Hela Havula – The Sinhalese Literary Organization

The “Hela Havula” (Association of the Helas) is a Sri Lankan Sinhala literary organization, which was founded by the pioneer Sinhala linguist and philologist (Grammarian) Kumaratunga Munidasa on 11th January 1941. In 1985, the Hela Havula movement was incorporated.

The Hela Havula movement sought to replace Sanskrit words, used together with the Sinhalese language, with Hela (Sinhala) versions, and remove the Sanskrit influence and promote the correct usage of Sinhalese language. The movement had a huge influence on shaping the Sinhala language to where it is at the present.

Apart from the Sinhala language, many of the starting members of the Hela Havula also promoted the belief of the existence of the ancient Emperor Ravana and a Hela-Asura civilization. According to their opinion, contrary to the common belief, the Sri Lankan history started from the King Mahasammata Manu, a king who is believed to have lived in the beginning of this present age and the original forefather of the Sakiyan family according to Pāli Chronicles, and not from King Vijaya.

The Ancient Emperor Ravana

A Painting of the ancient Emperor Ravana

The movement that was started by Kumaratunga Munidasa was brought fruition by a whole generation of youngsters, who appreciated the heritage of Sri Lanka and the Sinhala language in a much more meaningful way. It had an important effect on many poets and novelists who came forth since the 1950s, which can be recognized by referring to their writing.

The prestigious magazine “Subasa”, started by Kumaratunga Munidasa, is published by Hela Havula movement.

Some of the most prominent members of Hela Havula

  • Alau Isi Sebi Hela (Writer)
  • Amarasiri Gunawadu (Poet)
  • Anandapiya Kudathihi (Journalist)
  • Kalasuri” Arisen Ahubudu (Writer, poet, Sinhala lyricist, author, scholar, playwright, teacher and orator)
  • D.V. Richard De Silva (Author and teacher)
  • Fr. Marcelline Jayakody (journalist, author, Hymn writer, musician, lyricist and poet)
  • Rev. Fr. Moses A. Perera
  • Gunapala Senadeera (Poet)
  • Hubert Dissanayake (Poet)
  • Jayamaha Wellala (Poet)
  • Jayantha Weerasekera (Journalist)
  • Jayasekara Abeyruwan (Notary Public and Author)
  • Ven. Kodagoda Gnanaloka
  • Kumaratunga Munidasa (poet, grammarian, linguist, commentator, writer and journalist) – The founder of Hela Havula
  • Mohotti Don David (Journalist)
  • Deshabandu” Prof. Nandadasa Kodagoda (Lyricist, doctor and singer)
  • Raphael Tennekoon (Poet) – aka Raipiyel Tennekoon
  • Sandadas Coperehewa (Poet, author, journalist and teacher) – The deputy leader of the Hela Havula
  • Sunil Santha (Singer, composer and lyricist)
  • Ven. Tirikunamale Ananda Anunayaka Thero
  • Prof. Vinnie Vitharana (Author)
  • Wijesinghe Jayaweera Mudiyanselage Lokubandara (Former Speaker of the Parliament of Sri Lanka, poet, lawyer, lyricist and author)