By Professor R.P. Gunawardane
In the most recent address on a policy statement, made by the President of Sri Lanka in the Parliament on 18 January, 2022, he highlighted the importance of non-state universities in Sri Lanka and proposed policy guidelines to promote the establishment of such universities in the country. Although the importance of such a scheme is well recognised, all previous governments failed to implement such a programme due to narrow political reasons. This proposal has been long overdue and it is a most welcome move by the President after going through a very difficult period of governance due to the effects of the worst pandemic faced by humanity in this century, many reversals of misguided policies and unscientific decision-making concerning many vital issues at the highest level of the government.
As a person who has been promoting this idea for over several decades without much success, this article is presented making a strong case for the facilitation of the establishment of such institutions in the country, expanding on its direct and indirect impacts to the nation and also specifying the role of the government to make it a success.
Need for non-state non-profit universities
It is evident that the state monopoly on university education hinders expansion, diversification and innovation in our higher education institutions. As a result, a large number of deserving students are denied opportunities for university education. In this situation many students go abroad seeking university education in other countries, draining colossal amounts of valuable foreign exchange annually. Some parents do this with utmost difficulty by mortgaging their only house or property, making an enormous sacrifice.
Private and non-state non-profit universities including medical schools operate in parallel with state universities and medical schools in our neighbouring countries like India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Our students go to these countries in addition to East European countries, China, Malaysia and Cuba for their undergraduate studies in all fields, including medicine.
All top universities in the world including Harvard, Princeton, MIT, Stanford and all Ivy League universities in the USA and even Oxford, Cambridge and London universities in the UK are completely independent non-state non-profit institutions. Although they receive some funding from the government for specific teaching and research projects none of them are state controlled.
Private and non-state non-profit university level institutions in Sri Lanka do not come under the purview of the University Grants Commission (UGC). As such, they are not required to abide by the Universities Act No. 16 of 1978 which has centralised powers and decision-making at the UGC. Consequently, these institutions have a tremendous advantage and full freedom to expand and diversify programmes with innovative approaches without any clearance or approval from any government authorities.
Free education and non-state universities
Some interested parties have brought up a general issue against the establishment of non-state universities in Sri Lanka. They claim that it is against the free education policy in this country. Consequently, it has become more of a political issue. It is surprising that those who oppose non-state universities do not protest the non-state sector participation in education, healthcare and many other sectors in the country. It must be realised that state sector and non-state sector institutions can coexist and compete without jeopardising state policies as it happens now in education, health and many other sectors.
Almost all preschools are run by the private sector. There are many private sector primary and secondary schools operating throughout the island while we practice free education. Some of these private schools are of considerably high standard. A large number of students, especially in urban areas, now attend private schools paying exorbitant school fees because of the difficulty in finding placement in popular government schools. Those students who study in government schools spend colossal amounts on tuition classes. This amount, in some cases, exceeds the school fees paid by those who attend private schools.
Many non-state sector universities and other degree awarding institutes, recognised by the UGC, have been operating in the country for many years. High quality private hospitals operate side by side with state hospitals providing valuable services while free healthcare is practised in the state sector. Government doctors are free to practice in private hospitals although some tend to abuse this freedom. Similarly, private sector organisations operate in competition with the state sector in transport, insurance, banking, media, fuel, energy, trade and many other fields giving people enough choice and thus benefiting the customers. Under such circumstances, why the fuss about the non-state sector, private universities and medical schools, as long as they comply with common rules stipulated by the regulatory bodies including the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC)?
Non-state sector university level institutions have been fairly well established in Sri Lanka in the last two decades. There are over 22 such institutions approved by the UGC. One such institution of high quality is Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT) with links to top universities in Australia, the UK and the USA. They are also performing an enormous service to the country by providing alternative avenues of university education to our deserving students. These institutions can also supplement the state university system by cooperating in different ways. Consequently, these institutions should also be guided by an accreditation and quality assurance mechanism operated by the government. A properly constituted Accreditation and Quality Assurance council, if established in Sri Lanka, can assure the quality of degree programmes offered by state universities as well as non-state sector institutions.
Under such circumstances why not allow non-state and non-profit universities in this country? These institutions can not only provide high quality university education to local students but also attract foreign students bringing in much needed foreign exchange to the country.
