You are currently browsing the daily archive for September 21, 2022.

This post gives the reason for Lalith resigning, but also explores more about how Ranil functioned. His capacity for revenge was unlimited, and his Minister of Education also suffered as did Lalith. And so did other senior members of the party, as I found out on New Year’s Eve, though details of that must wait.

The seeds of failure

Lalith’s reason for leaving the Ministry was based on a simple point, that the new Secretary was someone who would not take decisions without heaps of supporting signatures, and indeed this diagnosis was confirmed some time later by Mr Wijayadasa who had been President Premadasa’s Secretary.

I upbraided him for having appointed Nanayakkara, for I had been told he had been on the selection committee. He said that had not been the case, but he know the man: he had come as a youngster to the President’s office and had been told every morning what he should do, and in the evening he had reported on the reasons why he had not been able to do anything. It was not long before Premadasa and Wijayadasa got rid of him.

The next day, Saturday, was Christmas, and we had the 5th Lane cousins for lunch, including Ranil. Kodituwakku had not been made a Minister, but was simply State Minister of Education, and he had two other State Ministers supposedly under him, for School Education and Higher Education. Both of them were Ranil’s favourites whereas Kodituwakku was supposed not to be in his good books, a fact which some years later Ravi Karunanayake explained to me. When I asked Ranil why there was no Cabinet Minister for Education, he said that had been an oversight, and it would be remedied.

But I do not believe it was an oversight, and the remedy was actioned only a couple of months later and by then the other two had entrenched themselves, and Kodituwakku felt sidelined, which had doubtless been Ranil’s intention. Later he told me that he spent most of his time at the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, which was also part of his brief, and where he did not have Ranil’s acolytes throwing their weight about.

In the evening I dropped in at the parties Nirmali and my sister had and then went to the cottage for the night. Next day I went to the university to teach, with a Faculty meeting in the afternoon, and then got back to the cottage. Next day there was a workshop at the NIE about the Colleges, and then I went to the Ministry to see the Educational Publications people, and then went to the Council for an EASL meeting. Nirmali and Neomal and I then worked on the books, and the next day was much the same, work on books and at the Ministry and NIE. The next day, Saturday, was only an NIE workshop, and I also prepared my work report for December, a practice I had started which had helped both Tara and me to measure progress.

On Sunday the 30th I prepared papers for a couple of conferences I had to get to in January, and that night had dinner at my cousin Kshanika’s. That was when Ilika Karunaratne, now firmly behind Ranil though she had been scathing about him when she was involved with Lalith Athulathmudali, revealed how paranoid Ranil was.

This continues with the sad saga of what happened at the Ministry, though I note too much other work, for the university and the Council for Liberal democracy, and for myself. And I still have fond memories of the teacher I met at a little school in Kalutara who was so very keen about English medium.

The picture is of the book I produced with Priyantha, proceedings in three languages of the CLD seminar series, the first trilingual publication I believe.

Keeping English medium going

After seeing Lalith that day I went to the NIE, and then saw Harsha and then worked on the CLD book. The next day, Saturday December 15th, I went after a Liberal meeting to the NIE for a workshop and then marked papers and had dinner with my father and Ayra who had come with him from Kandy. On the Sunday we had a workshop on the English materials, though where this was I have not recorded, and it may have just been our team preparing for a workshop for teachers. Then I finalized our Faculty minutes and met Priyantha about the CLD book. That evening my cousin Tekla and her husband Walter joined us for dinner.

On Monday, a holiday, we had a Materials workshop at the NIE for teachers, both morning and afternoon, and then I went with Kithsiri to buy paint and took this to the cottage. I cooked dinner that night, and then early next morning we went to the university for a day of administration, followed by classes next day after which I got back to the cottage. Next morning, having paid workmen, I went to the NIE where I met the science teachers, who we thought would have a tough time, but they were raring to go, and indeed one – in a small seaside school in Kalutara – told me that she had done her degree in English medium but had begun to lose the language and was delighted that now she would have a chance to use it again.

That afternoon I went to the Ministry, and found Lalith in increasing despair, for there was no work on what was happening, and though he had been offered a secretary post by another Minister he preferred to stay on at education which was something he loved. That night I worked on my articles and editing, and then next morning I was back at the NIE for a workshop, going on to the cottage, and then to the university where we had a Council meeting. Next morning I went to the Academy where I met Sameera and also Ruwan, and then I went to Yala to join Ena, but it was only for one night. Next day I saw Upali and Jothini together with Anuruddha, a contemporary of Ranga whom I had recruited to teach there, and then I took a class at the Radiant, saw my uncle and aunt, took another class at Madola, and then went to the cottage for the night. Next morning I went to the Ministry and met the new Secretary whom I found most unimpressive, and then I spoke to the Minister, and to Lalith, who I think then told the Minister that he would not stay on.

Rajiva Wijesinha


September 2022
%d bloggers like this: