Bridges Can Be Easily Smashed but Not So Easily Built
Posted on May 16th, 2016

Yasas Vishuddhi Abeywickrama – 99 Group of Ananda College

Ananda College Colombo and Jaffna Hindu College recently concluded their annual events that are organized with the aim of national reconciliation and supporting the north-south dialogue. The Sivagurunathan Memorial Challenge”, a unique cricket encounter between the two beacons of Hindu and Buddhist educational institutions in Sri Lanka, and the English Debate for the Panikkar–Thanabalasingham Challenge” in memory of two senior teachers who excelled in teaching science and encouraging English at Ananda, were held recently.

The Debate

Ananda College Colombo and Jaffna Hindu College concluded their annual debate that is organized with the aim supporting national reconciliation and supporting the north-south dialogue.

The English Debate between the two schools is organized every year for the Panikkar–Thanabalasingham Challenge” in memory of two senior teachers who excelled in teaching science and encouraging English at Ananda.

This year, the English Debate for the Panikkar–Thanabalasingham Challenge” held for the third consecutive year at the Lakshman Kadiragamar Institute on 30th April. Hon. Lakshman Kadiragamar himself is an example of peace and it was highly relevant to have the event there.

The debate was graced by Principal of Jaffna Hindu College, Deputy Principals of Ananda College, President of the Ananda Old Boys Association, President of Jaffna Hindu College OBA – Colombo branch, President of Jaffna Hindu College OBA Jaffna branch, eminent old boys, members of the staff, parents, and students from both Jaffna Hindu College and Ananda College.


The Jaffna Hindu College English Debate team proposed that “This house believes that governments with racially diverse populations should not record the ethnic or racial background of their citizens”, while Ananda College English Debating team opposed it.

After an insightful and informative debate, Ananda College team won the debate. Debating has been an important part of student development at both schools for a long time. It helps to develop communication skills, develop ability to engage in a meaningful dialogue and also improves the reading and researching abilities of students.

The students and old boys of the two schools are looking forward to this important annual event next year too. It will be organized next year in Jaffna, according to the tradition among these two schools.

Annual Cricket Match

The Sivagurunathan Memorial Challenge” cricket encounter between the two schools held at the Nalanda College grounds on 1st of May.

Ananda College won the match against their rivals from the North, Jaffna Hindu College.

Jaffna Hindu College scored 143 runs all out in 42.3 overs in this limited overs cricket match. Ananda responded to win the match with 147 runs and lost 8 wickets in their chase.


Best Batsman of the match was S. Thuvarakan (Jaffna Hindu College), Best Bowler – Ashel Sigera (Ananda), Best Fielder – M. Thuvarakan (Jaffna Hindu College) and Man of the Match was Sahan Suraweera (Ananda).

Ananda College Cricket team together with Ananda college old boys will travel to Jaffna next year as the Sivagurunathan Memorial Challenge” cricket encounter between the two schools will be held in Jaffna next year according to the tradition.

The Celebratory Banquet dinner

The celebratory Banquet dinner held at The Kingsbury with the participation of His Lordship Hon.  Chief Justice K Sripavan who himself is an alumnus of Jaffna Hindu College as the Chief Guest.

His Lordship’s speech at the evening event was insightful and visionary one which all Sri Lankans should have access to, to understand the importance as well as the path towards a peaceful society.

His speech is published here for the benefit of all Sri Lankans.

The Speech of His Lordship Hon. Chief Justice K. Sripavan


Principals of both Jaffna Hindu College and Ananda College, eminent old boys, members of the staff, parents, and most importantly, my dear students from Jaffna Hindu College and Ananda College, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for the kind introduction and warm welcome. My wife and I feel honored by the invitation you have extended to us to be your Chief Guest at this most important event in the school calendar of both Jaffna Hindu College and Ananda College. Being invited to be chief guest at a function involving one’s old school must be one of the high points of any person’s life. I am very conscious of the privilege that the Old Boy’s Association of Ananda College has accorded to me today. I extend my warm appreciation to all who made this event possible.

Let me also congratulate all those who have taken part in this year’s V. T.S. Sivagurunathan Trophy and the winners of the Pannikkar-Thanabalsingham Challenge Shield. Many of you would have strived to do your best in order to be a part of this annual event and I believe that represents the true spirit of both schools. Although we all know that taking part is a key element in team sports, school events and life in general, winning is what makes us push ourselves and achieve our full potential. I am very impressed with the continuous efforts of the Old Boy’s Association of Ananda College and Jaffna Hindu College in developing bonds of friendship, understanding and trust through this annual cricket encounter between both colleges. This is indeed a futuristic attempt by the OBA’s of both schools to lead this country towards positive changes.

