“Mahinda and Gotabhaya Rajapaksa are the Closest we Have to Fidel and Raul Castro”

An Interview with Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka by D.B.S.Jeyaraj Dayan Jayatilleka needs no introduction. He is one of the most prolific writers and powerful commentators on current political affairs in contemporary Sri Lanka. The ex-diplomat’s stylishly forceful writings reflecting his present political stance evokes mixed reactions among readers. Some rave about them while others rant against them.Dayan’s …

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Maestro W. D. Amaradeva Created a Distinctive Genre of Sinhala Music

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj (This article appears in the December 2016 issue of ‘Saamagaana – The First Melody,’ a magazine devoted to classical music published in Bengaluru, India. It is being published here to mark the 89th birthday of maestro Amaradeva on 5 December.) Renowned Sri Lankan vocalist, violinist and music composer W.D. Amaradeva passed away in …

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“Great Heroes Day” (Maaveerar Naal) is a LTTE Event and not a Tamil National Day of Mourning.

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj November 27th 1989 was the day on which the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE)first observed its annual “Maaveerar Naal” or Great Heroes Day (GHD). Twenty –seven years have passed since then and the 27th anniversary of the event is today Nov 27th 2016. The event continues to be observed on a large scale …

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Murder Most Foul of Moderate Tamil MP Raviraj Ten Years Ago in Colombo

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj Former Tamil National Alliance(TNA) Jaffna District Parliamentarian and Lawyer Nadarajah Raviraj and his Police bodyguard Sgt.Lakshman Lokuwella were gunned down on a Colombo street in broad daylight ten years ago. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). Investigation report on Sri Lanka (OISL) presented at the 30th session of the UN Human …

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Controversial Shooting of Two Jaffna Undergrads by Policemen in Kokkuvil

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj Last week’s shooting incident in Jaffna in which two male Jaffna varsity undergraduates lost their lives because of alleged Police firing has given rise to a raging political controversy.Initially it was announced officially that the deaths were due to an accident but subsequently it was stated that the Police had to open fire …

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What If Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa had been Attacked by Pro-LTTE Elements in Malaysia?

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj Sri Lankans were shocked and disturbed in the first week of September by two violent incidents directed against a Buddhist prelate and a senior diplomat in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur(KL). In the first incident on Saturday September 3rd the chief Adhikarana Sangha Nayaka of Malaysia – Sri Saranankara Nayaka Maha Thera …

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Assault on Sri Lankan High Commissioner Ansar in Kuala Lumpur Airport by Malaysian “We Tamils/Naam Thamizhar”

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj An official Ambassador is defined as a diplomat of the highest rank accredited to a foreign Govt as the resident representative of his or her own country. The equivalent designation to an Ambassador among Commonwealth Nations is the High Commissioner. Since an Ambassador or High Commissioner is the premier representative of his or …

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♥’Kaatriniley Varum Geetham’-Melodiously Sung by M.S. Subbulakshmi in/as “Meera”♫

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj Favourite Film Songs – 8 Madurai Shanmugavadivu Subbulakshmi known as MS Subbulakshmi or more popularly as ‘MS’was a sublime singer who ruled the Indian classical music world for over five decades.Blessed with a divine voice,immeasurable talent and ethereal beauty she captivated the hearts and minds of innumerable fans. MS was acknowledged at …

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Remembering MHM Ashraff the Legendary Leader of the Muslim Congress on his 16th Death Anniversary

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj September 16th 2016 is the sixteenth death anniversary of Mohammad Hussein Muhammad Ashraff, the uncrowned sultan of the Amparai district Muslims and legendary leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC). The pioneering president of the SLMC was Ahammed Lebbe of Kattankudi with whom Ashraff co-founded the party in September 1981. It was …

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Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra’s Murder and Hirunika’s Quest for Justice

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj Former parliamentarian and presidential adviser Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra known as “Lucky Aiya” was gunned down along with three of his bodyguards in Mulleriyawa on October 8th 2011. The past few years have been a taxing period of struggle for Bharatha’s daughter Hirunika Premachandra –now a Colombo district MP – as she sought justice …

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“Dharussalam” in the Eye of a Political Storm Within The Muslim Congress

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj “Dharussalam” meaning “abode or house of peace” is the name given to the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) headquarters at 53 Vauxhall lane in Slave Island or Colombo 2. The impressive seven storey structure was constructed mainly through the untiring efforts of M.H.M. Ashraff the legendary leader of the SLMC. “Dharussalam” was officially …

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When a Tamil Catholic Priest went Missing in Jaffna Ten years Ago

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj Exactly ten years ago on August 20th 2006 a member of the Catholic Clergy along with a member of the Catholic Laity went missing in the north.The clergyman was Fr.Thiruchelvam Nihal Jim Brown who was serving as a priest in the Catholic Diocese of Jaffna.The Layman was Wenceslaus Vimaladhas a social worker. The …

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“White –Vanning Culture” and the Lucrative Industry of Abducting Tamils for Ransom

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj August 11th 2016 was a day of well-deserved pride for the people of Sri Lanka. The Island nation’s parliament on that day passed legislation to set up an office of missing persons(OMP) in the country. Sri Lanka’s Foreign Affairs minister Mangala Samaraweera hailed the passage of the OMP bill as “historic”. Addressing a …

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Shelton Ranaraja: Principled Politician was Conscience-Keeper of the Nation

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj Let me begin this article with a few paragraphs excerpted from William Mcgowan’s book about Sri Lanka “Only man is Vile” – “The Kandyan jungle seemed so at peace just after dawn on that October morning in 1989. In the twisted thicket of palms, bamboo and bougainvillea that blanketed the hotel, a handful …

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Jaffna Varsity Violence: What Really Happened and Why!

