Posted by: lrrp | May 22, 2006

2nd Tamil Invasion of Sri lanka

2nd Tamil Invasion
Elara is hired by the selfish corrupt elements in Lanka Selfish corrupt elements, which included both the Sinhalese and some South Indians living in Lanka, were after more business profits. They secretly helped and funded a South Indian Warlord named Elara, to come and weaken the patriotic Sinhalese rule. The selfish corrupt class hated the rules under the pure Buddhist principles. Elara arrived with 20 Generals, and a private army of 100,000 South Indians Mercenaries. This he needed to face the newly raised Lankan Patriotic Army. They landed in Trinco. Old King Asela personally led the Lankan Army against the invader. But the invader knew the precise tactics, the strategy and the timing, the formations adopted by the Lankan Army units. The traitors who were loooking forward for a business economy under Elara’s rule, had passed all the information to the enemy. Asela was killed in action as Anuradapura fell to the invaders and the collaborators.

44 Years under Elara
Elara has over one million armed men Elara ruled from Anuradapura, pleasing the selfish corrupt elements. There are no records to indicate that both invaders thus far destroyed any of the Buddhist heritage. It is clear that they both had the support of some very powerful and influential Sinhalese in Anuradapura. Elara didn’t dare to challenge the Ruhuna as it wasn’t easy to obtain information from Ruhuna. Unlike in Anuradapura, there were not enough traitors in Ruhuna to divulge information. Mahaveli river separated Elara’s rule and the Ruhuna kingdom. Ruhuna continued as the free Lanka. It clearly shows that this wasn’t a war between the Sinhalese and the Tamils. All research reveal that it was only a conspiracy by the selfish corrupt elements, which included both the Sinhalese and some Tamils, who were after more business profits and who didn’t like the rule under the pure Theravada Buddhist principles. It has been recorded that Elara, who arrived with only 100,000 South Indians, had well over a million armed men with the addition of these Lankan’s private thug squads.

Good Elara, Bad Elara
Elara was not only a warlord. He was obviously a clever ruler who was capable of analysing the situation around him. Though his regime was fully supported by a group of Lankan collaborators, who were both Sinhala and South Indian, he knew that the people were not happy under him. Since the day Buddhism arrived, Lankans had discovered what the ultimate just governance should be. He knew that he had to match his rule which supported the merchants and officials, somehow with the previous rule based on the Buddhist principles. He couldn’t fully transform the system, even if he had wanted to, for the same fate that befell on the patriots would have befell him. His troops and his collaborators didn’t want the former system of government. That was the only way to describe why he acted quite contrary to how his officials, ministers and merchants were behaving in certain cases. Several times he brought justice to the civilians who had suffered under his regime. But, overall, his regime was not clean enough to satisfy the Lankans who had known something better.

Tissamaharama Dagaba is Built by Kavan Tissa and Vihara Maha Devi
This was the largest Dagaba at the time. Over two million bricks were used to build it. It’s pinnacle alone was 24 meters tall. This became the centre of studies in the south, like Maha Viharaya in Anuradapura. About 6000 monks studied there at any time. The resources of the area entrusted with the temple was so well managed, that even during the worst famine it still had enough grain very well stocked to last for 3 years.

Situl Pavwa Buddhist University is built This was built as a Buddhist university by King Kavan Tissa and Vihara Maha Devi. The massive complex was capable of accommodating 12,000 resident students who were following religious studies. It was the largest jungle monastery in the country. In numerous rock caves in the jungle, which is now a National park, many monks were able to practise and reach Arahath state. Over 60 inscriptions discovered from the jungle have given archaeologists valuable information about the life at the time. This became the greatest jungle monastery of all time. It was destroyed by the invaders who swept Ruhuna from 1100 AD. Finally, the complex was abandoned as Buddhism was threatened and lost state patronage.

