Boon for North, East
The Government is to embark on a massive development
plan for the North and the East with the aim bringing normality
to the lives of the people who were living in want under the
dominance of the LTTE.
According to our lead story yesterday the Government has
identified several priority areas unique to the people of the
North and the East including the development of agriculture and
It is to be an integrated programme designed to bring the
fruits of development to the people who had undergone severe
hardship and privation due to the loss of their livelihoods for
nearly two decades.
With the rapid resettlement of the IDPs now being carried
out, the Government no doubt will have a Herculean task to
identify and sort out the priorities of the people who had been
uprooted from their former lives and habitats for a long period.
The Government no doubt would have drawn up a comprehensive
plan to address the needs of the people and involve them in the
With Local Government Elections too in the offing it is
obvious that the Government wants to put in place all the
necessary state structures to ensure a smooth return to civilian
life in liberated areas.
Frequent visits by Public Administration Minister Karu
Jayasuriya and Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa to the East
to ensure that civilian administration functions without a hitch
are a great boon to the people who were denied the services of
the State apparatus while the LTTE dominated these areas.
As we have repeatedly mentioned in these columns development
activities in the North and the East should be complemented by
more people-to-people contact to remove the sense of isolation
that had been the lot of these people for over two decades.
There is a need for more social and cultural interaction to
help enable these communities to integrate with the national
mainstream. Steps should also be taken to speedily link the
economies of the North and East with the national economy so
that the fruits could be shared on an equitable basis by all
Appropriately the ‘Awakening’ programme has been brought
under the Ministry of Nation Building for it symbolises a
rebuilding of a sorts after the fractious segregation of
It could herald a new beginning where all communities could
live in amity and brotherhood as children of one nation united
in a common bond.
A screen legend
Yesterday we carried a front page picture accompanied
by a report on a felicitation accorded to the Queen of Sinhala
Cinema Malini Fonseka by the Sri Lankan community in Los
Among those present at the reception hosted by the Sri
Lanka’s Consul General Jaliya Wickramasuriya were well known
local film personalities of yesteryear.
There was a time when the Sinhala cinema was enjoying a
golden era and Malani unquestionably played a dominant role in
that success story.
There would no doubt have been a reminiscence of those
halcyon days among those gathered not least about the colourful
characters that strode the Sinhala cinema.
Malini of course made waves as the leading lady in the
Sinhala cinema. Her prowess is yet to be matched on the silver
Hers was a rare talent that had no equal though attempts are
now being made to emulate the screen goddess through cheap
imitators passing out as ‘stars’ in remakes of old films that
featured the legend.
Malini of course is no stranger to international recognition
having won many an award for her sterling performances.
She was of course fortunate to have starred in an era that
coincided with the emergence a set of young directors who
experimented with progressive themes and cast her in roles that
won for her wide accolades.
This is also not the first time that Malini had been feted by
the Lankan community overseas. The meeting in LA no doubt would
have evoked nostalgic memories among those present of a time and
age when the Sinhala cinema was the mainstay in the country’s
There would also have been regret and recriminations at the
current state of the Sinhala cinema which has taken a nosedive
almost into oblivion with many cinema halls rapidly being pulled
down and converted into commercial enterprises.
It is in this context that Malani stands out as a symbol
representing the grandeur of the Sinhala cinema that is still
being yearned for by fans of a bygone era.
The Government should do much more to reward and appreciate
the contribution made by cinematic artistes of the past. It is a
sad indictment on the Sinhala cinema that had chalked up 60
years that we do not even have a proper film archives.
As a result the present generation of filmgoers have been
deprived the opportunity to savour a vital aspect of our
cinematic heritage and those masterpieces that were essentially
a part of a vibrant Sinhala cinema in those relaxed and spacious