14 June, 2024

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Classical Erudition Of SWRD Bandaranaike

By Punsara Amarasinghe

Dr. Punsara Amarasinghe

Classics and SWRD

It is by no means an exaggeration to state that SWRD Bandaranaike was the most well-versed leader in his articulation, which granted him the title of the silver bell in Asia. The level of oratory of SWRD was a manifestation of scholarly grandeur that stemmed from S. Thomas and Oxford, in both places he excelled as a brilliant scholar. There have been minimal inquiries made by his biographers in tracing how SWRD’s classical education uplifted him into an ideal product of his time. The educational reforms introduced by the British to Ceylon by emulating Macaulay’s mantra intended to produce a set of natives who would meekly serve the interest of the British empire. This is hardly surprising given the overarching principles of the empire, which determined to hold the colonies rigidly and the education they cultivated in the colonies reflected the classical ideals that the British revered. British looked for the Greco-Roman antiquity with a deep sense of nostalgia as the apogee of human development in the sphere of learning.  British anticipated to inculcate austerity and loyalty to the crown among the colonial subjects by introducing ancient languages such as Greek and Latin.

This is the context that we need to fathom how studying classics carved the intellectual pursuits of SWRD Bandaranaike in the early 20th century. His rich upbringing as the son of Maha Mudaliyar, Sir Solomon Dias Bandaranaike kept him aloof from the rest of the boys of his age. The accustomed solitude that SWRD confronted in his adolescence was one of the physiological factors that buttressed his rebellious nature, which sought supreme status in every field he was involved.

Appalled by the mediocre learning that his son received from the British private tutors, Maha Mudaliyar finally decided to send SWRD to his alma mater S. Thomas’. In the halcyon days of the early 20th century, S. Thomas’ was located in the Mutwal and known for its classical education as the foremost private secondary school of the Anglican Church. Entry to S. Thomas’ offered an escape from the banality and boredom of life at Horagolla estate to SWRD and he eagerly embraced it. When other boys in his age at S. Thomas preferred more masculine sports like cricket, Maha Mudaliyar’s son dwelled in his own chimerical world of Western classics, where he was his own hero.

Halcyon Days at S.Thomas’

In his celebrated biography “The Expedient Utopian: Bandaranaike and Ceylon”, James Manor gives a vivid account of the scholarly accomplishments of SWRD at the school by the sea, which contributed to his obsession with attaining superiority. SWRD’s snobbishness stemmed from his pampered childhood and gradually began to diminish at S.Thomas’ under the tutelage of Warden Stone, who showed a paternal interest in developing young Bandaranaike’s literary acumen. The gentle magnanimous manner of Stone left a profound influence on SWRD as Stone’s humane manner seems to have become an ideal, which Bandaranaike unconsciously carried through life. Amidst the Great War in Europe, Maha Mudaliyar chose Christ Church College at Oxford for his son and that decision might have been affirmed by Stone ,who continued to mentor young Bandaranaike to appreciate the beauty of Western classical literature.

Entering Oxford to read classics known as “ literary humaniores” was an unusual decision for an Easterner given its reserved nature dominated by the students who came from British public schools such as Eton and Harrow. However, SWRD’s accustomed fortitude did not impede him from reading classics at Oxford. Driven by the sole notion of superiority and individualism that moulded his character, SWRD’s had entered the hallowed portals of Christ Church to obtain a first in the classics. The vivid impression portrayed by Victorian fiction like Tom Brown at Oxford deeply affected young Bandaranaike’s psyche in his entry to Oxford, which stood as a citadel for him to conquer.

Classical Scholarship at Oxford

However, the sanguine hopes that SWRD desired from Oxford were not easy ones to accomplish. Mastery of Greek and Latin at S. Thomas’ was no longer helpful in gaining uniqueness among the fellow classicists who arose from higher echelons of the British educational system. SWRDS’s request to choose classics received a scornful reception from his private tutor at Christ Church, who warned him on the futility of much-trained classics students at Oxford. The melancholia and the period of frustration that encompassed young Bandaranaike seemed to be an inherent feature of Christ Church, which was regarded to be one of the snootiest colleges of Oxford. Contemplating the miserable aloofness at Oxford, SWRD states “ I knew I could write better Greek prose than many of the scholars, with their long, rustling gowns, who looked so superciliously”.

Notwithstanding the hardships that loomed before him, SWRD did not belittle himself and the circumstances gradually improved in his second year at Oxford. The brilliant performance of oratory with a classical touch earned him fame among the rest of the Oxonians as then president of Oxford Union Majoribank described SWRD as the most eloquent speaker at the Union. The classical references and the euphemist phrases that SWRD often used in his speeches at the Oxford Union reflected his predilection for western classics, which made him a standout when the other debaters frequently theorized the motions based on philosophical contentions. Bandaranaike flair for his aesthetic expressions filled with classical references had its roots in the 19th century Oxford don Walter Pater, to whom SWRD owed his debt for cultivating the idea of beauty of things in his mind beyond the mundane objects. 

In Pater’s view, a person felt the impact of beauty not when he exercised his intellect, but when he ceased to do so. Pater’s aversion to theorizing simply appealed to SWRD both during his heyday at Oxford and after he entered into public life in Ceylon. Once, he quoted Diodorus to demonstrate that socialism is at present impossible to practice and next time he amused the Oxford Union by depicting the League of Nations as a beautiful angel beating her wings in a luminous void. SWRD would have made himself a legendary essayist like Ruskin if continued his classical scholarship as his mastery of creating lyrical imagery produced beautiful prose. SWRD gazed in awe at the domes and arches surrounded by the medieval statues at Oxford, which aroused his literary genius to compose charming writing passages. After seeing the Roman statues in Italy, he writes

“The Aphrodite of Melos, an immortalization in marble of a moment of exquisite beauty, and the Bacchante of Scopos, the very spirit of paganism itself”.

