By Shyamon Jayasinghe –
Form of Address
Pardon me, reader I will not address this man as I do when addressing our normal temple monks who are on the path or trying to be on the path. The problem with Buddhists is that they are conditioned to bend and pay respects indiscriminately to any two-egged being in yellow robes. This had not been an obligation decreed by the Buddha himself who had several times disparaged those who are unworthy but in robes. The failure of folk level Buddhism in this regard is the root societal cause of the decaying Sanga we observe today. There has to come a time when the public must look away at persons like Galagodaatte Gnanasara. It is only critical social reaction that can keep monks on course.
It is gone on record that this muscular man was long ago caught for drink-driving. He was recently jailed and rescued from jail by a presidential pardon by the other notorious character called Sirisena. Birds of a feather flock together is the much used adage to describe this situation.
It is also on record that this man filthily abused the wife of Prageeth Ekneligoda, the missing person when the former appeared in court for the hearing related to her husband. I do not know whether Gnanasara raised his robe that time but it is reported that he appeared outrageously abusive in the presence of court. He has been caught similarly abusive of police officials who had intervened to implement the law. One case, I remember had been in Kurunegala. Some of the words he was caught on video uttering cannot be reported in print here. It is clear that Gnanasara has no laws or norms guiding him. Lawless man he is.
The New Appointment
Now, president Gotabaya Rajapaksa has awarded the monk with some serious responsibility and that is to ensure there is one law in one country. Gnanasara has no law at all and so it behoves us to figure out what law he is going to decree. Besides, legislative change is a specialised task that no ordinary man can be entrusted to undertake. Another point is that this task falls within the legal jurisdiction of the Minister of Justice. As for many of Gota’s actions thus far, the question is repeatedly being asked “who is responsible to whom?” This is a basic managerial issue but we have seen time and again our president giving the same responsibility to several people. When he realizes, like the tubelight, the gazette is reversed. All is nice and tidy!
What Has Gotten of Gota?
Gota’s link with Gnanasara isn’t one of yesterday. Media reported how when he was Defense Secretary Gota had been seen at the opening AGM of Gnanasara’s Bodu Bala Sena Sangamaya.
What has gotten of Gota, can anybody tell? One thing is that he is taking an inordinate time to go up the learning curve with regard to managerial tasks and decisions. At conferences he looks around for decisions and even then takes the wrong decisions. His fertilzer decision is a dramatic and tragic example that will eventually return to him and his government in a very serious backlash. Looking at the utter chaos and utter desperateness and dismay of farmers all over the island our Gota just smiles and mumbles without conviction “Api thamayi honda ta ma kele.”
Yes, Gota, your new “honda ta ma kele” act is to give the thug monk a big official responsibility.
Street Fighter Battalion?
I am wrong. You will see the monk rounding up other robed ones with ‘goti’ beards to assault striking teachers, for instance. Let them come again! In the meantime this monk brigade will put other critics under control and may even obstruct other democratic expressions of protest. In this way Gnanasara will be valuable indeed. If this be so, there is a political wisdom in giving this monk an official role and arming him with government approval.
Galagaodaatthe Gnanasara is going to play a big role this way. And when election time comes this thug will be very handy.
This new situation frightfully reminds us of Hitler’s paramilitary troops known as the SA. Here’s a description:
“The Sturmabteilung (German: [ˈʃtʊʁmʔapˌtaɪlʊŋ] (listen); SA; literally “Storm Detachment“) was the Nazi Party‘s original paramilitary wing. It played a significant role in Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in the 1920s and 1930s. Its primary purposes were providing protection for Nazi rallies and assemblies, disrupting the meetings of opposing parties, fighting against the paramilitary units of the opposing parties, especially the Roter Frontkämpferbund of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) and the Reichsbanner Schwarz-Rot-Gold of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), and intimidating Romani, trade unionists, and especially Jews.
Seen this way ( I am hoping this isn’t true), Gnanasara is readying to play a big role in the political scenario.
Our president Gotabaya should think very carefully and not fall into the trap of Gnanasara who may even eventually take over from the president when the chaos strikes and Gota is disabled by the mess and wants to return to America- his safe land.
Looking at the last two years, this seems to be a strange twist in the affairs of our governance. The macro problems of impossibly growing debts and dwindling forex, the failure of import substitution, the failure of price control, the burgeoning cost of living daily heaped on the people-these are obviously telling on the government and Gota and his government knows they cannot solve them. In the meantime, public reaction is hitting the streets.
To add to this Gnanasara might rekindle anti-Muslim riots. Like the Jews of Hitler, the Mussulmen of Lanka would be the scapegoats.
I like to recall the Dammapada: “As a creeper overpowers the entwined Sal tree, he whose impiety is great reduces himself to the state to which his enemy wishes for him.” (Attavaggo)
*The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org