An Appeal To Ranil Wickremesinghe
It was news that the UNP leader Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe has got an extension of his occupation of the post of UNP leader by six years. Perhaps a first in the democratic world.
A leader is one who leads his followers who accept him as their leader. A person who imposes himself as leader is no leader but a dictator. On the other hand, a leader of a political party is one who needs to lead the party he leads to capture political power.
One who cannot lead the party to victory, one who leads the party to defeat, one who cannot keep the party unified, who cannot muster the support of the rank and file of the party, who is not popular within the party, who hangs on to the leadership on the basis of a mere provision in the party constitution, introduced for that very purpose, is no leader. The people will not trust such a political party ‘leader’ for handing over the reins of government as they could presume that he could attempt to follow the same process to continue to stay in power.
A leader cannot be rapacious and aggressive. Everyone sees what a leader appears to be and is judged from what he does and his behaviour towards the people in general and party members in particular. If a leader acts in a ruthless manner or cannot move with the masses, or shows arrogance, it is sheer stupidity even though a few applaud him for their existence. A UNP leader cannot afford to acquire such behavior.
A leader proper should not fortify himself with organizational or party constitutional powers and provisions that helps him to continue to be in the leadership. He should prove his prowess in leadership qualities and win the hearts of the party members who will work at grass root level to bring in votes to the party.
In other countries, where democracy prevails, the political party leaders graciously step down when they fail to lead the party to victory at the hustings. That is gentleman politics. That is a leader of quality.
The International Democratic Union of which the UNP leader is the Chairman of its Asia Pacific Region Branch, should act democratically and ensure that the Chairman of its Asia Pacific Branch steps down as UNP leader as done in other democratic countries.
The UNP leader is taking disciplinary action against certain party members who oppose him. How come that he has embraced Mangala Samaraweera, who sometime back was very critical of him and called him names? Is that not favouritism and discrimination not expected of a leader?
Please, Mr. Wickremesinghe, step down as UNP leader in the interest of the UNP and the country, at least now that you have led the UNP to another disastrous defeat!
Upali S. Jayasekera
Religion And Animal Sacrifice
Individuals, groups of the same religion and of different religious places of the same religion may observe different religious practices. The manner I observe and practice Buddhism is different from the manner many others in the same neighbourhood follow, practice and observe Buddhism. But we should respect every individual’s practices and observances and refrain from interfering with observances of individuals and with groups and with religious places.
Animal sacrifices seem to have taken place in a Hindu kovil for a long time in Chilaw and it’s possible that it is only in an exceptionally few kovils such animal sacrifices are now taking place. If the peace and the serenity of the neighbouhood are not disturbed in the manner the sacrifices are conducted, then should protests take place?
The Hindu animal s
ts are in the habit of visiting kovils and participating in its religious practices, though, a Buddhist observing Buddhist religious practices need not do so and in some of the Pansalas, statues of Hindu deities are kept for the benefit of Buddhists who indulge in it. acrificing practices may be taking place in a few places, as evident from revealing thoughts of Jawaharlal Nehru in his book, ‘Discovery of India’. In writing about Buddhism, he says that, “much of the ritualism and ceremonies associated with the Vedic, as well as more popularforms of religion, disappeared, particularly animal sacrifices. The idea of non-violence, already present in the Vedas and Upanishads, were emphasized by Buddhism and even more so by Jainism. There was a new respect for life and a kindness to animals. And always behind all this was the endeavour to lead the good life, the higher life.
Martin Wickramasinghe relates his view in his book, ‘Buddhism and Culture’, “The Sinhalese borrowed many cultural elements from India; but the borrowed elements changed in the process of readaptation. I will give some instances from Sinhalese folk culture of borrowed elements having undergone changes in readaptation. Buddhists at a very late stage in their history, borrowed the Vishnu image from India, and it found a shrine in their temple. But they do not worship the new god or offer flowers to him. They merely ask favours and make offerings of tokens, or bribes. Vishnu is an immortal god of the Hindus. But the Buddhists made him a mortal god by readaptation.”
Thus should people and a few Bhikkus, instigated by a political hoodlum, create religious dissention without allowing the established practice to take place?
The political hoodlum announced in advance his intentions over a TV channel a few days ago and if at that time the head of state spoke to him, the incident could have been av
erted. Bhikkus should refrain from engaging or leading such uprisings involving a practice of another religion. Making statements and focusing public attention should be their concern to maintain the respect and the dignity of the Buddhist religion and of the Bhikkus.
