JVP MPs concerned only
about their pensions, not the people
The JVP was able to send a member to parliament for the
first time only in 1994. He was Nihal
Galappathy and he is the only JVP member who
has served the full term of six years in
parliament and qualified for a pension.
In 2000 there were 10 JVP members in
parliament but that parliament was dissolved
The new parliament of 2001 had 14 JVP members but was
dissolved in 2004.
Therefore of all the JVP
parliamentarians only Galappathy was
eligible to receive a pension.
In 2004 the JVP was able to send 38 members to parliament
having joined the PA to form the UPFA
government, but soon broke away and sat in
It is this government that has been
in existence for three and a half years that
they are now trying to protect as shown by
the way they abstained from voting at the
final vote on the budget.
If the government had been defeated at the budget vote on
December 14 and a general election were to
be held thereafter the JVP members would
lose not only their pensions but will also
have to face a hostile electorate where they
might not have been able to get even 15
members elected to parliament.
This is a fact they are well aware of and it is for this
reason that they are protecting the
government at the expense of the people who
are undergoing immense suffering and
yearning for a change of government.
The JVP has betrayed the suffering masses they claim to
represent after what they did on December
JVP might think they can prolong the life of
this government until 2010 to get over the
pension problem even at the expense of the
suffering masses. But the longer they help
to keep this government in power, the
greater will be the suffering of the people
and the greater their unpopularity with the
The day of reckoning will come very soon when the
suffering people will themselves take to the
streets with their families to have this
government thrown out and the JVP dealt with
at the electorate level when it is time for
them to face a general election.
Although it is more than 20 years since Tamil was made an
official language, a Tamil who addresses a
communication to the government in Tamil
does not receive a reply in Tamil, which is
his birth right. This month I received a
printed copy of a life certificate in
Sinhala and English but not in Tamil, to be
perfected and returned to the Divisional
Secretariat which pays my pension.
I complained about it in the press. But who takes any
notice of complaints regarding
non-implementation of an Act pertaining to
the use of Tamil?
This is not a stray case. This is the normal practice in
this country and the cause of this war and
the resultant suffering. There are many
individuals in Sri Lanka including the
intelligentsia who foolishly ask whether the
Tamils in this country are being
discriminated against, and if so what their
grievances are. But if any Tamil were to
stand up and say what their grievances are
and how they are being discriminated
against, he would immediately be branded
either as an LTTEer, an LTTE sympathiser or
a supporter, and perhaps that would be his
end, as we have seen in the past.
If eminent persons as Rev. Fr. Tissa Balasuriya, in a sense of justice and fairplay would speak
about this matter with facts and figures, he
too will be branded as an LTTE supporter or
being in the pay of the LTTE or a traitor.
If a foreigner were to say that there
is discrimination against the Tamils in Sri
Lanka, he too would be called a terrorist or
a person bought over by the LTTE, as we have
seen happen recently.
During the latter part of 1999 when Professor Ratnajeevan
Hoole said that Tamils were being overlooked
by government and professional bodies, Prof.
Kalasuriya refuted that statement.
Before Prof. Hoole replied Prof.
Kalasuriya, I pointed out that in the matter
of promotion of 18 Assistant Superintendents
of Police to the rank of Superintendents of
Police, the Tamils and Muslims had been
discriminated against as out of the 18
promotions given there wasn't a single Tamil
or a Muslim.
Many persons including intellectuals objected to my
statement and asked dramatically whether the
Tamils really had any grievances and if so
what those grievances were.
They refuted my arguments citing
cases of promotions of Tamils which were few
and far between.
The government openly says that it is not against the
Tamils and is genuinely trying to save them
from the clutches of the LTTE. This is in
spite of the government having abundantly
made it clear that the President and the
government were elected by the Sinhala
Buddhists who are the majority in this
country and that the President is concerned
only about the welfare of that section of
the people and no one else.
I have found that it is a futile exercise to try to meet
the arguments of these people, because it is
not that they do not see the discrimination
taking place, but because they refuse to see
and understand and are only duping and
ridiculing themselves by doing so.
