21 January, 2018

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Some Memories Of Peradeniya As A Student

By Laksiri Fernando

Dr. Laksiri Fernando

Even if we were not very conscious about or appreciative of the natural beauty of the place, that influenced all of us immensely. That may be one reason how the place gave room for several romantic love affairs. On one side, it was the picturesque Hantana mountain range, and on the other, the winding Mahaweli river. On Friday evenings, couples could be seen roaming between the kissing bend and the Ramanathan hall until the dinner bells rang at 7.00 sharp. Boys were slightly late for dinner than the girls. The couples were not that visible on Saturdays or Sundays, and rarely during the other days of the week. During the weekends, the girls could get late passes to visit Kandy for a movie or dinner until 10.00 pm. I cannot remember any such restriction for boys.   

Best of times?

I entered the University of Peradeniya in October 1965, to read a special degree in economics, spending the first year at the Colombo campus. What I appreciated most about the place was its ‘academic freedom,’ even as a student. But by the time I left Peradeniya as a teacher in 1984, these freedoms were encroached or abused by the authorities and the students alike. In hindsight, I can now even see the first signs of this deterioration before I graduated in 1968. There were other paradoxes and contradictions.

One of my closest batch mates, Piyasiri Wickramasekera, writing his memoirs quoted Charles Dickens’ ‘best of times and worst of times.’ I cannot agree more. ‘It was also the age of wisdom and it was also the age of foolishness,’ particularly for us as students. Before writing any further, I must apologise if I inadvertently hurt any feelings when I mention few names. Without those names this narrative might be lifeless.

When I was asked to come to Peradeniya, if I wish to pursue my special degree, I was given a list of things to be taken. That included a raincoat, an umbrella, a torch, a cap, a light pullover, and a particular number of shirts and trousers! I don’t think anyone cared for this list, but my mother insisted that I should take them. My mother pooled money of course with difficulty. When my father was alive, we were rather ‘rich.’ But when he prematurely died, when I was ten, we became poor. My three elder sisters and brother had to find work without higher studies. Therefore, they were the victims for my fortune.     

Without free education, I would not have entered the university, I must emphasise.

Apart from academic freedom, there were many extracurricular activities opened for the students. I was not involved in sports or inclined in using the gymnasium for physical exercises. But there were many who did so, even coming from the remotest villages. Therefore, compared to my first year at the Colombo campus, Peradeniya was a heaven. One weakness I could see in hindsight, is the lack of promotion for the students to do sports more broadly. The reason could have been the sudden explosion of student numbers amidst limited facilities. Otherwise, with the mild climate, surroundings were ideal for promoting sports and physical activities.

Climate at Peradeniya or Kandy has changed a lot throughout years. During my student days, it was not only mild, but sometimes even cold. I did use my ‘pullover’! There were days, perhaps during December, the surroundings were misty. In the evenings, one couple could not see the other, cuddling under palm trees, along the Ramanathan avenue. 

This is only one part of the beauty | Photo via lankauniversity-news.com

Student Activities     

My inclination was for the ‘mental.’ I did contest for the debating team in Sinhala medium and became the team leader in 1966. Others were Gamini Abeysekera, Sam Samarasinghe and Mano from the medical faculty whose full name I cannot remember. Ediriweera Sarathchandra, Ashley Halpe and Siri Gunasinghe, among others, were encouragement for those who wanted to pursue artistic or literary talents, whether in Sinhala or English. I cannot remember who was there for Tamil. On our part, we just went to watch their creative products at the open air theatre which was known as ‘Wala’ (the pit). We did publish articles in the Sinhala society journal, Piyawara (Footsteps), Winitha my girlfriend, from school days, more than me.

There were many student societies apart from Hall Committees and the Student Union. One of the societies was to advocate the ‘right to commit suicide.’ I wouldn’t reveal who was leading or involved, without their permission. None of them committed suicide however. Nevertheless, there was one unfortunate suicide of a student during our time, quite unconnected to the above society I must add, due to financial related social difficulties. He came from Mulgampola, unknown to many before the death, and his single parent mother was working at a quarry mine. Many could have helped him, if the situation was known.

