Carlo Fonseka: Unparalleled | Daily News

Carlo Fonseka: Unparalleled

Professor Carlo Fonseka ushered in an episode rare in its own right. He always stood for what he thought was just. Not merely a physician cum academic, Fonseka established his turf far beyond the general boundaries as a political activist, rationalist, creative artiste and many more roles. His academic prowess was a remarkable factor, yet his wit fused with wisdom generously applied in writing as well as orations was significant.

The Daily News got in touch with three renowned academics to ascertain the intellectual estate he has bequeathed.

Sri Lanka Medical Association Vice President and Head, Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Colombo University, Professor Saroj Jayasinghe painted a picture of a gentleman who was benign and compassionate.

“He was a great believer in humanity and was an erudite scholar. Throughout his life, he tried his best to be humane. He had a vast knowledge which was not limited to medicine and science but extended to the arts and culture. I think even during an illness his mind was very sharp. He was well respected during his time. He always endeavoured to see that the medical profession remained humane. He was very fair to everyone and demonstrated compassion in all that he did and believed that all in the medical profession should retain that element of compassion,” said Professor Jayasinghe.

Owing to the vast knowledge in diverse fields, Carlo Fonseka was considered a polymath.

“He had knowledge in science, culture, math, health and education. He could perceive a problem in a holistic way and had a unique and analytical way of looking at a problem or issue,” added Professor Jayasinghe.

Senior Lecturer in Clinical Medicine, University of Colombo, Dr. Panduka Karunanayake, was of the opinion that the legacy that Carlo Fonseka left has really impacted the youth of Sri Lanka.

“Definitely his legacy lies in the many student generations who have been touched by his presence on this earth. They have grown up and learnt much from him. Generations have benefited from his ideals and teachings. Their success is due to him,” said Dr Karunanayake.

Few Sri Lankans have impacted Society the way Carlo Fonseka did. He will be remembered as one of the greatest sons of the land.

“What he meant to society - a great medical teacher, an erudite person who straddled several disciplines ranging from science through politics to the arts, a public intellectual who did not fear to court controversy. He will be remembered - as a medical teacher who taught and inspired generations of doctors, a public intellectual who sought to enrich society's understanding of important issues through his clear, reasoned and attractive speeches and writings,” explained Karunanayake.

Emeritus Professor JB Disanayaka praised late Carlo Fonseka’s mental faculties that went in hand in hand with his warm character.

“Professor Carlo Fonseka was a very affable and extremely likeable person. He possessed admirable mental faculties that allowed his mind to venture into many other disciplines such as the arts and culture. In fact, he was a wonderful person who was also a rationalist. He also had a great passion for learning. He transcended the boundaries of learning, always seeking knowledge. Throughout his career, he was much loved and revered. He was also a man of letters amongst his many talents,” said Professor Disanayaka.

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