S. A. Wickramasinghe

Dr. Sugiswara Abeywardena Wickramasinghe (13 April 1900 – 25 August 1981) was the founder of the Communist Party of Sri Lanka.[1] He was the first Leftist to be elected to Ceylon State Council in 1931. He gave up all his wealth and comforts for the sake of downtrodden. He is considered one of the leading political figures in the twentieth century of Sri Lanka.

Hon. Dr.

S. A. Wickramasinghe
Dr. S. A. Wickramasinghe.jpg
Member of the Ceylon Parliament
for Akuressa
In office
Preceded byDoreen Young Wickremasinghe
Succeeded byDayananda Wickremasinghe
Member of the State Council of Ceylon
for Morawka
In office
Succeeded byR. C. Kannangara
In office
Preceded byR. C. Kannangara
Personal details
Born(1900-05-13)13 May 1900
Athuraliya, Matara District, Sri Lanka
Died25 August 1981(1981-08-25) (aged 81)
NationalitySri Lankan
Political partyCommunist Party of Sri Lanka
Spouse(s)Doreen Young Wickremasinghe
Alma materMahinda College Galle
Ananda College Colombo
Ceylon Medical College
ProfessionPolitician and medical doctor

Early life and educationEdit

S. A. Wickramasinghe was born in Nasnaranketiya Walawwa, Athuraliya in the Matara district of then British Ceylon in 1900. He received his primary education at Mahinda College, Galle, where he joined engaged in social services and Buddhist activities. He later entered Ananda College, Colombo.

Wickramasinghe pursued his higher studies in medicine at the Ceylon Medical College, and proceeded to the United Kingdom for his post-graduate studies.

In England, he participated on activism with the League Against Imperialism and the British Communist Party. During this time he met fellow Ceylonese progressives and the future leaders of the Left movement such as N. M. Perera, Colvin R. de Silva and Leslie Goonewardene, who were also studying in London and fellow-students of Marxism.

Early activismEdit

On his way back to Ceylon, S. A. Wickramasinghe travelled to India to meet members of the Indian National Congress as well as the Communist Party of India. He was immediately arrested by British police in Bombay but managed to make contact with figures such as Jawaharlal Nehru and Rabindranath Tagore.[2]

After returning to Sri Lanka, he co-founded the Lanka Sama Samaja Party and also served as the General Manager of Buddhist Theosophical Society schools in Sri Lanka. A medical practitioner by profession, he started working as a doctor after his post-graduate studies and joined the Government Service and started practising in his native Matara district.

Wickramasinghe played a leading role in the Suriya Mal Movement. He also organised relief for peasants during the Malaria epidemic and floods that plagued Sri Lanka in 1934 and 1935.

Founding of Communist Party of CeylonEdit

In 1941, when Germany attacked the Soviet Union, Wickramasinghe led the faction who argued that World War 2 was not an inter-imperialist war but a war against fascism. For their defence of Stalin and the Soviet Union, Wickramasinghe and his comrades were expelled by the Trotskyites in the LSSP.

Wickramasinghe's faction, which included Pieter Keunemen, M. G. Mendis, and A. Vaidialingam formed the United Socialist Party, which became the Communist Party of Ceylon in 1943.

Personal lifeEdit

Dr Wickramasinghe was married to Doreen Young, a British leftist who later became a prominent Communist politician and a Member of Parliament in Sri Lanka. She and Dr Wickremasinghe had two children, Suren (an architect) and Suriya (Amnesty International IEC Chairperson, 1982–85).


  • The Gal Oya Project (1951)[3]
  • The Way Ahead

Electoral historyEdit

Electoral history of S. A. Wickramasinghe
Election Constituency Party Votes Result
1931 state council Morawaka Elected
1936 state council Morawaka Not elected
1946 state council by Morawaka Elected
1950 parliamentary by Colombo Central Communist Party of Ceylon 12,501 Not elected
1956 parliamentary Akuressa 20,867 Elected
1960 March parliamentary Akuressa 13,191 Elected
1960 July parliamentary Akuressa 12,488 Elected
1965 parliamentary Akuressa 16,096 Elected
1970 parliamentary Akuressa 20,007 Elected
1977 parliamentary Akuressa 16,436 Not elected

See alsoEdit