Sinhala Writing in Thamil!
it is heatening to note that quite a number of works in Sinhala had been
translated into Thamil, no such enthusiasm is shown by Sinhala translators and
publisheers to get the Thamil writing in Sri Lanka into the language that is
spoken by the majority of the people in this country. I do not know why this
indifference is - is it because the Sinhala people are disinterested in
knowing the life and culture of their fellow citizens and only want to
preserve a mono-culture, mono-language, mono-religion? Or is it because most
people do not know Thamil which is spoken by nearly a quarter of the poulation
(people in the northeast, hill-country and the Muslim community)? Or is it
because that we don't have competent Sinhala -Thamil, Thamil -Sinhala
translators? If the latter is the case, why cannot the 'powers that be' take
action to train translators?
I do not think that there is any government - based organization in this
country that train translators. Why cannot there be a Department of
Translations to undertake translations of creative writing and critical
writing? I know, however. that Vibhasha, an outlet of the Centre for Policy
Alternatives was engaged in conducting a Translation Course for interested
students. I was also a felicitator in their programme as I felt that was
worthwhile efort. But now I understand that due to lack of funds this project
is to be drpped. Prof. Arjuna Parakrama of the English Department of the
University of Peradeniya was directig this programme of translation methods to
students. At the end of the programme the students were awarded with a
Diploma. The training was given for those who followed the English - Sinhala
stream, Sinhala -Thamil stream and the English - Thamil stream. However,
coaching to translate indigenous language material into English was not
projected, It could have been better if that too was undrtaken..
In India all important literary works in regional languages are translated
into many other languages of that country almost immediately.It's no wonder
that the people in India are enriched by different cultures and find unison in
understanding the humankind better. And their mindset is not narrow and
parochial as some Sri Lankans are.
Let me now introduce a few recent publications in Thamil that are translated
from Sinhala to show how a fair number of Thamil readers are interested in
reading writing in Sinhala in their own language which is Thamil.
Most of the young people in the country are not at ease with the English
language. The youngsters in the Thamil - speaking communities depend on books
and magazines only in Thamil to get their knowledge on many matters that
includes the Literature and the Arts. But that is not enough. They must know
both Sinhala and English to benefit more.
Seetha Sandaseeli Samarasinghe
The Kumaran Book House at 201 Dam Street (Tel: 2421388) has published a
translation of a Sinhala book in Thamil. The author is Seetha Sandaseeli
Samarasinghe. The translators are M H M Yakooth and M H M Hassan. The book is
titled " Ninavattalai Valarthal". Ths guide is meant for students and
teachers. It means Develping the Power of Memory.
The author of the original text is a high ranking official at the National
Institute of Education There are 31 chapters in the book incorporating
practices and games to develop the power of memory .
Prof C Kariyawasam and the Director of the Thamil Section at the NIE, T
Dhanaraj have written the forewords for the book. The author in her
introduction thanks all those who helped in the publication of the book.
This book is written in simple style and the psychological ways she suggests
to retention memory would also help not only students but even adults to
remember things past and present.
One must congratulate the translators for their excellent rendition in
J B Disanayake
Devi Arunachalam, an experienced translator (she knows Thamil, Sanskrit,
Sinhala and English ) has translated a book for childtren narrated by Emeritus
Professor J.B.Disanayake. It is called Pannaiyar Eppadi Swargam Poanaar?
meaning " How did the Landlord go to Heaven?". Sarojini Arunachalam has
recently translated from Sinhala into Thamil Siri Gunasinha's celebrated novel
Hevanella. More notes on the translator and her father, the late Venerable
Sovanna Nadarasa (he became a Buddhist Monk voluntarily).He retired as a high
official in the Department of Official languages. Earlier he was the
Superintendent of Examinations.
Sovanna Nadarasa himself was the son of a Lankan Thamil poet the late
Somasundara Pulavar. The late Nadarasa was also a Lankan Thamil poet of
distinction and a scholar in sanskrit. He was also a pioneer broadcaster in
Thaml over the then Rado Ceylon. He had translated into Thamil Selalini
Sandeshyaha from Sinhala and Kalidasa's Sakuntala from Sanskrit.
The pictures in colour in Sarojini Arunachalam's book are drawn by Manjula
Karunathilaka. This attractively produced book is published by Sumitha Books
at 2A, Peter's Place, Nugegoda T.P: 2764441
The book encompasses stories from rural Sinhala villages. The traditional
rural life comes alive in these stories. Children would love them.
A filmologist on Lankan cinema both inhala and Thamil, writer and broadcaster
in Thamil is also a translator of Sinhala novels by Karunasena Jayalath and
K.Jayathilake. He appears on TV programmes on the Eye Channel. Besides, he has
written books in Thamil on Sri Lankan Thamil Cinema and Sri Lankan Sinhaa
Cinema's contributors from the Thamil community and the Muslim comunity of
this country. He is a graduate teacher.
He has introduced Sinhala proverbs in Thamil with their meanings. There are
815 of them.
This book titled Sinhala Palamoligal meaning Sinhala Proverbs is published by
Vidyadeepam Pathipakam, 90/9 New Chetty Street, Colombo 13. Telephone:
Dr.S.Yogarasa, Head of the Languages Department of the Eastern University has
written an informative forwerd for this book.
