The late Dr H.S Perera did a lot for Ananda College with the contributions he made to have a swimming pool for his Alma Matter standing out
It was with profound sadness that we Anandians learned the passing away of Dr H.S Perera, one of the greatest sons of Ananda College. Dr H.S departed from the world leaving a permanent void in the hearts of everyone associated with all activities of the college, including sports. He never missed school’s big match even while he was studying for his FRCS in UK. His keen interest and efforts helped Ananda College to build one of the best swimming pools meeting international standards. But, he was not a good swimmer as far as I know.
As soon as he was transferred to the Colombo General Hospital from Ratnapura, he was instrumental in forming the Old Anandians’ Sports Club (OSC), purely with the objective of raising funds for the swimming pool project. He later became the President of the OSC. The very first effort of the OSC was to invite wealthy businessmen and other well-wishers of the college to donate Rs 10,000 each and lay a foundation stone for the pool.
My association with Dr H.S commenced during the time we organised a carnival at Vihara Mahadevi Park to raise funds for the swimming pool project. Throughout that period of organising the carnival, early in the morning, on his way to the hospital, he visited the Carnival site to check on the progress of the work. After finishing work at the hospital, he came direct to the school or to the carnival site and stayed till very late to see that everything was in order. If not for that dedication, those carnivals would not have been huge successes.
The Ananda College swimming pool was the 22nd such facility in schools. All the other institutes (21) were non-Buddhist schools and had their own pools before Ananda. Then following a proposal made by Col. Para Molligoda, he initiated action to build a baby pool for the benefit of the Primary school students. Support given by Thilak Ediriweera and Wimal Wittachchi to administer the project work was a great strength and inspiration in completing this gigantic task.
The success of this swimming pool project and getting the Primary School of Ananda back from the Asoka Junior School were major milestones that were passed. These successes were possible mainly due to the perseverance, high enthusiasm and dedication shown to the school by Dr. H.S by fellow old Anandians. His demise marks the end of an era of another devoted Anandian who treated his Alma Mater second only to their own mother.
Even in his career as a top level Thoracic Surgeon, he was well-known for his kind and human attitudes towards his patients. He was one who never charged money for the operations performed at the General Hospital. I know of an instance when one wealthy Tamil gentleman wanted to give a monetary reward to Dr H S for saving the life of his mother. Dr. H.S kindly refused that monetary gratification despite repeated requests being made. Ultimately, when that person was pestering him to accept the reward saying that the reward is on behalf of his mother, Dr H.S’s request was for him to pay the gratification on behalf of his own mother to the swimming pool fund of Ananda College.
He was courageous and objective in his endeavours and his heart was absolutely soft. He was a true gentleman and a devoted Buddhist.
May he attain the supreme bliss of Nirvana.
Prof. L.M.K Tillekaratne,
Ananda College OBA Kalutara Branch