"Star Lanka Online" Our NEW Web site And Web TV Channel Launched

TFGE , The Future Global Educational Center Has Launched
the official web site, called
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www.starlankaonline.com will be completed in very near future....

*** Star Lanka Online TV Channel,..................

Just One Click ahead ...

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Monday, July 26, 2010

A child has been killed by an elephant at Matara, Devinuwara Essela Perehara 2010

A child has been killed by an elephant at Matara, Devinuwara Essela Perehara (peli) on 24th July.

I myself was at that place when the incident was happened at Devinuwara. I was about 100 - 150 meters away from the incident. According to the eye witnesses , After the Essela peli perehara, the boys of Kawadi group was dancing around the Dewalaya. one of elephant had got a boy around 16, who was in the Kavadi group, from the trunk and killed on the floor using its leg. The people around him began to run away.

I have the video on my phone the Kavadi dancing at that day, will upload for youtube later today.

That Incident reported on Daily mirror today as this.

Jumbo Thovil ends Kavadi

An elephant that went berserk at Devinuwara Upulvan Sri Vishnu Devalaya on Saturday (24) night had killed a 16-year-old youth who was performing Kavadi, Gandhara police said.

The tragic death of Tharindu Isurukumara (16) of Devinuwara had occurred soon after the conclusion of the sixth ‘Peli’ procession.

The elephant that went berserk had attempted to attack four other youths too but they had escaped unhurt.

After the tragic death Devinuwara Maha Devalaya had been closed for religious observances as it had to be cleansed to keep up with the traditions of purifying the place after a death.

Organizers had taken a decision to not to employ that elephant for the ‘Randoli’ procession.

The post-mortem inquiry of the deceased is to be conducted at Matara Base hospital. Gandara police are conducting further inquiries.

Botox makes you happier because it stops you frowning

Botox makes you happier because it stops you frowning


By Richard Alleyne, Science Correspondent

The anti-wrinkle drug can make people feel better because it stops them frowning when they are unhappy which feeds back to the brain reducing the intensity of the feeling.

The theory is that if they cannot physically frown then the brain feels there may be less to frown about, scientists claim.

They said it is the psychological equivalent of the old song "when you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you" – or when you don’t frown, then the world is less sad.

It applies even if the reason for seeming happy is an injection of chemicals into the forehead to stop wrinkles, said the study by the US Association for Psychological Science.

Many celebrities have the shiny forehead and startled rabbit look that suggests they have had Botox treatments, though not all admit it.

Botox injections are a temporary measure in which tiny amounts of the toxin paralyse muscles, particularly those that cause frowning.

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin tested 40 volunteers who had small doses of Botox into their forehead.

They were then asked to read out a series of written statements ranging from ones that were "angry" to "sad" to "happy" both before and after their treatment.

Like any kind of paralysis, blocking the body’s natural movement can have an effect on emotion, the study’s authors told the journal Psychological Science.

When those who had received the treatment read out the more negative statements they took slightly longer to do so than they had before having the injections.

According to researcher David Havas, the time delay was tiny but significant because it suggests the brain takes longer to process the emotion behind the statements.

Mr Havas said: "There is a long-standing idea in psychology called the facial feedback hypothesis.

"Essentially, it says, when you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you. It’s an old song, but it’s right.

"Actually, this study suggests the opposite: When you’re not frowning, the world seems less angry and less sad."

Research leader Professor Arthur Glenberg added: "Normally, the brain would be sending signals to the periphery to frown, and the extent of the frown would be sent back to the brain.

"But here, that loop is disrupted, and the intensity of the emotion and of our ability to understand it when embodied in language is disrupted.

However you have to be careful, research suggests. Having Botox in the lower part of your face can prevent a smile and have the opposite effect, research last month from Barnard College, New York, suggested.

(C) The Telegraph Group london 2010

Being anxious about your relationship leads to heart problems

Being anxious about your relationship leads to heart problems



By Richard Alleyne, Science Correspondent

Researchers have found that people who feel insecure or anxious about their lovers are nearly 50 per cent more likely to have a heart attack or stroke than those happy with their partner.

Dr Lachlan McWilliams of Acadia University in Canada looked at a study of more than 5,645 adults aged 18 to 60 and found that people who felt insecure in relationships or avoided getting close to others might be at a higher risk of developing several chronic diseases.

The participants answered a questionnaire about their histories of arthritis, chronic back or neck problems, frequent or severe headaches, other forms of chronic pain, seasonal allergies, stroke and heart attack.

They also disclosed whether a doctor had told them they had heart disease, high blood pressure, asthma, chronic lung disease, diabetes or high blood sugar, ulcers, epilepsy, seizures or cancer.

The results showed that "anxious attachment" was positively associated with a wider range of health conditions, including some several involving the cardiovascular system including stroke, heart attack and high blood pressure.

"These findings suggest that insecure attachment may be a risk factor for a wide range of health problems, particularly cardiovascular diseases," said Dr McWilliams.

"The findings also raise the possibility that interventions aimed at improving attachment security could also have positive health outcomes."

The study was published by the American Psychological Association.

(C) The Telegraph Group london 2010

Study sheds lights on how animals will be affected by climate change in the future

Study sheds lights on how animals will be affected by climate change in the future
Climate change creating ‘super marmots’ that are bigger and more abundant


By Richard Alleyne

Scientists first began studying the animals, that live at around 10,000 feet up in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, in 1962.

To reach their findings, the team analysed the body mass, survival and reproduction of female yellow-bellied marmots by live-trapping them multiple times during the summer and individually marking them using numbered ear tags.

The results showed that since then, the average mass of adult marmots had increased by 11 per cent or 400 grams. The population had also grown by a quarter over a 33 year period.

The lead researcher in the study, Dr Arpat Ozgul of Imperial College London, said the population increase could be down to a "short-term response" to longer summers.

But he explained further study was needed to shed light on how animals will be affected by climate change in the future.

"Marmots are awake for only four to five months of the year," he said.

"These months are a busy time for them- they have to eat and gain weight, get pregnant, produce offspring and get ready to hibernate again.

"Since the summers have become longer, marmots have had more time to do these things and grow up before the upcoming winter, so they are more likely to succeed and survive.

"Will populations thrive in the changing climate? We suspect this population increase is a short-term response to the lengthening summers, but we hope by continuing this long-term study we will shed important light on the marmot’s future response to climate change."

Recent research has shown that a certain breed of sheep in Scotland is shrinking due to the effects of climate change.

Professor Tim Coulson, co-author of the research which was published in the journal Nature, said marmots had provided another example of how climate change is impacting on the natural world.

He said: "We have shown how we can model the consequences of environmental change on wild populations.

"If we can get better at predicting how climate change is likely to influence the natural world, perhaps we can devise ways to help species predicted to be adversely affected by our changing climate."

(C) The Telegraph Group
London 2010

Antigone comes alive

Antigone comes alive



Reviewed by Gaston Perera

A group of young university people, the Academic Players from the Drama and Theatre and Image Arts Unit of the University of Kelaniya have produced Sophocles’ Antigone in Sinhala under the direction of Priyankara Ratnayake. It was performed at the Lionel Wendt on the 16th and 17th July.

When most other students are either shouting slogans or throwing stones or merely vegetating in the dismal university world, the very fact that these young people should involve themselves in theatre is something so refreshing and so encouraging that by itself it is worthy of the highest commendation. But even more praiseworthy is the fact that they should venture to produce nothing less than Sophocles’ Antigone.

It is a brave person indeed that would dare to produce a Greek play in Sri Lanka, leave alone Antigone. The difficulties seem insurmountable. There is no onstage action in a Greek play, only the spoken word. There is no exposition because the Greek spectators would be familiar with the cycle of legends on which the drama is based. Then there are those strange, unfamiliar conventions to deal with like the Chorus and Messengers. Most of all there always is in the background a whole world of equally strange and unfamiliar "mores", such as, for instance, the significance of an unburied corpse which is the whole point of the play, Antigone.

And yet this play, first produced 2500 years ago in 5th century BCE Athens in its heyday, has enjoyed a popularity that has never faded. In modern times alone it has been produced in France, Germany, Spain, Puerto Rico, Argentina and Peru. It has inspired renowned dramatists such as Bertolt Brecht, Jean Cocteau and Jean Anouilh to write dramas based on its themes. Even operatic versions of Antigone have been composed. Sri Lanka, too, has had the good fortune of witnessing it when it was produced by Somalatha Subasinghe in the 90s.

The secret of the universality of its appeal lies in the timelessness of its themes and their continued relevance to every age and every clime. Antigone’s defiance of the ruler Creon’s edicts symbolizes at one level the eternal conflict between religious obligations and the obligations to the state. Such a theme embodies also a whole range of other resonances such as state control and civil disobedience and human rights and the nature of justice. It also raises other profoundly serious issues such as the proper application of the laws of a state. It throws into focus the tragic consequences that ensue when these laws are insisted on obdurately and without restraint. It is as if Sophocles is saying in this play that when the edicts of political authority and the dictates of religion – each of which are intrinsically justifiable by themselves – come into confrontation and become irreconcilable, a fatal outcome can only be avoided by giving primacy to religion.

Priyankara Ratnayake’s production steers clear of most of these issues. He sees Antigone’s predicament as the consequence of the conflict between the demands of religion and the demands of political authority. This conflict is depicted in his production by Antigone’s fierce determination to give a proper burial to her dead brother, Polyneices, as religion demands and Creon’s equally unyielding resolve to deny that to him as a rebel against the state. It is the excellent acting of the players that enables him to get this across.

