Colombo, Sri Lanka -Â Banyan News Reporters (BNR) learns from the Registrar of Names that a record number of people in Sri Lanka are requesting a change in their surnames. Over the last few months, the Registrar of Names notes that most of the applicants have requested to change their surname to Rajapakse, or to add it on as an additional surname.
â€œThis is unprecedented. Never in my thirty years at the department have we had so many applicants” confirmed Mr Satish Rajapakse, Director of the Applications Unit of the Registrar of Names. He noted that since the end of war, the number of applications increased exponentially. Mr. Rajapakse refused to discuss with BNR any details regarding the profile of the applicants.
However, BNR learned through a highly-placed source at the Ministry of Defence, which is also monitoring this situation that the majority of these applicants are young male graduates. The source opined that these individuals may think a Rajapakse surname aids chances of securing better employment and also marriage prospects. He speculated that many of these graduates may end in the public sector following the Government’s announcement that 17,000 graduates will be provided State employment.
BNR contacted a variety of sources who all confirm that the Rajapakse name is seen as a passport to success. The National Human Rights Council has received a record number of complaints relating to transfers and extraordinary promotions in the State sector. An unofficial source, Ranil Rajapakse [not real name] stated that many of the complaints alleged that individuals with the Rajapakse name were given special preference. Other complaints allege that various boards in institutions such as schools and hospitals are requesting that existing officers be replaced by those with a Rajapakse surname. He also added that the NHRC had not made any decision on the complaints and were waiting for an indication from the Presidential Secretariat as to how to proceed.
â€œWe must express our deep gratitude to the President Rajapakse and the Rajapakse brothers for winning the war” says Sangamithage Rajapakselage Thera. â€œHe is our Dutugemmunu. We cannot do enough to thank our king. The royal family according to our 2,000 year old culture are due sovereign rights so we must grant them what they are due. They are a noble family so they must all be given positions of authority throughout the land, without the inconveniences of democracy and elections” the Thero stated. The thero also pointed out that the temple Sri Rajapakse Maha Viharaya has come to be closely associated with the President’s Family and that there are plans to build the largest stupa in the country in an adjoining piece of land, appropriated from a non-Rajapakse in the national interest.
BNR spoke to Colombo’s leading kapuwa, Kumaradasa Liyanage who stated that individuals with the Rajapakse name are in high demand.
â€œUsually foreign passport holders and highly qualified professionals are those most in demand. But now I have a lot of families asking if we can find a Rajapakse for their son or daughter.”Â He refused to comment if he advises families to change their name to Rajapakse if the marriage prospects seem weak. He did, however note that with elections looming anyone with the Rajapakse name, regardless of dowry, employment, height, complexion and educational background could expect to secure a good match.
â€œThe Rajapakse name is mark of success. Just turn to any page in my magazine and you can see it- they have the best parties and the best weddings!!! They are the most accomplished personalities!!!” pointed out the editor of leading social magazine Who!, Chamalie Ukwatte. â€œFrankly speaking, if I am judging a beauty contest, I would give more marks to a Rajapakse. That family has done so much for us, that’s the least we can do” she went on to say.
Though BNR approached the President’s office and the MoD for comment, unofficial sources told us that a response would take time since both institutions were currently engaged in a frantic efforts to identify unpatriotic miscreants attempting to portray themselves as Rajapakses and mislead the nation.