It is with great disappointment, disgust and anger
that we viewed the statement made by Nimal Siripala de
Silva, a senior government minister on TV, and telecast
repeatedly on Swarnavahini, where he termed all those
who voted against the ruling party, at the recent
Western Provincial Council election as ‘gonas fit
to eat grass.’
This was soon after the Western Provincial Council
election. This shameless statement had the support and
assistance of politicians of the ruling party who got
their henchmen to pile stacks of hay at main road
Let us analyse the unprecedented victory of the UPFA.
Of course the winning of the war was one factor; but the
voting also showed another clear picture. All those who
scored the highest number of votes, except a few, have
been either charged in courts for various offences or
accused of rape, thuggery, embezzlement of funds,
forgery and murder.
May I ask Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva to what
category those who voted for these criminals fall into,
and what word he would use to describe them.
As for us there are words which we as educated and
well bred persons would choose not to use as their use
would make us look like Mariakade people.
However, it is with some relief that we see that
Prasanna Ranatunga has been elected as chief minister.
He has a clean record so far, and has refrained from
offering ministerial posts to those with a criminal
record. It augurs well to expect a set of gentlemen to
guide the destinies of the Western Province. We are
waiting to see.
Is this the result of the Election Commissioner’s
call a day before the election, not to vote for
undesirables with criminal records?
I am an Indian Tamil, educated overseas and married
to a Sinhalese lady. We are living in Bangalore and are
blessed with two kids. My kids speak their mother tongue
and I am proud that our family is a symbol of Tamil-Sinhala
I have been following the recent conflict in Sri
Lanka and was surprised to see how ‘journalism,’ a noble
channel, has been plagued by one-sided views from both
the Tamil as well as Sinhala communities. I accidentally
ran into your website and found an article written by
Mangala Samaraweera – Sri Lanka: Towards a
This is the kind of viewpoint I have and whenever I
blame the LTTE, my Tamil friends get angry and whenever
I blame the Sri Lankan government, my relatives get
angry. I am completely convinced that our region doesn’t
think win-win and both the sides are equally responsible
for this catastrophe.
I am so surprised that this region has people of the
quality of Mangala Samaraweera who can think rationally
and raise critical questions. Most importantly, writing
this from a country, which has been so unkind to
Till today morning, I thought only Western
journalists can think rationally and act fearlessly but
your website quashed all my beliefs and I am really
proud that our region also has a rational voice.
Please continue your good work and I am truly
inspired by your courage, sincerity and honesty. The
future will be peaceful only if people think like your
team. If I want any viewpoints, I will visit your
Saluting your noble profession!
Mary’s College, Dehiwela has been an icon in the history
of Christian education over the years. The students of
the school stationed both in and out of Sri Lanka would
no doubt bear testimony to same. However with time the
standard of the school began to deteriorate due to the
negligence of the relevant authorities and all efforts
made by the old boys to put it back to its enviable
position were ignored by those in authority.
However a drop of golden sun brightened the compass
of the Dehiwela area with the arrival of Rev. Fr. Ernest
Poruthota as the parish priest of Dehiwela. He was very
keen to restore the school back to its pristine glory
and towards this end he obtained the services of Anthony
Perera of Wattala as the principal of the school. It was
during Principal Perera’s tenure that the school
underwent a reawakening.
With the retirement of Anthony Perera, C.D.C.T.R
Jayawardena took over as principal. It was a choice made
by Rev. Fr. Poruthota.
The new principal was a tower of strength to the
school community and worked untiringly for the
upliftment of the school. She deserves a word of
appreciation for the Herculean task she shouldered in
restoring St. Mary’s College to its former glory.
St. Mary’s College which has a proud history is to
celebrate 100 years of existence soon.
This school which was started by foreign missionaries
and served the area well irrespective of cast, creed and
religion has under Principal Jayawardena maintained its
great tradition and even produced candidates for the
Rev. Fr. Poruthota was correct to have called her the
next Joan of Arc as she led the school courageously
facing all odds.
However it is very disturbing that she decided to
retire prematurely. Though she has not made public the
circumstances that led to her retirement we understand
that she was highly disturbed by the haphazard way in
which teacher transfers were done. The result of all
this is that the school has lost a dedicated principal
and an efficient administrator.
Principal Jayawardena is the grand-daughter C.D
Anthonius Jayawardena of Maggona, the first principal of
the Teacher Training College, and is the daughter
H.A.P.Jayawardena the renowned audit officer. Her mother
Leonora Andrady was a school principal.
