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Letters


Readers please note it is essential that all letters to the Editor carry the full name and address of the writer, even if it has to appear under a pseudonym. This applies to all email letters as well.

 

Man has now become beast

‘Twelve-year-old gives birth, grandfather rapes granddaughter, youth rapes 80-year-old, schoolmaster molests nine-year-old, three children raped daily in Sri Lanka.’
These and many more social crimes we hear and read of in the dailies as breaking news and headlines.
Human race is the most advanced and master over all the other creatures, but where is value for its own kind. Man has become beast and carries no value for its dignity.
He behaves like an animal when it comes to sex. Surely, there are so many other avenues than raping your own blood connection. The moral values of the bygone eras are no more and the latest technologies have led to this social menace.

For the pleasure of a few minutes not only they rape, they kill to hide away the crime and the innocents suffer. Just imagine the agony the victim suffers even after satisfying the lust of a person - unimaginable!
The other day, whilst walking I rescued a fledgling of a seven sister bird which had fallen off the nest due to incessant rains. Hearing the call of this fledgling some birds of the same kind came and started feeding it daily and once it got its wings, happily flew away with them. Now, they are not the parents of this bird but look at the concern the birds have for their own kind. All religions teach us to love our neighbour as yourself but what do these sayings mean to these sex-thirsty brutes.

Let the lawmakers of this country take meaningful steps to bring back the capital punishment to rid society of this menace. Unless and until deterrent punishment is meted to perpetrators of this crime, this problem will continue and the innocents are the victims.
They should be hanged in public for others to learn a lesson.
Peace has descended with the end of the war and let the generations to come be rid of crime and let Sri Lanka be a country free of crime, bribery, rape, abductions, extortions etc, etc. It is the duty of those in the administration now to mould Sri Lanka into a model to the world at large.
– Kingsley Durairaj

 

To err is human and to forgive divine

With reference to the article ‘Law is equal to all’ appearing in Letters to the Editor of the Nation, Dr M G M S Zurfick, who is, by the way, a well known, big-time social worker and a sporting ambassador, has quite rightly pointed out that ex-Army Commander Sarath Fonseka’s request for exclusive facilities in the prison cannot be complied with, as no one is above the law, whereas President Rajapaksa, hopefully, will pardon him if requested for.
Your readers will agree that, if the President acts so, it will be definitely appreciated and most welcomed by leaders the world over and this will also enhance his goodwill and his popularity which will be good to prove his inimitable statesmanship.
May I also quote what Prophet (PBUH) said which is so relevant in this instance and sincerely hope that President will take note of. Here is the relevant hadees (sayings of the Prophet), “Allah will show mercy to those who show mercy to people. Show mercy to those who are on the earth, the One Who is in the Heaven will show mercy to you”.
Alexander Pope, who said that, “To err is human, to forgive divine” just came to my mind and we hope that ex- Army Chief, who erred being a human, will request for pardon and the President will grant it without any hesitation and pre-conditions whatsoever and not only earn the divine blessings and pleasure but also that of the former general and his three A’s i.e., his beloved wife Anoma and his loving daughters, Aparna and Apsara. And we shouldn’t forget that of Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe as well who may then even join the government and together with the President work towards making Sri Lanka the heaven on earth!
– Mohamed Zahran

 

Is this a curse?

Looking at the picture of a baby Bengal cub being fed by the zoo officials as the mother has refused to feed her, one cannot help wonder whether this is becoming the curse of our blessed land.
First, the mothers started dumping their little ones and then they started murdering and leaving at all sorts of odd places like toilet pits and garbage bins and now even the tigers are abandoning their little ones.
Are we loosing the little mercies we have taken for granted? Though this is said in a lighter vein, the increasing number of abandoned infants should raise fears among us that all is not well as it seems. Either unwanted pregnancies are on the rise or the parents are finding it more and more difficult to look after their little ones, who should be the bundles of joy not bundles of burdens.
There are so many couples who want to have children but cannot, and there are so many who give birth to unwanted babies and babies who are left parentless.
The process of changing hands, giving these unfortunate little ones and chance to survive, is so red taped, it is next to impossible to get the child into a home in due time.
May be a little closer look onto this matter is warranted now.
-Dr Mrs Mareena Thaha Reffai

 

October’s Octopus

(Oberhausen 2010)
Rest in Paul....
The World Cup and football?
All eight-armed predictions
Once.... said it all!

-Irene De Silva
Colombo 5

 

Appreciation

Henry Jayasena

An eminent literary figure in Sri Lanka

November 11, 2010 marks the first death anniversary of legendary dramatist, renowned actor, lyricist, translator and author Henry Jayasena.
The late Henry Jayasena was a firm believer of Shakespeare’s memorable phrase, “All that live must die/passing through nature to eternity”. Decease had already taken its toll on him. He was actually aware that as we learnt in school, “To every man upon the earth/death cometh soon or late”.

He initially stood tall on the modest unsophisticated Lumbini Theatre in the early 1960s. He had confessed many times as a much adored artiste that his heart lay in theatre.
Henry Jayasena could be easily and definitely classified as one, alongside amongst the elite of eminent literary figures in the annals of theatre in Sri Lanka, like Professor Ediriweera Sarathchandra, Sugathapala de Silva, Dayananda Gunawardena, Premasiri Khemadasa, etc.

His numerous contributions to the theatre and cinema spanned for almost four decades. He retired from his acting career in 1999 while he was under treatment for the dreaded colon cancer.
The entire treatment process took around one and a half years. On his personal experience and suffering, he had written in detail a book titled Balha Gilano – The Story Of A Cancer Patient purely to educate the masses.
However, he lived for a further 10 years leading a normal life during which time he revived his famous drama Hunuwataye Kathawa, an adoption of Bertolt Brecht’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle by deploying experienced and talented new actors along with a few who were involved earlier in the likes of Nimal Jayasinghe and Chula Kariyawasm. The role of judge ‘Azdak’ is superbly portrayed by Nalin Pradeep Uduwela while that of ‘Grusha’ by Ruwini Manamperi.

Henry Jayasena was born on July 6, 1931 in a village called Bendiyamulla in Gampaha. He was the youngest in a family of six children, four elder brothers and a solitary sister. His father was Albert Rodrigo Jayasena, who was once the private secretary to Sir Solamon Dias Bandaranaike, was a well versed person.
He grew up in the rural hamlet of Bendiyamulla and was initially educated at the Gampaha branch of Lorensz College exposing him to both Catholic and Buddhist cultures taking an active part in both church and temple activities, subsequently at Nalanda College, Colombo. It was the late Dr Gunapala Malalasekera, an eminent civil servant who first predicted a great future for him in the field of acting after the famous educationalist observed the talents of little Henry Jayasena while acting in a school concert at Nalanda College.

Since, leaving school he opted for a career as an assistant teacher of English at the Dehipe government primary school in Padiyapellela in the Nuwara Eliya District in the year 1950 at the tender age of 19. He initially ventured into stage acting by producing the drama Janaki in the same year while he was a teacher. As he wanted to pursue a career in the government service, he got through the General Clerical Service Examination and secured a job at the Public Works Department (PWD). While working in the PWD with his immense innate creative ability, he was able to produce a number of new plays: The first of which was Manamalayo in 1953, then Vedagathkama in 1954 and Paukarayo in1959. Then the vastly improved dramatist created Janelaya and the famous Kuweni in 1962. Subsequently, he produced Thavath Udesanak, Manaranjana Wedawarjana, Ahas Maliga, Hunuwataye Kathawa, Apata Puthe Magak Nethe, Diriya Mava Saha Ege Daruwo, Makara (The Dragon), Sarana Siyath Se Puthuni Habha Yana later on. With these creations Henry Jayasena became a household name in Sri Lanka owing to the massive revolution he made in the field of creative arts.

As a gesture of appreciation for his contribution towards literature, theatre and music, Henry Jayasena was honoured by the OBA of his Alma Mater Nalanda College by conferring on him the title of ‘Nalanda Keerthi Shri’ on September 27, 2003, which was given for the first time, was a timely gesture towards honouring one of Sri Lanka’s prodigal sons who coincidentally happened to be himself a Nalandian.
It is also interesting to note that the actor received the award at the Malalasekera Hall of the school, named after the first principal of Nalanda College the late professor Gunapala Malalasekera. The media secretary of the organising committee said that the idea behind this award was to honour their past pupils who have emerged as distinguished personalities in society by serving and nourishing various arts with their many talents. It was under the guidance of UAS Perera at Nalanda College that Henry Jayasena and many other students made their way into the theatre and other fields of arts.

The veteran dramatist was married to talented actress Manel Ilangakoon in 1962. She acted as the lead actress in Jayasena’s drama Kuweni for which she won the Best Actress award as well as for her singing. She started to act just one year after their marriage. She made a very valuable contribution to Hunuwataye Kathawa (Chalk Circle) portraying the main female role as ‘Grushe’ for 32 years, opposite the main male character of Judge Azdak portrayed by her husband. Their only son Sudaraka during his early years acted for the little Prince Micheal. Actress Manel predeceased him after 42 years of married life on July 24, 2004 following a prolonged renal failure.

Henry Jayasena’s debut in films was in Sri 296 in 1959. During the 1960s, he acted in several films.
The part of Piyal opposite Punya Heendeniya became an award winning role in 1964.
Then he portrayed the role of Lalith in GDL Perera’s Dahasak Sithuwili in 1968.
He played vivid roles in many films including Hansavilak, Kaliyugaya, Beddegama, Soldadu Unnehe, Kaliyugaya, and Sandakada Pahana.
Some of the roles portrayed by him in the above films were leading characters, while in some others they were supporting roles.

In each role, he very clearly demonstrated and proved his prowess as an actor.
He created a further image in society through his portrayal of ‘Sudu Seeya’, the isolated intellect in Doo Daruwo, the much acclaimed tele-drama.
Henry Jayasena retired from the government service in 1975 to devote his entire time for the theatre and arts. Before he retired, he held the positions of deputy director of the National Youth Services Centre (Arts and Sports Division) and at the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (Programmes Division).
The late Henry Jayasena will remain a model in the field of art and culture and as a most influential dramatist of our times.

There is no doubt that his enduring works in theatre and his diverse performances in cinema and television remain as a rich cultural legacy of the nation.
It should be the wish of every follower of the theatre and arts that the tremendous efforts of late Henry Jayasena rendered to these fields would be sufficient enough to shorten his life through Sansara until he attains Supreme Bliss of Nibbana.

- Sunil Thenabadu

 

 

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