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Ananda's sons in the Armed Forces

Cadeting came to Sri Lanka in the early part of the 20th century, at the time that Fritz Kunz was the Principal of Ananda. He was very keen to introduce Cadeting to Ananda, but was not able to do so as Old Boys and Parents opposed it on the grounds that preparation for war, however elementary, was against the principles of Buddhism. However, P. de S. Kularatne, the next Principal succeeded in overcoming this objection. He was able to convince them that the controlled use of violence in a righteous cause is not blameworthy. He cited the outstanding example that King Dutugemunu's campaigns against King Elara were blessed by the Maha Sangha.

In January 1920, the College Cadet Contingent was formed with a Senior and a Junior Platoon. Commencing with the Junior Platoon winning the CLI Challenge Cup in 1925 for All-round Efficiency, many trophies were won in every training camp by both the Junior and Senior Platoons. Ananda was the first College to win the Herman Loos Challenge Cup for All-round Efficiency.

It has been won subsequently on a number of occasions. The standards of Cadeting maintained has been very high, judging from the number of Trophies won almost every year. Similar to general Cadet training, training in Marksmanship firing has been maintained at a very high level. Again, Ananda was the first College to win the Governor General's Cup, beating all other teams including the Regular Army. This high Marksmanship standards commenced as far back as 1927 and again trophies were won every year at the Ceylon Rifle Association annual meets as well as in the annual training camps.

1951 was indeed a proud year in that the Ceylon Cadet Corps was represented at the Regular Army Small Arms Meet by the Ananda College team. They won many individual prizes. Corporal Gamini Jayatillake was declared the Best Shot for the year whilst the team itself was denied the first place as the Best All-round Shooting team only by a few points by the Regular Army team of the 1st Battalion, the CLI.

What then is this value that is derived from the continuous training and effort to maintain high standards in general Cadeting and the training and effort to maintain high standards in Marksmanship.

In the training for Marksmanship firing, for example, a firer can become a Marksman only after he has reached a high standard in concentration, Physical fitness and Mental Stamina to enable him to have that co-ordination and concentration which alone makes one a Marksman. To produce a team of Marksmen, the pattern and effort of training has to be maintained at a very high standard.

This valuable training has to be given to many, in order to select a few. Ananda did this throughout the years and produced teams of Leaders, quite a number of whom entered the Armed Services.

During the Colonial period, however, there was a misunderstanding on the attitudes of Ananda. Ananda College was the leading institute of Buddhist Education. Anandians were educated in an environment of awareness of one's religion and all national Traditions. The Anandian learnt to be proud of his Race, Religion and Traditions, but was taught firmly to maintain respect for the religions and traditions that others believed in. During the colonial era this was misunderstood because what was expected was apparently a blind admiration for anything foreign. With the termination of the colonial Government, this misunderstanding faded away and a continuous stream of Anandians entered the Armed Services.

Today, there are more Anandians as officers in the Sri Lankan Army than from any other College. Anandaya Magazine


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