Readers please note it is essential that all
Letters to the Editor carry the full name and address of the writer, even if it
has to appear under a pseudonym. This applies to all email letters as well.
Note to readers
All contributors to the Letters page please limit letters to no more than 500
words. Letters longer than 500 words will not be published.
Letter to Mahinda Rajapaksa
It was a rare honour to meet you in person at the Oxford Union. I admire the
fact that you feel so passionately for your country and changing the lives of
your fellow citizens. Sir, you inspire us, the young generation that our lives
should not be squandered in personal merriment and self-promotion. Sir, may I
thank you for answering my question in detail: it does not happen everyday that
I get a chance to hear the first-hand views of the maker of a nation.
What I liked the most about your speech, was the fact that you talked about
sustainable development and paying attention to strengthening the rural economy,
as energy and food are two of the key questions. Policy makers should not forget
that in the race of the making their nations industrialised or turning their
countries into service industries. Another key point was that you mentioned the
distribution of the wealth across all sections of the society, very important
indeed, as discontent leads to social disharmony and problems. We need
I am very happy that you have fond memories of India, especially Dehradoon. My
brother Dr. Dev Ratna Shukla is currently posted in Dehradoon, as the National
Head of the Information Ministry of Government of India in his role as Head for
Rural and Land Records Reforms through Electronic Governance. I go to Dehradoon
and Rishikesh for river-rafting.
Sir, I pray that under your vision and leadership, the relationship between
India and Sri Lanka will grow stronger. I wish the very best to the people of
Sri Lanka. May your country prosper and be an example to the rest of the world
as a nation. I also hope that increasing piligrimage to the Ramayana sites will
allow people of our nations to have a closer cultural ties. I look forward to
visiting your beautiful land some day.
Thanks a lot for your attention.
The Oxford Indian Society
Why Pillaiyan and not Hisbullah as CM?
Mr. Hisbullah is the right candidate who could work parallel with the UNP/SLMC
and he is also an enlightened politician and experienced in public office. The
people in the East needed a big break since they have suffered during the time
of the LTTE under the renegade leaders like Karuna and Pilliyan. To give
Pillaiyan the post of CM it will not appeal to the people in the East.
People in the East have always seen Pillaiyan as part of the armed group. He
should have been allowed to sit as a Councillor and study how to run an
administration before appointing him the Chief Minister. Now the government
should take full responsibility for every action Pilliyan takes.
Who will give the assurance that Pillaiyan will not misuse his good office like
Dr Mervyn de Silva? We should not give the opportunity for the pro-LTTE forces
to infiltrate the masses and disturb the Council in the East. Pillaiyan should
replace Dr Mervyn in Parliament and given a portfolio as the Minister for
Rehabilitation in the East under the purview of the President.
Presently the minorities are been given step motherly treatment according to the
UNP, and this is the only way the government could bridge peace among the Tamil
speaking people. That also vanished with the appointment of Pillaiyan. There
were rumors that Pillaiyan manipulated the election and then naturally he would
have got more preferential vote but here its not the preferential votes that
should count, its how many Muslim members got elected.
Ranil never wanted to work hand in hand with the minorities. He only works with
Norway, LTTE and the countries who wanted to sell arms to the LTTE. Ranil ruined
the Colombo Municipal Council by not allowing a minority to contest although
this time, the mayoral candidate should have been a minority but he brought in
Sirisena Cooray and handed over the Council to be administrated by a trishaw
driver. Everybody and specially politicians must one day have to answer to
Almighty for all the corruption that now prevails.
Muslim Front of Canada
Pillaiyan’s statement: A slip of the
The much-hyped Eastern Provincial Council elections are over and Mr. Pillaiyan
has already been sworn in as the Chief Minister. The UNP and SLMC are saying the
election was grossly undemocratic. The UPFA is saying the election was purely
democratic. We, the general public, are nowhere close to the truth. However, I
think Mr. Pillaiyan made everything clear during the speech he made at the
swearing-in ceremony. He said that their victory was not a normal one, but a
democratic one. I thought in a democratic country, a normal election victory is
democratic and none other than that. What did Mr. Pillayan mean when he said
that this victory was not a normal one? Remember Sri Lanka is after all a
democratic country! Did the truth slip? Was it a slip of the tongue?
