The Merciful and Forgiving God

July 22nd, 2014

By A. Abdul Aziz.

 (Given below is an excerpt of one of the recent Friday Sermons of Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Supreme Head of the world-wide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Islam, delivered on 18th July, 2014, at ‘BaithulFuthuh’, London, U.K. gave a discourse on the Merciful and Forgiving God )

 Ahmadiyya Khalifa started the sermon with the recitation of the following two verses of the Holy Quran and gave their Urdu translation:

 Say, O My servants who have committed excesses against their own souls! despair not of the mercy of Allah, surely Allah forgives all sins. Verily He is Most Forgiving, Merciful. And turn ye to your Lord, and submit yourselves to Him, before there comes unto you the punishment; for then you shall not be helped. (39:54-55)

 In the Holy Quran, Allah the Exalted, in various verses in the context of various topics has drawn the attention of His servants that He is Most Forgiving and Ever Merciful. These verses that I have recited, in the first of them, this same subject has been discussed. And in it there is a beautiful message for every such person who is fearful of the punishment of God for having committed sins and wishes to absorb the Mercy of Allah and benefit from His Mercy and Forgiveness. Allah, the Exalted, says, O My servants despair not My mercy. I am the Master and possess the Power to forgive your sins and wrap you in the raiment of My Mercy.” What a beautiful message and how it lifts our hopes and does away with hopelessness.

 This is the very message which is saying to the people that hopelessness is a sin. This message takes us in the direction of saving us from weaknesses and keeping us away from the failures of life. This is so because it is hopelessness that often becomes the cause of weakness and lead one to failures. But hopelessness and failures cannot approach the one who comes under the Mercy of Allah, the Exalted.

This is the message that shows us the ways by walking upon which we can fulfill the commands of God and achieve the love of God so that by acquiring His nearness we may be able to go on benefiting from His Mercies.

 Thus this message is a brightly lit up way for all who have lost their direction. This message is a message of life for all who have become spiritually dead. This message is the announcement of freedom for those caught in the clutches of Satan. How Lovely is our God Who looks upon us with such Loving looks, Who says repeatedly to those who believe in Him:

Despair not of the mercy of Allah;” (12:88)

 Because:

none despairs of Allah’s mercy save the unbelieving people.” (12:88)

 So if you claim to have faith, always be hopeful of receiving the Mercy and Forgiveness of God. You have become involved in some bad deeds due to your human frailties but you are not of those who have become lost or gone astray because it is only those who have become lost who lose hope of God’s Mercy. These are the people who do not believe in God Almighty. They do not believe in His Graciousness. Hopelessness is a characteristic of those who have gone astray.

 Allah, the Exalted, says:

‘And who can despair of the mercy of his Lord save those who go astray?’ (15:57)

 So certainly for those who are agitated and restless because of their own state of being, there can be no more comforting and more sympathetic message than this.

Not only this, our God then also says to us that He does not punish us immediately for our bad deeds, but rather:

 And thy Lord is Most Forgiving, full of mercy. (18:59)

 And why? Because:

Your Lord has taken it upon Himself to show mercy.. (6:55)

So He forgives those evil deeds that you do out of ignorance. So you should turn your attention towards reforming yourselves. If your attention will be towards His Mercy as you effect reformation then you should know that that Most Forgiving and Ever Merciful God is indeed Most Forgiving and Ever Merciful. And not only this that He is Most Forgiving and Ever Merciful, but He says:

 My mercy encompasses all things…(7:157)

 Here, the concept extends well beyond just applicability to those who believe. Here it is not just the believers who are being talked about. This Mercy reaches even those who do not believe. And for the believers it has been deemed obligatory. He can and does forgive all sins. This is what Allah, the Exalted, is saying. He is the Master. For Him to Forgive He is not constrained by anything. But does such a Loving and Merciful God’s Mercy and Love not require that we should increase our love for Him by obeying Him and acting upon His commandments and become closer to Him and try to the best of our abilities to get rid of our weaknesses and mend our sinful ways.

 All these things that I have stated based on the teachings contained in the Holy Quran and similarly the traditions or narrations of this type of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) that reach us – all of them tell us that no one, no person is beyond the pale of effecting a reformation. No matter how far gone the situation of a person may have deteriorated, reform is still possible. Everyone can be reformed. Everyone can gain benefit of the Mercy of God Almighty so long as he tries truly to purify his heart and actions.

 In the past few days a lady in Denmark wrote a piece in a religious newspaper and said about the Holy Quran that in it there is repeated mention of punishment and wrath of God and there is no mention of love except in one or two places. And that it can never be said truly at least – by Muslims – that a man believes in God voluntarily and freely and because of his love for God. Quoting some verses without understanding them or mentioning them out of context she has tried to put forth her inference that the God of Islam is quick in punishment and hard. The Jama’at of Denmark is writing a rebuttal of this article but I have presented these few references from the Holy Quran which, while they give a message of hope to the believers they also provide answers to these types of writers and enemies of Islam who ascribe falsehood to Islam and have malice in their hearts towards Islam and the Holy Quran.

 Allah, the Exalted, is the Master. He forgives. This attribute of His encompasses all His other attributes. He forgives and He shows Mercy. This is His Mercy that despite the innumerable excesses and wrongs committed by man He does not hurry to punish. But, yes, it is true that because of committing excesses beyond the limit and then being obstinate, Allah, the Exalted, says that you will receive punishment. If you continuously go on committing sins and excesses and do not stop, no matter what, you will become subject to punishment. This is the law of nature and in fact this is the law that is operative in the world also. But even then Allah, the Exalted, is so Gracious, that a time will come when Hell will become empty. This is how expansive and unlimited God’s Mercy is.

 In these verses, after mentioning His Mercy and Forgiveness, Allah, the Exalted, says that if you still do not take benefit of My Mercy and Forgiveness then there is, for you, also punishment for your sins and excesses. But nevertheless, it is my Mercy and Forgiveness that is drawing your attention again and again that you should safeguard yourselves before such a time that some punishment surrounds you. Do not commit excesses beyond all limits so that you become caught in My punishment. So try to save yourselves.

 So now, those who criticize even upon knowing all this what should one say except that that their thinking is blind and their hearts are filled with malice, antagonism and ill will. When they formulate the laws of their own countries they indeed want to punish for crimes but those who break the commandments of Allah, the Exalted, and who commit excesses and wrongs – about them they ask why does God Almighty say that I will punish such people.

 How Forgiving is the God of Islam? This is illustrated from this narration:

Hazrat Abu Saeed (r.a) narrates that the Holy Prophet (sa) said that among the Children of Israel there was a person who had committed 99 murders. [These examples are being given so that we may be informed about the Mercy of God which has been in existence from the beginning and shall remain forever.] The Holy Prophet said that this man had committed 99 murders and then he started out to ask about repentance. He came upon a hermit, a monk and asked him whether he could now repent? This hermit said no, there is now no way to repentance. This man killed him also.

 He kept asking about this after that as to whether repentance can be achieved or not even after all these things and a man told him to go to a certain place. But as he was going there he died and before breathing his last, and as he fell, he turned his chest towards the direction of this place he was heading towards.

 The angels of mercy and the angels of punishment arrived and started to dispute about the fate of this man. Allah, the Exalted, ordered the place he was travelling towards to draw near to him and ordered the place from which he was travelling away to become distant from him and then ordered the angels to measure the distances to both these places from where the man had died. And it turned out that the man had died just a tiny distance closer to the place towards which he was travelling to achieve repentance than the place from which he was going away. So Allah, the Exalted, forgave him for this reason.

 So this is the God of Islam Who prefers forgiveness instead of punishment and Whose Mercy is the most expansive.

 Then there is another narration.

Hazrat Abu Dharr (r.a) narrates from the Holy Prophet (sa) that he said concerning His Lord, the Exalted, that He says: O son of Adam, you do not pray to me and yet entertain hope also. So I say, with the sole condition that you do not associate partners with me, I will forgive all other sins and shortcomings, even though your errors be the size of the entire earth. I will come and meet you with my forgiveness that is greater in expanse than the earth. And if you have committed errors so tall as to reach the heavens, and you ask for My forgiveness, I will even forgive you such large errors and will not care an iota’s worth.

This is Allah, the Exalted, Who is the God presented by Islam, Who is the Most Forgiving. And we, the believers, how greatly beholden we are to Him for His enormous beneficence from among which one is that every year in the month of Ramadhan, the doors of His Forgiveness open even more widely.

 A narration about God’s Forgiveness during the month of Ramadhan reads as follows:

Nadhar bin Shaban says that I said to Abu Salma bin Abdur Rahman that tell me something that you had heard from your father that he heard from the Holy Prophet (sa) directly concerning the month of Ramadhan. He said, yes and narrated that the Holy Prophet said that Allah has made the keeping of the fasts in the month of Ramadhan obligatory upon you and I have initiated its establishment for you. So whosoever, keeps these fasts with the intention of winning reward from Allah and having full faith – such a one frees himself from sins to such an extent as to become as free of sins as the day his mother had given him birth. He becomes like a newborn child.

 So we are not concerned with how the ignorant see the God of Islam. We know for certain that our God is more loving and forgiving towards us even than our own parents. And our God is He Who comes running towards us so that He may forgive the sins of His servants.

 Then, with reference to the month of Ramadhan there is another narration in which the blessings of Ramadhan have been mentioned.

 Salman (r.a) narrates that the Holy Prophet (sa) addressed us on the last day of the month of Shabaan and said: O people, a grand and blessed month is about to commence. In it is a night which is better than a thousand months. Allah has made the keeping of the fasts of this month obligatory upon you, and made its nights for offering the voluntary prayers. This is the months whose first ten days are mercy, its middle ten days are the cause of winning forgiveness and its last ten days are for obtaining safety from the fire of Hell. And anyone who feeds one who is fasting in this month shall be given such a drink from my reservoir that he will never experience thirst till the day he enters Paradise.

In other words the forgiveness is of a type that causes previous sins to be washed away and also grants strength to resist the temptation to commit sins moving forward if the fasts are kept as required by the month of Ramadhan and voluntary prayers are offered and Allah, the Exalted, is worshipped.

 So it is clear that Allah, the Exalted, is making arrangements for us at every step that take us to Paradise. We are passing through the month of Ramadhan these days and the second ten days of Ramadhan is coming to an end and the third period of ten days is about to commence tomorrow or the day after. And this period is full of blessings from this point of view also that, as stated in the hadith, there is a night in this period that is the Night of Destiny, the lailatul qadar. This night is a great means for seeing the signs of the acceptance of prayer, and drawing a servant of God as close as possible to God. So let us take particular care to perfect our prayers and worship in this last ten day period of Ramadhan. There is need also to make whatever we gain in this month to make it a part of our daily lives. To continue to benefit from the Mercy and Forgiveness of Allah, the Exalted, we need to especially keep an eye on our own condition in these days and try to discharge the dues of Ramadhan and in particular of these last ten days of Ramadhan.

 To try to remove one’s own bad habits, to safeguard oneself from committing sins in the future, to achieve permanent salvation from the fire of Hell, an effort is needed. For every thing an effort has to be made. It cannot be that we achieve something without any effort. This is a general rule. And it is expected from a true believer that he should not look casually at the messages from God and from the Prophet of God. Rather, when they hear, there should develop in their hearts an urge to make these messages a part of their lives. And this desire and urge will become beneficial only when practical steps will be taken to achieve these things. And the practical steps that can yield results and take one towards success are only those that are in accord with those rules and means which have been set in place to achieve these things.

 So, without a doubt, the Mercy of Allah is indeed All-Encompassing. And yes without a doubt there is a greater multiple of reward bestowed for good deeds during Ramadhan. And yes, without a doubt the month of Ramadhan is a means for the acquisition of Mercy and Forgiveness and for distancing oneself from the Fire of Hell. But ongoing and permanent benefit from these things can only be gotten by those who continue to try and gain these benefits with a dedicated and ongoing continuous effort. So most fortunate, from among us, are those people, or shall be, most fortunate, those people, who shall make this Ramadhan the means of achieving God’s Mercy and Forgiveness and secure for themselves safety from the fire of Hell. They shall thus secure release from their weaknesses and safeguard themselves permanently from committing sins.

 May this Ramadhan become a milestone for us forever keeping us away from evil and forever become the means to take us towards every good and righteous deed. Such hate may grow in our hearts for evil that we may never again even think of approaching these evil deeds. May our attention become diverted towards true repentance, such repentance that will forever continue to become a means of drawing us nearer and nearer to God Almighty.

 How can these things be achieved, or how can one gain true repentance which should always keep us away from sin?

 The Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Islam Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad – The Promised Messiah (peace be on him) says concerning this:

Taubah [repentance] is, in reality a most potent stimulant and a source of great help for the attainment of high morals.”

 If we are to acquire high morals and excellent conduct and draw near to God Almighty then it is repentance alone which comes in handy for the purpose. It is with repentance that one advances and makes progress. This is the thing that assists in the task.

 The Promised Messiah (peace be on him) goes on to say:

And it makes a man perfect. In other words, the person who wants to bring about a change and acquire the correct morals, it is incumbent upon him to repent with a true heart and sincere motivation. It should be borne in mind that there are three conditions for repentance, without fulfillment of which true repentance is not achieved.

 The first condition is to get rid of wicked fancies which arouse evil propensities. Fancies have great influence. Every action is preceded by a fancy. Thus the first condition for repentance is that evil thoughts and fancies should be discarded. For instance, if a person has an illicit relationship with a woman and desires to repent, it is necessary that he should conceive of her as ugly and should call to mind all her low qualities. As I have just said fancies exercise a powerful influence. I have read that some Sufis carried their fancies to such a length that they saw a person in the form of an ape or pig. Thus the first condition of repentance is that all thoughts which give rise to evil pleasures should be discarded altogether.

 The second condition is remorse. Everyone’s conscience admonishes him over every evil, but an unfortunate person leaves his conscience suspended. So a sinner should express remorse over his sin and evil action and should reflect that the pleasure to be derived from them is temporary. He should also consider that every time there is a decline in that pleasure and that in the end, in old age when his faculties are weakened, he will perforce have to give up all these pleasures. Then why indulge in that which in the end has to be given up anyhow? Most fortunate is the person who turns to repentance and becomes determined to discard all corrupt thoughts and vile fancies. When he gets rid of this impurity, he should be remorseful.

 The third condition is a firm resolve that he will not revert to those vices. If he adheres to this resolve, God will bestow upon him the strength for true repentance and he will be rid altogether of his vices which will be replaced by good morals and praiseworthy actions. This is a moral victory. It is for God Almighty to bestow the power and strength for it for He is the Master of all power and all strength, as He has said:

All power belongs to Allah (2:166).

And man is weak, as is said:

… for man has been created weak (4:29)

This is his reality. So to acquire strength from Allah, the Exalted, one must make perfect the above mentioned three things and leave off laziness and indolence and becoming totally engaged, pray to Allah, the Exalted. Allah, the Exalted, would then bring about a change.

 This is the statement of the Promised Messiah (as). Those people should always remember this who say that we prayed to be safeguarded against this or that evil but this bad habit has not gone away. Allah, the Exalted, has not heard our prayers. Some parents become concerned when the children or young men develop bad habits. They say we have tried and prayed also but our prayers have not been heard. So it should be known that this is wrong. For the acceptance of prayer also there are some requirements. They need to be met. Praying for four days and then saying that Allah, the Exalted, has not heard our prayers is transferring one’s own failure on to the shoulders of God.

 Nevertheless, I have just read the quote from the Promised Messiah (as) on how one can save oneself from evil. To repent and to save oneself from evil there are some necessary things that have to be done. There are some deeds and some efforts that are needed and there are some ways that need to be practiced or carried out. When you will carry those out then the results will manifest themselves. And the prayers to be saved from evil will only be accepted when some practical steps will be undertaken. Not taking any practical measures and just praying and even that in a casual manner and then saying that the prayers have not been accepted and perhaps it is the intent of Allah that one should remain a sinner, is wrong.

 If it is desired that an improvement happens and one leaves bad morals and deeds then the Promised Messiah (peace be on him) has said there are three things that a person himself needs to do. Then he should pray and such prayer will be a source of help and the evil drops off. And to effect a true repentance first cleanse your mind of the bad thoughts. First there develops a taste for the evil in one’s mind, then a person goes and commits that evil deed. If such thought does not take birth in the mind and if instead a hate develops against that foul deed then the person never moves to carry out the evil deed. It is only when there grows in the mind a pleasure and taste for that deed that one moves on to carrying it out. So the very first practical step that one has to take in order to save oneself from an evil deed is to purify your mind of these evil thoughts and temporary pleasures.

 The example that the Promised Messiah (peace be on him) gave is that of an illicit relationship with a woman, and friendships are established. So instead of having a good impression of such a woman in one’s mind, replace it with a bad impression. Instead of looking for her beauties, establish in your mind as bad a picture of hers as possible. Bring to the fore her bad characteristics and establish such an image of her face in your mind that should be extremely ugly and hateful. Only in this way would you be able to distance yourself from this evil.

 Then the second condition the Promised Messiah (as) informed us of is that you should awaken your good and righteous conscience and think what evils you are getting involved with. Develop in your hearts a sense of remorse. Only then will you be able to avoid this evil.

 Then the Promised Messiah (peace be on him) said the third condition is that you should have a strong and firm resolve that I am not going to even go near this evil. And when you will be making an attempt to save yourself from this evil constantly, then God Almighty bestows the favor of true repentance to be granted and He listen to the prayers done to be saved from evil deeds and bad habits. These are all the things that need to be done before praying. It should not be that one is involved day and night in evil and once or twice a prayer is uttered asking that one be saved from this evil. These actions are clearly demonstrating that the prayer has not been uttered in all sincerity.

 The righteous spirit, one’s conscience that is hidden inside, showing up at some one time and reminding that what a state you are in and committing these evil deeds, and as a result temporarily uttering a prayer but becoming subdued upon the desire for evil coming to the fore and the feelings of remorse caving in ..such prayers cannot save one permanently from evil nor make one capable of discharging the dues of a true prayer. In fact this is tantamount to making fun of the concept of prayer altogether and trying to put God under an obligation. God Almighty is under no obligation to anyone. Such people need to remember that if you want to take real benefit from God’s Forgiveness and inherit His Favors and see your prayers being accepted, then you need to turn your attention to your own state of being.

 As I said, Allah, the Exalted, is so gracious upon His servants that He is always ready to envelop His servants in His mantle of Mercy. Does this not demand from us that we should be ready to walk upon the paths He has laid out for us and thus benefit from His Mercy. We should acquire that Mercy that is attained by true believers and by those who love Him truly. Try to save ourselves from those things that despite His all encompassing Mercy make one deserving of His wrath and punishment. May our repentance be true repentance and we remain ever in prostration in front of Him.

 The Promised Messiah (peace be on him) says: Cleanse your actions and be ever involved in the remembrance of Allah and do not become heedless. Just as wild animals who run to save themselves when they become even a little bit lazy get trapped by the hunter similarly one who becomes forgetful of the remembrance of Allah, he becomes prey to Satan. Forever keep repentance alive and never let it die because that part of the body that is used constantly is the one that is always of use and the one that is left unexercised is the one that becomes useless forever. So keep repentance active always so that it should not become useless. If you do not turn to true repentance then its case will be like that of the seed that is planted on a rock but if you employ true repentance then its case is like that of the seed that is planted on the best soil and yields fruit at its appointed time.

These days anyone trying to achieving true repentance faces a lot of difficulties. The attractions of the world and its temptations hinder us.

The Promised Messiah (peace be on him) says:

The weapons through which we are going to achieve predominance are Istighfar, Taubah, knowledge of the faith, keeping the greatness of God in our mind and offering the five daily prayers regularly. Salat is the key to the acceptance of prayers. When you offer the salat, make prayers during it, and do not be heedless and safeguard yourself from every evil whether it be related to the duties owed to God or to His creatures.”

 May Allah make us among those who offer true repentance and may we forever continue to inherit the favors and grace of Allah. And may He make us beneficiaries of all the blessings associated with this blessed month of Ramadhan. Aameen.

The English and Tamil translations of the sermon – the link of which are:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FFRe190bws#t=283

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkEz3joZaCY

The Opposition Leader’s call for Democracy and Good Governance

July 22nd, 2014

S. Akurugoda

According to a news paper report the opposition leader Ranil Wickramasinghe has told Organisation for Good Governance, another NGO, that it was high time for all political parties and other civil society organisations to get together from grassroots level to overthrow the government through a well- organised struggle since the lawlessness in this country can no longer be overcome through democratic means.

One cannot expect good governance from this regime and therefore it is high time for all forces to get together and overthrow this undemocratic and dictatorial regime,” he said and added that democracy practiced by this Government only a word which had long lost its meaning. With an increasing number of political parties and civil society organisations meeting the UNP and expressing solidarity for its call to abolish or dilute the powers of the Executive Presidency and restoring good governance, it was obvious that they had enough of the untold sufferings that continued to be heaped on them, even over five years after the war had ended”, the opposition leader said.

Since the opposition leader has called the support of the political parties and NGOs, several times, to ‘topple’ the government after his failure to win elections repeatedly while asking the so-called international community even to intervene on several occasions, it could be a interesting subject to address the current leader’s call for democracy, dictatorship, suffering, peace and good governance etc.

From the above statements, the opposition leader is concerned about the powers of the executive presidency and the suffering of the people, forgetting the fact that it is the UNP which introduced the executive presidency and it is the UNP which opposed the war against LTTE while the people were suffering for three daces of terrorism.

Organization for Good Governance

As per a news item appeared in the Asian Tribune dated 08. 07. 2008 under heading ‘OPA Chief ousted but remains in office’, the founder of the Organization for Good Governance continued to hold the Organization of Professional Association’s president role even after a no-confidence motion against him was passed by a large majority at an OPA special general meeting held in July 4, 2008.

The news item alleged that the Supreme Court has suspended the person concerned from practicing as a lawyer on a charge of contempt of court and consequently the General Forum of the OPA has declared him unfit to hold office as OPA President. (http://www.asiantribune.com/?q=node/12105)

Incidentally, considering the past records, the above news item indicates the perfect matching between the opposition leader and the said organisation who preached Democracy and Good Governance while doing the opposite in practice. There is no need to elaborate the duplicity of NGOs who appear before the public with various decorative names since there are news reports (similar to above), articles and books written on the subject are available in ample.

Democracy and Dictatorship

UNP, as a political party, had a good record of change of leadership to suit the political requirement of the party until the LTTE eliminated all the possible leaders from the party.  Dudley Senannayake who took over the leadership of the party and elected PM in 1952 resigned after eight unarmed protesters were gun downed by the police on the 12th of August 1953, during a mass protest launched by the left parties over the increase of price of rice ration from 25cents to 72cents per measure.

Sir John Kothalawala who took over from Dudley resigned after the 1956 election defeat.

Dudley Senannayake who came back to politics again in late 1950s handed over the opposition leadership to JR Jayewardene after the party’s defeat in 1970.

JR who became the leader after the death of Dudley, and later elected President, left the party leadership in late 1980’s amidst JVP insurrection paving the way for R. Premadasa.

D. B. Wijethunga who became the party leader and the President after the assignation of R. Premadasa, retired soon after his term of office was over.

Ranil Wickramasinghe who took over the leadership of the UNP after the assassination of Gamini Dissanayake by the LTTE, unlike the record kept by UNP’s previous leaders, is continuing to remain in the leadership after the loss of several presidential, parliamentary and provincial council elections under his party leadership. It is alleged that over 60 UNP MPs left the party since he assumed office and many have accused that within the party constitution, Ranil is not a democratic leader but a dictator.

Suffering

Those who remember the days of JR-Premadasa Regimes know how they suffer during the infamous ‘Bheesana Samaya’ where around 65,000 lives were lost after the proscription of JVP and the signing of JR-Rajiv pact. Youths either were beheaded or burnt live with tyres around their necks almost daily during that time.

As per the report released on 12 April 1998 by the ‘Special Presidential Commission of Inquiry Act’ (a fact-finding mission and had no judicial powers) to investigate activities of Batalanda, recommended to the government to “bring the guilty to book”. One of its findings was that “Wickremesinghe and the SSP Nalin Delgoda, are indirectly responsible for the maintenance of places of unlawful detention and torture chambers in houses at the Batalanda Housing Scheme”. It further stated that Wickremesinghe held “unauthorised meetings of police officers involved in counter-insurgency operations in the housing complex, and that as such, he had abused his authority”. However, no criminal proceedings took pace thereafter for some unknown reason.

Peace and Good Governance (2001-2004)

Although there are enough materials to write a book on this subject for the period under review, let us summarise by quoting from an article written by ‘Pro-Lanka’ and appeared in The Island during that period, what the current UNP leader and his clan have done to qualify for the good governance.

  • The decimation of our intelligence gathering network in 2002 . This ghastly episode can have no parallel in the annals of Treachery to date. Neither Don Juan Dharmapala’s nor the Pilimatalauwe-Ehelepola combine’s treachery in favour of the Portuguese and the British respectively, can equal the UNP’s diabolic of the cream of our intelligence unit, LRRO (Millennium City), to the LTTE.
  • Signing an illegal agreement with the LTTE leader Prabhakaran, the so-called CFA, loaded heavily in favour of the LTTE bypassing the country’s President.
  • Having given the LTTE a claim over a large extent of territory, the Ranil and his clang thereafter wilfully and deliberately turned a blind eye to almost every LTTE violation of the CFA, genuflecting to almost every LTTE demand, ignoring the smuggling of 11arms shipments and helping the LTTE to bring in through the Customs, several items of military use, which reportedly included aeroplane parts.

Apart from the above, the Prime Minister of the UNP government (who proposed to celebrate the 500th year of the arrival o Portuguese), virtually handed over the sovereignty of the country to a Western bandwagon called ‘Co-Chairs’ under the guise of ‘Peace’. Had that so-called ‘Peace’ process continued, unopposed, the country would have been divided long ago with a formation of a country called Eelam under the rule of Prbhakaran and Sri Lanka under the rule of a puppet regime of the West.

It was during this tenure of office as the Country’s PM (2001-2004), a mob of supporters of the regime attacked the government printing press and damaged the printing machineries in order to prevent the printing of a gazette notification issued by the country’s President.

Actions and Reactions

For those who can remember the days around May 18th 2009 know where the opposition leader was hiding in Europe while all those who love the country were jubilant. The opposition leader had to find an alternative route to reach home from the Katunayake Airport , via Minuwangoda, due to obvious reasons. TNA parliamentarians and the UNP leader’s clan of members had failed to appear in the parliament, when the President delivered his historical address to the nation after winning the war against terrorism, since the environment was certainly not supportive for them to appear before the general public due to their own past acts. (or Pera Karma).

After contesting and losing two presidential elections, one in 1999 and the other in 2005, the opposition leader avoided another obvious defeat in 2010 due to his party’s opposition to the war against terrorism process, by supporting a so-called common candidate, while he was holding the leadership of the main opposition party.

The latest ‘ploy’

Soon after the return from a one month visit to USA, probably with the necessary advise, moral and other supports he received from the interested parties to have a regime change, the opposition leader announced his determination to contest the next presidential election. There is no doubt that those interested parties are working overtime to achieve their determination by hook or crook. Apart from dividing the ‘Sinhala Buddhist’ votes, another ploy set by them is the ‘gonibilla’ of ‘Executive Presidency Powers’. The invisible plotters are expecting the necessary support, apart from all those who oppose the war against terrorism including remaining politicos of the old left parties, even from the prominent political figures representing nationalist movement for their latest ploy of ‘abolishing powers of the executive presidency’

Thus political parties and organisations representing nationalist movements who were in the fore front of the driving force of 2009 need to think twice before making visits to ‘Sirikotha’ to discuss the subject of the Executive Presidency as such visits, quite unknowingly, could provide weapons to reverse whatever the country achieved since 18th May 2009.

 

India under Modi must join hands with China to lead resurgent Asia

July 22nd, 2014

by Senaka Weeraratna

A Panel Discussion under the title ‘India under Modi: Relevance for the Region and the World’ scheduled to be held on July 21, 2014 at the BMICH, Colombo and addressed by five prominent Indians led by Dr. Subramanian Swamy, Chairman, BJP Committee on Strategic Action, is intended to be a forum for Sri Lankans to gain an insight into the new style of governance of Narendra Modi and India’s unfolding role in the Region and the larger world, among other topics. It will be based, according to the organizers of this workshop i.e. Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies (BCIS), on a desire to forge close ties between the Modi Government and Sri Lanka.

This article will focus on India’s praiseworthy role in giving voice to the newly liberated nations following de-colonization leading to the Bandung Conference in 1955, and the role that awaits India under Narendra Modi to blaze a new trail in Asia and the larger world preferably and it is recommended, hand in hand with China.  

The people of Asia, where do we stand today in this world of ours?

In 1954, a perceptive Indonesian Prime Minister Dr. Ali Sastriomidjojo attending  the Colombo Conference hosted by the Government of Ceylon (then called) under Prime Minister Sir John Kotelawala, asked the following question – Where do we stand now, we the people of Asia, in this world of ours today?

The Bandung Conference was convened one year later in 1955 to provide an answer to this question, and the leaders of Asia and Africa responded optimistically by supplying answers to that question.

This question despite marked changes in geo-politics is still valid 60 years down the track though in a re-formulated form as follows:

We the people of Asia where do we stand today in a world still largely controlled and manipulated by neo – colonial western powers who dominate the international mass media and dream of re-colonization and pillage of resources if not directly or at least indirectly by a series of manipulative acts using the rhetoric of Human Rights and Rule of Law, and international institutions e.g. agencies of the UN, as tools to do the spade work e.g. regime change, de-stabilization of countries asserting neutrality and independence from western dominance?

The holding of the Bandung Conference in April 1955 represented a watershed moment in the sphere of international relations. It was a landmark event. It was the most significant collective expression of the resurgence of Asia and Africa since the commencement of the process of de-colonization in the aftermath of the end of the second world war and the emergence of independent nations outside Europe. These new nations were to become a new set of actors in the global arena and in turn they created the Non-aligned movement.

However the most notable impact of the Bandung Conference was that it symbolized the collapse of colonialism and the rise of a large group of nations united by a shared past of oppression under western dominance and increasingly confident of challenging the hegemonic role of the Western powers in the arena of international politics.

Bandung Conference

The first ever Asian-African conference was held at Bandung, Indonesia, from April 18 to 24, 1955. It was sponsored by Burma (now Myanmar), Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), India, Indonesia and Pakistan and  attended by 18 other countries from Asia (Afghanistan, Cambodia, Democratic Republic of Vietnam, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Jordan, Laos, Lebanon, Nepal, Peoples Republic of China, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, South Vietnam, Syria, Thailand, Turkey and Yemen) and 6 countries from Africa (Egypt, Ethiopia, Gold Coast [now Ghana], Liberia, Libya and Sudan). The rationale for holding of the Conference was based on a common understanding by the leaders of the newly de-colonised and liberated nations of Asia and Africa, that unless they come and work together as a collective force on the world stage their hard won struggle for freedom would be lost quickly to the very nations that had colonized them and grudgingly granted them independence but had not given up their dream of re-colonization.

Fears of Re-colonization

Two major incursions by Colonial powers namely France and Holland in post- war Asia after the defeat of Japan, to regain their colonial possessions and restore colonial rule by armed force, namely in Vietnam and Indonesia, sent alarming signals across the newly decolonised countries about the possible threats of re-colonisation.

a) Indonesia

On the night of December 19, 1948 Jogjakarta, the Indonesian capital was seized by Dutch paratroopers and President Sukarno, Prime Minister Mohammed Hatta, and several other members of the Indonesian government were arrested and placed in custody on an isolated island. Jawaharlal Nehru, the Indian Prime Minister condemned Holland’s action, which he described as naked and brazen aggression, and closed all Indian seaports and airports to Dutch vessels and aircraft. Thereafter Nehru responding to the call of the Burmese Prime Minister U Nu to hold a conference of Asian states in defence of Indonesia, convened an International Conference, which was attended by 19 countries including Australia and New Zealand. The United States and Britain, which tacitly supported the Dutch military attempt to re- take Indonesia, were unhappy at the holding of the conference and, they exerted pressure behind the scene to sway the outcome of the conference. Nevertheless the Conference unhesitatingly condemned the Dutch aggression and called for the immediate release of the detained members of the Indonesian government, withdrawal of Dutch troops from Jogjakarta and handing over of power to the United States of Indonesia by January 1, 1950. It led to the ending of hostilities on May 7, 1949 and an agreement was entered into to conduct further negotiations at a conference to be held under the auspices of the United Nations.

b) Vietnam

The entry of Japan to World War II led to the French colony of Indochina (consisting of Vietnam, Laos, & Cambodia), being occupied by the Japanese. In 1941 the freedom fighter and Communist revolutionary Ho Chi Minh established a Vietnamese nationalist movement, the Viet Minh, to resist the occupiers and waged a guerrilla war against the Japanese. However the Japanese which began the war on the footing of establishing a “Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere” i.e. a new international order seeking “co prosperity” for Asian countries which would share prosperity and peace, free from Western colonialism and domination, also promoted Vietnamese nationalism and ultimately granted Vietnam independence in March 1945 under the title ‘Empire of Vietnam’ (short-lived) with the Vietnamese Monarch Bao Dai as the titular head.

Following the Japanese defeat in WWII, the Vietminh under Ho Chi Minh took over Government in Vietnam. But the French attempted to retake possession of their colony. Their entry into Vietnam was only allowed by the Viet Minh after assurances had been given by the French that the country will be granted independence as part of the French Union. But negotiations between the two sides were unsuccessful and in December 1946 the French shelled the Port of Haiphong and forcibly seized the capital, Hanoi.

The French re-occupation of Vietnam resulted in a conflict that ended when the French were decisively defeated by the Vietminh at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. The conflict was finally settled by the 1954 Geneva Accords, which temporarily partitioned the country at the 17th parallel, with the Viet Minh in control of the north, and a non-Communist state to be formed in the south under Prime Minister Ngo Dinh Diem. This division was designed to last until 1956, when national elections would be held to decide the future of the nation but the South Vietnamese Govt. under Ngo Dinh Diem scuttled the arrangement with American support. The rest of the developments in Vietnam following the Geneva Accords in 1954 is too well known to be re- produced here.

Colombo Conference of 1954

A significant five South Asian Premiers three day mini – summit was held in Colombo, Ceylon from April 29 to May 2, 1954 to prepare a plan for a solution of the Indo – China conflict and organised at the initiative of Sir John Kotelawala, Prime Minister of Ceylon (as Sri Lanka was then called) to which Prime Ministers of Burma (U Nu), India (Jawaharlal Nehru), Indonesia (Ali Sastroamidjojo), and Pakistan (Mohammed Ali) were invited.

It was at this Colombo Conference that the desirability of holding a conference of Asian and African nations was discussed and the Indonesian Prime Minister, Dr. Ali Sastromidjojo was the main exponent of the need for such a conference with which a new foundation could be laid for a new movement of independent nations in Asia and Africa.

Sri Lanka – then Ceylon – played a key role in the initial phase by organising the conference of the Colombo Powers, from which followed the Bogor Conference which, in fact, was the prelude to Bandung.

It was at the Bogor Conference that a decision was taken in respect of the number of countries to be invited to the Bandung, and in the original list, there were thirty countries, and in addition the Bogor Conference laid down four principles and the purposes of the proposed Asian African Conference.

The first purpose was to explore and advance the mutual as well as common interests of the participants; second, to view the position of Asia and Africa and their peoples in the world of today and the contribution they can make to the promotion of world peace and cooperation.

However the most notable impact of the Bandung Conference was that it symbolized the collapse of colonialism and the rise of a large group of nations united by a shared past of oppression under western dominance and increasingly confident of challenging the hegemonic role of the Western powers in the arena of international politics.

But the Bandung Conference was not without its antecedents. The ground for its eventuation was set in the period 1947 – 1955 by a series of freedom fighters of the calibre of Jawaharlal Nehru, S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike and Sukarno.  They gave voice in eloquent language to dreams long suppressed by colonialism and began to assert their rightful place and equality of status in the international arena.

Panchsheel – Basis of Sino Indian Friendship

The seed for forging strong ties between the newly liberated India (from British colonial rule in 1947) and the newly established People’s Republic of China (in 1949) took place in June 1954, during a recess in the Geneva conference discussing the future of Indo-China including the grant of independence and re-unification of Vietnam, following the defeat of the French colonial forces in the battle of Dien Bien Phu by the Viet Minh led by General Võ Nguyên Giáp in May 1954.

