Photo by the author
There is a vision of our land that has persisted over three millennia and is ingrained in the heart and soul of every citizen. A vision of a land, resplendent, beautiful, safe from violence, disease and famine and a land where the tolerant and compassionate philosophy of the Buddha guides human interaction. But today, the ecomomic and political winds from without and within, seek to blow us further and further from this course.
The future for our children develops into the proportions of a nightmare. We have brought mindless violence upon ourselves and upon the very land itself. From the top of Siri Pada to the coast in the four directions the nation grows increasingly barren. The rivers run our precious topsoil to the sea. The cities and industries turn the very air we breathe into poison. The cancer that has been released on the country as ‘mindless progress’ now visits our homes as cancers, emphysema, and other non-communicable diseases, in disturbing numbers.
Driven by the hate filled words that comprise politicking today, blinded by consumerist greed, we have fallen on each other, son against father, mother against daughter to splinter the family, the home, the village and the nation that once took so much pride in equanimity and compassion. If we are to survive, the mantra has to change, ‘Looking after number one’ the mantra of consumerist development, has to be replaced by ‘Looking after everyone’. In the society of the thug and criminal, single individuals are easier prey than organized communities.
In such a degrading society, if there is no vision of a future, there is no hope for for tomorrow.
Thus, we must create a vision based upon our needs, but also reflected in the context of the goals of the ‘New World’ unfolding before us. We must create a vision that sees us an important actor in this emerging future, contributing as a responsable member of the world community.
A vision is not a set of economic policies that assist in the growth of the global economic system, nor is it an excuse for business or politics to increase their capital. A vision is something that can be shared not only among ourselves but also with the future, a future that can judge the realization of the vision around them with each passing day.
This contribution is offered for discusion, in order that we can all comment on a collective vision. A list of possible goals are presented, they are, by no means exhausive, they are intended to make us imagine the future we could bequeath to the next generations.
- A land where the rivers flow clean.
- A land where citizens can breathe the air without being poisoned
- A land where food security and public health form the cornerstones of development
- A land where the well-being of the poorest is a national priority
- A land where health, education and mobility are vital indicators of progress.
- A land where parents are given the opportunity of raising their children without fear.
- A land where tradition is respected and defended
- A land where local enterprise is not penalized in order to attract foreign resources.
- A land where ethnic or religious differences do not constitute a barrier to national progress nor create social tensions
- A land where all are treated equal under the law and the legal structures protect the consitutional rights of the citizenry, without fear or favour
- A land where development is not measured by greed and consumption but by contentment and happiness
- A land where fossil energy addiction is seen to be antithetical to development
Such a vision could be respected and agreed upon by all, irrespective of their cultural, linguistic or religious differences.
Such a vision protects the national wealth from opportunists who embark in politics or administration for the purpose of converting this into personal wealth.
Such a vision encourages national dialogue and discourages the hubris of politicians being being forced down our throats as ‘unquestionable wisdom’
Do we have the courage to escape the ‘idiot development’ syndrome that is sinking this nation in debt and destroying its life support functions, do we have the courage to debate new directions?
These goals are those that most of us subscribe to. They are ethnically and linguistically transparent. They are commonsense and reflect the aspirations of all of us . But can belong to us only if we contribute to them, consider them, and accept them as being personally valid goals. If these goals become important to the majority of us, they will manifest.
Can we dare to dream of the kindness, compassion and tolerance, that we were so proud of, not so long ago? Can we dare to dream the dreams of our ancestors, rather than the nightmare of violence, arrogance, greed and delusion, today?
Can we be true to the words of the national anthem when we so blithely sing “Piliganu maner apa bakthi pooja” ?
Where is the bakthi ? What is the pooja?