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Late Deshamanya E. L. B. Hurulle

Edwin Loku Bandara Hurulle was born on the numerically unique day of 19th January 1919. i.e 19.1.1919. He was the first child of Tikiri Bandara Hurulle and Alice Bulankulame. His paternal grandfather Henarath Bandara Hurulle had been Rate Mahattaya of Hurulupalatha in Anuradhapura District. It had been Punchi Bandara Hurulle, the father of Henarath Bandara Hurulle, who had made the move from their original home close to the bund of the Hurulu Weva to Morakewa in Horowpotana.

Punchi Bandara Hurulle had built his Walawwa by the Morakewa Tank and the ruins of that building are still visible. Subsequently, a palatial two-storeyed Walawwa built by Henarath Bandara Hurulle around 1900 A.D. between the Morakewa Weva and the Anuradhapura - Trincomalee Main Road. This was the building set ablaze by the JVP during the insurgency in 1988.

Henarath Banda Hurulle had married Maningamuwe Weragama Kumarihamy. Edwin’s full Waasagama name was Illangasinghe Kalukumara Rajakaruna Edwin Loku Bandara Hurulle.

Edwin’s maternal grandfather was Loku Bandara Bulankulame Dissava, who was the hereditary Custodian of the Atamasthana in Anuradhapura. It is well known that the two families are descendants of the Royal Princes who accompanied Princess Sanghamitta in 288 B.C. with the Srimahabodhi sapling from India.

At the time of the Kandyan Convention in 1815 his ancestor, Nuwaraweva Suriyakumara Wannisinghe Mudiyanse Ralahamy, Dissava of Nuwarakalaviya and hereditary Custodian of the Atamasthana had opposed the British and declined to sign the convention document.

The Illangasinghe Kalukumaras of Hurulupalatha are a family that in all probability predates the Kandyan era. Hurulupalatha takes its name from the palatha of Huruluweva. The Weva was built by the great reservoir builder, King Mahasen (275 - 301 AD.) and as the monks would wash their heeralu i.e. robes at the reservoir, it came to be known as Heeralu Weva and the name evolved to Hurulu Weva. Hence the name Hurulle.

Edwin and his brother Clive, a Civil Engineer by Profession and sister Sumana lost their parents at an early age and one could imagine them growing up in the early part of the twentieth century in Morakewa. After his education initially at St. Patrick’s College, Jaffna and subsequently at Trinity College, Kandy, Edwin for a time served as an acting Rate Mahattaya and was subsequently absorbed into the ranks of the Divisional Revenue Officers who replaced the Rate Mahattayas in the Kandyan areas and the Korale Mudliyars in the Low Country.

In 1956 he for the first time contested for the Horowpotana. seat in Parliament and survived the MEP landslide when the UNP was humbled to a meagre 8 Parliamentary Seats. His maternal uncle and mentor P.B. Bulankulame Dissava who had served in the Cabinet did not survive the landslide defeat.

Edwin thereafter won three more elections and in 1965 entered the Cabinet as Minister of Communications. In 1977 he was appointed Minister of Cultural Affairs and retired in 1994 after serving as Governor of the Central Province, High Commissioner in Australia and Governor of the North Central Province. Edwin’s work as a member of the Cabinet and as a Member of Parliament is part of the public record and there are few places in the country that do not carry his name on a Foundation Stone or document.

To those who knew him personally it would always be a mystery as to how a person who was not a grabber of public office could have such a distinguished record of public service. Except for the period between 1970 and 1977 Edwin and his son Themiya had represented Horowpotana in Parliament from 1956 to 1994. There maybe other families which have a similar record but they number very few.

Edwin Hurulle married Malinee Galagoda, a lady of great dignity and presence. The Galagodas of Hanguranketa were a family which had held the high office of Adigar and Dissava in the time of the Kandyan Kings and one ancestor’s direct intervention had saved King Kirthi Sri Rajasinghe from an assassination plot.

The couple was blessed with two daughters Maya and Deepthi and three sons Themiya, Vajira and Kanishka, all of whom were deeply attached to their father. He lived to see all his grandchildren and several great grandchildren. His civility and kindness to all hid his strength of character, and despite having been a Cabinet Minister, a Governor of two Provinces and a High Commissioner he never spoke down to people.

All this can only be achieved by someone who came to this life with a large store of merit and his work in this life has only added to that merit.

He will attain Nirvana!
T.A.

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