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Government Gazette
61st Independence Day

The scent of independence

As the sun rose from the east coast on a pleasant February day Mother Lanka heralded the much awaited tidings of independence after almost five centuries of western oppression and intimidation.

The date was February 4, 1948 when Ceylon was granted independence by the mighty British Empire after more than 150 years of rule in which so much of transforms took place both culturally and demographically. At last the Ceylon lions were afforded to put a smile on their wearied faces and tarnished glory. The mighty Union Jack paved its way to the equitable Lion heralding a new era to this splendid little island situated at the tip of the Southern India.

The word 'independence' uniquely defines the state of being independent aptly coincides the importance and the dignity of a nation irrespective of its magnitude. Sri Lanka in regards to independence paved an unequivocal and uncompromising building of a nation as Sri Lanka where diversity plays second to none in modern socio-political map.

Almost 500 years of European rule had set its indelible footprints in this diminutive island. The pearl of the Indian Ocean had to go through the mill in its history of ebbs and flows for many grotesque fantasies. If one would stare into the histories of the pre-1500 AD era the story unfolds even further more with greater proportions. As of the modern interest let us briefly unfold times from the 1500 AD onwards.


It was the Portuguese who disembarked in 1505 AD and took control of the coastal belt and disseminated their missionary agenda subsequently assisted by the Ceylonese who searched for better material prospects; their names, standard of living and culture were extensively transformed. The Dutch subsequently conquered the island by chasing the 'so-called' devilish Portuguese and established similar sorts in which the Ceylonese was further transformed and craftily used by the masters for economic remuneration. Finally, in came the British with their fighting military power, smartness and the lack of unity among the Ceylonese polity once more led to the renunciation of the sovereignty of the entire island in the early decades of the nineteenth century.

The British had the best of the times in which the protagonist had the absolute power to execution willy-nilly and as an integral ploy of their rule the estate Tamils were brought down from India thus led to 'divide and rule' agenda which suited thoroughly to keep the colonial master at mirth at every nook and cranny. The British were sensible to nullify the aspirations of the common Ceylonese by vilifying mannerisms created within their own community this was part and parcel in which we still find solutions unabated in the 21st century.


However, the fighting spirits among the Ceylonese remained soaring all the time especially against burning socio-political aspects. The freedom movements led by the Sinhalese leaders and other patriotic Ceylonese forces consist of various facets from pens to swords. The pens were used to exhibit the intensity of the battles and led to a renaissance of some kind of 'Battle poetic' culture. Some of the 'battle poems' (Hatan Kavi) have been written in the olden days are 'Battle of Dunuwila' (Dunuwila Hatana), 'Battle of Danthurey' (Danthurey Hatana), 'Battle of Portuguese' (Parangi Hatana), 'Battle of Wellassa' (Wellasse Hatana) and 'Battle of Matale' (Matale Hatana) that crossed my mind. 'Battle of Matale' famously led by Puran Appu aka Francisco Fernando and his brave Sinhalese warriors pleasantly depicted by the film guru Dr. Lester James Peries in his classic historic movie Veera Puran Appu screened in 1979 aptly supported by the factual evidence-based screen play by Dr. Tissa Abeysekara, the movie still remains as a means of educating the posterity pertaining to historical aspects in schools.

Finally it would be timely to focus on why the concept of independence must be dealt with significance and patriotism. As of nation building one must primarily address the value of one's concept of motherland. It goes as if conspiracy to destroy your motherland is a criminal offence thus a traitor. The traitors exist at any moment of time.


The gravity of treachery may sometime intricate to perceive due to various obfuscated factors. In the olden days treachery was utilised effectively by the enemy to its own advantage and it still persists in our society. A force that exposes the treachery and deceit phenomena must be protected by any stretch of imagination to coexist independence and equality of a nation. Sri Lanka, as we see her 61st milestone since the independence, has to be very proud of her history largely due to its unique diversity which some of the other countries falls short of.

The pearl of the Indian ocean belongs to its rightful owners and they are none other than those who born and love her to bits without destroying her for material well-being. From the times of Vidiye Bandara, Keppetipola and Puran Appu to the most modern warrior who spends his life in jungle, muddy water and pierces through the thick jungle swatting the mosquitoes while trudging to savour the parity of independence from 'mono-ethnic' lunacy brings that tiding of the fragrance of independence a bit more closely to savour in this little island.


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