Prof.Somaratna Balasuriya's Sinhala novel ' Vap Magula' has been translated
int Thamil by Madulugiriya Wijeratne. The former is also the Chairman of the
Public Performances Board, under the Ministry of Culture. A scholar in Sinhala
and French, Balasiuruya has studied in France.He is a cerative writer and
critic and a modest person.
Madulugalle Wijerane is a highly qualified Bank Manager with Banck of Ceylon.
He is fluent in Thamil. He could speak, read and write Thamil. He is one of
the handful Sinhala translators who could translate Thamil works into
Sinhala.There is also one academic Saminathan Wimal ( attached to the
University of Yaalpaanam who could translate from Thamil to Sinhala and vice a
versa. Besides Wijeratne and saminathan there are Sarojini Arunachalam,
Pulavar Kanagaratnam and the late Professor Wise ( who translated Gamperaliya
into Thamil -translation was not good from my point of view) ther are a few
from the Muslim community who could transate from Sinhala to Thamil. Some of
the younger Muslms who are bilingual - Sinhala and Thamil - could engage in
translation work. Yakooth is an excellent traslator who could translate works
from Sinhala into Thamil.
But those who could translate from Thamil to Sinhala is very very few in
I have translated via English a few poems and writings wriiten in Sinhala into
Thamil. And some Thamil writing into English.
The Thamil title of Somaratne Blasuriya's book is Ere Vila. The book is
published by S.Godage brothers, 675, Maradana Road, Colombo 10. Phone:
2685364, 011 4614904.
The translator, Madulagiriya Wijeratne (author of 18 books) in his
introduction says that the first Sinhala novel Minaa by Saimon Silva was
published in 1905. But he also reminds that the acdemics insist that the first
Sinhala novel- Wasanawantha Paula - was published in 1885 in a journal called
Ruwan Mal Dhama. Within the last century more than 2000 Sinhala novels had
been originally publshed in Sinhala.
Wijeratna expresses his indebtedness to Ravi Varna of Thinakutal and others in
producing this translation.
I had wriiten a review of the English translation of Vap Magula in my column '
As I Like It ' in The Island
Madugalle Wijeratne's translation is very readable and he has done an
excellent job. It is interesting to note that he had particpated in Thamil
'Villup Pattu" ( instrumental musical cum commentary via songs) performance
with an exponent of that kind of performanc-Soakkallo Shanmugam who is also a
wrter and actor on stage radio and TV.
very senior writer and critic in Thamil, Dr.S.Gunarasa (Sengai Aaliyaan) has
compiled a collection of Sinhala short stories that were translated into
Thamil. It's called Sinhala Chiru Kathaikal ( Sinhala Short Stories) and it is
published by Malikai Pandal owned by wellknown writer and editor of Mallikai,
a monthly literary journal, Domini Jeeva. The address is 201-1 / 1,Sri
Kathiresan Street, Colombo 13. Phone: 2320721.
First let us know whose Sinhala stories had been translated for this book and
by whom. When I mentioned the names of the Sinhala writers whose stories had
been translated into hamil, Prof. Palliyaguru of th University of Kalaniya
said that some of them are not well known writers.Be that as it may.
Madhukinnam (Martin Wickremasinghe -Thambiaiyah Thevathas)
Noayali Ilaignan (G.B.Senanayake -Thambiaiyah Thevathas)
Paalam (Gunasena Vithana - Siva Subramaniam)
Aavi ( K.Jayathilaka - Siva Subramaniam)
Soma (Gunadsa Amarasekera - M.A.Nuhman)
Ratham (Rathna B Ekanayaka - Ibnu Azumath)
Iratha Uravu (Nihal Ranjith Jayathilaka - Sentheeran)
Pacha Nira Sari (Edwin Ariyadsa - MLM Mansoor)
Kathaiyin Mudivu (Nimal Sarachchandra - SMJ Faisdeen)
Nirathavaalan ( Gunadasa Liyanage - Neelkarai Nambi)
Ralahamy (Mrs T.B.Subasinghe - Siva Subramaniam)
Antha Violinkaran ( V.M.Jayawarena - Peri Shanmuganathan)
Thyndup Pencil ( Bobby G Boteju - Sentheeran)
Kuruvikkoodu ( RG Wijayawardena - Siva Subramaniam)
Girmathup Paiyan Pallikoodam Poakiran (George Stephan Perera - Yaadhavan)
Vichitramana Oor ( Ediriwera Sarathchandra -SMG Faisdeen)
Adcharakoodu (Thilak Chandrasekera -Kanagasabai Thurairajah)
Ore Raththam ( Ariyawansa Chandrsri - Neelkarai nambi0
Eddatha Gani ( Piyasoma Perera - A.Piyadasa)
Kaathalin Thuyaram (Roma Liyanage - Yaathavan)
Oru Yuththathin Pin ( Somasiri Pallewala - Ibnu Azumath_
Payanatta Maram ( Wimal S Samarasundara - Yaathavan)
Irul (Buddhadasa Galapathige - SMJ Faizdeen)
Kudai ( Vimaladasa Samarasinghe - Dickwella Zabwan)
Mallikai Poo Manam ( Priyantha Sujith Aththanayaka -Ibnu Azumath)
I wonder whether the Sinhala writers who are featured in the book are aware
that the thamil readers enjoy their stories as well.