What’s in a name?

Will Y.D.U.W.S.W.C.K.S.P.W.M.R.A.B. Dodanwela enter the Guinness Book of Records?

By Himal Kotelawala

A family hailing from Matale who claims to have links with Sri Lanka’s last King, Shri Wickrema Rajasinghe has created history by possibly having the longest name. An 18 year-old student, a member of the family says he has learnt to cope with using an unusually large name, particularly when filling up forms for official purposes.

Anuruddha Bandara Dodanwela a student of Siri Seevali Maha Vidyalaya in Weragama, Matale who is preparing for his ‘A’ level exam next year, says he has come up with unusual situations where he finds no place to fill up his names in printed forms for various purposes.

His National ID reads : “Yatinuwara Dodanwela Udaha Walawwe Sri Wickramsinghe Chandrasekara Karunatilake Seneviratne Panditha Wasala Mudiyanse Ralahamilage Anurudhdha Bandara Dodanwela., His last name preceded by 15 ‘first and middle’ names, occupy the small space allocated for the cardholder’s full name on the NIC.

Whenever he is supposed to write his name in full, for example, when filling up application forms, Anuruddha is forced to write it with his initials as Y. D. U. W. S. W. C. K. S. P. W. M. R. A. B. Dodanwela., In practice, he usually goes by his last three names.

“I couldn’t tell you all the initials in my name off the top of my head, but I could tell you my name in full without looking at my ID,” he says.

Anuradha shares the first 13 initials of his name with a few others in his family namely his father, two brothers and aunt (father’s sister). His sister however has a shorter version of the name.

Filling his application form prior to the ‘O’ level exam proved problematic. Only two dotted lines were available for the purpose. To make matters worse it had to be filled in English, which required more space than if it had been filled in Sinhalese.

“One of my teachers wrote the name for me, in the smallest possible handwriting imaginable. Even the staff thought it was funny,” he recalls with a grin.The family is proud to have possibly the longest family name in the country, though none has officially made such a claim

But, Commissioner of the Department of Registration of Persons A.G. Dharmadasa told The Sunday Times that it was difficult to ascertain whether this was longest name for which an identity card has been issued.

Explaining the origins of his family name, Anuruddha claimed there were various accounts of his ancestors being associated with aristocrats of the past. He said his aunt often stated she was a seventh generation relative of Lanka’s last king Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe.

He emphasized he was not bothered by his unusually long name and had no intention of having it changed. “My friends sometimes joke about my name, but I’m used to it. I don’t’ want to change it,” he says with a happy smile.

According to Anuruddha, a leading mobile phone service provider from whom he recently bought a prepaid connection had told him his name could make it to the Guinness Book of Records and the company would take the initative by formally informing Guinness about his unique name.

However he faces tough competition to this title as the current world record holder for the person with the world’s longest name is a German living in Philadelphia named: Adolph Blaine Charles David Earl Frederick Gerald Hubert Irvim John Kenneth Loyd Martin Nero Oliver Paul Quincy Randolph Sherman Thomas Uncas Victor Willian Xerxes Yancy Zeus, his 26 “first names” representing the English alphabet. But Anuruddha might get the silver or bronze if he’s lucky.

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