DemSoc (democratic society) was another organization that existed, home to many liberal minded and left-sceptic students. It was however a small group to my knowledge. There were one or two Tamil organizations. There were Marxist study classes conducted by the students. Those were allowed freely and I happened to be one of the student-lecturers.    

As there were many non-residential students by 1967, a non-residential student union was officially allowed to air their grievances. By that time, the power of the main student union had gone to the ‘reformists’ (LSSP/SLFP/CP). Therefore, our refuge as ‘revolutionaries’ (LSSP(R)/Virodaya/CPC) was the non-residential student union. That time, the JVP has not yet emerged as a major force. Socialist Student Society was formed later, led by Sarath Wijesinghe, who got killed in 1971 insurrection. Although I was involved in student activities, my main focus was on national politics. But I did contest for the non-residential election in 1967 and served in the committee.

One of the committed student activists during my time was Sydney Jayasinghe,  who is now caught up in a business scandal. Another was Nadarajah Shanmugaratnam, who became a professor in Norway. Among others were Newton Gunasinghe, Bertie Gajameragedara, Kodikara, Nihal Dias and Upul Jayawardena. Wije Gunasinghe is still in revolutionary politics. Wickremabahu Karunaratne or Kumar David were seniors to us and were already on the staff. 

Although student politics today is viewed largely negatively, during my/our time it was not exactly the case. There were adventures and misadventures, but by and large the experience was useful for future professional or other careers. Unfortunately or fortunately, no leading national politician emerged out of that crowed. Their ideals obviously were different to the national politicians even by that time.   

Ragging?

A usually asked question about university life is whether you were ragged or whether you ragged others. My answer is negative for both, except once enjoying a particular ragging session at ‘K-hall,’ where I lived in my third year.

‘K-hall’ was not a formal hall of residence, but a ‘chummery’ ran by some passed out graduates at Rajawatta. The house belonged to an interdicted university administrator. It was a place where once some student monks came to disrobe themselves. Therefore, we had some saffron robes left. One day, when some of the freshers were brought there for ‘fun,’ they were asked to wear those robes and chant pirith. The best performer was Amarasiri Soysa who later became a professor of political science.   

When I went to Peradeniya, I was in my second year and therefore I fairly knew the tricks on how to escape ragging. I also had many political ‘comrades’ there to protect me. Even at Colombo, I escaped the ragging because I travelled from home (at Moratuwa) and during the initial months, went only for the lectures and quietly vanished thereafter.

However, I strongly consider any type of ragging as inhuman, including what I enjoyed at ‘K-hall’ as insensitive. But during my time, I had never come across or heard any harsh ragging. 

I went to Peradeniya, alone. Getting down at nicely kept Sarasavi Uyana (University Park) station, with blooming kannas and roses, I had to take a car hire because of my mother’s heavy luggage. It was an old Austin, black of course. I still recollect the station surroundings with nostalgia. The station was a colonial icon. This was our main launching-pad to ‘inside and outside’ of the campus for the next three years.

First I went to see Thulsiri Andrari, who was in his final year, at Arunachalm hall to seek his help in finding accommodation. I do remember, Thulsiri’s roommate, Thomasena, wriggling to rag me, but Thulsiri smilingly prevented it. Thulsiri was in the LSSP (R) and later became a trade union leader in the Central Bank.

During our second and third years, we were not given hall accommodation. That was a downside by that time of university life. But at the same time, it was a blessing in disguise to know the outside world. If the non-resident life was limited to one year, it would have been ideal. In my case, coming from Colombo, I had only one year residential living at James Peiris hall in my final year. But I was not the only sufferer of that predicament.

