Singular contribution to Sinhala literature
Author: Jayakody Seneviratne
Publisher: Dayawansa Jayakody & Co., Colombo 10.
199 p.p. Price 250
Review: Prof. Nandasena Ratnapala
FICTION: This is said to be the 50th novel by Jayakody
Seneviratne. I have had the opportunity to read the majority of his
novels. I have yet to see a better story teller than him in the field of
modern Sinhalese fiction.
AUTHOR: Jayakody Seneviratne
He says that this book is written for the young readers. We do not
have a rich juvenile literature and a novel of this type catering
particularly to the young is indeed a felt need of the time.
As a novel for the young, 'Loku Putha' has all the ingredients to
call it such a novel. There is the spirit of adventure.
How a young man looks at life away from the traditional view of his
father is carefully portrayed.
The love for the family centered on the adoring mother carries the
story with a rear pace. The incidents are related in quick succession,
but with a rippling effect as that of verdant stream flowing down.The
institution of the family is portrayed in a way that shows its
importance especially to the rural young in the family we have in Sri
The mother is the central figure. Every action in the family emanates
from the mother, centered round her.
In this story, when the mother is suffering from an illness, the
entire family feels it. The elder son, Bandu who is the central figure
in this novel feels it most.
The elder son's character (Loku Putha) is carefully constructed. We
see how much he loves his mother and sister and brothers. His love for
the animals is another trait that most young people do possess.
It is this love which make him risk himself in freeing the young
animal. The way he frees the animal from the man (a butcher) who bought
the animal from his father, is full of adventure.
His pursuit of the man on a bicycle and eventual cutting of the rope
which bound the animal and rescuing it, is full of adventurers. The
young people would relish it.
Two other aspects of his young adventurous life are seen when he ran
away from home and when he rescues his sister. He ran away from home
because his father caned him and twisted his ear round.
Bandu went away from home and found a job in a rattan shop. His
genius was observed by the rattan shop owner who exploited him to the
full. Bandu had the flair to turn out different items such as tables and
This shows the young, about their own talents and the striving that
one needs to engage into reap the best out of life with such talents.
Bandu rescues his sister from a rich house to which she was given as
a servant charted by a close relative.
This normally happens in the village where children are often given
to slavery with the help of middleman who are sometimes one's own kith
Bandu goes to the house, conceives of a plan and with the connivance
of the sister rescues her. She climbs the wall round the house.
She is able to undertake this daring adventure because of Bandu's
planning, guidance and spirit of adventure.
He helps her to buy a sewing machine and also finds her a place in
the town with the help of the father where she could carry on her
Although the love of the mother is explicit in the village, a father
rarely shows his emotions. Austin, the father is a strict man. But as
his character is portrayed we see the affection for his children hidden
in the strict facade he puts forth. According to him, Bandu need not
have taken the bold step to flee from the house when he was punished by
Having learned about son's whereabouts, Austin immediately goes in
search of him without delay. This shows his love for the son.
Jayakody Seneviratne's 'Loku Putha' is a novel I cannot forget. It is
woven in simple fabric with a lively style carved out from colloquial
and classical Sinhala.
This style I believe cannot be easily imitated. I am reminded of the
great sociologist C. Wright who states that from the decades he strived
to perfect his style.
I think Seneviratne would have devoted his lifetime to develop this
singular style. My thanks to Dayawansa Jayakody for publishing this
novel and his other books. It is a singular contribution to Sinhala
Teacher thinks aloud
The confessions of a conscripted teacher
Author: Thilaka Vivekanandhan Wijeyaratnam
55/1, Vivekananda Road, Colombo 6
124 PP Price not mentioned
Review: Shyamala Devi Karunakharan
TEACHING: The Confession of a Conscripted Teacher is the
latest release of Mrs. Thilaka Vivekanandhan Wijeyaratnam depicting
precisely how she embarked as a teacher and its subsequent influence on
She has very efficiently presented her professional life giving a
full account of a life-long teacher, using an absolute sense of humour
with a lot of amusing events.
She starts off with her father's wish to see her become a teacher,
who according to her has threatened and forced her to accept the
teaching profession which she had acknowledged much against her will.
