Did this country get any Independence from Britain  in 1948? Some new thoughts on Independent Sri Lanka?
Posted on February 1st, 2019

Dr. Sudath Gunasekara

31.1. 2019.

Did this country get any Independence in 1948?   Are we an Independent country at all, at least after 70 years of so-called Independence?

Independence in respect of any given country means the power for self-governing without control or authority of another country or an outside party.

We are supposed to have got independence from British rule in 1948. Now that the much hyped Independence Day celebrations (Jatika Day as the present Government calls it) is again around the corner for the 71st time, I posit this question very seriously to the whole nation. Has this country got any Independence in 1948 in the above self-governing context, that is worthy of  such fanfare and wastage of public funds?  Are we independent at all, at least now, after 70 years of so-called independence? The BOLD BIG answer, in my opinion, is NOT AT All.

” Actual independence for the dominion of Ceylon came on February 4, 1948, when the constitution of 1947 went into effect. The constitution provided for a bicameral legislature with a popularly elected House of Representatives and a Senate that was partly nominated and partly elected indirectly by members of the House of Representatives. A Prime Minister and his cabinet, chosen from the largest political group in the legislature, held collective responsibility, for executive functions. The Governor-General, as head of state, represented the British monarch. In matters that the constitution failed to address, the conventions of the United Kingdom were observed.”  Copied from Wikipedia”

Soulbury Constitutio:  Britain makes a Constitution for free Lanka

The Constitution referred to here is the Soulbury Constitution that was made in England by Ivor Jennings, for the Dominion of Ceylon as it was called then. A Dominion is described as a self-governing territory within the British Commonwealth of Nations. This clearly implies that this country continued to be a part of the group of countries defined as the British Commonwealth of Nations that included Great Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand (one white family), India, Sri Lanka and few more countries that were under the British as their colonies. It also implies that governance of these member countries is subjected to the conditions operative within that family of the Common Wealth of Nations headed by Britain, the chief player. Obviously it then imposes restrictions on the member states. Britain former boss continued to play the  commanding roll. t Obviously there ends self-governing of all ex-colonies for all intent and purposes. Such is the true nature of Independence of all there countries.

Secondly, as stated above the Government of the so-called Independent Lanka as it was called then, was fashioned under the Westminster model. The Soulbury Constitution provided the structural mechanism of Government and Governance that embodied all the checks and balances Britain needed to perpetually control governance of this Island. They retained the power to appoint the Governor General, as the representative of the King of England, thereby retaining executive power in their hands. Though the Prime Minster was appointed by the Governor, legislation was made in the name of the King of England. After 1953 it was done in the name of the Queen of England.  The appellate power of the Judiciary also was kept with the Privy Council. This made the authority of  Britain complete in all three feilds of Governance, that is Legislative, Executive and Judicial complete. Katunayaka and Trincommallee air bases were retained under them. The defense and external affairs were kept with the King in terms of section 45 of the Constitution, which says ‘The Executive powers of the Island shall continue vested in His Majesty and may be exercised (note the emphasis), on behalf of His Majesty, by the Governor General in accordance with the provisions of the Order and of any other law for the time being in force’. The prerogative powers of declaring war, making peace, sending Ambassadors or entering in to treaties were also kept with the King of England.

A misleading, deceptive and fraudulent Constitution

Nearly 600,000 acres of tea and rubber owned by Sterling estates were kept in the hands of white masters even after they left our shores. Official language of the country continued to be English. English continued to be the medium of instruction above grade six in all schools.  Proceedings in courts also remained to be English where justice was dispensed to the natives in English and proceedings in Parliament where legislation for a newly independent country was also conducted in English.  Nearly 1.2 Million Indian indentured labourers brought by the British to work on British owned plantations were left behind without being either repatriated to India, as they were brought from there, or taking them back to UK as they were British citizens at that time , leaving behind a sad and dangerous legacy of enormous  demographic, political, economic, social and cultural  consequences and an eternal cantankerous bone of contention  between Sri Lanka and India, thereby creating a serious headache for both countries that has led to political tension and uneasiness between the two neighboring countries forever and particularly for this country in areas like preserving’s its vital watersheds rights at the center of the country at the highest elevation and creating enormous demographic, political, economic. social and environmental problems for ever.

Moving on to the question of Independence, in reality, what Britain should have done was to completely hand over the entire country what they deceitfully annexed on 2nd March 1815 under the Kandyan Convention, without reserving any conditions that limit the independence of the Island nation, in order to make Sri Lanka fully independent and allow the people of this country to decide as to how it should be run thereafter. The way how it was deceptively done as stated above clearly shows that it never happened. The constraints and limitations imposed were more than the concessions given. As I see it, it is a big political fraud committed by Britain keeping all the, vital reins of governance in its own hands, to manipulate the destinies of this Island nation even after calling an independent nation, the way they wanted.