Viswajith Gunasekera is well cast in the role of Creon. He has the advantage of stature and build to suggest kingliness and at all times exudes a quiet air of unruffled authority. But his unwavering resolve that the rebel Polyneices must pay for his treason emerges in the rare fury and raised voice when his edict is questioned or in his dogged refusal to reconsider his decision despite even the warnings of the prophet, Teiresias. And when in the end the world crashes around him he plays the broken man also to perfection. Antigone also plays well the role of the sister with a burning commitment to secure a decent burial for her dead brother. Neither Ismene, her sister, nor any one else can dissuade her and in her exchanges with Creon she shows a supercilious indifference to his threats with her contemptuous smile. When she is led away to her death her farewell speech in the original Greek is here rendered as a song of lamentation. This was an exquisite performance by itself and surely the range and power in her singing speaks of a trained voice. Ismene, Haimon, the betrothed of Antigone, and Teiresias, the blind prophet, all played their parts competently and well. But the other outstanding performance came from the sentry. His was a bit part really and intended to provide an element of comic relief but he was eminently successful in portraying the down-to-earth, garrulous guard, not over-awed by royalty or occasion. All in all, therefore, the acting is of a very high standard and it is this aspect of the performance that makes up for other drawbacks.

Priyankara Ratnayake would do well, for instance, to pay more attention to the spoken word, which is after all the conduit for communication with the audience. The programme says the translation of the play into Sinhala was done by Ariyawansa Ranaweera. It is not clear whether the translation is from the original Greek or from another English or other translation and, if so, whose. The need for this is to understand the nature of the script and the words the actors are to speak. Very often it sounded high-flown and not easily intelligible and not the language of everyday speech. But even that is what little was actually heard. This is the other point. Much of what was spoken onstage was inaudible or spoken too fast to be grasped. In fact very little could be gathered of that crucial opening scene between Antigone and Ismene where the resolve to defy Creon is first stated because neither could be heard – and that is from as far forward as the fourth row. Two exceptions to this were Creon and the sentry.

Another issue that requires attention relates to the sets, props and costumes. In the world of the theatre it is these that create the illusion of the time and the place where the dramatic action occurs and produce that virtual reality the dramatist strives to achieve. In Priyankara Ratnayake’s production the sets are basic and minimal and are adjusted by the actors themselves in the course of their movements. They do little to add anything as regards time and place. The same could be said of the stage props which seem to be chairs and tables from a kindergarten. The costumes are indeterminate. Creon comes in a bifurcated garment and tunic while Antigone appears in a white strapless, halter-necked evening gown. The soldiers carry what look like fire-arms and present day army helmets. Such attire does not suggest a 5th century BCE Athens by any means but rather the 21st century Colombo. Perhaps what Priyankara Ratnayake wants to suggest is the present day in keeping with the subtitle he has chosen for his performance - "A Day Like Today". But modern dress will not do in a Greek play – what with its strange conventions like the Chorus and its strange "mores" relating to burial.

In fact where Priyankara Ratnayake’s production falters most is in relation to the Chorus. The role of the Chorus is quintessential to Greek drama. It has been defined as the "ideal spectator". This is because what the Chorus says is what the dramatist wishes the spectators to understand as his views. The Chorus interpretes the action onstage as the dramatist sees it. In the Greek original of Antigone the constant plea of the Chorus is for restraint, for abstaining from excess whether in the exercise of political authority or the expression of private conscience. In Priyankara Ratnayake’s production there is, alas, none of this. The Chorus there is reduced to an unmitigated mockery. Instead of giving expression to the lofty sentiments in the original Greek what the spectators were treated to was a kind of perverted physical jerks and PT drill and at other times a baila dance. The only impression that was conveyed by these meaningless contortions and gyrations was that there was a hopeless misapprehension of the real function of the Chorus and they only succeeded in creating an irritating distraction from the main action.

All this is, however, is not to decry the achievements of these young players but only to make suggestions – sincerely - for improvement in the forthcoming performances. As I said earlier it is something immensely gratifying that there still are university students producing plays instead of throwing stones. Their commitment to theatre and their courage in producing a Greek play deserves commendation. One must, therefore, wish them every success and pray that their dedication should not flag.

Mahasenapathi Dutugemunu Rajatuma An excellent book on King Dutugemunu

Mahasenapathi Dutugemunu Rajatuma An excellent book on King Dutugemunu



Reviewed by Bandu de Silva

Much has been handed down to us about King Dutugemnu through chronicler tradition and by word of mouth since the 6th century AD compiler of Mahavamsa wove the story into an epic poem. But, a book devoted singularly to this king using sources outside the chronicler tradition is still a rarity. Dr. P.G. Punchihewa’s new book written in Sinhala, tries to meet this lacuna, though he does not claim so.

Though the book is not a voluminous historical treatise, but a small work of 125 pages primarily written for school children, who through the wisdom of our present day rulers were denied the opportunity of learning their own history in schools, it contains information selectively derived not only from the chronicler and other literary tradition but also folk tradition, again without being engrossed in details, and historical evidence presented by epigraphic sources which are far more reliable.

The book is arranged under 16 themes and presented in a lucid style, something that school children and adults alike could read in one sitting without getting bored.

The author, Dr. Punchihewa needs no introduction as a writer. The long inventory of his publications in Sinhala and English including books for children, his literary compositions, fiction, travel accounts and translations from English to Sinhala and vice versa , all numbering around two dozens, which were well received speak for his writing skills.

The strong tradition about Dutugemunu had drawn little support from more reliable historical sources but epigraphists have since brought to light much evidence which gives credence to some aspects of the popular story. The author has brought in this new data to support the traditional account. Dutugemunu himself is identified as Gamini Abhaya of the cave –donor’s inscriptions which record their genealogical background. His father Kavantissa is also identified with ‘Tisa’ who possessed a number of paladins referred to in one inscription. But for some other identifications by Paranavitana like that of ‘Abi Savera’ of an inscription as a reference to Vihara Maha Devi one has to depend on the respect for his great authority and ‘intuition’ than to the validity of the argument. Magama seals with the symbol of a ship could confirm the tradition about sailing tradition in the days of Vihara Maha Devi and the modern day Tsunami about the memory of the great deluge which inundated the Kelaniya kingdom. The book uses some of this evidence. To this evidence one could add the important identification of [Saddha] Tissa in the genealogical references of a number of inscriptions left by his son Lajji Tissa (Lajaka Tisa) found in the Ampara district where according to tradition, both father and son spent much of their time developing that district. (Dighavapi or Digamadulla). That strengthens the chronicler tradition.

The author refers to the several inscriptions of great significance which clearly establish the historicity of Dutugemunu’s paladins, the Dasa Maha Yodhayas. They are not mere legendary men of great prowess of the tradition but Commanders of a professional soldiery who supported Dutugemunu in his enterprise to unite the whole of Sri Lanka. Dr. S. Paranavitana interpreting a cave inscription at Ritigala had asserted that Dutugemunu himself presided over these area Commanders was a great Commander himself. It is in view of this interpretation of Dutugemunu as against the traditional presentation of him in purely legendary heroic characteristics that the author has portrayed him in the book as: "Maha Senapathi Dutugemunu Rajatuma."

The author makes a vital departure from the Mahavamsa tradition which portrays Dutugemunu’s father Kavan Tissa as a weak ruler. This is done by projecting him as laying the foundation for the unification of the scattered settlements in the island through the use of diplomacy and laying the foundation for the bigger battles north of Mahaweli by placing guards at vital strategic points. This is also an aspect that Collin de Silva introduced through his historical-fictional writing. I would have called both Kavantissa and Dutugemunu pioneers who worked towards achieving the ‘Ekachchatra’ (unification and unity) idea in the island which continued till the last days of the Sinhalese kingdom which helped to sustain itself as an independent nation through out history before the final subjugation by the British.

The author agrees with the tradition in portraying Vihara Maha Devi as a courageous and resourceful female who motivated Prince Dutugemunu to unite the country (Ekachchatra) and accompanied him in the war against Elara. However, she disappears suddenly from history after her presence halfway through the war, an aspect to which attention has not been drawn by any writer. The present work too avoids it. Could one find the reason for this in the proposal of a marriage alliance to the Tamil chieftain named Titthamba at a place called ‘Ambatitha’ (crossing ford named Amba)? Mahavamsa refers briefly to the employment of the strategy to entice this Commander by placing ‘the mother in view.’ (mataram dassayitvana tena lesena aggahi=Showed the mother and captured the opponent). That was after a long drawn war with him lasting four months. The Mahavamsa Tika, however, explains this as a matrimonial proposal, i.e., ‘Dutugemunu promising to his adversary marriage with his mother and with it the expectation of government’. (Geiger). ‘He was caught like a fish going after the bait’, the Tika says. At this point of time did the queen –mother decide on a less adventurous settled life style with this adversary with the son’s blessings for the greater security of the rear during the march against Elara? Such a proposition might not please those who hold Vihara Maha Devi in high veneration but this is a reality to which Mahavamsa itself briefly, and Mahavamsa Tika, in more emphasis alert us.

Dutugemunu’s youth is briefly discussed leaving out much of the folk tradition in Kotmale area but the author brings to our attention two cave inscriptions which are considered references to Dutugemunu’s wife, Ran- etana of tradition. The inscriptions refer to ‘Rajika’(Ven.Medhankara)and to ‘Kati" (Paranavitana). These are nothing but surmises which could arouse curiosity more than support the tradition. Like other works this book too does not inquire into this aspect.

It is interesting to note that Dutugemunu crowned himself (sayam rajje ‘bhsecayi") after returning to Magama from exile. This is another point that has evaded scrutiny of writers on Dutugemunu including the present writer. Was the Prince facing a problem because there was no queen of equal birth to be anointed with him? Did he then like Napoleon crown himself at Magama without ceremony? Though the king’s [second] consecration at Anuradhapura is mentioned in the Mahavamsa the name of the consecrated queen is conspicuous by its absence. The curiosity arises not because the names of queens are mentioned on other occasions of consecration but because the chronicle makes out the king’s consecration was carried out with great pomp with attendant festival customs.(kilam abhisittanam carittam canurakkhtum). The consecration could not have taken place with an ordinary woman as queen. That was against the tradition Mahavamsa was upholding. Did this absence of any reference to the anointed queen then present the occasion for folk writers to compile the story of ‘Dutugemunu rajatuma ha Naga kanyawo describing the king’s amourous behavior towards the Naga maidens; and the king’s envious remarks about son Prince Saliya’s choice of a beautiful woman as his spouse albeit a Chandali ?

