The Sunday TimesNews/Comment

10th, November 1996



Motor licenses: new rules

Ministry of Transport has taken steps to curb bribery and malpractice's that are prevalent in the issue of motor vehicle licenses throughout the country.

According to new regulations applicant's for driving licenses have to forward their applications to the District Secretary of the Provincial Councils with originals of the Birth Certificate and National Identity Card. The district secretary will forward the applications to the Motor Car Examiner's Office who in turn will give a date for the test.

As from January 1, next year only licenses for light cars will be given by the motor car examiners. The successful applicants will have to wait for two years to apply for their commercial vehicle licenses. In the past, motor car examiners were eligible to issue licenses for commercial vehicles after conducting trials.

Kandy driving school owners are getting their vehicles into good shape as officials of the R.M.V's Department are expected to examine for fitness the vehicles that are used for instruction.

NCC clarifies

The National Christian Council of Sri Lanka referring to the article published on 23/7/1995 under the caption "Police Raid Church Body" - American taken into custody states that Kenneth Mulder was a volunteer worker of the National Christian Council, and created the only graphic found in the office of the National Christian Council, during the massive police raid carried out on 21/7/1995.

The graphic which was not a poster was created by Mulder on the computer of the National Christian Council.

Prabha ordered Paris job

By Kumarasiri Hettige

One of the two top LTTE men gunned down in Paris recently is believed to have been executed on the orders of the LTTE Chief for alleged misuse of funds, the police said.

Police Chief W.B. Rajaguru said investigations indicated that LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran had ordered the execution of K. Perimpanathan who was in charge of finances at the LTTE's Paris office.

The armed gang that was sent to get him had also killed K. Gajendran editor of the LTTE organ "Thinamurusu". But it was accidental and not on orders.

JR to Ravi: Failures are the sons of success

Ravi Jayewardene is generally known to be on a low profile, avoiding the public eye and seldom giving interviews to the media. In the wake of his father and former President J.R. Jayewardene's death last week, Ravi perhaps somewhat reluctantly agreed to talk to The Sunday Times.
In this interview Ravi Jayewardene gave rare glimpses of his life and relationship with his father. He spoke of deeply personal matters and also of some political issues such as the 1987 Indo-Lanka accord where he disagreed with what his father did.
Ravi spoke of how his father molded him not by rules but by example especially in values such as patience and understanding. Excerpts from the interview:

By Roshan Peiris

Q: What are the basic things your father taught you? What did you learn most from him?

A: I have learnt much from him starting as a schoolboy and as a young adult. I learnt much about people's life in general, the Buddha's teachings and of values.

Q: What sort of values?

A: He used to quote Shakespeare's "to be true to thin own self'..............He would often stress this, and of course he instilled in me many of Lord Buddha's teachings.

He loved anecdotes. He was not the usual sort of father. I went to Royal and found that my name was nowhere in the S.S.C. pass list. I felt dejected and came home. I wasn't happy to tell a clever father that I had failed. I did so on his return from Parliament. I sheepishly said failures are the pillars of success. He laughed and said failures are the sons of success. He showed no anger at my having failed the exam.

Q: Some say J. R. was a cold and calculating person. Is that correct?

A: My goodness he was never cold and calculating. I grant he was shrewd, but I have never known him to be cold and heartless. In my opinion, he had too much heart. I mean he felt very sorry for people and he was not careful with them. Some of them often exploited his sympathy for their own ends.

Q: Your mother is known to have always played a supportive role, could you elaborate?

A: Yes, she supported him in every way. She was the typical traditional wife. She never questioned his political judgments and decisions. But she did express her views on other matters and he did listen to her. Yes, she was very careful of his diet and kept chocolates away from him, afraid it would make his mild diabetes worse.

Q: Did your father discourage you from getting into politics or did you hate politics and if so, why?

A: No, he never discouraged me. On the contrary, when I was a young adult he hoped I would take to politics. But when I showed no keenness, he left me alone. He never tried to foist his own ideas on me. He was that kind of a person. Why I did not like politics was because I felt I could not be true to myself. In democratic politics, one has to campaign and promise things to the people which may not be the best things. They do this to get popular support and appeal. But one knows that it is not the right thing.

Q: J.R. was a non-conformist, for example he wanted the Communists to be in the Ceylon National Congress. Then, there was the Executive Presidency he introduced and the referendum. Finally, he wanted his funeral at Kelaniya. What do you think of this?

