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).
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.
The panel discussion is open to the public.
Courtesy: Daily News
By Senaka Weeraratne Courtesy: Daily Mirror
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?
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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.
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.
|Rt Hon Sir Desmond
de Silva, QC
|Prof. Sir Geoffrey
|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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Dr. Chula Rajapakse MNZM FRCP/FRACP Wellington New Zealand
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.
Nalin de Silva – Courtesy: Daily News
The 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Published time: July 18, 2014 09:31
Edited time: July 18, 2014 10:11
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.
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.
Russian President Vladimir Putin believes that Ukraine is responsible for the disaster with Malaysia Airlines plane, which occurred on Thursday, July 18. The Russian president urged the Russian authorities to assist in every way in the investigation of this crime.
“Undoubtedly, the state, on the territory of which it happened, is responsible for this terrible tragedy,” Vladimir Putin said at a meeting of the State for Economic Affairs, which he proposed to start with a minute of silence in memory of the victims of the terrible disaster.
“This tragedy would not have happened, if there had been peace in the world, and if the fighting in the south-east of Ukraine wouldn’t have been resumed,” Putin said.
Putin ordered the Russian government to do everything possible to establish an objective picture of the disaster. “I ask the Russian government through available opportunities of civilian agencies to do everything to thoroughly investigate this event,” said the president.
“We must do everything in our power so that an objective picture of what happened became available to the general public of Russia, Ukraine and the whole world,” Putin stated.
“These are absolutely unacceptable things, and nobody has the right to pass this by without making appropriate conclusions, without obtaining objective information about the accident,” said the president of the Russian Federation.
Putin also reiterated his condolences on behalf of the Russian government to all the families of the victims, as well as the governments of those countries, whose citizens were flying in the crashed plane.
Amid the versions of the reasons of the crash of the MA Boeing 777, officials with the Russian Federal Aviation Agency, Rosaviation, believe that the passenger jetliner was shot down. The original target could be the airplane of Russian President Putin.
“The presidential jetliner and the Malaysian Boeing intersected at the same point and at the same echelon. This happened near Warsaw, on 330th echelon at an altitude of 10,100 meters. Air Force One was there at 16:21 MSK, the Malaysian plane – at 15:44 MSK,” an anonymous source said.
“The contours of the two aircraft are generally similar, the linear dimensions are also very similar, and as for coloring, it looks almost identical at a remote distance,” the source said.
Afterwards, an official spokesman for Rosaviation that the agency never comments on the routes of Air Force One.
Advisor to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, Anton Gerashchenko, said that the plane was shot down with anti-aircraft missile system Buk.
At the same time, armed supporters of Donetsk and Luhansk breakaway republics denied any involvement in the crash of the plane. They do not exclude that the Ukrainian Air Force is responsible for the disaster. Donetsk People’s Republic Prime Minister Alexander Boroday said that the plane could be shot down by Ukrainian air defense, which, according to him, were set on high alert on July 14. In addition, the website of the People’s Republic of Luhansk says that eyewitnesses saw a strike fighter attacking the Malaysia Airlines Boeing.
Dr. Sudath Gunasekara. (SLAS) President Mahanuwara Senior Citizens Movement
This is a brief note on the pathetic plight of the so-called Kandyans who comprise about 1/3 the country’s population and also spread over 1/3 the area of the Island who are derogatorily called as Peasants. The Westerners used the word Kandyans to differentiate the lowlanders from the mountaineers in this Island. Robert Percival in 1803 (11 Years in Ceylon) called the lowlanders –Sinhalese and those who lived on the hills- Kandyans, which simply meant the people living on the hill country. Thereby they divided the Sinhala nation in to two rivalry camps. The word ‘Kandyan’ was adopted from the word kanda, which simply meant mountain in Sinhala. Prior to this division the people of this Island formed one indivisible united nation called Sinhalayo, which simply meant the people of the Sinhale. However, they were not ‘peasants’ as the western educated elite have labeled them, by just burrowing the term from the west. Unlike the ‘Medieval European peasant’ who was only a slave on the land that belonged to the feudal Lord, the kandyan goviya was an independent, self-asserting and proud landed proprietor who was fit even to rule his kingdom. He owned the means of production, though size may have been small, in contrast to the western peasant. In fact they were the people who ruled this country for the past 2500 years. So in this background, I am using the word peasant here in a new context to denote all descendants of the citizens of the Sinhale Kingdom that was there prior to 1815. South Indian Tamils who were brought later to work on plantations and Muslims migrated later and now domicile within the traditional Kandyan territory are not included within this definition, as some people used to do for political expediency.
It was these robust Sinhalayo of the udarata Rajadhaniya (the last Kingdom of the Sinhale) who fought with three imperial powers valiantly for 310 years from 1505 to 1815 and defended this nation against three powerful invaders, when the Sitawaka and Yalpanam men meekly submitted to the enemy. In the process tens of thousands of these brave villagers lost their lives. It was the same Kandyan peasants who were in the vanguard in the fight against the British and paid the heavy toll of the 1818 an 1848 freedom struggles. They were brutally murdered by the British and their properties plundered; their farms were set on fire and destroyed and animals were slaughtered and all bearing trees were cut and set on fire on imperial orders.
As John Davy wrote in 1821, The story of English rule in the Kandyan country during 1817 and 1818 cannot be related without shame. In 1819 hardly a member of the leading families, the heads of the people, remained alive; those whom the sword and the gun had spared, cholera and small pox and privations had slain by the hundreds (Lawrie’s Gazetteer Vol.1. 203p). In fact it should be noted here that after the 1818 freedom struggle, all male over 14 years of age were ordered to be executed by the colonial rulers.
They lost their land; they lost their paddy fields and hen; they lost their forests; they lost their river waters; they lost their institutions; they lost their culture, language and religion and in short they lost virtually everything what they had inherited from their forefathers, which they had zealously guarded for 2500 years. Those who were spared and survived were driven down to valley bottoms and some to the eastern jungles and even today their descendants live in these ravines in abject poverty as destitute and hapless human skeletons, as the evening sun set over the mountains, gazing at the high land, once owned by their forefathers, above their secluded and impoverished villages, now flourishing with carpeted flush tea gardens inhabited by millions of imported indentured Indian labour, The land once belonged to them now virtually belonged to foreigners and the money generated also go to them. Today, these sons of the soil, who were once described by Robert Percival as whose countenance was erect, his looks haughty, his mien lofty and his whole carriage marked by the pride of independence and they are men with war like habits’ and who owned and cultivated these lands from the dawn of history have no water even to work their fields; no grazing lands for their cattle either and many of them do not have even a burial ground to bury their dead. For centuries they drank and bathed in crystal clear mountain water that gush down the mountains but today they have to drink the water polluted by the factories and the human waste flushed in to the streams and rivers, by a million estate labourers who had been planted on the plantations by the British.
The Kandyan areas constitute almost 1/3 the total area of the Island and nearly 1/3 the total population of the country and today they have over 100 Mpp in a house of 225. But unfortunately, there is not a single MP who has the feeling or the courage to raise a voice on behalf of these people. A cursory glance at he data shows that today they are much worse than they were in 1949. For example landlessness among the Kndyans that was reported as 39,000 families in 1949. Today it has gone over 200,000. In spite of the fact that this country is supposed to have gained political independence from the British in 1948, and was ruled by the natives for almost 66 years since then, today they are the worst neglected lot who has become virtual Refugees” on their own Motherland, since 1815. Their plight is not second to that of the American Red Indians or the Australian Aborigines. They were robbed and exploited by the British nearly for 150 years and thereafter they are, being continued to be robbed and betrayed by their own politicians, who have deplorably failed to restore their birthrights and the historical injustices inflicted upon the Kandyans by the British.
It was with the noble objective of ‘Ameliorating” their socio-economic conditions, a commission was appointed in January 1949 to inquire in to and report on the social and economic conditions of the Kandyan Peasantry who suffered many a historical injustice during the British colonial rule” The Commission submitted its Report in August 1951. The Commission Report running in to 529 pages and covering the two provinces of Central and Uva was one of the most comprehensive reports ever written as far as Kandyan affairs are concerned. It is indeed a classic and a monumental work.Among many other far-reaching recommendations, this Report recommended the setting up of a powerful Development Board headed by a Permanent Secretary directly answerable to the Prime Minister with similar Development Boards at the District and Divisional levels, to develop the Kandyan areas. This was indeed a super Authority and an excellent institutional framework, but it never saw the light of the day up to date. In 1953 the Cabinet accepted the recommendations of the Commission in principle and thereafter a six year development Programme was prepared under the directions of the then Minister for Home Affairs A. Ratnayaka, incorporating the major recommendations of the Kandyan Peasantry Commission.
Rs. 212 million was provided for this programme. The Minister expected this programme to be implemented through the District Administration and other departments connected with rural welfare. But the majority in the Cabinet was not in favour of special regional development for the Kandyan Provinces. Finally on the recommendations of the then Minister of Finance M.D.H. Jayawardhana the government decided to include the proposed development programme in the 1954/55 – 1956/60 Six Year Programme. This was the first set back suffered by the KPC Report.
In 1958 a sub-department was created to coordinate the work and it was placed under a coordinator. His function was merely to disburse limited funds for haphazardly selected scattered minor infrastructure development within the Central and Uva Provinces. As against the fully pledged and powerful Development Authority proposed by the Kandyan Peasantry Commission, the new department was only a tiny mole and it was the second betrayal that surfaced as the anti-Kandyan forces were gathering momentum in fifties. The coordinator was renamed as Commissioner in 1964 and the department was upgraded to B class. Then it went in to a deep and long slumber for about 25 years. In 1989 a Project Ministry was created under the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and they renamed it as the Ministry of Upcountry Peasantry Development, under the Premadasa Government. But ironically even in that year only Rs. 10 million was made available for development for that year. President Wijetunga appointed another Presidential Commission in 1994 under the chairmanship of A.B. Elkaduwa to assess the work done in terms of the KPC of 1951 and to study and report on the constraints to development in the areas concerned. This report concluded that the region continued to lag behind and the people continue to be poor, backward, disadvantaged, the pace of development has been slow and uneven”, a fact as clear as the day light to every toddler in this country by then, for which a Presidential Commission need not have appointed at all. I the latter part of 1994 when I was secretary to Mrs Bandaranaike, I submitted a draft Cabinet paper seeking Cabinet approval for the establishment of the Development Authority that was proposed earlier by the KPC in 1949. But it never saw the light of the day as Mrs B was reluctant to speak to Chandrika on this matter.
Meanwhile JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) in 1993 also made a study of the project area that resulted in the preparation of a ten-year Master Plan. The main emphasis of this plan was agriculture and rural development. It estimated the cost of implementation of the ten-year programme at RS 15.4 billion. The plan period ended in 2003 almost with zero results. The conditions in the Kandyan areas remained the unchanged. Meanwhile another Task Force was appointed on 9th Jan 2003 to study, report and guide the implementation of any proposed development activity for the upliftment of the peasantry in the Central Region under the Chairmanship of Professor Madduma Bandara. (Note Upcountry now changed to Central Region- perhaps a new political strategy). The TOR of this Task Force itself appears to be illusive and vague. However, thanks to its Chairman it was better in content than the Elkaduwa Report. Nevertheless instead of suggesting a detailed Action Plan based on the KPC Report, this Task Force also, going by the prevailing Task Force syndrome” proposed the appointment of another Super Task Force of 21 members, apparently for writing another ‘report’ that will provide some perks for its members and with another carrot for the politicians to deceive the people. With the fall of the government of the day this proposal also went in to the back shelf as usual. Meanwhile, a new organization called Sri Lanka Udarata Development Authority (SLUDA) was established on 24th August 2005 under Act No 26 of 2005 again for identifying, formulating and coordinating, the implementation of development projects within the Udarata Area. ” So you see, like a game of musical chairs, for 60 years, all governments have been playing a game of hide and seek policy at the expense of 1/3 of the nations population for whom the entire nation is indebted for defending the country for 350 years against the enemy. The only development that had taken place was report writing and mere lip service to ameliorate” the socio-economic conditions of the Kandyan Peasants.
Although all the previous reports referred to the Report of the Kandyan Peasantry Commission it is rather strange and quite interesting too to note that the Act no 26 of 2005 has not made even a passing reference to the KPC Report of 1951, which is the most authentic and comprehensive study available on this subject. The Act also has not made any reference to the Department of Kandyan Peasantry Development that has been engaged in this job for the last 50 years and also has not stated as to what it proposes to do with the department. In this backdrop one can imagine the width of the knowledge gap of the architects of this Act pertaining to Kandyan affairs. It appears that they were going to start Kandyan development for the first time in history and as a result we are again shifted back in square no 1 on Kandyan Peasantry Development after 60 long years of political deceiving.
What is still funnier is the latest attempt by the newly appointed Board of the SLUDA to prepare a fresh Cooperate Plan for which they have agreed to pay Rs. 540,000 to a handpicked client, out of a group of more than 60 applicants whose applications were not even acknowledged. It is revealed that Rs 250,000 has already been paid even before the work is started. Apart from the fraudulent and irregular manner in which, this transaction is done what is the justification for preparing another plan at such high cost when there are at least four (5 ) plans already available.
What the SLUDA needs to do now is only to prepare a simple Action Plan based on the recommendations of available studies without wasting any more public funds and time, and then go in to immediate action, as already enough money has gone down the drain on reports, which have never been implemented. The Director General of the Authority should have prepared this plan without any additional cost to government, using the report of the Kandyan Peasantry Commission, which provides the best and the most comprehensive report available on the subject of Kandyan peasantry up to date. He could have got the assistance of the Director of the Department of Kandyan Peasantry Rehabilitation as well, whose office is located on the same compound and who also functioned as the secretary to the Special Task Force of 2003 on Kandyan Rehabilitation. In fact this Task Force has already made its own 7 pronged Strategic Plan for Kandyan peasantry Rehabilitation in 2003. There are also the Reports of the Elkaduwa Presidential Commission of 1993 and the JICA Master Plan Study of 1993 on the same subject, which runs in to 4 volumes and Hewavitharana Report prepared subsequently.
Therefore what is required today for rehabilitating Kandyan peasants and ameliorating their problems is not wasting further time and money on report writing as it had been done for the past 66 years, but to take concrete and effective action at least now, without plunging these peasants in to further destitution and misery.
Talking about the Act No 26 of 2005, it is neither a legal document nor a practical instrument of achieving the objectives stipulated in the preamble. Its objectives are illusory and unclear; powers too wide and unrealistic and they encroach in to the legal domain of other government statutory boards and departments. It was only a carbon copy of the Southern Area Development Authority hurriedly presented. The new Authority did not have an arm of its own to implement its programmes and expected to depend on other agencies and departments to do that job. Doesn’t this mean that again we were trying to go back to the coordinator’s time of 1958? Section 14 on objectives and 15 on powers is overlapping. The whole document lacks clear thinking and it displays not only their ignorance on administrative procedures on good governance but also their poverty and ignorance on Kandyan affairs. It appears to be a simple transcript of another Act prepared for some other purpose..
