Royal People

A dedication to those wonderful people who served Royal Primary School & Royal College, in Sri Lanka, since 1835, and, who will be remembered for their committment, sincerety and unselfishness.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Those hallowed halls,

Green grassy grounds;

The toll of the bell,

And a scamper of hounds;

Majestic Men,

Momentous Moments.

If we could only go back

If time hadn’t been stolen.

We learnt of books,

We learnt of men,

We learnt to play,

All kinds of games;

Under the watchful eyes

Of Majestic Mentors

Who cared for us,

Like Moms with children.

To those who have gone

We say a sweet prayer,

May they rest in Peace,

Until we get there.

And then we’ll all sing

In one shrill chorus

“Thy spirit first to life awoke”

“For Hartley, Harvard, Marsh & Boake”.

Fazli Sameer, Nov 2007

Monday, November 26, 2007

Viji, the Educator

Mr. Vijitha Weerasinghe, Educator

Be careful to leave your sons well
instructed rather than rich,
for the hopes of the instructed are better
than the wealth of the ignorant.


I do not hope to compete with the flood of heartfelt and much better-written appreciations that have no doubt preceded my own back home in Sri Lanka as well as abroad wherever Royalist diaspora reside. Yet despite the delay (due to the demands of academia, the one excuse Mr. Weerasinghe might have accepted for my tardiness), I am compelled to add a somewhat younger voice to the chorus.

When I first came into the great presence as Primary Schooler, Mr. Weerasinghe was the Deputy Principal of the Middle School at Royal College. My generation will forever associate the inner sanctum next to the Navarangahala with Mr. Weerasinghe’s imposing presence. In those days of fear and uncertainty, Mr. Weerasinghe’s office was the natural sanctuary to which our fathers instructed us to retreat at the slightest hint of disturbance. He would know what to do.
As we graduated to the Middle School and became involved in school activities, we began to look forward to visiting Mr. Weerasinghe’s office, remarkable when you consider that even today a visit to the Principal’s office can stir up as much foreboding as any other emotion. The familiar greeting, “Come in, Putha, come in” stayed with us forever more; I find it hard to comprehend that I shall not hear it again when I poke my head around the corner at the Royal College Union office, knuckles poised to rap on the door.

I was never fortunate enough to have Mr. Weerasinghe as a classroom instructor. My generation learnt more from Mr. Weerasinghe by how he carried himself; from how he dealt with the widely varying teachers, students, Principals (he ended up being called a “father” to more than he may have cared to acknowledge) and Old Boys who came to him; and from the subtle, insightful advice he gave us when we came to him for approval and guidance in the many activities he oversaw.

Mr. Weerasinghe was a firm believer in the purity of the immense duty educators performed. We all know what a deep and lasting bond he had with Royal College. “I have been with Royal for all but the first five years of my life,” he once told me with the greatest pride as I interviewed him for The Royalist newspaper. It is no overstatement to say that he became an Institution within the institution. He became a trustee of all that was great at Royal College, an oracle even, to whom so many turned for guidance, inspiration and reassurance. No man was greater than the school and Mr. Weerasinghe did not hesitate to say so, firstly of himself, and certainly to anyone who had the temerity to behave otherwise. “Scholars need not change Royal,” he once told me, “it is Royal that should change the Scholar,” placing the burnish of a complete and rounded education on the abundance of youthful talent that Royal is fortunate to have pass through her hallowed gates.

In the decade since I left College I continued to visit Mr. Weerasinghe in his little office at the RCU whenever I could, and encouraged my contemporaries to do the same. Apart from occasionally chiding each other gently, the one for his continued smoking habit, the other for the “fancy dress” attire of t-shirt, jeans and sandals in which he went to “work” as a software engineer, we spent many an agreeable half-hour chatting in his office. (Indeed, I took to dressing so much better when dropping in on Mr. Weerasinghe before work that my teammates could soon tell whenever I had been to College!) As Old Boys now separated by only a desk and a few decades, we swapped tall tales and discussed topics Mr. Weerasinghe would never have dreamt of discussing with the schoolboy of a few years ago. I will always cherish those candid tete a tetes; I condole with those who were unable to find the time in their busy lives to steal such moments for themselves.

Two scrolls hang on the stage backdrop in the College Main Hall. For those of us not fortunate enough to have learnt the Classics, these were always far more mysterious than “Disce Aut Discede.” Mr. Weerasinghe was of course the one person who could be expected to know their meaning. I still recall how his face lit up as, teacher to the last, Mr. Weerasinghe held forth for a good few minutes as I furiously scribbled down notes on a little notebook that is today one of my most treasured possessions. “Labor Omnia Vincit” – Work Conquers All. “Palmam Qui Meruit Ferat” – He Who Deserves it, Shall Bear the Prize. Royal sentiments indeed.

An epoch has passed. Preserving institutional knowledge has become a primary occupation for leaders in all forms of organizations. We can view the inscriptions I just quoted as mere etchings in a forgotten language, in an institution that does not suffer for lack of colourful etchings on its many walls. On the other hand, we can consider them to symbolize the greatness of a school that for many decades, one man represented for many of us. We can choose to honour his memory by redoubling our efforts to achieve for Royal College the greatness that she deserves and preserve in her the best in all of us, just as “Vijie” Weerasinghe and a memorable few invested so much of themselves in her that the very walls ring with the echoes of their voices. I cannot conclude any other way than with the brief but powerful valediction that I first saw used by Mr. Weerasinghe himself,


J.C. Ratwatte, Jr.
Graduate School of Business, Stanford University
Island, Mon Nov 26 2007

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sixty Not Out

The '59 Group

The years 2007-2008 usher in a great event in the lives of 246 young men, 33 of whom started their primary education, at the ages of 5 or 6 in Class 1C in the English Medium at Royal Primary School, in 1953, under the watchful eyes of Ms Croning. All of them, born in the years 1947-48, will be sliding swiftly into their sleazy sixties in the years 2007-2008.

Of the young band of 33 at RPS, in 1953, 8 moved on to greener pastures in Australia, the UK and other schools in Sri Lanka, then known as Ceylon, in 1959. Five of them, Wilhelm Koch, Jezley Hussain, Ramlal Gunewardene, Aubrey Willis, and Iqbal Najumudeen, have left us behind and moved on to the other side, where they say, the grass is greener and water so pure and the sun shines bright all day and night.

Those who moved overseas, in the early sixties, are Alwyn Anthonisz, Cedric Ernst, Dallas Grenier, Rodney Vanderwall, Allan Ebert, Brian Lieversz, Philip Stork (all to Australia) and Aubrey Willis (UK).

The remaining gang of 25 were joined by a band of another 221 mischievous rascals from the Sinhalese and Tamil medium Class at RPS, and also from a variety of other Primary Schools in Sri Lanka, having successfully gained admission to Royal College at the annual entrance examination held by the Ministry of Education, in 1959.

This Group is now referred to as the ’59 Group of old boys at Royal College.

Looking back over sixty years one reminisces some of the greatest events, people, achievements, and accolades that were enjoyed in the true spirit of Royal during those halcyon years from 1953 until the end of the secondary school phase in 1966.

Life’s gentle phase into the era of regular BP checks, fasting blood sugar, HDL & LDL cholesterol levels, ECG’s, EEG’s, eating greens, taking walks, exercise, and even prayer, has now begun, on a very serious note. Imagine 221 pot bellied ruffians walking hand in hand along Galle Face Green, on a warm summers evening, chattering away about old times? Many have given up brushing their hair in the steps of Yul Brynner, while others have chosen to rid themselves of that nuisance of a razor, for good, displaying grandiose pates and swiveling beards that would make a Mullah blush. Then there are those who enjoy driving their grandkids to school and back amidst the bustle and grime of the newly designed one way streets of Colombo.

Higher Education, Research, Professions, Business, Marriage, Children, Family, and even Grand Kids, in many cases, have overtaken their lives at such a pace that there is very little time left for frivolous pastimes and baudy songs, anymore. However, one may get a glimpse of some of the blokes shaking a leg in the Mustangs Tent at the Royal Thomian in March, or even at one of the Bradby legs in August.

Of those who came together at Royal College in Form 1, in 1959, the following have passed away to the other side. Major Nizam Jaimon, Rohan Perera, C J L Wijeratne, J Sachithananthan, P Chandrakanthan, Naveen Rajapakse, R Rajaratnam, and Sarath Ambepitiya. Sarath, who was a Judge of the High Court in Colombo was gunned down mercilessly by a raging gangster over a legal case involving drugs and the underworld.

