17 January, 2022


Yahapālanaya, Its Enemies & Sympathizers

By Wishwamithra1984

How can one absolve intelligent men for engaging in arrogant and demented folly?” ~C.R. Strahan

Yahapalanaya or good governance is no new concept. Its origins could be found in our ancient scriptures; its inherent qualities are still shaking the modern concepts of governance to their core and questioning their validity; its singular appeal to fair-play and justice is casting aside all mundane excuses of attempts at alternatives and when suppressed, its wailing had been echoing down the primeval caves to modern day corridors of power, burning for inevitable awakening and eventual rebirth. Man and man alone has stood in between good governance and its unacceptable alternatives in whatever the manner, shape or form it may embark upon his governmental affairs. From the great Caesars to Lenin, Hitler, Stalin and Mao Tse Tung did suffer at the merciful hands of good governance, for they did not teach or practice it.Maithripala Ranil W Piv Via MS's FB

Modern social scientists analyze the various norms of governance and their evolution through the ages in terms of the measures of the various prisms (or prisons) of their education and learning. And in these analyses, they lose the obvious and get caught up in a conundrum of pros and cons, hypotheticals and theories. Instead of using their education as an elementary tool for analysis, they try to fit their answers and solutions to fit into their precast theories.

What is good governance? The writer’s answer is: it’s ‘dispensing greatest good for the greatest numbers within a reasonable amount of time and costs of resources’. In terms of that definition of good governance, every government, may be barring the first administration since Independence of D S Senanayake’s, has failed in this aspect. As I have written earlier, one cannot expect a perfect union between the people and government. That kind of utopian vistas are far too delusionary and would amount to loitering about in a fantasyland. But the opposition to a government that used good governance as a critical form of governance as against a regime that for all means and ends looked, acted and consummated the ugly craft of hoodwinking the masses at a phenomenal degree, deserves more clarity and forthrightness. Those who are opposed to the current government led by Maithripala Sirisena and Ranil Wickremesinghe are doing so in order to safeguard themselves from the very tools of good governance that are being aimed at them. Those tools, the judiciary, legitimate and legal commissions and other state-sponsored institutions have exposed the corruption, nepotism and plain ‘bad governance’ of the last regime.

Those who seem to be in a mighty big hurry to finish these inquiries and investigations may have a legitimate case against the pace at which they are being pursued, but once again, they, the critics, need to be reminded that good governance requires that before any verdict or judgment is passed against those who are being charged with these unholy acts of bad governance, too need to be given a fair hearing. If that is not good governance, then what is? It’s quite easy to stay in the cushy and comfortable drawing rooms in Colombo 7 and loiter around the corridors of social clubs or five star hotels, drinking the most expensive whiskies and cognacs, helping themselves to the unpronounceable French cuisine and pass judgments on the pace and degrees of government-sponsored investigations and probes. These very guys and girls who were ominously silent during the last regime; their deathly silence in face of many atrocities and corrupt practices of the said regime that really endangered the socio-cultural fabric of our nation, in fact, vicariously contributed to the sustenance of an incredible pattern of state-craft practiced by the Rajapaksas.

Those who kept silent during the last regime have abdicated their right to criticize the pace at which the current probes into the Rajapaksas and their horrendous pastime of mal-governance and destruction of age-old values that kept this nation going forward. If they had any arguments about the substance or constituent ingredients of the charges that have been leveled against the perpetrators, then that’s a different issue altogether. But these scavenging business tycoons who make every attempt to make a fast buck when the going is good and then sit in judgment on those who try to right the wrongs of the last government and its wheel-turners is abominable, to say the least.

While the writer most emphatically denounces any attempts of sabotage or mishandling of the so-called investigations and inquiries by any state-employed officer, he would not retract one single word of criticism of these born-again critics whose only ostensible reason for their critiques are based purely on self-centered money-making.

It is a universally proven fact that acceleration of development could be achieved via non-democratic means. Most dictatorships have made stupendous advancements in increasing Gross Domestic Product (GDP); they have attained material gains in relatively short timelines. But at what cost? This million-dollar question keeps bursting up each and every time a democracy replaces a dictatorship. And the answer is not too easy to discover. The passage of the Nineteenth Amendment (19th A) and its restrictions on the term of Presidency alone is a valid and legitimate reason for any reasonable Sri Lankan to rejoice about. It spelt that the last President is no longer eligible to run for that office. However, he still could run for the position of Prime Minister and in the context of diluted powers in Presidency, the Rajapaksas cannot be ruled out of dreaming of coming back to power to continue their hegemony in the country’s politics.

