Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Quiz with Chamara Sumanapala. Part 24: Jupiter and its Moons

Jupiter is the largest planet in the Solar System. It is one of the brightest objects in the night sky as well. Its mass is only one thousandth times that of the Sun. However, it is much massive than all other planets combined. However, it is composed of gases, mainly hydrogen and helium. Jupiter does not have a hard surface like the earth. Nevertheless, due to its mass, it has a much larger gravitational force than earth. Therefore it has 67 moons orbiting around it. Much of them are small in size and have been discovered only recently. The first moons to be discovered were observed by Galileo in around January 1610. These are the largest moons of Jupiter and are collectively known as Galilean Moons.

1. The Romans named the planet after their god Jupiter. This god is the king of gods in Roman mythology. He is also the god of sky and god of lightening. According to Roman mythology, he is the father of Mars and Vulcan. The symbols of Jupiter are the lightning bolt and the eagle. Jupiter’s consort, the Queen of Gods, was the Goddess of marriage and childbirth. Who was Jupiter’s consort in Roman mythology?

2. Jupiter has a large characteristic spot which was spotted in the 17th century by astronomers. This is actually a giant storm which appears as a spot. Astronomers have named it to signify its size and color. What is the name given to this characteristic feature on Jupiter?

3. The largest moon of Jupiter is larger than the smallest planet of the Solar System, Mercury. It has been named after a divine hero in Greek mythology. This moon completes an orbit around Jupiter in seven days. It is composed of satellite rock and ice. Recently scientists found evidence that its interior may contain layers of oceans of liquid water and ice. They speculate that these oceans may support life. What is the largest moon of Jupiter?

4. The first mission by a space probe to Jupiter was made in the 1970s when an American space probe undertook the journey. It was launched on March 3, 1972. Four months later, the probe entered the asteroid belt, thereby becoming the first space probe to do so. By November 1973 it had started photographing Jupiter. After its study of Jupiter, the space probe continued its journey to the far reaches of the Solar System. Radio communications were lost with the probe in 2003. What is this space probe?

5. In July 1994, a comet broke up and collided with Jupiter, giving scientists an opportunity to observe an extra terrestrial collision of Solar System objects. This collision gave new information about Jupiter. The collision also highlighted Jupiter’s role in reducing space debris in the Inner Solar System. Since Jupiter has a large gravitational force, it has the ability to attract many objects which arrive from outer space. The comet which collided was named after the astronomers who discovered it. What was the name of the comet?

Answers to Quiz 23: Football World Cup 1966-70

1. Pickles
2. The Game of their Lives
3. Mozambique
4. West Germany
5. Teofilo Cubillas

Monday, October 27, 2014

Mikhail Lermontov, a Hero of His Time

Russia commemorated the bicentenary of Mikhail Lermontov recently. In Russian literature, his fame as a poet is second only to Alexander Pushkin. He also wrote one landmark work of prose, “A Hero of our Times” which earned him recognition as a prose writer and also earner the ire of the Czarist regime in Russia.

Lermontov was born on October 15, 1814, in Moscow. His father was an impoverished Army officer and his mother was a woman of an aristocratic family. Incidentally, his maternal grandmother was a Stolypin and therefore was an ancestor of the Czarist Prime Minister Pyotr Stolypin, who was murdered in 1911. The mismatch of the two families created a bitter family dispute and Lermontov’s mother died when he was three. His maternal grandmother took over as his guardian, threatening to disinherit him if his father demanded the son. Lermontov’s father, poor and bitter of his fate, would die in 1831, leaving a lasting impact on young Mikhail.

Mikhail grew up in Serednikovo Estate near Moscow, where, several decades later, the staunchly monarchist Pyotr Stolypin also grew up. However, Lermontov was of different character, perhaps because of the influence of his father. He received an extensive home education, and became fluent in French and German. He could play several music instruments and proved to be a gifted painter.

Since Lermontov’s health was poor, his grandmother took him to the Caucasus. Lermontov was to fall in love with this magical landscape and the Caucasus was to become an inherent part of his life story. He later enrolled in the University of Moscow but was not interested in studies. He left for St. Petersburg to join the cavalry school, but military life did not suit him as well. However, he graduated as an officer and entered the high life of St. Petersburg. He started writing poetry, of the kind the elite of the society admired. He started to make a name as a poet. However, all was to change in 1837.

That year, on January 27, Alexander Pushkin was fatally wounded in a duel, succumbing to his injuries two days later. Lermontov wrote an inflammatory poem, “Death of the Poet” blaming the Russian elite of the murder of Pushkin. He ended by saying:

But there is Court of God, you, evil manifold! --
    The terrible court: it waits;
    It's not reached by a ring of gold,
It knows, in advance, all thoughts' and actions' weights.
Then you, in vain, will try to bring your evil voice on:
    It will not help you to be right,
And you will not wash of with all your bloody poison,
    The Poet's righteous blood!

(From Poetry Lovers' Page. Translated by Yevgeny Bonver, June, 1998. Edited by Dmitry Karshtedt, May, 2001)

This poem did not please the high society, including the Czar himself. Lermontov was duly arrested and banished, coincidentally to his beloved Caucasus. Attracted to the nature of the Caucasus and excited by its folklore, he studied the local languages, wrote some of his most splendid poems and painted extensively.

His grandmother intervened once again, and she managed to bring Lermontov back to St. Petersburg, and to the high society theatre-going and ballroom dancing existence. One can easily compare this existence with that of Taras Shevchenko, a contemporary of Lermontov. There was no one to save the forefather of Ukrainian literature from banishment. He was born a serf and lived most of his life in exile. People of the high society, like Lermontov, sometimes could escape even after attracting the ire of the Czar. For the vast majority of the poor in the Russian Empire, it was not to be.

Widely hailed as a promising literary talent, Lermontov published a number of his works and began his famous novel A Hero of Our Time. His only novel earned him recognition as one of the founding fathers of Russian prose. This is partially autobiographical and consists of five closely linked tales revolving around a single character, Pechorin. He is a disenchanted, bored and doomed young nobleman, who is a strange mix of the good and the bad. In contemporary Russia, such shady people were the heroes. If Pechorin was a hero to look upon, one could imagine what a moral wreck a normal Russian must have been.

The book is considered a pioneering classic of Russian psychological realism. It was published in 1840, earning the author widespread acclaim. However, the author could not bask too long in this new found fame.

After a clash with the son of a French ambassador over a young society woman, a duel followed and prompted the poet’s second Caucasian exile. Lermontov was dispatched to the front-line fighting the local tribesmen. He proved to be a brave soldier but dreamed of the time when he could leave the army and devote himself entirely to his writing.

