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Sarvodaya National Awards 2006

COLOMBO: Sarvodaya Trust Fund established for the advancement of Humanity, Development and Peace has released names of the recipients of the national awards for the year 2006.

Nominations were invited by press advertisements and the prospective nominees have been selected by an independent panel of judges.

The Sarvodaya National Award includes a plaque and a citation with a cash award of Rs. 50,000.

Funds for these are generated through the bank interests earned from the Sarvodaya Trust Fund which was inaugurated from the award money received by Dr. A.T. Ariyaratna on various occasions.

The following eminent personalities were selected from five categories in respective fields:

Ven. Prof. Bellanvila Wimalaratana, Chancellor of the Sri Jayawardenepura University, a Buddhist scholar and writer and writer specialized in the evolution of Buddha statues.

As the incumbent of the famous Bellanvila Raja Maha Vihara the Ven. Thera’s services has contributed to improve the quality of life at the community level. On the National Front the Ven. Thera’s consultations and deliberations on national issues for the state and the media has helped immensely to enlighten society.

Dr. Leel Gunasekara was an outstanding member of the Sri Lanka Administrative Service, came into the limelight when he became the Government Agent of Kegalle District.

He is the author of the evergreen Sinhala Novel “Pethsama” which was in the line of Leonard Woolf’s “Village in the Jungle” portraying the helpless rural poor. A tireless social worker Leel is inspired by the Sarvodaya vision. He is also a board member of the National Library and Documentation Services board.

Subsequently he held many prestigious positions in the state service such as the Director Social Services.

Gamini Jayasinghe veteran photographer. He began his career in the Government Film Unit and continued in the State Film Corporation.

Throughout his entire career, photography was his media of expression.

He took up photographing the grandeur of Sinhala Buddhist Art from early times to date. Beginning from Polonnaruwa period he has photographed upto the temple paintings of the Bellanwila Raja Maha Vihara by the late eminent artist Somabandu Vidapathi which is a rare documentation for future generations.

He has brought out several volumes of his photographs including two volumes of the “Grandeur of Sinhala Buddhist Art” printed and published by Sarvodaya Visva Lekha.

As a film editor he has to his credit eminent photographer D.C.L. Amerasingha’s “Vesatura Siritha” based on “Vessantara” Jataka story.

Bhadraji Mahinda Jayatilake is a prolific writer of novels, short stories, dramas, radio plays, teledramas and stage plays, mostly in Sinhala and occasionally in English, his novel on ethnic harmony and rebirth was published on the initiative of Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne. He has published seventy books, the majority being Sinhala Novels (35 novels). He has written books for children and juveniles too.

Bhadraji won the D.R. Wijewardene award for the best novel in manuscript in 1994. Subsequently he won the State Literary Award for the Best Sinhala Translation. He had translated Sir Edwin Arnold’s “Light of Asia” and Nobel Prize winning novel Dr. Zhivago by Boris Pasternak.

He holds a B.Sc. in communications and Public Relations and M.A. in Cinematography and TV productions.

Namel Weeramuni and Malini Weeramuni were also selected. Namel is a product of Peradeniya University.

He later contributed to the growth of Sinhala stage plays as writer and producer cum actor. His wife Malini is following the same steps like Namel and is a veteran character actor in today’s teledramas as well.

The duo exiled in UK for a long period and having returned to Sri Lanka have built a “Mini Theatre” at Borella for the upliftment of Sinhala Stage plays and recreation programmes on music.

Namel acted in several Sinhala feature films including veteran filmmaker Vasantha Obeysekara’s maiden film “Ves Gattho” in a leading character.

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