History in the making
Rajapaksa has stressed on the importance of a knowledge of
history of one’s country.
In a message to mark the opening of the Seethawaka Abimana
exhibition the President made the point that any one who is
ignorant of the history of his own country falls into the
category of an outcast.
The President of course was referring to our own 2,500 years
old proud history. History has today become an unfashionable
subject and history as a subject has been dropped from the
school curricula as a separate subject and amalgamated into
Time was when the subject of history assumed an important
place in the classroom timetable. Particularly local history was
an attractive subject looked forward to by students who listened
with bated breath as teachers unfolded the epic battle between
Dutugemunu and Elara.
As enumerated by the President there were also the daring
exploits of our bow and arrow wielding Sinhala armies against
the guns and mortars of Western conquerors where we prevailed in
many a battle.
Today alas the technological revolution has put paid to the
romance of history with schools now increasingly being geared to
shift the emphasis towards job oriented subjects.
Thus, subjects such as history do not fall into the present
day equation which in a way is sad, for history forms the
bedrock of a country’s heritage and cultural moorings.
Sri Lankans take pride in the country’s history but apart
from basking in that glory have not taken the trouble to have an
in-depth knowledge of the topic. How many among the present
generation are aware of the saga behind the Sigiriya Rock
Fortress which have even astounded world historians?
Certainly not the present generation who have been swallowed
up in a milieu which has no place for topics such as history.
Hence the need to harken to the President’s call for all
Lankans to cultivate a knowledge of the country’s history if for
no other reason than to cultivate a sense of patriotism and
national fervour at a time the country is at a crossroads.
The Government should take steps to popularise the study of
history among youth and adults alike. There is an urgent need
for the present day youth to learn about the country’s grandeurs
of the past at a time a campaign is on to distort the country’s
history and its heritage.
A lesson from cricket
Parliament on Thursday acted fittingly by felicitating
cricketing hero Mutthaiah Muralitharan for his world record
breaking feat of being the highest wicket taker in Test cricket.
This is the first time that a sportsman has been honoured in
the country’s Supreme Legislature. It was a ground breaking
Members of Parliament representing all parties put aside all
differences and in one voice showered praise on Murali for the
honour and prestige he had brought to the nation by his
His colleagues in the current Sri Lankan team and past
cricketers who played alongside the champion spinner were also
present in strength in the VIP gallery to share in the joy of
their colleague on this momentous occasion.
They represented a picture of unity as they were on the field
of play, which was a key element that paved the way for Murali’s
If only our Parliamentarians who spoke in unison offering
bouquets to Murali could emulate our cricket team and maintain
this unity at least on crucial issues affecting the nation what
a different country this would have been, may have been the
foremost question in the minds of many who witnessed the event
For, it was unity among the team composed of many ethnicities
and creeds that formed the gel that piloted Sri Lanka to the top
of the cricketing nations and produced a world record breaker in
Murali whose feat would not be equalled for eons.
Let us hope that this scene of unity among our cricketers who
were present in Parliament rubs off on our legislators so that
they may put an end to their perennial feuding and acrimony.
Then the nation as a whole can benefit from their collective
If only this message of unity is reinforced among our
legislators Murali’s achievement could well signal a new
beginning for Sri Lanka.