SWRD, the National dress and Gen. Fonseka
Posted on December 27th, 2009

Dr.P.A.Samaraweera, Australia

Immediately after retirement, Gen. Fonseka (Rtd) donned the national dress as he had decided to contest the Presidential elections. There is nothing wrong in anyone having a go at the ‘top job’. In fact there are 22 in the race.

 In the same way the choice of dress is essentially a private matter and it is a valuable human right protected in Sri Lanka. Therefore, Gen. Fonseka’s option to wear whatever dress is recognised as a private right. It is his prerogative. But now there is a valid basis for scrutiny as he has become a public figure and the assumption being that he donned the national dress after retirement purely because he was contesting the elections.

 A comment made by his army colleagues is that he had never been seen wearing the national dress previously on any occasion. They have also added that he had not got involved in any Buddhist activities in the army or never participated in their popular sil program. The talking point in the army circles is his overnight becoming a devout Buddhist, attending temples, visiting Nayake Theras for blessings, paying poojas etc., is to woo Buddhist votes.

 Compared to this episode, in another era 85 years ago Mr. S.W.R.D. Bandaranike was one of the first to discard the western attire for the national dress. After his return from Oxford in 1925, he took to the national dress. In 1931, he attended the dinner at Queen’s House as well as the State Council Opening in national dress. The dress (cloth, banian and shawl) was made of cotton which had been grown and handspun by villagers in his centre at Veyangoda.

 For footwear, he wore a pair of sandals made by a cobbler living at Maradana Ward, which he represented in the Colombo Municipal Council at the time. (Speeches and Writings by SWRD. Bandaranaike P.305)

 Mr. Bandaraniake displayed steadfast loyalty to the national dress when he dressed in that garb for his wedding. He deserves admiration for being a pioneer in establishing the acceptance of the national dress among the political elite when almost everyone else in the upper echelons of local society blindly followed western rituals.

 From 1925 to 1956 it was 31 years before he was swept to power and become Prime Minister. It was a long way for him from MMC., MP., Opposition Leader to be Prime Minister. As opposed to this, today we have Gen. Fonseka who took to politics after retirement claiming sole right to victory to the war and become President overnight!

7 Responses to “SWRD, the National dress and Gen. Fonseka”

  1. Kit Athul Says:

    Dr. Samaraweera, I beg to disagree. White saron and shawl might be the national dress to you, but the Sinhala dress is a colorful dress which you can see when you go up to Kandy. Sinhala was disintegrated in 1815 they could not find a datum to attack the British occupation and the Sinhala identy. So people like SWRD had to go with the Indians. That is why SWRD wanted a federal state for Ceylon, and for Tamils to have the Tea estates and Northern Eastern provinves. Jawaharlal Neru even wrote a constitution for the Tamils, in 1939. With this came the South Indian TAMIL dress, which you call the national dress and I call it “ALAGONIYA”. There was SWRD with Karpati alagoniya, there was J.R. with Nikan alagoniya, there was Lakshman Jayakodi with Saluwe alagoniya, even Sir John Kothalawela wore the nikan alagoniya. Sinhala never wore the saron because wearing the saron one cannot go to war, because the soldire has to run. Don’t forgot King Parkrama Bahu ruled Chola Rata (Tamil Nadu and Kerala) up to Myrmar. If I can remember right his generals stationed there was Lankatilaka and Lankaputhra.

    So it is up people like Dr. samaraweera to help discard this Tamil dress and design a colorful Sinhala dress with out the sarong. In other words, modernise the present Kandyan dress. Please come out of pre May 18th to the post May 18th era. Sinhala must be ready to capture parts of Tamil Nadu.

  2. Priyantha Abeywickrama Says:

    I wish I could add a few words about clothes and how this custom originated. But I have to hold back my thoughts while emphasising that we should spend sometime in the wild with nothing to experience our early life. Then only my comment would be understood. Ref, Kith, why parts of Tamil Nadu, whole of India belongs to Sinhala people. It is a matter of time to cut the overgrown monkey numbers to its original size countable using fingers. First we need more kids to stand up to that change. Getting to the bottom of things is important to understand the truth.

  3. aravinda Says:

    I believe what Mr.Fonseka wears, in 1950s was called “Wawla” dress. It means neither here nor there.

  4. cassandra Says:

    Neither DS nor Dudley wore the so called ‘national dress’. But they were fine gentlemen and true statesmen whom we remember with gratitude and affection.

