Let's Begin Clean!
enormity of the destruction - human lives in horrendous circumstances and
vast damages to property and uncertainty of immediate future and the hapless
homelessness and starvation - are visibly painful. It's us that should
assist in whatever small ways to make life worthwhile again. From the ashes
to rise again, we must start clean. A bitter and bigger lesson has been
taught to us by nature, a driving force of the Almighty. But are we prepared
to learn? Already evil elements are at shore to exploit even the dead.
Nature assists in balancing
matter, mind and bring in the equilibrium. The good and young die early.
And the evil ones too might have perished, but a few of them would continue
to commit crimes and will eventually meet their ends gruesomely. That's
justice. Empires have tumbled because of arrogant rulers and unenlightened
lot. All this we know and yet we don't have time in this ruthless world
to think and reflect.
However, never say die. Life
goes on. But the new life, the new attitudes, the new mindset, the new
approaches to life, the shunning of preconceived notions, keeping a clean
slate of mind devoid of prejudices against each other, the total disbelief
in war and the fostering of human love are the need of the minute. So,
let's start clean. Life is precious. Can we at least now realize that we
are all dependant on each other and love of the humankind has no enmity.
Perhaps I may sound preaching, but it is the business of all of us to preach
and benefit from each other in such circumstances.
The Lankans have short memories.
If we can't solve our problems of majoritarianism vs minority complexes
and the arrogance of supremacy of the Aryan descent myth and not
willing to learn from past mistakes and set right the wrong done, mark
me even the remaining portions of our beautiful island is bound to
be swallowed either by foreign nations or by nature itself.
There was a continent called
Lemuria some 14,000 years ago extending from Madagascar to Down Under or
may be of 5000 miles in length that got submerged under the Indian ocean.
A Lost Civilization encompassing the ancients now speaking a language spoken
by 80 million people. Shouldn't we think about all this? The majority of
the people that fell victim to this disaster on December 26, 2004 happened
to be citizens from the northeastern part of the island. Ironically, people
from Ruhunu regions and Thamilnadu in India have also dead and gone under
swift Tsunami Great Tidal Wave with ferocity of more than 850 miles per
hour and much more deadly than the nuclear bomb downed in Hiroshima.
There is an epithet in Thamil:
'Arasan Eppadi, Kudikalum Appadi ' meaning ' what the king (or ruler) is,
the citizens too would be'. So it is our leaders and politicians who should
be models for us ordinary citizens. This country or state has become rotten
because of insincerity, corruption at a worse level, debauchery and loss
of moral and ethical values although we speak of following the noble paths
of religions. We are living in a world of hypocrites and stupid ultranationalists
who live in a world of myths without seeking to learn about the true status
of the others and this exposing to the outer world, not necessarily the
Christian western world, but also the Buddhist, Hindu and Islamic world.
They attempt to put the clock back through their lenses of seeing the world
only through one language macros cope.
Let bygone be bygone. Let's
begin from the beginning. Let's first love the neighbour irrespective of
his language or anything else. Don't we know still that the Lankans all
belong to one ethnic community but speak different tongues?
I am so sorry that the 'Beach
Wadiya', the internationally known quaint eating place for exquisite Lankan
cuisine owned by Olwyn, a man of goodness around him, has been badly damaged
by the recent Tsunami and it remains a wreckage in Station Road, Wellawatta.
Worse still is the gruesome act of the looters who have ransacked and taken
away all the valuable goods and documents that proved his stature as one
who earned international acclaim. It's so sad that it happened to him.
The group of writers in Colombo
that used to meet and discuss literary matters was regularly meeting at
the Beach Wadiya. The magazine of The English Writer's Workshop titled
'Waves' was published in late 2004. This is the sixth edition of this group
of writers. Sandra Fernando, who has gathered this publication on behalf
of The Wadiya Group says that : " We meet to read our stories, poems, scripts,
articles, essays and other literary offerings to each other...But the most
important thing about our workshop is summed up by Jagath Kumarasinghe:
'For the first time I have an audience for my work'. It is that sympathetic,
supportive audience that is actually an impetus and an uncompromising prod
for each of us.'
The writer informs further:
" Our work has been mentored by several writers of note: Pauline Hensman,
Haig Karunaratne, Sita Kulatunga, Anne Ranasinghe, Punyakante Wijenaike,
and Christine Wilson...our sessions have been enhanced by visits from such
people as Dr. Yasmine Gooneratne and Gaston Perera..."
