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Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima: 6th August Seventy-five years ago



By Kirthi Tennakone

The dwellers of the Japanese city Hiroshima resorted to their routine on 6th August 1945. That day the morning sky had been clear – people observed three air planes and descending parachutes. These are happenings to be expected at the time of a war and largely ignored.

Around 8.15 am a flash of light intensely brighter than the sun and a burning sense of heat terrified the population. The noiseless instant effect reacted more severely over a circular area of radius approximately 1 kilometer. Men, women and children exposed to the flash were incinerated to ash or fatally burnt. Cloths crumbled to pieces or spontaneously ignited – particularly if the shade is darker. A man dressed in white was burnt lightly, but his wife in black beside him died as a result of harsh burning. Most people within the range succumbed immediately- very few shielded by thick concrete survived. After fraction of a second a blast wave flattened almost every building in an area of nearly 40 square kilometers. A fireball formed created in the atmosphere expanded rapidly blowing a horrendously hot wind – setting fires everywhere up to a distance of about 4.5 kilometers from the centre. The pressure of the blast wave and heat of the rushing wind killed or wounded many more people. Expanding and a rising fireball created a white plume extending to the atmosphere up to a height of 6100 meters darkening the city as if night has befallen. Around 9 am a black toxic rain poured over a large area, sickening those who got wet. The death toll in the day of the incident exceeded 40,000 and subsequent mortality resulting from injuries was estimated to be more than 100,000.


The Japanese government and most of the world at large could not immediately fathom how a ferocious calamity unheard previously was inflicted. A devastation of such magnitude would require dropping thousands of most powerful conventional bombs simultaneously – a technical impossibility. On August 7th, the American President Harry Truman announced ‘It is an atomic bomb. It is a harnessing of the basic power of the universe. The force from which the sun draws its power has been loosed against those who brought war to the Far East’. He further stated that the bomb had more power than 20000 tons TNT- more than 2000 times the blast power of British Grand Slam which is the largest bomb ever used in history of warfare.

The bombs based on detonators such as tri-nitro toluene (TNT) derive energy by breaking of the molecules of this substance into lighter more stable fragments. In contrast atomic energy is released when the nucleus of the uranium atom disintegrates into lighter nuclei – a process referred to as nuclear fission. A calculation based on Einstein’s theory of relativity revealed that the energy liberated in fission of uranium is about one million times the equivalent weight of ordinary explosives. Fission is triggered by hitting the uranium nucleus with a neutron. When the nucleus breaks-up several additional neutrons are emitted. Hungarian-American physicist Leo Szilard speculated extra neutrons might disrupt other uranium nuclei causing an explosive chain reaction–a possibility of making a dangerous weapon. In 1939 he persuaded Albert Einstein to write a letter to President Franklin Roosevelt pointing out the urgency of the United States engaging in this effort – otherwise the consequences could be disastrous if Adolf Hitler develop a nuclear weapon. United States Intelligence found Germany had already started to work on the problem, hastening President Roosevelt to appoint a committee replying Albert Einstein. Soon the research work aimed to develop a nuclear bomb was commissioned as the Manhattan Project – under scientific leadership of the Robert Oppenheimer and a team of several other eminent physicists excluding Einstein. Perhaps Einstein was considered too much even for a project of this nature because of his extreme radicalism and pacifist views.

Leo Szilard with Albert Einstein

Despite theoretical soundness of the argument of achieving an explosive nuclear chain reaction, the Manhattan project encountered many astounding practical challenges. Natural uranium occurs in two forms named as isotopes U(238) and U(235). A chain reaction is feasible only with U(235) occurring as 0.7 percent of the metal found in the uranium ores. Furthermore to initiate a chain reaction at least a critical mass of about 60 kilograms of U(235) is required. Refining the ore to obtain this amount was an arduous costly task. Another option explored has been to use plutonium instead of uranium. The advantage of the latter is the smaller critical mass 5-10 kilograms. Plutonium is not found in nature can be synthesized – again a time consuming costly affair. Expenses of the project ran to 100 million dollars a month!

The other hurdle was assembling of the critical mass.

The requisite amount of uranium or plutonium cannot be simply cast as an ingot. Moment the critical mass which depend on shape and density of the sample is reached. The chain reaction propagate emitting radiation, because even one neutron is sufficient for triggering. Some neutrons always exist in the environment and also produced by spontaneous fission uranium. A method planned was to collide two pieces of uranium in a gun-like device using dynamite so that their union creates the critical mass. Another method considered was casting uranium or plutonium into a sphere of calculated size and implode it to increase the density by firing an appendage ordinary explosives. These methods needed to be secured foolproof and tested.


