The caretaker premier By L R H Anrdt
Another N A Y A K E, it has been pointed out, is Premier. He promised to stun the nation. He certainly has astonished many with the boldness of his moves. Already. There are said by those who know him, to be characteristic of the man: he is remembered as quick to see what he wanted, and absolutely sincere about seeing he got what he felt was right.
W. Dahanayake, it has been pointed out, is more the claim of Richmond (where he sat at the feet of the Rev. W. J. T. Small, and also taught) than of S. Thomas?. Be that as it may, our pages have more than once carried our views: he was with us once; he is, therefore, remembered in our community. Beside at an Old Boys? Iuncheon in Galle ( 1935) he said, He felt embarrassed, but he took courage, remembering and old saying of Warden Stone, ?If you can?t do it, do it.? That was the Thomian spirit. He made bold to say that S. Thomas? was the greatest national school in Ceylon. At S. Thomas? all the communities in the Island were more evenly balanced than in any other school???? It was the school of scholars, and the nurse of patriots.
Very recently, pressure of duty prevented him accepting the invitation to preside on Prize Day.
His twin brother, ?K? had a Sonnet, ?EstoPerpetna? published in the Magazine a year or so after leavening school.
Admitted to V I B in January1919, ?K? stayed longer than his brother did, passing his London Inter-Arts. The two are remembered in the pages of the Centenary Magazine (146,148):
?Amongst the luminaries of the College and Sixth Forms were Mr. L. J. de S. Seneviratne. Mr. D. t. Wijeratne. Mr. T. Tweed and the Hon?ble Mr. E. F. N. Gratiaen, each of whom won the Government University Scholarship-and a number of others including the Gemini, W. and K. Dahanayake? (of interest is it, that the Zodiacal Sign by this name will ride high in the sky over Colombo on March19).
?Meetings of the Debating Society???. Were frequently enlivened by the eloquence and scathing invective of the Dahanayake brothers, who usually spoke on opposite sides?.
?K? was also Secretary of the Debating Society, and represented the College for three years.
?W? does not seem to have made equal impression on the Editors of the day; we hope it is not a case of mistaken identity! But earnest of the role he was to play is afforded by a story vouchsafed for by a teacher of the day. Warden Stone presided. W. Dahanayake stood up to speak, and proceeded to move a vote of no-confidence in the Warden! The chairmen sat red-faced, and tight-lipped through it all. It is also said of him that he learnt from Warden Stone a lasting lesson in how to take a sound beating.
Disturbing as are some of the manifestations to those brought up in the ways of British democratic theory, we cannot affect to judge men and matters so close to us in time. We can but express the hope that the fearless devotion to the underprivileged he showed when in opposition, will have fitted him to handle the cares of state with dignity. The fortuitous circumstance which elevated him, as he has said, against his wishes, is certainly unpropitious enough to daunt the most strong-minded.
Before we go to Press, March 19 has passed. We cannot but express-in company, we are certain, with all right thinking persons-our regret at MrDahanayake?s political eclipse.
To the phase of his political life just closed we can surely apply those time-honoured lines,
Nothing in his life became him
Like the leaving it.