Dr. Daya Hewapathirane
AN INDEPENDENT SOVEREIGN NATION
My motherland – whatever label you may wish to ascribe to it -
Heladiva, Helabima, Sinhalay or Sri Lanka, is the oldest country in
the world within its present borders. This glorious historic island
existed as an independent sovereign country as far back as the 6th
century BCE. The island's civilization has achieved an individuality
and identity that distinguishes it from its neighbors. Cultural traits
brought from India have undergone change and independent growth,
largely influenced by Buddhism which was formally introduced to our
country in the 3rd century BCE. The Sinhala Buddhist culture of Sri
Lanka which is the national culture of our country is one of the
World’s oldest, continuous, unchanged cultures in existence and a
culture that is unique to Sri Lanka.
It is one of very few countries in the world with an unbroken written
history that goes back to more than 2500 years. This written history
matches perfectly with foreign records and archaeological findings.
What my motherland, then and now, clearly projects is its Sinhala
Buddhist imprint. The strength of this cultural foundation was tested
several times in the past, during periods of foreign invasion,
devastation and exploitation. But the nation stayed intact,
withstanding threats, perils and calamities, largely owing to the
power and potency of its Sinhala Buddhist cultural foundation. It is
the inspiration of this strong Buddhist foundation that is reflected
in the lives of our people, where peace, tolerance, compassion and
generosity are the cornerstones.
NATIONAL CULTURAL HERITAGE
The unique Sinhala Buddhist identity of our country began to take
shape starting in the 3rd century BCE. This was reinforced with the
development and widespread use of the proto-Sinhala language based on
the Prakritic language used popularly in the numerous ancient lithic
inscriptions found across our country. Starting in the 3rd century
BCE, for as many as 15 centuries or for over 1500 years, our island
was inhabited almost exclusively by Sinhala Buddhists. This period of
time witnessed the development of a vast civilization based on a
hydraulic agrarian system and a rich culture and a system of
administration and governance, based on Buddhist norms and principles.
This period saw the rise to power of many outstanding Sinhala Buddhist
kings who ruled the country from the Capitol City Anuradhapura for
some 1200 years and subsequently from the Capitol Polonnaruwa for some
300 years until about the 13th century. This 1500 year period in the
country’s history can be considered, indisputably, as its golden age.
During this period, there were violent invasions of our country by
South Indian Tamil-speaking Dravidian mercenaries. Although some of
these South Indians were able to dislodge the seat of Sinhala power
for limited periods of time, they were eventually ousted and the
country was unified under the rule of Sinhala Buddhist monarchy.
During their invasions and rule, the country was plundered of its
wealth and much destruction was caused to priceless monuments of the
country. The 700 year old Sinhala Royal palace in the citadel of
Anuradapura was burnt down. Relic chambers of stupas were broke open
and valuables including gold images enshrines in them were taken away.
Often after plundering the treasures, they destroyed these historic
structures for good.
Perhaps the saddest of all was the destruction of Thuparamaya, the
oldest monument in South Asia. This exquisite Buddhist monument housed
the Buddha’s right-collar bone and the Alms-bowl. The Relic chamber of
Thuparamaya was broke open to pay South Indian Tamil mercenaries. The
crowning ornament on Thuparama was robbed and the great canopy over
Thuparama, that protected it from bad weather, was smashed to get the
priceless gems and golden decorations fixed on it.
In mid 10the century the Chola invaders looted Anuradhapura
extensively. The huge domes- roofs decorated in gold and silver, and
embedded with gems, built to cover the large Dagaba’s and to protect
them from bad weather, were destroyed again. That included the golden
umbrellas over Mirisavetiya Dagaba, and Thuparamaya. The main library
in the citadel, housing the sacred books, was maliciously burnt.
Jethavanaramaya, the gigantic monument recorded in history as the
third tallest structure of the world, was destroyed. Temple of the
Tooth Relic in the citadel was destroyed. Golden doors were ripped off
from buildings. The pride of the nation, skyscraper LovaMahapaya was
maliciously destroyed completely. This was the 6th time it was
destroyed by these Dravidian plunderers. This was the end of the city
The Buddhist tradition in Sri Lanka is one of the oldest there is. The
Sinhala people have been practicing Buddhism continuously, for longer
than anyone else in the world. Buddhism has been and continues to be
the basis or foundation of the country’s culture. for over 2300
years. All deeper aspects of the country’s culture are reflective of
Buddhist ideology, principles, ethics, virtues, values, morality,
traditions, customs, thoughts, temperament, attitudes and way of life.
