Funday Times - Our History

A fierce battle

This article is part of a continuing series on the ‘Mahavamsa,’ the recorded chronicle of Sri Lankan history
By Halaliye Karunathilake, Edited and translated by Kamala Silva, Illustrated by Saman Kalubowila

The gallant warrior Veediya Bandara was not one to wait till the enemy entered the fray. He started the fighting first. With an army of 14,000 soldiers, he got ready to fight an army of 33,000. All of a sudden, he got all his soldiers out of the barrier. He was in the forefront. He challenged Tikiri Bandara to come for a face to face fight.

As can be expected, at this moment, the odds were in favour of Prince Tikiri Bandara. Veediya Bandara realized this. Prince Tikiri Bandara accepted the challenge.

But the commanders of both armies rushed in and began to fight. A moment passed. A shower of gunshots came from Veediya Bandara's armies. They issued from both shotguns and cannon.

This was something that the army of Prince Tikiri Bandara least expected. A lot of damage was caused to his army by these bullets. On top of that, there were attacks coming from swords and other weapons. Veediya Bandara was acting as if he was maddened and continued fighting.

As he was in the forefront, he had to control the army. He defeated the enemy and marched forward, looking for Prince Tikiri Bandara to begin the duel. By this time the defeated army of over 30,000 soldiers, were fleeing in all directions.

Prince Tikiri Bandara made an attempt to gather them together. But that was not successful. As they did not wish to face Commander Veediya Bandara, they fled. Commander Veediya Bandara too began to chase them.

It was a foolish act on the part of Commander Veediya Bandara to chase the fleeing enemy army. He was unnecessarily excited over the victories won so far. Though Veediya Bandara was a commander who had an expert knowledge of the strategies of warfare, he acted in a foolish manner in this instance. Though the enemy army retreated, they were powerful. There were about three thousand soldiers and their leader was Prince Tikiri Bandara. The prince was angered by the defeat he had suffered.

Commander Veediya Bandara failed to understand the power of the retreating army. He chased them as he was over jubilant, with the victory so far achieved.

His army was very small. There were only a few hundred soldiers and they too were chasing the enemy in excitement. Prince Tikiri Bandara realised that Commander Veediya Bandara was following them. So he stopped and got his army organized. He set up all the strategies and waited till they came.

Commander Veediya Bandara came, displaying all his martial skills. The enemy soldiers surrounded him. Even though Commander Veediya Bandara displayed all his war strategies, he failed. He realized that it was difficult for an army of a few hundreds to fight against almost 30,000 soldiers. Then he thought of retreating. By this time, hundreds of the enemy army had been killed by him.

Not being moved by all this, Prince Tikiri Bandara tried his best to corner Commander Veediya Bandara. It is then that Queen Suriyadevi heard that her husband was facing a critical situation. She was badly disturbed. She marched, accompanied by an army of soldiers. It was a little too late. But a plan of Commander Veediya Bandara was bearing good results.

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