Violence and election law violations are here to stay The campaigning for the recent Provincial Council elections ran true to form. The usual poster and cut-out wars, other open violations of so-called election laws were all in place. Some incidents of violence were reported even after the elections. Perhaps this might have been prompted by [...]

The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

Letters to the editor


Violence and election law violations are here to stay

The campaigning for the recent Provincial Council elections ran true to form. The usual poster and cut-out wars, other open violations of so-called election laws were all in place. Some incidents of violence were reported even after the elections.
Perhaps this might have been prompted by a senior minister’s remarks a few days before the elections that the violence was nothing compared to earlier times. It is most unlikely that we will ever see the likes of elections of the pre-1977 era; violence and violations of laws have now become well established.

The present voting system, involving Proportional Representation (PR) and ‘manape’ (Preferential voting) is usually blamed for all evils. This stereotype view is flawed. The system was introduced to eliminate two shortcomings; the selection of undesirable candidates and inner or intra-party fighting. A close analysis will show the desired goal has not been achieved. 
When a party presents a list of candidates the voter has some choice; all candidates cannot be crooks or thugs. There will be a few at least to choose from; whereas when a single candidate appears, even a strong party supporter will feel let down if the candidate is a well-known scoundrel — not an unlikely scenario from what we see and read at present. Such individuals have their own method of applying pressure.

The problem of intra-party fighting raises a pertinent question. If candidates are not capable of sorting out their differences and problems at party level before facing the hustings, how can one expect them to serve the people selflessly which they promise to do from the word go?

I have heard quite a number boastfully saying that they would not vote for anyone because all are rogues (another stereotype). The 7.5 per cent spoilt votes mentioned by one of the election monitors may have something to do with this thinking, perhaps among the educated.

Finally, it would be interesting to know how many successful candidates’ names were not gazetted for not declaring their assets as the Election Commissioner promised to do. If not their names, at least their number would give the voter some satisfaction. 

M.Z. Abdeen, Kandy

Introduction of Buddhsim to Sri Lanka: Another view

It appears that the author of ‘Chandasoka to Dharmasoka’ published in the Sunday Times 2 of October 13 had intentionally taken the opportunity to corroborate with the popularly and traditionally held idea that Buddha was born in India and it was King Dharmasoka of India after about 250 or 300 years B.C., who introduced Buddhism to Sri Lanka through his son Arahant Mahinda.

At the outset readers’ attention is drawn to page 146 and 147 of Biography of Anagarika Dharmapala authored by Professor P.S.T. Chulawansa, wherein Dharmapala has categorically stated that Buddhism thrived in Sri Lanka from the days of Buddha and therefore, that he thinks that ‘Hela Deepaya’(Sri Lanka) was the land of the Buddha. Further he says that he wrote to Ven. Ratmalane Dharmaloka Thera, the pupil of his guru Ven. Ratmalane Dharmarama Thera to probe into this matter. As no King by the name ‘Kalasoka’ was found in Indian history, the Hela history we know may be wrong and rectification of the Sri Lankan history should be done without delay. Dharmapala in addition says that he is very old and that he has genuinely realized that the correct history should be brought to light.

Those who sincerely practise Buddhism know that no person can attain enlightenment (Arahathship) or any other stages of enlightenment (Sowan, sakurudagami or Anagami), without receiving from an enlightened teacher, the four mandatory pre-requisites which include ‘parathogoshaka prathya’, the doctrine. The fact that the father of Dharmasoka, King Bimbisara of Brahamanical faith who was supposed to have provided daily alms to about 60,000 Brahamins, proves that Buddhism was a waning force in India, as no royal patronage had been given for its perpetuation. In such a background it is obvious that there were no Arahants or Buddhists living in that part of the country conquered by the King and clearly hints out how King Dharmasoka in the absence of any Buddhists receiving the king’s patronage, found an enlightened teacher (monk) for his son and daughter to make them Arahants in such an atmosphere in such a short period. Anyhow, why no mention is made to the enlightened teacher of Arahant Mahinda or his sister Theri Sangamiththa, remains a mystery.

Tradition says that Buddha nine months after attaining Buddhahood visited ‘Mahiyangana’ in Sri Lanka to settle a conflict between two local kings. The provincial King ‘Sumana’ had met the Buddha and on listening to his sermon is said to have attained the first stage of enlightenment (Sowan hood). Today Sri Lankans believe he is the Sumana Saman Deviyo (deity) in the Ratnapura District. The Buddha also had made His foot impression on Samanala mountain peak. Strangely enough, we have, not heard of Buddha leaving any such foot imprints anywhere in India. Traditions also say that Buddha visited Sri Lanka on three occasions visiting Kelaniya and Nagadeepa cities. 

In any case, the first person in Sri Lanka to have attained the first stage of enlightenment lived more than 300 years before Arahant Mahinda’s so called arrival.

Tradition also says that two brothers ‘Thapassu’ and ‘Balluka’ the traders were the first disciples who received a lock of hair from Buddha as a souvenir which they have deposited in a dagoba in Sri Lanka. Almost all Buddha’s relics including the most venerated Tooth Relic are found in Sri Lanka not India. No one would think that it was King Dharmasoka who gifted them to inhabitants in Sri Lanka.

Nobody can deny that similar to our own President R. Premadasa, ‘Chandasoka’ turned King Dharmasoka also erected models extensively in India to foster Buddhism. In truth King Dharmasoka had imported Buddhism into India from Sri Lanka with its ancient Buddhist architecture and constructed their models for the convenience of Indians and others. These monuments attract thousands and thousands of Buddhists from all over the world.

As a practising Buddhist, I find most of the comments made by the writer with regard to the introduction of Buddhism to Sri Lanka, are not based on facts but on erroneous hearsay traditions.

Sithi Arawinda P. Mutucumarana, Dehiwala

Where have all the good ole’ politicians gone?

Patriotism, statesmanship, a sense of honour dignity and gentility are a few of the qualities an ideal politician should have and I am proud to say that our country possessed such politicians in the past beginning with D.S. Senanayake. However, a majority of our current politicians do not possess these qualities. This lack has resulted in creating a set of politicians who are irresponsible and who abuse the power vested in them.

Their misdeeds are sometimes of a serious nature and it saddens me that nothing is being done to save our country from this political mire.

R.E.G. Perera, Homagama

Establishment Code also calls for courteousness

I refer to the contribution made by A.B. Gamage of Nawala titled, “Establishment Code calls for prompt reply to People’s letters” in the Sunday Times Plus of October 6.

In addition to the provisions of the Establishment Code, a Public Administration Circular–No. 23/97 of 1997.11. 27 (Reference CCED/2/VI)–signed by Dickson Nilaweera, Secretary to the Ministry of Public Administration, Home Affairs and Plantation Industries was issued as a reminder. It further adds that visitors should also be cordially attended to.

In spite of all these, public servants of the day act with brazen impunity. Under the circumstances I suggest the issuance of a reminder to the headstrong, obstinate and dangerously self-opinionated personnel in the state service to be courteous to the general public even during a telephone conversation. As a septuagenarian this suggestion is made by me on past experience.

Nanda Nanayakkara, Matara

What happened to special allowance for parents of war heroes?

There was a proposal by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to pay a special allowance of Rs. 750 to the parents of the officers of the three forces and police, who served in the operational areas during the war with the LTTE. My son who is an Inspector of the Police was in Kalawanchikudi for about six years with the STF. On his request we submitted the necessary details including the A/C No. of the bank.

This allowance was promised from January this year but not a cent has been paid to us up to now. Have they taken us for a ride? Another broken promise?

B. Goonatillake, Wadduwa

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