Saturday, December 17, 2011
“JANAPRIYA” does not just mean POPULAR. It is wrapped up in deceit
Sri Lankans who are wary always look on the popular personality with some disdain. If someone is popular it is because he usually did not obtain it by example of piety or by leading an exemplary life. It is because he obtains it by giving something free to gain popularity or by using the media for personal gain and self publicity. So attached to the ‘popular’ person are dubious undertones.
To put this idea in context, let me remind the reader that the MJF Foundation is possibly the largest Charitable Foundation in Sri Lanka. Few in Sri Lanka have heard of it. Even at the entrance to one of its most expensive projects, being the building, maintaining and running of a school for children affected by ‘Down’s Syndrome’ there is barely a name board indicating its existence at the old Velona Factory Premises in Ratmalana. This is a case of doing things without seeking publicity for the acts of Charity. The founder of this charity has not even received a title of ANY sort, despite having distributed at least Rs5B for charitable causes.
Contrast this with Mr Sajith Premadasa’s Sasunata Aruna program, where he donates a Rs50,000 check each time to the head of a viharaya, church, mosque or hindu temple for their use. Almost every donation results in a political speech, that receives both TV and print media publicity. He gains popularity for this and possibly the word “Janapriya” ness for him increases. Do you know where he gets the money for this? It is certainly not his money that he has earned, as he does not do a business. It is possible that he lends the money that people give him and uses the interest to make this donation. After all he is well known to use his many connections to constantly plug them for funds to help him with his causes. The people who see his actions and increase both his name recognition and popularity do not know that part. To many of us it does not matter where the money comes from, even if it is stolen, as long as it is given for something we ask for. Then we extol the virtues of the giver as someone who helped us with this or that!!!
We need a sea change in attitude to value and respect the truly magnanimous. Otherwise when we follow false images meant to fool, we become the fools ourselves due to our gullibility. We must try to see behind the image portrayed, often there is something different. Those who we revere may have huge personality defects, whilst those who we revile may have even more redeeming qualities, which had we researched and found would completely change our attitude of them.
This is something that cannot be deduced alone. We must explain to our children how to think and why. The essence of ‘Kalpanakaranna’ BLOG is all about this.