Manipay Hindu College, the guiding light
Manipay is an age old prominent hamlet in the Jaffna peninsula which
was famous for its heritage of eminent philanthropists, statesmen,
scholars, diplomats, devoted professionals, businessmen and
Kumarasamypillai of Manipay was that first unofficial Tamil member of
the Legislative Council in 1833. His son, Sir Kumarasamypillai Muthu
Coomaraswamy, a distinguished son of Manipay was the first Asian to
receive the Knighthood from Queen Victoria.
His son, Dr. Ananda Coomaraswamy was a renowned archaeologist and
anthropologist. He interpreted the art and wisdom of Asia to the world.
He travelled extensively in South Asia and revealed that there had been
intimacy among all races in the region. It is the language and the
distance that have separated them. The two nephews of Sir
Muthucoomaraswamy, Sir. P. Ramanathan and Sir P. Arunachalam have played
a key role in public life during the pre-independence era in Ceylon.
The Green Memorial Hospital was founded by one American missionary,
Rev. Dr. Samuel Green. This was the first teaching hospital for western
medicine for doctors in Ceylon. Dr. A.C. Hall alias Kumaru was one of
the six students recruited for training by Dr. Green. After a period of
initial training from 1851 to 1853 at Green Memorial Hospital, he
proceeded to Vellore Medical College, India to complete the medical
On his return Dr. A.C. Hall was the first Ceylonese to be appointed
as Obstetrician and Gynaecologist to Green Memorial Hospital and its
branch Macleod Hospital (Maternity) at Inuvil, Chunnakam.
It is in this wealth of stately heritage, a son of the soil, W.
Sangarapillai, philanthropist and a successful businessman founded
Manipay Hindu College on 4th July 1910. The land was donated by him. The
foundation stone was laid by Sir Joseph Hutchinson the then Chief
Justice of Ceylon.
I was a student of this institution from 1946 to 1955. On January
4th, 1946, I gained admission to Manipay Hindu College and it was the
most memorable day in my life. The students and the teachers assembled
in the Hutchinson Hall and were eagerly waiting for the arrival of the
Principal, V. Veerasingham to address the gathering. At 9.00 am.
Sinniah, the soft spoken, unsophisticated peon rang the College bell.
There was pin drop silence. A stocky, dark, curly haired, meticulously
dressed, majestic figure, Principal Veerasingham was ushered into the
hall. In his speech while welcoming the new students, he emphasised that
all students should observe three "Golden rules" in life to enable them
to become useful citizens of the country.
q Students! you should learn to respect the feelings of others.
q Never say might is right, but remember right is might
q Be magnanimous, conduct yourself with decency and decorum and
maintain good public relations.
Manipay Hindu College is 100 years old and has a rich history. The
centenary celebration falls today, July 4, 2010. There are many sons and
daughters of Manipay and its environs who have been through the portals
of this college are holding responsible positions in various disciplines
in Sri Lanka and developed countries - U.K, USA, Canada, Australia and
the European Union.
Nineteen principals of the College have guided the destinies of the
institution for the last 100 years. Its progress has been largely due to
the untiring efforts of six past principals - Pandit V. Mylvaganam
(Swami Vipulananda), V. Veerasingham, K. Muthivetpillai, M. Perairavar,
S.T. Chari, C. Kesavarajah and the present Principal S. Sivaneswaran.
Pandit V. Mylvaganam, was the Principal of Manipay Hindu College for
a period of two years from 1921 to 1922.
V. Veerasingham B.A, J.P., MBE was the first old student to be
appointed as Principal for 29 years from 1922 - 1951. Under his
inspiring leadership the College grew rapidly and soon became one of the
leading institutions in the country. Students excelled not only in
education but also in sports and other extra-curricular activities. Four
of his students became professors in the University of Ceylon, Professor
K. Kularatnam - Geography, Professor Nadarajah - Law, Professor Hoover -
Biochemistry and Professor A. Sinnathamby, Obstetrics - Gynaecology.
Senator Nadesan, an eminent lawyer and C. Mahendra were also old
students of Manipah Hindu College.
Two of his students took up business as their career. A. Subramaniam,
a pioneer in Hardware industry, was the Managing Director of Mascons
Limited and Asbestos Cement Industries Limited. He was an amiable
gentleman and had the character, courage, industry and perseverance and
achieved his goals with remarkable success. Deshabandu Albert
Athisayaratnam Page, a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants
of Sri Lanka and a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and
Administrators, London was the Chairman of Ceylon Theatres Limited,
Cargills Limited, Millers Limited and Managing Director of C.T. Land
Development Limited, the key developers of Majestic City, a standing
monument for skills and dedication to serve the country. He had acute
and penetrative business acumen. He extended his business reach in
diversified fields with outstanding success.
Subramaniam and Page were helpful particularly in developing their
alma mater, Manipay Hindu College. Subramaniam provided adequate funds
to construct a vocational training centre for students and Mascons Block
with classrooms. In accordance with the last will of Page, a Memorial
Hall was constructed and the funds was provided by him and his children.
These three buildings are a monument for their realised vision.
Mudliyar Mahesan, J.P. was a philanthropist. He has contributed
largely to the development of Manipay parish. He was also a devoted
member of the Board of Directors of manipay Hindu College.
V.S. Thurairajah, a distinguished old student of the College, studied
architecture in Bombay and England. He established his private practice
under the name of Thurairajah Associates in 1964. He has made
significant contribution to architecture for over a period of forty
years in Sri Lanka and overseas.
S. Sivaneswaran, B.Com (Hons), Dip, in Ed., M.Ed, the present
Principal assumed duties in April 2005. During his period, the student
population has increased to over 1000. The College has produced
excellent results in G.C.E. (O/L) and Advanced Level. In the field of
sports and extra curricular activities, the College has done exceedingly
well. In appreciation of the outstanding contribution and for guiding
the destinies of the institution by the principal and the teachers of
Manipay Hindu College, the Old Students Association, Colombo has
provided funds to build;
* Mudliyar Mahesan Memorial Block
* R.V. Arumugam Memorial Pavilion
* V.S. Thurairajah Open Air Theatre.
Old students of Manipay Hindu College are indebted to the institution
for imparting the wealth of education, enjoyment of sports and culture,
apart from inculcating noble values in life.
The Old Students Association of Manipay Hindu College, Colombo
appreciates the vision and mission of the founder W. Sangarapillai, who
100 years ago decided to build the institution as a tribute to Manipay
parish, where he was born.
We wish the college Godspeed and all success for the future.
The writer is the President of Manipay Hindu College, Old Students
Association, Colombo branch, Sri Lanka.