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Veera Puran Appu
Born Veerahennedige Francisco Fernando
(1812-11-07)November 7, 1812[1]
Uyana, Moratuwa, Western Province, Kingdom of Kandy[2]
Died August 8, 1848(1848-08-08) (aged 35)[1]
Bogambara grounds, Kandy, Central Province, British Ceylon[2]
Cause of death
Executed by the British by firing squad
Residence Ratnapura, Sabaragamuwa Province
Nationality Sri Lankan
Other names Puran Appu
Francisco Fernando
Ethnicity Sinhalese
Occupation Political, Economic and Social revolutionary
Known for A leader in the Rebellion of 1848
Home town Moratuwa, Western Province, Sri Lanka
Height 5ft 7½ in
Spouse(s) Bandaramenike (1847)[3]
Children One daughter[3]
Parent(s) Kalistoru Fernando (Father)
Madam Helena (Mother)[2]
Relatives Marcellenus Fernando (Uncle)
Gunnepana Arachchi (Father in Law)

Weerahennadige Francisco Fernando alias Puran Appu (Sinhala පුරන් අප්පු) is one of the notable personalities in Sri Lanka's history. He was born on November 1812 in the coastal town of Moratuwa. He left Moratuwa at the age of 13 and stayed in Ratnapura with his uncle, who was the first Sinhalese proctor, and moved to the Uva province. In early 1847, he met and married Bandara Menike, the daughter of Gunnepana Arachchi in Kandy. He was captured by the British after the failure of Matale Rebellion along with Gongalegoda Banda and Ven. Kudapola Thera. He was executed by a firing squad on August 8, 1848. His body barred in Matale.

The Hero[edit]

He is the only personality to emerge from Sri Lanka's history, clad in the garb of folk hero. He rose from among the common people and he dared to challenge the might of British imperialism at its peak of power and glory during the Victorian era.[4] On 28.07.48 Puran Appu led an attack on Matale. This was successful. However, the other leaders who attacked Kurunegala and Wariyapola failed. Governor Viscount Torrington in a letter to Earl Grey, the Colonial Secretary in London dated October 9, 1849 “I remind you of the last words of Puranappu. He held up his hands and said 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. This is true. If there had been such leaders without doubt for a time we should have lost the country.”[5]

His Legacy[edit]

Francisco (veera puran appu) 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.[3] He traveled about the country, mostly the hill country – Haldummulla to Badulla and other places. his uncle W. Marcellenus Franciscu Fernando,was the first Sinhalese Proctor who had a flourishing practice at Ratnapura and in 1840 Francisco stayed with him[6]

It was at this stage of his career that he headed a band of outlaws and initiated a reign of terror against European planters and officials in Uva, much to the delight of the people. His daring exploits against the white men soon made him a legendary hero in the tradition of Robin Hood and Wat Tyler.

He was now convinced of the necessity of driving away the British from the country in order to emancipate the people from the hardships and humiliations they suffered under the foreign yoke.[1]

With this end in view, he conferred with the Sangha of Mahiyangana and Muthiyangana who pledged him their support. This was in 1845. About this time he encountered romance and lost his heart to a highland lass, Bandara Menike of Harispattuwa whom he married in 1847. She bore him a daughter. Francisco was now called Purancisco or Puran Appo. (Puran Appu). He broke into House of Magistrate Dawson of Badulla and was imprisoned and then broke prison. He cursed Major Rodgers who brought a false charge against him and Major Rodgers was struck by lightning in Nuwara Eliya.

The Gazette notification by the Colonial Secretary, Sir James Emerson Tennent on January 1, 1847, offered 10 pounds for his apprehension and described him as follows

“Perangappo originally of Morette, lately of Kandy, trade – unknown, caste – fisher, aged 34 years, height 5ft 71/2 inches, hair – long and black, eyes – light hazel, complexion – light, well looking, make – well made, stout, marks of punishment on the back and 4 vaccination marks.[7]

James De Alwis writing in 1876 of the events of 1848 in the “Ceylon overland Examiner” states that Puranappu or Veerahennedige Franciscu Fernando was of the Karava caste “in whom a bold and daring disposition was combined with a strong and healthy constitution.”[8]

After three weeks of preparation in the early hours of July 28, 1848, a crowd of eight to ten thousand men under Puranappu’s leadership armed with guns, spears and knives set off for Kandy from Dambulla.