After three years of intensive activity, scientists and engineers at the Los Alamos Laboratory assembled an atom bomb on 13th July 1945. It was a plutonium device containing around 6 kilograms of this metal in the form of a sphere. Why was a plutonium bomb instead of uranium chosen for testing? The amount of weapons grade uranium available at that time was sufficient to make just one bomb, planned to be fired by the gun mechanism. Plutonium of much lower critical mass, adequate for several bombs was ready in the processing line. Furthermore, the implosion firing mechanism worked out for plutonium bombs demanded experimental confirmation.

Including accessories the bomb nicknamed ‘Gadget’ weighed nearly 5 metric tons. Gadget was transported to the testing site in the New Mexico desert and hoisted to a 100 m high steel tower. The bomb was scheduled to be exploded at 4 am 16th July 1945. However because of bad weather the time was pushed forward to 5.30 am. Scientists stationed 10 km away eagerly awaiting to watch the test were concerned. Some doubted whether the bomb would turnout to be a dud. Other pointed its power might exceed the expectation and pose danger to observers and community in the neighbourhood. Emphasizing this point, Edward Teller who later came to be known as the father of the hydrogen bomb distributed suntan cream.

When the trigger was switched-on at 5.30 am, the whole landscape was instantly lighted many times brighter than sunlight and a rising vividly coloured fireball appeared in the sky. The test was a success and a moment that changed the world forever. Seconds later the bang was felt, following a gush of wind. Physicist Enrico Fermi floated pieces of paper, timed their motion and quickly calculated the strength of the bomb, saying it is equivalent to 10 kilotons of TNT. More precise calculations carried out later revealed that strength was 22 kilotons.


The success of the atom bomb test was conveyed to President Truman but not publicly announced. general public inquisitive of the blinding flash and the bang were told an explosion occurred in an ammunition storage. President was planning to visit Germany to attend Potsdam conference – the famous big three Truman–Stalin–Churchill meeting. At the proceedings he hinted new development but did not elaborate. On 24th July Truman met Stalin casually and told him the United States has developed a weapon of unprecedented strength. Stalin did not react with excitement or interest and said ‘I hope the United States would make good use of it ‘. The reason for Stalin’s indifference became clear later. Soviet intelligence had been aware of the achievements in the Manhattan project.

Potsdam deceleration warned Japan to surrender unconditionally or suffer utter destruction – which Japan did not accept. Immediately the decision to drop atomic bombs on Japan was confirmed. The directive was said to be – hit Hiroshima, Kokura, Niigata or Nagasaki after 3rd August as weather permitted.

The bombing operation was assigned to Colonel Tibbets of the US Air Force. On August 6th early morning he took-off from Tinian Island air base in the Pacific carrying the bomb. Two other planes accompanied the B-29 bomber to monitor weather and parachute instruments to record the physical effects of the explosion. At about 8.15 am the pilot released the bomb from an altitude of 9.5 kilometers. The bomb fell down for 47 seconds and exploded at a height 600 meters above the ground – the triggering mechanism designed to explode the bomb in mid-air for the purpose of maximizing the destructive power. Tibbets who hurried away was at a safe distance of 18 kilometers when he observed the flash and the fireball.

The bomb aimed to the Aioi Bridge missed the target by 250 meters and detonated overhead Shima Hospital flattening it instantly. Amazingly the structure of the Hiroshima Industrial Promotion Hall almost at the epicenter did not collapse. A temperature exceeding 4,000 degrees Celsius burnt the roof killing everybody inside, but the peculiar way in which the shockwave approached, left the structural shell largely intact. This landmark ruin named Atomic Bomb Dome serve as a memorial for lives lost and a reminder for peace.

I (the author of this article) visited Hiroshima in the year 2000. My daughter then a high school student posed in front of the dome for a photograph and smiled. When I said this not a place to smile. A group of Japanese visitors at the site understood what I meant and emotionally expressed appreciation of my remark.


