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Lakpahana – Keeping the Traditions alive.



Lakpahana the undisputed leader of the Sri Lankan handicraft gifts and souvenir market retails only Sri Lankan made craft. It is a private sector organization started by Desamanya Mrs. Siva Obeyesekere in 1973. Lakpahana has for 46 years been helping local artisans for many decades. Mrs. Obeyesekere has passed all these traditions in craft to her grandson Dhevan de Saram just as the traditional artisans pass on their crafts and skills. Lakpahana is a keeper of these traditions. Many artisans depend on Lakpahana to keep the crafts and traditions alive. The simple motto which Lakpahana functions on is giving joy, by keeping traditions alive.

Lakpahana connects the discerning customer with many extraordinary Sri Lankan master artisans. Creative artisans have the freedom to make beautiful original crafts. Discerning customers have the unique opportunity of purchasing hand made products of quality at affordable prices. They have the joy of helping to nurture and elevate the crafts of Sri Lankan artisans. Lakpahana safeguards the artisans. Each product bought by a customer will give the artisan financial and motivational strength to carry on these age old crafts.

The artisans keep alive the traditional skills whilst infusing modern designs created by the designers involved at Lakpahana. Lakpahana therefore showcases local skills and talents through innovative products that appeal to international requirements. In the coming years we are looking forward to increase our satisfied customer base and increase and improve the sustainability of Sri Lankan crafts people.

Lakpahana is situated in Colombo 07, across from the Colombo Race Course. It has quickly gained popularity amongst customers for its wide array of Sri Lankan Handicrafts, offering an extensive range of choices for local and foreign customers.

Sri Lankan handicrafts production has been traditionally handed from generation to generation. It has strong linkage to the environment to the way of life, to the history, culture of the island and ceremonial ritual and daily life. It consists of many different products made out many different raw materials.

Folk crafts of a country also reveal a historical process of evolution in relations to the concept quality, techniques and material used. Craftsman attached to Lakpahana have earned an international reputation for quality, originality, variety of designs and motifs. Most of the finished products are fascinating expression of local concepts. The organization has won many UNESCO excellence awards for its products.

Basically the handicrafts products made in Sri Lanka are produced and patterned based on natural resources that are easily available in the country. In addition, due to the multi-racial composition of its citizens various types of craft products can be found and produced simultaneously. One of the main objectives of the Lakpahana is diversity and preservation of Sri Lankan’s handicrafts. It contributes in nurturing the heart, mind and soul of the craftspeople, artisans and artists in their pursuit of making traditional and contemporary crafts. Crafts are the symbols of a particular culture, because of that Lakpahana works to promote crafts and nurture craftsmen.

Lakpahana is a store which has exquisite silverware, silver jewellery, elegant brassware and pewter ware, beautifully patterned dumbara weaving mats, ladies handbags, etc. delicate lacquer ware ,intricate wood carvings, reed & rush ware, handloom items, embroidery, lace work, batik, educational toys, painted wooden wall hangings are some of the better known handicrafts.

Mat weaving is a craft, which is an old craft and exemplifies the cultural aspect. The origins, traditions and present form of the art of mat weaving using rush and reed dates back many centuries. In the early Stone Age people utilized the natural resources around them in order to meet the requirements of their day to day lives, be it hides for clothing, branches for roofing, reed for production of mats to sleep on.

Reed can be classified as a grass and is found growing amongst wetlands and marshy areas. In bygone days, paddy farmers would always have a plot of reed plants amidst their paddy field. A crop of this reed was used to produce baskets, sacks, mats, food covers and a host of other everyday items. Another aspect is that reed is long lasting and durable. Reed is the sole raw material in the production of mats in Sri Lanka. The growth of reed covers all directions in Sri Lanka, from Jaffna in the north to Hambanthota in the Deep South. The health benefits of sleeping on a reed mat are many. Firstly, reed mat placed on a flat surface, offers, critical support and comfort that is needed by the spine. The combination of using both hands and brain in weaving is said to be of immense therapeutic benefit.

