The book that may change the country – Colombo: A Critical Introspection

Saturday, 7 January 2012 00:55 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

From nowhere came a man who assaulted the status quo of contemptible apathy; little is known about his origins, except that for much of his fledgling adult life he has been an academic at various private tertiary institutions and that at first glance his unkempt mane and coarse beard instantly give him the air of a reclusive philosopher.

Given the mystique surrounding Wimarshana Wijesuriya and his academic background, those best placed to give us an insight about the man himself are perhaps his thousands of past students, and indeed they did not disappoint nearly all recalling in with awe his spell binding oratory and searing charisma.

However, more than just their glowing accounts of Wimarshana’s intellectual prowess, was an interesting fact these past students recounted, for it spoke eloquently of the iconoclasm and non-conformism of the man – he is engaged to be married to one of his past students, an affair which apparently commenced when she was an eager pupil in one of his absorbing classes.

At only 28 years old, this book from one of the most fascinating yet scarcely known Sri-Lankan thinkers promises to slice right to the heart of what it means to be Sri-Lankan, his own laconic summary of it reads;

“The ambitions of this book can be summarised thus, to answer the fundamental questions: Who is the prototypical Sri-Lankan? And how do these defining sociological and socio-psychological ingredients conspire and culminate to create his contemporary reality.”

The book itself is composed of ten essays with each being preceded by a photo cantered around the theme of the essay, the essays deal with subject areas ranging from politics to religion to Sri-Lankan attitudes on romance! Beyond this little is known about the book – which of course only serves to whet the appetite for the big day, the book launch on 8 January at the Kent Gallery 192 St. James Peiris Mawatha Colombo 2 (all are invited) – the vibe from the author leads one to suspect that this book will certainly ignite a furore in and around our fair city.