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Amid war, Lankans rated as happiest lot

world Updated: Aug 18, 2009 23:46 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times
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A survey by a marketing firm has found Sri Lankans are a satisfied lot compared to citizens from 15 other countries. (India is 6th on the list). A survey conducted on consumer attitudes found that Lankans were happy about their lifestyles and present and future aspirations.

Which is of course a good thing; it is gratifying to know people around me are a happy lot and having a good time.

But there’s a catch.

The survey was conducted in December and January — a good five months before the war with the LTTE reached its bloody finale in May.

The survey findings would have us believe that while the army was fighting a fierce battle against its own citizens, some people, just a few hundred kilometres away, were leading contended lives.

“This is amazing! Can one be so super satisfied and remain so optimistic in the middle of one of most fierce wars in the contemporary world? One wonders whether the Singapore based company has interviewed only the Sri Lankan shoppers visiting Orchard road malls,’’ newspaper Daily Mirror asked in an editorial.

Or has a degree of indifference crept into the Lankan psyche?

Sri Lanka has seen a lot of violence in the last 26 years, involving the LTTE and the radical Marxist party, JVP. But the violence invariably involved Lanka’s own citizens.

Would that have given birth to apathy? An apathy that some would say was born out of frustration. Still others could call it determination to ensure that life goes on amid death and uncertainty.

Now, three months since the end of war, life for a vast majority of Lankans holds the promise of a secure and prosperous future. But for the 2.83 lakh Tamil refugees, the situation isn’t getting much better; currently thousands of them in camps are fighting flash floods and torrential rain.

A survey among the refugees is not likely to throw up happy results. But what could hurt them most is the indifference of the rest of the country to their plight.