Category Archives: British colonialism

Ceylon University College Dons in 1933: A Photo that is A Treasure Trove

We are indebted to Thiru Arumugam and the latest issue of THE CEYLANKAN produced by the Ceylon Society of Australia for the two photographs reproduced here. I invite readers and old University personnel to provide pertinent bio-data on any of the individuals here who served the University and society over the next few decades.  I will be initiating this task below as time goes by.

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Ceylon-to-Lanka: Constitutional Dispensations, 1948-2019

Sarath Amunugama, in “the Sam Wijesinha Memorial Oration” at the SLFI on Friday, 30 August 2019 –A Talk entitled “Parliament and President”

I am deeply honoured by the invitation extended to me by Rajiva Wijesinha and Nigel Hatch to deliver the Sam Wijesinha Memorial Oration, which seeks to commemorate the late Sam Wijesinha, who was a personal friend of mine. I selected the topic “Parliament and the President” because it deals with two main aspects of the life of Sam Wijesinha (SW). Not only was he intimately connected with Parliament having served there as Deputy Clerk and ultimately Clerk and Secretary General but he was also close to several Presidents who sought his advice on many matters not exclusively in the area of parliamentary practice. He also had the distinction of serving as the first Ombudsman where he received public complaints from Parliament and provided redress expeditiously and in a humane manner.

 Sam Wijesinha

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Bharhut Stupa: Its Significance in the History of Buddhism

Bhante Dhammika of Australia, in Island, 14 August 2019, where the title runs “Bharhut Stupa; Majesty and Mystery”


The British Major had ridden for days from Allahabad while on his way to Nagpur and had arrived in the small village of Bharhut just before sunset. That evening while resting in a villager’s house he noticed some carved stones paving the floor and suspected that they had been taken from some ancient structure. Inquiring about this he learned from his host that there was a half-buried ruin a little beyond the eastern edge of the village. So in the morning the major went to have a look at this overgrown mound of bricks and stone. The time was November 1873, the major was Alexander Cunningham and he was about to stumble upon one of the most important archaeological discoveries ever made in India and one that is testimony to the artistic genius of the early Buddhists.

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History of Royal College in 1932 is ‘born again’

Yomal Senerath-Yapa, in Sunday Times, 11 August 2019

A reprint of “The History of Royal College”, a 1932 biography of the school authored by students, was launched at the BMICH yesterday in an event organised by the Royal College 1960 Group, in association with the Royal College Union.

Head of the Project Team Senaka Weeraratna hands over a copy of the second edition of the 1932 publication to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. Royal College Principal B.A. Abeyratna stands by. Former Royal rugby football captain and coach U.L. Kaluarachchi made the keynote address at yesterday’s launch. Dr. Ajit Wijesundera and Mr. Vajira Gunawardene were the other members of the Project Team.

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Minnete de Silva Pictorial : Aficianado and Architect Extraordinary

Minnete de Silva: Aficionado and Architect Extraordinary

Minnette de Silva (Sinhalaමිනට් ද සිල්වා;Tamilமினிட் டி சில்வா; 1 February 1918–24 November 1998) was an internationally recognized architect, considered the pioneer of the modern architectural style in Sri Lanka.[2][3] De Silva was a fellow of the Sri Lanka Institute of Architects.

De Silva was the first Sri Lankan woman to be trained as an architect and the first Asian woman to be elected an associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in 1948. De Silva was also the first Asian representative of CIAM in 1947 and was one of the founding members of the Architectural publication Marg. Later in her life, she was awarded the SLIA Gold Medal for her contribution to Architecture in particular her pioneering work developing a ‘regional modernism for the tropics’…..

Minnette de Silva with Pablo Picasso (left) at the World Congress of Intellectuals in Defense of Peace, 1948

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Challenging Hannah Beech: The Strangulation of the Rohingyas, 1948-2019

Gerald Peiris, … responding to Note at head of References

The section of the Bangladesh frontier in the south-east runs adjacent to the northern Arakan states of Myanmar (formerly, Burma) —a politically turbulent area which has, at least from the late 1940s, been featured by spells of high intensity conflict between the government of Myanmar and the Arakanese Muslims, the ‘Rohingya.’ The length of time over which the Rohingya have coexisted in this hilly area with the numerically larger ‘Rakhine’ — a predominantly Buddhist ethnic group— is not known with certainty. The Rohingya claim in this regard is that their roots could be traced back to the 10th century Muslim migrations into Burma, and that, in the northern Arakan, they constituted an independent principality for more than three centuries from 1430 to 1784.[i]  This has been disputed.  The official stand of the government of Myanmar (which has, in fact, been corroborated in certain scholarly writings) is that the Rohingya community consists largely of Bengali Muslims who migrated into this area after the annexation of Arakan by the British in 1843.

Pics from 2017 selected by Thuppahi from

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“Goyi-Lansi”: Badinage founded on Class Differentiation laced with Ethnicity and Prejudice

Michael Roberts

This article is inspired by Fabian Schokman of Moratuwa whose questioning comment led to a brief exchange involving Eardley Lieversz and myself. I will place these exchanges first before proceeding to address the context and implications of the article on “Goyigama Lansiyās” written by a retired Sinhala police officer of senor rank.

This essay was obviously penned in light-hearted spirit. But, in conveying ethnographic tales of past times in genial tones, the account reveals questionable ‘seams,’ i.e. strands, within the socio-political order. Readers are advised to absorb the essay “The Goyigama Lansiyaas”[1] as an initial measure …. before proceeding to the exchanges and the arguments below.

the 2nd Pic may well be British ladies and gents in a Whites only club

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