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Mrs. Bandaranaike: The world’s first woman Prime Minister

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by D.B. S. Jeyaraj

Hello Friends

Today July 21st is the 50th anniversary of Mrs. Sirima Bandaranaike becoming Prime Minister of Sri Lanka then known as Ceylon. Needless to say she made history then as the world’s first woman prime minister and put the Island nation on the global map.

I thought of remembering on this historically important date this remarkable woman who made a lasting impact on the fate of her country.

I am therefore reproducing on my blog an article written about her by me ten years ago. It was published in the Indian newsmagazine “Frontline” of Aug 19th – Sep 01st 2000 (Vol 17-Issue 17) under the heading “Exit of an Elder Stateswoman”.

I wrote the article after Mrs. Bandaranaike resigned as Prime minister on August 10th 2000. Ill – health had been the primary cause for this decision

I realised then that the days of the grand old lady were numbered. I thought I must write something about her that should be read by her or have it read to her while she was among us rather than pay tribute to her after her death. I also wanted it to have international exposure

So I wrote this article about her and sent it to the Editor N.Ram who kindly consented to publish it in “Frontline”. It was widely read and appreciated

My greatest pleasure however was in knowing that the contents of this article were read out to Mrs. Bandaranaike who was quite happy about it though it was by no means a hagiography.

She was courteous enough to convey her thanks to me for that article about her written in the twilight of her distinguished life.

Two months later on October 10th she passed away gracefully after returning home from voting at the Parliamentary elections.

I was then indeed glad that I had written this short piece while she was living and that she had it read out to her.

When I entered Journalism in 1977 She was the Prime Minister but at the tail-end of her term. One of my earliest assignments for the “Virakesari” was the ceremony at BMICH where she was awarded the “CERES” medal by the FAO. Ceres was the Goddess of Agriculture in Roman mythology

She was ousted from power in the July 21st polls in 1977.

Later I covered many of her meetings .parliament speeches and press conferences.

Among the meetings I vividly recollect are the election propaganda meetings at Batticaloa and Kattankudi, the meeting in Jaffna after her civic rights were denied in 1980 and the Jaffna meeting against the referendum of 1982.

Among the press conferences the one I remember most was the one at her residence in 1980 on the eve of her being deprived of civic rights. I recall her sitting calm and collectedly flanked by Lawyers VW Kularatne and Gamini Iriyagolla while daughter Sunethra was moving about the crowd catering to the needs of the journos.

Sunethra is a very beautiful woman and I remember quipping to Ajit Samaranayake that “this attraction is a distraction” something which Ajit was fond of referring to whenever the subject of Sunethra came up in conversation

I was also present in the old Parliament by the Beira when her civic rights were deprived by Parliament and she was expelled. She was all alone as her party was boycotting proceedings. The rowdy MP’s of the UNP were raucous and boistrous as Mrs. Bandaranaike walked out. It was left to the Opposition leader Appapillai Amirthalingam and TULF president Murugesu Sivasithamparam to flank her on both sides and gallantly escort her out.

In later years I had the opportunity of meeting her thrice for detailed ,off the record discussions. Anura Bandaranaike, Haris Hulugalle and Lasantha Wickrematunga had arranged the meetings respectively and were present

She was particularly keen on knowing what was happening in the North and East and in Tamil Nadu. I too asked her about the past and received frank answers. I obtained fresh insight into many events of the past relating to Tamil politics. I understood some of the reasons for the way in which she had handled or mishandled the Tamil national question.

It is against this backdrop that I present here this piece in the “Frontline” as it was written a decade ago

Mrs. Banadaranaike ~ at 84 ~ pic: http://tux1.aftenposten.no

Here it is Friends –

SIRIMA BANDARANAIKE, who relinquished office voluntarily on August 10 as Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister under a system of executive presidency, has been a dominant matriarchal figure on the island’s political landscape for more than 40 years. She created his tory as the world’s first woman Prime Minister when appointed on July 21, 1960 and was the world’s oldest serving Premier when she stepped down at the age of 84. She was Prime Minister during 1960-65, 1970-77 and 1994-2000 and Leader of the Opposition Leader during 1965-70 and 1989-1994.

Born on April 17, 1916 as the eldest child of a Kandyan Sinhala aristocrat, Barnes Ratwatte, Sirima was educated at Colombo’s St. Bridgette’s Convent. She married Solomon W.R.D. Bandaranaike from a leading downcountry Sinhala family in 1940. She was cont ent to be a housewife for 20 years while her husband went on to win political laurels as Minister, Opposition Leader and then Prime Minister.

After the assassination of her husband by a Buddhist monk in 1959, a reluctant Sirima was propelled to political centre stage. The Sinhala Buddhist nationalist party, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, founded by her husband, found itself leaderless and party seniors prevailed upon her to take over.

When the relatively young and inexperienced Sirima led her party to victory at the polls and went on to become Prime Minister, the precedent was established for two major developments. On a regional level, it was the harbinger of dynastic politics in Sou th Asia. At a global level, Sirima pioneered the arrival of women as heads of state. It is said that the term “stateswoman” was coined by the British press to describe her.

The Bandaranaikes are the acknowledged first family in Sri Lankan politics. Since the country achieved Independence in 1948, members of the family have been heads of state for 22 years and Leaders of Opposition for 20 years. A unique and perhaps unsurpas sable record was established when the Bandaranaikes’ daughter, Chandrika Kumaratunga, like her parents, became Prime Minister in 1994. She then went on to become the first woman executive President, while her mother Sirima was appointed Premier. The moth er-Prime Minister and daughter-President combination was yet another feat by the family. Sirima’s son Anura too is in politics, as an Opposition member of Parliament and was also earlier a Cabinet Minister and the Leader of the Opposition.

Sirima Bandaranaike was quite unfamiliar with matters of foreign policy when she first became Prime Minister in 1960. She mastered statecraft and the nuances of international politics while in office. Mingling with great leaders such as Jawaharlal Nehru, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Kwame Nkrumah, Josef Tito, and “Bung” Sukarno, she made a name for herself. Like her husband she faithfully adhered to the principle of non-alignment as the cornerstone of her foreign policy. Her crowning achievement came when she wa s elected unofficial head of the developing world at the fifth Non-aligned summit of 1976, held in Colombo.

