Friday, January 27, 2012

APJ.ABDUL KALAAM: Unique You...!!!

Unique You
January 25, 2012, 7:51 pm

Former President of India,
Dr. Abdul Kalam’s Address at University of Moratuwa

22 January 2012

I am delighted to address and interact with the Students and Faculty Members of the University of Moratuwa in this beautiful environment of Colombo. My greetings to all of you. I found that the University has chosen the motto "Vidyaiwa Sarwadhanam – meaning Wisdom is all Wealth". This has an important and powerful message to all the students and faculty members. The study of the website of the University indicates that the University has a vision "To be the most globally recognized Knowledge Enterprise in Asia". With this vision, the University has a mission "produce world class graduates in technological fields who will be relevant nationally and internationally". I am happy to know that the students of the university are self confident, flexible, highly employable and are trained to become "employment creators" instead of being "employment seekers". I congratulate the pioneers both present and past who have created and nurtured a robust educational system in the University of Moratuwa during the last 33 years. Today, I would like to share few thoughts on the topic "Unique You".

First let us see the ten unique personalities,.

Unique You

Dear friends, Look up, what do you see, the light, the electric bulbs. Immediately, our thoughts go to the inventor Thomas Alva Edison, for his unique contribution towards the invention of electric bulb and his electrical lighting system.

When you hear the sound of aero-plane going over your house, whom do you think of? Wright Brothers proved that man could fly, of-course at heavy risk and cost.

Whom does the telephone remind you of? Of course, Alexander Graham Bell.

When everybody considered a sea travel as an experience or a voyage, aunique person questioned during his sea travel from United Kingdom to India. He was pondering on why the horizon where the sky and sea meet looks blue? His research resulted in the phenomena of scattering of light. Of course, Sir CV Raman was awarded Nobel Prize.

Do you know an Indian Mathematician who did not have formal higher education but had inexhaustible spirit and love for mathematics which took him to contribute to the treasure houses of mathematical research – some of which are still under serious study and engaging all-available world mathematicians’ efforts to establish formal proofs? He was a unique Indian genius who could melt the heart of the most hardened and outstanding Cambridge mathematician Prof G H Hardy. In fact, it is not an exaggeration to say that it was Prof. Hardy who discovered a great mathematician for the world. This mathematician was of-course Srinivasa Ramanujan for whom every number was a divine manifestation.

Do you know the scientist who is famous for Chandra Limit which describes the maximum mass (~1.44 solar masses) of a white dwarf star, or equivalently, the minimum mass for which a star will ultimately collapse into a neutron star to black hole following a supernova. Two of his students got the Nobel Prize before him. It is of-course the famous Nobel Laureate Chandrasekhar Subrmaniam .

Friends, there was a great scientific lady who is known for discovering Radium. She won not one, but two Nobel Prizes, one for physics and another for chemistry. Who is she? She is Madam Curie. Madam Curie discovered radium and she was doing research on the effect of radiation on human system. The same radiation which she discovered, affected her and she sacrificed her life for removing the pain of human life.

Do you know about a great human being with a spirit of service, who also won a Nobel Prize for her contributions? She said and practiced, "Give, give and give, until it hurts". She is Mother Teresa.

Do you know the Sri Lankan Physicist, academician and economist who had worked on energy, sustainable development and climate change and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize along with Mr Al Gore in 2007? Of course he is the great Prof. Mohan Munasinghe.

Arthur Clarke, the visionary in space communication who made Sri Lanka his home revolutionized the world with his concept of geostationary communication satellites

Do you know the cosmic ray scientist who transformed into institution builder of institutions like Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad – Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad and Indian Space Research Organisation? Of course he is the visionary Prof Vikram Sarabhai.

When I described to you young friends, these historical ten events, you all jumped. The scientist, technologist and great human being, who created the event, are unique personalities. Young friends, can you join such unique performers of scientific history? Yes, you can. Definitely, you can. Let us study together, how it can be made possible?

Friends, I have, so far, met 12 million youth in a decade’s time. I learnt, "every youth wants to be unique, that is, YOU! But the world all around you, is doing its best, day and night, to make you just "everybody else". At home, dear young friends, you are asked by your parents to be like neighbours’ children for scoring good marks. When you go to school, your teacher says "why not you become like the first five rankers in the class". Wherever you go, they are saying "you have to be somebody else or everybody else".