His destiny had other plans for him than making him a world-famous essayist. On his return to Ceylon in 1925, SWRD vowed himself to be a public servant against his father Sir Solomon’s wish, who eagerly waited to see that his son would emulate his footsteps by becoming a loyal servant of the empire. His critics and historians have lambasted the new wave of politics indoctrinated by SWRD Bandaranaike in Ceylon as a malice, which implanted the seeds of decadence. When SWRD grazed his alma mater S. Thomas’ as the chief guest at the prize giving in 1958, his Oxford contemporary Canon R.S de Saram, who was then warden at the college  described the new age championed by SWRD as the “Age of the demagogue, the man with a loud voice and flaunt vocabulary and spacious tongue who debases his gifts devoting them to misrepresentations of facts”.  As a classics scholar with the fullest awareness of how Greek demagogues like Alcibiades in Athens manipulated the masses, SWRD knew it was a coarse remark hinted at him, but he remained silent because, still he represented the classical ethos of honouring a critic without involving the political thuggery.

When SWRD attended the annual convocation of Ceylon University in 1955, he captivated the audience by invoking a story from the Garden of Hesperides in Greek mythology. In this story, there is a garden where golden apples grow, guarded by the three daughters of Hesperides. He urged the young graduates of Ceylon University to strive, to seek, but never to yield in pursuit of the golden age narrated in the Greek myth. Yet SWRD could not see how the children 56 yuga peraliya grappled with ups and downs in their search for the golden because SWRD passed away in the following year.

*Author is a lecturer at the Faculty of Law, General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University

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Latest comments

  • 18
    3

    Gosh! He was a Thomian, went to Oxford and wrote essays. Are these that come to mind when we think of SWRDB? How about his “Sinhala in 24 hours”, the subsequent switch to swabhasha education and the damage these did to Sri Lanka, both in politics and in education? True, JRJ was far worse, in that JRJ was a racist at heart whereas SWRDB was a short sighted opportunist, but that comparison does not forgive the long term damage for which SWRDB was the root cause.

    • 17
      1

      SAV,
      “Gosh! He was a Thomian, went to Oxford and wrote essays. “
      And he was a vain upper-class twit, who was good at making speeches and promising things he couldn’t deliver.

      • 3
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        Helo OC,
        I have just shown my wife a YouTube of an SWRD speech in Sinhala “Meeting at Madampe”. Her comment – “That sounds like Ranil” She also remarked that Politicians will be giving the same speech in another 65 years.
        He reminds me of Malcolm Muggeridge (or the Bishop of Southwark) when they were interviewed about the film “Life of Brian” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYMpObbt2rs
        I also watched the BBC recording of SWRD justifying the Sinhala Only Policy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJJGQsc2JWQ
        People like Francis Fukuyama (The end of History) (and Lester) should watch these Archives to realise that the consequences, that we still live with, arise from actions taken in the past.
        As Robert Burns said in To a Louse “O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us. To see oursels as ithers see us” – translation
        Oh, would some Power give us the gift
        To see ourselves as others see us!
        Best regards

        • 1
          1

          Hello LankaScot,

          At the same time SWRD was implementing his “racist ” language policy, the US had a full-fledged system of racial segregation called “Jim Crow” that lasted well into the 1960’s:

          https://memphisrap.com/mr-uploads/2014/06/Whites-Only-Fountain.jpg

          I should also remind you, that in the North of the country, the Vellalar were discriminating against the lower castes. Again, not my opinion. Facts that you are encouraged to research on your own.

          I don’t recommend focusing on a single data point, a statement or language policy. It is really a misapplication of Occam’s razor, since history is by nature complex and multi-dimensional.

          A nice quote from an illustrious Scotsman: “I have the capacity of being more wicked than any example that man could set me.”

          • 3
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            Hello Lester,
            You forgot to include the rest of the quote that DTG would be proud of “and … if I escape, it is only by God’s grace helping me to get rid of myself, partially in science, more completely in society, – but not perfectly except by committing myself to God”
            My Great great Grandmother had a Boarding house in Longacre, Aberdeen right next to the University (Marischal College). My great uncle claimed that Maxwell stayed at her Boarding house in 1856. I have no idea if it is true or just one of those Family stories. However that same great uncle was experimenting in removing Gold from Seawater using Mercury and Electricity. He didn’t leave much money when he died so I guess he didn’t have much success 😢
            Best regards

            • 2
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              Hello LankaScot,

              Gold is present in seawater, although at very low concentrations. So your great uncle was not entirely unscientific in his approach. Remember, even Newton dabbled in alchemy. I do not know why great minds often turn to “God.” It could be a symptom of mental illness. The mathematician Ramanujan thought he was being instructed by the Goddess Namagiri. As I told you before, the human mind has evolved for survival, not logical reasoning. If the greatest minds (Ramanujan, Maxwell, etc.) defer to celestial beings, you can only imagine what “lesser mortals” are capable of believing. Suicide terrorism and cyanide capsules provide one clue.

            • 0
              1

              LS,
              “You FORGOT to include the REST OF THE QUOTE that DTG would be proud of “and … if I escape, it is only by God’s grace helping me to get rid of myself, partially in science, more completely in society, – but not perfectly except by committing myself to God”!?
              If he didn’t “FORGET the Part he Forgot”, he may have to seek elsewhere, or different source to SING FOR HIS SUPPER!!!???

          • 1
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            Are you aware of how certain castes (other than the K, D and S that got assertive) were treated in the South even in the 20th Century?
            I have read in an interesting book on the Kandyan Kingdom about the place of caste in Sinhala society.

        • 6
          1

          LS,
          He was pretty bright at the start, but having been sidelined by the UNP in favour of Dudley, he must have decided to practice one-upmanship by playing to the chauvinist gallery. Things quickly spiralled out of control, and he was pretty ineffectual during the riots of 1958. It was quite surprising that this Oxford-educated “coconut” let loose the clergy among other things. He tried to make amends, but it was too late, and he wasn’t helped by the UNP, which by then had started playing the Sinhala Buddhist card too. This country never had leaders who had the country’s interest at heart rather than that of their relatives and friends.

          • 2
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            Hello OC,
            Sorry to put the cat amongst the pigeons, but why did a Buddhist Monk kill him?
            Best regards

            • 1
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              LS,
              To the best of my knowledge, because SWRD didn’t enable the MM of the plot – Co-accused – Chief Prelate of the Kelaniya Temple, Mapitigama Buddharakita’s dream of being the Provider of Port Services, after Nationalisation of the Colombo Port in 1956/57, which was a Handsome Business operation by itself!!!??? SWRD under pressure from Phillip Gunawardena and allies in the MEP coalition established the Port Cargo Corporation (PCC), Government entity under Ministry of Transport and Works to handle inward/outward Cargo!!??
              Disillusionment of a person, disowned ‘THANNAWA’ – greed – according to Buddhist Precepts!!!???
              In short Aggrandisement was the cause – Or DEPRIVATION of such – was THE CAUSE!!!???

