29 September, 2020

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These Indian Givers!

By Ravi Perera –

Ravi Perera

Ravi Perera

An “Indian Giver” as we all know is one who gives something and then tries to take it back, a conduct most cultures would look at unfavourably. Common decency dictates a certain finality in an act of giving. All religions tell us that once given there is no taking back. Claims to the gift are extinguished and attachments severed, when given. Even in the law, a gift is irrevocable, save in a few exceptional circumstances. If noble is the giver, so ignoble is the Indian giver.

If one wanted confirmation of the moral degeneration of our society in recent times there was no sadder confirmation than the pictures in the newspapers of a mob besieging a Buddhist temple somewhere in Borella. According to the reports this is the temple where the political activist Reverent Athureliya Ratana resides. Borella is in the heart of a Capital city which could be considered, if one goes by the number of uniformed personnel on the streets, one of the most over-guarded cities in the world.

The mob apparently were claiming that the property that had been gifted to the temple (such institutions not being temporal, are assumed to be unable to purchase land) ought now to be returned for another purpose. In the heat of the agitation even some missiles were thrown at the temple. Until the day before, the mob had no such claims on this property. What then happened was that Reverent Atureliya Ratne openly withdrew his support from the government and joined the opposition that day.

Mahinda TissaWe are not looking here at the rightness of Reverent Athureliya Ratne’s political decisions or even the ethics of monks in politics. The high ideals of religion are so alien in the crass and brutal politics of today. In a society experiencing such a fundamental deterioration of morals and standards there are no institutions untouched by corruption. But we still can prevent anarchy. The mob that demanded the return of the temple property could have just as easily be directed to an address nearby to claim that land for another temple! That a mob can act in such a brazen manner and still have no legal action taken against them, surely points to the connivance of a higher patron.

It seems that the particular land was gifted to the temple by the present government only recently. We do not know whether one of the conditions of the gift was that its incumbent priests had to openly support the government. This is most unlikely. But going by what has been happening in other similar situations, it seems that there is  an  implicit pre-condition prevailing that compliance with its dictates is a fundamental requirement in all government appointments, promotions, recruitments, grants and what have you.

In 2009, in the aftermath of the war, the government went over the top in honoring the then army commander Sarath Fonseka. No praise was good enough for the victorious General including the title of “the best commander in the world”. Perhaps the islanders’ unfamiliarity with wars of larger magnitude and general lack of sophistication contributed to the hyperbole. Soon after the euphoria died down, it was found that the General’s eyes were set on larger horizons than the battle fields of the north. Of course he went on this new campaign by facing an electoral process, a far deadlier field, going by the consequences suffered by the former soldier! Soon after he lost the elections to the incumbent president all that was given to him; honours, land, perks and titles were withdrawn. A few years later it was the turn of the Chief Justice. While the motion to impeach the former Chief Justice was being debated in parliament a threatening mob camped outside her official residence, an action calculated to intimidate and humiliate. Several others have faced similar plights. Maithripala Sirisena the challenger at the impending Presidential elections, and his family, are bound to have many “gifts” withdrawn from them in the days to come.

On 21 of November all of Sri Lanka had their right to listen to a political discussion withdrawn when a popular TV program featuring Maithripala Sirisena and other opposition figures went off the air. On that day, for a few hours, the “gift” of political freedom was taken back from us.

But make no mistake; our democratic rights are not gifts from a generous benefactor! These are inherent and unalienable rights that we are endowed with as members of the human race. The freedom of expression, the right to a fair trial and due process, the right to representation (this is fundamentally violated when a member elected to a parliament by one party crosses over to another), the right to enjoy good governance, the right to our personal dignity and so on are not gifts. We must not allow anyone to play Indian giver here.

Now it has become culturally acceptable for an appointee to a public office to be deeply beholden to the appointing authority. A person is not appointed a judge because he is abjectly and humbly grateful to the President for the appointment. He is appointed because he is suitable; learned, honest, independent and decent. A person is not appointed as an ambassador because he has done some personal favours to a politician at a time when the man was down and out. We have a right to expect that Sri Lanka’s ambassadors are appointed on the basis that they are capable, sophisticated men who can hold their own with other diplomats of the world. We ought to be proud of them, not blush for their incompetence.

