Let the peo­ple de­cide; not ‘Kaluhamis’ and ‘Kalu Ap­pus’ From Golden-horses to but­ter­flies

Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) - - OPINION - kksper­era1@gmail.com By K.K.S. PER­ERA

Gona’ and ‘Bu­ruwa’ re­ver­ber­ated in the house by the Galle Face in good old days of NM, Colvin, Philip and Sir John, who later shared an erotic anec­dote with Marx­ists at tea. They would not mean it, just the spur of the mo­ment, as there were ab­so­lutely no ‘an­i­mals’ in pol­i­tics then. Do not waste time turn­ing pages of 1950s and ’60s search­ing for such deroga­tory terms; even be­fore the ex­punge or­der comes from the Speaker, the Hansard re­porter had done his part, while the smart lobby jour­nal­ists who shone with lit­er­ary qual­ity con­veyed it to the reader who had to read be­tween lines. The name “but­ter­fly” orig­i­nated from “flut­terby”—an in­sect with colour­ful wings, a ‘FLY’ that eats but­ter.


Prof. Sarachchan­dra cre­ated the com­edy play based on old Sin­hala folk­tale ‘Elowa Gihin Melowa Ava’ which nar­rates how a de­ceit­ful beg­gar scrupu­lously cheated Ga­ma­r­ala’swife ‘Kaluhami’ who wanted her dead daugh­ter’s jew­ellery de­liv­ered to Elova [world of the dead] through this man when he said, “Mama Elowa Gihin Melowa Ava,” mean­ing he just re­cov­ered from a ter­mi­nal ill­ness. In the ab­sence of Ga­ma­r­ala, he col­lects not only the valu­ables but steals Kalu Appu’s ‘Sudu As­saya’ [golden horse?]. Ga­ma­r­ala on his re­turn learns the stupid act of wife, but re­alise it was too late. He, like all those who voted for ‘Hansaya’ and ‘Po­hot­tuwa’ and as­sem­bled at Tem­ple Trees and Diyawanna, ‘Come Rain or Shine,’ fi­nally en­joys the fun danc­ing and sing­ing a duet proudly claim­ing;

“As­sayapita nega yanakota dak­ina dak­ina aya kiyavi aan yanawa kalu­ap­puge duui kiyala—kalu hamige duui kiala” [Peo­ple see­ing the daugh­ter wear­ing all the jew­ellery and rid­ing his horse would say, there goes (he)… Kalu Ap­puu’s daugh­ter… (she).. Kaluhami’s daugh­ter…] The writer is not com­par­ing the tens of thou­sands who con­gre­gated at the two venues with Kaluhami’s stu­pid­ity, but their in­her­ent id­iocy.

This maybe one of the most dis­grace­ful po­lit­i­cal games ever played and of course played men-ofchance, says anti-sirisena an­a­lysts — “Sirisena, Ranil and Mahinda whose only wish is sur­vival at any cost. The present un­prece­dented oc­cur­rence of de­thron­ing PM Wick­remesinghe and ap­point­ing Ra­japaksa brings with it all the rudi­ments of a ‘le­git­i­mate coup’ swiftly ac­com­plished,” they add, “it was care­fully con­cealed from the vic­tims to the very sec­ond.”

But what most of us fail to un­der­stand is that they vig­i­lantly con­cealed the fact that a prece­dent was cre­ated on No­vem­ber 21, 2014 with that un­prece­dented cross­over, fol­lowed by the ap­point­ment of op­po­si­tion leader as Prime Min­is­ter, a man who could muster only 46 votes, while the sit­ting PM had 151 back­ing him.


Com­ing back to flies and leeches; But­ter­flies are in­sects in the or­der lep­i­doptera. Adults have, of­ten brightly coloured wings, and strik­ing, flut­ter­ing flight. It is im­po­lite to use its name to de­scribe les­bian, gay, bi­sex­ual and trans­gen­der hu­mans. Did LGBTQ get it from the first main­stream TV drama named ‘But­ter­fly’ or was it the rain­bow flag. Story is about a trans­gen­der child who wants to tran­si­tion. All those who jump from one healthy source to the other in search of ‘food’ are called leeches. Can one leech call an­other a leech in an of­fen­sive man­ner?