The board of management was also ill constituted. It did not provide for any special qualification to be a member, for example expertise on Kandyan affairs that is crucial for its successful operation. Other than the ex-officio members, Section 4 (b) provides for the appointment of five members and it says that the President will appoint them on the recommendation of the Minister. But it does not say what Minister will make the recommendations either. This situation enables the President to appoint any one with no regard to his ability to deliver the goods. This is why the KPC Report 1951 stipulated that at least two of the members of the Board of five recommended by them should be selected from among persons who have a special knowledge of the Kandyan Provinces and they should not be persons directly involved in active politics. Absence of such specific stipulations as to the qualifications of the members leaves the doors open for appointing unqualified men for political reasons. This affects the quality of the board, which in turn seriously affects the work.
In this backdrop, if you observe carefully the sequence and the manner in which this subject has been handled for the past 66 years you will note how reluctant and lethargic the successive governments have been in handling it. The meager and ridiculous financial allocation of Rs. 358,691,957 (over a period of 33 years from 1961 to 93) to rehabilitate nearly 1/3 of the total population in the country spread over almost 1/3 the area of the country who fought heroically and paid the biggest penalty for independence further proves this indifference displayed by the then governments towards Kandyans.
Today, even those who were imported to the Island in the second half of the 19th century, as indentured labour from India, to work on the British tea plantations as slaves, numbering about 1 m, are better looked after by every body, than the Kandyans who were the owners of this land for the past 2500 years. They are given two or more separate Ministries and each one of them have been getting more than Rs. 200 m annually in addition to national and international assistance they receive for the past few decades. The Kandyans who constitute over 1/3 of the countries population do not have a separate Ministry either, in a country where we have nearly 110 ministries at the moment. The tragedy is although there are over 100 MPP who are supposed to have got elected and selected to represent them in Parliament, today there isn’t a single MP even to talk on behalf of these people who have lost all their birthrights,. Unfortunately politicians of the calibre of A Ratnayaka, M.D.Banda or M.B.W.Mediwaka who can stand up on their feet in the House on behalf of these neglected people today are not there in parliament to represent them. In fact none of the present day MPP actually represent the people. They are only puppets of the Colombo hierarchy of the party in power who are placed in their seats only to get their vote to ensure legitimacy to governing. There are also no people’s organizations either, powerful enough to lobby their case and air out the grievances of these hapless underdogs. Both the present Department and the SLUDA did not have wings to fly. They had no legs to run either. The two institutions, although operated from the same building, functioned independently of each other. SLUDA had been always packed with political stooges who knew next to nothing about the problems of the Kadyans or had any idea as to what they should do other than collecting the perks attached to the posts and running after their political masters.
On Jan 1st 2014 both the SLUDA and the Kandyan Peasantry Com’s Department and the Upcountry Development Authority along with the Samurdhi Authority and the Southern Development Authority were amalgamated under a new super Department called Divineguma. Along with this decision the 65 year old subject of Kandyan Peasantry was also buried forever. None of the so-called MPP said to be representing these areas or any other Kandyan leader including the three Mahanayaka Theras who are all Kandyans has spoken a word about this tragedy. All these people have kept mum as if the of people who called Kandyan Peasants are already extinct.
Since at least a dead heroic Kandyan leader like Keppetipola has not risen from the grave to protest against this heinous crime
I thought the best thing to do is to bring this to the notice of the ghosts of the Fathers of Kandyan Peasantry Commission who labored to produce it in 1949.
Even today the KPC Report is the most comprehensive document available on Kandyan areas, though it had to be updated. It had quite correctly identified landlessness as the main problem confronting the Kandyans. Among other problems they have highlighted poverty, malnutrition, unemployment, education, depressing health facilities, roads, irrigation and marketing. So what we have to do today is to make a start there, using it as the guideline and improve on that to meet the present day needs. The present day problems in these regions are at least ten times greater than what they were in 1949.
According to the Task Force of 2003, ‘the Kandyan districts form the poorest areas in the country. Both ‘consumptive poverty’ as well as the abject ‘human poverty’ is most preponderant in the kandyan districts. All the districts where the ‘abject human poverty’ is over 25%’ are all kandyan districts. The lowest human development index of 0 .694 is reported from Kandy district. In terms of life expectance lowest rates are reported from Kandy, Nuwara Eliya and Badlla districts. Average per capita gross domestic product (GRDP) for the central region (JICA 1994) was 33% lower than the average figure for the whole sland. The lowest GDP per capita of the whole country are reported from Monaragala and Kandy districts (UNDP 1998). In terms of infrastructure development and social amenities the situation cannot be different.
Landlessness, which was stated as 39,000 families in 1949, has now gone over 200,000. Although the Land reforms of 1972 was intended to solve landlessness among these peasants, not an inch out of some 600.000 acres of land appropriated by the British had been retrieved to the Kandyan peasants up to date. Instead the successive governments have chased out more than another 10,000 families from Dumbara and Kotmale areas and now a vigorous plan to give lands to estate Tamils is being deployed by the governments under the guise of development and meeting socio-political justice. Even the Huxam Report (1947) recommendations for the establishment of peripheral kachcheries highlighted by the KPCR in Naula, Rikillagaskada and Bibile have not being implemented up to date. Most of the irrigation projects and roads programs recommended by the Commission were also never carried out. The Meemure Maha Oya-Heenganga project designed to bring 500 acres under plough and the Meemure- Pallegama road and the Kalugala-Udattawa road are only few examples of such unattended work.
This scenario shows the seriousness with which successive governments have handled the Kandyan issue. It also shows the calibre of the Members of Parliament who have been representing these areas since 1948.
Whither the Kandyans are going? Where is the thicket: it is gone. Where is the water in the streams; it is also gone. There was at least a Coomaraswamy in 1905 to address ‘An Open Letter to the Kandyan Chiefs at least on one single aspect of their great heritage- that is about their decaying buildings and a dying civilization. Alas! today not only that there is no one to write in that seriousness, but even if some one writes and speak there are no worthy Chiefs among present day Kandyans who have an eye to see and audible years to lend, for such trivial matters. As the say goes even buffaloes have leaders, but the Kandyans appear to have none.
Why was the Kandyan Peasantry Repot scuttled? It suffered the same fate, rather more adversely, than the Kannagara Report on Education did. Unfortunately we never had the political will and the commitment and the administrative vision and strength to implement these recommendations to their logical conclusion. Had they being at least partially implemented, today, the story of the Kandyans would have been at least partially different.
Lack of able and committed local political leadership armed with vision and will who could understand the spirit and the substance of the KPC Report and bring pressure on the government of the day, the out dated Kandyan–Low country conflict in the government circles and administrative poverty that failed to comprehend the real issues and advice and guide the politicians and mobilize the people, and absence of dynamic and militant regional apolitical national leaders and peoples organizations who could influence and lobby the governments in power, and the political division of the society in to rivalry groups that obstructs united action for a common cause, I think, are the main reasons that have brought about this pathetic situation.
A powerful Development Board for the development of Kandyan areas both with advisory and executive power, placed directly under the Head of the State that should be entrusted to a senior and able Kandyan Cabinet Minister who has a true commitment to the cause of these people, with similar institutional set up at District and Divisional levels, on the lines recommended by the KPC Report of 1951 manned by able and knowledgeable men committed to the development and rehabilitation of these forgotten and betrayed people with a view to rectifying the historical injustices inflicted upon them is the crying need of the day. This will certainly make the man who takes the decision immortal, in the annals of Kandyan saga, which has been marred by recurrent betrayals through out history, as the ‘Messiah’ of the 21st century, who resurrected these neglected and betrayed Refugees” who are now standing virtually on the verge of extinction, on their own Motherland. Let us not forget that these are the people who in fact fought the heroic battles against three powerful imperial powers for 310 years and defended the country and also who formed the vanguard in the freedom struggles of 1818 and 1848 and for whose blood that flowed down the streams, the whole nation is heavily indebted. But isn’t it a historical tragedy that these legitimate heirs to freedom are today completely ignored, forgotten and neglected while the sweet fruits of 1948 freedom are being lavishly enjoyed by those who betrayed the nation then and continues to do so even now along with the Indian plantation labour- who were planted by force on our motherland yesterday by the British.
The degree of indebtedness, the present day Sri Lankans owe to the Kandyans, and how it needs to be retrieved, has to be properly evaluatedand estimated, in this backdrop.
(This is a slightly revised article I wrote in Jan. 2008)
Shenali D Waduge
When the West was in the stoneage, a civilization was flourishing in India and a Buddhist university prevailed in Nalanda, India. Just two examples of life before Christian colonials and Islamic invaders arrived to take over nations following a common goal of domination and conversion. Vast stretches of land, ancient history, artifacts, monuments were razed to the ground and people forcibly converted or beheaded. That history is rarely given the international publicity it deserves or spoken enough for people to realize that the ‘white man’s burden’ was just a sham. Before land was forcibly taken over, people lived in amity where there was no requirement for human rights declarations, resolutions, charters or police. Yet the invaders brought their own rule of law after dividing the people in multitude of ways and creating multitude of reasons for them to remain divided. People’s minds were poisoned and centuries later the invaded nations were handed ‘independence’ to people they knew would continue white rule under brown hands. Accountability” and Reconciliation” are two words given hype but appear inapplicable to the sins committed by these invaders who stole land and dehumanized and denationalized people. The post-independent governments handed the mantle of leadership provided cosmetic changes without reversing and empowering the natives that were disempowered by force. There lies the mistake. Where should we go from hither?
Do we need a white man to tell us to value our nation?
I have travelled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief, such wealth I have seen in this country” – so said Lord Macaulay addressing the British Parliament on 2nd February 1835.
Lord Macaulay identified what keeps India together and identified what should be done to break it …such high moral values, people of such caliber, that I would not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is here spiritual and cultural heritage”.
The British were not content in what they saw. They wanted to take away what India proudly stood for. Thus, Lord Macaulay’s proposal to the British Parliament was I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation”. Britain succeeded with that plan.
179 years later India has elected a national leader who has brought back use of Hindi while previously India has shown leadership in renaming cities of India – Bombay is now Mumbai, Calcatta is now Kolkata, Bangalore is now Bengaluru, Trivandrum to Thiruvananthapuram, Cochin to Kochi, Madras is now Chennai. Sri Lanka lacks any such drive despite countless requests.
If that was India, John Fire Lame Deer shows what Native America was like Before our white brothers arrived to make us civilized men, we didn’t have any kind of prison. Because of this we had no delinquents. Without a prison, there can be no delinquents. We had no locks nor keys therefore among us there were no thieves. When someone was so poor that he couldn’t afford a horse, a tent or a blanket, he would, in that case, receive it all as a gift. We were too uncivilized to give great importance to private property. We didn’t know any kind of money and consequently, the value of a human being was not determined by his wealth. We had no written laws laid down, no lawyers, no politicians, therefore we were not able to cheat and swindle one another. We were really in bad shape before the white man arrived and I don’t know how to explain how we were able to manage without these fundamental things that (so they tell us) are so necessary for a civilized society”.
Another example of a stolen nation.
There are many natives amongst us who continue to believe Indians and the Sinhale Nation were living in the stoneage and it was the British that ‘civilized’ us, unfortunately even academics and western inclined commentators take pains to promote this notion too.
In reality both Hindus and Buddhists are yet to get a hold on why it is important for them to realize how relevant the stolen past of both nations are to create a future that would be prepared for and challenge similar incursions that are taking place before us. It is only nations that know that they need to defend what is theirs that would come forward to defend their nation. All others would be ready to hand over the nation to foes for they have no inclination of the history behind the nation and the reasons why they are beholden to defend it.
Nevertheless, there is a very visible sense of nationalism pervading across India and Sri Lanka in the backdrop of the realization of the same conquests taking shape subtly camaflaged by political correctness, economic and development goals and Human Rights slogans.
If Hindu India wishes to maintain the Hindu ethos, Buddhist ethos of the Sinhale Nation likewise need to be maintained and it is nothing that can be objected to. Hindus are the majority in India while Sinhale Buddhists are the majority in Sri Lanka.
If Gandhi is faulted in not applying the logic that Pakistan divided for Muslims must equate to India for Hindus and not declared secular, this mistake looms and becomes relevant to the issues India today faces.
It is no different in Sri Lanka. History cannot shy from acknowledging that the Agreement between the British signed in 1815 was with the Sinhale Nation and not Ceylon. Article 5 promised to maintain Buddhism as State religion. These 2 single factors were ignored by the leaders handed independence and successive governments have ignored these two features which remains unaddressed. If in 1815 the British signed an agreement with the Sinhale Nation, independence should have been given to the Sinhale nation and Buddhism should have remained the State religion. These two grievances need to now be immediately addressed. Independence should not have shunned these two rights.
We do not require commentators to modify history to align to secular goals and meet the needs of the white-Christian British masters.
If India is the Hindu’s jammabhumiya, the Sinhale nation is the same for Buddhists. No minority can deny that under Hindus or Buddhists they have ever faced discrimination as Hindus and Buddhists would be treated if they ever would become in the minority. We have living examples of how Buddhists are treated in Sri Lanka wherever towns or cities find them in the minority, the same can be said of Hindus in India as well.
However, nationalist revival by Hindus or Buddhists is quickly branded as radicalism, fundamentalism by extremists and bigots. Abrahamic religion owned media are quick to do the rest by using every medium of media to denigrate both Hindus and Buddhists. Stories are quickly built up to tarnish the image globally.
If Anti-Hindu polity constitutes the greatest threat to Hindus and the Hindu nation it is not far from the truth for Sri Lanka. If Hindu India needs to be fired with strategic intent preserving the Hindu heritage the same has to be said of Sri Lanka’s Buddhist heritage.
The leadership handed to natives was after much moulding. Natives were taught to dress, think and behave as their colonial masters. Independence in reality was handed over to ‘one of their own’ and those that the colonials knew would pose a challenge were quickly deposed. That became the fate of Aung San of Burma and Patrice Lumumba of Congo. Thus, post-independence Constitutions of both India and Sri Lanka completely ignored the rights to return to the civilizational ethos and heritage that was stolen and return power to the people from whom the land and power were usurped. Much discussion goes to the rights and grievances of minorities but completely ignores the ground reality that it was the majority rights of the indigenous natives that were usurped and never returned.
Leaders of post-independence in both India and Sri Lanka have spent little time to counter anti-Hindu or anti-Buddhist forces. There are countless Hindu and Buddhist organizations but the political nature with which they function has diminished their credibility. Very little effort has been made to realize the need for concerted efforts to provide a systematic approach to native culture and heritage, instead a very cosmetic approach has been adopted. Those that argue against religion-based nationalism must realize that neither Hindus nor Buddhists have used the sword of religion against others. In fact minorities are the safest under the leadership of Buddhist leaders who have allowed minorities to continue their way of life. The same cannot be said of minorities and their treatment of the Buddhists.
That sets both Hindus and Buddhist religions apart from the Abrahamic religious-political framework of nations that invaded and took over the world and are continuing that ideology whilst attempting to subtly remove Hinduism and Buddhism from the people.
