IS SRI LANKA GOING TO THE DOGS!
‘Sri Lanka is a funny country, I do not wish to be reborn in this bloody country any more”! This is what is beginning to hear these days, day after day, week after week, by those very citizens of this beautiful country who worshipped this land and prayed to be born again and again some time ago.
In fact, when I interviewed the late Aggamahapanditha Balangoda Ananda Maître Mahanayake Thera in London, prior to his demise, at the age of 99 while he was observing Vassana season attached to Sri Saddhatissa International Buddhist Centre in Kingsbury, London NW9, I paused the question to the venerable to find out whether he was celebrating his 99th birthday, to which he replied with a broad smile and said, “ Yes! Because nearer I get to the end of my sojourn in this life, my wish is to be reborn in Sri Lanka once again to complete my service by spreading the pristine form of Buddhism’. Had he lived to up to this day and age, I wonder whether he will have the same ideas to amplify?
Sri Lanka has been identified as a ‘Dharmadeepa’ from time immemorial as the populace who lived in this land was happy, united and dwelled in complete harmony. During the Colonial era, it is said that the village folk were so united, and being Buddhists, they protested about the British consuming beef. In return, even the British respected the wishes of the natives at the time! However, deterioration of the society began with the leaving of the British. The late venerable pronounced during my interview how the crème of the elite of the then society used to imitate the Colonial residues from their culture, behaviour and attitudes and the dress to a certain extent once they left the Island which caused the gradual dissection of the social fabric towards its collapse with the multi party political system being introduced under different colours which only have benefitted politicians own goals and agendas but not for any betterment of the society.
Spreading of political cancer.
Today politics in this country has spread beyond the seams of the very social fabric where the politicians on the one hand have their own agendas of making it a lucrative business. Corruption and nepotism, which were once criticised as the basic parasite that strangled the entire society, a certain section of the society campaigned to root out before the 8th of January 2015 and during August General Elections in 2015. However, while such notions and aspirations appear to have gone through the window today, an ugly head seems to have raised with a vengeance, when inside this so called promised and just governance Ministers of the same government openly are at loggerheads and lock horns with each other blaming the other for malpractices, hidden deals, bribery and corruption that are supposed to have been taken and taking place even under the so called ‘ yahapalalana’.
Regrettably, the king pin of this marathon exercise, that had the capacity and the courage to work effectively to overturn the tables to bring about peace, tranquility and inverse the society back into a moral culture, had to pay the price by becoming stressed out to the extent that finally his utter disappointment itself may have affected his health and paved the way to permanently close his eyes never to see or experience such ingratitude and dishonesty from the very association he worked so hard and closely with.
It is unfortunate to observe how the present day human being, especially in Sri Lanka, is getting engrossed and entangled with the dangerous monster called ‘money’ which has been spreading like an infectious disease to the extent that even some of the social media, newspaper editors and journalists seem to have become vulnerable victims, or they have become ‘ unreachable pundits unto themselves’ and seem to think they are the cat’s whiskers and consider other’s opinions as codswallop!
Today one does not have to depend on a newspaper alone to get something published. With modern technology and the innovation of electronic media one has access to many social modes and methods such as Facebook twitter, LinkedIn, email and a variety of websites, thanks to the world wide web portal, including the Google, youtube etc., where any news item can record as an indelible mark on the memory of a reader as well as in computers, as opposed to a newspaper which is often read and thrown aside, later used to wrap something or a rice packet one takes to office on the following day!
Ingratitude is the worst quality of immorality to commit. It makes it worse if one tries to ignore purposely the hand that fed a person once! In this respect it became crystal clear of an incident recently where the first death anniversary of the Chairman of a certain newspaper group, who fed hundreds of mouths after providing employment within his group of companies, was allowed simply to be forgotten, akin to wiping a name written on sand with a single stroke, despite those concerned being constantly reminded!
At least the writer (pardon his humility) had the courage to pay tribute to this noble character and a thorough gentleman, who had held so many dynamic positions and served the country immensely, for a teensy favour the late chairman in question did for him by writing a commemorative appreciation on his first death anniversary and presented to the authorities concerned for publication, after attending his first year death anniversary of an alms giving combined with an overnight Pirith ceremony. Regrettably it was not done!!!
Evidently the editors of the Group have found it undeserved to give publicity to either the late Chairman or to the writer (having mentioned how the writer met him in London at first). This is extra ordinary and unbelievable as the same organisation goes into such lengths in observing and venerating their first chairman at every anniversary for the past decade or so by conducting special religious ceremonies and illuminating prominent Buddhist sacred temples, with of course, with full spread of the news in the group’s paper with photographs about the commemoration as opposed to the recent death anniversary of the most senior director of the company was allowed to pass even without a single word or a picture in their journal about the departed soul.
In such a backdrop and frustration, the writer had no option but to publish his write-up in two London based websites where it has gone ‘viral’ (publicity wise) through Google etc., which is the proof of some of the feedbacks; one reader had a query on Prof. Tuly de Silva, mentioned in the article, wanting to know about the reference made therein was to ‘the same Professor of Chemistry at Sri Jayawardenapura University who was also a qualified Pharmacist with a B. Pharm’ and thanking for the article which gave “ a wealth of information”; another comment was simply “good effort and Thanks,” However, most appropriate reply came from the daughter of an eminent Sri Lankan who had done a priceless service to the nation in London as follows:
“Yes, it is Sri Lanka 75% Buddhist (May be I am wrong 75% Muslims) who have no idea what it means when it comes to show their gratitude. They are all consumed with Jealousy & envy. The very thing we must work on. My father authored the first English & Sinhala lexicon. And he was very active with Lake House. When he died not one person did say any thing!
I, my self went there, and spoke with a few people. They just shook their heads! Few came to the house asking if any thing needed publishing, so they can put their name on it! They have done that to the thesaurus incorporating some woman’s name too. I contacted her and wanted to how long it took her to complete the work, lord and behold! She didn’t even have an answer! I know how long it took my dear father to complete it. He sold it to Gunasena publishers. Desperados. This is Sri Lanka. It is going to the dogs. Such a shame” .
“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” –
William Arthur Ward
“A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues.” – Cicero