‘Let us be determined to develop spiritually’

Chief Prelate of the Malwathu Chapter, Most Ven. Thibbotuwawe Sri Sumangala Mahanayke Thera in an Independence Day message said: “Along with the Kandyan Convention signed on March 2,1815 at the historic Magul Maduwa, Britain turned Sri Lanka into a ‘crown colony’ of their empire. However, within a short span of time, many national heroes consisting of clergy and lay persons realized that they have lost autonomy and freedom by being caught in a trap laid by the British and came forward to fight for independence, even risking their lives. As a result, Sri Lanka gained independence on February 4, 1948.”

“Although 72 sears have passed since gaining independence, it has not been able to convert the independence into a more meaningful one. Although countries which won independence from the British rulers at the same time as us, have today reached the pinnacle of development. It is regrettable that we have not yet been able to achieve economic and spiritual development. The time has come to act tirelessly to alleviate the poverty innocent people living in the rural areas of our country and thereby, create economic and spiritual development.”

“As Sri Lanka celebrates the 72 anniversary of independence, may the blessings of the Triple Gem and Sri Dalada Wahanse (Sacred Tooth Relic) be with you all, to create a prosperous country built on true values and patriotism irrespective of political differences.”


‘National heroes laid down their lives for country’

Chief Prelate of the Asigiriya Chapter, Most Ven. Dr. Warakagoda Sri Gnanarathana Mahanayake Thera said that history clearly shows that people of Sri Lanka who lived as a free nation lost their sovereignty and independence at different times in the past because of the fighting among each other due to the shortsightedness of the power-hungry mass leaders.

“As a result of this, we had to face attacks from invaders from time to time and finally, we came under the control of British imperialism which continued for well-over 15 decades, causing a huge detriment to our social and cultural values. This situation had a huge impact on spiritual values of our people and also severely affected the country’s prosperity and progress.”

“To save the country from this adversity, a number of national heroes, both clergy and lay launched an unstinted struggle, even sacrificing their lives and as a result of their noble efforts, Sri Lanka gained independence on February 4, 1948.”

“Since then, 72 years have passed. At the time, we gained Independence, several other countries also got their freedom from foreign rulers. When we look at those countries today, it is clear that those countries have achieved a rapid socio-economic growth in every sphere and thereby enjoy the true meaning of independence. Even today, it is no secret that we are still trying to find the path to live as a united nation irrespective of religious, political and other differences.”

“As the country celebrates the 72nd independence anniversary with hopes for a new era, may the blessings of Sri Dalada Wahanse (Sacred Tooth Relic) be with you all, to build a prosperous Sri Lanka where all could live freely.”


‘We must all unite to move forward’

Mahanayake of Amarapura Maha Nikaya, Most Ven. Aggamaha Panditha Kotugoda Dhammawasa Mahanayake Thera in an Independence Day message said: “Sri Lanka gained independence on February 4 in 1948, after being under the rule of colonial powers for nearly three centuries, and we are now at the 72nd year of our independence. When looking back at the last seven decades, it could be noted that we have arrived at a stage where we could be satisfied about the progress that we have made so far.”

“After so many political struggles and a 30-year-old war, Sri Lanka has achieved tremendous development compared to the past. At a time when the problems of the country’s economy and the people have become more complex, it is our view that the country should undertake a swift march to resolve those problems. At the same time, it could be observed that we have made a satisfactory progress in the field of education. Steps should be taken to nourish the children in a more disciplined and cultured manner and thereby lead the country towards prosperity. It is the right time that we all move forward in a united path, forgetting petty political differences.”

“Although, technology has largely contributed to the world’s development, it should be noted that like many other countries we have also used technology for our own downfall. That is a mistake we have made. The future of our country depends on guiding our children in the correct path. It should be stressed that the time has come for everyone to act in an intelligent manner, to achieve prosperity based on peace and morals.”

“The decline in morality has caused various types of crimes in our country. We have now arrived at a decisive juncture at which people should be more cautious and act to enhance morals to prevent those crimes. As we mark the 72nd Independence Day, we all should be determined to enhance our morals and move forward to achieve peace and prosperity. The government must provide the necessary guidance to achieve that success.”

“That is the highest motive we all should bear in our minds on this important day of national independence. I wish a prosperous future for the country and you all.”


‘Let us adopt indigenous values, local customs and ideals’

Chief Prelate of the Ramanna Maha Nikaya, Most Ven. Napana Pemasiri Mahanayake Thera in an Independence Day message said: “Although 72 years have passed since our motherland Sri Lanka gained Independence after being ruled as a colony of Europe for several centuries, everyone accepts the fact that our country has not achieved satisfactory progress compared to the other countries which also gained independence from imperialism at the same time.”

