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Published On:Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Posted by Sri Lanka Guardian

Spooked by King Rajasinghe's ghost?

| by Upul Joseph Fernando

( March 27, 2013, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) The Madurai Nayaks dynasty was of a very strong pedigree in the bygone days. The last King of Sri Lanka, King Sri Wickrema Rajasinghe, was from the Nayak dynasty. It was the Udarata Sinhala leaders who betrayed King Rajasinghe to the British colonial rulers of Sri Lanka.

Following this great betrayal and the capture of Rajasinghe, the ancestors of the Bandaranaikes and J. R. Jayewardene did a great deal of work on behalf of the country.

According to the author of the late J. R. Jayewardene's biography, when Dias, the ancestor of the Bandaranaikes, was working as a translator, Don Adrian, Gate Mudaliyar, an ancestor of Jayewardene, was serving as an intelligence agent of the British rulers. It is mentioned in the book at the time King Rajasinghe was being captured, the ancestor of Jayewardene was also at the scene.

The Ceylon Government Gazette Extraordinary dated Wednesday 22 February 1815 (the Government Gazette first published on Monday 15 March 1802 when there was no newspapers in Sri Lanka also functioned as a sort of a newspaper) published the 'Bulletin of Intelligence' regarding the capture of the King. The Government Gazette Notification reads as follows:

"Devout thanks are due to the Supreme disposer of events, who had enabled His Majesty's Forces in this Colony in the short space of forty days without the loss of a single individual, to overturn a Tyrannical Government, which for several generations has oppressed the people of the Interior Provinces in the Island of Ceylon.

"A dispatch has just reached His Excellency the Governor and Commander of the Forces from D'Oyly, communicating the important and pleasing intelligence that the King of Kandy with two of his wives was yesterday surrounded by the people of Dombera in conjunction with some armed Kandyans sent by the Adigar Ehelepola in the precincts of the village of Medde Maha Nuwara in the Province of Dombera and taken Prisoner. His Mother and two remaining wives were at Hanwella (a short distance from the same place) and had been sent for with an escort."

The King was captured with two of his Queens in the house of Udupitiya Arachchi at Gallhavatt, a mile beyond Medde Maha Nuwara. Resistance shown by a few faithful attendants of the King was easily overcome. Captors insulted and maltreated the King. The Monarch, who was the symbol of sovereignty and independence was captured, bound, plundered of his valuables, humiliated and dragged with the greatest indignity by Ehelepola's men and on the next day D'Oyly took the King into custody. The King's mother and the other two Queens were captured at Hanwella.

Sri Wikrama Rajasinghe retorted at his captors, inter alia "Had my people behaved as they ought to have done, I would have showed you whether I was a man or woman. Twice during my reign you have obtained possession of the town of Kandy, and twice you have been very glad to get out of it." The Britishers were afraid to keep the King in the Kingdom. They removed him to Colombo, and he reached Colombo on 6 March. This was the last nail in the coffin of independence."

The Udarata treaty

Following the capture of the King, the Udarata Sinhala leaders signed the Udarata Treaty with the British rulers and for the first time surrendered the entire country to foreign rule. The colonial usurpers took Sri Wickrema Rajasinghe as a Royal prisoner and incarcerated him in the Vellore Prison in Tamil Nadu. The women in his life were also jailed. The King spent his final days as a prisoner and died in the Vellore jail.

The present hue and cry raised by the people of Tamil Nadu , who have aligned themselves with the Western countries led by the USA and Britain and the human rights organization demanding the Sri Lanka leaders be brought before the war crime court is reminiscent of what happened to King Sri Wickrema Rajasinghe all those years ago. Today, similar to how King Rajasinghe was betrayed, the Tamil Nadu leaders and the Western countries are seeking to betray the Sri Lanka leaders before the International Criminal Court.

When analyzing the life history of King Sri Wickrema Rajasinghe vis-a -vis the present situation, one wonders whether it is the apparition of King Rajasinghe that is instigating Tamil Nadu to demand the Sri Lankan leaders be brought before the International Criminal Court.

Not so long ago, there was a story doing the rounds about Prabhakaran being the reincarnation of Sri Wickrema Rajasinghe. It was also believed by some it was King Rajasinghe's spirit that was using Prabhakaran to avenge the betrayals committed by the Jayewardene and Bandaranaike ancestors against the last King, and Prabhakaran is the devil incarnate of the King who had come to destroy the reigns of J.R. Jayewardene and Sirimavo Bandaranaike.

'Tiger face' as the emblem

Prabhakaran chose the 'Tiger face' as the emblem because the imperial symbol of the powerful Chola King was also the face of a Tiger. The rulers based in North India and the rulers emerging from the South of Sri Lanka united to defeat Prabhakaran, despite the vehement protests mounted by the whole of Tamil Nadu. North India was determined to annihilate Parbhakaran because the latter had orchestrated the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, then Prime Minister and heir to the throne, and a descendent of the Gandhi dynasty of the North. Sri Lanka's victory over the LTTE meant not only the end of Prabhakaran and his army but also the Chola dream.

Yet today, Tamil Nadu and the Western bloc including America and the UK are determined to bring the war criminals that destroyed the Chola dream before the International Criminal Court. Amidst the agitation in Tamil Nadu, the Central Government of India is facing utter chaos.

Sri Wickrema Rajasinghe was a King who was educated by prominent Hamuduruwos (Buddhist Prelates), who gave due respect to Buddhism. Yet this King was betrayed by the Sinhala leaders, who were supported by the Hamuduruwos. That was because of the greed of the Sinhala leaders for power rather than them being against the King's Tamil Nadu origins.

It is well to recall it was Tamil Nadu that gave protection to the Tamil armed groups to start the ethnic war in Sri Lanka. Today, it is the same Tamil Nadu that is spearheading the campaign to bring the Sri Lankan leaders before the International Criminal Court. It is doubted whether the animosity in Tamil Nadu towards the Sri Lankan leaders, and by extension the Sinhala people, stems from the historical bitterness growing right from the days of King Sri Wickrema.

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