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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.

Ismeth Raheem is an architect who worked with Geoffrey Bawa for many years, and was then responsible for a number of interesting buildings hotels combining traditional Sri Lankan concepts with modern developments. He is also a polymath, who has studied and written about the manner in which Sri Lanka has been seen and presented in pictures and photographs and writings during the colonial period. His knowledge of ancient irrigations systems is also perhaps unrivalled.