The challenge, my young friends, is that you have to fight the hardest battle, which any human being can ever imagine to fight; and never stop fighting until you arrive at your destined place, that is, a UNIQUE YOU! Friends what will be your tools to fight this battle, what are they: have a great aim in life, continuously acquire the knowledge, work hard and persevere to realize the great achievement.

Dear friends, when I see you all, I am thinking how you can achieve what you envision in your life?

Criteria for achievement for youth

How does achievement come? There are four proven steps; having an aim in life before 20 years of age, acquiring knowledge continuously, hard work towards the aim and perseverance to defeat the problem and succeed. In this connection let me recall famous verses of 13th century Persian Sufi poet Jalaluddin Rumi:

Wings to Fly

"You were born with potential.

You were born with goodness and trust.

You were born with ideas and dreams.

You were born with greatness.

You were born with wings.

You are not meant for crawling,

so don’t, you have wings.

Learn to use them to fly."

- Jalaluddin Rumi

- 13th Century Persian Sufi Poet

My message to you, young friends, is that education gives you wings to fly. Achievement comes out of fire in our sub-conscious mind that "I will win". So, each one of you assembled here and elsewhere, will have "Wings of Fire". The Wing of Fire will indeed lead to knowledge which will make you a great technologist, or an Engineer, or a designer, or a teacher, or a political leader, or a bureaucrat or a diplomat or you would like to walk on the Moon and Mars or anything you want to be. I would like to assert that "No youth today need to fear about the future". How? The ignited mind of the youth is the most powerful resource on the earth, under the earth and above the earth.

System design, system integration and system management

Since I am in the midst of students being prepared for techno-managerial expertise, I would like to give my experience with a teacher who taught me system design, system integration and system management in an integrated learning environment.

While I was studying Aeronautical Engineering in Madras Institute of Technology (MIT), Chennai, (1954-57), during the third year of my course, I was assigned a project with five other colleagues, to design a low-level attack aircraft. I was given the responsibility of system design and system integration by integrating the team members. Also, I was responsible for aerodynamic and structural design of the project. The other five members of my team took up the design of propulsion, control, guidance, avionics and instrumentation of the aircraft. My design teacher Prof. Srinivasan, the then Director of MIT, was our guide. He reviewed the project and declared my work to be gloomy and disappointing. He didn’t lend an ear to my difficulties in bringing together data-base from multiple designers. I asked for a month’s time to complete the task, since I had to get the inputs from five of my other colleagues without which I cannot complete the system design. Prof. Srinivasan told me "Look, young man, today is Friday afternoon. I give you three days time, by Monday morning if I don’t get the configuration design, your scholarship will be stopped." I had a jolt in my life, as scholarship was my lifeline, without which I cannot continue with my studies. There was no other way out, but to finish the task. My team felt the need for working together round the clock. We didn’t sleep that night, working on the drawing board skipping our dinner. On Saturday, I took just an hour’s break. On Sunday morning, when I was near completion, I felt someone’s presence in my laboratory. It was Prof. Srinivasan studying my progress. After looking at my work, he patted and hugged me affectionately. He had words of appreciation: "I knew I was putting you under stress and asking you to meet a difficult deadline. You have done a great job in system design".

Through this review mechanism of Prof Srinivasan, I was injected the necessity of understanding the value of time by each team member and brought out the best from the system design team. I realized that if something is at stake, the human minds get ignited and the working capacity gets enhanced manifold. That’s what exactly happened. The message is: whatever be their specialization, the students should be trained to systems approach and projects, which will prepare them for new products, innovation and undertaking higher organizational responsibilities. A great teacher inspires the young students like Prof. Srinivasan.

I am confident that the University of Moratuwa will break all the inter-disciplinary barriers and promote inter-disciplinary research among the students and faculty members.


Friends, we live in an era of convergence; the future of innovation would lie at the interface of science and engineering. It is estimated that in the life of a scientist or an engineer, he or she will come across and work in at least seven new areas which are born out of convergence of multiple science and technologies. Such convergence has made the border between areas completely porous.

Let me discuss some examples.

