Funday Times

Sri Lanka's Independence movement

The Independence movement in Sri Lanka was a peaceful political movement which aimed at achieving independence and self rule for Ceylon from the British Empire. It was initiated around the turn of the 20th century, led mostly by the educated middle class. Ultimately on February 4, 1948, Ceylon was granted independence as the Dominion of Ceylon. Dominion status within the British Commonwealth was retained for the next 24 years until May 22, 1972, when it became a republic and was named the Republic of Sri Lanka. Those who are considered to have played a major role in the Sri Lankan independence struggle are honoured as National Heroes. We give below, some of the National Heroes of the 20th century.

Don Stephen Senanayake

D. S. Senanayake (1884 – 1952) was an independence activist who served as the first Prime Minister of Ceylon from 1947 to 1952. He played an active role in the independence movement, first supporting his brother F. R. Senanayake. After his brother's death in 1926, D. S. took his place in the Legislative Council and led the independence movement. His most distinctive contribution to the nation was his agricultural policy. He is known as the 'Father of the Nation.'

Frederick Richard Senanayake

F. R. Senanayake (1882 – 1926) was a Sri Lankan politician and independence activist. A Barrister-at-Law at Lincoln’s Inn, London, he was a leading member of the Sri Lankan independence movement in the early parts of the 20th century and was an active member of the Legislative Council.

Sir James Peiris

Sir James Peiris JP (1856 – 1930) was a prominent figure in the Sri Lankan independence movement and a Vice President of the Legislative Council. Peiris led the campaign for a Royal Commission of Inquiry and the vindication of the reputations of those who had been falsely accused during the riots of 1915.

He initiated a memorandum to be drawn in great secrecy along with other prominent members of society in order to bring it to the attention of the King and his majesties government. It was taken to England hidden in the sole of a shoe by E. W. Perera. As a result of this the governor Sir Robert Chalmers was recalled.

Don Richard Wijewardena

D. R. Wijewardena (1886 – 1950), was a Sri Lankan press baron who was a leader in the Sri Lankan
independence movement. A successful entrepreneur, he established the Lake House newspapers and played a major role in the independence movement. He organized the first deputation to the Secretary of State for the Colonies with H. J. C. Perera along with E.W. Perera, as a result of which the Ceylonese were given a concession of a seat in the British dominated Legislative Council.

Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan

Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan, KCMG, KC (1851 – 1930) was a Solicitor-General and a Tamil political leader, who was nominated as an unofficial Member of the Legislative Council from 1879 to 1892.

Ramanathan was elected representing the educated Ceylonese to the Legislative Council of Ceylon by a sweeping majority in 1911. In 1915, when the British Governor had several Sinhalese leaders imprisoned, Ramanathan came to their rescue and fought against the tyranny of the British Governor.

Edward Walter Perera

E. W. Perera (1875 – 1953) was a Sri Lankan barrister, politician and freedom fighter. He was known as the ‘Lion of Kotte’ and was a senator and a prominent figure in the Sri Lankan independence movement.
Abandoning a promising career at the Bar, E. W. Perera undertook the task of travelling to England to present a memorandum to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, pleading for the repeal of Martial Law and the release of the leaders who were in detention. Sir D. B. Jayatilaka and Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan, joined him in this successful mission.

It was also E. W. Perera, who with the help of D. R. Wijewardena, the press baron, traced the location of the banner of the last King of Kandy, Sri Vickrama Rajasinghe, to Royal Hospital Chelsea. The recovered banner became the flag of the Dominion of Ceylon on its independence in 1948.

Anagarika Dharmapala

Anagarika Dharmapala (1864 – 1933) was a leading figure of Buddhism in the 20th century. harmapala was one of the primary contributors to the Buddhist revival of the 19th century that led to the creation of Buddhist institutions to match those of the missionaries (schools, the YMBA, etc), and to the
independence movement of the 20th century.

C. W. W. Kannangara

C.W.W. Kannangara (1884 – 1969) was a Sri Lankan lawyer and politician. Rising up the ranks of Sri Lanka’s movement for independence in the early part of the 20th century, he became the first Minister of Education in the State Council of Ceylon. Known as the ‘Father of Free Education’ in the country, his introduction of free education in 1944, opened up education to children of all levels of society.

Dr. T. B. Jayah

Dr. Tuan Burhanuddin Jayah (1890 – 1960) was a Sri Lankan educationalist, politician, diplomat and freedom fighter. He entered politics in 1924 and was elected to the Legislative Council to represent the minority communities. He worked in unison with members who represented other communities. He served in the State Council from 1936 to 1947.

Captain Edward Henry Pedris

Captain Henry Pedris CTG (1888 – 1915) was a militia officer and a prominent socialite in colonial Ceylon who was executed by British officials for alleged incitement of racial riots in 1915, which were proven false.

His execution at a young age was viewed as extremely unjust by most Sri Lankans. It hastened the
movement towards independence for Sri Lanka and he became a martyr providing motivation to those who pioneered the movement.

Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam

Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam CCS (1853 – 1924) was a Tamil political leader in Ceylon and a member of the Executive Council and the Legislative Council.

Top to the page  |  E-mail  |  views[1]
SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
Other Funday Articles

El-Niño and La-Niña

South - East Asia 1800 - 1913 -- World History

Reminiscence -- Poem for the week

Kids' World

Fun Maths and Science

Sri Lanka's Independence movement

Megamind 3D


Reproduction of articles permitted when used without any alterations to contents and a link to the source page.
© Copyright 1996 - 2011 | Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka | All Rights Reserved | Site best viewed in IE ver 8.0 @ 1024 x 768 resolution.