The Sunday Leader


Tradition, means the passing of a custom or belief from generation to generation. This does not necessarily mean all traditions are great, to be proud of or even worthy. Some are bound to a time frame and as humankind evolves they are best forgotten. Thereby, common sense makes such traditions obsolete. Any tradition that brings harm to humankind is not worthy of emulation. It is disturbing that elitism can blind some from being decent and humane.
So, what of ragging in universities and schools? Is ragging a tradition or simply a practice to show one upmanship? Where does one draw the line? The question arises whether it should be allowed at all. The answer lies not in the simple questions posed above. It does not, unlike in a court of law require a simple “yes” or “no” answer. It depends on how decent the perpetrator of a rag is, or is not. That unfortunately is reality. The victim has no choice but to endure and in some instances, to preserve tradition, hold his/her tongue.
With the passage of time many an old tradition has outlived it’s purpose in society. Primeval conduct is looked down upon by the modern, decent human being. There were times when a lad was disciplined in school be it through six of the best or a proper tongue lashing by the principal, receiving more of the same at his abode, by his parents. They are of days gone by. It is oft heard that some parents are in control and do interfere into children’s activities in school. This is so, be it in the class room or out on the field of sport. All is well and good provided the right message is being imparted to the young. The best and deserving must be selected and parents should have no voice in such activity.
Discipline first, discipline second and discipline should be third in our schools and universities. Tradition cannot override nor be a cover for inhuman behaviour. No parent will be doing a favour to their offspring by glossing over or condoning actions that need corrective measures or punishment. It’s a lesson well understood and  learnt for the future. No school nor university should turn a blind eye to such deplorable and archaic conduct either. That being said what of the victim?  Rape for example, is not reported as the victim ends up at the butt end of criticism. This is the society we have created.
Similarly the recent reporting of ragging that went on at S. Thomas’ was to be kept away from prying eyes as an internal matter. That the Warden, in this instance took corrective action was to be of no concern to the public? What of those boys who are aspiring to be prefects in the future? Would their parents be like the proverbial ostrich and hope that nothing would happen “to my boy” and therefore turn a blind eye?
S. Thomas’ no doubt counts as an institution with many an achievement. It has produced many men of eminence and learning over the years and continues to do so. None of them will condone acts of intimidation or assault under the cover of tradition or ragging. Therein lies the difference between blind adherence and educated response. Many an educated Thomian has expressed such a sentiment and they are a pride to their Alma Mater. And rightfully so. To sweep such acts under the carpet whether corrective measures were taken or not does not send the message loud and clear to the rest of the flock.
We are in the midst of sweeping changes blowing across the Middle East. After many years of repression by authoritarian rulers without scant regard for their subjects, the tide is turning in this region. These movements are led by young and educated youth who yearn to be under benevolent leaders in order that they benefit from democracy as it should be practised. Repression will not last whether it be a tradition or a custom.
Whether ragging should be allowed in schools of learning or not is a debate that will never be resolved. To touch another’s person is crossing the line and there should be no argument in that.  Time is with us to stop saying “boys will be boys.”  The need of today is to turn boys into men of honour. S. Thomas’ should lead the way.


  1. Prof Wickramatillake

    Yes Yes, its so PROUD TO BE A THOMIAN. The values, even at St Thomas, eroded with time as the whole society’s values started getting eroded, when leadership of the country moved from gentlemen from Bothale Walawwa to “YOU KNOW WHOS”, from about late 70s and St Thomas’ is a part of that society. To this, weaknesses in the students recruiting process came in and thus, likely, some NOT THOMIAN background children entered St Thomas. These reasons have paid way to what was observed recently. Warden and the Old Boys should get together to correct the down slide. We shall NOT allow STC to destroy its image. ESTO PERPETUA
    University of Brunei

    • lankaperpetua

      I pity the students in that Uni in Brunei, there in nothing wrong with the leadership of this country….you are another sick thomian trying to belittle the younger generation and living in the past….creep back under a rock and rest in peace.

      • Ravana

        “nothing wrong with the leadership of this country ” ? Lankawa Pithchuwa is what your leaders are doing !

