Hope all of you are fine and most of you would have had the first dose of the vaccine and some the second dose too.
This is to jet you know that we will be moving to a new house and our address from the 18th February will be
8 Cottam Drive
S43 4 WS.
Our phone numbers will remain the same..
Mobile Ranjit +447802418931
My dear Sam,
Thought of sharing a news to uplift heart
And banish the gloom a pandemic brought
We were too small to comprehend the great
Performance of our lads,
To forget the mayhem caused by a puny virus
And brighten your hearts in gloomy Covid days,
During golden era of the Pearl of Indian Ocean
Four guysof blessed a island uplifted every heart
An article which appeared in the Island of 3 January 2021 is appended belowA historic day!
After 400 years of Western domination Ceylon as Sri Lanka was known gained Independence on the 4th of February 1948. Heralding the occasion four athletes from the four corners of the Island brought four scrolls to the Independence square to be handed over to the Prime Minister D.S. Senanayake to be read for the public to hear.
The four reputed athletes represented the four communities. They were Oscar Wijesinghe (Sinhalese), Lakshman Kadirgamar (Tamil), Mohamed A Sherrif (Muslim) and Duncan White (Burgher). Arriving at the Independence Square they handed over the scrolls to young females representing the four communities. Swarna Amarasuriya (Sinhalese), Srimani Ramachandran (Tamil), Ayesha Zally (Muslim) and Phyllis de Kretser (Burgher). In turn the four damsels handed over the scrolls to the Prime Minister who read them over the public address system.
It was indeed a happy coincidence that in the very same year Sri Lanka made her debut at the greatest sporting spectacle in the world, as an independent nation. A team comprising of three athletes and three boxers represented the country at the XIV Olympic Games in London 1948. No one ever dreamt that any of the participants would ever win a medal at the greatest sports festival after the Second World War. In the final of the 400m Hurdles event Duncan White of Sri Lanka though beaten by Roy Chocran, USA to second place lowered the existing Olympic record skimming over the hurdles in 51.8 secs. Thus getting the first medal to Independent Sri Lanka at an international sporting event. Commenting on the breath taking performance, the President of the Sri Lanka Olympic Association said that “White has done more for Sri Lanka in 51.8secs than all the propaganda over 100 years”. This athlete was none other than one of the athletes who brought the scroll to the Independence Square on 4th February 1948.
Duncan White proved that his performance at the London Olympics was not a flash in the pan at the British Empire Games in Auckland New Zealand in 1950 (now known as the Commonwealth Games). His noteworthy performance of 52.5secs not only won the gold medal and the Empire Games record, but was just outside the world record for the event by one fifth of a second.
Subsequently the other three athletes too performed well for the country. Oscar Wijesinghe and M.A.M. Sherrif represented the country at the British Empire Games along with Duncan White. Oscar Wijesinghe a Public Schools athlete, representing the University of Ceylon won the 100m at the All India and Ceylon Inter University Championships. He established a Sri Lanka record in the 100m in 11.0 seconds in 1949 (The writer too equalled this record in 1955).
Lakshman Kadirgamar won the 110m Hurdles event at the Public Schools Meet and later won the Nationals in 1951. At the All India and Ceylon Inter University Athletic Meet too he won the above event.He finally became the Foreign Ministers of Sri Lanka.