V K Krishna Menon, India’s representative at the conference extended an invitation to the Chinese Premier Chou En-Lai to visit India. It was accepted. The ensuing talks between Chou En-Lai and Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru ended on June 28, 1954 in the signing of a joint statement on the principles on which relations between India and China were to be based. These principles, which were subsequently known as the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-Existence or Panchsheel, were: (1) mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty; (2) non-aggression; (3) non-interference in each other’s internal affairs; (4) equality and mutual benefit; and (5) peaceful coexistence.

India’s Pro – active Role in Asia

a) Korean War

The development of India’s foreign policy was very much influenced by the events following the commencement of the Korean War, on June 25, 1950. Though India initially voted in favour of the UN Security Council resolution that permitted the US to enter the Korean War under the flag of the United Nations, India refused to provide military support and instead sent only a medical team on a humanitarian mission. India adopted the position that its objective was to localise the conflict and work towards bringing the violence to an end. When the ‘UN Forces’ approached the 38th Parallel Nehru pleaded not to cross it particularly since China had forewarned that in such an event it would be forced to intervene on the side of North Korea in the war. However, the US without paying heed to Nehru’s advice invaded North Korea in early October 1950, thereby, forcing China to enter the war with ‘Chinese volunteers’ crossing the Yalu River into North Korea. Furthermore India opposed a UN resolution that declared the Peoples Republic of China an aggressor in the Korean War. In addition India proceeded to play a significant role in proposing an Armistice which was accepted by the UN and the People’s Volunteer Army of China leading to the ending of fighting on July 27, 1953. India was also appointed to head the neutral-nations commission for repatriation of prisoners of war.

b) Peace Treaty with Japan

As much as Hon. J.R. Jayewardene earned for Sri Lanka (then called Ceylon) the undying affection and gratitude of Japan and the Japanese people for his magnanimous stand at the San Francisco Conference convened by the United States on September 8, 1951 to sign the peace treaty with Japan, when he called on the delegates to show compassion and understanding towards Japan and not to accept reparations from Japan quoting the Buddha’s noble words that ‘hatred ceases not by hatred but by love’, India too earned the unqualified friendship of Japan because of its refusal to attend the San Francisco Conference because of the US position that the provisions of the treaty were non-negotiable. India interpreted certain provisions of the Treaty as constituting limitations on Japanese sovereignty and national independence. India entered into a separate peace treaty called with Japan on June 9, 1952 for the purpose of giving Japan a proper position of honor and equality among the community of free nations.

c) Justice Radha Binod Pal – the dissenting Indian

No foreigner is as much venerated as the fallen soldiers of Japan than Justice Radha Binod Pal. A grateful Japan has not forgotten this famous Indian Judge who said ‘ Not Guilty’ when the sentence of death was pronounced on the former Japanese Prime Minister Tojo and 24 others for war crimes by all the other Judges at the end of the Tokyo Trials in 1948.

Justice Radha Binod Pal charged that the War Crimes Trials of Japanese leaders were incapable of conducting a fair inquiry or delivering a just sentence. There was no meting out of proper Justice at these Trials because the entire judicial process at these trials constituted a sham employment of the legal process for the satisfaction of a thirst for revenge”

 It has been said that Hideki Tojo the former Prime Minister of Japan and the chief accused had  left a haiku (a poem) drawn in praise of Pal before walking to the gallows. Pal  admired Pan-Asianism  and he had regarded the proceedings of the  non – impartial  War Crimes Tribunal at Tokyo through that prism. On a visit to Japan in 1966 Pal had remarked that he had been an admirer of Japan from a young age for being the only Asian nation that stood up against the West.”

To this day Japan’s nationalist leaders and opinion builders have not hesitated to regard Pal as a hero, using his dissenting opinion at the Tokyo trials to point out that Japan did not prosecute a war of aggression in Asia. 

The Emperor of Japan had conferred on Pal the First Class of the Order of the Sacred Treasures, Japan’s greatest civilian honour in 1966. Justice Pal’s dissenting judgment is frequently referred to by diplomats and political leaders in the context of Indo-Japanese friendship and solidarity. In fact in 2006, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in a speech delivered in the Japanese Parliament, had said that: The principled judgment of Justice Radhabinod Pal after the War is remembered even today in Japan. These events reflect the depth of our friendship and the fact that we have stood by each other at critical moments in our history.”

The reverence with which Pal is held by Japanese nationalists is such that a monument dedicated to him stands on the grounds of the Yasukuni Shrine. It is said that there are only three Indians, whom the Japanese revere, namely Lord Buddha, Mahatma Gandhi and Justice Radha Binod Pal.

Nationalists of both countries may well consider adding the name of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose to this illustrious list for enlisting the assistance of Japan to liberate his country India from colonial rule, which occurred largely as a result of Subhas Bose’s indefatigable efforts though he was not present to relish the fruits of his labour. 

See

The Dissenting Indian by Pheroze Kharegat (Deccan Herald)

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/88645/dissenting-indian.html

 China at Bandung Conference

The attendance of China at the Bandung Conference gave much credence to the legitimacy and success of the event. Despite a terrorist attack on an Air India Chartered plane carrying a group of Chinese delegates from Hong Kong to Bandung, resulting in the blow up of the plane in mid air over the South China Sea killing 16 Chinese delegates and the crew, a bomb presumably meant to target Chou en Lai, Chinese Prime Minister,   altogether about 340 delegates representing a population of 1440 million (almost two-thirds of the world’s then population) attended the conference.

The Final Communiqué implored the participating nations to remain free from mistrust and fear, to show goodwill towards each other, to practice tolerance, to live together in peace with one another as good neighbors and to develop friendly cooperation on the basis of declared ten principles.

The saddest turn of events despite the huge optimism generated by the Bandung Conference was that the strong friendship and good-neighbourliness which was built up especially between India and China until 1955, was unfortunately converted into one of mistrust and unpleasantness in the second half of the 1950s and it has continued to remain that way to date.

N.D. Jayaprakash, an Indian Commentator, says as follows:

This unpleasant development was no doubt a big setback for the concerns of the peace loving peoples of Asia. Thus, apart from giving the needed stimulus to the struggle to end colonialism, the purpose for which the conference was organised remained largely unfulfilled. The failure of the Bandung conference to launch a permanent Asian-African countries organisation was a sign that it was the writ of the imperialist powers that ultimately prevailed, although Nehru did make a valiant attempt later to revive it in the form of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in 1961.”

See

India and the Bandung Conference of 1955

N.D. Jayaprakash

http://archives.peoplesdemocracy.in/2005/0605/06052005_bandung%20conf.htm

Challenges before Narendra Modi

India under Narendra Modi as Prime Minister must claim its rightful place in Asia ( as well as in the larger world) as one of its true leaders, politically, economically and even militarily, and in order to demonstrate these credentials India must abandon without reservation the previous Government ( under Manmohan Singh) policy of servility and unconditional subservience to the West. It must do so in the full knowledge that continuing subservience to its former colonial masters and their allies i.e. the new sponsors of colonialism, will severely undercut any Indian claim to lead the once colonised but now liberated nations of Asia plus lose any potential support from the rest of the world looking forward to an Indian leadership having self confidence, pride in its great spiritual heritage and moral backbone.

India must mend any strains it has in its relationship with China and should not allow interfering outsiders, particularly from the West, to identify India’s friends and potential enemies and teach India how to conduct itself vis-à-vis imagined foes. India must take comfort from a historical fact that India and China despite being neighbours on the Asian continent had never gone to war with each other for over 5000 years except on one dismal occasion in contemporary history (1962) when it clashed over a border issue that has its roots in British colonial mischief.

India must set its own foreign policy agenda and goals from a central government perspective, rather than from a regional government perspective, and discard the weak kneed and cowardly policy adopted by the Manmohan Singh Govt. of appeasing regional blocks in India, which unfortunately contributed to India’s almost total isolation from its immediate neighbours in South Asia. A radical change in such posture will contribute immensely to improvement of India’s ties with Sri Lanka and other neighbours. 

India’s moral voice must be heard again in the far flung corners of the world in a manner that the Buddha, Mahavira, Asoka, Nagarjuna, Swami Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (popularly known as Babasaheb) and the like resounded to the serene joy and delight of humankind. Idealism must again re-surface to the top in India and in turn help to re-charge the batteries of a largely spiritually weakened Asia, now increasingly despoiled by unbridled crass materialism.  The time for measuring each and every inch of social progress solely by an economic yardstick to the detriment of moral and ethical values which was once upon a time championed by India’s great spiritual leaders must end.

We have obligations to both humanity and all other living beings. India’s Constitution has made provision that it shall be the duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures,” (Article 51 A (g)). This is the vision that India’s greatest son, Gautama Buddha, had for Bharat and its greatest Emperor Asoka faithfully strove to establish in the form of a compassionate society. Narendra Modi must unhesitatingly accept this challenge of transforming India into a compassionate society and strive diligently towards ending Man’s inhumanity towards animals. The steps that Modi has taken as Chief Minister of Gujarat to stop cattle slaughter and legislate against cruelty to animals are moves in the right direction.  We are further consoled by the fact that Narendra Modi has in his Cabinet of Ministers, Ms. Maneka Gandhi, one of the great champions of Animal Rights in the world.  

It is India more than any other country that originally provided the value system for the moral and ethical foundations of Asia, through the spread of the influence of Buddhism and Hinduism. Asia is indebted to India for this great contribution. It is this factor i.e. transmission of Buddhism, more than anything else that ensured China’s lasting friendship and gratitude to India down the ages. Buddhism is well integrated in Chinese culture and civilization. Both India and China are ‘mother’ countries for the people of Asia. Both have historical civilizations that have contributed immensely to the economic, cultural and moral development of the rest of Asia.

The stability of Asia in today’s world rests primarily on the leadership that that these two countries, India and China, acting together in peace and harmony, would be able to provide.

Senaka Weeraratna

Investigate NGO heads: Coughing Human Rights for plush lifestyles

July 22nd, 2014

Shenali D Waduge

 Mega millions has been disbursed to the bank accounts of organizations set up to deliver ‘democracy’ and ‘human rights’ to ‘undemocratic’ nations. These NGOs set up have an explicit object and it has nothing to do with human rights to democracy and everything to do with preparing the groundwork for agendas of those disbursing the funds. The local lacoreens or sepoys as we have every right to call them are paid to do a job and they are paid handsomely too. Remove the monetary aspect would these so-called NGO heads deliver the same speeches with the same gusto? To this brigade of paid mouthpieces the Bar Association has plugged itself and the dollar disbursements reveal the source to their sudden anti-Lankan stand as well. Is there any credibility when these civil society leaders are simply puppets and if so why should they have any say in how a country is run?

 One of the first things that need to be investigated is the property ownership, business interests and stakes that these so-called human rights advocates have both in Sri Lanka and overseas. This will expose the scale of misappropriation and malpractices taking place by those pointing fingers.

 Obviously they have become ultra-millionaires by agreeing to function as agents and foreign stooges of external sources. They are sent money to conduct research, compile reports and hold workshops not with the intention of doing any good but to gather data which once sent overseas another lot of brains get busy on ways and means to use these compiled data against the countries they target for ‘change’. They are paid to travel globally, address forums and deliver speeches and statements to show there is another side, another version to which money has helped build false hyped propaganda to show they have plenty of followers and media has been rewards and paid handsomely to carry a notion that these NGOs have a vast following. The truth is they don’t – all those who join are those wanting to put their fingers into the money generating kitty. It is an elite cocktail circle of people who have common agendas that are funded and they remain in their roles as long as they can deliver and for as long as they can deliver. For that outsourced role they are handsomely rewarded and given the media credentials and recognition so that they are made to look on par with VIPs and in fact they get invited to VIP and diplomatic circles as well.

 When these paid civil society experts are those that foreign parliamentarians or foreign delegations meet to get the pulse of the other side, we can be rest assured that the versions they give will never be positive of any good happening in the country. It is from these paid civil society experts, NGO heads that foreign reports get compiled using statements and reports compiled from them. How are these reports compiled? They are funded from foreign governments and agencies that are tasked to carry out regime change so can we expect any impartiality or unbiased reports.

 The entire civil society representation at UN level is a big farce and simply a means of getting what Western liberals want via supposedly unbiased NGOs when they are neither unbiased or impartial because they are paid employees only.

 Canada, Germany, Norway, Switzerland, Netherlands, the EU and USA collaborated to donate 3 NGOs that are often quoted on international arena as the mouthpieces for democracy”, transparency” and truth” our next question unanswered thus far is what have these organizations being doing with over Rs.600million given to them?

 Donors gave 618.33million to 3 NGOs – Centre for Policy Alternatives headed by Pakiasothy Saravanamuthy received Rs.277million, National Peace Council headed by Jehan Perera received Rs.171million while Transparency International received Rs.174million.  

 The manner in which foreign nations fund various initiatives/campaigns, conferences etc are too many to list. Russia recently closed USAID as it was accused of interfering in political processes in Russia.

 Transparency International Sri Lanka Donors:

·         Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA)
MFA-Norway
World Bank
TI Secreteriat
Fredskorpset
NED Wasington D C USA
European Union
PTF
Helvetas Sri Lanka
Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES)
Stromme Foundation
ACILS
SLIDA/Cadrep
ARD-USAID
Janawaboda Kendraya
CIDA
Bmz Foundation through the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany

 Transparency International has spent Rs. 339,303,724 from 2004-2012.

 Donors for 2012 to CPA were

·         Academy for Education Development (AED)

·         ARD-USAID

·         Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)

·         Diakonia

·         European Union (EU)

·         Ford Foundation

·         Forum of Federations

·         Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ)

·         International Budget Project

·         International Media Support (IMS)

·         National Democratic Institute (NDI)

·         NORAD

·         OXFAM GB

·         Save the Children in Sri Lanka

·         Swiss Mission in Sri Lanka

·         The Asia Foundation (TAF)

·         The Berghof Foundation for Conflict Studies in Sri Lanka

·         The Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung für die Freiheit

·         The International Social Survey Programme (ISSP)

·         UNICEF

·         UNDP

·         UNHCR

·         USAID

 National Peace Council Annual report for 2013 disclosed its spending

Type of Expenditure 2012 (In Rupees) 2013 (In Rupees)
Project 29,058,437.16 30,013,590.18
Personnel & recurring 26,652,231.51 812,300.00
Capital 58,499,596.99 66,210,515.79

 NPC donors for 2013 have included EU, CAFOD, DIAKONIA, SAKAI fund, US State Department, Norwegian embassy and SPICE.

 Other donors have included Meyers Norris Penny Ltd RM (Canada), Canadian International Development Agency, Berghof Foundation (Germany), Facilitating Local Initiatives for Conflict Transformation (Germany), Stichting Cordaid (The Netherlands), Norwegian Embassy, Commission Des Communautes (Norway), ICT for Peace Foundation (Switzerland), Dep. F. Auswaert, Angelegenheiten (Switzerland), Swedish Embassy, Swedish International Development Agency, Goldman Sachs Grant (UK), Minority Rights GRP Ltd BCA (UK), European Commission, Transparency International Division (UK), Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (UK), European Union, Diakonia (US), Forum of Federations/Forum Des (US), International Media Support (US), the Ford Foundation (US), Fredskorpset Bergen (US), National Endowment for Democracy (US), Partnership for Transparency Fund (US) and Academy for Educational Development (US).

 It is no better a time to investigate the monies disbursed to these civil society and NGOs, the disbursements to the heads of these organizations, their purchase of property, business interests, shares etc for that will reveal another dark side to these so-called humanitarian angels.

 

 

 

Sri Lanka : Lessons to learn from Muslims and Islam

July 22nd, 2014

 Shenali D Waduge

The Middle East is home to many faiths beside Islam. Yet strict laws govern how people behave. From public displays of holding hands to other forms of behavior are clearly identified as being unacceptable and taboo. In many of these Islamic countries a strict dress code prevails. Whatever laws declared have to be strictly followed to the word. Whether these laws, restrictions and regulations are correct, unfair or outdated for modern society is a different question. What needs to be said is that there are 57 nations in the world that declare themselves Islamic and even with other natives following different faiths living on their land, strict Islamic laws prevail giving open preference and privilege to Islam only. The question is why can that not be followed for other faiths as well given that countries like Sri Lanka it was entirely the Buddhist civilization that built up the nation? If the answers lie with the leaders ruling the country it is perhaps an opportune time to reverse the delayed justice that should have come with independence.

 Muslims are very clear when it comes to their faith. Their nations are very clear about their stand as well. People are divided accordingly as those who believe in the Islamic ideology and those who don’t. Muslim nations are also clear about not conferring policy making to those who do not believe in the Islamic ideology.

 The constitutions of the most Arab countries including Egypt, Syria, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, U.A.E. and Yemen refer to Sharia either as: A primary source of law or the source of law. Where the constitution describes Sharia as “The” principal source of legislation, the hierarchy implies that all other laws and statues must comply with the principles of Sharia. Islamic law “Shari`a” guarantees to non-Muslims “certain specifically stated rights beyond which they are not permitted to meddle in the affairs of the state because they do not subscribe to its ideology.” ONLY IF they embrace the Islamic faith, they “become equal participants in all matters concerning the state and the government.” In the context of Sri Lanka, it is impossible to get any Minister to even declare Sri Lanka as a predominately Buddhist country!

 There are 4 Islamic schools of jurisprudence : Hanifites, Malikites, Shafi`ites and the Hanbilites (strictest and most fundamentalist). These 4 Islamic schools of jurisprudence interpret laws from Qur’an, Hadith, Al-Qiyas & Ijma’  

Islamic states define non-Muslims as

1) Dar-ul-Harbor

2)Dar-us-Salam.

 Dar-us-Salam are divided into 3 categories

a) Zimmis (non-Muslims who live in Muslim countries and who agree to pay Jizya (tribute tax) in exchange for protection and safety. Zakat is a tax collected from Muslim citizens; jizyah was the tax collected from adult, male, non-Muslim citizens. 

b) Hudna (non-Muslims who sign a peace treaty with Muslims after being defeated by war and agree to be subject to Islamic jurisprudence

c) Musta’min (non-Muslims who come to Islamic countries as messengers, merchants, visitors

 It is clear that ‘muliticulturalism’ is the faultline for non-Muslim nations to be suffering a spate of incursions. There will be many to argue against this citing various verses taken from the holy texts however, people are aware that in practice no church, kovil or Buddhist temple can be put up in the Middle East while taking a religious symbol is taboo as well. Nevertheless, mushrooming mosques, madrassas are springing up in all ‘multicultural’ countries globally.

·         Zimmis are not allowed to build new churches, temples, or synagogues. They are allowed to renovate old churches or houses of worship provided they do not allow to add any new construction. “Old churches” are those which existed prior to Islamic conquests and are included in a peace accord by Muslims. Construction of any church, temple, or synagogue in the Arab Peninsula (Saudi Arabia) is prohibited. It is the land of the Prophet and only Islam should prevail there. Yet, Muslims, if they wish, are permitted to demolish all non-Muslim houses of worship in any land they conquer.

·         Zimmis are not allowed to pray or read their sacred books out loud at home or in churches, lest Muslims hear their prayers.

·         Zimmis are not allowed to print their religious books or sell them in public places and markets. They are allowed to publish and sell them among their own people, in their churches and temples

·         Zimmis are not allowed to install the cross on their houses or churches since it is a symbol of infidelity

·         Zimmis are not permitted to broadcast or display their ceremonial religious rituals on radio or television or to use the media or to publish any picture of their religious ceremonies in newspaper and magazines.

·         Zimmis are not allowed to congregate in the streets during their religious festivals; rather, each must quietly make his way to his church or temple

·         Zimmis and Muslims are subject to the same civic laws. They are to be treated alike in matters of honor, theft, adultery, murder, and damaging property. They have to be punished in accordance with the Islamic law regardless of their religious affiliation. Zimmis and Muslims alike are subject to Islamic laws in matters of civic business, financial transactions such as sales, leases, firms, establishment of companies, farms, securities, mortgages, and contracts. For instance, theft is punishable by cutting off the thief’s hand whether he is a Muslim or a Christian. But when it comes to privileges, the Zimmis do not enjoy the same treatment. For instance,Zimmis are not issued licenses to carry weapons.

·         A Muslim male can marry a Zimmi girl, but a Zimmi man is not allowed to marry a Muslim girl. If a woman embraces Islam and wants to get married, her non-Muslim father does not have the authority to give her away to her bridegroom. She must be given away by a Muslim guardian.

·         If one parent is a Muslim, children must be raised as Muslims. If the father is a Zimmi and his wife converts to Islam, she must get a divorce; then she will have the right of custody of her child. 

·         Zimmis cannot testify against Muslims. They can only testify against other Zimmis or Musta’min. Their oaths are not considered valid in an Islamic court. According to the Shari`a, a Zimmi is not even qualified to be under oath.  “The testimony of a Zimmi is not accepted because Allah – may He be exalted – said: `God will not let the infidels (kafir) have an upper hand over the believers’.” A Zimmi, regarded as an infidel, cannot testify against any Muslim regardless of his moral credibility.

·         On personal matters of marriages, divorces, and inheritance, Zimmis are allowed to appeal to their own religious courts. Each Christian denomination has the right and authority to determine the outcome of each case.Zimmis are free to practice their own social and religious rites at home and in church without interference from the state, even in such matters as drinking wine, rearing pigs, and eating pork, as long as they do not sell them to Muslims. 

·         The Islamic state is an ideological state, thus the head of the state inevitably must be a Muslim, because he is bound by the Shari`a to conduct and administer the state in accordance with the Qur’an and the Sunna. The function of his advisory council is to assist him in implementing the Islamic principles and adhering to them. Anyone who does not embrace Islamic ideology cannot be the head of state or a member of the council. (Why is there such a commotion about a Buddhist head of state in Sri Lanka)

A Muslim is not allowed to:

·         emulate the Zimmis in their dress or behavior.

·         attend Zimmi festivals or support them in any way which may give them any power over Muslims.

·         lease his house or sell his land for the construction of a church, temple, liquor store, or anything that may benefit the Zimmi’s faith.

·         work for Zimmis in any job that might promote their faith such as constructing a church.

·         make any endowment to churches or temples.

·         carry any vessel that contains wine, work in wine production, or transport pigs.

·                              address Zimmis with any title such as: “my master” or “my lord.”

A Muslim is allowed to:

·         financially assist the Zimmis, provided the money is not used in violation of Islamic law like buying wine or pork.

·         give the right of pre-emption (priority in buying property) to his Zimmi neighbor. The Hanbilites disapprove of this.

·         eat food prepared by the People of the Book.

·         console the Zimmis in an illness or in the loss of a loved one. It is also permissible for a Muslims to escort a funeral to the cemetery, but he has to walk in front of the coffin, not behind it, and he must depart before the deceased is buried.

·         congratulate the Zimmis for a wedding, birth of a child, return from a long trip, or recovery from illness. However, Muslims are warned not to utter any word which may suggest approval of the Zimmis’ faith, such as:“May Allah exalt you,” “May Allah honor you,” or “May Allah give your religion victory.”

 Muslim states do not allow conversion from Islam

If Shariah is meant to uphold Islamic values and non-Muslims have no right to change that status quo, should Sri Lanka’s right to uphold Buddhist values not be given the same status quo? When Muslim nations are very clear about the state of Islam in their nations why are non-Muslim leaders wavering?

 Let us give a few examples. No sooner Shariah law was implemented in Brunei, non-Muslims were banned from using 19 Islamic words. Allah, Azan (call to prayer), baitullah, mosque, Al Quran, fatwa, mufti, masjid, imam, shariah law, ilahi…the punishment is $4000 fine or a year in prison or even death by stoning. Muslims cannot leave their children with a non-Muslim baby sitter.

In Malaysia non-Muslims are also forbidden to use the word Allah. Some states in Malaysia have banned 32 religious words. These laws may not be written in the Koran or even advocated by Mohammed however, it is clear that laws prevail and non-Muslims have no choice but to follow them.

 Many Muslims often argue that non-Muslims are unaware of what Islam is. Even Shariah forbids it being imposed on the unwilling. If such is so and the ‘unwilling’ element is a key component why have non-Muslim nations suddenly agreed to apply halal logos/labels, pay exorbitant taxes to Islamic private institutes? Why have state and commercial banks agreed to adopt shariah banking and other Islamic relevant statutes into non-Muslim societies of late? Are these new entities introduced and implemented to non-Muslim societies and non-Muslim majority nations established by non-Muslims or have Muslims demanded these to run parallel to the laws governing the country?

 If the ‘unwilling’ component is very much part of Shariah why are Muslim political parties and Muslim representatives making such a fuss when the majority populace in Sri Lanka do not wish to have halal logos/slogans, shariah banking etc for these did not prevail formerly. Archaic laws brought in by British to create mischief should have been changed by post-independent governments and if such has not been done it is time to. Muslim nations with their laws strictly in preference to Muslims cannot fuss. Muslims themselves say that Shariah need not be accepted if it is ‘unwilling’ as Shariah forbids ‘compulsion’ (there is no compulsion in religion 2:257). Shariah also obliges Muslims to be loyal to their nation of residence!

 There is a contention that non-Muslims do not understand the basic principles of Sharia law and it is said that there is no true Sharia-compliant country in the Islamic world as well because Muslims leaders themselves are guilty of picking verses as they see fit to declare their own edicts just as non-Muslims themselves are to argue cases of incursions. The fact remains that with Muslims themselves confused about the understanding of their own religion giving rise to factions and frictions tearing the Middle East and Muslims apart, the lack of understanding by non-Muslims cannot be blamed for the chaos.

 What needs to also be said and the argument relevant to this discussion is that Islamic nations and Muslims take pains to defend their religion and their space and stand firmly for what they are taught to believe in. From the ordinary Muslim to the Muslim leader, politician and cleric they are all very clear about the place of Islam. No bribe, no commission, no favors will ever make a Muslim or Muslim nation compromise or sacrifice the status of Islam. No Muslim nation will ever part with Islamic space or Islamic territory. No Muslim political leaders will ever compromise on Muslim rights though verbally they will preach co-existence.

 There are Muslims that come to defend Islam. They write, issue statements, organizations are aplenty defending Islam, forums are many where Muslims gather. Inspite of the Islamic world being the poorest and illiterate the Muslims always help Muslims, their charities are generally all diverted for Muslim causes, even the halal tax system is generated to build a Muslim fund for Muslims. These are all lessons that non-Muslims can take a leaf from. Islamic nations are all very clear about the state of Islam and non-Muslims have to also follow the laws without fuss and anyone unwilling to follow can always leave the Middle East. It is because the Islamic world has clearly made their rules and requirements clear both Muslims and non-Muslims know how to follow them and what the repercussions are when they don’t.

 What needs to next be said is that if non-Muslims cannot do the same of their own religion it is not the fault of Islam or Muslims.  

 Shenali D Waduge

Scott Morrison attacks critics of Sri Lanka

July 22nd, 2014

by:DENNIS SHANAHAN and Jared Owens- Courtesy The Australian

July 12, 2014
 
Senate Hearing Border Protection
Angus Campbell praised ‘the policy settings of both the current and former governments’ for stemming the flow of boats. Source: News Corp Australia
 
SCOTT Morrison has lashed out at increasingly shrill’’ critics of Sri Lanka, accusing asylum-seeker advocates of using boatpeople to pursue a political agenda of internationally isolating the once war-torn nation.
 
On his return from Sri Lanka yesterday, the Immigration Minister said that isolating Sri Lanka would only harm economic growth and increase the prospect of more people-smuggler boats coming to Australia
Mr Morrison said advocacy for asylum-seekers was being used as a ‘’very negative platform on Sri Lanka itself’’ to turn the ­nation into a pariah. The ultimate aim of some is to isolate Sri Lanka which is not only dangerous, arrogant and indulgent but smacks of moral colonialism,’’ Mr Morrison said.
It is offensive to suggest that people being returned to Sri Lanka, most of whom are economic refugees, face persecution. It is even more offensive to India to suggest Sri Lankans, Sinhalese or Tamils returned to India would face persecution.’’
All but a very few’’ of the 41 asylum-seekers — 37 Sinhalese and four Tamils — returned to Sri Lanka after being seized by Australian Navy and Customs had been released from custody. Those still in custody were being questioned.
 
The Abbott government’s policy of intercepting boats from Sri Lanka or India outside Australian waters and returning them is being challenged in the High Court by asylum-seeker advocates. Mr Morrison said the Australian government’s policy was to treat Sri Lanka with a policy of practical engagement, which was the same policy as former Labor Foreign Minister Bob Carr.
We raise human rights issues where there is a need, but the economic growth in Sri Lanka has affirmed our view of working constructively and supportively with Sri Lanka,’’ Mr Morrison said.
He said Sri Lanka did not deserve the torrent of abuse.
 
Operation Sovereign Borders commander Angus Campbell, appearing before a Senate inquiry yesterday, praised the policy settings of both the current and former governments” for stemming the flow of boats from 48 a month last July to five in October and November.
It was decided even that small number was unsustainable and the government began towing boats back to Indonesia from mid-December. No ventures have departed in Indonesia since early May 2014, there have been no known deaths at sea since 9 December 2013 and no deaths at all in Australia’s territorial waters since Operation Sovereign Borders began,” he told the inquiry.
Australian law enforcement had assisted the arrests of 204 suspects, including 49 alleged organisers and 34 alleged facilitators of people-smuggling, as well as the disruption of 44 ventures.
The Department of Immigration told the inquiry that between July last year and June 19, 317 detainees were returned to home countries: 245 Iranians, 27 Iraqis, 17 Lebanese, 15 Vietnamese, four Bangladeshis, three Indians, two Pakistanis, two Sri Lankans and two Sudanese.
 

Ukrainian Su-25 fighter detected in close approach to MH17 before crash – Moscow

July 21st, 2014

Courtesy RT

Image courtesy of the Russian Defense Ministry

Image courtesy of the Russian Defense Ministry

The Russian military detected a Ukrainian SU-25 fighter jet gaining height towards the MH17 Boeing on the day of the catastrophe. Kiev must explain why the military jet was tracking the passenger airplane, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

Follow Malaysia Airlines MH17 plane crash in Ukraine LIVE UPDATES

A Ukraine Air Force military jet was detected gaining height, it’s distance from the Malaysian Boeing was 3 to 5km,” said the head of the Main Operations Directorate of the HQ of Russia’s military forces, Lieutenant-General Andrey Kartopolov speaking at a media conference in Moscow on Monday.

[We] would like to get an explanation as to why the military jet was flying along a civil aviation corridor at almost the same time and at the same level as a passenger plane,” he stated.

The SU-25 fighter jet can gain an altitude of 10km, according to its specification,” he added. It’s equipped with air-to-air R-60 missiles that can hit a target at a distance up to 12km, up to 5km for sure.”

The presence of the Ukrainian military jet can be confirmed by video shots made by the Rostov monitoring center, Kartopolov stated.

At the moment of the MH17 crash an American satellite was flying over the area of eastern Ukraine, according to Russia’s Defense Ministry. It urged the US to publish the space photos and data captured by it.

‘Ukrainian Buk missile system transported to militia-held area’

In addition, MH17 crashed within the operating zone of the Ukrainian army’s self-propelled, medium-range surface-to-air ‘Buk’ missile systems, the Russian general said.

We have space images of certain places where the Ukraine’s air defense was located in the southeast of the country,” Kartapolov noted.

The first three shots that were shown by the general are dated July 14. The images show Buk missile launch systems in about 8km northwest of the city of Lugansk – a TELAR and two TELs, according to the military official.
Another image shows a radar station near Donetsk.

Radar stations of the air defense in Donetsk Region, 5km north of Donetsk city, on July 14, 2014.Photo courtesy of the Russian Defense Ministry

Radar stations of the air defense in Donetsk Region, 5km north of Donetsk city, on July 14, 2014.Photo courtesy of the Russian Defense Ministry

While the third picture shows the location of the air defense systems near Donetsk, he explained. In particular, one can clearly see a TELAR launcher and about 60 military and auxiliary vehicles, tents for vehicles and other structures, he elaborated.

Buk missile defense units in Donetsk Region, 5km north of Donetsk city, on July 14, 2014.Photo courtesy of the Russian Defense Ministry

Buk missile defense units in Donetsk Region, 5km north of Donetsk city, on July 14, 2014.Photo courtesy of the Russian Defense Ministry

Images from this area were also made on July 17. One should notice that the missile launcher is absent [from the scene]. Image number five shows the Buk missile system in the morning of the same day in the area of settlement Zaroschinskoe – 50km south of Donetsk and 8km south of Shakhtyorsk,” the Kartapolov said

 

No Buk missile defense units in Donetsk Region, 5km north of Donetsk city, on July 17, 2014.Photo courtesy of the Russian Defense Ministry

No Buk missile defense units in Donetsk Region, 5km north of Donetsk city, on July 17, 2014.Photo courtesy of the Russian Defense Ministry

Buk missile defense units in Zaroschinskoe, 50km south of Donetsk city and 8km south of Shakhtyorsk, on July 17, 2014.Photo courtesy of the Russian Defense Ministry

Buk missile defense units in Zaroschinskoe, 50km south of Donetsk city and 8km south of Shakhtyorsk, on July 17, 2014.Photo courtesy of the Russian Defense Ministry

The question that has to be answered is why the missile system appeared in the area controlled by the local militia forces shortly before the catastrophe, he stated.

Images taken on July 18 show that the missile systems left the area of the MH17 crash, the military official said.

Kartapolov also pointed to the fact that on the day of the plane crash Ukraine’s military increased activity on the part of Ukraine’s Kupol-M1 9S18 radars, which are part of the Buk system.

..there were 7 radars operating on July 15, 8 radars operating on July 16, and 9 radars operating on July 17 in the area. Then, starting with July 18, the intensity of radar activities radically decreased, and now there are no more than two or three radars operating a day. The reason behind this is yet to be found.”

In response to Moscow’s evidence, Kiev said on Monday it had proof the missile that brought down a Malaysian airliner last week came from Russia.

There is evidence that the missile which struck the plane was fired by terrorists, who received arms and specialists from the Russian Federation,” spokesman for Ukraine’s Security Council Andrey Lysenko told a news conference. “To disown this tragedy, [Russia] are drawing a lot of pictures and maps. We will explore any photos and other plans produced by the Russian side.”

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on Monday that Kiev has strong evidence” of the causes of the MH17 crash.

We know exactly the place [the surface-to-air missile was] launched, we know exactly the place where it hit the civilian plane and the place where the plane crashed.

Kiev is ready to hand the information to the international investigation commission, according to the presidential press-service.

සත්‍ය මරා දමා මතු පරපුර මරා නොදමන්න – ඇමති චම්පික රණවක -

July 21st, 2014

මාධ්‍ය අංශය තාක්ෂණ හා පර්යේෂණ අමාත්‍යාංශය

•    මාධ්‍ය හලාල්කරණය නවතනු
•    ජිහාඩ් ගොබෙල්ස්වාදයෙන් රට රැක නොගතහොත් අනාගතයේ සෑම ශ්‍රී ලාංකිකයෙකුටම ලේ වලින් වන්දි ගෙවන්න සිදුවෙයි
•    බෞද්ධ භික්ෂුවගේ කැපවීම මත මේ රටේ මුස්ලිම් කාන්තාවට නිදහස් අධ්‍යාපනය හා නිදහස් ඡන්ද අයිතිය හිමිවූ බව දැන් අමතක      වෙලා

මෙරට බෞද්ධ භික්ෂූන් වහන්සේ අති විශාල ජයග්‍රහණ ගණනාවක් මේ රටට ලබාදුනි. විශේෂයෙන්ම අවිහිංසාවාදී අරගලය මගින් ජනතාව තුළ ජාතිය ආගම හා ශාසනය පිළිබඳ අළුත් කැක්කුමක් ඇති කර වාද විවාද මගින්, තර්කය මගින් ප්‍රතිවාදීන් දණ ගස්සවා ඉදිරියට යන්න අපට මඟක් පෙන්වා දුන්හ. මෙරට නිදහස් අධ්‍යාපනය, නිදහස් සෞඛ්‍ය සේවය හා නිදහස් ඡන්ද ක්‍රමය වෙනුවෙන් අපේ ස්වාමීන් වහන්සේලා කළ සේවය අනූපමේය විය. මෙරට නිදහස් සර්වජන ඡන්ද අයිතිය ලබාදීමට භික්ෂුන් වහන්සේලා ක්‍රියාකිරීම මෙරට ඉතිහාසයේ මහ පෙරළියක් කළ සිදුවීමක් විය. එහිදී සිංහල භික්ෂු වංශයේ කාර්ය භාර්ය තීරණාත්මකව වෙනස් කළ චරිතයක් ලෙස වල්පොල රාහුල ස්වාමීන් වහන්සේ හඳුන්වාදිය හැකි බව අමාත්‍ය චම්පික රණවක මහතා සඳහන් කර සිටී. අමාත්‍යවරයා මේ බව සඳහන් කර සිටියේ වල්පොල රාහුල ස්වාමීන්වහන්සේගේ ගුණානුස්මරණය වෙනුවෙන් ඊයේ(20) ධර්ම විජය පදනම් ශ්‍රවණාගාරයේ පැවති උත්සවයකට සහභාගී වෙමිනි.

