සයිබීරියාවෙන් පෙරදිගට – සුදත් පොඩිරත්න


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මා කුඩා කලම සංචාර ගැන ලියවුණ පොත් කියවීමට කැමැත්තෙමි. මා මුලින්ම කියවූ සංචාර සම්බන්ධ පොත වෝල්ටර් සේනාධීර 1961දී ලියූ “ලස්සන ලංකාව” විය. ඊට පසු සංචාර පොත් කිහිපයක්ම කියවීමට හැකියාව ලැබුණි. මා අන්තිමට කියවූයේ සුදත් පොඩිරත්න “සයිබීරියාවෙන් පෙරදිගට” නමැති සංචාරක ග්‍රන්ථයයි.

සුදත් පොඩිරත්න සහ ඔහුගේ ගමන් සගයන් කණ්ඩායම ට්‍රාන්ස් සයිබීරියන් දුම්රිය මාර්ගයේ දින ගණනාවක් පුරා මොස්කව් සිට මොන්ගෝලියාව දක්වාත් එතැන් පටන් චීනය දක්වාත් ගමන් කළ අයුරුත්, ගමනේදී අත්විඳි සුන්දර සහ අසුන්දර අත්දැකීමුත් දීර්ඝ එමෙන්ම රසවත් විස්තර සහිතව ලිවීමට ලේඛකයා සමත් වී ඇත. ශ්‍රී ලාංකික අප මෙවන් අවදානම් සහගත ගමන් වලට පෙළඹෙන්නේ කලාතුරකිනි. “ඇවිද්ද පැය දහස් වටී” යන අදහස කුඩා කල සිට අපගේ මනසට දැම්මත් අපි සංචාරයේ යෙදෙන්නේ කලාතුරකිනි. සංචාරයන් සඳහා අවශ්‍ය මුදල් සහ කාලය අවැසි වුවත් අප අඩුවෙන් සංචාරයේ යෙදෙන්නේ මුදල් සහ කාලය සොයාගැනීමට ඇති අපහසුව නිසාටත් වඩා අප සංස්කෘතියේ සංචාර සඳහා ඇති වැදගත්කම මඳවීම යයි මට සිතේ.

සුදත් පොඩිරත්න මහතා මේ පොත ලිවීමට පෙළඹවීම සතුටට කරුණකි. මේ චාරිකා විස්තරය මේ මාර්ගයේ සංචාරයේ යෙදෙන්නන්ට මෙන්ම හුදෙක් මෙවැනි චාරිකාවන් ගැන කියවා සතුටු වන්නන්ටත් කදිමය.

මම නම් දුම්රියේ ගමන් කිරීමට ඉතාමත් අකමැත්තෙකි. කොතරම් කාලගුණයෙන් සහ වෙනත් හේතු නිසා කරදරවලට ලක් වූවත් මෙවන් දුරක් ගෙවනවානම් මා ප්‍රිය කරන්නේ මොටර්සයිකලයකින් ඒ ගමන යාමටය.

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බින්තැන්නේ විත්ති – පියසේන කහඳගමගේ


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පියසේන කහඳගමගේ ලියූ “බින්තැන්නේ විත්ති” මම ඉතා ආශාවෙන් කියවූ කෘතියකි. මම කිහිප වතාවක්ම දඹානට ගොස් වැදි ජනතාව සහ වැදි නායක ඌරුවරිගේ වන්නියා නායක ඇත්තන්ව හමුවී ඇති නිසා මෙම පොතේ තිබූ කරුණු වඩාත් ලෙහෙසියෙන් අවබෝධ කර ගැනීමට පහසු විය. එසේ වූයේ කාලයත් සමග වැදි ජනතාව භෞතික වශයෙන් කොපමණ වෙනස් වුවත් ඔවුන් අධ්‍යාත්මික වශයෙන් ඔවුන්ගේ ඇදහිලි ක්‍රම සහ සංස්කෘතිය තවමත් පවත්වාගෙන යන හෙයිනැයි මට සිතේ.

