Mentor to many planters Anton Rajendram Anton Rajendram, a product of Holy Family Convent, Jaffna commenced his career with the Ceylon Planters’ Society (CPS) in 1945 –  just nine years after the birth of the organisation. He worked tirelessly under six secretaries – some from the judiciary and others from the civil service. After nearly [...]




Mentor to many planters

Anton Rajendram

Anton Rajendram, a product of Holy Family Convent, Jaffna commenced his career with the Ceylon Planters’ Society (CPS) in 1945 –  just nine years after the birth of the organisation. He worked tirelessly under six secretaries – some from the judiciary and others from the civil service. After nearly 30 years of service and in recognition of his unswerving dedication and loyalty, he was appointed as the Secretary of the CPS in 1974.

Among his key achievements were increasing the membership from around 650 to 1350, steering the finances which were in the red to make CPS a profitable entity and launching the quarterly CPS magazine. Anton was an expert in industrial law and the management of labour disputes. A mentor and advisor to many planters, he often worked till very late and on weekends preparing drafts, writing erudite letters of rebuttal and counselling planters on both official and domestic matters.

He took it upon himself to manage the communication with private estates and employers based out of the UK and even advised the Directors of Agency Houses: in this connection he asserted that the planter cannot have two masters and should be assessed by the Visiting Agent and not the Working Director. He played a key role in establishing contact with the Ceylon Estate Workers Education Trust and maintained close industrial relations with almost all trade unions.

Later in his career he was appointed advisor and committee member of the Planters Association (PA) and invited to join several welfare societies in an honorary capacity. Extremely diplomatic in his dealings he had the skills and temperament to maintain close relationships with diverse stakeholders across the tea, rubber and coconut industries.

He made it his key priority to defend the rights of the planters. At the time of nationalisation of plantations, under the Land Reform Commission Acts 1 and 2, the salaries of planters were to be reduced from Rs. 3000 to Rs. 400. With the help of a formidable legal team, Anton managed to quell this proposal. He also fought hard to rescind around 40 other bills and was successful in retaining many of the benefits that were accorded to planters from the Agency Houses. I am personally aware that only Anton had access to the powerful minister who was the driving force behind nationalisation (who famously held the view that as far as planters go, that the club was their temple and Bacchus was their god).

‘Daytona’ located in Ampitiya, Kandy, was the magnificent edifice that was headquarters to the CPS from its inception in 1936. It contained a separate apartment which was the Secretary’s official residence. Daytona was a hub of activity over the weekends with planters flocking in. Unfortunately, the CPS headquarters was shifted to Ratmalana and Daytona, which was an icon of the CPS for almost 50 years was relinquished. It is a boutique hotel today.

Anton was compelled to retire after 43 years of distinguished service as he did not wish to relocate.

Among Anton’s other accomplishments were establishing relations with ILO Geneva: he would have represented the CPS in Geneva had he continued in service. He was bestowed an honorary role as adviser to the Insurance Corporation and even offered a diplomatic posting by Gen. Ranjan Wijeratne, Minister of Foreign Affairs at the time.

Anton was also a prolific writer, contributing to several local and international magazines and newspapers.

Anton fought injustice and unfair work demands throughout his entire career. He stood steadfastly by the CPS motto to secure the personal and professional interests of the planters while ensuring the prosperity of proprietors. As the longest serving Secretary and an integral part of CPS history, on behalf of past and present planters I salute Anton for his outstanding contribution towards the planters and the plantation industry in general.

Hinton Karunatilake

His heart and soul were always focused on the school

Kingsley George Cooray

Kingsley Cooray, former Principal of the School for the Deaf in Ratmalana, was called to his eternal rest on February 6. I feel proud and privileged to pen a few words of appreciation on this great and humane personality on his birthday which fell on June 3.

From 1966 to 1992, he rendered an untiring and selfless service to the school which catered to children with hearing impairment.

The School for the Deaf in Ratmalana is a branch of the Ceylon School for the Deaf and Blind,  managed by a Board of Trustees, headed by the Bishop of Colombo of the Anglican Church in Sri Lanka. Established in 1912 by a British missionary Ms. Mary Chapman, it was the first institution for the education of the visually and hearing impaired children in the country.

Kingsley Cooray had the distinction of being the second Sri Lankan Principal of the school, taking over the reins from  J.L.O. Welikala, leaving a promising teaching career at Trinity College, Kandy. The Board of Trustees provided him the necessary support and guidance by arranging for him a specialised training programme in Victoria, Australia as there was a dearth of qualified and trained teachers in this field locally.  Therefore the contribution he made was greatly beneficial, not only to the school but also to the entire field of education of the hearing impaired.

Teaching the hearing impaired is not an easy task.  Further, caring for the resident children and supervising and protecting them requires a great deal of wisdom and tact, qualities he displayed at all times. The school curriculum was revised and special emphasis was laid on the pre-vocational training programme.  Oral and sign language was used in communicating with the students, while paying attention to teaching of speech and auditory training in the lower grades.  He was also instrumental in putting up many new buildings mainly with the foreign aid.

Mr Cooray acted as the visiting lecturer of the Special Education Unit of the Teacher Training College, Maharagama for more than two decades.  His services and guidance was sought by the Special Education Department of the Ministry of Education many times in the preparation of the special curriculum for hearing impaired children.

It was his dedication, integrity and honesty that made him popular among his colleagues in the field of deaf education. He had a great commitment for his job as Principal. Although he was a strict disciplinarian, he was much loved and his simplicity was admired by all those around him. In recognition of his meritorious services, the Old Boys’ Association of his alma mater, Trinity College, Kandy, conferred on him the Community Service Award in 1986.

During his period of service, the School for the Deaf flourished rapidly. The Vocational Training programme was upgraded and paved the way for students to engage in employment more suited to the training that they had in school. When the school was in need of funds, he, together with the principal of the School for the Blind,  C.H.  Gunawardena along with the Board of Trustees were instrumental in getting financial assistance.

Even after his retirement from service, his heart and soul was always focused on the school. Whenever I visited him, he never failed to inquire about the wellbeing of the school and the students.

All those who are connected to the School for the Deaf, will cherish the beautiful memories he left behind.

Marie Wijeyeratne

Passion for motor racing, model trains


Jude Michael Aloysious Ratnayeke was born on October 26, 1949 to an entrepreneurial family from Ja-ela. He was educated at St. Benedict’s College, Kotahena.

Jude joined the plantation sector serving in tea and rubber plantations.

One of his hobbies was collecting model railways. He also collected motoring magazines, and had a deep interest in motor racing (he could recite all the winners, their teams and their cars for Formula One) and had heaps of magazines and VHS tapes on motor racing. So thorough was he in this subject, it was a treat to listen to his accounts of the races and special happenings of each event.

In 1983 he was injured in a motor accident and lost vision in one eye.

He was married to Rani Rajapakse (daughter of Eric Rajapakse) and had two daughters Avanthi Mercedes and Dilini Audi.

After an active plantation life he was a Director with RPC Plantations.

Jude never forgot to help the under-privileged. Latterly health complications set in and his second wife Jo-Ann Amerasinghe stood by him in the later stages of his life.

He passed away on December 20, 2021.

Vinodh Wickremeratne




Share This Post


Searching for an ideal partner? Find your soul mate on, Sri Lanka's favourite marriage proposals page. With matrimonial advertisements you have access to thousands of ads from potential suitors who are looking for someone just like you.

Advertising Rates

Please contact the advertising office on 011 - 2479521 for the advertising rates.