Finding Accommodation 

Winitha had already boarded at Ramanathan hall, a month before me, as a first year student. Everything was carefully planned for our further company. Thulsiri took me to Hindagala Mudalali at the famous ‘dynamite hotel’ by bus from Arunachalam. It was just passing Ramanathan hall. It was famous as ‘dynamite hotel’ because of it’s extremely ‘hot chili paste’ to eat hoppers. Otherwise, it was just Hindagala hotel. I don’t think there were any student, whatever the faculty, who had not visited this place or tasted ‘dynamite.’

Hindagala Mudalai was my first acquaintance at Peradeniya, outside the campus. He had come to the campus-site in late 1940s first as a ‘tea and bunis’ vendor when the university being built. His rise as a businessman was interwoven with the rise of the university. The hotel was built much later in late 1950s. Hotel upstairs were given to students, but there was no vacancy when I arrived. It was already crowded. Most of the students there belonged to the student movement, Sydney and Ratnayake being the most prominent.

However, Mudalali found me a nearby place, at Panadura Aunty’s cottage, not very far. She in fact had rather a rundown  spare house in front of her main house, given completely to students. She also didn’t want to make it crowded, and we only five were there, George, Dias, Cyril and myself, all who had come from Colombo, and Sarath who was in his geography third year who occupied the small front room all alone. All were apolitical people who gave me a peace of mind. If I were to live with ‘comrades,’ life would have been boring and stereotypical. We also had our meals at Aunty’s and she was in fact like a second mother to us, not charging exorbitantly.

We didn’t have much comforts however like in a hall of residence. There was a toilet outside, but not a bath room. There was water service, a line coming from a tank in the mountain behind, part of Hantana. Except when a water-snake got into the system, we had running water. There was a tap just next to the toilet, where we could have an open air cold bath. However, we often liked to go to the stream, next to the ancient Hindagala temple, with a fixed water pipe as a ‘shower.’   

Except glorified instructions given to us to bring ‘raincoats and pullovers’ before coming to Peradeniya from Colombo, we didn’t have any help to find accommodation from the authorities. This was the same for students thrown out of halls after the first year, who entered Peradeniya as freshers. This was a weakness. There were early signs that Sir Ivor Jennings idyllic university was coming under pressure with several administrative lapses.     

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Latest comments

  • 6
    2

    How come you have not written about the following ?

    1 how you demonstrated at Fort Station and participated in hunger strikes
    2 how you disrupted traffic at Liption Circle
    3 how you broke into UGC building
    4 how you demanded govt jobs on passing out
    5 how you held academic staff captive
    6 how you striked on issues which has no bearing on you as a student
    7 how you ragged the first years in a merciless manner
    8 how you allowed your self to be manipulated by radical political parties
    9 how you made no effort to learn English and other soft skills
    10 how you damaged public property and wasted tax payers money

    • 0
      1

      As already mentioned in recent past, we the peace minded folks from mother lanka would always respect you for only reason that your articulations held firm in getting rid of most abusive leader of the island, we ever had in our history, by 2015.

      But I reiterate, we would never forget you partially ignored the harm that would have been , if a man would be blessed overly. Like for example, you and the panelists of that boards to come foward to award honorary doctorates to vicious men of Rajapakshe nation was a blunder.
      I have learnt if a candidate should have proved with former degrees, ( like MSc or MA) in order to even be awarded with Dr Titles of that nature, but lanken boards to just neglect these kind of requirements, did create more harm to lanken academic titles during the last 15 years. That may have been the reason lankens to be identified with lower ranks of unis in the world today.
      Please come with an article expressing your thoughts at the time, you too joined that board to name vicions those men for Honorary doctorates.

      Thank you as always, I respect you but I never forgive your mistakes !
      Likewise, bastard of Mervin De Silva nature to be addressed with Dr was a bit mistake that the lanken press I would never forgive.

