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Sunday, 8 February 2009

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The golden jubilee of Sarvodaya - Another rejoinder

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 Silva.

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 communities.

May Sarvodaya go from strength to strength.

Another response.

"Mills of God grind slowly......"

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.
 

Fascinating or ridiculous?

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 our culture!

-UNQUOTE

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