8 August, 2022

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Time Has Come To Banish The Rajapaksa; It’s Now

By Vishwamithra

“You see the bird and you see its flight. You cannot see through its eyes. Therefore, you don’t know its plight…” ~ Amaka Imani Nkosazana

The morning dew has created a psychedelic design on the grass. Each drop is perfectly circular and varying in circumference; when sun rays are reflecting off its minuscule summit of the drop, the patterns that the dew generates are swaying to the morning breeze like an immaculately choreographed ensemble. The moist touch must be bringing heavenly feel to any rough-skinned under-feet. Pages of ‘Grass for my Feet’ by Jinadasa Vijayatunga bring back fondest of memories, read almost eons ago. The sun has already risen above the distant horizon, at extremity of the plains that dominate this part of the land.

The dry zone whose fate is fundamentally tied up with intermittent rain and reservoirs of water so constructed by wiser men is where our ancestors initiated massive and solid development schemes. Those who claim these arid plains from generation to generation have been wedded to the land with religious devotion; when it was dry, they did not complain and when rains paid their irregular visits they were not overjoyed either. Centuries of surviving in all extremities have inflicted a superior kind of composure and restrained their joy and toughened their hearts, for show of awkward misery or ill-timed delight is a surrender of their collective stoicism.

Yet at present time, it is a totally different story; a story of an ever-changing physical landscape made unbearably pathetic by imposition of a scenery of political genre. Long before the government’s idiotic decision to convert agriculture production from chemical fertilizer-enriched cultivation to one reinforced by ‘organic’ fertilizer has left behind a landscape brutally starved by a dearth of fertilizer of any kind. As far as the eye could see, it was, sometime back, a carpet of greenery, stretching from one end all the way to the horizon of this farmland. From the evaporation of the morning dew to the twilight time when a family of proud farmers prepared the land, enriched the soil, provided the water, indulged in an unending meditation on the growing paddy and then harvesting to feed a nation and a proud family, this enchanting saga of dry-zone cultivation has fed our nation from time immemorial. That was how a productive day was spent.

Not now. The farming families in the land have been subjected to the whims and fancies of a Minister of Agriculture who cannot claim allegiance to the farming community. He did not comprehend the nuanced aspects of cultivation, paddy or any other crop. Sensitive practices of traditional farming have been sacrificed at the altar of political expedition. The joy of tilling one’s own land has been taken away from the men and women who fed and nurtured this nation for centuries. The Rajapaksas have come, they’ve seen and indeed, they’ve conquered. A tragic tale of national starvation is being written and enacted on the national stage for all to see.

The massive reservoirs that provided hydroelectricity have gone dry. The whole country has been literally plunged into darkness and those who are responsible for this monumental failure in governance, economic mishandling and cultural debacle don’t seem to care in the least. And in that darkness, under the cover of the Covid-19 pandemic, capital market collapse and ensuing economic negativity, the Rajapaksa Family, its corrupt cabal of henchmen and women and immediate kith and kin went into business of virtually selling the country to the highest bidder. The norms have changed, the entire culture of fair governance has been altered and law and order has become a rare commodity, rarer than today’s milk-food.

Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and its breakaway groups like Pohottuwa Cabal have been in power from 1994 up till now, barring on two occasions from 2001 to 2003 and 2015 to 2019. All what is apparent today in the national scene should be owned by them. Defeating Prabhakaran and his deadly forces of Tigers does not give a license to the Rajapaksas, nor to the SLFP and the Pohottuwa cabal to plunder the country’s coffers. It does not offer excuses to displace the Northern Tamils from their traditional land; such military feats do not qualify the rulers unquestioningly to be the masters of a slave-nation. Fiefdom and feudalism, albeit an integral part of the Bandaranaike history and a stinking patch of indignity of their followers, is history now.

A nation that became free of the colonial rule seventy three years ago cannot be treated like a pack of serfs by some uneducated, unreservedly crooked and dangerously self-righteous. If the majority of the people of Ceylon choose to serve these merchants of corruption and nepotism without questioning the right and wrong of fundamental human principles, without probing into the absurdities of avaricious ambitions of politicians, the destiny of the land and her people is a lamentable one whose arrival is dreaded and consequences fearsome.

It is in this distressing context, Siyadoris, the head of the farming family whose farmland which I described in the opening of this sad saga, embarked on this sunny morning to complete the application of the meager amount of fertilizer purchased at a premium price in the black-market, close to his dwelling in the settlement scheme. The Unit Manager of the scheme has taken his yearly leave, leaving the mundane affairs of a land settlement scheme to his deputy, a new recruit whose only qualification was that he hailed from the same community, same village in Nawalapitiya, a picturesque electorate in Kandy district.