However, it must be stressed that further opening and regularising university education to the non-state sector should necessarily be accompanied by, (i) an independent accreditation and quality assurance mechanism and (ii) need-based financial assistance to a certain proportion of students by the institutions. In addition, it is desirable to have a low-interest loan scheme for such students offered by a state bank or by the Mahapola Trust Fund.
Benefits to national economy
Introducing an element of competition to the tertiary education system is expected to improve quality, provide more variety and reduce cost of training. With the liberalisation, the policies should be directed towards facilitating the expansion and diversification of tertiary education to reach about 25 percent (age cohort) participation rate by the year 2025.
When those who can afford have the opportunity to enter non-state sector institutions, it is possible to accommodate others in the state system. Consequently, state funds can be targeted more towards helping the disadvantaged gain access to high quality tertiary education. It is most desirable, as far as possible, to have merit-based admission and need-based financial aid for all those who are admitted to all universities. This will ensure fair play and justice and will not deny any candidate university entry because of financial hardships.
One group of Sri Lankan students has been left out of our university admission process. They are the students who study in private or international schools, which do not offer Sri Lankan GCE A/L but prepare students for the London (UK) A/L exam. These students enrol in international schools mostly not by choice but by necessity due to the inability to get into a reputed government school in urban areas. They are also Sri Lankan citizens who have legitimate expectations of gaining admission to state universities, which is denied them. Some of them follow hybrid degree programmes of overseas universities, involving initial on-line courses which can be done at home in Sri Lanka followed by an in person component in a foreign country. But the total tuition fee has to be paid in foreign currency draining our precious foreign exchange. This group will also benefit from the proposed non-state non-profit universities in Sri Lanka, while saving a considerable amount of foreign exchange to the country.
This plan, if properly implemented, will considerably increase access to university education, for a large number of our students. Furthermore, they can receive high quality higher education in their home country at a much lower cost without being forced to go abroad for university education. Since a large number of students from neighbouring countries can be attracted to these institutions it will bring in a fair amount of foreign exchange annually to this country. In addition, our students are also exposed to students from different cultures in a local environment.
Action plan, role of government
As such, in line with global trends, the tertiary education sector should be opened up to the non-governmental and private sector with a national accreditation and a monitoring scheme. Once a comprehensive proposal is prepared it is necessary to invite prestigious universities in developed countries, international non-profit foundations and professional organisations of international repute to set up new universities or campuses of existing prestigious universities in the world. This should include a package of incentives, facilitating policies, any tax incentives and most importantly the central contact point or authority in Sri Lanka for this purpose should be identified.
It is not sufficient just to announce the intention of promoting non-state non-profit universities in Sri Lanka by the President in his address to the Parliament. This announcement should be followed up immediately with a properly formulated action plan. For this purpose, a suitable high-powered Presidential Committee consisting of highly qualified persons with experience in the higher education sector should be appointed immediately to work out an action plan with a time frame.
The main purpose of this Committee should be to work out an action plan to promote the establishment of high quality and well-equipped non-state universities in Sri Lanka. They could also identify some organisations and universities abroad for this purpose. The action plan should include proposed incentives, policy guidelines and assistance and facilitations provided by the government to establish such campuses in this country. To facilitate and expedite the implementation, there should be only one central authority or institution dealing with the applicants or specific proposals regarding this matter.
The role of the government in establishing such institutions should be limited to issuing some basic guidelines and also facilitating and promoting the establishment of well-equipped and high-quality institutions. Consequently, the central government should not get directly involved in the establishment of such institutions. But adequate incentives should be provided to attract high quality and prestigious universities. However, the government should specify that such institutions should offer need-based financial assistance to at least 10 percent of the total number of Sri Lankan students enrolled in the university. This way the government can ensure that students of low-income households are not completely excluded.
Thomians triumph in Sydney
Nothing is happening for us, at this end, other than queues, queues, and more queues! There’s very little to shout about were the sports and entertainment scenes are concerned. However, Down Under, the going seems good.
Sri Lankans, especially in Melbourne, Australia, have quite a lot of happenings to check out, and they all seem to be having a jolly good time!
who puts pen to paper to keep Sri Lankans informed of the events in Melbourne, was in Sydney, to taken in the scene at the Sri Lanka Schools Sevens Touch Rugby competition. And, this is Trevine’s report:
The weather Gods and S.Thomas aligned, in Sydney, to provide the unexpected at the Sri Lanka Schools Sevens Touch Rugby competition, graced by an appreciative crowd.
