“Be the Change” — An Appraissal of THE ARAGALAYA

Anonymous Pen **

Most people that I know, came to Galle Face on a weekend, waved the National Flag and shouted a few catchy slogans to cleanse their souls, took selfies and went home for a warm shower, had dinner and went to sleep, thinking that they had taken part in some heroic and historic act of Aragalaya.




They had never had to face a real socio-economic struggle or even had any understanding that many people like I had ACTUALLY experienced it first hand and had come to accept Aragalaya as a part of daily life!I grew up in a middle class family supported by  a Teacher’s Salary of a  single mother.

For me, Aragalaya was not some trendy hashtag to wave a flag at, but a daily reality as a child experiencing my mother valiantly trying to make ends meet, economically, to provide for me and my two  sibblings until we finshed our studies and found employment and became funanacialy independent.

My mother didn’t go out chanting slogans or attacking people who were better off than us or attacking, robbing and murdering them in retaliation for the hardships she had to endure and afterwards claim immunity for such actions under “special circumstances”.

She managed to raise and support us by doing 3 jobs a day every day of the week!

Therfore, I most sincerely and respectfully appeal to those who rush to praise the #Aragalaya and try to defend or justify any criminal or anti social acts commited in its name, to please get a proper understanding of the meaning of the word Aragalaya without the # and gain a proper perspective of ground realities before doing so.

Because there are still millions of people in this country who engage in a Daily Aragalaya doing an honest days work, without complaining or resorting to violence to fulfil their personal needs or to support their loved,ones, who have never even seen Colombo, let alone Galle Face!

You will never hear them say: “I also got tear gassed men, very unfair noh? And now they are trying to  violate my fundametal rights by arresting me, because I stole a toilet brush from the Presidents Office. Nobody is talking about the bond scam. So undemocratic and unfair noh?”

So, here is the Reality Check Ladies and Gents and of course any other Gender you may choose to identify yourself as….

අරගලය or The Struggle, for a better life  or to accomplish something, has existed amongst human beings ever since evolution or god created us.

I suppose its the,same amongst other living beings as well…

Its not something that Sri Lankans invented in 2022 after years of research and it will continue to be a part of the story of human evolution and survival, without an expiry date, long after the fuel queues have (hopefully) dissappeared and the IMF has come and gone and all of us too …

We all need to take a momemt to catch our collective breath and reflect with some perspective.

There is no country on this planet where injustice, intolerance, inequality in wealth and access to education, racism, prejudice, corruption and many other perversions of human nature doesn’t exist.

Its not such a perfect world because WE are not perfect.
And we will continue to play a part in all or some of the above mentioned behaviours to a greater or lesser degree because none of us are perfect.

Striving to rise above those faults is the REAL #Aragalaya.

In my humble opinion, That is the “System Change” that is required. Not a different leader or a Political System as most people seem to believe or others  propagate to achive their own personal goals.

The resolve to Singularly contribute towards eradicating the above mentioned human frailties, irrespective of what anyone else may do or say, is the best and the most effective #Aragalaya that we can launch for making this country and the world a better place.

“Be the Change”


** This short sharp MEMO on THE ARAGALAYA was sent to me on the 3rd August 2022  by a pal in Australia  who must remain anonymous  …..  with this NOTE: “Excellent piece on what constitutes the Aragalaya and what it means in terms of being a Sri Lankan – a real one that is. It is not the “system” that needs changing, but the mindset of “people”.”

As Editor Thuppahi I was tempted to highlight some segments of the text in dark red or blue colour …… but decided not to meddle with it. It  is presented in web space to incite criticism or support or a mix of both.

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, authoritarian regimes, centre-periphery relations, citizen journalism, democratic measures, disparagement, economic processes, governance, historical interpretation, life stories, meditations, patriotism, political demonstrations, politIcal discourse, power politics, rehabilitation, self-reflexivity, social justice, sri lankan society, tolerance, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, vengeance, welfare & philanthophy, working class conditions

Leave a Reply