Friday, July 6, 2018

Ananda Coomaraswamy: The Arts and Crafts of India and Ceylon (1913)

“The artist is not a special kind of person; rather each person is a special kind of artist” Ananda  Coomaraswamy, A pioneer historian of Indian Art and foremost interpreter of Indian culture to the West’.
Ananda  Coomaraswamy: The Arts and Crafts of India and Ceylon (1913) not really a review but excerpts from the book. Very readable and not just the art but the religious and philosophical background to art.  This and other books by AC are available free, link at end of the post.

Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy (1877-1947)
Son of
Sir Muttu Coomaraswamy  the first Ceylon (and  South Asian?)  Knight and Elizabeth Beeby, who was a Lady-in-Waiting to Queen Victoria. First class honours in Geology and Botany (1900) from University of London. The first Director of Mineralogical Surveys, Ceylon (1903). Doctor of Science degree from the University of London in 1906 for identifying and research on the mineral Thorianite.
In 1905 he founded the Ceylon Social Reform Society.  The Society was “formed in order to encourage and initiate reform in social customs amongst the Ceylonese, and to discourage the thoughtless imitation of unsuitable European habits and customs”. He claimed fluency in 36 languages, where his definition of fluency in a language is the ability to read a scholarly article without referring to a dictionary.
AC refused to join the British armed services in World War I and As a result he was exiled from the British Empire and a bounty of 3000 Pounds placed on his head by the British Government and his house was seized. Moved to USA in 1917 together with his extensive art collection, described as ‘among the finest in the Western world’. His entire private art collection was transferred to Boston Museum of Fine Arts,  and worked there as Curator and as Visiting Lecturer at nearby Harvard University for the next thirty years until he retired in 1947.
AC's first book major book Medieval Sinhalese Art was self published. Using his considerable inherited wealth bought the ailing Essex House Press and a small church called Norman Chapel in Broad Campden in Gloucestershire.  He used part of the premises as his residence and moved the machinery of Essex House Press to the rest of the building.  Hand printing of the book started in September 1907 and was completed in December 1908.  The layout of the book, which is a work of art in its own right, and the printing of the 425 copies were supervised by him. 
(more and much of above from In Appreciation of Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy)

 Excerpts from Ananda  Coomaraswamy: The Arts and Crafts of India and Ceylon (1913)

In the first place, almost all Hindu art (Brahmanical and Mahayana Buddhist) is religious. " Even a misshapen image of a god," says Sukracharya {ca. 5th century a.d.) "is to be preferred to an image of a man, howsoever charming." Not only are images of men condemned, but originality, divergence from type, the expression of personal sentiment, are equally forbidden. "(Animagemade) according to rule (shastra) is beautiful,no other forsooth is beautiful.

" the likeness of the seated yogi is a lamp in a windless place that flickers not"{Bhagavad Glta, vi. 19). It is just this likeness that we must look for in the Buddha image, and this only. For the Buddha statue was not intended to represent a man ; it was to be like the unwavering flame, an image ofwhat all men could become, not the similitude of any apparition (nirmanakaya).

A like impersonality appears in the facial expression of all the finest Indian sculptures. These have sometimes been described as expressionless because they do not reflect the individual peculiarities which make up expression as we commonly conceive it.

This ideal is described in many places, typically, for example, in the Bhagavad Gita xi. 12-19 : " Hateless toward all born beings, void of the thought of I and My, bearing indifferently pain and pleasure, before whom the world is not dismayed and who is not dismayed before the world; who rejoices not, grieves not,desires not; indifferent in honour and dishonour, heat and cold, joy and pain; free from attachment"—such an one is god-like,from attachment"—such an one is god-like,

BhagavadGita is also the chief gospel of action without attachment: change, says Krishna, is the law of life, therefore act according to duty, not clinging to any object of desire, but like the actor in a play, who knows that his mask {persona) is not himself. For this impassivity is not less characteristic of the faces of the gods in moments of ecstatic passion or destroying fury, than of the face of the stillest Buddha. In each, emotion is interior, and the features show no trace of it: only the movements or the stillness of the limbs express the immediate purpose of the actor.

This amazing serenity (shdnti) in moments of deepest passion is not quite confined to Indian sculpture: something very like it, and more familiar to Western students, is found in the gracious and untroubled Maenad furies of the Greek vases, the irresponsible and sinless madness of the angry Bacchae.
Maenad Satyr-Vase 480bc

There is no more remarkable illustration of the Hindu perception of the relative insignificance of the individual personality, than the fact that we scarcely know the name of a single painter or sculptor of the great periods: while it was a regular custom of authors to ascribe their work to better-known authors, in order to give a greater authority to the ideas they set forth.

