Two distinguished scholars, Professor James W. Gair of Cornell University and Professor W.S. Karunatillake of Kelaniya University, worked together to promote the understanding and study of Sinhala and South Asian linguistics for nearly five decades, from 1965 until Professor Karunatillake’s untimely death in 2012. One focus was the preparation of teaching materials — they collaborated with other scholars to produce textbooks for Sinhala, Tamil and Pali. Their most sustained collaboration, however, was an English translation of the Sidat Sangara, a medieval Sri Lankan scholastic work written as a guide for the composition of Sinhala poetry, which was published in 2013. In July 2014, AISLS held a workshop in Colombo that included responses to the translation and new research on the text.
We present here six photos, supplied by Gair, which illustrate three moments in the long collaboration between these two scholars. The black and white photos were taken at Cornell in 1966, around the time they began work on the Sidat Sangara. The following two photos were taken by Barbara Lust in 1984 or 1985, and show Gair and Karunatillake working by lamplight at Karunatillake’s home in Kelaniya. The final two photos date from 2004, and were taken at Gair’s home in Trumansburg, New York.