16 December, 2017

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SWRD – Myth And Reality

By Vishwamithra

“Mark this well, you proud men of action! You are, after all, nothing but unconscious instruments of the men of thought.” ~Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

SWRD Bandaranaike, the fourth Prime Minister of Ceylon, was assassinated by a Buddhist monk. A cruel conspiracy was hatched and executed to almost perfect precision. But that was only as far as the assassination was done and completed. But behind every murder there is a conspiracy. History tells us that in most assassinations, rarely had a lone gunman executed the job without any accomplices supporting him or her. In the Bandaranaike assassination, what is most astonishing was the lack of planning and plotting to shelter the conspirators so that they could remain at large after the assassination. Therein lay the fatal flaw of those who killed SWRD Bandaranaike, the man who ushered in an era of the common man in Ceylon.

At the top of this conspiracy-pyramid stood another Buddhist monk, a young megalomaniac by the name of Mapitigama Buddharakkita, who was primarily responsible for garnering the support of the Sinhalese-Buddhist vote for Bandaranaike in the election victory in 1956. However, there was nothing venerable, as all Buddhist monks are held in, in Mapitigama Buddharakkita, the chief conspirator of the assassination plot. At the time he was the Chief Monk in Kelaniya Temple. He was no more venerable than a village-bandit-killer, consumed by his own self-importance. Bandaranaike was very much aware of the dishonorable lifestyle of the infamous head of the Kelaniya Temple. Buddharakkita’s depraved association with a member of fairer sex in his own Cabinet was public knowledge and Bandaranaike, instead of taking any action against the Cabinet Minister, chose to ignore it, probably at his own peril. There was no room for a sense of accountability in the exalted mind of Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike. The gratitude owed by Bandaranaike to Buddharakkita for the former’s electoral landslide was too great to be disregarded. Ironically, both the killer and chief conspirator were men of the saffron robe. 

An exquisite product of the decadent Ceylonese low country-aristocracy (Govigama, Radala) at the time, Sir Solomon Dias Bandaranaike, SWRD’s father, was the Gate Mudaliyar of the Governor. As per James Manor’s, Expedient Utopian, Bandaranaike’s biography, SWRD was not sent to school for his elementary education. He was tutored at home by an Oxonian. When he reached the age for secondary education, he was sent to St. Thomas’ College Mt. Lavinia and was boarded, not at the hostel where all non-day-scholars stayed during the school sessions, but at Warden’s residence. Rev. William Arthur Stone was the Warden at the time. Such was the aura of power that enveloped the Ceylonese aristocracy at the time. Adolescent SWRD was sheltered from the ordinary realities of the commoners for whom he later ushered in a new era as Prime Minister of Ceylon.

Later, after a distinguished phase at Oxford, England, SWRD arrived back in Ceylon and found his expected place among the elite of her political life. The formation of Sinhala Maha Sabha (Greater Sinhalese Forum), being among the public speakers much sought after, joining Ceylon National Congress, entering the State Council and later becoming a powerful Minister in the first Cabinet in Ceylon, holding the prestigious post of Leader of the House, leaving D S Senanayake’s government in 1951 and forming the SLFP are among major occurrences in Bandaranaike’s life, well chronicled by history.

Bandaranaike showed his craftiness in politics by identifying, much earlier than almost all politicians at the time, the crying need of the time- a ‘place in the sun’ for the common man.  To launch his campaign for power in 1956 he invented the five-pillar platform- Sanga (Buddhist clergy), Veda (indigenous physician), Guru (school teacher), Govi (farmer/peasant) and Kamkaru (laborer). His powerful and emotive appeal was aimed at the heart of the Sinhalese Buddhist. In a most ironical twist of fate, it was the first of the five-pillar-platform that chose to kill the master they deified; for a flimsy excuse like non-granting of approval for a shipping contract to a company sponsored by Buddharakkita, the chief conspirator. 

In so far as leadership is concerned, there are two kinds of them: consequential leaders and non-consequential leaders. Consequential leaders are those whose leadership has caused certain events which produced consequences 1. That couldn’t be reversed and 2. Without that particular leader in place at that time, the same event could not have occurred. In terms of being consequential, post-Independence Ceylon has produced only two leaders. One is SWRD Bandaranaike and the other is J R Jayewardene.

J R in 1977 changed the course of the country’s economy for good. Opening and unshackling of the economy is one single event that J R alone was responsible for conceptualizing and execution. What flowed subsequent to the opening of the economy cannot be reversed and with it the country’s economic and cultural dynamic took another journey. Secondly, had there been another leader at the time in 1977, given the same context and circumstances, that journey would not have even been attempted.

