When author Shelton A. Gunaratne was born in January of 1940 in Pathegama, Sri Lanka, life was simple for the poor people in this sparsely populated village. But it was this village that raised him. Through twenty-six biographical sketches of some of the village's most colorful characters, Gunaratne paints a portrait of what life was like in this rural setting.
This collection of sketches, first published in the Ceylon Daily NewsMyna, the new village head-man; Vel Vidane, an unctuous official and the irrigation headman; cowards Wala Semba and Naamba; Singappuru Basunnehe, the goldsmith; Kankanama, the cinnamon peeler; Kalu Appu, the fierce burglar; Redi Nenda, the humble washerwoman; Menike Nenda, a village beauty; and Kunu Nachchile, the witchlike animal lover.
Demonstrating the Buddhist/Daoist principle that unity and diversity are inextricably interconnected, Village Life in the Forties provides not only a social history, but also a greater global under-standing of the life and times of rural Ceylonese during and around World War II.