Old Anandians as authors: From Emergency ’58 to Road to Nandikadal
Chief Justice K. Sripavan graced the annual prize giving of his alma mater, Jaffna Hindu College as the Chief Guest last Monday (19). Sripavan is the second Old Boy of Jaffna Hindu College to become the Chief Justice of Sri Lanka after late S. Sharvananda.
Jaffna Hindu College being one of the premier educational institutions in the North, the school celebrated its 125th anniversary last year.
Apart from Sripavan and late Sharvananda, Jaffna Hindu College has also produced several legal giants such as late Senator S .Nadesan QC and former Attorney General Siva Pasupathy. Not only in the legal fraternity even in the fields of engineering and medicine several leading figures in the island as well as abroad remain as the proud products of Jaffna Hindu College.
Two years ago the Champions of Change Award was presented to Dr. S. Sivanathan who is an Old Boy of Jaffna Hindu College by the White House in Washington DC for his contribution in introducing unique techniques to the night vision warfare system of the US Army.
It was the system even used by the US Navy’s elite SEALS commandos to track down and eliminate Al Qaeda Leader Osama Bin Laden, five years ago.
The US Army also honoured Dr. Sivanathan separately with the title ‘Friend of the Night.’
It was a week ago retired Major General Kamal Gunaratne launched his autobiography Road to Nandikadal at his alma mater Ananda College, Colombo. The autobiography narrated extensively the story on the last phase of the war against the LTTE and on the killing of the leader of the outfit.
According to sources, as the International Book Fair is currently being held at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH), Colombo, Maj. Gen. Kamal Gunaratne’s autobiography which is written in Sinhala is much in demand among the book lovers who gather at the book fair in their thousands daily.
It was in May this year Chief Justice K. Sripavan was the Chief Guest at a unique event organized jointly by the Old Boys of Jaffna Hindu College and Ananda College, Colombo. The event was held in memory of V.T.S. Sivagurunathan, Panikkar and Thanabalasingam who remained as highly respected science and English teachers at Ananda College.
It was not only these three teachers even late Senator S.R. Kanaganayagam, the father of legal luminary President’s Counsel Kanag Easwaran, was a teacher at Ananda College before his entry into the legal profession.
The Head Master of the Primary School of Ananda College late V.T.S. Sivagurunathan even was an Old Boy of Jaffna Hindu College.
Chief Justice K. Sripavan speaking at the colourful event held at Kingsbury, Colombo in May this year in the presence of a large number of distinguished Old Boys of Ananda College, Colombo and Jaffna Hindu College praised the initiative taken by the Old Boys of both schools with farsightedness to organize the event to promote reconciliation between the North and the South.
Emphasizing the need of strengthening the unity and integrity in the country Chief Justice Sripavan said: “We should try to find out what it is that we want and, when once we know it, if we are firm in our view, and remain united there is nothing impossible for human beings to achieve. Bridges can be easily smashed but not so easily built, and the emotional and psychological bridges of life are far harder to rebuild and they also leave scars behind.
Reflection of Confusion
It is because we are divided, fighting one with another, undisciplined in our nature and not united, that we have all the confusion that we come across in this country. The confusion in this country is a reflection of the confusion in our own souls. If we are able to discover the element which is able to integrate our own nature, immediately we will find that there is nothing determined, that there is nothing fixed but the whole thing is open to us and it depends on us what we make of the future of this country.”
So, just as Ananda College has produced Chief Justices Sir Arthur Wijewardene, the first Sri Lankan to adorn the position and G.P.A. Silva, and Justice Athukorala, Acting Chief Justice, the school in the past also had produced several key military figures and several of them had even ended up as Commanders of the Army including Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka.
As a mark of respect to his old school Maj. Gen. Kamal Gunaratne released his book Road to Nandikadal at Ananda College where another Old Anandian was also present at the event and he was none other than former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa participated in the event with his brother former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
It is important at this juncture to remember another iconic Old Anandian Tarzie Vittachi who had won the Ramon Magsaysay Prize which is considered as the Nobel Prize of Asia for his authoring Emergency ’58. Tarzie Vittachi being the Editor of Sunday Observer had written the book Emergency ’58 mainly on the communal riots against the Tamils in the Island in 1958.
It was the first communal violence against Tamils and the racial politics which snowballed gradually after 1958 had led to three decades of civil war later on in the island.
Tarzie Vittachi who was one of the iconic journalists in Asia and the first Sri Lankan to receive the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Prize for journalism was an exemplary Old Boy of Ananda College, if the contents of his book Emergency ’58 was taken into consideration at the time it was released on strengthening peace and reconciliation, there wouldn’t have been the need for another Old Anandian Maj. Gen. Kamal Gunaratne to write the bloodiest experience after fifty years on civil war in the island titled Road to Nandikadal.
|Prize Day 2016 held on 19 Sep: Hon.K.Sripavan Chief Guest, Best Club Award to Scout Troop|