Convergence of Technologies : bio-info-nano-eco ecology

The information technology and communication technology have already converged leading to Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Information Technology combined with bio-technology has led to bio-informatics. Similarly, Photonics is grown out from the labs to converge with classical Electronics and Microelectronics to bring in new high speed options in consumer products. Flexible and unbreakable displays using thin layer of film on transparent polymers have emerged as new symbols of entertainment and media tools. Now, Nano-technology has come in. It is the field of the future that will replace microelectronics and many fields with tremendous application potential in the areas of medicine, electronics and material science. When Nano technology and ICT meet, integrated silicon electronics, photonics are born and it can be said that material convergence will happen.

With material convergence and biotechnology linked, a new science called Intelligent Bioscience will be born which would lead to a disease free, happy and more intelligent human habitat with longevity and high human capabilities. Convergence of bio-nano-info technologies can lead to the development of nano robots. Nano robots when they are injected into a patient, my expert friends say, it will diagnose and deliver the treatment exclusively in the affected area and then the nano-robot gets digested as it is a DNA based product. I saw the product sample in one of the labs in South Korea where best of minds with multiple technology work with a target of finding out-of-the-box solution.

My experience in Harvard University: Convergence of science is reciprocating. Let me give an example. Recently, I was in the Harvard University where I visited laboratories of many eminent professors from the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. I recall, how Professor Hongkun Park, showed me his invention of nano needles, which can pierce and deliver content into individual targeted cells. That’s how nano particle sciences is shaping the bio sciences. Then I met Professor Vinod Manoharan, who showed on the other hand bio sciences is in turn shaping nano material science as well. He is using DNA material to design self assembling particles. When particular type of DNA is applied on a particle at the atomic level, he is able to generate a prefixed behavior and automatic assembly from them. This could be our answer to self assembly of devices and colonies in deep space without human intervention as envisioned by Dr K Erik Drexler. Thus, within a single research building, I saw how two different sciences are shaping each other without any iron curtain between the technologists. This reciprocating contribution of sciences to one another is going to shape our future and industry needs to be ready for it. The curriculum designers of University of Moratuwa, may like to take this aspect into account while formulating new courses.

Now, a new trend is emerging. The aspect being introduced is that of Ecology. Globally, the demand is shifting towards development of sustainable systems which are technologically superior. This is the new dimension of the 21st century knowledge society, where science and environment will go together. Thus the new age model would be a four dimensional bio-nano-info-eco based.

21st century University Vision

Friends, I have in the last ten years met more than 10 Million youth and faculty from more than 150 universities in India and 37 universities in abroad. Based on these interactions, I wish to formulate a 21st university vision for your consideration.

* The universities have to prepare citizens of the future with a global outlook and be capable of serving his/her nation or nation of his/her choice.

* Science and technology and public policy are interrelated for mutual benefit and ushering in human kind’s development. This link has to be solidly built in the university education.

* Good teachers can be in any part of the world. The university has to bring in this resource through innovative content generation in virtual class rooms.

* Technological connectivities among universities have to be pursued vigorously using cost effective virtual class rooms.

* Cost effective continuing education possibilities are essential for citizens to be in tune with time.

* Can university education lead to sustainable development of the nation?

* With the world population increasing and resources dwindling, a mindset has to be developed for conserving and sharing the resources and look for new research for abundant resources. This calls for a "noble spirit" as well as a "research spirit"

In summary, the 21st century university education is about developing enlightened citizenship for a knowledge society for peace and prosperity of nations and the world. 21st century University has to be the incubator of world knowledge powerhouse.


Finally, I would like to ask you, what would you like to be remembered for? You have to evolve yourself and shape your life. You should write it on a page. That page may be a very important page in the book of human history. And you will be remembered for creating that one page in the history of the nation – whether that page is the page of invention, the page of innovation or the page of discovery or the page of creating societal change or a page of removing the poverty or the page of fighting injustice or a page of finding innovative cost-effective healthcare system both preventive and curative or a page of how you have facilitating establishment coastal PURA or Hill PURA in any part of Sri Lanka. I am sure, you would like to do something different – out of box missions. I will be very happy if you could write this page. And if you mail to me your dreams, I can correspond on your out of box ideas and thoughts. (

My best wishes to all of you for success in your mission of igniting the energy and ability of youth to achieve accelerated societal transformation in Sri Lanka and become an enlightened citizen of the world.

May God Bless you.

