My Smart Ex-Girlfriend – Valentine’s Day Special … … …


My Hazel-Eyed Ex

Even though I will be 47 years old (in 10 days) and getting closer to leaving the planet than holding onto it, I feel that I should write something romantic on this Valentine’s Day. Similar to the other young men who do on the blogosphere, even though the incident below did not happen on a Valentine’s Day I am writing it here for the romantic aspect of it. I will not rule out the intention of ridiculing the cultural police too

Shady trees in Lake Tissa Wewa

These trees are on the bund of Tissa Wewa (Lake) in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. It was here that I used to meet my beautiful, hazel-eyed ex-girlfriend more often than not during a less than 1 year of courtship between March 2002 and 2003. To reminisce about this short romance and courtship which ended abruptly is still hurtful to me.

Well, to come back to the story, we did not have any other place to meet each other other than this Nature Park in Anuradhapura where I first saw this charming damsel by chance while she was walking in the park with her older sister. I had the first romantic encounter with this charmer but was banned from the park the next day, not only us but also the rest of the courting couples in and around Anuradhapura. Maybe because we two were more amorous than the regular couples in the park, the administrators of the park thought it should not be open for ANY couple, even for the decent ones anymore!

The Exact Place Where I First Saw My Hazel-Eyed Beauty in 1999 – Exactly 20 Years Ago.

With no access to the Nature Park, our next destination was Tissa Wewa (lake) bund, there was no cultural police there, well not as yet. We used to take a tuk tuk here and spend hours under the shade of a tree talking endlessly. One fateful day, suddenly around 20-30 STF (Special Task Force) personnel – the elite police commando unit that was created to fight the ruthless Tamil Tiger terrorists surrounded us. They advised us that courting couples are not allowed in the area since this was part of the
Sacred City of Anuradhapura. They ordered both of us to go to their vehicle, a huge military truck and they stated that they were going to request her parents to come to the police station and then get us married. But we both were 18+ and sitting under a tree holding hands cannot be a criminal offence. We both were shocked with this intrusion and the intimidation. (Well, now I feel that I should have let them marry us off so that our romance would have ended beautifully. But it was not to be.)

A File Photo in which the Sri Lanka police are going to intimidate lovers in a beach

Anyway, my girlfriend was smarter than I was. (Well, every woman is for that matter.) She told the chief of the police commando unit that she doesn’t want to influence the law enforcement authorities, but her elder brother also was in the police force. Then the Chief asked what his name was. She said A. S. P. (Surname.) A. S. P. stands for Assistant Superintendent of Police, a higher rank in the police force above that of a senior inspector. They then immediately released us and as we were walking back to the city, holding hands once again. I told my girlfriend, that had I known before that her older brother was holding such a high rank in the police force and I would have had second thoughts before starting a courtship with her (Like every other place, some police officers in Sri Lanka too could be obnoxious). She then laughed out loud and said, “A. S. P. is not his rank. They are his initials. “Too bad I lost such a smart woman as my partner for the rest of my life.”

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Was Ms. Vijayakala Maheswaran Wrong? – Column 04 of From the Palmyra Peninsular to the Rest of Sri Lanka | තල් අරණින් ලක් දෙරණට


This post was original written for Colombo Telegraph. You can read it at https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/was-ms-vijayakala-maheswaran-wrong/ and join the discussion as it has a wider audience than my blog.

For most of you, this could be stale news. But I thought of writing this piece even at a later time after Vijayakala Maheswaran’s controversial speech. My first hand experiences in the North since June this year made me write this piece. Being 6 months in the North on and off (at least 3 weeks per each month) won’t be enough for me to come to a right conclusion about the subject but I would report what I saw. I don’t speak Tamil but can manage with the little English I know and sometimes in Sinhala as I found many people I meet in the North can speak some Sinhala. Besides, I think I am good at the universal language, the sign language 

I have no connection or whatsoever with the then State Minister of Women and Children’s Affairs, Ms. Vijayakala Maheswaran. I even didn’t know if such one ever existed before her speech came to the limelight. But with all those hullaballoos about her “controversial” speech at Veerasingham Hall Jaffna on July 02, 2018, I thought of reading the full English translation of her speech “for the heck of it.”

Apart from the controversial and illegal part of “reviving the LTTE,” I don’t find anything wrong in what she talked in the rest of her speech. Ms. Maheshwaran must be really lucky not to be in jail for talking about reviving a ruthless terrorist outfit that dragged the country back to the Stone Age, literally. If this speech was made in any other sovereign state, she would have been counting the bars in a cell by now. But Sri Lanka is a funny country with funnier constitution which is less funny than a Kushwant Singh’s sarcastic column! I would refrain from making any comment about judiciary here as, at this age, I don’t have much time left to be in a secluded cell for several years. I have better things to in my life.

Velupillai Prabhakaran, the slain leader of the LTTE Terrorist Group – Courtesy – https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/ltte-chief-prabhakaran-exdeputy-was-raw-mole-book-335249-2016-08-15

About child abuse/rape/killing which Ms. Maheshwaran talks, she is right. It is true these were not committed by the Sri Lankan military but mostly, the people of the neighborhood were the perpetrators. (There are some allegations that Ms. Maheshwaran herself tried to save one such accused of the high school girl Vidya rape and subsequent killing being, I don’t know.) What I do know is that the post-LTTE era has compromised the rigid law and order which had been implemented in the North by the terrorists. So, naturally, maybe the people might think that the “known devil” was better.

Raped and murdered high school student Vidhya and the accused perpetrators of the crime – Courtesy – http://247latestnews.com/category/sri-lanka/page/23/

It was the same with the extensive substance abuse by the youth and the men at large in the North. The LTTE was trafficking drugs to sustain their organization but they did not sell them in Sri Lanka, well, at least not in the North. Drug trafficking was one of their main ways of illegal fundraising to the so called “liberation struggle” but they ensured the drugs would not make their way to the North. But now, after the conclusion of the bloody war, one can read from the press that large hauls of drugs are being captured by the police and the Special Task Force (STF) in the North and East. I myself have seen numerous times the youth spend hours under street lights in Jaffna just loitering till late hours of the night. I cannot see what they do but I just have a friendly word or two and find most of them are intoxicated. I don’t think this happened during the LTTE era.

Leaders of the
Deshapremi Janatha Wyaparaya Terrorist Group – Courtney – https://www.facebook.com/Deshapremi.Janatha.Viyaparaya/

Terrorism should be condemned at any level, but didn’t the women in the South themselves kind of “approve” the rigid jungle laws implemented by “Deshapremi Janatha Wyaparaya” – the terrorist unit of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) for that matter? People, especially women, love to see the men being controlled at least by a terrorist outfit if the authorities cannot do their job any better?

A haul of cannabis arrested in Jaffna – Courtesy – https://www.tamilguardian.com/content/sri-lankan-navy-seizes-835kg-cannabis-jaffna

I am not a legal expert. But as everyone knows damn well, atrocities were committed from both sides during and the immediate aftermath of the war. There is no point in harping on these forever. A government military has to abide by the international ethics of war no matter how hard it is. They will be forced to retaliate when the opposite happens from a terrorist group. But this is why a state military is trained how to become a professional military. One cannot justify an illegal retaliatory action a state military commits by pointing at a ruthless terrorist or guerrilla group’s heinous acts. This is where the state military has to draw the margin. A terrorist organization has the luxury of ignoring international war ethics. This is why they are called “terrorists.” So, the better thing to do is to forgive and forget. There are allegations and reportedly, hard evidence too, of atrocities committed by both the military and the terrorists according to what I read, hear and see. So, why not we go to a South African model Truth and Reconciliation Commission in which all parties are pardoned and integrated to the society? It is never too late, even after 9 years of conclusion of war.


Truth and Reconciliation Commission, South Africa
Members of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission—including Dr. Alex Boraine (second from left), deputy chair; Archbishop Desmond Tutu (centre), chair; and Rev. Bongani Finca (right), commissioner—at the commission’s first hearing, April 1996, East London, S.Af.
Courtesy – https://www.britannica.com/topic/Truth-and-Reconciliation-Commission-South-Africa/media/607421/140426

I am not the best person to comment on Ms. Maheshwaran’s complaint on Thenmaratchi not being named as a separate district. The same is requested for Kalmunai by the Muslim politicians. My personal view is that there are more sensitive things to pay attention on at this stage rather than creating more divisions on demands of this nature. First, let us work on what we can agree, and then the rest. Let’s not complicate things anymore. Enough damage has happened for three decades and let’s forget some of not-so-important issues.

