religion, race and language out of Lankan politics
The strength of a chain lies in its weakest link. The weakest link
in Sri Lanka is the racial and religious minority groups. For a
country that is finding its feet economically, socially and culturally,
the unity of its people as a whole is vital for progress. Strife
and discord in a household invariably lead to a breakdown in a family;
so is it with a country.
is considerable fear and suspicion among religious and racial minority
groups that they will be discriminated against in employment, education
and other opportunities.
way to allay such fears and to marshal the human resources of the
entire nation is to write into the constitution specific safeguards
to guarantee fundamental rights of individuand guidelines for politicians
and political parties.
linguistic and racial issues should be prohibited from being made
the subject of politics. Legislation to this effect must be introduced
to debar politicians from making such issues the plank of their
political platform. A developing nation such as ours, where unemployment
and social inequality are the order, requires only a spark of emotion
to ignite the inflammable racial and religious haystack.
was able to rouse a dormant nation and unleash the horrors of war
and racial tyranny because of poverty and unemployment in Germany.
Man denied the necessities of life easily turns into an animal.
It is then that acid enters his soul. The fact that any emotional
appeal finds mass support among the poor and the less fortunate
flows from this reasoning.
amendments should be made to set up an all-party body to resolve
religious, linguistic and racial questions on the basis of unanimity.
Democracy, as one wit remarked, 'is not only a counting of heads,
but also the counting of heads within limits'. Countries such as
Pakistan under the late Ayub Khan and Egypt under the late Gamal
Abdul Nasser understood this wisdom and made vast strides economically
freedom in a developing community such as ours can be the freedom
of the wild ass. Politicians making use of this unbridled freedom
have romped into power by confusing the masses with religious and
have the classic example of Britain, the cradle of parliamentary
democracy. When faced with the problem of coloured immigrants and
the riots at Notting Hill, the constituent parties of Parliament
at that time unanimously agreed to refrain from making it an issue
at the parliamentary elections that followed immediately after.
in Sri Lanka, political success whether of individuals or of parties
depends, by and large, on the size of the sop offered to the communal
Cerberus. Our only chance of building a nation lies in introducing
adequate and detailed safeguards to expunge religion, language and
race from the vocabulary of party politics.
all our political parties get together and forge on the anvils of
common consent a strong and abiding link that would withstand the
ravages of racial, religious and linguistic discord for all time.
Dr. Fazal Mahmood
commuters from railroad hooligans
A few days ago, some boys pelted stones at a train somewhere close
to Seenigama. A woman who suffered severe head injuries was rushed
to the Karapitiya hospital in Galle.
was also reported that some women who were with the boys had encouraged
them to throw stones. This is not the first time an incident like
this has taken place. Sometime back, a fish mudalali got a group
of people to throw dirty water on a commuter with whom he had a
a result innocent people were drenched to the skin with stinking
water. I do not know how these people who had to take another bus
got back home. Apart from a perverted few, many train communters
vehemently condemn such despicable behaviour.
Railway Authorities should take steps to protect commuters from
divine right of dynastic dictatorship
The UPFA seems to be pock-marked with contradictions over many an
important issue and keeps sending out confusing signals to a bemused
electorate. The most recent of these contradictory signals is an
unambiguous public statement (Daily Mirror of March 3), by one of
the national organizers, a Bandaranaike at that, of the UPFA, that
he will be the next President, and that with him will end the Bandaranaike
almost the same breath, another Bandaranaike, and no less a person
than the leader of the UPFA and the Head of State, has stated quite
categorically, that when the UPFA comes into power, the presidency
will be abolished. This solemn undertaking has been echoed, quite
vociferously, by the other National Organiser of the UPFA.
is obligatory on the part of the UPFA to reveal, quite unequivocally,
its stand on this most important issue. Surely, the people have
a right to know, who will have the right to rule this country, after
All Fools Day!
do we await that dawn, when Rosmead Place will be the Versailles
of Sri Lanka – a Pharoah sits, in all his glory, in President's
House while a queen reigns at Temple Trees, and we witness the execution
of the divine right to rule by dynastic dictatorship ?
station with a big difference
The guard on duty smiles and beckons you inside. You walk through
a neatly laid-out garden. Inside the building, the walls are purple,
cream and butter yellow. A telephone booth is available for public
usage in the foyer area.
the reception, a smiling lady actually puts her palms together to
say "Ayubowan". The reception has flowers. She smiles
and records your name and asks you the reason for your visit and
directs you to the relevant department.
everyone is courteous and you are given attention immediately. There
is adequate seating and since there are no delays - no throngs of
people either. Framed posters highlight the five Japanese management
techniques of Jasteca Taiki Akimoto "5 S system".
of Senaka Senanayake's beautiful paintings of parrots hangs prominently
on the walls. A TV mounted on the wall has 24-hour news on cable
T.V. Also in the background is music playing on a public address
system. A large fish tank adorns one corner.
is believe it or not, the Kirullapone Police Station. Congratulations,
Officer-in-charge Suresh Warnasuriya. After my matter had been attended
to, on my way out, I happened to compliment the receptionist who
persuaded me to write a comment in the "visitor's book".
spoke to the O.I.C. briefly. He proudly showed me a merit award
the police station had received from the Akimoto Foundation for
successful implementation of the management principles.