Po­lit­i­cal re­al­ity does not nec­es­sar­ily re­flect pop­u­lar sovereignty. It is the peo­ple who have the fi­nal say in State de­ci­sions.

“In a free gov­ern­ment, the rulers are the ser­vants and the peo­ple their su­pe­ri­ors and sov­er­eigns,” Ben­jamin Franklin - A found­ing fa­ther of the United States, author and po­lit­i­cal the­o­rist.

Ev­ery­one talks about the low depth the Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans have sunken into but the irony is that the very peo­ple cry for re-sum­mon­ing of the House as a mat­ter of pri­or­ity? The ‘in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity’ clam­our for a de­ci­sion by Par­lia­ment too; they know lit­tle about the dis­mal stan­dard of the 225 clowns, jok­ers and rogues run­ning it? That is why they at­tach so much of sig­nif­i­cance to the ‘Den of Thieves’ [as it was de­scribed by Karl Marx, the 19th cen­tury po­lit­i­cal philoso­pher]. The ap­pointed MP in the UNP Na­tional List, ob­vi­ously one of Ranil’s loyal and trusted lieu­tenants, was not only a per­ma­nent res­i­dent at Tem­ple Trees since Oc­to­ber 26 and up to the fourth morn­ing [it was he who had been in charge of or­gan­is­ing the con­tin­u­ous Pirith chant­ing] was en­light­ened lis­ten­ing to su­tras for a week un­in­ter­rupted sur­pris­ingly aban­doned the party and left his boss in the lurch be­fore de­sert­ing Tem­ple Trees af­ter a sump­tu­ous lunch [not hop­pers] but rushed to Pres­i­dent’s of­fice to take oaths in the af­ter­noon as a new gov­ern­ment Deputy Min­is­ter. An­other who took oaths as deputy a few days ago, sud­denly re­alised the value of up­hold­ing demo­cratic val­ues and was back at Tem­ple Trees.

“In the repub­lic of Sri Lanka, sovereignty is in the peo­ple and is in­alien­able. Sovereignty in­cludes the pow­ers of gov­ern­ment, fun­da­men­tal rights and the fran­chise” – Chap­ter One - Ar­ti­cle 3of the Constitution.

The next or the new gov­ern­ment must in­tro­duce leg­is­la­tion to­tally ban­ning cross­over: by im­ple­ment­ing such rules only we can get rid of a good num­ber of un­prin­ci­pled, de­ceit­ful and rogu­ish el­e­ments re­tun­ing to the sa­cred precincts of Diyawanna. Let’s take Par­lia­ment back to the ‘Galle Face Front’ days when it was the most supreme sym­bol of democ­racy. This rule can be ex­tended to cover other elected bod­ies like pro­vin­cial coun­cils and lo­cal gov­ern­ment bod­ies as well.


It should be the ‘Rule by the Peo­ple,’ the foun­da­tion of all po­lit­i­cal power as­so­ci­ated with po­lit­i­cal philoso­phers Thomas Hobbes, a founder of mod­ern po­lit­i­cal phi­los­o­phy, Jean-jac­ques Rousseau, the de­vel­oper of mod­ern po­lit­i­cal thought; and John Locke the po­lit­i­cal philoso­phers to men­tion a few. Pres­i­dent Maithri­pala has cre­ated the path for MR to come storm­ing back. The coun­try is be­lea­guered by in­de­ci­sion, a to­tally chaotic po­lit­i­cal un­rest, eco­nomic dis­as­ter and enor­mous fraud at all lev­els. It is the new gov­ern­ment’s duty now to find so­lu­tions. It is the peo­ple who trans­fer the au­thor­ity of a State and its gov­ern­ment through the con­cept of ‘sovereignty of the peo­ple’ or pop­u­lar sovereignty, the prin­ci­ple sus­tained by the con­sent of peo­ple who tem­po­rar­ily em­power their elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives to make de­ci­sions and pass laws. The drama played out so fit­tingly demon­strates, the fa­mous say­ing, ‘in pol­i­tics there are no per­ma­nent friends or per­ma­nent en­e­mies, but only per­ma­nent in­ter­ests.’ Did Pres­i­dent Sirisena, as he once told, risk his life four years ago, but be­trayed all the mo­ral val­ues for po­lit­i­cal ex­pe­di­ency when he of­fered on a plat­ter, the rul­ing pow­ers to his bête noire Mahinda Ra­japaksa?

