Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sri Lankan Foreign Policy.

Sri Lankan Foreign Policy.

   From my point of view the foreign policy of a country could changed, if not radically or materially, at least in nuance. At different times Sri Lankan’s foreign policy has shown changes in nuance. As a country whose geographical location has a high strategic importance, Sri Lanka has had to be doubly cautious about her foreign policy stand to prevent the attraction on undue force/power from countries’ whose political economic and military might are fine excess of Sri Lanka’s.
When Sri Lanka was a British colony its foreign policy was determined by them. After independence the main intention of our leaders’ was to protect the newly won freedom and sovereignty of the country. I think that soon after the independence Sri Lanka had a pro-western nuance to her foreign policy with many connections with Britain. D.S. Senanayaka the first prime minister of Sri Lanka [then Ceylon] had security agreements with Britain. [a NATO country] to protect Sri Lankan’s freedom. He also kept Sri Lanka a dominion within the Commonwealth instead of making it a republic like India and Pakistan did. During the period 1948-56 Sri Lanka had leaders like D.S. Senanayaka, Dudley Senanayaka and Sir John Kotalawala and all their foreign policies had a pro-western nuance. The beginnings of change however were beginning to appear they did in the Bandung conference – this in spite of the Sir John Kotalawala – Chou En Lai clashed. S.W.R.D.Bandaranayaka who became prime minister in 1956 fell back strongly on the Bandung principles of peaceful coexistence. He also reclaimed the British bases at Katunayaka and Trincomalee and set Sri Lanka on its path towards Non Aligned Movement. He became totally committed to Non Aligned during the period of the premiership of Mrs. Bandaranayaka when Sri Lanka became one of the founder members of the Non Aligned Movement. Sri Lanka has since then followed the path of Non Aligned in spite of the occasional glitch like our voting with Britain on the Malvinas/ Falkland island issue and our abstention on the West Iranian issue.

Friday, November 19, 2010



 The clock had stopped. I couldn’t wake up at the time that I had hoped to wake up. I felt that day would be an important day in my life; that there would be a change in my life. New hopes began to bloom in my heart as I prepared to go. I promised my friend Mahesh who was a psychiatrist at the Colombo General hospital that I would meet him. I went quickly to the bus halt. The bus was a little late that day. When it arrived I got in and sat down. My mind was filled with what had happened and what I was going to do that day. As my mind went over the past I felt I had been; too precipitate.
            Mahesh and I were very close friends. He had a friend called Kasun. One day I invited Mahesh to our dance concert. He came with his friend. He introduced his friend to me. My first impression of his friend was a bad one. I didn’t know why. Perhaps I felt that way because of the manner in which he looked at me. While the concert was on I felt that he was paying more attention to me than to the other dancers. After the concert I had no time to talk with my friends and I went quickly to my vehicle. I saw Mahesh’s friend running after me, but I didn’t pay any attention. Two days later I got a call from Mahesh.
“Hello Rangana, are you busy now?”
“No why?”
“I have something special to talk over with you. Do you remember my friend Kasun?”
“Ah the one who came to my concert?”
“Yes he told me that he wanted to speak with you. I feel that he has an interest in you, because after the concert he talks only about you.”
“What a fool! Mahesh don’t be angry with me. I don’t like your friend. When he looked at me on that day I felt that he had not seen a girl before.”
“I gave him your phone number.”
“Oh! What have you done?”
            After that day I got a phone call everyday from Kasun. I got upset and confused. Sometimes I didn’t answer him. Mahesh also phoned me and tried to convince me that Kasun was a good man and tried to persuade me, not to rebuff him. But the unending telephone calls only increased my dislike of Kasun. I even began to move away from Mahesh because of this persistence. I didn’t get any phone call from them for three months. Then I began to feel sorry for Kasun.
“Why did he persue me in this way?”
I looked into myself. I began to blame myself. I had been too harsh. I had a hard heart. I was an artist and normally an artist has a sensitive heart. My feelings began to change. I decided to talk with Kasun. But I couldn’t do it directly. So I phoned Mahesh and told him that I wanted to meet him.   

*                                          *                                          *

The bus stopped at the Colombo hpspital. I went to Mahesh’s room. He was reading a diary and didn’t pay any attention to me.
“Mahesh I want to talk with you.”
“Yes of cause.” He replied in a formal voice.
“I have been thinking things over. I think that I have been too harsh on Kasun. He has not phoned me for a longtime. I like to talk with him. I don’t know why I brushed him off like I did.”
            Mahesh gave me the diary which he was reading and said that I could get to know more about Kasun from it. I began to read. This is what he had written in it.
            “I went to watch a concert with my friend Mahesh. He had got an invitation from one of his friends for that concert. He introduced me for his friend who was a dancer.        “What a pretty girl.” She was really beautiful. She attracted me at once. I wanted to speak more with her. So, at the end of the concert I ran to meet her. She ran away to her vehicle. I saw that one of her anklets had fallen on the road. I picked it up and followed her. But the car drove off and she did not even look at me. I asked more about her from Mahesh. He gave me her phone number. I tried to phone her, she did not respond. I do not know why. I phoned her continously. She still didn’t respond. But I loved her. I began to keep her anklet always with me and it was like a chalice to me. When I was going to work I kept it in my pocket and thought that she was with me. When I was eating in a restaurent I kept it on the table and thought that she was eating with me. Even when I was going to sleep I kept it next to my pillow. I was madly in love with her.
            “Love will withstand cruelty and persist even in death, but it will within under indifference. Pitty will not replace it.”
            This is what he had written in his diary. Tears came into my eyes.
“Mahesh, please tell me where is your friend? I want to talk with him and tell him that he has won my love.”
“If you like to see him I can take you. He is in here.”
“Is he working here?”
“Let’s go.”

I went with him. He took me into an isolated room led to an iron cell. Then he pointed to the cell and told me that there was the man who was madly in love with me. I looked at it. I saw him with a black beard which fully covered his face. I went near him and saw that he was keeping my anklet in his hand. He looked at me. Mahesh began to talk. He told me that I was too late. He has lost his proper senses as a result of meaningless love. So, they were going to trasfer him to the asylum.  

