Sunday, 30 January 2022

Sirimal Ranawella

Gallage Sirimal Ranawella (1921-2021) was a Sri Lankan epigraphist and historian.

Life events
Ranawella was born in Koggala on 16 October 1921 and at the age of one, he was adopted by his aunt Roslyn Amarasinha (JRASSL, 2010). He completed his early education at Unawatuna Sinhala Buddhist Mixed School in Galle from 1927 to 1939 (JRASSL, 2010). After passing out of school, he worked as a clerk and as an overseer before joining the Ceylon Police service as a policeman where he worked for almost 10 years (JRASSL, 2010).
 
While working in the police service, he joined the Zahira College and later Pembroke College to follow an Advanced Level (A/L) course of study (JRASSL, 2010). In 1953, at the age of 32, Ranawella entered the University of Peradeniya and studied Sinhala, Sanskrit, and Pali and specialized in Sri Lanka history (JRASSL, 2010). After university education, he worked at Dharmaraja College in Kandy as an assistant teacher from 1957 to 1958 (JRASSL, 2010). He then worked at the Sinhala Encyclopedia as an assistant editor and joined the Department of History of the University of Kelaniya in 1959 (JRASSL, 2010). In 1966, he obtained his PhD from the University of London (JRASSL, 2010).
 
Ranawella worked at the University of Kelaniya for nearly 20 years as an Assistant Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, and Associate Professor. He joined the University of Ruhuna in 1977 as a Professor of History and became the Acting Vice-Chancellor there in 1988 one year before his retirement. Ranawella devoted his time for reading of Sri Lankan inscriptions after his retirement from the university (JRASSL, 2010). He revised, re-edited or freshly edited 581 inscriptions of the late Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Dambadeniya, Kurunegala, Gampola and Kandy periods and published them in the Inscriptions of Ceylon volumes of the Department of Archaeology (JRASSL, 2010).
 
Ranawella died on 26 December 2021 at the age of 100.

Awards
# Degree of D.Lit (University of Kelaniya, 2000)
# Sir Obeysekara Memorial Medal (Royal Asiatic Society, 2010)
# Uruma Pranama (Ministry of National Heritage, 2012)

Bibliography
Ranawella has published more than 10 books and over 244 articles in various journals and encyclopedias (JRASSL, 2010).

Books
# A political history of Rohana from c. 991-1255 A.D. (Thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the University of London, 1966) 
# Inscriptions of Ǟpā Kitagbo and kings Sena I, Sena II, and Udaya II  (Author publication, 1999) 
# Inscriptions of Ceylon.Volume V Part I  (Department of Archaeology, 2001) 
# රෝහණ රාජ්‍යයේ ඉතිහාසය  (2003) 
# Inscriptions of Ceylon.Volume V Part II  (Department of Archaeology, 2004) 
# Dictionary of Sinhala Epigraphical Words   (Department of Archaeology, 2004) 
# Inscriptions of Ceylon.Volume V Part III  (Department of Archaeology, 2005) 
# Sinhala Inscriptions in the Colombo National Museum  (Department of National Museums, 2005) 
# Inscriptions of Ceylon.Volume VI  (Department of Archaeology, 2006) 
# මායා රට ඉතිහාසය (2016) 
# History of the kingdom of Rohana  (Department of Archaeology, 2018) 
 
References
1) JRASSL, 2010. The Award of Sir S. C. Obesekere Memorial Medal to Prof. Sirimal Ranawella. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka New Series, Vol. 56. pp.123-125.


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