23 October, 2017

Can This Soup Be Re-Cooked Anew?

By Kusal Perera

Kusal Perera

Kusal Perera

Me with Dr. Udan Fernando were on a long haul to a remote area beyond Kurunegala and on the outskirts of Anuradhapura district, spending time from Friday afternoon, till Saturday afternoon. Roughly about 20 hours in all. A 65 rupee bus ride takes one to this area from Kurunegala town. The ordinary villager there does not often travel to Kurunegala. The closest town and the turn off is Madagalla, beyond Ibbagamuwa, if travelling to the area. The 40 mns drive from Kurunegala, passes through patches of Muslim resident areas seemingly peaceful and co-existing with large and densely populated Sinhala areas for many generations gone by.

This Divisional Secretary’s office of Polpithigama with 82 “Grama Niladhari” divisions, has an exceptional promise for residents on service delivery. Its official website last updated on 30 June, 2011 says, for those who wish to apply for the national identity card, “countersigning of residency certificates” is done within 03 (not 05) minutes. If relevant application is tendered for “dry rations”, the card is issued in 10 minutes. A license to transport animals is issued in 30 minutes and if recommended by the Excise Department, a liquor license is issued in just 02 hours. There are plenty other services that are done, or at least said to be done in 02, 03, 04 hours and some in 01, 02 or 03 days.

That possibly is “virtual life” of Polpithigama. For it is accepted by many in Kurunegala as the worst complicated and degenerated division in whole of their district. That being one major reason for the two of us to roam the area. Just to see what really ails there, more than what we have seen and heard, elsewhere.

Saturday was “Esala poya” holiday and therefore a completely dry day, officially. Esala poya in the area had many “Dan Selas” (free alms giving centres organised by local communities). We passed a “Roti Dansela”, “Ice Cream Dansela”,  “Fruit Drink Dansela” and a “Fried Rice Dansela”. On our way we were stopped almost every few kilometres by youth waving “saffron flags” requesting us to patronise their danselas. Some seemed very popular, where people, mostly as whole families, queued long and waited a long time too for a free lunch. The whole Sinhala society was mobilised.

This wasn’t a popular trend during Esala poya, years before. What was most important for the Buddhists in Sri Lanka was Wesak, the poya day that saw the birth of Prince Siddhartha, attainment of enlightenment (Nirvana) and then Lord Buddha’s death (parinirvana). Poson poya becomes significant for the reason that Buddhism was brought to ancient Lanka by monk, Arahath Mahinda on a Poson poya day. These two poya days therefore became important in the Sri Lankan calendar, and were celebrated with national festivals. For Poson poya, the attraction was Anuradhapura. People from most districts flocked to Anuradhapura to worship the most sacred Sri Maha Bodhiya and other Buddhist places of worship.

Esala poya has its significance over many historical events that also relates to ancient Lanka, but were not taken as important as Wesak and Poson in the past, for public celebrations.  Yet now, it is. Possibly over the past years, where anti Muslim campaigns and protests were organised on Sinhala Buddhist platforms, Sinhala Buddhist mobilising takes to any event that could be used for asserting authority on society. That perhaps is reason, Esala poya is also taken over by Sinhala Buddhist youth to project a Sinhala Buddhist public identity. Small Buddhist temples in these areas have been playing a catalytic role over the past few years, we were told.

Those who get on the streets with saffron flags are raw youth and most are organised by new rich traders with affiliations to the local or provincial leader of this regime and young army soldiers from those villages. Their tone of request to stop and patronise danselas are not often polite, but one that asserts authority. Over all, the distance from Polpithigama to Kurunegala, with the spread of small and varied “danselas” showed a new wave of Buddhist indulgence in society with an authority that they rule the area. (Udan may have his own interpretation on this.)

The question that remains unanswered is, does this Buddhist indulgence during these events, ever impact positively on their own rural society ? What positive impact do they have, beyond organising these free servings of meals in “danselas” ? There are complications, complexities and contradictions that in every way negate this popular Buddhist indulgence in these societies. Polpithigama is one classic example.