It is no secret that every day hundreds of persons are summoned to the Temple Trees for meetings and then treated lavishly with food and drinks. Some may argue that it is a gift, a free meal! In the grinding circumstances of a poor society our expectations are small. A free ride is exhilarating, a free meal satisfying and some inane verbosity intellectually stimulating!  But if the partakers were to pause for a moment in their rush for satisfaction, it may occur to them that all this generosity is paid for with their own money. It is they who have made the party possible. The irony of the party goers funding the party and yet thanking the host may be lost on them. So vulnerable is their situation, they may even fear the host turning Indian giver!

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Latest comments

  • 10
    0

    “they may even fear the host turning Indian giver!”

    it actually happens.After dinner you are asked whether you will vote for the government.If you say no you are forced to take a laxative.

    • 4
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      Ravi Perera –

      RE: These Indian Givers!

      Give the Mara Cutouts the balloon paint

      Return the favor. Make them confused.

      Cut-out duty for Army

      With the beginning of the presidential election Army soldiers in Colombo have been deployed to protect cut-outs of the presidential candidate Mahinda Rajapaksa say report

      They have been instructed to arrange their patrols to cover where Mr. Rajapaksa’s cutouts have been put up. They have also been ordered to take to camps all cut-outs that have been defaced, damaged, disfigured or broken down before early morning.

      A private company has been assigned to replace the cut-outs removed by Army personnel say reports.

      http://www.lankatruth.com/home/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7959:cut-out-duty-for-army-&catid=42:smartphones&Itemid=74

      PS. Can you write the Common sense Phamplet and expose these Indian Givers as well?

    • 4
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      Ravi Perera –

      ‘‘Defeat despotic regime! Rally for Democracy” throughout the island

      What can you do?

      1. Write common sense Pamphlet.

      2. Throw Paint filled balloons at the MaRa cut outs.

      3. listen to AKD, communicate and share.

      ‘‘Defeat despotic regime! Rally for Democracy” throughout the island

      The JVP launched the campaign to distribute the leaflet titled ‘‘Defeat despotic regime! Rally for Democracy” throughout the island opposite Colombo Fort Railway Station today (10th) with the participation of its leaders.

      The Leader of the JVP Anura Dissanayaka, its General Secretary Tilvin Silva, Information Secretary Vijitha Herath, Member of its Political Bureau Sunil Handunneththi MP and Members of its Central Committee Ramalingam Chandrasekar, Lakshman Nipunarachchi, Samanmali Gunasinghe and a large number of party activists were present.

      Mr. Dissanayaka speaking to the media:

  • 5
    1

    what about Srilankan receivers.Aren’t we having a reputation as lotus eaters,trying to always live off someone else’s sweat.

  • 3
    1

    Ravi Perera is fully fledged Fascist isnt it??
    He likme many mercenaries plays to the tune of fascism to better his lot as his imagination is rotton.

    `It is not truth that matters, but victory – Adolf Hitler isn’t it Ravi??

    ‘Guilty’ Verdict in Biggest U.S. Insider Trading Case- American of indian origin.

    His degree was taken away because it’s the university law for unfairness- just like Ghaddafi’s son. Dalit Sajit like you had a narrow escape but it can be recalled too.
    http://time.com/5003/martoma-verdict-guilty/

    Sihal Buddhis hide it with the convenience of Yellow Sareepota Putthe.

  • 5
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    From the time of MR SWRD, successive governments have utilized monks as props or agitators to achieve their political aims. This government has so far been the worst offender, obviously leading to the derogatory treatment of Buddhism and Buddhist Monks, by their mindless abuse of the institute that the millions of citizens in the world hold close to their hearts as HOLY.

    The two disgusting politicians in this photo are again raping the instiutute in this photocall using this damned ACTOR in a monk’s robe. The same [Edited out] in a bloody strap round his neck has gone to India and prostrated in front of a foreign Hindu God, raping that religion too. How dare he thinks that GODS above do not see the sins that the prostrater has been committing. A seeemingly democractic process is being manipulated by money and power of arms and mob rule according to the wishes and dictates of one Ivan the Terrible, manipulating religion.A villain in the garb of Dharmashoka for the camera.

    This is the height of disgusting politics in Sri Lanka, and I really hope the TSUNAMI of public opinion will engulf him and teach him a lesson for his terrible sins in this life, especially for misppropriating the TSUNAMI funds donated by chartitable people of the west intended for the poor and hapless victims of TSUNAMI. It is the 10th anniversary of the misappropriation of TSUNAMI funds, and a good milestone for payback in my opinion.

