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Ever faced the scenario where someone has commented how weird your name sounds and you reply that it’s because you’re a Malay and you subsequently find yourself having to explain what being a Malay is all about? Yes, let’s face it, we all have. During such a conversation where you desperately try to recall everything that is Malay from Baabath Puruth to how to say hello in Malayu, have you ever been asked if some Muslim personality were a Malay or not and for the life of you, you couldn’t recall? Well, out of the long list of personalities varying from politicians, soldiers, scholars and sportsmen, here are five Malays that you should absolutely know about to get out of such a situation.
#5 Constable Tuan Saban
Uthuwankande Sura Saradiel a.k.a “The Robin Hood of Sri Lanka” is an infamous bandit in Sri Lankan history books who was at large during the 1860s. Although Saradiel was not a Malay, Constable Tuan Saban, credited with the capture of Saradiel most certainly was.
One of the main modes of our early ancestors arriving in Sri Lanka is said to be as soldiers fighting for the Dutch. Constable Tuan Saban was one such police constable who along with Sergeant Mahat were the two officers said to have initially engaged Saradiel before Assistant Government Agent of Kegalle, E. R. Saunders arrived at the scene with a company of soldiers from the Ceylon Rifle Regiment who were able to capture Saradiel. Constable Tuan Saban is reported to have been killed during the gun fight making him the first regular Police Officer of the Ceylon Police to have sacrificed his life in the course of duty and 21st of March, the date the incident occurred, is still commemorated as the Police Heroes’ day.
The Saban memorial on the Kandy road at Mawanella with inscriptions of the incident.
(Image credit: island.lk)
#4 Mayumi Raheem
This Sri Lankan swimming sensation made all Malays proud by representing Sri Lanka at the 2008 Beijing Olympics when she was only 17 years old. She participated for the 100m breaststroke finishing her heat in 4th place with a timing of 1:15.33. She first made her swimming prowess known to the world with her appearance at the 2006 South Asian Games winning 3 gold medals, 5 silver medals and 5 bronze medals, a record for any athlete at a single Asian Games.
Image credit: alchetron.com
#3 T.M. Dilshan
The flamboyant Sri Lankan opener and former captain across all formats and the inventor of the infamous ‘Dilscoop’ has a Malay lineage as his father is a Malay and mother a Sinhalese. He was initially named Tuwan Mohamed Dilshan before he changed his name to Tillakaratne Mudiyanselage Dilshan shortly after his international debut in 1999 citing personal reasons.
#2 Lt. Col. Tuan Nizam Muthaliff
In the long list of war heroes who paid the supreme sacrifice during the war, Major Tuan Nizam Muthaliff (posthumously promoted as Lieutenant Colonel) is one of the most revered and talked about irrespective of his ethnicity. He was the Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion of the Sri Lanka Army Military Intelligence Corps and responsible for taking out many high profile LTTE targets.
It is reported that Lt. Col. Muthaliff would leave the camp in the middle of the night having previously informed his men not to search for him if he did so and return at dawn with the locations of the terrorist corpses he’d left behind.
It was such extraordinary feats of bravery that sent waves of fear through the LTTE and forced them to launch the successful operation which led to the shooting of Lt. Col. Muthaliff at Polhengoda in 2005.
Image credit: slnewsonline.net
#1 Dr. T.B. Jayah
One of the very first names that comes to mind when talking about Malays is Dr. T.B. Jayah and with good reason too. His 3 hour speech in 1944 on the Soulbury Report and the White Paper of the United Kingdom Government to pass the Dominion Bill paved the way for the full independence of Ceylon, a feat which deservedly earned him a place in the list of National Heroes of Sri Lanka.
During his multifaceted career, Dr. T.B. Jayah was an Educationist, State Councillor, Member of Parliament, Minister of State and Ambassador to Pakistan. His first and original concern was the education of the Muslims and perhaps why his tenure as the Principal of Zahira College is known as the school’s golden era. He passed away in 1960 while on pilgrimage to Mecca leaving a legacy of selfless service to the motherland behind.
Image credit: geni.com
Did we miss anything or do you feel more people should have been featured on the list? Let us know in the comments below.
By Amrit Singalaxana