Muslim Masthan made Kovil Poosari

Sunday Punch 2 Don Manu, Sunday Times 

TW’s SPOT COMMENT: All what these fellows want is ministerial post – even if it is “Minister in charge of muck”, they do not mind. Shame!!! 

The Muslims believe in one God Allah and no other. They also believe that the Almighty Allah must not be depicted in any form and hold it blasphemous meriting the death penalty if Allah is depicted in any form, be it a drawing, painting or a sculpture.

The Hindus on the other hand believe not in just one God but in a whole pantheon of Gods. And, with the possible exception of Brahma and Shiva, the life force of the universe who is presented in the form of the phallic symbol, the lingam, delight in presenting them in sculpture and paintings. Not only that. They even give their Gods vehicles to symbolise the subjects they represent.

The dancing peacock with its magnificent feathers unfurled for God Kataragama, the God of Love and War. The tiny mouse which can creep through any loophole for God Ganapathi, the Lord of Knowledge and Wisdom, the bloomed lotus of a thousand petals for Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of Prosperity.

Though all religions united and merge as one in the ocean, the rivers that presently flow are separate. Islam and Hinduism are different in practice as chalk and cheese are different in flavour.

So it came as a surprise this Tuesday when it was announced that a Muslim, UPFA MP from the Vanni Mr nothing but a square peg in a round hole.

No wonder Hindu Affairs Minister D. M. Swaminathan wrote to the President on Wednesday expressing the understandable disgust of the Hindus of a Muslim lording over their faith and religious beliefs. Not forgetting their interests. It was akin to appointing the Catholic Pope to be the head of the Malwatte Chapter or making Bodu Bala Sena Gnanasara, who was jailed this week, the Pope of the Holy See.

But if that was a faux pas on the part of the President to have put a fox as guardian of a hen house, his decision to appoint Elephant Man UNP MP Sandith Samarasinghe as the Monitoring Minister of the Wild Life Ministry was spot on.

Sandith was born amidst elephants at his late father’s home in Kegalle. He grew in their company, lived amongst the herd and today, along with his mother Carminie Samarasinghe who heads the entire elephantine family out fit named Elephant Bath, is well known as a knowledgeable and committed young man, one well versed in the subject of elephants.

In other words, he knows the subject and thus can be expected to do a good job.

Unlike Masthan, to whom the Koran dictates of only serving one god and no other, being put in charge of a ministry where he has to pay pooja to a whole pantheon of Gods. And do so against his religious beliefs.

Sandith Samarasinghe’s appointment was a trumpet call the way how people should be appointed to Ministries based on their knowledge, expertise and interest. Mastan’s appointment was, as Sujeewa Senasinghe would put it, ‘the wrong man in the wrong place at the wrong time’. And with the wrong faith.