  • 6
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    There is a saying That “There is Nothing called a Free Dinner”

    This is what is happening at Temple Trees.

  • 0
    1

    There are many political pundits in these columns and in Sri Lanka but Ranil fail to cash in on a golden opportunity to be the THIRD Candidate with the elephant Symbol and get MR & Sira to slug it out for the votes.

    This is political greed & a hidden agenda on the part of CC backers CBK & Mangala.
    CC Sira better to take care of his POSTERIOR from these political villains.

  • 4
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    “….An “Indian Giver” as we all know is one who gives something and then tries to take it back, a conduct most cultures would look at unfavourably….” ….”…If noble is the giver, so ignoble is the Indian giver…”

    If an Indian reads this he has good reason to feel upset about this unprovoked general insult from an irresponsible Sri Lankan going about as a writer in matters of public interest. As an avid reader, I must confess I have never heard of this nonsense which Perera claims “we all know” All those givers and takers Perera refers to in his mediocre piece are Lankans. All he has done is to exhibit his patent dislike of India/Indians. This article has nothing to do with India. If this man has any decency he should make a public apology to India and all Indians for his ignominous comments.

    Kettikaran

    • 3
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      Kettikaran

      Please read below the urban dictionary comment on Indian Giver, its essentially an American phrase, nothing to do with your Indian cousins.

      Indian Giver

      There are two popular etymologies for this term for a person who gives a gift only to later demand its return. The first is that it is based on an unfair stereotype of Native Americans, that they don’t keep their word. In the other popular explanation, the term doesn’t cast aspersions on Native Americans, instead it echoes the broken promises the whites made to the Indians. Neither is accurate, although the first is closer to the truth.
      Instead the term comes from different commercial practices. To the Native Americans, who had no concept of money or currency, gifts were a form of trade goods, of exchange. One didn’t give a gift without expecting one of equivalent value in return. If one could not offer an equivalent return gift, the original gift would be refused or returned. To the Europeans, who with their monetary-based trade practices, this seemed low and insulting, gifts were not for trade but were to be freely given.

      The noun Indian gift dates to 1765. Indian giver follows about a century later in 1865. Originally, these reflected simply the expectation of a return gift. By the 1890s, the sense had shifted to mean one who demands a gift back.

      http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=indian%20giver

      • 2
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        NV,

        It connotes many a meaning even in the US.

        Similarly in the US `Chinaman` has always been considered a racist remark. However the Ambude Cricketers of Lanka recently released a book on cricket named chinaman and they were defending it like `zero casualty`.How about `drunken buddha` restaurant (nepali at london and Lankan embassy UK fighting)

        Sharia Law was in full operation Indian region when the Europeans arrived (Europeans were used to pepper corn by then)- barter trade.
        When the americans visited they had coins. however if you visit Surinam or Peru they (runaway slaves blacks and natives) still come across the river pay by gold nuggets in barter. like our horlicks yogi in the Himalayas for rudraksha.

        We still have consumer protection act in operation and customer rights.

        The very best on the net is via paypal not even a credit card- instant arbitration.

        So Perera was just batting having shown his full colours and kettikaran was right to challenge him- because `indian giver` has many a meaning.
        cheers!

        • 2
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          Javi.

          Thanks

  • 1
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    Indian giver has nothing to do with India! “Indian giver is an American expression to describe a person who gives a gift (literal or figurative) and later wants it back, or something equivalent in return. It is based on the experiences of early European settlers and pioneers like Lewis and Clark [1] when trading with Native Americans.” (Wikipedia)

    • 2
      0

      The noun Indian gift dates to 1765. Indian giver follows about a century later in 1865. Originally, these reflected simply the expectation of a return gift. By the 1890s, the sense had shifted to mean one who demands a gift back.

      How about `Boston Brahmin` (curious what the yankees have to say. like the swastika of hitler)

      the reason for this question: because when Chris Columbus left for the Americas or Vas Gooda Gama left for Cochin the Europeans were used to `pepper from Cochin` as currency brought in by the Arab rulers (for 700 years)

  • 0
    0

    Indian Givers?

    Never heard the expression.

    But why drag the Indians in to describe the horrors here?
    Are u not unwittingly reinforcing prejudice in a society that needs all we can do to rid of its pernicious communal prejudices?

    I think we have a duty to be careful.

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