Sunday, February 4, 2007

The Independence Day

Today (February 4th) is Sri Lanka's Independent Day. We gained our independence back from Britishers on February 4th, 1948. We were under Britishers for over 100 years, even though they have given us good things such as Plantation Industry, Majority of the Road Network, Train Transport System, Administration System and many others, they did a great harm to our culture, values, religion, village and to our lifestyle at large. Before Britishers, Portuguese and Dutch also had stints of rules in Sri Lanka, they too had contributed to the above damages in our society. Our society and its values are based on 2500 year old heritage, which was never understood by the western rulers.

We are lucky that our society was not totally devastated by the foreigners though. For example, there are south American and African countries where they managed to convert almost 100% of the population to speak their language or believe their religion. This never happened to us. Even today, except for official work that requires international dealing, our people use either Sinhala or Tamil predominantly for communications. Except for about 7% of the people who converted to Christianity or Catholicism due to benefits given by the foreign rulers, about 93% of the people remained and still have the faith in their original religions. This 93% is represented by 69% of Buddhists, 17% of Hindus and 7% of Islam roughly. Nationality wise, majority of the Sri Lankans are Sinhalese (74%) and Tamils and Muslims are minorities which represent 18% and 7% of the population respectively. On the other hand, we were brave enough to fight against English rule whereas countries like South Africa struggled to gain their independence till 1990s.

Let's be happy and proud for what we have done, for who we are and let's make it the foundation to build our nation.

Incidentally, Australia's national day was on January 26th, last Friday, which was a public holiday, we went to see their celebrations. This day marks the landing of the First Fleet of Britishers in Australia. Australia is predominantly comprised of the British settlers sent from England. After the loss of the United States, Britain needed a new penal colony for the relocation of convicts in its overcrowded prisons, so the selected place was Australia, so a country got created in this continent. The country was originally owned by Aboriginal people who's history in Australia runs back to centuries but numbers wise, they represent a very small minority.

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