(15 May 1922 - 15 December 2004) was a Sri Lankan
academic, journalist, poet, writer, playwright and writer of screenplays.
Early life & education
Reginald Siriwardena (known as 'Reggie' until the 1980s) was born in the Colombo
suburb of Ratmalana
to middle-class Sinhalese Buddhist
parents. His Macaulay
-quoting father sent him for his schooling first to St Thomas', Mt Lavinia
where he found the Anglican elite colonial
atmosphere uncomfortable. In his poem 'Colonial Cameo', he remembers the day his mother, who only spoke Sinhala
, took him to school and said 'goodbye' in that tongue, to the amusement of his English
- My mother pretended not to hear that insult.
- The snobbish little bastards! But how can I blame
- them? That day I was deeply ashamed of my mother.
- Now, whenever I remember, I am ashamed of my shame.
- :::::: - Regi Siriwardena, Colonial Cameo
He later went to Ananda College
, where he felt rather more at home in an atmosphere that combined his father's Western classical erudition with the home-grown culture of his mother.
He was awarded a scholarship to University College, Colombo
, and read English under E.F.C. Ludowyck
and Doric de Souza
, graduating with a University of London
While at university during the Second World War
, he joined the Lanka Sama Samaja Party
(LSSP). He became part of the underground leadership of the LSSP under the pseudonym 'Hamid' and attracted the attention of the......