Only those with the wound know the pain. Though it may be easy and come naturally for the vast majority of Lankans to condemn the odious practice of cursing one’s enemies, spare a compassionate thought for the once privileged few for dabbling in the black art of magic in a desperate last resort bid to [...]


Without a candle to light their hopes, in their darkness they curse their foes


Only those with the wound know the pain. Though it may be easy and come naturally for the vast majority of Lankans to condemn the odious practice of cursing one’s enemies, spare a compassionate thought for the once privileged few for dabbling in the black art of magic in a desperate last resort bid to relive their glory days of old. Their last ditch strategy is to play the player, not the game; and curse in hope some demonic bowling hand will knock down the Yahapalana skittles one by one till there is none.

As the ancient nitishastras of India state, it is worse for a rich man to lose the trappings of wealth than it is for a poor man to lose money he never had. Thus it is no wonder that a whole host of fallen angels in the Rajapaksa regime feel the crushing need to reach for the nearest coconut to dash it to smithereens in curses galore to avenge the sorry fate that has befallen them — when the code ‘open sesame’ has lost its magical charm and fails to open Ali Baba’s cave of the nation’s plundered wealth, leaving them pauperised beyond belief.

To be suddenly deprived of every treasured perk, commission and graft received without effort, gotten without sweat and enjoyed without remorse is no trifling matter that can be simply swiped away as they once did their credit cards courtesy of the taxpayer. Having taken for granted that, as long as the Rajapaksa dynasty ruled this country and they worshiped the Father, Son and the Sibling Host and sang their hosannas till kingdom came, it would be their destiny to enjoy in perpetuity the fruits of the masses’ toil, it must indeed cause them to suffer a sense of bitter denial, a sense of grave injustice and harbour a great grudge to be heartlessly left bereft of the land’s bounty overnight.

POWER SHIFTS FROM BALLOT TO COCONUT: Invoking the wrath of the Devol Deiyo at Seenigama Temple to hurl down on FCID and the Government by dashing coconuts whist cursing their enemies

In their squinted eyes, it justifies them to invoke every known god and each unknown demon to remedy this grievous wrong done unto them in the name of some new fangled Yahapalana ideal by a messiah-come-lately who now dictates the tyranny of their fate.

If that wasn’t enough injustice to make the very throne of Sakra rumble and shake in rage then the FCID investigations into their hidden booty, far worse than the inquisition of the Spanish, to expose their unorthodox behaviour of artfully picking billions from the public pockets of Lanka’s 20 million people and incarcerate them for this trite human failing., must make the heavens unfold and resound with fury. For, they had not robbed as a rule, only as a habit.

But to their credit it must be stated that they had not rushed to seek the succour of devils as a first resort. It is only when they realised that their efforts to persuade the people to restore them to their old power and position as the pampered demi gods of Lanka, had failed and failed miserably last August, that they hit upon the relatively cheaper idea of invoking the dark spirits with fruit, flower and nut to do their vile bidding and point their tridents at the very heart of government.

Last August they had used every chinthanaya in the Rajapaksa book to bring Mahinda back to a position of power to ward off their date with nemesis, the god of divine retribution. The poojas of money, food, dry rations, even sil clothes to upasaka ammas hadn’t worked. The rehashed promises to create the miracle of Lanka with Rajapaksa’s Second Advent had fallen flat.

No matter how many ‘Bring back Mahinda’ yagnas they held, the masses had remained unmoved, deaf to their wretched plight; and, had studiously ignored their repeated beseeching, demonstrating an insensitivity to their sufferings that bordered on pure cussedness. The electoral dates in the constitutional constellation would not align again for the next four or five years and prayers to the people would be futile.

Now only full scale imploring to dark forces believed to inhabit the netherworlds remained. If the rules of the game couldn’t be changed through appealing to the people, perhaps gods and demons could be commandeered to execute the unholy task of insidiously changing the players for good. Wax dolls may have been made by a few die-hards, pins may have been stuck in secret, perhaps even human ash may have been scattered where victims were sure to tread. Already, the high priest had been disposed of with another prominent pioneering jumper taken care of two months later. If those two incidents could be put down to coincidence, the third — making the megaphone of yahapalanaya nearly kick the bucket — would have been encouraging signs that, somehow or other, some spirited force from the beyond was beginning to heed their entreaties, and waited drooling for the promised dhola.

The election-time gods, the masses, have now been temporarily forsaken. Not much benefit can ensue from paying poojas to them, it has been realised. Even if they wanted to help, they are rendered powerless at this time of the electoral calendar. Thus leaving their faith in the people stranded on the shore, they have climbed aboard catamarans to brave the sea to reach the rocky islet called Seenigama, in Hikkaduwa. Here is where the politically retarded or — to be ‘politically correct’ — the ‘politically challenged’ came to grind dried red chillies in vitriol and dash coconuts in curses to damn their enemies out of existence.

