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!

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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

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.

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

 

Recounting the Five Lucky Misadventures in My Two-Score-and-Ten Years of Bike Hikes in Sri Lanka


Nanda Wanninayaka on Bajaj Pulsar 200 (A file photo)

Nanda Wanninayaka on Bajaj Pulsar 200 (A file photo)

I have been riding motorbikes for over 30 years now. It is the most fascinating pastime for me, maybe next to horse-riding. (It is too early to take horse-riding a pastime because I don’t own one, not yet.) I started motorbike riding with a Honda C70 model motorbike my eldest brother bought for the family and then went into riding other models the friends use too. I bought my first motorbike, a stunning Bajaj Pulsar 200, made in India, the talk of the town those days and then kind of downshifted it to Bajaj Pulsar 150 in a folly without a valid reason. That unlucky Bajaj Pulsar 150 is now rusting away in a garage after it faced its second terrible accident. (First one happened by my brother-in-law.) I am hoping to salvage it by spending another 30,000 (195 USD) to 40,000 LKR (260 USD.) Let’s see how it goes.

What follows is the narrative of the five major bike accidents I met with still lived to tell the five successive stories.

First Misadventure

The first mishap took place when I was still in my teens and had not even been licensed to ride a motorbike. I was riding my eldest brother’s Honda C70 with my younger brother, Aruna as pillion. We were riding on the Suriyadamana Road.  I was as thrilled and free as a bird as this was a time I could enjoy daredevil things away from the watchful eyes of my other elder brother (Upali Aiya) who was hot-tempered and would be mad if he saw how fast I rode. With both Aruna and I frenzied with the new-found freedom, I was on the top speed and was singing “Zindagi Ek Safar” (the famous Bollywood song superstar Rajesh Khanna sang while riding the bike with his screen sweetheart on the pillion in the movie Andaz) as this was the song that surrounded my mind whenever I sped on a motorbike. The Sinhala language song of the same tune was also popular with charismatic Sri Lankan superstar Vijaya Kumaranatunga as the lead role.

The frenzy did not last that long. There was a sharp bend when you passed the public cemetery and I had no control at all when I tried to negotiate the corner and the bike got almost airborne and the rider and his pillion unceremoniously landed up on a heap of coconut leave decorations that had been used for decorations in a cemetery ceremony a few days earlier. I knew I was unharmed and was not sure if my younger brother was. He was not to be seen. It was then he, too, emerged from the heap of coconut thatches decorations and found to be unhurt. Maybe we both were saved because the heap of coconut thatches absorbed the impact and cushioned us. The bike’s front was damaged a lot and we could still manage to ride home the disfigured bike. I was waiting to see my elder brother going into a rage and barge at me but au de contraire, a calm elder brother told us just to be careful next time. This was the first big accident I had with a motorbike.

Second Misadventure

Nanda and Gayani

Nanda and Gayani (A file photo)

I was newly married and the nuptial couple were proceeding from the hilly and cool Badulla, or in other words, my better-half, a small-time beauty if I may classify her so, and I were on my younger brother Aruna’s Bajaj Pulsar 180 bike. Road from Badulla via Mahiyanganaya and Polonnaruwa was not in an acceptable state of repair those days but we so far had no problem even though I rode at top speed. We stopped several times on the way for snacks and meals and it was a beautiful sunny day with a gentle breeze – ideal condition for biking. Road was long yet I wasn’t tired and my better-half, too, enjoyed the ride in the pillion. I had been advised by several people not to take such long bike rides and instead use the public transport which was less expensive and less risky. But I was (and am) not the one who pays heed to others, especially in things related to my favorite hobbies. We started early from Badulla’s salubrious hills and it was around afternoon when we reached Habarana, the lush monsoon jungles. From Habarana to Anuradhapura, the marvel of ancient civilizations besides being my native territory, we came even faster because the desired destination, Mahawilachchiya, my native village, was closing in. We thought of taking the road passing Anuradhapura Air Force Camp (aka Northern Camp) and there was a bend of which no notice was taken by me as the corner materializing ahead seemed insignificant compared to the large number of bends we had just been negotiating all along the winding stretches I took from the mountainous Badulla to Loggal Oya on the plains. So, I misjudged that this was something very simple and too small to be treated as a noteworthy bend but the bend thought otherwise. It gave such a resistance and bike took its own control as gravity dictated, and not my frantic anti-gravity inputs to control the machine. It somewhat veered and a kind of careened and dragged itself on the tarmac and my precious cargo, the pillion passenger was thrown asunder from the bike first and me next. When I collected my senses in a rather dizzy way, I first looked at my wife to see if she were unharmed and beheld she was sedentary on the middle of the road and laughing out loud as she used to be. We both were all right saving some bruises in me and the bike was only slightly damaged. One has to be really in the good books of the providence above, to be able to walk away unharmed from such a grave mishap caused by sheer disrespect for Sir Isaak Newton’s laws of gravity.

