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9th September 2001
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Appreciations

  • Only memories remain
  • Farewell, dear friend
  • He was a true shepherd 
  • Only memories remain

    Zamani Fazreen Izzadeen

    'The good die young' may be a cliché, but this statement has a mystic truth and an extension of it could be that 'the very good die very young'. My daughter, Zamani Fazreen, was very good and she died very young.

    I write with a heavy heart about Fazreen. A Grade 9 student of Muslim Ladies' College, Bambalapitiya, she met with an untimely death in the angry seas of Kirinde, Yala on the afternoon of August 19. It happened in the presence of her mother, sister, myself and a host of friends. None had the faintest idea that a mere feet-washing in the sea would turn into a death trap for my younger daughter and near-death traps for many others, including me.

    Now she is gone and we have only memories memories of her charity and compassion.

    I remember how her clothes and shoes went missing, only to be told later by Fazreen that she had given them to needy children.

    No sooner Fazreen drowned in the turbulent waters than assistance was called to recover her body. Divers, including those from the Navy, were unable to do much as the sea was rough. Then entered 35 civilian divers from Kirinde led by Rajim of the National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency. They gave us the assurance that the body would be recovered. They tried to locate the body by diving into the spot where Fazreen went down, with no success. But the volunteers did not give up. Next day they spotted the body being dragged out into the ocean. Rajim, Fakurdeen, Samsudeen, Tony and many others braved the waters and brought the body shrouded from head to toe, the way a Muslim female's body has to be respected.

    These young divers should be commended for their help and kindness. Their assistance seemed to indicate to us that all the meritorious acts my daughter had done were bearing fruit.

    Fazreen's body was then taken to a mosque in a small hamlet in Kirinde, for religious rites. Here, there was another surprise. The whole village was out in force, not out of curiosity, but to pay Fazreen their last respects and help us.

    May Almighty Allah bless all those who assisted us and may Fazreen attain Jennathul Firdouse (Eternal Bliss). Inna Lillaahi Wainnaa Ilaihi Raajioon (From Him do we come and to Him is our return).

    Fazal Izzadeen


    Farewell, dear friend

    George Dias

    I travell'd on seeing the hill, where lay my expectations (George Herbert, The Pilgrimage)

    I was privileged to meet George in 1954 when we were undergraduates resident in Jayatilleke Hall at the Peradeniya University Campus. He was active but not obtrusively zealous in whatever activity he participated and this was because he never aspired to be an achiever. Surprising as it may seem, his apparently frail frame coped with the rigours of rugger. His other interest was the Students' Christian Movement (SCM). I lost touch with George, soon after we left university.

    We came into close contact with each other again, when he was Manager, Foreign Department, People's Bank and I was working in the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation. We were in frequent consultation on details relating to documentary credits, at a time when obtaining foreign exchange allocations for imports of crude oil and other petroleum products were a nightmare. We faced the nightmare together and this helped us to enhance both the quality and extent of our friendship. We lost contact once again when I spent about eight years abroad.

    Back in Sri Lanka, I re-established dialogue with George but in entirely different circumstances. The time had come for us to say farewell to the 'mercantile mind' that once held us in involuntary thralldom for the sake of earning a living. The new field of interest was music, which he loved with a concealed passion. We used to meet regularly at practices of the Unity Singers, directed by the late Rev. Maurice Cobban Lea. 

    Though he left no cold stone monument at which we could vainly gaze, his spirit still blows where it listeth, among us and deep within us. Hail and farewell dear friend, we have grasped the meaning of incarnation, in your life and work.

    Eymard de Silva Wijeyeratne


    He was a true shepherd 

    Rev. Paul Gnanadass

    Rev. Paul Gnanadass entered glory on August 18, last year after having served as a priest in Sri Lanka for nearly three decades. Born an Indian, Rev. Gnanadass came to Sri Lanka in the 1940s with one aim; to do the Lord's ministry. He was a devoted husband, precious father and shepherd to his parishioners.

    Though feeble, after his transfer to St. Mark's Church, Dandugama in January 2, last year, he shouldered his responsibilities with eagerness and diligence. He practised what he preached (Romans 2:21). His simple lifestyle encouraged people to seek his guidance and prayers. One remarkable attribute of Rev. Gnanadass was that he rarely voiced a complaint. Even amidst inconveniences and shortcomings at the Mission House, he with his family, cheerfully adapted without a murmur.

    Rev. Gnanadass with his devout wife Jothy has raised a close-knit family which is an asset to the parish of St. Mark's. Jothy maintains her God-assigned task in her own quiet way, dispensing motherly advice, praying for those going through difficulties and visiting the sick. His children Jennifer, Johnson, Wilson, Emerson and Chrishanthini, distinct in their diverse gifts of music, singing and preaching contribute immensely, promoting the quality of worship. 

    Christina George

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