26 July, 2017

The Great History Cook-Fest By R. A. L. H Gunawardana And The SSA

By Darshanie Ratnawalli

 Darshanie Ratnawalli

Darshanie Ratnawalli

Its fans as well as critics agree that the Social Scientists’ Association (SSA) of Sri Lanka was on a mission. According to Michael Roberts (2004[i], p7), this mission was born out of the carnage of 1983 July, which apparently “came as a rude shock to local Leftists and liberals. As the ethnic conflict took a turn for the worse, a number of liberals and Marxist radicals linked hands to develop arguments against the ideological constructs that were part of the heightened conflict”. As part of this enterprise, which according to Roberts was “as brave as necessary” Leslie Gunawardana’s 1979 essay “People of the Lion[ii]” was midwifed (it originated as a paper read at an SSA seminar[iii]) and reprinted (1984) by the SSA who also turned publisher to its sequel, his 1995 “Historiography in a time of Ethnic Conflict[iv]”.

Perhaps the best articulation of this “brave and necessary” enterprise was by S.J Tambiah (1992[v]) who called for a “new breed of imaginative, and liberated non-sectarian historians who will deconstruct the histories which legitimate the present conflict”. Despite the noble language, it was an exhortation to a certain ideological movement (classified as “good”) to hijack the history writing in Sri Lanka. This was already being done albeit inexpertly (see here) and dishonestly (see here) by Leslie Gunawardana, perhaps the best known ancient period historian at that time.

In my view, the most incisive comment to be directed against Gunawardana came from Michael Roberts[vi] (full text). Even though K.N.O Dharmadasa’s place as the most systematic critic of Gunawardana is unassailable, and Roberts’ comment was merely an aside by a non-specialist informed by K.N.O, it had nevertheless the refreshing ring of a child asking why the emperor was naked. Roberts stated that Gunawardana’s argument “does not address the issue how it was that a mass of people who employed a common language in literary and oral discourse, a language which was identified as Sinhala, and who lived in a land called Sinhala, were not seen as Sinhala; and did not see themselves as Sinhala.” This comment refers to 5th century AD as Roberts had made clear 3 paragraphs earlier. “The Pali commentaries written by the Indian scholar-­visitor, Buddhagosa, in the early fifth century A.D., not only refer to Sihaladvipa, but also speak of the Buddhist doctrines being kept in the Sihala bhasa (Sinhala language) for “the benefit of the inhabitants of the island” (Dharmadasa 1991).”

Gunawardana never answered Roberts. But we can reconstruct an answer based on his two essays. Leslie would have had no problem in agreeing that “there was a mass of people who employed a common language in literary and oral discourse living in an island called Sinhala”, he says as much in his “People of the Lion”, p47[vii] (full text); “The term Sihaḷadipa or ‘Sinhala Island’ occurs in the Samantapasadika, the commentary on the Vinaya section of the Canon, written by Buddhaghosa in the fifth century AD. The text states that the earlier commentaries used by Buddhaghosa had been written in the language of Sihaḷadipa”.

“Michael” Leslie would have said, “your question is wrong because you are the wrong sort of reader. My “People of the Lion” is intended for an audience who’d never dream of questioning my source proficiency even though they may have questions about my conclusions (To most of them, even that would seem like sacrilege). After all I am a legitimate scholar and a credentialed historian, and it would never occur to my target reader (who are wide eyed, credulous and idealistic, cf. Jeganathan and Ismail; “Brilliant Essay”, David Scott; “Master text”) to double check my sources. My intended reader Michael was never meant to find out that Buddhaghosa referred not only to Sihaladipa but also to Sihala Bhasa in a way that conflated the island (Sihaladipa), islanders (dipavasin) and the language (Sihala Bhasa) in a very suggestive way.

In fact Michael, you, yourself would never have found this out if not for K.N.O:1992[viii], p40 (Full text); “The available evidence would appear to suggest that the earliest references to “the Sinhala language” is in early 5th century. Buddhaghosa the famous Indian scholar who translated the Sinhala commentaries to Pali refers to the Sihaladipa as well as the Sihalabhasa. Referring to the Buddhist commentaries he says that they were “brought to Sihaladipa by Maha Mahinda (who was) endowed with self-mastery, and were made to remain in the Sihala Bhasa for the benefit of the inhabitants of the island.

Michael, I was writing for a readership who would never wonder about the discrepancy between my Buddhaghosa comment and Dharmadasa’s Buddhaghosa comment. Those trusting souls would never bother to compare our sources. If they had, they might have realized the limitations of my familiarity with Buddhaghosa. I source (fn 8[ix]) the reference to Sihaladipa and the original commentaries being in the language of Sihaladipa to Samanthapasadika. Dharmadasa in contrast references (Endnote 23, p57) the prologues of Sumangalavilasini, Papancasudani and Saratthappakasini[x]. A reader cast in a different mold from my fan-base would have twigged at once that I and Dharmadasa were using two different statements.

Michael how many of my readership could have guessed that except for that single quotation from Samanthapasadika taken from pages 2 and 136 of N.A. Jayawickrama’s book, “The Inception of Discipline and the Vinayanidana”, the whole body of Buddhaghosa commentaries was a closed book to me? I had no clue Michael of the statement repeated at the beginning of Buddhaghosa’s commentaries that they were based upon the commentaries which were brought to Sihaladipa by Maha Mahinda and put into Sihalabhasa for the benefit of the Dipavasin. “Sīhaladīpam pana ābhatā’ tha vasinā Mahā-Mahindena thapitā Sīhalabhāsāya dīpavāsīnam atthāya”. (K. R Norman: 1978[xi], p32, full text).Try to understand Michael, I had a brief and a deadline. Is it reasonable to expect that my mind would be unfettered enough for a thorough research of the available literature?

