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Dear President Rajapaksa, Bring Back The Universities To Its Early Glory

By Gananath Obeyesekere

Prof. Gananath Obeysekera

Prof. Gananath Obeysekere

His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapaksa,

The President Socialist Democratic Republic of Sri Lanka,

Office of the President,

Temple Trees,

150 Galle Road,

Colombo 3,

Sri Lanka.

Dear President Rajapaksa,

I was a twice-born Fulbright scholar, not twice born in the classical Hindu sense but as one who has had two memorable creative periods as a Fulbright scholar.  The first Fulbright award was when I was a young and naïve student in 1956 but it helped transform my intellectual life as an anthropologist.  And then much later in 1993-94 as a senior scholar on leave from Princeton University but by now recognized as a well-known but somewhat controversial anthropologist interested in both the theoretical aspects of my discipline alongside my concern with Sri Lankan society and culture, especially in Buddhism in its complex history and practice.  I had graduated from the University of Ceylon (now the University of Peradeniya) in 1955 from the English department and had the fortune of having won several awards and scholarships that would have permitted me to go to the UK and engage in graduate studies in English literature. But I did not for several reasons.  First, I was in the first flush of youth, vehemently anti-colonial and reluctant to study in the land of our colonial masters, even though this was the intellectual goal of most young people.  Second, during my undergraduate days in Peradeniya I belonged to a group of young intellectuals who started a new Sinhala journal Sanskriti that brought the “new criticism” to bear on Sinhala literature.  As an undergraduate Amaradasa Virasinha and I translated Ibsen’s A Doll’s House into Sinhala (a book that is still used by literature students).  Additionally, I used to go on weekends into remote villages to collect folk songs and then was drawn to the village life of remote villages, so different from my much changed home village Meegama, near Bentota.  As undergraduates several of us used to visit Martin Wickramasinha in his “holiday home” in Bindunuwewa near Bandarawela to enjoy the hospitality of this wonderful human being and his wife.  Our age differences did not matter to him and it was he who encouraged us young people to engage in what at that time seemed pioneer intellectual activities.  And then there was the great teacher E. F. C. (Lyn) Ludowyk whose teaching inspired all my literary and intellectual interests and whose classes in “practical criticism” have influenced my anthropological writing.  To this day I cannot divorce anthropological writing from literature and I find it hard to read badly written social science writing.

It was Ludowyk who sensing my intellectual interests and political prejudices not only encouraged me to pursue a career in anthropology but also urged me to apply for a Fulbright scholarship.  I vividly remember going with Ludowyk to see the then Vice Chancellor Sir Nicholas Atygalle who succeeded Ivor Jennings at Peradeniya.  Atygalle, a professor of gynecology, was not exactly a man of letters. He simply asked Ludowyk to write a recommendation for a Fulbright on my behalf to the Fulbright Commission and he, Atygalle, signed the letter!  And of course I did get it eventually.

In my village in Meegama I was familiar with brilliant performers of exorcist rituals (tovil) but I had planned instead to move in a different direction to study communal postharvest rituals (and in situations of drought and infectious diseases) performed all over the nation under the aegis of the Goddess Pattini.  Ludowyk found me a position as sub-warden at Arunachalam Hall that provided me with bread and boarding and then actually collected money from several personal friends for continuing my research.  I travelled all over the country with an antediluvian tape recorder and huge car batteries and recorded rituals performed by a diversity of ritual specialists (kapurālas).  I used part of that ritual complex for my Master’s degree in 1958 but the major work was published much later in 1984 by the University of Chicago Press as The Cult of the Goddess Pattini.

The Fulbright authorities in the US had placed me in the anthropology department of the University of Washington, Seattle, which was a place unfamiliar to me and, unsurprisingly, I had pronounced as See-tle.  The department had a young group of professors who were imbued with the then innovative theories of the British anthropologists Radcliffe-Brown and Bronislaw Malinowski.  What I found thrilling during that first Fulbright year was the intellectual arguments and debates in the seminar situation and the opening up of new ways of looking at old information that I had collected in the field. Further, anthropology opened up innovative ways of examining historical and social information in societies such as ours. It was similar to the thrill I felt when I first entered the university and Ludowyk encouraged me to read for a special degree in English.  I felt that the world of the intellect had opened up for me on both occasions and it still continues to do so as I write this in my old age.  Ripeness is all.

