S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike

Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike (Sinhalese: සොලමන් වෙස්ට් රිජ්වේ ඩයස් බණ්ඩාරනායක,Tamil: சாலமன் வெஸ்ட் ரிட்ஜ்வே டயஸ் பண்டாரநாயக்கா; 8 January 1899 – 26 September 1959), frequently referred to as S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, was the fourth Prime Minister of Ceylon (later Sri Lanka) and founder of the Left wing and Sinhala nationalist Sri Lanka Freedom Party.[2][3][4] SWRD Bandaranaike became the prime minister of Ceylon in 1956 and carried out left wing reforms such as nationalizing bus services[5] and introducing legalization to prohibit caste based discrimination.[6] Bandaranaike is also remembered for removing British naval and air bases in Sri Lanka and establishing diplomatic missions with a number of communist states.[7]

Bandaranaike served as the prime minister till he was assassinated by a Buddhist monk named Ven Talduwe Somarama in 1959 allegedly over the signing of the Bandaranaike–Chelvanayakam Pact.[8] [9][10]

S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike
Official Photographic Portrait of S.W.R.D.Bandaranayaka (1899-1959)
S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike
4th Prime Minister of Ceylon
In office
12 April 1956 – 26 September 1959
MonarchElizabeth II
Governor GeneralOliver Ernest Goonetilleke
Preceded byJohn Kotelawala
Succeeded byWijeyananda Dahanayake
Leader of the Opposition
In office
9 June 1952 – 18 February 1956
Prime MinisterDudley Senanayake
Preceded byN. M. Perera
Succeeded byN. M. Perera
Chairman of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party
In office
2 September 1951 – 26 September 1959
Succeeded byC. P. de Silva
Minister of Health and Local Government
In office
26 September 1947 – 12 July 1951
Prime MinisterD. S. Senanayake
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byDudley Senanayake
Member of the Ceylon Parliament
for Attanagalla
In office
14 October 1947[1] – 26 September 1959
Preceded byConstituency established
Succeeded byJames Obeyesekere
Personal details
Born8 January 1899
Colombo, British Ceylon
Died26 September 1959 (aged 60)
Colombo, Dominion of Ceylon
Political partySri Lanka Freedom Party
United National Party
Spouse(s)Sirimavo Bandaranaike
RelationsPanini Ilangakoon (Cousin)
James Peter Obeyesekere II (Cousin)
ResidenceHoragolla Walauwa
Alma materChrist Church, Oxford
WebsiteOfficial website

Early life and education

Bandaranaike was born in Colombo, Ceylon, to the wealthy Sinhalese Anglican Christian Bandaranaike family, who had become one of the elite native families under the British administration. His father was Sir Solomon Dias Bandaranaike the Maha Mudaliyar[note 1], while his mother was Daisy Ezline Obeyesekere, daughter of Sir Solomon Christoffel Obeyesekere, a member of the Legislative Council of Ceylon. Sir Solomon named his only son after West Ridgeway, the Governor of Ceylon at the time, who was his godfather. He had two sisters Alexandra Camelia and Anna Florentina.[11]

He was tutored at home at the Horagolla Walauwa in Attanagalla by an English tutor, and for a short time attended S. Thomas' College, Mutwal, boarded at the Warden Rev. William Arthur Stone's residence. He passed the Cambridge senior examination with distinctions in English, Latin, Greek and French gaining the second in order of Merit in the British Empire that year. He entered Christ Church, Oxford. He read for Philosophy, Politics and Economics and graduated with honors in modern greats in 1923. At Oxford, he was the Secretary of the Oxford Union and the President of the Majlis Society; his contemporaries at Oxford included Anthony Eden. In 1924, he was called to bar as a Barrister in the Inner Temple; on his return to Ceylon, he took oaths as an Advocate of the Supreme Court of Ceylon.[12]

Early political career

After his return from Britain, Bandaranaike became active in local politics. He got elected as the Chairman of the Nittambuwa Village Committee in his family seat. He became Secretary of the Ceylon National Congress (CNC) in 1926, and in December the same year was elected from the Maradana Ward to the Colombo Municipal Council, defeating the trade unionist A. E. Goonesinha.[13]

State Council

Ministers of the Second State Council of Ceylon with the Speaker in 1936
Second Board of Ministers of Ceylon. Bandaranaike is in the left corner standing.

