WWW Virtual Library Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka

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Politics Sri Lankan Style!

Sri Lanka Betrayed

Selfish politicians let Sri Lanka down

"After four and half centuries of European colonial rule, when Sri Lanka became independent in 1948, Dubai was an undeveloped emirate without even basic facilities, Indian university degrees were not recognised in Sri Lanka and Singapore leaders vowed to turn their island into a Sri Lanka, which was then a Third World role model for economic prosperity, political stability and communal harmony. In 1948 Ceylon boasted the most powerful economy in Asia after Japan.

But 55 years later, Sri Lanka is locked in never-ending political turmoil, its economy ruined by two decades of armed conflict and consequential devastating impact on life. Fifty-five years after independence Sri Lanka has yet to master the fine art of nation building.

Dubai, now a prosperous city state, is running Sri Lanka's flag carrier Sri Lankan Airline and Sri Lankan students are rushing for admissions to schools and universities in India, while Indian entrepreneurs aggressively penetrate many sectors of the island's economy. And Singapore is a highly developed country."

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Sri Lanka: One of the most mismanaged countries in the world

The Colombo ruling class which control the two main political parties United National Party under Senanayakes, Jayawardenes and now their relative ex-prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party under the all powerful President Chandrika Bandaranaike and her family dominated the political scene in Sri Lanka since independence. Both parties adopted short sighted policies aimed only at the next election and not the next generation or the country's long term interest. Every time they spoke of national interest they only meant their own interests. These two parties are mainly responsible for turning this once prosperous country, with all its wealth of human and natural resources and peaceful people, into one of the most mismanaged countries in the world.

Political History of Sri Lanka
A Chronological Presentation Dating from the Colonial Period

The Governments of Sri Lanka (1947 - 1977)

Sri Lanka: A diverse nation

THE UNTOLD STORY: Assassination of Bandaranaike

THE UNTOLD STORY: Rajiv Gandhi's assassination

Out Of Bondage – The Thondaman Story

Sri Lanka - a land in ruin

Sri Lankan hardliner Ranjan Wijeratne

A secret mission to Sri Lanka

Appapillai Amirthalingam : 'Died for Tamil people's cause'

Confessions of Vijaya's killer

Politics in Sri Lanka so dirty, absolutely filthy and a terrible game - President Chandrika Kumaratunga

President Chandrika Kumaratunga, the daughter of two Prime Ministers, has been a member of Sri Lanka's First Family for half a century and President since 1994. She spoke to TIME's Alex Perry at President's House in Colombo.

"In Sri Lanka, politics is a terrible, terrible game. So dirty, absolutely filthy. Decent people do not want to have anything to do with it anymore."  "I would love to leave. I am dreaming of a life beyond politics." 

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Loony Politics

Sri Lanka is a country where presidents are sworn in and governments are sacked at astrologically auspicious times. With opinion polls still in their infancy in Sri Lanka, fortune-tellers are in high demand ahead of  elections. A former Sri Lankan president was once reported to have commissioned charmers from the southern Indian state of Kerala to help him ward off an impeachment attempt. The politically influential here traditionally keep family astrologers, much like family doctors, to advise on choosing a marriage partner, starting a business or even before deciding when to start a foreign visit. Allegations of corruption have rocked the astrology world with accusations that the planetary positions have been rigged by the political astrologers.

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Lovely Country - Lousy Politics!
The life of a Buddhist monk – you’d think – would be one of quiet contemplation, meditation and prayer. And not one mired in the dirty and sometimes undignified world of politics. Yet in Sri Lanka there are examples of monks who’ve abandoned their traditional way of life being ordained into a very different order: Politics. In the April 2004 elections an unprecedented nine monks won seats in Sri Lanka’s parliament. All describe themselves as reluctant travelers on the JHU or National Heritage Party ticket. Read Full Story


D.S. Senanayake

Don Stephen Senanayake was born on 20th October 1884, at Botale, a village in the Hapitigame Korale of the Negombo district in the Western Province.  D. S. Senanayake was the first member of the Senanayake family of Botale to enter the Legislative Council though his older brother, ‘F. R.’, could have at any time won a seat by election and was always a powerful influence behind the scenes until his premature death. Read Full Story


S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike

Bandaranaike, Solomon West Ridgeway Dias (1899-1959), the prime minister of Ceylon (1956-59), whose election marked a significant change socially and ethnically in the political history of modern Ceylon, was born on January 8. His father was the only son of Gate Mudliyar, Sir Don Solomon Dias Bandaranaike, and his mother was Lady Eslin Daisy Obeysekera, and they hailed from Horagolla, in Attanagalle. 