But I must however say, there are right thinking persons
in the majority community in this decadent
and degenerating society who can see and
feel the discrimination taking place against
the Tamils, and that fact alone is a matter
of consolation to the Tamils in this
parliamentary elections a lesson for Lanka
Australia is a great country where more than 190 ethnic
groups and multi religious people from other
parts of the world live in peace and
harmony, speaking 200 languages, including
45 indigenous languages.
Voting at an election is compulsory in Australia.
At the recently concluded federal parliamentary elections
more than 13.6 million voters went to the
polls to elect their representatives to the
Federal Parliament in Canberra.
The polling stations were open from 8
a.m. to 6 p.m. There were 1421 candidates and 7723 polling stations around
Calm and peace prevailed everywhere. There was neither
disruption of traffic nor any unruly
incidents. People went about their business
as on any normal working day.
The results came by 10 p.m and nearly 80% of the results
were known by midnight.
Australia's 26th Prime Minister Kevin Rudd had promised
he would be prime minister for all
Australians. During his election campaign he
pledged greater attention and support to the
migrant community and fair treatment to
everyone under his Labour Government.
Prime Minister Kevin's cabinet of ministers is limited to
Sri Lanka has a lot to learn from Australia on how the
elections were held in a peaceful manner
with absolutely no violence before or after
the results were announced.
It would be better if the Sri Lanka government could sent
officials from the Elections Department,
Police and Rupavahini on a study tour to
Australia to learn how the recent elections
were conducted in Australia.
In Sri Lanka, it was the taxpayers' money that was wasted
by President Mahinda Rajapakse taking jumbo
delegations to foreign countries -
particular mention has to be made of the
trip to China this year with 266 of his
close associates. This money could have been
put into better use.
Is this not an absolute waste of the taxpayers' money
which could have been spent in sending
technicians, research professionals and
others to countries such as Australia,
Britain, Canada France and Germany or even
to India, Singapore and Japan for training?
This will enable these officers to
learn the techniques of keeping the country
have dumped English
"English is our gateway to world culture and world
literature. English is absolutely necessary
for international communication and it is
the medium by which we can acquire
scientific knowledge. But all these
undeniable facts do not constitute an
argument to discard and disregard the
national languages or to give them a
subordinate place." - Martin
Wickramasinghe, Aspects Of Sinhalese
British High Commissioner Dominic Chilcott perhaps had
not evaluated the underlying reasons for the
introduction of Sinhala as the national
language and thus provoked divergent
thoughts to be expressed in newspapers.
I was two years in employment, serving in an outstation
financial institution, 100 miles away from
the parental home at the time the new
legislation was introduced. Having passed
the SSC in the English medium and having
read prose and verse of the Shakespearen era
and of the subsequent authors and studied
economics, Latin and mathematics, many
divergent thoughts innately engulfed me.
Among them were the absence, immediately of books in
Sinhala for all subjects taught in schools,
possibility of translating terms used in
science, mathematics and in other subjects,
availability of few Sinhala books for
general reading other than the books of
Martin Wickramasinghe, Piyadasa Sirisena and
of others, the ability to correspond and
transact business with organisations in
foreign countries and the ability of the
Tamil and Burgher communities to discharge
their responsibilities in Sinhala.
But over the years such fears have been overcome, but the
legacy of an ill planed and hasty political
blunder is still trailing us.
The author of the Sinhala only concept with his Western
education in a prestigious university and
with his inherent astute political awareness
was conscious and not ignorant of the damage
to the educational and social framework of a
united nation by introducing a language
policy change within 24 hours.
Yet, he sacrificed the harmonious living environment that
prevailed among the many nationalities for
the personal prestige of becoming the head
of state. He was aware that a Sinhala only
campaign could win the sympathy, mainly of
the rural masses that constituted the
majority of the voters.
Sinhalese masses carried away by platform politics,
sacrificed the future - especially of their
children - by not insisting that English
language as a subject should be taught in
schools, so that they would be competent to
read books written in English, mainly on
science and technology and gain knowledge.
