Commemorating the ‘Lion of Boralugoda’
Posted on April 5th, 2012

Dr.Tilak Fernando

On January 11, 1901 Dona Liyanora Gunasekara gave birth to her fourth child and the father, well-known Boralugoda Appuhamy, Don Jacolis Rupasinghe Gunawardena in Avisswella, named their son Don Philip Rupasinghe Gunawardena. He later became an outstanding loyalist and a true patriotic son of Sri Lanka with an innovative vision, analytical mind and was a down to earth representative of the people, detesting injustice and struggled always to establish the truth, with impartiality and fairness. After an illustrious political career he died on March 26, 1972. On his 40th death anniversary this column focuses on ‘The Lion of Boralugoda’ whom people in this country dotingly loved.

Philip Gunawardena had his early education at Prince of Wales College, Moratuwa, Ananda College and University College Colombo before proceeding to the USA at the age of 21 to read Economics at the University of Illinois, where an element of radical ideas began to run in his blood circulation. Being young and aggressive he became actively involved with mass struggles at Illinois ‘Urbana-Champaign’ which infuriated the US at the time.

Colonial movements

Later at Wisonsin-Madison University, he joined the Communist Party of the United States. In 1925 he was at the Colombia University on post-graduate studies and in 1927, he joined the League Against Imperialism in New York where he acquired the art of ‘making hair raising speeches’.

In the UK, in 1929, Philip Gunawardena became an active member to protest against colonial movements along with a flock of such rebellious international students, namely, Shri Jawaharlal Nehru, Jayaprakash Narayan and Krishna Menon of India, Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya, Tan Malaka of Malaya, Jose Vasconcelos of Mexico, and Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam of Mauritius, who later became prominent rulers in their respective countries.

His dexterity in radiant oratory and journalistic skills made him a brilliant speaker, trade unionist, and political columnist in the UK. After coming across Dr. N. M. Perera, Colvin R de Silva, Leslie Gunawardena and Dr. S. A. Wickramasinghe in England, they formed the nucleus that was to become the LSSP in Sri Lanka. For his anti-imperialist and socialist work, the British government impounded his passport and it was only after the intervention of Sir D. B. Jayatilleke that Philip Gunawardena was allowed to land in Sri Lanka in 1932.

Once he returned home, he became actively involved in the Suriya Mal Movement which had been formed to assist the poor during the Malaria epidemic in the early 1930s. He was the founder of the LSSP in 1935, and led the Suriya Mal Campaign in 1934-1935 together with other LSSPers like Dr. N. M. Perera, Colvin R. de Silva, Leslie Gunawardena, Robert Gunawardena and many others.

The LSSP broke up following the entry of the USSR into the war against Hitler’s Germany and the Communists supporting the war. The Communist elements were expelled and the LSSP became a Trotskyite movement. Philip Gunawardena was so outspoken that the colonial government banned the LSSP and he was imprisoned together with other LSSP leaders in 1940. His brother Robert Gunawardena organized the well known Jail-break on April 5, 1942 with the help of Jailor Solomon, and they all secretly escaped and were hiding in India. Finally, they were caught and imprisoned and in 1943 were brought back to Sri Lanka and jailed for six months. Following his release the LSSP split again with a section led by Colvin R de Silva leaving the LSSP on ideological grounds and joining the Bolshevik Leninist Party (BLP) of India.

Boralugoda Lion

In 1947, Philip Gunawardena was elected to the first Parliament to represent Avissawella but his involvement in the General Strike in 1947 cost him his status as a MP.

In 1951 he formed the VLSSP (Viplavakari Lanka Sama Samaja Party) and joined hands with the SLFP led by S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike to form the MEP (Mahajana Eksath Peramuna). The coalition won the historic 1956 general election reducing the UNP to eight seats. He was appointed Minister of Agriculture, Food and Co-operatives in the coalition government after being elected as MP for Avissawella.

