This is with reference to the letter that appeared in your esteemed
journal of 18.01.2009 under the above headline - A Response.
I fully agree and endorse what has been stated in the letter referred
to. At the first Kanatoluwa camp there were volunteers, not only from
Nalanda Vidyalaya but also from other schools as mentioned in the above
quoted letter and from various departments like health, rural and
Colombo. Municipal Council as well. Out of the first group of
participants that come to my mind and who may have contacts with present
Sarvodaya are Nalanda students, Gamini Jayawickrama Perera, presently
Chairman U.N.P., Ananda Weerasekara an Army officer now a Buddhist
priest, Dharma Gunasingha, a teacher and later Principal of Nalanda
Vidyalaya, Olcott Gunasekera, a C.C.S. cadet then attached to the Rural
Development Department who also made a personal contribution before
leaving the camp at Kanatoluwa, and Miss Neetha from Musaeus College.
I was a volunteer who participated at the first Sramadana camp at
Kanatoluwa and later at Manawa and Panichchenkerny. Later I participated
in the first Sauykyadana camp at Sri Pada organised by Dr. Lakshman De
The certificates hanging in my office room bear testimony that these
sramadana camps were organised by the Rural Development Department and
signed by the Director, Rural Development Department, Principal of
Nalanda Vidyalaya, M. W. Karunananda and D. S. Senanayake President of
Social Service league, Nalanda Vidyalaya. Kanatoluwa camp was held from
8th December 1958 to 18th December 1958 and Panichchankerny camp from
24th August 1959 to 31st of August 1959. I was not given a certificate
of attendance for the Manawa camp. As I have few photographs of the
first Sauykadana camp at Sri Pada I am unable to give the dates etc.,
but I do remember that I went with Prof. W. A. S. De Silva for the camp.
I still have very good memories of those camps including a few moments
we enjoyed at these camps. The smallest student a Nalandian was a big
joker amongst us.
D. A. Abeysekara of Rural Development Department who was really the
brain behind the Sramadana Movement introduced it to schools and later
after the first few camps left, due to, I believe, after some
misunderstanding with Ariyaratna.
We must not forget our beginnings and those who helped us to go
forward in our endeavours. Sarvodaya and Sauykyadana movements are
shoots of Sramadana, a concept of D. A. Abeysekara.
After the first few camps Ariyaratna in 1960 started Sarvodaya
Movement with others and shramadana died a natural death and the name of
D. A. Abeysekara also became unknown. I must also state here that what
Dr. Ariyaratna did and is doing now by organising Sarvodaya has to be
appreciated by one and all. I do not know whether there is any other
organisation in Sri Lanka which could be compared to or even equal to
this movement. The date of Sarvodaya celebrations is factually incorrect
as I have given the details earlier in this letter but we must all wish
Sarvodaya a very good future in all their efforts to improve the
May Sarvodaya go from strength to strength.
Our noble President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the helm of affairs in the
country gracefully selected "wheat from the chaff", fully entrusted the
Herculean task to eradicate the blood-thirsty Tiger terrorist menace
completely to dedicated commanders in Sri Lanka, the Army, Navy, Air
Force and the Police to do a job of work well; adopting an non-interferring
policy of good governance.
The valiant soldiers "Got tossed upon the waves but with their
commanders at the helm, no soldier ever dared to doubt the service shief
but valiantly performed their respective duties at the jaws of
death".Steps taken in the `right direction with right men in the right
place' the gigantic task of eradicating completely the Terrorist menace
in our fair isle was possible at last. "Honour and shame from no
condition rise Act well thy part there all the honour lies".
C. L. Terence Fernando, Moratuwa.
Being a parent of a 16-year-old daughter attending the most
prestigious girls' school in Colombo, I was surprised the other day, to
learn that students of this 'Buddhist' Vidyalaya were instructed by
their Prefects' Guild to purchase from a shop 'with the knowledge of
parents' and bring men's underwear to school to be donated to Sri
Lanka's "Rana Viru" Armed Forces.
I am astonished and keen to know whether these requests were made
with the prior consent of the Principal. I would not have made these
comments if these girls were asked to bring feminine underwear or
sanitary napkins for donation towards female cadres of our armed
services. Men's underwear is completely alien to students of this most
prestigious 'Buddhist School' in Colombo.
Would the authorities concerned make investigations immediately to
identify the origin of these instructions which would be disastrous to