Monday, September 18, 2006


The Hands that Yields Beauty
Nature’s Resources

An Innovative Exhibition and Sale
Creative Hand Yields

Organized By:
THIRD EYE Local Knowledge & Skill Activists Group

Women’s Development Forum
# 27 A Lady Manning Drive, Batticaloa.

Date & Time:
24th September 2006,
10.00 AM to 05.00 PM


Local Knowledge & Skill Activists Group.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Waves, Waves and Waves

'Waves, Waves, Waves':

I think it is a really powerful anthology of poems that provides a
profound, unsettling but also stimulating insight into the impact of
interventions - natural, economic, military, social, political and cultural -
on life in Batticaloa. Your critical voice, passionate commitment to
people's right of self determination and belief in the capacity and
resources of indigenous communities (their ability to secure their own
development and prosperity if only they were allowed to) is very well
expressed. The themes of development, education, natural resources, war and
globalisation have reach and relevance far beyond the village
communities of Batticaloa to which you immediately refer.

Yours is a unique perspective on the impact of the tsunami and the
destructive 'wave' of mostly Western intervention that happened afterwards.
It is a perspective that has not been heard enough by citizens of
Western societies responsible for so many problems across the world. It
would be good to do more to make sure these poems are widely read.

I found 'Mobile People' particularly uncomfortable and unsettling, and
will use the following passage in teaching of applied theatre students
in Manchester interested in 'theatre for development' -

Oh! What a great tragedy!
The experienced mobile people
Are in turmoil now
Not because of helplessness
In the hands of nature
But because of the restlessness
In the hands of neo invaders
Who came with their own prescriptions
And pills to relieve us
And with differently designed
Dissection tool kits and microscopes
And surely with pots of gold
In order to reconstruct us again
According to them in this neo global order (p16)

The title of the anthology expresses a sense of ongoing crisis of the
'developing' world as powerful nations find new 'globalised' ways to
exploit its resources. The tsunami emerges as a brutally real metaphor for
successive interventions that put the resources and infrastructure that
might otherwise guarantee prosperity for Sri Lanka at risk. The
ultimate tone is not negative however - the poem on the cover of the anthology
('We have to live!') expresses faith in the capacity of world and its
people to live better - a sentiment which I hope will stay with us all
despite the many difficulties that people struggle with all over the

Jenny Hughes

In Place of War
Drama, Martin Harris Building
School of Arts, Histories and Cultures
University of Manchester
Oxford Road

Friday, September 15, 2006

Anger against invisible Neo-Colonialism

Anger against invisible Neo - Colonialism

An academic from Koandavil in Yaalpaanam teaching at the Eastern University in Vantharymoolai, writes poetry in English as well. His first collection of poems titled Waves, Waves and Waves published by the Third Eye Publication, has 30 poems. The book is priced at Rs.100 and is available from Third Eye English Forum at 30, Old Rest House Road, Maddakkalappu (Batticaloa).

The writer's name is Sivagnanam Jeyasankar.Jeyashankar is a lecturer in drama and theatre arts at the Eastern University and is also a theatre and research activist. His preoccupation is in the Thamil Kooththu (traditional theatre). He is himself a performer in theatre presentations. He writes essays as well. Besides these functions he also serves as the coordinator for Third eye Local Knowledge and Skill Activists Group and third Eye English Forum. S. Jeyashankar, while translating creative writing also occupies himself as co-editor of Third Eye Little Magazine in English and Moontravathu Kann Little Magazine in Thamil.

Lankan, Suresh Canagarajah who is a professor of English at City University of New York in his foreword to the book says: 'This book of poems narrates experiences we should all experience. We see people and soldiers caught in the ethnic conflict, aid agencies and the homeless facing the Tsunami, teachers and students grappling with intellectual dependency. The poet records voices. The rest of the world should hear voices of insight from people, deception from local media, condescension from foreign charities, terror from militia and authorities."

Literary editor A.J.Canagaratna (he edited the two volumes of Regi Siriwardena's Writing) calls Jeyashankar's poems 'a voice raised on behalf of our cultural identity'. He adds: It's all the more creditable that one who was educated in Thamil medium should be writing these poems in English…

It is but fitting that Jeyashankar who is deeply concerned about the cultural identities of the Thamils should be very involved in the Kooththu.

Here are some excerpts from Jeyashankar's poems which show his angst:

They always say
The doors are opened
I thrilled to see it
I heard this
From my childhood

In y imagination
It is like
A postmodern construction
Constructed in an empty space
Only with
The opened doors
And alwaysTalking of
'Within the Constitution'
And the solution
To the problem
By the problem itself

They are always talking of
One Country
A Unitary state
But the fourth state
Always Flash
And open our minds
That it's their
fourth state
(Page 51)

Another satirical contribution is:
History registered
But not 'authentically
'Its disgraced chapters
On Aril 2006

Mothers mourn silently
In fear and in shame
On the eve ofThe Thamil New Year 2006
For the fate of their Working daughters
In the NGOs and INGOs
Not because of
The Atrocities
Of the aggressors
But because of their
Very own andInvisible sons
Innocents victimized
In order to domesticate

And the perpetrators
Silently harboured
The new version
Of an age old custom
Manipulated invisibly
But celebrated harshly
(Page 49)

Jeyashankar is clearly anti-colonialist as evidenced from some of his poems. What has he got to say about his poems? "My poetry collection is a spark among the sparks world over, in the process of exposing the invisible threats and dangers in order to create a world for all the species on mother earth".

Those interested in Sri Lankan Literature in English must read this collection as well and form their opinion.

By K.S.Sivakumaran
Sri Lanka