Allowed two-months leave, he promptly rushed to St. Petersburg, but the Czar declined his request for discharge. Furthermore, the Czar denied him the award of bravery in battle. Lermontov was forced to return back to the army, and arrived in the town of Pyatigorsk in May 1841.

He joined the town’s social life, meeting one of his old acquaintances, fellow army officer Nikolay Martynov. He soon became a target of Lermontov’s sharp wit and caustic jokes. After one such incident, Martynov challenged Lermontov to a duel. Lermontov reportedly said he would not fire at Martynov. He was not unable to do so if he wished. However, Martynov aimed to the heart, and Lermontov was killed on the spot on the evening of July 27, 1841, at the foot of Mashuk Mountain. He was just 26.

There was no one to write of the death of this poet.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Modi Wave Hits Haryana

If there was any doubt as to the existence of a Modi Wave, the recently concluded Legislative Assembly Elections in Haryana should put an end to it. Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi took personal leadership in steering the election campaign of the Bharatiya Janata Party in both Haryana and Maharashtra, addressing dozens of election rallies even in opposition heartlands and leading his party to a resounding victory in the former. If not for the differences between the BJP and the Shiv Sena, Maharashtra would have been easy pickings for the two nationalist parties.

BJP’s victory could not have been more obvious than in Haryana. It showed the extension of a process which became evident in the Lok Sabha Election in April-May 2014. The Modi-wave inundated the BJP heartlands and swept into the periphery, submerging a considerable area. For example, The BJP, which was a distant third in the 2012 Legislative Assembly Elections in Uttar Pradesh, swept the state in the 2014 Lok Sabha Election, taking more than 70 of the 80 seats. The BJP carried all 7 Lok Sabha seats in Delhi which had given the newly formed Aam Aadmi Party a surprise victory in state elections just a few months back.

People at a rally in Maharashtra which also went to polls with Haryana. Pic from Twitter @narendramodi
Haryana, home to 25 million people, was carved out of the state of Punjab in 1966. It is predominantly Hindu and is known for its caste and clan based politics. One fifth of the population belongs to Scheduled Castes. Its politics were dominated in the recent years by two political parties, the Indian National Congress and the state party, Indian National Lok Dal (INLD). Despite the Haryana population being almost 90 percent Hindu, the BJP was in the fringe, winning just 4 of the 90 seats in the state Legislative Assembly in 2009. Therefore, winning 47 seats and thereby wining a simple majority single-handedly was a resounding success for the BJP.

Several factors including the anti-incumbency and desire for change, internal dissent in the Congress Party and corruption charges against both the Congress and the INDL helped the BJP. But apparently, these were just helping factors. Grievances have always been there in the state. What was not there was a different viable alternative to the traditional parties and leadership. Modi’s success was based on the simple fact that he has offered an alternative which promised real change instead of rhetoric.

Modi promised development, positive and pro-active governance, anti-corruption and more opportunities for the youth. He is implementing a different approach which is different from blind pro-Western path of the Congress Party and the staunch introvert policies championed by certain BJP old-guards. Modi is pro-business and therefore is looking at both the west and the east for increasing opportunities.

Modi has helped the return of national pride within Indians which could have been damaged somewhat during the increasingly pro-Western policies of the Congress Party led governments during 2004-2014. However, Modi has also managed to mollify the fears of the west by engaging with them.

Meanwhile, he has used different ideals for his use in politics. He was an active proponent of “Buddhist diplomacy” even when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat, championing the Buddhist heritage of India. Furthermore he has adapted some of the Gandhian ideals, for example in launching a “clean India” campaign.

His message in Haryana was that of change and that transcended caste and family boundaries. All major political parties in the state, with the only possible exception of the BJP were dominated by certain political families. Modi decided to rip through this tradition and has for the time being has managed to do so. The Congress Party which had ruled the state for a decade fared extremely badly, ending up in third place in the state.

The BJP had comparatively less success in Maharashtra, the traditional stronghold of the Shiv Sena and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). However, the saffron party can be content with the fact that it has become the largest party in the 288 member Legislative Assembly for the first time ever, taking 122 seats. It is an increase of 76 seats from the last Legislative Assembly Election in 2009. It was only the differences between the BJP and Shiv Sena which helped the NCP and Indian National Congress to come out with a face saving performance. In some rural areas, despite all problems faced by the farmers in the state, the Congress has done better. Modi wave has still not found its way into these distance areas.

At a time, the name Nehru or Gandhi could galvanize the Indian populace. However, today, the Gandhis are facing the real threat of being eclipsed in the Modi-wave. The Prime Minister has largely managed to fend off the allegations directed at him of the 2002 Gujarat Riots. He has been accepted by leaders around the world as he tries to engage with them on a pro-business model. His ultimate goal is to transform India, and this appeal draws the populace to him. If he succeeds in realizing his goals, the Gandhis and the Congress Party will have a serious problem at hand.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Whatever his Color was, Wijayananda Dahanayake (Banis Maamaa) Carried Galle

Crossovers from the opposition to the government and occasionally the other way around, have become commonplace in Sri Lankan politics today. However it has largely become a farce where politicians are more concerned about their well being rather than the people whom they represent. Some of these politicians have actually been rejected by the people in subsequent elections, while many have thrived.

Wijayananda Dahanayake, perhaps the most famous politician to have come from Galle has contested from a number of political parties in elections. He has been almost consistent in changing political parties and almost consistent in winning elections. One might dismiss his frequency in changing political parties as tricks of political expediency. There is a certain truth in it. After 1952, he did not contest consecutive elections from the same political party, except in 1960 when there were two elections in the same year. However, he did not change political parties for mere personal gain. Sometimes he changed track due to changes in his perception. On other occasions he may have done it for pure eccentricity, for he was quite well known for his eccentric behavior. Meanwhile, it could be said that political parties needed Dahanayake, sometimes more than vice versa. From whichever party he contested, people of Galle would vote for ‘Daha.’
Wijayananda Dahanayake (Artwork by Kavinda Vimarshana)

Dahanayake attracted attention through his politics and sometimes eccentric behavior. He raised black flags to protest against the coronation of King George VI in UK. He is known for the longest speech in parliamentary history of Sri Lanka, which went on for a staggering 13 and half hours. When he was selected as Prime Minister, he would create a new political party, with far-fetched dreams of becoming a powerful alternative to the main parties. This project floundered almost at once. Some years later, when Sirimavo Bandaranaike was in power, he came to parliament in a loin cloth, protesting against the price of cloth.