Here is a Sinhala Buddhist society. Here’s where the famous Mahamevuna monastry is, established in 1999 for promotion of Buddhism. There are 03 Pirivenas where novice monks learn.  And here is a Sinhala Buddhist society that marks all social evils in a single package. Speaking to teachers, medical staff in the district hospital, Samurdhi staff in the field and some small time grocery shop owners, reveals how pathetic the life is, in Polpithigama. There are over 51 schools in the area, of which one is a national school, 09 Maha Vidyalayas and a Central College. Polpithigama, Wellawa and Gokarella police stations oversee the area.

Of the total population of 88,400 and more in Polpithigama, a record high of over 07 per cent has never been to school, according to the DS Division web site. Over 36 per cent has only been to Grade 05 or below. Only 4.98 per cent has reached G.C.E O/L or year 11 in school.    This is a wild elephant roaming area that is marked high with Chronic Kidney Disease unidentified (CKDu), under age marriages, incest and sexual abuse of children, significant high school drop out rate especially among female children, female migrant labour, drug peddling and drug addiction.

Is there any resistant or protest against any of them among school principals, teachers, parents and others in this area, almost totally Buddhist ? There are a few of course, who feel disturbed seeing what’s happening, but are unable to intervene for a new change. Their story is terrifying and scary. Every evil is the product of another and can not ever be singled out as one that needs to be prioritised in finding a solution. Migrant labour of young women if singled out, has no answer. Who can ask them to stay over ? They have no regular livelihood in this rural economy that could ensure at least a minimal quality in life. Rural economy is not being developed to accommodate them with decent incomes, despite what Treasury boss and Central Bank Governor say about economic development. They in fact shamelessly count on remittances totalling over 30 per cent of foreign earnings annually to shore up the economy, from these helpless young women who go out as housemaids for 150 dollars a month.

They leave devastated families back home. Husbands often turn out as “moon shiners” and the little girl turning into her first teen, has to replace the mother in every way. Thereafter most little girls turn to any they see as custodians. They need affection. But most often, they are not aware, where affection ends and pregnancies begin. Some also start enjoying this perverted life. Some get thrown from one relationship to another. A few such skirmishes in borrowed beds, they obviously end out of school and at times in pregnancy.

Then comes the young post war soldier into this wild society. Just over his teens and with no responsibility in life, they are into many vices in the village. Well, they have a permanent income, unlike most others. Don’t blame them. They are from a bloody and a brutal war, knows little of civil life and have never been given an organised, programmed opportunity to re socialise. They fit in perfect into this society that has consensual sex and at a begging. School drop outs wanting partners for their unguided desires and reasons, though under age. And a society where drugs are rarely in short supply as most villagers say, with local politics also stepping in. Drugs is such a menace teachers claim, boys in grades 09, 10, 11 and above, some time come to school partially drugged, sit stiff and silent all through day. Complaints to police is no answer, they say. It is the school boy who would end up in remand, and not the pedlar.

These are not uncommon in most dry zone villages. From CKDu to incest, to sexual abuse, under age marriages and pregnancies, school drop outs and drug peddling, are now common in dry zone rural life. Yet, it is the scale of all the negatives in Polpithigama that makes it terrifying to listen to all the stories one is told. They can not be exaggerations. No, they can not be, for the Divisional Director of Education, Ms. P.M. Seelawathie, in her message to the official website (http://www.mazone.sch.lk/web/index.php/divisions/polpithigama.html)  of Maho-Zonal Education office writes, (quote) It is a great draw-back to develop the qualitative education, for the indigence (indifference ?) of the people, increasing number of destroyed family bonds, and also most of parents and students are with a few expectations. We have to work with the students who have been isolated as a result of the parents in abroad. Most of the students have faced different type of health problems and infectious diseases. So it is very difficult to motivate them to get qualitative Education…..Except those things we have to observe and find remedies for the monetary cheating, child abuses , different types of disciplinary problems and quarrelsome occasions. Some times we have to face great problems.(unquote)

But what I need an answer for is, how a local Sinhala Buddhist society that harness all energy for Buddhist events, participate in “alms givings” and “dan selas”, get along with all these illicit and illegal living ? How can they continue to live with morally unjustified and unquestioned illicit life, without any serious objections and protests ? A society that goes about asserting Buddhist authority even in public life, in theory, can not continue to tolerate and accommodate such vices and indecency. Especially when children and young girls fall victim and are not questioned why and how it happens. How would one reconcile the two ? Buddhism and this ever ignored tragedy ?

