The noble trilogy of the Sinhalese literature “Gamperaliya”, “Kaliyugaya” and “Yuganthaya” by Martin Wickramasinghe, is an eminent manifestation of a real time conflict, which divulges socio-economic transformations from 18th to 19th century, during contemporary Sri Lanka. Therefore it’s needless to say that these three legendary fictions, prima facie, visualize the sequential impacts of alienation of commercialization in to the conservative social system of Sri Lanka.

I would say the trilogy is, much more of commercial substance rather than for its literal importance. Nevertheless for ages, there has been a question whether the writer in his books is, merely insisting commercialisation as a big disaster, which utterly destructed the spectacular socio cultural system inherited to Sri Lankans.

Through, reading between the lines one could clearly say that, he was not at all assaulting commercialization, but the snobbish affectation of the society, sculptured through westernization, who took wrong the purpose of commercialization. (Sarathchandra,E. 1997)

Therefore my discussion intend to stress, commercialization is not the key of destruction but the key of success for a nation’s development. My theory is built upon two facts that question the validity of the arguments of ancient critics like Piyadasa Sirisena, who plainly renege economic development as the reason for socio cultural deterioration. One of the facts is the trivial importance of commercialization for continual economic progression and the vulnerability that it would caste upon a nation if not for an economic opulence.

Commentary of the legends nicely reflects speedy subjugation of society by commercialization and the aftermath sequential impacts which paved the way to a new era of development in Sri Lanakn history.

Firstly it brought in and insured equal opportunity for progression in life for everyone regardless one’s birth origins and backgrounds. Piyal’s character nourishes this illustration very well. ”Piyal” a son born to a low caste family however tackles to get a good English education and moves to Colombo. With his unshakable efforts, develops his trades and businesses, and finally breaking through the barriers of feudalistic society enters in to marriage with Nanda, the daughter of village chief, the privileged. But it is seen that the privileged were not so happy with this transformation a much.

However everybody in the village didn’t hang on to the same age old conceptions. Writer puts it forward through the below lines, making match broker a medium to divert his opinion, in summary of whole economic transformation.

Oh lady nowadays people do not look for these things so rich. All those who have earned money and become rich of late do not have good beginnings. All the well-to-do families of the past are now running short of money. They are all facing a downward trend. Without looking for all unnecessary details, it is better for you to agree to this. He is very keen to marry from your family. If agreeable hw will marry your younger daughter and he says there is no need of jewellery.

(Gamperaliya, 1944)

Secondly it brought renaissance in education as part and partial embedded in to commercialisation. The characters like Piyal, his eldest son Alan, grandson Malan and Tissa[1] are few personalities which adjoin four pillars of generations that proclaim the utmost importance of education.

In piyal’s case the foundation to his economic dive was laid by the English education, in the same way in Kaliyugaya the writer writes a lot on how Nanda and Piyal pushed their eldest Alan to get a gold merit in school, highlighting lust for being a part of the affluent society.

Another major transformation is the rise of a free thinking, sovereign generation as fruits of commercialization. In Gamperaliya we could see a well obedient group of kids acted upon their parent wishes, and never dared to break through the set social norms. Nanda agreeing to marry Jinadasa[2] against her wishes would be a great example. But when the story evolves in to the third and fourth generations where Alan elopes with a girl to Britain and becomes successful on his own, shows the rigid independency of the late generation. The stamina reaches its maximum in the last book Yuganthaya where Malan revolts against his own origins for equality, by joining an antagonist group. What is highlighted is just not the broad foreign education received by him but also the autochthonous community of the generation. Plus the story firmly signals the way in which foreign knowledge such as Marxism flew in to the country.

Following lines show the degree of vigor which marlin revolted against his parents.

I will destroy this society. Shouted Malan. He reproached the society to which his parents belong so as the capitalistic class.

What wrong have we done to you? Asked mother with tears in her eyes.

I don’t like the way of life you adore much.I would rather commit suicide than be content with that life. (yuganthaya, 1951)

The other compelling concession to defend commercialization is the infrastructure development. The scenery of the comfortable atmosphere is being drawn surrounding Colombo and its evolution with time. The roads, the dock yard, shipping services and the use of imported branded vehicles by the classy remind us of a modern high standard living. Here Wickramasinghe the great creator so lovably draws the glory of the soothing living gifted by the economical advancements.

