www.dailymirror.lk https://www.dailymirror.lk/RSS_Feeds/news_features The only Sri Lankan newspaper with round the clock news updates - Dailymirror Online Edition en-us [email protected] Copyright 2024 Will the Mannar wind power project kill ecological treasures? https://www.dailymirror.lk/news-features/Will-the-Mannar-wind-power-project-kill-ecological-treasures-/131-278001 https://www.dailymirror.lk/news-features/Will-the-Mannar-wind-power-project-kill-ecological-treasures-/131-278001

 Environmental groups warn that the proposed wind power project will destroy Mannar’s pristine ecosystems. Image courtesy - Dr. Rishani Gunasinghe 

 

In February 2023, Adani Green Energy (Sri Lanka) Ltd was given provisional approval for two wind power projects of 250 MW in Mannar and 234 MW in Pooneryn. The proposed project site in Mannar spans across 250 acres of an environmentally sensitive location and environmental groups have expressed their concerns regarding the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) which is open for public comments till March 6. If the project in Mannar gets approved, around 50 turbines will be setup along one of the most important migratory bird corridors in the world, causing an irreversible ecological damage.


Destroying a birding paradise 

It is a known fact that Mannar attracts millions of migratory birds during the year including flamingos. For birders, the Central Asian Flyway - one of the eight global migratory highways is of particular importance as millions of birds fly via this route every year from north to south and vice versa. Shedding light on why Mannar shouldn’t be used the way it is going to be used for this project, Sampath Seneviratne, Professor of Zoology at the University of Colombo explained the behaviours of migratory bird species. “The migratory species breed in the Northern hemisphere, migrate to the south, remain for six months during winter and fly back. The Central Asia Flyway covers Eastern Europe all the way to far Eastern Russia. Mannar is in fact one of the main entry points and around a million birds remain there.


“Data from the e-bird citizen science platform shows that there’s a high density of birds in Mannar. The Asian Water Bird Survey shows that from 1937 to now there has been a stable presence of birds in Sri Lanka. The data shown have been obtained from one of the most technologically advanced studies conducted by the Colombo University, Chinese Academy of Sciences and several other institutions. Some bird species tagged from Mannar traverse the Himalayas, some 24,000 ft in the skies, all the way to Tibet, lay eggs there and return to Sri Lanka. This shows how Sri Lanka connects to the rest of the world and this evidence is based on futuristic sciences. Some birds spend 6 months in Pesalai, Urumalai, Vedithalathive,

Resident bird species found in Mannar

Talaimannar, Vankalai and Mannar Town sometimes feeding off fish on fishing vessels. Birds from Mannar fly through India, Gujarat, Pakistan, Karachi, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan to Europe and Arctic, breed there and come back via Iran over the Arabic Sea to Mannar. They travel some 25,000km. One of the birds have travelled 70,000km over the past 3 years. When they go they tell us the humidity, temperature, places where they stop and we connect with global birders around the world.”


Prof. Seneviratne further said that another important area of concern is the Palk Bay which is a large wetland. “One part is in India and the other end is Sri Lanka and most migratory species spend a lot of time here. This is not just another place but a special place on the global map. We have been able to generate migratory maps of 22 individual species and Mannar has million more birds. A data point is being generated every half an hour indicating the flight of a bird. Some of these are globally endangered species while some are in fact the last remaining species on this planet. The project site of the proposed wind power project falls through the Adam’s Bridge Marine National Park, 
Every half an hour there’s a data point generates and wherever they go we know day and night – globally endangered species – some of the last remaining species come here – rectangle represent the project site of Adani Green Energy – connectivity of wetlands in Mannar – Adam’s Bridge National Park – Puthukudirippu-Erukkalampiddy wetland, Vankalai Ramsar Sanctuary and Vedithalathive Nature Reserve,” he underscored. 


A flawed EIA? 

The Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) is now open for public comments. But legal experts have pointed out several grey areas in this document. Senior environmental lawyer Dr. Jagath Gunawardene said that usually an EIA is done under three broad laws; the National Environment Act (NEA), Coast conservation and coastal resource management Act and the Flora and Fauna Protection Ordinance (FFPO). “But in this case the EIA is done under the NEA and the project approving body is the CEA. The best way is to have two concurrent authorities, the project approving agency and the CEA, but like in many other instances the CEA is the sole project approving body. We have time till March 6 to express comments in writing and in addition we have asked for an oral submission for the comments we give in writing. Written comments have to be given by persons who wish to be heard on the hearing. We suggest that people in Mannar and in other parts of the country too are given a chance to submit oral submissions.”


People have the right to protect the environment as per the Constitution and it is applied equally to all citizens. He further said that Section 33 of the NEA states that an EIA is necessary for any project and it should have a detailed description of the project, environmental impacts of the project and suggestions to reduce the impacts. “It should also include the prevailing environmental conditions at the project site as well. Thirdly and most importantly, an EIA should mention other environmentally-less damaging alternatives and those drafting the EIA should indicate why they have discarded the environmentally-less damaging options and have opted for this alternative,” he added. 


Dr. Gunawardana warned that the ultimate decision would be affected if they go by the existing EIA. “In this report these sections haven’t been included and therefore it is an incomplete

Megha - a Heuglin Gull

report. The project approving authority evaluates the report but they don’t do the research. Their decisions depend on the quality and quantity of materials in the report. But if the report doesn’t include the truth, haven’t addressed issues carefully then the ultimate decision will be flawed.”


Some key factors haven’t been addressed. There is no analysis done on palm groves. There are three species of critically endangered bats in this area. But only one species is mentioned. There are over 200 bird species in Mannar but only a few are mentioned in the report. Then there are residential species in Mannar and there’s no indication of how their habitats would be impacted by the project.”


“Then what about the evaluation of alternatives? They have mentioned Ambewela as an alternative location but there’s no justification as to why they chose Mannar and why other places were not taken into account. There’s no logical reasoning. This is called Error in the face of reporting because the document itself is poorly documented. We expect a better environmentally-friendly alternative or proposals to minimize the impacts through an EIA. But if these aren’t included there’s no point in going forward.”
He further stressed on the suggestion to protect the birds by setting up a corridor. “We can’t advice where the birds can fly. So how can we be sure that these birds would fly from this proposed corridor? If the birds die they will say that the birds didn’t fly via the suggested corridor. Therefore a corridor is not a valid solution.”


Dr. Gunawardana further said that all migratory species are protected by the law. “We are part of the Biological Diversity Convention and therefore we are obliged to protect our biological diversity including migrant species. Irrespective of whether they are on land or sea we are obliged to protect these species. The Central Asian Flyway includes Mannar as well and there are international conventions to protect all migratory animals including the Convention on Migratory Species which has listed many species. The crab plover is one such species and they have a migratory route along the Central Asian Flyway. Migratory animals are not only birds. It includes butterflies and dragonflies as well. The report doesn’t mention about dragonflies or butterflies at all. These are some of the issues in this report. The EIA report should be adequate enough for the decision maker to take an informed decision but a report of this nature would lead to a flawed decision. From a legal point of view this report has disregarded many key points. We are under obligation to abide by international conventions and we cannot recommend a report or project that would undermine the obligations.”


Blindfolding in broad daylight? 

In his analysis on the proposed generation of power narrated by the project owner, internationally acclaimed biodiversity scientist Dr. Rohan Pethiyagoda said that the proposed wind farm will generate 250 megawatts of power. “The EIA states that this is a low cost alternative when compared to other traditional power plants in the country. But over the years it has been observed that wind prices are at all time lows when compared to gas and solar. What we are going to pay Adani is 200 to 300 times more than global wind power prices. While global prices come down, we are obliged to pay this fixed rate for the next 25 years! According to the agreement, the Adani Wind Power project will take away an estimated USD 1250 million as foreign revenue from Sri Lanka; which in other words mean that we will have to purchase wind power at USD rates when in fact it is a natural resource that we already have.”

 

]]>

 Environmental groups warn that the proposed wind power project will destroy Mannar’s pristine ecosystems. Image courtesy - Dr. Rishani Gunasinghe 

 

In February 2023, Adani Green Energy (Sri Lanka) Ltd was given provisional approval for two wind power projects of 250 MW in Mannar and 234 MW in Pooneryn. The proposed project site in Mannar spans across 250 acres of an environmentally sensitive location and environmental groups have expressed their concerns regarding the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) which is open for public comments till March 6. If the project in Mannar gets approved, around 50 turbines will be setup along one of the most important migratory bird corridors in the world, causing an irreversible ecological damage.


Destroying a birding paradise 

It is a known fact that Mannar attracts millions of migratory birds during the year including flamingos. For birders, the Central Asian Flyway - one of the eight global migratory highways is of particular importance as millions of birds fly via this route every year from north to south and vice versa. Shedding light on why Mannar shouldn’t be used the way it is going to be used for this project, Sampath Seneviratne, Professor of Zoology at the University of Colombo explained the behaviours of migratory bird species. “The migratory species breed in the Northern hemisphere, migrate to the south, remain for six months during winter and fly back. The Central Asia Flyway covers Eastern Europe all the way to far Eastern Russia. Mannar is in fact one of the main entry points and around a million birds remain there.


“Data from the e-bird citizen science platform shows that there’s a high density of birds in Mannar. The Asian Water Bird Survey shows that from 1937 to now there has been a stable presence of birds in Sri Lanka. The data shown have been obtained from one of the most technologically advanced studies conducted by the Colombo University, Chinese Academy of Sciences and several other institutions. Some bird species tagged from Mannar traverse the Himalayas, some 24,000 ft in the skies, all the way to Tibet, lay eggs there and return to Sri Lanka. This shows how Sri Lanka connects to the rest of the world and this evidence is based on futuristic sciences. Some birds spend 6 months in Pesalai, Urumalai, Vedithalathive,

Resident bird species found in Mannar

Talaimannar, Vankalai and Mannar Town sometimes feeding off fish on fishing vessels. Birds from Mannar fly through India, Gujarat, Pakistan, Karachi, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan to Europe and Arctic, breed there and come back via Iran over the Arabic Sea to Mannar. They travel some 25,000km. One of the birds have travelled 70,000km over the past 3 years. When they go they tell us the humidity, temperature, places where they stop and we connect with global birders around the world.”


Prof. Seneviratne further said that another important area of concern is the Palk Bay which is a large wetland. “One part is in India and the other end is Sri Lanka and most migratory species spend a lot of time here. This is not just another place but a special place on the global map. We have been able to generate migratory maps of 22 individual species and Mannar has million more birds. A data point is being generated every half an hour indicating the flight of a bird. Some of these are globally endangered species while some are in fact the last remaining species on this planet. The project site of the proposed wind power project falls through the Adam’s Bridge Marine National Park, 
Every half an hour there’s a data point generates and wherever they go we know day and night – globally endangered species – some of the last remaining species come here – rectangle represent the project site of Adani Green Energy – connectivity of wetlands in Mannar – Adam’s Bridge National Park – Puthukudirippu-Erukkalampiddy wetland, Vankalai Ramsar Sanctuary and Vedithalathive Nature Reserve,” he underscored. 


A flawed EIA? 

The Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) is now open for public comments. But legal experts have pointed out several grey areas in this document. Senior environmental lawyer Dr. Jagath Gunawardene said that usually an EIA is done under three broad laws; the National Environment Act (NEA), Coast conservation and coastal resource management Act and the Flora and Fauna Protection Ordinance (FFPO). “But in this case the EIA is done under the NEA and the project approving body is the CEA. The best way is to have two concurrent authorities, the project approving agency and the CEA, but like in many other instances the CEA is the sole project approving body. We have time till March 6 to express comments in writing and in addition we have asked for an oral submission for the comments we give in writing. Written comments have to be given by persons who wish to be heard on the hearing. We suggest that people in Mannar and in other parts of the country too are given a chance to submit oral submissions.”


People have the right to protect the environment as per the Constitution and it is applied equally to all citizens. He further said that Section 33 of the NEA states that an EIA is necessary for any project and it should have a detailed description of the project, environmental impacts of the project and suggestions to reduce the impacts. “It should also include the prevailing environmental conditions at the project site as well. Thirdly and most importantly, an EIA should mention other environmentally-less damaging alternatives and those drafting the EIA should indicate why they have discarded the environmentally-less damaging options and have opted for this alternative,” he added. 


Dr. Gunawardana warned that the ultimate decision would be affected if they go by the existing EIA. “In this report these sections haven’t been included and therefore it is an incomplete

Megha - a Heuglin Gull

report. The project approving authority evaluates the report but they don’t do the research. Their decisions depend on the quality and quantity of materials in the report. But if the report doesn’t include the truth, haven’t addressed issues carefully then the ultimate decision will be flawed.”


Some key factors haven’t been addressed. There is no analysis done on palm groves. There are three species of critically endangered bats in this area. But only one species is mentioned. There are over 200 bird species in Mannar but only a few are mentioned in the report. Then there are residential species in Mannar and there’s no indication of how their habitats would be impacted by the project.”


“Then what about the evaluation of alternatives? They have mentioned Ambewela as an alternative location but there’s no justification as to why they chose Mannar and why other places were not taken into account. There’s no logical reasoning. This is called Error in the face of reporting because the document itself is poorly documented. We expect a better environmentally-friendly alternative or proposals to minimize the impacts through an EIA. But if these aren’t included there’s no point in going forward.”
He further stressed on the suggestion to protect the birds by setting up a corridor. “We can’t advice where the birds can fly. So how can we be sure that these birds would fly from this proposed corridor? If the birds die they will say that the birds didn’t fly via the suggested corridor. Therefore a corridor is not a valid solution.”


Dr. Gunawardana further said that all migratory species are protected by the law. “We are part of the Biological Diversity Convention and therefore we are obliged to protect our biological diversity including migrant species. Irrespective of whether they are on land or sea we are obliged to protect these species. The Central Asian Flyway includes Mannar as well and there are international conventions to protect all migratory animals including the Convention on Migratory Species which has listed many species. The crab plover is one such species and they have a migratory route along the Central Asian Flyway. Migratory animals are not only birds. It includes butterflies and dragonflies as well. The report doesn’t mention about dragonflies or butterflies at all. These are some of the issues in this report. The EIA report should be adequate enough for the decision maker to take an informed decision but a report of this nature would lead to a flawed decision. From a legal point of view this report has disregarded many key points. We are under obligation to abide by international conventions and we cannot recommend a report or project that would undermine the obligations.”


Blindfolding in broad daylight? 

In his analysis on the proposed generation of power narrated by the project owner, internationally acclaimed biodiversity scientist Dr. Rohan Pethiyagoda said that the proposed wind farm will generate 250 megawatts of power. “The EIA states that this is a low cost alternative when compared to other traditional power plants in the country. But over the years it has been observed that wind prices are at all time lows when compared to gas and solar. What we are going to pay Adani is 200 to 300 times more than global wind power prices. While global prices come down, we are obliged to pay this fixed rate for the next 25 years! According to the agreement, the Adani Wind Power project will take away an estimated USD 1250 million as foreign revenue from Sri Lanka; which in other words mean that we will have to purchase wind power at USD rates when in fact it is a natural resource that we already have.”

 

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https://bmkltsly13vb.compat.objectstorage.ap-singapore-1.oraclecloud.com/cdn.sg.dailymirror.lk/assets/uploads/image_42e29074c6.jpg 2024-03-01 01:54:00
Chronicle of a Proud Heritage and Fraternity https://www.dailymirror.lk/news-features/Chronicle-of-a--Proud-Heritage-and-Fraternity/131-278000 https://www.dailymirror.lk/news-features/Chronicle-of-a--Proud-Heritage-and-Fraternity/131-278000

The Ananda-Nalanda Teams in 1926 
Seated (left to right): P. M Jayatileke, D. K. Kodagoda, J. B. Jayawarneda (Captain, Nalanda), Dr. G.P. Malalasekara, Mr. P.D.S Kularatne, W.W. Dep (Captain, Ananda), W.H. Wanasinghe, N. D. De S. Wijesekara. Standing (left to right): B. Amarasuriya, A. Attygala, N. Kularatne, T. D. Amaradasa, D. P. Boderagama, S. Kulatunga, M. Shamoon, K. Dharmadasa, W.S. Attygala, Osmund De Silva, B. Somadasa Perera, V. P. Jayasena. On the Ground: Arthur Perera, G. Wickramasinghe, Samuel Silva, G.S. Hevavisenti. 