This process of intuition, setting aside one's personal thought in order to see or hear, is the exact reverse of the modern theory which considers a conscious self-expression as the proper aim of art. It is hardly to be wondered at that the hieratic art of the Indians, as of the Egyptians, thus static and impersonal,should remain somewhat unapproachable to a purely secular consciousness.

Much later in origin are the definite Assyrianisms and Persian elements in the Asokan and early Buddhist sculpture, such as the bell-capital and winged lions.

Early Buddhism, as we have seen, is strictly rationalistic, and could no more have inspired a metaphysical art than the debates of a modern ethical society could become poetry. The early Sutras, indeed, expressly condemn the arts, inasmuch as ' 'form, sound, taste, smell, touch, intoxicate beings." It is thus fairly evident that before Buddhism developed into a popular State religion (under Asoka) there can hardly have existed any "Buddhist art,"

A confusion of two different things is often made in speaking of the subject-matter of art. It is often rightly said, both that the subject-matter is of small importance, and that the subject-matter of great art is always the same. In the first case, it is the immediate or apparent subject-matter—the representative element—that is spoken of; it is here that we feel personal likes and dislikes. To be guided by such likes and dislikes is always right for a practising artist and for all those who do not desire a cosmopolitan experience ; and indeed, to be a connoisseur and perfectly dispassionate critic ofmany arts or religions is rarely compatible with impassioned devotion to a single one.

The paintings of Ajanta, though much damaged, still form the greatest extant monument of ancient painting and the only school except Egyptian in which a dark-skinned race is taken as the normal type.
Ajanta Painting

Ajanta Painting

Painting/fresco,  approx 500 AD Sigiriya, Sri Lanka
When a little later we meet with the excavated chatiya-houses, and, later still, the earliest Hindu temples of the Aryavarta and the Dravidian school, we are again faced with the same problem, of the origin of styles which seem to spring into being fully developed. . It is clear that architecture had not made much progress amongst the Aryans when they first entered  India; on the contrary, all the later styles have been { clearly shown to be developments of aboriginal and non-Aryan structures built of wood(posts and beams, bamboo, thatch), the intermediate stages being worked out in brick. The primitive wooden and brick building survives to thepresent day side by side with the work in stone, a silent witness of historic origins. Some of the details of the early stone architecture point to Assyrian origins, but this connection is, for India, prehistoric. How the use of stone was first suggested is a matter of doubt; none ofthe early forms have a Greek character, but are translations of Indian wooden forms into stone; while stone did not come into use for the structural temples of the Brahmans until so late as the 6th century A. D.

The Ceylon Shilpashastras preserve canons of form and proportion for six different types, called by such names as Bell-shape, Heap of rice, Lotus, and Bubble.

Chaitiya Hall (approx 50 AD), Karli, India
Another most important class of early buildings, and one purely Buddhist, is that of the chaitiya-hall (Buddhist temples).

The prototype perhaps survives in the dairy temple of the Todas. We are well acquainted with the structural peculiarities of the chatiya-halls, from the many examples excavated in solid rock. These have barrel roofs, like the inverted hull of a ship, with every detail of the woodwork accurately copied in stone. The earliest date from the time of Asoka(3rd century B.c.) and are characterised
by their single-arched entrance and plain facade.

Toda Hut

Reservoirs:  but it was only notably in Ceylon that there existed conditions favourable to the construction of very large works at a much earlier date. The largest of the embankments of these Ceylon reservoirs measures nine miles in length, and the area of the greatest exceeds 6000 acres. The earliest large tank dates from the 4th century B.C. What is even more remarkable than the amount of labour
devoted to these works, is the evidence they afford of early skill in engineering, particularly in the building of sluices: those of the 2nd or 3rd century B.C. forming the type of all later examples in Ceylon, and anticipating some of the most important developments of modern construction. The most striking features of these sluices are the valve pits (rectangular wells placed transverselyacross the culverts and lined with close-fitting masonry), and the fact that the sectional area of the culverts enlarges towards the outlet, proving that the engineers were aware that retardation of the water by friction increased the pressure, and might have destroyed the whole dam if more space were not provided.but

