We should be grateful to President Mahinda Rajapaksa for his gracious
comments on the amazing zeal of Ananda Samarakoone as the composer of
our National Anthem.
Not only was he a musician, but also a brilliant painter who has held
many exhibitions in India.
As a schoolboy, in 1940-1943, I used to listen to his musical
But I am rather surprised and sadened to note that the opening lines
of the Anthem. Namo Namo Matha is now being mysteriously altered as Sri
Lanka Matha Apa Sri Lanka. This seems rather ludicrous. The original
form as Apa-Sri-iee-Lanka and Namo Namo Matha must be re-instated. The
original form as Apa-Sri-iee-Lanka and Namo Namo Matha must be
I visited Jaffna peninsula on December 23 and 24, as I was anxious to
worship the Nagadeepa Temple.
It was an encouraging and a delightful sight to see devotees
thronging at the ferry to embark into trawler that convey pilgrims to
the temple, a distance of about half a kilometre more or less 20 minutes
sailing in Palk Straits to reach the island of Nagadeepa.
As I saw the structural condition of these trawler boats, I had to
concentrate about my safety. The trawler boats are ramshackle,
ill-fitted wooden vessels with rust on every piece of iron fitting. As
the trawler boat takes off skipping over the restless waves, the
creaking sound created as a result of the friction of planks in the
trawler causes a sensation in the heart of every pilgrim as to whether
the vessel would collapse or capsize at any moment.
With such a sensational feeling and having conscientiously determined
to face any eventuality. I too stepped down the ladder and crept into a
gloomy cabin, inside the trawler, and it was thoroughly congested with
pilgrims. There was insufficient ventilation.
The toll-keeper charges Rs 40 per person for the up and down boat
The pilgrims are advised to wear life-saving kits. These kits are
heaped up on the jetty and the pilgrims are instructed to wear them
prior to embarking into the cabin. Some of these kits are torn and the
zips cannot be connected. As such these life saving apparatuses will
never serve the purpose of expected safety of the lives of the pilgrims.
If any leak erupts through any loosened planks as a result of the
lashing of the waves, there is an impending danger to the lives of the
The trawler boats plying between the mainland and the Nagadeepa
island, except the Navy trawler are unfit to be permitted to convey
pilgrims across the sea to the Nagadeepa Temple. Sinhalese and Tamil
devotees are thronging at the ferry to visit and worship this ancient
historical temple, which is nestling in an island in the blue waters of
the Palk Straits.
V R L Gurugamage, Dodanduwa.
A few years ago, there was a newspaper stand, for Lake House
Publications, called (Sannivedana Piyasa) Media Information Centre, at
BIA Katunayake. It benefited Sri Lankans leaving the country from the
But unfortunately that news stand was withdrawn and removed from the
airport departure terminal. I think it was myopic decision taken by the
This has inconvenienced air travellers.
There are some book stalls beyond the emigration barrier where Lake
House Newspapers are, but one needs to pay foreign currency.
Therefore if the Lake House Chairman draws his attention to
re-establish the former news stand and the Media Information Centre it
would be a great service to air travellers and the public.
C M Kamburawala
Waskaduwa, Siri Sunanda Primary School of the Kalutara Educational
Zone has been deteriorating for want of children due to the
ill-treatments and the negligence of the educational officers.
Though this primary school had been very successful and popular, the
present prevailing situation of the school is sorrowful and deplorable.
It's very much regrettable to mention that parents are very much
reluctant to admit their children to Grade 1 classes of this school.
Responsible officers immediately should look into the unsatisfactory
situation prevailing in this school. They must take remedial measures to
improve and popularize Siri Sunanda Primary School for the benefit of
the down-trodden and the poor villagers of Aramba, Waskaduwa and
H L Sunil Shantha
The Government has allocated three Public Holidays during the year
Islamic religious events are based on the Lunar calendar. The
authentic Lunar Calendar in Sri Lanka appears in the desk calendar
printed and issued by the Government Printer. It gives the correct time
of the birth of the new moon and the subsequent phases.
The Buddhists follow this calendar. Their Poya Days are correctly
depicted and they have never made a mistake with regard to their Poya
Days. The Grand Mosque requests the Muslims through the media to look
for the new moon at the beginning of every Lunar month. This is a futile
According to Meteorological sources the chances of the visibility of
the new moon on the last day in Sri Lanka is very remote due to its
geographical position. It may be visible in Saudi Arabia.
The new moon will be visible in Sri Lanka only on the second day.
Based on this data, the Muslim Religious Department informs the
Government Printer the dates of the Muslim Religious events of the year.
The Muslim Public Holidays are based on this wrong assumption of the
visibility of the new moon on the second day of the Lunar month.
According to Sahih-Al-Buhari the authentic Hadeedth of the Prophet
Mohammed the religious observances in Islam have to be performed on the
correct date and time if your worship is to be accepted by Allah.
The first day of the fast during Ramazan has to be on the first day
of the Lunar Month of Ramazan.
One cannot fast on the second day and expect it be accepted as a
first day because one is bound to miss the most important night of
Ramazan which is the night of Qadr the night in which the Holy Quran was
revealed by Allah through Angel Gibreel to the Prophet.
This is what the authentic hadeedth of the Holy Prophet
Sahih-al-Bukhari Volume III Hadeedth No 234 says; "Search for the Night
of Qadr in the odd nights of the last 10 days of Ramadan.
Therefore if one starts the fast on the second day of the Lunar month
of Ramazan, one is bound to miss this Holy night.
