The Heritage of Conflict and Confluence

by Hasini A. Haputhanthri

History was never my favourite subject in school. We hardly studied it, to be honest, thanks to the 1960’s educational policy in Sri Lanka, which integrated history into a broad subject called ‘Social Studies’ that lasted literally till the new millennium. Generations of students could completely disregard the history textbooks and still get a distinction in Social Studies. Why bother memorizing the dates of endless battles and names of ancient kings?

And yet I ended up a history buff. Whenever I visited cities like Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, or even the more historical areas of Colombo, or walked to school in my small hometown of Panadura, past the colonial villas my great grand parents’ generation built at the turn of the 20th century, a strange curiosity gripped me. The landscape and the timescape combined always intrigued me. What is history, actually?

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