Warnasuriya said that well-laid out garden and the neat and clean
station were all thanks to the efforts of the officers. Every morning,
music was played for five minutes, during which every one did their
daily tidying and cleaning up. Since the filing systems are up-to-date
all matters can be attended to in minutes.
Warnasuriya himself is very polite and claims that the manner you
speak and the tone of the voice are very important. Just because
a police officers wears a uniform, it does not give him more powers
than others. He is just another human being.
inspector said he always reminded his staff that they should respect
everyone, whether innocent or guilty. A big bouquet to this station-
May all other police stations follow this example!!
us bring about a Buddhist social order to protect Lanka
There may be millions more like me, wondering how to put an end
to corruption, nepotism, inefficiency, poverty, violence, and injustices
that plague this nation. These destructive phenomena, for some reason
or the other, continue unchecked and undisturbed, eating into the
resources of the country.
country is in severe debt. We are, however, nearing the third Parliamentary
general election in less than four years. Unscrupulous politicians,
since Independence have put self and party interests before the
present electoral system too has caused immense harm to society.
If we had had statesmen or women of the calibre of Jawaharlal Nehru
of India, Mahathir Mohamed of Malaysia or Lee Kwan Yew of Singapore,
they could have easily taken this country forward. Let us, therefore,
not make the same mistake by being politically green, blue or red.
A decision has to be taken carefully in the interest of the country
and its people.
Sri Lankan voter in the past has been vastly influenced by election
promises such as bringing rice from the moon or creating a dharmishta
society. The innocent voters have accordingly no doubt been taken
for a ride and had to pay the price in several ways.
institutions, health, the Railways and other government facilities
which were once run efficiently are being shut down or privatized
with an excuse that the global trend is privatization. The country
needs righteous, dedicated, honest, sincere, truthful and hardworking
leaders who could devote more than eight hours a day for governing
day politicians are fundamentally in conflict with the basics in
governance, namely, truthfulness and righteousness. A social system
which runs counter to the Dhamma, which encourages or condones unethical
behaviour, is bound to bring widespread misery and destitution,
not only for human beings, but for the entire natural order as well.
scenario now needs total change. The country is on the brink of
disaster. However, various facilities such as luxury cars, trips
abroad and pension status after five years etc., have been provided
to members of Parliament. There is no doubt that these facilities
have been provided to enable them to make their contribution efficiently
and effectively to serve the country better. I do not think that
these individuals, if re-elected, could carry the country forward,
particularly when we are confident that they do not have the capacity,
ability, honesty, integrity and commitment for the purpose.
late Ven. Gangodawila Soma Thera is one who would always be remembered
for the services he rendered to the people. The Buddha's teachings
offer a wide-ranging conception of the human being as a complex
entity having a diversity of needs which all must be met to ensure
happiness and well-being. These needs fall into a well defined hierarchy
of importance, which we might here consider as threefold. At the
base of the hierarchy is the physical need of the basic requisite
of existence: clothing, food, a comfortable dwelling, medical care,
transportation, energy, tools and so forth. At the next level are
social needs: for education, family, friendship and personal intimacy,
participation in a community, and meaningful work. At the highest
level are spiritual needs: for moral rectitude, mental development
and wise understanding of the true natural life.
is therefore, important that a social order guided by Buddhist principles
would create opportunities for all these needs to be satisfied and
would see that no one is frustrated in their aspirations to lead
a contented life.
Buddhist social order will ensure that all members of society are
able to satisfy their material needs. Buddhism encourages restraint,
simplicity and contentment and it promotes a fair distribution of
basic necessities so that no one has to suffer deprivation. In the
Sigalovada Sutta, the Lord Buddha has minutely defined the reciprocal
duties of parents and children, husband and wife, employer and employee,
friend and friend, teacher and students, monks and laity.
in a sound and healthy social order spiritual vision will guide
the formulation of economic and social policy. In a Buddhist social
order, based on Buddhist teachings, with a final goal of attaining
Nibbana, true Buddhist virtues would play a dominant part in developing
a social organization favourable to all with no extravagant benefits
to a few and considerable misery and deprivation to a majority.
Since we have not resorted to improving our social pattern, we are
yet a third world nation.
appears, therefore, after years of destruction, even mayhem and
murder, the Sangha now comes with an all important message to all
Sri Lankans irrespective of their religion. The Sangha, I have no
doubt, will represent all peoples and all religions. I feel confident
that particularly those monks who have joined the fray and earned
the highest respect of the masses, are eminently suitable to create
an impact in Parliament to pressurize politicians to think of the
country first without running the country into further ruin and
to the Editor' should be brief and to the point.
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