Mahinda mantras from city of gods

Saturday, 5 February 2011 02:47 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

* Says country’s forward march to a strong self-sufficient economy is most decisive, in his address to the nation on 63rd Independence Day from Kataragama

* Urges people to change their attitudes for future progress of the country

* Emphasises development cannot be achieved solely on popular decisions, but inconvenient and difficult decisions are also necessary

Addressing the nation on Independence Day from Kataragama, known as the land of gods, President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday delivered some key messages akin to mantras for post-war Sri Lanka to get its future right in terms of equitable prosperity.

Emphasising that the Government’s and the country’s forward march in the post war era is most decisive the President said that Mahinda Chinthana shows the way to a strong, self-sufficient economy.  

“The people of our country must change their attitudes about future progress of the country, similar to the manner in which they began to think afresh about achieving victory over the forces of terror. There is the need for an enormous attitudinal change from children to adults to achieve national development,” the President said in his address at the colourful ceremony in Kataragama to mark the 63rd anniversary of the Independence Day televised live.

“The country cannot be developed solely on popular decisions. Inconvenient and difficult decisions are also necessary for the nation’s progress. It is the nation’s responsibility to take hard and difficult decisions to bring light to the future of our children, rather than take popular decisions that will lead them to the darkness ahead,” he added.

The ceremony was the second since the end of the war and was being held outside Colombo whilst the event was also used as a platform by the President ahead of the 17 March local polls to showcase the Government’s achievements.

The President said that winning freedom is a challenge faced by every nation. Safeguarding that freedom is an even greater challenge.  

“The freedom struggle of a country may end in a particular time span. Yet, protecting that freedom is a task that remains forever. We must realise that it is a great struggle continuously carried out with patience, vigilance and love for the country,” he said.

Reminding the people that Sri Lanka now faced the immense challenge of restoring all that was lost to the nation — except the lives lost — in the 30 years of terrorism, the President also said a great deal of time was required to rebuild a nation that had faced such devastation.

“Whatever the obstacles, we shall not delay to regain the lost opportunities for economic development. The best example is that before two years have passed, areas that were littered with deadly landmines are now prosperous and beautiful with a bountiful harvest,” he said.

However, the President stressed that much remains to be won in the cause of freedom. There should be opportunity for our people to enjoy the victories and successes obtained by those in the countries of the developed world. Our aim should be the eradication of poverty. For that we need to expand employment opportunities. We must become a high income country by expanding the avenues for income generation. Our freedom will be sustainable only when the gap between the rural and urban sectors is removed, by further expanding services such as electricity, roads, telecommunication, education and healthcare.

In his Independence Day address the President also touched on global issues.  “Even at this moment, many countries in the world undergo much hardship due to effects of adverse weather and climate change. Our own citizens living in some parts of our country also face these conditions. Although we are unable to control the effects of extreme weather, we are committed to uplift all those who have fallen victim to it. We have already allocated a large amount of funds for this work and sent it to the authorities concerned,” the President said.

Gods, Kings and Blessings

President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Indepdence Day speech yesterday at Kataragama had holy and majestic elements too.

Noting that it was his Government which brought the once Colombo-centric Independence Day celebrations to the village the President said King Dutugemunu commenced his journey to unite this motherland with blessings from this sacred land of the deity of Kataragama.

“Many of the successful freedom struggles in our history commenced with blessings from this sacred land of Kataragama. It is with similar blessings that I, as the leader of a mature democratic nation, take on with responsibility and confidence, the task of this era — to align you in the forefront of a rising nation of Asia,” the President said.