Religion in the Modern World

Religion in the modern world has two conflicting aspects, one the growth of science and technology which appears to marginalize religion, and the other, the spread of religion both in its original and fundamental aspects. Religion may be considered basically a belief in the existence of a Creator by whom everything that exists, seen and unseen, was created, and who is in final control of his creation. There are however various other forms of religious beliefs that exist in the world-polytheism, spirit worship and ancestor worship, to name a few. Religion in its various forms exists all over the world and has played, and continues to play a part in human life. In all cultures human beings accept and believe in a spiritual dimension to life, which is as real as the material dimension of science, and has an existence beyond it.
Religion and science were originally not considered conflicting. Religion in the modern world however, has undergone a change in attitude towards it. In the 13th century religion was regarded as a science. Thomas Aquainas argued that this was so. He posited that while some sciences dealt with what can be known by the light of natural reason, there was another science which dealt with things so far as they are known by the light of divine revelation.
“We must bear in mind that there are two kinds of sciences. There are some which proceed from principles known by the natural light of the intellect, such as arithmetic and geometry and the like. There are also some which proceed from principles known by the light of a higher science: thus the science of optics proceeds from principles established by geometry, and music from principles established by arithmetic. So it is that sacred doctrine is a science because it proceeds from principles known by the light of a higher science, namely, the science of God and the blessed. Hence, just as music accepts on authority the principles taught by the arithmetician, so sacred doctrine accepts the principles related by God.”[Anton 07]
            However with the growth of materialism as evidenced in the development of industry, commerce and technology, religion was pushed into the background and the type of science that proceeded “from principles known by the natural light of the intellect” [Anton 07] emerged as predominant. This was the time of the Industrial Revolution, which was one of the most important changes in the history of humanity, altering patterns of life and thought. It meant a shift from an agrarian, handicraft and labor- intensive economy to one dominated by the machine, the factory system, division of labor, a freer flow of capital and the growth of cities.
            The Industrial Revolution brought changes in the social structure. In Britain the new system of industrial production brought about by the steam engine replaced the old crafts and the craftsmen, and industrial production made people shift from the countryside to new industrial towns with consequent overcrowding squalor and degradation both in standards of living and standards of morals. At the same time industry, trade and commerce began to develop on a marked scale. The new emerging industrial society broke up the existing harmonious structure of country life into hostile groups of haves and have nots. Wordsworth wrote in 1817, “I see clearly that the principal ties which kept the different classes of the society in a vital and harmonious dependence upon each other have, within these thirty years, either being greatly impaired or wholly dissolved. Everything has been put up to market and sold for the highest price it could buy.” [Ford, volume 5, p.15] 
Together with the old social order, religion too became subordinated to the new forces of trade, commerce and industry, and it gradually began to lose ground. Not only Wordsworth, Mathew Arnold in “Dover Beach” spoke of “the sea of faith
                                     Retreating, to the breath
Of the night wind, down the vast edges drear
                                    And naked shingles of the world”
In the late 19th century thinkers like Karl Marx, Darwin, Carlyle and Frazer further questioned religious beliefs Karl Marx rejected religion, Darwin’s theory of evolution was taken as opposing the biblical theory of creation and Frazer saw Christianity as a religion whose beliefs were no different from other religions which has existed before.               “Taken altogether, the coincidences of Christian with the heathen festivals are too close and too numerous to be accidental. They mark the compromise which the church in the hour of its triumph was compelled to make with its vanquished yet still dangerous rivals” [Frazer, (369)]
Carlyle said in “Signs of Times” (1829), “Were we required to characterize this age of ours by any single epithet, we should be tempted to call it, not an Heriocal, Devotional, Philosophical, or Moral Age, but above all others, the Mechanical Age… Not the external and physical alone is now managed by machinery, but the spiritual also” [Ford, volume 6, p.19]
            In the 20th century Science has led to an explosion of technology covering every aspect of human life such as material comfort, medicine, travel, exploration of space and lifestyles. The impact of this explosion of technology on material comfort and lifestyles made a change in human lives. New material comforts provide numerous facilities for humans. Proliferation of all sorts of consumer goods including electrical and electronic goods allows people to have a comfortable life. There are numerous goods and appliances which can help humans in their day- to-day lives. These things make people enjoy their lives in material comfort. For example a man can watch everything that happens around the world with television or download it on the internet and these things also provide entertainment.
            Another achievement of this explosion of technology is the development of medicine which made revolutionary advances. By the end of 20th century medical advance helped to increase the average person’s life expectancy by almost thirty years. As people lived longer, new medical challenges emerged. Heart disease, cancer, strokes and other conditions often associated with aging replaced infectious diseases as the leading causes of death. Physicians began to pay greater attention to preventing diseases and keeping patients healthy into an advanced age. Physicians were successful in conquering infectious through improved sanitation and use of antibiotics and vaccines. Furthermore doctors found new methods of curing people such as surgery, radiology, scans, psychoanalysis and electroconvulsive therapy. So technology gave modern man a longer life to enjoy the material comforts it provided. [Encarta 2004]  
            Another achievement of technology is the development of travel. The development of travel provided transportation services like airlines, bus companies, railroads, taxis which transport people swiftly from place to place. Furthermore the development of travel has led to space exploration which helps to discover the nature of the universe beyond earth. Science and technology has brought the universe closer to human life. All those modern achievements of technology make for a comfortable life style. The material comfort and the extension of human life which enables longer enjoyment of these comforts has made people feel that religion is redundant and that it is a historical phenomenon that has been replaced by science and technology. Secularism has been gaining ground.
            Western writers questioning the validity of religion dealt with Christianity because that was the religion in the west. However their concern was not with Christianity perse, but with belief that went beyond the material world of science and technology. The technological explosion affected western as well as Asian and African societies, and led to the marginalization of their religions too by the material wealth and lifestyles that technology provided.
            Paradoxically, the very technological advancement that has tended to marginalize religion has led to its expansion. The facilities of travel and communication through television, radio and internet, to give a few examples, and particularly the development of mass communication techniques which are a product of modern technology, has led to the spread of religion in its original and also its fundamentalist forms. Christianity which was historically brought to certain countries through conquest and colonization is, today, spreading further afield with the help of these modern technological developments. On the other hand religions like Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam which had hither to been confined to a few countries in Asia and Africa, are now spreading westwards.
            Further, technological developments have led to the affirmation of religious beliefs and thus of religion itself. It is interesting that even Darwin’s account of evolution which was believed to have destroyed the biblical story of creation says “If it be asked why apes had not had their intellects developed to the same degree as that of man, general causes only can be assigned in answer, and it is unreasonable to expect anything more definite, considering our ignorance with respect to the successive stages of development through which each creature has passed.” [Darwin. p.465]
There are also aspects of human life innate qualities of human beings which Darwin is unable to show as being a result of evolution. He says “with respect to the origin of the parental and filial affections, which apparently lie at the base of the social instincts, we know not the steps by which they have been gained; but we may infer that it has been to a large extent through natural selection.” [Darwin.478] Darwin can only infer that these qualities were gained through natural selection. Theology however is certain that they were features derived at creation being a terrestrial manifestation of the divine relationship between God and man. Darwin also said, “The moral sense perhaps affords the best and highest distinction between man and the lower animals. The moral sense in man is the fundamental factor which separates him from the animals. It is also the factor which links him to the divine. Once more there is an area which refuses to be explained by evolution but can be explained only by a divine act of creation.” [Gen.1, 26-31]         
            Beyond that pointer, there are other scientific facts. The fingerprint, the voice scan and the retina scan, show the uniqueness of the individual in the creation of each human being.
            Frazer in Golden Bough says “if then we consider, on one hand, the essential similarity of man’s chief wants everywhere and at all times, and on the other hand, the wide difference between the means he has adopted to satisfy them in different ages, we shall perhaps be disposed to conclude that the movement of the higher thought, so far as we can trace it, has on the whole been from magic through religion to science.” [Frazer.711].Unfortunately science and technology have not been able either to marginalize or to disprove religion. On the contrary it has helped to spread religions and has in its findings supported basic religious beliefs. As Aquinas said, religion proceeds from “the light of divine revelation” [Anton 30] which he saw as a higher science.       