මේ පොතේ කතුවරයා වන කහඳගමගේ මහතා 1968 සිට 1983 දක්වා අවුරුදු 15ක් ම වැදි ගෝත්‍ර සහිත ප්‍රදේශවල ගුරු වෘත්තියේ යෙදෙමින් ලද අත්දැකීම් වලින් ලැබුණ පන්නරය මත පොත ලියවී ඇත. වැද්දන්ගේ යාදිනි, මන්තර, කවි හා වැදි ගී මෙම කෘතියට අයත්ය. එමෙන්ම වැද්දන් වීම නිසාම ඔවුන්ට මුහණ පෑමට සිදුවූ අනේකවිධ අතවරයන් සහ අසාධාරණයන් ගැනද කතුවරයාගේ අනුකම්පාව මොනවට පෙන්නුම් කරයි.

වරෙක නවකතාවක් මෙන් රසවත් මෙම කෘතිය තවත් වරෙක පර්යේෂණ ග්‍රන්ථයකි. තවත් වරෙක එය ඉතිහාස කතාවකි. එමෙන්ම එය මානව විද්‍යා (anthropology) ග්‍රන්ථයකි.

වැදි ජනතාව දකිනවිට ඔබට සිතෙන්නේ ඔවුන් ඉතාම ගොරහැඩි රෞද්‍ර ගෝත්‍රිකයන් පිරිසක් ලෙසය. එහෙත් ඔබ ඔවුන් සමග මද වෙලාවක් ගතකරන විට ඔවුන්ගේ භයංකර කෙස්වැටි වලට සහ රවුල්වලට යටින් ඔබ කෙරෙහි ඔවුන්ගේ ඇති ලෙන්ගතුකම මතුවෙයි. කහඳගමගේ මහතා බොහෝ කාලයක් පුරා වැද්දන් නිරීක්ෂණය කළ වැද්දන්ගේ සැබෑ මිතුරෙකි.

ශීඝ්‍ර වෙනසකට භාජනය වන මානව හැසිරීම සහ සිතුම් පැතුම් වැදි ජනතාවට ඒ වේගයෙන්ම නොපැමිණේ. ඔවුන්ගේ වෙනස ඉතා සෙමින්ය. එහෙත් සෙමින් වුණත් ඔවුන් වෙනස් වෙමින් සිටින්නේ වෙනසට සංවේදී නොවන ජීවීන් සොබාදහම විසින් ප්‍රතික්ෂේප කරන බව ඔවුන්ට වැටහී ඇති නිසා විය හැක. දඹානේ ගුරුකුඹුර ප්‍රාථමික විදුහල සහ දඹාන මහ විදුහල මේ වෙනසේ පෙරගමන්කරුවන් කරුවන් වී ඇතිවාට කිසිම සැකයක් නැත. නාගරීකරණය සහ වැදිගම්මාණය සංචාරක ආකර්ෂණයට ලක්වීමද මේ වෙනසට දායක වී ඇත. ඒ සියලුම වෙනස්කම් මධ්‍යයේ අතීතයේ වැද්දන් ජීවත් වූ අයුරු කහඳගමගේ විසින් මෙසේ වාර්තාගත කිරීම ගැන අපි සැවොම ඔහුට කෘතඥ විය යුතුය.

Who Is Bill Gates? – Patricia Brennan Demuth


Who Is Bill Gates

I was looking for a good biography about Bill Gates, the Founder of Microsoft for a long time. But I could not get hold of one except what I read about him on Wikipedia and other sources. But luckily, I had the pleasure of reading Patricia Brennan Demuth’s “Who Is Bill Gates?” last week. Though the book is very short – I think this book is meant mostly for children and young adults – it summarizes a good deal of Gates’ life in to shorter chapters. This was enough information for me till I find a comprehensive biography or an autobiography of Gates someday.

