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The Past is Another Country is a series of interviews with individuals distinguished for their contributions to culture and to society. In addition to discussing their individual contributions, the programmes explore the context in which each of them functioned. The interviews, by Rajiva Wijesinha, cover a range of developments in post-independence Sri Lanka, and present a panoramic view of social change in the latter half of the 20th century.

Sam Wijesinha was Secretary General of Parliament and later Sri Lanka’s first Ombudsman. Though neither a Civil Servant nor active in politics himself, he married into the family of C L Wickremesinghe, the first Sri Lankan to be appointed a Government Agent, and was the brother-law of Esmond Wickremesinghe who has been described as the eminence grise of Sri Lankan politics, in view of his work behind the scenes with the United National Party.