Kavan Tissa refuses Gemunu the permission to wage war King KavanTissa refused 3 requests forwarded by Gemunu to liberate the country. “How are you going to fight one million troops commanded by 20 experienced Generals ?”. ( Unlike the 10 amateur Generals of the Lankan Army, The 20 Generals of Elara’s army were battle-hardened South Indian veterans). Gemunu couldn’t give a satisfactory answer. Instead, he began to criticise the king saying that the king is too timid. When king ordered Gemunu to be arrested, Gemunu fled to Kotmale. From this point onwards he came to be known as Dutugemunu, meaning “bad Gemunu”.

Seruwila Dagaba is built King Kavan Tissa built the Seruwila Dagaba near Allai reservoir which he had built before. This proved that the east, including Trincomalee, at the time was in the hands of the Free Sri Lanka. This Dagaba enshrined the Buddha’s hair relic and the forehead relic.

Somawathie Dagaba is built
The Dagaba most famous for miracles, Somawathie Dagaba has a reputation for radiating Buddha’s rays from its pinnacle. It became publicised in 1981 as the rays were radiated when JR Jayawardana placed the pinnacle on the Dagaba. The deputy king in Kelaniya sub-kingdom married Soma Devi, the sister of king Kavantissa. Queen Soma Devi wanted to build a giant Dagaba enshrining the right tooth relic of the Buddha, which was in the custody of Arahat monk Mahadeva. A giant complex of image house, monks residence, assembly hall, was built. The area was such a populated and a busy place that the river had three ports. The jungle surrounding the village was named Vihara forest because of hundreds of meditating temples inside the jungle.

Death of King KavanTissa in Ruhuna at 64 He died a worried man, foreseeing a confrontation between the two brothers. He knew that his eldest son Dutugemunu had the courage that he didn’t have. He also knew that his second son Tissa, who was in command of the Ruhuna kingdom, would not tolerate Gemunu’s attitude. By the time of his death at the age of 64, he had built 64 Buddhist temples all over the country. Before he died, he got the 10 giants to make a promise never to take a side, if the two Royal brothers clashed.

Gemunu organises the Lankan Army Gemunu became the commander of the Lankan Army. The evidence clearly shows that this was not a primitive tribal force. The army was equipped with horses, elephants, chariots, arms. Gemunu trained all the soldiers in archery, swordsmanship, horse riding, elephant riding. Army was 11,000 strong and was divided into ten divisions of 1100 troops each. Each division was commanded by a Giant( A General) who had finished training in the art of war.

Tissa organises the administration Royal brother Tissa took charge of the administration. He concentrated on the agriculture ( so that there is enough food for everyone) and the building of roads ( so that supplies could be sent to the army quickly).

Dutugemuni leaves for battle Lankan army that left Mahagama was so large, that when the first troops reached Buttala, which is 56 kilometers away, the other end was still in Mahagama. Over 500 Buddhist monks left with the Lankan Army to provide spiritual support.

Fall of 17 Forts Dutugemunu conquered the 17 enemy forts, each commanded by a South Indian General, built along the Mahaveli river. They were guarded both by the South Indian mercenaries and the local collaborators whose masters were well looked after by the invader.

Fortress at Vijitapura After taking the 17 forts, Dutugemunu turned towards Jijithapura. It was a fortress town
on the northern banks of the Kalaweva, near present day Vijitapura Viharaya. Unlike the minor forts that were taken along the river bank, this was manned completely by the battle-hardened South Indian Mercenaries. The South Indians had fortified the fort hoping to finish Dutugemunu there. There were three deep moats around the fortress which had strong high walls, and iron gates. South Indians hoped that Dutugemunu would be weakened by wasting his military resources on repeated attempts on the fort. He almost did.
161 The Bold Plan of an All-out Assault on Vijitha pura For four months, Lankan Army led by Dutugemunu assaulted the strong fort in Vijithapura, suffering heavy casualties. Rains of arrows, balls of red hot iron came down on the Lankan troops killing them in hundreds. Dutugemunu realised that this was slowly destroying his army. He called all his ten Giants and discussed for a plan. There they came up with a bold plan. Giants said that only an all out concentrated assault made on the all four gates, could minimise casualties as that wouldn’t allow the enemy to concentrate their firepower on one spot. DutuGemunu realising that this was the only option, gave the green light. 4 Giants Velusumana, Gotha Imbara, Mahasona, and Therapuththabaya took their troops to assault the east gate. Bharana and Khanja Deva assaulted the north gate. Pussa Deva and Vasabha assaulted the west gate. Best two giants, Nandi Mitra and Sura Nimala would assault the South gate where Dutugemunu hoped to make the break through. Kandula, the Royal elephant, was assigned to break the giant South gate.

Kandula receives a shower of melted iron The Lankan Army units managed to cross the three moats again under the shower of arrows and red hot iron balls. They began to attack the Southgate as Kandula used his tusks to remove the plaster, bricks, and stones of the wall. Roaring and trumpeting, he then charged at the wall repeatedly. As the wall seemed to shake from the foundations, the enemy commander ordered all red hot iron melting machines to be directed to the South gate to be used on the Kandula. This brought relief to other groups who were being harassed by these terrible weapons. But a shower of melted iron ended up on Kandula who jumped into the moat screaming in pain.

Taking of Vijitha Pura Fortress Dutugemunu called for the Royal Vets who applied balm on the elephant’s body. Dutugemunu was running out of time. Nandimitra and Suranimala couldn’t break the south gate without Kandula. They were taking heavy casualties every minute by staying there under heavy barrages. Other fronts were pressing on the three gates, suffering similar casualties, hoping the break through would happen at the south gate. Dutugemunu stroked the elephant speaking to him, reminding him that the only living thing that could break open the iron gate, without which the war would be lost, was him. Dutugemunu covered the elephant’s back with thick clothes, plates of copper, and buffalo skins folded seven times, and a hide steeped in oil. Kandula came charging in. After several attempts the South gate, weakened by repeated attacks, collapsed with the heavy arches that supported the gate. Nandi Mitra pulled Kandula away before falling debris killed him. That was the decisive moment. The defenders couldn’t match the motivation of the attacking Lankan troops. Other three gates fell simultaneously as the enemy ran away.

Battle for Fortress MahelaNagara Then the Lankan Army advanced from Dambulla to Anuradapura. Along the way they met many local enemy groups, mainly the thug armies of the local chiefs and powerful wealthy merchants who didn’t want to see their favourite regime crumbling down to the patriots. Then they arrived at the fortress of Mahela Nagara which was taken only after 4 more months of relentless fighting.

Dutugemunu awaits Elara at Kahagalagama After taking 32 enemy forts, Dutugemunu arrived in Kahalagama, 30 kilometers South East of Anuradapura and 16 kilometers North west of Ritigala. Dutugemunu wanted to avoid war inside the city of Anuradapura. There he decided to stay until Elara came out to meet him. Elara could arrive there in two days.

Elara’s battle plan Elara’s situation didn’t look bad. He still had 20 South Indian Generals, and 30,000 South Indian mercenaries. Digajantu, Elara’s best General, was the most fearless South Indian at the time. Many patriots were scarred even to hear his name. Dutugemunu’s original force of 11,000 had suffered a lot of casualties specially in the battle for Vijithapura. Elara was well aware of this and believed that he could win. Digajantu was not very sure. He obviously felt that something could go wrong at the last minute. He called for reinforcements from South India, by asking his nephew Balluka in South India to recruit a mercenary force of at least 60,000 South Indian troops. Elara decided to engage Dutugemunu without waiting for the reinforcements.

Legendary Tactics of the Last Battle Dutugemunu was aware of his weaknesses too. He had his last defence meeting with the 10 giants and his mother. On her advice, he broke his army into 32 smaller separate battalions, instead of the 10 divisions. Each battalion was to have a wooden statue of Dutugemunu. They knew that the South Indians would concentrate on killing Dutugemunu hoping that would demoralise the Lankan patriots. Real Dutugemunu would be flanked by the two best giants, Suranimala on the left and Nandi Mitra on the right as his bodyguards. The plan was to surround the enemy force at a crucial time of the battle by all the small battalions, so that the advantage of superior manpower was denied to the enemy. It was a clever tactic that was made world famous by Napoleon, 2000 years later.

