The Sunday Leader

Crocodile Tears For Drought Stricken Farmers

The monsoons have failed and people in a great part of the country are in the throes of a severe drought.  The farmers are destitute. Their fields have dried up, the earth is parched and their crops are destroyed. There is no water even to drink and all their poojas and prayers have not been answered.

So, what have you done about it? We asked a political bureaucrat who spends a greater part of the year praising the virtues of the Sri Lankan farmer on political platforms and school prize giving’s, while also making a luxurious living looking after the farmers.

If rains don’t fall what can we do? We are not gods and even the gods have not responded, despite all the prayers and poojas, was the typical cold hearted bureaucratic analysis.

But surely, the government must move in and help……..

Of course, we are doing our best but we can’t maintain 50 to 60 per cent of the population…….

OK, the government may be broke but surely you can rally the people to help these unfortunates, we said pointing out that we heard over a private TV channel how they have induced some private individuals and organisations to donate huge water storage tanks so that they can be used in drought stricken areas to store water transported in bowsers for lengthy periods.

Logistics and Infrastructure

Yes, yes, all that is fine but the logistics involved in such a venture such as vehicles to be used…….

Logistics is a favourite word of officials as much as infrastructure (yatithala pahasukam) is to politicians today to confuse an issue.

We queried: Why no vehicles? Are all heading towards Uva?

The political-bureaucrat was not amused. He called us names such as: NGO lackeys, traitors, conspirators etc.

He gave us what he probably considered to be a sound lecture in history. Droughts have framed our history, created and destroyed kingdoms. They are natural phenomena. You and I can’t do anything about it.

How come you and I are not affected by it at all? I live around Colombo and even though mine is a hand-out- to- mouth existence unlike yours……..

The politico- bureaucrat walked away.

Don’t blame him. A political- bureaucrat’s post is about the best kind of job in town. Get a job with the blessings of a politician and you can steal without fear of punishment, borrow and never return, hedge or pledge for billions of dollars and even if things go wrong there are guardian angels to protect you. All you have to do is to praise the correct people, extol the virtues of suckers like farmers and kiss babies in the news. The good life in Colombo—the La dolce vita — goes on uninterrupted. You can eat a plain hopper for Rs 300 or if you are in a hurry at lunch time buy a buth packet at the latest mall in town, the cheapest being Rs 1500.

Nouveau Riche

Then they are the nouveau riche still in their Hi-Ace Vans but looking longingly at BMWs, Lamborghinis and the like and patrons of the gaudiest, most stupid and loudest imaginable TV Super stars shows where millions are handed out. A living relic from the times the late Philip Gunawardene calls it Thuppahi Culture at its worst.  They don’t give a damn to the destitute peasants many of whom in the North Central and Now Eastern Provinces are dying of an unidentified kidney disease.

At times when natural disasters of massive proportions afflict entire countries artistes of these countries together with artistes of international repute stage massive concerts in the open air to collect funds for the unfortunate. Despite the oozing piety and high morality expressed in Sri Lankan songs we see nothing of the human kindness and sympathy that go the way of the stricken on those lands towards our people in need.

Of course these are hard times. There are constraints in government spending. Development work has to go on with elections round the corner. But can’t the more affluent people like those old boys and old girls associations who dance till sunrise and eat Kiributh before going home, spare a million towards  destitute farmers? Can’t those boys’ schools that collect much more than at dances at their big match encounters in their rugby and cricket make substantial donations to their unfortunate brothers and sisters in the provinces?

No doubt we all feel sad for our brothers and sisters who have been producing food to feed the nation. But our life styles cannot be interrupted. We all shed copious tears—crocodile tears for the starving peasants.



2 Comments for “Crocodile Tears For Drought Stricken Farmers”

  1. Gabriella

    I always looked at the land of my birth through ‘rose-coloured’ glasses. Sri Lanka has always been close to my heart; cherished like the first blossom of adolescent love. A love forever etched into my heart and soul. Although years have passed and nationalities changed, I have always dreamt of yester-year; my first and only true love.

    But, in my frequent visits to fan the memories of my true love and to succour at the fountain; experience the exhilaration of setting foot on home soil and raising my head to the heavens, and crying out in ecstasy : ‘This is where I was born. This is where I belong !’ Imperceptibly, with every visit my “glasses” began to peel. Until finally, stark reality ‘hit me in the face’. I saw the inequality; the injustice; the corruption; and the nepotism. I was no longer blinded by love.

    As I sit in this far away land, I thank God for the land of my birth. A land which instilled all the values and morals that have become the very core of my Being. All that is good, decent and kind, and the essence of the human-compass.

    But most of all, I thank my parents for my Australian passport. So, that I can visit the land of my birth; but, more importantly, get the ‘hell-out’ when ever I wish !

    There is no greater condemnation of a motherland than the ambition of her son’s and daughter’s to flee to greener pastures. What a sorry state of affairs, when this is the measure of success.

  2. sukirichuti

    This is a very appropriate opinion and the contents are exactly what the readers must be having in their minds. Well done and keep exposing the shortcomings. Good luck.

Comments are closed

Photo Gallery

Log in | Designed by Gabfire themes