Nuvara Yugayē Sinhala Bava reaches the Bookshelves

  bearing ISBN 978-955-665-161-4 in the year 2016 … with the translation being the result of the labours of Anura Hettiarachchi and Ananda Wakkumbura. The original work is entitled Sinhala Consciousness in Kandyan Period, 1590s-1815, Colombo: Vijitha Yapa Publications, 2004

The recent appearance of Gananath Obeyesekere’s The Doomed King will, hopefully, evoke interests in the the original English version of Nuvara Yugayē Sinhala Bava  which appeared in print in 2004 and was launched at some point thereafter in 2005 at a ceremony presided over by Vijitha Yapa with Professor GL Peiris [who had followed Nihal Kappagoda, Michael Roberts and Kitsiri Malalgoda as Ceylon’s Rhodes Scholar in Oxford] as valedictory spokesman.  Hopefully, too, the translated opus will enable its arguments and data to reach an even wider audience.

 Messrs Ananda Wakkumbura, lecturers Dewaraja, Cooray and Edirisinghe from Colombo University , Kamini de Soysa, Rohan Bastin, Ann Abeywardena, and Chandra Wickremasinghe can be recognised among the audience

A SAMPLE OF THE ILLUSTRATIONS within both versions of the book

 Sinhalese people, 1672from Saar, 1672 via RK de Silva & Beumer 1988: 364

 Dutch emissaries in  däkuma before the King of Sihalē circa 1785Brandes painting, Rijksmuseum

 Pilima Talauvva and General Macdowall –drawing attributed to Capt Vilat – Dept of National achives

 An Adigar in procession Ismeth Raheem Collection

A NOTE: The independent state that we came to identify as “Kandy” in the nomenclature inscribed by the dominance of the British and the English language was referred to as Sihalē, Sinhalaya, Tun Sinhalaya et cetera in the indigenous literature of the period. The rulers considered themselves to be lords of the whole island. This was not total fiction; the Dutch catered to this concept and sent regular embassies which bowed to the sovereign king in rites of obeisance known as däkum. 

NOTE TWO: my study would not have been feasible without the generous help of a whole battery of scholars and cognoscenti; Charles Abeysekera, HAP Abeyawardana, Sandadas & Sandagomi Coperahewa, CR de Silva, Lorna Dewaraja, Asoka de Zoysa, KNO Dharmadasa, Yodhagama Ddharmapala, JB Disanayake, KBA Edmund, Srinath Ganewatte, Darshani Gunatillelka, Punchibanda Meegaskumbura, Kitsiri Malalgoda, Rohini Paranavitana, Sumna Ratnayake, HL Seneviratne, RC Somapala, Sumanasekera Banda, Ananda Tissakumara, Ananda Wakkumbura and DPM Weeerakkody (several of whom, alas, have departed from this our world)..

AN ODD NOTE: The study involved a good deal of translation from Sinhala to English. But an instance of movement the other way is revealing in that it indicates the ‘play’ of power, viz. the force of the English language in circumstances of British dominance.  Brought up in the 20th century I – like many others — had absorbed the English terms “Kandy”  and “Kandyans.” The town  of Kandy, however, was known to the Sinhala speakers as Mahanuvara (or its shorten-form “nuvara“) or Senkadagala. Its other denotation, kanda-uda-pas-rata, had led to the English shorten form “Kandy” which became the dominant usage in the course of British rule. From this usage our discussions in English referred to the “Kandyan wars” and the “Kandyan people.” Immersed as I was in this customary usage, it was by chance that I asked myself this when reading an early 19th century British document: what was the Sinhala equivalent of “Kandyan”. I was visiting Peradeniya then and, of course, I raised this question with “Piunchi” — no other than PB Meegaskumbura. Believe me, he was stumped –he had no immediate answer. It was purely by accident that I came across the answer in reading the Sinhala version of the Rajavaliya: kandaudayo (see Sinhala Consciousness, 2004: 103-06).

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