20 November, 2018

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Prof. Senake Bandaranayake Passes Away

Prof. Senake William Dias Bandaranayake, greatly loved husband of Manel Fonseka, beloved son of Dora and William Dias Bandaranayake (both deceased), dearly loved son-in-law of J.V. Fonseka (deceased) and Nikki Fonseka, brother-in-law of Amal and Linda Fonseka, Leela Rajapakse, Sirima and Gehan Sirimanne, beloved uncle of Dinuke Srivardhana, Suresh and Nissanka Rajapakse, Lara Sirimanne, Paul-Pièrre and Michèlle Fonseka, passed away in his sleep on Monday 2 March.

Prof. Senake Bandaranayake

Prof. Senake Bandaranayake

He will lie at Barney Raymond’s from Monday evening until 9.30 am Wednesday morning, when he will be taken to the Postgraduate Institute of Archaeology (PGIAR), 407 Bauddhalokha Mw, Colombo 7. Funeral leaves PGIAR at 3.30 pm on Wednesday for cremation at Jawatte/Torrington Cemetery at 4p.m. No flowers by request.

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  • 15
    1

    One of the greatest Intellects of our time.May his soul rest in Peace.

  • 14
    2

    Senake was a dedicated scholar, conservationist, institution builder and a statesman. He was a rare Nationalist of a non-communal kind who stood against tall against many odds with great commitment and determination for things he believed in.

    Sigirya engaged him most and he shared his passion for its mysteries with young scholars whom he nurtured – giving them space to grow. A man of great generosity and spirit. He remains an inspiration to many who knew him.

    He will be missed.

    • 10
      20

      It is not good to speak ill of the dead. But in scholarship it is also not good to be silent when false stories are created.

      Senake Sir was a good man and better than most Sinhalas. But like many Sinhalas of our times he was also capable of playing the communal card when it suited him. I was present when he claimed as a question at a conference whether Pali was created in Sri Lanka. What a way to become popular in Sri Lanka!

      I also know that when Dr. Sathananthan Sir of Peradeniya applied to Colombo University’s Biochemistry Institute, Senake Sir helped to appoint the Director’s student Weerasena with a general degree and PhD supervised at Colombo by Senake Sir’s friend. This is Prof. Eric Karunanayake. Sathanathan Sir had many publications with Norway PhD. Senake Sir interviewed only Weerasena Sir.

      They all played dirty. They played very dirty. Communalism? Some say not communalism but favourtism. Does it matter? The bottom line is Tamis have zero chance. Sathananthan Sir went to England after that.

      Eric Sir and Senake Sir are two of the best Sinhalas. But the poison of coummnalism and favouritism gets even the best Sinhalas you see.

      Manel Madam is still clean. May God give you many years in civil rights. Sorry for writing this. With new government I pray for better Sri Lanka. Manel Madam’s work is vry important.

      • 24
        4

        I am stunned. I dont know who you are. My husband would never, as you put it, play the communal card. There have to be other reasons for what you say he did. The very fact that the first two contributions here are by Tamils, of whom I know the second at least, knew him very well, should be sufficient to disabuse people of labelling him communalist.

        And he gave me the complete freedom to be a very active member of the Civil Rights Movement for many years. Our Tamil and Muslim friends and colleagues are legion (some, alas, like Prof Kailasapathy was very dear and close to my husband). Read Senake’s article on The Peopling of Sri Lanka (SSA book) and see if you can call him a communalist.

        You defame him, and I am also shocked when some of us are grieving so much, that you would consider your accusations in order at such a time

        How you could dig up such accusations absolutely amazes me.

        • 12
          0

          Dear Manel,

          Don’t let such petty comments bother you in your days of sadness. As you know Senake faced a lot of them.

          Senake was super awesome and he will remain so, to those who knew him.

        • 6
          1

          Dear Manel

          Please put your mind to rest. Lakshi alas! one of those people who plays the communal card to justify their own selfish aims.

          The accusations set out bt Lakshi are silly and childish. May your husband rest in peace….

