must make way for lord in khaki
There was a news items in a Sunday
newspaper recently that a petitioner who filed a fundamental
rights case against the police officer who assaulted him for
the delay in allowing the police vehicle to overtake his, has
been getting death threats. He and his family have been
threatened with death if he fails to withdraw his case. Who is
behind these death threats is not difficult to guess.
Leaving aside the death threats, it is
well known that any ordinary citizen driving a vehicle, who
does not slow and get to a side to allow some of this khaki
clad boors to overtake them, stands a very good chance of not
only getting insulted but also assaulted. If any resistance is
shown, there is also a possibility of getting a trumped-up
The IGP who seems to be all out to wipe
out crime - should give priority to curb this type of
behaviour by his officers. It is strange that no action has
been taken in spite of the fact that a cabinet minister was
reported to have been a witness to the assault on a citizen
whose only crime was not taking his car into the drain to
allow the lord in khaki to overtake him.
Hats off to the petitioner for having
the guts to stand up for his rights
W.R. de Silva
Buddhagaya ritual not necessary for tsunami victims
A news item disclosed a religious
function to be held in Buddhagaya in commemoration of the dead
victims of the tsunami of December 26 last. According to the
news item, a special ceremony including a colourful procession
with traditional drummers and dancers, a grand pirith chanting
a grand pahanpooja and an offering of dana to 1000 bhikkhus
was being planned to be held during the three days of November
11, 12, 13 at Buddhagaya in India.
Practices of Buddhists in Sri Lanka
have been spoiled with non Buddhist practices that have no
real meaning. bodhipooja, noisy pirith chanting, a pooja of
millions of oil lamps pahan and flowers, cloth pooja where
tree structures and statues are wrapped up with valuable
cloths are some of those non-Buddhist practices. All of these
are not recognised in the Buddha's teaching as amisa pooja
because they are really activities leading to waste of money
and manpower. It is not necessary to consider all of them to
convince an intellectual of the ill-effects.
One event is mentioned here as an
example, the recent Kataragama pahan pooja (March 26) where
40000 coconut oil lamps were lit. According to the present
price of coconut oil and the transport costs of the several
thousands of the people who participated in the ceremony, the
entire cost would not have been less than Rs. 1.3 million.
What is the ultimate result of the burning of such a big
amount of money, other than the addition of pollution to the
atmosphere? What did the tsunami victims get from the pooja.
Nothing! A lot could have been done for the innocent victims
with the money and manpower wasted on the pahan pooja.
The thinking of the majority of
Buddhist people and monks has been polluted with meaningless
practices copied from other religions which are based on a
series of beliefs and concepts. Most of the monks who have
commercialised the amisa pooja for their own benefit, are
leaders of these programmes where innocent people are cheated
in the name of amisa pooja. The main objective of such pooja
is collection of money and entertainment which are never
mentioned in the Buddha's teachings. The latest of this kind
is the proposed Buddhagaya religious ceremony.
One can sit down and work out easy
equations to calculate the least expenses needed on such a
celebration in India. Travelling of participants (politicians,
representatives of religious institutes, drummers, dancers and
others) from Sri Lanka to Buddhagaya and back alone will
exceed Rs. 50 million. (It is assumed that the 1000 monks
invited are Indians). If you include all expenses associated
with the pooja this is going to cost more than Rs. 100
million, I guess.
I request the intellectuals of our
country to answer the question whether we want to have a very
expensive pooja costing more than Rs. 100 million to remember
the dead tsunami victims? Has Buddha taught us that we can
send the dead to heaven with a pooja in Buddhagaya?
Many of the tsunami victims are still
living in very pathetic conditions inside small tents with
their children and elderly family partners. I request Buddhist
leaders to visit the rehabilitation centres and the tents and
see what could be done to ensure a better life for them
instead of planning billion rupee ceremonies abroad. I also
like to draw the kind attention of the President, Prime
Minister and the Minister of Buddha Sasana to this proposed
event and take immediate and intelligent action to stop such
luxury ceremonies in the name of tsunami victims.
in memorial hospital
Vijaya Kumaratunga Memorial Hospital
which completed a term of five and half years on April 6 has
been a comedy of errors right from the inception.
The hospital recruited a manager,
erroneously in place of a director, who left after nine
months. This post was advertised twice in the Sunday
newspapers and though there had been applicants suitable for
the post, no one was recruited to make way for a medical
officer in charge (M.O.I.C). who has no administrative
qualifications or experience to be in charge of the hospital.
A psychiatric clinic was started in
February 2002 with eminent psychiatrist Dr. Neil Fernando in
attendance. But it came to a halt in February 2003 due to a
disagreement with the management. He was followed by a RMP who
left at the end of 2003.
At present it is conducted every Friday
by the M.O.I.C. herself who does not have either the
qualifications or experience in the field of psychiatry. The
Sri Lanka Medical Council should take note of this before more
patients are affected.