It seems now, the average Buddhist society is willing to live with anything immoral, unethical and uncivilised. Buddhism and ensuing tragedy, living with comfort and unabated in Polpithigama, amply demonstrates, this is what we would end up with in Sinhala South. Casinos, gaming centres, tourist complexes that bring in cheap sex and drugs, all dotting the landscape along the coast and main cities, as development. They seem to be compatible and profitable to those who decide how we should develop. But where or when would this soup end brimming hot ? Can it ever be cooked again and anew, as something palatable in a decent, civilised society ? I am waiting for answers !

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Latest comments

  • 6
    1

    It is pathetic to hear how the rural Sinhala Buddhist society has degenerated. Buddhism has become a mere slogan.

    • 3
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      I am surprised that there aren’t many comments on an important observation by Kusal Perera, either to dispute these or to confirm them.

  • 3
    4

    So you and Udan Fernando the guy who works for a European Christian evangelical organisation are looking to spread your disease eh?

    I suppose you have a ‘solution’ for incest ridden, poverty stricken, amoral Buddhist population.

    It did not to figure out what the game was with only a little digging around the Internet.

    • 1
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      So you tell, only Buddhists do good work. Christians and others do conspiracy work? Mental illness you must take counseling or meditation
      Amarnath

  • 2
    2

    I was more than disturbed about this story. The author has asked several questions at the end. I have no doubt that most of the questions are valid when they refer to the so-called development in cities and particularly in Colombo with “casinos, gambling centers, tourist complexes that bring cheap sex and drugs” etc. etc. as the author explains. But his main story is about the compatibility or incompatibility between ‘Sinhala Buddhism’ and such ‘evil’ or decadent developments based on an ‘anthropological style’ narrative of Polpithidgama. After referring to migrant labor of young women from that village, the author comes up with the following paragraph among several of similar comments or stories.

    “They leave devastated families back home. Husbands often turn out as “moon shiners” and the little girl turning into her first teen, has to replace the mother in every way. Thereafter most little girls turn to any they see as custodians. They need affection. But most often, they are not aware, where affection ends and pregnancies begin. Some also start enjoying this perverted life. Some get thrown from one relationship to another. A few such skirmishes in borrowed beds, they obviously end out of school and at times in pregnancy.”

    The relish way the descriptions are made is also not very tasteful or ethical. But how come that the author travelling through the village, as he says, “from Friday afternoon, till Saturday afternoon. Roughly about 20 hours in all” had come to this dramatic generalizations and conclusions? He does mention “speaking to teachers, medical staff in the district hospital, Samurdhi staff in the field and some small time grocery shop owners.” But from my field research experiences, this is an incredible number of interviews within that time frame.

    My main point is this: If this is the way that some are going to challenge the extremist resurgence of Sinhala Buddhism, I disagree. Cock and bull stories are not going to work. Religion is something one has to handle very carefully.

    • 3
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      Dr. Laksiri Fernando ,

      We know that you and Kusal Perera are good Sinhalese men of conscience, but why attack KP on a mere technical point?

      Hcould have collected the data earlier, and took the trip to reconfirm and fine tune his findings.

      Instead of finding fault with him, have you got concrete data to disprove what he said? If so, let us all know.

      What KP says is a serious matter that you must also look into if you were to reform the Sinhala Buddhist society.

      • 0
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        Thiru,

        To consider my comment as an ‘attack’ on KP is to misinterpret free speech or free debate. However, I was very conscious in distancing myself from that kind of a critique on popular Buddhism or any religion. Are you asking me to ‘shut up’ if I don’t have counter data? If the presented data or narrative is incredible one should point it out. My comment was not merely on a technical point. It is very clear from what I have quoted and my comment on it. I repeat what I have said finally.

