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Sunday, 20 November 2011

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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 landmark achievements.

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 disenchanted elements.

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 development activities.

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 Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The eminent historian, E.H. Carr quoting a statement made by the German philosopher, Hegal, describing the Person of the Era, states as follows:

“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.

Deep slumber

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 philosopher, Hegal.

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 landless.”

Landless

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.

Required funds

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 elements.

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 marvellous.

Today he completes the sixth year of his term. During these six years he had displayed abundantly his unique farsighted vision and administrative perspicacity.

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

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