Another Batch of Jaffna Soldiers Receives Tamil Language Proficiency Certificates

2014_08_30_2_1The 3rd and 4th batches of soldiers who followed an intensive Tamil language course in Jaffna received certificates at a pompous ceremony held on Friday (29) evening at Kakesanthurai with participation of educationists, distinguished guests and well wishers in Jaffna.

A total of 1815 Army members serving under Security Force Jaffna (SF-J) attended the one month course conducted by Army and civilian instructors at Brigade and battalion level. Tamil language programme for SF-J officers and men commenced early this year on concept of Commander SF-J Major General Udaya Perera with intention of enabling soldiers to communicate effectively with local population so that mutual relationship could be improved. Establishing the identity of the Army as a national organization is another motive of organizing this language course. A plan is underway to make each and every soldier serving in Jaffna competent in communicating in Tamil by September 2015 through such Tamil language courses.

Prof. Vasanthi Arsaratnam, Vice Chancellor University of Jaffna graced the occasion as Chief Guest. Appreciating the genuine effort of teaching Tamil to soldiers, the VC said it would pave the way to effective communication between Security Force personnel and civilians. She further said that all universities are planning to start Tamil language courses for Sinhalese students and Sinhala for Tamil students.

Earlier, 1476 officers and other ranks were given similar training in Batch number 1 and 2. Batch number 5 is presently undergoing language training at respective places. Reverend members of clergy, Commander SF-J Major General Udaya Perera and Distinguished gusts such as former VC of University of Jaffna Prof. Balasundaram Pillai and Senior DIG Northern Province Mr. Poojith Jayasundara also distributed certificates to course participants and awards to those with higher performance.

Course participants presented a short Tamil play exhibiting the knowledge they gained.

General Officer Commanding 52 Division Major General Priyantha Jayasundara coordinated the training programme.


Two Tamil Language Courses for Jaffna Soldiers Completed


Commander Security Force Jaffna (SF – J) Major General Udaya Perera said that language has the power to build unity among the communities. So Sinhalese must learn Tamil and Tamils must learn Sinhalese.

He expressed these ideas attending a ceremony to distribute awards and certificates to 1122 soldiers who successfully completed a Tamil Language Course conducted by the Headquarters Security Force Jaffna (SF – J). During ceremony organized at Kankesanthurai on Thursday (05) evening, 12 officers and 1110 other ranks received certificates and awards according to their order of merit obtained in the tests conducted at the end of the course.

playExhibiting their language proficiency, students of Course No. 1 and Course No 2 presented playlet for the entertainment of the audience comprising distinguished guests.

To facilitate easy and uninterrupted communication with civilians in performing duties, Security Force Jaffna, on concept of the Commander SF – J Major General Udaya Perera, has planned to give Tamil language training to all officers and men serving in Jaffna.

Professional in the field of language teaching in Jaffna and soldiers who were trained at the Army Tamil Language Training school, Kotmale conducted lectures.

Rev. D.S. Rathnasabapathipillai Kurukkal of Maviddapuram Sri Skantha Temple, Vicar General Jaffna Rev. Fr. Dr. Justin P. Gnanaprakasam, Government Agent Jaffna Mr. S. Arumainayagam and Ms Agnes Asekenye Oonyu, Head, UN Office for Coordinating Humanitarian Affairs also joined Maj. Gen. Udaya Perera in awarding certificates.

Reconciliation through Poetry

Can poetry reconcile people of different ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds to each other? Can poetry heal the wounds left behind by conflict and wipe away the tears? Can poetry build bridges and bond people together?

Professor K. Satchithanadan of Delhi University, one time secretary of the prestigious Sahitya Academy of India, had no direct answers but made it clear that poetry gave voice to the voiceless, power to challenge injustice and oppression and pricked the conscience of humanity. This message of humanity was conveyed by him and a team of Sri Lankan poets, So Pathmanathan from Jaffna, Ariyawansa Ranaweera from Colombo, and myself from Kandy. Led by him, we visited three higher institutions of learning- namely the University of Peradeniya, the Eastern University and the University of Sabaragamuwa, Belihuloya.

The three poets represented the three languages used in Sri Lanka- Sinhala, Tamil and English. Significantly, they were bilingual and bonded with each other culturally and aesthetically. Above all they shared the enthusiasm to reach out to each other and facilitate others to reach out to them and to each other. The three contexts in which this sensitizing and humanizing activity took place were well selected in terms of background, audience and response. They also formed a cross section of the Sri Lankan population Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim. At the University of Peradeniya something akin to this session had been done by Professor Rajiva Wijesinha when his book ‘Mirrored Images’ was made familiar to the academic community and the alumni there. But this session had vertical proportions in that the participant audience comprised senior academics, academics and students. The audience was participatory and as was to be expected critical. Professor Satchithanandan took them on intellectually as well as poetically. He raised awareness through his very erudite lecture, taking the audience through the ages from Ramayana to Faustus, from Neruda to modern poets who write poetry of violence. He charmed with his recital of his own poetry. He showed without doubt the power of poetry.