Inclement weather was forecast for the day, and a well drilled Dharmaraja College was expected to go back-to-back at this now emerging competition in Sydney’s Sri Lanka expatriate sporting calendar.
But the unforeseen was delivered, with sunny conditions throughout, and the Thomians provided the upset of the competition when they stunned the favourites, Dharmaraja, in the final, to grab the Peninsula Motor Group Trophy.
Still in its infancy, the Sevens Touch Competition, drawn on the lines of Rugby League rules, found new flair and more enthusiasm among its growing number of fans, through the injection of players from around Australia, opposed to the initial tournament which was restricted to mainly Sydneysiders.
A carnival like atmosphere prevailed throughout the day’s competition.
Ten teams pitted themselves in a round robin system, in two groups, and the top four sides then progressed to the semi-finals, on a knock out basis, to find the winner.
A food stall gave fans the opportunity to keep themselves fed and hydrated while the teams provided the thrills of a highly competitive and skilled tournament.
The rugby dished out was fiercely contested, with teams such as Trinity, Royal and St. Peter’s very much in the fray but failing to qualify after narrow losses on a day of unpredictability.
Issipathana and Wesley were the other semi-finalists with the Pathanians grabbing third place in the play-off before the final.
The final was a tense encounter between last year’s finalists Dharmaraja College and S.Thomas. Form suggested that the Rajans were on track for successive wins in as many attempts. But the Thomians had other ideas.
The fluent Rajans, with deft handling skills and evasive running, looked the goods, but found the Thomian defence impregnable. Things were tied until the final minutes when the Thomians sealed the result with an intercept try and hung on to claim the unthinkable.
It was perhaps the price for complacency on the Rajans part that cost them the game and a lesson that it is never over until the final whistle.
Peninsula Motor Group, headed by successful businessman Dilip Kumar, was the main sponsor of the event, providing playing gear to all the teams, and prize money to the winners and runners-up.
The plan for the future is to make this event more attractive and better structured, according to the organisers, headed by Deeptha Perera, whose vision was behind the success of this episode.
In a bid to increase interest, an over 40’s tournament, preceded the main event, and it was as interesting as the younger version.
Ceylon Touch Rugby, a mixed team from Melbourne, won the over 40 competition, beating Royal College in the final.
Marked stress on Asia in US foreign policy
US President Joe Biden’s recent tour of some Asian powers is indicative of a renewed and enhanced interest the US is beginning to take in the Indo-Pacific region. In this his first Asian tour the President chose to visit Japan and South Korea besides helming a Quad meeting in Tokyo and there is good reason for the choice of these venues and engagements.
The first phase of these bridge-strengthening efforts by the US began in late August last year when US Vice President Kamala Harris visited South-east Asia in the wake of the US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. Besides being driven by strong economic compulsions, the US intention was also to ensure that too much of a power vacuum did not open up in the region, following its pull-out from Afghanistan, since China’s perceived expansionist designs are a prime foreign policy concern of the US.
However, the US President’s recent wide-ranging tour of East Asia seems to have been also prompted by some currently intensifying trends and tensions in the wider stage of international politics though the seeming power vacuum just referred to has a significant bearing on it. The immediate purpose of the US President’s tour seems to have been to bolster his country’s backing for Japan and South Korea, two of the US’ closest allies in East Asia. This is necessitated by the ‘China threat’, which, if neglected, could render the US allies vulnerable to China’s military attacks on the one hand and blunt US power and influence in the region on the other.
While Taiwan’s airspace has reportedly been frequently violated by China, sections in Japan have reasons to be wary of perceived Chinese expansionist moves in Japan’s adjacent seas. Moreover, many of China’s neighbours have been having territorial disputes with China, which have tended to intensify the perception over the decades that in the Asian theatre in particular China is a number one ‘bogey’. For historical reasons, South Korea too has been finding the increasing rise of China as a major world power considerably discomforting.