Recently applications were called for
recruitment of R.M.Os, radiographers etc. and interviews,
which are normally held at the ministry were held at the
hospital itself on April 4 in the absence of a board
representative. The chairman was out of the island at that
There is a circular from the Ministry
of Public Administration not to extend the contract of
officers over 63 years of age unless cabinet approval in this
regard is obtained.
There is a member of the nursing staff
who very is much over this limit but is staying on extension.
The letter extending her stay is signed by the MOIC. According
to the VKMH board, the bill was passed in parliament and
gazetted on July 23, 1999. The sole authority on recruitment,
extension and termination of service is the chairman, board of
The total expenditure of this hospital
is borne by the Helath Ministry including payroll, drugs, OT
I sincerely hope this letter receives
the attention of the minister of health under whose Ministry
this hospital is functioning and he takes steps to rectify the
irregularities in this institution for the welfare of the
of Buddhist shrine
Kandy Bahirawakande Sri Abinawaramaya
is a 75-year-old Buddhist shrine where not only Buddhists but
also Hindus, Muslims and Christians resort as a common nexus.
Some unscrupulous political elements
are trying to desecrate it with ulterior motives despite the
protests of Buddhist devotees nearby.
We hear that the Malwatte and Asgiriya
prelates too have appealed against the acquisition of the
land, but this appeal too has fallen on the deaf ears of the
Will the Buddha Sasana minister
intervene and put an end to this matter forthwith to console
the heartburn of the devotees around the shrine and devotees
of other religious persuasions?
hardships as living costs soar
THE recent increase in the prices of
fuel, petrol, diesel, kerosene, gas, electricity, water and
telephone bills have caused enormous hardships to the common
Fuel prices are up - petrol by Rs. 6
and now Rs. 80 per litre, diesel by Rs. 4,
kerosene by Rs. 5 etc.
Laugfs has sought permission to
increase the price of gas with immediate effect by Rs. 163 on
a 12.05 kg L.P. gas cylinder.
Then on top of all these increases,
strikes by railway staff, bus crews and threatened strikes by
Electricity Board staff are having a choking effect on the
cost of living by blackouts (which require other means of
lighting) and causing hardships to students in not being able
to attend to their studies in the night.
The meagre salary increases given
sometime back, are beggarly compared to the luxury lifestyles
of the parliamentarians going about in luxury cars and luxury
Pajeros and Volvos and extra luxury meals with several plates
(over seven) being changed, and that too for their kith and
kin and catches.
In fact pensioners and others would
like to keep the prices of especially essential commodities
like rice, flour, bread, coconuts, vegetables, fish, fruits,
milk foods, especially infant, child, invalid and non-fat milk
foods down and other bills like water and electricity at
Another factor worth mentioning is that
politicians, their henchman, catches and relatives here and
abroad are renovating their bungalows at enormous cost while
the poor man is unkempt and virtually starving.
good man pays the supreme sacrifice
The Dhamma states the fact that all
living beings are subjected to cessation. One's karma or
daivaya finally decided what is in store. It is said that the
late Lt. Colonel Tuan Nizam Muthaliff had a premonition of the
coming event on that fateful day.
The soldiers in battle are directly
exposed to risks but the personnel in intelligence run the
greatest risk between a time of war and the process of
appeasement thereafter. Be it so, our citizenry repeatedly
question the disgraceful attitude of our lawmakers who make
hypocritical pronouncements but only pursue selfish agendas.
In a disgraceful episode, one of their ilk had the gall to
state that once an operative's usefulness is exhausted, there
is no further need to care for him. This is the freedom
of speech of the wild ass! The forces so far have shown
a remarkable sense of discipline and tolerance, let us hope we
will not be hearing the sound of drums.
So why did the virtual operations head
of Army Intelligence have to die like a dog on the road? It is
a pathetic realisation that we cannot protect our own even in
our backyard. The buck stops nowhere. Mevata kauda vaga
Although the plot thickens in this
whodunnit saga, the brutal fact is that the
army and the country has lost one of its most patriotic
and professional fighting men. Whatever the final discoveries
may be, the ultimate beneficiary is the LTTE.
The tragic loss of a good man, making
the supreme sacrifices for his motherland, is at most a seven
day miracle of remembrance. After the initial mourning and
praise, except in the hearts of his loved ones and the
patriotic, he will soon be forgotten. The good that men do
usually ends up being buried in their graves. This is the
hallmark of ungrateful human fickleness.
Where have all the flowers gone, a long
Gone to graveyards everyone! When will
they ever learn?
When will we ever learn?
True patriotic son of our motherland.
Inna illaihi Wainna illahi rajihoon
I write with reference to the article
titled "Dengue blamed for myscarditis in Peradeniya"
by E. Rutman and J. Najmuddin in your esteemed journal of
April 4, and wish to place on record my views on the subject.