Third Misadventure

Abhilash Wanninayaka

Abhilash Wanninayaka (A file photo)

The other day, in 2010 I was riding my own Bajaj Pulsar 200 Rocket and I was impatient as I was to see our one and only son, Abhilash after some time. My being emotionally overly eager to be with the child eclipsed my thoughts focusing solely on the bike’s controls and the traffic on the road from Isurupaya, Battaramulla in the metropolis to sub-urban Ja -Ela where my son lived with his mother. I was day-dreaming how to take the child in my arms, take him on the bike, tell him bedside stories at night, and so on. But I was still riding between Borella Junction, a principal roundabout in Colombo city, and the Welikada signal lights. All of a sudden, the bike back-ended a car and it was all my fault as I was behind the car and lucky for the car, nothing much happened as it had a strong buffer. I fell off the bike and could not get up till the driver in the car stopped it and came and gave me a helping hand. I explained to the driver my reason to speed and he being a, considerate man let me go without making a big fuzz out of it. It was a drizzly evening and I should have known better how to ride in such a wet weather condition. Besides, roads in Colombo are perennially greasy due to constantly leaking fuel from vehicles and one should be extremely cautious when riding or driving on Colombo’s metropolitan roads.

Fourth Misadventure

Real Michael Jackson, till I find a photograph of my friend "Local Jackson" I will use this for this post.

Real Michael Jackson, till I find a photograph of my friend “Local Jackson” I will use this for this post.

This was the most bizarre accident I met with. It happened in 2016. To begin with this episode, I could safely say that the great greedy Greek divine, Bacchus has failed to impose a bacchanalian lifestyle upon me. I partake in intoxicating spirits very rarely, and only if a good company is found at that, and I possess enough courage to say no to any drinking party if I am not in the right mood or if I think the company incompatible with me as far as imbibing is concerned. But on this particular day I was silly enough to drink with Sampath (aka Michael Jackson, due to his Jackson mania and Jackson imitations in his youth) during the bright day light, and that is a thing I never do. He brought some strong alcohol and I am a person who hardly get drunk even with the toughest stuff. I hear this is not something to brag about when it comes to drinking and the ones who do not get intoxicated easily have stronger livers and kidneys to filter away the toxic material that is alcohol various denominations of which were apparently invented and made use of among warring peoples. Despite its somniferous medicinal quality of inducing sleep, its misuse can make imbibers go berserk with its narcotic characteristic anesthetizing the drinker to commit inhuman acts, and it is what the wise say and I, am one such. (Once, at my nephew’s wedding I drank a little more than half of a bottle of hard liquor at Ranorawa, a small hamlet in Anuradhapura, and had a lavish meal and followed by a good shower to cool down the stuff running in my circulation and rode my Bajaj Pulsar 200 up to Kahathuduwa, Piliyandala via Puttalam road, some 220 kilometers and did not have any hiccup on the long ride since I was as fit as a fiddle even after gulping down such a big amount of tough stuff.) However, after the drinking session with ‘Jackson’ he implored me to have lunch with him but I declined and started to ride back home, Mahawilachchiya. It is said that one should not drive without having a meal and get exposed to the wind after a drink as both the acts catalyze the intoxicating process. I brushed off such talks and continued riding. I started feeling sleepy while riding but was okay till Oyamaduwa Junction and took the roundabout properly and all I could remember from there was that the speedometer marked a lot more than 100 kmph and I was on a daze. Bang! I heard I was hitting something big and hard and I was thrown off onto the right side of the road and the bike was on the left side of the road. To make things a comedy of errors, I fell asleep soundly just after the accident. Then I could remember a Buddhist monk coming and helping me to stand up and asking if I needed any medical attention. I said no and thanked the monk for helping. In fact, what had happened was that there was a used-up barrel of tar, filled with soil and placed on the middle of the road to prevent vehicles getting into trouble by falling into the big pot hole created in the middle of the road, during floods. It had been marked with yellow stripes but I was in a differently luminous world by that time and did not have the sobriety sense to see it. I broke my collarbone (which had already been fractured by another silly fall while riding inside a garden at a speed less than 5 kmph) and still I am deprived of playing cricket, my favorite game, for two consecutive years due to this fracture.) After this, I decided never to drive drunk even if I feel totally comfortable. It is putting others’ lives in danger than that of mine. Moreover, I decided not to drink alcohol except Wild Apple beer, which was introduced to me by a foreign friend of mine which is quite harmless and not bitter like other brands of beer. Thus, I have said goodbye all other alcoholic beverages.

Fifth Misadventure

Nanda Wanninayaka on Bajaj Pulsar 150 (A file photo)

Nanda Wanninayaka on Bajaj Pulsar 150 (A file photo)