What SWRD did in 1956 was even more momentous. He was responsible for two significant and epoch-making changes in Ceylon’s society. On the one hand, unleashing of the vernacular-educated forces in the country and pledging a place in the sun for them, transformed this country which was being ruled by English-educated big city elite into a one that is ruled and dominated by the Sinhala-speaking commoners. The transformation from the elite to the commoner is irreversible and its effects are historic. On the other hand, SWRD was also singularly responsible for the Sinhala-only policy that engendered a chain of events whose good and ill-effects are being felt even today. Both these measures could and would not have been executed if not for Bandaranaike’s leadership. Nor could the resultant cascade of history have been reversed.

SWRD’s leadership was unique in the sense, despite him being personally a hands-off leader, unlike JR Jayewardene the quintessential hands-on forerunner, the subsequent propaganda carried out by the Bandaranaike family and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) made him out to be a god-like figure whose influence on the basic needs of the country was preordained. Bandaranaike’s politics was essentially based on his own rhetoric. He was a speaker par-excellence and was not matched in his day, especially in the House of Parliament and in English language. When one assesses his real contribution to the country’s socio-political-economic character and movement, one inarguably finds a combination of good and some exceedingly bad. After sixty one years, scholars as well as ordinary men and women argue that the Sinhala- only policy generated more malevolent results than good ones. Sri Lankan society began its forbidding journey of polarization along ethnic lineage. While Sinhalese Buddhists were engaged in their infamous argument of reverse discrimination and historical injustice done unto them by the colonial powers, Tamils clung on to their demands for a separate homeland-state within the borders of Sri Lanka.

Bandaranaike did not create these battle-lines, yet his policy of Sinhala-only gave rise to a series of consequential episodes that caused these battle-lines. His defenses fell when Tamil-Sinhalese riots scarred the streets in Colombo, Jaffna, Ampara and other urban centers in 1958. Sir Oliver Goonatilleke, Governor General of the time had to intervene, while Bandaranaike, the hero of the common man was playing billiards at the elite Orient Club, some historians say. Bandaranaike’s actions did not match his rhetoric. While the rhetoric created the myth, his actions condemned him to the brutal reality of sedentary, hands-off-Prime Minister.

He governed the country only for three short years. No more trade union sabotage was heaped upon the country than when Bandaranaike’s government was in place. In fact, it is recorded history that Sirimavo, Bandaranaike’s widow openly uttered on political platform that it was N M Perera who ‘killed Bandaranaike without killing him in deed’. The expedient utopian, which S W R D Bandaranaike was in every sense of the word, as described by his biographer, James Manor, would ultimately be judged by history. In another two years, 2019, it will be sixty years since his tragic demise. A man, whose liberal principles in the early part of the twentieth century embraced the idea of Federalism for the resolution of the Tamil Question, turned one hundred and eighty degrees and caved into a path of narrow nationalism propagated by the very forces he unleashed. Instead of leading his men and women from the front, Bandaranaike chose to be led by his followers, the very opposite of JR Jayewardene.

SWRD Bandaranaike and JR Jayewardene were two quintessential politicians who hailed from the elite that dominated the last years of the British Raj. Their decorum and courtesies extended beyond the confining walls of power; their education and scholarship was not limited to formal education and degrees they obtained from educational institutions; their commitment to the country they were born in was no second to any other leader’s. Both were men of deep thought. Yet, I am afraid; history will judge their respective political careers very harshly.

*The writer can be contacted at vishwamithra1984@gmail.com  

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Latest comments

  • 2
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    The important point both the JRJ and ?SWRD has Tamil blood.

    True Sinhala buddhists never went against Tamils. but, Tamils are against Sinhala buddhists while complaining that Sinhala people are former Tamils.

    • 3
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      According to your logic, you must have Tamil blood because you are against Tamils

    • 1
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      Jimsofty,
      With due apologies, JRJ is of Dravidian Thomby, Chetty descent and SWRD was Dravidian Kapurala- Kalu Kapuge descent. Tamil, Malayali, Karnataka and Andra people are all of the larger Dravidian group.
      Thanks.

  • 6
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    SWRD was the very embodiment of Sinhala Buddhism-Nationalism, influencing 75% of the population. That he and is parents were pillars of the local Christian Church is often ignored. That is the nature of
    religious hypocracy here. If it was not SWRD and 1956, nonetheless, that tsunami would have arrived. That was a fastly changing world anyhow in the Indian Sub-Continent that unshackled itself from the colonial yoke. The popular aspirations of such a large section of the majoriy had to find expression after 450 years of foreign dominance and indignity.