Though some people dislike Bill Gates for being a copycat and an unsympathetic businessman, I admire the man for initiating such a big revolution in the computer industry in a relatively short time. Without him, we would not have had access to computers and the internet within this short period of time. When I was a schoolboy in the 1980’s, the message given to us by our teachers and the media was that there would be a robot at every house by the then much awaited year 2000. But it was not to be. As of today, the robots are used in places like research laboratories and factories but it is not a domestic item as yet. Perhaps it will take a much longer time than anticipated by the science fiction writers in the past. Instead, most of us had a PC on our desks by the year 2000. To my knowledge, no science fiction writer could predict the big revolution of the PC’s would do in the world. But thanks to Gates, affordable PCs with sophisticated software came to our tables at offices and houses making our lives more comfortable.

Patricia Brennan Demuth’s biography “Who Is Bill Gates?” takes us a journey through Gates’ childhood, youth, adulthood till the time he formed Bill and Belinda Gates Foundation.

Computers were a luxury item that was hard to come by when Gates was a young person. Thanks to his school, the Lakeside School, he had access to a teletype machine which was more like a typewriter than a computer. He was greatly inspired and spent many hours as he could in the school ‘computer lab’ that was devoid of computers. Only big corporations and government institutions could afford to have huge mainframe computers which cost millions of dollars. But Gates had access to computer manuals in the school computer room which he read enthusiastically. He wrote his first computer program at the young age of thirteen!

The book informs the reader as to how Gates was inspired by the teletype machine, then how he found access to the computers at General Electric and how he met Paul Allen who eventually became the cofounder of Microsoft. According to the author, ‘the geek’ in Bill Gates changed after his marriage to Belinda French and he became a family man to his wife and the three children.

Life was not easy for Bill Gates, though he was born into a well-to-do family.  He had to work hard tirelessly to learn computers at a time when it was not easy to access computers or related knowledge. So, luck did not come to him but he worked hard and went in search of luck.

The book says how Bill Gates decided to step down as the CEO of Microsoft at his prime age as a business magnate and diverted his full attention to Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which was set up to help the world with the money he amassed through his business. He did this at a relatively younger age of 52. This is the best age for most of the other businessmen to thrive at business, but Gates thought otherwise. So, all those people who criticized Gates as a mercenary tycoon who was interested in only making money can now look back in shame,  as to  how Gates  utilized the same money he accumulated for  social  welfare  & betterment of the people  of the world.

Steve Jobs – The Inspirational Life Story Of Steve Jobs, The Fruit Company That Changed Our World – Gregory Watson


Steve Jobs - The Inspirational Life Story Of Steve Jobs, The Fruit Company That Changed Our World

Even though I had already read Walter Isaacson’s comprehensive biography on Steve Jobs, I still wanted to read the shorter biography written by Gregory Watson about the greatest inventor of our times, the legendary Steve Jobs. I admire the man as much as or more than the Apple users do. I had the pleasure of using an Apple Macintosh computer at my mentor Mr. Donald Gaminitillake’s house and ever since I fell in love with Apple products. But right now, the only Apple product I use is iTunes Windows version as I do not have access to the other Apple devices.

“Steve Jobs – The Inspirational Life Story Of Steve Jobs, The Fruit Company That Changed Our World” gives us an account of Job’s life and that of the Apple Inc. in a shorter and sweeter way. The book takes the reader through Job’s childhood full of mischief and at times disagreeable & offensive practices. It takes us through an exciting journey through Job’s humble beginnings to a tech and business giant. A lot of ups and downs hampered his success during early years of his career. The man was so obstinate that he would not listen to anybody else but to his heart. He is not a man who can continue relationships, be it with his fiancée, daughter, a colleague or a member of a board of directors of his own company. As a result, he had to leave the very company he cofounded with his colleague Steve Wozniak. Jobs did not lose much with that terrible act by the board but Apple Inc. and the rest of the world did. Being away from Apple Inc. for a ten-year period affected the company in a way that was devastating to the consumers, shareholders, coworkers, the Board of Directors and the rest of the world. Ultimately, the Board of Directors had to go and coax Jobs to rejoin the company and save it. He not only saved the company from a near bankruptcy, he made it the world’s biggest and the most profitable tech company.