The author does not leave out the folk tradition about the king’s death by a cobra bite though he does not discuss the story referred to above about ‘Naga-kanya’ which is behind the folk story of the king’s death. That folk tradition is not compatible with the character of Dutugemunu that Mahavamsa presents; but like the love affair with Ran-etana, the daughter of the village smith which the chronicle has avoided, it reveals a human side of this ruler. As any virile man might have been tempted, he too was, perhaps, tempted by the beauty of the three Naga maidens bathing in his pond (their diyaredda sticking to the body?). The other folk account of his encounter with the Chandali daughter-in-law when he said to the Prince that he himself would not have hesitated to make such a choice also brings out the human side of the king. To me these three folk traditions (two found in the form of written manuscripts) present a truly human situation of a ruler which deserves sympathetic understanding. Neither pouring scorn nor trying to hide them under the cloak of high moral rectitude could help a fair evaluation. If the Arahants could speak of redemption for the king over the death of multitudes in war by virtue of the his destiny to achieve Arahathood in the time of Maitriya Buddha why did these lesser circumstances become unacceptable to the chronicler tradition?

The book also points to the close relationship between the Prince and the elephant Kandula who accompanied him throughout the war since he came over to him during the battle of the two brothers. I recall during a discussion of the French translation of Collin De Silva’s book "Winds of the Sinhale" presided by me in Paris, the lady translator explained to the audience that one of the reasons for her getting interested in the book was the relationship between man and beast. (the Prince and the Elephant in this case).

The account of King Elara is briefly discussed highlighting both the version of his justice as well as the later version in Rajavaliya which places him in negative light. However, the point made in Rajavaliya that Kavantissa paid tribute to Elara has drawn the attention of the author. He tries to explain this by quoting from Manorathapurani where Dighahajantu, Elara’s commander is referred to have gone to worship Samantakuta which is in Rohana country. The author suggests that there could have been some amicable relationship between Elara and Kavantissa. Later, in the 14th century one finds Ariyacakravrti, the Jaffna ruler helping Ibn Batuta with an escort to accompany him to Adam’s Peak. The Rajavaliya account could be drawing from this latter day reality of the Jaffna ruler exacting toll in the Sinhalese kingdom.

The story of Elara belongs to the common pool of mariner’s tales in West Asia and South Asia. It was present in Persia in the story of the legendary hero Anosharvan complete with the bell of justice and the story of the cow and the bird long before Sri Lanka was colonized around the 5th century B.C. and is part of the popular tradition even in present day Islamic society. I commented on this point through my newspaper articles after I learnt of this strong tradition during my stay in Iran. India too has its own versions. Dr. Merlin Peris has brought out other similarities between Mahavamsa and Greek legends.

The author focuses attention on the character of Dutugemunu in the episode of ‘Vittaka’ (remorse?) over the death of large numbers in the war. The Mahavamsa version of discounting the number of deaths to one and half is a curious one. Gananath Obeysekera pointed out that the Mahavamsa compiler had been influenced by the morals in Bhagavatgita. The present book points to different versions given in Thupavamsa and Sumangala vilasini on the issue. The author also draws a distinction between the situation of Emperor Asoka’s repentance and Dutugemunu’s ‘vitakka.’ (doubt).He says quite rightly that Dutugemunu knew from the beginning that people would die in the war but the war was executed with the objective of uniting Sri Lanka and to confirm the stability of the Buddha Sasana in the country. He also shows that the Commanders who fought in the war were well rewarded by the king. The inference is there did not exist a circumstances for the king to worry over the deaths.

The penultimate two themes are devoted to the religious work performed by the king. The construction of Mahathupa has received emphasis. The last discussion is an over all assessment of the role of the ruler in the history of the island.

The significance of Dr.Punchihewa’s present work lies in the fact that he has been able to overcome prejudices found in some of the earlier writings like presenting an overtly Buddhist perspective. He has presented to school students and the general readers a book which all Sri Lankans could accept as a balanced piece of writing. If Ponnambalam Arunachalam could appreciate the chronicler version of Dutugemunu why should the story be hidden from the new generations?

The book deserves to be in every library and school as well as to be pursued by general readers.

Published by Sarasavi Printers Ltd. the book is moderately priced.

Last Queen of Sinhala: Kusumasana Devi

Last Queen of Sinhala: Kusumasana Devi



by Walter Wijenayake

It was on July 20, 1613 that Kusumasana Devi, also known as Kamalasana Devi or Lokanatha Maha Biso Bandara, the queen of Wimalasharmasuriya I, breathed her last at Velimannatota, present Rock Hill Estate in Kegalle. Today is 397 years.

She was a daughter of King of Kandy - Jayaweera II alias Karaliyadda Bandara, who ruled the Kingdom from 1500 to 1542.

Sitawaka Rajasinghe was instrumental in banishing this King in order to annex the Kandyan Kingdom to Sitawaka. The King Jayaweera II with his queen, son, three year old daughter along with his sister and nephew fled to Mannar to seek refuge under the Portuguese. There the king and the queen breathed their last on an attack of smallpox.

The church of Mannar undertook the custody of the orphan Princess and handed over to the Portuguese nuns. They baptised her as Dona Catherina. Further they gave her an education befitting a queen keeping in their mind a plan to give her in marriage to a Portuguese General at the appropriate time and place her in the Senkadagala throne so that they achieve what they failed by might by sheer diplomatic manoeuvres.

She learnt under the Portuguese the languages, religions, music, state crafts and diplomacy, etiquette and all other intricate details befitting a would be queen.

The Portuguese, who were waiting for the right opportunity to invade the Kandyan Kingdom, planned in 1594 to bring Dona Catherina to Kandy from Mannar. Their motive was to enthrone her as the Queen of Senkadagala and get her married to a Portuguese Prince. When the proposal was made Dona Catherine/Kusumasana Devi who was far-sighted with a balanced mind decided to totally reject this proposal at the right time.

She came to Kandy accompanied by 150 Portuguese soldiers, a batch of Sinhala slaves, two Portuguese Generals and the residents of Mannar. Her trip to the destination took eight days. Don Pedro Lopez, the Portuguese General in Kandy accompanied by all the Kandyan Chiefs, Dissavas, other headmen and Provincial leaders were in attention to receive the Princess. Large crowds gathered on either side of roads to pay their respects and have a glimpse of the heir to the throne and the daughter of their deposed king.

She was crowned in Kandy. She married Wimaladharmasuriya I on January 2, 1594, who became the King of Kandy. This union brought an end to the civil wars within the country.

Kusumasana Devi begot by King Wimaladharmasuriya I, three children, namely, a son Mahaasstane (the legal heir to the throne), two daughters Sunya Mahudasin and Cathan Adsain and lived in the old palace in the premises of the present Kataragama Devale where the palace complex was within inner Fortress as indicated in the old Portuguese maps as well as the French but copied mirror reserved by Spilborgen in 1602.

It was in this particular period that the Perahera of four devales of Kataragama, Vishnu, Matha and Pattini was established. Kusumasana Devi with the King restored peace and harmony in the country and did so much for Buddhism and built the Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy.

The King Wimaladharmasuriya breathed his last in August 1604 and Kusumasana Devi then married Senarath, cousin of the late king on January 5, 1605. By this marriage she bore three sons, namely, Wijepala, Kumarasinghe and Mahadasin.

Had Kusumasana Devi got caught in the Portuguese trap and been married to a Portuguese prince at a time when Don Juan Dharmapala of Kotte too had given the country to the Portuguese on a deed of gift we would have lost our country in 1592 and not in 1815. If there had been no Kusumasana Devi, there would have been no Dalada Maligawa today, for Wimaladharmasuriya’s legitimacy derived from his marriage to her.

While residing in a palace in Velimannatota, she passed away on July 20, 1613.

Code of management

Code of management



By Anupriyo Mallick
The Statesman/ANN

THE culture and character of a country are based on its social, political and economic environment. From that culture springs the national ethos, which prescribes a code of conduct for its citizens and creates the context for business ethics and values.

The Indian ethos and wisdom, a legacy from its ancient past, envisaged a socialist pattern of society, with an accent on re-distribution. It has always been a champion of renunciation and rectitude, rather than accumulation and aggrandisement. Mahatma Gandhi once remarked that it was difficult, but not impossible, to be an honest businessman; but it was impossible to be honest, and also, amass wealth.

Considering the contemporary commercial scenario, certain issues call for reflection. The media all too often carries reports of financial scams and scandals. Even the world of sports is tainted with treachery, perversion and political skullduggery. Where is the scope for relief and redemption?

The distressing scenario makes it imperative that basic ethical norms should form part of a professional career. Perhaps, the curriculum of management education could be restructured to reflect its national culture and character.

Ethics and values must find a place in the art and science of management. The ability to do the right thing and, what is more important, doing it every time (even when no one is watching) is the noblesse oblige in the managerial milieu. It must become the hallmark of a professional manager.

Three facets

EVERY man has three facets ~ the gross or physical (sthoola) the subtle (sookshma) and the casual (kaarana). While the physique is strengthened through food, the mind is purified by pure desires. The "casual body" represented by the antahkarana (conscience) is sanctified by sacred thoughts. The inherent divinity of man is thus manifest and the fullness of life achieved. It is this sense of unity that has been the core of India’s traditional culture. It has sought to promote the well-being of all as a cardinal faith. When Indians realise the value of this heritage, they will make their lives meaningful.

Every country has developed its institutions and way of life on the basis of its cultural traditions, its system of values, and its historic circumstances. These institutions and value systems cannot be transplanted to other countries whose history, culture and circumstances are different. For instance, the management patterns in the United States and Japan are different. In America, the management pattern is based on a competitive and profit-oriented system. The equation between the management and workers is based on "hiring and firing". Money and profits are more important than human values. By emulating the American management model, we in India are encountering difficulties and are not reaping the benefits we expected.