Whatever new elements that have been absorbed into the culture at
different times, were subject to appropriate modifications,
adjustments and adaptations in order to make them compatible with
Buddhist principles and values. Buddhist principles were intertwined
in these new additions although there may be exceptions which often
are those elements which are in the process of being adapted to fit
into the cultural norms of the country.
Buddhism is not a religion with a dogmatic canon. Buddhism functions
not through crusades, but through tolerance, openness and the
persuasive power of its philosophical foundation. Tolerance and the
enormous adaptability of Buddhism are qualities that have remained
unchanged throughout its remarkable history. Buddhism upholds
everything worthy and meaningful. It promotes peace, peaceful
coexistence, and democratic principles in governance. It promotes
human rights, development of individual and community virtues and
discipline in accordance with the “pancha seela". Non-violence and
compassion towards all living beings has been the cornerstone of the
national culture of Sri Lanka from early times. Peaceful cohabitation
was promoted by Sinhala Buddhist kings from early times. Respect for
the natural environment and sustainable and participatory development
of resources and upheld in Buddhism. In addition, Buddhism strongly
promotes tolerance of other faiths, religious and social harmony, and
cordial relations with other nations.
OLDEST BUDDHIST COUNTRY
Ours is the oldest Buddhist country in the world with Buddhism
arriving in the island and establishing itself far and wide since 237
BCE, or about 2247 years ago. Buddhists across the world respect Sri
Lanka as the country where pure Buddhism or Buddhist teachings in its
original form prevails – the Theravada tradition. The significance of
this should be seen in the light of the following background. Sri
Lanka accounts for about a mere 1% of the estimated 1472 million total
Buddhists population in the world. There are about 25 countries in the
world with Buddhist populations. Of them, 17 account for a substantial
number of Buddhists which qualifies them to be referred to as Buddhist
countries. The 150 million Theravada Buddhists of the world are found
basically in six countries and Sri Lankan Buddhists account for about
10% of the total Theravada Buddhist population across the world. It is
also noteworthy that the traditional Sri Lanka Buddhist flag has
become the global Buddhist flag.
In spite of invasions, threats, challenges, Buddhist culture did not
disappear from our island, unlike in the case with several other
countries. Today, over 70% of the total population of Sri Lanka is
Buddhists. The simple and uncomplicated lifestyle promoted by our
culture, is based on the five precepts of Buddhism. Their mind-set,
temperament and attitude towards life are clearly reflective of
Buddhist norms and values such as compassion, non-violence, tolerance,
morality and peaceful coexistence with other living beings and with
BUDDHIST SITES, MONUMENTS AND INSTITUTIONS
The outstanding imaginative and creative powers of the Sinhala people,
their talents, skills, and foresight are well evident in what still
remains as marvels architecture, sculpture, art, literature and other
forms of visual culture, in irrigation technology displayed
magnificently across the country as living evidence of an outstanding
cultural heritage. The world recognition of the greatness of this
unique Sinhala Buddhist culture is reflected by the UNESCO designating
our ancient royal sites as World Heritage Sites - Anuradhapura,
Polonnaruwa, Mahanuwara (Kandy), Sigiriya and Dambulla, all built upon
and strongly reflecting inspiration drawn from Buddhism. It is a fact
that, if there is anything unequivocally worthwhile that our country
can offer to the world today, it is the Buddha Dhamma and its
outstanding culture and attitude towards life and its natural habitat.
Ours is the only country in the world that had the privilege of having
three visits of the Buddha at three different times in the past.
During these times the Buddha set foot on 16 different places within
our country which are still venerated as sacred sites.
Some of the most venerated relics of the Buddha are found in Sri
Lanka, including the Tooth relic, the right collar bone and the Alms
Bowl. Sri Lanka and Thailand are the countries with the largest
collection of relics of the Buddha.
Oldest Institution in the world is Sri Lanka’s Sangha Sasana, which is
still active and operational in our country.
The oldest recorded tree in the world - the Sri Maha Bodhi, is found
in Sri Lanka.
Oldest Buddhist monuments, dagabos, architecture, sculpture,
paintings, literature, poetry are found in our country.