So I was hurriedly flipping through “The Inception…” by Jayawickrama and I came across the famous statement by Buddhaghosa explaining why he was writing in Pali; “Because that commentary has been composed in the language of Sihaladipa and the monks outside the island cannot understand the meaning of it, I shall now begin this commentary in conformity with the style of the Canonical texts (i.e. in Pali)”- (Norman: 1978, p47). That was the statement I found Michael, and used. I was aware of no other statement. Now Michael I can see you getting ready to pounce. If I had been acquainted with it, this statement alone should have prevented me from writing in my 1995 sequel, page 14 “It will have been evident from the preceding discussion that, according to the periodization of the evolution of the Sinhala language which came to gain general acceptance among scholars, the appearance of the Sinhala language as a clearly distinguishable linguistic form was dated in the eighth or the ninth century.”

Now there are two answers I can make to that Michael. The most obvious one; do not confuse facts with ideological propaganda. Good propaganda Michael, necessary. ‘83’ had just happened and do you think some esoteric Pali text in the 5th century mattered? The second answer I can make to you is; how was I to know what the language of Sihaladipa was? I was only familiar with one particular Buddhaghosa comment. Now you may ask, if I had at least read Jayawickrama’s book from cover to cover, could I have come across evidence that would have saved me from my 1995 faux pas?

Yes Mike if destiny had favoured me, the book would have flipped open at page 20 and revealed to me Jayawickrama’s statement (based on Buddhaghosa’s statement in Sumangalavilasini; “apanetvāna tato ‘haṃ Sīhaḷabhāsam manoramaṃ bhāsaṃ tantitnayānucchavikaṃ āropento vigatadosaṃ”) that Buddhaghosa pays tribute to Sihala Bhasa, which is a delightful language free from all faults. Now the translation of this comment is contested between Jayawickrama and K.R Norman (Norman:78, p47-48). Buddhaghosa is either saying; “I am translating from Sihala bhasa, which is a delightful language free from all faults” or “I am translating from Sihala bhasa into a delightful language free from all faults”. But either way I would have seen the light. But it didn’t happen Michael. The book did not flip open on its own accord. And I did not have the time to flip.”

@ http://ratnawalli.blogspot.com/  and rathnawalli@gmail.com


[ii] Gunawardana, R A L H 1979 ‘“The People of the Lion”: the Sinhala identity and ideology in history and historiography’, The Sri Lankan Journal of the Humanities 5: p (1-36)

[iii] See, p138 in Dharmadasa K.N. O 1996 ‘The Roots of Sinhala Ethnic Identity in Sri Lanka: The Debate on The ‘People of The Lion’ Continued ’, Ethnic Studies Report, Vol. XIV (2), p (137 -170)- (Full text here)

[iv] Gunawardana R A L H 1995 ‘Historiography in a Time of Ethnic Conflict, Construction of the Past in Contemporary Sri Lanka’, Social Scientists’ Association, Colombo, 1995.

[v] Tambiah, S J (1992) ‘Buddhism Betrayed? Religion, Politics and Violence in Sri Lanka’, p140

[vi] Roberts Michael, ‘Review essay, Nationalism, the past and the present: the case of Sri Lanka’, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Volume 16, Number 1, January 1993, p (133-161).- (Full text)

[vii] Gunawardana, R A L H 1990 ‘“The People of the Lion”: the Sinhala identity and ideology in history and historiography’, in J Spencer (ed.), Sri Lanka. History and the Roots of Conflict, London: Routledge, pp 45-86. (Full Text)

[viii] Dharmadasa K.N.O 1992 ““The People of the Lion”: Ethnic Identity, Ideology and Historical Revisionism in Contemporary Sri Lanka”, Ethnic Studies Report, Vol. X, No. 1, Jan 1992. (Full text)

[ix] Footnote 8 in Gunawardana, R A L H 1990 reads; “Samantapāsādikā, the Bāhiranidāna section, edited and translated by N.A. Jayawickrama as The Inception of Discipline and the Vinayanidāna, London, 1962, pp. 2, 136”.

[x] Sumangalavilasini, Papancasudani and Saratthappakasini are the Buddhaghosa commentaries to the Digha Nikaya, Majjhima Nikaya and Samyutta Nikaya respectively

[xi] Norman, K. RThe Role of Pāli in Early Sinhalese Buddhism” in Heinz Bechert (ed.): Buddhism in Ceylon and Studies on religious syncretism in Buddhist Countries, Göttingen, 1978, p28-47- (Full text)

Print Friendly

Latest comments

  • 5
    0

    Ken

    Are you there?

    • 5
      0

      Native,

      I bet you have not read the garbage as I have not!

      • 6
        0

        Burning_Issue

        ” I bet you have not read the garbage as I have not!”

        You are rest assured, no I haven’t.

        My Elders have strongly suggested I should not indulge in trivial pursuit.

        Thanks.

        • 1
          0

          “A great many people think that they are thinking when they are actually rearranging their prejudices”. G.B Shaw
          This is certainly the case with UNEDUCATED and IGNORANT Ratnavali..
          Please Dharshini read Benedict Anderson’s book :Imagined Communities and educate your self on the concept of nationalism and the MODERN NATION-state!
          “The past is ANOTHER COUNTRY” as a famous and WISE British Historian said. All history is Nationalist. The words and labels of identity may recur but they mean different things in different historical periods or epochs and depend on the existing technologies to govern, to map, classify and categorize groups…
          This article of which I read one para. is a very silly rant by someone who is clearly not a trained historian or historigrapher. She seems to be busy rearranging her nationalist prejudices.

        • 1
          1

          Wow, this babe is a real authentic SINHALAYA MODAYA!

          • 3
            0

            S. Modaya

            “Wow, this babe is a real authentic SINHALAYA MODAYA!”

            I would have avoided sexist comments though I am a firm believer in – Voltaire’s words “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”

            • 1
              0

              Bhumiputra,

              SL has a long way to go for your request.

              Obama is only interested in his women to cover up his coups worldwide while he goes down in history as the first black president who came to power by soft peddled internal coup.

              What has he given to Africa just the kangaroo court?

              Joe Luis the black bomber practiced his skills with a cow to beat the Irish Bull Dogs and Lankians will use their women- here we go.

