Daughter saying ‘gatha’ near father’s coffin a tear jerker

Published : 9:15 am  August 6, 2018 | No comments so far |  |  (337) reads | 


By Wasantha Chandrapala   

It was indeed a tear-jerk moment for all those present at the funeral house to see a young girl who was about to leave home to sit for her year five examination reciting a gatha (prayer) at the coffin of her father before leaving home.

Aruna Shantha, a farmer, who was a resident of Pannalgama in Kumana in the Ampara District, had died after being trampled by a elephant while he was returning home after lighting lamps in the paddy-field to stop jumbos from destroying their crops on Friday (3).

Young Vihangi Akarsha, was about to leave for school to start the first chapter of her life, sitting for the Grade 5 Scholarship Examination. Her school principal, who had also arrived at the home to pay her respects, tried her best to console the daughter saying she would never abandon the little girl. It was a very emotional occasion for all those who were present.   

There are about 300 families living in Pannalgama in Ampara where Aruna Shantha lived. He had no permanent income. His elder son was 17 years old. He had sat for the O/L examination but did not proceed further. He had since left for Colombo in search of employment.   

The wife of the deceased recounted the drama of that fateful day, “Last Friday I accompanied my husband when he left for the paddy-field and went to have a bath in the river. I later learnt that he had been rushed to the nearby hospital after being attacked by a wild elephant. We do not own any paddy land. We only cultivate the lands of others for lease.   

Pannalgama school principal Nandani Perera said,”The father of one of my students has been killed. The village is surrounded by forest. People here live under the constant threat of wild elephants. We urge the authorities concerned to find a solution to this quickly in order to protect these hapless people from wild elephants.”