 

As we stand at the threshold of our journey’s culmination, eagerly anticipating the 94th traditional cricket encounter between Ananda and Nalanda, known as the “Chronicle of a Proud Heritage and Fraternity,” a sense of anticipation fills the air. Scheduled for March 2nd & 3rd 2024, this event, along with the 47th Limited Over Encounter slated for March 17th 2024 – both to be held at the Singhalese Sports Club (SSC) Grounds – marks a significant new chapter in our shared legacy. The ticket launch ceremony, held on February 21st 2024, at the Kingsbury Hotel, added to the excitement surrounding these matches. Reflecting on past encounters, the last triumph in a Battle of the Maroons was claimed by Ananda College in 2003, while Nalanda College secured their most recent victory in 2022, ending a sixty-nine-year drought. Nalanda College, established as an offshoot of Ananda College in 1924, joined hands to create the Ananda-Nalanda “Big Match,” aimed at fostering camaraderie among students of both institutions, and nurturing their cricketing prowess. The inaugural Battle of the Maroons unfolded in 1924, cementing a longstanding tradition between the Ananda and Nalanda Colleges. Since the 1970’s, the Battle of the Maroons has blossomed to become the most productive school cricket encounter in the Island producing national cricketers of extraordinary talent and cricketing intellect.

 

Sunil Wettimuny, flew the team back home


Two of the most noteworthy cricketers the Maroons have produced, that have brought glory to Sri Lanka Cricket are Bandula Warnapura of Nalanda - the first Test captain, and Arjuna Ranatunga of Ananda - the captain of the World Cup winning team of 1996. This is only a glimpse of the contribution that the two schools have made to Sri Lanka Cricket as they continue to provide the largest contingent of players to the Sri Lankan National Cricket squad. The Big Matches are also known as “March Madness” as they are usually held at the end of the first school term in March. The Big Matches provide competition among schools, and they also serves as a meeting place for many old boys. This is an annual calendar event that is looked forward to between rival schools in Sri Lanka. These schools have been playing against one another for many years, some for over a century. The Big Matches have become an important part of modern Sri Lankan culture, with both school children and adults taking part in the activity. 

 


Significantly a total of four Anandians and Nalandians were in this historic team. Year after year we witness the traditional Battle of the Maroons played in a brotherly rivalry that has produced many fine cricketers to the nation from our two schools. It is one of the finest examples of the benefits that two schools can derive by joining forces to work together towards common goals. Both our schools together have produced over 56 “Sri Lanka Caps” that include our legends such as the first Test captain, Bandula Warnapura, World Cup winning captain in 1996, Arjuna Ranathunga, First Test Centurion, Sidath Weththamuni, National captains, Mahela Jayawardena (ICC Cricket Hall of Fame), Roshan Mahanama, Marvan Atapattu, Thilina Kandamby and Dinesh Chandimal. Not forgetting the 1996 World Cup-winning players Asanka Gurusinghe and Kumar Dharmasena. Further, both schools have produced many to join the Sri Lanka “A” Team, Development Squad and Under-19 Players which is a testimony of our strength at all levels of our national cricket. 

 

 

In this discourse, I wish to mention a few notable names of yesteryear stars: D. Weerasinghe, B. S. Perera, Sonny Yatawara, Stanley Jayasinghe, Carl Obeysekara, Sarath Wimalaratne, Ashly De Silva, Dr N.M. Perera, Jayawikrama Perera & Lincoln Perera (brothers), Anuruddha Polonowita & Parakrama Polonowita (brothers), Sunil Weththamuny, Mithra Weththamuny & Sidath Weththamuny (brothers), Sanjeewa Senanayaka & Saliya Senanayaka (brothers), Lalith Kaluperuma, Kalinga Kaluperuma, & Sanath Kaluperuma (brothers), Palitha Senaviratne & Jayantha Senaviratne (brothers), Dammika Ranathunga, Arjuna Ranathunga, Nishantha Ranathunga & Sanjeewa Ranathunga (brothers), Lalith Gunaratne & Channa Gunaratne (brothers), Chanaka Ekanayaka & Senaka Ekanayaka (brothers), Devaka Mahanama & Roshan Mahanama (brothers), Lakshman Ranasinghe, Anura Ranasinghe & Aruna Ranasinghe (brothers), Desmond Narangoda, Eastman Narangoda, Leslie Narangoda & Jayantha Narangoda (brothers), Sepala Molligoda, Parakrama Molligoda & Gemunu Molligoda (brothers), Nalin Jayasinghe & Nanduka Jayasinghe (brothers), Sunil Jayasinghe & Ananda Jayasinghe (brothers), Priyankara Senaviratne & Aruna Senaviratne (brothers), Nelson Karunaratne & Susantha Karunaratne (father and son),  Kushan Chandrasiri & Kanishka Chandrasiri (father and son), Duleep Samaraweera & Tilan Samaraweera (brothers). 


I wish to express my appreciation and recognition to all open-source web-based articles and picture courtesy. A special acknowledgement to the Battle of the Maroons website https://www.battleofthemaroons.lk/index.html maintained by the BOM, for providing information extracts and pictures. Let’s unite in enriching the proud legacy of the Battle of the Maroons on our renewed journey. Enjoy the splendid game of the Gentlemen! 

 

The writer of this article is the Co-Chairman of the Battle of the Maroons (2024). He is also the President of the Association of Retired Flag Rank Officers and formerly Commander of the Sri Lanka Air Force and Ambassador to Afghanistan. 

 

Former rival captains of the 1955 Big Match: Amarasiri Gunasena (Nalanda) and Dhanasiri Weerasinghe (Ananda) with Anuruddha Polonowita (extreme right) - captain of Ananda in 1957 and coach of Ananda College for 38 years 

 

The Sri Lanka Cricket Team for the very 1st Prudential World Cup 1975, held in England. 
Standing: I.R.D. Mendis, L.V. Kaluperuma, S.R. De S. Wettimuny, A.R.M. Opatha, H.S.M. Pieris, G.R.A. De Silva, D.S. De Silva, D.R. Chanmugan, A.N. Ranasinghe, Bandula Warnapura. Seated: R.D. Heyn, A.P.B. Tennekoon (Captain), Mr. K. Perera (Manager), M. H. Tissera, E. R. Fernando 

 

Stanley Jayasinghe, the first Nalanda cricketer to represent Sri Lanka during the pre-Test era, was honoured at a felicitation ceremony organized by the Old Nalandians Sports Club. Jayantha Senaviratne and Amarasiri Gunasena on either side

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The Ananda-Nalanda Teams in 1926 
Seated (left to right): P. M Jayatileke, D. K. Kodagoda, J. B. Jayawarneda (Captain, Nalanda), Dr. G.P. Malalasekara, Mr. P.D.S Kularatne, W.W. Dep (Captain, Ananda), W.H. Wanasinghe, N. D. De S. Wijesekara. Standing (left to right): B. Amarasuriya, A. Attygala, N. Kularatne, T. D. Amaradasa, D. P. Boderagama, S. Kulatunga, M. Shamoon, K. Dharmadasa, W.S. Attygala, Osmund De Silva, B. Somadasa Perera, V. P. Jayasena. On the Ground: Arthur Perera, G. Wickramasinghe, Samuel Silva, G.S. Hevavisenti. 

 

As we stand at the threshold of our journey’s culmination, eagerly anticipating the 94th traditional cricket encounter between Ananda and Nalanda, known as the “Chronicle of a Proud Heritage and Fraternity,” a sense of anticipation fills the air. Scheduled for March 2nd & 3rd 2024, this event, along with the 47th Limited Over Encounter slated for March 17th 2024 – both to be held at the Singhalese Sports Club (SSC) Grounds – marks a significant new chapter in our shared legacy. The ticket launch ceremony, held on February 21st 2024, at the Kingsbury Hotel, added to the excitement surrounding these matches. Reflecting on past encounters, the last triumph in a Battle of the Maroons was claimed by Ananda College in 2003, while Nalanda College secured their most recent victory in 2022, ending a sixty-nine-year drought. Nalanda College, established as an offshoot of Ananda College in 1924, joined hands to create the Ananda-Nalanda “Big Match,” aimed at fostering camaraderie among students of both institutions, and nurturing their cricketing prowess. The inaugural Battle of the Maroons unfolded in 1924, cementing a longstanding tradition between the Ananda and Nalanda Colleges. Since the 1970’s, the Battle of the Maroons has blossomed to become the most productive school cricket encounter in the Island producing national cricketers of extraordinary talent and cricketing intellect.

 

Sunil Wettimuny, flew the team back home


Two of the most noteworthy cricketers the Maroons have produced, that have brought glory to Sri Lanka Cricket are Bandula Warnapura of Nalanda - the first Test captain, and Arjuna Ranatunga of Ananda - the captain of the World Cup winning team of 1996. This is only a glimpse of the contribution that the two schools have made to Sri Lanka Cricket as they continue to provide the largest contingent of players to the Sri Lankan National Cricket squad. The Big Matches are also known as “March Madness” as they are usually held at the end of the first school term in March. The Big Matches provide competition among schools, and they also serves as a meeting place for many old boys. This is an annual calendar event that is looked forward to between rival schools in Sri Lanka. These schools have been playing against one another for many years, some for over a century. The Big Matches have become an important part of modern Sri Lankan culture, with both school children and adults taking part in the activity. 

 


Significantly a total of four Anandians and Nalandians were in this historic team. Year after year we witness the traditional Battle of the Maroons played in a brotherly rivalry that has produced many fine cricketers to the nation from our two schools. It is one of the finest examples of the benefits that two schools can derive by joining forces to work together towards common goals. Both our schools together have produced over 56 “Sri Lanka Caps” that include our legends such as the first Test captain, Bandula Warnapura, World Cup winning captain in 1996, Arjuna Ranathunga, First Test Centurion, Sidath Weththamuni, National captains, Mahela Jayawardena (ICC Cricket Hall of Fame), Roshan Mahanama, Marvan Atapattu, Thilina Kandamby and Dinesh Chandimal. Not forgetting the 1996 World Cup-winning players Asanka Gurusinghe and Kumar Dharmasena. Further, both schools have produced many to join the Sri Lanka “A” Team, Development Squad and Under-19 Players which is a testimony of our strength at all levels of our national cricket. 

 

 

In this discourse, I wish to mention a few notable names of yesteryear stars: D. Weerasinghe, B. S. Perera, Sonny Yatawara, Stanley Jayasinghe, Carl Obeysekara, Sarath Wimalaratne, Ashly De Silva, Dr N.M. Perera, Jayawikrama Perera & Lincoln Perera (brothers), Anuruddha Polonowita & Parakrama Polonowita (brothers), Sunil Weththamuny, Mithra Weththamuny & Sidath Weththamuny (brothers), Sanjeewa Senanayaka & Saliya Senanayaka (brothers), Lalith Kaluperuma, Kalinga Kaluperuma, & Sanath Kaluperuma (brothers), Palitha Senaviratne & Jayantha Senaviratne (brothers), Dammika Ranathunga, Arjuna Ranathunga, Nishantha Ranathunga & Sanjeewa Ranathunga (brothers), Lalith Gunaratne & Channa Gunaratne (brothers), Chanaka Ekanayaka & Senaka Ekanayaka (brothers), Devaka Mahanama & Roshan Mahanama (brothers), Lakshman Ranasinghe, Anura Ranasinghe & Aruna Ranasinghe (brothers), Desmond Narangoda, Eastman Narangoda, Leslie Narangoda & Jayantha Narangoda (brothers), Sepala Molligoda, Parakrama Molligoda & Gemunu Molligoda (brothers), Nalin Jayasinghe & Nanduka Jayasinghe (brothers), Sunil Jayasinghe & Ananda Jayasinghe (brothers), Priyankara Senaviratne & Aruna Senaviratne (brothers), Nelson Karunaratne & Susantha Karunaratne (father and son),  Kushan Chandrasiri & Kanishka Chandrasiri (father and son), Duleep Samaraweera & Tilan Samaraweera (brothers). 


I wish to express my appreciation and recognition to all open-source web-based articles and picture courtesy. A special acknowledgement to the Battle of the Maroons website https://www.battleofthemaroons.lk/index.html maintained by the BOM, for providing information extracts and pictures. Let’s unite in enriching the proud legacy of the Battle of the Maroons on our renewed journey. Enjoy the splendid game of the Gentlemen! 

 

The writer of this article is the Co-Chairman of the Battle of the Maroons (2024). He is also the President of the Association of Retired Flag Rank Officers and formerly Commander of the Sri Lanka Air Force and Ambassador to Afghanistan. 

 

Former rival captains of the 1955 Big Match: Amarasiri Gunasena (Nalanda) and Dhanasiri Weerasinghe (Ananda) with Anuruddha Polonowita (extreme right) - captain of Ananda in 1957 and coach of Ananda College for 38 years 

 

The Sri Lanka Cricket Team for the very 1st Prudential World Cup 1975, held in England. 
Standing: I.R.D. Mendis, L.V. Kaluperuma, S.R. De S. Wettimuny, A.R.M. Opatha, H.S.M. Pieris, G.R.A. De Silva, D.S. De Silva, D.R. Chanmugan, A.N. Ranasinghe, Bandula Warnapura. Seated: R.D. Heyn, A.P.B. Tennekoon (Captain), Mr. K. Perera (Manager), M. H. Tissera, E. R. Fernando 

 

Stanley Jayasinghe, the first Nalanda cricketer to represent Sri Lanka during the pre-Test era, was honoured at a felicitation ceremony organized by the Old Nalandians Sports Club. Jayantha Senaviratne and Amarasiri Gunasena on either side

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Imthiaz to Launch Autobiography on March 5 https://www.dailymirror.lk/news-features/Imthiaz-to-Launch-Autobiography--on-March-5/131-277910 https://www.dailymirror.lk/news-features/Imthiaz-to-Launch-Autobiography--on-March-5/131-277910

  The autobiography of senior MP Imthiaz Bakeer Markar will be launched on March 5 at the Kularatne Hall of Ananda College, Colombo. The autobiography covers various stages of his life including his childhood, student life, political career and family life, in nineteen chapters.    

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  The autobiography of senior MP Imthiaz Bakeer Markar will be launched on March 5 at the Kularatne Hall of Ananda College, Colombo. The autobiography covers various stages of his life including his childhood, student life, political career and family life, in nineteen chapters.    

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https://bmkltsly13vb.compat.objectstorage.ap-singapore-1.oraclecloud.com/cdn.sg.dailymirror.lk/assets/uploads/image_f9808b81c7.jpg 2024-02-29 00:00:00
Global Media Space and its Impact on Democracy https://www.dailymirror.lk/news-features/Global-Media-Space-and-its-Impact-on-Democracy/131-277909 https://www.dailymirror.lk/news-features/Global-Media-Space-and-its-Impact-on-Democracy/131-277909

Ms. Allen (middle) speaking at the panel discussion alongside US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung (right) 
Image courtesy : Sri Lanka Press Institute
 

In January 2024, the Parliament of Sri Lanka passed another draconian law titled the “Online Safety Act” (OSA), which many stakeholders claim is an attempt to further suppress Media Freedom and the Freedom of Expression.
US Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Elizabeth Allen, during her recent visit to Sri Lanka, acknowledged journalists’ commitment to seek the Truth even amidst a challenging era, at a Press Club event organized by the Sri Lanka
Press Institute. 
Ms. Allen elaborated on how the global media space supports Democracy and fosters peaceful, just and inclusive societies. The United States stands firmly for the Freedom of Expression, advocating for Press Freedom both online and offline, and ensuring the safety of journalists and media workers worldwide. 
In her comments regarding the Online Safety Act which the Sri Lankan Parliament rushed in without having adequate consultations with stakeholders, Allen further said that the United States voiced concerns over its potential effects on the Freedom of Expression, innovation, and privacy.


“It’s common to hear arguments against unfettered Freedom of Expression.  Critics claim the media is biased, aiming to embarrass governments and undermine public trust. Others worry that without checks, the Freedom of Expression may fuel the spread of misinformation. Some argue that an unchecked press can incite tension and compromise security. And there’s concern that continuous reports on corruption, violence and political strife can tarnish a nation’s image, deterring investment and hampering development. However, the media’s bias should lean towards the public’s interest, acting as a guardian to ensure that leaders fulfil their duties. This principle holds in Sri Lanka, the United States and globally.”
She attributed challenges of the negative press, often labelled as “fake news” or “biased journalism” sprouting from heated exchanges between politicians and journalists, especially when leaders feel their actions are misrepresented, leading to accusations of inaccuracies and biased reporting. 
The challenge of negative press, often labelled as “fake news” or “biased journalism” is not new.  For generations, governments and the media have navigated a complex, sometimes adversarial relationship. This dynamic isn’t unique to any one nation; in the United States, for instance, Presidents from both major political parties have experienced their share of friction with the press.  This tension, a hallmark of democratic societies, plays a crucial role in fostering transparency and encouraging effective governance. It’s a familiar scene: politicians and journalists engage in heated exchanges, especially when leaders feel their actions are misrepresented, leading to accusations of inaccuracies and biased reporting.
“The duty of the press is to deliver facts as they stand, shedding light on the government’s achievements as well as spotlighting areas where policies or programs fall short.” 


