We miss you very much “Bunty”

Bunty & Ariya



Dear Bunty Kuru, you may not see or hear

64’ Batch weeping, as heaven is far from here

Your sweet smile, charming ways and good cheer

Are etched in our hearts, we cannot forget you, my dear

We loved you a lot, you did well know

And you cherished us with love, even more

None of us, however, knew the real truth

That Angels wanted you, very much more!

Alas, our sad loss is heaven’s mighty gain

Compassion and the noble qualities humane

You rubbed on us, but we could not pay the debt

So we look at the brightest star to thank you again


Golden Reunion Musings

DSC_9801 copy A Beautiful Friendship

A candid picture would say thousand words

Will try to interpret those, in spoken English

These two buddies met, after five long decades

See the glow and happiness in both their faces

One is pretty sober and the other none has been ever sure

Comparing notes how they spent, their glorious yesteryear,

‘Machang I graduated from toddy and pol,

To Whisky Black label and Chivas Regal

 My life since has been a walk in the park, marvel’

Second MB, Third MB and the exam Final with ‘toddy and pol’

Never were easy, now imbibe in Whisky, brain cells work very well

So my advice to you, beloved pal is to follow my lead it would be swell


Yes ‘machang’ you were the ‘Guru’ we admire since ‘Block days’

Taught us how to go through a glass door severe the Ulnar nerve, no sham

Change the writing hand from right to left, brilliantly pass the 2nd MB exam

and who else could do that even with a barrel of ‘babycham’

You were the joy of the batch and were a thrilled to be with you at Bloem,

Our mentor for truancy, our source of joy, creator of mayhem

during those awful days of signatures revises and exams

You were the leading light , hence will gladly take today your advice

Ariya – RU 64 October 2014


Holiday Greetings from Deepthie

Chickadee Christmas Treats !!-IMG_8597--- Greetings -Nelun Devi



IMG_0352 - Copy-cc

HI Gunasiri !
Many thanks for the new posting – and I was glad that the folks in SL had a
little gathering .
Please post my Holiday Greetings- New Year Good wishes to the Class of
’64, on the Class News letter .
Ariya- I was wondering why you were silent- now I know- and thanks for the
little note posted today – on ‘comments ‘ on ” Update from Deepthie “.

Narme- ya -= you told me one day ” you were the only boy among the girls =
so you have to come the RU -64’ – -when I was dithering about coming or not
So, now you tell me, ” you are the only one, man enough to do a trek like
this ‘ !!!
Thanks my dear Narme- you really make me want to live a little longer, to
see you all – perhaps in 2017 .!!!

Here you are my Dear Class of ’64- Greetings to the Class of ’64- from Near
and Far !

The Nelun Devi photo- taken in A’pura- when Laki and Gita were kind enough
to take me there .
The chickadee Christmas Greetings- a ‘selfie’ taken at home the other day
.– hold the bird seed in one hand, and the camera in the other .
Practice makes Perfect !!

While I puttering around the yard, doing this crazy decorations, using some
old junkie x’mas decorations I found in an old cardboard box in the
basement, the chickadees came at me- asking for food .
I have been hand feeding them- as I cannot be bothered with bird feeders-
squirrels , chipmunks, racoons etc .
I leave some bird seed on the deck railing that the birds in the area feast

You can see part of the house, garage and the lake , and note, there is NO
snow .
Global Warming is Alive and Well in Canada …

Have a Happy Holiday Season and All the Very Best to All for 2016.
Eagledeepthie .

Brain Drain

From: Professor Sanath P. Lamabadusuriya <sanathp.lama@gmail.com>
Date: 7 December 2015 at 13:11
Subject: Brain Drain
To: Lakshman Abeyagunawardene <adnl1102@gmail.com>
Dear Lucky ,
Please post this on our blog site

Kind regards,

Brain Drain

In the late 1950’s or early 1960’s the government decided to establish a second medical school in Peradeniya so as to solve the problem of shortage of doctors in the country. We, who sat for the “A” levels in 1960 were the beneficiaries, because the intake was increased. All those who passed in all 4 subjects were selected for Peradeniya and others like us who failed in one subject had to follow a 6 month course in the failed subject in 1961. Of the latter group some entered the Colombo Faculty and the others the Peradeniya Faculty. in 1962. As the buildings at Peradeniya were not ready it’s first batch entered late and eventually qualified in January 1967. We qualified in March 1967.
After the first Peradeniya batch completed their internship. they were informed by the MOH that employment was not available and were offered a monthly allowance and requested to attach themselves to a GP. Few months later all of them were offered jobs in the MOH. It is rather ironical that the Government which created a second medical faculty to solve the problem of shortage of doctors in the country was unable to offer employment to it’s very first batch!

