The Silver Bell and JRJ


I read a large number of articles in the Net but never came across "stunned audience" anywhere in JRJ’s speech at the San Francisco Meeting or anywhere connected to it. It is highly unbecoming, whether educated or not, to write something of their own, to add colour to another’s speech.

In fact, at the genesis of this saga, I wrote that I had nothing for or against JRJ. What made me wind my way was my mistake, i.e. drawn towards what another person said, especially what my good friend Dr. Upul Wijayawardhana conjectured.

Then I shifted my lance in this joust to state that a memorial to remember D.S. Senanayake (DSS) would have been better than that of JRJ, for the simple reason that all kings of Sri Lanka took credit for the work done on dagobas and reservoirs, and therefore DSS being the head of the Cabinet (like a king) should have been recognized for not accepting any reparations from Japan.

I agree that I was unconsciously being dragged to a vortex just because it was created by my friend.

He is given to verbiage and quoting so many others; I am quoting below a piece of writing by my friend so that the audience would know how his mind has been groping with vicissitudes.

To be frank, he has not written the following in connection with my letters but done so for some other matter.

"Unfortunately, the UNP leaders that followed, starting with ‘the cunning fox’ JR, lacked patriotism and some of their actions bordered on treason. When JR was elected in 1977 with an unprecedented majority, he was hailed as the savior, with some justification at least initially, as he pulled the country out of the economic doldrums created by Mrs. B but soon it became apparent that he wanted power, absolute power, and be there forever! His referendum was a cunning trick and wish I had the guts to vote against it, but still trusting JR did not do so. I am sure many more felt the same way. The great democrat was metamorphosing into a dictator. Proportional (sic) representation system he introduced continues to create problems. These pale into insignificance compared to the debacle of 1983 and the JR – Rajiv Pact. It is now known some of JR’s ministers, very likely with his blessings, masterminded the riots of 1983. This, unfortunately, changed the way the international community looked at JR; from a brilliant young politician who changed the way Japan would have been treated after the defeat in the Second World War, with his memorable speech at the San Francisco peace conference, earning eternal gratitude from Japan, to a manipulative ruthless politician.

 JR’s biggest act of treachery is the signing of the peace treaty with Rajiv Gandhi, his excuse being that Rajiv threatened that India will invade Sri Lanka if he did not do so." 

Would Upul still consider JRJ his hero?

I may have been speculative once, but isn’t keeping his hero a contradiction (as above) of his own statements? Of course, I have not stated anywhere that I was for SWRD or JRJ as the Head of the country.

Any student of the mid-fifties, including Upul, would have known that I was writing about SWRD when I mentioned the "Silver Bell of Asia". Upul has tried to determine the frequency of the occurrence of this phrase in the Net, and has erroneously concluded it to be one. I tried the same regarding the expression "stunned audience" and found zero as the corresponding frequency, I also found the frequency of the occurrence of the phrase "the Silver Bell of Asia" as three against his one! I’ll quote them now.

1. Text and Pix from A Legacy of 150 years -- National Hospital of Sri Lanka (from the Net).

However, by 7.45 a.m. on September 26, the life force of Premier Bandaranaike – who was referred to as the Silver Bell of Asia, left his body—Sunday Observer -06.09.2015.

2. Prime Minister, Ratnasiri Wickremanayaka – 47th Death Anniversary of SWRD Bandaranaike. Late Prime Minister S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike who was the acclaimed Silver Bell of Asia was a great pride to Sri Lanka.

3. 1956 - Silver Bell of Asia, Oxford educated S.W.R.D Bandaranaike, storms into office of Prime Minister promising administration in Sinhala.


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