AI in Public Diplomacy 


During the Q&A session, Ms. Allen spoke about the pros and cons of including AI in public diplomacy. “There’s a lot of fear involved with AI. That fear is rightfully founded, particularly given the power of AI in the information space when it comes to inauthentic content, manipulated content and things like deep-fakes. Of course, misinformation, disinformation etc., are foremost challenges of AI. However, the US is working with allies and partners around the world to see how these risks could be managed to for example pursue the technological vision to authenticate content created by AI. But AI also brings about an enormous amount of opportunities in public diplomacy and strategic communications.” 


Concerns Regarding the Online Safety Act


Speaking further about the OSA, Ms. Allen said that the US does share concerns of journalists, influencers and content creators on the potential of repression on the Freedom of Expression and the stifling of dissent that the OSA looks to face. “We’re encouraged by the amendments process, and we have been offered an opportunity to give our feedback and we have done so. We do share the concerns of technology companies in terms of their ability to operate in Sri Lanka freely. Everybody sees the digital economy as a tool to help Sri Lanka’s economic future and attract investments while preserve the Freedom of Expression.”
She further said that given the reservations on the anti-terror bill and other laws, the conversations around such legislations can be contemplated. “I have a lot of empathy for journalists operating in the current environment, given the powers of the Online Safety Act. Keep going with the fortitude to know that you’re providing a service to society and making institutions stronger. I have been told about the technical challenges faced by journalists including the fact that sources are afraid to work with you. I believe that it’s important to raise the profile of challenges faced by journalists as a matter of democratic concern.”
Adding her comments, US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Julie Chung said that there are threefold concerns with regards to the OSA. “These include the process, intent and implementation. The process didn’t take many extensive input and suggestions from a variety of stakeholders. It is supposedly intended to combat pornography and attacks on women and children, but there are broad definitions which are concerning. In terms of implementation we’re yet to see how it is going to be implemented.” 
She further said that concerns regarding the Online Safety Act have not just been raised by the US and the international community, but tech experts, civil society, the private sector, lawyers’ groups and journalists’ groups have been the most vocal. “I would encourage those in government to not just listen to the US or the international community but also listen to the voices of its own citizens,” she underscored.   

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Ms. Allen (middle) speaking at the panel discussion alongside US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung (right) 
Image courtesy : Sri Lanka Press Institute
 

In January 2024, the Parliament of Sri Lanka passed another draconian law titled the “Online Safety Act” (OSA), which many stakeholders claim is an attempt to further suppress Media Freedom and the Freedom of Expression.
US Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Elizabeth Allen, during her recent visit to Sri Lanka, acknowledged journalists’ commitment to seek the Truth even amidst a challenging era, at a Press Club event organized by the Sri Lanka
Press Institute. 
Ms. Allen elaborated on how the global media space supports Democracy and fosters peaceful, just and inclusive societies. The United States stands firmly for the Freedom of Expression, advocating for Press Freedom both online and offline, and ensuring the safety of journalists and media workers worldwide. 
In her comments regarding the Online Safety Act which the Sri Lankan Parliament rushed in without having adequate consultations with stakeholders, Allen further said that the United States voiced concerns over its potential effects on the Freedom of Expression, innovation, and privacy.


“It’s common to hear arguments against unfettered Freedom of Expression.  Critics claim the media is biased, aiming to embarrass governments and undermine public trust. Others worry that without checks, the Freedom of Expression may fuel the spread of misinformation. Some argue that an unchecked press can incite tension and compromise security. And there’s concern that continuous reports on corruption, violence and political strife can tarnish a nation’s image, deterring investment and hampering development. However, the media’s bias should lean towards the public’s interest, acting as a guardian to ensure that leaders fulfil their duties. This principle holds in Sri Lanka, the United States and globally.”
She attributed challenges of the negative press, often labelled as “fake news” or “biased journalism” sprouting from heated exchanges between politicians and journalists, especially when leaders feel their actions are misrepresented, leading to accusations of inaccuracies and biased reporting. 
The challenge of negative press, often labelled as “fake news” or “biased journalism” is not new.  For generations, governments and the media have navigated a complex, sometimes adversarial relationship. This dynamic isn’t unique to any one nation; in the United States, for instance, Presidents from both major political parties have experienced their share of friction with the press.  This tension, a hallmark of democratic societies, plays a crucial role in fostering transparency and encouraging effective governance. It’s a familiar scene: politicians and journalists engage in heated exchanges, especially when leaders feel their actions are misrepresented, leading to accusations of inaccuracies and biased reporting.
“The duty of the press is to deliver facts as they stand, shedding light on the government’s achievements as well as spotlighting areas where policies or programs fall short.” 


AI in Public Diplomacy 


During the Q&A session, Ms. Allen spoke about the pros and cons of including AI in public diplomacy. “There’s a lot of fear involved with AI. That fear is rightfully founded, particularly given the power of AI in the information space when it comes to inauthentic content, manipulated content and things like deep-fakes. Of course, misinformation, disinformation etc., are foremost challenges of AI. However, the US is working with allies and partners around the world to see how these risks could be managed to for example pursue the technological vision to authenticate content created by AI. But AI also brings about an enormous amount of opportunities in public diplomacy and strategic communications.” 


Concerns Regarding the Online Safety Act


Speaking further about the OSA, Ms. Allen said that the US does share concerns of journalists, influencers and content creators on the potential of repression on the Freedom of Expression and the stifling of dissent that the OSA looks to face. “We’re encouraged by the amendments process, and we have been offered an opportunity to give our feedback and we have done so. We do share the concerns of technology companies in terms of their ability to operate in Sri Lanka freely. Everybody sees the digital economy as a tool to help Sri Lanka’s economic future and attract investments while preserve the Freedom of Expression.”
She further said that given the reservations on the anti-terror bill and other laws, the conversations around such legislations can be contemplated. “I have a lot of empathy for journalists operating in the current environment, given the powers of the Online Safety Act. Keep going with the fortitude to know that you’re providing a service to society and making institutions stronger. I have been told about the technical challenges faced by journalists including the fact that sources are afraid to work with you. I believe that it’s important to raise the profile of challenges faced by journalists as a matter of democratic concern.”
Adding her comments, US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Julie Chung said that there are threefold concerns with regards to the OSA. “These include the process, intent and implementation. The process didn’t take many extensive input and suggestions from a variety of stakeholders. It is supposedly intended to combat pornography and attacks on women and children, but there are broad definitions which are concerning. In terms of implementation we’re yet to see how it is going to be implemented.” 
She further said that concerns regarding the Online Safety Act have not just been raised by the US and the international community, but tech experts, civil society, the private sector, lawyers’ groups and journalists’ groups have been the most vocal. “I would encourage those in government to not just listen to the US or the international community but also listen to the voices of its own citizens,” she underscored.   

]]>
https://bmkltsly13vb.compat.objectstorage.ap-singapore-1.oraclecloud.com/cdn.sg.dailymirror.lk/assets/uploads/image_7a3e99dbd8.jpg 2024-02-29 00:00:00
In Remembrance of Sega Nagendra https://www.dailymirror.lk/news-features/In-Remembrance-of-Sega-Nagendra/131-277837 https://www.dailymirror.lk/news-features/In-Remembrance-of-Sega-Nagendra/131-277837 To celebrate a man’s life is the greatest tribute one can ever give! As we recollect his departure two years ago, a myriad of beautiful memories race through our minds and bring sadness to our hearts at the thought of having lost him! He was a thorough gentleman in every way! He was always such a dynamic person so full of life and energy that was inexhaustible.

Mr. Nagendra was an employer and a boss who was always kind and considerate towards his employees and subordinates alike! One could always approach him with a problem without trepidation for he was so patient and tolerant with anyone who made a mistake! Never would he reprimand anyone with harsh words of anger but would always give appropriate advice or correction in an amicable way, and was known to be approachable especially to the minor staff with any problems or issues! 


Mr. Nagendra was a Director of Carson Cumberbatch & Co. Ltd., and served as the Airline Director for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines for the longest period until they ceased operating into Sri Lanka! Being a very sociable person, he maintained an excellent rapport with all the General Managers who were posted in Colombo.


Mr. Nagendra always had a congenial attitude and a flexible approach to any problem that was always amicably solved as he would always strive for peace and good relations not only at the management level but at the staff level as well! Everyone had a deep respect and admiration for him that was genuinely sincere! He definitely had a ‘Big Heart’, and was always ready to help. He would not say ‘No’ to anyone, however difficult the 
situation or circumstance!


The worst memory is that of the Central Bank bomb blast in which he was severely injured but miraculously escaped! Later in that same year, Mr. Nagendra left Carsons to launch his own travel agency, ‘Travel Serve’ which is still in business! Mr. Nagendra is one “jewel” of a human being that we had the honour and privilege to have in our lives! His departure was so sudden that it was a devastating shock to all who knew him, but especially to his dear wife and life’s partner, Mrs. Sarla Nagendra, son, Prashan and spouse, Shameli, as well as his son-in-law, Jekhan, and grandsons. We recall how deeply heartbroken he was when they lost their beautiful, precious daughter, Kshirabdi a few years before his passing! Mr. Nagendra was a devoted and loving husband, father and grandfather, and was a faithful exceptionally proud family man in every way! He is surely irreplaceable and sorely missed even to this day by all who had the privilege and honour of knowing this wonderful exceptional human being! 
May his beautiful gentle soul rest in peace!  

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To celebrate a man’s life is the greatest tribute one can ever give! As we recollect his departure two years ago, a myriad of beautiful memories race through our minds and bring sadness to our hearts at the thought of having lost him! He was a thorough gentleman in every way! He was always such a dynamic person so full of life and energy that was inexhaustible.

Mr. Nagendra was an employer and a boss who was always kind and considerate towards his employees and subordinates alike! One could always approach him with a problem without trepidation for he was so patient and tolerant with anyone who made a mistake! Never would he reprimand anyone with harsh words of anger but would always give appropriate advice or correction in an amicable way, and was known to be approachable especially to the minor staff with any problems or issues! 


Mr. Nagendra was a Director of Carson Cumberbatch & Co. Ltd., and served as the Airline Director for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines for the longest period until they ceased operating into Sri Lanka! Being a very sociable person, he maintained an excellent rapport with all the General Managers who were posted in Colombo.


Mr. Nagendra always had a congenial attitude and a flexible approach to any problem that was always amicably solved as he would always strive for peace and good relations not only at the management level but at the staff level as well! Everyone had a deep respect and admiration for him that was genuinely sincere! He definitely had a ‘Big Heart’, and was always ready to help. He would not say ‘No’ to anyone, however difficult the 
situation or circumstance!


The worst memory is that of the Central Bank bomb blast in which he was severely injured but miraculously escaped! Later in that same year, Mr. Nagendra left Carsons to launch his own travel agency, ‘Travel Serve’ which is still in business! Mr. Nagendra is one “jewel” of a human being that we had the honour and privilege to have in our lives! His departure was so sudden that it was a devastating shock to all who knew him, but especially to his dear wife and life’s partner, Mrs. Sarla Nagendra, son, Prashan and spouse, Shameli, as well as his son-in-law, Jekhan, and grandsons. We recall how deeply heartbroken he was when they lost their beautiful, precious daughter, Kshirabdi a few years before his passing! Mr. Nagendra was a devoted and loving husband, father and grandfather, and was a faithful exceptionally proud family man in every way! He is surely irreplaceable and sorely missed even to this day by all who had the privilege and honour of knowing this wonderful exceptional human being! 
May his beautiful gentle soul rest in peace!  

]]>
https://bmkltsly13vb.compat.objectstorage.ap-singapore-1.oraclecloud.com/cdn.sg.dailymirror.lk/assets/uploads/image_8bb5f02d69.jpg 2024-02-28 00:56:00
CDB “Sisudiri” Scholarship Felicitates 150 High Achievers https://www.dailymirror.lk/news-features/CDB-“Sisudiri”-Scholarship--Felicitates-150-High-Achievers/131-277836 https://www.dailymirror.lk/news-features/CDB-“Sisudiri”-Scholarship--Felicitates-150-High-Achievers/131-277836

A student receiving the Sisudiri scholarship

 

150 high achieving students who excelled at the Grade 5 Scholarship Examination and the GCE Ordinary Level Examination were felicitated at the 15th “CDB Sisudiri Scholarship Awards” ceremony held at the BMICH in January. Under the aegis of CDB Chairman, Alastair Corera – who graced the occasion as Chief Guest – this annual scholarship programme awarded Rs 12,500 per year, for five years, to 100 students excelling at the Grade 5 Scholarship Examination, which totals Rs 62,500 per student.


Annually, Rs 17,500 per student was presented to high achievers at the GCE Ordinary Level Examination for the duration of two years of their Advanced Level studies. This is a total of Rs 35,000 per student.  
Each of these high achievers are from economically disadvantaged backgrounds and selected from across the 25 
districts in Sri Lanka.


The scholarship programme initiated by the CDB in 2008 has presented scholarships to over one thousand high achievers at an investment of over Rs 45 million. The programme not only focuses on celebrating excellent academics, but also ensures they remain in school to complete their full education. Quoting a National Youth Survey, UNICEF states that dropout rates increase once children pass the age of 14 with only 40.2 percent of adolescents continuing at school until the ages of 17-18. Having recognized this situation, the CDB began the scholarship programme with a long-term focus of nurturing the young brainpower the country has, using it to eventually contribute to the nation’s progress via a 
holistic and complete education. 


While congratulating the 150 students who excelled this year, Managing Director/CEO of CDB, Mahesh Nanayakkara explained to the scholars that investment in education is not merely about imparting knowledge; it’s about sculpting the future of our nation. The “Sisudiri” Scholarship embodies our commitment to fostering holistic growth, recognizing that true progress stems from nurturing minds, instilling values and creating opportunities. As we empower our youth today, we are sowing the seeds for a prosperous, enlightened and resilient nation for generations to come.”


He added that with social consciousness being an integral facet in the CDB Sustainability Agenda in which financial inclusion and community impact is key, “uplifting child education and literacy are fundamental to us.  It is our responsibility as corporate stewards to empower the aspirations of the younger generation, highlighting our commitment to the UN Sustainability Development Goal 04 – Quality Education.”


Assistant General Manager of Marketing & Sustainability, Charitha Warnakulasooriya stated that CDB’s social consciousness is a holistic approach, which embraces the totality of a child’s life to ensure that financial disadvantages should not be a barrier to a child gaining a quality education.  “Education is every child’s right and CDB recognizes that.  We know that COVID and the economic crisis placed heavy burdens on families who were challenged to continue educating their children.  This is not a choice they should have to make. The continuation of education devoid of disruption caused by financial constraints should be a priority, and this is where CDB steps in. By supporting these high academic achievers who form the backbone of the future of Sri Lanka, we are paving the way for better child education and literacy in the country.”   

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A student receiving the Sisudiri scholarship

 

150 high achieving students who excelled at the Grade 5 Scholarship Examination and the GCE Ordinary Level Examination were felicitated at the 15th “CDB Sisudiri Scholarship Awards” ceremony held at the BMICH in January. Under the aegis of CDB Chairman, Alastair Corera – who graced the occasion as Chief Guest – this annual scholarship programme awarded Rs 12,500 per year, for five years, to 100 students excelling at the Grade 5 Scholarship Examination, which totals Rs 62,500 per student.


Annually, Rs 17,500 per student was presented to high achievers at the GCE Ordinary Level Examination for the duration of two years of their Advanced Level studies. This is a total of Rs 35,000 per student.  
Each of these high achievers are from economically disadvantaged backgrounds and selected from across the 25 
districts in Sri Lanka.


The scholarship programme initiated by the CDB in 2008 has presented scholarships to over one thousand high achievers at an investment of over Rs 45 million. The programme not only focuses on celebrating excellent academics, but also ensures they remain in school to complete their full education. Quoting a National Youth Survey, UNICEF states that dropout rates increase once children pass the age of 14 with only 40.2 percent of adolescents continuing at school until the ages of 17-18. Having recognized this situation, the CDB began the scholarship programme with a long-term focus of nurturing the young brainpower the country has, using it to eventually contribute to the nation’s progress via a 
holistic and complete education. 


While congratulating the 150 students who excelled this year, Managing Director/CEO of CDB, Mahesh Nanayakkara explained to the scholars that investment in education is not merely about imparting knowledge; it’s about sculpting the future of our nation. The “Sisudiri” Scholarship embodies our commitment to fostering holistic growth, recognizing that true progress stems from nurturing minds, instilling values and creating opportunities. As we empower our youth today, we are sowing the seeds for a prosperous, enlightened and resilient nation for generations to come.”


He added that with social consciousness being an integral facet in the CDB Sustainability Agenda in which financial inclusion and community impact is key, “uplifting child education and literacy are fundamental to us.  It is our responsibility as corporate stewards to empower the aspirations of the younger generation, highlighting our commitment to the UN Sustainability Development Goal 04 – Quality Education.”


