Arachchi

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Arachchi (Sinhalese: ආරච්චි) This was an influential post, the holder had much control over the people of the area and had limited police powers since he was responsible to keep the peace, carry out revenue collection and assist in judicial functions

History[edit]

The post was in existence before the Colonial Rule of Sri Lanka (Ceylon).[1] After the costal areas were taken over by the Colonial Rulers i.e. Portuguese , Dutch colonial rule and finally the British, they retained the post in their administration system.

During the British administration Official and Titular appointments were made (both in up Country and Low Country) by the Government Agent of the district. Appointments were non-transferable and usually hereditary, made to locals, usually from wealthy influential families loyal the British Crown. This was an influential post, the holder had much control over the people of the area and had limited police powers since he was responsible to keep the peace, carry out revenue collection and assist in judicial functions.This became part of the Native Department of the British Government of Ceylon.

Several Vidanes (The post of Vidane has since been replaced with the post of Grama Niladhari in the 1970s).came under the supervision of an Arachchi.

Following the formation of the State Council of Ceylon, one of its members H. W. Amarasuriya called for an inquiry into the headman system. A commission was formed made up of retired civil servants and lawyers headed by H.M. Wedderburn. The commission reported on reforming the headman system or replacing it with transferable District Revenue Officers. In March the headman system was abolished as an administrative system, with the titles of Mudaliyar (Mudali - මුදලි) and Muhandiram retained by government to be awarded as honors. This practice remained until suspension of Celonese honors in 1956. The minor headman positions where retained, surviving well into the 1970s when the post of Vidane was replaced with the transferable post of Grama Niladhari (Village Officer).

Ranks of the British Arachchies[edit]

British appointed Arachchies had several classes;[2]

Official
  • Vidane Arachchi - In charge of several Arachchies
  • Arachchi - In charge of several Vidanes
  • Grama Aarachchi - Directly in charge of several Villages
  • Town Arachchi - In charge of a Town
  • Madige Arachchi - In charge of a Madige
  • Arachchi of the Atapattu - In charge of a Jurisdiction of a Peruwas (sub-division of a District) or a Ward of Municipality
Awarded as an honor(Titular)
  • Arachchi of the Guard (Titular) - Awarded as an Honor
  • Weda Arachchi - Awarded as an Honor
Ex-offico
  • The term Arachchi (Sinhalese: ආරච්චි) was also used to refer to a senior peon serving in government offices such as a Kachcheri or a District Court. It is no longer in use.

List of prominent Arachchies[edit]

Official
  • Vidane Arachchi
    • Don David Rajapaksa Vidane-Arachchi of Ihala Valikada Korale, Giruvapattuva[3]
    • Don Jakolis Rupasinghe Gunawardena Vidane-Arachchi (1879-1947) of Boralugoda[4][5]
    • Muhammedh Thamby Samsudheen Vidane-Arachchi alias Dheen Arachchi (1860 – 1915) of Negombo[6]
  • Arachchi
    • Aberan Wijesinghe Arachchi (b approx. 1730) of Nugawela[7]
    • Ali Thambi Abbas Lebbe Arachchi of Kal-Eliya [8]
    • Wirasinghe Siriwardena William de Saram Arachchi (b:circa 1760) of Mount Lavinia[9]
  • Grama Aarachchi
    • Galagaha Vidanalage Gedara Ismail Marikkar Grama Aarachchi of Mawanella[10]
  • Town Arachchi
    • Unus Ibunu Muhammed Abdul Razzak Town Arachchi (1885-1972) of Nelundeniya[11]
Awarded as an honor(Titular)
  • Arachchi of the Guard (Titular)
    • Pawalkodi Ismail Lebbe Marikar Mathicham Muhammad Abdullah Headman, Titular Arachchi of Matara[12]

See also[edit]

References and External links[edit]

  • [1] Definition of Vidane, Vidane Arachchi & Vidane Muhandiram as per Sinhala English Dictionary
  • [2] Twentieth Century Impressions of Ceylon
  • [3] The Mudaliyars Explained
  • [4] Our Man in Cochin