Sujit Sivasundaram is the Director of the Centre of South Asian Studies, Reader in the Faculty of History and a Fellow of Gonville and Caius College. He works on the Indo-Pacific world, with a deep commitment to South and Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean. His last book was ‘Islanded’, on the makings of Sri Lanka. He is co-editor of ‘The Historical Journal’ and a Councillor of the Royal Historical Society.
Category Archives: authoritarian regimes
Rajan Philips, in The Island, 13 October 2018 where the title reads “Checkmate Politics II: Diminishing Options for MS, MR and RW
There is no presidential checkmate after all as many of us were alerted to last week. President Sirisena is in no position to checkmate anyone. No surprise there. He has burnt his boats with the UNP, and even Mahinda Rajapaksa cannot rally everyone in the JO to support a new political arrangement with the old defector. It is now reported that Maithripala Sirisena first approached the UNP to canvass for a second term as President with UNP support, and only after being rebuffed by the UNP that he sought an alliance with the Rajapaksas. It is also known that there were quite a few meetings between Maithripala Sirisena and Mahinda Rajapaksa, which would only confirm that the former President has been quite serious about pursuing a deal with the current incumbent. And obviously because a second term Sirisena presidency is the only way to secure a path for the now underage Namal Rajapaksa to become president in 2024. That the former President could not get others on board for this scheme shows how tenuous and tentative are the loyalties within the Joint Opposition. Be that as it may.
Sanjana Hattotuwa, in The Island, 29 September 2018, where the title is Ïdentity and Belonging”
Sixteen years ago, I met a child soldier. He had a T-56 and was cocky. The A9 had opened up a few months ago, and taking it to Jaffna with a group of journalists, we encountered a checkpoint manned by the LTTE, past Omanthai. The children at the checkpoint, with guns strung around their torso loosely, were in the LTTE’s signature fatigue. Hostile and demanding, they curtly instructed our driver to provide the documentation to enter the area, which at the time the LTTE provided. One clambered into the driver’s seat as I sat in the passenger seat, knowing that if they wanted to be difficult, we would be stuck here for a while. I smiled. He didn’t. He looked around slowly, T-56 placed on the dashboard.
C. A. Chandraprema, in Island, September 2018, with this title “Cardinal’s words and Mangala’s response”.… the highlighting is the work of the Editor, Thuppahi
The comments made by Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith last Sunday at the Ekala St Matthew’s Church have made waves with Minister Mangala Samaraweera and Saliya Peiris criticising the Cardinal’s words and the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and several Catholic MPs in the Joint Opposition condemning Samaraweera and Peiris for taking on the Cardinal. What the Cardinal said last Sunday during a sermon delivered in Sinhala was roughly as follows.
“The latest religion in the West is the religion called human rights. Human rights were discovered only recently. It is being regarded as a wonderful new discovery which is being held aloft and we are being relentlessly lectured about it. However our people began adhering to religions centuries ago. Some people in our country talk of a secular society. Human life is not just food and drink and the pursuit of comfort. Many people in the West now regard religion as an outer garment. They use religion when it suits them but if they are required to make sacrifices, they put religion aside. Our lives are short and if we limit it to the pursuit of pleasure we will come to an unfortunate end. If we adhere to a religion we don’t need human rights. Those who are dependent on human rights are those who have no religion. We must not be misled by these chimeras. We must look at this intelligently.”
S. Venkat Narayan, in Island, 21 August 2018 where the title is “Sunil Gavaskar: If “Immy” Khan’t usher in a new eram of friendship between India and Pakistan, nobody can”
Sunil Gavaskar, the Indian cricket legend, friend and rival of Imran Khan during their cricketing years, has expressed the hope that Khan will succeed in improving the strained relations between their nuclear-armed countries. “Not just Pakistanis but the Indians also want him to take care of the problems between the two countries and bring a new zest to the relationship, for if Imran ‘Khan’t then nobody can!” Gavaskar declared in a special article published in The Times of India today.
Neville Ladduwahetty,in The Island, 29 August 2018, where the title runs “Interpreting the 19th Amendment”
The hot topic in town is whether former twice elected Presidents Chandrika Kumaratunga and Mahinda Rajapaksa are qualified to seek reelection under provisions of the 19th Amendment. Dr. Nihal Jayawickrama in a legally well analyzed article titled “Disqualifying Twice Elected Presidents – A Failed Endeavour” (Sunday Island, August 19, 2018) argues that since Parliament did not provide in the 19th Amendment, a disqualification that would apply retrospectively former twice elected Presidents are not disqualified from seeking reelection.
This book is both a display and a reflective exercise on the power of imagery, whether from camera or painting or etching. Images can be as captivating as seductive as misleading. They can serve as raw data that provides glimpses of facets of life lost to the modern generations. They must, of course, be deployed by social scientists with attention to context and in association with other forms of data.