Asoka, Dutugemunu and PTSD
Tisaranee Gunasekera’s column on The Sunday Leader of May 13 breaks new ground in attempting to compare the post-war minds of emperor Asoka and king Dutugamunu in the light of modern psychology.
She says, after the carnage in the war against Kalinga, a deeply repentant Asoka, probably had what is now called Post Traumatic Stress disorder-PTSD affecting him. As an antidote, he embraced Dhamma Vijaya discarding Dig-Vijaya.
She draws a parallel with Dutugemunu too. After defeating Elara the king was greatly perturbed in mind due to the horrors of war.
However, some monks had interpreted the Buddhist doctrine to say that the king had only killed one and a half humans and the others were only men of evil and mere beasts – Chapter XXV, Maha Vansa.
One does not know if the king was convinced of the opining of the monks, but here we are reminded of the saying that a drowning man would even clutch a straw.
Kings, emperors, battles and the aftermath of wars are the stuff of history. Asoka died in 232 BC and Dutugemunu in 137 BC.
Tisaranee’s thoughts open new vistas for the readers to draw parallels and contrasts from past events.
In Europe a new era deigns with the ascendency of Constantine as the Roman emperor in 312 AD.
He too fought many battles to overcome rivals. In one, he had even killed his father-in-law.
It is said that he had even killed his wife Fauceta and his son – A History of Europe by H. A. L. Fisher (page 101) and Ancient Worlds by Rupert Matthews (page 356).
Christianity became the authorised religion of the empire, but according to Fisher, Constantine’s baptism was delayed till 337, the year of his death.
This leaves us wondering as to whether he was baptized at all or perhaps done so in his death bed.
Constantine had put to the sword not only those in battle but even his near and dear ones.
Bedevilled by a gnawing guilt, undoubtedly a sure victim of PTSD syndrome the emperor would have looked for solace in Christianity – a religion that promises forgiveness to the sinner.
However, a contrary view is that his dalliance with the new religion was only a ploy to prop up a tottering empire.
We would never truly know the exact answers to the many ensuing questions!
CEB Wastes Rs. 200 Million On Advertisements
It is reported that the CEB, facing financial crisis, has allocated a huge sum of Rs.200 million on advertisements, calling upon electricity consumers to economise consumption.
It is apparent this advertisement mainly targets the domestic sector as Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka pleads with householders to switch off at least one bulb during the peak hours – 6.30 pm to 9.40 pm. This exposes the poor understanding of the Minister of the life the domestic consumers undergo, for they even without his appeal, curtail their household expenditure not only on electricity but also on other essential items; in some cases doing away completely. For example, take the preparation of Pol Sambol. Today the poor do not use Maldive Fish or Red onions as the prices are high. During the time when coconut prices went up ‘Pol Kudu,’ after extracting the milk, was used.
That is how ordinary people cut down their expenditure to meet their income. Therefore it is absurd for the Minister for Energy, Patali Champika Ranawaka to call upon the domestic consumers to curtail energy usage. Perhaps he is not aware or has not experienced what we undergo, living in luxury as our politicians do. He should have focused attention on three other areas – Government offices and buildings, where fans and lights are kept working even when not required. Apart from not supporting the call of the Minister, they are in arrears in millions in not settling their monthly bills. The Minister should be courageous enough to disconnect their supplies as done in the case of domestics who fail to settle monthly bills within a stipulated period. This includes residences of Ministers and Members of Parliament, who get free electricity, claiming their residences are offices. This will certainly reduce the financial situation of the CEB.
Next comes the Local Authorities, who fail to switch off streetlights which have been highlighted in the press. Walk down any lane, lights burn even after 7.30 am. The responsibility of switching off these lights, is handed over to the householder nearest to the lamp post. It is seldom we see, those entrusted with this minor task carry out this responsibility. The worst are the religious places of worship, who are supplied electricity on a concessionary rate. Some places, in Kataragama, Tissamarama Raja Maha Viharaya, Dalada Maligawa, Atamasthana in Anuradhapura are supplied free of charge., while others make money by having a notice displayed, very prominently, requesting devotees to subscribe or donate for the lighting of the temple and accrue merit. Our innocent Upasaka Ammas, Mahathayas contribute lavishly expecting to attain Nibbana. The sum so collected, far exceeds the actual bill. I would wish to invite the Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka to drive down any road, where there are temples, during peak hours, and he will agree with me fully. My experience has been when driving on Kesbewa road, a temple between Kohuwala and Pepiliyana, lights are seen burning all around the boundary of the temple as well, giving a carnival look.The minister will do well, if he directs his attentions and energy, in the areas mentioned above and not at us, the domestic users, wasting Rs. 200 million.