Battle of Kahagalagama – The Last Battle Elara, on his elephant Mahapabbata, arrived with his formidable 30,000 strong private army. He was flanked by Digajantu, the strongest and the most fearless South Indian warrior at the time. The South Indian force crashed through the Lankan army easily, slashing the Lankan troops with their superior skills and experience. As they advanced deep inside the ranks of the Lankan formation, it looked like that the Lankan army was doomed. Dutugemunu held on, without giving the order for the other battalions to close in, knowing that even if they did, that the enemy could route all of them.

Sacrifices of the ten giant Warriors It is believed many, may be upto eight out of the ten giant warriors, died while fighting here. They died while fighting against unbelievable odds, probably realising that average soldiers couldn’t fight against such terrible odds. They probably decided to sacrifice themselves, making maximum use of the super strength they had, to fight the stronger enemy. Their sacrifices would have helped the Lankan army to hold on for just little longer, until the unexpected happened.

The turning point in the Battle of Kahagalagama Digajantu cleverly identified the real Dutugemunu and charged at him from the left. He failed to notice Suranimala who stood to the left of the king. He was surprised by Suranimala who blocked him saying “Where are you worthless South Indian going ?”. Speechless Digajantu attacked Suranimala with his sword. Suranimala blocked it with his shield cleverly so that the sword fell off the hand of Digajantu. Immediately, as Digajantu rushed to pick up the sword, Suranimala’s sword came on his neck with lightening speed. Pussadeva quickly blew his whistle, signalling all battalions to close in. As Digajantu’s troops retreated saying that their master was dead, the panic took over. The encircled South Indians. including Elara, tried to break through the circle in mass. Using concentrated efforts, some, including Elara, were able to. They managed to escape to Anuradapura while the surrounded South Indians were all killed by the Lankan army.

The Duel at the South Gate Dutugemunu gave chase to Elara, ordering everyone to leave him for him. He overtook and blocked Elara at the 24 feet wide, 15 feet tall Sout
h Gate of the City of Anuradapura. Elara accepted his challenge for a duel. Two elephants charged at eachother with their masters on the back. Dutugemunu managed to avoid an arrow shot at him by Elara. Dutugemunu’s javelin pierced Elara on the side. Kandula dealt a mortal blow with his tusks on Mahapabbata. Elara fell off the elephant and died at the spot from where the 57 feet wide Sanghamitta Mawatha started from the Southgate to the inside of the city. Mahapabbata dragged himself on for few more paces in death agony before falling dead.

End of 8 Giant Warriors After this battle was over, history mentions only two names of the original ten giants. It is quite possible that eight giant warriors died, bringing victory, peace and harmony for ALL Sri Lankans. But they will continue to live ONLY in the hearts and minds of the Sinhalese. Generations of Sinhalese children will cherish the memories of their true heroes, while many non-Sinhalese would fall victim to the sinister anti-Dutugemunu campaigns and forget them. These giant warriors were what, Nights of the round table were to the true British, and what Samurais were to the Japanese, and what the Shaolin monks were to the Chinese. They set an example for the future generations to protect the motherland. May be that was why sinister propagandists wanted to bury these legends.

Be Buddhists ONLY to those who appreciates Buddhist qualities : Lankans continued to be true Buddhists to any barbarian. Any bastard could fool the Sinhalese with a sorry face, and obtain forgiveness, concessions and escape punishment, and survive to repeat the treachery again. There was NO system, NO rules and regulations to punish the treachery and treason.

Paying Last Respect, Even to the Enemy
A Golden Sinhalese Principle Since Elara had done a few good deeds in his attempts to win the Buddhists, Dutugemunu ordered that everyone who passes Elara’s tomb must get off their vehicles , remove their hats and should pay respect to him. In the society of principles that the Sinhalese would always liked to create, this tradition was followed with so much honesty, that even Lankan warriors chased by the enemy later, paused at the tomb to pay respect to Elara.

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