It is time for both India and Sri Lanka to ponder at who the greater enemy is. Of course the distrust factor pervades. Sri Lanka has every right to doubt India. India cannot escape the reality of training and aiding terrorism on Sri Lankan soil. That mistake cannot and should not be repeated. In believing Sri Lanka a threat or not desiring Sri Lanka to develop and by India creating the monster it did, India only ended up inviting the enemy to its shores. The NGOs that are funded by Western governments to undermine and make inroads to destabilize the 2 nations have succeeded far beyond what we care to acknowledge. Money has bought pitiful souls in both sides of the Palk Strait and created lascoreens and sepoys out of natives no different to the same lascoreens and sepoys that fought with the enemy against their own. History is repeating itself. India should not entrust its strategic thinking to non-Hindus and Sri Lanka should not entrust Sri Lanka’s strategic thinking to non-Buddhists. India in the hands of Hindus and Sri Lanka in the hands of Buddhists have the ingredients for peaceful co-existence than India or Sri Lanka being ruled by non-Hindus or non-Buddhists.
The question India needs to ask itself is should it continue to follow the strategy of subjugating Sri Lanka and treating Sri Lanka with disdain or should Hindus and Buddhists realize that they are not the enemy and that they have a greater enemy at large ideologically out to strangulate both nations and their majority?
It is the importance of understanding this at both strategic and political levels that can save Hindus and Buddhists from being vanquished. Hindus and Buddhists should not be allowed to be manipulated into hating and destroying each other because the lobby that does so have greater designs for both nations. Hindus and Buddhists now must think about protecting not only their own turf, their own heritage and history but refuse to turn Dharmic partners into their enemy because the common enemy is not each other.
Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process
A group of senior public figures from India visited Sri Lanka this week for the inaugural seminar of the Sri Lanka India Pragathi Sansadaya, initiated by Presidential Advisor Mr. Sunimal Fernando at the Foundation Institute on October 22nd. They addressed a media briefing held at the Peace Secretariat the following day.
The idea was to reflect on the future of the relationship between Sri Lanka and India. Two retired diplomats – former Foreign Secretary Ambassador K.P.S. Menon and former High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Ambassador N.N. Jha – and two intellectuals and senior members of the largest national political parties – Dr. Ravni Thakur, academic and Joint Secretary of the Foreign Affairs Cell of the All India Congress Central Committee and Dr. Seshadri Chari, economist and former Editor of the official journal of the Bharatiya Janata Party – participated.
Sri Lanka and India share many thousands of years of history. Culturally, religiously and economically, the two nations have so much in common and are probably closer than any other pair of countries in the world. The visitors all stressed the need to go forward and build on this to set an example of successful bilateral relations for the region and elsewhere. Following such a path was said to be the means of ensuring peace and prosperity for all. There was keen enthusiasm for deepening and expanding cooperation of all varieties, and particularly in the cultural, religious and economic spheres.
The visitors also spoke about the current situation. Indians are understandably worried for their brethren over here as the fighting intensifies in the Vanni, but Tamil Nadu politicians have recently gone beyond these quite reasonable concerns to push for some kind of intervention by the Indian government to stop the military campaign against the LTTE.
Ambassador Jha said that the Tamil Nadu parties were simply getting ready for the upcoming elections to the Lok Sabha, which are due within the next six months. And Ambassador Menon agreed that they were only acting to try and gain the political advantage in Tamil Nadu. Dr. Thakur and Dr. Chari both agreed that the move was opportunistic. All of the speakers felt that the situation was different to previous agitations on Sri Lanka. Ambassador Menon suggested that people weren’t responding in the way that the Tamil Nadu parties had expected. There had been no real outcry, he said.
People were beginning to understand the difference between hardships faced by civilians due to military action and atrocities committed by the security forces. Ambassador Jha felt that the Tamil Nadu parties were now looking for a way out. He drew attention to the fact that the AIDMK hadn’t taken up the issue, which he said it would have done, if that had been politically expedient. Dr. Thakur felt that the situation wasn’t particularly grave and noted that the politicians who had submitted their resignations had done so only to their party leaders.
Dr. Chari added that the DMK was already toning down its statements, having received only a lukewarm response from people in Tamil Nadu. Ambassador Jha reminded the audience that the Union government retains control of foreign affairs, so it is the position taken by Delhi that is important. Dr. Thakur and Dr. Chari stressed that the two largest national political parties in India were agreed on the approach to be taken with Sri Lanka. Dr. Thakur highlighted the statement made by the head of the Congress Party in Tamil Nadu, speaking out against those making propaganda for a terrorist group who assassinated one of their most important leaders. Dr. Chari confirmed that the message coming from Tamil Nadu was not by any means delivered on behalf of all parties there, for a number of the major Tamil Nadu parties and some of the national groups had boycotted the All Party Conference.
Dr. Chari emphasised the very broad and definite consensus in India against terrorism. The visitors also said that India was now completely decided on a policy of non-interference in the affairs of other countries including Sri Lanka. Ambassador Menon added that any encouragement they may like to give towards working out a political settlement would have to be completely unobtrusive in order not to give cause for arrangements to be labelled as pro- or anti-Indian. As he said, anything that happens behind the scenes rarely stays there. If India were to push for something, Ambassador Menon felt that it might only lead to greater difficulties in Sri Lanka. Ambassador Jha stressed that it was generally felt that President Mahinda Rajapaksa was already convinced of the need for a political settlement to resolve the grievances of the minority communities for good. The visitors referred as an example to President Mahinda Rajapaksa addressing the United Nations General Assembly in Tamil. Ambassador Jha described it as very brave and worthwhile. Ambassador Jha urged Sri Lankans to understand the problems faced by the Indian government. Coalition politics is there to stay, and partners cannot be ignored if they have genuine concerns. He suggested that getting through accurate information on the situation here would be useful in containing the pressures from Tamil Nadu.
The Secretary General of the Peace Secretariat Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha commented that the Sri Lankan government was now making a real effort to do this. He highlighted the fact that there had been only 45 civilian deaths in two and a half years of air strikes, excluding the Sencholai incident. The Air Force maintains that the girls who died there were cadres undergoing military training, and evidence from survivors appears to confirm this. Artillery shelling has also been very restrained, he said. There was only one incident in which civilians were killed during the entire campaign to liberate the East.
Since fighting intensified in the North, four months have seen only two allegations of shells hitting civilian locations. UNHCR has already dismissed one of these claims with respect to the Mullaitivu hospital. The Ministries of Disaster Management and Disaster Relief and Health and Nation Building and the Commissioner General of Essential Services have come together to brief the press regularly on the humanitarian assistance being delivered to the Vanni, and they are also working hard to communicate statistics to demonstrate the excellent record of the Security Forces. Prof. Wijesinha added that the LTTE was actually helping to clarify the situation by taking actions such as, a few days previously, when it launched suicide attacks on food ships travelling up to Jaffna. The LTTE have previously attacked the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission, denied access to the ICRC and hijacked a Jordanian ship carrying food destined for the North. The Government has got over all of these hurdles in time and it is now obvious who is putting them up again.
Prof. Wijesinha welcomed the suggestion from the Indian government that they contribute to the effort to send food into the Vanni. He said that it would be a very positive development that would show that neighbours were now determined to help each other.
All of the speakers were full of praise for the Sri Lanka India Pragathi Sansadaya. They said that it would provide a forum to discuss issues and map out a path for the two countries to expand and deepen their relationship in the years to come. Complementary strengths would thereby be used to greater effect. Dr. Chari highlighted Sri Lanka’s strategic position, while noting India’s size. Dr Thakur and Prof. Wijesinha spoke of the education sector, in which Sri Lanka is far ahead at lower levels but a long way behind at the very top. A number of specific proposals were advanced too. Ambassador Jha suggested that India help Sri Lanka improve the quality of its English teaching and Information Technology education, and mentioned a suggestion he had made while serving here to help set up institutions on the lines of the Indian Institutes of Technology and Management. Working together in publishing and the production of high quality school books was also discussed.
Communications Director of the Peace Secretariat Senaka Weeraratna called for the establishment of an Indian Studies Centre in Sri Lanka, and the visitors concurred that a Sri Lankan Studies Centre would be very useful in India too.
The Sri Lanka India Pragathi Sansadaya provided an opportunity for scholars from the two countries to get together and think beyond the current issues. Participants felt that it had a bright future.
Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process
Last Updated ( Thursday, 23 July 2009 )
Edited time: July 18, 2014 08:44
The crash of a Malaysian Airlines plane in eastern Ukraine must be investigated thoroughly and objectively, Russian President Putin said in a statement. The tragedy underlines the urgent need for a peaceful resolution of the armed conflict in Ukraine.
Putin’s statement came after he contacted Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte to express condolences over the deaths of his fellow citizens in the disaster.
The majority of the passengers of the ill-fated flight, which was apparently shot down over the war zone in eastern Ukraine on Thursday, were from the Netherlands.
Earlier the Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC), a Russia-based international body tasked with investigation of all civil aircraft incidents in most former Soviet republics, including Ukraine, called for the formation of an international investigative group under the aegis of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a UN body, to investigate the incident.
The IAC said such a group should be handed over MH17 flight recorders, which are currently being recovered in Ukraine’s Donetsk Region.
So far two flight recorders from the plane have been reportedly recovered in the region currently controlled by the militia forces. Some militia officials said they intended to hand them over to Moscow because they didn’t trust Kiev to properly investigate the incident.
The probe into the loss of the Boeing-777 is bound to be a politically loaded one. There was no official confirmation that the plane was shot down rather than crashed from a different cause, but the parties involved are already trading blame for the tragedy.
Both the Ukrainian military and the militias fighting against Kiev denied shooting at the plane and stated that they had no capability to take down an aircraft flying 10,000 meters high.
Some politicians and Western media are pointing fingers at Russia, alleging that it is responsible for the Malaysia Airlines plane’s loss. They claim Moscow could have provided a missile launcher, which the Ukrainian militia used to take down the plane.
Kiev in the past few days accused the Russian military of several direct attacks in its territory, including an airstrike, which militia reported as conducted by the Ukrainian military, and a downing of a Ukrainian military plane, which militia claimed was their doing. The Russian military called the accusations absurd.
Hours after the crash of the Boeing 777 was reported, Kiev published what it called intercepted communications between militia officers and their Russian handler to apparently discuss the take-down of a civilian aircraft by the militia. The militia labeled the recording an amateurish fake.”
Dr Ruwan M Jayatunge’s newest book Shell Shock to Palali Syndrome- PTSD Sri Lankan Experience” (Sarasavi Publications -Colombo Sri Lanka) is a welcome contribution not only to the PTSD literature but also addresses a current problem facing Sri Lanka. After more than three decades of a devastating ethnic war and the legacy of two Southern ultra left rebellions as well as facing the massive Asian Tsunami of 2004, Sri Lanka is reeling from the after-effects of trauma. The book clearly describes the development of the concept of Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), early historical antecedents in Sri Lanka and then outlines current management strategies and evidence based treatment options.
The author concludes insightfully that although war ended in 2009, the psychological repercussions of the war have not. This is evidenced by the psychological reverberations of the Eelam War in Sri Lankan society. Murders, suicides, rapes and child abuse have increased over the past few years. There is a palpable presence of alienation, mistrust and culture of silence prevailing in the post-war Sri Lankan society. (Uri Bergmann, Ph.D. Past-President – EMDR International Association)
Commenting on this book Prof. Ivan Urlić, M.D., Ph.D., Neuropsychiatrist, group analyst, Medical School, University of Split, Croatia states: Shell Shock to Palali Syndrome- PTSD Sri Lankan Experience is an impressive endeavor to put together all experiences from different dramatic and tragic situations in war impacted society. This book is for me the monumental example of sufferings all kinds of disasters were tormenting people, leaving heavy consequences on actual and future generations. This takes the description and elaboration of all sufferings onto highest priority of mental health policy of Sri Lanka. Comparing similar experiences from other countries, former Yugoslavia included, it can be seen that all sufferings are on common denominator of human condition. In that way we can be compassionate with other human beings regardless of their cultural characteristics. This is of outmost importance when we are planning and organising help for these psychologically traumatised people, and our experiences on a professional level become comparable. Shell Shock to Palali Syndrome is a very powerful book on human suffering, either caused by man-made or natural disasters, that were overwhelming Sri Lanka during last several decades. The long shadows of traumatic experiences should be recognised and treated, because time proved not to be a general healer, it fails to heal all wounds. Dr Ruwan Jayatunge and his colleagues and teams are drawing upon their experience, knowledge and newly gained wisdom in helping traumatised people to mourn losses and to open up the processes of transformation from hatred and violence to empathy.
Following are some of the additional comments made by scholars around the globe about Shell Shock to Palali Syndrome- PTSD Sri Lankan Experience
The author with his clinical experience in medicine and psychology has documented his thoughts about the subject in a simple and reader friendly manner.
Dr. Neil Fernando MBBS MD -Consultant Psychiatrist of the Sri Lanka Army
Drawing from the Author’s rich experiences in dealing with combatants with PTSD and other problems, as well as civilians caught in the war or after the tsunami, he gives us narrative accounts that bring the book to life.
Professor Daya Somasundaram -Clinical Associate Professor: University of Adelaide –Australia
Dr Ruwan M. Jayatunge has articulately analyzed the previous denial of PTSD in Sri Lanka
Prof. D.G. Harendra de Silva -Senior Professor of Paediatrics and Former (Founder) Chairman of the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) of Sri Lank
The author concludes insightfully that although war ended in 2009, the psychological repercussions of the war have not.
Dr. Uri Bergmann- Past-President – EMDR International Association
This book is an important contribution to the literature on stress related anxiety disorders as it is rooted in a cultural and historical landscape that has received virtually no attention within the academic literature.
Professor Richard N. Lalonde -York University Canada
KUDOS to Dr . Ruwan M Jayatunge for his astute clinical descriptions of the impact of combat. His cultural sensitivity of combatrelated trauma is a welcomed contribution.
Professor Donald Meichenbaum -Research Director of the Melissa Institute for Violence Prevention: Miami USA
In this fascinating book, Dr. Ruwan M. Jayatunge develops a caleidoscopic perspective which clearly shows that PTSD is not a western culture-bound syndrome
Professor Onno van der Hart - Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands
Dr. Ruwan M. Jayatunga persuasively describes the psychological wounds of war. His book is remarkable for its comprehensiveness and historical research. This is a significant contribution to the literature.
Professor Roger Brooke -Director, Military Psychological Services Duquesne University USA
By Dr Tilak Fernando
Continuation of Jinadasa Vijayatunga episode
…………..Jinadasa Vijayatunga became a neighbour of Lord Mountbatten when he lived at 12 Clivendon Place London…..
Book publishers had many a time disappointed this veteran journalist and poet by discarding his request to publish his 160,000 word novel AMAR. During my pow-wow with him, Vijayatunge discussed numerous encounters he experienced with his contemporaries such as Tagore, Gandhi, Sarojini Naidu, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, Dr. S. Bandaranaike, Krishna Menon, Sardar Patel, Dr. Ambedkar, Subas Chandra Bose, Dalai Lama, Indira Gandhi, Three Kings of Nepal, Chakravarthi Rajagopalachari and Lord Mount Batton et al, which was in his ‘East West Publication catalogue’. His personal and exceedingly interesting view of the turbulent period of Indian history was included in this ‘East West Publication catalogue’.
