Saturday Magazine
Royal College Magazine

"The history of Royal College is the history of collegiate education in Sri Lanka. A college magazine is the history of the college. It is an essential item in any school worthy of its name. Tradition is handed down decade after decade in the pages of a college magazine. Without a magazine, in the years that are to be, a college history is non-existent."

(S. S. Perera - History of Royal College)

The Royal College Magazine is as old as the college itself. In January 1837, just two years after the academy was founded, the first magazine was published. The first permanent magazine titled as the "Royal College Magazine" was published in January 1893. From 1946 the front cover format was changed to a plain yellow cover with only the college crest. From 1893 - 1959 the cover title was "Royal College Magazine" in English. In 1960 however, with winds of social revolution in the country following independence the title appeared only in Sinhalese. From April 1961 the title appeared in all 3 languages spoken in College, Sinhalese, Tamil and English. Unfortunately 1975 saw the end of a 82 year old tradition. Except in 1915, the magazine which forms part of the history of Royal College had gone into print every year for future generations to read. To pick up the threads of what was lost, took another 17 years. In 1992 a new edition covering the period 1975-92 was published. Thereafter in 1998, six years later, another edition covering the period 1993-96 was published.

Former editors

The name or names of the editors of Volume I No I (1893) was not printed in the particular issue. From 1895 two editors were in charge. From 1957 three editors took charge. In April 1961 the first Sinhalese and Tamil editorials appeared with the Sinhalese section taking pride of place followed by the Tamil section and the English section coming last, but having a larger share of the space. This was indeed the most significant in that Royal College was able to adopt with the changing times, and moods in fact, often even giving the lead. The aspirations of the majority were recognized and the majority respected, but the vital necessity of the English language as a link was not rejected.

Some of the editors of the college magazine were in later life well known personalities in Ceylon/Sri Lanka. They include former president J. R. Jayawardene, Freedom fighter and national hero E. W. Perera, C. G. Weeramantry (Vice President, International Court of Justice), L. W. S. Athulathmudali (First Sri Lankan President of the Oxford Union, and later Minister of National Security) Former Chief Justice M. C. Sansoni, Legal luminaries like N. E. Weerasooriya Q.C. Sportsmen like F. C. de Saram (First Ceylonese Cricket Blue-Oxford 1934/35), P. G. B. Keuneman (President Cambridge University Union, 1938 and Minister of Housing 1970/74) Rev. C. L. Wickramasinghe Jr. (Former bishop of Kurunegala), B St. E de Bruin (Honoured recently by the government of Jamaica for his long and selfless service to the field of education in that country), N. T. D. Kanakaratne (Former vice president, UN Trusteeship Council, legal adviser to the Secretary General of the UN and ambassador to Russia and India) to name a few.

The latest issue of the magazine covering volumes 106-108 (1997-99) has now been published. This issue is edited by M. Imran Furkan, Kremlin K. Wickramasinghe and Ravishankar Kamalendiran and assisted by an editorial sub committee comprising of Sasakthi S. Abeysinghe, A. C. T. Mahakumarage and P. R. Sridhara. The magazine management comprising of Mr. Vijitha Weerasinghe, the legendary father figure of Royal College who has guided the destiny of the College magazine for the past half century, Mr. O. C. G. Senapathy, Mrs. K. Pushparani, and Mr. S. Ratnasabapathy.

Among the interesting articles one would come across in the issue are How to receive a complete education (and live to tell the tale), ‘The importance of General Knowledge’, ‘Martial Arts and Ashihara Karate’, ‘Hopes for the New Millennium - are there any?’, ‘Equality of man’, ‘Changing values in our society and the, increase of violence and crime’, ‘Media must not mislead the masses’, ‘Hazards in Environment Pollution’ and ‘Internet: The legal impossibilities . Also many other interesting articles especially about our culture and heritage, in Sinhala and Tamil are also featured. Another noteworthy feature of the latest issue of the magazine is the fact that it contains the report of 66 clubs and societies of the school, by far the largest number in any school in the country. In addition numerous photographs of the college teams which have excelled during this period also find a place in this publication. Also the achievements of students in the G.C.E. O/L and A/L Examinations and the sports reports for the period also appears. Also included is a special report together with a photograph of the cast of the Merchant of Venice, the first theatrical production of the college in 20 years. The usual list of Stewards and the photographs of the three batches of Prefects are also featured.

It is heartening to note that after 25 years it has been possible to bring the Magazine up to date and the credit must go to the untiring efforts of Mr. Vijitha Weerasinghe, who under the guidance of the Principal Mr. H. L. B. Gomes and with the assistance of RCOBANA, the Royal College Old Boys Association in North America, has together with the present editorial committee, been able to continue this great tradition. It is the fervent hope of the editors that this great tradition will be continued in the years to come. The latest issue of the magazine, the foremost publication of Royal College is available for sale at the Royal College Union office, Rajakeeya Mawatha, Colombo 07.