|Sri Lankans should be proud of him
It is a great misfortune of this nation that Upali Wijewardene, who was a well known entrepreneur in the international business community disappeared unexpectedly. It is even a greater loss to the Southern Province from where he hailed.
There are many tycoons in the world. But all of them are not learned or charitable. The tycoon I knew Upali Wijewardene, was an intellectual and a philanthropist.
It is indeed a matter a great pride for Sri Lanka that Upali Wijewardene during the short period of two decades was able to rise to the stature of an international business magnate, without exploiting other and by fair means.
He started from scratch, but invested wisely and organised his investments methodically. He brought in gifted young people into his ventures gave them responsibilities and independence of decision making which was the secret of the successes of his enterprises.
After a brilliant school career he entered Cambridge University from where he graduated. He then entered the business world. All the ventures he floated achieved success that was the envy of and a challenge to the corporate giants of the time. The strength of the Upali Group was the foundation he had laid.
We Sri Lankans should be justly proud of his achievement in the international corporate sphere where he captured the competitive international markets with his products that had already been well received at home. This record he was able to achieve in two decades.
Upali Wijewardene was a philanthropist and a social worker of very high calibre. He assisted social service organisations and sought to improve the lot of his underprivileged countrymen. His social service work in the Southern Province where he had planned to set up a fully equipped University so that the poor children of the Southern Province could have a University education was a well known project that he had not the opportunity to start.
People all over Sri Lanka are organising religious observances in gratitude for his services to the nation and their hope is for his safe return to the country.
I do not wish to dwell at length on his political aspirations. Even if he had not entered politics in the traditional style as a member of a local body, he was able to render a greater service than even a cabinet Minister. In a welfare state like Sri Lanka his debut in politics had undoubtedly created a favourable public opinion.
This of course created obstacles to him from within the ranks of his own political party. He was however, undaunted by such obstacles. For he continued his socio-political activities till destiny willed otherwise.
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