Blessed with humility she made a selfless contribution to society SIVA OBEYESEKERE I count myself very fortunate and privileged to have the opportunity to pay a tribute to Deshamanya Siva Obeyesekere. She was one of our dedicated politicians, who was tireless in helping people in all walks of life. She made a selfless contribution to [...]




Blessed with humility she made a selfless contribution to society


I count myself very fortunate and privileged to have the opportunity to pay a tribute to Deshamanya Siva Obeyesekere.

She was one of our dedicated politicians, who was tireless in helping people in all walks of life. She made a selfless contribution to public causes.

Her death left a void in the lives of the socially and economically disadvantaged people of our country.  Her obvious sincerity in everything she did and said, was perhaps one of her outstanding qualities.

One of her core qualities was her humility. She was completely devoid of false pride and arrogance.   As a politician she proved a painstaking and conscientious woman, conscious of the dignity and high standard of honesty that was expected of a politician.

She dedicated a good part of her life to the promotion of Sri Lankan handicrafts and to help our craftsmen and craftswomen with commitment and dedication to their cause.  In 1961, she was appointed Chairman to the Small Industries Advisory Board which enabled her to organize village sewing centres and other crafts.

In 1964 she was solely responsible for establishing “Laksala” which was the first Government Cottage Industries Emporium. Subsequently, she was responsible for organizing branches of Laksala throughout the country.

In 1965, she was elected a Member of Parliament to Mirigama. Re-elected in 1970 and subsequently appointed Minister of Health. As Minister of Health she made a selfless contribution to public causes such as the National Health Programme which was recognized by the United Nations as a model for the world.

Sad as we were when Siva died we count ourselves fortunate to have had Siva as one of our dedicated politicians who did much to alleviate the suffering of the under privileged.

She made herself always accessible to the disadvantaged members of our community and was a politician of exceptional ability and humility.   I reiterate that Siva was a great and gracious woman. Loved by all her friends and held in great esteem by all those who counted her as a friend.

  A school friend 

Respected and much loved figure among students and academics of Moratuwa Uni

 Rev. Mervyn Fernando

It was with great sorrow that my family and I came to know that a person highly respected and loved by all had passed away. For us the alumni of the University of Moratuwa, he was a person who had helped our students, the academics and the administration as well.

It was through some students of the University that I came to know Fr. Mervyn and became connected with the activities of the Subodhi Institute which he set up and served as Director of for over three decades. Many good students had been members of the Astronomical Society and Youth Club of Subodhi.

With my interest in Astronomy I too attended a number of functions and was a key speaker at these functions attended by students, teachers and even parents. They stayed at Subodhi for days and took part in night observation of heavenly bodies. He organized exhibitions and displays for students on topics ranging from the history of the Piliyandala area, astronomy, nature, wild life, etc.

He held a two week workshop on Astronomy and Cosmology with a US Professor as the resource person. I remember one participant, the DMO Medawachchiya, a lover of astronomy. Fr. Mervyn, a member and President of the Sri Lanka Astronomical Society, took a keen interest in this subject.

One of our former Vice Chancellors got down Father Mervyn to conduct a course for fresher students.

It was in the early 1990s that his wisdom and experience was received by the university which was opened after two years of closure including the assassination of the then Vice Chancellor and the Chief Security Officer, inside the campus.

As the newly appointed Vice Chancellor, one of the first activities I conducted was a workshop for staff members, counsellors, members of the National Youth Council, and others, to plan activities to win the goodwill of students. The venue was the Subodhi Institute in order to have Fr. Mervyn as the principal resource person. Father’s counselling and university experience helped us to plan a number of strategies including improving infrastructure such as the library and student hostels, setting up a professional full-time student counselling system, creating a bursary scheme for those who are marginally left out of the major bursary systems and introducing more student activities and societies.

In due course the university had a full-fledged library, expansion of hostels, setting up of a bank, bookshop, cooperative store  and even a barber’s salon. Qualified counsellors, were also introduced at the workshop. Classes in drama, Kandyan dancing and eastern and western classical music too were started. The campus became a hive of activities with negative features diminishing slowly.

The credit for eradicating the menace of ragging from the faculties of Engineering and Architecture goes to Father Mervyn. At an informal discussion with the student council leaders and the administration it was decided to get his views. What we wanted from him was a verdict whether ragging was good or bad. He said a questionnaire should be conducted from fresher students and immediate seniors. Under his guidance the students prepared the survey, got the students’ views and realized that ragging was more violent than they imagined with female students receiving the worst treatment.

Thus the student council put up notices saying that they do not condone ragging and that the council would not be responsible for anyone engaging in such activities. This ended ragging in the University of Moratuwa, except in the National Diploma in Technology (NDT) course, whose students did not belong the student council.

Father Mervyn was a close associate of Sir Arthur C. Clarke, who was also the Chancellor of the University of Moratuwa, for a long time. In my book published in Sinhala, on the life of Sir Arthur, especially concerning his involvements in Sri Lanka, there is a photograph of Father Mervyn and Sir Arthur in the audience with Pope John Paul.

May he rest in peace.

Professor G.T.Francis de Silva

Thank you, for your lilting laughter and friendship that bound us together

 Lorna Aloysius

The 20th of April dawned and treasured memories flooded my mind – it was your birthday. It seemed like yesterday when you celebrated your birthday last year.

You were so excited when asking your school friends to a get-together, organised by your daughter Sonali. That day, you looked radiantly charming in your beautifully embroidered red blouse given to you by Sonali.

We your school friends, especially Daya, Anta, Ira and I, cannot forget you, having spoken to you many times each day. What convsations we had, which acted like a tonic.Thank you, Lorna for your lilting laughter and friendship which kept the bond among us strong.

My memories go back to us being friends from the baby class to the H.S.C., till we left school. But the friendship continued and endured long after. You were one of the first to ring me after the 1983 riots, to see how we were.

Lorna, my pretty ‘Shirley Temple’ in our carefree schooldays at St. Bridget’s Convent, you were the warm, caring, loving person who kept us bonded together.

Friends who always keep in touch are the ones we move towards and we yearn to sit within their radius. When I reflect on my present blessings, the treasured gift of loving friends like you stands as one of the greatest blessings.

Death is inevitable and it comes to all. It cannot be avoided. Life comes to an end like a streak of lightning, a bubble of water, a dewdrop on a leaf or a line drawn on water. But when it comes to one so close, the parting is extremely sad. There is no doubt that time flies with merciless speed, yet one cannot but recall treasured memories.

We may wonder why God created friends and friendship – this is because He made this world with a heart full of love. He knew that we all needed a friend like Lorna to share whatever emotions we experienced. He made special people like Lorna to see us through glad and bad times.

Malini Naganathan

You have left a void that cannot be filled

Cuda Marambe

My beloved Aiya,

Three months have flown by but my tears have not yet dried up. You were my protector. You were always there for me through my ups and downs. Regardless of how old we got, you always took care of me, with endless love.

Aiya, you were an exceptional human being, who lived a righteous life. As a talented sportsman, you knew how to play it all fair and square and this you applied to life as well. You managed to live up to your honest nature throughout your school life and also in your longstanding planting career. I remember the days where you would sing along to the tunes of C.T. Fernando at the Laxapana Recreation Club and entertain all our friends.You are still remembered by all your friends and family as the compassionate man who never did any wrong to anyone.

Since the day you left us, waking up and facing reality has been the hardest part for me and your two daughters. You have left a void in this world that cannot be filled.I hope we meet once again in Sansara.

May you attain Nibbana!

Your loving sister Seetha Marambe Ilangaratne

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