03 August 2023

Let's help Jagana Krishnakumar rebuild our ancestral home

Tragedy of any kind can yield tears. Tragedy of any kind can also yield resolve. There are other harvests too. Apportioning of blame, absolving responsibility, anger, revenge-intent and collapse of one kind or another for example. It’s seldom just one thing. And so, in this country where there has been so much death, dismemberment, destruction and displacement, we’ve seen all of it.

Jagana Krishnakumar is not an exception. Jagana recently visited his father’s ancestral home in Mannipai, Jaffna.  He sat there and imagined.  

He imagined what life must have been back then in and around what is now called Innuvil Road 200 years ago. Imagination was his only recourse even to think of how things were just a few decades ago, for all he had to ‘work with’ were the remnants of the entrance.

How, what, where, when, who? Who would wish this on a relative, a friend, an acquaintance, a neighbour, a stranger or even an enemy? Jagana believes, ‘no one.’ He is kind and generous, for there must have been total disregard for life, lifestyle, livelihood and property to produce the outcomes that left behind the rubble he sat on as he imagined the past and visualised the future.  

Histories matter. Lessons must be learnt. I don’t think Jagana is naive about such things. And yet, he did not fail to pick the warmth and hope in the people who have lost so much and nevertheless  embrace the troubled, challenging and tense present with fortitude.

It was not only Jagana whose thoughts ventured into the long ago going back several decades and beyond. His father had excitedly talked about how life used to be. Maybe the time for rancour had passed. Maybe that was how he was — knew the past, accepted realities and resolutely refusing to let any of it dampen his spirit.  

Jagana says that he was touched by his father’s excitement. It had made him want to rebuild the property. Not just the property of which only the broken pieces of an entrance remain, but the property that is the nation.

Here are his words:

‘In the same light, can we find inspiration and purpose to rebuild this our own country, because at the end of the day this is our home, our sanctuary, and our fortress, whether we're from the North or the South, the East or the West, we are Sri Lankan, and we must come together now more than ever before and work towards a common and shared goal, which is towards the progress of this great and sacred land.’

Jagana is convinced that ‘humanity will never progress if we hold on to anger, hatred and revenge, instead forgive, understand and accept,’ and that 'change, real change can only be ushered in, when we shed ourselves of what divides us, and embrace what unites us, and that is first, we are all human, second we are all Sri Lankan.’

There will always be people who affirm quite the opposite, people who hold on to anger, hatred and revenge, who will not forgive, understand or accept, and who will think first and last is nothing but self or a particular identity. ‘Sri Lanka’ could be a proposition or reality they cannot identify with, but the disavowal of humanity if not in word then in deed, what can be done? Jagana has the answer. Well, two answers.

The first has many parts.

‘Let's not blame. Let's not point fingers. For decades, we have been doing that. We have all made that mistake because the veil of political bias has always shrouded our judgment, we pick sides, when in the end all sides are the tentacles of the same octopus. Now it's time we lift this veil of delusion, it's Time we transcend the farcical political divide, the racial and ethnic dogma, and make informed and thoughtful decisions when we elect and select our representatives and leaders.’

Such sentiments are often expressed. Sometimes they are expressed by those who seem to have dedicated their lives to the exact opposite. But what makes Jagana’s words meaningful is the other, the second answer which came to his mind that day sitting on a broken pillar in his father’s ancestral property. Rebuild.

Rebuild resolve. Rebuild commonality. Rebuild understanding and acceptance. Rebuild unity. Rebuild humanity.  It’s all in those intangibles that we’ve misplaced, forgotten or allowed anger, distrust and inhumanity bury in the darkest and most forlorn recesses of the mind. Those intangibles that have been laid waste and like so much rubble are scattered in desolate landscapes.

The entrance is intact. It is always intact. It cannot be destroyed. Jagana Krishnakumar is a witness. He wants to rebuild our ancestral home. We can but lend a hand.


['The Morning Inspection' is the title of a column I wrote for the Daily News from 2009 to 2011, one article a day, Monday through Saturday. This is 187th article in the new series but it was not published perhaps because it was seen to be controversial. Links to previous articles in this new series are given below] 

Other articles in this series: 

True national anthems

Do you have a friend in Pennsylvania (or anywhere?)

A gateway to illumination in West Virginia

Through strange fissures into magical orchards

There's sea glass love few will see 

Re-residencing Lakdasa Wikkramasinha

Poisoning poets and shredding books of verse

The responsible will not be broken

Home worlds

Ownership and tenuriality of the Wissahickon

Did you notice the 'tiny, tiny wayside flowers'?

Gifts, gifting and their rubbishing

History is new(s)

Journalism inadvertently learned

Reflections on the young poetic heart

Wordaholic, trynasty and other portmanteaus

The 'Loku Aiya' of all 'Paththara Mallis'

Subverting the indecency of the mind

Character theft and the perennial question 'who am I?'


A degree in people

Faces dripping with time

Saji Coomaraswamy and rewards that matter

Revolutionary unburdening

Seeing, unseeing and seeing again

Alex Carey and the (small) matter of legacy

The Edelweiss of Mirissa 

The insomnial dreams of Kapila Kumara Kalinga 

The clothes we wear and the clothes that wear us (down) 

Every mountain, every rock, is sacred 

Manufacturing passivity and obedience 

Precept and practice 

Sanjeew Lonliyes: rawness unplugged, unlimited 

In praise of courage, determination and insanity 

The relative values of life and death 

Feet that walk 

Sarinda's eyes 

Poetry and poets will not be buried 

Sunny Dayananda 

Reunion Peradeniya (1980-1990) 

What makes Oxygen breathable?  