When Siyadoris visited the Unit Manager’s office, he was told that even the Deputy had gone on another errand, private or official, the attending peon did not know. It certainly is not becoming easier for Siyadoris. The field engineer is sick and the Unit manager’s office resembles as desolate and headless as does Siyadoris’s parched field waiting for another rainy day.

When Siyadoris reached back to his farm, the sun was at its maximum strength; the dry zone birds that used to chirp in a cloudless sky despite the scorching temperatures, are still doing their sky-dancing, to a charming pattern that bedevil the mind and fascinate the eyes. Siyadoris, the pride of yesteryear and harbinger of the country’s riches is not only tired and exhausted, he is angry and enraged. His dreams are not to make two millions from half a million; his dreams are made of much more mundane stuff. Education for his two children, three meals a day for a family of four and a decent and dignified day of labor for the land he worships each time he sets his foot on this breathtakingly beautiful tract.

Such men are not greedy; indulgence in a glass of pot-arrack at the end of the day after a strenuous and sweaty day of honest labor is no crime or an extravaganza; a daily regimen of devotion to the land that sustains his family has bestowed on him that simple pleasure. Lost in hope, yet eager to finish his day’s labor, Siyadoris reaches his homestead for lunch, which his wife has prepared, rice, pol sambol, and dry fish curry. Being a village girl, Yaso Hami, Siyadoris’s wife knows how to make a delightful meal even with the minimum of the items available. While those men in power lunch and wine in five-star hotels in Colombo, Siyadoris has willfully opted to partake of a simple yet tasty meal. That meal is a product of his honest labor; it was prepared by his wife whose devotion to Buddhism and its middle-path practices has nourished her and her two children to be honest and dedicated rural children that dominate the most far-out corners of the land.

Siyadoris does not have the luxury of an afternoon siesta; he has to track back to the field to close the field channels so that his neighboring farmers too could share the same amount of water the field engineer releases each morning. He continues to plough his land and he does it with enormous pride and now with a little bit of anger. The promises and slogans are still lingering in his ears. In order to feed a family and lend his share to the nation’s riches, Siyadoris has to undergo the apathy of the government officers and politicians who claim that they had a better knowledge about farming. But nothing can be further from the truth. In addition to the fact that he is being pontificated by some ignoramus whose knowledge about farming is next to nothing, he also has to suffer the indignity of bring ruled by one single family.

When dusk is about to envelop the surroundings, Siyadoris makes up his mind. He would not wait any longer. Whether it was the political party led by an elephant, hand or a pohottuwa, that school of political thought has to be discarded. They have collectively plunged his nation into an abyss of bankruptcy, starvation and hunger. He must pay a visit to office in the township; that office is being manned by some village youth whose only wish and hope, it seems, is doing away with the past mistakes and opening up new vistas, where Siyadoris never ever thought that he would dare begin to go. Everything has a time…and that time for Siyadoris has come.

*The writer can be contacted at vishwamithra1984@gmail.com

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Latest comments

  • 11
    0

    At least now this call to banish the Rajapakses has a meaning .

    For 30 years ,when ever we struggled and chased away a bad man/woman it only benefitted the ghastly Ranil Wickramasinghe who had a permanent hold on the UNP, the alternative party.

    This is not because Ranil was popular in the UNP either. He himself had changed the UNP constitution to make it impossible for the leader to be changed without him stepping down. That is how terrible this man is.

    Whenever we chase away a bad leader and Ranil lands on the top job the country suffers, we soon discover that he is a scheming scoundrel who only works for a few favourites and they get together and have a rollicking gay party.

    Ranil damaged the UNP so much that there are no great people there. Even this lot Premadasa , Fonseka, Harsha will prove to be nonsensical, but still better than that scoundrel Ranil

  • 3
    0

    We are the only country led by dual citizens and run by their cohorts who behave to protect them here and abroad.
    Anyone cannot and should not owe allegiance to more than one country.
    Those whose monetary worth is not verifiable, should not seek elective office.
    A level of education too should be mandatory for elective office.
    Sri Lanka is the only country which flouts these rules followed by all other nations.
    We have sold our birthright to persons who do not deserve it.

  • 6
    0

    Certainly, the Rajapakse regime has to go now, immediately. I dread to think of SL in another 2 years under the current regime but who is to take over? MR was elected solely on his charismatic ‘saviour of the nation’ rhetoric, & GR, as the leader capable of safeguarding the country from an invisible terror threat, but the Rajapakse supporting nationalist ‘patriots’ who are against Tamil autonomy in the North, fail to see the same ‘saviours’ have sold the country to the Chinese, willingly or not.