          • 1
            0

            Dear Madam,

            I wrote to the Embassy in Paris yesterday when I saw the terrible news on Internet, and asked them to tranfer you my message below, I don’t know how to get in touch with you.
            I am Mary, I was Professor’s personal translator in the Embassy in Paris in 1999-2000, and you and I met several times.
            Having worked two years in the Embassy in Paris, I want to reply to some accusations above. During these two years, two Tamil employees worked with us, no discrimination at all, they h

        • 4
          1

          This person who accuses Prof. SB, she should have done it when he was living – giving room for him to reply. Madam Manel Fonseka should just ignore such petty accusations without making an effort to reply or should not get disturbed by them. Why did this person wait all this time till Professor died to come out with these accusations. I worked for him for a very short period but to my knowledge HE IS NOT A RACIST.It is inhuman and uncivilised to make such allegations at a time like this.

  • 9
    1

    I only saw the news of Professor Senaka Bandaranayake’s passing away just now. It is immensely sad although he was fortunate to have a complete peaceful departure in his sleep. I have known him as a scholar and an academic administrator. Although I am not in a position to fully appreciate his contributions to Archeology, he usefully brought some conclusions to understand history and politics of Sri Lanka beyond the ethnic divide and emphasizing the human evolution.

    Senaka was an institution builder. I particularly remember his struggle to build the National Centre for Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences (NCAS) overcoming many odds at the UGC and from the Ministry. I was fortunate to be a member of the Steering Committee which launched the NCAS and support him. The scope of the NCAS was broad but focused on offering scholarships for university academics in the respective fields to complete their postgraduate studies (PhDs) in Sri Lanka or abroad. He was the founding Chairman of the NCAS at least briefly before his illness. That was in 2005.

    I was also fortunate to be the Director and Chairman of the NCAS which he built, much later, after I came back from sabbatical in 2007 until 2010. Although he was not well at that time, he was always available for any advice necessary for the NCAS without giving any semblance of interfering. By the time I left, there were 51 university academics who had completed their postgraduate studies, mainly PhDs under the sponsorship of the NCAS. There were around 150 others who were enrolled or in the process of completing. If not for Professor Bandaranayake’s vision this would not have happened.

    • 0
      0

      Sir
      I am a external student university of kelaniya.if u can sent more detail about pro.senaka bandaranayaka.

  • 6
    1

    Prof.Seneka Bandaranayake was a outstanding scholar who contributed greatly to many institutions, Post-Graduate Institute of Arachaeology,University of Kelaniya and Institute of Fundamental Studies. A man of deep understanding who could see far and instantly suggest the appropriate solution to a complex problem. People of this caliber are rare. It is pleasure to recollect my association with him.

    Kirthi Tennakone

  • 3
    0

    Prof.Seneke Bandaranayake was a outstanding scholar who had contributed greatly to many institutions. Kelaniya University ,Post-Graduate Institute of Arachaeology and Institute of Fundamental Studies. A man deep understanding and insight who see far and capable of suggesting instant solutions to complex problems. It is pleasure to recollect my association with him.

    Kirthi Tennakone

  • 2
    1

    very interesting comments by 3 tamils .

  • 12
    0

    The message about Senake passing away reached us yesterday in far away Sweden, from Sri Lanka via Oxford, and left a feeling of irretrievable loss and grief. He was really larger than life – the only true renaissance person I have ever known, and I was, and still am, proud to have been counted as a friend, not just a colleague or acquaintance. To me he was the real Lion of Sigiriya.
    I worked with him in Sigiriya from 1988 to 1995 and kept a friendly contact with him and Manel after that, meeting him for the last time last December. Communalist he was certainly not. We shared the worried concern that students from Jaffna were unable to participate in our work during those difficult years, as was planned. Sri Lanka and the world is a bleaker place today.

  • 8
    0

    While we grieve for our dear departed friend, he would insist that this is part of life. A life he used to brimming scales. His academic and intellectual pursuits are well documented. He was also the ultimate diplomat.

    I have known Senake since !970 and apart from being a very close friend he was my teacher. he actually managed to get a mere medical doctor to be enthused about archaeology, history and politics.

    He spent much time in Jaffna as a child and we have travelled together in the peninsula with much rigorous discussions, banter, laughter and of course excellent food during the 1970s. He tried to pass himself off as a Tamil called Pandara Nayagam. This never washed with me !

