SWRD Bandaranaike in Pictures ….. Social and Political

A Nomads tennis team gathering in 1926 – with young J. R. Jayewardene standing second from the left (facing); while young SWRD Bandaranaike is seated in front of him

A picture fronting his political pamphlet in Sinhala entitled Charkaya saha Goyam Ketha — printed in the early 1930s in what was evidently an attempt to adopt a Gandhian mode [see 1960 reprint …. http://libuop.lib.pdn.ac.lk/cgi-bin/koha/opac detail.pl?biblionumber=44360]. This commitment was not deeply etched in life style or politics. It was via the Sinhala Maha Sabha of the 1930s to 1940s that his populist political grounding took form.

Four wedding scene pictures when Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike married Sirimavo Ratwatte in 1940

First_Cabinet_of_Ceylon Bandaranaike with other Ministers in the DS Senanayake Cabinet formed in 1947

1280px-Hon.S.W.R.D.Bandaranayaka_in_Kandy_Ceylon_as_the_United_National_Party_Minister_of_Health_and_Local_Government_(Before_1951_Sept) … and as Minister of Health in that initial UNP period

1b.Banda at KalmunaiBandaranaike in procession at Kalmunai

SWRD at home with his three children Sunethra, Chandrika and Anura

Banda in his element — on the political platform captivating his audience –here at what must have been a MEP coalition pitch because Philip Gunawardana is seated behind him

Banda and Chelva shake hands to seal the BC Pact between the MEP and the Federal Party in 1957 … and walk away mighty pleased …. 2b. B-C PACT all smiles

A bhikkhu berates Prime Minister Bandaranaike during protest outside his Rosmead Place residence — protests directed at the BC Pact and spurred by Sinhala chauvinism …. See https://thuppahis.com/2017/07/19/narrating-tamil-nationalism-subjectivities-and-issues/


Filed under communal relations, cultural transmission, heritage, historical interpretation, landscape wondrous, life stories, performance, politIcal discourse, power politics, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, unusual people

3 responses to “SWRD Bandaranaike in Pictures ….. Social and Political

  1. Eddie Wijesuriya

    The beginning of Sri Lanka’s ruination.

  2. These are great photos. The ‘Gandhi’ image is hilarious. Bandaranaike was still working out how to present himself to the world at the time. His rebellion against his antecedents – personal and social – was genuine and formed the mainspring of his life and character. But while he always knew just what he was rebelling against, he never quite worked out who and what he was for. The spinning wheel photo shows his trying to work it out.

    Sad to see that the first comment published here is from Eddie Wijesuriya, who passed away last week. Rest easy, Uncle Eddie.

  3. Edward Upali

    Thank you for publishing these valuable photos. I did not see them when you first published them in 2019.

    The photo of SWRD with a handloom machine in a Gandhian pose is somewhat sad, as both Gandhi and SWRD met with tragic ends at the hands of assassins. Also, we have to remember that this photo of SWRD was taken in the early 1930s, when there was no anti British movement in Sri Lanka comparable to that of India.   

    It is quite possible that SWRD also wore National Dresses made of handloom clothes, given Mrs B’s deep involvement in the handloom industry. Mrs B, as the head of the “Mahila Samithiya”, did a lot of work in promoting the Handloom Clothing industry. Mrs B via the Mahila Samithiya established a large number of “Handloom Weaving Centres” in the villages, where village women made sarees & handloom cloth. It is well known that Mrs B often wore locally made handlooms sarees, to public functions. If I remember right, when Mrs B entered politics, Mrs. R.G Senanayake took over the leadership of the Mahila Samithiya and continued this work.

    My view is that photos of SWRD and that of JR in national dress have to be viewed in the light of the Donoughmore Commission’s recommendation of Universal Franchise in late 1929 (?). Both of them supposedly started wearing the national dress and converted to Buddhism after the Donoughmore Commission (DC) recommended Universal Franchise. In fact, some left wing politicians derisively referred to both JR & SWRD as “Donoughmore Buddhists”.

    However, SWRD has to be given some credit for getting married wearing a national dress, which would have been an oddity in the late 1930s or even in the late 1940s. This is very clear in the photo of the Senanayake Cabinet of 1947, where the PM and some of the Ministers are wearing tailcoats and top hats, while only 3 or 4 Ministers are wearing National Dress.

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