Ananda created patriotic leaders:
Ananda College - Symbol of the New Nation
I had about forty years of experience in the field of education and
had the opportunity to serve in every part of Sri Lanka. If any College
could claim to be truly representative of the spirit and aspirations of
the Nation of Sri Lanka, I am of opinion that Ananda College along could
claim that distinction.
I am an old boy of Ananda and am proud of it, though it was only a
short period I spent in this College, after completing my studies at the
national College in the North, the Jaffna Hindu College. Royal, St.
Thomas, St. Joseph's and Trinity had been moulded on British Imperial
traditions and the 'elite' of the country had flocked into them for
obvious reasons. Ananda had to break through these established
traditions and create new ones, blazing through the whole gamut of
changes from colonial to national rule.
It was in the early twenties that I joined Ananda. There is a story
behind it. When the time came for me to proceed to Colombo for higher
studies, then unavailable in the provinces, my parents and well-wishers
directed me to St. Joseph's as the College the safest for a youth at
that time. It was famous for its discipline and training.
At Jaffna Hindu, I had worn only the national consume, getting into
shorts only for my scout activities. Rigged in Western paraphernalia I
was led into St. Joseph's. A few weeks had passed and I had made a few
acquaintances, among whom, I may mention was the present Archbishop of
I studied Botany under rev. Father Le Goc. A few weeks had passed
when disparaging remarks were passed among us about the national dress,
then the rage at Ananda. I was determined to maintain my cultural
rights. I took a bet with them and walked into the College in my
I did not want to hurt their feelings and would seek a College that
respects our national traditions. I walked into Ananda and Principal
Kularatne welcomed me into its portals in the same dress. I was then,
often, a matter of dispute whether the dress was Sinhala or Tamil. It
belonged to both.
It was at Ananda that I felt, more than at Jaffna Hindu, that common
screams of Buddhist and Hindu, Sinhala and Tamil cultures met and fused
into what me might now consider the national culture of Sri Lanka.
Western materialism and customs were still more attractive to the
youths of our country.
Anandians had to face odds and to take upon themselves the sacred
task of selecting the best from the West and shaping them to suit or
national needs and aspirations. We were often the laughing stock of the
country. Those in seats of authority frowned upon these efforts. The
struggle went on.
Ananda stuck to national traditions as far as practicable and blazed
new trials. Soon it drew level with other Colleges and it was not long
after Independence that it got a clear lead over the other long
established institutions. Today it is the symbol of the new nation in
the educational field.
Mr. P de S. Kularatne, the veteran educationist, could be considered
the most noteworthy pioneer in the field. To him all communities were
alike. His Assistants then were doughty fighters like Prof.
Sundaralingam and Principal Jayah, all of whom made their mark in
political life also. Mr. Jinendradasa, I admired as a great actor and a
teacher of Chemistry. Miss. Westbrook, later Mrs. Kularatne and a
pioneering Principal at Puspadana at Kandy later, taught us English.
There were on the staff also Principal Weeramantry, professor
Malalasekera, Principal Mettananda and Headmaster V.T.S. Sivagurunathen.
Many of them made distinct contributions to Education and Buddhism.
Their names will live for ever in the history of education in our
country and I consider myself lucky in having come under their
I met them later, from different angles, and I always cherish their
friendship and memories. They had carried the torch of Ananda throughout
The contribution made by Old Anandians to the life of the nation is
remarkable. A Nation has to develop an "Ethos" of its own.
Sri Lanka cannot completely ignore the happenings of the past, the
impact of colonial traditions on the past, the impact of colonial
traditions on the people and the march of History. It was but natural
that various ethnological groups shared the travails of the land through
the ages and survived to form the Sri Lanka of today.
Buddhist traditions were mellowed by Hindu traditions both coming
from the same cultural origins. They had gone through the crucible of
imperialism and cultural impacts.
It is to an Institution like Ananda College, that one could look
forward for giving the lead in building up a strong and integrated
nation, proud of its heritage and looking forward to greater
achievements in the field of education in the future. May the Devas
bless our land and lead us in the right direction.
Extracted from "Anandaya" (1973)