Who won freedom for Sri Lanka?
Posted on February 12th, 2014

Senaka Weeraratna

We obtained Independence in February 1948 because India and Pakistan received their independence in August 1947 and Burma in January 1948. It worked cumulatively almost in the form of a package deal.

When we talk of Asian independence movements it would be a remiss to ignore Japan’s significant military contribution towards weakening the might and resources of the British Empire during the 2nd World War.

Japan was the first Asian country to militarily defeat Russian and Anglo – American imperial armies and navies in epic battles in the Pacific and Indian Ocean regions that captured the spirit and imagination of the people of Asia long suppressed by western colonial powers and yearning for liberation, under the banner ‘Asia for Asians’.

Though Japan eventually lost the war due to reasons of overwhelming superiority of numbers and material on the part of its enemies its military effort was not in vain. It substantially weakened and demoralised the western countries then in occupation of large tracts of Asia, such as Britain, France, Netherlands, Portugal and USA that they decided to quit Asia in next to no time.

It is political correctness and revelations of Japan’s conduct in war related atrocities during the Second World War that prevent Japan from being given due credit for its unique contribution towards hastening the liberation of Asia from western colonial rule.

Having fought the tyranny of Nazi rule in Europe, neither France nor Netherlands had any qualms of conscience or sense of shame in returning to their colonies in Indo – China and Dutch East Indies (Indonesia) respectively to regain their colonial possessions and oppress the indigenous people as subject races. They were eventually beaten  and thrown out by the Vietnamese and Indonesians from their home countries in heroic battles that still raise a cheer in Asia. Ho Chi Minh,
General Vµ Nguyªn Gi¡p, Sukarno and Mohammed Hatta among others are house hold names in Asia.

Re-visiting the Struggle for Liberation of Indonesia

The invasion of Dutch East Indies ( Indonesia) and subsequent occupation by Japan for three and a half years from end of 1941 to 1945 was a critical factor in raising the hopes of the Indonesian people for liberation from the yoke of Dutch colonial rule. The Netherlands were unable to defend their colony against the more superior forces from Japan, and within three months of the initial attacks, the Japanese had successfully occupied much of the Dutch East Indies. In both Java, and Sumatra (Indonesia’s two dominant islands), the Japanese began to spread and encourage nationalist sentiment among the Indonesians for liberation from Dutch occupation which had lasted for more than two and half centuries.

Though this was a strategic move on the part of Japan aimed more at political advantage for them, it nevertheless contributed to raising the consciousness of the Indonesians and in turn creating new local institutions (including neighbourhood organisations) and further catapulted  political leaders such as Sukarno into the international arena. In addition the Japanese systematically replaced much of the Dutch-created economic, administrative, and political infrastructure.

Sukarno and Hatta proclaimed Indonesia’s independence on 17 August 1945, two days after Japan’s proclamation of surrender. Sukarno was elected as President and Hatta as Vice – President by the Indonesian National Committee fighting for Indonesia’s independence.The Dutch accused Sukarno and Hatta of collaborating with the Japanese  after receiving a ten million dollar loan from the United States of America to finance the Dutch return to Indonesia and run it as a Dutch colony once more. The British  too assisted the Dutch to land their troops in Indonesia to retake the country from Sukarno and his Indonesian liberation army. After a costly war the Dutch eventually surrendered to Indonesian forces which also had Japanese remnants from the Japanese occupation army, and recognised Indonesian sovereignty in 1949.

Sri Lanka benefited from Asia’s war for liberation from western colonial rule

It must be acknowledged that Sri Lanka like India and several other Asian countries were the direct beneficiaries  of Japanese ( and German ) engagement in World War 2 because at the end of this War western imperial powers such as Britain, France and Netherlands were very much weakened, lacking in resources and  Britain in particular was in no mood to fight another war i.e. possible war of independence launched by Indian soldiers under the inspiration and legacy of  Subhas Chandra Bose and the INA, within India.

Though we in Sri Lanka live under a self – styled grand delusion that independence for Sri Lanka was won from Britain exclusively by the efforts of our own leaders through exchange of letters over cups of tea, it is factually incorrect and a big myth. We were simply lucky. After 1848 we never fought against the British Imperial armies through force of arms. It was other fellow Asians e.g. Japanese, Vietnamese, Indians ( in the Indian National Army under Subhas Chandra Bose), Burmese, Indonesians etc., who fought and shed their blood fighting for Asia’s liberation from the yoke of Western imperialism. We benefited from their bloody sacrifices though we have yet to concede this fact. The British Empire would have clung to its colonial possessions in Asia  for a much longer time, if Japan did not make aggressive war against the West in Asia with the support of the colonized people of Asia,  and drive fear into the colonial west of the dangers of continuing with european colonial rule East of the Suez Canal. This was the only language that the imperial west understood and grudgingly respected.

If we in Sri Lanka wish to honour our heroes who fought and sacrificed their life and limb for our liberation from Western imperial armies, then we must re-visit the battles of Danture ( 1593), Randeniwala (1630), Gannoruwa (1638), Matara (1765), Uva – Wellasa (1818), Matale (1848) among others. Like in other countries our school children must be given a sense of national pride through proper identification of our authentic national heroes.