That is the time we all started sitting for the ECFMG because of the uncertainty of employment in the MOH. Nearly all of us who sat for the ECFMG passed it at it’s first attempt and applied for jobs in the US. As the US had a shortage of doctors at that time, all who applied for jobs were successful. By this time the MOH was able to offer jobs for all of us.However some of our batchmates decided to emigrate. After a few months ,they wrote back saying how wonderful it is to work in the US.Most of them started in Coney Island hospital in New York.As the ‘brain drain”gathered momentum in the next few years, the government introduced a compulsory period of service for 5 years in, 1972.

So dear friends, that is how the “brain drain “all started and is still continuing although to a lesser extent

Sanath P. Lamabadusuriya

Remembering the Golden Reunion – Ariya



The first anniversary of the great Golden Reunion was celebrated by the 64 Colombo medicos in grand style at Mount Breeze Hotel, Mount Lavinia recently. To this huddle joined Narmmasena Wickramasinghe, Kumar Fernando, Shanti Dalpatadu, Theo Ajith Fernando, Mahindra Menon, Ranjith Almeida, Lakshman Senanayake, Anoja Fernando, Damayanrhi Gunaratne, and Ariya de Silva.

CWW Kannanagara – Father of Free Education


CWW Kannanagara – Father of Free Education

( Recently published article by Ariya in “NewsLanka” weekly news paper in London)

“Skill is a marvellous thing. It can adorn a humble man as much as it graces a king. The poorest can acquire skill through hard work and constant Practice, which a prince may not acquire despite much coaching” (Maha Baratha)

Full many a gem of purest ray serene – The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear Full many a flower is born to blush unseen – And waste its sweetness on the desert air. (Thomas Gray – elegy)

Early Life

Christopher William Wijekoon Kannangara (CWW kannangara), ‘The Father of Free Education in Sri Lanka’ was born on October 13th, in 1884 and passed away on 23rd September 1969.

His father, John Daniel Wijekoon was a Fiscal officer attached to the Magistrate court Balapitiya but lost his job causing enormous financial difficulties to the ‘Kannangara family’.

In fact, in later life Mr CWW Kananagara, addressing a gathering of distinguished men had remarked ‘I do not think, anyone else here knows about poverty as much as I do. Sometimes we only had one meal a day and slept on mats’.

Though his father recognised the intellectual brilliance of the prodigious young son, he could not afford to send him to an Elite school and sent him to a Wesleyan Missionary School in his village, Randombe, Ambalangoda, (Southern province)

Undaunted by the difficulties and the ‘abysmal hand’ he had been served, young Kannangara impressed his teachers and peers with academic brilliance and impeccable discipline. When he was in Grade 5, at annual prize giving, Kannangara collected about fourteen prizes. This accomplishment and his mannerism, immensely impressed the chief guest, Rev. Darell, who was the principle of the Elite institution of education in the Southern province, Richmond College, Galle.

Rev. Darrel pleasingly remarked in view of young boy’s brilliance, ‘son you will need a cart to take all your prizes home’. As the saying goes, ‘a gem cannot be hidden for long,’ CWW Kannangara was given a chance to sit for a Richmond College Foundation scholarship exam. to study as a resident student at Richmond College Galle. Excelling in Mathematics he won the scholarship, an award for free board and lodging at Richmond College.

This benevolent encounter became a fortunate turning point, not only for young Kannangara also of the future of education of Sri Lanka.

Richmond College at that stage was meant exclusively for the rich and Kannangara had to face many difficulties and embarrassments from his peers at the school.

However, Kannangara’s brilliance was not limited to studies; he played cricket and soccer and in 1903 captained Richmond College First XI and played for Galle Cricket Club as well. He was also a member of the school soccer team and won Richmond College Colours for both sports in 1903.

In addition young Kannangara was a very fine orator and an actor and became the captain of college the debating team as well.

