Home / Opinion and Issues/ The 1953 hartal: From an octogenarian

The 1953 hartal: From an octogenarian

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Monday, 13 May 2019 00:00


I was Private Secretary to R.G. Senanayake, Minister of Trade and Commerce, a very powerful Minister in the Senanayake ruling clan.

In 1953 there was a hartal organised by the LLSP heading towards Temple Trees where Dudley Senanayake was residing. 

At the Colpetty junction there was a ruckus and the security shot and killed a man in the crowd. A monument in his memory is in the pavement opposite Methodist College

Dudley wanted to resign but the entire Cabinet tried to persuade him not to resign including the Kitchen Cabinet but he insisted and resigned.

He said it had happened under his watch and he was responsible. I observed there were tears in his eyes

Soon afterwards Sir John Kotelawala was appointed and in 1956 he lost to Bandaranaike who championed to make Sinhala the National Language and won a landslide victory. He kept his promise

A large number of capable people left the country or retired and the administration was in tatters and still is.

Please compare then and now. I don’t need to make any comments. The country situation speaks for itself. I don’t think you all were living at that time to compare when life was relatively wonderful. 

Lee Kuan Yew, the founding father of Singapore, praised and admired Ceylon and I think it is mentioned in his bio and today our PM says he wants to make Sri Lanka like Singapore

All the best. My time is over. 

– Hussein Cassim

Share This Article

Facebook Twitter


1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.


Today's Columnists

Politics and governance in need of radical change

Monday, 26 August 2019

 The very concept of an institutionalised political party and fans who blindly support it (under any circumstance) – raises serious questions about human intelligence. Human intelligence has powered great pursuits such as Artificial Intelligence a

Go digital now

Monday, 26 August 2019

It’s a no brainer. An agency head I know recently said to me: “The jury is still out on the impact of digital advertising on client business in Sri Lanka.” I said: “What makes you say that.” He was clear. He said: “No numbers to support i

No bourgeoisie, no democracy

Monday, 26 August 2019

In the dark, forbiddingly bleak topography of our dysfunctional democracy, the emergence of the National People Power (NPP) coalition is a refreshingly propitious development. The centre-left intelligentsia could not resist comparing it to the mass

STG who became SDG of the Central Bank

Monday, 26 August 2019

When Dr. S.T.G. Fernando, fondly known as STG, was appointed as Director of Economic Research of the Central Bank in 1979, his fame – or perhaps, notoriety – as a hard taskmaster had travelled to us in the Department before he made his physical p

Columnists More

Special Report