The mat is not only a household utility item. It is an artifact. The Sri Lankan handmade mat has been decorated with various motifs from immemorial times. The motifs are called “Rata” in Sinhala and the mat woven with the motifs are called “Rata Pedura” (Decorated Mat). Among the traditional motifs there are floral motifs, animal motifs, geometrical motifs and also several miscellaneous motifs. Some of these Traditional motifs are “Samadaramal ratawa, Nelummal ratawa, Atapethimal ratawa, Mirismal ratawa, Hansaputtuwa, Makuluwa ratawa, Muwa ratawa, Vankagiriya ratawa, Diyarali ratawa, Katuru ratawa, Alli ratawa, Wellawehum ratawa, Kathira ratawa and Panimal ratawa, etc.” There also mat decorated with the letters of Sinhala alphabet and the English alphabet as well as numerals. What is significant in the weaving of these intricate motifs are that they are woven without using any tool or an instrument. These “Rata pedura” mats are available at Lakpahana.

Culture also includes traditional island sweetmeats. When searching for the most delicious and freshly made traditional treats. Head over to Lakpahana and indulge. Choosing from a variety of items such as stuffed veralu, coconut toffee, kalu dodol, narang kavum and unduwel. The items are made fresh on a daily basis. Everyday favourites such as murukku, marshmallows, aasmi, kokis, kavum and mung kavum are available in addition to neatly wrapped packages of love cake, bibikkan and jaggery cake.

Lunu dehi as is a popularly known is an integral part of Sri Lankan cuisine and even culture. These are just perfect for the festive season or even as a gift. Cake orders can be placed too. Tala bola, jiggery, coconut and milk toffees stock the shelves in addition to the other yummy treats. Lakpahana also has freshly prepared lamprais on orders. Other items available at Lakpahana include jars of bees’ honey (50ml/100ml), kithul jaggery, kithul treacle, lime pickle, seeni sambol and chutneys.

Lakpahana is open every day. From 9.30 a.m. – 6.30 p.m. Monday to Saturday. 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Sundays and holidays.

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Wimal asks for PSC probe into top officials’ complicity in violence



Colombo HC lawyers concerned over shocking developments

By Shamindra Ferdinando

National Freedom Front (NFF) leader Wimal Weerawansa, MP, says a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) should be appointed to investigate the role played by IGP C.D. Wickremaratne and Public Security Ministry Secretary Maj. Gen. (retd.) Jagath Alwis in the recent SLPP hothead attack on those demanding the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the Cabinet of Ministers, including Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Weerawansa yesterday (18) told The Island that Parliament should inquire into the unprovoked attack that triggered an extremely violent response by the public as well as those awaiting an opportunity to unleash violence on selected group of lawmakers on 09 May.

The former Industries Minister said he was confident that Attorney General Sanjay Rajaratnam, PC, would look into the issues at hand.

Responding to another query, Weerawansa said that Senior DIG Colombo Deshabandu Tennakoon’s claim that the IGP and the Public Security Ministry Secretary had interfered with his (Tennakoon’s) plan to disperse the SLPP mobs couldn’t be easily dismissed.

MP Weerawansa declared, in Parliament on Tuesday (17), that the IGP and the Public Security Ministry dissuaded the Senior DIG from performing his duties although he had received specific instructions from President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to stop the march on Galle Face. The former JVPer questioned whether those conspirators wanted to show the world the failure on the part of the police and the armed forces to maintain law and order.

Asked whether police headquarters and the Public Security Ministry had responded to his accusations, Weerawansa said he hadn’t been contacted by them so far.

Pointing out that the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL), inquiring into 09 May turmoil had recorded Senior DIG’s statement, Weerawansa said that the outfit could issue an interim statement on the matter.

The Colombo High Court Lawyers’ Association said that the shocking revelation, made in Parliament, should be expeditiously inquired into.

The Association’s President Attorney-at-Law Lakshman Perera said that the ongoing investigations had taken an unexpected turn in the wake of high profile specific allegations pertaining to the conduct of the IGP, as well as the Public Security Ministry Secretary. Pointing out that the HRCSL and the CID had already recorded DIG Tennakoon’s statement, pertaining to the incidents, and the officer was among a group of 22 persons slapped with a travel ban by the Fort Magistrate, lawyer Perera said that the CID couldn’t turn a blind eye to accusations directed at the head of the department as well as Secretary to the relevant ministry.

Lawyer Perera said that investigations couldn’t be completed without verifying accusations made in Parliament.

