soldier's inner battle
Set to the backdrop
of the separatist war in Sri Lanka, Delon Weerasinghe's original
play "Thicker than Blood" will go on the boards on March
28, 29 and 30 at the Lionel Theatre. The story is that of Suresh,
a young captain in the Sri Lanka army.
Wounded in battle
and now retired, Suresh finds it difficult adjusting to civilian
life. He is depressed and has no clear plans for the future when
he is invited to join politics.
reluctant, Suresh agrees. After all, a man who believes in nothing
can be passionate about anything. But he will soon discover that
he isn't a man who believes in nothing. Does serving one's country
mean doing what you're told or what you think is right? Can a patriot
never see another point of view? He has spent his whole life fighting
the enemy. But who does he fight when he's no longer sure who the
hardest battles to fight are the ones inside us. If so, Suresh has
the toughest fight of his life ahead of him.
This is playwright
Delon Weerasinghe's first play. "Thicker than Blood" was
developed in conjunction with the Royal Court theatre in England.
Delon attended the Royal Court international residency in 2001 and
subsequently became the first South Asian playwright to have a play
commissioned by the famous London theatre.
The cast comprises
Mohammed Adamaly, Romany Parakrama, Shanaka Amarasinghe, Arun Perera,
Suranjith Tillakewardene, Arjuna Koralagama, Arrvinda Salwatura
and Delon himself.
very own what is what and whos who
of Sri Lanka - an A to Z guide to Sri Lanka, edited by senior journalist
Charles A. Gunawardena has just been released. It is the first work
of its kind in English and covers almost every aspect of the country.
It has information on the country's geography and history, places
and people, races and religions, artists, academics, scientists
and writers and a host of other subjects.
Times will serialise extracts from the book beginning today.
The chain of sand banks and islets that stretches from Talaimannar
on Sri Lanka's north-east coast to Rameswaram on the coast of the
South Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
monkey god of the Indian epic, Ramayana, is said to have used this
bridge to cross the sea when he came to Lanka to rescue Princess
Sita, who had been kidnapped by Ravana, the demon king of Sri Lanka.
of the principal state officials, equivalent to ministers, appointed
by the kings who ruled in Kandy. The early kings kept one adigar.
went up to two under Rajasinghe II (1635-87) and the last king,
Sri Wickrema Rajasinghe (1798-1815) raised it to three. Among those
who held the post of maha or chief adigar were Pilimatalawa and
The first elections on the basis of universal adult franchise for
those aged 21 and over were held in 1931, just two years after similar
elections in Britain, and 17 years before independence.
franchise was introduced on the recommendation of the Donoughmore
Commission, a body appointed by the British Government to report
on constitutional advances for Ceylon.
leaders of the time were not in favour of the change and had not
campaigned for an extension of the franchise, which was up to then
limited to those with an income of Rs 50 a month. Among the few
leaders who were for adult suffrage were the labour leader, A. E.
Goonesinghe, and the Buddhist activist, Anagarika Dharmapala.
the first of the British colonies outside the white settler Dominions
(Australia, Canada and New Zealand) to have universal adult suffrage.
India had to wait until 1952 to hold an election on the basis of
Sri Lanka lowered
the voting age to 18 in 1959, with those between 18 and 21 first
exercising the franchise in the 1965 elections.
village east of Galle. The coast near Ahangama is known for so-called
stilt fishing. Local fishermen cast lines, perched on horizontal
sticks fixed to poles erected on the seabed. Nearby is the Kataluwa
temple with extensive wall-paintings.
A precious stone of the chrysoberyl family, found only in Lanka
and the Urals of Russia, alexandrite is green in daylight and red
under artificial light.
T(udor) Ariyaratne (b.1931)- The founder leader of the Sarvodaya
movement, which mobilises the efforts of mainly young volunteers
to improve economic and social conditions in rural areas. He was
a teacher at Nalanda College, a boys school in Colombo, when
he started the movement in 1961.
It began with
his taking groups of students on weekend trips to villages to help
improve roads, houses and sanitation. It is now the largest voluntary
organisation in the island, is reckoned to have benefited 13,000
villages, and has extended its services to a number of sectors.
