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Personal contacts with top Burgher cops and other Public Servants of 50-years ago



by Senior DIG (Rtd.) Edward Gunawardene

In recent weeks many interesting articles have appeared in the Sunday Island on the Burghers of Ceylon. The contributions by Godwin Perera, Laksman Ratnapala, A. J. Perera, Sumith de Silva and Manel Fonseka have rekindled in me memories of the many public figures of the Burgher community, particularly police officers at the time I joined the police in the late fifties of the last century. The mix-up in photos of Col. F. C. de Saram and Canon R. S. de Saram and the references to Burgher bits were indeed amusing.

When I joined the police, the induction process of new entrants to gazetted rank, required probationary ASPs to be introduced by appointment to senior public officers including the Governor General, Prime Minister, Chief Justice, Attorney General etc. As such, with my batchmates before long I was able to meet several amiable public servants of the Burgher community.

It is with a sense of nostalgia that I recall memories of these Burgher stalwarts. Not many days after I first met Justice M. C. Sansoni I had the pleasure of playing a game of billiards with him at the Police Officer’s Mess. In l the mid-seventies I came to know him better as I was the main witness before the Sansoni Commission inquiring in to the communal riots of 1977 in Trincomalee.

Attorney General Douglas Budd Jansze remains unforgettable. In a 1961 murder case well known as the Pathiraja JP murder case of Kurikotuwa in the Veyangoda police area, being ASP Gampaha, I was the chief investigator together with crown counsel Silva, later chief justice, who was my Marrs Hallmate at Peradeniya, and Ranjith Abeysuriya met AG Budd Jansze and suggested that one of the suspects be made a Crown Witness. After a prolonged discussion the AG was of the view that a conviction could be obtained without such a move. After a lengthy trial at the Negombo Assizes the accused were acquitted. The defence team of lawyers consisted of G.G.Ponnambalam Senior, A.C.M.Ameer, Dicey Kanagaratnem; Nihal Jayawickrama and Asoka Obeysekara were assigned counsel. Daya Perera Senior Crown Counsel prosecuted. Although the case failed, I was especially commended by the IGP S.A.Dissanayake.

Budd Jansze, the true gentleman that he was sent for me and apologized to me for not taking my advise of making a suspect a Crown Witness. Such admirable senior officers have become a rarity today. Senior Burgher officers Messrs Neville Jansze, R.L.Arnolda, David Loos and Travis Ludowyk were extremely helpful when I had to learn treasury procedures. Francis Pietersz my classmate at St.Joseph’s College, who as the AGA Kalutara when I was at the police training school was of great assistance in the sustenance of the thousands of Tamil refugees who had flocked to the police training school during the 1958 communal riots. Pietersz, who is today my immediate neighbour at Battaramulla, remains a dear friend.

Anton Mc Heyzer is remembered as the GA Trincomalee who hosted the three probationary ASPs when they rode 1,000cc Harley Devidson motor bikes to Trinco as learners with Sub Inspector Dudley Von Haght as the instructor. Von Haght rode an 800cc Triumph Thunderbird with a booming beat. Mc Heyzer, the dedicated sports promoter, hosted us to lunch at the Welcombe Hotel.

Justice Percy Collin Thome , whom I had met with my friends Prof. Lyn Ludowyk and senior dons Doric de Souza and Ian Van den Driesen at the university faculty club invited me on several occasions to his apartment close to the Regal Cinema. At one of these dinners that were catered by Pilawoos I had the pleasure of meeting Justice E.F.N. Graetien, easily one of the foremost Burgher public figures of 20th century Ceylon. Two Burgher police officers that used to meet with this elite group of officers were Tommy Kelaart and R.A.Stork. More of them later.