I came back to the University and joined the Sociology Department where there were such persons of stature as S.J. Tambiah, Ralph Pieris and Laksiri Jayasuriya, all young PhDs.  Tambiah and I engaged in fieldwork studying a remote village in Laggala and after Tambiah left the university I worked in another village (now no longer remote) in the Hinidum Pattu alongside with students some of whom became friends later on and that included Minister Sarath Amunugama.  It was customary at that time for the University to give a three year paid study leave for assistant lecturers to obtain a PhD, after a two year stint of teaching.  And so I returned to Seattle (no longer See-tle) with my wife Ranjini and two little children and finished my dissertation in 1964 on my Hiniduma fieldwork.  The Seattle department was a small one and some faculty as well as students became lifelong friends but, sad to say, some have since departed into the silent land. Kenneth E. Read, the Chair at that time, suggested I defend my dissertation in the well known tavern The Blue Moon, that I gather still exists but, apoi, no longer a venue for a thesis defense. On my way back to Sri Lanka my family and I stayed in Cambridge, invited by the prominent anthropologist Edmund Leach, another fearless thinker and critic who was also a kind of model for me and who encouraged me to revise my dissertation which was subsequently published by Cambridge in 1967 as Land Tenure in Village Ceylon: A Sociological and Historical Study. It should be remembered that none of this would have happened but for that initial push from Fulbright.

Back in Sri Lanka at a glorious epoch in our university’s history when a galaxy of intellectuals had arrived, or were soon to arrive, with PhDs from major universities to make Peradeniya one of the best, if not the very best, in the region.  I was Chair of the department in 1968 but not for long.  In 1971, the JVP insurrection broke out and because the universities were considered a hot bed of revolutionary fervour many of us felt that the freedoms we enjoyed would be no more.  Thus started a major brain drain and the universities were gradually denuded of talent.  I myself resigned in the aftermath of the rebellion and joined the University of California, San Diego in 1972; and eight years later Princeton University.  It is during my stay at Princeton that I was reborn as a Fulbright senior scholar during the academic year 1993 -1994. I was no longer the youth of thirty seven years ago.  I was a recognized anthropologist whose work spanned many cultural and theoretical regimes.  But in Sri Lanka during my Fulbright visit another and more deadly rebellion had been brewing for about ten years, this time with the LTTE. It was impossible to do fieldwork in Sri Lankan villages off the beaten track and hence I devoted my time exclusively to writing my book Imagining Karma: Ethical Transformation in Amerindian, Buddhist and Greek Rebirth, published by the University of California Press in 2002.  That work was an important milestone in my intellectual career and it was Fulbright that brought about the fruition of that project.  And after retiring from Princeton in the year 2000, I am still thinking and writing for without thought and the pen there can be no creative intellectual life in any nation.  I sometimes think of the lines by Alexander Pope: “Why did I write? What sin to me unknown, dipped me in ink, my parent’s, or my own.” And, dear Mr. President, let me hope that you will help keep Fulbright in Sri Lanka active and doing the good work it has been doing from its very inception in enriching the intellectual life of the nation.  But along with this I think there is another challenge for a wise leader and that is to bring back the universities to its early glory by supporting them at every level because a world bereft of intellectual life will end up as a dreary world.

 Āyubōvēvā,

Sincerely yours,

Gananath Obeyesekere

17th of November 2012

*From the book ‘Letters to our Presidents’ by Sri Lankan and US alumni of the US-Sri Lanka Fulbright Commission. The title “Dear President Rajapaksa, Bring Back The Universities To Its Early Glory” is ours. 

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Latest comments

  • 3
    1

    If he could ever fulfil this – PIGs might fly.

    First he should be sensible leader. Second he should have the knowledge to feel the pulse of the importance of university education. Third, he should have the enthusiasm to do it. His likes are to pay all avenues culprits to get bred easily. That for sure he has created during the last 5 years, where no such a war situation is in the country.

    • 4
      2

      Dear Prof. Gananath Obeysekere,

      You Say:
      His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapaksa,
      The President Socialist Democratic Republic of Sri Lanka,
      Office of the President,
      Temple Trees,
      150 Galle Road,
      Colombo 3,
      Sri Lanka.
      Dear President Rajapaksa,”

      So, Prof. Gananath Obeysekere to Bring Back The Universities To Its Early Glory, BRING BACK THE TRUTH.

      Amarasiri strongly objects to calling the President,

      “His Excellency”

      He is president all right, because the People elected him, weather by modays, racists, Atheists, Buddhists, etc.

      However, to use “His Excellency” , is completely unwarranted, especially for those who do not follow the Constitution, do not maintain law and order and protect is’s citizens.

      Dear Prof. Gananath Obeysekere, you say:

      “I was a twice-born Fulbright scholar, not twice born in the classical Hindu sense but as one who has had two memorable creative periods as a Fulbright scholar. The first Fulbright award was when I was a young and naïve student in 1956 but it helped transform my intellectual life as an anthropologist.”

