Hi There!

We are about to take a walk through some interesting parts of Colombo.

So let's get started.

The big building you see here, is the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall, or B M I C H for short. It was a gift, from the Government of China, to honour the memory of S W R D Bandaranaike, the Sri Lankan Prime Minister from 1956 to 1959.

Mr Bandaranaike came to power with a landslide victory, in the 1956 elections, by assembling a coalition of small Marxist parties, to form the Maha jana Eksath Pera muna.

As Prime Minister, he was instrumental in many programs for the good of the country, however the one act he is best-remembered for, is his implementation of a law, which made Sinhala the country’s sole official language. This marginalised the minorities, and has often been cited as a key factor in Sri Lanka's communal tensions.

His leadership ended four years into his term, when he was shot, by Talduwe Somarama, a Buddhist monk. It is ironic though, that although Bandaranaike's administration suspended capital punishment, the monk who was found guilty, was hanged on the 6th of July 1962.

Soon after his death, his wife Siri-marvo Bandaranaike stepped up to the challenges of leading the country, becoming the first female Prime Minister in the world.

To continue the tour, go to stop 2, the Buddha statue opposite the B M I C H.