Peter Popham states that there was no freedom struggle in Sri Lanka and that "independence was handed to them on a plate" ("Tamil terror blights Prince's Sri Lanka visit", 4 February).
Attempts to establish freedom by the natives were ongoing throughout the period of British rule (1802-1948), especially marked by abortive rebellions in 1817, 1843 and 1848. During this period, many Sri Lankans lost their lives at the hands of their colonial rulers, fighting in vain against a force which had an obvious military advantage.
In the events leading up to the actual declaration of independence on 4 February 1948, there was no physical struggle per se on the part of Sri Lankan freedom fighters. Those at the forefront of the independence movement, such as the first prime minister, D S Senanayake, opted for the path of "independence without bloodshed", having decided that the powers of speech and diplomacy were preferable to violence.
THUSHAN DE SILVA