Even after Hiroshima attack, Japan did not surrender but vowed to fight. Soviet Union declaring war on Japan 8th August 1945 and United States dropping of a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki next day changed the situation. On 15th August 1945 the Emperor Hirohito agreed unconditional surrender effectively ending Second World War. Some celebrated the bombings implicating it’s a lesson to warmongering and crimes committed, but those died were innocent civilians. The horror atomic bombings particularly the late effects of radiation continued to uncover as days and months passed. Nevertheless there were glorifications of nuclear weapons. Many nations strived hard acquire them, boost their destructive power and develop strategic methods of delivery. Human desire for increasing power of self-destructive weapons did not end with atom bomb. In 1952 United States tested first hydrogen bomb or the thermonuclear device based on nuclear fusion – the opposite of fission where lighter nuclei similar to hydrogen fuse together to yield heavier nuclei liberating extra-large quantity of energy – thousands of times stronger than the Hiroshima bomb. In the following year, the Soviet Union exploded a similar weapon. Between 1950 -1962 the competition of super powers in detonating nuclear bombs polluted the atmosphere- increasing the incidence of cancer.

The Limited Test Ban Treaty of 1963 forbid atmospheric tests. However, underground tests continued and the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of the United Nations could not be strictly enforced as some nations avoided the agreement. On July 2017, United Nations proposed the resolution – The Treaty on the Prohibitions of Nuclear Weapons. The enforcement of the agreement require signature and ratification of 50 states. To date of the 82 countries, who have signed the treaty, only 40 have ratified it. Some countries seem to abstain from signing and ratifying the accord on the presumption that those who might not agree will pose a threat – vicious circle contradicting attitudes. Global citizens worldwide and a number organisations advocating peace, campaign to prohibit nuclear weapons. Most vociferous among them are the survived victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki- popularly known as ‘hibakusha’. Their pledge is ‘so that the people of future generations will not have to experience hell on earth, we want to realise a world free of nuclear weapons while we are still alive’.

The first sitting US President to visit Hiroshima was Barak Obama. On May 26th , 2016, talking to a gathering there, Obama said ‘Technological progress without an equivalent progress in human institutions can doom us. The scientific revolution that led to the splitting of an atom require moral revolution as well ’.

Human greed – the limitless urge to acquire material possessions – is blind to dangers ensuing in the horizon, threatening their own existence. Nuclear weapons and excessive burning of fossil fuels are two examples.

The author Prof.Kirthi Tennakone, National Institute of Fundamental Studies can be reached via


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Rare twin elephants born in Thailand ‘miracle’




The mother, 36-year-old Chamchuri, was not expected to deliver twins [BBBC]

An Asian elephant in central Thailand has given birth to a rare set of twins, in what caretakers have described as a miracle.

The mother, 36-year-old Chamchuri, was not expected to deliver twins and when she gave birth to a male calf last Friday, staff at the Ayutthaya Elephant Palace and Royal Kraal, had thought the delivery was done.

But while cleaning up the first calf and helping it stand on its feet, they heard a loud thud and realised that Chamchuri had given birth to a second calf, a female.

The second birth sent the mother into a panic and caretakers had to restrain her to prevent her from stepping on the female calf. One caretaker was hurt in the melee.

Dramatic footage on social media showed a crowd of caretakers – known locally as mahouts – frantically separating the female calf from the mother, with blood from the birth still visible on her hind legs.

Twins occur in only one percent of elephant births and male-female are even more rare, according to Save the Elephants, a research organisation.

“Once we pulled the second baby elephant out, away from the mother, the baby stood up. We were all cheering because it’s a miracle,” veterinarian Lardthongtare Meepan told the BBC.

“We’ve always wanted to see elephant twins but not everyone can see this because it doesn’t happen a lot,” said Ms Meepan, who grew up at the elephant park, and is herself a mother of twins.

Charin Somwang, a 31-year-old mahout, broke his leg while restraining the mother.  “I was so happy, I couldn’t feel the pain,” he told the BBC, adding he felt the extent of the injuries only when he was brought to the hospital.

“It’s normal that the new mother will always try to kick or push the baby… I was afraid that she might break the baby elephant, so I put myself forward and tried to block the mother from the smaller one,” said Mr Somwang, who has been working at the park for 15 years.

Elephants are considered sacred in Thailand, where a majority of the population is Buddhist. They are also a national symbol.

Since the birth, the Ayutthaya Elephant Palace and Royal Kraal has featured the twins in live streams on social media.

Park visitors, including children, are also allowed to see the twins, but only after disinfecting their footwear and their hands.

A sign near the nursery reads: “Please don’t touch the elephant babies”.

They will be named seven days after birth in accordance with Thai custom.