  • 10
    1

    All those nostalgia have gone now.
    Now peradeniya university is like a copy cutting machine ..
    Except sciences and engineering faculties other faculties are not doing well at all .
    All teaching are outdated.
    Still dictation..teaching is still rudimentary.
    Copying from all notes .
    Passing traditional knowledge.
    No creativeness.
    No innovative teaching.
    Look days of great scholars of peradeniya from arts faculty.
    University does not produce great scholars today as it did 4 decades ago ..why?
    Compare and contrast the quality and academic credentials of arts facultyHeads/ Deans in those days and now .
    Now; academics are worried about earning..how to milk university bursary?
    How to get tax free cars
    How to get interest free loans ?
    How to milk system.
    Many dones have bought PhDs?
    They did not do it ?
    Yet ; they want to get more salaries ..
    They do not give service for salary they get .
    Some dones come to university once a week ..or twice a week to just dictate note and go home.
    Poor students suffer
    Whose fault is it ?
    Is it UGC?
    Is it government?
    Is it lecturers ?
    Is it heads/deans ?
    Who are responsible for this?

    • 7
      2

      It’s the fault of the successive governments. The political hierarchy got involved in appointing stupid people as Vice Chancellors and those appointed another set of dimwits as lecturers. Not only that former professor appointed their kith and kin to lecturer positions. They all are of inferior quality. At Peradeniya, most academics including the VC and some Deans (except one or two) cannot string together a coherent statement. Ridiculous!

  • 4
    1

    It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, is from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.

    • 3
      0

      Extremely sorry, it was Charles Dickens. It was my mistake and not my friend’s.

  • 4
    4

    Strange, a very badly written out article on his days at Peradeniya by Dr.Laksiri Fernando. He did write better on other subjects .
    My take on this is that in the post Jennings period,with the social changes brought in 1956, things went awry. But this is my subjective view. For a large number of people 1956 was true Independence!
    The author remembers Ashley Halpe, Siri Gunasinghe Ediriweera Saratchandra etc etc but does not know the Tamil scholars who were also literary giants as well.
    Laksiri Fernando is by no means a product of Liberal education!

    • 9
      1

      Sir,

      At least he has put pen to paper and committed something to writing under his real name. That takes some gumption. You and I on the other hand will be relegated to insulting him from behind the veil, under our pseudonyms. I choose not to insult him unless and until I reveal my real identity. Will you?

  • 4
    0

    Problems of university education should be seen in the context of education as a whole.
    The undergraduate is already a victim of the badly neglected school education system and its twin the tutory.
    *
    The programmes and the number admitted to each have little to do with any higher education policy or employment plans.
    *
    Universities and faculties are established whimsically, without resources. This has gone on for a long while. At times universities successfully resist pressure to increase intake, but often government pressure is too strong.
    We may still remember when 5 years ago the UGC well and truly bungled the processing of GCE results with two different sets of syllabi. The burden was passed to the universities (and of course the disaster that was the Engineering Faculty in the SEUSL, from which the Faculty is struggling to emerge at great cost).
    *
    There were other factors that hurt the universities badly: the 1988-89 violence in the South drove a large number of good teachers out of the country, far more than the troubles of 1977 and 1983. The civil war in the North & East had a severe impact on Tamil academics.
    *
    Nevertheless, there are quite a few who are struggling against heavy odds to ensure standards. They deserve to be encouraged.

  • 6
    0

    SJ ..
    Problems are many ..
    But we do not have green politics in Sri Lanka…most of politicians are corrupts. Nepotism is main issue..
    You want your children into power and post..
    Not qualified people.
    Look at foreign service or any high posts any department..
    You see money can buy posts; positions and PhDs too in Sri Lanka.. we are humans. It is difficult to be free of corruption..
    But it is too bad in Sri Lanka..
    Like Somalia or Africans countries ..
    All university problems come form bad politics..

  • 3
    0

    Yes; hard working acsmdics should be thanked for their good work …but they should know there are so many corrupt people out there..
    Political influence and politicians influence a lot..