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj Violence reared its ugly head again in the Northern city of Jaffna on Saturday July 16th 2016 when student groups fought each other within the Jaffna varsity precincts in Thirunelvaeli known generally as Thinnaivaeli. It was basically a confrontation between two undergraduate factions of the University of Jaffna. There was also an ethnic …

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‘Kaanaa Inbam Kaninthathaeno’ – Splendid “Singing in the Rain” Song ♫

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj Favourite Film Songs – 7 I love rain! One of the things I loved to do as a boy and even as a young adult was to get soaking wet in the rain. If it started raining while I was on my way home from school I simply got wet instead of …

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Colombo to Kandy Protest March Launched By JR Jayewardene in 1957

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj The marathon protest march “Jana satana Pada Yathra” launched by loyalists of former President and current Kurunegala district MP Mahinda Rajapaksa is currently underway in Sri Lanka. The march organized by pro – Mahinda polititical stalwarts known as the Joint Opposition began in Kandy on July 28th 2016. The five day march is …

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“Lion of Uduppiddy” M. Sivasithamparam was a Towering Political Leader of the Sri Lankan Tamils

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj The finest phase in the history of peaceful political protest by Sri Lankan Tamils was in 1961. A non – violent “Satyagraha” campaign conducted by the Ilankai Thamil Arasuk Katchi(ITAK) virtually paralysed administration in the pre-dominantly Tamil districts of the Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka at that time.Though the civil disobedience …

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“Marikkar” Ramdas: The Brahmin Artiste who Transformed Into a Muslim Character

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj “Marikkar” Ramdas has passed away! Sadness spread among numerous fans of Sri Lankan origin scattered widely in different parts of the globe as news of the demise of the popular artiste reached them. S. Ramdas, known as “Marikkar” Ramdas was a radio, stage and screen actor cum writer who was a household name …

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♥ “Singara Velanae Deva”- S.Janaki’s Superb Solo with Nadaswaram Accompaniment ♫

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj Favourite Film Songs – 6 Sishtla Sreeramamurthy Janaki popularly known as S. Janaki is widely praised as the “Nightingale of the South” .In a splendid career spanning over fifty years Janaki has sung over 20,000 songs for films made in 16 different languages.The Southern nightingale has won four national awards and 31 …

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Inside Story About Indrajit Coomaraswamy Becoming Central Bank Governor

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj “All changed,changed utterly” – The memorable lines from Irish poet Yeats came true on the morning of July 2nd 2016 for Dr.Indrajit Coomaraswamy after he received a telephone call at 6. 30 am. The early caller was none other than Malik Samarawickrama the minister of Development Strategies and International Trade.Indrajit Coomaraswamy was functioning …

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“Neeyay Unakku Endrum Nigaraanavan” ~ Sparkling Song by TM Soundararajan ~ MS Raju ♫

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj Favourite Film Songs – 5 “Neeyay Unakku endrum Nigaraanaavan” is a sparkling song from the old Tamil film “Baley Pandia” produced and directed by B.R.Panthulu in 1962.Sung by maestro TM Soundararajan(TMS) and “Konnakol”expert M.S.Raju(not to be confused with the Telugu film producer) the song was picturised in the film on actors Sivaji Ganesan …

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Muslim Congress Leader Rauff Hakeem Faces Political Challenges in East

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj The Central bank Governor crisis has been dominating the political landscape at a national level for the past few weeks. However other issues too have surfaced at sub – national level. For instance the question of Muslim political leadership has been causing much controversy at a regional level in the Eastern province. …

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✿ “Roja Malarae Rajakumari” ♛ ♥ ~ Popular Song by PB Sreenivas – P.Susheela Duo ♫

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj Favourite Film Songs -4 “Ruritanian Romance” is a genre consisting of stories, novels, dramas and films set in a fictional country. Anthony Hope’s novel “Prisoner of Zenda” based in the imaginary state of Ruritania was the pioneering novel that spawned this popular genre. Literature, theatre and films of this genre are generally about …

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Sri Lanka’s “Textile Revolution” Ushered in by Ukku Banda Wijekoon

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj “Kollanta Pavement, Kellanta Garment” was a humorous saying frequently repeated during the days of former President Ranasinghe Premadasa. It was an allusion made in lighter vein about the proliferation of garment factories employing girls in most parts of the country during President Premadasas’s rule. The inference was that while young women were being …

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Anatomy of Anti-Muslim Violence: How “Bodhu Bala Sena” Mobs Caused Mayhem in Aluthgama and Beruwela TWO Years ago.