As I reminisce about my Burgher colleagues of the police of the fifties, it is with much pleasure that I remember MLD Caspersz, one of the most senior public servants of the time. I had met him before I joined the police, during my early days in the police and also living in retirement. I met him first when I worked as a temporary clerk in the Food Control Department after sitting the university entrance exam in 1952. He was the Food Controller; and my immediate boss was another Burgher, Brendon Joachim, Asst. Food Controller. I came to know him better in 1959 when I had a three weeks assignment as the ASP Harbour as ASP Royden Vanderwall, the incumbent, was on overseas leave. On my second day in office, to my surprise, it was the Principal Collector of Customs, M.L.D. Caspersz himself that walked in to my room saying “Good Morning”. After a pleasant chat he told me that I as the ASP will also enjoy the powers of an Asst. Collector especially in the detection of customs offences.

In later years, I had the pleasure of meeting Mr and Mrs Caspersz on the south west breakwater. They were both keen anglers who got me too interested in this profitable hobby.

By the time I had completed my Divisional Training in the Colombo Division and the CID I had come to know the bulk of the senior gazetted officers of the police. The total number was about 70. Living in the officers mess on Brownrigg Road, befriending most of these officers was by no means difficult but costly. The mess was a pleasant meeting place with a not too expensive ‘watering hole’!

When I commenced police life at the Kalutara Training School there were three DIGs C.C.Dissanayake who was acting IGP, Sydney de Zoysa and Willem Leembruggen, two Gr 1 SP’s (present day SSPs) 17 SPs and 65 ASPs. Of the total of these officers over 25 were Burgher officers ranging from DIGs to ASPs.

In fairness to the Burgher community at this stage I wish to mention the names of some of Inspectors of Police who held key positions. Derrik Christofelsz was perhaps the only Chief Inspector. He was the respected court officer of the Colombo Chief Magistrate Court. This tall and imposing officer was highly regarded by even the senior lawyers of the Magistrate Court of the time; Merril Pereira, Charles Vethacan, A.Mahesan, R.L.N de Soyza and Manoharan Nagaraja to mention few. Derrik’s brother Hague Christofelsz was attached to the Batticaloa Divition. Eric Van den Driesen, Vernon Dickman, Anton Joachim, Mervin Serpanchy and Hubert Bagot were senior Burgher Inspectors on the verge of promotion to the rank of ASP. Bagot who was the chief horse-riding insructor and head of the Mounted Police Div. was an excellent horseman who had been in the Ceylon mounted squad at the Coronation. Inspector Eddie Gray, also an outstanding horseman and boxer, had just retired and was living in the Inspector’s quarters at Bambalapitiya opposite the Officers Mess.

In 1960 when I was ASP Gampaha I was fortunate to have Inspector Mike Schokman as the OIC of Mirigama. With Divulapitiya MP Lakshman Jayakkody, the junior Minister of Defence, the ASP Gampaha had no problems as Jayakkody and Schokman had been cricketing mates and friends at Trinty College. It must be said that the police suffered a great loss when this outstanding officer decided to emigrate before his promotion to gazetted rank.

Other Burghers of the Inspectorate that I remember who served under me in the early sixties were Lyn Taylor, Petersz, Rosairo of the Police Training School, Vernon Elias, ‘Sweety’ Weber, B.Stave my senior at St.Joseph’s an excellent hockey player, Batholomeuz, Eddie Buultjens, Fred Barthelot and Gerry Paul.

The last named was the conductor of the prestigious Police Band and was popularly referred to as the Band Master. His father too had been the first Ceylonese Police Band master. Inspector Gerry Paul was an outstanding musician. His proudest moment had been when Sir Malcom Sergeant, the conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, having listened to a special rendition of classical music by the Police Band had written in the Officer’s Visiting Book “Mr. Gerry Paul is without doubt one of the finest conductors in the East”

As mentioned earlier in this essay when I joined the police in early 1958 the total number of officers of the rank of ASP and above was about 70. Of this number over 25 were Burgher Officers ranging from DIGs to Probationary ASPs. Willem Leembruggen as DIG Range 3 was the most senior of these Burgher officers.