As I pondered on what I should talk about, my mind flashed back to a series of events and encounters in virtually the most important first two decades of my life at Jaffna Hindu College. I believe all of us here, to a greater or lesser extent, are where we STAND, in regard to the important national issues that challenge us today – regarding questions of peace, violence, good governance, human rights, economic development and so on, on the basis of our own individual experiences in what is commonly referred to as the formative years of our life, in school. I am happy that
Ananda College is conducting this annual event to pay tribute to her revered teachers; Mr. V.T.S. Sivagurunathan one-time headmaster and a distinguished alumnus of Jaffna Hindu College, and two other senior teachers Mr. Pannikkar and Mr. Thanabalsingham who excelled in teaching Science and English at Ananda College, for their tireless and dedicated services for decades.

Ladies and Gentlemen, as you all well know Jaffna Hindu College is the premier Hindu Institution in this country and has nurtured generations of students who have distinguished themselves in whatever vocation they engaged in, with discipline, dedication and character, inculcated in them whilst in school. There is no doubt that Jaffna Hindu College always ventured to make this objective a reality among all the students who passed through her portals. Discipline and order has been the hallmark of Jaffna Hindu since inception. Alumnus of Jaffna Hindu College over generations has set forth unparalleled standards that are envied and at the same time silently respected by many. Some of the illustrious old boys of Jaffna Hindu who achieved distinction in the legal field include former Chief Justice S. Sharvananda, former Attorney General Shiva Pasupati and former President Court of Appeal K. Palakidnar just to name a few. Similarly, some of the legal luminaries produced by Ananda College I understand are, former Attorney General Yuwanjana Wijayatilake, present Additional Solicitor General Yasantha Kodagoda and many Presidents’Counsel.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we should always remember that students are the real promoters of the prosperity of the future of any country. They must therefore cultivate strong virtues and be courageous and enthusiastic helpers of society. Students should try to develop an optimistic attitude towards life. Thoughts automatically give rise to actions. Actions in turn produce habits and habits then form man’s character. It is the character which decides our destiny for good or bad. Character is that on which the destiny of a nation is built. Whether in public life or in student life we cannot reach great heights if we are lacking in character. In this regard the schools play a major role. Over and above imparting knowledge based on a sound value system, schools should always strive to be the epitome of harmony and unity; and create communities where racial and religious prejudices do not exist. In a country that was once torn apart by war; stemming from deep racial and religious divisions, I believe these efforts by the Old Boy’s Associations of both Ananda College and Jaffna Hindu College will lay the foundation to maintain the multi religious, multi ethnic character of this country, and instill into the minds of all Sri Lankan citizens the consciousness of belonging to one nation. This I believe would be the greatest contribution to our nation.

The end of the protracted armed conflict that divided our country has created a reasonable expectation that we would be able to reach reconciliation and healing that would lead to rapid economic progress. We have all once again begin to believe in the dreams of Martin Luther King in the 1960s that our children too can now have an opportunity to live in a nation where they would not be judged by the race they belonged to or the creed they believed in, but by the content of their character. Lord Buddha has said that each one has the essentials of enlightenment. Jesus has said that the kingdom of God is Within you. Prophet Muhammad has said that God is nearer to you than the very artery of your neck. Lord Krishna says in the Bagavatgita that in the lowest worm, as well in the highest human being, the same divine nature is present. Thus one could see that all religions are affirming the presence of a divine element in human beings. It is this, that confers on us dignity, which confers on us responsibility, which makes us believe that it is possible for us to shape the future in any manner we choose. We should try to find out what it is that we want and, when once we know it, if we are firm in our view, if we act unitedly, there is nothing impossible for human beings to achieve. Bridges can be easily smashed but not so easily built, and the emotional and psychological bridges of life are far harder to rebuild and they also leave scars behind.

It is because we are divided, fighting one with another, undisciplined in our nature and not united, that we have all the confusion that we come across in this country. The confusion in this country is a reflection of the confusion in our own souls. If we are able to discover the element which is able to integrate our own nature, immediately we will find that there is nothing determined, that there is nothing fixed but the whole thing is open to us and it depends on us what we make of the future of this country.

Unfortunately, as you all know our students are not trained in schools to approach life’s problems with the fortitude, self-control and sense of balance which our atmosphere now demands. Without this disciplined enthusiasm for great causes, students become a danger to themselves and to the society as a whole. Youth is the stage in life when the slightest turn, towards wrong will spell disaster. Discipline is therefore necessary. It is necessary for all achievement, especially great achievements. Discipline is not something just for students it is also essential to our society. Discipline is following rules and customs even though no one else is there to see us do it, because we respect the origin, or fear the consequences of these rules we generally accept them as the “right” way to do things. It gives us our integrity and honor, which is a crucial part of who we are.

