By Vishwamithra1984 –
“Life always gets harder toward the summit – the cold increases, the responsibility increases” ~Friedrich Nietzsche
Typical effects of good governance (Yahapalanaya) are slowly but surely taking root in our country. The mindset of the current ‘Buruwa (bureau(cracy)’ reminds one of a frightened little boy who was once caught with his hands in the candy jar. To repeat the same deed brings thoughts of punishment but the greed has not retreated. A pathetic tragicomedy is playing out and the end of the first Act is nearing. But the audience is not responding in a patient and gentle way. On the contrary, it is increasingly getting more raucous because the dawn of illumination on reality drives them further towards impatience and more vigor. The fear factor is playing a very retarding role in that any project or venture that seeks government approval at any level, especially when bureaucratic officials become signatories, the ghosts of FDIC, Bribery Commission and media begin to haunt these known and unknown culprits who had a heyday during the last regime and the said projects get stuck. Delays become the norm of the day.
Complaints are piling up; they are not only coming from those money-grubbing commission agents who have submitted their lucrative proposals for approval; those anxious parents who want their children admitted to one of the better schools in the country are mournful; transfer-seeking servicemen and women are lining up and returning home with no satisfactory answers and its becoming increasingly unbearable.When they reach home empty handed, they tell their unfortunate stories to their friends, neighbors and working colleagues. The impressions become worse when these stories are told over and over again. It’s not a pretty certificate to brag about and the critics are sharpening their weapons. Uncertainty has become the word that describes the state of the land.
Rhetoric does not match the actual deeds; meetings, discussions and workshops don’t substitute for visible implementation and debates in parliament aren’t a viable alternative to hard-work. No Cabinet Ministers, State Ministers, Deputy Ministers or ordinary MPs are seen on the paddy fields scattered across the land; they are not seen inspecting new factories, nor are they visible in the shack-houses of the urban proletariat. Of course, they are amply portrayed as deliverers of economic empowerment. They are received by hundreds of henchmen and cronies with garlands and beetle sheaves. The same old caravan is taking its inevitable trek, towards what end, fortunately or unfortunately, none seems to know.
For instance, Pathiraja who is a junior executive in a private sector company is a hardworking man. He is in his late thirties and has a school-going child qualified to enter the 2nd or 3rd grade after completing 1st grade schooling in his neighborhood. Pathiraja wants his son admitted to one of the leading schools located not far away from his home and he approaches the officials concerned. He had already saved enough of ‘santosam’, if necessary, to be given away to whomever when called for. But he failed. He went to the extent of meeting the political authority in his area, yet no results. During the last regime it was not easy but given the corrupt-ridden environment that enveloped the politicos and their henchmen, the right amount of money passing hands would have gained Pathiraja’s son a school that he wanted. Yahapalanaya or the very notion of Yahapalanaya prevented Pathiraja from his dream. It has crippled the officialdom.
Today, hundreds, if not thousands of Pathirajas, crowd the corridors of Ministries and departments, going from one desk to another with no satisfactory answer to their burning questions. There is no easy answer to school-admission problem of the day. A long-term solution is to uplift all schools to the same level or at least to an equivalent status. Until then, what can the government do? Grieving parents are losing their patience; they are caught in a cruel cycle of corruption and Yahapalanaya. The only alternative the rulers of today have is to be candid about the whole issue. There is no escape from reality and if truth be told to the masses in a succinct and coherent manner, whether the listeners pay attention or not, the relief those utterances bring unto those who rule would be a fresh breeze that would calm their minds. The irony is Pathiraja and his likes in the land could not care two brass buttons for Yahapalanaya. In the haste to get their children a better school, they would resort to giving santosams and think about consequences later.
In a faraway land in a remote hamlet lives Pathmasiri, a retired mechanic whose grown up daughter is an arts-graduate.She has been at home, looking for jobs ever since her graduation and seems to have had no luck whatsoever in securing government employment. Their house is half completed; the temporary roof that looms over their heads is leaking when it rains; unplastered walls are rough and edgy; the floor is not paved and payments on the bank loan are in arrears and the house that was half-completed by mortgaging the property to raise cash for the daughter’s education is on the verge of going into foreclosure. Pathmasiri has managed to reschedule a payment scheme by pleading with the Bank Manager. Does Pathmasiri ponder about Yahapalanaya? Any palanaya (governance) that does not ‘deliver the goods’ to him is immaterial to him. The immediate chain of emotions and thoughts that sets in conditions the mindset of thousands of Pathmasiris dispersed around the Island. Their anger and frustration assume a totally new character and property. The Government simply cannot disregard them; nor can they hoodwink the thousands of Pathmasiris any longer.
