|Professor Nandadasa Kodagoda
Professor Nandadasa Kodagoda passed away 4 years back on August 02, 1997. His 72nd birth anniversary fell on October 31, 2001.
He was born in 1929 in Ahangama, Galle and after completing his primary education in Galle he entered Nalanda College, Colombo for higher studies and later proceeded to Mahinda College, Galle where he completed his Advanced level and was adjudged the best student in Sri Lanka, a record which still stands. He established the record when he scored 396 marks at the Advanced Level examination.
Prof. Kodagoda entered the then University of Ceylon and passed out as a Medical Graduate. In 1959 he joined the academic staff of the Medical Faculty as a Lecturer and rose to become the Vice Chancellor after having held the posts of Professor of Medicine and the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine.
In 1962 he proceeded to UK and obtained his MRCP and DMJ.
Professor Kodagoda is indeed a very colourful personality. A man of many facets. He worked in diverse fields and in recognition of his services became the recipient of many awards in the fields of Medicine, Art and Literature. He was awarded the "Kala Keerthi", in 1984, "Deshabandu" in 1993 and "Wishva Prasadani" in 1996. For his services in the field of prevention of Alcoholism and Drug abuse, he was awarded the international "Lakshmi Menon" award in 1995.
Having mentioned the above, the main purpose of this article is to emphasise his contribution towards the welfare of the children of forces personnel who sacrificed their lives in preserving the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka. He realized during the early stages of the conflict, the damage inflicted on society by the on going war and in 1984 he was instrumental in forming the Veerasebala Foundation, whose main objective was to look to the well-being of the children of fallen heroes and thereby make the service personnel in action feel that the community gratefully appreciate their sacrifices. He pioneered the foster parents and scholarship schemes for the beneficiaries of Veerasebala Foundation.
Presently Veerasebala Foundation looks after the education, health and other requirements of over 300 children of forces personnel who made the supreme sacrifice in defending the nation. Annually the children together with their parents meet the officials of the Veerasebala Foundation at a meeting in Colombo where their welfare is discussed.
Further he risked his own life, when in 1991, Professor Kodagoda together with his spouse and members of the Veerasebala Foundation went to the war front to meet and encourage the forces personnel in Palali. He visited the soldiers in the bunkers and had an encouraging word for them.
We, as members of the Veerasebala Foundation remember how the soldiers listened attentively when he addressed a large gathering of forces personnel at Palali to encourage them where he displayed amply his skills in Sinhala oratory.
Prof. Kodagoda was responsible for obtaining the assistance of the then government to make the Veerasebala Foundation a charitable organization where the contributions to the Foundation are tax free.
We of the Veerasebala Foundation remember Professor Kodagoda with deep respect.
May he attain Nibbana.