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Lanka Can Do Without Saviours

by Gamini Weerakoon

Vesak Day is a day of sanctity even to the politically inclined Sri Lankans. Not only on Vesak but also on many religious occasions politicians turn up in enough numbers to crowd out the robed fraternity. The thirties and forties, when Marxists at Hyde Park bellowed: ‘Religion is the Opium of the People’ are gone. In this age politicians seek the blessings of the religious dignitaries, the devas above and even the ‘kattadiyas’ (devil exorcists) for political advancement.

Vesak was ten days after May Day and dedicated comrades of the Rajapaksa ilk   appeared to fear that the massive euphoria generated at Galle Face Green would be lost among the Pandals, dansals and the tens of thousands of joyous Vesak sightseers.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe carry flower trays at the Gangaramaya Buddhist temple in Colombo

Galle Face euphoria cannot sustain itself on its own momentum. Something more dynamic and telling is needed to stir things up. And a god-send came in the way – Narendra Modi – the ‘Indian Billa’.

 

Enter Modi

Despite the oft repeated claims of ‘Two-and-a-half millennia Buddhist and cultural ties,’ ‘India being the womb of our civilisation’, and the humanistic Buddhist doctrine that 80 per cent of the populace profess, there lurks in the recess of minds of some Sinhalas a phobia of the Indian Billa waiting to swallow them all.

Myths, history reconstructed and deconstructed, grandmothers’ tales of long forgotten battles with the Soli, Pandyas, Kalinga, etc. stirred up by politicians as pretenders to legendary monarchs, is the concoction now being prepared, not so much against the Indians but against the current government seeking Indian investments.

 

Hanuman

Recently a ‘political pundit’, an adviser to the ‘Paksas’, brought forth the Indian epic Ramayana with its ‘Hanuman Bridge’ as an example of why he opposed the construction of a billion-dollar bridge across the Palk Strait as considered between Modi and Ranil. Ramayana has it that a bridge built by the monkey king Hanuman for Rama enabled Rama to cross over from India to Lanka and rescue his bride Sita captured by Lanka king Ravana.

[Some Hela Urumaya boys should contest this Hanuman Bridge being a decisive factor in the Indo-Lanka conflict. Lanka king Ravana had air power, a ‘Hela-Kaputa’-eons before the modern helicopter. He abducted Sita from India in his Hela Kaputa. This version of the Ramayana was told to us by a dear teacher of Sinhala, now alas, no more.]

The historical – or mythical – story was relevant in today’s geopolitical context, it was argued because the land connection between the island of Lanka and the Indian sub-continent enabled the recapture of Sita by the Indian leader. Now if a superhighway is built cross the Palk Strait the Indians will not only be able to take away our Sitas but also Malanis, Geethas, Sabithas and the whole silver screen and our ‘Jatika Vastu’( national treasurers) and even the GMOA, is the logic of the argument. The pundit’s call is like that of Donald Trump: Build walls not bridges.

 

Satellites

Narendra Modi however arrived here last week, not just AWW (Atha Wana Wana) – English equivalent of empty handed. Days before his arrival, India launched a $36 million worth geo-stationary satellite, whose services will be available to all South Asian countries. Pakistan has however declined the services. It is hoped that South Asians will soon hear of the benefits of Indian space ventures instead of it being lost in space to most laypersons kept about such scientific achievements of most countries.

Meanwhile what has happened to a Sri Lankan satellite launched by a private Sri Lankan company at a cost of $ 320 million on Nov. 27, 2012 in collaboration with the Great Wall Industry Company of China? The Board of Investment was associated with its launching and a prominent member of a political family was considered the live wire of the project. The benefits accrued from Sri Lanka’s first aero-space project remains unknown.

Back in terra firma, Ranil, it is alleged, has signed away Trinco and given a free run to Indians in the north and east. Hambantota is now like a China town. Sri Lanka is now being parceled and sold out unless of course this Yahapalanaya government is thrown out before the end of the year and the Rajapaksas are installed comfortably in their seats.

We are not the least worried when some agitated misguided idiots bellow: This country is being sold out to foreigners. We have heard it since living memory. In the Forties and early Fifties the cry was: This is fake Independence, the British still hold us; The British left without a whimper. From the mid Fifties to Sixties till the late seventies: Commies will be taking over – the Russians or the Chinese. From the late Seventies to the Nineties: Yanqui Dickie was selling the country to the Yanquis. But the Yankees did not want Lanka and left it alone. In the Eighties the Indians did come to save Prabakaran and his cronies but Prabakaran did not want to give Eelam to Indians and wanted it for himself. They left with the tail between their legs and later Prabakaran and the JVP wanted Lanka to themselves. What happened is well known. Democratic Sri Lanka stands firm united and intact despite saviours and potty dictators

This takes us to French writer Alphonso Karr: The more things change the more they remain the same.

1 Comment for “Lanka Can Do Without Saviours”

  1. Trevor Jayetileke

    After 430 odd years of Foreign Rule and 70 years of Local Rule we still yearn for the ‘White Man Rule” if everything is SUMMA (subsidised) and little or No TAX to pay.
    We are like “Lotus Eaters” and left with the Arms Bowl of the Buddha for hand outs from all and sundry. We think that others owe us a Living., and existing in a Fools Paradise. We seems to be bankrupt for Ideas and our Economy has no rudder.
    Are we a Failed State? or has the World been ruined by the Free Market mania., where nothing is Free and the Market forces has lost its Human touch.
    Will God at least save our beloved Planet Earth now spinning out of control.

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