To the attention of the Sri Lankan Media Minister: ‘Teacher stuck on a horn”
Posted on January 7th, 2021

Rohana R. Wasala   

Watching the 11:55 A.M. Hiru News/January 7, 2021 (Live Stream) I was dismayed by a news ticker in Sinhala characters that flashed intermittently during a news item that covered a press briefing presided by His Eminence Malcom Cardinal Ranjit, the Archbishop of Colombo, who was raising concerns about some environmental degradation taking place in a wetland area in the name of development. The Sinhalese language crawler ran: angaranda  guruvaraya madya hamuve paevasu adahas” (Views expressed by the Archbishop before the media). However, the correct Sinhala equivalent for ‘Archbishop’ which is meant here is ‘agaradaguruhimi’, not ‘angaranda guruvaraya’. The second is mocking and irreverential towards His Eminence, whom all Sri Lankans hold in high esteem as a courageous religious leader who always rises above politics in speaking up for their welfare and their interests.

‘Angaranda guruvaraya’ literally means not Archbishop, but ‘teacher stuck on a horn’. The word ‘guruvaraya’ is disrespectful in this context. What the person wants to achieve by this nasty gesture/joke may be left for the intelligent reader to guess. This reminded me of a similar outrage committed by a TV cameraman during the live broadcast of the ceremonial oath taking of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in the sacred precincts of Ruvanmelisaeya at Anuradhapura in 2019: the cameraman flashed a momentary closeup of the face of the king Dutugemunu statue there caught in a really scary perspective. No doubt, many viewers felt unexpectedly shaken by a horrible visage on that auspicious occasion.

Media institutions must discipline the uncultured individuals who are responsible for such dastardly acts.


Rohana R. Wasala   

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