The fifth and the most recent accident was inevitable and it happened on October 22, 2017. I knew it even before I mounted the iron horse that fateful day. I wanted to go to Colombo to submit my visa application for the then impending trip to Ecuador. But I was never ready for this as I did not feel fit enough for such a ride. You could say that I should have taken public transport if I was not comfortable with it but even if I did, I would still have knocked down by a vehicle even while walking that day as I was never fit or ready for this day. I wanted a good night’s sleep but my elder sister, who worries about me much more than I or anyone else on earth does, kept nagging me that I should come back from Ranorawa the previous evening and go to Colombo the next day. I was annoyed as I wanted to rest at Ranorawa with my other sister and her children and the cute grandchild but it was not to be due to constant coaxing from my sister. So, I had to forget everything and retrun to Anuradhapura the same evening and without a good rest or sleep had to ride to Colombo, 200 km far down, early morning the next day. I passed Dambulla (64 km), Kurunegala (110 km), Alawwa (132 km), and I was surprised why I didn’t still have the inevitable accident! Because I knew it would happen and it was inevitable. Passed Warakapola (147 km,) Weweldeniya (148 km) and Nittambuwa (157 km), still I was riding but knew it was imminent. Opposite Imbulgoda (168 km) fuel station, I saw a small sign board on the road side saying that they sell Katu Anoda (Prickly Custard Apple) juice and I went ahead, turned to the other side of the road and came back to the fruit juice stall by turning the bike the proper way. Bang!!! That was all what I heard and the thud was so strong it made me deaf for a while and I felt I was rolling with the bike several times round by round and then it stopped right on my chest. (While I was rolling, all that came to my mind was if I died or got crippled, what would happen to my son?) I could not move a muscle as the whole weight of the iron horse was on my body. People around later said that they thought I was done for! Anyway, I gathered the strength and tried to move the bike off my chest and then a few people who gathered there helped me. They were furious about the school bus driver who hit me from behind for the simple reason that he could not control his speeding and they were trying to harass him. I told the people to see if the kids in the school bus were hurt first. Luckily, they had survived the jerk and were unhurt. Having heard the news, the owner of the bus also came to the spot and asked if I should be taken to a hospital. I told him that I was not that hurt at that moment and there was less pain but the pains would increase by the evening for sure. Scruples notwithstanding, I rather let them leave the scene of accident or rather a traffic crime (where in fact both parties were guilty) because if this case were to be reported to the police the poor bus driver (his wife had just delivered a baby a few days back according to the driver) would have to lose work for a few days. Besides, I was to go to Ecuador and the last thing we both wanted was a court case dragging sine die. Therefore, we settled the case amicably and the bus owner gave me 20,000 LKR as damage – that was all what he could muster and I accepted it even though I knew already this would cost me a little fortune when I go to the repairer. A real gentleman, a Grama Sewaka (a village headman) called Mr. Wipula Jayawardhana who was extra helpful in assisting me after the accident took me to his home and gave me food and accommodation for the night. This is the typical Sri Lankan hospitality that is displayed anywhere in Sri Lanka. My condition worsened by the evening and I had to return home the next day and the bills of medical checkups alone cost me around 15,000 LKR (97 USD.) And the cost of replacing the digital meter of the bike alone costs 15,000 LKR (97 USD) and I am not sure when I would be able to afford to repair the bike.

The Sixth Misadventure –  hopefully the final … … … 

This is yet to happen and let’s hope that I would stay alive at least till I report it. Anyway, I am extra careful in riding motorbikes mainly because I either borrow or hire bikes now. I had to sell my last bike for a song and waiting to buy the next iron-horse, this magnificent Bajaj Pulsar 200 NS. I am not too sure if I would have the same patience once I mount my own bike though.

Bajaj Pulsar 200 NS

Bajaj Pulsar 200 NS

A selection of motorcycle safety URLs (Thanks Sunil Rutnayake for these links and editing my post.)

http://www.americanmotorcyclist.com

https://www.msf-usa.org

http://www.smf.org

msf-usa.org/downloads/mom_v16_GS_low_res.pdf

https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2013/04/10-motorcycle-safety-tips-for-new-riders/index.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motorcycle_safety

https://www.motorcyclecruiser.com/maids-motorcycle-accident-study-lessons-921-crashes

https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812148

https://one.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/pedbimot/motorcycle/safebike/anatomy.html

https://rideapart.com/articles/10-common-motorcycle-accidents-and-how-to-avoid-them

http://www.mcrider.com

https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/pdf/mc/motorcyclesafetyguide-a.pdf

https://dmv.ny.gov/driver-training/motorcycle-manual-motorcycle-safety-program

www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/publications/road…/helmet_manual.pdf

http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/road_safety_status/report/en/

http://ridermagazine.com/tag/motorcycle-safety/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motorcycle_training

http://motorcyclesafetynews.com

https://www.msgroup.org/articles.aspx

ප්‍රාදේශීය සභා, පළාත් සභා සහ පාර්ලිමේන්තු ආසන වෙන්දේසි කරමු.


මම දේශපාලනය ගැන යම් හෝ අදහසක් ඇතිකරගත්තේ ජනාධිපති ජේ. ආර්. ජයවර්ධන යුගයේ සිටය. මා ඉපදුණේ 1972දී නිසාත් ජයවර්ධන මහතා අගමැති වූයේ 1977 නිසාත්, මහවිලච්චියේ “ගිනිපෙට්ටි පාලමේ” අදටත් දැකිය හැකි ජනතා විමුක්ති පෙරමුණෙන් 1982 ජනාධිපතිවරණ කාලයේ නොමැකෙන අයුරින් ලියන ලද බව සැළකෙන “මිනීමරු ජේ. ආර්. පන්නමු” යන වැකියත් නිසාත්, ගුවන් විදුලියෙන් සහ (පසු කලෙක රූපවාහිනියෙන්) නිරතුරුවම ඇසුණේ, දැක්කේ ජේ. ආර්. ගේ කතා සහ රුව නිසාත් ඔහු ගැන මට ඇත්තේ නොමැකෙන මතකයකි. ඔහු දීර්ඝ කාලයක් තිස්සේ ජනාධිපති ධුරයේ සිටි නිසා මගේ හෝඩියේ පන්තියේ සිට අඹ යහළුවා වූ නවරත්න බණ්ඩා එකල හිතුවේ ජේ. ආර්. යනු පුද්ගලයෙක් නොව තනතුරක් බවය. 1982 ජනාධිපතිවරණය ආසන්නයේ ඔහු මගෙන් ඇහුවේ මේ සැරේ “ජේ. ආර්. කම” කාට යනු ඇතිද යන්නයි.

