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Paradise in Indian Ocean

I feel that all politicians and citizens (Tamil and Sinhala) of Sri Lanka should work together and find a solution to our country's problem. (Reference DN Dec. 13). Sinhalese and Tamils have similar appearance except for the language and religion.

Why we fight and die? Can we not have equal rights to live in Sri Lanka?

Look at other countries like Singapore: We have plenty of resources and man power to develope Sri Lanka.

All of us are sick of the war now.... Please President find a solution for us to live together as brothers and sisters, in peace and harmony without a war in the future. Where has the paradise in the Indian ocean gone?

MYTHILY R. -
via email

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Dairy farms in Colombo

It is very strange to note how stray cattle roam about in Wellawatte down Perakumba Place, Peterson Lane, Dharmarama Road and W. A. Silva Mawatha.

About 15 heads of cows are kept at Perakumba Place. These cows have no place to graze, so they go down all the by-lanes eating garbage.

They pull down and break all the garbage bags kept and is strewn the stuff everywhere. Thereafter the cats, dogs and crows scatter the smelly stuff everywhere.

Although there are doctors, Public Health Inspectors and the Municipal Councillors at CMC who are paid by the public, there is no one to stop this stray cattle menace.

I do not know whether the CMC has issued licences to the owners of these animals to keep them in the most crowded city in Sri Lanka, creating health problems for the public whether they consume milk or not.

Cattle and humans cannot live together in a crowded city.

A. D. C.

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Kalutara Tissa Central College

With reference to the letters on the above subject that appeared in the Daily News on October 4, October 26 and November 9. Chitra Mendis is trying to change the history of Tissa Vidyalaya by portraying a wrong message to the minds of the reader that her father was the Founder, the Chairman, the Manager and the Financier of the school.

She also states in her letter, he gave free accommodation to teachers at his residence and supplied the teachers the morning tea and midday meals from their residence at 5th Cross Street (now Tissa Vidyalaya Mawatha) as there was no canteen at school.

Unfortunately for Mrs. Mendis, she has got her facts wrong. In the early 1930s, Weerawardana Alison De Silva and his brother Weerawardana Andy De Silva had a vision to build a Buddhist English School for the Children at Waskaduwa and Kalutara North as there was no school for the children in the area.

Weerawardana Andy de Silva and his cousin (mother's sister's son), Proctor, A. Robert De Silva obtained an estimation and formed a committee with their family friends, V. L. Wijemanne, W. Wijemanne, H. S. Fernando, O. W. Perera and H. A. De Abrew. Please note, H. A. De Abrew is Mrs. Mendis's father. This committee later became the Kalutara North Buddhist Education Board.

In January 1936, the Kalutara North Buddhist Education Board started an English School which was named Buddhist English School, Kalutara North. It was a small school and the school building was a small house right opposite the Sumithraramaya Temple in Kalutara North.

In 1936, H. A. De Abrew lived in Kalutara North near the Sumithraramaya Temple and his Landlord was Weerawardana Alison De Silva. Alison De Silva gave H. A. De Abrew a house to reside in Kalutara North as he was his Notary in the 1930s.

This house named 'Kalyani' was located at No. 118, Galle Road, Kalutara North. He occupied this house from the mid 1930s to the mid 1940s. This house where he lived was very close to the Sumithraramaya temple, just walking distance from the Buddhist English School.

Therefore, the Kalutara North Buddhist Education Board appointed him as the Manager of that School as he was the Member who lived nearest to that school, thus he could easily oversee the school. It was a small school as it had only two lady teachers and few students in 1936. He continued to be the manager till it was handed over to the Government in 1945.

Immediately after the Buddhist English School was opened in early 1936, Weerawardana Alison De Silva, with his brother Weerawardana Andy De Silva started the construction of a school building in the land they owned in 5th Cross Street.

This is the present premises of Tissa Central College. This is the land they inherited from their father, the great philanthropist Weerawardana Norris De Silva. Weerawardana Norris De Silva was a wealthy land owner in Waskaduwa and it is in his lands that Tangerine Hotel, Royal Palms Hotel, Dediyawala Oil Mills, Weerawardanaramaya and several other temples are built today.

The school building that was built by Weerawardana Alison De Silva and his brother, Weerawardana Andy De Silva is the building now known at Tissa Central College as Nagas Salawa. This Nagas Salawa building is the only building Tissa Vidyalaya had from 1936 to 1945 until it was handed over to the Government.