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Sir John  Kotelawala
Always frank and outspoken, Sir John never hesitated to call a spade a spade. He always enjoyed a good story even at his own expense. Anecdotes about his wit and rollicking sense of humour are told and retold to this day. Read More


Dudley Senanayake met with unexpected success in his  food production drive and the ‘green revolution’. It can safely be said that Dudley'’s food production drive in the late sixties was the most successful medium term economic plan ever to be implemented in this country. Read More


Sirimavo Bandaranaike, three times Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, was the first woman in the world to hold the office of prime minister. Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike rose to power in 1960 as a bereaved wife and mother of three, just a year after her husband, then prime minister, was assassinated by a Buddhist monk. Read More


From The Nation - America's Longest Running Weekly Magazine

Is Ceylon Independent?

"Although Ceylon and India are separated by only sixty miles of water, the contrast between them is striking. Ceylon is relaxed where India is tense. It has two distinct communities with clashing outlooks, but riots are unknown. Almost half of Ceylons population can read and almost all can vote, while in India only about one-seventh can do either. Free education up through the university is in the offing, and progress is being made in public health. These conditions set Ceylon off from almost all Asiatic countries."
The Nation; Volume: 167 • Issue #: 0011 • Date: September 11, 1948

A diverse nation

The British colonial policy of divide and rule sowed the seeds of renewed tensions between the Sinhalese and Tamil communities after independence. Tamils, although well-educated, were given a disproportionate number of top jobs in the civil service by the British. Once the Sinhalese majority held sway, its politicians sought to redress the balance with populist but discriminatory policies against Tamils. In 1956, the victory of SWRD Bandaranaike on a platform of Sinhalese nationalism led to him declaring Sinhala to be the country's official language among other anti-Tamil measures. Communal tension and violence increased from 1956 onwards as Tamils became increasingly frustrated.

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Paradise Lost

(TIME) Sri Lankans enjoy a party, and Independence Day--Feb. 4, 1948--was one of the grandest. There were fashion shows in the ocean side capital of Colombo, fireworks, ranks of spit-and-polish honor guards and special air tours over the proud, illuminated city. A day earlier the new parliament had opened in an exotic spectacle. From paradise-under-the-palms to one of the world's hellholes--what went wrong? The story of Sri Lanka's first 50 years is complex and depressing in a unique way. The electoral democracy that Britain bequeathed 50 years ago with such exotic pomp remains intact. But it has done little good. Sri Lanka is, in fact, an example of how democracy--so often described as a panacea for poor, struggling countries--can tear a country apart if politicians do the wrong thing Read Full Story


Sri Lanka's arms dealers, a shadowy bunch of politicians, servicemen, bureaucrats and their relatives and friends, who conclude multi-million-dollar deals nearly every day pocketing hefty commissions are the only beneficiaries of the intensified military campaign against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Not many were surprised when one of the leading arms dealers in Sri Lanka, through whom the Air Force makes about 80 per cent of its hardware purchases, put up a glass, steel and concrete building almost overnight in the heart of the capital at an admitted cost of around 650 million rupees. It is mockingly referred to as the War Memorial. Read Full Story

  The crooked General

JVP : From the tyre pyres to kingmakers

With its anti-Government image and an ideology that is a mix of Marxism and Sinhala Buddhist nationalism, the JVP has once again look attractive to the rural poor and the youth. The JVP was founded in 1967 by Rohana Wijeweera, a drop-out from Moscow's Lumumba University. Within four years, the Che look- alike declared war on the Sirimavo Bandaranaike-led Government, which was put down with help from India and Pakistan. The second insurrection came in 1987, after the signing of the Indo-Lanka Accord, by which time the JVP had embraced an extreme form of Buddhist nationalism, enabling it to tap into the strong anti-India, anti-Government feelings prevalent at the time. By December that year, the JVP had killed several hundred functionaries of the ruling UNP and turned the rest into fugitives. Government retaliation turned the next three years into a blood-bath.   Read Full Story

  Haunting memories of the JVP

  A Lost Revolution: The JVP Insurrection 1971

  Rohana Wijeweera - The Age of Innocence, The April uprising & Tragedy or nemesis

Confessions of Vijaya's killer

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