Amongst the active participants of the ’59 Group, who have stayed in touch and close contact, meeting at various annual get-togethers regularly, since leaving school, are Nihal Canagasabey, Mazher Fazleali, Ajit Dias, Joy de Livera, Charitha Ratwatte, Fazli Sameer, Ranjan Madanayake, Edward Hapuarachchi, P Manchanayake, Sunil Wimaladharma, J Kudahety, S Skandakumar, Nanda Palihakkara, Upul Kulasinghe (Scotland), D R Pulleperuma, M B M Naizer, Roy de Silva, L C C de Silva, U C Jayasinghe, Lakshman Kiriella, Niki Kumarage (UK), M Subasinghe, Firoz Nilam (USA), Dr MJM Peroos (UK), Dr P N Gunaratne, Sharji Aziez, Akram Dawood, Gamini de Silva, and a few others.

Many are those who have left the shores of Sri Lanka to seek greener pastures in foreign lands while some have ventured out on higher studies, employment and business. Australia has seen a massive influx of the large number of Burgher’s within the Group since the late 1950’s.

Charitha Ratwatte and Lakshman Kiriella embarked into politics some years ago, with Charitha, who went on to do law at the University of Colombo, holding the prestigious position of Secretary to the Treasury in the last UNP Government. He has since opted out to concentrate on his job and family. Lakshman, originally with the PA Government has crossed over to the UNP, amongst the multitude of criss-crosses going on these days, and has become a very vociferous member of parliament in recent times.

Of the professionals who excelled in the medical fields are Professor Rizvi Sheriff in Sri Lanka, Dr Parakrama Chandrasome in USA, Dr Peroos in UK, Dr Devakumar, Dr S V Devendra, Dr L V K de Silva, Dr Chandrasekera, Dr Abeywardena, Dr Allan Ebert in Australia, Dr K A Gunawardena, Dr Jaffer, Dr DCP Karunaratne, Dr Ponnambalam, Dr L P Samaranayake, Dr S Sambandan in the UK, Dr M Satchithanandan in the UK, Dr Senerath Yapa, Dr Thambapillai, Dr Mousie Thurairatnam, Dr Tiruchelvam, Dr Velupillai. Dr Git Wickremasinghe is involved in cancer research related to Lukaemia the UK.

Of those who ventured into law, Dr Ratnapala is currently lecturing at a University in Australia. The tragic death, at the hands of a killer, of Judge Sarath Ambepitiya in Colombo is mourned by one and all Royalists and others. Others are S Sivasubramaniam, D S Piyasena, T K Gurusinghe, Lakshman Kiriella & Charitha Ratwatte.

Amongst the academics, DSDJ Abeysekera is currently working with an NGO as Professor of Sociology, while SJ Bahar, W Mallawaratchchi, and the late J Satchithananthan, are lecturers in Universities.

Those who ventured, seriously, into the IT profession and are still banging away at the bits and bytes, are Vipula Godamune now in Australia, LAK Waranasuiriya, and Fazli Sameer, presently employed in Saudi Arabia.

Some of the businessmen within the gang are M B M Naizar, Mazher Fazleali, Ajit Dias, Edward Hapuarachchi, Shibly Mohideen, and the late Iqbal Najumudeen.

Graham Koch, formerly attached to the Hilton Hotel in Colombo and the Intercontinental Hotels in Colombo, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Sydney and China is presently Resident Manager of Hotel Sofitel of the Accor Group in Chongqing. China. He is one of those who joined the Grandpa club in recent times when his son was blessed with twins in Australia.

Many have ventured into Finance, Marketing and Business Management of whom the following names come to mind. Ajith Dias, Ranjan Madanayake, Nanda Palihakkara, SM Abeygunawardena, Nihal Abeysena, Sunil K Abeyasinghe, C Abeywockrema, Sunil Andradi, M Balakumaran, Bamunawela, Nihal Canagasabey, Akram Dawood, YKH de Silva, P Dias, KPG Fernando, NM Fernando, PSJ Gomes, SC Gooneratne, UC Jayasinghe, Jayantha Kudahetty, BSP Mendis, MBM Naizer, GSC Perera, Jeremy Perera, KAR Perera, PV Perera, the late Naveen D Rajapakse, MPV Ratnayake, Rohantha Samarajeewa, Kirthi Seneviratne, S Skandakumar, HPN Soysa, KM Totamune, Anthony Walpola, CJ Weerasuriya, DBJ Wickremaratne, Ravindra Wickramaratna, Sunil Wimaladharma, & MT Yaseen.

The other known members of the grandfather club within the Group are Shibly Mohideen, Fazli Sameer, Edward Hapuarachchi, S T Aziez, Mohamed Hassim aka Dathee, and the late Iqbal Najumudeen.

May the remaining members of the ‘59-Group be blessed with comfort, convenience, health, peace of mind, tranquility and prosperity for the rest of their time on the planet!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Appreciation for Viji


Viji Weerasinghe the living spirit of Royal
by Hemantha Warnakulasuriya

Viji Weerasinghe

The name Viji Weerasinghe remains etched in the memory of most Royalists who had the opportunity of knowing him, first as a teacher, then as a friend and later as a guiding light. No Royalist would ever permit another to speak or even mutter ill of him. There was religious fervor which was dogmatic and fundamentalist in nature attached to super teacher status he achieved. Even if there was nodding acquiescence when some, in a heated debate, scorned the idea Royal being the foremost educational institution in the country, there would a loud protest even from them if anyone would even dare say anything which would hurt the feelings they had towards Viji Weerasinghe. He was an icon of goodness to all those who were fortunate enough to have stepped into the sanctum sanctorum of Royal, an institutions that has made and changed the destiny of our motherland.

When I was in form 2, he was our English teacher. A subject I hated. A subject, which gave me so much pain and even brought tears to my eyes. To learn this awful language, so foreign to me, was something I loathed. My parents spoke in Sinhala, I was a gamaya who came from the deep South. In my village, only a very few could read or understand the language. At that time, when I was very young, there was so much confusion when the villagers received a telegram in English. Viji Weerasinghe instantly knew who the godayas were in his class. He cared for them, and showed them how to get rid of their inhibitions associated with the villagers’ ‘kaduwa’ mentality. The abridged version of Robin Hood was read by him. I still remember the incident when he asked me the meaning of ‘sward’ I said ‘Kaduwa’ the students had hearty laugh at me, as I had mistaken ‘Sward’ for ‘Sword’. But, he called me to his room and gave me and other godayas other books which were simpler than what was used in school. He reminded us that after all, Sinhala literature may not be the best in the world. He showed us that there are other great novels and short stories which were written and sometimes translated into English, written for the benefit of students learning English as a second language, in simple English so that we could read and at least understand the story.

Thereafter I did not sustain the same hatred towards the English Language. But, I never got good marks, I was below par compared to the others who hailed from Colombo. They were equally bad in their Sinhalese.

The next interesting episode was when we went to the Head Master’s room to borrow his car to collect advertisements for the Royal Thomian Souvenir. I never believed that as the Head Master of Royal junior, Mr. Weerasinghe would ever give his car keys to us, who were teenagers and never had the license to drive even a scooter. He had utmost confidence in his students. He taught us the art of living, confidence building, facing challenges and the world.

He used to remark jokingly at the ribald songs we sang at matches. These songs had so much originality and someone even remarked that we should publish a collection which will better the ‘rugby songs’ published in England. Weerasinghe never frowned or looked down upon the lyrics which would even put the great Sinhalese lyricist Karunaratna Abeysekera to shame.

I had to depart before I could finish my learning at Royal, in keeping with the College motto ‘Disce Aut Disce De’. I became a Lawyer. One day, I got a frantic call from Viji Weerasinghe requesting me to defend another institution which was almost sine qua non with the Royalist spirit, ‘Kadalay’, the gram seller who sold his wares near the entrance to Royal. When I was in the Kindergarten on one side of the entrance to Royal Primary was ‘Kadalay’ selling his gram and on the other side was ‘Balloon’, was selling his balloons.

I could not believe that Kadalay was to be produced in Court. I believe Royal lost some of its prestige when the education department decided to appoint non-Royalists as its principals. This principal was furious with ‘Kadalay’ who was drunk and cheering at some school match. Thereafter, there was an incident where he got involved in with the boys of the rival school. The Old Boys of both schools later had amicably settled it. The Principal wanted the law enforcement agencies to take Kadalay into custody and produce him in Court. Viji Weerasinghe wanted to intervene and settle this, but the principal wanted to charge and get rid of Kadalay forever. When I heard this, I was furious at this unwanted intrusion by an educationist who had no knowledge of the bond the Royalist had with ‘Kadalay’. I appeared for him and he was finally discharged. All those who shared a joke a cheer and even later at the Royal Thomian, as old boys who shared a drink with Kadalay, have achieved greatness and have brought so much credit to their Alma Mater. Viji Weerasinghe knew this.

The old boys wanted Mr. Weerasinghe to continue with his work even after his retirement, so that Royal would not be just another school. No one knew the great traditions of one of the oldest schools in the country like Viji Weerasinghe. His loss will be felt for years and may even tranform Royal into a different institution.

