Behind The Lyrics Of Rathna Sri Wijesinghe – I.

Poets are not always born, nor are lyricists. Therefore, it's quite rare to come across someone who is a poet and a lyricist, especially with the ability to convey a powerful message to the society, inspire the readers and paint a picture in their minds with his/her words.
An award-winning lyrical poet in Sri Lanka, Rathna Sri Wijesinghe has gifted many beautiful creations to enrich our local literature for over 5 decades now. Behind every piece of lyrics he has written, there's an interesting story, which makes them truly special, and relatable to the readers. 
So in this series of articles, we look at some of the real-life stories behind his lyrics.

"Chandra Mandale Sangawunu Punchi Saawiye"

The young Rathna Sri Wijesinghe studied at a school in Galle town, which was about 20 miles away from his home. He was staying at the school hostel, and came home every two/ four weeks.
On the side of the road to his home, there was this small carpenter's shed, which he used to stop by to seek shade from the sun, escape the rain, and sometimes, even to rest for a bit. The carpenter and his young daughter lived in a cottage right next to the shed.
Over time, Rathna Sri Wijesinghe developed a good friendship with the carpenter. He used to tell stories about his youth, to Rathna Sri – including how he lost his wife and raised his daughter all by himself. 

One day, Rathna Sri noticed that the carpenter is in an off mood. Out of curiosity, he asked about it, and tears welled up in this father's eyes as he told the reason why. His daughter, whom he raised through many struggles, had eloped with a boy from the city.

This story and all the feelings behind it took deep roots within Ratha Sri's mind. Years after this encounter, he got to read the story "The Station Master" by Alexander Pushkin, which tells a similar story. Uniting both of these stories, Rathna Sri wrote the above song. With the voice of Sunil Edirisinghe, this song lets us step into the thoughts of a weeping father who just lost his daughter.

"Sinhala Sindu Kiyana Nalale Thilaka Thiyana Kirilli"

It was the early 80s. Born into a Sinhala, Buddhist family in the South, Vineetha Samarasinghe Gunasekara fell in love with Balasingham Nadesan, a handsome, young Tamil man from the North. Both of them were police officers who reported to Kirulapone and Mirihana police stations.

This was during the ’83 Black July riots, so both families were strongly opposed to their love affair. Nonetheless, they got married and moved to Nadesan's hometown in the North. The flames of war were already on the rise, which led Nadesan and Vineetha to join the LTTE army. 

Rathna Sri Wijesinghe read this love story on Siwdesa paper, as per the encouragement of Gunadasa Kapuge, who later poured life into the song written by Rathna Sri Wijesinghe. The song was released in 1998 and the couple actually got the opportunity to hear it, and love it. In fact, their daughter learnt this song words by heart.

"Sudu Neluma Ko Sorabora Wawe"

The story behind this song goes all the way back to 1981, when Rathna Sri Wijesinghe was a teacher at Okkampitiya Janapada Vidyalaya. Surrounded by poverty, the students of this school were victimised by its poor infrastructure. Nonetheless, there were many intelligent students in this school, learning their way through poverty, for a better future.

The main character of this story is one such bright young mind. She was in 7th grade, and Rathna Sri Wijesinghe was her teacher. After noticing her absence in class for a few days, Mr Rathna Sri Wijesinghe asked around for her whereabouts and discovered the unfortunate news. She has died by drowning. 

Every day after school, she used to pick flowers from the lake near her home and sell them at the Dematamal Vihara next to it. She used the money she earned to buy the stationery she needed for school and the rest was given to her family. 

It was a rainy day in November. She left home as usual, but never returned home. Some elders of the village, including her father, looked for her all throughout the night, but still, they had no clue about where she is.

Sadly, her lifeless body was found floating on the shore of the lake the next day. She was still carrying some of the lotus flowers she picked the day before. It was such a heartbreaking sight. 

According to Rathna Sri Wijesinghe, the tiny house she lived in, barely had any space to keep her casket. She was dressed in the old, faded school uniform that she used to wear to school every day.

The name of the temple and the lake were changed to preserve the rhythm of the song, but there's much grief behind it, especially with the emotional voice of Pandit Amaradeva. 

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp




Arabia’s Oasis of Flavours – Cinnamon Red

Cinnamon Red Colombo’s top tier fine dining Flavored restaurant has introduced an incredible range of

Highlights Kamu

The weekend Lunch Buffet at Movenpick

Movenpick boasts of its location in the heart of Colombo, its 219 spacious, luxury hotel

Highlights Kamu

High tea with a stunner view at Cinnamon Red

Shamrina Carim An eclectic delicious high tea platter awaits you all 7 days from 3


A warm breakfast at Hilton Colombo

Graze Kitchen being called out one of the finest and elite restaurants in Colombo, makes

Highlights Kamu

Cinnamon Red introduces a Vegetarian/Vegan Buffet

Cinnamon Red, one of the most popular hotels in Colombo introduces a fully Vegetarian/Vegan Buffet.

Highlights Kamu

Ramada High Tea buffet – 2023

High Teas are quite the “Fash-un” these days, and we are stepping into a trendy



5 Spots to experience an Iftar Buffet – 2023

The holy month of Ramadan is approaching in a few days. It’s that festive time

Highlights Trending

Ramada Colombo Celebrates 49 Remarkable Years of Exclusive World-Class Hospitality

The iconic star-class luxury hotel, Ramada Colombo, is owned by the American multinational-World’s largest hotel


Let Her Shine on 8th March at Ramada Colombo.

Celebrate Women’s Day with entertaining evenings, pampered stays, special giveaways, and great dining offers. Show


Quickee- not just another Online Store

Whether you are a busy, working parent or an individual who balances many things during

Highlights Trending

Savour a Plant-Based Feast Every Full Moon at Cinnamon Red Colombo

Colombo, Monday 27th February 2023: Many are the benefits of adopting a plant-based diet. Historically


5 Things You Didn’t Know About Fcode Labs

Sri Lanka’s technology industry has witnessed significant growth in recent years, positioning the country as

Highlights Trending

Yamu Guide.

6 Trusted Pet Food Brands you should know

For awhile, Petmart has established itself as the premier pet shop in Sri Lanka. It

Highlights Yamu Guide

6 Pet Essentials from Pet Mart

Coming home to a devoted friend is the best feeling in the world. A pet's

Highlights Yamu Guide

9 Places to eat Rice & Curry

By RR Yes, pizzas and burgers are amazing but truly nothing can beat a good

Highlights Yamu Guide

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Quickee this year!

It's easy to get caught up in the everyday hustle and bustle of life, where

Highlights Yamu Guide

7 Places to Hike in 2023

Have you ever thought of arranging a travel bucket list to climb a mountain this

Highlights Yamu Guide

Yamu’s Top Restaurant Picks for 2023

New Year, New Reviews? Say “hell yeah”! We have sorted out a few restaurants that

Highlights Yamu Guide