During a time when rice, clothes, vehicles were all being imported to Sri Lanka, Kumarathunga Munidasa, a Sri Lankan writer fought endlessly to free the people of this nation from the western influences.
He wrote in the editorial of the Lakmini Pahana newspaper: "Dangerous are the times for Sri Lanka. If the importing of rice stopped, we would have nothing to eat. If importing of materials stopped, we would have nothing to wear. If it was not for the vehicles imported from other countries, we would have no means of travelling.
"It is because of Kumarathunga Munidasa that we are speaking this language today."
In essence, without the accommodation from abroad, we will not be able to do anything." Kumarathunga Munidasa fought hard during his time to establish the Sinhala language. He wrote many interesting stories which became popular among the Sri Lankan audience: Magul Keema, Hathpana and Heenseraya are creations that most of us have read. As times passed by, these historical creations (which are a great part of the Sinhala literature today) became a part of our childhood, and fondly do we remember the memory of the ha ha hari hawa (rabbit) that came from the jungle. Recently, on 25 July, a group of people who treasure the literature created by Munidasa commemorated his 126th birthday at the auditorium of the National Museum in Colombo.
Professor Walter Marasinghe who was present at this occasion said when he was a kid, Kumarathunga Munidasa was his hero and idol.
"It is because of Kumarathunga Munidasa that we are speaking this language today.
However it is our duty to protect this language. Unfortunately today, even those books he wrote such as Kiyawana Nuwana and Heenseraya are seldom read by the children of the new generation and are rarely found in today's society. They should be introduced to children, as these books help to improve the writing skills of the children who read them," professor Marasinghe said.
Professor Marasinghe's speech was full of knowledge. But to some who were present, it was more like a grammar lesson. It was as if he came to the 126th commemoration of Kumarathunga Munidasa and ended up performing a grammar lesson on stage. It would have been more interesting if he stepped out of the frame and told the audience something that we didn't know about Munidasa.
However to break the monotony of the event, the organisers of the programme presented a video of a song by master W.D. Amaradeva which was written by Kumarathunga Munidasa called Daru Surathal.
This performance was very soothing to watch and hear.
Meanwhile Consultant Cardiologist Ruwan Ekanayake who was also present at this occasion spoke on the challenging ways in which Munidasa expressed his thoughts on the ethnic problem. "Whoever abides by desa (nation), bassa (language), Rasa (religion) is a true Sri Lankan, Munidasa said. Even if that person is foreign born, he will be a 'true Sri Lankan' if he abides by these three. Munidasa's example for this was Anagarika Darmapala," Dr. Ekanayake said.
During this event four students who had obtained the highest marks for the subject Sinhala, at the Ordinary/Level (O/L) examination were presented with scholarships: Praneetha Miwandi Bandaranayake of Devi Balika Vidyalaya in Colombo, Sudara Rumal Gal Gamuwa of Royal College, Tharundhi Umayangana of Dharmaloka Vidyalaya and Randulla Udani Koralage of Kristhudeva Balika Vidyalaya.