If there was ever a teacher who understood the spirit of Royal, he was none other than Viji Weerasinghe

(The writer is the Ambassador to Italy)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Sir Mohamed Macan Markar

Oduma Lebbe Marikar of Galle had three sons - Naina Marikar, Macan Markar and Haji Ahmad. Naina Marikar had many sons, the eldest of whom was Muhammad Ismail. He established a Gem & Jewellery business in his name, N.M.Ismail. On his death, his three sons - Mahmood Ali, Muhammad Jameel and Muhammad Kassim (better known for his services as Honorary Secretary to the Ceylon Cricket Association for nearly a decade), changed the name of the business to M.Ali & Bros. and carried on a lucrative trade in the Victoria Arcade. They also assumed the ownership and management of Watawala Tea Estate, near Hatton, in the Central Province. Haji Ahmed had an only son, Cabeer who passed away at a relatively young age while performing the Jumma Prayers at the Galle Fort Mosque.

Oduma Lebbe Marikar Macan Markar, the second son, established, in 1860, a jewelry business at Point de Galle by the name of O L M Macan Markar & Company Limited. It is the oldest business of this kind in Sri Lanka. The business flourished and was moved to Colombo when the port of call for ships was moved from galle harbor to Colombo harbour. His establishment in Colombo commenced at No. 1, Grand Oriental Hotel Arcade, Fort, Colombo. With the increase of patronage he moved to a more prominent location of the Grand Oriental Hotel in 1905. He had, among his clients, several members of the British Royalty comprising, His Majesty King Edward VII (1875) as Prince of Wales and His Majesty King George V (1901) as the Duke of Cornwall and York. Amongst the British nobility, some of his customers were, the Duke of Manchester, the Duke of Sutherland, Earl of Aylesford, Earl of Ellesmore, and Lord Abercomby.

In 1901, His Majesty King George V, as the Duke of Cornwall and York and the Duke of Roxbury, visited the exhibition of gems specially displayed at the King’s Pavillion in Kandy and made purchases from Macan Markar and complimented the firm for their excellent collection of gems. The firm regularly exported precious stones to the London and Paris markets. The world famous Cat’s Eye, weighing 105 Carats, called the Blue Giant of the Orient, a Blue Sapphire weighing 225 carats and the Wonder Star of Asia, a Star Sapphire weighing 225 carats are in the possession of the firm. They also possess a rare collection of antique jewellery worn by Moor brides of the past.

O.L.M.Macan Markar passed away on July 4, 1901.

The members of the firm who succeeded the founder were his four sons - Muhammad Macan Markar, Samsudeen Macan Markar, the most resourceful of them all in business, Abdul Vadood Macan Markar, steady and cautious in all his underatkings, and Muhammad Saleh Macan Markar, who passed away early in life in the year 1928 leaving behind a bequest of Rs. 50,000 for the establishment of the Saleh Macan Markar Muslim Educational Trust for the welfare of Muslim students.

The firm had, prior to 1942, branch offices at Shepherd’s Hotel, Continental Savoy, and Semiramis at Cairo and King David Hotel in Jerusalem.

Muhammad Macan Markar, fifth in a family of thirteen, was born at No. 47, Church Street, Fort, Galle on September 7, 1877. He was educated at Wesley College, Colombo (Pettah) and represented the College Cricket XI under the name of M.M.Muhammad, as he was then known at school. His contemporaries were, C.E.Pereira, who was the captain of the Cricket XI at Wesley, and S.P.Foenander, the worlds official cricket record keeper.

Muhammad made an unsuccessful attempt at passing the pre-medical examination before turning to business.

He was the Vice Consul for Turkey at Galle and later Consul for Turkey at Colombo during the period 1903 to 1915. He was also a member of the Galle Municipal Council, for twenty five years, during the period 1906 to 1931. later he was a member of the Colombo Municipal Council from 1940 to 1943. he also sat as a member of the Fez Committee and was the founder President of the All Ceylon Moor’s Association for and held that position for a number of years. He, subsequently, held the position of President of the All Ceylon Muslim League in 1945. He represented the Consulta eof Turkey in Ceylon. First Muslim Member for the All Island Seat at the Legislative Council. Senator 1947-1952. In addition, Muhammad was a registered member of the congregation of the Maradana Mosque. He was Knighted in 1938.

Ibrahimiya Arabic College at Galle was founded by his mother, Mrs. O.L.M.Macan Markar, who left endowments for its maintenance. The institution is now being maintained by the firm.
Haji Muhammad Macan Markar, Effendi, as he was known then, married Noor Neima Naina-Marikar, the eldest daughter of S.L.Naina Marikar Hajiar, on July 2, 1910, at "Muirburn", Turret Road, Colombo.

When the Hijaz Railway connecting Makkah and Madinah was commenced in 1907, Ceylon Muslims presented, at the Grand Mosque, New Moor Street, an address of thanks to the Turkish Consul, Muhammad Macan Markar, for submission to the Sultan of Turkey. A photograph of those who attended this function is still available.

Muhammad Macan Markar performed the Hajj piligrimage, in 1906, together with his mother, Aamina Umma, daughter of Aboobucker Mudaliyar, his grandmother Pathumuthu, daughter of Mudaliyar Cassim Lebbe Marikar (Cassile Blanc), his maternal uncle, Avoo Lebbe Marikar and the two ikhwans. S.L.M.H.Abdul Wahab and H.S.M. Izzadeen. They encountered a number of interesting adventures on their journey, including an encounter with a Bedouin tribe while crossing the Arabian desert on camel back, in a caravan.

As Turkish Consul, he visited Istanbul together with his brother Abdul Vadood and thereafter Rome, Paris and London on business, in 1909. While in London, he was presented to His Majesty King Edward VII, at St. James’s Palace by Lord Crewe.

Muhammad Macan Markar took a keen interest in the promotion of Muslim education and subscribed Rs. 1,000 towards the construction of houses, alongside the New Olympia Theatre at Darley Road, in a project that was estimated to cost Rs. 12,750. He, along with M.T.Akbar and several others, founded the Ceylon Muslim Educational Society Ltd., which established and managed the Hussainiya Boy’s School and Fathima Girl’s School. He realised the disability he suffered from insufficient education and endeavoured to provide his sons the best possible education available.

It was in his lavish bungalow, "Villa Stamboul", Galle Road, Colpetty, that the Muslim Ladies of Ceylon, gave an "Arabian Night" reception and presented an address paper to Lady Manning, wife of Governor, Sir Henry Manning, on October 5, 1921. The members of the reception committee were:-

Mrs. S.L.Naina Marikar, Mrs. E.G.Adamaly, Mrs. C.M.Meera Lebbe Marikar, Mrs. M.A.C.Muhammad, Mrs. W.M.Abdul Rahman, Mrs. S.L.Mahmood, Mrs. A.A.M.Saleem, Mrs. M.R.Akbar, Mrs. Ghouse Mohideen, Mrs. H.N.H.Jalaludeen and Mrs. H.M.Macan Markar.
Muhammad Macan Markar was elected the first Mohammedan Member for the all island seat in the Legislative Council in 1924. He was subsequently elected member for the Batticaloa South electorate in the State Council from 1931 to 1936 defeating E.R. Thambimuthu, and thereby gave the Muslims of the Eastern Province a political consciousness. he was elected the Minister of Communication and Works and it was his deciding vote in the Board of Ministers that introduced Income Tax to Ceylon. He was Knighted in 1938. At a grand public reception given to him in his home town, Galle, he was the first Muslim to openly espouse the establishment of a Sinhala Government, provided that justice and fairplay amongst all te communities in the country was ensured. As a matter of fact, the pro-Sinhala attitude of the All Ceylon Moor’s Association, of which Sir Muhammad was the President, broke the back-bone of the pro-fifty-fifty group. Sir Muhammad’s successor in office, Sir Razik Fareed, carried on this policy with great gusto until the fifty-fifty cry was silenced.

Sir Muhammad was appointed a Senator in the first Parliament of Ceylon in 1947 and continued to remain so until his death, after a short illness, on May 10, 1952 (15 Sha’aban 1371H). His wife pre-deceased him. He confided that he had two sincere loyal friends who were true to him right up to the end. They were, Hon. W.M.Abdul Rahman and H.N.H. Jalaludeen Hajiar.

Sir Muhammad made a bequest of Rs. 50,000 towards the construction of a Mosque in the University of Ceylon campus at Peradeniya. He also made substantial endowments towards Muslim female aducation and for post graduate studies for Muslim students.
His sons are, Ahmed Hussain Macan Markar, BA (Cantab), Bar-at-Law, MMC (former MP for Batticaloa); Alavi Ibrahim Macan Markar, MA (Cantab), FCA, Chartered Accountant and Dr. Muhammad Ajward Macan Markar, MD (London), MRCP (england), Professor of Medicine, University of Ceylon, Peradeniya.

