Mirrored Images, an anthology of Sri Lankan poetry, edited by Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha and published by the National book Trust of India, New Delhi, was launched at the Indian Cultural Centre, Gregory’s Road, Colombo, on 20th of September. The function was presided over by His Excellency Y.K.Sinha, High Commissioner of India for Sri Lanka. Hon. Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Minister of National Languages and Social Integration, M.A.Sikander, Director, National Book Trust of India and Mr.Claude Martinez of the Alliance Francaise de Kotte, were the Guests of Honour.
In his address, H.E. Y.K.Sinha mentioned about the cultural ties between the two countries and stressed the need for translations in order to enhance the understanding between people of different tongues. Prof.Rajiva Wijesinha, while welcoming the guests and audience said that his intention is to showcase Sri Lankan poetry in all three languages since independence. He also appreciated all those who supported him in his endeavour. The book was launched by the Hon. Minister by handing over the first copy to H.E. the High Commissioner. The speeches by Hon.Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Mr.M.A.Sikander and Mr.Martinez were followed by the recital of poems from the anthology by poets Anne Ranasinghe, Ariyawansa Ranaweera, So.Pathmanathan and Ayathurai Santhan.
While Anne Ranasinghe and Ayathurai Santhan read their English poems, Ariyawansa Ranaweera and So.Pathmanathan recited the originals of their poems in Sinhala and Tamil and then the respective English versions of those works.
The function was accompanied by an exhibition of photographs by Prof. Wijesinha, titled A Collection of Civilizations. A cocktail followed.
In the days followed, Mirrored Images was launched in few more functions around the island, in the North, South and in the hill country, too.
The function in Jaffna was held at the India House of the Indian Consulate on 30th September. Mr.V. Mahalingam, Consul General of India, Jaffna, presided. Prof. Vasanthy Arasaratnam, Vice Chancellor of the University of Jaffna released the volume. Hon.Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha M.P. and Prof. K.Visakaruban , Head of the Dept. of Tamil, University of Jaffna, were the guests of Honour and Dr. Gerard Robuchon, Director, Alliance Francaise de Jaffna was the Special Guest.
The recital of poems followed the speeches. The poets Akilan, Karunakaran, Sithanthan and So.Pathmanathan read from their Tamil originals and the English renderings were recited by So.Pathmanathan. Ariyawansa Ranaweera read the Sinhala originals and the English translations of his poems. Ayathurai Santhan recited his English poem. Even though the respective poets were not there, Anne Ranasinghe’s Atteriya and a poem titled Ancient Burdens by Murugaiyan, which was translated by Chelva Kanaganayagam, were read by Prof. Wijesinha and So.Pathmanathan respectively.
The accompanying exhibition of photos and books by Prof. Wijesinha was warmly welcomed by the viewers and the tea at the end of the function provided valuable time for interaction among all those who were present.