Mrs. Indira Gandhi authorised him to write her official Biography in 1985, but Rajiv Gandhi advised against it stating ‘it was too early’. A Sinhala magazine Kalpana once carried a pen portrait of Jinadasa Vijayatunga which the Prime Minister Ranasinghe Premadasa read and desired to meet with Vijayatunge in London.
0n July 19, 1987, Jinadasa Vijayatunga met with Mr. Premadasa at The Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington, in London. The Prime Minister being impressed with the journalist’s past track record presented a full range of Prime Minister’s novels to him as a mark of recognition.
|R. Premadasa presenting his novels to
Subsequently, Vijayatunga received a letter signed by K.H.J. Wijedasa, Secretary to the Prime Minister, referenced PM/2/27/1/6/K dated September 25, 1986 which read in part……. …… at the discussion you had with the Prime Minister in London you indicated to the Prime Minister your earnest desire to return to Sri Lanka and to serve the people of your country. The Hon. Prime Minister is of the opinion that your return to this country at the present time will be very beneficial when the country is in need of the wisdom of people well versed in Indo-Sri Lanka relations”.
Vijayatunge was elated to receive such a response at a time he was seriously contemplating on how to get back to his roots after all his accomplishments abroad. He immediately communicated with the Prime Minister’s office and indicated his eagerness to return to his motherland and emphasised on his poor financial status and wanted to know whether the Sri Lanka government could help him by sending a free airline ticket, provide transport from the airport on his arrival and exploring the possibility of a suitable abode to live in Sri Lanka. In making such a humble request, he made no bones about disclosing his poor financial status in London that he had no other income except a diminutive British Pension and a meagre supplementary benefit from the Department of Health and Social Security on a weekly basis which helped him to sustain a parsimonious living in London.
Jinadasa Vijayatunga became disenchanted at the lack of response to his requests even after the Prime Minister’s personal assurances to him. I listened to his sorrowful ‘Ancient Mariner’ type story how this great man who once hobnobbed with the noble, gracious and the righteous in the world had to be in such a pathetic state, at the age of 86 confined to a tiny flat in London, and leading a lonesome life.
Vijayatunga could not fathom as to why the Secretary to the Ministry of State had to reign silence abruptly. Perhaps my English would not have been good enough which might have led to a total misunderstanding”, he wondered! President J.R. Jayewardene is my friend, and I am sure he will help me to get back my ancestral property which the present owners will not sell to me at any price”, Vijayatunga was looking at all possibilities of returning to his roots.
Jinadasa Vijayatunga’s publications included Isle of Lanka, dedicated to Nehru, published by Longmans; Island Stories, with illustrations by Ivan Perera, an Oxford University Press publication; Mina at the Zoo, a book of essays; Grass for my feet; Ilangai Theevan (Ceylon) published in Madras, Yoga the way of self-fulfillment, Kha Juraho, brochures on the 13th Century Konark Sun Temple (also known as the Black Pagoda).
There I was seated once, face to face with an eminent Sri Lankan who had done a yeoman service to literature, and Buddhism and also as a delegate to the 2500th anniversary of the Buddha’s Parinirvana (death), submitted a paper titled the Contribution of Buddhism to art that was read at the Buddha Jayanthi with Jawaharlal Nehru in the Chair and Dalai Lama, Panchan Lama, Prince Shiano, Shianouk of Cambodia at the audience, all of whom he has had the opportunity to hobnob in the past. Vijayatunga had also written a book encompassing the Buddha’s life from Lumina to Kusinara where he expired and was cremated.
He felt very strongly about Buddhism and commented: Sri Lanka is the custodian of Buddhism but we Sri Lankans are not fulfilling that role! Being just Buddhists for the sake of being Buddhists and reciting in parrot form, Sadu! …. Sadu….!! Sadu….. ! is only very superficial”, said Vijayatunge.
Many letters personally written to him by eminent Sri Lankans and politicians over the years were exceptionally complimentary. Dudley Senanayake, on August 11, 1960, had written thus: No! I do not think people have forgotten what you had done for Ceylon. I am sure they appreciate it very much”. Sir John Kotelawala on 1.3.1952 wrote to him stating, I am surprised to hear that you are living in exile – A person so talented as you are will always be welcomed in Ceylon”.
Such statements had only added much insult to injury, if not the buckets of sympathy or appreciations Vijayatunga had heard, yet despite Sevana Funds and other facilities which were available at the time, there was a Sri Lankan who placed his mother country at the apex in the literal world map, for the first time, still awaiting anxiously to spend his last few years in his motherland, after personal assurances from the country’s Premier!
With such hopes and ambitions Jinadasa was 86 years old on January 26, 1968, yet he was still hopeful of two things, (1) that the Nobel Prize Committee would come and knock on his door at his humble flat in Haringey, North London (2) a delegate from Sri Lanka with an air ticket and freight vouchers will arrive at his doorstop!
This was the time I seized the opportunity to write a five column article about Jinadasa Vijayatunga to the Island newspaper highlighting all the relevant factors regarding this prominent Sri Lankan who met with Prime Minister R. Premadasa in London and the promises made to concede to his request to return to his roots and the manner in which responsible officials in Colombo were marking time or in a slumber, despite Prime Minister’s instructions, and also the fact how this feeble old Sri Lankan was cooped up in a tiny flat in London and purely dependent on a puny British pension supported by social security supplementary benefits.
Most probably this newspaper article managed to catch the eye of Mr. R. Premadasa once more. Suddenly like a bolt from the blue, and in double quick time, things started to roll at rocket speed in favour of Jinadasa Vijayatunga.
Finally, Jinadasa Vijayatunga returned home with his dream fulfilled, even at the final stage of his life, thanks to swift action of Mr. R. Premadasa; his requests for an air ticket to Colombo, accommodation and transporting of freight charges were all borne by the Sri Lanka government.
On the day he landed at the Bandaranaike International airport he kissed the mother earth with such enthusiasm and was looking forward to a relaxed and a more comfortable time and to complete all his unfinished work in Sri Lanka. However, providence allowed him to enjoy that freedom only for three weeks upon his arrival when he had to bid adieu to all his admirers.
Jinadasa Vijayatunge very much looked forward to completing his unfinished works in Sri Lanka especially the authorised biography of Indira Gandhi and his own memoirs. At the time of his demise an unpublished draft of Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru remained on his typewriter.
The writer was exceedingly pleased to have met with this extraordinary Sri Lankan, and particularly having had the opportunity to highlight his powerless plight at a time the responsible authorities in Sri Lanka appeared to be lackadaisical in executing the orders of the Prime Minister, R. Premadasa, to help Jinadasa Vijayatunge return to his roots as per his last wish.
Sheffield Sri lankans – Mr.Lal & Organizing Team
With the view of making the current generation aware of the significance of Poson, Sri Lankans living in and around Sheffield celebrated this event on 5th July 2014 for the third year running. The event that was held at the picturesque Sheffield Buddhist Centre was attended by the Ven. Pidiwille Piyatissa Nayaka Thero and GalpoththayayePemanada Thero of Kethumathi Buddhist Temple in Manchester along with visiting monks Ven. Halmillewe Saddhatissa from Anuradhapura and Ven. Galpoththayaye Seevali.
Everyone who attended from most northern cities of England and even some from London, enjoyed the peaceful, serene environment of Sheffield Buddhist Centre. The main hall was decorated by lanterns constructed by the younger generation. Layan Wijekoon, Sumal Keshawa, Prince Kevin, Seuwandi, Mangalika and others were seen rushing to prepare the main hall with lanterns and erecting the reconstructions by the artistic Sri Lankan students of the Sheffield Universities. These were the scenes of Ambasthale with breath taking figures of Arahath Mahinda, King Devanampiyatissa, the deer, the Ambasthala rock, the mango fauna etc.
The proceeding started with Buddha Pooja, and alms giving to the monks prepared by Shatha Liyanage, and Mangalika with delicacies prepared also by @charith abhayaratne. Many others too provided dishes for the alms. At the onset there were also refreshments for the congregation. Then followed the main sermon by the visiting Ven. Halmillewe Saddhatissa from Anuradhapura who preached on the significance of Poson and the importance of Buddhist philosophy.
Young Shehan and Senuri Tiththagala expertly enacted the Poson seen at Ambasthale. The Bhakthi Gee which followed started with a performance by the very young children viz. Jayani Wijekoon, Hesadu Devasundara, Hashini Liyanage and Sandali Rodrigo. The efforts of their parents in motivating & assisting these children are highly commendable which will contribute for the preservation of the Sri Lankan culture for future generations.
Then followed the premier performance of two new songs one Peradina Wesange” by Madree Peramunugama a student from Musaeus College Colombo and Sadaham Sisilen” by Buddhi Mahipala a student at The University of Cranfield. There was also the song Wieetha Ragi” by Layan Asiri Bandara Wijekoon which had its premiere at our festival last year. The musical director was Layan Asiri Bandara Wijekoon and Sumal Keshawa assisted as his right hand. James Jayawardena also provided guidance, assistance and some equipment. The main choir consisted of Panini Rodrigo, Shantha Liyanage, Nidarsha Wijekoon, Shiromi Aponso, Sumal Keshawa, Mangalika Jayawardena, Seuwandi from Leeds and Duleepa Jayasundara, Dushmantha Hennayaka, Mithila and Kumuduni from Stoke-On-Trent. The congregation joined in the singing with the lyrics in the excellently produced brochure.
The minister of Consular Affairs and Immigration of the Sri Lanka High Commission of London, Mr. Sepala Rathnayake addressed the congregation stressing the importance of this sort of function to maintain and propagate the Sri Lankan and Buddhist culture and traditions among citizens living abroad. The Sheffield City Councillor Sarah Jane Smalley in her address commented on how much she enjoyed this event and expressed her pleasure to see these events being organised in Sheffield.
The vote of thanks was by Thavidu Liayanage. The commendations should also be extended to Jayawan Wijekoon and Thushara Dewasundara who undertook and did the photography and video of the entire event with quiet efficiency.
The event concluded with Dansala to which many contributed with their delicacies. Everybody thoroughly enjoyed the vegetarian Sri Lankan cuisine. These delicacies in a land far away from home were expertly prepared and kindly contributed by so many including Ranga Thenuwara, Panini & Shiroma Rodrigo, Jayathi Silva, Gayathri, Seuwandi, Kumuditha, Udaya, Karvindi & Sampath, Thiruni & Hasitha, Mahesh, Ayomi & Rakitha, Achini , Dinesh, Minosha, Kasun, Lali & Upali, Mangalika and others. The excellent Dansala overseen by Thiruni, Kavindi, Kasun Uduporuwa & Isura Herath was a success and turned out to be a leisurely networking event.
Thanks must also go to the many that joined hands to clean and tidy up the venue. The guidance received from Lal and Mangalika Jayawardena in organising this event is much appreciated and it is that everybody’s wish that events such as these can be organised in the future which as per the current trend will become more and more popular and successful.
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 11th July, 2014, at ‘BaithulFuthuh’, London, U.K. gave a discourse on Ramadhan and the Holy Quran; The source of guidance and salvation.
Ahmadiyya supreme Head (Khalifa) started by reciting the following Quranic verse:
‘The month of Ramadan is that in which the Qur’an was sent down as a guidance for mankind with clear proofs of guidance and discrimination. Therefore, whosoever of you is present at home in this month, let him fast therein. But whoso is sick or is on a journey, shall fast the same number of other days. Allah desires to give you facility and He desires not hardship for you, and that you may complete the number, and that you may exalt Allah for His having guided you and that you may be grateful.’(2:186)
His Holiness said: Allah the Exalted has explained to us in the Holy Qur’an the significance and status of the Holy Qur’an, the need to put it in practice, how to put it in practice, for whom is the Qur’an a life-giving source, what effects it has on human life and many other countless matters. This is so that not only we may put this great law-bearing Book in practice to facilitate our spiritual, religious and moral development, but also our worldly progress. In the verse that I have just recited, the blessings of the month of Ramadan have been linked to the Holy Qur’an and thus a connection has been established. By connecting Ramadan to the Holy Qur’an the significance of Ramadan has been further highlighted.
The statement; ‘The month of Ramadan is that in which the Qur’an was sent down…’ informs us that this last law-bearing and perfect Book is connected to Ramadan. A person wishing to progress in faith, who wishes to disseminate this last and complete Book and Law in the world and for the world to know it, who wishes to try and take himself back to the time of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) to gain nearness of Allah the Exalted and hear the sound of: ‘…I am near…’(2:187), should pay the dues of Ramadan and the Holy Qur’an and understand their mutual connection. These distances which seem very far-off in other days and months are gathered close-by in this month. Thus, a true believer should try and derive as much beneficence from this month as possible.
Commentators have written that there is such great significance of fasting in Ramadan described in this verse or the significance is in part of the verse that the Holy Qur’an has cited special commandments about it. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) has also said that ‘The month of Ramadan is that in which the Qur’an was sent down…’ is a phrase which informs of the magnitude of Ramadan. He also said that due to this magnitude, the reward of fasting is also very high and great. However, this is for those who also pay the dues of the correlation between fasting and the Holy Qur’an and those dues are to read the Holy Qur’an while fasting, to reflect over it, to listen to or read its commentaries. As far as I know and I have assessed that there are many even among us, quite a substantial number, who do not try to pay the dues of the Holy Qur’an even during Ramadan. They do not read it properly, meaning they do not read it as it should be read with due care and attention. If the read it, they read a little and nonchalantly. Anyway attention needs to be paid to this.
One meaning of: ‘The month of Ramadan is that in which the Qur’an was sent down…’ is that the revelation of the Holy Qur’an started in this month. Hazrat ‘Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) has related that each year in Ramadan Jibraeel used to revise with the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) however much Qur’an had been revealed until then and in the year of his passing away, the Qur’an was revised twice. Thus the blessed model of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him), owing to the distinct will of Allah the Exalted, draws our attention to at least try and finish one reading of the Holy Qur’an during Ramadan and as I said earlier, also reflect over it. Then alone will we be able to practice the words of Allah the Exalted that it is: ‘…a guidance for mankind…’. If we ponder over it, read it and understand that it is ‘a guidance’ for people. It is ‘a guidance’ for those people who wish to seek guidance from it and indeed guidance cannot be sought without reading and understanding.
Thus, reading it and understanding it is important because Allah the Exalted states that this guidance comes with reasoning and has not been simply given to be read, rather, each set of guidance has been given with reasoning. It should be read, understood and put in practice because something which is understood by means of reasoning is practiced from the depth of heart, in the true sense and while understanding the spirit behind the guidance. The reasoning of course is given with clear proofs. This facilitates taking this guidance to others and to explain it to them and thus the commandment of Jihad of Tabligh through the Holy Qur’an is fulfilled. [The verse] also declares that it contains ‘discrimination’; solid reasoning with clear proofs which distinguish between true and false. A person who practices upon the Holy Qur’an appears different from the rest; indeed whoever practices the teaching of the Holy Qur’an will appear different from the rest. His practice, his spiritual condition and his faith will be of a distinctly higher level than others.