Born in Galle on October 22, 1905, and educated at Richmond College, he worked as a teacher and published a newspaper too. He was involved in the Suriyamal Movement. In 1939, he was elected as the first Sinhalese, Buddhist Mayor of Galle.

When he wanted to enter national politics, he waited till an opportunity came. It arrived in Bibile, long way from home, where a by-election was held. He was elected from Bibile and entered the State Council.

From the first parliamentary election in 1947, he contested from Galle and generally won most of the elections. First he contested from the Trotskyist Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) and won the 1947 election with a lead of 2496 votes. Five years later in 1952, his lead was 5000 votes.

Soon after the 1952 election, Dahanayake was expelled from the LSSP for welcoming Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake to the ceremony to lay the foundation stone for a Town Hall for Galle. There had obviously been differences between the former revolutionary and his party. This was evident when Dahanayake founded the ‘Sinhala Bhasha Peramuna’ or the ‘Sinhala Language Front’ arguing that Sinhalese should be the official language of the country. From the extremes of the Fourth International, he moved to the other extreme in nationalistic politics within a very short time.

Dahanayake was part of the 1956 Mahajana Eksath Peramuna alliance of SWRD Bandaranaike which crushed the United National Party government. He was pitted against WDS Abeygoonawardena, who would later inflict a humiliation like no other on Dahanayake. But in 1956, the winds of change were aiding Dahanayake, who polled two thirds of the votes in Galle electorate. He was appointed Minister of Education in the MEP government.

Dahanayake had been a staunch supporter of free education. He had led a signature campaign to force the Colonial Secretary abandon his opposition to the Free Education Bill introduced by CWW Kannangara in the 1940s. Given the level of poverty in the country, he saw that free education on its own would not suffice to help the underprivileged children. Therefore, he started serving the school children a bun and a glass of milk daily. Thus he earned the name by which he was known far and wide in the country: Banis Maamaa.

Furthermore, it was the MEP government which elevated Vidyodaya Pirivena and Vidyalankara Pirivena to universities to increase the space for tertiary education to those children who were leaving schools.

Dahanayake was handed over the post of Prime Minister when SWRD Bandaranaike was assassinated. However, he had not been a Sri Lanka Freedom Party member. He must have felt the pressue of the job he had been handed. He raised the wall of the official residence at Temple Trees and sometimes fired ministers overnight. The MEP disintegrated. Even the SLFP was facing a crisis. Dahanayake added to that crisis by forming Lanka Prajathanthravadi Pakshaya (LPP) or ‘Ceylon Democratic Party.’ In the subsequent election, the LPP contested in most of the seats, except in the north and east, and lost in most of them as well.

The crushing blow came in Galle Electorate. It was perhaps the most staggering of all election results of a single constituency ever in Ceylon. Dahanayake, the sitting Prime Minister, was defeated by the UNP candidate WDS Abeygoonawardena.

The historic election result was as follows (election symbol within parenthesis):
WDS Abeygoonawardena (Elephant) – 10,480
Wijayananda Dahanayake (Umbrella) – 9,997
Vincent Wijenayake (Star) – 411
EWJ Serasinghe (Hand) – 250
AM Ismail (Eye) – 139

Dahanayake’s LPP won a meager 4 seats despite having 101 candidates. It received less than 5 percent of the overall popular vote in the island.

However, the election returned a hung parliament with the UNP winning 50 seats out of 151 seats, while the SLFP won 46 seats. No party could form a government and the parliament was once again dissolved. The next election was set for July.

In the July election, Dahanayake’s LPP ran only six candidates, and two of them won their seats. They included Dahanayake who won the election from Galle, narrowly defeating Abeygoonewardena. Dahanayake received 10,902 votes while Abeygoonewardena received 10,458 votes. The SLFP won 75 seats and formed a new government under the first woman Prime Minister of the world, Sirimavo Bandaranaike.

LPP was not to be the end of the road for Dahanayake. He managed to find himself in the Sri Lanka Freedom Socialist Party (SLFSP) of CP de Silva, which had broken away from the SLFP. In Galle, only a SLFP candidate challenged Dahanayake and he easily defeated him. He was back in his glory. In the UNP led government of 1965-70, which was also called hath havula (alliance of the seven parties), Dahanayake was the Minister of Home Affairs.

The SLFSP joined the UNP soon after and therefore, in the next parliamentary election, Dahanayake contested from Galle under the UNP ticket. This was an election unfavorable to the UNP which fell to 17 seats. In a strange twist of fate, his Dahanayake’s erstwhile UNP opponent WDS Abeygoonewardena was now challenging him from the SLFP. However, this election saw Dahanayake defeating his opponent with a comfortable majority.

In 1977 when the UNP swept the country in an unprecedented electoral victory even Dahanayake could not withstand the current. In this election contested as an independent and lost to the UNP candidate, Albert de Silva. Dahanayake filed an election petition against the winning candidate, and won it. He then joined the UNP for the ensuing by-election in 1979 and easily won it. He remained in parliament until 1989, becoming the Minister of Cooperatives for the last three years.

When Dahanayake died on May 4, 1997, he was the oldest former parliamentarian in the country. His death ended the life of an eccentric politician who changed colors depending on times, politics and tastes, and carried out sometimes comical acts. Despite his eccentricity and sometimes daredevil decisions such as founding his own party, Dahanayake was loved by the people of Galle who repeatedly, and sometimes strangely, kept their faith in him.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Solius Mendis and the Murals at Kelaniya

I am sure most Sri Lankans must have visited the Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya. If not, it is definitely worth a visit because it holds a very important place in Sri Lankan history. Furthermore, it is a very beautiful place located by the Kelani River bank.

One of the most beautiful elements of the Kelaniya temple complex is its new image house. Built in the early part of the 20th century, the walls of this building are adorned with some unique murals. Kelaniya holds a special place in the hearts of artists, art lovers and the ordinary devotees on account of these wonderful paintings. They describe events of the Buddha’s life and the history of Sri Lanka with a special emphasis on Kelaniya.

Image House (Bugu Ge), Kelaniya. Atula Siriwardane, Wikimedia Commons
The Kelaniya murals are the work of Walimuni Solius Mendis, perhaps Sri Lanka’s greatest modern artist. A native of Madampe in Negombo, he did not have a formal education in art. He taught himself in his youth and sought the guidance of experienced artists.

