The verdict according to Grahapalanaya: The nation will never have it so good again for years to come As Lanka wakes this Sunday morn to a New Year dawn of Good Hope, it must be the fervent wish of all that it will not turn out to be yet another false dawn. It was indeed [...]


Saturn promises 2017 to be Lanka’s make or break year


The verdict according to Grahapalanaya: The nation will never have it so good again for years to come

As Lanka wakes this Sunday morn to a New Year dawn of Good Hope, it must be the fervent wish of all that it will not turn out to be yet another false dawn.
It was indeed significant that the Government chose to declare yesterday, the last day of the last year 2016, as a day of national mourning to mark the death of the former Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake who died on Tuesday, only to rescind the order the day after. But the initial announcement was symbolic. To many it was to be remembered as a day to be shrouded in mourning to mark the death of a year in which the music died and the rainbow romance vanished without a trace.

DREADED SATURN TURNS MELLOW: Good news for Lanka and her people as Saturn enters Jupiter’s house of Sagittarius after a two year stay in the fort of the Warlord Mars

On the Yahapalanaya front, the pre presidential election platform promise of the coalition government to crackdown on corruption made two years ago seems to have vapourised with the presidential outburst in October that the Bribery Commissioner should not arrest high power people without first informing him, thus making selective law enforcement once again, part of the unofficial Lankan legal system as it had been in the days of the Rajapaksa regime. Ever since that day, it is significant to note that no new single high profile person has been arrested, let alone questioned either by the new Bribery Commissioner or by the FCID. It’s poignant and right that the nation mourns – and symbolic it should do so by government decree though withdrawn – a year which saw corruption, like the devil in religion, institutionalized and accepted as a way of life in Lanka.

On the economic front, its 20 million citizenry have been burdened with an insufferable VAT tax, on the grounds that the Rajapaksas have left the national coffers bare.And this comes at a time when the government is busy peddling off acres of land, along with chunks of ‘inalienable’ sovereignty, to the Chinese to get over the foreign debt which they had inherited as the lasting crippling legacy from the Rajapaksa regime.

For the record, while India last week test fired its Agni 5, a military missile packing a one-ton warhead and possessing an expanded range of 5,000 km to traverse China and back, Lanka was busy showing off her own engineering marvel by building the world’s tallest artificial Christmas Tree – and that, too, against Catholic wishes – and is still anxiously awaiting to have it confirmed by Guinness record keepers as the world’s tallest artificial Christmas tree or whether it falls feet short of a similar artificial X’mas tree built by the Chinese last year in the city of Guangzhou in China. To sum it up, these seem to be the tally of Lanka’s deeds for the last year.

This year a new constitution is on the cards, touted by some to high heavens as if it will be the panacea for all the ills that have plagued Lanka for the last 39 years. Without anyone having seen even a rudimentary draft of the proposals, politicians are quick off the mark to declare that they will only support it if it does not compromise on the unitary status of the island and does not deny Buddhism its foremost place.

On both fronts, their fears are unwarranted. When Buddhism holds the foremost place in the people’s heart, no government worth its salts, will dare deny the foremost place given to it in the constitution unless it has a death wish and is bent on pursuing a suicidal course. On the unitary status of the constitution, this nation has waged war against a terror group whose sole battle cry was to establish a separate state of Tamil Eelam. Will any government commit hara-kiri by laying the ground work in the constitution to enable the Eelamists to win in peacetime what it could not wrest with the force of arms? Did this nation sacrifice so much in blood and become awash in tears and pauperized as a result to make federal its present unitary status and thereby make it a stepping stone to the establishment of Eelam? Will any government be prepared to handover voluntarily what successive governments for the last thirty years fought so hard to retain?

