‘Doomed King’ doomed? | Daily News
Commentary on Gananath Obeysekere’s ‘Doomed King’

‘Doomed King’ doomed?

Professor Gananath Obeysekera’s book entitled “Doomed King” has been the ripples of concern and the centre for controversy in recent times. One point that the truth needs to be elucidated is that there were 12 streets together with the Swarna Kalyana street and (vide: page 136 and f.n., 75 at page 147- 8) 2017 Doomed King; Nerapu Raja 2017 Sinhalese translation of the same book as page 135 and f.n.81 sarasavi publishers) in the last days of the Kandyan Kingdom.

In both books apart from Lionel Sarath’s Ingresi Hatana Vimarshanaya 2017 Godage where eleven streets are enlisted. Nihal Karunarathna’s Kandy Past and Present CCF 1999 pages 199-207 has provided twelve streets as enlisted therein.

P. M. P. Abeysinghse’s Udarata Viththi (1957) Godage revised edition 2017 (book written in Sinhalese) where the author has cited in the list of references, nineteen are enlisted as streets from pages 237- 8 of the book. The same nineteen are enlisted with an identical account in Madyama Lanka Purawurtha (The medieval lanka’s lore) by Nawulle Dhammananda (1969)2016 Godage second edition. Both these accounts are overlooked by the learned Professor.

However, a more authoritative article written by L. J. B. Turner titled: “The town of Kandy about 1815” published in the Ceylon Antiquary and the Literary Register 1918 October Vol. 4 Part 4 Page 76 to 78 has enlisted twenty two streets. The streets that are overlooked by the learned Professor are : Udnuwara Street, Waikuntha Street, Kandhe (Hill) Street, Ashtawanka Street, Maha Dewala Street, New (Aluth) Streets not now in existence, this street was added by the last king of Kandy Dewa Street, Eth (Elephant) Street, Kommutti Street (the present cross street).

An interesting cartographical details depicting these streets of the yore are furnished in a map (Plate 53 facing page 172) drawn by T. B. Keppetipola titled: “Map of Kandy town about 1815 A.D.” is found in the Lands Maps and Surveys by R. L. Brohier and J. H. O. Paulusz Volume 2, 1951.

All these cogent evidence amply demonstrate that Gananath Obeysekere’s “Doomed King” is not an eye opener. It is an account to be re-checked, to go into the veracity of the contents written by the learned Professor.


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