              Does the US fear Russia yes because Russia has never been beaten by the west and Putin has said he would use the mother of all weapons if he feels Russia is threatened. will the republicans change that no- who has the cash matters.

            • 2
              0

              S. Modaya is RIGHT ON!
              Ms. Ratnavali is a real authentic SINHLAYA MODAYA. She has no theory or concept of what history is; and just keeps citing nationalist Sinhala Buddhist sources one after the other..
              Ms. Rat needs to learn about theories of nationalism and modernity.. but probably is too stupid to do so. Ms. Rat’s distorted interpretations of Sinhala Buddhism (like Micheal Roberts verbal diarrhea on the subject) is also an insult to BUDDHISM in the world.
              Today Sinhala Buddhism is a putrid and rotten carcass – a political SHELL GAME for the corrupt and criminal Rajapaksa military dictatorship, associated cronies and wanna be academics and historians like Ms. Ratnavali.. Their common project is to DIVIDE, DISTRACT and RULE the islands’ diverse and multireligious communities and the Sinhalaya Modayas forever!

        • 4
          0

          Native Vedda,
          Dont you think Jim softy would get an erection again?
          By the way I didnt read it either.
          I only visited this Irathinavalli copy paste jargon to read readers comments.

          • 4
            1

            Ravana

            “By the way I didnt read it either.”

            Welcome to “haven’t read it” club, admittance free.

            BTW, David Blacker and you have had several bust-ups in the past elsewhere in Ground View.

            He hasn’t visited this forum for quite sometime. How is he now? Why is he avoiding this forum now when his service is needed to put across a firm denial on the war crime front?

            • 1
              0

              Native

              I have not read the main article either!. we should thank Dharshanie for this fun. I remember Prof Colvin Gooneratne used to entertain us with his naughty jokes during the lectures.

              Am I missing an entertaining connection?
              ken

        • 1
          2

          Vedda,
          If you hadn’t read the article then what the hell are you writing about stupid.

          • 3
            0

            mechanic

            “what the hell are you writing about stupid.”

            Oh I was writing about you. What a pity you didn’t get it.

    • 4
      1

      dear Darshanie Ratnawalli –

      RE: The Great History Cook-Fest By R. A. L. H Gunawardana And The SSA.

      Well, well, how can one sort out myths and facts? Data and good reasoning. Dr. Para-nawithana, the noted Sri Lanka Archaeologist who died in 1972, claimed that man was there in Sri Lanka, 500,000 years ago!. This was in 20th Century AD, not 5th Century AD. Another Myth.

      The Lion people? Any DNA evidence.

      People in the 5th Century had limited information and tools. A monk, a king or some sage can say something, like the Sun going around the Earth, and p[people will believe them.

      Given below is something for you to ponder and digest.

      By the way, do you know the History? Given below is a summary for your information that has booth scientific and historical support. Now, you are getting somewhere, closer to the truth.

      The cause is Monk Mahanama Sinhala Buddhist Racism. Have you ever wondered why in Sri Lanka, there are hardly any Tamil Buddhists despite Buddhaghosa came from Tamil Nadu? It is also a fight by Buddhists against the Hindus. You can compare that to Christianity Vs, Judaism.

      Corrections:

      1.) Buddha is no Lord, No God. Just Buddha, a teacher, he had a philosophy,( avoid suffering) but threw in rebirth, after-life, Anatta, making Buddhism a religion. Irrespective of the definition of Aanatta, no-soul concept compared to the permanent soul, Athman, of Hinduism, this is after-life descriptions, and makes both Buddhism and Hinduism, Religions. Read the Jataka Stories of Buddhism, some pre-dates Buddhism. Of course, there are no Gods in Buddhism, unlike in Hinduisms claimed 330,000,000 Gods, but many Buddhists make Buddha to be a God or Lord, because Buddhists still want a God. Why Hindus worship so many gods and goddesses is a real mystery for most people.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gadadhara-pandit-dasa/the-33-million-demigods-o_b_1737207.html

      2. Good that you came closer to the truth now. The seeds were planted by Monk Mahnama Sinhala Buddhist Racism, in 5th Century AD, in the Mahawansa Imaginations. Want to read more? It is a Threat by the Sinhala Monk Mahanama “Buddhist” Racism that is practiced in SRI LANKA.

      Deja Vu… have seen it before. 1958, 1983, 2009. Yes, this is a exposure of a Monk Mahanama lie. You need to look at one of the BIGGEST SINHALA BUDDIST lies. The Monk Mahanama Imaginations of Mahawansa.

      Given below is a summary of the real facts. Remember Somarama who killed SWRD. They were ALL Sinhala Mahanama “Buddhist” Racists . “Buddhist” because they are NOT Buddhist. They are racists. So we had a situation where the Paradeshis. the Para-Sinhala killing Para-Tamil based on Mahanama racism. That is NOT True Buddhism.

      This is what the True Natives, Native Veddas have to say about the Para- Sinhala and other Paras-, the Paradeshis or foreigners.

      1. All the above descriptions support the Sinhala and Tamil as Para-Sinhala and Para-Tamil, like Para-deshi, Foreigners, as far a the Native Veddah are concerned, who walked at least 16,000 years ago when Lanka and India were connected by a land bridge as the sea levels were low. So, the Sinhala and Tamil Nationalism need to be identified as, Racism, Para-Sinhala Nationalism and Para-Tamil Nationalism. Monk Mahanama imaginations of Mahawansa need to be exposed and discarded.

      Why?

      Non- Confirmation bias of Mahawansa. Did Dr. Para-nawithana, the noted Sri Lankan Archaeologist believe the Imaginations of monk Mahanama of 5th Century such as:

      a) Grandfather of Para-Vijaya was a lion? Any DNA data in support of this imagination?

      b) Buddha visited Lanka three-times in 500 BC? any support for the Imagination.

      c) During one visit, Buddha left his giant footprint on top of Mount Samanala Kanda, “Adams Peak”. Did he fly by the Dandu Monera Yanthraya, Giant Bird, and parachute?

      d) The Veddah are the offspring of Para-Vijaya and Kuveni. Is there any DNA data to support this? No. Another Monk Mahanama Imagination.

