The first Prime Minister of Sri Lanka | Sunday Observer

The first Prime Minister of Sri Lanka

Don Stephen Senanayake (DS)
Don Stephen Senanayake (DS)

Don Stephen Senanayake (D S) was the first Prime Minister of Independent Ceylon, as Sri Lanka was known then. He is called the ‘Father of the Nation’.

His father was Don Spater Senanayake and his mother was Dona Catherina Elizabeth Gunasekera.

He was born at Bothale Walauwa, Dedigama on October 21, 1883 and studied at S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia.

After a short period of work as a clerk at the Surveyor General’s Department the young Senanayake took to planting on the family estates. He also underwent training in agriculture at the state farm school in Gannoruwa.

DS and his elder brother Fredrick Richard (FR ) took to politics and along with other statesmen such as Sir D.B. Jayatilleke, Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan and T.B. Jayah led our country’s struggle for Independence.

In 1924 DS became a member of the Legislative Council and in 1931 was elected a member of the State Council and subsequently became the Minister of Agriculture and Lands. He held this post for 15 years.

He initiated the Gal Oya, Inginiyagala and Uda Walawa hydro power and irrigation schemes .

He married Molly Dunuwille and had two sons Dudley Shelton and Robert Parakrama. Dudley also became the Prime Minister later on.

Prime Minister D.S. Senanayake was a keen horse rider. He died on March 22, 1952 when he fell off his horse.