Vesak Day Celebrations in Sri Lanka

by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

Vesak encompasses the birth, enlightenment (Nirvana) and passing away (Parinirvana) of Gauthama Buddha. Prince Siddhartha was born on the Fullmoon day in May known as Vesak in 623 BC in the Lumbini Park in Kapilavathu, which is in modern Nepal.

Buddhists around the world celebrate Vesak on May 27th and 28th 2010 by observing the eight percepts, meditation, partake in vegetarian meals, giving charity and bathing the Buddha statue.

Siddhartha Gauthama became enlightened at the age of 35 and called Buddha. The Buddha passed away at the age of 80 near Kushinagara, which is in Uttar Pradesh.

It’s a colourful celebration. Buddhists in Nepal, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam celebrate Vesak today.

Lanterns for sale in Moratuwa

Lantern making is an art

People throng the streets to buy lanterns

Despite the wet weather condition the celebration continues

Piyaseeli Zoysa and her husband Stanley Zoysa are seen making lanterns for sale. They have been in business for the past seven years

Vesak greeting cards are for sale

Ganegoda Vithana Nilu Arachchige is seen busy making lanterns. He had been making lanterns for more than four decades

Pandol is being made in Moratuwa

Dove on a pandol

Along the Marine drive in Bambalapitty
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Cave Art of 21st Century-An exhibition of Cartoons

by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

“Cave Art of 21st Century”-An exhibition of Cartoons by Prageeth Ehnalygoda is currently being held at the Lionel Went Gallery in Colombo. It is an exhibition dedicated to freedom, equality and brotherhood. The illustrations on display are by the disappeared journalist Prageeth Eknalygoda.

Journalist, Diplomats, Academics, Activists and Politicians attended the inauguration in large numbers. The exhibition will remain open on May 19th and 20th 2010 from 10am-7pm.

The exhibition is organised by the Prageeth Eknalygoda Foundation.

Sandhya Ehnaligoda waits at the entrance and her hopes continue

Journalist Seetha Ranjanee presents a book to Sandhya Ehnalygoda

Parliamentarian Vasudeva Nanayakkara attended the inauguration

U.S Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives Ms.Patricia Butenis views the exhibition

Reverend Father Johan Devananda is seen checking the wellbeing of Sandhya Ehnalygoda and son Sanjaya Bandara Ehnalygoda

Dr.Vickramabahu Karunarathne of Nava Samasamaja Party views the exhibits

Executive Director of Centre for Policy Alternatives Dr.Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu and Executive Director of National Peace Council Dr.Jehan Perera are in conversation

Prageeth’s wife Sandhya is being interviewed by a Radio journalist at the venue

Education is an ideal distanced from the guidance, denied for the rural child

Adults are the adulterators of minds of children

Education is engulfing by power – politics

Crashing present education system cannot be salvaged by crash reforms

Uneven education begets a delinquent hybrid society

Tools of refinement may sustain crudity

Attitude towards women decided how rich the civilization is

Museus Girls School is in the city centre two students have committed suicide due to sexual ignorance

The weak hates democracy

The Parliament also helps to maintain Neanderthal Darkness

If the will of majority identifies as democracy…..

The society uniformed of democracy demolishes democracy

The judiciary too can exist without transparency

War is a self – destructive way to barbarity

Faith is an enemy of the rational life; if necessary, genocide can become religion

War for peace is seen as a new slogan, but it is peace towards war

They are us citizens of Sri Lanka

Religion is like water, takes the shape of the vessel

Religion is power, so as politics.Both construct their own shapes

Here we are, aren’t we?

Thou shall knoweth and appreciate what thou liketh

Can they show you the path?Can they show you the path?Can they show you the path?

Sometimes this can be experience of yours as well as mine

You may like this method

Do not look at dream they point out,look at the door of you prison cell

Your passionate dream can be the noose of the other

When you cover your face with your own garment, you can not see your committed crimes

At least there should be a freedom to suffer

Don’t you shoulder the burden of suppressing child’s world?

The man evolves from Ape, are Sri Lankans challenging the concept?

Lunacy of history hostile to freedom of media

Mass media is also a power, both mutually subvert as well as subsist

Mass media and power together will hoodwink you

They show you the path of right as well as wrong

Sometimes they are like this…..

They have plundered your eyes

Providing your eyesight is the sacred duty of the media

Tissanayagam who provided you an eyesight sentenced for 20 years

Media can be suppressed, but not exterminated

If you consider yourself as a tool meant for them, you are deprived of your own power

Be attentive of ideologies, not caged by it

Ideology is also power, when it becomes weapon, it is self-destructive

So you are in love with your prison cell

You crucify yourself, don’t you?

Think a little bit, is this you?

If we loose our voice, there will be no voice even to claim our voice

Servility by the will is dreadful than by force

This is how we enjoy

Peace and life

First you liberate from yourself, then you become you

Humanitarianism is the highest stage of civilisation


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Akshaya Tritiya-Festival of everlasting prosperity

by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

“Goodness is the only investment that never fails”
~Hendry David Thoreau (July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862)
American Essayist, Philosopher and Poet

The word “Akshaya” means the never diminishing in Sanskrit, and the day is believed to bring good luck, eternal prosperity and success. Buying gold is a popular activity on “Akshaya Tritiya”, as it is the ultimate symbol of wealth and prosperity.

