With a mature intellectual tradition and intensive educational provision since the sixteenth century, Jaffna had an edge over the rest of the country, not only in the matter of educational attainment, but also in other inter-related areas, such as a favourable socio-cultural and socio-economic ethos, as well as political awareness to organise themselves. With the attainment of independence in 1948 in the wake of the liberation of India, Jaffna witnessed a gradual decline in all areas, especially with the steady upsurge of ultra-religious and ultra-nationalist chauvinism, and the substitution of demagogic rule for genuine democracy, made possible by a constitution ill-suited to the needs of an emergent nation. While analysing the situation in the light of available evidence, the book goes on to argue the case for decentralisation of government and devolution of centralised power in the interest of the nation.
"Tea from Ceylon!"-those were the words that still ring in my ears from advertisements in the 'fifties, and they always evoked a picture of a magical, exotic island world with acres of rich green tea bushes somewhere beyond the swelling rollers of the Indian ocean. Today "Sri Lanka" doesn't sound as romantic-but if I were to visit that land, I would be sure to take with me a copy of Dr Paramothayan's book. The title Edge of the Lagoon are words, once again, to conjure with! And indeed, the book takes one to the heart of that magical, though turbulent land with its ancient myths and rich mixture of cultures. This is a meticulous, academic, well-researched study or exploration, especially of Jaffna, that region in the northern apex of that triangular land just 22 miles from the southern tip of India, and is well supported by meticulous and accurate footnoting and quotations from the people who have shaped the country.
-Charles Muller, Diadem Books