An experience I had with him in 1960 when I was ASP Chilaw is worth recalling. ‘Lemba’ as he was better known by the Junior Officers was to pay me a surprise visit one morning. Having stopped his jeep by the beach with a girlfriend inside he walked in to my office in white shorts and a white cloth hat. He looked a tourist. After saluting I offered my seat. Saying, “Thank you” he sat on a chair in front of my desk. He then politely offered me a cigarette and lit it before lighting his. When I was smoking and chatting with the DIG, HQI Opatha peeped in to the room and hurriedly left. All officers present were moving about in excitement. When ‘Lemba’ left after thanking me he did not want me to accompany him to the jeep. The story that went round Chilaw Police circles was that the young ASP was seated and smoking in front of the DIG! This is what the HQI had seen when he peeped into the room. Indeed, a perfect example of perception.

When I underwent training in the CID towards the end of 1958, the head of this important Division was David Pate who had been just appointed as a DIG about two months earlier. He was a gentleman to his fingertips.

One evening when I walked in to the Mess after a game of tennis I saw him seated in the veranda with a middle aged gentleman who very much resembled him. There was a bottle of Gordon’s gin on the table. As I passed them, saying “wait a minute” he introduced me to his father who was seated with him. The older Pate was the reputed racing correspondent of the ‘Observer’

Cecil Wambeek was the most senior of the SPs. As ASP Nugegoda I was fortunate to have him as my superior. The HQI was M.B.Werapitiya the elder of the well-known Werapitiya brothers. Blue eyed and handsome Wambeek was an excellent horseman. He insisted that I join him on horseback on the many gravel paths leading to Diyavanna in the Kotte area.

Another Burgher officer, high up in seniority, Richard Arndt, was the SP Headquarters in 1958. He was thorough with all the rules and regulations; and the entire civilian staff came under him. Practical in outlook he once told me ‘’Never be guided by the minutes made by subject clerks. Learn to make your own decisions and take responsibility for such decisions’’. An excellent swimmer be spent much of his leisure in the sea.

Karl Van Rooyen, Tommy Kelaart, H.K.Van den Driesen, Herbert Toussaint and Jamie Rosmale-Koch were all accomplished senior officers. Van Rooyen was the descendant of a Boer prisoner who had been banished for not taking the oath of allegiance to the King. As the SP Kandy he was held in very high esteem. Tommy Kalaart was an excellent cricketer. H.K. Van den Driesen who was SP Colombo was a tactful officers who had earned the confidence of Prime Minister Bandaranaike. Aubrey Collette, the respected cartoonist, caricatured him as Hari Kattaya (HK). Collette a Burgher of the class of Lionel Wendt and Eric Swan enjoyed a place of importance in the Ceylonese social scene.

A considerable percentage of the rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) were Burghers. Having become friends with them primarily by associating with them at the Officer’s Mess, I not only remember their names, but also visualize their behavioural peculiarities.

Some of the names I can easily recall are Jack Van Sanden, Rex Hepponstall, I.D.M. Van Twest, R.A.Stork, Fred Brohier, Royden Vanderwall, Louis Potger, Fred Zimsen, Leonard Conderlag, H.G.Boudewyn, Fred De Saram, Alan Falmer Caldera, COS Orr and Ainsely Batholomeuz.

Fred Brohier was the second in command to Stanley Senanayake at the Police Training School. Prior to joining the Police he had been a RAF Pilot who had been awarded the Burma Medal. Van Twest was a national football administrator. R.A. Stork as the ASP Colombo West supervised my training at the Pettah Police Station. He was a national putt shot champion. Alan Flamer Caldera, if he was in the Mess, could be heard from Brownrigg Road. His pretty daughter, Jilska, was an outstanding national athlete.

