20/09/2009 - Navamani
Confluence of Sinhala - Tamil Hearts
(by Mana Makeen - translation)

There were two literary functions during the last days of the holy month of Ramazan. The last days of holy Ramazan is believed to be the days Almighty god showers His blessings throughout the globe.

These were not mere functions, which are historical records. The literary festival organized by the “giant publishers” Godage on the 10th of September at Mahaweli centre   is one of that and the other one is the releasing  ceremony of a Tamil  Book “ Ennaik  Kavarnda Ulagath Talaivargal”  written by Hon. Milinda Moragoda on the 12th of September at Colombo Tamil Sangam. The function was jointly organized by Pathfinder Foundation and Colombo Tamil Sangam. Both of these were rare occurrences and amazing functions.

On the first function the giant of Sinhala publications Shri Sumana Godage presented his ideas whole heartedly. I would like to highlight a note with much sincerity at this juncture which was published in a literary magazine ,namely, “Gnanam” about this giant publisher.

“Shri Sumana Godage is a well known personality and he was much appreciated by the President, Buddhist monks, ministers, academics, literary personalities and all those who belong to the intellectual community. He is a man who lives a simple life and has a great mind.  He always has a kind smile on his face. Always dressed in pure white – perhaps reflecting his pure heart. He talks to one and all in a kindly and friendly manner.

He is working very hard for the upliftment of knowledge and literary taste of the people of this country. This great man celebrates his birthday each year on the 3rd September by giving away prizes to the creators of the best Sinhala poem, story, and novel. The value of each prize is 50,000 rupees. Starting from this year, he has decided to give this prize not only to Sinhala creative writers but also to Tamil writers.

This is very happy news to all Tamil creative writers, especially to the younger generation. We sincerely thank this great man Shri Sumana Godage for his generosity towards Tamil writers. This year he has already awarded Rs. 25,000 each to our great Tamil creator Dominic Jeeva, Kokila Mahendran and to the great poet A. Iqbal. These prizes were given to them at a function where hundreds of great Sinhala literary creators were present. This gives a boost to their creative work. The Sinhala literary personalities who were present there were very eager to know more about these brothers and sisters. Shri Sumana Godage can be described as the first man with a golden heart to honour the Tamil literary creators as well as the Sinhala ones.

Most unfortunately, this function was missed by most of the Tamil media, due to some mistake on the part of the organizers, and only a very few members of the Tamil media were present there.

Anyway the great man Godage and his heirs finished this remarkable function equivalent to the state literary festival and they are also committed to creating a Tamil-Sinhala literary relationship bridge”

This is the most valuable and memorable note published in that magazine. With the great satisfaction and sweet memories of participating in this event, and with a prayer for the continuous success of Tamil-Sinhala literary relations, within two days I entered into the Colombo Tamil Sangam in Wellawatte, where a Sinhalese heart was healing and concurring the Tamil speaking hearts.

The owner of this kind Sinhala heart is none other than the Minister of Justice and Law Reforms of the Government of Sri Lanka Hon. Milinda Moragoda.

After a long lapse we got the opportunity to see a Sinhala minister among the Tamil speaking literary gathering. This is the second function of the holy month which I mentioned earlier. The launching ceremony of “Ennaik Kavarnda Ulagath Thalaivargal” written by Hon. Minister and the function was organized by Pathfinder Foundation.

This book contain details about the achievements of 56 world leaders, and was already published in English and Sinhala. (Out of these 56 leaders, the writer has met 46 of them personally). The idea of bringing this into Tamil is highly commendable. We can observe one thing very clearly that there were no political motive behind this. Former editor of Thinakaran Mr. Senthilvelavar is the backbone behind this project.

He has compiled the minister’s English and Sinhala writing nicely into Tamil, and he brought the Minister in to Tamil Sangam, after doing all these he was standing in one corner of the hall. Once again his great effort is commendable.

The most notable and unusual thing about this function was that neither Mr. Senthilvelavar nor the Hon. Minister spoke a single word at this event, and there was no such thing in the agenda. ‘Navamani’ editor N. M. Ameen, Poet and Doctor Jinnah Sheriffdeen, Professors S. Chandrasekaran and Saba Jeyarajah, Senior Lecturer V. T. Tamilmaran and S. P. Samy were the main speakers.

Among these speakers professors spoke as professors, but the colorful speeches were delivered by Ameen and Jinnah. They described very beautifully the way Sinhalese hearts are getting together with the Tamil Hearts.

Ameen started his speech in Sinhala by welcoming the Buddhist priest in Sinhala and welcoming Milinda Moragoda’s mother and wife in English and continued in Tamil.

“A Sinhala minister is here among the Tamil speaking crowd, and he is silent without talking politics or making speeches. However, he wants his writings and ideas to reach the Tamil youth as it reaches the Sinhala younger generation. We can’t consider this as an ordinary matter.

This is a month of fasting. On this evening you have made arrangements for us to break fast here. This is wonderful and we pray that god almighty bless you with peace and harmony” said Mr. Ameen . By this point, the entire hall was fulfilled with happiness and joy.

During this holy month of Ramazan, the Tamil literary hearts were cooled by the Sinhala literary hearts in two different functions. We can only praise these Sinhala hearts for this.

We also must thank very sincerely the American wife of the Hon. Minister, because of the kind donation she made to the library of the Tamil Sangam. This is a great help to people like me who always look to this Library in search of articles with the thirst for knowledge. Mrs. Moragoda has been bestowed the highest merit by making this valuable donation.

Also I would like to express my own little hope:

Now that the southern Sinhala attitude is gradually changing and the door is opening for the literary creations of Tamils, Will other doors also be opened?