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj (Two years have passed since violence was unleahed by Bodhu Bala Sena (BBS)instigated goons against the Muslims of Aluthgama and Beruwela on Sunday June 15th 2014. This article was written by me shortly after the incidents in the ensuing week in 2014.It is being re-posted without any changes to denote the second anniversary …

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“Dingiri Dingaaley Meenatchi, Dingiri Dingaaley”- Rocking “Baila”-Type Song ♫♥

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj Favourite Film Songs -2 “ Dingiri Dingaale Meenatchi Dingiri Dingaale, Ulagam Poara Poakkaip Paaru Thangamay Chiillaaley” was a song that rocked Sri Lanka then known as Ceylon in 1958-59 and the years after. The rhapsodic song from a Tamil film “Anbu Engey?”was widely popular during my childhood days. It was released in Sri …

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Southern Skylark Susheela Soars To ‘Record’ Heights In Singing Film Songs ♫♥

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj “Joyous, and clear, and fresh, thy music doth surpass… how could thy notes flow in such a crystal stream?” – Percy Bysshe Shelley, ‘Ode to a Skylark’ An indispensable feature of Indian language films are the song sequences. The songs are usually picturised on actors or actresses who lip-synch them on screen. …

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“Armed Forces Will Enthusiastically Support President Sirisena if he Gives Gotabhaya a Responsible Position”-Rajiva Wijesinha

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj (Former National List MP and Prominent Academic – Author Rajiva Wijesinha has a reputation for speaking out forthrightly on issues affecting the nation at large. In this exclusive interview with the “Daily Mirror” Prof.Wijesinha responds to questions on a number of matters including the track record in governance of the present Govt, ethnic …

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“Neela Vannak Kannaa Vaadaa” – Uplifting Lullaby Sung By Balasaraswathi Devi ♥ ♫

by D.B.S.Jeyaraj Favourite Film Songs -1 This article is the first in an on going series about film songs I have come to love over the years.Watching Tamil movies on screen and listening to Tamil film songs over radio was an integral part of life for me as a child growing up in Colombo. The …

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An ‘affair’ of the mind between a nubile undergrad and her ageing professor

By D.B. S. Jeyaraj Asoka Handagama’s latest film ‘Let Her Cry’ is currently being shown in theatres on a limited run from 13 May to 10 June. The director apparently preferred to utilise the gap in between already-scheduled releases and screen his film rather than wait for 16 more months in the queue to get …

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AIADMK Leader “Amma” Jayalalithaa Has Tamil Nadu At Her Feet Again

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj Jayalithaa “Amma” has done it again! The supreme leader of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham (AIADMK)has triumphed at polls held for the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Elections were conducted on May 16th 2016 for 232 out of 234 Constituencies in the state legislature known as the Legislative Assembly. The …

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When “The Da Vinci Code” Film was Banned in Sri Lanka by the Rajapaksa Regime 10 Years Ago

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj ( Dan Brown’s best selling novel “The Da Vinci Code”published in 2003 created much controversy. Ron Howard’s block buster film based on the novel with the same name was also equally controversial. “The Da Vinci Code” starring Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou was banned in Sri Lanka in May 2006 by then …

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“One-eyed Sivarasan” The Mastermind Behind Rajiv Gandhi’s Assassination

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj Rajiv Ratna Gandhi – India’s Prime minister from 31st October 1984 to December 2nd 1989 – was assassinated at Sriperumbudur in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu exactly twenty – five years ago on May 21st 1991. Rajiv Gandhi as he was generally known was in Sriperumbudur to address a propaganda meeting in …

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Remembering Rajiv Gandhi on the Twenty-fifth Anniversary of his Death

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj Twenty – Five years ago on this day (May 21st) Rajiv Gandhi was killed by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil eelam(LTTE). The date of Rajiv Gandhi’s death has poignant significance for me personally. May 21st is the date of my birth. My birth and his death, which happened thirty – seven years later, …

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Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, The “Pithala Handiya” Explosive Attack And Sarath Fonseka

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj Former Sri Lankan army commander Sarath Fonseka came out with a bombshell statement some days ago in Parliament. The ex –army chief now a Cabinet minister in the Sirisena – Wickremesinghe Government accused his erstwhile comrade -at – arms and former Secretary of Defence Gotabhaya Rajapaksa of having “stage managed” an assassination attempt …

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Police TID Arrests 4 Top Eastern Ex-Tiger Leaders Who Worked With Military Intelligence After War Ended

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj A widespread security crackdown has been underway in the Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka. Over 20 former members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)organization have been reportedly taken into custody over the past weeks in a staggered security operation spearheaded by the Terrorism Investigation Department (TID)of the Police.Almost …

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Sad Story of the Banda-Chelva Pact: How the B-C Pact was Formulated, Signed and Abrogated.

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj The “Good Governance” Government of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has embarked upon a historic exercise to enact a new Constitution for Sri Lanka. The consensual approach being adopted will see Parliament convening as a Constitutional Assembly as and when required to engage in Constitution making. The Speaker Karu Jayasuriya …

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Southern Nightingale S. Janaki and the Story of Her Popular ♫Singaara Velanae Deva♫ Song

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj Sishtla Sreeramamurthy Janaki popularly known as S. Janaki celebrates her 78th birthday on April 23rd. The well known Indian singer of film songs who is praised as the “nightingale of the South” was born on April 23rd 1938 during the British colonial period at Pallapatla in Repalle. The Repalle town is located …

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“Stateswoman” Sirimavo Made History As World’s First Woman Prime Minister

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj A 44 year old Kandyan Sinhalese widow of aristocratic “Radala” lineage gained global fame for her country in 1960 when she became the world’s first woman prime minister. She was none other than Sirimavo Bandaranaike who was sworn in as Prime minister of Sri Lanka known then as Ceylon on July 21st 1960. …

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“Maestro” Lester James Peries: Doyen Among Sinhala Film Directors .

