Sri Lanka bid farewell a few weeks back to the gentleman politician, former Minister E.L.B. Hurulle, a UNP stalwart from the mid 1950s. He led a peaceful, exemplary life in retirement as he did whilst in high office.
I came to know Edwin Hurulle as his son Themiya was my classmate at S.Thomas' College, Mount Lavinia from our junior days. I came to know the family closely thereafter and was privileged to have been considered a family member. Mr. Hurulle affectionately known to us as Uncle Edwin, was a gentleman par excellence. Having known him affectionately from the 1960s, I could say without any doubt that he never uttered a bad word against his opposition or his own party members. He steered clear during many a political turmoil.
Themiya followed the same principle. It is my fervent hope that Themiya will continue to add class and sanity to local politics.
Uncle Edwin won the Horowapatana seat in the NCP from 1956, other than in 1970 for a short spell. Immaculately dressed in a light suit, he portrayed class and character always. His speech was well mannered and never vindictive. In both victory and defeat, he always remained humble and a gentleman. His tenure initially as an MP, then Minister of Communications in 1965, Minister of Cultural Affairs in 1977, the High Commissioner to Australia and twice the Governor of the Central Province and later the NCP was exemplary. He never misused or abused his powers as a highly respected senior politician.
We took great pride talking politics with him and being educated of the former times in Parliament. I gathered from him that his dear relative late Bulankulame Dissawe and my grandfather late Simon Abeywickrama were contemporaries in the State Council and first Parliament as junior cabinet rankers. Uncle Edwin was educated at Trinity College Kandy and hailed from aristocracy, as personified in his exemplary lifestyle. Cheap politics was never to his liking.
He was a devoted father and loving husband. Mrs. Hurulle whom we affectionately call Aunty Malini hailing from nobility, was a tower of strength and the wind beneath his wings. How admirably she handled the domestic affairs and the rural constituents will be long remembered by us. Maya, Deepthi, Themiya, Vajira and Kanishka and the in-laws were hospitable and decent human beings always.
Uncle Edwin never wanted praise and fanfare. To all he was a fatherly figure held in high respect. Though I wish you dear uncle Edwin the supreme bliss of Nirvana, within me it cries that you should be born again to lead Sri Lanka to gentlemanly politics which you personified to great heights.
Edwin Hurulle held high office for many decades without any personal gain and with much acceptance that even the “ranks of Tuscany could scarce forbear to cheer” and like Eisiterion who made Athens the greatest city , " he did not make his estate a shilling greater ".
Ecce Honourable Minister, when will Sri Lankan politics have gentlemen of his stature again ?