article is part of a continuing series on the 'Mahavamsa,'
the recorded chronicle of Sri Lankan history
The people of Ruhuna were very national-minded.
Those who came down from Anuradhapura were very well
treated by them. They were given all the comforts. They
hated the Cholas and refused to pay taxes, to the Sinhala
officers who came to collect taxes. The officers who
came were ridiculed. These tax officers complained to
the Chola leaders. They sent armies to threaten the
Sinhala people of the south. But the people of Ruhuna
were not at all afraid.
They lay in ambush and attacked the Cholas who came.
The food and water that was supplied to their camps
were poisoned. So the Cholas had to give up and return.
Time passed. The people began to realize the fate of
not having a king of their own. The chiefs and leaders
of Ruhuna and Malayarata met together and decided on
getting a king appointed. After a lot of discussion,
they decided to appoint Prince Kasub as their king.
This prince is the son of King Mahinda V. The prince,
who was living in Ruhuna at the time, was only about
12 years old. Everybody loved the prince. They respected
and obeyed him. The chiefs and all the leaders went
and met the prince. They informed him of their decision
and the prince accepted the crown and royal regalia.
They were taken away by the Cholas. So everything had
to be made anew.
But the prince did not like to wear any of these.
He said he would not like to wear a crown until he fights
the enemy and establishes his power in the country.
All agreed. The people were delighted that they had
a king now. They began to work their fields with more
enthusiasm. Scarcities came to an end. Yet oppression
in the North (Pihiti-Rata) still continued. There, the
Cholas carried on a very stern form of administration.
The news of appointing a king from Ruhuna, reached
Polonnaruwa. The Cholas were infuriated. A Chola army
with about 500 warriors came to the south. They ruined
the villages and killed even the animals. They did a
lot of damage to property and life. The people of Ruhuna
who observed this, started adopting guerilla warfare.
They even set up traps and killed as many Chola soldiers
as they could. But the enemy was more powerful, as their
numbers were large.
The war tactics adopted by the people of Ruhuna upset
the Cholas. It made them more fierce. They set fire
to granaries and ruined the entire area. Even small
children were not spared. At this time, there were two
village chiefs named Makuhagama Keerti and Maradalagama
Buddha. They happened to be ministers too. They were
real warriors who were well-versed in all war tactics.
They had their own armies. At this point, the two leaders
They came and met Prince Kasub, to
discuss ways and means of protecting Ruhuna from the
enemy. They realized that there was no solution but
The two ministers led the attack.
Even the army of the prince, joined them. They came
up to Pahana and set up camp there. The Cholas got to
know about this. They quickly assembled their army and
came to attack the ministers. Just as the Cholas left
their camp, the ministers heard of their movements.
They got well-armed and waited to
receive the enemy. They had set up a number of devices
to trap them. The Cholas who did not know of these strategies
came crashing in. Quite a lot were trapped. Guerilla
tactics were followed by the Sinhala army. A number
of Chola soldiers lost their lives in this struggle.