The boy from Hakmana who made it to the top
The small city of Hakmana lies 18 miles interior from the coastal big
city of Matara. Have these cities sprung to fame newly? No. These
Southern cities spangled in glory even during the famed regime of Rohana
desha from where a prince marched Northwards as early as the Before
Christ years to secure "unto the Sinhala race their due priority".
In fact legend has it that King Detuthis chose Hakmana as his seat of
power. However, Father Time rode swiftly by. Years rolled by, centuries
rolled by. History itself orchestrated many somersaults and along with
the rest of the country, the territory around succumbed to the foreign
The Star Fort of Matara today sprawls as a symbol of the colonial
hegemony. In 1948 tables turned again and the voyage towards freedom was
sleek unlike in India where it was bloody.
Yet the fight was somewhat challenging. Reins of power glided from
the White man to the ones suppressed and oppressed by three colonial
That could be an exaggerated statement for not all suffered. In fact
many of the upper rungs of the native Lankan society profited by
colonialism for they were allowed to pick the most savoury pieces fallen
from the imperialist table. English language went on to become the
Kaduwa that favoured the upper and and upper middle class while cutting
the necks of the struggling masses.
The offspring of those born with the proverbial silver spoons, were
afforded admission to the superior schools that thrived on the foreign
language and the brainiest of the lot were chosen to the foreign
universities of the West to make the "alienation" process complete.
But slowly, surely set in a social revolution spearheaded by
nationalists and educationists that provided scope for the native
intelligentsia to spring up and shed their lustre.
Many are those who fall into this list including Wimal Rubasinghe ,
who today heads the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation. He is so modest
about himself that he may actually disown the position that the writer
ascribes to him.
The latest to rise from the rustic and pastoral landscapes to the
galaxy of intellectuals of Lanka. Why use that word "intellectual" as an
alternative to the word bureaucrat? For Wimal Rubasinghe (WR) is really
an intellectual by himself. He prefers to be introduced as a writer.
His stuff is the local stuff, that stuff that moulds the man and
woman who parades our roads and fields and valleys daily, whose sweat
goes into the transformation of the green stalks into those bearing the
golden seeds of paddy. Then there are the poor who live by the sweat of
varied manual hardwork. He hankers after them and after those who
I met WR at an assembly held in the Royal Asiatic Society premises.
He was then Secretary to the Ministry of National Heritage and
Culture, if I remember correct.
Not only the highest elements of intellectualism were embedded in him
but the lowest and most admirable levels of humility, I must say, have
gone into the making of WR.
I have been curious about this gentleman some ten years plus my
junior in age but who has continuously climbed up and up not by sheer
bureaucratic aggression but by the gift of gods who befriend pure souls
always veering towards the good and the positive and the constructive.
His father was the village Veda mahaththaya (along with his maternal
grandfather) who mustered much respect but were satisfied with their
The father never wanted his children to reach the stars but two of
them went quite a distance along that route.
The second in the family, WR had his primary and secondary education
at Hakmana Methodist College and Kongala Maha Vidyalya.
Beginning his career as a teacher, he passed his clerical
examinations and entered the Civil Service with flying colours.
Getting his first appointment as AGA of the Weeraketiya division, he
went on to become the Divisional Secretary of Pitabeddara, Kotapola,
Akmeemana, and Welipitiya.
When President Mahinda Rajapaksa was the Minister of Labour and
Vocational Training he got the most suitable job so far (since he had
started writing too) ie. the post of Senior Asst.Secretary of Media.
He was also appointed Additional Commissioner of the Motor Traffic
Dept. Then on to the post of Secretary of the ministry of Culture and
National Heritage and then Secretary, Culture and the Arts.
He become Chairman, National Environmental Authority.
And today he is chairman, Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation.
As for his academic achievements, he holds a degree from Sri
Jayewardenepura University, a Diploma in Journalism from the Colombo
University and a Diploma in Management from the Open University.
He continued his studies in Birmingham University, London on
Enhancing the Performance of Public Service and a Management Diploma
from the SL Institute of Development Administration.
With all that or in spite of all that he acts as a Registered
Ayurvedic Medical Practitioner and as a professional trainer in
Management in the Southern Province.
Who says that life is too short for more than one activity? Wimal
Rubasinghe's career tale belies that. And as reiterated, he is a writer
These are his works, all in Sinhala media Kolamba Kaviya (Colombo
poetry), Divi Gamanaka Aswenna (Harvest of the Journey of Life),(could
be his own), Prabodhani (Stimuli), Vana Osu Wavamu, Suvasetha Sandamu
(Let us cultivate wild curative plants and enhance our health). In
addition, he is the editor of varied magazines and journals. In 1998 a
magazine edited by him on Management won an islandwide competition.
Why did I bother to list all this? To demonstrate what a lot a man
can achieve within his normal lifespan (he is 64 years). And all of it
is fragrant with goodness and utility value.
Human life is precious but today many a man and woman and even some
children for that matter fritter their lives away and even end their
lives on utterly insignificant issues that can be easily solved.
Providing information on such worthwhile lives no doubt acts as a
boon and salve and as a very positive catalyst.