1982 සිට මේ වනතුරු විවිධ මැතිවරණ රාශියක් පැවැත්වුණ අයුරු මට හොඳින් මතකය. ජේ. ආර්. විසින් ඇතිකළ තක්කඩි පාලනය සහ දූෂිත මැතිවරණ ගැන මට හොඳින් මතකය. ප්‍රේමදාස මහතා ජයග්‍රහණය කළ 1988 ජනාධිපතිවරණය කැරලිකාරී ජනතා විමුක්ති පෙරමුණ විසින් ජනතාවට තහනම් කළ අයුරු සහ මගේ උසස් පෙළ පන්තියේ මිතුරකු වූ කහටගස්දිගිලියේ හේමන්ත ඡන්ද බලයවත් නැති කොලුගැටයකුව සිටියදී, ජනාධිපත්වරණය දින වෙනත් ගමනක් යනවිට “දේශප්‍රේමී ජනතා පෙරමුණ” විසින් පනවා තිබූ “මුලින්ම ඡන්දය ප්‍රකාශ කරන දස දෙනාට වෙඩි තියනවා” යන මිනීමරු නීතිය නිසා වැදුණ වෙඩි පහරකින් අදටත් කකුලක් කොර ගහමින් යන හැටිද මතකය. අනුරාධපුරයේ සිටි යූ. එන්. පී. යේ තක්කඩි දේශපාලකයන් විසින් මැතිවරණ දිනවලදී මුදාහල භීෂණය නිසා කොතරම් මිනිසුන් වෙඩි පහරකා මිය ගියාද, තුවාල ලැබුවද යන සංඛ්‍යාලේඛන කොතැනක හෝ වාර්තාකර තිබේදැයි මම නොදනිමි.

ප්‍රේමදාස ජනාධිපතිවරයාගේ අකල් මරණයත් සමග පිං ජනාධිපතිකමක් ලැබුණ ඩී. බී. විජේතුංගගේ කාලයේදී බැරිම තැන යූ. එන්. පී මදකිපුණු අලියාට අන්තිමට චන්ද්‍රිකා කුමාරතුංග ඉදිරියේ දණනමන්නට සිදුවිය. “නෙළුම් කුමාරිය” සහ සාමයේ සංකේතය වූ චන්ද්‍රිකා ජනාධිපතිනිය වූ පසු වැඩි කලක් නොයාම පැවැත්වුණ කුප්‍රකට වයඹ මැතිවරණය නින්දිත ලෙස මහ දවල් කොල්ලකෑ හැටි ඔබට අමතක නැති යැයි සිතමි.

2005 දී දේශපාලනිකව ඉතාම අවාසි සහගතව තත්වයක සිටි එවකට අගමැති මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ (කියන පරිදි කොටි ත්‍රස්තවාදීන් සමග ගිවිසුමක් ගසා හෝ) ඉතා සුළු බහිතරයකින් ජනාධිපති වූ ආකාරයත්, ඉතාම නිර්භීත ලෙස සහ මෝඩ ලෙස (වෙනම පැහැදිලි කළ යුතුය.) යුද්ධය දිනා ටික කලකින්ම ජනතාවට එපා වූ අයුරුත් ඔබට මතකය. සිය සෙල්ලක්කාර පුතුන්ගේ තුන් මෝඩ වික්‍රමයන් (adventures of the three idiots) සහ අඩුම තරමින් එක සහෝදරයකුගේ හෝ (කළ බව කියන) රාජ්‍ය දේපල කොල්ලකෑම සහ අසීමිත කොමිස් ගැසීම් නිසා වෙලාවටත් කලින් ගෙදර යාමට රාජපක්ෂ මහතාට සිදුවිණි. අන්තිමට දැන් ජනාධිපති මෛත්‍රීපාල සිරිසේනද සියල්ලම තමන්ට එදිරිව සිටියදී (against all odds) ඉතාමත් අපහසු ජනාධිපතිවරණයකින් ජයගෙන දැනට එම පදවිය දරයි.

මේ කෙටි ඉතිහාසය ඔබට මතක් කළේ වෙන කිසිවක නිසා නොව මගේ පහත දැක්වෙන කෙටි ෆේස්බුක් සටහනට ප්‍රතිචාරයක් ලෙස ඡන්දය ප්‍රකාශ නොකර සිටීමේ භයානක කම ගැන මට තාර්කික උපදෙස් දුන් හිතවතියකගේ ප්‍රතිචාරයට මම ලියන්නට උත්සහ කළ පිළිතුර දුරදිග යාම නිසා වෙනම බ්ලොග් ලිපියක් පළකළ යුතුයැයි සිතුණ නිසාය. මෙන්න ඒ මගේ ෆේස්බුක් සටහන.

“මහවිලච්චියේ ප්‍රාදේශීය සභා ඡන්ද උණුසුම.

 

මේ මහවිලච්චියේ තාවකාලික දේශපාලන පක්ෂ කාර්යාල දෙකක්. තියෙන්නේ බෝගස් හන්දියේ. එකිනෙකට මුහුණලා තිබුණත් තවමනම් “අං පටලවාගෙන” නැහැ. (අපහාසයට ලියූවක් නොවේ “lock horns” යන ඉංග්‍රීසි යෙදුමේ සෘජු පරිවර්තනයකි. | no offense meant. Just the direct translation of the term “lock horns.”)