Though poor in wealth, he was a gifted child not only in the academic and sporting prowess, he had the determination and tenacity to reach high, overcoming obstacles.

He carried away the largest number of prizes at every prize giving during his tenure at Richmond and also held the prestigious position as the ‘Head Prefect’ of the college.

In 1903 he passed Cambridge Senior examination and was placed in the first division obtaining the highest marks for Mathematics. Having superseded all other candidates of the British Commonwealth, brought honour not only to Richmond College but to the entire country and tears of joy to the eyes of his great mentor, Rev. Darrel.

Young Kannangara would have never known that experiences gained as a poverty stricken child in Richmond College would induce in him such determination and valour to battle so valiantly for free education for us all, later in his political life.

Professional life

Rev. Darrel invited Kannangara to join the tutorial staff and teach Mathematics at Richmond College, which he duly obliged.

When his ‘God Father’ Rev. Darrel passed away suddenly in 1904, Kannangara could not bear the grief and moved out of Richmond to join Prince of Wales, Moratuwa. Later joined the tutorial staff of Wesley College, Colombo, where Sir Oliver Goonatilleke was one of his pupils. Having moved to Colombo he had opportunity to study further and attended the law college and qualified in 1910 as a lawyer.

He returned to Galle to establish his law practice and stoutly defended innocent people, without receiving any remuneration. who were accused and arrested by the colonial regime as involved in the unfortunate 1915 riots.

Entering into politics

CWW Kannangara joined as an active member of the Temperance movement which was initiated by patriots, F R Senanayake, Sir Baron Jayatilleke, Arthur V Dias. He was a founder member of the Ceylon National Congress which was working to obtain independence for Ceylon. In 1924 he was elected to Legislative Council and represented Galle District. He held the office as the Minister of Education in the State Council from 1931 to 1947.

The Bill for ‘Free education scheme

Opposition to the concept and elements of the proposed ‘Free education Scheme for all’ came from two contrasting strata of the then society in Ceylon. The privileged class with influence and power fought tooth and nail to abort the ideal as they felt education as the right of the ‘haves’’ Much greater opposition at least in numbers came from the poor majority, objecting that door to free education should not be available for the well to do people. CWW Kannangara , who had faced many difficulties and discriminations did not want to have class segregation in education and create an ongoing conflict not only among the students and staff insisted on free education concept for all.

University education previously was available almost exclusively to the most privileged layer of the society. The proposal to make it open for to all children irrespective of their wealth or social class was made by the committee headed by CWW Kannanagara. To be undaunted against powerful antagonists, to fight for the right cause, to amplify the voice of the unheard and press on tenaciously to reach the just destination, to create a window of opportunity to the needy, at the right place and at the right time for sake of the down trodden masses, there was the right man with determination, wisdom, compassion at heart an eloquence to win the debate. CWW Kannangara spearheading the campaign with above qualities in abundance, was indeed our good fortune.

The great educationalist, sportsman and a politician of honesty and integrity, presented the free education Bill on June 6, 1945 and it became effective on October 1, 1945.

Dr Kannangara’s vision

Poverty stricken yet clever children had no opening for education and the concept of Central School was also a ‘brainchild’ of this ‘great grand master’ educationalist. He wanted these institutions of learning to imitate that of Royal College, Colombo. The first three being at Akuramboda, Weeraketiya and Matugama. He insisted the importance of teaching science and English across the communities.

There had been more than fifty Government Central Colleges in Sri Lanka.

Introduced free mid-day meal for school children

Responsible for rapid development in Pirivena education

Inauguration of University of Peradeniya (University Bill passed in 1942 and the majestic University complex was completed in Peradeniya in 1952 with Sir Ivor Jennings as its first Vice Chancellor). At first convocation of The University of Ceylon, the Father of Free education, CWW Kannangara was conferred an Honorary Doctorate (PhD) in recognition to his services to education.

Fruits of his vision

Due to the efforts and vision of this great son of Sri lanka, doors opened evenly in every corner of the nine provinces and opportunities, a great boon enriched our mother Lanka.

There are today, very senior administrative officers, Doctors, Engineers, accountants, architects, lawyers and judges including a former chief justice, and many brilliant politicians have benefitted by his great vision and the concept of free education from kindergarten to University.