On a practical level, the success of her foreign policy was realised when the Marxist-Leninist-oriented Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) launched an armed revolt against her government in April 1971. Most nations, including the United States, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, China, Britain, France, India and Pakistan, rallied to her aid and provided assistance of different types. It was a rare instance, at the height of the Cold War, of countries divided among themselves bonding in common cause to help a “friend”. In a gesture of benign intervention, India deployed aircraft and personnel as part of indirect logistical support.

Despite having been the recipient of Indian assistance, Bandaranaike did not hesitate to afford refuelling facilities to Pakistan in Colombo, when the Bangladesh war of liberation broke out. Although an irritant to New Delhi at the time, Bandaranaike was compelled by regional realpolitik to do so then.

Years later she spearheaded an anti-India campaign in 1987-88, against the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord signed by her arch political rival, J.R. Jayewardene, with Rajiv Gandhi. In spite of these developments, Bandaranaike’s worldview, as in the case of daughter Chandrika, was not anti-Indian.

In fact, it is to the credit of Sirima that she was mindful of India’s interests in the region and avoided areas of friction as far as possible. She did not, for example, plunge the country into a pro-Western and anti-Indian mode as Jayewardene did prio r to the accord. A creditable accomplishment was her resolving the contentious issue of “statelessness” of plantation workers of Indian origin living in the central highlands of the island, estimated at 975,000. The accord with her Indian counterpart, La l Bahadur Shastri, in 1964 provided for India taking 525,000 such people, and Sri Lanka 300,000, leaving a residue of 150,000. Known as the Sirima-Shastri Pact, it was hailed as a diplomatic breakthrough. In 1974 a second accord with Prime Minister Indir a Gandhi saw both countries absorbing 75,000 each of the balance. This agreement also placed the Kachchativu island under Sri Lanka’s control while ensuring certain rights for Indian fishermen.

Sirima Bandaranaike was an ardent advocate of the Indian Ocean peace zone proposal, a concept welcomed by New Delhi then. She also played a tightrope-walking role as a “limited” mediator during the India-China war of 1962.

The cordial relationship between India and Sri Lanka during the tenure of the Bandaranaikes was also personified by the friendship enjoyed by the family with their Indian counterparts, the Nehru-Gandhis. A much-publicised photograph of both families led to a guessing game in the 1970s. Of the figures in the photograph, Jawaharlal Nehru, Bandaranaike, Sirima and Indira Gandhi had become Prime ministers. The question was who among the children would become Premiers. Rajiv Gandhi in the 1980s and Chandrika Kumaratunga in the 1990s provided the answers.

In the domestic sphere, Sirima adopted a socialist policy like her husband. Various private enterprises were nationalised. Ceilings were imposed on landholdings and number of houses owned. The single largest group of private newspapers was taken over. St ate-owned institutions were set up to control and run most industrial and commercial ventures. Estates as well as schools were nationalised. Although she came from a feudalistic landowning family, Sirima Bandaranaike did not hesitate to work against her own class interests. Personally she forfeited thousands of acres of land to the state because of her land reform policy.

Her economic policies and populist measures, however, did not bear fruit but plunged the country into ruin over the years. Her association with Trotskyite and Communist parties, resulting in the coalition government of 1970, saw the country become a repu blic with a new Constitution in 1972. The name of the country was changed from Ceylon to Sri Lanka. She also faced a coup attempt in 1962.

At the height of power, Sirima was akin to a venerated figure. Sycophants would prostrate themselves before her or touch her feet. Officials would back out from her presence and address or reply her as one would to royalty in the past. Defence service ch iefs would carry her luggage personally on trips. Once women from a socially inferior caste laid down their hair as a carpet for her to walk on, but she declined the offer.

The situation changed when she was out of power. The ruthless manner in which her government suppressed the JVP revolt also came under criticism. After her electoral defeat in 1977, her successor, Jayewardene, set up a Presidential Commission of inquiry and it found her “guilty” of abuse of power. She was stripped of her civic rights and parliamentary membership in 1980. In spite of being a legal “non-person”, she held on to party leadership and fought a tenacious political battle. After her civic right s were restored in 1986, she contested for presidentship in 1988 but was defeated. She functioned as the Leader of the Opposition from 1989 to 1994. She may very well have become the President in 1994 but for poor health. Handicapped by diabetes and a fo ot ailment, she was confined to a wheelchair during her recent prime ministerial tenure. However, she is mentally alert and agile.

Sirima’s handling of the Tamil national question left much to be desired. Her attempt to push Sinhala as the sole language of official administration led to a mass satyagraha by Tamil politicians, leading to a paralysis of government institutions in the North and the East. She responded by declaring a state of emergency and sending in the Army to break up non-violent protests. Tamil leaders were placed under house arrest. In 1966, she led a campaign against limited rights being awarded to Tamils through district councils.

In the 1970s, it was her government that introduced medium-wise standardisation for university admissions, thereby depriving deserving Tamil students of tertiary education. Tamils were discriminated against in government employment as well.

The 1972 Constitution aggravated ethnic tensions by discarding provisions extending protection to the minorities, affording foremost position to Buddhism and making the country a unitary state. When Tamils dissented, a large number of youth were incarcer ated for long periods without trial. Arguably, the seeds of the Tamil secessionist campaign were sown during Sirima’s rule though Tamil farmers became quite prosperous because of her import substitution policies, which encouraged the raising of cash crops.

Nevertheless, there is no denying that Sirima Bandaranaike was an incorruptible figure. Her financial integrity has been beyond reproach. Her personal conduct too has been without blemish. After decades of service to the people whose lot she helped better, the elder stateswoman of Sri Lanka retires, to enjoy serene bliss in her twilight years.

DBS Jeyaraj can be reached at dbsjeyaraj2005@yahoo.com

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72 Comments

  1. I used to hate her those days. But after JR and Rajapaksa my opinion changed. Her rule was benign and she did much for the masses

    Thanks for the memory DBS

  2. Hi DBS,
    Interesting article, somewhat nostalgic. I for one, would not shed a single drop of tears for her.

    Her government of 1970-77 brought economic ruin to the country and laid the foundation to the 30 year madness that we just experienced.

    Some of the vivid memories of my teen years that I still have are the food shortages of 1973-74, brought about by her government’s incompetent, ruinous economic policies. Living in Mount Lavinia, I still remember lining up to buy bread, which was severely rationed, if I recall correctly, each household received something like two or three loves of bread for a week. Rice was very hard to come by and I remember we ate a lot of yams. No wonder her party got wiped out in the elections of 77.

