There is little point in raising the national flag if one does not know what the flag stands for and how the national flag came into being. There is little point celebrating independence, if people do not know what it took to gain independence and the centuries of suffering faced by the 3 repressive Western colonial invaders as well as South Indian invaders. There is little point in commemorating independence if child and adult are unaware of the battles that were fought to regain our lost freedoms, the brave men who fought the white occupiers and the famous battles won and lost. No nation has any right to celebrate independence if these heroes are not duly remembered and venerated. No independence can be complete if the men who fought the colonial rulers and the men who fought the LTTE terrorists are not given their due place. An independence Day is not a political affair to drum the achievements of the party in power. It is not a day to reward traitors in power. If our citizens cannot identify a hero from a traitor – there is no cause to be celebrating independence at all.
Sadly, the colonial education system has succeeded in creating brown sahibs who continue to venerate and feel it a privilege to have foreign invaders rule over us. They have no desire to bring out the cruelty inflicted on our people because many descend from those who betrayed their own to serve the white master. Little appears to have changed and that DNA continues in their blood.
It is to both their advantage to ensure that nationalism, patriotism are only words used at ceremonial occasions and so the pains have been taken to ensure the history of Sri Lanka is diluted or historically erroneous facts and questionable events are taught in schools. The latest stunt is to create a multicultural education/multicultural history – another western experiment duly followed by treacherous brown sahibs – the white man’s surrogates who are now in power.
How many are aware that we had been invaded 18 times by South Indians but never could they take the whole island.
How many are aware that even the Chola King Elara who ruled accepted the sacred place given to Buddhism and himself ruled guided by the Buddhist precepts.
How many know that when the Kandyan Convention was signed in 1815 the two signatories were the British Colonial Government and the SINHALE nation (not Ceylon, not Sri Lanka). Sinhale was the name known by all. The Island’s citizens were Sinhale citizens. It was the colonials who divided us as Majority-Minority / divided us into racial/ethnic groups. There were no divisions on any of the issues promoted today before the white west arrived. This clearly shows that all that we suffer today are those planted by these Western occupiers under their divide and rule policy.
How many are aware of the brave battles fought – none of these are included into any of the history syllabus in the schools. This is denial of our right to know the history of a country that has a history over 2600 years. No political power has any right to change the country’s history. No political power can inject historical versions that is palatable to their own ideology or the ideology of those who fund them into power. No political power can suppress historical events, famous battles, heroes and replace them with heroes while doing their best to turn the western colonial occupiers into heroes and twisting history to give the notion that they have done good completely erasing the horrific crimes and plunder they committed. White man’s crimes are withheld.
These countries that speak and preach human rights were the violators of atrocious crimes over 500 years none of which are acknowledged, accounted for or compensated. Today they carry the bogey of rule of law conveniently ignoring their own crimes and brushing these off as crimes of the past.
A great crime is being committed by governments in power (past and present) to not include the atrocities that the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British committed. Entire villages were set ablaze, livelihoods were destroyed with genocide in mind, women and children were raped, elephants were killed as a sport. These accounts are known only by a handful who take personal measures to read on the true history of Sinhale (Sinhaladweepa)
How many know of the famous battles fought against the occupiers – Battle of Vijithapura (Dutugemunu against Elara), Battle of Mulleriyawa in 1559 against the Portuguese (devastating blow to the foreigners), Battle of Randeniwela in 1630 (entire Portuguese army was routed and the lascoreens-locals who fought for the whites, defected), Battle of Gannoruw in 1638 are just a handful. None of these are in any of the history textbooks taught to the children.
Another reason why the Tamil Homeland myth remains floated is that historians and academics have not come forward to quell this mythical notion using every aspect of history to showcase that the Tamils arrived from South India via migration/invasion and as a result of being imported as labor by the colonials. Tamils evolved in South India where the self-determination bid was initiated. The same ethnic group cannot evolve in 2 countries and use the same reasons to seek homelands/self-determination. These myths could have easily being squashed and demolished if the true history had been taught.
The suffering incurred by mostly the majority Sinhalese and the rest of the citizens have little mention in textbooks either. The manner that all 3 colonial occupiers targeted non-Christian religious sites with the intention of converting the masses and completely destroying non-Christian places of worship and how these are even listed in the historical accounts by Father Queroyz is never mentioned either.
That the Sinhalese were living in the North when the Portuguese arrived and the East was part of the Kandyan Kingdom easily quells the notion that Sinhalese do not belong to North or East. That the Tamils were known by colonials as Malabars/Coolies and the nomenclature Ceylon Tamils was introduced only in 1911 clearly denies the current calls for self determination on the arguments being used. Possibly none of the politicians in power know any of these facts and they don’t spare the time to find out even.
How many know that it was the Sinhale flag that was used when independence was given in 1948. It was the same flag that had been used by the Sinhale kings and was changed only in 1951. The minorities that were included by orange and green stripes are now refusing to sing the national anthem, are demanding separate states and making unjustified demands. The history of how minorities came and the compassion of the Sinhale kings have never been highlighted in the history books.
It is timely that a Sinhale Heroes museum is established and patriotic academics/historians are inducted to set the story straight and put a stop to the distortions taking place. This island nation does not have a multicultural history. The island remains over 74% majority Sinhalese. It is they who built up the island nation. Anyone wanting to write multicultural history can write about created nations like US, Canada, Australia, Singapore, New Zealand. Even India has a history of just 70years and christened by the British.
At independence, citizens need to know the island’s history, the brave men who fought and died battling to save the nation from the grips of foreign rulers and occupiers, we must remember the role played by the Maha Sangha, the brave Kings who ruled following the dasa raja dhamma and the heroic armed forces who fought and saved the nation from the grips of 30 years of terror. At the same time, we must remember the traitors who were then known as lascoreens and sepoys working for the enemy who are no different than the likes of traitors functioning now.
Celebrating independence is worthless if we do not know our past in its correct context.
Shenali D Waduge