Home / Opinion and Issues/ Response to Dayan on his article ‘Gotabaya, Viyath Maga, 13 and me’

Response to Dayan on his article ‘Gotabaya, Viyath Maga, 13 and me’

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Tuesday, 17 July 2018 00:00


By Dinesh Perera

On reading Dayan Jayatilleka’s rather self-serving article I felt duty bound to respond publicly. This is mainly driven by his use of one Tissa Wijeyeratne as an authority figure on whom Dayan’s Smart Patriotism Protocol is based.

Having known and met Tissa Wijeyeratne I do not think he would have agreed. I am unable to speak for Tissa but let me clarify as to why I think he would have disagreed.

Tissa Wijeyeratne is known publicly for his role in the Foreign Ministry. He is the man in the middle of the picture. His brother Nissanka Wijeyeratne is more widely-known locally. 

Dayan’s line in content is as follows: “As guest (as an A/Level student) of my father’s friend Ambassador Tissa Wijeratne, whose brother was later the Diyawadana Nilame, I was fully aware that the Buddha statue was in the ambassador’s residence, not the office.”

To be fair to Dayan he goes on to explain that this was due to local political sensitivities which are more nuanced. Tissa would have disagreed because he was not overtly Buddhist or not Buddhist for personal gain. Something that Dayan would fail to understand. Unlike Dayan’s political masters Tissa would have practiced his religion even if any cameras were not present.  

I believe Dayan also uses Tissa’s name for the imagery associated with it. Tissa grew up in a time when Sri Lankans used to actively shun their own culture. Being the son of someone who was knighted he was more than well placed to absorb and embody all anglicised culture and the subsequent social benefits that comes with it. He chose not to.

He is known to be the first person post-independence to enter courts in national attire. In 1979 he founded Sinhaputhra. Sinhaputhra was a financial institution that was one of the pioneers in offering credit to Sinhalese-speaking Buddhists. For decades banks had discriminated against such clientele and used to only offer credit to people who spoke English and were preferably Christian.

Dayan wants people to think that if he was in Tissa’s shoes he would have done the same. Dayan would not. He would as he always does pander to power that serves his interests.

Tissa is not a smart patriot. He embraced other cultures. He was progressive. He didn’t believe in violence. Tissa would not have used Buddhism to brand himself. In short Tissa wouldn’t have given such deep thought to the placement of a statue.  


Share This Article


1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.


Today's Columnists

Laurels of ‘Living Together’: Refreshing reflections

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

It was a memorable evening with a mega gathering for a meaningfully different reason. It was not just another book launch with ego-boosting speeches about the author. It was also not an event where a popular politician coming late and preaching about

The fate of the rupee: Central Bank is caught with ‘Devil’s Alternative’

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Not all are losing when the rupee depreciates The recent depreciation of the rupee against the US dollar in the market has apparently driven the entire nation to a panic mode. While it had been a field day for the media and opposition law makers, the

Southbound rupee and northbound CoL

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

The Sri Lankan Rupee hit a record low of 170 per $ last week, and the Minister of Finance warns of further depreciation. This is inevitable given the chaotic state of the nation’s economy. While the rupee turns south, CoL (cost of living) has no o

In the desert of Tamil films, actor Sivaji Ganesan was an oasis

Saturday, 22 September 2018

‘Indian Film,’ first published in 1963 and co-authored by former Columbia University Professor Erik Barnouw and his student Dr. Subrahmanyam Krishnaswamy, is considered a seminal study of the evolution and growth of Indian cinema. The book is cit

Columnists More