‘The Singing Elephant’ in the political arena, Dayasiri Jayasekara has become the 6th current Chief Minister of North Western Province with massive number of preferential votes. There may be several reasons for his record breaking victory, but there was a hidden force behind Dayasiri’s success in the election campaign.
It was Jayawanthi Jayasekara, the beloved wife of Dyasiri who has done a remarkable job being behind in the scene. Jayawanthi is a daughter of legendary Kala Guru Kalasoori Panibharatha. Her elder sister Upuli Panibharatha is married to world renowned dancing artist Channa Wijewardane. Following is a translation of an exclusive interview a newspaper had with Jayawanthi Jayasekara.
Photo: Dayasiri Jayasekara and Family
“Event though I was not to be seen on stage, I have visited every artistic family in the province and especially women. Since it was school holidays and kids being grown up a little I had time to work on to a plan of my own. I have visited even in most rural areas in the province as a simple woman, visiting each and every house, have a cup of tea with them or sharing the meal they have prepared. Those people were so dear to me that they have being touched with my simplicity and down to earth behavior, and that’s not all most of them have a respect towards my father, as you know Dr. Kalasoori Panibharatha is my father”
“Dayasiri’s sister was my driving force and the body guard who has accompanies me all the time like a mother. Their family has tremendous bond between the villagers of the area and it came in handy when it comes to canvassing for preferential votes. My sister Upuli, brother-in-law Channa Wijewardhana and students of their dancing classes also helped us a lot by visiting such classes and institutions in the North Western province to speak about our future plans to uplift the traditional art. We have decided to conduct seminars and work- shops in Kurunegala free of charge with the participation of Channa and Upuli”
Speaking about how she has first met Dayasiri;
“Dayasiri sung in a concert of my sister which was staged at Colombo campus while being an under graduate there. My sister has invited him to join us for our musical activities as she has saw Dayasiri’s talents in singing. After that he visited us several occasions but nothing special happened between us. Then I went ‘Shanthi Nikethana’ in India where I got my degree in ‘Manipur’ dancing. When returned home I have joined Tourism Board in order to get involved in the cultural centre to be formed there by late minister Dharmasiri Senanayake which was not a success. I met Dayasiri after long period when he came to our auditorium for press conferences as the Coordinating secretary to Minister G.L.Pieris.”
“Dayasiri was better known by my sister Upuli, and in fact it was she who has recommended Dayasiri as a decent and talented artist, my father also was very dear to him and finally when he proposed me at the Tourism Board I have no reasons for object. After two years of friendship our marriage took place in Galle Face Hotel, it was a charm, traditional function but everyone enjoyed it as it was graced by beautiful dancing and musical events.”
“We have two kids, Kaveen is the son and Gihansi is the daughter, and Dayasiri always look after their needs and encourage them more on their education. He still has the same condescending, artistic character that I recognized when I first met him.”
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