AWARDS, REWARDS AND DECORATION FOR MILITARY SERVICE IN ANCIENT SRI LANKA

RECOGNITION OF MILITARY SERVICE AND VALOUR

The Military is awarded medals for active service participation for the different Campaigns, for distinguish Service, Valour etc. The present list of medals or Padakkam are shown below. Other awards for civilian achievements are bestowed by the Head of State. as mentioned in the book  ‘Sri Lanka Army 50 years on’ are

The ancient practices .

Palm Leaf Manuscripts- Ms Shirancee Gunawardane.

The undermentioned facts were obtained from an Talipot leaf manuscript which was written during the 5 Cent AD, a copy of it  now available at  Mahamanathinda Temple Matara is shown above.An English translation of this is on                                 http://www.lakdiva.org/Mahawansa.

  1. King Vijaya, the first historical king of  Island bestowed  honours up on his Ministers  and retainers.
  2. King Devanapiyatissa  conferred Lanka Jagati Mahalana on some who accomplained Sangamitta and the Bo branch from Buddha gaya].
  3. Dutugemeunu bestowed honours to his ten  warriors.
  4. King Vikrmabahu I  bestowed suitable awards  according to there merit on all soldiers who took part in  the bitter war for Polonnaruwa.
  5. ParakramabhuI bestowed titles such as Lankadhnayaka, Lankadhikari, Lankapura etc upon his Army Commanders.
  6. King Rajasinghe II conferred the title of’  “The lord of The golden Sun” on Boschouwer  , the Dutch Envoy.
  7. King Parakramabahu awarded a village Kit Nuvaragal who led a successful expedition to Burma
  8. The Sahassamalla awarded the title of Lankatilaka Mahadevi and decorated her with waist band of gold.
  9. The Kandyan Kings awarded Flags and Titles for bravery.
  10. The Portuguese , Dutch and the BrItish  awarded title such as Muhamdiram, Mudaliars, Appohamy, Arachchi etc.

These were taken into consideration in  by a committee of eminent persons  appointed in 1978 to examine the proposal  of pertaining to award of Medal and awards for the Three armed Services of Sri Lanka.

The acceptable Symbols were drawn from ancient art in sculptures ,paintings and Flags of Sri lanka figures of animal, flowers and other objects  have been  used as heraldic symbols. Some of them are considered auspicious signs viz, lion, elephant, horse, swan, peacock, leopard, lotus etc. The traditional symbol for the reverse of the medal were recommended .

The Selection of Award and its name and an appropriate Symbol on medal.

Decorations; The Name Vibushana was considered most appropriate  for conveying the meaning of decoration.This gives the idea of adornment or decoration and also sounds impressive for use of awards of this nature to be worn on ceremonial occasions.

Medal; The word Padakkama  has popular appeal and accepted in Sri lanka.

Medal Names.

Decoration A.

Parama Weera Vibushana- Parama – Highest act- Weera-bravery or heroism- The lion symbol was chosen as is universally accepted as the bravest animal and eponym  of the Sri lankan People and on the national flag.The Sword and Lion was selected as most appropriate.The Lion with Sword in Gold.

This was awarded to 10 service men in 2012.Recepients of the highest military gallantary award of Sri Lankathe PWV medal

This is the equivalent of the Victoria Cross. Unlike some the recipients of the VC(some are alive), all the recipients of the Parama Weera Vibushana have died in action. Please read their citations by clicking on the link’View Citation.’

http://www.defence.lk/new.asp?fname=Sri_Lanka%20celebrates_03rd%20National_Victory_day_anniversary_celebrations_20120519_02
The following are the Brave sons of our motherland who made the supreme sacrifice in the battlefields to defend the integrity and sovereignty of our country. They were decorated with the most prestigious ‘Parama Weera Vibhushanaya (PWV)’ medal.

