Brindha Yesterday. Ruqaya Today. Two different scenarios: yet, as it seems, both sharing the manipulation and grooming of sweet little girls by their parents and ethnic adults in order to press political claims. Pic by James Crowther
But can’t seven to ten year olds think for themselves? Maybe up to a point. Certainly both Ruqaya and Brindha in their different contexts fronted up confidently and spoke lucidly. Had they not been coached though and fired up, and thus moulded by elders whom they trusted? Probably, most of us would say. Continue reading
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Jane Russell, 13 September 2012
This lengthy comment was inserted by Jane Russell in response to Nalliah Thayabharan’s lengthy diatribe against the oppressions of the caste system in the Jaffna Peninsula in the mid-20th century. I believe Russell’s little essay deserves greater prominence and used my prerogative to present it as an article in its own right in thuppahi. Clarification of the background is provided at the end of this post. Web Editor.
There are elements of fascism in every society — the class system in the UK, although ameliorated by a welfare state, still bears a strong resemblance to the brutal Victorian class structure which condemned millions to poverty, misery and death 150 years ago: the underclass in the USA today live in conditions akin to outcastes in Asian societies: in Africa, south and central America, China and Russia, there are millions of victims of proto-fascist social structures –everywhere human beings are divided, either by class or race or religion, and this enables one powerful group to abuse less powerful groups and to justify this abuse on the grounds that members of other groups are less human and deserving. If you want to find an example of modern social fascism, look no further than the gun lobby in the US… but there are so many examples..…..the treatment of homosexuals in certain African states, the mistreatment of Shia by Sunnis in Bahrain, the systematic murder of tribal peoples in central America……… the list is endless and endlessly enduring. Continue reading
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Anoma Pieris: “ ‘Writing that Conquers’: A postcolonial study of Robert Knox,” reviewing Sarojini Jayawickrema, Writing that Conquers’: Re-reading Knox’s Historical Relation of the Island Ceylon, (Colombo, Social Scientists’ Association, 2004, reprinted).
Asoka de Zoysa:“Beyond Olcott and Dharmapala: Coming to terms with Buddhist ritual and tradition,” reviewing Anne M. Blackburn, Locations of Buddhism. Colonialism and Modernity in Sri Lanka, (Colombo, Social Scientists’ Association, 2010).
SEE the BOOK REVIEWS section of thuppahi, courtesy of Polity, vol. 6. nos 3& 4.
Michael Roberts, reproducing an essay that was written in 1993 for a conference in Japan and one which has appeared in Japanese in The Shinso, Jan. 1993, special edition on Nationalism Today ed. by T. Aoki, pp. 127-50; but has not seen print in English. Note that the path towards this essay was prompted by the literary piece which I drafted in 1991: “The agony and ecstasy of a pogrom: southern Lanka, July 1983.” This was reproduced in Exploring Confrontation, Reading: Harwood Academic Publications, 1994.
Victim of communal pogrom, Varanasi, 23 December 1992
Perhaps the most dominant strand in the analysis of ethnicity and nationalism within social sciences has been that which can be described as “utilitarian,” “transactionalist” or “instrumentalist.” The means:ends relationship construed in terms of economic (and thus political) advantage is the dominant principle in capitalist rationality, so this is not a matter for surprise. The instrumentalist perspective comes in several variants. In one version, favoured especially by those emerging from the social sciences in U.S.A., ethnic groups are viewed as interest groups (e.g. Paul Brass 1974 and 1991). Another version is found within the transactionalist emphasis favoured by several anthropologists who emerged from British universities, such as Fredrik Barth (1975), Freddie Bailey (1966 and 1969) and Abner Cohen (1969 and 1974).
Michael Roberts, courtesy of the online journal, Lines, in August 2006 where several horrendous photographs can be found
This article was written when I was a Senior Visiting Fellow at the International Centre for Asian Studies, University of Leiden, Netherlands from September to December 1995; and was published in one of their Newsletters under the heading “Understanding Zealotry & Questions for Post-Orientalism.” The emphasis then was informed by my interest in the embodied emotions that have spurred assaults during pogroms and riots. This section, now designated Part I under an altered title, has been modified in minor ways for this publication, while citations and footnotes have been added. Its arguments have then been elaborated in a second part that also reflects upon the author’s journeys in the interim. In thus underlining the temporal ‘progression’ of his thinking, this article serves to emphasise the continuities in my position within the shifting context of academic production, while yet marking new developments in my experiential understandings. A bibliography has also been added. Obviously, this list has been cast in 2006 and not when Part I was written.
Hindu mob, Bhagalpur
From 1991-95: In late 1991 while engaged in a critical view of the instrumentalist readings of nationalist violence in South Asia, I penned an essay on the anti-Tamil pogrom of July 1983 in Sri Lanka. This article has since appeared under a rather melodramatic title, “The Agony and Ecstasy of a Pogrom: Southern Lanka, July 1983,” in a collection of my essays: viz, Exploring Confrontation. Sri Lanka: Politics, Culture and History (Reading: Harwood Academic Publishers 1994) as well as a journal produced by the International Centre for Ethnic Studies in Colombo to mark the 20th anniversary of this terrible event.[i]
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Edited by Tanweer Fazal as South Asian History and Culture, Issue 3, no. 2, 2012
Tanweer Fazal : Introduction – Minorities and their nationalism(s): the terms of a discourse in South Asia
Sajal Nag: Expanding imaginations: theory and praxis of Naga nation making in post colonial India Continue reading
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Greg Sheridan,** in The Weekend Australian, 31 March 2012
CONSIDER this moment. The young jihadist Mohamed Merah, 23, a Frenchman of Algerian background, has recently killed three French soldiers, two of African heritage and one West Indian. He did this to avenge the actions of French soldiers in Afghanistan. He said to one of the soldiers he killed: “You killed my brothers; I kill you.” Continue reading
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Michael Roberts, 15 March 2012
There are many forces promoting the campaign to haul the Sri Lankan government – and implicitly Sri Lankan society – before the coals through a condemnatory resolution at the UNHCR sessions in Geneva this month. That big power interests (inclusive of their manifest double standards) power this drive is undoubted. That the Sri Lankan governmental agencies over the years 1977-2012 have much to answer for is also clear – though WHO should administer such a process of monitoring and/or accusation, and how practical & useful such a project would be, is far from clear in my mind.
Apart from Tamils seeking vengeance, in my reading it is equally evident that strands of secular fundamentalism centred in INGOs, Western political moralists and Tamil and Sri Lankan activists have also inspired such Continue reading
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