The videos of ruling party members’ homes and sedans going up in flames and the masses indulging in vandalism and looting in the Rajapakse palace taking to the swimming pool in a finishing touch, are very disturbing. Contrary to feeling victorious, me a Tamil who is supposed to rejoice at these happenings, find myself immensely pained by the developments in Sri Lanka. Vengeance is best served cold, they say. The island nation at the foot of the Indian peninsula met up with its Karma finally but that hardly makes us Indians happy. The unruly mobs and the shattered economy and the breaking up of law and order are a grim reminder as to how easily we as society can degenerate into uncivilized uncouth brutes wrecking havoc in course of destruction. I am someone who never appreciated reading from ‘Sundara Kanda’ of Ramayana, about Hanuman destroying even the Ashoka Vana or the ‘vanara’ (apes) uprooting trees in Kishkintha in celebration of victory. And Sri Lanka is so closely related to us not merely geographically but also culturally. What a replay of scenes from the very Ramayana! It is like the monkey kingdom having a free run with the wily king ousted. The Rajapakses may seek asylum in India but that is the last controversy India may seek. The common man in Lanka is suffering without food, medicine, school and transport. In short, Sri Lanka has just collapsed at every front: economically, militarily and politically. He/she need not have to a Tamil. Whether Tamils or Sinhalese, they are all Lankans. This is the worst time in history for both of the ethnic races. Sri Lanka did not suffer such a cruel fate even when there reigned Tamil militancy. The current crisis is not wrought in by the Tamils. It might not be easy to cleave out of the mess they are in today, and I am no political pundit to predict how this can ever be done either. China of course is the one prime reason or the only reason Sri Lanka is finding itself in dire straits today. Add up corruption and you get the picture. And these are Buddhists and Buddhists are known for their principle of renouncing worldly interests. With Sri Lanka and Burma, we have the rare scenario of the Buddhist governments growing greedy and bringing tragedy to their own people. The complexities that we now find in Sri Lanka can make for a good case study and should serve as a warning for other nations stretching it too far. Even for India, this is like an alarm bell to keep things rolling. Keeping my fingers crossed and watching out for Sri Lanka. Haven’t been there strangely but we do have a connection with Lanka.
There is a legend about the Sri Ranganatha temple gopuram (tower) in Sri Rangam and Sri Lanka. For centuries the gopuram remained unbuilt because it was believed that Lord Vishnu in his sayana (lying) position was looking at Sri Lanka straight. If the gopuram would be built, then His protective vision will be blocked and Sri Lanka will burn (because of curse heaped on Ravana). But ex Tamil Nadu chief minister M G Ramachandran (MGR) completed the tower and got it inaugurated by the then prime minister Indira Gandhi. Within an year, MGR, Gandhi and the Sri Rangam (mutt) jeeyar all were no more. There was never long last peace in Sri Lanka after that. Successful Sri Lankan governments have been carrying out many ‘shanthi’ pujas to appease the Hindu gods because the islanders believe in the Hindu legend as they are part of our cultural history.