Thenmaratchi Map – Courtesy Google Maps

Maybe I am wrong, but I cannot rule out the possibility of a long term plan by the authorities to weaken the youths and the men in the North by getting them addicted to drugs and then their “possible” revival with an armed struggle could be foiled in a cheaper way. This happened to the Chinese under the British rule during colonial times. It could happen here too. But, then again, I have never seen any Sri Lankan leader designing such long term plans for anything good or bad. They just want to see the results before the next election comes after 5 to 6 years and reap the cheap benefits by that time. So, long term planning is the last thing one could expect from such shortsighted leaders I guess.

Nanda Wanninayaka’s Presentation on “ICT and Automation for Rural Development.”


Nanda Wanninayaka at the International Conference on Information and Automation for Sustainability (ICIAfS) – 2018.
Nanda Wanninayaka at the International Conference on Information and Automation for Sustainability (ICIAfS) – 2018.

Following is the succinct transcription of the presentation on ICT & Automation for Rural Developmentmade by me (Nanda Wanninayaka),  at the Galadari Hotel in Colombo on December 22, 2018 at the International Conference on Information and Automation for Sustainability (ICIAfS) – 2018.

“Good evening everybody. I am not certain as to why Dr. 
Thrishantha Nanayakkara invited me to do a presentation at an Engineers Symposium as I am not an engineer but only an artist.

I usually do not do my presentations with Microsoft PowerPoint because they say, “Power corrupts and PowerPoint corrupts absolutely.” Therefore, let us watch this video made by volunteer Pakistani artists who visited the Horizon Lanka Foundation in 2015 as it is played in the background, with a reduced soundtrack while my speech goes on.

We started Horizon Academy in Mahawilachchiya 20 years ago and now, we have branched out to 5 villages in Anuradhapura, Nuwara Eliya and Jaffna districts providing English (and other languages), ICT (and other technologies) while entertaining extracurricular activities such as playschool, fine arts, and sports.

We utilize local and foreign volunteers’ contributions extensively in our teaching. Local university students, young professionals from the IT industry and other areas of interest teach the students free of charge during weekends and also, scores of foreign volunteers teach the students during weekdays. These are still largely untapped talent that has enormous potential to take education in Sri Lanka to the next level.

At Horizon Academies we offer “edutainment” rather than the boring teaching methods used in traditional classroom-based education offered at public schools and at private tuition institutes. There is no point in repeating the public-school syllabuses, textbooks and past examination papers targeting term tests and national level exams which are once again repeated at a faster pace at private tuition classes all over again. We do not even touch those at Horizon Academies. We don’t assign homework to the students. We teach in a natural environment outside classrooms. Kids play, walk around the village, go bathing/swimming in rivers and lakes, go shopping, watch movies, go on field trips & so forth with the teachers and they learn languages and technology while doing such entertaining and exciting activities. Horizon Academy’s tagline is “The Edutainment Academy of Sri Lanka.”

Thanks to these non-conventional methods, the sons and daughters of farmers, laborers, fishermen & traders ended up being software & network engineers, doctors, lawyers, accountants, teachers and professionals in other fields. Now I am very happy to hear them speak better English than I do. They have built houses, purchased vehicles and have married early (unlike waiting till the mid-30s like me), they have become totally independent at a younger age.

We at Horizon Lanka, use a lot of modern technologies for teaching. We use the internet, emailing, Instant Messenger (IM) programs, smartphones for teaching in innovative ways. We covered Mahawilachchiya with a village-wide free unlimited Wi-Fi mesh network way back in 2006, 10 years before the present government introduced limited free Wi-Fi to some hotspots in cities in Sri Lanka.Wi-Fi Mesh Network in Mahawilachchiya – English
Wi-Fi Mesh Network in Mahawilachchiya – Sinhala

We invited Mr. Lalith Weeratunga, the then Secretary to the President, in his capacity as the Chairman of the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC) since he helped getting the permission to deploy the network in Mahawilachchiya during the war time and in addition, he was a well-wisher of Horizon Lanka for a long time.

When he visited Mahawilachchiya to officially commission the free Wi-Fi network, we trained 3 girls & 3 boys who were 11-year-olds to do the presentation in English by utilizing laptops and slides. Mr. Weeratunga was pleasantly surprised and reported this to the then President Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksaabout how effective & progressive Horizon Lanka Foundation was in education and technology in Mahawilachchiya. President Rajapaksa, in his capacity of the Finance Minister, included a proposal into the national budget of 2007 to allocate 100 million LKR to replicate Horizon Lanka model academies in each 300 + Divisional Secretariat Divisions in Sri Lanka. The budget was passed with a heavy majority but alas! Not a single cent came our way to Mahawilachchiya or elsewhere as a very obnoxious Sri Lankan IT professor exercised his despicable powers over the President and sabotaged the whole plan. This odious man died a few months later but did enough damage before exiting the planet.

We did not ask for the government’s help. But I know Mr. Weeratunga, in all honesty, & sincerity, desired to help and this was the reason he influenced the President. But what happened was a total tragedy for Horizon Lanka, when the government and media published this “100-million-LKR allocation” story all our regular donors came under the impression that Horizon Lanka was now well funded & taken care of, hence they diverted their help to other organizations and we were the ultimate losers.

When I was absolutely convinced that the “100-million-LKR” promise was false   (like many similar ones) and we had already lost our regular donors, I spoke to one of the officers at the Presidential Office and inquired whether I could publish a story on our website about the broken promise so that the rest of the world & our former donors would become aware of what exactly took place. But he stated something to the effect that if I did that, I would be considered as a “persona non grata” who discredits the government and will be dealt with. Well, we all know what this meant during those times.

The end result of all this being; Horizon Lanka Foundation’s funding dried up and all the good work was downgraded, eventually having to close for 3 years before we resumed it in 2014 with hardly any money in the bank account.

That, my dear friends, reminded me of one of the most famous quotes by the late American President Mr. Ronald Reagan. He said, “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”R

Therefore friends, if you want to do anything for this country, do it before the government messes it up. 
Thank you very much for your attention.”

Dr. Thrishantha Nanayakkara
A part of the audience at International Conference on Information and Automation for Sustainability (ICIAfS) – 2018 

US and THEM – Flash Floods in the Northern Sri Lanka and the Aftermath – Column 03 of From the Palmyra Peninsular to the Rest of Sri Lanka | තල් අරණින් ලක් දෙරණට|


This post originally appeared in Colombo Telegraph. Visit https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/us-them-flash-floods-in-the-northern-sri-lanka-aftermath/

The news about the North being badly affected by flash floods last weekend did not appear in the Sinhala and English press till 48 hours as far as I saw. Not even the websites that publish rubbish gossip immediately after some minute juicy news were worried about what is happening to the people in the North. Most parts of the North have 4G, 3G or at least 2G and anyone can get pictures and videos in a few seconds. But not even those Facebook heroes were interested in doing something to our brothers and sisters in the Up North. Do we want to have North – South division once again?

When a natural disaster happens in the South all TV Channels and Radio Stations collect relief aids and deliver them to the affected with much fanfare in a rat race to say “We did it first” and crave for increasing their ratings for their media houses. But I don’t see that urge this time. Now don’t say that the media houses in the North don’t cover this type of catastrophes in the South in their media. If we are the so called “majority” and the Big Brother, don’t we have to take the initiative to extend our support to the “minority” Little Sister? Isn’t this the right moment for us to show our love and compassion to them?

This is high time we forgot the “US and THEM” attitude and become “WE” instead.

I can’t do much. All I did was contacting the chief monks of Mahawilachchiya and Tantirimale so that they could mobilize the villagers and muster some relief aid and deliver it to our friends in the North. They did it during tsunami in a big way. I am sure they will do it this time too even though they underwent a long drought and have nothing much to offer. But they have compassion. I am sure you all have it too.

I talked to a friend of mine in Kilinochchi, Miss Dekala Murugesu, a young volunteer who does a lot to uplift education in the district with some supporters in the Diaspora. She directed me to Mr. Raj Sivaraj, the Divisional Secretary of Kandawalai who does the coordinating part of relief aids. He says the government has taken care of food needs and all they need is things like sanitary stuff, soap mosquito coils, toothpaste and tooth brush, disinfections, cleaning liquid, rubber slippers, exercise books and other school supplies, etc.  Do not worry about food.

According to the people I talked to from the North, all three armed forces are doing a commendable job and the people highly appreciate them. The armed forces can take care of rescue missions, urgent needs, etc. but now it is our duty to help with the other needs of the people.

Please call Mr. Raj Sivaraj, the Divisional Secretary of Kandawalai on 077 8446465 and on Whatsapp number 0094778446465 for more details.

All the photos here were sent by Mr. Raj Sivaraj.