            • 1
              1

              LS,
              “but why did a Buddhist Monk kill him?”
              It seems he was put up to it by another monk who didn’t get a government contract. Despite the Buddha’s injuctions about the handling of money, many monks are businessmen first and monks second.

            • 0
              1

              OC,
              You have the easiest of Q and with a cat-pigeons clue as well!

            • 1
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              LankaScot, the motivation for Banda’s assassination is correct. Poor brain-washed Somarama did the shooting. He redeemed something of dignity; refused to wear robes during the trial, and then converted to Christianity before being HANGED. Who converted him is also interesting.
              .
              The master-mind could not be hanged because of a legal hitch. He was a villain. Had a woman Minister as mistress. Find out, who?

          • 0
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            oc
            The UNP was just as chauvinistic as the SLFP. It contested 1956 on a Sinhala Only ticket
            SWRDB felt intimidated by the forces that he had unleashed.

          • 3
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            OC you like to use this “coconut ” reference to imply a man is brown in skin but white inside .

            Assume you think you are brown both ways or white both ways ( pubs, ogling, talking in a casual all knowing way…)

            What do you call something brown in all aspects ? A piece of poo ?

            Like Ranil, Mahinda Sirisena, Praba, Wijedasa …..

    • 3
      5

      “the root cause”
      The events of 1915, 1948, the colonization schemes– are they trivia?
      Are we blind to all political issues other than the language problem?
      SWRDB grabbed the opportunity that the Left crated in the Hartal of 1953 but failed to build on.
      The essay does not cover the political transformation of SWRDB since breaking with the UNP. The break was not based on ideology. His policies were to a good extent the result of the populist course he chose to adopt.

      • 9
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        The language issue kept the political narrative as a Sinhala-Tamil issue, ignoring the more serious economic divide in society, and helped the State maintain its power by violence. Serious is alo the damage to education — reducing access to rapidly developing new knowledge.

        • 0
          0

          SAV
          True.
          The reliance of the state on violence escalated after the 1971 insurrection, but not to the extent that it was after the national question was transformed into war.
          The numbers in uniform will give a fair picture.
          *
          As for education the denial of access has been serious since 1978. The proliferation of private schools accompanied by private tuition on a scale matching school education have made a cruel joke of free education.
          The current projet is to wreck state universities.

      • 0
        1

        SIMPLY AND PURELY HIS EGO TO ATTAIN LEADESHIP AND PM!!??

    • 6
      10

      Sinhala-Only was not the best policy, but it was rescinded. No need to have a war over that. Sirima’s socialism was the real disaster. JR had a clear open-market economic policy that was working. If the Vellalars had cooperated, they would have also benefited from this development. Now people in that region are living off remittances from relatives, surrounded by military camps that are unlikely to disappear for another 150 years. A grim future that they brought upon themselves.

      • 11
        2

        Systematic oppression of a people was the cause for the militancy.

        • 2
          3

          Fmo
          True, but there was also cynical manipulation of the youth by local leaders as well as a foreign country.
          The militancy ceased to be a home-grown product when external meddling took charge.

      • 12
        3

        JR had a clear open-market economic policy and the Vellalar were not cooperating. What is your obsession with Tamil Vellalar and Brahmins? You are neither and the ancestors of most Sinhalese Govigamma are Tamil Vellalar. Like someone has already pointed out the Sinhalese word Govi for farmer is derived from the ancient Tamil/Dravidian word Koi or Koiyuthal meaning to pluck or to reap, which a farmer does. Now coming to JR was it part of his open market policy to regularly burn Tamil homes/business in the south of the island, and send thugs and criminals with electoral rolls to, kill murder and rape Tamil civilians down south, use the Sinhalese armed forces and police to do the same in the north and east? Starting from 1977 ending in the huge state sponsored pogrom in July 1983, that created all these problems and the civil war for the next 30 years.

        • 9
          3

          Remember when the thugs and goons he sent to destroy Tamil homes and businesses down south and to loot, murder and rape them, he came on the national TV and only apologized to the Sinhalese and sympathized with them for the inconvenience caused to them, with not a word of sympathy for the Tamils and openly stated that if I starve and destroy the Tamils, it does not matter, as the Sinhalese will happy, or something very similar, and most probably you listened in joy and elation, as he was your racist hero. Was it also part of his open market policy? Deliberately Burn one of Asia’s biggest and oldest libraries, the Jaffna library to deliberately, destroy all the ancient Tamil manuscripts stored there, with regards to the ancient history and antiquity the Tamil people on the island. Used a powerful South Indian origin Minister to send Muslim thugs and criminals to the eastern town of Kalmunai, to deliberately start problems and create a rift between the indigenous eastern Tamils and the Muslim Tamils of the east, as many of them were also joining the LTTE.

          • 9
            3

            SWRD was a power-hungry opportunist, who later regretted what he had started but it was too late. However, his widow Sirimavo, and JR, both of them also like SWRD, were also of recent South Indian Tamil immigrant origin, where Sinhalese racists to the heart and are the root cause of all what happened, the Sinhalese JVP uprising. largely by the urban and rural lower classes and lower castes, against entrenched Sinhalese upper class/Caste power, and the 30-year-old war that with the island’s Tamils for their just rights, that they still have not gained after European colonization.

            • 9
              4

              The anti-Tamil agenda is still continuing, as the now brainwashed Sinhalese, with a Mahavamsa mentality are now largely racist to the core, and now only elect racists like the Rajapaksas. Even you who has now abandoned your racist hellhole and runaway to the UK for the good like and all the opportunities it offers to immigrants like you, want racism and anti-Tamil discrimination and marginalization to continue. Do not blame the Vellalar for what happened or for what is happening but the Sinhalese people, for they are the majority and are the cause of all what is happening on the island.