At 55kg (121lb) the female calf is slightly smaller than usual and has to step on a stool during feeding with her mother. Her brother is heavier at 60kg.

BBC/Benjamin Begley Elephant feeding
The female calf is slightly smaller than usual and has to step on a stool during feeding [BBC]

The park claims its elephants were rescued from begging on the streets. In 1989, Thailand banned logging in natural forests, leaving mahouts who worked in that industry jobless.

This forced them to make elephants perform tricks for tourists in exchange for money. This practice was outlawed in 2010 – though there are still rare cases of this happening.

In Ayutthaya, Thailand’s former capital, some elephants carry tourists on their backs to temples and historic ruins. Conservationists oppose elephant riding as they say this stresses the animals out and amounts to abuse.

An earlier report by the World Animal Protection (WAP) says that harsh methods are used to get a wild elephant to carry a human on its back. The process starts soon after it is captured. It is often referred to as “breaking-in” or “crush”.

Aside from Ayutthaya, elephants have also become tourist draws in highland villages in Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai in the north, where tourists can feed them with bananas, go walking with them and bathe them with mud.

The Asian elephant is an endangered species due to poaching, illegal trade and habitat loss, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

More elephants are used for tourism in Thailand – over 3,000 – than anywhere else. Unlike other countries with captive populations, those in Thailand are nearly all privately owned.

BBC/Benjamin Begley The twin elephants and their money
Twins occur in only one percent of elephant births [BBC]
BBC/Benjamin Begley The baby elephant
Elephants are considered sacred in Thailand, where a majority of the population is Buddhist [BBC]

Compared to their African counterparts, Asian elephants have smaller ears round and hunched backs.

Meanwhile, visitors continue to flock to the park in Ayutthaya to see the twin babies, as they await their names.

They walk in a small pen covered with hay as they roll their trunks on their mother’s leg.  “I am always happy when I see elephant gives birth,” said Mr Somwang, their mahout who is recovering from injury.  “It doesn’t need to be twins. Elephant babies always bring joy,” he said.


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How many Lawyers, Accountants does the Minister need to change an electric bulb?



Unbundling the Ceylon Electricity Board:

by Rajan Philips

There is no question – the Ceylon Electricity Board has grown into a public sector behemoth. It has become the Leviathan of Sri Lanka’s political economy. It sucks up government cash and owes an unpayable debt of about LKR600 billion; it counts 21,988 employees on its payroll and is on the hook for their pensions and provident funds; and it charges its consumers at rates much higher than in any other South Asian country. A once exemplary union of Professional Engineers is now disrespected for collective incompetence and systemic corruption. The big sucker needs even bigger time reform. No argument about it.

But how many Lawyers, Accountants and Administrators, and how few Engineers are needed to accomplish power sector reform? That was the first question that arose in my mind while reading the Sri Lanka Electricity Bill that the government introduced in April. I am not the only one, it turns out. The Supreme Court raises the same question and answers it perceptively on page 52 of its ruling on the constitutionality of the Bill following hearings in May:

“It is certainly not a fanciful hypothesis, and it would be fully compliant with Clause 38(2) as it currently reads, for three Attorneys-at-Law with ten years experience to be appointed to the Secretariat and as the Director General. Given the absence of any provision to appoint other staff members to the Secretariat, the Secretariat would not have the benefit of any persons with experience in the field of power system planning and operation or an electrical engineer.”

Judicial Frustration

Here the Court is referring to the setting up of the Power Sector Reform Secretariat, a key one among many agencies in the complex architecture of the new law to reform the power sector, and the criteria for its composition detailed in Section 38, Part XIII of the Bill. The Court’s concerns are outlined under the heading “Expertise of those entrusted to manage the entities that are established,” and they are a response to one of the arguments on behalf of the petitioners that the law must ensure that the newly created “entities are led and managed by experts and professionals with experience in the relevant disciplines, and that the criteria for appointment be laid down to prevent friends and family of the appointing authority from being appointed.”

The Court then makes the clarion call that “the time is certainly ripe for this Court to insist that meritocracy be restored, respected and adhered to when appointments are made by a Minister, or any governmental authority and we therefore take the view that any failure to do so would result in the fundamental rights of the People guaranteed by Article 12(1) being infringed.”

Article 12 (1) enshrines the fundamental right that “All persons are equal before the law and are entitled to the equal protection of the law.” This is quite a statement by the Supreme Court – to emphasize ‘meritocracy’ and to assert the fundamental right of citizens to have meritocracy recognized and observed in any and every instance by any government and every government.

