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(KM 147.1)

Date: A.D. 1984

Obverse: Coat of Arms / National Emblem of Sri Lanka

Reverse: Demonination - SRI LANKA / TWO RUPEES / 1984

Junius Richard Jayewardene, President of Sri Lanka from 1978 to 1989

This is a two rupees coin of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka that depicts the official coat of arms or national emblem of the independent nation of Sri Lanka. The denomination and name of the country are expressed on the reverse of the coin in numerals and in Sinhalese, Tamil and English. This coin is dated 1984 which is the year of its initial production in cupro-nickel. The 2 Rupee coin was minted in nickel plated steel since 2005 until it was reissued again in 2013 in stainless steel. The copper nickel 2 Rupee was first minted in 1984 and again in 1993, 1996, 2001, 2002, and 2004 with a total production number of 204,000,000.

The emblem was created in 1972, shortly after the country became a fully independent republic. Previous to this Sri Lanka was known as Ceylon and was at various times under the control of the Portuguese, the Dutch East India Company, and the British before becoming the Dominion of Ceylon under the Commonwealth of Nations. The emblem was created under the guidance of Nissanka Wijeyeratne who at the time was the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Cultural Affairs and Chairman of the National Emblem and Flag Design Committee. The designer of the emblem was the artist, sculptor and Theravada monk Mapalagama Wipulasara Maha Thera and the original artwork was by S.M. Seneviratne. The emblem depicts a lion passant, holding a sword in its right fore paw surrounded by petals of a Blue Lotus which is the national flower of Sri Lanka. This is on top of a grain vase and is surrounded by sheaves of rice grain sprouts to denote prosperity. At the top is the Dharmachakra (Dharma Wheel) to represent Buddhism and on either side of the vase are the sun and the moon.

The Island nation of Sri Lanka is located in the Indian Ocean off the southeast shore of the Indian Subcontinent with which it shares a close history. Sri is a common term used across most South and South Asian Languages including Tamil, Hindi and Sinhalese, often used as an honorific title as in the case of the Nayak Monarchs that ruled the Kingdom of Kandy in Sri Lanka. The word is generally translated from Sinhalese to mean "resplendent." The word Lanka At 25,200 square miles it is the twenty-fifth largest island. At the time in which this coin was minted the President of Sri Lanka was Junius Richard Jayewardene who served from 1978 to 1989. A career statesman who led the nationalist movement in Ceylon. Before his eleven year term as President he had served briefly as Minister of Finance under under the second Prime Minister Dudley Shelton Senanayake, he served in the Parliament from 1960 to 1978, he served as the Leader of the Opposition from 1970 to 1977, and as prime minister under President William Gopallawa from 1977 to 1978.

The assessment of the Presidency of Jayewardene is complicated. Jayewardene brought Sri Lanka out of the shadow of India opening up the economy to outside investment and aligning his foreign policy with America. He was seen as western friendly earning him the nickname "Yankie Dickie." After many years of economic stagnation Jayewardene instituted successful economic reforms, switching from heavy state control to a free market approach, stabilizing and growing the economy despite an ongoing civil war. He also initiated large scale infrastructure and housing programs, created reservoirs, hydro power projects, and social programs which where highly beneficial. However it was under his presidency that the ethnic tensions between the Tamil minority and Sinhalese majority erupted into two bitter Civil Wars with unprecedented levels of violence and brutality as well as very high civilian casualties. Although Jayewardene attempted to put an end to the fighting with Indian intervention, it was largely unsuccessful and tensions only escalated with both sides seeing the terms as unfair and the conflict would continue long after he was gone.