As the Minister of Agriculture his vision was to implement several audacious steps to emancipate the poor masses from the shackles of poverty. Ratification of the Paddy Lands Act met with his ideas to remove the obstacles in the way of agricultural productivity. He was influential in establishing the Multi Purpose Cooperatives to help the farming community and supported the establishment of the Ceylon Transport Board by nationalising the bus companies. He activated the nationalisation of the harbour, established the Ceylon Insurance Corporation, and The Peoples’ Bank to develop the country in a systematic and wholesome way. He was also implicated in the takeover of British Air Force Base in Katunayake and Naval Base in Trincomalee to remove the last manacles of colonialism.

Philip Gunawardena became the Minister of Industries and Fisheries in the National Government under Dudley Senanayake during 1965 – 1970 and established the Industrial Development Board to enhance state industrial corporations and private sector industries.

Philip Gunawardena was an eloquent speaker, always armed with an overwhelming knowledge of the internal affairs of the country. He exhibited his debating skills in parliamentary affairs and managed not only to overpower his opponents’ with a ‘Lion’s roar’ inside Parliament, but ensured that he scrutinised and evaluated every legislation before any white paper went through to become law in the Statue Book. At times he assisted the Speaker of the House to sustain discipline among members of the assembly during boisterous sessions which managed to earn him the reputation of the Boralugoda Lion.

He cast aside old fashioned dogmatic ideas and developed modern social development based on scientific lines. During his political career over four decades, he successfully executed his mission selflessly by treating everyone on a human level.

He never abused his power or position for his own personal gains or benefit. In 1970 he lost his Avissawella parliamentary seat, yet without being disheartened wanted to re-orientate the MEP when heunexpectedly fell ill and passed away on March 26, 1972. He had a magnanimous heart with full of enlightened thinking and some superlative qualities which he left behind for modern day politicians to emulate.

9 Responses to “Commemorating the ‘Lion of Boralugoda’”

  1. Christie Says:

    He is a great Parippuwa like other Sinhalese Socialists, who jointly and severely lead the Sinhalese to the present quagmire, and their disappearance from earth probably within few more generations like the Bo people in Andaman and Nicobar Islands or Creoles in Mauritius.

  2. Christie Says:

    He is a great Parippuwa like other Sinhalese Socialists, who jointly and severely lead the Sinhalese to the present quagmire, and their disappearance from earth probably within few more generations like the Bo people in Andaman and Nicobar Islands or Creoles in Mauritius.

  3. Raj Says:

    Thank you Tilak for this write up. He was a great man and was my MP for Avissawella.

  4. aloy Says:

    He was great man with a vision for what ever he did, I realised this when he visited my industial project site in late sixties where I was a young engineer.
    Thank you Thilak for writing this

  5. Christie Says:

    He was not a great man for the poor and down trodden people of his electorate.

    The only people who gained from were and are the Tamils and other Indians who financed his political parties.

    One of them a secondhand goods dealer (goni karaya) went to be the richest and leading industrialist in the island nation.

    I do not know whether the writer has heard of the Lioness of Boralugoda; Dona Katherina who was a leading unionist in South India. Her Union supports separatism in Ceylon.

    Beside all that the Socialist leaders in Ceylon never wanted the poor and down trodden Sinhalese to improve their lot because if they did they would have lost their Sinhalese voting base. Tell me about any poor or down trodden Sinhalese from Awissawella or Ruwanwella (NM Pereras electorate) who has made some thing out of their lives.

  6. Christie Says:

    This a repeat of a post in response to a similar article.

