Don Stephen Senanayake is a name that is inextricably entwined and written in gold with the history of Sri Lanka. His name has, within the course of time emerged larger than life in the minds of the people. Today on his 64th death anniversary the greatness of the man who earned the title Father of the Nation is felt more than ever before.
D.S. Senanayake who was dedicated to the National Temperance Movement and the Lanka National Association entered active politics in the year 1931. He launched the Minneriya Agrarian Movement in 1934 embarking on his effort to serve the people. He became the first Prime Minister of Sri Lanka in the year 1944. He rendered an enormous service to the country to gain independence in the year 1948 and his services in building the country were immortal.
In 1931 he was elected to the State Council, and went on to become the Minister of Agriculture and Lands.
He took up the challenges of the Ceylon’s agricultural problems effectively, and established the LDO, an agricultural policy that countered Ceylon’s rice problems which earned him much respect. During his tenure as a minister for 15 years, he also enforced ‘Agricultural Modernization’, which reportedly increased production output. During World War II he was a member of the Ceylon war cabinet.
He boldly made plans to spread out the population, and his Gal Oya scheme relocated over 250,000 people. He held the Ministry of Defence and External Affairs, and also assumed that of Health and Local Government in 1951. He achieved membership of the Commonwealth, launch of the Colombo plan and the commencement of diplomatic relations with several other countries. Renovation of sites of historic importance in Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa took place at this time.
Today is the 64th commemoration of D.S. Senanayake who bid adieu to the nation in the year 1952.