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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.

Jean Arasanayagam is a poet and writer who has chronicled both her heritage as a member of the Burgher community, and the traumas of racial violence which she suffered from, because of her marriage to a Tamil. A teacher, and lecturer at the Penideniya Teacher Training College, she also describes the clash of cultures experienced through her marriage into a conservative Jaffna family.