 

Image of Sinhala Soldiers who fought for the liberation of their motherland

 

Veera Keppitipola

A Nation that fails to pay tribute to its war heroes and martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the liberation of one’s country from foreign conquerors is an ungrateful nation.

The absence of appropriate war memorials, plaques, statues in remembrance of our heroes and historic battle grounds that kept the light of freedom burning until 1815 in the Kandyan Kingdom is adequate testimony to this monumental lapse.

The more we forget history the more we allow history to repeat itself to our detriment.

 

 

22 Responses to “Who won freedom for Sri Lanka?”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    SL is already an UNGRATEFUL nation.

    Govt. today does exactly what the army PREVENTED.

    VP has been replaced by CVV. Same shitt, different smell.

  2. sena Says:

    After the latest war for liberation, we are sending the women relatives of the war heroes (rural youth) to ME to earn dollars for the benefit of politicians and free education blessed professionals who after eighty year existence of free higher education has done nothing for the betterment of the economy.

  3. Christie Says:

    We beat the Indian terrorist arm branded Tamil Tigers in 2009. We are still the subjects of the Indian imperialists. Mohandas, Bose and Nehru are the first to realize the importance of the Indian Union that was built by the British in pursuit of the British Indian Empire. These three Imperialists are the root of problems of the island nation.
    We also should teach how the island nation was administered by the Indians from the Malabar coast, how Indian Sepoys and Coolies helped the British to dominate places like Fiji, Africa etc. British never colonized these dominions. It was the Indian who colonized these countries. That is the problem we have. We are unfortunate that almost all the Indian colonial parasites in our land came from the areas closer to us. How Indian colonial parasites colonized the North and the East and Malay Nadu.

  4. Fran Diaz Says:

    Senaka, thank you for this heartfelt article. I was quite ignorant about the roles played by Japan & even Indonesia, though we are all familiar with the role of India in our own Independence in Sri Lanka.

    From the ex-Colonists we have learnt somethings and received positive learning in a few spheres. We have to retain those positive aspects such as Democratic rule and throw out the negative stuff. Blend in and adapt the positive aspects into local flavors and throw out the ‘garbage’ stuff from abroad. Let us learn before it is too late and protect all in Lanka.

    ——–

    Yes, tribute to the armed forces of Lanka must be done. It must be an ongoing tribute, tied to Independence Day (4th Feb). We are gratified that a Wall of Commemoration to those who died in the War with Terrorism, has been erected.

    The price of Democracy is Eternal Vigilance. Ex-colonists never quite give up ! The ‘Divide & Rule’ principle is the weapon of choice and the game has begun.

    The entire SE Asian region should be declared a NON-ALIGNED ZONE, and peace pacts signed with India and other countries for non-involvement with Cold Wars and World Wars.

    Life is too precious anywhere in the world to squander away in wars. it is better to practice natural Birth Control and serious
    Family Planning methods than have wars to reduce populations. Also share Resources in a fair manner with the world, and be mindful to deliver clean air, water and food to People everywhere.

    Armies should be now ready to deal with internal problems as well as natural disasters, particularly weather related, due to Global Warming.

  5. Fran Diaz Says:

    Christie,

    Indians who migrated out of India mainly due to Caste based strife, became the servants, one way or another, of the Colonists.
    The two together formed a symbiotic relationship, a sort of strong interdependence which continues to this day viz Tamil Diaspora. Local resources were exploited by this combination and the local indigenous folk left out.

    With the tool of Democracy in hand now, countries such as Sri Lanka can aim for good governance and better fair play by all.

  6. Fran Diaz Says:

    We would love to see that picture in Senaka’s article (Image of Sinhala Soldiers who fought for Liberation ….) on a Sri Lanka stamp !

  7. Fran Diaz Says:

    This is heartening news ! (Recall that SWITZERLAND did even better with an added civilian army composed of every able bodied adult Swiss citizen (WW II) ).

    “A peacetime opportunity for professionals to serve the Volunteer Army
    February 12, 2014, 9:00 pm

    by Shamindra Ferdinando

    Nearly five years after the conclusion of the conflict, the government is embarking on a special project to recruit professionals into the Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Reserve (SLAVR). With the re-positioning of the Army in the former battle zones as well as other parts of the country, the army top brass is of the opinion that professionally qualified personnel should be accommodated in the SLAVR in keeping with the government’s post-war strategy.

    Addressing the media at Nelum Pokuna on Tuesday evening, Military spokesman Ruwan Wanigasooriya explained the need to enlist professionals. He said that the Army intended to recruit in 300 officers and 900 other rankers in 2014. Professionals between 18 and 55 are eligible to apply.

    Brigadier Wanigasooriya emphasized that the project shouldn’t be misconstrued as further militarisation of society. The military spokesman was referring to the ongoing protests against the undergraduates given leadership training at various military facilities as part of a Higher Education Ministry project.

    The military spokesman said those selected would have the opportunity to undergo training at Diyatalawa and there could be refresher courses and workshops subsequently. The officer said that training sessions would be planned, taking into consideration the age of those participating. The SLAVR intends to choose the first batch before end of March 31, 2014.

