Centenarian Pasqual reveals secret of longevity
Former MP for Matugama, one of the most senior members of the Sri
Lanka Freedom Party, Daya T Pasqual celebrated his 100th birthday
yesterday in Matugama in a simple manner with those who are dear and
near to him.
Daya T. Pasqual
The plaque he received
from the SLFP on its 59th anniversary.
Living up to 100 years is a minor miracle considering the increasing
number of deaths taking place in modern times. People are afflicted with
various kinds of illnesses at many stages of life but a few people have
the fortune to live long.
Daya Taranolis Pasqual, better known as Daya T. Pasqual, was born on
June 9, 1912 in a remote village called Uragoda, Welipenna in the
He was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Being the eldest of
a family of 13 members, he had to shoulder a lot of responsibilities to
help his parents to bring up their children.
Pasqual has reached his 100 year but he is still hale and hearty. He
always extends his helping hand to needy people in the area without
thinking of what he would gain. He is neither a fanatic nor a blind
follower of Buddhism.
He reminisced his childhood memories to the Sunday Observer "My
father was a farmer and those days farmer was called "Govi rala" and my
mother was an astrologer in the area.
Being the eldest in the family, I had to help my parents by doing
errands and odd work at home. When my mother had "Vilirudawa" (labour
pain), I had to convey the message to a woman called "Kabara Archchi'
who performed the duty of midwife. Anyway, I helped my parents with
He received his primary education at the only Sinhala School in
Matugama. It was at the present bus stand premises in Matugama.
He pursued his higher education at Ananda Shastralaya, Kotte under
the able guidance of the late Dr E.W. Adikaram. He excelled in studies.
Pasqual lives in an old spacious house with a domestic aid. He is
looked after by his close relatives. The only furniture available in the
house are a few chairs and an old bed. He does not watch television or
use mobile phones.
The only way he keeps in touch with the modern world is through
reading newspapers. He said his favourite newspaper is the Sunday
Recollecting his fond memories Pasqual said once he received a letter
from the Defence Ministry during the UNP regime asking him to return the
fire-arms which he had taken from the government to the Matugama police
station. He immediately replied saying that he had never used any
fire-arms. He also said the only weapon he possessed was his old
umbrella which he did not want to part with. Later the Defence Secretary
had apologised to him over the matter.
On another occasion, he had gone to a reputed hotel in Colombo with
D.A. Rajapaksa for a vegetarian meal. The waiter had brought meals with
fork and spoon. However, he asked the waiter to bring a finger bowl.
After having meals, he ordered dessert. The waiter had brought a cup of
fruit salad without a spoon. Pasqual said the waiter had done it
purposely. He also said that somehow he managed to eat the fruit salad
without a spoon! However, he complained to the manager regarding the
waiter's conduct. The best part of the story was it appeared in the now
defunt Evening Times headlined "An ultra nationalist MP experiences
Revealing the secret of his longevity, Pasqual advises people to live
with nature. He also stressed the need to lead a religious life
observing the Five Precepts. He said, "I have not been afflicted with
any serious illness so far. Whenever I get a minor cold, I use
paspanguwa, an aurvedic medication. I am a vegetarian too. I have never
tasted liquor in my life time. I am also a non-smoker.
Today, he said, "people are running a rat race and eat junk food.
They do not take regular exercise. I used to walk two or three miles a
day which helped me lead a healthy life. However, modern people do not
like to walk; They hire a three wheeler even for short distances".
"We had a large number of buffaloes and we never bought rice and
vegetables at the village boutique.
We had enough rice and vegetables for consumption since my father was
I can still remember vividly how I ate curd with red rice which is
supposed to be very nutritious. Drinking enough water is another
contributory factor for my good health".
Pasqual was elected to Parliament as the MP for Matugama in 1956 and
retained his seat for 21 years. He won each election with a sweeping
He got the highest number of votes in 1956 coming second only to
Attanagalle. Matugama is still known as "Punchi Attanagalle". He played
different roles as a member of Parliament.
He was a deputy minister and a deputy chairman of the parliamentary
He did his best to develop the electorate during his tenure.He was
never surrounded by bodyguards.
When he was offered a ministerial portfolio, he declined to accept
it. He did not make money while doing politics. Instead he spent money
for the well-being of the people in Matugama.
He is the most senior member of the SLFP. He did not switch loyalties
and remained a steadfast SLFPer from its humble beginnings.
He was felicitated by the SLFP at its 59th anniversary.
Commenting on the present political situation, Pasqual said President
Mahinda Rajapaksa is the strongest leader the SLFP had ever produced. He
also said the President saved the motherland from the iron grip of the
He said, "The Rajapaksas have been true patriots and I am sure that
the country will prosper in the years to come".
Politicians of Daya T. Pasqual are very rare indeed and he will set
an example for the up and coming politicians in Sri Lanka.
When considering the ripe old age and his daily routine, one is
reminded of Shakespeare's words "Some never seem to grow old. Always
active in thought, always ready to adopt new ideals, they are never
changeable with egoism. Satisfied, yet ever dissatisfied, settled, yet
ever unsettled they always enjoy the best of what is, and are the first
to find the best of what will be.
"Though I look old, yet I am strong".