A noble human being who did much for the people RAJA SALGADO The Panadura District recently lost a much loved noble being in M.Raja Salgado, the only son of the late Richard Salgado, who was a ‘Father Figure’of the District. Raja who was a cousin of mine passed away  peacefully at the ripe age of [...]




A noble human being who did much for the people


The Panadura District recently lost a much loved noble being in M.Raja Salgado, the only son of the late Richard Salgado, who was a ‘Father Figure’of the District. Raja who was a cousin of mine passed away  peacefully at the ripe age of 94 years.

He took an abiding interest in public social welfare and Buddhist activities, besides being a professional tea and rubber planter. For about 30 years he dutifully served as President of the large 92-year- old King George V Silva Jubilee Commemoration Home for Elders, which today is the home of 90 elderly people of all walks of life. He was also actively associated with the Dayaka Sabava of the historic Rankoth Vihara, the Walapola Buddhist temple; served as Patron of the Old Boys Association of Sri Sumangala School, and as President of the Boy Scouts Association Panadura/Bandaragama.

Educated at Royal College Colombo, during the Bradby era of the 1940’s he graduated in Agriculture from Peradeniya University. As an experienced planter, he served the largest tea and rubber company owned by several Ceylonese families, and later, with the “Estates take-over” he joined the State Plantations Corporation.

The clean cut simple dress he wore, mirrored his personal outlook on life. Though born with riches he lived an admired unostentatious life. Raja my cousin, I believe cultivated Bodhisattva ideals. He always worked with no publicity, being mindful of others’ welfare, not expecting anything in return or as reward. He was soft spoken, loved and admired. He passed away in the presence of his dear wife Swarnamali (nee Amarasuriya of Galle) leaving behind two educated sons Priyath and Rajpal.

In a similar hour of grief, poet Samuel Woodsworth wrote:

Slowly and sadly we laid him down

From the fields of fame, fresh and goody!

We carved not a line, we raised not a stone -

But we left him alone with his glory.

This outstanding citizen, for many years did silently under his personal care have painted annually in gold, the large beautiful Samadhi statue, seen as one enters the Panadura Town from the south end on Galle Road reminding all passersby, that Metta and Karuna above all other virtues should guide humanity in their daily decisions. According to Buddhist texts, with rebirth, Gatisampathi being reached, may Raja’s path be strewn with roses.

Upali K. Salgado

She gave her best as wife, mother and friend

Lalitha de Alwis

Lalitha de Alwis was born on January 10, 1932 and called to rest on September 24,  2019 after a brief illness resulting from a mild stroke, and a fall at home. Lalitha and her husband were blessed with six children namely Mario, Sriyan, Lalith, Chara, Nirmalee and Shanez along with many grand children who were very fond of them. They had a wonderful family life with their very generous and compassionate attitude to others.

Lalitha  always ensured she gave her best  as a wife and mother. She was a person who displayed a great sense of love and caring to her own children, grandchildren, relatives and friends or even to domestics. She never expected gratitude – it was a service as a good Catholic.

I recall her involvement with  Aubrey in the Family Services Institute which was a movement initiated by late Rev Fr Mervyn  Fernando along with my late sister Viola and her husband Bede De Silva and Mr and Mrs Lord. In fact as soon as Damayanthie and I  married we attended one of their weekend seminars conducted at Ragama where Catholic couples were given an intensive training in ensuring a loving marriage. They were an exemplary couple.

Lalitha being a past pupil of Holy Family Convent was actively involved in the  Welfare Association of the school and she ensured that my mother-in-law who was also a past pupil was included in the committee as a treasurer.

Lalithi and Aubrey were so concerned about their friends and relations and I recall they were the first to visit me in the General Hospital after I met with a motorcycle accident in 1982. Such was their attitude to life. They were a rare combination.  In fact my wife Damayanthie always recalls how they helped their family in 1969 when they lost their father after a sudden heart attack in Galle.

Their house was full of entertainment despite their hands being full with six children.  Lalitha and Aubrey had an open house at the year end with a sumptuous dinner after Christmas Midnight Mass; their house was full with family, relations and friends. I believe it was the noisiest house in the neighbourhood, full of action and perpetual parties.

