Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Turned their bylines into headlines

By Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

 Curtain raiser of ceremony
The Chief Guest Prof Thoma is being welcomed

Lighting of the oil lamp
Observing a minute silence

Lifetime Achievement Awards (Gold Medalists) ~ Rasaiah Selvarajah, D.Solomon Ranasinghe, Bandu S.Kodikara, Ajantha Ranasinghe, and Anne Abayasekara (seated)

Special invitees at the awards night

The Annual Journalism Awards for Excellence was held at the Mount Lavinia Hotel on 5th of August 2014. 189 entries were received for 14 categories for Journalism Awards for Excellence 2013.  This is the 15th edition of the annual Journalism Awards for Excellence programme which was initiated by the The Editors' Guild of Sri Lanka (TEGOSL) in 1999, and now is being conducted jointly by The Editors' Guild of Sri Lanka and the Sri Lanka Press Institute.

 Beautiful Bharatha Natyam adding colour to awards night

Aanya Wipulasena of the Sunday Times receiving the Denzil Pieris Young Reporte of the Year Award from Kumar Nadesan, The Chairman of Sri Lanka Press Institute
Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai, journalist cum photojournalist receiving her Photojournalist of the Year 2013 award from Sunil Jayasekara, Convenor, Free Media Movement, at Journalism Awards for Excellence

Another section of audience

Cultural event during the awards night

Randima Attygalle of the Island receiveing Upali Wijewardena (English Medium) Award from Wijewardena
Drummers' beats

Awantha Attigala of Daily Mirror receives Caroonist of the Year

Dharisha Bastians of Daily FT receives Journalis of the Year from the Chief Guest Prof  Thoma

Performers entertaining photojournalists

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Clashes between Buddhists and Muslims kill 3 in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa says  violence will be investigated

Eyewitnesses said mobs pelted a mosque with stones and set fire to Muslim-owned shops

By Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AA) – Sri Lanka's President  Mahinda Rajapaksa criticized the clashes that took place between Buddhist hardliners and Muslims in southern town Aluthgama on Sunday.

Police used tear gas to end the violence, which followed a rally by Sinhalese Buddhist nationalist group Bodu Bala Sena addressed by the group's Secretary-General Galagodaththe Gnanasara. Members of the group marched through predominantly Muslim areas and clashes erupted, with Muslim-owned shops and businesses attacked.

"The Government will not allow anyone to take the law into their own hands. I urge all parties concerned to act in restraint. An investigation will be held for law to take its course of action to bring to book those responsible for incidents in Aluthgama," said Rajapaksa, in a series of posts on social media website Twitter. "I ask my Sinhala & Muslim brothers & sisters in Aluthgama to stand together."

Some Muslims sustained minor injuries in the clashes, including two television journalists covering the events. Police and Special Task Force personnel have been deployed to restore law and order.

"Police curfew has been imposed with immediate effect in Aluthgama Police area, after tense situation in order to prevent further clashes," Police Spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana told Anadolu Agency. "Police curfew is imposed in Beruwala Police area as well. People are requested to be calm."

Eyewitnesses say that Buddhist hardliners pelted stones at the Mosque in Dharga town and mobs set fire to several shops owned by Muslims.

The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka welcomed the police curfew and urged Muslims to remain calm and not to be provoked into retaliating.

Deputy Minister of Investment Promotion Faizer Mustafa, who has just returned from a trip to Japan, is currently on his way to the Aluthgama to assess the situation.

Bodu Bala Sena, which literally translates to Buddhist Power Force, is a right-wing Buddhist group that was established after the end of Sri Lanka's decades-long civil war in 2009. They belong to the country's Sinhalese Buddhist majority and have been accused of inciting hate against other religions in Sri Lanka.

