Sri Lankan Sinhalese Family Genealogy




D. A. Rajapaksa: an exemplary politician


D. A. Rajapaksa

by Prof. W. I. Siriweera - Daily News Monday Nov 11 2002

Don Alwin Rajapaksa was perhaps the most outstanding democratic politician produced by the Ruhuna region. He vehemently advocated the cause of the Ruhuna peasants throughout his career, while maintaining a quiet demeanour and a steady resolve. The country lost this able and amiable personality on November 7, 1967.


He was born on 5th November 1905 in a hamlet called Madamulana and had his early education at Mandaduva School in Weerakatiya. His father Don David Rajapaksa who held the post of Vidanaracchi in Ihala Valikada Korale, Giruvapattuva in the Hambantota District, sent him for secondary education to Richmond College, Galle. Having completed his school education successfully, he helped his father to manage the family property which consisted of paddy fields and coconut plantations.


He also helped his elder brother D. M. Rajapaksa, who was the State Councillor for Hambantota in attending to affairs of the electorate. Thus he got sufficient experience in the field of politics, but was reluctant to contest the Hambantota seat at the by-election of 1945 on the death of his brother.


Nevertheless, the politically influential people in the area insisted that he should contest the by-election and were finally successful in dragging him into active politics. He won the seat at the by-election and was included in the Committee on Agriculture and Land in the State Council. This gave him a good opportunity to tackle the problem of landlessness of the peasantry of Giruvapattuva. DA adopted a 99-year lease scheme to transfer crown land to landless peasants in five acre plots. For the middle income earners, the land extending from 10 to 50 acres was alienated in the same manner. These measures in fact gave a boost to the paddy and coconut cultivations in Giruva Pattuva.


When the first parliamentary general elections were held in 1947 under the new constitution, the former Hambantota electorate was divided into two, namely, Beliatta and Tissamaharama electorate. Most of Western Giruva Pattuva was included in the Beliatta electorate. D. A. Rajapaksa contested in Beliatta on the UNP ticket and triumphed at the elections.


When S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike was disgruntled over the policies of the United National Party and left it to form the Sri Lanka Freedom Party in 1951, D. A. Rajapaksa who was a close associate of Bandaranaike followed suit. It was the Rajapaksas who gave the maximum strength and support in Ruhuna to Bandaranaike at the general elections of 1952 winning the Beliatta electorate for the SLFP. Later on, in the historic general elections of 1956, which changed the course of our history, D. A. Rajapaksa and the family and their supporters were a source of strength to the MEP coalition. DA was elected MP for Beliatta and in 1959 he was appointed the Minister of Agriculture and Lands.


In fact D. A. Rajapaksa's ups and downs in the political arena are identical to the vicissitudes of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party at the time. At the general election of 1960, when the SLFP was defeated and the UNP formed a government, DA too lost his seat at Beliatta. But when the UNP government was dissolved and the parliamentary elections were held for the second time in July of the same year, DA once again emerged victorious at Beliatta and was a great inspiration to the government led by Sirimavo Bandaranaike.

He was appointed Deputy Chairman of Committees in Parliament and subsequently Deputy Speaker. When the SLFP lost to the Dudley Senanayake-led UNP in the 1965 elections, DA also lost his parliamentary seat.


Rajapaksas were never bent on making money out of politics. On the contrary, they had sacrificed their material wealth for the sake of politics. At the defeat in the 1965 general elections, DA not only lost his political power but was also devoid of material wealth. During this period all his children, Chamal, Mahinda, Basil, Gothabhaya and Dudley were studying in Colombo and he found it difficult to meet their expenses. He sold his vehicle, leased his coconut lands and went through enormous hardships to sustain the family. When he fell seriously ill in November 1967, there wasn't a vehicle nearby to take him to hospital. When transport was arranged belatedly his heart condition had worsened. After admission to hospital this great servant of the people expired. The people of Giruva Pattuva and Ruhuna lost a great leader.


D. A. Rajapaksa was undoubtedly a politician par excellence and a noble human being. He showed genuine goodwill towards the ordinary masses, moved with them and even joined the workers in his paddy fields in ploughing and harvesting paddy. That explains why the memory of his pleasant, unassuming personality has not faded even thirty five years after his demise.