In Japan, the management pattern is different. The workers have a high sense of discipline and even when they have grievances, they do not resort to strikes which affect production. Relations between the management and workers are generally cordial and cooperative. This has helped Japan to progress.

There are certain features that are common to all business organisations in any country. These relate to such matters as accounts, production procedures, and maintenance of statistics, materials management and the like. But as regards business ethics and human relations, we in India have to choose our patterns in keeping with our culture, traditions and conditions. MBA institutes need to attach special importance to cultural and ethical values.

Priority must be given to the country’s ethos and values. The course curriculum should cover matters such as the economic environment, with due emphasis on personnel management. It doesn’t make sense to emulate the management practices of another country. This can lead to a waste of resources. And this is precisely what is happening in many countries, including India. What is beneficial for one country need not necessarily be beneficial for another. The parameters ought to be the circumstances, the individual attainments and the specific requirements of our country.

Different values

THE attempt to combine different sets of values may result in the loss of values of the less developed country. There is a story which illustrates how listening to the views of all and sundry can reduce one to a laughing stock. A fruit vendor put up a signboard which read: "Fruits are sold here." A passerby told the shopkeeper the word "here" in the sign board was superfluous. The vendor got the word erased. Another person remarked that there was no need to announce that fruits were being "sold" as that was obvious. Accordingly, the word "sold" was erased. A third man said that there was no need to mention that "fruits" were being sold, as that was visible to everybody. Eventually, all that remained was a blank board. Yet the designer advanced a bill both for the art-work and the erasure. The fruitseller realised the folly of acting on the opinions of every passerby without relying on his own judgment.

In the sphere of business management, a similar situation has developed in India. By following the advice of other countries, India has harmed its economy and finances.

The pursuit of money as an end in itself is making people greedy. Many farmers are switching over to profitable crops. This is not the kind of management we can afford. We should be concerned with "man management". The proper study of mankind is man. The management institutes should offer a mix of Indian culture and values on the one hand and such conventional disciplines as production, accounts, finance and personnel on the other. If the spiritual aspect is neglected in management education, man is reduced to an artificial, mechanical being with no genuine human qualities.

The writer is Professor, Eastern Institute for Integrated Learning in Management, Kolkata

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Actress Asin combats Tamil filmdom over Sri Lanka - by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Actress Asin combats Tamil filmdom over Sri Lanka

July 16th, 2010

The South Indian state of Tamil Nadu has a robust Film industry. From it’s nascent stages ,film- making in the state has been inclusive in nature. Artistes and technicians from various parts of India have worked and continue to work in Tamil films. Many non –Tamils employed in the film sector have chosen to live in Chennai.

Asin Thottumkal looks up during a news conference, about her new film “Ready” which is being shot in Sri Lanka, in Colombo June 30, 2010.~ Reuters pic

Sri Lanka’s film industry too has had historical links with Tamil Nadu. The first Sinhala film produced by SM Nayagam a Tamil was shot in Madras as Chennai was known earlier. Several other Sinhala films in the forties and fifties were made in India.

Several South Indian artistes were involved with Sinhala films then. The veteran director P. Neelakandan, music composer Vedha, Playback singers like AM Rajah, Jikki ,Ranee and Jamunarani have all left their imprint on Sinhala films.

Movie: Wana Mohini. Singers: H. R. Jothipala and Jamuna Rani

An interesting aspect of this Madras-Ceylon collaboration was the record created by Indian film producer-director Sri Ramulu Naidu in 1954. Naidu the owner of Pakshirajah studio in Coimbatore produced the block buster “Malaikallan” starring MGR and Bhanumathy that year. It was adapted from the Novel written by the state’s poet laureate Namakkal Ramalingampillai.

What was remarkable is that Naidu went on to make and re-make the Tamil film in five more languages. Each version was a commercial success. This six film phenomenon has not been replicated by anyone so far.


The Telugu film was “Aggi Ramudu”; the Malayalam version “Taskara Veeran”; in Kannada it was “Bettada Kalla”; the Hindi movie was “Azad”. Now guess in which language the sixth film was made? Sinhala! The film was named “Soorasena”.

I do not know who acted in the film but the music was composed by SM Subbiah Naidu. Among the songs were “athana methane” by Jamuna Rani, “Manaram Ranguman” by Jamuna Rani and Ranee. I believe the Sinhala singer duo Lata and Dharmadasa Walpola sang “Aalokey Alokey” and “Ananda Shreeya” for “Soorasena”.

This phase came to an end from the early sixties. Exchange control procedures being tightened was a restraint. Costs of production in Tamil Nadu escalated. More importantly Sinhala cinema had its tryst with destiny after Lester’s “Rekawa”. Making films in India went out of fashion. Sinhala cinema acquired an indigenous flavour and came into its own.

When the economy was liberalised and exchange control procedures relaxed after the advent of the UNP government in 1977 a new phase began. Indo-Lanka joint ventures flourished.Several actors and actresses like Malini Fonseka (Pilot Premnath) Gamini Fonseka (Neelakkadalin Orathiley) Vijaya Kumaratunga (Nankooram) Geetha Kumarasinghe (Mohanappunnagai) have acted in Tamil films.

Who is the black sheep – HR Jothipala ~ Sinhala – dubbed film: Pilot Premnath (1985)

Currently Pooja Umashankar acts in both Sinhala and Tamil films.She is of Indo- Lanka parentage with a Sinhala mother and Kannadiga father. Sri Lankan beauty queen Jacqueline Fernandez made her debut in Hindi films by playing the heroine opposite Riteish Deshmukh in “Aladin”.

Several Tamils from Sri Lanka too have worked in the Indian Tamil film industry. The reputed cinematographer–director Balu Mahendra is from Batticaloa. The producer – director–story and screenplay writer VC Kuganathan is from Jaffna. Others like “Ceylon” Vijayendran, AE Manoharan and Ceylon Chinnaiah have also made their mark in Tamil Nadu films. In earlier times Thavamani Devi from Jaffna dazzled Tamil film fans. Her topless female Tarzan role in “Vanamohini” remains unforgettable.

MG Ramachandran

There are other historical links too. The well –known actor and former Tamil Nadu chief minister MG Ramachandran (MGR) was born in Kandy. The comedian Superstar JP Chandrababu lived for many years in Colombo and was an alumni of St.Josephs College. The actress cum producer Radhika and her actress sister Nirosha are daughters of famous Tamil actor MR. Radha. Their mother was from Wennappuwa. The actress Sujatha lived for many years in Galle where her father was teaching. She speaks fluent Sinhala. The music composer L. Vaidyanathan was born in Arali when his father the Violin Maestro was teaching carnatic music at Jaffna College.

It could be seen therefore that a historical connection existed and continues to exist between Sri Lanka and the Tamil Nadu film industry. There was a time before 1983 when the Sinhala film industry was all –embracing with multi-ethnic participation. The Tamil film industry to its credit continues to be inclusive with multi – ethnic , multi-religious participation.

This idyllic state of affairs is facing some upheaval in recent times. The serpent in the name of politics is invading the garden of Eden. The powerful factor causing this is the impact of Sri Lanka’s ethnic crisis or the Tamil problem.

Politics is not something new to Tamil filmdom. Several actors and actresses like MGR, Sivaji Ganesan, SSR (SS Rajendran) KR Ramasamy, TV Narayanaswamy,K. Bhagyaraj,Ramarajan,Sarathkumar,Vijaykanth, Karthik, SS Chandran, Radharavi,Vaigai Chandrasekharan, Cho, SV Shekhar,Napoleon, VN Janaki, Jayalalitha, Padmini, Vyjayanthimala, Jeyachitra, Theepa etc have engaged in politics with at least three becoming chief ministers.

Others like CN Annadurai, M.Karunanidhi, “Murasoli” Maran, Nanjil Manoharan, AVP Asaithamby, have been script writers. Politicians like Kovai Chezhiyan, Rama Arangannal, RM Veerappan have been film producers.

It is however important to note that these cine artistes while engaging in politics did not politicise the film industry. In fact they tried hard to prevent their politics affecting the film industry. On numerous occasions these actors and producers sank political differences to rally on behalf of the film industry.


Currently there are three important political party leaders in Tamil Nadu with a cinematic background. One is Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham (DMK) leader and Chief minister Karunanidhi. The other is All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham (AIADMK) leader Jayalalitha.The third is Desiya Mutpokku Dravida Kazhagham (DMDK) leader Vijaykanth.

While their political rivalry does cause waves the film industry is not affected by this on a large-scale though individual film artistes do flock around these leaders .The industry is not politicised by this brand of politics.

There are however two tendencies within the Tamil film industry that are politicising it on a large scale and causing ethnic divisions. One is the mobilising of the film sector for political causes affecting the state. One such instance is the agitation against the Karnataka state over sharing of Cauvery river waters.

All the film artistes in the state are expected to participate in these activities. Those who do not are vilified as anti – Tamil. Woe unto those who are from Karnataka state or from the Brahmin caste. They have to be extra-careful in not “offending” these abrasive sentiments expressed in the name of Tamil nationalism.

The second and perhaps more potent source of politicisation and division is the Sri Lankan Tamil issue. On a broader political level the Lankan Tamil issue has been hijacked by pro-LTTE, pro – Eezham, minor politicians like Pazha. Nedumaran and Vaiko (V.Gopalaswamy). A vociferous minority hogs the megaphone and engages in actions that are detrimental to Tamil Nadu-Sri Lanka relations.


This tendency has now pervaded the film industry too. Just as in the political sphere, a short-sighted, selfish group has assumed the leadership of this type of politics in the cinematic sphere. As a result a virulent form of politicisation is imposed on the film industry. An extremist agenda is set by an active minority and the silent majority is compelled to fall in line or face the threat of being ostracised.Politicisation encompasses the entire industry in this manner.