  • 3
    0

    Dear Sj. old generation of academics work with devotion for education and country with little bit of salary they got it … but today academics are not hard working ,, only care about money, promotion and post .. what education quality is gone down.. thanks to GCSE A/L system still we have some good people come through into university …that is why we have still some good graduates out our universities.. No doubt we have best Human potentials and yet, we do not know how use them and how to develop them and how to guide them.. Jealousy and envy and all sort of racism and discrimination we have .. so.. what can expect…

  • 0
    1

    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/

  • 2
    0

    Thank you Dr Fernando. I am sure you will enjoy looking at these photos
    https://www.pinterest.co.uk/supoorna/home/?lp=true

    • 2
      0

      Thank you for the photos etc.

  • 1
    0

    During a visit two weeks back I observed heavy security presence and a few barriers blocking the access to the Senate building despite the plaque at the entrance to the Senate building erected when it was opened saying ”To be more open than usual” . Upon inquiry why they are guarding the playgrounds I was told that it is to prevent unauthorized people from using the place. One has to get a permit to use them. Unlike the Marshall’s during our time security personnel didn’t look smart.

  • 3
    0

    You should have told us little bit of academic prolife of some leading Acsmdics of your time ..
    Deans/Heads and CV of this time.
    More about academic achievement of this time….not merely what happened in university or what politics you did was not that much nèed ..
    Please write about great men of scholarship during the time in each field .
    Those days only cream of society are selected into university..
    So you should know many of them ..your article is little bit personal narrative not acsmdic one ..
    Argue for and against why this historical university gone down its mission..excpet some faculties many arts facility department are playing duck in university..
    Doing nothing but milking public money ..
    They do not work for money they get ..why is it ?
    Too much freedom for acsmdic to play around ..get easy money?
    I can tell with many stories and records about it.
    Qualified students are dismissed and not given classes while friends and relatives of dones have been awarded with good first class ..
    This has been going on for many years now ?
    No any ACAMDIC justice..
    No academic should do injustice for students in examination of papers or no qualified students should be over looked due favouritism to sons and daughters their friends and relatives.
    This has been going .
    Tell about this injustice and bad practice.
    Tell about how qualified dones are dismantled from promotion..
    Tell about how is it fair to give power for final say on VC.selection of UNIVERSITY…
    That is crux of matter of corruption and political influence.
    Nowhere in the world this happened.
    How it would be hitting feeling of senior professors to work under their students as vc.
    Most ruthless thing is this political influence in UNIVERSITY in SL .

  • 1
    0

    Laksiri Fernando: A query
    Was Piyasiri Wickremasekara (perhaps the one I knew as Piyasiri) the economist who was at James Peiris Hall in his third or fourth year in October 1967?

  • 1
    0

    Yes, Rajan. In his fourth year.

    • 0
      0

      My most enduring memory of Piyasiri is his administration of the freshers’ oath that he had himself composed, after the ragging that lasted up to four weeks. It was officious in tone in the manner of villeins of old addressing their lordships. It had expressions typically like, “We humble freshers entreat and beseech our noble seniors…” It left us freshers scurrying to our dictionaries when it was over. Such ragging perhaps did a better job than our now struggling ELTUs.

      The ragging at JP was entirely decent. At worst it taxed our vocal chords, tunefully or otherwise.
      ***
      Even though the switch to swabasha had already come in, English still remained adequately the common language. In Arts subjects already taught in swabasha, I remember that many students had purchased a set of English Language Book Society (ELBS) text books available at affordable prices. This is in sharp contrast to the current practice of students relying almost entirely on notes, with scant use of the library.
      ***
      Referring to Plato’s comment above, communalism was not overtly part of the university atmosphere during 1967 – 1971 (as for example in 1983), but the undercurrents could be felt. When left Sinhalese students spoke of the poor, it was the Sinhalese poor. This gap came into the open during the ‘standardisation’ crisis of 1970 -71. Sinhalese students from Royal etc were considered underprivileged and assigned lower cutoff marks for university admission. There was no realisation that the majority of Tamil students too, particularly from outside Jaffna and Colombo, attended poor schools. There were also many Sinhalese students who, to their credit, said that media-wise standardisation, rather than by type of school, was unjust.

