R.A.E. Coningham, RR. Allchin, CM. Batt & D. Lucy
Robin Coningham – Passage to India… Anuradhapura and the Early Use of the Brahmi Script
Selected and Edited by Barbara C. Lust
Prof. James W. Gair – Studies in South Asian Linguistics – Sinhala & other South Asian languages
(Actually I was not dating Ajith then, but can’t a girl dream?)
By Darshanie Ratnawalli
In the afternoon of 10 October 1987, sound of shelling was once more heard in Jaffna barely three months after India enforced peace in Sri Lanka with the Indo-Lanka Accord. Most Jaffnese (records UTHR) couldn’t believe that it was the IPKF shelling them and thought it must be the SL army. But it wasn’t. It was the IPKF. On 4th October, 17 tigers travelling in a fishing trawler to or from Tamil Nadu were apprehended by the SL Navy. On 5th October, 2.00 p.m., those 17 men, who had been taken by the IPKF from the Naval base to the Palaley air base, were visited by Balasingam and Mahattaya. At the exact same time, Major General Harkirat (Harry) Singh, Commander of the IPKF, who was in Trincomalee (under orders to ‘deny the airport to the SL forces’), was getting a message; “At 2 o’clock I get a message, why is the G-o-C IPKF interfering in the ‘constitutional activities of Sri Lanka? These were the exact words. This message came all the way from the force headquarters in Madras. And, ‘Please lift your siege in Jaffna, let the Sri Lankans do what they want to.’”
By late evening that day, the message bore fruit; “Our troops withdrew, the Sri Lankan troops charged, and these fellows swallowed cyanide. Those who chewed, they died on the spot, those who swallowed were saved.” According to General Harry, 13 chewed that day. Only 4 swallowed. That night the LTTE started avenging those who chewed. During the night of 5th October, the LTTE liquidated one Sinhalese baker (poor, elderly, forced to leave Jaffa in…read more »
By Darshanie Ratnawalli
The LTTE were technically Sri Lankan Forces too. They are on record in non- Sri Lankan sources as having had amputations performed on people to stop them from leaving no-fire zones. A book, which announces that Sri Lankan forces amputated people’s limbs to stop them from leaving no fire zones will be technically correct too. One can issue statements explaining how the author did not write ‘Sri Lankan Government Forces’, merely ‘Sri Lankan Forces’ and what’s wrong with so and so’s comprehension that he fails to see that the LTTE were Sri Lankan Forces too.
Luckily perhaps for our sanity, Niromi’s story in Sri Lanka stops in 1988 (in her own account she was shot of the LTTE as well as Sri Lanka by 1988). If the saga had gone on past 1989, we’d have to endure arguments that ‘for a young LTTE cadre to describe the LTTE as Government Forces would not be unusual at all as given the collaboration between the LTTE and the SL government against a common undesirable; the IPKF, the LTTE either considered themselves as an extension of the SL Government forces (or far more likely) considered the Government Forces as an extension of themselves.’ (The collaboration started somewhere in October 1989 according to General Kalkat in ‘India’s Vietnam’ )
Even though Sri Lanka was deprived of Niromi’s colorful presence in 1988, before the meaning of ‘government forces’ could ‘branch out’ too much, we are not scot free of creative interpretations. The Tamil people it seems saw the IPKF as doing the dirty work of the Government and there’s nothing incongruous in describing the IPKF as ‘government forces’ as the back cover of Tamil Tigress does.
…read more »
By Darshanie Ratnawalli
Ernest Hemingway was passionate about bullfighting and wrote two books revolving around it. When I was in school or just after, I read one, ‘The Dangerous Summer’ it must have been not ‘The Sun Also Rises’ or I would remember the plot. What I remember is Hemingway being disdainful and scathing about periodic moans by aficionados that the bulls are getting smaller. He was such a persuasive author that I came away from the book determined to always believe in the bulls of my time. Looking into the metaphorical bullring of Sri Lanka’s ethno-political intellectual space and watching the leading bulls in action, this belief helps me not to despair of the sport when the smaller bulls come charging in and it looks as if they are the overwhelming majority and one may have to accept certain really small bulls as the current gold standard of their category. You need to remind yourself that the bigger bulls are out there, they will eventually come into the ring and there’s no need to prune down your expectations and settle for a lesser and lower sport. So many bulls exposed to the force-field of our ethno-political intellectual space turn out small because there is an inbuilt blight, almost a curse on it. A bull has to have exceptional potential for bigness to withstand the enormous pressures exerted by this resident blight and turn out be of even a reasonable stature. I have (at least) three metaphorical bulls in my sights (I use the bull metaphor irrespective of gender as you will see). Let’s give each of them a connoisseur’s once over. This week’s selection is Dr. Jehan Perera.
In 2010, Dr. Jehan Perera read more »
This is in reply to VSJ’s valiant attempt to defend Niromi De Soyza
The Tigers did not fight the SL forces while fighting the IPKF. Did the tigers make peace with the SL forces while they were fighting the IPKF? It’s more like a peace with the SL government was forced down their throats with the signing of the Accord and after the Accord turned to discord and they decided peace was out it was the IPKF they found themselves fighting. Not the IPKF as well as the SL forces.
Niromi’s monumental and fatal slip is exposing her ignorance of who she fought during her alleged fighting tenure.
Q- Niromi who did you fight during your fighting tenure?
N- urm..The IPKF ..and the Govenment Forces.
Q- What do you mean by ‘the Government Forces’?
