17th October 1999

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Help this child

Delum RajendranTwo-year-old, Delum Rajendran of 311/E/17, Sadasarana Place, Akkara Panaha, Kimbulapitiya Road, Negombo is suffering from a severe kidney ailment.

His doctors have advised that he be taken to Apollo Hospital in India for surgery which costs around Rs. 200,000.

The Sports and Welfare Association of Negombo Browns Beach Hotel which has set up a fund is appealing for contributions which can be credited to the Savings Account No. 0234412011 of Hatton National Bank, Negombo Branch.

Sinhabahu comes in English

Professor Ediriweera Sarachchandra's famous play Sinhabahu has been translated into English by veteran dramatist Namel Weeramuni. The book also contains a critical pre-production analysis.

Titled Ediriweera Sarachchandra's Sinhabahu-English version and a pre-production image, the book will be launched on October 21 at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute's main auditorium, Torrington Square, Colombo.

Namel Weeramuni will present the first copy in memory of the late Professor Sarachchandra to his wife Ms. Lalitha Sarachchandra.

The translation into English retaining its original essence and flavour is a landmark in the Sinhala drama world.

Namel Weeramuni, a student of Professor Sarachchandra, is no new- comer to Sri Lankan theatre. An award winning playwright and a producer of Sinhala plays in the seventies and subsequently in the West, Namel's contribution extends much further than most of his colleagues.

His attempts to promote the Sinhala theatre on the international stage deserve praise and recognition. He was the first Sri Lankan to write and produce a full length Sinhala play, Nattukkari on the Western stage.

Thereafter he produced and presented a number of plays in English and Sinhala on the Western stage including Professor Sarachchandra's two popular plays 'Rattaran' and 'Elova gihin melova ava' at the Tricycle Theatre at Kilburn, in London, which ran to packed houses for one whole week.

The success of these plays an in the interest shown in the Sinhala theatre by British theatre lovers prompted him to treat them to Professor Sarachchandra's own production of Maname.

He invited the entire cast and the technical crew with the creator himself to London and had a most successful staging of the play at the prestigious Mermaids Theatre at the West End in London for four days.

In the USA while doing his Masters' Degree in Theatre at the University of California, North- bridge he translated Sinhabahu into English and produced it with an entire American cast.

There too the interest has been so great that he decided to publish the translation with a critical analysis of the play and introduce it to the West.

Namel considers Sinhabahu the greatest play that has been written in Sinhala and believes it must be seen in the West.

He considers this play far superior in content and presentation to Sophocles' Oedipus.

Most days Sujatha earns very little

By Roshan Peiris

It isn't by any means a glamorous job sitting or standing in a little petti kade at the junction of the Eye Hospital in Colombo, but for eighteen long years, to P.H. Sujatha this has been her livelihood.

One cannot miss this petti kade for it looks quite bright and colourful with plastics, bags, cups and saucers, plates and bowls amidst bulath veta and toffees in glass jars.

It is most uncomfortable when it rains as it did the day we visited for it beats mercilessly into her makeshift boutique.

Sujatha has two daughters aged eighteen and twenty. "They don't help me here but I give them money I can spare. Life is tough today. On a good day I earn as much as two hundred and fifty rupees, but most days I earn very little. But then what can one do, this is the only sort of living I have been used to," she said. She carries her lunch from home, stringhoppers or bread and curry. "I cannot afford to buy food outside. Every cent is precious to me when I have to depend solely on myself and in addition support my two daughters."

"The rich who live comfortable lives do not realise how hard life is for those like me. I have no time to visit friends or relations or chat with people other than those who visit my boutique daily. If I don't open my boutique even for a day it means a great loss to me. Even on public holidays I sometimes open my place," she said.

Sujatha brings her goods by bus each day carrying them all the way from her home in Narahenpita. "I know it is difficult and I am no longer young, but then I have to manage," she said.

Hard though life may be, she prides herself on her independence, not having to rely on someone else for her livelihood.

He is in the 'Who's Who'

Professor Swaminathan Suseendirarajah retired from the University of Jaffna after 19 years of service recently.

He is respected by linguists not only in Sri Lanka but also in other countries. His name is found in the 'Who's Who in the World - Dictionary of International Biography' published in America.

Professor Suseendirarajah obtained his Master's Degree in Tamil from the University of Madras and his second Master's Degree and Doctorate at Annamalai University. He is the first Sri Lankan to obtain a PhD. in Linguistics from Annamalai University and his portrait adorns the Dept. of Linguistics. Later he served as a Senior Lecturer at Annamalai University.

In 1971 Professor Suseendirarajah was appointed a lecturer in linguistics at the University of Colombo, but later transferred to the University of Kelaniya. There he wrote, 'An Introduction to Spoken Tamil' in collaboration with Professor James W. Gair of Cornell University and Senior Professor W.S Karunatillake.

He has also written many research papers jointly with Professor Gair and Professor Karunatillake. His book, 'An Introduction to Spoken Tamil' has been translated into Sinhala by Rev. Nagitha of the Kelaniya University.

In 1981, he was transferred to the University of Jaffna and served as Head of the Department of Tamil. While he was the head of the department he started the Department of Linguistics.

He went to the University of Edinburgh on a Commonwealth University Fellowship in 1987. In consultation with Prof. Asher he published the book, 'Jaffna Tamil'. Professor Suseendirarajah is not only interested in linguistics but also keen to study the development of Tamil and Saiva Siddhanta.

Ms. R. Kailainathan
Senior Lecturer,
Dept. of Linguistics
University of Jaffna.

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