The plan was for Puranappu, Gongalagoda Banda and Dingirala to go in three different directions then meet at Katugastota and attack Kandy on Sunday, 30 July.[9]

Puranappu’s army first attacked Fort McDowl in Matale. Government buildings and property were ransacked – kachcheries, jails, rest houses and court house records. The coffee stores of Lieutenant General Herbert Maddock, a key adviser to the Government in Kandy was set on fire.[10] Puran Appu was successful in capturing Matale for a while and the people in another demonstration of popular fervor, proclaimed him King of Kandy.[11][12]

The memorial monument built for sri lankan hero puran appu.jpg

His success, however, was short-lived. An ill-trained army, equipped with primitive weapons was no match for the superior arms and organisation of the British Half-way between Matale and Kandy, the Sinhala forces, depleted by desertions and their movements betrayed by traitors, were intercepted by British troops and Puran Appu himself was captured and taken to Kandy. With his capture, the Rebellion fizzled out.

Brought to trial before a Court Martial, he was found guilty of having waged war against H.M. Queen Victoria and condemned to be shot.[13]

On August 8, 1848, on the banks of the Bogambara Wewa, Veera Puran Appu was executed.

In Honour[edit]

Weera Puran Appu Vidyalaya, a school in Moratuwa is named after him.[14] A new frog species found from Adam's Peak, was named by his name as Pseudophilautus puranappu, by the researchers for his great dedication to protect the country from foreign invasions.[15]

See also[edit]



Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puran_Appu — Please support Wikipedia.
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56 news items


Tue, 03 Feb 2015 19:27:14 -0800

The struggle against the colonial power, began in 1817 with the Uva Rebellion, In 1848 the abortive Matale Rebellion led by Puran Appu and Gongalegoda Banda was the first transitional step towards independence. Many struggles followed thereafter that ...
The Official Government News Portal of Sri Lanka
Tue, 03 Feb 2015 18:15:00 -0800

The patriotic feelings and commitments of native heroes who led the struggle for independence such as Ven. Wariyapola Sri Sumangala, Ven. S. Mahinda, Puran Appu, Gongalegoda Banda and Keppetipola are clearly visible in our history. We should note ...

The Sunday Times Sri Lanka

The Sunday Times Sri Lanka
Sat, 07 Feb 2015 12:11:43 -0800

The Museum has a series of display boards depicting the names, images and information of the political leaders, clergy and the lay patriots who were at the centre of this national struggle such as,Veera Puran Appu, Gongalegoda Banda, Monerawila ...

The Sunday Times Sri Lanka

The Sunday Times Sri Lanka
Sat, 31 Jan 2015 13:00:00 -0800

There are many famous musicians from my hometown. Some of them are W. D. Amaradewa and Sunil Perera. Weera Puran Appu is one of the National Heroes from Moratuwa. There are many important places in my hometown. There are temples, churches, ...
nation.lk - The Nation Newspaper
Sat, 31 Jan 2015 10:33:45 -0800

Veera Keppetipola Dissawe, Gongalegoda Banda, Veera Puran Appu, Utuwankande Sura Saradiel, Anagarika Dharmapala, Walisinghe Harischandra, Ponnambalam Ramanathan, Ponnambalam Arunachalam are some of the prominent personalities who'll ...

nation.lk - The Nation Newspaper

nation.lk - The Nation Newspaper
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 10:46:07 -0800

Puran Appu and Gongalegodabanda gave leadership. They were obviously brave. That is why they emerged as leaders. People did not mind who gave them leadership. Q: Why were there no struggles in up country after 1848? A: One reason was, there were ...
Sunday Leader
Sat, 01 Nov 2014 12:47:36 -0700

Following our last week's expose on how Sri Lanka Railways (SLR) continues to give railway track reconstruction tenders to foreign companies for a higher price when SLR workers have the potential and the expert knowledge to construct the same work for ...
The Island.lk (subscription)
Fri, 08 Aug 2014 12:52:30 -0700

The Kandyan Kingdom went under British rule in 1815 and by 1816 they wanted to return to Sinhala rule. From 1816 to 1848 there were at least a dozen attempts to get rid of British rule. These are well reported in the British documents. There was open ...

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