Fred de Saram nick named ‘Kukul’ Saram claimed he was a Goigama Sinhalese. One of his daughters, Srimani, married Lalith Athulathmudali. When I married in 1966, ‘Kukul’ Saram in retirement was the banquet manager of the GOH. He laid out the best that the hotel could offer when he came to know that Governor General Gopallawa and Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake were to be the attesting witnesses.

Before I conclude I cannot help but mention Rear Admiral, Victor Hunter who was the head of the Navy whom I met under fortuitous circumstances. On my way to Police Headquarters one morning I heard on police radio clatter that a navy rating guarding Radio Ceylon had shot himself dead inside the sentry box. An investigation was on and Rear Admiral Hunter was there as an observer. Being the senior officer present as an ASP, I got chatting with him. He casually asked me ‘’why do you think this fellow committed suicide?’’ My reply was ‘’A young man joins the Navy to see the world and not to stand in a sentry box day in and day out”! Hunter smiled in agreement and said ‘’you have a similar problem. Several young policemen wanting to join the Navy interviewed by me have confessed that they hated manning the gates of residences of politicians and saluting even family members and visitors!’’

Hunter and B.R.Heyn were perhaps the only burghers to head the Navy and Army respectively in post-independence Sri Lanka.

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Science vs religion-I



Like oil and water, science and religion are immiscible and belong to mutually exclusive domains without any interface. Whenever they have been attempted to be brought together, the result invariably has been confusion, conflict, and bloodshed, of which there are too many gory examples in history. Allow religion to explain the origin of the Universe, according to its own ideas, and you end up with corpses of men and women burnt at stakes.


In Tao of Physics, Fritzof Capra wrote that science does not need religion and religion does not need science, while a man needs both. I am not so sure. Again, in The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, Carl Sagan wrote, “Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality.

“When we recognize our place in an immensity of light-years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty, and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual.” If spirituality implies appreciating our own insignificance in the Universe and the resulting feeling of humbleness, then this has nothing to do with religion.

But, leaving aside spirituality, religion and science have never been compatible. While science teaches us a systematic, rational way of exploring this universe to understand the laws of nature that guide life and non-life, religion has brought untold misery and suffering upon humanity. throughout the course of history. by claiming certainty in “information” and “facts” amenable neither to reason nor to observation.

Like oil and water, science and religion are immiscible and belong to mutually exclusive domains without any interface. Whenever they have been attempted to be brought together, the result invariably has been confusion, conflict, and bloodshed, of which there are too many gory examples in history.

Allow religion to explain the origin of the Universe, according to its own ideas, and you end up with corpses of men and women burnt at stakes. Same with politics. Allow religion to rule a nation, according to its own theories, and you end up with Afghanistan, Pakistan, or Iran where the laws of Sharia are more important than human life or human happiness.

Given the chance, religion would turn this world into a demon-haunted place in no time – in fact it has attained a remarkable degree of success in doing so. But, what exactly is science, and what is religion? According to The Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, “One way to distinguish between science and religion is the claim that science concerns the natural world, whereas religion concerns the supernatural world and its relationship to the natural. Scientific explanations do not appeal to supernatural entities such as gods or angels (fallen or not), or to non-natural forces (such as miracles, karma, or qi).

“For example, neuroscientists typically explain our thoughts in terms of brain states, not by reference to an immaterial soul or spirit, and legal scholars do not invoke karmic load when discussing why people commit crimes.” Science concerns itself with what is or can be observed and seeks an immediate answer. Religion claims the answer is either unknowable or explained only with the help of faith, that is acceptance of something whose existence is indeterminate.

Science claims to explain phenomena or mysteries only through the tested method of empirical inquiry which is a series of steps involving observation-hypothesis-experiment-inference-theory-prediction-testing. This process is indispensable, even where it may not succeed in explaining all observed phenomena, whereas religion takes recourse to God and finds it absurd that by studying STEM subjects (Science-Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) alone, the concept of God can be reduced to irrelevance. Given the chance, it will subsume science, too.

