“More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of,” These immortal lines of Alfred Lord Tennyson reflected in the life of late Ignatius T. Canagaretnam former Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police (affectionately called “IT” by his relatives and friends), who passed away on January 10, 2018 at the age of 81 years after a brief illness.
“IT” would always be remembered by his innumerable friends, relatives and all other associates for his excellent quality of head and heart. He viewed life as a pre-ordained opportunity to attain perfection through a blend of human and divine love and then to blaze a righteous trail for others to follow and perpetuate. In fact his consideration for others was something that welled up from within, a natural outcome of his conviction that the whole world was one family.
Indeed, I consider it a great honour and privilege to have met and known him as a good friend, he was more than a friend and treated me always as a brother. He was a noble gent with sterling qualities who helped me on numerous occasions when I was precariously and perilously pushed into the vertex of dire difficulties. His motto was - “What the right hand gives, the left hand should not know.” So selfless a soul was he and so enthusiastic about the affairs of others. Being benevolent and sweet by nature he soon found his place in the heart of everyone. The loneliest, the most wretched received compassion in his hands. “Love and forgive, live and let live “ he would always say.
He possessed a tower of positive thoughts and kind consoling words. He would not be disturbed by problems and would face them with determination
Mr. Canagaretnam had his entire education at St. Michael’s College, Batticaloa and came under the moral, social and intellectual influence of great Jesuit priests Rev.Fr. S.J. Crowther and the legendary Rev. Fr. Harold Weber. He left St. Michael’s College after passing the senior school certificate exam, (SSC) and joined the Sri Lanka Police force as a trainee Sub Inspector.
He served the police force with honesty, integrity and efficiency in many areas of the island. He rapidly rose in the ranks of his chosen profession as Inspector of Police, Superintendent of Police, Senior Superintendent of Police and then finally as Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police through sheer grit and hard work. His record had been straight and very impressive. His greatness was self made and God ordained. In fact the secret of Ignatius Canagaretnam as a dedicated, devoted and disciplined person was due to the fact that he was deeply religious with an unblemished character and versatile intellect. By his simplicity and sincerity he endeared himself to all those who came in contact with him. His gentle nature and kindness made everyone feel at ease in his company. He had an extremely charming personality which helped him to go out of his way to help everyone who sought his assistance expecting nothing in return. He possessed a tower of positive thoughts and kind consoling words. He would not be disturbed by problems and would face them with determination.
As the famous poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once wrote of such people:
“The lives of great men reached and kept
Were not obtained in sudden flight
For they, while their companions slept
Were toiling upward in the night.”
Ignatius Thavayogam Canagaretnam would always be remembered for his kindness and love. On a personal note I lost a good friend, mentor and guide with whom I spent and enjoyed a lot of useful time. His demise was a great blow to everyone who knew him. To the feeble he brought the power of strength, to the sinner the liberation of forgiveness, to the suffering the peace of mercy.
He served the police force with honesty, integrity and efficiency in many areas of the island. He rapidly rose in the ranks of his chosen profession as Inspector of Police, Superintendent of Police, Senior Superintendent of Police and then finally as Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police through sheer grit and hard work
Furthermore to his wife, sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren, I wish to express my sympathies for having lost a beloved husband, loving father, a good father-in-law, a wonderful grandfather and a good-hearted and noble gent to all his associates.
I wish to conclude with the following: “Goodnight Sweet Prince and the flights of Angels sing thee to thy rest”