A: Yes, I agree he was a nonconformist. I think it was partly that he liked innovation may be. But really my father could never think small. I know for instance I was a pilot myself on what was then Air Ceylon, flying small planes. But when my father got the chance, he introduced Boeings and 707s and made Air Lanka a big thing, something to be proud of. He was a nonconformist perhaps, because he had great vision.

He wanted the last rites at Kelaniya, because it was his first electorate. He was never comfortable with Colombo South. He was a sentimentalist too, I think Kelaniya was where Lord Buddha came to and where my father's mother came from.

Q: Weren't you too somewhat of a rebel like your father, when you were young? (he smiles)

A: Yes, I was a rebel too. I did not take to politics as everyone expected me to, being my father's only child. Instead, I became a pilot rather an off-beat profession at that time. I too was a nonconformist. I did not like joining the herd as it were, doing what the herd did. I invariably thought differently.

Q: How was your relationship with your father who was immersed in politics?

A: Our relationship was very good and rewarding, though he did not often have much time. I used to follow him when he had election campaigns. I must confess one thing I felt while watching him, I won't ever be able to do it. I did not have his patience. I used to marvel at his patience and perseverance. Looking for mass support and appeal was not for me. I of course did not have the patience and tolerance that he had.

Q: In 1971, you were taken into custody for alleged involvement with the JVP uprising. Dr. N. M. Perera said that J. R. never forgave Ms. Bandaranaike for arresting you. How do you see it?

A: He did not talk about it much with me. So I did not really know what was in his mind. As for being hurt, oh yes he was very hurt indeed. I was kept at Welikade for twenty four hours and then released. He came personally to fetch me. He did refer to this in his 1977 election campaign.

Q: In 1987 at the time of the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord, you were very angry weren't you? How was your relationship with your father, then?

A: I felt strongly that we should not have foreign forces on our soil. Also I felt the Accord gave too little to the Sinhala people in the North and East. I was not angry with him. We disagreed, but it was a relationship where we were still friendly.

Q: In 1975 you became a monk in Thailand. Why?

A: I always wanted from my very young days to go into ascetic ways of life and meditate. I must say that the three years I spent as a monk were the most fulfilling. You ask me why? For me it was a period of mental culture to think and find answers to many questions which had haunted me in life such as, why am I here? What happens after death etceteras. Existential questions. It changed my entire lifestyle.

Q: Then you left your parents and went to Australia Why?

A: I first emigrated to Australia and then went to Thailand. My mother would never have allowed me and so my father who would not have minded would have listened to her and taken my passport. I also got married to Penny there.

Q: You came back in 1983 after the riots to look after his security. Why this swing of the pendulum from monk to security advisor?

A: I came to reorganize his personal security since I gathered that his life was in danger. That is why I came back to be his security advisor. I had to help my father and see that he survived and there was no threat to his life.

Q: Are you a Sai devotee? If so, how has it helped you? Also what happened to the chain and pendant Sri Sathya Sai gave your father?

A: I am not a devotee it is my wife Penny who is. But I have spoken to Sai several times and he has been of much help to me. How, you want to know? Once when I saw him Sathya Sai said surgeons will want to operate on me for a by-pass and Swami asked me not to do it. As Swami said, the doctors asked me to. But I did not allow surgery. I took Ayurvedic medicine and spiritually he helped me. There was spiritual aid from him.

Once, he did not allow me to come back for three months and he even took me to White Field with him.

Before I left for Putraparthy, Terrence Perera warned me that I was second on the hit list, he being the first Harsha Abeywardene was another. By the time I left they were all dead.

After my return from Putraparthy when the JVP was wiped out, an Indian astrologer read my palm and asked me where were you during this period? Rightly you should have died. I said I was with Sri Sathya Sai and so he said that was why he kept me and I did not die.

Here, this is the ring he gave me and I have father's chain and pendant with me.

Penny once lost a lingam he gave her and she went to him distraught and he said 'you lost your lingam, I know, it is with me? Some say father's chain might disappear. So far, it is with me

Continue to the News/Comment page 4 - * 5,375 displaced sent home from Vavuniya , * Refugees cross to India , * Public sector unions not happy with budget , * Yala families live in fear of terrorists , * Knowing the law; and knowing the Law Minister

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