Following the implementation of the Donoughmore Constitution, the State Council of Ceylon was established as the first legislator in the island with its members elected through universal suffrage. Bandaranaike contest and was elected unopposed from Veyangoda at the 1931 election to the first State Council and was elected to the executive committee for local administration, chaired by Charles Batuwantudawe. He stated in the council that the committee system introduced in the new constitution was satisfactory at the time.

Minister of Local Administration

In 1936, he was re-elected unopposed from Veyangoda in the 1936 election to the second State Council. In its first meeting, he was elected as Minister of Local Administration. As Minister, he was chairmen of the executive committee on local administration, of which he had been a member in the previous term and was a member of the Board of Ministers.

Sinhala Maha Sabha

In order to promote Sinhala culture and community interests, Bandaranaike founded the Sinhala Maha Sabha in 1936. He introduced the Free Lanka Bill in the State Council in 1945[14] In 1947, when Leader of the House, D. S. Senanayake presented the Soulbury Constitution to the State Council, Bandaranaike seconded the motion stating that he does so as the Sinhala Maha Sabha was the largest party in the State Council.

With Ceylon heading for self-rule under dominion status, D. S. Senanayake invited Bandaranaike to combine his Sinhala Maha Sabha with other smaller parties into the United National Party (UNP) which Senanayake was forming to contest for the 1947 election under the new Soulbury Constitution. Bandaranaike accepted the invitation, formally dissolving the Sinhala Maha Sabha and merging with the UNP.

First Cabinet Minister of Health and Local Government

First Cabinet of Ceylon
The first Cabinet of Ministers of Ceylon. Bandaranaike is in the first row-second from the left
Hon.S.W.R.D.Bandaranayaka in Kandy Ceylon as the United National Party Minister of Health and Local Government (Before 1951 Sept)
Bandaranaike in Kandy as Minister of Health and Local Government

He contested for the newly formed House of Representatives in the 1947 election from the UNP from Attanagalla, winning with a good majority. In September 1947, D. S. Senanayake appointed him to his cabinet as the first Minister of Health and Local Government of Ceylon and he was elected as the Leader of the House. Effectively this made Bandaranaike the most senior member of the cabinet, after the Prime Minister. In fact, Senanayake had Sir Oliver Goonetilleke discuss with Bandaranaike as leader of the Sinhala Maha Sabha, the draft agreements for independence; which Bandaranaike received with mixed feelings. However, he did not object and the agreements signed with the Britain government making way for Ceylon to gain self-rule. As leader of the house, he delivered the address of thanks at the ceremonial opening of parliament on 4 February 1948, which marked Ceylon's independence from Britain.

During the next few years, he supported legislation proposed by the government as leader of the house. This included the Ceylon Citizenship Act No. 18 of 1948 and the Indian and Pakistani Residents (Citizenship) Act No.3 of 1949 which deprived citizenship to Indian Tamils. He initiated several projects for the improvement of health as minister of health, including the expansion of hospitals and uplifting ayurveda medicine. He attended the Third World Health Assembly in Geneva in May 1950 as Chief delegate of Ceylon. However, he found himself at odds with Senanayake administration on policy. By 1951, it also appeared that Senanayake did not intend to make an early retirement that would have allowed Bandaranaike to succeed him as prime minister.

Cross over and formation of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party

In July 1951, Bandaranaike resigned from his government posts and crossed the floor to the opposition with several of his close associates from the Sinhala Maha Sabha. Thereafter he dissolved the Sinhala Maha Sabha and formed a new party, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) having its inaugural meeting at Town Hall on 2 September 1951.[15]

A few months later, on 21 March 1952 D. S. Senanayake fell off his horse after suffering a stroke and died the following day. Although Sir John Kotelawala was expected to succeed him, his son Dudley Senanayake, Minister of Agriculture was appointed Prime Minister on 26 March 1952 by the Governor-General Lord Soulbury. Dudley Senanayake called a general election in 1952, which the UNP won gaining 54 seats in parliament.

