Published on - 9/23/2002
Racial harmony, if not the so-called ethnic co-existence among all communities of this island-nation society, right throughout the history of Sri Lanka, remained a healthy bond of friendship and understanding, though some racial clashes over minor incidents had intermittently sparked off violence in the past. More importantly ethnic harmony is the one and only integral segment essentially needed for any nation's forward march and prosperity. T. N. S Rajaratnam, now a resident in the Middle East was recently in Sri Lanka on holiday with his wife and members of the family but became a contributor to a unique gesture of goodwill and ethnic brotherhood.
Rajaratnam, since the day he landed in Sri Lanka for his rest and recreation was pondering as to how best he could commemorate his father's 10th death anniversary, which falls on 27th August. An angel finally put the idea to him. He telephoned the Regimental Headquarters at Ambepussa Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment and sought an appointment with authorities to spell out something that bothered him for a long time.
The day to commemorate his father dawned. A van packed with five pairs of crutches, thirty school bags, thirty bed sheets and a stock of shaving razors made a bee line to the Army complex at Ambepussa. A section of differently-able soldiers of the Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment awaiting his arrival as scheduled, greeted their Tamil comrade with open arms and exchanged pleasantries of yesteryear with friendly Rajaratnam before they were entertained to refreshments.
Appreciative of the Army's discipline, Rajaratnam was full of praise for the Army's role in peacekeeping and wanted to keep up the good-work.
After symbolically handing over his gifts to these handicapped soldiers in his father's memory, he assured more support to the members of the armed forces in time to come. This classic example of amity and ethnic harmony that exists among all three major communities in Sri Lanka will certainly come to be an eye-opener for the most of us in this country.