එහිදී වැඩිදුරටත් අදහස් දැක්වූ අමාත්‍යවරයා, මෙරටට සර්වජන ඡන්ද ක්‍රමය හඳුන්වාදීමට සූදානම් වූ අවස්ථාවේ රටේ සම්ප්‍රදායික දේශපාලන පවුල්වල ජාතික නායකයන් යැයි කියන හැම දෙනෙක්ම මෙම සර්ව ජන ඡන්ද  අයිතියට එරෙහි වූ අතර ජාතික සංගමයේ සිටි සේනානායකලා රාමනාදන්ලා සියළුම දෙනා සර්වජන ඡන්ද අයිතිය අපේ ජනතාවට ස්ත්‍රී පුරුෂ භේදයකින් තොරව, කුල මල භේදයකින් තොරව ලැඛෙනවාට විරුද්ධ වුහ. එකල මුස්ලිම් ව්‍යාපාර එකතුවී කාන්තාවන්ට ඡන්ද අයිතිය ලබානොදිය යුතු යැයි විශාල විරෝධතා ව්‍යාපාරයක් දියත් කළ අතර එම උත්සාහයද අපේ ස්වාමීන් වහන්සේලා මැදිහත් වී මැඩලීය.

ජාතික ව්‍යාපාරයේ තීරණාත්මක කඩඉම සකස් කළේ වල්පොල රාහුල ස්වාමීන් වහන්සේය. අද බුද්ධිමත් යැයි කියනා පිරිස්, විශේෂඥ යැයි කියනා පිරිස් ප්‍රකාශ කරන්නේ භික්ෂු ශාසනයේ පිරිහීමට මුල් වූයේ වල්පොල රාහුල ස්වාමීන් වහන්සේ භික්ෂුවට දේශපාලනය කිරීම කැප යැයි ලියූ කෘතියත්, විද්‍යාලංකාරයේ යක්කඩුවේ ප්‍රඤ්ඤාරාම ස්වාමීන් වහන්සේ වැනි භික්ෂූන් වහන්සේලා ගෙනගිය අරගලයන් නිසාය. එය අමූලික අසත්‍යයකි. ශ්‍රී ලාංකීය භික්ෂු වංශය සෑම අවස්ථාවකම රටේ ඒකීය භාවය හා රට රැකගැනීම සඳහා ධාර්මිකව ඉදිරිපත් වී තිබේ.
අපේ ඉංග්‍රීසි ජනමාධ්‍යවල, පුවත්පත්වල, වෙබ් අඩවිවල  බොහෝ දෙනෙක් අද බෞද්ධයන් කෝප ගැන්වීමට ඒ තුළින් ගැටුම් අවුළුවීමට උත්සාහ දරමින් සිටී. අද මේ රට තුළ බෞද්ධ ත්‍රස්තවාදයක් නැති බව බොහෝ දෙනෙක් දන්නා නමුත් ඇතැම් අන්තවාදී මාධ්‍යෙවිදීන් උත්සාහ දරන්නේ බෞද්ධ ත්‍රස්තවාදයක්, භික්ෂු ත්‍රස්තවාදයක් අද මේ රට තුළ ඇතිබව පවසමින් ජනතාව තුළ බියක් පැතිරවීමටයි. අළුත්ගම සිදුවූ සිදුවීම නිවැරදිව වාර්තා නොවුන නිසා, වාර්තාකරණය කරන්න ඉඩ නොදුන් නිසා සහ යටපත් කරපු නිසා අපේ මේ බෞද්ධ භික්ෂූන් වහන්සේ යක්ෂාවේෂ පිරිසක්ය යන මතය ලෝකය පුරා පතුරුවාලීමට මේ පිරිස් කටයුතු කළහ. අද ජනමාධ්‍යයත් හලාල් කරණයට ලක් වී තිබේ. මුස්ලිම්වරුන්ට පක්ෂ නොවන ජනමාධ්‍ය වර්ජනය කිරීමට අද මුස්ලිම් ජනයා පෙළඹී තිබේ. අද මේ සඳහා ශූරා, ජමියතුල්ලා උලෙයිමාන් වැනි කවුන්සිල බිහිවී තිබේ. ජිහාඩ් ගොෙබෙල්ස්වාදයෙන් රට රැක නොගතහොත් අනාගතයේ සෑම ශ්‍රී ලාංකිකයෙකුටම ලේ වලින් වන්දි ගෙවන්න සිදුවන බව අමාත්‍යතුමා පවසයි.

අළුත්ගම වූ සත්‍ය සිදුවීම ලෝකයෙන් වසන්කොට බෞද්ධයන් ත්‍රස්තවාදී පිරිසක් යැයි මතවාදයක් ඇති කිරීමට කටයුතු කිරීම ගැන අප කණගාටු විය යුතුයි. අද ජනතාව අතර ත්‍රස්වාදයක් පිළිබඳ අනිසි බියක් ඇති කොට තිඛෙන අතර අපි බෞද්ධයෝ හැටියට මේ රටේ මුස්ලිම් ජනතාවට වගකීමෙන් ප්‍රකාශ කළ යුතුයි කිසිම බෞද්ධ සන්නද්ධ ව්‍යාපාරයක් මුස්ලිම් ජනයාට එරෙහිව නැති බව. මේ රටේ බෞද්ධ භික්ෂූන් වහන්සේලාගේ කැපවීම මත මේ රටේ මුස්ලිම් කාන්තාවන්ට නිදහස් අධ්‍යාපනය ලැබීමට, නිදහස් ඡන්දය ප්‍රකාශ කිරීමට අවස්ථාව උදාවිය. ඒ සඳහා මේ රටේ කිසිම මුස්ලිම් නායකයෙක් ඉදිරිපත් නොවීය. 70% ක් මුස්ලිම්වරු ජීවත්වන එක රටකවත් ආගමික නිදහස නොමැති අතර ඒ හැම රටකම ත්‍රස්තවාදය ක්‍රියාත්මක වේ. සෑම ජාතිකයෙකුටම සාමකාමීව, සහජීවනයෙන් ජීවත්වීමට මේ රට තරම් අගනා රටක් නොමැති අතර බොරු බියවැද්දීම්වලට බය වී අන්තවාදයේ ගොදුරු බවට පත්නොවන ලෙස අප මුස්ලිම් ජනතාවගෙන් ඉල්ලා සිටින බවද අමාත්‍ය චම්පික රණවක මහතා වැඩි දුරටත් සඳහන් කර සිටියේය.

Secretary Defence declares opens Pilgrims Rest at Girihandu Seya

July 21st, 2014

Gamini Sarath Godakanda

Secretary Defence and Urban Development Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared open the newly constructed pilgrims Rest cost over Rs. Seven Million, at the Girihandu Seya Temple premises in Thiriyaya at the invitation of the Senior Presidential Advisor, Mr. Milinda Moragoda. The “Urumayaka Ulpatha” Foundation coordinated the entire process in collaboration with the Ministry of Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs and the Department of Archaeology to make the noble concept a successful one.

Mr. Rajapaksa unveiled a commemorative plaque to mark the occasion amidst the blessings of the Maha Sanga. Most venerable Kotugoda Dhammawasa Anunayake Thero,  Amarapura Sanga Sabawa presided over the religious proceedings during the opening ceremony. Mr. Milinda Moragoda appreciated design for Mr. Ashley de Vos, construction was undertaken by Civil Defence Force personnel, funding support from the John Keells Foundation and CTC Corporate Social Responsibility and furniture supplied by Trance International.  During the terrorist conflict pilgrims were unable to visit the Girihandu Seya as the region faced immense threat from terrorist activity. Since the end of war the area has been cleared by the security forces and now hundreds of people from around the country visit here.

Girihandu Seya Situated in the Thiriyaya region of the Trincomalee District is located atop a 212ft rock near the Yan Oya estuary. According to the annals of history, on the 50th day of enlightenment of Lord Buddha, Thappassu and Balluka offered bees-honey as alms and listened to the Dhamma upon which they became the first devotees of the Buddha. In order to perform their prayers a deposit of Lord Buddha’s omniscient hair was offered. As traders, they journeyed far and wide crossing oceans to reach distant lands. It is on such a journey that they landed on the Eastern coast of Sri Lanka and placed the revered omniscient hair in a place atop the Girikanda rock, which later came to be known as Girihandu Seya. Thus, it is said that Girihandu Seya is the first Stupa in Sri Lanka.

Devinuwara Chandima Thero Girihandu Seya Temple delivered anusasana at the ceremony and Mr. R. A. D. Sirisena General Secretary ‘’Urumayaka Ulpatha” Foundation,  Members of Parliament, Commander Security Forces East Maj Gen Lal Perera, high ranking officials of the tri forces, and state officials were also present.

Secretary Defence declares opens Pilgrims Rest at Girihandu Seya

pic 01 – Secretary Defence declares opens Pilgrims Rest at Girihandu Seya

A tale of two Afghans…

July 21st, 2014

Of drug-lords, refugees, asylum and an unyielding UNHCR   BY ZAHRAH IMTIAZ Courtesy Ceylontoday

A woman has been sitting at the security entrance to the front office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), for the past 24 hours, teary eyed, but determined. By her side, a man consoles her. The security officers at the gate had asked them to leave, as they would not be let into the office at any time soon.
 
“She has been listed as a refugee for the past two years and we have been living in Sri Lanka all of that time. But our situation has become critical now, our lives are in danger, we need to be settled somewhere safe,” said the man. This is the story every refugee and asylum seeker comes out with but this man, Ahmed, insisted that their case is special.
Ahmed introduced the woman as his wife, Rehana, and said they had come to the office at about 3:00 p.m. on Thursday (10) to meet the Commissioner but was not granted an audience. But they had decided to camp outside the office until their case was heard. Ahmed said they spent a difficult night on the chairs outside of the security checkpoint. He said the security had been asked to remove the table fan kept there and that they were asked not to use the toilets at the UNHCR.
 
“We went to the mosque close by to get some food and to use the toilet. But we slept outside with the mosquitoes biting us. They have treated us quite badly here,” said Ahmed.
Ahmed and Rehana arrived in Sri Lanka on 22 December 2012 and registered at the UNHCR soon afterwards. It was only Rehana who was given refugee status, while Ahmed was denied the facility. Though Rehana’s documents could be processed, she said she will not leave until Ahmed’s papers are processed along with hers. She is here, fighting for Ahmed.
 
When Ahmed was asked why their lives were in danger, he said powerful men were looking for Rehana and that they wanted to kill her. He said they had been attacked thrice in Sri Lanka and that they were afraid to go to the police.
When asked why they would be attacked, Ahmed narrated Rehana’s story.
Rehana lived in the outskirts of Kandahar, her mother passed away when she was young, so her stepmother raised her, mistreating her all her life. “She had been beaten with an iron-rod on her head, she still has headaches as a result of it,” said Ahmed.
 
When she turned 18, her stepmother sold her to a powerful drug lord for 100,000 AFN. The drug lord was not only over 50 years old, he was already married to three other women. Rehana would be his fourth wife. Hearing of her impending nuptials, her neighbours had informed her that her future husband was a cruel man.
“I was tortured by my stepmother all my life, so I thought my life would be better once I got married. When I found out what my stepmother had done, I realized my life would not change. It would be the same. I told myself, I will take the risk and escape, if I survive, I will have a better life,” said Rehana.
In Afghanistan, a woman is not permitted to travel on her own and if she was caught, she would be severely punished. So she went from one house to the other, in search of a male escort to get her to Kabul. At the 6th house, she met Ahmed. In the meantime, her fiancé, who was quite annoyed that his prize had escaped, was looking for her, to save his honour and kill her.
 
“When I met her, I knew I had to help her so I agreed to take her to Kabul. She did not tell me her story then, I did not know that she was on the run or who she was”, interjected Ahmed.
Ahmed agreed to take Rehana to safety. They left for Kabul but soon found out they were being followed, so they proceeded to Karachi in Pakistan. As Afghans need not carry a passport in Pakistan, they slipped in quite easily.
When Ahmed called home from Pakistan, to his surprise, his family announced they would no longer support him and that he should never return home,
“They said I had betrayed the family by helping this unknown woman and had also caused trouble between our two tribes. I also found out that in my absence, the drug lord had spread various rumours about me and dishonoured me. He had also taken steps to destroy my business, I realized that I could never go back; he would kill me if I did. I was a rich man in Kandahar, I was the owner of a Construction and logistics company, it is all gone now,” lamented Ahmed.
 
Ahmed and Rehana were thus bound to each other. By a strange twist of fate, the stranger who agreed to help would become her companion for life.

On 4 October 2012, they found lodging at the Christian organization, YMCA, in Karachi but Ahmed said they never ventured out of the building, in fear that the drug-lord’s aides would find them there. After three months, they ran out of options, so the two sold their valuables, had fake passports made and left for Sri Lanka. They hoped if they registered with the UNHCR here they would be given safe haven in another country.
 
For the first three months in Sri Lanka, all went well. They rented an apartment in Mt Lavinia. “We chose an expensive neighbourhood because we thought we would be safe there. All our money was spent on rent. We have no furniture, we sleep on the floor and mostly eat bread and water,” said Ahmed when asked why they chose to live there.
When Rehana registered as a refugee, she was given a stipend of Rs 16,500 a month with which all expenses had to be covered. Ahmed said they had taken an advance for the apartment, and this pushed them into severe financial stress. “For the first six months, Rehana’s aunty in the US sent us money. Then she stopped, I think she could not afford to keep sending money. She even stopped calling, I think she is afraid, Rehana would want to go there and then she would have to look after her too. Hence, we are finding it difficult to manage with what we get now,” said Ahmed.
 
Ahmed was denied refugee status but he said, he too had been victimized and cannot go back. The UNHCR had then asked them to get married in order to file their papers together. It has been six months since they had done so, but the UNHCR has not yet informed them of the current status of their application.
 
When Rehana was asked about marrying Ahmed, she said,
“The first time too they forced me to get married and I evaded but then it came up a second time. This time I could not refuse. We got married. Ahmed has sacrificed so much for me, I cannot leave without him”. She added that it was not Ahmed she had a problem with but the manner, in which her marriage had taken place,
“I had so many dreams of how my wedding would be like. I wanted to get married with the blessing of my friends and family. This is not how a wedding or marriage should take place. I would have married him anyway but I wanted to wait until we were more stable and we were actually happy to do so”.
 
Not a moment of happiness
Ahmed is keenly aware of what Rehana has gone through. “She has suffered all her life. She is an adult now and she says she has never known a moment of happiness. How is that possible?” he asked.
Ahmed continued, “In Afghanistan, saving someone’s life is not justified. They think if a woman escapes from her home, she must be a bad woman. I know Rehana, she is not a bad woman, she is peaceful, honourable and I respect her.”
 
He however, is saddened by the behaviour of his own family, “My family is educated and I thought they were modern but they are bound by their culture. Many girls are killed in Afghanistan but only few are reported. It is very easy to stone a woman to death there.”
 
Rehana had taken a great risk when she chose to leave to Kabul with Ahmed but Ahmed said she realized that he would not harm her, the first time they spoke to each other.
When Ahmed was asked whether he regretted helping Rehana, he said,
“At times, I miss my life in Kandahar. I lived a life of luxury there, unlike here. But I am proud that I saved someone’s life, I hope others too would have the guts to do the same. There are both good and bad people out there. In Afghanistan, not all are bad. There are men who are activists for women’s rights and most people agree that women should be educated; it would be good for Afghanistan. I used to tell my friends and family that we should change, that we must not oppress women. Our religion does not say that and now I have put my life at risk to prove that.”
 
While they were sorting out issues with the UNHCR, in March of 2013, cronies of the Afghan drug lord tracked them down, “We have been attacked thrice in our time here. They are getting closer, the last time was the worst,” he said. Rehana next to him claimed, “how can we be patient any longer? They will kill us or rape me the next time.”
A few months ago, while Rehana was out grocery shopping, she was stopped by four men who identified themselves as officials of the Department of Immigration in Sri Lanka. They informed her that her husband had been arrested and that she should accompany them, “Rehana was in shock, she just stood there, so they took her to their car,” said Ahmed.
 
They tied her up and when she tried to escape, they shoved her to the back of the car and drove away. Rehana recalled that they were driving away from Colombo and were stopped at a traffic light in Panadura, when a few Muslim men in the car behind noticed that there was a woman trussed up at the back. They had approached the driver and started to argue. Rehana, who saw an opportunity to escape, had jumped out of the car. She then found a house in Panadura and begged for a phone call from the man at the house. The man had reluctantly let her do so. She called Ahmed from there and asked that he come get her. Ahmed in the meantime had been searching for her around town in a state of panic, “Our house owner was going to call the police when I received the call from Rehana,” he said.
Rehana and Ahmed suspect the Afghan drug lord to have been responsible for the attack. “He is a powerful man, and he has many contacts all over. To him, this is a matter of honour, if he does not kill us; he would be shamed in Afghanistan. He will go to any lengths to kill us, this is why we keep pleading to the UNHCR to send us away”, he said.
The UNHCR had asked them to lodge a complaint of the attacks to the police but Rehana is fearful of the police and thinks that Ahmed would be sent to a detention camp along with several other foreign men in the country.
Ahmed however, is worried about Rehana, “I fear for her every day. She has lost hope and become suicidal. I am afraid that she would kill herself if things are not sorted out soon”.
Ahmed and Rehana have asked the UNHCR to call for a medical report of her if they suspect their story, but thus far, they have not called for one.
 
Life in limbo
“I did not know it would be so hard to give up your whole life. It is not easy to get that back. Why can’t the UNHCR identify the most vulnerable cases?” asked Ahmed
Rehana in the meantime asked, “My heart is full, I cannot go on. Isn’t two years more than enough?”
Sri Lankan Immigration had asked the UNHCR to process applications as soon as possible; hence the couple want to know why the UNHCR was not doing so.
 
Ahmed justified the slow process with, “Maybe the junior staff here is not reporting our case properly to their seniors. We know of the rules, but we are vulnerable and need to be treated as such. I have come here so often that the security guard know me well. Even they feel sorry for treating us so badly but their orders come from higher up, they cannot do anything about it.”
The duo has also approached many embassies asking that they grant a visa but they have all turned them down. Ahmed said he had written emails to over 200 women’s rights organizations with regard to their plight but they have all asked them to approach the UNHCR.
 
Afghans are not allowed to work in the country thus their financial situation worsens by the day. In desperation, he asked, “I am disgusted with the UNHCR. We have lived in this country in peace, we have not violated any laws. We simply want to live without fear, is that not our basic human right?”
Rehana has never been to a school in her life but has started learning English from Ahmed. She is a determined woman said she would not leave the UNHCR until they decided her fate.
Ahmed on other hand hopes to become a women’s rights activist if he survives this ordeal, he said, “I am fighting for somebody’s life, my understanding tells me I have not done anything wrong. My Islam tells me that an adult woman has the right to choose her own husband, so how can they say I am wrong? My people have done enough wrong, it is time we change. Everyone needs to have a choice in life.”
 
In the meantime, they continue to sit outside the office of the UNHCR, refusing to budge, refugees standing up for each other, fighting for their rights, fighting for survival, fighting for each other’s freedom of choice.

USA- SERVING THE PEOPLE OF PAKISTAN

July 20th, 2014

ALI SUKHANVER

One of my favourite questions I ask my people is, Are you against the Aman Ki Asha?” Every time, I get the same answer wrapped up in astonishing bewilderment, Who says we are against the Aman Ki Asha? But favouring Aman Ki Asha does not mean selling our ego, self-respect and our basic human rights to India.

The desire of peace is appreciable but not at the cost of ones existence and at the terms of inequality.” Friendly relations with the neighboring countries must be the desire and wish of every Pakistani but as far as India is concerned, the role of India in developing cordial relationship with Pakistan has ever been very suspiciously silent and negatively passive. In the last 66 years, there had been not even a single moment when Pak-India relations could be labeled as cordial and peaceful.

There is always a state of war along the boundaries between the two countries. The Kashmir issue, the Kargil, the Sir Creek, the Indus Water Treaty and the Mumbai Attacks; the list of confronting and conflicting matters is very long. Though Pakistan has ever tried to normalize the situation so many times by giving positive gestures leading to confidence building measures but all its efforts remained futile and fruitless. India has never been desirous of peace and prosperity in Pakistan.

It is a proven fact that most of the separatists in Balochistan and the terrorists in the tribal areas of Pakistan are fully supported and sponsored by India. Even in Karachi, the law enforcement agencies have pointed out the presence of the Indian elements so many times. Instead of making things easier for Pakistan, India is trying to create more obstructions and hurdles by constructing dams on the rivers flowing towards Pakistan. But in spite of all these ‘mischievous activities’ the people of Pakistan went friendship with India if it brings a positive change in its behaviour.

It is also a fact is that India is not the country of only the Hindus; there are millions of Muslims who are the Indian nationals. Some static surveys say that the total number of the Muslims in India is far greater than the whole population of Pakistan. It is also true that the Muslims living in India are leading a miserable life. They are always maltreated, humiliated and degraded as the other minorities in India are but they have no other choice. If the people of Pakistan have sympathy with India; it is just because of their Muslim brothers there. If there were as many Muslims in USA as there are in India and they were leading a life of humiliation and degradation, the people of Pakistan might have the same inclination towards the US.

Another question I usually ask my people is about the presence of US behind the problems, social, political and economic which this nation has been facing since long. In response to my second question, the comments are always the same, very straight forward, very abrupt. ‘Yes-It is the US, the actual root-cause of all our adversity.’ This answer reflects that the people of Pakistan rank both India and America at the same place with a slight variation. There is another side of this story which is more interesting.

The Indian sponsored terrorist in the tribal areas of Pakistan say they are against the government of Pakistan and as well against the Pakistan Army because they both are looking after the American interests in the region. This blame makes the situation more intriguing. The US openly favours and supports Indian stance at every platform whether it is the issue of the Mumbai blasts or the terrorists attack on the Indian Embassy at Kabul. India keeps on creating hurdles for Pakistan by supporting the separatist elements in Balochistan and the terrorist elements in KPK and in the other tribal areas and the terrorists say they are against Pakistan because Pakistan is an ally of US in the war against terrorism. It is such a complicated story that no one has yet been able to get to the conclusion or to reach the solution.

The situation calls for a thorough analysis. When we look at the services and the favours of the US to the Pakistani nation, they are no doubt countless. The US is sponsoring so many projects in Pakistan which are directly linked with the welfare and betterment of the common people in Pakistan. US services for the people of Pakistan in the field of health, education, communication and transport are no doubt worth praising.

The USAID program is one of the most emphatic examples in this context. The USAID has set-up many schools in the far flung areas of Pakistan; so many water-treatment plants have been installed to make possible the supply of clean drinking water and above all are the efforts done for gender equality and women’s empowerment into all of its programming. The target is to increase opportunities for women’s participation in the labor force, expand girls’ access to quality basic education, improve maternal and child health, and promote women’s rights in political, economic, and social realms.

The US is doing a lot for the eradication of Polio virus from Pakistan. In short the list of services provided by the US government to the people of Pakistan is very long but on the other hand it supports and favours India in all of its anti-Pakistan activities. The question arises whether USA is playing a double game in the region?

The Pellucid Aspect Of Winning By Cheating By Passed With Capricious Rhetoric By The Cheaters! – Galle Test SHAME SOUTH AFRICA!

July 20th, 2014

Top Spin By Suni

July 21st 2014

As ludicrous and contentious as it sounds, there is a whole lot of rigmarolling going on in the aftermath of the Galle Test Match as the Proteas are patting themselves om their backs and crowing about a win over Sri Lanka whan in reality they cheated visibly through ball tampering by Vernon Philander whose exposure has come reluctanly and was caught on Camera. Remarkably it is not the first time an incident of  a similar nature has occurred remembering Paf Duplesis caught in the act and punished albeit lightly to say the least where Philander too seems to have got away lightly.
Hello!
Had it been a Sri Lankan involved in such a situation there surely would have been a lot more to it said and done and the hooing and haaing probably deafening where the double standard involved  seems somewhat apathetic.
 
It is also remarkably surprising that the Sri Lankan cricketing hierarchy including Captain Angelo Mathews have downplayed the seriousness of it all where it needs to be emphasized quoting from verifiable and credible  media reports that” Sri Lanka Cricket was only  able to ensure that the television footage of Vernon Philander’s ball-tampering was aired 48 hours after the incident took place. In the interim period, it has been established that the Ten Sports producers were under pressure by the South African team not to have the footage shown in their broadcast. CSA have declined to comment on the incident.
 In the TV footage that finally appeared during the closing stages of the Galle Test, Philander was seen scratching the ball with his fingers and thumb in the afternoon session of the third day. Philander dug his nails into the rough side of the ball at least twice and was also seen covering the ball with one hand while picking at it with the other. At the time of the incident, the pictures were only viewed by the Ten Sports production team and match officials. Ten Sports showed the pictures on day five at the end of the 69th over, shortly after the second session drinks break – within 20 minutes of an SLC official visiting the production team at the ground and making it clear they wanted the pictures broadcast.
 It followed almost two days of pressure by CSA and the South Africa team management on the TV producers to not air the footage as it could “create a negative image” of their team. When the television cameras had picked up images of Philander picking on the ball, they did not air the footage but alerted the ICC match referee Jeff Crowe, who viewed the footage at tea time. No message was sent to the on-field officials until the incident was reviewed after the day’s play. Philander was then charged, pleaded guilty and was fined but the pictures were not shown at all. A source in the know of the incident said, “CSA big-wigs made it clear they would not be happy if we showed the incident. Not broadcasting the pictures at the time of the incident also prevented the third umpire from viewing the footage, and precluded the possibility the third umpire would interrupt play as soon as evidence of ball-tampering emerged. As it transpired, South Africa used the ball Philander had tampered with till late in the evening session ” end of quote which goes to prove the effect such a tampering could have on the outcome of the game as well as the indifference on the part of some umpires to bring the issue and its perpetrator to task
 
All in all  it needs to be put into perspective regardless of the monies involved and the protocols related to broadcasting rights that if anyone cheats in a game in any manner where the outcome could end up in favour of his team as it appears to be the case here indisputably, this is not a victory for South Africa but a shame which should be highlighted and the laws of the game in all probabilities changed to incorporate the prevention of favourable outcomes through cheating bearing in mind that the quick bowlers after Philander’s ball tampering particularly Dale Steyn were able to swing, bounce and reverse swing the ball viciously causing the Sri Lanka collapse which surely looked like a win for Sri Lanka the way they were batting prior to the tampering.
As it turned out Steyn was ‘ cock – a –  hoop ‘ praising his mentor Donald and crowing away like a rooster who had mounted his first hen quite forgetting that there were eyes and shocked ones at that which viewed this win as a no contest which to all intents and purposes could have gone Sri Lanka’s way!
Even the semblance of doubt surrounding ball tampering and ( there was nuch more than that ) should have been dealt with where the Sri Lankans should have had the benefit of the doubt and as it was they did not!
 
Confirmation of this comes from the very words of Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews who has said  after the match  “that the ball had reverse-swung more on the third evening, than at a comparable stage of the innings on day five.
TV umpire Crowe was the only match official aware of the tampering before the close of play, but he is not allowed to present the footage he viewed to the umpires, while play is ongoing. All five match officials viewed the footage after stumps on day three, at which point the umpires laid the charge against Philander. SLC may have acted sooner, but were unaware of the pressure being placed by CSA until Sunday. When officials from the home side heard of the directive sent out to the producers, they insisted that Ten Sports show the footage and the producers had no choice but to relent. Ten Sports are broadcasting this series under SLC’s purview, as part of the $60 million deal the broadcast company had signed with the board, for coverage up to 2020. This is not the first skirmish between CSA and Ten Sports, which owns rights to broadcast South African cricket outside of South Africa on a basis of a R1.5 billion (US$150 million) contract.
 
Ten Sports also held the rights for Pakistan cricket during South Africa’s tour of the UAE last October-November when Faf du Plessis was caught on camera rubbing the ball near the zipper on his trouser pocket. The television umpire alerted the on-field officials who awarded five penalty runs to Pakistan and changed the ball. Du Plessis was later fined 50% of his match fee after pleading guilty to ball tampering. At the time, CSA responded furiously at Ten Sports’ coverage, one insider saying, “They (CSA) told us they would take away our rights and threatened to deny us player interviews in the future” so what kind of justice is there if the bourgeoisie are permitted to get away with what is tantamount to a cricketing felony and intimidatory threats are used to execute it?
 
That  Sri Lanka has not made any appreciable protests about the ball-tampering incident except to say they would like to see the umpires take stronger action as reported also comes as a surprise from a side that is normally vociferous  remembering  the belligerent Arjuna Ranatunga who would stop at little or nothing to see justice done and it seems a huge injustice here!  All that was offered sounded sheepish “It’s unfortunate when someone tampers with the ball. If they tamper with the ball, they get the better of it. I think the umpires need to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” coming from Mathews. Asked if he felt his side was cheated, Mathews was careful. “It’s not within the laws. You can’t tamper with the ball. It’s the umpires’ decision and they need to make sure it doesn’t happen again.” He also noted there was more reverse swing on the third afternoon than there was on the final day.
 
South Africa have tried to play down the incident. Dale Steyn’s first answer to whether the ball-tampering fine blighted the victory was, “I don’t really think about that,” and he followed it up with, “I think tomorrow morning in the papers it will say that we won this game regardless,( “regardless” because he has not had the nerve to say fairly and squarely which it wasn’t if the ball was tampered with!) so I don’t know what to say about that,” he said.
Sadly  the gentlemen’s game of today  at times  appears to be one played by cheats and crooks and the only way to remedy it surely through greater punitive action!

Beware of the forgotten and hidden dangers of cooking gas

July 20th, 2014

Dr Hector Perera          London

When we light the cooker, natural gas burns in oxygen to give out heat so that we can cook something using that heat. To begin with you need heat to burn this gas but once it is started, it gives out more heat that means burning gas is an endothermic reaction but it gives out more heat that means it is an overall exothermic reaction. Then according to physical chemistry the overall reaction of burning methane is an exothermic reaction because it uses little energy to start but gives out more heat. Normally this gas burns in oxygen giving out carbon dioxide and water in the form of vapour. In addition to these it gives out some other poisonous gases such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and also formaldehyde. These gases can cause you some respiratory problems such as asthma.

If there were children in the house they also could get these problems if they were close enough to the gas burners. Research found that cooks and young children, who were assumed to be in closest proximity to the stove, would have the highest exposures. If they do not use venting range hoods during cooking or inadequate ventilation during cooking this could lead to these problems, that means one must have enough ventilation or have extractor fans working during cooking to get rid of these poisonous gases. I am sure at least they can open the window in the kitchen to have some ventilation.

Natural gas needs oxygen to burn but if there was not enough oxygen in the air within the kitchen, it will burn carbon dioxide to some extent to give carbon monoxide.  This is not a problem in countries such as in Sri Lanka because they always leave the kitchen window and the door wide open because the weather is normally hot unlike in cold countries. In colder climates such as in countries like California and England people may not want to use vents because they send warm indoor air outside. A vent is a solution but not the only solution,” says Greg Diette, a Johns Hopkins University professor of medicine, epidemiology, and environmental health sciences. On the other hand an electric cooker is better than gas stoves because it does not work on natural gas.

     Problems with natural gas

 Living with natural gas can be a health hazard both for people who are healthy and for those who are already ill. It is especially risky for people who have weakened immune systems, including those who are asthmatic, allergic, or chemically sensitive.  Gas appliances create a constant low level exposure to gas which can cause or increase illnesses.  Natural gas is a sensitizer, which means that exposure can lead to intolerance and adverse reactions both to it and other substances in our environment.  
The British medical journal, The Lancet, reported in1996 that the use of domestic gas appliances, particularly gas stoves, was linked to increased asthma, respiratory illness, and impaired lung function especially in young women.  Women using gas stoves had double the respiratory problems of women cooking on electric stoves. The same study showed that using extractor fans which vented the cooking fumes outside did not reduce adverse effects of gas.

In a combined series of studies of 47,000 patients, two doctors found that “the most important sources of indoor pollution responsible for generating (environmental) illness were the gas cooker stoves, hot water heaters, and furnaces” writes Dr. Bill Rea, of the Dallas Environmental Health Centre.

    Medical problems with the use of gas

“For the chemically susceptible individual this gas may be the worst form of fuel,” writes Dr. T. G. Randolph.  But surprisingly, his studies found that when gas stoves were removed from the home of a person with chemical sensitivities, not only did their health improve, but so did the health of all family members.
Other studies have found that children living in homes with gas stoves had more than double the risk for respiratory symptoms, including asthma. Asthma patients who used a gas stove seven or more times a week were found to have doubled their risk of emergency room treatment. Infants who grow up in households with gas are almost twice as likely to develop childhood asthma as those who live with second-hand smoke. (Second hand smoke itself doubles a child’s risk of developing asthma.) These studies have all been published in respected medical journals.

 

Poisonous gases given out by gas burning

When natural gas is burned, as in cooking and heating, the chemicals create nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, fine particulates, poly-cyclic-aromatic hydrocarbons, volatile organic compounds (including formaldehyde) as well as other chemicals. Just imagine what you are breathing when you bend over a gas cooker to stir your food or when you open the oven door. This stuff sticks to your food, so you eat it as well. It sticks to clothes in gas dryers so you are covering your skin in it. It is lighter than air so it rises up into your living and sleeping areas, concentrating higher up nearer your head.

At a conference on air quality and children’s health sponsored by the New Brunswick Lung Association, much attention was given to the respiratory problems caused by moulds.  Natural gas turns out to be a contributor to mould growth.

Natural growth of moulds in the kitchen

One of the principal products of gas combustion is water vapour. Gas is a hydrocarbon that means all the hydrogen combine with oxygen to give water vapour and carbon reacts with oxygen to form carbon dioxide. This is the normal oxidation reaction of methane but in absence of enough oxygen to burn and in high temperature, it gives other poisonous by-products. Cooking with gas or burning gas in any way without perfect venting generates considerable amounts of moisture. When this moisture remains inside a kitchen it is enough to be a significant contributorto grow moulds on the walls or anywhere nearby such as on kitchen cupboards and curtains. This excess moisture also provides better growing conditions for dust mites, viruses and bacteria. During cooking and also after cooking, you may notice this moisture on the walls, the kitchen cupboards surface that are near the cooker.

 

Why the kitchen cabinet surface is sticky?

You cannot forget to see the moisture on the surface of the glass kitchen cabinet, window and on the glass panel of the door. If you run the finger on this moisture, and on the walls near the cooker, if you didn’t feel sticky, I would be surprised. Now how this sticky nature did came there? These are the oils and chemicals that evaporated from the food and the ingredients added to food. If you don’t like the ingredients then try frying some sausages, bacon or even fish or dry fish, still you get this moisture and oily droplets depositing on those places.  Can I say this is a part of the chicken cologne and curry cologne? Now you see that these oily, sticky chemical shower might have deposited on your hands, face, hair and on clothes when you open to stir the boiling curries. Some housewives say, stirring and checking salt in the gravy is a part of normal cooking, I cannot disagree at all but it can be modified according to my method of scientific energy saving cooking.

Additional dangerous chemicals in the cooking gas

Natural gas brings other harmful chemicals and problems into homes through the methane it contains. Methane (which gives the flame its blue colour as it does in propane) is an asphyxiant. Simple asphyxiants are inert gases or vapors that displace oxygen from air when present in high concentrations. In low concentrations, they have no physiologic effects. Many simple asphyxiants have little or no warning properties. Natural gas or the cooking gas typically contains impurities and additives including radon and other radioactive materials, BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethyl-benzene and xylene), organometallic compounds such as methyl-mercury, organo-arsenic and organo-lead. The gas suppliers add another chemical to natural gas so that if there was a gas leak it can be detected by smell. These are the mercaptan odorants added to natural gas so that it can be detected by scent before reaching explosive levels.

