A harvest of books
by K.S. Sivakumaran
many young people do not read at all, yet books are being written and printed
in all three languages, judging by the frequent launches of books in Colombo
and elsewhere. But most books sell. The readers who benefit are ardent
book lovers. In Thamil too, a large number of books are being launched
in Colombo. Sometimes three or four books are released in a single week.
This is amazing. Most writers want to put in book form anything they have
written before, in publications, so that they remain as some sort of record.
Since this column cannot
accommodate full length book reviews, I shall write brief notes on some
of the few books that came my way. The purpose is to inform readers in
Thamil as well as others who know English that such books are available
in the market.
This information is necessary
for interested people as I find that sometimes they ask me whether books
on such and such subjects are available. These people do not care to visit
book stalls nor do they care to come for book launches.
is a compilation of essays and interviews the writer has written and broadcast
on various subjects. The writer R. Kanapathipillai works for the Education
Service of the SLBC (Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation).
A graduate and a diploma
holder in education and journalism, has varied interests of studies such
as literature, education, history, law, medicine and social issues. His
interviews with professionals are also interesting and one gathers a lot
I found two of his articles
in the book more interesting than others. They are on the development of
broadcasting in Sri Lanka and on open education. The interviews with a
few leading professionals and academics are very good indeed. Kanapathipillai
is an efficient producer and broadcaster. The book is available from the
author. Phone: 071-2374502
Katuthum Eluthum (Ideas and Writing):
This book by Anu U. Nagarajan
is a collection of 31 essays particularly profitable to High School and
University students. A very good educationist and writer of books for children
and others, Nagarajan is also a creative writer. He is in the field of
writing for more than 50 years.
His essays are superb examples
of fine writing in Thamil. His topics: Spiritualism, Archaeology, Humanities,
Culture the Arts, Literature, Biography, Interviews and Criticism.
Despite his later developed
handicaps, he like the westerners would 'never say die', and circumvents
all obstacles and continue to write productive pieces. To buy the book,
please contact: 2554495.
Padaipalihalum Aaivalarhaleem (Writers
This book is by A Mohamed
Sameem an educationist and a scholar in history. He writes in Thamil and
English. Author of a few books in Thamil, Sameen shows interest in 'literary
criticism'. He has selected a few writers and critics' who write in Thamil
for his evaluation.
The book has a preamble
written by G Kumaran on the early life of Mohamed Sameem.
It begins with his life
as a writer in the 1940s.
The author has sixteen
articles on poets, short story writers and scholars. The poets include
the late Sillayoor Selvarajan, Subair and Anbu Mohideen.
The short story writers
selected are N. K. Raghunathan, Puthumaipiththan (a Thamilnadu writer,
who wrote five short stories and a Lanka-born British writer, Rajeswari
Balasubramaniam. The late K Kailasapathy, K. Sivathamby and the late Ira
Sivalingam are the scholars dealt with by Sameem.
The book is of interest
to students of contemporary Thamil literature, particularly to Lankan literature,
as the writer looks at them from a Marxism point of view.
To buy this book the author
can be contacted on telephone: 2713314.
Pathivuhal (on Record) by A J Jesuraja:
This book is dedicated
to a fine poet and critic in the east of Sri Lanka, Shanmugam Sivalingam.
the writer is a poet, Short story writer and columnist. He is also an editor
of a few periodicals, particularly The Alai (the Wave). Jeyarajas critical
comments in his column in his journals are collected and updated in the
writes on a variety of subjects: academia, playwrights, short story writers,
literary meetings, form and content, international film makers, his own
magazine, national infertility complex, Palangetiyo Werner Hergog, Soldadu
Unnehae, Nuhman's review, Moro Poloicthisi's films, Esthi's Columns, New
casteism, Boycott of Sahitya Awards, Wimaladasan, K Arumainayagam, Katherine
Ann Porter, C V Velupillai, Charlie Chaplin film festival, Maruthom Koththan,
artist Mark,literary Panels, Fastbinder film festival, play, poetry reading,
ambala Harasan reviews, interview given by Sathyajith Rai, paintings, book
of poetry, Thamil Boat People, Wole Soyinka, socialist realism, Last Temptation
of Christ, Sivathamby critical forum, M B Srinivasan, Nicaragua, Thamil
creative writing in English, short story Day, Ka, Waa Subramanium, Newton
Gunasinghe, Mawatta's special issue on Lankan Thamil literature, K S Sivakumaran,
formula plays, literary scandals, video etc.
Suitable photographs are
also included. This is a very useful reference book also is another feature.
In the 33rd issue of Alai
(December 1988), Jesurajah misjudges K S Sivakumaran when he says that
the latter had ignored many Lankan writers in his conversation with Le
The fact is that conversation
was of a limited range and that the interview was limited to the questions
submitted by the interviewer. He also accuses K. S. Sirakumaran for equating
the violence of both the oppressors and the oppressed as 'terrorism'. This
perception has changed by later events is a fact that has to be considered.
I particularly liked Nilanttam
has written about A. Jesurajah in the back cover. It's a true assessment.
The book is available from the author: A. Jerurajah, No. 1, Oadakarai Veethy,
A literary philanthropist:
Hashim Omar is of Mennon
origin and his mother tongue is Gujarati, spoken in Gujarat and Maharashtra
in India. Although born in India, his parents brought him to Sri Lanka
and settled down in Kegalle.
He studied Thamil in his
school and later came and settled in Colombo. He is a prolific reader of
books. Having established himself as a business magnet, he spends his leisure
in the field of the arts.
The Thamil writers in Colombo
are deeply obliged to him because he buys the first copy of a book at a
book launching ceremony gifting huge amounts, very much higher than the
actual price of the book.
The writers feel encouraged
and thankful to Hashim Omar for his generosity and philanthropic acts,
particularly patronising the writers and artistes.
Having lived in the Grandpass
area for a long time, he moved into the posh residential area in Colombo
recently. He built a new palatial building down Sir Ananda Coomaraswamy
Road near Greenpath and entertained his numerous friends and acquaintances
at a dinner. In fact he had three or four separate dinners for various
Last week, I was also invited
to join the media people to dinner.
And this was first time
I met a gathering of more than 100 media people using the Thamil language.
Writers, journalists, radio
personalities, artistes were all there. I saw two politicians - Fowzie
and Segu Issadeen at a dinner hosted on August 30, 2004. It was a very
Hashim Omar is also a member
of many Boards of State institutions. He is friendly with politicians of
Omar's photographs appear
almost daily in the newspapers in all three languages buying the first
copy of books at various launches.
I understand that he gives
away scholarships to needy children without any publicity. He is a silent
benefactor to many.
Open covenants of peace openly arrived at, after which there shall be no
private international understandings of any kind, but diplomacy shall proceed
always frankly and in the public view.
David Reuben: Nation
shall speak peace unto nation.
D. H. Lawrence: Loud
peace propaganda makes war seem imminent.
Friedrich Engels: The
State is not abolished, it withers away.
Plato: The rulers
of the State are the only ones who should have the privilege of lying,
either at home or abroad; they may be allowed to lie for the good of the
A poem by S. Sivasegeran:
if I spoke in Tamil
the English class teacher
scold me, levy a fine.
If he found a Tamil story
book on me
he would confiscate it,
tear it up.
I would mutter in protest
if I spoke in Tamil on
the Sinhala racist
would stare at me, and
come with a gang to assault
If he saw a Tamil newspaper
in my hand
he would snatch it and
tear it up.
I still would mutter in
protest in Tamil.
(From the anthology about
another matter - poems in translation by S. Sivasegaran)