Letters to the Editor

9th November 1997

Who are Sinhala Buddhists?

I refer to the letter by "A Buddhist" appearing in The Sunday Times of 2nd November.

In my opinion the writer seems to confuse facts. It is not the Sinhala Buddhists but he who is in a 'grave misconception'. No sane person, would ever say that 'one should necessarily be a Sinhala to embrace Buddhism'.

It is evident that the writer is unable to differentiate between the Buddhist Philosophy and the Buddhist culture and civilization. The lofty philosophy and the realistic approach of its way to attain the ultimate goal (Nibbana) is certainly the "Universal Truth" and is absolutley free from barriers of caste, creed and race.

However the Buddhist culture and civilization which has been predominant among the Sinhala race, ever since its introduction by Mahinda Maha thera in 247 B.C. still continues to be the life blood and the master spirit of our people. It is rightly the living force of our race and it shall continue to be so for many more years. No Sinhala Buddhist could imagine a Sinhala race without the Buddhist ideology at heart.

D.P.B. Ellepola,


Bravo! fight to the end

Congratulations on your latest article about the Air Farce of Oliver Ranasinghe. We are glad that there are people like you who will expose matters like these. Please continue the pressure because it is obvious now, that some people are panicking. We have been following the developments. However God will punish those people for the suffering they have given to so many loved ones who have died. So don't worry and fight to the end. It is very easy to do that when the truth is on your side.

Maitri Chan


What are we heading for?

I, as a mother and a person who was involved in education, feel disturbed by the erosion of values and the prevailing environment our new generation is exposed to.

Decades ago we were brought up to believe the value of honesty. It was inculcated in the students both in the homes and in schools. Even in children whose home environment may not have been salutary, schools filled the gap by inculcating good values.

I have seen in rural Sinhala schools various proverbs and statements such as "Honesty is the best policy" , "Obey your teachers" etc., written in bold letters on the rafters of the roof. Readers may get shocked at what I want to reveal. I hope this will catch the attention of the top officials of the Examinations Department.

The first public examination which the children face is the G.C.E. (O.L.). decades ago public examinations were held under strict supervision.

I have heard from reliable children that the so-called invigilators, who are paid to supervise the candidates help the candidates by supplying the answers. The supervisors may be blissfully unaware of these incidents. This usually happens when separate classrooms are taken as examination halls. The supervisor cannot be physically present in all the rooms. Thus the invigilators are solely in charge. They even go to the extent of asking other candidates and prompting answers to those who seem at a loss for the correct solution. Probably at the end of this game, the students may be rewarding them with presents. The invigilators generally employed are teachers. Are they teachers or cheaters!!

Sriya Peiris

Colombo 4.

Devolution: vital for peace

Historically, the need for Devolution of Power in a plural society has been acknowledged from time to time since independence. It was in this contextual background that the proposals for Devolution of authority were more urgently acknowledged in 1959 when the Bandaranaike-Chelvanayagam and again in the mid sixties the Dudley Senanayake-Chelvanayagam Pacts were forged. But how unfortunate that both these attempts had resulted in naught due to misconception and narrow intolerant and power-hungry extremist forces who were successful in their attempts to rouse communal unrest through cheap politics to usurp power. Had the above pacts been successfully implemented at that stage the scenes of carnage and destruction to life and property which we now witness would have been averted, thereby accelerating the progress on development projects and the economy.

I wish to recall with sentiments what the Leaders of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party with farsighted vision predicted some decades ago, the bleak political future and communal unrest our country would have to face if a permanent and a justifiable solution acceptable by the Tamil-speaking people is not formulated and serious thought not given for its implementation as a National issue. One would admit that their prediction has come true with a prolonged virtual civil war in the North and East assuming a large dimension in the toll of death and casualties on both sides, despite the fact that they are all but sons of our own Motherland.

The president in all earnestness is trying to create a peaceful atmosphere in the country as a whole, for we cannot achieve peace by fighting on grounds of race, religion and political differences. We also cannot afford to fight a war forever and leave a legacy behind for the next generation to live in communal hatred and continue further. War alone cannot solve political or ethnic issues.

Yet, war has to be fought to bring civilian life to normalcy. The image of our country which had been tarnished by the Tigers abroad saying that the Sinhala people are a barbaric lot victimising the minorities has been restored and there is world -wide recognition towards the peace devolution proposals by the President. The Tigers who had thought they had succesfully moulded the people for nearly eight years or more to view them as liberators and be lavishly obedient to them should realise it has now become an absurdity. We salute the Minister of Foreign Affairs for this magnanimous endeavour, and also Operation Riviresa for their magnificient onslaught benumbing the Tigers and regaining their strongholds under control.

Also one need not panic about the devolution proposals. The fear built up about it has been based primarily on the ground that it would lead towards separation of Tamil inherited areas from the rest of the country and thereby the Tigers would break apart to form a separate State. The proposals on devolution make it firmly explicit that there will be no room for any such separatist move to be made. Article 2 (2) prohibits separation, secession, alteration of areas of regions, boundaries and even names of them. The Union of Regions envisaged in the proposals is made indissoluble.

The unity of the island is ensured, because a united Republic is constitutionally firmly provided for and sovereignty is inalienably vested in the people as a whole. A re-perusal of the proposals would enlighten those in doubt and allay their fears.

Hence in the above context, we hope that all the eighteen political parties in the Democratic process would cast off their petty political differences treating this matter at this crucial hour, as a National Issue which if not peacefully settled, would lead the Nation to an irreparable crisis for years.

Don Sarath Abeysekera,


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