Anandians in Politics
Ananda College was established by the Buddhist Theosophical Society, to provide education in the English medium, mainly to Sinhala Buddhists who were deprived of such education. Therefore establishment of Ananda was naturally based on political factor and such intention naturally moulded its Stake holders to pursue such motives. Students of Ananda naturally were political conscious, progressive and radical in nature.
It is not a co-incidence that in pre independence era majority of left leaders who struggled against the imperialist invaders were Anandians N.M Perera an economist, Phillip Gunawardhane a radical from Seethawaka, S.K Wickramasinghe Medical Doctor from Akuressa were members of Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) and Communist Party (CP). They after completing their education from UK opted to join the struggle against imperialist, rather than complying with the status quo. With a strong Integrity in character and a dedication and commitment to the cause they believed in, they continued to serve the common man whenever the responsibility was thrust upon them. Speeches they delivered in Parliamentary debates were incisive and dealt deeply on the subject of which they were experts on. Subsequent generation of leftist politicians Messers. Bernard Soysa, Raja Collure, old Anandians continued with the philosophy that they truly believed in. They may have benefited personally if they opted to join the main political parties of Sri Lanka such as SLFP or UNP. These politicians are truly respected and remembered even today by the common people of this country.
In the Post Independent Sri Lanka, political leadership was never thrust upon an old Anandian or old boy of similar tradition and background. Mr. Ratnasiri Wickramanayake became the first Prime Minister from Ananda during..................
Elections based on proportional basis were introduced in 1981 during the government under the leadership of J.R Jayawardhane. Due to this new system, political parties based on minority Ethnicity had a bargaining power. They used this to obtain important Ministerial Portfolios which history had proven, it only helped the leaders individually. Sinhala Buddhist interest were taken for granted by the political leadership of the country.
Mr. Tilak Karunaratne an old Anandian left the main party UNP as its treasurer and formed a political party “Sihala Urumaya” in order to protect the much neglected interest of the Sinhalese.
After the mysterious death of Gangodawila Soma Thero, there was a provoked interest by the Sinhala Buddhist. Tilak Karunaratne considering current reality and need of the cause, offered the party to the Maha Sangha on............... This resulted the new party “Hela Urumaya” obtaining 9 seats in the Parliament in............., thereby negating the effect of the minority party selecting the governments. Hela Urumaya was a crucial element, in selecting the speaker in the parliament, protecting the environment, initiating the final phase and supporting the war against terrorism and still continues to be a force to reckon with, Therefore this historical steps can be considered a turning point, in the political history of Sri Lanka.
Political stability was essential to the Campaign of war against terrorist during 2004-2009. Mr. Karu Jayasuriya an old Anandian left the UNP with a strong team to the Rajapaksa government pledging support for the fight against terrorism. It is pertinent to note that Mr. Karu Jayasuriya went back to that UNP after the victory by our valiant Security Forces and Police in 2009. Mr. Jayasuriya was in the Sri Lanka Army in his early life and presently Deputy Leader of the UNP.
Imitiaz Bakeer Marker, an Attorney at Law, old Anandian resigned from the Minister of Information on a matter of principle and did not contest the subsequent election from the UNP.
Dallas Allahapperuma, a Journalist created new culture of political campaign, when he got all candidates of Kamburupitiya electorate on one platform and conducted his campaigns without posters and polythene material.
Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) is a Marxist political party with two rebellions in 1971 and 1989. Bimal Ratnayake is a JVP member of parliament who contributes greatly in debates todate . Achala Suranga Jagoda another old Anandian left the JVP to join JNP.
Few corrections required.
1.Bimal Ratnayake was not elected to Parliament at the 2010 election.
2.Karu Jayasuriya left the government before the war ended because he could not tolerate the criticism made against him by the President at a cabinet meeting for selecting Grama Sevaka Niladharis strictly on the basis of merit and the results of a test conducted by the Department of Examinations. He was a politician who tried to introduce a new political culture and, one might say, failed. He said in his letter of resignation from the government that it would be below his dignity to continue in the government after the way he was treated by a VVIP. He left without making an issue and in dignity. He did not react to what happened at the cabinet meeting. Speculation is rife as to why the President treated a man of such high caliber as Karu Jayasuriya in the way he did.
3.Need to get more specific information from Thilak Karunaratne about the formation of the JHU . that will be an interesting story to tell.
4.We must refer to left leaders like Bernard Soyza of the LSSP and SLFP senior politician T B Subasinghe who was Minister of Industries and before that the Speaker of the house of Parliament. The only other Anandian to serve as Speaker , Ananda Tissa De Alwis was a colourful character who must be referred to.
5.Dr S A Wickremasinghe was the leader of the Communist Party. Not S K Wickremasinghe. The latter is a Thomian who was a senior public servant and High Commissioner to London.
6.In the Dudley Senanayake government from 1965 to 1970 there were six Anandians in the Cabinet of 17. They were; M D Banda, I M R A Iriyagolla, Asoka (must check first name) Karunaratne, V A Sugathadasa, Phillip Gunawardena and A Ratnayake. There is a possibility that A Ratnayake was minister in a previous government of Dudley. If so there was another Anandian minister.
7.This article can not fit into the book as it is. We need to put flesh into the names mentioned and to be mentioned and make it interesting. The politicians from Ananda can be divided into two or three distinct groups; educated leftists who were highly principled intellects, equally honourable UNP and SLFP politicians like M D Banda, I M R A Iriyagolla, A Ratnayake (who was President of the Senate), Karu Jayasuriya, T B Subasinghe, Dr. Neville Fernando, Dharmasiri Senanayake who would have been PM had he not died whilst a senior minister during the first term of President Chandrika Kumaranatunga, Dulles Alahapperuma and several others whose names we can find.. There are many anecdotes about these men that show their integrity and honourable conduct. The third category are men who have held high political office like Ananda Tissa De Alwis, Rohitha Bogallagama, Basil Rajapakse, V A Sugathadasa, P B G Kalugalla, P Dayaratne, Ratnasiri Wickremanayake and others who have shone but in some way not in the same league as the second group.