However, the age group and the very nature of the social class that Pathmasiri hails from is not one that would resort to violence or protest. Yet their unexpressed grief and lament is like an ember, burning beneath a dormant surface. Yahapalanaya’s very core is challenged; its validity is questioned and its apathetic journey is slowly and surely coming to a dead halt. A swift change is needed and no Government politico is forthcoming as to the real reasons and causes of this meandering approach to statecraft.
The political landscape in the country is changing and it is offering diverse alternatives not only to those who rule but more sharply to those who are ruled. Modern scientific discoveries have brought about rapid changes in the communication sphere that bedevil even the educated mind and the scope of expectations they entail surpasses all make-believe horizons. Pundit Nehru wrote in his ‘The Discovery of India’, about the present day youth having got used to all the amenities of modern scientific discoveries without understanding the ‘inner content’ of that scientific revolution that really began with the Industrial revolution and still continuing its relentless journey towards the end of time.
Possessing a ‘smart phone’ and texting messages, reading and sending emails, indulgence in the Facebook activities and twitter adventures, have displayed a magnificent scope of modern communication. But other than offering instant gratification on all these modern gadgetry, a genuine intercourse of ideas and ideals seems to be completely absent; any attempt at free and independent expression of thought and mind takes a secondary role and the prime concern of these owners of modern contraptions is instant gratification. How can one blame these youth who resort to means and methods of instant gratification because such devices are readily available and at competitive costs? Whichever way one looks at it, the picture, instead of presenting a cozy painting, appears more like a caricature drawn by a mad man.
Yahapalanaya has no solution. It is unmistakably futile to attempt to institute Yahapalanaya in exclusion to economic empowerment of the masses. Good governance has no meaning to an empty stomach. The lives of Pathiraja and Pathmasiri tell a story that no ruler can ignore. Those lives were built on dreams of a generation. Just because the rulers of the day chose to disregard them does not qualify those dreams to be illegitimate or mere fantasies. As much as politicians have had dreams to become ultimate rulers of this country, in their own small and mundane genre, these ordinary men and women like Pathiraja and Pathmasiri too dreamt of giving their children a better education and livelihoods. They walk, bus and run to their workplaces; they excitedly look forward to hosting their families to a monthly or quarterly meal at a reasonably good restaurant at which most of these politicos and their henchmen dine and wine on a daily basis. They rejoice at their children’s achievements in school and lament when they don’t get good grades; they keep their hearth burning and doors and windows open to fresh winds and alternative means of earning. Rulers must not close those doors. Such a tragedy would, in turn, will produce many tragedies whose character and demeanor would continue to harass and torment our contemporary history.
In this cruel journey of life, every attempt must be made to make sure that the ordinary Pathiraja and Pathmasiri is proud to embrace his life as a whole, irrespective of circumstances. Time is running out. It’s time that Yahapalanaya was reintroduced not only as a means of good governance, but a summit of all dreams and aspirations of the masses- economic, social, cultural and spiritual.
*The writer can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org
BBS Rep / July 6, 2016
Yes, I agree there is no light at the end of the tunnel. My3 held a torch and got all people excited but the torch has run out of battery.
Business is still as usual. Hope if kept alive by good governance would have made all Pathirajahs and Pathmasiris patient for better things to come. The economy is a farce. Law and order is a farce. Nepotism and corruption is thriving. Life is just a free for all, where dog eats dog, as it was during the MARA mafia rule. Hopes are dashed. The serpents such as BBS are once again rising. Those who ruled before and amassed massive wealth are reinventing themselves. The voter disillusioned and disgruntled are gravitating away from the Jadapalanaya mob. MARA and his murderous cronies are waiting in the wings beaming and rubbing their hands with glee.
Vishvajith / July 6, 2016
An excellent piece.
There will be pain, as the Nation resets to good governance and the rule of law.
In Behavioral Science speak, folks are going through a phase of ‘loss aversion’. They are losing the way of doing things by greasing the in between.
A new way of doing things are emerging. If it fails, then it is what our people desired.
Onward and Upward to my Motherland.
Ravindra Galhena / July 6, 2016
Vishwamithra, You have explained the plight of common man very well and I agree with you. This is the irony! Recently, I wrote an article in CT entitled ‘Getting “Yahapālanaya” Is A Process?’and attempted to explain my thoughts. Unfortunately, the process takes time and many of us can’t wait! Rome wasn’t built in a day! :)
Nuwan / July 6, 2016
Indeed. Yahapalanaya is a process. This is not what many think. They think it is the people. That is, MY3 against MR. No not at all.