    The economic face of the world had changed when JRJ took over a near-fractured and bankrupt country in 1977. With the support he enjoyed from the West and Japan, in spite of many of his faults, “Yankee Dicky” integrated the country to the international free market system. Freeing of the economy, Tourism, FTZ exports, remittances from the Middle East – all JRJ’s efforts – flowered and raised the standard of living of all the people. They continue to provide us economic succour to this day does the UNP handsomely even today.

    The Common factor in both SWRD and JRJ is the handling or mishandling of the National Question (Ethnic Problem, if you like) SWRD, the man who advocated Federalism as the panacea for all our political ills, was prevented from doing the right thing by the Buddhist majodity. Both were sabotaged through the narrow machinations of the Buddhist extreme. JRJ may have concluded ushering in a successful economy through his Open Economy system and providing a more robust economic performance to benefit ALL the people was the way out of the impasse. He was not wrong if that is what he had in mind. Here he was stymied by the forces of extreme Sinhala Nationalism within and outside his Cabinet – some of whom even provided surreptitious support to Wijeweera’s JVP – leading an army of racially-ethnically motivated youth. Wijeweera also shrewdly engineered the anti-Indian factor to gain for him the necessary political legitimacy and premature national recognition.

    The rest is history. The declining country is in the doldrums since. Is the lesson here to the Sinhala majority the solution of the National Question the secret to unlock the key of unending political stalemate. Will that cure most of the other ills?

    There is a good chance this untested approach, where the entire Sinhala polity comes together bringing the Tamils to the national fold, might work. They will have the world’s support and blessings here.

    Backlash

  • 4
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    Vishwamithra –

    RE: SWRD – Myth And Reality

    “A man, whose liberal principles in the early part of the twentieth century embraced the idea of Federalism for the resolution of the Tamil Question, turned one hundred and eighty degrees and caved into a path of narrow nationalism propagated by the very forces he unleashed. Instead of leading his men and women from the front, Bandaranaike chose to be led by his followers, the very opposite of JR Jayewardene.”

    Thanks for the concise write up about SWRD Bandarainka.

    Even though he stated on a good footing as being for the common man, his common man redefined the Sinhala Buddhist and started the polarization of the country, leading to the civil war and its repercussions, the country is grappling with today.

    He did tap into an opportunity, which the UNP should have addressed. Between the UNP and the SLFP Sri Lanka managed to screw things up, except the liberalization of the economy by JR.

    SWRD was also known as Sevala Banda, Sleeze Banda, as he progressed. His sleaziness was recognized by those who supported him as well as those had to deal with him.

    No the country has to deal with Rajapaksa, Sirisena and Wickramasinghe. They are scratching each other’s back.

    • 7
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      SWRDB’s federal proposal had something else in mind.

      He wanted one for the Up-country Sinhalese and one for the Low-Country Sinhalese and on for N&E Tamils.

      The Muslims and Hill Country Tamils did not fare in his equations.

      Also, at the time, there was no serious Sinhala-Tamil issue, except for rivalry among the elite for position. There was a Sinhala-Muslim conflict preceded by a Buddhist-Catholic clash in Kochikade (north of Negambo) in late 19th Century.

      Caste was also a far more serious factor among the Sinhalese elite.

      SWRD was not singularly responsible for Sinhala Only.
      JRJ had talked about it much earlier and it was in the air in 1955 so that Handy Perinpanayagam flattered Sir John K during his visit to Jaffna and got him to pledge that S&T will be official languages. On return he had a rebellion on his hands within the UNP.

      SWRDB to his credit kept all immediate relatives out of his politics. Felix Dias B was brought in by Mrs B. She had no political ambitions for the children at the time.
      The circumstances of SWRDB’s death had an impact on his image. But the common man knew what changed in his favour after 1956. Not just the language issue.

      • 7
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        SJ

        “SWRD was not singularly responsible for Sinhala Only.”

        Who else was?

        It was his main campaign slogan most racist weapon in his campaign strategy which convinced many stupid people that they were on journey to their Sinhala/Buddhists utopia.

        What was appalling was the speed with which the weeping widow started enforcing Sinhala only language policy.

        The consequence of it still last. The state institutions and state owned institutions still sent forms and letters in Sinhala to ordinary people who have no means of understanding the contents. This is still happening even after the 13th amendment became part of the constitution in 1987, 30 years have elapsed.

