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The photograph of Mahinda Rajapaksa waiting for the auspicious moment to sign the declaration for the presidential election is indelibly etched in my memory for the simple reason that, unfortunately, the time was more auspicious for his nemesis! According to the news item, the new IGP had shared the secret, how he got the top job in the police, with alumni from Dharmaraja College at a felicitation ceremony held on Wednesday 4th.
This is the way that I have faced and got my success in my final mission. Reading this, I did not know whether to admire his innocent honesty or to laugh at his naivety. It certainly brings hope when someone with absolute honesty, which some may even consider laughable, is appointed to head a department often tainted with accusations of dishonesty and corruption.
But, then, if you get a job by pooja or prayer than merit, it is not being honest. If that is the case, I cannot blame him as there are many instances where merit had been sacrificed at the altar of political influence. Anyway, it is commendable that he did not hold poojas to politicians, which is the more common practice.
It is, in a way, admirable that he had come out with this than keeping it to himself, which many think he should have. However, my main concern is that he had added himself to the vast number of Buddhists who resort to un-Buddhist activities like prayer.
After all, what the Buddha taught us is to be self-reliant. I suppose, I can afford to criticize him as, in a similar situation, I behaved in a completely different manner. N J Walloppillai, to whom I owe a debt of immense gratitude as he taught me all the Cardiology I knew at that stage.
I was not concerned at all, as on merit, on the basis of the point system in existence at that time, I should get the job. Having being overlooked on other occasions, as I refused go behind politicians for favours, I had made plans in the event I was not chosen.
As there were signs of a resurgence of JVP activities as well, I had decided to be an expatriate, not an exile as erroneously referred to by my friend Carlo Fonseka in a recent article. Two of them, by their actions, showed what I should be in life and my disappointment turned out to be my fortune and my strength. After obtaining MD Ceylon , when I applied for a Commonwealth Scholarship, in spite of the stipulation that young would be given preference, an older colleague who had only one distinction in his career, whereas I had two, was selected over me.
The day before tinterview, my father on his way to meet the Prime Minister Dudley Senanayaka for some other business, inquired whether he should have a word with the PM and I told him not to, as I was so confident that fair play would prevail but it was not to be.
Well, I got another scholarship though not as lucrative. On return with my post-graduate qualifications, the Director of Health Services, a Professor who claimed to be an ardent Buddhist, refused to release me to the Peradeniya Medical Faculty to be Senior Lecturer as I did not belong to his caste: so much for Buddhism!
Having got used to discrimination, which I am sorry to say I experienced only in my motherland, I was relieved when the subject clerk brought me, on his own volition about a year in advance, a slip of paper with points due on all likely candidates to replace Dr. To this day I remember Mr. Christian telling me: "Doctor, please keep this in your pocket always; no one can beat you to the job". Though I waited with confidence due to that reassurance, when the job was advertised, the ferocity with which the trade union, which I had left earlier on the issue of strikes and to which the other two contenders belonged, started a media onslaught of character assassination that startled me.
Numerous responses, I drafted, refuting their allegations were not released by the Ministry, not due to any ill-will but due to sheer incompetence. As soon as the job was advertised, I met her and requested her not to do anything to jeopardize her career, which I helped in my own small way to build.
I distinctly remember telling her that I can get a job elsewhere, if I do not get this job, but she cannot. In all fairness to her, she requested the Secretary and the Director to handle the issue.
On our return from our first pilgrimage to India, after observing the Eight Precepts at Buddha Gaya on Wesak full moon day in late May , Dr Wallooppllai told me; "You are a hell of a fellow.
You go on pilgrimage while the others are canvassing the entire Cabinet including the President". He knew very well that I could approach President Jayewardena but I did not do so, knowing well that he will not allow an injustice.
I was told by a very reliable source that President Jayewardena summoned the Minister and the Secretary to his Ward Place residence when he went through the entire file, even checking on the accuracy and tally of points before asking them: "What is the problem?
They carried on with trade union action till the Minister decided to give in. She graciously offered me early retirement, which I took and left for UK where I found a Fatherland that gave me all the material gains I have in life. I never prayed to any gods, I never offered poojas to anybody for favours and never went behind any politicians, not even my relatives.
Whatever I have achieved in my professional career is entirely due to my effort and sans any favours. Having done it that way, in my retirement, I can hold my head high and look back at a productive career of 46 years, split equally between Sri Lanka and UK. By following the path of Dhamma the Buddha expounded, I am now able to extend compassion even to those who vilified me. After all, Divine Push is not a necessity for success in life. Anyway, we do not know whether there is any Divine Push at all!
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