But are these two controversial issues held up for national debate as red herrings to smother national protest, to exhaust its energies fighting windmills, to divert public focus from sinister clauses that, though seemingly innocuous, may be smuggled in through the melee of Buddhist and nationalistic cacophony?
Until the government reveals its draft constitutional bill, no one will really know; and it will be but an idle waste of time to conjecture the snares of the unknown and expend the élan vital of a nation warring over unseen demons. Far better to keep swords sheathed, lest it rust in the froth of idle chatter, and raise it when the full import of the new constitution is revealed.
Unless the government wishes to turn triumph’s cup into a poison chalice and sip from it, a federal form of government or a secondary place to Buddhism will not be on the menu., What is of more importance will be what is still undisclosed. And for that we will have to wait. And we shall wait, patiently in the confidence that a new constitutional bill will have to pass muster at a national referendum. What is important to note is whatever the constitution is, it is only as good as the people make it out to be.
The English won their Magna Carta with blood as did the Americans win their Bill of Rights after a bloody civil war. That’s why both nations placed their hard won rights upon the tabernacle of their faith and still hold it sacred. Lanka, on the other hand, after a dictatorship of feudal kings did not win her independence or her democratic rights with any such sacrifice but received it on a platter after the British voluntarily yielded her dominance over Lanka purely because Mohandas Gandhi fought for a free India, armed with his Jain and Buddhist staff of non violence as his only weapon.
It’s the general nature of man that what he receives unasked goes unappreciated. To become the spendthrift of good fortune gratuitously bestowed from above and to squander it in the manner of the prodigal son, may give one a perverse joy; even as it did for Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. But once lost, as they both discovered when they risked Paradise for a fruit forbidden, and as this nation will discover soon, it will require more than another crucifixion to regain it.
This nation has for long taken for granted its good fortune to have been blessed with democracy. For far too long has it neglected worship at its altar and failed to realise that the flowers placed long ago upon it lie wilted. And like the lip service masses pay to the national religion and turn Poya Buddhists at every waxing of the monthly moon, democracy becomes a national issue only when the hustings are nigh. We grossly fail to realise that, like Buddhism, democracy is a way of life; and, like life, must be lived day by day and every onslaught on it, resisted day by day. Democracy is not god given, it is man earned. There is a price to pay and the price of liberty is eternal vigilance against the dark forces who assail it at every turn: who do it out of their own ignorance that their turn to be victims of another’s aggression may be next, just a street away around the corner.
This government has entered its mid-term. The Yahapalana honeymoon is long over. The blame game is past. It’s time for the government to stand up and deliver. It’s a make or break year for the Government. If it doesn’t set the systems right, if it does not get the economy on track, if it does not ease the cost of living burden, if it does not continue with the crackdown on corruption and bring those guilty to justice, if it does not keep the promises it made to the people two years ago and practice the Yahapalanaya doctrine it espoused and do all this and more this year, its fate will be sealed and its existence doomed and Lanka will be orphaned and left in the lurch without a credible alternative.
But while that is the ground reality, is there any star of hope that a government in the gutter can see shinning way up high in the new year sky? What do the heavens portend for Lanka in 2017?

Surprisingly, if, in the newly dawned year, there is a silver lining in the ominous dark clouds that had hovered over its performance in the last year of discontent, ironically it shines from the most dreaded planet of them all in the solar system: Saturn. Here’s why. On Thursday the 26th of January this year at 7.24 pm, Saturn enters the constellation of Sagittarius. It moves into the new sign of Jupiter, after having taken residence in the constellation of Scorpio which is ruled by Mars, the war lord of the solar system.

Two years ago on the 28th of December 2014, two weeks before the presidential elections, the SUNDAY PUNCH commented when Saturn entered Scorpio that year in November. It predicted that Saturn in Mars’ house will set forth a train of events that will lead to a dramatic change, a change that will have profound consequences for Lanka, even as Saturn had done each time it occupied Scorpio. It said:

“On the second of November, after thirty years of voyaging the twelve constellations, the most feared planet in the astrological sphere Saturn moved into the house of Scorpio, home of the zodiac’s war lord Mars. Saturn’s Aquarius is Sri Lanka’s birth sign in mundane astrology. And Saturn, being the lord of Aquarius, is the ruling planet of this nation. It is also the planet which stays the longest in any single house. As a result it is considered to be the one planet, whose influence is not transient, whose power is not fleeting; but whose transit in a particular sign is more felt and feared and leaves a more lasting mark than any other planet. Malefic Saturn is also the planet most regarded as a protagonist of change, for better or for worse. Saturn is the bogey man in the zodiac.”

During the two years it stayed in Scorpio, the effects of Saturn could be seen. It brought about the downfall of the Rajapaksa regime, something which was considered impossible. For the first time in Lanka it gave birth to a coalition government, not one made up of a motley of political parties but a coalition of the two main opposition parties in Lanka. The two party system had also been one of Saturn’s creations. As the Sunday Punch commented two years ago:

“Then flash your mind back to thirty years before 1984 when once again Saturn moved into Scorpio on the 12th of November 1955. The prelude for change had been set four years earlier when the senior Minister of the UNP Government, S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike had left the sole reigning United National Party and formed his own nationalistic party the Sri Lanka Freedom Party. On the 12th of April 1956, exactly five months after Saturn had crossed over to Scorpio and whilst remaining in Scorpio, Bandaranaike is elected as the Prime Minister of Ceylon. The mould of a one party state is broken. Change is wrought. Democracy is revitalized as a result. And even today sixty years after, the country remains a two party political state. Saturn in Scorpio had brought change, this time for the better. “

In another 26 days Saturn leaves the General’s house of Scorpio and leaves behind him a house on fire. But his transition to Jupiter’s house of Sagittarius will douse the flames. For Saturn moves from the den of the local village thug to the kuti, the rock cave of the sage. And there, in that environment in the home of the Zodiac’s most benign planet Jupiter, dreaded Saturn turns mellow. For the next three years, till the 24th of January 2020 Saturn will remain there, as Jupiter’s tenant and subject to Jupiter’s benign philosophical influence.