A part of this story’s title “Us and Them” was stolen from Benjamin Zephaniah‘s poem “Us and Dem.” Zephaniah is my favorite contemporary poet.

Chromebook Computer – Join the Bandwagon


An Acer Chromebook

An Acer Chromebook – From https://www.androidcentral.com

Nanda Wanninayaka

After chaos of an impending – but – not-too-sure – unexpected General Election, here I am back to some sensible blogging, deviating from political blogging. This time I am going to talk about some tech stuff. In fact, this was written some time back but got held up in my BLOG POSTS UNPUBLISHED folder for some reason or other till today. Hope this is not stale news by now.

Till I was given a Chromebook laptop computer as a gift by my long-time friend, Mr. Lionel Balasuriya from Orange County, California, USA, I was never interested in cut down versions of any computer. I easily transformed myself into a fully loaded laptop from a desktop, but I was never convinced about using OLPCs, tabs, handheld computers and not even smart phones at the beginning.

But now using this Chromebook computer for a while, I have changed my mind.

Mr. Balasuriya who gifted me the Chromebook computer became an e-friend of mine for 14 years, since 2004. He visited Sri Lanka twice since 2004 but I missed the opportunity of meeting him during both these visits. But this time, I was not going to miss him for the third time.  So, we met at his temporary residence in Uswetakeyyawa, aka UK, in Western Sri Lanka. I never expected him to surprise me by giving me a Chromebook computer.

What he gave me was an Acer-brand Chromebook but on the web, I found there are other producers of this mini laptop too. Check this link if you are interested in. https://www.techradar.com/news/mobile-computing/laptops/best-chromebooks-top-5-chromebooks-in-the-us-1233696

It is so easy to carry the Chromebook. It is only a little bigger than a regular woman’s purse. You can carry it in your hand easily. No backpack is needed. Kids could take this to school with their books. You can open it and work even in a not-so-comfortable place. Even this post is being written inside a Colombo bound train from Jaffna. Even though I am in a shaky third-class compartment, I have no problem in compiling this post with the Chromebook. It is soooo comfy.

You need a Google e-mail account to open a Chromebook. None of the others can access your Chromebook and steal your data or sabotage all your work as nobody can access your data without your password.

Android is the operating system in Chromebook and it is more or less the very same software (apps) you see in an Android-run smartphone. Since I have been using many a model Samsung smartphone run with Android, I took no time to get used to this device. It is pretty smart, handy, small, and … err … cute. Chromebook saves your data into your Google Drive in the clouds and you don’t have to worry about timely data backing up. Replacing hardware can be done with some money. A data loss could make you very uncomfortable and leave you devastated. But what is good about the Chromebook is, it prevents an even worse risk: your data being in some idiot’s hand when you lose a laptop and your privacy being compromised. But with your Chromebook, you don’t have to worry. Your data is being stored in your Google Drive safely as ever and even though your Chromebook is stolen, it is automatically switched off and goes to sleep. Once opened, the thief cannot access any of your data and play havoc with them.

Since, I am not much of  technical person, I am just copying and pasting the technical part below sent by my friend who gave me the Chromebook, Mr. Lionel Balasuriya. Read this if you are interested in knowing more before committing to buy one for yourself, for your kids or maybe even to your spouse, girlfriend or partner, who knows? Decision is yours.

Children with a Chromebook

Children with a Chromebook | From https://www.chromebookhq.com

“A Chromebook  is a laptop running the Linux-based Chrome OS as its operating system. The devices are primarily used to perform a variety of tasks using the Google Chrome browser, with most applications and data residing in the cloud rather than on the machine itself. Some Chromebooks can also run Android apps.

One big advantage of Chromebooks is that they update automatically in the background and they start up fast so they feel like new, long after you’ve bought them. Plus, with the best of Google built-in, the Google Play Store at your fingertips and multiple layers of security, you can be sure they’ll continue to feel fresh.

College Students with Chromebooks

College Students with Chromebooks

With apps from the Google Play Store, flexibility to go anywhere, and the hardware you need to get things done, the Chromebook is a new type of computer for everything one loves to do. It’s easy to use, has virus protection built in, and keeps going with a long-life battery. The chrome book laptop is equipped with built in virus protection and updates automatically when one is on line. So, you will have the latest features without slowing down. Plus, one can sign-in with your Google account. 

Grownups with Chromebooks

Grownups with Chromebooks | From http://cdn2.insidermonkey.com

The Google Play Store is filled with apps that can help you do everything from work to play. The best of Google is built right in. All the Google apps you know and love come standard on every Chromebook, so you’re ready to go from the moment you log in. Chromebooks let you seamlessly move between your favorite apps on the desktop and in your browser, so you can always pick up where you left off. You can work offline on a Chromebook. Read your Gmail and compose new messages? Sure. View your Google Calendar? No problem. Edit documents in Google Drive? You got it.

Beyond the basics, one can download Kindle eBooks videos, music and PDF’s to view off line. Use a Chrome app like Google kept compose notes or manage your ‘to do’ list with an app like “Wunderlist”. You can even purchase TV shoes & movies from Google Play Movies & TV and download them to watch them offline. Also, you can install games that run offline. 

Sure, many things on a Chromebook can only be done online, but let’s stop pretending that’s unique to Chromebooks.

Adults with a Chromebook

Adults with a Chromebook | from http://lifeinsuranceforseniors80.com

Google isn’t only focusing on the bad stuff happening on rival platforms, but also makes sure to actually promote its latest product, giving the viewer plenty of examples of why Chromebooks are a better choice than Macs and Windows 10 PCs. Google is working toward allowing all Android apps to run on Chrome OS. They recently released just four Android apps for Chrome, but enterprising hackers (the good kind) have found ways to make (almost) any Android app run on a Chromebook. Yes, this means you can now use Skype on a Chromebook. Microsoft likes to trumpet how Chromebooks don’t have the full desktop version of Microsoft Office, and that’s true. But unless you’re an accountant, you probably don’t need all those fancy features.”

Does Sri Lanka Really Need a Federal Solution? – Column 02 of From the Palmyra Peninsular to the Rest of Sri Lanka | තල් අරණින් ලක් දෙරණට|


Sihala, Tamil and Muslim Girls in Sri Lanka

Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim Girls in Sri Lanka – From http://www.glorioustravels.lk

Nanda Wanninayaka – (Column 02 on November 10, 2018 – From Palmyra Peninsula) (This was originally written a couple of months ago but I was deliberately waiting till a General Election or a Presidential Election was called to publish this piece. Now that the first option has come into effect, here I publish it.)

Velupillai Prabhakaran, the Leader of the LTTE

Velupillai Prabhakaran, the Leader of the LTTE – From https://tamil.oneindia.com

I am not trying to explain how the ethnic issue in Sri Lanka happened and the different perspectives to its root causes. I am only going to talk only about how I perceive it. I was born in 1972 in the village of Mahawilachchiya (in Anuradhapura District of Sri Lanka) bordering the Wilpattu National Park. Velupillai Prabhakaran, who went on to create and lead the Tamil Tigers (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam – L. T. T. E.) and waged a bloody war on all communities of Sri Lanka) got his first human target late Mr. Alfred Duraiappah, an SLFP MP in 1975. I was just 3 years old by then. When the real Civil War in Sri Lanka broke out in 1983 I was a 11-year-old schoolboy. Therefore, I can remember most of the sequences and developments of the ethnic war after the infamous “Black July” in 1983 into a fully-fledged civil war, that hampered the development of Sri Lanka into a possible regional economic power by dragging the country down literally to the Stone Age.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa with Soldiers

President Mahinda Rajapaksa with Soldiers – From https://www.gettyimages.com

I never expected this futile war to end during my lifetime or during that of my son’s for that matter. But, thanks to the former president Mahinda Rajapaksa and the brave armed forces, the police force, the Civil Security Force and the citizens at large who sacrifices the unimaginable, the war ended for good on May 18, 2009, before my son celebrated his first birthday. What a relief? Endless attacks on civilians in so-called “border villages,” heinous acts of killing civilians in public transportation systems, constant bomb blasts inside almost all high security zones, suicide attacks on dignitaries, air raids on Colombo etc., kept the whole nation anxious and alert and the people were tormented for almost three decades. War was that horrendous and it was a welcome decision that the former President Rajapaksa took, to take the Tigers head on, not from the tail like the other ineffective and cowardly leaders did since 1975. Mr. Rajapaksa sent the Tigers to the right place, the dustbin of the “bloody” history. This is why former president commands a lot of respect – despite the fact that he was allegedly corrupt and violated human rights – from the people islandwide, especially the people who were directly affected by war. Me being a person who comes from a so called “border village” – Mahawilachchiya – a farming settlement inside the government controlled area but on the edge of LTTE’s haven, i.e., the sprawling Wilpattu National Park from three sides of the village, I have every reason to praise Mr. Rajapaksa for his daring act of taking a stern decision to finish the terrorists’ war with counter war, if not counter terrorism.

