While our Alma Mater, S Thomas’ College, celebrates its 100 years at Mt Lavinia, here I take the liberty to capture the essence of a rich Sinhala culture that existed alongside the English, Tamil, Latin and Greek language scholarship that permeated the lives of students, thanks to the indefatigable services rendered by teachers, such as, Kalasuri Arisen Ahubudu, (Writer, poet, Sinhala lyricist, author, scholar, playwright, teacher and orator), Sandedas Coperahewa, (Poet, author, journalist and teacher) of the Hela Havula, father of Prof. Sandagomi Coperahewa, to name a few, whose memories we still cherish.
Even though this era was well known for its richness in English, Latin and Greek, with much familiarity with William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and Milton, we also loved Sidath Sangara, Amawathura, Salalihini Sandeshaya and Guththilaya. We were regular readers of “Subasa” ( The Subasa paved the way for the resurgence of a literary tradition that proved the efficacy of the Sinhala language to express any idea lucidly, succinctly and proficiently) and trekked to Ahubudu’s residence at Mt Lavinia, for basic Pali lessons. My advice to students is to be proficient both in the mother tongue and English, for success in life. Here is a short appreciation I wrote a few days ago in Sinhala for someone who wanted an article. ” Esto Perpetua”