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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2398

Sri Lankan Independence Day - February 4th.

[b]Sri Lankan Independence Day - February 4th.[/b]

By Para Kumarasamy

February 4th 1948 - It was the first Independence Day celebrations in Jaffna, Sri Lanka. We, as young schoolboys, were asked to come to the Jaffna esplanade to perform a musical drill exercise. At the end, we were given small bags filled with cakes and sweets. It was a bright hot sunny day. White European government agent of Jaffna Mr.Hudson (I forget his other names), with sweat pouring down his red face, made a long speech about our independence! At the end of the day, there was a display of fireworks.

We walked home through the dark silent streets. The people of Jaffna were indifferent to that great day. I did not see any out ward celebration anywhere else in the city.

This was different in comparison with the Indian Independence Day, which was celebrated few months before. There were leaflets in Jaffna, calling upon to celebrate the independence day of India by several organisations, all had names connected with Mahatma Gandhi or Barthamatha (Mother India). They were talking of the great victory of Mahatma Ghandi’s ahimsa struggles. The leaflets requested people of Jaffna to celebrate the Independence Day like the Karthikai Theepam (light) day (Karthikai- is a month in Tamil calendar).

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