Writing about Sri-Lankan rivers is a colossal task.
It takes years of devotion and scientific inquiry.
I am not sure why I delved into this, since I knew it is not a task a single person can do alone, especially one being not a specialist in the subject, to begin with.
Probably, our ancient irrigation history has a bearing, especially the last stage of the Kandyan Kingdom, for me to dig in a bit of forgotten history of ours.
The Dumbara Valley is one of the most beautiful places one can visit. I was fortunate to have visited this valley when things were neglected and the people were poor and in remote places with bear minimum to survive.This fact, is still the same in some of these places and they are very infrequently visited by our public servants (teachers in particular) and politicians come only during pre-election campaign.
In my early bachelor days, I had the company of my engineer friends doing hard work to prove, what was considered to be an impossible (30 year program) program and bring into its successful completion from surveying to planning to construction.
Its name is Accelerated Mahaweli Program.
Sure they did it and were the pride of this country.
They were a dedicated lot.
None of them are now here in this country. They were poorly paid and had the talent far exceeding what was paid to them when they were young.
Surly they were bought up by the rich countries.
If any of them read this, first of all “hats off to them”.
If any of them visit here on holidays, I request them to visit those sites they were part of it. They are currently very poorly maintained under politicians who do not have even 8th grade pass.
The farmers are poorly looked after and the water management is a subject of sale to multinationals. It has been hushed up and then put under the carpet, till the heat dies down.
I want them to revisit the past and make contributions for the future sustenance of these Mega Projects.
They also should visit the spectacular waterfalls and ancient tanks and relax with the mind that they had kept the genetic link alive with our ancient civilization.
In the meantime Suriyawewa is a cricket ground and people in the north have no water for drinking leave alone for cultivation. The project was biased towards a segment of the people and another segment was neglected.
In this book brief survey of the project was made. That was not the intention anyway. While the development were focused on few major rivers others were totally neglected and people do sand mining and gemming and do lot of harm not seen centuries ago.
So I take the reader in a narrative glimpse to make him feel part of the civilization based on water gods and water cutting ceremonies.
A foreign reader might not only see the plight of our neglected majestic elephants but also the urge to become a visitor not once but several times and witness the shear natural beauty.