are better known as heavy eaters and have introduced many tasty dishes to the country. Watalappam and Buriani are some of these dishes. A distinguished feature of the Muslims is that they sit on the floor and eat food from a single plate to show their brotherhood. They eat string hoppers and hoppers for breakfast. They have rice and curry for lunch and dinner.’ The Sinhalese have ‘three hearty meals a day’ and ‘The ladies wear the saree with a difference and it is called the Kandyan saree’. Conversely, the Tamils ‘who live mainly in the northern and eastern provinces … speak the Tamil language with a heavy accent’ and ‘are a close-knit group with a heavy cultural background’’.
And for heaven’s sake do not train teachers by telling them that ‘Still the traditional ‘Transmission’ and the ‘Transaction’ roles are prevalent in the classroom. Due to the adverse standard of the school leavers, it has become necessary to develop the learning-teaching process. In the ‘Transmission’ role, the student is considered as someone who does not know anything and the teacher transmits knowledge to him or her. This inhibits the development of the student.
In the ‘Transaction’ role, the dialogue that the teacher starts with the students is the initial stage of this (whatever this might be). Thereafter, from the teacher to the class and from the class to the teacher, ideas flow and interaction between student-student too starts afterwards and turns into a dialogue. From known to unknown, simple to complex are initiated and for this to happen, the teacher starts questioning.’
And while avoiding such tedious jargon, please make sure their command of the language is better than to produce sentences such as these, or what was seen in an English text, again thankfully several years ago:
Read the story …
Hello! We are going to the zoo. “Do you like to join us” asked Sylvia. “Sorry, I can’t I’m going to the library now. Anyway, have a nice time” bye.
So Syliva went to the zoo with her parents. At the entrance her father bought tickets. First, they went to see the monkeys
She looked at a monkey. It made a funny face and started swinging Sylvia shouted: “He is swinging look now it is hanging from its tail its marvellous”
“Monkey usually do that’
I do hope your students will not hang from their tails as these monkeys do.
Little known composers of classical super-hits
By Satyajith Andradi
Quite understandably, the world of classical music is dominated by the brand images of great composers. It is their compositions that we very often hear. Further, it is their life histories that we get to know. In fact, loads of information associated with great names starting with Beethoven, Bach and Mozart has become second nature to classical music aficionados. The classical music industry, comprising impresarios, music publishers, record companies, broadcasters, critics, and scholars, not to mention composers and performers, is largely responsible for this. However, it so happens that classical music lovers are from time to time pleasantly struck by the irresistible charm and beauty of classical pieces, the origins of which are little known, if not through and through obscure. Intriguingly, most of these musical gems happen to be classical super – hits. This article attempts to present some of these famous pieces and their little-known composers.
Pachelbel’s Canon in D
The highly popular piece known as Pachelbel’s Canon in D constitutes the first part of Johann Pachelbel’s ‘Canon and Gigue in D major for three violins and basso continuo’. The second part of the work, namely the gigue, is rarely performed. Pachelbel was a German organist and composer. He was born in Nuremburg in 1653, and was held in high esteem during his life time. He held many important musical posts including that of organist of the famed St Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna. He was the teacher of Bach’s elder brother Johann Christoph. Bach held Pachelbel in high regard, and used his compositions as models during his formative years as a composer. Pachelbel died in Nuremburg in 1706.
Pachelbel’s Canon in D is an intricate piece of contrapuntal music. The melodic phrases played by one voice are strictly imitated by the other voices. Whilst the basso continuo constitutes a basso ostinato, the other three voices subject the original tune to tasteful variation. Although the canon was written for three violins and continuo, its immense popularity has resulted in the adoption of the piece to numerous other combinations of instruments. The music is intensely soothing and uplifting. Understandingly, it is widely played at joyous functions such as weddings.
