By Rifaq Azhar –
In modern era, it seems to think of that technology become essential need of every human being whereas drinking water has inevitably been positioned as below to that of basic or let say it became a lucrative commodity in modern context. It is very sad to state as well that despite Sri Lanka has been proudly alluded itself as a sea locked country having abundant of water resources inside as well as outside of the country, frequent water cut and consuming salty water have become the endless suffering of rural people and even it happened to be the fate of almost all average people not only in Sri Lanka but in all developing countries as well. Lack of drinking water or the plight of rural people consuming salty water in Sri Lanka is still the case which every government of Sri Lanka come to power failed to address due to several reasons.
Before lashing out any legal system or political culture that our country is practicing with regards to water management, at first we must blame ourselves for being admired by the attractive promotion carried out by this government during the general election in 2015 under the slogan of providing free (interruptive) Wi-Fi connection. Moreover, we must feel guilty and ashamed for being an instrumental for the present pathetic situation where we exchanged the water with free Wi-Fi. The politicians of this country have successfully introduced the internet as an essential need to human survival on this planet while they altered drinking water as a lucrative commodity or treat water crisis in Sri Lanka as second fiddle. Therefore, they increased taxes on water consumption and also allowed water bottle companies to exploit all precious water springs of this nation.
We are very well aware of that since recent past, the country had widely been experiencing drought, which is obviously a new phenomenon to us similar to that of floods and landslides due to climate change. From pre-colonial period until modern days, Ceylon has been identical for abundant of pure water and its water falls prevailing across the country. The reason why I used the name ‘Ceylon’ instead of ‘Sri Lanka’ is that the word ‘Ceylon’ itself rooted from the Arabic word called ‘Seeylan’ which means ‘flooding water’ or ‘torrential rain’. We know the historic fact that Arab traders and many travellers who periodically visited Sri Lanka during ancient period, had named this beautiful country as ‘Seeylan’ or can say ‘Ceylon’ since the country had possessed many water resources such as water springs which created huge water falls, revers, large water reservoir built by kings who had ruled the country for several centuries.
History has witnessed that this country had featured for abundant of rain water due to torrential downpour that resulted floods across the country and also recorded that ancient people had been very well aware of how to reserve and use rain waters productively for agricultural purpose and they even succeeded in with their limited resources and knowledge. It shows that flood water had never been harmful to those people even before the advent of modern technologies. Instead, our forefathers were however able to manage the rain water and water springs for the betterment of their future generation. Besides, during their time, Ceylon had been positioned as ‘Self-Sufficient Country’ and engaged in international trade tremendously by exporting many agricultural products to rest of the world. Although, there are many reasons that helped our country to attain an enviable position in the past history, I would rather say that the prime reason is none other than the systematic use of water resources in productive and proactive ways, where our indigenous people excelled in constructing basic infra-structures for the reservation of rain water.
As such, I would like to reminisce another fact that the Arab traders and ancient travellers who had visited in antiquity, had described our country as ‘Paradise’ with compared to other regional countries due to its unique features along with its water resources. Generally, we indicate fruits, revers and green gardens as primary elements which give inner peace or let say those are key components of heaven in accordance with many religious manuscripts. Among several popular features that this country had attributed to in ancient history, the rain forests and fruits of this country were most significant and much popular among alien people due to scientific reasons. When comparing both scenarios, I am very much sure that Sri Lanka would have been a ‘Paradise’ for some times since it had already possessed those three elements throughout its past history. It is also true that Sri Lanka is one of best destination among many tourists for its variety of fruits, abundant water falls and greenery and scenery garden. According to many studies, the reason why these features were highly popular in this country historically is that our country has been bestowed with the fertile lands and pure water springs. But unfortunately, we are at present in the process of destroying all these precious treasures on account of personal gaining and political inefficiencies.
It is unfortunate as well that in modern days; we failed to use the water resources in productive ways even though we have reached the pinnacle of the modern technology. By saying so, it does not mean that I am refusing all advantages that modern technology brought to us. We should blame ourselves for the selfish attitudes that we have adopted and also for our collective failure to use the modern technology in favour of human survival and advancement. Apart from that, lack of proper mechanism to manage water resources of the country, allowing cooperate cartels to exploit pure water springs of the country and destroy water reservoirs in order to make their multiple profits and ignorance of general public about the corruptions and commissions behind the veil are major causes of this devastating crisis. Above all, our failure to adopt indigenous aspect in all facets of our lives and also failure to prioritize our needs and wants clearly in accordance with our nature are major curses for all our problems.
There is no point in blaming our corrupted politicians alone while we have the power to reject them and alter with best. Unless, we stand against all these causes and create awareness about the national threats, we let our future generation to be victimized and in turn, we will surely be considered as culprits due to our ignorance, inability and selfishness. Briefly saying, we should always keep in mind that there are always two types of reasons behind the all forms of problems and crisis namely internal and external. Therefore, we must march forward unitedly keeping our differences and discrepancies aside in order to protect our nation by rectifying our prolonged internal mistakes so that we can eradicate all endless sufferings and hardship that we encounter currently and let our future generation lead a peaceful life forever.