A Letter from one of us to all of us...
The 74th Independence Day of Sri Lanka
A commemoration of the day Sri Lanka was no longer a British colony.
Since 1948, every year on the 04th of February, we celebrate the Independence Day of Sri Lanka all over the country. Independence Day is celebrated to mark the political independence that we gained from Great Britain in 1948. The main celebration of Independence Day takes place in Colombo, with the president's flag hoisting ceremonies, military parades, and cultural performances.
In 2022, we will commemorate Sri Lanka's 74th Independence Day under the theme "Prosperous Motherland Overcomes Challenges".
When we look at the past 74 years after independence, Sri Lanka has come a long way. We have made significant progress in the areas of health, education, industry, and the economy, but we have not yet reached the level we hoped for. We are still a developing nation. Sri Lanka is facing several problems in 2022, such as the economic downturn, the rising cost of living, bad debts, the depreciation of the rupee, etc. Not only the country's rulers, but also its citizens, must do their part to help the country recover from these problems. Instead of pointing fingers at the government, we, as the younger generation of the country, should do what we have to do for our "dream-developed Sri Lanka".
Sri Lanka is enriched with many natural resources of its own, such as luscious green jungles, epic waterfalls, archaeological ruins, rapid and cool rivers, etc. Our land is more fertile and suitable for growing a variety of crops, and one-third of our land is arable. We have an equatorial climate with high average rainfall. Rivers, which cascade from the hills in the central part of the country, provide energy to generate hydropower. It can be taken as the major source of electricity in Sri Lanka. Also, we have rich fishing resources all around the island. Sri Lanka’s mineral resources include graphite, titanium ore, kaolin, and gemstones. We also have large deposits of unexploited iron ore.
So, in my opinion, despite the economic problems, because of our valuable natural resources and beautiful green environment, Sri Lanka is one of the countries that can be called "heaven" on earth. But the problem here is that, rather than getting benefits from these resources, over 45 percent of the population depends on benefits under the income supplement programs initiated by the government. So it is no wonder that we are still a developing third-world country.
We all hear the stories of how the leaders in Singapore, one of the most developed countries in the world, followed concepts from Sri Lanka as their role models. How Japan was behind Sri Lanka at independence and where they have now reached. So, why couldn’t Sri Lanka become a developed nation? I felt that the wrong was in the thoughts of the people. As Sri Lankans, it seems we don’t need to make our country a developed country. We see everyone handing over all the mistakes to the government and waiting to see how the government will develop the country.
As a nation, we doesn't seem to have the need to overcome or do anything to overcome the hard economic conditions through which we are passing. Over the past few years, we have become a nation that is fully dependent on the government. Rather than taking responsibility for what we do and how we can overcome the challenges we face in our lives, we expect the government to provide us with solutions on a silver platter. Every time we have accepted and settled into an "average mindset", "that is how the world is?", "can we do that?", "we don’t have the resources" are the thoughts of the majority of the people in Sri Lanka when not getting what they expected. We are not eager to fight for the highest ideals; instead, we have settled for the average over the years.
Making this kind of ‘average mindset’ and making people entirely dependent on the government have become the main economic strategies followed by political parties. In their elections, they have been promising solutions instead of empowering individuals to take the economy at the rural level. After the election, these all-political parties, instead of serving the people of the country, work hard to shape their own families and offspring. When it is near to another election, they show the number of plays and talk shows on screen where they point the finger at each other and wash their hands. Because of the number of government jobs and glittering promises, our people are satisfied with the average every time.
In 2019, the adult literacy rate in Sri Lanka was 92.3%. When in America, it was 79%. So, we have a high-quality education. Though we have this high education rate, the knowledge of economic education and the lack of English are the main problems in our education system. As a result of these weaknesses, people are thinking and making decisions without any analysis and evaluation.
As the responsible undergraduate youth generation who are taking advantage of free education, we should change this thinking pattern. Rather than waiting for everything to be done by others, we can start to tackle our problems with a positive mindset. Instead of looking at the negative aspects of problems, explore the positivity of everything and find intelligent solutions to those by combining new technologies.
The COIVD-19 pandemic has become the world's most serious crisis as of 2022. This pandemic has brought the global economy into a weaker position and brought hundreds of economies to a standstill when we entered 2022. Sri Lanka is facing significant challenges because of the pandemic. Every day, we see people protesting and striking for relief and higher wages on television or through other forms of social media. Is that the only thing we can do in this situation?
This reminds me of some work my parents did. When the whole country was going into a lockdown in 2020, we all stayed at home with our families. My parents took advantage of the free time and they planted everything (vegetables, fruits, etc.) that they could in our backyard by with our help too. So now we are seeing the results of it. We eat fresh, non-poisonous vegetables grown in our own backyard. Also, we get little income by selling excess goods. We are getting benefits from what my parents did instead of thinking about the inconveniences caused by COVID 19. What I learn from this is that, without expecting or requesting everything from the government, we can take small steps to develop our own lives.
According to my thoughts, Sri Lankan media companies and journalists should behave in a much more ethic driven and a responsible manner. The gas tragedy, which is one of the most popular topics among us these days, has created an environment of fear and social unrest throughout the country. But the positive aspect of this is that many inventors came from all around the country, and people tried to find a solution to the problem with the help of various kinds of power sources. But what our media promotes on their channels is the sufferings of people and the long queues of people asking for gas. From that, they were able to get the attention of the people to their channels because Sri Lankans get used to hearing the sadness of the people over the years rather than seeing any positive results from the problems. If our media promotes the new inventions rather than the sad stories, all of the nations will at least try to think in different ways and practice challenging the problems as much as they can. That I believe, is the first step of development.
I invite all of the youth in Sri Lanka... Let’s unite and do our duty to our country. By developing positive attitudes, let's intelligently challenge the problems. Instead of settling for average, let us develop the habit of tossing the stone as far as possible.
Let’s contribute to making this beautiful country a prosperous, developed country as a respectful nation.