Further if a person does not commence his fast on the first day of
Ramazan as it often happens in Sri Lanka he will be compelled to fast on
the day of Id-ul-Fitr which is the the Festival Day to complete his 29
or 30 days which is mandatory. Fasting on the day of Id-ul-Fitr is
forbidden by Hadeedth No 212 of the same Chapter and Volume.
According to the Lunar calendar published in the Desk Calendar for
2011 the first day of the Hamazan Fast for 2011 will be on Monday 1st
August 2011. The Id-ul-Fitr Ramazan Festival day will be on August 30,
2011 and not on the 31st as shown in the calendar.
Arafa day will be on November 6, 2011 and the Haj Festival will be on
November 7, 2011 and not on November 6, 2011 as shown in the Calendar.
The Religious Affairs Ministry must take immediate action to rectify
these mistakes failing which grave hardships will be caused to the
Judges in the past have refused to take Judicial Notice of these
sudden changes and grant dates in case where Muslims are involved.
Muslim lawyers keep away from Court if a particular day is suddenly
declared as the festival day other than the declared holiday. Children
cannot keep away from examinations if a day is suddenly announced as the
The data with regard to the phases of the moon given in the official
desk calendar are perfectly accurate.
This writer has followed the desk calendar for the last 25 years with
regard to fasting and the Arafa Day and I have found that it tallies
perfectly with the dates announced by the Haram Sheriff in Mecca.
We are two and a half hours ahead of Saudi in time and we will not be
making a mistake if we follow the Holy Mosque in Mecca in determining
our times for all our religious events in Sri Lanka. In most of the
western countries where the moon is not sighted Haram Sheriff in Mecca
is followed in determining their religious events.
The Holy Prophet has not said anywhere in the Hadeedth that the new
moon must be sighted in every country to commence the fast. If it is
sighted in Saudi Arabia it is sufficient for us in Sri Lanka to follow
because we are two and a half hours ahead of them.
Al Haj M B M Zubair
Crop and yield
I wish to share the following information and recommendations, on the
above subject with smallholders, which I am confident would be
beneficial to them, if correctly implemented.
Increase in crops and yields on coconut, rubber and tea depends on
the following developments against each crop as follows:-
Coconut - Healthy trunk and crown for increasing nuts per palm.
Rubber - Growth of girth and bark for extra latex.
Tea - Healthy bush formation for more crop, with shorter duration of
In addition to the above, the stand required under each crop should
be maintained, enhancing the above further. To achieve the above
improvements, in addition to fertilizing; cultivation practices such as
draining, terracing, mulching round coconut palms, husk burying and
establishing ground covers should also be undertaken preventing soil
Needless to mention that correct harvesting techniques should be
implemented, specially where tea and rubber are concerned.
Needing attention is necessary during the early stages of planting.
Failure to do so, would register considerable vacancies depriving the
above from being achieved. Thereby preventing this position from being
corrected upto the time of replanting, causing a colossal loss, which
should be avoided. A healthy well maintained plantation is the best
investment one could boast of'.
Tommy Wanigesinghe Kurunegala
Many teachers of government schools where the classrooms are highly
and inconveniently overcrowded with children, find it difficult and
uncomfortable to carry on their teaching process.
Primary class teachers who most often face unpleasant and unhealthy
situation are critical of their day-to-day workload such as marking of
students' exercise books, home work, assignments, mathematical
calculations, lettering, lexical errors, punctuation errors (both in
Sinhala and English), and even managing the classrooms which are most
Some hard working teachers in-charge of Grade 5 scholarship classes
are said to be much reluctant and are very averse to working in these
over crowded classes due to more responsibilities, interferences, and
The most unfortunate and shocking reality is that most of the weak
students or slow learners who deserve much attention of the teachers,
become less regarded or neglected by many teachers who are expected to
cover up the whole syllabus within the limited short time duration as
much of the subject components require more time for the teaching
READER -------- Short hybrid, short x short I read the Daily
News article of Hybrid saplings distribution from March which appeared
on January 23, 2011.
Why not the Coconut Cultivation Board (CCB) add to its efforts,
linking up with Hoteliers Associations in their provinces/districts in
promoting the importance of coconut growing?
Many Hoteliers in the coastal belt in particular have a beach
frontage, usually at least one-four acres with tall trees bearing no
coconuts at all; in fact, most of the trees are pruned in such manner;
the trees do not carry the required bunches - they are devoid of nuts.
It is unacceptable to notice deliberate removal of coconuts from plants
which are still able to produce nuts.
Why not - out with the tall trees but plant the short hybrid, short x
short; the average height of such tree being five-seven ft. The short
hybrid, showing economic returns within three-four years, large bunches
and pretty to look at, is a better plant to grow, in such beach hotel
Growing such either at the hotel compound or the beach front is easy;
there is no shortage of hotel labour, organic manure from the kitchen is
in abundance and of course there is enough water. I was impressed to
note such new cultivation coming up at Blue Waters, the hotel at Wadduwa.
They have planted the short hybrid at one end while uprooting the tall
trees. It looks well too; blending well with other flora and providing
shade; the trees standing pretty. Nobody ignores such a tree.
CCB ought to liaise with relevant hoteliers in their districts,
introducing methods and promotion of coconut cultivation; promotion and
cultivation they had done for years so diligently in their provinces.
Although, it is a new area of promotion for the CCB, any improvement
here, will have that impact on tourists, on coconuts and related value
added products, they are already aware of. Locals, visiting such hotels
have reasons to copy a compliment in such promotions. Planting thambili
trees in equal terms, cannot be seen as irrelevant.
The hydbrid short x short is an example to review as an inducement to
increase coconut production and by-products. The idea is to expose the
validity of the correct coconut plant for the foreign tourist and local.
Lal Keerthie Fernando, Copenhagen, Denmark