132 pages of excellence
St. John’s College,
Nugegoda – Hundred years of
Author – Jagath C. Savanadasa
Format – Coffee Table Book
You need to give it to the man, my friend Jagath C. Savanadasa.
Reading this book leaves one deeply impressed. The effort he had put
into it, the easy flowing language and cohesive manner in which it is
presented and the beauty of the printing simply leaves one dazzled.
The story begins with the Kingdom of Kotte in the 15th century, moves
on to the colonial period covering the eras of the Portuguese, Dutch and
the British. The British occupation of the island, which lasted 150
years followed by the long spell of missionary education, takes space in
the book. Earlier, the impressions of the Dutch rule in terms of the
network of the Canals specially in Colombo, their Architecture and
culture beside Roman Dutch law are touched upon adequately. The book
also shows a research orientation. All throughout the publication, the
socio-economic growth and advancement of Nugegoda and to a degrees this
country are dealt with.
Incidentally, such developments according to the book first appeared
some 500 years ago during the reign of King Parakramabahu the IV when a
primitive form of exports began, the two main products being Cinnamon
and Arecanut. The literary achievements of the great era, which led to
the writing of ‘Salalihini Sandeshaya’ much admired over the centuries
have been highlighted.
There is a beautiful picture of the Kotte Rajamaha Viharaya at the
beginning of the publication as well as reference to the abiding faith
of Buddhists to their religion and of their attachment to the Temples –
a classic characteristic of Buddhist life since ancient times.
There is a large picture of the Rev. John Henry Wickramanayake, the
founder of the original institution of mixed gender. It was located in
the church of St. Mary & John, Nugegoda.
The author does not fail to refer to the counter active development
of Buddhist education following the arrival in the island of Colonel
Henry Steel Olcott and his pioneering endeavour in the establishment of
leading Buddhist educational institutions in Colombo, Kandy and Galle.