Then comes her first appointment at Kegalle Balika Vidyalaya and her
unforgettable hostel life with her fellow teachers.
Thilaka has been an appealing teacher and has enjoyed every bit of
time spent with her colleagues. She very confidently remembers their
names and some interesting incidents.
She had been very attached to her colleagues at Balika and she
decided to resign the post here and join Badulla Vishakha Vidyalaya
along with a few others to support her colleague who got a Principal's
It is indeed a treat to read how she had enjoyed her youthful days -
dismissive of the future, free from all responsibilities savouring the
authentic pleasure of that belated age which any person would love to
recollect quite often in their lives.
Spending her Sundays at Dunhinda Falls with her friends joyfully with
the caretaker and some incidents she has mentioned are very interesting.
In three months she moved to Nuwara Eliya to take up the post at Good
Shepherd Convent. Here too she became popular among students for
initiating the junior and senior interact clubs.
In three and a half years she was transferred to Matale Pakia
Vidyalaya over a dispute with the then government's take over of the
school. Here she served for eight months.
After her marriage from there she managed to get a transfer to
Mulliawalai Maha Vidyalayam, Mullaitivu in order to join her husband who
worked in Mullaitivu. In a year she moved to Mullaitivu Maha Vidyalayam
where according to her she lived with an extinct tribe, so serious
She managed there for five years and moved to Vavuniya Tamil Maha
Vidyalayam. This was the longest period she had served in a school. Here
she had to face a lot of problems and challenges which she successfully
withstood with her husband being the biggest solace for her.
He had been a pillar of strength to her right throughout.
In addition to teaching science subjects and English she has been the
disciplined teacher and teacher in-charge of prefects.
She retired in 1983.
After a short interval in 1985 when she was 50 years she tried and
got a job at Aminiya School, Maldives, although her age did not fit
their criteria. Here she mentions about different types of students with
different problems and attitudes and how tactfully she tackled them.
These explanations deserve to go on record for others to follow.
After her husband's demise and the subsequent difficulty in her life
she returned to Colombo and joined Hindu Ladies College in 1993. After a
walkout from the school over a dispute with the principal over salary
issue she spent two years working in a computer firm and then in a law
firm which did not please her as teaching did. However she continued
giving tuition classes at home.
In 2004 she rejoined Hindu Ladies after a short stint. Before winding
up the book she gives a full account of all the principals she has
worked under and acknowledges that her first principal Mrs. Udalagama at
Kegalle Balika Vidyalaya remains the best.
There are some worthy tips on students' behaviour and hints on
reacting to them politely, which I think are highly comprehensive and
refined. She released the book on July 30, along with the Tamil version.
Thilaka completed her B.Sc at Madras Christian College, and obtained
her Diploma in Education from the Open University of Sri Lanka.
Apart from teaching Science and English, being equally fluent in
Tamil she has composed over 25 Tamil ballet dance dramas which were
staged in Colombo. She is a playwright too.
Proudly concluding her fifty years of teaching life she defines her
profession as a "Learning Process" which has no end and admits that she
highly enjoyed the time spent with the teenagers. The books are
available at 55/1 Vivekananda Road, Colombo 6.
Pleasure through adventure
Hunnasgirikande Raja Maligawa
Author: Gunaratne Ekanayake
Review: Somapala Arandara
FICTION: Armed with a copy of Gunaratne Ekanayake's latest
novel, or rather a novelette, "Hunnasgirikande Raja Maligawa" (The Royal
Palace on Mount Hunnasgiri), I was going through his Foreword when my
attention was drawn to a naive remark he had made. He reiterates the
need to get children into the habit of reading books.
Thereby they can be saved from the perils of their various worlds of
illusion and their scant affection to their elders. This remark reminded
me of Sir Francis Bacon's immortal words: "Studies serve for delight,
for ornament, and for ability. Their chief use for delight is in
privateness and retiring, for ornament, is in discourse, and for
ability, is in the judgement and disposition of business."
Gunaratne Ekanayake questions why most of the present-day parents do
not encourage their children to read books whilst spending lavishly on
artificial food items, toys and posh clothing. Providing children with a
small library will bring them peace of mind who are otherwise lost in
When one comes under the magic spell of an interesting and
adventurous story in one's childhood, there emerges supreme happiness.
