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Saturday, 28 April 2012

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A social and religious personality

The greatness of a man is judged by the powerful and pervasive influence he has exercised for the good of his generation and by the certainty of his enduring impact on generations yet unborn. Judged by this measure, the late Dr. Kumaraswamy Nandakumar, former science teacher at Colombo Royal College and Justice of the Peace (All Island) was indeed one of the great sons of Sri Lanka in modern times. With the passing away of Nandakumar a year ago Nainativu lost a noble son, the Hindu community a great Hindu and his family a devoted patriarch.

Nandakumar hailed from a pre-dominantly orthodox Hindu family in Nainativu. He was born on September 30 1952 in Nainativu which is a very popular village on account of an ancient and historical temple 'Sri Nainativu Nagapooshani Amman Devasthanam' worshipped by Buddhists and Hindus alike.

Nandakumar received his primary education at Nainativu Nagapooshani Vidyalayam and thereafter joined Jaffna Hindu College and completed his G.C.E. (Advanced Level) Examination successfully. Subsequently he was appointed as a teacher and served at Muslim Vidyalayam Hunupitiya. In 1981, he joined the Palaly Training College and completed his training in science in 1983. After his training he joined the same Vidyalayam and served till 1991. Thereafter he joined Colombo Royal College and served as science teacher until he retired from service on account of his sickness in 2008. He was very popular among teachers, students and parents.

Nandakumar was a person of simple habits and hated vain pomp and glory. His hospitality, magnanimities, generosity, his unparalleled enthusiasm and humanitarian gesture towards everyone were highly commendable. He was a man of liberal and progressive views and was a successful science teacher. Above all he was a man of unimpeachable integrity and uncompromising honesty. He was a religious and social minded person who contributed to the propagation, promotion and development of the Hindu religion, education and culture. Further, he was a great devotee of Nainativu Sri Nagapooshani Amman.

He was a livewire and whatever he touched and undertook, he put new life into and made it a living institution. Verily no field of human endeavour was left untouched by the swaying amplitude of his imagination, the encompassing sweep of his thoughts and the indefatigable zeal of his actions. His energy and dedication as a keen social and religious worker was legendary.

Nandakumar was the Boxing master-in-charge at Royal College from 2002 to 2008. In recognition and appreciation of his immense service in the field of science, the Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science conferred him with the science poularization award. He was also honoured by the International University for Martial Arts affiliated to the New International Karate organization of Japan. He was presented with the titles Vidyakalamani Samuga Jothy and several other titles for his yeoman service in the spheres of education, social, religious and cultural activities.

Besides, he was appointed as a Member of the Council of the National Authority on Teacher Education by the Human Resources Development, Education and Cultural Affairs Minister.

Indeed, Nandakumar and his wife were an idyllic couple intrinsically blended into one being, finding comfort, solace, happiness in each other through all the hazards and hassles of life. They were supremely blessed with three children, two sons and daughter who are excelling in their respective professions.

Being benevolent and sweet by nature Nandakumar soon found his place in the hearts of every one. 'Love and forgive', 'Live and let live' was his motto. Undoubtedly, he was literally a comet who blazed momentarily across the skies leaving in its trail a luminescence which the passing of time can hardly erase. Indeed, the loss of Nandakumar is irreparable, painful and tearful. The thought of his death is poignant, but his memory is fragrant.


Noorania Fousal Hassan:

A thorough gentleman and a jewel of a man

I was shocked, dumbfounded, choked, and shattered to hear the sad and untimely death of my lovable, dear Tamil commentator friend Noorania Fousal Hassan, in a car accident recently in Rambawe, Anuradhapura, while travelling in a SLBC vehicle.

At the time of his death, Noorania Hassan was a Director of SLBC. His life was cut short unexpectedly.

The former minister and present parliamentarian A.H.M. Azwer was the first Tamil cricket commentator in Sri Lanka. The two of us commented together for many decades. He was followed by young Noorania Hassan. Under the able guidance of Azwer, he blossomed into a fine commentator.

Noorania was a keen student of the game. He wrote the first book of cricket in Tamil in Sri Lanka. He presented his book to his guru commentator A.H.M. Azwer - the Tamil John Arlott of Sri Lanka, when Azwer was a minister. At this book launching ceremony, I too made a speech.

He was a rare gem in the SLBC. He was always with a smile, full of life, mannerism and courtesy. He was never jealous of anyone. He helped everyone.

With sheer hard work and commitment he rose to the position of Director of the Tamil Service.

He was well versed in all three languages - Sinhala, Tamil and English. He had an abiding passion for cricket. He moved with all communities and was friendly and a true friend in need.

I had the distinction of commentating from the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, Pakistan at the finals of the World Cup 1996 on that historic date of 17th March 1996 when Sri Lanka annexed the title. Noorania Hassan was seated next to me as Tamil commentator.

He was a knowledgeable commentator, who Never Missed the Ball - a golden rule in commentating.

Noorania was a man of honesty and integrity. He was loved by everyone. He was humble, unassuming and a highly respected officer at SLBC. He was a lovable, sincere, grateful, true friend of all communities. Noorania was a dutiful husband and followed his faith as a true Muslim. No doubt, Noorania's death is an irreparable loss to his dear ones, the family. I consider his demise a personal loss for me, and all of his friends. He was a thorough gentleman and a Jewel of a Man.

Noorania, you lived a righteous life. May Allah grant you Jennathul Firdous!


A tribute to Dr. Samarakoon Karunaratna on his retirement:

The most delightful of companions

I pay this tribute to Dr. Samarakoon Karunaratna, a legendary figure in Sri Lanka. He retired from government service recently after serving for 34 years as a doctor. Before his retirement, he served as the DMO of the Homagama Base Hospital. He hails from a distinguished family in Gurullawala, Ahangama and studied at Mahinda College, Galle. He had a brilliant school career and entered the Medical Faculty of Peradeniya where he obtained his MBBS degree in December 1977. He also obtained a Diploma in Family Medicine from the University of Colombo. Since 1977, he served as a doctor in the government service until his retirement in 2011.

He married a doctor. His son and daughter also are doctors. Inspite of the prestigious position of this family, this doctor is a very unassuming gentleman, a down-to-earth person who can walk with Kings, yet not lose the common touch.

He is a doctor par excellence, the beloved doctor of everyone. His first love is his profession. He has been so dedicated to his profession that he had taken only three days leave during his whole period of 34 years service as a doctor, and that was for his wedding. Whether rich or poor, beautiful or ugly, influential or otherwise he treats all patients alike. He is popularly known as the 'Doctor with a magical touch', because of his dedication and endearing qualities such as kindness and Metta towards all mankind.

He retired from government service, but serves as a doctor in his private dispensary in the Homagama area. Though he believes that a certain amount of money is needed to lead a decent life. He does not charge any fee from his teachers, nor from his siblings, teachers, the clergy of any religion, his neighbours or from the poor.

He is multi-talented. He is a good singer and loves music. We often hear him singing at his home. The music therapy conducted for heart patients at the Homagama Base Hospital is the brain-child of this doctor. He is a poet and a short story writer. Also a devout Buddhist and a great social worker. We sometimes see him in shorts on the roof top of his village temple helping in Shramadana campaigns. He is also a strict vegetarian.

Apart from being a doctor, he has a special charm of his character and an incomparable humour that makes him the most delightful of companions imaginable.

Dearly beloved doctor, I wish you a happy retirement free from stress and strain, a life of perfect peace filled with good health.

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