Sunday, October 24, 2021

A. V. Suraweera

Professor Alankaraga Victor Suraweera (1930-2014), known as A. V. Suraweera was a Sri Lankan academic, historian, literary critic and politician.

Life events
Suraweera was born on 12 October 1930 in Korasa village in Gampaha District (Arangala, 2014). He had his primary education at the Government English School in Gampaha and completed his secondary education at Royal College in Colombo (Arangala, 2014). In 1950, he entered the University of Ceylon and completed a B.A. by 1954 (Arangala, 2014). He obtained the M.A. degree in 1957 for his critical edition of the last four chapters of the Pujavaliya (Arangala, 2014). In 1964, he obtained a Ph.D. for his critical edition of Rajavaliya which was published in 1976 (Sinhala edition) and in 2000 [(English edition) Arangala, 2014]. 
 
Suraweera's career life started when he entered into school teaching in 1954 at Sri Rahula College in Katugastota and later in Ananda College in Colombo (Arangala, 2014). In 1960, he became an assistant lecturer in Sinhala at Vidyodaya University (present the University of Sri Jayawardanapura) and where he held a number of higher positions later (Arangala, 2014). In 1968, Suraweera entered the University of Lowa on a scholarship and in 1977-78 he conducted research at the University of Kent in the UK (Arangala, 2014). He studied ola leaf manuscripts and early Sri Lankan prints in 1992 while working as a visiting professor at the SOAS University (School of Oriental and African Studies) of London (Arangala, 2014). In 1994, the University of Sri Jayawardanapura conferred on him the position of Professor Emeritus and D. lit in 1997 (Arangala, 2014).

After retirement from the university, Suraweera contested the 1994 General Election and was elected as a Minister of Parliament and during this period he worked as the Deputy Minister in Cultural and Religious Affairs (Arangala, 2014). He became the Director-General of the Central Cultural Fund in 2000 and the Chairman of the National Education Commission in 2003 (Arangala, 2014). He was the Chancellor of the Rajarata University of Sri Lanka until his death on 14 January 2014 (Arangala, 2014).

Suraweera has won more than six State Literary Awards. As an honour for his contribution to Sri Lanka scholarship, the government conferred on him the national honorific title of Kalakeerthi in 1898 and Sahitya Ratna in 2008 (Arangala, 2014).

Publications
Suraweera has published five novels, four collections of short stories and a range of scholarly works.
 
Novels
# Heyyanmaruwa (1971),        # Noyan Putuni Gama Hera Da (1975),        # Atta Bindei Paya Burulen (1977)
# Sada Melesa Pura Derane (1980),          # Anduru Duralana Res (1983)

Short stories
# Katath Ma Epawela (1969),     # Pedi Diyata Bora Diya (1970),     # Goduru Loba (1973)   
# Bava Thimira (1984)

Children's books
# Velava Balamu (1982),     # Ujaru Kumari (1985),     # Kala Mediri Eli (1985),     # Suratal Sina Sila (1993)
 
Anthologies in literary studies
# Vichara Vilasaya (1957),     # Sinhala Sahityaya Sampradaya (1966)    
# Navakata Nirmanaya Ha Avabodhaya (1973),     # Samajiya Sahityaya Adyanaya (1982)    
# Sahityaya Vichara Pradipika (1991),     # Sahityaya Vichara Samhita  (1995)
 
Cultural studies
# Anuradhapura Sanskutiya (1959),     # Anuradhapura Samajaya (1964)    
# Sinhala Katikavat Ha Bhikshu Samajaya (1971),     # Lekhana Samiksa (2011)
 
Critical editions of classical texts
# Alakeshwara Yuddhaya (1965),     # Pujavaliya (1961, 1998)    
# Rajavaliya (1976),     # Tisara Sandeshaya (1991)
 
References
1) Arangala, R., 2014. Professor A.V. Suraweera. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka, 59(1). pp.113–116.


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