Letters to the editor | Sunday Observer

Letters to the editor

A permanent solution to human/elephant conflict

Changes are needed with immediate effect if the elephant population in Sri Lanka is to survive. It was the majestic Dalaputtuwa’s killing that went viral and drew world attention, followed by the killing of Missaka and many other nameless elephants. While it shocked the world, we in Sri Lanka look on helplessly.

With an indifferent Wildlife DWC and interfering politicians, nothing happens. Even behind the Bishop of Chilaw, there is political power responsible for the rampant destruction of a large elephant passage at Pallekandal within the National Park in the NWP, when the media repeatedly highlighted a shrine of St. Anthony being maintained, violating the law of the country. No matter to what faith the leaders belong, they must abide by the law. The thousands of worshipers at St. Anthony’s shrine are not aware of this situation. The State must step in and instruct the Director General of Wildlife to pull down the shrine with respect to the saint and close the entry that disturbs wildlife. It should apply to any other existing shrine, temple, mosque etc. Elephants keep dying all the time when they are robbed of their environment that provides shelter, food and water.

Power lines are only a temporary measure, dangerous, both to human and elephant lives and a dent in the economy. Having watched this drama for many years, taking its toll on the elephant community, I would like to suggest a permanent solution, of course without political interference. Why not find alternative land for these thousands of farmers and encroachers and open up the area that originally was the homeland of these grazing animals. This is how it was ten to fifteen years ago until corrupt politicians invaded and started deforestation to help their allies.

The Ministries of Agriculture Development, Disaster Management, Environment and Natural Resources, Coconut and Rubber etc, under whom much land is available, could work out and free the land of the wilds by providing alternate land.

Sitara, Ja Ela

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Debar Sangha from studying in lay universities

Dhamma Pada 264 roads as follows:

“Not by shaven head does a man who is undisciplined and untruthful become a Bhikkhu. How can he, if he is full of desire and greed be a Bhikkhu?”

“Cheevaraya” is the robe that a Bhikkhu wears. In fact, it is the “Cheevaraya” that attracts respect, rather than the individual who wears it. The Vinaya (Rules that the Sangha have to adhere to) breaking, material benefits seeking, undisciplined Bhikkhus, do not deserve and cannot expect respect and veneration. They are more Cheevaradhareen”. Certain Cheevaradhareen seek ‘Ravana’ Balaya (power) or political power to propagate and defend Buddha Dhamma (teachings of the Buddha) instead of relying on the power of the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha.

I, as a child, witnessed my grandmother rising from the seat she was seated on, in the veranda of our home and worship, on seeing a Cheevaradhari Buddha Putra (a member of the Maha Sangha) walking past our home. That was the respect, regard and veneration for the Maha Sangha that existed then.

I am of the view that scrapping of two of Sri Lanka’s prestigious pirivenas (seats of buddha Dhamma learning) exclusively for the Sangha – Vidyalankara and Vidyodaya, and converting them as lay Universities – Kelaniya and Sri Jayawardenapura has been disastrous towards Buddha Dhamma Education of the Sangha.

It is no exaggeration that around 75% of the Cheevaradharee students leave the robes before or after graduation.

The behaviour of certain Bhikkhus in public is disgraceful. Why do Ven. Adhikarana Nayakes turn a blind eye to such Bhikku behaviour without taking disciplinary against them and disrobing them.

I, as a Buddhist, is of the conviction that the Sangha should be debarred from studying in lay universities. Pirivenas (seats of Buddha Dhamma learning) exclusively for the Sangha should be set up.

Upali S. Jayasekera.

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Schoolchildren and home work

Children are sent to school to learn. Most of the teachers give them home work in different subjects which are totally new to them. Children who have educated parents or others in the family will help them to finish the home work. But what is the situation of those who have no educated people around them? When they go to school the following day they are either scolded or punished. Similarly, it is the same for hand work too. All lower grade children are not talented to get such knowledge by themselves. Therefore, the teachers should take such cases into consideration and encourage the children to involve in such activities in the school itself under their guidance.

In certain instances, some children cry and stay at home to avoid teachers’ cruelty. I use the word cruelty, because they are harsh towards those helpless children.

Some teachers, it should be agreed, are sluggish and some sleepy because of the stress of attending to their own domestic affairs, before reaching school, including, travelling. So they simply say to the children “Do this and come”.

Therefore, the Ministry of Education should send a circular requesting teachers to be a little flexible towards those children who have no one to help them with their school work at home. In regard to the lower grade schoolchildren teachers are duty bound to teach them.

Nazly Cassim

Colombo 13. 

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