New books: D. S. Senanayake, the ‘Father of the Nation’ | Sunday Observer

New books: D. S. Senanayake, the ‘Father of the Nation’

The ceremonial launch of two publications of the International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES, Kandy) titled, The Life of D. S. Senanayake (1884-1952): Sri Lanka’s First Prime Minister, by Prof. K. M. de Silva, and its Sinhala version, (Sinhala) (1884-1952),by Prof K. N. O. Dharmadasa, was held in Kandy on October 3 in the presence of a gathering invited by Prof. Upul Dissanayake, Vice-Chancellor, University of Peradeniya, who sponsored the event in collaboration with the staff of the ICES.

Following a video sketch of Prof de Silva’s services to university education and his achievements as a university teacher, there was a series of oral presentations by several scholars of the Peradeniya University who dealt with different aspects of the services rendered by D. S. Senanayake, the first Prime Minister who is venerated as the ‘Father of the Nation’.

Prof. Dharmadasa in his presentation elaborated the significance of Prof. de Silva’s book as a major work of research, unprecedented in its detail and depth, which was essentially the reason for his being impelled to diffuse that knowledge among the Sinhala readership through a translation. Prof. C. M. Madduma Bandara, referred to D. S. Senanayake’s pioneer achievements in several facets of the emerging nationalist movement of Sri Lanka.

He devoted special attention to the epoch-making transformations initiated by Senanayake in the field of agrarian affairs - especially, irrigation and peasant farming - targeted mainly at the rural poor. Prof. Peiris’ presentation was featured focusing on the invaluable less4ons that could be drawn from the exemplary career of D. S. Senanayake as delineated in the two volumes, and those of their authors.