Don Manuel D’Anderado, Mudaliyar.
The Hero of’ Jaffnapattam 1658
Home >> Karava


The name of Don Manuel D'Anderado still lives in fact and fiction. Though he figured nearly three hundred years ago, the prowess of this ancient warrior chief finds a place in the writings of our present generation. Irresponsible playwrights of the 18th century have ingeniously weaved up a story regarding the doings of Don Manuel D'Anderado at Jaffna. Their fabrications, however, are not compatible with authenticated history. Although the incongruities of their version have been several times challenged and proved to be false yet occasionally we hear these unjust stories.

Early last year a misinformed gentleman wrote to the Ceylon Observer regarding this much criticized story as contained in the Yalapana Vaipava Malai. He too was silenced without much effort and compelled to view matters from historical evidence. This year too another dramatist puts before the unsuspecting public this same story with many variations. Unkind make-beliefs of this nature should for charity's sake be stopped before it takes root and foster communal friction. The Editor of the Ceylon Observer very frankly commented on this subject under the caption of Ancestors (Vide C. O. 11th February 1940).

To meet these arguments and to present to the reader the facts of the case, it is fitting to sketch a brief history of Don Manuel D'Anderado. It is traditionally believed that the ancestors of Don Manuel whose full name is Varnakula Aditta Arasa Nlla-Itta Don Manuel D'Anderado came over at the invitation of the Sinhalese kings to fight in their wars. It is recorded that the Varnakula Aditta clan first migrated to Lanka in the middle ages.

An old Sinhalese account narrates that when Sri Parakrama Bahu Maha Raja was reigning at Kotte (Jayawardhanapura) a hostile people named the Mukkara landed' in Ceylon and got possession of Puttalam. At the request of King Parakrama Bahu, the Rajahs of Kanchipura, Kavaripattanam and Kilakkare (settlements of Kuru refugees in South India) sent 7740 warriors who defeated the Mukkaru and recaptured the fort of Puttalam. One of the eight chieftains who came to help Parakrama Bahu was Arasa Nila-itte Mudali. On his appointment as commander of the army he was granted a sword in 1416 A. D. along with the Patabendi name of Maha Nagate Rajasinghe.

The translation of the inscription on this sword reads thus:

In the year of Buddha 1959, at Jayawardhanapura, the Lord of Lanka, Sri Sangabodi Sri Parakrama Maha Raja, decreed and granted to Kaurawa Additya Kuruweera Arasa Nila=Itta Maha Nagate Rajasinghe the Office of Chief of the army and this sword with the inscription in Wesak Tuesday at Sri Wardana Wasala.

Two similar swords were granted to two other Kaurawas appointing them sub-kings. The dates of these swords are 1791 and 1792 Buddhist Era and the grantors were Kuda-Akbo and Sahisthiya Pandita Parakrarna Bahu respectively.

These swords were in the possession of the late Gate Mudaliyar Ambrosius de Rowel of Pitigal Korale South. In March 1905, a paper was read before the Roayl Asiatic Society (C. B.), by the late Mr. C. M. Fernando on the first two swords. The late Mr. H. C. P. Bell and Dr. Paul E. Peiris to whom the two swords were submitted for report by the Committee of the Society accepted the genuineness of the swords and the inscriptions thereon. Mr. Bell also mentions having seen the swords twenty years earlier (J1. B. A. S. XV II) Mudaliyar F. E. Gooneratne a reputed antiquarian on Ceylon history recognized the authenticity of the three swords and refers to them as the heir-looms of the Varnakula Additya Arasa Nila-Itte families of Chilaw. Two of those swords are preserved in the Colombo Museum, though centuries old yet the inscriptions can be deciphered and the flags of the Kaurawa Vanse - the Sun Banner and Moon Banner - are still perfectly visible. Besides these two banners, this sword bears a full-hooded cobra ready to strike.

With the conversion of the clan, several branches of the Varnakula Arasa-Nila-Itte seem to have formed according to the names adopted, the principal three being Rowel, Lowe and D'Anderado. The district where these Kuru chieftains settled down was at Alut-Kuru-Korale. The original home of this clan (Varunakula Adittya) was at - Cammala. When the Dutch came over to the help of Rajasinghe II after the treaty of 1638, the combined forces of the Sinhalese and Dutch met the Portuguese at Cammala in 1640 and the connection between the Dutch and the D'Anderado's began, and they (the D'Anderados) assisted in many wars on behalf of the Hon'ble Company (Old Dutch Ms of the family & also Sees. paper 9-1933). The Anderado's when they joined the Dutch settled in Calutara and later settled down in Colombo.

In Calutara the D'Anderado family displayed the same warlike spirit of their ancestors. In 1656 we see Don Manuel D'Anderado, Mudaliyar (regarding whom this pamphlet is written) guarding the pass of Calutara with his lascarins. His skilful management of affairs at Calutara earned for him a place of command in the expedition to Jaffna against the Portuguese where he "signalised himself before Jaffnapattam" (Baldaeus). After the complete annihilation of the Portuguese in 1658, the reorganization of the country commenced, and the Dutch Governor Adrian Amaral Vander Meyden being pleased to appoint him First Secretary.

I reproduce two letters concerning "The vain and fruitless" attempts of the Vellalas to make a hero of Don Luis Poothathamby at the expense of casting a stigma of derision on the fair name of Don Manuel D'Anderado. These letters appeared in the "Ceylon Observer" last year refuting certain gross misstatements in the contribution entitled "The Revenge of a Spurned Suitor". Despite the fact that the theory of the drama immortalized in the "Poothathamby Nadagam" and the story in the "Yalapana Vaipava Malia" have long been exploded and proved to be "mere poetical fancy" and historically untrue, still we hear these accusations. Besides the other high offices held by Don Manuel D'Anderado he was entrusted to superintend over the Vellalas in the collection of paddy (of Instructions. P. 98)

The two letters referred to: