Friday, January 20, 2017

"This is my son" the king said, ministers wouldn't believe him

In December 1664, a large comet appeared, blazing  over city of Kandy, pointing towards East. Knox says next day he saw it pointing towards West and gradually diminishing  in size.
Comets foretell a disaster or a dreadful period for the populous, in general, they say, that’s exactly what happened in Kandy in that December. Some chiefs in Kandy raised a rebellion , for the people were fed up of the oppressive and tyrannical rule of the king Rajasingha ii and  wanted to get rid of old king and install his son on the throne . The prince was only about 15 years of age but knowing his sober habits they thought even boy king is preferable to tyrannical rule of old monarch. 
The king was conducting court affairs from a lesser town called Nillambe, towards Gampola  and prince and his mother , the queen, were living in Kandy ,the capitol. The king had preferred  Nillambe to kandy because he, it appears was paranoid about his personal security , and felt Nillambe with thick forest cover and isolation from population is a more secure for him than Kandy.
Kings assessment of the situation was justified. Rebels stuck at the midnight of 20th December 1664. About 200 armed men entered the city at midnight,  killed many officers of the kings guard  who resisted. Some of the guards joined the rebels , probably the officers who have previously conspired  with  the rebels. 
Some loyals and officers whose allegiance is uncertain were killed, and most loyals who escaped ,flocked  to the defense of the king. Only protection  that separated  king and the rebels was just a  clay wall. Kings men put up a strong fight and rebels decided to postpone the attack until daybreak. That was a bad decision no doubt , by morning rebels found  loyals had  fled to a  place called Galauda in Mandaram Nuwara. 
Fleeing has not been easy. King and his entourage, mounted on horses, pushed through thick jungle for about 15 miles whilst  guards on foot  drove  elephants before him to clear a path for him. His refuge , a large rocky mountain, could have been easily assailed but rebels, probably because they were led poorly, abandoned the chase and came back to Kandy, the capitol, to attend to the administrative matters first.
All the Europeans who were kept prisoners by the king for last many decades , including best known prisoner in Kandyan kingdom, Robert Knox ,have been brought to Kandy few days earlier were in Kandy when rebels arrived. First the rebels crowned the prince. Then they explained the reason for the rebellion to the European prisoners. Following were the major reasons.
Not returning ambassadors to respective governments after the embassy is over
Not allowing trade with other nations
Detaining foreigners who enter the kingdom
Killing his subjects and families arbitrarily 
Keeping kings officers separated  from their families

Meanwhile the prince who has been brought up within the palace walls without exposing to general public in a  very private surroundings was  confused by all these people coming to him, prostrating in front of him and calling him king. Rebels who were planning to go to mountains to capture the king on 25th December  are  utterly perplexed  by the  attitude of the prince. 
There are more surprise in store for the rebels, a day before the rebels to proceed for capturing of the king, they find the prince run away to his father with kings sister. Now they have no hopes whatsoever , so they fight each other and declare allegiance to old king. To prove their loyalty to the king they kill their fellow conspirators, claiming its they who  conspired against the king. King receiving  all this intelligence ,allow this mayhem to continue for ten days and issue orders to stop killing each other whilst restoring his rule.
King returns to the capitol, torture leaders who have been arrested, make more arrests ,put to death  everybody who has even been mentioned in connection of the rebellion. But  King cannot think of a suitable punishment for the  leader of the rebellion and  he thinks Dutch who are masters of the coast would have more brutal way of executing traitors than in Kandy. 
So he sends  Ambanwela Rala , the leader of the rebellion, to Dutch, in chains. What happened to him in Colombo  is a  more interesting story than the rebellion itself!
 King now  want to prevent another rebellion like that, of course no king would like rebellions. So he analyses.  What did he learn from last rebellion, because he knows history will repeat. Two most important points;
1. There is no chief in Kandy he dare assume throne
2. Dissenters  will always plan to crown his son in case they want to get rid of him.
The prince disappears; people believe that he has been poisoned by king.
6th December 1687
king Rajasingha lies in his death bed 23 years after the rebellion. His ministers are waiting in his sleeping chambers. They are in a immense predicament  because king is not leaving a heir apparent .
 King introduces a young person to his ministers and says that it is his son and he has been brought up in a temple since the rebellion and he should be crowned after his death, since he is his son the legitimate  heir apparent to the throne of Kandy.
Ministers wouldn’t believe it, they knew the prince was killed after the rebellion.  Aghast, they are reluctant to accept him. King felt the tension in the room and he doesn’t have much time to convince the royal courtiers, he, with greatest difficulty, get down from the bed for one last time with the help of two nobles and prostrate, in front of the young person, who he claims to be his son. Ministers were convinced without an iota of doubt because Rajasingha would never bow down  in front of anybody.
What better way to convince the ministers that he is his son! 


  1. /What happened to him in Colombo is a more interesting story than the rebellion itself!/

    Yes indeed Ambanwela Rala was not only spared by Dutch but was given a prominent place in their seems Dutch were in awe of someone who had the audacity to take on ruthless and tyrannical Rajasinghe II.

    1. and subsequntly he became owner of large cinamon estate called Kollupitiya. didnt he ?

  2. Rajasinghe the second is one of my favorite kings. However, it seems that I should not get close to my heroes.

  3. Galauda is a village in a hill top, further away from Mandaramnuware towards Randenigala, with scenery view of Randinigala reservoir nowadays. Some times back there was a rudimentary footpath from Mandaramnuwara to Badulla/ Mahiyanganaya people used for annual pilgrimage.

  4. very interesting, may be we can trace a path of the fleeing king to Galauda from Nillambe

  5. I think "Kasuri and chandrasiri dodangoda of divayina news paper followed this route from badUlla to kandy in eighties

    1. well, Nillambe is close to Gampola , path from Nillambe to Galauda would not go via Badulla , kings party would have passed Badulla at least 50 kms to their right Thusitha


සිංගප්පූරුව 2

 අද පුණ්‍ය කාලය නිසා සිංගප්පූරුවේ පසුගිය කාලය ගත කරපු ගමනේ තවත් විස්තරයක් ලියන්නට සිතුණි.  එහි සිටි දවස් දහයේ හැමදාම උදේට කිලෝමීටර් අටක් පමණ...