Some Scenes From an Off-track Train

Authored by: Prabhath Jayasinghe

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:

10.4324/9781003094708-35

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Abstract

In this allegorical short story describing those in a civilian train being taken without their consent to fight in a battle, Jayasinghe manages to capture most of the forces at play during war – the fate of civilians that have nothing to do with the problem; the role of media in war; the class factor where the poorest die first; the fact that political and military leaders , who one thinks are also fighting on one’s behalf, are actually not there. Other things are also said here about social controlpanopticism symbolized by the radio that drives them to be silent and not criticize what is being done to them; the selfishness of academia and research that works only for personal benefit; the difference between the comfortably ensconced ‘educated’ and the poor and uneducated who might actually give more practical help to society without thinking of personal gain. This story ends with a reference to the tsunami that hit Sri Lanka in 2004, which killed many and did overturn trains.

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