Works Cited

*       Anton C.P(ed) Basic Writings of Saint Thomas Acquinas, Random House, New York. (1945)
*       Darwin. The Descent of Man, Modern Library, p.465.
*       Ford, Boris. “From Blake to Byron”. The Pelican Guide to English Literature, volume 5, Penguin Books, 1957.p.15
*       Ford, Boris. “From Dickens to Hardy”. The Pelican Guide to English Literature, volume 6, Penguin Books, 1958.p.19.
*       The Bible societies. Good News Bible, Caledonian International Book Manufacturing Ltd, Glasgow, Britain.
*      Frazer, J.G. The Golden Bough, Macmillan and co; limited, 1950, (369)
*       “Medicine” Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia Deluxe. 2004 ed.


GLOBALIZATION MEDIA AND CULTURAL IDENTITY: an analysis with reference to Sri Lankan experience

           The modern epoch opened as an era of globalization. Most of the critics portray this term as a world with permeable borders. Furthermore globalization is a widespread concept with a considerable degree of ambiguity. This ambiguity does not mean that it remains unclear or ill defined. Globalization has been viewed from different perspectives and dimensions particularly in relation to different interests, subject areas and scope. One perspective attempts to define it as a process of strengthening and extension of the international instability of commerce, capitals, technology and labor force. Another perspective refers to institutional changes, which are brought about in the society by the increase of these flows and the development of the transnational corporations. [Adesoji 41] In this point of view, it stressed the weakening of the regulating function of the national states. In its stronger version, globalization can be implied as disappearance of the state in its economic dimensions. Yet another perspective refers to the growing homogenization of certain processes and behaviors like the introduction of global standards in the production of goods.

In other words, what it means is the transformation of the state, the emergence of a new kind of global politics in which the state is one actor among many. [Glasius, Kaldor, 1] Accordingly the obvious fact is that globalization results by having a world with permeable borders.

Today money, goods, and services readily cross national boundaries. Instantaneous messages and enormous libraries of information flash across the Internet. Television, telephones, and wireless communications connect people in everywhere. In another viewpoint globalization can be interpreted as an integration and democratization of the world’s culture, economy, and infrastructure through transnational investment, rapid proliferation of communication and information technologies, and the impacts of free-market forces on local, regional and national economies. Hence it has been difficult adopting a standard definition and under different perspective and spheres it gives slightly different viewpoints, globalization can be interpreted as a combination of all the above mentioned factors.

The concept of globalization is not a new concept. Deluxe Encyclopedia 2004 conveys the roots of globalization as follows. According to it the most important globalizing process was the migration of human beings from the birthplace of the species to other continents. Soon after people settled down to work the land, they began to trade with other societies, nearby and far away. Then there came numerous inventions of the world like wheel and sailing vessels. Silk Road carried goods and ideas between China and the Roman Empire. Not only goods it carried information, clothing and cooking styles, techniques of metalwork, decoration and religions too. Then the concepts like imperialism, colonization took place and exploration of countries caused for exploitation. Though these conflicts were terribly destructive, they were part of the process of globalization that has brought about modern society.

Therefore it is evident the fact that globalization is not a new concept. It is an existed concept from the past. Moreover Karl Marx observed the same situation, the origination of globalization in Das Kapital as follows though the situation was not labeled as globalization during that era

“The capitalists’ ‘avarice’ for consumption as the accumulation; production and surplus value go on increasing. Marx says, ‘Luxury enters into capital’s expenses of representation’... Capitalists accumulate not for accumulation’s sake but to convert it into capital and to generate more surplus value. But what for this surplus value? Marx explains, “At the historical dawn of capitalist production - and every capitalist upstart has personally to go through this historical stage, avarice, and desire to get rich, are the ruling passions”4 … the capitalists need expansion of their markets. So Marx already explained it in the Communist Manifesto, “The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the whole surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connection everywhere”5. [Sen. 121]

Accordingly today we get familiar with the development of the above condition and we label it as globalization. When this condition gets more familiar with the present world it affects to the states in different ways. It could affect socially, politically, economically and culturally. Nowadays we see that globalization has invaded the culture. Hence globalization is from West to the rest all those affectations have an effect, not largely on Western developed countries but on under developing countries. However the development of this concept now resulted by having a global culture in the world.

Culture can be interpreted as a way of life adopted by a certain group of people of a particular society at a specific time and place. Every society has its own culture and way of life. Culture is established by a group of people who live together and stick to some principles in their society. Consciously or unconsciously people adopt the culture of the group that they born to. Nowadays culture becomes an important domain in relation to the concept of globalization. Globalization makes people have common needs and common challenges and as a result of that people form common societies which can address to their challenges.

Cultures of people are diverse, even when dealing with similar realities. They mould a people’s way of life and thinking and give distinctiveness to a community. The process of globalization tends to bring about homogeneity of cultural behaviors throughout the world, at least in certain aspects of life such as in food, dress, leisure, music, and sports. The mass media and advertisements create wants, especially for TNC products such as McDonald’s food (present in 111 countries), Coca cola, jeans and rock concert music. The universalization of the demand for these goods may give the impression of a pervasive global mono-culture. [Balasuriya,]

Today, many nations are multicultural societies, composed of numerous smaller subcultures. Local culture and social structure are now shaped by large and powerful commercial interests. Cultures also cross national boundaries. For instance, people around the world now know a variety of English words and have contact with American cultural exports such as brand-name clothing and technological products, films and music, and mass-produced foods. Unlike past nowadays travel where we want easily. Distance is not a problem for that. Therefore Diaspora has become a common factor for all. And Diaspora too brings their own cultures when they move to another country. Hence there can be seen multicultural societies all over the world.

When we talk about globalization we often talk about cultural convergence and the intermixing of pop cultures around the world. Author David Singh Grewal argues that globalization does not just influence which other cultures we encounter in our daily lives. More importantly, globalization changes our own culture. [Grewal, 2009] Most often dominant societies can shape the culture of less powerful societies, a process some researchers call cultural domination. Today, many anthropologists openly oppose efforts by dominant world powers, such as the U.S. government and large corporations, to make unique smaller societies adopt Western commercial culture. Right now this cultural domination has identified in the term of Cultural Imperialism.