The author tells us how Jobs revived the company by introducing a range of products that included iPod, iTouch, iPhone, iPad, iMac, Macbook, etc. while discontinuing the products that were less profitable like Apple printers, scanners, modems, etc. and streamlining the earlier mentioned product line.

Finally the author briefly discusses about Job’s ill-health due to pancreatic cancer, which attacked him at his prime as an inventor and a businessman. How many more inventions would he have invented had he lived a few more years?

යුදෙව්වන්ගේ රජ (ජේසුස් වහන්සේ බෞද්ධ භික්ෂුවක්) – නීතිඥ සතිස්චන්ද්‍ර ධර්මසිරි


යුදෙව්වන්ගේ රජ (ජේසුස් වහන්සේ බෞද්ධ භික්ෂුවක්) - නීතිඥ සතිස්චන්ද්‍ර ධර්මසිරි

යුදෙව්වන්ගේ රජ (ජේසුස් වහන්සේ බෞද්ධ භික්ෂුවක්) – නීතිඥ සතිස්චන්ද්‍ර ධර්මසිරි

 

යුදෙව්වන්ගේ රජපොත මට ලබා දුන්නේ (තරමක් දුරට බුදු දහම උත්කර්ෂයට නංවන්න කැමති) යහළුවෙකි. ජේසුස් වහන්සේ ඉන්දියාවට පැමිණි බව කියවෙන ලිපි කිහිපයක්ම මේ පොතට කලින් මමකියවා තිබුණත් ඒවා කෙටි ලියවිලි විය. එහෙත් මේ පොත සම්පූර්ණයෙන්ම උත්සාහ දරා තිබුණේඋක්ත කරුණ තහවුරු කිරීමටයි. ඇත්තෙන්ම මේ පොත Johan Forsström පාදිලිතුමාගේ “The King of the Jews” නමැති පොතේ සංක්‍ෂිප්ත සිංහල අනුවාදයකි.

පොතේ දිගින් දිගටම ඇත්තේ ජේසුස් වහන්සේ බෞද්ධයකු බව තහවුරු කිරීමට තාර්කික නොවනකරුණුද පදනම් කරගෙන කළ ආන්තික උත්සාහයකි. බුදු දහම හෝ කිතු දහම සම්බන්ධයෙන් ගැඹුරුදැනුමක් මට නොමැත. ඇත්තටම ජේසුස් වහන්සේ බුදු දහම හැදෑරුවා වුවත් මට එහි එතරම් වැදගත්කරුණක් නොවේ. හේතුව අන් ඕනෑම ශාස්තෘවරයකු මෙන්ම සිදුහත් තවුසාද විවිධ ශාස්තෘවරයන්සොයා ඔවුන්ගෙන් දැනුම ලබාගැනීම කළ දෙයකි. එමෙන්ම බුදුන් වහන්සේ හින්දු හා උපනිෂද් දහම්වල අභාසය යම් තරමකට බුදු දහමට එකතු කළ බව කියවා ඇත්තෙමි. එහි කිසිම වරදක්ද නැත. අපිසියල්ලම උපන්දා සිට දැනුම වැඩි කරගන්නේ මේ ආකාරයටයි.

අවශ්‍ය වන්නේ කඩතුරා හැර සත්‍ය දැකීමට මෙන්ම අන් මත ගරු කිරීමට මනස විවෘතව තබා ගැනීමයි. අන් මත ගරු කිරීමේ මුවාවෙන් ආගමික අන්තවාදයට ඉඩදී මානව අයිතිවාසිකම් කඩවෙනඅවස්ථාවලදීත් නිහඬවීම අදහස් නොවේ. ආගම්වල නාමයෙන් දරුවන්ට මෙන්ම කාන්තාවන්ටදකෙරෙන කෙනිහිලිකම් බොහෝය. අප 21 වන සියවසේ සිටින බවට කෙතරම් පාරම් බෑවත් ආගම්ස්වරූපයෙන් එන මානව හිමිකම් කඩවීමට විරුද්ධවීමට ධෛර්ය ඇත්තේ සුළු පිරිසකට පමණි.

