Mahinde Thamai Iskole, Sundara’s new book


Sundara Nihatamani de Mel, Editor of "Lakbima Irida Sangrahaya" has authored a book, "Mahinde Thamai Iskole", compiling all his fond memories of his Alma Mater. The school was founded by Colonel Henry Steel Olcott, who rendered a yeoman service to the Buddhist education in the country.

As a famous columnist Sundara has mixed humour and his usual writing style in his book.

It unfolds his story in 40 chapters and dwells on a range of subjects. One of the main stories, in "Mahinde Thamai Iskole" is how the National Anthem was composed. It was composed by Ananda Samarakoon, who was the music teacher at Mahinda College at that time. The honour of singing the anthem first should go to a group of students from Mahinda College. They were looking at the words written on the school blackboard and sang it proudly with their master.

Although Sundara was not among this group of students he has a very close relationship with his Alma Mater.

During the Dudley Senanayake Government, then Minister of Education I. M. R. A. Iriyagolla submitted a proposal to close mixed schools despite objections from many.

Sundara, who was one of them, wrote an editorial in his school newspaper - ‘Pabalu’ - against the decision. It heated the political arena of the country. Finally the paper was banned and the students had to re-collect the newspaper after distributing some copies.

Fortunately there were no ‘white vans’ operating at that time.

Later the student who wrote this controversial editorial became a newspaper editor obtaining the honour of being the first Mahindian Editor of a national news paper after the great journalist D. B. Dhanapala.

There are many interesting stories about school cricket matches in the book. The famous school cricket match between Mahinda and Richmond College is known as "Lover’s Quarrel". Sundara has written many stories of events surrounding this famous cricket encounter. He draws the reader’s attention towards the record of the Amendra of brothers and famous Diplomat Prasad Kariyawasam’s (presently Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to India) batting record whilst he was representing Richmond College.

Sundara also takes the reader’s attention to the field of education. There is a record established by a student of Mahinda College Galle which is still unbroken. He is Nihal Somaratne, who established the record of obtaining the highest marks at the GCE A/L Exam.

All these stories and many more are included in "Mahinda Thamai Iskole", which was launched on Thursday, 10 May, at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute at 4.00p.m.

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