His daughters are, Noorul Kareema (wife of Ahamed Samsudeen Muhammad), Hibshir Hanem (wife of A.M.Aboobucker), Fathima Shoiba (wife of S.A.C.Ismail), Noorul Ameena (wife of Muhammad Alavi Macan Markar).

Sir Razik Fareed

Sir Razik Fareed Kt. OBE, JP UM (1893-1984), was born on 29-Dec-1893 and educated at Madrasathul Zahira and Royal College, Colombo. He held the prestigious positions of President, All Ceylon Moors’ Association, Member CMC, HR, Senate, First Member Colombo Central, High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in Pakistan. Gifted lands to establish Muslim Ladies College. Founder Member Moors’ Islamic Cultural Home in 1944 and held the position of its first President. Established Maternity Homes in the City of Colombo and rural hospitals in predominantly Muslim areas. Died:23-Aug-1984.

Sir Razik Fareed's birth anniversary - December 29

Sir Razik Fareed was born on the 10th day of Muharram 1312 (29th December 1893) at the Layards Broadway. He is the son of W.M. Abdul Rahuman and Hajara Umma his mother passed away when Sir Razik was only three years. He was the grandson of Wappichchi Marikar. He came into residence at 'Hajara Villa' Fareed Place, Colombo in 1915.

Sir Razik Fareed inherited from his ancestors the spirit of service to his community and country. Wappichchi Marikkar founded Zahira College Colombo, while Sir Razik founded the Muslim Ladies College two leading schools for boys and girls.

Sir Razik championed the cause of Sinhala - Moor unity and a united Sri Lanka, thus demonstrating that the interest of the Moor community and the welfare of all Sri Lankan were near and dear to him. In this respect he proved his sincerity by his relentless service to the Muslim community and the country. No wonder he was popularly known as the 'Uncrowned King of the Ceylon Moors.'

In 1930 he entered politics and was elected a member of the Municipal Council. He was a Senator and a Member of Parliament in a long political career capped by his appointment as a Minister in 1960. Later he moved into the diplomatic field and was Sri Lanka's High Commissioner in Pakistan. He wanted the Muslims to be politically mature and that they identify themselves with national parties. He left the choice with the people in selecting the national party that they should support.

Muslims were elected as representative in majority Sinhala voter electorates like Borella, Akurana and Beruwala. The majority community reposed confidence in Muslims.
In 1946 Sir Razik was associated with Mr. D.S. Senanayake in founding the United National Party. He established the Muslim Ladies' College to give every educated Muslim boy and educated Muslim bride. Former principal of Zahira College Colombo Marhoom A.M.A. Azeez said that he would live in the history of our country as the 'Father of the Government Muslim School.'

Sir Razik was a person with a generous heart. He has spent much of his wealth on the poor without many knowing it. He served the community as president and later life president of the Moors Islamic Cultural Home (MICH) for more than 40 years. His grandfather and father had done a great service to Muslim Community. In 1932 Marhoom Sir Razik was made a Justice of Peace and an unofficial magistrate.

Sir Razik Fareed lived with unity with other communities in this country. Sir Razik's father was a good friend with the Sinhalese Tamils and Burgher communities leaders. Sir Razik was example Sinhala-Muslim Ekamuthukama. He was good example today's Muslim politicians and follow the examples of Mahroom Sir Razik Fareed, Dr. Baduidin Mahmood, Dr. M.C.M. Kaleel and Dr. T.B. Jayah who made an effective contribution to the community and country. They lived with self-respect maintaining the dignity and well being of the community.

The late Prime Minister S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike said, "I regard Sir Razik not only as the leader of the Ceylon Moors but also one of the greatest Ceylonese Leaders."

A grateful community has established a foundation inspired by a sense of gratitude called the Sir Razik Fareed Foundation to foster and preserve for posterity the humble service rendered by him.

He passed away on August 23, 1984 at the age of 91.
'Inna Lillahi Wa Inna Illahi Rajioon'

M. Ruzaik Farook JP, President Sri Lanka Islamic Society - Dec 29 2003

Sir Razik Fareed's 20th death anniversary is tomorrow:
Flame that lit lives of thousands
by P. P. M. Saheed - SO Aug 22 2004

Twenty years ago today, a flame that lit the lives of thousands in this country was extinguished. But the light of the great are never really snuffed out. They continue to fire our spirit, our wills, give us courage, help us to sacrifice and continue to illumine every dark corner if our lives... as long as we continue to remember and honour that great goodness of soul that make such men unique.

This is why today, I stand in testimony to this great light and recall that surging spirit of a man who served his country so well, so ably, so dedicatedly. He was as Dr. W. Dahanayake called him, "the uncrowned king of the Moors of Sri Lanka." He was Sir Razik Fareed, a man so towering in mental stature, so noble in word and deed, that all honour sat lightly upon him and the minutes of his everyday moved in slow, measured tread, as though time itself passed and paused at his feet in order that he could make the fullest use of every ticking second.


I pen this note to acknowledge him... not to merely remember him. We in Sri Lanka, will always remember. not only the Muslim community but the people of all races and creeds. We have all of us benefitted from this one life; and I may well quote Shakespeare in saying that this, indeed, was a man......." whence cometh such another."

His long years of national and community service are studded with many milestones. Member of the Central Muslim Youth Conference in 1913....Lieutenant of the Colombo Town Guard in the civil strife of 1915.....President of the All Ceylon Moors Association for nearly 40 years.....President of the Moors Islamic Cultural Home for over 30 years.....Founder member of the United National Party....Member of the Colombo Municipal Council for 16 years....Member of the then State Council and Senate.....Member of the House of Representatives for Colombo Central for three terms.....High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in Pakistan in 1968.......President of the Ceylon Kennel Club.....President of the Ceylon Poultry Club and Orchid Circle.... steward of the Ceylon Turf Club.

He straddled the political scene of our country for over a generation and was also a distinguished member of the Peace Council of Sri Lanka. Above all, he put country first evidenced by what he maintained both publicly and privately many times over. When Great Britain wanted to give us our independence, he said:

Let us (Muslims) not think of our own selfish interests. We join hands with the majority community and we say we want independence: we want freedom for Sri Lanka". All his life, he also worked for the amelioration of the conditions of the Muslims of this country.
His doughtly efforts saw the establishment of schools for Muslims all over the island as well as Muslim Teacher Training Colleges at Addalaichenai and Aluthgama. He gave Muslim education the massive impetus that has put it in seven-league boots today, and furthermore he never detracted from his great vision of a united Sri Lanka - a nation of multi-racial, multireligious, multi-cultural unity where all communities lived in harmony, equality and peace.

Sir Razik Fareed was also the "Father of the UNANI system of Medicine in Ceylon." In paving the way for our independence he said on the floor of the House in 1945:

"It is our political sanctity if I may say so, and a sense of justice, that made us stand up and fight side by side with the Sinhalese in the course of obtaining Dominion Status". To Sir Razik, Sinhala-Moor unity - Sinhala Yonaka Ekamuthukama was almost an article of faith. He was, above all, a great bridge-builder between communities, and here, above all, in his loss felt most keenly.

Many of us remember Sir Razik as the last surviving Sri Lankan knight... for he was the link with British honours. But Royal conferment only served to emphasise the true nature of the man. He had been a true knight all his life with all those knightly qualities impelled him to serve, alleviate pain, ease the pangs of distress, set to right the wrongs of public and community life, defend the oppressed, succour the enfeebled, uplift the downtrodden.

I still remember with pride his words in his presidential address at the opening at the new building of the Moors Islamic Cultural Home in 1965:

"The island needs the close co-operation of all creeds and communities to develop its resources with patriotic zeal and, if need be, with sacrifice. This must transcend all other considerations. Let me therefore appeal to you and to all right-thinking citizens to sink all differences in the national interest and strive to make Ceylon a happier place to live in and die for. I exhort my fellow compatriots to remember what the Prophet of Islam meant when he said: Patriotism is part of the Faith."

When I consider the breathtaking arena of Sir Razik Fareed's life's, work I have often wondered how such frail shoulders could bear all they carried. This, to me, was the wonder of the man who my close personal friend for a great many years. Everyone's just battle became his own. He fought the British-owned Gas Company of Colombo a long time ago so that the city of Colombo be lit by electricity. He fought for the education of Muslim girls and set up the Muslim Ladies College, which is today one of the biggest educational institutions for Muslim girls in this country.
Fought for a cause

What is more, he fought for the cause of the Moulavis - the Islam and Arabic teachers who were at the mercy of mosque trustees and carned a pitiful pittance of about Rs. 30 or Rs. 40 as salary. Sir Razik Fareed brought them into recognition as government teachers on par with the others, thus giving these skilled, erudite scholars a place in the educational sun.

This is only as it should be. Sir Razik inherited from his family, a love for education.
His grandfather, Wapiche Marikar, built and nurtured Zahira College and a number of Arabic schools in Colombo. Sir Razik Fareed's father, W. M. Abdul Rahman, was President of the Muslim Educational Society and superintended the educational progress of the Muslim community. This is the mantle Sir Razik inherited and wore with such grace all his life. He it was, who was instrumental in founding a Department for Arabic studies in the University of Peradeniya.

