INDEPENDENCE- AN UNFULFILLED DREAM
The British created the first Constitution for British-Ceylon and crafted the Donoughmore Commission in 1927. It being not very successful, Ceylonese demanded a Constitutional reform. Consequently the State Council of Ceylon, consisting 58 members was formed in 1932, with A.F.Molamure as the first Chairman. The State Council granted the universal franchise to Ceylonese for the first time.
The Ceylon Constitution Order, in Council 1946, established the Soulbury Commission that consisted of a Board comprising several Ministers, along with D.S.Senanayake, and Lord Soulbury decided upon the Independence for Ceylon. On 4 February 1948, Ceylon gained independence from the British, without having to shed a single drop of blood; Lord Soulbury became the Ceylon's first Governor General.
British planters and business tycoons trained Ceylonese politicians, in both legislative and executive functions, during the struggle for independence, in order to become masters of their own. However, the general consensus at the time was that ‘Ceylonese were not ready for Independence,’ which confirmed this fact, after 70 years of independence, by the ghastly display of behaviour of the present day parliamentarians, on 10th January 2018 from the August assembly. That may be the reason why Sri Lankans have failed completely so far, in terms of progress in the country
Harmony among the Ceylonese appeared to be paramount during the British rule. It managed to preserve the centuries old moral, cultural, and economic values within a nation, where even the mighty colonials had to knuckle under to peoples’ apprehensions and agitations. Since achieving the so-called ‘ independence’, Sri Lankan leaders, through their self-importance and expansive egos, have turned a deaf ear to any public concern, causing a steep decline in the overall progress of the country.
The biggest blunder made by politicians, after achieving independence, is believed to be the fragmentation of the nation into various political groups of different hues, concentrating only on their power, rather than reaping the full benefit out of the gained freedom, which has continued up to date debauching the country’s overall values and progress.
Ever since 4 February 1948, every Sri Lankan administration has been ‘celebrating’ its anniversary: Tomorrow, it will mark 70 years of ‘sovereignty! In the present political scenario, one becomes confused with the analysis of this hollow word ‘independence’ as, for far too long, Sri Lanka’s educational standards have gone down, health sector deteriorated, cost of living sky rocketed and the country has gone into more and more debt affecting the citizenry, who are even yet to be born!
This makes people to point an accusing finger at politicians for their utter failure to look into the general welfare of the society, whilst they enjoy fixed salaries with umpteen number of perks and privileges, including special allowances to woo them to parliamentary sessions, and to enjoy an opulent canteen meal paying only Rs.06, Rs.20 and Rs.60 respectively, and the worst crime being dumping all the excesses into the Diyawanna Oya to feed crocodiles, whilst millions in the country are starving. Despite all such misdemeanor, politicians of all hues have been displaying how self-centred they could be when they nod their heads to salary increases, various allowances, and issuance of duty-free luxury car permits.
The word ‘Independence’ has turned into a hollow word in Sri Lanka, when one looks back at the historical background of the county, where people have suffered over seven decades due to riots of many a kind, humanity downgraded to beastly levels where decapitated human bodies were seen burning on road sides on spikes, dead bodies floating on rivers, followed by a 30 year war from the North, and allowing the LTTE to become one of the coldblooded terrorist groups in the world, and to pioneer the suicide bombing novelty in terrorism. The million-dollar question, therefore, would be whether the meaning of the word independence has had any effect on Sri Lanka? What have the rulers have been doing for the past 70 years? Twiddling their thumbs and allowing the country to go downhill on roller coasters?
Politicians intermingling with the voters, during election times, and promising the sun, moon and stars, in order to get them elected to power, is gradually getting diluted after seventy long years, and the people in this country have begun to use their wisdom through trial and error, and started to understand how politicians were and are dabbling in corruption, bribery & nepotism, to make only themselves richer, and to let the people in this country go to hell!
After 67 years of independence, the majority of the nation voted for a change in January 2015, to appoint a common candidate as President, with the collaboration of all other political parties, in an attempt to get rid of what was termed as an existed ‘a corrupt regime’! The new administration, in a marriage with the UNP, formed a ‘Yahapalanaya,’ and absorbed several rotten apples, rejected by the voters, once again, and given them vital portfolios for the discontent of the society. As an election pledge, the Prime Minister was appointed from the UNP.
At the very infant stages of Yahapalanaya, the biggest scandal of robbing the Central Bank for billions of taxpayers’ money slandered the new regime by appointing a foreigner to the Central Bank. Due to excessive media pressure, President Sirisena appointed a special Commission to investigate into the irregularities of the “ Bond Scam. ” Hairline cracks appearing at first, have begun to form prominent furrows in the Yahapalanaya itself, where the political rhetoric has become the order of the day, from local election platforms, to the extent that the unruffled President too has begun to fly off the handle!
One does not have to be a political pundit to realise that Sri Lankans haven’t achieved any independence to its true meaning up to date. Unless and until a new political climate emerges, with new blood that can feel the pulse of the people, the meaning of independence will remain as an unfulfilled dream.