D. A. Rajapaksa, through his exemplary political career and through wise counselling by his beloved wife Palatuwe Dandina Dissanayake, has guided his children over pitfalls and over rough terrain which politicians encounter in pursuing their objectives. It is up to Chamal, Mahinda and Basil, who also have taken to politics, to live up to his expectations and maintain the dignity and decorum which their father had cultivated even while being a politician.  


1. Don David RajapaksaVidane  Arachchi  (colonial post) + Dona Gimara Moonesinghe


     1.1 Don Charles Coronelis Rajapaksa


      1.2 Dona Carolina (Carlina) Bandara Weeraman


      1.3. Don Mathew Rajapaksa (1896-1945), Member of State Council for Hambantota (1936-45), + Emalin (Emalyn) Weeratunga

            1.3.1. Lakshman Rajapaksa(1924-1981), Member of Parliament for Hambantota (1947-52, 1956-60), Member of Parliament for Tissamaharama (1960-65), Member of Parliament for Mulkirigala (1976-77)

            1.3.2. George Rajapaksa (died 1976), Minister of Health, Member of Parliament for Mulkirigala (1960-76) + Lalitha Samarasekara

         Nirupama Rajapaksa (born 1962), Deputy Minister of Water Supply & Drainage (2010-), Member of Parliament for Hambantota District (1994-2000, 2005-2015) + Thirukumaran Nadesan

         Shyamlal Rajapaksa (1966-2009),[40][41] Member of Southern Provincial Council (1999-2004)[42] + Prashanthi

            1.3.3. Esther Gurly Rupasinghe

            1.3.4. Pearl (Peri) Jayanthi Gunaratne

            1.3.5. Kamala Wickramasuriya

         Anoma Laphir, Former Co-ordinating Secretary to the President[43]

         Jaliya Wickramasuriya (born 1960), Former Ambassador to the US

         Prasanna Wickramasuriya, Former Chairman of Airport and Aviation Services Limited

            1.3.6. Neil Kumaradasa Rajapaksa

            1.3.7. Ruby Lalitha Rajapaksa + Nandasiri Rajapakse





      1.4. Don Alwin Rajapaksa (1906-67), Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Government Minister, Member of Parliament for Beliatta (1947-60, 1960-65) + Dandina Samarasinghe Dissanayake* (see Related families below)

            1.4.1. Chamal Rajapaksa (born 1942), Speaker of Parliament (2010-15), Minister of Irrigation & Water Management (2007-2010), Deputy Minister of Plantation Industries (2004-07), Deputy Minister of Ports Development & Development of the South (2000-01), Member of Parliament for Hambantota District (1989-) + Chandra Malini Wijewardene

         Shashindra Rajapaksa, Chief Minister of Uva Province (2009-2015), Member of Uva Provincial Council for Monaragala District (2009-), Basnayaka Nilame of the Ruhunu Maha Kataragama Devalaya, Private Secretary to the President

         Shameendra Rajapaksa, Director SriLankan Airlines, Director of Sri Lanka Telecom, Director of Sri Lanka Ports Authority, Private Secretary to the Minister of Ports & Aviation, Private Secretary to the Minister of Finance & Planning[44]

            1.4.2. Jayanthi Rajapaksa (born 1942)

         Himal Laleendra Hettiarachchi, CEO of Sky Networks[45]

         Rangani Hettiarachchi

            1.4.3. Mahinda Rajapaksa (born 1945), President (2005-2015), Minister of Defence (2005-2015), Minister of Finance & Planning (2005-2015), Minister of Highways (2010), Minister of Ports & Aviation (2010), Minister of Ports & Highways (2010-2015), Minister of Law & Order (2013-2015), Prime Minister (2004-05) (2018) (2019-present), Leader of Opposition (2002-04) (2018-19), Chief Opposition Whip (2001-02), Minister of Ports (2000-01), Minister of Fisheries & Aquatic Resources Development (1997-01), Minister of Labour & Vocational Training (1994-97), Member of Parliament for Hambantota District (1989-2005), Member of Parliament for Beliatta Electorate (1970-77) + Shiranthi Rajapaksa (née Wickremasinghe)** (see Related families below)