If You Will Lead: Enduring Wisdom for 21st-Century Leaders – Doug Moran 


If You Will Lead - Enduring Wisdom for 21st-Century Leaders

I am an admirer of Rudyard Kipling’s famous poem “If.” First I read its Sinhala translation while I was a schoolboy and I felt it was exclusively written for me! Later, when I came to a stage I could understand the original English version; I just fell in love with the poem. In fact, I use this as the main inspiration to me whenever I am dejected and hopeless.

When I came across the book “If You Will Lead: Enduring Wisdom for 21st-Century Leaders,” I was overjoyed and read it as fast as I could. It is a book filled with inspirational stories about the people who won despite being challenged by many a negative force. All the people discussed in this book are leaders who achieved their goals while being forced to abandon their struggles on the way to success. But their “never say die” attitude took them along to where they wanted to be. This is a good book to read if you want to be a leader. You will understand that sky is the limit if you wake up your inner sense and align all the forces to a well set goal.

The book gives examples of legendary leaders like Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, and Nelson Mandela who achieved extraordinary heights despite being at the receiving end for most of their lives. The book also tells you how American presidents such as Washington, Roosevelt, Jefferson and Reagan fought against all odds to achieve what they aspired. The book is written in a simple style and you won’t be able to pause reading it till you get to the end. The author uses the style of storytelling to inspire the readers to make the reader feel that they too can achieve more or less the same heights that the role models in the book achieved.

We are at a time we do not meet that many exemplary role models to follow. You would say I am wrong as you could argue that the likes of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg are good enough to be role models. I agree with you. They are living legends we have today. But the leaders talked about in this book never had the luxury and the sophistication today’s leaders have access to.

Doug Moran, the author of this book talks about “If Sixteen Leadership Attributes” that Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If” talks about. When I read the poem I did not understand its value in management, but only as a set of guidelines one should follow to resist failure and win. But now, after reading this book, I treat both the poem and the book as the best management lessons I took. If you want to upgrade yourself from a good leader to a great leader, consider this book as your Bible.

Thanks Nuwan Samaranayake, my friend in the United States for giving me access to read this wonderful book.

How to Start a Successful Blog in One Hour – Steve Scott


How to Start a Successful Blog in One Hour – Steve Scott

How to Start a Successful Blog in One Hour – Steve Scott

“How to Start a Successful Blog in One Hour” by Steve Scott provides you almost all the information on how to start a blog (with WordPress.com) and monetize it in a few easy steps. It is brief, easy to read and has the exact information you need for the purpose.

WordPress.com is not the easiest blogging platform. Obviously, Blogger is easier and it is totally free. For some reason, I started my blog with WordPress and taught the same to my students. Having heard this, a friend of mine told me that I have got into the pool from the deep end.

WordPress is complicated and you have to pay them if you exceed the free quota of web space (3GB) but it is worth the pain with the type of facilities it offers.

The book “How to Start a Successful Blog in One Hour” will teach us how to use WordPress to get a blog online in under an hour. The simple seven-step process will teach you to have your brand new blog with a theme, ten plugins and four tools for building a effective web presence. The entire process will only take one hour to complete.

Even if you already have a WordPress blog but not exploiting it enough this is the book you should read. You can definitely get something from the book and make your blog both content rich and technologically advanced among the rest of the blogs.

Steve Scott takes you through a basic introduction to domains, hosting and traffic, etc. He straightforwardly tells you how to set up a blog that will suit your needs.  It does have its technological jargon but it doesn’t affect you even if you are new to blogging.

