Saturday 28 September 2019

Gajalakshmi Paramasivam
28 September  2019

Executive Presidency & Raja Elephant

As per the words of the two main Presidential candidates – one wants to keep the Executive Presidency and the other not to keep. The question is what do we as Sri Lankans need? Each one would express her/his need in her/his language. To the extent we are truly Sri Lankan – the true need underpinning the different forms would merge. Towards this when we vote – we need to vote as per our real need and not as per our desire.

We may not know any of the candidates enough to ‘calculate’ who is good for what. But if we know what happened to us during their leadership we vote for or against that person in us. That would be upheld by natural powers. This is the amazing discovery I have made through my own experiences. That is the true power of the People.

Dr Laksiri Fernando through his article headed ‘Democracy and selection of presidential candidates: Clock is ticking for the UNP’ shares his insight into  how voting happens within main political parties of Sri Lanka:

[In the case of the SLPP, as soon as it was formed, there was a formation named Viyathmaga that sponsored the candidacy of Gotabaya Rajapaksa for the presidency. However, the final decision or the selection came under the fifth (5) method of party elite. Party elite in the case of Sri Lanka, whether it is the SLPP, the SLFP or the UNP, mostly means the leader. That leader most often is linked to a dynasty or a closed family.
In the case of the Rajapaksa family, Shashindra Rajapaksa giving an interview once revealed how the family takes decisions. As he said, they (can) have differences. Then they meet and discuss. They allow all important members to express their views. Sometimes they postpone the decision to allow the members to think back. They allow the elders to prevail in the case of disagreements. After they take a decision, however, they act as one, he said. 
Elite/family method

In the case of the UNP, the same elite method goes on. The leader has considerable power or say. Ranil Wickremesinghe has been the Leader now for over 25 years. He has put himself up as the presidential candidate or the PM several times during this period.
Although there is no family behind him like the Rajapaksas at present, his past dynasty cannot be forgotten. He is a nephew of J.R. Jayewardene and the son of Esmond Wickremesinghe. Instead of a family, he is supposed to be flanked by a group of school friends, it is alleged. This Royal group is said to be loyal to him.

Then there are several ‘dynasties’ within this party like in many other parties. Sajith Premadasa is the son of R. Premadasa. This connection is one of the strengths that he has and that he shows. It could be natural for sons (or even daughters) to follow their fathers in politics. However in the case of Sri Lanka this is endemic and not good for internal party democracy or democracy in general. 

Election by vote is a major aspect of Democracy. Where each voter is specialist in her/his field – the voting method helps form wider ownership circle than when the belief of one is taken as the leadership power. The width of the Rajapaksa ownership circle is limited to the family.

Relatively speaking the Hon Ranasinghe  Premadasa’s  leadership included educated members of minorities. Likewise, that of Ranil including during the current government.

I felt deeply touched when I learnt  today – the respect by the Hon Ranasinghe  Premadasa for the Elephant :

Yesterday, I wrote under the heading ‘Truth to Truth; Elephant to Elephant’ after the following picture (without my title message) came to my attention through Hindustan Times – an Indian News Medium:

Raja in Tamil means King. Hence I felt a connection when I came across the parent Raja this morning. As per Wikipedia:

[Raja possessed the rare Maha Gaja Lakshana physical characteristics that put him in the aristocratic caste of Sri Lankan elephants, Chaddhantha.  After observing the great physical characteristics of the elephant and his obedient behavior, Raja was given the responsibility of carrying the sacred casket at the Esala Perahehra in 1950]

When I gave the above title the word ‘Gaja’ came to my mind from within. It is only today that I appreciate the connection with the original elephant who became Royalty – in 1950 – the same year of my birth. To me these are NOT coincidences. I pick up the Energies of those to whom the places were sacred. We celebrate time based commonness through anniversaries.
When I went from Batticaloa to Colombo and then to Kathirgamam after the President (then Madam Kumaratunga) accepted my Tsunami Reconstruction proposals,  I noticed the statue of Gajaman Nona on the way. Somehow that name stuck to my mind and later when I did some search I realised that the lady was an integrated version of Dutch, Sinhalese and Tamil – that is very much the Common Ceylon ancestral makeup.

This morning after reading about the first Raja elephant and its attribute ‘Maha Gaja Lakshanawhich I interpreted as ‘Great Royal Beauty’ – I went back to read about Gajaman Nona. I noticed then that the lady was royalty in Ambalantota – in the Hambantota district – the district of Sajith Premadasa. The penny then dropped! Hambantota was eroding its ancestral powers. Hence my pain which I attributed to my belief in Kathirgamam.

I was  serving Batticaloa  in 2005 and Patrick Harrigan who facilitated the service wrote :
[….You will immediately notice the professional approach that Gaja and Julia have brought to our work in Mankerny, which hitherto had consisted of my occasional visits, including 18 annual pada yatra foot pilgrimages through Mankerny, whose poverty never prevented the Mankerny folks from feeding the multitude of pilgrims on their long trek to Kataragama. Gaja’s style also tells you something about her motivation in wishing to serve the poorest devotees of the inscrutable god of Kataragama, Lord Skanda-Murugan’] – full text in Appendix

This morning I learnt for the first time that :

[The 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami devastated Hambantota, and reportedly killed more than 4500 people]

But no one facilitated me to serve Hambantota.  Have they forgotten Kataragama, Lord Skanda-Murugan ? and made Him junior to Lord Buddha?

