Category Archives: literary achievements

Revisiting the Sins of Leslie Gunawardana (Part lll)


 Darshanie Ratnawalli. Q & A from  Saturday, 21 March 2015 … with emphasis by highlighting being  impositions by the Editor, Thuppahi

Professor KNO Dharmadasa, the present Editor in Chief of the Sinhala Encyclopedia goes down in history as mounting to date, the only direct, authoritative academic challenge to Professor Leslie Gunawardana, an ancient period historian of Sri Lanka who became a darling of certain social anthropological circuits through his “The People of the Lion: The Sinhala Identity and Ideology in History and Historiography”– (1979) and “Historiography In a Time of Ethnic Conflict, Construction of the Past in Contemporary Sri Lanka”– (1995). This is the third and last installment of Prof. K.N.O’s conversation with Darshanie Ratnawalli continued from 08 March, 2015.    


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Appreciating Galle in Its Quietness and Its Pastness

Joe Simpson, in a  review of GALLE AS QUIET  AS ASLEEP penned in 2006

Never to be confused with the American best-selling romance novelist of the same name, Norah Roberts, who survived well into her nineties, was born near Colombo in 1907, one of fourteen children from several marriages of T. W. Roberts, an Anglo-Barbadian Ceylon Civil Servant, Oxford scholar and cricketer par excellence who became District Judge in Galle. After severe hearing loss in her late twenties drove her from teaching, Norah ran the Galle Fort Library (est. 1871) for four decades until she retired in 1982. I clearly remember first meeting Norah, then in her late sixties, one hot and humid morning in September 1973 when, as a newly-arrived V.S.O. English teacher at Richmond College, I paid my dues to become a member of the quaint old library on Church Street, next to the Fort Post Office. (Judge Roberts, then still alive in his nineties, had long migrated to England). It was only a couple of years before she finally “retired” in her mid-seventies that the tireless Norah (who never married) began her self-appointed Herculean task, never before attempted, of writing the “compleat” history of Galle from its earliest days. It would dominate the next ten years of her life.

 Galle in the 1890s — a rare image in the Australian National Gallery Collection, Canberra

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The Full Monty: Sri Lankan Stars in Aussie Life

Courtesy of DFAT and cameraman Nathan Fulton and with thanks to Kristopher Maslin of  the Department of Foreign Affairs

 Arun Abey of Sydney  Jitto Arulampalam of Melbourne

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Malaravan’s War Journey for Tiger Tamils, 1990s

War Journey, being translation of  Por Ulaa reviewed  here by three Indian intellectuals

ONE > R.K. Radhakrishnan: “A Heroic Life after Death,” 8 July 2013, The Hindu

Just as political parties in India used music, theatre and cinema with stunning results, the LTTE relied on the written word, and folklore, with the help of platform speakers in Tamil. Heroes are created long after their death. The embellished folklores, the sexed-up citations, even made-up stories of courage, valour and sacrifice — all contribute to the creation of a hero from an ordinary human being, who is often left without a choice of how, why and if he/she will be remembered or celebrated. Institutions and movements seek to capitalise on the emotional appeal of the ‘supreme sacrifice’ to further ‘The Cause.’ Continue reading

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Vijaya Vidyasagara, An Ecumenical Christian Socialist in Bygone Times

Devanesan Nesiah,  reviewing Memoirs of a Christian and a Socialist 

 This fascinating autobiography of Vijaya Vidyasagara edited by Skantha Kumar and Marshal Fernando and published by the Ecumenical Institute for Study and Dialogue is excellent reading. Priced at Rs. 500/- and covering 300 pages this book is a very good buy for any reader interested in Sri Lankan society and politics. Having known Vijaya and associated with him and the Christian Workers Fellowship (CWF) for over half a century, I found the book difficult to put down. I read it from cover to cover within a few days. Vijaya was also the founder editor of the Christian Worker, an excellent quarterly, now defunct.

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Rendering Sinhala Poetry Fertile — Ranjini Obeyesekere

Laleen Jayamanne, in a review article, Sunday Island, 2 April 2017, where the title is “Sinhala Poetry Translated by Ranjini Obeyesekere”

Ranjini Obeyesekere has brought together a wide-ranging translation of Sinhala poetry making it accessible to an English-speaking readership. This in itself is an admirable achievement. While the book includes a cluster of poems from the older folk tradition, the majority of poems span the 20th century. The volume is attractive in that the layout, with its generous spacing of the stanzas, allows the poems to breathe with great amplitude. Poetry, as the art of suggestion and in direction, which abandons the functional, instrumental, rationalist use of language, is allowed the silences and pacing (spacing) that are so important to it. Vijitha Yapa Publishing should be commended for its sensitivity to form and for the quality of this volume of poetry – it feels good to hold this book and turn its pages. Continue reading

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LLRC advocated Bilingual National Anthem and Other Cultural Paths towards Reconciliation


National Anthem

8.291 Several views were expressed concerning the use of the National Anthem as a unifying factor, and in bringing about greater understanding among the communities. One view was that it would be advisable to reflect the two national languages policy by symbolically introducing at least two lines in Tamil to the National Anthem.172 It was pointed out that this would be a major step towards healing the wounds of the past.

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