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Saturday, 4 February 2012

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Independence Day messages
 

People thronged streets in Colombo yesterday to purchase National flags in preparation to celebrate the 64th National Independence Day. Picture by Nissanka Wijeratne


We celebrate Independence with dignity, freedom - President

'Our nation is fortunate to celebrate the 64th Independence Day with a genuine sense of dignity about freedom, states President Mahinda Rajapaksa in an Independence Day message. The message adds: "Today the national flag flutters pointing to a new country in the making.

The way is open for an independent economy. It daily reinforces the nation's aspiration for a prosperous future. It has given us freedom to decide upon issues concerning the country and the nation without bowing down before external powers. I strongly believe that is the immense responsibility the nation entrusted to us. It is a great pleasure to see the steady consolidation of supreme independence.

'The country's achievements would be secured when opportunities for peace, co-existence as well as harmonious living are widened. Sacrifices made so far to reach that objective have to be secured in future too. We would no longer hesitate to take decisions towards fostering national unity through an indigenous programme of action. We overcame diverse challenges the country faced with extreme patience. We have built productive economic, political, defence, trade and cultural links with the international community through friendly contacts. We must preserve all this by working more rationally, intelligently and patriotically than even before.

'Similarly, the country should be brought forward developing its value systems. It is only then that a prosperous life would emerge in a peaceful environment.

'The nation's respect and felicitations should go to all patriots who paid the supreme sacrifice, laying down their lives to overcome the nations challenges for the sake of supreme independence.

'I wish you a bright future!'


Work with unity for a prosperous, nation - PM

'It is with great expectations that we look forward to celebrate the 64th anniversary of Independence on February 4, 2012. 'May 19, 2009 marked the historic day that the country succeeded in eradicating LTTE terrorism that debilitated to economic, social and cultural fabric of the country for 30 years, states Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne in an Independence Day message.

It was the far-sighted vision, guidance and leadership of Mahinda Rajapaksa that contributed to the achievement of this historic feat. With the defeat of LTTE terrorism our Tamil brethren in the North and East as well as the general public of the rest of the country could have a sigh of relief. They are now enjoying peaceful lives devoid of fear and anxiety.

'The government had successfully completed reconstruction of government buildings, roadways, houses, places of religious worship and other infrastructure facilities in the North and the East that were destroyed or damaged during the war. Many a new infrastructure project that had been completed had changed the landscape of the North and the East. The resettlement of displaced persons in their usual habitat had brought contentment to these long suffering people. A series of development projects that are in progress had resuscitated the economy of the North and the East which was badly battered by the 30 year war.

'Along with the development activities in the North and the East, the government had undertaken a number of mega projects that will usher in unprecedented economic development throughout the country.

Several prodigious projects, such as, the Norochcholai Power Plant, Upper Kothmale Hydro Power Project and Hambantota Harbour which the previous governments never dared to undertake were started and successfully completed by the Rajapaksa Government. Meaningful steps have been taken to promote the tourist industry attracting foreign investments for construction of tourist hotels and resorts under a well drawn out tourism plan.

The major part of the Southern Expressway has already been completed and opened for public use.

'On this 64th anniversary of Independence of our country, we all must make a firm resolution and commitment to work with unity, peace and harmony to make this beautiful country a happy and a prosperous nation.'


Working in unity should be motto of all citizens - Asgiriya prelate

Sri Lanka's cultural, educational, social, economic and political freedom which began with the arrival of Vijaya was lost to us in 1505 with the Portuguese invasion, states the Mahanayake of the Asgiriya Chapter Most Venerable Udugama Sri Buddharakkitha Thera in an Independence Day message.

The message states : Sri Lanka which became a colony under the Dutch and British gained its independence in 1948 having undergone various challenges and obstacles.