  5. Kit Athul Says:

    Aravinda is absolutely right. This dress was also called Waula dress. Cassandra is also right. My problem is why Priyanrha cannot understand the following:1. INDIA is going to disintigrate soon whether any one agrees with me or not. If this happens Tamil Nadu Tamils are going to attack and capture Northern Province. Are the SL armed forces ready for this event? My answer is no. Sinhala ignored the Kalla Thoney in the 1950s. Saw what happened? Tamil Terrorists had the Northern and Eastern Provinces only for Tamils for 30 years. 2. Theleguna is going to be a state. Thelengu script is similar to Sinhala script and some words are similar to Sinhala. I have seen only one editorial writer Janake Perera writing about this new state. Tamils wait until the right time to create the maximum damage to MR administration. Example Anadasangaraya now wants, Tamil Terrorists who have killed many Sinhala soldiers released immediately. The author Dr. Samaraweera refers in his article to a cotton plantation in Veyangoda. What happend to this industry and to his cotton plantation? I may be wrong, but this how I see it. Jawharlal Neru sent it to SWRD and it was made in Tamil Nadu. Also don’t forget with out SWRD Sinhala would not have been the official language. SWRD should be rememberd for this unique achievement and not for wearing the Alagoniya.

  6. Priyantha Abeywickrama Says:

    Dear Kith, I hope you read my comment on “The Future of Sri Lanka” that referred to SWRD as well. I see that you, Janaka and L Jaya… are well aware of what happens with regard to the subcontinent. Unless solutions are offered to retain balance of nature with increasing population, we are going to see a devastating end to humanity and Hindustan will be one of the first to collapse because of its anarchic nature.

    There are many futures and one is what you told. Other is becoming an affiliated labour and marketing colony of US like Japan, S Korea, Singapore or Taiwan. But US is reaching its expiry date. Our ignorance, in fact our servility to Hindu inspired values crept into our minds through Buddhism, have left us seeing every dog and cat like our children, overflowing with compassion, an instinct originally reserved for our own dear and near ones. Having come out of that curse, I can see the values of hatred, anger, killer instincts and all that we are made of, to make us full humans capable of meeting every challenge of life. I wish you could reach that level of humanity. As an example, when I see our enemies, I get the same feelings as I could get when I see a venomous snake. When I see my people, I get the same felling that I get when I think of my parents, my family and so on who are dear to me.

    I know that there are many like you associated with this website who can do more to make a difference on the ground. Without any tangible effort, only natural events occur. There is no point in trying to use our mouths to plant sweet potato leaves. We have to act and if you like you can join in that process through your relatives to achieve the cherished Sinhala goal of living longer as humans. Unless we reject all English virtues, we are far away from becoming Sinhala. Unless you recognise that every bit of so-called Socialist Democratic Government of Sri Lanka is just and extension of servile, English-built colonial outfit, you are still far away from the truth.

    I am bit surprised when you rely on SL armed forces, the backbone of this outfit to stand for Sinhala rights. What happened recently was the challenge of Tamil terror left that in the hands of Sinhala youth who joined the army and who used Sinhala as the language of war. Now it is gradually returning back to its original form. Have you forgotten what they did in late 80s to people in the south other than JVPers, thus culminating a reluctance to be part of it even during recent times.

    We reject English outfit run by English and Sinhala speaking Burgher community and are about to launch programs to establish supremacy of Sinhala government that exists in the country during all this times. You may be aware that we have the natural system of governance with its perennial presence all this time. We must be ready to fight for our lives as we did in the wild and must have our own tools to protect lives of our dear and near ones. That is the Sinhala way built on universal rules that govern our lives. We know our weakness to amass a large number of people due to our past mistakes. But, there are alternatives to that as we lead the world in knowledge where a few could wage war over the whole world, the ultimate capability. As a matter of fact we need to have a 15 million strong army to withstand Tamil terror of the scale you envisaged if we follow MR & SF combined method. Alternatively, we can do it by using knowledge without anyone moving to hostile land, but with consequences not seen by the humanity, in SELF DEFENCE.

    It is very hard to nurture a life, but it takes nothing to destroy it. What we need is to built our own knowledge base and need people who want to live like us to be part of it by combining their resources to create an influential Sinhala group with human and other assets to give a kick start to our projects consisting of several thousand production units. You know that it is not just the continuous war on enemies that we should be ready for, but all other challenges to life (there are more that 30 essentials of life that we must face) to ensure every one born among us live the life in full with all the comfort, knowledge can offer, my cherished dream.

    I regret for not being able to tell you in public about my own capabilities and hope that there are many of you with the same. If there are interested people like you who want to see your own kith and kin enjoying such a life, consider this as an invitation and contact through this website. It is going to be 2010 and the year started with a blue moon.

    According to our calculations, even 85% of Tamil Language is derived from Sinhala, but does not mean that they are Sinhala. I could be the only one, not if one of the few, who know the true meaning of the Word Sinhala. We have worked out the meaning of words such as Tamil, English, Hindu and Thai that complement our understanding of the past, the foundation of the future. I wish you all a very happy new year and hope that you will join us to help our own people by direct intervention in their affairs than expecting lousy vermin to do the bidding for us.

  7. jayawardena Says:

    Adina adumata nigraha nokaran !

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