Category Archives: British colonialism

The Huseins and Their Historic Mansions in the Fort, Galle

Juliet Coombe, in Daily News, 1 December 2017,where the title runsFragments of the past”

“New things you can replace. Old things are irreplaceable.” Such is the mentality that has underpinned the empire that is now the Historical Mansion, right through from the inventor of the museum, Hussain senior, who has passed the museum onto his eldest son Kamal who now runs it, along with the arcade, gem making workshop in the central courtyard and the fabulous antiques gallery with filigree jewellery that is hundreds of years old. Newness is not important to Kamal, he simply wants to preserve what his father collected so that future generations can understand and appreciate the lives that were lived without electricity hence the notches in the walls for candles and if you wanted water you had to draw it from the central courtyard well.


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The Early Phase of Sinhala-Tamil Rivalry in Ceylon, 1931-70s

Michael Roberts[1]

The factors promoting political agitation among the Sri Lankan Tamils since the 1920s, particularly the developments after Sri Lanka secured independence in 1948, have inspired a large literature.[2] Three turning points in the temporal progression of this agitation have often been marked: one in 1956 when an electoral transformation helped enshrine Sinhala as the language of administration and placed the majority Sinhalese peoples in a dominant position in the political dispensation; secondly, in the early 1970s when militant Tamils placed secession at the forefront of their demands; and, thirdly, in July 1983 when an anti-Tamil pogrom in the Sinhalese-majority regions that involved state functionaries as well as people from many walks of life alienated the mass of Tamils and sparked an expansion in the militant separatist struggle.[3]

  Bandaranaiake in rhetorical mode

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When Radio Ceylon swayed India

Anand Sethi,  whose original title is “The Dial of Serendipity,” ….

Anand Sethi takes a stroll down memory lane while tracking down the building which once housed Sri Lanka’s iconic Radio Ceylon

 Image courtesy: Anand Sethi

Bauddhaloka Mawatha is a wide, tree-lined avenue in Colombo in Sri Lanka. It runs from Galle Road in the west towards Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, the administrative capital of Sri Lanka, in the east. The avenue runs past a few university playgrounds and several colonial-era buildings, now occupied by embassies and ministries in a leafy part of Colombo 7, as the locals call it.

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About the Portuguese Burghers and Kaffirs

Nan, in Island, 4 November 2017  where the title reads as “The Portuguese Burghers and Kaffirs”

Ethnic groups are disappearing and thus the research interest on these endangered human groups, their language and culture. One such research that is on-going is on the Portuguese Burghers by the Universidade de Lisboa with funding from the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme of SOAS, University of London. The International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES) which is collaborating with the research, facilitated a discussion on the Sri Lankan Portuguese Burghers and their heritage with those on the research project: Hugo Cordosa, Patricia Costa, Rui Pereira, Mahesha Radakrishna – all of the University of Lisbon; Dinali Fernando of the University of Kelaniya and Earle Barthelot, representative of the Portuguese Burgher Community and former secretary of the Burgher Union of Batticaloa.. This was on Tuesday 31 October.

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Of Bonds and Boundaries via Biographical Moments

Wilfred Jayasuriya

Fortunately the priest was walking by the ward. He wore a black hat like a gentleman of my father’s vintage, when they wore such hats as a style when the British ruled us. He was also quite dark skinned like my father and had well chisselled features, a round chin, a proportionate nose and mouth—what my mother said about my father in spite of him being quite dark skinned that he was a handsome man. And this priest was well dressed in his white cassock and black waist band and he had a cross with Christ tucked in it. “Father,” I asked, “are you a Catholic priest? Can you come and see my friend? He is very ill. In this ward.” I pointed to the interior where the 12 o’ clock crowd had already filled the spaces between the beds.

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How the Railways Came to Batticaloa

Shirley W. Somanader, from The Island, 6 September 2014

Travel Before the Trains: A measure of the efficiency of communication between a place and the outside world is the ease of accessibility to the Capital city. In terms of this measure, the isolation of the Batticaloa district, as late as the first quarter of the Twentieth century is expressed, by a person who had lived through the better part of those times thus: “A journey to Batticaloa was something of an adventure. It was long and tiresome and often risky. Before the introduction of the train service in 1928, there were only two means of communication with the outside world. One by sea, at first by sailing vessels, replaced later on by coasting steamers, which called once a week either from the south or north: The other by land across rocks and precipices of the Uva Province. The journey was done on horseback or bullock carts.”

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House of Lords Debate Sri Lanka and Michael Naseby stands steadfast


Item in several web sites: “West must remove war crime threats on SL: Lord Naseby”

The West, particularly the US and the UK, must remove the threat of war crimes and foreign judges that overhangs and overshadows all Sri Lankans, especially their leaders, a British Baron told the British Parliament on Thursday. Michael Morris, Baron Naseby PC, who started the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Sri Lanka in 1975, expressed these views during a debate on Sri Lanka. Continue reading

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