While studying Pali and Sanskrit at Veerahena Vidyarathna Pirivena in Naththandiya, he was drawn towards art when he saw the paintings at the Mawila temple. They were done by his relative Memonis Silva. Solius Mendis wanted to study art and noting his inherent talent for it, Memonis Silva agreed to help him. Soon, the news of the talented artist got around. Solius Mendis got the opportunity to paint murals in several temples including Jayashrika temple in Polonnaruwa, Sumanakusumaramaya in Mawila, Lenagampola Viharaya in Malwana, Kelanigangoda Viharaya in Pitiduva, Habaraduva and Maddepola Rajamaha Viharaya in Giriulla.

During this time, the Kelaniya temple was being renovated under the patronage of Mrs. Helena Wijewardene. She wanted an artist to paint murals on the walls of the image house. Her intention was to use an artistic style unadulterated by Western art. Solius Mendis, who had not learnt his art in an art school, was ideal for the job. Mrs. Wijewardene funded a trip to Ajantha and the Ellora caves in India to expose Solius Mendis to ancient Indian art.

Once in Sri Lanka, Mendis started the project at Kelaniya. It took him 18 long years. He was very patient in his work. Nowhere in the murals can one see undue haste.  He filled the walls and ceiling of the image house in Kelaniya with exquisite murals in a style of his own. His style was a fusion of Indian and Sri Lankan artistic traditions. This style is unique to Solius Mendis and unique to Kelaniya. This style is not seen anywhere else. Before working on the Kelaniya murals, Mendis had not developed his new style. Sadly, Kelaniya was to be his last work of art.

After 18 years of work in Kelaniya, there was one more masterpiece to be done. It was the background for the seated statue of Lord Buddha in the image house. Then, Solius Mendis was given heartbreaking news. He was to be replaced by a foreign artist. Upon hearing this, he calmly left Kelaniya, taking his last bow, never to return. He returned to his people in his village and never painted again. The painting done by the foreign artist is a total mismatch to all that has been painted by Mendis.

Solius Mendis died on September 1, 1975, aged 78. He died relatively unknown, among the local people in his village. But his paintings are still famous throughout the world and stand as a proud landmark in the revival of Sinhalese art.

Monday, October 20, 2014

A Dark Night was Lit-up into Further Darkness

There was a time when Sri Lankans went to sleep each night, not knowing what startling news would wake them up. It was not a time a few generations ago. On the contrary, it was a time most of us still vividly remember.

One such day was October 20, 1995. It was a dark day in the history of Sri Lanka. The dark sky lit up, taking the country to further darkness. It was the day on which the LTTE launched a sensational attack on the Kolonnawa petroleum refinery in the suburbs of Colombo.

For the LTTE, night or day did not matter. But Sri Lankans had been shocked by several incidents which had taken place at night, and were fearful of each and every night. People were fearful of the day also. They feared the man or woman who might be standing near them, for him or her could have been a suicide bomber. The LTTE tactic of instilling terror was succeeding.

In October 1994, a year before Kolonnawa, the United National Party presidential candidate Gamini Dissanayake and many others including several other leaders of the party were slain by a female suicide bomber. At the time, the LTTE was in a ceasefire with the government. In April 1995, exactly six months after Dissanayake was assassinated, the LTTE broke the ceasefire with a treacherous night time attack on two Navy gun boats in Trincomalee Bay. Exactly six months after that, a night time attack on Kolonnawa refinery shocked the entire nation.

The Sri Lankan Armed Forces had launched Operation Riviresa to liberate Jaffna from the LTTE tyranny only a few days back. Kolonnawa attack seemed to be the answer the LTTE gave the government.

It was early hours of the day. Those who had gone to sleep on the 19th, woke up much earlier than they wanted, hearing the shocking news. Those who lived in and near Kolonnawa woke up even before, hearing the explosions. As a child, I remember seeing the night sky illuminated by the orange color of the flames generated by the burning oil. Thick black smoke was emitted. Later in the day, rains brought down the black substance to our gardens. It was a sad realization of the dark future which lay ahead.

The LTTE had embarked on a deliberate campaign of economic terrorism. In just three months, it was to launch a staggering day time attack on the Central Bank of Sri Lanka in the economic heartland of the country in Colombo. The LTTE had chosen busy office hours to cause the maximum damage to human lives as well. Dozens died; more than a thousand injured. Dozens lost their eyesight. That day, Colombo Fort was in utter chaos. The attacks on Kolonnawa and the Central Bank were staggering blows on Sri Lanka’s economy.

The LTTE would continue its ruthless campaign which they called a “war of liberation” with no regard whatsoever for human lives. The LTTE created fear and managed to thrive in it. People were pessimistic of the ability of the government to militarily defeat the LTTE due to its strength and ruthlessness.

However, the LTTE was finally defeated militarily in 2009. Five years have passed and the country is rebuilding. The process may have its shortcomings and it is vital to correct them. Also, it is important to remember the past so that no one forgets how it is to be in the middle of a war.

Dambadeniya Raja Maha Viharaya

In 1215, an invader named Kalinga Magha, took control of Polonnaruwa with a large army. The city of Polonnaruwa and the entire Raja Rata area came under his control. Fearing the invasion, some Buddhist monks removed the sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha, the symbol of kingship, from Polonnaruwa. They hid it for safety in Kotmale in the upcountry. Meanwhile, Sinhalese leaders fled Raja Rata and established themselves in other areas as regional rulers.

One of these regional rulers was Vijayabahu at Dambadeniya. He established his palace by the Dambadeniya rock, which is called the “Palace rock” or “Maliga Gala” today. The remains of the palace are still there. But the main attraction of the ancient Dambadeniya kingdom is the main Buddhist Temple he built, which is named in his name as “Vijayasundararamaya.”
The old Dalada Maligawa (Temple of the Tooth) in Dambadeniya

Vijayabahu established himself as the principal leader among the regional Sinhalese leaders. He was able to convince some regional leaders to his side with diplomatic tactics. More importantly, he was able to convince the Buddhist monks to hand over the Tooth Relic to his care. He was crowned as Vijayabahu III at Dambadeniya in 1232. However, since Dambadeniya was still susceptible to enemy attacks, he kept the Tooth Relic at Beligala temple for safety.

In 1236, upon the death of Vijayabahu III, his son was crowned as Parakramabahu II. He continued his father’s religious work and also built a formidable army to defeat Kalingha Magha, who was still in Polonnaruwa. Since he had a stronger army and Dambadeniya city was now well fortified, he was confident to bring the Tooth Relic to the Vijayasundararamaya. He built a two storied building as a Dalada Maligawa. This remains the main attraction in the temple today. It is the most exquisite ancient construction in the temple. There are some beautiful paintings in the building. Much of the paintings have been done in the Kandy period during the renovation of the temple. But there are some paintings which belong to the Dambadeniya era itself.
Paintings in the outer wall of the Dalada Maligawa

There is one other building which is also interesting. It is the building which acts as a shelter to a small dagaba. It is thought to be the building which housed the sacred Tooth Relic before it was moved to the main Dalda Maligawa.

