ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday December 2, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 27
Funday Times - Mahawamsa

Supplementary troops

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~

1. This strong fortress was built near Aanivayaval. It was also named Madikkarai. It was very well fortified. Commander Lankapura selected the troops of Commander Gokanna, Kitthi and Loke. He knew that they were able to face the fight bravely. They performed well by carrying on a fierce fight. But as they were in the midst of the fighting, the enemy took another turn.

2. They started attacking the fortresses, the Sinhala army had already captured. They did succeed in winning Shemponamari and one more fortress. This made it necessary for Commander Lankapura to send extra troops there. As these troops approached the enemy, they abandoned the fortresses they won and fled. The Sinhala forces once again took possession of these fortresses. After all this, Commander Lankapura, went to his camp to rest awhile.

3. That was in Netturu. After a short break, he had to recommence work. This time it was not the fighting, but the repairing of tanks and canals that had been ruined. He had to construct new ones too. This work won the hearts of the people of that area. In the meantime, Prince Kulasekera, got organized for the battle. He collected his troops. Some of the Tamil leaders who had supported Commander Lankapura had now joined Prince Kulasekera.

4. This prince had two uncles. They were both provincial leaders. He sent messages to these uncles seeking their help. They were quick in responding by sending elephants, horses, chariots and foot soldiers, who were needed for the fight. The people of these provinces too, secretly extended their help to Prince Kulasekera. Their intention was to free their homestead from the enemy. Commander Lankapura got to know all this. He was shaken up.

5. He held an immediate discussion with his commanders. He explained to them that Prince Kulasekera was very powerful now. The commanders said that they will not be frightened. Commander Lankapura expressed his delight at the high morale of his army. But he stressed the fact that supplementary troops were needed now. To obtain extra troops, Commander Jagath Vijaya was sent to Sri Lanka. He went and met King Parakramabahu. When all the details of the battles were told, the king was highly pleased.

6. King Parakramabahu selected extra troops to be sent abroad. Their responsibility was given to Commander Jagath Vijaya. In addition to this, the king supplied extra arms and armament and all other necessities ungrudgingly. Commander Jagath Vijaya accompanied these extra troops, took everything given by the king and set sail from Manthota. In a few days, he reached South India. Commander Lankapura received all of them very warmly.

7. To welcome them, Commander Lankapura and his troops marched from Netturu to meet the supplementary troops and met them on the way. They exchanged pleasant conversation and got back to Netturu. Due to the extra troops, the power of the Sinhala army increased. By this time, they had a large area under their control. The coastal area from the river Vegai to river Vellaru was under their supremacy. The sole ruler of this area was Commander Lankapura.

8. As Lankapura gained in power, even the Cholas got frightened. They knew that his power would pose a big threat to the Chola empire too. As a result, they decided to send troops to help Prince Kulasekera. This made the prince extra powerful and he thought it was time to attack. As they began, Commander Lankapura and Commander Jagath Vijaya took two battalions and marched to fight Prince Kulasekera.

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