N- What’s this, you can’t read or somethin? Read my 2009 Telegraph short story where I clearly say “The war resumed, just as Prabhakaran had predicted, though now we were fighting not only the government troops but the peacekeepers, too.” Geddit? When I mean government I mean the SL government. Simple linguistics and perception no?.
“The blurb and article could be put down to editing by a person other than Niromi.”
That neither the blurb nor the Telegraph article was a publisher’s contribution or isolated minor slips are confirmed by the fact that 2 years after the 2009 article Niromi re-affirms (yes re-affirms without the slightest awareness that she is fatally revealing her ignorance) in her own voice in the Throsby interview what she said in the Telegraph article; “…when I joined, the Indian forces had arrived and the tigers had chosen to fight the Indian forces as well as the Sri Lankan forces”
That the blurb is not a publisher’s…read more »
And treats them like pustules in a delicate anatomical region (quietly ignores them hoping they will just go away)
(Also published in The Nation 18 December 2011 and The Sunday Leader 18 December 2011 and in LankaWeb)
Darshanie Ratnawalli MONDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2011
From 2009 to 2011 consistently, faithfully and in a variety of digital media which can be easily retrieved Niromi de Soyza has been making the same fundamental and monumental slip, which doesn’t bode at all well for the authenticity of her memoir ‘Tamil Tigress’.
Duped either by his willingness to be duped or through inadequate attention to what has been written on the subject, D. B. S Jeyaraj wrote this delectably provoking passage in his From Shenuka to Niromi: True tale of a ‘Tamil Tigress’,
“Moreover the charges themselves do not seem to be grounded on sound basis. Mistaking is not faking. Blunders and errors of minor detail are signs of sloppiness not fraudulence. The discrepancies and doubts pointed out do not in anyway affect the structure and content of her book. They are not basic or fundamental mistakes that drastically alter the scope and scale of what has been stated.”
Such real or affected innocence just cried out to be deflowered and I responded to that urge and sent him the following comment. All very respectful, solid and even stolid. It was sort of an experiment to find out how DBSJ would defend the indefensible. I have the answer now. He is too shrewd to try. What can’t be defended and explained away should be covered up. The comment never appeared there but here it is.
Dear Sir, allow me to express my surprise that an eminent, investigative and analytical journalist such as you has missed the most fundamental…
BY DARSHANIE RATNAWALLI
The unease I have long felt about Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka crystallized into distaste on Sunday 13 June 2010 when I came across his interview in that day’s Lakbima. It provided a startling glimpse into the dimension of reality Dr. DJ either inhabits for real or wants to sell to the unwashed masses. The way he tells it, there are lessons to be learnt from the whole Dutugemunu episode (api dutugemunu rajathumagen padam igenagatha yuthuy) because king Dutugemunu handled this dichotomized collective identity thing rather well. He had the right idea about how to manage a country whose intrinsic dichotomy was manifest on the geographical level. In 2nd century BC finding himself the leader of a country afflicted with a dichotomy so evident that it could have been rendered in two colours in a cartographic representation, king Dutugemunu showed his stuff. There were those people inhabiting those areas and these people inhabiting these areas and never the twain would meet. They were in fact going to separate. Our hero nipped that in the bud. But after the war he rendered unto those people the administration and cultural identity of those people and did not try to force on them the admin and cultural imprint of these people. Hence the valid lesson 2000 years later.
“Api Dutugemunu rajathumagen padam igenagatha yuthuy. Ohu rate wenama rajjayak ethi kireemata uthsaha kala dravida bala sena winasha kala. Eheth yuddhayen anathuruwa ohu e pradesha palanaya kireemata ema wesiyange sanskruthiya hondin danna dravida yuva rajek path kala. Buddhimath palakayeku washayen ohu siyalu deyama balaya pawichchi kara wisandeemata uthsaha kale nehe. E wagema ohu mudagath pradeshaye wesiyange sanskruthiya saha jeewana ratawa sahamulinma wenas kireemata uthsaha kaleth nehe. Demala jathikayange samuhika ananyathawa wenas kireemata uthsaha kaleth nehe.
We should learn from King Dutugemunu. He destroyed
…read more »
First let me congratulate you for the brilliant theory of elegant posts by yourself causing the shut down of kalaya forum. I was foolish to think this was due to a technical problem in the forum software. While you enjoy a drink celebrating this achievement I would like to draw your attention to something else.
Every week Prof. NdeS writes 3 articles to Irida Divaina,Vidusara and for Midweek Review section in Wednesday The Island (http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=13981) news papers. Lot of scholars/laymen write to these news papers and some of them have challenged NdeS. That is the platform for a person of your caliber. Therefore without delay please challenge him there since your blog will not get proper attention of the misinformed public.
I have never felt less like enjoying a drink and celebrating than when I tentatively assumed (wrongly as you now inform me. I am glad) that I was responsible for the crashing of the Kalaya forum. I simply felt sad.
About sending this post to Island or some such forum…I don’t know. When I have felt that a certain bit of writing by me had sensation value, cried out for a larger audience or had the power to alter however slightly the world views of people, I have tried to take it out of the narrow spotlight of this blog and accord it the bigger spotlight it deserves. For example, “Why did Dr. Jehan Perera lie to Dr. Michael Roberts? A Sri Lankan horror story” I got published in both the SL Guardian and Sri Lanka Web. But don’t you think that this subject matter would be considered
…read more »
March 2011- Photographer- Dilip Kumar Wijendran6 pictures Just normal8 pictures Fun or disaster? Opinion is divided5 pictures