Sri Lanka owes it to Lalith Athulathmudali for its actualization as a nation of enlightenment. The acute behavior accomplished by him as the Apprenticeship Abbot in the 90s, and the Mahapola Trust Fund set up by him in 1981 for accouterment banking abetment to acceptance for college education, angry out to be game-changers in the country’s aerial articulacy rate, says Kumar Chellappan
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A bashful but amazing anarchy has taken abode in India’s neighbourhood, which went disregarded by our active and active media, specialists in ‘breaking news’ every added minute. This is a anarchy which has all-embracing implications for India in the actual approaching itself. Sri Lanka — which witnessed a added than three-decades-long indigenous war that culminated in 2009 with the abolishment of the LTTE terrorists angry for a abstracted Tamil country by vivisecting the island nation — overtook India and emerged as South Asia’s best association country.
The United Nations rated Sri Lanka as a country with 94 per cent articulacy rate, while big brother India is far abaft with a bald 74 per cent literacy. “Yes, Sri Lanka has become the country of broad-mindedness in Asia,” says Prof BM Hegde, arch educationist and above Vice-Chancellor of Manipal University.
It is no beggarly achievement. A country, which has an breadth of 65,610 sq km to India’s 3.287 actor sq km and which has been devastated by an indigenous war amid Sinhalese and Tamils, rose like the accepted archetype from its own ashes to appear as a all-around baton in apprenticeship and counter-terrorism operations.
The arresting affection about the island nation is the character of the backroom practised by its leaders. They had to face a lot of problems, centralized as able-bodied as external. The boilerplate Sri Lankan aborigine is still in the aphotic aback asked about the agitation unleashed in the country by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. The LTTE capital to actualize a abstracted nation central Sri Lanka by amalgam the arctic and eastern provinces, which would accept fabricated the country compress by 18,880 sq km. Though there is no absolution or adherence in the appeal by the Tamils for a abstracted country, it got abutment from abounding genitalia of the globe, acknowledgment to the media advance let afar by the Tamil diaspora.
The Tamil expatriates from Sri Lanka advance the annual all over the apple that they were actuality discriminated adjoin by the majority Sinhala citizenry and the Government. That was actually false. The accomplishment by the Government at Colombo to accomplish Sinhala the civic accent was resisted by the Tamils. The actuality is that 75 per cent of Sri Lanka’s citizenry of 2.16 crore allege Sinhala, while Tamil is announced by aloof 15 per cent of the population. It is accustomed for any absolute country to accept a civic language.
The book is agnate to what we acquaintance in India area the Dravidian political parties are out and out adjoin Hindi as the civic language. Hindi is not accomplished in Government schools in Tamil Nadu and it is the alone Accompaniment in India which does not acquiesce Navodaya Vidyalayas, launched by backward Prime Abbot Rajiv Gandhi, to accomplish attainable academy apprenticeship attainable to the atomic of the poor, abnormally the rural poor. The Dravidian politicians, who accept not accustomed up their appeal for a abstracted Dravida Nadu, are abashed of the actuality that if the acceptance are accomplished Hindi — the accent announced by majority of the citizenry — it may accomplish the youngsters from Tamil Nadu accompany the civic mainstream.
The indigenous riots, which began in the 1970s with the aberrant advice offered by the again Prime Abbot Indira Gandhi, pulled Sri Lanka backwards by abounding decades. Tamil Nadu played host to armed training camps for the LTTE guerrillas and they acclimated the Accompaniment as a abject affected to organise suicide attacks in the island nation.
Anton Balasingham, the LTTE ideologue, in his adventures has declared how Tamil Nadu politicians, abnormally backward Arch Abbot MG Ramachandran, had hosted him and Velupillai Prabhakaran and provided them with crores of rupees to mobilise accoutrements for angry the Sri Lankan Army. Not alone that, MGR commissioned his badge arch to ensure that the duo accomplished Talaimannar in Sri Lanka afterwards any problems. The Sri Lankan Army of the 1970s and 1980s best were mainly for august parades as the again leaders, mainly accord admiring Buddhists, did not apprehend the achievability of an armed insurgence adjoin the Government.
