Dr Ruwan M Jayatunge’s book on the 71 Uprising
Posted on May 7th, 2011

Shelton Ranasinghe

When the magic show we were watching at the faculty of engineering theater in April 1971 was abruptly stopped and an announcement was made to say that the Peradeniya University Campus was closed with immediate effect, we were wondering what was happening. Within a short time we understood the cause was an insurgents attack on several police stations. However we were not concern about it. But within a matter of hours we understood the seriousness of it. That night, we were afraid whether our own colleagues who would be in the insurgent movement will forcibly lead us to do something stupid to achieve their goals. The police were not kind to the university students who were trying to go home next the few days, the two day dead line we were given to leave the campus. That was history over 40 years.

Dr. Ruwan M Jayatunga’s book took me back to history and gave me a broad understanding of the entire insurgent movement in 1971. It provided me a load of interesting information that I never knew or imagined. Like all his other books this is another good one that did not allow me to put down after I started reading the first few pages. I liked the sectors that described the biographies of the core members who had aspirations of a social revolution. Especially, the social and psychological transformation that some of the members lived long to tell their tale was fascinating. Dr. Jayatunga’s expert analysis of mental composure of various characters in the book and the presentation, is highly commendable to any reader. –

One Response to “Dr Ruwan M Jayatunge’s book on the 71 Uprising”

  1. Fran Diaz Says:

    We are very glad that Dr Jayatunge has published his book on the Insurgency of 1971. At that time, I was not in Sri Lanka, but felt the brunt of the events after I returned. Again, the same happened during the late 1980’s Insurrection. However, we are all glad these events are behind us. We congratulate Dr Jayatunge on his publication, and wish him all the very best.

    Apart from Dr Jayatunge’s writings, not many have explored the psyche of these events. Why is that ? Are we prone to sweeping unhappy events under the carpet and carry on as if nothing happened ? This is the wrong attitude. Unless and until we FACE up to what exactly is ailing parts of our society and find lasting solutions, we will not gain an integrated and happy country, no matter what we do. Having said that, we have to admit that most societies in the world are in a state of unrest, and that affects Sri Lanka.

    Unfortunately, at that time, the style of governance here, with parts copied from our giant neighbors, Russia, China, & India, even though we are a Democracy, required that all uprisings & protests against an elected government be put down rather mercilessly. May be it is not too late for at least the political parties concerned to apologize for the deaths of so many member of the JVP, in order to bring closure to these sad affairs. We should make sure that such events never happen again, and there is always a listening ear for the grievances of the public.

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