In fact, a great deal of effort has already been invested towards this end, to start a dialogue between science and religion that is actually an exercise in futility.In 1998, the Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson in his book, Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge, argued that knowledge is a unified system that embraces science, morality, and ethics as well. The aim was perhaps not to make science spiritual but to make religion scientific.

In the 1990s, with its multi-million-dollar grants, the John Templeton Foundation launched a magazine called Science & Spirit, “to explain what science cannot, and asking science to validate religious teachings”. The magazine died a natural death in 2009.The Foundation also financed several documentaries like “Faith and Reason”, “Cybergrace: The Search for God in the Digital World” or “God & the Big Bang: Discovering Harmony Between Science & Spirituality”.

Scores of bestselling books, written by eminent scientists, followed, like Belief in God in an Age of Science (1998) by John Polkinghorne, a Cambridge physicist turned Anglican priest, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief (2006) by Francis Collins, Director of the Human Genome Project, or Return of the God Hypothesis: Three Scientific Discoveries That Reveal the Mind Behind the Universe (2021) by Stephen Meyer, Director of the Center for Science and Culture of the Discovery Institute which is the main organization behind the so-called Intelligent Design Movement, according to which the universe was created by an intelligent designer, the God almighty.

But physics explains the origin of the universe convincingly from quantum electrodynamics as arising from a vacuum fluctuation and biology explains the evolution of all life, starting with a chance molecule that learned to replicate itself. But both intelligent design and evolution cannot be true at the same time, hence the attempt to find a middle path – an absurd one at that – that God created the universe and left it to the laws of nature, also designed by him, to run it, without any further interference in its future course.

As the New York Times science journalist George Johnson wrote, thus “God becomes a metaphor for the laws that science tries to uncover.” On the question of faith, there are deep divisions among the scientists themselves. While Einstein’s God was one “who reveals himself in the lawful harmony of all that exists”, and not one “who concerns himself with the fate and the doings of mankind”, many scientists hold radically different views. Some, like the cosmologist Allan Sandage, wonder: “‘How is it that inanimate matter can organize itself to contemplate itself? That’s outside of any science I know”, while others, like the Oxford biologist Richard Dawkins, believe that pursuing God is a “waste” of time that never has “added anything to the storehouse of human wisdom”.

Believers in God hold that a grand unified theory to explain the universe in terms of a single theory that is the holy grain of science would be incomplete without the integration of faith and ancient wisdom in it, while others, like Christians, were outraged when the radiocarbon dating of the shroud of Turin suggested it as a medieval forgery and not the burial cloth of Jesus, feel that as science develops more sophisticated techniques, their religious beliefs will be vindicated.

Fortunately, the endeavour of all these new-age scientists to blur and finally erase the boundary between science and pseudoscience has not yet succeeded. Similar efforts are on even in our own country. Religion is essentially about worship, and worship means surrender.

Faith is necessarily blind and has to disregard evidence in order to reinforce and validate its belief system. Human life is full of misery and suffering ~ indeed it is a “flash of occasional enjoyments lighting up a mass of pain and misery” from which faith alone can provide a temporary deliverance. “Happiness is but only an occasional episode in the general drama of pain” that surrounds us, as Thomas Hardy said, and if surrender could mitigate even a little of that pain, it should be welcome.

Surrender can also be made more convincing when imbued with love and fear that a God is capable of inspiring in human minds. Finally, if the surrender can hold out the promise of something eternal, like an eternal deliverance from pain or from the endless cycles of birth and death, such an eternal vision becomes too tantalising to resist by most.

All that remains is to remind and reinforce these ideas continually through repetitive rituals, meaningless though they are, and the whole package becomes so overwhelming that few could emerge out of its enchanting aura to be able to see the world and reality with objectivity.

After all, we still do not know how the objective reality conveyed to our brain through the senses acquires a subjective meaning in our mind, how the scent of a rose gets transformed into the memory of our first love, or a fading photograph brings back long-forgotten emotions.