Courtesy: Anadolu Agency ~

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Thyagaraja Aradhana: An evening of music and dance

Photos and text by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

Music in the soul can be heard by the universe” ~ Lao Tzu

"Magala Isai" at the beginning of the festival
Saraswathy, Goddess of Wisdom sits above the venue

Five Keerthanams are known as the “Panchrathna Keethnanam”. The “Pancha Rathna Krithis” are sung during the Aradhana. They areJagadananda of Natai Ragam, Dudukugala of Gowla Ragam, Sadinchanae of Arabhi Ragam, Kanakana Ruchira of Varali Ragam andEndharo Mahanu Bhavulu of Sri Ragam.

The Pancharatna Kritis of Thyagaraja are in praise of his beloved deity, God Rama and are extremely skillful and beautiful musical compositions. They are all set in Adi Thalam and each ragam represents the mood of the song and the meaning of its lyrics. They are actually set in the style of a Ragam, Thanam, Pallavi (RTP) with the charanams (stanzas) substituting for the kalpana swaras(improvisatory passages) in the pallavi section of the Ragam, Thalam, Pallavi.

Carnatic Music Festival to celebrate the genius of Sri Thyagarajah was recently held at the Saraswathy Hall in Bambalapitty, which was organized by the Indian Cultural Centre in Colombo in association with the Hindu Society, and Express Newspapers Ceylon Limited. Thyagaraja Aradhana is a rare event to witness, and be a part of it, where many musicians and dancers gathered and performed together. Musicians, vocalists, instrumentalists and percussionists came from all over the country to celebrate.

In this year’s festival, in addition to the musicians, dancers gorgeously performed, while the singers beautifully sang the five Keerthanams.

167th Sri Thyagaraja Aradhana celebrations were held recently in Thiruvaiyaru. Musicians from all over the state gathered, and sat before the Saint’s Samadhi on the banks of river Kaveri, sang “Pancharatna Kritis”, and paid homage to him.

Saint Thyagaraja was born on 4th May 1767 in Thiruvarur in Thanjavur district. He was born to a Telugu Brahmin family as the third son of Ramabrahmam and Seethamma. His father’s was a story teller. His family moved to Thiruvaiyaru soon after Saint Thyagaraja was born. Saint Thyagaraja got married to Parvaty in 1784, when he was 17 years. His wife Parvathy died in 1789, when he was 23 year. He married her sister Kamala in 1790, and got a daughter. Saint Thyagaraja named his daughter Seethalakshmi. It is believed that on 6th January 1847 would be the day when he was expected to embrace Mukthi. He attained Samadhi on “Pushya Bagula Panchami” in Thiruvaiyaru.

Saint Thygaraja was an eminent composer in classical music, poet, and a philosopher. He was an extraordinary personality born to teach humanity through music, and Rama Bhakthi. He saw Rama as a chief, as a saviour of mankind, and as a Lord of whole universe. Saint Thyagaraja praised him, cajoled him, taunted him, served him, and cried for him. Saint Thyagaraja lived with God Rama every moment. The name Thyagaraja means “Prince of Renunciation”.

He studied Sanskrit and astrology. He was very well versed in his mother tongue Telugu. Saint Thyagaraja has composed several Kritis. He made use of 200 ragas to compose different Kritis.

The “Divyanama Sankeerthanas” and “Utsava Samprathaya Kritis” composed by him are melodies. He composed 1,800 Kritis. He has created operas namely “Prahlada Bhakthi Vijayam”, “Nowka Chittram” and “SitaRama Vijayam”. He wrote most of the Kritis in Telugu, and the rest in Sanskrit.

Kids corner at the festival

Dance corner at the festival Saraswathy Subramaiam from the Eastern University of Sri Lanka with a modern violin

Music lovers from all walks of life

Tribute to Sri Thyagaraja Swamigal
An eldery music lover enjoys the festival, while sitting on the mat

Crowd pulling musicians adding colour to the festival

Dance depicting one of the "Pancharatna Keerthanams"

Bridging the borders at the festival

Comparing the notes while singing
Paying tribute together with dance and music
Full house festival

Vocalists at the festival
Annual festival attracts many music lovers to gather under one roof to celebrate

Carnatic musicians consider Thyagaraja as their inspiration, source and touchstone of their creativity

Dancers beautifully describing a "Keerthanam"

Music lovers too joined in singlng along the five "Keerthanams"

The choral rendtion of the five songs is an integral feature of the festival

Friday, March 07, 2014

South Asian Women in Media Sri Lanka Chapter urges authorities to investigate crimes committed against women journalists and media workers and ensure their safety

March 8 marks the International Women's Day, a day that recalls and celebrates the women's struggle for equality and recognises the contribution women continue to make for the advancement of their societies.
The United Nations declared 8 March as the International Women's Day in 1975 which continues to be celebrated around the world in many different ways.