There is ample evidence that our ancient builders and planners were
quite familiar with the principles of building construction or
structural engineering. Some of their structures have lasted for over
The Lovamahapaya is the world’s oldest skyscraper which is 145 feet
high with 9 stories and 1000 rooms. The largest brick structures of
the world are the ancient Buddhist dagabos of Sri Lanka such as the
Jetavanaramaya, Abayagiriya, Ruvanweliseya, and Tissamaharamaya. The
Jetavanarama Stupa is about 400 feet high and is the largest brick
structure in the world.
The oldest religious building/structure in Sri Lanka is the
Thuparamaya stupa built by King Devanampiyatissa (307-267 BCE).
Cultural heritage encompasses material culture, in the form of
objects, structures, sites, as well as living (or expressive) culture
as evidenced in forms such as music, crafts, performing arts,
literature, oral tradition and language. Sculpture, architecture,
paintings and other forms of fine arts were used profusely in Sri
Lanka from very early times to express Buddhist ideas and sentiment.
The exceptionally rich heritage of visual arts of the Sinhala people
of Sri Lanka extends to a period that exceeds 2300 years, from the 3rd
century BCE to the 21st CE. A spectacular collection of ancient
sculpture, architecture and paintings adorns the island’s culture.
They are conspicuous elements of the island’s Buddhist culture even
Culture is organic and evolving. There is however, cultural continuity
from the past, through the present and into the future. Some cultural
elements are preserved in an original or earlier state, whereas other
cultural materials, elements and forms may have observed dynamic
change, adaptation and development with time and with exposure to
other cultures, circumstances and environments. The outcome of this
dynamic change is often something unique but not necessarily
completely new. However, it is peculiar to the particular culture
concerned. It is an outcome which reflects a combination of elements
of several cultures blended together but in keeping and compatible
with the fundamentals of the long preserved cultural and social values
of the particular culture. This outcome reflects a unique identity
that is special to the particular culture. The evolution of the Buddha
statue, the stupas of Sri Lanka, Buddhist paintings and the Sinhala
language, are good examples.
All salient aspects of our national culture – tangible and intangible,
either grew or evolved within the borders of our country. Sinhala
language and literature originated in Sri Lanka. Sinhala language in
fact is the most important defining element of our nation’s culture
and heritage, from historic times. The Sinhala language grew out of
Indo-Aryan dialects and exists only in Sri Lanka and has its own
distinguished literary tradition. Sinhala is one of the world’s oldest
living languages. There have been a wide range of languages in the
world, particularly in Asia which lived and died without leaving
evidence of their existence, because they were never written down.
This is not the case with the Sinhala language. All other languages
used in Sri Lanka originated in other countries. It is significant to
note that the overwhelming majority of people of Sri Lanka are
distinguished by their language – Sinhala, which even today has a
strong unifying effect in our motherland helping to reinforce the
solidarity of our people as a unique cultural entity in the world.
Almost all place names of the country from historic times, are in the
Sinhala language – in the North, South, East, West and Central
It was customary in ancient times to place on record, on ‘ola’ palm
leaf manuscripts, information pertaining to Buddhism, our royalty, the
history of our nation, and most importantly, on many secular subjects.
A greater part of these priceless manuscripts were destroyed by
foreign invaders, especially by South Indian Dravidians. Some were
destroyed when the Catholic Portuguese and the Christian Dutch and
British destroyed our Buddhist places of learning, temples and
monasteries where most ola manuscripts were stored from ancient times.
However, what remained in places where these foreign plunders could
not reach, such as remote temples, were later collected and stored in
the National Archives, National Museums and prominent temples. A good
part of these manuscripts have not been read yet. Therefore, a wealth
of information on various fields lies hidden in the innumerable ‘ola’
manuscripts. There may be many old ‘ola’ manuscripts that contain past
scientific and technological information.
CITY PLANNING AND SURVEYING
Remains of the ancient cities of Anuradhapura, Sigiriya and
Polonnaruwa in particular reveal the highly advanced state of ancient
city planning. It was an amazing system of well laid out buildings
with a road network, bridges, parks, cemeteries etc. Sigiriya had a
sophisticated system of water management including underground canals.
