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Jaffna Hindu College OBA to honour distinguished Old Boys on Sunday

Jaffna Hindu College which was founded in 1890 on the guidance and counselling given to Hindu Elites in Jaffna by Srila Sri Arumuga Navalar, who could be equal to Anagarica Dharmapala in the South.

The school gradually developed and Eminent principals headed the college and brought name and fame to the college, to name a few, Nevins Selladurai, A. Cumaraswamy, V. M. Asaipillai.

Up to 1945 the school was a fee-levying institution and the accessibility was for affordable students. In order to cater to the poor students, the school entered the free education scheme brought by Late Dr. C. W. W. Kannangara, then Education Minister.

The school developed and reached its excellence up to 1952 when principal Cumaraswamy who headed the school for 20 years. V. M. Asaipillai headed the school till it was taken over by the government.

During this period Arts, Bio and Maths streams were heading the list among Jaffna schools and later it became a specialised school to send most of students to Engineering Faculty.

After 1960 the school gradually developed and in the 1980's it was selected as the first Tamil National Boys School in the Northern Province and also in the island. Jaffna Hindu College OBA spread throughout the world joined hands to develop the school, which had suffered physical damages during the last decade due to war situation in the island. To speak a few activities, playground expansion which was small for a soccer field, although it was one of the leading schools in soccer in the district.

Jaffna Hindu College trust fund took over the task of the expansion of the playground with the help of foreign OBA and Colombo OBA. 'Switzerland OBA has come forward to improve the kitchen of the hostel. USA OBA had sent computers. UK, OBA had sent funds to maintain selected poor students who stay in the hostel. OBA in Australia, Canada and Germany are also actively sending funds for the development of the school.

As this is a prestigious school, the intention is to educate poor students with the funds provided by UK OBA. Lots of old boys and individuals have given scholarships for poor students.

External financial and physical support is readily forthcoming to the school. In this regard I am reminded of a story related by former boarding master Late K. S. Subramaniam, who is from my village and studied as a classmate with my father.

He said he had to visit Colombo in 1940s to transact few matters in departments which had headquarters in Colombo including the Education Department. He said when he went to the relevant department suddenly an officer would come to him and ask "Sir, why have you come?" and will declare himself as an old boy of the college, he was happy to finish all his business through the help of old boys in the relevant departments. Now too the old boys of Hindu College are occupying key positions. The present Additional Secretary, Ministry of Human Resources and Development Educational Cultural Affairs S. Thilainadaraja, is also an old boy. Hindu College is proud of him.

Hindu College has produced a former Chief Justice, Deshamanya S. Sharvananda, Court of Appeal Judge, Justice K. Sripavan, Shiva Pasupathy, Attorney General, and the Eminent Civil servants Late M. Srikantha and S. Gunaratnam retired Secretary and at present NEPC PPSC Chairman.

And Prof. T. Sivapragasapillai of the Engineering faculty and Late Engineer N. A. Vaithilingam, who left an indelible mark in the railway fields. There are many excellent old boys in the past and recent past, who have shone in Educational, Legal, Medical, Engineering, Commercial, Banking and Journalism fields.

Not only Tamils even Eminent Muslims were produced by Hindu College, to mention a few Late Al-Haj A. M. A. Azeez, an excellent civil servant who was an Eminent Educationist.

Al-Haj M. M. Mansoor, retired NEPC Education Ministry Secretary and past PSC member, former Secretary to the Governor Western Province Mr. Iqbal and retired DIG Nizam. I happened to know all four of them closely.

Colombo OBA has started honouring distinguished old boys for the last few years as a continuation of this scheme. OBA has organised a function to honour these three distinguished old boys, on 14/09/2003 Sunday at 5 p.m. at Saraswathy Hall, Bambalapitiya, Colombo 04.

They are Dr. T. Somasekaram, retired Survey General and present member of Public Service Commission, K. Parameswaran, Secretary Ministry of Hindu Affairs and one of the former deputy principals K. Sivaramalingam who is now involved in the promotion of literary activities and also the patron of the Kamban Kalagam in Jaffna.

And also two A/L passed out students in 2001/2002 batch and 2002/2003 batch, Mr. Karthik (2002) who came first in Jaffna district and Mr. Ingaran who came first in 2003 batch in Jaffna district will be also honoured for their distinguished performance at the A/L exam. Colombo OBA has prepared a Directory of distinguished old boys whose particulars were available with OBA Colombo.

If there are old boys distinguished themselves either in Sri Lanka or abroad writer would be happy to receive their bio data for purpose of record to be kept with the OBA Colombo.

I would like to earnestly appeal to all the old boys past, recent and present students to keep the college colours blue and white always flying without falling to the ground and also to see that Hindu College remains in a high position among the schools in the island.

Vettivelu Sabanayagam, Retd. Deputy Director General of Education and Executive President of Jaffna Hindu, Colombo OBA.

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