  3. DBSJ

    you have a thing about bringing up these anniversaries and putting up the blood pressure. People are trying to forget those nightmares. That cow took the country in the reverse gear so fast they should have handed her to the rest of the world when srilankans with great fanfare were hollering that they have given the world the first woman primeminister.

    When you see a bus it is like winning the lottery. All the people in the bus stand cheer. When you want to buy a shirt go to Dasa mudalali. To buy a jock strap, Dasa mudalai. To buy a plate and cup, Dasa mudalali.

    In fact i now got a great idea, after seeing this. Instead of asking dearly beloved whether he is thinking of Asin at that moment and indulging in confrontational politics, i will just ask whether he can remember Sirimavo. That should put him right.

  4. DBSJ

    The article is perfect. I was only joking as usual about the anniversary. It is very relevent today because we can learn a lot from our past mistakes.

  5. Why did you praise this useless Kalavi. She is the reason behind the civil war. Great journalism but boring topic. Can you please write an article on Sivaji Ganesan, Seeman and my uncle MP Mahesweran, which will be much more interesting.

  6. Dear DBS,
    It is good article but you have to tell her about against tamils at the beginig not the end , she is the push the race card this far the day one her husbann and her planned to wipe the Tamils out the map.

    Why Tamil farmers got well in her period they are one work hard not like othe sinhalese who had the more farm land sinhalese and why they didn’t do well?

    You should put this at the begining i wouldn’t write this because after a person dead no one write or talk bad about him or her

    “Sirima’s handling of the Tamil national question left much to be desired. Her attempt to push Sinhala as the sole language of official administration led to a mass satyagraha by Tamil politicians, leading to a paralysis of government institutions in the North and the East. She responded by declaring a state of emergency and sending in the Army to break up non-violent protests. Tamil leaders were placed under house arrest. In 1966, she led a campaign against limited rights being awarded to Tamils through district councils.

    In the 1970s, it was her government that introduced medium-wise standardisation for university admissions, thereby depriving deserving Tamil students of tertiary education. Tamils were discriminated against in government employment as well.

    The 1972 Constitution aggravated ethnic tensions by discarding provisions extending protection to the minorities, affording foremost position to Buddhism and making the country a unitary state. When Tamils dissented, a large number of youth were incarcer ated for long periods without trial”

  7. I used to think she was the worst enemy of Tamils those days when I was a student

    But after Jayawarthana and Mahinda Rajapaksha did so much of damage to Tamils I think Mrs. B was an angel

    Actually I think I will put flowers for her feet and worship her if I get a chance now but this is impossible as she is dead

  8. She was a great lady who brought land reform and gave away thousands of acres of her own lands. My uncles family got land this way. my uncle and aunty are old but still have her photo and light lamps sometimes

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  10. I am sad to read comments attacking this noble lady

    I and my family are greatful to her for her policy of socialism that looked after poor people

    when she came to our village with Sunethra and Chandrika I had chance to touch their foot and worship

    Even now I am ready to worship them

  11. 5. shankar

    In fact i now got a great idea, after seeing this. Instead of asking dearly beloved whether he is thinking of Asin at that moment and indulging in confrontational politics, i will just ask whether he can remember Sirimavo. That should put him right.

    ————————————————————–

    Shankar I love you. LUV you for your wits… love you for your brains……love you for your .. your …. your…. well your …I LOVE YOU IN TOTO.

    I have not seen lavinia. I would love to see lavinia with you.

    I AM CLEAN BOWLED BY YOUR HUMOUR.

    THANKS.

  12. What a grate lady to remember.As far as all kandyans were
    proud on Mrs, Banbaranayake.MAY ATTAIN NIBBANA.

  13. oh. A lady is responsible for all Racial and economical issues of srilanka. Paradise Lost due to a woman

    or she is the scapegoat??

    .

  14. One thing you’ve not mentioned is her paranoia, and starting the pattern of leading government posts going to close family relations irrespective of their competence.

  15. I think there is wide misunderstanding of the standardisation procedures adopted during her time as PM . The standadisation was primarily aimed at giving a fair chance to the village schools where there were not as many facilities as the Colombo schools . For instance my friends who did not attain the required pass mark to enter medical college from Colombo re sat the exams from places like Kureunegala , Gampaha where they had a better chance and they were successful . Now they are full fledged consultants. in the medical field . This was not directed only to tamils as widely reported but affected all students in all nationalities .

  16. Dear Dbs
    You have to write nice artilce about Rajapakase family,and on that time all will say they done good, because the person who is going to be power will do more than damage to tamils what was done by Rajapakse family, like your people will not learn a lesson choose what ever useful our community.do not try smart but you nothing going get, empty……… try yourself find like vivkandadar

  17. Bandaranayake and Senanayke destroyd Sri Lanka with their currupt rasist politics, while they got rich……..Sirimavo is one of them.

  18. I come from up country, I dont have any good memories about Mrs B, all I have is how during her rigime in the 70s we were victimized , for being tamil, estates were nationalised, good, but emplyees were thrown out, I had to stand inthe bread q every morning, It ws JR who emancipated us

  19. 12 Sandhya
    Whilst I can understand your respect for Mrs. B, I reckon
    one human should not worship another human. This is a problem in this country. Worshipping, that is. Some of the politicians of today are so corrrupt, they should be treated with whatever rubbish one likes, but not worship.

    DBSJ, you mentioned about how beautiful Sunethra was, but I think Mrs. B was more beautiful than both daughters.

  20. She was a great person who brought a lot of honour to country.Also non-corrput and honest politician.She tried her best to devolop local industries.Farmers like me bebifited from her effert to help local famers.DBJ thanks for the nice article.

  21. Her action during the East Pakistan war brought about the
    Indian Government to arm and train Tamil youth to destabilise Sri Lanka

    The facts are stuborn she was the reason for the orgins of all the present problems. Aid and abettet by JR Premadasa
    Kumaratunga Mahinda and of course VP

    Nathen

  22. Sirima also abolished London University O & A Level Examinations which were held periodically by the Examinations Department in Colombo.The London O & A Level certificates were recognised for further education in all commonwealth countries and by several others, and were a means whereby those who faild admission to university could further their education abroad.
    But she sent her own children to study in England.
    I remember the “hal pollas” – barriers to prevent rice and red onions from the bumper harvests in the north,from being transported down south – thus preventing nothern farmers from marketing their produce.
    She continued the racist policies of her husband, and her daughter Chandrika did likewise.
    She “took over” all Assisted Schools as they were doing far better than the state schools and brought all DOWN to the same level.This was the beginning of the rot in education.

