Yesterday 19th June 2011 was the 100th birth anniversary of Dudley Senanayake, the second Prime Minister of Ceylon as it was officially called then. In commemoration of that event, a book launch was held of a bibliography called "Dudley Senanayake- the most loved leader of our times" prepared by Rukman a nephew of his.
There were many distinguished guests from the government and opposition and some notable speakers who all said very good things about him. What struck me most was reading an excerpt from a talk given by a former Administrative Service officer Amara Hewamadduma where amongst other things he said that a strong opposition is needed for a democratic country. He also said that we want National Leaders and National Parties.
I believe both those are the needs of the hour and it is incumbent upon us to do our best to achieve these two goals out of respect for this great leader against whom, I have never heard one bad thing said. That must say something of the stature of the man.
All I remember of him, though I was once introduced to him, was of him as Prime Minister in the 1965 - 1970 period driving his car one day on Green Path with his bodyguard on his left. I think it was a pretty ordinary car, black i think and that was how he went about. It is a level of humility we can only wish of our latter day leaders so full of themselves and only playing to the gallery having two personas, one public and another private.
I pray that this country will see a leader of that ilk in future who can truly unify the nation, heading a National Party and not one based on ethnic or religious lines.