D.S. Amarasekara, a retired school teacher, talks about discovering the historical roots of his village of Baddegama. Photography by Kannan Arunasalam and Menika van der Poorten.
Mr Amarasekara didn’t understand why we had come to visit him. He was just a simple villager he told us. When I said i wanted to talk to him about his village, his face lit up. Mr Amarasekara is a villager at heart. And he is especially proud of his village of Baddegama.
When Mr Amarasekara told me that much of the things he talked about weren’t from any history books, but from what elders had told him, I knew I had come to the right place. True to the tradition of oral history, he was passing on his knowledge to me.
Mr Amarasekara is a retired teacher and also a writer. The humble villager, resilient to life’s blows, has been a source of inspiration for Mr Amarasekara’s short stories. Their simple approach to life comes from a deep rooted belief in the teachings of Buddhism, he explained.
There was a sincerity in the way Mr Amarasekara talked about his life, family and hometown. His life has had many sad turns. But like the villager he so admires, he has learned to accept them, and instead live for life’s little joys. Like the joy of discovering that your village has a history.
I am glad to see this wonderful site. Definitely this achievement would have been admired by my late father, who was born and had lived in Baddegama. He collected much information about the ancient cities, even with photos. If someone can spread this to the global society, that would be great. If you need any support, do not hesitate contact me.
“The culture of Sri Lanka lives in the village” … “The learned men write about culture, but live an anti-cultural life” … great pearls of wisdom. I look forward to hearing more from the elders of our beautiful country. Thank you for making these recordings available to future generations.
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