In Praise of folly: Bringing a prince to celebrate Jennings’s wedding anniversary
Posted on January 31st, 2018

Punsara Amarasinghe

In his classic work Franz Fanon has stated the most deplorable agony of colonialism is not the despicable ways used by colonial rulers to expand power in colonies through ruthless manners, but the real tragedy of colonialism is the people who have been subjected to colonial occupation are mentally reluctant to detach their bond with colonial experience as they tend to cherish them. Mainly British Empire which was known as the empire which the sun never sets was built on the series of treacherous acts they tactfully culminated in Asia and Africa. Indeed the panegyric poets like Rudyard Kipling justified the diabolical acts of British rule in colonies as a part white man’s burden” to civilize the oriental nations which Englishmen considered their moral mission in the East. Nevertheless the real mission that British carried out was built on blood and lust for power. Today in post Braxit world Britain has been torn between protecting her aged old pride and securing her crippled economy from a limbo, moreover Britain is still looking to common wealth countries with which British share a shameful memory in the past. In the backdrop of such a context it is evident Britain does not rule the waves as she used to be and ironically modern Britain’s purchasing power has been outnumbered by India as an emerging world power. Indian MP Shashi Tharror who is well known for his vehement criticism in British colonialism in Indian has recently stated that in the process of dealing with Britain in bi lateral trade India is no more in a position to have a chip on the shoulder.

In preparing for the 70th independence of Sri Lanka Yahapalanaya” government is eager to put a good show by inviting a member of British Royal family as the chief guest of Sri Lankan Independence Day celebration on 4th of February. In fact this is an act which proves the above stated Fanon’s analysis on how detrimentally colonialism can affect the psyche of the people even after the detachment of the imperial rule. An interesting question arising from government decision to invite the youngest son of Queen and Duke of Edinburgh is that how meekly still we are bound to put British royalty on the pedestal albeit it has been seventy years since British left the island. However perhaps inviting a member from British royal family is not a reason for a big surprise in a country where its leaders took nearly three decades to get liberated from the nominal allegiance to Crown in Britain as a dominion state and the same leaders of the past were outlandishly signed a treaty called Anglo-Ceylonese defense pact in the dawn of Dominion independence to gain further protection of the British. None of South Asian state venerated British as Ceylonese leaders opted for such a cowardly position in pampering the colonial roots and as an example Burma got rid of the nominal influence of British empire within a short period of gaining independence and constituent assembly of India under BR Ambedkar drafted the republican constitution which terminated the Indian Independence Act passed by British Parliament in 1947.

Yahapanaya government may have forgotten that Britain happened to be a worst critic of Sri Lankan military victory over LTTE and often accused Sri Lankan military for committing genocide. It was David Milband who happened to be the foreign secretary of former Labor government of Britain attempted to curtail Sri Lankan military operations in the last moment. On the other hand it is a fact that we cannot simply ignore the so called Independence Day chief guest Prince Edward or Earl of Wessex carries the darker heritage whose ancestors exploited the wealth of this country more than a century.  The fighting for the freedom for own land was considered a treason in British rule during Ceylon and national heroes like keppitipola dissawe and Weea puran appu were sent to gallows as traitors who conspired against the British monarch and today Yahapalana government has been much obtuse to invite a prince from British Royal family whose ancestors were the pioneers of oppressing the both national liberation struggles in country’s history in 1818 and 1848.

Secondly the independence we glorify on every 4th of February is not such a glorious occasion to celebrate because when it was granted to Ceylon in 1948 Britain was in a bay of its power after facing the Second World War. Mainly British were compelled to grant independence for most of their colonies and especially in Indian they realized that British rule in India is not further possible when Indian mariners openly showed their anger against colonial rule in Mumbai in 1946. In Ceylon British had set a favorable class to continue their legacy and their fear of spread of communism was consoled after DS Senanyake’s UNP upheld the power in 1947 general election. Many still blindly  believe that independence was won by DS, Sir Oliver and other national leaders in a more amiable way unlike India where the partition  of the country did coast many lives, but in truth British had no fear since the rule of Ceylon was about to fall for a set of leaders inspired by British ideals. As a matter of fact the day we are eagerly celebrating as the Independence Day was chosen by Sir Ivor Jennings the architect of 1947 constitution of Ceylon and 4th of February was his choice since it was his wedding anniversary.

Having analyzed the colonial atrocities committed by British in past and exploitation which was more akin to theft, government should be able to present a missive or a report to Prince Edward on how his ancestors captured the sovereignty in this island by most foul strategies. Indeed even prince may have not studied the truth about colonial history at Cambridge because erasing the bitter truth of colonial history from British archives has been conducting thus far. Perhaps after facing a gala ceremony prince may be secretly happy by witnessing how solidly still colonial influence works and how pathetically Sri Lankan politicians struggle to cherish British rule in the country as a blessed memory.

3 Responses to “In Praise of folly: Bringing a prince to celebrate Jennings’s wedding anniversary”

  1. DAYA HEWAPATHIRANE Says:

    Perhaps there was no other time in the long history of Sri Lanka that so much of blood was shed by the people of Sri Lanka to free their country from British crime and oppression. Prior to the Kandyan Convention of 1815, thousands upon thousands of Sinhala people sacrificed their lives to free the country from colonial repression. More were killed by the British during the rebellion of 1818 and 1848. During the Kandyan rebellion of 1818, every man over 14 years was ordered by the savage British to be killed and some sixty thousand Sinhala people were massacred. Among the large number of local leaders annihilated by the British, were Veera Keppetipola, Veera Puran Appu and Veera Gongalegoda Banda.

  2. Christie Says:

    ගිය අවුරුද්දේ අපේ අදිරද තුමා මෝඩි ඇවිල්ල සින්හල අපිට කොකා පෙන්නල ඉන්දියානු පරපෝසිතයන්ට ආවඩල ගියා.

  3. Christie Says:

    Daya; 1818 Sinhala uprising was put down by the British with Indian Sepoys. Indian Sepoys did the same in KwaZulu Natal in South Africa in putting down the Zulu uprising. Mohandas Karamchand (Mahatma Gandhi) was one of them.

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