According to Tomlinson cultural imperialism is ‘the use of political and economic power to exalt and spread the values and habits of a foreign culture at the expense of a native culture.' [] Furthermore according to Tomlinson economic power has enabled high capitalistic countries to exert a considerable control over weaker countries economically and culturally. Since America or Western countries are seen to dominate the world’s capitalism, their popular culture, Hollywood, the English language, and companies that include Nike and McDonalds, appear to show their cultural imperialism over the world. [Thomlimson, 54]

This situation basically happens through its relation with media. Rapid changes in technology in the last several decades have changed the nature of culture and cultural exchange. People around the world can make economic transactions and transmit information to each other almost instantaneously through the use of computers and satellite communications. Media is the vehicle which brings the effects of globalization to each nook and corner of the world. Media come out with images, sounds, and spectacles help produce the framework of everyday life. Furthermore it can have a certain effect on our lifestyle while dominating our leisure time, shaping political views and social behavior. Additionally it provides materials for people to forge an identity. Radio, television, film, and the other products of the culture industries provide the models of what it means to be male or female, successful or a failure, powerful or powerless. Media also provides the materials out of which many people construct their sense of class, of ethnicity and race, of nationality, of sexuality, of “us” and “them.”

It is through media we get familiar with the effects of globalization. Daily stories and images of media provide the symbols, myths, and resources which help people to constitute a common culture for the majority of individuals in many parts of the world today. Media culture provides the materials to create Identities and we insert ourselves into contemporary society what we identify as a global culture.

According to Manuel Casetells the information revolution and reconstruction of capitalism have established a new society that could be called the “network society.” The most important characteristic of this society is its prevalent culture established by a diverse and comprehensive media system. [Babran, 2008] Hence technological revolution constitutes a basic support for capitalist globalization. This revolution is the important device which speeded up the process of globalization. Critics of globalization often cite "media imperialism" as a dominant vehicle for the expansion of a homogenous, consumer-based culture extending across borders. [Richards, French 2000] As a result of this situation powerful western countries are largely carrying a one-way transmission of ideas and values and end up with displacement of indigenous cultures in under developing countries.

This situation can be observed through Sri Lanka. As a developing country it has the facets of globalization. According to the ideas discussed above Sri Lankan culture has vastly affected and affecting due to this situation and it mainly occurs in relation with rapid development of media.

Throughout the past centuries and still Sri Lanka has been moving along with the process of globalization. If we move to the past decades of the country according to the introductory factors mentioned above, even during the era of western colonization too had good as well as bad facets of globalization in Sri Lanka. The psychological consequences too on the colonized, Portuguese, Dutch and British were severe because whatever they did in Sri Lanka was first for their own benefit. Even the advantages brought to us were due to the requirements of the colonial government. Some of the advantages of colonial rule were the building of roads, railways, harbors and hospitals in the colonies. The colonizing powers introduced the modern education system and medicine. They even introduced modern agricultural methods. Most often, the colonial government exploited the Sri Lankans and their natural resources. Only a very small share of profit was given to us. Our country was used as the source for the raw material and the markets for the finished foreign goods. This badly affected our economy. Even politically these nations made several changes. They arbitrarily partitioned our country in some cases, while at some places they made divisions on the basis of language, religion and custom.

There were also social and cultural effects. Various European languages with a rich tradition of literature were spread. The impact of western education and culture, their dress and language was acutely felt. Most of natives in Sri Lanka have also migrated to the West and also there had been number of elites who followed the Western pattern. Accordingly this situation proves the fact that though it was not so strict, though it was not so rapid and though the way of spreading the concept was different there were the facets of globalization in Sri Lanka from the past. If we take the present condition of the country we can see that nowadays Sri Lanka is highly affected by it.

Consequently nowadays a vast majority of the Sri Lankan community is getting influenced by it. As a result of that western culture is attacking to the indigenous Sri Lankan culture. In some major cities the influence of western culture is being increasingly felt with the introduction of major fast food brands such as McDonalds, Pizza Hut and Kentucky Fried Chicken as well as the appearance of major clothing brands such as Levi and Bench. Most of the critics identified this situation as a threat to Sri Lankan cultural identity. In the political structure some critics identify it as a loss of sovereignty in the country.

Sri Lankans have subsisted on their own food production except some items. Consequent to globalization Sri Lanka has increased its import of rice and other basic commodities. Neighboring India has always been trying to set foot in the name of modernizing Sri Lankan industrial sector. Through means of globalization India and other countries keep an eye on controlling Sri Lankan lives. [Kumaaran, http//]

Culture is a major factor in the process of globalization. With the rapid process of globalization indigenous culture of Sri Lanka has globalized. If we pay close attention to the present Sri Lankan society it can be seen the fact that basic requirements of the people have increased. People unlike to get satisfied with what they have in their own countries they always look for something else. Then there can be seen western influence as well as cultural interactions. With the above two factors people try to imitate the culture of other countries. This cultural imitation affects the indigenous culture of the country. It is due to globalization states’ boundaries get broaden. And naturally people observe the traditions and cultures of other countries. Consequently they get familiar with cultures which are alien to them and obviously they forget their own cultures.

As mentioned earlier these cultural effects come through media. Globalization is not achievable without high technology and communication. Cultural affectation comes through communication. When new technologies emerged, that transformed the speed and range of communications, allowing the process of globalization faster. It is clear that globalization is an ongoing process, with its most visible aspect being the spread of information and communication technologies. Sri Lankans too affected by that. Currently media has close relationship with the people and Sri Lankans too having experiences on it.

The following is an analysis is according to the survey that I have done under the theme of globalization media and culture in relation to Sri Lankan experience. There I have interviewed number of people who belong to different years of age, different social background and different nationality. But here I have categorized what they said according to their age. Under that I categorized them into three groups like youths age between, 15-30, middle age, 30-50 and age more than 50.

According to the views of the youths in Sri Lanka it is clear the fact that they get familiar with the current situation. Though they see the disadvantages they cannot get rid of it because all those modern changes are interconnected with their life styles. They are evident with the social and cultural changes that come with globalization. They are so familiar with media especially television and internet. They accept the fact that media corrupt the indigenous culture of our country. For example Sinhala language is facing to a threat due to this situation. They talked about the changes that happened in the fashions, foods. They like the accessibility of knowledge and instant gratification that come with the concept of globalization. They believed the fact that globalization brings social reality – media reality – hyper reality. They recognized the fact that Sri Lankans are loosing their cultural identity. But according to the ideas given by the most of youths, they said that they too have to move with the present condition and them too getting attracted to westernization. Though they are evident what happen around them is wrong they are unable to get rig of that.

According to my survey, I felt that middle age people who have experiences on both present and the past mostly get lost in this situation. They see the advantages as well as disadvantages of modern facilities. So they are afraid to be familiar with modern world. They always compare present with past. For example they assumed that nowadays they can buy easily what they want but for all they that they need money. They said that most of the people in the present society have become money minded. They have lost their cultural values. Media brings all the things that can corrupt the native culture of the country. They are in between the modern and the past eras. But they too have to join with the present society under certain circumstances.