    • Daya

      I don’t expect perfect English from every Thomian, but this guy claims to be a Professor working in the University of Brunei. Whatever your discipline, you should know to say “paved the way” instead of “paid way to”.

      O tempora, O mores

      As for the “School by the Sea” – ESTO PERPETUA

    • upali

      Will the good Professor let us know how the strange habbits of the Papua New Guineans came to be established as good traditions at S Thomas college?

  2. Gamarala

    Oh why did you mention the Thomians ? Now the Esto P’s will fill this column with the usual leave us alone to carry out our masochistic ways in the name of tradition.

  3. Anup


    please do not publish these meaningless articles.
    Thanks for the wrong information, but find something better to write about next time. Thanks and good luck.

    • Prof Wickramatillake

      is it again, this woman’s stuff, the woman who destroyed a hero.

      • Daya

        Dear Prof. Wickramatillake,

        I’ve looked again at what you have written and want to apologise for my harsh comment.

        The contents of your comments are serious and show a sense of responsibility.

        On the other hand, the issues you have dealt with are so complex that I cannot fully endorse them. Fonseka is NOT one of my heroes, but he oughtn’t to be in jail. Unsure about Jansz role in all that, and can’t spend weeks analysing it!

        Yes, Dudley Senanayake was the most decent leader we had; don’t know about his father who was guilty of favouritism within the party. Ranil W. – disgusting how he doesn’t bow out; reminiscent of J.S.L. Fernando of STPS Colpetty.

        Let’s hope they elect a decent Bishop today!

    • Daya


      It is getting ever clearer that “The Sunday Leader” is the only large circulation newspaper that has the courage to tell us the truth about our society. The truth hurts sometimes but it must be made known. Only then can we correct what is wrong and improve ourselves.

      Next Saturday a new Bishop will be elected. That could lead to many improvements in the Thomian schools.

      Here are a few links that readers may find useful. Anup is unlikely to educate himself by reading them, but others may:…/male-nurse-in-boys’-school-gets-‘treatment’-for-child-abuse/ – Cached – Cached – Cached – Similar

      Let’s face it. We are all imperfect, fallible humans. There is much that we don’t know, but we can at least be honest about it!

      I’m sure Frederica Jansz had to make many difficult decisions regrding the Sarath Fonseka case. Fonseka does not deserve to be in jail; I do not condone the government’s vengeful acts, but Fonseka is not a great hero to me. Each day my respect for Frederica Jansz increases. If I am not allowed to hold such views, then this is not a free country!

      Ragging is bad. If boastful freshmen have to be taken down a peg or two, do so – but give it another name. The word “ragging” has acquired such negative connotations that you will find most people reacting against you.

      One guy who has to be taken down many pegs is Rt. Rev. Duleep de Chickera. Another is Meryll Aluvihare, fraudulently elected Board of Governors member.

      Victorians are not my fvourites, but this quote does capture the truth about “traditions”.
      My Favorite Quotes
      Category: Change

      Alfred Tennyson

      “The old order changeth, yielding place to new, And God fulfills himself in many ways, Lest one good custom should corrupt the world. Comfort thyself: what comfort is in me? I have lived my life, and that which I have done May he within himself make pure! but thou, If thou shouldst never see my face again, Pray for my soul….”
      Alfred Tennyson

      Idylls of the King. The Passing of Arthur – 1st Baron Tennyson English, most famous poet of theVictorian age.

      We look forward to a new age at S. Thomas’.


  4. roshan

    like i already wrote, as a thomian boarder we had ragging as did my father when he was at collage. we knew we will get it and when we became seniors we did it to others. it was a part of our collage life. outsiders who have not even entered our collage is trying to tell us how we should carry on with our traditions i do not know for sure what these boys did or did not do but giving a rag as been a part of STC life and i hope just because some holier than god individuals want it stopped it will be stopped.

    • Dimuthu

      Oh why did you mention the Thomians ? Now the Esto P’s will fill this column with the usual leave us alone to carry out our masochistic ways in the name of tradition.