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj “If we adopt the Auteur theory to look at the body of work of Lester what stands out is his humanism, we are here concerned mostly about humanism as it developed in western society after the Renaissance and became a strong influence on Lester James Peries” – Dr.Sarath Amunugama (2012 Lester James Peries …

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Mangaiyarkkarasi Amirthalingam Was a Dynamic Political Personality in Her Own Right

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj Mangaiyarkkarasi Amirthalingam known widely among Tamils at one time as “Mangai Akka”(elder sister Mangai) passed away at the age of 82 in Britain where she had been residing for the past 27 years. She was taken ill and admitted to the Royal borough of Kingston upon Thames Hospital in Surrey on Tuesday March …

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Kandy-born Actor-Politico “MGR” Reigned Supreme in Tamil Nadu Cinema and Politics

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj There was a time when the magical initials MGR were a household name in the Tamil-speaking homes of countries with a substantial population of Tamils, including India and Sri Lanka. The initials referred to swashbuckling actor M.G. Ramachandran, who starred as an action hero in over 100 Tamil films. MGR, as he …

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Argument in Jaffna Between Minister Samaraweera – General Gallage and Its Implications

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj Our sister paper “Sunday Times”revealed details last week about an incident of friction between a senior cabinet minister and a senior military official that had occurred in Jaffna a few weeks earlier. The Sunday Times Political column scored a scoop by referring to an exchange of words between Sri Lankan Foreign Affairs minister …

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Dingiri Banda Wijetunga: From “Deaf and Blind” Prime Minister to “Dearly Beloved” President

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj The Birth Centenary of Sri Lanka’s third Executive President Dingiri Banda (DB) Wijetunga was celebrated last week. DB Wijetunga was born during British rule on February 15th 1916.He passed away on September 21st 2008 at the age of 92.DB as he was popularly known served as President from May 1st 1993 to …

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Revisiting the Forcible Arrest of Sarath Fonseka by the Army on Feb 8th 2010

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj Gardihewa Sarath Chandralal Fonseka, Sri Lanka’s one and only Field Marshall is very much in the news these days. The former army chief who was once described as the “world’s best military commander” by former defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa is now a national list Parliamentarian of the United National front for Good Governance …

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Upali Wijewardena: Memories of Sri Lanka’s Unforgettable Indigenous Tycoon

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj If Philip Upali Wijewardena was among the living he would have reached the Seventy-seven on February 17th. Alas, this was not to be as he disappeared 32 years ago on Feb 13th , just four days before his 45th birthday . This article written years ago is updated and posted here as …

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Patriotic Tamils Hail Mother Lanka as “Sri Lanka Thaayae” in Their Mother Tongue

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj “Sri Lanka Thaayae, Nam Sri Lanka, Namo, Namo, Namo, Namo Thaayae…” (Sri Lanka Mother, our sri Lanka, We Salute, Salute, Salute, Salute Thee) – Sri Lankan National Anthem in Tamil Sri Lanka known as Ceylon gained Freedom from Britain on February 4th 1948. I was born six years later in Independent Ceylon on …

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Indian Actress Asin Who was “Black listed” by Tamil Cinema for Being Sri Lanka Friendly Weds Rahul in Grand Style ♥ ♥

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj An adorable actress with lovely looks being swept off her feet into a grand wedding by an efficacious entrepreneur with dashing features is the romantic stuff modern fairy tales are made of. No wonder then that Indian newspapers were full of news stories last week about the wedding between the Punjabi Hindu …

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68 Years of Independence, Nation Building and the Future of Tamils in Sri Lanka

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj Sri Lanka will Celebrate its Sixty-eighth Anniversary of Independence from the United Kingdom this Thursday. The country then known as Ceylon obtained full freedom from the British on February 4th 1948.Independent Ceylon/Sri Lanka / has faced many challenges and problems in the past 68 years. We have had military coup attempts, communal …

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Power Sharing Quest of Sri Lankan Tamils After Independence

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj The premier political configuration representing the Tamils of Sri Lanka in the Northern and Eastern provinces is the Tamil National Alliance(TNA). According to newspaper reports the TNA seems to be disappointed over perceived delay in setting up an appropriate mechanism to draft a new Constitution for Sri Lanka. It is also worried about …

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Monsignor Rayappu Joseph: “Controversial” Catholic Bishop Emeritus of Mannar Diocese

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj A news report from the Vatican Information Service(VIS) datelined January 14th 2016 stated that His Holiness Pope Francis has accepted the resignation presented by Bishop Rayappu Joseph upon reaching the age limit, from the pastoral care of the diocese of Mannar, Sri Lanka.The VIS report further said that Pope Francis has appointed Bishop …

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Muslim Congress Wants a North-East Muslim Majority Council Based On India’s Pondicherry Model

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj For more than two decades the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress(SLMC) has remained the foremost political party of the Sri Lankan Muslims. The SLMC co-founded and led by the legendary MHM Ashraff is headed by Rauff Hakeem who succeeded him as party leader after Ashraff’s demise in 2000. In recent times the dominant position …

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Tamil Leaders Opposed When Sinhalese Leaders Proposed Federalism

