University students evince artistic and literary skills
The University students and those in other higher educational
institutions who took part in the recent Kavitha talent contest have
shown innate, artistic and literary talents, said Sri Jayawardenepura
University Senior Prof. Sunil Ariyaratna.
It was organised by the Higher Education Ministry. The aim of the
Kavitha contest was to develop the artistic and literary talents of the
degree and diploma students in the universities and the higher education
The Sunday Observer interviewed Senior Prof. Sunil Ariyaratna, Head
of the Kavitha project. The talent show will be held in December this
Excerpts of the interview:
Q:What is Kavitha and the objectives of its talent
A: In Sanskrit Kavitha means artistic and literary skills.
Pratiba too gives the same meaning. Those selected for admission to the
Universities and higher educational institutions formed the cream of our
student community. Although they follow various streams such as Arts,
Science, Commerce and Mathematics they are endowed with latent artistic
and literary talents.
It was in the 1970 our literary Drama and cinema geniuses such as
Prof. Ediriweera Sarachchandra, Prof. Siri Gunasinghe, Dr. Gunadasa
Amerasekera, Gunesena Galappatti, Bandula Jayawardena, Dr. D.B.
Nihalsingha, Dharmasena Pathiraja, Dr. Sunanda Mahendra, Chandrasena
Dassanayaka, came into prominence from the universities.
The university was the nursery for such artistes of literary Drama
and cinematic game to achieve consumption.
Q: How is it that this was changed after 1970s.
Prof. Sunil Ariyaratne
One of the judges Ravibandu Vidyapathi makes a point
A various social, political and economic reasons could be attributed
to this change. During the past 30 years artistic and literary
activities were eclipsed by the veil of politics and eventually driven
to the wilderness. Politics pervaded the landscape and enjoyed publicity
over and above literary and artistic events. There was a dire need for a
mechanism to harness the inborn talents of youth.
The mass media has portrayed university student as troublemakers, or
pickteers. The majority of the university students were not represented
by the trouble-making striking set of students. The mass media gave a
wrong picture about university students due to the non-functioning of a
program such as Kavitha talent evaluation contest.Kavitha was designed
to fullfil that need.
Q: What were the main fields of the Kavitha talent contest?
A: There are seven main fields such as literature, stage
drama, cinema, music, drawings, photography and electronic media.
Q: Has the contest achieved substantial progress?
A: The enthusiasm on the part of the students from 22
universities and affiliated universities and 17 higher education
institutions was remarkable.
The first round of music and dancing were held at the end of last
year. The second round of contests was held at the "Janakala Kendraya in
Battaramulla from May 28 to June 1. The Panels of the Judges headed by
the veterans in literature, music, dancing and electronic media such as
Buddhadasa Galappatti, Dr. Rohana Weerasingha, Ravibandu Vidyapathi,
Prof. Ariyaratna Kaluarachchi, Jayantha Chandrasiri, S.H. Sarath, Newton
Gunaratna, Dr. Praneeth Abeysundara and Parakrama Niriella visited the
universities and other higher educational institutions to select the
best competitors. It is commendable that the volunteers rendered a great
service to ensure the success of this grand event.
A presentation by the performers.
Q: Do you wish to comment on the awards of the contest.
A: For the first time in university history, the winner of
each contest will be awarded a cash prize of Rs. 100,000 and a
certificate. There will also be cash prizes of Rs. 75,000 and Rs. 50,000
for the second and third winners in 54 contests. The cash prizes amounts
to over Rs. 12 million. All contestants will be awarded certificates.
However, some universities failed to extend patronage to promote
literary or artistic skills. Even Prof. Sarachchandra spent his own
wealth to bring about a resurgence in drama.
The final Kavitha award ceremony will be held in Colombo under the
patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Derana TV will telecast the
Kavitha Contest program from Wednesday, June 20.