Security Force Headquarters-Kilinochchi (SFHQ-KLN), opening up new vistas of cultural integration for harmony and reconciliation, launched the Army’s first-ever combined Tamil-Sinhala Cultural Troupe, ‘SathRanga’, comprised of newly-enlisted Tamil other rankers, including woman soldiers and Sinhalaese during a ceremony on Thursday (19) at Kilinochchi ‘Nelum Piyasa’ auditorium.
At the invitation of Major General Sudantha Ranasinghe, Commander, SFHQ-KLN, the innovative force behind the project’s conceptual notion and its realization, Lieutenant General Chrishanthe de Silva, Commander of the Army who was making his first field visit to the SFHQ-KLN as the Chief Guest, witnessed the aesthetic skills of those Tamil and Sinhala soldiers, together with the District Secretary for Kilinochchi, Ms R. Kethishwaran and a host of other guests, including parents of those Tamil woman soldiers.
The spectacle, replete with Bharatha Natyam, Kathak dancing forms, etc to the soothing melodies of traditional instruments, like Melam, Nadaswaram, etc which were played by Tamil soldiers themselves and a few other instructors, reverberated, nearly for an hour, amid roars of applause, and the entire cast has been choreographed in consultation with Kilinochchi state officials in charge of Tamil cultural division at the District Secretariat and elsewhere.
All those dancers and artistes were selected from Divisions, Brigades and all battalions under the SFHQ-KLN after properly evaluating their knack for aesthetic talents before they were subjected to a three-month long training with their dancing trainers and instructors for aesthetic studies. SFHQ-KLN employed outside instructors for the project and some have come forward to help voluntarily those budding artistes. Under the first phase, more attention has been paid to the training on rhythmic beats, generally played during Kovil Poojas and other Hindu festivals.
The well-timed project, the first of its kind in the history of the Army, augurs well for the Army and its interactive community projects as well as a catalyst for promotion of ethnic harmony, understanding and reconciliation between the Sinhalese and the Tamils working together in the organization.
A large gathering, including Major General Sudantha Ranasinghe, State Officials at the District Secretariat, school teachers and students, Officers and Other Rankers of the SFHQ-KLN watched the colourful event that went on boards for the first time in the living memory of Army personnel.