      Sri Lanka’s indigenous inhabitants, the Veddas — or Wanniya-laeto (‘forest-dwellers’) as they call themselves — preserve a direct line of descent from the island’s original Neolithic community dating from at least 16,000 BC and probably far earlier according to current scientific opinion.1 Even today, the surviving Wanniya-laeto community retains much of its own distinctive cyclic worldview, prehistoric cultural memory, and time-tested knowledge of their semi-evergreen dry monsoon forest habitat that has enabled their ancestor-revering culture to meet the diverse challenges to their collective identity and survival. Further reference: Here some credible data and reference of the genetic Admixture. The Native Veddah were the original inhabitants of the land, well before the foreigners, the parades-his, came from South India.

      http://www.lankanewspapers.com/news/2007/6/15923_space.html

      The Genetic affinities of Sri Lankan populations – [Reproduced here on a special request made by our LNP friend MURU, this article (web site) was first found by our friend MAGHA.] Friday, 15 June 2007 – 11:25 AM SL Time Genetic affinities of Sri Lankan populations Human Biology, by Kshatriya, Gautam Kumar Genetic Admixture. Table 9 presents the estimated values of admixture for the two hybrid populations (the Sinhalese and the Tamils) based on 13 polymorphic loci, fitting a trihybrid model using the ancestral frequencies shown in Table 10. (Tables 9 and 10 omitted).

      • 1
        1

        Deja Vu… have seen it before. 1958, 1983, 2009
        And why did Amarasiri drop 1939 ?, several in between 1958 and 1983, and many between 1983, IKPF, Premadasa and Mavil oya? confrontation cannot happen without two sides.

        The SSA consisted of people who were ready to carry out a bloody Bolshevik revolution if they only knew how to do it. The end justifies the means.

        As for Leslie G, he was typical of all historians. You have a point of view, and you select the facts that fit the point of view, and assign little or no significance to other “facts” that do not fit the scheme. You have to select and judge, as you cannot include everything.

        In more empirical disciplines, you can test the point of view by making predictions and seeing if the predictions come true. In history, you instead capture power, or become a minister, and create history and ensure that the proposed point of view comes out true. Leslie did become a Minister of the People of the Lion. But he was no Mao.

        S.J.V.Chelva who instead pushed for the People of the Tiger, had not read Jayawikrema, and KNO did not exist then. But he was convinced after reading Tambimuttu, that the people named Malabars by Tennent were actually the original inhabitants of Ilanaki who lived in Lanka even before the arrival of Vijayan. They — the people of the Tiger – had an “exclusive Tamil homeland” and he wanted to make it happen again.

        A.J.Wilson at first did not believe in the “exclusive Homeland stuff”, as you can see from his writings prior to 1965. After that, he begins to write with a “new point of view”, and this was not just due to matrimony! What happened to the “facts” that Wilson knew before 1965, that he de-emphasized after 1965? He choose his facts too.

        Why did Dharshani Ratnavalli stay just with Samantapasadika, the commentary on the Vinaya section of the Canon, written by Buddhaghosa in the fifth century?
        Why doesn’t she (or Roberts) go to even earlier times, e.g., the Sangam literature, and look at the 18 Lands mentioned there, where Cinkalam சிங்களம் and Cinkala-baasham are mentioned significantly earlier than by Buddhagosha? That was almost when Dutugamunu and Ellalan had their epic battles!
        Can one find any mention of Cinkalam prior to that? It is not enough to quote James G to define the existence of a “sinhala people”, or “sinhala consciousness”; or “tamil consciousness” by discovering a potsherd to prove the existence of a Tamil “people”.

        Prior to about the 2nd century BCE, there probably were no Tamils or Sinhalese who consciously felt that way, but there were various totemistic tribes that spoke similar variants of prakrits that do not warrant even the names “Tamil Prakrit” or “sinhala Prakrit” until significantly later.

        • 3
          0

          kautilya

          I am bit confused as to your background.

          There was another Kautilya who used to be a huge fan and a supporter of Irrathinavalli and her mentor the old codger Bandu de Silva.

          Your above comment appears to give completely opposite view to his. I hope you are not one of the senior member of Irrathinavalli fan club.

          • 2
            0

            native

            “Why doesn’t she (or Roberts) go to even earlier times, e.g., the Sangam literature, and look at the 18 Lands mentioned there, where Cinkalam சிங்களம் and Cinkala-baasham are mentioned significantly earlier than by Buddhagosha?

            What about epics of mahabharata mentioning about sinhala well before dawn of the christian era?

            Kautilya/chanakya one of the greatest jain scholars has an intelligent disciple commenting in CT.

            Well. I think This kautilya is probably the same old friend. This time his/her comments are refreshing, insightful, thought provoking and balanced.

            My question to the audience is why did not the epic battle between elara and dutugemunu elaborated in mahavamsa did not get a fleeting comment in indian epics including sangam literature?

            Am I seeing mahavamsa through the glass darkly?

        • 1
          0

          Katuliya,

          “Deja Vu… have seen it before. 1958, 1983, 2009”

          It is called, Keep it Simple.

          Most people can remember 3 dates only. Of course there are, many many other dates, but pick the 3 with the most inhuman action and impact.

          This is a conflict between the. South Indians, Sinhala and Tamil. who illegally ended up on Native Veddah Land.

      • 0
        1

        ONG Amaraya says “Of course, there are no Gods in Buddhism”, “many Buddhists make Buddha to be a God” This bugger is definitely a jihadi, he cannot do without Allah, his houres and the heaven.

        • 1
          0

          I an no muslim “Buddhist”, Jim Softy, Lorenzo and Avatars,

          Be Educated. What did they teach you at Daham Pasela? Treat the back?

          Read, What Buddha Taught by Ven. Walpola Rahula, not Monk Mahanama imaginations.

          Buddha did not claim to be God, even though Sinhala Monk Mahanama “Buddhists” want to make him a God, and make him Fly to Adams Peak and set his foot on top of the mountain.

