The Sunday Leader

Sundara’s Story

  • Book Review

Sundara Nihathamani De Mel is not only the Editor of “Lakbima Irida Sangrahaya” but also the famous columnist of “Manige Theeruwa”.
His likeness and attachment to his Alma Mater – Mahinda College, Galle is as same as his interest towards his journalistic carreer.
Sundara studied at Mahinda College – Galle, which is one of the top Buddhist schools in the country.
Mahinda produced many students who contributed to most of the social and economic changes in the country during the last century.
Sundara has unfolded his story on all his experiences at Mahinda in his book. The present day students are trapped in the schooling system and are less fortunate as they are not exposed to these kind of experiences.
Even an adult could walk back to his childhood while reading this book. As a famous columnist Sundara has mixed the taste of humour and his usual writing style to the book.
He has not kept anything secretly for himself. He has generously shared all that he has felt as a student with his readers. He has unfolded his story in 42 chapters. Many pages of the book have been reserved to his readers to understand that when there is a talk on National issues Mahinda College should not be excluded.
One of the main stories in his book is how the National Anthem was composed. It was composed by Mr. Ananda Samarakoon who was the music teacher of Mahinda College at that time.
The honour of singing it first should go to a group of students of Mahinda College. They, looking at the words written on the school blackboard sang it proudly with their master.
Although Sundara was not among this group of students he has a very close relationship with his Alma-Mater.
During Dudley Senanayake Government then Minister of Education Mr. L M. R. A. Iriyagolla had submitted a proposal to close mixed schools. Many had objected.
Sundara too had objected to this proposal. He had written an editorial to his school newspaper – ‘Pabalu’ – against it. It had heated up the political arena of the country. Finally it was banned and the students had to re-collect the newspaper after distributing some. Fortunately there were no ‘white vans’ available at that time. Later the student who wrote this controversial editorial became a newspaper editor obtaining the honour of being the first Mahindian Editor of a national news paper after the great journalist D. B. Dhanapala.
There are lots of interesting stories about school cricket matches in this book. The famous school cricket match between Mahinda and Richmand College is known as “Lover’s quavrel”. Sundara has written many behind the scenes stories of those annual matches. He is drawing the reader’s attention towards the Record of Amendra of brothers and famous Diplomat Prasad Kariyawasam’s (Presently the High commissioner of India) batting record where he was representing Richmand College. Sundara takes the readers attention to the field of education too. There is a record established by a student of Mahinda Collge Galle which is still unbroken.
He is Nihal Somarathna of Mahinda and he had established the record of obtaining the highest marks in the A/L Exam. These stories are included in his latest book – “Mahinda Thamai Iskole” – which will be launched on 10 May 2012 at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute at 4 p.m.
There will be seven guest speakers at the ceremony. All are welcome.

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