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|Muslim and Tamil Services of the SLBC
services of the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation enjoy wide spread
popularity not only in Sri Lanka but also in South India. The
President of the News Media Research Council (NMRC) based in
Kayalpatnam, Tamil Nadu, Bashir Arif recently visited the Sri Lanka
Broadcasting Corporation together with a delegation of his
organisation to convey their appreciation to the SLBC broadcasts by
the Tamil and the Muslim services which is heard in Tamil Nadu.
Bashir Arif was of the view that these broadcasts will create
greater goodwill among the Tamils of Tamil Nadu towards the Sri
Lankan Government and people.
Bashir Arif of the NMRC accompanied by Presidential Adviser M. H. M.
Azwer met Chairman Hudson Samarasimghe at the SLBC. Samarasinghe
after discussions ordered the SLBC engineers to examine the
feasibility of establishing more towers at Talaimanar for
transmission of SLBC broadcastings to India. Samarasinghe added that
he could implement this project only after the general election on
April 8, 2010.
Hundreds of thousands of Muslims and Tamils in the island never
fail to tune in to the Muslim and Tamil services on a daily basis to
listen to Muslim / Tamil news and most important of all to learn
more about their cultures.
Many are unaware that today’s heights of the Tamil and Muslim
services were reached due to recommendations made by an eight-man
Commission of Broadcasting in 1953. The Commission consisted of very
distinguished men, eminent lawyer N. E. Weerasooriya Q.C.
(Chairman), K. S. Arulnandhy (Director Education), H. K. de Kretser
(Director Public Works), D. P. Ellapola (Senior Administrator), A.
H. M. Ismail (Senior Lawyer), K. Kanagaratnam (Auditor General), J.
O. A. Perera (Eminent Artist), Martin Wickremasinghe (writer) and
the Secretary of this Commission was A. M. M. Sahabdeen of the
Ceylon Civil Service.
The Commission was appointed on April 4, 1953 to inquire into and
report on the state of broadcasting in Ceylon at the time and in
particular to inquire into the working and running of the SLBC and
to consider the question of the advisability of introducing
television in Ceylon and to make such recommendations as may be
necessary for improving the state of broadcasting in Ceylon.
What is of concern in this article is the monumental success of
the Tamil and Muslim Services in Sri Lanka and Asia, especially
India. The foundation and roots for this success of the Tamil and
Muslim services go back to March 1954 when the Commission sent a
delegation of three members accompanied by the Secretary, A. M. M.
Sahabdeen to All India Radio, New Delhi and to two other regional
stations in Madras and Trichinopoly to study their methods,
management techniques and approach to broadcasting. The Secretary A.
M. M. Sahabdeen played a very crucial role in this commission. The
commission paid a glorious tribute to him and said, “Our thanks are
also due to the Secretary, A. M. M. Sahabdeen. The gathering of
material from different section of Radio Ceylon and outside sources,
and the systematic presentation of data thus collected for the
information of the commission, the task of co-ordinating all the
material gathered by us and the decision taken by us for the
finalisation of this report, including also the preparation of
statistical and other details. Necessarily the burden of all this
work has been heavy and we place on record our appreciation of the
interest and efficiency with which these duties have been
Sahabdeen continues to take great interest in broadcasting
programmes specially in relation to Philosophy, Social and Cultural
Development on which he had written several books and articles. He
is one of the few Sri Lankans mentioned in the International “who’s
who” published annually by Europe Publications Limited, England,
U.K. which “provide biographical information on the most famous and
talented men and women in the world today.”
|Developing a Sri Lankan identity
If the plan embodied in the Mahinda Chintana is left untrammeled, a
Sri Lankan identity will soon surface, being a reality for the world
to know. The Eelam howl is faint, having been suppressed down on the
orders of the President, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
However, the John Kerry report to the US Senate has ominous plans
for Sri Lanka. The Eelam agitation was launched on seeing the
upcoming prospects for the West in¬ Asia. Tamils who sought close
amicable ties with the majority community were physically
eliminated. There was a covert, hidden hand. Now the politics of
murder and mayhem is surfacing the hand of the Ugly American with
velvet gloves who is groping Mother Lanka. We do not have to take a
lesson from Mahatma Ghandhi, Martin Luther King or Rev Desmond Tutu,
for Sri Lanka is led by a man who has gone through the mill, to be
popularly elected to the high post of Executive President. Those who
claimed both the North and East as Tamil homelands have been
emphatically told that all land belongs to Sri Lanka and that all
citizens are Sri Lankans first, and are being developed,
irrespective of those domiciled thereon. They were at liberty to
claim ethnicity in their holy places of worship. The Sri Lankan
State will recognise them as Sri Lankans and treat all equally.
