Susan Bayly in 1983, reviewing Caste Conflict and Elite Formation: The Rise of a Karava Elite in Sri Lanka, 1500-1931 by Michael Roberts Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1982.
The literature on the south Asian caste system is vast and contentious and the current war of words shows no sign of abating. This book conforms to current trends both in focusing on the experience of a single caste group under colonial rule, and also in adopting a polemical tone towards other historians. Roberts’ subject is the Karava population of Sri Lanka and his first aim is to explain why this group of poor fishermen and artisans managed to throw up a disproportionately large elite of businessmen, lawyers and other western-educated professional men by the end of the nineteenth-century. The discussion is set against the background of works on comparable Asian business communities such as the Marwaris and Parsis. An important theme, then, is the relationship between individual enterprise and the corporate structure of caste: did the Karava magnate class emerge because of, or in spite of, their roots in a hierarchical caste order? Continue reading
Filed under British colonialism, Buddhism, caste issues, communal relations, cultural transmission, discrimination, disparagement, economic processes, education, historical interpretation, immigration, Indian religions, Indian traditions, island economy, landscape wondrous, life stories, politIcal discourse, power politics, sri lankan society, transport and communications, world events & processes
Leelananda De Silva, courtesy of Sunday Island, 24 March 2018, where the title runs “Are We Heading Towards Constitutional Anarchy? The Evolution of Constitutional Governance in Sri Lanka (Revised Second Edition)”
n the 1950s in Ceylon, there was the university entrance examination, conducted by the University of Ceylon annually, to select students for entry to that university. There were no G.C.E. A-Levels then. One of the subjects for this examination was called Government. Those who sat for this subject read the Constitution of Ceylon by Ivor Jennings. Jennings was the author of the Sri Lankan Constitution of 1948, and it was first hand analysis of the constitutional provisions of 1948. Jennings was one of the foremost constitutional lawyers in England and he had published the authoritative “Cabinet Government” some years before and also a more popular book called the British Constitution and another called The Law and the Constitution. Undergraduates of that time were fortunate in reading these authoritative tomes by a leading constitutional scholar. Since 1948, there has been little scholarly writings on constitutional developments in Ceylon, especially on the politics behind constitutional changes.
Filed under communal relations, constitutional amendments, economic processes, electoral structures, governance, historical interpretation, life stories, modernity & modernization, power sharing, sri lankan society, world events & processes
High Commissioner Speaks to Muslim Diaspora in Melbourne,
Filed under accountability, Buddhism, communal relations, cultural transmission, democratic measures, education, governance, heritage, historical interpretation, life stories, politIcal discourse, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, tolerance, unusual people, welfare & philanthophy, world events & processes
M. M. Zuhair, in the Island, 13 March 2018, where the title is “Who is trying to destroy our unity and why?”
The mob violence that erupted at Ampara town on Monday February 26, a day after Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in as the stop-gap Minister of Law and Order and followed by violence in Digana, Teldeniya and several other parts of Kandy, independently of the Ampara events, will soon be forgotten, notwithstanding evidence that the extremist attacks in both places appear to be well organised following prior concert.
Filed under accountability, atrocities, Bodu Bala Sena, communal relations, cultural transmission, democratic measures, discrimination, ethnicity, governance, landscape wondrous, legal issues, life stories, political demonstrations, politIcal discourse, power politics, security, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, trauma, truth as casualty of war, vengeance, world affairs