        “My main point is this: If this is the way that some are going to challenge the extremist resurgence of Sinhala Buddhism, I disagree. Cock and bull stories are not going to work. Religion is something one has to handle very carefully.”

        • 1
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          Dr. Laksiri Fernando,

          Please don’t get me wrong I have no religious afflictions, but I believe that religions are dogmas that impede human thinking and progress.

          My point is that if it is found that a particular society is deviating from the right direction to have healthy progress for its own good, then something must be done to rectify it by the society itself, that’s all I mean.

          Sorry if I have interpreted otherwise.

    • 0
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      Dear Dr Laksiri Sir;

      I am an O /l Educated, Buddhist Sinhalese from east of sri lanka, And I have a fair knowledge of English But have good knowledge of our Sri Lankan Society.
      Because I am belong to the lower middle class of our society.

      As you say, Your main point is this:
      ” If this is the way that some are going to challenge the extremist resurgence of Sinhala Buddhism, I disagree. Cock and bull stories are not going to work. Religion is something one has to handle very carefully”.

      For my little knowledge I understand and I think, that Mr Kusal is trying to give some of his observations to masses to Think over in that rural area,
      What ever the Motivation he had or having is not concern of mine or others.
      And I do not know who is this Mr kusal Is, But
      I have my own Experiences like Mr Kusal had, when I was Passing through Galnewa, Negama Rambe, Nagollagama, Hiripitiya with in . 1- 2 hours,
      and That smell of perspiration of those people is admirable as they are our nation’s Back bone, but nobody cares.
      I hope you may try that, and have a “taste of Paradise” and a “taste Chinthanaya” If you can visit Eastern villages of Trinco and Baticoloa also. Like Horowpothana, Moraweva, Kahatagasdigiliya, Sungavila, Kanthale Seruvila Like.
      And you are going in searching of the “descriptions are made is also very tasteful or ethical”.
      My dear sir,
      What ethicality or taste you are looking from Reality and True Facts.
      Have you ever heard of a begging cry from a Lone, Starving, Tortured, Village mother in Middle east..
      What a piteous?.

      “To challenge the extremist resurgence of Sinhala Buddhism”,
      As I do not have any clue about ” Sinhala Buddhism”.
      Could you elaborate that “Sinhala Buddhism”.

      As I am a Buddhist and some of My teachers are Venerable Divulapitye Wimalarathana Thero, and Venerable Daramitipola Rathanasaara Thero,
      Late Venerable Sumedahnkare thero of Seruvila RajamahaVihara Did not tell me any thing called Sinhala Buddhism, But Universal accepted Philosophy Called “Buddhism” Only.
      May be you are referring to Rajapassa or Gota baya Buddhism.
      Which is Preaching Violence and Telling the Followers to Bring a Bottle of petrol and a sword to temple,
      instead of Basket of flowers and Coconut oil lamps to offer for the respect of Great Teacher LORD BUDDHAH.

      Dear Sir, For your Info;
      Some times Cock and bull stories are going to get work.
      ultimate Result may be good or Bad.
      But Some time it will work.
      As an Example ALUTHGAMA Rajapassa, Gothabaya saga.

      “Religion is something one has to handle very carefully”.
      May be, handling With Religions?.
      But We are believers of a Great Philosophy of a Great philosopher,
      Ever Born in this Universe.
      Not believers of a Religion.
      That is the difference You have mingled with .
      Please Enlighten our intelligences with your intellectuality.

      For Mr Kusal, DO NOT WAIT FOR ANSWERS,
      Because, we are Answerable to all those problems.
      As WE MADE THIS SOUP, and it is Rancid and spoiled.

  • 0
    0

    Waiting for answers? Did you get a reply to one you wrote to the Elections
    Commissioner sometime back – have you followed it up please?

    Dan selas are a Poya-day pass-time and a monk-regulated festival. This should not be read with day-to-day village life, whether they be Buddhists
    or Muslims?

  • 0
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    I feel CT editors should attach a Sinhala translation of all articles so the ‘Gus Gembaas’ who pick a line or two do not get carried away and attempt to insult the author instead of grasping the message.

