Monday, December 15, 2008

Deryck Aluwihare

Deryck Aluwihare

It is with sadness I received the news of the death of Uncle Deryck. I have known him all my life and to me he was uncle, friend, mentor and hero. His values in life and his impeccable honesty are things that most people sadly lack today.

He was born at Pahala Walauwa, Matale to L. B Aluwihare and Julia Nuwerawewa Parangama Aluwihare Kumarihamy. Deryck was their youngest son.

His grand father was the Disawa for the Matale District during the British occupation of our island.

Deryck was educated at Trinity College where he excelled in his studies and graduated with Honours from the University of Colombo.

He Joined the Ceylon Civil Service and he held very high office in the public service of Sri Lanka.
Aunty Rani, his wife, was kindness in its self, and during the time I was attached to the Ceylon Hotel School, I was with them and it was home away from home. The values and principles that Uncle Deryck has instilled in me, has enabled me to face life with a philosophy that is practised in both Buddhism and Christianity. To have courage, love and compassion on all things.

He was not a good driving instructor. I remember the time he decided to check my driving skills, and he was so nervous at my driving that I too forgot all what I had to do and at that time the Galle Road was very busy.

Uncle Deryck held many high positions in the Civil Service, but he was never a political cringer, and as such enjoyed the respect of all ruling parties of the time, but not their 'favoured son' status.

One of the greatest acts of bravery displayed by this son of the soil was in Anuradhapura. It was 1958 and he was the government agent of the Anuradhapura District. There was rioting and in the night he walked the main street of this ancient city holding only a stick for protection.
Many a Tamil family owed their lives to this man who had no racial preferences; all he practised was what was right and what was wrong. I have seen this stick which has a silver plaque and the words: 'To a brave person who saved many lives. From the Ceylon Army.' He is mentioned in the book Emergency '58 by Tarzie Vittachie.

Uncle Deryck was never popular with people who bent the laws of the land to line their pockets. I remember many a time Uncle Deryck relating his early childhood in Aluwihare, Today these stories would have made the charts in a movie or a novel.

He knew so many branches of this very old Kandyan family. My mother Julie is the only surviving member of his family of three boys and six girls.

Uncle Deryck retired and followed his daughter Neila to settle down in Auckland, New Zealand, where he spent a useful retired life, delivering talks to social groups on Sri Lanka.

Having been born to a staunch Buddhist family, but having converted to Christianity at Trinity, he had a unique blend of two religions and he lived by their teachings.

Rohan De Silva Jayasundera


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