      • 14
        3

        Leicester,
        //JR had a clear open-market economic policy that was working.//
        Dictators tend to have the ability to fool the gullible with such illusions. Remember JR is reported to have kept signed un-dated letters of resignation from his MPs in a file, and replaced a crucial election by a referendum? More recently, such illusion of “was working” came from Gota. In 2019, many supposedly educated people thought Gota is the one to vote for because he wa going to make SL into something “working” like Singapore. Yeah, true, he built some pavements along the Diyawanna lake.
        Back to JR: history will remember him by the riots of 1977 and 1983 — and he was in charge when the Jaffna library was burnt. Do these come under “open market working with which Vellalars failing to cooporate” in your view?

        • 2
          10

          Singar,

          Your problem is you think only one group of people, Tamils, had issues in Sri Lanka. All groups had – and still have – problems. A race riot does not justify the war. Race & ethnic riots are a regular occurrence in the UK and US. Also, you had your chance to obtain a separate state. A zero-sum game, where the winner takes all.

          • 7
            1

            Hi Leicester,
            Never judge a book by a cover, nor extrapolate too much from a single comment in a forum. It is a big leap from my comment above on JRJ’s racist harm to the Tamils to extapolate that it is only the Tamils I am thinking about. The political class in Sri Lanka, irrespective of the colour they were from, did a lot of damage to the whole of the country. SWRDB’s Sinhala as official language act and the subsequent swabhasha education harmed the Sinahlese massively, blocking their access to modern advanced knowledge.
            In this thread, I also said, in response to SJ, “The language issue kept the political narrative as a Sinhala-Tamil issue, ignoring the more serious economic divide in society.” That is the core of the problem. I don’t see the problems Sri Lanka went through s a Sinhala-Tamil thing only, though there are strong elements of it and there are several problems Tamils face simply because they are Tamils. Read Nirmal Devasiri’s recent writings on the subject (දෙමළාට දෙමළ වීම නිසාම තිබෙන ප‍්‍රශ්නය). But Sri Lanka cannot be understood on this linguistic divide alone, ignoring the uprisings of 1971 and 1989, and how brutally they were put down. The political class used racism to damage everyone, not just the Tamils.
            Get it?

            • 1
              7

              Singer Velan,

              What “modern advanced knowledge” are you referring to? Vacuum tubes were still being used in the 1950’s. The first IBM PC (model 5150) was not introduced until 1981. The architectures and software frameworks have completely changed since that time, in line with Moore’s Law. China was a non-entity; Deng did not open the economy until the late 1970’s. The Sinhala-Only policy in Sri Lankan public universities was effectively rescinded in the late 1960s to early 1970s. By the early 1980’s, JR was ready to get the country on an industrial footing and attract FDI. That was the ideal time for FDI.
              1956 was a non-event. I would also inform you that even today, the typical Sri Lankan (and Indian) speaks better English than the average Chinese, Korea, or Japanese. Although some expressions used by Indians are odd: “bobs, cloths, vagenes”, etc.
              The pivotal event in Sri Lanka was Black July 1983. This is what caused India to intervene and gave VP his big opportunity. The rest, including the brain drain, is history.

              • 1
                1

                Whoever, claims that there is brain drain in SL!!!??? Silly B_____s!!! No!! None at all of that kind happened, that’s why they followed, The most erudite and knowledgeable, followed experiments of MMT by Dr Luxman and the Comedian, Cabaal Cabral, even going to the extent of selling the “Last Piece of household Silver” in their possession, to DEFEND the realistically, indefensible USD Parity at SL Rs 204, even if they could muster “DAISY Archie’s Jewels”, which mysteriously have disappeared from prominence, these days!!! Not sure, whether that last vestiges of RESRVES, converted surreptitiously converted to USD in Pettah Market and sent to Zimbabwe or San Monica Principality!!!
                GOD ONLY KNOWS??? One may exclaim, as did an Attorney General (AG) Mohan Maithri Peiris of SL did propound, when asked by Jurists/Commissioners, WHAT HAPPENED TO EKNELIGODA!!!??? Same Mohan Peiris was unceremoniously declared “VOID AB INITIO” in 2015!!!???
                What a set of jokers, talking about “BRAIN DRAIN”, when they should be pondering, “LACK OF IT”!!??

              • 1
                1

                *Korean

              • 1
                0

                L
                “The first IBM PC (model 5150) was not introduced until 1981.”
                The Engineering Faculty at Peradeniya had an IBM computer by 1972 if not earlier. (That was because IBM had started business here before that.)
                It was as good as the one that I used at the University of London using the same kind of punch cards.
                Desktop computers arrived in 1980.

                • 2
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                  SJ,

                  “The Engineering Faculty at Peradeniya had an IBM computer by 1972.”

                  You are probably talking about mainframes. That is different from a PC.

                  • 3
                    1

                    Lester,
                    “That is different from a PC.”
                    So, did anyone apart from you have a PC in 1972?

                    • 1
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                      Hello OC,
                      Yes we had a PC that used to walk down our Street every day on his way to the Station
                      And then this Police Constable (PC) got a Bike.
                      Best regards

                    • 1
                      1

                      Vacuum tubes were still in use until the end of the 1960’s. An easily verifiable fact, for those with an IQ exceeding 50.

                  • 1
                    0

                    Did not Apple, Radio Shack and Commodore PET beat IBM to it some years earlier?

                    • 0
                      0

                      Hello SJ,
                      When I worked for NCR (National Cash Register) around 1975 we could choose between 3 Microprocessor Families the Z80, 8080 and the 6502 (Zilog, Intel and MOS Technology).
                      Apple and Commodore PET used the 6502, Radio Shack TRS 80 used the Z80 and the Altair used the 8080 – This family was used in the IBM PC.
                      Just to be clear there were some awful computers built with all of these Microprocessors. Reliability was terrible.
                      Best regards

                    • 0
                      1

                      LS,
                      I have fond memories of my Z80-powered Spectrum. RIP

                    • 0
                      0

                      LS
                      Thanks
                      I suppose that those were early days.

