Harischandra Wijayatunga

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Harischandra Wijayatunga
Born (1931-10-25) 25 October 1931 (age 85)
Minuwangoda, Sri Lanka
Nationality Sri Lankan
Other names Wijayatunga Mudalige Harischandra Wijayatunga
Education Nalanda College, Colombo
University of Ceylon
University of Kelaniya
Occupation Writer (Sinhala), Author in Sri Lanka,Lawyer, politician
Spouse(s) Kalukapuge Karuna Perera
Children Widyasagara
Shyama Kumari

Wijayatunga Mudalige Harischandra Wijayatunga (Sinhalese: විජයතුංග මුදලිගේ හරිශ්චන්ද්‍ර විජයතුංග; born 25 October 1931) is a Sri Lankan author, translator, lexicographer, teacher, lawyer and politician. He held various offices in different institutions of the Government of Sri Lanka. At present he is the leader of Sinhalaye Mahasammatha Bhoomiputra Party. During the presidential elections of 1994 and 1999, he was the candidate of that party for this high office.

He is the compiler of the Practical Sinhala Dictionary (1982) and Gunasena Great Sinhala Dictionary, which are considered as the most comprehensive Sinhala-Sinhala dictionaries to date. Besides compiling these voluminous works of over 2000 pages, he also proposed scientific ideas to standardise the Sinhala alphabet.

His political philosophy Mahasammatavada ('Great Consensus' or comprehensive consultation) envisages consulting all people which he described "as going beyond democracy". He has also appeared for the rights of Sinhala Buddhists on various fora.

Early life[edit]

Harischandra Wijayatunga was born in 1931 at Madamulla in Minuwangoda, Sri Lanka. His father, Wijayatunga Mudalige Don Bastian Wijayatunga, was an Ayurvedic eye physician, landed proprietor and a planter (coconut and paddy) and his mother was Amarawathie Jayasinghe. Wijayatunga was the fourth in a family of eight siblings.

Wijayatunga received his elementary education at the Government Bilingual School in Minuwangoda. When the Nalanda College Colombo was relocated to Minuwangoda during the World War II, as a security measure, his parents took the opportunity to shift him to that school. After the War Nalanda College Colombo was taken back to Colombo, and Wijayatnga continued his studies at Nalanda College Colombo. Some of Wijayatunga's notable classmates at Nalanda College were Karunaratne Abeysekera, Dr Hudson Silva, Hon. Dr Dharmasena Attygalle, Hon. Rupa Karunathilake, Ravindra Rupasena and Stanley Jayasinghe.[1][2]

In 1952 he entered the University of Ceylon and in 1955 graduated with a bachelor's degree in science.

For his thesis "Legal Philosophy in Medieval Sinhale" he was awarded the PhD degree by the University of Kelaniya in 1990.


Immediately after his University education, Wijayatunga joined the staff of Dharmaraja College, Kandy as a science teacher. In addition, he also taught Chemistry at the Mahamaya Girls' College, Kandy. It was during this time that he wrote his first book Miridiya Jivihu (Freshwater Life). In 1956 he was appointed as the Editor of the Science Section of the Sinhala Encyclopaedia, established at the University of Peradeniya. After some years of service there, he assumed the post of vice-Principal of his former work place, Dharmaraja College.

In 1965 he was appointed to the Sri Lanka Standards Institution (SLSI) which started work in the same year. He was the first and the only member appointed to the staff, functioning as its Secretary.[3] Under his supervision Divisional Committees on Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Agriculture and Chemicals, and Metrication of Sri Lanka were appointed.

The next step he took was to join the Sri Lanka Law College as a student. He took his oaths as an Attorney-at-Law in 1973.

He appeared for the accused in the 1971 insurrection before the Criminal Justice Commission. It is also noteworthy that he represented several parties at the Presidential Commission headed by the former Chief Justice Mr. M. C. Sansoni.

Throughout the 1980s he held various offices such as Chief Editor of the tabloid Sinhala Bauddhya (The Sinhala Buddhist), director, Sri Lanka Ayurvedic Drugs Corporation and member of the Directorate of the Siddhayurveda College,[4][5] Gampaha. During the years 1984–1990, he was the Editor-in-Chief of the Sinhalese Encyclopaedia as well as the Officer-in-Charge, Sinhala version of the Legislative Enactments of Sri Lanka.

Political career[edit]

Wijayatunga's political career goes back to his university days. He joined in the popular movement in 1950s to make Sinhala the Official Language of Sri Lanka, calling into life the "Sinhala Union of the University of Ceylon". During his stay in Kandy he associated himself with the work of Sri Lanka Freedom Party. Realising that none of the two major parties in Sri Lanka would espouse the rights of Sinhala Buddhists, which was uppermost in his mind, he established the Sinhalaye Mahasammatha Bhoomiputra Pakshaya in 1990 with a group of intellectuals. He became the leader of this party and holds this position to this date.