In animosity of the indigenous crisis and agitator attacks, which claimed the lives of hundreds of bags of civilians including some of the best statesmen and scholars, there were some argent linings in the country’s aphotic horizon. There were abounding Sinhala leaders who formed for the boost of the poor and the downtrodden, irrespective of ethnicity, language, and religion. The animated brilliant of Sri Lanka was Lalith William Samarasekera Athulathmudali, Lalith to his accompany and well-wishers. He rose like a meteor in Sri Lankan politics, did a lot for the bodies in a abbreviate bulk of time afore the bullets accursed by the LTTE assassins felled him at a analogously adolescent age of 56 in April 1993.
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Born in a ancestors of attorneys on November 26, 1936, Lalith was a ablaze apprentice who was internationally recognised for his bookish brilliance. Sri Lanka owes it to him for its actualization as a nation of enlightenment. It were the acute behavior accomplished by Lalith as the Apprenticeship Abbot of the country from 1990 to 1991 that angry out to be the game-changers in its aerial articulacy rate. Lalith was accomplished at Oxford, from area he accelerating with distinction. “He was accomplishing his post-graduation at Oxford in 1959 aback his ancestor anesthetized away. Lalith had to acknowledgment as he faced banking strains. But the again Prime Abbot of Sri Lanka, SWRD Bandaranaike, capital him to abide his apprenticeship and offered him the civic scholarship with which he completed his post-graduation as able-bodied as law,” reminiscences SVD Kesaralal Gunasekera, his adept accessory and friend.
The civic scholarship offered to him by the Government was the axis point in Lalith’s life. Accepting completed his apprenticeship with aerial colours from Oxford and Harvard, he alternate to Sri Lanka and launched a career which saw him animate as a academician in some of the best universities in the world. In 1973, he abutting the United Civic Party and contested the 1977 Accepted Elections. President Junius Richard Jayewardene appointed Lalith as the abbot for trade. His accession in the Government bureaucracy was spectacular, as he was entrusted with the responsibilities of abounding acute ministries, including civic security. That was the time aback the LTTE was actual aggressive, causing annihilation and commotion all over the island nation ambitious a abstracted country aural Sri Lanka. It was Lalith who accomplished accomplish to modernise the Sri Lankan military, which ahead was a august force, and he succeeded in authoritative the agitator activities to a assertive extent.
Even afore acceptable a minister, Lalith had set up the Mahapola Trust Fund in 1981 for alms banking abetment to acceptance opting for college education. He was the administrator of the Trust Fund and the Government accustomed him to absorb the chairmanship alike aback he was a Union Abbot administration assorted portfolios. The Mahapola Trust Fund has been renamed aback as the Mahapola College Apprenticeship Scholarship Trust Fund.
What makes this Fund altered is its inclusivity. Acceptance from any indigenous association or adoration or degree can get this scholarship provided they accommodated the binding norms. Alike while the Tamils in the island nation were advancement adjoin the Sinhala politicians accusing them of discrimination, Tamil acceptance were offered the Mahapola Scholarship for college education. Lalith’s dream was to accomplish college apprenticeship attainable to all, irrespective of their ethnicity or language.
“I was the son of a retired badge baker aback I was at the University of Peradeniya 22 years ago. It was not accessible for our family-of-six to allow my college apprenticeship with all added commitments of the family. Acknowledgment to Lalith, I additionally accustomed the Mahapola Scholarship, which helped me administer my costs on studies. I still bethink that there were acceptance sending money from their Mahapola to their families for a living. I accept what I am today wouldn’t accept been a absoluteness if Mahapola Scholarship did not exist. Dreams of abounding university students, who are advantageous abundant to access a Accompaniment university in Sri Lanka but are not financially blessed, would be the same,” said GD Kapila Kumara, a arch academician at the adroitness of agronomical sciences, Sabaragamuwa University in Sri Lanka.
Kapila Kumara says millions of university acceptance are benefited in the country because of this scholarship. Mahapola has contributed to bottle apprenticeship “as a appropriate to all” and to allay abjection through education, says Kumara, who additionally appear that he says a adoration for Lalith every night afore he goes to bed. “As a accolade to him, a gold badge called ‘Lalith Athulathmudali Memorial Gold Badge for the Best Bookish Performance’ is awarded annually at the accepted assemblage of Sabaragamuwa University,” said Kumara.
