There was a dual ‘anchorage’ in the presentation of this book by HarperCollins Publishers in 2015 — with high-profile book launches in Colombo and Delhi.
Sri Lanka. The New Country was launched in Lanka in July 2015 with the well-read Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera gracing the occasion….. while the launch in Delhi was earlier in April 2015 with a Former High Commissioner in Sri Lanka, Ms Nirupama Rao, honouring the moment
SRI LANKA. THE NEW COUNTRY is introduced thus on its back cover: “The thirty-year-long civil war in Sri Lanka which ended in 2009 shook the island-nation. Now there is peace, rapid development – and a new government. But questions remain. What do Tamils and Sinhalese feel about their new country? What are their dreams for the future? Sri Lanka: The New Country is insightful and unusual reportage from the dispassionate eye of a foreign correspondent who covered the bloody conflict for two decades. It is anecdotal narrative at its best: about ordinary Sri Lankans, former Tamil Tigers, meeting LTTE chief V. Prabhakaran, princes, ‘secular clergymen’, army generals, Tamil Buddhists, Sinhalese Tamils, politicians and sailors wary of ghosts. As the writer traverses Sri Lanka’s formerly embattled north and east, internationally stereotypes about the nation are challenged. The book is a tribute to a wonderful people, as they pick up the pieces of their fragmented national identity and get on with building a new country.”
Padma Rao Sundarji clearly adhered to dress codes in her presentation of self at the book launches. She was more down to earth in her choice of garments during field visits to Colombo and the north on several occasions during the conflict, among then the international recognition of Thamililam in April 2002 at Kilinochchi.
This image captures the spirit guiding her on field trip in Sri Lanka…. among them the trip to Kilinochchi in a 4-wheel drive in April 2002 with Dominic Sansoni as her sidekick. ………….. while the internet descriptions indicate that “Padma Rao Sundarji is a veteran foreign correspondent who covered Sri Lankan civil war for a decade and a half till 2012. She was the South Asia bureau chief of German news magazine Der Spiegel. She has also worked with ARD German Television Network in New York, Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen, Geo magazine and Deutsche Presse-Agentur. Her work has appeared in the New York Times and the Herald Tribune. She lives in New Delhi and freelances for German, Swiss and Austrian dailies.”