By V. Kanthaiya –
Dearest HLD Mahindapala Sir,
I read your letter addressed to me in Colombo Telegraph and this is in reply to that.
I have requested the Colombo Telegraph to publish this personal letter on their website since I was not able to obtain your address and I believe most Colombo Telegraph Readers, other than you, will not read this since this is addressed to you.
First of all, it was a great honour to be written a letter by a living legend like you Sir. After all, I am an amateur. Please be kind enough to accept my heartfelt gratitude for that privilege you have given to me.
At the same time, I was saddened by the fact that you have identified me as an unpatriotic, Tamil Nationalist, pro west and pro power devolution element supporting the hypothetical good governance concept in Sri Lanka. It is completely wrong, sir. We both are in the same team. You must be definitely confused about this. So please be kind enough to let me explain everything from the beginning.
Dear Sir, V. Kanthaiya Stands for Vallipuram Kanthaiya not for Vattukoatai Kanthaiya and I was born quite recently, in 1986. I work for a corporate company as a Business Analyst, for a fixed monthly salary, which will increase only once a year despite whatever increases in my workload during the period. Every day, morning to evening and mostly to late night, my job is to analyse businesses and tell my boss whether the business will be profitable or not, and if not, I am supposed to make recommendations on how to make them profitable.
Once during my analysis about industries in Sri Lanka, I found one which gives an enormous rate of return for zero investment. Now you would be quite interested to know what it is. Hold on for a while.
Let me ask you a question. Did you know about this Venerable Galagoda Attegnanasara Thero, whom most “True Sri Lankans” consider a Godsend, sent to protect the cattle from the Muslim community, before the halal issue? Of course, I don’t believe he came down from the heavens, in 2011 to protect the cattle. He must have existed long before that. But after he founded the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) and started his peaceful protests to protect the cattle and the citizens of this country from halal food, he became a major figure in Sri Lanka politics. Right before the 2015 presidential election, Ven. Galagoda Attegnanasara Thero was a man of wealth and fame and still he is.
Have you ever known Wimalasiri Gamlath, a political columnist who shared even his shirts and trousers with two of his roommates? Probably not. He is now called Comrade Wimal Weerawansa. Have you heard the names Wasantha Bandara and Dr. Gunadasa Amerasekara before 2010? Perhaps very rarely. But now these people are guardians of our motherland. They are national celebrities. They are men of fame and perhaps they can be men of wealth too (of which I am not sure).
How did these people achieve prominence in our society? Well, this was the interesting question I was asking myself. If you have watched Hollywood movies (with respect, I don’t mean those nameless adult educational movies you watch for self actualization), you would have observed that most of the blockbuster movies are based on alien invasions and Godzilla attacks, because people always want to feel the thrill of being attacked. So Hollywood entertainers have used the concept of the mighty Godzilla attack and alien invasion of the USA, as a key theme in their movies.
In Sri Lanka, the entertainment industry is not technically capable of producing these Godzilla and alien invasion movies and the cost would be extremely high in comparison to the target market. However, our intellectuals have found the Sri Lankan version of Godzilla and aliens, who are none other than the Tamils and Muslims of this country. I have mentioned some human names in the above paragraphs. These people are the inventors of our own Godzilla attack and alien invasion stories. These intellectuals created the Tamil Aliens who invade Sri Lanka from Jaffna (and also from Tamil Nadu due to the emotional, psychological osmosis) and the Muslim Godzilla which prey on cattle.
The Sri Lankan version of the Godzilla attack and alien invasion (Tamil and Muslim invasion) stories are mainly used to entertain the masses in the political arena rather than the conventional entertainment media. I believe that is reasonable. For example, just imagine, would you go and listen to a political rally in Kolonnawa where the speakers talk only about the paradigm shift necessitated in our country’s foreign, fiscal, monetary and health care policy; even if you are paid with a parcel of fried rice with chicken and a 250 ml arrack bottle?
Later I observed both print and electronic media also provide the same Muslim Godzilla attack and alien Tamil invasion stories to entertain the masses. These are termed political columns and the pioneers and dominant players of this industry are none other than Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka, C A Chandraprema, Rajpal Abeynayake (now he has forgotten his office address by mistake and because of that appears not to be working there anymore), Shenali Waduge and above all, the eminent intellectual H L D Mahindapala (That’s you sir).
At this point, I also wanted to try my luck in this entertainment industry and I started it with a letter praising Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka for the great service he has done to protect the country. But it ended up in a disaster. To my greatest dismay, all the pro-west, neo Zionist, neo separatist Eelamists have branded my letter to Dr. D J as a satire, but in reality it is a serious letter praising Dr D J.