Gold and gold jewelry bought and worn on this day signify never diminishing good fortune. There are a few legends behind the celebration of the festival. One legend is “Akshaya Tritiya” traditionally the birthday of Lord Parasuraman, the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

“The hand that gives is the hand that gathers” – is a timeless truth.

One of the important Secrets of the universe for manifesting material success is to first give with a pure heart. This act according to the Vedas brings back the money manifold. On “Akshaya Tritiya”, the returns are not just manifold, they are infinite.

The auspicious day fell on the second day of the new moon in Hindu month Vaikaasi on Mirugaseeridam star on May 16th 2010. “Akshaya Tritiya” falling on a Rohini star day is considered more auspicious.

Special decorations for the momentous occasion

Traditional welcome at the main entrance of Lalitha Jewellers

Modern and traditional jeweleries caught the attention of the customers

The day is considered one of the most sacred days of the Vedic year

Enchanting decorations at the main entrance

Kannan at Lalitha Jewellers is seen busy attending to his longstanding customer

Sugar cane candy,Dates and Nut are kept at the entrance to welcome the customers

Customers mark the day and purchase gold annually on the auspicious day

Gold is believed as an all time ever-green asset

Day of heavy downpour

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Enriching Experience through the Eastern Eyes

by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

“Every great achievement is the victory of a flaming heart” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803 – April 27, 1882), American Essayist, Philosopher and Poet

It has been a real pleasure to teach photo journalism to a group of youth in the East who have missed so much due to the three decades long war in Sri Lanka. On the other hand, it has been extremely challenging for me because the technology was new to all of them.

They were disconnected from the world and the development of information technology. All they knew was about the 30 years of bitter war and the aftermath. But they were enthusiastic to learn and be part of the challenge.

The Photo Voice Teams were selected from Kalkuda, Kaluwankerny, Paalaiyadiththoona, Poonochchimunai and Puthukkudiyiruppu from Batticaloa district Kaaraitheevu, Ninthavur, Oluvil, Periyaneelaavanai and Saainthamruthu from Ampara district. These youth were trained for nearly one year on the field in their own villages.

Terre des homes has provided the youth with camera,professional training and guidance on handling still cameras, light, angles, composition, capture various moments, write caption and make a photo journal. They have identified many issues related to their respective villages and taken photos regarding one or more issues.

Photo exhibitions were held in nine villages in Batticaloa and Ampara district during the last week of April 2010.Many visited their exhibitions and made encouraging comments which paved way to the Photo Voice Teams in every village to continue their work with courage. It was a great success to all of us!

The Photo Voice Teams shared their views and thoughts with me after the exhibition. They are as follows:

“Photojournalism was new to us, but we leant a lot and we like to expand our interest” – Saainthamaruthu Photo Voice Team.

“Photojournalism is an interesting tool; we will continue to use it to identify the issues in our village” – Ninthavur Photo Voice Team.

“It is a new experience, which we enjoyed by doing it” – Kaluwankerny Photo Voice Team.

“We are motivated and we are thrilled about it” – Puthukkudiyiruppu Photo Voice Team.

“We are enthusiastic to learn more and practice it” – Paalaiyadiththoona Photo Voice Team.

“We are excited to see that we can speak our issues through photos” – Kalkuda Photo Voice Team.

“We never thought that photos can be very power tool, we want to make use of it” – Kaaraitheevu Photo Voice Team.

“Photojournalism can capture little things which can be long lasting memories” – Periyaneelaavanai Photo Voice Team.

“We as a team managed to achieve our goal and we are happy” –
Poonochchimunai Photo Voice Team.

Painting by the youth in Kalkuda

Kids in Kalkuda climbing on timber log to play the traditional game during the Tamil Sinhala New Year

A house damaged by the war in Kaluwankerny

Wall painting in Kalkuda
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“Mai”: The launch of the newest Tamil online magazine

By Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

“A promise is a cloud; fulfillment is rain”~ Arabian Proverb

“Mai”, which is the newest online magazine by the Tamil students of the Sri Lanka College of Journalism, has been officially launched today at the college auditorium. The students from print and electronic stream have contributed to the maiden online magazine and designed it well. The magazine has a wide range of articles, photos and poems in Tamil.

The auditorium was decorated traditionally with Kolam, oil lamps and flower garlands. The staff of Sri Lanka College of Journalism, Sri Lanka Press Institute, Press Complaints Commission of Sri Lanka and students attended the ceremony.

Traditional oil lamp at the venue

Beautifully drawn Kolam and oil lamp add colour to the ceremony

The Director of Sri Lanka College of Journalism Namal Perera cuts the ribbon to launch the magazine

Sugar cane candy is one of the important items in a Tamil traditional welcome

Online magazine in English and Sinhala have already been launched

Gayathri Sabthiga Nirmalarajan is seen clicking the moments of the event

Sugar cane candy is being distributed to the audience after the launch by Jancy Joseph

Kokila Selvam demonstrates the newly launched online magazine

A section of audience

Thavanathan Ravivarman delivers the vote of thanks

“Mai” on the cyberspace

Group’10 Tamil students of SLCJ
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