PolToks moves on
Sentiments that were expressed many old boys of the '59 Group,
and some from '56 & '57 Groups, compiled by PM
Recollecting memoirs about Mr. Samararatne: He took our Form 2 English in
1960. One particular day at the English class he happened to mention that he
would not be coming to school tomorrow as he would be going to Hulftsdorp
Courts to listen to Mr. G.G. Ponnambalam's English and his oratory skills,
as GG was to appear to defend a certain party in a Court Case. That was the
interest he had on the subject!
Attached are some photos that were taken when I met him last in 2010 while I
was in Sri Lanka. I presented him a Book on Buddhist Meditation written by
Mr. Bogoda Premaratne.
May I wish our respected beloved teacher the Supreme Bliss of Nibbana.
From: Kusum Perera - Kusum Perera lives in USA
Sent: Tuesday, 30 April 2013 4:04 PM
I am not surprised but in a way it is a strange that you remember the Third
Form Geography. I believe I was in Form IIIA and he used to teach that class
on the second floor east wing and to the left of the class was a view of the
I remember the recommended book for the class was authored by S F de Silva
titled "Europe and the two Americas". I do not remember much of his
reference to the book. However, I was quite enthralled by his teaching
method and the interest he generated in the subject. He taught about the
cotton, corn, and maize belts for Agriculture in North America as one
proceeds from south to north. On the industrial side he talked about the
Iron ores around lake Superior. The proximity of automotive industrial
capital at Detroit. He stressed the importance of the lakes for easy
transportation of raw material and manufactured goods across the great lakes
to the St Lawrence seaway and then on to the wider world. He sure had my
attention and I remember these facts even to this day. I also remember with
some contentment I received the top mark of 79 in one term test, a rare
achievement for me at the time!
May he attain final emancipation.
From: Michael Kreltszheim - Michael Kreltszheim lives in Melbourne
Sent: Tuesday, 30 April 2013 5:26 PM
Thank you very much for this email - I remember this gentleman with the
greatest of affection. He was a peerless teacher and a kind and humane man
. I never ever saw him discipline a student- . He was my class master in
Form 1C in 1959 and also class master for my elder brother in 1958. We were
all so lucky to have encountered him in our lifetime and we are forever
indebted to his skills as a teacher.
From: Firoz - Firoz Nilam lives in USA
Sent: Tuesday, 30 April 2013 4:27 PM
Thank you for your info. I was in his class 1C. He was tough but very
knowledgeable and an excellent teacher.
From: Ranjan Dandeniya - Ranjan Dandeniya lives in UK
Sent: Tuesday, 30 April 2013 5:25 PM
Thank you for the intimation. Though Mr.Samararatna never taught me, I
remember him well and can picture him even now as he was, an imposing figure
who commanded respect from us youngsters.
May he attain nibbana!
From: Indra Loku - Indra Lokubalasuriya lives in Sydney
Sent: Tuesday, 30 April 2013 5:31 PM
Thanks for keeping in the circulation list for your e-mails.
I am also very saddened to hear about the passing away of Mr Samararatne who
was not only a wonderful teacher but also a great human being. I was in
his class in Form2 and he taught us English and I can still remember how
eloquent he was especially when he taught poetry - Rama Sellamutthu was in
the same class ! (in lighter vein Rama always had an axe to grind because
Mr Samararatne used give me higher marks for poetry recital than to him and
Rama could not understand why boy who came to Royal from a Gampaha school
should be marked higher for English Poetry than him - Colombo born and
May Mr Samararatne attain Nibbana.
