I met Dr. Indran Selvaratnam for the first time in January 1978, when I attended a Colts Cricket Club meeting he had convened to plan that year’s cricketing activities. There was a very poor turn up of club members. This being my first meeting I was very discouraged. He on the other hand, was not discouraged at all. He had many plans for the future of the club. Later I learnt that he had started the club singlehandedly in 1974 for the benefit of cricket enthusiasts from Sri Lanka living in Southern California. He had a tremendous passion for this game.
Indran possessed a unique sense of drive and perseverence. It was this drive that made him succeed in this country. He had come to the United States as a young boy in his teens. With no one to either guide him or motivate him, he had set his own goal to become a physician. He achieved this by entering the Vandebilt School of Medicine.
It was the same drive and perseverance which made him go forward with the plans for the club. In order to continue to be a viable club he had to bring in new players. Colts became a truly cosmopolitan club having as captain a West Indian and players from Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and East Africa. It went on to win the Williamson Trophy in 1979 and in 1987 and the C. Aubrey Trophy in 1982. Colts also won the Division I Fleming Trophy in 1980 and 1989. A very good record for a club which had some shaky years.
As years went by, I came to know Indran well. He was a successful doctor and had all the material well being one could dream of. He could have continued to enjoy this for many years. But he was a realist. He set his priorities right and ensured that his children received the best education in America and, in this respect his achievement was par excellence.
Indran had an insatiable appetite for knowledge and a fervor for discussion which was almost infectious that it transformed those around him to be the same. His inner circle of friends, as he would put it, were very few. They would all meet frequently and enjoy a round of discussion on subjects dealing with worldly affairs. He did not have time for the trivia. Without him I could feel the void in such gatherings and it will never be the same again.
On numerous occasions Indran had talked about giving back to society what one received from it. He would always talk in praise of the generous philanthropists who have done so much for the sake of humanity. This was a reflection of his inner self. He always wanted to help others. It was in that spirit that he joined the SS “Hope” as a young doctor in 1963, to serve the needy in Sri Lanka.
He began to like the peace and quiet. It was noticeable that during the cricket season he would rather be at the Woodley Cricket Field than anywhere else. Many times I have observed that he would stay away from the crowd and watch the game alone, from under the shade of a tree. Only distraction being that treacherous cigarette which he would light quite frequently. This over indulgence in cigarettes brought about his illness and sadly, on May 28th, 1994, he succumbed to cancer.
During his year and half long battle with cancer the club he formed began to fall apart. The 1994 season was a disaster. For the first time in the club’s history it went down to the lower division. There was no hope for reviving it. Despite everyone losing all hope of keeping the club alive, we have had the good fortune of well wishers coming forward to rebuild the club. Thanks to Mervyn Fernando, Sri Sagadevan, Pujitha de Silva and Arvin Wijeyachandran, whose efforts have made it possible for Colts to continue as a team in 1995. I am sure that his workings are there behind the scenes and it will continue to be a vibrant team for many years to come. Fittingly, his passion for cricket was recently recognized by the Southern California Cricket Association when they named one of the division championship trophy a “Doc Indran Sevaratnam Trophy”.
He is survived by his wife Therese and children Tanya and Troy. May his
atma rest in peace.
Dr. Indran Selvaratnam was a student of St. Joseph’s College, Colombo. In 1989, along with others, Indran was a founder of the Old Joes Association of California (OJAC), he was a Committee Member, with Manilal Fernando as the Founder President. OJAC ceased operation 15 years ago. OJAC is being revived this year with a Gala Dinner Dance at the De Luxe in Burbank, California on Friday July 17, 2015. A meeting will be held shortly to select a committee. The work that was done by Indran with OJAC, is being carried on by his wife Therese who has always given her support and encouragement to reviving the organization.
We Must Never Forget Our Pioneers !