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“Mirrored Images” – a move towards unity (and sanity)

I had the good fortune to participate at the launch of Mirrored Images, an anthology of Sri Lankan Poetry edited by Rajiva Wijesinha.  The book was published by the prestigious National Book Trust of India.

Prof Rajiva Wijesinha had already collected An Anthology of Sri Lankan Short Stories for NBT, beside, of course, his modest collection of Modern Sri Lankan Poetry in English.  But this is a more ambitious work which has drawn from Sinhala. Tamil and English representative works.   The volume which runs to 400 pages contains 138 poems written in Sinhala and Tamil translated into English and 72 poems originally written in English.

These poems were written over the last five decades during which the island nation – after independence – went through radical political, Social and economic changes.  It also witnessed the deterioration of the relationship between the Sinhalese and the Tamils which culminated in a bloody civil war.  War means death, destruction and displacement. It also leaves, in its wake, thousands of widows and the disabled who become the responsibility of the country.  That was – and is – the context in which these Sri Lankan poets worked.  So, understandably, a substantial number of the poems in this collection are disturbing and sad.

Appropriately, Hon. Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Minister of National languages and Reconciliation graced the function.  Present in the audience were senior writers, critics and media persons.

“Genuine poetry”,   said T.S.Eliot “can communicate even before it is understood” This was affirmed as I first read out the Tamil originals of my poems.  At the launch, the audience, mainly non – Tamil, sat in husband silence because, I believe, the reading was infused with so much passion.  Their understanding was complete with the English version that followed.

Anne Ranasinghe, the veteran, (she is 80!) had to be helped to her seat but her reading was clear and well – articulated.  A.Santhan read his Bigger Match with a brief introduction about a correspondence that occasioned the poem. Continue reading

55 Division Completes third Tamil language Course for soldiers


The third Tamil language course conducted by the 55 Division for soldiers serving in the 55 Division area ended on 31st May 2013 with a End of Course Concert presented in Tamil language by the participants.

Three officers and forty nine other ranks attneded the third Tamil language improvement course conducted for one month at the 55 Division Headquarters. This programme which commenced for soldiers to improve their communication ability with civilians in respective areas has helped the Army and civilian community to strengthen their rapport.

This Tamil language improvement programme in the 55 Division was started on directives of General Officer Commanding of the Division Brigadier Ajith Wjesinghe. Commander 552 Brigade Colonel Deepal Wanniarachchi attended the closing address of the course as chief guest.

Governor felicitates the Winners of National Tamil Language Day Competition


All Island Tamil Language Day 2013 competitions were held in Colombo Royal College on 13th July 2013. Northern Province competed in 50 categories including 40 individual performances and 10 group performances and possessed 24 first places, 08 second places and 04 third places. It should be noted that 9 first places were achieved through group performances.

The felicitation ceremony was held at Governor’s Secretariat on 16th July 2013. Governor of Northern Province GA Chandrasiri participated as the chief guest and appreciated and encouraged all the winners. The students from all five districts of the province took part at this ceremony.

Secretary to the Governor L.Ilaangovan, Secretary to the Provincial Ministry of Education S.Sathiyaseelan, Provincial Director of Education V.Selvarajah, zonal directors, principals and teachers also participated at this event.


Sinhala & Tamil for administration in 12 new DS areas

12 new Divisional Secretariat areas in 9 districts have been declared by President Mahinda Rajapaksa as areas where both the Sinhala & Tamil languages should be used as the languages of administration.

The areas are Dehiwala, Mount Lavinia, Ganga Ihale Kirale and theKandy 4 Gravets and Gangawata Kirale, Matale, Lankapura and Welikanda in Polonnaruwa, Ratnapura, Balangoda, Mawanella, Kekirawa, Vavuniya South and Dehiattakandiya.

The president has made the order under the constitutional provisions that enable him to declare that both languages be used for administrative purposes in any area taking into consideration the linguistic make up of these areas.

Official Language Commissioner J.D.C.Jayasinghe said the government is expediting its tri-lingual policy throughout the country and this step would assist in the process.

Source: Sunday Times 14th Oct 2012

Answer to Language Issues

The Ministry of National Language & Social Integration is to launch a new hotline from November 1st to resolve language issues.

The hotline no: is 1956, which was also the year the ‘Sinhala Only Act’ was introduced.

The general public was full of praise of the government for this new service rendered.

Junior School presents Sinhala and Tamil folk dances at opening by UNICEF Head of English Activity Centre on World Children’s Day

On World Children’s Day the Country Director of UNICEF in Sri Lanka, Mr Reza Husseini, opened an English Activity Center at the Karandana Junior School in the Eheliyagoda Educational Division.

The Center, which also includes two classrooms for Grade V students, and looks out over the local hills, was built with decentralized funds allocated by Prof Rajiva Wijesinha.

Mr Husseini unveiled the plaque which was in English and Sinhala and Tamil, and students introduced the programme in all three languages. The school also presented Sinhala and Tamil Folk Dance items with great skill and enthusiasm.

Children performing dance items with great enthusiasm

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