The Nawa Samasamaja Party (NSSP) is considered to be the political grouping in Sri Lanka’s recent history with the highest number of intellectuals in its hierarchy.
Since 1994, it boasted of Wickramabahu Karunaratne, Prof. Shantha de Alwis, Dr. Kumar David, Prof. Sumanasiri Liyanage, engineer Chris Rodrigo, engineer Chris Madapatha, barrister A.K. Annamalai, Lalith Abeysinghe, Prof. Nalin de Silva, Ven. Baddegama Samitha Thera, Ven. Udawela Nanda Thera, lecturer of Kelaniya Lakshman Kumar Keerthi, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Lenus Jayatilake (with double doctorates), Austin Fernando (United Labour Union), Saranapala Silva (graduated while being a labourer), lawyer Nalin Mahesh Perera (author of Meda Panthika Drushtiya), Terrance Purasinghe, Prof. H. Sriyananda, student leaders Ananda Nawaratne, Wasantha Somaratne, engineer of Moratuwa Daya Ranasinghe, Dr. Sunil Ratnapriya, Dr. Nimalka Fernando, V. Thiruvanakarasu, Edwin Kotelawala, Jayatilake Kammellaweera, Kusal Perera. The list goes on with Siritunga Jayasuriya, lawyer Srinath Perera, Savanadasa, Sarath Pemsiri, Britto Fernando, Ronnie Fernando, Neil Wijetilake, Christie George.
Prof. G.L. Peiris, Prof. Charitha Herath, Dr. Nalaka Godahewa (engineer-business management), Prof. Channa Jayasumana, Prof. Ratnasekara, Dr. Thilak Rajapakse (Ampara), Dr. Upul Galappatti (Tissamaharama) of the ‘freedom people's congress’ are all professionals. Yapa Bandara, Dilan Perera, Udayana Kirindigoda are lawyers. Dullas Alahapperuma’s qualification even to be the president has been recognized by the Sajith Premadasa-led SJB when it supported his candidature.
With three professors, four doctors as well as lawyers in its fore, the ‘Freedom’ group is just like the NSSP of the yesteryear.
Whatever the party or the policy is, it is good to have intellectuals at the political decision-making level.
N.B. Will include if the intellectuals missing in the NSSP list are commented upon.
Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon
Presidential director-general (community affairs)