      • 2
        0

        I am not sure whether Rajan’s statement “When left Sinhalese students spoke of the poor, it was the Sinhalese poor” is correct, not during our time at least. I don’t think that the ‘ideology’ of the people in the LSSP (R) or the CPC was that poor! They were the predominant at Peradeniya during our time. In 1965, Shan was the Student Union President and Sydney was the Secretary. Who were the leaders of the LSSP (R) or the CPC nationally? Edmund and Bala in the LSSP (R) and Shanmugathasan and Watson in the CPC. This history should not be thrown away. V. Karalasingham often visited us. I particularly recollect in 1967 when an estate strike broke out at Galaha, all left groups got together and carried provisions in two lorries in support of the estate workers. Wickramabahu played a major lead role. We often visited estates with Tamil papers (Tholilalar Pathai). Even during my teaching until 1984, communalism at least was not overt in our faculty. Many of us, not only left but also liberals, made efforts to douse down the sentiments. Lanerolle committee does not indicate any involvement of students in the faculty of arts in May/June communal violence while some lecturers were victims.

        • 1
          0

          Point taken Laksiri. Thank you. I agree that the history you mention is important and should not be thrown away. I am more puzzled than critical. The Citizenship Acts were unjust by any reckoning and extremely bad law, as was for example the retroactive deprivation of the positive right of franchise. The Left, which was quite strong and influential among the intelligentsia into the 1970s, had become very silent on this terrible infliction on a substantive section of the working class. This was an issue on which it should have been heard loud and clear, in the world over.
          ***
          The standardisation I mention happened under the Coalition where the Left actually had executive power and a strong voice. This injustice was propelled under the myth that the Tamils were uniformly privileged or Tamil examiners were cheats – despite the Royal Commission finding to the contrary. The myth was given new life in the then Colombo Campus in the Dayanithy Affair of the early 1970s, under a Campus President who was a leading member of the LSSP. It led to Maths Prof. Tharmaratnam’s resignation.
          ***
          I might also mention that Standardisation which came near the end of my student days, became a leading spur resulting in activism among left-leaning Tamil students at Peradeniya that contributed significantly to the militancy – particularly the articulate left segment of it that became victims of the Tigers’ wrath. These are failures that must feature in reflection, if there is to be a revival of the Lankan Left.

          • 1
            0

            Thank you Rajan. It is not easy for me to give a quick explanation on what happened to the old left on the issues you have mentioned. Perhaps they had this nationalist germs from the beginning. However, the left I was associated with – LSSP (R) etc. – had principled positions but disintegrated. On the question of the medium based standardization, I was a signatory to a statement I believe Kasinathan (philosophy) prepared in early 1972 at Peradeniya. I am not against standardization to promote underprivileged sections/areas. My teaching experience shows that whatever the (marginal) differences in marks students obtain at A/L they are suitable for university education. Therefore the competition or controversy is due to the limitations in opportunity. This is what we have to expand collectively. I don’t agree with the argument that standardization has deteriorated university education. The factors are different. When Cyril Mathew brought some accusations about marking in Parliament I in an article in Sinhala (Marxist Youth) showed that the accusations are unfounded even if we agree that there were discrepancies in marking. I was not aware or cannot remember the cases in the Colombo campus you have mentioned. I am however aware of the Peradeniya roots of the Northern militancy and even aware of the name of the organization that time. But it can have other roots as well in my opinion. On your last point about reviving the Left, I am not sure. I am more of a Socialist than just left. I am a socialist not in the old sense, but a liberal socialist. I wish to look forward, but not forgetting the past. If we promote socialist views suitable to the present circumstances and not just left wing views, I believe it might be more effective. Thank you again for your thoughts.

    • 0
      0

      For

      Report of the Committee of Enquiry appointed by the Peradeniya University Vice-Chancellor Prof. B.L. Panditharatne into the disturbances at the university May/June 1983. Committee was composed of K.M. de Lanerolle (Chair), Dorai Calnaido and Mrs T.K. Ekanayake (who resigned without signing the report) (We are publishing this for historical record)

      See http://www.uthr.org/new.htm

      • 2
        0

        Thanks, Rajan Hoole.

