People's representatives and their doings
level headed non partisan people who are not slaves to
any political party appear to be disgusted and
disillusioned with the present state of party politics
in this country. They often denounce politics as the
dirtiest game on earth. This may be too harsh an
expression but the fact remains that politics is a dirty
game, in the light of what is happening all round.
not the politics that should really incur their wrath
but the politicians who misuse and manipulate politics
and play poli-tricks to suit their own interests and
is most deplorable and annoying is the display of
authoritarian attitudes by some politicians who indulge
in political manoeuvreing and misconduct in their
personal pursuits to the detriment of the ordinary
people who had voted them to political power.
evident to most people, the root cause for such misuse
of power by certain politicians including some of those
in ministerial rank is the delegation of excessive -
almost unlimited - political powers and overall
administrative authority to do whatever they wish in
their constituencies for which the ruling hierarchy
exercises very little or no control. That being so, most
politicians seem to consider themselves as almighty
beings not subject to the law and order system which
they could override at their will and pleasure.
there are no checks and balances imposed on them, these
politicians - the so called people's representatives -
have taken upon themselves the sole authority to
interfere in and manipulate even the day to day running
of government and semi-government institutions,
particularly in the outstations overriding the duly
appointed heads of those sectors who are vested with the
responsibility for orderly conduct of such institutions.
is a glaring feature in the case of police and
provincial administrations. Most parliamentarians and
even the provincial councillors try to meddle with
government agencies and give illegal orders either to
harass innocent persons who are not to their liking or
help criminal elements, boot leggers and underworld
ruffians who happen to be their political and personal
supporters. Law enforcement officials and even certain
heads of departments are so helpless and spineless that
they are compelled to obey such orders for fear of
politicians with the exception of a few with good
breeding and educational attainments, seem to display
arrogant, overbearing attitudes even in their general
demeanour. Their insatiable greed for all luxuries,
worldly possessions such as residential mansions and
high powered motor vehicles for every member of the
family, goes to prove how they flout all norms of
public morality and decency.
are some of the contributory causes for the
disenchantment prevailing among the general public and
the widening differences between them and the
the former State Council days and early period of the
parliamentary system, members who were elected by the
people were truly exemplary people's representatives
who carried out with care and understanding the
genuine and reasonable wishes of their constituents.
Those early parliamentarians were well bred and
educated, devoid of selfish motives, unlike today when
any Tom, Dick and Harry could get elected to provincial
councils and parliament, the only criterion being the
possession of money and influence of party officials.
Britain where it is said there is no written
constitution but only age old conventions, the members
of parliament scrupulously obey the country's law and
order system and are openly subject to punitive action
by the law enforcers.
contrary in our country there are some parliamentarians
and other legislators who have been accused or charged
for criminal and other nefarious activities, but carry
on regardless without any punitive action being taken
the moral duty of those who run the government to
legally punish and discipline such miscreant
politicians; or else it might come to a situation where
people would be constrained to hate the very sight of a
politician whether in the ruling or opposition parties.
these types of conceited, corrupt and self seeking
politicians who would cause the ruination of whatever
political party in power.
are some well meaning, good hearted politicians but they
too would sometimes be branded as masqueraders by
enraged people who will not be able to differentiate the
good from the bad, in the prevailing political
R. M. A. B. Dassanayake
Disgusting reaction of Museaus old girls
refer to the disgusting reactions of various past pupils
of Museaus College, Colombo which appeared in a recent
edition of The Sunday Leader. Due to other urgent
commitments I am rather late in responding to this
in a nutshell, if the past students of Museaus College
have been taught to use words such as "bitch" and "dog"
on their fellow women, then this "excellent school" with
an "excellent background" has produced past students of
low calibre. Since Lord Buddha has taught his followers
maithri, karuna and ahimsa the behaviour of the so
called old girls of Museaus is revolting. If this is not
so, how come that the past students use such terrible
words as 'bitch?' There seems to be something radically
wrong with the school, its principal, teachers and
prefects, and even the students as well.
not know the real truth about the Anuthara story. But I
do know that irrespective of what really happened, it
was altogether wrong on the part of the prefects,
teachers and the principal to have treated her so badly
so as to make her commit suicide.
past students of Museaus who wrote to Ranee Mohamed
calling her a "bitch" and condemning her wholesale, all
I could say is, grow up - at least now!
