Who can forget such a wonderful bro-in-law RANJIT W. ATUKORALA It is with deep sadness that I am trying to pen some lines recalling memories of my dear brother-in-law (Ranjit Aiya) who passed away peacefully, just as the Vesak full moon began to wane. My earliest recollection of him is of a little boy in a [...]

The Sunday Times Sri Lanka



Who can forget such a wonderful bro-in-law
It is with deep sadness that I am trying to pen some lines recalling memories of my dear brother-in-law (Ranjit Aiya) who passed away peacefully, just as the Vesak full moon began to wane. My earliest recollection of him is of a little boy in a page-boy suit,in the wedding photograph of a paternal aunt,with a beautiful little girl in a flowing flower-girl dress, her head framed with silken long curls, secured by a band of roses, clutching a bouquet – this was my sister, Thilini – his first cousin!

After completing his schooling at Royal College Colombo, he had been attracted to my pretty sister – and had kept it a secret.My father (his maternal uncle) assumed that he was the most caring nephew, who paid regular visits on his bicycle, though the visits were to see my sister!
He proposed to my sister at the farewell party on his departure to Manchester.On his return as a fully-fledged young Chartered Mechanical Engineer, he fulfilled his promise, with the blessings of their parents. I was honoured to be their chief bridesmaid!

Many years ago he had to face a daring experience. My sister and I accompanied him to the long-awaited “Match of the Year” – the Royal-Thomian! (Though Visakhians, we thought ourselves to be staunch Royalists, our father being an old Royalist as well!). The match being over, we had just entered his bright red car, when a young female cousin who accompanied us, shrieked out “Thomian Parippu” at a gang of Thomians, jam-packed in a jeep!

mmediately the chase began! The car being conspicuous owing to its colour, was clearly visible even in the approaching dusk, all the way to Mount Lavinia and back, my brother-in-law driving at the highest speed! He veered off Flower Road into some lane, and they lost us as they whisked past! We had a narrow escape owing to his brilliant driving skills, from those Thomians hell-bent on smashing us into pulp!

A lover of classical music, he would with his fine tenor voice sing among others, his favourite “Toreador’s Song” from Bizet’s “Carmen” with much gusto. He would surprise us with a voluntary rendering of Beethoven’s “Moonlight”, quite impressive, though found to be in C Major!

The first years of their wedded life were at “Rose Cottage” Bandarawela, the fragrant May Queen roses adorning their garden. Their happiest years in Sri Lanka were in Lindula where he was Manager of Browns and where their beloved son Yehan was born – a beautiful bonny boy. Their bungalow – aptly named “Mountain View” was a typical upcountry abode with fire places which they lit up, reminding me of Vivaldi’s “Winter”. The scenery was exquisite, with a range of majestic mountains, often veiled with lingering white mists, while a crystal clear stream meandered in the valley below. St. Clair’s and Devon cascading in the glistening sunlight, were in close proximity. Driving up from Colombo these breath-taking falls were a sign our destination was near. On one occasion I declined to travel up, if my cello could not be accommodated in the vehicle. I felt, practising, surrounded by the panoramic backdrop, would be inspiring – an obliging brother-in-law gave in!

My sister and I occasionally accompanied him on official visits to the factories, on the lush, green, perfectly manicured tea estates.The strong, unmistakable aroma of tea, mingling with the cool mountain air would waft even into the car as we waited. We once coaxed two brightly clad, smiling tea-pluckers to lend us their baskets laden with freshly hand-picked tea leaves, to wear on our heads for photographs! This had resulted in a complete stoppage of work – this information was given to us by the tolerant Superintendent, while an embarrassed engineer looked on!

His ready wit and humour can be expressed with an incident at a 31st night’s dance at the Radella Club. Some hopeful young gentlemen desired to partner me. To my annoyance they were drawing me too close. Midnight was approaching. Not wishing to receive any New Year kisses, I freed myself and complained to him, “Why are they holding me so close?” His unforgettable and prompt reply was “Oh! We have some embracing weather up here!”