From: J.L.Daya de Silva - Daya de Silva lives in Sri Lanka
Sent: Tuesday, 30 April 2013 5:53 PM
You are back as usual to pen down a short appreciation of our beloved Guru
Lionel Samararatne, my Sinhala, Geography master of form I (Ranarala-
G.B.Senanayake, S F de Silva's Geography etc.) and (Rohini- Martin
Wickremasinghe, Sudo Sudu - Sagara Palansuriya) Cadetting of form II and
The family has purposely omitted the school he served so long in the
obituary notice obviously for a very good reason. That needs some
investigation at least to find out why the family fell apart, if not our
I am copying this to two of our beloved great teachers Mr. Henri de Saram
and Wickramasena as I write to them quite often about art photography or
Also Sande our former editor of RC Magazine Sinhala section before I took
From: G Goonetilleka - Gamani Goonetilleka lives in Sydney
Sent: Wednesday, 1 May 2013 12:10 AM
Thanks for that Palitha. I remember him too. He was such a humble and
dedicated Teacher. At the time he taught us unfortunately many in our class
did not allow him to teach. I used to feel so sorry for him as he took it
all in an extremely compassionate manner, just being himself.
May he attain Nibbana...
From: SARATH SENARATH-YAPA - SARATH SENARATH-YAPA lives in UK
Sent: Wednesday, 1 May 2013 12:57 AM
Subject: Re: FW: SAMARARATNE LIONEL - LET HIM BE MY TEACHER AGAIN IN A
FUTURE BHAWA BEFORE HE ATTAINS NIBBANA
I learnt my Sinhala grammar including Sandi and Thadditha, properly for the
first time in his class. I learnt my first lesson in First Aid and orienting
the direction of movement of our cadet platoon from him as a Senior Cadet. I
had an indefinable respect for him as an unusually wonderful teacher and
He was undoubtedly a "Bodhisathwa"in my opinion.
I am being selfish here.
But my wish is that he would be my teacher again in a future Bhawa before he
P.S. - PLEASE FORWERD MY SENTIMENTS TO ALL OUR FRIENDS IN THE 59 GROUP as I
HAVE REPEATEDLY FAILED GET EVERY BODY ON THE MAIL LIST
From: Siri Wijesekera - Siri Wijesekera lives in Sri Lanka
Sent: Wednesday, 1 May 2013 4:25 AM
Thanks. I quite agree with you. Mr Samararatne took our history when we
were in the 3rd form and he made it (a boring subject) so interesting, as
you have said practically everyone in the class was looking forward to the
From: ShanthaKumar - ShanthaKumar lives in Auckland
Sent: Wednesday, 1 May 2013 6:28 AM
Thank you Mancha for your email.
Yes, I agree with you. Mr Samararatne was a respected gentleman. I knew
him only as my cadet master.
From: Thilla Kirubaithilakan - Thilla Kirubaithilakan lives in
Sent: Wednesday, 1 May 2013 7:29 AM
Palitha, I did see the obituary notice, and did think it was our Pol Tokka,
but because it missed a good portion of his career ie his time at Royal. I
From: Ranjit Rupesinghe
Sent: Wednesday, 1 May 2013 9:17 AM
To: FARID Abdelcader
Many thanks Farid (and Palitha)- sad to learn of the passing of another
Regards all round.
Ranjit Rupesinghe (Kota)
From: Nihal Kodituwakku - Nihal Kodituwakku lives in Perth
Sent: Wednesday, 1 May 2013 11:11 AM
Tokka was my first form master and English at 1-D in 1957. His first
assignment was write an Essay on 'How to fly a kite'. In fact I find it
difficult even now to describe the intricacies and complexities associated.
He was our cadet master as well. I see from his obituary that his cadetting
colleague, Alles employed him during the latter stages.
A good man, life well lived.
From: Ranjit Sirimanne - Ranjit Sirimanne lives in Sydney
Sent: Wednesday, 1 May 2013 10:52 AM
Very sad to hear about this "passing away". He was my cadet master & we won
the Herman Loos Cup under him for the first time. I met him last during the
"JVP" uprising when I was working for Ceylon Tobacco at Walapane( below
Ragala - on the way to Nildandahinna) He was a volunteer officer & was in a
4 wheel drive vehicle & I was on my Mo'bike. He stopped me on the road & I
could not recognize him as he was with other army personnel who were
investigating alleged JVP camps in the area. I WAS SHIT SCARED!! As the army
then was arresting & killing any suspect innocent or not. He then started to
laugh & we had a chat by the roadside.
