Appreciation - SSP K. S. Kadigawa

The late SSP K. S. Kadigawa was a recipient of the prestigious Oak Leaf for Distinguished Services during the World War II.

The recent death of the ex-Royal Air Force paratrooper, the only Sri Lankan recipient of the prestigious award of the Oak Leaf for bravery and distinguished services in South East Asia in the World War II, rings down the curtain on another chapter of our Police Service as well the illustrious career of a highly decorated and a respected officer in SSP K. S. Kadigawa.

I was deeply saddened when I heard of his passing away at his ancestral home in Kandy recently and even sadder that due to circumstances beyond my control, I was unable to attend his funeral which I am told took place within a matter of hours according to his wishes.

He is survived by his devoted and caring wife of so many moons as well the three loving daughters who were seldom seen and rarely heard in Police circles. In reality, his family, upon which he doted, was the source of his strength, inspiration and success. Indeed they were his world.

I was privileged to serve under the man whom I regarded an Officer and a Gentleman of class and finesse, Mr. Kadigawa, when he was Superintendent in charge of Hatton District - 1968.

A dynamic personality renowned for rigid discipline, he epitomized dignity and decorum in and out of office. Yes, his career was marked by uncompromising honesty and proven incorruptibility. Dispensation of justice in spirit and letter of the law was his forte and such personal attributes contributed to the development of character, which earned him the confidence and the respect of his superiors, subordinates and the public alike.

He served the nation as well as the colonial masters when there were tremendous challenges facing the world. Indeed the world, particularly our country, was in the grip of daunting challenges. Challenge requires men who are more than a hundred per cent committed, dedicated, disciplined and passionate about their goals and objectives, and I make bold to state without reservations that Kadigawa possessed such characteristics.

He was never flattered by authority and neither sought to flatter it. Instead he combined simplicity with a basic humility. There was serenity in his spirit which appealed to his family members and the world at large.

There were times he suffered the ignominy of injustice largely on account of professional jealousy, but he bore no ill-will, no bitterness or malice toward any man. He took pride in the virtue of his honour, which was non-negotiable come rain or high water, least of all political intrusion, especially at a time when such words impinge upon us heavily.

Mr. Kadigawa despised wanton inroads into police operations, especially by some pig-headed politicos. They were tactfully dealt in a searing manner yet without offending the penal code.

Let me then add to the list of fine officers mentioned recently in an article by Sharm de Alwis, that were picked from the cream of students from Royal, STC, SJC, Trinity Colleges etc. for recruitment to the inspectorate by Sir Richard Aluvihare viz. Neil Weerasinghe, Jim Bandaranayake, N. M. de Silva, Schokman and others. I also recall the names of E. L. Abeygunawardene, John Attygalle, A. C. Lawrence, David Senarath, S. H. P. Samarasinghe, L. M. P. de Silva, Hughbert Bagot, Tony Mahat, Rodney Kitulegoda and Upali Seneviratne and many others who were renowned for incorruptibility and hand picked for the inspectorate during the same vintage years.

If only Sri Lanka could spontaneously produce men of character and the mould of officers like them, then it would have true homeland security instead of bureaucratic and political hassles that have caused havoc in our Police Service.

Mr. Kadigawa was a source of inspiration and wisdom. I will always remember his words: "Brick walls are there for a reason" and "Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted". I loved his incredible zest for living, the steel in his character, his passion for police work, his brand of humour and his sense of fun.

When I was overlooked for my rightful promotion, he called me to say that he was sorry about the fact, but his one liner said it all:- " Carlyle, when you cannot change the cards you are dealt with, then you just have to deal with the way you play your hand."

Many are the anecdotes I recall during my tenure under his command. Just to mention one, I remember that after an inspection of my station he observed thus: - "The Station is in good order and the OIC seems to have a grip of the state of crime in the area and his men. He should go very far in the service".

As fate would have it, we had a very senior DIG who was so so with the Queen’s language and he completely misread the last line of Kadigawa’s comments. Hence the following order was made made by this DIG:-

"IP MailScanner warning: numerical links are often malicious: D. C. de Silva transferred from Talawakelle to Talaimannar, with immediate effect. On seeing it I interviewed the DIG and all he said was: - "I say Silva, your SP wants you to be sent very far in the service and so Talaimannar is the furthest I can think of". On hearing of this, old Kadigawa hit the roof and the rest is history.

Mr. Kadigawa’s passing reminds us of the teaching of Lord Buddha: "the uncertainty of life and the certainty of death". What matters most is that he lived purposefully and he lived a life to the fullest. May the Lord give his beloved wife and children the strength and the fortitude to bide over this period of sadness and irreparable loss?

Good Bye and God Bless you Sir and may you rest in peace.

Carlyle de Silva


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