The Secretary of the SLFP has challenged the leader of the Opposition to plant a Karapincha tree and walk a short distance on the “niyara” of a paddy field. Perhaps the secretary’s parents may be from a farmer family and his grandparents may also be from farmer families. He should be proud of his farmer capabilities.
However, does that mean that others engaged in other vocations or professions are of inferior quality?
Old D. S. [Senanayake] would have walked many miles on several “niyaras’ in many paddy fields in different areas — he was a respected gentleman farmer. Dudley was seen with his camera hung around his shoulders, walking on niyaras. The Senanayakes’ contribution to agriculture, irrigation, river valleys development and the quality of village life far surpasses anything the Secretary and others who held these portfolios have achieved.
In those periods, no one would have dared tell SWRD that he had never held a “udella” in his hands to dig a hole to plant a coconut sapling. The Bandaranaikes owned extensive acres of coconut lands. The difference is that during that period the Opposition had educated and knowledgeable persons of the calibre of Dr. N. M. [Perera]; Dr. S. A. Wickremasinghe; Dr. Colvin [R. de Silva]; Leslie [Gunawardena]; Philip [Gunewardena]; G. G. [Ponnambalam]. Everyone – in the Government and in the Opposition —had high ethical and political standards.
It is the crassness and coarseness we hear today in Parliament that prompts political Pradeshiya Sabha hooligans to attack private institutions, with the state police looking on and doing nothing.
Government Parliamentarians have degraded the noble art of gentlemanly debate. They cannot handle the accusations and allegations of the Opposition.
This writer has reservations about Ranil Wickremasinghe, but Ranil should be respected for his contribution to Parliamentary debate. The Government is expected to win, so why attack the losing party with coarse insults?