O/64314 Maj JAL JayasingheWWV – 3 SF

 View citation

O/64743 Maj KA Gamage – 1 SF View citation O/65746 Capt UGAS Samaranayake – 9 GW View citation

O/66514 Capt HGMHI Megawarna – 9 GW

 View citation

S/511904 Sgt Bandara HGS – 4 VIR

 View citation

S/513841 Cpl Suranga PN – 1 VIR

 View citation

S/462696 Cpl Chandrasiri Bandara DMS – 2 SF

 View citation

S/410053 Cpl Pushpa Kumara PMN            – 7 GW

 View citation

S/467771 L/Cpl Chandana K – 3 SF

 View citation

S/317077 L/Cpl Abesinghe AMIMP – 8 SLLI

 View citation

S/319509 Pte Dayananda EGDR – 8 SLLI

 View citation

S/197405 Rec Rathnayake RMDM – 6 SLLI

 View citation

S/198852 Rec Aberathnebanda AMBHG          – 21 SLSR

 View citation

XX31243 CPO KG Shantha

 View citation

015802 Wing Commander TDS Sivapulle

 View citation

Decoration B

Weerodara Vibushana- Named after Udara –esteemed and noble.The symbols selected was the Elephant- a lordly beast withal the pomp and pageantry  symbolizing  majesty and strength. The Shield to convey the meaning of Attack and Defense.Elephant and Shield [in action] in Electrum.

Decoration at C.

Weerawickrama Vibushana;  Weerawickrama  means combined strength of soldiery in attack as well as defense. Three soldiers with weapons in movement.

Decoration at D

Vishista seva  Paddakama  Vishista Seva– Excellent Service. A horse denote the Cavalry of the ancient armies.A horse and Rider in in Bronze.

Decoration at E.

Uttama Seva Padakama; Uttama seva highest service , A Peocock in Silver.

Decoration at F.

Videsha Seva Padakama; Purity and highest level. A swan in bronze.

CV chapter 70 verse 278- The King Parakramabahu I conferred on the Adhinatha Mayageha as a reward for his military service, the dignity of an Adhikarin  which was Adhikai-padam. King Sahasamalle at the beginning of the 13 Cent saw the Investiture of Lankadhikara Lolupalakula Duttati to the rank of senevirat and appointed him as his Prime Minister.

Land or villages were granted to military service.Devanagala Inscription of Parakramabhu I a grant of land by him to General Kit Nuvaragala for the services rendered in the expedition to Burma or Rammanana rata. The chulavansa describes this war in detail, EZ Volume III No 34.

King Durugemunu placed Pussadeva arrow and covered it with kahapanas and gifted he money for his service,

SAHASSAMALLE  AWARDS TO HIS ARMY COMMANDER- SENPATHI.

 

The text is

Arbarana awarded.

XXII Verse 58 The first evidence of awards was given to Velasumana by King Kavantissa when he brought back the head of Elara warrior and the state horse and the horse second to the state horse.

Giegers transalation

‘But the King conferred on his warrior such honours as were in accordance with his service’.

XXIII verse 33-Sura Nimala was honoured with ten thousand. And when they had cut his hair and bathed him in the river  and put on him a pair of Punnavaddhana garments and a beautiful fragrant wreath .

Mhv Chapter XXX v 14,King Dutgemunu bestowed  on the Architect of the Mahaseya according to the translation of Geiger

“ And well pleased the king bestowed  on him a pair of garments worth a thousand and ornamented Shoes and twelve thousand kahapanas ornamented shoes and 12,000 Kahapanas.

Panakaduva Copper Plate of King Vijayaba I.  The King granted a Sannasa written on a copper plate to his Army Commander who helped out the Royal family and was responsible for destroying the Cholian Invaders from South India. 

The Pathebanda Names .

Patabendi nama,or honour-giving name awarded when the head of the family advanced in official status in the Sinhala kingdom or subsequently by the Portuguese and the Dutch regimes.

The third part of the name Patabendi nama, literally ‘frontlet  ‘was conferred to a person either by the Sinhalese King or by or Portuguese or the Dutch Governor in appreciation of the recipient’s remarkable service or brave deed. The term patabendi was very often used by the Sinhala Kings when they awarded honorific title to native chief along with an head

Ornament or Front-let. Award of these titles was taxed and contributed considerably to the revenue of the State.

Abayakoon (fearless chief) .             Jayasekara(highest of the victorious)

Abayaratna( Gem of the fearless)    Manamperi (Great hearted)

Ekanayaka (un-rivelled chief)         Navaratna (nine gems)

Illangakoon (King of the Island)    Rajapakse (loyal to .king)

Jayasingha(victorious lion)           Seneviratna(victorious commander)

Jayawardhana (victory increaser) Wijeratna (victorious gem)

Jayasuriya (sun of victory)             Wikramasinghe (victorious lion).

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