Subjectivity rules the roost, everything else, even hard evidence, becomes mere speculation. Blind faith has no rival, and when blind faith masquerades as science, the conquest of the mind by religion becomes total, and all logic has been clinically erased. The evolution of life and that too on a tiny planet called earth that has just about the right conditions with the right values of fundamental constants among billions of such planets is an awesome mystery that the believers cite to establish intelligent design as the only explanation.

They ignore the fact that there are planets with all possibilities and ours happen to be the one with only just one of these permutations that made life – and God – possible. Logic and faith, like science and religion – are incompatible; if bring them together, there will be combustion and conflict.

But bring complexity to replace conflict, and the science-religion debate immediately acquires a political dimension ~ struggle between secular liberalism and traditional conservatism, authority versus individual liberty, herd mentality versus reason, and state versus individual. In each one of these struggles, rationality is the obvious victim that is left bleeding to die.

(The Statesman/ANN)

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Vijayabahu, Gajabahu, and meanings of names



By Uditha Devapriya

The Sri Lanka Navy recently commissioned Vijayabahu, a former US Coastguard Cutter. The ship joins two other US origin vessels in the Navy. For some reason, the name seems to have caused consternation among certain circles. Alan Keenan of the International Crisis Group, for instance, has noted on Twitter that it is “loaded with social and political meaning” and that “it’s hardly an advertisement for the multi-ethnic, multicultural #SriLanka western govts say they want to promote.” He cites two other names, Gajabahu and Samudura.

The Pali and Sinhalese Chronicles depict both Gajabahu and Vijayabahu as national heroes: Gajabahu (113-136 AD) for having led a campaign to rescue 12,000 Sinhala captives in the Chola (or Soli) kingdom, and Vijayabahu (1055-1110 AD) for having driven Chola invaders from Polonnaruwa and laid the foundation for the unification of the polity by one of his successors, Parakramabahu (1123–1186 AD). Alan Keenan’s reference to the “social” and “political” meanings of these names is doubtless based on how Sinhalese Buddhists imagine these kings today, and how military regiments have appropriated them.

There is no denying that nationalist historiography has reduced these personages into mythical heroes today. It’s not just the military. Even popular writers prefer to see history through a particular prism. Their interpretation of the past places these kings as saviours of the race (jatiya) and unifiers of the polity (rata). This presents an interesting problem. In praising these monarchs for having brought the country together, nationalist writers tend to impute contemporary terms, like sovereignty, on what was essentially a non-unitary State. This is historical anachronism at its best (or worst?), and it is from there that these writers extract the contemporary meanings of these kings and their names.

I have implied in many of my essays that by viewing history through these prisms, Sinhala nationalists have done a disservice to their own history. In other words, they have not been fair to their past. We must be careful not to commit the same mistake when criticising these writers. While pointing out the errors of their methodology, it would be prudent not to use the same categories and binaries they deploy. To that end, it would be more constructive, instead of pointing out the “contemporary” meanings of Sinhala kings and their names, to highlight their historical and non-mythical meanings. Once we do that, we will be able to reconstruct a past more in keeping with the multi-ethnic, multi-caste character of Sri Lankan history, particularly in the Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa periods.

Vijayabahu, for instance, was the product of a period that saw deep and close interaction between Sri Lankan (Sinhala) monarchs and their South Indian contemporaries. In his book Rewriting Buddhism: Pali Literature and Monastic Reform in Sri Lanka, 1157-1270, Alastair Gornall notes three “interrelated” changes in the 10th and 11th centuries that profoundly shaped Sri Lankan history: the invasions of two Cola kings (Raja Raja and Rajendra I), the “fragmentation” of the ruling family, and “changing attitudes” to Sanskrit literature, which influenced Sinhala and Pali literary works. The early Chola invasions laid the foundation for Kalinga Magha’s conquests in the 13th century AD and the later shift from Anuradhapura to Polonnaruwa. In other words, there were linkages between an ostensibly “Sinhala Buddhist” polity and a “Hindu” South Indian dynasty that makes the use of binaries like Sinhala/Tamil, Buddhist/Hindu, and Sri Lanka/Soli redundant, if not anachronistic.