'The country commemorates the 64th anniversary of its independence this year. On this happy occasion we must gratefully remember both the great religious and lay personnel who sacrificed their lives towards gaining independence for the country. 'Although the term independence is used in numerous contexts, according to Buddhism its means freedom from defilements based on craving throughout Sansara or the ocean of births and deaths. 'All beings are fettered into the wheel of Sansara until they become free from strong thinking which defiles the mind. When we consider the happenings in present Sri Lanka, although we enjoy some sort of economic and political independence. The country is in a prison of world evils. 'Independence is not a resultative until all citizens of Sri Lanka think together without selfishness whatever being the disputes. Administrative rules of the Upanish Literature "Sangacchadivam sanvomanansi Janatham," walk together, talk together and act in unison should be the motto of all citizens, who sincerely wish for the welfare of the country.


Make use of independence for meaningful future - Malwatte prelate

'When the English came to power on March 2, 1815 of the Christian era, Sri Lanka lost not only its sovereignty and self-governance, but, also our traditional Buddhist democratic administrative system, customs, religion, education, lands, agriculture and all, states the Mahanayake Thera of the Malwatte Chapter Most Venerable Thibbotuwawe Sri Sidhdhartha Sumangala Thera.

The message adds: 'After the subjugation from foreign power, acquisition of freedom on February 4, 1948, the hoisting of the National Flag was an incident which showcased the dignity of Sri Lanka to the rest of the world.

'The prime intention of celebrating Independence Day should be to commemorate the great heroes who sacrificed their lives to gain independence and freedom for the country with gratitude, to look back the country's to the today's generation, to pave the way to make their present and future meaningful and to realize the reality of freedom. 'The most important duty which should be acquired through the freedom won is the economic and spiritual development of the people.

'For this purpose, adhering to the Buddhist democratic political system will be of much importance.

'In order to establish economic and social development in the country and to gain sustainable development, it is important to act with a far sighted political vision and without a biased political view.

'The foundation of Buddhist democratic politics is equity, co-existence and Aparihana Dhamma, Pancha Seela concept summoned by the Buddha to vajjees. Here, priority is not given for artillery powers but it gives way to civil power by strengthening wisdom and Dhamma.

'The freedom of a country is meaningful when it encourages wisdom, good values, public opinion on the basis of Dhamma. Buddhist co-existence is common for human society and for animals. I most sincerely appeal to all the people to act without partisan politics to regain the lost physical and spiritual development on this Independence Day'.

 


Act with devotion towards country - Mahanayake Thera of the Ramanya Chapter

Most Venerable Weweldeniye Medhalankara Thera

What the Sri Lankan Society needs today is the strength to rise as an Independent nation, said Mahanayake Thera of the Ramanya Chapter Most Venerable Weweldeniye Medhalankara Thera issuing an Independence Day message.

The message: "The formation of the necessary environment for an independent country has been completed. Today, all of us are enjoying the peaceful environment which should prevail with national, religious and environmental independence.

Terrorism which existed for over 30 years has ended and an environment has been created to rise up as a strong nation. In this era where the community life has now become normal, our future would be very pleasant if we are able to be rich economically as well as ethically. Our wish has always been to provide such a pleasant environment to the children of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is indeed a sacred land. It is due to our meritorious acts in the past which has enabled us to be born in this beautiful and sacred island. If we achieve such prosperity, no one will attempt to degrade us. This is the most suitable era to act with a sense of nationalism and devotion towards country and the religion."


Many sacrificed to gain freedom - Mahanayake of the Amarapura Maha Nikaya

Nature has gifted us a land with all the natural beauties and other valuable day-to-day needs. Our country which is known as "Serendib" within the five great oceans and continents is a term given by the foreigners.

Foreigners who name this as the "Golden Island" is beyond imagination and we are proud to be born here, said Mahanayake of the Amarapura Maha Nikaya Venerable Dauldena Gnanissara Maha Nayake Thera in an Independence Day Message.

The message: "Our country is endowed with natural beauties and blessed with the Dhamma of the Buddha. One can come across all types of climatic conditions within a space of 20 kilometres. The rivers in this golden island never go dry.

