Posted on October 3rd, 2011

By Dr. Tilak S. Fernando

West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike, (the only sonƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  of Sir Solomon Dias Bandaranaike, K.C.M) was born on 8 January1899. Outshining as a brilliant student atSt. ThomasƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s College he gained admission toƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ChristChurchCollege,Oxfordand played a prominentƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  role in the Oxford Union. After graduating he was called to the Bar inSri Lankain 1925 where while practicing as an advocate took to polices by joining the Ceylon National Congress.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  In 1927 he became a Municipal Councillor in 1927 and was appointed, unopposed, to VeyangodaƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  as a member of the State Council ( under Donoughmore Constitution). ,

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ In 1947 when the State Council was replaced by the House of Representatives SWRDƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  returned as an MP for Attanagalle. Having held the portfolio of Health and Local Administration and also being the Leader of the House, he resigned from Cabinet and the UNP on political grounds in July 1951.

After dissolving the Sinhala Maha Sabha in 1952 he founded the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and returned again to Attanagalle seat. On the eve of 1956 General Elections, he formed the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ (MEP) ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” a political alliance of three parties andƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  managed to capture 51 seats out of 60 MEP contested.

During his premiership Mr. Bandaranaike ratified legislation and executed several procedures to make ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”CeylonƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ a truly socialist country. On 26 September 1959 he became a victim of a brutal assassin disguised in yellow robes.

On his death anniversary, to commemorate this great personality, this column focuses on a phamplet Mr. Bandaranaike, ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ wrote inƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  July 1948 on the world positionƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  ( inƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  verbatim) as the Minister for Health and Local Government in D.S.SenanayakeƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s cabinet, ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ which is even applicable, to a greater extent, up till now.

What is happening?

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…- The ordinary man feels very puzzled and not aƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  little worried with theƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  troubled and disturbed state of affairs in the world generally. He sadly thinks of the good old days when there was peace and prosperity and things as a whole moved quietly and smoothly. Owing to this bewilderment the ordinary man may be compelled to courses of action on the one side or the other that are both inexpedient and unwise and thereby cause incalculable harm to the whole community.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-In the nature of things something is born, grows to maturity, then declines and dies, giving place to something else. This is no less true of civilisations and institutions as it is of living creatures. We know in the worldƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s history that this process applies to human civilizations. Once civilization grows to maturity, then declines and makes way for another. Today we are living in one of those great moments of history when one civilization is giving place to another. We are living, as I said in a speech in Parliament, between two worlds, the one dying and the other struggling to be born. We know that feudalism was succeeded by capitalist democracy. The change over from feudalism was sometimes marked by violent revolution e.g. French revolution, but the world including France found rest and equilibrium in what is known as capitalist democracy. This system having conferred great benefits on mankind is itself, in turn, now dying and the world is passing through a period of agony in the effort to give birth to a new civilization, the First World War and the Second World War were merely symptoms of this change. The extremism on the one hand and Fascism on the other are also symptoms of the change.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚

What is happening?

As indicated above it is one of the laws of nature that there should be change (Annicha). In this particular case capitalism in many ways has reached its saturation point of expansion. There are no more countries to be conquered and exploited: there are no more markets to be captured, and the up rise of feelings of nationalism and a desire for freedom have steadily increased. On the other hand, on the national plane, capitalism as we have known it has increasingly failed to remedy the growing inequalities of wealth and to meet satisfactorily the growing demands of the workers and the masses generally.

Just as feudalism, or the rule of an aristocratic few, became more broad-based in capitalistic democracy, or the rule of a larger number of wealthy people, so now ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ we are reaching the age of a still more broad-based form of society involving the rule of a still largerƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  number e.g the masses. This is the inexorable pattern of human historyƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚.

What is to be done?