    I very much appreciate writer’s appreciation of our great socialists“parippuwas” who lead the country to the present day quagmire(Indian Tamil terrorist outfit and subsequent events). The parippuwas then and now rely on India and Indian colonial parasites for funds and directions.
    The Dry Zone developments and Hill Country developments to settle landless Sinhala and Muslims were put on hold by this socialist mob; SWRD, Dr NM, Dr S A W, Dr Colvin, Hon Phillip, TB Illangaratne and other Socialists after the so called peoples revolution. These parippuwas were funded by India and Indian colonial parasites. Socialists started with the Jaffna Youth Congress that was set up with the blessings of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the world’s most celebrated Indian colonial parasite.
    Department of Marketing, Valachchinai Paper mills, Co-operative retails shops were in place long before the writer and his great parippuwas started destroying the Sinhala people and giving Indian colonial parasites more privileges than they had ever enjoyed under the British rule. .
    These parippuwas destroyed Sinhala entrepreneurs by nationalizing, neglecting and by industrial strikes.
    The parippuwas nationalised the Sinhala dominated bus and insurance industry. They neglected Paranthan Chemical plant, KKS cement factory, CGR workshops, Colombo Port, CSIRO and set up rubbish like the Industrial Development Board, Thulhiriya and Pugoda textiles mills, neglected Gintota and set up Kosgama Plywood Corporation whose capacity far exceeded timber available in the country. Most of the machinery in these factories was piles of metal not proper machinery.
    They also neglected Sinhala businesses like Taos Ltd, a boat and yacht builder in Beira Lake in Colombo. The entrepreneurs in this case were Mr Harry Gunawardana’s kids who happened to be Hon Phillip’s elder brother. While Taos was neglected Hon Phillip Gunawardna, then Minister of Fisheries and other parippuwas let in Norwegians to setup CeyNor, a boat building and fishing gear making enterprise in Jaffna and let the Norway Socialists in to the country.
    Then comes the industrial strikes by parippuwas in tandem with the help of Indian colonial parasites that destroyed Sinhala entrepreneurs like Mr N U Jayewardene’s Wellwatte Spinning and Weaving Mills and Mr Ruskin Fernando’s Velona Garments.
    Talking about Peoples Bank and Mr Illangaratne brings to my mind the Sinhala bankers who were neglected and strike by parippuwas; like Hatton National Bank and Mr. Edmund Cooray. Mr Illangaratne was in the lap of Indian colonial parasite businesses, the best example is …ani-s who financed his films and books in addition to his politics.
    While Sinhala entrepreneurs were destroyed or neglected the Indian colonial parasites were promoted and supported by the political parippuwas as well as by administrative parippuwas to be billionaires in dollar terms. Take for example three businesses that were in Colombo 10 Maradana. One is Anton Industries, a business set up by an Indian colonial parasite that used to collect used gunny bags and bottles in Phillip’s electorate, Awissawella. Augustine Motors that used to recondition motor vehicles; a business run by a Sinhalese from Phillip’s electorate Awissawella. Banda and Sons; Sinhalese from Anuradhapura who used to import machinery and hardware. All three businesses were very close to each other.
    How far have they come since the parippuwas revolution in 1956? The Anton Group has developed in to a multinational and billions of dollar business, Augustine Motors still grind crank shafts and I don’t know what happened to Banda and Sons

  7. Sunil Mahattaya Says:

    Christie show some class!
    But then It must be difficult for bucket carrying sycophants of perverse regimes driven out of politics to express their frustrations like youve done here somewhat shamefully.
    Do not bring in your personal vendettas against a Fine Son of Lanka the dust under whose shoes you aren’t probably fit to wipe! The details of his patriotism and vision for his motherlansd have been cclearly portrayed in this article. He was unfortunately suppressed by the UNP Goondas the real bathgottas who gobbled up most of the parippu in Sri Lanka of the day and you sure sound like one of them.
    You should also learn to repect the dead rather than sound like a celf centres apathetic wimp!.
    De Mortuis Nil Nisi Bonum!

  8. Christie Says:

    Indian colonial parasites and Indian interests have; over the years managed to brain wash a section of the Sinhala bourgeois to breed Parippuwas of the island.

    I respect the dead, but the mess the dead had left torture the Sinhalese, Muslims, Burghrers and Malays of the island nation.

    It is hard for Parippuwas of yester years or current to digest anything other than Madras Parippu.

