- Arts have been suppressed by politics
- JVP lost its morale after it formed an alliance
- The NPP is a progressive political force
Veteran actress Deepani Silva who is on the National People’s Power (NPP) national list says people should consider electing newcomers to Parliament and ask what the country’s elected representatives have done for the people so far. One of her main objectives is to see more women participating in politics and to provide meaningful relief to the people.
Q Why did you decide to do politics from NPP national list?
I don’t have an intention to enter Parliament, but want to add strength to the national list. In fact I have had an interest in politics from a young age.
QWhat are the main issues you are addressing?
Women’s representation in politics is one of the priorities. Besides, the country is in dire straits. The country doesn’t have one law. The cost of living is escalating and people have no relief. So my vision is to convince them to vote for a party that will work for them. Even as an artiste I have many concerns. One of them is that artistes don’t have the freedom to do a production of their choice. Artistes don’t have a way to serve the people. They don’t have enough facilities to do a local production. There’s no equal distribution where the needs of the people are concerned. There are several mini theatre complexes in large shopping malls in Colombo. But if you go to an area like Hambantota those people have no opportunity to watch a film at a movie hall. Their only mode of entertainment is watching TV. But on TV, the channels are manipulating viewers. Therefore people are forced to watch TV. If we take the education system it again creates a divide. Children in Kalutara district don’t have the same privileges as school children in Colombo. But they all sit for the same exam. From a political perspective people have started hating politicians. If that happens we will go in for a dictatorship, but we don’t need that. But it’s the people’s responsibility to choose the right people to enter Parliament.
- One of them is that artistes don’t have the freedom to do a production of their choice
- If that happens we will go in for a dictatorship, but we don’t need that
- They say we have to save the country from other Sinhala Tamils, Muslims, Catholics and Burghers. But none of them wants to save the country from American and Chinese influences
- The politics that I’m engaging in doesn’t follow such principles. This is why people need to elect newcomers to Parliament
Q Do you think addressing these issues from a leftist party such as NPP carries more weight?
Definitely. I have full confidence in the NPP because it comprises people who have led struggles to change this system. They didn’t enter politics for the benefits. It includes qualified individuals striving for change. The NPP has also launched 10 policies covering several areas that require immediate attention.
QPeople have always voted for the main two parties. Is it possible to change the voter’s mindset to vote for an alternative party?
It is a challenging task and will not happen at once. We have a lot of pressure coming from all sides. But our society is largely divided into the haves and have nots. The haves will always help the have nots in a step-by-step manner, so that they can capitalise on their benefits. Although it’s a challenge we will not give up. People should consider electing newcomers to Parliament because nepotism is rampant. Sri Lankan politics has always been a family affair. But even in a death donation society members of the same family cannot be office bearers. So how can one family have it their way? The existing political system has made people slaves. If we take religion, they have been influenced by Sinhala-Buddhist ideologies. They say we have to save the country from other Sinhala Tamils, Muslims, Catholics and Burghers. But none of them wants to save the country from American and Chinese influences.
QBut don’t you think that the power of leftist parties in Sri Lanka and around the world have weakened over the years?
True. I initially joined the Communist Party. But those parties are no more. In fact I initially supported the JVP before I pledged support to the NPP. Probably the JVP lost its morale after it formed an alliance. A leftist party is governed by its principles and discipline. Once it forms an alliance it weakens. But I must say that the NPP is a progressive political force.
QThere are several artistes who are engaged in politics. Is it an added benefit to them?
Engaging in politics for career artistes doesn’t really benefit them. Arts has been suppressed by politics. If you are an independent group there are lesser chances of obtaining political support. Therefore, many artistes are cornered within the political system. Although there’s no benefit I have come to serve the people.
QBut it’s a known fact that many people enter politics for all the perks and benefits ..
The politics that I’m engaging in doesn’t follow such principles. This is why people need to elect newcomers to Parliament. What they have seen is the same crowd getting elected and robbing people’s money. But what have they done for this country? I started my career as a teledrama actress and have my own vehicle. In fact, we are paid when we attend meetings and we are fully looked after with meals etc., but I am not someone who’s going after those benefits.
QAs you know there’s a greater competition when coming from the National List. What if you lose this time?
I will continue with my work in politics while also engaging in arts.