Monday, January 13, 2014

Senkottan – Mining of Social Fabric |||||||||||||||||||||මහින්ද ප්‍රසාද් මස්ඉඹුලගෙන් සෙංකොට්ටන්|||||||||||||||||||



           
Senkottan – Mining of Social Fabric
Review by R.L.O.Muthunayake


During my childhood, I was fascinated by reading classic novels irrespective of the country of origin. In those days, I had great opportunity to read novel because the librarian was my best friend’s father. I remember, sometime, he limited the issuing of books to save my time for study. However, with the professional study I was far away from that wonderful world.  
It was ashamed to say, but the bitter truth is, I read only few books during last twenty years of time. Last week, while I was surfing on Facebook, I saw the book called ‘Senkottan’ written by Mahinda Prasad Masibula. Yes, he is well known writer but I have another relationship, because he is my brother’s best friend. I know him since childhood. So I felt tremendous hunger to read and own this book.
The book was not what I expected from him. I could not believe such a grate creation at the age of this young man. It is the one of greatest masterpiece found in this era. We all feel more or less about social fabric and its governing forcers during our day to day life. In reality, we are not willing to mine the social system to understand the how it fabricated during history of civilization. 

Story of Sopakala’s

Mahinda is developing the story from point of “Dana Paramitha”  to illustrate, it is not so easy to participate Dana as Govthama Budda said, for everyone. At this point I was shocked; I know this is practicing in our society in some places. It is not easy task to offer Watha Dana or any other food related almsgiving to the village temple for so called low caste community except they are extremely rich. 

Hierarchy

The caste system in Sri Lanka has led to in the foundation of an elegant pecking order or hierarchy into which the numerous castes in country have been slotted. Therefore, the opinions and counter-opinions and the privileges and counter- privileges are about the relative status of different castes. Moreover, the caste system is grounded on a difference created by the ‘accident' of one's birth, a feature that is continued and maintained by a societal ethos that bars inter-caste matrimonies. As a result, the socio-cultural life of different castes is mostly spent in ‘isolation' of one another.

Marriage

The basic thrust of story has been mostly on the different dimensions of hierarchy and the pain imposed by it. This book, on the other hand, is a welcome opening for sweet writer to smell the ground. There are thousands of novel written for youth by telling there will be rich boy or girl will come to marry you by destroying all kind of devil forces created from family or from society. This fantasy will end up when girls’ loss her virginity and then pushing Juki machine at garment factory. Mahinda is cable demonstrate this scenario through “Podina” suite to that era.  

However, the entire system is not in fully black or white. There are few exceptions, educated gentlemen was trying to support low cast people. That is the beauty of this creation and it is the fundamental truth of local condition.    

The knowledge

This book clearly delivers the message to the society that is knowledge is the power. On the other hand it is still not an easy journey in this era. There are numerous barriers. I believe, there are many chances to distract the primary education from young due to caste or power of money. As I remember, one of well famous Minister question from Minister Kannangara , Who will pluck the coconut if you pass the free education act. 

Caste and Gentlemen

Sri Lankans strongly believing there is a strong relationship between ethical behaviors ant caste. Mahinda is challenging and opening eye by using several events such as those gentlemen are secretly sleep with so called dirty   low caste ladies. They are not reluctant kill anybody when they are out of control.  

The Writer


This novel presents past, current and future of Sri Lanka very vividly; however, I have to do some mental process to read the casteism as a fashionable issue. It must be a deeply deep-rooted social illness I, as a reader, was not much exposed to the mind of Baba Henaya. The caste differences are still governing factor for fundamental social event such as marriage. However , the differences are melt downing by capitalism. But capitalism creating another dimension so called rich and poor.

Thanks to Mahinda, write the Sri Lankan society as smoothly as in the texture of silk, I grasped the story very easily and deeply. It is quite surprising and inspiring to get to know his talent unknown to me. One thing I have tell you, when I was reading early pages of Senkottan  ,I was thinking , I am so lucky by not born in those caste. Now I feel shame about myself why I thought in that way.  



The best Sinhalese novel was awarded to 'Senkottan' written by Mahinda Prasad Masimbula at this year's State Literary Festival.
 

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muthunayake@gmail.com

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