Further to this there is a gamut of other unspoken facts that thrives the existence of commercialization such as, girls getting opportunity for education, international recognition, political advancements, abolishment of slavery and etc. Therefore it further stresses that the writer did not impede but dispersed and anchored commercialization taking it as a blessing throughout his divergent work. Having stressed on one of the two facts for long I would move to my second. Former was to bring out the necessity of economical advancements. The other, tries depicting the short comings of our age old feudalistic social system which, fictitious beliefs and blind religious practices are a large portion of its composition.

One might also argue I am debased, to accept my own culture. Therefore I must assert I am not completely neglecting the great values gifted to us through culture, such as sensitivity, helping ones in need, respecting adults, mindfulness and the emotional control. The character of “matara hamine[3]” well portraits’ the graceful womanly character of a village lady of the era.

“Kaisaruwatte[4]” saw only one fault in his wife.she was too soft-hearted,His wife was quite capable of giving away her necklace or her ear-rings to help a women with a sad story of a starving child.

(Gamperaliya,1957).

Yet again I insist there is still a significant portion of unconditional beliefs, practices in the system that restrict the mindfulness of a society.

Thus feudal system too, is one such obsolete notion. Failure of feudalism is not confined to Sri Lanka. France Rome and Russia too went through this transformation. The system failed due to its barbarian nature. The economic advancements deteriorated the feudal system pulling away the plushy lives enjoyed by a specific sector, as portrayed through falling down of “maha gedar walawawa[5]” in Gamperaliya. Therefore disparity due to caste and origin washed away letting them change the way they born and become who they need.

Similarly illogical concepts such as “shanthikarma” ,”yathukarma” also faced extinction with time. The writer humiliates these childish beliefs of villagers with a touch of humor and satire. When Nanda’s sister fell ill, the villagers thought that it was due to some “yaka” and held “yathu karma” as the cure. In reality she was suffering from tuberculosis which could have cured through western medicine if not those fictitious beliefs.

It’s true enough our traditions and values deteriorated to some extent facing commercialization. The writer symbolizes how attire changed over time with Nandas and Piyal’s Kandyan wedding dress to a western type clothing in Nalika’s, their daughters’ wedding sequentially. So the language life style and the virtues of people changed with time.

In reality with the rapid phase of global transformation, the changes are anyway inevitable. What needs be done is to adapt accordingly. How should we adapt ourselves to this change? It’s this speck the writer trys on demonstrating to the reader. He criticizes the characters who foolishly embrace falsification and mere snobbishness of western culture by the name of commercialization. The pomposity of characters like Nanda and Saviman Kabalana [6] fall in there.

Still there are characters in the three novels, Tissa and Malin who has something meaningful to divert to the society. Amidst storms of social change these characters stay stable with a deep understanding and education of the society. Their virtues stay the same with the passage of time.

Therefore I must assert in the concluding phrase, although the discussion of subsistence of commercialization and socio cultural wellbeing is an eternally debatable process, still the gains of commercialization outweigh the costs of deterioration of historical practices. With the current climax where economies are booming rapidly, the changes- we have to bear with patience. What we have to do is to grab the essence of commercialization while retaining our eternality deep within us.

References

Wickramasinghe, M. (2003), Gamperaliya, Colombo:

Wickramasinghe, M. (2003), Kaliyugaya, Colombo: Trimates publications.

Wickramasinghe, M., (1951), Yuganthaya, Colombo: Trimates publications.

Wickramasinghe, S. (1997), The evolution of Martin Wickramasinghes fiction, vidyodaya J Soc.sc., 01 (01& 02), 47-84, Vidyodaya.

Halpe, A. (1986), Essays on Sinhala literature, Colombo: SOAS.

Suraweera, A.V. (1979). Essays on sri Lankan literature and culture, Vidyodaya, J. arts, Sc, & Lett, (Jan – July, 1979). Vidyodaya

Maddegama, U.P. (1988). Novels by Martin Wickramasinghe : (Thun anduthu nawakatha wishesha vimarshanaya), Colombo: Ariya publishers.