There is scarcely any Hindu building standing which can be dated earlier than the 6th century a.d. without any trace of historic origins. The explanation of this circumstance is again to be found in the loss of earlier buildings constructed of perishable materials; all the greatarchitectural types must have been worked out in timber and brick before the erection of the stone temples which alone remain. One point of particular interest is the fact that the early temples of the gods, and prototypes of later forms, seem to have been cars, conceived as self-moving and rational beings.

and in another place, the whole city of Ayodahya is compared to a celestial car. The carrying of images in processional cars is still an important featurej of Hindu ritual. The resemblance of the Aryavarta shikhara to the bamboo scaffolding ofa processional car is too striking to be accidental. More than that,' we actually find stone temples of great size provided with enormous stone wheels (Konarak, Vijayanagar) and the monolithic temples at Mamallapuram (7th century) (fig. 83) are actually called rathas, that is cars, while the term vimana, applied to later Dravidian temples, has originally the same sense, of vehicle or moving palace.

The greatest period of Indian shipbuilding, however, must have been the Imperial age of the Guptas and Harshavardhana, when the Indians possessed great colonies in Pegu, Cambodia, Java, Sumatra, and Borneo, and trading settlements in China, Japan, Arabia, and Persia.

Many notices in the works of European traders and adventurers in the 15th and i6th centuries show that the Indian ships of that day were larger than their own ; Purchas, for example, mentions one met by a Captain Saris in the Red Sea, of 1 200 tons burden, about three times the size of the largest English ships then made (161 1).Many notices in the works of European traders and adventurers in the 151!^ and i6th centuries show that the Indian ships of that day were larger than their own ; Purchas, for example, mentions one met by a Captain Saris in the Red Sea, of 1 200 tons burden, about three times the size of the largest English ships then made (1611).

It is worth while to remark that a good deal of the material used for dagger-handles and similar purposes is not Indian or African ivory, but is known as "fish-tooth," most of it being really fossil ivory from Siberia. Old examples prove that there used to exist an overland trade in this material. Hippopotamus and walrus ivory may also have found its way to India by land routes.

The great majority of Indians wear cotton garments, and it is from India that all such names as chintz, calico, shawl, and bandana have come into English since the i8th century. Weaving is frequently mentioned in the Vedas. cotton, silk, and woollen stuffs in the epics. Silk was certainly imported from China as early as the 4th century B.C.,

Neither cotton-printing nor dye-painting are Sinhalese crafts. All the finer cloths found in Ceylon appear to be of Indian origin. There is evidence of several settlements of Indian weavers in Ceylon on various occasions.

The Mughal portrait style is scarcely clearly developed before the time of Jahangir (1605 to 1627). At its best it is an art of nobly serious realism and deep insight into~character7 at its worst, it is an art of mere flattery. Two works reproduced here, the Bodleian Dying Man (fig. 169) and the Ajmer portrait of Jadrup Yogi (fig. 170), stand out before all others in their passionate concentration. 
(my sbarrkum note; if some one can send link to modern colored images, very welcome)

List of free books by Ananda Coomaraswamy

Thursday, June 7, 2018

The Numbers: Ethnic Cleansing and Diaspora of Lankan Tamils

There have been a few comments with accusations of Genocide, Ethnic Cleansing of Tamils by the Sri Lankan Govt.
  • 35% Sri Lankan Tamils live in Sinhalese Majority areas..In comparison only 1% Sinhalese live in Tamil majority areas.
  • The Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora is 22% of the Sri Lankan Tamil Population

Lankan Tamils Living among Sinhalese

35% of the Sri Lankan Tamils live in Sinhalese majority areas. 
The numbers are from the 2012 census.  The third column (in Sinhala) are the Indian/Upcountry Tamils.  In comparison less than 1% Sinhalese live in Tamil majority regions.

Diaspora Sri Lankan Tamils

A number that has been thrown is 30% of Sri Lankan Tamils live outside the country.   The numbers say that it is 22%.
Not all of the Diaspora are refugees
a) Some migrate for economic and education reasons
b) The LTTE one child policy.  The LTTE required one child per family to become cannon fodder.   If the family had money, the LTTE would arrange to smuggle the child out to a Western country as a refugee. Thereafter the refugee would have to make monthly donations too.

Mass expulsion of Muslims from Batticoloa, Mannar and Jaffna

Thursday, May 3, 2018

The Philippines Genocide: 3 million Filipinos Killed

I guess "Holocaust Deniers" all over the world.

Just the excerpts from the reports during the period (Spanish American war of 1898).

