(October 17, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Greatest legendary folk hero of modern times in Sri Lanka is likely to be Bharatha Lakhsman Premachadra, who was assassinated on 08th October. He is the only martyr who died for a cause that Sri Lankans as a whole has great sympathy for , which is to fight for moral cause of elimination drug trade and the political cause of fighting against, those who have become powerful by illicit means and who are suppressing the freedoms of the people. His fight was not against an external enemy but an internal one-
that is , the very party, SLFP, for which he has devoted his entire life. His family has publicly stated that, they hold the SLFP, as responsible for his death.
It is this self critical element of the hero, that makes him attractive and so easy to identify with by a population that has itself become self critical. Today, the nation is seriously worried about a great crisis, that is affecting the nation and is directly destroying individual lives of almost every one. The way, the hero’s life ended, is itself proof of the horrible situation. That ending is symbolic of the horrible situation all the people are facing.
Pictures of the people attending his final funeral ceremony showed that they were not purely crying for him and his family, but for themselves. It was reported that people told ministers who attended the ceremony that that they are helpless. There is general sense of helplessness among all the people, including middle class and even among the upper classes and a perception that there is no one to uphold rule of law. A feeling of, living in a sinking ship or what others call ‘god forsaken place’, are commonly shared.
That his ending has been one of a helpless victim reinforces the affinity with the others. All are helpless victims now, before powerful forces, which have gone out of control.
In his last speech, almost predicting his death and the warning that the nation is facing a peril that is beyond the grasp of imagination, is all within the same theme. In another speech, he has said, “A way must be found to remove this accursed constitution”, which is wish of everyone these days.
In such a folk hero mostly attractive aspect is that he died while been engaged in the attempt to defend his friends. He left the house, when he heard that the wife of the young politician he has helped to raise, has been attacked by Duminda Silva and his gang. So, he set forth to be with them.
Manner in which, the villain of the story has become victim of his own devises, and that the powerful politicians are awaiting his resurrection, is also dramatic aspects of this legend.