13th Amendment will open the door to separation
There is no military solution to Sri Lankan conflict. So says the American
Ambassador, Robert O. Blake. He is in illustrious company, for much of the
Christian priesthood, probably with dark motives hidden away beneath their
cassocks, echo the same refrain.
This conceited pronouncement comes ill-timed, when the east has been wrenched
from the LTTE and the armed forces have turned north, where the insurgents
harbour, The pompous utterance is reminiscent of the cocky swagger of the
American Yankee as he strutted about following Pearl Harbour and end of World
Western ambassadors mistake Sri Lankan geniality for timidity and make comments
that are unworthy of their exalted positions. They forget that they are
permitted residence as observers and defenders of their countries’ interests in
the land they serve in. Comment on the mode of governance in the host country is
well beyond the ambit of the Ambassador and his embassy.
Ambassadors should be conversant with the history of the country in which they
serve. The swords of the Portuguese, Dutch and the British brought Sri Lanka,
with a 2,550 year history down to its knees, but it never kissed the posteriors
of its captors, or belly-crawled. Now, with 60 years of independence, and a
President of the calibre of the present incumbent, the country holds its chin
Ambassadors should be familiar with the constitutions of the countries in which
they serve. Oh, Robert Blake, you should have known, that the Sixth Amendment to
the Constitution of 1978 was certified on August 8, 1983, distinctly saying that
“no person shall directly or indirectly promote, finance, encourage or advocate
the establishment of a separate state within the territory of Sri Lanka.”
Is it misguided etiquette, or a hangover of colonial subservience, subtle
diplomacy or plain disinterest that any government agency has not told the
Ambassador that he should hold his tongue lest he be declared persona non grata
and asked to leave Lanka’s shore within a stipulated time?
Blake should have read the author John Perkin’s best seller Confessions of an
Economic Hit Man to know the shocking story of how America took over the world.
America has not retreated. It seeks to continue on the same arrogant, repugnant
path, and looks askance at Iran, possibly to lead the world into an inextricable
The 13th Amendment will open the door to separation. It is the secret ‘open
sesame’ to separation. The country knows the bitter taste of the provincial
council set-up, where the corrupt in the land battle for positions only to
feather their nests, and not to render service to the province.
The APRC headed by a person who is believed to be a Marxist, backs the 13th
Amendment, which will perpetuate friction leading to intermittent war. The
situation calls for an intelligent leader like the incumbent President to
intervene, brush aside the vexatious Articles of the Constitution, and go for
improvised district councils, which will ensure peace throughout the country for
no one ethnic community is likely to predominate, to be a source of irritation.
The President has the powers to do it, and thereafter seek ratification by
Parliament. The district council will be a small manageable unit in full view of
the public where the rogues and the corrupt cannot cover, and be easily spotted
from the Presidential Secretariat, to ensure good governance and prevent
political fiddling by foreign visitors with their own secret axes to grind. One
could be the introduction of Christianity to Buddhist Sri Lanka!
The myth of a National Problem
There is a gaping lacuna in the thoughts of those engaged in offering a solution
to what is popularly referred to as the ethnic problem. Filling the vacuity is
an unenviable task, for Sri Lanka is a Sovereign State. It is a democracy where
Sinhala, Moor, Malay and Burgher have made a home. They are all, free to have as
many residences as they could afford, scattered in anyone or all nine Provinces.
One house or more, in each Province. A holiday bungalow in the hills. A farm cum
residence in the East, within a short distance of Arugam Bay and Passekudah, to
bask in the morning sun on their beaches. Will not all that freedom and luxury
be curtailed, if, as is mooted, talks commence to Separate. What the underlying
motive is not disclosed but, they talk of compassion and respect for diversity,
by negotiating away parts of the territory that is Sri Lanka, to an organisation
labeled LTTE. A UNP leader beat all by signing an unconstitutional document
called Cease-Fire Agreement (CFA), which legal opinion construed as a
surreptitious attempt to establish an Eelam; meaning a Separate State, for the
Dravidian in the North. Given a star by the CFA, a Muslim, who believes himself
a leader of Moors, and is backed by a West oriented political party, hopes to
set up a Moor State in the East . There was a time when Dravidian Indians of
recent origin, residing in the hills, spoke of a Malai Nadu. But better counsel
prevailed, and the agitation petered off.
