Late E. L. B. Hurulle An honest politician respected by all

7 May 2018 12:00 am - 1     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


(Article written to remember the late minister on his 9th death anniversary in April)   

In the year 1977 E. L. B. Hurulle, the then MP for Horowpothana was appointed Minister of Cultural Affairs in the government of Prime Minister, J. R. Jayawardene.   

Although, the Cultural Affairs Ministry was perceived to be an inactive Ministry, Mr. Hurulle took it upon himself to create importance and value for the Ministry by embarking on several activities to bring attention to his ministry nationally.   

Thus a major project was initiated by his submitting Project proposal No.19 to the World Congress of the UNESCO in Paris proposing the conservation of Sri Lanka’s main cultural monuments.   

The proposal of Minister Hurulle was accepted by UNESCO including the creation and funding of 6 projects identified as the ‘Cultural Triangle’ encompassing a distance of 100 miles to cover the ancient cities of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Kandy.   

The six projects approved were the Jethavana Temple and Abhayagiri Monastry in Anuradhapura, the Sigiriya Water Park, Alahana Pirivena at Polonnaruwa, the Rock cave temple in Dambulla and the heritage sites in Kandy.   

The proposal of Minister Hurulle was accepted by UNESCO including the creation and funding of 6 projects identified as the ‘Cultural Triangle’ encompassing a distance of 100 miles to cover the ancient cities of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Kandy.  

As such, excavation work commenced at the above sites which were funded by UNESCO. Discoveries of cultural and historical value were made. In addition, underdeveloped Buddhist Temples located round Sri Lanka were benefited by way of development and the increased attention of both local and overseas devotees was seen.   

Minister Hurulle was born in January 1919 in the village of Morakewa, Horowpothana in the district of Anuradhapura as the second son of Tikiri Banda Hurulle Rate Mahatmaya and Alice Bulankulame. He had his education in Trinity College, Kandy and St.Patrick’s College, Jaffna after which he joined Government Service in 1938 as a Divisional Revenue Officer (DRO) in Moneragala District.Thereafter he served the people in Vavuniya North, Matale North and Kahatagasdigiliya in the Hurulle Palatha of the NCP.   

Being a person who had provided honest and dedicated service to the people as a DRO, the then Prime Minister, Sir John Kotelawala, invited Mr. Hurulle to be the candidate of the United National Party (UNP) for Horowpothana at the Parliamentary General Election of 1956.   

Although the UNP at this election was reduced to a mere eight seats in Parliament, Mr.Hurulle was able to win his seat in Parliament comfortably and in the two Parliamentary elections that followed in 1960 as well.   

Following the Parliamentary General election of 1965, E. L. B. Hurulle was appointed Minister of Transport in the Government of Dudley Senanayake and played a pivotal role in the development of transport in Sri Lanka.   

The importation of quality vehicles for the Taxi Service, Land vehicles for Plantation estates, Lorries for the transport of produce and materials throughout the country were a few economically beneficial activities initiated by him. In addition, it was during this period that Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) was able to purchase a Trident Passenger jet plane for Air Ceylon which allowed the airline to fly international air routes and put Sri Lanka on the international air map. The Railway Department too was supplied with modern Diesel engines and carriages to facilitate travel of the general public.   

With Mr. Hurulle’s appointment as Minister of Cultural Affairs in 1977, a whole new awakening of Sri Lanka’s cultures and religions were seen. Mr. Hurulle being a descendant of the lay retinue that accompanied Theri Sangamitta who carried the Sacred Bo Tree Plant from Dambadiva to Anuradhapura facilitated the bringing of the Sacred Kapilawastu Relics of Lord Buddha to Sri Lanka for the first time and made arrangements for these Sacred Relics to be taken to all parts of the country for exhibition and worship over a period of 60 days.   

Other service provided by ELB Hurulle included the conduct of a Tripitaka Dharma Sangayanawa at Mihintale, facilitating for Buddhist devotees to make pilgrimages to India and Nepal, ensuring the distribution of books on Buddhism to students attending Dhamma schools around the country, arranging for the Department of Examinations to conduct Dhamma examinations and Dharmachariya examinations.   

The Department of Buddhist Affairs of the Cultural Affairs Ministry played a principal role in these activities. It was during this period that significant amendments to the Temple and Devala Ordinance were made and action taken to increase the income of Temples and Devalas from their properties. On an international perspective, in 1980 Minister Hurulle attended the sessions of The World Fellowship of Buddhists in Thailand and proposed that a new organization be set up consisting of World Buddhist Leaders and Professionals which was approved unanimously. As a result, the first sessions of World Buddhist Leaders was held in Colombo, Sri Lanka in 1984.   

At the same time, Mr. Hurulle ensured that his Ministry assisted and facilitated activities of other religions to ensure their development while having an excellent rapport with their religious leaders. He treated and respected all people alike, irrespective of race, religion and caste.   

Being an honest politician from a respected family, ELB Hurulle led a contented life up to the age of ninety years having lived and worked for the people of our country sans allegations of dishonesty or fraud.   

I wish and pray that he attains the supreme bliss of Nirvana!   
H.M.Wimalaratne,Yakalla, Galenbindunuwewa (Anuradhapura)   
Translated to English by W A C P Wijeyaratne, SLAS (Rtd.), Colombo 08     

  Comments - 1

  • Sunil Tuesday, 08 May 2018 12:40 PM

    Here is a gentleman of integrity who was always above reproach.

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