In a scenario where the defeated powers are still wielding some kind of real power- by way of a vociferous clique of fellow travellers- containing them is rather difficult, if not impossible. An astute leadership at the government level, without falling into a trap of being reactive instead of proactive on multiple fronts. The absence of an effective media thrust is greatly felt. Without being propagandistic, the present Government can easily launch a dynamic, credible and tasteful media operation to garner the support of the public. The international goodwill that has accrued to President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, especially on the Government’s approach to the Tamil Question and the visible impact it has made in the minds of the Tamil population in general is universal. This was clear to the writer who undertook an extensive trip in the Jaffna peninsula during the last two weeks. The aura of freedom from fear and inexpressibly intense feelings and hopes for a better future, their thirst for education, the thrifty lifestyle quite in contrast to the Colombo and other urban based communities in Sri Lanka are noticeable. If only the rest of the country’s emerging middle class would take a lesson from these folks who live in the parched land of the North, management of the country’s economy would be much easier. Sinhalese chauvinists and other fringe groups might not accept it, but what should be told must be told.

Education and its value and validity in a rapidly developing world are essential ingredients if one is to make a prosperous and happy life. While I do not take anything away from those who reside in other parts of Sri Lanka and their dedication to providing a quality education to their children, the value system has changed immensely and the very manner in which emphasis on extra-curricular activities in schools is any indication, the absence of any comprehension of the inner core of scientific advancement is evident. The suffering and trauma of the last thirty plus years, the humiliation and discriminatory treatment at the hands of the ‘other’ race, the Sinhalese, eviction from their ancestral lands for military and other government uses, lack of opportunity at state-employment avenues, all these have contributed tremendously to a sustained mistrust between the communities at every level, whether, leadership or grassroots, official or personal and business or professional.

Relationships at personal levels that some members of both communities enjoy cannot be construed to be a signal of normalization of relationships; the Tamils argue and quite rightly so, that institutional discrimination that has been practiced by government and private establishments is a no-no. The Sinhalese majority simply cannot deny that and it is to their long-term disadvantage to do so. Economists and social scientists would agree that a divided nation- that of Sri Lankan nation- is much more susceptible to the vagaries of global storms and economic downturns than a united one.

Then what is the answer? Most pundits would say that education is the only answer. But taken in another context, Robert Gabriel Mugabe who is the current President of Zimbabwe, serving since 22 December 1987 earned numerous degrees-courses while detained, including three from the University of London: degrees in Law and Economics respectively and a Bachelor of Administration, but as the leader of Zimbabwe, his conduct was most atrocious and inhumane. If such an educated man could conduct state affairs so viciously and savagely, what could the not-so-educated public do? A silent public is the most responsible for the emergence of extra-democratic rule.

In such a confusing scenario, Sri Lanka, as a whole and a collective mindset, needs to respond to this age-old problem of the Tamil Question with a decisiveness which has been absent all these years. Our political leaders alone cannot do that and our recent past has proved it. A coherent message needs to go down and who will render it, I don’t know.

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

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Latest comments

  • 1

    You are right in this Article considering the application or the essence on the world as a whole. When you are talking of Sri Lanka, you know there is a difference and it is clear that difference is the cause of your writing this Article. From 1948 or even before Independence it has been ordained to become a rogue Country using the Majoritarian dictatorial Government. The natives of the South are ignorant, obedient, and the smart and dirty politician could subjugate them to accept what is done to the Tamils are for the good of their future and they will eventually have the whole of Sri Lanka for themselves. With this evil thinking, the children in the South were wrongfully educated to treat Tamils as foes and worse. The friendship existed for thousands of years turned sour and Tamil children hitherto centered in education and employment were driven against the wall. Politicians took over all the Administration cheating the ignorant Sinhalese with the excuse of transferring wealth from the Tamils to the Sinhalese. Then started the big problem from the Tamil leaders unable to console the Tamil children for their loss in education and employment. From then the resent history is well known to the whole world. But who is the new good Government who cosigned the UNHRC agreement? Can you see any difference after January 2015? Are the Leaders and the bad administration and those responsible for Genocide and war crimes taken care of?