The lure of wildlife made him accept the World Bank funded post of Chief Engineer of the Tanzania Tea Authority. They spent many memorable years with visits to the famous game parks there. He was instrumental in arranging for Buddhist monks to reside and preach at the only Buddhist Temple in Africa (at that time) in Dar-es-Salaam. Podi Hamuduruwo of Gangaramaya Temple Colombo and Albert Edirisinghe, participated at this meritorious event.

A loving husband to my sister Thilini, he gave much encouragement and support to all her activities with the Girl Guide movement here and in Tanzania. He was overjoyed at her receiving the prestigious appointment as Chief Commissioner. An active member of the Lions Clubs in Nuwara Eliya and Tanzania, his other keen interests were cricket, rugger and wildlife.

His caring and affectionate wife Thilini, devoted son Yehan, Madushi, Somé, Manik, Dimuthu and Chandima, showered him with love and affection always. A man of character and integrity, unassuming, patient, soft spoken, genuinely caring, his countenance often wreathed with his inimitable smile – he was loved by all.

My heart is full of gratitude for his kindness, concern and generosity and I wish him to be born in heavenly realms and attain Nibbana.
-Savitri Jayatileka

A gentleman to his fingertips
Thiru Kadirgamar
Retired Senior Superintendent of Police Thiru Kadirgamar passed away after a brief illness on January 14, 2015 in Toronto, Canada. He was 87 years old. He was the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Kadirgamar, from an illustrious family from Manipay, northern Sri Lanka.

He studied at St. John’s College from 1938 to 1947. In 1944, in a cricket match against Jaffna Central College, he scored 99 not out. In 1946 he won the all-rounders award, and in 1947 he equalled the highest batting record of 113 against Jaffna Central College, which stood for a very long time until it was broken recently. He captained St. John’s College cricket team in 1946 and 1947. The trend that started in 1941 continued till 1947 with St. John’s College winning seven “big matches” in a row and Thiru Kadirgamar being the livewire of those victories. This record has not been broken yet.

In 1947 he was the Senior Prefect at St. John’s College, Jaffna. In 1950 he won the best performance cup in the North Ceylon AAA (Amateur Athletics Association) meet. In the same year he captained the Jaffna schools soccer team which took part in the All Island soccer championships.

Described as one of the finest Officers of the Sri Lanka Police, his last assignment was as the head of the Central Fraud and Investigation Bureau. Prior to that, he was one of the most senior officers serving the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Sri Lanka Police for a very long period.
In 1952 the soft-spoken, gangling six-footer joined the Ceylon Police as a sub Inspector and during the training period he won the Inter station athletic championship. While serving in the Police Department he won the “Knowles Shield” for three consecutive years, and also played cricket and tennis for the Police.

He started his career at the Ratnapura police station and later was Officer in Charge of Rakwana, Kahawatte and Kosgoda police stations. He was transferred to the CID, Colombo in 1963. In 1970 he went on a scholarship to be trained at Wakefield, Ipswich, Scotland Yard in England.
He was promoted to the rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police in 1972 and to the rank of Superintendent of Police in 1981 and later rose to the rank of Senior Superintendent of Police.

During his tenure at the CID, he was assigned to carry out several top level investigations in India, England and the USA. The then Inspector General of Police Cyril Herath soon after assuming duties in 1983 as the head of the department, perceiving his unimpeachable character and integrity requested SSP Kadirgamar to take over the Central Fraud and Investigation Bureau from where he retired in 1986 July and migrated to Canada with his wife Gladys Rajadevi. His colleagues describe him as a “gentleman to his fingertips”. He was well- versed in all three languages.

He was the loving husband of Gladys Rajadevi for 60 years and proud father of Dilshi (Rachel Thomas) and Rajit Kadirgamar, father-in-law of Dr. Percival (Ravi) Thomas and Lorraine Kadirgamar. He was the doting grandfather of Rishan, Ryan, Kristian and Rachel and brother of the late Mano Kadirgamar, late Rajan Kadirgamar and Saras Rajamohan.

May his soul rest in peace.
-Lloyd R. Devarajah

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