A Srilankan invention, a stroke of rare genius – the utterance that renews the face of jurisprudence and politics world wide.
Posted on August 8th, 2013

By Mario Perera, Kadawata

 It will be recalled how, when Shirani Bandaranayake was literally put on the Supreme Court bench by her erstwhile mentor Prof. G.L.Peiris, the latter was nicknamed “ƒ”¹…”Pottani Sir’, by the protesting legal fraternity. The phrase was shouted lout loud to the four winds and adorned posters and banners. The “ƒ”¹…”pottaniya’ of course contained his academic qualifications. It is by its fruits that the tree is known. This very realistic adage based on facts sanctioned by the forces of nature also applies to human actions. What pottani Sir emptied within his lecture rooms was the knowledge acquired from his masters, no doubt cultivated and enhanced by him in his personal capacity. That aspect of his personality his former students will judge.
Then pottani Sir turned his ambitions towards the political sphere. What he did within that sphere transpired before the eyes of the nation. The judgment of the nation unfortunately cannot be as eulogious as was perhaps the evaluation of his performance within the walls of the university. The pottani Sir of the university and the same pottani Sir on the political scene are totally different personalities.
In a parliament akin to a pin-pom table, pottani Sir too became a pin pom ball launching himself from one side of the table to the other. First a minister of the People’s Alliance Government, he went over to the other side, the United National Front Government and once more did the pin pom ball trick wafting himself to the current government. He lent his voice to the most contradictory policies as if nothing was the matter. His principle in all instances was to argue the case of the man who employed him and put him on the pedestal. The most notorious of his contradictory stands was the brief he entertained for Ranil enabling the cutting and chopping of the country like a cake at Prabhakaran’s internationally celebrated christening as the heir to the kingdom of Jaffna and the north. In Thailand he had earlier praised Ranil’s “ƒ”¹…”role of leadership characterized by consistency, courage and dynamism’ praising “ƒ”¹…”his tenacity in his course of national reunification born of depth of conviction’. He did not also fail to glorify the man on the other side of the divide. In his words: We pay tribute, at the same time, to the foresight of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and their leader, Mr. Veluppillai Pirabakaran. He further stated: “ƒ”¹…”We stand unwaveringly for the amplest degree of devolution and for the establishment and strengthening of institutions designed to achieve this purpose’. Where is this gentleman today”¦on the side of the head of State who laid “ƒ”¹…”Mr.Prabharakan’ on his back and turned him over for international cameras clad only in his ambudey.
Prof Peiris with his legal pottaniya could be expected to stand on principles, on principles of law if not anything else. However his apparently innate tendency to argue the case of his master is stronger and weightier than the content of his “ƒ”¹…”pottaniya’. His stance on Ranil’s adventure with Prabhakaran would raise eye brows of the most phlegmatic analysts specially when compared with his posturing of today. His servility towards his master hit a new height just yesterday when he, whose treatise on “ƒ”¹…”Criminal Law’ has seen many a law student through that examination, described the Weliweriya massacre with a slogan that would make the Lords of the House of Lords roll the length and breadth of the Mall holding their sides with delirious laughter or perhaps convulsing in sheer death agony. He described the murder and mayhem perpetrated by the army against the civilians of Weliweriya as “¦hear, hear: A FACT OF LIFE !!!!!!!!
Suffice it to say, this all encompassing, all embracing jurisprudential pronouncement of pottani Sir could well become the ultimate defense at the Hague at future trials on charges of genocide and other horrendous violations of Human Rights. Had he been born in the Nazi Era, what advocacy he would have displayed in proposing this newly discovered doctrine in favour of the Nazi criminals at Nuremberg! One can almost see him on his feet declaring in the most solemn manner: Lords and members of the Jury, what happened during the war and in the concentration camps was nothing more the “ƒ”¹…”a fact of life’.
Samarasinghe was the wrong man to have defended the government at the UNHRC at Geneva. Samarasinghe went totally “ƒ”¹…”off side’ holding forth on roads and bridges  There MR blundered heavily. Pottani Sir, would have made the accusers of the government of Sri Lanka, including the conspirers of Channel 4, hide their heads not in shame but in sheer admiration at this newly discovered facet of the law of nations succinctly put in the phrase henceforth to be written and framed in gold: the new legal doctrine of “ƒ”¹…”a fact of life’.
Considering this brilliant new development and the inventive genius of pottani Sir, it is he who should confront the Pillai woman when she raises the issues against which we floundered at Genera. Madam, please use your brains wherever they may be located, and know well that what you accuse us of is nothing but “ƒ”¹…”a fact of life’. So too with the mothers weeping for their disappeared progeny: Ladies why do you cry? Do you not understand that what you grieve over is “ƒ”¹…”a fact of life?’ There could be no better time to have elicited this brilliant phrase with the Commonwealth Boozing Party hovering on the horizon. Prof Peiris would take the floor and pronounce, in tones reminiscent of the “ƒ”¹…”ex cathedra’ declarations of the boss of the Vatican: Each and every accusation you level against us was nothing more than “ƒ”¹…”a fact of life’.
Just imagine how every defense lawyer at the High Court would be perennially grateful to pottani Sir. Once the prosecution has laboured, huffing, puffing and panting to convince the jury, the defense lawyer, now armed with the irrefutable dictum of the great professor of law would smilingly listen, and then very nonchalantly put forward the latest theory of the great man: The murder though most heinous and loathsome is “ƒ”¹…”a fact of life’ to which we must all bow. Case closed, accused acquitted. There will be no need henceforth for presidential pardons for criminals. It would happen “ƒ”¹…”ipso facto’ on the utterance of the magic formula more potent than whatever Aladdin said to his lamp.