Oath for Students

1. Engineering, Technology, healthcare and Management is a life time mission. I will work, work and work and succeed.

2. Wherever I am, a thought will always come to my mind. That is what process or product I can innovate, invent or discover.

3. I will always remember that "Let not my winged days, be spent in vain".

4. I realize I have to set a great technological goal that will lead me to think high, work and persevere to realize the goal.

5. My greatest friends will be great scientific/technological minds, good teachers and good books.

6. I firmly believe that no problem can defeat me; I will become the captain of the problem, defeat the problem and succeed.

7. I will work and work for removing the problems faced by planet earth in the areas of water, energy, habitat, waste management and environment through the application of science and technology.

8. I will work and work for making Sri Lanka a granary of south-east Asia.

9. I will be a good member of my family, a good member of the society, a good member of the nation and a good member of the world.


Copyright © Upali Newspapers (Pvt) Ltd.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

If there is will there is a way. If we achieve these and work towards bringing out a united country where democracy& respect for the rule of law,HR.!

From war to negative peace and to that haven of freedom

Delivering the Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam Commemoration lecture this week in Colombo, Prof. N. Selvakkumaran, Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Colombo, says there is a necessity for major constitutional and legal reforms in the post-conflict Sri Lanka so that the negative peace that is prevailing now can be transformed into a positive one. Excerpts from his widely-hailed speech.
We are gathered here to cherish the memory and 159th birth anniversary of a great statesman and distinguished personality this country had produced. The late Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam, of whose birth and life that we remember today, was born in 1853 to a very well-known and highly respected family in Manipay, Jaffna. Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam was the youngest of three equally eminent brothers, who left an indelible mark in various facets of life in this beautiful island.

Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam's signal contributions in the legislative, executive and judicial spheres as well as in political, social and religious domains had been illuminating and constructive. It will require a lot of time and energy to capture his achievements and contributions to the mankind in general and to the betterment of Sri Lanka in particular. As you all will agree, that cannot be done in a short time and at a function like this. That has to be reserved for a separate time and event, which I would urge the Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam Trust to undertake in earnest please. The Trust should invite researchers to delve into the invaluable contributions made by Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam in different spheres of the Sri Lanka's life.

Let me take this occasion to reflect upon some contemporary events that took place in the country which are related to some of the ideals which the late Sri Ponnambalam Arunachalam stood for and strived to carry out in his days. The miserable and violent occurrences that unfolded in the last thirty years or so in this island would surely have grieved the heart and soul of Sri Ponnambalam Arunachalam. He would not have ever imagined or accepted, on any ground whatsoever, the bleeding of this nation in such a ferocious and barbarous manner as it endured in the recent past. However, the past is past and now is an opportunity for us to go forward and ensure that this Pearl of Indian Ocean becomes a vibrant and resplendent place to live in. That should be achieved in the shortest possible time while ensuring that the country and its people will not suffer a relapse of what they endured in their recent history.

The release of the Report by the Presidential Commission, viz., the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, recently too provides a welcome and desirable opportunity in this respect. It requires the powers that be to take a hard and serious look at the present state of affairs in the political, legislative, executive, judicial, economic, social and other spheres; it also calls for chartering a course which will make our present and future generations to remember us with gratitude and pride, but not to curse us for failing them and the country abysmally.

The LLRC Report is a point of departure as its release provides a golden opportunity for the people of this country, in particular their representatives in the Executive and the Legislative arms of the government, to shape the future of this tiny nation to great, if not greater, heights.

Missed were many opportunities in the recent times when adversities - natural and man-made - provided window of opportunities for winning peace in the country. It is of great relief that the violent armed conflict had been brought to an end with the decimation of the ruthless LTTE and its violent activities in the country. Although there linger some issues of accountability raised about the final stages of the war, it is time for the people and powers that be to consider and act decisively as to how the country could go forward as a united nation upholding respect for democratic values, human dignity and the rule of law.

Various factors have contributed to the pathetic and sorry state to which the country fell in or sunk in the recent past. It is not my intention or wish, or is it necessary, to delve into the past minutely and engage in a blame game. That alone will not take us forward in any meaningful manner.

If we are strongly perched in the past we are sure to lose the future. While there is immense value in learning lessons from the past and addressing vital concerns that led to the failures of humanity, we need to engage ourselves collectively, as responsible citizens of this country and members of the world of human beings, in an exercise which will enable us to go forward to turn this country as a resplendent land in the world where peace and happiness will permeate the people who inhabit it.