                  • 0
                    0

                    Hello Lester,
                    Have I got news for you? I have a fairly modern Valved Amplifier for Guitar (Randall 503). It uses EL 34 Valves that are still available. However Valves have a fairly short working life so you should always have spares available.
                    Here’s a story for SJ – one of my friends working in Saudi was an EW (Electronic Warfare) Electronics Engineer. They had found (I didn’t ask how) some Russian Equipment that used Valves back in the early 80s. The Engineers were split 50/50 on why the Russians were still using Valves. One half said that the Russian Semiconductor Industry had a high rate of failure and the other half said it was protection against EMP (Electro Magnetic Pulse) produced in some types of Nuclear explosions. I agreed with the Semiconductor failure scenario because valves are easily replaced in the field.
                    Best regards

              • 1
                1

                Lester,
                “What “modern advanced knowledge” are you referring to? Vacuum tubes were still being used in the 1950’s. The first IBM PC (model 5150) was not introduced until 1981”
                If you know nothing about these things, please don’t try to bludgeon others with what you picked up from Wikipedia..
                The transistor was invented in 1947, the Regency TR-1 was released in 1954 becoming the first commercial transistor radio..
                In Sri Lanka, translated Physics texts said nothing about transistors even in 1970, even though transistors were freely available in Pettah.

                • 0
                  0

                  Hello OC,
                  Even in the remote mists of Scotland we were taught Semiconductor Physics in the mid 60s. My SCE O Grade had questions on both Silicon and Germanium Transistor Bias voltages and Gain.
                  For those that are interested some of the old papers for Scottish Schools can be downloaded. I had a quick look at some, I would be hard pushed to get a good pass nowadays https://digital.nls.uk/exams/browse/?subject=9848
                  Best regards

            • 3
              2

              (Part I/II)
              Singer AV.,
              “SWRDB’s Sinhala as official language act and the subsequent Swabhasa education harmed the Sinhalese massively, blocking their access to modern advanced knowledge.”
              Imagine the Progeny of 1956 emancipation of ‘APEY AANDUWA’ LEADERSHIP, translating Educational Books in vain effort to educate them!!!?? It was, 1956 (dawned on those miscreants that they need much more contribution, than changing the ‘mode of communication’ to Sinhala and STREET NAMES AND VEHICLE REGISTRATION – ‘Sri Campaign’, very much larger cumbersome and enhanced effort – “Translating English Books into Sinhala & Tamil for their children’s Education) to 1960, when science became taught in Vernacular – with “SARVALOKA-POOTTUWA”, et all completed for GCE O/L in 1970’s, Universities!!??? They never realised need called planning, Sudden, Impromptu turning off veritable ‘IGNITION KEY’, ending up in total Disaster, Calamity thereafter!!?? None ACCOUNTABLE and/or RESPONSIBLE!!!??? Termed, “COLLATTERAL DAMAGE”, due MANIACAL, POLITICAL MISADVENTURES!!!??? No APOLOGIES, SORRY, OR REMORSE, for their MORONIC EXPEDITIONS and EGO!!! Public suffers consequences IN MUTE SILENCE, else thrown into INCARCERATION, MAIMED or KILLED non Patriotic traitorous TERRORISTS!!! ONE such text book translated for GCE O/L students in 1970’s, was based on 13th edition (1960) of that text in ENGLISH
              Published!!!??? When Translations was …

              • 1
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                South Asians have such contempt for their mother tongues that they consider them unsuitable for advanced learning.
                Check what is happening in the Far East,Latin America and the Arab World.
                Our minds still remain colonized.

                • 3
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                  Disagree. Much new knowledge is available in English. So we can acquire that knowledge, in a timely manner, and take part in its creation, through that language. Sinhala and Tamil speakers are tiny in numbers when compared to China, Latin America and the Arab world. So effort into translating new knowledge into our languages cannot be done at speed or scale. To argue “contempt for their mother tongues”, “minds remain colonized” is just emotion-inducing distraction.

            • 4
              2

              (Part II/II)
              USED BY SRI LANKAN STUDENTS, (1970’s), STUDENTS WORLD OVER were using 26th EDITION of that Publication!!!??? 5-8 NEW CHAPTERS, ‘MISSED OUT’ SL STUDENTS!!??
              ‘BATHIUDEEN’, the smart Minister of Education in 1970 Sirimavo Government, granted special ADVENTUROUS PERMISSION, to those of ISLAMIC FAITH, as his Own, TO FOLLOW STUDIES in English medium, though technically their Mother Tongue wasn’t English!!!?? Denied to other 2 communities (Sinhala & Tamil), who had to use, “lesser Knowledge IMPARTING TRANSLATIONS”!? WAS ALL OUT & OUTRIGHT ‘NEPOTISM’, but in SIRI Lanka, “THEM DAYS”, NO “CIABOC”, to complain for remedy!? Who cares? NONE speaks INJUSTICE, by Polity/Government to Tamils and Sinhalese!!?? Muslims, Malays benefitted!? JVP (then) was only interested in “CHE GUEVERA’S” EXPEDITIONS in CUBA and South America!!! LIP SERVICE to poor SL students!!!??
              BTW, the reason HIGHLIGHTING “THIS ISSUE AND TOTAL LACK OF FORWARD PLANNING” to achieve END RESULT of projects being IMPLEMENTED, resulting in Total PLAN and PROJECT failure of RESULTING IN UTTER DISASTER, MAYHEM AND SUFFERING by SL!!?? SURE, find similarities, in 1956+ educational misadventure, and “ORGANIC FERTILISER” 2021 project, SUDDEN switchover by GOTA!!! Former, Deprivation of sound education and Latter FOOD, resulting STARVATION!!?? Both were failures – Public suffered – Politicians EGO gain!!!???

      • 4
        2

        Lester,
        “Now people in that region are living off remittances”
        You have every right to spread lies, but please make them believable.Are these guys “living off remittances ” too?
        https://www.sundaytimes.lk/240324/news/influx-of-red-onions-from-jaffna-brings-good-tidings-prices-come-down-552857.html

        • 2
          3

          Old Codger,

          I am not obligated to reply to those who believe insider trading is legal, doctors should take a pulse manually, and hand-drawn waveforms are superior to the LCD on digital oscilloscopes. Have fun.

          • 2
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            Lester,
            “I am not obligated to reply to those who believe insider trading…..”
            What about those who measure the distance from TN to Jaffna with an oscilloscope?

            • 0
              1

              They are TOTAL “NUTTY, NAUGHTY NUTS”, ‘MASQUERADING falsely, as Intellectuals, high-flying erudite, when they are NOT!!!?? Completely overwhelmed, when facts are placed seeking for an honest opinion on any matter contentious or otherwise!!!
              Loud Mouthed with EMPTY POCKET and also MIND!!!??? Empty Cranium!!??? Escape Route is confined to providing, “EXCUSES AND SQUIBBS, REPITITIVELY AND OBFUSCATION”!!??