Following the John Kerry report Chandrakanthan and the Mayor of
Batticoloa have begun to waver. The TNA is buckling and Sampanthan
displays a desire to lead, but the President is going ahead,
undaunted, with his plans for Sri Lanka. What were dubbed as Tamil
areas are being developed on the understanding that all land is Sri
Lankan. Rev Sydney Knight your prayers will strengthen the hand of
the President in brushing aside, and keeping away the meddlesome
hands of Europe and the West, and a Sri Lankan identity will dawn,
never to be eclipsed.
|H.R.M. Awards - 2010
awards to union leaders
The widest publicity has been given in the print and electronic
media to ‘The H.R.M. Awards 2010’, which is being organised by the
Association of H.R. Professionals of Sri Lanka in partnership with
The H.R. Professionals have to continuously and persistently face
many challenges and have an unenviable task of maintaining a balance
between the corporate objectives and the aspirations of employees
which are manifested through the union leaders. The H.R.
Professionals and Trade Union Leaders have reciprocal
responsibilities and obligations. Human Resources Management and
Development is not the sole monopoly of H.R. Professionals.
It is a fact that in Sri Lanka trade unions which were intended
to protect the workers, regrettably became tools in the hands of
self-seeking selfish individuals, some of whom have not hesitated to
sacrifice the country and workers. However, there have been and
there are today union leaders who have acted in an exemplary manner
in the performance of their roles as union leaders. Some have acted
with admirable restraint, adhering to a code of ethics and a code of
moral rectitude. With their exemplary conduct of the union
activities, they have ensured industrial peace, while effectively
facilitating social integration. The P.,R. Professionals, who are to
be rewarded and recognised, would not have achieved this if not for
the peaceful labour environment. It is accepted without any dispute
that harmonious industrial relations is vital for increased
production and Human Resource Development. Some union leaders, I am
aware, have in fact innovated strategies to conciliate and placate
their membership and prevailed on them to act with responsibility,
particularly during the period enterprises were experiencing the
global economic crisis which caused untold pain of mind to employees
and their families. Some union leaders have co-operated with
Management during the economic recession and consequent
restructuring of business operations in an admirable way.
While it is appropriate and fitting to recognise the H.R.
Professionals and reward them for their efforts, there should be a
way of also recognising and rewarding those union leaders who have
made a significant contribution to the process of Human Resources
Development and National Development. What is needed today is not so
much adversarial trade unions but a sense of partnership in economic
enterprises which inevitably will lead to Human Resources and
National Development. The efforts of the union leaders who have
contributed towards this in an exemplary and admirable way should be
recognised and rewarded. Accordingly the Association of H.R.
Professionals and the Sri Lanka Institute of Personnel Management
should endeavour to identify the union leaders who have excelled in
their roles and arrange to appropriately recognise and reward their
Sqn. Ldr. J. T. Rex Fernando
|Politics and challenges
minister of the previous government had challenged the former Leader
of the Opposition to plant a karapincha tree and walk a short
distance on a niyara of a paddy field. Perhaps that minister’s
parents may be from a farmer family and his grandparents may also be
from farmer families and he could be proud of his farmer
capabilities. Does that mean that others engaged in other vocations
or professions are of inferior quality? Old D.S. would have walked
many miles on several niyaras in many paddy fields in different
areas; he was a respected gentleman farmer. Dudley was seen with his
camera hung around his shoulders walking on niyaras and their
contribution to agriculture, irrigation, and river valleys
development and to improve the quality of the villager’s life has
not been comparatively surpassed by this former minister and others
who held these portfolios.