Indeed, the kings of these times actively involved themselves in the politics of South India. During the first millennium AD, Gornall writes, conflicts within the State were “contained.” What this means is that they never threatened the social and political patterns of the country. Once we pass this period, though, the Anuradhapura State becomes embroiled in the politics of its neighbouring states. As Professor Raj Somadeva has argued, between the reigns of Sena I (833-853 AD), Dappula IV (924-935 AD), and Mahinda V (982-1029 AD), Sinhala kings sided with one or the other contending dynasties in South India, thus exposing themselves to “the threat of outside invasion.” These interventions eventually lead to the humiliating deposal of Mahinda V, the last ruler of Anuradhapura.

Vijayabahu is celebrated in nationalist reconstructions of history as a just and able ruler who put an end to these humiliations, recaptured the State from the Chola invaders, and fortified the State. However, his hold was considerably tenuous. In seeking to unify the State, he had to account for and accommodate certain realities: he therefore entrusted the tooth relic of the Buddha to Velaikkara mercenaries. Gornall suggests that the Chola invaders harboured very little cultural ambitions in Sri Lanka: it was the South Indian social and mercantile elites who patronised and built Hindu temples in Polonnaruwa. Yet they did exert an influence on the political, social, and literary landscape of the post-Anuradhapura State.

In his book Foreign relations of Sri Lanka, from earliest times to 1965, Vernon Mendis argues that history has not been fair to this ruler: he is castigated for having capitulated to South Indian overlords and mercenaries. Nevertheless, to borrow an oft-quoted phrase, there was little that he could do. Vijayabahu’s response to these geopolitical realities was pragmatic, if not inevitable: in the interests of the State, he put up with a South Indian presence, to the extent that an inscription eulogising him was carved in literary Tamil, and married a Kalinga princess, Tiloka Sundari, to ensure “the longevity of his own lineage.” Not surprisingly, it is in this ruler’s reign that ties with South India become complex.

What nationalist interpretations of Vijayabahu’s achievements and failures thus omit is that the times he lived in were simply too complex to accommodate the binaries that popular writers impute to their reading of history. Long before Vijayabahu, before even the collapse of Anuradhapura, Sinhala kings had begun a tradition of claiming descent from the Kalinga line. This was, at one level, to add respectability to their office. It was also a creative way of accommodating the rise of South Indian power and the decline of Sinhalese power, both of which can be dated between the fourth and 14th centuries AD.

Following these cycles of decline and revival, we come across literary works, predominantly Sinhalese, that legitimise certain colonisation and nationalist myths. While the authors of the early Chronicles, especially the Mahavamsa, sought to validate specific religious sects, the authors of the later Chronicles, especially the Rajavaliya, sought to romanticise if not mythologise these cycles of decline and revival and to valorise the supposedly “enduring” character of Sinhala society. Hence the Rajavaliya eulogises Gajabahu for having rescued 12,000 captives from the clutches of a Chola king, though as Obeyesekere has pointed out there is little historical evidence for this. It also depicts him as settling Tamil communities in and around Kandy, though the rather anachronistic inclusion of Kandy indicates that this episode would have been the basis for a colonisation myth.

The polity and State presented in these stories are, to be sure, Sinhalese and Buddhist, and they admittedly legitimise the hero/villain distinctions that popular writers deploy in their re-imaginings of the past. Yet embedded with these same stories are important clues and signs of a vibrant, diverse, even multi-ethnic society. Gajabahu is presented as a Sinhalese hero, but there are narratives that depict him as the patron of the Pattini cult in Sri Lanka. Obeyesekere questions these myths and posits that they are “worthless.” Yet the inclusion of this king in a major Tamil literary work, the Silppadikaram, and the invocation of him in a ritual associated with the Pattini cult, the gammaduwa, tells us that the society of his time was more multifaceted that what the Chronicles would have us believe.