    Dr. Fernando, it does not matter whether the author spent two days or two weeks researching his article. He has explained his insights and opinions quite well. When are you going to get off your arse and take a bus to Kurunegala or elsewhere to do the same? Ahhh! that’s not going to happen now, is it?

    Our problem is that we like to scape-goat others. We have managed to get away with it for the last couple of centuries. Does’nt matter that we are a bunch of free-loader’s looking for the next ride!

    Look around you. Everything around you, everything you have benefited from, were created by the British. The Public education, Health Services, Education system, the moribund SLAS, the road and railways. You think us Modayas could have figured that out on our own. Seriously!

    The Brits had their selfish reasons for creating the structures they left behind. What wwere our reasons for keeping them, and not changing or improving any of them ? Sheer laziness and stupidity ?

    Today, rural Sri Lanka has a multitude of socio-economic problems that no one is addressing and it will eventually bite us all in..you know where! Families who enjoyed self-sustenance for generations are selling their meager land holdings to enroll their children into diploma mills, so they can go abroad. The eventual success ratios have never been researched so no one knows what the down-sides of that phenomenon might be. Mr. Perera has documented some of the ills from Mid-East labor migration. I was not aware of the schooling disaster with the much touted 98% literacy rate quote still much alive.

    So, there is some thinking that must happen. That must happen within ourselves. Don’t expect mutts like SB Dissanayake to do that for you.

    • 1
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      Upul,

      You are absolutely correct about all the good infrastructure we enjoy – they were built up by the British, Dutch and the Portuguese. Let’s face facts: In science, technology and medicine Europeans are in the forefront for the last 500 years. All three of them were super powers at one time.

      If you look all around Sri Lanka it’s them who brought us creature comforts. We didn’t even have proper toilets before the Europeans came.

      For 66 years what did the political leaders do other than to start racial and religious strife? Very little. Most of the village folks, Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims live in abject poverty with no proper sanitation, water, shelter or other basic needs. Even food has become hard to get for these people.

      Somebody has to lead to start to reform the society and bring up the poor masses to decent life.

      There is no point in pretending that everything is fine, and blame those who bring these up as traitors who bring disgrace to the country.

  • 0
    1

    Kusal Perera (KP) has made a huge leap from being a political commentator to amateur social researcher and analyst. Why he was on the ‘long haul’ to Polpithigama is explained in terms of that “many in Kurunegala” have identified Polpithigama “ as the worst complicated and degenerated division in whole of their district….. Just to see what really ails there, more than what we have seen and heard, elsewhere.”! Why did the due went to K’gala to begin with is not mentioned. Living in Colombo I suppose, just ended up there like that for no reason?

    So, KP encounters many a dansela on this journey. In observing what is going on KP comes up with gems of sentences like this “The whole Sinhala society was mobilised.” KP offers an explanation for the offering of danselas on such a scale in connection with Esala poya.: “Possibly over the past years, where anti-Muslim campaigns and protests were organised on Sinhala Buddhist platforms, Sinhala Buddhist mobilising takes to any event that could be used for asserting authority on society. That perhaps is reason.” Isn’t this pure conjecture? So, is this a national phenomenon due to the reasons KP hypothecates? Is there any evidence as such? Why correlate this to anti-Muslim sentiments? Have there been any Muslim-Buddhist clashes in the area? KP goes on to say that “Small Buddhist temples in these areas have been playing a catalytic role over the past few years, we were told.” In promoting Danselas? In what manner? Usually are temples involved in organizing danselas? In what manner? What possibly are the reasons behind the situation in Polpithigama?

    Then KP claims that “Those who get on the streets with saffron flags are raw youth” (his observation) “ and “ most are organised by new rich traders with affiliations to the local or provincial leader of this regime and young army soldiers from those villages.” KP goes on to note that “their tone of request to stop and patronise danselas are not often polite, but one that asserts authority “ and concludes that over all this phenomenon of danselas “ showed a new wave of Buddhist indulgence in society with an authority that they rule the area.”

