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“Santhagaraya” – Vidyodaya Moot Hall
Senior Common Room and Welfare Society
The enchanted Vidyodaya University was fabulous in merging high performance of academic contiguity. Early 1967 there was not a certain place for the academic staff of the University to have a cup of tea even a rest in their schedules. Mr.Wimalarathna’s tea counter at the edge of Department of Sinhala was historic but it was not adequate to fulfil staff needs.
On behalf of these needs the welfare Association had been established. Professor A.V Suraweera was the first chairman of this association. Dr.Dingi Karunathilake held the Secretary Post and English Language instructor Mr. P.S.C Perera had elected as the treasurer of this massive association. A “One Rupee” had been charged from each faculty members per monthly. There were meetings in several categories among the departments but inadequate space was highly affected.
The fourth floor of the Sri Sumangala Building had been deployed for the conservation of national, cultural and public records in Department of National Archives Sri Lanka. It was a marvellous victory to receive that reserved place for the canteen of Vidyodaya University. Mr. Peter Kariyawasam who was working in the Library got selected as the guardian/in-charge of the canteen. Sugar consumes and launch packet sale had been prohibited by the government due to the dispatched famine attributed as the development. Wheat flour could not find or take from canteens. “Ranketa” made from pure jiggery was utilised respite of sugar with a cup of tea also. Jagath Wicramasinghe who was the chairman to the cooperative association of the University and Wenee Witharana to the chairman of welfare association had been devoting their maximum contribution to request crop-lands for accompaniment under the association from the minister of land affairs and her Excellency Prime minister at that time.
Instant responses were given by the authorities to afford a land about approximately five hundred acres at Buththala for the Vidyodayaagri-committee. The cultivation process was started in hundred acres by feeding chilly, corn as well as manioc but it became failure due to unavoidable famine which had spread around the island even not enough to cover expenses incurred. Pleasant memories still arising while we were lighting fires against animals at temporally built huts called “pela”.
When the time was flowing away Ariyapala Perera elected as the chairman of the staff welfare association. He convincingly persuaded the necessity of moot hall expansion to the vice chancellor at that time. Then the moot hall had been shifted from rooftop to the basement of the Sumangala building and air conditioned as well. A television was already given for the academic staff to spend leisure time comfortably. The constitution to the welfare association had adopted and several decisions were taken immensely. Ceremonial events for retiring senior academic staff members, offering a sufficient fund for family or relations of accidently died academics had presented through the association. The first benefit fund was given to Dr. Jayaweera who was a lecturer at the Faculty of Science. Funeral funding strategy had been increased eventually by exposing an attraction to the association.
The annual ceremony is elegantly organised by the welfare association at a hotel. The warmest gratitude and gifts were distributed for the retired academic staff members within last year.
Emeritus Prof. Ariyapala Perera,
Department of Pali and Buddhist Studies,
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences,
University of Sri Jayewardenepura