         Namal Rajapaksa (born 1986), Minister of Sports and Member of Parliament for Hambantota District (2010-), Chairman of Tharunyata Hetak, Owner of Carlton Sports Network[46]

         Yoshitha Rajapaksa (born 1988), Prime Minister's Chief of Staff, Owner of Carlton Sports Network[46]

         Rohitha Rajapaksa (born 1989)

            1.4.4. Chandra Tudor Rajapaksa (born 1947), Private Secretary to the Minister of Finance, Private Secretary to the Minister of Ports & Highways[47]

         Chaminda Rajapaksa, Presidential Adviser, Co-ordinator for Hambantota

            1.4.5. Lieutenant Colonel Gotabaya Rajapaksa (born 1949), President (2019-present), former Defence Secretary, Chairman of Lanka Hospitals, Chairman of Lanka Logistics

         Manoj Rajapaksa

            1.4.6. Basil Rajapaksa (born 1951), Minister of Economic Development (2010-15), Member of Parliament (2007-15), Senior Presidential Advisor (2005-), Chairman of Uthuru Wasanthaya (2009-13) + Pushpa Rajapaksa

         Thejani Rajapaksa

         Bimalka Rajapaksa

         Ashantha Rajapaksa

            1.4.7. Dudley Rajapaksa (born 1957)

        Mihiri Rajapaksa

            1.4.8. Preethi Rajapaksa (born 1959) + Lalith Priyalal Chandradasa, Member of Securities & Exchange Commission, Chairman of Sri Lanka Ports Authority, Member of Insurance Board, General Secretary of the Government Medical Officers Association, Chairman of PJ Pharma Care (Ceylon) Ltd, Chairman of MED 1 (Pvt) Ltd, Chairman of Employees Holdings Limited, Chairman of National Aquaculture Development Authority, Chairman of Ceylon Fisheries Harbours Corporation[48]

         Malaka Chandradasa

         Madhawa Chandradasa

         Madini Chandradasa

         Malika Chandradasa

            1.4.9. Chandani (Gandani) Rajapaksa (born 1961) + Thusitha Ranawaka

         Eshana Ranawaka

         Nipuna Ranawaka

         Randula Ranawaka


Related Families

1. Dissanayake

      2. Samarasinghe Dissanayake


          2.1. Dandina Samarasinghe Dissanayake + Don Alwin Rajapaksa (1905-1967), Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Government Minister, Member of Parliament for Beliatta (1947-60, 1960-65)

See Family tree above for descendants

          2.2. Nanda Samarasinghe Dissanayake* (d.2012)[49] + Wilbert Weeratunga

              2.2.1. Udayanga Weeratunga, Ambassador to the Russian Federation[50]

              2.2.2. Ramani Weeratunga

              2.2.3. Dayani Weeratunga

              2.2.4. Gayani Weeratunga

         2.3. Samarasinghe Dissanayake + Kanthi Wakkumbura



1. Wickremasinghe

     2.  Wickremasinghe

           3. Commodore E. P. Wickremasinghe + Violet Wickramasinghe (died 2008)[51]

               3.1. Nishantha Wickramasinghe, Chairman of SriLankan Airlines,[52] Chairman of Mihin Lanka

                   3.1.1. Dilshan Wickramasinghe, CEO of Asset Networks (Pvt) Ltd/Asset Holdings (Pvt) Ltd[53]

                   3.1.2. Shehan Wickramasinghe , SLAF Pilot.

              3.2. Shiranthi Rajapaksa (b. 1947) (née Wickremasinghe)** + Mahinda Rajapaksa (b. 1945), President (2005-), Prime Minister (2004-05), Minister of Fisheries & Aquatic Resources Development (2000-01), Leader of Opposition (2002-04), Chief Opposition Whip (2001-02), Member of Parliament for Beliatta (1970-77), Member of Parliament for Hambantota District (1989-2005)

See Family tree above for descendants

              3.3. Srimal Wickramasinghe, Deputy Chief of Mission and Minister at Embassy in Vienna [54]

                  3.3.1. Tishan Wickramasinghe

                  3.3.2. Mishan Wickramasinghe