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Election reminiscences



Part V

(Continued from October 23)

Stories are many of W. Dahanayake’s electioneering feats with his ‘poly tricks’ and ‘podi tricks’. As a young man he took part in the by-election campaign of Kannangara for the Legislative Council, referring to him as a “Conscientious Willing Worker (C.W.W.)” At the time he would never have dreamt that they both would be future ministers of education. From local politics at Galle, he went to Keppitipola’s Wellassa in 1944, far removed from his native Galle and contested the by-election in Bibile. His rival was a powerful bus magnate who hired thugs to disrupt his meetings and threaten him with bodily harm. His rival was supported by a very rich and influential mudalali of the area. If he could win this man over to his side, Daha knew he would be a tremendous asset, but how? Daha didn’t battle for long. He began to pay ostentatious visits to the mudalali’s house three or four times a week making sure the man was out when he did so.

Word of this went round the electorate and people began to suspect the mudalali’s loyalties. The hapless man was treated with suspicion, and all his protestations of loyalty were of no avail. Angered by all this the mudalali decided to teach them all a lesson, and began to work openly for Daha and Daha romped home!


It was 1947, and the first general election to the newly created House of Representatives was on, generating much excitement and interest all over the country. Two colourful personages, who had both sat together as members of the dissolved State Council were contesting the Galle Seat. H. W. Amarasuriya one of the wealthiest men in the country had been Member of the State Council for Galle, and W. Dahanayake had been the MSC for distant Bibile. (He was nicknamed the Bibile Brook because of his capacity for long speeches and hence the comparison to Tennyson’s brook, which declared that “men may come and men may go, but I go on forever”).

Dahanayake began his campaign by announcing, “I am going to shake the money tree, pick up what you can!” Transporting of voters from their homes to polling stations by candidates and their agents was then allowed. Since the 1947 election took place just after World War II, petrol rationing was still on, and every candidate was given a hundred petrol coupons for his campaign; one coupon, one gallon, and Daha, in a characteristically spectacular gesture, returned his coupons to the authorities, stating, “My opponent, Mr. Amarasuriya will very kindly provide transport for my voters!”

And this is just what happened, for the seat that H.W. had won in 1936 with a record majority of 23,000 voters, was lost to Dahanayake by 2,400 odd votes!

There was an interesting aftermath ‘almost four, decades later. A statue of H. W. Amarasuriya was erected after his death by the grateful public of Galle, and Prime Minister Premadasa was invited to unveil it. On that occasion Dr. W. Dahanayake, Minister of Co-opertives, made a stirring speech, going on to describe the late Amarsuriya as a Bodhisatva. Prime Minister Premadasa, in his speech, quipped that had W. Dahanayake made that speech in 1947, he would have lost the election!


The ‘Kavi Kola’ (metrical verse leaflets) also formed an integral part of Daha’s election campaign. These leaflets were rhythmically recited over and over again to attract the attention of the voters. At this election Dahanayake was addressing a meeting at the Market Square, when suddenly, a woman in an advanced stage of pregnancy (at the ‘onna meanna’ stage) began to moan in pain.

Dahanayake ran to the road in search of a vehicle and saw a rickshaw parked there, with the rickshaw-karaya nowhere about. After she was helped to the rickshaw, Daha got between the shafts and to the cheers of the crowd, trotted off in the direction of the hospital.

Once they were out of sight of the crowd, he stopped the rickshaw. Smiling, the woman got off the rickshaw, and accepting the ten rupees which Daha offered, vanished down an alley. Meanwhile, the rickshaw puller also mysteriously made his appearance and collected his ten rupees.


In the 1947 general election, the first to the newly created House of Representatives, Dr. W. Dahanayake’s twin brother, Kalyanapriya (K.) contested the Colombo Central Seat. Unlike today’s elections, the earlier ones were spread out over a number of days. As everybody knows, it was W. Dahanayake, then Prime Minister, who held the very first one-day general election in March, 1960.

On the first day of the 1947 election, Sir Waithyalingam Doraisamy, the Speaker of the outgoing State Council lost. On the second day, Sir Susantha de Fonseka the Deputy Speaker, also lost. A few days later, while W. Dahanayake was addressing one of his brother’s meetings Inspector of Police strode up to the platform and said, “Mr. Dahanayake, you are permitted to use loudspeakers only until 10 p.m it is now 10.05. I don’t care if you haven’t finished your speech. I’m going to disconnect the loudspeaker”

As the inspector did so, Dahanayake yelled, “Sahodaravaruni, on the first day, Speaker ‘Giyaa’. On the second day Deputy Speaker ‘Giyaa’. Onna dan Loud Speaker – uth giyaa!” (On the first day, the speaker went! On the second day, the Deputy Speaker went! And now the Loud Speaker has also gone!”)