Hi Colleagues, It has been an uncertain time since the pandemic commenced in December 2019.To date, first February 2021,53 million people world wide have received a dose of a vaccine.This is out of our world population of 7 billion.Interesting times, as countries compete to get a vaccine in the hope of achieving ” herd immunity.” When?.Already,it has been noted that in Manaus which in April 2020 had a naturally acquired immunity of aroud 68% is now showing a recuurence of infections with the ” new mutations.”.These aside, I have spent most of last year reading and one of the books that I want to share with you is Yuval Harari’s 21 lessons for the 21st century.Harari, is in my view one of the leading contemporary philosophers with an astounding knowledge of history and loads of common sense.This book will make one rethink the future,because the future is already here.!!The book was published in 2018 and he did not predict the pandemic( but we all knew it was going to happen someday) , His view of what is to come is real and compelling to understand.Some of you may have already read the book, and ,if you have please share your opinion in this forum.This book is a must read for our children and especially our grand children for they are the ones who will live into the 22nd century.I firmly believe, that this book should be translated into as many languages as possible in order that at least half the 7 billion on this planet can see the future and plan for it..It is best to throw away the “unnecessary stuff” that is rammed down the throats of unfotunate students in most third world countries and read this book in order to “learn to think”, for this is what education should be.!!.He believes that the old school teaching of the 3 Rs( reading, writing and Aritmetic) is not the answer in preparing for the future .It requires, the 4 Cs( critical thinking,communication,collaboration and creativity) for survival.Hope you will enjoy the read as much as I did. Eddie.
Peter Dantanarayana was the father of our batch mate late Savithri Dissanayake
114th Birth Anniversary of Mr. Peter Dantanarayana“Even now we recall the sweet memories we had at the physics laboratory where you had a good command. We were guided and advised on Science subjects especially Physics, Mechanics and Applied Science. You brought up many pupils by imparting knowledge at maximum level. We remember you as our capable Vice Principal too when you did school administration excellently. You brought light to our school, Mahinda College. Many students did extremely well in your subjects. We are greatly indebted to you for basic foundation laid on us. Many Mahindians pay homage to you on this precious 114th birthday. N.Pandikorala” – Physics Prize winner of Mahinda College, 1962”.The above extract was from an e-mail Mrs. Dayadari Devendra received from Mr. N. Pandikorala, forwarded to her mutual friends, including me. On reading the contents, I thought I will pen down what I remember about our late Guru – Mr. Peter Dantanarayana, fondly known as “Dantaya”/”Dante”.
Mr. Dantanarayana, born on 17th January 1907, passed away on 9th December, 1978. He was the Vice Principal of Mahinda College until his early retirement in March 1962. Like most of us Mahindians, he had his entire primary and secondary education at Mahinda. He entered University College, Colombo, graduating with B.Sc. Hons. in the late 1920s. His early mentor was the famous Educationist Dr. P. De S. Kularatne. He joined Mahinda College as a teacher in 1933 and in 1947, was appointed the Vice Principal, relieving Mr. G.C. Edirisinghe, who was the Composer of the College Song.In the College magazine of 1949, the Editor’s note had the following comment regarding its tutorial staff Quote “It was at the beginning of last year that Mr. P. Dantanarayana who returned to us after a period of Post Graduate Training at the Government Training College assumed duties as the Vice Principal of the College. During the absence of our Principal, he had to take up duties as Acting Principal. With delight, we mention that he discharged duties as Acting Principal energetically and successfully and to the entire satisfaction of all concerned”.
It is relevant to mention here that he was among the first batch of Ceylonese to be awarded a Fulbright scholarship for postgraduate studies at Stanford University in California 1952-53.Although I was in the primary school, I can remember him driving a brand new Hillman car to the College with an unforgettable number plate EL – 990. Mr. Dantanarayana was always neatly clad in a cream coloured national attire with a matching shawl. Almost all his eight children accompanied him in the car, entering the College via the steep entrance. We watched out the Hillman car coming up the hill every day, as our classroom had the best view of it. The car was always parked just after the top of the hill, where all the children gets down. When the assembly or the Office work is over, he comes back to the car and would just release the brakes. The car then ends up in his designated place in the garage without using a drop of petrol !!!
