Cumaratunga Munidsa’s 133 Birth Anniversary Falls Today

The 133rd birth anniversary of the national hero and erudite scholar Cumaratunga Munidasa falls on July 25, 2020 (July 25, 1887-March 02, 1944). Much has been said about the immeasurable contribution Cumaratunga Munidasa, the impactful personality, made to the Sinhala language and literature. To be exact volumes of researches and debates have thus far been conducted by our literati to critically examine his works, and the impact they have had on the sustainability of the Sinhala language and its literary tradition.

In our society if there’s any activity in which Sinhala plays a role Cumaratunga’s indelibility is quite evident. pahina-patha (postcard), pura-hala (town hall), papediya (bicycle), pa puvaruwa (foot-board), hediya (nurse), sarasaviya (university), sip-hala/hik-hala (school), paharuva (press) are only a few out of the gamut of words that Cumaratunga contributed to enrich the Sinhala language. Osu-sala, Sethsiripaya, Isurupaya, udagama, vidu-manga are additions that entered our language, created on the bases of word-coinage exposed by the late scholar. Hence, so long as these words are in usage Cumaratunga’s stamp on the totality of the Sinhala language and culture would become obvious and discernible.
Cumaratunga – The Bridge Maker.

One may describe him as a bridge-maker whose objective was to link the pristine Sinhala written tradition that continued for centuries, with minor adaptations, with that of the present day parlance. This endeavour made the origins and evolution of the Sinhala written tradition visible, transparent and logical. Further, it was indeed, an industry that demanded tremendous strength, effort, and commitment, as his ultimate objective was to elevate Sinhala to an articulate and fluent language that would suit any literary style and occasion. In fact, this endeavour basically included unearthing the correct structure of the Sinhala language, and enriching its diction, power of expression, and the correct idiom; namely the characteristic modes of expression in the Sinhala language.

By K. A. I. Kalyanaratne

Postgraduate Institute of Management
Vice President – Hela Havula

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