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Letters


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.

 

2600th SriSamBuddhatva Jayanthi

We commemorate the eventful, momentous dawn of 2600th SriSamBuddhatva Jayanthi
Of Thathagatha Gautama Buddha, Saviour the Exalted Sakyamuni
As a unified, united nation a new phase ceremoniously begun in Buddhist history
Across the length‘n breadth of this fortunate nation in unsurpassing dignity.

The great serene image Gautama Buddha of Sakyan clan
The last birth on thrice blessed Vesak full moon day bedecked in gorgeous natural elan.
To attain imperturbility the calm Bliss of Buddhahood the destination.
For countless aeons you strove so hard alone in undaunted determination.

The Holy Healer, peerless physician reached pinnacle of wisdom
Severe austerity struggle for six continuous years to gain ultimate kingdom.
Became SammaSamBuddha shattering devilish mara’s attempts in vain.
For suffering humanity by own inherent powers claimed goal amidst much pain.

May this unique memorable year lead to legion of years to come in sanity
We must adhere to pure Buddhistic principles in strong faith for peace ‘n unity.
Let us resolve to abstain from vicious deeds, follow the five golden precepts
Give priority for Loving Kindness, Tolerance without discrimination fruitful concepts.

Gained Emancipation, supreme Pristine Enlightenment, Final Triumph in all purity
To uplift suffering mortals, epoch making events in annals of Buddhist history
His Teachings, philosophy abounding compassion to rid humanity of ignorance so blind.
In every thought, every word, every deed to cultivate goodwill in all mankind.

Let’s equip with virtuous deeds to reform ourselves this era, eschew vengeance
Omniscient Gautama Buddha your message for all times fills the breeze in subtle fragrance
May this significant 2600th year of Liberation spark the divinity in each human for much wanted unity
On this Noble Historic day in unfurled devotion we pay our fathomless homage in piety.

Sabbe Saththa Bhavanthu Sukiththva
(May all beings be happy!)
Kumari Kumarasinghe Tennakoon

 

Uncle Sam’s attempts to infiltrate Lankan politics

Raving killed hundreds of thousands of humans in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq, the hierarchy in the USA for some pecuniary advantage, which was more valuable to them than the lives of coloured Islamists, calls the Sovereign Government of Sri Lanka to come to a political solution with a nondescript ragtag band of terrorists, who the USA too has designated as terrorists.

The Sri Lankan President too has said that when the insurgency and the band of arms bearing rowdies have been driven into the Palk Strait a political solution will be put in place, while he governs. What a political solution means to the USA and to the Sovereign Sri Lanka, may not be the same, and will be in question. The 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which is an Indian plant under duress, if adhered to, will set up a Tamil enclave in Sri Lanka. Such arrangement will be open to eternal bloodshed and warring making both parties dependant on the USA for belligerent arms!

The Sri Lankan Constitution stipulates clearly that its soil belongs to all its citizens, Tamils, Muslims, Malays, Burghers, Veddahs and Sinhalese. The President will adhere to the Constitution, freeing all citizens to roam the land and own property anywhere on Lankan soil; unlike in Eelam that is open to Tamil terrorists only. Will the political solution as suggested by the USA be similar or will it foster and prepare the ground, if not immediately but for a possible separate homeland for the terrorists of the LTTE sometime later, through discussions and talks which many foreign countries suggest.

Will it not be more in keeping with the aspirations and utterances of the great American leaders who fought for Liberty, Equality and Fraternity if Sri Lanka asks for the right to govern our country free of foreign interference? Nelson Mandela too fought for that right. F W de Klerk finally yielded and peace prevailed. The sight of freedom for all Sri Lankans looms on the horizon but Uncle Sam’s interference may unwittingly snuff it out. Anwar Sadat of Egypt, seeing the destruction of human life in Israel pronounced. “We accept to live with you”. Those are words of great leaders. Sri Lankans too aspire to live similarly, having removed the LTTE, the fly in the ointment, but Uncle Sam sees otherwise! Remember the words of John F Kennedy in January 1961. “My fellow citizens of the world ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the Freedom of Man.” Then why infiltrate Sri Lankan politics? Remember America the Gettysburg address of Abraham Lincoln in November 1863 that spoke of the ‘New American Nation’ conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. A picture of Shiv Shankar Menon, Foreign Secretary of India and Hilary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State to the American President appear in a newspaper of March 13, 2009 like two peas in a pod calling for devolution of power to the North! Sri Lanka hopes to devolve power equally to all its citizens without interference.

I L P Samarasinghe

 

Elephants’ grievances

All the elephants assembled at the bank of a river in the forest. There were old elephants, middle aged elephants, young elephants and calves. They were all there to discuss their grievances. The wisest elephant among them was their leader and this was an old male elephant that was called “Alinayakaya” by grown-up elephants and the young ones. Alinayakaya’s son was called “Aliputra” and he was the second in command of the group. There were several young she elephants in the group and some of them were Lechmi-aetini, Malreshi-aetini, Devika-aetini, Baba-aetini and Lucy-aetini.; there were also several calves whom all the matured elephants called “kids” and the kids, in turn, called the elders “Alimama” or “Alinaenda”.