Assistant General Manager of Marketing & Sustainability, Charitha Warnakulasooriya stated that CDB’s social consciousness is a holistic approach, which embraces the totality of a child’s life to ensure that financial disadvantages should not be a barrier to a child gaining a quality education.  “Education is every child’s right and CDB recognizes that.  We know that COVID and the economic crisis placed heavy burdens on families who were challenged to continue educating their children.  This is not a choice they should have to make. The continuation of education devoid of disruption caused by financial constraints should be a priority, and this is where CDB steps in. By supporting these high academic achievers who form the backbone of the future of Sri Lanka, we are paving the way for better child education and literacy in the country.”   

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https://bmkltsly13vb.compat.objectstorage.ap-singapore-1.oraclecloud.com/cdn.sg.dailymirror.lk/assets/uploads/image_314b6f52fa.jpg 2024-02-28 00:53:00
Will Rubber Plants Be Impacted By The Disease Spreading? https://www.dailymirror.lk/news-features/Will-Rubber-Plants-Be-Impacted-By-The-Disease-Spreading-/131-277682 https://www.dailymirror.lk/news-features/Will-Rubber-Plants-Be-Impacted-By-The-Disease-Spreading-/131-277682
  • The disease named Pestilotiopsis microspora is caused by two plant pathogenic fungal groups
  • This disease is regarded as a secondary leaf fall condition
  • The sensitivity of the disease is influenced by the nutritive status of the cultivation, age and clone
  • NIPM has been empowered to issue certificates for rubber tappers, rubber nursery assistants, and rubber rain guard technicians
 
 

 

“Normally we used to cease tapping rubber in February, but this year we had to stop from December 2022 due to the disease spreading on the leaves of rubber trees. We have stopped collecting the harvest due to the season where leaves fall. The thickness of the rubber latex has decreased and we are not sure whether it is because of the disease,” said a rubber estate owner speaking on terms of anonymity. She also added that the government doesn’t show any urgency to get involved in these problems. This disease was first reported in 2018 in Malaysia, then in Indonesia, and later in the year 2019, Thailand, India, China and Sri Lanka experienced this fate. The situation at the time was aggravated due to the COVID-19 pandemic and later the pesticide and fertilizer banning in the country.


This disease is caused by two plant pathogenic fungal groups. The disease is scientifically termed as Pestilotiopsis microspora. It is observed in the entire wet zone. RRI officials state that the reason for the fungus to spread is excessive rain and the lack of sunlight. It is comparatively severe in the Ratnapura, Kalutara, Awissawella and Daraniyagala areas. Moderate to mild levels of the disease are seen in Galle, Matara, Badulla and Monaragala. Low canopy weak plants – which are called ‘runts’ – contract the disease at the early stages and spread it to the surrounding plants. Warm and humid conditions favour the spread of the disease and also the development of the trees as they need an optimal temperature ranging from 25ºC – 30ºC, and a relative humidity which must be above 80%. This disease is regarded as a secondary leaf fall condition. 

 

One should have 3 years of experience to apply for NVQ-03 level certificates. The Level-04 certificate will be provided only to individuals who have 5 years of experience in the supervisory grade. NVQ-Level-05 is the Diploma whilst Level-06 is the Higher National Diploma (HND), and Level-07 is the Degree level

 


“Extension Officers reported the disease from the Kalutara district by August 2019. The production of rubber is declining not from 2019, but from 2014 onwards. The disease is not only spreading in Sri Lanka, but in all Asian rubber-growing countries as well. The disease is just one reason for the reducing of the crop,” said Dr. Sarojini Fernando, Department head of Plant Pathology and MicroBiology at Rubber Research Institute (RRI). She clarified that the fall of leaves isn’t happening due to the disease, but it is a natural phenomenon that happens annually. This disease is common and is reported in all Asian rubber plants. To date, the death of trees hasn’t been reported from any part of the world. Different countries are attempting to find a cure for this disease, but still, there is no chemical controlling method introduced. Circular lesions on the leaves are initially small and dark brown and later expanding to form larger spots with dark brown margins and yellow halos. The nature of the spreading of the disease depends on different locations. The sensitivity of the disease is influenced by the nutritive status of the cultivation, age and clone. 


However, there is only a 10 percent decrease in the crop. She said that the whole country has lost around 10% of the crop. “50% of rubber is supplied from the local rubber estates. Therefore, there is a need to improve the productivity of the rubber cultivation to sustain this industry,” said Dr. Fernando. If the dry rubber content is below 30%, the tapping would be temporarily stopped and the Rubber Development Department (RDD) or RRI should be informed. The individual who spoke on terms of anonymity said that the government only played a minor part in terms of taking responsibility for controlling the spread of the disease. “No compensation is paid to the rubber estate owners, but they were constantly being advised and provided with the necessary machinery and fertilizer until very recently to keep the disease under control,” said Dr. Fernando. Three rounds of fungicide sprays should be sprayed, according to agriculture experts: The First round – at the stage of apple green leaves: Second round – At the stage of semi-mature to mature stage: Third round – After full maturation. The first round can be undertaken around July and August and the second, during September and October.

 

 

The production of rubber is declining not from 2019, but from 2014 onwards. The disease is not only spreading in Sri Lanka, but in all Asian rubber-growing countries as well. The disease is just one reason for the reduction in crop
-Dr. Sarojini Fernando, Department Head of Plant Pathology and Microbiology at the Rubber Research Institute (RRI)

 


Dr. Fernando added that the amount of latex has decreased not due to the disease, but to the shedding of the leaves of the rubber plants. From December to January well-grown, matured rubber plants are shedding their leaves. It takes two to three weeks for the plants to grow new leaves. The disease is not found in the new leaves. She said that after about three months the disease will appear on the leaves of the plants again. The most important strategy is the maintenance of clonal balance. At present the existence of a single clone in the country has exposed the country’s crop to highrisk. However, integrated disease management approaches in cooperating cultural, chemical and biological strategies are explored to optimise disease control while minimising environmental impacts and production costs.


Dr. Fernando proposed several measures that can be implemented to control the disease such as applying fertilizer and improving sanitation. But due to the high cost of fertilizer, users are reluctant to apply it on trees. Plants become weak due to improper fertilization, and as a result they contract the disease very quickly.

 

 The NIPM keeps in contact with the Estate owners. NIPM keeps contact with smallholders, large-scale companies and regional plantation companies in the corporate sector. Tappers are allowed to work on any estate after receiving the certificate

- Dr. Prasad Dharmasena, Director/Chief Executive Officer of the (NIPM) Ministry of Plantation Industries

 


There are methods that could keep this disease under control. Dr. Fernando advised estate owners to apply fungicides and adhere to correct agronomic practices such as fertilization and keeping the right sapping protocol (people should tap once in two days but people are doing it regularly) to avoid extra pressure on the plant. She said that people have been advised to collect the fallen dead leaves into a drench and accelerate composting. The Rubber Research Institute has implemented a process to collect the diseased leaves. “People might not be able to do everything, but still, they could try to carry out remedies from a broader perspective to manage the disease,” said Dr. Fernando. The disease may adversely impact the status of the plantation if not properly maintained.
Dr. Fernando makes the rubber estate owners aware that if they are losing more than 10% in their cultivation, they should inform the Call Centre of the Rubber Research Institute or the Rubber Development Department for help from.


She also explained that the Rubber Research Institute will always help them with their research to solve any discipline that belongs to rubber cultivation. The Rubber Development Department must disseminate all the details and information regarding rubber cultivation. Officials from the Department will be visiting the estates and providing owners with necessary information to prevent the destruction of the cultivation.


An NVQ-3 certificate is introduced to the rubber tappers to improve their skills related to the rubber industry.
“We are not sure whether our tappers will move to another estate after obtaining the certificate under our guidance,” said a rubber estate owner who also didn’t wish to be named.


“NIPM has been empowered to issue certificates for rubber tappers, rubber nursery assistants, and rubber rain guard technicians,” said Director Chief Executive Officer of the (NIPM) Ministry of Plantation Industries, Dr. Prasad Dharmasena. “A Rubber Nursery assistant certificate is issued for specialising in handling a rubber nursery. The rain guard technique is used during the rainy season for tapping. A special technique and knowledge are used for fixing the rain guard,” said Dr. Dharmasena.

 

Three rounds of fungicide sprays should be sprayed, according to agriculture experts: The First round – at the stage of apple green leaves: Second round – At the stage of semi-mature to mature stage: Third round – After full maturation. The first round can be undertaken around July and August and the second, during September and October

 


The National Institute of Plantation Management (NIPM) is registered under the Ministry of Agriculture and Plantation Industries. All certificates are registered under the Territory and Vocational Education Commission (TVEC). Since the NIPM is registered under the TVEC, the NIPM is assigned with the power to issue certificates. The TVEC has decentralised its powers to NIPM. 


Dr. Dharmasena explained two ways to obtain a qualification in the rubber sector. Under the method of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), one should have 3 years of experience to apply for NVQ-03 level certificates. The RPL-Level-04 certificate will be provided only to individuals who have 5 years of experience in the supervisory grade. He added that to apply for an RPL certificate the candidate should visit the institute (NIPM) and appear for the assessment to obtain the certificate. After the evaluation is done, within a week the certificate will be issued. He also added that NVQ-Level-03 and NVQ-Level-04 candidates are given both theoretical and practical knowledge; the six months training comprising three months practical knowledge and three months theoretical knowledge. NIPM awards 26 different types of occupations issued through RPL certificates. Moreover, he explained that NVQ-03 and NVQ-04 certificate courses are focused on occupation. NVQ-Level-05 is the Diploma whilst Level-06 is the Higher National Diploma (HND), and Level -07 is the Degree level.


 “NIPM keeps in contact with the Estate owners. NIPM keeps contact with smallholders, large-scale companies and regional plantation companies in the corporate sector. Tappers are allowed to work on any estate after receiving the certificate,” said Dr. Dharmasena. He confirmed that RPL and NVQ certificates are internationally recognised.  The aim of issuing this certificate is to enhance the competency of industrialization and provide recognition for the rubber tappers by enhancing their knowledge and competency,” said Dr. Dharmasena.
The NIPM allows rubber tappers to develop their knowledge in the rubber industry as well as to be aware of the different types of diseases caused in Rubber plants.  

]]>
  • The disease named Pestilotiopsis microspora is caused by two plant pathogenic fungal groups
  • This disease is regarded as a secondary leaf fall condition
  • The sensitivity of the disease is influenced by the nutritive status of the cultivation, age and clone
  • NIPM has been empowered to issue certificates for rubber tappers, rubber nursery assistants, and rubber rain guard technicians
 
 

 

“Normally we used to cease tapping rubber in February, but this year we had to stop from December 2022 due to the disease spreading on the leaves of rubber trees. We have stopped collecting the harvest due to the season where leaves fall. The thickness of the rubber latex has decreased and we are not sure whether it is because of the disease,” said a rubber estate owner speaking on terms of anonymity. She also added that the government doesn’t show any urgency to get involved in these problems. This disease was first reported in 2018 in Malaysia, then in Indonesia, and later in the year 2019, Thailand, India, China and Sri Lanka experienced this fate. The situation at the time was aggravated due to the COVID-19 pandemic and later the pesticide and fertilizer banning in the country.


This disease is caused by two plant pathogenic fungal groups. The disease is scientifically termed as Pestilotiopsis microspora. It is observed in the entire wet zone. RRI officials state that the reason for the fungus to spread is excessive rain and the lack of sunlight. It is comparatively severe in the Ratnapura, Kalutara, Awissawella and Daraniyagala areas. Moderate to mild levels of the disease are seen in Galle, Matara, Badulla and Monaragala. Low canopy weak plants – which are called ‘runts’ – contract the disease at the early stages and spread it to the surrounding plants. Warm and humid conditions favour the spread of the disease and also the development of the trees as they need an optimal temperature ranging from 25ºC – 30ºC, and a relative humidity which must be above 80%. This disease is regarded as a secondary leaf fall condition. 

 

One should have 3 years of experience to apply for NVQ-03 level certificates. The Level-04 certificate will be provided only to individuals who have 5 years of experience in the supervisory grade. NVQ-Level-05 is the Diploma whilst Level-06 is the Higher National Diploma (HND), and Level-07 is the Degree level

 


“Extension Officers reported the disease from the Kalutara district by August 2019. The production of rubber is declining not from 2019, but from 2014 onwards. The disease is not only spreading in Sri Lanka, but in all Asian rubber-growing countries as well. The disease is just one reason for the reducing of the crop,” said Dr. Sarojini Fernando, Department head of Plant Pathology and MicroBiology at Rubber Research Institute (RRI). She clarified that the fall of leaves isn’t happening due to the disease, but it is a natural phenomenon that happens annually. This disease is common and is reported in all Asian rubber plants. To date, the death of trees hasn’t been reported from any part of the world. Different countries are attempting to find a cure for this disease, but still, there is no chemical controlling method introduced. Circular lesions on the leaves are initially small and dark brown and later expanding to form larger spots with dark brown margins and yellow halos. The nature of the spreading of the disease depends on different locations. The sensitivity of the disease is influenced by the nutritive status of the cultivation, age and clone. 


However, there is only a 10 percent decrease in the crop. She said that the whole country has lost around 10% of the crop. “50% of rubber is supplied from the local rubber estates. Therefore, there is a need to improve the productivity of the rubber cultivation to sustain this industry,” said Dr. Fernando. If the dry rubber content is below 30%, the tapping would be temporarily stopped and the Rubber Development Department (RDD) or RRI should be informed. The individual who spoke on terms of anonymity said that the government only played a minor part in terms of taking responsibility for controlling the spread of the disease. “No compensation is paid to the rubber estate owners, but they were constantly being advised and provided with the necessary machinery and fertilizer until very recently to keep the disease under control,” said Dr. Fernando. Three rounds of fungicide sprays should be sprayed, according to agriculture experts: The First round – at the stage of apple green leaves: Second round – At the stage of semi-mature to mature stage: Third round – After full maturation. The first round can be undertaken around July and August and the second, during September and October.

 

 

The production of rubber is declining not from 2019, but from 2014 onwards. The disease is not only spreading in Sri Lanka, but in all Asian rubber-growing countries as well. The disease is just one reason for the reduction in crop
-Dr. Sarojini Fernando, Department Head of Plant Pathology and Microbiology at the Rubber Research Institute (RRI)

 


Dr. Fernando added that the amount of latex has decreased not due to the disease, but to the shedding of the leaves of the rubber plants. From December to January well-grown, matured rubber plants are shedding their leaves. It takes two to three weeks for the plants to grow new leaves. The disease is not found in the new leaves. She said that after about three months the disease will appear on the leaves of the plants again. The most important strategy is the maintenance of clonal balance. At present the existence of a single clone in the country has exposed the country’s crop to highrisk. However, integrated disease management approaches in cooperating cultural, chemical and biological strategies are explored to optimise disease control while minimising environmental impacts and production costs.


Dr. Fernando proposed several measures that can be implemented to control the disease such as applying fertilizer and improving sanitation. But due to the high cost of fertilizer, users are reluctant to apply it on trees. Plants become weak due to improper fertilization, and as a result they contract the disease very quickly.

 

 The NIPM keeps in contact with the Estate owners. NIPM keeps contact with smallholders, large-scale companies and regional plantation companies in the corporate sector. Tappers are allowed to work on any estate after receiving the certificate

- Dr. Prasad Dharmasena, Director/Chief Executive Officer of the (NIPM) Ministry of Plantation Industries

 


There are methods that could keep this disease under control. Dr. Fernando advised estate owners to apply fungicides and adhere to correct agronomic practices such as fertilization and keeping the right sapping protocol (people should tap once in two days but people are doing it regularly) to avoid extra pressure on the plant. She said that people have been advised to collect the fallen dead leaves into a drench and accelerate composting. The Rubber Research Institute has implemented a process to collect the diseased leaves. “People might not be able to do everything, but still, they could try to carry out remedies from a broader perspective to manage the disease,” said Dr. Fernando. The disease may adversely impact the status of the plantation if not properly maintained.
Dr. Fernando makes the rubber estate owners aware that if they are losing more than 10% in their cultivation, they should inform the Call Centre of the Rubber Research Institute or the Rubber Development Department for help from.


She also explained that the Rubber Research Institute will always help them with their research to solve any discipline that belongs to rubber cultivation. The Rubber Development Department must disseminate all the details and information regarding rubber cultivation. Officials from the Department will be visiting the estates and providing owners with necessary information to prevent the destruction of the cultivation.


An NVQ-3 certificate is introduced to the rubber tappers to improve their skills related to the rubber industry.
“We are not sure whether our tappers will move to another estate after obtaining the certificate under our guidance,” said a rubber estate owner who also didn’t wish to be named.