How does one measure the worth of such a man? It is said that the soldier is measured by his medals; the politician by his words; the artist by his canvas; the craftsman by his hands.
How, then, does one consider the worth of this distinguished son of Sri Lanka? As his friend and associate for many years, I have only one yardstick as I look around and see all who honour him on this his 20th death anniversary. I see the outpouring of love, of deep respect, and feel the keen sense of loss. Yes, dear brothers and sisters, this is how I would measure him: by the love he awakened in us, the respect he so easily earned, the admiration he commanded, the valour of his every action, the fortitude of his every earthly hour.


My association with Sir Razik Fareed, then (A. R. A. Razik) started in 1947, when I went to him to get a job as an English Assistant Teacher, which I received on the same day. This was a miracle. This association lasted till his death in August 1984 - a period of 37 years.
To him I was always "dear Saheed" or "dear M.P.M.".

I recall with what great joy I congratulated him by letter on June 12, 1981, when he was honoured as a national hero of Sri Lanka. It was also then that I decided to put this tribute into more concrete form. I had already established a fully equipped meeting hall in Kandy to cater to the social and cultural needs of the Muslim community. What better name, I decided, than the Sir Razik Fareed Assembly Hall and so it was.

And so did hundreds gather at this hall on Saturday the 28th November 1981 to honour Sir Razik Fareed and acknowledge that if today, we as a community can raise our heads to be equal with all others, it is because of the single-handed efforts of this great and good man.
On that occasion my heart was too full for words. But I could say with prayerful conviction that this was a full man-living a truly Islamic life and devoting himself to the service of man... which ultimately is the one and only way to seek God as enjoined by all the great religions of the world.
Such then is the pith and substance of this man we never can forget. Generosity was the very nature of his being. He gave away all he had to the people he served, eventually living in a rented room in the last days of his life. And, like an intricately-cut jewel, many other facets of his nature gleamed and glowed and enriched all about him. His love for the beauty of nature led him to cultivate the orchid and learn the many enchanting secrets of the flower.

Even his home in Fareed Place, Bambalapitiya held a small orchidarium where trailing vandas and large-clustered dendrobiums where trailing stars in glorious profusion. How often have I seen him among his orchids, tending them along with his wife, Lady Ameena who shared his love for beauty.

It was Mr. Eric Garth of Kundasale, Kandy, who at my request, paid gracious tribute to Sir Razik in naming a new hybrid orchid he grew after Sir Razik. To this day, orchild lovers around the world see this clear blue flower with its deep-blue lipped sepals and know it as the Sir Razik Fareed....and so does a flower perpetuate his name.

This orchid was registered with the Royal Horticultural Society of England on 15-11-1984.
For us, however, he will always be as a flower in our hearts. Sir Razik Fareed was a beacon, a guiding light, a tower of strength, a fortress of courage, a champion that belonged not only to each of us individually but to all the nation and moreso, all the Muslim world.

It behoves us, surely, that Allah sends us such men with rare frequence and this, the, is our greatest joy - that we in our lifetime have seen the passage of such a man as this. May i conclude by recalling the words of Shakespeare.

"His life was gentle, and the elements so mixed in him that nature might stand up and say to all the world: 'This was a man'"

Yes, this indeed was a man.... and, dear brothers and sisters, the mark he has left on all over lives will never be erased:

"Those who are not grateful to their Fellowmen will not be grateful to Allah" Nabi Muhammed (peace be upon him)

Vijaya Wimalaratne

Major General Vijaya Wimalaratne RWP,RSP,VSP,USP,GR (In Sinhalese: විජය විමලරත්න) was a Sri Lankan army officer.

He was educated at Royal College, Colombo and joined the Sri Lanka Army as an Officer Cadet in August 1962. He commenced his career as an Officer in the Army on 1 August 1963 on completion of training at the Indian Military Academy.

Upali Wijewardene

Upali Wijewardene (1938–1983) was a well-known businessman in Sri Lanka who established the Upali Group.

At the time of his death, Wijewardene had branched in to newspapers, sweets and even started a domestic air line named Upali Air. He was killed when his private Lear Jet exploded in mid air on February 13, 1983.

Life and career

Early life
He was educated at Royal College and at University of Cambridge.

Wijewardene entered the medium of comics with Chithra Mithra (Picture Friend) in February 1981 because it offered a large market to begin a publication without advertising and it allowed him to test his printing presses. Within a few months, the magazine reached a circulation of 200,000 eclipsing its competitors Sittura (100,000) and Satthuta (75,000). Media initially described the magazine as "romance, booze, money, travel, dreams, adventure, wild women" crammed into 16 pages. It quickly expanded into 32 pages with a different story on every page. Editor Janaka Ratnayake noted that the publication had "many topics–romance, detective, sci-fi, heroes, two pages built around movie stars, and almost a page of pen pal" (1993). All the stories were serialized and in black and white with a spot of one color.[1]

The comic magazine fell apart after Wijewardene's death and ceased publication in 1986 with a circulation of 15,000. Ratnayake cited the failure of the magazine to Wijewardene's early death, sub-standard printing quality of the paper due to unskilled mechanics and competition from other magazines.[1]

Horse Racing
The name Upali Wijewardene was synonymous with “The Sport of Kings”, Horse Racing. He was the Chairman Board of Stewards of the Sri Lanka Turf Club and was a keen turfite, who raced in Sri Lanka and England, where he won the “Royal Ascot” with “Rasa Penang” ridden by the world famous Jockey “Lester Piggot”.

He also won the “Singapore Derby” and “Perak derby” - 1980 with his horse, named “Varron”. He raced “General Atty” too and won many races in England. He flew to all these countries, where his horses were racing in his private aircraft. He made it a point to fly from New Market to Nuwara Eliya to watch his horses and ponies racing there too.

He would land in Katunayake Airport and make a quick tarmac change to his private helicopter to fly to Nuwara Eliya. Wijewardene was responsible in reviving pony racing and thereafter, horse racing during the time there was a lull in racing
ersonal Life
Upali was married to Lakmani Rathwatte in 1975. The marriage did not produce any children. Later after 12 years after Upali death Lakmani married Nimal Welgama

Asela Wickremesooriya

Asela Stanley Lasantha Ratwatte Wickremesooriya (born August 25, 1983) is currently the only Sri Lankan Schoolboy Rugby player to receive colors from the two of the most prestigious schools in the country, Royal College, Colombo (in 2000) and St. Thomas' College, Mount Lavinia (in 2002).

Asela Wickremesooriya was born in Kandy, Sri Lanka. He started his schooling at Royal College Colombo (1989 - 2001), and later moved to S.Thomas College, Mount Lavinia (2001 - 2002).

He is the youngest grandson of Hubert Stanley Ratwatte, the oldest living recipient of the Trinity College Rugby Lion and of the late Stanley Wickremesooriya, who was also a double colorsmen in cricket from the schools Trinity College, Kandy and Ananda College, Maradana.

Ranil Wickremesinghe

Ranil Shriyan Wickremesinghe MP LLB (born March 24, 1949) is a Sri Lankan politician and current Leader of the Opposition. He was Prime Minister twice, from May 07, 1993 to August 19, 1994 and from December 09, 2001 to April 06, 2004. He has also been the leader of the United National Party since November, 1994 and a member of the party since the early 1970s.

Wickremesinghe's father was Esmond Wickremasinghe, an ex-Samasamajist and supremo of the Lake House group of newspapers. The Wickremesinghes were an established part of the upper class Colombo Anglican elite. His paternal uncle Lakshman Wickremasinghe was later to be a much respected Bishop of the Church of Sri Lanka. His maternal line consisted of newspaper barons and landowners, the Wijewardenas, who were Sinhala Buddhists. His maternal grandfather was D.R. Wijewardena, the founder of the Lake House publishing empire. He was a nephew of J.R. Jayewardene, later President of Sri Lanka.

Wickremesinghe was educated at the prestigious Royal College, Colombo where he was a classmate and a good friend of Anura Bandaranaike, son of then Prime Minister Solomon Bandaranaike and Dinesh Gunawardena, son of socialist leader Philip Gunawardena. In spite of his feudal inheritance, Wickremesinghe chose to pursue his higher education in his own country, entering the Faculty of Law at the University of Colombo. After graducation he completed his studies at the Sri Lanka Law College and enrolled as an attorney-at-law. Incidentally of all the Presidents and Prime Ministers of Sri Lanka, Wickremesinghe is the only person to graduate from a local university, the remainder either having degrees from foreign universities or no university education at all.

Political career
A successful lawyer, Wickremesinghe joined the United National Party (UNP) and progressed through its youth and bar ranks. Wickremesinghe was appointed as the chief organizer of the Kelaniya Parliamentary seat in the mid 1970s but was later installed as the chief organizer of the Biyagama seat which he won in the 1977 Parliamentary Elections.

