First anniversary of assuming office for second term:
President Mahinda Rajapaksa
A national leader par excellence
Sri Lanka’s history goes back to thousands of years. The personal and
social responsibilities to be fulfilled by men are immense indeed. Some
are born great while others are not, as the popular saying goes. Those
who render an yeoman service to mankind during their short span of life
become leading world figures. In Sri Lanka’s post independence political
firmament President Mahinda Rajapaksa occupies a unique place in
national politics. It is time to review even briefly some of his
He carved for himself a niche in the hall of fame after he marshalled
the forces to defeat terrorism which had engulfed the country for
decades. After eradicating the menace of terrorism from the country he
said that he is the proud father of the nation.
He is truly a national leader who has shared himself the age-old
vision of making Sri Lanka an economic giant and assuring his people a
prosperous future. He mobilised the people to face the uncertainties of
a war situation forced upon the country by LTTE terrorism.
Having faced the loss of hopes he let the burden and pressure of the
conflict fall squarely on himself and dispelled fear and alarm in the
minds of the people.
He introduced the new concept of humanitarian operation against
terrorism. He was crowned the great Sri Lankan who rooted out the
mindless terrorism and resisted the undue pressure from the
international community during the height of the humanitarian operation.
Some leaders entertained grave uncertainties at the prospect of an
“unwinnable war” while others capitalised on the crisis situation to
suit their personal agendas in the name of war. The concept of national
liberation had been ridiculed and brought into disrepute by many
He was showered with the blessings and gratitude by the patriotic
masses after he liberated the motherland from the menace of terrorism.
President Rajapaksa is a devout Buddhist. However, as Head of State
he respects all faiths practised by its adherents.
It is a cultural trait that the chroniclers record the glorious past
of the proud nations. President Rajapaksa is endowed with a political
genealogy extending to over 75 years.
It is our experience that the leaders in democratic countries lose
popularity gradually after their first victory. The allegations and
abuse levelled against President Rajapaksa’s administration by forces
within and without evaporated overnight and the very such forces have
reconciled themselves in acknowledging his benevolent political
leadership. Unlike his predecessors he addresses the nation in Sinhala
and Tamil which are the country’s national languages.
He does this often in the country and addressed the United Nations
organisation in Sinhala recently. Despite terrorism he carried out
Even though economic setbacks are inevitable during a period of
continuing military operations the country under the stewardship of
President Rajapaksa has proved that the proper management of the economy
could earn dividends.
The development strategy was formulated after extensive discussions
with different sections of the community. The Western oriented
development strategies have fallen by the wayside. Time is opportune
that we should select a path of development in keeping with Asian values
preserving our national identity.
The development model which is environment friendly and humanistic in
approach is best suited for our country. In these circumstances the
Mahinda Chintana is a development vision to usher in prosperity.
He presented a corollary, a document titled, “I accomplished the
Mahinda Chintana Program”, an important review document ever presented
by a Sri Lankan Head of State.
The Humanitarian operation, Northern Spring, Nagenahira Udawa,
Village Development, Road Development, Livelihood Development and
Village Awakening are some of his concepts which were later implemented
to benefit the community at large. The Hambantota international harbour,
Mattala international airport and new playgrounds conforming to
international standards are some of the landmark achievements during his
tenure of office. The University for Marine Technology and Vocational
Training was his brainchild. On his visits abroad he made bold
statements over the prevailing situation in the country. The country was
proud of him when he said “I do not want to be an international hero
having let down my country”. He was the only Commander-in-Chief of the
Security Forces who inquired about the day-to-day needs of the soldiers
at the battlefield itself, despite looming threats by blood-thirsty
terrorists. He was firmly determined to end the war against terrorism
when other leaders had meekly said that it was an unwinnable war.
