Of women at the helm
Nay, that Jataka Story is right!

With reference to Mr. Hubert E. Weerasuriya’s letter in The Island of March 14, 2002 under the heading "Jataka Story Proved Wrong?", may I point out the following facts? Golda Meir ruled Israel, but what has she done towards achieving peace for Israel which is fighting a battle with the Arabic countries since 1967? The fighting is still continuing with heavy casualties from both sides. In fact, she was just another Prime Minister, unable to solve the greatest problem facing her country, during her tenure of office. It was Indira Gandhi who permitted the LTTE cadres to be trained in the Indian soil, in gross violation of all international norms and if not for her "generosity" towards the LTTE we would not have suffered the massive loss of human lives. Rajiv Gandhi had to pay with his life for his mother’s blunder also continued by him as Prime Minister.

As for Mrs. Sirima Bandaranaike, it was during her tenure of office that the much talked of Gazette notification was issued in July, 1972 signed by the permanent secretary Baku Mahadewa, introducing the M.P.’s chit system, with regard to employment, thus violating the normal criterion of selection that was in existence.

Prior to 1972, vacancies in all Government Departments, statutory bodies, Corporations etc., etc., were filled strictly on merit, based on performance at Competitive examinations conducted by the Department of Examinations and subsequent interviews.

Wide publicity was given by the Departments etc., concerned about the vacancies available and the manner of recruitment which was as indicated above. Even casual vacancies in Government Department were advertised.

There was, therefore, no frustration among the youth, who could not get selected, as they could console themselves by the fact that those selected were better qualified.

Now, of course, the unemployed youth cannot console themselves in such a manner. Hence the massive demonstrations and protest marches over the high incidence of unemployment. The youth of today are now forced to relegate self respect to the wastepaper basket, and go behind candidates contesting polls, do all their dirty work including pasting posters, with the sole objective of getting some employment to keep the home fires burning.

This very dangerous precedent created in 1972 has been followed by all successive Governments. This writer fails to understand why Mr. Weerasuriya failed to mention the name of Ms. Imelda Marcos, among the names of woman leaders. How she behaved in the Philippines is now history needs no repetition here. As for our present woman President referred to by Mr. Weerasuriya, I would kindly refer him to "The Island" of the same date in which his letter appeared, i.e. page 1 under the heading ‘C.B.K. endangering fragile co-habitation agreement" and page 9 under the heading "Peace process - sayings and doings of C.B.K."

Of course, every rule has an exception and perhaps, Margaret Thatcher is the exception. I am, of course, subject to correction, by the readers of The Island via internet in U. K.

Will Mr. Weerasuriya now agree that the Jataka Story has been proved correct, at least 80%? If not, will he let us know why?
G. H. Wijedasa