Martin Wickramasinghe wrote ‘Gamperaliya’ in 1944. In that novel, Piyal left Koggala and came to Colombo to become a successful businessman as he had nothing to do in his hometown.
Similarly, we have heard how the pioneers of Maliban, Nawaloka and Dasa business groups tasted great success after reaching Colombo without any money in their pockets.
Dilith Jayaweera from Angulugaha, close to Koggala, is the modern day example. Jayaweera has started an island wide series of lectures titled ‘Hondapita Harawamu’. During a talkshow on ITN presented by ‘Anidda’ editor K.W. Janaranjana, he spoke about Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s presidential election campaign, ‘cobra in Kelaniya’ and the media usage by Derana.
A spin-doctor in advertising and politics, Jayaweera is said to have bought a political party as well.
Victor Hettigoda was born at Walpola in Imaduwa, which lies close to Dilith’s hometown. Unlike Dilith who succeeded by providing services, Hettigoda progressed in life with the aid of his products. He started by peddling ‘Siddalepa’ contained in a box which he carried atop his head.
Later on, it became a major business.
Just like Dilith, he too held a series of lectures for businessmen. Also, he bought airtime from a television channel and promoted those lectures. Without stopping there, he contested the 2005 presidential polls under the Eksath Lanka Janatha Party and obtained 14,458 (0.15%) votes and was placed fifth overall. After that defeat, he did not get involved in politics again.
The owner of a television and radio channel, Dilith cannot be compared on equal terms with Hettigoda, but both their series of lectures have a similarity. We do not know if Dilith tries to become a king, instead of playing the role of a kingmaker.
It appears social media is taking the upper hand over the traditional media now. But, being at the helm of advertising, he knows the pulse of the people very well. He also knows the time is ripe to experiment.
With the open economy came politician-turned businessmen, rather than businessmen investing in politicians. So far, that has brought nothing good for the country.
Lawyer & freelance writer