    Responding to a query, Brigadier Wanigasooriya said that the even those in the hospitality trade as well as journalists could apply.

    Brigadier Wanigasooriya and Army Headquarters spokesman Brigadier Jayanath Jayaweera explained the circumstances under which the volunteers served the nation during the conflict. Volunteer formations served alongside the Regular Army in the war zone. According to SLAVR records a total of 3,869 officers and men paid the supreme sacrifice during the conflict while 2,961 were seriously wounded. The first recipient of Sri Lanka’s highest gallantry award was Lieutenant S.U. Aladeniya of the third battalion (Volunteer) of Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment (SLSR). Aladeniya was killed during the battle for the isolated Kokavil army detachment in June 1990 at the onset of Eelam war II.

    Responding to the SLAVR call, Pushpa Ramyani Zoysa, National Coordinator (Training) at the National Hospital and Dr. Sudath Damsinghe, Director/Princi-pal of the University College of Health Studies, Sri Jayewardenepura General Hospital offered to join the army volunteers. They joined Tuesday’s media briefing as the first applicants responding to the SLAVR’s call.

    Addressing the media, both Zoysa and Damsinghe said that they were privileged to serve the military. They recalled the heavy sacrifices made by the military to eradicate terrorism hence to pave the way for peace and stability”.

  8. samurai Says:

    I agree with the writer. Whatever the motives for Japan’s entry to World War II and conflicts with her East Asian neighbours her military role in the rest of Asia was the major factor that accelerated the independence of European colonies in the region. When I visited the Yasukuni Shrine Museum in Tokyo in 2007 I found a section devoted to Asian independence. It highlights the role of the Indian National Army and the Indonesian and Vietnamese anti-colonial struggles.

    While Subhas Chandra Bose and the INA fought on the Japanese side other Indian leaders agreed to extend support to the Western Allies ON CONDITION THE BRITISH LEAVE INDIA if and when they won the war. When the colonialists seemed dilly dallying on this issue after the war the Royal Indian Navy staged a mutiny in February 1946 and found support throughout British-India. And at the trial of the Japanese-backed INA officers and men held in the Red Fort all of them were acquitted since the charge of treason could not be maintained.

    Sri Lanka was in no position to make such demands to the British because after her last independence struggle in 1848 (the Matale uprising) our leaders had substituted campaigning for real independence with campaigning for constitutional reforms. It was sort of begging for eventual ‘independence’ in return for loyalty to the Empire. There was not even a civil disobedience movement the kind of which Mahathma Gandhi led although some of our leaders were wrongly imprisoned and several ordinary people executed during the communal riots of 1915.

    It was only in the cultural/religious sphere there was a real awakening thanks to the likes of Miggettuwatte Gunananda, Henry Steele Olcott, Anagarika Dharmapala, Walisinghe Harischandra, S. Mahinda, etc.
    Independence to us was automatic when Britain was forced to give up her ‘Jewel in the Crown’ – India. She became a republic soon after independence. Burma (Myanmar) even left the British Commonwealth. Whereas we could not cut off the colonial umbilical cord and continued to have a Governor-General, British military bases, accept knighthoods and continued to appeal to the Privy Council on legal matters, let alone leave the commonwealth. Our foreign policy in the early 1950s was dictated by the West in contrast to India, Myanmar and Indonesia.

    What is even more ridiculous is Ranil Wickremesinghe planned to celebrate the 500th anniversary on 2005 of the arrival of the Portuguese. Fortunately he was no longer Prime Minister in 2005.

    This is why I share the writer’s view that we should ALSO commemorate patriots like Seethawaka Rajasinghe, Edirille Rala, Veediya Bandara, Vimaladharmasuriya 1, Rajasinghe II, etc. on every Independence Day because European colonization in Sri Lanka did not begin with the British but with the Portuguese three centuries earlier in the same way Indians commemorate heir heroes like Sivaji, Rani of Jhansi etc.

    Here I must also refer to the comments made on a related article titled, ‘Distorting history could lead to dissension’ which appeared on a February 2. I was amazed to see one reader trying to belittle the learning of history. In countries like the USA and Australia it is essential for an immigrant to know the relevant country’s history before acquiring citizenship. There may be different interpretations of history and it is up to historians and archaeologists to research get at the version nearest to the truth after discussions and debates when necessary. But to do it first a country should be aware that things have happened in the past and they have bearing not only on the present but also on the future.

    HAVING AN AWARENESS OF HISTORY IS ONE OF THE THINGS THAT MAKES HUMANS DIFFERENT FROM ANIMALS. Even the most primitive tribes have a sense of the past and indigenous knowledge is handed down from generation to generation.

  9. SA Kumar Says:

    “A peacetime opportunity for professionals to serve the Volunteer Army” – Fight against future invaders ???

    Invaders from India , Pakistan , Bangadesh, Maltivs ???

    or Eelam war V !!!