      This President who is not honorable, honors only those Sinhala Buddhists who follow the Monk Mahanama lies and Imaginations of Mahawansa. As a Fulbright Scholar. you should be well aware of the tissue of Absurdities in Mahawansa. Furthermore, as an anthropologist and with more modern geological and climatic data as well as DNA data, it has been proven beyond doubt that the Sinhala and Tamils and Othetrs are Paras in the Land of the Native Veddah.

      Therefore, it is appropriate, to address the President as The Para-President …, as per Native Veddah terminology.

      You will be telling the Truth, nothing but the Truth. this President does not like to tell the Truth.

      Even Copernicus, Galileo and Kepler told the truth based on Data. Isn’t that what Universities are supposed to do and the Professors are Supposed to do as well?

      For your Information, the Native Veddah walked around 25,0000 years ago when the sea levels were low, as low as 120 meters.

      So, Prof. Gananath Obeysekere to Bring Back The Universities To Its Early Glory, BRING BACK THE TRUTH.

      • 5
        3

        Please keep your comments short Amere!

        Prof. Obeysekere thanks! But this letter and your words of wisdom are like “throwing pearls at swine”!

        Mahinda Rajapaksa is UNEDUCATED like his whole family, crude and corrupt, he fears intellects and critical thinkers. His interest is to ensure that Sri Lanka remains a country of SINHALAYA MODAYAS so that he may DIVIDE, DISTRACT and RULE them..

        All you say is directly opposite to the Jarapassa project of money politics and money making, crime and corruption and degrading society so that it does not challenge the corrupt DEVELOPMENT MODEL that is benefiting Jarapassa family and cronies only..

        • 0
          0

          S Modaya

          “Mahinda Rajapaksa is UNEDUCATED like his whole family, crude and corrupt, he fears intellects and critical thinkers. His interest is to ensure that Sri Lanka remains a country of SINHALAYA MODAYAS so that he may DIVIDE, DISTRACT and RULE them..”

          I was under the impression Sri Lanka had a high literacy rate for a “Developing” country. You, may mean, literacy does not mean educated.

          So, how do you “educate” them and all the Modayas who blindly follow them.

          Need to keep educating them until they get it. This is long-drawn process.

          Do you know still 25% of Americans and Europeans still believe the Sun goes around the Earth, 400 odd years after Copernicus, Galileo and Kepler?

          What about Monk Mahanama lies and Imaginations?

        • 0
          0

          S Modaya; “Mahinda Rajapaksa is UNEDUCATED like his whole family,”

          Unfortunately he does not have the ‘Intelligence’ to realise it, but only the ‘Cunning’ to turn it to his best advantage.

          • 1
            0

            Yes, Hambanthota comprised with mostly cunning people. They are not Intelligent or educated but mostly peasants.

            Also 90% of our Parliamentarians do not have a basic Degree, and 50% have not passed the GCE AL exam.

            Only 17 students enter university out of 100 who are eligible, where as in USA 100% of the students who are eligible enter university.

            In Sri Lanka, Only .01% (Point Zero One percent) of children enter universities…….much less than India.

            This is the pathetic state of our education system in Sri Lanka 65 years after independence.

            It is time for the academics, professors and scholars to draw up a new plan plan of education to our Children while taking both Sri Lanka’s resources and taking Global education and markets into consideration.

      • 2
        1

        His Excellency is an honorific title given to a head of state but I agree with you that Mahinda Rajapaksa’s qualities, actions and words makes him undeserving of any honour.

        The man is an uneducated thug but sadly educated and cultured men and women have no option but to give him the honour and call him His Excellency just because he is a head of state.

      • 1
        0

        Amarasiri;

        The honourable professor is Asking from an Uneducated Moron tortoise to fly.
        These uneducated Jarapassa morons clan are very jealous with educated intellectuals.
        so No use of asking them,
        only solution is to chase them away.

      • 0
        0

        This is not truly a “His Excellency” or “Athi Garu” It is people who should decide who deserve respect.

        I have more respect for Mahela and Sanga than these fake “His Excellancies”

        How come “Athi Garu”…..become Crooks thugs Alibabas wearing white sheep cloth who cheated and stole both Presidential elections.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nU09pmUvocI

        In 2005 he Bribed LTTE VP with 800 Million rupees asking him not to allow North East voters to cast their votes.

        In 2009 he usrd Computer Gilmart,bribed voters heavily, used all GOSL resources including corporation heads, Advertising, media, transport,and bribed buddhist clergy and every voter to win election.

        Also he kept the election commissioneer under House arrest during the vote count and kept also kept his rival Gen.Sarath Fonseka under house arrest in Hotel Cinnamon Lake side.

