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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.