          • 1
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            Hello Lester,
            I began my Electronics (late 60s) when everything was Analogue. I repaired Valved equipment and built my first Transistor Amplifier. In 1986 I built a Fibre Optic Transceiver using a digital ADC at the input and a DAC at the other end of the fibre. The quality was abysmal as I only used 8 bit ADC and DAC. Analogue Reproduction over a copper transmission was far superior. The real world at Human Scale is still Analogue, however the Transmission and Storage is almost completely Digital and at far greater speeds than was imaginable back then.
            I can watch Al Jazeera (1080p Resolution) live here in Sri Lanka on SLT until your abysmal Electric Supply fails.
            Fix your infrastructure before there is any hope of becoming a Digital Economy.
            Best regards

            • 0
              0

              “however the Transmission and Storage is almost completely Digital and at far greater speeds than was imaginable back then.”

              Data is rather useless if you can’t store or transmit it quickly. The quality at which the data is rendered has also changed quite a bit. The other difference are the sheer number of applications. No one was thinking of data analytics or cloud computing in the 70’s and 80’s. Why is that important, if you take a company like Google or Meta, most of their revenue comes from just advertising. Without data analytics, it would be at least 50% smaller. Replicate these structural changes on a larger scale (finance, retail, manufacturing, etc.) and the end result is significantly smaller economic growth. The US would find it difficult to fund the *ambitions* of best friend Israel. Now of course we have the supercomputer. The few analogue components, as far as I am aware, are in the power supply, sensors for the cooling system, (I/O) interfaces, and the generation of some clock signals.

            • 1
              1

              LankaScot,

              “Fix your infrastructure before there is any hope of becoming a Digital Economy.”

              Interesting you mention that. I switched to the software side, despite having an EE background. The home country did not provide inspiration. Some relations work for CEB, so I understand your dissatisfaction. Suffice to say, it is a mess there. Regardless, AI will help to clean up some of the inefficiencies, especially in terms of reducing wastage. You are probably aware that even many developed countries are relying on a power grid built on legacy systems in need of critical updates.

      • 7
        0

        Lester

        “A grim future that they brought upon themselves.”

        Not just a grim future but the past too was grim, otherwise the women folks would not have gone to Medieval Middle East while their husbands are having lots of fun back in Sri Lanka. Luckily some women don’t return alive, some in boxes.

        How about you have you send all your women folks, your wife, mother, daughter, sisters, granddaughters, aunts, grandmothers, nieces, sister in laws, mother in law, … Middle East ?

        • 1
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          Hello Lester,
          My niece is currently here on Vacation from Qatar. I have been speaking to her in the last couple of hours about how she sees Sri Lanka now and if she enjoys her life in Doha. She would like to spend at least another 4 years there. She cannot believe how much the prices have risen (in 5 years or so) and how poor people have become. She earns around 1.5 Lakh Ruppees and sends a proportion back home to her parents. She lives in Company Accomodation and has 1 day off each week when she visits one of the Shopping Malls (Festival City) and has a meal at the one of the many restaurants with her friends. She doesn’t have a husband and doesn’t want one (quite right in my opinion). She doesn’t like that she can’t stay over with friends outside of her accommodation. When my wife and I were there we would take her to our Apartment for an overnight stay. We had a swimming pool on our roof which she also enjoyed. We also used to take her to the Museum of Islamic Arts, the City Centre, Intercontinental Hotel for a meal and trips to the Desert – Dune Bashing.
          Not a bad life for a “Medieval Middle East” country?
          Best regards

          • 2
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            LankaScot,
            // She doesn’t have a husband and doesn’t want one (quite right in my opinion). //
            I am intrigued as to what is implied here: a general statement about male of the species, or based on something specific about the young lady ? :-)

            • 4
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              Hello Singar A Velan,
              My ancestors on my mother’s side were from the Farming Community where women were quite independent as they were employed on a 6 monthly or Yearly basis on whichever farms they agreed to work on. Many of them had illegitimate children and eventually married, but many did not despite the condemnation of the Kirk (Church of Scotland).
              The point is that increasingly the influence of the Church and Parents declined. Now in Scotland marriage has almost disappeared and more than 50% of Children are registered only in the Mother’s name.
              Women choose who, or if, they will marry. Parents don’t even contest this although they may express an opinion. They also decide if they will have children and how many. Women in the West in general don’t need men. It is their choice whether to have a boyfriend, husband, partner or children.
              What me and my Niece both agree about is that the choice is hers and nothing to do with anyone else. She supports herself and contributes to her parent’s well-being so, as she says – the world has changed forever and you can blame social media (and real life experience) for that.
              Best regards

              • 2
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                Hello Singar A Velan,
                By the way for those that don’t know you can insert a Smiley😊👍 by holding the Windows Key and press the decimal point (Full stop for us older generation). Once selected press esc.
                Best regards

                • 1
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                  LS,
                  Learnt something, though do not use it!!😊

            • 0
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              The South Asian husband has a long way to go towards treating the spouse fairly and respectfully.
              Their chauvinism is as bad as racism.

          • 1
            1

            Hello LankaScot,

            Did you know that your niece cannot attend a church outside the designated area known as the “Religious Complex” in Qatar? Because the construction of churches and other non-Islamic facilities is not permitted outside that zone. If Sri Lanka were an Islamic nation, sure, it would “solve” many issues. But quite a few people, likely in exile, would be bemoaning the loss of Buddhism, Hinduism, etc. The literal meaning of “Islam” is “submission.” And idolatry is the ultimate sin. However, Sri Lanka does not have petroleum resources. Climate change and ESG regulations will also put an upper bound on the wealth that can be accumulated. The world is changing fast. Some of my Korean associates have built quite a few nuclear reactors in the Middle East as the fate of the “black gold” remains in limbo.