  10. Nimal Says:

    we in Sri Lanka wish to honour our heroes who fought and sacrificed their life and limb for our liberation from Western imperial armies, then we must re-visit the battles of Danture ‘
    Why should we, they would have served only a few, not the majority like us? These tyrants ruled the nations of the world that included UK,then there came the tsunami of parliamentary democracy, true power to the people. People in the south like Gajaman Nona befriended the colonial traders, where she may have seen a glimpse or order and progress among them and wanted the same for her people too. She befriended likes of John D ‘Oyle thereby the tyrannical king of Kandy was ousted by consent by our equally tyrannical chieftains who wanted to change places, but their vile schemas failed with the above mentioned events and thank heavens for that. If we are going to honour tyrants and colonials like above mentioned and pictured, who did nothing for us but subjugated the people to utter misery, then why not give a bit of praise to the next wave of colonials that gave us a civilized infrastructure where the man in the street (if they ever had a street then) could seek justice (in court houses), get educated in schools, get treated in hospitals and this list is endless. By the way why is this veeraya called Kappetipola and his other friends who ruled the roost then had their siblings named after the colonials. To name a few like Charles,Mervin,Denzil,Solomon,John,Dudley,etc,etc I wonder why, most probably they identified with their new found saviours and named their siblings after them and some even changed the religion.
    My family comes from the south, but my large family, most of them are married to these people, where two signed the convention and they are people I would not like to share my table with them. They are very arrogant and pompous. Looking in to their privately held family records that go way back is in Tamil and their ancestors had Tamil names. I was shocked and strengthened my belief when I sent over 100 blankets to SL from UK in 1973,where it was gifted to me by an kind old English gentleman who owned a hotel and wanted to replace them with new.I remember giving them some of them to the children of the servant couple who looked after my old parents. These kids young as 3yers old were sleeping on mats on cold floors of Kandy in Dec on the open veranda.My foreign born wife and I decided to lay some of these blankets over these kids to the fury of my brother in law, who took them away as he believed that they don’t need them as they are peasants from villages. I was so furious I never liked him and made sure he never stepped in to our house. My other sister in law used to lock the poor servant girl in the toilet whenever she went out, to the fury of my brother. She was reported to the cops for a similar incident and I am glad that my brother living a peaceful life without her. One has to see the house of Ehalapola in Kandy where after his capture, his siblings appreciated the colonials, they changed the banisters of his house that was with a local style in 1824 to a Union Jack, which you can see today. I checked up that he lived a life of a prince in Mauritius. Our tyrannical king murdered his family in the most gruesome way at the Bogambara lake,whereby the Colonials in an attempt erase the that horrible memory of our sad history filled that lake and moved the Kandy lake to the present location for all to enjoy. Likewise they moved under the direction of Governor Manning the sacred tooth to the Maligawa and performed the Present Perhara in 1828.This event was celebrated for the true enjoyment of the innocent people who suffered immensely over centuries under various tyrants.When the first perahara was performed the colonials had to bring down 1800 Malay troopers to protect the people from the remnants of the tyrannical hierarchy that didn’t want the people to enjoy. I could show you a true photo or painting of the troopers guarding the town and this painting included the original house of Ehalapola,if I had away.John ‘ O’doyle loved our people, spoke good Sinhalese,turtored by Gajaman Nona,he planned the calibration of the perahara,but took many years to build the roads of Kandy you see today, never lived to see that great event in Kandy as he died in 1824.His original house in Kandy is the present house of the Diyawadana Nilame.We had one road in Kandy,that was to be used by the concubines and sidekicks of the king named Malabar street and the pseudo nationalists have changed the name. They use the name of the tyrant above to subjugate us. No one can build a house above his statue, except for the cronies of the ruling elite. President who fought the terrorists in the North must fight the tyranny unleashed on the people now, then people and IC will have some respect. It is sad that people who live in comfort in the West can so badly hallucinate over our history. All histories of all nations, without exception is stained with blood of it’s innocent majority.Taj Mahal is a good example where over 40,000 were murdered by a mad king making it and we must be raving mad to accept it has a symbol of love.
    I am a very busy man, but I thought I could contribute something to you today.

  11. Fran Diaz Says:

    Nimal,

    We are indeed sorry to hear of the way some members of your family behaved toward their helpers in their homes. Is it a lack of knowledge of Buddhism or whatever religion they espouse ? Or is it the way they saw their parents treating home helpers ? I don’t know.

    Also, Colonisation did a lot of damage to the country and its people. Colonisation brought about a lack of self esteem. The unhappiness may have taken out by ill treatment of home helpers. An off shoot of unhappiness is callousness. A happy person will never ill treat another person or animal. That is how human nature works.

    Sri Lanka had a great Buddhist civilization for those times, long before Colonists arrived in Lanka. The ebb and flow of events and moments in history of unpreparedness brought disaster of colonization.

    Nimal, my past personal experience with Lankans are quite contrary to your experiences, and they were all generally quite positive and praiseworthy, with only a very few exceptions.

    ————–

    All countries that were Colonised, suffered. All have yet to recover.

    I am not blaming all ills of our country on the Colonisers, but to a large degree they did a lot of damage. Some of our damaged colonized have become godawful bootlickers and pimps of sorts for the ex-colonizers, not only to their self detriment but also to the detriment of the country.

    There is a way to co-operate with others, without being simpering, pathetic weaklings. Put the Law of the Land first, and there we have a friend in need. The Law of the Land is our friend.

    The Buddha said : “Depend upon Yourselves”.

