22 July, 2018

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Today’s Bonding With Lessons Of Bhagavad-Gita

By Sarath de Alwis

Sarath de Alwis

We live in times of moral complexity. Whose deed is more pernicious? Burglar raiding the vault or the Cop who wipes off the burglar’s finger prints? 

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will, appear before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry today. The Leader of the House Minister of Higher Education, High ways who knows his way around in these matters insists that the Prime minister’s appearance is at his own volition. 

The Commission, according to a news report, has summoned Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya to lead the evidence of the Prime minster.

“The reason they have summoned me is due to the respect of protocol for the Prime Minister, who is the second citizen of the country. I will be leading the evidence on behalf of the Commission,” the AG has explained.

Invited or summoned, our Prime minster will give evidence under oath. We the people, await breathless, to hear his evidence.

They believe that the law, in its ‘majesty of equality forbids the rich and the poor to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and to steal bread.’      

Earlier two ministers, Kabir Hashim and Malik Samarawickrama appeared before the commission. When asked if the UNP had received any funds from Perpetual Treasuries, both under oath said no. Since they were not subject to cross examination, it is difficult to surmise the weight of their denial. Their ‘No’ could have oscillated between an emphatic no and a simple non-injurious no. 

Ministers, these days, say things that are later amended, reframed or entirely revised and reframed. The Economic Strategy Maestro Minster Malik Samarawickrama recently performed an impressive romp on his credibility trapeze. It was about an additional allocation of land for the Shangri-La project. He suggested that it was a measure proposed by the President. That was not quite accurate and was subsequently corrected by government spokesman Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara .

Readers of the Sunday Times which published the explanation of Minister Malik a week earlier were treated to a boxed recapitulation of the bamboozle under its widely read political column this Sunday.         

On an scale of 10 for a ‘Scandal Armageddon’ a phrase borrowed from Dan Rather – the American TV anchor, the ‘bond boondoggle, easily earns a good 9th place.

The Watergate Scandal, in the United Sates, the Profumo Scandal in the UK and Spectrum Scandal in India impacted and radically altered the systemic structures of their respective justice systems and media coverage.

In the digital age, transparency in Sri Lanka is yet a demanding enterprise.

The Bond business was probed by two parliamentary committees. The first got aborted. The second produced a report with footnotes.

The detailed inquiry by a presidential commission is now at its tail end. The cascading intensity of the affair reaches its climax when the Prime minister appears before the commission today.

No matter how his encounter with the commission turns out, its final outcome will be monumental and transformational as Watergate was in Washington, Profumo in London and Spectrum in New Delhi.

It will have an equal or a more far-reaching influence on our ‘Sri Lankan ‘gemeinschaft’.

The writer seeks the reader’s pardon and tolerance. The use of the German word is no flaunt of punditry. It is only the absence of a precise English equivalent.

The German sociologist Max Weber explains gemeinschaft. It is the form of the social order resulting from “rational agreement by mutual consent,” meaning members of society agree to participate and abide the given rules, norms, and practices because rationality tells them that they benefit by doing so.

Richard Nixon faced impeachment and was subsequently  pressured to resign, not because he ordered the burglary in the Watergate building. He did not even know about it. He faced impeachment and suffered disgrace for its cover up. 

The relentless Watergate investigation untied the mind of Richard Nixon. The Profumo probe bared the mind of Prime Minster Harold McMillan. The ‘Spectrum’ scandal untangled the turbaned cerebral elegance of Prime Minster Man Mohan Sing.

His predicament is closer to ours. He was compelled to confess why he compromised his demonstrated integrity. He did not remove a corrupt minister. He did not order the investigation is warranted. He explained political accommodation of corruption as a ‘coalition dharma’.

The country awaits the Attorney General reconnoitering the mind of Prime minster Ranil Wickremesinghe. He will, it is hoped will find out why it was necessary to uproot the successful investment banker from his home in Singapore – the far eastern ‘Shangri-La of speculative capital. A Shangri-La just opened its business here only last Saturday.

A friend living in the miracle mile between the whiff of Cinnamon and the breeze of Shangri-La, informs this writer that the gala event was a fabulous melting pot. The e ‘Yaha Palana’ political class ‘Accessed’ the islands oligarchy celebrating the opening of the glittering edifice and epitome of heavenly hospitality of east Asia.

If the oligarchs succeeded before 8th January 2015 they are now flourishing said the friend who described the hugs and ‘thoththus’ exchanged among the powerful, the greedy and the showy.    

Doubtless, the Attorney General will explore the mind of Prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on relative merits and demerits of private placements and auctions. 

The tale of the two Arjuns has the complexity and the sublime paradoxes of the original Arjuna centric philosophical classic the ‘Bhagavad-Gita’.

The Gita offers a central premise. Act decisively. Do not get mired in over- analysis. Especially when you are knowledgeable. We are usually prone to draw comfort in talking and analyzing than acting upon knowledge.

The immature think that knowledge and action are different, but the wise see them as the same.

Post script. Justice Hugo Black writing in the in 6-3 Majority opinion of the US Supreme Court permitting publication of Pentagon Papers wrote “In my view, far from deserving condemnation for their courageous reporting, the New York Times, the Washington Post and other newspapers should be commended for serving the purpose that the Founding Fathers saw so clearly.”