මේ පින්තූරවල ඉන්නා කිසිම කෙනෙක් මා හඳුනන්නේ නැත. හඳුනාගත්තත් ඔවුන්ට මගෙන් වැඩක් නැත. මම තවදුරටත් මහවිලච්චියේ ඡන්ද දායකයකු නොවෙමි. මම මහවිලච්චියේ ඡන්දදායකයකු වුවත් මම ඡන්දය පාවිච්චි නොකරමි. මා ඡන්දය පාවිච්චි කළ එකම අවස්ථාව 2005 ජනාධිපතිවරණයයි. විනාශකාරී යුද්ධය අවසන් කළ හැකි යයි සිතූ අපේක්ෂකයාට ඡන්දය දුන්නෙමි. ඔහු එය හොඳින් හෝ නරකින් ඉටු කළේය. ඊට පසු මගේ ඡන්දයෙන් කාටවත් පලක් නැති බව දැනගත් හෙයින් ඡන්දය දීමෙන් වැළකී සිටින්නෙමි.”

මීට එම මගේ හිතවතිය දුන් ඇයගේ ප්‍රතිචාරය මෙතන පලනොකරන්නේ ෆේස්බුක් යනු වැසුණ වපසරියක් (closed environment) තුළ සිදුවන ක්‍රියාවලියක් නිසාත්, එම වැසුණ වපසරිය තුළ ඇය තැබූ සටහන මෙහි පළකිරීම සදාචාර විරෝධී යයි හිතෙන නිසාත්ය.

කෙසේ හෝ, මම මුලින් ලියූ කෙටි මැතිවරණ ඉතිහාසය ඔබ හොඳින් විශ්ලේෂණය කළහොත් ඔබට දැනෙන්නේ මැතිවරණ වලදී ඡන්දදයකයන් ඒ සඳහා වැය කරන කාලය සහ රටක් ලෙස මැතිවරණ පැවැත්වීමට වැය කරන විශාල ධනස්කන්ධය සැබවින්ම බලාපොරොත්තු ප්‍රතිඵල ලබාදේදැයි සිතාබැලීම වටින බවයි.

ඔබ කැමති (හෝ අඩුවෙන්ම අකමැති) පුද්ගලයන් හෝ පක්ෂයන් බලයට පත්කළ පසු 1948 සිට මේ දක්වාම බලයට පත්වූ පුද්ගලයන් සහ පක්ෂ ජනතා කැමැත්ත හෝ මැතිවරණ පොරොන්දු ශත පහකට මායිම් නොකරන බව ඔබට පැහැදිලිවම දකින්නට පුළුවන. ජේ. ආර්. ජයවර්ධන වරක් පැවසුවේ “ මම මිනිසුන්ට ඇහුම්කන් දෙනවා, හැබැයි මම කරන්නේ මට ඕනේ දේ.” (I listen to people but I do what I want.) මෑත කාලයේදී නෙළුම් කුමාරියගේ සිට සුපිරිසිදු මහත්මයා (Mr. Clean) දක්වා අයත් ඊට පහළින් ඇමති, මැති, පළාත් සභිකයන් සහ ප්‍රාදේශීය සභිකයන් කරන්නෙත් මෙයම නොවේද?

මේ සියල්ල සලල්කිල්ලට ගත්කල මගේ සීමිත දේශපාලන සහ ආණ්ඩුක්‍රම ව්‍යවස්ථා දැනුමත් සැලකිල්ලට ගත් කළ මට හැඟෙන්නේ නිකං අපරාදේ ජනතා මුදල්, කාලය සහ සම්පත් විනාශකර මැතිවරණ පවත්වනවාට වඩා වඩාත් වැඩදායක වන්නේ පහළම මට්ටමේ සිට ඉහළම මට්ටම දක්වා සියලු මැතිවරණ වෙනුවට එම සභිකයින්ගේ තනතුරු වෙන්දේසි කර වැඩිම ගණුම්කරුවාට ලබාදෙන එක වඩාත් වැඩදායී සහ කාලෝචිත බවයි. මෙය කියවන ඔබට තදවීමට පුළුවන. “ජනතා පරමාධිපත්‍ය” වෙන්දේසි කළ හැකිද යන්න ඔබ ප්‍රශ්න කළ හැක. ඒත් ඔබ මම දෙදෙනාම දන්නා කරුණ නම් එහෙම කෙහෙම්මලක් තිබුණානම් මහබැංකු කොල්ලය වැනි මගෝඩි වැඩ කරන විට ඔබට ඔවුන්ට දඬුවම් කිරීමට නොහැකිවුවත් ගෙදර යැවීමට වත් හැකි විය යුතුය. සුපිරි ප්‍රජාතන්ත්‍රවාදී බලතල තිබෙන රටවල එහෙම වෙන බව ඔබ දන්නවා ඇත. මෙය recall election (also called a recall referendum or representative recall) ලෙස ස්විට්සර්ලන්තයේ හැඳින්වේ.

ඔබ පත්කරන ජනතා නියෝජිතයන් කරන්නේ ඔබේ කැමැත්ත හෝ අකමැත්තට ඉටුකිරීම පසෙක තබා ගමේ බෝක්කුවේ සිට මහා පරිමාණ ව්‍යපෘති දකවා සියලුම දේවල් ව්‍යාපාරික අරමුණුවලින් අනුව බව අපි දැන් හොඳින් පසක් කරගෙන සිටිමු. ඉතිං නැති ජනතා පරමාධිපත්‍යයක් ගැන කයිවාරු ගහනවා වෙනුවට මම යෝජනා කරන පරිදි ප්‍රසිද්ධ වෙදෙසියේ ඉහත තනතුරු වෙන්දේසි කර ඒ මුදල (කොල්ල කනබව දැන දැනත්) මහා භාණ්ඩාගාරයට යවා ඉහළ ලංසු තැබූ අයට බලය දී දැන් මේ ඉන්නවා වගේම බලාසිටිනු හැර අපට කළ හැකි යමක් තිබේද? ප්‍රසිද්ධ වෙන්දේසියේදී අනිවාර්යයෙන් මුදල් විසිකළ හැකි අය බලයට පත්වනු ඇත. ඔවුන් ව්‍යාපාරික අරමුණු අනුව රට පාලනය කරනු ඇත. දැන් සිදුවන්නේත් එයම නොවේද? ජනතා පරමාධිපත්‍යය නම් ටොෆි කොළය ඔතා අපිට දෙන්නේ තුට්ටු දෙකේ බුල්ටෝ එකක් නොවේද?