Ancient Sri Lankans had a brilliant surveying tradition which is well
reflected in the laying of the sophisticated irrigation system and
related agricultural land management system. A sound understanding of
the topography, geology and structure of the land was necessary to pan
and implement such sustainable water conservation and transfer
systems, where to locate reservoirs and associated irrigated lands
The high degree of sophistication in engineering technology and skills
in surveying are well reflected in ancient Buddhist structures and
monuments. These skills were transferred to Buddhist architecture,
sculpture, and other works of art. Brick-making, plasters for
reinforcing bricks and rocks used in buildings and making of huge
statues, both indoor and outdoor, are of special significance.
Mathematics and Astronomy were highly developed. The ‘Sandesha Kavya’
written in the 15th century refers to the teaching of Mathematics.
Geometry would have been highly developed science in the past because
all the massive and complex structures designed and built in the past
had to utilize principles of geometry.
What was developed and promoted by our royalty and followed by the
large preponderance of our people in ancient Sri Lanka was a highly
productive form of farming/agriculture which reflected a sound
knowledge of prevailing environmental conditions. The use of
irrigation technology in a most prudent manner resulted in a farming
system that was highly sustainable. The land and water management
mechanisms that were observed were meant to have benefits in the short
term and long term. Environmental conservation measures assumed
importance where watershed resources management was given high
priority treatment by our kings paying attention to conservation of
forests, soil and water resources including wildlife and biodiversity.
Respect for the environment was a part of the lifestyle of farming
communities of the past. The Worlds first and oldest wildlife
sanctuary was established in Mihintale in the 3rd century BCE.
Ancient irrigation system developed by our kings is still operational
and is considered as - Engineering marvels. Our earthen and stone
dams and reservoirs systems the canal network and related water
control and management structures and techniques show the skills of
our ancient people. These works have sustained until today, still
serving their purposes. Our canal system has minimum siltation. The
Jayaganga is 54 miles long and its first 17 miles gradient is ONE inch
per mile. Our ancient irrigation engineers, more than 2100 years ago,
were the first inventors of both, the hydraulic surge chamber and the
valve tower and to incorporate both principles in the same structure
called the ‘bisokotuva’.
There was remarkable achievement in metal work industry. There were
iron implements even during the 4th and 5 century BCE. The Tara
statue of Sri Lanka exhibited in the British museum is considered as
one of the best metal works of the past. So is the statute of
Avalokethiswara presently exhibited at the Colombo National Museum,
which has been displayed in several European and American Museums?
Special types of plasters were developed and used on rock and brick
wall surfaces to effect paintings, ensuring their durability. Some
paintings found on such ancient plasters are 1500 to over 2000 years
old – Hindagala, paintings are over 2000 years and those of Sigiriya
are more than 1500 years. Pigments used in paintings are based on
natural products and are used on varied surfaces – walls, ceilings,
statues, wooden, cloth, and earthenware. Our own traditional Pottery,
ivory works, brass works, lacquer work that developed in the past are
still continued today.
Ayurveda health services were highly developed in the past with its
integrated approach to health and wellness. It received royal
patronage and one of our famous kings named Buddhadasa was a well
reputed Ayurveda physicians. There had been many books written in Sri
Lanka, in Sinhala, Sanskrit and Pali on medical science. Among books
compiled by King Buddhadasa on medicine is the famous “Saarartha
Sri Lanka is the first country in the world to have established a
dedicated hospital at Mihintale in the 4th century BCE. There is
archeological evidence of several other hospitals built in our ancient
cities. The ruins of the hospitals in Mihintale and Polonnaruwa are
still evident. A number of surgical instruments have been discovered
in Polonnaruwa. There were great physicians and surgeons in the past
including Veterinary surgeons and Animal Hospitals. There is reference
in ancient chronicles of sick elephants being treated by our ancient
veterinary practitioners. The World’s first animal hospital was built
in Sri Lanka
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND TRADE
International relations were cordial and useful during the times of
our kings. Sri Lanka
had diplomatic relationships with places such as China and Rome from
ancient times. The first envoy from Sri Lanka to China was in 428 CE.
Pliny (45 CE) chronicles an account of a Sri Lankan envoy to Rome in
the reign of Emperor Claudius Caesar (10 BCE - 54 BCE). ''It had been
of long time thought by men in ancient days that Taprobane (Sri Lanka)
was a second world".
Among foreign sources of information on our foreign relations with the
outside world, are written records and reports of foreigners who
visited our land. Also, there are archeological evidence that is
indicative of diplomatic relations we had with foreign nations in the
European and Asian continent.
