We heard them and read about them in our history stories and Wansa
Kathas of our heroes such as great kings like Dutugemunu, Parakramabahu,
Gajaba. Nevetherless, we have not seen them in our time of lives.
So isn’t it these are the most proudest and interesting moment we
live to see our heroes of our life time?
When we hear under President Rajapakasa and his brothers and
brilliant soldier like Lt Gen Sarath Fonseka, we are winning battle
after battle against the most ruthless barberic terrorist organisation
in the world which is well trained to kill and brainwash for destruction
and armed to the teeth.
Now at least we have seen who are these giants of our time and great
Sinhalese we talked in our Mahawansa, Deepawansa etc. in live.
We are of course proud of you, that at last we have leaders to lead
our nation after spineless and gutless leaders we had in the past six
decades, except S.W.R.D, Srimao Bandaranaike and D. B. Wijetunge.
The world is still recovering from the euphoria of the historic
election of Barack Obama to the Presidency of the Untied States of
Many articles have appeared in the local press analysing the Obama
Phenomenon. Some are trying to draw parallels with Sri Lanka as far as
the prospects of the minorities are considered.
Certainly we have lessons to learn from Barack Obama.
Though he is an African American, a community comprising only 12 per
cent of the US population, he has in his political career, never
attempted to exploit this fact for political gain. In fact throughout
his recent primary and main campaigns, he appealed to the average
American about the problems facing all Americans. Never did he appear to
represent only the oppressed, racially disadvantaged etc. as such he
posed no threat to the White majority.
He was the nominee of a mainstream political party and no wonder he
was overwhelmingly accepted by the vast majority.
As everyone knows, the situation in Sri Lanka is different. In the
sixty year history of post independent Sri Lanka (we had no control over
our affairs during the colonial era), minorities lived in harmony with
the majority as long as they remained in the political mainstream.
Members of the minority communities held the post of Speaker of
Parliament and the important Ministries like Education, Foreign Affairs,
Home Affairs, Health, Trade and Commerce etc. They were elected mayors
of many Municipal Councils including the Capital City of Colombo.
They obviously had the blessings of the majority community without
any reservation. This was at a time when African Americans were denied
the basic rights like education, transport, health etc. by the White
It is generally believed that a few years ago a person from the
minority belonging to a mainstream political party almost became the
There was political strife with violence every time the majority
community felt threatened by minority demands which they perceived as
unreasonable. I for a moment do not condone such violence in a tolerant
society with a Sinhala Buddhist majority. With the minority communities
isolating themselves into political parties along ethnic lines,
naturally the majority community became obsessed with their own
protection leading to much strife.
Thus, much work remains to be done to reverse this unfortunate trend.
Let the minority communities reassess the wisdom of marginalising
themselves into ethnic parties.
They should work together again with the majority in the mainstream.
Future peace and prosperity of the nation depend on their ability to do
That is the lesson we should learn from Mr. Obama’s achievement.
In a letter on the above topic (DN October 11) Dr. Reffai mentions
that in Islam worship is reserved only to Allah, the creator and to
nothing else that is created. In this connection, it may be of interest
to noted the following incident narrated in the International Best
seller ‘Holy Cow - an Indian Adventure’ by Sarah Macdonald:
In Kashmir a friend called Asaf told the author Sarath that his two
little girls were bowing deep in prayer to his Hindu wife’s statue of
the elephant-faced god Ganesha. Asaf’s Muslim Mother screamed at them to
stop. They turned to her saying “It’s all right Noni, we are reciting
Koran to him” “Such good girls” said the grandma as she walked off
Incidentally, paying homage to the teacher who imparts learning
either by touching her/his feet in obeisance or by worshipping with
folded hands as when greeting someone saying ‘Auy Bhowan’ or ‘Vanakam’
is commended in both Hinduism and Buddhism.
The letter, under the above caption, in the Daily News of November 8
by Mohamed Zahran of Colombo 3 refers. Reading through the 8 rules
itself was a spine-chilling ordeal. Most mercifully the spine of the
animal is spared. And most compassionately too ‘the knife has to be
sharp’ and ‘the knife must not be sharpened in the animal’s presence’.
What more can the animal ask for?
Indoctrination, especially from birth, can either suppress, eliminate
or even enhance the primaeval ‘caro, carnis’ instinct of man. Buddhists,
steeped in the ‘Ahimsa’ doctrine of ‘Meththa’ and ‘Karuna’ to all living
beings will think of this as somewhat heinous; Hindus too, especially
since it involves a cow, their sacred animal. Muslims and Christians too
I presume, according to the teachings they follow, would look on the
above with nonchalance.
We, as Buddhists and Hindus as well, have only one recourse as of
now; to extend ‘Meththa’ (loving kindness) concurrently to the
slaughtered (cow, in this case) and the slaughter (‘must be a Muslim’).
May all beings be free from fear.
Sure all big cities or metropolises all over the world are
cosmopolitan and Chennai, the capital city of one of the biggest states
in South India is no exception. Although the Thamilians are the largest
majority in this nearly two million populace, nearly 40 per cent of the
people are from various communities coming from different regions in the
Among them are Telugu speaking people, nearly 40 per cent of them,
have made Thamilnadu their home. They could switch to Thamil from Telugu
and vice versa. So are the Malayalees from Kerala and Kannadigas from
One would be surprised to see Manipuri waiters in restaurants,
Nepalis as security guards, Bengalis running sweet marts, Bollywood,
Andhra, Kerala, Bengali and Karnataka cine-stars making Chennai their
homes to invade the Thamil Movie world. A babbling of voices can be
heard speaking different tongues as you pass the heavy traffic highways.
As in Colombo, there are too many vehicles on the road of the 102 zones
of Chennai. Billboards of movie stars and politicians are hoarded all
over the street corners.
The deterioration of the so-called refined tastes and traditions of
the Thamilians is a reflection of the society at large. More than 60
million Thamilians are reported to be living in different cities and
villages in the Thamilnadu state. Strangely the Thamil language has lost
its glory when a hybrid language is spoken by many especially in the TV
What they speak is neither Thamil or English. The man in the street
would not understand if you speak in Lankan Thamil. You must change the
Thamil words you know to English and that too with a different kind of
I was shocked to witness how the majority of the have-nots are
leading a miserable life living in deplorable makeshift huts in alleys
and pavements. There is so much poverty and yet the middle class and the
high society are comfortably settled with younger generation having a
say with their remarkable IT knowledge and practice.
There are so many good things among the deplorable things in Chennai.
Neither the Governments nor the people are to be blamed for this sorry
state of affairs, as all big cities have their own social problems.
But one great relief for a Lankan is that despite the political
showcases and bandwagons and the high priority to the largest
entertaining cinematic medium and the serial dramas on different TV
channels - there is peace of mind and amicable relationship with all the
communities inhabiting the fourth largest city in India.
If Mumbai, Kolkatta, Dilli (Delhi) outweigh Chennai as big cities,
Hydrabad and Bangalore and perhaps a few cities rank up as metropolises.
In Thamilnadu, next to Chennai, there are Coiambuthoor, Mathurai and
Thiruchchi as some of the big cities in this State.
Chennai makes me feel good as my mother tongue is spoken widely even
with several kinds of dialects. The Chennai airport is not second to any
other international airports.
I have given only a bird’s eye view of this ancient city. Time would
not permit me to take a long tour and perceptive understanding of this
hot city. Visit at least once and see for yourself. Either you would not
like it or maybe you could find it charming in its own way.