(මේ ලිපියේ සමහර තැන්වල වරහන් තුළ ඉංග්‍රීසි වචන යොදා ඇත්තේ එහි අදහස සිංහලෙන් හරියටම යෙදුවාදැයි මට සැකයක් ඇතිවුණ අවස්ථාවලදීය. සිංහල සහ ඉංග්‍රීසි භාෂා දෙකේම ප්‍රාමාණික දැනුමක් මට නැතැයි සිතමි.)

Koradekumbura, the first and only Karate Village in Sri Lanka


Jayaweera Jayasundara with the villages of Koradekumbura

Jayaweera Jayasundara with the villages of Koradekumbura

Having learnt from my good friend Mr. Daya Wijesinghe from Kandana, that there is a small rural mountainous hamlet in Badulla district, which runs a very successful program of a whole village getting together to do physical exercises and karate practices,  I decided to go and see for myself  this village. It was night when I reached the village of Koradekumbura. I stayed at the house of Mr. Jayaweera Jayasundara, the founder of the karate program. I was woken up by Jayaweera early in the morning of May 17, 2017.  I had asked him to do so to see how his “students” practice physical exercises in the early hours of the day in the village playground.  Mr. Jayaweera arranged a three wheeler for me and I felt uncomfortable, as to why I could not walk to the venue, while all others in the village just walked, jogged or ran to the playground. I suppose he wanted his guest to be comfortable.

It was about 5.20 am when we reached the village playground; already there were more than 50 children, adults and seniors assembled in the playground. They had already started doing physical exercises. There were more adults and seniors than the young.  I was surprised to see the range of ages of the villagers who came for the karate and physical exercises. Kids as young as 5 to seniors as old as 80+!!!

The practice had begun last year and it gathers momentum every day. All of the 82 students in Medainna Primary School in Koradekumbura start karate practices from 6.30 am to 7.00 am. Altogether, around 130 children and 100 adults do both physical exercises at dawn and karate practices in the evenings. Around 25 young girls and women do stick fighting. With such numbers in a small village like this, it may be the village with fittest people in Sri Lanka. One could observe at the very first instance that the inhabitants of this village are all in a very fit physical state.

The program and the structure Mr. Jayaweera has formed seem very strong that even without his presence, the program will continue. He formed a Parents Association to run the project. Each member contributes 200/- LKR per month towards the expenses for attending tournaments etc. But the Founder of the Program Mr. Jayaweera does all his training totally free of charge. Though money can be counterproductive for a genuine initiative like this, I am still of the view that Mr. Jayaweera’s great service has to be recognized and rewarded in some way. Aligning a whole village for karate practice and physical exercise is no easy task anywhere in the world.

Mr. Jayaweera wanted to have a building to carry out the karate practices during rainy days, which is a regular occurrence   in this mountainous village. Having understood the importance of the program by being an active member of the trainees, one of the members of the sports program and also the treasurer of the Parents Association Mr. B. N. P. Somarathna donated a quarter acres of his land situated in a strategic location in the village.  Mr. Somarathna also works as Mr. Jayaweera’s deputy in the sports program in the latter’s absence. Their dream is to build a 90×35 feet building (auditorium), to house the training program. The estimated cost is around 3.5 million LKR. I feel it is your duty to help complete this project and make this a good example for the rest of the country that usually waits for the government to do everything.

Non communicable diseases such as; cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory problems, diabetes and cancer are the main problems in Sri Lanka, claiming 103,500 lives each year. (http://www.searo.who.int/srilanka/areas/noncommunicable_diseases/en/) It was this reason that Mr. Jayaweera, being a retired Physical Health Instructor, was instrumental in starting the sports program.

Should not both the State and Private Sector take this physically fit village as an example and replicate it across all over Sri Lanka?

If the current Minister of Sports, Hon. Dayasiri Jayasekara is as interested as he shows in physical fitness of the people, I suggest that he visit this village in person and spend a day and then take this golden example and replicate it throughout the island by using Mr. Jayaweera as the national consultant to the program. Appointing an official from an air-conditioned office from Colombo will not be as effective as Mr. Jayaweera, who is a son of the soil.

 

 

Motorcycle Journeys – Trip to Bandarawela from Mahawilachchiya with Aleksandar Isailović from Serbia


Our route from Mahawilachchiya to Dambana

Our route from Mahawilachchiya to Dambana

I started the trip to Bandarawela from Mahawilachchiya around 7.00 am on May 15, 2017 with Aleksandar Isailović from Serbia and reached Mirahawatta (off Bandarawela) via Mahiyanganaya the first day. Despite having an international license, Aleksander could not ride the bike as my Bajaj Pulsar 150 is not a model he had any experience with. In fact, it was my fault that I did not give him enough time to get accustomed to my bike during his stay in Mahawilachchiya.

