A special report submitted to the Parliament of Sri Lanka by Prof. Channa Jayasumana Member of Parliament 6th December 2023
In the labyrinth of time, where echoes of the past reverberate through the corridors of history, the quest for understanding and unraveling the cultural tapestry of Northern Sri Lanka becomes an exhilarating intellectual journey. There are many precise historical records in the Sinhalese chronicle on Buddhist heritage in the northern part of Sri Lanka. Further, dozens of Sinhalese and Tamil scholars have published a significant number of papers, books on the same during the 20th century.
However, people with chauvinistic ideologies neglect those findings, especially those made by Sinhalese scholars, simply due to their political and financial gains. The mythical history of the Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka, created by several racists, laid the foundation for 30 years of internal armed conflict.
“Buddhist Heritage in northern Sri Lanka: As Per Evidence by European Writers” embarks upon this expedition, weaving together the threads of European observations and reflections on the profound Buddhist legacy that has graced the northern realms of this enchanting island. The majority of those writers served in the Ceylon civil service. They explored the heritage of Ceylon as part of their job.
In this report, I confined the writing of authors of European origin not to undermine the academic contribution of local scholars but to stress that even Europeans who rule the island with their agenda couldn’t neglect the Buddhist heritage in Northern Sri Lanka. This report serves as a testament to the rich Buddhist heritage that once flourished in the northern regions, as chronicled by European observers. It delves into the meticulous notes, travelogues, and musings penned by these astute witnesses who, with a sense of wonder and admiration, captured the essence of the Buddhist traditions embedded in the cultural fabric of Northern Sri Lanka.
I hope this report will be a stimulant for the Government of Sri Lanka and relevant authorities to take prompt actions to protect neglected national heritage in the northern province of the country.