Editorial

Sunday Munch: so we never fought for freedom, oookkkkayyy?

Summary

No resistance in 1815, 1818, 1848 and in intervening years and long afterwards. Temples weren’t razed to the ground and churches weren’t built on their foundations. No poisoning of water bodies, no burning of crops, no slaughtering of all males, children included, in the Wellassa and no burning of libraries. Right?

The Sunday Times publishes a column titled ‘Sunday Punch’ by someone who calls him/herself Don Manu. Last Sunday’s piece was called ‘20A: Has the Govt. bitten off more than it can chew?’ Interesting opinion piece which makes a lot of what some monks have said. This is not about 20A. It’s about a claim that Don Manu makes.

‘The Lankan people have never fought for their independence, never fought for their democratic rights, never known the anguish and pain the struggle to win the intrinsic rights of man inevitably brings, but always had it served on a platter and proffered for their delectation.’

This is a common lie. Indeed it is a lie that has been spread even in song. Nanda Malini, in her populist avatar of the late eighties came up with ‘Nidahas Baila’ or the ‘Baila of Independence.’ It was written by Sunil Ariyaratne

Consider the following lines: ’ලේ හැලුනේ නෑ, සුද්දා තරහ වුනෙත් නෑ; යන්න ගියෙත් නෑ, නොගිහින් හිටියෙත් නෑ.’ (No blood was spilled, the white man was not angered either; he did not leave, but neither did he stay). And this: ‘නෑ බැට කෑවේ නේරු පාටෙල් වාගේ, නෑ දිවි දුන්නේ මහත්මා ගාන්ධි වාගේ.’ (no one was beaten, as were Nehru and Patel, no one paid with their lives, as did Mahatma Gandhi.’

So, there was no blood spilled to stop the British and before them the Dutch and the Portuguese? No resistance in 1815, 1818, 1848 and in intervening years and long afterwards too? No resistance and therefore no bloody repression? Temples weren’t razed to the ground and churches built on their foundations? No poisoning of water bodies, no burning of crops, no slaughtering of all males, children included, in the Wellassa? No burning of libraries?

Well, if the population was as docile as Don Manu wants us to believe, why use force?

Munch on this, as you breathe the supposedly independent air that the British in their uncharacteristic generosity bestowed upon us!

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