While I have enjoyed preparing this column from a purely literary perspective, it was also intended, as its title indicates, to indicate similarities between the different peoples of this country and therefore encourage a sense of shared perspectives.
I was not sure if I was having any impact in this regard, so I was delighted recently to receive a note from one of the Tamil writers whose work I am using for the book that will be published later this year by the National Book Trust of India. This is Somasundramoillai Pathmanathan, whose translations appear under the name SOPA. He wrote ‘After all, isn’t the end of all Knowledge, Spiritualism and Culture, Man acquires the recognition of things in common among different peoples of the world? Perhaps, decades later, when Sri Lankans sit back to ponder over what went wrong in our relationships, won’t they blame our generation for pushing the Country into an abyss? It is from this point of view that I consider what you are doing laudable.’
I was deeply touched, and I hope that others too have looked also at what these poems when juxtaposed tell us about our common concerns, and shared attitudes in dealing with these concerns.