    He latterly was a great supporter of my project, which has introduced heart surgery to the Northern Province. He only wondered why it took so long !

    Let us bid ‘adieu’ to a substantial Sri Lankan and continue to retain our personal memories in our hearts !

  • 4
    0

    Coincidentally, the heart-rending news of the demise of Prof. Bandaaranyake reached Oxford while I was struggling to incorporate his views on external influence on the internal dynamics in Sri Lanka’s long-term cultural evolution into my thesis. It was just less than two months since I last met him at his home and discussed my doctoral thesis. While I was reluctant to tire him, he enthusiastically provided rare and valuable insights, as he has always done.

    Since first meeting him as a Pre-University Research Assistant at the Institute of Fundamental Studies, Kandy in 1989, there has never been another individual who has inspired me more than Prof. Bandaranayake. I have not met many people who are as sincerely dedicated to their academic work as he was. This is something he tried to inculcate in his students as well.

    While the Postgraduate Institute of Archaeology stands tall as testimony to his contribution to institution building, numerous authoritative publications, as exemplified by ‘Sinhalese Monastic Architecture’ and ‘The Rock and Wall Paintings of Sri Lanka’, speak volumes for his intellectual contributions to Sri Lanka’s archaeology. The vacuum created by his departure will never be filled. He is irreplaceable. The energy, inspiration, and powerful insights that he was able to impart to his students and colleagues will be profoundly missed.

    Rest in peace, beloved sir!
    Bohin
    – Wijerathne Bohingamuwa

  • 5
    0

    I am deeply saddened by the loss of Professor Senake Bandaranayake, who was an outstanding scholar, an institution builder, a person of integrity and a generous and caring friend. I first met Senake and Manel some forty years ago at Dr Nimal Sanderatne’s home. That meeting was the beginning of a warm and intellectually rewarding friendship. Senake took a keen interest in my work on agrarian issues and development and I benefitted a lot from the numerous discussions we had. As a friend, he had given me good advice and moral support on many occasions.

    Senake had a grand vision of a multi-ethnic democratic Lanka and I believe he was disappointed over the ethnic polarisation and the impasse in which the national question has ended up in our country.
    I think he took the right decision when he chose to devote himself to building institutions to develop the country’s academic resources. Senake’s academic work and the institutions created under his visionary leadership are remarkable testimonies to his lasting contributions.

    I feel so sad that I had not seen Senake for a long time but I do have many pleasant memories to cherish.

    N. Shanmugaratnam
    Professor Emeritus in Development Studies
    Department of International Environment & Development Studies
    Norwegian University of Life Sciences

  • 3
    0

    A great loss of a true academic and a personality.

    I had known him for long periods but more in the past 10 years.

    I had the pleasure of working with him in compiling the NATIONAL ATLAS and the knowledge he shared with us on topics of culture, communities, sri lanka beyond the Archaeology was vary much appreciated.

    I felt the previlage of being in the same room with a great scholar.

    The country will miss him.

  • 1
    3

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 3
    0

    I met Senake in the 1960s when he was a graduate student at Oxford, and I an undergraduate. In those sometimes frenetic student days he was a calm, consistent point of reference, deeply thoughtful but never heavy, aesthetically sensitive but never precious, widely knowledgeable but easy to be with, a rare and unforgettable individual. I was struck by his relaxed openness to and interest in whatever came along, an attitude reflected in his friendships with people from a great diversity of backgrounds. A particularly close friend was Ivan Peries, the Tamil painter.

    Meeting up with Senake on rare occasions over the years it was always a pleasure to discover that he carried the steady acquisition of responsibility and success modestly and remained the same thoughtful, unhurried friend. Indeed, it was a great privilege to have known him.

    • 0
      0

      Ivan Peries a Tamil? I am not sure. This is what the Wikipedia says:

      “Early life: Peries grew up in Dehiwela, on the Western shore of Sri Lanka, looking towards the Laccadive sea. His father Dr. James Francis Peries had studied medicine in Scotland, and his mother Ann Gertrude Winifred Jayasuria was a graduate of St. Bridget’s Convent in Colombo.[4] Ivan’s brother Lester James Peries is a leading Sri Lankan film director. The Peries family was a Roman Catholic family that had become anglicized. Ivan was fluent in English from childhood.”