Pro-West, Pro-hypothetical “yahapalanaye” elements keep on portraying you and Dr D J as Sinhala Buddhist ultra nationalist/racist. But I know, Sir, what you all are doing is entertaining the masses who need the intoxication from nationalism/racism.
I can prove this by a simple logic. Does an arrack shop owner needs to be an alcoholic to sell the arrack? Does a “kudu” muthalali need to be a drug addict to to do his “kudu” business? No. Then why does society (or the Colombo Telegraph readers) think you are an ultra nationalist/racist? I believe this is a great injustice done to the leading entertainers like you and Dr D J.
Once my marketing management lecturer explained to me the features of this and also proved that the Victory celebrations of May 2009 are not a show of racial supremacy. He asked me the following set of questions and answered them as well. “Can we wage war against india or Pakistan and win?” No, because they are nuclear powers and they can simply destroy our country in seconds.
“Can we wage war against smaller countries like Maldives, Mauritius and Singapore and win?” No, because the regional superpowers will intervene and nail us. We pompously celebrated victory over the LTTE, despite the fact that the organization was completely outnumbered, outgunned and most of its cadres are child recruits; because it is the one and only war we can ever win.
Certainly we are not going to wage any war in the future and we are not going to win any. So why miss the chance to celebrate? This is nothing to do with ethnic relations. Take this example. Our people are still talking about our victory in the 1996 Cricket World Cup and we still call ourselves the undefeated cricket world champions. No matter we had four One Day International (ODI) world cup matches after 1996 and we couldn’t win any. We want to be victorious. We want to be triumphant. We want to feel that we are better than others for whatsoever reasons or even for no reason. This is the reason why we are fighting with the already dead Prabhakaran in our political (entertainment) columns.
My lecturer also noted how much we are desperate to be victorious deep in our mindset. He asked me another set of questions. “Have you observed when our cricket team is completely nailed by Australia, South Africa or India and lose the entire tour, we immediately schedule another tour with countries like Zimbabwe, Kenya and Bangladesh? We go to these countries and nail these cricket teams and create world records and then say, “We did it because we are lions”.
Another interesting point my lecturer made is that even though our nationalist/racist entertainment industry curses the LTTE, Prabhakaran and the Tamil Diaspora whenever and wherever possible, the industry can’t survive without them.
The person who benefited the most and was worst affected by the destruction of the LTTE is none other than our former president Mahinda Rajapaksa. He benefitted in the 2010 election because people considered him as the one who defeated the LTTE and in 2015 he lost because people forgot the LTTE, and considered him as the one who built the Hambantota Harbour and the Mattale Airport.
Perhaps Mahinda Rajapaksa could have won the 2015 presidential election if he had put up mega size cutouts of Prabhakaran (not Mr. Prabhakaran) with a caption below, “Do you still remember this person?” Unfortunately, Mr. Rajapaksa put up his own mega cutouts with his typical smile which everyone hated, and he lost the presidential election. So the theory is this. We need the LTTE, Prabhakaran and the Tamil Diaspora to entertain people.
So far our nationalist/racist entertainment industry has grown in leaps and bounds as people in the country were identifying themselves as Sinhalese or Tamils or Muslims, not as Sri Lankans. However, there is an evolving dangerous general public behaviour. These days people send their children to “international schools” to study in the English medium despite the fact they love to be Sinhalese or Tamil or Muslim and by this, they expect their children would be able to get job opportunities in the international labour market or migrate to another country, in the future.
On the other hand the Tamil youth, who were once willing to give their life for Tamil Eelam, no longer bother about that. Instead they are willing to give their life for a boat ride to Australia or even Canada. It seems our society does not want to identify itself in seclusion and is in the process of preparing itself to integrate with the rest of the world. This is a major threat to our nationalist/racist entertainment industry and this can even completely wipe it out. Because, given people think they are part of the world, not part of a religion or ethnicity, they will not find nationalism/racism entertaining them anymore.
Now our industry depends on intellectuals like you, Dr D J and Malinda Seneviratne (and of course on Rajpal Abeynayake) for its survival and growth. It is your collective responsibility to take it to the next generation sir.
I thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me this opportunity to write to you and request you to be kind enough to bless me for my further industry analysis.
With infinite scale of respect,
P.S: The donkey I have is a die-hard fan of yours and wants to meet you for a discussion on the future of our motherland.