  • 2

    The solution to the “Tamil question” is to tell the Tamil leaders, TNA (front organisation of the LTTE) et al is not to make excessive and selfish demands which are unreasonable and therefore cannot be delivered.

    Sampanthan (about 83 years old) is living in the past. Most Tamils now live in the Sinhalese areas and are doing very well indeed. Telling lies to the International Community by playing the minority card to get sympathy is unhelpful to the Tamils people who have to live in Sri Lanka. There is a “Tamil problem” and “Problem Tamils”. That is the problem!!!

  • 1

    “In such a confusing scenario, Sri Lanka, as a whole and a collective mindset, needs to respond to this age-old problem of the Tamil Question with a decisiveness which has been absent all these years.”

    That “decisiveness” is the firm resolution that no “political solution” shall be attempted based on ethnicity and/or religion. Such a solution DOES NOT EXIST.

    I have quoted the following by a CT commentator several times on this page:

    //It is my duty as a Sinhalese Sri Lankan citizen to stand up for fellow Tamils. If their equality or aspirations are violated by the State.

    Sinhalese are only horrified by relentless, unceasing Ealamist attempts to dismember & Balkanize Sri Lanka. One cunning way or the other.

    Once that fear is weakened in the Sinhalese mindset resolution of this problem will be a formality. Millions of Sri Lankans will fight alongside Tamils.

    Fellow Tamil Sri Lankans should help Sinhalese to reach that mental state.

    I am afraid TNA is doing the exact opposite.

    I hope Tamil moderates will cease control from Ealamist extremists soon. Sinhalese need to do the same on their side.//


  • 0

    Ordinary citizens would agree for a humanistic society where the rule of law, democracy etc would prevail. But will the politicians agree , Their mindset is domination, corruption nd self propagation of themselves. We have had various leaders and politicians in this country majority demanded sycophantism and propagation of self before death. Rajapakse stadium is a standing example. Until the politicians are made to account nothing will happen.

  • 3

    I like this article in general, but I beg to disagree on one point. Education is light for life – it is the art of seeing the world in the proper perspective. Education also empowers people. Some of the main aims of education are to build personality, improve the ability to stand on one’s feet, righteous living and free expression of positive/rational ideas. Education should shed light to contemporary social and economic realities too. Unfortunately, getting a higher degree from a big university doesn’t guarantee this level of attainment in people. In my opinion, this is the situation with Mugabe. Educational Qualification is a certificate, but Real Education is much more than that!

  • 3

    Wishvamita get with the plot! You have got a big overseas post from Ranil-Sira a-yahapalakayo?!

    Ranil’s corrupt clown Arjuna Mahendran at the Central Bank needs to be jailed immediately, and all Sira’s SLFP Cabinet clowns who lost the election, tell their own story of A-yahapalanaya and bi-partisan political corruption in Miracle of Modayas.

    But then there are lots of Moda advice!

    It is in the news that the Chinese envoy “advises Sri Lanka to give priority to development before reconciliation.”

    Chinese envoy has his brains in the wrong place because reconciliation and development must happen simultaneously – a two track approach – rooting out corruption and cleaning up political culture the third pillar.

    It is not either development or reconciliation – BOTH are necessary and should be done simultaneously for SUSTAINABLE PEACE and justice in Sri Lanka

  • 1

    It is not Colombo 7 that says yakapalanaya is not good but the entire country.Why ?
    If you increase taxes and citizens tighten their belts whilst seeing all parlimentarians enjoying fat salaries (take a salary cut)duty free permits (cancel)and stop arresting people only to bail them out,find and show people FCID is serious then maybe the mood will change.

  • 0

    “The passage of the Nineteenth Amendment (19th A) and its restrictions on the term of Presidency alone is a valid and legitimate reason for any reasonable Sri Lankan to rejoice about”

    19th amendment also enabled the rogues to get together and form a unity government and appoint any number of ministers to suit the leaders specially the president to woo the opposing SLFP MPs. Is this something for the SL citizens to rejoice about?

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