We all thought that "small tokka" was his brother. I must say that I too did
not see any "brotherly love" between them even at the Hostel. In any case
small tokka was also a character. Does anyone know where he is. Last I heard
was that he was "planting" under Rex Perera.( who is now in Sydney) He was a
good scrum half & played after Necker??
From: Sumane Rathnasuriya - Sumane Rathnasuriya lives in Sri
Sent: Wednesday, May 1, 2013 1:14 AM
Didn't go into it. In class, it was said he was 'not own brother'. Never
seen the two 'act' close as brothers.
Just to say what I've seen/heard. May be others ('56 Group) know better.
(Copying Sande & Chicky for possible help)
From: Lasantha Talagala - Lasantha Talagala lives in Sri
Sent: Wednesday, 1 May 2013 5:18 PM
Paid my last respects to our beloved teacher of Form 1C this morning. Hope
to go to the cemetery later.
I still remember this verse from the Bells of Youth -The village Blacksmith.
These verses and other phrases are entrenched in our memory.
"Under the spreading Chestnut tree
The village smithy stands
The smith a mighty man is he
With large and sinewy hands" '
From: Ranjith Sandanayake - Ranjith Sandanayake lives in Sri
Sent: Wednesday, 1 May 2013 6:08 PM
Dear Ranjit (Tony) :
I suppose you remember me. Sande (Ranjith Sandanayake). In my email to The
Class of '56, I added a few to Mancha's eulogy on Tokka Samararatne. It is
Here's what I received from Palitha Manchanayake (from down-under) who was
two years my junior. This is a tribute / eulogy to this great teacher.
However, there is no mention of his military ranking as he was an officer of
the Ceylon Cadet Corp (CCC) and during our time a Lieutenant. Although
Royal had Cadeting with two senior platoon and two junior platoons from the
inception of the CCC and the Herman Loos Champion Trophy in existence from
1917, it was only under Lt Lionel Samararatne that Royal managed to achieve
the long cherished-ambition to bring the Herman Loos Trophy to College in
1963. Lt. Samaratne as the Commanding Officer and Manik Jayakumar as
Sergeant inspired Platoon I to make this possible. L/Sgt Susantha
Gunawardene, and L/Cpl HSR Goonewardene were NCO's of Platoon I, and Cpl. JK
Fernando, Cpl. HN Perera and Cpl. Watty Fernando were NCO's of Platoon II.
There were many others from my group (including self) who participated this
annual camp / competition which was a Regimental Camp (of 45 Platoons
Island-wide) that year (normally they used to have separate Battalion camps)
at Diyatalawa in April 1963. The Platoon of Samararatne came Ist of the Ist
Battalion of 15 platoons and Ist in the Regiment of 45 platoons Island-wide.
(The Platoon II under Lt. Alles came 4th in the Battalion competition and
8th in the Regimental competition.)
May he attain Nibbana!!!
What made me write to you is because of the doubt created by some whether
Podi Tottka was a brother of Pol Tokka or not. Podi Tokka (Kingsley) got
the nickname because he was Pol Tokka's brother. However Podi Tokka was a
somewhat violent character, a rebel and I suppose Pol Tokka did not have
much care or concern about the brother for that reason. So there would not
have been any "brotherly love," even after leaving College. I am going for
the funeral this afternoon/evening and I will not be surprised if Podi Tokka
is not there. If he is not there I will call him tonight. Podi Tokka now
lives in Atabage in Gampola. He is somewhat in contact with me. He does
not have email but he has provided his phone number and daughter's email
address for any contact. I suppose this information will clear the doubt
that you people had.
From: Prasanna Mendis - Prasanna Mendis lives in Melbourne
Sent: Wednesday, 1 May 2013 9:10 PM
Lovely note on our greatest master - the one who made the deepest impression
in lower school mainly, but that lasted thru and after college....
That picture is so valuable; and will be added to the ones I have in my RC
A sun has set machang.