All humans have aspirations, not only Tamils. In a multi-ethnic country, the
desires of one should seek to accommodate the wishes of the others and make way,
or friction and displeasure could lead to open warfare, as it now reigns.
Questions like, “How far is Sri Lanka a democracy”, suggesting that Provinces
should be parceled out and presented to the northern Tamil, if Lanka is a true
democracy, is a subterfuge of the Christian West, whose representatives parade
here clothed in cassocks, to cover the damnable designs against the Buddhist
Before the covert designs surface, the powers that be, should scrap the corrupt
Provincial Council system, for it does little for people or the province, but
permits the corrupt to fatten. Men who should know better, blab, suggesting
‘Constitutional settlements’ with the LTTE, as the road to peace. That is either
cunning in collusion with the terrorist or plain idiocy. The end of the tunnel
is nigh, and light and fresh air will flow in when the insurgency in the North
has been suppressed. The East, which the Tigers claimed, is now in the hands of
the GOSL and will be unshakably confirmed, following the Eastern Provincial
Council elections. Political initiatives, in which the covert DMK hand will
show, are unacceptable. The LTTE will be an irrelevant factor, if only the GOSL
jettisons the Provincial Council and use the Constitutional powers of the
President, to set up improvised District Councils to be later ratified by
They will be small units, similar to Local Government bodies, where no one
ethnic unit is likely to predominate. Such will see an end to conflict, when
harmony is likely to prevail. Vaiko of Tamil Nadu is free to take back the
Tamils, if they agree, to the dreary land that is Tamil Nadu, their Motherland.
The District Council will introduce honest, decentralized administration, where
the corrupt will find it difficult to cover, for the people are too close to
them to effectively hide.
Denigrating Gamini Dissanayake
Dissanayake was, undisputedly, a shining light in the political firmament of
20th century Sri Lanka. Charismatic, erudite and honourable, he was one
politician who, early in his career, amply demonstrated that, he had all the
qualities required to give true statesmanlike leadership to Sri Lanka.
In whatever project he handled, there was dignity and finesse. The accelerated
Mahaveli Development programme, which he set about with supreme confidence,
primarily because, he was personally able to win the trust of Britain- the donor
country, with his impeccable English, admirable diplomatic skills and
overpowering personality, will always remain a lasting monument to his memory.
The address he made to the International Cricket Council at Lords, that clinched
Test Status for Sri Lanka, still resonates among the cricketing elite in the
The charisma that Gamini possessed is difficult to describe. He definitely had
something more than most of his contemporaries, including stalwarts such as R.
Premadasa and Lalith Athulathmudali. Even in the midst of world leaders such as
Reagan, Thatcher or Indira Gandhi, the graceful figure of Gamini stood out.
Of all the assassinations that took away the lives of leaders in this country,
the assassination of Gamini Dissanayake will rank as the blow that hit this
nation the hardest. He was truly a symbol of hope. It is indeed unfortunate
that, he did not live to lead this country, even for a short time.
In his heyday, subtle attempts were made by some, to sully his name. One such
was the accusation made in Parliament by TULF leader Amirthalingam that, Gamini
Dissanayake, with a band of goons, was responsible for the burning of the Jaffna
library. This was a canard. The thought of burning a single book, let alone a
library, would certainly have shocked the conscience of the cultured and erudite
Gamini. When I was summoned before the Truth Commission chaired by former Chief
Justice Sharvananda, I was, for some reason or other, asked only one question,
“Was Mr. Gamini Dissanayake in Jaffna when the library was burnt?” My answer was
an emphatic, ‘No’. And that, is the real truth.
Gamini Dissanayake maintained the highest standards of public conduct. He never
used his power to harass his political opponents. I am personally aware how he
resented the injustices perpetrated by his own party men or, even the President,
particularly, the deprivation of Mrs. Bandaranaike’s civic rights and the
stoning of the houses of Supreme Court Judges. He was a firm believer in the
Rule of Law. As a true democrat, he held high the propriety of governance. As a
sportsman, he believed in a level playing field. Winning by foul and unfair
means, even an election, was far from his mind.