The Mahinda Chintana is a well articulated vision of a far sighted
leader. It represents the interests of those in the factory, farm,
palatial residences and in humble huts. He is extremely friendly and
benevolent and ready to help friend and foe alike. He is the only Head
of State who devotes his time and energy from early morning to midnight
to ensure the welfare of the masses. He would personally wish his
friends and acquaintances in all walks of life on their birthdays. Being
an enthusiastic reader he peruses the daily newspapers early in the
morning and draws the attention of his officers to any shortcomings.
Sri Lanka aims at being the tourist paradise in the near future. The
Indian Ocean region would be the focal point of oil resources. The East
will supersede the West in every sphere in the years to come in thought,
production and research. President Rajapaksa has laid the foundation for
Sri Lanka to reach great heights of glory in the future. He is as good
as his word and as such we must strive unitedly to achieve progress in
every sphere as a matter of national priority.
We wish you the best.
Translated by K.D. Michael Kittanpahuwa
‘Person of the Era’ who adorned a region
The history of a country periodically produces persons of the era.
These men of extraordinary ingenuity who identify people’s power,
potential and harness the same in collaboration with the people to
achieve their common objectives are identified as Persons of the Era.
If ever there had been born a Person of the Era in the post
independent Sri Lanka he is none other than His Excellency the President
The eminent historian, E.H. Carr quoting a statement made by the
German philosopher, Hegal, describing the Person of the Era, states as
“The Person of the Era is the one who is able to translate the
expectation of the era into words, who can explain to the others what
the expectation is and has the ability to bring that expectation into
reality. What he is involved in will both be the heart as well as the
core of that particular era”
Our mother country which according to the Soviet writer Chingese
Ichmen, looks like a drop of milk falling from the udder of the Indian
subcontinent, came under a foreign rule in its entirety on March 2, 1815
for the first time in its proud history of 2500 years.
Since then the nation’s supreme expectation was to free our country
from foreign domination. It was hardly three years since having lost the
country’s freedom when a rebellion began in Uva in 1818. That was the
first of its kind in which the people organised themselves for a freedom
struggle. The subsequent people’s uprising in 1848 and many such other
struggles emerged in between, indicate that the sole objective of the
nation then had been to win freedom for the country.
It is not unjustifiable to concede the independence gained in 1948
was the outcome of these sacrifices. However, the independence we won
then was a far cry from what the people had been expecting.
What the country dreamt then was a leadership that knew the deep
roots of the country, loved them steadfastly, strengthened them and
harnessed them for her future prosperity. The social forces that rallied
round the Sri Lanka Freedom Party in 1956 was a demonstration of this
country’s will. What those social forces wanted was a leadship which
could carry forward the country by enlisting the support of all groups,
closing ranks to defend their common interest.
His Excellency Mahinda
Rajapaksa took over this country at a time when Asia’s drop of
milk had turned to a drop of tear, when a foreign power with a
notorious record called our country an unsuccessful one; when
our mother country had once again fallen a bloody prey to the
conspiratory Western powers. The leader who awakens a nation
which has gone into deep slumber after having lost all its
hopes, energizes it, tells it what its aim should be and
succeeds inachieving it, is the ‘Person of the Era’ according to
the definition of the German philosopher, Hegal
His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa took over this country at a time
when Asia’s drop of milk had turned to a drop of tear, when a foreign
power with a notorious record called our country an unsuccessful one;
when our mother country had once again fallen a bloody prey to the
conspiratory Western powers. The leader who awakens a nation which has
gone into deep slumber after having lost all its hopes, energizes it,
tells it what its aim should be and succeeds in achieving it, is the
‘Person of the Era’ according to the definition of the German
This was the same noble task which was earlier accomplished by great
kings like Gamani Abhaya in 161 BC, Keerthi Wijayabhahu in 1070 AD,
Parakramabahu the great in 1153 AD and Parakramabahu the 6th in 1415 AD.
It was these Persons of the Era who gave a new meaning to the
expectations of the people and brought them to reality.
For espousing this cause, prince Gamani Abhaya became a target of
royal fury in his early childhood. Prince Keerthi was only 13 years when
he organised an army while hiding himself from his enemies.