6 Responses to “A Srilankan invention, a stroke of rare genius – the utterance that renews the face of jurisprudence and politics world wide.”

  1. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:


  2. Lorenzo Says:

    “He described the murder and mayhem perpetrated by the army against the civilians of Weliweriya as …hear, hear: A FACT OF LIFE !!!!!!!!”

    This is very close to,

    “Eat cakes if you can’t afford bread”.

    I disagreed with GEETH on GLP because I was willing to forgive his MANY MANY wrongs HOPING there will be some use of GLP. One day.

    But NO. I was wrong and Geeth was right.

    GLP is a damn burden.

    e.g. CBK’s political solution
    e.g. Your excellency to Anton Balla
    e.g. 2002 CFA
    e.g. Sacking Tamara Kunnayagam
    e.g. Shitrani Bandaranayaka

  3. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    LORENZO ! It was this French woman, Marie Antoinette who told the French people, ” eat cake if there is no bread “.

  4. Sooriarachi Says:

    Whatever is said about GLP, he has much much and much to learn from Barak Obama and Madeleine Albright, on the way to trivialise issues. GLP is not a true politician and that is the advantage, which allows him to bat for his Master using his vast skills as a lawyer. In a way he is like an obedient worker, willing to say and do whatever the boss at the time wants him to.

  5. Lorenzo Says:

    Thanks Susantha.

  6. douglas Says:

    Mario Perera: Thank you. Very timely presentation and it’s main theme: “POTTINI SIR”

    Pottini literally means a collection of things and make a bundle. Not only the one you refer to but very many who have a “pottini” have done it very easily. It is done this way. You read for one achievement and then go on to read only a few more and master the art of “Cut and Paste”. In this way, you can collect any number of letters of the alphabet. Yet, I must tell you that all those are “BORROWED KNOWLEDGE”. In relevance to this let me also tell you the following “Borrowed Story”.

    “A man suffering from backache went to a very expensive specialist who recommended hot packs. After using hot packs all night long he felt worse than ever.

    His maid, seeing him in agony, asked what the trouble was. When he told the story she said, “Not hot packs. Cold packs”

    He tried it and got prompt relief. Irate, he returned to the specialist and reported the whole story.

    “Hmm” mused the doctor, “cold packs”. May maid says hot packs”.

    I know you will enjoy this story and get the main theme, and gain some insight to what is happening in the country now. Bye.

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