A glimpse into the new era from the last Independence day
This year's commemoration of Independence Day is more significant
than any other year considering the important events that adorned the
country since the last occasion.
Ceylon was under Western rule for nearly four centuries starting with
Portuguese, Dutch and the British. They held sway over different parts
of Sri Lanka, the Portuguese and the Dutch mostly the maritime
provinces, and the British the entire island.
The entire period was a significant tale of foreign domination. Among
the many nations who have influenced Sri Lanka, we still recall the
British era which has made several contributions in various fields,
including the network of roads and railways.
They altered the landscape of the Hill country now famous for
marvellous tea estates inspiring the planters. A lot of effort was put
in by them and it paid off for the British as their administration was
better organised. Though confined to the development of their own
interests, one cannot deny the fact that the country under British rule
benefited in numerous ways.
Above all the system of education with pride of place given to
English was a blessing in disguise in the long run.
The one and only University of Ceylon, at Peradeniya too was begun
during the British Era.
However, being influenced by British democracy for a long time, in
1948 people across the island irrespective of caste, creed, race and
religion joined together to achieve Independence paying silent tribute
to all who served and fought in defence of our country nation and
To be very brief, 1948 in many respects marks the coming of age of
our nation which was celebrated island-wide. The Independence thus
achieved was interrupted in later years by an internal conflict, worst
affected being those in the North and the East. However it should be
mentioned that no community in Sri Lanka was left untouched by the
conflict and its consequences.
They would never forget the service and sacrifice of brave men in
towns and villages. Many were killed and wounded in action, the parents
of whom are still lamenting.
The hard won Independence could not be enjoyed the proper way. Thanks
to President Mahinda Rajapaksa's leadership Sri Lanka was freed from the
deadly fear of terror bomb culture where one was scared by the sight of
a parcel that had no owner. Now the people are free, the roads are free
of check points. You can travel anywhere.
Independence or whatever could be celebrated the way you wished.
The much anticipated event in Sri Lankan calendar the CHOGM proved
its value as the highest meeting, enjoying a strong tradition of
quality. Hosting CHOGM was a historic occasion, historic victory and a
truly unique event most prestigious and most fruitful during this time.
It brought the world leaders to our shores and the paradise isle was
blessed with a new era of freedom, peace and development all around.
"Growth with Equity, Inclusive Development" was the theme anticipating
solutions to our burning issues. They also commended Sri Lanka on its
outstanding performance and pledged the Commonwealth's commitment to the
island. At the same time it helped show the world the urge and anxiety
of Sri Lanka towards economic, social and humanitarian development.
In its quest for political stability the country will be reaping
great long term benefits in rapid infrastructural development
particularly in new Highways, Sea and Airports in Hambantota. The
inauguration of the second International Airport a major event that put
Sri Lanka on the world map and also March 18, 2013 was declared as Sri
Lanka's Civil Aviations Service day. Expressways to Galle and Katunayaka
also took place during this era.
The country has achieved accelerated progress in every sphere in
agriculture and industry.
Health services and education are undergoing a process of revival and
also a large number of on-going manufacturing projects, power plants
provision of electricity, livestock and fishing projects and town
Progress has also been made in the field of Science and Technology as
a fundamental energy source for economic development. Steps have already
been taken to offer the benefits of ICT and E development to the student
generation to make their contribution to development.
It also has created many opportunities for the youth to enter
politics and voice their opinion in the decision making process. The
youth forum and the youth parliament are outstanding examples that
transform the present youth into "Tomorrow's Leaders". Great attention
also is paid on getting foreign employment for professionally qualified
and skilled youth to help increase the inflow of foreign exchange.
In the post conflict recovery, an opportunity for civilians to return
to normalcy and lead a happy and settled life is truly praiseworthy. The
role of the Tri-Forces (Thrivida Hamuda) in diverse fields in post war
national development, is immense.
The security forces played a major role in infrastructure development
under the northern spring program. (Uthuru Vasanthaya).
The Air Force has ventured into hospitality trade and tourism and
domestic aviation industry. The Navy is playing it's traditional role of
defending the nation's maritime interests and regional stability
maintaining an effective surveillance of the ocean limits.
The Tri-Forces have gainfully employed their personnel in national
development. In addition, police officers should be admired for their
active participation in police - public relations in their efforts to
create a crime free society.
Through implementation of these policies and programs there have been
massive advances in national development which should be admired by the
rest of the globe.
It has to be admitted that although most of these development
measures were initiated years ago, their culmination bearing true
effects were felt and showcased to the world during the era mentioned,
mostly the era following the commemoration of the past Independence day