Basic conditions of independence and freedom were never fulfilled

In becoming independent from foreign rule the first and foremost condition is getting back the territory the conqueror took over at the time of conquest, in our case whole territory they took over in 1815 including the Maldives Islands. They returned only the main Island. Maldives Islands (90,000 sq. km) that were a longtime a protectorate of this country was not returned to us. The Ceylon (Constitution) Order in Council 1946 Part 1 (2) stated ‘Nothing in this Order shall extend to the Maldives Islands. The British kept it as one of their protectorates until they granted Independence to it as a separate Independent State on July 26th 1965. This is fraudulent and illegal in terms of all accepted international covenants.

Again they never returned the 600,000 acres of land covered by British owned sterling plantaion estates sprawling over the central hill country that was formally covered with premival forests. This was the geographical Heartland of the Lankan nation that  provided the source for all its rivers in the Island that decided the entire life system and the civilization of this Island nation throughout history. Instead they left behind a sad legacy of vast stretches of physically degraded unproductive tea lands with a turbulent foreign labour force of over 1.2 million South Indian workers (traditionally the sworn enemies of Lanka) who were not citizens of this country at the time of British leaving the country. None of this 1.2 was there in 1815. All of them were brought here by the British after 1840, partly as mercenaries to fight against the native Sinhalese in the 1848 Matale uprising, but mainly to work in their coffee and later in tea plantations.

The blind blunders of the native leaders

When British left in 1948 our leaders should have assked them to hand over the land without their labour force to make Independence complete and meanigful. It is just like a tenant on rent taking his servants when he leaves the rented out house.  Instead the British left behind this sad legacy of 1.2 million exploited and poverty stricken  South Indian labourers who belonged to an entirely a different culture, speaking a different language and professing a different religion and culture completely different from that of the native Sinhalese. This stateless millions were left behind high and dry, right at the Heartland of the Island Nation deliberately, thereby creating a cantankerous demographic, political, social and economic problem for this country for which the British alone are responsible. Led and manipulated by treacherous and extremist ethnic Tamil politicians, these Indians have become one of the biggest headaches this country faces today with wider ramifications including tense Indo- Sri Lankan relations caused by Indian intervention in all their affairs as if the central hill country of Sri Lanka is already a part of India, with the threat of creating a Malayanadu right at the center of the country.

Furthermore we the native Sinhalese never got our rights what we lost in 1815 to date. The Soulbury Constitution imposed all possible restrictions to stop this rectification process. What is more tragic is none of the governments from 1948 to date have restored out birth rihgts on our language, religion, political institution, social system or our heritag to date, except the partly restored language and religious srights in 1956 and 1972 by the SLFP governments. Sinhala was the official language of the country and Buddhism was the State religion before 1815. Sinhala was official language from 543 BC and Buddhism State Language from 307 BC. But they were never fully restored. Do we have at least a homemade Constitution after 70 years of ‘Independence’? . True there were two Constitutions enacted. One in 1972 and another in 1987. The country was made a Republic in 1972 with Buddhism being given the foremost place, though it did not make it the State religion. But even the 1972 Constitution failed replace the 1948 constitution comp;etely with a Homemade one. 1987 Constituion more or less reversed and dialuted the previous one. With its subsequent 19 odd amendments to day it has almost ceased to be a peoples Constitution. Instead it has completely taken the form of a Constituion  primarily aimed at protecting the  rights and previleges of politicians and minorities to harness their votes. The13th Amendment imposed on the people of this country by India has completely killed the 1987 Constitution. It now looks as if the  Government of JR had handed over the function of constitution making for this country to India in place of UK as they did it  in 1948. The present Government on the other hand has handed it over to the so-callled  International community led by UK and USA  and the proxies of the LTTE comparicing Tamil Diaspora and TNA at home led by Sumanthiran and supported by treacherous self appointed so-called legal experts like Jayampathi Wickramaratna and Lal wijenayaka.

India did it within 3 years of Independence

India did it within 3 years of Independence by declaring it as a sovereign Democratic Republic. Even as a Dominion India was completely free to shape its own policy, both domestic and foreign, unlike Sri Lanka.   They even declared India An Independent Republic. In fact their Constitution making started even long before 1947. Sri Lanka had to wait till 1972 for Sirimavo to do it.  Even after making it a Republic, Britain continued their usual dirty game of interfering in our internal matters. Isn’t this country is being run by the so-called international Community of the West and India to suit their agendas. Today we at times need to get the consent of India to permit even a foreign ship to enter our harbour as it had been demonstrated recently.  Interference by the Western block is more serious now than ever before 1948 as we are tormented by almost all Western nations, whether they are in the West or East or North or South, where as we were governed only by the British at that time.  What is worse is all these countries also support the Tamils spread all over the world, whom they call Tamil Diaspora who had staged a brutal and savages 30 year war against this country to convert this country in to a Tamil Homeland called EELAM as they cannot have it in India, with a long term dream of destroying the Sinhala nation and Buddhism and their civilization in this country.