        Your romantic ideas about SLFP and its leaders cannot and will not absolve their part in the destruction of this island.

        Leaders were supposed to lead not follow the opposition.

        By the way JR was the first one to propose Sinhala only language policy either in 1937 or 1944. Sorry I am not absolutely sure about the date.

        Please keep blaming JR, UNP, Tamils, ….. for the past 70 years of destruction, …. may help you to believe in what you want to believe, a heroic SLFP and its leaders.

      • 0
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        Felix Dias , since birth went as Felix Dias. In Law school he was Felix Reginald Dias. The Bandaranaike part was used after SWRD died, and when he joined Mrs B’s Govt in 1960. Ask any Bandaranaike or other friend or relations, in the pedigree and family tree , felix or his half brother , Oxford lecturer RWM Dias were about 15 generations apart to SWRD.

        A genealogist may comment, if the above are inaccurate. If they- SWRD & FELIX R.D. are relations, then all Kalukapuge Bandaranaikes and THuppahige Oebeyesekeras in Siyane Korale and in Ahangama Kathaluwa are the most direct relations biologically. Unfortunately, status has separated the old relatives for ever.

  • 2
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    Late Mr. S.W.R.D. Bandaranayake was the Minister of Local Government in the Cabinet of Late Mr. D.S.Senanayaka – the then Prime Minister and both of them were from the United National Party. With the untimely death of the PM – Mr. D.S.Senanyake, the most senior politician from the UNP and who held the most prominent Cabinet portfolio, Mr. SWRD was the only choice to succeed MR. DS and I believe that would have been the expectation of SWRD too. But that did not happen; instead a “Junior Member” who happened to be Late Mr. DS’s son Mr. Dudley Senanayake was chosen to be the PM. Now, I would like to pose this question: What if Mr. SWRD was appointed to succeed Late Mr. DS? Would there be a present day “SLFP” or Would there have been a “Pancha Maha Balavegaya”? Don’t you think all this “Political History” of decades has been centered around “Personal Ambitions” of those holding Leadership and aspirants and unfortunately this FACT has yet to be acknowledged and realized by the people. Unless and until the people are awakened to this FACT and TRUTH, this “MYTH” will continue.

    • 5
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      Douglas

      An engineer on an official visit met with Prime Minister SWRD Banda just after 1956 elections. After the official business Banda tried to explain his election strategy to this Tamil engineer. Banda told him that he never expected to win a landslide victory. He said he was expecting fewer seats than the 51 he won and hoping to make a deal with Tamil parties to form a government.

      It so happened the Sinhalese voted for the most racist candidate and party. Having won the election on a Sinhala only platform he couldn’t go back on his election manifesto pledges.

      My friend observed that Banda looked pathetic when he finished his side of the story. Probably Banda felt guilty of his stupid pledge and its enforcement.

      The 51 seats, 1,046,277 votes, 69.12% turn out, 39.52% of SLFP share of votes left a trail of destruction which could not be reversed.

      He was the first prisoner of circumstances well before JR was.

      Did you vote for SWRD Banda in 1956?

      • 3
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        I was not old enough to vote. It shows democracy is a farce.

        A devolution of power is the sensible way to solve the problem. SWRD and Dudley recognised this when they had pacts with Chelva. But, it will not happen simply because it cannot have the two-third majority necessary.

        Without devolution, there cannot be progress. But, there cannot be devolution as long as the Mahavamsa Modayas still rule the roost.

        • 4
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          Mama Sinhalam

          “Without devolution, there cannot be progress. But, there cannot be devolution as long as the Mahavamsa Modayas still rule the roost.”

          First find out from SJ/Sekera whether he is in favour of devolution before campaigning/demanding for your right to devolved powers.

          If anything to go by his previous comments he seems to dislike initiatives from Tamils. He sees all your demands and initiatives leading to communal disharmony even if the state and the governments were clearly in the wrong. He thinks and believes Tamils need to restrain all the time even when attacked by the state, its institutions and racially motivated mob.

          He is in the habit of blaming the people not the state.