And furthermore, Saturn, the overlord and ruler of Lanka’s kendraya, will be entering the eleventh house in the Lankan astrological chart: the House of Income. It heralds a period of stability and peace and will usher in prosperity to the Lankan household. But since Jupiter is the moral guru in the planetary sphere, there will be no freebies. The revenue that will flow into the government coffers and the money into the people’s pocket will have to be earned by the honest sweat of their brows. The chances for wholesale graft will be lessened. Development work will progress and even Yahapalanaya will see a revival.

However, in the first week of April, Saturn makes a U- turn and heads back homesick to the warrior’s house, Scorpio. He enters it on June 18th and remains there until October 26 when he will enter Sagittarius again. During this period, the Government may once again face a few upheavals but nothing of the sort that cannot be quelled. Whatever the astrologer, who predicted Mahinda’s presidential triumph in 2015, may have told Mahinda Rajapaksa of what this year will hold for him, it is clear that Mahinda Rajapaksa will not be able to topple this government this year as he declared he would to foreign journalists on Thursday.

And furthermore, at the time of Saturn’s entry into Sagittarius, Mercury, the Lord of Knowledge, will also be in Sagittarius, the home of wise Jupiter. At the same time, Jupiter will be in Virgo, the house of Mercury. In astrological terms this is called a Parivarthane Yogaya. When planets interchange houses, they assume the power of the corresponding planet and become masters of all they survey as if they were living in their own house and had complete power over it. According to the ancient astrological art of predicting the future based on the exact moment in time when an event occurs, called the Thathkala Welawe, it is at a supremely auspicious moment that Saturn knocks on Jupiter’s door. And the above mentioned benefits to Lanka are more pronounced since Jupiter’s power over his own household is further increased.

But one word of warning. Though this is what the zodiacal cabinet has lined in store for Lanka in the new year, though the planets have aligned to dawn on Lanka a year of development and progress that will benefit the rulers and the ruled and will lead the nation forward, its best to be aware that human action can waylay the best laid plans of the stars above. Though it may be ordained fate the heavens behold for the nation, there is also the operation of free will that made man first err and turn the taste of all life sour.

Lanka stands on the threshold of a new dawn with the planets propitiously in place to cast their beneficial eye, long denied to the nation. This opportunity to make hay while the stars shine and turn this country around should not be missed. It will not come again in a hurry soon. It is left to the government to grab the moment with both hands and, to ensure its own future, genuinely work to keep its pledges to the people. It has three years more to go and many promises to keep before it can wake to eat it’s just deserts in 2020.

But how it functions this year, will be crucial. It’s this year or never. It will be a tragedy for this nation and her people if the Government does not hear Saturn bestowed opportunity knock, knock knocking on Lanka’s door and fail to let the good times stroll in.

Wish you all a very Happy New Year.

Masses will have to wait till next polls for Santa
If Santa didn’t steal in through your window on Christmas Eve, don’t despair. Give or take another four months or so he will be knocking at your door with his stocking filled to the brim with the goodies you wanted the kids to have but could not afford.Senior UNP Minister of the Government, John Amaratunga, was upbeat last week about Santa’s imminent advent despite his absence during Christmas.
When asked by a journalist whether the Government was confident in winning the upcoming local government elections scheduled to be held this year in March, he expressed the fullest confidence of total victory at the hustings for the Government. He said: “No doubt about it, the coalition Government will definitely win every Pradeshiya Sabha and municipal council in the country.”

But what was more interesting was when another journalist asked him how the Government planned to win it. He said: Simple, we are ready. We will bring the children in our electorates and give them presents. We will give those schools. We will give them school bags. We will distribute books all over the electorate. All this will be done not only in the electorate but throughout the country. ”

When asked whether that was the way the Government planned to obtain votes and win the elections, he said “of course. If we don’t make the people happy, would they give us their vote?”

True. But what a pity no one told him that school children below 18 years don’t have the right to vote. And that most of their parents did go to school and have a general level of intelligence and do not trust Greeks – or geeks – who come polling time, come knocking on their door bearing gifts.


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