  • 1
    0

    So sorry to hear the sad news. Prof. Bandaranayakae played a major role in my career. I always remember Professor and Manel and I am very grateful for their incredible support and knowledge they have given me when i needed.

  • 2
    0

    Professor Senaka Bandaranayake was a visiting lecturer on ‘History of Architecture and Social Studies’ at the Department of Architecture University of Moratuwa from mid 1970s. Fresh from completing his Phd thesis on ‘Singhalese Monastic Architecture’ and travelling cross country from Europe to Sri Lanka, he introduced us to the unpublished architecture of the common man of Europe and Asia. He was an energetic and enthusiastic teacher who simply poured his knowledge on to the students. He introduced us to the architectural history of Anuradhapura, Pollonaruwa, Sigiriya and Kandy and to the built environment values of Anuradhapura monastic architecture and the royal palace of Sigiriya. Our Departmental educational trip to Anuradhapura Pollonaruwa and Sigiriya with Professor Bandaranayake was informative,interesting and enjoyable. His enthusiasm on the royal palace gardens of Sigiriya interested me to study this aspect of Sigiriya for my MSc Arch dissertation. He was truly one of the best teachers I ever had.

    Archt M H (Fernando) Dissanayake

    • 1
      0

      I fully agree with the above comment by my wife. We were students in the same batch at both the undergraduate and the postgraduate level at the Faculty of Architecture. Prof Bandaranayake was a wonderful person and a great teacher. A photo taken with him (with Sigiriya in the background) will be more valuable to us than ever before!

  • 0
    0

    My apologies for getting it wrong about Ivan Peries. Something I obviously misunderstood years ago and never got corrected. Thanks for the correction.

    • 0
      0

      mmmm… a obvious mistake by you. But there is absolutely no need to apologise. Tamil or Sinhalese..does it matter? Of course it would matter to people like JR who misses the point of your comment, surpases that sees only the word Tamil! What a loser!

  • 1
    0

    For me passing away of my dear friend Senake is great personal loss to me but I equally fill is great loss to world of art, archaeology and literature. Personally I am not of the nature to write and express in public, loss is too personal. But a comment I read which is stunned me as Manel got stunned.
    As I write because I am also an middle class Indian and since the day Senake and I met almost 51 years back in in March 1963, at Madras (now Chennai) museum since that days we remained good friends- he never felt shy to stay with my family as we were staying in one room in Mumbai, though he was known to all the elite art world of Mumbai. Since years whenever we met he was to threat me that if I dont write, we will no more friends – He compelled me to write -Bhagwanlal Indraji – The first India Archaeologist. Now I will not able to talk or to receive mail from him, but his ever smiling face and his voice always stay
    with me.

    • 0
      0

      I am a external student university of kelaniya.if u can sent details about. Pro.senaka bandaranayake to me.as soon as possiable…..

  • 1
    0

    The passing away of my dear friend Senake is a great personal loss but it is an equally great loss to world of art, archaeology and literature. Personally, I am not of the nature to write and express in public a loss that is too personal. But a comment I read has me stunned just as Manel is.

    Since the day Senake and I met almost 51 years ago in in March 1963, at Madras (now Chennai) museum, we have remained good friends; he was never uncomfortable about staying in a one room flat in Mumbai with me and my family even though he was well connected to the elite art world of Mumbai. Whenever we met he used to threaten me that if I didn’t write, we would no longer be friends. He compelled me to write my book Bhagwanlal Indraji – The first Indian Archaeologist. Now I will not able to talk or receive mails from him but his ever smiling face and voice will always stay
    with me.

  • 0
    0

    All of us pass of at some time in life, but what we do in deeds matters most, as it remains in peoples mind forever.

  • 0
    0

    To Madam Manel Fonseka

    Dear Madam,

    I don’t know how to say in English how deeply affected I am…..I am Mary, his translator in the Embassy in Paris in 1999. We met several times. I am crying, he was such a good, clever, honnest Man, Professor and Ambassador. I just want to let you know how shocked I am and tell you as we say in French “mes plus sincères condoléances”. Paix à son âme.
    My mother died on April 19th 2015…..

    Best Regards
    Mary

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