Sri Lankan Soldiers helping the Tamils Trapped in the War Zone in Civil War Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan Soldiers helping the Tamils Trapped in the War Zone in Civil War Sri Lanka – From http://www.defence.lk

I know a lot of atrocities must have happened during the war, especially towards the last few days of the war. There could have been killing civilians, raping women, robbing valuables from fleeing civilians, etc. During the ancient wars, this was called “the spoils of war.” Killing men, raping women, enslaving children, looting treasure were part and parcel of war.  It is true that the modern-day wars should be fought by keeping with the human rights accords, etc., with least damage to the civilians. But this is the last thing one could expect during a war. There are no such things called “war crimes” for what happens during a war. War itself is a crime and the smart thing to do was (and is) to take every effort to prevent a war, not to let a small misunderstanding to grow into a national issue and develop into a full-scale war like the late president Mr. J. R Jayewardene and his successors did. What I believe is there is nothing glorious about a winning a war, especially if it is fought with your own countrymen. The most glorious thing is to live in peace with every ethnic groups.

Shoba - commonly known as Isaipriya

Shoba, commonly known as Isaipriya was a Sri Lankan Tamil journalist and television broadcaster for the terrorist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Her death in the final days of the Sri Lankan Civil War in 2009 is mired in controversy with allegations that she was captured by the Sri Lankan military before being raped, tortured and murdered.

In fact, the 3-decade-long rancorous war was not Tamils’ war or Sri Lanka’s war. It was by no doubt India’s war. The hitherto peaceful, studious, hardworking Tamil boys and girls were dragged into a bloody civil war by India against their own fellow citizens in Sri Lanka. It was India’s disastrous foreign policy against her neighbors that was turned into an ethnic war during the late Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi. With India’s secret spy agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW,) she misread the political situation in Sri Lanka and manipulated it into a full-scale civil war. As I see it, (I strongly believe I am right) Indira did not like the newly elected Sri Lankan president J. R. Jayewardene’s Open Economic Reforms that opened up the door for investors in the West that could create a rapid economic development in the island nation. The open economy could have easily made Sri Lanka the economic powerhouse in South Asia, just like Singapore did in the South East Asia. Mr. Jayewardene enjoyed a huge mandate of 5/6ths of enormous majority in the parliament and he only wanted a vicious Indira Gandhi to upset his apple cart and that of the country. And she was up to it and absolutely successful at that. (India would sarcastically brush off this claim stating that India was already a super power and Sri Lanka was not a significant player when it comes to the former’s economic realms to wash her hands-off Sri Lanka’s misfortunes.)

India, being a more leftist patriarchy with a soft corner to Soviet Union and the rest of the communist world, was a far slow economy with her ill-advised “License Raj” approach to domestic production of goods and services, was upset when she came to know that Sri Lanka had an open minded and a futuristic leader in the capacity of J. R. Jayewardene who had stronger links with the White House than with the Rastrapti Bhawan or Kremlin for that matter.

It is customary and “politically correct” to a Big Brother like India to harass a tiny island nation like Sri Lanka if the former takes the latter as a threat economically or otherwise. It happens elsewhere too. The USA – Cuba, Ukraine – Crimea, China – Hong Kong, etc. are the living examples to prove my point.) But being politically correct does not necessarily mean it is the right thing to do. Besides, fostering terrorists has been compared with nursing the serpents for the time immemorial by the visionaries and Mrs. Gandhi was so irrational not to understand that universal truth and decided to turn the Tamil boys who were very peaceful and committed to whatever work they took on to a terrifying terrorist outfit in the name of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE.) Let us not discuss how the LTTE crushed its brotherly terrorist outfits to be the so-called sole representative of the Tamils here.

Tamil Tigers Being Trained in India - Image from left: Lingam (Prabhakaran's Bodyguard), Aruna (Batticaloa Commander,) Prabhakaran (LTTE Chief,) Pulendiran (Trinconmalee commander,) Victor (Mannar commander), Pottu Amman (Chief of Intelligence). - From https://www.quora.com

Tamil Tigers Being Trained in India – Image from left: Lingam (Prabhakaran’s Bodyguard), Aruna (Batticaloa Commander,) Prabhakaran (LTTE Chief,) Pulendiran (Trinconmalee commander,) Victor (Mannar commander), Pottu Amman (Chief of Intelligence). – From https://www.quora.com

Mrs. Gandhi used its southern powerhouse (Tamil Nadu) lead by M. G. Ramachandran (MGR) an actor-turned stupid politician who did not know much about politics than being the emblematic knife-wielding movie hero he was cracked up to be on the silver screen. He knew pretty well that it was easy to change the mindset of the Tamils in Tamil Nadu who were docile enough to treat their sly political leaders (especially actor turned politicians) as demigods.

M. G. Ramachandran

M. G. Ramachandran – From https://akm-img-a-in.tosshub.com/

The result, my friends, was MGR’s Tamil Nadu becoming the cradle of Tamil Tigers with the full blessings of Mrs. Gandhi. And the lambs to the slaughter were the poor Tamil boys in Jaffna, Sri Lanka. Later the whole Northern and Eastern Provinces were infected by the deadly terrorism. Sri Lanka, being such a promising country with a lot of economic and other developmental opportunities, went to the labyrinths of endless terrorism as a result.

Attack on Golden Temple, Amritsar, Punjab, India

Attack on Golden Temple, Amritsar, Punjab, India from http://www.sikhmuseum.com/

If Mrs. Gandhi believed in self-governance and promoted it, she should have offered Khalistan, the de facto nation that the Sikhs fought for, on a platter. But she didn’t. Instead she spearheaded a brutal war that killed both the terrorists – yes, I call anyone who breathes the air of a country and drinks its water and eats its fruits and fights for parts of the same land terrorists – be it Tamil Tigers, Sikhs, Tamils, Talibans, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, ISIS, etc., whatever – and the civilians in Punjab saying that their claim for a Khalistan was illegitimate. How can she advocate self-determination for Tamils in the North and East of Sri Lanka and say no to the Sikh terrorists who claimed more or less the same for the same reasons? She went ahead with the controversial attack of reducing Amritsar’s Golden Temple, the holiest place of worship of Sikhs, almost to rubble (and finally paid for it by being brutally gunned down by two Sikh bodyguards of her own security cordon.)

Indira Gandhi Funeral

Indira Gandhi Funeral from http://news.restoringthepride.com/

Mrs. Gandhi’s assassination should have reduced the calamities in Sri Lanka if a smart and visionary leader succeeded her. Unfortunately, it was her own son, Rajiv Gandhi who had nothing but the being son of the slain Mrs. Gandhi and the grandson of late. Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru as the only qualifications to rise to the thrown – ascended to power in the aftermath of this avaricious woman’s death and later went on winning the General Election also by a big margin, mainly of sympathy votes, something the subcontinent is cursed with. Mr. Gandhi resumed from where his mother left and went onto reinforce the support RAW, India’s notorious secret service was providing for the Tamil boys in the North and East of Sri Lanka. (For documentary and pictorial evidence just read Professor Rohan Gunaratna’s Indian intervention in Sri Lanka: The role of India’s intelligence and Shenali Waduge‘s articles on the subject. Just rummage through the web and you would find scores of them). If you think these two authors are biased for the fact that they are Sinhalese and Sri Lankans, read the books written by some of the Indian journalists, ex-diplomats assigned to Sri Lanka, ex-RAW personnel, ex-military high ranking officers, etc. and those of the independent sources to see how foxily Mr. Gandhi manipulated and escalated Sri Lanka’s cursed civil war.)

http://dimg.zoftcdn.com

Rajiv Gandhi – From http://dimg.zoftcdn.com

Proving the theory of proverbial nursing serpents, Rajiv Gandhi was paid with what he richly deserved, being blown into pieces by a Tamil woman who was allegedly gang-raped by India’s forcibly-sent Indian Peace Keeping Force – (IPKF,) on the former’s way to make it to the PM’s chair once again at a victorious election rally in Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu. (Don’t think I am happy to hear that these unscrupulous politicians paid for what nasty things they supported. I feel for every human soul, but one should be human enough to deserve such a sympathy. Being part of or masterminding massacres of civilians or even soldiers or terrorists for that matter, is no trivial matter. There are better ways to solve regional politics without resorting to the devastating terrorism.)

