Denizens of Paradise Isle are facing a multitude of issues concerning many facets of life today. The Uva Provincial elections shows that political violence has become an essential instrument of achieving selfish ends. The gravity of the situation was such that round-the-clock check points & road blocks manned by Police and Special Task Force personnel had to be set-up, as if in preparation for another round of LTTE terror. Sadly the ugly spectacle that transpired during the run up to polls and the post election hostilities that broke out revealed the monstrosity of some of those donning the garbs of body politic.
"It is commonplace to find university students engaged in protests & agitations for various reasons. Radical leftist parties have spread their tentacles in the university system and are said to be masterminding many organized campaigns of protest involving students"
The need for high security measures to conduct a so-called “Democratic Poll” revealed the dismal extent to which law and order has deteriorated. What drives those in the fray to fight tooth and nail to ascend to public office even through bloodletting cannot simply be the desire to serve public. There have to be overriding self interests and self-centred motives at play behind the scenes. Anything and everything from mud-slinging, casting aspersions, skullduggery suppression of dissent, duress & intimidation to dubious schemes of manipulation are justifiable in politics so long as end objectives are served. It is alleged that large scale abuse of authority was widespread and misuse of public property for political expedience was enormous. Elections nowadays have become ruthless battles waged in no holds barred style. So much in the name of pompously bragged about cherished values of democracy & sovereignty of masses.
Colossal and irreparable damages to environment continue unabated portending irreversible consequences. Large scale destruction of greenery takes place faster than before to give way to rapidly expanding concrete jungles. Rainfalls are becoming scanty in places where they are mostly needed. Temperatures are rising as never before, causing unbearable distress. Scores of hapless are toiling under scorching Sun to eke out a living. Sri Lanka will soon be like a Middle Eastern country affected by torrid weather and it won’t be long before that air conditioners would become part of the basic necessities, rather than being luxuries anymore. In spite of the unprecedented scale of agony that has accompanied, with millions of people suffering without a single drop of drinking water & farmers badly hit by crop failure, with no proper action to conserve priceless natural treasures abundantly bestowed by nature appear to be in sight. Hundreds of reservoirs have gone dry and many are getting silted due to long years of neglect. Fast depleting forestry has brought man in direct confrontation with the beast with poorest of the poor facing disastrous consequences. Not a day passes without some hapless one somewhere from a far flung place succumbing to elephant attacks, which are growing in frequency as well as ferocity, as mammoth beasts are increasingly confined to rapidly shrinking natural habitats that are becoming smaller and smaller by the day. Hardly anyone seems to care as priorities are elsewhere with electioneering becoming the main focus. Despite glorified pronouncements of self sufficiency in food, food stuffs are imported to make up for rising shortfalls created by declining productions. Taking stop gap measures leaving core issues unaddressed seems to have become the order of the day.
"Not a day passes without some hapless one somewhere from a far flung place succumbing to elephant attacks, which are growing in frequency as well as ferocity"
Elections are forced upon people, as if they are going to be the panacea for all the ills. People are showered with election rhetoric whilst blind eyes are turned to their problems paying copious lip service to them.
The majority is finding it difficult to make ends meet. Cost of living is going through the roof. Workers from many sectors in public service are clamouring for better wages. Many are resorting to trade union action for various reasons. Fixed income earners are the worst hit, as fixed wages are unable to pay for skyrocketing living costs. Health sector employees from Nursing staff, Supplementary Medical Professionals to Junior Staff at hospitals are frequently on strike causing immeasurable hardships to poor, who are fully dependent on so-called free health care provided by the Government Hospitals. Hospitals do not have essential drugs and adequate facilities for in-house patients. People who cannot afford private sector healthcare sometimes are made to wait for months in agony, to get life saving surgeries performed by Govt hospitals. Waiting lists are notoriously lengthy and agonizing waits are frustrating. Many people from North Central province are fighting “Chronic Kidney Disease”, a deadly affliction of multi-factorial origin. Scores are suffering due to woefully inadequate facilities for renal dialysis. Concrete solution for this issue that has been prevalent for a considerable time claiming many innocent lives sadly remains unexplored. Drought made matters worse for some remote villages closer to Aralaganwila where every two of five houses are reportedly having Chronic Kidney Patients. Govt hospitals are suffering due to scarcity of even some basic drugs and people are left in the lurch in utter despair being compelled to fend for themselves.