Her strength and ability to manage the house all alone was tested when Aubrey fell ill after a stroke. Perhaps her religious belief and the support she received from her children were pillars of strength. She fervently believed in that saying “kindess is the oil that takes the friction out of life”.  After the death of Aubrey which was a contributory factor to her illness, she still entertained friends and relations and never failed to attend church until she had Parkinsons.

She indeed was a perfect wife and mother, an example to all her children, in-laws, nephews and nieces and grandchildren. Perhaps she exemplified the saying ‘train up the children the way you should go, but be sure that you go that way yourself”.

We all need to emulate the life Lalitha led. May she rest in peace.

Nihal de Alwis

A fearless and independent decision-maker

Dharmasena Wijesinghe

 It is one year since the demise of Dharmasena Wijesinghe, former Senior Administrator, who held a number of senior positions in the public service, as Government Agent, Secretary to a number of Ministries and finally as Secretary to the Cabinet of Ministers, before being posted as Sri Lanka’s envoy to South Africa.

His career in the public service with many bouquets, (and also a few temporary setbacks), is vividly described in his autobiography written and published by him, a few years ago.

My first acquaintance with Mr. Wijesinghe was when he assumed duties as Secretary to the Ministry of Coconut Industries, succeeding Dr. P.G. Punchihewa in 1983. While functioning as Secretary to the Ministry, he was also the ex-officio Chairman of the Governing Board of the Coconut Development Authority, where I worked as Director of an operational Division, at that time.

The time Mr. Wijesinghe took over the administrative reins of the coconut industry, was when the industrial and export sectors,were undergoing radical changes, with new trade policy formulations being introduced and implemented, following the liberalisation of the economy. Applying these changes to the coconut industry overnight, seemed almost revolutionary, since until then, the industrial and export sectors of the industry had been subject to fairly rigid regulatory procedures, deemed at that time, to be in the best interest of majority stakeholders and the coconut industry as a whole.These changes in their wake, brought in frequent disputes arising mainly from conflicts of interest between the numerous stakeholders of the industry and trade, often placing State institutions at the centre of controversy and criticism. It was in this context, that we saw the true calibre of Mr. Wijesinghe as a veteran administrator and skilful negotiator. His pro-active approach in implementing state policies for the betterment of the industry as a whole and his participatory style of involving stake-holders in vital discussions and decisions, helped resolve many a major issue in the industry. He had an unbiased and clear mind in his approach to solving problems and issues that frequently confronted the industry at that time.

He was a fearless and independent decision-maker and was quite clear and firm in what could be done and should be done in controversial and difficult issues. He was outspoken and forthright in the discharge of his official duties. These rare qualities perhaps contributed to a few unpleasant moments in his public service career, as elaborated by him in his autobiography.

All the same, in handling major issues he always consulted relevant officials and appreciated their views and opinions. He inspired others to think of new and alternative solutions to problems facing the industry and trade. Simple as he was, he often had a remarkable influence on the lives of others who worked with him and for him.

Even in later years, we found these great qualities in Mr. Wijesinghe’s personal life. True to his name he was a firm believer and follower of the Dhamma. Mr. Wijesinghe would be best remembered as an exemplary public servant of rare calibre, an unassuming diplomat and above all, a gentleman par excellence, in the true sense of the words.

To his immediate family members to whom he was a mighty tower of strength and a great source of inspiration, his loss is irreparable, as it is to his motherland. May he attain the Bliss of Nibbana.

Henry Tillekeratne

She went home too soon

Joan Moonesinghe

A dedicated mother, a loving sister, a caring friend.

A wonderful strong and profoundly successful woman.

Gone home too soon.

What a great loss it is. She had so much to offer, especially in her field of banking (sometimes I called her the champion of the poor depositor).

At times you want to question, ‘why God?’. Then our faith comes into play. We won’t know His plan and purpose, except that He  is in total control of our lives.

But what a legacy she has left behind in her children. She will indeed live through them breathing her continuous love and dedication.

Death is not the end, there is more to the story, death is not the end for us, for eternal life awaits us. There will be no more sorrow, no more sickness, no more suffering. We shall meet again and we live in that hope.

This is a tribute from a friend and colleague three months after her departure.



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