Vidyodaya Literary Awards Ceremony
As I may recall, the Department of Sinhala and Mass communication of the University of Sri Jayawardenepura has born this task for a decade. This must be the tenth literary awards ceremony to be held. We are proud to mark our university as the only university that holds a literary awards ceremony among the many such institutions in Sri Lanka.
To the best of my knowledge, it is the brainchild of late Prof.Tissa Kariyawasam, and had been carried on by Prof.Sunil Ariyaratne during his time with the university to the date of his retirement. Ever since the Vidyodaya Awards commenced, he strived to make it the first awards ceremony of the literary month with grace and glamour. We will always remember his effort with appreciation.
As I have heard, what we call literature is something meaningful and enjoyable, as depicted by the founders of our institution. Ven.Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Thero and Weliwita Sri Soratha Thero, the co-founders of this university, gifted the community with such meaningful creations, even in a time where there were no technological facilities as we do today. The Department of Sinhala and Mass Communication organizes events of this nature in order to continue their literal legacy. We, the lovers of literature, are quite delighted with that effort.
The Sri Jayawardenepura University became renowned through its great academic personalities attached to the Sinhala Department. Academics such as, Prof.Kangahaarachchi, Prof.Wimala Wijesuriya, Dr.Udaya Mallawarachchi and Prof.Ven.Gathare Dhammapala Thero remain in our memory long after their demise. At the same time we acknowledge Prof.A.V.Suraweera and Prof.Kariyawasam, who passed away in the recent past. They made literature their life. From the commencement of the Vidyodaya University up to date, Prof.Balagalle provides invaluable service to the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences with such vigour, that we can only call him a blessing for our university.
The Department of Sinhala and Mass Communication has added two more features for this year’s festival. First is the best book of the year award. It is a remarkable improvement. Second, is to award a personality who has made commendable contribution to literature, showing gratitude for the service rendered.
However the prizes for best column and best lyrical work have been eliminated by the organizers this time. As an ordinary literary fan, I would have liked if there had been a prize for columns also. I believe the Department of Sinhala and Mass Communication has been very helpful in building proper journalism in Sri Lanka, as it provides two productive courses of study to journalists. As an example I can point out the incident when columnist Wimalanath Weeraratne, who is a Vidyodaya award winner left “Ravaya”, that became an instant news.
I feel the same way about the award for the lyrical creations. Our former folk literature too had musical features in it. For that reason they became great songs later on, and then they became works of literature. Songs like “Etha kandukara himaw arane” by Mahagamasekara and “Wahinnata hekinam gigum di” by Suni Ariyaratne create a different sensation when one listens to them. The kind of trashy songs we hear today may one day come out printed as lyrical works. Therefore if we give appraisal to the best lyrical works today, they may become useful in future. Although, I should state that I say this merely as a fan, and not as the Vice Chancellor in hope of making some influence on the organizing committee.
Finally, as the Vice Chancellor, I would like to thank Prof.Rathnasiri Arangala, the current head of department and his team, for taking up this responsibility upon themselves and doing it successfully.
Vice Chancellor – University of Sri Jayawardenepura
Watch the video of the event: