‘Kalana’ remains chained for 2 ½ years

When it had no name, it had all the freedom in the world. No one prevented him from playing and running around the jungle with his parents and relatives.

But, when he needed the parents’ protection most, he had to become a prisoner. By 1989, he was five years old, and had to say goodbye to the place of his birth. From then on, he got a name – Kalana. He was gifted to the Dondra Sri Vishnu Devale by the then president Ranasinghe Premadasa who sought blessings for the country and for himself through that act of gifting. Kalana’s lifestyle changed from then on. He was banned from travelling, other than participating in a Perahera. Now, he is 34 years old and 9 ½ feet in height. For his entire life, he did not have a sex life. From May to September, he becomes dangerous and lets out his frustration. During this period of heat, it is doubtful if he gets a proper meal, other than what is thrown to him from a distance.

After this period, he gets the opportunity to walk a bit and to have a bath in a pond. According to his ilk, Kalana should walk around 40 to 50 miles a day, searching for food. But, he gets now mostly is coconut leaves, and rarely a palmyrah bark. This is what the worst is for him. Before June 2015, he got the chance to bath in a river and to have a bit of freedom. From then on to date, he remains where he is chained. He has to do everything there. He is not sick.

Who can remain chained to a tree for 2 ½ years? There a water pipe near him which is opened for him only once a day, for a duration of one hour. He walked only a few kms during the Peraheras. He lost that last time, because he was on the heat then. What he sees is the Devale, police post and the people who pass him. I have been observing him during that period. Anyone travelling on Matara-Hambantota road sees him at Dondra. He should be given the chance to walk, to have a bath in a river. The zoological department has evaded its responsibility by him. It appears if the gods too, have not noticed him.

Daya Neththasinghe

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