Tuesday, April 17, 2012

CP de Silva – it is a sign of the era that we have forgotten his due place in contemporary history!

CP de Silva’s 100th birth was anniversary was yesterday and I referred to it in my previous blog entry yesterday. I am on my farm in Godagama, today and I was in touch with my contacts in Minneriya and Hingurakgoda to ask if they even knew about it considering the man dedicated most of his life for those people. It was a firm no there is no commemoration. People do not even remember him anymore. So much for our generation and their history; people who live in the houses he supervised and built, have not even heard of the man.

When DS Senanayake’s Minneriya colonization scheme was about to crumble due to a host of problems it fell to CP to resurrect it and do what was necessary to retain the people, improve their livelihood, and attract more people to the homesteads and houses he had built. In those heady days of the 1930’s when Malaria was the scourge, and drinking water was so hard to come by, let alone getting the water through complicated gradient irrigation to the land from the tanks. In those days CP walked miles in the hot sun, heat and supervised the activity personally. He and the villagers had to contend with wild elephants, both to protect their crops, and also their lives. It was not easy and no lesser man could have achieved all that.

There was an interesting comment, to my previous blog entry, I had not considered. CP had got a first class in Mathematics at University College in Colombo and then went to the UK to finish his degree, before returning to Lanka to join the Ceylon Civil Service. The commenter said that if he pursued his Mathematics in the UK he may have become a world renowned mathematician!

His achievements in his motherland were sufficient, and he needs no greater what ifs. It is just that the memory of him, what he did and an inspiration and example of real politics to us today, that is what I would have liked from a commemoration, as we have so few who have given up so much for a cause we passionately believed.

His nephew Chanaka de Silva, who I believe now owns the CP Nivasa in Minneriya, I used to stay in years ago, is married to a relative of mine. I hope I can persuade him at least to fund a small book about his life, in his memory to commemorate his 40th death anniversary which falls in October.

I think a biography of a man who missed out on being the Prime Minister twice, once under the SLFP and the other under the UNP is worthy of being published, when one considers some of what is written. It should be written as a guide for future politicians of whatever hue, as an example of true patriotism.

I also suspect that today's elected leaders, even those local councilors who should have organized an event at least at his statue in Hingurakgoda, are fearful that people might awake to the fact that in times gone by there were honest politicians who took not an inch of state property for personal gain! This so that their daily robbery of the people's money by the surest way, namely partaking in state contracts will come to light. Shame on them, and their followers, for they are attempting to establish a tradition of taking from the people rather than selflessly giving to the people.

It is this latter trait I really would have liked to have illustrated in any function in his memory.

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