Epitaph of a colonized (Part-1)
Posted on September 30th, 2011

Geethanjana Kudaligamage

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Notes from Kirinda

What I am writing now is a fusion of some of my thoughts with crude translation of some pages from my notebook originally written in Sinhala language. These notes were about my Kataragama tour with a group of friends and some relatives two years after the Tsunami hit southern coast ofSri Lanka. By the time of our tour there were no traces of the calamity that had devastated the region two years ago. Soon we forgot about it.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Although the tour to the south was pleasant, by the afternoon we were extremely tired. The arid and breathless climatic condition and its intolerable heat had battered us all day long making unbearable for our bodies to resist it. By late afternoon however we managed to reach Kirinda, a well-known historic location. At this point I was having a severe Stomachache; indeed was so uncomfortable and needed to be away from my touring companions, because no need to tell the fear factor that is pinching your nerve when you have your ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Enemy at the gates.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ I walked a little away from the cluster of those boutiques and makeshift houses in search of refuge. After walking quite a distance, I found much needed isolation and solitude from so-called civilization.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ The sun was already slipping behind rock boulders of the beach front. The evening sky was creating a spectacular display of variety of reds yellows and blues with scattered remnants of clouds. Ocean was silent and entire surrounding was so quiet that you could trace the flight of a dragonfly by its buzz. I could hear some human voices in distance blended with random bird tweets and whistles. As I was passing by a puddle of water, hundreds of frogs jumped into the water at once breaking the silence for a moment. But soon after that silence engulfed the vicinity again I sat in front of a rock boulder near the water puddle facing the landscape.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ At this moment I found my real savage, the animal inside me was enjoying eternal happiness in the wilderness for a moment. What a burden that the civilization can bring to oneƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s life I thought?

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ I realized why poets depict nature in feminine form, because when you embrace nature in full, you can feel some sort of inner sublime, sort of sensuality submerging your mind and body. You will be transcending from civilization to natural eternity in trance, and you can feel that your body and soul blends with nature with all that happiness when these all three become a single entity. The experience is so erotic and sensual. I think that must be the reason why poets see nature in feminine form. I am sorry for explaining this experience in masculine point of view.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ I was thinking of some lyrics of Mahagamasekara because it was very relevant to the momentƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚¦

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Sanda andurey salena tharu eli – magey hada thula karai wimasili
ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ” -â„¢ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚³ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ¢¢”š¬‚¦ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚¯ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ¢¢”š¬‚ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚»ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ…‚¡ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ” -â„¢ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ”š‚ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚½ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ¢-¾‚¢ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚±ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚­ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚»ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ¢¢”š¬‚ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ¢¢”š¬’ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚½ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·’ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ -ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚¸ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ…-ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ…‚¡ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ¢¢”š¬…¾ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚¯ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚­ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ¢¢”š¬‚ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚½ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ…‚¡ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚»ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚ºƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·’ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·’ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚¸ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ” -â„¢ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·’ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚½ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·’

Nagena ganadura wadai sithuwili – mey magul rae bindei iwasili
ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚±ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ”š‚ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ…-ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ¢-¾‚¢ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚±ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚±ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚¯ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ¢¢”š¬‚ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚»ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ”š‚ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚©ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·’ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ” -â„¢ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·’ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚­ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ¢¢”š¬‚ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·’ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚½ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·’ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ -ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚¸ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ…‚¡ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚¸ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ…-ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ¢¢”š¬‚ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚½ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ…‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚»ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ¢¢”š¬’ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚¶ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·’ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚³ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ¢¢”š¬…”ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ¢¢”š¬‚°ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ” -â„¢ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·’ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚½ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·’

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ What a beautiful language?

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Kimada oba mal kumariyanne ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” pethivida sathutin sitinney
ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ…‚¡ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·’ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚¸ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚¯ ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ¢¢”š¬‚ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚¶ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚¸ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚½ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ…‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ…‚¡ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ¢¢”š¬‚ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚¸ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚»ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·’ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚ºƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚±ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ…‚ ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚±ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ…‚¡ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…”ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚´ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ¢-¾‚¢ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚­ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·’ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·’ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚¯ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ” -â„¢ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚­ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ¢¢”š¬‚ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚§ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·’ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚±ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ…‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ” -â„¢ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·’ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚§ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·’ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚±ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ…‚ ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚±ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ…‚¡ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

Rahasa nathiwada mam nodanney ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” thuruley bamarun noweda inney?
ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚»ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ¢¢”š¬…¾ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ” -â„¢ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚±ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ”š‚ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚­ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·’ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚¯ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚¸ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚¸ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚±ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ…-ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚¯ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚±ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ…‚ ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚±ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ…‚¡ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…”ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚­ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ¢¢”š¬‚ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚»ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ¢¢”š¬‚ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚½ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ…‚¡ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚¶ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚¸ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚»ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ¢¢”š¬‚ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚±ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ…‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚±ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ…-ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ…‚¡ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚¯ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ¢¢”š¬‚°ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚±ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ…‚ ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚±ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ…‚¡ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ?

