Solomon Dias Bandaranaike

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Sir Solomon Dias Bandaranaike KCMG JP
Solomon Dias Bandaranaike (1862-1946).jpg
Born 22 May 1862
Veyangoda, Ceylon
Died 31 July 1946(1946-07-31) (aged 84)
Ceylon
Nationality Sri Lankan
Education S. Thomas' College, Mount Lavinia
Occupation Headmen
Title Head Mudaliyar
Spouse(s) Lady Daisy Ezline Obeyesekere
Children S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike
Alexandra Camelia Bandaranaike
Anna Florentina Bandaranaike

Sir Solomon Dias Abeywickrema Jayatilleke Senewiratna Rajakumaruna Kadukeralu Bandaranaike, KCMG, Maha Mudaliyar, JP (Sinhala: සොලමන් ඩයස් බන්ඩාරනායක) (22 May 1862 – 31 July 1946) was a Ceylonese colonial-era headmen. He was appointed as Head Mudaliyar and the aide-de-camp to the British Governor of Ceylon, therefore he was one of the most powerful personalities in British colonial Ceylon.[1]

Early life[edit]

Born to the Anglican Gate Mudaliyar Don Christoffel Henricus Dias Abeywickrema Jayatilake Seneviratne Bandaranaike, Mudaliyar of the Governor's Gate and Mudaliyar of Siyane Korale East and Anna Florentina Philipsz. His grandfathers were Don Solomon Dias Bandaranayake, Mudaliyar of Siyane Korale East and Phillipsz Gysbertus Panditaratne, Mohandiram of the Governor’s Gate. He was educated at S. Thomas' College, Mount Lavinia in Colombo.[1]

Colonial service[edit]

He was appointed a Muhandiram of the Governor's Gate in 1882 by Prince Albert, Duke of Clarence during his royal visit to Ceylon, following the death of his father in 1887 he succeeded him to the post of Mudaliyar of the Siyane Korale East. Eight years later, Governor Sir Arthur Havelock appointed him to the post of Maha Mudali (Head Mudaliyar) following the death of then Head Mudaliyar Conrad "Peter" Petrus Dias Wijewardena Bandaranaike who was also his uncle. This was the highest position available to a native Ceylonese in British Ceylon in 1895 and traveled to England as Ceylon's official representative at the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1896. He was the youngest to hold the position at the age of thirty three and would hold it for thirty three years until his retirement in 1928.[1]

Wealth[edit]

Sir Solomon was a wealthy land owner with large estates. Apart from his town house in Colombo, he built a stately house, Horagolla Walauwa, and converted his fathers walauwa in Horagolla to his stables, Horagolla Stables. He was the first Ceylonese to own a house in the hill station of Nuwara Eliya, which was an exclusive holiday destination for the British.[2]

Honours[edit]

Bandaranaike having received the honor appointment to the office of Head Mudaliyar, he was appointed a Justice of the Peace by the Governor and received permission from the Governor to add Rajakumaruna (meaning Royal Prince) to his name. For his service to the British Empire was marked by his appointment as Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in 1902 and Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG), after travelling to England as Ceylon's official representative at the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. Attending the Coronation of King Edward VII, he received the King Edward VII Coronation Medal. He was a Fellow of the Colonial Society and the Imperial Institute.[2]

A keen horse breeder, he was the Life President of the Colombo Turf Club, which erected a statue during his life time in front of the Turf Club in Colombo which stands to this day. He was collector of antiquities, he donated Sir Henry Blake’s collection of palm leaf manuscripts to the Colombo National Museum. He was a life-member of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society.[2]

Family[edit]

In 1898, he married Daisy Ezline Obeyesekere, daughter of Solomon Christoffel Obeyesekere, a member of the Legislative Council of Ceylon. His son, Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike, became the 4th Prime Minister of Ceylon after independence, and his granddaughter, Chandrika Kumaratunga, became both Prime Minister and President of Sri Lanka. His grandson, Anura Bandaranaike, became Speaker of the Parliament of Sri Lanka.

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