** Independence Day in Sri Lanka is celebrated annually on the 4th February. Sri Lanka gained Independence from the British on February 4, 1948. The day is a national holiday in Sri Lanka.It is celebrated all over the country with flag-hoisting ceremonies, dances, parades and cultural performances. The main celebrations take place in Colombo. Here the President raises the national flag and delivers a speech at a nationally televised event.**
Many struggles were made in the history of Sri Lanka for the cause of freedom. And on the Independence Day all of those who fought for this are remembered and celebrated. But the independence movement against the British is especially recalled.
In the President’s speech, he highlights the achievements of the government during the past year, raises important issues and requests the people to join together in commemorating this historic day. The President also pays tribute to the national heroes of Sri Lanka, observing two minutes of silence in their memory.
A great military parade is also performed. In recent years, it displays the power of the army, navy, air force, police and the civil defense force. In addition, the commitment, bravery, national unity and determination to achieve peace is recollected in the minds of the Sri Lankan people. Moreover, the national flag is hoisted and the national anthem sung, the traditional lamp is lit and the processions begin, complete with meticulously coordinated military parades, firing of canons and various religious and cultural performances, all to paying tribute to the ancestors of the land for their glorious feat. Sri Lanka celebrates the gaining of her independence from Colonial rule with magnificent pomp and pageantry and the spirit of patriotism resonating in every street corner.
Sri Lanka is a mesmerizing island nation, South of India. Surrounded by the blue Indian Ocean from all sides, the island covers an area of 65,610 sq. kms. Blessed with a diverse landscape ranging from lush green tropical forests to highlands, arid plains and pristine sandy beaches, this county has something for everyone.
The capital city Colombo is a modern hub exhibiting urbane life. Moving on from the polished city life, Sri Lanka’s exotic attractions are a paradise for animal and nature lovers. The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage sanctuary is home to 60 abandoned wild elephant babies who are cared for. Revel as you watch the elephants enjoying their river soak. Nuwara Eliya is the country’s lush green hill station, once a summer retreat of colonizers; it is now home to verdant tea plantations, Sri Lanka’s best golf course and the beautiful Hakgala Botanical Gardens. Kandy is another gorgeous hill city that is built around an attractive man-made lake, the town is famous for the Esala Perahera Festival in August. Kandy is also known for housing a scared artifact in a guarded coffer in Dalada Maligawa or in the Temple of The Tooth.
For art and history lovers, Polonnuaruwa is an absolute delight. This place apart from housing the ancient ruins of palaces and friezes also features the 12-century stone sculptures of Buddha. Three statues of the Buddha, one sitting, one standing and the last reclining are the most revered monuments in Sri Lanka. Another exciting attraction is Sigiriya. This place is famed for housing the ancient ruins of the 5th century lion rock fortress of King Kashyapa. It is also renowned for having a 1500-year-old painted frescoes located at the top of a spiral staircase and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It is interesting to note that many attractions of Sri Lanka are located in a cultural triangle at the Centre of the country encompassing other amazing attractions like the Dambulla Cave Temples and the ancient city of Ceylonese in Anuradhapura.
The country has been classified as 'middle-income economy' by the IMF since 2010. The unemployment rate in the country was 4.9% in 2019, against 4.4% in 2018. The IMF expects however this trend to be affected by the negative economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the rate being currently estimated to increase to 6.3% in 2020 and decrease to 5% in 2021. Sri Lanka’s record of poverty reduction has been encouraging. The poverty headcount rate fell from about 22.7% in 2002 to 4.1% in 2016 (Asia Development Bank, latest data available). However, living standards remain low and pockets of severe poverty persist. Additionally, poverty rates are disproportionately high for vulnerable groups such as youth and ethnic minorities; and unemployment is high for youth and women. Still, the country’s 21 million inhabitants have achieved some of the best human development results in South Asia. The literacy rate in 2019 was close to 100% and the country’s life expectancy is the highest in the region. High literacy rates, low mortality rates and the steadily declining population growth, reflect the country’s progress in the sphere of social development.
The present Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Pakistan, Vice Admiral Mohan Wijiwickrama having a military and a strong political background. Being the ex-governor of two provinces in Sri Lanka. He has been playing an important part in uplifting the status of his Country. He is very keen to promote trade, tourism and cultural relations between both countries. He carries positive concepts to improve bilateral relations and multilateral relations between both countries.
BY: Yasin Joyia