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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

MAN OF THE ARCHIPELAGO - OUNUS SALDIN, COLOMBO


Passing (many years ago) of a famous Malay of Colombo, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Baba Ounus Saldin.




(Picture and text could not be uprighted)

A Distinguished Malay Citizen of Colombo

There is a touch of pathos and withal romance in the death of an old revered Malay citizen, the father of Messrs A.N and M.M. Saldin of the Surveyor General's Office and Mr. M.K. Saldin, Merchant Agent. A week ago, after a brief illness, the good old man Mr Baba Ounus Saldin passed away from our midst in the 76th year of his age. His remains were interred at Jawette Burial Ground in the presence of a large gathering of friends and relations. He left behind a widow, three sons, and two daughters, with whom the most heartfelt sympathy will be felt with the sad bereavement. His father was a Captain in the late Ceylon Rifle Regiment which did splendid service in the "good old days". 

Included with marshall instincts Mr O. Saldin joined the Regiment at the age of 18. He was soon promoted to the rank of lance-corporal, but his broad view of life led to his severance from it by the purchase of his discharge. He took charge of the reparation of the satin-wood bridge at Paradeniya and latterly at the construction of the Gampaha Bridge under the engineer Captain Donald Graham. He was then connected to the well known firms, Messrs Venn & Co.,  Harrison Goodwin & Co., and lately of W.H.Davis & Co. for many years. 

Interesting as work of this character was to him his tastes lay in the direction of literature, religion, and fine arts. Languages were his 'forte'. He was able to read and write English, Tamil, Sinhalese, Arabic and master of the Malayan language and conversed in Portuguese and Hindustani as well. He was a staunch and pious Mussulman, his knowledge of Muhammadan law and Theosophy was so extensive and exact that he was often consulted on knotty points. 

Not only was he an erudite scholar but also wielded his versatile pen with unrestrained freedom. He was the author of some religious books in Malay which he wrote for the benefit of the community. His poetic talents found expression in a "History of Ceylon". For some years he edited a Malay weekly paper "Wajah Selong" and the "Light of Ceylon" the only one the kind that ever existed in the Island of Ceylon. In lithography his irrepressible energy find excellent diversion. It is well known to the general public that in the art of lithography he was the facile princeps in Ceylon, and the work turned out revealed unmistakable signus ...

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