Category Archives: British colonialism

Vanishing Lifeways at the Foot of Galle Fort in the 1930s

Michael Roberts

The four images presented in this item were snapped by my maternal uncle Lincoln Perera (also spelt “Pereira”) in the early 1930s. They were one part of a small set of pictures that came into my hands way back in London in the 1960s when Lincoln, a confirmed batchelor, passed away there.

They had no captions or dates. However, one image shows the Old Lighthouse at the south western corner-bastion. This edifice (see pic below) burnt down in 1936  and was eventually replaced by a lighthouse at the south eastern corner which still functions today.

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Filed under British colonialism, economic processes, heritage, historical interpretation

Cricket as the Prince of Sports in Sri Lanka

Michael Roberts, ‘reprinting’ an article that appeared in The Island on the 7th August 2008  with a note indicating that “An editorially-modified version of this article was published in HIMAL circa 2007.”

Modernity took firm root in Sri Lanka under the imperial aegis of Britain. British rule involved a considerable transformation in the political economy of the island, a revolution in the communication system, the administrative unification of the country and the emergence of new class forces of a capitalist variety. English became the administrative language and one saw the development of an indigenous socio-political elite group, referred to locally as “middle class,” whose mode of domination included a facility in English-speak and a particular life style.

  Ajantha Mendis, center, and teammates wait for 3rd umpire’s decision on a leg before the wicket against India’s captain Anil Kumble during fourth day of the second test cricket match between India and Sri Lanka in Galle (AP) Continue reading

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D H Lawrence in Kandy 1922

Jane Russell

D H Lawrence came to Ceylon with his wife Frieda in late February 1922. Lawrence once referred to the later years of his life, spent wandering from place to place across the world in search of relief from illness, as his “savage pilgrimage”.  Interestingly, the Lawrences arrived just a couple of years after Hilda Westbrook (soon to be Kularatne) first passed through the Colombo Harbour steamboat passenger terminal.

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In Honour of Ambalavaner Sivanandan as Anti-Racist Radical Intelelctual in Britian

Meera Srinivasan, in The Hindu, 4 January 2018, where the title is “A ‘Black intellectual’ from Sri Lanka”  …. Emphasis added in this version

Sri Lanka-born British writer Ambalavaner Sivanandan, theorist of state racism and Black liberation politics and founding editor of Race & Class journal, passed away in London on Wednesday. He was 94.

Best known for his political essays and his novel When Memory Dies, Mr. Sivanandan made original contributions to understanding communities of resistance in Britain, focussing on the Black working class that he felt was more prone to the “racism that kills”, as opposed to the “racism that discriminates” against middle-class Black people. Continue reading

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Queen Elizabeth at Trinity in 1954

Sheshan Abeysekara in Trinity College web site, where the title is “Queen Elizabeth II’s visit to Trinity in 1954”

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II must have fond memories of her first visit to Sri Lanka in 1954.  As well as visiting Colombo during the ten days she spent here, she also visited Kandy to watch the Perahera, and while there, she was felicitated at the grounds of Trinity College Kandy before she was escorted to the historical “Magul Maduwa” to be welcomed by a delegation of Kandyan Chiefs.


Picture: “The Mayor of Kandy welcoming the Queen at  the Trinity College main entrance drive.” | Picture Credits: GettyIma

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The Fort of Galle: Images Past and Present


Identified as “Old Dutch Fortification, Point De Galle,” this image a has been kindly supplied by the National Library of Australia. It is a late 19th century picture — before the new entrance was punched through the frontal ramparts and before a clock tower was built to honour Dr Anthonisz.

Whately’s water-colour painting (12.9 x 17.7 cm) of Point de Galle, dated 31 July 1874 has also been provided by the National Library of Australia.

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Galle Fort in Better Light

Images from a Professional: Juliet Coombe

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Filed under British colonialism, cultural transmission, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, Indian traditions, island economy, life stories, modernity & modernization, Muslims in Lanka, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, world affairs