Annual Cricket Encounter-Sivagurunathan Memorial Challenge on Sunday

Friday, 29 April 2016 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

As of late, Colombo and Jaffna have been reconnecting. For the past five years, the Jaffna and Colombo communities have been tied in a ceremonial bond through a celebrated cricket tournament between Ananda College Colombo and Jaffna Hindu College (JHC) under the rubric ‘Sivagurunathan Memorial Challenge’.

This is a unique encounter between the two beacons of Hindu and Buddhist educational institutions in Sri Lanka. What Ananda means for the Sinhalese-Buddhists, JHC means for the Tamil-Hindus. The union between the two schools can be dubbed as a most futuristic attempt towards positive change.

The idea behind the games is to create a schools cricket cum debate festival that went beyond the boundaries in a harmonious bond. It is looked at as a way to create a tournament which combined Sports and English with community involvement thereby tightening the communal bond. 

We are building bridges on age old traditions, to provide opportunities for students, staff, and parents to transcend the physical and mental barriers that has built up over the last few decades. This tournament gives reason for the Colombo residents to visit Jaffna and for the Jaffna residents to visit Colombo. To this effect, the Sivagurunathan Memorial Challenge has proven to be fruitful.

The season takes effect each year with the organising onus shifting year on year to each school. This year the games are held in Colombo, and is organised by Ananda College. The tournament is named in respectful memory of V.T.S. Sivagurunathan, a JHC alumnus who was a stalwart during Ananda’s formative years serving under Principal Kularatne from 1916 to 1942. 

Sivagurunathan was a man of great energy and versatility. Whilst doing a full program of classroom teaching, he drew up the time-tables, supervised production of the college magazine, was archivist and chronicler, and maintained cumulative records of pupils long before the Education Department started doing it. He also wrote a series of pioneer books for the teaching of English to beginners, which were widely used outside Ananda as well. In keeping up with the tradition, this year too, the associated events that takes place simultaneously will be carried out as usual. The English Debate for the ‘Panikkar-Thanabalasingham Challenge’ in memory of two senior teachers who excelled in teaching science and encouraging English at Ananda, will be held in connection with the tournament along with the celebratory banquet where the presentation of awards is held. What is new in the banquet this year will be its latest addition: this year, the banquet will take the novel form of a Business Forum in which eminent champions of industry from both schools will make their presence under the patronage of the Chief Guest, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka, K. Sripavan who himself is an alumnus of JHC.

As part of the seasonal activities, it is customary for the two cricket and debate teams to be sent on a recreational tour to a location of academic interest, so as to provide with them the real insight of working procedure of an esteemed organisation. The outdoors excursion this year will take the teams of both schools to visit the Norochcholai power generation plant and the limestone quarry. The teams will be accompanied by teachers and prefects from both schools. 

As the custom stood through the years, the JHC debate team members will be hosted and accommodated privately at the homes of each respective AC debate team member. In addition, this year the same cordiality will be extended towards JHC Prefects by Ananda Prefects. This thoughtful gesture of extending mutual hospitality has been one of the hallmarks of this event, admired by all.

The cricket match is scheduled to be held on 1 May at Nalanda College Grounds. The debate is scheduled to be held on 30 April at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute. The celebratory banquet dinner is scheduled to be held on 1 May at The Kingsbury.

Ananda College Colombo awaits with open arms the arrival of Jaffna Hindu College for the Sivagurunathan Memorial Challenge 2016. It is their sincere hope that the higher ideals behind this event stand the test of time in years to come.