The rain water is collected in lakes around the country. This land of ours is sanctuary to wild elephants, beasts and birds. The nature has given to this land fruits and other consumable vegetables as gifts. It is hardly believable whether there is another country gifted with all these other than Sri Lanka.

The country celebrates its 64th anniversary of independence. It will be the duty of all our citizens irrespective of race or creed to have pride in ourselves and work in close unity.

Our country was self-sufficient in rice. One is at a loss to understand how a dry area in the district of Moneragala could have produced such an amount of paddy by collecting only the rain water.

We who were under the foreign rule of the Portuguese, Dutch and the British for 433 years lost all our valuable artifacts and brought us under their domination and in the year when we got back our independence nominally in 1948 we were subjected to their domination and had to depend on the import of rice which is our staple diet.

They handed back the country to us under the impression that this land is a colony of theirs.

They handed over the country to a set of people who were the shadows of the foreigners. During the era 1950-60 when there was the Korean war, our natural rubber fetched a very high price in the market and we had a surplus budget.

Today, we are celebrating our 64th anniversary of obtaining independence from the colonial rule.

However, during the last few years due to the far-sighted polices of our administrators with patriotic feelings, we have been able to attain self-sufficiency in rice. We are enjoying full freedom as a unitary state. Many are the people who sacrificed their lives to attain this freedom and it should be obligatory on all of us as true citizens of this golden land to commemorate them."


Time to march towards development - All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama

Sri Lankan Muslims since the era of kings, have been living in this country as sincere citizens to all the leaders. Even during the last three decades of battle Muslims did not like either separating the country or acting against the rulers, All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama said in a message to mark Independence Day.

The message: "Now is the time to march towards the path of development at this state of peace and complete independence. Every citizen, irrespective of Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims should come forward as Sri Lankans for the development of the country with devotion and dedication.

All communities could be brought to a common stream of thoughts only if every community is treated and valued with equality, mutual understanding, trust, cooperation and compromise in the activities of our President one could observe his trend of respecting every community. However, the fear is that the activities of some government officials might be the hurdles to achieve his goal.

All religious leaders should guide the society they are representing to follow their religious solidarity and good manners and make efforts to guide them to regard the other societies. All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama believes that our motherland could be brought to the genuine path of development only if the service oriented government organizations come forward to serve the people forgetting the social, cultural, religious and linguistic differences in the societies."


Patriots always defend country - Media Minister

Patriots always fought against enemy forces that attempted to invade or control the country. Sri Lankans, as a nation were always dedicated and determined to oppose anyone who threatened the dignity of the country, said Mass Media and Information Minister Keheliya Rambukwella issuing an Independence Day message.

Minister
Keheliya Rambukwella

The message: "There were many heroes who sacrificed their precious lives for the independence of the country. In the past, our heroes sacrificed their precious lives to save the country from aggressors, such as, Kalinga Maga.

During the colonial era, our heroes fought for safeguarding the dignity of this country giving only second place to their own life. In the recent history over 30,000 war heroes sacrificed their lives to defeat the separatist terrorism and to safeguard the unitary status of this country.

It is natural that the human beings become aggressive when there is a threat to their freedom. Patriotism and national dignity is essential for a country. We, Sri Lankans possess a historical civilization that is not second to any other country and we can be proud of that.

The government has no intention at all of controlling the freedom of anyone by restrictions and other barriers and it is the intention of the government to provide the development based physical freedom to the masses.

Building of the spiritual freedom of individuals should be done by individuals. The rulers can only provide a space conducive to achieve this task.

The freedom of the first citizen of this country who provided freedom to this country in the recent history is still limited since the challenges to the motherland from the local and international forces have not ended yet.