Lawmaker Weerawansa said that the question was on whose behalf the IGP and the Public Security Ministry Secretary intervened at a time the country was under emergency and after the Senior DIG in charge of Colombo received specific instructions from the President himself.

Although the SLPP goons did not shed any blood or cause any serious injuries, unlike the well-organized mobs that caused havoc across the country thereafter, MP Weerawansa said that he couldn’t comprehend why the police and the armed forces allowed the situation to develop to an extremely dangerous level.

The HRCSL in its initial reaction to the unprovoked attacks on those who had been demanding the resignation of the government condemned the violence caused by a group of people who made it very clear that violence was their intention.

HRCSL Chairperson retired Supreme Court Justice Rohini Marasinghe said: “The failure of the police to prepare for this eventuality and prevent and manage the violence and destruction is a gross failure of public order. There must be an immediate inquiry into this matter. The inaction of the police to prevent the clash is condemned.”

The Island brought the latest developments to the notice of the HRCSL yesterday as MP Weerawansa said that those who conspired and planned the project that involved those at the helm of Temple Trees then and the SLPP should be arrested. The conspirators shouldn’t be allowed to escape justice while the CID arrested those who carried out the actual attacks.

Police spokesman SSP Nihal Thalduwa said that the department couldn’t respond to what transpired in Parliament. Acknowledging that he was aware of the allegations made in Parliament, Attorney-at-Law Thalduwa said in case their response was sought through proper channels, whatever the queries would be answered.

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Dr. Pathirana says IGP, Public Security Ministry Secy. allowed goon attacks



Galle District parliamentarian Dr. Ramesh Pathirana has reiterated that IGP C.D. Wickremaratne and Secretary to the Public Security Ministry, Maj. General (retd) Jagath Alwis had facilitated the 09 May unprovoked attack on anti-government protesters.

The former Minister Pathirana declared in Parliament yesterday (18) that National Freedom Front (NFF) leader MP Wimal Weerawansa’s allegation, pertaining to the origins of the violence, was true.

Dr. Pathirana said that he was among those who had brought supporters to attend a meeting chaired by the then Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. The vast majority of those who attended the Temple Trees meet on May 09 wanted to thank the war-winning President as he gave up active politics, the MP said. However, some unscrupulous members had instigated the participants there.

Dr. Pathirana said he had been at Temple Trees at that time and as he feared violence could erupt due inflammatory speeches, contact was made with Senior DIG in charge of Colombo Deshabandu Tennakoon. Dr. Pathirana said that the senior police officer had assured him that the police were ready to face the situation and confident of preventing those who attended the Temple Trees function from reaching Galle Face.

“Thereafter, I left Temple Trees for a meeting with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. There were several other members. When trouble erupted, President Rajapaksa immediately got in touch with Senior DIG Tennakoon, who revealed he had been asked not to use force by the IGP himself.”

Dr. Pathirana said the President had asked the senior law enforcement officer why he didn’t carry out instructions issued by him (the President).

The Galle District MP emphasised that the IGP and the Secretary to the Public Security Ministry were responsible for the violence at Kollupitiya and Fort police areas which triggered violence in many parts of the country. (SF)

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New Deputy Speaker not from Rajapaksa political dynasty



Newly-elected Deputy Speaker Ajith Rajapaksa said that he was not a member of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s clan.

The Hambantota District Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) lawmaker said so when The Island asked him whether he, too, was a member of the Rajapaksa family now under fire over the continuing political-economic-social turmoil.

Rajapaksa polled 109 votes at a secret vote held in Parliament on Tuesday (17) to secure the Deputy Speaker’s post. MP Rajapaksa defeated Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) MP Rohini Kaviratne, who polled 78 votes.

The SLPP rebel group members refrained from voting for Rajapaksa after the top SLPP leadership ignored their appeal to fill the vacancy through consultations with the SJB.

Rajapaksa succeeded SLFP’s Ranjith Siyambalapitiya, who quit the post twice, the second occasion after beating SJB’s Imthiaz Bakeer Markar at a secret vote.

Deputy Speaker Rajapaksha said that he had served as the Chairman of the Ambalanthota Pradeshiya Sabha in 1997. Subsequently, he became a member of the Southern Provincial Council.

Asked whether he was a resident of the Rajapaksas’ home base, Deputy Speaker said that he was from Pallerotta, Ambalantota. (SF)

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