General N.U.M. Mahesh W. Senanayke, RWP, RSP, VSV, USP, psc is a senior Sri Lanka Army officer and a military engineer. He was the 22nd Commander of the Sri Lanka Army, and Colonel of the Regiment of the Sri Lanka Army Special Forces Regiment. A veteran of all four phases of the Sri Lankan Civil War, he has served in both its Northern and Eastern theaters.
It has been six months since the horrific disaster of the Easter Sunday multiple bombings and its aftermath. One would recall how the Army Commander, General Mahesh Senanayake played a vital role in bringing law and order to a country in mayhem. With his commitment to the rule of law and self-discipline, he became a man Sri Lankans appreciated and were thankful for during a period in which the nation clearly lacked visible leadership. He is remembered for this as well as the integrity and leadership qualities embodied by him during the political coup in October 2018. During these crises, most the prayer of most Sri Lankans was that the army led by General Senanayake would take over the governance of the country and put the systems right. However, he steadfastly stuck to his duty as a professional army general who had the best interest of his nation at heart.
Post retirement, Mahesh Senanayake felt he had to follow his heart’s calling for national service and enter politics to make this country a better place for all Sri Lankans, present and future generations, to live happily. His strong belief is that this is possible if one is truly committed to the cause. It seems he has it in his blood to protect our country and lead it in the right direction.
Mahesh Senanayake is a descendant of an entire generation of Sri Lankans who dedicated their lives for the country as men of valour. His father was a police officer, while Granville Senanayake, Mahesh Senanayake’s grandfather was an army commanding officer who served under the colonial government during the first World War. Mahesh Senanayake’s great grandfather too was in the army and belonged to a group of soldiers who were sent to quell the Dutch revolt in India.
Granville Senanayake was from the Maradhana Walawwa in Kosgoda and was married to Thilakamuni Aselin De Silva Gunasekara.
The Maha Kappina Walawwa, which originated and continues to be the headquarters of the Amarapura Nikaya of Sri Lanka, is known to be a property of Mahesh Senanayake’s ancestry. Currently, it is known to be Seema Maleekaaramaya. Samson Rajapakse, a member of Maha Kappina Walawwa is known to have played a major role in bringing the practice of Upasampada from Burma to the Amarapura Nikaya. His son Theodore Rajapakse, contributed the land to construct Ananda College in Colombo. He laid the foundation stone for the construction of Ananda College. To add more, Theodore Rajapakse was a person who has contributed 400 acres to the Government for the construction of the Bandaranayake International Airport. He also constructed the clock tower inside the Galle Fort.
Dr. Wijerama, brother of Mahesh Senanayake’s grandmother had contributed the land to the government for the current president’s house. And as a token of appreciation, the government named the access road, Wijerama Mawatha in honor of him. The current Medical Faculty Library of Colombo University was the residence of Dr. Wijerama. Rupas Abeysekara, father of Mahesh Senanayake’s mother was a former Divisional Secretary of Galle. With a clear lineage of philanthropic ancestry, it is clear that Mahesh Senanayake’s commitment to make the nation a better place comes from his DNA.
Born on August 19, 1962, Mahesh Senanayake was educated at Ananda College, Colombo from the 1st to the 13th year. With the intention of joining the army in the future he joined and participated in the college cadet team and the military academy in the school on the 19th of October 1981. He enrolled in the “No. 16” long term cadet diploma and went on to achieve the Most Outstanding Cadet award. Also, winning the Sword of honour Award and Senior Officer Award, Mahesh Senanayake became the only officer to receive all three medals in any course in Sri Lankan military history. In addition, General Mahesh Senanayake is a degree holder of Command and Administration by receiving a Degree of Defense from the Command and General Staff College, USA. Moreover, General Mahesh Senanayake has a Civil Engineering degree from the Jawaharlal Nehru University of India.