Rajiv Gandhi Funeral

Rajiv Gandhi Funeral

See what happened to the then internally stable Pakistan after creating Talibans to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan with the US money. See what happened to Afghanistan after the creation of Al Qaeda by the United States who also fought for American interests in Afghanistan. See what happened to Iraq, Libya and Syria after the advent of the ISIS terrorist outfit that was allegedly created by the United States. They all turned back and waged war on their very creators.

World Trade Center Attack by Al Qaeda

World Trade Center Attack by Al Qaeda From https://www.kaztag.info/

So, after a lengthy explanation, let me come back to the title of this essay. “Does Sri Lanka Really Need a Federal Solution?” A big NO, is my one and only answer and I won’t change this for any reason. Why? I am no political analyst or an expert on political science. The only academic qualification I have to talk about political science is the mere “C” pass I obtained for Political Science at high school level. All the rest comes from my own experiences and extensive reading about politics.

Sri Lanka does not meet any of the criteria that a federal state requires. We are a small island nation with enough access to any part of the island within a couple of hours. We don’t have the divisions some other countries have within ourselves, i.e., Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims. We were living peacefully and our cultural heritage and religious beliefs are very close to each other and we share the same faith or reverence to places like the Adam’s Peak, Kataragama and Nallur rather than fighting each other to claim the ownership of those holy places to each ethnic groups like it happens with Jerusalem in the Middle East. Christians, Jews and followers of Islam are fighting for it while we harmoniously climb Adam’s Peak holding hands with each other respecting each other’s beliefs that it is their respective holy messengers’ footmark that lies up there.

Adams Peak, Sri Lanka

Adams Peak, Sri Lanka

I have seen how so-called intellectuals, both local and international, bring about various logic to prove that Sri Lanka needs a federal solution to solve its “nonexistent” ethnic issue. All three communities in Sri Lanka suffer because of the corrupt governments and corrupt politicians we keep electing.  We are discriminated not because of our race. All three communities suffer because of the dirty politicians’ shortsighted decisions. Rich becomes richer and the poor becomes poorer. Rather than treating each other enemies, we should understand that it is our poverty and ignorance that these politicians manipulate and we should unite and fight them, not ourselves. All three races are equally ill-treated by successive governments since the Independence in 1948. Those governments included politicians from all three communities and they held high offices in them. The only thing they did was looking after their own welfare rather than that of the citizens’ whom they were voted in by.

There are talks of how bags of dollars changing hands in the process of advocating a federal solution to Sri Lanka but I have no proof.  At least nobody paid me to write this piece. I am not a big fan of Professor Nalin de Silva. But I do believe in at least two of the many theories he kept advocating. What he said long before the things got worse and complicated in Sri Lankan polity was

He said something to the effect of,

  1. There is no solution other than a military solution to fight the terrorism and the military can definitely defeat the terrorists in Sri Lanka.
  2. If the government kneels down before the terrorists and agrees to create a separate state for Tamils (Eelam,) from the next day onward, there would be an endless border war.

He was (and is) correct. Without an official state, the Tamil Tigers had an almost conventional army, a sizable navy and a tiny air force, something that no other terrorist organization in the rest of the world ever had. Imagine what could have happened if they had a federal state that would definitely upgrade itself to a legitimate sovereign nation, how strongly the Tamil Diaspora and the West pumped money and technology to initiate and sustain an unending border war. Sri Lanka would have been the “Israel of the Indian Ocean” and the chaos would have kept going in Sri Lanka till humans started civilizations in Mars!

7 Myths about Jaffnites – Column 01 of From the Palmyra Peninsular to the Rest of Sri Lanka | තල් අරණින් ලක් දෙරණට|


INTRODUCTION 

I started writing a column with my firsthand experiences in Jaffna from November 01, 2018. You can read, comment, contradict or clobber my writing if you like and I will allow them as long as they do not defame someone (or something.) Also, if you try to promote hatred, racial abuse and antisocial sentiments, I will have to moderate them. But you are allowed to construct a sensible dialog on my posts.

I would be grateful if anyone who reads the column could translate this to Sinhala and Tamil as well. Please let me know if you are ready for this on a voluntary basis or for a payment.

Thanks,

Nanda Wanninayaka

This is the first post … … …

Nanda Wanninayaka – (Column 01 on November 1, 2018 – From Palmyra Peninsula)

I agree with the fact that being in Jaffna for the last three months doesn’t make me a suitable analyst to make generalized comments about the Jaffnites – the people in Jaffna, Sri Lanka – a word coined by some random journalists and writers in their articles in Daily News and reminded me by my good friend Sunil Rutnayake from Kandy.) But being here since last July to date – even though I made some sporadic visits to Anuradhapura, Nuwara Eliya and Colombo during the said three months period – gave me some insight into the lives and lifestyles of this strangely attractive piece of land in the Northern Sri Lanka, Jaffna, the capital of the Northern Province of Sri Lanka.

So, I became bold enough to write about the 7 myths the people from the rest of the island have about the Jaffnites – or the Tamil community at large spread in the North, East, Central Sri Lanka and the rest of the country. I sincerely welcome you all to comment on my observations and correct me in the places where I have gone wrong. If I have hurt your feelings by writing what I think is right, I apologize in advance. I try my best to remain unbiased in this (and in the rest of my columns.) But the chances are that I would be biased to Jaffna and Jaffnites than to anything or anyone else I guess. I already have fallen in love with Jaffna and, as for falling in love with a Jaffnitee, it is too early to say. Don’t rule out the possibility either.

  1. Jaffnites are dark

I know it is not politically correct about being apartheidic at this age and time but as I was the one who was humiliated (more than the Great Nelson Mandela was) and denied of my true love 15 years ago for being “BLACK,” not even brown or dark most Sri Lankans are usually categorized when it comes to the complexion. My Nendamma-in-law to-be (she was not to be anyway) grossly opposed my romantic advances to her fair daughter from a small hamlet from Mihintale, Anuradhapura as my mother-in-law to-be flatly rejected me as she bluntly (and reportedly) told my sweetheart that the former didn’t want “black grandchildren” from a possible (unholy) union between her beautiful daughter and me. My poor girlfriend had the worst opposition a young lover girl could have from her mother and even though we continued a romantic relationship for merely a year, she had to leave me in the lurch as her mom correctly calculated that her son-in-law not-to-be had a fat chance of getting the complexion converted at least to brown if not to fair. I didn’t want to become a Michael Jackson by changing my skin color and that was the end of an otherwise sweet love story. (Anyway, I am happy and proud of my black complexion. I wish I were as black as an African dude and as strong as well.)

My Ex from Mihintale
My Ex from Mihintale

Coming back to the issue in question here, most people think Jaffnites are darker than the people in the rest of the island. This is a big mistake you all do. Spend some time in a small village, a semi urban tiny town or in Jaffna city and you would be surprised the rainbow of colors of cute young girls and women who are pink (රෝස පාට,) fair, orange (I would rather say තැඹිලි පාට – color of the king coconuts,) brown and occasionally dark too. But even the darker girls here have an inexplicable radiance only R. K. Narayan will find the right words to explain. I am no Narayan and not even Kushwant Singh for that matter.

A random photo of girls in Jaffna.
A random photo of girls in Jaffna. This will be replaced with a photo I take soon. Photo Credits: http://jhlc.mysch.lk/

Well, as for the boys or men here, I don’t care if they are black, white, orange, pink, green or even indigo color because I am not simply interested in them. All what I can say about the boys and men here is that they look very strong.

2. Jaffnites are studious

Maybe there was such time in the past. But not anymore. Maybe the three-decade-long bitter war that reduced Jaffna to rubble, students in Jaffna don’t seem that interested in studies as they used to be 30 years ago. I have heard my parents say that the schoolboys and girls in Jaffna study so hard by even putting their feet in a basin full of cold water under their study tables not to fall asleep during nights and read books with kerosene oil lamps after their hard days’ work in their farms. I wish that was the case today too but, unfortunately, it is not so anymore here. Here boys are looking for quick jobs and leave schools early. Girls are happy to end up as a cashier-cum-salesgirl in a mobile phone accessory shop – or even more common – end up as a machine operator at a garment factory doing the same boring job of stitching the same part of the same dress for eternity. Where are those doctor, engineer, lawyer, accountant, teacher, etc. aspirants that we were told by our parents to take examples as when we were schoolboys who had no such great dreams? I feel sorry for this situation and SOMETHING MUST BE DONE immediately before it is too late.

