25 July 1887|
Idigasaara, Dickwella, Matara,
|Died||2 March 1944(aged 56)|
|Alma mater||Dikwella Buddhist School, St.Thomas' College, Matara, Dikwella Watarukanna Pirivena (Wewurukannala Pirivena)|
|Occupation||Writer, poet, journalist|
|Known for||Hela Havula|
|Children||2 Daughters & 4 Sons|
|Parent(s)||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 is believed to be one of the most eminent scholars Sri Lanka has known for several centuries. He is known best for his profound knowledge of the Sinhala language and literary work.
Munidasa was born on 25 July 1887 in Idigasaara, Dickwella in the Matara District. He was the 12th of 13 children. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Revived Lakminipahana. Started Subasa and Helio magazines to teach and promote the correct use of Sinhala.
Challenging the tradition
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.
In 1921 he married Lilie and had two daughters and four sons.
"If a certain language is underdeveloped the land in which that language operates is also underdeveloped"
"Dangerous are the times for Sri Lanka. If the importing of rice stopped, we would have nothing to eat. If importing of materials stopped, we would have nothing to wear. If it was not for the vehicles imported from other countries, we would have no means of travelling.
"First Be A Slave To Knowledge — Then Knowledge Will Be Your Slave"
Prominent textbooks on Sinhala grammar
- Kriya Wiwaranaya
- Magul Keema
- Piya samara
- Prabanda Sangrahaya
- Virith Vekiya
- Vyakarana Vivaranaya
- kiyawana nuwana
Hela Havula Shiksha Margaya, Hela Mieasiya, Tharu akuru wela (A comprehensive alphabet), Kavi shikshawa
- Ahubudu, Arisen (1989). පුජිත ජිවිත (in Sinhala). Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs. pp. 139–153.
- Sahdasomi Coperahewa (1998), Cumaratunga as a language planner, The sunday times,http://sundaytimes.lk/980308/plus8.html