By N.E. Weerasooria


I have travelled through many centuries in the course of my journey with Ceylon and Her People: and now I am reaching my own century; of that I am, so to say, one of Ceylon’s stone inscriptions; the exclusion of myself from the story would mean the exclusion of
material incidents of Ceylon’s life history. My approach to the subject is, therefore, somewhat different to its earlier form.

But no one is more conscious than I that my stone inscription, like other stone inscriptions, is liable to infirmities arising by design, of omission, of colour, of texture, in that it must of necessity reflect my own personality, idiosyncracies and attitude to life. Subject
to these human defects which balle elimination by any intellectual operation, this volume may claim to be a mirror of the age it purports to depict.

Colonialism is the theme of the age; it was at its height when I was a boy; a tremor ran through my body at the sight of a white soldier lad; that was the inheritance of 1818 and 1848, best depicted by Rudyard Kipling in the reaction of forest life when the tiger prowls.
“It is Fear, O Little Hunter, it is Fear!”

I did not then realise the fact that the soldier lad was himself a victim of Empire, homeless, cast away on a far off native shore at the instance of empire builders, themselves propelled by potential merchant lords.

Soap! Attention!
Listen! Beer! “Glory to the new made peer”
Hark! the Herald’s
College sings,
As it fakes his quarterings*.

  • * The Press (Wickham Stead) Penguin Special (1938)