On February 6, one week after Mahinda Rajapaksa’s second son Yoshitha was arrested by the FCID and remanded by the courts, hundreds of Mahinda supporters, accompanied by the joint opposition’s senior figures, stormed the Seenigama temple to smash thousands of coconuts, each one containing the kernel of a curse against the police officers in the FCID unit. By this orgy of curses they also sought to invoke the wrath of the temple’s resident deity, Devol Deiyo, to fall upon the heads of senior members of the Maithripala government. Within two weeks Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne, one of the main leaders of the Yahapalana movement, was suddenly taken ill and was flown to Singapore on February 19 to undergo an immediate heart bypass operation.

No doubt those who participated in the coconut dashing fiesta would have gloated over his fate and, hailing it as evidence of the power of their curses, may have thought of using the threat of the coconut curse as a potent tool to send the fear of the Devol Deiyo to anyone, even judges, who dared to touch or jail the Rajapaksa kith, kin and cronies in the future. Power to wrought change had shifted from the ballot to the coconut.

Two days after the first joint opposition rally was held at Hyde Park on March 17th, senior members of the Mahinda group gathered at the Munneswaram Sri Badrakali Amman Temple, which lies a few yards away from the ancient Munneswaram Temple in Chilaw, to engage in another bout of coconut dashing. They revealed that it was the seventh week of coconut dashing and that the deities were beginning to answer their prayers. After thousands and thousands of coconuts had been dashed fruitful results are surfacing, they claimed.

“Results are emerging as an outcome of dashing coconuts at various religious places island wide for seven consecutive weeks,” a senior UPFA parliamentarian and Mahinda pillar told the media. “We started it after witnessing the sufferings the people had to undergo due to imprudent decisions taken by the Government. We will continue to dash coconuts until the present Government goes home.”

Though joint opposition seniors claimed that the power of coconut dashing had brought large crowds to their maiden Hyde Park rally on March 17, to former president Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, it was to get smashed by coconut arrack drinking that had enticed people to the rally. Speaking at a Gampaha SLFP Balamandala meeting, Kumaratunga said, “The buses that transported people to the rally were parked in front of my official residence. There were nearly 300 buses. Every person who got into the buses after the rally had bottles of arrack with them. They were given food and they were given liquor. That’s how they showed the numbers.”

But such thoughts coming from the patron of the SLFP have not stopped some of its errant members from believing in the power of the coconut curse. In fact they swear by it and consider it the only way to overcome their predicament. When human agency has failed to save their unworthy skins, it appears to them that only a divine or demonic hand will offer a way out and put an end to their troubles with a mysterious bolt of lightning from the blues. Desperation drives men to madness. It also prevents them from realising how grotesque their antics appear to the rest of Lanka. In the words of Shakespeare’s Mark Anthony, ‘Oh, judgement, thou art fled to brutish beast and men have lost their reason.”

As the joint opposition get steamed up to continue with their coconut dashing orgy of curses to oust a democratically elected government barely an year old, it may be pertinent to ask six questions from their senior members before the next coconut is dashed in hate.

Do they not sense that they are suffering from a cursing syndrome which is self destructive and may require long term psychiatric therapy to overcome? Do they not know that they are institutionalising cursing and setting an evil example for others, especially children, to hold and to follow? Do they not understand, do they not suffer qualms that, be they Buddhist, Christians, Hindus or Muslims, they are violating the fundamental teachings of all religions? Do they not wonder why their leader Mahinda has kept an arm’s length distance from this activity and, while clapping them on, has shown no inclination to be the main coconut dasher? Do they not realise that every cursed coconut dashed to bring the downfall of the Government is also a coconut dashed with curses against the people who brought the Government into power?

And finally, since they say they dash coconuts and curse the Government led by Maithripala Sirisena and Ranil Wickremesinghe because they have inflicted sufferings upon the people due to ‘imprudent’ decisions and that therefore the government must be sent home in the national interest, is it not reasonable for the people to ask them — these raging desperadoes on the loony fringe of the party — why, if they swear by the almighty power of the coconut curses to destroy those who act against the national interest and cause suffering to the people, they did not raise their hands to dash a single coconut and pronounce a single curse to rid the country of Tiger supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran?

Meanwhile, Hindu Religious Affairs Minister D.M. Swaminathan is to shortly present a bill in Parliament to ban animal sacrifices in kovils nationwide. The cabinet approved its introduction last month and the bill is now being drafted. Mr. Swaminathan should expedite it.

Or else when the joint opposition’s desperation rises to manic levels in the near future, it will not be coconuts that they will dash in thousands but goats that they will lead in procession to be slaughtered on the block of vengeance in a devilish bid to cleanse guilt with blood and regain the paradise they lost.

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