Third group is the people who belong to the group of age above fifty. Most of the people who belong to this group of age see this situation as a mock. They always think about how nice how it is calm and quiet the life that they spend in the past. Most of them don’t get the love and caring of their children as their children are having a hectic lifestyle. They accept the fact that modern technology brings more facilities to them. But at the same time they argue on the fact that though they don’t have such facilities in the past they spent a happy life with their children and the parents. A larger concern in the emerging global information economy is the fact that most of the people cannot afford the types of products advertised on global media. Though it happens like that, their dissatisfaction of what they have constantly exposed them to these media messages and make them want to have those products that they can never afford. And that causes to a social unrest. For example due to the rapid development of technology it creates different versions of the same product. Mobile phone is one thing. This group of people argued on this fact and said it does not matter they use a mobile phone for communication but when comes different versions of the same product and when they get more familiar with that product with media they feel it is good they have the newest thing of that product. Then they need money and that makes their lives worse. And as a result of that crimes and violence become a common factor in the country. According to them they sill get satisfy with the simple lifestyle that they had in the past.

Above analysis is a sum up that based on the ideas given by the interviewers who belong to different age groups. According to that it is obvious the fact that globalization has multitude fallouts like increasing poverty, rising crime and violence, environmental degradation, changes in life styles and erosion of cultural values in Sri Lanka. Though most of the people in the country aware of that they are unable to get rid of it especially youths. As youth represents the present generation this would continue in future more than now. Middle age people feel that they are unable to fit in to the present as well as the past. They are like in between the processes of globalization. And the older generation just keeps a look at on the different changes happen in the present society.

Globalization is the gradual illusion of the weakening of state powers. It also represents how an individual life can be transformed by global forces, and one can expand one’s connections around the world. With globalization, individual lives become affected not just by their local communities, but by economic, political, and cultural processes or forces that operate worldwide. As it is a global process no body can avoid of it. The only thing that we can do is to be familiar with the process of globalization by understanding its effects both good and bad.


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Anherier.H, Glasius.M & Kaldor.M. (2005).Global Civil Society. Sage Publications, London.

Balasuriya. T.“Globalization and Human Solidarity.” Religion Online Review.06 Dec,
Babran .S. (2008) Media, Globalization of Culture, and Identity Crisis in Developing
Countries. Vol XVII .Iran Islamic Azad University. Iran.

Cultural Imperialism. 2004. M/Cyclopedia of New Media.

Disclaimers. 24 November 2004.

Grewal. D. S. (2009). Globalization and Cultural Convergence. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Kumaaran. S. “Is globalization boon for Sri Lanka?” Sri Lanka News First Review. 03 Aprl.

“Roots of Globalization” Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia Deluxe. 2004 ed.

Richards. M, French. D. (2000). Globalization and Television: Comparative Perspectives. The
cyprus review, Cyprus.

Sen.S. (2000). The Marxist. Vol XVI, South End Press. Boston.

Tomlinson, J. (2000) “Imperialism to Globalization” Globalization: The Reader. Eds. J. Beynon and D. Dunkerley. New York: Routledge.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Dancing Queen -Short Story

                                       Dancing Queen

It was the end of the ‘Ideal Dancer’ TV programme. The presenter thanked the guest,
 “Thank you very much Ms.Priyanka for joining with us. We wish that you perform your dancing items well. Finally I would like to ask your phone number because most of our viewers are waiting to talk with you. They might have lot of things to ask from you about your dancing styles.”
I gave my phone number and thanked them all. Then I came out of the studio and get on to my car. As I was tired I asked my driver to take me home without stopping anywhere. When I was going I heard my phone rang. A woman spoke to me,
       “Hello, is this Ms.Priyanka?”As it was an unknown voice I replied curiously.
Then the woman spoke further. She told that she was a psychiatrist at GGR mental hospital and she had something important to tell me, but she repeatedly told me that she didn’t mean to insult me and she asked me not to misunderstand her. Then I felt more curious and listened anxiously. Then she told me that in their mental asylum they allow some of their patients to watch some musical and dancing programmes on TV and today they had seen my programme. But one of the patients, who suffered from a severe mental stress, cried a lot after having seen the programme. She shouted that Ms.Priyanka was her one and only child. Her words shook me and at once I asked the name of that patient.
        “She is Mrs. Radhika Fernando. Miss I don’t know whether Mrs.Radhika knows you or not, but if you know about her please visit he. She is not strong enough to bear up the things that have happened to her. She is in a serious situation. And now she is so old and feeble. Her husband visits her everyday once he told me that their daughter committed suicide and after that incident his wife had lost her sanity.” She continued.
Furthermore she said that perhaps their daughter might be like me. So she pleaded me to visit the patient though I was busy with my work. And it would be a good treatment for the patient. Then I promised to think about it further.
        After that phone call tears began to pour down my cheeks. Them my mind ran back to the time of my childhood.
        Ten years ago my parents and I lived together. I was the only child of my family. I loved my parents a lot, but I knew that they loved me more than I loved them. They wanted to give me a good education. My father’s dream was to see me as a doctor. He always told me, ‘My little daughter, you should do your studies well and try to be a doctor one day and surprise all our friends and relations.’ But according to my way of thinking I didn’t accept my father’s idea. I always dream to be a good dancer one day though my father didn’t agree with me. All the time he said that he couldn’t be ashamed in front of his relations. My mother too agreed with my father. Time ran quickly and my parents forced me to do the Advanced Level Examination in science stream. However I did my studies without any will, but my parents thought that I would pass my examination very well. They took me too many private classes and spent a lot of money though I found all the subjects equally difficult. I did my examination and awaited results. In the meantime I told my father to take me to a dancing class, but he paid no attention to my request.
        My results came. I had only three simple passes. I feel nothing about my results. My parents were sad and they were disappointed about me because their loving child had destroyed their wonderful dream. So the hunk between me and my parents grew weaker day by day. Then I felt sad and also felt disappointed about myself. My father didn’t speak to me. We behaved as strangers even though we lived under one roof. I was unable to face the situation at my home. Finally I left my loving cage with the idea of building up my life by myself.
        I came out of my thoughts. My face was wet with tears. Through my tears I saw the gate of my house. I went to my room and began to think. During the last five years I searched my parents. But I could find only that my father had sold our house and had gone somewhere with my mother. Now everything is clear to me. I decided to go to that asylum next day.
        The following morning I got ready to go. My car stopped at the asylum gate. Everyone looked at me surprisingly and came round me. Through them I saw a tall young lady was coming towards me.
        “Hi! Ms.Priyanka, I am doctor Swetha. It’s me who phoned you yesterday. I never thought that you would come. Then she took me to see the patient. We went to her room. She pointed her hand at a patient who was lying on a bed. There was a man sitting in front of her. I told the doctor that I wanted to go alone and talk with them. I found very quickly that the old thin man who was sitting there was my father and the patient was my mother. I went to speak with them.  
        “Oh! Are you Ms.Priyanka?” The man asked surprisingly.
I just nodded my head.
        “My wife thinks that you are our daughter. She cries when she sees you on TV.”
I looked at him with a blank face. Then I asked their story. He began to sob and said that because of their faults they lost their daughter. Then I asked whether they knew where their daughter was.
        “No Miss, perhaps she might have died. It is our fate. But when you speak with me I felt that my daughter is again with me.”
I was unable to control myself. I began to weep.
        “No father you are not wrong. You little daughter is still with you. Can’t you recognize me? Do I have changed a lot?”
        “Then who is Miss.Priyanka?” He questioned.
        “It’s a long story. I changed my name.”

