Saturday, April 17, 2010

Jaffna library trying to put the past behind

Compared to many bombed out homes and churches in town, the Jaffna Library is housed in a starkly and stately, milk-white building.

A statute of goddess Saraswati in the courtyard and armed Sri Lankan army patrols outside the walls keep watch as students, retired government servants and academics step inside the library’s noiseless reading rooms with high ceilings to pour over books and journals. “You need to take your shoes off (before entering) as this is a ‘temple of knowledge’’, former head librarian S. Thanabaalasinham said.

The library building was inaugurated in 1959 by mayor, Alfred Durayappah, assassinated in 1975 by slain Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, his first high-profile murder.  But for all the coats of white paint on the façade, the scars of a violent night in 1981 remain like a torn book in the dusty, dark corner of a shelf.

Full report here Hindustan Times 

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