Buddhists do not indulge in animal sacrifices, but most Buddhists consume the slaughtered meat of some animals. A few Buddhists had a practice prior to independence to offer metal figures at Kovils. Martin Wickramasinghe in the same book describes their practice thus: “Again Buddhists offer metal figures of the peacock, bull and other animals to the powerful god of Kataragama. The offering of metal figures is, perhaps, a substitute for animal sacrifice.” Perhaps only very few, if at all, may be indulging in this practice now as Buddhists do not indulge in animal sacrifice.
In the Kandy Esala Perahera, considered a national pageant than a Buddhist perahera, in the Hindu section a devotee is hung by hooks stuck on to his back. It’s only a Hindu practice introduced some years ago. At this rate the same political hoodlum could sponsor protests, but the Hindu practice needs appreciation, though it is not in accordance with Buddhist tradition.
During a festival of another religion, at a well-known religious place in the western coast, an animal sacrifice ritual in large numbers takes place and the meat is mainly distributed among the poor. But the followers of the same religion will not consume the meat of another animal. A distinguished family observing the same religion in a southern city had a practice about three decades ago to kill a bull in their main house centre hall and distribute the meat among the poor. And followers of other religions living in the same neighborhood never had to protest as the operation was secretly conducted, though neighbors were aware of the procedure, as on the previous day a bull is seen being marched on to the premises.
Very lately, we heard of the father, mother and sister murdered by the son. Also many such other crime. It is only a mother can bear a child into this world, She sleeplessly, fearlessly carries the child for ten months and finally delivers the child into this world. The mother nurses the child and takes every care to see that the baby does not fall sick. She dreams her child to be a professional of great fame and grooms the child with great care. This very same child gets the courage to kill this very same soul that brought it into this world, Senseless is not the word! At the same time it also lays its hands on the father as well as the sibling who had sucked milk from the same mother.
The great sage Tirivalluvar, in one of his stanzas says, “A mother is happy in the birth of a child but she is happiest when other praise her child! One cannot believe that a young man of 27 years killed his father, mother and sister for personal gain.
Sometimes one does not realize the value of parents until one becomes a parent. The parents too have to play an important part in the lives of their children by becoming role models to their children. Sometimes children think how these dull parents could have brought bright children into this world, little realizing that the child carries a part of the intelligence, blood and other vital statistics of the parents.
There are cases where the children look after parents even when they are bed-ridden. There was a case of a grand daughter giving up a job to look after her grandmother along with the aged mother for ten years. Such should be the children!
This society has to change to venerate parents as invaluable treasures. Let us not hear murders of kith and kin. Let us live in peace.
Are Golden Key Fraud Victims In Limbo?
The 26-billion-rupee Golden Key fraud is an icon of the century. The majority of the depositors are lower middle class citizen, who had invested all their hard-earned savings which include their provident fund balances in the GK expecting a return to make ends meet in their retirement. A few depositors committed suicide whilst those ailing, finding it difficult to make ends meet, are dying a slow death.
The chief justice, on assuming duties, announced that the GK case would be taken up at the Supreme Court in order to compensate the suffering depositors. IT was a joy and hope and we thought that at last justice had come to action and looked forward for an early settlement of our hard earned money.
Well, our hopes were shattered and short lived when the case was pushed down to the commercial court. How on earth could anyone oversee a gigantic fraud of this nature when much publicity was given and timely action taken initially by the legal authorities to apprehend the culprits involved?
Fraud and corruption has come to stay in this state and nobody is concerned. Take for instance the activities of the Chairman of SriLankan Airlines, the hedging deal, import of contaminated petrol and diesel and the rampant corruption at all levels. Criminals, drug barons, rapists are having a field day. And all these nefarious activities are taking place after the 30-year conflict! Let’s face it. Everyone was kept on their toes during the war fearing Prabhakaran’s wrath and the society was much disciplined.
Kotalawela and the goons who are out on bail have forgotten the crimes they had committed and continue to lead a life of luxury at the expense of poor depositors. I recall the day Kotalawala addressed the depositors soon after the downfall of the GK at the BMICH when he assured the depositors that all dues would be settled without delay. This is typical of Kotalawela as cunning as he is, who once aspired to be the President of this country!
With the downfall of the GK in 2008, much noise was made by the media, providing news and the proceedings of the court cases to the public. It is now sad to note their absolute silence and none of the newspapers report on the court proceedings, which is significant as this attributes to a massive fraud in this country.
Well, we the depositors are like driftwood, swaying to and fro passing each day dreaming of the hard-earned money. We have no choice but to solely depend on the court that is supreme above, not the one at Huftsdorp. For a worthy judgement against the gross injustice caused to the unfortunate depositors.
God hear and help us!