Kusumsiri Amarasinha who was fondly called Kusuma, was born on 26th May 1912 in Medaketiya, Tangalla. She was the youngest in the family of 6 boys and 2 girls. Her father Don Davith Amarasinha was a person of standing and a devout Buddhist Worker and philanthropist and a member of the Buddhist Theosophical Society, who was engaged in social work in the area. The mother was Sopinona Amarasnha who hailed from Kachchciyawatte, Galle. Kusuma received her education at Sri Rahula Vidyalaya Tangalle, St. Mary’s Convent at Matara and later at Museus College, Colombo. Having joined the SooriyamalMovement in the mid 1930’s Kusuma engaged herself as an activist of the left movement.
She married Philip Gunawardena, the son of Boralugoda Ralahamy in 1939 who by then had founded the Socialist Movement in Sri Lanka and was by then the Member of the State Assembly for Awissawella. With her marriage, she became more closely engaged with the anti colonial struggles waged by the left movement in Sri Lanka. When in 1940 Mr. Philip Gunawardena and leftist leaders, were illegally apprehended by the British rulers and jailed, Kusuma fought relentlessly for their release. She played a key role by surreptitiously securing the imprint of the prison keys for their famous “Jail Break “ on 07th April 1942. With Philip and other leaders having escaped to India and joined the political underground there to continue struggle against the British Occupation, Kusuma joined her husband there by traveling incognito, dresses as a school girl.
The contributions made to society by her 5 children speaks for Kusuma’s loving care and devotion in bringing them up and shaping their values. They all have had a sound education. Her only daughter is a sensitive writer who has amongst others bestowed to society separate volumes of well researched biographies of her illustrious parents, her four sons have with trust and confidence bestowed upon them by the people served in political office three in Ministerial Office and the other at the Mayoralty of Colombo.
Mrs. Kusuma Gunawardena is quoted is quoted as having said on many an occasions that she is immensely overjoyed and lucky to have lived long enough to see her son Dinesh elected as the Member of Parliament for Maharagama in 1983. Kusuma with Philip Gunawardena is outstanding in that, they were selfless. She passed away peacefully on May Day 1985.