A well-articulated vision | Page 6 | Daily News

A well-articulated vision

Just nine years ago, terrorism was the greatest threat faced by Sri Lanka. Now, in the post-conflict era and on the cusp of the 71st year of independence, there is another ominous threat – fraud and corruption. In a stirring speech delivered yesterday to mark the 70th anniversary of Independence President Maithripala Sirisena alluded to this threat, saying financial discipline should be considered an act of patriotism in a time where corruption has become a major hindrance to a prosperous Sri Lanka.

Addressing Sri Lankans live on television from Galle Face Green, President Sirisena also said that bribery, corruption, frauds and other malpractices have a detrimental impact on economic independence and the future of the country. He made a clarion call for the formation of a national movement against fraud and corruption. This movement, he said, should promote financial discipline among all citizens.

President Sirisena requested politicians, heads of government departments and all public servants to act with financial discipline as a part of this national movement against corruption. He called for a top to bottom approach on integrity where not only the grassroots levels are expected to uphold these qualities. This will help efface the common notion that only the small fry are affected by anti-corruption measures while the big fish go scot free.

During the last few weeks, we have seen positive results of the anti-corruption drive, coinciding with the Bond Commission report and the report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry to investigate and inquire into Serious Acts of Fraud, Corruption and Abuse of Power, State Resources and Privileges (PRECIFAC). Several high profile arrests have already been made. President Sirisena has also appointed a Presidential Commission to probe malpractices and corruption at SriLankan and Mihin Lanka airlines. Special courts are to be established to expedite the hearing of corruption cases. All these are welcome moves.

Corruption is directly linked to the prevalence of poverty. If someone pockets the funds that can be used to develop the country and alleviate poverty, the poor cannot be uplifted. President Sirisena was right to note that poverty is another main challenge for Sri Lanka to overcome. He called for new thinking to expand the poverty alleviation programmes.

Indeed, corruption and poverty can rob us of our true freedom. The equitable distribution of wealth is essential to tackle poverty. Closing the door to corruption should help expedite our development drive and make more Sri Lankans self-reliant. As a country too, we should strive for self-reliance and reduced imports. Our goal should be to leave a prosperous, harmonious, corruption-free nation to the future generations. That will be our main challenge for the next 70 years and beyond.

A great loss to the Sasana

Ven. Prof. Bellanwila Wimalaratana Thera, who passed away on Saturday at the age of 77, was a lifelong advocate of peace and reconciliation, for which President Maithripala Sirisena made an impassioned appeal in his Independence Day speech yesterday. His passing away is thus an irreparable loss to Sri Lanka, which is emerging from years of conflict and seeking peace and reconciliation.

Ven. Wimalaratana Thera was one of the leading proponents of inter-religious and ethnic harmony. He had a good working relationship with leading Bhikkus and other religious leaders. In fact, he worked closely with the late Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera to achieve a dialogue with other religious leaders. His views were sought by the rulers of the day in matters pertaining to religion, society and development.

Ven. Wimalaratana Thera had the ability to explain even complex tenets of the Dhamma to laymen in simple language. He was a true Dhamma Dhuta (Messenger of Dhamma) who spread the word of the Buddha in many world capitals. His many books on Buddhism have become compulsory reading for lay and Bhikku students in Sri Lanka and elsewhere.

Although not publicized as such, Ven. Bellanwila Wimalaratana Thera was a prominent educationist who has made a significant contribution to Piriven and school education. He was bothered by the fact that most students who pass the A/Ls could not enter State universities. Along with Ven. Bellanwila Dhammaratana Thera (his own brother in lay life), he was instrumental in starting a vocational school affiliated to the historic Bellanwila Raja Maha Viharaya, where students can pursue courses in 14 vocations. The Bellanwila Raja Maha Viharaya Dhamma School is also helping to mould a pious new generation. The Ven. Thera was a live wire in the Bellanwila community, having initiated the Bellanwila Community Development Fund.

Ven. Wimalaratana Thera did not hesitate to express sometimes controversial views in public meetings and on television about various matters affecting the public. Though not overtly political like some of his contemporaries, he was held in high esteem by both rulers and the public alike for his forthright views. He was aghast at certain incidents that impacted on religious and ethnic harmony and made a fervent appeal to the rulers and the public not to let history repeat itself.

The greatest tribute that we can pay thus erudite Bhikku is to make his dream of a peaceful, harmonious Sri Lanka come true by eschewing petty differences and political divisions. May He attain the Supreme Bliss of Nibbana. 


There are 2 Comments

Vision is a thought but not enough must come into action. Difficult but can be done with clear mind thought cooperation support. These 5 factors cannot be followed unless society is helpful cooperative

Seem common and more do than most of us think. What is the problem no motivation no support no desire just plain laziness. Eith a large population and good weather one can find good employment with skills and education


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