Martin Wickramasinghe was born on May 29, 1892. According to the era he lived in, it was surprising that he criticised witchcraft. He believed that witchcraft was misleading people and leading them on to a gloomy path. He said that people shun medical consultations for their dreadful diseases. What was appealing to them was the work of witch doctors, because science was not much popular in every nook and corner of the country during that period unlike today.
People believe in witch doctors and their rituals. Wickramasinghe showed the correct path by opening their eyes through his first novel ‘Leela’. It was published in 1914. He argued with these witch doctors. In is novels Wickramasinghe explores the human mind. His arguments were very strong and to the point. He was a free-thinker not an extremist. The readers get a taste of what true love is by reading about characters like Soma, Seetha, Iranganee, Rohini, Miriguwa, Unmada Chithtra. After gaining scientific knowledge what the reader should read is works like Sathva Sanththiya and Grameeya Vidya Praveeshaya. These are useful for students who study biology.
Reality is Wickramasinghe’s main theme in his writings. He has stayed away from what can’t be believed. Wickramasinghe introduced scientific thinking for writers associated with Sinhala Literature
His novel, Viragaya, is one of the most critical novels produced by a Sri Lankan. Even a qualified psychiatrist may not be able to write a novel like Viragaya. It includes psychological facts. Wickramasinghe conveyed details about some morals to readers. These were associated with the human body and mind. He presented them scientifically and artistically in Viragaya. The main character in Viragaya, Aravinda, fell in trouble and at last he died owing to his unnatural neutralised behavior patterns, which highlighted his sedentary life. He disregards normal customs, ethics in the human life.
His world was confined to himself. Aravinda was confined to bed and he did little physical exercises. His death was linked to a biological result. Being unable to take a decision regarding his love. Depicting Aravinda’s character, Wickramasinghe has underscored significant psychological theories. Wickramasinghe proved his genius by inventing characters with subtle feelings.
Gamperaliya, Kaliyugaya and Yuganthaya highlight the social changes in the Sri Lankan society. Piyal in Gamperaliya is a symbol of manifesting the feudal society into capitalist Society. That is the conversion of feudal era to capitalist era. Wickramasinghe predicted the social changes to take place in Sri Lanka.
Reality is Wickramasinghe’s main theme in his writings. He has stayed away from what can’t be believed. Wickramasinghe introduced scientific thinking for writers associated with Sinhala Literature.
On principle Wickramasinghe excluded dishonesty, fake and falsehood from his scripts. In ‘Apegama’, he severely criticised fake and dishonest people
He wrote some books in English like Buddhist Jataka Stories, Aspects of Sinhalese Culture, Buddhism and Culture, Revolution and Evolution, Buddhism and Arts and Mysticism of Lawrence.
On principle Wickramasinghe excluded dishonesty, fake and falsehood from his scripts. In ‘Apegama’, he severely criticised fake and dishonest people by criticising characters in the likes of Notharis Appu and Daniel Veda Mahattaya for deceiving an innocent person like Koranelis Appu.
Pavukarayata Galgaseema, Wahallu, Magulgedara, Ape Vitthi, Mage Kathawa, Hada Sakki Keema are some of his short-story books. In Pavukarayata Galgaseema, the writer suggests that there should be sympathy for the sinner and not to attack him, but attack the sin.
His excellent philosophical knowledge helped Wickramasinghe write Budusamaya Saha Samajadarshanaya, Buddhadarshanaya Saha Margaya Bavatharanya, etc. They included themes in Buddhist philosophy. His philosophy revolved around ideological materialism and not idealism.
He is a philosopher. It is indisputable. He wrote Bavatharanaya at the age of 83. Wickramasinghe travelled on a different path from his contemporary writers. That is reality.
All his works of art highlight morals and and offer valuable lessons to the present society.
(The writer is a Registered Pharmacist in Galle)