To recapture those precious moments of indulgence is sufficient
justification for the renewal of the acquaintance.
Where children's stories are concerned there comes a long line of
authors like, only to name a few, R. L. Stevenson (Treasure Island),
Daniel Defoe (Robinson Crusoe), Enid Blyton (Famous Five), Montgomery
(Anne of the Green Gable), J. K. Rowling (Harry Potter), W. A. de Silva
(Lakshmi Hewat Nonasena Rajiniya), Martin Wickremasinghe (Madol Doova),
Munidasa Cumaratunga (Kiyawana Nuwana) and Sybil Wettasinghe who links
the recent past and the present with her creations.
After writing romantic stories for youngsters like "Yapanaya Tawamat
Atayi" and "Usawiya Nihandayi". Gunaratne Ekanayake enters the world of
children, the early teenagers, with his latest work of adventure, "Hunnasgirikande
The critical eye of middle age is apt to discover that the idols of
youth have feet of common clay. The plot of Ekanayake's book, if there
is a plot, is very simple. But behind this simplicity lies the subtle
craft of the story - teller. Ekanayake's merit lies in the fact that he
has a knack of merging his own individuality reflected in a fictitious
Children's stories must necessarily contain adventure and pleasure.
And Ekanayake's novel amply does justice to that aspect. Kiriella and
the party depart on a top from Colombo to Kandy. From there, they travel
to the foot of Hunnasgiri hill. 'After that, they start walking up the
hill clearing their path infested with bushes. To their support, a guide
Close to the top of the hill, on a landing which seems to be the
ruined site of an old royal house, the children get lost inside a
network of underground tunnels which seemed to have been occupied by a
former king. The whole of the night is full of search operations. And
there's high tension, fear, curiosity and hopefulness among the parties
The writer's choice of the setting for action is commendable. Whoever
has climbed that hill knows how fitting an environment it is for a set
of inquisitive minds. Moreover, Hunnasgirikanda possesses a mystic and
awe-inspiring haughtiness which Nature has bestowed on it. Ekanayake's
novel is good for light reading for adolescents, too.
Guidelines for development
Rata Sanwardanayata Liyu Lipi
Letters written for the development of the country
Author: S.H. Perera
pp. 272, Price - Rs. 375
Former Senior Editor, Sinhala Encyclopaedia
ECONOMY: Development has been defined at present according to
the criteria of each different country. However, for a Third World
country like Sri Lanka where there are gene differences, ancient living
cultures etc., there should be new means of application for the
development. On such a criteria the so-called developed nation will come
second to most of the Third World countries.
If we could discard most of the examples given by the West and take
those that are useful for our country as a single unit, then we should
be able to direct our country towards development. The development of a
country is not merely to work on a target, but to administer that
country for the sole benefit of all the living creatures.
The book by S. H. Perera written with his experience gathered for
more than 15 years on environment, administration health etc., is a
compendium that would be useful for those administrators who find it
difficult to know what should be done, and for the general public who
too are baffled by such difficulties.
However, the collection of letters by the author will awaken both the
public and the administrators from their deep slumber to learn how a
country has been put into such a situation of chaos in the past as well
as in the present.
It is useless to utter the same old record of "We have no funds, no
technological know-how." We should get examples of such developed
peaceful states like Switzerland and Singapore which are smaller than
Sri Lanka and listen to what is stated by scholars through their
writings as in the case of the present book.
The brief style followed by S. H. Perera in his writings should be an
example to those pundits who write at length.
The introduction to this book by Prof. J. B. Disanayaka also mentions
that fact. He emphasizes that his book will provide lessons to both the
administrators and the ordinary people.
Furthermore, the professor says that the efforts of the author to
improve the status of the Sri Lankan people will bear fruits.
The book is printed in a good finish and is price marked moderately.
Book launch to mark felicitation ceremony
COLOMBO: Four new books will be launched at the Rev. Fr.
Ernest Poruthota felicitation ceremony to be held at the BMICH Committee
Room B on August 31.