Journalists are there to investigate and report on
matters where there has been injustice, indiscipline,
etc. Journalists are simply doing their job and they
should not be judged in a wrong manner. If not for
newspapers and journalists, I am afraid, the status of
this once beautiful country would have plunged to very
low depths and the rest of the world would call us the
"teardrop" of Asia!
Ranee Mohamed, I have just this to say. Go on with your
good work, come what may. You are only doing your duty,
not only as a reputed and excellent journalist, but more
importantly as a citizen of Sri Lanka. For all your
trouble, you might be found fault with by various
individuals and groups, but when the moment comes for
you to close your eyes to this sometimes wicked world,
you will definitely have the satisfaction and happiness
of knowing that you have not lived your life in vain!
Dress code for mothers
rather distressing to note that government and semi
government schools have included a `dress code' for the
ladies who wish to meet the principal or call over at
the office. All females are requested to be clad in
saree - oblivious to 'how' you wear the saree!
I am a
Burgher and I do not and have not worn a saree. Hence,
isn't this discrimination to force non-saree wearing
folk to wear this attire ?
admit that this measure would have been taken in lieu of
the way certain parents dress but if what the government
wants to do is to maintain the Sinhalese culture then
why don't the men dress in national costumes when they
call over at schools ? Why are the men folk dressed in
they should have stressed on is that ladies are covered
properly. High neck long dresses or pants are far more
decent than the saree that shows the body. I must also
stress that I have seen many mothers, including teachers
who wear their sarees very low, exposing their midriff
area in a 'hipster' style which is so disgraceful.
what about those saree jackets with plunging necklines
and the sleeveless jackets? How is it that women with
such indecent exposure are permitted into the school
premises whereas women who are covered from head to toe
are not permitted? Do the school authorities think that
the saree is the most appropriate?
country where the President stresses that there are no
barriers between races there should be freedom for the
women folk of other races - be it Burgher, Muslim or
Tamil to wear their choice of dress, which of course
should be worn decently. They certainly seem to have
forgotten this important point when imposing a 'dress
code' for mothers.
Defending the IGP... a reply
seen your editorial calling the IGP an idiot for the way
he has been conducting himself in many instances when he
should have stood up to uphold the law. I was not
surprised to read the response from Mr. Carlyle de
Silva, an ex police officer taking exception to the
manner of your writing. The latter confesses that he had
not been fortunate enough to have worked for the present
IGP or to know him. Judging by the performance of the
IGP as reflected in the developments that have come to
the public domain, I feel that Mr. De Silva should feel
fortunate in not having had the opportunity.
fact, Mr. De Silva is not unaware of the events that
have brought disgrace and public contempt on the police
service; the recent and the more disgraceful ones being
the arrest of astrologers for making ominous
predictions, those of Vaas Gunawardene and the Angulana
killings. They are becoming too numerous to recount. His
stance is that the police service is a holy cow which
should not be ridiculed because of its association in
the fight against the LTTE.
by the recent performance of the police could it be that
the security forces won the war in spite of the police.
It has been brought to light that a Senior SSP had
collaborated with the LTTE and had been put in charge of
arrangements at the last Independence Day celebrations
at which His Excellency was present. Surely, the IGP
should have known his men better.
latest invitation to ridicule is the revelation made in
parliament on September 10 of a howler made in a report
to parliament on suspects who have died (or killed)
while in police custody. The shock came not in the
enormity of numbers, though known to be incredibly so,
but making the impossible, possible. According to the
report, one of the suspects who died had committed the
offence for which the arrest had been made a few days
after his death!
howler was spotted by a JVP MP and had obviously not
caught the eye of the IGP. Would it not be better for
the country if the MP and the IGP exchanged their
positions? After all, it is a requirement that the Head
of the Department, in this case the IGP, should
personally handle the replies to questions in
parliament. Or could it be that it was the ghost of the
dead man who committed the offence a few days after the
death? Beware, IGP, the ghost may visit you and the
officers who bumped him off, while in police custody.
