Category Archives: centre-periphery relations

Constitutional Issues in the Limelight … Liayanage and CBK

ONE:  Constitutional Reforms: Would it be a solution to the national question?” by Sumanasiri Liyanage, in The Island, 16 February 2016

A German friend of mine whom I met after 7 years in the middle of our conversation asked me about the state reforms project of the Yahapalana government. He said that many people he met had been sanguine about them in spite of some minor difficulties. Lankans have been talking about the state reforms since the second republican constitution was promulgated in 1978. Three main questions have been posed, namely, (1) The executive presidential system and the  over-centralized architecture of the constitution; (2) the constitutional relevance in ethnically divided society; and (3) the representational deficiency in the system of election. After a heated debate in the 1980s and 1990, the heat of the constitutional debate has now subsided as many seem to believe that the present system has reached some stability. This may be partly due to the rigid character of the constitutional design. However, it is not totally true as we have had Parliaments with the necessary 2/3 majority [to effect change if requisite].

1364002696fea9-4ethnic-unity

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, centre-periphery relations, constitutional amendments, governance, Left politics, politIcal discourse, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, world affairs

Talaivar Pirapāharan embodied in Notebooks: One Mark of the LTTE’s Remarkable Propaganda Machinery

Michael Roberts

prabha-22 prabha-33 prabha-11

These three images adorn the cover of little notebooks, each 4 inches in height and 2.7 inches breadth, in my possession. They were purchased by me at Kilinochchi on 27th November 2004 when I visited the administrative capital of the state of Thamilīlam[1] during the ceasefire. The tale is recounted below as entry-point to a portrait of the LTTE’s remarkable innovations.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under art & allure bewitching, authoritarian regimes, centre-periphery relations, cultural transmission, governance, heritage, Hinduism, historical interpretation, landscape wondrous, life stories, LTTE, martyrdom, military strategy, patriotism, politIcal discourse, power politics, propaganda, religiosity, security, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, suicide bombing, Tamil civilians, Tamil Tiger fighters, the imaginary and the real, travelogue, unusual people, war reportage, women in ethnic conflcits, world events & processes

The Anti-Tamil Gal Oya Riots of 1956

 tambiah-pic-22Stanley J. Tambiah[1]

My own first hand and indelible experience of ethnic riots happened in June 1956, when as a twenty-seven-year-old social scientist, recently returned from graduate studies in the United States, I took a team of thirty three students (twenty-six Sinhalese and seven Tamils) to conduct a survey of some newly settled peasant colonies in Gal Oya Valley.+ The Gal Oya Multipurpose Scheme was Sri Lanka’s first and largest post-independence development project, whose tasks were flood control, provision of irrigation for cultivating the “maximum acreage of land possible,” and generation of electricity for domestic and industrial use. The Gal Oya Development Board, appointed by the Sri Lankan government in 1949, was modeled on the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Damodar Valley Corporation, but was actually more circumscribed in its structure and powers than these two giant corporations. The largest component of the board’s agricultural plan was the settlement of landless peasants from depressed villages with families and some agricultural experience on small paddy and highland allotments. (Provision was also made for larger-scale cultivation, marketing, and processing of cash crops by cooperative agricultural and industrial undertakings.) gal-oya-44

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, centre-periphery relations, communal relations, economic processes, energy resources, governance, historical interpretation, language policies, life stories, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, power politics, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, social justice, sri lankan society, trauma, unusual people, working class conditions

A Rejection of Reconciliation via Namo/Namo: Weeraratna’s Hardline Sinhala Majoritarian Statement*

Senaka Weeraratna … See Note ** at end

senaka-weeraratnaThe primordial national identity of this country is Sinhale and religious identity is Buddhist. These two historical identities should not be allowed to be dispensed with in order to embrace an artificial secular identity (Sri Lankan) that has neither roots to the soil of the country nor been shaped either by history, common values, heritage or destiny. Continue reading

10 Comments

Filed under accountability, British colonialism, centre-periphery relations, cultural transmission, democratic measures, fundamentalism, governance, historical interpretation, language policies, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, power politics, reconciliation, self-reflexivity, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, social justice, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, unusual people, violence of language, world events & processes, zealotry

How USA got into bed with the LTTE

aadaya-gAbout Daya Gamage”s Book “Tamil Tigers’ Debt to America”

aa-ltte-and-usa   ISBN: 1537053485 …

ISBN 13: 9781537053486…..Library of Congress Control Number: 2016913508 … Copyright © 2016 Daya Gamage

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under american imperialism, centre-periphery relations, foreign policy, historical interpretation, human rights, Indian Ocean politics, landscape wondrous, military strategy, politIcal discourse, power politics, prabhakaran, propaganda, Responsibility to Protect or R2P, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, Tamil migration, tamil refugees, the imaginary and the real, truth as casualty of war, UN reports, world events & processes

The Royal We: Sinhala Identity in the Dynastic State of SĪHALĒ

alanAlan Strathern reviewing Sinhala Consciousness in the Kandyan Period 1590s to 1815. by Michael Roberts. (Vijitha Yapa Publications, Sri Lanka, 2004. pp.xx, 274) f or Colombo Telegraph  20 December 2012, where blog-comments can be located 

Michael Roberts’ writings have sometimes given the impression of a man who will write at the drop of a hat and at great speed: the subjects have been many and various; the approach as openly adversarial as many of the relationships he takes as his subject; the arguments occasionally advanced by death-defying conceptual leaps or obscure symbolic readings; the prose style quirky or impatient with the more conventional norms of academic prose. The latter is evident even in the present work, in fact the culmination of decades of reflection, where he refers openly to his own intellectual progress, to arguments with colleagues, even to his own ethnic category – Tuppahiyek, or ‘mongrel’ – and sees no cause for shame in routinely citing ‘personal communication’ or telephone conversations in is footnotes. Such considerations might induce the superficial reader to underestimate the importance of the arguments presented in this new monograph. In fact it deserves to be widely read by all those interested in the vigorous debates about ethnic sentiment, nationalism and the murky passage from one to the other.

sin-con-cover

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under authoritarian regimes, British imperialism, Buddhism, centre-periphery relations, cultural transmission, economic processes, landscape wondrous, life stories, military strategy, modernity & modernization, politIcal discourse, Portuguese in Indian Ocean, power politics, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, transport and communications, world events & processes

USA and the World: Donald Trump’s Three Trumps

Thomas Wright, courtesy of The Atlantic, 7 November 2016, where the title is How Donald Trump Could Change the World”

Last week, Thomas Wright, an expert on U.S. foreign policy at the Brookings Institution, made a bold claim on Twitter about the presidential race in the United States. “Pretty clear this is the most important election anywhere in the world since the two German elections of 1932,” he wrote, in reference to the parliamentary elections that ultimately resulted in Adolf Hitler coming to power. “No other election has had the capacity to completely overturn the international order—the global economy, geopolitics, etc.”
donald-trump_3

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, american imperialism, centre-periphery relations, economic processes, foreign policy, historical interpretation, landscape wondrous, military strategy, modernity & modernization, performance, politIcal discourse, power politics, the imaginary and the real, unusual people, world events & processes, zealotry