Jeremiah Clarke’s Trumpet Voluntary
The hugely popular piece known as ‘Jeremiah Clarke’s Trumpet Voluntary’ appeared originally as ‘ The Prince of Denmark’s March’ in Jeremiah Clarke’s book ‘ Choice lessons for the Harpsichord and Spinet’, which was published in 1700 ( Michael Kennedy; Oxford Dictionary of Music ). Sometimes, it has also been erroneously attributed to England’s greatest composer Henry Purcell (1659 – 1695 ) and called ‘Purcell’s Trumpet Voluntary (Percy A. Scholes ; Oxford Companion to Music). This brilliant composition is often played at joyous occasions such as weddings and graduation ceremonies. Needless to say, it is a piece of processional music, par excellence. As its name suggests, it is probably best suited for solo trumpet and organ. However, it is often played for different combinations of instruments, with or without solo trumpet. It was composed by the English composer and organist Jeremiah Clarke.
Jeremiah Clarke was born in London in 1670. He was, like his elder contemporary Pachelbel, a musician of great repute during his time, and held important musical posts. He was the organist of London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral and the composer of the Theatre Royal. He died in London in 1707 due to self – inflicted gun – shot injuries, supposedly resulting from a failed love affair.
The full title of the hugely famous piece known as ‘Albinoni’s Adagio’ is ‘Adagio for organ and strings in G minor’. However, due to its enormous popularity, the piece has been arranged for numerous combinations of instruments. It is also rendered as an organ solo. The composition, which epitomizes pathos, is structured as a chaconne with a brooding bass, which reminds of the inevitability and ever presence of death. Nonetheless, there is no trace of despondency in this ethereal music. On the contrary, its intense euphony transcends the feeling of death and calms the soul. The composition has been attributed to the Italian composer Tomaso Albinoni (1671 – 1750), who was a contemporary of Bach and Handel. However, the authorship of the work is shrouded in mystery. Michael Kennedy notes: “The popular Adagio for organ and strings in G minor owes very little to Albinoni, having been constructed from a MS fragment by the twentieth century Italian musicologist Remo Giazotto, whose copyright it is” (Michael Kennedy; Oxford Dictionary of Music).
The classical super-hit known as ‘Boccherini’s Minuet’ is quite different from ‘Albinoni’s Adagio’. It is a short piece of absolutely delightful music. It was composed by the Italian cellist and composer Luigi Boccherini. It belongs to his string quintet in E major, Op. 13, No. 5. However, due to its immense popularity, the minuet is performed on different combinations of instruments.
Boccherini was born in Lucca in 1743. He was a contemporary of Haydn and Mozart, and an elder contemporary of Beethoven. He was a prolific composer. His music shows considerable affinity to that of Haydn. He lived in Madrid for a considerable part of his life, and was attached to the royal court of Spain as a chamber composer. Boccherini died in poverty in Madrid in 1805.
Like numerous other souls, I have found immense joy by listening to popular classical pieces like Pachelbel’s Canon in D, Jeremiah Clarke’s Trumpet Voluntary, Albinoni’s Adagio and Boccherini’s Minuet. They have often helped me to unwind and get over the stresses of daily life. Intriguingly, such music has also made me wonder how our world would have been if the likes of Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert had never lived. Surely, the world would have been immeasurably poorer without them. However, in all probability, we would have still had Pachelbel’s Canon in D, Jeremiah Clarke’s Trumpet Voluntary, Albinoni’s Adagio, and Boccherini’s Minuet, to cheer us up and uplift our spirits.
The Tax Payer and the Tough
By Lynn Ockersz
The tax owed by him to Caesar,
Leaves our retiree aghast…
How is he to foot this bill,
With the few rupees,
He has scraped together over the months,
In a shrinking savings account,
While the fires in his crumbling hearth,
Come to a sputtering halt?
But in the suave villa next door,
Stands a hulk in shiny black and white,
Over a Member of the August House,
Keeping an eagle eye,
Lest the Rep of great renown,
Be besieged by petitioners,
Crying out for respite,
From worries in a hand-to-mouth life,
But this thought our retiree horrifies:
Aren’t his hard-earned rupees,
Merely fattening Caesar and his cohorts?