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Sri Lankan honours system

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The Sri Lankan national honours system is a fully indigenous honours system of titles, decorations and medals which are awarded to recognize achievements of, or service by, Sri Lankans or others in connection with Sri Lanka. Until 1972, the British honours system was in place in Ceylon along with several indigenous titles (which were not awarded since 1948), however since 1956 no nominations were made for these honors and were automatically discontinued after Sri Lanka became a republic. Since 1981 a uniquely Sri Lankan system of National Honours have been introduced. These awards are titles that can be used by the recipients.

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Awards are made by the President of Sri Lanka on behalf the Government of Sri Lanka. The Presidential Secretariat is responsible for the administration of the honours.

These are civil honours with different awards and decorations of members of the military in the form of gallantry awards and campaign medals.

The Sri Lankan national honours divided into five categories:

  • Service to the nation
  • Bravery
  • Scientific achievement
  • Achievements in arts, culture and drama
  • Non-nationals
  • List of Honours

    These include the following in the order of their ranking, which are used as titles;

    Sri Lankabhimanya

    The Sri Lankabhimanya is conferred to "those who have rendered exceptionally outstanding and most distinguished service to the nation". The honour can only be held by five Sri Lankans contemporaneously, and can be also be conferred posthumously.

    Deshamanya

    The Deshamanya (Pride of the Nation) is the second highest Sri Lankan national honour (after the Sri Lankabhimanya) awarded by the Government of Sri Lanka "for highly meritorious service".

    Deshabandu

    The Deshabandu is the third highest Sri Lankan national honour. It is awarded "for meritorious service".

    Sri Lanka Sikhamani

    The Sri Lanka Sikhamani (Sri Lanka's precious gem) is a national honour "for service to the nation".

    Sri Lanka Thilaka

    The Sri Lanka Thilaka is a non titular national honour "for service to the nation".

    Veera Chudamani

    The Veera Chudamani is a National Honour awarded "for acts of bravery of the highest order". Veera Chudamani ranks lower than Deshabandu.

    Veera Prathapa

    The Veera Prathapa is a non titular national honour awarded "for acts of bravery of the highest order". Veera Prathapa ranks lower than Sri Lanka Thilaka.

    Vidya Jyothi

    The Vidya Jyothi is a national honour awarded "for outstanding scientific and technological achievements". It is the highest National Honour for Science in Sri Lanka for outstanding contribution to the development of the country through dedicated work in the chosen field. It is conventionally used as a title or prefix to the awardee's name. Vidya Jyothi ranks lower than Veera Chudamani.

    Vidya Nidhi

    The Vidya Nidhi is a national honour awarded "for meritorious scientific and technological achievements". Vidya Nidhi ranks lower than Sri Lanka Sikhamani.

    Kala Keerthi

    The Kala Keerthi is a national honour awarded "for extraordinary achievements and contributions in arts, culture and drama". It is the highest National Honour for arts, culture and drama in Sri Lanka. It is conventionally used as a title or prefix to the awardee's name. Kala Keerthi ranks lower than Vidya Jyothi

    Kala Suri

    The Kala Suri is a national honour awarded "for special contributions to the development of the arts". Kala Suri ranks lower than Vidya Nidhi.

    Sri Lanka Mitra Vibhushana

    The Sri Lanka Mitra Vibhushana is a Sri Lankan honour, for Heads of State and Heads of Government with which Sri Lanka has friendly relations “in appreciation of their friendship towards and solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka”. The recipient of the honour is awarded a citation and a silver medal, which is to be worn around the neck, studded and adorned with nine kinds of Sri Lankan gems (Nawaratna) with the symbols of a lotus, the globe, sun, moon and sheaves of rice. The ribbon on medal 6.5 Centimeters wide. The honour takes precedence over the National Honours awarded to non Sri Lankans, and will be awarded by the President as and when he/she deems fit. The names of all the recipients are contained in a register maintained under the direction of the President for the recipient of National Honours granted to Sri Lankans. The honour was introduced in February 2008 by President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

    Sri Lanka Rathna

    The Sri Lanka Rathna is a Sri Lankan honour, for foreigners or non nationals, awarded "for exceptional and outstanding service to the nation". It comprises a citation and a gold medal studded with nine "navaratnas" (Sri Lankan gems) with a Manel symbol (the country's national flower).

    Sri Lanka Ranajana

    The Sri Lanka Ranajana is a Sri Lankan honour, for foreigners or non nationals, awarded "for distinguished service of highly meritorious nature".

    Sri Lanka Ramya

    The Sri Lanka Ramya is a Sri Lankan honour, for foreigners or non nationals, awarded "for distinguished service".

    Order of precedence

  • Sri Lankabhimanya
  • Deshamanya
  • Deshabandu
  • Veera Chudamani
  • Vidya Jyothi
  • Kala Keerthi
  • Sri Lanka Sikhamani
  • Vidya Nidhi
  • Kala Suri
  • Sri Lanka Thilaka
  • Veera Prathapa
  • Sri Lanka Mitra Vibhushana
  • Sri Lanka Rathna
  • Sri Lanka Ranajana
  • Sri Lanka Ramya
  • Other honours

  • Justice of the Peace appointments are commonly made as honours by the Minister of Justice. This entitle the holder to place post nominals JP after his or her name.
  • Religious and civil institutions in Sri Lanka commonly award various titles, however these are not recognized by the government and legislation is being drafted to stop such awards.
  • Former titles

  • Adhipadya (Duke)
  • Sarmiwaraya (Lord)
  • Srimath (Sir)
  • Maha Manya (The Right Honourable)
  • Mudaliyar - Originally a Portuguese title of office continued by the British
  • Muhandiram - Originally a Portuguese title of office continued by the British
  • Adigar - Originally a Kandian title of high office continued by the British
  • Dissava - Originally a Kandian title of high office continued by the British
  • References

    Sri Lankan honours system Wikipedia


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