The kingdom of Dambadeniya did not have a long history. In 1255, Parakramabahu II finally chased Magha out of Polonnaruwa. But the ancient city was in such a derelict state that the king chose to remain in Dambadeniya. In 1270, he died and was succeeded by Vijayabahu IV. The new king, who was a kind person, was killed by one of his military commanders in 1272. However, this commander was unable to seize control of the kingdom. Buvanekabahu, the brother of Vijayabahu IV, defeated him and came to the throne. He relocated the capital to Yapahuva.

If you are travelling from Colombo, the easiest route to Dambadeniya is through Ja-ela, Minuwangoda, Divulapitiya, Giriulla to Dambadeniya. This is the Colombo-Kurunegala (No 5) bus route. The distance from Colombo is about 75km. From Dambadeniya there is about 30km to Kurunegala. There are a lot of places of historical value in this area. We will be discussing about some of them in the near future.

If you go to Dambadeniya, visit the small museum administered by the Archeological Department. You will learn about ancient folklore of the region from the officers there. The remains of the royal palace are also not far away.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Parents in Russia Name their Son 'Lucifer' Creating Outcry

A boy born in Perm, Russia, has been named Lucifer by his parents, the local media reported citing the Kirov registry office that issued the birth certificate.

"My husband and I are Satanists. I wanted to name him Lucian, and he - Lucifer, but I had a very difficult birth, and I promised that if the baby survives, we'll call him Lucifer. All went well, so I kept my promise, " Natalya Menshikova, the child's mother has reportedly said.

She believes that her son will be popular as a teenager with that name, but has admitted that "as a child probably will not be very easy," gazetta.ru reported.

Satan is seen by the main religions as an evil figure which will lead mankind astray. On the contrary, Satanists see him as a liberating figure. Satanists are a diverse group, and their common feature is the admiration for Satan. They are a small but widespread group in the Western world.

The name Lucifer derives from Latin words that mean "light-bringing" and had once been used to signify a "morning star," but has long been seen by many Christian believers as synonymous with Satan.

The Moscow Times reported that family members and Christian organizations were shocked by this decision. "Satanists called a baby Lucifer," Dmitry Enteo, the head of God's Will movement, said via Twitter, as reported by The Moscow Times. "We will send a request to child welfare and have him handed over to an Orthodox family, where after christening his name will be Mikhail."

Meanwhile TASS news agency said that the Orthodox Church was willing to baptize the child under its terms. A spokesman for the Perm region branch of the Russian Orthodox Church had said the church would be willing to baptize the boy, but only to give him "the name of a saint, not the devil."

Gadaladeniya Temple

Gadaladeniya temple is located close to Lankatilaka temple. Similar to Lankatilaka, this temple was also commissioned by the first king of Gampola, Buvanekabahu IV. Gadaladeniya also shows signs of South Indian influence and is associated with both Buddha and God worship. Professor Indrakeerthi Siriweera describes Gadaladeniya as a “synthesis of Buddha and God worships”

Gadaladeniya can be reached by turning off at Pilimathalawa to Davulugala road. It is only about a kilometer from Colombo-Kandy Road. It is said that the temple was built on the initiative of a Buddhist monk named Silavamsa Dharmakeerthi Thera. Dharmakeerthi Thera had lived for a small period as a student of a Chola monk in South India. The architect of the temple was also a South Indian named Ganesvaracharya. Therefore, it is no wonder that Gadaladeniya shows considerable South Indian influence in its architecture.

In its earliest days, Gadaladeniya temple may have had another name. In the book Nikayasangrahaya, the temple is named as “Saddharmatilaka Viharaya.” However, in the Saddharmaratnakaraya written in the 15th century, the temple is mentioned as Gadaladeniya.

The main shrine in Gadaladeniya temple is mostly constructed of granite. The porch at the entrance is its most striking feature. Its roof is built of huge monoliths and is supported by stone pillars. These pillars are adorned with sculptures such as lotuses, dwarfs, dancers, lions, flute players and wrestlers.

This shrine room is devoted to Lord Buddha. The main feature of the shrine room is the seated Buddha statue. Seated on a Vajrasana (Diamond Throne) this Buddha image is in the dhyana mudra (meditating posture). There is a standing bronze Buddha statue by this main Buddha statue. It is different from the typical Buddha statues in Sri Lanka. Therefore, it is probably a statue brought from India or South East Asia.

The interior of this image house has been decorated with paintings. This is the initial stages of the Kandyan style of paintings. Similar to later Kandyan paintings, the main colors used are red, yellow and black. Sadly, only some patches of the original paintings are preserved today. Other paintings may have been added during later renovation work by kings Parakramabahu VI (1412-1467) and Viraparakrama Narendrasinghe (1707-1739).

There is a small, beautiful dagoba (stupa) protected by a tiled roof at Gadaladeniya. Four surrounding stupas are of much later addition. Furthermore, there is a Upulvan Devalaya, dedicated to the God Upulvan. A Dadimunda Devalaya is also seen in the temple premises.

Gampola era saw a continuation of the literary traditions of Kurunegala era and Gadaladeniya was probably the literary center of the kingdom. The book Nikaya Sangrahaya was the work of Jayabahu Devarakkhitha Thera, a student of Silavamsa Dharmakeerthi Thera. It tells the history of Buddhism in Sri Lanka from the times of Buddha to king Buvanekabahu V. Saddharmalankara, Balavatara and the Pali poetic work Jinabodhavali were all written by resident monks of Gadaladeniya in the 14th century.

Source: “Heritage of Sri Lanka” by Professor W. I. Siriweera
Pics:  Dr. Irantha Karunaratne

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Sirimavo Bandaranaike made the world stand to attention

In early September, 1961, leaders of 25 nations met in the Yugoslav capital of Belgrade to found the non-alignment movement. Among those who gathered were giants of world politics of the day, including Yugoslavia’s Marshal Josip Broz Tito, President of the United Arab Republic Gamal Abdel Nasser and Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. The organization marked the ending colonial age as around half the members were African countries which had been independent only for a few years. Among the leaders from around the world, there was one unmistakable person from Ceylon. She was world’s first female Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike.

Sirimavo (Drawing by Kavinda Vimarshana)
I am happy to attend this great assembly not only as a representative of my country but also as a woman and a mother who can understand the thoughts and feelings of the millions of women, and mothers of this world, who are deeply concerned with the preservation of the human race,” Sirimavo Bandaranaike said addressing the Belgrade Summit.

