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22nd August 1999

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The Millennium Countdown

Who is the Sri Lankan of the Century?

The Sunday Times Millennium Countdown which got underway last week has been received with amazing, if not slightly novel, enthusiasm. When a representative collection of articles are received, we shall publish them as the Countdown moves on.

As said earlier, the millennial feeling in this part of the world is neither as acute or as compelling as it is in the Western world, which follows the Gregorian calendar shall we say, its letter and spirit. But, we too follow the Gregorian calendar, though in spirit we may not be so close to the spirit that the Gregorian calendar embodies.

Nevertheless, we cannot be totally numb to the landmark turn of the century. And, more than all, before we know it, the event will be upon us, in less than another five months. Milestones are milestones, and if the milestone of the turn of the century, if not the turn of the millennium, should at least for purposes of record be seen as a conspicuous event then we have reason enough to find out who made the major contributions in this century. Here is our list then , not in any ranking of merit or any chronological or other particular order. It's just a jumble of names need we say of very great historical import?

It would be a good idea to write , briefly in around 200 to 700 words, the reasons for picking the persons you named as "the Sri Lankans of the century." Your pick may be from the individuals named in our list , or of any other persons who have figured, in your view , prominently in Sri Lankan life in the past hundred years. ( You can pick four persons for the four categories specified in the form.)

You need to pick, the persons who in your view have made the most lasting contribution to Sri Lankan life in the last hundred years. Most lasting could mean the most prominently impacting or the most remembered contribution, though it may not necessarily be the most "valuable".

One person is entitled to send in one voting form, and your votes will count towards the nominations for the Sri Lankans of the century, as the millennium countdown winds down. The Sunday Times will also be pleased to publish the best articulated and argued presentation that gives the best reasons for the choice of "Sri Lankan of the century."

The list

S . W . R . D . Bandaranaike.
D. S. Senanayake.
Anagarika Dharmapala.
Dudley Senanayake.
Sirimavo Bandaranaike.
Rohana Wijeweera.
Ivor Jennings.
Senarath Paranavithana.
Ediriweera Sarachchandra
E. W. Adhikaram
Velupillai Prabhakaran
Ananda Coomaraswamy
Canon R. S. de Saram
Rev. W. S. Senior
C. W. W. Kannangara
Cyril Ponnamperuma
Duncan White
Munidasa Kumaratunge
Miggetuwatte Gunananda
Geoffrey Bawa
Henry Colbrooke
Marie Meauseaus Higgins
G. W. Wimalasurendra
D R Wijewardene
Upali Wijewardene
Arjuna Ranatunge
Sanath Jayasuriya
S. J. V. Chelvanayakam
J. R. Jayewardene
Christy Weeramantry
Colvin R. de Silva
N. M. Perera
Philip Gunawardene
Martin Wickremesinghe
Lester James Peiris
Lionel Wendt
Solius Mendis
A. C. G. S. Amarasekera
L. T. P Manjusri
A. N. S. Kulasinghe
P. R. Anthonis
Ranasinghe Premadasa
C. P. de Silva
Piyadasa Sirisena
J. B. Makuloluwa
A. Bala Tampoe
Saumyamoorthi Thondaman
Hector Kobbekaduwa
W. D. Amaradeva
Sunil Shantha
L. E. Blaze

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