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How Veera Puran Appu Inspired a Nation to Fight for Freedom and Justice

Veera Puran Appu Essay: The Hero of Sri Lanka's Rebellion Against British Rule

Veera Puran Appu was one of the most prominent figures in Sri Lanka's history, who led a revolt against the British colonial rule in 1848. He was born as Weerahannadige Francisco Fernando on November 7, 1812, in Uyana, Moratuwa. He attended the Wesleyan school in Moratuwa and was a very mischievous boy. After a fight and thrashing the village headman from Lakshapathiya, he fled from Moratuwa in 1825 at the age of 13. He traveled about the country, mostly the hill country Haldummulla to Badulla and other places.

Veera Puran Appu Essay

How Veera Puran Appu Became a Revolutionary Leader

He stayed with his uncle, W. Marcellenus Franciscu Fernando, who was the first Sinhalese proctor who had a flourishing practice at Ratnapura. He also headed a band of outlaws and initiated a reign of terror against European planters and officials in Uva, much to the delight of his people. His daring exploits against the Europeans in Sri Lanka soon made him a legendary hero in Sri Lanka. He was now convinced of the necessity of expelling the British from Sri Lanka.

He changed his western name to Puran Appu and moved to Kandy, where he met and married Bandara Menike, the daughter of Gunnepana Arachchi, in 1847. He joined forces with Gongalegoda Banda and Ven. Kudapola Thera, who were also opposed to British rule. They planned to launch a rebellion in different parts of the country simultaneously.

The Matale Rebellion of 1848

The rebellion was triggered by the oppressive policies of the British government, such as the Waste Lands Ordinance, which deprived the local people of their ancestral lands; the Coffee Tax, which imposed a heavy burden on the cultivators; and various other taxes on salt, ore, roads, etc. The people's living conditions became unbearable and they were ready to rise up against their oppressors.

On July 28, 1848, Puran Appu led an attack on Matale and captured the town. He declared himself as the king of Kandy and raised his flag at the Magistrate's Court. He also received the support of many people from the Kandyan provinces, who hailed him as their king. However, his success was short-lived, as the other leaders who attacked Kurunegala and Wariyapola failed. The British forces soon arrived with superior weapons and resources and crushed the rebellion.

The Execution and Legacy of Veera Puran Appu

Puran Appu was captured by the British along with Gongalegoda Banda and Ven. Kudapola Thera. He was executed by a firing squad on August 8, 1848, at Bogambara grounds in Kandy. His last words were: "If there had been half a dozen such men as me to lead, there would not be a white man living in the Kandyan Province." His body was buried in Matale.

Puran Appu is regarded as a national hero and a martyr by Sri Lankans. His courage and sacrifice inspired many generations to fight for freedom and justice. His statue stands at Matale town and his portrait is displayed at the Independence Memorial Hall in Colombo. His life story has been depicted in books, songs, dramas and films. He is also commemorated every year on August 8 as Puran Appu Day.


Veera Puran Appu was a brave and patriotic leader who fought against the British colonial rule in Sri Lanka. He led the Matale Rebellion of 1848, which was one of the first attempts to liberate the country from foreign domination. He sacrificed his life for the cause of freedom and became a symbol of resistance and heroism. He is remembered and honored by Sri Lankans as one of their greatest national heroes. b99f773239


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