I read with great admiration former Ambassador Bandu de Silva’s article, “Illuminating Sigiriya and blinding our Cultural Heritage” (December 20).
It was a cogently argued condemnation of the scheme to launch a “Son et Lumiere” (sound and light) project on Sigiriya Rock. His main argument was that it would damage the environment and threaten a world heritage site.
Former Archaeological Commissioner Dr. Raja de Silva, who is both a scientist and archaeologist, has proved in his book “Sigiriya and its Significance” that Sigiriya was neither a king’s palace nor a fortress but a Mahayana-Theravada Buddhist monastery. To deceive tourists with the myth that Sigiriya was a palace or a fortress is an insult to our heritage.
A “son et lumiere” show will certainly cost a lot of money, and wherever there is a lot of money for spending, there is likely to be corruption.
Referring to Dr. de Silva’s book on Sigiriya, Professor Richard Gombrich of Oxford University said: “It is quite rare in Buddhist studies for anyone to come up with a discovery of this magnitude and certitude.”
Desamanya Dr. Nissanka Wijeyeratne writes: “Verily, this work of de Silva has dispelled doubts and vague conjectures on Sigiriya, and built up a coherent and cogent interpretation of this great centre, which never was the abode of a ‘God King’ but for a long and significant period the resting place of a great and noble protectress of humans and a Mother of all Bodhisattvas.”
No professional archaeologist or historian has refuted, in writing, Dr. de Silva’s revolutionary thesis. In these circumstances, it would be brash for a bureaucrat to propose a cultural show based on falsity. The whole country would be exposed to ridicule.
Journalists and the general public should raise their voices and kill this crazy scheme before it goes too far.
Desamanya Charitha P. de Silva