The successful termination, almost three years ago in May 2009, of the war waged by the LTTE against the government did not bring about an enduring positive peace in the country. It is so at least in the minds of the minorities of the country. What was achieved is an absence of war and armed hostilities in the country, which is referred to as negative peace in the words of conflict resolutionists.

It is true that achieving negative peace was not an easy exercise given the ruthless and elusive nature of the LTTE. Considering the cost of achieving negative peace which was huge in terms of the loss of human lives and limbs and other damages and destruction suffered, it is essential and imperative that the negative peace achieved must be converted to sustainable positive peace, if this land were to be a peaceful country.

There are a lot of things to be done to achieve endurable positive peace in the country. Similarly there must take place attitudinal change in the minds of people. The report of the LLRC adverts to some of these important issues in making its recommendations. The report provides valuable food for thought as well as worthy suggestions; if those recommendations are properly understood and implemented efficiently, I venture to state that the negative peace achieved in the country could be made positive and permanent. It is in this context that I wish to place some of my thoughts for your reflection. In support of my views, I draw from the Report of the LLRC where it is appropriate.

The Sri Lankan society is polarized and divided at the present time. It has been so for some time now. The polarization has come about mainly due to political and economic reasons. Alleged acts of discrimination by the government against minority communities, or acts so perceived by the minority communities, have contributed to this polarization.

Some of the legislative, executive and judicial actions of the state had not evinced an approach of inclusive nation-building on the part of the post-independence governments. On the other hand, some of the actions and pronouncements of political parties of the ethnic divide had not helped the situation either. The three-decade long civil war has not done anything good towards creating an environment conducive for these societies to live harmoniously. To the contrary, it has taken a heavy toll on the minds of the people which was inevitable and unavoidable given the dynamics of armed hostilities. In addition to the direct consequences of armed conflict, the violent strife fought fiercely and savagely, with scant respect for human dignity but with its attendant ethnic dimension, has brought about indirectly many negative effects upon the communities. It is the ordinary people and civilians who have suffered the most.

The prolonged war has hardened the young minds of the ethnic divide against each other and they were moulded and coloured by the antagonism that was generated by the hostilities and their fall outs. Their sentiments and attitudes towards the others and their take on the future of this country and themselves are mainly coloured by their bitter experiences of the war which they were made to suffer during this long period of time.

The people have wounds in their minds; they have developed prejudice against one another; seeds of prejudice, hatred and antagonism are sown in their minds at an early age; there was a lack of opportunity for them to interact in a friendly and harmonious way; they feel bitter about others; they look at others with suspicion; they are not at peace with others; they are not at peace with themselves as well. In certain cases, their dealing with members of other communities had been with personnel from the armed forces or the police force. They had hardly met any civilian members of the other communities. ...
The end of the war and the consequential opening of the A9 road and the free flow of transport between the north and the rest of the country have made the situation better for people to move about with ease. However, this is not sufficient to erase the mind-set of people who have entertained negative attitudes about others to change them on their own. The government should take positive and proactive steps to create opportunities and space for interaction between young people from these communities from 'the north and the south'.

The money spent on these pro-peace activities would be worthy investment in the long run. They would create a sense of understanding and a feeling of being inclusive in the minds of young people. They will create a window of opportunity for the people of the south to see, learn and understand the traditions and culture of the north; conversely the people of the north will also see, learn and understand the traditions and culture of the south. Facilitating a better understanding of each other is a must for harmonious living in the country and peace to prevail in the country.

This apart, the people who suffered immensely due to the war - by loss of their loved ones - have deep-seated wounds in their minds. Some of them do grieve a lot in silence; others grieve openly and at times in moods of anger and hate; some of them are unable to get over their wounds as they do not know what had happened to their loved-ones. There have to be some genuine efforts to heal these wounds. Allowing them to fester is not going help in fostering a harmonious and united nation in the country. These people do not know the whereabouts of their relations. They do carry a great burden in their hearts. They know that there are large numbers of detainees who have been detained after the end of the armed hostilities. These parents and family members do not know whether their children and loved ones are amongst those who had been detained by the government or they had perished in the war or come up with their end in one way or another.