The concern for the preservation of the human race was a growing issue in the early years of the Cold War, when United States, on one hand, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), on the other, were engaged in a nuclear arms race. People in the so-called the Third World, who were gradually emerging from the colonial era, were concerned that their future would be in jeopardy in the backdrop of a nuclear war. It was a matter of life and death to the people concerned.

Middle path

Non-alignment was an idea generated as a response to the Cold War. In a world which was becoming increasingly black and white, some leaders in the so-called ‘Third World’ were for a middle path. Apart from Tito, Nasser and Nehru, who were the main proponents of this concept, there was considerable support to this idea from other nations. The states following this idea were erroneously named as ‘uncommitted’ by some detractors. Ceylon’s Prime Minister SWRD Bandaranaike, who also supported a middle path in world politics, put aside these erroneous definitions in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly in 1956. “We are supposed to be uncommitted nations. I strongly object to the word. We are committed to the hilt. We are committed to preserve decency in dealings between nations; we are committed to the cause of justice and of freedom as much as anyone is.”

Sirimavo Bandaranaike ended up in politics following the tragic circumstances of the assassination of her husband. After SWRD Bandaranaike was assassinated in September 1959, not only his electoral alliance, but even the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) was in danger of disintegrating. The remaining leaders of the SLFP asked Sirimavo to lead the party at this juncture.

In international politics, she tried to follow her husband’s footsteps. In January 1964, she made this very clear in a speech to the Senate of the Parliament of Ceylon. “Underlying the policy of non-alignment is the belief that independent nations, although small and militarily weak, have a positive role to play in the world today.”

Sirimavo would play a positive role in several matters in world politics especially in her mediating attempts during and after the Sino-Indian War of 1962 and her proposal of an Indian Ocean Peace Zone. The proposal of an Indian Ocean Peace Zone was later adopted and promoted by her friend Indira Gandhi. However, in the world which was dominated by the Cold War politics, this came to naught.

Peace zone

Sirimavo Bandaranaike went to a more dogmatic form of non-alignment than her husband. A small nation like Ceylon could not afford to antagonize either side of the political divide. However, some of her more radical steps did not go well with certain western powers. Therefore, there was a certain animosity developed between the western powers and Ceylon especially during the second term of her as Prime Minister (1970-77). Even during the first term, she had nationalized petroleum distribution and taken some other measures which perhaps led to the abortive military coup of 1962. She would later complain about the “rapacious designs of the west,” antagonizing some western leaders.

She attended the first five of the non-aligned summits, the last of hers being the summit in Colombo in 1976. Despite her opponents’ criticisms, it was a well planned event and brought international fame to Sri Lanka.While non-alignment and Cold War are both stories from history, Sirimavo’s proposal of an Indian Ocean Peace Zone is a very valid concept now more than ever before. In the 1970s, her proposal was more concerned by regional security. However, Indian Ocean is an integral part of the vital trade routes in a rising Asia. Ongoing discussions on a 21st century Maritime Silk Route and an Asian Pacific Zone have given new dimensions to the international politics of today. Security of the Indian Ocean is therefore vital for regional as well as outside powers. Sri Lanka, as a small country, which can play a bigger role, should start promoting Sirimavo Bandaranaike’s concept of an Indian Ocean Peace Zone once again.

Originally published in 'The Nation' on October 12, 2014.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Quiz with Chamara Sumanapala. Part 23: Football World Cup 1966-70

Football World Cup arrived in the birthplace of the game, England, in 1966. This tournament saw the home team win the world cup for the first and only time up to date. It also saw the inclusion of some new participants, who did not fail to entertain the football fans around the world. The final ended in controversial circumstances, with one goal by Geoff Hurst still being debated about. However, West Germany lost that game as England emerged champions.

In 1970, the wonderful game went to Mexico to decide on a champion. This tournament saw what turned out to be perhaps the best ever football team, in the form of the Brazilian team. Led by Carlos Alberto, the team work of this star-studded team was applauded by many. For example, one of their goals against the Italian team in the final is applauded by some fans as the best collective goal ever in a World Cup.

The 1970 World Cup also saw the telecast of the matches by color television for the first time. Seeing their favorite stars in full color from their living rooms left a lasting impact on the football fans at that time.

1. The Jules Rimet Cup awarded to the winner of the World Cup was stolen while on display four months before the 1966 World Cup kicked off. It created a serious crisis, which was avoided a week later by a Collie dog. He found the trophy, hidden in a downtown garden hedge in South London. It was wrapped in a newspaper. The mystery of the theft was never revealed. What was the name of the dog who found the stolen trophy?

2. The year 1966 saw the North Koreans play their first ever Football World Cup finals tournament. In the preliminary round, they defeated the Italians 1-0. This is considered to be the most humiliating defeat suffered by the Italians in an international football game. In 2002, Daniel Gordon directed a BBC documentary on the North Koreans who played the game. What was the name of this documentary?

3. North Korea faced Portugal in a 1966 World Cup quarter final and after 25 minutes were 3-0 up. However, Portuguese striker Eusebio had other ideas. He singlehandedly destroyed the North Koreans, helping his country win a 5-3 victory. Eusebio died early this year. He was a native of a Portuguese African colony. In which present day country was Eusebio born?

4. In the 1970 World Cup, Brazil, Italy and Uruguay were all selected for the semi finals. They had won the world cup twice each before. It was agreed that if any of them won the tournament in 1970, they should be given the permanent ownership of the Jules Rimet Cup. Brazil won the tournament and the cup was permanently handed over to them. (Later it was stolen, and has never been found). What other team was selected with these three teams for the semi finals in 1970?

5. In the 1970 World Cup, Peru reached the quarter finals, where they gave a good fight to the formidable Brazilians. A 21 year old footballer scored in all four matches Peru played, scoring five goals in total. In 1978 World Cup, he scored 5 more goals. Thereby, he became the only player to score five goals each in two editions of Football World Cup. Nicknamed El Nene (The Kid) for his boyish looks, he was selected as the South American Footballer of the Year in 1972 and was instrumental in the sensational Copa America victory in 1975. With 26 international goals in 81 matches, he is the all time leading goal scorer for his country. Who is he?

Answers to Quiz 22: Latin American Literature

1. Domingo Sarmiento
2. Nicaragua
3. Gabriela Mistral
4. Mario Vargas Llosa
5. Isabel Allende

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Why ISIS Marched on Baghdad

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, also known as the Islamic State of Syria and the Levant, was having a good time in Syria. From March 2013, it controlled Raqqa, a city of more than 200,000 people. While the anti-Assad rebellion in Syria’s western provinces was in retreat, the ISIS was in effective control of much of the east.

