He was known to all who knew him as a bon vivant, a life enhancer and a man of unbridled generosity who never turned away anyone who came to him in need
The 1st of November, 10 years ago, was a day of utter despair and unforgettable sadness for all those who loved Janaka. It was difficult to come to believe that this most warm-hearted generous man, full of joie d’vivre had gone to his eternal rest. The focus of Janaka’s life was his family and his business. To all those who knew and loved him, life suddenly seemed darker, more tenuous, less secure and the thread of constancy in our lives seemed threatened. Janaka had the blithest of temperaments, was irrepressibly good natured but always extraordinarily decisive and strong willed: which helped to make him a successful businessman and a household word, not only in Kurunegala his hometown, but also far beyond its peripheries. He had a sharply observant eye and a ready sense of humour, which helped in his business of land sales. His code of honour was governed by principles and integrity which he instilled in his business from top to bottom. He had the rare ability of meeting new challenges head on, which enabled him to move forward even in bad times. Perhaps the fact that he had been a sportsman all his life, he played tennis almost daily; contributed towards his success, as sports as been called the one true international language. He was known to all who knew him as a bon vivant, a life enhancer and a man of unbridled generosity who never turned away anyone who came to him in need.
He was a doting father, who spared no expense to shower his wife Sunetra and daughters Sujani and Heshani, with every possible comfort and luxury. The eldest son of the late C.M.B. Bogollagama, he was a most dutiful son to his parents. During his schooldays at Ananda College, he was public schools champion in tennis and his achievements through sports and business were many and varied. He was President of the North Western Province Badminton Association, President of the Kurunegala club for 15 years, and the only one from an outstation to be President of the SLTA. He was the first President of the Wayamba Chamber of Commerce and like his father, a staunch supporter of the UNP, never shifting his loyalties from the party through thick and thin. His contribution to the party in Kurunegala can never be matched and the defeat this time was evidence of the irreparable void to the party caused by his death.
He always remained a Ranil Wickremesinghe loyalist which was a bond between us. At his funeral, the Ven. Ahungalla Siri Seelawimala Thero from Trincomalee, spoke of his generosity to thirty to forty families who needed help, for livelihood and shelter. Janaka was quick to respond to the Ven Thero’s request; bought the best tractor available for them, sent all essentials needed by them and built a school for this deprived community. He had also sent lorry loads of good for them during the tsunami devastation. His generosity knew no bounds to one and all. He built seven temples in the North Western Province and although a Buddhist, helped all other religions too. His love for sports made him sponsor most sports events in Kurunegala. He supported all charities in Kurunegala and those in other parts of the country too. The qualities he possessed of head and heart, were rare and he was unafraid to face death, full of optimistic philosophy right to the end. I visited him often in hospital during those last weeks, he always greeted me with a smile and chatted easily. The world is poorer without him, but we mustn’t let him go. It is more important than ever, in these difficult times, to be as he was; brave,hopeful, compassionate, open hearted and above all merry-hearted. Death is inevitable and the one certainty in life, but it’s sad that he had to leave us so soon. We all miss him, his family, friends, employees who he looked after like family and his party the UNP. You will be in our hearts and minds now and forever, Janaka, you were the genuine article, salt of the earth.