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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

In Memoriam - W. Rajasooriyar

By Nihal D. Amerasekera
I came to know Raj when we both started our journey into medicine at Medical College Colombo. He was a quiet lad who never stretched the boundaries of the rules of good behavior and clean living. Raj remained a keen student all through medical school. We often chatted in the common room mostly about work. He prepared meticulously for the examinations and was recognized as  a guy who “knew his stuff”. 

In 1967 we both started our Internship in Kurunegala. To our delight he came to our House Officers Quarters as the only teetotaler.  He was never ashamed about his way of life and  often joined in our raucous discussions armed with a glass of water. It was then we all realized although he was a quiet person was never a pushover and stuck to his principles at all times.  There were times he politely disagreed giving his reason. He was never reluctant to do that.  He had tremendous patience. Raj showed boundless kindness and generosity during those difficult times of hard work and sleepless nights. Despite all this he often stood in for us to be oncall so that we can “enjoy” ourselves.  Being the only sober person he felt it was his duty to look after those who misused the amber nectar. During that year our friendship grew and I have nothing but praise for Raj. I can still remember our final day at Kurunegala and the sad goodbyes. 

Raj was a superb clinician and a charming doctor.  He cared deeply for his patients. His genuine interest in patients was evident to all who knew and worked with him. His work in that hospital was greatly appreciated by his patients, colleagues and the staff. The practice of medicine gave him an enormous sense of fulfillment. As always he remained a modest and unassuming person. 

I lost contact with Raj until about 5 years ago when a mutual friend gave me his phone number. We chatted and reminisced.  At the time he was on a locum in the Midlands in the UK. Nothing seemed to have changed since those days of internship. He spoke softly and deliberately.  There was that calmness  and modesty still evident in his conversation. 

Raj was a deeply spiritual person who lead a simple and uncomplicated life.  This made him kind, generous and helpful to the many who sought his guidance. The dignity, honesty and integrity that he showed during his life is a testament to his spirituality.  He always had a rather pastoral air and was a calming influence on everyone. His disarming courtesy and simplicity of speech and manner was most remarkable. Raj never had a harsh word for anyone and was a true gentleman and will be remembered with affection and esteem. 

I am unaware how his career and life panned out after our last meeting. I sincerely hope he had a successful career and rewarding  life. Although he was in poor health for awhile his sudden demise deprived his family and friends of a much loved companion. But he left this world as he wished, without any fuss or bother and with great dignity. 

May he find Eternal Peace.


  1. Just a recollection. He came from Royal as I did and I remember waiting at the gates after school to be picked up, by my cousin my case and by his father in his case in a black Morris 8! He was a quiet person even in those days.

  2. Mahen
    Thanks for your memory. His demise took me back nearly 50 years when we spent a year together. It was indeed a privilege to have known him.
    As the numbers grow should we have a list of those who have departed. It will be a constant reminder of our friends to commemorate their lives, our time together and their contribution to society. It is easy to forget in this fast moving world. By now we know none of us are here forever. The intention is not to be sad and morbid but to be happy we knew them.

  3. Wise words which come with maturity ND