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Open letter to President of the Royal Turf Club


Congratulations on your appointment as President of the Royal Turf Club and the wonderful and successful race day on March 31.

What baffles me and many others is that in this wonderful atmosphere for horse racing, betting is not permitted. It is difficult to think of a similar situation in any other place in the world where horse racing is held.

Please do not trot out the flimsy excuse that the Govt. does not promote gambling, when it is happening all around us where horse racing is concerned.

It is high time that the RTC introduces betting, as the Ceylon Turf Club (CTC) did so methodically and successfully in the past, as it is the spirit and soul of horse racing. Importantly, it will make the RTC compatible with the sport, as adopted in other countries, and be the biggest revenue earner for the club, when properly conducted.

Another important factor is about continuing race meetings in N’Eliya considering past cancellations due to adverse weather conditions. Therefore, is it worthwhile? - The RTC has spent a heap of money to develop the existing facilities and add new features at the Racecourse... Is it justifiable by your sponsors. Ministry of Sports and others? These are questions that must be answered –

Pro Bono Publico


Tunnel Builders of the Sinhala Kingdom


Feature writer Nan’s article on ancient tunnels of the ’Kandyan’ Kingdom touches on a fascinating, but little known subject. Our ancestors even had a clan [caste] of tunnel builders as can be seen in the following extract from the Rajavaliya –

"Diyogu de Melu – captured King Vidiye [Bandara] and imprisoned him in the fort of Kolon The respectful queen who lived with King Vidiye caused tunnels to be dug by Pallara men in the prison through her contrivance and removed King Vidiye from Kolon by night."

Nan, however, errs in naming the great architect who desgined the Pattirippuwa and the ‘valakul bemma’. She calls him DEVEDA Mulachari. His name was DEVENDRA (same name but no ancestor!). Little is known of the unique bridge he built to the King’s island ‘kunda-salawa’ - Pleasure mansion). The only record of this engineering marvel is from John D’Oyly-

"The bridge built for going to the kundasalawa…….is meant to fold up and open" for boats to pass through.

Even the ranks of Tuscany……….

Tissa Devendra


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