What are the external factors that helped Sri Lanka to gain independence?
Posted on February 5th, 2023

by Senaka Weeraratna Attorney-at-Law & RASSL Council Member

Sri Lanka won freedom not in isolation but in step with the rest of the Asian countries in the aftermath of the end of the Second World War in 1945. Many factors contributed to the collapse of Western dominance in Asia. The Second World War was the pivotal factor. WW2 was a blessing in disguise for European colonies. Japan’s blitzkrieg inspired the national liberation movements in Asia and even Africa to awaken and fight for their freedom. Sri Lanka gained independence in 1948 on the back of Japan’s resounding military victories and the Indian armed struggle led by Netaji Subash Chandra Bose and the Indian National Army (INA). The threat of mutiny by the discharged British Indian Army soldiers, Navy, and Air Force in 1946, inspired by Bose, finally convinced the Labour government of Clement Atlee to quit India. If India had not gained independence on August 15, 1947, neither Burma nor Ceylon would have been granted independence on January 4, 1948, or February 4, 1948, respectively. When Britain lost the jewel in its crown, i.e., India, it decided to vacate South Asia altogether. We need to revisit the narrative of how Sri Lanka achieved independence and revise it.

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