At that time my mother woke up and looked at me with tears on her eyes. She began to touch my hands, my face. I promised her not to leave her again and asked their pardon for what had happened. And asked them, not to consider me as an unkind one.                        

Monday, November 15, 2010

National Identity and Language

National Identity and Language.

World is the home for all the people who belong to different nationalities like Sinhalese, Muslims, Tamils, English, Japanese etc. All these nationalities have their characteristics of their own to symbolize their identity. Religious festivals, customs and traditions are important among them. From all those language takes the most important place. Most of the time with the pronunciation of a word, anyone can easily identify to which nationality that word belongs to. If we take some words as examples, London-David, Shinhua-Shanhai, Kiyoto- Shikoku- here the first sets of words belongs to English language, the second and third represent Chinese and Japanese respectively. With the above examples we can see how much a language can affect to represent the identity of a nationality. 
        Sri Lanka is a multi-national country. As a whole all can be known as Sri Lankans. But among them there can be seen a difference among the language that the Sinhala and Tamil people use. Most of the Muslim people use Tamil language. Therefore Tamil language represents both Tamil and Muslim nationalities. But Muslim’s identity represents through Arabic Language. They use it to read Quran. Tamil language represents the Tamils’ identity. Sinhala is used by most of the people in Sri Lanka. And it is like a mirror that reflects our identity. But nowadays we can see that the modern changes affect the national identity of our language. Because today there can be seen a mixture a Sinhala and English languages and it is a threat for official language of the country.
        When we hear the words like London, Thames, Oxford we know that those words represent the identity of England. Today in Sri Lanka most of the time we hear these types of words, for example Five Star Apparel, Thames College, Jeeva Tours and Travels etc. with these words we see though language represents our identity now it has lost its roots. Today when people give a name for something or somebody most of the time they select a word from a foreign language, especially from English language. But if we pay attention to the government sector of Sri Lanka they we can see meaningful Sinhala names that represent our identity. However when we add English words for these things we destroy not only our language but also the ideal features of our culture. Since two thousand years we use our own language and it began to crack with foreign invasions. It is true the fact that one language can enrich with another language but if we use a language to destroy another language then it is not fair. For examples Sri Lankans has converted numerous English words according to Sinhala language. We can see the words like car, bus, radio etc. It is reasonable, because if we don’t have a proper Sinhala word for something without using its original word we can slightly change the word by adding some Sinhala roots to it. Then we can enrich our own language without spoiling its original roots.             
             Language is a tool of communication. So it should be simple as well as meaningful.  Still in Sri Lanka in certain instances we can reflects of slave time when we use language. It is weird to see such things even a long period after independence. Independence of one’s country is like the life of its. If a country is not strong to use its own national language independently how can we consider that country as an independent, sovereign state? Though we have a powerful language of our own still we do changes to it by adding British words. It may be because still we are under the British power in certain way. In the past the situation was totally different. We could bring our own literature books to and country to represent our identity. But nowadays it is hard to find even a person who speaks pure Sinhala. 

            National language of one’s country is like a ball of clay. People can make numerous things that represent their identity by taking it as a raw material. People’s lives are inter-connected with their mother tongue. It has its own spelling rules, grammar rules, letters etc. Mother language of one’s country is like the life of it. So when it changes with modern situations it is a huge shock for the development of a nation. A language should be developed, it should be enriched with new words but at the same time people should keep in their minds to protect the roots of it.             

Short Story

An Innocent Doe


       The day began badly. I knew something awful was going to happen when I dropped the mirror and broke it. Suddenly I heard the sound of my uncle.
          “Priya what has happened?”
       “I dropped the mirror.” I replied.
 Then he said that it was a good omen and asked me not to think about it. Though he assured it as a good omen I felt anxious. It was my first day. I was going to work as my uncle’s secretary. But the day began badly. One day my mother told me that a broken mirror is a bad omen. However I decided not to think about it further. I went with my uncle to his office. He said that he had to go somewhere for a meeting. He gave me some projects to check and asked me to stay there till he returned because he had something to discuss with me. I did all my work. It was six o’clock in the evening. I was alone at the office. My mind ran to the past, I remembered my parents, my sister and my brother.
          I was the eldest child in our family. My father was a heart patient. We lived on the little money which was earned by my mother. But that money was not enough for us to live. My father became feeble little by little. We wanted more money for our father’s medicine. I couldn’t go to school after my Ordinary Level Examination due to these problems. One day a brother of my mother who was a politician came to our house.
       “My brother! You came after a longtime.” Said my mother.
       “Yes sister, I had some problems, you know with these work it’s hard to get a time. Anyway who is this pretty girl?” he asked pointing his hand to me.
       “This is my eldest daughter.” My mother replied.
After an hour he got ready to go. Then he whispered to me;
       “If you like you can come with me. I can give you a job.”
I looked at my mother who got delighted with those words.
       “Daughter this is a good opportunity for you. My brother will look after you well. I know you are so lucky. You are the only one who can take us out of this pit. Go with your uncle.”
 Finally I went with my uncle to that concrete city dreaming about a nice future.
       Suddenly I heard a sound of a car. I came out of my thoughts. I saw that my uncle got out of the car with a pretty lady. They talked and laughed like a newly married couple.           
     “Ah! Priya, this is Mrs. Nanditha.” He introduced the lady to me.
     “Priya, come here.” He said.
Furthermore he said that Mrs.Nanditha has found a fine job for me. But it was questionable to me, because I came to work with my uncle. Therefore I said that the job that he provided me is more than enough and I can look after my parents with it. However finally I had to agree with them to think twice about the new proposal. But I felt curious about the lady came with my uncle. So I began to inquire about her. Few days back I recovered that the lady was an owner of a brothel. Then I decided to speak with uncle about it.
        “Uncle, don’t you know about that woman?” I asked.
        “Yes yes I know about her very well.” He replied keeping a smile on his face.
        “So……..why why uncle you asked me …..”
I couldn’t speak anymore tears welled up in my eyes and spilled down my face.
        “No uncle, that won’t happen. You are mistaken. Your hope won’t be successful.” I shouted.
        “Foolish girl.” Uncle laughed.

Two weeks later I got a letter from my mother. 

My daughter,
        Your father is not well again. The doctor said that we have to do an operation to save him. I can’t understand anything. We have to do it in twenty days and we want a large amount of money for that. Your uncle is the only one who can help us. Please speak to him.
                                                                      Your mother.

