An arachchi (Sinhalese: ආරච්චි) was an influential post in the Sri Lankan administration system.


The post was in existence before the colonial rule of Sri Lanka (Ceylon).[1] After the coastal areas were taken over by the colonial rulers, i.e. the Portuguese, Dutch and finally the British, they retained the post in their administration system.

During the British administration official and titular appointments were made (both in up country and low country) by the government agent of the district. Appointments were non-transferable and usually hereditary, made to locals, usually from wealthy influential families loyal to the British Crown. This was an influential post, as the holder had much control over the people of the area and had limited police powers since he was responsible to keep the peace, carry out revenue collection and assist in judicial functions. This became part of the Native Department of the British Government of Ceylon.

Several vidanes came under the supervision of an arachchi. The post of vidane was replaced with the post of grama niladhari in the 1970s.

Following the formation of the State Council of Ceylon, one of its members, H. W. Amarasuriya, called for an inquiry into the headman system. A commission was formed made up of retired civil servants and lawyers headed by H.M. Wedderburn. The commission reported on reforming the headman system or replacing it with transferable district revenue officers. In March the headman system was abolished as an administrative system, with the titles of mudaliyar (mudali - මුදලි) and muhandiram retained by the government to be awarded as honors. This practice remained until the suspension of Celonese honors in 1956. The minor headman positions were retained, surviving well into the 1970s when the post of vidane was replaced with the transferable post of grama niladhari (village officer).

Ranks of the British arachchies

British appointed arachchies had several classes;[2]

Awarded as an honor (titular)

List of prominent arachchies

Awarded as an honor (titular)

See also

References and external links

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