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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2960

"CBK"- The controversial biography by Graeme.....

[b]"CBK"- The controversial biography by Graeme H. Wilson [/b]

Reviewed by Palitha Sirinaga

Whether ‘authorised’/ ‘somewhat authorised’, official or unofficial, the biography of President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga was ceremonially released last week. It is a biography written by a foreigner- a Scot after only two months research, and printed seemingly in haste, without adequate attention to technical details.

However, written in an academic style it is readable like a novel though not a fiction. The book which appears to have been written for the Western audience looks more a descriptive and an analytical narration of Bandaranaike dynasty than a biography of a particular individual, i. e. CBK.

The Volume of 360 pages consisting of 28 Chapters with numerous photographs and caricatures is a documentation of the socio-economic and political development of this country for nearly one and a half centuries, published by Media Prima, edited by Frank Coles and printed by Ibdaa Printing Press, Dubai, and UAE.

In Chapter I, the biographer describes the instant reaction of a father, late Prime Minister S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike, when the happy news of the arrival of the second child in the family (on June 29, 1945)– that is Chandrika- was brought when he was busy at a conference in the then State Council, in response to a remark made by a colleague. He is supposed to have quipped, “My girl will be worth a thousand boys.” (Page 14 of “CBK”)

Then he goes on to narrate the history of the Island in brief from the advent of Vijaya in 543 BC and describes the origin of a dynasty in Chapter 3 -‘An Outpost of Several Empires’.

The biographer focuses his attention on Pandukabhaya (437- 367 BC) the real founder of Anuradhapura kingdom, according to one school of historians is the first king of a Sinhala dynasty. According to legend Pandukabhaya was the son of Prince Gigha Gamani, and princess Chitra. Digha Gamanie belonged to the Yakkha tribe who inhabited the Island at the time of Vijaya’s arrival and Chitra was the only daughter of Vijaya’s successor Panduvadev. Pandukabhaya destroyed all the 10 brothers of Chitra who were heirs to throne from Vijaya dynasty and unified and ruled the whole island. It lasted for over 1500 years.

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