It is the responsibility of the people to fight for the freedom and protect the prevailing freedom. As it was said by the founder of the Indian Independence Mahatma Gandhi "if the term "my" can be removed in religious, political and economic activities, human beings can achieve freedom expeditiously. Then the heaven will appear on the surface of the earth itself."

Let us hand over this nation to the future generation as a prosperous nation thereby honouring the war heroes who sacrificed their lives and providing a value to the blood they spilled."


Dedicate to nation building - Bishop of Colombo's Commissary

National Days of a country are not only a time for thanksgiving but also a time for introspection and reflection. We in Sri Lanka have much to be thankful for in what our country has achieved over the past sixty-four years, said Bishop of Colombo's Commissary Venerable Chrishantha B Mendis in an Independence Day message.

The message "There have also been failures and it is equally or more important to reflect on our failures because the only way we can go forward is by moving away from the wrongs and the wrong paths that we may have followed in the past.

When our country obtained independence from colonial rule in 1948, our people had already been electing their representatives to the legislature for nearly two decades. We were one of the first countries in the world where universal adult franchise was introduced under the Donoughmore reforms. Education was free and compulsory and a system of central schools ensured that quality education was made available to all.

Post-independence, the growth of state universities ensured that tertiary education was not confined to a select few. The development of the state health sector has ensured affordable medical facilities throughout the country. Progress has also been made in diversifying our largely agriculture-based economy.

A solution to our problems of national unity and reconciliation and increasing poverty both in the urban and rural areas are matters of concern. These are issues that our leaders, both political and civil society, recognized. The recommendations made by the LLRC have provided an opportunity to our political leaders to courageously move forward by implementing the recommendations in the right spirit and thereby create the right conditions for a solution to the National Question, for ensuring law and order and effective law enforcement and for uplifting the social and economic status of the marginalized in society.

Let us use this National Day to re-dedicate ourselves to the task of nation building in all areas of life - spiritual, political, social and economic."


Join hands together to develop nation - Ramakrishna Mission

I prey to the Lord to shower his choicest blessing on the Independence Day celebration, to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, and all of his ministerial colleagues, who are the co-partners doing their sincere efforts to bring the glory of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka to the high pedestal, said Ramakrishna Mission Vice President and Chairman Swami Sarvarupananda issuing an Independence Day message.

The message: "To safeguard this Independence, the country needs education, money and opportunities and l other social and economic conditions. For that, one should be properly equipped, physically as well as mentally. This involves making right choices and struggling hard to fulfill, what are the dreams to have. It is not an easy path. The Upanishads have declared "Arise, Awake and stop not till the goal is reached".

By the hard work and guidance of the President and his team of executives, the country crossed many hurdles, and will be able to cross further. In all the fields we have the courage to work for it and succeed.

The freedom we enjoy today as individuals, society and a nation, is the fruit of hard labour and scarifies of our ancestors and predecessors.

Whenever the team work is involved, this is always the superior and the subordinate relations coming to play an important role. To make the team effort successful, all have to join hands together and co-operate with each other.

This idea has been expressed in the last prayer of Rigveda: - "Let us speak together, let our thoughts be one, let us be of one mind, let the place be common, assembly be common, mind and thought be common.

Let the resolve be the same, and the mind be of one accord."


Holistic development needed for total political freedom - Public Administration and Home Affairs Minister

Economic, social and cultural development is one of the critical factors in total political freedom, said Public Administration and Home Affairs Minister W.D.J. Seneviratna issuing a message to mark the National Independence Day.

The message: “As we are well aware, the coastal belt of our motherland had been under the rule of Portuguese from 1505-1658 A.D. and of Dutch from 1658-1796 A.D. The year 1815 marked in the history in which the British brought the country under their control. During that period India, our neighbour had also been under the British yoke and as a result of such situation, a freedom struggle was launched by the Indian leaders. In the meantime, Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim leaders of Sri Lanka whilst extending their cooperation to their freedom struggle, launched a movement to win freedom from British rule. Due to their unwavering efforts Sri Lanka could mark February 4, 1948 as the Independence Day in its history.

