David Blacker, courtesy of SERENDIB, December Issue 2016 … http://serendib.btoptions.lk/article.php?id=1914
On display (L-R) a Tabla, Hand Rabana, Bummadiya, Thammetama, and Geta Bera
The hands and fingers seemed to work to an inner beat, to a pulse, only the drum-maker himself could hear. As wood was smoothed, leather cords tightened, and cowhide stretched, they would be periodically tested, plucked, tapped, thrummed by the fingers, searching for a quality defined by sound. Ironically, in the gloom of the small stall that doubled as a workshop, there was no music whatsoever; not even a transistor radio. The only sounds were those of the tools, the muted conversation, underlined by the tapping.Nimal Wickramasiri is an artist. And his art is the beat. Nimal is not a musician, but the drums he makes are sought after by musicians all over Sri Lanka. Now middle-aged, Nimal has been making drums all his life. His father, awarded by three Presidents, had done the same, as had his grandfather, and for generations before, now lost in the rhythm of time. Nimal’s son, Kasun, is a skilled drum-maker in his own right. The beat in this family’s blood shows no sign of drying up.
Filed under Buddhism, cultural transmission, economic processes, education, heritage, historical interpretation, landscape wondrous, performance, photography, pilgrimages, sri lankan society, travelogue
Michael Roberts, being a re-print of a review of Roshan De Silva-Wijeyreratne’s book in Groundviews in February 2015 entitled “Review of ‘Nation, Constitutionalism and Buddhism in Sri Lanka’,” … including here the comments in Groundviews from devoted critics of the reviewer Roberts.
This treatise encompasses a vast span of time and straddles both the pre-modern and modern periods of Sri Lanka’s history down to the present moment. It engages, deploys, transcends and weaves through a vast array of scholars: Berkwitz, Chakrabarty, Collins, Duncan, Greenwald, Kaviraj, Kemper, Obeyesekere, Rampton, Roberts, Smith and Tambiah among others, with Bruce Kapferer as the guiding inspiration. As such, it is an ambitious tour de force that seeks a synthesis. The book is heavy reading and not a task for those weak or impatient. They have to comprehend a battery of difficult concepts in noun and adjectival form: ontology, episteme, refraction, governmentality, hermeneutic, telos and cosmic sovereignty for instance.
Filed under Buddhism, constitutional amendments, cultural transmission, democratic measures, devolution, governance, heritage, Hinduism, historical interpretation, Indian religions, landscape wondrous, legal issues, life stories, modernity & modernization, nationalism, politIcal discourse, power politics, reconciliation, religiosity, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, violence of language, welfare & philanthophy, world events & processes
Upul Wijayawardhana, in The Island, 7 October 2016, where the title is The Dawn of Truth
We live in an era when exaggerated ritual gets the pride of place. Not a day passes without the image, on television, of a politico offering pujas in temples, kovils and churches etc. to invoke blessings either on themselves, their party or the country. Some are even more foolish, instead of feeding the poor, they smash perfectly edible coconuts to cast evil spells on their opponents! Even worse, some idiotic politicos, not being content with the offerings at home, rush abroad to make offerings to the more powerful foreign gods! On top of that we see elaborate Bodhi Pujas, Pahan Pujas, Atavisi Buddha Pujas and over-the-top Buddha Pujas.
“So, what is your problem?” some may ask. My problem, as a convinced follower of the Buddha Dhamma, is the real dangertheserituals pose submerging the Dhamma; burying the spiritual in ritual. More and more are seeking ‘liberation’ with rituals and bribes than treading the noble path shown by the Enlightened One. It is out of this concern that I have written many pieces of late but I did not realize I would find a most unexpected supporter for my views. I must thank Mr G A D Sirimal and my brother Jagath for this amazing discovery. Mr Sirimal sent me a paper cutting but it was Jagath who recommended the gem of a booklet “Sathyodaya”.