General Bell
himself, who said “we estimated that we killed one-sixth of the population of the main island of Luzon—some 600,000 people.”
(There is another Bell, George who also fought in the Philippines ).  Also see Gore Vidals reply on comment questioning the numbers.
20 dead filipinosThe Philadelphia Ledger November 1901 their Manila correspondent wrote “The present war is no bloodless, opera bouffe engagement; our men have been relentless, have killed to exterminate men, women, children, prisoners and captives, active insurgents and suspected people from lads of ten up, the idea prevailing that the Filipino as such was little better than a dog…
Our soldiers have pumped salt water into men to make them talk, and have taken prisoners people who held up their hands and peacefully surrendered, and an hour later, without an atom of evidence to show that they were even insurrectos, stood them on a bridge and shot them down one by one, to drop into the water below and float down, as examples to those who found their bullet-loaded corpses.”

Another Marine officer described his testimony.
The major said that General Smith instructed him to kill and burn, and said that the more he killed and burned the better pleased he would be; that it was no time to take prisoners, and that he was to make Samar a howling wilderness. Major Waller asked General Smith to define the age limit for killing, and he replied “everyone over ten.”

Mark Twain wrote

“…I have seen that we do not intend to free, but to subjugate the people of the philippines. we have gone to conquer, not to redeem… and so i am an anti-imperialist. i am opposed to having the [american] eagle put its talons on any other land.”
On 15th of October 1900 Twain wrote the New York Times.
We have pacified some thousands of the islanders and buried them; destroyed their fields; burned their villages, and turned their widows and orphans out-of-doors; furnished heartbreak by exile to some dozens of disagreeable patriots; subjugated the remaining ten millions by Benevolent Assimilation, which is the pious new name of the musket; we have acquired property in the three hundred concubines and other slaves of our business partner, the Sultan of Sulu, and hoisted our protecting flag over that swag. And so, by these providences of god — and the phrase is the government’s, not mine — we are a World Power.” Mark Twain
 Please read the whole Post.  Interesting pictures.  Also President McKinley 's Christian reasons for the war.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Bi Kidude, Sri Lankan Baila and Traditional Drums

Recently saw a music video by Bi Kidude (Little Granny) from Zanzibar.  I was struck by the similarities to Sri Lankan Kaffiringha or Manja music and old traditional music as in Panama Vannam and Yak Thovil.

Bi Kidude (Little Granny)
Fatma Baraka Khamis was Taarab singer from Zanzibar who was born around 1910. Bi Kidude won several awards including a WOMEX
Award for her role in the culture of the Zanzibar Island.  The iconic artist sadly passed away on April 17th, 2013.   She very well might have been a century old. (see more here and video documentaryAs old as my tongue – The Myth and Life of Bi Kidude” by director Andy Jones). In Bi Kidude's words, I smoke, drink and sing.  Not bad for a life to a hundred years.

So here is one music video by Bi Kidude. A few other links, DancingTraditional Drums, and her Voice range (Alminadura)

Manja Music of Sri Lanka
Its the music of the Kaffirs (not a derogatory word in Sri Lanka). They were brought mainly by the Portuguese from Angola and Mozambique. The Tabbowa/Sirambiadi community in the west coast is a mix of African descendants and Sinhalese.  Their music is now very much part of the Sri Lankan tradition.  Below the group Ceylon African Manja performing in their village.  This is youtube clip of the same group in a more formal setting.

Portuguese Burgers (Creoles) of Batticoloa (East Coast)
The Portuguese Burgers too sing and dance Kaffiringha music.  Its is unknown if they have African roots.

Sri Lankan Traditional Music
A gravel voice and rhythms (as against melody) define traditional music. Immediate below women playing the rabane,  a instrument played by women at village events, specially Sinhalese New Year.  This particular video is from a five star hotel !!.  

Second below the traditional Gajaba Wannama (dance of the King’s Tuske) with a modern dance ensemble.  More Wannamas here.

Unheard of a couple of decades back, upper middle class girls/women playing the drums, or for that matter a traditional instruments.  Now we have and all girl/women traditional drumming (watch it is good, their website The times are a changing. 

