Kumaratunga Munidasa

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Kumaratunga Munidasa
කුමාරතුංග මුනිදාස
Kumaratunga Munidasa (1887-1944).jpg
Born (1887-07-25)25 July 1887
Idigasaara, Dickwella, Matara,
Sri Lanka
Died 2 March 1944(1944-03-02) (aged 56)
Nationality Ceylonese
Ethnicity Sinhalese
Alma mater Dikwella Buddhist School, St.Thomas' College, Matara, Dikwella Watarukanna Pirivena (Wewurukannala Pirivena)
Occupation Writer, poet, journalist
Known for Hela Havula
Religion Theravada Buddhism
Spouse(s) Lilie
Children 2 Daughters & 4 Sons
Parents Palavinnage Dona Gimara Muthukumarana (Mother), Abious (or Abiyes) Cumaranatunga (Father)

Kumaratunga Munidasa (Sinhala: කුමාරතුංග මුනිදාස) (25 July 1887 – 2 March 1944) was a pioneer Sri Lankan (Sinhala) linguist, grammarian, commentator, writer, poet, and journalist. He founded the Hela Havula movement which sought to remove Sanskrit influences in the Sinhala language promote its correct usage. He was one of the most eminent scholars Sri Lanka has known for several centuries. He achieved fame through his profound knowledge of the Sinhala language and literary work. He used many languages as Sinhala, Pali, Sanskrit, Tamil, Malayalam, Greek, Latin and English.

Early life[edit]

Munidasa was born on 25 July 1887 in Idigasaara, Dickwella in the Matara District. He was the 12 th of 13 children.[1] His mother was Palavinnage Dona Gimara Muthukumarana (or Dona Baba Nona Muthukumarana) and father Abious (or Abiyes) kumaranatunga was a physician practicing indigenous medicine who kept invaluable Pali and Sanskrit manuscripts on Ayurveda, Astrology and Buddhism.

Education[edit]

Kumaratunga Munidasa first studied at the Dikwella Buddhist School. Later his father died and he attended St. Thomas' College, Matara. Then he attended the Dikwella Watarukanna (Wewurukannala Pirivena) Pirivena to learn Pali and Sanskrit in order to become a Buddhist monk. But due his family's discontent, he entered the Government Teachers' College in Colombo. He graduated after two years of training in 1907.[1]

Teaching career[edit]

His first appointment was as a government teacher in Bilingual School of Bomiriya. Later he was promoted to principal of the Kadugannawa Bilingual School. After eleven (11) years he was promoted to inspector of schools, which he held for four years.

Literary/scholarly career[edit]

He wrote his first book in his school days; Nikaya Sangraha Vivaranaya, an analysis for a Scripture on Buddhist Monastic Orders.

Munidasa was a member of Sinhala Maha Sabha of the Swabhasha movement which started as a protest against the English educated elites.

Hela Havula[edit]

Main article: Hela Havula

Munidasa spoke of language, nation, and country as a triple gem. For this purpose he founded the Hela Havula. It consisted of people who shared his idioms. They often engaged in debates and literature. It was the starting point for many scholars and artists. It exists to this very day.

Journalism[edit]

Revived Lakminipahana. Started Subasa and Helio magazines to teach and promote the correct use of Sinhala.[2]

Challenging the tradition[edit]

He had unique and creative opinions and said that vociferous fools would say that we should free our country, without first freeing our mind and thoughts.

His concepts on Sri Lankan history, language and literature have been controversial. He emphasized and encouraged the use of the letter "ඇ". And he argued that Vijaya was merely an invader and believed in Ravana.

Family[edit]

In 1921 he married Lilie and had two daughters and four sons.

Quotes[edit]

"If a certain language is underdeveloped the land in which that language operates is also underdeveloped".:-Subasa

"ලක්දිවට ඉතා බිහිසුණු කාලයකි. පිට රටින් සාල නැවතිණි නම් අපට කෑම නැත.පිට රටින් එන රෙදි නැවතිණි නම් අපට විළි වැස්ම නැත.පිට රටින් එන යාන නැතිනම් අපට ගමන නැත.කොටින් මැ පිට රට පිහිට නැත්නම් අපට කළහැකි කිසිවක් නැත." ("Dangerous are the times to Lanka. If the rice from abroad stops, we would have nothing to eat. If the materials from abroad stops, we would have nothing to wear. If not for the vehicles from abroad, we would have no travelling. Essentially, without accommodation from abroad, we cannot do a thing.") -Editorial of Lakmini Pahana

"අකුරට ඔබ වන්න දාස - අකුර ඔබට වේය දාස" ("First Be A Slave To Letters - Then Letters Will Be Your Slave")

Publications[edit]

32 textbooks on Sinhala grammar

  • Heenseraya
  • Hathpana
  • Kriya Wiwaranaya
  • Magul Keema
  • Nelawilla
  • Piya samara
  • Prabanda Sangrahaya
  • Virith Vekiya
  • Vyakarana Vivaranaya
  • kiyawana nuwana

‘Heensaraya, Hath-Pana, Magul Kema, Kumara Gee, Kriya Wivaranaya, Nelawilla, Piya Samara, Virith Vekiya, Vyakarana Vivaranaya, Kiyawna Nuwana and Kumarodaya’

See also[edit]

Hela Havula

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Ahubudu, Arisen (1989). පුජිත ජිවිත (in Sinhala). Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs. pp. 139–153. 
  2. ^ Sahdasomi Coperahewa (1998), Cumaratunga as a language planner, The sunday times,http://sundaytimes.lk/980308/plus8.html

External links[edit]