When MP Mahinda Rajapaksa proposed the vote of thanks to the
inaugural Throne Speech of the Samagi Peramuna Government in 1970, he
was the youngest Member of Parliament. What contained in his vote of
thanks was a modicum of the aspirations of the then scattered social
forces in the country.“I wish to remind that the then MP for Hambantota,
Late D. M. Rajapaksa, who was also known as the Ruhune Sinhaya chose the
colour of Kurakkan for his ‘Satakaya.’ I am delighted that it has been
mentioned in the Throne Speech about a system to allocate lands to
It is with conviction that the youngest MP in Parliament made his
voice heard on behalf of the innocent farmers stressing the need to
giving lands to landless, providing irrigation facilities to the farmers
and such other facilities.
The paths he had to tread on in Parliament as well as outside were
not smooth one spread with roses. It is with a distress loan he obtained
as a government employee he faced his maiden election campaign while his
father’s Medamulana residence had been mortgaged to meet his own
election budget. When his party was once in utter disarray and remained
inactive sequel to an ignominious electoral defeat it was he who revived
it with Paada Yathras, people’s agitations et al and motivated it and
could save the day. Endeavours he made to steer clear all challenges,
threats and impedes and rush forward withstanding all onslaughts was an
inspiration to his followers.
Through the portfolios he had accepted he had amply demonstrated to
what extent a politician should be creative to overcome the challenges
he faced. When he was the Labour Minister he wanted to avert the
Hambantota saltern being sold to the private sector and save Maturata
and Kotagala plantations from the hands of foreign companies.
It was not a problem for him to see whether it came under the Labour
Ministry’s purview or how the required funds could be found. It is by
giving a new meaning to the people’s aspirations that he redeemed all
these by using Government employees’ Provident Fund.
While being the Minister of Fisheries he did by creating an Oceanic
University, Idivara Fishery Bank, coastal defence force and establishing
Fresh Water Fishery Authority and fishery villages which are living
testimony of the role of a creative politician.
When he assumed leadership of the country in 2005, the public life
and the economy of the country had reached their nadir as a result of
the brutish terrorism; when the entire country had been entwined by the
terrorism nourished by the unpatriotic local and anti-Sri Lankan foreign
The prime concern of all the discerning Sri Lankans at that time was
to rescue the nation from the grip of the LTTE, the most ruthless
terrorist outfit in the world. However, unfortunately all the trumps
were in their possession.
It is clear that the rulers like Gamini Abhaya and Maha Wijayaba who
waged protracted wars to save the country did so with a clear vision.
What Prince Gamani Abhaya did first was to bring together all the forces
who opposed the enemy and store enough provisions for a long lasting
war. The strategy of Prince Maha Wijayaba was not to be content with
only uniting forces but to build relations with overseas rulers who
opposed the enemy.When we analyse the sequence of events from the Mavil
Aru anicut, the last straw that broke the camel’s back, to Nandikadal
lagoon, the denouement of the drama, and especially taking into account
the pressure brought by foreign and local apologists of the LTTE to
stall the war, the ingenuity shown by our President was really
Today he completes the sixth year of his term. During these six years
he had displayed abundantly his unique farsighted vision and
Excepting the lives that have been lost, he is now committed to
provide the people with every other thing they had been dispossessed of
during the war, by the schemes Uturu Wasanthaya and Neganahira Udanaya.
Everywhere in the island development activities of a myriad of projects,
roads, expressways, bridges, power-generating plants, harbours,
airports, housing schemes et al are in progress. Garbage strewn towns
are being reshaped and turned into beautiful cities. The characteristic
of the “Miracle of Asia” are now beginning to appear.
It ever a leader, who knows the smell of Kurakkan, paddy etc, carries
the people’s consciousness respectable enshrined in a golden casket, had
been born in Sri Lanka, he was none other than His Excellency the
President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
That is how he becomes the “Person of the Era”
The writer is the Governor of the North Central Province.
Supplement pix by Sudath Silva