Nuwan / July 6, 2016
I have written this before. Padmasiri was bribed with a job to his graduate daughter and a wasteful project that would employ him as a mechanic by Mahinda Palanaya. This welfare strategy backfired big time for Mahinda, as the graduates thought it was their entitilement not something they should be grateful for, and for the country as it added few more expense items to the budget.
The present government is trying to fix this model. But in doing so they do not seem to show the same amount of discipline with other aspects of budget balancing. Bond scammers were allowed to walk free. Waste continues and no new insvestments on the horizon.
In this environment the frustration is natural. Even president is frustrated with Tax hikes. Priminister is frustrated with the president and his SLFP roughs in the cabinet. Ministers are frustrated with public servants. Some deputies are suffering mental breakdowns.
Dr.Rajasingham Narendran / July 6, 2016
A excellent presentation of the reality today with regards the dwindling middle class and the expanding ranks of the poor, despite the visible ‘Boru show’ (misleading appearence). The poor , the powerless and those without influence have been enslaved, robbed of their dignity and their rightful dues. chained to indebtedness, delivered the curse of high expectations and the resultant frustration by politicians and our so-called public servants.
Yahapalanaya is a pie-in-the-sky for those who need it most. The State is being plundered at all levels- starting from the office boy ( peon), police constable and the grama sevaka, upwards, at the expense of tthe poor and vulnerable.
Our Yahapalanaya government is yet to demonstrate convincingly that crimes against the people will be punished severely. The seed for its ultimate demise has been laid by this singular and gigantic failure. If this government had done what the long suffering people, who voted it in expected, the public service would have buckled down to deliver and the polticians would have bee n scared stiff to desist from their criminality. The present situation where the kettle is calling the pot black, even in instances where it is not warranted, would have been avoided.
Raj / July 6, 2016
”Yahapalanaya Has Unshackled The People & Crippled The Country” Very true but it’s to be expected
Yahapalanaya has failed because the some of the yob Parliamentarians of the former regime are back in the current regime, some even unelected. The pickle that is the yahapalanaya govt. is a joke, with some of the coalition party members being in the opposition as well. It is unique to SL where some of the members of the governing party happen to be also in the opposition. Naturally, there is no progress, the PM’s hands are tied & the yob Parliamentarians are watching the situation to jump ship at the first sign of better prospects on the other side.
The plight of Pathiraja & Pathmasiri is nothing new. I know because back in the 70s, my father was Pathiraja & I also have been in a situation like Pathmaisri’s daughter. Successive Govts. have failed to identify lapses in our education system & failed to provide an education & skills set that meets the requirement of the country. The situation has created a class barrier among rural & town children, not necessarily related to wealth. This has created an inferiority complex in some, which, in my opinion, is what we see as bullying & harassment in the guise of ‘ragging’ in SL Universities. This mentality continues even after graduation, the attitude, indifference & lack of integrity of some SLAS Officers, Govt. Officials & even members of the GMOA, who have benefited from free education & Govt. perks, such as duty free vehicles, have failed in their duty to pay back to society.
Vanguard / July 7, 2016
“Successive Govts. have failed to identify lapses in our education system & failed to provide an education & skills set that meets the requirement of the country. The situation has created a class barrier among rural & town children, not necessarily related to wealth”
Very insightful. My personal analysis is it is the Rich continue to opress everyone else, and they can buy the best government their dirty money can afford.
I could be wrong.
NAK / July 7, 2016
No body seemed aware that this so called “yahapalanaya” will just climb down from the sky and every thing will be hunky dory.
Those who fell for the “yahapalana” ruse failed to look at the people whom they chose deliver and read their track track record.
In their haste to get rid of the So called MaRa palanaya they thought anybody would do.
Expecting anything for the country and the people from the scoundrels like Ranil,Ravi,and their cohorts is being downright silly and foolish.
Ranil Wickremasinghe has amply demonstrated his scant regard for the law,the country or its culture.He is a dreamer who refuses come out of his dreams but
NAK / July 7, 2016
Nobody seem to realize their folly expecting “yahapalaya’ from a bunch of (in)famous rogues,thieves and liars who would even sell their mothers to get their dirty hands on the coffer.
I have seen some including some silly professors say they expect to get this “jahapalanaya” on track they probably say that to avoid admitting they made a grave mistake or they were taken for a right royal ride by a bunch of common pretenders.