First of all as a doctor of medicine, I
offer my deepest sympathies and condolences to the members of
the bereaved family of the final year medical student, the
late Chaya Lankeswera.
This young girl was admitted to Ward 7
of the Teaching (General) Hospital, Peradeniya on April 3 with
fever, aches and pains and occasional vomiting, sure signs and
symptoms of viral fever. She was examined by a fully qualified
specialist physician (MD, MRCP, trained in UK) and promptly
Since she was a medical student the
best of attention and treatment was provided for her.
Blood samples were taken and rushed to
Colombo. Reports of the test are available for anyone to
I do not see any logical reason for
anyone to say the certified (by a specialist pathologist)
reports are "suspicious."
She was transferred to Kandy Teaching
(General) Hospital where she was examined and treated by fully
qualified medical specialists.
She was treated in the Intensive Care
Unit (ICU) and given the best of care and attention.
I can vouch for the fact that there is
not an iota of evidence to prove any negligence on the part of
specialist doctors, the team of young doctors and the nursing
staff of Peradeniya and Kandy hospitals who attended on this
Finally as a fairly senior doctor, I
have this to say; we treat 100 patients and cure 99. We may
lose one, then the ungrateful general public forgetting the
cured 99, cry oh! medical negligence! (and may even sue the
Finally - If they could crucify
innocent Lord Jesus Christ who in the world are we in
Dr. Arthur Kularatne
Through your columns let me
congratulate Upali Amerasinghe of Colombo who quite rightly
spoke convincingly of the wretched state in which the
Commercial Service (English) of the SLBC is. By and large, the
English announcers are ego-maniacs, fond of advertising
themselves and their mates.
A handful aside, who speak themselves,
real ladies and gentlemen - of the likes of Dayananda de
Silva, Harold Fernando, Nihal Bharathi and a sprinkling of
ladies who speak themselves respectable, the others bring
themselves and the SLBC into utter disrepute.
A guy who shuts his name out - N. A. -
shouldn't even be tolerated around the SLBC as he swallows
more words than he speaks. There are others of his ilk.
I listen only to the news twice or
thrice a day but when one switches on the radio a few minutes
before, one hears the jackalling sound of so-called songs.
They are mostly lust songs, not love songs, utterly unbecoming
of the aspirants of the sublime married state. Indeed the last
songs blurted out seem to suit only adulterers or prostitutes.
Is this media education?
Getting rid of some of these
ego-maniacs will do the SLBC and its listeners a world of
C. A. R. Amerasinghe
Haj M.A.M. Hameem
Al Haj M.A.M. Hameem, fondly called
Yakooth, the well-known personality hailing from a respectable and
wealthy family in Matara, is no more. His sudden demise created a
void which is difficult to fill as he was a multifaceted
personality. He was a motor sports man, marksman, organiser of a
security network in the town, social worker and philanthropist. His
numerous awards displayed at his residence is
testimony to his prowess in sports. He is also one of the
founder members of Ruhuna and Southern Motor Sports Clubs.
I came to associate with him closely
ever since I was transferred to Matara District as an education
officer in 1977. He helped me in numerous ways to organise sports,
religious and social activities for the benefit of school children.
He also advocated communal amity,
particularly between Muslims and Sinhalese. He was fluent in all
three languages and his communication skills were excellent.
He had great belief in the lucky number
555 and his telephones, vehicles and his other utility items carried
and his contribution to various charitable institutions reflect this
number. He helped all the communities without any discrimination. In
a way this lucky number helped him to emerge as one of the leading
businessman in Matara.
Hameem was very farsighted and
pragmatic. On numerous occasion he told me the absurdity of widening
the Anagarika Dharmapala Mawatha (Broadway Rd) in Matara town,
involving only a kilometer roadway at a very high cost, running into
millions of rupees, affecting hundreds of traders with destruction
of their commercial buildings, thereby reducing them to destitution.
Instead he suggested to construct a roadway on
a dam along the coastal area to reduce congestion on the
If that novel project was implemented
at that time not only would the congestion have been eased, the
traders saved from artificial destruction but also thousands of
innocent lives would not have been destroyed due to the fury of the
tsunami. Even Matara town would have been saved from this disaster.
When my family was affected by the
dreadful tsunami, he and his son Ashhar willingly accommodated us in
his residence and provided us with all the comforts. When we were
about to leave them, after about a month, he was totally displeased
and unhappy. The last words he expressed are still ringing in my
ears. If you all leave, I would be very sad. This showed the depth
of his kindness and generosity.
Fortunately he has left behind an
illustrious and equally talented son, Ashhar to follow his footsteps
and also his dear wife who has been his shadow in all his successes
The vast crowd that thronged his
residence within 24 hours to pay their last respects speaks for the
affection the people had for him and also is testimony to his
May Allah grant him Jennathal
M. H. M. Shamsudeen