Leader of the Opposition

Bandaranaike contested the general election from the SLFP for the Attanagalla seat and was re-elected. With the SLFP gaining nine seats and the LSSP gaining nine. Bandaranaike was elected Leader of the Opposition. The leftist agitated Hartal 1953 affected Senanayake, who shortly stepped down. Kotelawala succeeded him as prime minister.

Pancha Maha Balavegaya

Between 1952 and 1956, Bandaranaike spent much of its time consolidating the new party. Although it drew many supporters from the old Sinhala Maha Sabha, it was still relatively new facing a lack of funds and the lack of support from mess media as it could not afford a party newspaper. It drew much of its support from the rural areas that were marginalized or neglected by the incumbent UNP government which was pro-establishment. On the issue of language, the party originally espoused the use of both Sinhala and Tamil as national languages, but in the mid-1950s it adopted a "Swabasha" (native language) policy. The party asserted itself as a champion of the Buddhist religion; the SLFP has thus customarily relied upon the socially and politically influential Buddhist clergy (the Sangha) to carry its message to rural Sinhalese. Since the 1950s, SLFP platforms have reflected the earlier organization's emphasis on appealing to the sentiments of the Sinhala masses in rural areas. To this basis has been added the anti-establishment appeal of non-revolutionary socialism. Bandaranaike continued his policies stated in 1952, on language, Buddhism, and Ayurvedic medicine. As such he stated that the basis of the party would be the ‘Pancha Maha Balavegaya’ (Five Great Forces) which consisted of the native doctors, clergy, teachers, farmers and workers.[16]

Mahajana Eksath Peramuna and the 1956 elections

In 1956, Kotelawala called for early elections. Bandaranaike responded by assembling a coalition with a group of small Marxist parties to form the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP) to contest the 1956 general elections. The MEP was a four-party coalition with a no-contest pact with the Lanka Sama Samaja Party and the Communist Party of Sri Lanka. Although he inherited his father's vast estate at the death of Sir Solomon in 1946, he was riddled with death duties. Short on funds for the election, Bandaranaike mortgaged his town house at Rosmead Place to the Bank of Ceylon for Rs 200,000; which he used for his campaign.

Prime Minister

The 1956 elections was a landslide victory for the MEP as it gained a two-thirds majority in parliament and Bandaranaike was invited by the Governor General to form a government as the fourth prime minister of Ceylon in April 1956. He formed his cabinet with a collection of senior members of the parties that made up the MEP and several independents.

National policies

He suspended all British and native honors and enacted the Suspension of the Capital Punishment Act No 20 of 1958, which suspended the death penalty from May 1958.

Language policy and communal tension

One of Bandaranaike's most notable actions was the implementation of the Sinhala Only Act, making Sinhala the sole official language of the country, downgrading the official status of English, and promoting socialist, non-Western policies that profoundly changed the course of Ceylonese politics in the following decades. He is also remembered by the minority Sri Lankan Tamils for his failure to use the state's resources to control the 1958 riots, leading to the deaths of many Tamil citizens at the hands of mobs. The government declared a state of emergency on 27 May after six days of riots. The Tamil Language Special Provisions Act was passed to mitigate the effects of the Sinhala Only Act.

Foreign policy

As prime minister, he took a neutralist stance in foreign policy, but established diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China and the Soviet Union. He removed the British air bases at RAF Negombo and RAF China Bay and the naval base at Trincomalee. In 1957, he signed the Bandaranaike–Chelvanayakam Pact but was forced to withdraw in 1958.

Economic policy

Domestically, he was faced with economic problems and disputes over languages stemming from the Sinhala Only Act. He reformed labor laws and increased wages; established the Employees' Provident Fund and declarers May day a public holiday. The Paddy Lands Bill was introduced by is government to protect peasant farmers. In 1958, he nationalized bus companies and formed the Ceylon Transport Board and the Colombo Port Cargo Operations.

Strikes and cabinet crisis

In early 1959, a cabinet crisis resulted in the resignation of the leftist Philip Gunawardena and William de Silva. However the MEP remained intact. In 1959 trade unions at Colombo Harbour went on strike crippling imports and exports. Bandaranaike requested that the police intervene against trade union action, the order was declined by IGP Osmund de Silva on the grounds that he believed it to be unlawful. In April 1959, de Silva was compulsorily retired from the police force and M. Walter F. Abeykoon, a civil servant and Bandaranaike's bridge partner at the Orient Club, was appointed in his place.[17][18][19][20]


Tissa with Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike in Russia with Alexei Kosygin Premier of the Soviet Union fro
Bandaranaike's wife Sirimavo made history by becoming the world's first woman Prime Minister. She is seen here with then Soviet Premier, Alexei Kosygin

Bandaranaike died four years into his term, aged 60 on 26 September 1959, at the Merchant's Ward of the Colombo General Hospital due to wounds sustained after being shot by Talduwe Somarama, a Buddhist monk.