  12. Nimal Says:

    Diaz
    Come to Kandy where the dravidans had dominated our culture where the only place of worship are the devilish devales,only worshipped by these leaders from South India.Lord Buddha never spoke about gods and these guys devil worshiped and ruled our country. Sinhalese were pushed to the south and to jungles in places like Bintanne.They were Colonials of the worst kind.Read Dr Nihal Karunaratne’s book about Kandy, where he says that City of Pollonaruwa was neglected and forgotten that it took 300 years to discover by the new colonials.
    I pity some patriots who say that the Suddas divided and ruled. This is utter nonsense because it doesn’t make any sense to run a country or company as I do if the citizens or employee are divided at each other. Our stupid culture seems to like backbiting, backstabbing and this disunity which is bad for business in a company or country as unity is might for all aspects. I will and I have sacked any employee or relative that bring disharmony in my business. Most think by backbiting and back stabbing and make false accusations makes me happy, it’s just the contrary, bad for business.In 70s as a student I was employed and I felt sorry for some of the students from my beloved country,managed to get employment for them.What happened was running our own SL brothers to the Sudda Employer,he was so pissed off by this he sacked the tale carrier because he never compromised the unity and harmony of his employee,distrupted by a stupid SL idiot.
    I have the same problems with my friend and close relatives in SL,running my business there, seems to run this in our people.Denzil C,relatve by marriage saw to himself the this defect in among us here in UK,when he often met me at weekends in London.
    We have lot to learn from these people. These people are the best people you can have as friends. They hardly go to church but they are charitable, generous and kind and that’s why they allowed thousands to come and settle and we have done well out of them, well enough to help our unfortunate people back home and truly back our governments in SL to fight the terrorists who think that they could truly divide and rule that iswhat some of you are doing now.
    Draviden rulers, whom you call Sinhala ruled in different areas where they were never united and if so they would have had a good road infrastructure. People of the Kandian kingdom were so isolated with the Kotte people,those you wanted to come to Kandy from Colombo had to sail to Trincomalee and walk to Kandy, until Capt Dawson and Major Skinner made the road between Kandy and Colombo and interacted with the humble people of the villages and they built the first hospital in the country.
    Until they came here our people died at a very young age with disease and even malnourishment. I am no boot licker of the colonials but a straight talking individual and I had many RATIONAL agreement and Disagreements with them and they respect me for that and that respect is mutual.
    These colonials too suffered until only a few decades before their vist to our shores, in the most gruesome manner especially under the Christian religious tyrants and with the disgruntled kings protesting and as years go by one king ushered true democracy, perhaps inspired by the teachings he or she heard from the great teachers in the east.
    So enjoyed their new found way of life or Philosophy that was ushered to us.
    This is what I observed during their times in SL.I was born in Mirihana,where my mother came from a family whose lands that circled the palace of Kotte,where one of their homes were in Devala Road(what devala for Buddhist Sinhalese?) Frankly it was a Dravidian setup, where they imposed Dravidian statues next to Hon Lord Buddha.I was born in the sprolling lands where the present Mirhana police station is,where we donated it to the state where only the tiny church where I was baptized is remaining.
    Moral of this is they inculcated all the good virtues on the people they ruled. I remember how the Suddas came smartly dressed in Black police uniforms(high rankers wore black) just to inspect the old police station that was on the station road to Gangodawila and Gansaba junction.They wanted to make sure that the cops celebrated the Wesak or Christmas with the poor in the area.They were all welcomed at the expense of the state.I remember the same two Suddas inspecting the food served at the dansala just down the road at Gansaba junction,later I was told the Thorana that was annually erected on the road to Dehivala and Ratmalana from the Gansaba junction was madartory.It was mandatory for business people to set these up at their expense and they were honoured for the people who did the best presentation. Sense of true charity and generosity was truly encouraged.Thorana junction was thus created the famous thorana constructed by the famous bus muddalali BJ.Fernando,as I remember.
    I must also remind what they did to help the poor who couldn’t afford transport to go on pilgrimage, walk to work, visit friends by walking.Since the roads were tarred where barefooted roads were too hot for people to walk,made it comfortable and shady by bringing down Mara seeds from South America, like Brazil and Belize and created nurseries in places like Gampha(first botanical gdns) and Kandy and the DROs and GAs were instructed various depts. too plant these Mara trees along the roads.They too made it mandatory for dwellers who lived by the main roads to place a pot of water with a handda for the thirsty people to drink. I remember they were being checked regularly by the govt officials to see no mosquitoes bread that indicates that the water was not changed. In one occation,I was having a hair cut at jubilee junction, where one sudda or burgher official threw the pot of water on the barber, as the pot was full of mosquitoes .They built ambalamas to travellers in every part of the country and the school senior scouts were asked clean them on Saturdays.
    This is one storey I must tell you guys, we used to live in front of the old Mirihana Police station during the Japanese raid, where food looters were supposed to be shot on sight. Next to the old police station was a poor govia’s vegetable patch, were the next door cops and us bought his fresh vegetable and highly priced chillies,where he carefully washed them at the stream below, where that land was owned by us. One day some black marketeers or a gang hid in the bushes and grabbed whole gunny bag full of washed chillies. Poor man’s screams were heard by the cops at the station and the gang was promptly nabbed and was locked up.
    My mum was upset of the horrible screams coming from the police station, when my father went to the police station to investigate, found the OIC for several station had been told about the robbery, where the officers were asked to force feed the robbers with the chillies, a whole gunny bag. Thereafter not a bean or chilee was stolen and everyone that includes the nearby robbers lived happily thereafter.
    There was less crime then and the people were respectful to one another. There was bus service name Cock bus company(Also known as Kula bus company).I used to visit my grands at Kotte in devale road at the age of 4 years or 5 years and I hardly big enough to climb up to the bus, where the kind conductor always carried me up and the bus went deliberately by passing the jubilee post to drop me safely at my house and the bus had to go to the police station to turnaround to get back to the usual route to Nuggegoda.Will this ever happened these days? Several occasions they never charged me for the trip.

