Shenali Waduge has a long history as a defender of Sinhala interests within and beyond the island of Sri Lanka. In quite a few minds she would be classified as a Sinhala chauvinist. One must, however, not throw the baby out with the dirty bathwater. Her essays should not be dismissed out of hand. Indeed, there were several striking claims in an essay she presented recently in two outlets for me to include it within Thuppahi under this imposed heading: “To Your Face: UN and UNHRC challenged by Shenali Waduge.”
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It appears that there are pressures in motion to return to the old Rajapaksa programme of rendering the National Anthem on Independence Day in Sinhala Only. As Eranda Ginige has contended, this would be a retrograde step. Towards our comprehension of the issues, I present a preliminary and incomplete bibliography of pertinent items — including the work of Kushil Gunasekera and his Foundation of Goodness in fostering the Murali Cup; the endeavours of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene; and Sasanka Perera’s slashing criticism of the parochial responses to Kishani Jaysinghe’s operatic rendering of “Danno Budunge.”
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My past studies of ethnic pogroms in Sri Lanka and India alerted me to the power of oral communication and emotional voices in sparking retaliation against an ethnic other in neighbourhood or region. In May-June 1915 oral tales of Muslim atrocity (mostly concocted one can assume) were carried along the railway tracks and thus converted a clash at Castle Street Kandy on the night of the 28th May night into a series of violent attacks on Muslims residing in such towns as Kegalle, Rambukkana, Colombo, Panadura on the 29th and 30th May and thence to Galle and Matara and their outlying road networks between the 1st and 4th June.
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