  23. At a personal level I had the greatest respect to this “motherly” figure. The graceful, quintessential, unspoilt, charm of the Sinhala village lass though from the Manor. I first met her at Katukurunda when a young man I helped was passing out as a Sub Inspector of Police and she was Chief Guest. She spoke to many police personnel and their parents warmly. The next occasion was around 1995 when she was PM and her legs were troubling her when I took a delegation of Indian VIPs, within whom was a former Indian Minister (lady) under Indira Gandhi who had performed the function of Minister-in-Waiting when Mrs B had visited India. It took a while to get the appointment from that old lady friend of Mrs B who grilled me on the phone (Can’t blame her, the Tigers at that time were coming out with amazing operations) The entire delegation of North Indian Hindu academics were struck by her courtesy and charm. She was aghast the short-eats made were non-veg while the visitors were “pucca” veggies, to use their expression. She referred to the domestic serving us calmly as “Oya-Meya” (No umba/mama or vareng-palayang) and reminded him of some biscuits in the kitchen that saved the day. PM by office and yet lady of the house at heart – commented my friends later. The visitors, coming from that part of India where the culture of fiefdom still held sway and domestics were addressed to in a particular way, did not fail to observe the difference. I was elated my PM did us proud. On another occasion after she had lost her civic rights I was at the Lionel Wendt for a show and the lights were out. I felt some movement around me and saw some people. I recognized Mrs B silhouted and found myself springing up spontaneously in due respect. As others saw her thereafter, I saw many do likewise. An example then, before and now respect cannot be forced or bought – it has to come willingly and naturally. Without the fear of contradiction, I might say our people breached our self-imposed barrier in showing our respect to her whenever they saw her at close distance.

    Above all, relevant to today’s unfortunate times and outlook of politicians is Mr Jeyaraj’s observation she was “an incorruptible figure. Her financial integrity beyond reproach, her personal conduct without blemish” That almost none in today’s politics at the ruling level can make this claim is an indictment of the quality of politics of the present era.

    At the political and policy level, my views are on other side of the fence. I would rather comment on these in a different fora. For now I join all others in paying tribute here to a lady who maintained and enhanced the dignity and respect o the country’s womanhood.

    Let it be remembered it was not merely MPs Amirthalingam and Sivasithambaram that escorted her out of Parliament that day among the cacophony of rumbustious MPs when she was ousted. It was the same Tamil MPs who courageously spoke at length and in her defence. That their people may have suffered for this “breach” in that “paadama” in July 1983 is a different matter. It is said she walked across to them and thanked them with folded palms – in that natural grace and charm she will always be remembered by
    whenever her name is mentioned.

    ISS

  24. Many thanks to Mr Jeyaraj !
    I remember as the primier she visited Jaffna. Our northern farmera garlanded her with chilies, garlics, onions and grapes! That was a flourishing period to Jaffna farmer! Jaffna women wanted her to walk on their unfolded hair which is a special honour to a guest, but she refused to walk on her sisters hair!
    When JRJ opened our country to world market the entire local farming was destroyed. Specially Jaffna began to suffer enormously as a result of this act!
    She was the architect of the Jaffna university.
    While India and China were at war, it was Madame Bandaranaike who intervened and brought both countries into negotiation table. The British philosopher and peace lover Bertrand Russel renders his special thanks, in his famous book: Unarmed Victory, to this great lady for her diplomatic versatality.
    She was anti-imperialist and the Western world came against her. Unfortunately our leftists parties rallied with them against her! She was the second world leader after Indira Gandhi who was to recognize the Vietkong provisional government.
    When she was in power she nationalized oil companies belonging to the USA. (it is necessary to mention here that one of her patriotic Tamil friends, Mr Kumaraswamy worked without obtaining any salary in the nationalized oil Board)The then Ambassador of USA came to threaten her saying “we stop our PL aids to you if you nationalize our companies.” Her reply was very simple! “Yes, you can do.”
    1962 coup d’état against Madame Bandaranaike was a pro-American and was perhaps masterminded by CIA. But even N.M. Perera was accusing her for “arresting innocent people!” It was common knowledge that the conspirators were DIN DIEM (Vietnam) type people.
    Finally JVP came against her and waged the 1971 rebellion which was an error in the history!
    This great Lady was ridiculed by the JRJ regime and her civic rights were abolished in a totally undemocratic way. She was the only politician who donated her own estates to people.
    Great world leader Nelson Madela lauded Madame Bandaranaike because she agitated in order to obtain freedom for him, as the NAM president.
    This great lady faced all the vicissitudes of fortune in her life. Some times her own children came against her! Her husband was assassinated in front of her. In 1077 general election she was literally humbled!
    Nevertheless she was endowed with an indomitable personality.
    May this great lady attain Nibbana!

  25. Futaint,

    You are right. There has not been a single head of the government after the independence who did good for the Tamils. The intensity of the horror kept increasing like a competition. When you look back, the former ones are better than the current ones.

    “Vithi Valiyathu”

    Jey

  26. #17 Kumudini has got a facts wrong. In the 70’s Mrs B and the Education minister introduced language standardization. In this scheme the scores between Sinhala and Tamil medium was standardized. Because the Tamil medium scores was on a average higher the Tamil students scores were reduced to match the Sinhalese students scores. In 1977 Elections the UNP promised to remove the standadization and JR first tried to do this. But the Sinhalese MP’s protested. At this point only did JR introduce the district basis (which was not so blatantly discriminatory). I remember this very well because I was a teenage student at that time at Ananda college. Even at that time I could not justify this. I think there were quite a large number of the original Tigers who were Tamil students who missed out of university because the Mrs B’s standardization. We need to get our facts straight.

  27. WELL DONE MURALI. HATS OFF TO YOU.

    I WISH YOUR FOREFATHERS TOOK THE DECISION TO COME TO INDIA. SO THAT WE WOULD HAVE FELT ON TOP OF THE WORLD.

    ANYHOW WE FEEL HAPPY FOR A FELLOW ASIAN AND ALSO FOR THE SON – IN – LAW OF INDIA.

    ALSO WE FEEL PROUD OF THE FACT THAT YOU ARE A TAMIL.

    THESE ADAGES MEANS NOTHING TO YOU.

    BUT WE STILL FEEL HAPPY THAT WAY ALSO.

    ALSO YOURS IS NOT A ONE MAN SHOW.