The proponents of this new ultra-nationalism in the Tamil film sphere are hell bent on rupturing all links with Sri Lanka. Tamil film artistes are prohibited from travelling to Sri Lanka or engaging in film related activity there. This unhealthy trend in a sense is ahistorical as it seeks to reverse an amicable relationship that has been in existence from the time movie making commenced in both places.There is a strong element of coercion here as those who flout this process face punitive consequences.

Chief among this group holding the entire industry to ransom is a man called Sebastian Seeman. This man is a film director and actor. He is an ardent supporter of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) and a rabid follower of Velupillai Prabhakaran.He is one of those propagating the myth that Prabhakaran is alive and that Tamil Eezham is around the corner.

Seeman has formed a political organization called “Naam Thamizhar” or “We Tamil”.This was the name of a movement founded in 1958 by the lawyer and publishing tycoon SB Adhithanar. The “Naam Thamizhar” movement of Adhithanar advocated secession from India for Tamil Nadu state and also demanded a Pan-Tamil state comprising Tamil Nadu, the North-east of Sri Lanka and even other regions in Malaysia and Burma where Tamils lived in large numbers.

Adhithanar dropped his separate Tamil state demand after secessionism was disallowed Constitutionally in 1962. He later contested on the DMK ticket and was Tamil Nadu legislature speaker when Annadurai was chief Minister. When Karunanidhi became chief minister Adhithanar was co-operatives minister.

“We Tamil”

It was Adhithanar’s “We Tamil” label that Seeman borrowed for his party. Incidently Seeman too hails from the same Nadar community as Adhithanar.Seeman inaugurated his party in Madurai in mid-May. Around 60,000 members were enrolled on the first day. Seeman’s flag has the tiger symbol.

Seeman has a pathological hatred of the Sinhala people and Brahmins .He accuses Sri Lanka of unleashing genocide on his Tamil brethren in Sri Lanka.The Brahmins are accused of colluding in this. He often utters blood-curdling threats. Last year he was deported from Canada for threatening that Sinhalese should be killed.Last week he issued similar threats against Sinhalese in India.

A public meeting was organized to condemn the alleged shooting of a Tamil Nadu fisherman by the Sri Lankan navy. Seeman addressing the meeting said that if Tamil fishermen were continuously killed then Sinhalese students in India will have to face death. The Tamil Nadu police cracked down on him for spreading disaffection among people and threatening to commit violence.Seeman has been remanded till the 23rd.

The harsh reality in Tamil Nadu is that Seeman’s stock has been rising among supporters of the LTTE in the state. He has actually overtaken politicians like Nedumaran and Vaiko in becoming the accredited pro-tiger leader in Tamil Nadu.One reason for this is Seeman’s claim that he had met Prabhakaran when the war was on and received his endorsement. One of the films directed by Seeman was named “Thamby” or younger brother. Thamby is the pet name for Prabhakaran.

The primary cause for Seeman’s ascendancy among pro-LTTE sections in Tamil Nadu is due to his chauvinist outpourings and irresponsible pronouncements. He makes a tremendous impression on emotionally vulnerable youths. In addition Seeman also has a cinematic charisma being a director and actor. Seeman has been in the forefront of powerful moves to politicise the Tamil film industry over the Sri Lankan Tamil issue.


Those involved in the industry were galvanised into staging demonstrations and protest fasts over the issue. There is a great deal of concern and sympathy in Tamil Nadu on this.Protesting or expressing sympathy over the Tamil predicament in Sri Lanka by their Tamil Nadu counterparts is understandable and legitimate.But Seeman and those of his ilk channelled these sentiments into a strident extremist stance.

Sebastian Seeman

Moreover those not participating were branded as traitors to the Tamil cause. Extra pressure was exerted on non – Tamils in the industry. The actor Jeeva is of North Indian origin but hails from a family resident in Chennai for decades. When Jeeva attended a demonstration , Seeman singled him out for praise saying that Jeeva was manifesting his gratitude for living comfortably in Tamil Nadu for years. What Seeman was saying in his crude fashion was that non – Tamils in the state had to toe the “Ultra- Tamil” political line.

Thus Seeman was virtually intimidating and influencing the Tamil film industry on this issue. Seeman and supporters were presented with a fresh opportunity when the India International Film Awards (IIFA) festival was scheduled to be held in Colombo in early June this year. The IIFA ceremony has been criticised by the Indian non- Hindi film industry for virtually ignoring non – Hindi films. But it was not on this count that Seeman spearheaded a campaign against it.

Seeman was opposed to the IIFA being held in Colombo. He and his supporters alleged that genocide was on against Tamils in Sri Lanka and that as a mark of solidarity with Tamil Nadu the Hindi film industry should boycott the festival in Sri Lanka. Those who wanted to attend were warned that their films wont get screened in Tamil Nadu and that they wont be allowed to work in Tamil Nadu.

The anti –IIFA elements targeted the brand ambassadors for the festival Amithabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan. Seeman’s supporters transcended state boundaries and spread their protests in Mumbai the cradle of Bollywood movies. Demonstrations were held opposite the Bachchan and Khan residences.

IIIFA Festival

As the protests escalated the Hindi filmwallas began capitulating. Both Amitabh and Shah Rukh retreated and said they would not be able to make it to Colombo. So did Amitabh’s son Abishekh and daughter in law the ravishing Aiswarya Rai. None of them said they were boycotting due to the protests but it was quite obvious . A number of other stars also kept away citing various excuses.

The protestors also targeted the famous director Maniratnam whose film “Ravan” was to premiere in Colombo for IIFA. Maniratnam backed out saying post-production was incomplete.

Tamil Nadu stars invited for the IIFA festival were also asked not to proceed. Superstar Rajnikanth announced that he was not going. The other superstar Kamal Hassan stated that he had already turned the invitation down. Emboldened by their success , Seeman & co demanded that Kamal return the “Padmashree” honour awarded by the Government. Kamal refused saying it was an honour bestowed by his country.

In Tamil Nadu a joint meeting was held among the various bodies connected to the film industry. The “Nadigar Sangam” (Actors Guild) along with the Film Employees Federation of South India (FEFSI) representing film industry workers, the film producers council,Theatre owners association and film distribuotors association met and issued an ultimatum to those planning to attend the IIFA in Colombo. It was common knowledge that Seeman was the hidden force behind this move.

There were however many Hindi film stars who defied the diktat and proceeded to Colombo. Salman Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Bipasha Basu, Kareena Kapoor, Diya Mirza,Suniel Shetty and Vivek Oberoi were among those who boldly defied the objectors and attended the IIFA. Salman stepped in as brand ambassador and took Amitabh to task for bowing out at the last minute.

The festival took place as scheduled though with a few mishaps. It had however lost its lustre as a result of the boycott. Lanka’s Jacqueline made the nation proud by getting the award for best debut performance.

Vivek Oberoi

In Tamil Nadu the film industry big-wigs began cracking down on those who had attended the IIFA. Genelia D’Souza a Goan actress was acting opposite Vijay in the Tamil movie “Velayutham”. When media reports stated that she had been in Colombo, Genelia was promptly fired from the movie.But Genelia appealed saying she had not attended the Festival. It was accepted. She now continues to act in the film.

Namitha the buxom bombshell from Gujarat announced that she had rejected the IIFA invitation as her loyalty was to Tamil Nadu where she had made her mark in Tamil movies. Namitha was praised lavishly for her solidarity with Tamils.

The casualty in this exercise was Hrithik Roshan. His film “Kites” was pulled out from Theatres in Tamil Nadu as the actor had gone to Colombo and also captained a team in the friendly Cricket encounter. This sent the shivers down many film stars.

Two actors however were unfazed by this high-handed action. They were Salman Khan and Vivek Oberoi. Both had been romantically entangled with the gorgeous Aishwarya Rai. In fact they had clashed openly over her. But now both had lost out to Abhishekh who had made Aishwarya the Bachchan “bahu”. The jilted two stood by Sri Lanka despite the pressure. Apart from participating at the IIF both actors extended their stay in Sri Lanka.

Vivek Oberoi at the June 13th mass wedding ceremony ~ pic: indi.ca

Vivek accompanied Namal Rajapaksa to the North and had a first –hand experience of the situation there. He was at Poonagari for the inauguration of the Pooneryn – Gurunagar ferry. Oberoi was also a Guest at the mass wedding ceremony for ex –LTTE cadres in Vavuniya. Vivek was a big hit and was seen dancing with the newly weds.

Vivek also went to Nedunkerny where he was appalled by the condition of a school there. Oberoi has now taken the responsibility for renovating and re-building the school, equipping it and providing assistance to teachers and students.

Those who recall the yeoman service rendered by Vivek to coastal villagers in Tamil Nadu affected by the Tsunami are confident that Nedunkerny too would benefit as pledged by Vivek. Incidently his father Suresh is an actor from Punjab while Vivek’s mother is From Tamil Nadu.

Salman Khan

Salman Khan also promised aid to the affected Tamils in the North. He promised to construct 125 housing units. Salman however was bowled over by the scenic beauty of Sri Lanka and the friendly hospitability of her people. He stated that he would shoot his movie “Ready” in Lanka.

Asin Thottumkal (L) stands next to Salman Khan gesturing during a news conference, about their new film “Ready” which is being shot in Sri Lanka, in Colombo June 30, 2010-Reuters pic

The film was already slated to be shot in Mauritius. But Salman got the location shifted to Sri Lanka. Soon his co – star Asin arrived in Colombo. The defiance of Vivek Oberoi and Salman Khan had irritated the hardliners in Tamil Nadu filmdom. The involvement of Asin angered them further.

