Ganeshalingam, an exceptional human-being
COLOMBO: Kanagasabai Ganeshalingam, former Colombo Mayor passed away
on Monday at the age of 69 in a Private Nursing Home in Colombo after a
Ganeshalingam or Ganesh as he was popularly and affectionately called
by his friends and associates was born in Puloly, Point Pedro on January
3, 1938 into an orthodox and conservative family which has not only
excelled in the sphere of education but has rendered yeoman service in
the propagation, promotion and development of Hindu religion, culture
and Tamil language and literature.
His father late Kanagasabai was one of the most polished, persuasive
and hardworking lawyers who retained the confidence of the Bench, the
esteem of his colleagues and the gratitude of his clients at the Point
Pedro District Court right upto his passing away.
Ganeshalingam was educated at the Hartley College, Point Pedro, which
is a well-known educational institution that has produced eminent
personalities like Dr. C.J. Elizer, C. Loganathan and late K.B.
Ratnayake who was the Minister and later Speaker of Parliament and the
Central Province Governor.
He had his secondary education at S. Thomas' College, Mt. Lavinia. He
was extremely intelligent and came under the tutelage of Rev. Roy H.
Bowyiryin, a famous Cambridge University scholar. From S. Thomas'
College, he entered the University of Ceylon and spent most of his time
in the Students Union activities and won every election he contested in
As a university student, he was a socialist in his outlook and took a
different stand and joined Ford Rhodes Thornton & Co. to study
In this firm, he was very popular with the clients and colleagues
because of his friendly disposition. Thereafter he launched into many
business ventures, most of which proved successful because of his
hardwork, attention to detail and the business ethics that he practised.
Blessed with a seemingly inexhaustible supply of energy, enthusiasm
and inspiring leadership, quickness of thought he attained eminence as a
In fact, no field of human endeavour was left untouched by the
swaying amplitude of his imagination, the encompassing sweep of his
thought, the felicity of his words and the indefatigable zeal of his
actions. No wonder, he left an indelible impression in most of what he
touched with rare dynamism and exemplary zeal.
His greatness was unique. There was a ring of authenticity and
nobility of courage and earnestness in whatever he did and said.
As Mayor of the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC), he was constantly
pragmatic and practical in his approach to the problems of the Municipal
Council and found out solutions wherever they could be found.
He always believed in teamwork and chose the right men and delegated
powers. As Deputy Mayor, Acting Mayor, Mayor and the Opposition Leader
in the Municipal Council he piloted the Council's affairs with
unsurpassed distinction and unsullied honours, combined with
indefatigable energy, undaunted determination, unimpeachable integrity
and unflagging firmness and total dedication during the critical period.
As Ganeshalingam took over the position as an Acting Mayor there was
a deficit of Rs. 500 million being the overdraft and while leaving the
Colombo Municipal Council he had a deposit of Rs. 500.
Ganeshalingam was a man with a charming smile and a brilliant mind
who did Justice to his responsibilities.
In fact, his character was moulded by his Alma Mater and the
education he received at Hartley College under the remarkable
stewardship of our distinguished principal late K. Pooranampillai. He
was indeed a gem of a gentleman who had no malice towards anyone.
In fact, he assisted the Past Pupils' Association of Hartley College
fantastically and fabulously for its betterment and improvement.
Further, he was greatly concerned about the education of poor
students at Hartley and launched an scholarship scheme for students who
have excelled in their examination in the G.C.E. (O/L) and A/L. In fact,
he never failed to attend any functions held by the Past Pupils
Association of Hartley as vice-patron of the PPA Colombo Branch.
In fact, he got married into an illustrious family which produced
eminent Advocate and Barrister late P. Navaratnarajah's (Q.C.) brother
late Dr. Pathmanathan's elders daughter Yamuna. Indeed, She was a tower
of strength and a source of encouragement in her husband's endeavours.
Yamuna Ganeshalingam has done tremendous service as President of Old
Girls' Association of Vada Hindu Girls' College, Point Pedro and
President of Colombo Young Women's Association for the amelioration of
the condition of the poor and downtrodden.
He is an example of Saint Thiru Valluvar's saying: "Who just or
unjust lived shall soon appear by each one's offspring shall the truth
In fact, his daughter and doctor son are excelling in their
respective profession. Indeed, the loss of "Ganesh" is irreparable,
painful and tearful. The thought of his death is poignant, but his
memory is fragrant.
May, I say,
" Good night sweet prince and the Flights of Angels sing thee to thy