Indeed, the Court held that the Bill as a whole and several of its provisions are inconsistent with Article 12 (1) of the Constitution and suggested a number of amendments to address the inconsistencies and avoid the need for passage by a two-thirds majority. As it has now become the legislative practice in Sri Lanka, the amendments recommended by the Supreme Court were passed during the Committee Stage of the Bill, before the Third Reading and passage on Thursday, June 6. Parliament and the country would seem to have come to take the governments’ word for incorporating mostly substantial amendments in Committee.

One senses an undertone of judicial frustration in the ruling of the Supreme Court on the Electricity Bill that the government finally introduced in April after withdrawing an earlier draft Bill that had been criticized for its significant errors. Obviously, not all the errors had been addressed in the Bill presented to parliament in April, and they became the subject of a number of fundamental rights petitions that the Court heard and seemingly agreed with in its ruling.

Before dealing with the question of meritocracy, the Court summarized the legal submissions on behalf of the petitioners into “two categories”: (1) the “unclear, vague and irrational” provisions of the Bill that the Court itself would seem to have acknowledged as “permeating” much of the Bill; and (2) the “unbridled power” assigned to the Minister by the Bill. The upshot of the two could potentially lead to “arbitrary implementation of the provisions of the Bill.” The Court identified the specific provisions that could lead to arbitrary implementation and suggested amendments to address them.

Addressing the arguments for the government by the Additional Solicitor General on the need for electricity reform and her assertions of safeguards in the Bill against arbitrary implementation, the Court noted that it is “mindful that the task of making policy is the prerogative of the Executive, and that the enactment of laws is within the domain of parliament,” and that “whether the Government wishes to shift the electricity sector from being a Government owned utility provider to a profit earning sector consisting of many players is entirely a matter of policy.”

At the same time, the Court went on, the President and the Cabinet of Ministers must constitutionally be guided by the Directive Principles of State Policy enshrined in Article 27, and specific to the project of unbundling the CEB, it must be carried out without vagueness but with clarity and precision. Otherwise, although the Court did not quite put in this way, the cure of unbundling the CEB might turn out to be worse than the diseased bundle.

Judicial Drafting

Perhaps the most glaring vagueness as some of the Counsel for the Petitioners pointed out with the Court agreeing is in the assignment of dates on which the different provisions of the law will come into operation. The Bill before the Court provided for the main body of the law to come into operation on a date appointed by the Minister or at the end of six months whichever is sooner. Four exceptions were identified. Two of them, namely, the provisions for the establishment of the National Electricity Advisory Council and the establishment of the Power Sector Reforms Secretariat will come into operation upon the enactment of the law by parliament. The other two, the operationalization of open access and the operation of the Wholesale Electricity Market, are both set to commence on dates appointed by the Minister, but the Minister is given a window of five years to determine those dates and the option to extend them one year at a time for another five years.

In other words, the Advisory Council and the Reform Secretariat could be established as soon as parliament enacts the Electricity Act, but without any of the supporting provisions of the law, including the provision stipulating the objectives of the Bill and the provision enabling the making of electricity policy and mobilizing resources, the two agencies would be constrained to function in a vacuum.

The anomaly was pointed out in challenging the constitutionality of the Bill, and the Government was ready at the hearing to submit and confirm that the Bill would be amended at the Committee Stage to include four additional provisions that would also come into operation on the day of law’s enactment, while extending the Minister’s discretion to enable the operation of all the rest of the law from six months to twelve months. Two of the amended additions would activate the objectives of the Bill and enable policy making. The Court found the Government’s addition of four provisions to be inadequate for streamlining the operationalization of the law and added further provisions to enable the establishment of the National System Operator.

It will not be an exaggeration to say that as part previewing bills for their constitutionality, the Supreme Court has been forced to undertake the task of redrafting badly drafted bills. In the case of the Electricity Act, the poor drafting of the Bill is also indicative of the level of competence that the government seems able to muster to implement the reforms of the power sector that the new law sweepingly envisages. The bigger worry should be the warning about the challenges of privatization in Sri Lanka that the late Saman Kelegama once alluded to: “in a weak regulatory and legal framework with weak institutional capacity, poorly managed and badly conceived privatization can compound the problems.” Further, “the weaker the economy and governing institutions, the more difficult it becomes for privatization to yield benefits.”