Though he was a tough man, had he lived to see one of the most auspicious days in the political history of our beloved motherland (9th January 2015) to see a prestigious product of a ‘central college’ (Polonnaruwa Royal Central College) reaching the peak of achievement and becoming not only the first citizen of Sri lanka, but being honoured and admired by the world leaders, I am certain, we would have witnessed tears of joy in the eyes of the ‘Father of Free education; Dr CWW Kannangara.

As a product of a Central College via 5th standard scholarship (Hikkaduwa Sri Sumangala and a recipient of 8th standard science scholarship) and received free education up to medical entrance examination at Dharmasoka College, Ambalangoda) this writer salute Dr CWW Kannangara for his great vision and the strength to make the concept of ‘Free education’ a reality. 

The name, Dr CWW Kannangara should be etched in the hearts of all Sri Lankans as the father of free education in Sri lanka. It is pleasing that at least past pupils of Central colleges have formed an association in Sri Lanka and a UK branch over the last few years do commemorate and celebrate the contribution to education by this great hero. Writer takes this opportunity to appeal to all both in motherland and abroad who benefitted by ‘Free education in Sri Lanka’ to join hands to celebrate together the wisdom and contribution of this great son of Sri Lanka.

His vision to have wide spread educational institutions in all nine provinces was the right one if that concept was carried out with same vigour and vitality by the latter day politicians the disparity in education standards and contents (including science and maths) between the so called elite schools in the capital cities of the provinces and the rural land mass would have so distinct. Perhaps that would have even removed some factors which nourished division among communities leading into a full-fledged ugly war.

Finally, a gentle appeal to the good and the great ruling our blessed motherland to consider some steps within Schools and colleges to commemorate annually Dr CWW Kannangara’s contribution towards free education uniformly across the four corners of our country.

When I look back Dr Kannangara’s illustrious life as a student and a public servant, not only gave us the boon of free education but his life taught us the value of hard work, discipline and determination to win over powerful obstructions and handicaps. His example should reverberate in the heart and mind of every child every citizen and of course every ruler of our pleasant land.

‘The heights of great men reached and kept – were not attained by sudden flight But they while their companions slept – were toiling upwards in the night’ American poet, Henry Wordsworth Longfellow;


Dr Ariya De Silva OBE, MBBS (Colombo), FRCOG, FC OG (SL), FRCS Glas. FRCS Edin. FRCP (Lond.). Former Visiting Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Sri Lanka

Nostalgia – in Praxy’s own words


It was a year ago to the date that we met
To celebrate RU 50 that we cannot forget
My decision was to keep in touch,
With every batch mate I love so much.
But alas has age taken its toll on my grey cells I wonder,
That I’ve not been able to keep in touch with friends from yonder.
But never mind another year will come
When we could meet and greet everyone.
So we shall patiently wait for that day
When we can meet and greet once again I pray.
Love and best wishes


Praxy de Saram

Please do not tell me how great you are!

1. Tell me all your gains and triumphs
Also your weaknesses and set backs
Make victories sound as much pompous
But stop short of making me bored or envious

2. Tell me all about your grown up offsprings
But not how clever they are or what they earn
Say as much of their greatness and virtues
Not forgetting their shortcomings and vices

3. Tell me about your achievements as loud as you can
Let me also hear weaknesses, mistakes and failings
Tell me all about your mansions and productive estates
But appeal you to spare me the moan over the paid prices

4. Tell me about your difficulties and problems
But please do not plan to take my whole day
Tell me of your adventures, travels and cruises
But would welcome, if you put the photos away”

5. Tell me all about your spouse and other keeps
But spare the nature and details of your fights
Please do come home for a chat and a spot of dinner
As long as you would be patient with my insipid dishes

6. Tell me about your extravagant love life
But please choose the time and the place
CertInly not when I am busy looking to park
Or when I am in a rush and trying to get back

7. Tell me about your siblings and parents
Whether or not they are healthy and alive,
But not how they ruined chances of your love
When you were way over the hill, at fifty five

8. Please talk as much about the prevailing weather
Grateful if you cut gossip about my friends, very dear
Tell me how generous and disciplined you are
But not a lecture on the greatness of your mentor

9. Tell me how lucky you have been in life
But be a tad sensitive of my wretched life
Praise your God or parents for been on your side
Bearing in mind that all are not equally fortunate



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