“A.M.A. AZEEZ – SENATE SPEECHES” AMUSING SNIPPETS, A Family Member Reminisces

  • Senators S.R. Kanaganayagam (appointed), P. Nagalingam (elected), S. Nadesan Q.C. (elected) and A.M.A. Azeez (appointed) were members of the Youth Congress in Jaffna during their young days having radical views on British imperialism. There were amusing, rather affectionate, cross-talks among them in the Senate. Though they belonged to different political parties, they continued to be great friends. To attend Senate meetings Senators Kanaganayagam (puffing a Jaffna cigar) and Nagalingam arrived from Jaffna by the night train, and quite often spent their time on discussions at “Meadow Sweet” in Barnes Place before leaving to the Senate. They enjoyed the hospitality of Mrs. Azeez, and Senator Nagalingam obtained canna and other plants to be taken to Jaffna from her beautiful garden. Whenever the Azeez family visited Jaffna, Senator Kanaganayagam was always there to welcome them and keep company.
  • Senator Nadesan was a frequent visitor to “Meadow Sweet’ in his Mercedes-Benz. He, with another confidante C. Renganathan Q.C., were friendly legal advisors when Senator Azeez was facing enormous problems from a section of the Muslim community, who could not comprehend nor understand his far-sighted vision for Zahira College and the community. They realized only later very many years after his demise.
  • In 1954 when the President of the Senate, Sir Nicholas Attygalle, contested and won the post of Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ceylon, Senator Azeez supported him fully being a Member of the Court, Council and Senate of the University. When Senator Sir Cyril de Zoysa contested for the post of President, Senator Azeez seconded the proposal made by Senator E.B. Wikramanayake.
  • During his tenure as Principal of Zahira College, Senator Azeez owned the cars Chevrolet ‘Fleetmaster’ CY-4009, Morris ‘Oxford’ EY-4148, Peugeot ‘403’ EN-5777 and Peugeot ‘403’ 2 Sri 7678. He was a strict disciplinarian, and whenever his car was seen parked in the porch at Zahira, the teachers, students and others were in their best of behaviour. On days when the Senate met, his faithful driver Ibrahim (also his personal peon and ‘bodyguard’) dropped him at the Senate and brought the car back and parked it in the porch. This gave the impression that the Principal was in his office and all were in their best of behaviour.
  • Senators E.W. Kannangara and Layard Jayasundera were colleagues of Senator Azeez in the Ceylon Civil Service. Senator Kannangara was his boss at one time and Senator Jayasundera entered the C.C.S. with Senator Azeez.
  • Senator Azeez visited the U.S.A. in 1952 on a Smith-Mundt scholarship to visit schools and study the educational systems. He used to relate of the high respect he received all over like the Senators in that country.
  • Senator N.U. Jayawardena was in the Senate at the same time as Senator Azeez. Senator M. Tiruchelvam, a close friend, was in the Senate in the late 1960s as a Minister. Both Senators, who lived in Rosmead Place, were frequent visitors to “Meadow Sweet” on their regular walks.
  • In June 1956 Senator Azeez went to Car Mart Ltd. with the whole family to take delivery of the Peugeot ‘403’ EN-5777. There he met Hon. Maithripala Senanayake, the newly appointed Minister of Transport, who had come to take delivery of his car Peugeot ‘203’ EN-5767. Senator Azeez jokingly, though serious, told him that he was buying a new car as he expected duties to go up soon. Though the Minister just smiled, the duties and taxes did go up and the import of cars was banned in the early 1960s. Both were in the working committee of the U.N.P. until the Minister resigned in 1953 disagreeing with the rice subsidy crisis, but were close friends even thereafter.

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