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Dharmaraja News

Premasara Epasinghe:-
Today, in this complex fast moving society, sometimes, you have no time to look after the interest of your old school. But, there is a rare exception of a schoolboy, who once excelled in the playing fields of Lake View ground Kandy in Cricket, Hockey and Soccer in early 1950's, who is still attached to his school Dharmaraja College, Kandy. This charming, pleasant sports personality is D M Dharmatilake, a highly distinguished old Rajan. Later, he served Dharmaraja College staff as a Graduate Teacher and Master-in-Charge of Cricket. Dharmaraja, is one of the Crest-Jewels of Buddhist Education in Sri Lanka. Dharmaraja and Dharmatilake are inseparable. He played for College First XI in 1950 and 1951 under the captaincy of P B Munasinghe and L M K Munasinghe. He was a fine utility player and a team man. He was a superb hockey player. Further, Dharmatilake shone as a fine soccer player too. He was a man who always put college, before self. Another notable feature of Dharmatilake was although with all his college co-curricular activities, he never neglected his studies. He entered the University of Ceylon in 1952. Born on 19 November 1931, he hails from a highly respectable family from Narampanawa. His beloved mother was Bandara Menike Dissanayake, of “Pannawela Niwasa” His father was D Fonseka. As a tiny-tot, Dharmatilake entered the kindergarten or Grade I, as a Hosteller and after a brilliant sports and academic career at Dharmaraja, he entered the University of Ceylon. His first year was at Colombo and he was one of the first batch of under graduates shifted to the Peradeniya Premises to follow an Arts Degree. His subjects were European History, Economics and Sinhala. He was at James Peiris Hall and later at Ramanathan Hall. Even at Peradeniya University, he took part and excelled in his favourite sport Hockey. In the early 1950's, he excelled as a fine hockey player in the University team which included brilliant players like Swamy, Aldons, Bertie Dias, Kathiresen, Fred Abeysekera etc. “Premasara, those were the most unforgettable, glorious days. Great scholar Sir Ivor Jennings was our Vice-Chancellor. I was never a book worm. As undergraduates we lived like one family. By 4.30 pm, I was at the University grounds. I am ever grateful to Dharmaraja and the University. I moulded my character at Dharmaraja and at the inner walls of the University of Peradeniya. I firmly believe that our younger generation should balance their studies, sports and other co-curricular activities. It will help them to be productive citizens stated octogenarian Dharmatilake. After obtaining an Arts Degree from Peradeniya, he started his career as a Graduate Teacher at his Alma-Mater Dharmaraja. He was also the Master-in-Charge of Cricket and the Junior Cricket Coach. T B Kehelgamuwa and G S Ratnayake were coached by him. “I always remembered a poem taught to us, by our beloved Principal, great English scholar, S A Wijetilleke, before we take the field. Quote: When the great scorer comes To write against your name, He writes not that you won or lost But, how you played the game ! As the Master-in-Charge of Cricket, I always followed these lines. Discipline, commitment, fair-play, honesty, integrity, excellent behaviour on and of the field are some of the valuable aspects I taught them,” stated Dharmatilake. He was also a Pioneer of Olcott school cricket tournament” conducted by the eight leading Buddhist schools. He was the President for three years and organised this cricket tournament very successfully. After leaving Dharmaraja, as a fine civil servant, Dharmatilake held many high positions at Labour Department, Health Department, Sri Lanka Railways, University Grants Commission. He also served as Working Director National Film Corporation. Dharmatilake is married to Claudia. She studied at Vishvabharati University of Kolkata. This happy couple are blessed with two daughters. Amita is a Microbiologist attached to Silica Foods, Ohaya, USA. Shamini is at Executive at Ceylincs Life Insurance Company.

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