Friday, April 26, 2013

சங்ககராவும் தமிழர்களும்

இலங்கை கிரிக்கெட் வீரரான சங்ககராவின் குடும்பம், தமிழர்களுக்கு ஆதரவாக இருந்தது, இதைப் பற்றி சர்வதேச மாநாடு ஒன்றில் சங்ககரா பேசியிருக்கிறார் என்று ஃபேஸ்புக் பதிவு ஒன்றில் பார்த்தேன்.

சங்ககரா, 2011ல் நடந்த MCC நிகழ்ச்சியில் பேசியதன் சுருக்கம்:

I do not remember this momentous occasion as a child. Maybe because I was only five years old, but also because it wasn't a topic that dominated conversation: the early 1980's was dominated by the escalation of militancy in the north into a full scale civil war that was to mar the next 30 years.

The terrible race riots of 1983 and a bloody communist insurgency amongst the youth was to darken my memories of my childhood and the lives of all Sri Lankans. I recollect now the race riots of 1983 now with horror, but for the simple imagination of a child not yet six it was a time of extended play and fun. I do not say this lightly as about 35 of our closest friends, all Tamils, took shelter in our home. They needed sanctuary from vicious politically-motivated goon squads and my father, like many other brave Sri Lankans from different ethnic backgrounds, opened his houses at great personal risk.

For me, though, it was a time where I had all my friends to play with all day long. The schools were closed and we'd play sport for hour after hour in the backyard - cricket, football, rounders…it was a child's dream come true. I remember getting annoyed when a game would be rudely interrupted by my parents and we'd all be ushered inside, hidden upstairs with our friends and ordered to be silent as the goon squads started searching homes in our neighbourhood.

I did not realise the terrible consequences of my friends being discovered and my father reminded me the other day of how one day during that period I turned to him and in all innocence said: "Is this going to happen every year as it is so much fun having all my friends live with us.

Their spirit is the true spirit of cricket. With me are all my people. I am Tamil, Sinhalese, Muslim and Burgher. I am a Buddhist, a Hindu, a follower of Islam and Christianity. I am today, and always, proudly Sri Lankan.

Sangakkara's MCC Spirit of Cricket Lecture: