Michael Roberts: with original title being “From Empiricist Conflation to Distortion: Caste in South Asia” – reproduced from Modern Asian Studies, 1983, vol 17/3, pp. 519 -27.**
Susan Bayly has done me the honour of reviewing the book on Caste Conflict and Elite Formation: The Rise of a Karava Elite in Sri Lanka, 1500-1931 at considerable length. Her essay is appropriately entitled ‘The History of Caste in South Asia’. This title provides a clue to the interpretative pathways which have led her systematically to misunderstand the arguments within the book. No less problematical is her implicit belief in the possibility of constructing a composite picture of the caste system qua system on the basis of empirical data drawn from different regions, regions as widely different as Sri Lanka, southern India and western India. Let me elaborate this charge, and in doing so reiterate the arguments which I presented.
Although the role and importance of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other civil society organisations (CSOs) have diminished since January 2015, they continue to play a significant role. While the level of their co-operation with the state is fairly high, this has not always been so. The eruption on in July 2014 of a controversy regarding the political and media activities of civil society highlighted its long-standing friction with the state. Relations between state and civil society have been characterised by periods (of varying duration) of familiarity and of remoteness, of alliance and of antagonism.
Paul Scully MP (Conservative, Sutton & Cheam), Chair of UK’s All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils called a short debate in Westminster Hall on the establishment of a Truth & Reconciliation Commission in Sri Lanka. FCO Minister, Rt Hon Mark Field responded on behalf of HMG
That this House has considered the establishment of a truth and reconciliation commission in Sri Lanka.
It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Paisley. I am delighted to be joined by fellow members of the all-party parliamentary group for Tamils. The turnout represents the depth of feeling, particularly among the Tamil diaspora, in our constituencies. Yesterday, I led a debate in this Chamber on cystic fibrosis, which was the first time I have seen it with standing room only. The fact that there are fewer Members here for this debate does not negate its importance. Every Member in this Chamber represents many thousand members of the Tamil diaspora, who remain concerned about what is happening in Sri Lanka and the Sri Lankan Government’s slow progress in meeting the terms of UN Human Rights Council resolution 30/1, which the Sri Lankan Government co-sponsored.
Tamara Kunanayakam, in The Island, 15 March 2018, where the title reads thus: “Former PR in Geneva warns Lanka at the mercy of UN-US project” …. with the highlighting here being the work of The Editor, Thuppahi
Given that we find ourselves today standing at a pivotal crossroads in our nation’s history, I would like to begin and end by addressing an appeal to the Sri Lankan people – irrespective of the community they belong to – not to be swayed by events imposed upon them by others, but to keep their focus on the issues that concern them directly – the real issues, the issues that affect their daily lives, their working and living conditions, the issues that determined their vote and political choice at the recent Local Government elections.
Rajeewa Jayaweera, in Sunday Island, 4 March 2019 …. with highlighting emphasis inserted by The Editor, Thuppahi
A relatively minor episode which took place outside the High Commission of Sri Lanka in London on February 04, blown out of proportion, has ended in the unconditional surrender by GoSL to Britain’s diktat.
Thuppahi's Blog · This web site presents the interventions of MICHAEL ROBERTS in the public realm with reference to Sri Lankan political affairs. It will embrace the politics of cricket as well. ROBERTS was educated at St. Aloysius College in Galle and the universities of Peradeniya and Oxford. He taught History at Peradeniya University and Anthropology at Adelaide university. He is now retired and lives in Adelaide.