Regi Siriwardena

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Regi Siriwardena (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-speaking classmates:

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 degree.

Student activism

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......
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