"All politicians are great bluffers, hood-winking the people all the time" wrote a member of the blood line of Colvin as a feed back immediately after reading my last week's column under the heading 'Trotskyites Sang Sai Bajans'! He(name withheld) remembershow‘protests organised by N.M always ended up smashing all the glass window panels at show rooms along Darley road, Union Place, Colombo 2".

Agreeing with what Nicky Karunarathna had to say on Colvin's behaviour, 'this relative' too confirmed how he (Colvin) used to walk up to the front door whenever he noticed any visitor coming to see him at his Duplication Road residence, greeted the caller vociferously and sat on the door step thus preventing the person from entering beyond the front door step! Naturally, the visitor had to converse with him outside the house and went away little realising the diplomacy or insensitivity of his Sahodaraya (comrade)!"

Nicky Karunarathna, on the other hand, was a long time faithful member of the LSSP. After Kusala Abeywardena who held the Borella seat, Lawyer Kurukalasooriya was given the task to contest but he got defeated. Consequently Nicky was appointed as the Chief Organiser for Borella and became well known during the election campaigns and meetings held those days; his name appeared constantly in most of the newspapers as he used to preside the meetings. I am beginning to wonder whether all his past experiences that are flowing in, all the way from Australia now as feedback, will end up one day in the future as his (LSSP) biography!


The relative of Colvin Mr. X.... gives credit where it is due and equally castigates whenever he thinks it is appropriate. In such a backdrop, he recollects of an incident where he came across his former lecturer in Economics, who later became the Speaker of the House of Parliament in Sri Lanka, Stanley Tillekeratne, at a wedding reception at the Oberoi Hotel in Colombo.

In a direct comparison with some of the LSSP hierarchy he says, when he came face to face with Stanley Tillekeratne at the hotel reception and addressed him as 'Sir' paying some respect to his former lecturer, immediate reaction from Stanley Tillekeratne had been, "X...... please call me Stanley''! Mr. X.... says , "Stanley was a very simple guy and a gentleman; once I sought his assistance to get my children admitted to Milagiriya, and with one telephone call to the principal my children were admitted to the school"!


Nicky Karunarathna's version of the "LSSP hierarchy" is totally a different kettle of fish. Naming some of the stalwarts (omitted all names) he continued: "These guys used to go on parade in Colombo streets every year on May 1, with their working class comrades shoulder to shoulder, singing their theme song, Sàdukin Pelana un dan ithin negitiyaw, antima satanata sarasiyaw (rise up those who are suffering from hunger and get ready for the final battle!) but ended up in the evening at the Otters Club, Colombo 7, Capri, and Eighty Club drinking Scotch whiskey and eating glorious food with their high class English speaking literati friends, but never did they sit with the ordinary folk when it came to wine and dine (which included M.A. Justin, President of the University Federation or Trade Union Leaders)".

Nicky Karunarathna had been in the Public Service when Dr. N.M. Perera presented the National Savings Bank Act No. 30 of 1971 in Parliament, amalgamating four large public institutions (Post Office Savings Bank, Savings Movement, Ceylon Savings Band and National Savings Movement).

Dr. N. M delegated Nick Karunarathna to set up the new Institution and execute the preliminary work of the National Savings Bank, and appointed the President of the Christian Brotherhood, who was at the time working as the Head Master of Carey College as Chairman of the new Institution. Apparently, the new Chairman had also been a right hand man of Bernard Zoysa (Deputy Finance Minister of NM at the time).

According to Nicky, "the new Chairman brought half of the Carey College staff, mostly Catholic and Tamil teachers and graduates as staff members of the new Bank with NO EXPERIENCE of banking"! Nicky being responsible for most of the recruitment for the new institution sent all the personnel from old institutions on retirement or released those who did not opt for joining the new bank to the Public Service.

Karunarathna recollects how the newly appointed Chairman forwarded a list of 24 stenographers to him to be appointed to  the new Bank, out of which 23 had been Tamil Catholics! Naturally Nicky becoming impatient and somewhat irritable at the liberty taken by the newly appointed Chairman of the bank had complained this matter to NM, Minister of Finance, about the irregularities that were about to take place! After listening to Nicky's objection NM gracefully had cancelled the list and recruitment of candidates was entrusted to Nicky Karunarathna to do justice.


After the above unsavoury incident, Bernard Zoysa had become grouchy with Nicky (as most of the applicants had come from his electorate) ! When things were not getting rosy and it became a problematic issue Nicky had met with the Prime Minister, Sirimavo Bandaranaike to discuss his problems. However, once Mrs. Bandaranaike was convinced that 'some kind of jiggery-pokery was going on, behind her back', she had intervened and discontinued the services of the Chairman and replaced him with M. Shanmuganathan (Secretary to Constitutional Affairs) while the Chairman had joined a private Institution.

'Shanmuganathan  was a fine gentleman with refined qualities'that blended with Nicky's personality to help them to carry out the massive project as a team. Still for all, Nicky began to receive various resumes from NM's constituents with short notes addressed to him as: "Karu do the needful" with a signature of just two letters - 'NM'. Bernard Zoysa and other LSSP parliamentary colleagues followed suit, says Nicky which "paved the way for the LSSP to be kicked out of the Government and for Mrs. Bandaranaike to appoint Felix R. Dias Bandaranaike as the Finance Minister stating, LSSP was a government within the Government"! Nicky Karunarathna reminds us that 'when NM, Colvin and Bernard were there, all the top guys of the Tamil community had their own way of running the party' and states that 'it was the LSSP who invented the 50-50 parity status for Tamils and pushed the slogan down the throat of Tamils like Ponnambalam".

The other side of the coin, Nicky Karunarathna sees as "the LSSP stalwarts never entertained trade union leaders like D.G.William, Panditha, I. J. Wirkrema, T.B. Dissanayake et al, for their Scotch whiskey parties, and the only thing they wanted was to disrupt working governments and use workers for their own ends as pawns on a draft board'!

"Yeah, it is relevant to point out when it comes to politics that the LSSP agenda, which started from the very beginning, has been the same cause that has taken root in Sri Lankan politics and the society; sadly it is running like thin veins and capillaries all over body politic even today, and creeping into other available areas.... I can write a book on the subject", says Nicky Karunarathna.

Submit by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | Originally published on Dailynews

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