Pseudo and true patriotism of Wimal W & JR’s son Ravi Vimal
The Prime Minister deserves credit for the fantastic job in fixing Wimal W for misusing 40 vehicles causing an alleged loss to the state of Rs 90 million. He should not have interfered in the judiciary process in granting bail “under special circumstances”. Fraudsters who plundered public assets should be allowed to starve-to-death. As President Sirisena once said, ‘they will burn in hell fire for eons’. However, legal action on the former corrupt regime’s Minister had other favourable side-effects too. It compelled the present ‘High and Higher’ Lucky Man who leads the house by Diyawanna to return 146 ministry vehicles that he had distributed among his cronies, henchmen and relatives, back to the Divisional Secretary’s compound. If not for Wimal’s case, the government’s big man from the hills would have caused a loss to the state coffers three times that Wimal W did.
The week belonged to two Wimals: Wimal W, the pseudo patriot politician from a non-political background and Ravi Vimal, non politician true patriot from political background. There had been quite a few write-ups on Ravi J, but little they spoke about his heroic efforts in the East for preservation of sovereignty during the height of terrorist activities.
The other important news of the week was harrowing; which referred to a loss of Rs. 9500 million at EPF when it had refrained from bidding at the CB Bond auctions but buying them from the primary dealer or from those who had bought from him at extremely higher prices.
While Wimal who shared the ‘food’ worth 90 mn meant for the poor tax-payer, with his kith and kin was deservedly starving in Welikada prison hospital, Ravi K was in Kandy to present “The Banker” award, which was bestowed on him after being chosen as the Best Finance Minister of Asia Pacific Region to the Nayake Theras for admiration. In another event of the week we saw a front page photo in a newspaper where Arjun Mahendran was sipping his Champagne along with Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva, who defended him in Parliament during the COPE debate. Dr Harsha tried to reinforce the arguments of his colleagues theoretically to justify the method Mahendran had adopted to auction the treasury bonds. Plundering 90 and 9000 in millions are peanuts for our politicians.
Ravi Vimal Jayewardene, the Air Lanka pilot is considered one of the best marksmen Sri Lanka has ever produced: he is the son of J.R. Jayawardene, the country’s first Executive President. Ravi who rendered a silent service was responsible for setting up the elite STF, [Police Special Task Force] during J R’s regime. Unlike the offspring of today’s politicians he did not misuse armed-guards or drive around for no particular purpose other than pleasure with security escort. Ravi J the former Pilot and well known nature photographer once told an interviewer,
“Politics? My father did not want me to. But he asked me to consider about it a long time ago. I told him that I was not concerned in politics at that moment, but would reflect upon it later. But I never considered about it and he never ever again.” He led a life of austerity and simplicity.
During the 1983 July communal conflict when the marauding mobs took over power for four to five days, President Jayewardene was visibly shaken, police and armed services were just spectators; in fact troops that paraded streets encouraged the hooligans and looters. Ravi Vimal Jayewardene understood that ethnic violence had no logical reasoning
Ravi’s role in preserving the sovereignty of the nation, though mentioned summarily in a couple of recent articles, the heroic task he undertook has not received due recognition. Distressed of the bloodshed that was occurring in ‘border villages’ and to preserve the unitary state, Ravi joined hands with a group of patriotic men from the city who had a plan and a course of action which they thought would strengthen the territorial integrity of the island. They built up a rapport with local Buddhist priests in many conflict affected areas or border villages, . Ravi joined Herman Gunaratna, an additional GM of Mahaveli, along with Devinda Senanayake, a grandson of D. S. Senanayake, and a few senior officials of the Mahaveli Ministry—they settled 45,000 people from the South to go and live with the Tamils in the Batticaloa district. There was no aggression, not a single Tamil living in the district was disturbed. Their main aim was to make the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim populations live in these areas mixed so that the desire for segregation and territorial disintegration is destroyed. It is to eliminate the occurrence of continuous hostility, bloodshed and suspicion.
J R trusted his military top brass, when they assured victory over terrorists. Son Ravi was cast in a different mould. He went on to save the people; Ravi who at one time renounced the world, started disciplining the mind and was meditating in Thailand, changed his stance. July 1983 made him re-think his future role. He contacted Devinda who’s grandfather was responsible for setting up Padaviya settlements. The group decided to go ahead before the LTTE re-group themselves and attack settlements. Ravi headed the informal group; when the suggestion was made all concerned expressed their views, but the final word came from Ravi himself. He wanted the message conveyed to the villages of Padaviya, that arms and trainers are arriving. He knew that the forces were unable to defend the colonies of Sinhala and Muslims and that the best option is that they must protect themselves; it became the philosophy of the entire group. Ravi wanted the trainers put through an assault course, given firing practice and brought up to combat level at STF headquarters; all which he undertook to do himself. The informal group maintained the strictest secrecy about their actions though there were no secrets among themselves. Ravi saw the crises from the angle of the soldier; believed they can only be stopped by defeating them militarily. The trained soldiers taught villagers the basic methods of defence and jungle craft.
The politicians were talking of arming and training the settlers, but had no idea how this was going to be done. Ravi ushered in a phase in the war by transferring it from soldiers to the very people who were the target of the terrorists.
When the 14-seater helicopter landed, Buddhist priests had organized a crowd of volunteers from the area. Later, the famous Dimbulagala Seelaratna Thera too joined to meet Ravi who was an alert soldier by then. The Padaviya camp commander was overjoyed as he had awaited this moment for two long years. When Rev. Dimbulagala requested Ravi to address the gathering he flatly refused saying ‘I am not a politician, I have come to make every villager here a soldier.’ The two priest joined the rest of the team for ‘copter ride to a place near the Dollar and Kent farms, where the Maduru Oya settlers were being rehabilitated. The commander there took them in vehicles to the venue, a dangerous place deep into enemy territory. Ravi’s and his sons’ presence made everyone anxious. Dimbulagala Thera spoke to the people giving assurance saying President JR’s son and D. S. Senanayake’s grandson had come to their rescue.
The champion marksman, Ravindra Vimal Jayewardene, grandson of SC Judge EW, and Great-great-great grandson of Don Adrian the Intelligent agent of both Dutch and British rulers, represented the country in many international games and led the Sri Lankan team to the Tokyo Olympics in 1954. He once demonstrated his skills. Ravi knocks out all enemies within four seconds; being asked how quickly can he pull the revolver and shoot, Ravi had his gun out in a fraction of a second and said that he can shoot 12 people in eight seconds; in a lighter vein he ‘confessed’, “I have still not killed a living being with a gun all my life.”
“The only motive that can keep politics pure is the motive of doing good for one’s country and its people.”
--Henry Ford, “Party Politics”, Ford Ideals
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