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Chamara : Life snatched away too soon

Chamara Lakshan Kumara the Editor-in-Chief of the Silumina and Resa passed away on Saturday night after a brief illness. Chamara was 39 at the time of his death. He leaves behind his wife and four-year-old son.

Chamara who was a student of C. W. W. Kannangara Vidyalaya, Matugama later joined the Colombo University to read for his basic degree and later for his Masters in Political Science.

Chamara’s advent to the media field begins with the Lakbima newspaper and thereafter he joined the Rivira newspaper which was published at the time by Richard Pieris and Co. Ltd.

He proved his mettle as a versatile feature writer in a short span of time and excelled in the field of journalism as an outstanding and extraordinary writer. His acumen and insight into politics was unparalleled, and his affinity with the pen and knowledge of historical facts be it politics or otherwise was amazing, so that he was offered many positions in many newspapers and news agencies in the country.

In 2015, he had a new opening when he was invited to join Sri Lanka’s foremost Newspaper Institution, the Associated Newspapers (Ceylon) Ltd. popularly known as the Lake House. He joined as the Associate Editor of the Dinamina which was hitherto known as the leader in the vernacular media since the days of late Mr. D.R. Wijewardene. After a short spell he joined the Silumina, the Sunday Sinhala newspaper creating new vistas for the Sinhala reader at a time a multitude of other national newspapers were competing to become the leader. This prompted the management to offer him a new assignment.

When the Associated Newspapers launched a new daily publication Resa he was made the founder Editor of the Resa which became popular among the readers in a short period of time.

Chamara, the versatile writer had a meteoric rise thereafter when the Associated Newspapers Ceylon Ltd. (ANCL) management offered him to be the Editor –in –Chief of the ANCL flagship newspaper Silumina.

It was hardly four weeks that he was appointed as the Editor-in-Chief, when he made a revolutionary change in the newspaper making it a newspaper with all the necessary ingredients to keep the reader spellbound.

His sudden demise created a void which is difficult to fill. Chamara was unique in every sense and he moved with everybody with a sense of humility. This unassuming personality is of a rare breed and we at the ANCL lost a friend with a smile while the country lost yet another outstanding journalist who could have turned things around for the better.

May he attain the Supreme Bliss of Nibbana.

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Chamara always promoted objective journalism - President

President Maithripala Sirisena issuing a condolence message on the death of Chamara Lakshan Kumara, Editor in Chief of the Silumina and Resa newspapers stressed that he is deeply saddened to hear of the demise of the Editor.

The achievements by Chamara Lakshan who was engaged in a highly responsible career which also played an important role in social progress has come in for high praise and recognition from his colleagues in the same field.

Chamara Lakshan who continuously enhanced his skills working at the Lakbima, Rivira and Irudina newspapers became the founding editor of the newly introduced Resa newspaper which brought a new dimension to the Sri Lankan media.

In a short period he etched his name in the annals of the country’s print media becoming the youngest editor of ‘Silumina’, a newspaper with an illustrious history.

“These achievements were possible because Chamara Lakshan always promoted objective journalism,” the President’s message said.

He practiced his journalism while respecting truth and justice which are the qualities a learned society expects from a journalist and was never subjugated by political power or inducements.

The untimely demise of Chamara Lakshan, a journalist who always worked while respecting his social responsibility is a loss not only for the media fraternity in the country but for all people who believe in a just society.

“I extend my heartfelt condolences to Chamara Lakshan Kumara’s wife Dinupa Dilhani, his son, parents and other bereaved family members”.

May he attain the Supreme Bliss of Nibbana.

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He achieved a heap of victories within a short span - PM

It is justifiable to describe Chamara Lakshan as a youthful media personality who achieved a heap of victories within a short time by working in the Sri Lankan media sector with a new vision and great energy, states Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in a condolence message issued on the death of the Editor-in-Chief of the Silumina and Resa newspapers Chamara Lakshan.

The message added that Chamara Lakshan who earlier worked in the Lakbima and Rivira newspapers later worked with great dedication to end a period of terror and misrule and bring the present government into power.

“We are aware that Chamara who became a Senior Associate Editor of the Dinamina newspaper under the new government took great effort to add new energy towards the Lake House path.

“The Resa newspaper launched under his Editorship won reader acclaim within a short time and the Resa proved that Chamara Lakshan was an efficient media person who reconciled roles, both as a journalist and an administrator. Chamara who was the youngest person to become Chief Editor of Silumina, a post adorned by some of the greats in Sri Lanka’s media history took great pains to link the paper with the modern world while safeguarding its proud history.

“The untimely demise of this young media person who could have been a crest gem for the media world is a great loss to Lake House, our government as well as the entire nation”.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe while expressing his condolences to Chamara Lakshan’s family, relatives and friends wished him the Eternal Bliss of Nibbana.

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Journalists have lost their standard bearer - ANCL Chairman

Few skills are scarcer in our society than the ability to focus an empathetic eye through the lens of history, to distil complex and divisive issues into striking, pithy words on a sheet of newsprint. Today, with the devastating loss of Chamara Lakshan Kumara, journalists across Sri Lanka have lost our standard bearer, our diamond in the rough.

“When I first met Chamara, he was in his early twenties, he was a budding writer at Lakbima, who struck me immediately with his eloquence, maturity, and clarity of purpose, all virtues that most of us find ourselves wanting, even well into our thirties. I knew then, I knew in my bones, that Chamara would go far. The man was somehow blessed with not only the wisdom and kindness of our forefathers, indeed also with the energy and tenacity of our youth.

In the fifteen tumultuous years for which I had the honour of being a friend to Chamara, his loyalty, steadiness and judgment were constants that held me together through many a storm. In that time, I had the privilege of being by his side as he grew from being an exceptionally talented writer into one of the finest – and indeed the youngest ever – newspaper editors in the history of Lake House.

In my last year at Lake House, working side-by-side with Chamara every single day, he held himself up as an example to all of us, as a dependable operator and inspiring manager.

Even as his skyrocketing career was buffeted by the envy of those he left in his wake, he never took notice of or retaliated to the slights and barbs that came his way. Chamara was above the petty. He had a vision, and focused on seeing it through, while letting negativity around him dissolve like dust in the summer rain.

Indeed, at just 39 years old, editing two of Sri Lanka’s leading Sinhala newspapers, it boggles my mind and wrenches my heart to imagine how much more Chamara could have accomplished if he had another 50 years.

He rose to greater heights in those 39 years than almost anyone in his profession has accomplished in a whole lifetime. Our sincerest thoughts and most heartfelt prayers are reserved for Chamara’s parents, sister, wife and his precious son. I wish them the courage to surmount their unspeakable loss.

Chamara, once, on Facebook you wrote that “A man can be destroyed, but not defeated.”

“Courage is grace under pressure,” you said. I hope you were right, my friend. Having to go on without you by our side, we will need all the courage we can muster.

- ANCL Chairman and Managing
Director Krishantha Prasad Cooray