|Saturday, 01 March 2003|
Ensure forward march through unity - President
President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga in a message to mark Mahasivarathri day today said the dawn of an opportunity to live without the sound of guns for a period of over one year is a realisation of a longtime hope and aspiration of the Tamil people.
However silencing of guns alone did not mean the dawn of peace. Lasting peace could only be achieved in a social environment which safeguarded all human and democratic rights. Peace, unity and prosperity are common hopes of all Sri Lankan people.
Here is a translation of the full text of the President's message:
"I wish to extend my warm greetings to Hindu Devotees in Sri Lanka observing Maha Sivarathri Day today".
"Hindu Devotees living in 74 countries belonging to various communities celebrate this noble religious day with great devotion. All of them offer prayers to God Sivaperuman today. Hindu devotees who join hands to pay homage to God Siva, by eschewing communal or language differences offer a fine example to the people of the world who are talking about peace and unity. Ushering prosperity to mankind is the objective of Mahasivarathri Day. The dawning of an opportunity to live without the sound of guns for over one year itself is a realisation of a longtime hope of the Tamil people.
However silencing of guns alone does not mean the dawn of peace. It is in a social environment which safeguards all human rights and democratic rights that lasting peace could be achieved. Peace, unity and prosperity are common hopes of all Sri Lankans.
Therefore the responsibility of maintaining this common heritage in an uninterrupted manner devolves on not only the Tamils but also all other communities. Our hope and aspiration on this day should be to ensure the nations forward march through unity by dispelling hate, anger and violence and forging inter-communal bonds.
May Hindu devotees be able to realise their noble hopes for peace and prosperity.
A holy day for Hindus - PM
Mahasivarathri is a holy day for the Hindus from very ancient times. There are elaborate traditions recorded in the ancient Puranas and other texts about the significance of Mahasivarathri.
Hinduism has flourished in our country from pre-Christian times and it has interacted freely and harmoniously with Buddhism as attested by numerous references in the Pali and Sinhalese chronicles and other texts.
The Kings of Sri Lanka, almost without exception, have extended support and patronage to Hinduism and Hindus constitute the second largest religious community in our country.
It is in the spirit of that tradition that the United National Front Government which was voted to power in December, 2001 declared Mahasivarathri day as a Public Holiday once again. The Hindus have played a key role in all aspects of national history and culture, and their contribution is of vital importance for establishing lasting peace, harmony and prosperity in our country. Mahasivarathri is a day of religious activities, prayer and fasting and it is observed in every Hindu home. On this Holy day let us resolve to establish mutual understanding, goodwill, trust and brotherhood among all.
I wish all Hindus well in all their religious activities on the Mahasivarathri Day.
Produced by Lake House