KD Paranavitana’s Felicitation Volume: A Treasure Trove


with Prasad Fonseka as Editor and Vini Vitharanaas Editorial Consultant  …. and the followingas “Honorary Editors” viz.

ISBN  978-955-30-9035-5

2018 S.Godage & Bros.

The “Knight of the Order Oranje-Nassau” bestowed on Professor Paranavitana by Her Majest Queen Beatrisx of the Netherlans …. 15 April 2002



…. and, beside the man, there is a woman named ROHINI!


Filed under accountability, ancient civilisations, architects & architecture, art & allure bewitching, authoritarian regimes, British imperialism, centre-periphery relations, cultural transmission, economic processes, ethnicity, heritage, historical interpretation, landscape wondrous, life stories, military strategy, paintings, power politics, sri lankan society, transport and communications, travelogue, unusual people, world events & processes

2 responses to “KD Paranavitana’s Felicitation Volume: A Treasure Trove

  1. Chiran Windsor

    During a research project, I was engaged in (which Professor Michael Roberts also helped me with) I realised that I couldn’t find the accurate answers to my quest without digging into the Dutch Ceylon documents. As I don’t have the necessary Dutch language skills, I started reading English translations of Dutch documents and reaped a lot from the forerunners of the field like Sophia Peters, P. E. Pieris, R.G. Anthonisz, E. Reimers, Paulus, Sinnappah Arasaratnam, Raven-Hart. In the process, I also purchased and read Professor Paranavitana’ s translated book, “Travel Diary of Isaac Augustin Rumpf”. With that knowledge, I comprehended that the Dutch Ceylon documents are a treasure trove that has been underexplored.

    As I realised the translated documents are only the tip of the iceberg, I turned towards the Dutch-Ceylon documents that have not been translated into English. Even without Dutch language skills, I managed to find a few fragments of text that are related to my research. On one such occasion, I wanted few portions of the text I identified to be translated by a professional translator and sent it to two Sydney based professional translators, who could only make sense of a few words. Not knowing who has the ability to translate the 18th century Ceylonese Dutch, I sought the help of a PhD Dutch Historian. While she translated the paragraphs successfully, as she was unaccustomed with Dutch words specific to Ceylon still the translation didn’t make much sense. When I have exhausted my resources, introduced by Professor Ratnasiri Arangala, I contacted Professor Paranavitana and finally, he translated the passages to make full sense. These few paragraphs he translated revealed at least two unknown facts of the history of Ceylon. During my quest for the 18th Century Ceylonese Dutch translators, few names came up such as Professor Nirmal Dewasiri and a Directress of the National Archives of Sri Lanka. However, in the process, I realised that Professor Paranavitana is the lead and the living legend of Dutch translations.

    Nevertheless, I strongly believe there are still lots of gold to be mined among the untranslated Dutch documents and expect a lot more contribution to the Sri Lankan history of the era. I believe Professor K. D. Paranavitana is the best Dutch Ceylon contributor and translator we are eye witnessing today. In a way, he is the living legend in 18th-century Ceylonese Dutch translations. I wish him long life and several years of service to history in the forthcoming years. Said that we need to build few successors who can carry forward the works of the legends represented currently by Professor K. D. Paranavitana.

  2. Thank you Chiran, an endearing tribute. “KD’ or “Parans’ as I call him has a right-hand — his wife Rohini, a scholar in her own right. We must wish both of them a Covid-free period from now for many more years.

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