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Rudra Rajasingham - the quintessential cop

HUMAN NATURE: Rudra Rajasingham epitomized the purity of sublime human nature. He was of a rare breed as sportsman, officer and fellow. Unreservedly would the consensus of opinion be that he was the finest IGP we have had. He brought an aura of dignity, empathy, honesty and fair play to the highest seat in the Police Force.

As his only child, daughter Sharminie, mentioned at the Memorial Service, "he was a better man than even we knew."

His tenure of three years saw the country in tumultuous upheaval and brought out the best in him as "when the going gets tough, the tough gets going".

His abiding Christian faith made him address God in times of trial and tribulation, "You have not failed me. Let me not fail you," when he had to take crucial decisions.

He trusted those who worked under him and they, in turn, trusted him. But, as Jim Bandaranayake who was his PA says, "he never suffered gladly fools, clowns and drunkards". He lived by his conscience and he dealt with issues squarely, tempered with the essence of fair play that is embedded in the those of those to the manor born.

The son of celebrated surgeon, Dr. A.S. Rajasingham and Mrs. Noble Rajasingham, Rudra was born with the proverbial silver spoon. He died one day shy of his 80th birthday after a brief illness.

As a student he made an indelible mark in the annals of Trinity's sports. President of his boarding house, Alison, he was also its captain of cricket. Vice-captain to A.P. Fernando, his rear-guard action of 47 not out with C.N. Schokman, 97 not out, when Trinity in '45 had to avert an innings defeat against St. Thomas' at Asgiriya was garnished with tea being served to them not in the pavilion but out on the sward because of light and shade reasons. He had been awarded cricket colours in '43 along with A.C. Bandaranayake, A.P. Fernando, Michael Kagwa, Quintus Jayasinghe, E.R. Senanayake and Malcolm Wright.

He played Trinity rugger under Willie Jenkins in '43 and Malcolm Wright in '44. He was awarded rugby colours in '43 alongside H.L. Armstrong, Rodney Ferdinands, M. Naganathan, S.B. Pilapitiya, E. Senanayake, Robert Sourjah. T.B. Werapitiya and Malcolm Wright. Michael Kagwa and 'Kalu' Jayasuriya had won their colours in the previous year whilst Willie Jenkins, Bobby Reith and N. Sanmugam were Lions.

On completing his secondary education, Rudra entered the University of Ceylon in its halcyon days and represented the University in cricket and rugger to win his colours.

Perhaps the then unsullied Police uniform attracted the young Rudra to join the Department as a probationary ASP in '49. It was then an elite Force exemplified by the motto, Dhammo Haavey Rakkathi Dhamma Charee.

Rudra played rugger for the Police, CR & FC and for Low Country in the Capper Cup encounters alongside icons of the game like Ray de Zylva, William Molagoda, Archibald Perera, Summa Navaratnam, Brian Aluvihare, Malcolm Wright and calibred ex-pats.

Rudra was Chairman of Police rugger, President of the Police Sports Club, President of the SLRFU in '93-94 and was accorded Life Membership of the Union. He took the game to a higher level and in '67 Police entered the Clifford Cup Finals from 'B' Division under S.S. Sivendran for the first time in its history and thereafter dominated the local Club scene by winning the prestigious Clifford Cup in '72, '73, '79, '80 and '83. He was considered the 'Godfather' of Police rugby.

That he was overlooked for three years for the IGP's post on considerations of ethnicity has been a blot on the executive administration of the time. As IGP he was a representative at the "Thimpu" talks in Nepal to resolve the burning issue that is still raging in the country.

On retiring from the Police Department after a splendid tenure as IGP, he was honoured as the Ambassador for Sri Lanka in Indonesia where he served in illustrious manner for three years. On the return from his tour of duty he was appointed the Chairman of the State Mortgage Bank and thereafter, to the Commission investigating Bribery and Corruption.

The venerable Sarvanadan's eloquent eulogy at the Memorial Service would have been salve to Rudra's wife Sita's and daughter, Sharminie's bruised psyche and they can also take solace from the thought that even as Rudra Rajasingham was laid to rest with full Police Honours, the trumpets sounded for him as he arrived on the Elysian Plains.

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