Public servant par excellence from Matale
High Priest of Matale Disawa, Malwatta Chapter of Siam Maha Nikaya
Mahalakotuwe Wimaladhamma Nayaka Thera
Deputuy Minister of Higher Education Nandimithra Ekanayake celebrated
his 68th birthday on December 26.
Nandimithra Ekanayake was elected in the Matale District as a Member
of Parliament for the first time in 1989. He held three Deputy
Ministerial posts and two Cabinet Minister positions earlier. He was
also Chief Minister of the Central Province for some time.
Ekanayake Mudiyanselage Mahinda Nandimithra Ekanayake was born on
December 26, 1943 in Hendala, Wattala. His career spanned 22 years as a
public servant. Subsequentley, he switched to politics. He has also
created a name for himself as a writer, journalist and actor.
At present he is the Deputy Minister of Higher Education and a
professional social worker as well.
He started his political career as a Leftist, while working in the
public sector. He was elected to Parliament for the first time in 1989.
As a parliamentarian he held Cabinet Portfolios of the Minister of
Forestry and Environment and that of the Minister of Local Government
and Provincial Councils. Once he was the Deputy Minister of Plantation
Industries. After the provincial set up came into existence with the
13th Amendment to the constitution of Sri Lanka, he occupied the
position of Chief Minister of the Central Province for some time. He has
done yeomen service to the general public while in those fields.
He hails from a business background. Father is P. B. Ekanayake of
Thibbatuwawa, Matale, and mother Sirima Karunawathi Sabaragamuwa of
Hendala, Wattala. His grandfather's brother was a Mudliar and a leading
businessman. Although he had a son, it was Nanadimithra's father who
looked after the business. On August 6, 1980 Nandimithra Ekanayake
married Manel Sujatha Senevirathna. He has one son, a graduate in
Computer Science and Management at the Algonquin University College,
Canada. His daughter in law is a Carlton University graduate.
Nandimithra Ekanayake had his basic education in Sri Lanka and got
polished professional skills in Norway and the Philippines. After
completion of primary and secondary education at Wattala Vidyaloka
Vidyalaya and Vijaya College Matale, he joined the Sri Gnaneswara
University Affiliated College, Colombo for his higher studies. He has
successfully completed study programmes at Rude High School in Norway,
and the Institute of Social Order in Manila, Philippines. He is a past
student of the School of Social Services in Sri Lanka. He possesses two
diplomas, one in Social Work and the other in Community Development.
Prior to entering politics he was a Rural Development Officer, after
being successful at an open competitive examination held for the whole
island. Subsequently he was promoted District Rural Development Officer
and just before entering politics he was the Chief Officer in Charge of
the Rural Development Training Centre at Nalanda, Matale. Leaving a 23
year unblemished record of government service he switched on to politics
on a full time basis in 1989.
From his school days he got the opportunity of listening to speeches
and participated in the discussions of Left political leaders, such as,
Dr. N. M. Perera, Dr. Colwin R De Silva, Philip Gunawardhena and
These speeches helped nurture and mould his Leftist ideas. With keen
interest he too attended political lectures delivered by Shanmuganathan,
the leader of the Communist Party (Chinese Wing).
Even at the time of executing his official work at Kahatagasdigiliya
Divisional Revenue Officer's (DRO) division he started propagating the
Leftist ideology among rural folk. He gave leadership to a group,
campaigning against one of the strongest Cabinet Ministers in the UNP
government at that time, Mr. Hurulle. Gradually along with his dedicated
services to the village folk and political activities he gained
popularity and the confidence of the masses.
At the Presidential election held in 1982, while in service, he did
not hesitate to support openly Hector Kobbekaduwa, who contested JR
Jayewardene, under Sri Lanka Freedom Party ticket.
When the Mahajana Party came into existence in 1984 under the
leadership of T. B. Ilangarathna, Vijaya Kumaratunga and Ms. Chandrika
Kumarathunga, Nandimithra joined with them. Even before working with the
S.L.M.P. he got the opportunity of contesting the Matale Municipal
Council, as a S.L.F.P. candidate for the Mayorship. He succeeded but as
he was a public servant at that time, the law did not permit him to be a
member or the mayor.
He was very popular in the Matale District. In 1989, defeating a very
strong UNP leader at that time in Matale District, Alick Aluwihare, and
the other UNP ministers, he was elected Member of Parliament to the
Matale constituency. This was the first time he contested a general
He got his first ministerial position as Deputy Minister of
Transport, Highways, Environment and Women's Affairs in 1994. Later on
he was appointed Deputy Minister of Lands and Forestry.
Nandimithra Ekanayake in 1997 obtained a Cabinet Minister's position
as his services to the general public and for the party were appreciated
by the authorities.
He held the portfolio of Minister of Forestry and Environment under
former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga. He held the post of
Cabinet Minister for Local Government and Provincial Councils too. As
Chief Minister of Central Province for a short time he worked with the
provincial set up as well.
In addition to his activities in the political field he provides
leadership to his constituency and elsewhere in religious activities,
social work and sports activities. He is the President of the Buddhist
Education Development Foundation. Nandimithra was responsible for
initiating the establishment of the International Hockey Stadium at
Matale the only International Hokey Stadium in Sri Lanka. He occupies
the positions of president, Sri Lanka Hockey Federation and president,
Throw Ball Federation of Sri Lanka.
Providing leadership to professional social workers he contributes
his knowledge and vast experience as the patron of the Professional
Social Workers' Association of Sri Lanka. He is also an active member of
the prestigious World Federation of Professional Social Workers.
During his tenure as Minister of Forestry and Environment he got
fully involved in local, regional and global environmental activities.
In 1997 he participated in the UN Conference in New York and SAARC
Region Environment Ministers' Conference in Male, Maldives.
He attended the Environment Conference held in Nairobi, Kenya in the
same year. It was stated that his active participation was remarkable at
United Nations Environment Conference held in New York.
At the World Conference on Environment Crimes held in Bogota,
Colombia, in 1998 he was elected deputy chairman. He attended the Global
Parliamentary Environment Conference as the team leader held in the
People's Republic of China. Nandimithra was also responsible for the
Environment Agreement with China.
Nandimithra has earned a reputation among the public as an author and
a journalist too. His articles on various topics appear in most of the
national newspapers and other papers.
Among the books on Buddhism he has written in Sinhala are;
'Let us Spend this Moment Correctly', 'Environment and Life', 'Pure
Determination', 'Look at The World through a Real Eye', 'Religious
Thinking', 'Blessed Children', 'Correct Path', 'End of Samsara' and
He was on the 'Small Screen' as an actor in the dramas 'Hapana',
'Pinibara Yamaya', and 'Deekethi Muwahatha', telecast some time back.