    Maybe under the SJB, SL would be better off, considering the fact that the country can’t be any worse off than it is now but I remain sceptic of Premadasa jnr.’s ability as a leader with integrity. I have the highest respect for AKD but considering the JVP’s socialist underpinnings & its murderous & destructive past, which they can’t discard, I am not sure if the JVP is the answer, even with a moderate like AKD as the helm without totally rebranding as new party. As for the UNP & SLFP, reinventing with a new leadership (as both RW & Sirisena have proved to be utterly incompetent) would be the only way back as an alternative force.

    The opportunity has come for a new set of educated leaders to come forward (preferably, from outside the current political career path). Otherwise, its the same wine in a different bottle.

    • 2
      2

      Raj-UK: Your comment: “JVP’s socialists underpinning & it’s murderous past which they can’t discard”. I am glad you are living in the UK and that saves us from being living in the decades-old history. The present-day living in Sri Lanka is different and those of young age are more RESOLVED to forget the past and wake up to a much more different country than what you used to live. You are also not aware of what is happening in JVP with the new thinking that has got infused with the formation of NPP under its wing.

      • 0
        0

        Simon

        The past cannot be erased. A few years ago, while on holiday, I visited Sachsenhausen, a concentration camp of the Nazis near Berlin, where I met a teacher on a school trip with his teenage pupils. He said the acknowledgement of historical facts, however unacceptable, is necessary to enlighten future generations to ensure it does not happen again. I can vaguely remember the JVP insurrection of the 70s but remember the second coming in the 90s very well, where several innocent people, some whom I knew, lost their lives. The govt. too. was responsible for many atrocities but all were swept under the carpet, the perpetrators unpunished, just as today.

        If the JVP has shed its militant ideology, then it must first publicly apologise to the people of SL for its violent past. Alternatively, AKD can distance himself from the JVP & continue with NPP or whatever he wish to call a new party.

        • 0
          0

          Raj-UK. Thanks. I agree past cannot be erased. Yet that past, when becoming history also tends to be “Interpretative” and “Tainted” with “Opinions” and “Misguidance” by those who have recorded. I have lived and experienced, both “1971” and “1989” of the so-called “JVP” uprisings and have read most of the “History” written and I know both the “Facts” and “Distortions” contained in those writings. In both those “Uprisings” I have lost considerably (personally) and most importantly my “Personal” library collections of books, posters, literature, news bulletins, handbills and other publicity materials relating to the politics of Sri Lanka dating back to 1948.

          I think my use of one word, i.e. “Forget” history was wrong. It should have been stated as “Set Aside” history and move on with the relevant present. Please read my earlier comment with that interpolation, you might understand it well. Thanks.

  • 2
    0

    Time Has Come To Banish The Rajapaksa; It’s Now
    =====
    Rajapkasas have their tentacles every wher. we need to banish the to the root…all their cronies(Tamils and Muslims) their paid cronies , henchmen, thugs, murderess, Monks, army generals, their UNP friends, JVP friends.

    Sri Lanka need a fresh start – perhaps young civil society leaders and business leaders ?

  • 3
    0

    The day when Rajapakses are banished is closer than ever. The day Mahinda dies a tug a war will automatically come from within the family for leadership. This will be further escalated with the other senior SLPP and SLFP politicians entering the scene. The backbenchers will take sides in supporting their next best choice.

    This is the reason why Mahinda is pulling the rug under Gotabaya. He knows well, once Mahinda is gone, Gotabaya or Basil or even Chamal will not serve under Namal. Mahinda’s “grey brigade”, those Mahinda put in place in various senior positions in the government are now working against Gotabaya. The conductor of this orchestra is Mahinda. This is one of the main reasons why Gota could not progress with his manifesto.

  • 3
    0

    The caption of the article: “Time Has Come To Banish Rajapakse; It Is Now”. We have done this type of “Banishings” for decades and ended up bringing “MISERY” right up to our doorstep and it has entered our houses. OK, We “Banish” this “Rajapakses (it would happen, no doubt), and what are we “Looking” at to “Replace”? We have learned enough of “Banishings” and “Replacements”. Are we ready with the “Replacement”? Not yet. So don’t be in a hurry, because this “Banishing” has to be for “GOOD” and never to return. The “Replacement” has to be done with due care and with proper “Selection”.

    There is ONE in the offing and that is “JVP/NPP”. Yet, we do not know WHAT they offer and HOW they are going to meet the “Peoples’ Needs” The only favorable and “Certainty” factors are “The Team” has withstood the test of times in “Honesty”, “Integrity” and “Walk the Talk”. In comparison, the other “Option” is “SJB” led by Sajith. Let me be very candid and straight. It is nothing more than the “Other Side” of the coin of “Rajapakses”. Better, we do not think of “SJB” and Leader “Sajith”; but await the arrival of a “NEW TEAM” with a “PRAGMATIC” plan to pull us out of this hell hall. Till then let “Rajapakses” dig their grave deeper and deeper even at the expense of the country and people. It is “WORTHY” to bury them forever.

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