3. Jaffnites are rude

I don’t know how such a myth even came into existence. Jaffnites have been traditionally very humble people. This humility could well be mistaken by some less educated or arrogant people from rest of the island that these people are timid or should be suppressed or humiliated. I once visited Vigneswara College, Jaffna in 2009 or 2010 while I was working as a Consultant to the Ministry of Education, Colombo. The principal of the school was an elderly gentleman who was about to retire. He was so humble when welcoming me and kept calling me “Sir.” I told him very gently that I don’t deserve or want to be called a “sir” because I might be your son’s age and you are the one who should be called sir, due to your education, age, behavior. He was a graduate and a senior person in the educational field and I was (and am) neither. But I failed in convincing him and instead we both called each other “sir” and it ended up with such a lot of humor, satire and fun we both enjoyed to the hilt. He is not the only one who maintains this great quality of humility and don’t humiliate them for this good quality which is a rare commodity among most people in the rest of the country these days.

4. Jaffnites are unclean

Like this apartheid thing, this is an area I don’t like to touch but I think it is my duty to do the justice to these people in Jaffna who are very clean and also keep their houses very clean, may their houses range from palaces to shanties, but they are equally well maintained and kept clean and tidy. The village I mostly live, Maniyanthoddam has a lot of tiny houses in small plots of lands but they are incredibly clean. That doesn’t mean that there could be an exception or two, but they say, “The exception (only) proves the rule,” don’t they? So, folks in the rest of the island, come and see yourself, don’t trust me because I am in love with Jaffna and love is blind. Isn’t it?

5. Jaffnites are hard workers

Sorry, Jaffnites, I wouldn’t give you this credit. What I had heard was you guys are hard workers but things have changed a lot, haven’t they? I see a lot of teenagers, youths and middle-aged people just waste time with doing nothing. Teenagers and the youths are the worst of them. They spend the time by the roadside just glued onto their smartphones and ride big Indian motorbikes to break the speed barriers. But I get the feeling that these iron horses are possibly bought on lease – god knows how they pay the monthly premiums – and I hardly see any of them is engaged in any praiseworthy or productive work. I tried to find some of them jobs in Colombo where they can get jobs as apprentices in different trades and they will be paid a decent remuneration even during their trainee period and sometimes they would even get food and lodging in some cases, but they are not simply interested in. One cannot blame the war for everything and make it the scapegoat. At least we are a lucky nation to end the war for good in 2009 and after May 19, the day which the war was ended from the government’s side and “the guns were silenced” from the rebels’ side, not a single bomb was exploded. Take Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, (hopefully and sadly Iran next,) for example. In the above-mentioned countries expect the one within parenthesis, suicide bombs, car bombs, American and NATO bombs, Russian bombs go on weekly to daily basis. But, in Sri Lanka, after the day the war ended officially on that fateful May 19, 2009, the only thing that explodes in Sri Lanka is popcorn!

6. Jaffnites are thrifty

This fact (of Jaffnites being traditionally thrifty) also is hanging in the balance now. It is true that late J. R. Jayewardene’s unregulated and unnecessarily hastened Open Economic Reforms didn’t find its way to Jaffna in such a disastrous way it did to the rest of the country. Its chances of messing up the hitherto frugal lifestyles of the Jaffnites was low as the breakout of the Civil War in 1983 limited the open economic reforms do (un)desired damages to the Jaffnites. A long-standing closure of A9 Highway that connected Jaffna with the rest of the country also reduced the influx of not-so-necessary consumables to Jaffna but the illegal and unstoppable smuggling of (mostly counterfeit) consumer goods reached Jaffna through sea channels from Tamil Nadu. Still the non-availability of reliable electricity that forced the Jaffnites to run their modest and age-old vehicles and other electronic appliances to run with foul-smelling kerosene fuel and kerosene-fueled generators denied a full-scale thrust of electronic appliances upon the Jaffnites. I think the electricity from the national grid was not available for a very long time since the inception of the Civil War till it was restored after the conclusion of the same in 2009.

But the end of the Civil War and the consequent opening of the A9 road opened the floodgates of both necessary and unnecessary home appliances, electronic gadgetry, unaffordable and unmaintainable luxury vehicles that ate into the monthly salaries and seasonal income of the Jaffnites and not the ex-president Mahinda Rajapaksa who ended the war, but the late president J. R. Jayewardene who introduced the open economic reforms must have had the last laugh at the Jaffnites. As a result, you see the Jaffnites also falling prey to highly consumer-driven lifestyles that don’t help themselves or the constant handouts sent by their overseas relatives. But there might be some people who still save money or invest money in gold jewelry like they used to in the past but I am afraid the numbers could not be that big. People here also go extravagant in spending now with the mushrooming vehicle sales, electronic shops and supermarkets that offer tricky easy payment systems and dreadful credit card based payments. Sorry folks! That is peace for you.

7. Jaffnites are hostile to the Sinhalese

This is the worst myth among the rest. The 30-year-long bitter Civil War hasn’t dampened the spirits of these gentle Jaffnites a bit. I don’t speak or understand Tamil and wherever I go I speak first in Sinhala (failing which English) to get directions, any other help and there are zillions of Jaffnites come and help me with broad smiles. Me being (or happened to be) a Sinhalese doesn’t make any difference to these warm-hearted people. Maybe I get even more help once they know I am Sinhalese and they help me in a great deal to get what I want. They even give me free rides in their bicycles, motorbikes, etc. The only question I can ask myself is, “Why the hell did we fight for 30 years and for what?”

  • This is by no means a post written based on scientific research and not a scholarly work at all. These findings are totally my personal findings and observations and not supported by a proper and longer study. So, you have the right to differ and object. Kindly do so under “comments” area below this post.

Mandelization of Ranil Wickremesinghe


Ranil Wickremesinghe

Ranil Wickremesinghe Photo Credits http://www.chatter.lk:

Nanda Wanninayaka

Ranil Wickremesinghe was never my hero. He wasn’t anybody’s hero for that matter I guess, especially those of his own party, the United National Party (UNP.) Politics was never his field of expertise or his field of interest. I have read somewhere when his uncle, the late president Mr. J. R. Jayewardene (JRJ) asked him to join politics, the former had flatly refused and said, “Please, please uncle. Politics is not my field of interest. Just let me be like this.” or something to that effect.

Well, Mr. JRJ has done several mistakes in his political life.

  1. JRJ politicized the then well-established civil service by giving the powers of the civil servants, especially the District Secretaries – who were then called “Government Agents” – and the Divisional Secretaries – who were then called “Assistant Government Agents” – to the conceited and corrupt bunch of politicians from the ruling UNP who were then called “දිසා ඇමති” (District Ministers.) The whole governing system was turned upside down as a result and the repercussions are seen and felt today than ever.

  1. Introducing the Open Economic Reforms in an unprecedented and hasty manner creating lot of chaos in the country which totally disturbed the lifestyles of the people. Local industries collapsed like a card of dominoes and the hitherto surplus of the balance of payment became a huge deficit and the whole country was submerged in a quagmire that never was able to get out of to date

  1. One of the gravest mistakes of JRJ was masterminding the notorious “Black July” in 1983 and letting his own UNP goons to kill, wound and loot the Tamils living in the South of the island. JRJ’s thugs did not stop at that but were given an “unofficial license” to rape Tamil girls and women. These heinous acts were understandably reciprocated by the Tamils who were the dominating ethnic group in the North and East of the Island. Being the all-powerful executive president of the country, JRJ never took the correct path of quelling this unwanted riots and what happened in the aftermath of this is the history.

  1. I think the worst mistake JRJ did for the country was getting this very lethargic and non-practical young man, Mr. Wickremasighe to the political arena. You don’t need any example as to show how disastrous JRJ’s decision was as you can see Mr. Wickremasinghe as the living example himself. He was never a decent public speaker. His body language while he does public speaking especially in the local language, Sinhala is so terrible and he becomes a bigger comedian than Mr. Bean the world famous comedy character performed by the British actor Rowan Atkinson. Moreover, Mr. Wickremasinghe never understood the heart or the pulse of the people in the country. Maybe at least some of his moves were meant to be productive to the country but the way he communicated those to the masses wasn’t convincing at all. It was easy for the opposition to make mincemeat of him of anything he put forward for the country due to this weakness of him. He was easily made the traitor of the country even when he tried his best to be the patriot. I don’t want to go any further describing this poor man, the biggest failure in Sri Lankan politics anymore.