        Therefore it is shame for anyone to address “His Excellency” to undeserving.

    • 4
      1

      what is the role of uni dons in this regard ?

      Uni dons, senior professionals to stay in slumber mode is just a pathetic for the future of country. Country is being looted by president and his culprits, nobody seems to have guts to react. Why ?

    • 0
      0

      Hm…

      Prof Obeysekera mentions how his letter of recommendation to Fullbright was written by Ludowyck and signed by Attygalle.

      [Edited out]

    • 1
      0

      I do not think that President could understand what he said. We should remeber that Mahinda was just an Assistant Librarian, neither scholar or nor a graduate.

      Further nowadays he is very concern how to win the President election in the third time.

      If Gana. Obey. wrote about the letter in Sinhala about the school education, at least could understand.

      • 1
        0

        MSA,

        You are very much correct.

        It says that a person’s character, his status,his moral and his family upbringing could be judge by the Friends he move with.

        Who are Pres. Rajapakses Friends…….

        Julampitiya Amare, Kelani thug Mervin, Kudu Duminda, BBS Gnanasara, Pistol Weilding Hambanthota Mayer Eraj Fernando, Gadaffi, Sadham Husain,crook CJ Mohan Peiris,KP, Karuna, Daya Master, China 10% commission, Ethenol, Kasippu, Cocain and now Casinos,computer Gilmart, impeach CJ Shirani Bandaranayake, Weliweriya Massacre etc,etc.

        Infact he has a monthly Breakfirst meetings with Journalists, reporters and Media personnel at Araliya Gaha to educate them, while blocking CT, enews and other public friendly media. That’s his style.

        http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/8926
        http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/13756

        Also every other day he either visits a Buddhist temple, or open one. That’s it.

        Who are Pres.Rajapakse’s advisers…..

        Have you ever seen him having talk or conferences with University Professors, Engineers, Enterpreneurs, Doctors, Research Professionals, auditers and Finance personnel or even with School teachers and Principles…….No not at all.

        I wonder what breed he come from. Surely not from the Lions.

        They say a wise King always surround by Wise, honest and Noble men, and a Foolish king moves with stupid, dumb and crooks.

        Guess which side is our President.

        • 0
          0

          You are exactly correct dear.

  • 6
    1

    For me as a Sri Lankan it feels miserable to have to put up with a meeharaka President.

    • 1
      1

      So do I. I hate to see his pics or anything related to him. Next time arriving in SL airport, looking at his statues and pic frames, i could go mad ( hope not though)

  • 5
    2

    How did Irathinavalli miss him?

    The country needs you.

    Could we have a robust response from Darshanie Ratnawalli’s to Professor Gananath Obeyesekere above letter.

    Malinda Seniviratne send her in.

    Hope Bandu de Silva, Nalin de Silva and Michael Roberts could help her out with most of the stupid comments she is expected to make.

    • 1
      0

      Here we have a totally irrelevant set of remarks by native Vedda.
      Clearly native Vedda is piqued that he has no possibilty to attack the writer, and so he has selected a set of people who are his bete noires? So, if Bandu de Silva, or Ratnavalli etc., were to write, he will explode in an orgasm?

  • 4
    1

    I am glad to read Prof. Gananath Obesekera’s reminiscences and fervent appeal to MR, our president. Prof. Gananath of the Arts Faculty was the man I most admired from across the sports field in the Faculty of Veterinary Science and Agriculture, while in Peradeniya. He should express his opinions on current affairs in Sri Lanka, for the sake of posterity, even if they fall on deaf ears now. He is a Sri Lankan, yet among us, who is the epitome of a typical Sri Lankan, while being an intellectual with insatiable curiosity and unimpeachable honesty. He is the SRI LANKAN among Sri Lankans.

    I wonder, whether MR who has never been to a university at all and is evidentially lacking in intellectual capacity, would ever understand Prof. Gananath’s open appeal. MR is a president who has made intellectuals like Prof. G.L. Pieris. minnows, if not absolute fools. Dr. Sarath Amunugana is one more bright light who has been made a nobody by MR. Can such a president respond in the manner desired! There are UNIVERSiTIES and universities. Peradeniya was a UNIVERSITY at one time, but is so only in name now. Will MR ever understand the difference?

    Dr. Rajasingham Narendran

  • 1
    0

    Prof. Obeyesekera quotes Alexander Pope as follows;
    “Why did I write? What sin to me unknown, dipped me in ink, my parent’s, or my own.”

    Pope also seems to have believed in Karma!I wonder whether Gananath included Pope in his book on karma! Must check it out…

    And Narendran Rajasingham: You are right on the mark.

  • 2
    0

    Except for the last paragraph rest is his impresive CV.
    is he looking for a job?