  13. Fran Diaz Says:

    NImal,

    You have poured your Heart out here. I hear you and know what you mean. But, many Caucasian people also suffered and continue to suffer in various ways. Colonists do not have the recipe for Happiness or the Good Life. Some are good, happy folk. There are such people in every country.

    You are referring to what are called the ‘good old days’ after WW II.

    You must see that when you and I got born in Lanka, the Colonial days were OVER, or nearly over. Those who ACTUALLY LIVED THROUGH THE COLONIAL TIMES WILL NOT AGREE WITH YOU ! They had untold suffering with forced conversions, seeing only the converted got good jobs, education in the new ways, divested of their lands, saw their loved ones killed for
    just protests, their religion demeaned, etc. The list of heart rending stories are endless. Have pity on them, feel their suffering. They have cause for complaint. They are your ancestors, yours and mine. They may be Dravidian mixed in with others – so what ? Genetically speaking, the whole of Earth has mixed genes. We are of the Human race. We feel for ourselves and others. That is what matters.

    Also, the run up to the Hill country during the times of the Sinhala Kings was never developed for reasons of security.

    The colonists ‘developed’ roads to transport goods made in the country such as tea, rubber etc. and also to transport troops and foreign dignitaries and workers to plantations. It was not done as a tribute to such folk as you or I or our kith and kin.

    I am a Buddhist, though not the temple going type, but try to follow the Buddha’s teachings and do some meditation. I find the Meditation very healing. The Buddha said ‘come and see’. This is unique among all religions which are usually very authoritarian. So, Nimal, ‘come and see’. Heal yourself and then you can heal others too.

    Here is a website of healing words : wopg.org

  14. Nimal Says:

    Fran Diaz
    There are bad sudas ruling the roost now and then and we got them now who want to attack other countries and have terrible double standards. These are dirty evil politicians and the majority of the people here don’t agree with their action, like our PM going to North and molly cuddle the terrorist rump. There must be some reason for this that one Thimbaram had pointed out in this web. Security services people are truly happy that SL had got rid of the terrorists, where other countries have failed. People here too are unhappy with the politicians who lobby for terrorists but other local issues here overrides their concerns for us.One way I think to end the threat to the island is to put our own house in order and bring discipline into our people from the bottom to the top. Try drive in SL and you will mean what I mean.I had to wait over 2 months to get some vital building work done to our roof in SL,where I could have done it in 1 week in UK.They have no pity and they despise you that you live abroad. Before I left I left several millions to replace the doors and several windows that was damaged during the bomb last in 1989,which was temporally patched up and to fit the new toilet fittings, which I need them fairly soon as my son’s wedding to be taken place soon where my wife’s relatives from Singapore and Japan will be staying. After taking the money the contractor vanished since last Oct. Recently he sent his workers to removes his props and tools saying that it is for a funeral house. They use religious functions or a funerals as excuses to avoid their commitment. So don’t tell me what a glorious place it is as we are making a hell out of a paradise. My people are very old and frail and they exploit it to full.

  15. Nimal Says:

    Fran
    You seem to be critical of colonials building roads to transport tea and other goods for commercial purposes. So what’s wrong with that, may I ask? Like wise I too contributed to the betterment of the country here and the whole world, where communication and internet is so useful.Do you think any sane person here will accuse me for helping science and technology and now my involment in commerce and trade? W.R.T to ethical conversions, though I don’t condone this but it’s the freedom of a society to do what they like within reason. There’s a Buddhist society right here in Belgravia, back to my building,where suddas are converting many other suddas to be Buddhist and no one objects to it.There are very vile fundamentalist Christian fanatics targeting the poor nations and it’s up to educate the people not to fall for them. What ever the colonials did we are now benefitted to our own survival and well being and are you to say that they have done us wrong?
    What healing do I get coming there, while almost every one wants to get out, especially politicians who have dual nationalities and green cards money invested asbroad? Conduct a sincere poll as how many wants to get out to western countries and find out how many live in these countries and lecture us about our culture. When some on high up said about our culture, is he aware of the lawlessness in the country and other silly things happening there?PerhapsI don’t know the meaning of the word culture, perhaps not wearing silly outdated cloths worn only by silly politicians to fool the people, some of the time but not all the time. Sorry must go dinner is ready and good night to you all from windy and rainy London.

