Colombo, Peace and Conflict, Poetry

AFTER THE PARTY – in Memoriam: Anura Bandaranaike

I remember an evening
flavoured by my mother’s
cooking, bringing
two smart patriots
together, to speak
about devolution
not yet realized,
what makes sense
seeing the island
from afar, the only
way forward,

two dear friends
who met then
for the first time.
Now, one is laid
to rest, and
the other engages
readers still
to think afresh
about slow or fast
bombs, double-speak,
cynical tongues, how
to bring more than

twenty five years
of war to an end
before all our parties
break up and families
gather, with shot-gun
shells and confetti
to scatter, at weddings
held on holy ground
beside gravestones
where fathers and
brothers, mothers
and sisters are buried.

Indran Amirthanayagam, March 16, 2008

  • N. Ethirveerasingam

    Beautiful thoughts Indran. How I hope we can honour Arthur C. Clarke, whom I met briefly in 1962 in Colombo, by giving him the first of his wishes.
    “At a 90th birthday party thrown for Clarke in December, the author said he had three wishes: for Sri Lanka’s raging civil war to end, for the world to embrace cleaner sources of energy and for evidence of extraterrestrial beings to be discovered.”

  • Indran’s rhetoric and the placing of words – indeed – have a captivating spirit about them. But, i personally feel that Anura Bandaranaike was (ideologically and politically) a sound and passionate pursuer of the Peace Quest. His entitlement to politics was the quasi-feudal roots of the Bandaranaikes and the patriarchal and (again) feudal conception that the (male) child had to inherit the patent of the manorial Lord. He, to me, often portrayed the tragic last-in-line of the feudal one sees in plays such as the Cherry Orchard.

    His was an inheritence. And he was a convenient pawn for certain people to push around and maneouvre. I often felt sorry for the chap, for i often felt he was a prisoner of his “inheritence” — a man doing the wrong job, being chosen more by circumstances than by agency.

  • Posted on behalf of Indran:

    I agree about Clark. I saw the video of his birthday wishes, a moving
    record. Anura, was a kind and engaging man, a brilliant speaker. I do
    not pretend to present him in all his complexity. Yes, Shakespeare
    should be summoned from the grave to write the history. For those of
    us who knew him, we lost a friend. Le us rejoice in the happy memory
    of his company.