Ranil Wickremesinghe

Ranil Wickremesinghe From http://dimg.zoftcdn.com

Instead, I will come to the root cause of the current issue of the sudden political destabilization. Let’s recap how the incumbent president, Mr. Maithripala Sirisena was brought to the wrong side of the presidential elections in 2015 as the common presidential candidate by the UNP-led coalition. They say politics make strange bedfellows but this queer union of Mr. Sirisena and the UNP-led coalition made the former in totally uncharted waters. It was apparent that the money, energy and the huge election campaign masterminded, funded and carried out by proxy actors locally was actually was done with the generous help of India, USA and some of the powerful countries in the unholy NATO camp that made the former Gramasewaka (village headman,) the president of Sri Lanka, something nobody expected to happen even in wildest dream before January, 2015. As expected, once elected, the president became a big joke, maybe a little less jocular than Mr. Wickremasinghe, his Prime Minister. Okay, let’s leave it at that.

The ex-president, Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Machiavellian politician he was cracked up to be, cracked himself a few weeks ago by idiotically masterminding a constitutional coup that made himself the Prime Minister with the support of a minority group of unreliable MPs in the parliament by putting the country in the doldrums. He should have waited till the current parliament completed its mandate given by the voters. If it continued its full run, in one and half years’ time that was left to it, it would have crumbled from its inside. But Mr. Rajapaksa was so power-hungry that he joined Mr. Sirisena, the former’s arch enemy who betrayed Rajapaksa big time and robbed his apparently inevitable chance of being elected as the President of Sri Lanka for a record and a historical third time. The two unlikely pair joined hands after what looked like a constitutional gimmick that paved way for the President to appoint Mr. Rajapaksa as the Prime Minister of the nation while there was an incumbent PM who was already in office. This shouldn’t have happened under ANY circumstance. Mr. Rajapaksa should have weighed the pros and cons of the situation. But you cannot expect that type of logical reasoning from an experienced politician who trusted his “official soothsayer” than an opinion poll or two to test the waters and called a presidential election two years before the stipulated time and ended up losing his presidency two years shy of the allocated period.

By then, the incumbent Prime Minister Mr. Wickremasinghe was already immensely unpopular and the best thing to do should have been letting him stay in power for the rest of his office and wait till he faces the General Election which was already swaying to the Rajapaska’s newly created party, Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), which was already the main contender and the fresh thing in the menu. But what megalomaniac Rajapaska did was something totally unacceptable ethically, politically and strategically. Mr. Wickremasinghe was at the receiving end as he messed up big time right from the beginning of his office and the UNP would have faced a humiliating defeat at the general election with dodgy Treasury Bond scam, corruption, inefficiency, ever-increasing inflation, monthly increase of price of fuel and the heavy tax burden on the public to sway even his traditional vote base to Rajapaksa’s camp, even though it would have been only an agony of choice for the voters to elect someone from both the mainstream parties. But Rajapaksa would have had an upper hand in defeating UNP-led collation even without the support of the president Sirisena and his Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP.)

But everybody knows how power-hungry the Rajapaksa clan is. They are not the only megalomaniac clan in Sri Lankan politics.  Think of Senanayake, Bandaranaike, Premadasa clans too. This is part and parcel of the politics in the subcontinent and you can’t help it. But this time Rajapaksa did the worst gamble in his entire political life and he got the already unpopular PM out of his office and made himself the Prime Minister. The process was seen as something done by the president but we know what happens behind the curtains in the corridors of power in Sri Lanka.

So what has Rajapaksa got at the end? The good-for-nothing Wickremasinghe has become the “Mandela of Sri Lanka” now. Mr. Wickamesinghe didn’t have to waste 27 years in a prison to become Mandela. Only thing he had to do was continuing his idiotic governing style but both Sirisena and Rajapaksa “Mandelaized” the born-loser Wickremasinghe. Now he has got the sympathy of his traditional vote base which was drifting towards the Rajapaskas. Furthermore, Wickeremasinghe has become the doll of the Western powers and the Western media now and is the zero-turned-hero without much ado.

So, what have Sirisena and Rajapaska got on their plates? Going down the drain to the political dungeons of Sri Lanka? The chances are that even if you win this political standoff and survive the constitutional crisis, you will still be the at the receiving end of the public at large. Local and international media and the rest of the world will ensure you have a hard time and you will have to fight a Do-or-Die battle to cling on to power.

One might justify the former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga (CBK) taking some of the Ministries from the then Prime Minister Wickramasinghe’s government in 2004 that ultimately led to an early dissolution of the parliament which brought CBK’s United People’s Freedom Alliance coalition get back the power in the House. At that time, the country was at a crucial crossroad with the unpopular peace deal brokered by the Norwegians and signed between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) which was condemned by the majority of the country. Everybody thought that the country would be split into two which would create an inevitable border war.  There was no sympathy towards the then Wickremasinghe government as the sympathy of the public was with the CBK government. But at this time, there was no such immediate threats to the National Security of the nation. Even the so-called federal solution which was being demanded by the mainstream Tamil party, the Tamil national Alliance (TNA) was not to become a reality. The two main reasons the Wickremasinghe government had not to provide a federal solution was that it did not have enough time left to go for that even if they wanted and the second reason was that the country was not ready for it. Mr. Wickremasinghe being in power for 3 years of wasn’t able to convince the people, especially the majority Sinhalese, that federal solution was a viable solution to the long standing standoff between the majority and minority ethnic groups of the country. But as a result of this unethical and undemocratic overthrow of the Wickremasinghe government helped getting it the sympathy of the TNA and the rest of the minority parties as well making Mr. Wickremasinghe a lot more powerful than the Prime Ministerial powers he enjoyed and continue to enjoy to date being the de facto Prime Minister despite Rajapaksa is the official, yet, they say, the unconstitutional Prime Minister.

I am not a political analyst but I have lived 46 years in this Island and this is what I feel about this unnecessary quagmire the country is plunged into with this power struggle. Even if the Sirisena-Rajapaksa camp is to successfully survive the constitutional crisis, all what we can expect is the country would be thrown into a quicksand from the present quagmire and the public would be the ones who suffer. Everybody knows Lord Acton’s famous statement, Power corrupts and extreme power corrupts extremely. So, my compatriots, live with it.

බණ්ඩාරනායිකෙලා, ඇටපට්ටුලා සහ වන්නිනායකලා


රනිල් වික්‍රමසිංහ අගමැති, ජනපති නොව ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ අධිරාජයා වුවද මට ඉවසිය හැක. ඉවසිය නොහැක්කේ විදේශීය මාධ්‍යවේදීන් ඔහුගේ නම උසුරුවන විදියයි. පහත දැක්වෙන සාකච්ඡාවේ NDTV මාධ්‍යවේදියා ඔහුව හඳුන්වන්නේ “රනිල් වික්‍රෙමෙසිංගෙ” කියාය. එය කොහෙත්ම මාධ්‍යවේදියාගේ වරදක් නොවේ. රනිල් සහ තවත් බොහෝ ශ්‍රී ලාංකිකයන් තවමත් ඔවුන්ගේ නම් ඉංග්‍රිසි අකුරින් ලියන්නේ බ්‍රිතාන්‍ය යටත් විජිතවාදීන් ඔවුන්ගේ පහසුවට අපේ අයගේ නම් ඉංග්‍රිසි අකුරින් ලියූ ආකාරයටය. සේනානායකෙලා, බණ්ඩාරනායිකෙලා, කොටෙලාවලලා මෙන්ම ජයෙවර්ඩෙනෙලා අප රට පාලනය කළේ මේ නිසාය.

වරක් මට මෙරට සුකුමාර ගණයේ පෞද්ගලික බැංකුවක ගිණුමක් ඇරඹීමට ඇවැසි විය. සුරතල් පෙනුමක් තිබූ බැංකු සේවිකාව මගේ ගිණුම් අයදුම්පත්‍රයේ සහ වාහන බලපත්‍රයේ නිවැරදි ලෙස ඉංග්‍රිසි අකුරින් මගේ නම සහ වාසගම (NANDA WANNINAYAKA) සඳහන්වී තිබියදීත් උඩඟු ලෙස උඩදාගෙන වැරදි ලෙස (WANNINAYAKE) ඉංග්‍රිසි අකුරින් මගේ වාසගම බැංකු පාස්පොතේ මුද්‍රණය කළාය. මගේ වාසගමට ඇය හිතාමතාම කළ අපහාසය නිසා මම ඇයට ඉතාමත්ව කාරුණිකව කියා සිටියේ මෙවැනි බරපතල වැරදි නැවතත් සිදුනොවන ලෙසට තහවුරු කිරීම සඳහා මම ඉදිරිපිටදීම මගේ වාසගම සිය වතාවක් ලියන ලෙසය. ඇය එයට විරෝධය පෑ නිසා මම බැංකු කළමනාකරු හමුවී කිව්වේ ඔබේ බැංකුවට වැදගත් වන්නේ සහ නිවැරදිව සඳහන් කළ හැක්කේ මගේ මුදල් මිස මගේ නම සහ වාසගම නොවේනම් මට ඔබේ බැංකුව සමග කිසිම ගනුදෙනුවක් ඇවැසි නැති බවයි. මම වෙනත් පුද්ගලික බැංකුවකට ගොස් මගේ ඇවැසිතාවය ඉටු කර ගතිමි. මම ඒ බැංකුවේ ගිණුමක් ආරම්භ නොකළ නිසා ඔවුනට ඒ බැංකුව වසා දමන්නට සිදුනොවූ බව මම දනිමි. නමුත් සෑම ගනුදෙනුකරුවකුම වටින ආයතනයකටනම් මේ පණිවිඩය වැදගත් වනු ඇත. 