He was installed as the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs in the new government and was soon promoted to the post of Minister of Youth Affairs and Employment which made him the youngest cabinet minister of Sri Lankan history to date. He introduced the National Youth Services Council (NYSCO) which provides vocational and career training to thousands of school leavers. Wickremesinghe was later made the Minister of Education. As the education minister, he could made a visible positive difference in the standards of education and could build an image as an achiever. Wickremesinghe was also behind distributing television sets to thousands of remote schools in Sri Lanka.

Under the Presidency of Ranasinghe Premadasa, Wickremesinghe was appointed as the Minister of Industry and Leader of the House under which he initiated the Industrial reforms and established the Biyagama Special Economic Zone. Wickremesinghe had competition from his intellectual colleagues Lalith Athulathmudali and Gamini Dissanayake, who had been rivals of President Premadasa. However, he outmaneuvered both of them and many others and accordingly he was appointed the leader of house in 1989. On May 07, 1993 Wickremesinghe was sworn in as Prime Minister after President Ranasinghe Premadasa was brutally assassinated, allegedly by the Tamil Tigers.

In the 1994 Parliamentary Elections, the UNP lost to Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga's People's Alliance (PA) which ousted Wickremesinghe from the Prime Ministership. He also lost the race to be the Opposition Leader by 2 votes to fellow UNP member Gamini Dissanayake who just re-joined the party. This gave Gamini Dissanayake the default leadership of the party and made him the Presidential nominee of the UNP. The UNP was showing great spirit and strength under Gamini Dissanayake, when he too was assassinated by the Tamil Tigers. Gamini Dissanayake's widowed wife Srima became the replacement candidate of the UNP and secured only 35% of the vote, losing to Chandrika Kumaratunga in all the Parliamentary seats in Sri Lanka apart from Mahiyangana. Afterwards Wickremesinghe was appointed as the Opposition Leader as well as the UNP leader.

As Opposition Leader Wickremesinghe undertook his party through a difficult time period where the UNP supported many of the good deeds of the government despite some members of his party asking him to be more aggressive. In 1999 President Kumaratunga called the Presidential Elections a year prior to its expiration in the hope of regaining and fortifying power in order to amend the constitution. Wickremesinghe was nominated as the UNP candidate.
After a tense election campaign in the wake of the violent North Western Provincial Council election, President Kumaratunga was attacked by the Tamil Tigers in an attempt on her life in which she lost her right eye. In the election held 2 days later (December 21, 1999), amidst a wave of sympathy, Chandrika Kumaratunga received 51% of the total votes to be re-elected for her second and final term. The gap between Wickremesinghe and Kumaratunga was approximately 700,000 votes (6% of the valid votes). Kumaratunga was sworn in for her second term on December 22, 1999.

After the loss of the 1999 Presidential Elections, Wickremesinghe unsuccessfully led his UNP through the 2000 Parliamentary Elections again losing out to the PA. During this time period, both the PA and the UNP agreed upon a new constitutional draft but the UNP later withdrew protesting against what it said was Kumaratunga's attempts to extend her Presidential time period.

That year, Sri Lanka underwent severe losses in the warfront and only managed a highly unsatisfactory -1% economic growth rate, the first ever negative growth in the country's history. By the end of the year a some members of the PA government led by S. B. Dissanayake a senior Minister of the PA government, and Deputy Finance Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris left the PA to join the UNP thus destabilising the Parliamentary composition which led Kumaratunga to call for fresh elections. The United National Front (UNF), formed with the PA dissidents, the Sri lanka Muslim Congress and the Ceylon Workers' Congress assumed power in the 2001 Parliamentary Elections held on December 10. Wickremesinghe's UNP won all but 6 of the 22 Electoral Districts in Sri Lanka. Thus Ranil Wickremesinghe took oaths as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka for the second time.

One of his first acts was to sign a ceasefire agreement with the LTTE rebels and start peace talks. This has resulted in a visible development of the country. The civil war came to a halt; the North and South of the island was linked after decades and millions of people benefited as a result. During Wickremasinghe's second term he also re-energized the economy to reach an economic growth rate of 6% and managed to keep the inflation down, at 2% - the country's lowest. His liberal economic policies stabilized the national economy. He also developed many international ties setup by him during his time in the Opposition. Sri Lanka underwent huge social changes during this period due to the ceasefire which made the country much accessible and open. The tigers however abruptly withdrew from the peace process in early 2003.
Wickremesinghe came under fiery criticism and was called a traitor by some, after a police officer, commonly perceived as a Wickremasinghe ally, exposed an elite Sri Lankan army LRRP unit, based in Colombo who were engaged in covert operations against the LTTE, on the accusation that the unit was deployed to assassinate Wickremasinghe. However, most of the information about this event is baseless and were created by the political opponents of Wickremesinghe, mainly the extremist JVP. During the Presidential Election campaign of 2005 Wickremesinghe addressed most of these concerns and proved these accusations were not correct.

By November 2003 the LTTE showed willingness to reenter the peace talks by proposing an Interim Self Governing Authority (ISGA), which was seen by some as a blueprint for peace. President Kumaratunga quickly shook off these proposals and assumed the Defense, Interior, and Media Ministries - which cut short the powers of the UNP regime. Soon the President Kumaratunga's PA allied with radical socialists Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna to form the United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) and dissolved Parliament to call for new elections.
In the 2004 Parliamentary Elections held on April 02 Ranil Wickremesinghe's UNF lost governmental office. The popular image of the UPFA candidate and his unrealistic but attractive promises like promising a 70% wage raise, tearing apart of the ceasefire agreement, lowering of the cost of living, employing the unemployed and reinstating the fertilizer subsidy. This left Wickremesinghe and his party a lot to think about and within such a small time they rebuilt the grassroots of the party and strengthened its position as the largest political party of Sri Lanka. Within 14 months of the assumption to power of the UPFA the radical JVP wing left the government destabilizing the government which has over 30 Parliamentarians short of the required majority.

In December 2004 Wickremasinghe was chosen by the United National Party as its Presidential candidate for 2005 Presidential Elections due in late 2005. The Supreme Court decided in August 2005 that the elections should be held this year despite the President's argument that her term ends in 2006. Mahinda Rajapaksa, then Prime Minister, was appointed as the Presidential candidate of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party.

In the Presidential Election, held on November 17, 2005, Wickremesinghe was defeated narrowly by Mahinda Rajapaksa the Prime Minister at the time gaining 50.29% of the vote, while Wickremesinghe gained 48.43%. A majority of the minority Tamil population in the Northern and Eastern parts of the country who were largely expected to back Wickremesinghe were prevented from voting by the LTTE, who called for a boycott of the polls. However, he received a lesser number of votes than his rival in the southern parts of the country. There were also allegations by his party that several of their supporters were deliberately disenfranchised by pro-Rajapakse government officials, by striking their names off the electoral register, the UNP claims the number was close to 100,000.

He is a member of Mont Pelerin Society. The society held a special meeting in Sri Lanka in year 2004 under his influence, when he was Prime Minister.[1]

Lakshman Wickremasinghe

Lakshman Wickremasinghe (1927 - 1983) was the third son of Cyril Wickremesinghe and Esme Goonewardene.

He educated at Royal College, Colombo and S Thomas' Gurutalawa, he achieved the best first in political science from the University of Ceylon, then went to Oxford but did not finish his Masters, and went to theological college at Ely. He was ordained and then worked in the East End of London.

He returned to Sri Lanka and became Chaplain at Peradeniya University and then was consecrated Bishop of Kurunagala at the end of 1962, when he was just 35. He was the successor to Lakdasa de Mel who had become Anglican Metropolitan of all four former British colonies, India, Burma, Pakistan (then including East Pakistan, the future Bangladesh), and Ceylon.

Human Rights Activist
He got very involved in Human Rights activities after 1971, was Chairman of the Civil Rights Movement and did lots of agitation about the authoritarianism of J.R. Jayawardene's government and in particular its attacks on Tamils. He suffered a heart attack in 1981 and was advised to take things slow and had a year in England, where he was in July 1983 when Black July took place. He returned to Sri Lanka, and was one of the first leaders to go up to Jaffna, but all this caused another heart attack and he died in October that year.

The character of Harry in Acts of Faith,1985 written by Rajiva Wijesinha is based on him.

Chandra Wickramasinghe

Nalin Chandra Wickramasinghe (born 20 January 1939) is Professor of Applied Mathematics and Astronomy at Cardiff University and Director of the Cardiff Centre for Astrobiology. He was born in Sri Lanka, and currently lives in Cardiff, Wales, UK.

He was a student and collaborator of Sir Fred Hoyle. Their joint work on the infrared spectra of interstellar grains led to developing the modern theory of panspermia. This theory proposes that cosmic dust in interstellar space and in comets is partly organic, and that life on Earth was 'seeded' from space rather than arising through abiogenesis.