24 year old Asin Thottumkal is a “Mallu” or Malayalee actress from Kerala. She was born in Kochi on October 26th 1985. Her father is a businessman and mother a medical doctor. The name Asin means without sin . The “A” is from Sanskrit denoting without and the “Sin” is from English.Asin says poetically that her name means “pure without blemish”

Asin ~ Mukunda Mukunda in Dhasavatharam

Asin has acted in Malayalam, Telugu, Tamil and Hindi films. The first movie she acted in Tamil was “Ullam Ketkuthe” but the first to be released was “M.Kumaran son of Mahalakshmi” She has acted in many successful Tamil films like Sivakasi, Pokkiri, Varalaru, Vel, Maja, Alvar, Ghajini and Dhasavatharam. Within a few years Asin had established herself as the uncrowned queen of Tamil cinema

Asin captivated the hearts of many through her role in “Ghajini” where she played Kalpana , a vivacious and impulsive girl with a heart of gold. The film was re-made in Hindi with Aamir Khan paying the male lead. This movie was Asin’s entry into Hindi films. It was a smashing success with Asin receiving rave reviews and awards.

Her second film was opposite Salman Khan . “London Dreams” was a flop but Asin had earned a place in Hindi cinema. She stopped acting in Tamil films and relocated to Mumbai. Tamil film fans were deeply distressed.But recently she was signed opposite Vijay for a Tamil film.


The sight of Asin visiting Sri Lanka along with Salman Khan and the announcement that she was acting in a movie being filmed in the Island infuriated the anti –Lanka lobby in Tamil film industry. Asin was warned to drop out of the film or face consequences in Tamil Nadu. She was informed that she would not be allowed to act in Tamil unless she recanted and withdrew from “Ready”.

But the attractive actress was made of sterner stuff. Instead of succumbing to the intimidation , Asin made a spirited defence explaining her position. She pointed out that the initial appeal was not to attend the IIFA festival as a token of sympathetic concern for the suffering Sri Lankan Tamils. Asin said that she respected that appeal and had refrained from going to Colombo for IIFA ceremony.That was her own decision, she said.

However the decision to shoot “Ready” in Lanka was not hers. When she signed up for the film it was to be shot in Mauritius.But it was now changed to Sri Lanka. As an actress she had no say in the matter. In terms of her contract she had to act wherever the location.It was unfair therefore to penalise her for this.

Asin also had the temerity to challenge the chauvinist hawks in Tamil tinselworld. “Why are actors being forbidden to go to Lanka”? She queried. The Cricketers were going there and no one was objecting, businessmen were going and no one was protesting, tourists were going and no one was criticising but only actors were being threatened with penalties for going to Sri Lanka. “Five planes with full load of passengers were going to Colombo daily” Asin argued.

Even as the Asin furore gathered momentum the double standards and hypocrisy of Seeman was further exposed. Seeman had assembled a pack of “volunteers” to be used for demonstrations against “traitors” to the Tamil cause. Now these dogs of war were straining at the leash to launch a campaign against a forthcoming Hindi film “Raktha Charithra”.

The film directed by Ram Gopal Varma had Vivek Oberoi playing the lead role. Since Vivek had not only attended the IIFA festival but had also teamed up with Namal Rajapaksa to travel to the North, Seeman’s “attack canines” wanted to teach him a lesson. But to their shock Seeman vetoed the proposal.

Asin, Surya in Ghajini


“Raktha Charithra” was also the first Hindi film of Surya the Tamil actor. Surya was the son of veteran actor Sivakumar , elder brother of young actor Karthi and husband of actress Jyothika. Surya had a good role in the Hindi film which was to be dubbed in Tamil as “Ratha Sarithiram” or blood history.

Thus any campaign against the film due to the Vivek Oberoi presence would also affect Surya.Seeman did not want to offend Surya as the actor had consented to star in a future film project of director Seeman. So Seeman who debarred Hrithik Roshan’s “Kites” from flying in Chennai was not prepared to oppose screening of Vivek Oberoi’s “Raktha Charithra” due to Surya.

This hypocritical attitude was typical of Seeman. He would flex muscles and then be flexible for his selfish requirements.For instance he professes to be virulently anti-Brahmin and anti-Sinhala but his hero in many films including “Thamby” was Madhavan a Tamil Brahmin.Likewise his heroine in “Thamby” was Pooja who acts in Sinhala films and is half-Sinhalese. All this showed that Seeman was an opportunist and was hypocritically practising the politics of hate against Brahmins and Sinhalese.

Despite this stance vis a vis Vivek Oberoi’s film the Seeman brigade was howling for Asin’s blood expecting perhaps that she would grovel at their feet. It was announced that Asin would not be allowed to act in Tamil films or in Tamil Naadu. But an unrelenting and unrepentant Asin embarked on an unexpected humanitarian mission.


Asin established a Trust and organised two humanitarian projects aimed at helping the affected Tamil people in the North. One was to conduct special eye clinics and the other was adopting or sponsoring orphaned children

Asin visiting Jaffna Hospital

150 children ranging from Age one to sixteen were sponsored or adopted by Asin’s trust in the “Sevana” home at Vavuniya. A three day eye clinic was conducted in Jaffna and Vavuniya hospitals. Five medical doctors were brought down from India at Asin’s expense. Over 300 surgeries were performed in Jaffna and around 100 in Vavuniya. Spectacles costing 5,000 rupees each were provided by Asin. There is a waiting list of 4,000 requiring eye surgery and Asin says she will bear the cost.

Instead of being intimidated by the Tamil extremists in Kodambakkam (the Hollywood of Tamil Nadu) Asin boldly travelled to Sri Lanka again. She accompanied the first Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa and Gampaha district MP Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle to the North. Asin became the first Tamil film actress to visit Jaffna in three decades.

When she was in Jaffna people began flocking to the Teaching hospital to get a glimpse of her. Those who were let in amidst the tight security were thrilled to interact with the alluring actress. Asin posed for photographs and talked with the people. She also visited the eye clinic patients and received their gratitude and blessings.

In Vavuniya too Asin visited the hospital and spoke with patients. She spent many hours with the orphaned children and distributed many presents along with Mrs. Rajapaksa. The children warmed to Asin and began chatting eagerly. They called her “Akka”. Many started crying when she was leaving and implored her to stay longer. A visibly moved Asin promised to return and left.

The extremists in the Tamil Ndu film world were stunned. They now attacked her viciously for accompanying Shiranthi Rajapaksa to the north. Unable to stomach the fact that this actress had single-handedly accomplished a great deal more for the Northern people than themselves, pro –LTTE Diaspra media accused her of being an Indian Agent.


An unperturbed Asin , fortified by her first-hand experience , went on the offensive. She began giving interviews to Tamil Nadu media organs . She told them of the children, the people with eye ailments and above all the abject plight of the Tamil people.

Asin related her experience with the people and said how happy the people were that a Tamil film star had come to see them.She said that the Tamil people were feeling isolated and abandoned and yearned for more and more visits from their kinsfolk in Tamil Nadu. “Instead of boycotting Sri Lanka more people from Tamil Nadu film industry should visit Sri Lanka and express solidarity with the people” she said.

The talented actress described as “Goddess Asin” by some of her fans related anecdotes of how the Tamil people had requested her to bring actors like Surya, Vijay and Ajith with her on her next visit. She pointed out that instead of penalising actors for going to Sri Lanka more people from the Tamil film industry should be encouraged to visit Lanka. “Film stars and cine artistes should build bridges between people and not get embroiled in politics.Please do not mix politics with cinema and art” she appealed fervently.

Asin’s stance and appeal resonated with lots of people. She struck a responsive chord in the minds of many who recognized the futility of “sanctions against Sri Lanka” by the Tamil film world. But the hearts of some hardliners did not melt. While Seeman was quiet due to his arrest, the Actors Guild secretary Radha Ravi announced firmly that Asin would be banned from filming in Tamil Nadu and acting in Tamil films. He said that representatives of all five organizations connected to Tamil filmdom will meet and finalise the verdict against Asin.

The course of events took a different turn when Sarath Kumar the President of the Actor’s Guild issued a statement contradicting the secretary Radha Ravi. Sarath who is also the leader of “Samathuva Makkal Katchi” said that Asin should not be penalised. He said that in deference to an earlier appeal to boycott IIFA festival all Tamil film artistes including Asin had not gone to Colombo.

Sarath Kumar

The matter ended there and the travel ban should not be extended further , Sarath Kumar said. “When so many Indian professionals and entrepreneurs were regularly visiting Sri Lanka it was not fair to debar Tamil film stars from Sri Lanka” he said. The decision against Asin will be reviewed, he said.

Sarath Kumar

Sarath Kumar also went on to say that he had received letters from many Sri Lankan Tamils requesting assistance to re- build their homes. He said that he would submit these letters to the Actors Guild executive committee and discuss the matter. Sarath Kumar said a decision would be taken soon about a delegation of Tamil actors and actresses visiting Northern Sri Lanka.

It remains to be seen whether Sarath Kumar would be able to convince his colleagues about an enlightened approach to the issue in general and the Asin affair in particular. It does seem however that the defiant courageous stand adopted by Asin would receive broad approval.

Asin has certainly demonstrated her mettle by confronting and combating the extremist elements in the Tamil film industry. Her principled stand over the Sri Lankan issue should endear her to all right –thinking people. The humanitarian projects she has financed will bring greater benefits to a section of the people than all the rants and raves of Seeman and his rabid followers.

The Tamil Nadu film industry should transcend politics and reach out to Sri Lanka. Tamil films are viewed not only by Tamils and Muslims but also by a large number of Sinhala people. A visit by a Tamil film star delegation would be welcomed by the people of Sri Lanka regardless of ethnicity. As for the Sri Lankan Tamil people a visit by Tamil actors to the North and East would be appreciated more than a protest demonstration in Tamil Nadu.


Friday, July 16, 2010



English is English. There are different ways (and uses) of English in different countries. For instance Australians say (‘Good die’ for ‘Good day’) and the Americans pronounce ‘vase’ with an "eh" as against "vase" with an ‘ah). In one particular song ‘potato is sounded (with an oh) as against "potato" (with an ‘ah’), and "tomato" with an ‘eh) and not "tomato" (with an ah). The end of the song goes –"so let's call the whole thing off". Very prophetic and very true.