 Not a single Sinhala Leader to stand up against these injustices.

Did we have single Sinhala political leader in the post 1948 period that could stand up against these external harassment and assert as a national leader who could lift up this country as a fully Independent, free, prosperous, self- sustained and vibrant nation.  (except Banda  in taking over Katunayaka and Trincommallee in 1957, later Mrs Badaranayaka nationalizing sterling tea companies and Mobile and CALTEX Oil Companies and MR refusing to stop the war against the LTTE.

Look at India, Singapore, Japan, Korea and even Bangladesh where they stand today, though they were far behind us in 1948.

While Ambedkar makes the Indian Constitution Ivor Jennings an obedient servant of the British Empire makes it for this country

Ambedkar, down to earth Indian intellectual, was the architect of the Indian Constitution where as in Sri Lanka it was Ivor Jennigs and down to earth Englishman. That is the difference between India and Sri Lanka.

So in this backdrop repeatedly I ask as to how one can say we are an independent nation. Apart from being an independent nation, have we at least restored the age old name of this country, Sinhale, in 1948 or even after 70 years up to date, as it was mentioned in the Kandyan Convention. Have our politicians been able to tell the world at least what our nation is. ‘The Sinhala Buddhist nation’ they ceded to British in 1815 and able to restore the Sinhala Language as the State language. Instead the British handed over a Ceylon in 1948 as a multi-ethnic, multi -national and multi-religious society, things never heard in this country’s history. They also introduced the concept of minority to Sri Lankan politics for the first time in the history of this country by introducing it under section 29 to the Constitution. These are all well -calculated and well -designed conspiracies to divide the Lankan nation on various grounds and destroy it.First it divided the Sinhala people as Kandyans and Low Country and thereafter it  splitted the nation like an scrambled egg, that can never be unscrabmble thereafter.

In short it was a constitution made by a British lawyer Jennings to suit their perpetual interests imposed on our people without getting their consent either. It was never a constitution people in this country wanted or they accepted. People were told that they got full independence  from British rule by their leaders. That is all what they wanted. Nor did the people see the Constiution. As a people who were governed only by customs and traditions for milennia they never bothered about a constitution. They must have thought they are getting the pre 1815 status. So they were happy with that.The leaders on the other hand blindly accepted it as divine right coming from above for them to rule over the down trodden. This is exactly how the UNP Colombians led by RW think even today. They dont understand the fact that this country is one village or at least a conglomeration of a number of villages and Colombo is not Sri Lanka. Like any other metropolis, as A.G.Frank  said Colombo is only the hub that exploited the region by draining resources and surplus capital from the periphery and moving it towards the word core centers.On the other hand it also provides the gateway through its harbour and airports the door way that brings in all evils and things harmful to our economy, culture and environment.

I challenge anyone to prove we have got Independence in 1948

Isn’t it more than clear, from the above account that we have not got any independence in 1948. I challenge all those constitutional experts who say we have got any independence in 1948. It is true that it has gone on record that on 4th Feb 1948 Britain gave independence to this country. It is also true that they gave a Parliament headed by a local Prime Minister (one of their own making) to make legislation. But a closer analysis of the Soulbury Constitution clearly shows that it was only a fake Independence or a big fraud. True they gave a Parliament to make legislation by locally elected legislators. But all legislations made in that Parliament were made in the name of the King and Queen of within the constitutional parameters set by the Soulbury Constitution up to 1972, until Sirimavo Bandarnayaka declared it an Independent Republic, after 24 years since 1948.

In my opinion this country was given independence by the British Colonial Government only to make legislation and govern the way they wanted to perpetuate their colonial hegemony. In conclusion I say this in short is exactly what British wanted to do under the Soulbury Constitution. By retaining the Dominion status they further retained power to control the ex- colony as long as they wanted and the way they wished, as the super power over whose Empire the the sun will never set.  Probably they must have thought Sri Lanka is far more important from a strategic point of view in future global politics than even India in view of its strategic location in the middle of the Indian Ocean forming a pivotal position between the East and the West open to the vast expanses of the Indian Ocean extending up to the South Pole in the South and Australia and Africa in the East and the West.

Soulbury Constituion the Pandora’s Box of Sri Lankan politics in post 1948 Sri Lanka.