Sarathchandra, E.(1997), “Sinhala Nawakatha Ithihasaya Ha Vicharaya”, Colombo: sarasavi publications

Ranatunga, D.C. (n. d.), Changing face of a changing village: ‘Gamperaliya’ to ‘Uprooted’
  1. Brother of Nanda
  2. Husband of Nanda (first marriage)
  3. Mother of Nanda
  4. Village chief
  5. The village chief’s house
  6. Son-in-law of Nanda and Piyal

The conflict between commercialization and socio-cultural deterioration : “Gamperaliya”, “Kaliyugaya” and “Yuganthaya” by Martin Wickramasinghe

The noble trilogy of the Sinhalese literature “Gamperaliya”, “Kaliyugaya” and “Yuganthaya” by Martin Wickramasinghe, is an eminent manifestation of a real time conflict, which divulges socio-economic transformations from 18th to 19th century, during contemporary Sri Lanka. Therefore it’s needless to say that these three legendary fictions, prima facie, visualize the sequential impacts of alienation of commercialization in to the conservative social system of Sri Lanka.

I would say the trilogy is, much more of commercial substance rather than for its literal importance. Nevertheless for ages, there has been a question whether the writer in his books is, merely insisting commercialisation as a big disaster, which utterly destructed the spectacular socio cultural system inherited to Sri Lankans.

Through, reading between the lines one could clearly say that, he was not at all assaulting commercialization, but the snobbish affectation of the society, sculptured through westernization, who took wrong the purpose of commercialization. (Sarathchandra,E. 1997)

Therefore my discussion intend to stress, commercialization is not the key of destruction but the key of success for a nation’s development. My theory is built upon two facts that question the validity of the arguments of ancient critics like Piyadasa Sirisena, who plainly renege economic development as the reason for socio cultural deterioration. One of the facts is the trivial importance of commercialization for continual economic progression and the vulnerability that it would caste upon a nation if not for an economic opulence.

Commentary of the legends nicely reflects speedy subjugation of society by commercialization and the aftermath sequential impacts which paved the way to a new era of development in Sri Lanakn history.

Firstly it brought in and insured equal opportunity for progression in life for everyone regardless one’s birth origins and backgrounds. Piyal’s character nourishes this illustration very well. ”Piyal” a son born to a low caste family however tackles to get a good English education and moves to Colombo. With his unshakable efforts, develops his trades and businesses, and finally breaking through the barriers of feudalistic society enters in to marriage with Nanda, the daughter of village chief, the privileged. But it is seen that the privileged were not so happy with this transformation a much.

However everybody in the village didn’t hang on to the same age old conceptions. Writer puts it forward through the below lines, making match broker a medium to divert his opinion, in summary of whole economic transformation.

Oh lady nowadays people do not look for these things so rich. All those who have earned money and become rich of late do not have good beginnings. All the well-to-do families of the past are now running short of money. They are all facing a downward trend. Without looking for all unnecessary details, it is better for you to agree to this. He is very keen to marry from your family. If agreeable hw will marry your younger daughter and he says there is no need of jewellery.

(Gamperaliya, 1944)

Secondly it brought renaissance in education as part and partial embedded in to commercialisation. The characters like Piyal, his eldest son Alan, grandson Malan and Tissa[1] are few personalities which adjoin four pillars of generations that proclaim the utmost importance of education.

In piyal’s case the foundation to his economic dive was laid by the English education, in the same way in Kaliyugaya the writer writes a lot on how Nanda and Piyal pushed their eldest Alan to get a gold merit in school, highlighting lust for being a part of the affluent society.

Another major transformation is the rise of a free thinking, sovereign generation as fruits of commercialization. In Gamperaliya we could see a well obedient group of kids acted upon their parent wishes, and never dared to break through the set social norms. Nanda agreeing to marry Jinadasa[2] against her wishes would be a great example. But when the story evolves in to the third and fourth generations where Alan elopes with a girl to Britain and becomes successful on his own, shows the rigid independency of the late generation. The stamina reaches its maximum in the last book Yuganthaya where Malan revolts against his own origins for equality, by joining an antagonist group. What is highlighted is just not the broad foreign education received by him but also the autochthonous community of the generation. Plus the story firmly signals the way in which foreign knowledge such as Marxism flew in to the country.

Following lines show the degree of vigor which marlin revolted against his parents.

I will destroy this society. Shouted Malan. He reproached the society to which his parents belong so as the capitalistic class.

What wrong have we done to you? Asked mother with tears in her eyes.

I don’t like the way of life you adore much.I would rather commit suicide than be content with that life. (yuganthaya, 1951)

The other compelling concession to defend commercialization is the infrastructure development. The scenery of the comfortable atmosphere is being drawn surrounding Colombo and its evolution with time. The roads, the dock yard, shipping services and the use of imported branded vehicles by the classy remind us of a modern high standard living. Here Wickramasinghe the great creator so lovably draws the glory of the soothing living gifted by the economical advancements.