The contributors to the current
issue include the following: Anthea Senaratne, Shireen Senadhira, Jagath
Kumaeasinghe, Nafisa Thahirally, Sisila Cooray, Ranjanie Ellepola, Faith
Ratnayake, Elmo Leonard, Fahima Rizvan, Wilfred Jayasuriya, Subha Ranaweera,
Farida Haque, Deidre Cadiramen, Maliha Rajon, Asgar Hussein, Sandra Fernando,
Sita Kulatunga, and Haig Karunaratne.
This 68 page magazine is interesting
to read. The irony however is that some of the pieces reflect a partisan
view or interpretation of contemporary and past events in this country.
I refer to a contribution titled 'Ancient Lanka' and another titled 'Onslaught'.
I found some of the writings could have been crafted well and pointed to
the subject or theme. It is sometimes tiring to read lengthy exercises
which are devoid of focus. However immense talent is exhibited by almost
all writers. Who knows, there may be a potential literary award winner
A Life Serene
Enver C.Ahlip has brought
out a life sketch of Al Haj Dr T.B.Jayah,who was one of the respected educationists
and politicians in this country. The present generation is not aware of
great Lankans that have contributed to the nation building of this country.
And they come from different communities in the island. Therefore this
book in English is a valuable document to know and assess the contributions
made by the late leader. He was a pioneer of Muslim Education in the country.
We learn that he built up Zahra College, Colombo and established other
colleges in Aluthgama, Gampola, Matale, Puttalam and Wekande. 'He introduced
free education, teaching in the mother tongue, health care and subsidized
meals at Zahira College long before the State realized its obligations
to the citizens..."
I would have appreciated if
a little note had been added on the writer of this book.
Life and Death
When we think of life and
death particularly after a catastrophe like the one us Lankans faced at
the end of last month, reflections on the subject by other greats come
to our mind. Here are a few:
Everyman's life is a fairytale
written by God's fingers. (Hans Christian Anderson)
We come and we cry, and that
is life; we yawn and we depart, and that is death! Cry (Lines in an album)
Life is a long lesson in humility
Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
/Life is but an empty dream (Longfellow)
As is a tale, so is life:
not how long it is but how good it is, is what matters (Seneca)
Life is but a walking shadow
In the midst of life we are
in death (Common Prayer)
Nothing can happen more beautiful
than death (Walt Whitman)
When I have seen the hungry
ocean gain/ Advantage on the kingdom of the shore (Shakespeare)
A life on the ocean wave,
/A home on the rolling deep (Samuel J Arnold)
Mallikai Annual 2005
The 40th Annual of Mallikai,
a Thamil monthly literary magazine released last week in Colombo has the
editor's (Dominic Jeeva's) column, short stories, poems, articles, translations,
reviews, letters,grretings etc. The following important writers in
Thamil have contributed to this journal: Dominic Jeeva, Theniyan, Anbumani,
M.Basheer, Saba Jeyarasa, Kambvarithy Jeyaraj, Anu Vai Nagarajan, Chokkan,
Kunthavai, Sae Yogarasa, Aasi Kantharajah, C.Susanthararajah, A.Kanthiah,
A.Saanthan, K.Saddanathan,Ilaya Abdullah ,Arun Vijayarani, ShriPrasanthan,
Memon Kavi, Thambiaiyah Thevathas,Vasanthi,Kurunch Ilanthentral, SengaiAaliyaan,
S.Sutharshan,Logeswari krishnamoorthy, Dickwella Kamal, Annaladchumy Rrajadurai,
P.Aabdeen, K.S. Sivakumaran, L.Murugapathy, Chellkannu,So.Pathmanathan,
Yugadharman and S,Muruganandan. Martin Wickramasinghe's story 'Throwing
a Stone to a Sinner" is translated byS.M.J.Faisdeen. Kushwant Singh's story
Riot is translated by Sangaraparani.
The cover picture is by Ramani,
an excellent artist, not thoroughly exposed in Colombo. The magazine is
available at Rs150/-permcopy from 201-1/4, Sri Kathiresan Street, Colombo
13. The editor Dominic Jeeva can be contacted on phone on 2320721.
The need to stress the commonality
than the superficial differences amongst us the primary need today before
be begin to strive for reconciliation and acting together if one nation
is the goal. Good Luck all around.
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