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj “A thousand and one objections could be raised against the system, but when the objections are dissipated, I am convinced that some form of Federal Government will be the only solution’” – S.W.R.D.Bandaranaike in 1926. “We suggest the creation of a federal state as in the United States of America” – Kandyan National …

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Political Settlement Based on the “Federal Idea” in a “New” Sri Lanka

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj The new year has dawned on a note of hope and optimism for Sri Lanka! On January 9th 2016 President Maithripala Sirisena is scheduled to present a resolution in Parliament that proposes to convert Parliament into a Constitutional Assembly. The envisaged Constitutional Assembly is different to the Constituent Assembly that drafted the 1972 …

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Lasantha Wickrematunge’s Killers Must Be Brought To Justice Under This Government

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj Lasantha Manilal Wickrematunge and I were colleagues at The Island in the eighties of the last century. We were also residents of Kotahena then. Later I was for many years a columnist at The Sunday Leader writing from Canada. Above all “Lassie Boy” as I called him was a friend in every …

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Murder Most Foul of a Tamil MP In Church During Christmas Worship

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj Blessings of Christmas are once again upon us all!Even as we immerse ourselves in this universal season of peace and great joy, my thoughts hark back to a terrible incident which marred the spirit of Christmas and sanctity of a Church a decade ago. It was an instance of murder most foul …

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Five of my Favourite Christmas Carols – How they Originated and Became Widely Popular

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj Merry Christmas and a Happy new Year Friends! It’s Christmas season again! An integral part of Christmas is the singing of Christmas carols in churches as well as at events celebrating Christmas. The Many Faces of Christmas – Shaped Wooden Puzzle from Sri Lanka ~ Photographed at an exhibit of over 900 …

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How Will The TNA Resolve The Problem Posed By Northern Chief Minister Wigneswaran?

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj “How do you solve a problem like Maria? How do you catch a cloud and pin it down? How do you find the word that means Maria? A flibbertijibbet! A will-o’-the wisp! A clown!” “Many a thing you know you’d like to tell her Many a thing she ought to understand But how …

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“Nagaichuvai Mannan” Nagesh: Monarch of Humorous Actors in Tamil Movies

by D.B.S.Jeyaraj An intergral part of the Tamil Film tradition has been humour. While a few films have been devoted to comedy alone the bulk of Tamil movies have had actors playing out amusing roles evoking mirth and laughter. These roles are generally supplementary to the main roles of the hero and heroine. The actors …

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TNA Leader Sampanthan, Chief Minister Wigneswaran and the Crisis of Tamil Political Leadership.

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj “For Brutus, as you know, was Caesar’s angel.Judge, O you gods, how dearly Caesar lov’d him!This was the most unkindest cut of all;For when the noble Caesar saw him stab, Ingratitude, more strong than traitors’ arms,Quite vanquish’d him: then burst his mighty heart” – William Shakespeare “Julius Caesar”(Act 3 Scene 2) Political tensions …

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M.N.Nambiar : The Virtuous Villain of Tamil Cinema who Terrified People by his Grimaces and Scowls

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj The eighth death anniversary of a man named Manjeri Narayanan Nambiar or M.N. Nambiar fell on 19 November. He was 89 years of age at the time of his death. Nambiar was a terrible villain who could terrify people by merely grimacing and scowling. M.N. Nambiar was arguably the greatest screen villain of …

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Mahinda “Gamana”Goes on at 70: How Mahendra Percy Rajapaksa Began his Political Journey

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj Mahendra Percy Rajapaksa known to the world at large as Mahinda Rajapaksa reached the magical age of 70 on November 18th 2015. The age of seventy or three score and ten regarded as the span of life has a special aura about it. The Bible (psalm 90 verse 10) says “ The days …

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How and Why the LTTE Evicted Muslims from the Northern Province 25 Years ago in “Black October 1990”.

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj Twenty – Fifth Anniversary of Muslim Mass Expulsion From North by LTTE The Investigation launched by the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has in accordance with its terms of reference probed the period of time from the 2002 February ceasefire until the end of the war in May …

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TMVP Leader “Pillaiyaan” Implicated in Assassinations of TNA Parliamentarians Pararajasingham and Raviraj

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj Thamil Makkal Viduthalaip Puligal (TMVP) leader Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias “Pillaiyaan” is currently being detained and interrogated by the Police over his suspected involvement in the twin assassinations of Tamil National Alliance(TNA) Parliamentarians Joseph Pararajasingham and Nadarajah Raviraj in December 2005 and November 2006 respectively. Chandrakanthan who made history in 2008 as the first …

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Tragic Phenomenon of Forcible Recruitment of Tamil Civilians by the LTTE

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj The Human Rights Investigation report on Sri Lanka compiled by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights released last month has revealed much information about the alleged activities of the Sri Lankan armed forces, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and state affiliated para – military outfits such …

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Jaffna Film Festival and Indigenous Tamil cinema in Sri Lanka before ‘ 1983 Black July’

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj “Yaarlpaanam” (Jaffna/Yapanaya) regarded by many as the cultural capital of the “Ilangai Thamizhar” of Sri Lanka hosted an international film festival from 15 to 21 September. Jaffna, the capital city of Sri Lanka’s Northern Province, is probably the only city in the world named after a musical instrument. The Tamil name ‘Yarlpanam’ is …