His crit­ics also say that four years ago, in one evening in No­vem­ber 2014, he joined his col­leagues at Tem­ple Trees for a meal of hop­pers and lun­umiris hosted by the then allpow­er­ful Pres­i­dent, and the very next day ap­peared in an his­tor­i­cal me­dia brief­ing flanked by a fa­mous po­lit­i­cal strate­gist and his for­mer boss and ex-pres­i­dent, to an­nounce his stand.


Po­lit­i­cal lead­ers must take ad­e­quate pre­cau­tions in se­lect­ing per­sons with hon­esty and in­tegrity, who have proven sound­ness of eth­i­cal prin­ci­ples in con­duct and free from mo­ral wrong or fault, are left out of nom­i­nated lists. The can­di­dates must be de­cent, up­right, ve­ra­cious and straight­for­ward. It should be made manda­tory that the nom­i­nees clear a knowl­edge-hur­dle re­gard­ing pol­i­tics, his­tory, cul­ture and pub­lic af­fairs; and not de­grees in rocket sci­ence or fi­nan­cial mat­ters. If one would an­a­lyse real statis­tics metic­u­lously, most of the re­ported heinous crimes against the peo­ple and the na­tion have been com­mit­ted by the so-called pro­fes­sion­als and the ‘ed­u­cated’ lot and not by the 123 with­out A/lev­els or 63 mi­nus O/lev­els among the present 225 mem­bers [Some of them even had acted like jok­ers or third grade kids!]


The Arch­bishop Car­di­nal’s views ex­pressed to the UNP del­e­ga­tion is a good les­son to the UNP lead­er­ship. When he asked them why they were re­luc­tant to take this mat­ter to the Supreme Court, the re­sponse was ‘the an­tic­i­pated rul­ing would be against them.’

True peo­ple voted Ra­japak­sas out in 2015, but af­ter three years at the LG elec­tions, this re­sult was re­verted. How­ever, as far as the UNP is con­cerned, the Ra­japaksa fam­ily has come through the back­door. Shame­less­ness is on both sides. What the pub­lic don’t un­der­stand is that both par­ties have de­ceived them and do very lit­tle of what they un­der­took. They must cast their vote to a de­cent per­son who can op­pose his own party against cor­rup­tion at a fu­ture elec­tion which is not very far — some sec­tions in the so­ci­ety an­tic­i­pate cer­tain ur­gent and in­evitable con­se­quences in a new Ra­japaksa rule. Firstly, will there be the dis­lodg­ing of on­go­ing po­lice and ju­di­cial pro­cesses into nu­mer­ous ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties com­mit­ted dur­ing the pre­vi­ous regime? It is un­likely that there will be changes to the Armed Forces, the po­lice and the ju­di­ciary, re­plac­ing the cur­rent hold­ers with their cronies; for they have learnt lessons.

The writer rec­ol­lects how the then United States Sec­re­tary of State [For­eign Min­is­ter] Colin Pow­ell in Jan­uary 2004 did call on both Pres­i­dent Chan­drika Ku­maratunga and PM Ranil Wick­remesinghe to en­lighten them on the im­por­tance of work­ing to­gether to find a quick res­o­lu­tion to end the Con­sti­tu­tional im­passe that ex­isted be­tween the two sides which was sim­i­lar to the present Con­sti­tu­tional cri­sis. Two sep­a­rate let­ters ad­dressed to the two heads were de­liv­ered in­di­vid­u­ally by the then US Am­bas­sador Jef­frey Lun­stead. To­day, they are tak­ing sides though.

Po­lit­i­cal re­al­ity does not nec­es­sar­ily re­flect pop­u­lar sovereignty. It is the peo­ple who have the fi­nal say in State de­ci­sions “Na­ture chooses who will be trans­gen­der; in­di­vid­u­als don’t choose this.” - MER­CEDES RUEHL

Did Pres­i­dent Sirisena, as he once told, risk his life four years ago, but be­trayed all the mo­ral val­ues for po­lit­i­cal ex­pe­di­ency when he of­fered on a plat­ter, the rul­ing pow­ers to his bête noire Mahinda Ra­japaksa?

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