Invaluable record for posterity
Polonnaruwa, the second kingdom of Sri Lanka occupies a unique place in the history of the country. It was the capital city during a period that saw immense prosperity, self-sufficiency in agriculture and military strength.
The 166-year-long Polonnaruwa era marked the reign of King Parakramabahu I and Vijayabahu I, two powerful monarchs of Sri Lanka. It was an era in which the Kingdom was strong enough to militarily influence some parts of Myanmar, Cambodia and South India.
Apart from its rich historical value Polonnaruwa has fertile land that serves the nation as a granary.
President Maithripala Sirisena presided the release of the academic volume ‘Polonnaruwa – From the Era of Monarchy to Presidency’, authored by Senior Prof. E.A. Wickremesinghe, Tikiri Herath Gunathilaka and L.A Jayatissa at the BMICH recently.
The Volume re-examines the historical value of the era, documents it and preserves it for future generations. It also re-examines the later development projects and analyzes recent developments. It enhances the historical information and knowledge of the Polonnaruwa District among school children and the public. It has covered a wide range of disciplines in one publication. It was’nt an easy task and the authors deserve the appreciation of the readers for their efforts.
In the analysis of historical Polonnaruwa, other topics have been developed based on historical sites such as Somawathiya, Medirigiriya and Dimbulagala and Muthugala. These sites are of immense value to the nation, similar to ancient places such as Mihintale, Anuradhapura, Rajagala and Sithulpawwa.
The chapter on the Muthugala Cave Temple has highlighted the archaeological value of the monument. The first revelation, with the standard information about the place, is of value. The fact that 27 ancient bricks have been unearthed at the temple and other information presented in this publication will be very useful for archaeologists as well as academics who study the subject.
The academic publication has been compiled by the authors after a thorough study during their field trips and research done in collaboration with the Heritage Museum, the Department of Archaeology and the Central Cultural Fund as well as the Pulathisi Campus. Reproduction of valuable photographs and archival materials add to the value of the Volume.
Together with the volume, Polonnaruwa:Narapathi Yugaye Sita Janapathi Yugaya Dakwa, another book, ‘Moragahakanda Dream Reservoir’, on multipurpose projects was launched. These books have been compiled by President Maithripala Sirisena’s concept with the objective of strengthening the present by connecting it with the glory of the past and with modern knowledge, to reach a great future.
The President presented the two books to the Maha Sangha at the launch. He also presented copies to the representatives of school children, universities and scholars. The book Polonnaruwa – Narapathi Yugaye Sita Janapathi YugayaDakwa was simultaneously launched as an electronic book powered by Sri Lanka Telecom, under the instructions of Telecom Chairman P.G. Kumarasinghe Sirisena. The income from the books will be donated to the National Kidney Fund.
Making a special statement by video at the ceremony, President Sirisena said that having a proper understanding of one’s history helps people to stand strong together as a progressive nation in a rapidly developing world.
“I have closely associated with the young school children of this country for a long time. When I ask them about the great kings of our nation, most of them don’t know the details of those kings and their reigns.
We live in a technology driven world. In a world like this, we should have a good understanding of our history and heritage. Our children cannot develop pride and self-worth only by passing exams. I would like to offer this book to the young children of this country,” the President said.
The book is a compilation of research-based articles written by Emeritus Prof Daya Edirisinghe, Rtd Senior Prof K.A.P. Siddhasena, Rtd Senior Prof A.A.D. Amarasekara, Senior Prof Lakshman Seneviratne, Rtd Prof Rohana Lakshman Piyadasa, late Prof Ranitha Rathnayake, Prof Yamuna Kumarihami Herath, Emeritus Prof Ukku Banda Karunananda, Retd Prof Ajitha Thennakoon, Dr. Ajith Dissanayake and H.M. Gunarathna Banda. The academics received certificates and awards from President Sirisena at the ceremony.
Delivering the keynote speech Emeritus Prof Ukku Banda Karunananda requested the government to launch a special program under the guidance of the Department of National Archives to preserve the history of the post-independence era of Sri Lanka.
Prof Karunananda also pointed out that President Sirisena encouraged them to work on the research compilation six years ago when he was holding the Ministry of Health portfolio.
The volume on Polonnaruwa could be viewed online on www.kiyawamu.lk Polonnaruwa: Era from monarchy to Presidency