          Take Bus 134 and get back to your Native Land South India to be with your cousins. Your DNA analysis will help you reestablish kinship.

          READ:
          Mahavamsa- An Insult To The Buddha!

          https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/mahavamsa-an-insult-to-the-buddha/

    • 5
      0

      What is Darshanie Ratnawalli doing to SL history and its world renowned historians???

      She is doing what a swine will do to a beautiful pearl. Step on it, pee on it, poo on it and finally make it look totally different.

      • 3
        0

        She is just following in Jayantha Dhanapala, footsteps!

        It’s all in the salli, salli kiyanne malli.

        • 2
          0

          Javi

          “It’s all in the salli, salli kiyanne malli.”

          It is called,

          Salli, Deviange Malli.

          Money is God’s younger brother.

    • 3
      0

      Native
      I am still in live after the tirade of abuse, I received from [Edited out] alias Dharshanie. I have given a long thought about pictorial reading, as suggested by [Edited out]. I am reading the book called illustrated history of Srilanka authored by Dr Anton Sebastian. That book is also suitable for people who have not had a formal university education written in simple English. This does not mean srilankan graduates are well versed in English. But I would expect them to show respect to academics when they critisise university dons

      Let me digress from Prof Gunwwardana. It is quite clear from history one of the polarising figures in history of Srilanka was Prof Senarat Paranavithana. He started his career as a school teacher in comparison to Prof Gunawardana who was an outstanding academic in university.

      Besides studying in a multiethnic university gives exposure to diverse culture and one could learn humility that is lacking in our country. I could visualise the mind set of prof paranavithana who I think is exclusive in comparison to the inclusive mentality of prof Gunawardana.

      I do not want get into the cheap polemics that dharshanie is perpetuating, simply because I do not have the time or resource and perhaps the intellectual rigour needed to piece meal a complex and confounding history of Srilanka.

      I did scan her website recently. My conclusion is hers is a longstanding preparation to change the history of Srilanka
      ken

      • 1
        0

        ken robert

        “It is quite clear from history one of the polarising figures in history of Srilanka was Prof Senarat Paranavithana. He started his career as a school teacher in comparison to Prof Gunawardana who was an outstanding academic in university.”

        May be, but evaluation should be based on facts and very good reason.

        Dr. Paranawithana, based on the state of science at that time, thought man was there in Sri Lanka, 500,000 years ago, which is incorrect. Home Sapiens left Africa between 70 and 200,000 years ago. Furthermore, based on his Pirivena Education, he was more likely to be brainwashed by the Monk Mahanama Imaginations.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Senarath_Paranavithana

        Paranavitana was born on 26 December 1896 at Metaramba, Galle, and had his early education at the Metaramba Government School. He later entered Bona Vista School in Galle. He studied Oriental languages at Ranweligoda Pirivena in Heenatigala and was a school teacher at the Udugampola Government School. Paranavitana joined the Department of Archaeology in 1923. He married in 1930. Paranavitana received his Ph.D. degree in 1936 from the University of Leiden and was appointed Archaeological Commissioner on 1 October 1940 in which capacity he served diligently till December, 1956.[1] The next year, in 1957, he was appointed Professor of Archeology at the Peradeniya campus of the University of Ceylon.

        • 1
          0

          amarasiri

          should we ask Dharshanie to pen on Prof Paranavithana through the glass darkly?

          • 1
            0

            ken,

            Let’s see.

            Through a glass darkly definition

            To see “through a glass” — a mirror — “darkly” is to have an obscure or imperfect vision of reality. The expression comes from the writings of the Apostle Paul; he explains that we do not now see clearly, but at the end of time, we will do so.

            History is full of examples, and there was no need to wait until the end of time, such as Heliocentric model of Copernicus-Galileo and Kepler, and many others, where the Church saw the truth before the end of time. ( However, Still 25% of the Americans and Europeans be;live in a Geocentric Model- glass darkly)

            Anyway, Sri Lanka has a real problem with Monk Mahanama Imaginations, that even after 1,500 years after the 5th Century AD, the “end of time” has not reached yet, and causing calamity in the Land of the Native Vedda.

            Yes, should ask Ms. Ratnawali to clean up Dr. Paranawithana, with supporting facts, and test her DNA as well, to trace her ancestry. Technology has advanced so far, that there is new field of Synthetic Biology.

            Let’s hope Ms. Dharshani, will see the end of time, and clean up like Copernicus-Galileo-Kepler trio and clean up Mahanama Mahawansa History and “Sinhala Buddhism” Imaginations that could lead to an egalitarian society.

            Mahavamsa- An Insult To The Buddha!

            https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/mahavamsa-an-insult-to-the-buddha/

          • 1
            0

            Davalli “”to pen on Prof P””

            ..Can’t Remember Sh*t”! Crazier than sh*t”!

            …Double Whopper with Ketchup; De-coke and Re-bore”!

  • 5
    0

    Darshanie;

    Is this an another Smoke Bomb thrown at our intellectual readers and Learned commenters????.

    {I am not belonging to any of them, as I am Just an I R C with your Jarapassa Clan }.

    • 1
      0

      ” I am Just an I R C”

      Jar mara arre,

      Icing Radio Cabala

      Colomba Choppe (^‿◕)

  • 5
    0

    Straight to comments section. Who is the Crook ?

    • 5
      0

      Darshanee will say ” not me”.
      Jarpassas Will say “not Us”.
      Michael Roberts Will say “Not me”.
      the Not Living Would have Tell “Not Us”.

      Ultimately,””””””” WE ARE THE CROOKS, The VOTERS,””””””
      “THE PEOPLE OF present day Paradise Island”.

      • 2
        0

        JULAMPITIYE AMARAYA

        “THE PEOPLE OF present day Paradise Island”.

        Do you means THE PEOPLE OF present day PARADESHI Island as per Native Veddah Terminology AFTER they illegally inhabited the Native Veddah Island?

      • 0
        0

        Surely we the masses must be the cooks for voting them back again and again indiscriminately without any consideration to all the action they do and all the hardship they put us through.

        ane apita giya kalak !