In the third Sri Lankan presidential election, 1994, he was the candidate of his Party and polled 32,651 votes. Six years later, he contested again in the presidential elections of 1999, polling 35,854 votes. He also contested in the parliamentary elections of 2000, 2001 and 2004.

Personal life[edit]

Wijayatunga was married to Kalukapuge Karuna Perera (B.A., Dip. Ed., Attorney-at-Law, Notary Public and Commissioner of Oaths) of Kiribathgoda, who died in 2000. Karuna's father, a Kalukapuge Bandaranaike, adopted the surname Perera during British colonial time. One of the descendent of the male lineage of the Kalukapuge Bandaranaike family is the fourth Prime Minister of Ceylon, S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike. Karuna's both parents were school principals.

Wijayatunga and Karuna are the parents of three sons (Widyasagara, b. 1965, Chakrapani, b. 1967 and Chandrakeerthi, b. 1970) and a daughter (Shyama Kumari, b. 1969). He has travelled widely in many Asian, African and European countries, and was invited to address various groups of learned societies in India, Japan, UK and Australia.

Works by Harischandra Wijayatunga[edit]

Science works

  • මිරිදිය ජීවිහු (1955)
  • ජ්‍යේෂ්‍ඨ රසායන විද්යාව (1956)
  • පොළොවේ කථාන්තරය (1959)


  • බ්‍රව්‍නිං සහ ජෝසෆ් ලියූ ප්‍රායෝගික රසායන විද්යාව - ජ්‍යේෂ්‍ඨ රසායන විද්යාව (1956)
  • ඩරන්ට් ගේ කාබනික රසායනය (1963)
  • මාඕ සේතුං ගේ කලාව හා සාහිත්යය (1963)

Creative works

  • පහන් වන දා (1961)
  • කුමාරතුංග ගේ සමාජ දර්ශනය (1962)
  • සිංහල ශබ්දකෝෂ සම්පාදනයට අලුත් ආකල්පයක් (1977)
  • හෙවිසි එපා (2007)


  • නූතන සිංහල පාරිභාෂික ශබ්දකෝෂය (1978)
  • පරිපාලන ශබ්දකෝෂය (1982)
  • ප්රායෝගික සිංහල ශබ්දකෝෂය, කාණ්ඩ I සහ II (1982/84)
  • ගුණසේන මහා සිංහල ශබ්දකෝෂය (2005)

Works on Religion and History

  • ආගමික නිදහස හා මූලික අයිතිය (2003)
  • යක්කු සහ කුවේණිය (2008)

Works on Politics

  • ජාතික සටන (1960)
  • ජනතා ජයග්රහණයේ අනාගතය (1963)
  • ලෝකය රක්නා රාජ්‍ය තන්ත්රය – මහ සම්මතවාදය (1991)
  • Mahasammatavada (1992)
  • ජාතික අනන්යතාවේ න්යායික පසුබිම (1992)
  • නේරු-කොතලාවල ගිවිසුම ක්රියාත්මක කරමු (1993)
  • වෙනසක පෙරනිමිති (1995)
  • මූලික අයිතිය පෙන්වා උත්තරීතර අයිතිය පැහැර ගැනීම (1996)
  • භීෂණයෙන් තොර සමාජයක් (1999)
  • මාර සෙනඟ ගේ හා දේවදත්තයන්ගේ වැඩ (2003)
  • බුද්ධ ජයන්ති සමය - කුමන්ත්රණ සහ ඝාතන (2012)
  • Under Velupillai Prabhakaran (2012)
  • ඊළම්‍ කණ්‍ඩවර් සහ අවතාර පුරැෂයා නුදුටු විමුක්‍තිය (2014)
  • නේරැ - කොතලාවල ගිවිසුම සහ නිර්මලතා කොමිසම (2015)

Works on Law

  • නීති නිඝණ්ඩුව (1998)
  • Legal Philosophy in Medieval Sinhale (2008)
  • මධ්යකාලීන ලංකාවේ නීතිය (2013)

Works on travel

  • සුන්දර කෙන්යාව හෙවත් මාසෛයන් ගේ රට (2002)

Philosophical works

  • ඊර්ෂ්යාකාරයා ගේ අණ (2006)
  • මනසට දැමූ විලංගු ගැලවීම (2010)
  • කාලය වර්තමානය සහ පැතලි ලෝකයේ විශ්‍වාස (2015)

Biographical works

  • දැනගත යුතු ම විරල චරිත කීපයක්‍ (2015)


  • බසක ගැටලු (2009)
  • සිංහල අකුරු අකාරාදී කිරීම සහ ප්රමිත කිරීම (2003)

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

  • සිංහල බෞද්ධ චින්තනය ට බලපෑ විජයතුංග සාධකය, Udaya Rajapakshe, S. Godage & Bros., Colombo, 2007 (ISBN 955-20-9519-0)

External links[edit]