Friday, December 30, 2005

Earth – A film for the sub continent

I recently watched the film Earth, directed by Nandita Das (Director of ‘Fire’). It is about a group of diverse (Hindu, Muslim, Sikh) friends, whose dynamics are drastically altered by the partition of India in 1947. Trains filled with dead bodies of Muslims sent to Lahore, Hindus slaughtering Muslims and Muslims slaughtering hindus, Sikhs in the middle slaughtering anybody is pretty much the fare for the second half. In the end, the friends turn on one another and in the process takes care of ‘personal business’ under cover of the carnage. Oh Yes, there is a girl involved (isn’t there always?)

All in all, a bloody movie it may have been, but it shows how the British made a mistake (or was it intentional – to cause instability in the region for a long time) in dividing up a country. Maybe it was the resultant carnage that prevented them from dividing up Sri Lanka the following year. But that is definitely what the war has been about isn’t it?

What does it show I wonder? If the damned colonials didn’t divide us up, we choose to do it ourselves? Don’t delude yourself by saying “we” don’t want to divide up the country. But every single one of us at some point or the other might have thought, wouldn’t it be a good idea if we were divided.

I believe everybody was united right up until we got independence, and then it all went haywire. But maybe a civil war after independence is the norm rather than the exception. For example, the United States had its civil war after about 75 years of independence. The Sikhs in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan and The Maoists rebels in Nepal.

“Before a Civilization is destroyed from without, it has destroyed itself from within” – Will Durant (I could not find the exact quotation)


“The political machine [will always] triumph because it is [a] united minority acting against a divided majority” – Will Durant

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Principles Taught by Ther Guttila Saga

I was in a meeting today and managed to lose myself in the seemingly meaningless mumbo-jumbo nad ended up thinking about Guttila. For no coherent reason. I swear. The more I thought about it the more the 'righteousness' part of the story make any sense.

Now in a very brief rehash, Guttila taught Musila to rock and roll and Musila challenged Guttila to a musical duel vying for the kings favor. We were taught that what Musila did was wrong and the god punished him for... what? Becoming better than his teacher?

In an outright no holds barred duel, Musila would have won coz he was the better musician, a classic case of the student becoming the master. But Guttila had to CHEAT in order to win. Just becasue the god (Shakra Deva no?) gave him the means and the license to do it doesn't change the fact that it was cheating.

So, were we taught that even if we are better than our elders/teachers in something, we need to shut up and tolerate it and not demonstrate our talents? The 'Guru Mushti' principle seems not to have left that stream of thought eh?

I for one never had a teacher who wished me to be less than him/her. They wanted me to become a doctor (ha!), an engineer (yeesh) or something. And I also had the teachers (bless them) who admitted when they were wrong and wanted to learn the right thing. Whatever it was.

So, coming back to Guttila, isn't the lesson being taught that its ok to cheat simply to beat someone who is better than you? Isn't this a clear violation of the ethical principles that are so prevalent in the 'Jathaka Kathas'?

Random ramblings borne of a boring meeting. Moot points I guess, but I thought it was an interesting kind of 'spin' to put on that story.


Monday, December 05, 2005

Very Good News Article

Just wanted to give a heads up on a good piece of analytical reporting done by "Fuss Budget" at Lanka Business Online.

Please Read Story "Thirft Column - Purrs and Whimpers"

Friday, December 02, 2005

United (Terror?) States of Sri Lanka

There are some aspects of the request for a unitary state by the LTTE that might not be included in mainstream thoughts/debates.
These are some aspects that I have read about that rogue nations or political parties (Namely the Soviet Bloc to promote communism back in the day) have taken to co-opt existing infrastructure et al for their own nefarious purposes.

Considering the fact that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (Referred to as LTTE) is first and foremost a terrorist organization, it is in our best interest to keep in mind the consequences of them being given, or them obtaining a seperatre state.

As it is a publicized fact (I am unaware of the accuracy of the documentation on this) that they trained in North Africa and the Middle Eastern Deserts, they pioneered the suicide bombing technology that we see used in Iraq, Afghanistan and Israel/Palestine, we have to assume that once they achieve their objectives they will be in debt to there erstwhile sponsors.

The members of the middle eastern terror groups, or terror groups in general is quickly running out of spaces to hide since the initiation of the Global War on Terror – instigated by the President of the United States, George W. Bush.

Is it not a likely scenario that IF the LTTE obtains a separate state, they can issue diplomatic status to anyone with impunity, which nations of the world will have to honor due to their own civilized nature and the Geneva Convention/Versailles Treaty (whichever it falls under). Nations which in turn will be rocked to their very own foundations by terrorist who will utilize the new found Eelam to carry out their murderous deeds and thus case the world to direct its wrath upon Sri Lanka in general – not Eelam in particular.

Hell, Eelam will be THE hangout of terrorists… founded by terrorists, for terrorist. The people of Eelam will suffer, the keepers of Eelam will thrive, Sri Lanka will be divided, and the world will sink a little bit more into the modern dark age.
And on a final note, if federalism takes place (which I hope it will) the ethnic Muslims in Sri Lanka might demand a seperate state/province/district for themeselves too. Then the South, then Kandy so on and so forth. Wonder how well thought out the whole idea of federalism is in the long run.
Meeta Hithawath (Yours Truly)