Many were the times he had confrontations with President Jayawardena. With the
ringside positions that I held as Director of Intelligence, Director,
Presidents’ Security and DIG Metropolitan, I was able to observe that Gamini was
certainly not a favourite of the President. But, the latter had the highest
regard for Gamini’s capabilities and was also conscious of his popularity and
esteem within the country.
For nearly 15 years, after the cruel assassination of this great son of Lanka, a
grateful nation has held him in the highest esteem. To millions of poor peasants
in the arid dry zone- like D.S. Senanayake and Parakrama Bahu, he was a provider
of life-giving water.
But, lo and behold! In a flash, in a few tragic seconds over the electronic
media, in the full gaze of the nation, the son, of all people, chose to use a
tar brush on the immaculate name of his illustrious father. To please his
newfound master, he was trying to justify the wrongdoings of his and his
cohorts, by accusing his late father of similar wrongdoing! A clear instance
indeed, of the mind sinking to the lowest depths, to fulfill one’s political
ambition. It is hard to believe that the President would be impressed by this
Navin Dissanayake is a young man. But, he is mature enough to realise that he is
‘a somebody’ today, because of his father. The fact is, if someone asks the
question today, “Who is Navin Dissanayake?” The answer is bound to be, “He is
the son of Gamini Dissasnayake. ”Not even his colleagues and friends would know
what miserable portfolio he holds! By this unpardonable blunder, he has
virtually jettisoned his father. He has certainly lost the moral right to invoke
the name of his father, even remotely, at any future election, if he cares to
remain in politics.
A true and righteous leader with a 20-year history in Lionism
Deshbandu Lion Nimal Bulathsinghala
Lion Nimal Bulathsinghala, since joining Udahamulla Lions Club, in 1989,
rendered immense service as a Lion in the District, in various positions and
Since his youth, he was greatly interested in social service and development,
and as a Scout he received the Presidential Award, from President J.R.
Jayewardene, in recognition of his ability to lead and achieve.
In 1994-1995, he led the Udahamulla Lions Club and was presented the President’s
Excellency Award by the Lions Club International for his services. Since then,
he had been an indispensable District cabinet member.
Lion Nimal has been District Chairman, Zone Chairman, Region Chairman and the
District Governors Programme Coordinator for their numerous social service
As the Region Chairman, he was received the Most Outstanding Region Chairman’s
Lion Nimal’s greatest achievement to date is that, he is one of the very few
Lions to be acknowledged by International Presidents for six consecutive years.
Furthermore, the International Children’s Day Event organised by him annually,
was acknowledged by International President Jimmy Ross, as a special and
valuable project for the year 2006-2007.
He was a Science and IT External Lecturer at the Dehiwala Technical College
affiliated to the Education Ministry and played a vital role in nurturing the
students at the college.
As Chairman, Nimal Super Lights (Pvt) Ltd, he was a very successful
entrepreneur. Today, his State Award winning company is a leading provider of
high quality stage equipment and lighting in the country. Nimal is a well known
Theatre Lighting Director.
Lion Nimal Bulthsinghala has always been a prominent social service worker and
has rendered yeomen service towards society with his humane qualities. In
appreciation of his service for the benefit of the poor and less fortunate
citizens of this country, he was made a Vishva Kala, Humanitarian, Deshabandu.
In Remembrance of my son!
Five years have gone since your death
I still think how this all happened
Every where I see your gentle smile
And always I hear you calling me ‘ammi’
The sweet past memories always linger in my mind
And no one can erase the gap you left in my heart.
You are the priceless gift given to me by karma
Your sudden death left an enormous blank in my whole life
As a mother I always wanted you to be a ‘perfect’ man
With gentle qualities and sober manners
I wanted you to be a ‘special doctor’
A ‘doctor with a heart’ who served the poor with a smiling face
You were such, but only for a very short period
This wicked world didn’t allow you to be so for long
I always hope and pray to meet three of you
In this long journey of Sansara again and again
And all the meritorious things I have done in my life
Specially during the past five years
May help you to end this long journey and attain ‘Nibbana’
With all of us by ending all the sufferings
[Commemmoration on the 5th death anniversary of Dr. Sanjeewa Ranwella,
Dr. Kamani Ranwella and their infant son Helinda, by his mother]