Naming and Shaming

(People from Wanni Hathpathtuwa)

“It is intriguing why could Rohitha not spend his own money which he has in abundance if he wants to show his family the world? It is more intriguing as to why Mahinda Rajapaksha does not do anything about these crooks.”

by Helasigha Bandara

(August 26, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) The Most venerable Kandubodagama Seelananda thera the late chief incumbent of Yapahuwa Rajamaha Viharaya once said Wanniya meant warnaneeya (vivid, praise worthy). This writer wrote an article to The Island newspaper in 1986 entitled “Who Are Wanniyars and Where Is Their Domain”. In that article the concept of wanniya was discussed at length and indeed concluded that there is a certain area in the country which is literally named as Wanni Hathpathtuwa of which the capital town is Nikaweratiya. That is exactly where both Bogollagama and Jayasundara the pair that brings shame to Wanni Hathpaththuwa hail from.

Contrary to Venerable Seelananda thera’s attempts to glorify Wanniya, it is generally known as undeveloped, remote and unfertile. Mudiyanse Tennakoon (Podi Putha) who became the youngest MP in S.W.R.D. Bandaranaiyke‘s SLFP government in 1956 drew attention of the country to Nikeweratiya. He was the epitome of honesty and dignity. He was an exceptional orator and a clean politician that all Wanni people can be proud of. It was well known that if anyone came to see him with a tin of biscuits he would not accept. He would only accept a Kewum Pettiya because it would not be perceived as a bribe. U.B. Wanninayaka the finance minister of Dudley Senanayaka government was well known for his gentlemanly behaviour as a politician. He maintained that if people had necessary qualifications they would not need his favours to obtain employment. This included his own children and nephews and nieces. Those were recent people who can be brought as examples to highlight the dignified nature of Wanni people not to mention Sath Koralaye Satana of 1848.

In this backdrop we talk about P.B. Jayasundara of Thumbulla and Rohitha Bogollagama of Bogollagama two people who came to prominence in recent times from two villages not very far from Nikaweratiya. The two shameless people hit the headlines in recent times as the most corrupt and undignified people and all people from Wanni Hathpaththuwa are ashamed of. P.B Jayasundara was found guilty by the court of law and was fined 500,000.00 Rs. It is quite easy to imagine that the fine could be insignificant in monitory terms when compared with the perks that he may have received through clandestine deals. But the shame he brought upon himself and the area from where he originates from is incomparable.

Rohitha was known as an opportunist who switched political party just for personal gains. Namini Wijedasa’s article An Echo of Nullius Filius on Srilanka Guardian on 25 August 2008 has highlighted some of his activities since he became the foreign Minster. The people of Wanni Hathpathtuwa may question as to what he has done for them or the country other than promoting his own family and becoming rich all the time. There are many others in this political system who are no exceptions. In contrast with Mudiyanse Tennakoon and U.B Wanninayaka we talk about Rohitha and Jayasundara with disgust and dismay because they were the only two representatives of the Wanniya who holds responsible positions in the government. The former two rose to the political stardom with dignity intact and the latter have been garlanded with allegations of corruption and nepotism. What a contrast! What a shame!

It is intriguing why could Rohitha not spend his own money which he has in abundance if he wants to show his family the world? It is more intriguing as to why Mahinda Rajapaksha does not do anything about these crooks. As long as he allows these politicians and bureaucrats to steal from the Sri Lanka coffers the country would remain one of the poorest and undeveloped in the world for the foreseeable future. No glory would be forthcoming for him for being the leader of such a country. He may win elections and the war against the LTTE. That alone would not make him come into the category of renowned world leaders. Sack the thieves, stop the lawlessness in the country and raise the country and its people, he does not then require personal wealth to be recognised and respected by the international community. Recognition and the respect take one to history books not the money.
- Sri Lanka Guardian