People can pronounce the language the way they wish. However, it is very embarrassing when God becomes ‘goad’ and Lord becomes ‘load’ and as the Southern folk in America used to say "oh lordy" which typifies attempts to get people to speak English naturally, not with an accent nor in "elocuted" speech which as they have said in the papers is of no use to anyone. However, speech students should be given phonetic sheet with some of the problem areas which are parts of speech patterns of both Tamil and Sinhala people when speaking English. Some examples of mispronunciations are:

For and four, jaw and ‘Jaw’ and caw and ‘co’. Mother-in-law becomes a ‘mother-in-low’, and bought becomes ‘boat’ while if someone ‘caught’ something, the person would end up wearing it with a ‘coat’. Paul becomes a pole and Mr Shawn becomes a person who is ‘shown’ off with his speech patterns.

One can easily identify the nationality of the person from these speech patterns. For example whether you are Indian or of some other origin abroad, you may not be attacked by students who feel that Asians who come to their countries with their cell phones and Nike shoes (not realizing that they are cheap imitations) to study though they get less than the average requirement which prevent them from entering universities in their own countries. Sri Lankans as a race meld and blend with their overseas colleagues because they are very low profile. This is an advantage on one hand and a disadvantage on the other because we do not seem to have the personality to raise protests against regimes and unfair practices unlike in India where the masses get onto the streets and protest–if for example, even the price of rice goes up beyond the average user’s purse. However, while the person is in Sri Lanka, whatever form of English he/she chooses to use, is of little consequence because in the context of the sentence it may be understood. In a foreign country, to get your message across, it is essential that collective English is taught in schools. It is also important that the form of English is in a pattern that is used by most foreign English speaking countries because it would be most frustrating for both the speaker and the listener to have to analyze what the person is attempting to say.

In its written form, English must be taught as IT IS, and cannot be varied because the teachers are those who write a pure form of English (if the subject is related to English language such as an honours degree in literature or English). The inclusion of articles before nouns that match (not collective nor uncountable) is of absolute essence. Sinhala Language and Tamil Language seem devoid of articles. In teaching English, unlike French, the article and noun association is not taught.

A professor has already created ‘Singlish’ (which I think is the best approach the hierarchy in education are trying to implement because it teaches the sounds associated with some of the pronunciations and writing but not too correct in spellings). But, it is again a new language with its typification of the tied sounds such as ‘cl’ (as in club and neither in the Sinhala nor Tamil Language) translated into a form that can be recognized by those who use Sinhala. The Tamil people who do not speak Sinhala cannot use this form. Now one can easily understand if a person says "I want a glass of water", because it comes in a glass and there is a link to the collective noun “water". However, the expression "I want voter" because it lacks both the container and the article and the correct pronunciation makes one sound like a political candidate. One must be practical in approach in modifying an existing practice–in this case the language–because the effects of what is taught has a far reaching and negative consequence in the light of usage. To show you the far reaching and distortion of human rights was the Rent Act of 1972; thoughtless but implemented and the people are suffering today, both landlords and tenants because the tenants who profited off the system, have children and grandchildren up to the 7th generation do not have homes today. Late President Premadasa attempted to alleviate this misery with "the houses for all" project. There is already enough of distortion in the use of the language in laws and regulations that use "can be permitted at the discretion of the authority" thereby allowing all illegalities to ensue. On the point of English, it would be far better if the Constitution is changed to address "privacy" and "freedom of speech" instead of attempting to change a language to "our version of it". By doing so at the spoken level, it is very likely that distortion will arise in the written form as well and will be detrimental to the children who want to study overseas or live overseas in English speaking countries. On a matter of understanding English, it would be far better to teach children the correct use in both written and spoken forms because no conflict will arise in all approaches to the language–in spellings, pronunciation and writing.

At a recent interview, the use of "interfere" was used instead of "intervene" which put the speaker’s message clearly out of synchronization with what the speaker actually wanted–in this instance from the foreign community. Nobody will ‘interfere’ because it is against human rights, but to ‘intervene’ means friendly and peaceful intervention. This lucidity is more salient in messaging than changing the language.

Andrea Brito Babapulle

Muttiah Muralitharan targets record 800-wicket haul - BBC Reports

Muttiah Muralitharan targets record 800-wicket haul - BBC Reports

Sri Lanka spinner Muttiah Muraliatharan wants to take his world record haul of wickets to 800 before he retires from international Test cricket.

As revealed by the BBC Sinhala Service last week, Muraliatharan will quit Test cricket after the first Test of the home series against India this month.

And the 38-year-old, currently on 792 wickets, told BBC Sport: "I always thought I'd reach the 800 mark.

"I can still reach it as I have one last Test. It would be magical ending."

Muralitharan, regarded as the greatest bowler Sri Lanka has ever produced and one of the finest players to grace the game, would need eight wickets in Galle to reach 800.

His Test-wicket haul has come from 132 Test appearances, while he has also played 337 one-day internationals, taking 515 wickets.
However, he has decided to focus on playing one-day cricket until the 2011 World Cup and, thereafter, exclusively on Twenty20 cricket, explaining: "I have achieved most of the things I wanted to in cricket.

"There is nothing left to achieve so I can't be selfish and play on."

Still, the off-spinner admits he hopes his sensational Test-wicket haul is never surpassed.

"I think records are meant to be broken," he said. "Someone will come and break it one day.

"But I don't have to lie. Every person that achieves something special doesn't want that achievement to be broken. I am no different. That is the way it should be. I want it to always be there but I think it will be broken. That's the way records work.

"It will happen but I'm selfish and I want it to be my record forever."

For the full interview with Muttiah Muralitharan, listen to Sport on Five on BBC Five Live from 2100 BST.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

All animals Sleep: Why do they?

All animals Sleep: Why do they?



It must be at least 30 years since I slept more than 5 hours a night. When I got married , we shared the bed with an Irish wolfhound , the size of a small donkey. Since my husband died , there have been 3 dogs on the bed and while they change every few years , their habits of wanting to go out every few hours or of squeezing me into a corner or kicking while dreaming never does. Along the way I have developed a very odd feature – I need to be lulled to sleep by a voice and so the TV drones on through the night.

Am I the only bizarre sleeper ? We are told humans need at least 8-hours of sleep . Animals too, need to sleep to stay healthy. Lets look at their sleeping habits.

The Giraffe needs the least of any mammal about 1.9 hours per day in five minutes at a time. The Brown Bat on the other hand sleeps for 19 hours a day ( Closely rivaled by my dogs who only wake for meals, treats , to fight and to ask strangers to adopt them !)

The Asian Elephant sleeps for 3.1 hours as does the deer. The donkey sleeps for 4 hours, the chimpanzee for 11 , the squirrel and domestic cat for 12.5 hours and the lion for an hour more. Dogs usually sleep for around 13 hours every day. Your dog will tend to circle before lying down to sleep. In the wild he would trample down vegetation to create a bed, typically in longer grass where his presence wouldl be concealed. A deep sleep is indicated by the eyelids and whiskers twitching and legs running. The average cat sleeps anywhere from 13 to 16 hours per day. Despite the long hours of sleep that they clock in, they don’t really sleep through an entire night- as victims of their caterwauling will testify to

Bats sleep upside down because their wings aren’t really strong enough to launch them into the air from the ground; hanging means they can just drop into flight. Their talons simply lock into place so they need no energy to hang.

Guinea Baboons sleep on their heels on top of trees. This helps them stay alert while asleep. The Hazel Dormouse balances itself on the branch of a tree safe in the knowledge that any quiver of the twig will wake it up immediately. So does the leopard. Cows and horses sleep standing up and sometimes with their eyes open. Many birds sleep while standing or perching. Some birds, such as pheasants and partridges, sleep on the ground. Water fowl sleep while swimming. Some parrots sleep hanging down.

Dolphins and other large sea mammals keep one eye open and one half of the brain awake at all times to maintain the consciousness required to breathe and to watch for threats. Dolphins are particularly unusual in their lack of need for sleep; a calf and its mother will have zero sleep for the first few months of the baby’s life. Ducks and most birds also keep one eye open and half of the brain awake at all times. Mallards observed sleeping in a line will often post sentries on either end of the group, allowing those in the middle to sleep more soundly. Swainson’s Thrush takes hundreds of naps during the day, each of just a few seconds, while migrating, Migratory birds tends to function well on micro-naps. Albatrosses are known to sleep while flying even while cruising at the speed of 25mph ( Men with a few drinks in them do this too while driving but with less success)

Walruses can sleep and swim at the same time, too. They choose between sleeping underwater or above. A walrus can hold its breath for five minutes, just enough time for a nap. For a deeper sleep, walruses inflate spaces inside their body, called pharyngeal pouches, with up to 13 gallons of air. These act like life-jackets, allowing them to remain in the water by bobbing up and down while keeping their head above for air. For the deepest sleep, walruses will either hook their tusks onto a piece of ice or move to land where they sleep up to 19 hours at one time. Unlike most animals, walruses do not need to sleep every day, and they can swim without stopping to sleep for more than three days. Hippopotamuses spend part of their sleep under water.

When the weather changes and there will less food to eat, many animals simply go into long sleeps for months together to save energy. This is called hibernation in winter and estivation in summer. The Dormouse hibernates six months out of the year, or even longer if the weather remains cool. Reptiles do this in the autumn but it differs from hibernation because they will often wake up to drink water and then return to sleep. Frogs pass the winter hibernating at the bottom of lakes, far beneath the ice. Frogs’ bodies have some natural antifreeze chemicals built into them. The Common Poorwill is unique because it is the only bird to go into a state of hibernation for months, concealed in piles of rocks. The Fat-tailed Dwarf Lemur sleeps in a small cricket hollow for seven months of the year. It is the first tropical primate in which hibernation has been demonstrated.

Most animals yawn, but it’s probably not because they’re sleepy. Dogs yawn to say I love you. Baboons yawn to threaten their enemies. Siamese Fighting Fish yawn only when they see another fighting fish (or their own mirror-image) and will often attack aggressively. Penguins yawn while courting. Snakes yawn to realign their jaws after a meal.