  • 3
    0

    Obviously Prof Obeysekera still has the fondest regard for Peradeniya University. He should as a service to mankind research the reasons how Peradeniya, albeit Colombo Campus, Law Faculty, could produce a creature like G.L.Peiris ready and willing to sell its soul to the devil.

  • 3
    1

    Prof. Gananath Obeysekere, no offense meant, but to quote you, ‘I had graduated from the University of Ceylon (now the University of Peradeniya) in 1955 from the English department and had the fortune of having won several awards and scholarships that would have permitted me to go to the UK and engage in graduate studies in English literature. But I did not for several reasons. First, I was in the first flush of youth, vehemently anti-colonial and reluctant to study in the land of our colonial masters, even though this was the intellectual goal of most young people’.

    Not only you, but I know of so many who had a remarkable English Education in their youth, who turned out to be Anti-Imperialists who are responsible for the birth of a political culture in the country that resented the Colonials to mislead the masses to shun learning English and encouraging Vernacular Education. Today we have as the Head of State, one such politician of the ilk, you promoted in the ’50s. It is ironic that you have to make an appeal to him to restore the standards laid down by your peers then who were Colonials or Locals molded alike. Further, I often wondered with your political ideologies being anti- Kandyan and being great Socialists, how you contracted marriage to a Kandyan itself who happens to be a close relation of mine. Perhaps it was destiny as others in your shoes, who have done the same. Lest you forget, you all are reaping today, what you all sowed then, while the whole country is paying today.

    • 0
      0

      This is exactly what I said above, if MR would ever be able to restore the standards, pigs might fly.

      • 0
        0

        Yes, his could be fine with elimination civil folks, but he has no tool to restore, democratic levels of governance. Only leader that has the tool, in sight is CBK. Believe or not that is the truth.
        Opposition should build up a coalition with CBK (UPFA fraction that support CBK)- then defeating MR will become a reality.

        Today, UNP has started protests, all right thinking ones should support them in this regard, because their plead is about justice and democratic rights.

        Nobody would agree with President and his indifference manner in terms of the injustice faced by UNP MPs in Hambantota lately.

    • 0
      0

      Only if Jayaraj Fernandopulle is alive today will tell how President Rajapakse passed the Law exam.

      Please read the following Web.

      http://www.thesundayleader.lk/2012/01/08/rajapaksa-dynasty-and-their-education-qualification-saga/

      This is how Namal Rajapakse, President’s son Passed his Law exam……

      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/namal-rajapaksas-law-exam-cheating-case-goes-to-geneva/

      Now Pres.Rajapakse tells Ranil Wickremasinghe that he could teach Ranil how to win elections without going to USA.

      We all know Rajapakses history.

  • 2
    0

    Hi- I remember him as a person wearing “Velona Banians” daily during Peradeniya Uni days. – “Each rupees Two Fifty at that time.” Other academics were wearing “Docoma” or “Arrow” Hentley shirts.

    Please send a copy of this article to “Greatest Intellectual” Gunadasa Amarasekera a product of the Dental Faculty Peradeniya. bye-nihalg

  • 2
    0

    Some of the best leaders of the world have actually been people who have had no “book learning”, while some highly educated people proved to be failures. Even in Sri Lanka, D. S. Senanayake was, at one time compared to be an ignoramus compared to the “golden brains” like Sundaralingam, Colvin R de Silva, N. M., etc all failed politicians). However, in my opinion, (and in the opinion of Ivor Jennings), Senanayake (who is described as “did not excel in school) proved to be one of the most astute politicians of Sri Lanka.

    Rajapaksa worked at one of the Universities (SJP) as a libraray assistant, and from there went to Law College. Is that enough? Remember that the University of Cambridge offers the M. A. (Cantab) for just being there and “participating in the life of the university”, witha mandatory attendance at 60 dinners at a College. Admission is available if you are influential enough, and requires no scholarship. in fact, those who came in with a scholarship, but had no nobility were labeled S. Nob., i.e., Sans Nobiltiy, or Snobs. So, by Cantab traditons, Mahinda rajapaksa has profited wekll from the S’Jayawardenapura University for two years, and then he also entered the Law College ( perhaps in much the same way the Clinton’s daughter entered various colleges)

    During his time at SJP he is said to be the much sought-after wheeler dealer among all the warring student groups (e.g., LSSP headed by ?, JVP-headed by Mahinda Wijesekera, and the CP headed by S. B. Dissnayake, his present minister of education), as well as the other campuses in Sri Lanka in the 1970s.

