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The Complete Story of the Rajapaksa Empire that ran the family government in Sri Lanka for decades


Sri Lanka. If you take the sea route from Rameswaram in India, you will stand on the land of this neighboring country in just 1-2 hours. Indians also have a mythological connection with Sri Lanka. But today we will not talk about that. Sri Lanka, once called the Lanka of gold, has reached the brink of civil war today. It is facing the worst economic situation since independence. Let’s say that the engine of the economy has nothing to do with it. There are cravings for food and inflation has crossed the seventh sky. People have taken to the streets, in protest against the current government. People had set fire to the PM residence and 5 people have died so far.

Political movements are intensifying. Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse has resigned. To end economic instability, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has been sent an 11-point plan by the influential Bar Association of Lawyers, which will gradually end the presidential system. It also talks about the formation of an interim government. On the other hand, the protesters say that until the Rajapaksa family leaves power, we will continue the protest. Read this line again. We will tell you why we wrote this, but first look at an example.

When a wedding takes place in India, a gathering of relatives gathers. Grandmother-in-law, uncle-aunt-aunt, brother-in-law, cousin, brother-in-law-bro-in-law, and so on. Everyone enjoys the wedding together. They dance and sing. Even if some raita is spread, it is because of them. The same happened with Sri Lanka. In India, there is familyism in parties, but in Sri Lanka, the family government was ruling for decades.

Get to know the Rajapaksa family first

To understand how the Rajapaksa family’s political clout grew, then one has to go back a bit. The Rajapakse family belongs to the village of Giruvapattuwa in the southern district of Hambantota, Sri Lanka. They have a lot of land, etc., as well as fields and coconut plantations. Don David Rajapakse, a member of the same family, became the sarpanch in Ihla Walikada Korale. The family entered politics when Don Matthew Rajapaksa, son of Don David Rajapaksa, was elected to the State Council from Hambantota district in 1936. Don Mathew died in 1945 and his brother Don Alvin Rajapaksa won the by-election without any opposition.

After this, when parliamentary elections were held in Sri Lanka in 1947, two members of the family won from both the regions of Hambantota district. Don Alvin Rajapakse was elected from Belietta and Laxman Rajapakse (son of Don Mathew) was elected from Hambantota. For the next three decades, no one dared to challenge the Rajapaksa family with Hambantota. Born on December 25, 1936, George, the second son of Don Mathew, was a member of the State Council and Senate of Ceylon. He was the nephew of Don Alvin Rajapaksa, a founding member of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, and a cousin of Mahinda Rajapaksa.

By now the political clout of the family had been established. Don Alvin Rajapaksa had 9 children. 6 boys and three girls. The eldest were Chamal, followed by Mahinda, then Jayanti, Tudor, Gotabaya, Basil, Preeti, Dudley and Gandhini. Don Mathew Rajapakse wore a brown shawl to represent the ragi (which was cultivated by the people in that area). Later, Mahinda Rajapakse is also seen wearing a similar shawl. Don Mathew Rajapaksa was a Member of Parliament from Belietta from 1947 to 1965. And was a cabinet minister in the government of Vijayanand Dahanayake.

family government

The Rajapaksa family has been ruling the kingdom of Sri Lanka for decades. Four brothers and their children were in the highest positions in the current government. Gotabaya Rajapaksa is the President. Mahinda Rajapaksa was the Prime Minister. Chamal Rajapakse was Irrigation Minister and Basil was Finance Minister. In the government, Mahinda Rajapakse’s son Namal was the Sports Minister and Yoshitha was the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff. While Chamal’s son Sashindra was the Minister of State for Agriculture. On the other hand, Mahinda Rajapaksa’s nephew Nipun Ranavaka was the Minister of State. Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned on 9 May while all other ministers submitted their resignations on 3 April. Even before this, all of them have held important positions in the previous governments.

Chamal Rajapakse was the MP from Hambantota in 1989. After this, from 2010 to 2015, the Speaker of the Parliament, from 2019 to 2020 handled departments like Minister of Internal Trade, Food and Security and Consumer Welfare. Saw the charge of Irrigation Minister between 2020 and 2022.

At the same time, Gotabaya Rajapaksa served in the Sri Lankan army from 1971 to 1991 before becoming the President in 2009. After this, from 2005 to 2015, saw the post of Secretary in the Ministry of Defense and Urban Development. Mahinda Rajapaksa became the President for the first time in 2005, after which he got a second term in 2010. In 2019, he became the Prime Minister in his brother’s government. Basil Rajapaksa was the Minister of Economic Development from 2010 to 2015 and MP from Kampala. Held the finance ministry from 2021 to 2022.

Shyamlal Rajapaksa, the son of George Rajapaksa, was a member of the Southern Provincial Council from 1994 to 2004. While his daughter and Mahinda and Gotabaya’s niece Nirupama Rajapakse served as deputy minister in water supply and drainage from 2010 to 2015. Elected MP from Hambantota from 2005 to 2015.

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