Indian intervention in Sri Lanka: The role of India’s intelligence – Rohan Gunaratna


Indian intervention in Sri Lanka: The role of India's intelligence - Rohan Gunaratna

Indian intervention in Sri Lanka: The role of India’s intelligence – Rohan Gunaratna

Much has been written by many Indian and Sri Lankan writers about the Sri Lankan civil war and India’s role in it. But Professor Rohan Gunaratna’s book, “Indian intervention in Sri Lanka: The role of India’s intelligence agencies” stands out among them as it provides a good account of the civil war from the inception till the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, the then Indian Opposition Leader. (A second time candidate for Prime minister).

The book provides solid evidence of how India manipulated Sri Lanka’s civil polity by creating, funding, training and arming the various groups of Tamil youths by re-naming them as freedom fighters. Sri Lanka opened its economy (which was a closed one hitherto) to the whole world, especially to the West and with the high literacy rate she boasts of, Sri Lanka had all the ingredients to become the next Singapore in the region,  but India thought otherwise. They were busy with persuading frustrated Tamil youths to terrorists who could go at length to kill their own people let alone the enemy. The Tamil youths were converted into members of the world’s most ruthless terrorist outfit, the LTTE.

Professor Gunaratna has accessed the photo evidence of Sri Lankan youths being trained in India, even in Uttar Pradesh, let alone Tamil Nadu. Indira Gandhi started the heinous scheme which was taken forward by her son, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi who paid the price by being blown up by the very terrorists whom he helped. Apparently the alleged suicide bomber was said to have been gang raped by the so called Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) soldiers whom Rajiv Gandhi forced the then Sri Lankan president J. R. Jayawardene to accept into Sri Lanka.

The book extensively details how the then Indian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka, Mr. Jyotindra Nath Dixit masterminded the ugly coup to intervene in Sri Lanka’s political sphere unethically. The unfortunate thing is that most Indians do not believe this and they have been brainwashed by the Indian government and the media with the story that Sri Lankan President requested Indian Premier to send its forces to fight Sri Lanka’s war against the Tamil terrorists.

Prof. Gunaratna has done a lot of research to infiltrate into the LTTE to find facts about the most ruthless guerrilla outfit in the world. Velupillai Prabhakaran, the undisputed leader of the LTTE, fires his first bullet to kill Alfred Duraiappah, then an MP for Jaffna from the SLFP. Since then, the former never looked back. Professor Gunaratna gives a detailed account on how the LTTE was formed and how its cofounders were killed by the LTTE itself for it to gain supremacy over the other Tamil militant groups.

Though we blame the LTTE for all the bombings and mass killing today, the book reveals that some of the bombings in Colombo were done by the other Tamil militant groups such as TELO, PLOTE, EPDP, EPRLF, EROS, etc.

Having had the opportunity of interviewing the VIPs from both Sri Lankan and Indian governments, Prof. Gunaratna has firsthand knowledge about how politics worked between Colombo and New Delhi. Characters like Jyotindra Nath Dixit, M. G. Ramachandran, M. Karunanidhi, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi had gone beyond the accepted diplomatic boundaries to enable the LTTE become a powerful force against the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL.) The late President J. R. Jayawardene’s West oriented policies also played a big role here. He should have been more diplomatic with the Indian leaders and solved the problem.

The failure by President Jayawardene to quell the Black July riots in 1983 that killed a few hundred Tamils in Sri Lanka lead the Tamil Nadu and the Government of India (GOI) to be more sympathetic to the militant groups. The latter made use of this sympathy to become stronger politically and militarily. Subsequently, military training camps to train the militants mushroomed in India. Rather than the Indian High Commission, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), the intelligent agency of India took care of the relations between the two countries.

Professor Gunaratna details how the deteriorating relations between the two countries resulted in India violating Sri Lankan airspace and subsequent forced Indo-Lanka Peace Accord and the arrival of the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF.) It was ironic that the IPKF happened to fight the LTTE, who had been trained by the GOI, itself.