The Electricity Act is now in place, but the Minister has one year to appoint the date on which most of the provisions of the new law, save those amended by the Supreme Court, to come into operation. He could do it sooner, but the provision of such a long window would suggest that the present government is not confident about having all the pieces in place to operationalize the law. Within one year, there is the certainty of a presidential election and the distinct possibility of a parliamentary election. The obvious and passive question to ask is what will happen to the implementation of the Electricity Act if there were to be a new President after October, and a new parliament next year. The question that ought to be asked, however, is what the opposition leaders who want to be elected as President and form the next government, will do with the Electricity Act.

(To be continued).

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The evolution of legislative reform from the British times



By Nihal Seneviratne

The Colebrook and Cameron Commission came to Ceylon in 1833. This marked the commencement of legislative and constitutional development in Ceylon, as we were then, under colonial rule. The Commission, named after its two prominent members Alexander Johnston Colebrook and Charles Cameron played a pivotal role in shaping the legislative and constitutional reforms of Ceylon.

This Commission which was established by the British colonial administration sought to comprehensively study and reform various aspects of Ceylonese society with a primary focus on legal, administrative and economic reform. It was tasked with investigating the existing systems and proposing changes to bring about more efficient governance and development.

One of the key areas of focus was the legal system. As Ceylon then had a complex and fragmented legal framework consisting of traditional customs, Dutch laws and British colonial regulations, the Commission recommended the establishment of a unified legal system based on the English common law which laid the foundation for Ceylon’s modern legal system.

The Commission’s recommendations extended to land tenure and property rights. It proposed reforms to the traditional land tenure system, aiming to provide some security to land owners and encourage interested in agriculture. It further recommended the establishment of English medium schools and laid the groundwork for the introduction of Western education in Ceylon.

The Commission’s work in 1833 marked a significant turning point in Ceylon’s history. Its reforms and recommendations had a profound and lasting impact on Ceylonese society. Its work had been subjected to critique and debate and its influence cannot be denied. It serves as a reminder of the complex dynamics between colonial powers and the societies they governed.

It was over a long period of time that the British granted a conferment of power to the people. They were very conscious of the presence of the Tamil minorities and did everything to protect their interests. making a full study of the prevailing situation when granting their demands.

The two cornerstones of the recommendations were the establishment of an Executive Council and a Legislative Council. The Councils were presided over by the Governor and the Secretary of State for the Colonies. The Executive Council had six members headed by the Governor and the Legislative Council had the members of the Executive Council, and four ex-officio members, viz. the Government Agent of the Western Province, the Surveyor General, the Principal Collector of Customs and the Auditor General. The unofficial members with a tenure of six years, comprised of one each from the Sinhalese, Tamil, Burgher and European communities, and a member each from the planting and mercantile communities.

These were the first Sinhalese and Tamils in the Legisslative Council from 1833-1911.


J.G.Phillipsz Panditharatne (1833-1843). J.C.Dias (1843-1860), H.Dias (1861-1865), E.H.Dehigama (1865-1875), James Alwis (1875-1878), J.P.Obeysekera (1878-1881),A.L. de Alwis (1881-1888), Alwis Seneviratne (1888-1900) and S.C.Obeysekera (1900-1911).


A.Coomaraswamy Pulle (1835; died in 1836), S.Casie Chetty (1838-1843), S.Edirimanasingham (1845-1848); (1851-1860), Muttu Coomaraswamy (1861-1879), P.Ramanathan (1871-1891), P.Coomaraswamy (1893-1898), Dr W.G.Rockwood (1898-1905) and A.Kanagasabai (1906-1911)


E.H.Dehigama was the only Sinhalese representative who had no direct kinship with the Dias Bandaranaike and Obeysekera families.

Coomaraswamy and Ramanathan (brothers) were the nephews of Muttu Coomaraswamy.

In 1889, Kandyans and Muslims found representation in the two Commissions. In 1912, the McCallum reforms were introduced to Ceylon followed up by the Manning reforms in 1922.

The functioning of these two Councils were found ineffective but the British Government was keen to grant more powers to the people. As a result it Government decided to send Lord Donoughmore assisted by Dr Drummond Shields and Francis Butler for further study. They were approved by Sydney Webb who was the Labour Secretary of State for Colonies in 1927. There then took place an effective change from the Legislative and Executive Councils to the State Council.

The first State Council was from 1936 to 1939. The functioning of the State Council was found to be wanting and the Soulbury Commission was sent to Ceylon which decided to grant full independence with the establishment of Parliament.

(The writer is a former Secretary General of Parliament)

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