But his children were not educated in their mother
language, instead he sent them abroad to
prestigious universities to study in the
English language and compelled the natives
to study in Sinhala.
Now there are books written by Sinhalese and Tamil
authors and translated books too, but
reading in the original language of eminent
scientists and philosophers, would
unmistakably give a clear insight to the
thoughts and analytical conclusions of the
Educating a child in the mother language should be the
arrangement, with English as a compulsory
subject, which will enable the students to
have access to the internet, read books
written about scientists, philosophers and
of other eminent persons, attend foreign
universities for higher studies and be able
to participate in conferences and lectures
Mahatma Gandhi during his visit to Ceylon in November
1927, addressing the students of Mahinda
College, Galle, had expressed a cogent view;
" I am certain that the children of the
nation that receives instruction in a tongue
other than their own commit suicide. It robs
of their birthright. A foreign medium means
an undue strain upon the youngsters, it robs
them of all originality."
The father of Sinhala Only would have been aware of this
dictum, but for him perhaps political
success was the critically important factor
and sacrificed the national amity that
match for our Master Blaster
May I be permitted to appeal through the medium of your
renowned paper that two testimonial cricket
matches be organised and the proceeds be
handed over to our dashing veteran cricketer
Sanath Jayasuriya. My suggestions are
(a) One testimonial to be organised by the Matara Cricket
Club with the help of other clubs in the
vicinity to help in this venture. It would
be appropriate if all government and private
sector organisations would lend a helping
hand to bid farewell to this most unassuming
(b) A second testimonial to be played at SSC cricket
grounds with the help of the clubs in the
vicinity to make this match a resounding
(c) One team
could be led by Sanath Jayasuriya with the
option to choose his players; and the other
captained by Marvan Atapattu with the option
to choose his players.
I earnestly request all sportsmen in Sri Lanka to write
in with their views. Sri Lanka Cricket must
be kept out of this venture for obvious
L.J.E.M. de Silva
In life, you sometimes come across persons who live
ordinary lives in an extraordinary way.
By their exemplary lives with
enviable personal qualities, they radiate
admirable affection, kindness and gentleness
which make them stand out in society. They
make an impact on all those they associate
or come into contact with.
Such a person was M.K. Sellaraja, J.P.U.M., senior
attorney-at-law and acting magistrate,
Trincomalee, and president of the historic
Koneswara Temple for more than 15 years
until his death.
He was a close relative of mine and I
was greatly saddened when I received the
news of his passing away.
Sellaraja married Nageswary who was from a wealthy family
in Thampalakamam and the couple was blessed
with seven children - five daughters and two
sons. They guided their children with utmost
care and gave them priority over personal
matters. They provided them with the best of
education and the children are all employed
in Sri Lanka except one daughter and son who
are in the UK.
Sellaraja was a very religious person and a social
worker. He rendered yeoman service to the
historic Koneswara Temple and did his best
for the upliftment of the temple. Almost all
the prime ministers and presidents of Sri
Lanka have visited this renowned temple and
praised Sellaraja for his services to the
Beaing an attorney-at-law and acting magistrate for
several years, his dealings with his clients
were with a positive frame of mind and his
deliberations and findings, official or
otherwise were evenly balanced.
He had a good heart and bore malice towards none and
lived a perfect and splendid life. He was a
sincere friend and a wise counsellor who was
always available for guidance and support.
I met him at the Nawaloka Hospital a few weeks before his
He was surrounded by his loving
family members who catered to his every whim
The number of people that thronged
his residence and the cemetery testifies to
his fame and popularity among all
communities transcending all barriers of
It is said that what matters is not how long one lives,
but what good and just things he did and
accomplished during his lifetime.
Death is certain but the hour of death is in the hands of
God. Thus, God has decided that Sellaraja
has run his race in this world and that it
is time he returned to his maker and heaven.
May God grant his family the courage to overcome the
irreparable loss and sorrow of his passing.
May he attain the supreme and eternal bliss at the lotus
feet of Lord Koneswara.
S. Navajothy J.P.