    We are not told what are his sources for gathering the background information beyond his own observations. Even if this information is correct, the conclusion Perera arrives on the basis of such information is a huge leap from data to theory. Is it a new wave of Buddhist indulgence in society or mere political assertion of political powers in society? To make one visit to an area which is totally unknown to the writer and jump into conclusions regarding the “waves” and the motivations of the participants, smacks of positivist social research where the “researcher” believes (generally with substantive data, but in this case observations made in in one mere trip) that with his knowledge he understands the reality out there.
    Then KP begins to extrapolate from his encounter to pass judgment on the social and moral character of the society under his observation. He asks the question “does this Buddhist indulgence during these events, ever impact positively on their own rural society ?” Now, if the danselas are organized by a combination of traders and local politicians and soldiers ( are they in uniform ? Or if not how many soldiers would take leave and come to organize danselas? one wonders.) as KP claims then how on earth one would expect it to have a correlation to and to have a positive impact on society in Buddhist terms?

    Any cursory inquiry into the nature of organization of danselas in a given locality will show that it is a social phenomenon associated with the notion of dana and it is those who are in a position to donate from their wealth (generally traders with the blessings of local politicians ) takes the lead while for many danselas donations are collected from the public, wealthy and not so wealthy. Many who want to assert their identity through such events naturally take part and local social divisions political and otherwise naturally play a role.

    KP thus embarks on a mission to unravel the “complications, complexities and contradictions” that he claims “in every way negate” “popular Buddhist indulgence in these societies.” Note the terminology which betrays a mind made up rather than one searching for answers. .His object is Polpithigama which is an area consisting of 82 “Grama Niladhari” divisions.

    He concludes that “Here is a Sinhala Buddhist society that marks all social evils in a single package. “ Speaking to his informants such as (now we are told ) “teachers, medical staff in the district hospital, Samurdhi staff in the field and some small time grocery shop owners,” he arrives at the conclusion that it “reveals how pathetic the life is, in Polpithigama.” Now this is a tremendous achievement. All these data KP gathered “spending time from Friday afternoon, till Saturday afternoon. Roughly about 20 hours in all.” Leaving aside time for sleep, and ablutions and toilet use, even if the research is assumed to have conducted while having meals, tea etc. and while travelling within Polpithigama, one could ask KP how many hours out of these 20 hours did he spend in talking to informants gathering information and to how many? for how long with each person? That is the amount of time he spent in this area made up of 82 “Grama Niladhari” divisions to arrive at his conclusions. How far and wide did he travel within these 82 Grama Nildhari divisions, or 379.4 square km.?

    KP gives us statistical data with regard to educational achievements in the district (and they are no doubt dismal) taken from the Divisional secretariat website and the data are for the year 2002. The source of data is not given on the web site. We are not sure whether the situation has improved or not between 2002 and now.
    In the same paragraph that KP reproduces data on educational levels, he goes on to make the connection to the prevalence of CKDu and “under age marriages, incest and sexual abuse of children, significant high school dropout rate especially among female children, female migrant labour, drug peddling and drug addiction” none of which is supported by any data or sources.

    Looking for resistance or protest against the ills identified above KP says there are a few “who feel disturbed seeing what’s happening, but are unable to intervene for a new change “ but they are also unable to prioritise the problems to find a solution, as if it is so easy to find solutions to such “social problems” . Mothers migrating abroad for labour is identified as the key factor giving rise to many of the evils identified above. It looks like a situation ripe for civil society or NGO intervention.

    Then, KP for a moment flirts with the idea of making a bigger jump from Polpithigama to generalize his findings to “most dry zone villages” to “dry zone rural life” but wisely decides to take a step back and stay with Polpithigama.

    The stories KP hears in Polpithigama cannot be exaggerations in his view, as the Divisional Director of Education, Ms. P.M. Seelawathie, herself has recorded similar impressions on her web page. Indifference of the people, “ increasing number of destroyed family bonds,” “most of parents and students” having a few expectations. She also identifies migration of parents abroad for labour as the root cause of the problem. We have no way of quantifying Ms. Seelawathie’s sense of various aspects of the situation she describes. No doubt being an education administrator with a task at hand she finds the situation abysmal and therefore possibly tends towards generalizations that may not do justice to reality.