On 25 September, Somarama had visited Bandaranaike at his private residence, Tintagel, in Rosmead Place, Colombo. Since Somarama appeared to be a member of the Buddhist clergy, he was not searched for weapons and given free access to the prime minister as he began his routine meetings with the public. The monk then fired a revolver at Bandaranaike as the latter stood to greet him; he was rushed to hospital but died the following day despite six hours of surgery by Ceylon's most skilled surgeons. A Supreme court trial found Somarama, Mapitigama Buddharakkitha, H.P. Jayewardena guilty and pronounced on all three of them the death sentence (death by hanging). Although Bandaranaike's administration had suspended capital punishment, Talduwe Somarama was hanged on 6 July 1962. It was claimed by the court that the reason for the murder of the Bandaranaike, was due to Bandaranaike's refusal to entertain Buddharakitha Thero's requests following his support for Buddharakitha in the election.

After Bandaranaike's death, Wijeyananda Dahanayake, minister of education and the Leader of the House, was appointed caretaker prime minister by Parliament. However, he fell out of favor with the members of the government, resulting in the removal of all ministers of the Bandaranaike's cabinet in less than a year. Eventually, the leadership of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party fell to Bandaranaike's widow Sirima Ratwatte Dias Bandaranaike who held the SLFP to an election victory in July 1960 becoming the world's first female Prime Minister and was soon appointed a Senator.

Family life

Bandaranaike Samadhi at Horagolla, Sri Lanka
Bandaranaike Samadhi- S.W.R.D.'s tomb at Horagolla, Sri Lanka

In 1940, he married Sirima Ratwatte, daughter of Barnes Ratwatte Rate Mahatmaya, later Dissawa of Sabaragamuwa. Ratwatte was an old Radala family hailing from the Kingdom of Kandy and the Bandaranaike's were an old and wealthy family from the low-country which had been in service of the colonial rulers for centuries. The wedding was dubbed "the wedding of the century" and linked Bandaranaike with the Kandian elite through marriage.[21]

The newly married couple moved into Wentworth in Guidford Crescent, Colombo which was taken on rent from Lionel Wendt. Their first two children, Sunethra and Chandrika were born and the family stayed at Wentworth till 1946, when Sir Solomon bought a mansion at Rosmead Place, Colombo and the family settled into it. Here their only son Anura was born. Following the death of his father Sir Solomon, Bandaranaike inherited the family seat of Horagolla Walauwa in Atthanagalla. Atthanagalla became his home constituency for the future elections and remained the home constituency of his wife, daughter and son.

Sirima Ratwatte Dias Bandaranaike, as she was known after her marriage, became the first female prime minister in the world following Bandaranaike's assassination. His daughter Chandrika Kumaratunga subsequently became Prime Minister (1994) and then first female Executive president in the country, his only son Anura Bandaranaike went on to become Speaker of the Parliament of Sri Lanka (2000–2001) and a Minister (2004–08) and his eldest Sunethra Bandaranaike who followed her father's footsteps attending Oxford, became a prominent socialite.


Both a highly respected and controversial figure, he has been accused of initiating the racial discords in the island nation with his pro-Sinhalese nationalist policies.[22] His wife continued many of his socialist policies in later years of her administration.

On 17 July 1976, a bronze statue of S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike was unveiled on Galle Face Green, it was sculpted by Lev Kerbel and gifted from the Soviet Union.[23] The Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall was gifted from the People's Republic of China in his memory in 1970 and houses the S W R D Bandaranaike Museum.[24] The Bandaranaike International Airport, the first international airport in Ceylon was named in his honor when it was opened in 1970.