The four books are Susantha Tissera's Cinemave Saha Madhayaye Apekama,
Vijith Rohan's Sevayata, Fr. Ernest Poruthota's Gihiya and Maximus Roy's
Poru Piya Upahara.
Felicitation: Rev. Fr. Ernest Poruthota
Fr. Poruthota who celebrates his 75th birthday is well known for his
immence contribution to Catholic literature, Catholic liturgy. Young
Christian Student Movement, Young Christian Workers' Movement and the
The salutation song has been written by Prof. Sunil Ariyaratne with
music composed by Rohana Weerasinghe. This will be sung by Ivor Dennis
and Lata Walpola at the ceremony. Rev. Fr. Jayalath Balagalla, Director
of the Christian Studies at the National Education Institute, Maharagama
and Superior Dominican Fathers, Sri Lanka, will deliver the introductory
The Keynote address will be delivered by Tissa Abeysekara on "The
Christian Contribution to National Culture and the Role of Rev. Fr.
Ernest Poruthota". A short video documentary directed by Sudath
Mahadivulweva will be screened.
The Bank of Ceylon is the main sponsor for the felicitation programme.
Christian belief made simple to Sri Lankans
Rediscovering Christ in Asia
Author: Bishop Kenneth Fernando, ISPCK, Delhi 2005
Review: Rev. Dalston Forbes OMI.
RELIGION:Bishop Kenneth Fernando, retired Bishop of the
Anglican Church, Colombo, has written a book he always dreamed of
writing in the evening of his life. It is entitled "Rediscovering Christ
in Asia", and is published by the ISPCK, India in Delhi, 2005.
The Foreword is written by Lord George Carey, former Archbishop of
The purpose of the book as the author says in the Preface is to make
understandable Christian belief to Sri Lankans, especially those of
other faiths like Buddhism and Hinduism.
To cite his words: "How can I present what I have studied and know
about the Christian faith to friends of other faiths in ways that will
be intelligible and non-threatening to them, in categories that are
familiar to them". (p.X1.) Bishop Kenneth has gone through the major
doctrines of Christian belief, God the Creator, Sacred History, who is
Jesus, His Doctrine, Death and Resurrection of Christ and the Eucharist.
The language is clear and lucid and not technical. The type is large
and easily readable. The footnotes could have been more plentiful;
sometimes references to published books are not full and complete.
The author asks himself why Christianity has failed to spread in Asia
and comes to the conclusion that this is a problem of communication.
European thought forms and language were imported into Asia and not
adapted to the local cultural mind-sets and context. As he writes: "I
believe that if we learn to communicate more effectively and more
ironically we will be heard better and be treated with less suspicion".
A good example is found in the study of the idea of Sacrifice. The
author cites a dialogue between Kutadhantha and Buddha on what is the
best sacrifice in the Digha Nikaya. Sacrifice is not the offering of
thousands of animals, nor of one's ancestral wealth. It's to take the
Buddha and the Truth as one's guide with a trusting heart.
It is to take upon oneself the Five Precepts and to live according to
the Four Noble Tuths (p.88) The ethical aspect is what gives value to
sacrifice and here we join the love and self-oblation of Jesus upon the
Cross. This is a fine work, the result of 40 years ministry of
discovering Christ in Asia.
Those of us who know Bishop Kenneth, will discover his familiar
accents in this book. We thank him and his wife, Chitra, for this
testament that he leaves to his Anglican flock and his friends in the
Churches and even outside.
COLOMBO: Kalasoori Norman Siripala's latest book Janakavi
Adyayanaya will be launched at the Dayawansa Jayakody Book Exhibition
Hall, Ven. S. Mahinda Mawatha, Colombo 10 on September 5 at 10 a.m.
He is the author of several other books such as Sinhala Janakaviye
Samaja Darshanaya, Janakavi Aashritha Janakatha, Govigedara Janakavi,
Sabaragamu Janakaviye Samaja Muhunuvara, Sinhala Theravili Pada and
Janakaviya Saha Jana Diviya.
Winds of Culture
LAUNCH: Mrs. Angela Fernando's book titled Winds of Culture
was launched in Colombo recently.
Winds of Culture is about life, living, overcoming problems and
attaining a sense of fulfilment.
The book is available at Lake House Bookshop, Colombo.