    MANY SINHALA (SRI LANKAN) PLAYERS HAD HELPED YOU REACH THAT LEVEL.

    BECAUSE OF YOU, THE NAMES OF MAHELA JAYAWARDENA AND PRAGYAN OJHA WOULD BE REMEMBERED IN CRICKETING HISTORY.

    I SAW THE PHOTOGRAPHS OF YOUR TEAM MATES GIVING YOU A HEROES WELCOME WITH THEIR BAT RAISED.

    OUR TAMIL NADU HAS LACKED A REAL CRICKETER AFTER KRISH SRIKKANTH.

    WE WOULD HAVE WORSHIPPED YOU AS A GOD.

    NO DOUBT SRI LANKANS ALSO WORSHIP YOU AS A GOD.

    WE FEEL JEALOUS. AND ALSO WE FEEL HAPPY FOR, OUR BLOOD HAD SCRIPTED THIS SUCCESS.

    JAYAWEWA.

  28. The name Bandaranaike should be erased from Sri Lankan History. The reason being that:
    SWRD Bandaranaike is patron saint of the recently concluded tamil conflict.
    Sirimavo continued where her husband left and in addition brought untold misery to the nation during her reign.
    Chandrika did sweet nothing to the country except to see to her own benefit.
    Anura was a white elephant to the nation.
    All combined, poor Sri Lanka was made to suffer whilst
    the Bandaranaike’s enjoyed life to the extreme with the
    peoples money.
    What a dynasty…a dynasty that belongs to garbage.

  29. Other than being a world’s first Prime Minister, her governing years were hell.

    In my early teen years, living at Kirullapane, my day starts at six with lining up for Milk, Bread, and to the bus. Then, in the evening after school lining up again for Rice, Slugger, Masi, Parippu……etc. at ‘ration kade’. At times, store won’t have enough stock and I have to come back next day. Also, lining up for ‘Salusala’ for clothing.

    I hated her for making me waiting in queues for everything instead of playing, or studying(?).

  30. As a teenager I used to count the remaining years of Mrs. B’s punishment – depriving her of civil rights by JR. Punishment somewhat seemed novel but was also disturbed by it. Perhaps other Sri generation may have seen the disenfranchisement of Tamils of Indian origin. And the current ones needless to mention.

    Between that I knew of several families who moved to Vanni to places like Visvamadu etc. for for farming becoming prosperous during her regime.

    Her governing disparity was huge between urban and village Sri Lankans, and perhaps North and South and Central too…and not much of a note for East during her time…I guess they were able to maintain the pristine due to not being in limelight..

    So with her civic rights restored and Sri Lanka having gone thru like no other country has gone thru, it shows that it will take much more stripes and bounds to get the calibre of leaders who will do the right thing for all Sri Lankans any given day.

    Did she think farmers of the North alone are the ones going to benefit by her policies ans therefore shelf her policies? Perhaps not.

    But then again she had all these cultural restrictions on Tamil Nadu films and magazines etc and the killings in Jaffna during Tamil Conference.

    Yet the least – the Bandaranaikes do have that ‘class’ that no ‘10% corruption’ money can by for the Rajapaksa bros despite their family in politics ensuring stability, except hideous moustaches and ‘satakayas’.

  31. Mr Dbs what you going achieve writing these evil sinhala modayas…what they done to our people, continuos missery and suffering as evil piraba done to us. PLease this is your space never ever allow monstors who destroyed our beloved tamils lives.

  32. Yet another timely article, specially in light of the report card today by the deputy leader of the UNP Mr K Jayasooriya about the sate of his own party.

    What a journey this woman embarked on ,half a century ago?.

    Srilanka is in good hands of a magnanimous as well as a strong and .patriotic leader thanks to Mrs Bandaranayake.

    Nearly all of the current politicians from the poor ,rural Srilanka would not have made the cut if not for the policies of Mr & Mrs Bandaranayake.

    Even with the coup attempt ,she single handedly moved the country forward without allowing the extreme right or the lunatic left any room to hijack the Nation.

    Of course the opportunistic leaders at certain stages managed to grab power.for . But they did not ,for good reason alter the path laid out by Mrs B.

    For a person without a formal education and being a “house wife” in modern terms ,Mrs B’s vision, courage and incorruptible nature is legendary.

    The way Mrs B crushed the coup, lead and supported by the minority English speaking Elite and the insurrection of the lunatic lefties in the South are testimony to this brave woman’s courage.

    Even the UNP that talks big about human rights could not break the spirits of this woman by denying her basic human rights for many years.

    The current holders of the mantle of her party are sure to build on the same foundation to make Srilanka a prosperous and peaceful nation.

  33. Comment 4 Shanker,

    Mrs B was a fair skinned good propottioned and good looking woman even in her fifties.

    People in their ripe age like the beloved of Shanker, probably have fond memories of a good looking women they encountered or seen at their younger ages.

    They say the the advancing age erases the last layers of the memory bank. so the first layers come into play.

  34. Her action during the East Pakistan war brought about the
    Indian Government to arm and train Tamil youth to destabilise Sri Lanka

    Nonsense. This was a reaction to JRJ’s flirting with America and insulting Mrs Gandhi.

  35. The standadisation was primarily aimed at giving a fair chance to the village schools where there were not as many facilities as the Colombo schools

    You’re rewriting history. Standardization was accomapanied by a vicious political and media attack against Tamils and was conceived as a racist policy.

  36. 39. Stephen Jones

    You’re rewriting history. Standardization was accomapanied by a vicious political and media attack against Tamils and was conceived as a racist policy.

    ———————————————————–
    Not really true. I was there and whet through the standardization process. I was in the first batch that entered university under the standardization scheme. I entered Katubedde Engineering faculty from a Colombo school. Some of my friends who had just a few marks below me did not get even admission to General Sciences. Then there were Tamil students who entered from Mannar and Vanni districts in our batch who had lower marks but got through on the district basis.

    So don’t think everything was that black and white. While it is true that many Jaffna students were affected, but so did Colombo schools. Every one loves to point out how the Jaffna Tamils were denied the tertiary education opportunities but no one talks about the thousands of Colombo students who were equally denied.

  37. It was written 10 years back .Can not believe. Still relavant. By and large what a factual writing in a language ordinary people can understand. Credit was given where Srimavo deserved and policy blunders were exposed.

    It was not a propaganda or flattery. Reposting it is timely for those defending the SLFP on national issues involving the NE Tamils. Unfotunately some of these defenders are highly qualified but not well educated who hide under the cloak of patriotism., to learn from the realities of the past.