All animals sleep. Why do we sleep? Sleep studies started about 40 years ago. Some theories are: How much an animal sleeps is also determined by its status as prey or predator. Prey animals sleep less because sleep makes them vulnerable; Small animals tend to sleep more than large ones perhaps because energy conservation is a greater problem for smaller mammals as a smaller proportion of their weight is comprised of fat. The only thing that is agreed on is that all of us animals sleep for the same reason: to give the body a chance to repair itself, gain energy, increase memory and provides the brain time to organize its thoughts.

To join the animal welfare movement contact gandhim@nic.in

Saturday, July 10, 2010

What says Kumar Sangakkara In an Interview

I'm not a captain when I bat- Sanga

By Sumaiya Rizvi



Sri Lanka Cricket captain Kumar Sangakkara, in an interview with Daily Mirror online's 'Hot Seat Live' spoke on Murali's retirement from Test cricket, about Vaas and Sri Lanka cricket. Here are excerpts from the interview.

Q:Were you expecting Muttiah Muralidaran's retirement from Test cricket?

It was expected because Murali has been talking about retirement since the Indian tour last year and even before that. He wanted to retire but he thought he'd play another year but again now during the test series with India he's expressed his intent to quit during the test series with India . He's had an amazing career, he's the best bowler that the world has ever seen and he's achieved things that no cricketer can ever achieve or even dream of. So he's retiring on an absolute high and we have to respect his decision. We will miss him greatly. He's been such a wonderful part in my cricketing career and I have played ten years with him and been very fortunate to do that.

Q: Does it come as a surprise to you that Muralidaran is considering retirement from Test cricket?

He has been open with his communication and his feelings. He has been talking about it for a while. He is one person who had the best interest of Sri Lankan cricket at heart. Three days ago the selectors, Murali and I met to discuss about the world cup. We told him that we were looking at him in our preparation to the world cup in the next six months. He doesn't have to play all the games but select the tours that he wants to play. He was keen on that and willing to do the job for us. I think he's retiring from test cricket and play one day cricket for a while.

Q: Caller: Thilina Kadamby has been getting so many chances and since Murali is also leaving. When will consistent performers like Jeevan Mendis get a fair chance to perform for Sri Lanka at the World Cup since he is an all-rounder?

That is the question we keep asking ourselves for some time. Not only with regard to Thilina Kadamby. But he has been consistent since he bats at number six or seven they are usually the first people to be dropped form the side in trying situations it was the same when Russell Arnold was playing and the stats don't back the players at that point. Jeevan Mendis was a huge talent when he played for S.Thomas ' I remember him scoring a hundred in the Big Match unfortunately for him he took a long time to mature through first class cricket structure. I think in the last year Jeevan has come into his own and he has been scoring a lot of runs in the'A' side with the provincial cricket. And we were discussing how we can get him to the national side even for the Asia Cup. Then we discussed with Aravinda and the selector to give him an opportunity against Zimbabwe followed by a tour to Australia to see how he performs on those wickets and he has done well for himself in the A team. The first one dayer he scored 85 and helped Sri Lanka win it. Jeevan's future is looking bright will have to see whether he'd break into our side and our world cup squad.

Q: Caller: Roshan from Colombo : Why don't you select Chaminda Vaas at least for the Twenty20 series because he's been consistent at the English county?

I agree with you on that point. I sent an SMS to Vaasi a few days ago telling him how impressed we were with his county performances and that we have not forgotten him in our world cup plans. So let him play his county season and see how he goes. But Vaasi realistically has a good chance fitting into our world cup side and has played exceptionally well or us. He is very experienced but the competition is stiff amongst the fast bowlers specially with the new power plays in play. And he is one player we expect will make it to the final squad for the world cup. We know what Vaasi can do and we need to give a run to see what the other guys can do before we decide on the world cup.

Q: Caller: Rikaz from Bambalapit iya: Why didn't you play a captain's innings in the Asia Cup finals against India ?

I understand your point. But I try to forget that I'm the captain when I go down to bat since it is undue pressure. My position is at number three and the role of number three is different to carrying through the innings. We had identified specific people to carry the job. Every player wants to bat through the innings and win the match for their side. That is why we play a seven batsman combination and each batsman's roles are defined and understood based on the situation. Sometimes they succeed, fail or finish games. In the final we dint have anyone finish the game for us.

Q: Caller Surein from Moratuwa: I want to ask you about Chamara Kapugedara whose faces criticism on his batting although he is a brilliant fielder. Don't you think he deserves a place at the next world cup?

You spot on with that he is a quality player whose got a lot of talent. We will try hard to make sure that talent is converted to consistent performances. We are going to give him a very good run since he is going to be an important player at the world cup. Kapu is a brilliant fielder and can bowl a bit although we have to find the ideal batting spot for him which I think is at number 7. He can be explosive even at the head or tail order of the line up. He has to keep playing his aggressive cricket and we have to trust him.

Q: What do you make of former Australian Prime Minister Howard's changed view of Murali?

That is a politically loaded question. When he questioned Murali's legitimacy as a bowler we were all disappointed. It was highly uncalled for. Contrary to scientific view there is no way one could tell with the naked eye or the two dimensional camera to explain a bowler's arm movement. No other bowler from any other country had to undergo has been scrutinized to this extent. Murali's is the best bowler in the world and that what I think made him change his mind.

Q: Caller Victor Ratnam from Pita Kotte: What are the reasons that led to the debacle at the Asia Cup finals? I hope there wasn't any political interference in the team that played the finals.

Selection was made on merit and a few options available on a few different combinations and decision was made on the final combination based on the wicket. Since the wicket was new the conditions changed during the morning and evening and the movement off the pitch lasted for 20 overs and we struggled under the lights. The match before the finals we played on a used wicket and we were able to handle the movement on the pitch that lasted for eight overs. We lost five wickets for 50 runs and the batting department let us down. It was not a selection matter that spelled our downfall in the finals. We couldn't finish the tournament with a good batting performance chasing 267 runs.

Q: Did Sri Lanka Cricket oppose Prime Minister Howard's candidacy as the CEO of the ICC?

Yes they did as many other Asian countries. For the simple reason that Mr. Howard did not have experience in cricketing or cricket administration and his experience was purely political which was not a good precedent to set for the CEO's position at the ICC.

Q: Caller Raza Ghany from England : When will Sri Lanka get a five or three match tournament with countries like South Africa , Australia and England ?

It is something we have been fighting for. This year Sri Lanka has scheduled only five test matches, two with West Indies at the end of the year. Luckily I think there were calls from players like Sachin Tendulkar for test matches and that is how we come to play India in the upcoming series. Unfortunately teams like England , Australia and South Africa we tour them or they visit us every five years. But England has given us a three test series although Australia hasn't done so. It is a duty of our Board and the ICC to give equal opportunities to the cricketing nations. Planning committees to make sure that everything is fair.

Q: Caller Tashya: What is the Biggest sacrifice and is it worth it?

I'd like to wait and see until I retire. Whether the sacrifice was worth it, In my ten year career My family and extended family have been sidelines in the process. You can say its selfish because I'm looking at only one aspect of cricket. But it's benefited me and my family. We spend a lot of time touring, traveling and training. Winning a world cup make it a bit more worth it. We'll have to wait and see.

Q: Caller Krishan from Borella: What is your view of cricketers who join politics?

It is a personal choice. If you want to represent your country in cricket or in any other sport it is a must to be a member with the Sports Ministry. Since the 1996 World Cup consecutive Governments' have shown a lot of encouragement and support for the sport in terms of development.

When the cricketers go on overseas tours or politics it is their personal choice. Whether its right or wrong to enter politics while playing cricket is been a questions since Sanath Jayasuriya has done it. Personally for me I have no plans of joining politics. But for Sanath at the stage of his cricketing career he made the choice that was right for him.

Q: Caller Joel from England : How will the spin department fair after Murali's retirement and what is happening to Vaasi?

He is one of the fittest players I have played with and he handled his omission from the Sri Lankan team with a lot of grace. His chances for the World Cup are very much alive and Aravinda de Silva hasn't forgotten about Vaasy and neither has the team. Murali's retirement will create a vacuum in world cricket we will never be able to replace him. A cricketer like him comes once in few generations. The search is not for the next Murali but the next best spinner.

Q: Caller Ubaidullah: Do you have twins?

I have a Son and a daughter who are twins. They are just over a year old now and they are doing fine. Their names are Swyrie and Kavith.

Q: What are your views of the new selection committee and its chairman Aravinda De Silva?

They are people of integrity and have been cricketers of high calibre. They determine the career of cricketers, the future and present of Sri Lankan cricket. Their job is not always easy They have to try an pick not just the best 11 players but as Ranjith Fernando would say best in the combination of 11 players. A player is going to feel bad about certain decisions. I have great respect for the Selection Committee. Aravinda whose shrewd and intelligent when it comes to cricket.

Q: What do you as the future of Sri Lanka cricket in terms of talent, training and technological development?

Talent is not going to be a problem. We got a great school structure that will always churn out good players. Unfortunately from there onwards the nurturing of those cricketers is critical although there isn't a process in place where they can play professional club cricket like in England and Australia . When the cricketers don't make it to the national team can make a living playing club or county cricket. We need to get there and the best way is by the Provincial cricket.

National players also be committed to playing provincial. So that the younger players get to talk, watch and play gaining much needed exposure. We are upto date with the technological advancements so far.

Q: Caller Ruvin: Why hasn't Sanath Jayasuriya been dropped?

As a result of his performance in the past one year Asantha de Mel and Aravinda de Silva had decided to drop him.

Q: How involved were you in the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards and what was your role?

On behalf of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) the Presidents office asked me to go to India and be part of the Press Conferences.

I think it was our responsibility as ambassadors. Charity match with proceeds going to much needed charities.

Q: What are you plans for the upcoming tournaments?

Nothing short of winning a test series with India and it is very satisfying to do so

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