and strength renewed,Ill-will,
hatred, strife all ended, In love
enfolded, a mighty nation Marching
onward, all as one,Lead us,
Mother, to fullest freedom.”
These are the
mighty words Lanka’s National Anthem ends with, which has no relevance today!
should now read as-
and strength reduced,Ill-will,
hatred, strife all begun,In hate
enfolded, a once mighty nationMarching
backwards, all as one,Lead us not,
Mother, to perpetual hell.”
How many of us, especially those of our political leaders pay heed to
the significance of our National Anthem when they so proudly stand up and pay
lip service to it? Where is the “wisdom” in their leadership? Where is the
“ill-will, hatred, strife all ended”? Are we a “mighty nation in love enfolded
marching forward as one”? Where, Oh where is the “fullest freedom”?
Doesn’t our National Anthem sound hypocritical today? But yet we stand
and salute it, uttering its words that hold no relevance today.
Had there been such a thing as a forthright political leadership with
“wisdom” in Lanka today, we would be seeing all attempts at healing the wounds
of our aggrieved brethren of the North, caused by mistakes of the past, that
have plagued this nation for so long. This ought to have been the single most
important action of such “wisdom” had we had it, upon ending a protracted and
bloody civil war of 30 years.
Instead, in the absence of such “wisdom”, Lanka continues to stand today
with open and gaping wounds camouflaged by bandages in the form of new
infrastructure as in roads, highways, airports et al in the name of ‘development’- what better example of placing
the cart before the horse!
To expect our political leadership to have such qualities as wisdom,
vision and direction would be asking for too much. To them, warmongering
appears to be a lucrative hobby, while kindling and keeping the embers of
disharmony among the populace glowing and alive. After all, peace, unity and
harmony in the country don’t bring in the filthy lucre. Wars do!
Not satisfied with polarizing us by our ethnicity alone, we now see a
focus on widening the divide with a religious flavour as well. To them, our
elected leaders, nothing is sacred. So we now have the sacred Saffron Robe
being wielded to silence the ‘other’ into submission in the name of Buddhism,
thereby paving the way for renewed “ill-will, hatred and strife” of a much
Hot on the heels of an erratic group of unorthodox ‘Buddhist monks’
questionable by repute hitting the streets, spewing hate and venom against the
‘other’, there rises the ‘Aranthalawa Massacre Memorial Museum’ in the
predominantly Muslim populated Eastern district of Ampara. The scenes are depicted through gory
sculptures of the massacred Buddhist monks in their death throes in a bus.
This tragic and unfortunate incident in Aranthalawa in 1987 indeed sent
shock waves throughout the nation, but there were equally horrifying massacres
that took place throughout the 30 years of war. Therefore, will such memorial
museums be set up in each of those places where such horrific massacres took
place, so we will keep bumping into them at every corner, keeping us constantly
reminded of their significance and thereby keep the flames of ethnic disharmony
How can reconciliation ever be possible with such massacre sites being
turned into permanent ‘reminders’? However if the objective of such, is to
portray and preserve for posterity the evils of a ruthless terrorist outfit as
the LTTE never to be repeated, then shouldn’t there be a balance in this
exercise, by setting in motion the likes of the LLRC recommendations? Wouldn’t
this prevent the need for such ‘memorials’ to sprout in the future as well?
It appears the only vision the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and its
cohorts have is to ‘divide and rule’ no matter the cost. First we had the
father of the SLFP SWRD Bandaranaike setting the trend with his infamous
‘Language Act’ that divided the Sinhalese and Tamils ad infinitum, the results of which we still suffer today. And now
we have his successors taking his ‘policy’ to the next level by using religion
to drive the citizenry further apart.
One need not be endowed with too much of a vivid imagination to compare
our current set of ruling politicians to a group of bad actors. They appear to
have been thrown on to a stage and asked to perform without a script. As a
result they seem to think only the gallery comprising the SinhalaBuddhist vote
base must be kept entertained with cheap gimmicks and other such, they like to
see and hear, so they the actors with no talent could remain on stage for ever.
Why do we need to hold expensive elections to choose such leaders? The
law of the jungle would have sufficed. Therefore let our bankrupt rulers not lead us up
the garden path. Let us not get caught up in their vile schemes that will once
again end up in chaos of blood-letting proportions. Lanka is not the playground
of our elected political leaders and we are not their puppets.
If Lanka is supposed to be a Buddhist country based on the argument that
the majority are Buddhists, then it is the bounden duty of the ‘majority’ sans
the politicians to live and lead by example. The ‘majority’ must earn the right
to call Lanka a Buddhist country if they must. Therefore it is up to the
‘majority’ to nip the mistrust that is being gradually made to take root
amongst us in the bud.
The ‘majority’ if they are true Buddhists must display their magnanimity
by showing a sincere willingness to accommodate those of other faiths as well
and not denigrate them. Therefore if Lanka is a Buddhist country the ‘majority’
should be propagating peace, harmony and unity amongst all as portrayed through
our National Anthem.
There are of course a handful of
those who are willing to prostitute themselves, and be led by their noses by
their so called leaders. We also find quite a number of them spewing their
venom and hatred of the ‘other’ in the comment threads of the likes of the
Colombo Telegraph, so why look further. These are the sycophants who see all of
the Emperor’s New Clothes, even when he’s stark naked, and cheer him on.
All of us Lankans have suffered
enough by being branded by our ethnicity and religion for too long. We have all
had enough of being used by politicians for their own ends. We have all been labeled as this and that ad nauseam for what purpose? Time to
wake up Lanka!
Let us start living up to our
National Anthem even at this late stage. We have the golden opportunity to
realise this, even though symbolic, in the form of the Sinhala and Tamil New
Year dawning in under a fortnight from now. It is a good place to start, so let
us all Buddhists, Hindus, Christians and Muslims from this day forward,
celebrate this event as one, as the Lankan National New Year. At least that
way, when we next sing our National Anthem, we will know that we are not lying
through our teeth!