These include developement banking in rural areas. He has won wide
international recognition, and received the Ramon Magsaysay Award
in 1969 and the Mahatma Gandhi Prize in 1996.
Korner by Dee Cee
affairs to cricket
Listening to former Secretary-General of Parliament Sam Wijesinha
is always a treat. He is so through, so knowledgeable and so well
prepared. He normally speaks on constitutional and parliamentary
affairs or recent Sri Lankan history. It was different the other
day. He spoke on cricket.
Many who had
turned up at the BMICH cinema hall for the launch of veteran radio
commentator Premasara Epasinghe's 'Bradman Yugaya' wondered what
he would say. He started off by laying down his credentials. He
was the wicket-keeper in the College XI and could not shine later
on because there were better wicket keepers. And from the facts
and figures he came out with, he is obviously a keen follower of
the game and knew much more than an ordinary commentator or writer
When he started
rattling off the achievements of Sir Donald Bradman, the greatest
cricketer of all time, many wondered from where he had picked up
all those facts. We had heard of Larwood's bodyline tactics but
he brought out much more. And he illustrated how the English captain
of the day, Jardine used 'killer tactics' on Bradman. He talked
about the 'gentlemen' and the 'players' in the early days.
He hardly referred
to his notes except to check a few statistics. Talking of Bradman's
urge to do his best against the opponents, he put it in pithy Sinhala
terminology. "He had the 'vise' . We have a lad with the same
'vise' - Upul Chandana who, whatever the selectors may think, should
be in our team," he said.
meeting Bradman in Sydney when he was there with a parliamentary
delegation. Sir Don had asked him whether Harold de Andrado (renowned
Sri Lankan writer who was his close friend) was in good health.
The way cricket
is being played everywhere in the country today be it the roads
or the paddy fields, Sam Wijesinha was confident that cricket would
unite the country much more than politics. He paid a tribute to
Epasinghe for introducing Bradman to the new generation by presenting
the great doings of the world's most talked about cricketer in Sinhala
for the benefit of a mass readership.
Premasara Epasinghe's book is not just about Bradman. As he
has quite appropriately titled it, the book deals with the Bradman
era. He gives many statistics and has pen portraits of Bradman's
contemporaries as well as several interesting anecdotes. Just an
example: Talking about Jardine, he quotes Richardson, the Australian
cricketer who responded to a query made by Jardine during the tea
interval as to who had called him (Jardine) ' a bastard' while fielding
at slip when he was batting, by turning round to his team mates
and saying "Who is the bastard who called this bastard a bastard."
was once asked who he thinks the greatest cricketer he has seen,
Bradman replied "Sobers" (Sir Garfield). "He offers
balance and variety with bat and ball. He is in my opinion, the
greatest cricketer of all time."
Just as he
gives a vivid picture of whats going on around him when he
commentates, Epa's narration in the book is most interesting, simple
One of the
main problems faced by Charlie Gunawardena, author of 'Encyclopaedia
of Sri Lanka' was to get the spelling of names right. "This
was an arduous task when I realized that even fathers and sons sometimes
spelt their names differently. Martin Wickremasinghe and son S.K
were a good example," he said at the launch ceremony. (Bradman
Weerakoon, who was in the chair then let us into a secret when he
said that while the Prime Minister spells his name with 'e's, wife
Maithree used all 'a's. "So not only fathers and sons differ
in spelling their names but even husbands and wives," he remarked).
used his own judgement about the space allotted to the subjects.
He had no bias or prejudice about personalities, in particular.
"Martin Wickremasinghe was my hero always. So his account is
much longer than others - much more than space given to some politicians."
Making an assessment
of the Encyclopaedia, former diplomat Manel Abeysekera said that
Charlie was always a draw and introduced him as one who lived up
to his profession. "He is a walking encyclopaedia, knowledgeable
about Sri Lanka and the world. He has his roots in Sri Lanka and
although he has been away for a long time, he is most competent
to undertake the task of compiling an encyclopedia. He is well versed
in every aspect - whether it be historical, political or cultural.
He has achieved a fine balance in the book," she said.