“NIPM has been empowered to issue certificates for rubber tappers, rubber nursery assistants, and rubber rain guard technicians,” said Director Chief Executive Officer of the (NIPM) Ministry of Plantation Industries, Dr. Prasad Dharmasena. “A Rubber Nursery assistant certificate is issued for specialising in handling a rubber nursery. The rain guard technique is used during the rainy season for tapping. A special technique and knowledge are used for fixing the rain guard,” said Dr. Dharmasena.

 

Three rounds of fungicide sprays should be sprayed, according to agriculture experts: The First round – at the stage of apple green leaves: Second round – At the stage of semi-mature to mature stage: Third round – After full maturation. The first round can be undertaken around July and August and the second, during September and October

 


The National Institute of Plantation Management (NIPM) is registered under the Ministry of Agriculture and Plantation Industries. All certificates are registered under the Territory and Vocational Education Commission (TVEC). Since the NIPM is registered under the TVEC, the NIPM is assigned with the power to issue certificates. The TVEC has decentralised its powers to NIPM. 


Dr. Dharmasena explained two ways to obtain a qualification in the rubber sector. Under the method of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), one should have 3 years of experience to apply for NVQ-03 level certificates. The RPL-Level-04 certificate will be provided only to individuals who have 5 years of experience in the supervisory grade. He added that to apply for an RPL certificate the candidate should visit the institute (NIPM) and appear for the assessment to obtain the certificate. After the evaluation is done, within a week the certificate will be issued. He also added that NVQ-Level-03 and NVQ-Level-04 candidates are given both theoretical and practical knowledge; the six months training comprising three months practical knowledge and three months theoretical knowledge. NIPM awards 26 different types of occupations issued through RPL certificates. Moreover, he explained that NVQ-03 and NVQ-04 certificate courses are focused on occupation. NVQ-Level-05 is the Diploma whilst Level-06 is the Higher National Diploma (HND), and Level -07 is the Degree level.


 “NIPM keeps in contact with the Estate owners. NIPM keeps contact with smallholders, large-scale companies and regional plantation companies in the corporate sector. Tappers are allowed to work on any estate after receiving the certificate,” said Dr. Dharmasena. He confirmed that RPL and NVQ certificates are internationally recognised.  The aim of issuing this certificate is to enhance the competency of industrialization and provide recognition for the rubber tappers by enhancing their knowledge and competency,” said Dr. Dharmasena.
The NIPM allows rubber tappers to develop their knowledge in the rubber industry as well as to be aware of the different types of diseases caused in Rubber plants.  

]]>
https://bmkltsly13vb.compat.objectstorage.ap-singapore-1.oraclecloud.com/cdn.sg.dailymirror.lk/assets/uploads/image_c446b1ce8a.jpg 2024-02-26 01:41:00
188th birth anniversery of Charles Henry De Soysa on March 3rd His Generosity in the Field of Philanthropy is Unparalleled! https://www.dailymirror.lk/news-features/188th-birth-anniversery-of-Charles-Henry-De-Soysa-on-March-3rd-His-Generosity-in-the-Field-of-Philanthropy-is-Unparalleled-/131-277638 https://www.dailymirror.lk/news-features/188th-birth-anniversery-of-Charles-Henry-De-Soysa-on-March-3rd-His-Generosity-in-the-Field-of-Philanthropy-is-Unparalleled-/131-277638

De Soysa Hospital for Women

 

  • Through time immemorial, legends woven about him have been related within and outside the family
  • He was a generous person and memories of him are associated with health, education and agriculture 
  • Charles was considered to be visionary, who was well ahead of his time
  • His statue stands tall at De Soysa Circus

Charles Henry De Soysa’s benefactions are many and varied, but the crown of all these is widely considered to be the donation of the land and building erected for the De Soysa Hospital for Women, which has been of immense benefit to several millions of mothers for more than a hundred years.   

 It was a great blow to Ceylon as it was called then in that era when the late Charles Henry De Soysa died. 
He was and still is undoubtedly the greatest philanthropist in our nation’s history as his record of extraordinary largesse remains unparalleled. March 3rd this year marks his 188th birth anniversary.
 He is a legend, whose memories live on not only in the hearts and minds of his descendants, but in the many institutions including hospitals and schools he gifted to the country, and the descendant of the landless to whom he gifted hundreds of acres. Through time immemorial, legends about him woven through the passage of time have been related within and outside the family. His generosity was shown mainly in the fields of health, education and agriculture which underscore that he was a visionary well ahead of his time. These are unquestionably, the most important fields to focus on, as his name is even widely recognised today.


His descendants and others who respect and revere his memory, pay homage to him at his statue which stands tall at De Soysa Circus. It’s time too, to reflect on who he was and what he did.
 Charles’s father, Jeronis was an abstemious business magnate, hence was able to amass a considerable fortune which was more than trebled by Charles Henry, who possessed remarkable business acumen.
 Charles Henry De Soysa began his education at S. Thomas’ College when it began at Mutwal. His benefactions are many and varied, but the crown of all these is widely considered to be the donation of the land and building erected for the De Soysa Hospital for Women, which has been of immense benefit to several millions of mothers for more than a hundred years. This generous act shows the amazing foresight of the late Charles Henry De Soysa for what was a great need at that particular moment in time. His other benefaction of paramount importance as it concerns youth and education was the vast acreage donated for the erection of the necessary buildings, playing fields, etc for Prince and Princess of Wales Colleges, whose students have adorned the corridors of power in Church, State Universities, as Captains of Industries and entrepreneurs. His objective was to ensure that the youth of his home town Moratuwa, would have an education of equal status as those in popular schools in the country. The greatest tributes paid to him even today come from students past and present of these two schools, who spare neither time nor expense in paying tribute to his memory; remembering him with great appreciation and respect. 
He was an Anglican, but had no religious or racial prejudice and gave most generously to other religions too. He built churches, temples and kovils and was known to be a just and kind employer who helped the underprivileged, the differently-abled, and even provided dowries to those who couldn’t afford to do so for their daughters. He gave land to the landless even far away from his home town. He gave a vast acreage to the British Government for a Model Farm in Colombo which now houses the Golf Club and many palatial residences. He donated funds to hospitals in the UK including to the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, and my father was surprised to find his grandfather’s name on a panel stating this, when he interned there; he was also bestowed a singular honour, of being elected an honorary member of the Atheneum, which is said to be the oldest and most prestigious club in London to which few Asians were admitted to at that time. His generosity to his fellow human beings and nation covered all the primary needs of man from the cradle to the grave. 
Besides the De Soysa Hospital for Women, he built other hospitals in other places in Sri Lanka, provided amenities for the study of medicine, and endowment to public institutions in the building of roads, bridges, rest houses, tanks and irrigation. It could well be said of him that seldom in the annals of philanthropy has so much been owed by so many to one single man. He obviously believed in the principle that it is more blessed to give than to receive. He established a Co-operative Society for the Carpenters of Moratuwa, was the Founder of the Ceylon Agricultural Association and the first Ceylonese Banker. 


As his great granddaughter, I say a silent prayer of thanks for his soul as I pass his statue at De Soysa Circus. All of us who are privileged to be his descendants owe him a great debt and I’m proud that his blood flows in mine and that of my children. I end with the words that my father, his grandson, the late Professor C.C. De Silva who wrote in The De Soysa Saga, “It is a privilege bestowed on a few of us to be remembered , wept, honoured and sung for 100 years or more after our deaths.
So I believe we are a grateful and cultured nation, and the name of De Soysa will flourish and be honoured in this land for a long time to come.’

]]>

De Soysa Hospital for Women

 

  • Through time immemorial, legends woven about him have been related within and outside the family
  • He was a generous person and memories of him are associated with health, education and agriculture 
  • Charles was considered to be visionary, who was well ahead of his time
  • His statue stands tall at De Soysa Circus

Charles Henry De Soysa’s benefactions are many and varied, but the crown of all these is widely considered to be the donation of the land and building erected for the De Soysa Hospital for Women, which has been of immense benefit to several millions of mothers for more than a hundred years.   

 It was a great blow to Ceylon as it was called then in that era when the late Charles Henry De Soysa died. 
He was and still is undoubtedly the greatest philanthropist in our nation’s history as his record of extraordinary largesse remains unparalleled. March 3rd this year marks his 188th birth anniversary.
 He is a legend, whose memories live on not only in the hearts and minds of his descendants, but in the many institutions including hospitals and schools he gifted to the country, and the descendant of the landless to whom he gifted hundreds of acres. Through time immemorial, legends about him woven through the passage of time have been related within and outside the family. His generosity was shown mainly in the fields of health, education and agriculture which underscore that he was a visionary well ahead of his time. These are unquestionably, the most important fields to focus on, as his name is even widely recognised today.


His descendants and others who respect and revere his memory, pay homage to him at his statue which stands tall at De Soysa Circus. It’s time too, to reflect on who he was and what he did.
 Charles’s father, Jeronis was an abstemious business magnate, hence was able to amass a considerable fortune which was more than trebled by Charles Henry, who possessed remarkable business acumen.
 Charles Henry De Soysa began his education at S. Thomas’ College when it began at Mutwal. His benefactions are many and varied, but the crown of all these is widely considered to be the donation of the land and building erected for the De Soysa Hospital for Women, which has been of immense benefit to several millions of mothers for more than a hundred years. This generous act shows the amazing foresight of the late Charles Henry De Soysa for what was a great need at that particular moment in time. His other benefaction of paramount importance as it concerns youth and education was the vast acreage donated for the erection of the necessary buildings, playing fields, etc for Prince and Princess of Wales Colleges, whose students have adorned the corridors of power in Church, State Universities, as Captains of Industries and entrepreneurs. His objective was to ensure that the youth of his home town Moratuwa, would have an education of equal status as those in popular schools in the country. The greatest tributes paid to him even today come from students past and present of these two schools, who spare neither time nor expense in paying tribute to his memory; remembering him with great appreciation and respect. 
He was an Anglican, but had no religious or racial prejudice and gave most generously to other religions too. He built churches, temples and kovils and was known to be a just and kind employer who helped the underprivileged, the differently-abled, and even provided dowries to those who couldn’t afford to do so for their daughters. He gave land to the landless even far away from his home town. He gave a vast acreage to the British Government for a Model Farm in Colombo which now houses the Golf Club and many palatial residences. He donated funds to hospitals in the UK including to the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, and my father was surprised to find his grandfather’s name on a panel stating this, when he interned there; he was also bestowed a singular honour, of being elected an honorary member of the Atheneum, which is said to be the oldest and most prestigious club in London to which few Asians were admitted to at that time. His generosity to his fellow human beings and nation covered all the primary needs of man from the cradle to the grave. 
Besides the De Soysa Hospital for Women, he built other hospitals in other places in Sri Lanka, provided amenities for the study of medicine, and endowment to public institutions in the building of roads, bridges, rest houses, tanks and irrigation. It could well be said of him that seldom in the annals of philanthropy has so much been owed by so many to one single man. He obviously believed in the principle that it is more blessed to give than to receive. He established a Co-operative Society for the Carpenters of Moratuwa, was the Founder of the Ceylon Agricultural Association and the first Ceylonese Banker. 


As his great granddaughter, I say a silent prayer of thanks for his soul as I pass his statue at De Soysa Circus. All of us who are privileged to be his descendants owe him a great debt and I’m proud that his blood flows in mine and that of my children. I end with the words that my father, his grandson, the late Professor C.C. De Silva who wrote in The De Soysa Saga, “It is a privilege bestowed on a few of us to be remembered , wept, honoured and sung for 100 years or more after our deaths.
So I believe we are a grateful and cultured nation, and the name of De Soysa will flourish and be honoured in this land for a long time to come.’

]]>
https://bmkltsly13vb.compat.objectstorage.ap-singapore-1.oraclecloud.com/cdn.sg.dailymirror.lk/assets/uploads/image_82d11a1755.jpg 2024-02-24 01:34:00
Presidential Poll; Will It Happen? https://www.dailymirror.lk/news-features/Presidential-Poll;-Will-It-Happen-/131-277637 https://www.dailymirror.lk/news-features/Presidential-Poll;-Will-It-Happen-/131-277637

Particularly, in the context of the deeply rooted current perception among the people that the two ruling parties, the UNP and the SLPP are going to be wiped out at any forthcoming election – as happened to the UNP at the last General Election – and that morality and shame are not playing any role in politics, the spectrum of possibilities including election violence seems to be widening. 

The interesting point is that the President who had made budgetary allocations only for one election in this year as the Finance Minister told the Parliament during the same budget debate as well as in a special statement to Parliament nine days later that both the Presidential and Parliamentary elections would be held this year. It is only he who can explain this contradiction 

President Ranil Wickremesinghe while presenting the 2024 budget on November 13 last year told Parliament that both the next Presidential and Parliamentary elections would be held this year.
Nine days later, he, while making a special statement in Parliament on the economic situation of the country, reiterated the point. 
Apparently relying on the President’s remarks in Parliament, Media Minister and Cabinet Spokesman, Dr Bandula Gunawardena also told reporters on February 6 that Rs. 10 billion has been allocated for both the Presidential and Parliamentary elections, which he said are scheduled to be held in 2024. 


Negating all these statements, particularly those of the President, the Presidential Secretariat on February 13, issued a communiqué claiming that the Presidential Election will be held within the mandated period and the General Election will be held next year (2025). “Financial provisions for the General Election will be provided for in the 2025 budget. The responsibility of conducting elections lies with the Elections Commission of Sri Lanka, and the government will be communicating with the Commission as and when required” it added
What the Presidential Secretariat stated was not anything new; it is the law unless the President intervenes under the powers vested in him by the Constitution. Unlike the original Second Republican Constitution of 1978, its 19th, 20th and 21stAmendments provided for a five-year term for the President and the Parliament. The last Presidential and Parliamentary elections were held in 2019 and 2020 respectively. Hence, those elections have to be conducted again in 2024 and 2025 respectively, if the Elections Commission is given a free hand. 

 
Yet, if the President intervenes by way of dissolving the Parliament prematurely, the General Election could be held even before the Presidential election which is scheduled to be held between September 18 and October 18 this year. The only hurdle is the fact that funds have been allocated only for one election which should be the Presidential election since it cannot be deferred. The Election Commission has also confirmed this fund allocation in a recent reply to a Right to Information (RTI) query. Hence, holding the General Election this year according to the law is now out of the question.
The interesting point is that the President who had made budgetary allocations only for one election in this year as the Finance Minister told the Parliament during the same budget debate as well as in a special statement to Parliament nine days later that both the Presidential and Parliamentary elections would be held this year. It is only he who can explain this contradiction. 
However, Cabinet Spokesman, Dr. Bandula Gunawardena had attempted to strike a balance between the two contradicting points by stating that the Elections Commission has to manage with the allocated Rs. 10 billion for both elections. He would have been embarrassed by the subsequent statement by the Presidential Secretariat which said that funds have been allocated only for the Presidential election.
Another issue relating to funding elections this year is lying in wait. The case filed by a retired army officer seeking the postponement of Local Government Elections which were originally fixed by the Elections Commission to March 9 last year is still pending, despite the original petitioner having died. If the case is dismissed this year the question of funding for those elections might also arise.


There are no legally fixed dates for elections in Sri Lanka like in the US. Despite it being the responsibility of the Elections Commission to fix dates for the elections, the President has also been given a huge say in deciding it. He can advance the date for the General Election by dissolving the Parliament after two and a half years from the date of its first sitting. Also, he can do the same with regard to the date of the Presidential election by calling a mid-term election seeking a second mandate after being in office for four years, but only if he is not a “Succeeding President” like former President D.B. Wijetunga and current President Ranil Wickremesinghe. 
The past Presidents have used these provisions of the Constitution to the detriment of the parties other than their own. Former President J.R. Jayawardena called a mid-term election seeking a second mandate in 1982 while his main rival Sirimavo Bandaranaike had been deprived of her civic rights for seven years from 1980. Former President Ranasinghe Premadasa got his Governors of all seven provinces except for the then merged North-Eastern Province to dissolve their respective Provincial Councils in March 1993, in order to hold fresh elections. By doing so he changed the election dates in a manner that would be favourable to his party. 
President Ranil Wickremesinghe was instrumental to the indefinite postponement of Local Government Elections that were scheduled for March 9 last year by refusing to issue funds for those elections. Before that the government made various other attempts to put off those elections. In the meantime, unidentified individuals had issued death threats against the members of the Elections Commission. 
It was a well-known fact that the government wanted to put off the LG polls for fear of defeat in the light of sufferings by the people due to the unprecedented economic crisis the country has been undergoing. Attempting to defer those elections on various flimsy pretexts is unethical. Interestingly, nobody seems to be ashamed of doing so when the real motive is obvious to the world. 