Accordingly, the US considers it opportune to reassure South-east Asia in general and its allies in the region in particular of its continuous military, economic and political support. Though these are among the more immediate reasons for Biden’s tour of the region, there are also the convulsions triggered in international politics by the Russian invasion of Ukraine to consider.
Whereas sections of international opinion have been complacent in the belief that military invasions of one country by another are things of the distant past, the brutal Russian invasion of Ukraine in February this year proved them shockingly wrong. We have the proof here that not all authoritarian rulers are prepared to adhere to the international rule book and for some of China’s neighbours the possibility is great of their being attacked or invaded by China over the numerous rankling problems that have separated them from their economic super power neighbour over the decades. After all, China is yet to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and is increasingly proving an ‘all weather friend’ of Russia. Right now, they are the strongest of allies.
The ‘China threat’ then is prime among the reasons for the US President’s visit to East Asia, though economic considerations play a substantive role in these fence-strengthening initiatives as well. While South-east Asia is the ‘economic power house’ of the world, and the US would need to be doubly mindful of this fact, it would need to reassure its allies in the region of its military and defense assistance at a time of need. This too is of paramount importance.
President Biden did just that while in Tokyo a couple of days back. For instance, he said that the US is ‘fully committed to Japan’s defense’. Biden went on to say that the ‘US is willing to use force to defend Taiwan.’ The latter comment was prompted by the perceived increasing Chinese violations of Taiwan’s air space. After all, considering that Russia has invaded Ukraine with impunity, there is apparently nothing that could prevent China from invading Taiwan and annexing it. Such are the possible repercussions of the Russian invasion.
Meanwhile, North Korea is reportedly carrying on with its development of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons. On this issue too, South Korea would need to have US assurances that the latter would come to its defense in case of a North Korean military strike. The US President’s visit to South Korea was aimed at reassuring the latter of the former’s support.
However, as mentioned, economic considerations too figured prominently in the US President’s South-east Asian tour. While being cognizant of the region’s security sensitivities, bolstering economic cooperation with the latter too was a foremost priority for the Biden administration. For example, the US is in the process of formalizing what has come to be referred to as the Indo-Pacific Trade Treaty. The US has reportedly already inducted Japan and South Korea as founding members of the Treaty while, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand are mentioned as prospective members to the treaty.
The perceived threat posed to Western interests in South-east Asia by China needs to be factored in while trying to unravel the reasons for this region-wide endeavour in economic cooperation. It needs to be considered a Western response to China’s Belt and Road initiative which is seen as having a wide appeal for the global South in particular.
While the Russian invasion of Ukraine is having a divisive political and economic impact on the world, international politics will increasingly revolve around the US-China stand-off on a multiplicity of fronts in time to come. Both sides are likely to try out both soft and hard power to an exceptional degree to exercise foremost influence and power in the world. As is already happening, this would trigger increasing international tensions.
There was a distinct and sharp note of firmness in the voice of the US President when he pledged defense and military support for his allies in Asia this week. Considering the very high stakes for the US in a prospering South-east Asia, the US’ competitors would be naive to dismiss his pronouncements as placatory rhetoric meant for believing allies.
A Majoritarian Constitution
1972 Constitution in Retrospect – II
By (Dr) Jayampathy Wickramaratne, President’s Counsel
In this the second part of a three-part article on the 50th anniversary of Sri Lanka becoming a republic, the writer submits that the 1972 Constitution paved the way for constitutionalising majoritarianism in multi-cultural Sri Lanka.
The unitary state
Although Tamil parties expressed their support for the Constituent Assembly process, they were to be disappointed by the substance of the new constitution.
Basic Resolution No. 2 proposed by the Government called for Sri Lanka to be a unitary state. The Federal Party (FP) proposed an amendment that ‘unitary’ be replaced by ‘federal’.
In a memorandum and the model constitution that it submitted to the Steering Committee of the Assembly, the FP proposed that the country be a federal republic consisting of five states made up as follows: (i) Southern and Western provinces, (ii) North Central and North Western provinces (iii) Central, Uva and Sabaragamuwa provinces (iv) Northern Province and the districts of Trincomalee and Batticaloa and (v) Ampara district. The city of Colombo and its suburbs were to be administered by the centre. A list of subjects and functions reserved for the centre, with all others going to the states, was included. Interestingly, law and order and Police were to be reserved subjects.