The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission provided opportunities for people to make representations and relate their 'stories of grief and victimization'; it did not, however, provide opportunities for truth telling as how the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission did after the collapse of apartheid. While it is irrefutable that a system which worked in one country and in one context may not apply equally to another context or country, the scope of the mandate given to the LLRC was not meant to be or sufficient enough to provide an occasion for truth telling and unburdening the hearts of victims or perceived victims.

The government should seriously think about providing some space for people to relate their tales and learn the truth of what happened to them or their family members so that it will provide genuine effort at reconciliation. Otherwise there would be a sense of injustice to those who perceive that they had been wronged and that no opportunity was provided to seek redress for their injustice or perceived injustice. Transitional justice provides opportunities for people to get over their psychological trauma in a collective manner without necessarily imposing criminal sanctions on others for telling the truth.

There are different shades of systems of transitional justice. What is necessary is to make people to come to terms with the past and get along with their future; if it could be done without being burdened by the past which prevents them from going into the future in a meaningful manner that will facilitate genuine reconciliation. This is necessary if those people are to contribute positively for the future wellbeing of the country and its people.

Some of the recommendations made by the LLRC with regard to political power sharing and upholding the rule of law in the country are very valuable and instructive. Their inherent value is to promote and foster a united democratic Sri Lanka ensuring justice and fair play to all the people living in the country with respect for human dignity and rights of people. The LLRC notes in its report that "

Along with an independent Judiciary and a transparent legal process a strict adherence to the Rule of Law is a sine qua non for peace and stability which is of the essence, if there is to be any meaningful reconciliation. A democracy must assure a fair system of governance under the Rule of Law rather than the rule of men. The Commission reiterates that the lack of governance and non-observance of the Rule of Law would result in the creation of tension between communities. Respect for the rights and freedoms of the citizens of a country is the very essence of the concept of the Rule of Law. It was stated that lack of good governance, and non-observance of the Rule of Law coupled with a lack of meaningful devolution were causes for creating tension between communities." [vide para 8.185]

It is the view of the Commission that making visible progress on the devolution issue is of critical importance to ensure the success of any process of lasting and sustainable reconciliation.
It is my humble view that the thirty year war has made the life of the minority communities very weak and feeble. Although the war has affected the country as a whole and others as well in one way or another, comparatively it is the members of the minority communities who are most affected by the war and conflict. Their economic and social structure has got so weakened that they need to concentrate on rebuilding those fabrics. They have been displaced internally a number of times; internal displacement has followed them with regular frequency. As a consequence, they do not enjoy their civil, cultural, economic and social rights in any meaningful way.

In addition, due to the protracted and violent conflict over allegedly ensuring their political rights, members of the Tamil minority community have lost their peace of mind and have become very weak and war-weary. What they immediately need is to get along with their life economically and socially.
They need to have development in their day to day life - to improve it in a meaningful manner. Their representatives must pay attention to improve their living conditions and to develop their areas. The physical infrastructure of the north and east needs urgent development. In keeping with the development drive that has been taking place in other parts of the country, the north and east must also receive concerted effort to boost the infrastructure development and economic development.

The elected representatives of the people of those areas should not ignore the urgent needs of those people - they need development and progress in the spheres of health, education, housing, transport, roads, security, law and order, economic activities, etc. The commitment to represent matters for political power sharing and political rights on the part of their representatives should not be a hurdle with regard to achieving economic and social rights of those people.

Enjoyment of these rights will help them to get over the scars of war and be amenable to sustainable reconciliation. This is the urgent need of the hour!


I have tried to highlight some of the shortcomings that prevail in the country which do not facilitate genuine reconciliation between various communities that have made this island their home. The country's constitutional and legal framework needs change - this should result in the way the legislature, the executive and the judiciary function in our plural democracy; there is a necessity for some institutional change; political parties and activists need attitudinal change; media and civil society organizations need to reflect upon their responsibilities and look at things from a broader perspective; they do require change in their dealing with issues.

These are not unachievable! If there is will there is a way. If we achieve these and work towards bringing out a united country where democracy, and respect for the rule of law, human rights and human dignity hold sway we will convert this tiny island into a resplendent land!

That will be our genuine respect and service to the memory of the late Sir Ponnambalm Arunachalam who stood for a united and democratic Sri Lanka.