During those periods; who would have challenged SWRD as a UNP
minister that he had never held an udella in his hands to dig a pit
to plant a coconut sapling. They owned extensive acres of coconut
lands. The difference is that during that period the Opposition
consisted of educated and knowledgeable persons of the calibre of Dr
N.M., Dr S.A., Dr Colvin, Leslie G; Philip G., G. G. Pona and all in
the government and in the Opposition had high ethical and political
It is this type of rash uncouth statements that prompt political
Pradeshiya Saba hooligans to attack a private institution with the
state police was watching. Government parliamentarians have bought
down the debating standards as they often were unable to defend the
accusations and allegations of the Opposition. Writer has
reservations on Ranil but he has to be respected for his
parliamentary debating contribution. It is not decent politics to
utter challenges to insult others.
|First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa
The other day one of my
sons who is in Year 6 just browsing through the front page of a
weekend newspaper noticed the words “first lady” preceding the name
of the wife of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and inquired as to what
it means. I had to explain to him that it is customary that we
prefix the name of the wife of a President as such. At this moment,
my daughter who overheard this, just chipped in and asked me, waapa
(father), how does one address Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa, in case, if
his spouse Ms. Shiranthi Rajapaksa is the President. I promptly said
‘first gentleman’ but now I have some reservations as to whether
what I told my daughter was correct. Over to the readers for
confirmation (if any).
|Politicians responsible for dragging Sangha
Sri Lanka created history in the Buddhist
world by electing Bhikkhus to local bodies and the Legislature which
signalled the waning of discipline in the Bhikkhu Order.
Since independence our politicians tended to appeal for the support
of the Sangha to gain political victories. The Bhikkhus in turn
responded by gravitating into politics progressively. As at present,
they not only come forward to face the hosting but also congregate
or attend political meetings supporting different political parties
thus exhibiting their political divisions. Up to the time Bhikkhus
took to politics, they received the highest respect of the Buddhists
and even that of those following other faiths, and their words had a
say. The Sangha, then, were a unifying force. However, once the
Sangha were dragged into politics, their esteem went down and the
leadership they provided fell to pieces.
Of course, law and order situation in the country has seen a
downward trend during the last two decades or so and indiscipline is
prevalent in all walks of life - politics, schools, universities,
the public service, the corporate sector and everything else.
Nevertheless, when discipline deteriorates among the Bhikkhus who in
our country are looked upon for guidance and direction and from whom
a high standard of behaviour is expected, as they have to set an
example that has to be viewed with concern.
It has to be conceded that it is the politicians who dragged the
Sangha into politics for selfish political ends which resulted in
the Sangha reaching out for political power and material benefits in
a big way. There can be no denial that there is no hundred percent
honesty, sincerity and decency in politics. Hence, a member of the
Sangha taking to politics will be compelled to put up with and
follow qualities inherent in politics, whatever the Bhikkhus who
have taken to politics may say in defence. A Bhikkhu is one who has
to break the fetters that tie him to lay life. Otherwise, there is
no difference between the Sangha and the laity. Politics, which does
not in any way help to break away from the ten fetters that shackle
man to his weaknesses, is not for the Sangha.
It could be argued that politics and being elected to local
bodies and the Legislature are not taboo for Bhikkhus. But the
Vinaya standards expected of a Bhikkhu do not justify active
politics by the Sangha. A bhikkhu wearing the Cheevaraya is
considered to be a higher being than a member of the laity. The
Cheevaraya draws respect of the Buddhists. Thus those who don the
Cheevaraya have to behave as religious leaders - members of the Maha
Sangha and not as political leaders, politicians or members of
Political Bhikkhus are seen delivering speeches without the calm
and serenity expected of the Sangha. They sit with lay politicians
and laymen, address political meetings standing and throwing about
their heads and hands about not becoming of a respected Bhikkhu.
They participate in political demonstrations. A Bhikkhu in politics
propounded the theory of consuming liquor in small quantities. That
is Wedhi Bana. The same Bhikkhu in 2005 speaking on BBC Sandeshaya
advocated that Buddhists who voted for a certain political party
leader should have their heads nailed (Oluwalata ana gahanna ona).
The utterance suggested violence against Buddhists and that by a
person wearing the Cheevaraya. Forgive the violence prone political
Bhikkhu’s un-Buddhistic utterance, is all what we can do. Bhikkhus
have turned out to be ‘Kattadiyas’ and ‘Shastrakarayas’. Some
Bhikkhus have opened up their temples for God and Deity worship,
alien to Buddhism, for the purpose of income earning. Certain
Bhikkhus, by their behaviour and actions have come to disgrace the
Sangha and the Cheevaraya they wear. Students are heard to call
Bhikkhu university students as ‘Sangha Saho: A lay politico was seen
speaking to a Bhikkhu politico with the former’s hand on the
shoulder of the latter. What disrespect for the Cheevaraya.
