J R Jayawardena was a Colombo Chetty
Posted on March 29th, 2016

The Jayewardene family is initially of Chetty descent. The source is a Government Gazette itself issued on May 15, 1830, three months after the death of Don Adrian Jayawardena, a powerful progenitor of the Jayawardena family. The government not only publicised the death but went on to give a full account of the family history.

Here is a quote, ‘The Mudaliyar (Don Adrian Wijesinghe Jayawardena) descended from a respectable family of the Chetty and merchant caste. At the early period of the Dutch possession of the country his ancestors migrated from the Coromandal coast (of India) and settled down in Colombo.’

The account goes on to narrate how two or three generations later this family intermarried with a Sinhala family named Jayawardena living in Welgama off Hanwella. After this the Chetty members soon adopted not only the Sinhala names but the Sinhala customs and ways, substantiating the ‘myth of Race’ for which 10,000s are killed all over the world.

September 17 is the 96th birthday of late President
J.R. Jayewardene : 

Remembering the most dominant Lankan political figure

by Padma Edirisinghe

President J.R. Jayewardene was born in 1906 and passed away in 1996. The JRJ Centre has organised a seminar and exhibition of photographs, documents and books and other items aligned to his long life. The writer who is a co-organiser of this exhibition here reveals to the readers some obscure facts about the life of this great statesman as gleaned from these documents.

 

The Jayewardene family is initially of Chetty descent. The source is a Government Gazette itself issued on May 15, 1830, three months after the death of Don Adrian Jayawardena, a powerful progenitor of the Jayawardena family. The government not only publicised the death but went on to give a full account of the family history.

Here is a quote, ‘The Mudaliyar (Don Adrian Wijesinghe Jayawardena) descended from a respectable family of the Chetty and merchant caste. At the early period of the Dutch possession of the country his ancestors migrated from the Coromandal coast (of India) and settled down in Colombo.’

The account goes on to narrate how two or three generations later this family intermarried with a Sinhala family named Jayawardena living in Welgama off Hanwella. After this the Chetty members soon adopted not only the Sinhala names but the Sinhala customs and ways, substantiating the ‘myth of Race’ for which 10,000s are killed all over the world.


JR as an actorJR was a youth of versatile talents. He displayed his acting talents through plays as ‘The Wandering Jew’ and ‘The Tyrant,’ produced by the Ceylon Dramatic League of which he was the treasurer. Here he is in a scene from one of the plays in which he acted. These plays were staged at the Regal Theatre, Colombo, Empire Theatre, Colombo and Kandy.

This unusual eulogy of a citizen in the Government Gazette later made the Jayewardenas unpopular with the patriotic genre. The criticism also was made that the British praised Adrian jayawardena to the skies since he had helped in the capture of the king of Kandy which is almost baseless as already the king was in the hands of Ekneligoda and his retinue when the ancestors of the Bandaranaike and Jayawardena families accompanied the British contingent sent over. Actually these two had been very courteous to the King and Queens.

The Jayawardena family were initially Christians. As the Chetty religion is not Christianity their adoption of the Anglican religion would have been motivated by the lust for top posts in the State, a tendency shared by many of the top low country families as the Bandaranaike and Soysas. Adrian Jayawardena was made Mudaliyar of Chilaw by the British and by the act of appointment 1803 was made Mudaliyar of the Guides or Thombi Mudaliyar.

The similarity of the word Thombi (current Dutch Indian term for guide) to Thambi (Moor) made his enemies ascribe Moorish origins to him as was freely done during the Kelaniya elections of 1940 & 1947. Junius Richard Jayewardene himself was baptised as a Christian for his father, E.W. Jayewardane, great grand son of Adrian Jayawardena too was a Christian. Ten children were born to E.W. by his matrimonial alliance with Agnes Helen Wijewardena and subtly as E.W. was embroiled in his law profession and politics as ward member of New Bazaar, Agnes Helen converted all the children to Buddhism except one girl who remained a Christian. Agnes Helen came from a deeply fervent Buddhist family.

In fact her mother Helena Wijewardena of Sedawatte walawwa who was also the mother of D.R. Wijewardena (founder of Lake House) was the chief benefactress of Kelaniya temple who raised the temple from the rubble into which it was decimated by the Portuguese into the grand edifice it is today. JR in addition to his mother’s influence also became fascinated with Buddhism due to his extensive readings. Many are unaware that he has authored a number of books on Buddhism. Corbett Jayawardena, one of his brothers was ordained as a Buddhist monk by the name of Sedawatte Seelakkanda thera.

