Images of Jaffna


 

The rebuilt Jaffna Library at sunset.  Photograph ©Chulie de Silva

The rebuilt Jaffna Library at sunset. Photograph ©Chulie de Silva

Beauty buds from mire

And I, a singer in season, observe

Death is a name for beauty not in use 

(Irving Layton)

What and how do you write about Jaffna? I had mused the whole day wanting to share some photos but unsure if I could find the right words.  This was my fourth visit to Jaffna. The excitement  this time around was no less than during my first when I was an impressionable child. So, somethings never change –the flight to Jaffna still took off from the  Ratmalana airport, and I still had my face pressed to the window watching the azure blue sea, the changing coastline, recognizing Puttalam and Mannar but trying to guess what the huge lakes and islands were.

Jaffna then was markedly different from any Southern town I knew.  It was neither barren nor brown as I imagined. My memories are of the upright Palmyra tress, large colonial houses, the Fort, the ladies in brightly coloured sarees, the Palmyra thatched fences . … the ladies are there still beautifully adorned

Photograph ©Chulie de Silva

Photograph ©Chulie de Silva

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 When I asked children finishing a football match whether I could photograph them, they were amused at first but then eagerly clubbed togther.  

Young football players opposite Jaffna Central College. Photograph©Chulie de Silva

Young football players opposite Jaffna Central College. Photograph©Chulie de Silva

 

 

Jaffna Central College. Photograph©Chulie de Silva

Jaffna Central College. Photograph©Chulie de Silva

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Corridor linking the cottages. Photograph©Chulie de Silva

Corridor linking the cottages. Photograph©Chulie de Silva

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We stumbled upon the Dutch built Maternity hospital quite by accident. The long corridors of this maternity wing  are sadly in need of repairs.

The hospital shaded by a canopy of trees. Photograph ©Chulie de Silva

The hospital shaded by a canopy of trees. Photograph ©Chulie de Silva

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 But the splendor of a bygone era is still very visible. 

Roger's Cottage. Photograph ©Chulie de Silva

Roger's Cottage. Photograph ©Chulie de Silva

 

Rogers cottage is one of the cottages that a family could rent/lease for the confinement of a lady of the family. They came from far away towns armed with all the cooking paraphernalia and the cook and stayed in the cottage. Interestingly, one of my colleagues brother was born there when his father served as a judge in Jaffna.

 

 

The city is slowly but surely limping back to life.  In a way it is strangley quiet, no mad traffic and it is almost like stepping back to what life was in the fifties. 

Tractor loaded with coconut husks. Photograph ©Chulie de Silva

Tractor loaded with coconut husks. Photograph ©Chulie de Silva

 

 

There are only a few cars and those are also like the old Cambridge  and Austin cars.  A few new high speed bikes are there but the majority still use push cycles.  It is not uncommon to see a mother in a saree one kid in front, one at the back  or a couple on a bike like the old song “Bicycle made for two. 

 

Despite the strains and crises that people would have lived through  the past three decades  or so the indomitable spirit of the Jaffna people lives on. ….  

The rebuilt Jaffna library attracts many young visitors.  These children are from a Children’s Home for orphaned and destitute children and they were being introduced to the library by  their  English teacher Anthony Quinn. Apparently his father was a great fan of Quinn.  The youngest Kanuga at 2 years seemed a tad overwhelmed and kept close to mum Jathna 22 yrs old.

Jathna and Kanuga at the Public library

Jathna and Kanuga at the Public library. Photograph ©Chulie de Silva Visitors to the Public Libray Photograph ©Chulie de Silva

 

 

Inreoduction to the Public Library. Photograph Chulie de Silva

Introduction to to books and reading. Photograph ©Chulie de Silva

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quinn, too had injuries sustained when his house came under shelling but hobbled along cheerfully.

Anthony Quinn. Photograph©Chulie de Silva

Anthony Quinn. Photograph©Chulie de Silva

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And as we heard from many keeping Jaffna as a centre of excellence in learning  remains  very much a priority.  

Megala, A Higher National Diploma IT student at the Advanced Technogy Institute.  Photograph Chulie de Silva

Megala, A Higher National Diploma IT student at the Advanced Technology Institute. Photograph ©Chulie de Silva

 

The staff and students of the University of Jaffna and the Advanced Technology Institute were eager for progress, for knowledge,  with an unabridged  keenness to be involved with the development of the wider society.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 For a comprehensive information on Jaffna do read D.B.S. Jeyaraj’s column Jaffna, My Jaffna.

Those who read Love Marriage  read also Review of V.V.Ganeshananthan’s LOVE MARRIAGE on Meena Kandasamy’s blog.

© Important: Copyright Notice

All images and text in this site is copyrighted. No material from this blog may be used without permission except as a direct reference to this site.

Advertisements

16 thoughts on “Images of Jaffna

  1. I am so glad you have shared your terrific photos and text on your trip to Jaffna. It is a city I was so sorry I didn’t get to see and no one could capture it better than you, Chulie. I’m so grateful to you for letting me tag along vicariously.

  2. Excellent piece of work. Beautiful set of pictures. My only visit to Jaffna was in 1976. I have been longing to go there again. Reading this has made my urge more intense. Keep up the good work.

  3. you have conveyed great depth with a few photos and few lines of insightful thought

    ” like stepping back to what life was in the fifties”

    true. North/Jaffna was cut off from the developments in the rest of Sri Lanka.

    but what is important is that your photos are a moment in time – before the tides of change hit Jaffna and transforms it. the tides are building up now and Jaffna will change drastically in a few quick years.

    love the library in sunset picture

    if have any more pix put em up – what about the roads with old cars on em

    dilshani

  4. Enjoyed touring the war-free Jaffna with you. Hope they will come back to normal life without much difficulty. The photos are classy and I hope you will keep us posted with your next visit to Jaffna soon..