See also


  1. ^ The native aide-de-camp, chief native interpreter and adviser to the Governor of Ceylon


  1. ^ "Sessions of Parliament". parliament.lk. Parliament of Sri Lanka. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  2. ^ name="SWRD-britannica">"S.W.R.D.Bandaranaike, or Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike (Prime Minister of Sri Lanka)". Britannica Online.
  3. ^ "Bandaranaike, Solomon West Ridgeway Dias". History.Com.
  4. ^ "Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike". Encarta.MSN. Archived from the original on 1 April 2008.
  5. ^ http://www.swrdbandaranaike.lk/files/speeches/bus_nationalization.pdf
  6. ^ http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/natlex4.detail?p_lang=&p_isn=61858
  7. ^ https://books.google.ca/books?id=011aCwAAQBAJ&pg=PA140&lpg=PA140&dq=removing+british+naval+bases+bandaranaike&source=bl&ots=pklnwDh7t0&sig=JtAZn6fdv5Lf72BCrtWbxOL8BzU&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwigobGikbjfAhVirYMKHSfvBfsQ6AEwBHoECAcQAQ#v=onepage&q=removing%20british%20naval%20bases%20bandaranaike&f=false
  8. ^ http://www.dailymirror.lk/53002/the-incident-that-rocked-ceylon-55-years-ago-the-assassination-of-prime-minister-swrd-bandaranaike
  9. ^ http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2015/09/28/bandaranaike-assassination-due-to-banda-chelva-pact/
  10. ^ http://www.swrdbandaranaike.lk/politics_devolved.html
  11. ^ Nyrop, Richard (1982). Sri Lanka, a Country Study. Supt. of Docs., U.S. G.P.O. p. 197.
  12. ^ S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike
  13. ^ https://mylifelk.com/pages/swrd-bandaranayaka
  14. ^ Richardson, John (2005) Paradise Poisoned: Learning about Conflict, Terrorism, and Development, International Center for Ethnic Studies, Kandy, Sri Lanka, p. 144, ISBN 955-580-094-4
  15. ^ Richardson (2005), Paradise Poisoned, p. 145.
  16. ^ Sepalika De Silva, Cultural practice of human rights: An anthropological study of human rights in Sri Lanka (2006), p. 57.
  17. ^ Abayasekara, Anne (22 May 2011). "Times of triumph and tribulation written without fear or favour". Sunday Times. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  18. ^ "Parliamentary Debates". 36. Parliament of Sri Lanka. 1960: 115.
  19. ^ "Parliamentary Debates". 36. Parliament of Sri Lanka. 1960: 162.
  20. ^ "Operation Holdfast: Contours of a Coup Conspiracy". Daily Mirror. 2 November 2012. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  22. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 9 February 2008. Retrieved 2 November 2007.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  23. ^ Gift by USSR:Sculpting SWRD 'larger than life'
  24. ^ Goh, Evelyn (2016). Rising China's Influence in Developing Asia. Oxford University Press. p. 146. ISBN 9780198758518.

External links

This page incorporates text from the Library of Congress's Country Studies series.

Political offices
Preceded by
John Kotelawala
Prime Minister of Ceylon
Succeeded by
Wijeyananda Dahanayake
Preceded by
Leader of Sri Lanka Freedom Party
Succeeded by
C. P. de Silva
1956 Ceylonese parliamentary election

General elections were held in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) in 1956. They were a watershed in the country's political history, and was the first elections fought to challenge the ruling United National Party. The former Leader of the House, S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike who was passed over after the death of the first Prime Minister D.S. Senanayake, crossed over to the opposition to form the Sri Lanka Freedom Party to launch his bid for Prime Minister.

Assassination of S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike

S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike, the forth Prime Minister of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), was assassinated by the Buddhist priest Talduwe Somarama Thero on September 25, 1959, while meeting the public at his private residence, Tintagel at Rosmead Place in Colombo. Shot in the chest, abdomen and hand, Bandaranaike died the following day at Merchant's Ward of the Colombo General Hospital. He was the first Sri Lankan national leader to be assassinated, which led to his widow Sirima Ratwatte Dias Bandaranaike becoming the world's first female Prime Minister.