Another unfair feature in Sri Lanka’s electoral system is one political party as the ruling party getting the undue powers to mobilize the state machinery against the other parties and to bribe the voters in the guise of development and relief activities using public funds, at the expense of rival parties. During a Presidential election, a President in office who is contesting for a second mandate can mobilize the Police, the armed forces and the other state institutions such as the local government bodies which issue permits for venues for propaganda meetings.
It is against this backdrop that the forthcoming election is scheduled to be held. Also it is against this lack of level playing field that the Opposition parties are expressing fears of the postponement of the election, abolition of Executive Presidency or creating funding problems for the Presidential election by holding a snap General Election after dissolving the Parliament. 


Particularly, in the context of the deeply rooted current perception among the people that the two ruling parties, the UNP and the SLPP are going to be wiped out at any forthcoming election – as happened to the UNP at the last General Election – and that morality and shame are not playing any role in politics, the spectrum of possibilities including election violence seems to be widening.  

]]>

Particularly, in the context of the deeply rooted current perception among the people that the two ruling parties, the UNP and the SLPP are going to be wiped out at any forthcoming election – as happened to the UNP at the last General Election – and that morality and shame are not playing any role in politics, the spectrum of possibilities including election violence seems to be widening. 

The interesting point is that the President who had made budgetary allocations only for one election in this year as the Finance Minister told the Parliament during the same budget debate as well as in a special statement to Parliament nine days later that both the Presidential and Parliamentary elections would be held this year. It is only he who can explain this contradiction 

President Ranil Wickremesinghe while presenting the 2024 budget on November 13 last year told Parliament that both the next Presidential and Parliamentary elections would be held this year.
Nine days later, he, while making a special statement in Parliament on the economic situation of the country, reiterated the point. 
Apparently relying on the President’s remarks in Parliament, Media Minister and Cabinet Spokesman, Dr Bandula Gunawardena also told reporters on February 6 that Rs. 10 billion has been allocated for both the Presidential and Parliamentary elections, which he said are scheduled to be held in 2024. 


Negating all these statements, particularly those of the President, the Presidential Secretariat on February 13, issued a communiqué claiming that the Presidential Election will be held within the mandated period and the General Election will be held next year (2025). “Financial provisions for the General Election will be provided for in the 2025 budget. The responsibility of conducting elections lies with the Elections Commission of Sri Lanka, and the government will be communicating with the Commission as and when required” it added
What the Presidential Secretariat stated was not anything new; it is the law unless the President intervenes under the powers vested in him by the Constitution. Unlike the original Second Republican Constitution of 1978, its 19th, 20th and 21stAmendments provided for a five-year term for the President and the Parliament. The last Presidential and Parliamentary elections were held in 2019 and 2020 respectively. Hence, those elections have to be conducted again in 2024 and 2025 respectively, if the Elections Commission is given a free hand. 

 
Yet, if the President intervenes by way of dissolving the Parliament prematurely, the General Election could be held even before the Presidential election which is scheduled to be held between September 18 and October 18 this year. The only hurdle is the fact that funds have been allocated only for one election which should be the Presidential election since it cannot be deferred. The Election Commission has also confirmed this fund allocation in a recent reply to a Right to Information (RTI) query. Hence, holding the General Election this year according to the law is now out of the question.
The interesting point is that the President who had made budgetary allocations only for one election in this year as the Finance Minister told the Parliament during the same budget debate as well as in a special statement to Parliament nine days later that both the Presidential and Parliamentary elections would be held this year. It is only he who can explain this contradiction. 
However, Cabinet Spokesman, Dr. Bandula Gunawardena had attempted to strike a balance between the two contradicting points by stating that the Elections Commission has to manage with the allocated Rs. 10 billion for both elections. He would have been embarrassed by the subsequent statement by the Presidential Secretariat which said that funds have been allocated only for the Presidential election.
Another issue relating to funding elections this year is lying in wait. The case filed by a retired army officer seeking the postponement of Local Government Elections which were originally fixed by the Elections Commission to March 9 last year is still pending, despite the original petitioner having died. If the case is dismissed this year the question of funding for those elections might also arise.


There are no legally fixed dates for elections in Sri Lanka like in the US. Despite it being the responsibility of the Elections Commission to fix dates for the elections, the President has also been given a huge say in deciding it. He can advance the date for the General Election by dissolving the Parliament after two and a half years from the date of its first sitting. Also, he can do the same with regard to the date of the Presidential election by calling a mid-term election seeking a second mandate after being in office for four years, but only if he is not a “Succeeding President” like former President D.B. Wijetunga and current President Ranil Wickremesinghe. 
The past Presidents have used these provisions of the Constitution to the detriment of the parties other than their own. Former President J.R. Jayawardena called a mid-term election seeking a second mandate in 1982 while his main rival Sirimavo Bandaranaike had been deprived of her civic rights for seven years from 1980. Former President Ranasinghe Premadasa got his Governors of all seven provinces except for the then merged North-Eastern Province to dissolve their respective Provincial Councils in March 1993, in order to hold fresh elections. By doing so he changed the election dates in a manner that would be favourable to his party. 
President Ranil Wickremesinghe was instrumental to the indefinite postponement of Local Government Elections that were scheduled for March 9 last year by refusing to issue funds for those elections. Before that the government made various other attempts to put off those elections. In the meantime, unidentified individuals had issued death threats against the members of the Elections Commission. 
It was a well-known fact that the government wanted to put off the LG polls for fear of defeat in the light of sufferings by the people due to the unprecedented economic crisis the country has been undergoing. Attempting to defer those elections on various flimsy pretexts is unethical. Interestingly, nobody seems to be ashamed of doing so when the real motive is obvious to the world. 


Another unfair feature in Sri Lanka’s electoral system is one political party as the ruling party getting the undue powers to mobilize the state machinery against the other parties and to bribe the voters in the guise of development and relief activities using public funds, at the expense of rival parties. During a Presidential election, a President in office who is contesting for a second mandate can mobilize the Police, the armed forces and the other state institutions such as the local government bodies which issue permits for venues for propaganda meetings.
It is against this backdrop that the forthcoming election is scheduled to be held. Also it is against this lack of level playing field that the Opposition parties are expressing fears of the postponement of the election, abolition of Executive Presidency or creating funding problems for the Presidential election by holding a snap General Election after dissolving the Parliament. 


Particularly, in the context of the deeply rooted current perception among the people that the two ruling parties, the UNP and the SLPP are going to be wiped out at any forthcoming election – as happened to the UNP at the last General Election – and that morality and shame are not playing any role in politics, the spectrum of possibilities including election violence seems to be widening.  

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Gangaramaya Navam Maha Perahera: A religious and cultural pageant bringing blessings to people https://www.dailymirror.lk/news-features/Gangaramaya-Navam-Maha-Perahera:-A-religious-and-cultural-pageant-bringing-blessings-to-people/131-277593 https://www.dailymirror.lk/news-features/Gangaramaya-Navam-Maha-Perahera:-A-religious-and-cultural-pageant-bringing-blessings-to-people/131-277593

Leadership qualities, a responsible attitude and a great personality are inherent characteristics possessed by Most Venerable Galaboda Sri Gnanissara Maha Nahimi, also known as Podi Hamuduruwo

 

 Ven. Dr. Kirinde Assaji with the aid of the community of resident monks and lay devotees have successfully organised the upcoming Nawam Maha Perahera

At the core of the The Nawam Maha Perahera of Gangaramaya which is held annually lies the offering of homage to the noble triple gem, the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha

 

Gangaramaya Maha Viharaya situated in the heart of Colombo has played a preeminent role in society; memories of which will be evoked in any reader. On one hand, the grandest of Buddhist festivals, the Navam Maha Perehara (Pageant) and the Buddha Rashmi Vesak Zone, provide a priceless opportunity for the communities to unite in celebration. On the other hand, the Jinarathana Technical College and the Kataragama Retirement Hall, offer a continuous service to society. The strength behind these accomplishments is the Chief Incumbent of the Gangaramaya Maha Viharaya, the Most Venerable Galaboda Sri Gnanissara Maha Nahimi, who is fondly known among the lay followers as ‘Podi Hamuduruwo’. Moreover, the unwavering support given by the community of monks- led by the Deputy Incumbent of the Gangaramaya Maha Viharaya, Ven. Dr. Kirinde Assaji- has tremendously facilitated its journey to success. Gangaramaya Navam Maha Perahera, which is an illustrious procession depicting Sri Lankan heritage, will be held on February 23 and 24.


The continuous commitment of the student monks with the blessing of Podi Hamuduruwo has led to numerous achievements. Among these achievements were the launch of ‘Haritha TV’ channel, promoting self-sufficiency through agriculture that Podi Hamuduruwo had constantly envisaged for the betterment of the society and the declaration of the Gangaramaya Maha Viharaya as a place of worship by Hon. Ranil Wickramasinghe. As such, Gangaramaya has shown excellence in achieving various goals. 


At present, Gangaramaya Maha Vihara is preparing to enliven the city of Colombo with the cultural festival ‘Navam Maha Perahera’ bringing splendour, majesty and enchantment. The Navam Maha Perahera has become an iconic symbol of Sri Lanka, revered locals as well as foreigners from over the world. It is also one of the main reasons for the greater influx of visitors during the month of February, becoming one of the main perahera festivals attracting tourists to Sri Lanka. In general, It has become a cultural festival cherished by many foreign visitors over the past decades. 


It gives a great pleasure in witnessing the ability of the Nawam Maha Perahera to revive and celebrate the strength and pride of the Sri Lankan heritage. In the midst of a severe economic crisis, it is an enormous challenge to hold a procession at a grand scale. However, by overcoming all such adversities, Ven. Dr. Kirinde Assaji with the aid of the community of resident monks and lay devotees have successfully organised the upcoming Nawam Maha Perahera. 


In considering the history related to Buddhist processions, it is thought to extend as far back as the era of Gautama Buddha. Although it had been a cultural element even before the birth of the Buddha, it gained a greater significance following the connection with Buddhism. 


According to the Buddhist chronicles, the queen Maha Maya left Kapilavatthu heading towards the home of her parents situated in Devadaha, in a beautiful procession for the birth of Prince Siddhartha Gautama. The route was adorned with magnificent flags. A large entourage had travelled along with the queen in order to perform various tasks such as reciting songs of blessings. It is said that the Bodhisatta was born in the course of the journey to Kapilavatthu at the Sala Grove of Lumbini. 


Furthermore, subsequent to Tathaagata Parinirvana, many devotees including the households of both the Royals and the Brahmins had attended to pay homage by making offerings for seven days. On the seventh day, the body of Gautama Buddha was wrapped in alternating layers of five hundred pieces each of new cloth and cotton wool, finally placed in a casket anointed with fragrant oil. A procession was held and with due honour the body of Gautama Buddha was cremated within a scented pyre. 


During the reign of king Dhammasoka, the devotees had held processions in the sacred sites of Pataliputra, Isipatana, Lumbini, Sanchi and Kusinara based on Buddhist religious rituals. 
The concept of Perahera with its connection to Buddhism, is believed to have emerged within the Sri Lankan culture following the arrival of Arahant Mahinda. Mahavamsa records that the sacred collar bone relic of Gautama Buddha was carried in a procession for the relic enshrinement ceremony in the Thuparamaya stupa. It has been recorded in history that the sapling from the sacred Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi tree which was brought to Sri Lanka by Sanghamitta Therini was taken in a grand procession from Dambakola Patuna to Anuradhapura, in which the entire route had been beautifully decorated with flags. Moreover, the Dalada Perahera is believed to have begun as a form of offering of homage when the sacred Tooth relic of Gautama Buddha was brought to Sri Lanka. There are historical records indicating that the sacred tooth relic received royal patronage. Even to date, it is customary to perform the rituals and processions connected with the Tooth relic. 


Accordingly, a procession can be considered as a supreme form of offering which is deeply ingrained in the minds of Buddhist devotees since the era of the Buddha. A Buddhist procession is not merely an elegant carving which highlight colourful cultural elements. It is an act of worship based on a series of Buddhist events. There is a comparable basic core connected to every procession performed in the temples of Sri Lanka. 


At the core of the The Nawam Maha Perahera of Gangaramaya which is held annually lies the offering of homage to the noble triple gem, the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha. Furthermore, the bestowal of the titles of chief disciples to both Sariputta thera and Moggallana thera is also commemorated through the Navam Maha Perahera. Hence, regardless of consistently being referred to as the great cultural festival and the colourful procession of Colombo, it is worth thinking about it as an offering to the noble triple gem highlighting the essence and purpose of Buddhism. 


Since the beginning, Gangaramaya Maha Viharaya has been committed to conduct the Nawam Maha Perahera in the grandest manner. Podi hamuduruwo intended to fulfil multiple functions with the aid of the Nawam Maha Perahera. According to Podi Hamuduruwo, the unique crafts of the performers can be preserved for generations only by the act of conducting the processions. Those observing the way in which a procession is organised will be encouraged in order to be committed to maintain and continue to preserve these crafts for future generations. Thus, the practicality of each event organised by Podi Hamuduruwo can be clearly understood upon deep examination of the underlying purpose. 


At a tender age of 16, Podi Hamuduruwo accepted the duty of managing the Gangaramaya Maha Viharaya. Leadership qualities, responsible attitude and a great personality were inherent characteristics possessed by Podi Hamuduruwo along with a good fortune from a much younger age. Within the matter of a short period of time, Podi Hamuduruwo built a good rapport with his superior Ven. Vachissara as well as the lay devotees. 


Since then, Podi Hamuduruwo has secured Gangaramaya Maha Viharaya from any downfalls and brought it into the prestigious state seen at present. 
Gangaramaya Navam Perahera is a spectacular festival consisting of variety of traditional performances. It comprises of up country, low country and Sabaragamuwa dance and druming styles as well as several unique elements that would not be seen in any other perahera procession, exquisitely portraying the magnificence and excellence of local art and craftsmanship. Another special component is the long line of Maha Sangha parading the Navam Maha Perahera. 


With the full blessings of the Most Venerable Galboda Sri Gnanissara Maha Nahimi, the community of monks led by the Deputy Incumbent of the Gangaramaya Maha Viharaya, Ven. Dr. Kirinde Assaji Thero, the Gangaramaya Dayaka Sabha along with foreign and local philanthropists and several government and private institutions have contributed to make the Nawam Maha Perahera a great success. 


(This article written by the author was 
translated to English by Pooja Ranasinghe)

The Navam Maha Perahera has become an iconic symbol of Sri Lanka, revered locals as well as foreigners from over the world

]]>

Leadership qualities, a responsible attitude and a great personality are inherent characteristics possessed by Most Venerable Galaboda Sri Gnanissara Maha Nahimi, also known as Podi Hamuduruwo

 

 Ven. Dr. Kirinde Assaji with the aid of the community of resident monks and lay devotees have successfully organised the upcoming Nawam Maha Perahera

At the core of the The Nawam Maha Perahera of Gangaramaya which is held annually lies the offering of homage to the noble triple gem, the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha

 

Gangaramaya Maha Viharaya situated in the heart of Colombo has played a preeminent role in society; memories of which will be evoked in any reader. On one hand, the grandest of Buddhist festivals, the Navam Maha Perehara (Pageant) and the Buddha Rashmi Vesak Zone, provide a priceless opportunity for the communities to unite in celebration. On the other hand, the Jinarathana Technical College and the Kataragama Retirement Hall, offer a continuous service to society. The strength behind these accomplishments is the Chief Incumbent of the Gangaramaya Maha Viharaya, the Most Venerable Galaboda Sri Gnanissara Maha Nahimi, who is fondly known among the lay followers as ‘Podi Hamuduruwo’. Moreover, the unwavering support given by the community of monks- led by the Deputy Incumbent of the Gangaramaya Maha Viharaya, Ven. Dr. Kirinde Assaji- has tremendously facilitated its journey to success. Gangaramaya Navam Maha Perahera, which is an illustrious procession depicting Sri Lankan heritage, will be held on February 23 and 24.


The continuous commitment of the student monks with the blessing of Podi Hamuduruwo has led to numerous achievements. Among these achievements were the launch of ‘Haritha TV’ channel, promoting self-sufficiency through agriculture that Podi Hamuduruwo had constantly envisaged for the betterment of the society and the declaration of the Gangaramaya Maha Viharaya as a place of worship by Hon. Ranil Wickramasinghe. As such, Gangaramaya has shown excellence in achieving various goals. 


At present, Gangaramaya Maha Vihara is preparing to enliven the city of Colombo with the cultural festival ‘Navam Maha Perahera’ bringing splendour, majesty and enchantment. The Navam Maha Perahera has become an iconic symbol of Sri Lanka, revered locals as well as foreigners from over the world. It is also one of the main reasons for the greater influx of visitors during the month of February, becoming one of the main perahera festivals attracting tourists to Sri Lanka. In general, It has become a cultural festival cherished by many foreign visitors over the past decades. 


