For liberating the country from the invading Warlord Elara and the selfish corrupt Lankans who collaborated with him. If not for him, Lanka would have been another unimportant South Indian colony today.
161 BC Dutugemunu raised a National Liberation Army equipped with horses, elephants, and chariots. Gemunu trained all the soldiers in archery, swordsmanship, horse riding, elephant riding. Army was 11,000 strong and was divided into ten divisions of 1100 troops each. Each division was commanded by a Giant( A General) who had finished training in the art of war. This force would fight 22 fierce battles against South Indian armies six times larger than them to free Lanka from the selfish corrupt rule.
Dutugemunu becomes king : Transition from Selfish rule to Just rule Dutugemunu transferred the ruling system back to the system that was based on the pure Theravada principles. This pleased the masses, but annoyed some merchants, ministers and officials who lost their opportunity to exploit the resources of the country and the people. Again, the public infrastructure began to develop with the funds saved from being ended up in merchants and officials pockets. Standard of living increased. Universities and hospitals were built every ten miles. Clever children got access to education and became qualified enough to work overseas. They would migrate to China, South India, North India, South East Asia, and Afghanistan. (This probably explained why so many Sri Lankan engineers and technicians are doing great in overseas employment even now). People became healthy and worked harder. Prosperity returned to the land. Then, it was time to build those astonishing monuments and buildings.
"Like you had helped me in 28 battles, you helped me in my last battle too." : Last Farewell of the Last Giant : Monk Theraputh Abaya The last two giants who survived the war, had both become Buddhist monks. Of them, monk Pussadeva had expired. Dutugemunu was upset that he might not be able to see the last remaining giant Theraputh Abaya, who was a monk meditating in the jungle. "The warrior giant who never took a step back in all the 28 battles with me, is not there in my last battle". Dutugemunu was very happy when the monk arrived. "Once I had 10 warriors around me in all my battles. Today in my last battle, I go alone. Death is a foe I cannot conquer." Monk Theraputh Abaya replied " Oh Great king of Lanka, without conquering the enemy sin, one cannot conquer Death. Impermanence overcomes all, even Buddha's. You have done enough merit by bringing peace and justice for all people. You have done well in your last battle". Dutugemunu said "Like you had helped me in 28 battles, you helped me in my last battle too."
Handing over the rule to Tissa Dutugemunu didn't hand over the rule to his own son as he had proved that he wouldn't be able to give his 100% to the country as the leader. Dutugemunu's son had fallen in love with a girl of low class and had neglected his training to be a national leader. This showed how serious the Sinhalese were about what it takes to be a national leader. Dutugemunu's son was selfishly enjoying the pleasures of life with the girlfriend. It was obvious that he wouldn't concentrate on state affairs as this relationship was more important to him. This has been quoted incorrectly as the Sinhalese Royalty despising the low class people. It was NOT a low class issue. Those days Sinhalese low class were the real low class people. They lived only for themselves and had no motivations to live for anything else. The ruler of a country should have what it takes to be a leader, including the training, dedication and the discipline. Therefore Dutugemunu handed over the crown to his brother Tissa.
Death of King Dutugemunu : Dutugemunu watched his greatest work Ruwan Veli Maha Seya while listening to the Pirith chanted by the monks. He asked which of the heavens was the best. The monks replied that as far as they knew Thousita, was the best as the next Buddha, Maitree Bodhisattva was waiting there. Then Dutugemunu closed his eyes last. It is believed that the chariots sent from all heavens were waiting for him and that was why he asked which one he should get into. It is prophesied that Dutugemunu would be reborn as the main student of the next Buddha, "Maithreee".
Was Dutugemunu a Warmonger ? He was on the top of the list of the anti-Buddhist elements. They had discredit this great Sri Lankan as a warmonger and a Sinhalese racist. If he was a warmonger he could have continued his war all the way to South India and conquered them. He could have demanded compensation for the damages done to the Sinhalese life. He could have massacred the South Indians living in Lanka for crimes against the Sinhalese. Instead, after liberating his country, he re-established the golden National philosophy and redeveloped the country to the grand heights again. All Sri Lankans, not only the SInhalese, but also all foreigners living in Lanka enjoyed the results of his work.
Was Dutugemunu a racist ? If he was a racist, no South Indian descendant would be alive today in Sri Lanka. His greatest deed was his absolute resolution to unite the country for all Sri Lankans. In his rule, even Elara found a place of respect. He was the only one in the world to do that to a ferocious enemy. ( If Elara had won, Sinhalese patriots, including Dutugemunu, would have got massacred and no memorials would be built for them). With that noble act, he earned one of the most respectful places in the history of mankind for the Sinhalese, which Sri Lankans continue to enjoy even today. He was such a noble Sinhalese Hero. And if someone has a problem in recognising such a great hero, they certainly have a problem in facing the facts. May be that refusal to honour him is driven by an insecurity, or an inferiority complex, or an guilt-consciousness or religious fanatism or the cat out of the bag, "racism".
Is it fair to criticise the Sinhalese Governance ? Many critics of the Sinhalese had failed to properly understand the way of the Sinhalese, for nowhere else in the world had anyone made a similar concept famous and practical. It is so unfair to criticise the Sinhalese, without a proper analysis of what they tried to achieve. Today many international analysts, who are looking for a solution to the problems of the world, commented that the way of the Sinhalese could be the answer that they were looking for.
Is it fair to despise Sinhalese Legends ? Many anti-Buddhist elements had picked up from where the European invaders left, in despising the Sinhalese legends as being fictitious. The Sinhalese records match quite well with internationally maintained records quite well. Because most of the Sinhalese records were written by the Buddhist monks, they may highlight Buddhist news. Comparisons with international records have revealed that most Sinhalese records have even neglected the greater aspects of their own achievements because the purpose of the record keeping was, instead of competing with other cultures, simply to maintain a general record of events that took place in the country. The honesty and the simple evident approach to the Sinhalese record-keeping alone show that they were not propaganda as such. If they were fictitious, so would be the rest of the legends of the world. Some of the legends in the world are not even supported by any archaeological findings or international record keepers.
Why only Sinhalese ? Researchers are puzzled as to why only the Sinhalese had taken the human civilisation to such spiritual heights. The other cultures and civilisations were controlled by power-hungry political or military leaders, who were supported by greedy, ambitious merchants. Most of the time, so called religious leaders, who supported the regimes to advance, were not pious or truly religious. They took civilisations to heights of material wealth. Sinhalese took the human civilisation to such unbelievable heights both in material AND spiritual senses. And the Sinhalese didn't conquer anyone's wealth to do that. It was possible only because of the Pure Buddhist principles which made people search not only the material wealth, fun and recreation, but also search for the well being of everyone around them, and search for the inner peace, and maintain personal principles, and their belief, that a human is just one in the society who should look after the fellow humans.