Sorrowing and delighting the world 

The greatest fallacy  

Encounters with Liyanage Amarakeerthi 

Beyond praise and blame 

Letters that cut and heal the heart 

Vanished and vanishing trails 


A forgotten dawn song from Embilipitiya 

The soft rain of neighbourliness  

The Gold Medals of being 

Jaya Sri Ratna Sri 

All those we've loved before 

Reflections on waves and markings 

A chorus of National Anthems 

Saying what and how 

'Say when' 

Respond to insults in line with the Akkosa Sutra 

The loves of our lives 

The right time, the right person 

The silent equivalent of a thousand words 

Crazy cousins are besties for life 

Unities, free and endearing 

Free verse and the return key

"Sorry, Earth!" 

The lost lyrics of Premakeerthi de Alwis 

The revolution is the song 

Consolation prizes in competitions no one ever wins 

The day I won a Pulitzer 


Ella Deloria's silences 

Blackness, whiteness and black-whiteness 

Inscriptions: stubborn and erasable  


Deveni: a priceless one-word koan 

Enlightening geometries 

Let's meet at 'The Commons' 

It all begins with a dot 

Recovering run-on lines and lost punctuation 

'Wetness' is not the preserve of the Dry Zone 

On sweeping close to one's feet 

Kumkum Fernando installs Sri Lanka in Coachella, California

To be an island like the Roberts... 

Debts that can never be repaid in full

An island which no flood can overwhelm 

Who really wrote 'Mother'? 

A melody faint and yet not beyond hearing 

Heart dances that cannot be choreographed 

Remembering to forget and forgetting to remember 

On loving, always 

Authors are assassinated, readers are immortal 

When you turn 80... 

It is good to be conscious of nudities  

Saturday slides in after Monday and Sunday somersaults into Friday  

There's a one in a million and a one in ten 

Gunadasa Kapuge is calling 

Kumkum Fernando installs Sri Lanka in Coachella, California 

Hemantha Gunawardena's signature 

Pathways missed 

Architectures of the demolished 

The exotic lunacy of parting gifts 

Who the heck do you think I am? 

Those fascinating 'Chitra Katha' 

The Mangala Sabhava 

So how are things in Sri Lanka? 

The most beautiful father 

Palmam qui meruit ferat 

The sweetest three-letter poem 

Buddhangala Kamatahan 

An Irish and Sri Lankan Hello 

Teams, team-thinking, team-spirit and leadership 

The songs we could sing in lifeboats when we are shipwrecked 

Pure-Rathna, a class act 

Jekhan Aruliah set a ball rolling in Jaffna 

Awaiting arrivals unlike any other 

Teachers and students sometimes reverse roles 

Matters of honor and dignity 

Yet another Mother's Day 

A cockroach named 'Don't' 

Colombo, Colombo, Colombo and so forth 

The slowest road to Kumarigama, Ampara 

Sweeping the clutter away 

Some play music, others listen 

Completing unfinished texts 

Mind and hearts, loquacious and taciturn 

I am at Jaga Food, where are you? 

On separating the missing from the disappeared 

Moments without tenses 

And intangible republics will save the day (as they always have) 

The world is made of waves 


The circuitous logic of Tony Muller 

Rohana Kalyanaratne, an unforgettable 'Loku Aiya' 

Mowgli, the Greatest Archaeologist 

Figures and disfigurement, rocks and roses 

Sujith Rathnayake and incarcerations imposed and embraced 

Some stories are written on the covers themselves 

A poetic enclave in the Republic of Literature 

Landcapes of gone-time and going-time  

The best insurance against the loud and repeated lie 

So what if the best flutes will not go to the best flautists? 

There's dust and words awaiting us at crossroads and crosswords 

The books of disquiet 

A song of terraced paddy fields 

Of ants, bridges and possibilities 

From A through Aardvark to Zyzzyva  

World's End 

Words, their potency, appropriation and abuse 

Street corner stories 

Who did not listen, who's not listening still? 

The book of layering 

If you remember Kobe, visit GOAT Mountain 

The world is made for re-colouring 

The gift and yoke of bastardy 

The 'English Smile' 

No 27, Dickman's Road, Colombo 5 

Visual cartographers and cartography 

Ithaca from a long ago and right now 

Lessons written in invisible ink 

The amazing quality of 'equal-kindness' 

A tea-maker story seldom told 

On academic activism 

The interchangeability of light and darkness 

Back to TRADITIONAL rice 

Sisterhood: moments, just moments 

Chess is my life and perhaps your too

Reflections on ownership and belonging 

The integrity of Nadeesha Rajapaksha 

Signatures in the seasons of love

To Maceo Martinet as he flies over rainbows 

Sirith, like pirith, persist 

Fragrances that will not be bottled  

Colours and textures of living heritage 

Countries of the past, present and future 

A degree in creative excuses

Books launched and not-yet-launched 

The sunrise as viewed from sacred mountains 

The ways of the lotus 

Isaiah 58: 12-16 and the true meaning of grace 

The age of Frederick Algernon Trotteville 

Live and tell the tale as you will 

Between struggle and cooperation 

Of love and other intangibles 

Neruda, Sekara and literary dimensions 

The universe of smallness 

Paul Christopher's heart of many chambers 

Calmness gracefully cascades in the Dumbara Hills 

Serendipitous amber rules the world 

Continents of the heart
The allegory of the slow road  


Anonymous said...

Malinda - can we start a project to rebuild - these types of people’s property, just privately.
I have sent you an email. Thanks. Inda.