The Commander of the Yakshas

Authored by: Kaushalya Kumarasinghe

The Routledge Companion to Sinhala Fiction from Post-War Sri Lanka

Print publication date:  September  2022
Online publication date:  September  2022

Print ISBN: 9780367554682
eBook ISBN: 9781003094708
Adobe ISBN:


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This excerpt from the novel Nimnage Ithihasaya 1 (Nimna’s History) deals with four generations of Sinhalese, seen mainly from the eyes of the latest member Nimna, born on the day that the Berlin Wall was brought down, who, unlike her mainly leftist – and nationalist-minded – ancestors, belongs firmly to the corporate world. In this novel, the author discusses the trends in a post-leftist world, even as he deals with issues in a post-war Sri Lankan society. This excerpt comes towards the end of the novel, and deals with a rather minor character, but is nevertheless significant for the depiction of several dynamics of the post-war society: a tech savy younger generation given to cyberbullying ; groups of youth called “ radical ” for their stand against cultural traditions that had allowed corruption to go unquestioned; the recent nativistic ethnic pride based on the mythic “Yaka” tradition ; carefree, rather narcistic young people without much political awareness, hooked on selfies and image. Right throughout the novel, the theme of incest is also found, perhaps harking back to the story of the origins of the Sinhala people, based on Prince Vijaya, whose parents in India are believed to be Sinhabahu and Sinhaseevali, a brother and sister – something that is caught in a complex way in this excerpt.

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