Kithsiri Nimal Shantha
Many are the appreciations devoted to the genius of Kithsiri Nimal Shantha, the late editor of the Lakbima newspaper, who was cut short in the prime of his life. There has been not one word out of place in these pieces. There has been no exaggeration. Kithsiri Nimal Shantha is recognised as a rare and complete journalist and will be so recognised by generations to come. Much like his name, his life, short though it was, exuded a certain ebullience. He decorated his letters with the rich veins of the Sinhala literary and linguistic traditions. His command of language would have in fact made him be at ease in the company of Gurulugomis generation.
Nimal Shantha was the foremost among journalists who prioritised the precise use of language. He was of the view that the newspaper ought to be the voice of the voiceless. This was his guiding principle as a journalist and he never strayed from it in serving the people. Although he was poor in a material sense, he was immensely rich in spirit. Life was his one university. He associated with the learned and good friends.
He was endowed with the rare quality to separate the exceptional from the general. He employed his pen relentless to protect and nurture the best traditions. Never did one dark thought seep into that fertile writing instrument.
Kithsiri was not just an exceptional journalist, he was also a poet and a connoiseur of literature. The way in which his humble poetic efforts flowered into song is well known. In his poetry there was elegance and celebration of beauty, but more than that they were enriched with recommendations for life's pathways. And yet, until his death, many had never seen his poetry. He shunned cheap popularity. His life, then, was noble and exemplary.
I believe the Divaina was the Taxila of Kithsiris life as a journalist. It would
not be incorrect to say that Kithsiri was the rarest treasure that the Divaina gifted the
nation. After leaving the Divaina, Kithsiri demonstrated his considerable skills at the
Lakbima. It is the nations loss that we were denied the full flowering of his
potential. With great respect I have these words to offer Kithsiri: "Kithsiri, you
have said your goodbyes. And yet you remain shining as always in our lives. Dear
colleague, dearest friend, poet and journalist, may you attain Nibbana!"
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