However, after being in control of much of Syria for a long time, ISIS suddenly burst into the limelight by sweeping across vast areas in Iraq, even taking control of the country’s second largest city, Mosul. The speed in which Mosul fell suggests some support was given to the ISIS from Iraqi security forces. However, the speed in which they captured vast areas of the country scared the Iraqi regime, forced its otherwise unassailable Prime Minister to resign and the country to seriously consider the threat to the capital, Baghdad. Meanwhile, ISIS was in the western media spotlight all of a sudden.

Baghdad (Wikimedia Commons)
After attracting total attention, ISIS started to market itself. It intensified its social media campaign which is miles ahead of many other groups and political parties in the world. Videos of its brutal killings of captive soldiers and then even US hostages were released, horrifying the world and establishing how barbaric their rule can be.

However, this was not new to ISIS at all. For more than a year, ISIS has been using brutal methods in suppression and intimidation against millions of people who had the misfortune of falling into areas under its control. Syrian regime soldiers and even opposition were special targets. If a soldier fell captive, it was most unfortunate. Even dead bodies were not spared. However, this was lost in the massive news output in mainstream media which had other things to consider. Syria was a far off battle and a battle against the enemy of the west, Bashar Al-Assad.

However, the new spotlight on ISIS meant that such brutalities would not go unnoticed anymore. This was used by the group to advertise itself. Its next step was transforming itself into something even more superior. After taking over large areas in Iraq, they denounced the ‘sham’ borders drawn by westerners after World War I and dismantled the Iraqi-Syria border. Thereafter, it claimed legitimacy by declaring a Caliphate. The organization was also renamed Islamic State (IS) and the ‘caliph’ Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi appeared in public. By these steps, the IS created a sense of authenticity in the people. The Islamic State is not a movement like the Taliban, whose leader is nowhere to be seen. The ‘caliph’ of the so called “Islamic State” is a man who appears in reality.

The sudden outburst of the ISIS, or the IS, has apparently confused the western governments including the US. Today, the west is encouraging a hodgepodge alliance of Kurdish Peshmerga and Iraqi forces to fight the ISIS. Meanwhile the western powers are apparently searching for other methods of tackling the ISIS.

The question as to why the ISIS overran parts of Iraq comes to mind, given the sudden interest it has attracted from the authorities in the western countries which have now for the first time started to think about the threat it poses. It seems to be unwanted attention for the group. If it had been in Syria, it would not have created much of an interest. However the situation has been changed dramatically by its operations in Iraq. Perhaps it has overstretched itself as the limited setbacks in Iraq suggests.

However, the ISIS has gained several advantages by its excursion into Iraq, which can be used in the long run to strengthen the movement. Syria had come to a sort of a stalemate between the regime and the ISIS. Therefore, both sides were in need of a serious source of support to gain the upper hand. ISIS may have been trying to achieve this by its Iraq operation.

ISIS gained immense propaganda and a source of funds by this excursion into Iraq. It has been suggested that ISIS economy runs on extortion and oil piracy. Iraq opens new fields of operations for the ISIS. Also it is a source of new recruits. In Syria, ISIS had a systematic process of recruiting men and even boys to the movement. It was also a huge propaganda machine which strives to brainwash the people and instill its ideology, creating a hard core of supporters and fighters in its strongholds. By widening the operational area, the ISIS was looking to expand these.

The idea of the Caliphate and the images from the war zone has immense propaganda value even in foreign countries, especially the west. At least a section of Muslim youth in the west is bound to be impressed by the ISIS propaganda. ISIS is no mere figment in imagination. It has modern tanks, anti-aircraft artillery and other heavy weapons. It has created a ‘Caliphate’ and has a ‘Caliph’ to lead the ‘true believers.’ It is a potent force.

It is obvious that the Iraqi excursion has also created opposition to ISIS. However, ISIS can afford this. The opposing groups will resist the ISIS in Iraq. However, they will not most probably go into Syria. Iraqi Kurds will not move into Syria for obvious geopolitical reasons. Iraqi forces are anyway too weak to fight the ISIS alone. Therefore, ISIS can always retreat back to Syria, still full of strength.

The only alternative way to defeat ISIS in Syria will be an international effort. However this opens new possibilities in the area. With the Assad regime and the Western Powers unable to see eye to eye in the matter, it looks a far distant reality.

Furthermore, this gives the west a chance of interfering actively against even the Assad regime in the name of defeating the ISIS. Certain quarters are now accusing Assad of actually aiding the militants. Perhaps these accusations are a prelude to unimaginable things to come. Only time will tell.

Originally published in 'The Nation' on Sunday, Sep. 7, 2014.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Quiz with Chamara Sumanapala. Part 22: Latin American Literature

Latin America spans a vast territory from Mexico down to the lowest tip of South America. These nations share a roughly common history during the last five centuries, which saw a sequence of events; European conquest, subjugation of local people, colonial rule, independence and the reassertion of the native people. Many countries were former colonies of Spain and Brazil was a former colony of Portugal. Therefore, these two languages are widely spoken in Latin America and the literature is also mainly in those languages.

Pre-Columbian (before Columbus landed in the New World) people in Latin America had a lot of oral traditions and little written literature. Therefore, it is only after the European conquest that written literature was introduced. Towards the latter part of the 19th century, a distinctly Latin American literature took shape.
Pablo Neruda

1. Early Latin American writers were philosophers and political commentators. One such person wrote a criticism of the Argentine dictator Juan Manuel de Rosas from exile in 1845. Titled Facundo, it first appeared on a newspaper in Chile and was published as a book only in 1851. This work established the writer as a leading political commenter. He was an educationalist too. In 1868, he became the seventh president of Argentina. Who was he?

2. In late 19th century, the poetic movement known in Spanish language as modernismo (modernism) was born in Latin America. This was the first literary movement in the region which had an impact on literature of other regions as well. The first work of this style was Azul, by Ruben Dario. Born in 1867, he died at the relatively young age of 49. Azul was published when he was just 21. Dario’s birthplace was a town called Metapa, about 90 km from the capital city of his country. Today, the city has been named Ciudad Dario (Dario City). In which country was Dario born?

3. In 1945, a Chilean poet became the first Latin American to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. She is still the only female Latin American to have been awarded the prize. Born Lucia Godoy Alcayaga, she was best known by her pen name. What was the pen name of this poet?

4. Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, also known as Gabo, was one of the proponents of the Latin American literary boom of the 1960s. His “Cien anos de Soledad” (One Hundred Years of Solitude) was one major influence on it. Other writers associated with this boom were Argentinian writer Julio Cortazar, Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes and a Peruvian writer. This writer, who is now 78 years old, started his career as a left-wing writer but ended up being a conservative. He even ran for the presidency in Peru in 1990, but was defeated by a virtual newcomer to Peruvian politics with part Japanese ancestry, Alberto Fujimori. In 2010, this writer received the Nobel Prize in Literature, the last Latin American to be awarded the prize as of now. Who is he?

5. The 1973 military coup in Chile had a devastating impact on the country’s most famous poet Pablo Neruda. Neruda died a few days after the coup. A few years before, he gave an interview to a female journalist when he is said to have advised her that her imagination was too good to be a mere journalist. Following the coup, she fled the country and heeded the advice of the great man. In 1982, her first novel “The House of Spirits” became a best seller. She followed magical realism in some of her notable works. Who is she?

Answers to Quiz 21: Football World Cup 1958-62

1. Manchester United
2. Wales
3. Just Fontaine
4. Carlos Dittborn
5. Italy

Friday, October 3, 2014

The song of a continent, “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrica”

When Enoch Sontonga created the first two stanzas of a song for his school choir, even he might not have envisaged a future for the song beyond the walls of the school or the community. However, the message given in the song “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrica” (Lord Bless Africa) and the tune has since captivated and motivated the hearts of tens of thousands of Africans in his own country and beyond.

Enoch Mankayi Sontonga was a Xhosa from Eastern Cape and was trained as a teacher. After the training, he started working at Methodist Mission School in Nancefield, near Johannesburg. He was also the choirmaster and was just 24 when he made the first stanzas of the now famous song in his mother tongue, Xhosa. No one can be sure if the tune is exactly his as there are conflicting views. But it is certain that the initial step in the long journey of the song “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrica” was taken by Sontonga.

First sung publicly in 1899, the song spread far and wide slowly but surely. As the battle against the white rule was formulating, the song found a new appeal. It was not a message to violent rebellion. On the contrary, it was completely a religious song which found a new definition through the national struggle of the people of Africa. Nelson Mandela, in his autobiography 'A Long Walk To Freedom' describes 'Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrica' as "hauntingly beautiful." The song called God to bless his people in Africa. God does not regard a color bar even though humans did. Even though the white rulers suppressed the black people, in the eyes of God, all were to be equal.
South African flag (Wikimedia Commons)

It is true that the song represented the sufferings of the oppressed and the hope for a brighter future. However, its significance grew as a result of the circumstances faced by the Africans. It all came from the simple fact that the song was about asking for blessings for a brighter future. For Africans, a brighter future meant a society where all could live as equals. Therefore the song naturally became a symbol of African liberation.

In 1912, the song was played at the first convention of the South African Native National Congress, which would later become the African National Congress (ANC). In 1925, the ANC would make “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrica” its official anthem. It would be sung far and wide in South Africa and also in parts of Africa beyond the borders of that country.

The song appealed to many Africans beyond South Africa, especially at the age when colonialism was declining and Pan-Africanism was growing as an ideology. Therefore, the song became famous in certain countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. In 1961, Tanganyika chose a Swahili version of the song as its national anthem. Meanwhile three other countries used the song as its national anthem. Zambia used it from 1964 until 1973 when it started using a different song in English to the same tune. Zimbabwe used a Shona and Ndebele version of the song as its national anthem for 14 years after independence, changing it in 1994. Namibia, which was also under the Apartheid rule of South Africa for years, chose the song as its national anthem provisionally when the country gained independence in 1989. In many of these countries the song remains popular. Meanwhile, from 1994, the song has been a part of the national anthem in South Africa.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Quiz with Chamara Sumanapala. Part 21: Football World Cup 1958-62

The Football World Cup saw some changes during the 1950s and 1960s. The 1958 tournament held in Sweden was one of the ‘friendliest’ tournaments which culminated in the victorious Brazilian team taking a lap of honor around the stadium carrying a Swedish flag. It was also the first televised Football World Cup. The tournament also saw a 17 year old Brazilian named Pele reaching international fame.

The 1962 World Cup was played under tragic circumstances, after the host country, Chile, suffered the largest earthquake ever recorded in 1960. Thousands died and tens of thousands of people were left homeless. Yet the tournament was played in 1962 and Brazil defended their title easily.
The Brazilian lap of honor with the Swedish flag, 1958

1. The 1958 World Cup was the only world cup in which all Home Countries (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales) qualified for the tournament. England team participated in the backdrop of a tragedy, the Munich Air Disaster of February 1958, which resulted in the untimely deaths of several players from an English football club, including three England international players. What was this club?

2. Pele scored his first World Cup goal in the quarterfinals of the 1958 tournament. Although Brazil was playing a much less fancied team, this goal, coming in the 66th minute, was the only goal scored in the whole match. Against which country did the Brazilians play in this match?

3. In 1958, the French team easily led their group and qualified through quarterfinals against Northern Ireland with ease. However in the semifinal, they met the Brazilian team which came to its best and defeated the French easily. Pele scored a hat-trick in this game. This ended the World Cup career of a French striker, who had scored 13 goals in the tournament. This makes him the top scorer of a single World Cup tournament. Born in Morocco in 1933, he started his career with a club in Casablanca, later moving to France. Who was this striker?

4. The 1960 Valdivia earthquake destroyed most of Chile and many cities which initially hoped to host the World Cup matches pulled out. There were discussions of moving the venue to another country. But, the Chairman of the Organizing Committee stubbornly refused to back down. He coined the phrase “because we don't have anything, we will do everything in our power to rebuild” and insisted Chile should still be the host. The tournament was a success. However, the Chairman of the Organizing Committee did not live to see its success. He died a month before the start of the tournament. The stadium in Arica was renamed in honor of him. Who was he?

5. The 1962 tournament saw the extraordinary success of the home team Chile. Coming second in their first round group behind West Germany, they caused a major upset when they defeated the Soviet Union 2-1. This proved to be a surprise to even some of the Chileans. They changed the venue of their semifinal against Brazil to Santiago, so that more people saw the game. However, Brazil was far too powerful for the Chileans, and was defeated by them 3-1.
During the group stage, Chile played a match against a European side, which was marred by violence. The match was won by the home side 2-0. However, the violence was so intense that the match was dubbed “The Battle of Santiago.” With which country did Chile play this game?

Answers for Quiz 20: Football World Cup 1958-62
1. England
2. Rio de Janeiro
3. Brazil
4. Sepp Herberger
5. Austria