    The final summing up question KP is looking an answer for is in my view misleading. He compares proliferation of danselas with “all these illicit and illegal living” and questions their coexistence.
    The simple answer is that the danselas nowadays have nothing to do being Buddhist in a principled sense except originating from the concept of dana, if that is what KP wants to assert.

    If the question is why the people who give danselas do nothing about the prevailing hopeless ‘illicit’ and ‘illegal living as KP calls it, there can be several answers. They are simply not interested as their interest is in making headway in society by making money, entering politics and so on. Obviously there is no one in this society to object and protest. Polpithigama is identified as the poorest and hence the most backward area in the entire district.

    The issue is not about morality and illicit nature of the life the people are said to live. There are much worse immoral and illicit things happening all over the country.

    The issue is really about how these so-called immoral and illegal acts of these people affect their ability to live a reasonably decent human life, with basic needs fulfilled, and with an education that empower them for social mobility.

    KP’s concern with vice, indecency may be a question aimed at those Buddhists who go on preaching to the world about morality and decency etc.

    If KP’s intention is to draw attention to the plight of the hapless people of whom he has heard in Polpithigama it is commendable.However, to get a true picture of what is going on in Polpithigama we need to get a grip on the situation beyond journalistic impressions. The objection is to the attempt to generalize, on the basis of very limited personal observations and talking to a few informants, on a large population living across a large area of land without substantive hard data, quantitative or qualitative. More importantly, the conclusive connection KP is trying to make between Buddhism and the plight of the people in Polpithigama he has observed is dubious to say the least.

  • 1
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    Buddhism did not establish itself in Sri Lanka because the islands inhabitants appreciated it but because it was shoved down their throats as a mark of th4ir acceptance of Asokan suzerainty that prevails to this day. The have no clue as to what buddhism is and they use it as a vehicle of authoritarian oppression which is how it is used upon them and which is all they consequently understand it to be.

    Behind this buddhist name board what we find is fascism pure and simple. One this is realized the island will be abandoned unless it has some significance for the global future in which case its inhabitants will be wiped out and the island re colonized by civilized humans.

  • 0
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    DR. Laksiri Fernanado
    I assume Kusal is not a trained sociologist, so his observations are nothing more than what an ordinary journalist does on day to day basis. Nonetheless when he says that ”Of the total population of 88,400 and more in Polpithigama, a record high of over 07 per cent has never been to school, according to the DS Division web site. Over 36 per cent has only been to Grade 05 or below. Only 4.98 per cent has reached G.C.E O/L or year 11 in school.” that is revealing.

  • 0
    0

    Going about taking this article apart is a waste of time. I suspect the these long diatribes challenging the data and questioning the conclusions etc etc is done by those who do not want to admit that there is anything wrong in what is going on in the Sinhalese Buddhist society of this area. The plight of the villager is dire. That is a fact. The common mechanisms of coping are to join the armed forces hence the prevalence of young battle hardened soldiers or to send the females usually the mothers off to the middle east. Besides these two methods what is there left? One can join the Rajapakshe goonda gangs in support of the local politician(Thug) or engage in some other kind of illegal activity such as drug peddling, prostitution etc. All of this is then covered up by the local clergy not of the old vintage but of the new BBS vintage and whom do they blame for plight of the Sinhalese villager? It is the other i.e. the Muslim, the Christian etc. This is exactly what the Nazis did in Germany. It is what a socially and morally bankrupt leadership does to society to maintain their hegemony over them. You can live in denial and go on questioning the messenger of accept reality and try to do something about it.

    • 0
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      Thank you to you “Pakshe”. Can’t think of anything more to add. K.Perera raised issue to discuss. People discuss about KP method. I agree with you totally.
      Amarnath S.

      • 1
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        I am still surprised that not many commentators have entered the fray: It were a topic about Tamils, LTTE, or the war crimes accusations there will be dozens of them arguing for or against.

        It appears that most of these commentators are apathetic to what is going in the Sinhalese society, let alone the others.

        It is not a healthy sign when a person with conscience like Kusul brings up perceived deficiencies in the society and their is not much interest in the matter.

        That itself speaks for the state of the society.

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