These aromatic organo chemicals such as benzene, toluene are usually available only in research laboratories, they are good solvents as well. If they are to be handled, usually they should be done inside a fume cupboard with the extractor fan.

How about a fume cupboard for the gas cooker?

Sometimes I thought, the gas cookers should be inside fume cupboards just like in chemistry laboratories. In normal school laboratories this chemical called Hydrogen sulphide is used inside a fume cupboard. I must be the first person to suggest this kind of modification to the kitchen for safety reasons. Actually back home in Sri Lanka in fire wood stove kitchens where Kussi amma” cooked is a kind of fume cupboard. I think Kussi amma” cooks safely in firewood stoves than cooking on gas cookers. Directly over the firewood stove there was the outlet chimney for the hot air and fumes but the hot air and fumes sometimes had to go pass a shelf called Dum messa” or Atuwa”. This is the place sometimes they placed dry fish, dry red chillies and other dry ingredients, sometimes rice to dry. The smoke and heat from the firewood stoves keep off the insects and creepy crawlers from rice and other food stuff left there to dry. I cannot say briefly how useful is this so called Dum messa” or Atwa”.
I think the modern researchers come into conclusion only now to have a vent to let out cooking gas and smells but how did this Kussi amma” knew this method about vent or Dum Messa” or Atuwa” long before the researchers? Your comments are welcomed perera6@hotmail.co.uk

A new light on ancient Middle East religio-politics through literary and archaeological evidence

July 20th, 2014

Buddhism in ancient Israel and Arabia -by Professor A.D.T.E. Perera-Courtesy:  Daily News ( Vesak 2549 – 2005)


The Buddha Statue in Khurul Monastery in southern Russia.

(Formerly, Associate Editor, Encyclopaedia of Buddhism, Government of Sri Lanka, publication, Research Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of New Mexico, USA, Guest Research Fellow, Department of Disarmament and Development, UNO, New York)

The publication of a research paper recently, written by the great scholar Most Ven. (Dr.) Paravahera Pannananda Nayaka Thera, the Chancellor of the Ruhunu University of Sri Lanka, has caused waves of speculation on the ocean of historical research. The learned Thera has identified pre-Islamic Arabia as the possible location of the hometown of a Great Buddhist Monk named Punna Thera who was a disciple of Sakyamuni Buddha.

Ven. (Dr.) Pannananda Nayaka Thera has taken steps further by identifying the Sacred City “Mecca” in Arabia, as the place where an original Buddhist Shrine was built at the behest of Ven. Punna Thera while the Buddha was alive. According to the thesis of Ven. (Dr.) Pannananda Nayaka Thera there were four Buddhist monasteries caused to have been built by the Buddha’s pupil Ven. Punna Thera and all those four temples were sanctified by the Buddha Himself who had arrived in aerial cars from India to far West Arabia. The aerial cars were provided by the King of Gods, Sakra.

Until the publication of this learned paper, based on original Buddhist texts and their commentaries, no one seems to have ever ventured to give thought to such a possibility, that Buddhism had been established in a West-Asian region which was the meeting point of East West cultures in the old world, the entrepot as it were, as far back as the 6th century B.C. while Gautama Buddha was still living.

Other than sporadic references and short essays on Buddhist missionaries that went to West Asian cities, several centuries after the passing away of the Buddha, there was no major research done on this subject of Buddha’s teachings beyond the Indian sub-continent during the very lifetime of the Buddha.

Although mighty civilisations and empires arose in this region of Babylonians, Assyrians, Egyptians, Myceneans, Cretans, Athenians, Persians, Hittite, Mittanni, that have left indomitable marks of their grand cultures, historians were only satisfied with on the spot investigations and locating this entire network of pre-Christian kingdoms as an agglomeration with constant warfare with one another and not as one that had potential to communicate and build contact with the regions and kingdoms outside their own theatre.

References to merchants, caravan traders, kings and courtiers and men in search of learning trekking dangerous desert terrain from East to West and vice-versa are found in ample in early Buddhist texts and related narrative literature like the Jataka Stories. But these were not taken seriously by the historians or archaeologists to investigate possible historical sites and their survivals.

Such behaviour on the part of academies was not unusual because the early scholars who wrote and edited Buddhist books were mostly Europeans who would not have given thought to establish the cultural communication, the Eastern World had had with the people outside their kingdoms during such a hoary antiquity when the forefather of Europeans were living under sub-cultural conditions.

The great barriers of communication caused by terror-striking deserts like Taklamakan and Gobi and huge snow capped mountains like the Himalayas and the freezing weather patterns coupled with ferocious nomadic people wielding broad swords and riding on fast moving ponies who inhabited these regions were all witnessed by the pioneer Western scholars like Sir Auriel Stein, Paul Pelliot, Albert Grunweddel, Ludwig Bachhofer, E.J. Rapson, Helmuth Von Glasenapp, Le Gocq, Guesseppe Tucci and many others who travelled in Asia in search of literary and cultural survivals of great Eastern civilisations. Their first impression would have been very likely, “that other than conquering armies of ferocious nomadic tribes like Arabs, Scythians, Yeuh Chihs, Hepthalites or Hunas, Tocharians, Tartars and Mongals, no other sensible people would ever have dared to cross these terrible barriers in search of better pastures. Hence, “the meeting of cultural conscious people, learned men, monks and eremites in search of divine wisdom, Truth or Sat (hence Sathnyasi Sannyasi) who preferred seclusion more than vain glory adventures was a remote possibility,” would have been the conclusion of the historian and the research scholar of decades gone by.

The Holy Bible relates how the ruthless armies of war-lords have devastated these regions and taken captive thousands of POWs, as slaves. The history of Egyptian Pharaoes, Sumarians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Hittites, Greeks, Medians, Cretans, Achaemenids, was one that has recorded intermittent warfare and ruthless carnage spelled by those jingoistic bellicose rulers on their dependant, less powerful neighbours.

One might say such a background would never have encouraged visits or religious leaders and men of learning to cross the boundaries of their own native lands and enter alient territory, and those references to visits of men in quest of learning and religious wisdom from far away lands were mere fanciful stories concocted by pious monks to enhance the importance of their own sects, creeds and religious schools.

However, a major breakthrough has now been made by the scholar Thera mentioned above, who has marshalled his facts gleaned from authentic sources of early Buddhist literature.

Being a student of archaeology myself, I have had that discipline moulded under that polymath late Professor Senerath Paranavitana, when he was my Guru as the first professor of Archaeology at Peradeniya University. I had the good occasion to do some major research in religious archaeology while being an Associate Editor of the Encyclopaedia of Buddhism when the late Professor G.P. Malalasekera of international flame was its Editor-in-Chief in the late sixties and early seventies and later with yet another luminary, the late Professor A.L. Basham during my stay at the Australian National University, in Canberra.

While tracing possible survivals of Buddhism’s expansion from its birthplace, the Middle India, I was fortunate enough to trace a few localities outside India, towards Far West and beyond the Northern barrier of Himalayan terrain where flourishing cultures of Buddhist Kingdoms had sprung up during pre-Christian centuries.

However, I was rather hesitant to locate any of those pre-Christian Buddhist Kingdoms that existed on the great Northern Highway, the cponymous “Uttrapatha”, (the “Silk Route” as some writers name it) during the very life-time of the Buddha.

With bare facilities at my disposal and with guess work, possibilities, probabilities, and plausibilities, I launched upon my initial archaeological research. Later my views were placed before the readers and students through the Encyclopaedia of Buddhism and other research papers addressed before a couple of International Academic Conference Seminars.

However, with the publication of the essay on “Buddhism in Arabia before Islam”, by the learned Thera, my interests were again kindled and I was compelled to make further research into those localities where I have done preliminary research some time ago and had given up half-way, because I felt that it would be a waste of time to construct and revive lost and forgotten cultures without substantial evidence, especially literary and archaeological.

The present research study is an assay to marshal whatever evidence at my disposal, collected over the past many years to reweave a broken fabric is it were, whereby I would be able to present a picture of that past golden age during which our Lord Gautama Buddha lived and tirelessly served the mankind for 44 years to save the sentient beings from “universal suffering” (Dukkha) by expounding The One and The Only Way “The Nobel Eightfold Path” (Ariya Attangika Magga).

Scientific discipline that one acquires through modern learning alone, does not help one to get a correct perspective of the deeds, contributions and behaviour of those great men who lived in the past. When people failed to understand the behaviour of such great men, they were scoffed off, rediculed and condemned as mystics, fanatics, magicians, and the like. Jesus Christ was crucified, as a rebellious traitor, Corpenicus and Gallileo were condemned to death by the Catholic Church of Rome, Socrates was poisoned, Zorastrar was murdered, Mahatma Gandhi was shot dead. Several attempts on the life of Gautama Buddha were recorded. Buddha’s greatest disciple Ven. Maha Moggallana Thera was beaten to death (mistaken identity, the texts say, but who knows).

As far as Buddha’s teachings are concerned, the philosophy and the doctrine, it is the consensus of a large number of scholars of the present and the past century, that what the Buddha taught was unique. Teachings of no other founder of a religion on this planet earth can be said similar or identical, let alone superior to the Buddha’s “Dhamma” or teaching. This Dhamma which is better called Saddharma is now enshrined in the copious volumes known as the Tripitaka.

A former Oxford Don and Vice President of India, the late Professor Sarvapalli Radhakrishan while praising the Buddha’s teachings, tried to identify Buddha’s Dharma as an off shoot of the Vedic tradition or Vedanta, but subsequent scholars have found such theorising is not far from being partial. Both oriental and Western scholars more or less agree that Buddha’s teachings are ‘unique’ and incomparable to any philosophy of East or West, and the “Path” (Maga) laid down by the Buddha for the liberation of mankind was unheard of before in any other religious system. Why should mankind need salvation from an inconsistent existence, embroiled in impermanance (Annicca), causing pain and unsatisfactoriness (Dukkha), and without any cogent reason to accept the presence of an enteral soul (Anatta)? That salvation or perfect liberation should not be shrouded in mystic terms, ascribed to an unknown unseen, divine being, the creator god.

It is because of this specific reason that men of great learning, philosophers, kings, courtiers and people of all walks of life, of all ranks of the society e.g. bankers, princes, princesses, courtesans, military men, highwaymen, uncouth demonic characters, robbers, beggars, scavengers and the like all had gone and surrendered before the Bhagavat Gautama Buddha, The Supreme Saviour and sought refuge in Him, His dhamma and His Noble Disciples, the eremite Ariya Sangha, by uttering the solemn stanza: “Buddham Saranam Gacchami”. It was the Buddha who showed for the first time in the history of mankind that one should surrender before the incomparable Guru, His teachings and His Noble Disciples. Thus the phrase “Saranam Gacchami” (surrender) entered into the religious vocabulary of the Buddhists.

Buddhists in every Buddhist country, worship the Buddha not as a great divine, supernatural, esoteric. Being, but as a Great being far, far, above all the mighty unseen ontological divine beings.

The Buddha was thus considered During His lifetime, the Buddha had manifested all the psychic excellences and powers that are unmatched by any of the supernormal powers of those great beings including the misconceived divine being of Creation as was known at that time by the name Brahma or Maha Brahma.

The Buddha had scaled the length and breadth of the uninhabited regions as well as the inhabited regions of this planet earth. His three visits to Sri Lanka although some do consider such references as mythical and fabulous, are only a bare fraction of the lands the great Buddha had traversed using both His physical composure and enormous psychic powers.

The above short prolegomenon I am constrained to add to this present essay, on “Buddhism – ‘a great civilising factor – “in Arabia and surrounding West Asian regions,” because without which the reader would find it somewhat a thrust upon him unprepared and unexpectedly.

**************

Coming back to the “latest theory’ the Buddhism was introduced to Arabia during the very lifetime of the Buddha”, we now embark upon to present before the scholarly world our own investigations made over a period of more than two decades. Our researches have yielded some fascinating data that we are fortunate enough to have struck upon.

These information we hope will enable us to further substantiate the thesis of the learned Thera Venerable (Dr.) Paravahera Pannananda, that “Buddhism was the Religion of Arabia before Islam” that brought a great civilising effect on those people who were worse than the lost sheep in a desert wilderness.

“Had Buddhism been introduced to Arabia several centuries (at least five or six centuries) prior to the Christian era, why don’t we get any traces of its remains either in the form of religious literature or archaeological survivals?” would be the logical question one would raise.

Again one may ask, “had the Great Buddha been such a supra – human or a hyper – human Being, His visit and stay in this part of the world would have made an indelible impression on the minds of the people of these regions. Therefore what are the survivals of such an impressive effective impact?”

Through our investigations we are now in a position to bring out a substantial amount of information that throw light on the hidden history of the spread of Buddhism not only in Arabia but in many other kingdoms in West-Asia as well, during pre-Christian centuries.

The Buddhist texts refer to many instances of foreigners from distant lands coming to worship the Buddha, having heard of His presence ‘that a Great Being who calls Himself, the Buddha has appeared in the world’ and residing in Middle India (Magadha Kingdom). The story of Punna Thera is one such episode in which the main characters, Punna Thera and his brother were caravan traders from Sunaparanta.

According to textual reference, the very first lay disciples of Gautama Buddha, even before the Buddha established His Bhikkhu community namely the Sangha (also called the Buddhaputtras or sons of the Buddha) were also two caravan leaders who came from Uttrapatha (the Great Northern Highway) in their trading missions. They were known by their names Tapassu and Bhalluka. Buddhist texts refer to them as the first two lay followers of the Buddha, who surrendered before the Buddha and His Doctrine (who sought refuge in the Buddha and the Dhamma). The Pali phrase “Buddham Saranam Gacchami, Dhammam Saranam Gacchami” was first uttered by those two trader brothers who offered to the Buddha a regal repast full of “mead and pop-corn (fried grain). This type of food must have been a common food item, if not the staple diet, among the West Asians and those people who lived in the peripheral regions where corn and barley are grown as staple food.

Holy Bible says that John, the Baptist was in the habit of eating ‘locusts dipped in honey’. The Bible translators of medieval times at King James behest must have mistaken an early Greek or The home country of the two caravan leaders Tapassu and Bhalluka who were the Buddha’s first lay disciples has been located at “Balkh’, a city in ancient Bactria and north of present day Afghanistan, through which ran the famous Great Northern Highway, “Uttarapatha”.

The Buddhist Jataka tales have many references to such caravan leaders who had braved the hazards of highwaymen-ridden dangerous desert tracks and arrived in Jambhudveepa (India).

Amongst those nomadic desert dwelling plundering tribal people, notorious were the Beduin Arabs. They were known for their cruelty, harsh behaviour, plundering and killing their victims to earn a living.

The navigator who sailed across the Red Sea and kept his anonymous record of ‘The Periplus of the Erythean Sea”, narrates in no ambiguous terms the ferocious nature of those tribes who inhabited mainland and literal Arabia. He advises all sailors to avoid dealing with these nomadic uncouth Beduin Arab tribes of desert posts.

*****************

The story of Punna Thera as related in early Buddhist texts is exactly a reminder of those ferocious tribes in the Western regions (Aparanta). But Punna Thera, a well disciplined disciple of Gautama Buddha, knew that he could handle those uncouth people who were His kinsmen.

Ven. Punna Thera who settled with his own following of monks at Sunaparanta, having caused to be built – four temples at the following sites: Ambahatta Pabbata, Samudragiri Vihara (a temple near the sea) where there was a magnetic rock engirting a stone platform used as a promenade for monks meditation practice.

The first Shrine built for Punna Thera was named Ambahatta Pabbata by the Pali scribes of Buddhist texts. The name suggests that it was either a rock-cut shrine or a temple built on a natural eminence (Amba or Amra Pabbata eminence).

I dare to identify this shrine Ambahatta or Ambatta of the early Buddhist texts with the pre-Islamic shrine Amrah on the Northern end of the Dead Sea.

A modern historian describes this shrine as follows: “Qusayr Amrah” meaning the little castle of “Amrah” stands on the edge of a wadi in the desert of the Northern end of Dead Sea. Here too among the remains of ancient monuments is a structure with a hemispherical dome, resembling a Buddhist Stupa (tope).

The second temple built for Punna Thera was named Samudragiri Vihara which had a magnetic stone promenade within a stone enclosure. But the great noise of the sea prevented Ven. Punna Thera from engaging in his much desired meditation.

I identify this temple site with the famous ‘Temple of Jerusalem’ where a magnetic rock is located. In Hebrew or Aramanic language Sela (which takes the form Patra in Latin or Greek?) refers to a stone or rock. Sela is also traceable to Indo-European origin. In Pali or Sanskrit, Sela-Saila are synonyms for rock, stone, mountain.

I am constrained to identify the Temple site at Jerusalem, the Holy of the Holiest of Christendom, as the exact location of the ancient Buddhist monastery Samudragiri Vihara built for Punna Thera, within close proximity to the sea. This might have been an ancient Judaic religious site where a Jewish temple complex dedicated to Jehowah, the great sacrificial god, existed, and later appropriated by those who were converted by Punna Thera to the peaceful non-sacri-ficial religion of the Buddha. This was exactly the case in regard to many early Buddhist religious sites and shrines. This was the case in ancient pre-Christian era Sri Lanka and also in India.

According to the Buddhist texts, the noisy waves of the sea close to this shrine, Ven. Punna Thera had tamed using his psychic (Iddhi) powers.

Buddhist textual references mention that Punna Thera through his psychic powers caused the noisy sea to be calm (dead as it were). Hence the subsequent name ‘Dead Sea’ as mentioned above in this essay. Earlier it was known as the ‘Sea of Arabah’.

A similar fete has later been attributed to Jesus also or Jesus Himself had performed a similar fete six hundred years later through his own psychic powers (Iddhi or Iddhi bala in Buddhism).

The third temple was Matulagiri where the noise of birds troubled Punna Thera’s meditation and finally Ven. Punna Thera left for the fourth temple built for him by his rich caravan trader brother and that was named Makulakarama. This fourth temple is the one which the learned Ven. (Dr.) Pannananda Thera identified as the present ‘Mecca’ shrine in mainland Arabia.

At Sunaparanta, Ven. Punna Thera got down red-sandal wood to build a hall for the Buddha (Candana sala) Red Cedar was used by Biblical Kings of Jerusalem David, Solomon etc., also, for the construction of temples. This was an ancient architectural practice in this part of modern Israel, the pre-islamic State of Arabah where flourished the Nabatean Kingdoms.

According to the story in the early Buddhist texts, the Samudragiri Temple was quite close to the sea, but today Jerusalem stands about fifteen (15) miles away from the Dead sea as the crow flies.

Those who may disagree with my proposed identification might pose the question “How can a temple lying 15 miles away from the Dead Sea cause obstruction to its indwellers on account of the great noise of the sea? Surely, the Buddhist texts refer to an incident that had taken place more than 2,500 years ago.

In places where inland seas or lakes, that are fed by rivers, the possibility of narrowing the shore region by accumulated silt or the contraction of the inland sea or lake owing to dry climate was possible. The great Gobi and Taklamakan deserts in Central Asia were once a large inland sea according to marine scientists and geologists. The sediment, brought up over the past centuries by the Great rivers Ganges and Brahmaputra in East bengal have pushed the sea-shore back several miles into the Indian Ocean.

Therefore what could have taken place during a long period of 2,500 years at Dead Sea littoral can be easily understood and need not be emphasized further.

It is quite possible that Jerusalem was at close proximity to the “Sea of Arabah’ as the “Dead Sea” was then known at the time of Punna Thera (Cir. 6th century B.C.).

Even the name “Jerusalem” can be considered as an early Aramaic form of ‘Samudra Giri’, the name of the Buddhist Shrine complex. The term giri meaning ‘rock’ can be equalled with the term Sela (later Petra) referring to ‘a rock” among Aramaic or Hebrew speaking people in ancient sinai-Arabah region. Sala, Saila, Sela (meaning rock or stone), although taken as an Indo-European phonetic term could have either got into Aramaic or Hebrew (both of the semitic family) or could have been borrowed from Semitic to Indo-European.

‘Jeru-Salem’ if it was an original formation meaning ‘rock near sea’ was expressed in Buddhist text as ‘Samudra – Giri’ when put into early Indian (Sanskrit or Pali). One has to further investigate whether ‘Jeru’ or ‘Jericho’ (another ancient site near Arabah sea) has any relation to ‘Samudra’ or sea in ancient Indic phonemes.

Although our explanation is hypothetical, yet the fact remains, that Jerusalem was an ancient Holy Place where stood at least some of the items that are referred to in Punna Thera story.

We quote “There was a Sacred Rock (As-Sakhra) at Jerusalem, the place of pilgrimage for Muslims also. This was the ancient rock which formed the highest point in the temple area and on which David’s altar probably once stood.”

“Muslims believe that this was the precise point from which Mohammed had made his miraculous ascent to heaven.”

“The rock on which apostle of Allah set his foot when he ascended into heaven. This reference may be a survival of an historic event that took place in Ven. Punna Thera’s time when our Lord Bhagavan Buddha visited and sanctified the Rock Shine and placed His ‘Sacred Foot Print’, on the stone altar or dais there, a practice or an act the Buddha had done in sanctifying and appropriating such stone “Altar Shrines” of pre-Buddhist religious cult worshippers even elsewhere.

The Tamkita Manca’, the stone dais of Yakkha cult worshippers in Gaya district in India, is found even up to this date. But it is now appropriated by Hindus who have converted it to a Hindu shrine and is known as ‘Visnupadam’ (foot print of Visnu).

The Great Chronicle of the sinhalese, the Mahavamsa, refers to a similar incident when the Buddha gifted to the Naga cult worshippers of ancient Sri Lanka two such stone daises sacred to them (one in Kelaniya and the other in Nagadeepa in northern Sri Lanka) having first seated on them and thus having made them sanctified.

Coming back to West-Asia, “Abd-al-Malik (A.D. 685-705) was the builder of the dome of the rock at Jerusalem”.

“Then Abd-al-Malik built above Sakhra a dome and hung it around with curtains of brocade and he instituted door-keepers for the same, and the people took the custom of circumambulating the rock, even as they had paced round the Kabah (in Mecca!) and the usage continued thus all the days of the dynasty of Ummayads.

The Caliph of Damascus (of Syria, former Aram) of a vast Muslim empire in the 6th century A.D. thus built a dome above the rock and installed a practice of circumambulating at Jerusalem. This practice of worshipping sacred sites or objects, is one that is common to Buddhism as has been instituted by Buddha Himself. It is known in Buddhist Texts as ‘Pradaksina, that is going round a sacred object or person worthy of worship, in a clockwise manner for three times.

The third temple built for Punna Thera was known as “Matula Giri”, again a rock-hewn temple as the name suggests. This site was found not quite proper for the secluded hermit life of a Buddhist eremite of Punna Thera’s bearing, because of the noise made by large flocks of birds.

It is not possible for us to identify any ancient temple site in this part of Arabia close to “Dead Sea, with this third temple built for Punna Thera.

However, archaeologists have found several ancient temples of pre-Islamic Arabia within this locality. At Petra (or ancient Sela) a city few miles south of the ancient township Punon) referred to above and identified by us as the birth place of Ven. Punna Thera) are remains of large rock-cut shrines. Several cave shrines dating back to the period of the proto-Arabic Nabetean Kingdom of pre-Christian centuries have also been discovered in and around the Dead Sea.

At Petra (Sela), the chief attraction was a rectangular “black stone’ worshipped as a monument for the god of those ancient people. Further more the Arab god Allah, Allat, Al-Uzza was worshipped in the kabah and possibly represented by the famous ‘black stone’ in that place.

Strangely enough sacred stone altars have been objects of worship in a far wider area in ancient Asia. Early Buddhist texts refer to these shrines as cult objects of those peoples of the Non-Aryan (or Non-Indo-European) stock who considered their chief God as ‘Yakkha’ (Yaksha). Those stone altars were named ‘Tamkita manca’ in ancient Buddhist texts.

In pre-historic, pre-Buddhist Sri Lanka also, such stone altars were referred to as objects of great religious significance and later appropriated by Buddhists who converted them as memorials or symbols of Buddha worship.

Our aim in this research study is not merely to identify possible sites in ancient Arabia with those referred to in the story of Ven. Punna Thera, but also to investigate further for more evidence to substantiate the thesis of the great scholar monk Ven. (Dr.) Pannananda Maha Thera who alone had made this remarkable research into Buddhist texts to locate the birth place of Punna Thera in far-West Arabia.

The learned Ven. Pannananda Thera suggests that the fourth temple named Makulaka Arama built for elder Punna Thera could be possibly the Islamic Sanctum Santorum, the shrine at Mecca. The name mecca (Mekka) agrees well with the temple (Arama) by the name Makulaka phonetically. But the problem lies how to draw a comparison between proper names found in the Indo-European group with one found in a different linguistic family, for Arabic being a language of the Semitic group.

However, the fact that the religious dialect of those regions, West of Hindukush up to the Mediterranean lands during the centuries before the Christian era was ‘Aramaic’ and the difference of opinion of scholars whether Aramaic the ‘Lingua-franca’ of the region was of Semitic or Indo-European origin is a matter worth further investigation and careful scrutiny. Even Jesus Christ preached His sermons in Aramaic.

****************

As we have suggested above, the few centuries in between the date of the Buddha’s Presence in Magadha (Middle India) kingdom and the birth of Jesus Christ in Israel (ancient Arabah) have seen remarkable historical episodes in the Kingdoms along which passed the great trunk-route Uttarapatha, the Northern Highway linking East and West of the then known civilised world.

Now one may wonder what are the available archaeological evidence of this region, the north west part of Arabia, to locate possible Buddhist sites that could be traced back to pre-Islamic or even pre-Christian period.

Our investigations proved successful with substantial evidence and we are now able to locate not one but several sites that could reasonably be related to the period of Punna Thera’s habitation in Sunaparanta and the four monastic establishments or temples built at the request of Thera Punna.

The very name ‘Sunaparanta’ has two words combined to give a meaning – ‘a far away country’, according to ancient Buddhist texts. That is ‘Suna’ and ‘Aparanta’ which also means, Suna of Aparanta. ‘Suna’ a locality in the major region or country of Aparanta. Aparanta according to Buddhist texts is the habitat of

Aparantakas (a community or race) from a major region called Aparagoyana which is one of the four great continents according to the geography of the time of Buddha. It is to the West of Sineru. Sineru is the hub or centre of the Earth according to the reckoning of ancient Indian geographers and astronomers.

According to the Buddha’s Sermons (Suttas), when the sun rises in India it is the middle watch of the night in Aparagoyana. The sunset in Aparagoyana is the midnight in Jambudveepa (India), and sunrise in Aparagoyana is noon in Jambudveepa, sunset in Pubbavideha and midnight in Uttarakuru.

When we take into consideration this above explanation in early Buddhist Texts of the position of the sun in relation to the regions of Earth, it can be surmised that Pubbavideha is ‘Far-East’, Uttarakuru is the land of the ‘Americas’, and Aparagoyana is the whole of ‘Europe’.

These geographical identifications of earth’s localities by the Buddha, and commented upon by the Buddha’s disciples of the past, would have made the Europeans of Mediaveval centuries, reeling with laughter and those who pronounced such geographical identifications, (that reveal parts of the Earth having daytime while some other parts in the darkness of night, thereby suggesting the global shape of the Earth), would have been condemned to death on stakes and spikes for distorting the minds of the faithful on the belief in God’s great creation (what the Roman Catholic Church had done to poor Copernicus and Galileo).

The Buddhist texts show how the Great Buddha had rejected over and over the belief in an “Eternal Being”, who is the creator of Earth and heavenly bodies with all the living beings.

Moreover, this geographical explanation is a clear verdict that the Buddha had a very scientific view of the planet Earth and considered it (the Earth) to be a globe around which the light (of the sun) falls in an anti-clockwise pattern. This factor alone shows the great knowledge that our Bhagavat Buddha and His Noble Arhan disciples (the Maha Sangha) had about the Earth and other galaxies including our own ‘Milky way’ which was named Mangala Cakkavata. “The Blessed Circular Cosmic Abyss”, which is quite in tune with the modern scientific discoveries made after the discovery of the telescope in the middle ages. It is because that the Buddha had a clear view of the luminous stars and planets, the heavenly bodies in the sky that he scoffed at Charletan astrologers and prognosticators, and declared ‘Kim Karissanti Taraka’ (What can the stars do to humans).

Coming back to Sunaparanta debacle, let us continue to untwine the tangle by investigating further some survivals of pre-Christian archaeological data. Suna was a locality of the major region Aparanta (Hence Sunaparanta). Apranta means ‘far-end’ (Anta) of the Western border (Apara), when viewed from Magadha Kingdom in india of the continent Aparagoyana, the early name for Europe as we can now correctly conjecture, where only bullock-cart tracks (Goyana) were available and not great highways like the Uttarapatha and the Daksinapatha opened for thousands of caravan traffic.

Sunaparanta was apparently the Culdesac or the terminus of the ‘Great Northern Highway’ (Uttarapatha, that linked Mongolia, China, Central Asia, South Russia and the major centres of the then known civilised world the Kingdoms of Egypt, Assyria, Aram (Syria), Arabia, Babylonia, Persia etc.

Part of the Aparanta region is also known as the Levant region, an area of strategic importance for European powers even during Napoleonic wars. It was in this Levant region, where so much brisk trade took place with East and West and wars fought to capture its entre port trade. Beyond this is the great ocean the mediterranean and lands with difficult narrow paths, cart tracks (Goyana) and not highways Pathas) until the Romans built such roadways – Via Roma after the Great military genius Julius Caesar’s advance through Gaul to British Isles and declaring ‘Vini-vidi-vici’.

****************

Where was the locality ‘Suna’ that has become famous or got such an importance for the Great Buddha to pay a visit and stay there on the invitation of Arhant Punna Thera (Worthy One). Araha or Arahan is an epithet of both the Buddha and His Noble disciples.

We have no hesitation in identifying the ancient ‘Suna’ of Buddhist texts with the historic ‘Sinai’ region between Egypt and Israel. ‘Sinai’ tract has been the bone of contention between the Arabs and the Jews, from pre-Christian centuries onwards. In the recent times ‘Sinai’ area was captured by the Jews from Egypt during the seven days war Israel waged with the combined armies of several Moslem States headed by Muhammed Abdul Nasser of Egypt. It is not etymologically impossible to compare Suna of Buddhist texts with ancient Biblical Sinai. But to strengthen our identification we need further evidence.

It is in the Sinai tract the ancient township Punon is located quite surprisingly yet fortunately helping to strengthen our identification of Sunaparanta with this part of West Asia. We may surmise that Punon is a variant form of Punna Thera the name of the Buddha’s great disciple who dared to go back to His motherland despite the warning by the Buddha that Sunaparanta is a country inhabited by ferocious wicked people, as is aptly described a few centuries later by the anonymous author of the “Periplus’.

Great persons are identified by their place of birth or else the names of great persons are attributed to the place of their birth. This practice is found even at present.

On this contention, it is not difficult to locate the ‘Punnon of Sinai’ as the home town of “Punna of Suna” of the major region Aparanta. Hence, Punna Thera of Sunaparanta of the ancient Buddhist texts.

A little towards South of Punon is the ancient city of Sela (or Petra in roman times) which has yielded rock – cut temples, houses, tombs, religious altars, etc. Sela is a city mentioned in the Old Testament of the Holy Bible. It was the meeting place of caravan traders from East and West. To quote from a historian: “The historical city Petra was the same as Biblical Sela (or Selah) famous for its beautiful rock-hewn temples, houses, tombs, altars.”

The author further states: “The rock-hewn temples remain to attest the splendour which this place enjoyed when caravans brought in and out of it, riches of all the East.”

Hence the caravan leaders of the like of Punna Thera and his brother, hailing from Buddha’s time would have easily given their family name to this town, know as Punon or else they got themselves identified with the town that was their place of birth, as Punna of Suna (or if modernised Punon of Sinai). Thus, Punna of Suna in the State of Aparanta should no more be a mystery shrouded with the passage of time.

Now the question can be raised, if Punna and Suna as proper names could be derived from existing or existed historical sites, why not the name Paranta or Aparanta?We have found that on the same analogy, even this is not an impossibility if we consider that the ancient Jewish Kingdom or locality Arabah of the lager Nabatean Kingdom was just located in the site where we traced Punon and Sinai.

Even the inland sea around which we have located the temples built for Punna Thera was first known as the “Sea of Arabah” and later called the ‘Dead Sea’. It was the Nabatean Kingdom of Arabahs and Jews, which later formed into smaller Arab Kingdoms, during the pre-Christian centuries and afterwards, when the Nabateans were defeated.

The world ‘Arabah’ sometimes found as ‘Araba’ could be traced back to ‘Aparanta of early Buddhist texts. It could be surmised that this region that was originally called ‘Aparanta’ in the Pali texts had got into Aramaic or proto-Aramaic, a form like Apara or Abara and had called this region Apara, a short form of Aparanta which term later formed into Araba-Arabah through syncope and metathesis. It should also be noted that according to Bible scholars Aramaic was ‘Lingua-franca’ of the whole of West Asia during pre-Christian centuries. Even the Great Buddhist Emperor Asoka had to issue his rock-edicts in Aramaic and Brahmi both, when he addressed his people in the north-western part of India.

That is how we surmise that this area had received the name ‘Arabah’ and the adjoining sea also got the name ‘Arabah Sea’.

Later, when the Nabatean Kingdom of the Aramaic speaking people who were dominant in this part, fell to Hebrew speaking Jews (after the ruthless and devastating conquests by the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks and Romans), the Arabahs were pushed southwards. These people begun new kingdoms for themselves of and took the name Araba as their clan name or ethnic identity in contradistinction to Hebrew speaking Jews of Israel. We suppose that our view is a very logical reasoning as to how the Arabs and their country Arabia appeared in the world (Arabi in Sinhalese).

Therefore we suggest that after the Nabatean rulers, the smaller kingdoms that were established were referred to as those of the Arabas and finally when the Jews opposed those Arab Kingdoms, (Where the major religious cult worship was not centred around Jehowah but round Alaha), those Arab Kingdoms had to demarcate their own boundaries as distinct from the Jewish States of Israel – Judea etc. Thus, the constant wars between Alaha’s people and Jehowah’s people field the pages of Middle East history from pre-Christian centuries up-to-date. It is a pity that Ven. Punna Thera’s effort to establish the ‘Rule of Righteousness’ under the Kingdom of Arahan Buddha (Buddha Rajyaya or Buddah Ksetraya), turned to be a battle field of ruthless, bellicose jingoes.

When these Arab Kingdoms were pushed further towards mainland Apranta (Apara – Araba), it is quite likely that the whole region got the name Arabia from pre-Christian pre-Islamic times.

If any other acceptable theory to trace the origin of the name Arabah-Araba-Arabia of those pre-Christian people and their original homeland around Dead Sea and north Arabia could be brought forward by any research scholar or historian and if that could be proved scientifically and logically acceptable, we shall definitely withdraw our above proposition with due difference to such scholarship.

**************

The possible identification and that also hypothetically of sporadic sites in West – Asiatic region, alone will not help us to determine that Buddhism was established in this part of the world during the very lifetime of the Buddha and prevailed as the religious faith of many people throughout the pre-Christian centuries.

Therefore we have extended our survey into the field of religious cults and practices as well as ancient religious literature, art and architecture also to trace possible clues of Buddhism’s penetration in to this region so that our hypothesis should be confirmed absolutely.

One of the remarkable clues in our investigation to locate Punna Thera’s Ministry in West Asia is the name ‘God’ for their creator God, the Divine Father. It is in the Christian Holy Bible only that this word appears and could be traced back to the time of Jesus Christ, although Bible translators (into English language) use the word ‘God’ even with reference to the pre-Jesus Christ, Supreme Divinity in the Old Testament.

Prior to the use of the term ‘God’ in the Holy Bible, as derived from Greek to English the old Aramaic texts of the Holy scriptures (the Bible!) known as Peshitta give the name Alaha for God. This is very intriguing. Even the Holy Quaran has ‘Allah’ for God which is identical with Aramaic Alaha, phonetically.

However, nowhere it is explained how this term Alaha-Allah had entered into pre-Christian and Christian – Muslim religious texts. Finding the origin of this Aramaic term ‘Alaha’ and the Arabic or Islamic term ‘Allah’ has enable us to solve a major riddle in regard to the term ‘God’ which overtook the word Alaha for the supreme Divine Being in the Christian Bible but had been retained in the Muslim Quaran.