The old boys of the school take this opportunity to
express their appreciation of the great service rendered
by Madam Jayawardena to the school and wish her God’s
blessings and a long life.
Old Boys of St. Mary’s College, Dehiwela
I first came in contact with Sylvia Gunatillake in
1953. I had returned from America with my parents and I
was placed in Form III at CMS Ladies’ College, Colombo
3. Prior to that I had been in Standard 4 for a short
time when I had to go with my parents to America. That
was soon after Independence in 1948.
In Form III our teacher of Sinhala was Miss
Gunatillake. I had forgotten even the Sinhala alphabet
and had to re-learn the language. My class mates were
using Rohini by Martin Wickramasinghe and this
was almost incomprehensible to me.
Miss Gunatillake, as I used to call her then, was a
diminutive figure. She had a beautiful, sympathetic
face, though she could be very stern. She was a teacher
in every sense of the word in that she was dedicated to
character building and making us into good beings. She
taught us not only from the text book but got us to
bring to class various articles that had appeared in the
They were invariably on personalities like Mahatma
Gandhi or Vinobha Bhave. Once I remember she took up the
entire two periods allocated for Sinhala to scold us
because she thought we had been rude to another teacher.
"I have known most of you since you were little children
in Standard 1, and I hate to see you growing up to be
like this!" she said with righteous anger.
The repentant class (some not so repentant) remained
silent. I was one, among many, who could respect and
respond to her. She kept me back in Form V because my
Sinhala was still not up to the mark but I did not hold
that against her. In fact, it gave me time to work on
this language more.
Sylvia Gunatillake was well known for her talent as a
playwright. She made her debut in Sinhala plays by
producing and directing her own version of Kuveni
which won her a great deal of publicity and praise in
the newspapers. I remember Vihara Maha Devi which
she wrote next. It was a much admired play and won her
many bouquets in the press.
It was taken to Kandy also and I believe it brought
in the much needed funds for the new hall. She cast me
in another play but I had to withdraw from it because my
parents had to go abroad.
I can’t remember when I discovered that Sylvia was an
aunt of mine. Much later in life when I was going
through a bad patch she telephoned me out of the blue
and said "Come and see me child. I want to speak to you.
And don’t call me ‘Miss.’ It is high time you started
calling me Aunty. After all, we are related."
At one time Aunty Sylvia was residing in Moratuwa in
a section for women renunciates in the premises of a
well known temple. I used to visit her there and she
took me under her wing and introduced me to Vipassana
Bhavana Centre at Wijerama Mawatha and took me on
several trips to offer dana to the monks at
Polgasduwa with her Buddhist Society friends.
She was no longer interested in writing plays. Her
entire life was devoted to religion and that suited me
fine, although I had not given up writing. She also drew
me into a group of Buddhist ladies who meet once a week
to listen to Buddhist talks. She was the main pivot and
teacher around which the group gathered and met
regularly at Sita Wickramasooriya’s house.
At that time I was studying Buddhism and Pali at the
Post Graduate Institute of Pali and Buddhist Studies and
I couldn’t attend those group get-togethers regularly.
However, I did spend time meditating with her at the
Meditation Centre at Wijerama Mawatha and at Dhammakuta.
I did not take to the ritual side of religion very much
(a failing of mine); so she did not force me. She was
very understanding. After she came to reside at ACWBC I
saw her less frequently because soon after, I became
ordained. Whenever I did visit her she would recount to
me all her activities.
They were formidable, quite astonishing for someone
of her age. Her memory was very good and her knowledge
of Pali still very fresh from her university days. She
was translating into English, books written by Ven.
Nauyana Ariyadhamma Thero. She was invited to Ladies’
College regularly, once a week, I think, to speak to the
Buddhist girls. She also had many young people coming to
her for advice and counselling.
She also had discussion groups at the ACWBC. She was
a teacher of Buddhism to her dying day at 93 years. The
Dhamma flowed from her without pause with very
apt quotations in Pali.
She was an exceptional person. The remarkable thing
was that she drew a number of young people to her also
besides the older mothers and grandmothers. The most
remarkable thing is that she made such an indelible,
endearing impression on this wide circle of several
May she be well and happy in whatever realm she is in
and may she attain the peace of Nibbana soon.
Bhikkhuni Waskaduwe Suvimalee