He is currently working on developing methods for detecting life processes in space.

"My most significant astronomical contribution was to develop the theory of organic grains in comets and in the interstellar medium. This was done during the 1970s and 80's, and it is now accepted by everyone almost without remembering its origins! I feel I also played a part in the birth of the science of astrobiology."

He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and the Royal Astronomical Society, and has also won awards for his poetry

Professor Nalin Chandra Wickramasinghe, BSc (Ceylon), MA, PhD, ScD (Cantab), Hon DSc (Sri Lanka, Ruhuna), Hon DLitt (Tokyo, Soka), FIMA, FRAS, FRSA
Director of the Cardiff Centre for Astrobiology, Cardiff University
Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe was born in Sri Lanka and was educated at Royal College, Colombo and later at the University of Ceylon. In 1960 he obtained a First Class Honours degree in Mathematics and won a Commonwealth scholarship to proceed to Trinity College Cambridge.

He commenced work in Cambridge on his PhD degree under the supervision of the late Sir Fred Hoyle, and published his first scientific paper in 1961. He was awarded a PhD degree in Mathematics in 1963 and was elected a Fellow of Jesus College Cambridge in the same year. In the following year he was appointed a Staff Member of the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Cambridge. Here he began his pioneering work on the nature of Interstellar Dust, publishing many papers in this field that led to important paradigm shifts in astronomy. He published the very first definitive book on Interstellar Grains in 1967. In 1973 he was awarded Cambridge University’s highest doctorate for Science, the prestigious ScD.

Chandra Wickramasinghe is acknowledged as being one of the world’s leading experts on interstellar material and the origins of life. He has made many important contributions in this field, publishing over 350 papers in major scientific journals, over 75 in the high-impact journal Nature. In 1974 he first proposed the theory that dust in interstellar space and in comets was largely organic, a theory that has now been vindicated. Jointly with the late Sir Fred Hoyle he was awarded the International Dag Hammarskjold Gold Medal for Science in 1986.

Chandra Wickramasinghe was a UNDP Consultant and Advisor to the President of Sri Lanka in 1982-84, and played a key role in the setting up of the Institute of Fundamental Studies in Sri Lanka. In 1983/84 he was appointed the founder Director of the Institute of Fundamental Studies by President J.R. Jayawardene. In 1992 he was decorated by the President of Sri Lanka with the titular honour of Vidya Jyothi. He was awarded the International Sahabdeen Prize for Science in 1996.

In 1973 he was appointed Professor and Head of the Department of Applied Mathematics and Mathematical Physics at University College, Cardiff, being the youngest Professor appointed at the University up to that time. He was responsible for starting an Astrophysics research group in Cardiff under the auspices of a new Department that was formed under his headship, the Department of Applied Mathematics and Astronomy. He remained Head of this Department until 1989 by which time the Astronomy Research School in Cardiff was regarded as being one of the best in the UK. From 1989-1999 he held the post of Professor of Applied Mathematics and Astronomy within a newly structured School of Mathematics at Cardiff University of Wales. In the year 2000 he was appointed Director of the newly formed Cardiff Centre for Astrobiology.
He is an award-winning poet and the author or co-author of over 25 books and over 350 scientific papers. He has held visiting professorial appointments in a large number of Universities world-wide. In recognition of his extensive contributions to science and culture he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Soka University of Tokyo, Japan in 1996.
He was the John Snow Memorial Lecturer and John Snow Medalist of the Association of Anesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland in 2004.

He was awarded the degree of Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) by the University of Ruhuna, Sri Lanka in 2004.

On the 24th May 2003 The Lancet published a letter from Wickramasinghe, jointly signed by Milton Wainwright and Jayant Narlikar, which suggested that SARS could be extraterrestrial.

The letter is currently (December 2006) referenced on the Cardiff astrobiology website. It includes this claim:

With respect to the SARS outbreak, a prima facie case for a possible space incidence can already be made...

A small amount of the culprit virus introduced into the stratosphere could make a first tentative fall out East of the great mountain range of the Himalayas, where the stratosphere is thinnest, followed by sporadic deposits in neighbouring areas.

The publication of this letter generated a certain amount of coverage in news media, including the BBC and National Geographic magazine.

Honors & Awards
He was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Soka University of Tokyo, Japan in 1996.
He was awarded the degree of Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) by the University of Ruhuna, Sri Lanka in 2004.

Arp, H.C., Burbidge, G., Hoyle, F., Narlikar, J.V. and Wickramasinghe, N.C., The extragalactic universe: an alternative view, Nature 346:807–812, August 30, 1990.
Hoyle, F. and Wickramasinghe N.C., Lifecloud - The Origin of Life in the Universe, Pub. J.M. Dent and Sons, 1978. ISBN 0-460-04335-8
Wickramasinghe, N.C. and Ikeda D., Space and Eternal Life, 1998; ISBN 1-85172-060-X. (Also available in Japanese).
Fred Hoyle & Chandra Wickramasinghe, "Our Place In The Cosmos", Life Did Not Begin On Earth - It Arrived From Space And Is Still Arriving ISBN 1-85799-433-7 J M Dent Ltd,Phoenix Publications 1993

Iraj Weeraratne

Iraj Weeraratne born February 21,1981, is a Sri Lankan music produer based in Sri lanka, known for his involvement in the island’s new generation music scene.

He has had a number of singles at number 1 in Sri Lanka and his debut album Iraj also reached number 1, having sold 100,000 copies in four weeks. His music has drawn on the recent interest in hip hop in Sri Lanka, blended with a wide range of other local and international musical styles.

Following the success of his singles J town Story and Ahankara Nagara both in Sri Lanka and in European Asian charts, his next hit J Town Story, about the hopes and despair of a young boy from the war-torn city of Jaffna in northern Sri Lanka, broke through to the South Indian Tamil market. Going beyond this to the wider Indian market, his hit with Ranidu Ahankara Nagare was featured in Hom Records' Asian Flava Vol 01 album and the video was played on both MTV India and Channel V.

He has his own show on the radio station Y FM entitled Hip Hop Party with Iraj on Fridays from 8.00pm to 10.00pm and a clothing brand I Wear.

Christopher Weeramantry

Christopher Gregory Weeramantry (born November 17, 1926 in Colombo, Sri Lanka) was a Justice of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka from 1967 to 1972. He was a Judge of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) from 1991 to 2000, and was Vice-President of the ICJ from 1997 to 2000.[1] He presided in his capacity as Vice-President of the ICJ over several important cases before the Court, including a case on the illegality of the use and threatened use of nuclear weapons.[2] Judge Weeramantry serves on the Legal and Human Rights Advisory Board of the Genetics Policy Institute. He is currently Emeritus Professor at Monash University, having previously served as Sir Hayden Starke Chair of Law from 1972 to 1991.[3]

Education and honorary degrees
Judge Weeramantry attended Royal College, Colombo, for his secondary education. His university degrees include: B.A. (Hons.), LLB., LLD. (University of London); LLD. (Honoris Causa) (University of Colombo); LLD. (Honoris Causa) (Monash University); LL.D. (Honoris Causa) National Law School of India; D.Lit. (Honoris Causa) University of London.[1]

Weeramantry is a recipient of the Right Livelihood Award.[4]

Neelan Tiruchelvam

Neelan Tiruchelvam also spelt Neelan Thiruchelvam was a Sri Lankan Tamil politician and an internationally respected academic. He was assassinated by an LTTE suicide bomber in July 1999.[1][2]

Neelan Tiruchelvam was a scholar, an international activist and a legislator, as well as a practicing lawyer, social scientist and politician. Dr. Tiruchelvam was assassinated on July 29th, 1999. Before his assassination, he had worked with his childhood friend, President Chandrika Kumaratunga and Prof. G.L. Peiris on a devolution package which he hoped would address the historical demands of the Tamils.

As a peacemaker, he worked to resolve the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka through non-violent political means, including consensus building, negotiation and constitutional reform. Dr. Tiruchelvam was the founder and Director of the International Centre for Ethnic Studies and the founder and Director of the Law and Society Trust: two of Sri Lanka's leading research and policy organisations.

In his career as a public intellectual, Dr. Tiruchelvam built bridges and sought common ground in a deeply divided society through scholarship, activism and politics. His thoughts and actions were animated by a personal philosophy of humanism, peace and non-violence. Firmly committed to change and reform for resolving deep-rooted problems of the Sri Lankan society, he sought to spearhead transformation through dialogue, tolerance and deliberation.