It gives a great pleasure in witnessing the ability of the Nawam Maha Perahera to revive and celebrate the strength and pride of the Sri Lankan heritage. In the midst of a severe economic crisis, it is an enormous challenge to hold a procession at a grand scale. However, by overcoming all such adversities, Ven. Dr. Kirinde Assaji with the aid of the community of resident monks and lay devotees have successfully organised the upcoming Nawam Maha Perahera. 


In considering the history related to Buddhist processions, it is thought to extend as far back as the era of Gautama Buddha. Although it had been a cultural element even before the birth of the Buddha, it gained a greater significance following the connection with Buddhism. 


According to the Buddhist chronicles, the queen Maha Maya left Kapilavatthu heading towards the home of her parents situated in Devadaha, in a beautiful procession for the birth of Prince Siddhartha Gautama. The route was adorned with magnificent flags. A large entourage had travelled along with the queen in order to perform various tasks such as reciting songs of blessings. It is said that the Bodhisatta was born in the course of the journey to Kapilavatthu at the Sala Grove of Lumbini. 


Furthermore, subsequent to Tathaagata Parinirvana, many devotees including the households of both the Royals and the Brahmins had attended to pay homage by making offerings for seven days. On the seventh day, the body of Gautama Buddha was wrapped in alternating layers of five hundred pieces each of new cloth and cotton wool, finally placed in a casket anointed with fragrant oil. A procession was held and with due honour the body of Gautama Buddha was cremated within a scented pyre. 


During the reign of king Dhammasoka, the devotees had held processions in the sacred sites of Pataliputra, Isipatana, Lumbini, Sanchi and Kusinara based on Buddhist religious rituals. 
The concept of Perahera with its connection to Buddhism, is believed to have emerged within the Sri Lankan culture following the arrival of Arahant Mahinda. Mahavamsa records that the sacred collar bone relic of Gautama Buddha was carried in a procession for the relic enshrinement ceremony in the Thuparamaya stupa. It has been recorded in history that the sapling from the sacred Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi tree which was brought to Sri Lanka by Sanghamitta Therini was taken in a grand procession from Dambakola Patuna to Anuradhapura, in which the entire route had been beautifully decorated with flags. Moreover, the Dalada Perahera is believed to have begun as a form of offering of homage when the sacred Tooth relic of Gautama Buddha was brought to Sri Lanka. There are historical records indicating that the sacred tooth relic received royal patronage. Even to date, it is customary to perform the rituals and processions connected with the Tooth relic. 


Accordingly, a procession can be considered as a supreme form of offering which is deeply ingrained in the minds of Buddhist devotees since the era of the Buddha. A Buddhist procession is not merely an elegant carving which highlight colourful cultural elements. It is an act of worship based on a series of Buddhist events. There is a comparable basic core connected to every procession performed in the temples of Sri Lanka. 


At the core of the The Nawam Maha Perahera of Gangaramaya which is held annually lies the offering of homage to the noble triple gem, the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha. Furthermore, the bestowal of the titles of chief disciples to both Sariputta thera and Moggallana thera is also commemorated through the Navam Maha Perahera. Hence, regardless of consistently being referred to as the great cultural festival and the colourful procession of Colombo, it is worth thinking about it as an offering to the noble triple gem highlighting the essence and purpose of Buddhism. 


Since the beginning, Gangaramaya Maha Viharaya has been committed to conduct the Nawam Maha Perahera in the grandest manner. Podi hamuduruwo intended to fulfil multiple functions with the aid of the Nawam Maha Perahera. According to Podi Hamuduruwo, the unique crafts of the performers can be preserved for generations only by the act of conducting the processions. Those observing the way in which a procession is organised will be encouraged in order to be committed to maintain and continue to preserve these crafts for future generations. Thus, the practicality of each event organised by Podi Hamuduruwo can be clearly understood upon deep examination of the underlying purpose. 


At a tender age of 16, Podi Hamuduruwo accepted the duty of managing the Gangaramaya Maha Viharaya. Leadership qualities, responsible attitude and a great personality were inherent characteristics possessed by Podi Hamuduruwo along with a good fortune from a much younger age. Within the matter of a short period of time, Podi Hamuduruwo built a good rapport with his superior Ven. Vachissara as well as the lay devotees. 


Since then, Podi Hamuduruwo has secured Gangaramaya Maha Viharaya from any downfalls and brought it into the prestigious state seen at present. 
Gangaramaya Navam Perahera is a spectacular festival consisting of variety of traditional performances. It comprises of up country, low country and Sabaragamuwa dance and druming styles as well as several unique elements that would not be seen in any other perahera procession, exquisitely portraying the magnificence and excellence of local art and craftsmanship. Another special component is the long line of Maha Sangha parading the Navam Maha Perahera. 


With the full blessings of the Most Venerable Galboda Sri Gnanissara Maha Nahimi, the community of monks led by the Deputy Incumbent of the Gangaramaya Maha Viharaya, Ven. Dr. Kirinde Assaji Thero, the Gangaramaya Dayaka Sabha along with foreign and local philanthropists and several government and private institutions have contributed to make the Nawam Maha Perahera a great success. 


(This article written by the author was 
translated to English by Pooja Ranasinghe)

The Navam Maha Perahera has become an iconic symbol of Sri Lanka, revered locals as well as foreigners from over the world

]]>
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Relevance of Buddism in the contemporary world https://www.dailymirror.lk/news-features/Relevance-of-Buddism-in-the-contemporary-world/131-277592 https://www.dailymirror.lk/news-features/Relevance-of-Buddism-in-the-contemporary-world/131-277592

Buddha was an unequaled teacher endowed with towering wisdom and great intellect

 

Buddhism is a teaching expounded by Buddha who lived in northern India between the mid-6th century and mid-4thcentury BCE. However, there is a disagreement among some scholars as to the exact dates of his birth and death. It is believed that Buddhism has an estimated 500 million followers worldwide today. Many civilizations and countless lives have been shaped by Buddha’s thinking enunciated in his discourses. What Buddha expounded for nearly half a century is known as dhamma which is just as pertinent in the contemporary world as it was several centuries ago. In brief, dhamma means reality.


Buddhism has played a central role in spiritual, and cultural social life from its very inception. It has brought immense psychological, and spiritual solace and relief to people who are overwhelmed by immense suffering and challenges in their lives. Moreover, the advent of Buddhism has paved the way for social equality and democratic values.
Buddhism does not fit within the narrow definition of typical religion, as many philosophical and scientific elements are encapsulated in its teachings distinct from its strictly religious, ritual, and devotional aspects. Although Buddhism has undergone various adaptations and transformations since the time of the Buddha, the essence of his core teachings remains as relevant as it was 2600 years ago and Buddha’s wisdom has endured through the ages. 


Buddha’s primary concern was to enlighten people on the most important question of suffering, its origin, its cessation, and the path leading to its cessation, through his fundamental teachings like the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. His teaching provided enduring guidance for navigating life’s complexities and challenges in an ever-evolving world. 


Buddha was an unequaled teacher endowed with towering wisdom and great intellect. He was a foremost analyst of mind and worldly phenomena. Buddha’s teachings have provided a great deal of insights to mankind so that they may live a more mindful compassionate life. Buddha made a deep analysis of how the human mind works and he had a keen insight into the human condition. Buddhism asserts that the human mind is the realm within which lies the source of our suffering and salvation. Buddhism locates the source of suffering and the problems human beings face in their never-ending craving and ignorance. He gave his adherents the unfettered freedom to examine and investigate what he expounded for nearly half a century during his lifetime. He emphasized the importance of empirical observation and rational inquiry into his teachings as is borne out by often quoted Kalamasutta. Buddha did not claim to have created worldly conditions or universal phenomena. He merely rediscovered the existing incontrovertible truth and made it known to mankind so that they could free themselves of suffering and find salvation. On one occasion, Buddha declared “Whether Thathagatha appears in the world or not order exists; the fixed nature of the phenomenon, their regular pattern, and their general conditionality. This the Thathagatha discovers and comprehends and having done so he points it out and teaches it, explains and establishes it, reveals, analyses and clarifies it, and says: Look”.

 

Buddha was an unequaled teacher endowed with towering wisdom and great intellect. He was a foremost analyst of mind and worldly phenomena

 


Here are some of Buddha’s teachings that are particularly relevant today and will continue to be relevant for many more years to come. 
Buddha’s teachings emphasize compassion, kindness, and empathy toward all living beings. In an increasingly interconnected world fostering compassion and understanding can contribute to resolving conflicts and promoting harmony. 


Buddhism emphasizes morality in life like many other major religions of the world. It upholds lofty and demanding moral and ethical values in many of its scriptures and codes of precepts. The Five precepts in Buddhism which are known as PanchalSilla in Pali and Sanskrit constitute the minimal standard of morality that Buddhists are expected to observe in their daily lives and can be validly observed by anyone regardless of their religious persuasion. They constitute basic ethical principles that Buddha laid down for lay followers may help people in the contemporary world desist from harming themselves and others, regard life as inviolable and respect property, maintain purity and honesty, and preserve clarity in thinking.


Moreover,Buddhism plays a role in helping people cope with their mental and psychological afflictions and problems. Buddhist teachings have brought mental peace and satisfaction to people in times of crisis, uncertainty, and insecurity and also when they are in desperate situations. Further, Buddhism has become an important guide for many of those who experience armed conflict in war-torn situations. 


There are instances where even agnostics and atheists who are skeptical of religious beliefs turn to Buddhism to reconcile themselves to situations that are beyond their control. 
Many practice Buddhist meditation and the essence of its teachings as an antidote to stress, anxiety, and strain of modern life. Meditative practices in Buddhism can be useful to a person as a way of training the mind and helping to develop more beneficial attitudes toward life. The teaching of mindfulness emphasises, the importance of being present in the moment and developing awareness of one’s thoughts emotions, and actions. Moreover, Buddhist meditation practices have been of great help to neuroscientists who have discovered that they lead to changes in the brain structure and function that have led to the discovery of new treatments for conditions such as anxiety depression, and addiction.


 Similarly, the Four Sublime States that is loving-kindness (metta), compassion (karuna), sympathetic joy (mudita), and equanimity (uppekka). enunciated in Buddhism are some of the positive mental qualities even non-Buddhistcan cultivate and radiate to all living beings in the present problematic world.


Buddhism teaches us that life is a journey beset with many problems and challenges. It has been likened to a pendulum that turns to the right and left. Four undesirable conditions prevail in this world which everyone, without exception, faces in the course of one’s life. (Narada). Life has phases of happiness and unhappiness. When one is blessed with gain fame, praise, or happiness he is delighted and satisfied.  On the other hand, when the same person faces unfavourable situations such as loss, insult ill fame, blame, and pain he will dejected and unhappy.  The inability to face unfavourable situations in life drives some to resort to such extreme measures as suicide murder violence theft etc.


We live in a world in which ordinary people are constantly prone to temptation to moral transgression, as unwholesome states of mind, delusion (moha), greed (raga), and hatred (devesa) are firmly embedded in their minds. Any mental or physical actions springing from these roots known as akusala in Buddhism would be detrimental to a person’s wellbeing. Realization of this truth will enable us to lead a more meaningful and morally acceptable life.
Moreover, today  people who live in a hedonistic materialistic world saturated with distractions and otherworldly things caused by insatiable greed can find solace and inspiration from the core teachings of the Buddha


Buddha’s teaching on impermanence emphasizes the transient nature of all things and the need to accept change indicating there is a reconciliation of religious belief and scientific thinking. 
Finally, rulers and those in power constitutionally appropriate ways to explore the impact of major religious practices on society where appropriate recognize its role. 
Overall, Buddha’s teachings are relevant even at present and continue to inspire and guide people towards a more fulfilling and compassionate way of life, around the world.

]]>

Buddha was an unequaled teacher endowed with towering wisdom and great intellect

 

Buddhism is a teaching expounded by Buddha who lived in northern India between the mid-6th century and mid-4thcentury BCE. However, there is a disagreement among some scholars as to the exact dates of his birth and death. It is believed that Buddhism has an estimated 500 million followers worldwide today. Many civilizations and countless lives have been shaped by Buddha’s thinking enunciated in his discourses. What Buddha expounded for nearly half a century is known as dhamma which is just as pertinent in the contemporary world as it was several centuries ago. In brief, dhamma means reality.


Buddhism has played a central role in spiritual, and cultural social life from its very inception. It has brought immense psychological, and spiritual solace and relief to people who are overwhelmed by immense suffering and challenges in their lives. Moreover, the advent of Buddhism has paved the way for social equality and democratic values.
Buddhism does not fit within the narrow definition of typical religion, as many philosophical and scientific elements are encapsulated in its teachings distinct from its strictly religious, ritual, and devotional aspects. Although Buddhism has undergone various adaptations and transformations since the time of the Buddha, the essence of his core teachings remains as relevant as it was 2600 years ago and Buddha’s wisdom has endured through the ages. 


Buddha’s primary concern was to enlighten people on the most important question of suffering, its origin, its cessation, and the path leading to its cessation, through his fundamental teachings like the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. His teaching provided enduring guidance for navigating life’s complexities and challenges in an ever-evolving world. 


Buddha was an unequaled teacher endowed with towering wisdom and great intellect. He was a foremost analyst of mind and worldly phenomena. Buddha’s teachings have provided a great deal of insights to mankind so that they may live a more mindful compassionate life. Buddha made a deep analysis of how the human mind works and he had a keen insight into the human condition. Buddhism asserts that the human mind is the realm within which lies the source of our suffering and salvation. Buddhism locates the source of suffering and the problems human beings face in their never-ending craving and ignorance. He gave his adherents the unfettered freedom to examine and investigate what he expounded for nearly half a century during his lifetime. He emphasized the importance of empirical observation and rational inquiry into his teachings as is borne out by often quoted Kalamasutta. Buddha did not claim to have created worldly conditions or universal phenomena. He merely rediscovered the existing incontrovertible truth and made it known to mankind so that they could free themselves of suffering and find salvation. On one occasion, Buddha declared “Whether Thathagatha appears in the world or not order exists; the fixed nature of the phenomenon, their regular pattern, and their general conditionality. This the Thathagatha discovers and comprehends and having done so he points it out and teaches it, explains and establishes it, reveals, analyses and clarifies it, and says: Look”.

 

Buddha was an unequaled teacher endowed with towering wisdom and great intellect. He was a foremost analyst of mind and worldly phenomena

 


Here are some of Buddha’s teachings that are particularly relevant today and will continue to be relevant for many more years to come. 
Buddha’s teachings emphasize compassion, kindness, and empathy toward all living beings. In an increasingly interconnected world fostering compassion and understanding can contribute to resolving conflicts and promoting harmony. 


Buddhism emphasizes morality in life like many other major religions of the world. It upholds lofty and demanding moral and ethical values in many of its scriptures and codes of precepts. The Five precepts in Buddhism which are known as PanchalSilla in Pali and Sanskrit constitute the minimal standard of morality that Buddhists are expected to observe in their daily lives and can be validly observed by anyone regardless of their religious persuasion. They constitute basic ethical principles that Buddha laid down for lay followers may help people in the contemporary world desist from harming themselves and others, regard life as inviolable and respect property, maintain purity and honesty, and preserve clarity in thinking.


Moreover,Buddhism plays a role in helping people cope with their mental and psychological afflictions and problems. Buddhist teachings have brought mental peace and satisfaction to people in times of crisis, uncertainty, and insecurity and also when they are in desperate situations. Further, Buddhism has become an important guide for many of those who experience armed conflict in war-torn situations. 


There are instances where even agnostics and atheists who are skeptical of religious beliefs turn to Buddhism to reconcile themselves to situations that are beyond their control. 
Many practice Buddhist meditation and the essence of its teachings as an antidote to stress, anxiety, and strain of modern life. Meditative practices in Buddhism can be useful to a person as a way of training the mind and helping to develop more beneficial attitudes toward life. The teaching of mindfulness emphasises, the importance of being present in the moment and developing awareness of one’s thoughts emotions, and actions. Moreover, Buddhist meditation practices have been of great help to neuroscientists who have discovered that they lead to changes in the brain structure and function that have led to the discovery of new treatments for conditions such as anxiety depression, and addiction.


 Similarly, the Four Sublime States that is loving-kindness (metta), compassion (karuna), sympathetic joy (mudita), and equanimity (uppekka). enunciated in Buddhism are some of the positive mental qualities even non-Buddhistcan cultivate and radiate to all living beings in the present problematic world.


Buddhism teaches us that life is a journey beset with many problems and challenges. It has been likened to a pendulum that turns to the right and left. Four undesirable conditions prevail in this world which everyone, without exception, faces in the course of one’s life. (Narada). Life has phases of happiness and unhappiness. When one is blessed with gain fame, praise, or happiness he is delighted and satisfied.  On the other hand, when the same person faces unfavourable situations such as loss, insult ill fame, blame, and pain he will dejected and unhappy.  The inability to face unfavourable situations in life drives some to resort to such extreme measures as suicide murder violence theft etc.