The country gained the total freedom from the crown with the transformation of Sri Lanka to a Democratic Socialist Republic in 1972 removing the British Navy camps at Trincomalee.

The country follows a democratic ruling system which applies a multiparty system for selecting representatives of the people. Even though the country had to face political conspiracies, riots and terrorist activities which were aimed to topple down the governments elected by the people, the country and the government could protect the democratic process defeating such malicious practices. The recent three decades are marked in our history as the period during which the freedom of the people had been suppressed by LTTE terrorism .

In retrospect of the history of Sri Lanka after freedom, we have now reached a juncture where we should consider whether the progress gained after independence is at a satisfactory level. We should not forget that the countries such as India, Singapore, Malaysia and Korea which were far behind in the path of development at the time of our independence in 1948 have achieved a significant development.

With a view to ensure a high standard of living, foundation has been laid under the Mahinda Chinthana policy manifesto to develop the country giving priority to the fields, such as, marine, air, trade and commerce. Medium and small-scale projects are implemented as long-term and short-term projects to make Sri Lanka a developed country in Asia.

Information and Communication Technology holds a prominent place in our effort to transform our country to a developed competitor of modern world. It is not necessary to point out that the public servant has to play a major role in the development of the country applying government policies.

Therefore, we expect that present and future public servants will be partners of the journey towards development proving their ability to communicate in Sinhala, Tamil and English languages.”


‘True independence brought by defeating terrorism’

Today is the day we as Sri Lankans celebrate our 64th Independence Day in the city of Anuradhapura. True independence was brought to the people by defeating terrorism, said Sulaahiya Arabic college advisor Aljah Kaleel Moulavi in an Independence Day message.

The message: “We have been celebrating our independence for decades given by the British which is something fake and not a real independence. Even after their independence, we have experienced communal issues, killings, jealousy and hatredness and we had no guarantee even to our lives when a man is stepped out of the house and not returning homes.

We've also experience bomb explosions in the streets and in thickly populated areas. We had a time in which we found hundreds and thousands of people were killed. The only word that was left out was just the word “Independence'.

Assets belong to Muslims from Vanni were taken by the terrorists and asked to leave within 24 hours from the Northern peninsula. Muslims from the East were ordered to leave too. Real independence was brought to our country in 2009. That was our real independence. We as Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus and Catholics, we have our lives back defeating terrorism. The era of explosion is over. Hatred, jealousy and terrorist activities are completely eradicated. In terms of Economical and religious independence was brought to us only in 2008. That was the only day we can call as a real Independence Day. That real independence was brought to us by President Mahinda Rajapaksa.”


From India

It gives me immense pleasure to convey heartiest felicitations and warm greetings to you on behalf of the Government and people of India on the occasion of the 64th Independence Day of Sri Lanka.

India and Sri Lanka share a centuries old friendship and a common heritage. Our close bilateral relations are characterized by the spirit of mutual understanding and constructive cooperation. I am confident that our relations will continue to strengthen in the years ahead to the mutual benefit of our two peoples.

I wish to convey my best wishes for your good health and well being as well as for the continued progress and prosperity of the friendly people of Sri Lanka.

Please accept.

Manmohan Singh
Prime Minister of India


From Pakistan

On behalf of people and the Government of Pakistan and on my own behalf, it is with immense pleasure that I extend heartiest and warmest greetings to Your Excellency, the Government and the people of the Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka on the auspicious occasion of 64th National Day of the country.

Pakistan and Sri Lanka have enjoyed close, cordial and cooperative relations in all fields since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. The bilateral cooperation has witnessed a significant progress and diversification.

I am confident that our bilateral relations will be further strengthened and consolidated to the mutual benefit of our two countries in the years ahead under your leadership.

Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani
Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan


From China

On the auspicious occasion of the 64th anniversary of Independence of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, on behalf of the Chinese government and people and of my own, I wish to extend my heartfelt congratulations and best wishes to Your Excellency and through Your Excellency, to the Sri Lankan government and people.

