Rajapakse brothers in times of war and peace – Part II
Posted on December 29th, 2014

H. L. D. Mahindapala

Paths, roads,, highways are everlasting  routes to the future. They connect people and bring them together for good or for bad. Generations will use them for their convenience. They will use the established routes to leave the past and explore and build new futures. Roads become the avenues to explore their time and space in exciting ways, build new relationships and reinforce the old ones. They transport them to happiness, peace and prosperity, and to move forward to discover new destinations, and even to destroy each  other, if it comes to that. They are  the indispensable means to arrive at new destinations never known before.

Not  since the British paved the paths to the present has any national leader opened up new vistas, opportunities on the scale achieved by the Rajapakse brothers. No doubt, the Kandyan peasantry and the colonized people at large paid a heavy price for each kilometer built by the British. The living always pays a heavy price for building  the future. That is an inevitable part of history. The future was always built on the backs of those who sacrificed in the past.

Yes, of course, the Rajapakse, like all leaders, bear their share of  blunders. Those  mistakes were   in  the domestic administration in the post-Nandikadal period. They were blunders that should have been and could have been avoided. But they are not crises that would have dragged the nation into critical depths of desperation that threatened its very existence. The historical significance of the Rajapakse brothers  – Mahinda, Gota and Basil – is in arriving at the correct time, in the correct place, to take control of the national affairs and correct the course of action to save the nation from almost near extinction.

It was a defining moment in which the invisible hand of history moved characteristically to pick the decisive leadership to guide the destiny of unmanageable – almost chaotic and desperate – forces heading towards total destruction. It is another example of the extraordinary phenomenon  of history which throws up leaders, from the most unexpected quarters, to take  charge of  circumstances  that need new and decisive directions.

The Rajapakse brothers took command at a time when all the other leaders had failed and surrendered to the enemies at the gates. No one expected them to team as a politico-military unit and face the threats of the nation head-on. It is their getting together that facilitated the forward movement  in war and peace. In Sri Lankan history there has not been such a coming  together of siblings to rescue the nation and take the nation forward. To find another example, one  has  to go far back to the time of Dutugemunu where he joined hands with his brother Tissa to also prepare the field and wage the war against the  enemies of  the nation and rebuild the nation in the post-war period.

The two other leaders who were in command at the height of the greatest national crisis in  the post-independent era were Chandrika Bandaranaike and Ranil Wickremesinghe. They accepted the NGO-propagated conclusion that the LTTE could not be defeated. The Norwegian peace-negotiator, Erik Solheim, told President Rajapakse that he knows the capabilities of Velupillai Prabhakaran and he cannot defeat them. It was a time when the LTTE too had reached the peak of their power. As their effective  propaganda  claimed they seemed invincible at the time. NGOs, Churches, academia, the Tamil Diaspora, human rights activists of all shades, Western media and pro-Tamil lobbyists in the Western corridors of power, Tamil Nadu, sections of the Indian establishment were acting on the assumption that there was a political need to liberate the Tamils oppressed by the Sinhala majority.

The oppressive majority vs. persecuted minority was a simple story that was easily marketable. It captured the minds of the law-makers and  decision-makers of the West. Everything was going for them. Even the Sri Lankan leadership led by Chandrika Bandaranaike and Ranil Wickremesinghe had surrendered. These two leaders were on their knees offering 2/3rds of the coastline I the north and the east and its hinterland to Prabhakaran. The CFA of Wickremesinghe (2002) with international guarantees and the subsequent P-TOMS of CBK would have geographically and demographically reinforced the claim of  the Tamil separatists and laid  the foundations for the dismemberment of the nation forever.

With all the national and international forces ranged against Sri Lanka, only an exceptional leader, with extraordinary  courage and commitment,  could  have turned the tide and saved the nation. It is at this critical moment that Mahinda Rajapakse, the Commander-in-Chief, and his  brother, Gotabaya Rajapkse, the Defence Secretary arrived at the  helm of affairs and  took on what seemed to be the impossible mission of saving the nation.  They reached their goal  on May 2009 and the history that flowed from that decisive day is the  history made by the Rajapakses.

The victory at Nandikadal rescued the nation for generations to come. The Rajapakse brothers  began by opening  the blocked slice gates at Mavil Aru – a symbol of things to come – and  never stopped until they brought the nation under one umbrella.

The respect owed to the Rajapakses in terms of rescuing  the nation from its enemies and restoring its lost identity and  heritage is as great that of Dutugemunu, on the one hand, and that of Parakrama Bahu in terms of uniting the nation and reconstructing a ruined nation in the post-war era. The Rajapakses didn’t build highways only to save time to go from  point A to point B. Or for cars and vans to move speedily with ease. They built the greatest and  longest highways for the flow of   history, coming down from the wellsprings of the traditional past, to move creatively in new direction for the full length of  time to come. Therein lies the greatness of Rajapakses.

