Keppitipola: A traitor to the British, but hero to Lanka
Central Province Governor Tikiri Kobbekaduwa said there had been suggestions of taking out the cranium of Maha Nilame Keppetipola from the place where it was now deposited, but if it was to be removed, it should be done after a careful study.
The Governor was addressing a Keppetipola commemoration meeting at the Maha Maluwa in Kandy opposite the Kepptipola Memorial.
The Governor also said that even former Governor Goppallawa was apprised of these facts but that it had not gone beyond. Monarwila Keppetipola was no doubt one of the greatest patriots, Mr. Kobbekaduwa added.
He also said that Monarawila Keppetipola died a traitor in the eyes of the British, but that he was today a National Hero who fought the British to safeguard the rights of the people against domination.
The meeting was presided over by Asgiriya Mahanayake Ven. Udugama Buddharakkhita Thera. Anunayake of Asgiriya Ven. Galagama Dharmarakkhita Thera and the Anunayake of Malwatta Ven. Niyangoda Vijithasiri Thera were also present.
Pansil was administered by Asgiri Mahanayake Ven. Uudugama Buddharakkitha Thera.
The Mahaupadaya and senior member of Malwatta Karaka Sabha Ven. Aluthgama Dhammanada Thera said though there was a suggestion of the removal of the cranium for public view, if it was in pieces, there was no purpose in its removal. Therefore, he said that he suggested remains where it was now as a monument for the public and the future generations of the country.
Monarawila Keppetipola was tried for treason against the British when the 1817/1818 resurrection failed and he was beheaded after a Court Marital in Kandy. His cranium was sent to the Edinburgh Society of Phrenologists by his friend at that time. Dr. Sawyer.
When the Duke of Gloucester visited Sri Lanka during the Independence celebrations, a relative of Keppetipola, Upali Keppetipola, sought the return of the cranium, which by then was in the British museum. It was returned and it was kept at the Colombo Museum for nearly four years, before it was deposited in the present monument at the Maha Maluwa on November 26, 1954. The cranium enclosed in a glass box was placed inside this monument by the then Diyawadana Nilame C.B. Nugawela.
After this date, the commemmoration became a government function, until former Diyawadana Nilame Neranjan Wijeyaratne took it over a function by the Sri Dalada Maligawa.
Among those who spoke was Diyawadana Nilame Nilanga Pradeep Dela, who organised the event as a Maligawa function.
Those present where wreaths were laid were Kandy High Court Judge D.S.C. Lekamwasam, Kandy District Court Judge Bandula Nissanka Karunaratne and Kandy Additional District Judge K.S. P. Karaliyadde.