In Appreciation of DVJ Harischandra, Dr, Psychiatrist and A Man of Letters

Johnny de Silva

Johnny and DVJ Johnny and Haris in recent times

It was the early 1950s and I was thrust into the portals of a College in Galle for my education. For a student who was attending a Colombo College at the time this was quit a revelation. I was a ‘hosteller’ and was one of the few hostellers in my class. I was pretty short and was sat next to a  diminutive student who later showed us what a colossus he was in the study of Engineering. Also in my class was this slightly built student who for some reason decided that he would ‘keep me company’ and so it came to pass that I was surrounded by some of the ‘stars’ of SAC.  The slightly built student was none other than Dr Harischandra whom we affectionately called DVJ.

Dikwelle Vidanage Jayaratna Harsichandra was born in Mihiripanna, Thalpe Galle on 11 March 1938.In the Junior exams in 1952 he achieved a 1st division recording distinctions in Arithmetic, Latin, Maths, Geography, English and English Literature. In the Senior exams in 1954 he achieved a 1st division recording distinctions in Pure Maths.  In 1957 he entered the Faculty of Medicine. While in College he was the holder of the F A Gunasekera Memorial Scholarship in 1953-55 and the M J Gomez Memorial Scholarship for the best candidate in the SSC exam 1955-57.  He carried away the Senior Form A Sinhalese prize in 1955 and in 1956 he took the prize in the University Entrance year 1 Medical Section.  I find that he contributed an article on Hormones to the 1955 – 1956 Aloysian Magazine – pgs 51-54. This was the prelude for greater and loftier things to come!

I now resort to Wikipedia on the Internet for more of DVJ’s achievements: “Dr Harischandra was an acclaimed Sri Lankan consultant Psychiatrist, orator, author, Buddhist scholar and a senior lecturer attached to the University of Ruhuna. Apart from these he held several designations including Head of the Psychiatrist Study Division UOR and Chairmanship of the Psychiatric Medical Science Study Council of the Colombo Post Graduate Medical Institute. He took part in many Buddhist TV discussion programs and was a key resource contributor to Nanapahana and Doramandalawa aired on Telshan Networks and ITN respectively.  Nanapathana is a programme in which he actively participated for about 13 years. “

Dr Ruwan M Jayatunge (York University Canada) in his “Tribute to Dr. D.V.J Harischandra – Consultant Psychiatrist”, posted on March 2nd, 2013 in state“I had never met a Psychiatrist who had a deep knowledge in Psychoanalysis as Dr. D.V.J Harischandra. He knew the works of Freud, Jung, Alfred Adler, Melanie Klein and Eric Fromm like the back of his hand.”

 Dr Harischandra was given an appropriate funeral. His cremation was attended by a large gathering with his beloved College playing a significant part in the rituals. It was conducted in the area between the Fort and the famous Butterfly Bridge known as the Samanala Grounds.

In 1964 Dr Harischandra married Padma Gunawardana. They had three children: Neshantha Harischandra (Senior lecturer in English at UOR), Dr Tolusha Harischandra (Cardiothoracic Specialist) and Dr Navodya Harischandra. To the family we extend our very deepest sympathies.

DVJ may you attain Nirvana.



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