Mr. P. Balasingam
Mr. P. Balasingam, B. A (History), Dip-in-Ed
When Mr. W. N. S. Samuel was looking for "a good class room teacher, a good organizer, a tactful but firm administrator, and a good pastor" to succeed him as Principal he found him in Mr. Ponniah Balasingam.
Hailing from a large and extended family of exemplary Hartleyites Mr. Balasingam took over the reins at a very turbulent time primarily "as a trustee" to quote his words.
A train of outrageous military atrocities beginning with the arson of Her invaluable library on the 1st Sept'84 had by then made Hartley College a refugee. However he steeled himself up to face a formidable challenge and pledged to keep "FiatLux" the College motto ever bright proclaiming that his alma mater was "not a mere institution but a resilient and resonant tradition".
And thanks to a haven of security and succor provided by a distinguished Old Boy Principal - C. Tharmalingam - at Puttalai Maha Vidyalayam 3 km away he did redeem his promise with his smart stewardship.
Guarding his staff members and students jealously and fearlessly against arbitrary arrests, maximizing the use of scarce resources and infusing humility, humor and humanity in his relationships he uplifted Hartley's famous brilliance even amidst the untold turbulence of those days.
His Principalship during the 3 year refugee and 5 year reoccupation cum rehabilitation period was a richly eventful one. Help from the PPA at home and in many world capitals as well as from the NGOs, FORUT, and TRO were immense. Public exam results, co-curricular achievements, community services of the college were as usual very good. Perhaps the most brilliant event was the sesquicentennial celebration of the college at home and abroad and the honor bestowed by the Sri Lankan government with a commemorative postal stamp on 5th June' 89. A 12 million rebuilding ADB Project was launched. Above all Hartley College was made the Lead school of a Cluster of 14 schools in Point Pedro with Mr. Balasingam as the Head.
Indeed these events mark out his period as an outstanding, if not unique, one in the annals of the school which he defined at the felicitations accorded to him, by the Past Pupils Associations in Point Pedro, Colombo, Canada and London, as an empire where the Sun shall never set as its intelligent pupils are found all over the globe.
Courtesy: Dr. Sashi S. Shashikanth (Head Prefect - 1983)
Last Updated: Sept. 17, 2000