        • 0
          0

          You are dead right.

          Many though just add their 2 cents worth supporting JVPers or the like, when it goes for voting, they finally give it to butcher – who killed avalanche of civil folks.. still being in that mode being given his number 1 priority to impunity…. MR is a curse for this country. He has thousands of faces that even his UPFA consitutent men would have not seen yet. Only… his acting side is being kept in front but the man is beyong all criminal capacities that we ever got to know from world history.

  • 3
    0

    This pretty lady keeps writing, but appears unable to keep the attention of possible readers:

    She must read a book titled: “Get your message across in 30 seconds or less” to get a hook on the readers to get interested.

    Reading makes one a full man/woman, but getting the readers interested makes you full writer!

    • 4
      0

      Thiru

      “Reading makes one a full man/woman, but getting the readers interested makes you full writer!”

      She doesn’t care about making readers interested in her typing.

      She does have a following, it seems dirty old perverts count themselves as members of her fan club.

  • 1
    1

    “The Sinhalese language came into existence during the 14th century through the fusion of four languages Tamil, Hela, Pali and Sanskrit and subsequently Portuguese. There was no language known as Sinhalese language before this period. It did not exist neither in Polonaruwa or Anuradhapura. “

    “Up to the 14th century no language by the name Sinhala language existed in Sri Lanka and idea of Sinhala Nation could not have existed in Sri Lanka before this period. On the basis of this, it can be inferred, the so called 2500 year history of Sinhala race and Sinhala Buddhism is nothing but a myth cooked up in the minds of the Sinhalese and British historical prevaricators who lived in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Much of what has been twisted as history of the Sinhalese and achievement of civilisation is nothing else but the early history of the Tamils and others. “

    http://www.srilankaguardian.org/2009/07/towards-peaceful-equitable-and.html

    Achieving Peace and Harmony by Ending the Territorial Pursuit and Abuse of State Process by the Sinhala Race — Part Six http://sangam.org/2010/07/Achieving_Peace.php?uid=4006

    The Sri Lanka that went down the drain — Part Five http://www.srilankaguardian.org/2009/09/sri-lanka-that-went-down-drain.html

    Dutch and the Tamil Homeland — Part Three http://www.srilankaguardian.org/2009/08/dutch-and-tamil-homeland.html

    The Contours of Sovereign Process — Part Two http://www.srilankaguardian.org/2009/07/towards-peaceful-equitable-and_19.html

    Dismantling the Chauvinist Foundation of the Sri Lankan State — Part One http://www.srilankaguardian.org/2009/07/towards-peaceful-equitable-and.html

    • 0
      0

      Anpu,
      All those write-ups you have mentioned are writings by various people of the present day. They all have written their own visualizations or quoted writings by the so-called scholars but of the present day. None had quoted ancient writing as I am about to quote.

      Baddancariya Buddhaghosa himself wrote that he has arrived in Sri Lanka from India between 412-434 AD, during the reign of King Mahanama.

      Just read the introduction to the translation of ‘Visuddhimagga’ (over 900 pages) (one of many writings by Buddhaghosa while he was in Anuradhapura) by Nanamoli, lay name Osbert Moore, an Oxford scholar. There you can find out why Buddhaghosa came to Sri Lanka in 500 AD.

      Quoting Buddhagosha’s own words, (page xxx) the translation says; “I learned three ‘sinhalese’ commentaries – the maha atta katha, Maha Paccari, Kurundi – from the famed elder known by the name of Bramhamitta….”

      Had Buddhaghosa Prophesied about the coming up Sinhala language and wrote about the existing ‘Sinhalese writings’ in 500 AD 900 years before your imagined date of the Sinhalese came into being?

  • 0
    0

    I read Our Heritage by G.C.Mendis long ago – and much later,the Mahawamsa.
    These sufficed for me.
    I learned to separate the wheat from the chaff.
    Later there were many versions of history – ‘Discovery of India’ by Nehru was fascinating.
    My history teacher was a stickler for dates – suddenly he would ask:-
    When did Governor North come to Ceylon?
    When did Pilima Talawe butcher the british in Kandy?
    If one didnt know,one got a cut on the posterior,with the Rod of Wisdom (as he called it).

    • 0
      0

      I started reading the bits after Ms Sharmani S brought the issue that Mahanama buddhism is made accoutable for the unexpected religious violence being promoted in the country today. There I raised the question, why the Mahawamsa remained unchaged over the past few centuries ? Why the senior buddhist professionals failed to bring any new versions adding most upated contents. At the time Mahanama Monk was drafting that there were not much available as info source. Ascending from that time to this day, there should be collected data discovered through archilogical escavations and the research to bring most updated version.

  • 2
    0

    Most diverse comments of any kind can be found for Ms. Darshanie articles

    here is my bit to add to that.

    [Edited out]

  • 3
    0

    I think Ratnawalli has made her point in writing about the errors of historians of the past. Researchers will have to verify the integrity and depth of her own research. What is distasteful however is her penchant to ridicule others.

  • 3
    0

    Dharshanie Ratnawalie,

    Let me ask you questions relating to the present in which we live and expect your answers to be based on the past as you have understood it.

    Now that there are Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and others living as citizens in this country officially known as Sri Lanka, how should we relate to this country and each other?

    Does it matter who came first in terms of the present realities?

    Does Sri Lanka belong to the Sinhalese more than to the others?

    How did the syncretism between Buddhism and Saivaite Hinduism come about in Sri Lanka? ( a similar syncretism has happened in Thailand and Cambodia with the mitre North Indian type of Hinduism).

    How do the revelations of DNA genetics conform with your understanding of our history in terms of our communal origins and diversity?

    How has the Ancient Sinhala gene pool changed due to the assimilation and absorption of other peoples in the past we centuries?

    Is the Sinhala identity a concept or a genetic uniqueness?

    How much do you know of Tamils, their history, their literature, their language and Shivaism?

    Are you interpreting our history only in terms of available Pali and Sinhala writings of old?

