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Ananda Icons | Dailynews.lk - Sri Lanka

Col. G.W. Rajapaksa - A unique personality

G.W. Rajapaksa started his schooling at Ananda and later joined the tutorial staff of the College and finally ended his carrier as the Principal of his alma mater.

During the period he served at Ananda, he held the positions of O.C. Contingent of Cadets, Prefect of Games, Warden of the College Hostel, Deputy Principal and Principal.

The personality, character and the leadership quality of Col. Rajapaksa would have been the factors that influenced so many Anandians to join the Armed Forces and the Police to serve our nation.

Prior to Independence, Anandians were left out of positions of responsibility in the Police and the Armed Services due to obvious reasons by the rules at the time.

This unjust state was reversed after Independence due to the untiring work of the Principal L.H. Meththananda who convinced the political leadership at the time to give preference to merit rather than other criteria for selection. Meththananda's task was made easier by the then Cadet Officer Lt. G.W. Rajapaksa who led the Ananda Cadets to reach new heights in the field of cadetting and rifle shooting.

The Contingent Commander of Ananda Cadets, Lt. Rajapaksa led his platoon to win the Herman Loos Trophy for the most efficient platoon in 1949 in the all island competition with his sergeant as Dulip Wickramanayake who later became a very senior officer in the Army in the rank of Brigadier.

In this platoon was a future Army Commander in Cdt. Hamilton Wanasinghe who reached the rank of General. Lt. Rajapaksa himself was a very efficient shooter who won many trophies, with his Rifle Team becoming the champions in the Army Rifle Competition defeating the much fancied CLI Team (Regular Army).

Through his dedication and commitment to achieve greatness, Rajapaksa served as a role model who influenced many an Anandian to serve the Nation by joining the Armed Forces and the Police.

After independence in 1948, and upto date, Ananda has produced the most number of officers in the Armed Forces and Police as no other school has achieved and shown such true leadership and patriotism.

Col. Rajapaksa was fortunate enough before his death to see and meet three of his charges in Hamilton Wanasinghe, Mike Silva (CAMN) and Asoka Jayawardena achieving the Rank of Major General in the Sri Lanka Army at the same time.

Anandians who were fortunate to have been under the guidance of Rajapaksa, would remember him as a immaculately dressed person on any occasion and carried himself as very smart officer in Army Uniform which would have been another reason for young Anandians to join the Forces.

During his period at Ananda as a teacher, officer and Principal, Ananda has produced four Army Commanders in Gen. Hamilton Wanasinghe, Gen. Rohan Daluwatta, Gen. Lionel Balagalla and Gen. Sarath Fonseka and Navy Commander Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda.

As Principal of Ananda, he was responsible for the acquisition of Mackwoods Land adjoining the College Hostel which is the present playground and sports complex serving Anandians to achieve greatness in sports activities and will help future generations too.

His hard work and will to achieve his goal by pushing the political leadership at the time helped Ananda to get this land which is a great achievement. If not for this achievement by Col. Rajapaksa, present Anandians may still be using the Campbell Place Grounds sharing it with Nalandians. His other achievement which stands as a monument for his dedication to Ananda is the Vihara Mandiraya. Although this great place of worship was completed during Principal Col. E.A. Perusinhe's time, the person behind the entire project was none other than the "behind the scene" person Col. Rajapaksa.

Today every student at Ananda starts his studies in the morning after worshipping at the Viharaya and thus they demonstrate an act of honour to this great Anandian too.

Col. Rajapaksa, the human being was a very charming person who could also be firm in dealing with others. Whenever a person came to him in distress or with a personal problem, he would make the person comfortable first by offering him a Cup of Tea to start with before discussing the problem.

I feel that he was the best and most effective Human Resources Manager I have come across in my whole career as a Teacher and a Manager in the Private Sector. Col. Rajapaksa is a true Son of Ananda who was the driving force for so many officers in the Armed Forces and the Police.

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