Weerawardana Alison De Silva was the richest man in Kalutara District at that time. He owned the Oakfield Estate which was more than one thousand acres of rubber and various other large rubber estates.

He owned over two thousand acres of rubber plantations and his name is given in the list of very few people in Sri Lanka who owned very large rubber plantations in the Journals of History and Social Science, and also in the 'Ravaya' books published recently by Victor Ivan.

Weerawardana Alison De Silva was a great Buddhist. In the 1930s, he was the Chief Dayaka of several temples including the Sumithraramaya Temple in Kalutara North and donated large sums for the renovation of temples.

Later he built the Weerawardanaramaya Temple in Kalutara North. Among the many businesses he owned was a transport company called 'Jupitor Bus Company'. He was the first person and the only person in the 1930s who had passenger bus service from Colombo to Tissa.

During this period, he made great financial contributions for the renovation of the Tissamaharamaya temple at Tissa. He named the school he built as Tissa Vidyalaya as Tissa was the word that echoed in his mind during those years.

The large acreage of land they owned in 5th Cross Street (now Tissa Vidyalaya Mawatha) and the school building they built which they named as Tissa Vidyalaya were donated in 1936 to be administered by the Kalutara North Buddhist Education Board and that is how Tissa Vidyalaya was created in 1936.

Chitra Mendis states that her father H. A. De Abrew was the founder. I emphatically state that H. A. De Abrew was not the founder of Tissa Vidyalaya. He would have been the founder if he had purchased that land from the Weerawardana brothers and built the school.

The definition of a founder of a school is a person who donates the land he owns for the school or a person who constructs the school in his own land and with his own money. H. A. De Abrew was neither one of them and therefore he was not the founder.

Mrs. Mendis also stated, that her father H. A. De Abrew also supplied tea and meals to the teachers at Tissa Vidyalaya and gave them free accommodation. This statement is also wrong. The first two teachers of the school in 1936 were Kusuma Abeywickrama of Morawaka and R. P. Jayawardana of Panadura. Kusuma Abeywickrama was a close relative of Mr. Wijemanne's sister and she lived with her relatives at Kalutara North.

R. P. Jayawardana travelled to school daily from Panadura. In January 1937, the first principal was appointed to the school. he was W. S. De Zoysa of Kosgoda. He lived at Mahawaskaduwa in the house owned by W. Allan De Silva, a cousin of Weerawardana Alison De Silva.

In 1938, Mabel Gunaratna of Mahawaskaduwa was appointed, and in 1940 Lionel Kahatapitiya (who later became a Lawyer) joined the staff. He lived at Vilegoda in the house opposite to the house of V. L. Wijemanne.

Therefore, no teacher stayed at H. A. de Abrew's house, as they all travelled from home to the school. Chitra Mendis also states that her father donated a block of land to Tissa Vidyalaya in 1946. This too is not true, as Tissa Vidyalaya was founded in 1936 and handed over to the Government in 1945.

In order to expand the school, the Government acquired lands from many after 1945 and thus they cannot be considered as donations.

Mrs. Mendis also says that her father built their house near Tissa Vidyalaya without building a house at Kalutara South in the block of land he owned near the Court House as he was very interested and involved with the school.

I wish to state that her father did build the house near Tissa Vidyalaya but this was in mid 1940s. He built his house at 5th Cross Street, because the land he owned near the Court House in Kalutara South was just sufficient to build a Proctor's office.

I reiterate that the founders of Tissa Vidyalaya were Weerawardana Alison De Silva and his brother Weerawardana Andy De Silva who built that school building with their own money in their own land in 1936 and donated it be administrated by the Kalutara North Buddhist Education Board in 1936.

Many people in the area have contributed for the development of Tissa Vidyalaya during the period 1936-1945 but it is only the members of the Weerawardana family of Waskaduwa who donated the land for Tissa Vidyalaya during the period of 1936-1945 and the land they donated to Tissa Vidyalaya during that period is now worth more than rupees two thousand million.

SYDNEY WEERAWARDANA -
Waskaduwa

(The writer, who is a Chartered Engineer and Graduate of the University of Sydney, Australia, is one of the founder students of Tissa Vidyalaya, Kalutara North)

 

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