Ranjit’s euology

From: Eric Motha
Sent: Sunday, April 5, 2015 12:24 PM
Subject: Fw: Fwd: ranjit’s euology

I am sharing the appreciation on late Ranjit Swaris penned by US journalist Thalifdeen and read by Luke De Silva(former President NY OBU) at the Memorial service held on April 1st in New York.


—– Forwarded Message —–
  Sunday, April 5, 2015 5:00 AM

Ranjit Swaris, who passed away at age 80 last December, was one of the pioneering expatriates who left Sri Lanka way back in 1969 to explore what was then unchartered territory: the United States.
While most Sri Lankans struggled to find comfort in UK, the colonial mother country, Ranjit headed towards New York arriving on a wintry February night just as snowflakes were falling on his brother’s driveway in Long Island welcoming the old Benedictine with a record 26 inches of snow the next morning.
The founder Secretary of the Sri Lanka Association of New York (SLANY), Ranjit was the quintessential host who charmingly played the role of guide, philosopher and friend to dozens of Sri Lankans, specifically students, who initially found themselves lost in New York city’s famed urban jungle.
At his apartment, first in the borough of Queens and then the Bronx, Ranjit was known to host endless weekend dinner parties displaying his talent for excellent cuisine in a city starved of Sri Lankan restaurants in the 1970s.
A patriot to the hilt, he was quick to respond to unfair reporting of Sri Lanka in U.S. publications constantly challenging and berating newspaper editors – while forming an association titled Sri Lankans Against Media Misrepresentation, with the appropriate acronym SLAMM.
When an American once asked whether Sri Lanka, like India, was a country full of snakes and snake charmers, Ranjit sarcastically responded to the stereotyping: “Yes, the snakes walk on the right side of the road and we walk on the left.”  
And that was when a socialist, left-leaning government was in power in Sri Lanka.
Ranjit was first a student and later a teacher at St. Benedict’s College, Kotahena, before he ventured into the US.
His first job was at Equitable Life Insurance Society where he worked in New York, California and Chicago, Illinois. He subsequently worked at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York until his retirement at age 65.
Ranjit was also an active founder member of the Old Ben’s Association in New York, raising funds for his alma mater.  He was the first and only vice patron.
He was kindhearted and charitable and helped many fellow Sri Lankans over the years.
Although he relocated to Florida, to be near his brother and nephews, he never lost his love for New York until the day he died, with the lingering thought he was still in New York.
He is survived by his brother Lakshman, sister-in-law Phyllis, nephews Scott and Chris, and great Uncle to Kannon and Alexandra Swaris. He had numerous life long friends who will surely miss him.
A memorial service is scheduled to be held at a later date in New York. And in keeping with his wishes, his ashes will partly be spread across the Hudson River in New York city and the remaining ashes buried in Sri Lanka, alongside his mother and brother.
Thalif Deen
u.n.bureau chief
IPS – inter press service news agency
united nations, room S-407
new york, ny 10017

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