          • 0
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            When Tamils and Sinhalas are living as Citizens of Canada, USA, U.K. France and Australia, is there any reason for not fighting for a devolution or more rights? Why do not they of their own accord offer more rights to the non grumbling Lankian Immigrants?
            What is the reason for not saying Old Testament and New Testament and Bible Modayas when those are full of folk tales of India (like the Vahalassa Jatakaya story, an Indian folk tale inserted into Jataka Potha and also for the Kuweni Story) and borrowings from Buddhism to build up Jesus’ biography as accepted and shown by renowned Anthropologists and Great Historians. Even German Christian fathers declared that there is no Historical Jesus but that he is only in the faith of people. It is now becoming known to progressive historians of religion that Jesus the saviour character- the messiah was created by the Romans to keep the agitators of Israel who were fighting for rights( Economic etc) silent….the Jews were any way expecting a Messiah and at that time the Roman Rulers created the stories and by that time Jesus had come and gone…the force of rumors when intelligently introduced at the proper time. After some time the Jews got devided as those who believed in the Jewish Messiah and the other jews who opposed that cult.
            Similarly, young Gotama the Buddha as Siddhartha according to a tradition had spoken to the well wishers when 7 days old…..walked on 7 lotuses etc. Those are all for the gullible devotees to absorb.
            This devolution thing will never get settled. It is a waste of time for lay persons. Let the politicians deal with it for ever and for ever…after all that is their bread and butter….AMEN!

      • 1
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        Native Vedda

        “The 51 seats, 1,046,277 votes, 69.12% turn out, 39.52% of SLFP share of votes left a trail of destruction which could not be reversed.”

        Had the Racist Tamils not joined the Racist DS Senanayaka to disenfranchise the Estate Tamils, in 1948, and instead joined the Sinhala Left (and the “brown” Hollandars) from the South to oppose it, SWRD , aka Sevala Banda, Sleeze, would not have had the majority in 1956.

        Can you at least blame the Tamil racists and castists as well? Read up on Prof Hoole’s writings.

        The Upper caste Tamils have been enjoying their “upper” caste status for too long, given to them by “divine:” ordination from Rg Veda.

    • 4
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      Douglas
      Have you not come across “Premier Stakes” by Sir John Kotalawela? there is plenty in it on DSS’s intrigues.
      Talking of cronyism, the UNP was also referred to as the “Uncle Nephew Party” in the 1950’s.

    • 0
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      Though many have not observed and even history Profs like K.M. de S have suppressed, 1948 cabinet was a coalition. SWRD never joined the UNP, as he came from the Sinhala Maha Sabhava.

      • 0
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        Not a coalition in the way it is understood in parliamentary politics.
        The SMS merged with the UNP in 1946, but operated as a faction within.
        Along with SWRDB, it left the UNP government in 1951— far less for political reason than personal ambition. That is not to reject political differences, which, however, did not cause the split of 1951.
        The UNP lacked an absolute majority and enticed a sufficient number of independent MPs to form government.
        The ACTC joined later in 1948.

  • 7
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    Thank you for this fine analysis of two men who shaped post-independence Sri Lanka. Both men lived for themselves and their personal glory. Bandaranaike more than JR for he brought about a SL which was quite unlike him. There was personal deception that removed him from his upbringing and embracing of habits that were strange to him. He unleashed forces he could not or did not strive to control. They consumed him.

    Did he bring about a revolution? Not really. Power did not leave the Sinhala elite. The new class simply joined them within a generation, educating their progeny overseas to come back and continue the deception of the Sinhala masses, as Bandaranaike did. The same old deception of Sinhala Only and Mahavamsa Buddhist primacy continues to the the political song of Sri Lanka. We have had decades of violence and no progress as a result. Wife followed daughter and daughter followed a mass murderer followed by nephew of the other leader. What change has been set in motion? None.

    JR ensured an open door policy. This was earlier than China. But, the contrast is stark. He did not bring about ethnic peace. Instead, he also engaged in communal politics to keep what he thought was his place in history. Economics does not work if politics does not. The same communal politics continued.

    This is what is sad about Sirisena-Ranil. A changeless situation still goes on. V. who writes so well must look upon Wijeweera and Prabhakaran more kindly. They were the results of what Bandaranaike and JR unleashed on their people.

  • 2
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    Good one Vishwa! Assassination of SWRD by a Corrupt Buddhist monk was a classic case of Blow back! Live by the sword and die by it. This is what has happened all over the world.
    The killing of Rajiv and Indira Gandhi by LTTE and their own people are examples of this principle.

    SWRD was undone by the very forces of destruction – Sinhala Buddhist Racism and nationalism – that he built up!

    Yet, in Miracle of Modayas which his daughter CBK with her greed for power destroyed the country further, the Bandaranaiayakes still rule on myths..

  • 3
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    Why are politicians venerating dead politicians so much when it is they who made the people become beggars.

