The perethaya, a creature in Buddhist mythology which can never satisfy its appetite having a pin-hole for a mouth, is the hungry ghost of the title of this novel. It is also a memorable metaphor for its subject matter: the kind of greed which can start wars.
Years ago, during a visit to my village in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, I heard a female relative boast that as a high-caste Brahmin, she would have no trouble getting a bride for her dog, let alone for her unemployed son.
We had just crossed the causeway leading from the Jaffna Peninsula to the Vanni, the northern Sri Lankan mainland, when the colossus came into view: a pair of bronze hands, mounted on a plinth, raising aloft a model of this teardrop-shaped island nation. A marble frieze on the wall that encircled the statue showed columns of helmeted troops and tanks rolling past swamps and palmyra trees, the spiky palm indigenous to Sri Lanka’s far north. I stepped out of the car in the torpid heat and walked around the monument, which dominates this strategic corridor known as Elephant Pass.
Is this the result of practicing politics of hate or of politics of revenge?
This week, pharmaceutical and consumer product company Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay a $72 million settlement to the family of a woman who died of ovarian cancer after using the company's talcum body powder for nearly 50 years.
Sri Lanka had definitely taken an epoch making decision to have a constitution instead of amending the present constitution for President M Sirisena believes that a new nation is born with a new constitution. Sri Lanka seems to have ushered in a new era of reconciliation by starting to have the national song sung in Tamil language too on its Independence Day on the 4th February, 2016 giving due recognition to Tamils.
Emil Jannings, a German actor who would go on to make propaganda films for the Nazis in the 1930s, was the first recipient of the legendary Oscar. Had there been a mistake? Well, yes. Reputedly, the real winner that year – 1929 – was Rin Tin Tin, the 11-year-old German Shepherd rescued from wartime France in 1918 by a US airman. Rin Tin Tin had gone on to become one of the most popular and profitable Hollywood stars at the time when silent movies were giving way to the talkies.
Seran Sivananthamoorthy is only 25 years old which is why his knowledge of the Jaffna Public Library is limited to memory and anecdote. The library with some 95,000 volumes including the only original copy of the Yalpana Vaipavamalai or the History of the Kingdom of Jaffna was set alight by a mob in 1981 as tensions rose between the island’s Sinhalese and Tamil communities in the prelude to Sri Lanka’s civil war. Miniature editions of the Ramayana, accounts of early explorers in Ceylon and a trove of ancient palm-leaf manuscripts important to Sri Lanka’s Tamil-speaking communities were also lost in the fire.