When we discuss the Holy Qur’an with others and use its reasoning, no other book or religion can stand up to the Holy Qur’an. This is because it contains such teachings and such historic facts and such reasoning compared to other faiths that they prove its superiority as clear as day. The Holy Qur’an declares that it is from God Almighty from the start till the end and is safeguarded in its original form; indeed the Holy Qur’an announces that it will be safeguarded forever. Allah the Exalted states that during the month of Ramadan, along with fasting, which is a spiritual endeavour, also try and read and understand this treasure of knowledge and discernment. Make its teachings a part of your life and reflect over its commandments and implement them in your life. Repeat and remind yourself of [any] forgotten parts of it, ruminate its blessings during this month and self-reflect to see as to how much you practice the Holy Qur’an. This is what Allah the Exalted states to us because this is what adorns our life and our ending.
The Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad – The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) explains ‘…a guidance for mankind with clear proofs of guidance and discrimination…’:
‘This means that: The Holy Qur’an has three qualities. First, it guides people to the knowledge of the faith that had disappeared. Secondly, it sets forth the details of such knowledge as had been briefly stated. Thirdly, it sets forth the decisive word concerning matters over which differences had arisen and thus distinguishes between truth and falsehood.’ (Brahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 1, pp. 223-227, footnote 11 – Essence of Islam, Vol. 1, p. 482)
This it is a comprehensive and complete Book which is matchless and in which everything has been stated completely. It points out the errors of the earlier faiths and makes up for their deficiencies. It is a favour of Allah the Exalted that He has given us birth in this age and has also enabled us to accept the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). By thus enabling us, He also facilitated us to understand the significance and knowledge of the Holy Qur’an through him. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) presented the treasures of the knowledge and discernment of the Holy Qur’an to us. True insight in this is gained by reading his books, indeed, it can be gained by reading them. Anyhow, right now I will present a few extracts of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) about the Holy Qur’an which elucidate the significance and status of the Holy Qur’an. They also draw our attention to our responsibilities in this regard so that we may keep these matters in view to read the Holy Qur’an, to teach it to others and to put it in practice. I have only explained part of the verse that I recited earlier. I shall now present some extracts of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace).
He says: ‘The expression Khatam-un-Nabiyyin which has been applied to the Holy Prophet [peace and blessings of Allah be on him] demands that the Book that was revealed to him, should be the most perfect of all books and should comprise all excellences; and indeed so it is. The rule is that whatever degree of spiritual power and inner perfection is possessed by the person upon whom the word of God descends, the same degree of power and majesty is possessed by that word. As the spiritual power and inner perfection of the Holy Prophet [peace and blessings of Allah be on him] were of the highest degree, which no one exceeded or will exceed, therefore the Holy Qur’an occupies that high station and rank which has not been reached by any of the previous books or scriptures. The capacity and spiritual power of the Holy Prophet [peace and blessings of Allah be on him] were the highest of all, and all excellences had reached their climax in him.
Therefore, the Holy Qur’an that was revealed to him is also perfect and as the excellences of Prophethood reached their climax in him, the excellences of the miracle of the word reached their climax in the Holy Qur’an. Thus he was the Khatam-un-Nabiyyin and his Book was the Khatam-ul-Kutub. >From the point of view of every aspect of a miraculous word, the Holy Qur’an is at the highest stage. The perfection of the Holy Qur’an is seen and its miraculous character is proved from every point of view, that is to say, from the points of view of excellence of composition, of the sequence of its subjects, of its teaching and its perfection and of the fruits of its teaching. That is why the Holy Qur’an has not demanded its match from any particular point of view, but has issued a general challenge demanding a match from any point of view. From whichever point of view it is looked at, it is a miracle. (Malfuzat, Vol. III, pp. 36-37 – Essence of Islam, Vol. I, p 356- 357)
Explaining the significance of the Holy Qur’an and drawing our attention to it the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) says: ‘If we did not have the Holy Qur’an and only had collections of Ahadith as eminent sources of faith we would have been embarrassed to face other people. I have reflected over the word Qur’an and it was disclosed to me that this blessed word contains a great prophecy which is that this alone is the Qur’an, that is, a book worthy of reading. A time will come when more than ever it alone will be the Book worthy of reading when other books will also be read along with it. At that time this alone will be the Book worthy of reading in order to protect the honour of Islam and to eradicate falseness and other books would certainly be worthy of being discarded. This is what ‘Furqan’ means: that is, this Book alone will distinguish between truth and falseness and no book of Hadith or any other book will be of the status. Therefore leave all the books and only read Book of Allah night and day. Extremely faithless is the person who does not show regard to the Holy Qur’an and is inclined to other books all the time. Our Jama’at should try and be occupied with the Holy Qur’an and ponder over it wholeheartedly and give up being inclined to Ahadith. It is of great regret that the Holy Qur’an is not deliberated over as Ahadith are! Take the weapon of the Holy Qur’an in hand to triumph at this hour. No darkness will be able to withstand this light!’ (Malfuzat, Vol. I, p. 386)
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) once said the following about sources of reformation:
‘How can change and reformation be brought about? The answer is with Salat alone, which is real Prayer. Reflect over the Holy Qur’an for it contains everything; detail of virtues and vices and news of times to come.’
The foremost thing is to be drawn to Salat, especially these days attention should be given to congregational Salat, special arrangements should be made. As the Holy Qur’an is connected to Ramadan, if habit is formed during these days to read it, reflect over it and practice its teachings in our lives, it will avail in future.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said:
‘Know very well that it presents the religion on which no objection can be raised because its blessings and its fruits can be found afresh. Religion was not perfectly presented in the Gospel. Its teaching may have been suitable for that time, but it is not suitable for all times and all situations. It is the distinction of the Holy Qur’an alone that Allah the Exalted has given the antidote of every ailment in it and has explained the training of all faculties. Removal of any evil that is mentioned is also given. Therefore, continue to recite the Holy Qur’an and continue to pray and try and keep your conduct in line with its teaching.’
The third Khalifa of Ahmadiyya Community Hazrat Mirza Nasir Ahmad (may Allah have mercy on him) used to say that a Pakistani minister went on a tour of China in the days of Mao Tse-tung. He asked Mao why he brought about a revolution in his nation. Mao replied why do you ask me, go and observe the model of your Prophet and read your Qur’an and practice it and you will find everything! Thus even others who have understanding, whether they accept it or not, see a light in the Holy Qur’an.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) wrote about the revolutionary change brought about by practicing Quranic teaching and its miracles:
‘The second miracle of the Holy Quran, which we can perceive and witness in our own time, is the marvellous transformation of the Companions of the Holy Prophetsa, through their submission to the Holy Quran and under the influence of the Holy Prophet’ssa companionship. When we look at the kind of people they were and how they behaved before they accepted Islam, and how they were transformed by the company of the Holy Prophetsa and by submission to the Holy Quran, and how, in respect of their morals, their beliefs, their behaviour, their demeanour, their conduct, and all their practices, they rid themselves of their evil condition and entered into a pure and immaculate state; and when we look at the wonderful influence which brought a strange light and radiance to their rusty beings, we have to concede that this change was indeed miraculous and it was brought about specially by the Hand of God…’ (Three Questions by a Christian, p. 33)
The Promised Messiah had explained the reasons behind this earlier on as keeping company of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) and practicing the teachings of the Holy Qur’an.
He also said:
‘It is evident to every fair-minded person how much the very same ignorant, wild, vain and wicked-natured people changed after coming into Islam and accepting the Qur’an. This was because of the effects of the Word of God and the company of the pure Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) which instantly so transformed their hearts in a very short time that after ignorance they were endowed with religious knowledge and discernment. Forsaking love of the world, they were so absorbed in Divine love that they willingly abandoned their homelands, wealth, dear ones, honour and creature comforts to attain the pleasure of Allah the Exalted. Both these phases of their earlier life and new life which they attained after Islam are so clearly recorded in the Holy Qur’an that a pious person is spontaneously moved to tears when reading them. What was it that so rapidly attracted them from one world to another world! There were only two reasons; one was that the pure Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) was tremendously effective in his power of holiness, the like of which there never was and there never will be! Secondly, it was the tremendous and wondrous effects of the pure Word of the Omnipotent, the Living, the Self-Subsisting and All-Sustaining God. They brought a large number of people out of immense darkness into light. Without doubt the Quranic effects are extraordinary because no one can give an example in the world of another book having such effect! Who can give proof that another book brought about as amazing a change and reformation as the Holy Qur’an did!…It is the experience of hundreds of thousands of holy people that after following the Holy Qur’an Divine blessings descend on heart and one develops an amazing graft with Noble Lord. Light and revelation of God Almighty are revealed to their hearts and they are granted a strong sense of trust in God as soon as they utter words and points of knowledge. They are given resolute sense of belief and a delicious love of God, borne of the pleasure of union, is placed in their hearts. If their beings were to be pounded in severe misfortunes and were wrung through tough clamps, their sap extracted would be nothing but Divine love.’ (Surma Chashm Ariya, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 2, pp. 77-79)
No matter how much they are ground down, as one grinds in a grinder, or are wrung through tough clamps, if ever there was a device to obtain human sap, what would be the final outcome of people who ponder over the teaching of the Holy Qur’an and who adore the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him)? Only the sap of Divine love would be extracted out and nothing else.
‘The world is unaware of them and they are very distant and higher than worldliness. God’s treatment of them is extraordinary and God’s existence is proved to them. It is disclosed to them that there is One Who listens when they pray. Who responds when they call out and when they seek refuge He runs to them. His love for them is greater than fathers’ love and He showers blessings on their abodes. They can thus be identified through God’s apparent, hidden and spiritual help and succour. He helps them in every field because they are His and He is theirs. These matters are not without proof.’ (Surma Chashm Ariya, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 2, p. 79)
The secret of success today remains to practice teachings of the Holy Qur’an; merely accepting it is not sufficient. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) says:
‘The reality is that as long as Muslims are not fully observant and adherent of what Allah the Exalted has taught in the Holy Qur’an they cannot attain any kind of success. The further they go from the Holy Qur’an the further they become from degrees and paths of success. Practicing the Holy Qur’an alone is the source of progress and guidance.’
He advised his Jama’at, as I just read:
‘Be alert all the time and do not take a single step contrary to Divine teaching and the guidance of the Qur’an. I tell you truly that anyone who evades the least one of the 700 commandments of the Qur’an, shuts upon himself the door of salvation. The ways of true and perfect salvation have been opened by the Qur’an and all the rest is its reflection. Therefore, study the Qur’an with care and hold it very dear with a love that you have not for anything else. As God has said to me: ‘All good is contained in the Qur’an’. This is wholly true. Those people are to be pitied who prefer anything else to it. The fountainhead of all your prosperity and salvation is the Holy Qur’an. There is no religious need of yours which is not filled by the Qur’an. On the Day of Judgement, the Qur’an will confirm or deny your faith’. It alone will corroborate or deny the state of one’s faith.
‘There is no other book under heaven beside the Qur’an which can furnish you with salvation. God has been very Beneficent towards you that He has bestowed a Book like the Qur’an upon you. I tell you truly that if the Book that is recited to you had been recited to the Christians, they would not have perished. If this bounty of guidance which has been bestowed upon you had been bestowed upon the Jews in place of the Torah, some of their sects would not have denied the Day of Judgement. Then value this favour that has been bestowed upon you. It is a very dear favour; it is great wealth. If the Qur’an had not been revealed the whole world would have been left like a dirty lump of flesh. The Qur’an is the Book in contrast with which all other guidance amounts to nothing. (Kashti Nuh, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 19, pp. 26-27 – Essence of Islam, Vol. 1 pp. 400-401)
Stating its significance, the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said:
‘The Holy Qur’an is a pure Book which came in the world at a time when immense disorder had spread and many wrong creeds and erroneous practices had become customary and almost all people were embroiled in immoral practices and creeds. Allah the Exalted indicates to this in the Holy Qur’an: ‘Corruption has appeared on land and sea…’ (30:42) That is, all people, be it people of the Book or be it others, all of them were embroiled in immoral creeds and great disorder was perpetrated in the world. Thus, Allah the Exalted sent a perfect Book like the Holy Qur’an for guidance and to refute all false creeds. It has the refutation of all false religions especially in Surah Al Fatihah, which is read five times a day in every unit of every Salat, complete guidance is indicated.’
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said:
‘The promises of success which God Almighty gave by the Glory of His Divinity in opposition to all opponents, all enemies, all deniers, all the wealthy, all powerful rulers, all philosophers, all followers of other religions, to that humble, weak, poor, unlearned, untrained one, and which were fulfilled at their time and continue to be fulfilled, could not be the work of any human being, nor can any honest seeker after truth have any doubt concerning them.’ (Brahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 1 pp. 266-267, footnote 11 – Essence of Islam, Vol, 1, p. 283)
Someone asked a question about how the Holy Qur’an should be recited and the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) answered:
‘The Holy Qur’an should be read carefully and should be reflected on. Hadith relates that there are many reciters of the Holy Qur’an who are cursed by the Holy Qur’an. A person who reads the Qur’an but does not practice it is cursed by the Holy Qur’an. When reciting the Holy Qur’an one comes to a verse about blessing, blessing should sought from God Almighty and when chastisement of a people is mentioned, refuge should be sought from God Almighty from God Almighty’s chastisement. The Qur’an should be read with due care and attention and it should be practiced on.’ (Malfuzat, Vol. 5, p. 157)
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) explains how to fulfil the object of recitation of the Holy Qur’an:
‘People read the Holy Qur’an in a parrot-like fashion without understanding it, just like the rapid chanting of a pundit who neither understands what he is saying nor do the listeners. Similarly the recitation of the Holy Qur’an has been reduced to simply reading a couple of Parts without understanding what has been read. At the very most it is read melodiously and letters of ع (ain) and ق (qaf) are pronounced properly. It is good to read the Holy Qur’an in a fine and melodious manner.’
Hadith (sayings of Prophet of Islam) also relate that it should be recited well.
‘However, the true objective of recitation of the Holy Qur’an is to be informed of its truths and knowledge so that man can bring about a change in him! Remember that the Holy Qur’an has an amazing philosophy in it. There is a system to it which is not valued. Unless the system of the Holy Qur’an and its sequence is not kept in view and it is not fully reflected over, the objectives of its recitation are not fulfilled.’
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that recitation of the Word of God creates Divine love:
‘The root of worship is in recitation of the Holy Qur’an because if the words of the Beloved are read or listened to, they certainly stir love in a true lover and exhilarate ardour.’ (Surma Chashm Ariya, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 2, p. 283)
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that the Holy Qur’an has the antidote to harshness of hearts:
‘Man should read the Holy Qur’an abundantly and when reading it he comes across a prayer, he should also pray and seek the same from God which is sought in the prayer. If he comes across citation of chastisement, he should seek refuge from it and should avoid those bad practices owing to which the people [in the citation] were ruined. If there is harshness in heart, the way to soften is to repeatedly read the Holy Qur’an. Wherever prayer is cited, a believer also wants to experience the same blessing. The Holy Qur’an can be likened to a garden. Man picks a certain kind of flower from one place and further ahead picks another kind of flower. He should garner benefit according to the situation.’