    Does our history need re-interpretation in view of the current revelations about our genetics?

    Finally, will you agree the Prof. Leslie Gunawardene had more feel for the depth and width of our history than you do, and his stance would be vindicated in the future?

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

  • 1
    0

    Ratnawallie,

    One more question:

    What do you think is the significance of the geographical proximity or the very likely geographical. congruity of or with South India, in terms of our genetics,languages, religions and culture?

    Dr.RN

    • 0
      0

      Dr Narendran
      Very pertinent questions to the understanding of our history.
      Could I add two more questions?
      Is Sinhala language an Indo European Isolate in south India as claimed by Prof Gair?(For example Telugu seems more closely affiliated with sanskrit)

      Did the scholars who claimed to have mastered ancient Indic languages namely Sanskrit and Pali study Dravidian languages?
      ken

    • 3
      1

      Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

      In the past 60 years or so revisionist history writing in itself has become an industry.

      I won’t be surprised in a few years time, our heritage and history is completely erased from the island.

      Irrathinavalli, Bandu, Champika, Kamalika and others are contributing to what the Sinhala/Buddhist consciousness expects of them.

      You should always question their intention not their judgement for anyone can make mistake. Intentions are deliberate.

  • 0
    0

    Here is a excerpt of Dharshanie’s previous arguments,

    “When the literate phase dawns in Sri Lanka, not surprisingly it dawns in Anuradhapura, the largest EIA settlement in the island and the most unique among all the other known Lankan EIA sites due to its early urban character. But surprisingly it dawns in Prakrit, not in Tamil.

    Even more surprisingly, it dawns early (beginning of the fourth century B.C.) preceding the Asokan edicts. The surprises keep piling up and when the literate phase comes of age in Lanka around 200 BC,When the literate phase dawns in Sri Lanka, not surprisingly it dawns in Anuradhapura, the largest EIA settlement in the island and the most unique among all the other known Lankan EIA sites due to its early urban character. But surprisingly it dawns in Prakrit, not in Tamil. Even more surprisingly, it dawns early (beginning of the fourth century B.C.) preceding the Asokan edicts.

    The surprises keep piling up and when the literate phase comes of age in Lanka around 200 BC, Tamil and other Dravidian languages have become so peripheral in the island, that even Damedas and other recognizably South Indian lineages are inscribing on stone in old Sinhala, not in Tamil. Hence we come up against the mystery of our inner South Indian, who failed to thrive.. Hence we come up against the mystery of our inner South Indian, who failed to thrive.”

    I feel I have lost my Marbles!

    Could someone teach me what is old sinhala? I read William Geiger’s book which is considered the magnum opus of sinhalese grammar. I quote on Mr Geiger’s writing on old sinhala/proto sinhala (4th century BC to 8th century AD

    ” it is regretted upto the present day (1930)only a few lithic records of that period have been published, to allow us to hope that we shall learn much about the development from the records of 5th and 7th centuries (culavamsa)
    From the present day we only see its results in the inscriptions of the the medieval times(sigiri inscriptions)”
    () comments by me

    In summary, classification of sinhala language by by Wilhelm Geiger is arbitrary, claims of for old sinhala remains unsubstantiated. Building sinhalese nationalist hegemony without acknowledging the contributions from genetic admixture, influence in religious doctrines, language and culture of south indians is plainly stupid.

    • 1
      0

      Ken, DR RN, NV,

      I too feel I have lost my marbles.

      Who is getting us closer to the truth?

      Mr Arular Arudpragasam –
      “The Sinhalese language came into existence during the 14th century through the fusion of four languages Tamil, Hela, Pali and Sanskrit and subsequently Portuguese. There was no language known as Sinhalese language before this period. It did not exist neither in Polonaruwa or Anuradhapura. ”
      http://www.srilankaguardian.org/2009/07/towards-peaceful-equitable-and.html

      ?????

      • 3
        0

        Sinhala is indeed a hybrid language.
        The Sinhala Sri Lanak national anthem is one of the crudest and longest in the world.

        in the WorldT20 game against Nehterlands the Sri Lankan National anthem took more time than the Netherlnads Innings

  • 1
    0

    I give below two articles I wrote in 2008, on the information I garnered on the questions of where we came from and the languages we speak.

    1.Antiquity, language and poltitics of Sri Lanka
    http://federalidea.com/focus/archives/373

    2. Let us all go back to Africa
    http://federalidea.com/focus/archives/412

    These were the results of my expedition to understand wyho we are. I am sure others who are in the respective fields of study will enlighten us more.

    Dr.RN

    • 1
      0

      Thank you DR RN for the links.

      Banda also has given me some reference (to Buddhaghosa )https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-great-history-cook-fest-by-r-a-l-h-gunawardana-and-the-ssa/comment-page-1/#comment-919115

      I need to search and find Buddhaghosa’s work.

      Hope the reference provided would take me closer to the truth.

    • 1
      0

      Dr RN,

      Both are excellent articles.

      One of them refers to Samuel Livingstone. It is available here – The Sinhalese of Ceylon and The Aryan Theory, Letters of a Tamil father to his son by Samuel Livingstone – http://www.sangam.org/2011/08/Aryan_Theory.php?uid=4446

    • 0
      0

      Dr RN
      I read your articles just now and could not disagree with any of your observations. I was a victim of repugnant comments made by the pathala champika ranawaka as well

  • 3
    0

    It is being said (even though nothing ‘ancient’ has been found as historical evidence till today to prove it) that the beginning chapters of the Pali Chronicle was translated into Pali by the scholarly monks of the Mahavihara from the Vamsa text (original source preserved for many centuries) known as “Sihala atthakatha” written in Sihalabhasa. If the Mahavamsa is the history of the Sinhalese, what good does it make to the Sinhalese in translating it from Sihalabhasa into a language that they (Sinhalese) cannot understand? Now, if we assume that the Mahavihara monks wanted those outside the island also to read the Sinhala-Buddhist history, then what happened to the original Vamsa text written in Sihalabhasa? If they have preserved it for many centuries, they could have continued to preserve it till today but unfortunately it disappeared after the Mahavamsa was written or rather destroyed. Very unfortunately, the Sinhala nation had to wait till the 19th century for someone to translate it back from Pali to Sinhala for them to read and understand the Mahavamsa. Is that not a crime committed by the Mahaviharic Bikkus to the Sinhala nation of Sihaladipa?