            • 0
              0

              Hello Lester,
              I have pointed out many times before Sri Lanka does have Petroleum Resources (Mannar). The reason that they have not been developed is according to a relation “the politicians can’t agree who’s back pocket the profits (Bribes etc.) will go to”.
              No Apostasy is the “ultimate sin”, my Muslim friends were quite tolerant of Buddhism.
              Try finding a Church in Saudi Arabia and what makes you think she wants to go to a Church? I have visited the Religious Complex area many times as we had a Fibre Optic Relay Site near there – it is usually full of Roman Catholic Philippine Worshipers.
              Best regards

              • 0
                0

                Hello LankaScot,

                As far as I know, these are unproven reserves. The Indian company responsible for surveying the site pulled out.
                Regarding Islam, well, what people do in their own lands is their business. Keeping in mind, Western-style democracy does not and will not ever work in the Middle East. It should not be forced on them. This is a central mistake made by US foreign policy, which assumes democracy and Western values can easily be exported.
                Filipino women are very beautiful. You might inform the indigenous specimen on this website that large numbers of them are working in the Middle East.

                • 0
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                  (Continued)

                  The greatest sin in Islam is idolatry, not apostasy.

                  The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was asked, “Which is the greatest sin?” He replied, “That you set up with Allah ﷻ a rival and He is the One who created you.”

                  “Many Muslims question why shirk is so abhorrent in Islam, such that it damns a person to Hellfire and is seen as the ultimate evil.”

                  https://yaqeeninstitute.org/read/paper/why-is-shirk-the-greatest-sin-of-all

                  I could give many examples. Elimination of Buddhism in India, Bamiyan Buddha statues, the treatment of Yazidis, the destruction of churches in Syria by the ISIS, etc.

                • 0
                  0

                  Hello Lester,
                  I knew some of the Geologists that drilled in the Cauvery Basin (India) and they told me about Cairn – “It is the first exploration well to discover hydrocarbons in Sri Lanka as well as in the Gulf of Mannar. CLPL – Barracuda – 1G/1 (Barracuda), the second exploration well, located 68 km off the western coastline of Sri Lanka and 38 km west of the Dorado well, drilled up to a total depth of 4,741m, MD in 1,509 m water depth. It penetrated 24 m of three hydrocarbon bearing sandstones between the depths of 4,067 – 4,206 m, MD. Both discoveries were predominantly natural gas.” – https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Exploration-wells-drilled-in-Sri-Lanka_fig1_243963635
                  Now what you need to do is start an Oilfield Supply Company in Puttalam, contact Shell or BP and sell them the Licensed Blocks and you will be rich.
                  Best regards

                  • 1
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                    Hello LankaScot,

                    You may be correct. But it is best that these petroleum resources be left untouched, at least for the time being. It will simply lead to new forms of corruption. Look at what happened with Venezuela. Largest proven oil reserves, but experienced hyperinflation.

          • 2
            1

            Dear LankaScot,
            If you can ask your niece to be a good nurse and apply a job in EU countries where she could earn more. Nurses are relatively paid well in Europe. There is a shortage of nurses and medical assistants in many large European countries. Especially if the Sri Lankan government wants to engage Sri Lankan expats to assist Sri Lankan youth to find jobs in Europe, I am ready to help them. But applicants must have a sound level of language skills (German, French, Polish etc).
            .
            The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is damaging its democracy through that Rwanda-bill, handling their illegal immigrants , while his counterpart in canada, young Trudeau behaves like the biggest PingGona in the Trans-Atlantic.
            What happened to these guys? We point fingers at our ass politicians but it is becoming common also in the so called developed world today.
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17RU3DjZnLg
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9C73uO8N1A
            Both these immature politicians have one thing in common which is to get a certain number of votes claiming their election victories. No matter how their fellow nations would think about them, but the young bulls continue. It shows their selfishness at its peak.

            • 3
              0

              Hello Leelagemalli,
              Thanks for the advice, one Niece is nearly finished her Nursing Course. The Niece that is already working in Qatar doesn’t have the Technical knowledge or aptitude for Nursing that the other does.
              As for the politicians – look up the meaning of “Grifter” and you will recognise what most of them are.
              Since I first voted at the age of 18 I have voted for the party that represented the interests of the Working Class. Back then it was the Labour Party although I disagreed with many of their policies. After Tony Blair (illegitimate son of Margaret Thatcher) hijacked the Labour Party it has only got worse. Keir Starmer couldn’t recognise a worker, or ever have their interests at heart. He constantly lies about Gaza https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWPzXcNNDwI As Owen Jones says”they have lost their moral compass”. I would say they never had one.
              Best regards

      • 1
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        “No need to have a war over that. “
        Whoever waged war on language policy?
        What provoked militancy were standardization and discrimination in employment and harassment by the state.
        Who unleashed violence against peaceful citizens in 1958, 77, 83 etc.

        • 0
          0

          “What provoked militancy were standardization and discrimination in employment and harassment by the state.”

          That doesn’t make sense. Prabhakaran’s first victim was Duraiappah. Did Duraiappah support standardization and discrimination in employment and harassment by the state? LTTE was not an intellectual movement. It lacked any intellectual basis. LTTE killed far more Tamil intellectuals than the Sri Lankan State. Without the intellectual component, you end up with fascism. That is what happened with the LTTE. There are many similarities between Prabhakaran and a guy named Pablo Escobar. You can catch the series on Netflix. Escobar also reached the heights of power and experienced a great crash.At one point he was burning USD to keep his daughter warm. Escobar pretended to negotiate with the Colombian government just to buy time for criminal activities. Escobar popularized the use of Cessna aircraft to transport drugs to the USA. He was a master smuggler. He also used bombs (not suicide bombs) to send a message to the government. At the end, Escobar hid in a small house but was caught and shot dead by the army soldiers.

    • 6
      1

      SWRD was the biggest hypocrite. My father used to say that he started the rot with his ‘nationalism’. Since then, the Bandaranayake’s thought the country was their legacy.

      SL never had inspirational leaders but the Bandaranayakes have a lot to answer for. The country went backwards under Mrs B & CBK probably inspired MR (ever wondered how CBK had the funds to buy property in fashionable St John’s Wood in central London?) In fact, the Rajapakses, Sirisena, are all products of Bandaranayake legacy..

      • 5
        2

        R-UK
        What scale do you used to measure hypocrisy?
        *
        You and your dad may hate SWRDB, but his government made a positive difference to a wide section of the population, whom neither of you seem interested to know about.
        He used the language card opportunistically. But have you checked on leaders like DSS, JRJ and Dudley S on their attitude to the national question.
        When SWRDB tried to rectify a mistake JRJ started a march to Kandy in protest.
        Dudley S published a racist pamphlet in July 1960 to win over the SB vote. He also introduced the Poya Week system which disrupted business for 6 years (1965-71). Mrs B put it right but at a price: she had to make every Poya Day a public holiday.
        DSS deprived a whole community of its citizenship, and initiated a communally motivated colonization scheme.