On the bund of Mahawilachchiya Reservoir

On the bund of Mahawilachchiya Reservoir

Aleksandar Isailović on the bund of Basawakkulama Reservoir

Aleksandar Isailović on the bund of Basawakkulama Reservoir

Scene from the bund of Basawakkulama Reservoir Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

Scene from the bund of Basawakkulama Reservoir Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

We had breakfast at my sister’s house in Anuradhapura and proceeded to Dambulla first. From Dambulla, we took the road via Kandalama – Bakamuna – Laggala up to Mahiyanganaya. The road from Dambulla to Bakamuna was not carpeted as yet but it was still a pretty good road and we never had any problems with the road condition. We had lunch at a small place at Girandurukotte. It was a delicious lunch with fresh vegetables and freshwater fish.

Bridge of Yodha Ela in Bakamuna

Bridge of Yodha Ela in Bakamuna

Ricefields in Girandurukotte

Ricefields in Girandurukotte

At Girandurukotte

At Girandurukotte

After lunch, we proceeded to Mahiyanganaya then to Dambana where the Vedda (a Sri Lankan aboriginal ingenious tribe) people live. I have been to this place several times and hence I personally know Vedda tribal chief, Mr. Uruwarige Waniyaleththo. The houses in Dambana are very eco-friendly. They are made with mud walls and hay stacks roof. You don’t feel the heat that thrust upon the village by the hot sun. We had a chat with the chief and then came back to Mahiyanganaya and then proceeded to Bandarawela. Roads are very well done, thanks to the previous government.

Mr. Uruwarige Wanniya, the Chief of Vedda tribe in Dambana, Mahiyanganaya

Mr. Uruwarige Wanniya, the Chief of Vedda tribe in Dambana, Mahiyanganaya

The roof of the hut of Mr. Uruwarige Wanniya, the Chief of Vedda tribe in Dambana, Mahiyanganaya

The roof of the hut of Mr. Uruwarige Wanniya, the Chief of Vedda tribe in Dambana, Mahiyanganaya

With Mr. Uruwarige Wanniya, the Chief of Vedda tribe in Dambana, Mahiyanganaya

We took some pictures at beautiful Loggaloya Lake. This place is so beautiful and even if you spend hours here you won’t feel enough.

The route we took from Dambana to Mirahawatta.

The route we took from Dambana to Mirahawatta.

Aleksandar Isailović at Loggal Oya

Aleksandar Isailović at Loggal Oya

Mahiyanganaya - Badulla Road

Mahiyanganaya – Badulla Road

The little tea shop we had tea on Mahiyanganaya - Badulla road

The little tea shop we had tea on Mahiyanganaya – Badulla road

We resumed the journey to Badulla and spent some time in Badulla, the small town where I spent honeymoon for year!!! Badulla is a very peaceful and beautiful small town. I love this place.

We left for Bandarawela and met my friend Nimal Gunarathna there. He is a computer teacher in Devananda School, Mirahawatta. He also conducts some private tuition classes in Bandarawela town. We spent night at his house and had a delicious dinner cooked by Nimal’s wife. We had a wonderful tight sleep as the weather was cool and there was not a single mosquito to disturb with their buzz.

Nilminimala – A Budding Young Artist


 

Nilminimala Smile

Nilminimala Ariyarathna

This was written by me in March, 2000

Having seen some extraordinarily beautiful paintings that were done by a young village lass, I was desperate to meet the artist. She lived in a very remote typically traditional village on the outskirts of Mihinthale, Anuradhapura. I visited the artist personally with a teacher of mine on Sunday the 24 of March 2002. The road to her village was through some beautiful rice fields and a lush jungle. Most fascinating sight was the ancient Maha Kanadarawa reservoir.

nilminimala painting1

Nilminimala with one of her paintings.

We were warmly welcomed by the artist herself, a 20 year old, clad in a traditional dress called ‘cheeththa’. The whole appearance of Nilminimala, the artist, looked more like one of her own paintings. This typically shy village lass had something that most Sri Lankan girls do not possess – hazel eyes. One cannot accept the fact that she is an amateur in painting. The colors she uses, though very cheap ordinary water colors, are amazingly matching. The painting which caught my eyes was the ‘blue lady’s painting done only with different blue shades of the color blue.

Nilminimala Painting2

Nilminimala with one of her paintings.

She draws oil paintings as well. Most of her paintings depict rural village scenes with shepherds, beautiful damsels, people working in rice fields, girls bathing in rivers, etc. Having asked why she paints village scenes she says, “That’s all I see in and around the village. I’m fascinated by the surroundings. I wonder why the city people mock at these villages for the simple fact that the villages are rural. Yes we don’t have the facilities the city folks have, but we have the freedom and the calmness which you’ll never have in a city.”

I too understood that it is the environment that produced this budding artist. She must be the luckiest person to have a mother who teaches in the village school, and a parent who encouraged the child to choose a field like painting in spite of the fact that such proficiency do not have a demand in the job market.

nilminimala painting3

Nilminimala with one of her paintings.

To my question about her future aspects as a professional painter, her replay was;

“I love painting and I do it for fun. I can spend hours on a painting. It takes a long time to finish a good painting”.

Unfortunately she doesn’t know the real value of her own paintings. She says that her paintings have never been appreciated except by her mother and other teachers who taught her art of drawing.

Nilminimala

I showed some pictures that I had edited with a computer and she was greatly impressed and was keen to learn it. Her deep interest indicated that she has the potential of becoming a most talented computer graphic artist too. Buying a computer with the necessary software is far above reach for her.

Nilminimala will be a part of Horizon and Horizon website would be decorated with her artwork with the next update.

