Midweek Review
Cultural Pentagon
by Nalin de Silva

I refer to the photograph of a poster that appeared in the 5th February 2008 issue of The Island under the title "Campus Culture Police?" and with the caption "This poster appeared on the Kelaniya Campus recently against female undergrads wearing hipters (sent by a reader)".

I do not know whether the relevant reader is an undergraduate of the University of Kelaniya that had Vidyalankara University (or Vidyalankara Campus of the University of Sri Lanka) as its name before it was changed to the present by an act of Parliament in 1978. It could even be a Faculty member or even a visitor to the University. However, I am told that photographs of the particular poster had been taken by some undergraduates in the Department of Modern Languages at the University of Kelaniya. Incidentally the Department of Modern Languages teaches languages such as Korean, Chinese in addition to Modern European Languages such as French and Germany.

This particular poster was put up by Veemansaka Parshadaya a registered organisation of students at the University of Kelaniya, of which I am the senior treasurer. The students consulted me before posting it and I had no hesitation in giving my approval. Thus the office bearers and others of the Veemansaka Parshadaya had acted in a very responsible manner and I take full responsibility for the ideas expressed in the poster. These students unlike the reader who sent the photograph to The Island did not want to hide behind anonymity and had the courage of their convictions to put up the poster identifying themselves with it, even though they knew that they were up against the Cultural Pentagon (or is it Culture Pentagon?) that is hell bent on weakening the cultures of others, if not destroying them, and propagating the Judaic Christian culture that had its beginnings in the fifteenth century in the so called renaissance movement.

Now who created the term Culture Police? It cannot be one of the so called intellectuals in Sri Lanka for the simple reason creating concepts and theories is not an exercise that they are engaged in. They may be very good scholars who excel in understanding what the masters in the west have created, and propagating that knowledge in the Universities, so called research institutes, the NGOs, schools and other such places. It has to be pointed out that it is not only the English only educated who take great pains to propagate such knowledge. The so called bilinguals are worse who take these concepts and theories to the Sinhala only educated people. Thus one could very often hear the term sanskruthika policiya being used in so called intellectual discussions in Sinhala. What is the necessity for creating this term culture police?

We do not have to be confined to what the westerners have to say about renaissance, enlightenment and other such European movements that began in and after the fifteenth century. Why should we make it their prerogative to interpret their events as well as ours? Why should we look at the world through their eyes or worse through spectacles provided by them. In the view of Jathika Chinthanaya practised by us, not the version of Gunadasa Amarasekera who confines himself to the "thought" in Chinthanaya, knowledge is constructed by people relative to their culture based on the Chinthanaya. This is different from the ideas expressed by western sociologists who consider knowledge to be a social construction. There are so called sociologists of knowledge in Sri Lanka who happen to propagate this view without critically analysing what they do. These people are also NGO funded though they may have fallen out with other NGO types mostly on fund sharing than on "power sharing".

In our view Chinthanaya is more fundamental than (one may read "Mage Lokaya, Vidya Kathandara and Ape Pravada and also the series of articles I have been writing weekly for the Vidusara since 2003, the current article being the 289th of the series on the topic "problem of the western social sciences", though I may not be using the western social science jargon. There are some western trained sociologists who have the dubious distinction of obtaining third class passes in both Engineering and Sociology who think jargon is more important than creative ideas) paradigm when it comes to creation of knowledge. We create knowledge based in Sinhala Buddhist Chinthanaya in contrast to the westerners, whether in Physics or Sociology, who create knowledge in Greek Judaic Christian Chinthanaya. The so called renaissance movement signifies (nothing to do with the so called post modernist concepts of signifier signified) the birth of a new culture and a Chinthanaya. It was a new culture and a Chinthanaya though the word renaissance chosen by the Europeans could imply a rebirth. This idea of rebirth is due to certain contributions from Greek culture and Aristotelian Chinthanaya that the renaissance and enlightenment people were fond of. In our terminology the contributions of the Greeks are acknowledged by calling the new Chinthanaya as Greek Judaic Christian Chinthanaya. We are of the opinion that western science meaning western Physical Sciences and other western systems of knowledge that follow western Physical Sciences, Capitalism and also Protestantism are based on Greek Judaic Christian Chinthanaya. We have answered the question as to why western science was created in the west and not in any other country such as China that had "scientific knowledge". The answer given by Joseph Needham who first proposed the question was that it was due to Capitalism. However this only begs the question as the question necessarily arises as to why capitalism was created in the west. Max Weber in his Protestant Ethic and Capitalism has partially answered the question by describing the connection between Capitalism and Protestantism. Our answer to this whole question can be found in a long essay published in the magazine Dekma edited by Sumedha Weerawardhana of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Peradeniya.

The new culture that was born in the fifteenth century following the Judaic culture and Chinthanaya was adamant in propagating itself while trying to annihilate the other cultures. The colonial movements begun by Portuguese and Spaniards, and followed by the other European nations (or is it nation states in the light or dark of unmaking of nation) finally meant the propagation of new culture. It so happens that the Portuguese and the Spaniards and the Pope who initiated the process did not know what was in store for Catholic Chinthanaya and Medieval European culture. The new culture was very zealous in propagating itself, and soon the western intellectuals came up with concepts to degrade even the slightest attempt to resist the aggression of the new culture. The culture police is one such concept that gives the impression that the western Judaic Christian culture is very democratic and gives the freedom of choice to the people, while in essence propagating itself with the most ruthless methods. The demeaning and degrading of other cultures is very subtle and very often the hegemony of western knowledge is used to throttle any resistance to the Judaic Christian culture. There has been no autocratic, undemocratic and hegemonic culture as the Judaic Christian culture that expands its activities with the support of a pentagon, if I may use modern day terminology. It is a cultural pentagon with all the modern war machinery that operates behind the Judaic Christian culture and they refer to a culture police that can be armed only with a baton even according to their culture.

Those who are in the universities know the kind of so called academic freedom that the Senates enjoy. The Senates can approve only the syllabi that are taught in western universities. In western science the moment one tries to create a new concept based on a non Greek Judaic Christian Chinthanaya one comes across so much resistance backed by the cultural pentagon one has no choice except giving up the idea unless of course one is prepared to sacrifice the future. When I was in the University of Colombo, not the best place to fight the cultural pentagon, I was asked by the then Vice Chancellor G. L. Peiris why I was teaching Jathika Chinthanaya to a captive audience. The audience was not that captive and had the backing of the Vice Chancellor and some members of the senior staff, and of course the cultural pentagon. Nothing happened to the captive audience but soon I found that I was out of the University system. The so called human rights campaigners among the academics not only kept their worthy mouths shut but did not allow me to present my case before the University Teachers Union of which I was the President until I was unceremoniously kicked out of the University. After ten years and long legal battles I have found employment at the Vidyalankara University wrongly called University of Kelaniya by JR Jayewardene the agent of Judaic Christian culture in Sri Lanka at that time, and I am determined to continue my fight against the most autocratic undemocratic hegemonic ruthless culture that has ever disgraced the planet, whatever the outcome may be. I have formulated the concept of cultural pentagon or culture pentagon. It is nothing much but would it be adopted by the academics in Sri Lanka who are only dreaming of concepts such as culture police, that are cooked up by the western academics and of course backed by promotions and fellowships offered by the west?

 

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