by Thilak S. Fernando

Kuveni, the Yakkini princess, the consort of Prince Viyajya, had two children; a son named Jivahata and the daughter as Disala. Form the well-known fable story we learn that King Vijaya betrayed Kuveniís oath by giving her up and taking a princess from Madhura as his queen consort. When Vijaya announced his intention to Kuveni about his prospective marriage to the Madhura princess of Pandiya, Kuveni pleaded with Vijaya thus: ď Oh, I helped thee to rout the Yakkhas, and raised thee to be king of this Isle. And pledging thy truth. Oh king thou madsít me thy spouse. Didíst not thou then know that I was of the Yakka race Loving thee with unquenchable love, and living in such love, I bore thee two children, husband mine caníst thou now leave me and love another? The gentle rays of the full- orbed moon seem now to be the blaze of a red-hot iron ball. Alas ! How can I soothe my heartĒ?

Vijaya ignored her compassionate plead and resolved to marry the Madhu princess of his own choice. Upon his betrayal, Kuweni scorned him with words of wrath and curse on Vijaya. Vijya should not have listened to his purohitas ( advisers) but not to his own conscience and made the woman who helped him to win the throne of Lanka, the fable goes on.

This curse is believed to have flowed right down the royal lineage and has overflowed to the each and every nook and corner of Sri Lanka over the decades. Vijayaís successor Prince Panduvasudeva was afflicted with some incurable but a deadly disease. At the time Panduvasudevaís illness was directly linked to Kuveniís curse of Lanka in repudiation of Vijaya having had breached his oath. This was the time when Kohomba Kankariya , a thovil ritual was performed, to cure the king.

There are other fables through the length and breath of Sri Lanka to say that other females such as Gajaman Nona who killed her own son born out of her first marriage to satiate her husbands murderous desires and also of the 20th century tragic episode of Mariakade Hamine, due to manís vengeance, as reincarnation of Quveni who had spelt the doom on the curse she scorned on Vijayaís own betrayal to her.

It is thus assumed that the betrayal of Vijaya which followed the inevitable curse not only on Vijaya but the descendants of Hela People as a whole. Kuveniís descendants are the Palinodes who are the ancestors of Sri Lankan aborigines Ė veddahs. When Kuveni cursed Lanka has it stayed on? Looking at things in a different perspective probably there will be no relief from the curse! Why are the Sinhalese not united with each other? Why are they always hell bent on doing harm to one-another instead of helping each other Ė at every level from politicians down to the normal village folk? Why do some Sinhalese, including the high-ranking officers of the uniform, betray their own race and country during the fight against terrorism, which has become a scar tissue in our society and economy? This is more so illustrated in a story about various wells in Hell where there are guards to prevent the sinners getting away. The story goes on to say that its only at the well allocated to Sinhalese that is not guarded because there isnít a need for a sentry; when one tries to escape, ten from below will pull him down! Does all this have any connection to Kuveniís curse on Lanka?

It is also said in this great fable that when Vijaya deserted Kuveni and her children and she cursed him, a leopard cub (tiger) took refuge on her lap. Is the emergence of the Tiger movement of the LTTE then a result of Kuvenís curse?

Probably these propheies have now come true as Sri Lanka is in the grip of Tiger terrorism for the past 14 years. Can all Tiger terrorist activities be regarded as owing to the alleged Dividosa (curse of the Tiger) which Kuveni cursed Vijaya and the country while the tiger cup leaped on her lap as she was abandoned by her very husband Vijaya.

No Kohomba Kankariya exorcism could expel the long seated effects of Kuvenií s curse any more. Today in the middle of this devastating terrorist war the only cure of it rests with the state, opposition parties and all other political groups and NGOís coming together and having a dialogue with the Tigers to end this protracted war running into nearly two decades. Tragically, Lankaís life and Kuweni's life had become almost inextricably interwoven and Peace Kuweni hoped with an almost fervent determination must return to her land, after all this time, even in the millennium. Will Lalith Kotalawela be the modern exorcist to take Kuveniís curse away from Lanka when he meets with Prabhakaran soon - a proposal very much in the pipeline at present?