Ainayakaya began to talk, “you all know why we have gathered here to discuss our grievances. Do you all know the great service done to people by elephants? From the ancient past our ancestors have helped man in construction work.” The little kids were gambolling about here and there without paying attention to the talk. Alinayakeya saw this and swished his trunk in anger. “I want all the kids to listen to my talk.” Then the little calves stood still. “Take the dagobas, temples and tanks in Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya”, Alinayakeya resumed his talk. “It’s true that these were built by men, but who helped them to build? Our ancestors.”

A small elephant raised its voice. “What did our ancestors do, Alimama?” “I’ll tell you. In the past, there were no tractors and cranes to carry or transport huge rocks to the worksite. Our ancestors carried them.” The elephants in the gathering nodded their heads. “Yes, yes, there were no tractors in the past,” chorused the rest of the female elephants. “Do you know Lechmi-aetini” questioned Alinayakaya, “today there won’t be Ruwanweli Saeya, Abhayagiri and Tuparamaya without our ancestors.” “Our ancestors have done so much to man (meaning people).” “So, why is man an enemy to us?” questioned Malrashi-aetini. “Yes, it’s surprising to me.” remarked Devika-aetini. “It’s because we’re been taking life easily. We’re the biggest in the jungle and still we have to work for small man, Aliputra expressed his opinion. “What should we do Aliputramama?” some of the kid elephants asked simultaneously.

“We must all unite. We have the size, strength and power.” replied Aliputra. At this time the kid elephants became restless; they entwined their trunks with one another and played about. Seeing a vast number of elephants stationary at one place, the monkeys on the trees began to chatter, piercing the ears of the elephants while the twittering of birds lent the air. The restless kid elephants began to frisk about. The restless kid elephants began to frisk about and once again Alinayakaya admonished the kinds. “I told you all to stand still and listen to me.” “What about the service our ancestors did to kings?” Aliputra reminded Alinayakaya. “Yes, yes do you know Kids, ‘Kandula’?” The kids did not know; so they remained silent.
“Now listen to me,” remarked Alinayakaya, “Kandula was king Dutugemunu’s elephant. When the Tamil King Elara invaded Sri Lanka, King Dutugemunu rode on Kandula in the battle and slew the invading king. So, our ancestor Kandula helped the king”. “So in the past, Indian Tamils had given problems to our country?” Baba-aetini and Lucy-aetini questioned. “Why not?”

We had Tamil invasion, Portuguese invasion and thereafter, the Dutch and the British invasion.” explained Aliputra. “But Elara was a righteous king and helped in the cause of Buddhism,” said Alinayakeya resuming his talk. “King Parakrama Bahu could not have built Parakrama Samudra without our ancestors help to transport rocks.” “Alimama, tell us why people capture elephants?” Some small kids raised the question. “When elephants are captured man trains them to work for him.

Today, elephants are trained to perform in circus and participate in peraheras. There’s elephant dance in the Dehiwela zoo. Do you all know who carries the Sacred Tooth Relics in the Esala perehera? A majestic tusker. So these elephants are captured from the forest and trained to work for man.” He paused for sometime and looked at Aliputra. “Man does illegal things in the jungle.” said Aliputra. “He cuts big trees and uses elephants to carry the timber to the lorry.” “So elephants do good things to man but stil he kills elephants. Why?” questioned the kids. “Man is selfish and greedy,” replied Alinayakaya, “he kills elephants to get their tusks.” “So can’t we stop man coming to the forest?” one kid asked. “We must all get together to fight against man.” brother kid said. “Then I’m sure we’ll win,” a third kid said.

“But man is intelligent. He has guns and tranquilisers.” remarked Alinayakaya. “What’re those? We don’t understand.” some of the small kids said. “A gun is a weapon to kill elephants. In the past, I had got a gun shot injury. I suffered a lot from that injury before recovering,” explained Alinayakaya.
“Who shot you, Alimama?” “Who else? Those men, who come in jeeps to get our tusks. Do you all know Erik Swan? I’m sure the young elephants will not know.” “No, we don’t know.” said Baba-aetini and Lucy-aetini.
“Erik Swan was a Lake House photographer more than fifty years ago. At that time I had a festering wound on my shoulder and this caused me great pain. He came to the forest with some others.”

“Why did he come, Alimama?” some kids raised the question.
“Maybe to kill us.” As soon as I saw him, I was furious and approached him hastily because one of his kinds had shot me before. Seeing me trotting towards him, Erik Swan quickly got his gun and was in the point of loading the bullets to kill me. But before he could fire at me I reached him and trampled him to death.”
“Alimama, you’re great,” some kids said moving their little trunks this way and that way.
“Now my tusks have grown longer, some wicked men must be eyeing for me.”
“So this elephant man conflict is an old problem.” said Lechmi-aetini.
Just at that moment the foliage in the forest rustled. The elephants saw a group of men standing near a jeep some distance away. They had guns and one of them was pointing at Alinayakaya. The small kids were frozen with fear and crawled under their mothers’ bellies, the elder ones sank in to silence; some retreated to the interior of the jungle. The majestic tusker Alinayakaya awaited his fate.

