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Confluences:Indian Men,Indian GodsHabba Khaatoon & Arnimaal

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Jean Arasanayagam




With Fusillade Jean Arasanayagam adds to her already acclaimed list of poetry books. Though the setting of the volume is primarily Sri Lanka, the tone of the poems is universal. Through this Arasanayagam once again renders voice to the thousands of oppressed people around the globe. The poems transport the reader to the island nation scarred by a long civil war where thousands have lost their lives and the world has not even winked an eyelid. The poems, in the collection, also reflect the personal sense of alienation that remains the hallmark of most of Arasanayagam’s works. Writing from a doubly marginalized space, Arasanayagam’s Fusillade poses problems, raises questions, voices protests – a gripping book which brings to fore the anxieties that the modern world tries to grapple with everyday in some way or the other.

Jean Arasanayagam was born into one of Sri Lanka’s minority communities, and married into another. By birth she is a Dutch Burgher – offspring of intermarriages between Dutchmen and women of the indigenous communities – a split inheritance. She herself married a Tamil, and this marriage proved to be totally unacceptable to her husband’s family. In July 1983, the antagonism between Sri Lanka’s Tamil minority and its Sinhalese majority culminated in bloody riots. Her family became refugees. Arasanayagam bore a writer’s testimony to these events.

Arasanayagam has attracted attention mainly as a poet. Her collections include Apocalypse ’83 (1984), A Colonial Inheritance (1985), Out of Our Prisons We Emerge (1987), Trial by Terror (1987), Reddened Waters Flow Clear (1991) and Shooting the Floricans (1993).

An eminent short story writer as well, Arasanayagam’s collections are The Cry of the Kite (1984), Fragments of a Journey (1992), All is Burning (1995), Peacocks and Dreams (1996) and The Dividing Line (2002).


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