  5. Chulie

    Terrific. I liked the Hikkaduwa impressions of Sri Lanka’s ‘Magnetic North’. I intend to share this link with friends. I also see that you had traveled past my old house 🙂 Keep up the good work.

  6. This is AMAZING Chulie. This post will keep the memories of my first visit to Jaffna alive. Do post more…..The picture of the Library is awesome.

  7. Top drawer stuff – let’s hope the re-construction phase will be completed soon and the people of Jaffna resume a normal, peaceful life.

  8. these are really fantastic pictures. even as just a picture essay without the words it made me want to visit jaffna so badly- with the words – it made me want to go even more so (if you can imagine that) well done!

  9. Another sensitive and beautiful job, Chulie, thank you for this work. Lovely architecture coupled with remarkable open smiles, it gives me hope for the future of this place and its people.

  10. I like the photograph of the rusty old bed, a reflection of the destruction of war and a message of the challenges ahead. The near silhouette shot of the Jaffna library is awesome. I have seen this building been rebuilt and visited the site many times when I was Project Engineer of LJRP, supervising the construction of the new courts complex just across this building. Great job Chulie!

  11. As promised, here is ‘Nallur’ by Jean Arasanayagam. A sensitive but also forceful piece of work. It is uplifting know that the situation has changed much and there is hope and encouragement in the air. Hope you have some pics of the temple. Would like to see it. Also, all the best to ‘Chuls Bits & Pics’!

    Love as always,
    Eranga 🙂

    Nallur – by Jean Arasanayagam

    It’s there

    beneath the fallen fronds, dry crackling
    piles of broken twigs abandoned wells of brackish
    water lonely dunes

    it’s there

    the shadows of long bodies shrunk in death
    the leeching sun has drunk their blood and
    bloated swells the piling clouds.

    It’s there
    death
    smell it in the air

    its odour rank with sun and thickening blood
    mingling with fragrance from the frothy toddy
    pots mingling like lolling heads from
    blackened gibbets

    it’s there
    amid the clangour of
    the temple bells, the clapping hands, the
    brassy clash of cymbals

    the zing of bullets
    cries of death
    drowned in the roar
    of voices calling Skanda
    by his thousand names
    Murugan, Kartikkeya
    Arumugam ………….

    ‘We pray, we cry, we clamour
    oh Sri Kumaran, be not like the god
    who does not hear, deaf Sandesvaran.’

    Thirtham now no longer nectar of the gods
    brims over but is bitter, bitter,
    and at the entrance to Nallur
    the silent guns are trained
    upon a faceless terror

    Outside
    the landscape changes
    the temples by the shore are smoking
    ruins charred stone blackened,
    on empty roads are strewn
    the debris of warfare,
    stained discarded dressings
    a trail of blood
    soon mopped up by the thirsty sun

    Turned away from bloody skirmishes
    of humankind the gods are blinded
    by the rain of bullets
    six faced Arumugam, all twelve eyes
    close in darkness

    The land is empty now
    the pitted limestone
    invaded by the sea
    drowns, vanishes,
    waves of rust swell and billow
    beating into hollow caves and burial urns
    filled with the ash of bodies
    cremated by the fire of bullets.

  12. Pingback: 2010 in review: Chulie’s Blog review by WordPress « Chuls Bits & Pics

  13. As promised, here is ‘Nallur’ by Jean Arasanayagam. A sensitive but also forceful piece of work. It is uplifting know that the situation has changed much and there is hope and encouragement in the air. Hope you have some pics of the temple. Would like to see it. Also, all the best to ‘Chuls Bits & Pics’!

    Love as always,
    Eranga

    Nallur – by Jean Arasanayagam

    It’s there

    beneath the fallen fronds, dry crackling
    piles of broken twigs abandoned wells of brackish
    water lonely dunes

    it’s there

    the shadows of long bodies shrunk in death
    the leeching sun has drunk their blood and
    bloated swells the piling clouds.

    It’s there
    death
    smell it in the air

    its odour rank with sun and thickening blood
    mingling with fragrance from the frothy toddy
    pots mingling like lolling heads from
    blackened gibbets

    it’s there
    amid the clangour of
    the temple bells, the clapping hands, the
    brassy clash of cymbals

    the zing of bullets
    cries of death
    drowned in the roar
    of voices calling Skanda
    by his thousand names
    Murugan, Kartikkeya
    Arumugam ………….

    ‘We pray, we cry, we clamour
    oh Sri Kumaran, be not like the god
    who does not hear, deaf Sandesvaran.’

    Thirtham now no longer nectar of the gods
    brims over but is bitter, bitter,
    and at the entrance to Nallur
    the silent guns are trained
    upon a faceless terror

    Outside
    the landscape changes
    the temples by the shore are smoking
    ruins charred stone blackened,
    on empty roads are strewn
    the debris of warfare,
    stained discarded dressings
    a trail of blood
    soon mopped up by the thirsty sun

    Turned away from bloody skirmishes
    of humankind the gods are blinded
    by the rain of bullets
    six faced Arumugam, all twelve eyes
    close in darkness

    The land is empty now
    the pitted limestone
    invaded by the sea
    drowns, vanishes,
    waves of rust swell and billow
    beating into hollow caves and burial urns
    filled with the ash of bodies
    cremated by the fire of bullets.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s