Also see

Thanks Mohamed Rizwan for linking the Bi Kidude video, Anton James for identifying Bi Kidude.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Geopolitical Update: The Drums of War in he Middle East

Geopolitical Update: The Drums of War in he Middle East

This is like watching hurricane track and hoping it wont hit you.

a) Saudi Arabia (SA) is running out of money. Foreign reserves have fallen dramatically. Low oil prices have been a big problem
b) Mohamed bin Salman (MbS) is doing a power grab. Made himself heir. Considered an unpopular move. Ousted many a couple months a year back.
c) SA population is growing fast as is the Royal Family. They all need to be paid off to keep them from revolting.
d) The war in Yemen started by MBS was to unite the country behind him. It was supposed to be a walkover. two years and counting and no victory for SA in Yemen.
e) Another purge and assets seized, estimated of 800 billion. Good for two years.
f) Purge is unpopular. So another war, Lebanon and Iran maybe to get the populace behind MBS.

The double cross, cynical view.

The US is self sufficient in oil. No longer dependent on SA oil.
The US would like Oil prices to rise which is not possible with SA pumping away.
The SA-Yemen war was approved by US and kind of backed MbS.
US probably hoped it would destabilize SA. Anyway sold a lot of Aircraft and weapons to SA
SA might buy the most fancy weapons, but dont have the people to operate them.
So US is giving SA more rope to hang themselves.
Kind of egging SA to open a second front with Lebanon/Iran with the expectation that SA will fracture from within.
Another war and/or SA has civil war: Increased Oil prices and probably SA assets in US being seized. Mission Accomplished.


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Another view of the Rohingya issue in Myanmar.

Another view of the Rohingya issue in Myanmar.

Ata Ullah the leader of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA)  possibly had training under the Taliban.

excerpts from Moon of Alabama
While the ethnic conflict in Rankine state is very old, it has over the last years morphed into an Jihadist guerilla war financed and led from Saudi Arabia. The area is of geo-strategic interest:

Pipelines from the western coast of Myanmar eastwards to China allow hydrocarbon imports from the Persian Gulf to China while avoiding the bottleneck of the Strait of Malacca and disputed parts of the South China Sea.  It is in "Western interest" to hinder China's projects in Myanmar. Inciting Jihad in Rakhine could help to achieve that. There is historic precedence for such a proxy war in Burma. During World War II British imperial forces incited the Rohingya Muslim in Rakhine to fight Burmese nationalist Buddhists allied with Japanese imperialists.
There is no question that Rohingya have suffered discrimination.

However, it has now morphed into a Jihad. The jihad, fueled and funded by interested parties (US thru proxy Saudi Arabia) in order to destabilize Myanmar which getting into the Chinese Orbit.

The playbook is very similar to the LTTE and Tamils. India funded and trained the LTTE, to destabilize Sri Lanka which was coming into the US orbit. Of course the SL govt compounded the problem e.g. 83 riots authored by JR.

The current violence started in  October 2016. Atta Ullah's  group started to attack police and other government forces in the area. On August 25 2017 Ata Ullah's  group attacked 30 police stations and military outposts and killed some 12 policemen. The army and police responded, as is usual in this conflict, by burning down Rohingya townships suspected of hiding guerilla forces. To escape the growing violence many local Arakanese Buddhist flee their towns towards the capitol of Rankine. Local Rohingya Muslim flee across the border to Bangladesh.

Many say There is ample evidence of ethnic cleansing with impunity, perpetrated by the military government, which amounts to genocide.
So by the same logic, the  SL govt would be guilty of ethnic cleansing and genocide of Tamils ?. Really, thats a very serious allegation.

As Razib Kahn says " In the short-term the killing of infants and raping of women (if  true) has to stop. But these simple answers have behind them lurking deeper complexities. While agreeing upon the urgency of action now, we need to be very careful to not turn complex human beings into angels and demons. We have enough history in the recent past that that sort of model only leads to tragedy down the line, as those who we put utmost faith in fail us due to their ultimate humanity".

I would suggest a little more back ground reading on a complex issue without making statements based on a black or white view.

Also read

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Head Clerk of Dimbulla Tea, S Thomas and Academics.

This blog post was inspired by Richard Simon's: Ceylon Tea: The Trade That Made A Nation. This is about an employee of the tea trade who had descendants who ended up in S Thomas College and eventually as academics.

Thillainayagam Tambypillai
(probably late 1875)
Thillainayagam Tambypillai was the Head Clerk of the New Dimbulla Tea Company, Ltd in Agrapatana. He had a couple of children. Some of them were were, Karakulasingham, Thillainayagam, Nesamani and Isaac Tambyah.

Karalakulasingham, obtained first class Honours in B.Sc.,  one of the few who obtained a first class at that time.   Initially worked at the Colombo Observatory. With failing eyesight he left the observatory and became initially a teacher at Trinity College, Kandy and later a lecturer at the Teacher Training College. He was a contemporary of Fr. Peter Pillai, founder of Aquinas College (a brilliant academic who chose to become a priest). One of Karalakulasingham's son  RNSK Karalakulasingham was a iconic math teacher and Boarding house master of S Thomas College.