    The problem has always been there even before 1983.. That is why in my previous birth I wanted the Colombo Tamils to go back to .NE, India or leave the country. I used terror tactics with minimum deaths. and minimum damage to the properties

    See what has happened now after MR came to power ? After all my cronies and I in our previous births were not bad persons when compared to the SLFP lead war and the current post war scenario.Taht time in 1987 to 1990 how we handled Rajiv’ moves. We even had a programme and warned him on the 30th July 1987.

  38. 37. Godzilla | July 22nd, 2010 at 5:13 pm
    Comment 4 Shanker,

    Mrs B was a fair skinned good propottioned and good looking woman even in her fifties.
    ————————————————
    As far as i’am concerned she looks like a man.My mum used to say she is like a man.

    As for dearly beloved the proof is in the pudding,love. Last night i mentioned her at the appropriate time and it was a disaster with his flag falling off as Don mentioned.

  39. 16. Stephen Jones
    One thing you’ve not mentioned is her paranoia, and starting the pattern of leading government posts going to close family relations irrespective of their competence
    …………………..

    We won’t forget the ‘Family Tree’ drawn be an academic Doctor who became a Ministry Secretary adter 1977.
    This Family Tree cartoon and the brutal Kataragama Queen murder by the armed personnel during JVP uprising, helped UNP to win with a thumping majority in 1977, more than the Paang queue and Standartization.

    But who is going to draw the new Family Tree and who will recognize the hundreds of new Kataragama Queens?

  40. DBSJ
    A very interesting short article on Mrs. Sirima Bandaranaike. I used to read Frontline regularly at that time. I do not know how I missed it. Your article made me recall my school days.

    We had a history teacher. A Periyarist. Not a black shirt wearing DK worker. He was sincerely fascinated by the views of EVR Periyar. The way he taught us history was typical. He would rarely teach the subject from the prescribed text book but discuss contemporary cinema, politics, society etc. He was not liked by his colleagues, my father being one, as they all thought he was ‘spoiling’ the children! But we children used to enjoy his classes.

    One day, he brought a Tamil Newspaper and there was a news item about Srilanka. He gave the newspaper to one of us and told to read. At that time, ‘Sirimavo’ in Tamil as ‘STREE MAVO’ (STREE would be the Tamil version of Sanskrit word Sri). He corrected the pronunciation as SIRI MAVO. Being a Periyarist, he disliked the Sanskrit pronunciation! We all laughed at the sound. You know ‘siri’ in Tamil means laugh. So, the name of your Mrs B was introduced to us with joy and laughter.

    I do not remember what the news item was. But I do remember the angry words of my history teacher. “Srilanka is introducing Husband-wife, Father-Son politics to this country. (In tamil- Purushan-Pondatti, Appa-Pillay arasiyal)? India is copying bad things from Srilanka! This man Kamaraj has unnecessarily brought this lady (Indira) into politics. We are suffering. You could have become the Prime Minister. If you do not know English, why don’t you get a translator?”

    I am not recalling his exact words but this is the essence of it. Half way through his talk, his style of speech changed as if he was addressing a public meeting and Kamaraj was sitting in front of him! We poor children did not understand anything he talked but kept quiet. Please note- that was the time of Emergency in India. Most of the political leaders were arrested. Kamaraj was not arrested but kept silence. Your article on Sirimavo brought me this down memory.

    Interestingly an unassuming rationalist school-teacher in a remote village in TN did raise a question on the “Dynastic politics” of his contemporary time! His question was perfectly right! But the audience was wrong! He accused India was copying Srilanka!

    I think, Mrs.B was the first lady in the Dynastic politics in the post colonial world. Indira was not even a minister in Nehru’s cabinet but she was his private secretary. Indira became a minister in Sastri’s cabinet thanks to Kamaraj,that was after Mrs B became PM. My rationalist school teacher was lamenting the decision of Kamaraj on his behalf!

    Now, the rationalists in Tamil Nadu stopped questioning. The MK dynasty is well known. I read a news item that DK leader Veeramani inducted his son, a novice, in to the party to the dislikes of DK’s old veterans! This is from the land of rationalists. All across India, barring communists, dynastic politics is the trend!

    I am not sure whether this dynastic politics is good or bad!
    Ravi Gee

  41. I for got to add one thing. Though the question of dynasty in politics is debatable! You can at least debate with no right-wrong answer and it varies from land to land and time to me.

    But the dynasties in businesses are not even debatable, till the grand son/daughter squanders away the wealth/name accumulated by his/her grandparents! Most of the time you will end up as a mute spectator!

    Will the formers get any cue from the later?

    Ravi Gee

  42. DBSJ’s observation that “………Srimavo Bandaranaike was incorruptible,her financial integrity beyond reproach,and of an unblemished character… ” cannot be countered easily, but the fact remains that it was under her watch that the climate for fear and repression was set under the dark clouds arising over the horizon in the aftermath of the 1962 coup attempt by reactionary forces and the decimation of the principled democratic left and the emergence of the extremist JVP under Rohana Wijeweera.
    It was in this times of cacophony and clamour that an affinity of interest between the bald headed yellow robed mainstream in the south and it’s cassocked variety in the NE which saw the emergence of the JVP’s mirror image in the form of the LTTE . The resulting release of slow poison of prejudice, suspicion and hatred between peoples of in the country of differing cultures and faiths has stunted minds with falsified history and indoctrination. It started during her tenure and continues today in a most grotesque,rabid and violent form….. We can only live in hope that this process cannot last for ever,because every thing is ‘Anicha’ / ‘Anithyam’.

  43. I am very sad.Murali is retiring from test cricket.What a loss to the country and cricket

    One Murali is worth a million Thenuwaras and Premaratnes

  44. 29 Mahesh

    Thanks for appreciating Murali, but I doubt whether he would have had the same place he had in Sri Lanka.

    Give me one Tamil name who is playing for the Indian national team. Your veteran cricketer Bishen Bedi didn’t have much good to say about Murali. He said Murali is a chucker.

    Bedi is a Pagal Jungleehey.

  45. 47. Ravi Gee – Chennai :- Your contribution reminds me of a story told by R.Sundaraligham, DIG of Police, North around 1975. He said Indira Gandhi and Mrs B were close friends and when the former visited SL for the non aligned conference, Mrs B vacated her official residence at Temple trees and gave it to Indira and her party. She there after inquired from the officials every day about facilities made available for Indira. He further says, when Mrs B lost government, Indira was suspicious of J R Jayawardana and then India went on to train the Tamil Tigers to create instability in SL.

    I also agree with Ranjan of Toronto writing at 40. that standardization allowed children from area’s other than Colombo and Jaffna to enter Uni. This is 100% correct but the Jaffna Tamils agitated against it because they lost their favored status. This showed their selfishness because they did not care a toss whether Eastern Tamils or Estate Tamils got a fair share of the Uni places or not. Mrs B also lost most of her properties and wealth via the land reform program where big land holders had to hand over thousands of acres of land to the government. She herself was affected but she adopted this policy whether it turned out good or bad, as she thought it was the best for the good of the people. The Bandaranayaka’s of her era never made money but lost wealth after coming into politics.

    R.Sundaralingham a Tamil who served under Mrs B always praised the women for her common sense and fair mindedness

  46. I forgot to add that it was during Sirima’s tenure in 1960 that the ancient hindu shrine of Kathirgaamam was slowly converted into the buddhist Kataragama.The Ramakrishna Mission madam which had been built with due permission from the athorities, by public contributions, and which was a place of rest and refuge to all pilgrims and which provided free meals to all pilgrims, was suddenly taken over and converted into a bhikkus’ hostel on the pretext that it was in a “sacred area”.
    In Jan 1974, the International Tamil Conference was disrupted by police unnecessarily, and seven people were killed.No inquiry was held.
    This was the beginning of systematic massacres of tamils.

  47. Mrs Banadaranaike was a very good woman . She was aligned with the poor countries. Never had good relations with the US.

  48. Mrs Bandaranaike was the first Prime Minister in the world but she also perhaps has the dubious distinction of being the worst Prime Minister. She brought misery to the ordinary people in the 70s. I remember the bread queues in my town where I had to wait for hours to get two loaves of bread. I remember a small boy breaking down with tears when he found that there was no loaves left for him to buy. She made people suffer for her utopian idea of sacrifice for a better tomorrow.

  49. 50. marusira

    Give me one Tamil name who is playing for the Indian national team. Your veteran cricketer Bishen Bedi didn’t have much good to say about Murali. He said Murali is a chucker.

    ————————————————————-

    Apart from Murali is there any tamil in your national cricket team?

    Bedi was not the only one to criticize Murali.

  50. DBSJ

    Tell me your view about the International Court of Justice, ruling in favour of Kosavo and its implications to the countries.

    Is it not like a magna carta.

    Good gracious.

    One doesn’t have the right to do a death dance in the name of sovergnity and one doesn’t have the right to mobocracy in the name of democracy.

    In my view this is a land mark judgment.

    This judgment will enable those nations or ethnic groups oppressed by the state to seek a legal remedy by gaining moral victory.

  51. This showed their selfishness because they did not care a toss whether Eastern Tamils or Estate Tamils got a fair share of the Uni places or not.

    They reckoned that the fair share didn’t go by ethnicity but by achievement, and had every right to complain about a measure that was deliberately aimed at leaving high achievers without a university education because they were Tamil.

    To make things worse Sirimavo’s government refused to let them take out funds so the students who had been refused could go and study in Tamil Nadu.

    Standardization was the main cause of the radicalization of youth in the Northern Province.

  52. 57. Stephen Jones | They reckoned that the fair share didn’t go by ethnicity but by achievement, and had every right to complain about a measure that was deliberately aimed at leaving high achievers without a university education because they were Tamil. Standardization was the main cause of the radicalization of youth in the Northern Province.
    ——————————————————————–
    Standardization was on a district basis and not based on ethnicity. It produced an equitable share on students for Uni entrance from all provinces. Jaffna at that time had the best facilities for higher education and in my opinion even better than Colombo because I had been to nearly all the best schools in Jaffa as an observer. These institutions were set up according to some of my uncles due to the Tamil’s support to the British against the Sinhalese pre 1950. The government of the day took stock of this situation. Also they thought, 12% of the population which were Tamils were getting 70% of places in Engineering and medicine which was not fair because they enjoyed better facilities. Of course there will be many who would make arguments against this but this was the thinking that prompted Sirima to act and the determination to give equal opportunities to all, especially students who came from under privileged districts. Again, we see the same thinking of Sirima in the land reforms she instituted. To give opportunity for all to have a piece of land of their own. Today, a form of standerdization is adopted in Australia where students from rural area’s are given bonus marks on their Uni enter scores. In Malaysia the Bhumiputhra movement supports the ethnic Malay’s. Of course I have very little knowledge about Bhumiputhra but according to western analyst it is unfair as it is based on ethnic lines.

    Of course, standardization angered the privileged Jaffna people. These were the very people who would start the bloody terrorist movement because their lust to get more and more. If terrorism starts from the under privileged & those whose rights are deprived, then it should have started from the Estate Tamils.

  53. 45. Mahesh | July 23rd, 2010 at 2:03 am
    4. shankar

    You have not responded to

    13. Mahesh
    ——————————————————————–

    I do not like praise. It makes one very complacent. I love criticism, because it makes one much better. Iam the opposite of others. When the mob is travelling in one direction iam travelling in opposite. When people are selling, i am buying and vise versa.

  54. These institutions were set up according to some of my uncles due to the Tamil’s support to the British against the Sinhalese pre 1950.

    The Tamils didn’t support the British against the Sinhalese pre-1950. Your uncles were racist fantasists.

    The quality of education in the Jaffna peninsular goes back to the American Jesuits in the 19th century.

    To give opportunity for all to have a piece of land of their own./blockquote>

    And reduce the Tamil labourers who worked on the estates to total indigence. Many were obliged to retreat to the Vanni to scrape a living by chena cultivation and then found themselves expelled or worse by Sinhalese thugs who came with the accelerated Mahaveli scheme.

  55. Thank you for that DBS.

    Our home has many personal letters from her to my mother as they worked together in the Mahila Samithi.

    I remember as a little child going to her home at Horagolla, and remember the elephant in the garden and Anura in shorts. I recall the many visits to Rosemead Place.

    I also recall her proposing a marriage for me, with one of SWRD’s relatives.

    She is everything you say she was, but I forgive her for all her mistakes because she was, though misguided and misinformed, an honourable Sri Lankan.

    She was uneducated and the Kandyan mind set/ exposure was outdated and inadequate in a fast changing world.

