Dazzling aura of letters | Daily News


Dazzling aura of letters

There are several reasons as to why a publication of felicitation volumes sees the light of the day. The reasons may be manifold. But the reasons should justify the needs. I came to read a recently published felicitation volume pertaining to the life, social, academic and creative aspects in the life of a retired principal of leading school in our country. The name of the individual concerned goes as Premachandra Disanayaka.

It is cited that he had been serving as the principal of the well known seat of learning as erected by the father of the free education in our country, Dr CWW Kannangara, namely Kuliyapitiya Madhya Maha Vidyalaya. The strangest factor is that he belongs to the very first batch of students who entered the college as far back as 1947. From there onwards until he entered the University of Peradeniya in 1955, he has the chance of being a brilliant student both at the school level and at the university level of education.

Common barriers

Then having pursued his studies leading to a degree in Sinhala, Pali and History, the very first appointment he held happened to be a teacher attached to his alma mater. As one scans the pages of the felicitation volume one ought to grasp the factor that the person in the subject goes beyond and average teacher cum administrator and shows signs of being at times a prophet as well as a creative thinker where he excels. One of the most salient factors that underline the series of contributions as one sees in the volume, encircle around the two main areas of learning and discipline.

The name of the person who is felicitated known as Premachandra Disanayaka is seen by his well wishers, past students, the opinion leaders are seen from diverse points of view, covering all aspects of his life up to the present day.

The two compiler cum editors Jinadasa Danansuriya and Karunatilaka Handunpathirana have taken care to present a volume that transcends the common barriers of a felicitation volume on a distinguished person. The contributions are segmented into five groups:

1. Blessings from educational planners.

2. Educational and academic achievement

3. Contribution to social welfare.

4. The Buddhist way adhered to by Disanayaka.

5. Speech skills and contribution to the field of writing.

Though there is a tendency to overlap as the subject areas are interlinked, the reader of these articles get a panoramic view of the high calibre qualities of Premachandra Disanayaka in the capacity of an educationist, prophet, administrator and planner, friend and social worker education in the country. Professor Carlo states in conclusion:

“Disanayaka’s vision for the school was to produce citizens for the world dedicated to peace. He has taught that by precept and noble example. At the end of my own life, when I reflect on education in the country in the post-Independence period, I cannot avoid the conclusion that Dr CWW Kannangara’s pearl of great price, central school system might have served teh country much more effectively than the universal free education which Dr K implemented against his better judgement.” (39pp)

Research creativity

Most essays, I felt as a reader, tend to thought-provoking on several layers that go as learning, teaching, planning, research creativity, skills, aesthetic sports and entertainment. Disanayaka is featured as a multi-disciplinary person.

The role of this noble person more known in the field of education too is extended to the writing of notes and thoughts of education, happiness, as well as other living factors that enunciate in rationalism. To his credit, he has compiled two books on these areas. One is titled as ‘Happiness and Beauty’ translated from the simple works by a scholar known as MB Mathmaluwe and another work in Sinhala known as Haravat Adhyapanayata Maga (The Way to a Resourceful Education).

He had also translated into Sinhala a book on meditation, the original as written by Professor Shantha Ratnayaka as an undergraduate at Peradeniya he had been editor of the annual of the Indo-logical Society – 1959, bringing out a journal titled Bharathi.

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