According to a recent survey carried out by UKAID, "Globally, women do 60% of the world's work but only earns 10% of the world's income and only own 1% of the world's property," highlighting the economic disparity that exists despite their ever increasing contributions to the advancement of the world. It further stated, "when a woman generates her own income, she reinvests 90% of it in her family and community."
In Sri Lanka too, women have been in the forefront as prime income generators in a variety of spheres, contributing to the growth of the country which is yet to be duly acknowledged.

Despite the advancement women have collectively managed to achieve, as in the rest of South Asia, in Sri Lanka too, safety of women has become a serious concern. It is unfortunate that women are increasingly becoming unsafe, also reflected in the media industry, with women journalists coming under various types of attacks including intimidation, threats, harassment and even murder, reflecting a social malady.

As this year's theme for the  International Women's Day being  "Inspiring Change", the South Asian Women in Media Sri Lanka Chapter urges the authorities to investigate the crimes committed against women journalists and media workers in the past and to ensure better maintenance of law and order in the country which would contribute to make a safe environment for women.

South Asian Women in Media Sri Lanka Chapter

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Lasantha Wickrematunge Memorial Vigil held in Sri Lanka

Text and Pictures by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

A candle light vigil was held today evening at the same spot, where the Founding Editor of the Sunday Leader Lasantha Wickrematunge was brutally killed on the 8th of January 2009. Justice has not yet been delivered, although five years have just passed by.

Family members, friend, and colleagues gathered in Attidiya to pay tribute to late Lasantha Wickrematunge on his fifth death anniversary.

"We will overcome;
We will overcome  One day;
It is deep in our heart;
We do believe;
WE WILL OVERCOME ~ ONE DAY!" was sung in English, Sinhala and Tamil, while participants lit white candles, and cotton torches, and emotionally placed them in front of Lasantha's portrait.

The memorial vigil was organised by SAMAGI (Force for Unity).

Banner says it all

Candles are lit in a row in front of Lasantha Wickrematunge's portrait

Lasantha Wickrematunge's older brothers, and nieces are taking a closer look at his portrait

Lal Wickrematunge, older brother of Lasantha Wickrematunge is in silent thoughts during the vigil

 Banner at site

Activists Herman Kumara, and Dr. Nimalka Fernando participating at the vigil

Placing to remember

Spot on site

Vigil at night

Singing with light

Slain and Silenced

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Lasantha Wickrematunge: Justice Delayed

Text and Pictures By Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

Rays of sun breaking through at the grave site

Grave site decorated with fresh flowers, and candles

Lal Wickrematunge, older brother of Lasantha Wickrematunge is seen grieving at his brother's grave

Lasantha Wickrematunge’s fifth death anniversary was marked today. Family members, friends, and colleagues gathered at his grave site in Kanatte in the morning to pay tribute. His grave was decorated with pink, and off white lotus flowers, and other flowers. Pink and white candles, and incense sticks were lit. A memorial service too was held at the site.

Lasantha Wickrematunge was the Founding Editor of the Sunday Leader, and was killed by masked men on motorbikes, on the 8th of January 2009, while he was on his way to work. A suspect has died under Police custody, while the other was released due to lack of evidence. Justice is yet to be delivered.

Lasantha Wickermatunge's brothers lighting candles to remember their beloved brother

Lit and placed to remember

During a memorial service

Emotionally singing at the site

Portrait of Lasantha Wickematunge at the site

Rest to Remember


Recalling and sharing their memories of Lasantha Wickrematunge