I began to tremble. I couldn’t tell it directly to my uncle. As I was sure about his reply I thought a lot. At that time my uncle came and asked me about the matter. So I gave him the letter. Then he said with a smile.
        “Priya, still you are not late. Still the job is available for you.”
I began to tremble again. I remembered my father’s words which he had said when I was coming with uncle. He told me;
                                                          “Only simple thoughts and hopes
                                                            bring happiness of mind
                                                            Hopes of enormous highs
                                                            will kill the mind’s happiness.”
However I had to agree with my uncle. I began to work with Mrs. Nanditha. She advised me on this job. I sent money to my mother. But I couldn’t go to see my father. After two months I heard that my father was cured.
        One day when I was at my uncle’s office with Mrs. Nanditha, I heard a crying sound of a man. I went in front of the office.
        “Father!” I was surprised. “Why did you come here?” I asked.
        “Do you think that I am a blind and deaf person? I know what you are doing here. Why my daughter, why didn’t you allow me to die? How can I listen such a thing about my own daughter?” he cried.
        “Father I know you will never forgive me. I wanted to save your life. I was helpless father…..”
        “But my daughter how quickly you forgot, ‘A faded flower cannot bloom again.’
He shouted. Tears began to pour on his face. Then he collapsed on the floor.
It was the day of my father’s funeral. I couldn’t participate because I couldn’t face my villagers and relations now. It was six o’clock in the evening. I walked in the darkness without understanding anything. I recalled my father’s words again. ‘A faded flower cannot bloom again.’ I began to run. I felt that Mrs. Nanditha and my uncle were running after me. I stopped at the beach. I saw my father’s face in the far horizon. I saw my uncle and Mrs. Nanditha behind me.
“I’ll come father!! I want to be closed to you.” I cried and collapsed on the sand and began to sob.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sri Lankan Writers in English

“Lankan writers in English are making their own particular contribution to our critical awareness of Lankan reality…” Do you agree? A discussion in relation to three Sri Lankan English poets .

           Sri Lankan writers in English have a distinctive style of writing. As Ashley Halpe points out Sri Lankan writers in English make their own particular contribution to Lankan reality and to the exploration of human potentiality that is central to art of any importance. Their writings represented different situations that occurred during the eras they write. The speech patterns of Sinhala and Tamil influenced the writing style of Sri Lankan English. English literature is one variety of English in Sri Lanka. Sri Lankan writers in English explore human potentiality through exposé of characters. These characters have distinctive characteristics that make them different from the characters of other literatures. Through their writing they make their audience aware of Sri Lankan history including the eras of colonialism and post colonialism and social issues like internal riots and ethnic conflicts of the country. Sri Lankan writers in English play a major role in performing the characteristics of Sri Lanka in the international arena. Among those writers the poets like Lakdasa Wikkramasinha, Yasmine Gooneratne and Patrick Fernando can be taken as Sri Lankan writers who addressed different perspective views of human beings as well as social issues.  
           In Lakdasa Wikkramasinha’s poetry he dealt with native problems of Sri Lanka. He is a distinctive character among good local poets. As Suresh Canagarajah indicates Lakdasa Wikkramasinha as a better example of a Lankan poet who succeeds in reconciling the discourses in his own terms. His stand point is clearly in the rural, folk, native cultural and literary traditions. In fact in being a poet of no mean stature in one of the indigenous languages (i.e., Sinhala) he is unique among Lankan English poets in his literary bilinguality. Besides, he is a relatively committed poet with a fairly clear and consistent socio-political stand point. [Canagarajah, 1995]
           As a poet he is essentially native. His use of language is essentially and outstanding colored by local idioms. For example the opening lines of the second stanza of the “From the life of the Folk Poet, Ysinno”,
            ‘He made his way to the Walauwa at Iddamalgoda
and to the Menike said ‘how poor he was.’
 Those native words emphasis the controlling local interpretations of the poem. The most important fact is this line shows something unusual in British English, but common and economical in the Lankan Standard English. By using such contrast he has managed to build up a simple and natural language that makes easy for Sri Lankans to understand. But at the same time we see his familiarity with British English through the words like ‘benison’, ‘fealities’. Through the poem he dramatizes the feudal relationship between the folk poet [Ysinno] and the mistress [Menike] of the house. We see the rudeness and egoism of Menike and poorness, loyalty and faithfulness of Ysinno.
‘So she said, wait for the yala
Harvest and take the straw.
                    Ysinno said, O the rains are coming near
                     my woman fretting, her kid will get wet’

But at the same time the poem ends by showing the generosity of the Menike. The poem is like a reminder of past where we remember the social inequalities that occurred due to feudalism. Furthermore his use of archaic words reminds us obsoleteness of this system. In addition to that “The strength of Wikkramasinha’s discourse then is that by fusing the two discourses, he is able to telescope both traditions to widen our perspective. While sympathetically evoking as an insider a mode of relationship still popular and legitimate in rural Sri Lanka, he also subtly detaches himself to warn us of its possible limitations. Thus his native and Western sensibilities are nicely balanced…” [Canagarajah, 1995]
           In his poem “The cobra” he talks about the mythical beliefs of rural Sri Lankans. There we see how those rural people get obsessed by the power of cobra without considering its deadly impact. The belief is based on fear that if a cobra was killed it will come to took the revenge. The poet is calm but bitter about the death of his woman. This death comes as a harshly irony contrast to the mythical veneration with which the other villagers hold the cobra.  This poem too we see his literary bilinguality through the terms like ‘dunkiriniya’, ‘my woman’, ‘lamp of my heart’.
           Suresh Canagarajah depicts Wikkramasinha as a politically committed and socially conscious poet in Sri Lankan English poetry. And he appears as an angry poet. For example in the poem “The Death of Ashanthi” he criticizes his own family members who belong to the local landed gentry for exploiting their home maids sexually and or else. [Canagarajah, 1995]
“… she was perhaps used
                 by my cousin:privert in the army,”
 There he criticizes his own class for reinforcing sexual exploitation and he identifies himself with the lower class.  
           Yasmine Gooneratne is an outstanding female poet of Sri Lanka who belongs to the Western educated minority. During the time she wrote the social patterns of Sri Lanka have changed from her childhood. At that time mother tongue oriented culture and education emerged in the country and that affected to the anglicized minority of the country. [Raheem and Fernando, 1978] So it is clearly evident the fact that this situation has an effect on Gooneratne’s poetry.
           In the poem “This Language, This woman” she depicts her ideas a defender of English language. As Suresh Canagarajah points out in this poem Yasmine Gooneratne protests against the nationalists in the country. She argues that the nationalists are simply jealous of not having English for their mistress even though they have a brief unsuccessful ‘flirtation’. [Canagarajah, 1995] the poet is using the metaphor of woman to depict the language. She is mounting a farced defense of the English language. Furthermore in detail she points out due to the accidental birth of Sinhala language those speakers do not know the value of English language.
                                         “Beware how you insult her
in your ignorance, accident of your birth.
      Goaded by the jealous fury of your own girl”