However, Assembly proceedings show that the Tamils were clearly for a compromise. Dharmalingam, who was a main speaker of the FP under Basic Resolution No. 2, stated that the existing constitution had failed as it was not designed for a multi-ethnic country. He pointed out that in ethnically heterogeneous countries where unitary constitutions had been in operation, concessions to the federal principle have been made to meet the demands and aspirations of the minorities. Where there has been a refusal to concede the federal principle, there have been movements for separation. The FP distanced itself from secessionists such as C. Sunderalingam and V. Navaratnam, referring to them by name, and stated that it was not asking for a division of the country but for a division of power.
Dharmalingam made it clear that the FP’s draft was only a basis for discussion. Stating that the party was only asking that the federal principle be accepted, he suggested that as an interim measure, the SLFP, LSSP and CP should implement what they had promised in the election manifesto, namely that they would abolish Kachcheris and replace them with elected bodies. He stated: “If this Government thinks that it does not have a mandate to establish a federal Constitution, it can at least implement the policies of its leader, S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, by decentralising the administration, not in the manner it is being done now, but genuine decentralisation, by removing the Kachcheris and in their place establishing elected bodies to administer those regions.”
Sarath Muttetuwegama of the Communist Party, the first political party in the country to propose federalism, in 1944, followed Dharmalingam and stated that ‘federal’ had become a dirty word not because of the federal system of government but because of what the FP had advocated. He was clearly referring to the FP’s association with the UNP and the conservative policies it had followed, such as voting against nationalisations, the takeover of private schools and the Paddy Lands Bill. Seemingly oblivious to the offer that Dharmalingam had made, he asked why the FP had not used the phrase ‘regional autonomy.’ Speakers from the UF who followed Muttetuwegama made it clear that the UF was in no mood to consider the FP’s offer to settle for much less.
Consequently, Basic Resolution No.2 was passed, and the FP’s amendment was defeated in the Steering and Subjects Committee on 27 March 1971.
Dr Nihal Jayawickrama, who was the Secretary of the Ministry of Justice, under the UF Government, and played an important role in the constitutional reform process, has said that the first draft prepared under the direction of the Minister of Constitutional Affairs did not contain any reference to a ‘unitary state’. However, Minister Felix Dias Bandaranaike proposed in the Ministerial Sub-Committee that the country be declared a ‘unitary state’. The Minister of Constitutional Affairs did not consider this to be necessary and argued that while the proposed constitution would have a unitary structure, unitary constitutions could vary a great deal in form. Nevertheless, the proposed phrase found its way to the final draft. ‘In course of time, this impetuous, ill-considered, wholly unnecessary embellishment has reached the proportions of a battle cry of individuals and groups who seek to achieve a homogenous Sinhalese state on this island’ Dr Jayawickrama observed. ‘Reflections on the Making and Content of the 1972 Constitution: An Insider’s Perspective’ in Asanga Welikala (ed), The Sri Lankan Republic at 40: Reflections on Constitutional History, Theory and Practice vol 1 (Centre for Policy Alternatives 2012) 43.
It is significant that the FP continued to participate in the Constituent Assembly even after its amendment was rejected. Records show that its leader, S.J.V. Chelvanayakam, regularly attended the meetings of the Steering and Subjects Committee.
With the advantage of hindsight, it could be said that acceptance of the FP’s proposed compromise for a division of power would have proved to be a far-reaching confidence-building measure on which more could perhaps have been built later. Moreover, such an acceptance would have ensured the continued participation of the FP in the Constituent Assembly. Even had the FP, as the UNP eventually did, voted against the adoption of the new constitution, their participation in the entire constitution-making process would have resulted in greater acceptance of the 1972 Constitution by the Tamil people.
Although they discontinued participation at a later stage, Federal Party MPs nevertheless took oaths under the new Constitution. Tamil parties soon united under the banner of the Tamil United Front (TUF), which later became the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF). At the famous Vaddukoddai conference of 1976, the TULF embraced separatism and adopted a resolution calling for a separate state called ‘Tamil Eelam’ in the Northern and Eastern provinces. At the 1977 elections, the TULF contested on a separatist platform and swept the Tamil areas.
