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
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
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
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.