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Friday, 5 July 2013






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M.S.M. Faleel: Businessman and politician

Although men who have rendered yeoman service to society and the country may depart from this world, their memory will linger in the hearts of grateful people forever. One such personality, a man of the epoch, departed on June 22 , 2013.

He was M.S.M. Faleel Hadjiar, gem merchant, former Beruwala UC Chairman, Provincial Council Member and SLFP Chief Organizer whose demise is a great loss to the people in the Kalutara District in particular.

Faleel was born in Beruwala, completed his education at Zahira Vidyalaya, Dharga Town and St Luke's Maha Vidyalaya, Ratnapura. Thereafter, he took to gem business as his profession.

He persevered the business of his choice to become a leading and most sought after gem businessman of national stature. The secret behind his success was confidence, truthfulness, dedication and ability to take top decisions.

Faleel who studied the intricacies of gem business during his school days showed an abiding interest in social service and politics too.

He worked with the fervent belief that politics would enable him to render an impartial and valuable service to people of all communities. Entering local politics in Ratnapura, he was elected a member of the Ratnapura MC and rendered a dedicated service to the people in his capacity as Councillor and Deputy Mayor.

The services rendered by him are gratefully remembered by people of Ratnapura and its environs todate. He never allowed politics to interfere with his gem business. The riches earned through his business encouraged him to venture into other business sectors and become the proud owner of several enterprises.

He thought that amassing wealth was insufficient unless he used wealth for the betterment of lives of his fellow beings in native Beruwala. He thought that the best way to set about this task was to enter the local political field. Accordingly he contested and won the Beruwala UC elections as an independent candidate and became its Chairman in 1983. This was at the height of President J R Jayewardena's UNP rule.

Winning a local election as an independent candidate and becoming a UC Chairman was a challenge during that period. But Faleel was able to overcome this challenge because the people of Beruwala highly approved the indefatigable services rendered by him to improve their lot. As Chairman from 1983 to 1987 he never depended on state funds to serve the people. He utilized his own money to launch several development project in the area to enable the ordinary masses to enjoy their dividends. Beruwala UC was adjudged the best UC in the country during his tenure as chairman. He provided a much needed modern building for the Beruwala UC with the assistance of the then MP of the area R G Samaranayake.

He was also instrumental in providing many other infrastructure facilities to the area. Faleel visited South Korea on the invitation of the Korean Government and received an honorary degree from Samundam University in Korea.

As the SLFP Chief Organizer for Beruwala in 1991 he strengthened the Party by visiting every village and setting up SLFP branch offices and Women and Youth organizations. In this way he was able to transform Beruwala which was a UNP fortress into an SLFP stronghold. As Chief Organizer he performed his services for all and sundry eschewing political, communal, religious and other petty considerations.

In 1989 he contested and won the Western Provincial Council election from the Kalutara District and rendered a vital service to the people in the Kalutara District and Beruwala in particular.

He later contested the 1994 General Elections as a candidate of the Podu Jana Eksath Peramuna and obtained a large number of preferential votes. He was instrumental in renaming China Fort Muslim Balika Vidyalaya as M I M Naleem Hadjiar in recognition of the service rendered by the late philanthropist for the cause of Muslim education.

Faleel was a great humanist who always had peoples' welfare in his heart.

He always maintained cordial relations and had a close rapport with state officials and media persons.

He used his own funds to help and assist people in the Eastern Province affected by natural disasters such as cyclones, floods and the tsunami. He was a peace envoy who always worked hard to foster harmony among people in Beruwala.

A close confidante of the President and his family circle he took the lead in propagating the President's policies in the Beruwala electorate.

The President always used to visit Faleel and inquire after his health whenever he toured Beruwala.

In 2005 the China Fort Halara Jamath Youth Club honoured Faleel in recognition of his services to the area.

The Janaza of Faleel was held at the China Fort Mosque in the presence of a large gathering including the President, Speaker, Ministers, MPs and party leaders of all hues.

James Senaratne : Talented in poetry

James Senaratne joined the Sri Lanka Police as a Probationary Sub-Inspector in 1951 along with many persons known to me especially my sister-in-law's brother the late Anton Weerasinghe, and was well-known to Anton Joachim (retired SSP). The first occasion I came to know James Senaratne was when he was at the Police Training School and the Director of Training was Stanley Senanayake, former Inspector General of Police.

James Senaratne was attached to the Gemunu Training Staff where my colleague and good friend Herbert Jayasuriya (retired SSP) and Tissa Satharasinghe were attached. At the time we were under training, James was a ballistic expert and he trained us in ballistics at the Training School which was an important subject at the time.

We respected him as a gentleman, a dedicated and committed officer who commanded great respect from his subordinates, colleagues and superiors.

He played an important role in the Police Rugby team at the time and I recall very clearly a match where Police played against CH & FC. James Senaratne was bleeding from his head but continued to play the game despite the injury, showing a great sense of bravery, commitment, courage and dedication.

James Senaratne also was a very close associate of V T Dickman, SSP and Anton Joachim (retired senior SSP). They were like the Three Musketeers all the time meeting often either in Dickman's estate or in Joachim's residence and enjoying life in their own way.

James Senaratne after leaving the police as a disgruntled public servant whose services were never recognized by the department, due to the cussedness of some senior officers, joined Lake House as its Chief Security Officer.

Here was a gentleman who had leadership qualities with a high sense of honesty and integrity and a diligent Police Officer who could have been an asset to the police if he was promoted and motivated.

It is a pity that the Police Department ignored such talented, reputed and dedicated officers who would have been a great benefit to the police and the community at large.

At Lake House he was greatly admired for his personality, ability, management techniques and prompt action taken in matters of urgency and importance. Later he was recruited by CIC and there too he made his mark.

The Board of Directors and senior managers of CIC had great admiration for his performance of duties especially during times of crisis when he very boldly made decisions and assisted the company in its difficult times.

The Chairman, B R L Fernando is one of those who will vouch for his dedication and commitment in the performance of his functions at CIC.

In his retirement James Senaratne was very actively involved with the Kinross Swimming Club where he was the Vice President.

He played an active role in its events and management of the club and I am sure the club must be missing him as he was a live wire in the club. I recall his birthday parties where all his police friends including V T Dickman, Anton Joachim, retired SSP Sivendran, and I were invited to his house where he lived with his daughter at Karlshrue Gardens, in Borella.

His hobby was writing poetry and some publications were presented to his friends and here he showed much talent and many a literary expert did admire the compositions of these poems which appeared to be very touching and professional.

He always will remain James Senaratne, a person who always was positive thinking. He was a man who always believed in the saying, 'The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavour to be what you desire to appear.'

He was a man with a large frame who had a great personality, a large heart, and one who believed in humility.

'A man's reputation is like his shadow as it follows him, he will never leave it behind him! If he goes, he will never go beyond it. It is best to take no notice of it but to be what you would think.'

Let's hope Police Officers of the present era will try to emulate his values as a sportsman and a gentleman, known to many.



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