This project extends on previous research conducted on rebuilding communities in the wake of disasters in Sri Lanka 2006–2011.
The project commenced in early 2012, documenting the redevelopment of Kalvalai Pillaiyar Temple in Sandilipay, Jaffna District, and the re-emergence of the work of renowned Sri Lankan poet Nallur Sinnathamby Pulavar. A new statue of the poet was erected in 2011 in the temple grounds by the temple community to provide the community settlements around the Kalvalai Pillaiyar temple with an opportunity to re-connect with the poet’s works and teachings on nationality, identity and culture.
The Hindu temple and the works of poets such as Sinnathamby Pulavar is deeply ingrained at the centre of both the public and private spheres of a Sri Lankan Hindu’s life. This project explores the way cultural institutions such as the temple and the works of celebrated scholars and visionaries is constitutive of an intermediary space that is embodied in practice and representation through the collective memory of recitation, participation and celebration. It is contributing significantly towards the reconstitution of the collective wellbeing and resilience of a post-disaster community, especially as in this case.
Chief investigator: Yaso Nadarajah with Professor N. Shanmugalingam, Professor of Sociology, University of Jaffna, Sri Lanka