The Bhikkhus who want to take to politics are free to do so and that
after leaving the robes. That is the best service they could do for
Upali S. Jayasekera
|Double standards of law
of a law, TV blacks out scenes of consuming liquor and smoking.
However, very often we can see people smoking in public and also
What then is the paradox between the TV stations following the rule
and persons behaving the way they do in public?
Can laws prevent persons using tobacco or consuming liquor? Isn’t
the prevention lie somewhere else?
We hear that young persons are consuming too much of beer in the
U.K. Steps are being taken to help these persons.
Are we doing the same here? Do we help the addicts of tobacco or
liquor? Or are we too busy with our party politics? Food for
Professor Charles Dahanayake, Emeritus Professor of the
University of Kelaniya passed away a year ago after an unfortunate
accident. To those of us who had the privilege of making his
acquaintance, he was indeed a most warm hearted and an unassuming
academic, a very special kind of person, a person of rare substance.
Those who have had the good fortune to have studied under this great
teacher have borne witness to his commitment which to many was
Prof. Dahanayake had his early education in Galle and later at
Ananda College from where he entered University. He obtained four
distinctions at the University entrance examination, a record at
that time. This brilliant student did Physics Special at the
University, took a first class and won a Commonwealth scholarship to
read for his doctoral degree at the University of Bristol where he
came under a Nobel Laureate, the famed Physicist Professor Cecil
Frank Powell. After completing his doctorate he returned to Lanka
and joined the academic staff of the University of Peradeniya. While
he was a Senior Lecturer there, he won a Smith Mundt-Fullbright
Fellowship for post doctoral research at the University of
Rochester, New York. He returned to Peradeniya in 1967 and in the
same year moved to the University of Kelaniya where he established
the Physics Department and accepted the position of Professor of
Physics. In 1971 was appointed the first Dean of the Faculty of
Science at the University of Kelaniya. He was also the founder
president of the Institute of Physics of Sri Lanka and a founding
member of the University Grants Commission. He was also a past
President of the Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of
Science in addition to being a member of a large number of
professional associations. Professor Dahanayake also had a number of
publications to his credit and has worked with some of the most
famous names in his field.
Despite this most impressive academic record his greatness lay in
his humility, which was an example to us all. He was indeed
unassuming to a fault. He was a Buddhist who lived as a true
Buddhist should; rituals were not for him, Buddhism to him was Metta
(loving kindness), Karuna (compassion) and Muditha (Equanimity) and
its fundamentals tenets, Sila (morality), Samadhi (meditation and
control of the mind) and Pagngna or the acquiring of understanding
or wisdom through Meditation. He was after all a Scientist and a
Though a year has passed since that fateful day, he lives on not
only in the hearts of his wife, Tilaka, his daughters, Rachitha and
Punitha and son-in-law Rohan, his immediate family, who will miss
him most of all, but also in the hearts of all those who knew him,
for we have lost a friend and an intellectual with whom we
interacted with profit. He was indeed an inspiration to us all.
May he attain Nibbana!
|Anotte Kusum Ranasinghe
A great loss
to social service work
Mrs. Anotte Kusum Ranasinghe of Kuda Payagala, Payagala passed
away recently after a brief illness at the age of 74.
She was a very reputed English teacher and an ardent Catholic social
service worker in the area. She was a past pupil of Holy Family
Convent, Kalutara and immediately after completion her education she
obtained a teaching post in the same school owing to her talent.
In 1955, she entered to the Teachers’ Training College at Maharagama
to follow a Special English Diploma Training Course and passed out.
Subsequently she received her first government appointment at St
Michel Convent in Baddegama.
Thereafter, she worked on the staffs of Aniththawa Central
College at Epitiya, Payagala Bandaranaike Maha Vidyalaya and D. S.
Senanayake Maha Vidyalaya at Massala, Beruwala.
On her early young days she was an enthusiastic, popular, pioneer
worker of the Young Christian Movement initiated by renowned
Reverend Fr. Siri Osca Abeyratne (OMI) and during her last stages
she worked as a patron of the Death Donations Scheme at Kuda
In fact, her sudden demise created a big gap in social service
works as well as in Catholic religious works in the area. Besides,
she rendered a yeoman service in educating the young generation
irrespective of caste and creed.
May your soul rest in peace!
C. M. Kamburawala