    Corruption and feathering one’s family is a(nd has been), unfortunately, a part and parcel of politics (remember the Uncle-Nephew-party, DSS had a brother called Robert, and he had a firm call Freudenburs etc., that imported tractors for irrigation schemes). Chandrika even earned a book from Victor Ivan known as “Chavra Rajini”, and he period was even more lawless than today, where she ran some of the most corrupt elections. Here, we don’t have to mention Ranil’s thugs, or Premadasa’s thugs.

    Or you can look at the West, with the Bush-Cheney-Rusmfeld Blackwater-Haliberton conglomerate that is still running the world – with Obama acquiescing to it as he knows that any attempt to go against it would be his end. Of course, the Clintons had also got the business of corruption to a fine art, with links to Coffe Annnan’s son and the King of Spain all in bed with middle east arms dealers. The rajapaksas have not yet reached the level of corruption shown by the Gandhi clan, Clintons or Rumsfelds, but they are learning fast.

    Give them credit for their success against enormous odds. A lot of so-called clever people did not even succeed in staying alive against some of the challenges.

    Most of the commentators who have called Rajapaksa a moodaya should read my namesake, Kautilya’s ancient work, or what his Italian counterpart Niccolò Machiavelli wrote. Then you will realize that they are the “Moodays”, and NOT Rajapaksa. History will evaluate him differently, and by then the Tisaranee Gunasekera’s and Native Vedda’s would be gone.

    As for Gananath, and knowing him to some extent, all I can say is that he is a dreamer who lives in the days of Max Weber. The dream is good. But the reality is different. Even in the US, the universities are not what he knew of. They now regard their students as “clients”, and they deliver a “commodity” known as “competency” to do “projects” as needed by “business”. Degrees and Ph.D’s are given almost by drive in. Convocations are old hat, and you go to them in your pajamas or bathing trunks.

    • 1
      0

      Book learning and reality

      no one with sound mind will call president Rajapakse a fool. He is a an astute politician. However that does not mean one could have the foresight, discipline and magnanimity without having the virtue of a sound education. Additionally we are not discussing a legacy of a president, albeit the ground realities of Srilanka.

      I find the uneducated mind gives more clarity in thought and fresh perspectives.
      Hopefully the chanakyas will have the virtues of education to support their actions.
      ken

      • 3
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        ken robert

        “I find the uneducated mind gives more clarity in thought and fresh perspectives.”

        I agree with you.

        I find conventional education makes one a specialist in one’s chosen field than providing the necessary elements to be wise one, rounded, balanced human.

        In fact conventional education compels them to be greedy and join the rat race. Further it produces greed driven men and women, ultimately possessive individuals.

        As for MR as a politician he is more of a short termist opportunists than an astute politician, playing along with Indian short term foreign policy concern.

        He refuses to grasp the importance of highest office of a country, rather preferring to be a pipe piper to the Sinhala/Buddhists than a person who really understood the opportunities presented themselves after the war had ended.

        Now I see troubles engulfing him from every nook and corner. Like his Tamil brethren VP he thrives on creating more problem for himself and his people, opening new fronts all at the same time which he cannot handle.

        Hindians will use the Chennai bombing to extract more concessions from MR, Gota and Sinhala/Buddhists.

        OHCHR is about to inform the formation of “Commission of Inquiry (COI) on Sri Lanka”. The West will use this to its maximum advantage.

        BBS is going from strength to strength, until it explodes on MR’s face.

        There are many more on the pipeline.

    • 0
      0

      Katutilya,

      Please read my comment I wrote for MSA. Also could you answer the following….

      1) Which President in the world who built a Harbour on a Rock spending 350 Million US Dollars and another 150 Million Dollars to break the rock. After Five years they still struggle to break the rock and with no unloading cranes been installed yet.

      2) Which President builds an International Airport in a Bird Sanctuary and with no regular Airplanes landing after spending 400 Million Dollars of China Loan money. There’s no Avation fuel tanks in Mattala and only three transit aircrafts land per day.

      http://colombogazette.com/2014/01/11/peacocks-damage-plane-in-mattala/

      http://www.thesundayleader.lk/2013/04/21/cpc-sinking-further-in-aviation-fuel-to-mattala/

      http://transcurrents.com/tc/2010/02/fonsekas_arrest_is_part_of_mul.html

      Remember a plane burns approximately 5,000 to 10,000 Gallons of Fuel for each Land and Take off. Last week only five passengers got off board from one aircraft.

      3)Which country in the world which all fourtop positions are held by the four brothers, including controlling 90% of country’s Budget, it’s finances, it’s trade and contracts, all it’s projects and over 140 institutions.

      4)Which country in the world which has it’s Judiciary, Poice, Supreme court,Election commission, Bribery commission and Media under the President.

      5)Which President and his family became the world’s fastest richest Presidential family.