P. S.

Unfortunately this plan did not work. Had the plans went the exact way we expected, things would have been very different by now. She could have been the next Picasso. Such a talent going into the waste ………. Life is like that.

Rambutan Season 2015


Anthony Tissera, a rambutan seller in Ja-Ela along Colombo - Katunayake Airport road

Anthony Tissera, a rambutan seller in Ja-Ela along Colombo – Katunayake Airport road

For the last three years, I have been writing a post on rambutan season each year consecutively. After reading my posts, two gentlemen from an Indian fruit farm called Homegrown www.homegrown.in visited Sri Lanka and took rambutan fruits and plants to India. They were particularly interested in Malwana rambutan variety. Now they grow Malwana rambutans in their farm in Kerala, India. They personally visited Malwana with me to see rambutan gardens. I too bought two plants two years back and one survived and thriving now. I learnt from my Indian friends that their plants are also growing well.

Rambutan on display at Kalagedihena

Rambutan on display at Kalagedihena

This time around rambutan harvest has been very good just like the last two years. As a result the price of a single fruit has come down to 5 rupees in Colombo and suburbs and in Kandy as I checked the prices myself. In Malwana, a fruit costs around 3 rupees according to the rambutan sellers in Kalagedihena along the Colombo – Kandy road. Rambutan prices in Anuradhapura, my hometown, is little expensive. They sell 15 fruits for 100 rupees. But fresh fruits are available in Anuradhapura unlike in the past.

A pregnant woman selling rambutans in Kalagedihena. It was from people like this that the notorious deputy minister allegedly collected commissions.

A pregnant woman selling rambutans in Kalagedihena. It was from people like this that the notorious deputy minister allegedly collected commissions.

It was reported this year that a politician, a deputy minister from the previous government took a cut from the small scale rambutan sellers in Gampaha district, his electorate, by force. After his party was defeated at the presidential election in early January this year, rambutan sellers lodged a complaint against the former deputy minister. He was so corrupt that his own party rejected his nomination to contest to the parliamentary election scheduled to be held in August this year along with some other former MPs who have corruption and drug trafficking allegations. This is a good move. It is sickening to hear that a person in the capacity of a deputy minister collecting commissions from the poor rambutan sellers. Imagine what he must have taken from the mega projects in his electorate and in the capacity of a deputy minister in his ministry.

Rambutan on a creative display in Digana, Kandy

Rambutan on a creative display in Digana, Kandy

OK. Back to rambutans. According to the sellers, the season will last around three more weeks and this is the peak of the season. Prices will fluctuate according to availability of the fruits in coming weeks. So, if you want to visit Sri Lanka to taste rambutans, this is the high time you visited. Do not regret and postpone your visit. If you visit Sri Lanka these days, you will see rambutans from the airport road itself to almost all parts of Sri Lanka. Mohammad, an experienced young driver from Colombo who can speak decent English has been our chauffer during our visits to Malwana and you too can contact him on 071-2669696 and arrange a trip to Malwana rambutan gardens. He knows the right places and people. Just let him know in advance. His fares are reasonable as well.

Though there are two colors of rambutans as red and yellow, red variety is the most sought after by the customers though the tastewise there is no big difference. Malwana variety is the most popular over other types that come from adjoining areas of Malwana.

These are some useful links to websites about rambutans. Apparently, there is a dedicated site called www.rambutan.com with a lot of information and lovely pictures. Though the site design is not very professional, it has a lot of necessary information.

  1. Rambutan – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rambutan

  2. Opening the rambutan – http://www.rambutan.com/

  3. Department of Agriculture, Sri Lanka – http://www.agridept.gov.lk/index.php/crop-recommendations/1083-rambutan

No More Live International Cricket On Channel Eye Please


Sri-Lanka-vs-Bangladesh-21

I was among the millions of happy cricket fans when it was announced that the Sri Lanka’s Bangladesh cricket tour was going to be telecasted live on Channel Eye for the simple reason that Channel Eye has clearer signals than Carlton Sports Network (CSN.) In addition to that, we were not happy about the unusual circumstances that resulted CSN grabbing live cricket from Channel Eye in an unethical manner.

But after the conclusion of the Bangladesh tour of Sri Lanka I feel that live cricket telecasting be better off without Channel Eye. Channel Eye disturbed the viewers throughout the Test series with hourly Tamil news updates that resulted viewers missing even very important milestones during the games.

Things got worse with the start of the one day series. (I cannot comment about the T20 series as I could not watch it.) During the ODI series, Channel Eye stopped live telecast for almost 15 minutes for 7pm Tamil news telecast. This is very unfair to the cricket fans. We expect an uninterrupted coverage. Channel Eye doesn’t have an ethical right to disconnect the live coverage for something else. If they cannot provide uninterrupted coverage, they should have let some other channel to buy the telecasting rights in the first place. Or they could have easily transferred newscasts to their sister channels Rupavahini or NTV without interrupting live cricket. But this did not happen.

CSN also brings us full repeat telecasts the next day for those who missed the live matches. But Channel Eye restricts matches only to nightly highlights. CSN finds enough advertisements to run even during repeat telecasting bringing profits to the channel. Channel Eye, being a channel that runs with the taxpayer money, cannot find enough advertisements even for live Test matches. This shows sheer inefficiency of the state channel.

So, like many others now, I prefer CSN to telecast live cricket matches that Sri Lanka take part even with not-so-good signals. At least they provide uninterrupted live coverage. Channel Eye does not understand priorities so they should not be given live international cricket that Sri Lanka feature anymore.