I am troubled by the deeds of bad ones and appalled by the silence of the good Royalists. In true spirit and tradition, I am going to break that silence and demand my fellow men to rise up and restore our dignity and integrity by taking responsibility for their actions.
We are responsible for where we are today. It was us who led Sri Lanka in every way in the last seventy years. Since the struggle for independence, Royalists were the leaders of the left and the right of politics. We were in the forefront of leading ultra nationalism to socialism and communism in our motherland. We are the ultimate symbol of pluralism and tolerance. We excelled in the largest secular educational institute in the country.
We admired the line of photographs of the fathers of our nation in the assembly hall inside the majestic red brick building. Our fathers, who ‘learnt the way before us’ belonged of all walks of life.
We proudly sang, standing in the shadows of those pioneers. “They have repaid the debt they owed - They kept the fame inviolate”
It was the place of dignity and honour. We ‘learnt of books and men’ to obey as well as to rebel. When things went wrong, to own up not betray. Our way is to be faithful and honourable.
I spent more than thirteen years of my life at Royal. There were boys from the mansions of Cinnamon Gardens and the poorest from Kollupitiya together as equals learning under the same motto. No one was big and no one small. True to our watchword, some learnt and some others had to depart.
I had the courage and confidence to question authority because I am a Royalist. I learnt to own up and apologise when things went wrong. More importantly, we learnt how to be dignified when faced with slander, insult and treachery. It is not our way to reprise against the people who are pointing fingers. After all, we remain to be Royalists no matter what.
In this crucial moment in history, it is only us who can save our honour. I do not plead or demand from my fellow Royalists, I simply ask; please be honourable. Save us all from any indignity that can befall. Tell the truth. Honour the trust bestowed upon you by the people.
In politics as well as every field and profession, we had led this country. We will do the same for many more centuries to come.
When we walk under the shade of the Tamarind tree at the edge of the playground, I remember the days when the blue and gold flag flutter to the tune of our anthem, we held our heads high and sang together.
I remember the days in the junior school, when we misbehaved, our Headmaster, Mr. Sugathapala would take us to his office. If he had to punish us, it was him who had tears. “I don’t have my own children. You are all my own. Why is this?” He had tears rolling down his saintly face. “Why? Why? My son?” He was crying for our misdeeds. I wish he was here today to guide us and to punish us and weep asking “Why?”
My friends, I am saddened and disappointed. When the Blue and Gold flag flutter again amid thunderous cheers and song, I want it to be waving for our honour. I want all of us to hold our heads with pride.
The largest gathering of the Royalists is forthcoming. I propose a challenge to all my fellow Royalists. I plead you to spare a moment to restore our dignity before the inauguration of the 139th Battle of the Blues. Let us take an oath of honour at this historic moment when our nation is at the brink of crisis.
I, as a Royalist will never initiate, indulge or tolerate any form of corrupt practices of any nature.
I, as a Royalist will take all available means to expose, punish and to uphold the law by bringing the perpetrators of such practices to book.
I, as a Royalist will not defend, protect or work under the leadership of a person who I know to be corrupt and working against the best interests of the people of Sri Lanka.
I, as a Royalist will never exploit, initiate, indulge, promote or tolerate any kind of racist, religious, nationalist or tribal divisions.
I, as a Royalist will take the responsibility of my rightful place as a leader of my motherland with integrity, honour and dignity.
I, as a Royalist will restore the honour of my fellow Royalists of present and the past by taking the initiative to depart from my position of trust when I have failed to uphold the above.
Floreat – let us flourish
Priyath Liyanage, Class of ‘74