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/srilanka/10386664/Sri-Lanka-a-country-ruled-as-a-family-business-by-four-brothers.html

      http://lankawhistleblower.blogspot.com/2007/05/basils-45-million-dollar-home-in.html

      One truly needs honesty, integrity and education to govern a country.

      Please answer to above questions.

      • 1
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        Jayantha

        you are wasting time with kautilya. He is a good car salesman. He tried his level best to sell an old car to native vedda and failed.
        Ken

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    Every time I ran into him at the ICES years ago, I was impressed with the simplicity of this brilliant scholar. When he was invited to introduce young visiting scholars – some several decades younger – he made sure the speakers were encouraged and comfortable. He never tried to impose his superior knowledge or experiences. His research was so thorough I am told when he studied the ancient history of the presence of Tamils in the Sinhala areas of the present Eastern Province, he lived with gypsies and carefully took note of their songs and the words therein, rituals, food etc in the search of their origins. Little wonder a highly respected institution of higher learning like Princeton kept him in their ranks as a teacher for years.

    I salute a truly educated son of Sri Lanka who gladly shared his wealth of knowledge with all of us.

    R. Varathan

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    Gananath,

    I am both intrigued and alarmed by your sentence “And, dear Mr. President, let me hope that you will help keep Fulbright in Sri Lanka active and doing the good work it has been doing from its very inception in enriching the intellectual life of the nation.”

    I trust there is no stupid move ongoing to shut down the Sri Lankan operations of Fulbright which has helped so many academics.

    Jeevan

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    Yet another who saw the light and turned ‘anti-colonial’ only to to seek refuge in a Fulbright scholarship. From the frying pan into the fire. You just wonder how with all the erudition and bright minds in our neck of the woods, it was necessary for our up and coming to have to seek foreign climes to progress academically. A cop out more like. It was the JVP uprising and the brain drain that showed that, yes, all along the truth is that our academic leadership was without cojones. That was the start of the inexorable slide into the mediocrity that we have today. Every Sri Lankan who turns to the prospectuses of a foreign university does so because of the putrid state of our local universities and the locally acknowledged fact that a Sri Lankan degree is not worth the paper it is written on. When the ‘brilliant’ academics and intellectuals of then slipped away to, no doubt reluctantly, accept filthy foreign lucre, they condemned Sri Lankan higher education to another hundred years of darkness. Every government since then has sodomised and under-funded our higher education system. No doubt everyone who left continued to profess their undying love for Mother Lanka – a love that was not good enough for them to stay and build a system that will shame the old colonial masters and their cousins. Crocodile tears.

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    Pro Ganataha Obasekara has noted certain points of changing university Education by situation not take into account by learned of Full Bright scholar in US.
    The realm of irrationalism of US DEMOCRACY and University Education has lost vision of valued of civilization that new direction of world. Is not only our national Universities is quite impossible back to OLD days that due class structure in Sri lanka, is not merely remnants of feudalism and crony capitalism is base on neo-Liberal system headed by US.
    Indeed English colonial Education rule in our Universities created by an environment and atmosphere in Sri Lankan, since independence easily converted the University educated community into an elite of society who succumbed to English language and Western behavior patterns.
    Most of University educated persons and degree holders of more higher educated persons had been discarded their own language, literature culture and our civilization by higher position in Universities.
    AS we talk it was clear to me that while specific grievances of University Education in Sri Lanka in particular democratic political grievance are different from those in West and US.
    We have shared themes of University education is result of failed democratic- political and economic system become that fundamentally unfair not only Sri lank that entire Western mode of Democracy in Education.
    Old days were purely colonial mode of University of Ceylon. Universal values of education of fairness become sacrificed to the greed of FEW in spite of rhetoric to contrary the feeling of university elites unfairness become a feeling of betrayal. Such pool of education cannot move for positive trend University that back to OLD DAYS of Colonial pattern education by President of Sri lanka.
    Unless change new demands of democracies of value and regain an independence of University has been adopted by different nations of Globe with modifications new guide line University educational philosophy.

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    Professor, though with due respect for you I have to say that you seem to have taken leave of your senses.Don`t you know that our `Excellent` President – like the British king who said “I hate boets and bainters” – hates intellectuals. Country needs more and more thugs, rogues, thieves, murderers, rapists and such other patriots for we cant make our mother`sland the Miracle of Asia without their dedicated service. Let universities go to dogs. Presently we can`t close them altogether as advised by Gunadasa Amarasekara long ago because they provide employment to some of our `Ape Mans` people and unqualified arse-licking professors. If you are looking for a job in Sri Lanka join the Nil Balakaaya first and get involved actively in some jugglery or jilmart.Hope you get well soon.May you be blessed by the triple gem – Rajapaksa, Rakapaksa and Rajapaksa!