Meanwhile it is also noteworthy that the Jewish term Jehowah (Heb: Yahaweh) for the “Creator”, ‘the Divine Being’, ‘Supreme God’ had never been used by Jesus Christ in the Christian Bible or by Prophet Mohammed in the Holy Quaran.

Why did they prefer Alaha and allah to the Jewish ‘Jehowah’, needs explanation by both Bible and Quaranic scholars, and how these terms Alaha-Allah for the ‘Supreme Creator’ came into the ‘Holy Scriptures’ of these two major religions, viz. Christianity and Islam also has to be explained and answered.

The other problem that baffled us in our present quest is the word ‘God’ which is widely used in almost every theistic religion, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Shikh, Parse, Bahai and may be English translations of the Texts of Judaism when they refer to their Supreme Divine Being and explain their doctrine in English.

We had to explore to a great extent, to seek and find out a solution to the mysterious origin of these two words ‘Alaha and God’. We inquired from many reputed scholars and various learned authorities of many theistic religions. But unfortunately, the answer was an emphatic ‘we don’t know’, no one could seemingly present a reasonable or acceptable answer to my inquiry. The final reply of all these learned men was that the word God is as mysterious and elusive as God himself, and no one will ever be able to solve this mystery. That was God’s wish they all declare with gusto, and with a sarcastic wink at poor me, as if asking, “who are you puny fellow to know about the origins of mighty God?

However, being a God loving person, I was not discouraged at all with such replies, and I continued my search in every available dictionary, lexicon and encyclopedia, but not trace was there in any of these publications for the etymological origin of the word ‘God’ to determine whether it is from an Indo-European origin of Semitic origin or from any other linguistic family.

Now, back to “Punna of Suna” (or Punon of Sinai).

Punna Thera, the great disciple of our Buddha had attained the highest path in Buddha’s dispensation. Therefore he was one of the ‘Maha Araha’ a great worthy one (also, Arahan or Arahat). Our Bhagavat Buddha was called ‘Bhagava Arahan’ as the ‘Blessed Worthy One,” the sinless One, in the famous stanza the Buddha taught His disciples to repeat, instead of seeking divine help and going after unseen divine beings who are at the same time neither fully sinless or fearless according to Buddha’s judgement.

The word ‘Araha’ means the ‘worthy One’ the ‘sinless One’, an epithet of the Buddha and also of His great nobble sinless disciples who too were called ‘Araha’.

Incidentally in the Holy Bible (New Testament), Jesus Christ is also called a sinles person.

Had the Great Elder Punna Thera established Buddha’s dispensation (the Church or Sasana) in this part of Arabia (the “Sinai-Arabah” region) and had there been several hundreds or thousands of Ven. Punna’s converts to Buddhism, and among them a few hundred had entered the Buddha’s order of monks and had attained the final stage of liberation called the stage of Araha, surely this word Araha would have been a household word among the first Buddhist converts in West Asia, the people of Sinai-Arabah area where we have located Buddhist monasteries that were established during the very lifetime of our Gautama Buddha.

Therefore we are very happy to declare for the great delectation of Buddhists all over the world, that the strange word ‘Alaha’ by which the old Greek bible or the proto-Greek Aramaic Bible also known as the Peshitta manuscripts, identified the Glorious One, the Blessed One, The Supreme One, the God was nothing other than the epithet ‘Araha’ of our Buddha which even today millions of Buddhists all over the world in Buddhist countries especially, chant as a devotional hymn in praise of the Buddha. It is thus:

“Itipisobhagava – Araham – Samma – Sambuddho,

Vijja Charana Sampanno – Sugato Lokavidu,

Anuttaro – Purisa – Damma – Sarathi Sattha,

Devamanussanam – Buddho – Bhagavathi.”

He indeed is the Buddha, the Blessed One, the Sinless One (Araha), the Supreme Enlightened One (Samma Sambuddho) who is endowed with knowledge and virtue auspicious, knower of the whole cosmos, a guide incomparable for the training of individuals, teacher of divine beings and humans, Enlightened and Holy.”

***************

Thus we have solve a major part of the mystery in regard to the epithet for the Supreme Being, the glorious, sinless Lord, who is Araha – Alaha – Allah, in Buddhism, Christianity and Islam all.

One may question us how can Araha become Alaha and more so Allah? The answer is quite simple to linguists and philologists, who are aware of the linguistic law – Rhotacism – whereby ‘R’, and ‘L’ can interchange. (Refer also, Lambdacism)

Historians of Arabic and Jewish religions have found that Alaha, Allah and Allat had originated from the Sinai region, which is exactly the location we have identified with Suna – Aparanata of the Punna story of early Buddhist texts.

Among the higher gods who were worshipped by Bedouins of the deserts of North Arabia, the most important was Allah, Allat, Al-Uzza. They were pre-Islamic gods. Even prophet Mohammed’s father bore the name ‘Abd-Allah’ or ‘Abdullah’, meaning a worshipper or servant of Allah. Allah was worshipped in the Kabah and possibly represented by the famous blackstone in that place. “Allat” is believed to have been introduced into Arabia from Syria (ancient Aram) according to inscriptional evidence.”

Let us now turn to the other problem, the most baffling question of the etymological origin of the word ‘God’. We have searched high and low, to solve the mystery of ‘God’. We turned our investigations into almost every available lexicon, dictionary and encyclopoedia, without any avail.

No publication that we have surveyed could give us an explanation as to how the word ‘God’ originated in the World. Finally we had to give up all our hopes and prayed to God to help us., “Oh, God lead me from darkness to light’ – “Tamaso majyotir gamaya”, and lo, there appeared the light, “Aloko Udapadi”, as the greatest of all Arahat, the Supreme Buddha declared.

We can now with assurance declare that the word ‘God’ is derived from nothing else but the word ‘Buddha’, “How could that be?” will be the question of all those God fearing good souls.

Our researches proved that this word “God” is nothing but a derivative of the word “Buddha” from the secondary formation “Boddo”, an early form, how the ancient Indo-Greeks, (also known as Bactrian Greeks), Sakas, Parthians, and Kushanas (Yue-Chih) used in their documents to name the Great Lord, Bhagavat Buddha.

The name “Buddha” with “d” as a dental consonant is quite difficult, I have observed, for many westerners to pronounce. Even at present, this happens to be so. In USA and in Australia, during my University lectures (In these two countries) I have found many Westerners (Europeans) pronounce the word Buddha always with a cerebral ‘d’. When I tried to correct them in my classroom, it was the most difficult task for them, to pronounce “Buddha” and sound the dentall ‘d’.

They make a jaw breaking effort, yet without success and pronounce, ‘Buddha’ like ‘Buddo’ or ‘Boddo’ (‘d’ as in ‘door’ or “do”). sometimes I got amused but often disappointed, yet I could not help it but had to tolerate their great difficulty in pronouncing the name ‘Buddha’.

However, now I feel happy that I had the good occasion to confront with such people because this very experience has been a pointer to solve the most intriguing thing, how the mystery word “GOD” appeared in the world.

In the coins issued by early Indo-Greeks (also known as Bactrian-Greeks), Scythians, Sakas and Kushanas of West Asia who were converted to Buddhism (a few centuries after the Alexandrian conquests of Persia and other kingdoms of Middle East) have for the first time in history of Buddhist iconography, the image of Buddha on the obverse side of their coins. This numismatic evidence is like “God sent” to me, the only clue to solve the present problem of the etymological origin of “God”.

Through my recollections, how my American and Australian students pronounced the word “Buddha” during my university lectures, I managed to trace its roots in the Indo-Greek numismatics. It could be presumed that the same problem had been encountered by the western people whether they be Greeks of West-Asians. They too must have pronounced the name “Buddha” as “Boddo” and inscribed it on the reverse side of their coins. the best example is the coin issued by the great Kushana Emperor Kanishka, with a standing image of the Buddha (on the obverse) with the legend BODDO.

Araha and Allah

I am sure the Bactrian Greeks (or the Indo-Greeks) as they were called by several scholars, to distinguish them from Selcuicid Greeks) had not used the dental ‘d’ in BODDO legend of the coins that was inscribed on the obverse side. Thus Bhagavat Buddha had been introduced to West-Asia and Middle East, as a Great Superhuman being worthy of worship, under the epithet “Boddo” during the first century of the Christian era and would have possibly replaced the former ‘Araha’ -Alaha (Allah) ideal of the original Buddhism (the Theravada ideal as some scholars would prefer, to distinguish original Buddhism), that the great monk Ven. Punna established in Sunaparanata (the Sinai-Arabah region), his homeland, as we have demonstrated already (the West-Asian region).

Thus within a century at least of the Christian era, the Buddha – Boddo – Bod – God, ideal had been established and had penetrated into the region of Sinai-Arabah where the Araha – Alaha Allah concept of the supreme sinless compassionate Lord, was prevailing.

Based on our new discovery, we do not hesitate to declare that the mystic word ‘GOD’ has gone into the Holy Scriptures of at least some of those West Asiatic people (who held Araha – Alaha – Allah as the Supreme Being) through the linguistic or philological formation of BODDO’, during the first century of the Christian era.

Jews who held “Torah” as their foremost Sacred Holy Scriptures would not have yielded to those extraneous religious texts or scriptures of the Buddhist Sects established by Punna Thera, wherein Araha, Alaha or Allah appeared variantly. This can be clearly seen in the firm stand of Jews in recognising Jehowah (Yehoweh) as their Divine father, the Supreme Creator, right throughout from pre-Christian centuries up to now, and not Alaha or even Allah as it has gone into Aramaic and Arabic Holy Scriptures, and more so the all loving compassionate Boddo, Bod, God who they thought would not conform to their ideal of an Eternal Creator God – Jehowah who does not hesitate to punish those who go against his commandments and covenents.

There must have been bitter resentment between the two factions, namely, the priests (or priest – kings) of Jehowah worshippers and the cave dwelling eremites who rejected the Jewish torah since the days of Ven. Punna who preached the peaceful doctrine of “Araha Sambuddo” and the “Kingdom of Righteousness and baptised their newly ordained novice monks (a custom that is still being continued in Theravada Buddhist countries), and eschewed circumcision and totally opposed animal sacrifice and killing in whatever form to appease an unseen divine being.

It could be surmised that these Araha or Alaha followers were primarily the Aparantakas or Arabah and later known as Arabs of the Nabatean kingdoms that prevailed in this region who called their supreme religious being, their saviour by the name of ARAHA or ALAHA and finally Allah.

A recent scholar while explaining ‘Allah’ as principal God of Mecca says, “He was also worshipped in other places throughout Arabia as is shown by the occurrence of the name in Sabean, Minean and particularly Lihyanite inscriptions”.

“Allat according to recent study of the complicated inscriptional evidence is believed to have been introduced to Arabia from Syria”. (ancient Aram) With the rise in power of Jehowah faction of the primary Jewish tribes who allied with the Alexandrian Greeks and then with the Imperial Rome, the followers of Alaha of the Arabah kingdom of Nabateans were persecuted and severely ill-treated, exiled and gradually pushed out of their original seat of power in Sinai-Arabah region (modern Palestine) and had to seek safety in mainland Arabia, where they established as strong opponents of Jehowah worshipping Jews, and also as their eternal rivals.

Meanwhile many of those innocent, peaceful, cave dwelling eremite monks would have been tolerated and allowed to stay in their rock-cut dwellings as long as they would mind their own business without interfering with the mainstream Jewish religio political strategy.

Thus the Araha – Alaha worshippers, the peace loving original Sinai people continued to stay in the region with their cave dwelling monks, later known as Essenes (may be a derivative from Suna-Sinai), performing their religious rites and obligations based on high ethical order, morality and righteousness, and safeguarding and promoting the study and practice of their original Holy Scriptures the “Peshitta”, as opposed to the Jewish Torah.

However, they too would have had to face occasional persecution according to the whim and fancy of the Jewish priest kings.

Buddhist Greek Kings

Thus the shrines and temples of those original Araha – Alaha worshippers founded in the vicinity of the Dead-sea would have continued to function despite the opposition of the jewsih priests at Jerusalem etc., and their lay followers of Jehowah, until the appearance of Jesus Christ and John the Baptist who, it is clear through Bibilical references, had tried to review the declining Alaha (Buddhalogy) religion that was yet surviving under great pressure with their temples either destroyed or appropriated by Jehowah followers.

During the same period one can witness that a neo-Buddhalogy was just emerging in the former Bactrian-Greek satrapies with territorial expansion of the imperial Kushanas under the great Buddhist Emperor Kanishka (cir.ist.Century,A.C.)

Bactrian Greek Kings like Minander (of Milindapanha fame) had already become devout patrons of Buddhism. The rule of emperor Kanishka gave a great impetus to Buddhism by spreading it in far away territories beyond his imperial frontiers.

Emperor Kanishka’s period was exactly the time Jesus Christ and John the Baptist were operating in Jerusalem, and propagating the “Good News” of the “Kingdom or Righteousness” which the Israeli Jews could not have correctly grasped, and most unfortunately misunderstood to the great misfortune of John and Jesus Christ.

Jews were hesitant to crush the new movement, a revivalist campaign, of Jesus Christ at first, may be because of his affiliations with imperial Kushanas. However they killed John and framed charges against Jesus, a rebel against Imperial Rome.

The large followers who accepted Jesus’ teachings, too must have made the cunning Jewish priests, at first, hesitant to do any harm to Jesus. Therefore they tried various strategies to entrap him.

It could be surmised that the “Arahan Buddha” followers were still holding on to their scriptures the “Peshitta” and the temples in the vicinity of Jerusalem.

Their presence during the pre-Christian (pre-Jesus) days can be definitely proved by the re-discovery of the famous “Dead-Sea Scrolls” in the early fifties of the present century, the scriptures that belonged to the cave and forest dwelling monks known as Essenes and written in arachic Aramaic script.

According to the scanty information that was made available to the scholarly public by those Jewish-Hebrew scholars who jealously guard the “Dead-Sea Scrolls” for nearly fifty years without publishing them, under various pretexts, these documents belonged to the monks dwelling in forest or cave hermitages and were later called Essenes.

The name “Essenes” could very likely be a later Jewish term from an original name derived from “Suna-Sinai” the homeland, Sunaparanatha where Ven. Punna established his group of Suna (Sinai) monks as demonstrated by us above.

The ‘Dead-Sea Scrolls” do not refer at all to a higher Divine Being by the name of Jehowah, unless the recent editors (who jealously guard these documents) tend to interpolate or smuggle in, the name Jehowah, in between the lines of these ancient religious scriptures written in Aramaic.

It is remarkable that without any such evidence at their disposal, as the newly discovered “Dead Sea Scrolls”, some European scholars of the early decades of the present century have suggested that the “Essenes” could be an “original forgotten Buddhist Sect.”

Although the Jews rejected “the religion of the Araha” (or Alaha), the Arabs, from the original Arabah stock, were fortunate enough to have adhered to the great doctrine found in the “Scriptures of Araha” and preserved by the monks of the Sinai-Arabah region, (the Dead-Sea region).

That is why the scholars of Islam have found it possible to declare that the concept of Allah is pre-Mohammed and had possibly derived from a religious concept got down from Sinai-Arabah area (or Israel-Palestine of the present day).” This observation confirms our derivation of Essenes from an original religious community from Sinai.

Most of the pre-Christian and later (appropriated) Islamic temple sites in Arabia as referred to above, including the famous shrine at Mecca (which was identified by the great scholar monk Ven. Dr. Pannananda Mahathera, as the Makulaka monastery of the Buddha’s day) has as the central object of worship a “Sacred stone dais”.

The megalithic “Asanaghara” shrines of ancient pre-historic Sri Lanka and India that were appropriated by the Buddhists later, are a noteworthy clue which provides the missing link between early (original) Buddhist temple sites in South Asia and West Asia (middle East).

On the other hand, most of the religious practices of early Christian religion show that the Christian Church had no approval of Judaism. Judaic religious practices were anathema to the teaching of Jesus Christ. Christian religion abhorred massacre of animals for sacrifice, circumcision, gullible adherence to Sabbath rituals and practices, no prayers or invocations for Jehowah the Creator, But of course, the greatest love and devotion to “the most compassionate righteous God, the Divine Loving Father in the Eternal Heaven” is emphasised.

We wish to present a few more evidence to substantiate our thesis that the Buddha’s religion introduced to West Asia by Ven. Punna Mahathera, survived as a counter religious force to Judaic Monotheism, (in the same way original Buddhism played as a counter force to monotheistic, animal sacrificing Brahmanic Hindu religion in India) for many more centuries, preserving its originality intact until it was absorbed and assimilated into the two faiths namely. Christianity preached by Jesus Christ and Islam preached by Prophet Mohammed, yet preserving a good portion of Buddha’s original Doctrine – “Saddharma” and early Buddhist religious cults and practices like, circumambulating sacred objects of worship. erecting domes above shrines to symbolize the vastness of Buddha nature like the ‘vault of the sky’ or heavenly spheres; worshipping the great Buddha symbolically in the sacred seat or dais, fiery flame; crescent moon to remind the Buddhist Sabbath or Poya retreat; rejecting anthropomorphic images of the Supreme Buddha who is ineffable, elevating the Doctrine (Dhamma) on same part with the Great Divine Lord.

In the teachings of Jesus Christ, there are clear evidence to prove that He had definitely preached the Buddha’s religion. ***

Now that we have produced substantial evidence to prove that they very name ‘God’ is a derivative of the name ‘Buddha’ through the Bactrian Greek – Saka – Scythian – Kushana word Boddo – Bod, it is incumbent on us to provide further facts to strengthen our thesis.

Jesus Christ never referred to a Supreme Divine Being by the name of Jehowah, the ancient Aramaic Peshitta scriptures, through which the original Jesus teachings as found in the Holy Bible were formulated, always had Alaha for the Supreme Being.

The Christian Bible that was translated through Greek into English from original teaching of Jesus in the Aramaic language, had for the first time the word ‘God’, the Divine Father.

The metamorphosis of Alaha to God could be clearly observed during this period of transition from original Peshitta scriptures (or texts) to Jesus teachings. The reason for this transformation we have amply demonstrated above.

Jesus never preached on an everlasting, eternal heaven or Hades as is found in most other theistic religious systems. Jesus categorically denied such beliefs when He declared “heaven and earth will not last but my doctrine will last.” Jesus emphasised that everything will pass over. This is in conformity with Buddhism which declared everything is impermanent (anicca) and the ‘Doctrine’ of Nibbana the Supreme Bliss is eternal, Sanatana Dhamma. Jesus said, “my doctrine is not mine.”

Jesus, chief disciples were males. Jesus and John both spoke about the ‘son of God’, ‘Children of God’. This was quite consonant with the epithet of a noble disciple of the Buddha who is truly a Buddhaputto, a son of the Buddha, a son of Boddo, (Bod – God).

It was Jesus who emphasised the supreme love, the great compassion, which is ‘Mahakaruna’ in the teachings of our Lord Bhagavat Buddha (e.g. mettanca sabhalokasmin – Manasambhavaye aparimanam).

No divine punishment or wrath or an unseen power, heavenly authority, is there in the teachings of Jesus Christ. His God (Bod -Boddo – Buddha) was omnipotent or all powerful, omniscient or all knowing (Sabbannu, epithet of the Buddha) all love Mahakaruniko Natho Hitaya Sabbapaninam for the Buddha), all righteous, all just, all merciful, the entire cosmos (or creation as the Bible translators put it) is under His command or rule (Lokavidu epithet of the Buddha). He is the universal monarch and His kingdom or righteousness is Supreme (Buddha Rajjyaya or Buddha Khetta).

“That kingdom of my father,” Jesus emphasised, “is not within this world” (of sinful craving, hatred and ignorance loha, dosa and moha as Buddha explained). Jesus stopped the age-old Jewish religious rite of killing animals for sacrifice (like what the Buddha and his noble disciples did in India against the Brahmanic Hindu yagas by which thousands of innocent animals were killed to appease unseen, ferocious, vindictive imaginary divine beings).

Jesus ridiculed the Jews for their foolish practice of religious rites and rituals, like gullible adherence to Sabbath and circumcision. Jesus declared, “Sabbath is for man and man is not for Sabbath,” thus elevating the position of man even above the divine commands which was in consonance with one of the early Buddhist concepts of understanding man as ‘one who has’ an elevated mind (man or mana = mind + ussa = elevated hence manussa – man).

“Those followers of the kingdom of God are to seek righteousness above all. This reminds us of the Buddha’s admonition – “first establish in morality” (sile patithaya naro sapanno). “Man is like a God when he has learned the lessons of mercy,” Jesus said, thus bringing God down to earth.

Sassanian kings of West Asia even issued coins identifying “Buddha as the Divine Ruler” or God in the present sense. King Peroz I in his coins engraved the seated image of the Buddha on a throne with the legend, ‘Bulda-Yazde’ on it the Buddha’s figure is shown with a halo of flames. ‘Bulda-Yazde’ means ‘Buddha the King’ which is very much similar to Islamic expression ‘Allah-hu-Akbar’, Allah is the ruler. Sinhala Buddhists always address the Buddha as Budurajan, (Buddha the king).

Jesus abhorred accepting money and property, a rule for Buddhist monks from the very beginning of Buddhism, which practice had been strictly adhered to by the Essenes, the cave dwelling eremites of Jerusalem who lingered for several centuries even after the severe persecution of ‘God’s people (Buddho’s people), the Buddhists, by the followers of, Jehowah and the cruel priests of Jerusalem, as the Dead Sea Scrolls do divulge. Incidentally it is stated in the Holy Bible that the Jews even hated God, which is a clear proof that God of Jesus Christ has nothing to do with Jehowah.

Even a bad thought, let alone fornication, is a sin, taught Jesus, thus reminding the Buddhists of the Buddha’s saying, cetanaham bhikkhave Kammam vadami. Jesus said: “Love thy lord, thy God, through thy whole heart, whole soul and whole mind. This is exactly a revised version of the Buddha’s admonition to His disciples – ‘love me and have faith in me and my Dhamma, all of you who are directed towards the blissful state of Svarga – ‘heaven’ (mayadhamme mayi saddhamattam pemamattam, sabbte sagga parayanti)

In every sermon of Jesus Christ that has come down to us in the Holy Bible (may be after so many alterations, deletions and revisions over many centuries in the past), we can get a glimpse of Buddha’s universal message of Karuna and Pragna, that is loving kindness and cultivation of insight. Jesus practised meditation and fasting as a good exercise for pacifying and purifying the mind (Samatha bhavana) before reaching wisdom and insight (Vidassana bhavana).

Allah-hu-Akbar

As foreseen by the Buddha, in his admonition to Ven. Punna, ‘under violent, inhuman persecution and threats by the followers of Jehowah (the Jewish priests) of Sinaiparan (Sunaparanta) original Buddhism established by Punna Thera and his disciples and followers of the Nabatean kingdom of Arabah (around Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Nazareth) up to Sinai area, had retreated to mainland Arabia and Syria where they continued to survive as Arabs (or Beduin Arabs – Buddhist Arabs!), who build shrines with crowning domes, just like the Buddhist architectural type found in stupas (dagabas) in honour of their supreme blessed One, Alaha or Allah (or Allat) who was eventually deified as a merciful being, the Supreme Lord who is the great divine ruler (Allah-hu Akbar).

If our surmise and explanations can be justified, then it could be argued that in those Arab states where the Aramaic language prevailed, the Buddhist scriptures and practices too continued to serve with occasional changes and growth of extraneous cults and practices. That is why in every pre-Islamic Arab shrine we get domical structures which surmount the main temple like in Buddhist stupas. There are also sacred stone altars, platforms and stone daises that are the main attraction in those shrines e.g. at Jerusalem, Amrah, Petra, Mecca, etc.

At the beginning these Alaha worshippers were aniconic like original Theravada Buddhists. But gradually Buddha images and icons of other divinities and royal patrons were also introduced to embellish the inside walls and grottos of these Arab religious shrines dedicated to Alaha (Allah). That is why and how, when prophet Mohammed reached Mecca and Jerusalem and other early pre-Islamic Arab shrines and sanctuaries (more than one thousand years after Punna established Buddhism in Sunaparanta), he found the presence of images which he condemned and destroyed in his iconoclastic ardour, mistakenly believing that those were shrines of Jews, the arch-enemies of Arabs.

Yet, we are fortunate to get a few survivals among which are early representations of the Buddha (in the exact manner how the Buddha images were carved in early sites of traditional Buddhist countries), crudely carved, e.g. the stone image of ‘Amyado of Shukayamim’. According to a recent scholar this is ‘a complete statuette in the round, carved in alabaster. The modelling is done with care but the lower part of the body is quite out of proportion, due no doubt to considering the head as the most important part. The inscription of the base gives the name of ‘Ammyada’ of ‘Shukaymim’.

It could be presumed the name ‘Shukaymim’ of the figure represented in this statute as given in the archaic inscription carved out at the bottom, have preserved for posterity the revered name ‘Shakyamuni’ of Bhagavat Buddha, how the Lord Buddha is reverently addressed by the Buddhists in India, Tibet, China, Korea and Far-East as well as in Theravada countries like Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Kampuchea, Laos, Vietnam and was also found in the earliest pillar inscription of emperor Asoka installed at Lumbini.

With no contact with centres of Buddhist learning and culture for predominant Buddhist kingdoms in Asia, these ‘Alaha – Allah’ shrines of mainland Arabia, Middle-East and West Asia continued to exist for centuries and provided religious ardour to the common folk and rulers as well. With the passage of time, these temples, their resident monks and their followers were subject to the influence of local popular cults and beliefs of various supernatural beings and divinities, thus giving rise to new syncretistic religions and religious sects.

Thus by the time of Prophet Mohammed (cir 6th century AC), the origin of the concept of Alaha and Allah, worship was totally forgotten and shrouded in obscurity, excepting a few surviving early religious cults and scriptures handed down from generation to generation which preserved the basic tenets of former Arahat (Arahan) ideal of original Theravada Buddhism introduced by Ven. Punna, such as a high moral code (Sila), belief in rebirth in heaven and a final eternal blissful state (devaloka, brahmaloka and Nibbana), perambulating as a mode of worship (pradaksina), wearing white clothes to signify religious sanctity (odata vasana), repeating many names of the Lord in praise of Him (nava arahadi Buduguna), no anthropomorphic images but aniconic, symbolic representations of the Lord (like a dais or altar, asana, flame of fire; foot print, dome or domical roof.)

God from Buddha

The reader of the present essay may now seek an explanation from us as to why and how the word ‘God’, if it was derived from ‘Buddha’ giving ‘Buddo-Bod’, was used by Jesus Christ and His followers had the Buddha been worshipped and was known as Araha or Alaha (and later Allah) among the West Asian countries of Aramaic speaking people including the communities with whom Jesus had moved. This was exactly a problem that had baffled us also. The answer to this problem can be found in the religio-cultural developments in the region under review.

The learned thesis by Ven. Dr. Pannananda Mahathera, quoted above, has prompted us to survey a wider geographical region from middle India to West Asia via the then civilised lands like Persia, Syria, Babylonia.

Had we embarked on our investigation on the origin of the word ‘God’ without understanding and analysing the political and religious background of this region, we would not have been able to find any answer to the problems that we faced.

The period during which Buddha was preaching His ‘Saddharma’ and establishing the ‘Kingdom of righteousness’ or ‘Buddha Rajjyaya’ (Buddha Khetta) in the circa sixth century BC had witnessed the emergency of various kingdoms and their merging into powerful monarchies in and around India, e.g. China, Achaemenid Persia, Egypt, Syria, Assyria, Greece, Crete, Babylonia and the Magadha Kingdom of India.

Middle East and West Asia had witnessed the greatest impact of politico-cultural upheavals of this period, mainly because of the influx of so many people to these regions through the great international highway, the eponymous Uttarapatha (Silk Route, as some do call). We have already referred to this phenomenon. The availability of such an international trunk-route that served as quick passage for information also, caused the spread of the news of the birth of such a Great Being, a Supreme Buddha beyond the farthest corners of the east and the west.

Confucius in China and Greek philosophers were made to know or they themselves knew the Buddha’s birth and appearance on earth. We may guess that such a person like ‘Pilotika’ who admired the Buddha so much and was instrumental in the preaching of the sermon ‘Culla Hatthipadopama’ (parable of the small elephant foot-print), was a Greek. Texts say he was golden hued in complexion. They very name sounds like ‘Plato’. We may suggest that Pilotika was a Greek of the Platonic school or family in Greece.

It could be demonstrated that the Buddha’s teachings had reached a far wider area than the scholars thought, during His very lifetime. Even the person Zoroastrar we wish to identify with possible evidence at our disposal, as an early convert to Buddhism. (See infra p)

However, all that had been done towards the spread and establishment of the Buddha’s ‘Saddharma’ and His ‘kingdom of Righteousness’, during the very lifetime of the Buddha by His Arahat monks and by the Buddha Himself, had experienced a setback within the very few centuries that followed the passing away of the Buddha, His Parinibbana.

There were various dissentient schools that wished to establish their own canon despite the original Theravada canon or ‘Tripitaka’. Thus such schools like Sarvastivadins, Sammityas, Purva and Appra Sailiyas, Mahasanghikas, Lokottara Vadin who were the precursors of the major dissentient school of Buddhism, the Mahayana, appeared in India. A few decades before and after the Christian era saw the Satrapies of Scythians, Sakasa and Kushanas, consolidating themselves in the former Indo-Greek (or Bactrian Greek) held territories in the north-western parts of India and beyond.

The rise of emperor Kanishka, the mighty ruler of the Kushana dynasty had a great impact on Buddhism, because he patronised the new Mahayana church of Buddhism whereby the Gautama Buddha was elevated to the position of an Eternal Cosmocrator or a hyper-human being, eternally residing in the Cosmic Buddhasksettra, the Sukhavati heaven. In other words, the Great Buddha had been made an eternal divine being with innumerable Bodhistattvas (angels) attending upon Him, with the two primary acolytes Mahasthama and Avalokita (cf. the archangels of Christianity Michael and Gabriel who are supposed to be on either side of the God’s throne in the heaven).

After a ‘Sangayana’ a grand Buddhist synod of Mahayana monks held at Purushapura (modern Peshawar), emperor Kanishka also had acted like his great predecessor emperor Asoka the Maurya, in patronising Buddhism and sending missionary monks to disseminate the noble doctrine (Saddharma) of the Buddha, but unlike in the case of Asokan Buddhist missionary monks, Kanishka’s missionaries had a Mahayana tinge of the concept of the Buddha. (Some scholars refer to a Buddhist Council held by Kanishka at Vepulla mountain near Rajagrha and systematising a Mahayana treatise called the Vepulla Sutra).

Our investigations reveal that Jesus Christ and even his contemporary, the innocent monk John the Baptist, were born to families of original Alaha (Araha) school of Buddhism that was prevailing or surviving in the Israel Arabah region where Ven. Punna Thera’s monastic establishments were set up with Jerusalem as the headquarters.

The constant feuds between Jehowah worshipping Hebrew speaking Jewish tribes and the Alaha worshipping Aramaic speaking Jewish tribes who later became Arabs can be gleaned if one were to read carefully the Holy Bible and relevant scriptures. While the Hebrew speaking Jewish tribes and their scriptures in the Holy Torah the Aramaic speaking Jewish tribes had their scriptures compiled in the Holy Peshitta. This is a historical fact that cannot be disproved however much the Catholic church may dispute with us.

In the biography of Jesus Christ we can see how He challenged the Jewish priests who tried to dominate and monopolise the Holy Temple at Jerusalem and even gone to the extent of chasing the unscrupulous priests out of the premises of the Holy Sanctuary which must have been patronised by the Jehowah and Alaha worshippers both.

Aramaic world

By the time Jesus was born in Jerusalem, Buddhism in its stronghold kingdoms in north-west India had developed into Mahayana under the patronage of Saka-Kushana monarchs as has been explained above. The Aramaic speaking territories of pre-Christian centuries received all the inspiration from those Buddhist kingdoms and moreso when emperor Kanishka expanded his territories under the Kushana empire.

Hence the change of doctrinal policy of Buddhism in these kingdoms it was natural for the ‘Aramaic world’ of West Asia also to receive its influences and impact.

Therefore it could be easily explained that Jesus Christ also had become an ardent follower of the new school of Buddhism which had powerful and rich monastic centres in the Kashmir, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asian region that was the territory in the heart of the powerful Kushana empire. This has been proved with evidence through archaeological discoveries by research scholars, who have found tangible evidence to prove Jesus’ presence in Kashmir which was the part of the great Buddhist empire of Sakas and Kushanas both, during the first century before and after the present era.

It could be surmised that Ven. Isa or Jesus the Jew. was sent to Israel, with the backing and blessings of the powerful Mahayana Buddhist monks of the Kushana empire who still would have had contacts with Alaha (Araha) Buddhists in Arabia and Palestine.

Kingdom of righteousness

Evidence at our disposal is strong enough to declare unequivocally that Jesus was selected as the ideal missionary to spread the neo-Buddhist doctrine codified after the great Buddhist synod held by Emperor Kanishka in the same way ‘Punna the Jew’ was granted permission to go to the same region five centuries earlier to establish the ‘Kingdom of Righteousness’ and the ‘Good News’ of the path to Supreme Bliss in Eternal Nirvana.

The date of Jesus ministry in Judae region (cir 25-32 AC) tallies well with the reign of emperor Kanishka according to the latest reckoning by scholars. Ven. Isa (or Jesus) had put a very bold front despite Jewish challenges and threats, even though he was aware that he was operating within the occupied territory of the Imperial Rome and under ever watchful hawkeyed cruel priests at Jerusalem (as reported in Dead Sea Scrolls), because Jesus was sure of the support that he could muster from the equally powerful Buddhist Empire of the Kushanas (See Bible. Math. 47:53).

While being under arrest, and his supporters led by Peter, tried to challenge the Roman gladiators, Jesus stopped his men to drive a doctrinal point, “Those who unsheathe their swords, will get killed by the very sword,” and reminded them of the great compassion (Metta) that one need cultivate even against the cruel enemies.

Buddhist Empire

But Jesus did not hide the fact, “that if he wishes he can get thousands of angelic forces from the kingdom of his father to rescue him, “probably alluding at the powerful armies of the Kushana Emperor Kanishka who had established the most formidable Buddhist Empire after Asoka of India and before Kublai Khan of Mongal China.

Jesus, thus took the message of this neo-Buddhism with the Buddha elevated to the position of an ‘Eternal Supreme Divine Ruler’ to his home country the Judea region (former Arabah) where even during Jesus time, the monastic establishments and shrines would have definitely flourished under the eremites who lived in cave sanctuaries and followed saintly hermit lives around the Dead-sea littoral.

Dead-Sea Scrolls

It would be interesting to refer to the hermit monks known as ‘Essenes’ who lived in caves and grottoes around the Dead sea region and the discovery of religious scriptures written on parchments from sanctuaries near the Dead sea and referred to as ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’. After nearly five centuries of the establishment of Sinai (or Esseni) Buddhist Church by Ven. Punna Mahathra, it could be presumed that there could have been a substantial number of followers of the great Alaha, the supreme compassionate father and his peaceful ‘Doctrine of righteousness’, even at the time of Jesus, both within Israel and in Arabia Proper.

The Peshitta

It would not have been impossible for Jesus Christ to gather a large number of followers to his teachings which are based on the old original doctrine ‘Saddharma’ of the Buddha the great Arahan (Alaha), emphasising compassion and wisdom (metta and Prajna) as found in the Old Aramaic scriptures, the Peshitta, yet with a new emphasis by Jesus Christ and his apostles on the concept of the Buddha elevated far above that of Jehowah, the creator God of Torah. This is clearly reflected in the New Testament teachings of Jesus Christ.

The new teachings of Jesus must have brought shock waves on traditional Jews who during the pre-Christian centuries have been successful in curbing the extraneous Peshitta Scriptures and driving out the ‘Alaha’ followers beyond their territories to mainland Arabia, although they might have tolerated or were compelled to connive at some of the Suna (Sinai) monks, later called Esenes, who followed Alaha’s Dhamma to remain within their territory as long as they confine themselves to their cave dwellings and do not interfere with Jewish mainstream religio-politics with a vibrant monotheistic orientation.

The Jewish opposition to Jesus Christ was so formidable and unrelenting that the cunning Jewish priests (as was the case with many priests all over the world) must have obtained political backing of the Roman governors of the time to castigate Jesus as an apostate and also a potential usurper who speaks and assures of a ‘millennal kingdom of peace and righteousness’.

