An Embodiment of Gentility, Geniality and Generosity

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It is very saddening to know that death has snatched away our dear friend and relative,  Kanthappu Rajaratnam from our midst. It is a grievous blow to all of us who knew him and as the days go by, we shall increasingly be aware of how much we miss him. He lived amidst us fruitfully for ninety-one years and was called to eternal rest. We are certain he would be safe in the abode of our creator. My wife and I share with his children and his loved ones, the pain and grief of their personal bereavement and the poignancy of the void left in their lives.

Rajaratnam who was popularly known as ‘Rajaratnam Master’ was a true family man. He was a devoted husband, an affectionate father, a loving grandfather, an understanding father-in-law and a kind brother. He along with his wife brought up their children in the fear of God, trained them in character and instilled noble values in them. His compassion, care and concern for others and his hospitality endeared him to his relatives and friends. He stood by them in times of adversity and he was an adviser and guide to them. His life had been exemplary and it was a blessing to his dear and near ones around him.

His loving and caring wife Sarojinidevi predeceased him on 24 March 2022 in Colombo and it came as a great shock to his children, when he also passed away on 11June  due to cardiac failure whilst he was in the UK.

Hailing from a distinguished Kanthappu – Sinnamma family from Kopay, Rajaratnam had a great pride in his family heritage. Born in a family of six children, he is the third in the family and he was very much loved by his siblings, Poothathambi, Annaledchumy, Thuraisingam, Rasamani and Kasipillai, and they were proud of his achievements.

Rajaratnam was married to Sarojinidevi, the daughter of Vaithilingam –  Archipillai of Kondavil. “Raj” and “Saro” were an ideal couple who lived an exemplary life, and their children looked after them with much of love and care and they kept their spirits till the very end.

Being an experienced Graduate teacher with his postgraduate Diploma-in-Education qualification, he served with a stamp of efficiency, commitment and integrity and he was greatly admired by his students and superiors. His versatility in English and Tamil facilitated him to perform well in his profession.

After a considerable period of service as a teacher, he was promoted as Principal to serve first at Neervely Aththiyar Hindu College and then at Kopay Christian College. He rendered excellent service as Principal of these colleges and thereby paving way for the Regional Education development. The students who were taught by him not only gained academic and professional knowledge, but also learnt values of discipline – obedience, punctuality and responsibility which led them to hold high positions.

Rajaratnam along with his wife executed their parental responsibility with commitment and love, giving utmost priority to their children’s education. Their children – Premraj, Shasikala, Uthayaraj and Mekala were studious and hardworking, and they were qualified to pursue a career according to their talents, their elderst son Premraj is qualified as a Doctorate degree holder in Chemistry. The Rajaratnams took great pride in their children’s and grandchildren’s achievements. They loved their grandchildren – Lavienraj, Ashwinraj, Jasinraj, Sharaneraj, Privienraj, Dr. Diluxshan, Bibithika, Dr. Jackshana and Mathujana and they made special trips to the UK and Australia to share their affection and love with them.

Though Rajaratnam master was rooted in Hindu faith, the most admirable quality in him was that he had reverence for other religious faiths and he set a fine example of inter – religious harmony. Besides he was a simple and humble man with unassuming ways, and he was the very embodiment of gentility, geniality and generosity.

One would have certainly seen in him – a member of the Sri Lanka Education Administrative Service, an efficient and effective administrator, a devoted and an exemplary teacher, an all Island Justice of the Peace, an indefatigable social and religious worker, an Educationist, a President of Kopay Rural Development Society, a chief administrator of Kopay North Library, a President of Neervely MPCS, an avid reader and an author.

Rajaratnam had a lively mind even in his old age. He spent most of his time in reading books and writing articles to Newspapers. My wife and I met him last on his wife’s Thirty-first remembrance day and at that time, he was steady on his feet and he managed along with his children’s support to conduct the ceremony in a well organised manner.

We feel it is very apt to conclude our tribute to this gentleman with these words of William Shakespeare, “His life was so gentle, and the elements so mixed in him that Nature would stand up and say to all the world “This indeed was a man”.

It’s with a deep sense of sorrow, my wife and I extend our heartfelt sympathies to his children and their spouses – Dr. Premraj and Narayani (Australia), Shasikala and Sritharan (UK), Uthayaraj and Vanushiya (UK), and Mekala and Thirunavukarasu (UK) and to all other family members and loved ones at this time of bereavement.

Our dearest Rajaratnam has left behind many fragrant memories which we will always cherish and they will live in our hearts forever.

May his soul rest in peace and rise in glory.

Family A.A. Arulannarajah