ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday March 9, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 41
Funday Times - Mahawamsa

The struggle for power

By Halaliye Karunathilake
Edited and translated by Niluka De Silva
Illustrated by Saman Kalubowila

~This article is part of a continuing series on the ‘Mahavamsa,’ the recorded chronicle of Sri Lankan history~

In certain books on history, Ayashmantha is named Aabo. He, however was clever. By keeping Prince Dharmashoka on the throne, he was able to carry on the rule for a year. Coming with a Chola army, a commander named Anikanga, invaded Polonnaruwa. He killed Prince Dharmashoka and came to power in 1209 A.D. Ayashmantha was also slain.

According to the Chulavamsa, General Anikanga was a Mahadipada. 'Pujavaliya' mentions that Anikanga was infant Dharmashoka's father. He is the person who brought ruin upon the country, during the eighth year of Queen Kalyanawathie's rule, by bringing in a Chola army. However, this is what some historians believe. His rule lasted only for 14 days.

Once this general came to power, the person whom he appointed as his commander, killed him. He was Vikkantha Chamunakka by name. This is according to our chronicles. Some scholars do not agree here. According to them Anikanga was Queen Kalyanawathie's Mahadipada. He would have belonged to the Kalinga dynasty. He would have clashed with General Aabo and fled to the Chola country.

This period however was beneficial to the Pandya Dynasty. General Vikkantha Chamunakka, kept Queen Leelawathie on the throne, for the second time. This time her rule was limited to one year. Once again, a Kalinga prince named Lokissara came with a Tamil army and invaded Sri Lanka. He deposed Queen Leelawathie and wrested power. But he was able to rule only for nine months.

There is an inscription which belongs to the period of this king. In this, there is a mention of a commander, who defeated the Cholas. Scholars however, believe that as Lokissara is a Kalinga, he would have been a relation of both Nissankamalla and Sahassamalla. But it is difficult to
understand why the Cholas went against Lokissara – who was hostile to the Pandyas, who were the enemies of Cholas.

It remains a puzzle. The next to come to power in Polonnaruwa was General Parakrama. He belonged to the Kulangasa family. He killed Lokissara and made Queem Leelawathie, the ruler for the third time. This time too, she could not remain in power for long. A Pandya prince named Parakrama Pandya, accompanied by a huge army, invaded
Sri Lanka.

This prince was responsible for many revolts, all over the country. He deposed Queen Leelawathie and ascended the throne in Polonnaruwa. This is a period when Pandyas were powerful. The Cholas who spread their power all over South India were losing their hold. As such, it was easy for Lanka to make friends with the Cholas. The two countries carried on mutual friendly

This friendship could not last for long. In 1214 A.D., an army of about 24,000 soldiers invaded Sri Lanka and that under the leadership of a cruel and unjust leader – Kalinga Magha (Kalinga Vijayaba). This invasion took place in the third year of Parakrama Pandya's rule.

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