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-It isƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  alsoƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  a lawƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  of nature that the middle path is always the wisest and the best. The Communists go to one extreme and provide remedy that may well be considered worse than the disease. In rectifying some of the admitted defects of capitalism, it would at the same time take away some of the valuable things that mankind has obtained in its long struggle for progress and happiness. In the first place, individual freedom has always been one of the things for which man has striven hardest. The totalitarianism and bureaucracy of Communism have destroyed to a great extent those individual freedoms for which democracy has always stood. Secondly, the religious idea is one that man has always treasured. Communism has struck at the very roots of these ideasƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚.

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-In short, in remedying many of the evils of the present system, Communism also takes away many other things in our way of life that are most valuable and that are a part of our very own existence. At the other extreme, Fascism in its violent opposition to Communism represents a philosophy that is even worse than CommunismƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚.

The wise course of action in these circumstances is to realise that a change is taking place; and to see that the change is of such a nature that, while it remedies the defects of the existing system, it preserves all that is best in our way of life in religion, culture and the essentials of libertyƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚

Courtesy: Speeches and WritingsƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  – S.W.R.D.Bandaranaike


  1. Dham Says:

    Thank you very much for this. At least some tribute to the great man.
    Personally I am indebted to him. Without his Rajabahasha policy I would have been a government clerk the most. Thanks to him and Sinhala-Buddhist education I received , I am at the highest income group in the world.
    May he attain Nibbana with all good deeds I have done !

  2. Dham Says:

    I wonder what the Lanka Web Fool Gon Silva has to say about the wise words of the great man. He was not even a Buddhist by birth by converted realising the false and did not become a “religionless” fool like Ben Silva , who is obsessed with the west and its science.

  3. Fran Diaz Says:

    A brilliant analysis of the state of the world by SWRD, and even more commendable that it was written in 1948 when signs of the times were blurred in the agony of post WW II.

  4. Kit Athul Says:

    What Tilak did not know is why late SWRD, started wearing the “ALAGOHNI” which we called at that time, (potato sack). Jawaharllal Neru told him to change the English 3 Peice suite he was wearing to a peice of cloth Gandhi was wearing. SWRD refused and then Jwaharlal suggested the Tamil dress which (His Excellency Mahinda Rajapakse is wearing today). SWRD accepted it. (Sinhala dress is what you see in Kandy) Sinhala did not wear Saron. Dham! can you now see that Sinhala was stupid at that time and today , after May 19th 2009 they are not. So instead of calling Ben Silva Gon Silva, start calling him intellectual Ben Silva. As you say SWRD was a wise man, far from it. He gave Chelvanagahm every thing he wanted.

  5. Fran Diaz Says:

    The sarong was worn in Sri Lanka a long time ago, usually tucked up Dhoti style, at different lengths according to social needs. The sarong is worn in many parts of SE Asia. The ancient Kandyan dhoti stype of wear which is a styled, tucked up sarong also comes from India (not Tamil Nadu). The top part of our men’s attire is an imitation of the Kurta from India (not Tamil Nadu). Here is a description of the Indian Kurta :
    “Kurta is a term used to refer to a long loose shirt, the length of which falls below or may be just above the knees of the wearer. In the olden times, it was primarily worn by men, but today, it has become a unisex dress that both men and women can wear. Depending on one’s personal preference, kurta can be teamed with churidar as well as loose fit salwar. In the contemporary times, youngsters don kurta along with a funky pair of jeans”.
    Different Kurta styles are worn all over India and by both men & women.

  6. Dham Says:

    Who cares what Banda or rakapakse wears.
    My tribute to Banda is tha same as Tilaks’s tribute to him. He was a great man.
    One can listen to Prof Lews Lancaster (a link of You tube on this forum) or an old Bana bokk in Sir lanka, the taste or freedom of Buddhism is like salty taste of the ocean.
    A human who cannot see the beauty of Buddhism is a FOOL. So is the name Gon Silva with some sadness I may call him a Fool.

  7. Christie Says:

    He is a great man and an intelectual, but the worst Sinhala leader who lead the country to the present situation. Just imagine if the language of school instructin remained English. The young women domestics working in the middle east will be earning at least twice their wages.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.



Copyright © 2023 All Rights Reserved. Powered by Wordpress