අඩුම තරමින් මගේ එකම එක ශිෂ්‍යාවක්වත් මම වාසගම් ප්‍රශ්නය කතාකළ පසු ඇයගේ වාසගම නිවරදිව ලියනු දැකීම මට සතුටකි. නිමන්දිතා තත්සරණී දිසානායක වන ඇය ඇගේ වාසගම ඉංග්‍රිසි අකුරින් ලියන්නේ දිස්සානායකෙ (DISSANAYAKE) ලෙස නොව දිසානායක (DISANAYAKA) ලෙසිනි

මම හිතන්නේ අපේ නම් ගම් නිවැරදිව ලිවිය හැකි පිළිගත් පොදු ක්‍රමයකට අපි යාවත්කාලීන වියයුතු බවය. මහාචාර්‍ය නලින් ද සිල්වා සහ ප්‍රකට බ්ලොග්කරු අජිත් පැරකුම් ජයසිංගෙද (Ajith Perakum Jayasinghe) මේ නම්වල අලකලංචිය ගැන මට කලින් ලියා ඇත.

 

Wasim and I – The Two Most Aggressive Cricketers on Earth


Aggressive Wasim Akram

Aggressive Wasim Akram

These are two angry men in the cricket field. First one is the legendary Pakistani cricketer Wasim Akram who ripped through the opposition batting line with his destructive reverse swing bowling attack, displayed unbelievable fielding talents by holding onto spectacular catches and went on to power hitting down the order while batting on his day. (Not to mention that epic 257 test runs not out from 363 balls against Zimbabwe at Sheikhupura in 1996.) Wasim was the most aggressive cricketer on the field I have seen in my entire life. Not even Saleem Malik, who was both fortunate and unfortunate enough to be Wasim´s captain during most of his career would be spared of the latter´s verbal assault if the former displayed any poor fielding off the latter´s bowling. The latter would ask something to the effect of “Do you need the ball to be size of a pumpkin for you to catch it?” which was even heard through the on-field microphones. That was Wasim. That was his commitment to the game. Wasim is my favorite cricketer of all-time.

An Angry Nanda Wanninayaka

An Angry Nanda Wanninayaka

The second one, me, nowhere close to Wasim, the legend but, is a hugely brushed-off cricketer in my own small village cricket club. I must probably have been the bowler who took the most number of wickets for my team but was never considered as a bowler because I didn’t bowl fast (enough.) I used my head than the body when bowling and captured an average of 5 wickets in two 10-over per side match an evening. Fast bowlers like my own younger brother Aruna, Samantha, Donald, Sanath were considered as the best bowlers but all of them except Donald conceded a lot of runs as they delivered more no-balls and wides than legitimate balls. My brother was the undisputed “No-ball King” those days. But all these bowlers were good bowlers given the reason that they had to bowl with a tennis ball on an uneven grassy pitch, not even on a mat. But I was sidelined during the inter-club matches as I did not bowl fast (enough.) Taking wickets constantly during practice matches was never considered as a qualification to bowl during inter-club matches. I was a bad fielder at the beginning and dropped many a catch but later improved myself a lot and hardly dropped a catch after I learnt the techniques of holding onto a catch while watching cricket commentaries on TV. When it comes to batting, I was a bad batsman and hardly scored 10+ in an innings. Then again, I learnt batting techniques on TV and then improved myself. Despite the strong protest of my own younger brother, I promoted myself to the prestigious position of the opening batsman and lasted almost all 10 overs while the batsmen from other end collapsed like cards of dominoes. I didn’t go to big hits unless it was very needed towards the latter part of the innings and all I did was trying to last the full quota of 10 overs allocated for a team. All I knew was that the team that batted all 10 overs always won, mainly thanks to no-balls and wides that came as bonuses. This was why I opened batting and went on to bat all 10 overs on more often than not. This doesn’t mean that I occasionally got out for a duck, perhaps on the first ball.

Keeping that all self-promoting nonsense aside, all I wanted to say is that even though I cannot compare myself with my favorite cricketing hero, legendary Wasim Akram, we both were equally aggressive players, if not more, on the field. We both fought till the last ball to win a match, not to save a match.

Now both Wasim and I are retired and I still enjoy him as a commentator, He might not be as lively as Ravi Sastri, as eloquent as Rameez Raja, as crazily fast as Harsha Boghle or as technical as Sunil Gavaskar as in the commentary box, but the soft-spoken Wasim has a great sense of humor and a stylish language in commentating. But all I want to see great Wasim is as a player for the eternity. Such pace, such strength, such talent, such commitment, such perfection, such anger, such aggression, such glamour, you will never see from anyone but Wasim.

Well, last but not least, Wasim Akram’s career was constantly tainted with controversies on and off the field and err … … … so was (and is) mine. 

Wasim Akram Celebrating a Wicket

Wasim Akram Celebrating a Wicket

Wasim Akram Batting

Wasim Akram Batting

Wasim Akram

Wasim Akram

Wasim Akram

Wasim Akram

Wasim Akram

Wasim Akram

Wasim Akram  Celebrating After Taking a Wicket

Wasim Akram Celebrating After Taking a Wicket

Wasim in Action

Wasim in Action

Wasim Akram  Bowling

Wasim Akram Bowling

Wasim Akram  Bowling

Wasim Akram Bowling

Wasim Akram  Bowling

Wasim Akram Bowling

Wasim Akram

Wasim Akram

Wasim Akram Roaring After Taking a Wicket

Wasim Akram Roaring After Taking a Wicket

Wasim Akram

Wasim Akram

Wasim Akram Batting

Wasim Akram Batting

Wasim Akram Batting

Wasim Akram Batting

Wasim Akram Batting

Wasim Akram Batting

Wasim Akram

Wasim Akram

Wasim Akram Encouraging Shoaib Akhtar

Wasim Akram Encouraging Shoaib Akhtar

Wasim Akram Celebrating a Wicket

Wasim Akram Celebrating a Wicket

A Resting Wasim Akram

A Resting Wasim Akram

Nanda Wanninayaka Batting

Nanda Wanninayaka Batting

Nanda Wanninayaka Going for a Big Shot

Nanda Wanninayaka Going for a Big Shot

Nanda Wanninayaka Making Field Changes of the Opposition While Batting :-)

Nanda Wanninayaka Making Field Changes of the Opposition While Batting 🙂

Nanda Wanninayaka Hooking

Nanda Wanninayaka Hooking

Nanda Wanninayaka Taking the Guard

Nanda Wanninayaka Taking the Guard

Nanda Wanninayaka Waiting to Hammer a Short Ball

Nanda Wanninayaka Waiting to Hammer a Short Ball

Nanda Wanninayaka Teaching this American Guy Colin Himes to Bat

Nanda Wanninayaka Teaching this American Guy Colin Himes to Bat

Nanda Wanninayaka Cricket (7)

Nanda Wanninayaka Installing the Dismantled Wicket

Nanda Wanninayaka Teaching Miss Bára Molnárová from the Czech Republic to Bowl

Nanda Wanninayaka Teaching Miss Bára Molnárová from the Czech Republic to Bowl

Nanda Wanninayaka Coaching the Cricketers in Maniyanthoddam, Jaffna, Sri Lanka

Nanda Wanninayaka Coaching the Cricketers in Maniyanthoddam, Jaffna, Sri Lanka

Nanda-Wanninayaka-Cricket-Coaching-2

Nanda Wanninayaka Coaching the Cricketers in Maniyanthoddam, Jaffna, Sri Lanka

Nanda-Wanninayaka-Cricket-Coaching-3

Nanda Wanninayaka Coaching the Cricketers in Maniyanthoddam, Jaffna, Sri Lanka

Nanda-Wanninayaka-Cricket-Coaching-4

Nanda Wanninayaka Coaching the Cricketers in Maniyanthoddam, Jaffna, Sri Lanka

Nanda-Wanninayaka-Cricket-Coaching-5

Nanda Wanninayaka Coaching the Cricketers in Maniyanthoddam, Jaffna, Sri Lanka