A new coffee table book released Tuesday (08) in Colombo on Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike – “SIRIMAVO: STEERING THE DESTINY OF A NATION” brings out rare photos from the late leader’s decades of public life
It contains rare archival photographs from the long and illustrious public life of Ms Bandaranaike, who made history in July 1960 by being elected the world’s first female Prime Minister.
SIRIMAVO: Piloting the destiny of a nation features an illustrated biography of the late stateswoman who blazed new trails in national and international spheres. The book contains nearly 300 photographs, from various collections, including the Bandaranaike Museums, the National Archives and the United Nations Archives. Many photos have never been in the public domain before.
Concise text places the photographs in their historical context by summarizing information about her political reforms and the many challenges she faced – including the abortive military coup in January 1962 and the armed youth uprising in April 1971 It also captures highlights of his international dealings. as co-founder of the Non-Aligned Movement, champion of resurgence for developing countries, and promoter of peace in Asia and the Indian Ocean.
The foreword to the book is written by retired civil servant Desamanya MDD Pieris, who was secretary to the prime minister during Ms Bandaranaike’s second term. The book also contains 22 important quotes from Ms Bandaranaike and 21 quotes from others assessing her impact and legacy – including senior officials and diplomats who worked with her, independent scholars and foreign journalists.
Entering electoral politics shortly after the assassination of her husband, Mrs. Bandaranaike was three times Prime Minister of Ceylon/Sri Lanka (1960-1965; 1970-1977; and 1994-2000); and simultaneously served as Minister of Defense and Minister of Foreign Affairs during his first and second terms. She served as Leader of the Opposition in Parliament twice (1965-1970 and 1989-1994).
The photographs were researched and curated by renowned photographer Sarath Perera, who worked on this project for nearly a decade. Text and photo annotations are by writer Nalaka Gunawardene. The book was conceptualized and designed by WMK Wijayabandara, with Dr. Ranjith Cabral (former director of the Bandaranaike Center for International Relations) coordinating the effort and guidance of Ms. Sunethra Bandaranaike.
The book (444 pages printed on art paper with a hard cover) is published by the Bandaranaike Museum Committee. The limited edition is priced at Rs 3,000 and distributed by Sarasavi Bookshop.