“The main obstacle to our country’s expected growth was the failure of our leaders to lay a Sri Lankan foundation enriched with national thinking based on indigenous values, inculcating our local customs and ideals while making radical changes into the attitudes of the public by rejecting Western customs and habits.”

“In 1956, the late Prime Minister S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike opened a new path in the spheres of economy, education, society and culture, by making a revolutionary change with his Pancha Maha Balawegaya (five great political forces - Sangha (monk), Weda (indigenous doctors), Guru (teachers), Govi (farmers) and Kamkaru (labourers). Led by Buddhist monks, these new social changes led to a social transfer which is commonly referred to as Bamnu Malaya Binda Wateema (the collapse of the Brahmin clique). The renaissance of the attitudes that prevailed among the public at the time largely contributed to this social upliftment.”

“In this new year, a new government has been established under the leadership of a true son of Sri Lanka, Gotabaya Rajapaksa who has shunned the political culture that promotes wealth, power and title and instead follows the motive ‘man’s utmost duty is to serve the fellow men’. There is no doubt that the government of Gotabaya Rajapaksa, which was formed with the blessings of the Buddhist monks and the efforts of Mahinda Rajapaksa who rescued this country from the curse of war, would take the initiative to ensure economic, educational, cultural and spiritual development of Sri Lanka. To achieve that task, may the Blessings of the Triple Gem be with you on this historic Day of National Independence.”


‘A strong, national democracy our vision for Sri Lanka’

Swami Aksharatmananda of the Ramakrishna Mission in an Independence Day Message said: “We, the citizens of Sri Lanka, are celebrating the 72nd Independence Day. It is a matter of joy for all. For many centuries together, we have been subjugated to foreign rule. It has robbed us of our rich cultural heritage. Freedom is the sign of growth.”

“While celebrating the Independence, we should bow down our heads for the sacrifice made by our elders towards obtaining the freedom. Freedom is celebration but Independence means responsibility. We must have faith in our capacity and strength for our development.”

“Our vision today for Sri Lanka is in the evolution of a strong, national democracy comprehensive of our diverse religions and groups. Whether we are Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Christians or of any other religion, all these should be underwritten and softened by the awareness of our democratic national unity and solidarity.”

“On the happy occasion of the 72nd Independence Day I pray to the Lord to shower His choicest blessings on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the Cabinet of Ministers, and all the people of Sri Lanka for peace, happiness and prosperity.”


‘We need mutual respect and acceptance among communities’

Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm, Cardinal Ranjith, in an Independence Day Message said: “It is with profound happiness that I send this congratulatory message on the occasion of our motherland’s 72nd anniversary of political independence. When we celebrate such an occasion, the leaders who gave the leadership to the nation’s independence struggle invariably come to our mind. It should be recalled with great respect that these leaders worked together irrespective of racial, religious, caste and party differences and made immense sacrifices to gain the sovereignty and independence of this country.”

“Since gaining independence, we have witnessed how national unity faced so many challenges during the last seven decades. The 30-year war tarnished the deep brotherhood that prevailed between the Sinhalese and Tamils. Just 10 years since the end of that war, a situation has erupted, creating suspicion and fear about Muslims which is one of our brother communities in this country. It is clear that the power-hungry and selfish politicians were behind all these divisions.”

To create a prosperous Sri Lanka, steps should be taken to develop mutual respect, acceptance and patience among different communities. Also, steps should be taken to identify and eliminate the forces that cause disunity among communities.”

“This is exactly why I repeatedly called for a proper investigation into the Easter Sunday attacks. Steps should be taken to reveal the whole truth about the people who planned these attacks with a view to creating acrimony and rancor among our communities and also the local and foreign forces that backed these attacks. I wish we would get the privilege of living as the children of one mother both physically and mentally beneath the shade of a single flag.”


ACJU wishes peace upon all communities

The All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU) wishes peace among all communities on the occasion of the 72nd Independence Day of Sri Lanka.

The ACJU said that all communities must strive to achieve peace and co-existence without racial or religious discrimination and should work together for the development, progress and prosperity of the country.

All governments have worked tirelessly to achieve development in the social, educational, economic and security aspects of the country. The leaders of Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim and Christian communities would not countenance religious intolerance at any cost.

No citizen of this country will tolerate any sort of ill will towards other communities and therefore the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama hopes and prays for progressive steps to take the nation forward. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said that he would further strengthen the nation when he took office, and all communities should be united and work hard to achieve the required development and progress of the country.

All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama will offer its prayers for the progress and prosperity of Sri Lanka.

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