Evolution of a nation
Posted on February 9th, 2012

Dr. Tilak S. Fernando

The tiny pear shaped island known as the “ƒ”¹…”pearl of the Indian Ocean’, whose material treasures and spiritual values acted as a magnet to foreign travellers around 350 BC was known as Taprobane, Simundu, Salke, Silv-Diva, Serndib, Zeilan and Ceylon under foreign domination from 1505 to 1948. During the final stages of the British governance, the Donoughmore constitution offered an elected legislature – the State Council and the Universal Adult Franchise.

While “ƒ”¹…”Ceylonese’ politicians derived training in legislative and executive functions some of the British planters and business hierarchy influenced the local politicians to become “ƒ”¹…”masters’ in their own affairs.

Foreign barriers

A new era dawned for Ceylon in February 4, 1948 by becoming an independent sovereignty with full of promise. A unique factor in achieving self-determination marked a “ƒ”¹…”struggle’ without having to shed a single drop of blood, thus national patriotic leaders’ effort in restoring the self-respect of this nation that had been crushed under the foreign boot of Portuguese, Dutch, and the British, over four centuries came to an end.

Independence after four centuries of foreign dominance should have showed the way to a superlative transformation once the foreign barriers were removed. Understandably one could not have expected for an “ƒ”¹…”enslaved’ nation to wake up overnight through any kind of overwhelming jingoism from a centuries old “ƒ”¹…”slumber’ under a Colonial boot!

With another name change from Ceylon to Sri Lanka the populace displayed patience to afford the new rulers time to shell off from the old mentality and the attitudes of “ƒ”¹…”white masters’ that had been imposed on the nation.

Political analysts over the decades have assessed the post independent Sri Lanka with negative comments often sighting all administrations who promised people to maintain the political freedom they achieved.

After two decades of independence dark clouds appeared above Sri Lanka once more. The administrators had to grapple with a different kind of problem this time with a youth uprising from the South where the degradation of human values became contagious. The public at large were made to witness repugnantly unaccustomed murders, corpses floating on rivers and decapitated human bodies burning on road-side-spikes with fetid yellow liquids draining out in the form of melting human body oil.

This was followed by a second uprising by Tiger terrorists in the North and the East. Seemingly they became the most ruthless terrorist organization in the world by introducing suicide bombing. Extremist attacks on civilian population and on soft economic targets paralysed the country’s onward progress drastically.

Major world players

Sri Lanka has certainly been a blessed country despite a few hiccups. At the nick of time when the whole country was about to head towards an unfathomable adversity, a “ƒ”¹…”political messiah’, in the name or President Mahinda Rajapaksa, appeared with firm determination and promise to eliminate terrorism from the Sri Lankan soil which he accomplished within a short spell to the envy of major world players who are still making desperate attempts to ward off their own terrorist parasites.

Today Sri Lanka is open to the entire world to witness the mega transformation taking place rapidly in her environment, economy, culture and spirituality.

The two aspects of human life (culture and spirituality) flourish naturally when a nation is freed from suppression. “ƒ”¹…”Spirituality is not mere religion or faith but it goes beyond to the humanism of man. The spirit of a nation is the bold outcry of its soul. A dispirited nation is a state that has sold its soul. Culture is not a mere act but has more to do with the morale embossed in our hearts’.

In such a scenario those members of Parliament in the Opposition will have to refrain from getting bogged down in the same old rut of criticising those who govern and shed their internal minuscule disagreements and work as a single unit with the government for the benefit of the country, bearing in mind that they are nothing but representatives of the people whom the public have elected to represent in Parliament.

Cynosure of Asia

With regard to development taking place in the country at present one has only to take a bird’s-eye view from a tower block in Colombo and the suburbs to get a glimpse of modern architectural edifices that have changed the skyline of Sri Lanka. Similarly, a tour round rural villages will reveal the element of progresses the country has been transforming in both towns and in villages.

Now with peace prevailing in the country and the word “ƒ”¹…”terrorism’ is buried and concreted, it is encouraging to see international aid agencies, business entrepreneurs, financial institutions are responding favourably to make a contribution to make Sri Lanka the cynosure of Asia. This is evident from the transformation of a wider road network where the old pot-holed and gravel roads in the North and East are transformed into international standards, roads in general, are being carpeted and the emergence of a Southern Expressway, a harbour in the South and another international airport is about to take birth.

As an additional boost to the economy the presence of crude oil deposits and gas have become the hot news and may start to flow from Sri Lanka’s North sea oil platforms to transform this Pearl of the Indian Ocean into a modern dreamland replacing the motor bicycles, “ƒ”¹…”tuc tucs’ and all ramshackle vehicles with ultra modern latest designs from the automobile industry.

King Parakramabahu’s advice to “ƒ”¹…”make use of every drop of water before it is allowed to drain away to the seas’ may become a reality once again with irrigation developed, home grown food becoming plentiful and in abundance to be self sufficient, and Sri Lanka be called the Paradise Island once again. The underline factor for successful progress depends on the freedom and the everlasting spirit of the people as a nation.

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2 Responses to “Evolution of a nation”

  1. lingamAndy Says:

    ‘pearl of the Indian Ocean’
    Well Done Dr. Tilak S. Fernando, We need positive & balancing article like this Now !
    Together We can make Sri Lanka be called the Paradise Island !!!

  2. Christie Says:

    Hoe come we only see the white masters?

    The British Empire is in reality is a British-Indian Empire.

    How many “white masters” were there during the colonial times and how many dcendants of the white masters are there now?.

    How many Indians were there during the colonial teimes and how many decendants of Indians are there now?

    The majority Sinhalese should unite and stand up to Indian colonialism and imperialism.

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