Michael Roberts …. being a presentation again of an article presented in June 2014 in the Sri Lanka Guardian with the title “Fashioning History in Sri Lanka.” …. http://www.srilankaguardian.org/2014/06/fashioning-history-in-sri-lanka.html
There are several interpersonal exchanges which moulded my thinking before I presented this interpretation. They are all instructive. Some of these exchanges were combative; others unintentionally helpful. Take one insance when I was discussing the famous tale in the Alakeshvara Yuddhaya about local readings of the strange white-men from Portuguese ships (caravels) with Professor AV Suaraweera of Vidyodaya University (who had edited that tome). As I told my readers when traing my pathway: “when I referred to lime being the smell of the viper and Vasavārti Māraya, [Suraweera’s] eyes had widened and his face had lit up.” This was an ethnographic encounter of the anthropological kind that indicated that I was on a profitable track
ABSTRACT of the article in the SL Guardian: Two arrival stories in the long span of the island’s history will provide the foundations for reflections on history-making in the modern era. Episode One will pursue my own intellectual trail in the 1980s in fashioning an interpretation of the story of the arrival of the Portuguese and my subsequent confrontations in print with KM de Silva on this issue in the 1990s. Episode Two essays an interpretation of the advent of Vijaya retailed in the Pali & Sinhala chronicles as a genesis story of the same order as the tale of Adam and Eve: contending that it is not a tale with any factual basis, but one that conveys a mythic truth for its authors and ‘faithful’ listeners. It is, thus, a morality-tale about the magical implantation of civilised culture and state-forms within the island. This interpretation, however, has shortcomings and will benefit from the correctives imposed by Godfrey Gunatilleke’s exposition of the multi-faceted symbolism associated with this myth.