A well- established aesthetic decree requires that you admire the portals, before you make your entry into a notable edifice. The lettering on the cover, imparts a compelling dignity to the work. The portrait of the Prime Minister, selected for the cover, quite effectively projects the image of a mature statesman. The well-known and committed [...]

The Sunday Times Sri Lanka

Multi-hued bouquet to a leader

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A well- established aesthetic decree requires that you admire the portals, before you make your entry into a notable edifice. The lettering on the cover, imparts a compelling dignity to the work. The portrait of the Prime Minister, selected for the cover, quite effectively projects the image of a mature statesman.

The well-known and committed man-of-letters, author Sampath Bandara turns assiduous chronicler for the purpose of this impactful biography. Bandara’s original Sinhala text has been elegantly transformed into a vivid English incarnation, by the veteran, award-winning writer Vijita Fernando.

Together, this talented duo offer the reader a tantalizing smorgasbord of intriguing political data, along with enlightening personal details about Ranil Wickremesinghe, Prime Minister of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.

As a run-up to the biography Bandara, launches upon a somewhat prolonged prologue, on some of the significant biographies of the world. Here, he is quite clearly propelled by the praiseworthy intention, to place the biography of the Prime Minister, on par with the greatest, in this literary genre at global level.

A highly renowned leader of mankind, passed away on September 28, 2016, at the ripe-age of 93. Late in life, he had recorded the ideals that make a leader:

‚ÄúLeaders always have to find some new ways. Old ways are too known. Leaders must go ahead, even when moving ahead is controversial. You must be ahead of time, because if you want to represent the status quo, what do you need leaders for?‚ÄĚ

Strangely enough, these words seem to be an echo of the quintessential political philosophy that Prime Minister Wickremesinghe pragmatically espouses.

The author adds the line ‚ÄúA Political Biography‚ÄĚ as if keen to nudge us to be sensitive, perhaps, to other layers, levels and labels of the life of this central personality.

The sub-title apart, Bandara, has amply directed the reader‚Äôs concerned attention to the Prime Minister‚Äôs keen awareness of such life‚Äďenhancing interests as spirituality, culture, socialization, sports and other related issues that matter as soul-elevating initiatives.

The author takes a panoptic view of the political landscape of this country, over an era spanning nearly half- a century.

The author traces the progress of the Prime Minister from his birth on. He records this event, in these words: ‚ÄúRanil, the second son of Esmond and Nalini was born on March 24, 1949.‚ÄĚ

Here, I need a little personal diversion, from the main narration. This is n

Book facts: Ranil Wickremesinghe, Four time Prime Minister of Sri Lanka
A political biography, by Sampath Bandara
Translated by Vijita Fernando
Reviewed by Dr. Edwin Ariyadasa

ot at all a self- boosting ego-excursion. But, a mere reference to a personal issue that functionally matters to this continuing story.

In March, 1949, Esmond¬† Wickremasinghe, the illustrious father of the Prime Minister was the Chairman of Lake House. At his request, I ‚Äď a young graduate at the time ‚Äď saw him at his office. He personally recruited me to the Editorial Department of Lake House.

The author chronicles the progress of Ranil Wickremesinghe, towards political heights, until he reached the peak of elder statesman ‚Äď a sobriquet that he has earned, through a brilliant and sustained political dedication.

To my mind there is hardly any other politician in Sri Lankan history who has displayed such magnanimity of personality as Mr. Wickremesinghe who continued to maintain an unruffled, stoic, composure, in the face of uncouth criticism hurled at him.

He suffered defeats that followed one after the other, in quick succession. But, he continued unperturbed through all those ups and downs-and asserted himself as a solid presence in the field of Sri Lankan politics.

The thematic personality, that forms the core of this work, represents an admirable confluence of several privileged dynasties, both of the up-country region and of the Deep South.

Brought up in such a highly privileged social and traditional background, the Prime Minister grew up in a family ambience, in which spiritual and cultural values were built-in life-ingredients.

As a child, he was initiated into letters, at the auspicious hour, by the then incumbent prelate at Gangarama. Raised in such an environment, the Prime Minister is still given to the acceptance of that monastery, as his spiritual haven.

Author Bandara  places mandatory emphasis on the Prime Minister’s continued interest in art, culture, literature and allied disciplines.

This biography of Prime Minister Ranil Wickreme-singhe, should be carefully studied by all.The Prime Minister is a strong champion of a unified nation, as the only viable strategy for the establishment of a land of an integrated community, in which mutual fear is totally discarded and where friendly ‚Äď coexistence is firmly founded, making it impossible for narrow, diabolical minds to spread thoughts of violence, disharmony and carnage.

The value of the work is especially escalated by the portfolio of photographs.

While tracing the personality evolution of the Prime Minister, the author assiduously chronicles, the Prime Minister’s progress as exemplary politician, statesman and leader esteemed in the present global community.

The best witness to the Prime Minister‚Äôs inner strength is the tribute offered by his life-long friend Anura Bandaranaike. His unfading words: ‚ÄúHonesty is Ranil‚Äôs most important attribute. His hands are clean. It is not often that a country gets such a Leader.‚ÄĚ

The words echo down the corridors of time.

Sampath Bandara’s is a multi-hued bouquet offered to a rare leader and disciplined statesman, who continues to conduct his life of governance with an unswerving loyalty to the highest ethical ideals of accepted and time-honoured Parliamentary Rule.

What comes through, loud and clear, is the Prime Minister’s unshaken conviction, that, untrammelled public discourse is the iconic strategy of Governance left for humanity that believes in lasting values which keep on ever-renewing, come what may.

Author  Sampath  Bandara, has presented to the public domain a biography that will continue to be studied, admired and cherished.

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