By D.C. Ranatunga
A momentous occasion. The story of a long journey starting from an old Dutch building in crowded Petah way back in 1886 through political and social upheavals over 125 years has been unfolded. It relates how the Buddhist English School was transformed into one of Sri Lanka’s leading educational institutions – Ananda College. The near 500-page (493 to be exact) book is aptly titled ‘Anandaya’.
The book launched in the presence of a large number of Old Anandians – most of them sporting the Gold & Maroon tie – is a fine example of a team effort. Most of the team members had either grey hair or no hair at all! But they had the will power and patience to go through bundles of magazines, journals, newspapers and other printed material to trace the history of their alma mater. They have done a fine job.
I watched the progress of the publication for over five to six years. Some were impatient and wondered why such a delay in completing it. But today they realise what a lot of work had gone into it.
Time and again I was in touch with the originator of the project, Thilak Karunaratne, OBA president in the 125th year, and two others in the Editorial Board – Deva Rodrigo and Sanjiva Senanayake and I know how devoted and keen they were in seeing it through. Sanjiva, in particular, was never ready to take ‘no’ for an answer. His determination to see that a quality product worthy of Ananda’s name would be turned out has borne fruit. His effort was deservedly recognised with the presentation of a special medallion as a memento at the launch.
As Thilak K writes in his introduction, “The book is for the benefit not only of the present but also the future generations of old Anandians to be born. It would also be a publication to be cherished by innumerable others who recognize and value the contribution made by Ananda to national life over this tumultuous period. Ananda College is a true national institution and one does not have to attend the College to hold her dear to one’s heart.”
A ‘must’ for all Anandians – young and old – and everyone interested in reading an authentic record of contemporary history of Sri Lanka.