  16. Fran Diaz Says:

    Nimal,

    You have written a whole lot of stuff here. I have no time to answer all of it – may be I will address some of it later, ok ?

    No, I am not critical of the roads – you have missed my point – I am critical of the concept of Colonising other peoples’ countries and using their people and resources as if they own that country. The Colonists themselves fought off being colonized, say for example, Britain fought off Rome. Isn’t it a of lack of ethics and morality to Colonise other peoples’ countries. Most Colonists came from Europe. Why is that ? It is not in keeping with Christianity. Also, Jesus Christ carried a message of Love not Conquest by force.

  17. aloy Says:

    We have been able to read a long discussion between Nimal and Fran. We must thank Nimal for pouring out the nationalistic feelings like a true patriot, even coming out with lots of personal details. However I must totally disagree with things he has said about Sinhalas. We have been made to believe that the colonials did lot of things and saved us from misery. This I believe is the effect of colombianization. They brain washed Sinhalas in Colombo area to believe that we were not capable of doing anything. True we were unable to dislodge the waduga king who got hold of kandian kingdom and the chieftains had to get help from the British. But to say that our people were just a disorganized collection of local tyrants is completely rubbish. Look at the ruins of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Yapahuwa etc. and the ancient irrigation systems that sustained about 5m people about a thousand years ago. Read the poems of Salalihini Sandeshaya that describe peaceful village life and the thinking of people at that time ( about four hundred years ago).
    I was watching a discussion on TV by two venerable monks and another person (I remember on ‘Siyatha’) a couple of days ago. According to one of the monks, King of Holland was generous enough to give a ship about 280 years ago to the clergy to go to Thailand and bring a Buddhist delegation to revive the Buddhism here. He was trying to give the impression that we were completely helpless and due to that act we were able to do something. But it was colonials who brought us to that situation by destroying our own ships and the ship building capacity. According to Mahavamsa just a few hundred years before that, whole of our east coast was one ship building yard, building thousand of ships for a mission in south east Asia. According to Bernard Wijesinghe there is a Sinhalese made weapon displayed in a Dutch museum for warfare with ships. Similarly the British too destroyed our villages (Wellassa and Matale) and made us to believe that what they were doing by building roads schools ect. was for our own good instead of their empire. They all were planning to stay here for ever.

  18. samurai Says:

    The Sinhala military weapon in Holland is a canon with intricate carvings / designs and mounted on two wheels. It is in the Amsterdam Museum and a small replica of it is on display in the National Museum, Colombo. Whether it was used against ships I have no idea. The canon belonged to Leuwke Dissawe according to a press report which appeared in the Sunday Observer many years ago.

    European colonizers did not come to Sri Lanka or to any of the other conquered territories with altruistic motives but for their own selfish objectives. But in the process both positive and negative results emerged – British rule being comparatively better than the previous two colonial administrations. The Portuguese were of course were the worst.

    Historical events and personalities have to be studied from a correct perspective. They have to be seen in context and have to be properly weighed to understand which aspects need more recognition.

    Slavery was a common and accepted practice in many countries in ancient times and was not officially abolished until the 19th Century. Greece is known as one of the earliest democracies (city states) but it also practiced slavery and its great philosophers and thinkers like Plato, Aristotle are not known to have condemned slavery. But should they be expunged from history because they did not oppose slavery? Not only Greeks but even the vast majority of educated people will not agree to that even if some of them may criticize the theories of those philosophers and thinkers, including Diogenes who lived in a barrel.

    People who criticize Mahawansa should realize that in that era there was no proper method of history studying ANYWHERE in the world by today’s standards. Nevertheless Mahawansa, Chulawansa and other such chronicles are valuable sources to understand certain events, way of life, beliefs customs etc and to be subjected to scientific and other forms of investigation and studies. These have proved that many things cited in these books are true although the interpretations may be subject to debate.

    Seethawalaka Rajasinghe (Rajasinghe I) was a tyrant and his tyranny forced Konappu Bandara (late Vimaladharmsuriya I) to join the Portuguese until the time came throw them out from the Kandyan Kingdom and seize power. However the feature common to both kings was they resisted the Portuguese. Historically that is what is important to us. Seethawaka Rajasinghe almost threw the Portuguese into the sea but could not accomplish the task due to lack of naval power.

    If Konappu Bandara had not turned against the Portuguese and seized power in the Kandyan Kingdom, crowning himself as Vimaladharmasuriya I Sri Lanka would have become another Asian aberration like the Philippines. This is why the Portuguese called him the ‘Traitor of Kandy’ because he staged a coup at the right moment when they least expected it from him. If not for KB our present society would have been vastly different.

    Keppetttipola may have been feudal in his thinking like other aristocrats of his time but he took the right decision in 1818 when he turned against the British who devastated the entire Wellassa, massacred Sinhala villagers and destroyed their livestock because they opposed British rule.

    Hardly any Frenchman would today want to replace the democratic system of governance in France with the rule Napoleon introduced. He waged aggressive wars causing many French soldiers to lose their lives in conflict that eventually led to the country’s defeat. Eventually Napoleon died in exile. But he is a French national hero mainly for two reasons – he restored law and order in France after the reign of terror that claimed many lives following the French Revolution. He also introduced Code Napoleon which is the foundation of the French legal system today. Other countries too studied it and improved upon it.