Today, we have come to realize that we have to live together and if we are to live together, we must have tolerance of other people’s views; religious tolerance, ideological tolerance, and these are the things which have become inevitable in the interests of self-preservation. Forgiveness is love at its highest power. I think the philosophy on which this country should rebuild itself is definitely not the philosophy that believes in extermination or segregation or assimilation, but one that believes in achieving racial harmony, and if racial harmony is to be achieved, our whole outlook on life must be different. We must respect every individual. An individual may not be as great as we are; he may not have the intellectual achievement or the educational gifts or the vast experience which some of us may claim to possess, but that does not mean that the unsuspected possibilities and potentialities of people have all been explored. If you take democracy in
the proper sense of them, it is tolerating of differences, it is accepting the variety of the world as something to be encouraged and not as something to be destroyed. If you have differences, they have to be settled by peaceful methods.

There is so much unknown to us that may yet come out. I sincerely hope Sri Lanka will begin to provide the atmosphere and circumstances which will help each individual to grow to his utmost. There is an observation of Aristotle which I would like to Quote – ” Man when perfected is the best of animals, but, when separated from law and justice, he is the worst of all since armed injustice is the more dangerous, and he is equipped at birth with arms; meant to be used by intelligence and virtue which he may use for the worst ends. Therefore, if he has no virtue, he is the most unholy and the most savage of the animals”.

In conclusion, I would once again congratulate the winners of the Pannikkar-Thanabalsingham Challenge Shield and also wish both the cricket teams the very best for their cricket encounters.

Thank you.

Speech of His Lordship Hon. Chief justice K. Sripavan made at the celebratory annual dinner of Jaffna Hindu College and Ananda College held on 1st May 2016 at the Kingsbury Hotel, Colombo.

 Article Prepared by – Yasas Vishuddhi Abeywickrama – 99 Group of Ananda College

5 Responses to “Bridges Can Be Easily Smashed but Not So Easily Built”

  1. dhane Says:

    I was a student at Ananda College when Mr Panikkar and Mr Thanabalasingham were in the Staff. We had male & female few more good Tamil teachers and had good cordiality amount both Singhalese & Tamil students as well. What happened to that friendship?. I believe both Singhalese & Tamil politicians are fully responsible for this situation. Not the innocent ordinary people of both ethic groups.

  2. Dham Says:

    We can’t blame only the Tamil Politicians. All Tamils are there to cheat ( few exceptions apply). When they go and work overseas I sure they know Sinhalses treat them much better than Suddas or Chinese or any others. In Malaysia, University admission is strictly allocated according to the race percentages. In Singapore , Tamils are 3rd class, below Malays. One parliamentarian said Serangoon Road is darker on weekends. In Austraila they discriminate all non-whites. In the middle east all are discriminated. In Colombo, you go to Wellawatte, Sinhalses are discriminated.

  3. Ananda-USA Says:

    MORE about the Patriotic Real Estate Company proposal….

    dingiri bandara and Dilrook, thank you both for expressing your interest in joining this effort.

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    I have set it up as a PASSWORD protected blog for obvious reasons.

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    The plan is to set up Patriotic Sri Lankan Investors as a holding company under which various business ventures, like the Real Estate Company, can be undertaken as subsidiaries.

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  4. anura seneviratna Says:

    ” We have all once again begin to believe in the dreams of Martin Luther King in the 1960s that our children too can now have an opportunity to live in a nation where they would not be judged by the race they belonged to or the creed they believed in, but by the content of their character. ”

    Above statement of this unrefined speaker is trying to trick us by comparing how the black people were treated in USA to his settler community treated in SL is ludicrous and shameful. The ONLY problem in SL (Sinhela Country) is that we continue to over please them which they exploit to the hilt by attempting to set up a second Tamil country in addition to Tamil Nadu as if by right. How the Sinhela nation become so foolhardy is beyond belief and can be the greatest giveaway in history!

  5. Naram Says:

    Thanks Dhane for reminding a wonderful teachers of early sixties at Ananda. Good number of them were Tamils. Mr Arulambalam was our Chemistry teacher for ALs. Immaculately dressed in starched white attire and a plain blue tie he delivered the lectures with a consummate ease without any resort to slang and was understandable even to me one just moved from Sinhala medium to English in that year. He brought to many characters of the industrial scene and industrial processes as if they were his family elders. I also remember the AL Botany master Mr Shanmugaraja too who not teaching me but highly respected by my parallels in the bio sciences stream. Their devoted dedicated and disciplined contributions made it possible for us to make many friendships with the blokes we were to meet in the Uni with respect and camaraderie. Of course in that period only few schools had science teaching facilities and the varsity admission was not as competitive which later led to many claims of underhand trickery. Let us also not forget that the latter stages of the humanitarian operation against terrorism had the active support of many Tamil folks in all parts of the country including close family members of our former President.

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