Charles Alwis Hewavitharana

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Dr C.A.Hewavitharana.

Charles Alwis Hewavitharana, FRCS, LRCP was a Ceylonese (Sri Lankan) physician who played a significant role in Sri Lanka's Sri Lankan independence movement. He was the brother of Anagarika Dharmapala.[1]

Early life[edit]

He was born in Colombo, Ceylon, to Don Carolis Hewavitharana and Mallika Dharmagoonewardena the daughter of Lansige Lansige Andiris Perera Dharmagunawardhana, a wealthy businessman. His other siblings were Don David Hewavitharana who later changed his name to Anagarika Dharmapala and became a prominent figure Buddhist revival movement in Ceylon and in Indian; Edmund Hewavitharana; Simon Alexander Hewavitharana and Dona Engeltina née Moonesinghe.


Charles Hewavitharana was educated at Colombo Academy[2] and at the Ceylon Medical College. After graduating he joined the Ceylon Medical Service left for Britain for further studies gaining a LRCP (London) and FRCS. Although working as a physician he became an active independence activist working with his older brother leaving the Ceylon Medical Service.

Independence activity[edit]

He was imprisoned in 1915 along with his brother Edmund Hewavitarne (who would later die in prison), D. S. Senanayake, D. R. Wijewardena following the Muslim riots. Fearing an uprising the inexperienced British colonial Governor of Ceylon Sir Robert Chalmers declared Martial Law on 2 June 1915 and on the advice of Inspector General of Police Herbert Dowbiggin began a brutal superstition of the Sinhala community by giving orders to the Police and the Army to shoot any one who they deemed a rioter without a trial, it is said the numbers of Sinhalese killed this way where thousands. Many local leaders were imprisoned and Captain D.E.Henry Pedris, a militia commander, was shot on false accusation of mutiny.

Later years[edit]

Dr. Hewavitharana was a member of the University College Ceylon Council. The Dr. C.A. Hewavitharana Memorial Prizes for Physics & Sanskrit are annually awarded at the University of Colombo in his memory.[3] The Dr. C.A. Hewavitharana Memorial Prize for Physics is also annually awarded by the Faculty of Science, University of Peradeniya.[4]


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