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Prof Suraweera's Contribution in Classical Sinhala Text Editing (1)

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Prof Suraweera's Contribution in Classical Sinhala Text Editing Ratnasiri Arangala
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  Prof A. V. Suraweera's Contribution to Classical Sinhala Text Editing Prof. A.V. Suraweera was a distinguished scholar who received numerous accolades andappreciations from both the academia as well as the general masses for his work in SinhalaLiterature and creative writing. His knowledge in the fields of contemporary literature, history,language studies and literary theory, cultural studies and art history made him a key figureamongst a group of a few but eminent local scholars of the late ! th  century. At a time when scholarly attention was paid less to preliminary sources in the study of historicaltrends in literature and language, as well as in the study of historical studies, Prof. Suraweeradecided to research e tensively into these areas. He pursued his research by following the mostcurrent and up to date methodologies of te tual editing while e panding his research relating todifferent areas in comparative studies. He is well known for his contributions to historical workswhich included lengthy introductions covering the areas of history #mostly vignettes of thecommon masses$, language cultural values and historical problems. %hese publications alsocontained elaborate appendices, glossaries, and indices. &any consider this to be the greatestacademic contribution made by Prof. Suraweera. His interest in the field of classical te t editing began with his involvement in postgraduatestudies at the 'niversity of Peradeniya where he had the opportunity to work with eminentscholars like Prof. Hettiarachchi under whose supervision he completed his &A and Ph(. )or his &A, he edited the last two chapters of the  Pūjāvaliya  # the historical chapters$ as well as the  Rājāvaliya ,  Alakēśvara Yuddhaya,   Tisara Sandēśaya #with Prof. Vimala Vi*ayasuriya$ and  Pūjāvaliya  #complete book + with Herbert Pathirana, H.A.P. Abhayavardhana$ which were published as classical editions of the te t. Subseuent to the publication of the Suraweera edition of the  Pūjāvaliya  #-h. +/$, ma*or historians like Prof. Senarat Paranavitana and Prof. Amaradasa Liyanagamage began to use andrecommend it as an authoritative source thereby validating the academic credibility of this te t.)or the  Pūjāvaliya , he compared four ola  manuscripts and four early printed works. %his editionof the  Pūjāvaliya  contains an introduction which includes information about kingship in ancient  Sri Lanka as well as information into religion, economic and political matters with a specialfocus on issues relating to irrigation affairs. %his is considered to be important because the early0editors1 of these classical te ts fell short in terms of their roles and e pectations, where theyfailed to provide detailed information relating to the classical history of Sri Lanka. Suraweera onthe other hand having referred to various sources, identified names of persons, places andirrigation tanks in ancient Sri Lanka that had not being identified as yet. %his has become a valuable source not only to the scholars who speciali2e in language, literatureand socio+historical studies, but for students who study classical te ts. Particularly since it hasclarified personal and place names, names of ancient irrigation works, as well as present achronology of Sri Lankan kings by referring to various manuscripts in this regard. Prof. Suraweera1s work on the last two chapters of the  Pūjāvaliya  is most valued for beingrepresentative of the continuity of Sinhala historical writings. Hence, Suraweera is credited notonly for presenting a work that is done in accordance with the methods of classical te t editing but also for selecting such a rare and valuable piece of writing for his research, which clearlydemonstrates his maturity on the sub*ect.After the publication of the critical edition of the  Pūjāvaliya , Suraweera3s attention was focusedonto other writings that fell under the minor tradition, which had not been commonly identifiedas a part of main stream Sinhala literature by contemporary scholars. 4hile historical evidenceinto the srcin of these writings seems rather unclear, it is assumed that it srcinated during in thelatter part of the (ambadeniya era. 5y analysing the related writings related , it is clear that thewriters of these works were not aware of Pali and Sanskrit6 the classical languages of the learnedcommunity and the srcinal works on religion and their commentaries as well as historicalwritings in Pali.%hese writings did not follow the standard grammatical rules and stylesestablished and preserved in classical Sinhala literature.%hese works fall into the class of historical writings as it contains information available in thetraditional historical works as well as facts that are not available or refuted by traditional writers,in addition to details on folklore and legends.  )urthermore, it contains a detailed account of ancient Sri Lankan society which had not beendepicted in any of the works of the great tradition. %he information, data, records and accountsrelated to culture, were ignored by the great tradition but were presented in these kinds of work  by the writers of the minor tradition. 4hile the works in the great tradition was trying to preservethe conventional7conservative forms of language, these types of works had protected thenaturally evolving living tradition of the language. %wo works in this genre were e tensivelyedited and published with comprehensive introductions by Prof Suraweera. )irst one is  Rājāvaliya , which was submitted to the 'niversity of -eylon in 89:/ as the (octoral(issertation, published in 89;< and the other is  Alakēśvara Yuddhaya  published in 89:<.   Alakēśvara Yuddhaya is the hitherto revealed only prose work of the S=t>vaka Period. ?t begins with the account of the capture and deportation of a king of this island to -hina and thefounding of the city named @ayavardhanapura and the conuering of Arya -akravarti, the provincial king of @affna by a -eylonese minister named Alakesvara. )urthermore it depicts thehistorical legend of the kingdom of otte from the enthronement of Parakramabahu ?V, theaccount of the arrival of the Portuguese and wars that were waged against them, as well as thedescription of the beginning, rise and the decline of the S=t>vaka kingdom %he first print editionof the  Alakēśvara Yuddhaya, transcribed by A. (. A. 4i*esinghe from a single ola leaf manuscript, appeared in the local *ournal entitled  Jñānādarśaya  during 89!9+88. Prof Suraweera3s critical edition of the  Alakēśvara Yuddhaya was a comparison of three ola leaf manuscripts and the  Jñānādarśaya  version.  Alakēśvara Yuddhaya  is identified as one of thesources on which the  Rājāvaliya , the ne t scholarly edition done by Prof. Suraweera, wascompiled. ?t depended and based for its narration, the history of the island in the late mediaeval period.  Rājāvaliya can be recogni2ed as the historical tradition of the common folk of SriLanka.  Rājāvaliya mainly illustrates the history of Sri Lanka from Vi*aya to the enthronementof Vimaladharmasurya ??. As an introduction to the accounts of the kings of Sri Lanka, it presentsthe 3depiction of 5uddhist cosmology3, 3the tale of ?ndia of the 5uddhist folk tradition#  Jambudvipa $ and surrounded legendary countries3 and 3the account of the legendary epoch andthe genealogy of legendary kings3 ?t is clear that the author of  Rājāvaliya has not utili2ed the  ahāvam  ! sa , the srcinal source of the history of Sri Lanka. ?t seems to be that he mainly  depends on works and which do not appear in Sinhala works are taken from local folk lore. )or the introductory sections of the  Rājāvaliya ,  the author is indebted to classical Sinhala proseworks as  Pūjāvaliya , Thūpavam  ! saya and Saddharmāla ṅ kāraya . %he historical descriptions fromVi*aya, the first ing of ancient Sri Lanka to ing Vi*aybahu of (ambadeniya are taken fromthe  Pūjāvaliya  and the rest from the time of Vi*ayabahu of (ambadeniya to the end of the reignof &ayadunne of S=t>vaka is taken from the  Alakēśvara Yuddhaya   )or the rest of his work andfor some e planatory parts in the former sections, he has referred to other kinds of work.According to Suraweera, and -. B. Codakumbure too, these might be folk lore, legends,contemporary records prevailing among common people, and some minor literary works thathave emerged from common people who have not learned Pali and other classical languages buthave the ability to be creative.?t can be proved that the author of the  Rājāvaliya  has borrowed and copied the relevant sectionsmainly from  Pūjāvaliya  and  Alakēśvara Yuddhaya and from other sources he referred to and itseems be another version of the srcinal work. Prof Suraweera describes this condition in hisintroduction to the -ritical Bdition of the  Rājāvaliya as followsD E%he task of the author of   Rājāvaliya seems to be choosing some historical records on several incidents and periods andcompiling them to form as a single work. %he thing what he has to combine is some folk legendaries and a few contemporary records only.E %his work represents a novel tradition of historical writing. After the compilation of 3srcinalE  Rājāvaliya up to the enthronement of theVimaladharmasurya ??, compiling various versions and adaptations of it in the same title lengthenout by appending other details on folk lore is an e ceptional feature of this popular tradition of historical writing.   Rājāvaliya is the only Sinhala work written before the colonial period. %he main remarkableaspect of it is the inclusion of some information related to the history of Sri Lanka which is notfound in works such as  ahāvam  ! sa  and  Pūjāvaliya . 5y confirming the information which prevailed in folk lore it obviously informs us that the  Rājāvaliya is the historical work of folk or  popular tradition. ?t verifies as some of these information in the literary works related to folk rituals are found in books on boundary # kadayim po#  $ and books on legendary lore # vi##i po#  $.
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