The coming together of the Rajapakses at this critical juncture has a great historical significance. Their triumph marks the victory of a fallen nation rescued from the jaws of defeat. The force of  circumstances that moved forward in a uni-direction, carrying the nation along until it ended in Nandikadal, under the determined leadership of the Rajapakses, was, by any stretch of historical imagination, a remarkable turn of events. A unique landmark. It reinforced and  revived not  only the sense of history charted in  the Mahavamsa but also the legitimate rights  of the inheritors of the history that flowed continuously from the arrival of the first settlers from North India.

The bonding thread of historical continuity ran through, linking one age with the other, picking up from where it left off whenever it was broken temporarily by foreign interventionists. Sometimes our  own Don Juan Dharmapalas and Dona Catherinas did their best to betray the nation to foreigners. But the people who creatively constructed their shared past, rich with their sacred traditions, never gave up their commitment to save their historical inheritance not only for their sake but for the sake of their progeny to come.

To be continued

5 Responses to “Rajapakse brothers in times of war and peace – Part II”

  1. Sarath W Says:

    The biggest mistake the president made was to take it for granted the voters will be grateful forever for eliminating the LTTE terrorist. Although rapid development is visible everywhere, he made no attempt to squash the rumours of massive corruption, thuggery from some party members including ministers and their sons. He made no attempt to punish those thugs and crooks. He never learnt a lesson from the fall of Hosni Mubarak or Mummer Gaddafi.

    But is this the time to get rid of him and install Sirisena+Chandrik+Ranil government? We all know what Chandrika and Ranil did to the country. Now the LTTE rump and diaspora are already celebrating thinking the Sinhala voters are a stupid bunch and they are getting closer to their elusive EElam dream.

    Let us show them on the 8th of January that EElam is only a dream.

    If the president does not get his act together, prune his ministry, appoint decent, honourable people to the ministry and groom a successor, then we will have un opportunity to elect a new parliament, change the constitution etc. soon.

  2. ranjit Says:

    Traitors blame Rajapksa’s for everything but they must understand that Rajapaksa’s are the ones who go from one corner to another corner in the country and work honestly for the people on daily basis. They don’t just sit idly inside an Air-condition rooms and enjoy like many other but always move with the people to see them and hear their voices. They are great leaders who work for the people not like those wicked opportunists like Siri,Ranil and Chandrika.

    Sarath is right the President made some mistakes in the past by listening to wrong people and do things which is not right and people of Sri Lanka was not happy with some of his decisions and he must correct all those if he want’s to be in power if not people will forget all the good work he has done to this country very soon. He cannot remove 100% corruption but he can do to some extent if he want’s and also he must get rid of drugs from our streets. It can be done not a big thing but need guts to do it and I hope Gota will handle that job and help his brother to clean up our streets from drugs.

    When appointing Ministers or Junior Ministers he must first see whether they are qualified or fit for that job. Just somebody come from nowhere cannot be a Minister. Hakim appointed as Justice Minister was a mistake. That post is a highly important Ministry and giving to a person like Hakim was not a good decision because he is a divider and a jumping fish from one group to another group. He worked against the President in every elections and why the President give an important Ministry like Justice Ministry to someone like him. President should not repeat mistakes like this in his third term. I hope all these dirty traitors will lose the General election and be out from politics for some time. Casinos were started by UNP and those kind of things they started for high class few in Colombo and suburbs. Poor villagers do not go to any casino except people like Sirisena family and other effluent families in political field. All bad habits were started by UNP not by anyone else.

    The President will correct his mistakes and will govern to bring our beautiful nation to a high standard this time for sure therefore keep your trust on him and give your vote and make him the KING FOR THE THIRD TIME.

  3. SA Kumar Says:

    EElam is only a dream.-NO that is our day dream.

    08th of Jan 20015 is We- Tamils second step to TE.
    If MS win he will fully implement 13A ( No less or no more – We know how to get more , more later …)
    If MR win He will give 13A + Plus (Promised to Modi / UN problem)

    So this election is nothing to with TE This is all about CBK to get SLFP back from MR.
    We already have Two TE – NP- Saiva TE & EP Muslim TE.
    Please chinhala bros, leave us alone We have more work to do in our land (Thoddam) to send our product by Jaldevi to South(you) make some money.

    live & let live until Eelam war V but do not forget Naalai pirakkum TE(Not today).

  4. Christie Says:

    Let us stop glorifying Indian puppets and Indian terrorist arm. Mahinda wiped out the Indian terrorist arm but failed to wipe out Indian imperialism the cause of suffering of non Indians of the island. Galle Road widening was during the era of Sir John. British build road for their own gains. They build roads not only in Ceylon but in other dominions like Kenya etc. I am sure one Kankani of Indian road building laborers is one of the richest and owns most of the media in the African continent. British started building roads in Ceylon aroun 1797 when the locals started killing Vellar administrators brought in from the Malabar coast by the British to administer Dutch possessions acquired by them. The most important thing of the good roads are the strategic importance and that is why British built them with Indian coolies.

  5. helaya Says:

    SarathW is absolutely right. I hope MR will learn something.

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