Attanagalla Electoral District

Attanagalla electoral district was an electoral district of Sri Lanka between August 1947 and February 1989. The district was named after the town of Attanagalla in present-day Gampaha District, Western Province. The 1978 Constitution of Sri Lanka introduced the proportional representation electoral system for electing members of Parliament. The existing 160 mainly single-member electoral districts were replaced with 22 multi-member electoral districts. Attanagalla electoral district was replaced by the Gampaha multi-member electoral district at the 1989 general elections, the first under the PR system, though Attanagalla continues to be a polling division of the multi-member electoral district.

Banknotes of the Sri Lankan rupee

The banknotes of the Sri Lankan rupee are part of the physical form of Sri Lanka's currency. The issuance of the rupee banknotes began in 1895.

The Government of Ceylon introduced its first paper money in the form of the 5 rupee banknote in 1895. These were followed by 10 rupee notes in 1894, 1000 rupee notes in 1899, 50 rupee notes in 1914, 1 and 2 rupee notes in 1917 and 100 and 500 rupee notes in 1926. In 1942, emergency issues for 5, 10, 25 and 50 cents were introduced and issued until 1949.

In 1951, the Central Bank of Ceylon took over the issuance of paper money, introducing 1 and 10 rupee notes. These were followed in 1952 by 2, 5, 50 and 100 rupee notes. The 1 rupee notes were replaced by coins in 1963.

From 1977, banknotes were issued by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. 20 rupees notes were introduced in 1979, followed by 500 and 1000 rupees in 1981, 200 rupees in 1998 and 2000 rupees in 2006. Sri Lankan banknotes are unusual in that they are printed vertically on the reverse. In 1998, a 200-rupee note was issued to commemorate the 50th anniversary of independence (1948–1998). This is the first polymer banknote issued in Sri Lanka, and it was printed by Note Printing Australia. All other denominations are printed by the De la Rue Lanka Currency and Securities Print (Pvt) Ltd, a joint venture of the Government of Sri Lanka and De La Rue, a printing company in the United Kingdom.

C. A. S. Marikkar

Casila Abdul Samed Marikkar (5 July 1911 – ) was a Sri Lankan politician of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party who served as Minister for Post, Broadcasting and Communication from 1956 until 1960 in the cabinets of S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike and Wijeyananda Dahanayake. He was the first Muslim minister from the SLFP but didn't enjoy much support within the party. During his term Marikkar aimed to set up a Sri Lankan telephone parts factory with Japanese help to provide cheaper telecommunications service.Marikkar was a skilled orator who often worked the crowds before public appearances of party chief Bandaranaike. He enjoyed publicity and in 1959 rode to a party convention on the back of an elephant, creating a diversion from the criticism of the Bandaranaike government.Marikkar was accused of bribery on 17 counts, also by a corrupt Buddhist monk. He went on to clear himself from all accusations.

C. Vanniasingam

Coomaraswamy Vanniasingam (Tamil: குமாரசாமி வன்னியசிங்கம்; 12 October 1911 – 17 September 1959) was a Ceylon Tamil lawyer, politician and Member of Parliament.

Hameed Hussain Sheikh Ismail

Hameed Hussain Sheikh Ismail (19 May 1901 - 3 August 1974) - Lawyer, was the 5th Speaker of the Parliament of Sri Lanka. (First Muslim Speaker) and first elected Member of Parliament in the first general election held for the Parliament of Independent Ceylon in 1947.

Henry Abeywickrema

Henry Abeywickrema (27 December 1905 - 29 August 1976) was a Sri Lankan politician.Henry Abeywickrema was born in 1905 in Baddegama and received his education at Richmond College and St. Aloysious' College in Galle.

Following the death of his older brother, Simon on 2 May 1948, Abeywickrema contested the July by-election for his brother's seat of Baddegama. He was however soundly beaten by over 6,500 votes by the United National Party candidate, H. W. Amarasuriya. In 1951 he joined the newly formed Sri Lanka Freedom Party.

He re-contested the Baddegama electorate at the 2nd parliamentary election in May 1952, successfully defeating the sitting member, H. W. Amarasuriya, by 7,752 votes. Abeywickrema retained his seat at the 1956 parliamentary elections, increasing his majority to 56%. Following which he was appointed the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport and Works in the S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike cabinet and Minister for Works in the Dahanayake cabinet. He did not contest the 1960 parliamentary elections.