The Trust Fund was accustomed by the Act of Parliament in 1981. The administration and ascendancy of the Fund is with the Arch Justice of Sri Lanka; Abbot of Trade, Secretary; Admiral of College Education, Secretary; Admiral of Education; and Secretary, Admiral of Trade. There are additionally two nominated members, whilst the added bristles are all ex-officials.
“The eyes is to actualize an accomplished association with the aim of abating poverty. The mission is to accommodate scholarships for the underprivileged adolescence to complete their college apprenticeship and conception of according opportunities through the development of accessories for college education,” said Siri Fernando, a Trustee, acquaintance and abutting acquaintance of Lalith.
Though he had presided over best of the ministries in Sri Lanka, Lalith had a affection for the administration of education. He was bugged by the Chinese adage which declared that: “Give a angle and be fed for alone a day. Teach how to angle and be chargeless from ache forever.” He had visualised a Sri Lanka area there won’t be any benighted bodies and the adolescence would accept some able abilities or other, which would ensure an assured livelihood.
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It was in 1990 that Lalith was appointed as the Abbot of Education. By that time, he was an internationally acclaimed elder accepting led assorted ministries of the Government. “But he met the columnist alone afterwards 10 canicule because he was determined that he should familiarise himself with the nuances of apprenticeship afore authoritative a action statement. For a actuality like Lalith, it was not a boxy job, but he knew that he was in allegation of the best acute ministry,” recalled Gunasekera.
Gunasekera, who was present during the columnist meet, reminiscences: “One of the reporters asked Lalith what would be his top antecedence as the Abbot of Education. Lalith replied instantly that acceptance would be his top priority. The announcer asked him what would be the additional and third priorities. ‘Students and students,’ replied Lalith, afterwards batting an eyelid.”
“Any changes fabricated in the acreage of apprenticeship would buck bake-apple alone afterwards 10 years. That is, to apperceive the appulse of the changes, we accept to delay for 10 years. Again alone we will apperceive whether the change fabricated was for the best or for the worst. If we adjust the mistake, it will booty addition 10 years to apperceive the results. That’s why apprenticeship and the changes in apprenticeship action are important for us,” is what Lalith told journalists in the columnist meet.
Lalith insisted that no apprentice in Sri Lanka should be denied the appropriate to college apprenticeship due to abridgement of funds. He got a law allowable to ensure that all students, irrespective of their ethnicity or the accent they speak, got scholarships for college education. “It is addition affair that the Tamil acceptance who benefited from the Mahapola Foundation Scholarship go away and accuse that they were actuality discriminated adjoin in Sri Lanka,” said an educationist, who did not appetite to be named. The funds for active the LTTE Government in exile, operating from Europe and Canada, are mobilised by these aforementioned departer Tamil youth, who completed their college apprenticeship with the scholarship.
The Mahapola Trust, which began in 1981 by application 422 scholarships, has benefited added than 3,50,000 acceptance by 2017. “At any time of the year, 60,000 acceptance are beneficiaries of this scholarship,” said Gunasekera, who has set afar bristles to six hours of his circadian activity to ensure the bland activity of the scholarship scheme. According to Gunasekera, 65 per cent of acceptance enrolled for college apprenticeship in Sri Lanka are accepting the Mahapola Scholarship.
The scholarship is in the Rs 5,500 to Rs 7,500 ambit per month, depending on the advance of study. The beneficiaries are called depending on the banking cachet of the parents. “If the assets of the parents is aural the assured amount, the acceptance are offered the scholarship for the absolute continuance of the course, with a absolute of four years,” said Gunasekera.
Siri Fernando said best of the acceptance administer to supplement the assets of their parents by sending home a allotment of the scholarship amount. “It is as acceptable as a antecedent of income, alike as they abstraction in able colleges,” said Fernando, above arch of a British aggregation in Colombo, who adumbral Lalith throughout his activity as a acquaintance and follower.
The scholarship programme, which began with the funds donated by Lalith in 1981, has emerged as the better apprenticeship programme in the country. It is abiding by Mahapola Lottery organised by the Development Lotteries Board of the Government.
“The acceptance who complete their apprenticeship application this scholarship are in no way answerable to us. Lalith was not for it because he capital no charge from the beneficiaries added than commutual the apprenticeship successfully. Till date, we accept not asked for any favours from the acceptance who benefited from this altered scheme,” said Gunasekera.
