Opinion
Appreciation
Benny Kirtisinghe

Alas! The most popular citizen of Hikkaduwa, Benny Kirtisinghe is no more. He passed away last Saturday plunging his family as well as those who loved him and adored him into profound and eternal sorrow. He was one of seven brothers of a very outstanding family in Hikkaduwa, The Kirtisinghe family. Except the Nonagenarian Dr. Richie Kirtisinghe all have left this world. Benny received his primary education at Hikkaduwa Govt. School and later entered Ananda College where his much revered uncle and famous Educationist Mr. P. De S. Kularatna was Principal. After his London Matriculation he entered The Colombo Technical College to follow a course in Civil Engineering. However he had to give up his education as his attachment to his elder brother Lionel was so great that when Lionel became a victim of a terminal disease in those days had to go to the Sanatoriam at KKS . He returned triumphantly after the miraculous restoration of Lionels health setting an example to all what a brother’s love could perform. It was too late for Benny to resume his studies that his grateful parents in appreciation of their son’s charity and benevolence devolved most of the family fortune, on this exemplary son. Thereafter he was the owner of acres of rubber, cinnamon and coconut the produce of which helped him to carry on life. Later he was appointed as the Supervisor of Milk Feeding Centres of Wellaboda Pattu until the centres were discontinued. He retired from Govt. service as a pensioner. Once his term of office was over he led a happy and contended life with his family in his parental home by the sprawling Hikkaduwa beach famous for its Coral Garden. He was an amiable person who had a large number of friends who enjoyed his friendship, hospitality and generosity. His house by the sea was never short of visitors who came in numbers to enjoy sea baths in the safe sea behind his house, a cool fresh water bath and kurumba lavishly provided. His wife Manel, his inseparable companion was equally ready to entertain any friend of Benny who visited his home almost daily. Benny had loving friends around him all the time. His house was always open to every one and his liberality in helping those in need in whatever way he could was inspired by his loving wife Manel who was always beside him. Their nature endeared them to all who enjoyed their hospitality. Benny enjoyed a lifetime that was simple and had loving friends around him all the time. His loving wife Manel remained his best friend who proved what a dutiful wife she was until his death when he became feeble towards his last days. I have lost a dear friend for life. We were in constant contact though miles apart keeping up the warmth of friendship that lasted over six decades.

Bennie was a versatile actor in the Tele Drama. He displayed his talents acting the role of the village school master in the famous and much appreciated Tele Drama Palingu Menike. He was a deeply religious person and believed strongly in the Word of the Buddha. He was not in the best of health when I saw him in November 2001, despite his assurance to the contrary. However he continued to write to me in his scribbling hand writing upto July 2002. It was a great good fortune and privilege to have enjoyed his friendship and to have associated with this true and faithful friend. May Benny attain the Bliss of Nibbhana.
Godwin Witane


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