The place of Buddhism
According to Dr Jayawickrama, Dr. de Silva’s original proposal called for the guarantee of freedom of thought, conscience and religion to every citizen. However, the Prime Minister requested that this proposal be added with a provision for the protection of institutions and traditional places of worship of Buddhists.
Basic Resolution No. 3 approved by the Constituent Assembly was for Buddhism to be given its ‘rightful place’: ‘In the Republic of Sri Lanka, Buddhism, the religion of the majority of the people, shall be given its rightful place, and accordingly, it shall be the duty of the State to protect and foster Buddhism, while assuring to all religions the rights granted by Basic Resolution 5 (iv).’
Basic Resolution 5 (iv) referred to read: “Every citizen shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have and adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.”
But by the time the final draft was approved, the proposal had undergone a further change. Article 6 of the 1972 Constitution is as follows: ‘The Republic of Sri Lanka shall give to Buddhism the foremost place and accordingly it shall be the duty of the State to protect and foster Buddhism while assuring to all religions the rights granted by section 18 (1) (d).’ Section 18 (1) (d), in the chapter on fundamental rights, assures to all citizens the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
To the question of whether constitutionally guaranteeing special status to Buddhism not available to other religions of the land might adversely affect the non-Buddhists, Dr de Silva retrospectively responded in the following manner: “The section in respect of Buddhism is subject to section 18 (1) (d) and I wish to say, I believe in a secular state. But you know when Constitutions are made by Constituent Assemblies they are not made by the Minister of Constitutional Affairs. I myself would have preferred (section 18(1) (d)). But there is nothing…And I repeat, NOTHING, in section 6 which in any manner infringes upon the rights of any religion in this country. (Safeguards for the Minorities in the 1972 Constitution (Young Socialist 1987) 10.)
Dr Jayawickrama has been more critical. ‘If Buddhism had survived in the hearts and minds of the people through nearly five centuries of foreign occupation, a constitutional edict was hardly necessary to protect it now’, he opined. (‘Colvin and Constitution-Making – A Postscript’ Sunday Island, 15 July 2007).
Basic Resolution No.11 stated that all laws shall be enacted in Sinhala and that there shall be a Tamil translation of every law so enacted.
Basic Resolution No.12 read as follows: “(1) The Official Language of Sri Lanka shall be Sinhala as provided by the Official Language Act No. 32 of 1956. (2) The use of the Tamil Language shall be in accordance with the Tamil Language (Special Provisions) Act No. 28 of 1958.”
Efforts by the FP to get the Government to improve upon Basic Resolutions Nos. 11 and 12 failed. On 28 June 1971, both resolutions were passed, amendments proposed by the FP having been defeated. S.J.V. Chelvanayakam informed the Constituent Assembly that they had met with both the Prime Minister and the Minister of Constitutional Affairs, and while the meetings had been cordial, the Government had refused to make any alteration to the Basic Resolutions. He stated that the FP would therefore not attend future meetings. “We have come to the painful conclusion that as our language rights are not satisfactorily provided in the proposed Constitution, no useful purpose will be served in our continuing in the deliberations of this Assembly. By taking this step, we mean no offence to anybody. We only want to safeguard the dignity of our people.” There was not even a dramatic walk out. ‘We do not wish to stage a demonstration by walking out’, he added.
That Dr Colvin R. de Silva, who prophetically stated in 1955, ‘one language, two countries; two languages, one country’, should go so far as to upgrade the then-existing language provisions to constitutional status has baffled many political observers. In fact, according to Dr Jayawickrama, the Prime Minister had stated that it would be unwise to re-open the language debate and that the better course would be to let the ordinary laws on the subject operate in the form in which they were. By this time, the Privy Council had reversed the decision of the Supreme Court in A.G. v Kodeswaranthat a public servant could not sue the Crown for breach of contract of employment and sent the case back for a determination on other issues, including the main issue as to whether the Official Language Act violated section 29 (2), as the District Court had held. Dr. de Silva did not wish the Supreme Court to re-visit the issue. ‘If the courts do declare this law invalid and unconstitutional, heavens alive, the chief work done from 1956 onwards will be undone. You will have to restore the egg from the omelette into which it was beaten and cooked.’ He had, however, resisted a proposal made by Minister Felix R. Dias Bandaranaike that Sinhala be declared the ‘one’ official language of Sri Lanka.
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