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that there is no need for any other revealed book after the Holy Qur’an which is a perfect and complete Book:
‘The Holy Qur’an was revealed at a time when all possible needs had become apparent and all moral and doctrinal and verbal matters and human conduct had been corrupted, and all kinds of excesses and vices had reached their limit. Therefore, the teaching of the Holy Qur’an was all comprehensive. It is in this sense that the law revealed in the Qur’an is perfect and final, and previous revealed laws are incomplete, as the evils for the reform of which previous revealed Books had come, had not arrived at their climax, but at the time of the revelation of the Holy Qur’an they had reached their maximum. Now the distinction between the Holy Qur’an and other revealed Books is that even if those Books had been safeguarded in every way, their teaching being incomplete, a perfect teaching, that is to say, the Holy Qur’an would have been needed to be revealed; but no other Book is needed after the Holy Qur’an as there can be nothing beyond perfection.
If it was to be supposed that the true principles of the Holy Qur’an would be perverted like the Vedas and the Bible and associates would be set up with God Almighty, and the teaching of the Unity of God would be altered and perverted, and that the millions of Muslims who are established on the Unity of God would fall into shirk and worship of creatures, then in such case another law would have to be revealed and another Messenger would arrive, but all this supposition is out of the question. The perversion of the teaching of the Holy Qur’an is not possible…’ (Brahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 1, pp. 101-102, footnote 9 – Essence of Islam, Vol. 1, p. 478)
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said:
‘Remember, the Holy Qur’an is the fountainhead of true blessings and is a true source of salvation. Those who do not practice the Holy Qur’an are themselves to be blamed. Among those who not practice it, one group is of those who not believe in it and they do not consider it to be Word of God Almighty. These people are very distant and remote. However, how astonishing and regrettable it is when those who believe that it is the Word of God and is a healing formula for salvation also do not practice it. Many among these have not even read it in their entire lives. The example of such people who are so negligent and careless about Word of God is like a person who knows of a clear, sweet and cool water spring with water that is elixir and healing for many illnesses and he has this knowledge for certain. Yet, in spite of knowing this and in spite of being thirsty and suffering from many ailments he does not go to it. How unfortunate and ignorant of him! He should have put his mouth on the spring and satiated himself and derived pleasure from its delicious and healing water. However, in spite of having knowledge, he is as distant from it as someone who has no knowledge of it and he remains distant from it until death overtakes him. The condition of this person is most cautionary. The state of Muslims is also similar these days. They know that the Holy Qur’an is the key to all advancement and all success which they should practice. But, no! it is not at all cared about. A person who calls to it with great compassion and good intent and not only sympathetically but also owing to the commandment of God Almighty is labelled a liar and Dajjal. How more pitiable can the condition of these people get!
Muslims should have had, and it is also necessary for them now, to consider this water spring a magnificent blessing and value it. Valuing it is in practicing it and then observe how God Almighty alleviates their problems and troubles. If only Muslims would understand and think that Allah the Exalted has created a pious way for them to avail by treading on it.’ (Malfuzat, Vol. 4, pp. 140-141)
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said:
‘It is true that most Muslims have abandoned the Holy Qur’an yet the lights and blessings of the Holy Qur’an and its effect are ever living and fresh. I have been sent at this time as a proof of this and Allah the Exalted has always sent His people to corroborate and support it because He had promised: ‘Verily, We Ourselves have sent down this Exhortation, and most surely We will be its Guardian.’ (15:10) The promise to safeguard the Qur’an by Allah the Exalted was not made for Torah or any other book. Therefore human interpolation worked its way in these books. It is a great source of safeguard of the holy Qur’an that proof of its effects is also found afresh. Since the Jews abandoned the Torah, they do not have any strength or effect remaining which indicates their ruination.’
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) advises with great compassion:
‘Do not abandon the Holy Qur’an like something forsaken for therein is your life. Those who will honour the Holy Qur’an will be honoured in the heavens and those who will give precedence to the Holy Qur’an over every Hadith and every other discourse will be given precedence in the heavens. There is no other book on the face of the earth for mankind but the Holy Qur’an and for the entire human race there is no other Prophet and intercessor but the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him).’ (Kashti Nuh, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 19, p. 13)
These few extracts have been read to draw attention to the significance of the Holy Qur’an and to its recitation so that each one of us is drawn to it and we derive beneficence from this significant treasure in the month of Ramadan. As it was said in the beginning, read it and ponder over it and the parts that you have forgotten, some people forget verses they had memorised, repeat them and memorise them once again. Try and practice the commandments which have not been in your view. May Allah the Exalted enable all of us to do so!
Sayeed Gafurov Pravda.Ru
Radical Islamism has evolved into a qualitatively different organization – a very effectively controlled, well-organized and funded, with superbly trained fighters. That efficiency, with which it was possible to train, equip and send thousands of fighters from Syria to Iraq, can not but strike one’s imagination.
NATO wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria have not destroyed the most ugly form of political Islam. Quite on the contrary – they increased its radicalism. Victories have attracted more fighters, giving terrorists an opportunity to receive combat experience, which is now successfully used in Iraq. Successes in Libya, the legalization of subsidiaries in Qatar, Turkey and Egypt during Morsi’s presidency facilitated the logistical work for militants.
To protect themselves, oil monarchies, owners of drug cartels and masters of life in the countries such as Pakistan are forced to buy off from terrorists, giving them extra resources and reducing the dependence of radical political Islam on financial sources.
It is important to understand that when they talk about the “Islamic threat,” it goes about a threat to Islam, rather than a threat posed by Islam. It would be wrong, as it sometimes happens in the North Caucasus and in Russia on the whole, to call all Islamic radicals Wahhabis or Salafis. Apart from Wahhabis, there are other radical movements that can often be hostile to Wahhabism, but no less dangerous. The concept of “radical Islam” or “Islamic radicalism” combines different forces, including mutually exclusive ones.
Egypt and Russia
The situation is changing, and we can say that political Islam has split already. The struggle has started between the supporters of the relatively “moderate” line that is historically connected with Muslim Brotherhood movement that eyes Islamic political adventurers from Qatar, and the most dismal, once a pro-Saudi force, or, better to say, pseudo-Islamists from of Al-Qaeda and the Islamic army of the Levant, which the authorities in Riyadh can no longer manage. Traditionally, the basic method of puppeteers from Riyadh was money, but money can be found in other places.
There is a misconception that Gulf monarchies share a unity of positions, that Qatar, Saudi Arabia and other emirates are very close in their relationshops. This is not completely true. There are many things that connect them, but they have very serious differences too. Recently, militants close to Qatar-funded Muslim Brotherhood, entered into a bloody shootout with Saudi security officials and border guards. Monarchies hold political trials of opponents on political Islam – this is taken to discussions on the level of foreign ministers of the Cooperation Council of the Gulf States.
In Egypt, it was clearly evident, when the military toppled President Morsi, a protégé of Muslim Brotherhood. Pro-Wahhabi forces, funded by the Saudis, supported the coup. Riyadh supported the rise of Marshal al-Sisi to power, while Doha strongly objected to that. As a result, coordination has been replaced with fierce competition for influence on radical Muslim forces.
Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia is an ugly form of Islam. The Wahhabis believe that salvation on the Judgment Day depends on faith, not only on good or evil deeds. According to them, Christians are doomed to hell, and one should make Christians convert to Islam. If it is not possible, then one should destroy them. At the same time, the rest of Islam (including Muslim Brotherhood) is convinced that Christians also have chances to survive, depending on their deeds.
The split of political Islam in Russia was obvious in Chechnya, when Mufti Akhmad-Hadji Kadyrov realized the malignancy of separatism and decided to support the line of appeasement. No money from the Persian Gulf could influence the choice of the Chechen people. The only thing that separatists managed to do was to blow up the stadium with the Chechen mufti, but politically it was a gesture of despair. The people of Chechnya started reviving the war-ravaged republic. What is very important, and what many people in Russia do not understand is that the Chechen experience was an important lesson for the entire Muslim world in its confrontation to the radical pseudo-Islam of Wahhabi Muslim brothers.
Making a return to ugly religious values of the past is a social, rather than a religious phenomenon. Very often, the people, who lead extreme traditionalists behind them, are individuals, who received education in natural sciences, engineering or, for example, medical education. The head of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, for instance, is a certified surgeon.
During the whole 19th and a half of the 20th century, Islam was trying to adapt itself to Western values. Eventually, many were convinced that “orientation – the West” has not made the people, who hoped so much for the triumph of justice, happy. Western values, knowledge and science do not make people happy. The only exception is, perhaps, chemistry – it makes drug addicts happy. Westerners encouraged the use of drugs; even Opium Wars were unleashed. The growth of income of conventional oil monarchies gave an additional impetus to political Islam.
Theorists of radical Islam believe that European knowledge is just a weapon, a tool that can be used against the Western world now, when social factors contribute to the incessant influx of fighters and suicide bombers, whom special services can not handle well. As we have seen in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, armies can not do it either.
In a weak country, where there is no industry and jobs, the only way to survive is military or public service, subsistence farming, immigration or crime. Revolution and civil war is also an option.
All people hate wars. A common Muslim rebel does not want to kill, but if you pay him $100 for the head of a killed officer, public official, a U.S. citizen, etc. it would mean that the killer would be able to feed his family for a month in advance. He kills to survive, because he gets paid for it.
This murder business needs higher arguments. In the Noble Quran, one can find an excuse to literally everything – from absolute pacifism and non-resistance to evil to beheading political opponents.
Al-Qaeda is a “faultless” organization. Intelligence agencies accuse Al-Qaeda militants of all terrorist acts committed by Islamists. The network does not deny any accusations. A considerable portion of Islamist militants are illiterate people. For them, the word “Al-Qaeda” that means “base “,”foundation” is rather a common name. Although, in fact, there is Al-Qaeda “in the narrow sense of the word,” nurtured with the help of U.S. special services. The organization is formally poorly structured, but essentially well-coordinated. It has a large number of subsidiaries, it is independent and very disciplined in its actions. Groups of quickly-trained jihadists can be sent to any region of the world – whether it is the Nile delta, Mesopotamia, Pakistan, Yemen, France, the United States or Tatarstan. Techniques were developed and tested in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Chechnya.
Tough and brutal fighters, who played a very important role in the victory over the Left, also want to grab a piece of the pie. However, financial, organizational, human and logistical resources of Islamic radicals are not limitless.
One should not use police methods to fight preaching – another, more persuasive preaching is required. Even very well-prepared radical propagandists do not stand an open dispute with educated opponents, because their view is false, it is not tenable from an Islamic perspective. However, since they are often better prepared than preachers of traditional Islam, they very often prevail in discussions aimed at winning the hearts of the dispossessed, the lumpen-proletariat – the cannon fodder of radical Islamists.
In October, President Putin spoke about the need to restore Russia’s own Islamic theological school. There are 82 Islamic centers and organizations registered in Russia. President demands Muslim clerics be educated, enlightened, capable of giving a clear assessment of current challenges.
Now is the time for a counter-offensive against radical pseudo-Islam. One should bear in mind the fact that the preachers involved in real Islamic education in Russia, are the people who studied in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries, or even in London, where Hizb ut-Tahrir is headquartered. One needs to change the situation, and now is the time.
Shenali D Waduge
I believe in equality for everyone, except reporters and photographers.”
– Mahatma Gandhi
Let’s ask ourselves a few questions. If media is an employable entity, where from editor down to journalists and columnists are paid and the media outlet publishes news in keeping with their agenda or conforming to their point of view only, can we call the output unbiased, impartial and transparent? Obviously not but that unfortunately is the reality of all media. We are victims of paid news. News that is paid for and published – News that is very much biased and fits an agenda.
Paid news has become an influencer to such an extent that media has spearheaded campaigns that have given false information to the people who have been made to think that their government was doing right in invading nations. Yes, Iraq invasion is one good example of how media purposely fed lies to the public because media was collaborating with those that took over post-invaded Iraq. The lies have continued through all other invasions as well. Years later, some journalist in retirement comes out with a book about the ‘whole truth’. By that time the damage is done but the book becomes a best seller!
What we can say is that paid news has destroyed the spirit of journalism, it has diminished the standards and respect for media companies and those in the profession. The very entity that accuses and splashes in print ‘corruption’ is guilty by its own conduct having begun an ugly trend of accepting money from corporate entities, governments, organizations and individuals to run the news according to what is favorable to them. This translates to mean the more money pumped into the media the likelihood of a politician getting wider publicity is not because of any popularity or good governance, it is simply because the politician has placed more zeros against the cheque written. Then there is also the media itself siding with parties. We are well aware how a Sunday newspaper took a board decision to side one politician vying for Presidency. How does that fair against morality and ethical conduct when running up to the election the entire newspaper circulation and publication was structured to demonize all other candidates except their chosen man?
Thus, the oft quoted ‘for the people, of the people and by the people’ notion cannot be attributed to the media at all.
If the newspapers in India is owned by non-Hindus the story is not different in Sri Lanka. Hindus are almost always at the receiving end of accusations by their ‘unbiased media’. The same story prevails in Sri Lanka.
Media is recipients of funds from sources they do not disclose. Journalists are sent on ‘training’ by foreign aided funds obviously with a larger intention. Now lawyers and even opposition politicians are going for such ‘training’. It doesn’t take an Einstein to derive conclusions.
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.
The scenarios should not be too difficult to fathom.
A media entity owned by people with political inclinations to one camp will obviously push their news towards that goal.
A media entity owned by non-politically aligned persons but susceptible to handsome donations again peddles a line favorable to the donor.
Similarly journalists, columnists and editors in particular end up doing the same. The zeroes play a major role.
Those in doubt still need only to take a sample of newspapers and look at the major headlines, then take the general writers paid and those contributing as guests and then compare the topics they handle and the topics that the newspapers enjoy highlighting. The bias will slowly start to fall into place. Even the opinion posts are almost always dedicated to the same set of people while newcomers with views that challenge the regular writers are never or hardly entertained or receive the chop of the editors axe so that the meaning gets jumbled. The subtle ways media subjects its ‘ethical’ behavior is nothing we are not aware of. These media, together with their paid journalists and foreign funded columnists take pride in name calling referring to the majority race as chauvinists, radicals, extremists and fundamentalists and when they are called lascoreens and sepoys they take offence.
The number of ways that these politically motivated monetarily compromised media in Sri Lanka and elsewhere are functioning has sabotaged the role of media and the integrity of journalism.