Once at a meeting, Dahanayake said that to maintain the Prime Minister D.S. Senanayake’s dog it costs Rs. 400 of the people’s money, a month. And it was long afterwards that the people came to know that the Premier had no dog.


When S. W. R. D. came to address one of Daha’s election meetings at Galle in 1956, he went up to the mike and shouted “Banda comes to town! UNP down!” On hearing it S.W.R.D. had a hearty laugh. A special feature of the 1960 March general election was that an incumbent Prime Minister W. Dahanayake, was defeated in his own electorate.


One speaker at an election meeting contemptuously said that Dahanayake had been in every political party, save the J.V.P. and the Federal Party.

In 1977, the Galle seat was contested by a UNPer. But Dahanayake who also contested the seat announced that he was “Pro JR”.

On the day that JR was on his way to Galle to address a UNP meeting, Dahanayake was in Hikkaduwa on the Main Road to Galle, on a rickety old car, feigning a break down.

As JR was approaching, Daha stopped his car.

“Daha! what’s the problem?”

“My car broke down. Can you please give me a lift to Galle?”

“Daha! hire a car and go, Here’s the money,” said JR, who knew what the former was up to.

It was a Greek meeting a Greek.



Banis Mama become Amuda Mama, when he protested against the rationing of textiles in the first government of Sirimavo by wearing an Amude (a loin-cloth) to Parliament. He was not allowed to enter the Chamber but hovered there to be photographed.

Minister Felix Bandaranaike quipped, “We should cut our cloth according to the size of our external assets. Rumour had it that Sir John was about the place, and true to form, was searching for a pair of scissors.


Soon after his defeat at the 1960 March election, Dahanayake went on pilgrimage, armed with camera given to him by Sir Susantha de Fonseka, former Ambassador of Ceylon in Japan and a former deputy speaker.

After parking his vehicle, he was going to the Avukana Shrine when became thirsty and went to a hut close by to ask for some water. The woman there brought a glass of water and while giving it asked him where he came from. Dahanayake answered that he was from Galle, when the woman fuming with indignation said, “The people of Galle do not deserve to be given even a glass of water, for the way they defeated Dahanayaka Mahaththaya.” Dahanayake chuckled and resumed his journey, without revealing his identity.

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Hair Growth and Thickness



LOOK GOOD – with Disna


* Oil:

Oiling is an old home remedy for hair growth and thickness. Oiling is also used for the strength, shine, and length of hair, from ancient times. The use of coconut oil, especially, is very effective when it comes to the amplification of hair health. Additionally, there are many essential oils for faster hair growth which you can use, too.

* How to Use: Generally, hair oiling works best when applied overnight. You could use this therapy every night, or after each night, then wash your hair, in the morning, before heading for studies, or work.


* Aloe Vera:

Aloe vera has long been used as a home remedy for hair growth, thickness, and treating hair loss problems It contains vitamins A, C, and E. All three of these vitamins are known to contribute to cell turnover, supporting healthy cell growth and shiny hair. Plus, vitamin B-12 and folic acid are also included in aloe vera gel. Both of these elements can keep your hair from falling out. Aloe vera plants can be easily grown indoors. A leaf can be plucked, occasionally, and cut open to reveal its gel. This gel needs to be applied on the scalp, basically, to provide nourishment to the roots.

*  How to Use:

Rub this gel on your head properly, leaving no area dry; wash after half an hour or so. Keeping this massage as a part of your weekly routine will eventually make your hair thick and long.


*  Green Tea:

Green tea is often consumed as a home remedy for weight loss. Surprisingly, it has many other benefits, including hair-related benefits.

* How to Use:

Consuming green tea once every day can add to the strength and length of your hair. If your body is extremely comfortable with green tea, then you may even consume it twice every day.


* Onion Juice:

A bi-weekly application of onion juice can relieve you of your tension, regarding hair health. The smell can really torture you, but divert your attention in doing something else for a while, like making a puzzle or washing the dishes. From an early age, onion juice has been used as a home remedy to control hair fall. Research has shown that onion juice has been successful in treating patchy alopecia areata (non-scarring hair loss condition) by promoting hair growth .

