Mahinda College is the School by Sundara Nihathamani de Mel

(Check out the Sinhala article here)

Search for identity is considered a very important feature of esteem needs of Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

Identity can be all inclusive as well as narrow to margin. If all human kind is the broadest of identity the narrowest can be one's self. But here our focus is on social identity. As a person who liked the leftist social identity I tended in most of my life to value broader identities especially due to dislike of ethno-religious chauvinism of Sinhala Buddhists we were engulfed in and perhaps due to masculine superiority which I like to deny fundamentally.

I have relentlessly argued against concurrent Sinhala Buddhist identity on the basis that it is chauvinism. I wanted to be a Sinhala man looking forward to progress, i.e. integrating to world society crossing nationalist borders.

But seemingly narrower identities also have beauty.

As Yamu studies "Colombo is home to rather a lot of sports clubs. Covering a wide range of sports – rowing, swimming, yachting, rugby, cricket, golf- and a range of ethnicities – Dutch Burgher Union, Moors Sports Club, Tamil Union, and of course the Sinhalese Sports Club – these clubs remain at the heart of many Colombar’s social lives. Crucially, the various clubs have various pedigrees and discussing (vociferously, after five scotch and sodas) where in the hierarchy of club cachet your particular establishment stands is a key element of belonging to a club."

This is same with schools. It is a phenomenon not reserved to elite colleges in major cities but also to the 'Vidyalayas' of the outstation smaller towns.

Sundara Nihathamani de Mel's 'Mahinde Thamai Iskole' (Mahinda College is the School) deals with this relatively narrower identity linked to past pupils' society of Mahinda College, Galle, a passionate melancholy tied to the school history.

I have never seen this Mahinda College, although I have been to Galle so many times. Mahinda College was yet another school for me until I read Sundara's beautiful non-fiction..

He has actually taken passion for Mahinda College out from the social limits of the past and present Mahindians and re-narrated it as common experience for all of us.

I read this book like munching a super excellent food which is comprised of many a tastes pausing page to page to ponder upon my own school past as a student. The success of a book is that, I perceive. A good book always rouses creative thoughts in you.

Now I think of writing the story of the past pupil passion of 'Vidyalayas' of the outstation smaller towns. Perhaps I may never write it or almost definitely, it can be a failure compared to Sundara's book. But my thought of writing it alone is the success of Sundara Nihathamani de Mel's 'Mahinda Thamai Iskole'.

Thanks Sundara for not linking your book in some way to President Mahinda as per the day's trend. You could easily do it like most of the so-called artists do today and you could profit from it. Finally you gifted us a fine piece of writing that cherish in our memories with a love to a school which was non-entity in the minds of most of us until you wrote this book.


  1. The post script of the Sinhala article which had a semblance to 'Leela' is missing. Why? s that Para's duplicity in bilingualism.


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