Anuradhapura needs all the help
Posted on February 15th, 2011

Sunil Vijayapala Australia

I am obsessed with our citadel Anuradhapura, with its ruins, museums and artefacts however the recent flood damage made me really emotional about the whole issue. The first flood came about in mid January and I too had to evacuate Anu and move too Colombo. Malvathu Oya was flooded with the release of water from Nuwara wewa and with the age old dams been almost gutted with unparalleled uncontrolled rain, people’s fear was the breakage of dams which would have had a catastrophic consequences, with thousands drowning.

 The second flood was immense although we expats never got the true picture of the damage through media, however my new friends

in Anu and relatives enlightened me on the real situation. Jayanthi Mawata one of the main roads in Anu had 4 feet of flood level which devastated all buildings of well to do and homes of poor people equally. People had to move to areas where the water did not retain as there is no virtually a higher ground in Anu.

 One of temples, Molligoda temple, I lodged came under water in the first flood and with the second flood it was totally inundated, so was Issuruminiya area. People could not virtually move and had no means of access to food and they had starved! One of my relatives was involved in a Relief mission recently, had gone through roads, very few passable and had reached the Kuttan Pokuna area where a school was being used as a refuge. All along it was like a sea of water and as far as the horizon, it seems. They had prepared meals and distributed dry ration to people who needed them most and among them some well to do people who had lost everything.

 The scale of flooding had been like a Tsunami where whole loads of vehicles had been taken with the current. People had not had a proper meal for days and they were virtually gulping it seems, when served.

While our politicians were more interested where the next vote comes from, the poor people at Anu had to rely on blessings of heaven as heaven itself turned on them, damaging their property and crop.

 According to Buddhism, with excessive Greed comes destruction by fire, with excessive hate/jealousy comes destruction by water and with excessive delusion comes destruction by wind. While my resident country Australia get hammered by all three mostly Sri Lanka is subjected to calamities through floods. I wonder whether we may need to learn from wisdom of Buddhism, as Sinhela Baudaya’s degree of jealousy is at a peak and also worshiping of demi-gods are in the increase alas! in our citadel Anuradhapura, the very place where Buddha being nowadays insulted through performance of poojas in temples as well as in Kovils.

 We expats need to do get involved in helping the needy, irrespective of their social standing in Anuradhapura, by raising some money to target a specific need or needs and I appeal to some organisation at a global level to throw their weight behind this. While various organisations locally and the government are doing their very best I appeal to this forum to do what is right at this crucial juncture.

 Sunil Vijayapala Australia

9 Responses to “Anuradhapura needs all the help”

  1. AsokaK Says:

    SPUR NSW set up a fund to help the flood victims in SL.

  2. Fran Diaz Says:

    Sunil Viajayapala : thank you for write up on A’pura. We are so sorry to hear of the flood disaster there. We do not know what it is, but our present day culture does not seem to value our ancient artifacts …. sad. 500 years of Colonial Rule and past wars with the Cholas have left there mark. Self Help seems to come rarely to us as people seem to think that the rich countries will come to help, but now Self Help is the only option available to us all, as rich countries themselves are suffering due to Climate Change,

    If we look at the stone pillars in our ancient cities, we can see some of them in large numbers, set very closely together. Does that mean that there were buildings atop these pillars ? If so, that means floods happened even in ancient times. Pardon my ignorance, if this was common knowledge.

  3. Fran Diaz Says:

    Sunil: I did not mean for the suggestion of SELF HELP to sound insensitive to the suffering of the people under floods right now, but it is to say that we have to be prepared for future such events at least by having floating devices, homes built on high grounds or on ‘stilts’, food stacked in high places, etc.

  4. Sunil Vijaya Says:

    Fran: The buildings on top of pillars were all wooden. If not we would have seen a lot of stones or bricks near ruins. Lovamahapaaya supposed to be 10 storeys high was all a wooden structure with the bottom storey giving all the strength with stones and bricks. Recently I visited Parakarmabahu’s palace which was seven storeys high but were all bricks, a deviation from norm, but the floors all wooden. The structures of Dravidians are still standing while ours are in ruins as they went on plundering our monuments. Talking of plunderers, our country was plundered by the greatest plunderer on earth, you know who. Their countries too now feel the effects of global warming attributed to rampant plunder. The plunderer wants to safegaurd jobs and least worried about safegaurding our mother earth. Red Indians, Aborigines taught these fools a lesson or two not only in forming a Union in USA but also how to love nature. They almost wiped out bisons and did to a point with Kangaroos. How could a barbaric race encroach all the world and plunder to the extent that now even our planet is unable to revert back to equilibrium? Tanks in Anu were built to collect rain water as there was no other means (except a small Malvatuoya) and floods were unthinkable. Dhatusena centuries later, connected Kala wewa with Tisa wewa through Yodal ela just to keep a flow of water. We are powerless at the hands off the plunderer who does as he wishes, encroach countries at will, topple regimes at will. If all the world ignore the plunderers trade wise, we can bring them to their knees. But this too is not possible with the seeds the plunderer planted in every country they encroached always back up the plunderer in every country they encroached. The rest of the world should learn a lesson from Burma. Sunil Vijayapala

  5. Fran Diaz Says:

    Sunil: Some of the surviving Buddhist countries certainly can teach us some lessons. We have no alternative but learn lessons from our own History & Near History.
    To that end, we have to be extremely careful with our Tourist trade and policy of Visa on Entry, especially those coming in from India (Tamil Nadu). Recently, GoSL has allowed Snow Shipping Services (SSS) to ferry goods to Lanka from Tamil Nadu ports.
    In March, Snow Shipping will ferry people across to & fro. Are we as a people aware of this ? How can we safeguard Lanka from Tamil Nadu & other illegal entrants ? This to us is one of the main problems, apart from the flooding disasters from Climate Change.

    Here is another story, small but important : When we visited A’pura in the 1980s to visit the Sri Maha Bodhi, I noticed many dhathu stones (stones carved with holes to hold gifts to the Dhathu). These were laid along the pathways to the main places of worship there. All the holes were filled with water from past rains and had mosquito larvae breeding in them. These are small details that can be corrected easily, such as in this instance, the stones should have been placed upright against each other for support so that no water collects in the holes.

    Cultural awareness is important in our schools, along with Science & Technology. See and appreciate the glory of science & technology of our ancestors in Lanka !

  6. Fran Diaz Says:

    Sunil : Thinking further on the flooding : doubtless our civil engineers together with GoSL will find a way to drain the affected areas on a permanent basis. However, whatever drainage to sea on the East Coast will also allow in sea water from possible future tsunami too. We don’t know how, but will be answers to that too …

    Re archeological preservation : Awareness & appreciation of our past constructions shown in books through Science & Technology will have a growing admiration for our historical past. See how Rome preserves even its cruel Colosseum among other historical structures, in the midst of a great & busy city, and how Britain preserves its Stonehenge. We have to learn so much from others too.

  7. AsokaK Says:

    Anyone interested in ancient engineering & technology in Sri Lanka should get a copy of Construction through the Ages by Tom Wijesundera from the Institute of Engineers, off Bullers Rd- cost about Rs 1200.

  8. Fran Diaz Says:

    Thanks for this info, Asoka K.

  9. Fran Diaz Says:

    We wish Tom Wijesundera’s book is translated into Sinhala, with permission from the author.

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