Brilliant student

JR was a brilliant student. He not only excelled in the varied fields as sports, drama, music, but was also the editor of the Royal College magazine and ended up as the Head Prefect. Earlier he attended Bishop’s College as a Primary school child.

From Royal he went over to University College and then to Law College. The legal profession was almost a family legacy.

JR baptised Junius Richard (Junius after a paternal uncle and Richard after the maternal uncle DR) apparently hated his two names. He began to call himself Ravee. But only he called himself that. Not even his mother called him so. His friend called him Dickie. In his youth he formed a Club with political motives.

It was called the Push Cannon Club and had only four members. In a fit of patriotism he later changed its name to ‘Priya sangamaya’. In all the documents issued by this Club he had signed his name as Ravee. He later mollified himself by naming his son (only child) Ravindra and called him Ravee.

At one phase of his life JR even exhibited Marxist tendencies. Perhaps this explains his helping to transport tarmacar strikes during the famous tram car strike. He had used his father’s car for this purpose. The reception he got from home that night can only be imagined.

JR was a great admirer of the Indian Swaraj Movement and adored Mahathma Gandhi. He was responsible for the ‘Very rash act of hanging’ Gandhi’s picture in the Law College library. The Ramgarh assembly of India that he attended proved a turning point in his career, making him emulate Indian freedom fighters.

It can be surmised that JR picked up his patriotism mostly from his mother, Agnes Helen. Though an old student of Musaeus College and quite fluent in English she had spoken in English only with foreigners. With her husband, children and others she always spoke in Sinhala.

The early death of his father threw the burden of shouldering the family responsibility on JR who was the eldest. One of his sisters too died at the age of six.

The family was almost doomed to face a troubled phase for E.W. had taken a huge loan to build the palatial Vaijayantha mansion (with a room for each of the ten children and a massive library) when he suddenly passed away. But JRJ’s Home parliament plan and the smart way he payed off the debt thus retrieving family fortunes is too known history.

In the Kelaniya Sate Council elections his uncle, D.R. Wijewardena took the side of his opponent, Mr. E.W. Perera due to a pact made earlier. Yet JR won the Kelaniya seat.

JR was almost a fanatic collector. He collected not only his school texts and exercise books, his prize books, his trophies but later all documents relating to his foreign travels as invitations received, newspaper clippings, and even bills paid. All these can be viewed at the exhibition.

The plea he made at the San Francisco Conference for a merciful attitude to Japan (on the aftermath of the second world war) quoting Buddha’s words ‘Hatred ceases not by hatred but by love’ earned him the eternal gratitude of Japan. A statue is said to be erected in japan in his honour while the Sri J’pura Hospital was a gift made in recognition of this service. He quoted the exact number of beds he needed, 2001.

JR’s diary

JR made a diary entry in his later life giving the directions as to how his funeral should be conducted. He requested that he be cremated on the banks of the Kelani river within the sight of the site of the Kelaniya dagoba which according to legend has been sanctified by Buddha’s presence. This diary entry too is on display at the exhibition. Till his death, his gracious wife Elena Bandara Rupasinghe Jayewardene stood by him, like his very shadow and went along with him thick and thin through all the vicissitudes of his long and multi faceted life.

He lived in four houses, the Grandpass Walawwa (built by Adrian Jayawardena on dowry property got from Kolombage Christofell Corea) Park House, Colombo 7, Vaijayantha Mandira and finally ‘Braemer’ Ward Place that he received as dowry. Weerakesari Press is housed in Grandpass Walawwa today.

JR could be dubbed the leading political figure of the 20th century. His political career spanned from 1940 to 1989 except for four years (1956-1960).

http://www.sundayobserver.lk/2002/09/15/fea22.html

5 Responses to “J R Jayawardena was a Colombo Chetty”

  1. AnuD Says:

    JRJ’s deputy Defense minister, former – Senior Police Officer was a killer from Upcountry – near polgolla area, Hanguranketha ?. He killed his own brother in order to get lands.

  2. Ancient Sinhalaya Says:

    No wonder then he was a number one traitor to the Sinhalese, Buddhism and Sri Lanka. People writing this
    garbage forget the irrepairable damage thambi mudiyanse did. He put foundations to break up the country
    by signing 13 under pressure from india. If he was the dominant politician why he couldn’t say no.