    Can any of the living Parippuwas show me the facts I listed and issues I raised are lies and irrevalent to the current quagmire the Sinhalese are in?

    Parippu (dhal, lentils) is not grown in the island and is imported from India, same as the ideas of Parippuwas.

    RIP the dead but their deed never die.

    Thanks for reading my posts.

  9. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    The Khazarian ‘Jews’ are NOT descendants of the 12 Tribes of Israel and their world view and lack of truly, pious spiritual Judaism have created conflict within that religion ever since.

    To a great extent, these are our current day Zionist Jews (including Neocons, of course) who have formed a world power banking, extortion cult of war and death that has little or nothing to do with being devout adherents of Judaism. These are the folks who think nothing of breaking the law, lying (Kol Nidre), stealing, graft, corruption, assassination, blackmail, extortion or destroying tens of millions of people to get their way.

    Throughout the past century, they have done just that in directly and indirectly liquidating over 100 million people. These soul- less ‘reptilian’ killers obey only the Talmud, not the laws of the lands they live in. This very behavior and ‘ethics’ appear, in fact, in the Talmud as Rabbinical teaching. Most pious Jews of good heart and conscience who follow the Torah know that such is not the way to achieve civilized, enlightened society.

    This is, in part, one of the reasons “Jew haters” have often been unable to differentiate between the truly religious descendants of the 12 Tribes of Israel (the ones the Old Testament of the Bible is about) and these squatters and interlopers who came from Central Asia and have, for the most part, taken over their religion and turned it into an evil club of power manipulation, greed, money, war, death and destruction.

    Many true Torah Jews are highly-offended at the atrocities these Zionist Khazars Talmudic Jews have inflicted on mankind. From the huge massacre of Russian Christians, to the mass starvation holocaust of 20-30 million Ukrainians, to the creation of Nazism/fascism of World War II, to the mass slaughter of Christian Armenians, and to the current day blood-lust genocide of Iraq. These Zionist Khazars have made it abundantly clear, to the tune of over 100 million dead, that they have nothing but murderous contempt of Christians and Muslims.

    The deep seated hatred of Russia by these Khazars goes back over 1,000 years when Russia crushed their empire and many of them fled to Europe into the areas now called Poland, Romania and Hungary, and Ukraine.

    These were the “Jews” that came into power in 1917 with the Bolshevik Revolution, and Lenin needed their help to topple Tsar Nicholas, the last remnant of the Romanov dynasty. They helped overthrow Tsar Nicholas because he was not friendly to the Khazar Jews. These were the Zionist Jews who set about forcing communism on Christian Russia and murdered 40 million Russians who refused to give up their land or bow down to Khazarian-Bolshevik-Zionism.

    These were the same Khazar Jews – later called the Trotskyites after exiled Leon Trotsky – who fled for their lives when Stalin came to power and tore that evil out of the heart of Russia to a large extent. Many of them fled to Germany, and UK and the US to seek safety. They are now the Zionist Jews who are causing the most problems in this world.

    These are the same people who have pushed all the “hate Russia” crap in the media and in US foreign policy to the point of ad nauseum even after the Cold War ended.

    It was this group of Khazar Jews that aided and abetted the formation of Nazism as an ideological counter to what they viewed as ‘un-pure communism’ under Stalin. Their real axe to grind was Stalin sent them fleeing and had many of them put to death or sent to the gulags of Siberia for orchestrating the slaughter of tens of millions of predominately Russian Orthodox Christians. Stalin was also most displeased that the Trotskyites helped to form Nazism in Germany. That wound up getting another 20 million Russians killed in World War II.

    The US Neocons, and those of the UK and Israel, are to a large extent Trotskyites, Zionist Jew or Christian Zionist Sheeple who do not know enough about history and the legacy these Khazarian Jews have left in their path. There are huge differences in the Biblical 12 Tribes and these Khazars who have embedded themselves into Judaism like a tick on a hound dog.

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