Finally Jesus Christ had to pay the penalty on the cross, although the Roman rulers were hesitant to take responsibility for executing punishment on Jesus Christ.

Jesus Framed

The final scene of the crucifixion is so dramatically portrayed in the Holy Bible, that anyone can understand how the vicious and cruel Jewish priests who framed Jesus, were insisting on nothing less than death penalty on him, while those who present were looking aghast. One can easily surmise that not only Judas, but several others too must have been bribed by the Jewish priests to cause harm to Jesus while he was under arrest. Jesus’s bold front before the Roman governor, shows that he was not expecting injustice from them. The Roman governor’s wavering attitude to pass judgement on Jesus, also shows that the Roman authorities too had a certain amount of fear not to antagonise Jesus and his Alaha, now ‘God’ followers who can get support from the imperial Kushanas who had by that time expanded their empire right up to western border to Imperial Rome.

However unexpected, Jesus was crucified not by the Roman governor’s demand but by the demand of cunning and cruel Jewish priests. The final words of Jesus Christ on the cross, Eli Eli Lama Sabachhami’, is a mystery phrase to Bible translators who brought such a great person like Jesus to a very low pedestal and pointed out that Jesus was crying in agony and seeking divine intervention on his behalf.

Grace of Buddha

Had Jesus, studied Buddhism in India, in a monastery of the Gandhara empire somewhere in Kashmir, under emperor Kanishka’s patronage, he would never have sought the help of an unseen divine power, but would have definitely sought the Sublime grace of Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha (the Tri Ratna) as has been admonished by the Buddha Himself in the famous Dhajjhagga Sutta.

We shall make the Bible translators enlightened, that what the great Buddhaputtra (son of God) Jesus uttered on the cross, was nothing but reminding himself of the great qualities of the Buddha as a means of consolation and salvation from Sansaric bonds. Therefore we declare that what Jesus had uttered was nothing but the famous hymn in praise of the great God, the Supreme God, God of all Gods, Devatideva, Brahmatibrahma. Buddha (Bodo-God) – ‘Itipiso Bhagava Araham Samma Sambuddho etc.’ However Jesus was very weak and emaciated after the severe and painful trial the Jews meted out to him.

Therefore the feeble words Jesus had uttered, would not have come out through his lips properly or else, even if at all those words were properly pronounced, due to the great commotion, the vast crowd in front of the crucifixion, who were horrified to witness the grisly scene of such a compassionate person being crucified, could not have understood him.

Aramaic Bible

Therefore what was left for the Aramaic Bible scribes and their later translators was a fraction of what Jesus had uttered. The line as it is now found in the Holy Bible as: ‘Eli Eli Lama Sabachtami” can be compared with ‘Araham Sammasambuddho’ in original Pali, which would have gone into Aramaic slightly differently during Jesus’ time, and could be surmised as, stood somewhat like ‘Alaham Lamma Samoccham’ and gone to Greek scribes as ‘Eli Eli Lama Sabocchami’ and had appeared in the English translations variantly.

If at all there were survivals of pockets of adherents of the original followers of Buddhism of the Alaha (Araha) school as taught by the great monk Ven. Punna to the people of Sinai – Arabah (Suna-Apranta) region, when Jesus appeared in the scene (roughly the same area but predominated by Jews, when the Arahabs were pushed into Arabia and Syria by the time Jesus was born) surely they would have got confused with the new concept of god (or Bod) as the supreme Omniscient Being, a divine father of great compassion residing in an eternal cosmic realm, (the Sukkhavati heaven of Mahayana Buddhism) and would have not supported Jesus fully or acceded to his teachings.

Moreover the Alaha devotees of original Buddhism in Arabah too would have by this time (nearly five centuries after Ven. Punna’s mission to Sunaparanta of ferocious people) dispersed far and wide owing to the formidable opposition of Jewish-Jehowah followers and had themselves settled down firmly in mainland Arabia and Syria and maintained the (Bedouin) Arab religious identity as a formidable religious fraternity opposing the Jewish-Jehowah worshippers.

Although the ‘Alaha’ worshipping Arabs did not approve of the new theistic ‘Boddo’ or ‘God’ doctrine of Jesus, they seem to have tolerated Jesus because his teachings on ‘righteousness and compassion’ and final emancipation in the, ‘kingdom of righteousness’ tally well with the teachings of the religion of Great Compassionate Almighty Alaha (Allah), according to which one could reach a temporary heaven after death through one’s meritorious acts and reach the final blissful eternal heaven by complete surrender to Alaha (Allah). Undoubtedly Arabs and Jews both would have accepted Jesus as a messenger of God and Alaha both. Even today Islam considers Jesus as a messenger of Allah.

Up till recently, the Arab-Jewish religious rivalry, although both communities trace their origin to the same ethnic stock, was a great mystery to Islamic and Christian religious historians. I am sure with our discovery of Alaha-Allah etymology in the original Theravada Buddhist term Araha which is an epithet of the Buddha and the Peshitta holy scriptures which preserved the name Alaha with reference to the great divine father, this problem is now solved considerably if not conclusively.

Jehowah of Jews

Our thesis is well substantiated by the fact that both Alaha (of the Peshitta-Aramaic Christian scriptures) and Allah (of the Quranic-Arabic scriptures) worshippers maintain that their compassionate God is one and the same, Jesus and Mohammed were messengers of the same compassionate God, who is the supreme ruler, the divine king of the ‘Kingdom of Righteousness’ which is diametrically opposed to the Jehowah (of the Torah-Hebrew scriptures) of the age-old traditional Jewish religion that was prevailing in Sinai-Arabah region, centuries before both Christianity and Islam originated in West Asia.

It could now be easily seen that in the first century AD this region of Sinai-Arabah (Suna-Apara of early Buddhist texts) of West Asia saw three different religious fraternities opposing one another and claiming allegiance to their own Holy Scriptures, namely (1) the Jewish Torah, (2) Christian Holy Bible (revised by Saul the former arch-enemy of Christ followers, who was later named Paul) and (3) Pre-Islamic Aramaic Peshitta Scriptures which later developed into Arabic Surah-Quran after Prophet Mohammed, the son of Abud-Allah, the servant of Alaha (or Araha).

Even the very word Bible is a mystery word we may say. The Jews do not have any Holy Scriptures by that name. Western scholars have tried to trace the name ‘Bible’ from the Greek word ‘biblios’ – which means papyrus bark used as a writing material or parchment paper. If Bible means a reference to a book only, surely most. If not all, of the books at that time must have been written on papyrus and the Jews too could have used the word for their Holy scriptures which too were written and preserved on papyrus parchments.

Peshitta-Bible-Torah

The original name of the Holy Scriptures of Aramaic speaking Jews (not Hebrew speaking Jews) and Arabs both, was Peshitta and not Bible or Torah. Why then the Christian Bible alone was named the Bible had to be investigated and solved.

This is a great mystery and we hope our recent discoveries will throw much light on the problem to solve this mystery. The translators of the original Greek Bible based on old Aramiac Scriptures, (Aramaic was the language used by Jesus himself, incidentally) state inter-alia. “Had the Peshitta been made by order of one of the rival churches, the others would have rejected it. But since all Christians, even the Muslims in the Middle East, accept and revere the Peshitta text, it proves beyond a doubt that it was in use many centuries before the division of the Church.”

The above facts show that the Holy scriptures as referred to by the name Peshitta and accepted as sacred by Arabic speaking Moslems and Aramaic speaking Jews and others of Middle East had nothing to do with the Jewish Torah. It is something entirely different and distinct from the Hebrew Jewish Torah.

It is through our observations, that these Aramaic scriptures were nothing but “Survivals of the original Buddhist teachings” of the Church established by Ven. Punna Thera that we can solve the mystery of the origin of not only Peshitta but also the three different sacred books – Torah, Peshitta and the Holy Bible.

There is not much problem as to the genesis of the Jewish-Hebrew Torah. The Holy Bible is of Christian origin after the peaceful mission of the great personage Jesus Christ. The problem now remains as to the origin of Peshitta based of the worship of a Supreme Being by the name of Alaha. If Peshitta was a compilation of Buddhist orientation or Buddhist doctrinal matters, as we do suggest, it has to be proved. Peshitta is the Aramaic name for the original Holy Scriptures. We quote: “This name was given to this ancient and authoritative text to distinguish it from other Bible translations – around 431-451 A.D.

Further “all Christians, even the Moslems in the Middle East accept and revere the Peshitta. Peshitta is without dispute even earlier than the writings of Bar-Dasan who was living in the second century Aramaic was the mother tongue of Jesus Christ and He preached His gospel in Aramaic”. Paul preached the Christian gospel written in Aramaic. His epistles were written…when Christianity had spread into Syria and parts of near East and India. “The word Peshitta means true and original Doctrine.

If we consider carefully and critically the above remarks about the Peshitta text (or the original versions of the existing Holy Bible, or to be more accurate the proto-Bible) much facts can be gleaned to solve the mystery of the Bible. First and foremost, now we know that it was respected and revered by the Christians and the Moslems both. It is quite unlikely that Jesus had preached a new or revised doctrine of the Jewish religion and wish to identify Torahic Jehowah with the Biblical God.

The great antipathy of Jews to Jesus Christ shows that His teachings were not in conformity with their religious ideals and scriptures. On the other hand if it was an entirely original doctrine of Jesus Christ, it would not have spread so quickly in such an alien land, in a vast area at the very first few decades after His death, namely, from Syria through Middle East to India, as Peshitta authorities record.

Our view, is (which is also the view of recent research scholars who have found substantial evidence of Jesus’ connections with Buddhist kingdoms of North West India of the period) that Jesus Christ was preaching the doctrine of the Buddha to those very Semitic communities who had already become adherents of Alaha (of Peshitta Scriptures), the great Arahan Buddha, centuries ago with the mission of Ven. Punna to Sinai-Arabah (Suna-Aparanta) region of the Nabettean monarchs.

Jesus and Mahayana Buddhism

However the teachings of Jesus seems not to be based on the Araha ideal of original Buddhism. Jesus had seemingly emphasised the new Buddhist doctrine as found in Mahayana Buddhism revised by Emperor Kanishka and his immediate predecessors of the Kushana Empire that spread throughout North-Western India into parts of Central Asia, Far East and Middle East.

Thus when Jesus emphasised the Buddha as Cosmocrator, the Universal Compassionate Father, such views would have been anathema to Jews of Jehowah’s religion. On the other hand Jesus’ God (Bod-Boddo) of the Eternal Blissful Heaven (Sukhavati of Mahayana Buddhism) would not have been easily understood by the original converts to Buddhism (those who held Alaha-Araha as their great Omniscient Lord), who were by that time had established in Arabia proper and other neighbouring kingdoms sporadically.

Saul who changed his name to Paul (later St. Paul) must have been either an honest and understanding convert to Jesus’ teachings of Boddo (God) as Cosmocrator, or else a cunning Jewish priest who wished to compromise with the Jews as well as with the Roman Caesars by presenting the new Christian Theology as an off-shoot of old Jewish religion of Jehowah worshippers which will not be a great threat to Roman religious institutions based on age-old thesistic concepts such as Jupiter (Zeus), Adonis, Venus, Hermes, Bachchus, Eros, et al.

Whatever the case may be, original teachings of Jesus Christ had to face great challenges and resulted in revisions and alterations, after several synods and colloquiums held by the Christian church fathers, before being acceptable to the rulers of Rome and their religious hierarchy to become one with the “Holy Roman Empire” which proved to be not so holy.

The very word ‘Peshitta’ for the Aramaic-Christian or proto-Christian canon can be traced back to an original Buddhist word for Lord Buddha’s teachings, namely ‘Bhashita’ which means “What was spoken” or the ‘original word’, ‘Truth’ and is also known as ‘Buddha Bhashita’.

The word “Peshitta” means “straight, sincere, true that is “the Original” and given to the ancient authoritative text to distinguish if from the other Bible revisions and translations.

Persian Empire

Our contention that Buddhism in its original doctrinal form had spread along the Great Northern Highway, the Uttharapatha to several other kingdoms and regions outside India, during the very life time of the Buddha can be further substantiated if we analyse the religion of Ahura Mazda preached by Zoroaster in the Persian Empire of Achaemenids (present day Iran).

The God of Zoroaster was “Ahura Mazda”. Zoroaster was a contemporary of Gautama Buddha and was born around 570 B.C. according to ancient Iranian historiographical chronology.

The word “Ahura Mazda” has very close resemblance to “Arahan Buddha” which name had already spread beyond Arabia towards the Sinai-Jerusalem region through Ven. Punna’s mission and to the very heart of Achaemenid-Iran through the very first lay disciples of the Buddha, namely the two caravan leaders Tapassu and Bhalluka. It had been found that the birth place of Bhalluka was the township Bhalk a border township on the great trunk route Uttharapatha, close to or within the then achaemenid Empire.

The great Achaemenid (Persian) emperor Xerxes says: “That Ahura Mazda made his father Darius the Great, king of kings, while his grandfather Vishtaspa and great grandfather Rshama were both alive.

Zoroaster can thus be considered as a learned convert, a noble disciple of the great Ahura Mazda (Arahan Buddha) when Buddha visited these kingdoms beyond the north-west frontier of India, and preached the Good Doctrine “Zad Sparam” as found in the Avesta which is nothing but the “Sad Dharma” the Noble Doctrine of the Buddha.

The Arab historian, Mazudi (A.C. 956), states that king Histaspas’s (Vishtaspa, grandfather of Emperor Xerxes) residence was in the city of Balkh, the capital of Bactria.

In my article on Balkh (which appeared in the “Encyclopedia of Buddhism”) and ancient site where very early Buddhist monuments have been discovered, I have referred to the fact that the first two lay disciples of Lord Buddha namely, Tapassu and Bhalluka the caravan traders, had hailed from Balkh and had come through the northern high way (Uttharapatha) to India and met the Buddha. The two brothers became the first two lay disciples of the Buddha, by surrendering themselves before the Lord (see supra).

King Vishtaspa could have definitely heard of the Buddha and His “Saddharma” through such caravan leaders and other travellers. Zoroaster the Iranian too must have become a noble disciple of the Buddha having listened to the Buddha and understood His teaching (Saddharma).

Zoroaster a Buddhist

If the very first lay disciples of the Great Buddha were also Bactrians from Balkh, it is not unlikely that Zoroaster also had met the Buddha himself like the West Asian Ven. Punna the Arab (or Jew), who was a caravan leader himself from far away Sinai-Arabah (Suna-Apara). According to the same historian, “Zoroaster converted Vishtaspa, the father of Darius the Great and brought the kingdom under Righteousness”, also “the deliverer of the imperilled Empire with great wisdom and efficiency.”

The date of Zoroaster is further confirmed by the Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus (cir. 360 A.C.), who says, “about the Magi and holy rites…. to this science the Bactrian Zoroaster made many contributions and after him the wise king Hystaspes, the father of Darius,” ….”Therefore it is possible when a date around 570-493 B.C. is assigned to Zoroaster lends some support.”

Incidentally, we may suggest that it could be quite possible that the three Magi who visited baby Jesus and advised Joseph and Mary to flee from possible Jewish dangers were either Zoroastrian Buddhist monks of the original Alaha (Araha) Buddhist group of Zoroaster’s founding or Buddhist monks of Punna’s group from Arabia.

However, the above statements further confirm that Zoroaster was a Bactrian from Balkh, the place of origin of the very first, two lay disciples (Tapassu and Bhalluka) of our Lord Bhagavat Buddha. Furthermore it is stated that “Airan-vej’ the place where Zoroaster was born, “was in the direction of Ataropatakan (Azervaijan).”

“Ataropatakan” can easily be identified as an early Iranian term for the eponymous “Uttarapatha”, the Great Northern Highway which ran through ancient Iran via Balkh in Bactria, in north-western part of India, and connected Middle India up to Sri Lanka through Dakshinapatha (Dekkan) the Great Southern Highway.

According to Zoroaster’s biography, ‘he was taken to Ahura Mazda (Arahan Buddha) by an arch angel named ‘Vohu Manah’. It is likely that Vohu Manah may have been a great disciple of the Bhagavat Buddha. We may identify ‘Vohu Manah’ tentatively with ‘Moggalana’ the Great Buddha’s chief disciple along with Sariputta.

On the command of Ahura Mazda, Zoroaster went to meet king Vishtasp (father of the great monarch, emperor Darius) and converted him.

The above passages suggest that Ahura Mazda (Arahan Buddha) personally instructed Zoroaster at a very friendly level and that incident was not a mysterious divine intervention as some modern writers and pundits try to interpret without giving any thought to the historical background, and the political episodes that took place in the Achaemenid Imperial Court, and also the unforgettable geographical factor, the northern Highway’ Uttarapatha (“Ataropatakan” in ancient Persian), that linked northern India and Persia.

Light of Asia

As modern historians’ interpretations go Zoroaster’s founding of fire temples does not necessarily mean that the Zoroastrian religionists were fire-worshippers. They must have definitely lighted oil-lamps, and burnt incense, joysticks etc., in honour of the Great Compassionate Lord, the Bhagavat Buddha, the Supreme Light (“The Light of Asia” as Sir Edwin Arnold said, the flame of fire, the symbol how the Buddha was aniconically represented in pre-Christian art and sculpture), because Zoroaster’s teachings do not speak of fire-worship, or any invocation or incantation to a fire-god as the “Agni” cult of Indian Brahmins.

Zoroaster’s teachings are nothing but an emphasis on “Great Righteousness” like in the case of emperor Asoka’s conversion to Buddha’s doctrine of “Great Righteousness”.

Few religious terms of Zoroaster’s teachings as recorded in the Holy Text “Avesta” can easily help, even a modern day Buddhist layman, to understand the similarity of these doctrinal terms of Avesta with original Buddhist Textual terms, as for example, the selections of the book “Arda Virad” are called ‘Zad-Sparam” which can be easily compared with the Buddha’s noble Doctrine “Sad Dharma”.

The Holy Text ‘Avesta’ can be compared with the Buddhist term ‘Vastu’ or ‘Vattu’, e.g. Katha Vattu, and many Sanskrit Buddhist texts with name ending “Vastu” e.g. Maha Vastu.

The holy hymns or the stanzas of the sacred text Avesta are called ‘Gathas’ which is exactly the term used in original Buddhist texts and never found in contemporary religious texts of India or Vedic of Hindu origin.

The founder as well as expounder of ‘Righteousness’ (Zad Sparam) in the imperial court of the great Achaemendids, the revered Guru Zoroaster was however killed by his rivals, the enemies of the new religion, may be at the instigation of the cunning Jews as well as greeks, at the Imperial Court of the Persian monarch, who in subsequent centuries abetted with the Greek Alexander to spell doom to Persepolis and with the Roman Governor Herod to kill Jesus Christ.

When Zoroaster was killed, his temples and all his religious scriptures were put into flames. This shows that the killings of Zoroaster was an act of religious fanaticism. But the Doctrine of Ahura Mazda the Supreme Lord, the Great Compassionate Arahan Buddha, as we now dare to indentfy Him with Ahura Mazda, prevailed in Pesia for nearly 300 years until the last of the Acheamendid emperors Darius II was killed and his city Persepolis, the metropolis, the metropolis of a universal emperor who ruled a vast empire from Mediterranean sea up to the Himalayas in “Righteousness”, the pride of whole Asia was totally destroyed and ruthlessly burnt with all her buildings, religious scriptures and monks and monasteries by the vicious, bellicose Alexander the Greek who set forth from Greece having murdered his own father and mustering only 20,000 (twenty thousand) foot soldiers to meet the mightly Persian army of 600,000 (six hundred thousand soldiers).

Alexander in hell

In the ancient Iranian (Persian) records, this pathetic story is mentioned thus: “Alexander had destroyed all priests and learned men and self destroyed and he fled to hell.

Sir Mortimer Wheeler, the British archaeologist in his ‘Flames over Persepolis’ explains well, how the Greeks, possibly with their West Asian allies among whom were Jews and others in Sinai-Jerusalem region (who opposed the new religion of Alaha worshippers that was again spreading fast with the backing of Imperial Achaemendis) had first destroyed the frontier Satrapies of the Persian Empire like Egypt, Syria etc., and then gradually penetrated into Persia proper.

In the initial stages of Alexander’s campaign against Egypt and Syria, and Jews would have given him the fullest support to resolve old scores. The Greeks and Jews who lived within Persia as both prisoners of war and mercenaries and served in the Persian army and navy too, would have acted as spies to help the combined forces of Alexander and his Jewish allies to penetrate deeper into the heart of Persia, without much difficulty and made a sudden onslaught at Persepolis, like Prince Vijaya did to Lankapura (the prehistoric capital city of Sri Lanka around 550 B.C.). All these historical episodes prove beyond doubt, one salient fact, namely, although Buddhism the compassionate teachings of the Buddha for the establishment of righteousness (Saddharma) through moral order and mental culture, attracted to it vast crowds and was appealing to the intellectual community of the day, like the proto-Arabian Nabetean Kings, Syrian monarchs, emperors like Darius, Xerxes of Persia, Asoka of India, the Selucid and Bactrian Greek Kings like Minander (of Milindapanha fame), Kanishka the mighty Scythian-Kushana emperor, Devanampiyatissa of pre-Christian Sri Lanka, et al, and proved itself to be a great civilizing factor, yet it also proved to be a disastrous factor to great Kingdoms and empires to change from traditional jingoism to peace-making and peace-keeping with their powerful military machines put into cold-storage.

Buddhist Kingdoms

Miliary men and belicose war-lords, masquerading as peace-makers and peace-keepers, as in the present day, found easy access to those great peace loving, peaceful centres of civilization of Buddhist Kingdoms and also took the opportunity to pay off old scores.

Alexander’s conquests were not mere expression of gaining territorial expansion for the constricted Greek city states. It was also an attempt to check the tide of a new philosophy or a new moral order for the world, the “Doctrine of Universal Peace”, of the Lord of Peace “Santi Nayaka”, the Buddha Sakyamuni, that was gaining ground and fast spreading, with the backing of the most powerful empire of the day, the Achaemenid Empire of Persia, throughout the vast Persian Empire’s Satrapies and the Iands around and across the great northern highway-Uttarapatha- that linked the East and the West.

Old cults, rituals and practices which encouraged sacrifice of poor innocent dumb animals rared for killing in thousands on the altars of imaginary blood thirsty creator gods, priest-creaft thriving on witch-craft and state-craft both (as in the present day), war machinery, manufacturing of lethal weapons, war-chariots, arms deals, prisoners of war taken as quick money at public auctions on slave-trade, war booty which include children and women, worshipping heroes who unleashed armies of men trained to kill and destroy while they themselves remained behind barricades, bunkers and fortresses; false propaganda, nepotism mystieism and mystics, charlatans, quacks and mountebanks; magicians and astrologers all had to go “out of commission” with the Buddha’s “Enlightened Doctrine” (Saddharma), based on universal compassion and supreme wisdom (Karuna and Pragna) well established.

The founding of Righteousness or “Saddharma” (Zadsparam as how Zoroaster pronounced it in his own Persian tongue), based on intellectual investigation aimed at correct insight, was anathema to the followers of Jewish religion and Graeco-Roman theistic religion based on gods and divinities, ogresses and above all a hierarchy of toady priests.

Although wise kings and emperors accepted the great compassionate Buddha and His ‘Path of Salvation’, and the innocent peace loving common folk and learned men also wished to follow the doctrine of Salvation from the misery of existence-Samsara-there were others who could not afford to lose their interests, their vested interests as it were. They could not tolerate it all. Had they tolerated, their world would have collapsed, as Bernard Shaw had said “world exists because of intolerance.

Cunning Priests

Those comprised especially the priests at whose command the wheel of politics turned (excepting the saintly, learned, eremite monks) as is the case in present day politics, and their selfish followers at higher echelons, who held power through the weapons (like the present day gun-culture and bomb-culture saviours of mankind), the men who wished to keep the monopoly of the economic gains, the traders with their multinational and international network of circulation of goods, with prices controlled at their whim and fancy, with the backing of a coterie of money lenders and smiling financiers (exactly like some of the present day financiers).

Jesus Christ was too honest, cultured, learned and innocent a monk, a Buddhist monk we shall say without any hesitation, of the Mahayana denomination as we can prove now, who opposed those rascals openly without having a correct appraisal of their great power both in the public and underground carousals as well.

With his psychic powers (dhyanic powers), Jesus cured the sick, and tamed the ocean and must have thought that he could tame those sinners and culprits as well. Jesus trusted too much on the power of the Cosmocrator God (Bod-Boddo-Buddha) the Amitabha Buddha and his millions of angels (Bodhisattvas) in the Sukhavati heaven. He thought and expected that they would come to his rescue, against the sinful, satanic rascals who arrayed against him.

But at the end Jesus had to seek refuge only in the Alaha (Arahan Buddha) and His Sublime Doctrine (Saddharma). This is well reflected in the new testament episodes of the Holy Bible. This is the reaction by the selfish self interested people like the cruel priests at Jerusalem referred to in the Dead Sea Scrolls, to the early spread of Buddhism in those great seats of powerful empires and monarchies.

Alaha and Peshitta

The Jehowah followers with the help of theistic Greeks have curbed and pushed this tide of ‘Righteous Kingdom’ first established in West Asia in the Nabetean city states by Ven. Punna Thera. Yet those monks of Sinai-Arabah who established themselves in Punon, Jerusalem and Dead Sea littoral, who preserved the Sacred original Scriptures had to retreat to mainland Arabia and establish their religious centres with Araha (later become popular as Alaha-Allah) as the Great being, the compassionate Father and “Peshitta” as their Sacred Scriptures.

The few ‘Sinai’ monks and their harmless followers who were allowed to stay behind, ended up as ‘Essenes’ of Dead Sea Scrolls fame, in the chapters of west Asian religious history.

However without any contact with the original mainstream Buddhist Kingdom’s in the East, and Arabian religion of Allah-Allah worshippers had to survive till Jesus Christ appeared and spread the ‘Good News’ Gospel of God (Pustaka of Buddo’, Pustaka, in Sanskrit meaning ‘book’ had probably given ‘gospel’ in Aramaic, we may suggest.)

In the new gospel of Jesus Christ, the epithet Araha Alaha was retained but the emphasis was on the great ‘Bod’ the ‘God’ (Boddo of Bactrian, Saka, Kushana emperors) the Eternal Father in his highest Heaven ‘Sukkavati’ with millions of angels (or Bodhisattvas) headed by Michael and Gabriel (Mahakala and Avalokita in Mahayana Buddhism).

The Jews and their followers did not like this novel feature of a compassionate god who was not ferocious, not jealous or vindictive or ever ready to punish like their own creator Jehowah.

To crush the revival of neo-Buddhism introduced by the “prince of peace” Jesus Christ, the Jews conspired with the Roman governors in Judea and Jerusalem. Jews were successful in crushing this revival of Alaha (Araha) worshippers. They tortured, humiliated, crucified and killed their leader Jesus Christ.

They were not hesitant to destroy and appropriate their shrines and monasteries in Jerusalem area, and chased them away back to hinterland hide-outs, and mountain caverns and as refugees in Arabia, Syria and further East where they continued to worship, and revere the great lord ‘Araha’ as Allah, the ‘Supreme Ruler of Righteousness’, Allah the king “Allah-hu-Akbar”.

Meanwhile the cunning Jewish priests, the unscrupulous rabbies of the time, contrived in such a way for Rome to accept ‘God’ as the supreme divine lord, while they themselves continued to practise their original Hebrew scriptures in tact, as Torah of Jehowah, in contradistinction to the Aramaic Peshitta of Alaha worshippers who now emphasised Alaha in the new epithet God (or Boddo, or Bod).

It could also be possible, that Rome had tactfully compromised to accept God through fear of a possible attack or punitive expedition by the combined forces of the Scythian Tartar confederation of the Buddhist empire of powerful Kushanas under the mighty emperor Kanishka, or his subsequent heirs for persecuting their grand missionary Jesus Christ and his neo Buddhist followers. This had actually happened later when Allah worshippers rallied under one banner and punished the Holy Roman Empire and conquered the Eastern part of the empire, took over Constantinople and called it Istanbul and established the power of Allah as far as Spain and Portugal and Northern Africa. We may conjecture that the conquests of Huns under their mighty general Atila and devastating Europe upto Rome was also an act of retaliation. (Incidentally Huns or Hephthalities were Buddhist rulers).

Ven. Isa-Jesus

Even the later expeditions of the great Buddhist emperors Kublai Khan and Jenghis Khan from Mongol China to the West, also can be taken as revengeful attacks for the harm done to the original Buddhist Churches of Punna, Zoroaster and later the Mahayana Sect of Ven. Isa or Jesus Christ. Great Kublai would have received the news of the ruthless persecutions of Araha (Alah) as well as God-Bod- (Boddo) worshippers, from itinerant Chinese monks and Arab caravan traders and travellers like Ibn-Battuta.

Jesus new religion ‘Christianity’ with the compassionate God the father at the head, spread with new gusto with Peshitta or Buddha’s spoken word Bhashita revised by the Jew Saul turned Paul, as the scriptural document of Divine inspiration and later amalgamated with elements from the Jewish Torah as the Old Testament to suit the Imperial Rome which declared Christianity its state religion under emperor Constantine.

Our investigations throw further light on yet another so far unknown aspect of the ‘Alaha – Boddo’ (or Arahan-Buddha) episode in West Asia. That is the introduction of another important attractive Buddhist text by Jesus Christ with much Mahayana overtones; a product of the Mahayana revival under emperor Kanishka who was a contemporary of Jesus Christ, to substantiate his thesis that Alaha of the old Peshitta scriptures was the same as supreme Buddha (the Amitabha Buddha the resplendent lord), the Boddo, the eternal ruler of the Cosmos, God.

This was the text known as ‘Vepulla Sutta’ (or Vaitulya Sutra) which even tried to play havoc among Theravada Buddhism in Sri Lanka, during the early Christian centuries.

No one knows how the name Vepulla or Vaitulya was given to this extreme Mahayana text. According to some authorities Vepulla was the name given to the Mahayana treatise selected at the Buddhist synod held at Vepulla mountain near Rajgir in India under the patronage of emperor Kanisha.

If we analyses the Bible episodes we can glean some evidence to elarify the problem pertaining to Vepulla as well as the Holy Bible, the scriptures based of Jesus’ teachings.

Vepulla and Bible

It could be argued that an original Mahayana text named Vepulla, compiled in the Kushana Empire by the monks of the Mahayana denomination had gone to West Asia through Jesus Christ, or else the teachings of Jesus Christ based on Mahayana soteriological doctrines and written on parchment paper had been named ‘The Bible’ by Jesus and his apostles and was later brought to Eastern Churches (of Mahayana) where it took the name of Vepulla from Bible or a similar Aramaic name. (Bible, Bebul, Bebulla, Vepulla). Whatever the process that took place, the holy text Bible or Vepulla has all the Mahayana Buddhist affiliations, with the Buddha elevated to the position of a ‘Cosmocrator’.

The spread of Bible as Vepulla or a Mahayana text in ancient Sri Lanka even during the early Christian centuries can be proved by the survivals of such Biblical doctrines among early Sinhalese literature, e.g. pulling a speak out of another’s eye before removing a beam in one’s won eye; a wife is a gift of god (Bamba Ketu Hati). Archaeologists have even discovered a Nestorian Greek Cross from ancient Anuradhapura. Moreover the arrival of the monk Sanghamita in the 3rd century A.C. to propagate Vepulla doctrine and getting into the good books of the Sinhala Monarch at Anuradhapura is also noteworthy. The Mahayana monk Sangamitta’s original hometown is supposed to be in North-West India.

Belief in Jesus second coming is also comparable with the Sinhala legend of ‘Prine Diyasena’ (Jayasena, of. Jesu, Jesus) who will descend from heaven to establish a millennial peaceful rule.

Although Jesus Christ was crucified and killed by the Jews, his Bible text was acceptable to some Jews (both Hebrew and Aramaic speaking communities), as new gospel in which God the Supreme Lord appears with great power and compassion and wisdom, unlike Jehowah of Jewish Torah who was a jealous god, ever ready to punish ruthlessly the defectors and the miscreants.

Although the rulers in Syria and Palestine and other West-Asian kingdoms had condescended to accept the Holy Bible (the original Vepulla Sutta!) introduced by Jesus Christ, the Alaha oriented Peshitta scriptures also continued to survive along with the Bible, among those followers in Arab kingdoms and among the cave dwelling Sinai-monks who survived in the Dead Sea region as the Essenes. That is why the translators of the Peshitta (Greek Bible) found that Peshitta scriptures were acceptable both to Jews and Arabs.

The Arabs of mainland Arabia and of the Sinai-Palestine tract seem to have maintained strictly the original Peshitta texts, (without any Bible or Mahayana Vepulla interpretations introduced by Jesus Christ), of the original Supreme Lord Arahan Buddha as Alaha, Allah.

However with the passage of time, nearly one thousand years after the first mission of Ven. Punna the Arab Buddhist monk, when Mohammed, the son of Abdullah (servant of Allah) appeared on the scene, there must have arisen lot of confusion and misinterpretations as to the ‘teachings of Righteousness’, and the “Great Being” who was the originator of Righteousness; the Supreme Ruler of Compassion (Santinayaka as the Buddha was called).

Such a development was quite natural for any religious organisation, to receive extraneous beliefs, cults and practices into one’s own fold. However even up to the time of Mohammed the worship of the Higher Divinity Allah was prevailing among some Arab tribes. This Great Divine Being was variously worshipped as Allah, Allat and Al-Uzza.

Abud Allah

Allah was the principal God of Mecca before the birth of Mohammed and was worshipped even by pagans according to Quaran. Even Mohammed’s father bore the name of Abud-Allah (Abdullah) meaning slave of Allah or one who has surrendered to Allah.

Abdullah means a person who has surrendered to Allah. We can compare this practice with the age old Buddhist practice of Surrendering before the Buddha by taking the solemn vow by uttering ‘Buddham saranam gacchami’. The first two lay disciples of the Buddha from West Asia (i.e., Balkh in Bactria, modern Afghanistan) were the first to take this vow according to Buddhist records.

The name Abdullah also suggests that there were practising Alaha religionists before the founding of Islam by Mohammed. It is quite obvious that Mohammed’s Islam is nothing but a revival of “Alaha’s Doctrine of Righteousness” the Saddharma of the Great Alaha (Arahan Buddha).

The fact that this Holy and Sacred concept of the name “Allah, Allat” according to ancient inscriptional evidence seems to have been introduced into Arabia from Syria and Northern parts of Arabia, also substantiates our thesis that it had its roots in the original Araha doctrine of the Buddhist Church in ‘Sinai-Arabah’ region established by Thera Punna, during the very life-time of our Lord Bhagavat Buddha.

Moreover ancient Syria is part of the territory ‘Sinai Arabah’ we have identified before, as the location where Ven. Punna thera had carried out his missionary work and established four Buddhist monastic sanctuaries.

We believe we have marshalled sufficient evidence to prove that the Buddha was the Great Supra-human being worshipped as Alaha in pre-Christian West-Asia, which name later changed through linguistic formations into Allah from the original Buddhist concept Araha, a synonym of the Great Buddha which means the “Sinless One”, the most worthy Lord, deserving worship and veneration both by the humans as well as divine beings (Araha Sambuddho Sattadevamanussanam).

Now let us analyses Islamic (Muslim) religious textual passages for possible survivals of Buddhist concepts and parallel terms.

Surrender to the Buddha

A reputed Islamic Scholar Professor Margoliouth has the following to say: “The original meaning of the name of Islam” as the title of this system is obscure, but its official interpretation is devoting the face (i.e. the person), in its entirety to Allah, the Arabic word for God, “Iddio”. The above statement shows that the Islamic religion is based on “Surrender to Allah”, was a basic tenet in Buddha’s teachings and practised by millions of Buddhists even today when they utter the solemn hymn or prayer, ‘Buddham saranam gachchami’ first uttered by the West Asian caravan leaders Tapassu and Bhalluka from Bactria according to the history of the Buddhist Church.

The word “Iddio” for God in Islamic tradition is also important as it is a word found in early Buddhism for great religious men who have gained higher psychic powers like the Buddha and his noble “Araha” bhikkhu disciples.

Prophet Mohammed’s successor was Ali meaning ‘sublime’ which can be compared with the original buddhist term Arya or Ari, by which term Buddhist monks were addressed, e.g. “Ariya and Ariya Samgha; Ariya savaka, Ari sangagana”, meaning ‘venerable’, ‘noble’, ‘respectful’.