The Pattini cult itself shows clear linkages between Sinhalese and Tamil communities that have survived the many fratricidal conflicts we have seen since independence. Gananath Obeyesekere’s advice, in that sense, is probably the most important: when reading these myths, it is essential that we do not literalise them, since a literalist reading can pave the way for conflict and tension. That is why Alan Keenan’s point about the social and political meanings of names is highly relevant. However, it is important to not only highlight those meanings, but also look at possible alternative meanings. This admittedly requires historical and anthropological research of a sort we simply do not have here. It is only through such research and scholarship that we can prevent the country from sliding down into the murky waters of ethno-supremacism. For that, we need to return to our past.

The writer is an international relations analyst, researcher, and columnist who can be reached at

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Relationship between sleep and blood glucose levels



Therapeutic sleep might furthermore reduce lethal blood sugar levels by facilitating healthy systems. Curtailed sleep is a risk aspect for improved blood sugar levels.

SNS: Sleep and blood glucose levels: Contended Sleep and good health is inseparable with immense health benefits. Sleep deprivation leads to many health complications including blood sugar levels which has a major link with sleep cycle. There are proven facts that decrease in sleep impacts the blood sugar level leading to diabetes which, if stretched longer may result in heart diseases.

However, the connection between sleep and blood sugar is complicated. There is not a reasonable formula that demonstrates a relationship between the amount of sleep and an interconnected increase or decrease in blood sugar.

How does sleep impact Glucose Levels in Blood?

It sounds antithetical that sleep can both raise and lower glucose levels. According to a Rutgers University study report our bodies encounter a cycle of changes every day which is called a “circadian rhythm” which naturally boosts blood sugar levels at night and when an individual sleeps. However these natural blood sugar mounds are not a reason for worry.

Therapeutic sleep might furthermore reduce lethal blood sugar levels by facilitating healthy systems. Curtailed sleep is a risk aspect for improved blood sugar levels. Even discriminatory sleep deprivation over one night improves insulin resistance, which can in turn upswing blood sugar levels. As a result, a lack of sleep has been linked with diabetes, a blood sugar disorder.

Additional analysis is needed to better understand the relationship between sleep and blood sugar.

Factors managing the relationship between sleep and blood sugar levels:

-The abundance of time a person sleeps.

-The phases of sleep a person experiences.

-The time of day a person sleeps.

-A person’s age.

-A person’s eating habits (which coincide with nourishment and sleep).

How does inadequate sleep and Blood Sugar levels?

According to Dr Stuti Sharma, PG Resident MAMC Delhi, inadequacy of sleep and blood sugar levels are connected.  Inadequate  sleeping significantly increases blood sugar levels. Researchers have conveyed the following relationships between sugar and lack of sleep or sleep problems:

Sleep-disordered breathing is related to higher glucose levels

Obstructive sleep apnea is attributed to defective glucose tolerance

More intense sleep breathing issues are linked with higher blood sugar

Obstructive sleep apnea stringency is associated with increased fasting glucose

Poor sleep is associated with a decreased capacity to control glucose levels in diabetic patients

Sleep loss is correlated with risen glucose levels in hospitalized patients with and without diabetes

Relationship between blood sugar levels and heart disease

People with diabetes have a higher chances of developing various health problems including heart disease. High blood sugar levels over time can damage the blood vessels of our heart and other organs leading to different health problems.  It means the longer you have diabetes the greater your risk for heart disease. Because of higher blood glucose level the heart may suffer from stroke and even death. But if blood sugar levels are maintained then there will be less chances of heart diseases. And it can be done by sound sleep as discussed earlier.

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