    Today 350-long island has president, pm, close to 100 ministers, deputy ministers, chief ministers, state
    ministers, pradeshiya sabha ministers etc. etc. There are more of these FREE LOADER DESHAPALUWAN
    than ordinary people in the country. Imagine all these deshapaluwan plundering whatever little have leaving
    nothing for ordinary masses. With these chief ministers etc. etc. it was the foundation for breaking up Sri
    Lanka. So thambi mudiyanse was a very very dominant political figure. To me he was a murderous,
    treacherous man who destroyed Sri Lanka, Sinhalese and Buddhism.

    Thambi mudiyanse was the one started using pathalayin to silence opponents. Since then it has been
    the norm by the UNPatriotic party governing. Not just that, he started the corrupt politics and ever since
    all the deshapaluwan have become monstrous liars, traitors and thieves. We have to thank this so called
    ‘dominant political figure’! What a load of non sense.

    Where were these people when Sinhalese Buddhists burn in tyres, headless bodies floating in rivers etc.
    during BHEESHANA SAMAYA OF ADARMISTER? Sinhalaya famous for being modayas people write any garbage
    and they believe every word of it. All those horrible sights gone from their empty heads since they have
    very short memories as well. What more can ask from Sinahala modays, UNPatriotics must be thinking.

    Adarmister was ruling when catholic tigers of tamil drealam started their murderous campaign. But he didn’t
    want to curb it since it was against the catholic-run UNPatriotic party’s agenda. But he was brutal and cunning
    in killing all the jvpers since they were all Buddhists. No rehabilitation like Sirima B did. Just kill, kill and kill.
    If you are not sure why they were rewarding the real
    terroists please see the following link. I hope this is the last time we see anyone saying alugosu thambi
    mudiyanse was a dominant political figure in Sri Lanka. Please don’t make us laugh. There are enough clowns
    in this YAMA PALLANGE YAMA PAALANE!

    http://ltte-christian-ties.blogspot.com/

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cV6_o9txURc

  3. LANKAPUTHRA Says:

    Excellent piece of investigative journalism. Kalani River is the most important River for Sinhala because the word “SINHALA” originate there. People of SIND province (Now a province of Pakistan) decided leave the place because there was severe drought. Family by family, came and settled on the banks of “KAKANI” river. The settlers found that the natives were very friendly and they inter married, and called them selves SIN-HALA. A mixture of SINDI and HELA. SINDI means that they are from SIND Province who have their own language. HELA means that they are locals may be some sect of Vaddha’s. Now how did J.R’s family became BUDDHISTS, it is because GOTHAM BUDDHA came there. This is why Most Sinhala have fair skins not like the Tamils who have Darker skins. The Hindu Temple in Kalaniya MUST be demolished because HINDUS does not belong there. So we all know that JR is from a Royal family and he had a Ring that was given to him by his ancestors. British confiscated it but later gave it back to the rightful owner, JR.

    There is an interesting story, how this CRIMINAL CAMPIKA RANEWAKE try to steal this ring. JR gave this ring to Colombo Museum curator as historic relic. One day CHAMPIKA RANEWAKE went there and wanted to see the ring and he wanted to take it out of case sealed glass container, but the curator refused it and called then prime minister Rathnasiri Wickramanayke, Just he entered the room a struggle broke out and Prime ministers security managed to kick Ranawak’s men out of the building. Later cleaning staff of the Museum, found a fake ring similar to what is in the Museum on the floor. CAAMPIKA and RATHANA THERO (Common Law Criminals) wanted to get even with JR because he jailed both of them because they organized a protest that went out of control and the police had to use tear gas to disperse the crowed. Both of them were jailed. Above is KATA KATHA I have no proof but the person who told me worked for the Rathnasiri Wickramanay’s office.

  4. Nimal Says:

    Who cares who he is after all he dressed like the other Dravidian politicians who claim to be Sinhalese. He made me lose my business and my business partner(US) and I had to leave the island. Is a bad man pretending to be a Buddhist who was the glorified caretaker of a temple in Kelaniya.

  5. Nimal Says:

    If I am not wrong there are 2 Persian friends(girls) and a burgher friend of mine in that photo above, must have been taken in 1960s.I am not there because I refused to wear silly cloths and now I know where my friend disappeared for a whole day with a lot of silly cloths. I thought it was for a pantomime or a rehearsal at Lionel Wend which I found it utterly boring.As for me rock and roll all the way, at that time. Must say we had a good time with very little money in our pockets. Those were the days!

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