Category Archives: Indian traditions

Understanding Military Organisation via the Sinhala War Poems – the Hatana Kaavya

Cenan Pirani: Widening the study of military organization in the early modern South Asian context: an examination of the Sinhala Hatana Kavya”, in South Asian History & Culture, Vol9/2, April 2018, pp. 207-24.

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Remembrance in May: Poignant Memories

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GK Haththotuwagama and His Riveting Street Theatre

Extracts from the Dr. Gamini Haththotuwegama Memorial Lecture delivered by Nihal Rajapakse at OPA Auditorium on the invitation of Richmond 60-70 Group.

Wikipedia describes Dr. Gamini Haththotuwegama in the following manner. “He was a Sri Lankan playwright, director, actor, critic and educator. He is widely known as the father of modern street theatre. He is among the most influential directors of post independent Sri Lanka.”

 Dr. Gamini Haththotuwegama … GK to us Galileans and to the occupants of Ramanathan Hall at Peradeniya in the late 1950s

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School Links across Palk Strait. Lawrence Colleges

Editor NewsIn Asia, 12 May 2018 where the title is Indian High Commissioner helps Indian and Sri Lankan schools forge links”

Colombo, May 12 (newsin.asia): In a path-breaking initiative, the Indian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, has launched a program to help Indian and Sri Lankan schools forge links with each other so that people to people relations between India and Sri Lanka are established at a young and impressionable  age.Late last month, the High Commission of India facilitated a Youth Exchange Program for students of two famous schools,  The Lawrence School, Sanawar, India (established in 1847) and Royal College in Colombo (established in 1835).

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KM de Silva’s Short History of Lanka reviewed critically by Charles Sarvan

Charles Sarvan aka Ponnadurai, in Colombo Telegraphreviewing K. M de Silva’s The Island Story: A Short History of Sri Lanka, International Centre for Ethnic Studies, Kandy, Sri Lanka, 2017

EPIGRAPH: “Sri Lanka in the first few centuries after the early settlement was a multi-racial, multi-ethnic society: a conception which emphasises harmony and a spirit of live and let live” (K. M. de Silva, op. cit., page 13)

It’s said that fools rush in where the wise fear even to walk. I tiptoe hesitantly, conscious that I am no historian (my discipline was Literature) while the author is perhaps the most eminent of Sri Lankan historians writing in English. The hope is that what I write will be taken as a layman’s perspective and contribution to discussion. Continue reading

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Lester Peries immortalized in the NY Times

Richard Sandomir, in New York Times, 4 May 2018, with this title Lester James Peries Visionary Sri Lankan Filmmaker”

Lester James Peries, a visionary director whose films about the dynamics of family life in Sri Lanka brought world recognition to that island nation’s movie industry, diedon Sunday in Colombo, the capital. He was 99.

Starting with “Rekava” (“The Line of Destiny”) in 1956, Mr. Peries’s films offered a significant shift from formulaic Indian-influenced dance and fantasy movies that had been standard fare in Sri Lanka, which was known as Ceylon at the time. He wanted his pictures to accurately reflect the lives of the Sinhalese people, who constitute most of the country’s population. Continue reading

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The Roots of Kandyan Dancing

DBT Kappagoda, in Daily News, 4 April 2018, where the title reads thus How Kandyan dancing began”

Kandyan dancing is popularly known as Udarata Natum derived its name from the traditional dance forms peculiar to the central region of Sri Lanka. The origin of Kandyan dancing can be traced back to the time of the Nayakkar rulers who ascended the throne of the Kandyan Kingdom 300 years ago.

In Kandyan dancing Vannam forms as a special  feature. In Tamil and Telegu Vannam means a description. When the dancer performs he recites the Vannama and according to the description when he has recited and begins to dance displaying a Tandava style of dancing. The dancing is done in a rigorous way while describing the movement of the cobra (Naiyandi), elephant (Gajaga), peacock (Monera), eagle (Ukussa) showing the onlookers a description of the animal. In the course of the recitation, adoration to the Buddha and the great qualities he had possessed is highlighted.

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