The sea-faring nations knew Sri Lanka from very early times because of
its position on the trade routes. The Greeks called it Taprobane.
Cosmos Indecopleustes (545 CE), the Greek merchant from Alexandria
gives us the fullest account of Sri Lanka. "The island being as it is,
in a position, is much frequented by ships from all parts of India and
from Persia and Ethiopia and it like wise sends out many of its own
and those from remote countries like China and other trading
places..." The Chinese, Arabian, Persian, South and North Indian,
Malay were the first traders of our country, followed by Portuguese,
Dutch and the British. The ancient port of Mantota is reputed to have
been an important port of call between China and Rome.
Sri Lanka was the ideal stopover of the Ancient Sea farers sailing in
the Indian Ocean to East Asia and Pacific. We had our own ships and
were involved in the export of rice. Ancient Chinese reports refer to
“Sinhala ships”. Our ships crossed the ocean to Java (as Indonesia
was known at the time). The present Indonesia, Malaysia, the
Philippines and Maldives islands, and a good part of India including
Southern and Eastern India were predominantly Buddhist in ancient
times. There is evidence of close interactions and travel between
these countries in the past.
Contemporary Chinese records maintain that Persia bound vessels from
China traded in gems, spices and ivory at the flourishing port of
Mantota. The Chinese, Arabian, Persian, South and North Indian, Malay
were the first traders followed by Portuguese, Dutch and British. Many
Arabian traders have arrived in Beruwala Bay and made pilgrimages to
‘Adams Peak’ via Ratnapura where they have traded Gems. Beruwala was
the sea port of early Arab travelers who traveled to the ‘Adam's
James Emerson Tennent (1861) in his well known book Sketches of
Natural History of Ceylon states “There is no island in the world…
that has attracted the attention of authors in so many distant ages
and so many different countries as Ceylon. There is no nation in
ancient or modern times possessed of a language and a literature… the
writers of which have not at some time made it their theme. It's
aspect, its religion, its antiquities and productions have been
described as well by the classic Greeks….by the Romans, by the writers
of China, Burma, India, Kashmir and the geographers of Arabia and
Persia, by the medieval voyagers of Italy and France, by the analysts
of Portugal and Spain, by the merchant adventurers of Holland and
topographers of Great Britain."
Pliny (45 CE) -one of the greatest Roman Historian writes about Sri
Lanka in his encyclopedic work “ ''It had been of long time thought
by men in ancient days that Taprobane (Sri Lanka) was a second world"
Fa Hien (414 CE) - the famous Chinese pilgrim spent two years in Sri
Lanka, mostly at Anuradhapura then a famous center of learning and
writes about Sri Lanka in his works
"This country is an oasis, prosperous and happy; it's people are well-to-do…”
ACCURACY OF HISTORIC RECORD
The Mahawamsa, Culavamsa, Dipavamsa, Rajawaliya, Pujawaliya,
Attana-galu Vihara Vamsa, Dhatuvamsa, Elu-Attangaluvamsa,
Elu-Bidhivamsa, Maha Bodhivamsa, Thupavamsa, Daladavamsa and
Viharavamsa provide detailed information of the history of our Sinhala
Buddhist Nation, its people and their way of life. They provide
information on Sinhala Buddhist Kings who rescued the Sinhala race,
the island and Buddhism from marauding Dravidian armies of powerful
South Indian kingdoms, hell bent on plunder and pillage, murder and
mayhem, sack and ruin with sword and fire. Also about our benevolent
rulers who performed deeds of piety, who made the country self
sufficient in rice by way of irrigation engineering, promoted Ayurveda
medicine and medical practice, build Buddhist temples, stupas and
reigned with efforts to follow Dasaraja Dharma – the tenfold righteous
path of a king.
The accuracy of this historical record of ancient Sri Lanka is
generally accepted by means of other numerous local and Indian edicts
such as King rock edict of Indian Emperor Asoka and records of the Fa
Hien the Chinese pilgrim monk, Roman historian Pliny and several
others who have already been referred to. Also by means of
inscriptions, historical works, and literary works as well as by way
of ruins, renovated historical and Buddhist monuments, ancient yet
sophisticated irrigation networks, which extend the lifeline to date.