Professor Gunaratna also describes how series of peace talks were held between the militants and the GOSL, starting from Thimphu, Bhutan to the Hilton Hotel, Colombo and how the LTTE sabotaged each opportunity to come to a compromise by getting what they wanted. The biggest betrayal of all was the attacking the GOSL forces after allegedly obtaining money and weapons from the then president Ranasinghe Premadasa. This angered him a lot and he appointed Ranjan Wijeratne, the energetic UNP Chairman as the Minister of State for Defense. Having foreseen the impending threat to the LTTE by the minister, they were able to remove him from the scene by using a remote controlled car bomb. Had he survived the attack just like Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa did, the story of the LTTE would have been different.

India’s attitude to Sri Lanka took a different turn after Rajiv Gandhi, the former Prime Minister was brutally killed by an LTTE suicide bomber in Sriperumbudur, India in 1991. The LTTE was proscribed in India and the GOI was more helpful to GOSL. The book ends there.

I feel Professor Gunaratna’s book is factually correct to a great extent, but the downside is that it has some grammatical errors. This may cause a credibility issues in the minds of some readers. I hope this could be rectified in any future reprints.

සෝවියට් දේශයේ නැගීම – මාර්ටින් වික්‍රමසිංහ


සෝවියට් දේශයේ නැගීම - මාර්ටින් වික්‍රමසිංහ

සෝවියට් දේශයේ නැගීම – මාර්ටින් වික්‍රමසිංහ

සෝවියට් දේශයේ නැගීම - මාර්ටින් වික්‍රමසිංහ

සෝවියට් දේශයේ නැගීම – මාර්ටින් වික්‍රමසිංහ

මාර්ටින් වික්‍රමසිංහ මෙනමින් පොතක් ලියා ඇති බව මම කොහෙවත් අසා හෝ කියවා හෝ නොතිබුණි. එහෙත් මා හිතවත් ඩොනල්ඩ් ගාමිණීතිලක මහතා ඔහුගේ පුද්ගලික පුස්තාකාලය හිස් කරනවිට ඉතා දුර්ලභ පොත් කිහිපයක්ම මා හට ලෝභ නැතුව ලබාදුනි. එම එකතුවේ සෝවියට් දේශයේ නැගීම පොත ලියා ඇත්තේ කවුදැයි බැලූවිට මා පුදුමයට පත්වූයේ එය මාර්ටින් වික්‍රමසිංහ ලියා ඇතිබව දුටු විටයි. ඔහු සාහිත්‍යට අමතරව විද්‍යා කෘති ලියා ඇති බව මා දැන සිටියත් සෝවියට් දේශයේ නැගීම වැනි පොතක් ලියා ඇති බව දුටු විට සෝවියට් දේශය ගැන කුඩා කල ඉමහත් භක්තියක් තිබූ මම අතිශයින්ම සතුටට පත්වීමි.

වික්‍රමසිංහයන් මෙම කෘතිය ලියා ඇත්තේ සෝවියට් දේශයේ දීර්ඝ සංචාරයකින් පසුව ඇතිවූ පහන් සිතෙන් යුතුවය. මේ පොත සඳහා ඔහු ඉතා වෙහෙස මහන්සියෙන් අවශ්‍ය දත්ත ලබා ගැනීම සඳහා බොහෝ සෝවියට් ප්‍රකාශන කියවා ඇති බව පෙනේ. විශේෂයෙන්ම ඉතා නූගත් ගැමියන්ගෙන් පිරි විශාල භූමි ප්‍රදේශයකින් යුතු ජනරජයක් ඉතා කෙටි කලකින් අධ්‍යාපන සහ තාක්ෂණික අංශවලින් ලද දියුණුව පුදුම සහගතය. සෝවියට් ප්‍රචාරාත්මක ව්‍යාපාරයේ බලපෑමට යම්කිසි දුරකට වික්‍රමසිංහ හසු නොවුවායයි කීමට අපහසු වුවත් කෘතියේ අඩංගු දත්ත බොහෝදුරට සත්‍ය බව සෝවියට් දේශයේ සතුරන් පවා එකඟ වූ කරුණකි. අධ්‍යාපන, සෞඛ්‍ය, විද්‍යා, තාක්ෂණ, සාහිත්‍ය සහ ක්‍රීඩා අංශවලින් සෝවියට් දේශය පැන්නේ සෝවියට් රිටි පැනීමේ ශූර සර්ජි බුබ්කාගේ පිමිවලටත් වඩා උස පිමිය.