The fact that Mohammed himself had to face assassination threats and how Ali and his successors fell victims to assassins, repeatedly, speak of the ferocious nature of those Jewish Arabic tribes, as has been aptly portrayed in the story of Thera Punna and also the anti-Alaha factions of Jehowah followers operating surreptitiously.

The white dress worn like a gown or toga by the Arabs is reminiscent of the “white dress’ Buddha had introduced for His lay disciples. This was known as ‘Odata Vasana’ in early Buddhist texts. This traditional Buddhist laymen’s garment would have gone into ‘Sinai-Arabah’ (Suna-Apara) region through Punna Thera’s lay followers which was the dress of Buddhist laymen in India as witnessed by Punna Thera himself before The became a convert to Buddhism. This white garment was variously called ‘Odataka; Odata Vasana; odata vatta’ in early Buddhist texts.

The shrines and temples built by pre-Islamic Arab kings and later appropriated by Mohammed and his followers were exact replicas of the architectural types of Buddhist monuments with domical super-structures. The Buddhist stupa or dagaba in India, Sri Lanka, and other early Buddhist kingdoms proved this fact. Even today every mosque has this domical roof resembling a Buddhist stupa.

In those early pre-Islamic shrines, there were artistic representations in sculpture and painting on the inside walls depicting divine beings and other personages.

A noteworthy discovery is the statue of ‘Ammyad Shukaymim’ carved out of alabaster stone in the round. This statue resembles very much a Buddha image. We have already referred to the inscription on the pedestal of this statue and compared it with the name of the Buddha Shakya-Muni. Several other statues like this one in more or less worn out state have also been discovered from ancient Himyante Kingdom of South Arabia dating from pre-Christian centuries up to the 6th century A.C. (cir: 115 B.C.-525 A.C.)

Ahymn to Allah by prophet Mohammed found in the Holy Quaran is an echo of the famous stanza in praise of Bhagavat Buddha referred to above (supra.n.39) This verse which Mohammed himself is traditionally reported to have declared equal in value to two thirds of the Quran. It is translated as follows:

“He is Allah, one Allah, eternal. He brought not both, nor hath he been brought forth, co-equal with him there hath never been any one”

Furthermore, there are ninety nine appellations to Allah. This reminds a Buddhist of the Buddha’s nine appellations called “Nava Arahadi Buduguna”.

The chapters of Holy Quaran are called ‘Surah’ which is quite identical with the Buddhist term Sutra (Sutta) for chapters or separate sermons or for the entire Buddhist Sutta Pitaka.

The practice of worship with circumabulation of sacred objects of shrines in Islam has its origin in early Buddhism in the practice of “Pradaksina”. This practice is said to have revived and re-instituted by Mohammed himself at such holy places like Sakhra in Jerusalem temple and Kabah Mecca temple.

The word ‘Kabah’ the name of the sacred shrine at Mecca reflects an original Buddhist term in it. That is ‘kube’ or ‘tube’ (from Stupa or thupa) used in every Buddhist country for the Buddhist relic mound (stupa, Thuap, tope, tepe) from Far-East to Central Asia and South Asia, e.g. Tope-i-Rustam, Adzina-tepe, Buddhist shrines discovered on the Silk-Route Uttarapatha.

In the present research study I have ventured to trace historical evidence based on literary and archaeological data to substantiate further our original hypothesis, that is, Buddhism was introduced to Middle-East and West-Asia (Arabia-Persia-Syria-Palestine-Israel, the Sinai Arabah in ancient documents, etc.) during the very lifetime of the Buddha.

In our attempt we have discussed only a bare fraction of the immense wealth of evidence that are at the disposal of the research scholar. Ours is however a humble attempt without much tools and facilities at our disposal and resources to further the accumulated knowledge gleaned from literary and archaeological and also art-historical sources.

We are sure with the opening of traffic for research scholars to these great seats of ancient cultural and religious wisdom, namely Arabia, Syrai, Israel, Palestine, Iran, Iraq, Egypt etc. and with the possession of modern tools of academic research, more light can be thrown on the hidden aspects of the original seats of establishment of the “Peaceful Doctrine (Saddharma) of our lord Sakyamuni Buddha the Boddo, the God and also to further the great and untiring efforts made by those early apostles of the Buddha hailed from Arabia and West Asia, the forefathers of the present day Arabs, Jews and the Persians, to propagate and preserve the ‘Good Norm’. the Good News Saddharma, Zad Sparam of the Buddha for the weal and welfare of the entire humanity.

Dead Sea Scrolls

We wish to add a further note regarding the original site that we have identified with the story of Punna Thera, that is the region around the ‘Sea of Arabah’ or ‘Dead Sea’ in Palestine where scholars have yielded some very valuable documentary evidence known as the “Dead Sea Scrolls” as far back as the early fifties of the present century.

It is very unfortunate that these scrolls, now given the name or acronym ‘MMT’ (Miqsat Ma’ase Ha-Torah) are kept in the dark for nearly half a century from the academic world, by those Jewish-Hebrew academics into whose hands these valuable religious documents of a sect of ancient cave dwelling eramites, have finally fallen. MMT critics say that “many of the mysteries of the MMT are far from solved”.

We now suspect and our suspicion is not without justification, that these ancient documents from Dead-Sea cave temple sites have also something to do with original Buddhist missionary activities conducted by the pioneer Jewish, Arab, Buddhist monk, the noble Thera Ven. Punna.

A fascicule of these scrolls termed MMT, edited by Jewish Hebrew scholars, has caused much disharmony among research scholars. This shows that there is something ‘fishy’ about the manner how these documents are handled and the way how the results of their studies are divulged. Some even have gone into litigation to rectify the damage caused to scholarship by those who claim to be the custodians of these so called MMT or Dead Sea Scrolls.

These ancient documents speak of a leader or teacher of righteousness, who is the head of the eramites of the Qumron group of caves. This teacher of the Qumron group was addressing his adversary, the Wicked priest of Jerusalem.

The editors of these documents say: “we really don’t know who is speaking and who is being addressed”.

However we may add those that, who have followed our arguments placed in this research paper, would not find it difficult to identify who are the Sectarian MMT and their adversary the wicked priest or priests of Jerusalem.

Another statement of the modern editors is as follows: “The third section of the MMT states that, ‘we have separated ourselves from the multitude of the people”, but it is uncertain whether this recalls a separation of the Qumron Sectarians from the mainstream Judaism as represented by the temple authorities in Jerusalem or some internecine dispute with the sect itself. It is not even, entirely clear that the ‘they’ group and the ‘You’ group are the same.”

According to our researches given in the present study the reader will not find it difficult to identify who these two groups are, the ‘they’ and the ‘you’ groups.

We may add emphatically that the ‘they’ group represents the wicked Jewish priests of Jerusalem who relentlessly opposed the Peshitta-Alaha ‘we’ group of the Sinai (Essene) Buddhist patriarchs.

However the modern editors have, got a remarkable guess in regard to the ‘we’ sect when they say: ‘In some ways they look like Essenes”, thus giving a final approval, as it were to our thesis.

Therefore we take this opportunity to request very kindly from the Jewish academics and those Israeli authorities who keep the ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’ under their safe custody, still as a secret from the world at large, to release these documents in publications for the benefit of scholars and students of the world over, who are keen to know the truth and the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Conclusion

Because of the remarkable research study of the Maha Thera Ven. Dr. Paravahara Pannananda, the Chancellor of the Ruhunu University of Sri Lanka, quoting from original Buddhist texts, ‘On the establishment of the Buddha’s peaceful religion in Arabia, “we were enticed to do further research. All that we have discovered subsequently and presented in this brief study, are a result of this new light thrown on a so far hidden aspect of ‘West Asian religious history’ by the Ven. Maha Thera I am indeed beholden to him, who is also my Guru and Spiritual Advisor.

Courtesy:  Daily News ( Vesak 2549 – 2005)

http://archives.dailynews.lk/2005/05/23/fea56.htm

Political Islam is a global problem and not confined to Sri Lanka alone

July 19th, 2014

Shenali D Waduge

The propagandists enjoy flashing across mainstream media to project the notion that Muslims are targeted only in Sri Lanka and only by Buddhists. We know that is not so. Every country around the globe including the 57 Muslim countries of the world are having issues with Muslims. If it is not about Muslims and non-Muslims the conflicts surround Muslims against Muslims. The problem is not a small one especially when 23% of the world is Muslim (1.62billion). If Islam is a religion of peace exactly how has Muslims ended up in arms fighting either themselves or non-Muslims? Is the violence the fault of non-Muslims or is it found in the religious texts of Islam? What needs to be accepted by all Muslims is that leaving aside hyped propaganda, a problem does exist. If it is not to do with Muslims-Muslims it is Muslims vs Non-Muslims. Given that there are always the mischief makers looking to make personal gains from these conflicts, the most important question is what are we going to do about the problem or in particular what does the Muslim world propose to do about the problem. They can either deny or decide to resolve the issue at 2 levels: the Muslim-Muslim differences and the Muslim-Non-Muslim integration. In both issues the inability to co-exist takes centre stage. How can Muslims co-exist because if they cannot co-exist amongst themselves how can they co-exist with non-Muslims and who or what is stopping them from co-existing is what Muslims need to now identify?

The general allegation is that non-Muslims do not understand Muslims or Islam. We can next ask whether do Muslims understand themselves or Islam because the factions and differences are so strong that violence has become the only chosen way of silencing the other. The Muslim world cannot deny Muslim attacks on Muslims.

The primary issue is that Islam the religion of peace, the foundation of a world civilization does not add up with ground realties and these realities pervade worse in countries where

Muslims are in charge of their own. Almost all majority Muslim nations are backward, people are illiterate and women are abused. There are only 500 universities in the 57 Muslim countries in the world whereas in US alone there are 5758 universities and 8407 in India. Literacy in the Muslim world is just 40%.

How global is the problem

Incidentally the issues that citizens around the world are complaining about are the same as in Sri Lanka.

  • Mushrooming mosques/madrassas
  • Demand for halal labels
  • New Muslim dress and behavior in both men and women
  • Loudspeakers from mosques disturbing with intent to drive away non-Muslims and create ghetto areas
  • Challenging the existing value system of the indigenous natives and demanding upperhand for Arabic values
  • Minority Muslims dictating how the indigenous natives of countries should live
  • Creating cities within cities where a new Islamic system pervades
  • Demanding parallel law with Sharia / Islamic banking /
  • Cattle slaughter/Animal sacrifice/ritual killing

If Sinhalese Buddhist say that the new trend challenges the Buddhist ethos and Buddhist sensitivities it is no different to what the British, Dutch, French and natives elsewhere around Europe are saying. When ghetto areas have already been created, with Muslim cities ruled by Koran running parallel to the existing country law, naturally Sinhalese Buddhists have every right to be concerned. Political correctness created the mess in Europe and political selfishness and greed is creating the mess in Sri Lanka. Politicians and lethargic public officials are largely to blame for the situation going out of control.

If the UK Education department is now introducing a new set of rules to govern schools in the light of the new dictates taking place, should Sri Lanka not do the same instead of caving in to unjustified demands?

Minorities cannot dictate how a country’s majority population should live especially when it was that majority population that built the Sinhale nation and gave safe haven to the minorities when targeted for slaughter by colonial invaders. This has become only a terms of reference.

If in the UK there are Islamic no-go zones, it is a blueprint taking place elsewhere too. Non-Muslims are being driven out of these areas by subtle ways starting with the excessive loudspeaker usage to which authorities have turned a blind eye inspite of judicial instructions. France has a list of a 1000 lost territories to Islam inside France. Brussels the capital of the EU is ¼ occupied by Muslims where Islamic districts prevail. Police are even scared to enter these areas. Non-Muslim teachers had been even forced out of Birmingham and many schools in the UK had to follow practices of fasting and segregation of sexes. The Muslim Council of Britain has declared that UK needs Muslim values. None of these examples are signs of peaceful co-existence that the secular Muslims are chanting.

If these incursions are not part of Islam why is it being promoted on the banner of Islam and there are Muslims to ready to follow these dictates? Is it not because there is a steady following of people aligned to the new Islamic dictates that the troubles are increasing and not likely to be solved? If none of the incursions highlighted are part of Islam or in the Koran why have Muslims agreed to follow this new pattern that people are seeing an increase in. It is not just in Sri Lanka that people are noticing the list of incursions. The West has begun to notice these same incursions as well. If the mullahs are brainwashing and demonizing the Muslims, should the Muslims not stand up against this? To solve the problem should it not be the Muslims themselves not to align to the incursions that are directly meant to challenge peaceful co-existence and thus create tensions?

There is statistical proof to show that Muslims have chosen the path towards tension. Pew study reveals that

  • The majority (52 percent) of Egyptians support the Sept 11th killings.
  • The majority of Lebanese support suicide bombing.
  • 40 percent of Indonesian Muslims would use violence against those blaspheming Islam.
  • 76 percent of Moroccans want strict sharia in every Islamic country.
  • 86 percent of Jordanians support death for anyone who leaves Islam.
  • 84 percent of Egyptians support death for anyone who leaves Islam.

The rest of the statistics is alarming too. In Denmark 5% of Muslim immigrants consume 40% of welfare. This 5% make up the majority of those convicted of rape on non-Muslims.

Another aspect that even Sri Lanka is now awakening to is the self-imposed isolation by Muslims. Who is dictating that Muslims move only amongst their own?

Factors not yet prevalent in Sri Lanka but very much a concern in Europe are forced marriages, threats to kill Muslims who convert from Islam, honor killings etc.

The biggest concern Sri Lanka has that can be matched with what Europe is experiencing is the demands for Islamic law. With Sri Lanka having given the all important portfolio of Justice to a Muslim political leader, a man who has a history of political kangarooing from one party to the other for personal gain, it is no exaggeration to say that a lot of manipulations and pro-Muslim bias is taking place within the judicial system at all levels (from education to administration) and the country’s leaders are silent with inaction.

If Europe is now saying that cultural relativism must end and proudly proclaim western culture, Sri Lanka with a civilization of over 2500 years has every right to declare the Buddhist ethos must prevail in Sri Lanka and that the sensitivities of the Buddhists must be respected by all citizens. If the British want Britain back to the British, the Sinhale nation belongs to the Buddhists that built it.

While we can confidently say that minorities are the safest in the hands of the Buddhists can we say the same treatment for Buddhists by minorities? In Muslim majority nations can one find the freedom for non-Muslims as non-Muslims find in Sri Lanka?

In Muslim majority cities even within Sri Lanka, are Buddhists treated with respect using the same slogans of what Islam supposedly claims to preach? Have Buddhists in these Muslim majority cities being covertly driven out so that Muslim ghetto areas could be created and have been created? Do we need to give examples of how predominately Buddhist cities are today occupied by only Muslims? In areas where Muslims dominate is there anything that is secular or multicultural taking place of late? Where are the examples that can be given to show the same compassionate and freedom given by Buddhists to non-Buddhists is given by Muslims to non-Muslims in the same proportion? The answers to these clearly indicate why the Buddhists have awoken to the ground realities which politicians have conveniently swept under the carpet because for them their only concern is to lead a plush life and remain in power. The minority political leaders are however dictated by their ideology and because funds are sent to ensure that their gameplan takes shape while pretending to function as representing the people. There are no minority leaders like Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan today we have only political opportunists.

If Europeans and the British are now calling to rally around in a united front against the tide of incursions it is what the Buddhists of Sri Lanka have every right to do. The mushrooming mosques, churches, madrassas, prayer centres, faith healers abound throughout the country and along the main roads indicting to any tourist that a visible change is taking place to a predominately Buddhist nation. Archaic colonial laws have not changed to reverse the parallel systems created aware that with time these seeds would reap trouble. Post-independent governments have failed to return the independence of Sinhale that was handed over to the British. Until the Sinhale Nation is restored to the rightful owners we cannot say we are an independent nation.

What non-Buddhists cannot deny is that the safest religion in the world is Buddhism. It is all encompassing and the most harmless philosophy to follow. If not follow, it poses no threat, no challenge and no danger to non-Buddhists. There are no rules, no laws and brainwashing. Faith cannot be blind and people should have every right to question and Buddhism allows questions and gives answers.

Do Muslims find peace amongst their own?

The violence across the Muslim world has raised an important question – Is the belief in Islam sufficient to bind Muslims in peace with each other. It next raises another question, if it can’t then can we expect Muslims to be in peace with Non-Muslims? These are all questions for Muslims themselves to answer. Muslims cannot remain in denial or look for scapegoats.

At the centre of all conflicts is ‘hate’ – hate has fuelled gulfs dividing Muslims as well as non-Muslims and these are all sourced to the sacred texts of Islam and the different interpretations. Muslim leaders have found it convenient to only concentrate on areas where Muslims have been victim but totally ignored where violence and incursions have been instigated by Muslims.

If Muslims are as peaceful as they say what or who is making them violent and why are they quoting texts of the Koran in defending their violence and who exactly is equipped or able to stop the violence and incursions for not only is there a steady following of Muslims ready to be violent there are Muslims ready to take part in the incursions as well.

So on the one hand we have Muslims in arms against each other and against non-Muslims and then at another level we have a rising number of Muslims ready to make non-existent Islamic demands in non-Muslim nations that they had previously been living in harmony. This is the crux of the issues that the world is today plagued with.

Much of the fault line leads to the trilogy (Koran, Sira & Hadith) itself. Koran however comprises just 14% of that trilogy though 64% of the Koran is about non-believers or kafirs while 37% of Hadith refers to kafirs. Islam is 14% Allah and 86% Mohammed the prototype for a true Muslim. Koran tells 91 times that Mohammed is the perfect Muslim acceptable to Allah.  The actions and words of Mohammed are Sunna (Sira is the biography of Mohammed while Hadith are a collection of stories about Mohammed). What many are not aware of is that the Koran of 632AD is not the Koran of today because the original Koran of Mohammed was destroyed by a caliph (Uthman). The historical Koran was written in Mecca while the later Koran was written in Medina. The early Koran is religious and poetic while the later is violent. Koran and Sunna have verses that contradict each other. Koran 2:219 says that Muslims should be tolerant and forgiving to People of the Book.

Koran 9:29 says to attack the People of the Book until they pay the jizyah, the dhimmi tax, submit to Sharia law and be humbled.

Many believe that Political Islam has taken over religious Islam because of the reference to kafirs and how to subjugate them. When Mohammed preached Islam for 13 years in Mecca he had only 150 followers. When he was forced to move to Media he became a politician and warrior every Arab was turned into a Muslim. Political Islam reaped results not religion. Core of Islam’s power has been violent and thus the reason to refer to it as a political ideology. Whenever non-Muslims bring quotes from the Koran or Sunna citing hate texts against non-Muslims the immediate response is to bring another quote. What needs to be said is that at no point in time is the earlier quote declared as wrong. Whatsmore, with so much reference to kafirs and the fact that there are 2 sets of rules for Muslims and non-Muslims it clearly depicts that Islam is not a religion of equality. The only good about kafirs in the Koran is just 2.6% (245 verses/4018 words). Even that good is contradicted.

In Sri Lanka, no one wants to live without peace. We have 30 years to know what it is like to not live in peace. What we do not want is to see minorities dictating how Buddhists should live in a nation that they built and a nation that they have defended from invaders over centuries. No non-Buddhist can deny that Sri Lanka has not welcomed them. Buddhists have not had the same treatment in return. Those that point fingers at Buddhists know this fact very well.

Muslims have been referred to as Tamil Muslims and the meaning extended drives home the reality that while Sri Lankan Muslims are now caving in to Arab imperialism the Sri Lankan Muslims will never be regarded or accepted on equal terms not even for marriage. It is this that requires Muslims to return to living as they did without falling prey to Arab imperialism shrouded by wahhabi influence.

Where should we go from here? For starters given the nature of this global problem, it is for Muslims of Sri Lanka to realize that the incursions pointed out are those that had not been an issue previously because Muslims did not demand such earlier. It is the removal of these that can only return to the past that was devoid of troubles with mutual respect. No Muslim can say they were denied right of their religion but Buddhists cannot say the same in majority-Muslim countries and majority-Muslim cities in Sri Lanka. There lies the difference and there lies the opportunity to make the change for peaceful co-existence

 

 

 

MP Sajin de Vass Gunawardena says in interview U.S, DON’T BASE TIES ON RIGHTS!

July 19th, 2014

Anjalika Silva – USA

I refer to the statement made by MP Sajin Vass Gunawardena in an interview in the US on the  the above subject as reported in the Daily News of July 18, 2014.

His statement includes a reference to expats as follows:  “We have gone on a process that is good for the people of Sri Lanka that is good for the country. It may not be with the agenda of the LTTE diaspora, with the expats living outside of Sri Lanka, but it is good for the people of Sri Lanka.”

As an expatriate who spent nearly 30 years in the USA volunteering my services relentlessly to preserve the image of Sri Lanka having made significant contributions in many respects together with other expatriates, I would like to draw the attention of the honourable MP that his statement discounts all expats and Sri Lankans living outside Sri Lanka as if they do not count.  Not everyone falls into the LTTE agenda.  There are expats whose agenda is very much the concern and welfare of Sri Lanka and they work hard toward it.  Some of them recognize needs that the people in Sri Lanka are not aware of and many don’t care about.   We expats know the pulse of international opinion and the damage it can do.  We take on the damage control in many instances.

I would like to let you know that it is necessary for representatives of the Government to kindly sift between the pro LTTE Diaspora that have taken the issue of Human Rights to undue lengths to discredit Sri Lanka from the expats who continue to contribute to the image of Sri Lanka. 

The statement implies that the expats are all the same if they live outside Sri Lanka.  This is very discouraging when many have spent their personal funds to meet legislators, canvassed relentlessly to save the name of Sri Lanka, projected positive aspects of Sri Lanka not only to defend some of the callous politics, but to promote cultural and charitable projects while living overseas.  Please take time to meet with expats and find out what kind of service has been rendered during the UNHRC resolutions, during difficult times for Sri Lanka where significant contributions were made by patriotic expats that sometimes surpassed the efforts of paid officials.  Challenging the media alone as done by unpaid services of the expats don’t seem to have reached Colombo as a positive contribution.

This lack of interest to find out the contribution made by expats, their service and devotion that sometimes exceeds that of those who live in Sri Lanka oblivious to the damage done to our country leads to many frustrations among expats.  It is the expats who get called upon to go into action and are switched on and off as needed.  Please find out how hard expats worked to get the proscription, during the NFZ, during UNHRC resolutions being just a few instances in the 30 year history that I am personally aware of as service rendered by expats through embassies.  Do not forget the Tsunami service of expats and other contributions to charities. 

Especially when important people from Colombo visiting countries where expats have been active do not find time to meet and greet those who work without being remunerated, the lack of acknowledgment and appreciation results in many dropping off in disgust. 

This explains why Sri Lanka’s expats distance themselves because of the general attitude that Colombo does not care to know but want the expats to act.  We would appreciate a clarification from the Hon. MP who will be amply educated about the service of patriotic expats if a little time is carved out to meet those who have been extremely supportive of Sri Lanka in the past and continue to do so with no agenda except to make the world see Sri Lanka in a positive light.  Most of the genuine patriots have asked for no special favours from Sri Lanka in return.

 

බෞද්ධයා ලොව ඉදිරියේ අවමානයට ලක්කළ අළුත්ගම සිදුවීමේ ඇත්ත මෙන්න..

July 19th, 2014

ජිහාඩ් ගොඛෙල්ස්වාදයට, සත්‍ය යටපත් කිරීමේ රාජ්‍ය මර්දනයට එරෙහිව ජනබල මාධ්‍ය මෙහෙයුම – MONARAWILA

වෛරී කතා පැවැත්වූ මුස්ලිම් නායකයින් කවුරුන්ද ?
ඥණසාර හිමියන්ගෙන් හා මධුමාදවගෙන් පොලිසිය ප්‍රශ්න කළාසේම මීට ඍජුවම සම්බන්ධ අන්තවාදී මුස්ලිම් නායකයින්ගෙන් ප්‍රශ්න නොකරන්නේ ඇයි ?
පොලීසියේ කශේරුකාව සිංහලයින්ට විතරද ?
ජාතිය පාවාදුන් බලධාරීන් නිහඩ ඇයි ?
සැමට සමාන නීතිය සිංහල බෞද්ධයින්ට ඉටුනොවූයේ ඇයි ?
www.facebook.com/monarawila2014

Panel discussion on ‘India under Modi: Relevance for the Region and the World’

July 19th, 2014

Courtesy The Daily News

A panel discussion under the title ‘India under Modi: Relevance for the Region and the World,’ will be held on July 21 from 5.00 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. at the Committee Room B of the BMICH.

A strong and independent India that can resist pressure from regional rivals and world powers while engaging globally to address regional issues and security threats as envisaged by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be among a host of topics that will be discussed by five prominent Indians at the panel discussion organised by the Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies (BCIS).

From left: Dr. Subramanian Swamy, Dr. Seshadri Chari, Dr. Suresh Prabhu, Dr. Swapan Dasgupta and Prof. Madhav Nalapat

The delegation led by Dr. Subramanian Swamy, Chairman, BJP Committee on Strategic Action, will include Dr. Seshadri Chari, National Convenor of the Foreign Policy Cell of the BJP, Dr. Suresh Prabhu, former Union Minister, Dr. Swapan Dasgupta, Senior Journalist and Political Commentator and Prof. Madhav Nalapat, Professor of Geopolitics at Manipal University, who are prominent stakeholders of the Modi government.

The BCIS has had the privilege of engaging many of the panelists in the past for their familiarity with Sri Lankan realities and issues, leading to the development of personal friendships in the Sri Lankan system.

The panel discussion is intended to be a vigorous dialogue underscored by a desire to strengthen ties between the Modi government and Sri Lanka.

It will also be a forum for many Sri Lankans to gain an insight into the new style of governance and economic growth promised by a self-confident Prime Minister Modi and India’s contribution to world peace under his leadership.

The BCIS, which has been in the forefront of promoting the dissemination of knowledge on pertinent issues in International Relations, has organised this panel discussion in an effort to further strengthen mutual understanding between the two peoples.

http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=local/panel-discussion-india-under-modi-relevance-region-and-world

The panel discussion is open to the public.

– See more at: http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=local/panel-discussion-india-under-modi-relevance-region-and-world#sthash.mOmJNpwK.dpuf

Courtesy:  Daily News

India under Narendra Modi: Is Sri Lanka ready?

July 19th, 2014

By Senaka Weeraratne Courtesy:  Daily Mirror

To meet challenge of foreseeable radical changes in our closest neighbour

The Indian general election would, if the forecasts are proved to be correct, result in a change in India’s relationship with the rest of the world as well as a revolutionary transformation of her economy, industry and education if the changes introduced in Gujarat by Chief Minister Narendra Modi are an indication. It will also dramatically affect the ongoing ‘blow hot, blow cold,’ relationship that India currently pursues with Sri Lanka.

India under Narendra Modi as Prime Minister will claim its rightful place in Asia as one of its true leaders, politically, economically and even militarily, and in order to demonstrate these credentials India can be expected to abandon gleefully its current policy of servility and unconditional subservience to the West. It will do so in the full knowledge that continuing subservience to its former colonial masters and their allies i.e. the new sponsors of colonialism, will severely undercut any Indian claim to lead the once colonised but now liberated nations of Asia.

India will discard its junior partner status in any relationship with USA and retaliate in a more effectual manner if the American gaffe we saw in the recent past involving Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade were to be repeated.

India will reclaim its ancient spiritual and cultural heritage and take pride in its civilisational achievements in a way that will put to shame the negative attitudes being adopted currently by the Indian establishment, including its mass media and burgeoning film industry, lacking vision, sense of the country’s purpose and more importantly, pride in its own history and heroes.

The upsurge of the view that India has nothing much to offer other than material goods and services and entertainment in this modern age has diminished India’s moral standing in a world long used, particularly in the pre-colonial past, to be the beneficiary of Indian philosophical thought, wisdom and outspokenness that had no equal.

India will mend any strains it has in its relationship with China and will not allow interfering outsiders, particularly from the West, to identify India’s friends and potential enemies and teach India how to conduct itself vis-à-vis imagined foes. India will take comfort from a historical fact that India and China despite being neighbours on the Asian continent had never gone to war with each other for over 5000 years except on one dismal occasion in contemporary history (1962) when it clashed over a border issue that has its roots in British colonial mischief.

India will set its own foreign policy agenda and goals from a central government perspective, rather than from a regional government perspective, which today has unfortunately contributed to India’s almost total isolation from its immediate neighbours in South Asia. This anticipated posture will contribute immensely to improvement of India’s ties with Sri Lanka. Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, the popular freedom fighter and nationalist leader that India never had as its Prime Minister, will come alive in the form of Narendra Modi and will revolutionise India’s national and international image.

India will no longer be the country that the West, particularly USA, would take for granted with contempt for both its leaders and people, but a new India conscious of its place in the world and obligations to both humanity and all other living beings. India’s Constitutional provision that it shall be the duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures,” (Article 51 A (g)) will gain a new lease of life. This is the vision that India’s great son, Gautama Buddha, had for Bharat and its greatest Emperor Asoka faithfully strove to establish in the form of a compassionate society.

India’s moral voice can be expected to be heard again in the far flung corners of the world in a manner that the Buddha, Mahavira, Asoka, Nagarjuna, Swami Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi and the like resounded to the serene joy and delight of humankind. Idealism will return to India and in turn help to re-charge the batteries of a largely spiritually weakened Asia, now increasingly despoiled by unbridled crass materialism.

We must gratefully acknowledge that it was India more than any other country that originally provided the value system for the moral and ethical foundations of Asia, through the spread of the influence of Buddhism and Hinduism. Are we in Sri Lanka ready to meet the challenge of foreseeable radical changes in our closest neighbour, India?

Email – senaka.weera@gmail.com

A wider mandate in search for Truth and Reconciliation

July 19th, 2014

Courtesy The Daily News

The appointment this week of an Advisory Council to the Presidential Commission to Investigate Complaints Regarding Missing Persons, extends the scope of the mandate of the Commission, and brings into focus important areas of activity in the conflict in Sri Lanka, which have largely been ignored by international commentators on Sri Lanka’s successful battle to defeat terrorism.

A sitting of Missing Persons Commission

President Mahinda Rajapaksa has taken note of the considerable evidence that has been placed before the Commission regarding the large number of missing persons, far exceeding original estimates, and also raising issues about the role of the LTTE causing these persons to be disappeared or missing, which has caused considerable pain of mind to their near and dear; an aspect that has largely been ignored by those who claim to have apparently been focusing only on the final months of the conflict.

There is a new importance attached to this Commission, chaired by Mr. Maxwell Parakrama Paranagama, with the appointment of the new Advisory Council that comprises three eminent personalities in international law, with considerable experience in the study and handling of matters relating to human rights, war crimes, armed revolt and terrorism, and related issues in different parts of the globe such as Africa and Europe. They also have considerable experience in dealing with issues that have been treated with the highest importance by the United Nations.

The three members appointed are Sir Desmond de Silva QC from the United Kingdom, Sir Geoffrey Nice QC also from the UK, and Prof. David Crane from the USA. It is interesting to know more about these three personalities and their experience, which would be relevant to the issues that are being uncovered by the evidence being placed before the Commission on Missing Persons.

Persons of esteem

Sir Desmond de Silva an internationally acclaimed and prominent British lawyer with Sri Lankan origins, was the former United Nations Chief War Crimes Prosecutor in Sierra Leone. Called to the Bar in the Middle Temple in London in 1964, and appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1984, he is one of the most high-profile criminal Queen’s Counsel in England, a member of the Criminal Bar Association and the International Association of Prosecutors. In 2002, the UN Under UN Secretary General Kofi Annan appointed him Deputy Prosecutor for the Special Court for Sierra Leone, at the level of an Assistant Secretary-General. Annan later promoted Sir Desmond to the post of Chief Prosecutor at the higher level of Under Secretary General in 2005. He brought about the arrest of Charles Taylor, former President of Liberia, who was convicted of war crimes at The Hague in 2011.

z_p06-A-wider-02.jpg z_p06-A-wider-03.jpg z_p06-A-wider-04.jpg
Rt Hon Sir Desmond
de Silva, QC
Prof. Sir Geoffrey
Nice, QC
Prof. David Crane

In 2003, de Silva was sent as envoy by the United Nations Development Programme to Belgrade to persuade Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica and his government to surrender indicted war criminals. His legal expertise includes war crimes, crimes against humanity, espionage, treason, drugs, terrorism, human rights, white-collar fraud and sports law. In October 2011, with the approval of Prime Minister David Cameron, Sir Desmond was appointed to head a Review into collusion by the security services and other agencies of the state in the 1989 murder of the high profile Belfast lawyer Pat Finucane. The report was published on December 12, 2012, and acknowledged “a willful and abject failure by successive governments”. On July 23, 2010 he was appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council to investigate Israel’s interception of a Gaza bound flotilla in international waters that led to nine deaths. In 2014 he was Chairman of an Inquiry into torture and executions of detainees in Syria. The Report produced went before the Geneva 11 Peace Talks into the civil war in Syria.

Sir Geoffrey Nice worked at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia – the ICTY – between 1998 and 2006; He has practiced as a barrister since 1971. At the ICTY he led the prosecution of Slobodan Milosevic, former President of Serbia. Much of his work since has been connected to cases before the permanent International Criminal Court – Sudan, Kenya, Libya – or pro bono for victims groups – Iran, Burma, North Korea – whose cases cannot get to any international court. He works for several related NGOs and lectures and commentates in the media in various countries on international war crimes issues. He has been a part-time judge since 1984 sitting at the Old Bailey in the UK, and has sat as judge in other jurisdictions, tribunals and inquiries. Between 2009 and 2012 he was Vice-Chair of the Bar Standards Board, the body that regulates barristers.

Prof. David M. Crane is an American who was the Chief Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) from April 2002 until July 15, 2005. During his tenure, he indicted, among others, the then- President of Liberia, Charles Taylor, he was later replaced as chief prosecutor by his deputy Desmond de Silva. Crane spent 30 years working for the United States federal government. His former posts include Director of the Office of Intelligence Review, assistant general counsel of the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Waldemar A. Solf Professor of International Law at the United States Army Judge Advocate General’s School.

He has a law degree from Syracuse University College of Law and a M.A. in African Studies from Ohio University and was appointed a Professor of Practice at Syracuse University College of Law in 2006. He teaches international criminal law, international law, national security law, and the law of armed conflict. In conjunction with Syracuse University College of Law students, he started “Impunity Watch”, an online publication which seeks to inform the world of human rights violations in real-time.

The new scope

The extension of the scope of the mandate of the Disappearances Commission by President Rajapaksa, where the expertise of these three persons will be of much value, will look into many aspects that relate to the loss of human life during the conflict in Sri Lanka caused by the forces of terror, led by the LTTE, and will raise important questions about individuals, groups or institutions that must bear responsibility for the loss of life by reason of a violation or violations of international humanitarian law or international human rights law.

The extended mandate of the Commission of Inquiry relates to the following specific issues:

i. The principal facts and circumstances that led to the loss of civilian life during the internal armed conflict that ended on the 19th May 2009, and whether any person, group or institution directly or indirectly bears responsibility in this regard by reason of a violation or violations of international humanitarian law or international human rights law.

ii. Whether such loss of civilian life is capable of constituting collateral damage of a kind that occurs in the prosecution of proportionate attacks against targeted military objectives in armed conflicts and is expressly recognized under the laws of armed conflict and international humanitarian law, and whether such civilian casualties were either the deliberate or unintended consequence of the rules of engagement during the said armed conflict in Sri Lanka.

iii. The adherence to or neglect of the principles of distinction, military necessity and proportionality under the laws of armed conflict and international humanitarian law, by the Sri Lankan armed forces.

iv. Whether the LTTE as a non-state actor was subject to international humanitarian law in the conduct of its military operations.

v. The use by the LTTE of civilians as human shields and the extent to which such action constitutes a violation of international humanitarian law or international human rights law, and did or may have significantly contributed to the loss of civilian life. The mandate also covers: “The recruitment of child soldiers by the LTTE or illegal armed groups affiliated with the LTTE or any political party in violation of international humanitarian law or international human rights law.

International criminal activities of the LTTE and the application of financial and other resources obtained through such illegal activities in the prosecution of the conventional and guerilla war in Sri Lanka by the LTTE, and,

“The suicide attacks by LTTE using child soldiers and other combatants under the direct orders of the leader of the LTTE, Velupillai Prabhakaran or any persons acting on his behalf, and the culpability for such actions under international humanitarian law or international human rights law.