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  • 1
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    Mr. Alwis: Bhagavath Geetha came second and buddhism came first. buddhism says you are responsible for your liberation and Gita says it is Brahman who saves you….. Anyway Knowledge is mind. Action is action. Buddha said always mind comes first. “Chethana han bhikkawe Kammaan vadami”.
    Anyway, my opinion that Ranil with the help of Tries to prove it is some officials that screwed him up and it waas Mahinda rajapakse who placed them there. A sinhala newspaper says that Kiriella’s highway project pays eight million rupees per killometer consultant fee. Kiriella has got quotations from Only one bank in Japan to fund the highway. that is Mitsubhishi Bank corporation…. the Sri lankan representative or the Sales for that is Arjun Aloesius.
    Maithripala has allocated Rs 600 million only for advertisement of his Grama shakthi program and the contract has been given to his daughter’s advertising agency. For some “ceremony” MY3 had, the govt has paid 3 .5 million for advertisign that event. they want another two million to close that service.
    Rajitha and Kiriella are the two sales men for SAITM. Rajitha has stopped working in SLMPC (phamramaceutical manufacturing) and has given the drug importing contract to a friend who imports everything from India. Read and sed you get more.

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      Jim Softy,
      Which Bhagavad Gita says “It is Brahman who saves us”…..
      Anyway, what this verse means is “having only knowledge is useless unless you use it or act on it” OR “Don’t get suck into over-analysing… Use your knowledge or act using your knowledge”…
      Most of us know that our leaders are cheaters, liars .. and it is getting worse and worse after independence.. But we don’t act on our knowledge… We keep electing them and they keep cheating us.. I guess this is what Sarath is telling us..
      Bhagavad Gita is “way of living”… and beautiful teaching… If you are interested, Eknath Easwaran wrote of really good books explaining those 700 verses… To me, Buddhism is more theoretical, its’ psychological analysis of human behaviour is really great..

      • 0
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        DUMB AVB:

        that is where the analysis is useful. Buddhism is “the way of life”. Read Dhammapada. Only 438 versus. It explains everything.
        Ranil is one who goes to Dalada Maligawa and promise a new golden net and then go to Mahanuwara Mosque and prey for it. that kind of doshonest people.
        Do you think, even JVP is bunch of thieves, any one else would help sri lankans. Even journalists are writing for money and they are turning every time when they get free lap top. What is the point writing for english readers when majority can not read or understand english.

  • 1
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    Why you want to refer to Bagawath Geetha etc. ctc…… to explain the “Bonding”? Haven’t you seen how the corrupted politicians from the SLFP; UNP; JO; all have got BONDED in robbing the National Wealth and making the PEOPLE to pay back their LOOT?

  • 2
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    Mr Sarath de Alwis,

    Whatever said and done ……. and however imperfect, a presidential commission that forces a powerful minister to resign and have the power – and the guts/courage – to call the prime minister to testify is a step in the right direction for SL.

    Nothing ever is perfect ………… but for SL, it sets a precedence for future governments – willingly or unwillingly, this commission is set up to investigate the misdeeds of the ruling government/party …….. and not the opposition like all the other commissions before.

    I wish It is expanded to cover all cases of misuse of the EPF funds. And put an end to the systematic pilfering of the EPF once and for all.

    It can be done ………… if the will is there. And it’ll be a good place to start.

  • 1
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    Worms wriggle out of the most unimaginable shit holes. And they carry on even when cut in two.

    No one wriggles better than the second-in-command wriggler in our wormery. He will surely give a master class.

    Is AG JJ up to it?

    I will watch, eyes shielded, from behind my haansi puttuwa.

  • 0
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    Mr.De Alwis,

    with or without your good intentions sometimes you seem to be quite naive and day dreaming that anything good will comeout of this so called Presidential Commission..Even without RW ‘s appearance before the Commission any sensible person would know how he is implicated on this issue.

    Now that every known evidence is available whom do you expect to act decisively ?
    MS !!! LOL

  • 1
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    Sarath de Alwis quotes ~ “The immature think that knowledge and action are different but the wise see them as the same”
    Lemma 1: The WISER use knowledge to justify their actions
    Lemma 2: The WISEST always cover their tracks.
    The ‘Bhagawad-Gita’ is an instrument to sanctify the ruling class and perpetuate the caste-system. It justifies the misdeeds of rulers are ‘necessary evil’.
    Former Indian PM Manmohan Singh’s explanation of “…………..accommodating political corruption as a ‘coalition dharma’…….” is based on this.
    MR was ‘wiser’ than RW, but not the ‘wisest’.

    • 0
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      K. Pillai: Wisest never cover their tracks.
      See how many times Bank looter Ranil tried to cover up. HE started it in the parliament, with COPE and with his three lawyers. HE got one thief to write a book too. Now, we know he had phone Arjun aloesius 227 times. some of that discussion should be about money

  • 0
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    Mr. Sarath De Alwis: All the UNP MPs attend the hearing behind the Bank robber Ranil. they were supporting each other. How about Maithripala sirisena. HE ie was elected by people but he is MPs. What does it say. President is still on the eggs. IS he a thief too, He does not know what to do even after 50 years of experience. Even news release comes from Mahinda Rajapakse is to protect thieves. Do you think any one is for voters. Will the forces help voters by correcting this ?

  • 0
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    Sarath though I agree with you I am impressed that the PM was requested and bothered to attend this inquiry. Regardless of the outcome I cannot imagine this taking place during the previous government where the CJ was forcibly seen off because she turned out to be a headache to the then lawyer come president who did not want to waste any precious time of his by approaching the courts,I am fortunate to experience the true meaning of democracy ( though not fully) only when I left SL to a foreign land of my choice and lived there for more than 15 years.The so called domocrazy in Asia is pretty much a SHAM.

  • 0
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    Quoting from Bagawadgita by the MP’s is like A devil quoting scripture.

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