Colombo Telegraph

Gamman Pillars

By Nishthar Idroos

Nishthar Idroos

Member of Parliament Dilan Perera said something interesting recently at one of those ubiquitous press briefings. What he took great pains to enunciate momentarily confused me. Referring to an action of a colleague known for his noisy political aspirations in the muddied milieu of turbulent politics of Sri Lanka, Mr. Perera mentioned for some odd reason two strange and incomprehensible words and attributed it to this individual .i.e. Gamman Pillars. An awkward yet hilarious set of words that had the potential to induce laughter in anyone. I for one was laughing.

Incidentally this individual’s legendary notoriety to capitalize on scarce opportunities for political fame and subtle maneuvering was doubtless second to none. His persona and character interesting artistic material for a discerning scriptwriter with eyes set on a magnum opus. It’s not for any reason we say Sri Lanka is a country like no other. Its insouciant politicians thrive on all kinds of opportunities. Trying valiantly to fabricate phantasmagorical tales either to woo people or being booed by people.

This youthful Member of Parliament in question reminds a lot about another former parliamentarian all be it a senior one, prone to similar theatrics. We all remember A J Ranasinghe of the “Serappu soup” fame. Arthur Jayasena Ranasinghe former State Minister, diplomat and ardent confidante of President Ranasinghe Premadasa. The bloke rose to a powerful position from a relatively insignificant one. I think the youthful Member of Parliament too would one day soar to greater heights when his masters are returned to power, until such time he has to do one thing very right – keep his eyes strictly focused only on the script.

Why did Member of Parliament Dilan Perera say Gamman Pillars? He separated the two words clearly, possibly using it as some kind of a proper noun. Why would he refer to his colleague as a pillar when actually the bloke is a Pilla? More precisely Udaya Gammanpilla? It did not make much sense initially. My first reaction nonetheless was to acknowledge the need for pillars in the country, I mean all kinds of pillars.

The country needed as many, not just those that hold buildings together but pillars that can uphold noble values and traditions. Pillars eminently capable of uniting a fragmented and fragmenting nation. We certainly live in times where value based social constructs are seen crumbling pillar after pillar. In days of turmoil any strong pillar is a useful pillar. It just takes one adulterated soul to violently rip open the flimsy façade and expose the moles and aid the gradual degeneration and dilapidation.

Soon it became evident that the Badulla district MP was not referring to any of what I was thinking. He was in fact alluding to a supposed contract given by Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe to the Member of Parliament the right honorable Udaya Gammanpilla to execute a secret plan.

It’s alleged that the contract was to bring into motion a suitable strategy to bifurcate the SLFP. I believe installing permanent pillars and separating Mahinda loyalists from Maithri loyalists was the gist of the plan. Such a ploy would indubitably redound to the base of the UNP and increase its chances of strengthening its position and possibly forming its own majority government in the future.

If there is any credence in the above it will be a bit of his own medicine for Mahinda Rajapaksa who doubtless had the reputation as the indisputable Mr. Fixed it. He was always well stocked with a plethora remedies only a prescription away. An attribute that aptly demonstrates his days of power. His commodious repository replete with analeptics, tonics and a myriad of concoctions addressing very specific ailments. Patients only had to ask and received it on a platter, thus did the grand Chintana Human Resource acquisition process unfold and rest is history.

If all what’s said is true it’s now RW’s turn. It seems he’s valiantly employing similar strategies with a different twist. This in no way will undermine MR’s reputation as a master schemer and contriver of Sri Lankan politics. He achieved immortal fame for his skill. He did bring his own inimitable style and delivering with prodigious swing and spin.

There is growing and persistent high-octane noise in sections of the opposition within the parliament. All for a purpose I believe. Those supportive of the previous president known as opposition (B) are enacting quite a drama with the script subject to constant change. Integral part of the drama are a notorious twosome with an aptitude for ventriloquism. They are indeed presently performing to packed galleries. The legislative body is reverberating.

Most members of Opposition (B) besmirched with corruption allegations and lacking credibility are unlikely to contribute anything useful or consequential anyway. Next best thing for them is to sling mud, a craft considered a national heritage carefully passed from generation to generation. The intention of opposition (B) is clear. Try and derail the development process if possible. Monitoring recent events this doubtless is indeed the reality.

I was desperately trying to find who exactly introduced coconut plantation to Sri Lanka. Whoever it was the bloke was pretty insightful. He had known the multiple needs of its blessed fruit. Who could have been a more devoted faithful of egregious superstition than our very own politicians? Desperately uniting with fanfare to appease supposed goddesses with a generous collection of nuts and invoking their wrath against those studiously navigating the tedious labyrinth to recover billions of dollars of the nation’s wealth that had apparently evaporated to thin air.

On the question of pillars the country needs five Ranwan pillars. I mean really and truly gold pillars properly engineered and erected. This is for Sri Lanka’s own progress and success as a nation. It’s really hard work and let’s hope the current Yahapalanaya government will have the gallantry and moral fortitude to forge ahead against all obstacles.

Democracy is the first pillar along with human rights, & good governance. They are an essential forerunner for sustainable economic development. Democracy, human rights, and good governance are so integral for a nation to advance and forge ahead. Inclusive, accountable, and democratic governments are so necessary and fundamental for ensuring true faith in the system and for different communities to reach social cohesion.

The second pillar is the constitution. The country is in the process of promulgating a new constitution. How a country needs to divide power among different parts of the government is something that should have been done long time ago. Even after 68 years of independence the country is still reeling. The separation between the Executive. Legislative and the Judiciary must be clearly delineated. This division of power between the central government, provinces and the local governments too should be very clear viz a viz the needs and aspirations of the people. A constitution cannot and should not divide a nation or its people.

The third pillar is the rule of law. Following four universal principles has to be upheld for apparatus to work smoothly.

  • The government all its officials, agents as well as individuals and private entities are accountable under the law sans any exception whatsoever.
  • The laws are clear, publicized, stable, and just; are applied evenly; and protect fundamental rights, including the security of persons and property.
  • The process by which the laws are enacted, administered, and enforced is accessible, fair, and efficient.
  • Justice is delivered timely by competent, ethical, and independent representatives and neutrals who are of sufficient number, have adequate resources, and reflect the makeup of the communities they serve.

The fourth pillar is Multiculturalism. Multiple cultures can co-exist and has co-existed within the same nation. Tolerance is key and extremism is a definite no. World is getting increasingly multi-cultural and Sri Lanka has to follow. Multiculturalism is important because it dilutes and dissipates the divisiveness of ignorance. It encourages dialogue between different cultures. Multiculturalism may be the right antidote for the inappropriate and destructive behavior of dictatorial regimes hell bent on marginalizing minority groups for cheap electoral advantage.

The fifth and most important pillar is the return to sanity leaving behind the irresistible proclivities for bestiality, patricide, incest and all that goes with it. The nation has had enough of this absolute madness.

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