G. A. D. Sirimal
Who Won The ‘War’
While thanking your columnist Gamini Weerakoon, on his above captioned article of Sunday 20th May, let me substitute his first paragraph by saying – History is always written by winners. When two cultures clash the loser is obliterated and the winner writes the history books – books which glorify their own cause and disparage the conquered foe `As Napoleon said what is history but a fable agreed upon’ (History is always a one sided account).
I have not read C. A. Chandraperuma’s book ‘Gota’s War’ but let me put down what I have read and followed in news papers. It was not the intention of any government, inclusive of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s regime, to go for war but find a negotiated settlement, which gave Velupillai Prabhakaran to strengthen himself militarily. His main idea was to carve out a separate state – Eelam and to be the ruler. So, Mahinda Rajapaksa was pushed to the wall, so to say, to declare war.
This was further made inevitable, as the JVP and the JHU vehemently forced Mahinda Rajapaksa to declare war. In the meantime the JVP demanded the activities of NGOs be investigated as it was well known that some NGOs were supportive of the LTTE and had provided funds, training, etc. A committee headed by Vijitha Herath probed the activities of NGOs and recommended the deportation of officials of five found guilty. This weakened the LTTE to a great extent. Very strangely no journalist, or any writer has made mention of this vital committee perhaps the name JVP is poison to politicians. The most important matter was to find an able Army Commander. In this respect it is worth quoting from a book by Don Wijewardena `How LTTE Lost the Eelam War-Page 62 says ` THE ARMY- When Rajapaksa asked Sarath Fonseka, just ten days before he was to retire, whether he was willing to take on the task he readily agreed, but on one condition, allowing him to select his own team. Rajapaksa agreed’.This amounts to a Carte Blanche giving him all the powers to map out strategies, manoeuvres but he could not have implemented his plan, unless the other armed forces, Navy, Air Force supported him. It is here that the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence – Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, came in to coordinate, which he did par excellence. With the JVP, specially that chameleon, once addressed as Comrade Wimal Weerawansa and Rev. Athurugirye Ratana Thero moved in and in fact at Mavil Aru, they demonstrated and encouraged the armed forces.
It was feared the influence of the JVP on the army would undermine the government and Comrade Wimal Weerawansa was requested not to go to the war front to give moral support. Strangely and disgracefully, Wimal Weerawansa and the JHU did not come out to call for the release of Gen. Sarath Fonseka, when he was imprisoned. All that said and done, accolades go to the ordinary masses, who bore all the hardships during the 30 years of war and their sacrifices have been tremendously rewarded. I leave the readers to decide as to who should get the major credit for winning the war, and also request them to correct me in what I stated above, specially from Gamini Weerakoon of The Sunday Leader.
G. D. Sirimanne
Defamatory Article On Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake Appearing In Page 12 – Spotlight Of 13th May 2012 Edition
I was horrified to observe the aforementioned article in your publication of 12th May, 2012. It is ridiculous on the part of a gossip-column to call for the resignation of the Chief Justice of the country based on allegations made by various interested parties against her husband. You seem to have already passed judgment against Mr. Pradeep Kariyawasam which is indeed an abuse of the privileged enjoyed by a newspaper. Perhaps you were looking for an opportunity not only to extend the circulation of your newspaper [which is noted for scandalous publications of this nature] but also to destabilise the independence of the judiciary which has regained its position after a dark period.
The ‘conflict of interest’ theory put forward by you to coincide with the news report on the NSB matter is a well-planned gimmick designed by your newspaper to tarnish the image of the Chief Justice. It is not uncommon in this country and elsewhere in the developed world for a spouse holding an ex-officio position to approve a recommendation for an appointment sent by the Executive of the Country, irrespective of any family connection. Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake’s knowledge of the law and her effective contribution to the fine-tuning of the judicial system in this country, especially at this juncture, cannot be tarnished by a sinister and ridiculous campaign of a newspaper group noted for acting against the best interests of the country. The White Flag story, for instance, has ruined the image of this country. Your banner headline about a ‘Paedophile Monk’ to coincide with the Vesak week-end bears ample testimony to your purported ‘public interest’ policy which, I have good reasons to believe, is manipulated by bankrupt politicians, extreme religious fanatics and those vested interests in destabilising this country.
D. A. Wilesinghe
Shirani Bandaranayake Kariyawasam
The articles by Kurukulasuriya and Faraz were most interesting and smacking of moral standards.
The above person’s appointment was made by president Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge. The person had no court experience/practice. Is that correct? This stresses the importance of Section 17 for all appointments including