An Eulogy by Tharmasangary Uthayasangary
10 December 2006
Good Evening, Ladies and Gentlemen
My name is Uthayasangary, son of the late Mr. Veerasingham Tharmasangary and one of the many nephews of Duruvasangary. On behalf of the family I am honoured to give this eulogy for a great man. I have taken up a monumental task of sharing with you what Veerasingham Dhruvasangary's life meant to me and the rest of us. It is with tremendous shock that myself and the rest of the family found out the untimely demise of our beloved Dhurvan Sithappa on Saturday December 2, 2006. I would like to ask for your indulgence as I embark on this journey of memory lane of his great life. I do realize that this is an impossible task to describe what his life meant to us in the next few minutes, so I would like all of you to bear with me as I make an attempt to share a few snippets of his life.
Since he was a student of science all his life and had endless accomplishments in the field of science, it is only appropriate that I start this eulogy with a quote from a world famous scientist, Albert Einstein: "Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease at death." This, in a nut shell, is an epithet of his great life.
He was born on September 5, 1950 in Point Pedro, Sri Lanka as the youngest of 12 children of the late Mr. Sangarapillai Veerasingham. He had his early education at Hardley College in Point Pedro. During his early days in school under the guidance of his famous educator-father and my grandfather, who was affectionately know as Veerasingham Master, and also several of his accomplished siblings whom he adored and respected.
While he was in high school, Sangary was recognized for his excellence in academics and was awarded a full scholarship to Patrice Lumumba Peoples Friendship University in Moscow, Russia. I still remember the story that he had shared with me and the rest of the family how he went about getting this coveted scholarship. He was invited to write an essay or an article as part of the requirement to be considered for the scholarship, and he chose to explain the exploder disbursement of a type of seedling (Ruellia) that is very common in northern part of Sri Lanka. This particular seed I am sure every one would have had fun with growing up in the northern peninsula of Sri Lanka, which ferrously explodes whenever it comes in contact with water. He explained the mechanism behind this phenomenon this plant exhibited. The interview panel was so impressed that he was awarded this prestigious scholarship that was only open to a few students in the whole continent of Asia.
This in fact was the turning point in Duvarsangary's professional career and his life as a whole. He went on to learn Russian and did his Bachelors degree in Agricultural Engineering. During his early months in Moscow he invented an instrument to measure snow fall for which he received accolades and praises from his professors. In fact, a working model of this particular instrument which, to this date, is enshrined in the agricultural faculty of Patrice Lumumba Peoples Friendship University, Moscow, Russia for everyone to see. In fact, he used to tell me a story that one of his professors used to tease his Russian colleagues: look at Dhruvasanagry who moved to Russia from a tropical country like Sri Lanka and never saw snow in his life until he moved here, and he managed to invent a device to measure snowfall and the rest of you have been here for all your lives for generations and never did any thing remotely similar. This is the kind person he was always striving to do best in anything that he embarks on. This is one of the many inventions that Dhurvasangary has to his credit.
Upon completion he was invited by Patrice Lumumba Peoples Friendship University to do his masters, which he completed few years after. As being the youngest and being close to his father who was ailing at that time, Dhruvasangary, out of respect and wishes of his father, chose not go back to Moscow to further continue his doctorate in agricultural engineering. He chose to temporally pause his further education and decided to spend time in Sri Lanka in proximity to his father and the rest of the family.
Then he secured a lecturer position at the University of Sri Lanka, and got greatly involved in research with the Ministry of Agriculture for several years to come. He also successfully completed his second masters degree M.Phill in Sri Lanka. During his tenure here, he worked extensively and tirelessly on solar power and he used to always joke around stating that's when he made irreparable damage to his eyes. He also to his credit has several exhibitions where he was able to exhibit his findings and inventions.
In the early nineties he was offered a scholarship by the Israeli government to do his doctorate in an Ivy League prestigious university in the United States of America. He seriously considered taking that offer but the stipulated condition was that upon completion he has to commit and serve for the Israeli government for at least ten years which he was a bit reluctant to do. Then he moved to London, England for a brief period of time and then eventually to Toronto, Canada.
When he moved to Toronto, this presented a great opportunity for me, my brothers and my sister to get to know Dhuruvan Sithappa on a personal and friendly manner. Although he was quite a few years our senior, he moved with us more like a friend than an uncle. While he was in Canada he continued to do research in various aspects and disciplines of science. He was fascinated by Hindu culture and civilization, where he devoted several months doing research; to his credit he published a book called "Lost Aviation technology" and eventually had a very successful book launch. This is one of the many publications that he had in his lifetime. Another of his accomplishments worth mentioning is that he invented an optical instrument that had dual purpose which served as microscope and a telescope for which a United States patent was issued in 1991. He is someone who never idled even for a minute, always reading or working on different inventions. I still remember very vividly during the summer months, whenever we are driving in the car, he will always make it a point to stop by various garage sales, pick up gadgets of sort, and spend the whole night transforming them in to useful inventions which he would then demonstrate to us and his friends for critiquing.
Dhruvasangary was not a mere scientist; he devoted a lot of time helping friends and acquaintances in any way possible. He spent endless times tutoring students of all ages and also helped people with writing letters preparing for immigration cases, counseling or advice as needed, for which there are several people who are eternally grateful to him.
As you can see, all this crowd that's gathered here is a great testimonial of the kind person and individual he was. There are several people gathered here whose life he had a profound impact on. As I continued to write his eulogy. I came to the realization how difficult of a task it is to condense in few minutes what Dhruvasangary's life meant to us all. I really appreciate all your patience, understanding and indulgence as I made this attempt. At this juncture, I would like to, if I may, quote from Albert Einstein once more that's very fitting to his life. And I quote, "Only a life lived for others is life worthwhile" end quote. This embodies the philosophy that he and the rest of us Sangarys always live by.
Dhruvasangary is someone who worked tirelessly to make an impact on mankind and the individuals around him. He is highly opinionated and always had something valuable to say in any circumstances, and never shy away from challenges. This trait may have been wrongly interpreted at times by some as being little eccentric and difficult to deal with. But he had no vengeance nor did he mean any malice by it, that's the kind of person he was, who speaks his mind at all times. He is someone who is always challenging the norm, and in most instances pushes the envelope, so to speak. This, in the field of science, was an asset that helped him tremendously in inventing several things but, in other aspects of life such as his domestic life, may have posed some difficulties. I used to always joke around, saying that this must be the Russian influence in him, but he was always quick to point out that one should always challenge the ordinary so that one could see things others don't normally see. He is someone who was passionate about his ideals and belief and devoted his entire life to research and other projects which took a toll on the little family life he had.
In closing, the opinion that's shared by countless people is that Dhruvasangay had huge potential but due to circumstances and situation the maximum was not realized in his life time. As fate had intervened, he was taken from us all in his prime. But it is not all a waste: he lived a happy and great life, a great career, a loving family and great friends to boot. Although I am certain in his opinion there are several things that he wanted to accomplish but what he achieved in 56 years of his life in this earth would probably take mere mortals several life times to achieve the same. We all miss him dearly and will cherish the memories that we had with him.
...May his soul rest in peace.
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