NATION AND NATIONALITY
A nation is, in general terms, a human cultural community who feel a
common bond. Members of a Nation share a common identity, and usually
a common origin, in the sense of history, ancestry, parentage or
descent. Therefore, a nation extends across generations. Almost all
nations are associated with a specific territory, the national
homeland. The national identity refers both to the distinguishing
features of the group, and to the individual's sense of belonging to
it. Nationalism is closely associated with patriotism.
A nation is a historically constituted, stable community of people,
formed on the basis of a common territory, a common culture and
language, a common set of social values and psychological make-up.
Traditionally a nation is monocultural. Members of a "nation" share a
common identity, and usually a common origin, in the sense of
ancestry, parentage or descent. The first requirement for the
definition is that the characteristics should be shared - a group of
people with nothing in common cannot be a nation. Because they are
shared, the national population also has a degree of uniformity and
homogeneity. And finally, at least some of the characteristics must be
exclusive - to distinguish the nation from neighboring nations.
The word ‘nation’ implies ancestry and descent. Almost all nationalist
movements make some claim to shared origins and descent, and it is a
component of the national identity in most nations. The fact that the
ancestry is shared among the members of the nation unites them, and
sets them apart from other nations, which do not share that ancestry.
A shared language is often used as a defining feature of a nation.
Unlike a language, a national culture is usually unique to the nation,
although it may include some elements shared with other nations.
Additionally, the national culture is assumed to be shared with
previous generations, and includes a cultural heritage from these
generations, as if it were an inheritance. In Sri Lanka, the Sinhala
language is exclusive to the nation, and is or should be central to
the national identity.
Indigenous national sovereignty of a country is an inalienable right
based on profound justice. Sovereign national rights of Sri Lanka
rests with the Sinhala people who are indigenous to this country,
forming its dominant majority community for over 2500 years. Sri Lanka
is the only national sovereign motherland of the Sinhala people. Their
culture, way of life and their Sinhala language originated and
developed in Sri Lanka.
Tamils, Muslims, and Malays are non-indigenous minority communities of
Sri Lanka who settled in the island at different times in the past,
coming from their own motherlands. The Tamils came from their
motherland, the Tamilnadu where their culture and language originated.
The Tamil nation of Tamilnadu is seven times bigger than Sri Lanka,
where one has to be a pure Tamil in order to hold any high official
position. Wherever they live, the Tamils have their national heritage
and aspirations protected within their nation – the Tamilnadu. Any
initiative that would dilute or threaten the national sovereignty of
the Sinhala people is not only unjust but also illegal, and will not
be acceptable to the Sinhala community.
Within any sovereign national country many non indigenous minorities
have settled down but they do merge with the host nation into a single
file. It is only by upholding the right of national sovereignty
throughout the land that it will function without being violated. The
granting of excessive rights to minorities in the form of
alien-national rights of language, cultures and religions and
exclusive ethnic areas will threaten a country’s sovereignty.
Hence, strict controls of immigration to a country are paramount in
protecting its national sovereignty and territorial integrity – a
basic human right of a nation of people ONLY in their indigenous
national motherland. Finally, high political positions in Sri Lanka
including national leadership must be kept within the genuine Sri
Lankan Hela nationals. It is noteworthy that for a high position in
the Tamil Federal State of Tamil Nadu, first qualification is one has
to be a full-blooded Tamil.
Those settling down or have already settled down in host countries
have a bounden duty to merge with the host nation into a single
coherent nation of members. It is basically, a state of mindset, not
necessarily physical interaction. Within these host countries, human
rights and civic rights of the host nation are what the settler
minorities are entitled to and not the alien-national rights of the
countries of their national origins they left behind for pastures
anew. Their alien-national rights will shift to the private domain
when in host countries and not to threaten the national sovereignty of
the host countries either.
Sri Lanka wants all non-indigenous minorities of our nation such as
the Tamils, Muslims, Moors and others of whatever label, to be a part
of our Nation, to join the country’s mainstream, just the way how
minority communities are expected to do in all countries of the world,
especially in places like Canada, Australia, USA, UK, Norway and help
to strengthen our nation founded on the noble principles of
non-violence, tolerance, compassion, where peaceful co-habitation has
been the cornerstone from historic times. “Forgiving and forgetting”
has been the attitude of our people, even to those who have harmed us
repeatedly from historic times, because our people know that
eventually justice and truth will prevail .
Dr. Daya Hewapathirane