Breast milk for ‘suckling’ MPs ?

They don’t deserve what ‘CP de Silva drank’

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya informed parliament that pure and pasteurized milk was provided to MPs

  • Our Speaker is alert to grievances by his kindred, especially whenever his men rise in one voice
  • Kiriella said that steps would be taken to call for a report from the CAA

Readers will remember how the ‘Pohottuwa demonstrators’ tried to promote the crown prince; a move  that ended in a flop on September 12 last year. What happened endorsed the old Sri Lanka proverb ‘gahen wetuna minihata gona enna waagei’ (The man who fell from the tree was gored by a bull). These demonstrators  had to be hospitalised after consuming packets of milk containing a poisonous substance. The milk was distributed by an unknown ‘well-wisher.’ But the large majority of them will not know how CP de Silva, who drank a glass of ‘poisoned’ milk, lost an opportunity to become Prime Minister in 1959.

Back to the current scenario. The Hon. Speaker, Karu Jayasuriya has assured his law-makers [or breakers?] as reported in Daily Mirror, under the headline “Only pure and pasteurized milk to MPs”; the Speaker has assured Parliament that pure and pasteurized milk will be provided to MPs. 

Though not found in any traditional chronicles, like the Dipavamsa, Mahavamsa, Culavamsa or Rajavaliya,  one of our rare, easygoing and carefree type monarchs, who ruled the country, imposed exorbitant taxes on his poor subjects and used the collected masurang (finances) for his own personal extravaganzas and his coterie of loyalists.  The nation experienced famine, inflation, malnutrition, starvation and political tension.  The king consulted a foreign royal soothsayer, who prescribed that the king, his family and the palace entourage to drink a pot of clean, pure, and unadulterated milk daily. Dismayed by the daunting task of searching for clean, pure unadulterated milk [there was no pasteurisation then], the king summoned his ‘kitchen cabinet’ for several rounds of talks that ended in disappointment. The king mulled over the issue for days and then it occurred to him that breast milk is the purest. This is because it’s free of dirt, pollutants, infectious agents and other unwanted elements. But a smart purohitha disagreed; impurities and foreign substance can contaminate the milk in the process of extraction and containerization, “We need the purest stuff your majesty”, said a beleaguered purohitha.

“The king rules by decree,” reminded another Casanova who proposed, “Oh Lord, your majesty may order the required number of  lactating mothers to visit the palace every morning” said the jubilant man! “Let them nurse all of us.”

Do not attempt to break your head in discovering the taste of milk; it doesn’t belong to sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami. “Milk by any other name would taste as Milk”

Our Speaker, who is always alert to grievances by his Kindred, especially whenever his men rise in one voice, sans Miriskudu and butter Knives  over an issue of benefits, like when issues related to car permits, allowances and perks are taken up, had swiftly responded to MPs about the milk provided to them in the House. This is following doubts raised by Deputy Minister Buddhika Pathirana. “Several MPs asked me about the milk provided to them. We are providing pure and fresh milk to everyone in Parliament,” said the trustee of the sacred parliamentary practice, adding that, he can even temporarily suspend Standing Orders if necessary to go back in time to the said monarch’s era and repeat the procedure for it is extremely important that the Speaker respects the privileges of the undernourished, malfunctioning 225, including some who are disgruntled over their inability to complete the projects they undertook. This is due to the constitutional limitations on a mega Cabinet. Breastfeeding has been linked to higher IQ scores; it provides the ideal nutrition for politicos.

Lactating mothers to visit the place

It all started when the Young Turk from South, the Deputy Minister of Industries, Trade and Commerce revealed in Parliament that some milk powder importing companies import a mixture containing harmful substances like lactose powder and animal oil and sell them in the pretext of selling milk powder; quite plausibly he never spoke on behalf of his colleagues, but the children, the future generations of this nation that is already facing the music as a result of corruption and deceit by our great parliamentarians on both the divide. 