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Gamini Fonseka, Lester James Peries and the Milestone Movie ‘Nidhanaya’

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj Sembuge Gamini Shelton Fonseka, known generally as Gamini Fonseka – the uncrowned monarch of Sinhala cinema – passed away at the age of 68 on 30 September 2004. Gamini was one of my favourite actors since the age of eight when I first saw ‘Ranmuthuduwa,’ a film starring him at the Gamini …

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UN Report Exposes the Cruel Conduct of LTTE Towards Tamil Civilians in the Wanni

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj The long awaited UN report on Sri Lanka compiled by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights released last week has predictably evoked much excitement and controversy. The UN investigation report on Sri Lanka abbreviated as OISL has provided much information about the alleged activities of the Sri …

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Mangala Samaraweera Discloses Govt Proposals for Justice, Truth, Accountability and Reconciliation at the UN in Geneva

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera disclosed in Geneva a series of proposals envisaged by the Sri Lankan Government of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to ensure, promote and facilitate Justice, Truth, Accountability, Human Rights Enforcement and Ethnic Reconciliation at the 30th session of the UN Human Rights Council in …

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From Sir Francis Molamure to Karu Jayasuriya: Long Line Of Speakers who Served in the Legislatures of Sri Lanka/Ceylon.

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj Karunarathne Jayasuriya popularly known as Karu Jayasuriya was elected unopposed on September 1st 2015 as the speaker of the Sri Lankan Parliament.His name was proposed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and seconded by Nimal Siripala de Silva who functioned as leader of the opposition in the last days of the last Parliament. As …

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Gorgeous Actress Geetha Kumarasinghe Stars in New Role as Galle District MP

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj Elections are over and a new Parliament has been elected. The political excitement however is yet to subside. ‘Spotlight’ returns after a brief interval to focus on films, film personalities and film-related matters. The focus this time would be on an alluring beauty who made a successful name for herself on the cinema …

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SLFP Leader Maithripala Makes a Mockery of President Sirisena’s Good Governance Principles

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj Pallewatte Gamaralalage Maithripala Yapa Sirisena was elected President of Sri Lanka on January 8th 2015. The general secretary of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party(SLFP) had broken away from his party and contested the Presidential elections as the common opposition candidate. Maithripala Sirisena defeated his former leader Mahinda Rajapaksa.The victory was hailed as a …

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Jacques Audiard’s Film “Dheepan” About Three Tamil Refugees in France Wins Golden Palm at Cannes

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj Cannes is a city on the picturesque French Riviera-Mediterranean coast in South-Eastern France. It is classified as a French commune which is an administrative division roughly equivalent to a municipality. The pride of Cannes in contemporary times has been the annual international film festival held in the city. Known as the Cannes …

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How the UNP Formed a Seven Party National Government Fifty Years Ago

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj Prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who is also the leader of the United National Party(UNP) and the United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG) is determined to form a National Government if returned to power after the August 17th Parliamentary Poll. Since most political observers opine that the next Parliament would be a hung …

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Remembering Comrade Bala Tampoe the Legendary Trade Union Leader on his First Death Anniversary

By D.B>S.Jeyaraj (Veteran Trade Union Leader Philips Balendra Tampoe passed away at the age of 92 on September 1st 2014.Comrade Bala Tampoe as he was generally known created Trade union history by being the general secretary of the Ceylon Mercantile Union for an unbroken period of sixty – six years.To denote the first death anniversary …

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Even God Cannot Save Tamils if People Vote for Diaspora Backed TNPF – ACTC “Cycle”

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj The Tamil National Peoples Front (TNPF) which is contesting the 2015 Parliamentary polls under the cycle symbol of the All Ceylon Tamil Congress (ACTC) unveiled its election manifesto in Valvettithurai on August 2nd 2015. The date coincided with the 26th anniversary of the VVT massacre of 1989 where over 30 civilians were killed …

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Tigers as Spiders! Ex – LTTE Cadres Contesting as Independent Group in Jaffna

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj 6,151 Candidates from 21 registered political parties and 201 independent groups are contesting the Sri Lankan Parliamentary elections scheduled for August 17th 2015. Of these 3, 653 are from the 21 parties and 2,498 from independent groups. Predictably the spotlight in general has been on the major political parties both nationally and regionally …

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Remembering Lakshman Kadirgamar on his Tenth Death Anniversary

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj Spotlight’ will move away from its usual focus on movies and movie-related topics this week and beam on an illustrious personality of Sri Lanka whose 10th death anniversary falls on 12 August. Sri Lanka’s finest Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar was assassinated in Colombo by a suspected sniper of the Liberation Tigers of …

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“Tiger” Diaspora Backs Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam led All-Ceylon Tamil Congress (TNPF) in Polls

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj Valvettithurai is a place that has figured prominently in the politics of Sri Lankan Tamils. Valvettithurai is a coastal town along the Vadamaratchy littoral region of the northern Jaffna peninsula.VVT as Valvettithurai is generally referred to acquired a notorious reputation at one time as the hotbed of smuggling. In later years Valvettithurai became …

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Will the TNA (ITAK) be able to Unmake and Make Govts in 2015 as the FP (ITAK) did in 1960?