  • 6
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    SWRD Bandaranaike and JR Jayewardene are the two primary destroyers of Sri Lanka. Why fvck are they considered national heroes is beyond me. The Names SWRD Bandaranaike and JR Jayewardene need to be shoved deep down into the Meethotamulla garbage dump. But I bet even the maggots in the garbage dump will run for their lives when they see those two name. Thats how toxic SWRD Bandaranaike and JR Jayewardene have been to Sri Lanka!

    • 6
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      Thanos

      “SWRD Bandaranaike and JR Jayewardene are the two primary destroyers of Sri Lanka.”

      Blame the stupidity of people who have been taken for several rides in the past by crooked politicians. Yet the voters will have no problem voting for the same crooks again and again.

    • 1
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      Tamil politicians and JVP leaders destroyed Sri Lanka by creating problems for SWRD Bandaranaike and JR Jayawardena. Tamil politicians misled the Tamils and JVP misled the Sinhala youths.

      • 2
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        Eagle Eye/SL Citizen/Dr Clean/…..

        “Tamil politicians and JVP leaders destroyed Sri Lanka by creating problems for SWRD Bandaranaike and JR Jayawardena. “

        How did the Tamil politicians destroy Sri Lanka by creating problem for SWRD Banda the public racist?

        How did JVP destroy Sri Lanka by creating problem for JR in 1971?

        “Tamil politicians misled the Tamils and JVP misled the Sinhala youths.”

        Are you saying Sinhala/Buddhist politicians never mislead the people?

        It is obvious Sri Lankans are generally stupid hence there is no need for you to prove it beyond doubt.

        You have been doing it since you start typing here in this forum under multiple identities.

  • 1
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    A fine essay Vishwamithra.Thank you.

    …….A man whose liberal principles in the early part of the twentieth century embraced the idea of Federalism for the resolution of the Tamil Question,turned one hundred and eighty degrees and caved into a path of narrow nationalism propagated by the very forces he unleashed.Instead of leading his men and women from the front,Bandaranaike chose to be led by his followers…….

    He opened the sluice gates in 1956 and the Liberal that he was entered into a pact with Chelvanayagam–B-C Pact but after opening the sluice gates,it was a case where he himself was washed downstream!
    He has unwittingly put the cart before the horse.

  • 2
    1

    HOW STUPID ARE YOUR REMARKS THAT THESE ARE MEN OF DEEP THOUGHT. WAS BANDA’S PROMiSE OF”SINHALA ONLY WITHIN 24 HOURS” A RESULT OF “DEEP THOUGHT”. DOES JAYAWARDANE’S ORDER TO THE ARMY TO DESTROY JAFFNA AND HIS ATTITUDE DURING THE POGROM,FIT THE QUALITY OF A THOUGHTFUL POLITICAL LEADER.
    ONE MORE THING. DONT EVER CALL IT A TAMIL-SINHALESE RIOT. IT WAS A POGROM AND MASSACRE OF MINORITIES BY RABID SINHALA-BUDDHISTS.

  • 0
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    I wish to pose a few questions to the Author. First is whether there was no international plot involved in SWRD assassination?

    SWDRD Nationalised International Banks and Foreign Petrol Companies. The Russian backed Leftist Organised Public Services Trade Union Federation Workers Strike Lasted for over 20 days was finally aborted with the help of the Russian Embassy. The whole country was maligned with anti Govt. and anti Tamil hatred.

    Added to all these, SWRD took over the Trincomalee Harbour from Britain and turned Ceylon into a hot herring for all the super powers of the world and even today a bone of contention to many powers.

    Besides the talk of the time was about one Night Club owner named Ossie Corea who was a suspect in the case got released after hearing. Another strange incident was that Mrs. Srimavo was not heard in the Courts. And so a Proper hearing is still wanting which is typical end to all cases of political killings involving other Govts.

    My suspicion based on later events that still exist now, CIA could have had a hand in this operation.

    I would be happy to see a response from Viwa and CT readers as well.

    • 1
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      I have heard that SWRDB was due to attend a UN Session not before long, where he was likely to side with Nehru on some thorny issues.
      Foreign hands could have been involved, but it is not good to speculate without substance.

      There could have been many reasons why Mrs B was not summoned. The police certainly would have questioned her. But it is the prosecution that decides on witnesses.

      To suggest that the inquiry was not complete because she did not appear in Court seems rather weak, unless you suspect that she had something to say.

    • 3
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      Mano

      There was another conspiracy theory that continued to circulate involving O C Corea.