* How to Use:

Take half onion and blend it. Apply the mixture on every nook and corner of your scalp and let it sit for some 60 minutes, or so. Shampoo it off when it’s time for the hair-wash.

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Fun-loving, but… sensitive



This week, my chat is with Nilu Vithanage. She is quite active, as a teledrama actress – having done four, already; her first was ‘Pavela Will Come In The Cloud, Mom’ (playing the role of a nurse). Then Came ‘Heavenly Palaces’ (student), ‘Black Town’ (a village character Kenkaiya), and ‘Wings Of Fire,’ currently being shown, with Nilu as a policewoman. You could checkout ‘Wings Of Fire,’ weekdays, on Swarnavahini, at 7.30 pm. Nilu is also active as a stage drama artiste, dancer…and has also been featured in musical videos.

And, this is how our chit-chat went…

1. How would you describe yourself?

Let’s say, I’m a bit on the playful side, and I like to have a lot of fun. But, I do find the time to relax, and, at home, it’s dancing to music! Yeah, I love dancing. Oh, I need to add that I’m a bit sensitive.

2. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I get angry quickly. Fortunately, that anger doesn’t last long – just five to 10 minutes. But I wish I could get rid of anger, totally from my system!

3. If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?

Nope, can’t think of anything, in particular. Everything is fine with us, and I’m proud of my only brother, and I feel safe when he is around. Or, come to think of it, if I did have another brother, I would feel doubly safe…when going out, in particular!

4. School?

I did my studies at two schools – C.W.W. Kannangara Central College, and Panadura Sumangala Girls’ School for my higher studies. Representing my school, I won first place in a speech competition and dance competition, as well.

5. Happiest moment?

When my husband comes home, or talks to me on the phone. He is stationed in Hatton and those calls and home visits are my happiest moments

6. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

I really find a lot of happiness feeding the fish, in ponds. I love to see them rush to pick up the tidbits I throw into the pond. That’s my kind of happiness – being close to nature.

7. Are you religious?

I would say ‘yes’ to that question. I like to go to the temple, listen to sermons, participate in meditation programmes, and I do not miss out on observing sil, whenever possible. I also find solace in visiting churches.

8. Are you superstitious?

A big ‘no.’ Not bothered about all those superstitious things that generally affect a lot of people.

9. Your ideal guy?

My husband, of course, and that’s the reason I’m married to him! He has been a great support to me, in my acting career, as well in all other activities. He understands me and he loves me. And, I love him, too.

10. Which living person do you most admire?

I would say my Dad. I truly appreciate the mentorship he gave me, from a young age, and the things we received from him

11. Which is your most treasured possession?

My family.

12. If you were marooned on a desert island, who would you like as your companion?

A camel would be ideal as that would make it easier for me to find a way out from a desert island!

13. Your most embarrassing moment?

One day, recently, with the greatest of difficulty, I managed to join a one meter distance queue, to withdraw money from an ATM. And, then I realised I didn’t bring the card along!

14. Done anything daring?

I would say…yes, when I ventured out to get involved in teledramas. It was a kind of a daring decision and I’m glad it’s now working out for me – beautifully.

15. Your ideal vacation?

I would say Thailand, after reading your articles, and talking to you about Amazing Thailand – the shopping, things to see and do, etc. When the scene improves, it will be…Thailand here I come!

16. What kind of music are you into?

The fast, rhythmic stuff because I have a kind of rhythm in my body, and I love to dance…to music.

17. Favourite radio station:

I don’t fancy any particular station. It all depends on the music they play. If it’s my kind of music, then I’m locked-on to that particular station.

18. Favourtie TV station:

Whenever I have some free time, I search the TV channels for a good programme. So it’s the programme that attracts me.

19. What would you like to be born as in your next life?

Maybe a bird so that I would be free to fly anywhere I want to.

20. Any major plans for the future?

I’m currently giving lessons to schoolchildren, in dancing, and I plan to have my own dancing institute in the future.

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Snail-napping sets the stage for CGI road trip



The SpongeBob Movie:Sponge on the Run

By Tharishi hewaviThanagamage

Based on the famous and one of the longest-running American animated series that made its debut on Nickelodeon in 1999, created by marine science educator and animator Stephen Hillenburg, ‘The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run’ is the latest addition to the SpongeBob movie franchise, coming in as the third installment after ‘The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie’ (2004) and ‘The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water’ (2015).

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