Aadara hangumƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚¦adara hangumƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚¦
ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ¢¢”š¬‚ ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚¯ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚»ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ¢¢”š¬…¾ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ”š‚ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ…‚¸ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ¢¢”š¬‚ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚¸ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ…‚  ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚¦ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ¢¢”š¬‚¦ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚¯ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚»ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ¢¢”š¬…¾ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ”š‚ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ…‚¸ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ¢¢”š¬‚ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ”š‚¸ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚·ƒ…‚  ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚¦

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ While I was in this deep thought, I never realized that there was a herd of monkeys already had encircled me. One monkey coming out from the herd was nearing me slowly, step by step directly looking into my eyes. It was a frightening thing. But still I was looking at the face of the monkey and thought that it was very familiar to me, that its face was reminiscent to something or someone I knew. So I tried to recollect.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ A black face with blond hair; I was thinking of a serious black face with white hair, who is that, what that evokes? A well-known leftist politician? No, itƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s not him! A well-known Sinhala literary giant? No, not him either. Finally I realized that it was the picture I have seeing of a chief justice from a former British colony. Who was wearing a blond wig, creating a completely weird combination of black face with blond falsie? This reveals how far colonial education has managed to remove our common sense and simple reality away from us. Post-colonial academia with crippled vision is capable of seeing big things but unable to see simple realities.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Academia of crippled vision

Educated natives who are practicing law even never wanted to change the British tradition of having this blond wig in the costume of judges in their colonies. It was so abnormal to see black skin associated with blond hair. This spectacle of the judge of the former British colony symbolizes the disparity in colonial laws that punish the native while paying homage not only to alien notion of justice but also the physical traits of white alien that symbolized the guardian of justice.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ In the court room of any colony, there are symbolic representations of many things. The robe of the judge similar to that of Pope directly symbolizes the western notion of justice as the representation of godƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s will. Taking an oath touching a Bible before any testimony symbolizes the representation of god in the truth. However adding blond wig symbolizes that justice can only come in the form of white being, and the white and only white race can have the sole right to judge the other even in his absence. Contemporary debate over the different interpretations of justice and human rights has some relationship to this reality I suppose.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ How can we rely on the rationality of these judges if they cannot even realize a mere simple symbolic representation of their costume and cultural disparity in it? I still respect that monkey of Kirinda for enlightening me of the ugly spectacle of post-colonial judges and their colonial system of law and order.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Our conditioned, systematized and standardized life style in the city; our achievements through urban life of modernity, all seemed to be hollow to me. What a cost we have paid so far for it? What a loss although we celebrate it as a great achievement? What we have learned as colonially bestowed ideal citizens ofSri Lanka? Yes, MAINLY we have learned to find faults in our own things, to denigrate our own culture, language, sciences, and knowledge; yes, such has been my lot since my childhood and so does the others.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Construction of a negative vision

Since these negative characteristics were expected to be there in the local culture, magically they did make their appearance under our gaze thanks to our cultivated vision. We have developed a type of substitute secondhand blue eyes, and when we see through those eyes, everything other than western was appeared to be uncivilized and crude. Our heroes being replaced by new ones, our cultural metaphors being discarded, removed and swapped with unfamiliar ones. Our fake social system did the rest to familiarize these strange heroes and metaphors into our lives. Actually our education tacitly created cultural bastards out of us and distanced us from our reality. It created all the disparities and deformities in our grotesque characters. Can anyone deny it? Do we at least have our common sense?