The Wikipedia report on Raja the king elephant states as follows:

[It is believed that Raja was born in the jungles of Eravur in Batticaloa District circa 1913. He was captured by a group of men headed by Umaru Lebbe Panikkar in November 1925. Panikkar is a name given to the men who mastered capturing elephants in the eastern parts of the country. The young elephant Raja had been purchased by Tikiribanda Mampitiya Disawe of Giragama Walauwa in Kandy for 3300 rupees, a huge sum at that time, along with another young elephant named Skanda]

Ganesh and Skanda are brothers as per Hindu legends. Ganesh who believes that His parents are His whole world follows the traditional pathway. Skanda on the other hand has the experience by physically  travelling around the globe. These are actually the minds of those who established a certain philosophy. Intellectuals need to consider their elders as their world. Those seeking lateral spread need to have the global experience. In Sri Lanka – if Ganesh is Raja – then equally divine - Skanda needs to establish his own kingdom. Within UNP if Ranil had become Raja – Sajith would have formed his own kingdom. But by makeup – Ranil  is more global than Sajith and hence Sajith needs to treat Ranil as his elder if he is to successfully invoke global powers.
Taken as communities – if Sinhalese are Rajas – then Minorities – especially Tamils and Muslims – would be blessed by Skanda to form their own territories through their diverse talents. THAT is the need of current Sri Lanka.

Those who depend on majority power –without belief in globalization could easily be beaten by ancestral powers of that area.  Towards that one needs those who renounced global benefits. The two should not be indiscriminately mixed. Election by independent vote is part of democracy – the ultimate goal of which is globalization. When limited to the family – a believer in democracy would easily undermine their family powers. The system of true belief then spreads that power.
The Viyathmaga group – where Mr Gotabhaya Rajapaksa spoke recently gives the picture as Sinahala Foremost group . It presents itself as follows:

[The Professionals for a Better Future (VIYATHMAGA) is a network of Academics, Professionals, and Entrepreneurs who love the country and wish to contribute actively towards the development of a prosperous Sri Lanka where all citizens can live in peace and harmony. VIYATHMAGA is not a political organisation. It is a civil society movement, wishing to contribute towards the betterment of the country.]

If this were true – then Mr Rajapaksa would have spoken in English to that professional audience. English is the language that links us – especially Sinhalese to the wider world. Otherwise – the speech ought to have been to the general Sinahala public with translations in Tamil and English.  It’s a pity that two of my friends / colleagues (Raj Gonsalkorale & Laksiri Fernando) of Sri Lanka Reconciliation Forum, Sydney – failed to identify with this weakness in that speech. They thus confirmed lack of reconciliation power.

As per the latest message from Raja & Skanda  – one who retains the Executive presidency would need a strong Defence Force. One who abolishes Executive presidency would be like Buddha who did not need armed forces. The former is driven by the big body of the elephant while the latter would be driven by the intellectual mind of the elephant.

Patrick wrote to international investors who invested in Sri Lanka  The Living Heritage Trust is very fortunate to have great friends and supporters, including some really talented and motivated volunteers. But among all these volunteers, one stands out from all the rest in terms of sheer drive, energy, and commitment. Gaja Lakshmi Tsunami Paramasivam, now Project Manager at our Mankerny site, despite her petite frame, packs more power than any three football players combined, and brings with her long experience working in Jaffna with the Tamil Relief Organization even before the tsunami struck. Thanks to a circle of supporters in Michigan, led by Natalie Hall, we were able to equip Gaja with a brand new notebook computer to take into the field at Mankerny, a remote coastal village north of Valaichchenai in Batticaloa district whose residents, some 400 families of indigenous Tamil speaking Veddas, nearly all lost their homes and livelihoods in the tsunami. We have selected the Mankerny Veddas as the community we hope to rebuild with your support, starting with the first indigenous style model dwelling now under construction there as part of a larger project to support, rebuild and reinvigorate indigenous Vedda communities on the east coast. Mankerny has no electricity, so it is a marvel that Gaja Lakshmi and her colleague, fellow volunteer Julia Hall of USA, have been able to accomplish so much there under primitive conditions in the refugee camp, and yet somehow continue to turn out professional reports not only about our Mankerny project but also about another project in Pala Munai (Kalladi) near Batticaloa town as well. Rather than pre-empt Gaja’s reports, we are going to attach them for you to read at your leisure. You will immediately notice the professional approach that Gaja and Julia have brought to our work in Mankerny, which hitherto had consisted of my occasional visits, including 18 annual pada yatra foot pilgrimages through Mankerny, whose poverty never prevented the Mankerny folks from feeding the multitude of pilgrims on their long trek to Kataragama. Gaja’s style also tells you something about her motivation in wishing to serve the poorest devotees of the inscrutable god of Kataragama, Lord Skanda-Murugan’

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