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      Jay Chambers

      Thanks for sharing your problems.

      Try Moringa oleifera, drumstick.

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    Foolish Professor,

    You started well calling him his His Excellency.

    Then you shld have gone on to speak about his glories and his family’s but taking care to say more of him.

    Instead you go on to say all these totally irrelevant details from your CV. He or someone of his advisors wld throw your letter into the wastepaper basket after reading a few lines of this.

    What happened to you?

    Hope you r doing something more useful these days.

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    Imagine if half the society had half the English knowledge of Gananath Obeysekera, where this Nation would have been today? The carpenters, Masons, Electricians, IT personnel and other, would have made a formidable force of employees working overseas, earning much more than the cheap domestics would be earning measly salaries in the Arab world, boasting of a two thousand five hundred year History. Thanks to denying a Knowledge of English to the average, has been the curse for this society.

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    Dear Prof. Gananath Obeysekere,

    Please watch the following video to see what Pres.Rajapakse said when he awarded schlarships to Grade five students.

    http://varunamultimedia.com/videos/btv/vmtube/derana-news/derana-news_-03-05-14/play.html?1

    He said a Sri Lankan who is a Barrister in England cannot practice in Sri Lanka because he don’t have a Pass in Sinhala and Arithmetic.

    It is MR who brought this law to Sri Lanka.

    If you see MR’s daily schedule you see that he spend 50% of time in Buddhist related activities and the rest opening something without giving them to respective Ministers.

    Pres.MR has politicised and shaped the whole of Sri Lanka for him to stay in power eternally. He use Buddhism to stay in power, while have ruined our education, health, judiciary, Law and order, election commission, bribery commission, all foreign trade, contracts, projects and now even import Ethenol, drugs, cocain and even Casino without any problems.

    Rajapakses Politics are based 100% for their own Survival and not for the betterment of our country.

    Prof. Gananath Obeysekere,

    HAVE YOU EVER SEEN PRES.RAJAPAKSE HOLDING A SINGLE CONFERENCE WITH UNIVERSITY DONS, ACADEMICS, RESEARCH PERSONNEL, DOCTORS, LAWYERS, ENGINEERS, BUSINESS COMMUNITY ETC,ETC,………
    No not at all. INFACT HE HAS WEEKLY BREAKFAST MEETINGS WITH JOURNALISTS AND REPORTERS AT PRESIDENT’S HOUSE.

    He also impeached the well qualified lady Chief Juastce in Sri Lanka’s history Dr.Shirani Bandaranayake and replaced her with an unqualified Rajapakse goon Mohan Peiris.

    This is the President who govern our country. Daytime Daniel, and Night time Saradiel.

    Prof. Gananath Obeysekere,

    When I was vacationing Sri Lanka two years ago I was shocked to hear some of the Sinhala words that are in use for GCE OL and AL in Science and Math subjects (that my two nieces studied). THEY WERE PURE GREEK TO ME. So difficult to pronounce and meaningless and very hard to keep in memory. I felt so frustrated when I tried to Pronounce and to find the meaning of those Sinhala words. No wonder Tution Masters are making mega money on these innocent and poor students.

    Why don’t Sri Lanka allow Sinhalese students to learn at least Science, Georgraphy, Math and Accounting, in English medium since there are ample books available in English Language.

    Also we now live in a Globalised world and there are not only ample books are available in English language to do reference and the internet is available to do research work.

    It is only after Computers came to class room that now the schools encourage students to learn English. We have already lost a good part of our youth and labour force due to lack of English knowledge.

    Had there been education allowed in English medium in our Schools, most of our Nannies, House Maids, carpenters, mechanics, construction workers, Engineers, Surveyors etc,etc, would have seek employment in USA,UK, Canada, Australia, New Zeland, Europe and the West and would have made good money than going to Middle East for cheap labour.

    Also our Parents would not have sent their children to International schools spending all their wealth if these subjects are allowed to be taught in English language. This is the simple truth.

    All caribbean countries and many east African countries have their Primary and secondary education including all the subjects are taught in English medium. That’s why they move freely and find easy employment around the world while our women and men do slave labour in Middle East.

    Prof. Gananath Obeysekere,

    It’s time that Professors and true patriots like you who should come foreward and reveal the truth to the Govt. hierarchy and rescue our Education and Future employment from governing Political crooks and the Buddhist clergy who influence them. This is a crime against our children and future.

    Don’t allow the Rulers and the Buddhst clergy to politicise and ruin our childrens education and their future in a competitive Globalised world.

    Thank you.

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    We are so bright we do not need FULLBRIGHT

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