Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka, in his column published in Daily FT of 2 April, refers to me as “the constitutional pundit, writing from Eton, UK” who is “pontificating” on constitutional issues in Sri Lanka.
The insinuation appears to be that I comment on Sri Lankan issues from abroad, and that I have no right to do so. He refers to “Eton, UK”, a town in Windsor, England, where a well-known school is located. This is not the first occasion when he has made such references to me in your newspaper.
I am sorry to disappoint Dr Jayatilleka, but I have never lived, or even visited, the English town of Eton. The only explanation I can offer for this repeated assertion is that about 15 years ago, when my wife and I were living in London NW3, the street name had the word “Eton” in it.
Dr. Jayatilleka, who was then in Australia, emailed my wife seeking advice on places to live in London; and also emailed me inquiring whether I could write an appreciation of his father, who was a friend of mine, on his death anniversary. Our replies perhaps contained our London street address.
Another fact that Dr. Jayatilleka appears to be unable to absorb, presumably because it does not fit in with his convenient narrative, is that I actually live in Sri Lanka. I am happy to engage with commentators on the substance of issues, even when their arguments are as verbose and hyperbolic as those of Dr. Jayatilleka, or consist of a liberal use of pseudo-intellectual phrases. I do, however, object strongly to attacks made on my right to comment on such issues when they are based on false assumptions.
Dr. Nihal Jayawickrama