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ When Lester James Perris directed his movie ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Weera PuranappuƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ his perception of the local rebels of Matale Rebellion was far inferior to the reality of this historical event. And their counterparts British were depicted far superior than the true events. So he gave most of the rebels just wooden clubs to fight against guns and cannons. He never even was fair-minded to give most of them at least a sword or bows and arrows. That is testimonial to the extent to which our education has been distanced him from common sense. The education had never allowed Lester to think objectively. How did he miss the point that he was portraying a rebellion of a population with experience of three hundred years of warfare with colonial powers and still had managed to be prevailed? So naturally they wouldnƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t take wooden clubs to fight against British army with guns and canons because they knew very well who their enemy was. But the colonial education that Lester was given was not based on logic, because logic was the enemy of it. ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ This crippled vision is common in entire colonial/post-colonial world. Everyone learned to read signs of non-existent inferiority and evil traits in native culture in the name of civilization and human progress. That was the hallmark of our entire education. The paradoxical reality of our education is that it teaches greatness of local culture in subjects like Sinhala-literature and Buddhist civilization and then again tacitly denigrates, and contradicts such contents when they teach subjects like science or civic. Since the science, government, civics or English are considered subjects of development and progress and they are projected into the future, we trusted them more than Buddhist-civilization or Sinhala literature. Is this paradoxical reality in our education or an accident? Now I know it is not.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Colonial cultural training that is in the making of the grotesque

The symbol of the authority of education in any schools is its principle. The male principles of most of the leading schools inSri Lankaare dressed in European suits. From the day one to the end of the schooling life of a child will see this spectacle of the symbol of knowledge and intellect in European attire. What is the message this spectacle registers in the mind of a child? Does that message will have some reflection in the future life of this child?

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ In front of the barrage of this unfamiliar cultural baggage, the native child will be confused, because the cultural learning of our education is designed to suggest that the native is crude and not properly cultured. So he grow either reticent or to develop identity disorder like split personality; with different personalities of interacting with different socio-cultural settings, because ex-colony has become a cultural fruit-salad. He develops alternate personalities with different set of cultural memories, behaviors, related to each specific branch of the social, all at the expense of self.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ The native who is resistant to this cultural training of colonially bestowed education pays the biggest price. He is keenly aware of good and evil by his upbringing within native culture, but instead of being indulged, he is being humiliated by constant denigration of his own cultural belongings, so making him to be questioning self. He becomes resentful while some others are joyous and talkative of new exercise, so he tries to resist this forceful training.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Though he feels superior to others he is considered inferior and the education will try to prove him this forcefully due to his unwillingness to obey the alien etiquettes. So he grows insulted. He becomes a victim of the brutal forces of the social. ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ His cheerless youth passes in conflict with self and society, and fearing ridiculed he buries his finest feelings related to his own traditions deep in his heart, and there they dies. He tries to speak the truth of his cultural beliefs, but nobody takes him serious, so he begins to practice duplicity. Then for his surprise, they cheer him. He realizes they admire only duplicity and deception. Their cultural seal is weakness and fakeness. They demand weakness and fakeness from others and glorify them as refined characteristics of the cultured. In other words they call it the characteristic of the gentleman.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ At the end this native comes to the city. The city this native comes is hiding its fakeness. In this city he masters the fine art of living between two worlds, one for him and the other for the rest of the world. Sri Lankan middle class is the finest example for this. The life he reservedly cultivated is a substitute life, contingent to the European culture.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Having come to know his society and its dynamics, he becomes versed in the art of living this fake life; he is the con-artist but being glorified as the cultured. He sees how others living this fake life normalizing and making it virtually real. It is then that despair begins to grow in his heart–not the despair that can be healed with bloodshed, but a cold, impotent desperation, concealed under a polite exterior and a good-natured smile like our Colombian diplomacy. He becomes a gentleman.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ He becomes a morally crippled; He had lost one half of his soul for it had withered, dried up and died. That is the half of the authentic character of the native culture. And he cuts it off and casts it away, while the other half agitated and lived in him. Although he realizes its fakeness, it still is the only way of survival for him. No one notice this duplicity, because many of them had gone through the same process and had almost normalized it. And again no one expected to have another half because severing this half meant to be the progress.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ We all know that whole culture ofColomboin post-colonialSri Lankais always being artificial and deceiving.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Modern hero is a malicious, morally crippled and impotent beast, but I never realized it until very late.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ (Write in Sinhala-http://www.google.com/transliterate/Sinhalese)


4 Responses to “Epitaph of a colonized (Part-1)”

  1. gunarat Says:

    Kudaligamage has a distinct and refreshing style of writing in the colonial master’s patois.

