Wheelchair campaigner for Disability Rights
At the Kaladeepani festival 2006, Dehiwala - Mt. Lavinia Municipal
Council, Dr. Ajith C. S. Perera presents with a special plaque by
Speaker W. M. J. Lokubandara watched by Mayoress Sunethra Ranasinghe
and the Leader of the Opposition Kesaralal Gunasekera.
Picture by Herbert Perera.
COMMITMENT: The Dehiwala-Mt. Lavinia Municipal Council, which has the
largest number of residential population in Sri Lanka, held its annual
Kaladeepani Literary Festival last Friday afternoon.
It was held amidst a large gathering of distinguished personnel,
including Speaker W. J. M. Lokubandara who was the Chief Guest, Sunethra
Ranasinghe, Mayoress of Dehiawala-Mt. Lavinia Municipal Council, W. A.
Gunawardena the Municipal Commissioner and television artiste, at the
Dehiwala Pinwatta Purana Rajamaviharaya auditorium.
This significant event of educational and cultural value, was
organised by the Dehiwala Central Library under the leadership of
Sirisena Kusummula Chief Librarian assisted by the library advisory
committee in association with the Dehiwala Municipal Council with the
blessings of the Mayoress.
Speaker Lokubandara in his stimulating address indicated that Sri
Lankans has an alphabet not copied from any part of the world along with
a very rich heritage, unique culture and traditions of its own that
extends to the B.C. era, giving a unique identification of our Nation,
that every Sri Lankan should be equally proud of.
Professor Ananda Abeysiriwardena Chief Editor of the Sinhala
Dictionary said a language made up of letters, words and phrases
arranged in many ways, put into vocal use by sounds generating from the
rhythmical movement of different parts of the vocal system, is typical
only to the mankind.
The Mayoress said, apart from the routine functions a municipal
council does, it is also important to organise cultural and literary
events of educational value for the betterment of the society we live.
The key activity of this year's event, was to identify and honour
befittingly some outstanding personnel of Sri Lanka and few more
distinguished citizens from Dehiwala Municipal Council area who have
rendered exemplary services to different subject areas including
It was most encouraging to note that as a Distinguished Citizen a
special award was made to a Wheelchair user, Dr. Ajith C. S. Perera, an
eminent Sri Lankan who has achieved excellence simultaneously in several
unrelated fields from here and in England. He is a Chartered Chemist by
profession, a former Test-match Cricket Umpire and also a Senior Manager
in training of people and quality assurance functions in working with
two reputed multinational organisations here.
A tragic accident in 1992 made him instantaneously a Wheelchair user.
Yet, he has continued to fight ahead with dignified fortitude and win
honour, even internationally, and bring recognition to Sri Lanka through
his academic and professional achievements and some significant
Seated on a wheelchair he now utilises his remaining resources with
his leadership qualities and continues to bring inspiration to us,
proving again he still remains 'Not Out' and is truly a productive
Dr. Ajith Perera a known voluntary pioneer campaigner in this country
for accessible built environments for all people, in fact is also the
beacon of light to IDIRIYA, a registered not-for-profit humanitarian
service Organization based in Dehiwala itself, dedicated to promote the
positive image of the rapidly increasing numbers of the Disabled people.
At a time when the incipient talents and the innate potential of a
person goes unrecognised and unrewarded with false perceptions about the
person no sooner in becoming a wheelchair user, this was a significant
achievement not only by Dr. Ajith Perera but by the disabled population,
which is a most welcome breakthrough made by the organisers, who must be
The other fifteen distinguished recipients of Kaladeepani Award
included the late Ven. Professor Meegoda Pannaloka Thera, Shasthrapathi
Pundit Talalle Dhammaloka Thera, Dr. Miniwan P. Thilakarathna along with
Rev. Father Benedict Joseph, Professor Ananada Abeysiriwardena,
Professor Daya Edirisinghe and actor Wijeyratna Warakagoda.