Further to this there is a gamut of other unspoken facts that thrives the existence of commercialization such as, girls getting opportunity for education, international recognition, political advancements, abolishment of slavery and etc. Therefore it further stresses that the writer did not impede but dispersed and anchored commercialization taking it as a blessing throughout his divergent work. Having stressed on one of the two facts for long I would move to my second. Former was to bring out the necessity of economical advancements. The other, tries depicting the short comings of our age old feudalistic social system which, fictitious beliefs and blind religious practices are a large portion of its composition.

One might also argue I am debased, to accept my own culture. Therefore I must assert I am not completely neglecting the great values gifted to us through culture, such as sensitivity, helping ones in need, respecting adults, mindfulness and the emotional control. The character of “matara hamine[3]” well portraits’ the graceful womanly character of a village lady of the era.

“Kaisaruwatte[4]” saw only one fault in his wife.she was too soft-hearted,His wife was quite capable of giving away her necklace or her ear-rings to help a women with a sad story of a starving child.

(Gamperaliya,1957).

Yet again I insist there is still a significant portion of unconditional beliefs, practices in the system that restrict the mindfulness of a society.

Thus feudal system too, is one such obsolete notion. Failure of feudalism is not confined to Sri Lanka. France Rome and Russia too went through this transformation. The system failed due to its barbarian nature. The economic advancements deteriorated the feudal system pulling away the plushy lives enjoyed by a specific sector, as portrayed through falling down of “maha gedar walawawa[5]” in Gamperaliya. Therefore disparity due to caste and origin washed away letting them change the way they born and become who they need.

Similarly illogical concepts such as “shanthikarma” ,”yathukarma” also faced extinction with time. The writer humiliates these childish beliefs of villagers with a touch of humor and satire. When Nanda’s sister fell ill, the villagers thought that it was due to some “yaka” and held “yathu karma” as the cure. In reality she was suffering from tuberculosis which could have cured through western medicine if not those fictitious beliefs.

It’s true enough our traditions and values deteriorated to some extent facing commercialization. The writer symbolizes how attire changed over time with Nandas and Piyal’s Kandyan wedding dress to a western type clothing in Nalika’s, their daughters’ wedding sequentially. So the language life style and the virtues of people changed with time.

In reality with the rapid phase of global transformation, the changes are anyway inevitable. What needs be done is to adapt accordingly. How should we adapt ourselves to this change? It’s this speck the writer trys on demonstrating to the reader. He criticizes the characters who foolishly embrace falsification and mere snobbishness of western culture by the name of commercialization. The pomposity of characters like Nanda and Saviman Kabalana [6] fall in there.

Still there are characters in the three novels, Tissa and Malin who has something meaningful to divert to the society. Amidst storms of social change these characters stay stable with a deep understanding and education of the society. Their virtues stay the same with the passage of time.

Therefore I must assert in the concluding phrase, although the discussion of subsistence of commercialization and socio cultural wellbeing is an eternally debatable process, still the gains of commercialization outweigh the costs of deterioration of historical practices. With the current climax where economies are booming rapidly, the changes- we have to bear with patience. What we have to do is to grab the essence of commercialization while retaining our eternality deep within us.

References

Wickramasinghe, M. (2003), Gamperaliya, Colombo:

Wickramasinghe, M. (2003), Kaliyugaya, Colombo: Trimates publications.

Wickramasinghe, M., (1951), Yuganthaya, Colombo: Trimates publications.

Wickramasinghe, S. (1997), The evolution of Martin Wickramasinghes fiction, vidyodaya J Soc.sc., 01 (01& 02), 47-84, Vidyodaya.

Halpe, A. (1986), Essays on Sinhala literature, Colombo: SOAS.

Suraweera, A.V. (1979). Essays on sri Lankan literature and culture, Vidyodaya, J. arts, Sc, & Lett, (Jan – July, 1979). Vidyodaya

Maddegama, U.P. (1988). Novels by Martin Wickramasinghe : (Thun anduthu nawakatha wishesha vimarshanaya), Colombo: Ariya publishers.

Sarathchandra, E.(1997), “Sinhala Nawakatha Ithihasaya Ha Vicharaya”, Colombo: sarasavi publications

  1. Brother of Nanda
  2. Husband of Nanda (first marriage)
  3. Mother of Nanda
  4. Village chief
  5. The village chief’s house
  6. Son-in-law of Nanda and Piyal