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj Election mania spreads rapidly in the country with Parliamentary polls being scheduled for August 17th 2015 and the Tamil inhabited areas of the Northern and Eastern provinces are also afflicted. Currently the premier political configuration of the Sri Lankan Tamils is the Tamil National Alliance(TNA) consisting of the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK), …

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“Bring Back Mahinda” Movement Accomplishes First Part of Its Mission

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj (This is the second and final part of an article published in the “Daily Mirror”of July 18th 2015 under the heading “Bring back, Oh Bring Back, Bring Back Mahinda to “Temple Trees”) The Nugegoda Rally demanding the return of Mahinda Rajapaksa to politics was the opening gambit in a planned series of political …

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Bring back, Oh Bring Back, Bring Back Mahinda to “Temple Trees”….

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj “My Bonnie lies over the ocean My Bonnie lies over the sea My Bonnie lies over the ocean Oh, bring back my Bonnie to me”… “Bring back, bring back Oh,Bring back my Bonnie to me, to me Bring back, bring back Oh,Bring back my Bonnie to me” – Traditional Scottish Folk Song “My …

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Anatomy of an Anti-Tamil Pogrom: Thirty-second Anniversary of “Black July” 1983.

(This article was posted in 2013 to denote the 30th anniversary of Black July 83 and is reproduced here again with minor changes in view of the 32nd anniversary of the anti- Tamil pogrom) by D.B.S. Jeyaraj “Shops, Banks, Offices and Restaurants in the Capital’s crowded City Centre and Main Streets being burnt while the …

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“Mellisai Mannargal” M.S. Viswanathan and T.K. Ramamurthy, the ‘Monarchs of Light Music’ in Tamil cinema

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj Watching Tamil movies on screen and listening to Tamil film songs over radio was an integral part of life for me as a child growing up in Colombo. The Tamil ‘Varthaga Oliparappu’ or Commercial service of ‘Radio Ceylon’ was a treasure trove of film songs. Apart from broadcasting the latest Tamil film songs …

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♫ Kaadhal Mannan ♫ Gemini Ganesan, Romantic Actor King of Tamil Cinema ♥

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj In writing last week about legendary film actor Tony Ranasinghe, I referred to the comment by Malani Fonseka about Tony being the greatest romantic lover in Sinhala films. The queen of Sinhala cinema who has acted in about 40 films with him said of Tony Ranasinghe “I find him the most romantic …

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Tony Ranasinghe, the Greatest Character Actor and Romantic Lover in Sinhala Cinema

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj “Tony as an actor is the best character-based actor not even witnessed in the Indian screen. He has an actor within himself who emerges at the correct moment. Tony Ranasinghe is the best character actor in Asia” – Gamini Fonseka. “Tony Aiya was a well-read man of wisdom. Not only as his …

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Removing the Ban on Some Tamil Diaspora Organizations Listed as ” Foreign Terrorist”

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj Sri Lanka’s ebullient Foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera is currently in the forefront of a move to review and possibly remove the ban imposed on certain Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora organizations and individuals designated as “terrorist” under provisions of the United Nations Act No 45 of 1968. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) and …

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Tamil Progressive Alliance and the Tamils Living Outside the North-East

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj An event of great significance occurred within the sphere of minority community politics in Sri Lanka on June 3rd 2015. Three political parties representing sections of the Tamil people living outside the Tamil dominated Northern province and Tamil majority Eastern Province announced at a media conference held at the Taj Samudra Hotel in …

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Sir Christopher Lee: Legendary movie villain played Dracula, Fu Manchu, Scaramanga, Saruman and Dooku

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj There was a time when I was afflicted by the supernatural in the form of ghost stories and horror movies. Being terrified by terrible tales of ghosts, devils, vampires and monsters was an enjoyable type of agony then.It was a self-inflicted period of craze for the macabre. This phase in my life began …

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Ananthy Sasitharan in the Eye of a Controversial Publicity Storm Again

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj “Both here and hence pursue me lasting strife, If once I be a widow, ever I be a wife!………” The lady doth protest too much, methinks” – William Shakespeare :Hamlet Act 3,Scene 2. Politicians are a breed thriving on publicity –negative or positive. Their preference is to bask in the limelight always. …

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EPRLF Deputy Leader Thambirajah Subathiran alias “Robert” was Slain in Jaffna by a LTTE Sniper 12 Years ago

By D. B. S. Jeyaraj Thambirajah Subathiran alias “Robert” was assassinated in Jaffna by a sniper of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) Twelve years ago on June 14th 2003 while the Norway facilitated ceasefire between the Sri Lankan Government led by then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the LTTE was in force. “Robert …

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“Kaatriniley Varum Geetham” Sung by M.S. Subbulakshmi in “Meera” is a Classic Among Tamil Film Songs.

