The Long Walk from John Exter to Coomaraswamy
Posted on July 15th, 2016

 K.K.S.Perera Courtesy The Daily Mirror

Commaraswamy made the above observation in the midst of rumours circulating on setting up an authority, based on a proposal by PM, encompassing all financial and economic institutions, including CB under one umbrella organization which would be headed by ….? Arjuna seems brimming with confidence of the outcome of COPE investigations and his next move; quite obviously, it’s the PM who calls the tune. 

As per the Hindu mythological epic Mahabharata , Pashupatastra is the most powerful, irresistible, destructive weapon. In the Mahabharata war Arjuna obtained this weapon from Lord Shiva. The son of Ravana, Indrajith possesses a Pashupatastra too, also the other two ultimate weapons – Brahmanda Astra and Vaishnavastra together, the  weapons of the trinity, he becomes the only person in the whole universe to hold them and was known as a Atimaharathiwho an capable of engaging 12 Maharathis at the same time. Will there be a transfer of ‘Weapons of Trinity’ from Indrajit to Arjuna?


Ever since this country gained Independence, economy has been mixed up with politics. I don’t want to point the finger at any party but just want to emphasis that politics and economics have been mixed up by all governments. But I would like to stress that good economic policies result in good politics,”-Dr. Indrajith Coomaraswamy, Governor CBSL
Some believe the appointment of Dr Indrajith Coomaraswamy to the Governor post in the Central Bank has brought a creditable finale to a crisis that was threatening to destabilise the unity government; a win-win situation. Addressing his staff on assumption of duties, the new Governor said, The primary responsibility of the Governor is to uphold the reputation and credibility of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka; my intention is to follow President’s direction and carry out my functions according to his wishes” The President, according to Mr Coomaraswamy, had given him a carte blanch [weapons of the trinity ?]saying,‘Do your work in a straight way, and do not fear anybody in discharging your duties.’ His Excellency had pitted a Royalist against the Royalist triumvirate of Ranil-Ravi-Malik who are in control of the nations finance and economy.
I am very keen that the Central Bank does its work…..and in a technical way, and discreetly advises the government on what we think is the best way forward for those segment of policy and practice for which the Central Bank has responsibility,” the new Governor said in closing.
Arjuna Mahendran

Long Walk from John Exter to Coomaraswamy
All credit to President Sirisena— the attitude of the leaders of Joint Opposition in welcoming the appointment is laudable; they acclaimed Arjuna Mahendran’s replacement by Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy. Dinesh Gunawardena, DEW Gunasekara, Bandula Gunawardena, Vidura Wickremanayake and Vasudeva Nanayakkara has confirmed their courteousness and decency. So far only a few incorrigible elements in the Joint Opposition have condemned the appointment quoting his earlier association with Raj Rajaratnam of Galleon Group who was charged on insider trading and found guilty in US and serving a sentence of 11 years in prison.
A thief always seek cover behind an honest person, ‘Sakvithi’ employed and misused the name of highly respected senior journalist, Dr Edwin Ariyadasa; this doesn’t mean that the honest one is dishonest. Indrajit is a man undoubtedly of good credentials.
Indrajith’s straight forward statement that he has been a good friend of Rajaratnam for a long time and when Rajaratnam sought help he just offered him with research reports. That was my occupation,” he said at this first press conference a week ago.I quit approximately a year before he was first indicted of insider trading…he helped Sri Lanka and he had done a lot of positive things…lot of charity work,” his reference to LTTE financier, Rajaratnam cleared all doubts. It is sad that our leaders have become pawns in the hands of foreign powers to an extent that even in making appointments to key positions; they are seeking advice from them? The foreign powers would push poor countries with leaders who succumb to their demands; we are simply made to become prisoners to the whims of the powers.
Need Fearless Statesmen: DS and John Exter
As Prime Minister, in early 1949, Rt Hon. D S Senanayake’s patriotism was displayed abundantly in a serious issue that arose with the colonial authorities during the Commonwealth’s economic recession. In the aftermath of WW II, the financial and economic situation in the Commonwealth was in dire straits. They attempted to enforce authority over ‘Lipton’s Tea Estate’, [how Ceylon was branded in Europe], by making us a party to the ‘Sterling Assets Agreement’ and manipulate our strong Dollar Reserves. Leading a delegation to a Finance Minister’s Conference summoned by them was J R Jayewardene, the finance minister and his adviser, John Exter, (later the first governor of the Central Bank). The PM was concerned over our dollar earnings, wanted to maintain it as our foreign reserves; he advised them on what they were to do if the British government rejected their appeal, he said,

Indrajith Coomaraswamy
We are an independent nation. Our dollar earnings are our own…., if we are not allowed to act independently then obviously we must leave the ‘Sterling Area…,the UK government cannot oppose this. So go ahead and tell them you will leave unless you are permitted to keep your country’s earnings.”
– JRJ speeches: Presid. Arch. File 195-a.
We had in the past heads of state who refused to bow down to foreign powers; Apart from the Senanayakes, the father and son, the two Bandaranaikes, SWRD and Sirimavo and Rajapaksa, declined to accommodate offers made by Western or Indian counterparts. They understood that we have a tradition, culture and civilization we can look up to. Dudley Senanayake as PM threatened the British officials to take the next flight home during Queen’s Coronation ceremony when they wanted the Asian Head of State to share a horse carriage with a lady from an African country, compelling them to record profuse apologies.
SWRD ordered British Naval and Air bases out in 1957, for Sirimavo to brave American threats in nationalising oil companies in 1961. Rajapaksa’s role in the last lap in crushing terrorism is not ancient history? Leaving the two Oxford-Cambridge scholar duo of SWRD and Dudley; DS, Sirimavo and Mahinda had little expertise or familiarity of the traditional boundaries between economics, proficiency in international relations theory, and security aspects.
But they were endowed with that intuitive faculties in abundance to redefine what it is and why foreign powers take an interest in others’ conflicts—they understood how conflicts evolve over time with the entry and exit of external actors, and took decisions without much rhetoric.

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One Response to “The Long Walk from John Exter to Coomaraswamy”

  1. Nimal Says:

    I think Mr Comaraswamy is a decent person that might help the country. I had the privilege to meet him several times. He seems to have taken part and supported our events in London.

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