Twenty one years ago on an18th September, Kandy lost one of its top journalists, who was a versatile sportsman, sports promoter and above all a gentleman. His name was M.E Marikar.
Many are the instances during his illustrious career and public life where he displayed his integrity and honesty. He was a shining example of a clean life. The late Marikar was a fine cricketer, football player, athlete, boxer, cadet and also played hockey. At cricket he was a fine medium pace bowler and a hard hitting middle order batsman.
ME or Mariks to his friends, he was a household name in sports. He worked for the ‘Times Group’ and later for the Wijeya Newspapers for thirty five long years form 1962 to 1997. Mariks used his pen to tell the country what was happening in Kandy in his own inimitable style of writing. He was an outstanding gentleman and highly respected journalist, who maintained lofty standards.
Mariks, who served the Times and Daily Mirror for many years, knew about sports and news and it was he who wrote exclusively on the notorious “Maru Sira”. When the Daily Mirror and Times papers closed, he joined Wijeya Newspapers Ltd
He was an old boy of St. Sylvester’s College, was gifted and was able to write on any topic from sports to news. He took over after late T.B. Marambe the renowned cricketer and coach of Trinity College, wanted a break from writing.
He was employed by the Times Group of Newspapers. His efficiency helped him go places. Mariks succeeded veteran Cyril de Silva Ariyaratne and was absorbed to the permanent staff of the ‘Times of Ceylon’. His journalism was based on balanced views. Mariks with his Yul-Brynner-like look was a familiar figure in Kandy and in most parts of the country. Mariks, who served the Times and Daily Mirror for many years, knew about sports and news and it was he who wrote exclusively on the notorious “Maru Sira”. When the Daily Mirror and Times papers closed, he joined Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.
Mariks was well-known in the sporting, political and social fields. He was amiable, sporty and a generous individual. He had a commanding personality, was tall and well-built. His majestic and dominant physical stature drew a smile or a good morning from the general public as he went about his work. He hailed from a well-known and respected family from Kandy.
During his schools days, he was under the principalship of that famous educationist late D.J.N.Seneviratne. At school he was a top class sportsman, a fine boxer at the Stubbs Shield meets, a public school athlete and captained both the football and hockey teams. After leaving school he continued his sports, played football and hockey for Young Stars Sports Club. He also played football for Green Field Sports Club and Kandy YMMA. He also played for Saunders S.C, Colombo. While in Kandy he played for Kandy District and Up-Country.
He started his career with the marketing Department and played football and cricket. He also played for the Government Services team. He led the Government Service Football team in 1956 and later served the Army 2 SR and led their football and cricket teams before taking to journalism.
Mariks also played cricket, for Moors SC in the premier league. He became the first Sylverstian to play Premier league cricket. When he was schooling there was no cricket. He took to cricket later. He also played for Kandy Lake club, Kandy United, Kandy District, Up-Country, Times of Ceylon, Government Services and Sri Lanka Press. He was a well-known figure. Once on his way for the Inaugural Test match at the Oval, President J.R. Jayewardene spotting Mariks and offered him a lift in his official limousine. Again when he was on his way for a football final, President R.Premadasa saw him and offered a lift to the Sugathadasa Stadium.
Mariks had a warm and generous heart and went out of his way to help a friend or journalist from any newspapers. His contribution for the citizens of Kandy in the field of sports and in general will be long remembered.
He lived a simple life and moved with everybody and had connections with many leading figures of almost all political parties and the business world. Kandy lost a sincere friend, a helpful colleague, and a man of rare qualities and principles.
We share the sorrow with his widow Hidaya (USA), Sons Hilmy (Switzerland, Foumy (Luxembourg) and daughter Soraya (USA) and Rozana no more.