Patrick de Silva Kularatne

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Patrick de Silva Kularatne
Patrick de Silva Kularatne.jpg
Born(1893-03-31)31 March 1893
Died16 November 1976(1976-11-16) (aged 83)
NationalitySri Lankan
Alma materRichmond College, Galle
Wesley College, Colombo
OccupationTeacher and politician

Panis (Patrick) de Silva Kularatne (31 March 1893 – 16 November 1976) (known as P de S Kularatne) was an educationist and politician of Sri Lanka.[1] He established Nalanda College Colombo, Ananda Balika, Moratuwa Vidyalaya and Dharmapala Vidyalaya. His wife, Hilda, a scholar, was the principal of Ananda Balika and she founded the Sri Sumangala Girls' School at Panadura and the Maliyadewa Girls' School at Kurunegala.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Ambalangoda on 31 March 1893, he received his early education at Richmond College in Galle and Wesley College, Colombo.[2] He went to England for further studies at the University of London.

Principal of Ananda College[edit]

On 1 January 1918 began his duties as principal of Ananda College. In 1919, the Dutugemunu fund was inaugurated. The funds raised paid for the first building of the Kularatne era, with nine classrooms. That same year, eight classes for Buddhist monks began.

In the same month a 4-acre (16,000 m2) block of land was made available for the college playground at Campbell Place. He was able to win the cooperation of current British Governor Sir Graeme Thompson, Sir Herbert Stanley and Sir Murchison Fletcher in his effort to acquire more space for Ananda College and Nalanda College Colombo. On 31 March 1922, Thompson laid the foundation stone for a sixteen classroom building at Campbell Place. In August of the same year the first stage of the two storied hostel was opened.

Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore visited the college on 10 November 1922, as chief guest at the annual prize giving. He declared on that occasion: "I acknowledge that the life of Ananda is its humility and unassuming nature."

Mahathma Gandhi visited Ananda in 1927. In 1928 the college won the Herman Loos cup for the best cadet platoon and the Stubs challenge shield for boxing. In 1929 Ananda won the CVRA shield for rifle shooting.

Dr. Evans-Wendtz, an American Buddhist, visited Ceylon on the invitation of Kularatne and took part in a series of debates on Buddhist topics. Rev. Highfield of Wesley College and Rev. Father Legoc of St. Joseph's College contributed to this discussion.

In a novel experiment for that era, Kularatne encouraged his staff to write textbooks in English on geography, history, botany, and other sciences. Under his auspices, the study of science became popular. Kularatne started classes for teaching Tamil to Sinhalese students and Sinhala to Tamil students.

C. Suntharalingam, professor of mathematics of the Ceylon University stated: "Kularatne has helped the people of Ceylon to shed their inferiority complex, at least in the secondary schools. He contributed directly to a Buddhist revival and indirectly to a national revival in this Lanka of ours."

Under his stewardship Ananda was registered as a collegiate school with a separate primary school. Students were coached to sit the University of London intermediate, pre-medical and entrance examinations. He introduced teaching kindergarten in the mother tongue him well before it was required by the Department of Education. He instilled a national consciousness in students and laid emphasis on a Buddhist education. The school became a viable alternative to missionary schools for Buddhist students.

Kularatne promoted racial unity and co-existence. The teachers in his schools included Hindus, Muslims, Christians and Indians. The staff included C. Sundaralingam (a mathematician), Professor. G.P. Malalasekera, Dr. T.B Jayah and J. N. Jinendradasa. Jayah and Jinendradasa later took over the administration of Zahira College, Colombo and Nalanda College Colombo respectively.

Principal of Dharmaraja College[edit]

Kularatne served as the principal at Dharmaraja College from 1932 and 1936. Dharmaraja was facing a financial crisis when Kularatne assumed duties, and even the Lake View premise was under threat of being sold. But Kularatne, was able to save the land and secure a home for Dharmaraja, for centuries to come. He restored the hostel and transformed the principal’s quarters at the city premises to classrooms and a laboratory complex, and Dharmaraja started teaching science subjects in 1933. The first academic buildings in Lake View were built around this time and a part of the students were taken there. The roads and other facilities were also developed so that Lake View transformed from a shrubbery into a property any school would be proud to own. Cadetting in Dharmaraja also began during Kularatne’s office and so did many other sports including tennis, swimming etc. In 1935 Dharmaraja was visited by four distinguished visitors from India; Rabindranath Tagore, Nandalal Bose, Uday Shankar and Kalki Krishnamurthy. He returned to Ananada in 1936.

Political career[edit]

Kularatne was the second secretary of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party.

Family life and legacy[edit]

On 19 November 1920 Hilda Muriel Westbrook came from England and joined the staff of Ananda College and in December the same year she married Kularatne. They had three children: Ananda, Parakrama and Maya. The eldest was Pilot Officer Ananda Kularatne, an RAF pilot who was killed in World War II when his Halifax Bomber did not return from a raid. His younger son Parakrama (always called 'Malli'), a civil engineer, married Lalani, the daughter of Justice A. R. H. Canekeratne and Nellie de Mel; they emigrated to New Zealand with their two sons in 1971. His daughter Maya married Stanley Senanayake, who would become the Inspector General of Police. Stanley Senanayake told Kularatne about the attempted military coup in 1962 who in turn tipped the government, thus stopping it. Patrick de Silva Kularatne died on 16 November 1976 and was honoured as a national hero by the release of a stamp by Sri Lanka Post on 22 May 1987. Ananda College paid tribute to him by erecting an auditorium and naming it the 'Kularatne Hall.'[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ P. de S. Kularatne — some personal reminiscenses , Buddhika Kurukularatne, The Island
  2. ^ P. de S. Kularatne – legend of Ananda, Janaka Perera, Asian Tribune
  3. ^ Birth of a great Buddhist educationist, The Sunday Times