Leader of the House and Minister Lakshman Kiriella had acted sensibly, and said that steps would be taken to call for a report from the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) regarding the allegation made that milk powder contains substances harmful to human consumption and that future action would be taken on the matter based on the CAA report. This is while Pathirana accused the investigating private sector company which the Consumer Affairs Authority had hired, for accepting a bribe from the  importer, and that they have deliberately delayed releasing the result of the investigation.

Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that the statement made by Pathirana was false. He added that the tests conducted locally and internationally had proved that the milk powder contained no such substances other than dairy fat. According to Buddhika, who reconfirmed his statement, health ministry officials had given a D-rope to mislead the Minister regarding this matter.  The FDA identifies pasteurized milk as the most allergenic in America. Raw milk nurtures and increases children’s immunity with better nutrition, naturally occurring enzymes and probiotics that protect kids from allergies, asthma, and many other illnesses. Research has frequently established this to be the case.

Back to Cabinet room in 1959

‘…during the Cabinet meeting on August 26, 1959, the customary refreshments—glasses of milk—were handed out to ministers shortly after midday. C P de Silva—the formidable-…took a sip from his glass and began to gag violently. Stanley de Soyza, the Finance Minister, …patted him on the back…but CP collapsed and was carried in to PM’s room, but was completely paralysed… from there he was rushed to Central Hospital’

–‘The Expedient Utopian: Bandaranaike and Ceylon’–James Manor— Cambridge 1989–p 310

CP de Silva, the Mathematics graduate, was a member of the prestigious Ceylon Civil Service, who endured  for the development of agriculture and irrigation, thereby set free the poor farmer. A man of high principles and ability, who possessed every qualification to be the head of state,  however was not charismatic.  Prime Minister SWRD Bandaranaike was assassinated on September 26, 1959. Minister W. Dahanayake was sworn in as Prime Minister.  CP de Silva, Leader of the House, the most senior in the Cabinet, was considered as the deputy and the successor to lead the SLFP.

‘Poisoned Glass of Milk of 26th August’ was one of the conspiracy theories related to the unfortunate incident and came to light only after the September 26 tragedy. Undoubtedly, it was a mischievous misconstruction of facts relating to the assassination of  the PM exactly a month later on September 26, 1959.  The theory stated, a glass of milk with poison meant for Bandaranaike was consumed by CP. There had been internal rifts within the cabinet, which was split into two factions as left and right. The Right was led by CP, Maithripala, and Dahanayake. The Left was led by Philip Gunawaredene [prior to his exit], William de Silva and TB Illangaratne. One theory was that the left wing was unhappy over PM’s acceptance regarding the resignation of Philip, and they conspired to eliminate him by adulterating his glass of milk with poison. A research based on newspaper reports of the day reveals the truth. Both leading English dailies, Ceylon Daily News and Times of Ceylon carried front page news on 27th August,1959, saying; ‘CP complained earlier of being out of sorts’—CDN, and ‘…long before the meeting CP complained of feeling unwell’—Times, respectively, meaning he was unwell,  even before he sipped his milk. —  CP was in a London hospital; Bandaranaike wanted Dahanayake, the minister of Education  to act for him in his absence because the Prime Minister was attending UN general assembly sessions on September 28.

CP was talking to his cabinet colleague Stanley while having the glass of milk; a natural response to choking he grasped the throat with one hand. Choking occurs when an item is suddenly swallowed and it goes down the incorrect way, obstructing the air passage, and the jamming of supply of oxygen to the brain resulting in collapse and paralysis. 

Conspiracy theories

The conspiracy theory and rumour were part of a well-calculated move by Buddharakkita Thera, the main accused and  the most influential political Buddhist monk at the time.  Even while the case was being heard and subsequently after he was sentenced, Buddharakkitha Thera used his power and influence  to give maximum  publicity to the fabricated story of ‘the poisoned glass of milk’, with the aim of diverting the attention of the investigators and the judiciary and make them believe it to be a part of a larger plan by some Cabinet members to assassinate  SWRD Bandaranaike. 

Glamis thou art, and Cawdor, and shalt be What thou art promised. Yet do I fear thy nature,It is too full o’ th’ milk of human kindness To catch the nearest way-:Macbeth 

–[Shakespeare seems to have been the first to combine “milk” with “kindness”] 



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