A distinguished person and a noble son of Sri Lanka
Our distinguished person is no other person than Gamini Dissanayake.
This noble human being possessed a powerful, charming, pleasant
personality. He was born on March 20, 1942 at Kothmale; his basic values
were cultivated in this rural milieu social surrounding and environment.
He had his education at Trinity College in Kandy and entered the Law
College, where he took his oaths as an Advocate. He was born to serve
the country, so this energetic politician became the people's
representative in Nuwara Eliya District. He extended a yeoman service to
all constituents with devotion, commitment and sheer dedication using
his typical charismatic approach. He was a unique and extraordinary
politician who listened to the masses, solved their problems. Anyone who
was keen in meeting him had easy access.
He served our district for over 20 years. He provided acres of land
to farmer families. He also successfully set up the 'Waterfield
Armstrong Educational Centre' in Nuwara Eliya in the year 1986 which has
produced several graduates with knowledge of English and Computer. His
vision included educating children among under-privileged to learn
English and to achieve excellence and compete in the modern world. He
also introduced the Hatton pool Bank to train youth in technical fields.
His greatest historic achievement was the administration of the
diversification of Mahaweli Scheme which resulted in transforming vast
areas of our country into fertile paddy fields. Due to Gamini
Dissanayake's clarity of speech efficiency and far-sighted vision and
wisdom, Sri Lanka gained Test Status in cricket. He became the king and
an administrator of a great game. He was responsible for the
construction of the headquarters of Board of Control for Cricket in Sri
One of his dreams was to erect Kothmale Mahaweli Maha Seya. He could
not live to see the completion of his dream project. On October 23, 1994
at Thotalanga, a bomb exploded at midnight which caused the untimely
death to our noble distinguished figure, the Presidential Candidate
Gamini Dissanayake. This tragic death shattered all hopes and thwarted
people's dream of their leader becoming the President. The entire
country and particularly the hill country was grief stricken over his
As a gesture of national gratitude on April 11 in the year 2003 the 'Kothmale
Reservoir' was appropriately renamed as the 'Gamini Dissanayake
Reservoir' by unveiling his statue at a ceremony presided by the then
Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe.
This event became more significant as it took place at a time when
the farmers were blessed with a bumper paddy harvest deprived them for a
long period of time.
We Sri Lankans must not forget this visionary leader whose vision was
based on human values, supported by appropriate skills.
The writer is a former Senior Lecturer, Department of English
Language, Gamini Dissanayake Institute of Technology and Vocational