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj A perennial classic in the sphere of Tamil film songs is ‘Kaatriniley Varum Geetham’ based on the Sindhubhairavi raga.It is sung by the nightingale of India MS Subbulakshmi in the film ‘Meera’ where she plays the title role.This song was a favourite of one of my aunts who would be singing snatches from …

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Alleged Acts of Sexual Violence Against Tamil Women by Members of the Armed Forces During the War

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj (The brutal gang rape and murder of 18 year old schoolgirl Vidya Sivaloganathan in the Northern Island of Pungudutheevu has resulted in widespread revulsion and condemnations. It has drawn attention to the burning issue of sexual violence against women in general and Tamil women in particular. This is a recurring phenomenon with …

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♬ P. Leela, ‘Forgotten’ Singer Who Sang Unforgettable Songs In Tamil Cinema ♥

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj I was pleasantly surprised this week when a South Indian journal asked me to revise an article I had written earlier about the singer Porayathu Leela – popularly known as P. Leela. The request for an article to denote Leela’s birthday was most unexpected as she had passed away 10 years ago …

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“Brigadier” Balraj: Seventh Death Anniversary of Legendary LTTE Commander Who Led From the Front

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj (Kandiah Balasegaran alias Balraj the legendary military commander of the LTTE died of a heart attack on May 20th 2008.This article is an updated amalgamated version of articles written by me in 2008 and 2011 about him. It is being published here to denote the seventh death anniversary of “Brigadier” Balraj – DBSJ) …

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Thirteenth Constitutional Amendment is Rajiv Gandhi’s Political Legacy in Sri Lanka

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj Today May 21st is the 24th death anniversary of former Indian Prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. He was killed on May 21st 1991. The date of Rajiv Gandhi’s death has poignant significance for me personally. May 21st is the date of my birth. My birth and his death which happened thirty – seven …

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Katharine “Kate” Hepburn holds Oscar record for most wins in acting category

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj 12 May was the birthday of an actress who was described by the American Film Institute as the “greatest American screen legend” among female stars. Katharine Hepburn, known popularly as Kate Hepburn, with her regal appearance and distinctive patrician-sounding accent, strode majestically across stage and screen in an acting career spanning more than …

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May 2009 Military Debacle at Mullivaaikkaal Results in Defeat of LTTE and Death of Tiger Leader Prabhakaran.

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj “The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line, Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it” – Omar Khayyam in the Rubaiyat (translated into English by Sir Edward Fitzgerald) The month of May is significant …

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How Jayalalithaa Sparkled on Silver Screen in her Actress Avatar as Uncrowned Queen of Tamil Cinema.

by D.B.S.Jeyaraj (Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and Ex-Film actress Ms.jayalalithaa Jayaram who was convicted over charges of acquiring disproportionate wealth has now been acquitted of all charges by the Karnataka High Court which heard her appeal.This article written for “Spotlight” Column in the “Daily Financial Times” of October 11th 2014 is re-posted here without …

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Gregory Peck’s flu cured by ginger-coriander tea when filming in Ceylon

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj The ‘Spotlight’ column returns after a lengthy interval. The focus this time is on American actor Gregory Peck. There is no particular reason other than nostalgia for writing about this former Hollywood idol at this time. Born in 1916, Peck passed away in 2003. So this year 2015 does not mark any …

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How JR Jayewardene Ushered in the Executive Presidency in 1978

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj The successful passage of the 19th Constitutional amendment in Parliament with an overwhelming majority has resulted in the Executive Presidency ushered in by the 1978 Constitution losing some if not all of its powers. This in turn has focused the spotlight on the first Executive President of Sri Lanka –Junius Richard Jayewardene …

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“Taraki” Sivaram: From Gun Toting Militant to Pen Wielding Journalist

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj The tenth death anniversary of well-known columnist D.P.Sivaram who wrote under the pseudonym of “Taraki” falls this week. Dharmaretnam Puvirajakeerthi Sivaram who wrote in English and Tamil was abducted on April 28th 2005 at Bambalapitiya around 10. 30 pm.His body was found about four hours later by the Police on the banks …

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How the LTTE Captured Elephant Pass Army Camp 15 Years ago Through an “Encircle and Enfeeble” war Strategy

By D.B.S. JEYARAJ “And everybody praised the Duke Who this great fight did win.” “But what good came of it at last?” Quoth little Peterkin. “Why, that I cannot tell,” said he, “But ’twas a famous victory.” – Robert Southey -“ The Battle of Blenheim” Fifteen years ago on April 22nd 2000 the strategic Elephant …

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Sirima Bandaranaike: “Weeping Widow” who Became World’s First Woman Prime Minister

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj Friday April 17th was the 99th Birth Anniversary of Sirima Ratwatte Dias Bandaranaike who created history as the world’s first woman Prime minister. The 55th anniversary of her being appointed as the then Ceylon’s premier falls on July 21st this year.The Island’s elder stateswoman was in active politics for almost forty years .She …

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♥ Remembering PB Sreenivas and His Enchanting Duets With S. Janaki ♫

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj The traditional April new year dawned on a sad note for me last year.I woke up to the news that well –known singer of film songs Prathivadi Bayankara Sreenivas (P.B.S) had passed away in India. He was one of my favourite filmsong singers.I grew up with the Tamil film songs of people …

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History of the National Anthem of Sri Lanka has been Mired in Controversy

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj Actions speak louder than words! A very effective message regarding the contentious issue of the national anthem being sung in Tamil also was sent out early this week to the nation in general and the Tamil people in particular in the form of exemplary concrete action by the triumvirate comprising President Maithripala Sirisena, …

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Singing the National Anthem in Tamil Hailing “Mother Lanka” as “Sri Lanka Thaaye”

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj Once upon a time there was a Beautiful Island with wonderful people that was regarded as God’s own country. After gaining Independence from a colonial power the modern nation with an ancient civilisation adopted a national anthem of its own.The anthem was written in the language spoken by the majority of its inhabitants. …

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