    Therefore, I was totally amused to read the following sentences in his pro-nationalist essay:

    “The symbol of the authority of education in any schools is its principle. The male principles of most of the leading schools in Sri Lankaare dressed in European suits.”

    Is he trying to poke fun at English?

    A black judge in a white wig would have written the same thing with due respect for spelling and grammar:

    “The symbol of the authority of education in any school is its principal. The male principals of most of the leading schools in Sri Lanka wear European suits.”

  2. Geeth Says:

    Dear Dr. Gunaratne,

    First of all let me thank you for reading my article. That single fact encourages me to write again and again more than your comment can discourage me to keep me away from writing. Dr. Gunaratne, I know very often I make spelling and grammar mistakes in my articles. Many of Lanka web readers also know about it. Some even have mentioned it before you did. Instead of complaining about my language errors, many of them read my articles ardently. They might be more interested in the content of my articles than my English.

    Despite being occasionally ridiculed by people of ‘perfect words’, I still continue my writing. Do you know the reason why Dr. Gunaratne? Firstly, I do not have any intention to make a name as a writer. All I needed was to say something that I thought needed to be said to my people, because I view colonialism and its concomitant sociopolitical and cultural effects as the main culprit of many of our national ailments. I wanted to say it to the people who have been mostly affected and victimized. No doubt, had I developed the effectiveness of my language skills earlier, I would have been able to do the job even better by now. But, as the Heinrich Heine once said, “IF THE ROMANS HAD BEEN OBLIGED TO LEARN LATIN, THEY WOULD NEVER HAVE FOUND THE TIME TO CONQUER THE WORLD” so I decided to continue writing.

    Secondly, and very importantly, I do not suffer from that colonial decease of venerating English as a social signifier that can elevate my class status or my cultural eminence. Unlike many others who have been victimized by colonial psychology of language, with or without English, my social or cultural status can never be affected by this alien language. English cannot dominate me or make me obedient, like it has done to millions of men and women who have been skillfully injected with fear, inferiority complex, trepidation, servility, despair and abasement. Don’t forget, I am writing about the ‘Epitaph of a colonized.’

    Please do not think that I am angry with you. I respected you as an eminent professor and will respect you in future as well. At the same time, as an experienced professor of journalism, if you want to help me in that regard, I am more than happy to be your pupil.


  3. gunarat Says:

    Dear Geeth:

    Sorry, you missed the tongue-in-cheek humor I intended to convey in my comment.

    In fact, I always look forward to reading your essays, which I find very refreshing and thought-provoking. You use English with magnificent elegance most of the time.

    You and I both had our roots in rural Sri Lanka. Sinhala culture has shaped the way we write and speak. We are forced to use English because we can’t use Snhala beyond the shores of Sri Lanka.

    Please don’t be offended by my obtuse attempt to evoke a little bit of humor in a serious esay.

  4. Geeth Says:

    No Sir, I do not be offended. First and for mostly, if I feel offended, it tells that still I am a slave of English and its oppressive culture. But I am not belonging to that culture anymore; therefore I am not living under its cultural jurisdiction to be judged by it. For that reason I wanted to say that I am very comfortable of making mistakes, similar to that of an English man’s freedom of making mistakes when he is writing in Sinhalese.

    By responding to your comment just I wanted to tell others how we must deal with English and its entourage of cultural oppression. I wanted to share my happiness of being liberated from one of the most brutal suppressors of all languages ‘English,’ and its code of sociocultural conduct.

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