Mr. Dantanarayana’s eldest son Duleep and I were in the same class – Form one “A” in 1958 and he was treated as another student in the class. Duleep and I were together upto our O’ Level in 1962. We were together in the Junior cadet platoon too, being the two Corporals of the 1962 platoon.My direct contact of “Dantaya”, as we called him affectionately, was in 1961, when we entered the fourth Form. Mr. Dantanarayana was the Teacher for Physics & Mechanics (Applied Maths) and these two subjects were like “Greek” to us. We all had to walk from our usual classroom (2nd floor one facing the College entrance) to the Physics Lab for these two subjects. So much so, one of my classmates – the late Dr. Danister Gunaratne said to me as the subject is “Mechanics” we could be dealing with car engines, as generally, Mechanics were found in Motor Garages !!! To our surprise, Mr. Dantanarayana began to teach a subject called Trigonometry, which we have never heard of. He continued teaching trigonometry until the end of the first term, by which time the formulae – (Sin A + Sin B) = Sin A Cos B + Cos A Sin B and (Sin A- Sin B) = Sin A Cos B –Cos A Sin B, Lami’s theorem, Theorem of Parallelogram of Forces, Couples etc., had got properly registered in us. We used text books for Statics, Dynamics and Hydrostatics written by S.L. Loney. I can still remember one of his pupils, the late Daya de Silva remembering Dantaya when he had to cut a very huge tree close to Galle Road, Pandura. He said as taught by Dantaya he arranged to hang the branches by the Theory of Parallelogram of forces to lower the branches with no harm to anybody !!!
For Physics we had books relating to heat, light and sound, all written by Mackenzie. For heat it was mostly coefficient of linear expansion, cubical expansion and later calorific value and latent heat. For light, convex and concave mirrors, lenses, prisms, total internal reflection (Kohinoor Gem) and for sound, unfortunately, he could teach us only about two lessons as he had to leave the College in March 1962. He also made efforts to teach a few terms in Sinhala using “Paaribashika Shabda Maalaawa- පරිබාෂික ශබ්ද මාලාව” that depicted the Sinhala term for wave length, frequency and amplitude.When I was just out of College around 1967/68, I happened to meet him at an AGM of the Colombo Branch of the OBA. He never misses the AGMs as he enjoyed the company of his old College friends met once a year. Notable attendees during 1967/68 were the Deputy Speaker Mr. I.A. Cader, Chairman of the Senate Mr. Thomas Amarasuriya, Major Simon Wijeratne, Lionel Edirisinghe and a few others. They addressed each other by their first names thus Thomas, Simon, Cader, Peter, Lionel … It was like the present day “Back to School” for them.Another significant event I remember about Mr. Dantanarayana was that I visited him and Duleep late in the evening sometime in December, 1973 at No. 116, Wakwella Road in Galle. We had a very comfortable chat until about 8.00 p.m., sipping liquid from a Red JW bottle but Duleep sipping only beer. He remembered to inquire from me about a very Senior Marine Engineer that Mahinda produced, the late Mr. A.S.M. De Silva. That was the last time I saw Mr. Dantanarayana as I was working overseas.
Mr. Dantanarayana was married to one of the prettiest ladies in Galle, Miss. Wilhelmina Turin De Silva. She was one of the best Seamstress in Galle, who brought up five daughters and three sons namely Dr. Mrs. Dheemathie De Silva, Mrs. Dayadari Devendra, the late Dr. Mrs. Savithri Dissanayake, Buddhimathie Chethiywardane, Mrs. Ramani Wijeratne and sons Duleep (aka Danto) Indra (aka Ginikura) and Sarath (aka Rubber).On the initiative of MCOBA Colombo Branch, the then President the late Deshabandu Albert Edirisinghe offered a Scholarship to a student from Mahinda who would enter the University in the Science stream, which was named the “Dantanarayana scholarship”. Latterly, the Dantanarayana children increased the number of scholarships to Five and a family member or two would always be present at the awards ceremony. Also the family awards a Gold medal to the best student in Mathematics at the annual prize- giving of Mahinda College.Mr. Peter Dantanarayana is most affectionately remembered on his 114th birth anniversary.
May he attain the supreme bliss of Nirvana.Ranjith Gurugamage17th January, 2021.
Reproduced FB article by Ranjith Gurugamage