Journalism today is all about fixing stories, running scripted news that undermine all ethics and attempting to denigrate an entire country with malicious news items without defending the nation. And its all because media are receiving handsome handouts that means far more than doing what is right by the nation. The same can be said of politicians as well. Having been voted in to serve the people we certainly question some of the bonafides of Ministers for they too find themselves in the same boat as the media. The lobby of human rights activists and NGO proponents are also guilty too. On the payroll of foreign funded organizations and representing their objectives, these local advocates cannot boast of functioning without bias. They are all paid to say and do what their paymasters tell them to do. Therefore, there is nothing that gets said or published that is not paid for and when anything is paid for it is almost always fitting an agenda. Then walks in the PR companies Advertising is what you pay for, publicity is what you pray for.” who does the rest!
In such a scenario where does that leave the public? The public must take every item released by the mainstream media with more than a pinch of salt and draw their own conclusions. The public should not accept anything that the mainstream media releases in particular editorials that clearly shows a naked bias. Sri Lankans must read the 1964 Press Commission Report to get an idea of the nature of bias and the tactics used. That report is very much relevant in today’s context of how the media and those employed by the media function.
The public need to also spend a little time finding the truth for themselves instead of relying on what paid news wants us to believe. Mainstream media is so monopolized that they do not give entry to opinions that counter their views and so writers whose views run contrary never get space. However, there is also the alternate media available for people to see the other side that is often kept blacked out or buried by mainstream media and their columnists who are paid to downplay or add twists to confuse the public. The social media has also become a useful tool to generate counter opinions but there are organizations set up to manipulate social media too so people need to be alert to the gimmicks too.
NGOs, paid media, funded human rights activists have no business to dictate how the country should be run. Sri Lanka’s civilizational history cannot be delinked from any efforts to create a wonder of Asia. Ours is not a created country, it is a country that has a history and a history that cannot be compromised simply because locals paid to destroy that history and heritage are using media to fast forward their objectives.
The public must be alert to the mechanizations at play.
‘You must be the change you want to see’
Note: This writer does not take any remuneration of any kind or is paid to write on any topic.
ධර්මසිරි සෙනෙවිරත් න විසිනි
මා විසින් දැ ක් වුයේ ප්රවාද සඟරා වල ලියා ඇති දේවල්ය. එහෙත් 1994 සිට මේ නරුමයන්ට විරුද්ධව නැගී බෞද්ධ බලවේ ගය කුමක්ද බුද්ධ සාසන ඇමති කලේ මොකක්ද. ජාතික පත්තර කලේ මොකක්ද. මේ ගැන මගේ ලිපිය පල කලේ ත්රිශූලේ පත්තරේ මිස ජාතික යය කියන ලොකු පත්තර නොවේ . දැන් සටනට තව තවත් “”ත්රිශූල”” අවශ්ෂ්ය.ය. මුළු ලෝකය පුරාම ත් වතිකානුවෙත් පෙන්වූ ඩාවින්චි කෝඩ් ලංකාවේ පෙන්වීම තහනම් කරන්නය් කිතුනු පූජකවරු ජනපතිගෙන් ඉල්ලන්නට තරම් එකමුතු විය. මෝඩ ජනපති වරුද ඕනා එකකට ඔවුන් සමග සාකච්චා කරති බෞධ්ධයන් ඉදිරිපත් කල අන්යාගම් කරන පනත යට ගසති ….එහෙත් මල් වට්ටි ගෙන පුෂ්ප කුමාර චරිත රග දක්වති . හාමුදුරුවරුත් ඔවුන්ට පිරිත් නූල් බඳිති. ඉස්සර නම් අස්ගිරි පාර්ශවයේ පලිපාන නායක හාමුදුරුවෝ සහ . සෝම හාමුදුරුවෝ මේවා ගැන කතා කළහ. සෝභිත හාමුදුරුවන්ට වෙච්ච දේ උන්වන්සේවත් දන්නේ නැත… වයසේ වැරැද්ද වෙන්නැති….. අස්ගිරියේ මැදගම ධම්මානන්ද හිමියන් නම් යමක් කරනු පෙනේ. තිස් දාසක් සංඝයා පාරට බැසිය යු තු කාලය මෙය නොවෙය් ද? . භාවනානුයෝගීව අරණ්ය ගතවී සිටින භික්ෂූන් වහන්සේලා ධර්මයට යුතුකම් ඉටුකරති අනිත් උන්වහන්සේලා ගේ මහා මන්දිර යාන වාහන පිරිකර ආදී සියල්ල අපෙන් ලැබෙනවිට එතුමෝ අපට යුතුකම් ඉටුකළ යුතුය. අපගේ ජීවන රටාව ආරක්ෂා කලයුතුය. අපි නැත්නම් ඔය කොය්වාත් නැත .බෞද්ධ 70% කගේචන්ද අරගෙන බෞධයන් නොසලකා හරින ආණ්ඩුත් 70% ක ගෙන් යැපී , උන් නොසලකා හරින හාමුදුරුවරුත් එකය.. බටහිර ගැ ති දයාන්, චන්ද්රප්රේම වැනියවුන් ට අභියෝග කරමින් බොදු බල සේනාව හෝ පෙරට ආවා ඇති. ලොකු හාමුදුරුවරු පෙරට එනවා නම් b b s එක “” NO –_WAY”” නොවේ.” රෝන්ග් වේ : යන්නේයය් පස්සේ කෑ ගසන්නට වන්නේ නැත. දෙකෙන් එකකටවත් නැතිව පන්සල් දේපල වලඳ මින් සිටියොත් දළදා මාලිගාවේ පොකුණේ ඉබ්බන් වී ඉපදීම සිකුරුය්. කර්මය ඒ තරම් බලවත් .කියන්නේ මම නොවෙය බුදුදහමය් . හැබය් වටරැක විජිත මෙන් වැඩ කරන අ ය නම් ඉපදෙන්නේ කන තොලුව නම් රොඩී ගම්මානයේ පත හක ය ඒ ඉන්පසු රොඩී න් අතින් හමගැ සී පසුව අපායට යන්නටය.
ස්ත්රියට එරෙහිව බුදුහිමි කටයුතු කල බව ලේඛකයා සදහන් කර ඇත. මිහිදු හිමි සිංහලේ ට වැඩිය විට රජු සමග ම අනුලා බිසව තවත් කාන්තාවන් රාශියක් සමග පැමිණ ප්රශ්න අසමින් ධර්ම සාකච්චාවක යෙදුනාය. කාන්තාවට මෙවන් නිදහසක් දුන්නේ බුදු දහමය .රහත් භාවය ලබා ගැනීම ඉහල පියවර වන බුදු දහමේ ඒ සඳහා මේ දෙපාර්ශවයටම ඉඩ ඇත . ඉස්ලාම් ආගමේ ස්ත්රියට ඇති තත්වය මෙන්න මෙහෙමය් . සුරා – 2.223 –ඔබේ ගැහැණු ඔබේ දේපලය් කැමති පරිදි පරි හරණය කරන්න —- සුරා 4.34,සැමියාට අවශ්ය විට සංසර්ගයට මැලිකම් දක්වන බිරියට දඬුවම් කිරීමේ අයිතිය සැමියාට දී ඇති දිව්යමය අයිතියකි.—– මුස්ලිම් ලේඛක මොහොමඩ් කුටුබ් මෙසේ කියය”””ගැහැණිය තම ලින්ගේන්ද්රියේ භාරකරුවා පමණි එනිසා එය පරිහණය කිරීමේ තීරණ ගැනීමට ඇයට නොහැක. තමන් විසින් භාරකරුවකු ලෙස බලා කියාගන්නාදෙ ය පරිහරණය සඳහා අනුන්ට ආරාධනා කිරීමට ඇ යට අයිතියක් නැත. “”‘
the perfumed garden නම් ඉස්ලාම් කවිපොතේ මෙසේ කියා ඇත;;;;ස්ත්රියගේ ආගම ඇත්තේ අගේ යෝනියේ බව ඔබ දන්නා වාද. උන්ගේ යෝනි මුවේ ස්වභාවය නිසාම උන් අතෘප්තිකර ය. තම ආශාවන් සංසිඳුවා ගත හැකිනම් ඔවුන්ට අමනයද කල්ලඩ, මෙහෙකරුවාද, ගර්හිත පුද්ගලයාද කියා වෙනසක් නැත. උ න් ගේ යෝ නි ව ලි න් පි ට වෙ න ඉ ස් ම හැ දු වේ සා ත න් ය.
අල ඝසාලි දුක් වන්නේ මෙසේය…”” ගැහැණිය කපටිය. චර්යා හානිකරය. ආත්මය දුෂ්ටය. මිනිසාට සිදුවන සියලු නස්පත්තීන් ම සිදුවන්නේ ස්ත්රිය නිසාය””‘ තවත් තැනක අල් ඝසාලි–”” උදේ වරුවේ දී පමණක් මහමත් තුමාට බිරියන් 9 දෙනා සමහම සංසර්ගයේ යෙදීමට හැකිවිය.””.ක්ලිටෝරීස් අහිමි ගෑනුන්ට තෘප්තියක් නැති නිසා ප්රෂ් නෙකුත් නැහැනේ. ! පව් දෙය්යනේ. අනේ මෙහෙමත් ශා ස්ත්රූවරු. වරුවට නව පාරය්….. මෙයා ගැන මුන්ට ලියන්න බැරිද? කාමසේවනය අත්හල බුදුහිමි යන්ට වනචර කතා නොකියා පුලුවන් .නම් ලියපියව්. බුදු හිමි දුෂ්කරක් ක්රියා කලේ කාම සේවනයට තබා නැ ගින්නටවත් නොහැකි වන තුරු බව මේ දුර්ජනයා දන්නේ නැද්ද. ලිංගික ඉර්ෂ්ය ව ඉතුරු කර ගන්න හිතුවා නම් එහෙම කරය්ද කාමුකයන්ට විරුද්ධව නොලියා මුන් මේ නටන නාඩ ගමට ඉඩ දෙන රජයක් බෞද්ධ රජයක්ද.. .
සිසිර විජේසිංහ මාධ්ය ලේකම්
නොරොච්චෝල ගල්අඟුරු බලාගාර ව්යාපෘතියේ අවසන් අදියරේ ජනන පරීක්ෂණ කටයුතු මේ වනවිට ආරම්භ කර තිබේ. ඒ අනුව, ව්යාපෘතියේ අවසන් අදියර කඩිනමින් ජාතික විදුලිබල පද්ධතියට සම්බන්ධ කිරීම සඳහා අවශ්ය සියලු විධිවිධාන මේ වනවිට යොදා ඇත.
බලාගාර ව්යාපෘතියේ ජනන යන්ත්ර දෙකක් මේ වනවිට ක්රියාත්මක කර ඇත. තෙවන ජනන යන්ත්රයට අයත් ඉදිකිරීම් දැනට අවසන් වී ඇති අතර එහි මූලික පරීක්ෂණ කටයුතු ආරම්භ කර තිබේ.
විදුලිබල හා බලශක්ති අමාත්ය නීතිඥ පවිත්රා වන්නිආරච්චි මැතිනිය ලබාදුන් උපදෙස් මත නොරොච්චෝල බලාගාරයේ අවසන් අදියර මෙසේ කඩිනමින් ඉදිකර ජාතික විදුලිබල පද්ධතියට සම්බන්ධ කිරීම සඳහා අවශ්ය ක්රියාමාර්ග ගෙන ඇත. ඒ අනුව බලාගාර ව්යාපෘතියේ තෙවැනි ජනන යන්ත්රයෙන් නිපදවන විදුලිය, අනුරාධපුරය දක්වා රැගෙනයාමට අවශ්ය රැහැන් එළීමට අදාළ කටයුතු, මේ වනවිට ඉදිකිරීම් මට්ටමේ පවතී. නොරොච්චෝල බලාගාරයේ සිට අනුරාධපුරය දක්වා දිවෙන කි.වො. 220 අධිසැර සම්ප්රේෂණ මාර්ගයේ කුළුණු 234 ක් ඉදිකිරීමට නියමිතය. එයින් කුළුණු 197 ක වැඩ මේ වනවිට අවසන්කර තිබේ.
නොරොච්චෝල බලාගාර ව්යාපෘතිය අදියර දෙකකින් සමන්විත වේ. එහි පළමු අදියරට එක් ජනන යන්ත්රයක්ද, දෙවන අදියරට ජනන යන්ත්ර දෙකක්ද අයත් වේ. මේ අනුව බලාගාර ව්යාපෘතියේ ජනන යන්ත්ර දෙකක් මගින් මේ වනවිට මෙගාවොට් 600 ක විදුලිය ධාරිතාවයක් නිපදවේ. තුන්වන ජනන යන්ත්රයද තව නොබෝ දිනකින් ක්රියාත්මක තලයට ගෙන ඒමත් සමඟ, නොරොච්චෝල බලාගාර ව්යාපෘතියෙන් අපේක්ෂිත සමස්ත ධාරිතාවය වන මෙගාවොට් 900 ජාතික විදුලිබල පද්ධතියට සම්බ්නධ කිරීම සම්පූර්ණ කෙරෙනු ඇත.
චීන ජනරජයේ සහන ණය ආධාර මත 2006 වසරේදී නොරොච්චෝල බලාගාර ව්යාපෘතියේ ඉදිකිරීම් කටයුතු, අතිගරු ජනාධිපති මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ මැතිතුමාගේ ප්රධානත්වයෙන් ආරම්භ කෙරුණු අතර සමස්ත ව්යාපෘතිය සඳහා වැය කෙරෙන මුදල ඩොලර් මිලියන 1341 කි.
නොරොච්චෝල බලාගාර ව්යාපෘතිය මගින් මසකට විදුලි ඒකක මිලියන 540 ක් නිපදවීමට අපේක්ෂිතය. ඒ අනුව I වන හා IIවන ජනන යන්ත්ර වලින් 2014-05-26 දින වනවිට ජනනය කර ඇති විදුලි ඒකක ප්රමාණය ගිගාවොට් පැය 1114 කි.
2005 වසර වන විට ශ්රී ලංකාවේ සමස්ත නිවාස සංඛ්යාවෙන් 76.7% කට විදුලිය සපයා තිබූ අතර 2014 වනවිට එය 97% ක් බවට පත්වී තිබේ. 2005 වසරේ රටේ මුළු ස්ථාපිත විදුලි ධාරිතාවය මෙගාවොට් 2412 ක් වන අතර මේ වනවිට ඉන් මෙගාවොට් 3,363 ක් ලෙස ඉහළ නංවා තිබේ.
ශ්රී ලංකාවේ විදුලිය උත්පාදනය සඳහා යොදාගත හැකි ජල මූලාශ්රයන් වැඩි ප්රමාණයක් දැනටමත් භාවිතයට ගෙන ඇති බැවින්, විදුලි උත්පාදනය වෙනුවෙන් විකල්ප ප්රභවයන් වෙත අවතීර්ණ වීමට සිදුවී තිබේ. ඒ අතරින් වඩාත් ලාභදායි විදුලි ජනන ප්රභවය ප්රමුඛතා අනුපිළිවෙලින් ගල්අඟුරු බලාගාර සහ ස්වභාවික වායු බලාගාර ලෙස හඳුනාගෙන ඇත. එමෙන්ම මේ වනවිට පුනර්ජනනීය බලාගාර වලින් මෙගාවොට් 367 ක් ජාතික විදුලිබල පද්ධතියට එක්කර ඇති අතර එය රටේ සමස්ත විදුලිබල ඉල්ලුමෙන් 10% ක ප්රමාණයකි.
