Ceylon: Dry-Eyed and Flying High

When Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike entered politics in 1960, she campaigned on the reputation of her late husband —a former Prime Minister of Ceylon who had been assassinated five months earlier—and all but inundated the lovely, spice-scented island with her tears. A plump, matronly woman who had served contentedly as the dutiful wife of a strong-willed man and the mother of three children, she was reluctant to run. Finally she announced: "It is a duty I owe to my late husband."

The tactics of grief worked, and she became the world's first female Prime Minister, serving for five years before she was...

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