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Monday, September 8, 2008

Rebellion in Gampola


Rebellion in Gampola
This article is part of a continuing series on the ‘Mahavamsa,’ the recorded chronicle of Sri Lankan history
By Halaliye Karunathilake Edited and translated by Kamala Silva Illustrated by Saman Kalubowila

1. Aryachakravarti got a chance to interfere with the power struggle of the Sinhala kings. He almost became a mediator. He benefited by the invasions against the Sinhala kingdom. In an inscription set up, in the 3rd year of rule of Vickramabahu III, there is a reference to this effect. This inscription has been found in Madawala in the Harispattu area. It further states the following.

2. " A person named "Marthandam Perumadan" had instructed the Brahmins to collect taxes in a number of districts of the Gampola kingdom. It also mentions a "Ravulu Adhipathi."This Ravulu Adhipathi is, no other person than Aryachakravarti. According to the old Tamil tales of Jaffna, scholars believe, this 'Marthanda Singai Arya' – is Aryachakravarti.

3. However, by interfering with the internal troubles of Gampola, Aryachakravarti reaped financial benefits. Officers had been appointed to collect taxes from Sinhala villages. In the 'Rajavaliya' – it is stated that during this time, Aryachakravarti was powerful in Jaffna. There was a revolt against either Parakramabahu V or Buwanekabahu IV.

4. The leader of this uprising was a prince named Vickramabahu. This prince had got help from a minister named, Nissanka Alagakkonara. Both kings Buwanekabahu IV and Parakramabahu V
suffered badly because of this rebellion. They both lost their kingship. As Vickramabahu got help from the ruler of the North, the rebellion became worse. This prince had to pay, for the help he got.

5. A number of regions around Gampola were given over to the ruler of the North. Even the political affairs of Gampola were manipulated by Alagakkonara. It is he, who held the post of prime minister of Vickramabahu III, under the name Nissanka Alagakkonara. Whatever it may be, according to our Sri Lankan history, there were three kingdoms then and they were Raigama, Gampola and Yapahuwa.

6. Out of all the rulers, the most powerful was Aryachakravarti. He had both financial and military power. He collected taxes from the up-country, low-country and the fords. He had been receiving gifts too. This is proved by what is said in the inscription as well. However, the king of Gampola had been given a prominent place. Even the records of this period give honour and recognition to the king of Gampola.

7. This was done solely by Aryachakravarti himself. He kept the king on a high pedestal and obtained economic gains. The historians are of the opinion that this caused even economic strains at times. Although history gives Alakeshwara of Raigama, the 3rd place according to power, he had been a powerful leader. He hated the idea of the king and the people of the country, accepting the power of the ruler of the North.

8. Alakeshwara made a firm determination to end this shameful state of affairs. It was Aryachakravarti who collected the income from the lucrative trade that continued in the western coast. All taxes levied from fords, from Mannar to Panadura, had been collected by him.

The Sunday Times**********

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