ත්රීකුණාමලය, සාම්පූර් ප්රදේශයේ දෙවන ගල්අඟුරු බලාගාරය ඉදිකිරීම සඳහා මේ වනවිට සියලු කටයුතු යොදා ඇති අතර, මෙමගින් ජාතික විදුලිබල පද්ධතියට මෙගාවොට් 500 ක ධාරිතාවයක් සම්බන්ධ කිරීමට අපේක්ෂිතය.
අනාගතයේදී ඇතිවිය හැකි බලශක්ති අර්බුද ජයගැනීම සඳහා ස්වභාවික වායු බලාගාර මඟින් විදුලි ජනනය කිරීම උදෙසාද රජය මේ වනවිට මූලික සැළසුම් සකස් කරමින් සිටී.
By Nalin de Silva
The so-called third world, which itself is a concept coined by western intellectuals, is being oppressed and exploited using western knowledge. It is unfortunate that the “professionals”, administrators and others who take decisions connected with the lives of the people in these countries posses some western education and as far as these countries are concerned very often the effect of their actions are worse than that of the politicians.
The populist politicians, even if they are uneducated according to the so-called educated, have to depend on the masses, and are being continuously educated by the latter. The masses are represented to a certain extent by the populist politicians, whereas the educated represent the western interests.
To adopt a phrase from Marxism, western knowledge is the opium of the masses. As a Sinhala Buddhist, more a Hela Buddhist than a Sinhala Buddhist, I consider knowledge in general is the biggest obstruction in attaining Nibbana and my interpretation of Anna in reference to Arhant Anna Kondanna differs from that given in the Sinhala Buddhist Pali Atuva (Commentaries) as Anna here means no knowledge and not a special type of knowledge as stated in Atuva. Kondanna could be interpreted as the foremost intellectual or knowledgeable person and Ven. Kondanna when he became the first to enter the stream (sothapanna) he was on his path to become knowledge less.
I know that many Sinhala Buddhists would not agree with the above interpretation, as it goes against the Atuva. The knowledge we have of ‘I’ ‘ego’ or whatever one calls it is the biggest hindrance in attaining Nibbana. However, one needs some kind of knowledge to be used as a raft to cross the river and it is contained in Paticcasamuppada and Dhammacakka Pavaththana Sutta, Eightfold path etc. However, the raft has to be thrown away once the river is crossed but as long as we continue our sansaric journey we need some kind of knowledge.
The question is: what is the knowledge that we have to use in order to maintain the freedom (sovereignty) to manage our own affairs? The western intellectuals create blatant lies (pattapal boru) in order to oppress and exploit us. The modernity is essentially connected with the so-called Renaissance that began in the late Fifteenth Century as a struggle between the individual and the society or collectivity or Catholicism, and Christianity became the religion.
The freedom of the individual as opposed to the rule of Pope and western feudalist kings was emphasised and together with it, concepts such as freedom of expression, freedom of association, freedom of choice (without considering who produces the choices) came to the forefront. Knowledge based on sensory perceptions was emphasised and prominence was given to satisfying the sense organs. The educated Sinhalas have gone very far in these directions, while paying lip service to Sinhala Buddhism as a culture.
I am of the opinion that the western culture during the last five hundred years or so has become the most hypocritical culture in the history of mankind whether one believes in linear evolution, anthropology created in the west or not. They talk of truth without knowing what it is. They, in fact, give much prominence to knowledge without telling us what knowledge is. They boast of a scientific method whereas there is no such thing, they consider pattapal boru (blatant lie) as truth or statements that constitute a body of knowledge that would reach truth eventually, tell us of individual freedom when there is no such freedom, talk of a reality or real without explaining what is meant by the term, boast of objectivity while resorting to relativism and subjectivity all the time. The list is too long but our education wants us to believe in these blatant lies.
It is true that modernity commenced with individual freedom as opposed to collectivity and feudal kings and pope. However, Henry VIII was not interested in the freedom of individual but only in his freedom from the Pope; people such as Cromwell used people to gain power for themselves. Soon strong states were created and the individual became a nonentity with his freedom confined to the textbooks and soapboxes in Hyde Park in London. There is no post modernity as such but there is a post modernism that laments over the path taken by modernity. Post modernism wants the freedom of the individual and would object to objectivity and is against what are known as meta (not mega as some people tend to think) narratives. However, it is removed from the people in the western countries, and there is nothing that the post modernists could do without a social movement and a post modernism.
The so-called NGOs are not Non Governmental organisations as such because they were created in the sixties firstly in the African countries after those countries were given some kind of political freedom. The Asian and African countries were never given economic or cultural freedom and the main purpose of establishing the so called NGOs was the propagation of western ideology. Finance either directly or indirectly by the western governments, they were supposed to do everything possible to topple the governments not to the liking of the western countries and get involved in forming governments that were puppets of the west. The so-called NGOs should be properly called western governmental organisations (WGOs) and hereinafter they will be referred to by that term even if I am the only person to do so.
It is the west that calls the WGOs as NGOs and as we are dictated by their knowledge most of us have no choice, in spite of so called freedom of choice. The WGOs cannot be compared with the Kulangana Samithi or Maranadhara Samithi or even Suriya Mal Movement, which were not financed by the western countries though western ideology would have crept into some of these organisations. However, unlike in the thirties when some youth returned from the west started the Suriya Mal movement, at present not so young people in ‘Marxist parties’ have access to foreign financial aid.
Any individual or organisation should have the freedom to criticise the government, work against it, to replace it with another government etc., as long as no foreign finance is involved. However, it is an entirely a different matter when the foreign governments are involved in financing individuals and organisations that are engaged in political activities. There should not be any political rights for individuals and organisations financed by foreign governments directly or indirectly, as it amounts to a threat to the freedom (call it sovereignty of the people) of the country as a whole. The government should enact legislations to monitor the monetary and other gains by individuals and organisations involved in politics, from foreign governments directly or indirectly. They could, with the support of the media, also controlled by western educated pundits, work towards changing the opinion of the people.
The political freedom should be confined to local organisations not financed by foreign governments as we should not lose the limited political freedom we won in 1948. These organisations are worse than Mugalan who went to Dambadiva to gain support against Kashyapa. Then Mugalan took the initiative and went to Dambadiva to topple Kashyapa and to become the king. In the present case the initiative is taken by the western governments and the members of WGOs are the payrolls of those governments. It should be remembered that in the western countries the individuals have no freedom against the state even locally as has been revealed by Edward Snowdown and others.
Truthout / By Jeff Ritterman, M.D. Courtesy Alert. Net
According to a news item appeared in Daily Mirror dated 9th July 2014, under the subject ‘NGO’s to defy Defence Ministry ban‘ J.C. Weliamuna of the Lawyers Collective said the government is misguided in its thinking that NGOs and civil society organisations are enemies and is working for international community.
Another so-called human rights activist, Nimalka Fernando , while exposing how she is going to defy the Defence Ministry’s directive, has said she has the democratic right to criticize the unconstitutional manner in which the country is being governed, where the president makes the decisions without so much as consulting the cabinet. The parliament is reduced to a mere rubber stamp.
There should not be any question as to the right of the people to criticize the government, yet, let us go through some of the statements of these NGO kingpins made in the past for various issues to see the extent of damage caused to the country, as a whole, and to find out to whom they are serving. The evidence of such statements is easy to find, one has only to read the anti-national statements made by these organisations.
On 23rd March 2006, while referring to explosions, killings, arbitrary arrests and disappearances in the country, Nimalka Fernando misled the whole world via BBC saying that the president Mahinda Rajapaksa seems unable to cope with the intricacies of the peace process. He is suspicious of the Norwegian negotiators and he has let himself be manoeuvred by extremist Sinhala groups. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/4639220.stm).
Since the elimination of her much sympathized LTTE, we haven’t heard of any such activities in the country and the entire world is aware of the peace we are entertaining, although these bogus activists are blind and deaf to sense it, even up to now.
While supporting the accusation levelled against the government In November 2006, referring to the killing of a pro-Tamil Tiger politician Nadarajah Raviraj , Nimalka Fernando has said “These killers and the mighty terrorof the state are making this a killing field. We cannot allow this countryto be ruled in this manner and it is the culture of impunitythat must stop.” (http://www.tamilguardian.com/tg336/p3.pdf)
Has she ever blamed the LTTE for the killings of country’s president, ministers, politicians, innocent civilians of all communities (Sinhala, Tamil Muslim etc) and other atrocities committed against humanity in the same fashion?
The extent of damaged she has done to the image of the Sinhala community and the country , as a whole, while defending LTTE is evident from her interview given to IPS on the 22 March 2006. (http://www.ipsnews.net/2006/03/human-rights-no-multi-ethnic-balance-in-sri-lanka-says-expert/)
She also told BBC, hiding the truth about India’s involvement in training terrorists, that the story about the LTTE training camps held in India is a view that was propagated by Sinhala Extremists in Sri Lanka. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/4442906.stm)
These foreign funded organisations have conducted seminars, lectures, workshops under the pretext of ‘Peace’ throughout LTTE terror period and even make use of those activities even to frighten the citizens by suggesting the possibilities of R2P (Responsibility to Protect) situation, misinterpreting what was going on in the country at that time. ‘Responsibility Protect’ By Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu of Centre for Policy Alternative (CPA) is a case in point. (http://www.themorningleader.lk/20070801/issues.html)
Jehan Perera of NPC addressing a meeting organised by NESoHR (founded by LTTE proxy TNA), on December 10, 2005. Note the Eelam map behind him
The agents of the foreign funded organisations have had the habit of criticizing the Sinhala groups as ‘extremists’ while whitewashing the terror activities of the LTTE as seen from the statements below. As part of its anti-national/anti-faith agendas they attacked Buddhist monks who were against terrorism and branding people with opposing views as Sinhala Extremists. It seems, they continue to do it even now, at a much higher scale.
While praising the proposal of the Interim Self-Governing Authority proposed by the LTTE, Johan Perera of National Peace Council (NPC) criticised the Sri Lankan Government and misled the world that it is the Sinhalese who cause trouble and generate violence. This is what he said via BBC.
. “The government has been inappropriately cautious because of its desire to please the nationalist Sinhalese who are a relatively small minority but who can cause trouble and generate violence. The Tigers are asking for an “interim self-governing authority” for the north-east of Sri Lanka with powers over land, law and order and finances. A majority of the members of this body would be appointed by the Tigers, although it would have representatives from the Sinhala and Muslim communities and be subject to elections after five years. It’s a refined proposal and it shows an awareness of issues involved with good governance, even though full implementation still has to be watched.” (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/3233441.stm.)
Again justifying the Tiger activities, Jehan Perera of NPC made another statement to the BBC blaming the Sri Lankan Government.
“The Tigers say the only way to tackle this is by fighting for an independent homeland.
Their tactics are ruthless, and opposition is not an option. They have been accused of killing political rivals in addition to dissenters from inside or outside the ranks. All have been swiftly dealt with. The problem for the government is that it has failed to persuade Tamils there is a viable alternative within the government structures. So far the Sri Lankan state has not been able to convince the Tamil people that their grievances for equality, for power sharing, for a form of federal autonomy, would indeed be delivered to them. Until that point, I don’t think the Tigers will change.”(http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/6045866.stm)
Observers say the growing marginalization of the rebel group encourages the escalation of violence. On May 29, the European Union added the LTTE to their list of terror organizations and froze Tamil Tiger accounts. Jehan Perera, Director of Colombo’s National Peace Council said, ‘If the rebels continue to be isolated economically and politically, they will only have one option left in the end: war.’” (http://www.ploughshares.ca/libraries/ACRText/ACR-SriLanka.html)
While applauding the Prabhakaran-Ranil so-called Pact, this is what the NGO kingpin had stated in October 2002 regarding the presence of Sri Lankan judiciary, police and military in the north and east.
Continuing with the present ceasefire for a further period, without consolidating it into a final settlement at this time, has its advantages. It permits the sharing of power between the government and LTTE in the north and east in the interim period.”
At present, the Sri Lankan military is present in the main population centres of the north and east. The Sri Lankan judiciary and police are functional there. They are a countervailing power to the LTTE. It is unlikely that a final solution negotiated at this time could provide for these levers of state power to continue functioning as they are.”
The fact is that the present balance of military forces in the north and east makes only one final, and yet peaceful, solution negotiable at this time– that is to give the LTTE control over the region”. (http://www.priu.gov.lk/news_update/Current_Affairs/ca200210/20021007true_liberation.htm)
In an Interview with Business Line Jehan Perera of NPC in May 2002, advocated the acceptance of two armies with two commands as follows.
THE ongoing peace process in Sri Lanka has raised hopes for a lasting solution, but before a final solution emerges, the people would have to accept, at least for some time, ‘two armies, with two commands” (http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/2002/05/15/stories/2002051500040800.htm)
Fortunately, the NPC kingpin’s ‘invincible’ LTTE military wing is no more for him to justify suicide bombing. People in Sri Lanka are moving around freely with confidence.
Although there are hundreds of statements made by these agents are available in records, the writer thought of including only few of those to see the extent of misinformation made by these agents in the past to tarnish the image of the majority community and the Country.
The NPC, CPA, Transparency International Sri Lanka and their ilk should actually be categorised as lobbyist NGOs, depending entirely on foreign governments and agencies they carry on the White Man’s Burden and have a function similar to Christian missionaries during the high colonial era.
The foreign funded lobbyist NGOs attempted to cover-up the LTTE terror campaign including the dastardly attacks on Katunayake Airport and the attack on Pakistan High Commissioner among many other grisly assaults. It denounced the Government’s effort to eradicate terrorism, placing the military capacity of the GOSL on an equal footing with the LTTE and tried to project the LTTE as invincible. We also remember how these peace vendors attempted to justify the brutal killings of innocent civilians by suicide bombers saying Regardless of who is responsible, the suicide bombing indicates the growing absence of confidence in the integrity of the government institutions“.
Attempting to brainwash the people of a nation by pumping millions of dollars to achieve the goals of outside elements is a clear-cut interference on its sovereignty. Who will pump millions of dollars for nothing in return? These lobbyist NGOs are to fulfil the needs of their funding agencies whose ultimate aim is none other than creating a new form of colonization around the world.
The sovereignty is defined as the supreme political power of a government to regulate its affairs within a specified territory without outside interference. Policies are thus formulated by the people of a sovereign nation via the elected government to suit the nation and its people. Policies formulated by nongovernmental organisations should not be implemented without the approval of the elected government. Thus, logically, NGOs are bound to follow the guide lines provided by the people’s elected government.
There is not much difference between what these foreign funded lobbyist NGOs were doing in the past and what they are doing now for their own existence and to serve their foreign funding countries/agencies. These organisations should be investigated for what they have done in the past and for what they are doing now. It is evident from the above statements that these agents will continue to spread misinformation until what their funding agencies are expected to achieve. If the existing laws are insufficient, new laws should be enacted to streamline their operations for the benefit of the country and its peace loving people.