Under the leadership of Your Excellency, Sri Lanka has maintained social stability, rapid economic development and people’s living standard has been continuously uplifted. I sincerely hope that Sri Lanka will accomplish greater achievements in the path of nation building.

Since diplomatic ties between our two countries were established over half a century ago, China - Sri Lanka relationship has developed continuously, healthily and smoothly. Currently, China - Sri Lanka relationship is at its best in history. Our two countries have maintained frequent high- level contacts.

Our exchanges and cooperation in areas of economy, trade, culture and education, etc have achieved new progress. We support each other on the issues of major respective concerns. I’m willing to make joint efforts with Your Excellency to further promote the China -Sri Lanka All-round Cooperative Partnership to new heights. May Your Excellency enjoy good health. May Sri Lanka enjoy prosperity.

Hu Jintao
People’s Republic of China


From Bahrain

On behalf of the people of the Kingdom of Bahrain and on my own behalf, I wish to convey to Your Highness, and through you to the Government and the people of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, my sincere greetings and best wishes on the happy occasion of celebrating the Independence Day of your country.

I am confident that the friendly relations and close cooperation that exist between our two countries will be further strengthened in the years ahead.

I take this opportunity to convey my best wishes for your good health, and happiness for the continued success and prosperity to the people of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka under your able and wise leadership.

Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa
King of the Kingdom of Bahrain


From Austria

On the occasion of the Independence Day of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka I take great pleasure in conveying to you my warmest congratulations. I take this opportunity to extend my best wishes for your personal well-being as well as for a happy future of the Sri Lankan people.

Heinz Fischer
Federal President of the Republic of Austria


From Czech Republic

On behalf of the people of the Czech Republic and on my own behalf may I extend to you my most sincere congratulations on the National Day of your country – the Independence Commemoration Day.

I am confident that the traditionally good relations existing between our countries will continue to develop in the spirit of friendship and cooperation.

I avail myself of this opportunity to wish you good health, happiness and every success in your work.

Vaclav Elaus
President of the Czech Republic


From Singapore

On the joyous occasion of the Independence Day of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka on February 4, 2012, I wish to extend on behalf of the people of Singapore, our sincere congratulations and best wishes for the peace, progress and prosperity of your country and people.

Tony Tankeng Yam
President of Republic of Singapor


From Malaysia

On behalf of the Government and people of Malaysia, I wish to extend my heartfelt congratulations and best wishes to you and the people of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, on this auspicious occasion of the 64th Anniversary of the Independence Day of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.

I note with satisfaction that the cordial relations between our two nations have continued to strengthen over the years. With the existing strong bold of friendship and understanding, I am confident that the relations between our two countries will be enhanced in the years ahead.

Dato'Sri Mohd Najib
Prime Minister of Malaysia


From Myanmar

On behalf of the people and Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, I have the great pleasure to extend to Your Excellency and through you to the people of Sri Lanka our warmest greetings and felicitations on the occasion of the 64th Anniversary of the Independence Day of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.

Thein Sen
President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar


From Cambodia

On the auspicious occasion of the Independence Day of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka on behalf of the Royal Government and People of Cambodia, I have the great pleasure to extend my heartfelt felicitations to Your Excellency and all my best wishes for happiness and prosperity to the people of Sri Lanka.

I strongly believe that the good relations of friendship and cooperation between the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka will be further strengthened and deepened for the benefits of our two countries.

May I also take occasion to extend to Your Excellency my best wishes for your good health and greater success in your noble tasks in the years to come.

Hun Sen
Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia


From Thailand

On the occasion of the Independence Day of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, I have the honour to extend on behalf of the Royal Thai Government and the Thai people, my sincere congratulations and best wishes for the prosperity and progress of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and her people.

Yingluck Shinawatra
Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand

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