People and Govt. of India make Prof. Gamini Senanayake’s dream a reality
The People and the Government of India saw Senior Professor Gamini Senanayake realize his dream of building an auditorium in memory of Rabindranath Tagore when Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Taranjith Singh Sandhu dedicated the state-of-the-art ‘Rabindranath Tagore Memorial Auditorium’ at the University of Ruhuna on October 9.
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Ruhuna speaking at the event recalled that it was in 2011 when he was the Deputy Vice Chancellor that he had mentioned to the Indian High Commissioner at the time of his dream of building an auditorium in memory of the great Indian author Rabindranath Tagore for the University of Ruhuna. The High Commissioner had asked him to submit a proposal for it as soon as possible. He said that he had worked through the night and with the help of the University’s works engineer he had been able to submit the proposal to the Indian High Commission. Though the Indian government agreed to the fund the project, the Sri Lankan government raised objections and refused to approve it saying that the proposal had not been channeled through the Department of External Resources.
But only when the Indian Government indicated that Premier Narendra Modi in 2015 said he would be looking forward to sign the MOU when he would visit Sri Lanka. “The MOU was signed in the presence of the two leaders of the country at a ceremony to which I was not even invited,” said Prof. Senanayake.
“Nevertheless I am extremely grateful to the people and the government of India for making my dream a reality” he added.
The foundation stone for the state of the art auditorium with seating capacity for 1500 was laid by the former Indian High Commissioner Y. K. Sinha on July 21, 2016. The Indian Government has granted Rs. 265 million. Construction of the auditorium was done by Link Engineering (Pvt) Ltd while the State Engineering Corporation of Sri Lanka were the consultants of the project. The consultation fees and all taxes were borne by the Government of Sri Lanka.
Welcoming the distinguished guests on behalf of the University of Ruhuna, Deputy Vice Chancellor Prof. Nayana Alagiyawanna thanked Prof. Gamini Senanayake for devoting his valuable time and energy to obtain the state of the art auditorium and thanked the government of India for providing the funds.
Indian High Commissioner Taranjith Singh Sandhu said that Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore was an intellectual and a giant among men whose contribution to arts, music, education and literature was unparalleled and he was the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. “The auditorium has been built conforming to the designs of Sri Lanka’s most famous architect Geoffrey Bawa as we have always believed in delivering as per your choices and priorities”
Quoting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the High Commissioner said “We should remain students for life a time and we should yearn to learn from every moment in life” He also said that Universities are not mere lecture theatres but meeting places of minds where new ideas are born and where all boundaries that differentiate one man from the other are transcended.
He urged the students of the University of Ruhuna to connect with the youth of India and take advantage of the scientific and educational development in India.” India of today is very different from yesteryear”. He said that India has the third largest scientific and technical manpower in the world and that India’s internet user base is the second largest in the world and leads the world in mobile data consumption. The government of India offers 750 scholarships to Sri Lankan students for undergraduate, postgraduate and doctorate study.
The High Commissioner reiterated that India remained committed to walking with Sri Lanka in the journey towards development and was always ready to extend offer India’s expertise and skill sets.
“We believe in making real difference to the lives of people. The dance troupes from the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Fisheries and Marine Science and Technology were honored to be the first to perform at the new auditorium”, the Indian High Commissioner said.