Handa (sound), the voice of the SLBC | Sunday Observer

Handa (sound), the voice of the SLBC

The issue of Handa,for July-September 2019, takes on an appealing sophistication, exuding an attractive spirit of freshness. Handa, is the quarterly magazine of the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation.

The present issue, has been published by a group of highly efficient staffers, led by the reputed media expert Tilakaratne Kuruvita Bandara, as the chief editor.

At this stage, I am keen to reveal a tribute paid to Sri Lanka Radio that is unprecedented and cannot in any way be repeated or re-created.

Way back in 1953, Edmund Hillary reached the summit of Mount Everest.

In his diary, this great adventurer, Sir Edmund Hillary, records that when he scaled the summit of Mount Everest, the only Radio sound he could hear at the top of the world, was the sound emitted by Sri Lanka Radio!

No other Radio station, however prestigious, can equal this achievement of the Sri Lankan Radio.

In such a background, the present issue of Handa, has made a praiseworthy effort to keep that rich history of Sri Lanka Broadcasting very much alive through the quality of the current publication.

The publication is formatted and laid-out, in a modern, advanced style. The typographical ‘personality’ of this edition of Handa, stands out in a manner that tempts readers to ‘come and see’. The nine portraits that adorn the cover, salute a group who pioneered a rejuvenation of the Sinhala language, at a time when it faced deterioration.

In the initial Editorial pronouncement, Tilakaratne Kuruvita Bandara makes a strong plea to the users of the language, to commit themselves with total earnestness, to stem the tide of devastation that is clearly spelling doom, to the survival of Sinhala in its purity of form.

Clearsightedness

The editor’s aggressive clearsightedness, disturbs quite effectively the language lethargy of many, in our day.

The material gathered within the quarterly Handa is distinguished by in depth analyses, and controversial expression of individual view-points.

Quite fittingly, the publication opens with a classical statement made by writer Martin Wickremasinghe one of the perennial Rishis, who raised a voice, to drive home to the inner being of Sri Lankan masses that we should turn to the study of foreign languages and literatures (specifically English) not slavishly but with a marked critical attitude and a sense of independence.

In his publication, the editor-in-chief has taken care to accommodate an extensive range of view-points. There are essays that target print media publications, for the language crimes they perpetrate.

I am quite impressed by the space that has been lavishly given in this publication to essays of profound scholarship. I would request the concerned attention of the readers to the extensively researched effort of Prof. Wimal G. Balagalle, which will engender within us a deep sense of humility, to learn that layer after layer of foreign linguistic usages have continued to nourish our mother tongue.

The publication has never overlooked any area of language utilization when this work was planned.

Geniuses of the calibre of Prof. J.B. Disanayake, personalities like Ajith Thilakasena, well-known for oblique thinking, those specialised language enthusiasts like writer Anuradha Jayasinghe dealing with the contribution of Tamil, bring in their specialties to enrich and nourish the multi-hued, language Banquet, arranged by the editor and members of the Editorial Board.

A reader may worry about the recognition of the language use of the millennials, who are always with their smart phones and have become narcissistic.

The specialised view of the ‘Cyber Space’, is taken up by the well-known authority in that area, Daya Disanayaka. Depicting his sober, objective attitude to this controversial issue, he says: “I believe, the most effective media we possess today to maintain language and to direct society to the right path, are Cyber space and social media.”

It is the stark truth

In its editorial policy, Handa adopts an objective attitude towards all schools and groups. This is vividly demonstrated by the learned reference made to Pandit Munidasa Kumaratunga.

Another well-known member of the ‘Hela Haula’ school, Jayantha Weerasekera’s contribution has been recognised.

The expansion of the Sinhala vocabulary, as new areas of knowledge brought into the land, is the theme of media person Percy Jayamanne.

The place of poetry is examined by Prof. Samantha Herath.

When everything is said and done, this issue of Handa could be recommended to the readers, as encyclopaedic in verse.

As if all the attention paid to the main section is not enough, the editor and his team provide a highly valuable bonus to the closing section of the work.

This Anthology is described as the ‘Language flavour of the Sinhala Lyrics’. If this part of the Handa issue is printed as a separate anthology, it by itself would be a highly valued gift to those who possess a special keenness for this form of creation.

It must be recorded here that, the editor and the staff have made a reference to the influence of religious programs in Radio presentations.

Wherever needed, the editorial staff has given prominence to the text through the use of appropriate Illustrative material.

To state that this issue of Handashould be extensively used is only an exercise in the obvious.

To my mind, the outcome of this publication effort is the inciting of the readers to listen to the Radio with greater keenness.

Today, Radio does not receive priority placement among the media – products utilised by the masses.

If, innovative programming can be introduced, an increase in the listenership is quite likely to happen. But, what is due, is to express our gratitude to the editor and his dedicated staff for such an effective publication as Handa.

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