No longer with CEPA
publishing my comments on the Tissainayagam case in the
September 11 edition of The Sunday Leader, you have
associated me with the Centre for Poverty Analysis (CEPA).
I no longer hold any official position in CEPA.
Therefore I would be grateful if you could make the
necessary correction in your next edition.
R. P. (Ranji) Salgado, who passed away in Washington,
was one of Sri Lanka's outstanding economists. Economics
as a profession was largely unknown prior to the 1950s.
with the setting up of the Central Bank in 1950 that the
economics profession really started in
Ranji belongs to that early generation of economists.
was one of those persons who could straddle the worlds
of science, arts and the humanities. His fascinating
career of 40 years ranged across the Central Bank,
government departments, universities, and the IMF.
had his early education at Royal College, where he was
one of its most brilliant products. He carried away so
many prizes and scholarships. Chosen as the Governor's
Scholar, he won the Rajapakse Prize, the Turnour
Scholarship, C. M. Fernando Memorial Prize, Steward
Prize, Makeen Memorial Prize, Senior English Literature
Prize and Senior English Essay Prize, and many others.
the beginning, Ranji excelled in English. Entering the
University of Ceylon, he carried away the Muncherji
Framji Khan Prize for best performance in the First in
Arts Examination. He followed this up with a First Class
Honours degree in Mathematics. Ranji's versatility
across many academic subjects is clearly evident from
these early school days.
joined the Central Bank in 1952, and served in many
capacities in his 14 years there. While in the Bank, he
proceeded to Cambridge to read for the Economics Tripos
(a first degree in
jargon). Ranji obtained an Upper Second, having done it
in two years instead of three.
one of the very few Sri Lankan economists, to have read
for two first degrees, in Mathematics and Economics.
After a break, he worked for a PhD in Economics at
Cambridge, which he obtained in 1960. He was the first
Sri Lankan to obtain a PhD from Cambridge in economics.
Cambridge in the 1950s was the pre-eminent university
for Economics in the world.
Ranji's supervisor at
was Richard Stone, a Nobel Prize winner, and the world
authority on National Accounts, and who created the
system of National Accounts for the entire world through
the United Nations. Ranji's thesis was on the National
Accounts of Ceylon. He was also a visiting lecturer in
Economics at the newly created Vidyodaya University from
1960-6. He was an excellent lecturer in macro-economics,
and assisted in building up the economics faculty in
this new university. He left the Central Bank in 1966 to
join the IMF in Washington.
had a wide-ranging career in the IMF for over 20 years.
He worked in the South Asia Division, the West Asia
Division, the South Pacific Division in various
capacities, holding senior positions as Senior Economist
in the Asian Department and chief of many divisions,
including functioning as Assistant Director.
retirement, Ranji kept himself busy. He was actively
engaged in two Buddhist institutions in and around
He was the founding director and long-time
vice-president (primary layperson) of the Buddhist
Vihara in Washington D. C.
Ranji enjoyed most was his family life. He married his
wife, Surangani, and into the Amarasuriya family. They
had a very happy life together for 51 years. Ranji saw
to it that his children got the best education in the
USA and UK.
Surangani herself was encouraged, once the children had
grown up, to qualify as a Certified Public Accountant in
the USA. Their children, Ranmali, Ruwan, and Ranil, and
son-in-law Lalin, and daughter-in-law Kamani formed a
close network, living in close proximity of each other.
The cosy residence of the Salgados, set in the beautiful
wooded landscape of Bethesda, had a constant stream of
Sri Lankan visitors. Surangani and Ranji were most
Leelananda de Silva