The text of Dr. Ariyaratne’s book of Collected Works, Volume 1 has been uploaded to the website. One especially interesting story was this:
Once, when he was convalescing in a village he happened to meet a group of villagers who were in great need to get their tank bund repaired. The villagers showed a thick file which contained their correspondence with the government on the matter.
I got the people to analyse their problems themselves assuming that there was nobody except themselves capable of solving this problem. How many cubes of earth? 200. From where do you get this earth? From the tank bed. What implements do you need to dig this earth and make the bund? Some mammoties, earth pans. Except earth pans, other equipment could be found in the village. Can you suggest a substitute for earth pans? Yes, sheaves of Arecanut leaves and gunny bags. Who can find them? (one offered to find them). How many people hope to work and for how many days to have this job done? Two hundred people working for four days. Tell me, each of you, how many volunteers can you organize for this work? One, two, five, ten, fifteen ….. All right, who is going to feed these two hundred people? (A rich land owner gets up). I will feed all of them for two days Thank you. But let me see, who can feed one man by sharing his meal with another? Several hands went up. Who can feed two, three, four, five Well, now we have enough food without the first offer, for all four days. But let us accept the first offer also and organize a Shramadana Camp (camp to share labour) because I am sure two hundred more will join when they hear that one has started the work on Shramadana …
These are the chapters that have been uploaded: