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 Post subject: Ehelepola Madduma Bandara
 Post Posted: Wed Aug 24, 2005 2:41 am 
Ehelepola Madduma Bandara
The child hero who made the supreme sacrifice for his father

Ehelepola Kumarihamy and children who were in the Walawwe, the present Kandy Remand Prison were taken in a procession to Deva Sanhinda for execution. The eldest son Loku Banda having seen the executioner ran and hid under the mothers saree when the seven-year old Medduma Bandara the child hero marched up to the executor and said, "Do not fear death Ayyandi. I will show you how to die" and turning to the executors said "cut my neck with one shot."

by S. B. Karalliyadda

It was the reign of Keerthi Sri Rajasinghe in Senkadagala. The King's Prime Minister was Ranmalaka Adhikaram of Udunuwara.

After two hundred and twenty years yet another son of Udunuwara from the Peradeniya dynasty, Konoppu Bandara, ascended to the Senkadagala throne as Wimaladharmasooriya. It was exactly four hundred years after Wimaladharmasooriya that Dingiri Banda Wijetunga assumed duties as the third Executive President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka - an uncrowned king.

Ranmalaka Adhikaram was the most trusted official of Keerthi Sri Rajasinghe's court that when the Adhikaram was advancing in age and getting feeble the King requested Adhikaram to nominate a suitable successor for the post. Adhikaram with no hesitation named a cousin of his Punchirala as his successor.

When Kannasamy ascended the throne as Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe, Punchirala was later to become his chief Adhikram or Prime Minister who was later to create an indelible mark in the history of Sri Lanka as Ehelepola Maha Nilame.

The events that led to the annihilation of the Ehelepola dynasty is so intertwined with each other like the pearls in a necklace. The story which unfolds will show the reasons for the greatest catastrophe recorded in Kandyan history and the nature of Sri Wickrama.

The King once desired to pay a visit to Punchirala's father Mudiyanse who was then known as Ehelepola Dissawa of Uva. As the king set on his journey on his entourage was a young lad Appuhamy. Half way the king asked Appuhamy to go in advance and inform Mudiyanse (Ehelepola Dissawa of Uva) of his courtesy call. Appuhamy ran ahead and informed the Disawa of the royal visit.

The Disawa who was now aged, but with bright eyes and a broad forehead immediately ordered a servant to bring a suitable dress to go in advance to receive the royal party. Appuhamy intervened and said "Disahamuduruwo you have no time to dress. Deiyo is closed by" and persuaded the old Disawa to come out of his house. Mudiyanse who had developed a strange power to foresee future happenings was unhappy and said "Appuhamy one day you will pay for your haste. You will be beheaded under a Keppetiya Tree." (Croten Lacciferum). This Appuhamy was later to become the Pilamathalawe Maha Adikaram who was beheaded in 1812. Punchirala assumed the position of 1st Adigar or Prime Minister, in todays parlance.

Pilimatalawes group made various allegations against Ehelepola but the King did not take them seriously or at least show any signs of displeasure.

Brewing suspicion

The wedding presents given to the King by his Prime Minister Ehelepola did not please the King as he had expected more valuable presents. The refusal by the king to accept the presents brought the crisis overtly.

It was at this time that a revolt was staged in the Sabaragamuwa Disawe by the people refusing to pay the taxes to the royal treasury. Ehelepole was sent to quell the rebellion. Ehelepola went to Sabaragamuwa and lodged in the same house at Batugedara where the king also used to spend his time when he visited Sabaragamuwa. This action of the Disawa was not to the king's liking. This house is today known as Ehelepola Walawwe.

Like some of the present day Ministers there were Ministers at the time too who will carry tales to get special favours from the king. Molligoda Adikaram was chief among them. He informed the King that Ehelepola was preparing a golden sword and a crown to become the king.

The king immediately summoned Ehelepola to Kandy. When Ehelepola received the talipot of summons he replied the king that he was engaged in some irrigation channel construction and also preparing some gifts as presents to the king and that he will be soon back in Senkadagala. Molligoda waited in a kadawatha (guard place) and got hold of Ehelepola's reply and interpolated to say "Oh king I am not your slave.

I am not bound to do as you dictate. I also want time to finish my work" and gave the message to be delivered to the king. The king was furious when he read the reply. He immediately dispatched another ola with the message "all your health is in Senkadagala and the lives of your children are in my hands".

Ehelepola was surprised to receive such a reply from the king. He thought that there is some misunderstanding and immediately sent back a reply asking for pardon if there is any misunderstanding and that he will soon return to Senkadagala.

Molligoda once again sent a distorted ola. It said, "Oh King if you want to kill my children and eat their flesh you may do so I don't mind." Is this not enough reason for the wrath of the King? Not only Molligoda there was another tale carrier in the court who added fuel to the fire. He was Basnayake Nilame of Kandepola.

He told the king that whenever the chief Adigar sees a man from udarata he questioned, "how is the Tamil fellow in Senkadagala getting on?". When these events were unfurling the king also reminisced the past. On such occasion was the visit to Gangasiripura, now Gampola.

When the king visits it was customary for his four queens, the Ministers and their spouses to join in these visits, (modern day field/inspection/visits). One day the king observed that Ehelepola's wife was not in the group and asked why she has not come. One of the four queens replied thus, "Oh king do you expect women of such advanced stage of pregnancy to join you in this trips?".

Another incident was where the king had seen a "heelekam mitiya" the records of revenue collected by the Portuguese in some villages in Sabaragamuwa now abandoned by them. The king had sent Ehelepola to collect this revenue for the king but Ehelepola did not collect this revenue as he said that the revenue from these villages were not collected during the reign of several kings of Senkadagala.

Culmination of these incidents led to the king sending Molligoda to capture Ehelepola and bring him to Kandy. By now Molligoda was appointed Adikaram of Pallegampaha which post was held by Ehelepola.

Molligoda went to Sabaragamuwa with a crowd to capture Ehelepola but in a confrontation that ensued, with the help of Hakurugammana Mohottala Ehelepola was able to escape and fled to the British.

Human slaughter

It was the May 17th, 1814. Molligoda brought forty-seven chiefs of Sabaragamuwa as prisoners to be executed on this day. Nuwara Kalaviya Dissawe Pussella who is supposed to have brewed a special red arrack for the king was also executed with other members of his family.

Ehelepola Kumarihamy and children who were in the Walawwe, the present Kandy Remand Prison were taken in a procession to Deva Sanhinda for execution. The eldest son Loku Banda having seen the executioner ran and hid under the mothers saree when the seven-year old Medduma Bandara the child hero marched up to the executor and said, "Do not fear death Ayyandi. I will show you how to die" and turning to the executors said "cut my neck with one shot."

The crowds gathered to witness this scene. The daughters were put into a mortar and the mother was ordered to pound them. Ehelepola Kumarihamy holding her hands to the four deities requested that the king be punished for the misdeed. The wrath fell on Sri Wickrama when exactly nine months after this gruesome butchery on 17.02.1815 he was captured prisoner thus ending over two thousand years of rule by the kings. It is recorded that the household in Senkadagala lamented these gruesome murders without kindling a fire or lighting a lamp for three days.


(Courtesy - 'Life of Ehelepola' - T. B. Pohat Kehelpannala)


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