S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike
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|S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike|
|Prime Minister of Ceylon|
12 April 1956 – 26 September 1959
|Preceded by||John Kotelawala|
|Succeeded by||Wijeyananda Dahanayake|
8 January 1899|
|Died||26 September 1959
Colombo, Sri Lanka (assassinated)
|Political party||Sri Lanka Freedom Party|
|Children||Sunethra, Chandrika, Anura|
Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike (Sinhala: සොලමන් වෙස්ට් රිජ්වේ ඩයස් බණ්ඩාරනායක,Tamil: சாலமன் வெஸ்ட் ரிட்ஜ்வே டயஸ் பண்டாரநாயக்கா; 8 January 1899 – 26 September 1959) frequently referred to as S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike was the fourth Prime Minister of Ceylon (later Sri Lanka), serving from 1956 until his assassination by a Buddhist monk in 1959.
Early life & education
S.Thomas College was situated in Mutwal at time S.W R.D B entered - Not In MT.LAVINIA where it now stands after having moved there in 1930s. It is also believed he was privately tutuored and was sent to S.Thomas' for sake of records - as it was a requirement to gain admission to a British University one had to be at a formal school. his stint at STC was very brief before he entered Oxford University.
Bandaranaike was born in Colombo, Ceylon to an elite Sinhalese Anglican Christian family and was the son of the powerful Sir Solomon Dias Bandaranike the Maha Mudaliyar (the chief native interpreter and advisor to the Governor) of Horagolla Walauwa in Atthanagalla, during British colonial rule, who named his son after West Ridgeway, the Governor of Ceylon at the time and was his god father. In later life he converted to Buddhism in order to join politics. He received his secondary education at St Thomas' College and went on to study modern greats at Christ Church, Oxford University, where he was Secretary of the famous Oxford Union. He later qualified as a Barrister in England.
As a young lawyer Bandaranaike became active in the Ceylon National Congress (CNC). He was elected to the Colombo Municipal Council in 1926. From 1931 to 1947 he served in the State Council of Ceylon. In order to promote Sinhala culture and community interests, Bandaranaike organised the Sinhala Maha Sabha in 1936. In 1946 he backed the United National Party (UNP) and held ministerial posts from 1947 to 1951. In 1951, Bandaranaike led his Sinhala Maha Sabha faction out of the UNP and established the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).
On the sensitive issue of language, the party originally espoused the use of both Sinhala and Tamil as national languages, but in the mid-1950s it adopted a "Sinhala only" policy. The party asserts it is a champion of the Buddhist religion, which had been attacked by local Christians and Tamils alike during the colonial era. The SLFP has customarily relied upon the socially and politically influential Buddhist clergy, the sangha, to carry its message to the Sinhala villages. Since the 1950s, SLFP platforms have reflected the earlier organization's emphasis on appealing to the sentiments of the Sinhala masses in rural areas. To this basis has been added the anti-establishment appeal of non-revolutionary socialism.
Bandaranaike became prime minister after winning the 1956 elections in a landslide, at the head of a four-party coalition with a no-contest pact with the Lanka Sama Samaja Party and the Communist Party of Sri Lanka. As such, he made Sinhala the official language of the country, downgrading the official status of English and promoting socialist, non-Western policies that profoundly changed the course of Ceylonese politics in the following decades.
As prime minister, he took a neutralist stance in foreign affairs. He removed the British air bases at Katunayake and China Bay and the naval base at Trincomalee. Domestically, he was faced by economic problems and disputes over languages. He is also remembered by the minority Sri Lankan Tamils for his failure to use the state's resources to control the 1958 riots, leading to many deaths of Tamil people at the hands of mobs.
In the 3rd year in office he died on 26 September 1959, at the age of 60, at the Merchant's Ward of the Colombo General Hospital due to wounds received after being shot by Talduwe Somarama a Buddhist monk.
The day before, 25 September, Somarama visited Bandaranaike at his private residence, Tintagel, in Rosmead Place, Colombo. Since Somarama was a member of the Buddhist clergy, he was not searched for weapons and given free access to the prime minister as he began his routine meetings with the public. When the monk's presence was intimated to him, Bandaranaike rose to greet him in the traditional Buddhist manner. The assassin then plucked out the revolver hidden in his robes and fired at the prostrate prime minister. The wounded Bandaranaike was rushed to hospital but died the following day in spite of a six hour surgery by Ceylon's most skilled surgeons.
After Bandaranaike's death, Wijeyananda Dahanayake, minister of education and the leader of the House took over as care taker prime minister after being appointed by the Ceylonese parliament. However he fell out of favor with the members of the government, resulting in the removal of all ministers of the Bandaranaike's cabinet in less than a year. Eventually the leadership of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party fell to Bandaranaike's widow Sirimavo Ratwatte Dias Bandaranaike who was soon appointed a Senator. She became the world's first female Prime Minister when another coalition led by the SLFP won elections in July 1960.
He married Sirimavo Ratwatte in 1940 and the marriage produced three children. Sirimavo Ratwatte Dias Bandaranaike, as she was known after her marriage, became the first female prime minister in the world following his assassination. His second daughter Chandrika Kumaratunga, subsequently became Prime Minister (1994) and the first female Executive president in the country, his youngest son Anura Bandaranaike went on to become Speaker of the Parliament of Sri Lanka (1999–2001) and a Minister (2004–2008) and his eldest Sunethra Bandaranaike is a prominent philanthropist.
- S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike cabinet
- Bandaranaike-Chelvanayakam Pact
- List of political families in Sri Lanka
- "S.W.R.D.Bandaranaike,or Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike (Prime Minister of Sri Lanka)". Britannica Online.
- "Bandaranaike, Solomon West Ridgeway Dias". History.Com.
- "Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike". Encarta.MSN.
- Nyrop 197
- Richardson, John (2005) Paradise poisoned: learning about conflict, terrorism, and development from International Center for Ethnic Studies, Kandy, Sri Lanka, page 144, ISBN 955-580-094-4
- Richardson, John (2005) Paradise poisoned: learning about conflict, terrorism, and development from International Center for Ethnic Studies, Kandy, Sri Lanka, page 145, ISBN 955-580-094-4
- Nyrop, Richard (1982). Sri Lanka, a Country Study. Supt. of Docs., U.S. G.P.O.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike.|
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- Golden Memories of a Political Prodigy
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- 49 Years after S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike
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- Website of the Parliament of Sri Lanka
- Sri Lanka Freedom Party's official Website
John Lionel Kotalawela
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