Jayaweera Kuruppu

Jayaweera Kuruppu (20 January 1908 – 1962) was a Ceylonese politician.In 1936 he served as the vice chairman of the Provincial Council of Ratnapura and in 1944 he was elected as the chairman of the Ratnapura Urban Council.At the 1st parliamentary election, held between 23 August 1947 and 20 September 1947, Kuruppu contested the Nivitigala electorate, as the United National Party (UNP) candidate, where he was narrowly defeated by 24 votes, by the Lanka Sama Samaja Party candidate, Don Frank Hettiarachchi.Following the death of Sir Alexander Francis Molamure, the member for Balangoda, in January 1951, the UNP selected Kuruppu as its candidate in the subsequent by-election, in preference to his nephew, A. F. Molamure. Following the by-election, held 28 April 1951, Kuruppu was elected to parliament, receiving 60% of the total votes, 8,722 votes clear of the LSSP candidate. Two months later in July in support of S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike he and four other members of the Sinhala Maha Sabha faction resigned from the UNP and crossed the floor. On 2 September Bandaranaike held the inaugural meeting of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), of which Kuruppu was a founding member.Rather than re-contest Balangoda at the 2nd parliamentary election, Kuruppu ran in the Kiriella electorate, as the SLFP candidate, securing 7,369 votes, a shortfall of 2,609 votes to his UNP rival, A. E. B. Kiriella (who received 48% of the total vote).Kurrupu then ran for election at the 3rd parliamentary election, held between 5 April 1956 and 10 April 1956, in Ratnapura electorate, where he polled 16,644 votes (70.75% of the total vote), comprehensively beating the UNP candidate and sitting member, Cyril Eugene Attygalle, by 10,358 votes. He was subsequently appointed as the Minister of Local Government and Cultural Affairs in the S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike cabinet.In 1959 he was elected the president of the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress, a position he served in for a year.

Kandy Clock Tower

The Kandy Clock Tower is located in the centre of Kandy on the intersections of Sri Dalada Veediya, S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike Mawatha and Hiragedara Mawatha. A landmark of the city, the clock tower was built near to the Ismail Building in 1950 by Haji Mohamed Ismail as a monument and in memory of his son Mohamed Zacky Ismail, who lost his life in an accident in Kadugannawa in August, 1947.

Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara

The Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara or Kelaniya Temple is a Buddhist temple in Kelaniya, Sri Lanka, seven miles from Colombo. The Chief Incumbent (Chief Priest) is Venerable Professor Kollupitiye Mahinda Sangharakkhitha Thera.

The temple has often been associated with the rise and fall of Ceylon / Sri Lanka, with the popular saying that as the Kelaniya temple rose, Sri Lanka rose and as it fell, the country and its administration fell. It has thus had a deep association with the political powers of the country.

It is also infamous for Mapitigama Buddharakkitha, the chief conspirator of the 1959 assassination of Ceylon's fourth Prime Minister S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike. Buddharakkitha was the chief incumbent (chief priest) of the Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara from 1947 to 1959.

M. W. H. de Silva

M. W. H. de Silva was a Ceylonese lawyer and politician. He was the Minister of Justice in the cabinet of S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike and a member of the Senate of Ceylon. He was the great uncle of Harsha de Silva.

Panini Ilangakoon

Christophel Panini Illangakoon (Sinhalese: ක්‍රිස්ටෝෆෙල් පනිනි ඉල්ලන්ගකූන්) (10 November 1919 – 10 February 1989) was a former politician and member of parliament. He was the first cousin of S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike, former Prime Minister of Ceylon

Post and Telegraph Signals

Post and Telegraph Signals was a (reserve) regiment of the Ceylon Army. Raised in 1955 with staff from the Department of Post and Ceylon Telegraph Department. The government hoped to minimized the effects to the Post and Telegraph services in the event of trade union action (strikes were common) by mobilizing the personnel attached to this unit. However it was disbanded in 1956 when the leftist S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike became prime minister.

Ruhunu Regiment

The Ruhunu Regiment was a former Military reserve force of the Ceylon Army. The regiment was raised in 1954 in Galle with a detachment in Matara. It was disbanded in 1956 when S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike became prime minister as he considered the unit to be loyal to the opposition. Its personnel made up volunteer units of the Gemunu Watch when it was formed in 1962. Raised along with the Rajarata Rifles, it was one of only three geographically based regiments in the Sri Lanka Army.

