AKD's Pilgrimage to India..!

-By Virgil

(Lanka-e-News -17.Feb.2024, 10.00 PM) “Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.” ~Albert Camus

A pilgrimage is a journey one undertakes on one's own volition. One is not necessarily invited by a host or hostess to pay them a visit. Yet Anura Kumara Dissanayake was expressly invited to visit India by Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), headquartered in New Delhi.  The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), (formerly known as Jawaharlal Nehru Council for Cultural Relations (JNCCR)) is an autonomous organization of the Government of India, involved in India's global cultural relations, through cultural exchange with other countries and their people. It was founded on 9 April 1950 by Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad, first Education Minister of independent India.

Anura Kumara Dissanayake is not a government Minister, nor is he the leader of the Opposition but an ordinary MP. However, he is the leader of the National People's Power (NPP), with only two more MPs in the current Parliament representing the same party. The significance is multi-fold; it's timing, the prevalent political environment in Sri Lanka and most importantly, the context of the various election-related polling results that have come out. It is beyond doubt that the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India's Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has done its extensive homework and the invite AKD received from the ICCR may be related to the substantial findings of the polling the RAW itself has initiated. The geopolitics of the equation cannot be disregarded as trivial or inconsequential.

The prevailing conditions in the country suggest that Sri Lanka needs to be friendly towards the two most significant economic and political powers in Asia: India and China. Both countries are not only militarily and politically curious to find out where Sri Lanka's political interests are spread when push comes to shove, they are eagerly wanting to make the faster move to be extraordinarily friendly towards Sri Lanka for their own gains and losses. The collapse of our economy, its direct relation to her political leaders' corrupt practices, the IOUs each is holding for Sri Lanka to honor and the general suspicion each country is held by a larger majority of the people would certainly have played a decisive factor in the equation.

It is in that geopolitical context that one needs to assess and arrive at consequential decisions regarding the ultimate outcome of the events. We might not have within our political configuration who would have the intellectual and sociopolitical know-how to deal with this flowing sequences of this ever-changing paradigm. Yet, amongst the bigwigs in the Ministry of External Affairs, there may be many who are capable of advising the government and the Executive President on the plusses and minuses of each choice confronting them. But will Ranil Wickremasinghe who in his own mind is a superstar in matters of foreign affairs and economic interests listen to them? Events and the responses to each of those events so far have indicated that Ranil cannot be trusted to have trust in his own political entourage to render such intellectual responses.

In such a damning circumstance, would Ranil reach out to his political rivals, for timely advice and will those political rivals render the advice so sought by the Executive President? All signs are to the contrary. Ranil never trusts his friends, leave alone his rivals. Such a move by Ranil Wickremasinghe is a non-starter. At the same time, people such as Sajith Premadasa, Eran Wickremaratne, Harsha de Silva and Kabir Hashim of the Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) would neither be willing nor ready to extend such courtesies. Ranil has burnt all those boats. Yet, some may believe that in order to save the status quo, they might ponder in terms of their old-Royalists loyalties and still reach strangest of compromises. Ranil, Sajith, Eran, Harsha, Kabir Hashim and Kiriella are all old-Royalists.

When confronted by a different rival, a rival whose resume seems much closer to the larger majority of the country with a firm footing on ground, Ranil and Sajith's gang will collapse like a house of cards. Insubstantial men and women would eventually have to give way to firmer and steadier ones. Anura Kumara Dissanayake was born on 24 November 1968 in the village of Thambuthegama in the Anuradhapura District, North Central Province. Sri Lanka. His father was a laborer and his mother was a housewife, he had one sister. Dissanayake received his education at the Thambuthegama Gamini Maha Vidyalaya and the Thambuthegama Central College, becoming the first student to gain University entrance.   You cannot find a commoner common man than AKD. A direct conflict between the elite and the common man is being manifest in most stark ways.

AKD's pilgrimage to India, the land of the Buddha, Tagore, Gandhi and Nehru, is no ordinary voyage. In his long journey of politics, AKD has had many conflicts, many impediments, many adversaries to overcome. His greatest disadvantage has been and still is the very meager percentage of votes of a total poll that his party had received in the various elections to date. Many a political pundit questions the possibility of increasing a vote bank from a mere 4%-5% to an astounding 40%-50%. It is a very valid and legitimate question and nothing but a miraculous number of voters who have had a  miraculous conversion from a status quo-party to the NPP is the only way the NPP could attain this feat. Nevertheless, the very optics of the Indian trip is what bothers those who endeavor to protect and sustain the status quo. But the task, despite the optics, before AKD and the NPP is daunting, to say the least.                

In my maiden column written for LankaEnews, I wrote the coming out of the Neanderthal from the cave; it was a commentary relating to the evolution of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), a die-hard left-wing political party committed to the conventional Marxist-Communist policies and principles to a modern political entity that is National People's Power (NPP); it seems to have become a mainstream political entity embracing the modern paradigms of sociopolitical thought and governance. The Neanderthal has not only come out of the cave; he has ventured deep into the surrounding environment adapting himself to the fast-developing organic human evolution.

The suspicious minds of the so-called upper middleclass backed by the cruel merchants of power and self-service might be wondering now. Is the NPP for real? How can a Marxist political cell develop into a modern-day organism of a political arm, one of a new thinking and fresh approach to resolution of national issues? It's literally stupendous. The writer himself has been taken by surprise. Not because of its meteoric rise among those who are considered rational and common-sensical in their estimation of political progress of the various parties that exist today in Sri Lanka; the real amazement is the alacrity with which it grew from the JVP of the seventies and eighties to NPP of the twenty first century. It is an astounding story of political evolution.

Undertakings such as their latest voyage to India, our closest neighbor that also belongs to the exclusive 'Nuclear Club', would undoubtedly clear some misunderstandings and underestimates of the existing elites in Sri Lanka. Those who think that we must be overly close to the western powers is a myth propagated by those who belong to another era. Both, United States of America and Western Europe will never come to our aid in a crisis. Their priorities are way above our pay grade. Their preoccupation with global matters from a potentiality of Iran as a nuclear power and an imagined threat from China and Russia keeps them busy, taking the eye away from Sri Lanka. Only conspiracy theoreticians would pursue such mythical possibilities of US-backed electioneering and West-oriented takeover of our culture and economic life. Such insalubrious thinking should not have any space within our rationale.

-By Virgil

The writer can be contacted at [email protected]

Virgil's Collection

by     (2024-02-17 19:26:19)

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