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First Josephian Prime Minister and President of Sri Lanka

22 June 2019 12:00 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}



St. Joseph’s College will celebrate 125 years of excellence on March 19, 2021

“Gam Udawa” and “Janasaviya” are his masterpieces that came from relentless work for those in abject poverty

Conferred with “Lankabhimanya” for yeoman service rendered to the motherland


This article is published to commemorate the 94th birth anniversary of former President, the late Ranasinghe Premadasa, which falls on June 23, 2019. 

St. Joseph’s College, Colombo 10, the premier Catholic school in the island, is preparing to celebrate its 125th year which will be commemorated on March 19, 2021. In spite of the fact that our college is a Catholic educational institution, it has rendered yeoman service to brighten the future of millions of Josephians and to make them prosper in life irrespective of race, caste, religion, ethnicity, culture or linguistic differences.

In this context, we are humbled, honoured and privileged to have produced the first Josephian Prime Minister as well as President of our country. As you know, he was the most distinguished old boy of our hallowed educational institution. 


Our PM brought glory to the motherland when the UN declared 1987 as the International Year of Shelter for the Homeless on a proposal made by him


The late President J.R. Jayewardene’s conferring of the highest national honour of “Lankabhimanya” on Prime Minister Ranasinghe Premadasa was effusively a commendation of the services rendered by him to the people of our motherland. 

The phenomenal feat of work for the national economy, Buddha Sasana and socio-cultural development brought about through various projects propounded by him speak volumes of his knowledge, skills and capabilities inculcated by the then rector, Reverend Father Le Goc and other Reverend Fathers and distinguished teachers of St. Joseph’s College, besides his family upbringing and the principal and teachers of his previous institutions including Dhamma School. 

Beyond the shadow of a doubt, these teachings as well as the knowledge and experience gathered from his boyhood days and later on as a seasoned social worker and parliamentarian had contributed to his great triumph in finding the destinies of our motherland. 

“Gam Udawa” and “Janasaviya” were a few of his masterpieces that came from relentless work for the poorer of the poor citizens. 

Our Prime Minister brought glory to our motherland in having international fame when the United Nations declared 1987 as the International Year of Shelter for the Homeless on a proposal made by him. 


Our late President unambiguously was held in high esteem by all  communities and religions for his consciousness and resolute commitment  to unity and promotion of communal harmony


Our former Prime Minister had strived with global leaders to put forward this proposal having a record of service in providing shelter in Sri  Lanka. 

Our late President unambiguously was held in high esteem by all communities and religions for his consciousness and resolute commitment to unity and promotion of communal harmony. 
His contribution to promote the Buddha Sasana is well-known. Hindu, Christian and Islam followers found in the former President a great benefactor not only in helping them to develop their places of worship but also in the role he played in promoting communal and racial amity. Instances were many where his personal intervention in 
troubled areas helped foiling communal flare up. 


He had the knack for picking the “right man” for the “right job” which  was the secret of his conquest as an able statesman, true politician,  effective administrator and a humanist


He had the knack for picking the “right man” for the “right job” which was the secret of his conquest as an able statesman, true politician, effective administrator and a humanist. 

(The writer was the former Chairman/Editor-in-Chief of Blue & White Newsletter Committee and the Chairman/Editor of the Blue & White Millennium/Centenary Magazine Committee of the Old Boys’ Union of St. Joseph’s College, Colombo 10. 

He ispresently a life and change management consultant and a professional marketer).



As a follower of his leadership qualities and style, I admire the following; 
Honesty, unflinching determination, courage, knowledge, wisdom, early to rise, going to the people and serving them, simplicity, discipline, unwavering commitment, open communication, appointing suitable personalities to projects and tasks, punctuality, teetotaller, trustworthy, alertness, sacrifices, meeting deadlines and set objectives, oratory power, respecting and treating all citizens equally, transparency, taking up challenges, creating opportunities, help the needy, effective time management, communication skills, public speaking and fostering multicultural, multi-religious, multi-ethnic & multi-linguistic values among his followers. 


I humbly request all leaders to follow his words and deeds in order to bring sovereignty to our motherland

I make the following proposals to popularise his yeoman service among the masses including schoolchildren and the youth: 

  •  I request the Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith and the Rector of St. Joseph’s College to display a photo of the late President Ranasinghe Premadasa in all classrooms and staffrooms apart from inculcating values practised by him  
  •  Rename the college library as ‘Respected Ranasinghe Premadasa Library’ and make the booklets on his school, public and political life available therein. 
  •  To initiate the process and see the light at the end of the tunnel, I am willing to extend my services as the Editor of the above booklet and magazine for my alma mater. 
  •  National leaders including Housing, Development and Cultural Affairs Minister Sajith Premadasa to retain the names “Gam Udawa,” “Sucharita” and “Janasaviya” in the current projects similar to the aforementioned deeds as a mark of respect to the noble President. 
  •  I will also seek the permission and advice of Minister Sajith Premadasa to prepare a booklet on his father’s life to be made available to the general public. 
  •  I humbly request all politicians to follow his footsteps in social and public service. 
  •  All leaders to follow his words and deeds in order to bring sovereignty to our motherland. 

Although we do not have our first Josephian Prime Minister and President among us today, I am sure the words and deeds made by him are eternal. He had lived up to the expectations of all citizens besides Josephians as per our college motto: “In Scientia et Virtue” (In knowledge and virtue). We as Josephians and citizens of this beloved nation are proud of you sir. You will live in our hearts forever! 

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