by K.S. Sivakumaran
born Canadian Thamilian V.N. Giritharan writes fiction, poetry and prose
writing in Thamil. Some of his creations are truly remarkable. His
books are of interest and in fact exposes of the pattern of living in foreign
claims by former Lankans. An architect (from the Moratuwa University) he
is also a qualified. electrical and electronic engineering Technologist.
He has wide interests in the sciences, history and children's literature.
On top of it, he is serving a useful purpose in the Cyberspace.
While there are more than
a dozen websites in Thamil promoting literary and cultural events of the
Thamilians in Thamilnadu in India, it is Giritharan's 'Pathivukal'
e-zine that gives almost exclusively a comprehensive coverage of the Lankan
Thamil literary scene, apart from other subjects like politics.
One other Thamil website,
also from Canada - the e-zine Kuviyam - also covers a larger area of Thamil
studies and related matters in a broader scope.
But the accent in 'Pathivukal'
is on contemporary Thamil literature
including what is produced
in India. Both Giritharan and Pon Kulendiren accommodate me with my contributions
in English in their e-zines. It must be also said that Giritharan's
daughter has her own website,booktrain.ca,
for the kids, in English. She, herself a 12 years old, writes to the Toronto
My difficulty in writing
in Thamil via the Internet is that I cannot typein Thamil and also
I don't know how to use any of the fonts available. That is why I
was unable to send any material in Thamil to Lankan newspapers and magazines
via the Internet. Thus my computer literacy is incomplete. But I
am trying to master the technique.
Here in the West, they
never say die. That positive attitude drives them to reach greater heights.
May I say that most Lankans have negative attitudes and rely solely
on the Karmic theory. This is why some of us are sluggish and not
hardworking as others.
Reverting to Giritharan's
books - most of his contributions in Thamil and translations
are available in his own website - I must say that his books
are works of an investigative mind. The titles of such books are
self-explanatory: 'Nallur Rajadhani ', 'America' and 'Mannin
Kutal' (meaning the Voice of the Soil) are few of his titles.
Let me introduce to you
the book on the architecture during the existence of the Kingdom of Yaalpanam
(Jaffna). We know that the last king of the kingdom of the people
in the northern part of the country was Sankiliyan.
The late professor in Thamil,
K. Kananapathipillai had written a short play in that title. Sankiliyan
ruled from Nallur (Nallur means a Good County or City or Village).
One is reminded of the existence of Nallura in Panadura.
Again Panadura could mean the port the ballad singer had landed.
Nallur remains thesymbolic representation of Lankan Saiva Thamilians of
the northern Sri Lanka.
me begin with what the foreword of the book tells us. I give below
the essence of what a distinguished writer, a fine stylist and a
columnist in Thamil, S Yoganathan has said in his preface: "... The
Thamil Brahmic inscriptions belonging to the 3rd century B.C. were
dogged out during the excavations in Kantharodai and Aaanai Kottai.
This discovery revealed to a great extent of the existence of a fine Thamilian
culture in the Megalithic age. The Romans, the Arabs, and the Chinese have
had direct trade relations with the Sri Lankan Thamilians. There
are records to prove that in the 5th century A.D., the Lankan Thamilians
had had an advanced cultural inheritance. A Saiva (meaning a branch of
Hinduism) Thamilian kingdom evolved in Yaalpanam in the 13th century.
But with the advent of the Portuguese rule in Sri Lanka the fall
of the kingdom was inevitable.
Historians belonging to
the Thamil community have not sufficiently
unearthed historical facts
relating to the history of Thamilians in Sri
Lanka, although academics
in the calibre of Indrapala, Pathmanathan,
Sittampalam and Raghupathy
have endeavoured to do so spasmodically. Raghupathy's book
'Early Settlements' in English is a forerunner to young intellectuals and
researchers. V. N. Giritharan is such a researcher, although
his discipline is architecture.
Despite gathering sufficient
evidences, he has written this guide in anexemplary manner..." This
book was published eight years ago (1996).
One must appreciate the
fact that this talented writer now in Canada could have really ventured
into more historical research had he been living in Sri Lanka. Raghupathy,
a great scholar with whom I had the fortune to move with, while both
were teaching in Male' in the Maldives. Raghupathy, I believe, is
now in Mysore in India where he had his postgraduate studies.
In the absence of historical
researchers from the Thamil community in SriLanka, we have to rely on researchers
like Sudharshan Seneviratne and Deriniyagala and a few other
scholars for impartial and objective
The new woman member of
parliament from the Mattakalappu district,
K.Thangeswari writes in
Thamil only, because she graduated in that
language. Her books should
be translated into English (and even Sinhala) for proper evaluation.
May I be permitted to say
that another academic from Mattakalappu, whose field is Thamil, has researched
on the subject of names in the northern areas of Sri Lanka. This too is
ironical for two reasons: He is not from the North and he too is in Canada
now. In the same breath, I must say Indrapala is either in Australia or
New Zealand was also interested in Thamil theatre.
He and the academic in
English Tiru Kandiah adapted Irish playwright Synge's play 'Riders
to the Sea' and staged in Peradeniya and Colombo in the 1970s.
So, If we were to call
our history, a Sri Lankan history, we must
objectively and in an
unbiased manner do research on the past history of the people, places
and events of the Thamil speaking. The truth is not totally white or black,
it is also grey.
The author, V. N. Giritharan
says that he was stimulated to do some
research on Nallur while
attending a lecture in the university by academic Nimal de Silva.
Since this is a subject which I am not very familiar, let me give
me some idea of the book by way of giving the titles of his
They are self-explanatory:
Nallur and Singai Nagar, Nallur and Yaalpanam, Historical Evidences of
Nallur Rajadhani, Nallur Kanthasamy Kovil, The Fortress of
Nallur and Ramparts Around It, Data on Field Studies, The Entrance Gate
of the Fortress, the Fort and the Veiyil Uhantha Pillayar Temple,
Ancient Works and Architecture, Town Planning of the Hindus and the Caste
System, South Indian Temple Cities, Structure of the Nallur Town in
This little book of merit
has also a few photographs and designs to
illustrate what the writer
finds in his research.
It would be interesting
for the selective readers to learn about the titles of some works which
Giritharan mentions as references: Conquest of Ceylon - Queroz F
vol 1 & 4, Tamils and Ceylon - C.S.Navaratnam, The Kingdom of
Jaffna - S.Pathmanathan, Urban and Regional Planning -Rame Gowda,
Urban Geography -Jeyasingam. Early Christianity in Ceylon -Fr.
Peiris, Fr.Meersman, Living Architecture: Indian -Andreas Volwahsen, Monumental
Art and Architecture of India - K, Sundaram, The Arts and Crafts
of India, and Ceylon - Ananda Coomarasamy,'The Ancient Town Planning
of Anuradhapura' Rowland De Sylva The Kings of Jaffna during the
Portuguese Period - Fr. Gnanapargasar. Articles in Thamil relating
to the subject are also mentioned by the author.
These articles include
those by Kula Sababathan, S. Rasanayagam, A.
Nadarajah, B.S. Acharya, R.P. Sethupillai,
M.K. Anthony Sil. The writer has also referred to the maps of
the Survey Department, and Jaffna Town Planning Assessment Surveys.
The book is published by
Mangai Pathipagam, Toronto, Canada.
courtesy: Daily News (Sri