Ananda and the Armed Services
It is an interesting fact that until Independence, Anandians were
carefully and systematically excluded from positions of responsibility
in the Police and the Armed Forces. This was despite the fact that
Ananda's achievements in Cadetting has been for a number of years the
most outstanding among the school in this country.
Though this was a situation that was highly anomalous, not to say
unjust, our Colonial rulers did nothing to change their policy. Their
attitude was understandable. As the stronghold of Buddhism and national
sentiment, Ananda had necessarily to be viewed with suspicion.
In the years immediately after Independence, the Cadets of Ananda
College, led by Lieut. G. W. Rajapakse, attained new heights of
excellence. Between 1948 and 1951, they repeatedly annexed every
possible Cadetting trophy, while they also beat the Armed Forces at open
competitions. During this period Ananda's Cadetting achievements became
a household word in the country.
It was at this juncture that Principal Mettananda took up with the
Prime Minister, D. S. Senanayake, the question of Ananda's position in
relation to the Armed Services. He pointed out that if is students had
been handpicked to be kept out of the Armed Forces under Foreign rule,
there was no ground whatsoever for such exclusion in an Independent
He wanted Anandians, as true products of our land, to be considered
on their merits for such appointments and to be given the same chance as
candidates from any other school. Mr. Mettananda's case was
irresistible, and the Prime Minister conceded his point.
Once the preferential treatment given to a few favoured schools had
been replaced by the principle of selection on merit and merit alone,
there followed a remarkable intake of Anandians into the Police and the
Armed Forces. This process has gone on steadily since then, until today
we are in the happy position of being able to say that Ananda has the
highest number of officers from a single school in the Police and the
The writer was a Weapons Training Officer,
Ceylon Cadet Battalion.