        *

        That link provided by Dr Rajan Hoole leads to a wealth of material. It looks to me as though you can read well nigh all the books that Rajan has written so carefully. One would need a few days devoted just to reading all that, but reading it all is compulsory surely for anybody wanting to know what went wrong in Sri Lanka, from the 1970s on, and let to our bloody Civil War.

        *

        Mercifully, that war is now over, and we must re-build the country for our children and grand-children. That can only be done, however, by analysing the past; a process to which Dr Laksiri Fernando and Dr Rajan Hoole have made seminal contributions.

        *

        By the way, reference is made to Mrs T.K. Ekanayake resigning. May I point out that she gave no reason, quite apart from NOT submitting any dissenting comments. On the other hand “The Establishment” at the time took action to act on the recommendations of the Udalagama Committee, where one member, Lloyd Fernando, submitted many pages of dissent, point by point.

        *

        Does History repeat itself, with some significant variations? The uneven implementation of inquiries is now to be seen in the possible winding up of the Bond Scam Commission without recording the evidence of the Prime Minister, Mr Ranil Wickremasinghe. Will he allow himself to be cross-examined by the Attorney General? The public is following all that with interest.

  • 2
    0

    Dr. Laksiri Fernando, You had mentioned the “DemSoc (democratic society) was another organization that existed, home to many liberal minded and left-sceptic students”.

    I joined initially because, some of us were not allowed to use the iron provided by the Hall, which was in the custody of the Secretary -LSSP.

    I was the President of that society in the year 1965 – year of elections.We were very happy to note the massive crowd that assembled in front of the Gardens when Mr.Dudley Senanayake came to pay homage to the Temple.One thing that still remains in my mind was the adverse comments made about J.R,jayawardena who came in a red coloured sports car.

    I had exposure to UNP’s politics. went on a half a days speaking tour of Ampara, where the UNPs candidate was unique, he used to jump up as he spoke – a sight worth the long trip.

    The “opening” of the Peradeniya Chaithya, was very revealing and I still admire the person who made this comment. .The President of the Buddhist Brotherhood was Wimal Wickramasinghe- another character I will not forget. He is no longer among the living.At one stage somebody announced that the Dhatu had been provided by an unseen power to be entombed. The comment was ” I did not see the Chief Guest who was there to lay the relic, lifting his sarong.That was a eye opener to me and from that day I have been skeptical about what the monks, the politicians speak .

    Monks double speak, they talk about an unseen Nirvana, and unseen Apaya but forget to attempt to correct the mistakes in the society – anti social activity infact they promote anti social activity.The latentn period to enter heaven, according to our Monks is like climbing the walls of a volcano.

    • 2
      0

      Upali Wickramasinghe, Thanks for your recollections. It is possible that DemSoc had more supporters than it appeared. One of the mistakes or wrongs of the Left groups was to use ‘intimidation’ to silence them. Believe me, I was not part of it. I had very good relations with Sam who led DemSoc perhaps after you. Yes, I do remember Wimal Wickramasinghe and the Buddhist Brotherhood. I remember him more as a senior to us who did Economics and we used to see each other at the Takaran (Galvanized) building or WUS canteen. I met Wimal in 1989 in Geneva after he was elected to Parliament and had a pleasant chat. I think even by that time he was an important minister. RIP.

      • 1
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        Dr.Laksiri Fernando Thanks.M y experience made me skeptical of politicians and religion.Both are set of goons and pick pockets.I shall not elaborate.

  • 0
    0

    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/

  • 0
    0

    You all are nothing but a bunch of hypocrites. I was ragged (assaulted) so much that I gave up the university education at the so called Peradeniya University. Thank God I am well settled in another country which respects me as a human being and I did my Ph.D. No wonder why I hate you guys so much. Instead of writing memories focus on bringing up a university that respects another individuals.

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