මේ පොත ඉතාම දුර්ලභ සහ වටිනා පොතක් වුවත් මා එය මා හිතවත් දයා විජේසිංහට ලබා දුන්නේ ඔහු මටත් වඩා හොඳට එය සංරක්ෂණය කරනු ඇති බවට ඔහුගේ පුස්තකාලය දුටුවිට මට සිතුණු බැවිනි. කඩදාසි පොත්වලට වඩා ඉලෙක්ට්‍රොනික පොත්පත් වලට මා බොහෝ වේගයෙන් අනුගත වෙමින් යන නිසා තව දුරටත් කඩදාසි පොත් පත් වලට මගේ සීමිත ඉඩකඩ ප්‍රමාණවත් වේදැයි සැක සහිතය.

සෝවියට් දේශයේ නැගීම - මාර්ටින් වික්‍රමසිංහ

සෝවියට් දේශයේ නැගීම – මාර්ටින් වික්‍රමසිංහ

Losing My Virginity – Richard Branson


Losing My Virginity

Losing My Virginity

I had the pleasure of reading Richard Branson’s autobiography,  Losing My Virginity last year. It is a thick book but you won’t feel like keeping it aside even for a cup of tea or a meal as the book is written in such a way that uninterrupted reading is needed. I had already heard about this genius of a businessman who fights an unending battle of dyslexia yet, despite all that, there are 400 odd companies to his credit. He starts business by publishing a magazine called “Student” while a teenager but fails to sell it to another party and the magazine dies a natural death. Then he starts a mail order record business. Later he names the business Virgin Records and expands the business to other continents as well.

Like most of the other entrepreneurs, Branson also is a man of many a facet. He has a queer childhood dealing with dyslexia as a student, has several affairs with women, lives a pretty good family life and, more than anything else, he is a great risk-taker. He travels around the world in a balloon with a professional and meets near-death experiences and still has a passion for more adventure at his old age. He has his own peculiar type of marketing campaigns for his new ventures that take the audience by storm.

He never is disturbed by failure throughout his career as a businessman. He takes risks. Who else will start a venture like Virgin Galactic at a time NASA manages almost all their space programs with the government money? Branson is not disturbed by the failure of the first flight to take a cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station.

Branson becomes brutally honest about his relationships, unethical business deals in the first part of his career, etc. He reveals them all in a way no other person of his caliber will be comfortable with at all.

In the introduction of the book, Branson tells us that “Losing My Virginity” is Volume One of his autobiography, which takes him up to his early 40s. So, let’s hope that we would be able to read a sequel at least after his retirement, if he ever retires for that matter. It was rumored in October 2010 “Variety” magazine that Losing My Virginity was being adapted into a biopic by David Mirkin, who would write, direct and co-produce the film with Steven Paul. But there is no information available as far as I know about the status of that project.

Branson published this book, “Losing My Virginity” in 1998. With the success of this, he later published some other books including Screw It, Let’s Do It (2006), Business Stripped Bare: Adventures of a Global Entrepreneur (2008), Reach for the Skies: Ballooning, Birdmen and Blasting Into Space (2010), Screw Business as Usual (2011), Like a Virgin: Secrets They Won’t Teach You at Business School (2013) and The Virgin Way: How to Listen, Learn, Laugh and Lead (2014). Branson published an updated edition of Losing My Virginity in 2005. He tells us his views on 9/11 and how it affected his business, especially his airline Virgin Atlantic.