Looking at the plethora of unmanageable problems and curses like political instability, social confusion, ethnic tensions, the rise of the tyranny of minority politics,  serious and frustrating erosion of Sinhala Buddhist birth rights of the natives and the disintegrating tendencies of the Sri Lankan political map, spliting on minority issues brought about by the Soulbury Constitution,  I am compelled to conclude that the  Soulbury Constitution has become a veritable Pandora’s Box in post independent politics in Sri Lanka. Sec 29 (2) of the Constitution killed the millennia old privileges of the Sinhala Buddhist majority in this country by conferring undue and disproportional privileges on minority ethnic and religious groups, who were only intruders from time to time in history. This section that introduced a minority concept for the first time in the  history of this country’s politics had completely ruined peaceful coexistence between Sinhala Buddhists majority and other ethnic groups. As such giving legal recognition to separate minority groups opened the flood gates for ethnic and religious tensions never existed before in this country.

I pity the rootless, brainless and visionless native leaders who embraced this so-called Independence package with open arms in 1948 (which I call “a veritable political Pandora’s Box” rather than a Constitution made in good faith and good intention for a country meant and designed for nation building) with pomp and glamour without realizing the inconsistencies’ and dangers hidden beneath this English trap. As I see it, the group of leaders who recieved this 1948 ‘Pandora’s Box’ with open arms as victory for the nation were far behind those Kandyan chieftains  who are supposed to have betrayed the Sinhale by aceeding to the Kandyan Convention, because they at least could preserve the supreme status of the Buddha Sasana by including the Sec 5 to the Convention  even at gun point and also  got the name of the country included as Sinhale throughout the Document. I have no doubt when one day these turbulences and foolishness and betrayals of our politicians hopefully comes to an end, political historians of this country will call the 1948 Independence episode as one of the biggest political betrayals committed by contemporary rootless, treacherous and selfish politicians, in annals of entire history of this Island nation.

If this country and its people have not got any independence in 1948 (in spite of some people including the fathers, sons and the nephews of the UNP denying it), then who has really got it. Obviously the happy recipients of ‘this birth day gift of somebody’ are the lucky pack of unscrupulous rogue politicians created by the Soulbury Constitution and party politics introduced by it who have destroyed this ‘Wonder in Asia’ to a level almost beyond recognition. Just like a gang of hungry jackals from the jungle that have invaded a paultry pen, they have destroyed this country with impunity, while the true owners of this country are in deep slumber, engrossed in Midsummer night dreams of freedom, prosperity and the joy of independence awarded by the Soulbury Constitution and embraced by the blind leaders of a nation in 1948.

In this backdrop what is there to celebtrate annually in such high  pomp and glamour at such enormous cost to the nation’s coffers. Is it not only a part and parcel of the mega fraud and deception  by the  rogue politicians annually staged to exibit their  naked vanity and continue to decieve the masses.

Why commemorate an independence we never recieved and something non-existent. 

My final question is why try to commemorate a non-existing independence at such cost, causing enormous inconvenience and brainwashing  to  the people. This is nothing but shear madness on the part of politicians to exhibit their vanity and emptiness just to decieve the voters as they have been successfuly doing ever since 1948. Isnt it better that we  as a nation either commemorate May 22 the Janraja Day or the 29th of May 2009 on whhich the Rapaksa Government liberated the motherland from the LTTE terroists so that we can inject some inspiration to the masses to wake them up for nation bulding.

 No National Flags are raised until we get full independence

As for me I shall not raise a flag at my house to mark this fradulent political freedom, deceptively imoposed on us by the accredited black-white agents in 1948. I will raise it only on the day this country gain full independence as the Sinhala Buddhist nation, that was there on my motherland for 2358 years before 1815.

2 Responses to “Did this country get any Independence from Britain  in 1948? Some new thoughts on Independent Sri Lanka?”

  1. Christie Says:

    Hi Sudath;

    I ask you to open your sense and look around and listen.

    You will see lots of Indian Colonial Parasites and a language that is spoken mostly in Southern India.

    Our history the history of Sinhalese is more than 100,000 years old, not 2358 years.

    The British came in 1792 and Indian Colonial Parasites came in the same year.

  2. Nimal Says:

    From the 4th of Feb 1948 we were on a download slope of losing our civility and even independence. Now we have a real divide and rule policy where some are more equal than the others. This privileged crooks use the main religion or become politicians to enjoy the privileges not open to the real taxpayers and citizens. This did not happen during the last years of the colonial rules which I was old enough to know.
    Good example is the Maligawa in Kandy,one time Hindu Dravidian structure given back to us the Sinhalese along with the great Kandy Perahara which is cruelly exploited by it’s custodians who charge money to enter, use the tax payers’ money for an absurd police force, created a restriction around thus polluting the congested Kandy town. It is sacred for us to not to drive past but not sacred for prevailed crooks and politicians to drive pass and even have night races.
    Prior to the colonials the only road in Kandy was the Malabar street just next to the Maligawa which was restricted to innocent people but was opened to us after 1815.It is now independence to the crooks to do what ever they want to do in the country and getaway with it.So we lost our independence in 1948.

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