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VIJEYDEVI THAMBYAHPILLAY : Devout Christian and teacher par excellence

10 August 2019 02:29 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The hard and certain reality of death has taken away from our midst the wife of our Peradeniya Don Dr. George,Vijeydevi. 
Vijeydevi was the daughter of a teacher and Malar of Kopay. She had two brothers, one an engineer and the other a doctor. 
Vijeydevi began her education at Chundukuli where she was a Head Girl, before she moved to Ladies’ where she was a prefect. From Ladies’, she entered the Colombo University. Later on, she was one of those who moved to Peradeniya. 


Her marriage to Dr. George is another example of a teacher-student marriage. They were blessed with a daughter, Devamala. 
After graduation, she taught in Girls’ High School, Kandy. After teaching in Kandy, she moved to the Teachers’ Training College at Peradeniya. 
I am of the mind that when Vijeydevi’s death was known, all her students in Kandyand at Peradeniya would have remembered her with love and affection. 
I knew Dr. George and Vijeydevi when I was a student at Peradeniya and also as Peradeniya’s Chaplain. 

 

"Vijeydevi began her education at Chundukuli where she was a Head Girl, before she moved to Ladies’ where she was a prefect. From Ladies’, she entered the ColomboUniversity. Later on, she was one of those who moved to Peradeniya"


During what I would call the golden era of Peradeniya Chaplaincy when the then Fr. Lakshman Wickremasinghe was Chaplain, she used to help with Tamil music both on Sundays and at the Annual Carol Service. She did the same when I was Chaplain for which both our former Chaplain and I are most grateful. 
When Dr. George left for Maidugori, he sold the car and gave me all the petrol that was left over. He also told me to look after Vijeydevi and Devamala which I did. 
Travelling down memory lane, I remember very vividly when Vijeydevi volunteered to make a curry to be had at dinner for the final year students. I went to pick up Vijeydevi and Devamala and of course the curry. While I was driving down the hill approaching the chapel, I heard Vijeydevi saying; “Father God, please help Sydneyto drive slowly so that the curry will not spoil my saree and his car.” That was Vijeydevi. Her simple faith in prayer and in God. Later on they came back to Maidugori, though originally an Anglican from Kopay, since Dr. George was a Methodist, she was a regular member of the Kollupitiya Methodist Church’s Worshipping Community. 


She also had weekly bible study and prayer group meetings at her flat in Bambalapitiya. 
To my mind, she walked the talk as a Christian for when I was ill and in hospital for four months she used to come to see me regularly. 
Therefore, Vijeydevi not only had her inner life and spirituality but also was concerned about visiting people like myself. 
During the first week in August, both Vijeydevi and Dr. George kept their birthdays and their wedding anniversary. Since for obvious reasons I couldn’t wish them, in keeping with my understanding of death, I can say that both Dr. George and Vijeydevi are not at Kanatte but in a better state of life. 
I couldn’t go for the funeral for personal reasons. However, I learnt from the wife of a batch mate of mine that Vijeydevi’s funeral was lovely. A member of the family had read out two tributes and her present minister and the former minister had taken the service. 
Vijeydevi’s family can be assured of my concern for them. 
May Vijeydevi’s soul together the souls of all the faithful rest in peace and rise in glory. Amen. 

Sydney Knight 


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