|Pouring bile over Musaeus
I refer to the letter written to the "Opinion Column" of the Island dated 5.4.2002, by Mr. J Fernando. He has pleaded to the new regime to remove Musaeus College and evict 6000 odd children from Rosmead Place because, in his own words "Rosmead Place, Colombo 7, was considered the elite road of Colombo 7. ......... Today Musaeus College has come up here spoiling the beautiful area". His grievance is that the elite residents living in this elite area are faced with various inconveniences because of their inability to rent out their luxurious apartments due to the traffic blocks caused .
Mr. Elite residing in the elite area seems to be ignorant of a few facts. i.e. 1. The history of Musaeus College. 2. The history of education in Sri Lanka. 3. Rights of children.
Mr. Elite let me enlighten you - Musaeus College did not come up today. It was established in 1893 on a plot of land donated by a very old resident of Rosmead Place, Mr. Peter De Abrew, the founder father of Musaeus College. A Buddhist in every sense of the word, he was an altruistic gentleman very much different from some of the present day, selfish residents of the area whose only aim is to protect their privileges and vested interests. Musaeus College has a history of 110 years.
The second fact is that the establishment of this Sinhala Buddhist Girls school marks a very important milestone in the history of education in Sri Lanka.The education was entirely in the hands of the colonial rulers and various missionaries - Christian, Catholic, Methodist etc. Sinhala Buddhist children were discriminated against or were not thought fit for education. The establishment of a Sinhala Buddhist school like Musaeus College was a result of the great cultural and religious awakening and struggle for equal rights for Buddhists. This movement was pioneered by great stalwarts of the cause of the Sinhala Buddhists, like Mohottiwatte Gunananda Thera, Angarika Dharmapala and supported by foreign Theosophists like Colonel Olcott. Thus Musaeus College not only has a historical value but also a symbolic value. It is a symbol of the success of the great Sinhala and Buddhist revival movement in the 19th century.
Third fact Mr. Elite seems to be ignorant of is the existence of a U. N. sanctioned Ordinance on rights of children, to which Sri Lanka is a signatory and the existence of an Authority to protect rights of children. It states that every child has a right to the kind of education he/she opts for. The removal of a school which has deep roots lasting over 110 years will certainly disrupt its management, administration and education and adversely affect 6000 odd children, who have every right to be educated in the environment most conducive to their education. Its the rights of 6000 children against the vested interests of a few and I stress a few, snobbish selfish individuals residing in the so called elite areas.
There are a number of Catholic, Christian and Methodist schools in the heart of Colombo and the same kind of traffic blocks and other kinds of inconveniences, I have observed, are caused at peak hours of these schools. I am sure that every right-thinking individual irrespective of the religion and the hierarchy of Catholic, Christian and Methodist institutions will rise as a body against any proposal to remove these schools, and rightly so! I appeal to every right-thinking person to rise against this atrocious proposal to remove Musaeus College from Rosmead Place which is the schools birth right.
It baffles me as to why the Past Pupils Association and the entire parent body of Musaeus College are keeping quiet about this.
Apparently these few residents (not all) who have a callous disregard for rights of
children and a blatant disrespect for education so as to call an educational institution
a monster [refer article] are not suitable to reside in an area which houses
a school. Therefore I suggest to Mr. Elite and the other intolerant residents that if they
cannot tolerate the existence of a successful Buddhist school amidst them, to remove
themselves from the area at once.
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