Tiruchelvam was a member of the Tamil United Liberation Front which advocated a negotiated settlement to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. He was a regular critic of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam for their repeated violations of human rights and reluctance to enter into serious negotiations. Because of this, the LTTE are believed to have been behind his assassination.
International condemnation of the assassination and praise for the work that Neelan had done were swift, with prominent persons like U.S. President Bill Clinton expressing his sadness at the tragic death.[3][4]

In July 2001 scholars from 53 countries voted to award Dr Neelan Tiruchelvam posthumously with the first Law & Society Association International Prize. The prize is “in recognition of scholarship that has contributed significantly to the advancement of knowledge in the field of law and society”


External links
International Center for Ethnic Studies founded by Thiruchelvam
Neelan Tiruchelvam Trust
Sri Lanka's Voice of Moderation
Amnesty International condemns killing of Neelan Thiruchelvam MP

Mangala Samaraweera

Mangala Pinsiri Samawareera MP (born April 21, 1956) is a Sri Lankan politician and current member of parliament who served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2005 to 2007. He created a stir in Sri Lankan politics when he was sacked as a minister by President Mahinda Rajapakse in 2007, after which he formed a new political party called the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (Mahajana) Wing.[1]

Personal life
Samaraweera is the son of late Mahanama Samaraweera, who was a Cabinet Minister in Sirimavo Bandaranaike's government, and Khema Samaraweera, a member of the Matara Urban Council. A graduate in Clothing Design and Technology from St. Martin's School of Art in London, he served as a design consultant to the National Design Center of Sri Lanka prior to his political career. He has remained a lifelong bachelor.

Political career
He was the Sri Lanka Freedom Party organizer for Sri Lanka's southern city Matara since 1983 and Assistant Secretary of the SLFP Coordinating Secretary of the Mother’s Front.

He first entered the Parliament of Sri Lanka as a representative of the Matara District in 1989, and was appointed the Minister of Post & Telecommunications in the cabinet of President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga in 1994. He also served as the Minister of Urban Development, Construction and Public Utilities in the same Cabinet after a reshuffle and was later given the Deputy Minister of Finance portfolio.

Following the election defeat of his party in 2001, he was made the Chief Opposition Whip and the Treasurer of the SLFP. In 2004 he became the Minister of Ports, Aviation and Media in the new cabinet of President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga.

In June 2005, after conflicts with Kumaratunga, he dropped the Media Ministry, but remained Minister of Ports and Aviation. He became the campaign manager for Presidential candidate and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse. When Rajapakse won and took office in November 2005, he surprised many by appointing Samaraweera to the additional post of Foreign Minister; Samaraweera maintained his other posts.

In late January 2007 Samaraweera was replaced as Foreign Minister, but remained Minister of Ports and Aviation.[2] On 9th February 2007, he was sacked from the cabinet together with ministers Anura Bandaranaike and Sripathi Sooriyarachchi after falling out with the president. He then went on to create a new political party, the SLFP (Mahajana) wing.

^ Daily Mirror, SLFP (M) unveils ‘policy’
^ "Sri Lankan president reshuffles cabinet", Xinhua (People's Daily Online), January 29, 2007.
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V K Samaranayake

Vidyaj Yothi Professor V. K. Samaranayake B.Sc (Ceyl), D.I.C., Ph.D.(Lond), D.Sc.(Colombo), MBCS, MCS(SL), FNASSL, MIEEE (1939 - June 6, 2007) pioneered computing & IT development industry and usage in Sri Lanka and thus considered as the "Father of Information Technology" in Sri Lanka. He was a Professor of Computer Science and former Dean of the Faculty of Science, University of Colombo. Prof Samaranayake played a major role in the development of IT and IT related education in Sri Lanka. He was at the time of his death the chairman of the Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) of Sri Lanka and was the founding and former director of the University of Colombo School of Computing (UCSC).[1]

Early life & Education
Prof Samaranayake was born to Mr. and Mrs. V. W. Samaranayake. After completing his secondary education at the prestigious Royal College and then went on to do his higher studies at University of Ceylon.

After complimenting his degree he went on to serve the same University (in 1974 University of Ceylon was abolished and University of Colombo created from the Colombo campus of the former university) for the next 43 years since 1961. There he went on to become the Dean of the Faculty of Science.

He was the founder of the Department of Statistics and Computer Science (DSCS) and of the Institute of Computer Technology (ICT) of the University of Colombo. These two institutions were merged as the University of Colombo School of Computing in 2002.

He has served the Council for Information Technology (CINTEC), the apex National agency for IT in Sri Lanka as its Chairman for a period of 12 years. In the field of IT he has pioneered work on IT Policy, Legal Infrastructure, EDI/E-Commerce, Security, Internet Technology, Computer Awareness and IT Education. In 2004 Prof Samaranayake became the chairman of the Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) the government agency governing the ICT in Sri Lanka, he held the post till his death in 2007. He was the President of the Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science during its golden jubilee in 1994. At the time of his death he was the president of Infotel Lanka Society.

The Government of Sri Lanka has honored Prof. Samaranayake for his contribution to IT in the country by awarding of the award of Vidya Prasadini in 1997 and the national honour Vidyaj Yothi in 1998.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has presented its President's Award for International Cooperation to Prof. Samaranayake in 1996 in recognition of his contribution.
The University of Colombo at its convocation held in January 2005, conferred on Prof. Samaranayake the Degree of Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) for his outstanding contribution to the University of Colombo.

Major contributions
Prof Samaranayake was actively involved in the formulation of the WASO 10646 standard for Sinhalese Characters and in the development of multilingual web sites and has been instrumental in helping to apply computers in many areas of governance, including in national elections. In 1999 he chaired the National Y2K Task force that coordinated the very successful crossover to year 2000. More recently he initiated the External Degree of Bachelor of Information Technology (BIT) of the University of Colombo, which in its very first year of operation has attracted 5000 registrations. He was the Chairman of the Project Management Committee of the SIDA funded project to enhance the internet connectivity of Sri Lankan Universities. At the time of his death he was involved in introducing ICT to rural communities and was engaged in developing Multipurpose Community Tele-Centers. He was a member of the advisory panel of the Asia IT&C program of the European Commission.

Prof Samaranayake was married to Sriya Samaranayake, who was the former Deputy Commissioner, Inland Revenue Department. His brother was Prof. V. A. Samaranayake Professor at the University of Missouri–Rolla. He was father of Samitha (working in Oracle Corporation) and Nayana (working in Google Inc).

Professor Samaranayake died in Stockham, Sweden on the 6th of June, 2007. The Sri Lankan Government awarded Samaranayake a funeral with state patronage at the Independence Square, Colombo on the 13th June 2007, as an appreciation of the contributions and accomplishments Prof Samaranayake.[2]

Books Published
Mulika Tharaka Vidyava, M.D. Gunasena & Co. Ltd. (1965) (A book on elementary Astronomy in Sinhala) *Tharaka - A reprint of the section on Stars of "Mulika Tharaka Vidyava" (1999)

Research Publications
A New Determination of the Pion-Nucleon Coupling Constant and S-Wave Scattering Lengths (with W.S. Woolcock) Phy. Rev. Lett. 15 (1965) 936 - 938.
Determination of the Pion-Nucleon Coupling Constant and s- Wave Scattering Lengths (with W.S. Woolcock) Proceedings of the Lund Conference on Elementary Particles (1969).
Determination of the Pion-Nucleo n P-Wave and d-Wave Scattering Lengths (with B.P. Collins and W.S. Woolcock) Proceedings of the Lund Conference on Elementary Particles (1969).
Spin and D-State Effects on High Energy Elastic Scattering of Pions on 3He (with H. Baier) Nucl. Phys. B15 (1970).
Elastic Scattering of Low Energy Pions by Alpha Particles (with Harun-ar-Rashid) Nucl. Phys. B17 (1970).
High Energy Scattering of Hadrons on 6Li (with Il-Tong Cheon) Nucl. Phys. A154 (1970) 93 - 96.
Elastic Scattering of Pions on 4He at Small Momentum Transfer (with H. Baier) Nucl. Phy. B24 (1970) 273 - 284.
S' and D' State Effects in 3He Form Factors and in p-3He Elastic Scattering Cross Sections (with G. Wilk) Lett. al Nuovo Cimento 4 (1972) 27 - 32.
Determination of the Pion-Nucleon Coupling Constant and S- Wave Scattering Lengths (with W.S. Woolcock) Nucl. Phys. B48 (1972) 205 - 224.
Forward Dispersion Relation Constraints on the Pion-Nucleon P-Wave and D-Wave Scattering Lengths (with W.S. Woolcock) Nucl. Phys. B49 (1972) 128 - 140.
High Energy Nuclear Scattering and Rising Cross Sections Lett. Nuovo Cim 9 (1974) 677.

Professor Samaranayake will fill a page in Lanka's history (English). (A news forum) (2007-06-11). Retrieved on 2007-06-13.
Vidya Jothi Professor V.K. Samaranayake passes away, Asiantribune

External links
Prof. V K Samaranayaka Web Portal
Vidya Jyothi Professor V.K.Samaranayak bio
E-Sri Lanka: Prof. V.K. Samaranayake’s lasting legacy

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