By Nadira Guantilleke/Daily News
Colombo, August 28: The entire world spoke about one country last week. It was India. The topic was Chandrayaan – 3. An Indian spacecraft became the first to land on the unexplored South Pole of the Moon last week in a mission seen as crucial to lunar exploration and India’s standing as a space power.
Watching the landing from South Africa, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said “This moment is unforgettable. It is phenomenal. This is a victory cry of a new India”.
Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickramasinghe congratulated India and extended his best wishes to the Indian Prime Minister.
Let us talk about this event from a different angle and focus on what Sri Lanka can learn from this great achievement of India, our big brother. There are many lessons that Sri Lanka can learn from this victory of India. Some may get hurt when discussing this topic but it should be discussed on behalf of Sri Lanka and Sri Lankan people’s future.
First of all, it is good to discuss something told by a Sri Lankan Parliamentarian in connection with the victory of India. It matters a lot because the social media platforms were full of various similar comments. Congratulating India for the success of Chandrayaan – 3, the National Freedom Front Leader MP Wimal Weerawansa said that Sri Lankan youth should learn from Indian youth and it is very fortunate that India does not have youths with `sick attitudes’ that accuse Indian Government for spending money on Chandrayaan – 3 while there are poor people who need food, shelter etc.
This is very relevant for Sri Lanka because almost all social media platforms were full of comments similar to the statement made by MP Wimal Weerawansa. According to all those social media posts, if Sri Lanka did the same as India, there are youths who will question the project and accuse the Government for spending money for such a project while there are people who need food, shelter, toilets etc. This is the attitude of some Sri Lankan youths brainwashed by certain small political parties. Some social media posts said that India is very lucky NOT to have a political party similar to the political party Sri Lanka has with just three percent (3%) representation. Some other social media posts funnily pointed out certain `sick comments’ that come out from the mouths of leaders of this political party if Sri Lanka achieved the same victory.
There is a huge difference between the attitudes of Sri Lankan and Indian people, especially the youth. The difference is all Indian people think alike and stand by India as Indians while Sri Lankans think as Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims, Burghers etc., and stand by their own ethnic groups and rights and not by Sri Lanka, the country they live in. This is the bitter truth that is hidden all the time. This is the curse that is behind Sri Lanka’s failures. Sri Lankans see themselves as Sri Lankans only when they go abroad and are questioned about the country they are from.
Reconciliation has always been interpreted according to the requirements of politicians from various ethnic groups and not according to the people ethnic groups living in Sri Lanka since 1948. At least now it should be changed.
It is the people who should decide what they want and not politicians. This is simply because politicians who “represent” people do not represent the demands of the people. Those politicians put forward their ideas as people’s ideas since 1948. But the reality is, people demand what politicians do not demand and the people do not demand what politicians demand. This has been happening here in Sri Lanka since 1948.
There are many other lessons that Sri Lanka can learn from India’s victory. The entire Sri Lanka watched last week on television how Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi hugged and consoled ISRO Chief Dr. K. Sivan after the failure of the moon mission Vikram failed to land softly in 2019. This is how a giant country walked forward and achieved victory. This is the key part which stands behind the victory of India.
Do we console and encourage our own citizens whenever they fail? No! We never do that. Instead of consoling and encouraging them, we do whatever possible to totally destroy their enthusiasm. We humiliate them and discourage them as much as possible. We try our best to find out the mistakes of that individual and not the reason that led to the failure.
The other aim of Sri Lankans is getting rid of him/her from the project and giving it to another less qualified and less experienced individual. We see this has been happening here in Sri Lanka since 1948. As Sri Lankans do we admire our own inventors ? No. Do we encourage our inventors ? No. But we very successfully do one thing: Pull the leg of anyone who tries his/her best to push the name of mother Lanka to the International level. This happens all the time in the sports field and in all the other fields since 1948.
We Sri Lankans never admire our own talent. But we very enthusiastically discourage whoever fails at the international level. . One failure is enough for Sri Lankans to get rid of that individual.
The best example is our only female Olympic Silver Medalist Susanthika Jayasinghe. There were many to pull her leg but none to encourage her. There were many to find out her faults but there was no one to push her forward and encourage her. The best part is not that. One Sri Lankan Parliamentarian described her as an ugly woman!. He did this in parliament while the entire country was watching. This is how Sri Lanka treated the only female Olympic Silver Medalist from the country. This is how we encourage local talent. There is no point describing various hardships faced by our sportsmen and sportswomen after that up to now.
Do we buy anything made in Sri Lanka when the same imported product is available? No. We always think and buy the imported product believing that the quality of the imported product is better than the local product. On the other hand, do we produce things that are better than imported things? No. It is because we produce for our own people and we believe that they do not deserve the best quality. We export products of the best quality. This is our attitude. Can we achieve victories with these attitudes ? The simple answer is NO. We will never walk forward with those attitudes.
The issue does not end there. Do we admire our own culture and rituals? No. We never do it. We ignore it stating that those rituals and culture are myths. It is very interesting how India performed all their rituals before the launching of Chandrayaan – 3. All ISRO scientists took part in all religious and cultural rituals. Here in Sri Lanka we believe that there is nothing that rituals can do when it comes to science. We only remember religious and cultural rituals when we or our loved ones fall sick and face death. Until then, we are very brave and do not believe in anything.
Believing things is something inappropriate for educated people here in Sri Lanka. But stupid, ignorant illiterate Sri Lankans do not know that the existence of supernatural powers has not been proved or unproved.
We, Sri Lankans are only good at one thing. That is to ignore the good and positive and absorb the bad and negative. We have been doing this very successfully when it comes to our neighbour. We do our best when ignoring the good and positive and we are rapidly absorbing the bad and negative. The best example is the contents of soap operas which are telecast over all private television channels 24 X 7. But our big brother is doing the opposite. It is admiring, accepting and absorbing the good from foreign countries and cultures and closing doors for all negative and bad things that are offered by foreign countries and cultures.
It is high time that we, Sri Lankans changed. We need to change our attitudes towards everything and everyone. We need to get rid of our enslaved mentality. It is now or never. If citizens of a country do not care about their own motherland, who else will care ?
Buddha said “ Asare Saramatino – Sare Casaradassino
Te Saram Nadhigacchanti – Micchasankappagocara”
In the unessential they imagine the essential, in the essential they see the unessential, they who entertain such wrong thoughts never realize the essence.