Ananda inspires students to serve the Nation
As Anandians, you have inherited the legacy of
patriotism and bravery. You love your country. The doors of the Army
and the other Forces are open for such patriotic youth. If you want to
serve the country, the Forces are an ideal opportunity.
General Sarath Fonseka is an illustrious Anandian who played a
pivotal role in the battle against terrorism. Cadetting at Ananda
inspired him to join the Army, which he heads today. Under his guidance,
the Army has become one of the best defence Forces in the world today,
having defeated the world's most ruthless terrorist group.
"We used new strategies to defeat the enemy. We often attacked where
he was the strong, not weak as some war manuals suggested. Such methods
coupled with the sheer determination of our troops helped us to inflict
heavy damage on the Tigers. Some of them sacrificed their lives to
secure our freedom."
General Fonseka cites Ananda as a decisive factor that shaped his
military career. "Ananda is the leading Sinhala Buddhist school in the
Ananda's Sinhala Buddhist environment almost automatically cultivates
a sense of patriotism in students. They are raised amidst Buddhist
ethos. This gives them a sense of identity, a sense of belonging to the
Motherland. It inspires the students to serve their Nation," General
Fonseka told the Daily News in an interview.
"Ananda infused in me a love for the country which encouraged me to
join the Army. The military is there to protect the country, so that is
why I joined the Army. The Forces ensure the protection of the country."
He recalls that discipline was a hallmark of Ananda. The principals
at Ananda were strict disciplinarians. As a result, all Anandians were
highly disciplined. They were a natural choice for the Forces.
Besides, the military and school cadet corps had a close relationship
as the latter were headed by military men. Thus the Army was the next
stepping stone for most cadets.
Commenting on the fact that most of the field commanders were
Anandians, the Commander said it was a happy coincidence - "I selected
the best personnel and they turned out to be Anandians. I knew them
earlier; I knew they were top performers. They rendered a yeoman service
in achieving this victory."
His message to Anandians contemplating a career in the Armed Forces?
"As Anandians, you have inherited the legacy of patriotism and bravery.
You love your country. The doors of the Army and the other Forces are
open for such patriotic youth. If you want to serve the country, the
Forces are an ideal opportunity."
He noted that youth from all corners of the island were
enthusiastically joining the Army. He expressed the hope that Ananda
would continue to produce students who love their Motherland and who
would serve the country in various capacities.
General Fonseka has served as an illustrious infantry soldier in the
northern theatre of war during his exemplary career, particularly at the
peak of Tiger terrorism. To his credit, when the Jaffna Fort was under
siege for a long period, then Colonel Fonseka led troops in the famous
"Midnight Express" operation to rescue troops. Incidentally, the
incumbent Secretary Defence Lieutenant Colonel Gotabhaya Rajapaksa too
was with him and together they rescued the lives of hundreds of troops
who would always remember them for their leadership and bravery.
His enormous contribution as Deputy General Officer Commanding to
conduct operation, 'Riviresa' to evict terrorists and capture Jaffna
town in December 1995 continues to remain a living memory because of the
dynamic leadership he jointly imparted to his fellow-soldiers, and his
meticulously planned tactical knowledge of the warfare.
In the same vein, troops commanded by Gen Fonseka offered stiff
resistance to Tigers during operation 'unceasing waves' in 2000, and
further consolidated the security network to Jaffna during his
four-month stint as Commander, Security Forces Headquarters, Jaffna .
General Fonseka, as a fearless infantryman was at the forefront in
operations, 'Balawegaya' and 'Jayasikuru,' that led to rescue Elephant
Pass and capture Mankulam.
It was none other than the 6th Battalion of his Sri Lanka Sinha
Regiment that was under siege at Elephant Pass in 1991 and
reinforcements in a meticulously devised operation successfully repulsed
the LTTE attack. Jaffna, finally became his second home during May
2002-November 2003 after he was again appointed the Commander, Security
Forces Headquarters, Jaffna.
His awards and decorations include the Gallantry Medals, Rana
Wickrema Padakkama (RWP), Rana Sura Padakkama (RSP), Vishishta Seva
Vibhushana (VSV). Utthama Seva Padakkama (USP), Riviresa Campaign
Service Medal, Poorna Bhoomi Padakkama, North & East Operations Medal,
Desha Puthra Sammanaya and several others.
He has held a large number of various staff appointments including
the Chief of Staff office in the Army, the post he relinquished to take
reins as Commander of the Army.
Enlisted to the Army on 05th February 1970, he was commissioned as a
2nd Lieutenant and subsequently posted to the 1st Battalion, Sri Lanka
Sinha Regiment on 01st June 1971.
He has followed the UK-based course offered by Royal College of
Defence Studies, Infantry Officers Advanced Course (USA), Staff College
Course (Bangladesh), Company Commanders Course (Pakistan), Battalion
Support Weapons Course (India), Counter Insurgency Jungle Warfare Course
(India), Commando Officers Course (India) and has represented Sri Lanka
in a number of international seminars and conferences. He escaped an
LTTE assassination attempt in 2006.
General Fonseka, a product of Ambalangoda Dharmasoka College
(1958-1965) and Ananda College, Colombo (1966-1969) is a keen sportsman
who has excelled in swimming and water polo representing defence
services and the country. He was promoted to the rank of General on 18th