Preamble

It is useful to read one paragraph of the preamble to this extension of the mandate of the Commission, in the proclamation made by President Rajapaksa. It states: “…In a spirit of compassion and the larger interest of national reconciliation, peace and harmony among all the people of Sri Lanka, I have secured the rehabilitation and resettlement of thousands of former combatants of the LTTE and brought them into the mainstream of national life; returned over 3,500 child soldiers of the LTTE to their parents and provided them with opportunities to pursue their education and fulfill their potential as peaceful citizens of Sri Lanka; and encouraged several leaders of the LTTE to publicly denounce and abandon violence and persuaded them to join the mainstream of political life in the country to work together within a democratic framework, to develop the country and collectively find peaceful solutions to the country’s political, social and economic challenges…”

In this paragraph alone is expressed in touching detail what has been done by Sri Lanka in the pursuit of reconciliation and building genuine peace, harmony and unity in the country. This goes against all the charges being repeatedly made by spokespersons, representatives and other supporters of the pro-LTTE “Diaspora”, and the many critics of Sri Lanka’s policies in building peace after the brutality of terrorism that lasted 30 years. The facts about this brutality will hopefully be better exposed than has been done so far, with the participation of these exceptional persons with expertise in law, especially international laws relating to human rights and their violation, and the crimes of war, about which many unsubstantiated charges continue to be are leveled against Sri Lanka.

Link to Lanka

It is interesting to know that Sir Desmond de Silva, with such a high standing in the field of law internationally, is from Sri Lanka, with a background that is deep in the politics of Sri Lanka, as well as the law and humanitarian affairs. He is the son of the late Frederick “Fred” de Silva, who took to a career in law in Sri Lanka in 1935, became an Advocate in 1950 was called to Bar from the Gray’s Inn in 1959. He was elected to the Kandy Municipal Council in 1939, and elected Mayor of Kandy in 1947. He was honoured as a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his humanitarian work during the 1947 floods in Sri Lanka, and was elected the Member of Parliament for Kandy in 1954 and held the post till 1957.

From 1968 to 1971 he served as Ceylon’s Ambassador to France and was the head of the Sri Lanka’s Delegation to UNESCO from 1968 to 1971. He was elected to the governing body of the UNESCO, and was the Chancellor of the University of Peradeniya from 1990 to 1993.

Few today would know that Fred de Silva was the son of the late George E de Silva, who entered politics after he was elected to the Kandy Municipal Council in 1930.

Later in 1931 he was elected to the State Council from the Central Province. Having been re-elected, he was appointed Minister of Health. After Ceylon gained independence, George E de Silva was appointed to the DS Senanayake Cabinet as the first Minister for Industries and Fisheries. He was the President of the Ceylon National Congress. This is a paternal record in the study and practice of law, and in service to the country, that can hardly be matched by many others, who have also brought credit to Sri Lanka by their work abroad.

– See more at: http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=features/wider-mandate-search-truth-and-reconciliation#sthash.fzeikzdX.dpuf

Putin Blames Malaysia Plane Crash On Ukraine’s Renewal Of Military Campaign

July 19th, 2014

Reporting by Timothy Heritage- Courtesy huffingtonpost.com

MOSCOW, July 18 (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday said Ukraine bore responsibility for the downing of a passenger plane in the country’s east, saying it would not have happened if Kiev had not resumed a military campaign against separatists.

“And without doubt the government of the territory on which it happened bears responsibility for this frightening tragedy,” he said, adding that he had urged the Russian authorities to do everything possible to help with the investigation into the incident.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/17/putin-ukraine-malaysia_n_5597094.html

Official statement from Russian Defense Ministry in connection with Boeing 777 crash

July 19th, 2014

Pravda.Ru

18.07.2014
Official statement from Russian Defense Ministry in connection with Boeing 777 crash. 53195.jpeg

The Defense Ministry of the Russian Federation released the following statement in connection with the crash of Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777.

“In view of the objective investigation of the air crash of the Boeing 777 that crashed on the territory of Ukraine, it is necessary to conduct thorough investigation with the involvement of representatives of all interested international organizations. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, there are units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces on the disaster area; the units are armed with anti-aircraft missile systems Buk-M1. In the area of northwestern outskirts of Donetsk, divisions of the 156th anti-aircraft missile regiment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are deployed, with 27 Buk M1 complexes. These complexes, on their tactical and technical characteristics, are capable of detecting air targets at distances of up to 160 kilometers and striking them at all altitudes at a range of over 30 kilometers. Moreover, in the skies over the Donetsk region, aircraft of the Ukrainian Air Force equipped with different types of missiles are constantly present. This is an undeniable fact.

“Statements from official Kiev saying that those complexes or aircraft did not open fire on air targets raise serious doubts. In such a short period of time, making such unequivocal conclusions under the conditions of fierce fighting in the area is impossible. Such responsible statements that entail serious legal consequences, require full investigation.

“In connection with all sorts of insinuations concerning the actions of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation on the border regions of Ukraine, we herewith responsibly declare that:

“On July 17, air defense systems of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation were not working in the area.

“The aircraft of the Air Force of the Russia were not performing any sorties on July 17 in the regions bordering on the Donetsk region.

“This information is fully confirmed by means of objective control.

“One should pay attention to the fact that Boeing 777 was conducting the flight beyond the range of air defense systems of the Russian Federation. The aircraft was flying in the airspace of Ukraine, under the control of its air traffic management system.

“We urge the international community to conduct thorough investigation of the disaster.”

 

DCDකිරි පිටි, අයිස්ක්‍රීම් දන්සල් බවට පත්වීම කණගාටුවට කරුණක්

July 19th, 2014

පෝෂණ පාගමන අවසානයේ ඇමති චම්පික කියයි. මාධ්‍ය අංශය, තාක්ෂණ හා පර්යේෂණ අමාත්‍යාංශය,

ජූලි මාසය, පෝෂණ මාසය ලෙස නම් කිරිමත් සමග ජාතික පෝෂණ ලේකම් කාර්යාලය සහ කාර්මික තාක්ෂණ ආයතනය(ITI) ඒකාබද්ධව රට පුරා විවධ වැඩසටහන් සංවිධාන කලේය. පෝෂණය හා නිරෝගීකම පිළිබඳව මහජන දැනුවත්භාවය ඉහළ නැංවීමේ අරමුණින් නිරෝගී පරපුර රටේ ශක්තියයි” තේමා කරගත් පාගමනක් අද (19) උදෑසන 7.20ට කාර්මික තාක්ෂණ ආයතනයෙන් ගමන් ඇරඹීය. මේ අවස්ථාවට අතිගරු ජනාධිපති මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ මැතිතුමා, අමාත්‍ය චම්පික රණවක මහතා ඇතුළු වෘත්තීයවේදින් සහ තාක්ෂණ හා පර්යේෂණ අමාත්‍යාංශයට අනුබද්ධ ආයතන වල නිලධාරින් ද ඇතුළු 800ක පිරිසක් සහභාගි විය.

පෝෂණ පාගමන අවසානයේ පැවති විශේෂ මාධ්‍ය සාකච්ඡාවට එක්වු අමාත්‍ය පාඨලි චම්පික රණවක මහතා අවධාරණය කර සිටියේ අපේ අතීත ආහාර සුරක්ෂිතතාව නැවතත් අප අත්පත්කරගත යුතු බවයි. අදවන විට විශාල විදේශ ආහාර වෙළෙඳපොළක් රට තුල නිර්මාණය විමෙන් හඳුනානොගත් බොහෝ ලෙඩ රෝග සේම පිළිකා ආශ්‍රිත රෝගීන් ප්‍රමාණය ද දිනෙන් දින ඉහළ යන බව සඳහන් කළේය. කිරි පිටි, සීනි, තිරුගු පිටි, අරක්කු, සිගරට් සහ පළතුරු අනවශ්‍ය ප්‍රමාණයන්ගෙන් රටට ආනයනය කිරිම හේතුවෙන් අනවශ්‍ය පරිභෝජන රටා සේම අනිසි ආර්ථික ප්‍රතිඵලද රටට අත්විදිමට සිදුවන බව අමාත්‍යවරයා පවසයි.

ITI ආයතන විසින් පසුගිය වසරේ කිරි පිටි ආශ්‍රිතව කල පර්යේෂණ වලදි නවසීලන්තයෙන් ආනයනය කල කිරි පිටි  විශේෂයක DCD අන්තර්ගත බවට තහවුරු කලේය. ඒ සමගම එම අදාල පිටි ‍තොග වෙළෙඳපොළෙන් ඉවත් කරන ලෙස අදාල සමාගමට දැනුම් දුන්නද, එම කිරිපිටි වක්‍රකාරයෙන් නැවතත් මහජන පරිභෝනයට එක් කිරිමට කටයුතු කර ඇත. පසුගිය පොසොන් පොහොය කාල සීමාවේදි රට පුරා පැවැත්වු අතිවිශාල අයිස්ක්‍රිම් දන්සල් ප්‍රමාණයෙන් බහුතරයක බෙදාදී ඇත්තේ DCD ආශ්‍රිත කිරිපිටි වලින් නිශ්පාදිත අයිස් ක්‍රිම් බව  ITI ආයතනය තහවුරු කර ඇත. ඒ පිලිබඳ පර්යේෂණ වාර්තා සෞඛ්‍ය අමාත්‍යාංශයට ලබාදීමට කටයුතු කර ඇති බවද  අමාත්‍ය චම්පික රණවක පවසයි. පොඩ්ඩන්ට සහ ලොක්කන්ට නීතීය දෙවිදිහියකට ක්‍රියාත්මක වීමෙන් අනිසි ප්‍රතිවිපාක අත්විදීමට සිදුවී ඇත්තේ මහජනතාවටයි. ඉදිරියේදි එවන් තත්ව ඇතිවීම වැළැක්වීමට වගකිව යුතු පාර්ශව හා නීතීය ක්‍රියාත්මක වියයුතු බවද අමාත්‍යවරයා මෙහිදි අවධාරණය කර සිටියේය.

රට තුල දේශිය ආහාර, ආහාර චාරිත්‍ර සහ පවතින ආහාර රටා දියුණු කරගනිමින් යහපත් පෝෂණ ක්‍රමවේද ඇති කරගන්නේ කෙසේද යන්න හඳුනාගන්නට මෙම ප්‍රදර්ශණය සහ ආහාර පොළ ඉවහල් විය.  පෝෂණ පාගමනට අමතරව පැවති ආහාර පොළ හා ආහාර තාක්ෂණ පිළිබඳ විශේෂ ප්‍රදර්ශණයේදි වස විසෙන් තොර දේශිය එළවළු, පළතුරු හා විවිධ දේශිය නිශ්පාදන මිලදී ගැනිමට අවස්ථාව සලසා තිබිණ. දේශිය සුළු හා මධ්‍ය පරිමාණ ව්‍යාපාරිකයා සේම ඉහළ ව්‍යවසායකයාටත් ලබාගත හැකි ආහාර තාක්ෂණික ක්‍රම හා පර්යේෂණ අවස්ථා ලබා දීමට කාර්මික තාක්ෂණ ආයතනය කටයුතු කරයි. ඒ සඳහා ඉහළ වෘත්තිය හා තාක්ෂණ ශඛ්‍යතාවක් ITI සතු බවද ඇමති චම්පික පෙන්වා දෙයි. තවත් කෙටි කාලයක් තුල කලාපයේ තිබෙන ඉහළම විද්‍යාගාර පහසුකම් සහිත අංග සම්පුර්ණ ගොඩනැගිලි සංකීර්ණයක් ITI සතුවන අතර, ඒ තුල දැනට රටේ වැඩි වශයෙන් භාවිත නොවන ජීව තාක්ෂණය උපරිමයෙන් පර්යේෂණයට ලක් කිරිමට සැලසුම් කර ඇත. මාලඹේ ඉදිවන නව රසායනාගාර සහ විද්‍යාගාර සංකීර්ණයයේ   පහසුකම් රාජ්‍ය සහ පෞද්ගලික අංශයේ ඕනෑම අයෙකුට එක හා සමානව ලබාගත හැකි බවද අමාත්‍ය චම්පික රණවක මහතා මෙම අවස්ථාවේදි ප්‍රකාශ කර සිටියේය.  මෙම මාධ්‍ය සාකච්ඡාවට තාක්ෂණ හා පර්යේෂණ අමාත්‍යාංශයේ ලේකම් ධාරා විජයතිලක මහත්මිය, ITI ආයතනයේ සභාපති මහාචාර්ය විමලධර්ම අබේවික්‍රම සහ පෝෂණ ලේකම් කාර්යාලයේ ප්‍රධානී වෛද්‍ය ලලිත් චන්ද්‍රදාස යන අය සහභාගි විය.

Pathos in the (cashed up) Media.

July 18th, 2014

D.Chandraratna, Perth

In a way it was sad to read the essay on the print media recently written by Shenali Waduge to this news sheet. She pointed out, very correctly, that, ‘Media is the most prostituted public service entity next to the profession of politics. Anyone can do anything if they throw in some cash. People can be bought over easily and thereafter it is a matter of time that news becomes structured accordingly and the public end up the gullible fools falling for the lies and distortions. The handful of good journalists have to silently bear up or leave that profession altogether.’(LW 16/7)

Gone are the days that we as youngsters waited excitedly for the paper man to ring the cycle bell at the gate early in the morning. The paper man symbolically was waking us up to the real world. The contribution that the daily newspapers made to the national conversation in those formative years after independence is worth reflecting. It was the newspapers, specially the Sinhala newspapers, much more than the radio that was more or less devoted to entertainment, that gave the sense of place, an identity and projected a vision to the new nation Sri Lanka was full of vigor and energy to grow up in the international union of states. The remarkable contributions of the newspapers to the national dialogue especially the national arts and theatre on its present state and future prospects deserves special mention. To us, growing men and women at the time journalism was just a beautiful profession, inspiring, engaging and fascinating with a criticality demanded of a burgeoning nation.

The professional journalist is the one who chronicles local and world events and opens the hearts and minds of men and women to understand, appreciate and experience the world and in so doing to come to an informed stance with regard to one’s own interpretation. His privileged domain, the fourth estate as it is called was heralded as the guardian of democracy, which allows everyone to be heard, especially the voiceless. It was democracy at play to hear the dissenting voice and a self regulated media did not need outsiders looking for impartiality for it had the decency to manage itself as per the protocols of an esteemed profession.

Quality journalism demands the journalist to narrate the story effectively, honestly and impartially. The press in general ensures that governments act truthfully in the best interests of its citizens. The press has the duty to elevate the nations welfare in a forthright, honest and a factual manner. The journalist has the moral duty to search for the truth and collectively the duty of the fourth estate is its unwavering commitment to find and present the truth. The journalist is bound by the highest of moral/ professional standards. While the reader is entertained to a gripping yarn the journalist goes through a grueling task to sift the essence from the morass.

The measure of a free society is that freedom is presented to each and every reader to consider all facets to the story. The journalist, of course has the intelligence in the gentle art of persuasion however frustrating and brutal it may be to the reader. The chattering classes are crying out for media freedom. They are pointing the finger at the government for a hidden punitive censorship, may be self imposed, by fear of stealth, (the usual white vans, motor cycles etc.) for the low status accorded in the rankings by various conglomerates who have for years backed the separatist plan as the solution to the so called national question. The ordinary public is never privy to their perfect solutions, which are never laid out in the open. Even to date no one knows what solutions the opposition has in mind for any national question. The various parties who ridiculed the government for not giving into the LTTE still see the northern media outfits including the TNA blameless in their eyes for the agonizing times endured by the general populace. The chattering classes never suffered the agony for their children have not undergone the brutality suffered by the rural parents of brave soldiers for the sake of our right to life so. Self-censorship, if it is, is better than incitement. We are a delicately poised multicultural nation where the danger of another ethnic imbroglio is just around the corner. When we will be able to enjoy the benefits of a liberal democracy is a moot point. One must be deaf and blind not to see the intentions of groups domiciled in the West, aided by the local counterparts to pounce on a debilitated country. In this age of diplomatic humbug there are countries, which will unashamedly and willingly throw away decorum and decency in diplomacy to pander to the electorate like Canada has demonstrated for many years. Those of us living in Australia are helpless to curtail the monstrous lies thrown down the unsuspecting westerners by a well-organized coterie of groups, be they human rights gurus, academics, greens, and paid up media persons. Fortunately the current Prime minister, an astute, highly intelligent politician has not fallen for the trick. If the paid up media is truthful why is it that this media angst is only among the English-speaking journalists and not so much with the Sinhala crowd. The Southern Sinhala media cannot be all that uneducated and unsophisticated. Can it?

Sri Lankans have a valid reason to be sad about the Press. In this day and age it is difficult for anyone to be convinced that the press stands for the advancement of our nation. The truth and the quality of journalism have a lot to be worried about. We wonder whether it is a worthwhile investment each day for the standard of journalism it provides. While Sri Lankans have a lot to be grateful for the democracy, freedom and peace in our times the tenor of the press is indirectly averse to the welfare and progress of our nation. The news is generally slanted in favor of the minorities who conspire with hidden agendas motivated by the greed for riches offered by vested interests that are flogging anti national agendas. Investigative reporting is rare; news of the world is skewed in presentation and analysis in depth in non-existent. The degree of quality that one expects the news columns to have is lacking. While coverage may be broad in scope the same is missing in the presentation. We like to see a press, which informs and educate without ties and strings attached. We believe that as a nation its citizens need to be informed but must leave that corridor open for scrutinizing, thinking and examining issues without blinders and hurdles barricading such scrutiny. Let us pray for quality journalism from those who own the media.

Direct Flight From Down Under to Sri Lanka

July 18th, 2014

Dr. Chula Rajapakse MNZM FRCP/FRACP Wellington New Zealand

Dear Editor
Traveling to Europe and back from Auckland New Zealand via Dubai on an Emirates A380 flight  ( the biggest passenger  plane with over 400 passengers) I am struck by the opportunities this flight & it’s flight path offers for Mattala international airport. Hence this letter hoping to invoke enthusiasm of the powers that be , to make these idea’s a reality.
Every evening , three of these A380 planes leaves Auckland  New Zealand  en rout to Dubia via Australia, a plane each via Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbain respectively.Each of these planes flies directly over over Mattala and the pilot often points out Mattala on the flight path map,  as the new international airport in Sri Lanka, that has a runway on which an A380 can land. ( It cannot land in BIA as it is not long enough)
If at least one of these planes can be encouraged & coaxed into stopping at Mattala it would be win win for all.
For Mattala, it would be Air Traffic that it dearly seeks. For travelers and Sri Lankan expatriates from down under, it would offer a direct flight to SL, without having to languish in Singapore, Kuala Lampur or Hong Kong.For the tourist form down under , it would be a boon as they have the same problem as expatriates, seeking out Sri Lanka. This would also encourage Sri Lankan Airline connections to Colombo. If properly marketed it could increase traffic and revenue for Emirates.
Emirates however  would  need some encouragement to try this out . I have already spoken to many including the High Commission in Canberra and the Foreign Minister , during his recent travels down under, on this matter. This letter is  aimed at drawing the attention of those at home  with success of the Mahinda Rajapakse International Airport closest to their heart, to give the idea a push. 
Dr. Chula Rajapakse MNZM
FRCP/FRACP
Wellington New Zealand.

Missing Persons Commission gets international panel to investigate war crimes

July 18th, 2014

Sri Lanka News

President Mahinda Rajapaksa has broadened the scope of the mandate given to the Presidential Commission to Investigate into Complaints Regarding Missing Persons and possible war crimes, appointed a three-member international panel of experts to advise the Commission.

Three legal experts – two Britons and a U.S. national – were appointed as part of an international advisory panel linked to the presidential commission set up last year to conduct the inquiry.

But a government spokesman made clear that whatever recommendations the panel might make, the island nation’s authorities were free to accept or reject them.

“This is just to advise the commission. We can decide whether to accept the advice or to set it aside,” government spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella told a news conference.

The President is of the opinion that the Commission to Investigate Missing Persons should have the benefit of the advice of distinguished international experts, whose internationally recognised expertise and experience encompasses legal and other relevant dimensions of the related matters and has decided to extend the scope of the mandate of the Commission.

The enhanced mandate of the Commission, issued by Proclamation by the President of Sri Lanka, and published under Gazette Notification 1871/18 dated July 15, 2014, seeks to, inter alia, inquire into and report on several matters contained under paragraph 4.359 of the Report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), which the Commission has deemed as requiring further inquiry. The President has appointed the following three eminent persons of international repute to serve

on an Advisory Council to the Commission of Inquiry: They are Rt. Hon. Sir Desmond de Silva, QC (Chairman), Sir Geoffrey Nice, QC, Prof. David Crane The Advisory Council will advise the Commission, at their request, and may include other experts appointed by the President as and when necessary.

The three-member Commission, comprising Maxwell Parakrama Paranagama (Chairman), Suranjana Vidyaratne and Mano Ramanathan, was appointed in August 2013 and has been given the authority to conduct inquiries and investigations into complaints of missing persons, and submit a report to the President. In February of this year, President Rajapaksa extended the mandate of the Commission by six months to August 12, 2014.

The Advisory Council is tasked with advising the Chairman and Members of the Commission of Inquiry, at their request, on matters pertaining to the work of the Commission.

The Commission of Inquiry was appointed to investigate and report on the following specific issues:

i. The principal facts and circumstances that led to the loss of civilian life during the internal armed conflict that ended on the 19th May 2009, and whether any person, group or institution directly or indirectly bears responsibility in this regard by reason of a violation or violations of international humanitarian law or international human rights law.

ii. Whether such loss of civilian life is capable of constituting collateral damage of a kind that occurs in the prosecution of proportionate attacks against targeted military objectives in armed conflicts and is expressly recognized under the laws of armed conflict and international humanitarian law, and whether such civilian casualties were either the deliberate or unintended consequence of the rules of engagement during the said armed conflict in Sri Lanka.

iii. The adherence to or neglect of the principles of distinction, military necessity and proportionality under the laws of armed conflict and international humanitarian law, by the Sri Lankan armed forces.

iv. Whether the LTTE as a non-state actor was subject to international humanitarian law in the conduct of its military operations.

v. The use by the LTTE of civilians as human shields and the extent to which such action constitutes a violation of international humanitarian law or international human rights law, and did or may have significantly contributed to the loss of civilian life.

vi. The role played, if any, by foreign governments in training, financing, and arming the LTTE or other armed groups.

B. The recruitment of child soldiers by the LTTE or illegal armed groups affiliated with the LTTE or any political party in violation of international humanitarian law or international human rights law.

C. International criminal activities of the LTTE and the application of financial and other resources obtained through such illegal activeties in the prosecution of the conventional and guerilla war in Sri Lanka by the LTTE.

D. The suicide attacks by LTTE using child soldiers and other combatants under the direct orders of the leader of the LTTE, Velupillai Prabhakaran or any persons acting on his behalf, and the culpability for such actions under international humanitarian law or international human rights law.

Sir Desmond de Silva an internationally acclaimed Sri Lankan is a prominent British lawyer, and former United Nations Chief War Crimes Prosecutor in Sierra Leone.

Sir Geoffrey Nice worked at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia – the ICTY – between 1998 and 2006.

Prof. David M. Crane an American lawyer was the Chief Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) from April 2002 until July 15, 2005. (PRIU)

Rt Hon Sir Desmond de Silva, QC

Rt Hon Sir Desmond de Silva, QC, (Chairman) is a world authority on the law of armed conflict. He was personally picked by Kofi Annan, the last Secretary General of the United Nations, to be the Chief Prosecutor of a UN sponsored international criminal court.

Sir Desmond is the grandson of the late George E. De Silva, one of the founding fathers of Sri Lankan independence, and the Minister of Health during the Second World War.

Sir Desmond’s father, Fred E De Silva, followed his father George as the MP for Kandy and proceeded to become Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to France and Switzerland.

Sir Desmond commands a large legal practice in London and for 25 years was the head of one of London’s oldest sets of Chambers once headed by the legendary Sir Dingle Foot, QC. Having followed in the distinguished legal footsteps of his father and grandfather, Sir Desmond was Knighted by The Queen in 2007 for his extraordinary contribution to International Law.

In 2011, he was made a Member of Her Majesty’s Privy Council. His wide practice has, over the past decade, involved cases that concerned States, Heads of States and Heads of Governments.

He famously achieved the acquittal in Kenya of a defendant facing the death penalty who then went on to become the last Prime Minister of Kenya.

The London Times Newspaper has credited him with saving more people from execution in the Commonwealth than any other member of the UK Bar.

The British Government in 2010, appointed him to chair a highly sensitive Review into the British

Security Services and their conduct in Northern Ireland during the conflict between the IRA and the British forces.

Professor Sir Geoffrey Nice, QC

Professor Sir Geoffrey Nice, QC, (Member) is the Gresham Professor of International Law in London. He was the lead Prosecutor in the case of the late President Milosevic of Serbia at The Hague. He is an outstanding international lawyer with considerable experience before international criminal courts.

Professor David Crane

Professor David Crane (Member) was personally picked by Kofi Annan to be the Chief Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, and was also appointed at a level of Under Secretary General of the United Nations. Crane was responsible for the indictment, arrest and prosecution of President Charles Taylor of Liberia who is currently serving 50 years imprisonment for war crimes. Crane also has considerable experience in the US military.

In June 2014, Professor Crane together with Sir Desmond appeared in a Chamber of the Human Rights Council in Geneva on the issue of the torture and killing of detainees in Syrian detention centres.

 

What do the Buddhists want from the Muslims?

July 18th, 2014

Nalin de Silva – Courtesy:  Daily News

Tag-Point-of-View-2013l.jpgThe above question was asked by a Muslim friend of mine after the Aluthgama Beruwala incidents. At that time the Minister Hakeem was trying to score points over the Sinhala Buddhists and he has now threatened the latter by claiming that unless the Bhikkus are controlled there could be Muslim extremist organisations. Imposing an unofficial blackout” on the news gave Hakeem and others a free hand to spread the usual anti Sinhala Buddhist line among the Muslims.

It appears that Hakeem is of the view that some organisations would get foreign aid to engage in extremist activities. As we have argued elsewhere, no individual or organisation should be allowed to engage in political activities with foreign aid” and it should apply to Hakeem’s Muslim extremist organisations” as well. Hakeem’s idea of controlling the Bhikkus is against the culture of the country, and by that statement alone he has shown his anti Buddhist attitudes.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa visited Aluthgama after the recent disturbances. Picture by Sudath Silva

Collective responsibility

We have enough experience with the Tamil racists some of whom eventually became extremists and finally terrorists with foreign aid”. The ideology, finance, equipments including arms were supplied by foreigners with many Western Governmental Organisations (WGOs, so called NGOs) involved in various capacities.

The Tamil racism is more than two hundred years old and is still thriving with the dispersed Tamils and WGOs being used by the Western countries to destabilize Sri Lanka and replace the Rajapaksa regime” with a Ranil regime” that would dance to the tune of the West. We should not allow Hakeem or any other person to push Sri Lanka to another war”, but if that is what Hakeem wants the Sinhala people would not jump to the Indian Ocean or even Nilwala Ganga down south in desperation.

In Sri Lanka we have evolved a unique Cabinet tradition, where so called collective responsibility is not found. It is not necessary to follow the Western Cabinet traditions, very often found only in textbooks, and we should allow the Cabinet ministers to speak their own minds in public. We now know where each Cabinet minister stands with respect to policy, even though the policy implemented is what is taken at Cabinet meetings not necessarily by consensus. There is no room for consensus, as there is no national policy as such.

BBS members

Though Hakeem tries to frighten the Buddhists with talk of extremist Muslim organisations, they are already here, as people know of activities in Muslim Enclaves”. It is unfortunate that on certain days the law of the country is not respected in these enclaves” and with an incident such as a motor accident the enclaves” come to their own.

There were some Tamil leaders who were prepared to accept the fact that there were Tamil extremist organisations but I have not come across any Muslim who would accept that there is Muslim extremism even today. Recently a Bhikku known to me for more than thirty years, and who associates with the Muslim Maulavis and others told me that the latter would never admit that there is a Muslim aggression with Muslim extremist elements involved.

Of course, one would say that there is no need for any Muslim to admit that there is Muslim extremism, aggression in the country when there is no such phenomenon in the country.

The average Sinhala person, whom I know has felt this aggression and one should not think of Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) as an isolated phenomenon without any mass support. There may be some educated” Buddhists who contribute to newspapers on the Bhikku image” and whether it is proper for a Bhikku to behave the way that some of the Bhikku leaders of some organisations are projected in the news media. The majority of the Buddhists whom I associate differs from these educated types” and do not speak against the BBS.

It is not the number of BBS members that count but the support that they have from the general public. One should not go by the letters to the editor by the educated types” and think that the activities of BBS are condemned by the majority of the people. Whether the BBS is supported by the government or not it exists as there is a demand” for these organisations, especially when the government is restricted by certain international” conditions.

Only on Wednesday I met a Unani” intern who wore the black Muslim traditional cloak”, and I was able to explain to her that the Sinhala people consider the purdah” or the cloak” as a symbol of Muslim aggression.

About twenty five years ago these purdahs” were not seen on the streets in Sri Lanka, and even today in Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Maldives to name a few Asian countries outside Western Asia the traditional purdah” is not worn by the Muslim ladies as much as in Sri Lanka. The dress can be a weapon used by political movements and as far as the Sinhalas are considered the purdah” has become an expression of Muslim aggression.

Preserving cultural values

The Sinhala people would not object to Muslims having their own identity, and preserving the cultural values. However, in the process, the Muslims do not have to be Arabian Muslims”.

As Ven. Galabodaaththe Gnanasra Thera has said recently it is the Sinhala people who are the original inhabitants of the country and they are the people who evolved a culture unique to the country.

I do not agree with the Thera when he says, probably following Mahavamsa that the Sinhala people colonized the country. My view of history is different from what is stated in Mahavamsa as I am of the opinion that the Sinhala people are descendants of Yagu Kaurana (Yaksha) and other gothras (not tribes in the Western sense) who had been living in this country for more than at least five thousand years as established by the excavations of Prof. Raj Somadeva and others, and of course Vedic or Ardha Vedic people who arrived about two thousand five hundred years ago.

The Yagu Kauranas had become Buddhists during the time of Budunvahanse as stated in Varigapurnikava and also confirmed by the excavations of Prof. Somadeva, and had established what may be called Hela Buddhist culture. This culture has been incorporated in the Sinhala Buddhist culture probably by the fifth century and anybody who came to this blessed island had been absorbed to this culture. The origin of the Vedda community is not well known but they have had their own culture without being a threat to the Sinhala Buddhist culture.

Sinhala Buddhist culture

When the Muslims came to this country from present South India they would have come as Tamil speaking Muslims or even Tamil Muslims.

As they had come in large numbers or due to some other reason they had not been absorbed in to the Sinhala Buddhist culture and had remained as a separate entity as in the case of Vedda community. I do not buy the story that they came from Arab and married Sinhala women and spoke with their offspring in Tamil and not in Sinhala or Arabic.

The Tamil Muslims or Tamil speaking Muslims if the Muslims prefer that way, had not worn the traditional Muslim dresses in Sri Lanka as the climate in Sri Lanka or present South India is not suitable for that dress. Only a few years ago the Muslim ladies wore the sari with the sari pota” over their heads and thus identifying themselves as Muslims. The sari/osari, have been the dress worn by the Sinhala ladies (at least the elite Menikes) when going out even before the time of Anagarika Dharmapala and what the latter did was to democratize” the dress so that not so elite ladies also wore the sari/osari. Probably the Muslim ladies followed suit or continued with the sari that they brought from present South India, with the sari pota over the head.

To cut a long story short, what the Buddhists want from the Muslims is for them to behave as Sri Lankan Muslims and not as Arabian Muslims. The Buddhists have borrowed from the Muslims, especially from the recently migrated Malay Muslims, and are proud of these cultural absorptions.

The Muslims on their part have absorbed from the Sinhala Buddhist culture and the cultures should not only be threats to other countries but should not appear to be so. What we should aim at is the evolution of a Sri Lankan culture unique to this country with of course differences that would maintain the Buddhistness”, Muslimness”, Christianness” etc.

In this regard I should mention that in the Universities of Colombo and Kelaniya, I told my Catholic students that they should strive to be Sri Lankan Catholics (Sinhala or Tamil Catholics) and not Roman Catholics. The Muslims in Sri Lanka should be Sinhala or Tamil Muslims (Sri Lankan Muslims) and not Arabian Muslims.

– See more at: http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=features/what-do-buddhists-want-muslims#sthash.cGqFPGB5.dpuf
http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=features/what-do-buddhists-want-muslims

 

HE Dr Chris Nonis meets HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan

July 18th, 2014

MEDIA RELEASE Sri Lanka High Commission London

Sri Lankan High Commissioner to the UK, Dr Chris Nonis, met HRH Prince El Hassan of Jordan during his visit to London. In Jordan, HRH Prince El Hassan established the Royal Scientific Society, the Arab Thought Forum, the Higher Council for Science and Technology, and the Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies.

HE Dr Chris Nonis with HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal

He is also Chair of one of the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Boards, and President of the Foundation for Interreligious and Intercultural Research and Dialogue (FIIRD). A pluralist, believing in consensus and respect for the other, HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal, articulated his ideals of  societies in which all peoples can live, work and function in freedom and with dignity, and emphasized opportunities for global partnership  towards these aims.

 

 

 

Ukrainian Buk battery radar was operational when Malaysian plane downed – Moscow

July 18th, 2014

Courtesy  RT

Published time: July 18, 2014 09:31
Edited time: July 18, 2014 10:11

Debris is seen at the site of Thursday's Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash near the settlement of Grabovo, in the Donetsk region July 18, 2014 (Reuters / Maxim Zmeyev)

Debris is seen at the site of Thursday’s Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash near the settlement of Grabovo, in the Donetsk region July 18, 2014 (Reuters / Maxim Zmeyev)

On Thursday, when a Malaysian Airlines plane was apparently shot down over Ukraine, a Ukrainian Buk anti-aircraft missile battery was operational in the region, the Russian Defense Ministry said, contradicting Kiev’s statements.

The battery was deployed at a site from which it could have fired a missile at the airliner, the ministry said in a statement. It said radiation from the battery’s radar was detected by the Russian military.

The Russian equipment detected throughout July 17 the activity of a Kupol radar, deployed as part of a Buk-M1 battery near Styla [a village some 30km south of Donetsk],” the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said the radar could be providing tracking information to another battery deployed in the region, which was at a firing distance from the plane’s flight path.

Earlier Kiev said it could not have fired a missile at the passing civilian plane because it had no Buk missile launchers deployed in the region. At the same time the Ukrainians said the militias had no Buk systems in their hands, according to a statement from the country’s Prosecutor General.

The Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 carrying almost 300 people on board crashed on Thursday as it was flying over Ukraine’s Donetsk Region. The plane was apparently shot down by a surface-to-air missile, although both Kiev and the local militias fighting against it deny responsibility. A flurry of condemnations and calls for a swift investigation followed the disaster.

 

Reuters

 

Russian radars record active operation of Ukrainian air defense

July 18th, 2014

Source:Pravda.Ru

Russian radars record active operation of Ukrainian air defense. 53196.jpeg

Russian radio equipment recorded a radar station of the Ukrainian anti-aircraft missile system Buk was active on the day the Malaysian airliner crashed, officials with the Russian Defense Ministry said. The part of the route of the Malaysian jet, as well as a place of its crash, fall into the destruction area of two Ukrainian batteries of long-range anti-aircraft missile S-200 and three batteries of medium-range SAM Buk-M1.

Spokespeople for the Defense Ministry clarified that the Russian aero-technical equipment recorded active operations of radar station RLS-9s18 “Dome” of a battery of SAM Buk-M1, stationed near the village of Styla (30 kilometers south of Donetsk).

Officials also said that technical features of SAM Buk-M1 allow to exchange information on air targets between batteries of one division.

“Thus, the launch of missiles could be conducted from all batteries stationed in the village of Avdiyivka (8 kilometers north of Donetsk) or Gruzsko-Zaryanskoe (25 kilometers east of Donetsk),” concluded the Defense Ministry.

As a result of the crash of Boeing 777 on July 17 over the territory of Ukraine, 298 people were killed.


Copyright © 2014 LankaWeb.com. All Rights Reserved. Powered by Wordpress