:: 2011-01-28 16:56:28 Hours]
the world of Shylock-type business people who tend to exploit customers
for pennies, cimicjaffna.lk team this week found a kind-hearted
Samaritan in a wealthy merchant at beautiful northern town of Nelliady.
By the name of Agilathas, this 46 year old popular and leading textile
shop owner is a good example for the success through courage. He
is the owner of “Nellai Silk” textile shop of Nalliady.
“After the death of our father, an employee of Sri Lanka Navy, we
suffered a lot economically. We passed many days without meals and
our mother could not buy us enough clothes to wear”, Agilathas joined
the conversation. He remembers that his elder brother who suddenly
died many years ago due to a brief illness also served in the Navy
but he does not remember his rank.
When the cimicjaffna team showed interest to know his education
background, Mr. Agilathas replied, “I started my education at Thirugnanasampnathan
College Trincomamlee because my father was at that time serving
in Trincomalee. From Grade 6 up to Grade 10, I attended Nelliady
Central College where I was the Sergeant of the junior cadet platoon”.
He has taken part in Cadets’ camps at Diyathalawa Volunteer Force
Training Camp in late 1970s.
“When I see our soldiers walking in the town I remember my school
days as a cadet marching in the ground with my platoon”, said Agilthas
collecting his past memories.
Although he is running a textile shop today, Agilathas is an expert
in electrical wiring and he has worked in Colombo in the field of
“In 1983 I wanted to go abroad and asked my mother for permission
to go to Germany”, he unfolded a funny chapter of his life. “My
mother had no knowledge of where Germany was. She thought it was
another part in Sri Lanka, and let me go. I first landed in Moscow
and was subjected to a thorough check. Custom officials found Vipoothy
(a powder applied on the forehead by Hindus) and face powder in
my possession. They questioned me what it was but all they asked
were Greek to me. I knew only Tamil and Sinhalese at that time (now
he speaks English and Arab too). They suspected it was a kind of
narcotic and brought some dogs trained on identifying narcotics.”
offered us a soft drink and continued, “Dogs sniffed powder and
went away but the officials were still maintained suspicion. They
next called about ten more dogs and went on checking. Harassed nearly
for one hour suddenly a bright idea hit me. I took some powder and
applied them on my face and forehead. Then only custom officers
understood their blunder and laughed and dropped me at the country
one year he flew back from Germany due to mother’s illness. Since
1985 to 1990 he was in Saudi Arabia serving as a manager of Panda
Super market in Riyadh.
had brought many electrical items on his return from Saudi Arabia.
“IPKF soldiers who came to Jaffna wanted them. When I refused, they
stole them all and set our house on fire. I never repaired that
house. I am living with my wife Kiruba and three children at her
place. Many people take photographs of my burnt house, send them
to foreign countries to indicate that their house is burnt, they
are harassed in Jaffna and they be granted permanent residence in
but simple businessman is well-known for his generosity. He has
donated garments worth over Rs. 500,000/= to the Army to be distributed
among IDPs arriving in Jaffna via Mullaithivu sea after they escaped
LTTE clutches in Mullaithivu during the last phase of the Wanni
Jaffna informed me that she wanted donations to be sent to Batticaloa
flood victims. I gave garments and money worth of Rs. 30000/= to
the GA a few days ago”, said Mr. Agilathas.
he feels any customer, especially children, is so poor, he never
hesitates to give the dress he or she needs free. “I recall my past
as a destitute boy”, he humbly says. “If I don’t open the shop at
6.30 every morning, other shopkeepers become inquisitive whether
there is any problem of the town or change of the normal situation.
I am the first to open shop in the town,” he told us.
Not forgetting the past and the courage could be the secret of his
success. We took leave wishing this exceptional merchant GOOD LUCK
His contact numbers is: 021 2263207.