TRIBUTES | Sunday Observer


Oslin Wimala Seneviratne

Best second mother

It was a very sad occasion to all family members, relatives and residents of Meevitigammana in Attanagalla, when Oslin Wimala Seneviratne (nee Alagiyawanna) bade farewell ending her long and devotional life at the age of 93. The large gathering during the funeral bears testimony to their respect and love towards her.

O.W Seneviratne and her husband G.W.G Seneviratne who predeceased her in 1998, were blessed with a daughter, Namalika, eldest in the family and three sons, Palitha, Jayantha, and Nalaka. By virtue of my marriage to Jayantha in 1980, I had the good fortune of not only joining the Seneviratne clan of Attanagalla but also associating the lovable parents of my husband.

During the early stage of my marriage, I had to adjust myself to live without my parents and siblings in Haputale and get acclimatise to the new life in Colombo. In this backdrop, I realised the kind, caring and cheerful disposition of the senior Seneviratnes, which gave me the lovely feeling of having a second father and mother in Colombo. As a newcomer to the Seneviratne family, it was undoubtedly Amma’s loving kindness and care that made me feel at ease and at home all the way. I would always, with much love and due respect, consider her as my second mother. Every one of us respected and loved Amma, who was also a tower of strength to all of us.

It isn’t very often that one feels completely at ease about the relationship with one’s mother-in-law. In this regard, I am absolutely lucky and fortunate, and so are the other daughters-in-law, Krishanthi, Jayanthi, and the one and only son-in-law Lakshman Jayawardhana. She never considered that we were partners of her children.

Amma would always listen to us and offered guidance and advice whenever we needed them. She never told me that I was doing something wrong or pushed her opinion about childrearing, housekeeping or for that matter on any other issue. In short, she let me be me and this applied to all others as well.

She always encouraged happiness among all our families and treated all of us alike.

There are so many others, who will miss her, specifically, residents of Meevitigammana and Urapola, to whom she was helpful in so many ways. She continued social work from where her late husband stopped, without any fanfare or publicity. Whoever visited her for whatever purpose was not disappointed. A cup of tea or a meal, depending on the time of visit was always on offer. On their departure, Amma would always bless them with Theruwan Saranai.

Amma was a devout Buddhist and was always involved in the lay-societies of temples in the area. The Poson Poya dansala at Abayagiri Vihara, graded as one of the best in Anuradhapura, was initiated by Thaththa and Amma in 1992.

Even after the demise of Thaththa in 1998, Amma saw to the continuation of this momentous event for the 26th time in 2018, along with family members.

Amma was very fond of her grandchildren and took turns to stay with each family for a few weeks when she was physically fit. She was quite proud and happy to see her seven great grandchildren, and needless to mention that Muththamma was their most favourite and welcomed visitor. The grandchildren most of whom are married, are sure to miss their lovable personality now.

Though we know that you are no more, yet the pleasant and unforgettable memories that you have left, through your charismatic character, will sure to remain as long as we live.

May she attain the supreme bliss of Nirvana!

Mekala Seneviratne


Neville Nanayakkara

True son of the soil

Naville Nanayakkara had his education at St.Joseph’s College, Colombo, graduated in Science from the University of Ceylon, received Postgraduate degrees in the Print Media in England and in Industrial Management in Netherlands, became a fellow of two prestigious professional bodies in the UK and was a consultant for the UNDP.

All this before the age of 32, could be called an achievement.

He was the youngest to be the Head of one of the largest Government Institutions, in Sri Lanka, the Government Printing Department. He held that position for 24 years under four Heads of States.

His achievements include the introduction of Sinhala into digital computers and setting up the Sri Lanka Institute of Printing which now affiliates with Colombo University in awarding degree level Management qualifications to the youth in the Print and Advertising fields. He has written and published four books on Digital and on Microprocessor Technology.

His contributions to International Conferences, to the local and the international arena is well documented by Google. Go to and just enter Neville Nanayakkara, the number of pages of information on him surprises anyone.

Retiring early from government service, he shouldered another five years of responsibility, handling Tsunami rehabilitation as the Sri Lanka Red Cross Director General.

His book ‘Impossible to Possible’ comes as a tribute to the unsung heroes - the youth volunteers, who did a yeomen service on fateful tsunami days.

Government Printing Department staff