BOOK REVIEW 63
are only now beginning to vanish from Sri Lankan speech.
Ariyaratne further declares that "there was no discrimination due to caste at that time for a caste represented only a division of labour or specialization" (p.53), a patently false statement both factually and sociologically. The Sri Lankan caste system may have been milder than the Indian variety but it was all the same unequal and dehumanising.
The past civilization of Sri Lanka had many positive features. These included the building of an immense hydraulic civilization, production of a vast literature in Pali and later in Sinhala and impressive artistic and sculptural achievements. Yet no one with a realistic and knowledgeable appraisal of this ancient society of the time would claim that it was an equal society. It can be claimed to have been a high civilization but not one where egalitarianism prevailed. Ariya-ratne's present movement, in his own words, "is only a humble attempt to revitalise this (ancient) thought and culture, giving them a new trial and a sophisticated direction according to the needs of the changed times" (p.54). Clearly, if the earlier society was an unequal society, whilst the ruling religion of Buddhism professed equality (as organised religions often did elsewhere in the then world) then it would be no surprise if today's Sarvodaya "philosophy" becomes in a sense an ideological cover (in the sense understood by sociologists) for the inequalities of our present Sri Lankan society.
If this mixed up "philosophy" then is the alleged ideology of the Sarvodaya movement, how does it operate in actual practice? Being largely dependent on foreign aid, Sarvodaya is not a self-reliant village-based movement as its avowed aims make one believe. Clearly a Sarvodaya leader in the original sense basing himself on self-reliance would have raised this matter of unrestricted foreign imports as a major plank of discussion and action as had happened in the case in India.
Apart from platitudes Ariyaratne is strangely asocial and apolitical when it comes to real macro-level policies that affect every-day village reality. His occasional tirades against the economic or political structure are aimed at the bureaucracy, not the macro-structure whose servant the bureaucracy is. Although Ariyaratne's criticism is against the bureaucracy, increasingly Sarvodaya's activities have tended to coalesce with those of governmental departmental activities. Thus today the movement is closely associated with the Social Services Department, Education Department, the Planning Ministry and Regional Development. A cynic might even say that the attack on the bureaucracy has succeeded with Ariyaratne's organisation tending to replace a part of the "bureaucratic" delivery system.
Because Sarvodaya9 s major finances are obtained from foreign aid and not from self-reliance, Sarvodaya in effect becomes a delivery system for foreign aid. Even from the narrow perspective of disburse-