She draws a class distinction through the poem. English is characteristically in positive feminine term and the characterization of English show its capacity to regenerate, loyal, love and subtle. She has a very elite sort of vision and that shows how much she is colonized. She says that she is trying to defend the language by writing.  Through her poem we see how the Western educated minority in the country try to defend the English language and the negative attitudes that they have towards the English language.
           Yasmine Gooneratne’s “Peace Game” and “Post-Office Queue” are two poems that show the class distinction. There we see the upper class people’s attitude towards the working class people. And also she presents the snobbish and contemptuous qualities of the upper class people. In the poem “Post-Office Queue” the sister is a woman from a privileged class. It is like a conflictual exchange, only the upper class woman [the poet] speaks. And the lower class woman is not given a voice. She is presented through the narrator’s voice. The narrator is sort of anticipating the lower class woman and she is speaking for self defense. There is a sense of snobbery and content.
           As Lilamani de Silva points out “this poem reinforces class mythology. The upper class narrator is an absolute snob, and is viciously self –defensive in acknowledging her separation from the ‘other’ in terms of the class and language.” [Silva, 1995]

“There is not very much that we share,
      Sister, although I know you are standing
                                              …that your life lacks salt.”

In a way the narrator constitutes herself. And we see both classes are been insular and narrow minded. The poem is about an everyday incident. But as it represents through the upper class character we see only one side of the story. Moreover the poet shows the impossibility of crossing the class barriers though both of them are women.
“I suppose you know you really stand to win
                                         And I know who is going to be hurt.”

We see that both women have their insular virtues.  Likewise the poem can be considered as an amazing, snobbish and callous piece of writing. Addressing to a lower class woman standing next to the poet in a post office queue and the poem ends with the conclusion
“But to ask in English for a stamp is not yet a moral sin;
                                Your insular virtue need not make me dirt.”
The poem demonstrates defiantly upper class attitude which misses entirely the point and pathos of social barriers. [Raheem and Fernando, 1978]
The poem is such a subtle criticism where a high class woman sees her own differences comparing to the privileged.
           Again we see the same situation in the poem ‘Peace Game’. The poem is a mildly suggestive satire on war. She satirizes the inequality of the sides playing the peace game, or the inequality of the sides fighting for war. Here also the poet presents class distinction and there we see two side ‘Odds’ and ‘Evens’. ‘Evens’ belong to the upper class people who were ‘swell’, ‘upright’, ‘regular guys’ and poet represents them. And like the earlier poem here also ‘Odds’ who represent the lower class who were ‘little, patched and scrawny’ were not given a voice.
“We Evens were a well-fed lot
           and tough, so that the little patched
                and scrawny Odds would never dare.”

           On more universal term the meaning of the poem seems to be that wars are not fought on equal terms. It is one party, the more powerful that chooses the ground and makes the rules and plays the game, not for war but for peace. As Lilamani de Silva indicates, “the thesis is that since the ‘Evens’ have the edge over the ‘Odds’ in terms of class power even at the outset, the contest has a predictable end in the game as in life. But the poor are always victims in the race.”  [Silva, 1995] Nevertheless in both poems the poetess objectifies the lower class people and in a certain way her writings affected to draw a class distinction in the country.
           Patrick Fernando is another famous Lankan poet whose writings contributed to display Lankan reality and to the exploration of human potentiality. He wrote with a certain confidence. We see a vivid imagination working through his poems. That has a peculiar originality of its own. In point of actual achievement Patrick Fernando is one of the most talented poets belonging to the period after 1956. He is not exclusively Sri Lankan or Western. His poems can be read by anyone anywhere as they have a universal appeal. Suresh Canagarajah introduces Patrick Fernando’s poetry represent the dominant ethos of Sri Lankan English poetry. [Canagarajah, 1995] He is a native writer and he deals with themes typically native in the West coast of Sri Lanka.
           In his poem ‘Fisherman Mourned by His Wife’ he deals with the theme of love and marriage between a young fisherman and his wife. The fisherman is dead and the wife in her grief analyses the various stages of their relationship. Through images the poet draws a realistic picture of the hardships of their lives. Most of his imageries are drawn from the sea.  
“…not yet tanned…you in old boat brown”

The line shows how fisherman is conditioned by the life he leads. Next the narrator analyses the nature of their marriage. It is a union arranged by their elders. She recalls the first days of their marriage and its consummation while his chastity and inexperience in sex are revealed. Their love blossomed forth after marriage.  The relationship portrayed reflects the typical native ethos. And also both fisherman and his wife’s characters represent folk culture of Sri Lanka. Moreover Suresh Canagarajah depicts his ideas about their relationship as follows;
“Fernando succeeds to a great extent in capturing the specificity of the relationship of the fisherman and his wife as a conservative arranged marriage. However he goes beyond simple stereotypes to show how the relationship blossoms into deep understanding- and love. He also evokes the psychological complexities in the emotions and attitudes of the partners which depict the relationship as humanity alive.” [Canagarajah, 1995]
            Patrick Fernando expresses a different theme in his poem ‘Life and Death of a Hawk.’ It is the enigmatic nature of the highly elevated life and the pathetic death of the hawk that form the subject of the poem. Patrick Fernando shows his own bafflement at the enigmatic nature of the great men ending in meanness. The poet uses the image of a hawk that often can be seen in the Sri Lankan sky. But the theme is universal as it can be applied to any society.  The whole poem carries the theme of however majesty, however powerful this is the common end of all living creatures. The poem is a symbolic of destruction of things beautiful and splendid by violent and incongruous forces.
            Though there can be seen slight differences among the above mentioned Sri Lankan writers in English all of them have taken a certain effort to explore human potentiality. With direct and indirect messages they portray characters. The characters that they portray and social, economical and political issues that they brought out are more familiar to the Sri Lankan audience rather than Western literature.  The clash between native and alien discourse is an unavoidable factor for those writers. Suresh Canagarajah points out how Sri Lankan poets face to the clash of native and alien discourse. According to hi Patrick Fernando ‘ignores and overlooks the clash; Yasmine Gooneratne consciously manipulates the clash to justify her standard. … Lakdasa Wikkramasinha integrates the discourses effectively with a solid grounding in the native cultural traditions and social context.’
            However Sri Lankan writers in English have a distinct style and with their writing they create a separate variety of English literature in Sri Lanka. And those writings affect to Sri Lankan audience as well as to the Western audience to widen their critical awareness of Lankan reality.


Canagarajah, S. “Reconsidering the Question of Language in Sri Lanka.” From Essays on Poetry of Sri Lanka. English Association of Sri Lanka, 1995

De Mel, N. (ed) Selective Readings from the poetry of Yasmine Gooneratne. English Association of Sri Lanka, 1995.

Raheem, S and Fernando, S. Women writers in English. Volume 17, 1978.