    Todays leadership have no honour or self respect.

    She defeated the JVP rebellion in 1971, but handled Wijeweera and the rebel leadership in a different manner to ensure that the republic is not dragged to the doors of a war crimes tribunal.

  56. 59. shankar

    You make me luv you even more by your attitude.

    Mugathai paarthu pugazhdhal than mugasthuthi. Ungalukku mugasthuthi pidikathendru enakku theriyum. Naan ungal mugathai paarkaamal than ungalai pugazhkiren. aagaiyal naan seivadhu mugathuthiyalla.

    I request you to respond to this also.

    Nice to see your response friend.

  57. Dear Dushey.

    Your comments about Mrs Bandaranayaka’s education is not only inappropriate but sad.

    The fact she did not have a University education is fair enough. But to say she is uneducated is despicable.

    Education is something you can achieve in many ways. Attending structured classes in a school environment is only one of them.

    As a writer who seem to know a lot you should know that a great number people without a formal education have achieved many things that you and I could only dream of.

    Mrs B is one of them.

  58. 60. Stephen Jones:- The Tamils didn’t support the British against the Sinhalese pre-1950. Your uncles were racist fantasists.Education in the Jaffna peninsular goes back to the American Jesuits in the 19th century. Land reform reduced the Tamil labourers who worked on the estates to total indigence. Many were obliged to retreat to the Vanni to scrape a living by chena cultivation and then found themselves expelled or worse by Sinhalese thugs who came with the accelerated Mahaveli scheme.
    ———————————————————————–
    I don’t know how you found out my uncles were racist because two of them were civil servants and one a circuit court Judge who all served through out the country and in Tamil area’s during the British Raj. They were Christians and one of them were friends with Chelvanayagam’s family and held them in high esteem. Because they were close to the British administration & the Governor, their opinion was that the British set up many good educational institutions in Jaffna as pay back for the Tamil support against the Sinhalese who were always trying to find means to over throw the British. My uncle’s friends were Tamils and lived in an era where Sinhalese Tamil racism was not at current levels. Although some Jaffna institutions were set up by Americans, the majority were set up during the 150yrs of British rule. If you read the book by Lord Mountbatten’s secretary (name I cannot remember) the Last British viceroy to India, the British knew in advance that the separation of India into Pakistan would create huge problems to both the nations but did not care a toss as long as they jumped out of the sinking ship. Because the British policy in all colonies were divided and rule and they that’s what they did in SL and in India. This policy set up minorities against the majority.
    But the point is that Jaffna had better educational institutions than other parts of the country which gave them an unfair edge which Sirima tried to compensate by the district quota system.

    Singhalese laborers also lost their jobs when land reform took place in the low country area’s but whether this had a greater impact on the Tamil labourers than the Singhalese I cannot confer as there are no statistics I can see.

    The issue is, both standerdization and land reform had some adverse effect on some Singhalese as well as the Tamils although the Tamils seem to say they were the ones who were marginalised.

  59. 61. Dushy Ranetunge :- In the west where you live, out in the open world, it is not educational qualifications which you think makes an “educated person” count. I am educated(not proud of it) but I am amazed at the competency of people who had absolutely no formal education but excellent performers in their field. In the west, it is not education that is cherished but PERFORMANCE. Many people without formal university education have put me to shame by their grasp of the sciences. Obviously you seem to display the typical Sri Lankan mentality although living in the west.

    As for war crimes of SL, one of your subjects, aren’t you living in UK which carpet bombed Germany in WW2, which set up the top secret SOE whose papers were destroyed at the end of the war at the command of Winston Churchill and the records in British archives on SOE would only be made public in another 50yrs time because SOE sent many people to their deaths & the UK government fears law suits? UK supported the USA in bombing and the Maiming of hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians using the atom bomb? Will you be game to point these out to the UK government and people like David Milliband when they preach the gospel to the GOSL?

  60. Dushey Ranatunge is living in another planet for years . He is so out of touch and yet brags about his association with the Bandaranaikes . How many degrees have Bill Gates or Nelson Mandela got yet they are people who have transformed the life style of many people . Get over it . An education is not the be all and end all . Hunamity, kindness ,intellegence and compassion mean more .

  61. The issue is, both standerdization and land reform had some adverse effect on some Singhalese as well as the Tamils although the Tamils seem to say they were the ones who were marginalised.

    Because the Tamils were treated much worse by both.

    As far as the 1972 reforms went many of the estate tamils had been deprived of citizenship, and thus were not remotely capable of receiving land in compensation. And there were almost no Sinhalese laborers on the estates anyway.

  62. 17. kumudini
    … The standadisation was primarily aimed at giving a fair chance to the village schools where there were not as many facilities as the Colombo schools . For instance my friends who did not attain the required pass mark to enter medical college from Colombo re sat the exams from places like Kureunegala , Gampaha where they had a better chance and they were successful . Now they are full fledged consultants. in the medical field . ..
    ———–
    There was pure medium wise standardization prior to the introduction of medium cum district wise standardization. But the answer is in your comments itself.

    Students studying at established & quality schools in Colombo District, sat the exams at Kurunagela District and got admissions to the Medical Faculty.
    Isn’t it cheating.?
    Isn’t it against the spirit of ‘Standardization’?
    Doen’t it deprive the poor students from Kurunagela studying at the rural schools there.?
    Won’t it encourage corruption and confusion?
    The situation is the same even after 40 years!!

  63. Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike had created a World Record becoming the First Woman Prime Minister of the World. Well done Madam, it is history of Sri Lanka.
    How many Woman Prime Ministers after that? From India, Central Africa, Britain, Pakistan, New Zealand (two), Bangladesh, Israiel and now from Australia too.

  64. Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike had created a World Record becoming the First Woman Prime Minister of the World. Well done Madam, it is history of Sri Lanka.
    How many Woman Prime Ministers after that? From India, Central Africa, Britain, Pakistan, New Zealand (two), Bangladesh and now from Australia too.

  65. Reference 51. Don
    Tamils did not have any “favoured status” to lose. They were hard honest conscientious public servants and for them,government jobs in any field and in any position was the pinnacle of achievement. This is why the british selected more of them than other ethnic groups in their administration. But, this was/is held against them.
    Mediawise Standardisation by Sirima’s Government was a severe blow to tamils who always scored more marks by dint of hard work and study.
    The political/social history of Sri Lanka since before independence is here…………………………………………………
    http://www.atimes.com/ind-pak/DB02Df03.html

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