    • 2
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      Mano: “SWDRD Nationalised International Banks and Foreign Petrol Companies.”
      Kindly let me know when SWRDB did either.
      He took over the British naval base in Trincomalee and the air force basse in Katunayake. He nationalized the bus service in 1957 and the Port of Colombo in 1958.
      That was it.

      I know that the Communist Party had control over the CTUF.
      When did the “Public Services Trade Union Federation Workers” strike? And what control did the CP have over it?

      I think that history is getting a good thrashing by Mano.

  • 3
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    A useful footnote
    The UNP decided to hold the election in three phases, releasing results as they came.
    They fixed elections for most of the ‘certain’ seats for Day 1. The UNP got just eight. That affected the polling on the following days. Even JRJ, who had a good chance to win at Kelaniya (50.81% of the vote in 1952) was mauled by RG Senanayake (independnt) (71.6 to 24.7%). The UNP was thus stuck at the eight seats of Day 1.

    (JRJ won Kelaniya March 1960, thanks to the SLFP-MEP split, But moved to Colombo South in July, never to return to Kelaniya since.)

    Moral: One can be clever, but not too clever.

  • 1
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    Besides being a great gentleman, SWRD was also a great democrat. James P Ratnam the renowned researcher and historian wrote that SWRD was a descendent of a Tamil family. He also wrote that Jayewardene was a descendent of a Muslim, Thambi Mudali, who was rewarded for spying for both the Dutch and the British governments. Ratnam in a discussion with this writer had confided that SWRD in a letter had thanked him for his article about his antecedents. Bensen

    • 2
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      Bensen Berner

      “Besides being a great gentleman, SWRD was also a great democrat.”

      Are you out of your mind?

      DS Senanayake first denied the up country Tamils the Universal Franchise and this man SWRD a public racist denied Tamil speaking people the democratic right to officially use their own language. Had MR GR continued their journey they would have completely wiped out Tamil language from this island.

      DS, SWRD B and JR were in competitive racism and the country hit the bottom as it never recovered from the race.

      By any chance you are related to SJ/Sekera?

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      Dear Bensen Berner ( a nom-de-plume ?), It is James T. Rutnam (not P) who first wrote several authentic genealogical accounts of mainly 3 families. He first wrote to the Journal TRIBUNE of Mr Amarasinghham when Mr B was the Singhala Veeraya,an article on the genealogy of Mr SWRD B as a descendent of Dravidian Perumal…a Kapurala …pandaranayakam who had come from India; the family became sinhalized gradually and used the name Kalukapuge. Even today one finds very poor descendents of those Bandaranaikes in Salpiti and Siyane Korales with similar features and Kalukapuge as the GE’ name.That article covered about 6 generations of SWRD B’s family.
      After Mr JTR wrote that article, Mr J.R.J had telephoned him and congratulated him. Mr JRJ had been commenting on the B’ike genealogy in a funny way. Appa JTR was a Humanist and did not believe in any exclusive/aristocratic/high class birth.Then he decided that he must give a dose of genealogy to Mr JRJ.He quoted chapter and worse and wrote the 2nd article to the TRIBUNE on the JRJ Chetty Genealogy (another Dravidian group in India.)He showed quoting Doyly’s diary etc how Thomby (not Muslim…probably as for a little brother), next generation Thomby as the batman of Hulft, the Dutch army commander.That also covered about 7 generations.
      In the third article he wrote about The De Lanerolles of Ceylon.

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    Native Vedda: I was not eligible to vote in 1956. Mr. SWRD won the election, in my opinion, purely on the slogan “Sinhala In 24 Hours”. After speaking to some of my elders in the predominantly occupied Sinhala areas in the South, (not excluding other districts) I learned that there had been simmering problem among a vast majority of “Sinhala Educated” persons who could not even think of getting into Government, Private and Banking sectors without “English Education”. The maximum those “Sinhala” educated aspire was only to get employed as a Teacher (in Sinhala stream) or “Vedamahattaya” (Ayurvedic Doctor) The Governments, since Independence never addressed this “Simmering Problem”, until a “Lost Aspirant to Leadership” grab the “Opportunity” to lead and address that “CRY”. That was the “BASIS” and the “SITUATION” that propelled MR. SWRD to win a land slide victory over the then UNP, who even declared “Sinhala to be the Official Language”. Mr. SWRD knew the “Outcome”; but had an “Action Plan” that was kept a “SECRET” (well guarded) from the stalwarts who led the campaign. That was the mistake he committed and at the end he paid a price. This was the background for me to ask that question in my earlier comment: “What if Mr. SWRD was made the Prime Minister immediately after the death of Mr. DS”? “Would there be a SLFP that we speak of today, if SWRD was the Prime Minister in a UNP Government? This is only a gist of what I have to say; but “comments policy” (300 word) prevents me from expressing other relevant details relevant to this “MYTH” of the main article.