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It was the Mahapola Foundation that set up the Sri Lanka Convention of Information Technology. So, don’t be beneath the aftereffect that the Foundation alone disburses scholarships and sits aback for the blow of the time. Not a distinct apprentice has committed suicide in Sri Lanka for appetite of funds or abnegation of opportunities for college education. This is the better accomplishment of the Mahapola Scholarship. Pola in Sinhala accent agency anniversary and the scholarship has helped the beneficiaries accomplish their activity a abundant festival, acicular out Siri Fernando.
There is one agency on which the absolute political spectrum of Sri Lanka is unanimous. They are all of the appearance that Lalith was the best President or arch of the accompaniment Sri Lanka did not have. But backroom is a aberrant and betraying aisle area there are terrorists and landmines of altered forms cat-and-mouse to booty lives out of biting victims.
The objectives and missions of the Mahapola Foundation, drafted and accounting by Lalith, allege volumes about his vision:
The catechism which comes to apperception is whether we accept a arrangement like this in India or in any added neighbouring countries? Mahapola Foundation is the one and alone across-the-board arrangement which has fabricated a big appulse in the lives of the poor in the island nation. There are ministers, bureaucrats, educationists, aggressive officers, lawyers, vice-chancellors, medical doctors, and added professionals who came up in activity alone because of this scheme.
A vice-chancellor, who hails from the arctic province, anecdotal his acknowledgment to the Mahapola Foundation for the scholarship. “The aboriginal affair I did with the scholarship bulk was to buy a time allotment which helped me get up aboriginal in the morning. This was advantageous because I could complete my appointment and additionally supplement my mother’s assets by animate as a allowance duke in the adjacent abundance for a few hours daily,” he said.
Lalith gave his countrymen a rose garden itself while they were attractive for a simple rose. This across-the-board arrangement itself would authorize him for the Nobel Prize for Accord as he had implemented this arrangement in a war-torn country. Lalith was a backer of animal rights as able-bodied as autonomous rights. The accomplish he accomplished to boldness the indigenous crisis in the island nation during his administration as Abbot for Civic Aegis could be told alone through a absolute book.
But the accuracy is that Lalith died an unsung hero of Sri Lanka; a actuality who was felled by the bullets accursed by a abandoned assassin. Lalith would absolutely accept taken Sri Lanka to newer heights had he been alive. Aberrant are the means of this world. If there is one actuality who qualifies for the Nobel Prize from this allotment of the world, it is Lalith Athulathmudali.
What addled the apperception afterwards audition Lalith’s adventure was the book in Tamil Nadu, a Accompaniment in India area the Dravidian politicians bay for Sinhala claret for declared bigotry adjoin Tamils. We appear beyond letters commonly in Tamil Nadu about youngsters committing suicide because of abortion to get acceptance in medical colleges. Do we accept a arrangement like Mahapola Foundation in any of the Indian States?
“All we accept to do is alter 10 per cent of the funds allocated for accumulated amusing albatross to a bulk annual and all States in India too could avowal a Trust like Mahapola. It should be based absolutely on merit,” said Jayaprakash Valliathan, a adept abyssal engineer, who has opened a academy for the poor in his apple afterwards backward from service. He adds that the political administration of the country should accept the will ability to apparatus such innovations.
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Tamil Nadu, hardly 30 abyssal afar off the Sri Lankan shore, saw abounding acceptance committing suicide afterward abortion to able the Civic Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET), the aperture to medical colleges. This is exceptional of in Sri Lanka area all beneficiaries of the Mahapola Scholarship beam all the way to the banks. Had he been alive, Lalith would accept angry 82 this November 26. As usual, his accompany and assembly from all over the apple would accumulate beneath the advocacy of the Lalith Athulathmudali Foundation to booty banal of aftermost year’s achievement and to altercate approaching plans.
Sri Lanka is beneath than bisected the admeasurement of Tamil Nadu and does not accept monikers like the Oxford or Cambridge of the South. Sri Lanka has neither this abounding engineering colleges or medical colleges which you see in Tamil Nadu. Still, the acceptance (both Sinhala and Tamil) are blessed and assured of their ablaze future. Lalith Athulathmudali revolutionised apprenticeship into a mission, while in our own Tamil Nadu, it is a multi-billion dollar business forth with TASMAC (Tamil Nadu Accompaniment Marketing Corporation), the Accompaniment cartel on liquor trade.
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