  5. Anonymous

    When theres so much going on in the world I wonder why The so called great SUNDAY “LEADER” has to make the headlines of a school issue. It is definitely the duty and right of the media to let the world know what is happening. BUT IT DOES NOT GIVE YOU THE RIGHT/AUTHORITY to PUBLISH WRONG INFORMATION WHICH WILL TARNISH THE LIVES OF SCHOOL CHILDREN. it would not infact only affect those who engaged in ragging but the child you say complained about it!!!
    The school can deal with it. you dont need to tell the world about it when its best left unsaid.

  6. Obersver

    Roshan, fortunately or unfortunately, I did not attend your ‘collAge’ (or pick up the writing skills it appears to have imparted on you). However, I have had the good fortune of associating some of its products who I have nothing but respect for. Reading your post, I began to wonder whether chaps like you could actually have gone to the same school, but I was reminded that generalisations often lead to poor conclusions. That aside, St. Thomas’ remains a fantastic school, and it has no room for behaviour such as this. The sooner it is gotten rid of, the better

  7. angulimala

    There’s ragging and then there’s ragging

    Today, ‘ragging’, as it has in the Universitoes, has descendended into a base perversion and serves to allow a bunch of “seniors” to indulge their animal instinct and feellings of inadequacy under cover of “tradition”

    Mouthing “Esto Perpetua” or “Disce Aut Discede” does nothing to dignify such filthy acts

  8. upali

    This tradition of which the Thomians are very proud of ,first originated among the tribes of Papua New Guinea.When there is a Leadership contest the contestants grab hold of each other and squeeze till the eyeballs popout.The low birth rate among these tribes is attributed to this.
    I am sure that Prof Wickramatillaka who is an expert on such matters will vouch for this.

  9. Dead and home

    are you this bored to jst pick on a school.Tell your reporters to look for something else to publish…You really don’t need to keep attacking one thing…Go sniff for other stories..

  10. Anonymous

    Hahahah… Dude don’t worry man. We know what we are and THE BEST ARE ALWAYS JUDGED AND FOUND FAULT IN. People are just jealous and they jus cant keep their noses out of it. Maybe they feel proud to even talk about a great school like this cos they didnt have the privilege to get into it. Immature satisfaction! Let them have it cos theyll dig their own grave:D

    • To anoymous

      People like you are what the college is not proud off. Don’t insult the inatitution with your ignorance and its a pity people like you were ever given the priviledge to enter the college. It is filth like you that ruin its good name.

  11. Thomian

    “Greatness inspires envy, envy engenders spite, and spite spawns lies”

    That’l be all

  12. Kadalay

    No doubt the quality of the human being in Sri Lanka has erodedacross the board, be he a Thomian or an Ahinda

  13. Oshanda

    This is just one incedent, dont duel on that and throw mud at one of the best instututions in Sri Lanka.
    Look at the unhuman ragging every year at the Sri Lankan Univercities, why no body tak about that, are the people select to these univercities are mentle retorted.
    so please leave this school out , the old boys and the custodions know how to look after the school and the decepline.

  14. mihi

    “Ragging” is just an informal way to break the ice between them and the new batch…On the other end, senior students plan to get friendly with freshers and teach juniors how to respect their seniors…..its was fun!!!! when it had aspects like dancing or singing, playing, proposing to a girl etc….everything is over with this…… everyone will be good friends and will have a better understanding of each other.

    But unfortunately, at present this so called “Ragging” has taken a different form performing explicit sexual acts in humiliating form causing physical and mental pain to the individual. “sexual abuse in the name of ragging” this is not tolerable at all by a civilized society…. however, the present society should be held responsible for setting up a bad example to the younger generation, which has resulted for such behaviour. Its wrong and not fair to directly point a finger at the student body and penlize them for commiting such an act.

    Ragging is not only seen at “S. Thomas’” but in some of the other Schools as well… exist in different forms and most of the incidents go unrevealed or unspoken…Thomains have and will always be known for her great traditions!!!!!…..It important editor to generalize on this subject rather than pin pointing on a particular school and an incident because similar things have happened in the past and such acts were swept under the carpet…………

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