    However the truth is something else. There is also a commentary to the Mahavamsa written in Pali by an unknown Buddhist monk (definitely with ulterior motive) in the 13th century AD known as the ‘Tika’ or Vansatthappakasini to explain/interpret the verses in Mahavamsa. It is the ‘Tika’ that talks about a mysterious “Sihala atthakatha” (Vamsa text known as original source written in Sihalabhasa), the main reason for calling the Pali chronicle of the Mahavihara as the chronicle of the Sinhalese.

    Similarly, it is being said (not mentioned in any inscriptions) that the Theravada Buddhist scriptures Tripitaka (Viniya, Sutta, Abhidhamma) better known as the Pali Cannon was originally written in the Sihalabhasa and kept preserved for many centuries before it was translated by the Mahaviharic Bikkus into Pali. Now the same questions arise. If Buddhaghosa has actually said that he wrote in Pali so that the monks outside the island can also understand, what happened to the original text in Sihalabhasa? If it was preserved for centuries until Buddhaghosa came to Anuradapura, they could have easily continued to preserve it for the Sinhala nation of Sihaladipa. Did Buddhaghosa destroy the Sinhala version after he translated it to Pali? Now, if Buddhaghosa says that it is written in Sihalabhasa for the benefit of the island-inhabitants, then after translating it into Pali, Buddhaghosa or the Mahaviharic Bikkus has committed a crime by depriving the Sinhala nation from reading the Buddhist scriptures in their own language. In a land where all the ancient Buddhist artifacts are being preserved for millenniums by the Monks and the Kings, why such an important thing has not been kept safely?

    Visuddhimagga written in Pali by the Dravidaian monk ‘Buddhaghosa’ in 5th CAD is true but the translation from ‘Sinhala to pali’ was not mentioned anywhere in Mahavamsa or in any Epigraphy, it also must have come later like in Tika. Did Buddhaghosa actually write in most of his Pali commentaries where he mentioned the language (Sihalabhasa), the land (Sihaladipa) and the people (Sinhalese) or is it the same as what happened in the Pali Chronicle that during the last several centuries after Buddhaghosa, spurious commentaries would have got added perverting the real intent and meaning of that great Bikku? All these stories of Mahavamsa and Tripitaka translated from Sinhala to Pali was not mentioned in Mahavamsa or even in any epigraphy, these stories about translation must have come much later.
    The verse “Sīhaladīpam pana ābhatā’ tha vasinā Mahā-Mahindena thapitā Sīhalabhāsāya dīpavāsīnam atthāya”. could have been inscribed somewhere in Anuradapura in one of those cave temples where the Buddhaghosa and the Mahavihara monks were residing. What is found today as a commentary cannot be trusted.

    Prof. R.A.L.H Gunawardana is not a person who will make such errors to create in his research; he is much more learned and rational than any of these pseudo-historians whose writings this journalist Dharshanie Ratnawalli believes is gospel for her cheap polemics. Prof. Leslee Gunawardana must have definitely ignored what is mentioned in Buddhaghosa’s various Pali commentaries for obvious reasons.

    • 0
      0

      Ravi

      Your comment is an excellent rebuttal to the fake argument of DR and other supremacists.
      I found this ‘translation from sinhala to pali’ argument exemplify the pathological mind of some of countrymen.

      while reading on pali transilations I came across this ebook
      http://www.kelasa.org/book/English/60_Buddhadatta_A_P_Buddhadatta.pdf
      pg 34 one could read that ‘translation from sinhala to pali’ is described as a myth.

  • 0
    0

    here they go again – anything do with Sinhala or Buddhism -expect a non ending tirade of prejudice… agree with writer regarding trying to create a narrative indistinctive of race after 1983 – this was undoubtedly very consciously done. everyone knows we never heard certain Sinhala songs (eg: me Sinhala apage ratai) after july ’83 and history was scrapped from syllabuses. Surprising thing is while Sinhala population was thus brained washed for a greater cause of racial harmony looks like tamils have gone the other way and become more and more prejudiced bigots!

    • 0
      0

      Dawn Dale
      sinhala society has been brainwashed for a greater cause racial harmony

      Do you live in Srilanka? Or Mars?
      I know that sinhalese are one the nicest communities and wellcoming to strangers. But who is orchestrating religious violence?

      Did you hear about equality and diversity in workforce. This is mandatory requirement to abide in certain countries.

      Tamils have become more prejudiced?
      One hand can not clap on its own. Prejudism do exist in both sides. Dharshanie, ranawaka, honourable and not so honourable monks, SHU, MSVK, BBS, RB etc etc are clamouring for more racial disharmony.

      look what Dr Narendran says about tamils, Tamils would not mind that they are close to sinhalese and sinhalese treat them as natives.

      But some of us especially some stupid sinhalese (dharshanie) and not so stupid sinhalese (rulers) want a divorce of relationship between tamils and sinhalese.

      • 0
        0

        I live in sri lanka thank you very much and I have worked with lots of tamils / muslims(actually more tamils than muslims) and all enjoy equal rights in SL work places – where are u living ?
        as for BBS – do you think 99% of Sinhala people will not agree with you ? u are not the only one wondering from where they cropped up. probably tiger money to create conflict to bring about regime change specially during Geneva circus. Sihala Urumaya is different, it is a movement that came about in response to tiger violence, and have large following in sri lanka. I think Tamils are a very prejudiced race from comments in the forum. Face to face of-course they are the opposite most friendly people ever.

  • 0
    1

    Again – Ratnavalli has driven her point home

    But hardly anyone challenged to show that she’s wrong other than hurling abuse at her –
    Nice try – but we are not convinced that she is wrong

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 300 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically shut off on articles after 10 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.