We live in a world in which ordinary people are constantly prone to temptation to moral transgression, as unwholesome states of mind, delusion (moha), greed (raga), and hatred (devesa) are firmly embedded in their minds. Any mental or physical actions springing from these roots known as akusala in Buddhism would be detrimental to a person’s wellbeing. Realization of this truth will enable us to lead a more meaningful and morally acceptable life.
Moreover, today  people who live in a hedonistic materialistic world saturated with distractions and otherworldly things caused by insatiable greed can find solace and inspiration from the core teachings of the Buddha


Buddha’s teaching on impermanence emphasizes the transient nature of all things and the need to accept change indicating there is a reconciliation of religious belief and scientific thinking. 
Finally, rulers and those in power constitutionally appropriate ways to explore the impact of major religious practices on society where appropriate recognize its role. 
Overall, Buddha’s teachings are relevant even at present and continue to inspire and guide people towards a more fulfilling and compassionate way of life, around the world.

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https://bmkltsly13vb.compat.objectstorage.ap-singapore-1.oraclecloud.com/cdn.sg.dailymirror.lk/assets/uploads/image_2bfcdb0015.jpg 2024-02-23 01:04:00
Gamini Jayawickrama Perera: A True Statesman and A Man Loved By All https://www.dailymirror.lk/news-features/Gamini-Jayawickrama-Perera:-A-True-Statesman-and-A-Man-Loved-By-All/131-277591 https://www.dailymirror.lk/news-features/Gamini-Jayawickrama-Perera:-A-True-Statesman-and-A-Man-Loved-By-All/131-277591 Once again, a beloved figure and a role model for the entire nation has departed. Mallawaarachchige Gamini Jayawickrama Perera’s passing away serves as a poignant reminder to the Sri Lankan public of a true statesman; one characterised by philanthropy and unwavering dedication. In Sri Lankan political history, few match his commitment, determination, selflessness and ingenuity in public service. 


Gamini Jayawickrama Perera was synonymous with the Kurunegala District and the North Western Province; his presence was integral to discussions about these regions. He maintained a profound connection with the people; making him irreplaceable. While the loss of a dear friend like Perera is deeply saddening, it also provides an opportunity for our nation to honour the genuine dedication of a remarkable individual once more.


In 1973, Perera assumed the role of representing the Katugampola constituency; a decision met with resistance from both his mother and wife, Mrs. Rohini Perera. However, he managed to overcome this opposition with the influential endorsement of Dudley Senanayake and J.R. Jayewardene, who were prominent opposition leaders at the time. The fact that two such formidable figures extended their support speaks volumes about the remarkable qualities possessed by Perera, underscoring his exceptional character and potential.


At the 1977 General Elections, Perera, serving as the Chief Organizer of the United National Party in the Katugampola constituency, achieved a significant triumph. He secured an impressive victory at his first election, garnering the highest number of votes, totalling 23,475. This electoral success marked a significant milestone in Sri Lanka’s political history, and it attributed to various underlying factors that paved the way for this remarkable outcome.


Perera, born as the second son to philanthropists Paulis Perera and Soma Perera, enjoyed a privileged upbringing in a family of seven children, and received his primary education at Bopitiya Junior College – one of Katugampola Hatpattu’s esteemed primary schools. He attended Nalanda College in Colombo for his higher education, where he distinguished himself as a disciplined and talented student. Perera was also renowned for his cricketing prowess, captaining the first-class cricket team in 1960. Remarkably, his elder brother, Lincoln and younger brother, Ashoka also served as cricket captains at Nalanda in 1949 and 1962, respectively; marking the first instance of three brothers simultaneously holding such positions in Sri Lanka.
Despite being a prominent and well-liked individual from a wealthy family, Perera’s lifestyle, characterised by abstaining from alcohol, smoking and consuming meat and fish, drew widespread attention within society. His adherence to a wholesome and virtuous way of life stood out amidst societal norms. Moreover, Perera actively participated in social service initiatives led by A.T. Ariyaratne, the founder of Sarvodaya. His involvement in these activities marked a significant milestone in his life, reflecting his commitment to contributing positively to society, and achieving his first notable victory through such meaningful engagement.

 

 

Notably, Gamini Jayawickrama Perera’s dedication to preserving the Buddhist Order is evident through initiatives like the “Budhu Puth Suraksha” Insurance – a commendable measure aimed at safeguarding the Monk Order and its adherents, which continues to be implemented today

 


Under the guidance of Mr. A. T. Ariyaratne, a team of young individuals spearheaded by Perera initiated a toilet project in Pannala Hadalagamuwa, Yayamulla village. Their leadership aims to address the health challenges prevalent in the area. Furthermore, reminiscent of their earlier community-driven efforts, in 1958 and 1960, they organised Shramadana camps at Kantholuwa Lake in Panduvasnuwara. These camps focused on purifying water sources and ensuring access to clean water for local farming communities.


Even before the 1977 election, Perera had already endeared himself to the people through his extensive social service work and affiliations with prominent figures in the country. Upon assuming the role of Member of Parliament, he embarked on a series of transformative initiatives for his constituency. He revitalized the Sandalanka Cooperative Hospital, elevating its efficiency and services. Additionally, he relocated the Office of the Medical Officer of Health from Kadanegedara to Alabadagama, establishing the Officer for Medical Officer of Health, Pannala. Jayawickrama Perera also played a pivotal role in the establishment of the Nestlé and Simline factories in Alabadagama, thereby creating employment opportunities for local residents.


Despite facing opposition from his relatives and friends, he selflessly surrendered their land to the government to initiate the Wickramasheela Central College, Giriulla, laying the groundwork for providing higher education to the children of the area. Through these bold and altruistic actions, Perera demonstrated his unwavering commitment to the betterment of his community.


In 1978, upon his appointment as the Kurunegala District Minister, Perera spearheaded a remarkable revival in the region. His emphasis on developing rural infrastructure, including roads, tanks, sewers, school buildings and playgrounds, as well as prioritising the advancement of coconut and export agriculture, garnered widespread attention across the island. His visionary initiatives propelled the Kurunegala district into the spotlight, becoming a beacon of progress and development for the entire nation.


Perera voluntarily stepped down from his role as a Member of Parliament and subsequently achieved a significant milestone by winning the inaugural Provincial Councils election following the establishment of the 13th amendment to the Constitution. He ascended to the position of Chief Minister of the North Western Province. During his tenure, President Ranasinghe Premadasa inaugurated the Karandagolla Garment Factory in the Dodamgaslanda Constituency under the auspices of Kumara Devapura. This event marked the beginning of a transformative initiative to establish two hundred garment factories across the island, heralding another pivotal moment in Perera’s career.


The implementation of the “homeland concept,” aimed at fostering a free and prosperous society, led to the transformation of underdeveloped villages into economic hubs specializing in various industries such as cashew, mango and goat farming. This innovative approach served as a model for societal progress, capturing the attention of political leaders across the nation.
Perera demonstrated visionary leadership by establishing institutions such as the Wayamba Industrial Service Bureau, Wayamba Machinery Authority, Passenger Transport Authority, and Provincial Environment Authority, which facilitated industrialization and job creation through the adoption of new technologies. Additionally, he founded the Wayamba Folk Arts Centre to promote the development of traditional crafts and culture, an initiative that continues to thrive today.


His tree planting program, exemplified by the iconic “Giant Trees” lining the roads of the Northwest, stands as a testament to his commitment to environmental conservation and beautification efforts in the region.


Perera’s initiatives in developing rural sports, particularly by transforming the Ibbagamuwa and Madampe Central Colleges into sports schools, yielded remarkable results. These efforts culminated in the emergence of talented athletes from the North West region who went on to achieve success in international competitions. One notable example is sportswoman Sriyani Kulawansa, whose achievements exemplify the impact of these programs in nurturing sporting talent and bringing recognition to the region on the global stage.


In 2016, Jayawickrama Perera’s appointments as the Chairman of the Asia-Pacific Economic and Social Commission and as the Chairman of the Asia-Pacific Regional Conference underscore his political acumen and leadership capabilities. These significant appointments serve as exemplary instances of his diplomatic skills and strategic insight on both regional and international levels.


The esteemed roles of Minister of Regional Development, Minister of Irrigation and Water Management, Minister of Wildlife and Sustainable Development, and Minister of Northwest Development and Buddha Sasana stand as tokens of appreciation bestowed upon him by the people for his multifaceted contributions in various fields throughout his political career. Notably, his dedication to preserving the Buddhist Order is evident through initiatives like the “Budhu Puth Suraksha” Insurance – a commendable measure aimed at safeguarding the Monk Order and its adherents, which continues to be implemented today.


It is undeniable that he stands as one of the most seasoned politicians I have ever encountered. His unwavering support bolstered the leadership of Ranil Wickremesinghe within the United National Party, where he meticulously organized party affairs and enriched its legacy through his dedication, intelligence and strong work ethic. Presently, his son, Asanka Perera, is continuing in his father’s footsteps, actively contributing to the on-going efforts to fortify the United National Party.
Even though he has departed from us today, the profound legacy of his service to the people of our nation will endure in the hearts of humanity for generations to come.
To our esteemed senior companion, Gamini Jayawickrama Perera: May You Attain the Supreme Bliss of Nirvana.

]]>
Once again, a beloved figure and a role model for the entire nation has departed. Mallawaarachchige Gamini Jayawickrama Perera’s passing away serves as a poignant reminder to the Sri Lankan public of a true statesman; one characterised by philanthropy and unwavering dedication. In Sri Lankan political history, few match his commitment, determination, selflessness and ingenuity in public service. 


Gamini Jayawickrama Perera was synonymous with the Kurunegala District and the North Western Province; his presence was integral to discussions about these regions. He maintained a profound connection with the people; making him irreplaceable. While the loss of a dear friend like Perera is deeply saddening, it also provides an opportunity for our nation to honour the genuine dedication of a remarkable individual once more.


In 1973, Perera assumed the role of representing the Katugampola constituency; a decision met with resistance from both his mother and wife, Mrs. Rohini Perera. However, he managed to overcome this opposition with the influential endorsement of Dudley Senanayake and J.R. Jayewardene, who were prominent opposition leaders at the time. The fact that two such formidable figures extended their support speaks volumes about the remarkable qualities possessed by Perera, underscoring his exceptional character and potential.


At the 1977 General Elections, Perera, serving as the Chief Organizer of the United National Party in the Katugampola constituency, achieved a significant triumph. He secured an impressive victory at his first election, garnering the highest number of votes, totalling 23,475. This electoral success marked a significant milestone in Sri Lanka’s political history, and it attributed to various underlying factors that paved the way for this remarkable outcome.


Perera, born as the second son to philanthropists Paulis Perera and Soma Perera, enjoyed a privileged upbringing in a family of seven children, and received his primary education at Bopitiya Junior College – one of Katugampola Hatpattu’s esteemed primary schools. He attended Nalanda College in Colombo for his higher education, where he distinguished himself as a disciplined and talented student. Perera was also renowned for his cricketing prowess, captaining the first-class cricket team in 1960. Remarkably, his elder brother, Lincoln and younger brother, Ashoka also served as cricket captains at Nalanda in 1949 and 1962, respectively; marking the first instance of three brothers simultaneously holding such positions in Sri Lanka.
Despite being a prominent and well-liked individual from a wealthy family, Perera’s lifestyle, characterised by abstaining from alcohol, smoking and consuming meat and fish, drew widespread attention within society. His adherence to a wholesome and virtuous way of life stood out amidst societal norms. Moreover, Perera actively participated in social service initiatives led by A.T. Ariyaratne, the founder of Sarvodaya. His involvement in these activities marked a significant milestone in his life, reflecting his commitment to contributing positively to society, and achieving his first notable victory through such meaningful engagement.

 

 

Notably, Gamini Jayawickrama Perera’s dedication to preserving the Buddhist Order is evident through initiatives like the “Budhu Puth Suraksha” Insurance – a commendable measure aimed at safeguarding the Monk Order and its adherents, which continues to be implemented today

 


Under the guidance of Mr. A. T. Ariyaratne, a team of young individuals spearheaded by Perera initiated a toilet project in Pannala Hadalagamuwa, Yayamulla village. Their leadership aims to address the health challenges prevalent in the area. Furthermore, reminiscent of their earlier community-driven efforts, in 1958 and 1960, they organised Shramadana camps at Kantholuwa Lake in Panduvasnuwara. These camps focused on purifying water sources and ensuring access to clean water for local farming communities.


Even before the 1977 election, Perera had already endeared himself to the people through his extensive social service work and affiliations with prominent figures in the country. Upon assuming the role of Member of Parliament, he embarked on a series of transformative initiatives for his constituency. He revitalized the Sandalanka Cooperative Hospital, elevating its efficiency and services. Additionally, he relocated the Office of the Medical Officer of Health from Kadanegedara to Alabadagama, establishing the Officer for Medical Officer of Health, Pannala. Jayawickrama Perera also played a pivotal role in the establishment of the Nestlé and Simline factories in Alabadagama, thereby creating employment opportunities for local residents.


Despite facing opposition from his relatives and friends, he selflessly surrendered their land to the government to initiate the Wickramasheela Central College, Giriulla, laying the groundwork for providing higher education to the children of the area. Through these bold and altruistic actions, Perera demonstrated his unwavering commitment to the betterment of his community.


In 1978, upon his appointment as the Kurunegala District Minister, Perera spearheaded a remarkable revival in the region. His emphasis on developing rural infrastructure, including roads, tanks, sewers, school buildings and playgrounds, as well as prioritising the advancement of coconut and export agriculture, garnered widespread attention across the island. His visionary initiatives propelled the Kurunegala district into the spotlight, becoming a beacon of progress and development for the entire nation.


Perera voluntarily stepped down from his role as a Member of Parliament and subsequently achieved a significant milestone by winning the inaugural Provincial Councils election following the establishment of the 13th amendment to the Constitution. He ascended to the position of Chief Minister of the North Western Province. During his tenure, President Ranasinghe Premadasa inaugurated the Karandagolla Garment Factory in the Dodamgaslanda Constituency under the auspices of Kumara Devapura. This event marked the beginning of a transformative initiative to establish two hundred garment factories across the island, heralding another pivotal moment in Perera’s career.


The implementation of the “homeland concept,” aimed at fostering a free and prosperous society, led to the transformation of underdeveloped villages into economic hubs specializing in various industries such as cashew, mango and goat farming. This innovative approach served as a model for societal progress, capturing the attention of political leaders across the nation.
Perera demonstrated visionary leadership by establishing institutions such as the Wayamba Industrial Service Bureau, Wayamba Machinery Authority, Passenger Transport Authority, and Provincial Environment Authority, which facilitated industrialization and job creation through the adoption of new technologies. Additionally, he founded the Wayamba Folk Arts Centre to promote the development of traditional crafts and culture, an initiative that continues to thrive today.


His tree planting program, exemplified by the iconic “Giant Trees” lining the roads of the Northwest, stands as a testament to his commitment to environmental conservation and beautification efforts in the region.


Perera’s initiatives in developing rural sports, particularly by transforming the Ibbagamuwa and Madampe Central Colleges into sports schools, yielded remarkable results. These efforts culminated in the emergence of talented athletes from the North West region who went on to achieve success in international competitions. One notable example is sportswoman Sriyani Kulawansa, whose achievements exemplify the impact of these programs in nurturing sporting talent and bringing recognition to the region on the global stage.


In 2016, Jayawickrama Perera’s appointments as the Chairman of the Asia-Pacific Economic and Social Commission and as the Chairman of the Asia-Pacific Regional Conference underscore his political acumen and leadership capabilities. These significant appointments serve as exemplary instances of his diplomatic skills and strategic insight on both regional and international levels.


The esteemed roles of Minister of Regional Development, Minister of Irrigation and Water Management, Minister of Wildlife and Sustainable Development, and Minister of Northwest Development and Buddha Sasana stand as tokens of appreciation bestowed upon him by the people for his multifaceted contributions in various fields throughout his political career. Notably, his dedication to preserving the Buddhist Order is evident through initiatives like the “Budhu Puth Suraksha” Insurance – a commendable measure aimed at safeguarding the Monk Order and its adherents, which continues to be implemented today.


It is undeniable that he stands as one of the most seasoned politicians I have ever encountered. His unwavering support bolstered the leadership of Ranil Wickremesinghe within the United National Party, where he meticulously organized party affairs and enriched its legacy through his dedication, intelligence and strong work ethic. Presently, his son, Asanka Perera, is continuing in his father’s footsteps, actively contributing to the on-going efforts to fortify the United National Party.
Even though he has departed from us today, the profound legacy of his service to the people of our nation will endure in the hearts of humanity for generations to come.
To our esteemed senior companion, Gamini Jayawickrama Perera: May You Attain the Supreme Bliss of Nirvana.

]]>
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