Saga of Kohukumbure Rate Rala

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By 2017-12-17

By Gunarathna Banda

One of the foremost characters of the 1818 Kandyan Rebellion was Kohukumbure Rate Rala but his profile is shrouded in mystery. His name also could be spotted right at the top of the list of the national heroes who fought for this country's independence from the British. Given below are some of the unknown facts about Kohukumbure Rate Rala:

The village of Kohukumbura was situated in Medagama in the Bibila electorate of the Uva Province. The Rate Rala was the eldest son of Kohukumbure Weda Nilame of the Kohukumbure Paramula Walawwa.
He was given the name of Athulath Herath Mudiyanselage Lokubandara.

Kohukumbure Rate Rala who was born with a strong physique also had become well versed in ancient fighting techniques.
He had also two wives. One of them was the eldest sister of Kendawinna Disawe Mohattala and she resided at Kohukumbure Alupotha Watte.

The second wife was the daughter of Nilgala Katugampola Wedarala and she was known as Dingiri Ethana.
She lived at Kohukumbure Godigamuwa Walawwa. Kohukumbure Rate Rala was also the father to two sons and a daughter.
The eldest son was known as Senarath Bandara before he came into prominence as Thambane Mudiyanse.
The second son was Vijayalath Bandara, while the daughter was Tikiri Menika who married Upasekera Mudiyanse of Bakinigahawela Walawwa.

The sister of Kohukumbure Rate Rala was married to Boothawe Rate Rala. It was those two who had shouldered brunt of the responsibility of the 1818 Kandyan Rebellion.
Kohukumbure Rala spent most nights at the house of his Alupotha Walawwa. During the height of the rebellion, the British found it tough to arrest Kohukumbure Rala.

Then one night the British forces raided the Alupotha Walawwa and tried to get at him but before they could do so Kohukumbure Rala managed to flee the area along with his young wife.
Afterwards the younger brother of Kohukumbure Rala, Punchi Rala managed to come with a gang and the British forces were struggling in the mud having fallen to it in their bid to cross a bridge in the pitch darkness.
That area is today called Bokke Mada.

There is also a school of thought that Kohukumbure Rala was finally arrested following a tip off given by those who were with Boothawe Rate Rala when the former was staying at the camp situated at Maragala Mountain in Moneragala during the waning days of the 1818 rebellion.

Following a decree given by Governor Brownrig on 10 January 1818, 12 persons were named as those who had conspired to overthrow the white regime and among them were Keppetipola, Boothawe Rate Rala, Kiwulegedera Mohottala and Kohukumbure Rate Rala.
Kohukumbure was arrested in April of 1818 when a Malay battalion led by Captain Segu Noordin had arrived at the Maragala Mountain top to apprehend him.

After being detained in Colombo for sometime Kohukumbure Rate Rala was expelled to Mauritius aboard the Liverpool ship on 2 February 1819 before he died on 20 June 1825 in Mauritius.

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