Herath Banda, the Thambuttegama Yodhaya (තඹුත්තේගම යෝධයා හේරත් බණ්ඩා)

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Thamubuttegama Herath Banda was born in 1945 as the second child of seven siblings to a poor farming family of in a remote village in Anuradhapura district. From the small age he grew big and ate a lot more than a child of his age so much that his parents took him to a doctor the unusual appetite.

His full name was Thennakoon Mudiyanselage Punch Ralalage Herath Banda. Even as a child he was so strong and large, the villagers called him the Tambuttegama Giant (Tambuttegama Yodhaya).

Tambuttegama Yodhaya became nationally known after he lifted a car with his bare hands at the age of 5 and the feat was publicised in the news papers.

Herath Banda’s mother first became aware of a physical anomaly when he was about 3 months old. He drank more breast milk than the average child since he was frequently hungry. The mother even brought the baby to the hospital to be seen by a doctor after realizing that the child was bigger than a three-month-old.

He first attended Tambuttegama School before continuing his schooling at Anuradhapura’s Central College. He spoke English well and did well in his studies. Yet, despite his parents’ reservations since it would interfere with his education, he was taken to speak at Dudley Senanayake’s political platforms while he was completing his Advanced Level.

The Giant of Thamubuttegama, Herath Banda, was well-known across the nation, and throngs of people flocked to see him.

In order to help themselves and their party win, these politicians took advantage of the Tambuttegama Yodhaya’s popularity and took him to speak on stage while extolling their qualities in political rallies. Politicians came to hims home and took him out for days for election campaigns. Once the elections were over, he was forgotten until the next election.

Herath was not benefited by the politicians. What actually happened was that Herath’s education was disrupted and and the man who was a teetotaller, developed an addiction to alcohol while been off for days on political rallies.

His education was totally At that time, numerous well-known politicians routinely stopped by Herath’s home. But Herath was not benefited by this. What actually happened was that Herath, stopped his education and who had never consumed alcohol, developed an addiction while been off for days on political rallies.

Before the 1977 general election, Yodha Herat Banda had become a prominent speaker in in the UNP election platforms in the by-election platforms for the Kalawewa constituency and in the 77 general election.

JR Jayawardena, R. Premadasa, Gamini Dissanayake, Anura Daniel, Imtiaz Bakir Marker were frequent visitors to the hamlet of Tambuttegama Yodhaya during these days. However all was forgotten after the elections and and only R. Premadasa had offered him a job as a security guard after election.

At the end he became a alcoholic and severe diabetic. His both legs had to be amputated due to diabetic condition and in his last years he lived alone supported by his siblings. In the end none of the politicians who contributed to his plight came or helped. He finally died in his dilapidated house in 1995.


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