The people in the battered nation Sri Lanka has had many smart patriots as head of state from 1948 to 2019 and today are in search of a real patriot to vote as President at the next presidential election due end of the year. These smart patriots have made unity a dream for its multi-ethnic multi-religious communities who need real peace for coexistence. Because the country was divided by ethnicity and religion there were many uprisings, a civil war and the Easter Sunday terror in April this year. With much constraints on their basic rights the minority communities lost trust on the majority community rulers, who have been building a non-progressive nation that has made national reconciliation improbable. Yet nothing justifies these atrocities committed by the minorities and all that could have been avoided if the country was united. The smart patriots must take the full responsibility for the mess.
The latest saga was an attempt to construct a Dagabo at the declared archaeological site at Kanniya in Trincomalee District in the Eastern Province, where the hot water springs are located; a clear gross violation of the fundamental rights of the Hindu minorities. For the hot water springs is a well-known site patronized by Hindus for many centuries, where there were Vinayagar and Shiva Temples close to the most sacred pilgrimage complex that includes Thirukoneswaram one of the Pancha Ishwarams (five abodes of Shiva) in the island. Dr. Paul E. Pieris the scholar and historian had declared earlier in 1917, at a meeting of the Royal Asiatic Society (Ceylon Branch) that “Long before the arrival of Vijaya there was in Lanka five recognized Ishwarams of Shiva which claimed and received adoration of all India”.
In the sixties was in a pilgrimage tour of students to the Thirukoneswaram complex that included bathing at this hot water springs, before arriving at the Thirukoneswaram Temple for prayers and then there was no dispute whatsoever that it was a Hindu heritage site. After the civil war ended in 2009 there followed negative peace and among many activities initiated the hot spring wells damaged site was designated as an Archaeological protected monument on 9 September 2011 and civilians were restricted and controlled to visit the site. Later in 2014 visiting the site was surprised that chanting of ‘pirth’ via loud speakers emanating from a hut nearby that was once a canteen. With remains of demolished Vinayagar Temple and with no signs of Shiva Temple and the sad state of the hot water springs site discouraged devotees bathing at the wells; instead moved on after prayer at the Shiva Lingam in the madam at the site.
Last Sunday visited the site and noticed a well-planned effort by the archaeological department to build a Dagabo on the very spot where the Vinayagar Temple was located; begun filling up a well adjacent to the madam at the site with the debris obtained digging up the foundation of the Vinayagar Temple demolished during the civil war. It when completed would serve two purposes; one it would get rid of valuable evidence of a temple well at the site and the other was by filling the well up with debris obtained from demolished Vinayagar Temple foundation, would rid of remaining evidence of the temple existence. All this is taking place with the full backing of the armed forces ever present at the location; it is clear the intention was to rewrite the history and what is more it is done after the rulers had declared that site be protected as an archaeological site. The best solution was for the site to be conserved as an archaeological site reflecting the true heritage of the island and not twist history to please the Smart Patriots rulers.
Those who know the history of this site are not surprised by the local protest that took place the other day. Perhaps it would have been avoided if the country has had real patriot rulers; hope this time round Lankan find a real patriot candidate to vote at the next Presidential Election as President . Will the real patriots in the country, please stand up!