    • 1
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      SWRD was assassinated by the CIA-MI 6 op. just like Burma’s Aung San and many other Nationalist Socialist leaders in the Thrird World. But non of the useless historians of Sri Lanka have written about this assassination. revealed in the book; “Cold War Monks: Buddhism and America’s Secret Strategy in Southeast Asia.

      SWRD was killed by theCIA -MI 6 because he nationalized the Trincomalee Port and Katunaiyake Airport and the Tea Plantations from the British Raj who still controlled Ceylon after 1948 when Lanka was turned into a “British Dominion” with the Queen as head of state and a Governor General appointed by the Queen.
      In 1948, Ceylon got FAKE Independence.!
      The British still controlled defense, foreign policy and the Judiciary after 1948. All the Useless Historians have never written about Ceylon’s facade of Independence until real independence was achieve in 1972 by his widow Sirimavo.

  • 8
    2

    Here is an opportunity to offer my two cents worth of SWRD.
    I accept that he, in his own right, was an enormous figure who succumbed to the worst human urge, – Power.
    Look at Chandrika. You don’t have to look further to assess SWRD.
    To be fair, SWRD regretted his Sinhala Only haste. It was too little, too late. The dam had already burst.

  • 7
    2

    A beautifully written work on SWRD’s halcyon days not just St. Thomas.

    This erudite gentleman had reflected on the system of government in the post independence Ceylon as well. In July 1926, SWRD delivered a lecture in Jaffna to the Students’ Congress on ‘A Federal Government for Ceylon’ for the “three main divisions in the island [were] the Kandyan Sinhalese, the Low Country Sinhalese and the Tamils.” The Ceylon Morning Leader on 17 July 1926 summarised his proposals. [https://shamara-wettimuny.medium.com/pre-independence-demands-for-federalism-in-sri-lanka-17dfad63861a].

    So powerful. And this was in 1926! This brilliant mind had recently returned from Oxford. The UK had no concept federalism; India reconstituted it as linguistic federal states in 1956.

    Then something happened to this brilliant man; perhaps desire for power? Or being snubbed after DS death and with grudge for being overlooked. He mortgaged his conscience 20 years later for Sinhala only in a unitary government in 1956. Sad. We could have been the jewel Asia.

    • 2
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      “Or being snubbed after DS death”
      SWRDB knew that DSS had made plans for his succession. He left the UNP to start the SLFP before DSS died of a fall from horseback.
      He sided with the left organized Hartal in 1953. He plugged a populist line, part of which was the language policy.
      *
      As for Language policy, if Sinhala Only was a measure of conscience, of all Sinhalese leaders only the CP & LSSP leaders had a conscience.
      The UNP contested the election of 1956 on a Sinhala Only pledge.

  • 5
    1

    The Anagarika went about the rural Sinhalese villages doing what Hitler did to Germany. Sowing the seeds of hatred against the established British system of governance and all who toiled in the service of the Government. A movement was born headed by racist Buddhist clergy. They had a list of demands all unreasonable and aimed at exacting revenge at their perceived enemies the bourgeoisie of Ceylon. This list was presented to both political factions that had come into existence by that time. One rejected them right fully. The other the clear underdog of the two sides accepted them as a way to steal the march and win an election. It worked. What he did thereafter was to impermanent these demands causing havoc. Upon realizing the damage it was doing and hesitating and reversing some of the more outrageous decisions he earned the wrath of the monsters whom he championed. They plotted his demise and finally succeeded in bumping him off.
    This marked the first wave of the process of deconstructing the government and replacing it with people from the villages the Appuhamies and the Punchi Bandas. Good for them but bad for the country.
    contd.

  • 5
    1

    The old bourgeoisie saw the writing on the wall and slowly departed to other lands sons were sent abroad for studies and never returned electing to remain. SWRD was a milder version of the desrructive uninformed policies his wife resorted to. She was also knwon to have pushed her husband on a more radical path which lead to many arguments between the two. Sirima nationalized everything in sight among other things. Governance declined even further. Free education now ushered in a class of educated but unemployable youth. Educated in Pali, Sanksrit and other useless arts degree subjects in Sinhalese. NO one wanted them and so the first insurrection was born. Putting it down was a brutal process that ensured the establishment of a underclass seething in rage at those who were in power. By now most of the old Bourgeoisie had faded away. The once grand mansions all but vanished or fallen into disrepair. The new era was the era of the Mudalali. We had Navaloka, Aloysius, Harishcandra, Dasa etc. Now the UNP harnessing the power of the new rich swept into power. I can go on chronicling the sad tale of how Sri Lanka ended up where she is now but I will stop since this is not the place for it. This is the legacy of SWRD and how it all started to go wrong.

  • 3
    2

    SWRD’s name needs to indelibly written in history books not for his undisputable scholarship, but for having single-handedly changed Ceylon from being a seemingly pluralistic, meritocratic society to a land of bigoted, small minded people.

    • 2
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      “seemingly pluralistic, meritocratic society”
      Pluralistic robbing of a community of its citizenship!
      A meritocracy in which a vast majority of the population did not have good schools!

  • 1
    0

    SWRD was assassinated by the CIA-MI 6 op. just like Burma’s Aung San and many other Nationalist Socialist leaders in the Third World who wanted REAL independence and National Liberation from British Colonialists.
    But none of the useless historians of Sri Lanka have written about this assassination. revealed in the book; “Cold War Monks: Buddhism and America’s Secret Strategy in Southeast Asia. USA was Weaponizing Buddhism during the Cold War against socialist and communist national liberation movements.

    SWRD was killed by the CIA in league with the British-MI 6 because he nationalized the Trincomalee Port and Katunaiyake Airport and the Tea Plantations from the British Raj who still controlled Ceylon after 1948 when Lanka was turned into a “British Dominion” with the Queen as head of state and a Governor General appointed by the Queen.
    In 1948, Ceylon got FAKE Independence.!
    The British still controlled defense, foreign policy and the Ceylon Judiciary after 1948.
    All the Useless Historians have never written about Ceylon’s facade of Independence until real independence was achieve in 1972 by his widow Sirimavo.

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