Thillainayagam. died young after having only one child Thillainayagam Robert Thuraisingam.  Robert Thuraisingham worked at the Inland Revenue Department (earlier known as the Tax Dept) and  retired as a Senior Assessor. Some Thomians may know him personally as he tutored many from his home at Moor Road, Wellawatte. 

Robert Thuraisingam's son is Ranjit Thuraisingham who was first a Thomian, then armed with a B.Sc( Hons) from  University of Colombo went onto obtain a Ph.D in molecular quantum mechanics from Cambridge in 1975. Conducted research in molecular quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics, physical chemistry, acoustic scattering, signal processing, and in nonlinear chaotic systems. Wrights Impressions of Ceylon
Wright: Impressions of Ceylon (1907)
Issac Tambyah, (19th Aug 1869-1940), was educated at St. John's College, Jaffna. then at St. Thomas, College, Colombo. At S Thomas College he held the Divinity scholarship till 1891 and was Liturgy Prizeman, besides editing the College Magazine.

Qualifying as a lawyer Issac Tambyah practised in Jaffna until 1901 and then in Colombo until 1913. In 1912 he was called to the Bar, Gray's Inn, and proceeded to Malaya the next year to set up in practice there. He soon made a name for himself in politics and the law while at the same time not neglecting his theological studies. While in Malaya he obtained the degrees of D. D. and D. Th.

Returning in 1924 Dr. Tambyah forsook the law and was ordained a Deacon. Two years later he was ordained Priest and appointed to St. John's Church, Chundikuli. He remained here till 1938 when he went as Priest-in-Charge, Bandarawela. Early in 1940 he was transferred to Holy Trinity Church, San Sebastian and died at the age of 71 years. At the time of his death he was Vicar of Holv Trinity Church, San Sebastian Vice-Principal of the 'Divinity School', Colombo. He was married to Mangalanayagam, daughter of the late Mudaliyar J. W. B. Kumarkulasinghe and his sister Elizabeth Nesamani was married to Mudaliyar A. Barr-Kumarakulasinghe.

Issac Tambyah was a man of wide culture and Catholic tastes. He founded and edited the "Ceylon Review"the first Law Magazine published in Ceylon. He was the author of the "Digest of the Law Contract" and "Commentary on the Ceylon Penal Code" and "Commentary on the Ceylon Labour Ordinance", besides editing the "Ceylon Law Review" and "Tambyahs Reports". While a law student Dr. Tambyah edited the "Law-Students Magazine' and the 'Period'.

He also edited collections of poems by various writers and in 1897 came out with the "Garland of Ceylon Verse" the first collection of published poems written in Ceylon.

Later on in life he wrote Foregleams of God, Psalms of a Saiva Saint and a Tamil Mystic". Foregleams of God is a comparative Study of Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity. Pslams of a Saiva Saint consists of 366 translations with notes and a long long introduction and is a Christian Laymans endeavour to understand a great Hindu poet.

Issac Tambyah's wife Mangalanayagam Thambiah (nee Barr-Kumarakulasinghe) was the first female author in modern Ceylon.  She wrote in Tamil the novel "Broken Heart" in 1914. Reprints of the book are available at Kumaran House.
Tampaiya, Mankalanayakam (early 20), Christian authoress, of Jaffna, Sri Lanka: Novel Norurikunta itayam (Crushed Heart, 1914), excellent social novel reflecting extremely well the way of life of Tamils in Sri Lanka, exemplified on the story of two women, Kanmani and Ponmani. Kaiimani, after many painful experiences, hearing the sermon of a Christian priest, embraces Christianity, and dies resigned and in peace. In contrast to her, Ponmani obtains the husband she has wished for, overcoming thereby evil schemes of Kanmani 's husband and his brother, and gives the impression of a strong, even heroic woman of iron will. In placing the two protagonists in contrast, T. has achieved great distinction. The novel unfolds against the background of Christian communities of Jaffna. 1930 issue of Jaffna magazine Utayatarakai publ. another of her novels, Ariyamalar (Rare Blossom).  from Zvelebil, Kamil V.(1995): Lexicon of Tamil literature. — Leiden New York:
Mangalanayagam Reference

Mangalanayagam Thambyah

England House in Penang, with the Thambyah's