By Somapala Gunadheera –
I was posted to the Jaffna Kachcheri as a CCS cadet in 1957 and was happy to be invited to join a boat trip to attend the ‘Ther (Chariot) Festival’ at the ‘Nagapoosani Amman Kovil’ at ‘Nainatheevu’. As far as I remember, the GA, AGA and DJ of Jaffna were travelling together in our boat.
Our party disembarked at the ‘Nainatheevu’ jetty early in the morning and went through the rituals of the festival including pulling the chariot round the ‘kovil’. After the festivities were over, we were treated to a sumptuous lunch cooked in the traditional, delicious Jaffna style.
After lunch, all members of our party walked about a kilometre to visit Nagadeepa Viharaya. There we were entertained by the chief incumbent of the viharaya who offered blessings on us. At the end of the day, we re-embarked at Nagadeepa Jetty, opposite the temple. We found no sea or other divisive factor in our walk between Nagapoosani Amman Kovil and Nagadeepa Vihara. Not even a politician!
By the way, Nagadeepa is an original Pali word which language is not known to be involved in a linguistic conflict. Besides the name supports the view that the island had been occupied even before the Buddhist era. There was a lively discussion during our cruise as each of us in the party could share our thoughts in the other’s language.
Back at home, I told my mother that I had been to Nagadeepa. The GA would have spoken to his wife about his visit to Nainatheevu. Both ladies would have doubtlessly understood that we went to the same place.