A F Dawood

 

Inspirational, patriotic writer Piyadasa Sirisena

Piyadasa Sirisena, a national hero was born on August 31, 1875 at a village in the South Atturuwella in the South of Sri Lanka. His writings and way of thinking had a profound effect to change opinions, gain political opinions and gain independence and restore our Buddhist and Sinhala culture, which was destroyed by foreign missionaries. He started a weekly Magazine Sinhala Jathiya which became so popular and it was widely read and its contents moved our people to restore lost national pride. Some of his novels are Maheswari, Tharuniyakuge Premaya (Maiden’s Love), Chinthamanickkaya, Anthima Kemaththa (Last Will), Yantham Gelavuna (Just Escaped) and Dingiri Manike. Dingiri Manike became a hit and so popular that it was made into a film.
He was named Pediris Silva. As he detested foreign names he changed it to a respectable Ariyan name as Piyadasa Sirisena. After leaving school he was employed as a clerk in a mercantile firm. He was the only poet to be imprisoned with other national leaders - D S Senanayake, F R Senanayake, G A Hewavitharana by the British. He was a very active member in the Temperance Movement and fought tooth and nail against the tax imposed in 1912.
He passed away a satisfied man on June 26, 1946 having done his duty by his mother country Sri Lanka.
V K B Ramanayake

 

Mushrooming unhygienic eateries

Unauthorised eateries have sprung up along the coastal belt within the Beruwala Pradeshiya Saba limits.
It is reported these eating houses sell unhygienic foods to the public which is a health hazard.
For the sake of public well-being these places should be either banned or inspected by health authorities regularly.

C M Kamburawala

 

Appreciation

Prof. K. Balasubramaniam

He promoted a people centred health policy

When a mutual friend telephoned me to tell me about the untimely passing away of Dr Bala, my mind went back to the first time I met him at Peradeniya. He and his family used to be regular visitors at the Peradeniya University Sri Lanka National Christian Council Chaplaincy. What I discovered about Dr Bala, when I was Chaplain at Peradeniya was underlined when I met him at St Paul’s, Milagiriya.
Dr Bala in his own style was a committed Christian and for him the Blessed Sacrament was important. Therefore, because of his and Kamala’s illness, it was my joy to visit them regularly and break bread and share the cup in their dining hall.

Looking back at Dr Bala’s life, to my mind, Dr Bala in his very strong manner continued the Senaka Bibile tradition in promoting a health policy that was people centred. Thus he along with a few other committed persons campaigned against the Multi Nationals marketing drugs with certain brand names and making the sick and the poor buy them. His regular interventions in the press were looked forward to and when his writings became a stumbling block to the Mafia marketing certain drugs the press had to stop his publications.
So, whenever I used to meet Dr Bala amongst other matters, we used to discuss about our common hobby of being writers. When I went to his Bambalapitiya House to be with the bereaved I saw a notice on the apartment board handwritten by Dr Bala asking people to join his bridge club. Then I was reminded that loneliness is the number one killer today. Though Medical Science has prolonged the life span of human beings, at least some of them do not know how to handle life when they are senior citizens.

In this tribute to Dr Bala having known him during the last few days of his life, I would like to ask the question as to what family life means? Has God created human beings to be lonely? What then is the role of children and grandchildren?  Therefore, I wish I had the time to have spent more hours with Dr Bala.
However, his students at Peradeniya and all those who worked with him in his area of Medicine will, I am sure, would like to thank God for a life well lived in that it was people centered.
Kamala, the children and grandchildren and all family and friends can be assured of our prayers. May his soul rest in peace and rise in glory! Amen.

Sydney Knight   

 

Sambuddatva Jayanthi Mawatha

It was announced over the Sinhala service of the SLBC that a series of programmes has been planned to mark the 2600th Sambuddhatva Jayanthi. A commemorative coin is being issued and several commemorative stamps are being released to mark this event. It was also mentioned that Havelock Road will be renamed Sambuddatva (or was it Sambudda?) Jayanthi Mawatha.
Whilst welcoming the renaming of this road to mark an occasion of this nature, I would like to recommend that the former named also be retained. The authorities handling the name board should have the old name, maybe within brackets and below the new name. This should be the case with the Guilford Crescent in Colombo 7 which was renamed Archarya Premasiri Khemadasa Mawatha not very long ago and all the other roads/lanes where the names have been changed. One reason is that it will be easy for road users to locate the place who may be not aware of the new name and the other is, it will remind us of the old name as well.

Mohamed Zahran

 

 

 

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