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      Douglas

      Thanks for your informed comment.

      I am aware of the situation which led to SWRD Band’s historical mistake which still reverberate not just through out the island but elsewhere too.

      My Elders who lived and observed the deep south during the period of turmoil were distressed. Distressed because they knew the country was turning into worst form of governance.

      By the way what SWRD B did or didn’t do does not matter. What mattered most was how the people went along with his pledge while he in back of his mind had different idea, to make a deal with the Tamils in case he didn’t have sufficient numbers in the parliament.

      We have seen this time and again. Why people fall for politicians’ false promises and pledges is still a mystery.

      A leader has to lead not follow the opposition agenda. You would have noticed a liberal leader who does not stick to his own agenda and response/react/follow opponent’s agenda never be able to serve the people.

      A leader among other qualities must be

      honest, good communicator, committed to just causes, possess positive attitude, a problem solver with creativity, able to inspire, a good listener, ….. who could provide people dignity, safety, security, livelihood, ……

      Please revisit history. What you see is a broken country ruled by crooks and their cronies. A violent country which is unable to make peace with itself.

      How come voters continue to tolerate these crooks?

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    SWRD was the biggest hypocrite who started the rot. Corruption began to set in during Mrs. B’s watch with so many economic restrictions brought in by her which continued through the CBK regime. Rajapakse just built on what was already happening but on a greater scale & continuing Govts. will carry on the tradition in the years to come.

    JR had a vision with his bold liberalized economic policies & did not indulge in nepotism but, like all politicians in third world countries, a majority of his cabinet had corrupt streaks & JR turned a blind eye for the sake of the party.

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    Somarama Thero pulled the Trigger on the advice of Buddharakhitha Thero.
    Lets not insult SWRD with other stories about who was involved!
    George Chitty Q.C.who led the Prosecution in the case ,went into all these conspiracy theories.Ossie Corea et al.!

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      Plato.

      “Lets not insult SWRD with other stories about who was involved!”

      Don’t you think SWRD B was an insult to intelligent?

      Insult continues to grow.

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    The pre-SWRD B era aped the west – in dress, horse riding/racing, media etc. He ushered in the “Ape Anduwa” era. Suits, tie and hat were discouraged. There was marked improvement in film industry (some world standard), music/stage talent etc.

    Western dress is back with a vengeance – in the hot weather! AC offices. Norachcholai to run the office AC system.

    SWRD B wanted rural sector development. But today it Colombo, Colombo and Colombo. The lopsided development is being funded with remittances by the “rural folks” slaving in Mid-East.

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    Native Vedda and Sekera,

    Thank you for your kind responses.

    I do not remember the exact Year when the Foreign Banks and Petroleum companies were nationalized, but I am pretty sure SWRD did that and Peoples Bank and Lanka Petroleum Corporation were opened. Like wise Foreign owned Big Shops like Cargills Ltd., Millers Ltd. Cave and Co taken over and succeeded by the CWE or Sathosa.

    SWRD pioneered first and signed the China Ceylon Rubber Rice Pact that benefited a stable price for Ceylon Rubber and a steady Chinese Rice supply to the People of Ceylon without any need for US Dollars to pay for the Import of Rice. Dispensing the need for US currency is a sure blow to US. Think of the Petro Dollar war on Irag and other Middle East Countries by the US under Bush! SWRD dared to challenge US in many ways at a time when the whole west was against the Mao Tse Tungs Peoples Republic of China and backing Cho En Lai’s Nationalist China which was later over run and annexed to the Present Day China.

    The Public Service Workers Trade Union Federation Strike was in April /May 1958 and its General Secretary Chelliah a Communist Party sympathizer called off the Strike without getting any demands and was said to please the Chinese Embassy officials. Shortly thereafter the May 1958 Riots was unleashed.

    I should say SWRD was the best orator of all times and his Rhetoric
    be it in English or Sinhalese would arouse any ones feelings and a real pleasure to listen. One Famous saying that inspired me most even today was written in CTB Buses just above the Drivers seat was something like this. “You are in your place because I cannot be there”. The words were couched in attractive verse like Sinhala. Whatever he may have been, he certainly captivated the common people. The Sinhala people owe a lot for the resurgence of a new Nation.

    In my opinion he had too many powerful enemies within and out side that foiled all his genuine deeds and ultimately took his life.

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