S. D. Bandaranayake

Samuel Dias Bandaranayake was a Sri Lankan socialist politician and a member of the Parliament of Sri Lanka.

Born to a wealthy family, his father was C. P. Dias Bandaranayake and his mother was the daughter of Mahamudaliyar Ekanayake from Matara, his grandfather was Conrad (Peter) Petrus Dias Wijewardena Bandaranaike, Maha Mudaliyar. He was a cousin of S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike. He was educated at S. Thomas' College, Mount Lavinia, St. Thomas' College, Matara and studied agriculture at the University of Travancore. While in India he met figures such as Subhas Chandra Bose and Rabindranath Tagore. On his return he joined the newly formed Ceylon Agricultural Corps as a Commandant during World War II.

After the war he entered politics, campaigning for S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike and joined his newly formed Sri Lanka Freedom Party. He was elected to parliament in 1952 and was re-elected in 1956 however he did not accept the office due to disagreements with S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike on the Sinhala Only Act.

He was involved in the 1971 JVP Insurrection against the SLFP led government under Sirimavo Bandaranaike. The Criminal Justice Commission which was set up to prosecute insurgents found him guilty of two counts of being a member of the JVP and attending the five lectures. He was given a suspended sentence of two years. In 1977, he was re-elected to parliament.

S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike cabinet

The S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike cabinet was the central government of Ceylon led by Prime Minister S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike between 1956 and 1959. It was formed in April 1956 after the parliamentary election and it ended in September 1959 with Bandaranaike's assassination.

Sri Lanka Freedom Party

The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (Sinhalese: ශ්‍රී ලංකා නිදහස් පක්ෂය, translit. Śrī Laṁkā Nidahas Pakṣaya; Tamil: இலங்கை சுதந்திரக் கட்சி, translit. Ilaṅkai Cutantirak Kaṭci) is one of the major and most well known political parties in Sri Lanka. It was founded by S.W.R.D Bandaranaike in 1951 and, since then, has been one of the two largest parties in the Sri Lankan political arena. It first came to power in 1956 and since then has been the predominant party in government on a number of occasions. The party is generally considered as having a democratic socialist or progressive economic agenda and is often associated with nationalist Sinhala parties. The party follows a Non-Aligned foreign policy but always had close ties to socialist nations.The Sri Lanka Freedom Party is a main constituent party in the United People's Freedom Alliance.

Vimala Wijewardene

Vimala Wijewardene (1908-1994) was a Ceylonese politician and the country's first female cabinet minister.

Following the death of her older sister, Vimala (at the age of sixteen) married her sister's widower, Don Charles Wijewardene (1893-??), the fifth son of Don Philip Tudugala Wijewardene, a timber merchant of Sedavatta, and Helena Dep (née Weerasinghe) and younger brother of newspaper magnate Don Richard.

Don Charles, a polemicist espousing the Buddhist nationalist movement, was the author of The Revolt in the Temple (published in 1953). His mother, Helena, was responsible for arranging the financing of the restoration of the Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara. Don Charles and his brother Don Walter had a strong involvement in the Kelaniya Temple and Buddhist affairs. He was also the patron of Mapitigama Buddharakkitha, as a young monk supporting his promotion to chief priest of the Kelaniya Temple.

External Affairs and Defence (1947 - 1978)
Foreign Affairs (1978 - Present)
External Affairs and Defence (1947–1978)
Defence (1978–present)
Central Province (15)
Eastern Province (7)
Northern Province (9)
North Central Province (5)
North Western Province (10)
Sabaragamuwa Province (10)
Southern Province (12)
Uva Province (7)
Western Province (20)
Appointed (6)
Central Province (15)
Eastern Province (7)
Northern Province (9)
North Central Province (5)
North Western Province (10)
Sabaragamuwa Province (10)
Southern Province (12)
Uva Province (7)
Western Province (20)
Appointed (6)
Central Province (15)
Eastern Province (7)
Northern Province (9)
North Central Province (5)
North Western Province (10)
Sabaragamuwa Province (10)
Southern Province (12)
Uva Province (7)
Western Province (20)
Appointed (6)

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