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President Maithripala Sirisena hailing from Polonnaruwa, one time seat of a great kingdom, presumably has read history, learnt lessons from history and been inspired particularly by the lives of the great kings of the Polonnaruwa period.

Speaking at the 125th Anniversary celebrations of the Department of Archeology quoting a rock edict of King Nissanka Malla he has stated that, “those who stole state assets would be reborn as dogs and crows.” It has left little to the imagination of people to guess to whom these words have been directed when he elaborated, “I am asking how much this inscription is relevant to yesteryear and today. I as the first servant of the people suggest that this edict be placed in all offices that of the President, Ministers and government officials.”

When I read this, for a moment I thought that meaningful presidential action against the known swindlers was imminent. But the unfolding political scenario with crooks and swindlers still holding centre stage, has disillusioned the people, who laid their trust unreservedly on President Sirisena, including the venerable relentless campaigner for good governance Maduluwawe Sobitha.

One has reason to believe that the President’s reference to this inscription has undertones of the hope that some day in the journey of Samsara karmic forces will deal appropriately with the swindlers of ‘yesteryear and today’.

Although there is no empirical evidence to prove the crux of the Nissanka Malla edict, it is certainly plausible judging by the number of measly stray dogs in Colombo alone, some of which, not long ago, had to be released to the Wilpattu jungles to be gobbled with relish by leopards and jackals during the disastrous CHOGM, in Colombo. Crows, of course, are so plentiful that it is not possible even to approach the gates to the Supreme Court in Hulftsdorp avoiding their droppings. Regrettably, the above shows that robbery of state coffers had been a common happening even during the time of the Singhala Kings!
The danger is that today’s swindlers could misinterpret the robbing of state assets as a traditional occurrence and rationalize their misdeeds. ‘They robbed even during the time of the Sinhala rulers, so what’s wrong in doing it today?’

The people today are livid about the manner in which State assets have been robbed. They cannot be appeased by saying “Don’t worry, the Gods will punish the rogues.” The doctrine of ‘Karma Vipaka’ has been drummed into the ears of people from time immemorial. Nissanka Malla and President Sirisena have only reminded the people of this precept. It will not have an impact on the swindlers. They are people with profane mundane values, determined to live opulent lives enjoying all the worldly pleasures and comforts. They have no concern for rebirth or even the dhamma. To publicly worship and demonstrate a pious nature are a subtle mode of deception. Blinded by wallowing in the mire of ill-gotten wealth, to be reborn as dogs or crows at some obscure future date, will not bother them in the least.

The honest citizens of this country know the scum who have fattened themselves on the nation’s wealth. They are eagerly and impatiently waiting to see the wheels of justice turn more expeditiously and the rogues receiving their due punishment in this world at not at their rebirth as dogs and crows or even frogs, eels and buffaloes!

Time has run out for the President to punish them. Now the people’s turn has arrived. Hopefully, justice will prevail.
Edward Gunawardena