The first Independence Day with
Ceylon’s first Prime Minister D.S. Senanayake in attendance
The glory of Independence
“The only freedom which
deserves the name, is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so
long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their
efforts to obtain it.”
John Stuart Mill (1806-73)
Regaining our precious Independence was our national pre-occupation
in the darkest days of our recent history, when diabolical terrorism had
our nation in a deadly stranglehold.
Life in our noble land was almost totally in abeyance. The soothing
dreams, conjured after our newly-won Independence in 1948, soon turned
into reeking nightmares, brought by savage and barbarous massacres and
carnages, unleashed by blood-thirsty terrorists.
The lives of innocents at all levels were cut down brutally and with
relentless bestiality. Infants, girls, boys, women and men were
ruthlessly murdered in cold-blood, in homes, places of worship, on the
road, and while they travelled in vehicles.
Pregnant women and priests on their way to peaceful rituals were
heartlessly butchered. These crimes were so diabolical, that one would
have never thought that a species called ‘man’ would have been behind
Terrorism lurked in schools, at public places, shrines, in fields. In
short, terrorism never allowed even a brief moment of relief to the
innocent masses. Living itself became an ordeal, ridden with anxiety.
We look back at these days of darkness, not merely to reflect upon a
litany of heart-rending tragedies that the people of this land
endured-every minute, every second for several decades.
What we need to do here is to wonder in disbelief and dismay, how
such unprecedented brutality could flourish, while the whole world
The first Independence
Day in 1948
The global community came together into the United Nations (UN) to
see that peace and harmony prevailed unscathed by acts that would harm
them, even vestigially. The world was appalled by the carnage of World
War II, and the UN was determined that violence would never tarnish
human liberty and the right of men and women everywhere to live in
Global funds were used in multi-billions to ensure untrammelled life
However, the beastly hordes of terrorists in this little island,
which was making an effort to forge a peaceful existence fuelled by
Independence gained in 1948, went about their gruesome destruction of
life, leaving a bloody trail for the whole of mankind to see.
They massacred men and women in the North, in the South, in the East
and in the West of this noble island. Presidents, Ministers, Members of
Parliament and other administrative bodies were done away with at will.
When all this happened, there was hardly a voice raised by
liberty-loving nations and groups and organisations championing mass
On the other hand, at international level, there were bodies, either
duped or misled, who saw this terrorists as deserving, and aided the
terrorists to pursue their destruction of cherished human values.
The formal ceremony marking the start
of self rule, with the opening of the first parliament
at Independence Square by Prince Henry in the presence of
D.S. Senanayake as the first
Prime Minister of Ceylon
When law and order, and the right all human beings have to life were
being hideously trodden upon, these truth-upholding groups never stopped
the blood-soaked hands of terrorists to prevent further brutalities.
We in this country felt ignored, deserted and given up, by all those
forces who pronounced in saintly terms that they were on the side of
life and were opposed to ruthless killers. High-sounding pontifications
were galore, but unfazed terrorists continued their bloody pursuits.
We, as a nation, seemed to have reached a tragic impasse. A sense of
loss pervaded the entirety of this noble land.
This harsh and shocking reality brought into being a national leader
- home grown and populist. Sensitive to the thinking of the troubled
masses, he pledged to rid his and our motherland, of this vicious
The determination was heroic. The diabolical hordes would invariably
retaliate. The leader was fully aware that his steady commitment made
him a prime target for ruthless terrorists. However, he never wavered.
Undaunted, he pursued his aims. He kept on.
This leader, President Mahinda Rajapaksa, true to his pledge,
eradicated the threat of entrenched terrorism. Those sceptical naysayers
who never thought that such a victory over the beastly terrorists was
possible, were stunned into bewilderment.
Their disbelief was further compounded by the unprecedented ‘Mercy
Operation’ he conducted to provide life, relief and hospitality to the
tens of thousands of Tamil victims of terrorism.
It is in this backdrop that we celebrate the 66th anniversary of
Independence gained and triumphantly regained.
celebrations with President Mahinda Rajapaksa in attendance
But a note of caution is essential.
A prime enemy of humanity is laid low.
All liberty-loving millions of the world will hail this victory in
one approving voice. But, occasional hiccups occur.
We fully cherish liberty and admire those men and nations who uphold
liberty as a noble value. The British, to my mind, have always esteemed
liberty. To the individual Englishman celebrating liberty, his home is
his castle. We, as a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, esteem this
love of liberty displayed by the English.
However, if someone were to channel panegyrics to the terrorists, the
noble Englishmen who value liberty have an issue to worry about. Such
channelled panegyrics might encourage the incipient terrorists in that
land, tempting them to resort to acts that trouble the traditional
liberty of the independent Englishmen.
While we celebrate Independence, we hail Independence everywhere. It
is in a context of universal Independence that we can fully enjoy our