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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2960

The new Foreign Minister – Anura Bandaranaike

[b]The new Foreign Minister – Anura Bandaranaike [/b]

By H. L. D. Mahindapala

More than ever before, the focus will be on Anura Bandaranaike. As the new Foreign Minister he steps into a pair of big boots. The right one was worn by his father, S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike, whose vast and intimate knowledge foreign affairs helped him to steer the fledgling nation into the non-alignment movement with a passion to assert Sri Lanka’s independence. Like most anti-colonial contemporaries of his time he displayed a fierce sense of independent, amounting to even superiority over his Western counterparts. It is something he learnt at Oxford. He recorded that to be the equal of the Englishmen he had to be superior!

That is a message lost among the servile toads who are paid to lick the boots of the Westerners with disgusting obsequiousness. Of course, it was a time when the budding Foreign Ministry consisted of inexperienced officers who were more used to pushing paper than a constructive foreign policy. He told the media once that before he begins discussions on Lebanon – a flashpoint of his time – he would have to show the Ministry cadres where it is on the map.

A distinguishing characteristic of SWRD was his intellectual integrity and the breadth of his vision with a matching command of the English language. At a time when it was fashionable for intellectuals to parade as Marxists he saw through it and embraced unapologetically the fervour of home-grown nationalism.

He is castigated for it to this day by the mono-ethnic extremists and their Westernized fellow-travellers in NGOs. But SWRD was committed to serve the aspirations of the people and he was daring enough to give leadership to the common man despised and marginalized by the Westernized ruling elite. While his counterpart S. J. V. Chelvanayakam, is hailed by the NGOlogists as a “Gandhian saint” despite his passing the Vaddukoddai Resolution that endorsed Tamil violence against the rest of the nation, SWRD is denigrated as “a political opportunist” for sticking to his principles not knowing where it would lead them even in 1956. This unfair judgement was passed on him only after he won in 1956 because it was this silent revolution that dethroned the Westernized elite and the Marxists pundits who misled the people with their false utopian promises. This elite never forgave him for overthrowing their feudal and colonial powers.

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