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Starvation causes fall of sultanate!

   By Vijay Darda | 11-07-2021

Terrible sufferings of people of Sri Lanka and brazen lavishness of the dynasts

Vijay Darda

VWhen an administrator or a democratically elected people’s representative becomes an autocrat, is neck-deep in corruption, deceives the youth, betrays the people and leaves them to starve, the people revolt. This is what is happening in Sri Lanka at the moment. There is no such thing as a political coup or ethnic strife. Sri Lanka is burning with discontent arising from starvation. We have seen statues of superheroes being pulled down in Russia, and life-size statues of Saddam being razed to the ground in Iraq, but there is no other example of what happened in Sri Lanka.

VThe Rajapaksa family, which looted and completely destroyed Sri Lanka, is squarely responsible for all the mess! Their children were driving cars which barely travel four kilometres per litre, while people did not have even a litre of petrol. They were getting high on premium liquor while people were running from pillar to post in search of water. They were feasting while people starved! What should the people do in a situation like this? When people are hungry, they take to the streets, causing even the sultanates to fall. The situation can be gauged from the fact that even the Buddhist monks, who are always calm and composed by nature, took up cudgels against the sultanate, like common people.

VThe examples of how the Rajapaksa family has plundered Sri Lanka are shocking. Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was in power as President from 2005 to 2015, amassed $18 billion abroad during that period. He had to resign following the uprising. His younger brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa offered to resign from the presidency only when the people stormed into the presidential palace. Gotabaya fled otherwise the angry people would have lynched him. A scam involving US $10 million in the procurement of military arms took place in 2015 when he was secretary of defence. Mahinda Rajapaksa’s younger brother Basil Rajapaksa was the finance minister of Sri Lanka and he was accused of serious corruption charges too. He was called Mr 10% because of his involvement in corruption. In 2016, a Sri Lankan court ordered the auction of a 16-acre luxury villa belonging to Basil Rajapaksa. Even when Sri Lanka was burning on the Tamil issue, the dynasts were enjoying the luxury and minting money. Even when all the economists were warning Sri Lanka against borrowing from China, the Rajapaksa family was still hobnobbing with the dragon. There are allegations that the Rajapaksa family has made a fortune from its dealings with China too. However, as of now, Sri Lanka has gone bankrupt. The Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has also resigned. And unfortunately, the same is the case with Pakistan, which too is on the verge of bankruptcy. No wonder if an uprising like Sri Lanka takes place one day in Pakistan too!


Grief of losing a friend!

VIt feels like my heart is sinking. The death of former Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe has shaken me. The question that keeps popping up in my mind is, what kind of animosity can anybody have towards a person like Shinzo to shoot him dead? This has never happened in peaceful and emotional Japan before. The motive for the assassination is yet to be revealed but I do not know why I suspect that there might be  a conspiracy by some distant power behind this assassination as the role Shinzo was playing was challenging the oppressive and totalitarian forces.

VIn the death of Shinzo Abe, India has lost a special well-wisher, and for me it is a very deep wound personally. I have lost a true friend. I miss every moment I spent with him. My first meeting with him was in Tokyo when Vibhav Kant Upadhyay of the India Foundation for Indo-Japan Relations introduced me to Shinzo Abe. I have been a supporter of the idea of Indo-Japan friendship. It was in that meeting with Shinzo Abe that some chemistry was formed that led to Shinzo becoming friends with me. Suddenly, in September 2006, I received an invitation to dinner on the eve of his swearing-in as Prime Minister. I remember that he spent a lot of time with me and he was trying hard to understand Indian media and politics.

VI recall the time when sanctions were imposed on India after the nuclear test. At that time, a delegation from India had gone to Japan on the instructions of Atalji. I was also a member of that delegation. We managed to explain to the angry young MPs of the Japanese Parliament Diet why India requires to become a peaceful nuclear power. I am happy to have the privilege of adding some glue to the formation of the Indo-Japanese relationship. When Shinzo Abe came to India as the Prime Minister, an event was organised on behalf of the India Foundation. The then chief minister of Gujarat Narendrabhai Modi, George Fernandes, Vasundhara Raje, Sitaram Yechury and I were present on the stage. Whenever we met, there was more emphasis on how to keep India-Japan relations in the best possible shape. His passing is indeed a great loss to us.

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