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The story of Kusumasana Devi who left a legacy for this country

31 August 2022 02:13 am - 2     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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  • Dharmapala handed over his Kingdom to the Portuguese and became a Roman Catholic
  • It is because of the death of Maha Astana that Kusumasana Devi decided to leave Mahanuwara (Kandy) and be near a physician who treated her for an ailment

 

If there was no Kusumasana Devi alias Dona Catharina alias Kamalasena Devi there would have been no Mahanuwara nor the Sacred Tooth Relic in this country. But no one speaks of her identity and she died a forgotten spouse; not as a Queen. She was the mother of King Rajasinghe I who saved the country for us to live as Sri Lankans 
Kusumasena Devi ruled Senkadagala in 1581 and survived the worst periods in Sri Lankan history.  It was a period of wars and evil ambitions when the country was ruled by three forces, but Jaffna was Independent.  Kotte was ruled and was under the Portuguese. Though the ruler was Dharmapala he was only a puppet king.


Dharmapala handed over his Kingdom to the Portuguese and became a Roman Catholic.Yet Sitawaka Rajasinghe defeated the Portuguese in the reputed Mulleriyawa Battle.  He also wanted to subjugate the Kingdom of Senkadagala; by which he aimed at making Sri Lanka a unitary state. 
However, according to the Mahawansa, Sitawaka Rajasinghe is accused of patricide and of murdering Buddhist clergy of religious institutions and on the other hand constructing Hindu Kovils.
In this atmosphere the Buddhist clergy moved the Sacred Tooth Relic to Delgamuwa Vihare and kept it under a grinding stone.


Karaliyadde Bandara ruled Senkadagala during this time despite being a catholic. Rajasinghe, with the help of the Buddhist clergy and Weerasundara Bandara, attacked the Kingdom of Senkadagala and Karalliyadde fled with Kusumasana Devi; it marked the turning point of the history of the land. 
Though Karaliyadde Bandara and his Queen died Kusumasana Devi, the three-year-old daughter, survived an attack of smallpox. This resulted in the establishment of Sri Lanka as a Buddhist State, if not which would have been a Portuguese State.  


Karaliyadde Bandara’s one ambition was to recapture Senkadagala with the help of the Portuguese. He also wanted Kusumasana Devi to be married to his nephew Yamasinghe Bandara and establish a well fortified State.  But Karaliyadde Bandara died of smallpox.
The story is long, but let us make it short and say Kusumasana Devi ruled Senkadagala in 1581. Then Wimaladharmasuriya, having captured Senkadagala, married Dona Catherina much against her wishes and was left as a Consort and not the Queen.


From the marriage of Wimaladhramasuriya Kusumasana Devi bore three children; they were Prince Maha Astana, and two daughters Suriya Devi and Sama Devi.
Wimaladharmasuriya died of tetanus due to a ‘prick’ on his foot when he came in contact with by a bamboo splinter.  With his death, Dona Catharina was crowned as the Queen.
Then commenced the conspiracy, turmoil and the various issues to gain Senkadagala Kingdom; this was while Dona Catharina was in office as the Queen. Then commenced the intriguing events in the Kandyan Kingdom and this led to the ousting of Dona Catharina. This happened against her wishes to be the consort of King Senerat, who was a Buddhist priest. 


Infact Wimaladharmasuriya’s brother Denawaka Mayadunne should have taken over the throne, but King Senerat- before he disrobed to marry Dona Catharina- was successful in murdering Mayadunne.
Dona Catharina tried to flee to Portugal, but was unsuccessful. She bore three children; all sons  Then Senerat’s one ambition was to make his eldest son the heir to the Throne of Senkadagala.  To fulfill his ambition he is alleged to have arranged to murder or kill Maha Astana; the son of Wimaladharmasuriya.
This was the turning point for Dona Catharina to leave Mahanuwara (Kandy) and reside at Kegalle, the present Wellantota. This place is inaccessible for anyone to visit. It was the Palace of Dona Catharina or Kusumasana Devi who left a legacy for this country.


Unfortunately, everyone has forgotten that she lived. She passed away on July 20, 1643 at Wellantota, in Kegalle District.
Her body was brought to Kandy with all the pomp and pageantry that was fitted a Royal funeral. The cremation of her remains was done at Adhana Maluwa 
The British administration left a legacy for the people of the country, but they could not live up to the standards that were expected of them.


The British had a knack for protecting Royalty and that was why they left 23 acres, some say seven acres of Land at Kegalle to build the monument or rehabilitate the Palace in the memory of Dona Catharina or Kusumasana Devi; the mother of King Rajasinghe of Gannoruwa fame.
But what has come of this British grant is that the politicians seem to have divided the land to their close associates. 
In recent times the then Archaeological Commissioner H. C. P. Bell also gazetted the land for a Palace of
Dona Catharina. 

 


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  Comments - 2

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  • Good to be informed Thursday, 01 September 2022 08:04 PM

    Our country is too much caught up in the past. Looking at people ages ago as heroes and heroine. Problem is especially rife with the older generations. Better to give up past royalty who got their roles as birthright and without merit. Otherwise the son of Sirisena, son of Rajapaksa and even the son of Premadasa would aspire to be king like. That all said, better to be informed and make decision to ignore past royalty, and hope none like her royalty comes again.

    Man Monday, 05 September 2022 10:07 AM

    It seems a wrong concept in this modern world as the most popular selected at an election. And it's not a matter of Royalty. That's it.


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