It is commonplace to find university students engaged in protests & agitations for various reasons. Radical leftist parties have spread their tentacles in the university system and are said to be masterminding many organized campaigns of protest involving students. There is more politics than academic activities in the Universities today. Education sector as a whole is said to be marred by many bungles, shortcomings, rampant corruption & lack of a clear national policy. Many exams conducted by the state sector have been marred by huge blunders made in setting question papers. Some have led to big controversies and students are at their sixes and sevens, whilst authorities are engaged in a fruitless game of passing bucks. Children are compelled to rely on private tuition, as many are not satisfied with the quality of teaching imparted by many schools. Thus, private tuition has become a thriving enterprise as revealed by plethora of private educational establishments mushroomed all over the place. True to form there is big talk about curtailing tuition on Poya days etc by big wigs, who relish empty rhetoric that rings hollow conveniently overlooking ground reality and the topmost need to put their own house in order as a priority.
Even for university pass-outs prospects of finding gainful employment opportunities are sometimes bleak. This leads frustration to set in among ambitious educated youth and they are made to suffer due to the failure of the ailing system of education. There has not been any serious attempt under successive regimes to remedy this long felt need, although political hierarchy from time to time makes it a point to touch on such matters to derive political advantages. One of the popular means of silencing agitated educated youth is by granting them appointments in the ballooning state sector spawning unproductive manpower funded by poor tax payers money.
People have increasingly become self-centred and everything today is measured in rupees and cents. Computer savvy new generation blogging, tweeting and vastly interacting on social media like face book is spawning as never before. Many are glued to so-called FB and some have paid dearly for missteps in unfamiliar territory. FB has become a hunting ground for perverts who have mastered the techniques of baiting unsuspecting innocent to satisfy sadistic desires. Many are cyber fanatics caught in the flux of globalised socio economic & commercial trends and rapidly drifting away from native indigenous roots. Society is going through revolutionary changes driving people to become self seeking, egotistical and snobbish in their outlook. People are showing declining tendencies of empathy towards fellow citizens.
There has been phenomenal rise in barbaric & inhuman propensities in the society as revealed by growing number of sensational acts of violence and criminality occurring more or less every day. There is an increase in kidnapping of children for ransom and teachers are often caught abusing innocent young ones under their protection. There are cases of multiple suicides mercilessly making innocent young ones, who are not responsible for the predicaments of sinful adults also to pay the supreme price.
There is an alarming increase in alcoholism and addiction to narcotic drugs. Money is taking over the reins in every conceivable sphere of activity and dictates how priorities should be scaled. Everything that has some semblance of human values is crushed under the Juggernaut of money-power.
Fallout of the long standing war, its local and global ramifications, vagaries of post-war socio, economic, cultural and political climate, growing indifference of the body politic towards burning issues faced by commoners, spirally economic woes, pursuit of self serving agendas by echelons of power in callous disregard of their scared public duties, failure of established religious denominations & the system of education to influence and fashion human behaviour within the realm of desirable norms.
Masses are subconsciously and otherwise herded in a flux, in complex, ever changing and dynamic socio economic environment influenced by multitude of intricate, inter-woven and inter-dependent factors. Where are we heading? Are we heading in the right direction? What is going to be in store for us and our posterity? Only time can tell.
Unfortunately, after an unduly long wait sacrificing today for a better tomorrow, society is yet to see some “Light at the end of the Tunnel”.