Category Archives: authoritarian regimes

Sujit Suvisundaram = Director of The Centre of South Asian Studies, Cambridge University

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.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under authoritarian regimes, British colonialism, centre-periphery relations, cultural transmission, economic processes, education, ethnicity, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, Indian traditions, landscape wondrous, life stories, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, power politics, transport and communications, travelogue, world events & processes

Ehaaa. Mehaa. Presidential Manouevres in Sri Lanka

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.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under authoritarian regimes, conspiracies, constitutional amendments, economic processes, electoral structures, governance, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, landscape wondrous, legal issues, life stories, parliamentary elections, performance, politIcal discourse, power politics, Presidential elections, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real

Identity. Belonging, Dignity. Lessons from Francis Fukuyama for Sri Lanka Today

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.

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under accountability, authoritarian regimes, communal relations, cultural transmission, democratic measures, economic processes, ethnicity, governance, historical interpretation, human rights, legal issues, life stories, LTTE, politIcal discourse, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, Tamil Tiger fighters, truth as casualty of war, world events & processes

Beware the Global Human Rights Mafia and Their Sri Lankan Parrots

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.”

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, american imperialism, atrocities, authoritarian regimes, cultural transmission, democratic measures, education policy, fundamentalism, governance, human rights, legal issues, life stories, politIcal discourse, power politics, self-reflexivity, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, teaching profession, the imaginary and the real, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, vengeance, war crimes, world events & processes

Imran Khan is Ultimate Hope for Indo-Pak Amity — says Gavaskar

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.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Afghanistan, authoritarian regimes, charitable outreach, communal relations, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, Indian traditions, life stories, unusual people, world events & processes

Presidency Stakes: A Constitutional Knot that is Gordian as Gordian can be

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.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, authoritarian regimes, centre-periphery relations, constitutional amendments, governance, historical interpretation, legal issues, life stories, politIcal discourse, power politics, Presidential elections, sri lankan society

Potency, Power and People in Groups– British Ceylon to Modern Times via Pictures

  Penance on road, Sri Maurpthy Pathirikaali Temple, 2009

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.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, architects & architecture, authoritarian regimes, British colonialism, centre-periphery relations, cricket for amity, cultural transmission, economic processes, female empowerment, heritage, Hinduism, historical interpretation, landscape wondrous, Left politics, legal issues, life stories, LTTE, modernity & modernization, Muslims in Lanka, political demonstrations, politIcal discourse, prabhakaran, racist thinking, Rajapaksa regime, religiosity, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, slanted reportage, social justice, sri lankan society, welfare & philanthophy, working class conditions, world affairs