    Stalin was a tyrant and Russians were glad when Stalinism ended in that country. But it was under him that Russia and the rest of the Soviet Union defeated the Nazi German invaders in World War II.

    No one wants to go back to the past but we have to understand the positive impact of what happened then. It is foolish to solely use present-day yardsticks to judge the merits and demerits of events and leaders in history.

  19. Nimal Says:

    Aloy
    Sorry I have got much time to read all your explanation, but I will if time permits.Whatever one says about the Colobians,let’s be honest and truthful. Given the opportunity every one of us wants to be a Columbians with all mods and cons.Where dopes the boats full of people heading and where does our politicians of all colours and business people have second homes? Are they desperately trying to go to the third world? Don’t think so. Columbian life is the way forward. Remember the great cultural revelation of MO Tse thung is in tatters. China is more capitalist than any other country. Why deny that to our humble people with this cultural and historical nonsense.
    I have made my life so set up, I wine and dine with so many nationalities, doubt any SL have that access,which included many g.f from many nationalities and you learn a great deal about life,even in SL during my vey short stay as a teen hobnobbed with many foreign nationals in Colombo as I was fascinated by them and despised by the locals, because they were jealous. Few politicians in SL who knows me will back me up on this and I am, giving this same message to them. yesterday was Valentine’s day where we dined, laughed with 2 ittalians 2 English couples, one South African cop.They were complete strangers bound by the Columbian style life style, never ran any one down, just as many Italians I associated in the past,these two ittalian guys came again for a drink and a snack and I deliberately wanted them to engage in their history which was known to have been glorious but as usual they were not bit interested in their past. Same thing went to my Greek friend Toney who delivered the repaired TV today, where we asked about their glorious history but both parties were never interested and they ridiculed the question as it hand no relevance or put a red sent in their pocket. They too hallucinate and have obsessions like ghost hunting, space alians,foot ball and beer and that’s after they made a daily living but sadly in our case in sl it is the government policy that rus religion and culture that is obstructive and counterproductive and utterly absurd, as the silly dress our politicians wear to deceive them selves and the people. Night is still young and much to catch up with the Italians’ second visit. Good night and sorry for any grammatical errors, as none speak good English here as the colonials left that with us in the colonies for us to enjoy..

  20. aloy Says:

    Nimal, A final note.
    Never think that we would not have been what we are today if not for the British. Look at Thailand. That country was never colonized by anybody, but they are at least two steps ahead of us although they are way behind us in English. They are more developed than us in many ways including agriculture. The Japanese cars manufactured or assembled there has captured markets all countries around. The Toyota Yaris car sold here at almost twice the price in neighboring countries is made there. (and our pubic sector employees who get the so called tax free permits have to pay through their nose, of course this is another story). That country had a good leader, their king who has a degree in Agriculture from Switzerland have put their agriculture in sound footing. We simply did not have good leaders to take us to prosperity.

  21. samurai Says:

    I fully agree with Aloy. It is only the colonized minds which think that only the white man made us what we are today. This mental colonisation is the biggest damage the British did to us more than the physical ones. The President of the Royal Asiatic Society Sri Lanka, Dr. Susantha Goonatilake wrote a book on this subject.

    Moving into a another area, we cannot judge the general thinking of a society on particular issue or topic by just talking to a few, no matter which nationality they belong to. It takes all kinds of people to make the world go round. Some are interested in history, culture and related subjects. Others are not. Some are interested but have no time to focus on them because they are busy in different fields. Still others are more interested in the ‘philosophy’ of eat, drink and be merry (‘kapalla, beepalla, heta marunath hithata sapayi ada joli karala’). All of it is quite understandable.

    But if anyone says an awareness of history and cultural roots is not important for society merely because one is not interested in them then his/her sanity in question – because if we take that argument to its logical extreme we might as well close our museums, National Archives, Archaeological Departments, history study faculties in our universities etc.

    Being concerned with history does not necessarily mean only studying about kings , empires, revolutions, wars and other political developments but also other transformations in society and ways of life and how they impacted on people. This recalls a cartoon that appeared in the ‘International Herald Tribune’ some years back on two youngsters viewing exhibits in a museum. One of them seeing an old manual typewriter on display and asks the other:

    “My god, how did they use that thing without a spell checker?”

  22. Nimal Says:

    Aloy
    Thiland,people are fed up of their utterly court leaders, given up on democracy and desperate,see the daily riots? Who ever comes will do the same.Vist Puketh and you might change your mind. They will sacrifice their dear and near to make a living but their arrogant leaders syphon money to buy foot ball clubs and other investments in the West.
    Japan,married from there can say they have an arrogant and a nasty history and I rather have my second home in a place like Thanamanwila than live there.Nazies made the best goods in the world and they were not judge for that. Ask the survivors in Manchuria, Burma, Malaya how much they suffered during their occupation? Lets hope they will never rule the world. You are a Sudda living there, just as in the Middle east, you may be treated better but to our people, just go there and find out. Our people who live there might be contended because they haven’t been to better places.

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