Madam Bandarnaike remembered in Sri Lanka

As in the previous year’s Private Secretaries to the Cabinet Ministers of the 1970-1977 government will hold a commemorative alms giving on 17 th April at 5.00 pm at the Gamini Matha Elders Home of YMBA situated at Sir James Peries Mawatha Colombo 2, to invoke blessings on late Madam Sirimavo Bandaranaike and other departed Cabinet Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Private Secretaries of the 1970 – 1977 government of Madam Sirimavo Bandaranaike.

 

We also take this opportunity to gratefully remember the selfless services rendered by Madam Sirimavo Bandaranaike throughout her political life after the demise of her husband Mr. S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike and specially as the head of the 1970 – 1977 Cabinet. This Cabinet of Madam Sirimavo Bandaranaike consisted of country’s most eminent lawyers, economists, trade unionists, writers, educationists and veteran politicians that can be called the cream of personalities in Sri Lanka’s political arena.

 

Looking back, it was surprising to many critics as to how she most successfully handled all these well-known political fire brands and also intellectuals and got them to implement her political and development programs that stabilized the country as a truly independent country casting away all bonds to the British throne.

 

The new constitution that was adopted in 1972 under her leadership was a great achievement. Her vision and the methodology adopted to bring about these vital changes was so clear and transparent that there was hardly any opposition legal or otherwise.

 

The unique feature in the life of Madam Bandaranaike that was abundantly clear was that she became a legend in a her own lifetime and continues to be so here and abroad. Whether it be a head of a State or an ordinary taxi driver in a foreign country, to them the name Sirimavo Bandaranaike is synonymous with Sri Lanka. Many call Sri Lanka as Bandaranaike country even now.

 

Volumes have been written about the life and achievements of Madam Bandaranaike and hers is a permanent household name.

 

At this moment I gratefully remember my friend late Baduthilaka Malalgoda who wrote volumes on the life and achievements of this great charismatic lady.

 

When she became the Prime Minister, in fact the first woman Prime Minister of the world many wondered how she could handle this most important assignment of a country mainly due to the fact that she did not possess any high level paper qualifications or on the job experience while all her Ministerial colleagues were maestros, some with decades of experience in politics. But in actual fact she was no novice. She had her “in house “practical political education at home under the able stewardship of her husband late SWRD. Badaranaike. Above all as a house wife and head of the leading women’s organisation Lanka Mahila Samithiya she gathered enough knowledge of the ups and downs of the ordinary citizens of this country. She too had enough of common sense that was lacking in most leaders. These qualities made her a down to earth and a “street smart” sharp leader with a high level of political thinking.

She proved to the world that she is equal to any leader in the world. World leaders had the highest regards for her. Her intervention in the China – India conflict showed her courage even though she represented a small nation. Her performance at the Non Aligned Conference (1976) held in Sri Lanka brought forth her capabilities to the fullest.

Much to the amazement of the experienced politicians in her fold she weathered one military coup and another later in 1971, a youth uprising that brought in death and destruction. But she was able to suppress this uprising and rehabilitate the youth showing motherly compassion on misguided youth.

During her period international recognition of Sri Lanka was at the highest level. Sri Lanka benefited heavily from the Socialist Block countries like Soviet Union and China. BMICH in Colombo is a outright donation from China and is a great asset. Then the heavy industries like tyre, steel, textiles, sugar etc, made Sri Lanka a semi industrial nation. The credit for all these goes to Madam Sirimavo Bandaranaike.

Nationalization of schools brought in standardization and equal opportunities to all students. Nationalization of foreign and capitalist class owned plantations brought in economic freedom to Sri Lanka. It has to be mentioned here that during this exercise Madam Bandaranaike had to sacrifice over 3500 acres of her own lands.

 

(Writer Dr.T.Jayasinghe was the Private Secretary to Minister George Rajapaksa, Minister of Fisheries and later Ambassador to Palestine. 2007-2013.)

 

 

 

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Posted by on April 17, 2015. Filed under Breaking News,SOUTH-ASIA,Srilanka. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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